Health & Wellness Programs for Older Adults

 A group of older adults gets a tour and demo of the Ellicott City 50+ Fitness Center with Howard County Office on Aging and Independence staff.


Promoting healthy aging in Howard County

The goal of the Health and Wellness Division of the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence is to improve the health and quality of life for older adults and adults with disabilities living in Howard County. To accomplish this goal, Health and Wellness offers innovative, accessible, and affordable programs and services at 50+ centers and other community locations; sponsors special events throughout the year; and coordinates ongoing health and wellness programs.  For more information on programs, explore the links below or contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) via email or at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay).


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Click here to view health and wellness workshops taking place this fall.

Health & Wellness Programs

Go50+ Fitness Membership

Our Go50+ membership packages are designed to enhance the quality of life for the 50+ adult population that lives, works, and plays in Howard County.

LIve longer, healthier lives...join today!

50+ Centers
Membership includes access to Gary J. Arthur, Ellicott City 50+ Fitness Center and North Laurel Community Centers and all Howard County 50+ Centers, including game room areas, gymnasiums, walking tracks, and wellness programs.

Membership includes all 50+ Center benefits, plus fitness rooms and dance/aerobics studios, where available.  Resident cost: $75 per year.  Nonresident cost $100 per year.

All Go50+Fitness benefits, plus pool access during open swim hours.  Resident cost: $175 per year. Non resident cost: $225 per year.

View our flyer for additional information and locations.

Friendly Connections

The Friendly Connections program provides regularly scheduled “social visits” by trained volunteers to support older adults (age 50+) in the community who are in need of support and friendship.  All Friendly Connections volunteers will be screened and matched with an appropriate participant, and will receive training and support from Office on Aging and Independence staff.  Shared activities may include one-on-one conversations, friendly phone calls, playing cards or games, sharing a book, taking a walk, sitting outside, listening to music, hobbies and crafts.   View our flyer for additional information. 

To become a volunteer visitor in the Friendly Connections program  please  visit to register as a volunteer and to check out our latest volunteer opportunities or contact Darlene Vaselaros, Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-5951 or via email.  

To get more information on how to participate in the Friendly Connections Program, contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay) or via email.

Exercise Classes for Chronic Conditions

Exercise Classes for Chronic Conditions

Explore exercise classes that may help improve mobility and reduce fall risk often associated with certain chronic conditions.  Currently, classes are offered for people with Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and history of stroke or balance limitations.  The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence has established collaborations with the Arthritis Foundation, Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area, UMBC, and the VA Medical Center in Baltimore.  To learn more, contact Malarie Burgess via email or at 410-313-6073 (voice/relay).

Stepping Up Your Nutrition

Stepping Up Your Nutrition is a 2.5 hour malnutrition risk/food insecurity workshop for older adults.  Participants learn about the strong correlation between nutrition status, muscle strength, and fall risk.  Topics covered include the importance of protein and fluids on nutrition, recommended daily allowance, and how to set goals for behavior change to improve nutritional status and muscle health.  For more information, please contact email or call Malarie Burgess at 410-313-6073.  

Stepping On

An evidenced-based fall prevention program designed to reduce falls and increase confidence, strength, and balance.  The program meets for two hours, one day a week for seven weeks.

Topics covered include:

  • Falls and Risks
  • Safe Footwear
  • Review of Medications
  • Home Hazards and Vision
  • Strength and Balance Exercises

For more information about Stepping On, contact Malarie Burgess at 410-313-6073 (voice/relay) or via email.


Cycle2Health is a non-competitive, peer-led bicycling club for adults of all ages and riding abilities, coordinated by the Health & Wellness Division of the Office on Aging and Independence. Registration for the current season begins in January and continues throughout the season. To receive Cycle2Health information by email, please join the C2H listserve by sending an email to

For general information about Cycle2Health, contact Malarie Burgess at 410-313-6073 (voice/relay) or visit the Cycle2Health page.

