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Hours to extend at Lansdowne, Fleming senior centers; some locations decrease eligibility age to 50

Two Baltimore County senior centers are expanding their hours, and adults 50 and older may now participate in programming at three pilot locations.

Weekday hours at Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands Senior Center will be expanded to 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. starting Oct. 7. Currently, the center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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And hours at Dundalk’s Fleming Senior Center will extend to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting Oct. 15. Currently, Fleming’s hours run from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

Hours at those centers were reduced due to budget cuts in 2013, and because those centers had the lowest attendance out of the county’s senior centers, said Laura Riley, director for Baltimore County Department of Aging.

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Extending hours brings those locations back up to par with the county’s other 18 senior centers, she said. Participation has increased at the two locations since 2013. At Fleming, annual visits jumped from 5,600 in 2013 to more than 18,000 between July 2018 and June 2019, and at Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands, participation has increased by 6% in that same timeframe, a release stated.

Those centers, as well as Hereford Senior Center, are also now opening their doors to adults as young as 50, who can register for free or for a donation at those individual locations. The eligibility age is 60 at all other locations, Riley said.

The expanded service was prompted by results from the National Council on Aging’s adult well-being assessment, which seeks to survey aging adults who self-report where they stand on a number of qualities related to physical and mental health, emotional and social support, and financial well-being.

In tandem with the extended senior center services, those survey results will help the county’s aging department more fully gauge how senior center activities impact participants, and will help the department develop more programming for the county’s growing aging population.

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The expanded hours open up more opportunity for the aging department to bring in more programming it’s already administering in other areas The expansion is aimed at improving lower quality of life scores reported by participants in areas like job training, chronic disease self-management and nutrition.

“Things to help individuals take control of their own situation,” Riley said.

While 50-year-olds can only participate at the three pilot locations, Riley said it will give the county “an idea of what to expect if we were to go countywide.”

County Executive John Olszewski Jr. “understands the increased need in the community and committed the funds necessary to expand services for our older adult population,” Riley said in a release.

Baltimore County allocated nearly $2.2 million for senior centers in fiscal 2020, an increase of about $200,000 since 2018.

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