Senior Program May Come To Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week formalized a request to include Ocean City in a senior citizen independent living program offered in other areas of Worcester County.

During Tuesday’s work session, Mayor Rick Meehan outlined some of the details of Worcester County’s Community for Life program and pointed out the service is currently not available to Ocean City residents. The Community for Life program provide a wide range of services to senior citizens in vast areas of Worcester County such as rides to medical appointments, telephone welfare check-ins and simple home repairs, for example. Essentially, it allows some seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes.

It differs somewhat from Ocean City’s Medical Appointment Transportation (MEDTRN) service, which provides transportation to appointments for resort residents with disabilities for a fee. Meehan said the county’s Community for Life program is offered in much of the county, but has not found its way into Ocean City for a variety of reasons.

“This is a program that’s offered in Worcester County and it actually started in Ocean Pines,” he said. “Now, it’s offered in other areas of the county as well. It provides transportation and services for a fee to senior citizens in the county.”

Meehan said the Community for Life program was discussed at a recent AARP meeting he attended and some questioned why the service was not extended to the resort.

“Some of our residents felt if this is a program offered elsewhere in the county, that it should be offered in Ocean City as well,” he said. “Our residents feel they should have the same rights and opportunities as other county residents.”

Meehan said he has spoken with Rob Hart, director of the Worcester County Commission on Aging, which administers the Community for Life program, and Hart has expressed a desire to expand the program to include Ocean City. He added the cost of expanding the program is an estimated $45,000.

“He very much wants to continue this service and expand it, but there is a cost associated with doing that,” he said. “He said the hope is that someday the service will be self-sustaining.”

Meehan said a motion was made during the Transportation Committee meeting last week to request funding for the program in Ocean City in the resort’s annual grant letter to Worcester County.

“We want to ask that they provide this service in Ocean City,” he said. “This is a service provided to other county residents and we believe it should also be provided to Ocean City residents.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.