Living Well: Take Charge of Your Health

Are You Living Well?  A variety of trusted programs are available to help individuals take charge of their health.  These free 6-week programs help participants learn how to manage their everyday health, feel better, be in control, and do the things they want to do.  These programs are available in multiple languages, and for specific conditions such as diabetes, chronic pain, and cancer.  Email or call Nicole Becerra at 410-313-3506 now to learn about the multiple opportunities near you.  To register online, click here

Living Well with Hypertension

Living Well with Hypertension is an interactive workshop designed for those with high blood pressure or hypertension, and meets once for 2.5 hours.  Lay leaders address topics such as medication management, high blood pressure risk factors, nutrition and food label guidance and sodium content in common foods.  If you are interested in attending a Living Well with Hypertension workshop, contact Nicole Becerra via email or at 410-313-3506 (voice/relay).

Mental Health Programs

The Office on Aging and Independence provides mental health programming in a variety of ways.  The "Ask Dr. Dan" series features discussions by Dr. Dan Storch, a psychiatrist certified in geriatrics, and are offered at different 50+ Centers over the course of the year. Dr. Storch leads discussions on a variety of emotional wellness topics in a relaxed atmosphere where questions and feedback are encouraged.

Emotional wellness and mental health programming also include specialized group programs that cover topics like relationships, depression, and emotional well being. These programs are offered in 50+ Centers or at other community locations for older adults.

Training on older adult mental health issues can be provided to community groups, professional or faith-based organizations by request.  Available topics cover a broad spectrum of older adult and mental health concerns and can be tailored to the requesting organization's needs.

For more information about mental health programs, please contact Karen Hull via Maryland Access Point (MAP) via email or at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay).

Nutrition Consultation

Free one-on-one nutrition assessments with a registered dietitian, are offered at Howard County 50+ Centers by appointment.  During each half-hour appointment, individuals will learn to:

  • Develop healthy eating patterns and lifestyle changes
  • Learn how to manage the nutrition aspect of diseases/conditions
  • Set personal goals

To schedule a nutrition assessment, contact your local 50+ Center, or contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) via email or at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay).


Paws 4 Comfort Logo

Do you have an outgoing, friendly, well-behaved dog or cat? If you think your pet has what it takes to make friendly visits or work in a therapeutic setting, we need you! It's fun and rewarding for everyone! Pet evaluations are held the first Thursday of each month at 7pm at the Bain 50+ Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way in Columbia. For more information, view our brochure or download an application

To volunteer, pets must be at least one year old and must have lived with your for at least six months. Your pet must be properly licensed in its county of residence. Pets fed raw bones, treats, or a raw food diet cannot participate. Pets must be evaluated for temperament and suitability; a vet check is also required. You will receive a health certificate which must be completed by your veterinarian.  We will refuse any dog to the program that is deemed unsuitable due to is age, breed, or behavior.  Paws4Comfort does not accept any breed that is deemed aggressive or potentially aggressive including, but not limited to, Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, or American Bulldogs. This includes any mixed breed that has the appearance or characteristics of these breeds.

If you have questions about the Paws4Comfort program or would like more information regarding the evaluation process, email Ingrid Gleysteen at or call 410-313-7461. (Voice/Relay).

SeniorsTogether Peer Outreach Program

The SeniorsTogether peer outreach program was created as an opportunity for older adults to both give and receive support. Programs and activities are designed to nurture interaction among older adult peers to foster a positive outlook, develop social networks, and support a thriving aging process.

SeniorsTogether Support Groups are a core element of the program, providing a safe, confidential environment for meeting others, sharing concerns, finding help, and staying stimulated. Other activities organized by the program include luncheons, speaker engagements, and special workshops. All SeniorsTogether activities are developed with sensitivity to sensory and mobility issues. View the SeniorsTogether brochure or Group Schedule for more information, or call 410-313-7466 (voice/relay).