Montgomery County has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the Maryland Office of Aging to help fund a one-year pilot program aimed at preventing unnecessary institutionalization of the elderly.

The county was one of only four jurisdictions and the only urban one in the state to receive the grant. Called Gateway II, the program will help residents 65 and older with such services as transportation, home delivery of meals, personal care and homemaker assistance.

The program is designed to assess the needs of the elderly who are moderately or severely disabled or who may need institutionalization and to develop a plan of care and delivery of services so the person can remain in a community setting.

Officials estimated 60 residents a year who normally would have to go into nursing homes will be able to stay in a family environment as a result of the project.

The program, to cost $286,000, will go into effect later this year in the Department of Social Services.

Another program for elderly residents, called Gateway I, a telephone and walk-in service, provides information on services available to the elderly.

It is operated by the Division of Elder Affairs of the Department of Family Resources at Holiday Park Multiservice Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with additional hours Wednesdays from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The telephone number is 468-4443. Home visits can be arranged.