Baltimore County Now
Michelle Bruns, Caregiver Program Manager, Department of Aging
Are you taking care of an older relative or friend? Feeling tired, frustrated or overwhelmed by the demands of caregiving?
After attending last year’s BCDA Caregivers Mini-Conference, a family caregiver commented, “I attended the Annual Caregivers Mini-Conference with my mother because she is the primary caregiver for my father, her husband of almost 60 years. She and I had been overwhelmed and exhausted by his care needs. At the Mini-Conference we learned about new resources and tips to make our caregiving easier. We went in the door that day feeling “burned out” and came out with new suggestions and a brighter attitude about our situation!”
Become a more resilient caregiver by attending this year’s Baltimore County Department of Aging Caregivers Mini-Conference, Saturday, April 11 at the BYKOTA Senior Center, 611 Central Avenue, Towson 21204. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the event concludes at 12:30 p.m. Guest speakers will inform the audience about stress reducing resources for themselves, as well as programs and services for older adults. Participants will receive tips for healthy living and a quick cooking demonstration. Resource tables will be available throughout the event, staffed by specialists in the field of aging and disabilities. There is no admission charge and parking is free. Continental breakfast and beverages available, sponsored by AARP.
If you are a family member caring for an older adult in the Baltimore area, you owe it to yourself to come out for half a day to refresh yourself in your role as caregiver. All are welcome. No pre-registration; just come that day!
To discover more information about the Caregivers Program or the conference, contact 410-887-4724.
Barbara McLean, M.D.
Chief, Bureau of Prevention, Protection, and Preparedness
Baltimore County Department of Health
Still haven’t gotten a flu shot? Think it’s too late in the season?
With all the news stories about the “mutated” strain and the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine, you may feel like it’s not necessary to get flu shot. The truth is—you should still get vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 36,000 people die, while 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu every year.
While this year’s vaccine is not a perfect match for this year’s virus, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. Other documented benefits from flu vaccination include reductions in the length of illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school.
Now I’m sure you’re doing your best to stay healthy by covering your coughs and sneezes, and keeping your hands squeaky clean, but taking a shot in the arm is still the best defense this flu season.
So are you ready to pull up your sleeve and take a shot? If so, the Baltimore County Department of Health is holding a “last call” flu vaccination clinic just for you on Saturday, January 17, from 9 a.m. until noon. The clinic will be held on the first floor of the Drumcastle Government Center at 6401 York Road, 21212. No appointment is necessary, the flu shot is free and only injectable vaccine will be offered while supplies last.
Come on, this could be your last shot to get a free flu shot. If you have not received the flu vaccine this season, remember, it’s not too late to vaccinate!
For more information, call 410-887-BCHD (2243)
Lynn McCamie, Baltimore County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Manager
Choosing a nursing home or assisting living facility for our parents can be a daunting task. The Department of Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman office offers the following tips:
· Tour several facilities, visiting each one twice. First, schedule a formal tour; then make an unannounced visit at a different day and time. If possible, visit during evening and/or weekend hours.
· Observe the entire facility carefully, using your senses – sight, sound, touch and smell.
· Keep a notebook of your observations and contact people.
· Review the state survey reports. These are inspection reports made by the Office of Health Care Quality, the State licensing agency. Facilities are required to post or have available the most recent survey report. If you do not see the survey, ask someone to get it for you. Note any deficiencies found in the long-term care facility and what they may mean for you or your loved one.
· Use the Internet to compare facilities. Medicare’s website offers a comparison for nursing homes throughout the United States at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare. To compare assisted living facilities in Maryland, visit http://mhcc.maryland.gov/consumerinfo/longtermcare/assistedliving.aspx /.
· If possible, eat a meal prepared by the facility. Notice the appearance and presentation of the food. Does the food smell good and taste satisfying? Are alternatives offered? Meals for special diets? Is a current menu posted throughout the facility? Observe the dining room. Are most of the residents eating there, rather than in their rooms? Are residents who need assistance with eating receiving that help?
· Read the activities calendar, which should be posted throughout the facility. Do the activities listed actually occur? Do the scheduled activities seem appropriate and varied? Do the residents seem to be enjoying the activities?
· Inquire whether there is a special unit or wing for dementia or Alzheimer’s residents. If so, tour the unit. Notice what safety precautions and activities are in place.
· Contact your local Ombudsman’s office for more details or questions call 410-887-2880 or email Ombudsman@baltimorecountymd.gov.