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Speech and Testimony

County Executive Leggett’s Remarks at the “Changing Needs of Seniors in Montgomery County”

Friends House Celebration, 17340 Quaker Lane, Sandy Spring

As prepared


Greetings! I am glad to be here for the Friends House celebration.

With 50 years of providing affordable housing and meeting seniors’ needs, here in the County, there is much to celebrate!

Back in 1967, how many people were thinking about the affordable housing and the continuing care needs of seniors?

I want to recognize the foresight, wisdom, and good work of your founders – as well as those who have carried on the mission of Friends House for half a century. 

I also appreciate being here with the executive directors of all the other Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

By sharing information and experiences, we can better understand and serve the changing needs of seniors in Montgomery County.

I am truly gratified that Montgomery County has several CCRCs to serve our residents. You are providing a critical service to our community.

And, given our growing senior population, we need to grow our CCRC capacity – so that more people can live in the community and access needed services, when they need them.

Your waiting lists are testament to this need.

Given this, I appreciate that Friends House has plans to upgrade and expand its facilities.

You have exciting plans to renovate your common spaces and significantly increase capacity from serving 250 residents today, to about 400 a decade from now.

I also appreciate your plans to blend new affordable and market rate housing. Offering this, with continuing care services, truly helps in meeting the needs of seniors in our community.

Part of the popularity of Friends House, and all the CCRCs in Montgomery County, is the high level of engagement.

Residents here are organizing committees to improve the environment, manage a large garden, maintain the library, collect food for Olney Help, adopt a section of Norwood Road, fundraise for the fire department, and also share newsletters so others can join in.

Friends House, and all the other CCRCs in Montgomery County, achieves the mission of service amidst constant change.

For example, fifty years ago, people were not living as long as long as we do today.

And, we didn’t have a huge demographic of Boomers heading into retirement.

These are two reasons why we have a burgeoning senior population in our County.

Additionally, Montgomery County is one of the most diverse Counties in the country.

Our tremendous ethnic and income diversity means that we need to think carefully about the special needs of various populations and how we can best serve them.

As part of this, we need to continue providing affordable housing that meets special needs.

Further, seniors’ attitudes are changing. Today, 90 percent of people growing older want to remain in their own homes or communities with neighbors and friends.

As many have multiple chronic illnesses, decreased mobility or memory challenges, we all need to adjust to meet the needs of those in our communities.

At the same time, changes in regulations and funding sources, such as housing, tax and Medicaid programs, keep everyone on their toes.

Finally, updates in technology bring better care but they also have cost implications.

So, CCRCs face a range of challenges – with broad consequences for all of you, and the people you serve.

I understand that you plan to discuss innovations that can help address these changes.

I applaud your efforts to continue to provide such good service in a challenging and rewarding environment.

At the same time, I want to be sure you are aware of efforts in the County, to improve services for seniors.

And, I want to invite you to get involved, if you are not already engaged.

As you may know, nearly two years ago I hosted a Summit on Aging.

We brought together many people from various networks to address a broad range of issues. And, we developed a plan of action.

As a result, Montgomery County joined the W-H-O and AARP Age Friendly Community networks: County staff and community members meet regularly to discuss how we can identify and address issues of top priority.

I encourage you to reach out to our age-friendly network to bring your concerns, needs, ideas and resources to the table.

Together, we can continue to make Montgomery County a great place to live, for people of all ages.

Thank you.

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Release ID: 17-101
October 5; 11:30 a.m.