Rona Gross sees it every month. The older adult, living on fixed income, who suddenly finds she is unable to pay her bill. Like the woman living in Northwest Baltimore. Hard of hearing, she had no idea her toilet was running until Gross pointed it out. Unfortunately, that was after she amassed a $700 water bill she could ill afford to pay.
Luckily Gross, who is a benefits counselor for CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., was able to contact Baltimore City to have them write off the charge. Yet, it took multiple phone calls and conversations navigating the City system, something many older adults, Gross believes, would have difficulty doing on their own.
As the Baltimore Jewish community ages and life expectancy increases, the number of vulnerable older adults needing services will grow. By 2030, Maryland’s 60 plus population is expected to increase 40 percent and those over 80 will grow by 136 percent.
With that growth, comes complicated problems that go well beyond the medical realm. In the next few decades, the Jewish community will expect to see an increase in the number of older adults struggling financially and unprepared for sudden, unexpected medical and other expenses. Without intervention, social isolation and its impact on health will increase. And, these issues will impact their caregivers, as well.
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