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Caregiver Connection

A Quarterly Newsletter for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

January, February, March 2015

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

Stories in this Issue:

Home Security Tips For Older Adults

By enacting clear practices for safety in the home, you can sleep just a little bit better at night. Follow these tips:

  • Install and use good locks on doors and windows.
  • Do not hide keys under the doormat, in the mailbox or in a planter.
  • Leave an extra set of keys with a trusted neighbor.
  • Make sure the street number on your house is large, well-lit and unobstructed.
  • Consider installation of an alarm system that is monitored for burglary, fire and medical emergencies.
  • If living alone, use only initials on the mailbox, on address labels and in the telephone directory.
  • Use timers to turn on lights at night, setting them to coincide with daily habits.
  • Notify a neighbor if going away to collect the mail, newspapers, etc.
  • If away from home for an extended period of time, consider a “call forwarding” service.
  • When moving to a new home or apartment, install new locks.
  • Install a dead bolt; do not rely on a door chain for protection.
  • Request identification from everyone before opening the door: maintenance, delivery and repair people even the police.

From the 2011 booklet “Focus on Safety” a publication in partnership with the Baltimore County Department of Aging and Sun Custom Content, a division of The Baltimore Sun Media Group.

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Save the Date for the Caregivers Mini-Conference

When: Saturday April 11; Doors open at 8:30 a.m.; Program concludes at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Bykota Senior Center, 611 Central Avenue, Towson Maryland 21204

What: Caregivers Mini-Conference for family caregivers of older adults

Free Admission and Free Parking with continental breakfast included.

  • Learn from guest speakers new ways to enhance your health and well-being.
  • Decrease your stress level by networking with other caregivers.
  • Gain knowledge about resources and programs to assist in your caregiving.

Mark the date and plan to attend! For event details, call 410-887-4724. No registration is needed.

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Domestic Violence And Older Adults

Domestic violence is a pattern of physical, verbal or psychological abuse in which one partner exerts power and control over the other. When the victim is older, there may be additional reasons for concern:

  • The victim may depend on the abuser as a caregiver who provides food, medicine or transportation.
  • Abusers may be able to manipulate the victim through controlling access to outside support systems, medical treatment, finances and other resources.
  • Due to isolation, physical limitations or financial constraints, the victim may be less able to leave the situation or get assistance on his or her own.
  • Victims of long term domestic abuse may rationalize that the severity of the physical abuse may have lessened with the years, and say to themselves “So why should I leave now?”

Here are ways you can help if someone you know is at risk:

  • Listen to the victim.
  • Explain that abuse can happen to anyone at any age.
  • Remind the victim that not all abuse is physical. Emotional abuse is wrong and affects a person’s well-being.
  • Explain that abuse is not deserved nor the victim’s fault.
  • Refer the victim to a hotline or crisis counselor for safety planning, resources and emotional support.

Help is available through the GBMC SAFE Domestic Violence Program at 443-849-3323 and the Baltimore County Domestic Violence Hotline at 410-828-6390.

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Top 10 Tips For Men Who Are Caregivers

More and more men are taking on the role of family caregiver. Challenges can be unique but certainly manageable. Caring for a parent or spouse is stressful without supports and assistance. Here are some tips for men who are caregivers:

  1. Learn about resources and programs in your community.
  2. Seek support from other family members or professionals.
  3. Take care of yourself by exercising and healthy eating.
  4. Be comfortable learning household and medical skills that are new to you.
  5. Educate yourself about your loved one’s diagnosis and care needs.
  6. Speak up for yourself and ask questions.
  7. Research online or join a chat room for male caregivers.
  8. If you work, contact the Employee Assistance Program.
  9. Delegate tasks to other family members or hire help.
  10. Take periodic respite breaks to feel more relaxed.

To learn about resources, contact Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County online at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/aging and by phone at 410-887-2594.

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“Maintain Your Brain” To Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

When we think about staying fit, we generally think from the neck down. But brain health plays a critical role in almost everything we do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, playing even sleeping. The good news is there are things we can do to keep our brain healthier as we age.  And these steps might reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Read
  • Write
  • Play games
  • Learn new things
  • Do crossword puzzles

Keeping your brain active and engaged increases its vitality and builds reserves of brain cells and connections. For more information on health aging and ways to “Maintain Your Brain” go to www.alz.org or call 1-800-272-3900. Shared by the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Dispose Of Medicines Properly

Do not flush expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.  Do dispose of the unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs by following these steps:

  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid or into a sealable bag.
  4. Remove any personal information, including prescription number, on the empty containers by covering with permanent marker or duct tape or by scratching it off.
  5. The sealed container with the drug mixture and the empty drug containers can now be placed in the trash.

This information is from the Drug Disposal Guidelines, Office of National Drug Control Policy, United States Environmental Protection Agency. Another alternative is to use secure drug drop boxes that are located at select Baltimore County police precincts. Call 410-887-3828 for locations.

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Expand Your Knowledge Of Community News

The Baltimore County Department of Aging has published the award-winning Senior Digest since April 1977. Produced eight times a year and mailed to subscribers' homes every six weeks, Senior Digest includes articles that are relevant to the lives of older adults in and around the county.

Regular features in Senior Digest include:

  • Medicare Matters, including articles from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Travel, Volunteer and Employment Opportunities
  • A Community Billboard, highlighting activities at Senior Centers and throughout the county
  • Columns from the County Executive, County Council President and the Baltimore County Police Department on current events and senior issues
  • A Food page complete with recipes and nutrition tips
  • Book reviews, an environmental column and a crossword puzzle
  • Employment information and tips

To subscribe, call: 410-887-3050.

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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. This revised publication has been expanded in distribution and scope with the most current resources for older adults, baby boomers, caregivers, families, persons with disabilities and professionals. Learn about the latest programs and services available in both Baltimore County and City.

Pick up your complimentary copy of the directory at your local senior center and public library. View Community Resources online. Smart phone owners can take advantage of the QR code on the publication’s cover. Empower yourself, family and friends by reading Community Resources, the directory which guides your path to resources in the region. To advertise in Community Resources, call Debbie Orlove at 410-887-2012 or email dorlove@baltimorecountymd.gov to learn more.

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Revised January 7, 2015

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