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Caregiver Connection

A Quarterly Newsletter for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

October, November, December 2015

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 has produced a booklet titled “Family Caregiving: The Art of Caring for Your Older Relative” which will be distributed to the public at the following events:

What: Discover the Power of Age Baby Boomer Senior Expo
When: October 28 and 29, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Where: Caregiver Booklet distribution table, Adjacent to the Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County booth, Timonium Fairgrounds 21093

What: Outreach Presentation
When: Wednesday, November 4, from 1 to 2 p.m.
Where: Parkville Senior Center, 8601 Harford Road, Parkville 21234

What: Outreach Presentation
When: Friday, November 13, from 10 to 11 a.m.
Where: Arbutus Senior Center, 855A Sulphur Spring Road, Arbutus 21227

What: Outreach Presentation
When: Wednesday, November 18, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Ateaze Senior Center, 7401 Holabird Avenue, Dundalk 21222

This informative booklet is offered free of charge, through the generous sponsorship of the Elizabeth Cooney Care Network.

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Keep Identification Cards Up To Date

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is required by law to send driver’s license renewal reminders 60 days before the license is due to expire. This is not the case, however, for a Maryland non-driver identification card. If you wait to renew for more than a year after the expiration date or if you have lost your card, you will have to start all over and reapply as if you were getting a new card.

Maryland identification cards for people over age 18 are generally valid for a period of eight years. If you renew your card before its expiration date, you must renew either online at the Motor Vehicle Administration or at an MVA kiosk located in many MVA locations. The renewal fee is waived if you are over age 65 or are an individual with a disability that limits a major life activity.

If you are getting a brand new identity card or have let the card lapse for more than a year after the expiration date, then you must bring proof of identity and residence documentation to a full service MVA office. For more information, call 410-768-7000.

Information verified and shared by Mary Pivawer, Manager of the Baltimore County Department of Aging Community Outreach Program.

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Tips For Support Group Participation

Support groups are not just a circle of people venting and expressing their woes, although sometimes that does happen. A skilled group leader can turn a difficult situation into a conversation of helpful solutions where imaginative problem solving takes place.

Many groups offer respite care with skilled caregivers on-site that can assist your loved ones during the meeting. Several hours of companionship and supervision of a loved one equals a refreshed caregiver, who can return home with a new perspective or a fresh idea.

Often times, caregivers leave a support group with a higher step, a lighter load and a better mood. It can give energy and hopefulness and relieve depression.

Some folks say they aren’t the sharing type. Try it. And try it again. Most stay, and look forward to meetings, as they can exhale, relax and be understood by others who walk in their shoes. Everything that is said in the room, stays in the room. Expressing feelings is healthy, normal and healing. If crying happens, it is okay. Many times layers of denial take hold, until one hears from a peer. Common threads start to appear and a caregiver realizes that others’ issues sound familiar.

Education takes place in the groups. Learning about risks and realities is a big step toward planning for future and current needs. It is healthy to share about a loved one’s illness and daily challenges and to offer support to others in similar situations. It is healthy for both caregiver and loved one to have separate activities and experiences at times. The majority of folks that attend a group for the first time say, “Why didn’t I do this years ago”.

Condensed with permission from the writer, Mary Faith Ferretto, LCSW-C, C-ASWCM, president of Ferretto Eldercare Consulting, Inc.

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Tips To Recognize Abuse Of Prescription Medications

One frequent source of elder self-neglect is the inadvertent and often dangerous misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. At a recent workshop for licensed mental health professionals, Carrie Miller, LCSW-C, LCADC and Thomas F. Krajewski, M.D. presented many of the risks and warning signs of abuse of medications by older adults. Some tips for family caregivers include:

  1. Be sure the older person’s doctor is aware of the senior’s history with medications, their use or abuse of substances earlier in life, current medications and complete health history.
  2. Either the senior or the family needs to tell the doctor how the older patient is responding to prescription medications. Older people are often more sensitive to medication. Even aspirin may be toxic to some individuals.
  3. Keep in mind that older adults may be more susceptive to drug interactions and the effects of drinking alcohol while taking prescription medications.

Some warning signs to report to the physician include:

  • a senior’s preoccupation with their medications
  • increasing disorientation or confusion
  • irritability or restlessness
  • social withdrawal and
  • changes in sleeping, eating, hygiene or personal grooming habits.

These are not normal signs of aging and must be brought to the attention of a professional.

From the Baltimore County Restoring Elder Safety Today winter 2015 newsletter, article submitted by Barbara K. Anderson, Executive Director, Pro Bono Counseling Project. Used with permission.

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Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Seminars

Join Lisa Coleman, Nutritionist at Giant, to learn practical and delicious ways to manage diabetes and pre-diabetes. Discover the top 10 diabetes super-foods as recommended by the American Diabetes Association and learn how to balance your carbohydrate and protein intake to keep blood sugars in check!

Seminars will be offered:

  • Tuesday, October 13, at 10:30 a.m., at Ateaze Senior Center, Dundalk 21222
  • Tuesday, October 20, at 10 a.m., at Catonsville Senior Center, Catonsville 21228
  • Tuesday, October 27, at 11 a.m., at Cockeysville Senior Center, Cockeysville 21030.

For more information, contact Health Scope by calling 410-887-2040.

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Consider a Research Project

STURDY is a research program to find out if Vitamin D pills will help prevent falls. If you or your loved one answer yes to all three of these questions, you may be eligible:

  1. Are you age 70 or older?
  2. Are you afraid of falling or have you had a fall in the past year?
  3. Are you willing to take Vitamin D pills?

If the answer is yes to these three questions, call 410-281-1600 or email or visit the STURDY website. Program conducted at Johns Hopkins Pro Health in Gwynn Oak.

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Part D Research Is Key To Saving Money

Between October 15 and December 7, search for the best and least expensive Prescription Drug Plan through Medicare. The State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) has trained counselors to assist you and your loved one with evaluating Medicare Part D plan choices. In Baltimore County, numerous assistance dates are available at all 20 senior centers by calling 410-887-2059 or emailing for an appointment.

Bring the following to the appointment:

  • a list of prescription dosages and frequency
  • Medicare and other healthcare insurance cards
  • knowledge of gross income and assets

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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 to learn more.

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Revised September 24, 2015

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