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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Baltimore County Department of Aging

Learn how this agency launched a campaign to create regional awareness about social isolation and to offer engagement activities and education to help older adults and caregivers combat social isolation.

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2020 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Baltimore County Department of Aging's Living Connected campaign. The agency was a 2020 Aging Achievement Award winner in the Social Engagement category. The 2020 AIA Awards were made possible thanks to the support of Centene.
 
Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) developed the Living Connected campaign to reduce loneliness among older adults. The year-long program offered awareness education for all ages and engagement activities for older adults and caregivers. It included creation of promotional videos, local newspaper features highlighting resources, a professional conference, a Living Connected area at the BCDA Power of Age Expo, weekly social media posts, local Comcast television segments and a No Senior Eats Alone Day.
 
Living Connected reached more than 10,000 attendees at the BCDA Power of Age Expo, educated 325,000 viewers through television segments, hosted a conference for more than 200 professionals, and reached 10,000 newspaper subscribers. More than 60 community partners were involved in No Senior Eats Alone Day, which brought 276 new older adults to the BCDA senior center.
 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BCDA has continued its Living Connected Initiative efforts across the region. Given the safety concerns with in-person gatherings due to COVID-19, BCDA was not able to hold large gatherings on the 2020 No Senior Eats Alone Day. Instead, the 20 BCDA senior centers held virtual events that allowed older adults to participate in educational activities, games and listen to music while eating a meal at home.

The Living Connected campaign is also highlighted in the engAGING Practices: Best Practices for Helping Older Adults Stay Socially Engaged publication from engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults (administered by n4a). This resource highlights best practices implemented by 11 programs to help others within the Aging Network enhance social engagement among older adults in their communities. Questions? Contact Laura D. Riley, lriley@baltimorecountymd.gov.

For more information about the 2020 winners, see the press release and read the book of winners! To read about past winners and find other best practices for your agency to consider, visit our Best Practices Clearinghouse page.

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