New Aging Program To Launch Next Week In Pines

OCEAN PINES – A county nonprofit will launch a program in Ocean Pines next week that provides support services to senior citizens.

Beginning July 1, the Worcester County Commission on Aging (WorCOA) will offer a membership program that provides key services to Ocean Pines residents ages 65 and older.

As part of the program – entitled Community for Life Ocean Pines – members can access transportation to and from medical appointments, the grocery store and social events, and navigation to affordable technicians and contractors for home projects and repairs.

Rob Hart, executive director for WorCOA, said the program is meant to help senior citizens “age in place” without the worry or added expense that comes with medical care, transportation and home ownership.

“It’s a financial reason and it keeps the senior citizens happy in their homes,” he said.

Hart said the local program is made possible through an $80,000 state grant and partnerships with Worcester County and the Ocean Pines library branch, which will host program meetings.

“We are the first area to receive this grant,” he said.

While the program will be funded by the state grant for the first 18 months, Hart said the goal is to make Community for Life Ocean Pines a self-sustaining model. He noted that WorCOA is looking for sponsors and fundraisers to retain and expand the program.

“If the project starts to show some revenue we will spread the program throughout the county,” he said.

For now, WorCOA will offer the program to senior citizens in Ocean Pines. The cost of membership is $250.

“There is a not a week that goes by where I don’t get comments from out-of-state children seeking help for their aging parents that live in that area,” Hart said.

Hart offered anecdotal evidence for the need of such programs in Worcester County, where elderly residents often pay more than others for the same services. In one instance, a woman was charged $50 for an electrician to replace a lightbulb.

“You can see that there are some things going on that aren’t right,” he said. “We want to make sure you get the fair price.”

For more information on the Community for Life program, contact Shea Wise at 410-251-0140.

“We think this project will continue to grow,” Hart said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.