County Comment: Aging, Disability Services "MAP" Opens

L-R Maryland Disabilities Secretary Raggio, Aging Secretary Lawlah, Commissioner John Barr

County Comment
Aging, Disability Services "MAP" Opens
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Secretaries of two Maryland Departments were on hand to dedicate Washington County's Maryland Access Point (MAP) with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Commission on Aging in Hagerstown on Monday, January 14th. Department of Aging Secretary Gloria Lawlah and Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Cathy Raggio helped cut the ribbon to open the new service.
The Maryland Access Point (MAP) Aging and Disability Resource Center is a federal initiative to increase the ability of older or citizens with disabilities to be self-reliant through provision of streamlined information and assistance. The underlying concept is that there is "No Wrong Door". The service is a "one stop shop" for disability and aging services and will help people access services in a more user-friendly manner. Persons over the age of 50, and adults who have disabilities over the age of 18 can benefit from MAP asssistance. Family members and caregivers may also interact with the MAP site as well as adults who wish to plan for their own potential long-term needs.
The Washington County Commission on Aging (WCCOA) is the lead agency in collaboration with the Health Department, Department of Social Services and the Center for Independent Living. The Board of County Commissioners expressed strong support for the program and Commissioners' President John Barr made introductions and participated in the ceremony.
The MAP grant was requested to increase the possibility that older or disabled Washington County citizens and their families can benefit from the initiative. The Commission on Aging partnered with Resources for Independence, the Washington County Health Department, Washington County Department of Social Services, Washington County Mental Health Authority and Washington County Community Action Council, in launching the MAP site, located in the WCCOA offices on the 4th floor of the Aspire to Serve building at 140 West Franklin Street.
The Washington County Disabilities Advisory Committee and the County Office on Disability Issues and also support MAP, seen as a strong step forward in Maryland to help people with disabilities and elderly persons find the resources they need for daily living.
Department of Aging Secretary Lawlah said that often people in need of services get frustrated by having to go to many agencies to have their needs met, often having to spend hours completing essentially the same paperwork at each agency. The MAP site will ensure that the process is streamlined, she said.
For more information about MAP, call the WCCOA office at 301-790-0275, or go online at www.wccoaging.org. A link to the WCCOA website is located on the Washington County government website, www.washco-md.net under Citizen Information/Health and Disabilities Services.