BATIMORE COUNTY—Last week, Baltimore County Executive, Johnny Olszewski, toured the county, visiting senior centers on “No Senior Eats Alone” day, initiated by The Baltimore County Department of Aging.
The Baltimore County Department of Aging strengthens lives by connecting individuals to community resources, programs and services.
This years Department of Aging initiative was to help with social isolation in senior communities, Essex senior center, director, Mike Hager explained.
“So, one of the ideas that came out of that was, ‘No Senior Eats Alone Day’, so that seniors who may be isolated could come out and see the senior centers, eat with people, have socialization of eating a meal and for them to participate and see what the center has to offer.”
Social isolation describes the absence of social contact and can lead to loneliness.
It is a state of being cut off from normal social networks, which can be triggered by factors such as, loss of mobility, unemployment, and health issues which tend to affect seniors.
Olszewski was “glad” to be spending part of his day sharing a meal with seniors and making new friends.
“Thank you to the Baltimore County Department of Aging and everyone else who has been a part of this effort to combat social isolation,” Olszewski said.
The senior meals included, chicken cordon blue, broccoli, rice, apple sauce, milk, and a blue berry desert.
“It’s suppose to be a healthy balanced meal,” Hager noted,
Community out reach officers, attended the event to get feedback from seniors on issues that affect them.
“We go to events like this and we talk with the seniors and see what issues they have and see what they’re dealing with and see how we can offer resources and get down to the bottom of what is hindering our elderly members of our communities,” Baltimore County Police officer, Adam Heavner said.
“We have over 70 people here today,” Victory Villa Senior Center volunteer, David Burns said. “The more people we have the more fun it is!”
The Ateaze senior center served 96 meals to senior community members.
“Many of our members came to support the “No Senior Eats Alone Day”. There was a mother and daughter who joined us yesterday to get out of the house. The daughter is the caregiver for her mother and she had been struggling to get her mom socialized. Her mother was 88 years old and didn’t want to come to the "old people place" but once she came to have lunch she said it’s a very young center,”Ateaze senior center, director, Rebecca Ebert explained.
“She and her daughter thought are expected to return for line dancing. That was the point of this day, to bring in the people who have been alone at home or just not socially stimulated and show them all the amazing activities that we have to offer. It was so wonderful to have everyone come together and we thank the elected officials who showed up as well as the police officers who came to visit and eat with us.”
Seniors were very excited on “No Senior Eats Alone” day, according to Hager.
“They’ve been very excited about this day. We have seen some new faces, so it’s an exciting event and our seniors seem to be enjoying it,” he noted.