A Quarterly Newsletter for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
January, February, March 2013
The Caregiver Connection Newsletter is a free publication of the Baltimore County Department of Aging.
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Stories in this Issue
- Medical Tasks Are A Common Part of Caregiving
- Phone Calls To Seniors Ensure Safety
- Discharge Planning Questions To Ask
- Caregivers Mini-Conference To Be Held April 13
- Motivational Poem: It Is Okay To Quit!
- Twelve Keys To Stress Management
- Updated Resource Directory Is Available Now
AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the United Hospital Fund (UHF) released a report that finds 46 percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks for care recipients with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions. The report, Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care, explores the complexity of tasks that caregivers provide, and challenges the common perception of family caregiving as a set of personal care and household chores that most adults already do or can easily master.
“We know that family caregivers provide help with activities such as bathing and dressing, shopping, cooking and preparing meals. We also ask caregivers to do things that would make even nursing students tremble; it’s important that we understand the scope of this new normal,” said Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President and Director of the AARP Public Policy Institute. “As hospitals discharge patients quicker and sicker, we’re finding that family caregivers are responsible for medical and nursing care including medication management and wound care.”
The online survey was conducted by Knowledge Networks in December 2011. Knowledge Networks maintains a large, nationally representative panel of survey respondents randomly recruited through probability-based sampling. Households were provided with access to the Internet and hardware if needed. Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care was funded by a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation.
- Are you worried about the person you’re caring for when you’re not around?
- Do you know someone who could benefit from a daily safety check?
In response to these common concerns, the Baltimore County Department of Aging is beginning to enroll clients in a new pilot program called Safety Call, a free automated telephone reassurance network. This pilot program provides older Baltimore County adults age 60 and above with an added measure of support within their homes, while helping to maintain their independence.
Safety Call participants receive an automated telephone call as often as seven days per week or as few as one, according to their preference. As part of their enrollment, participants designate two emergency contacts, should the participant be unable to respond to their initial call or indicate a need for assistance. A Safety Call Coordinator works closely with the automated system, the participant, and their emergency contacts to ensure participants get the help needed.
The aim of this free program is to ensure the continued safety of the seniors in our community. For more information, contact the Department of Aging at 410-887-2050.
Once your loved one is admitted to a hospital or rehabilitation facility, your first question should be “who will be helping me in the discharge planning”?
There should be a designated discharge planer, social worker, or case manager working for the facility. It is important to start this process early because patients can be discharged on very short notice.
Some questions you need to ask are:
- What are the discharge planners’ responsibilities?
- What are the family’s responsibilities in relation to discharge?
- Who is part of the discharge/care plan team (i.e. doctors, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists)?
- Can you have a copy of what the patient has been treated for and what still needs to be done?
- What does the Insurance cover?
- Have the patients’ records been sent to their primary physician?
When you receive the discharge instructions, make sure you understand everything that is written. If medications were added, ask your pharmacist if the new drugs negatively interact with or duplicate the medications the patient was taking at home.
Make sure the follow up instructions are clear and that you are able to perform any duties required. If you are not able to do so, this is the time to say so.
Find out whom you can contact if you need additional information after leaving the facility. If you are told to contact the primary physician, this is the time to ask exactly when that physician will receive the facility records. Ask who at the facility you can contact until the records are sent.
The bottom line is to ask questions, and make sure records are shared.
Contributed by Nancy Ensor, Manager of Senior Care and Family Caregiver Support programs with Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities.
Family caregivers of older adults are invited to a half day event focusing on education and resources.
When: Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Parkville Senior Center, 8601 Harford Road, Parkville 21234
Admission is free.
- Find helpful information and resources
- Enjoy complimentary lunch served at noon
- Gain practical knowledge to better handle:
Difficult emotional issues
Education provided by Diane Martin, Ph.D., Academic Director, The Center for the Study of Aging
McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland
Hosted by the Caregivers Program of Baltimore County Department of Aging
For more information, call 410-887-4724.
- Quit arguing with people about the same old foolishness!
- Quit telling people your secrets when you know they are not going to keep them!
- Quit trying to pull people on your journey who don’t want to travel with you!
- Quit complaining about things you can’t and won’t change!
- Quit gossiping about other people!
- Quit blaming each other for things that, in the big picture, aren’t going to matter 3 weeks from now!
- Quit eating things you know are not good for you!
- Quit buying things when we know we can’t afford them!
- Quit staying in unhealthy relationships!
- Quit letting family members rope you into the drama!
- Quit trying to change people!
- Quit the job you hate!
- Quit volunteering for things that you aren’t getting any personal fulfillment from anymore!
- Quit listening to the nay-sayers!
- Quit making excuses about why you are where you are or why you can’t do what you want to do!
- Quit waiting on others to give you the answers…and start finding the answers for yourself!
By John C Maxwell
To minimize the negative impact of stress in your life:
- Strive for excellence, not perfection.
- Know your limits.
- Make time for fun and laugh often.
- Get moving and become active.
- Check off your tasks one at a time.
- Have a bit of quiet time each day.
- Avoid self-medication.
- Learn the fine art of relaxation.
- Attitude, attitude, attitude. Positive in is positive out.
- Learn to say no and mean it.
- Set goals, prioritize and manage your time.
- Just breathe deeply.
Compiled by Donna Reihl, Ph.D., of the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, Community Education and Service department.
Community Resources serves baby boomers, caregivers, families, older adults, persons with disabilities and professionals in the field of aging. The diverse content of the 2013 directory includes:
- Baltimore County Government services
- Financial resources
- Fitness centers
- Home health services
- Travel and more.
Community Resources 2013 has been expanded to include more resources for persons with disabilities since the Department of Aging is now an Adult and Disability Resource Center known as Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County.
Community Resources is online at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/communityresources.
Further, Community Resources in paper version is available at all Baltimore County senior centers and public libraries, beginning in mid-January. The Department of Aging is pleased to continue to provide this resource free of charge.
Revised March 14, 2013