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Caregiver Connection

A Quarterly Newsletter for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

January, February, March 2016

The Caregiver Connection Newsletter is a free publication of the Baltimore County Department of Aging.

Stories in this Issue:

Introducing A New Guide For Family Caregivers

Baltimore County Department of Aging recently produced a booklet titled “Family Caregiving: The Art of Caring for Your Older Relative” (PDF). Paper copies are available in Baltimore County senior centers and public libraries. This informative booklet is offered free of charge, through the generous sponsorship of the Elizabeth Cooney Care Network.

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Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults

When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite and falls on ice and snow. It’s important that older adults, and those who care for them, prepare for extremely cold weather and heavy snow or ice. There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home and in your car.

  • Have battery operated flashlights and a radio to listen for weather advisories and updates.
  • Keep several days’ supply of food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated and bottled water for each person and any pets.
  • Be sure to keep medications and prescriptions filed in case you cannot get out to refill them.
  • Have a plan in place for unexpected winter power outages with someone to call and somewhere to go.
  • Take a charged cell phone with you when driving, along with basic emergency supplies like an ice scraper, flashlight, blanket and a shovel.
  • Carefully shovel steps and walkways to your home or hire someone to shovel for you.
  • Never try to heat your home using a gas stove, charcoal grill or other appliance not made for home heating.
  • Stay indoors when it’s very cold outside and keep indoor temperatures above 65 degrees.
  • When going out, wear layers and don’t forget your hat, scarf, gloves, boots and coat.

This information was shared by Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County. For additional information, contact MAP at 410-887-2594.

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“Brain Matters” Initiative Launches

Along with keeping our bodies fit, it is important to take steps to sustain brain health and mental fitness. Brain Health refers to one’s ability to learn, remember, organize, focus and maintain an active mind.

In 2016, the Baltimore County Department of Aging’s initiative, “Brain Matters”, will educate older adults about successful aging and brain health. Throughout the year, resources and activities will be offered to:

  • enhance brain function
  • provide strategies to care for those facing dementia or mental illness
  • identify possible risk factors
  • improve the quality of life for older adults

Learn why in 2016…Your Brain Matters! For more information, contact MAP of Baltimore County for a schedule of events, by calling 410-887-2594.

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An Online Tool Highlighting Disability Resources

The website www.disability.gov connects people with disabilities, their families and caregivers to helpful resources on topics, such as how to:

  • apply for disability benefits
  • find a job
  • get health care
  • pay for accessible housing
  • find organizations in your community to help you get the support you need.

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A New Support Group at Chase Brexton

When you’re providing support for a loved one, you need to be sure you have your own support system. If you’re providing care for a loved one and either you or the person you care for identifies as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) then SAGECAP (Services and Advocacy for GBLT Elders, Caring and Preparing) is here for you.

Join us twice a month for our LGBT caregiver support group. Facilitated by SAGECAP staff, this group provides an opportunity to find support and understanding for your unique situation, while meeting other caregivers in the community who are experiencing the same thing.

The LGBT Caregiver Support Group will be held every first and third Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to Noon in the LGBT Health Resource Center Conference Room at Chase Brexton Health Care, 2nd floor, 1111 North Charles Street, Baltimore 21201.

For more information, contact the SAGECAP staff by emailing lgbt@chasebrexton.org or by calling 410-837-2050 extension 1216.

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Consider a Research Project

Are you caring for a person with dementia and dealing with behaviors you find challenging? The Dementia Behavior Study may be right for you. This is a research study evaluating ways of helping families address challenging behaviors of persons with dementia who are living at home.

Study participation involves three home interviews with you and the person with dementia (at the beginning of the study, and then three and six months later). Random assignment to one of two groups; both groups receive up to eight home visits with a research staff member to learn strategies that may be helpful in caring for a person with dementia.

Participation is free and voluntary. Families receive up to $45 for completing the three home interviews. For more information, please call 443-287-4595.

The principal investigator is Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D. IRB #NA_00067873, Clinical Trial #NCT01892579 Funded by the National Institute on Aging grant #NIH R01 AG041781.

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Annual Caregivers Mini-Conference: Save the Date

When: Saturday, April 16, doors open at 8:45 a.m. and close at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Edgemere Senior Center, 6600 North Point Road, Baltimore 21219

What: Family Caregivers Annual Mini-Conference sponsored by Baltimore County Department of Aging

  • Learn from guest speakers new ways to enhance your health and well-being.
  • Decrease your stress level with an on-site Health Screening.
  • Gain knowledge about resources and programs to assist in your caregiving.

No pre-registration. Free admission and free continental breakfast for all attendees.

For additional information, call 410-887-4724, after February 15.

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Community Resource Directory Offers Local Assistance Options

Baltimore County and Baltimore City Governments have partnered to combine resources, business listings and non-profits to create one regional publication for Baltimore communities. Empower yourself, family and friends by reading Community Resources, the directory which guides your path to programs and services in the region.

Pick up your complimentary copy of the directory at your local senior center and public library. Smart phone owners can take advantage of the QR code on the publication’s cover. 

To advertise in next year's guide, call Debbie Orlove at 410-887-2012 or email dorlove@baltimorecountymd.gov to learn more.

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Revised January 14, 2016

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