Local government creates new division for growing senior population

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Officials say that by the year 2020, Frederick’s population will have more senior citizens over the age of 60 than school aged kids.

“People are living longer, we all embrace that, but we want to make sure people have the best quality of life they can have,” explained Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner.

The upward trend sparked the creation of the Senior’s First committee back in 2015.

Thirty three recommendations were made to County Executive Jan Gardner, and number one on the list: a new senior services division.

“We really wanted to make people be aware of what’s available. And make sure that it’s just highlighted more in our community because it is something that’s changing in our demographic,” Gardner said.

The new division will absorb the current Department of Aging, formerly under the Division of Citizens Services.

Their budget of about $3.5 million for fiscal year 2019 will be directed fully towards the area’s aging residents, and guided by the leadership of Kathy Schey.

Schey is the former development director of Faith House at the Frederick Rescue Mission.

“I am an entrepreneurial person. I read the Seniors First initiative and I thought for someone who likes to bring things into fruition, I can’t wait,” Schey said.

The new division will be in the building of the current Frederick County Department of Aging and Senior Center on Taney Ave.

The 40 employees currently working here are expected to transition into the new division.

Schey will oversee the creation of three new programs under the division: active seniors, aging services and operations.

“This is going to be an exciting time for seniors, all seniors, those who are able-bodied and ready to go, and those who may need more assistance or support,” said Schey.

Director Kathy Schey will begin her new role July 30.

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