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Caregiver Connection

A Quarterly Newsletter for Family Caregivers of Older Adults

July, August, September 2013

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

Stories in this Issue:

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

The elderly suffer from heat-related illnesses in disproportionately high numbers and those illnesses can be life threatening. Hot/cold senses change with age and some elderly persons may be unable to tell if they are approaching heat exhaustion.

Remind your elderly family members and neighbors to follow these tips to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Drink more fluids. Check with the physician when told to limit fluid intake.
  • Refrain from drinking liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar, since they can cause fluid loss.
  • Avoid very cold drinks, since they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors in an air conditioned place. If there’s no air conditioning at home, visit a mall or public library.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting.

Information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Supporting the Unique Needs of Spousal Caregivers

A national organization, The Well Spouse Association (WSA) offers peer emotional support to husbands, wives and partners of people with any chronic illness or long-term disability. WSA recognizes that spousal caregivers have a need to maintain part of their life separate from the illness and spousal caregiving demands.

In addition to support groups and online resources, the organization sponsors respite events enabling spousal caregivers to temporarily suspend their role as care providers and to relax and enjoy activities.

A local Well Spouse support group meets on the third Tuesday of every month in the Pikesville area for dinner and conversation. Inquire to wsbalto@gmail.com for more detail.

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Seminars Address the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

 If you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss or behavioral change, it is time to learn the facts. Attend a Memory Loss and Dementia seminar to learn 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Separate myth from reality and address common fears of Alzheimer’s disease in America.

Attendees will find out how to recognize the signs in themselves and others. Presented by Baltimore County Department of Aging in partnership with The Alzheimer’s Association. To attend one of the seminars, please contact the senior centers directly to register:

Date: Tuesday, August 20 at noon
Location: Rosedale Senior Center
Address: 1208 Neighbors Avenue 21237
Contact: 410-887-0233

Date: Thursday, August 22 at 10 a.m.
Location: Catonsville Senior Center
Address: 501 N. Rolling Road 21228
Contact: 410-887-0900

Date: Tuesday, August 27 at 10 a.m.
Location: Liberty Senior Center
Address: 3525 Resource Drive 21133
Contact: 410-887-0780

Date: Thursday, September 12 at 12:45 p.m.
Location: Arbutus Senior Center
Address: 855 Sulphur Spring Road 21227
Contact: 410-887-1410

Date: Tuesday, September 24 at 11 a.m.
Location: Bykota Senior Center
Address: 611 Central Avenue 21204
Contact: 410-887-3094

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Online Portal for Older Adults Seeking Work

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has launched Job Source, an online portal to help older adults assess their work skills, identify job training opportunities, and find employment.  

The site includes a quick job match system that enables users to assess their work interests and transferable skills. Users can also register to earn job skills certifications and enroll in over 30 free online courses.

Nearly half of older workers looking for jobs have been without employment for over a year. For many older Americans, employment is necessary to remain financially secure, healthy, and independent. As industries and workplaces evolve, it is vital that older adults acquire the skills that can keep them competitive. This initiative is designed to help.

Article shared by the Washington County Commission on Aging.

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Durable Medical Equipment Changes Under Medicare in Baltimore County

Effective July 1, all of Baltimore County’s ZIP codes will be considered Competitive Bid Areas (CBA) for the following Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS):

  • oxygen, oxygen equipment and supplies
  • standard (power and manual) wheelchairs, scooters and related accessories
  • continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP) and respiratory assist devices and related supplies
  • hospital beds and related accessories
  • walkers and related accessories
  • negative pressure wound therapy pumps and related supplies
  • support surfaces like mattress and related supplies

If you live in or are visiting a CBA and need to purchase one of the above items, you must obtain it from a Medicare Contact Supplier if you want Medicare to pay for it. The beneficiary will still be responsible for paying the Part B deductible and the 20 percent co-insurance for the items.

Other durable medical equipment supplies not listed above may be purchased through any Medicare “approved” supplier. Remember to always ask the approved supplier if it accepts Medicare assignment, which ensures that you will not have to pay more than a 20 percent co-insurance.

Contact Baltimore County’s SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) at 410-887-2059 if you need assistance.

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Update to Diabetic Testing Supplies Paid by Medicare

Effective July 1, all diabetic testing supplies delivered to the home will need to be purchased from National Mail-order Contract Suppliers, if you want Medicare to pay for the items. This change will decrease the amount Medicare and you pay for such items, while ensuring the quality of the supplies.

You may elect to purchase your supplies at local stores like pharmacies or storefront suppliers, but be sure they are Medicare approved suppliers who accept assignment. Local stores that do not accept assignment may charge more than the 20 percent co-insurance.

Contact Baltimore County’s SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) at 410-887-2059 if you need assistance.

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Fall Prevention Highlighted in September

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day will be observed on September 22 to promote and increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults. This year’s theme, Preventing Falls—One Step at a Time, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

Baltimore County Department of Aging in partnership with Baltimore County’s Gait Way 2 Better Balance Fall Prevention Coalition will provide balance screenings and fall prevention educational materials at this year’s annual Department of Aging 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, September 22 at CCBC Essex Campus, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237, from 7 to 11 a.m.

Call Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 for more information.

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Community Resource Directory Offers Local Assistance Options

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:

  • Advocacy
  • Attorneys
  • Baltimore County Government services
  • Financial resources
  • Fitness centers
  • Home health services
  • Housing
  • Pharmacies
  • Physicians
  • 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.
 

Further, Community Resources in paper version is available at all Baltimore County senior centers and public libraries. The Department of Aging is pleased to continue to provide this resource free of charge.

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Revised September 23, 2013

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