Baltimore County Now
Michelle Marseilles Bruns
Manager, Caregiver Program
Baltimore County Department of Aging
No doubt you know a family caregiver because there are thousands of them across our region. They are the sons, daughters-in-law, spouses, adult grandchildren, neighbors and close friends who are providing care and support to seniors in our community. They do this out of a concern for the safety and well-being of their loved one. It is a labor of love.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a designated time each year to recognize the countless hours that families provide, without financial compensation, to keep seniors at home as independently as possible. In recognition of this occasion, why not give the gift of your time to offer to the family caregiver so they may take a short break from their caregiving tasks. Offer to visit with their loved one, while they go out for some “time off.”
Currently, the Maryland Caregiver Support Coordinating Council has posted a Family Needs Survey that will be posted online through December 31. In order to get an accurate portrait of current caregiving needs statewide, caregivers can take the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dhrcaregiver to answer questions about the care provided to loved ones, how caregiving has impacted their life and various needs as a family caregiver.
Caring for a loved one can be stressful, but there are resources to help. Contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 for information and assistance related to older adults and persons with disabilities.
Sherry Kolbe, Manager
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Baltimore County Department of Aging
Is your Medicare Part D plan the best fit for you in 2015? Each year, Part D plans are permitted to change. These changes may involve the drug formularies, tier structures, premiums and/or contracts with pharmacies.
Granted, the plans sent Notification of Change letters at the end of September for 2015, but how many of us actually read them? Even if you read them, you are not able to compare your plan with others unless you go onto the Medicare Plan Finder on www.Medicare.gov.
Too overwhelming? Help is here in Baltimore County
If all of these steps seem a bit overwhelming for you or a loved one, there is help for you through Baltimore County’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program’s (SHIP) team of volunteers. Dates have been set for the SHIP team to go to twelve of the twenty senior centers. Just call SHIP, 410-887-2059, to schedule an appointment to have a one-on-one conversation with a volunteer counselor. Once a member of the team enters your drugs into the Medicare Plan Finder, you will be able to review your options to either enroll in a new plan or stay in your current plan. You will be able to leave this meeting with a sense of satisfaction knowing you are in the best plan for your current drug list for 2015.
Do you qualify for financial assistance?
Counselors will also assess if you eligible for financial assistance to help pay for your Part D premium and or drug co-pays. Too many Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for assistance and may never have heard of the programs or think they are over-scale. Let the SHIP team share with you the details of programs that may help to save you money
Ethel Rasmussen, Manager, Office of Communications, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Over the last 27 years, Baby Boomer/Senior Expo has developed into a resource-filled, life-impacting, toe-tapping, two-day event to benefit boomers, persons with disabilities, veterans, older adults, caregivers, professionals and more. We, at the Baltimore County Department of Aging, strive each year to incorporate all of the guest suggestions, community needs and latest trends in the market into a fresh new show for our guests each year.
When our advertisement states “Discover the Power of Age at Baby Boomer/Senior Expo,” it truly means that regardless of your path in life, Expo holds features that will empower, engage and entertain you. Who couldn’t use a little of those three things in their life?
Okay, EMPOWER is a strong word. How can coming to Expo for a few hours do that? Easy. Expo brings a multitude of resources to a one-stop shop. There is no travel time. Just pay the low admission of $2 or two canned food items and use your program book to chart your course through the show to find the vendors of interest. From housing to leisure to assistance, it is all in one building at the Timonium Fairgrounds.
Further, you can meet individually with many companies and agencies to EMPOWER yourself. For instance, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will meet with you one-on-one to advise you on the best Medicare Part D Plan for your medication needs (appointments required, call 410-887-2059.) BGE, Verizon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will talk with you on new opportunities available to you in the fields of energy, technology and money. Also, there will be a special Veteran Muster area to provide information on resources to seasoned and newly returned veterans and their families.
Lastly and probably the most important, Expo EMPOWERs you through free health screenings. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and many other vendors will allow you to have health screening done and give you the results to share with your physician. Preventative health is the key to catching a condition or illness early before you go the doctor with symptoms. What could be better! Free! Plus Maxim and the Department of Aging are partnering to offer flu and pneumonia shots free of charge to those with Medicare Part B.
ENGAGEment is key to life satisfaction and joy. Baby Boomer/Senior Expo is all about it! During the two-day show, you can find a variety of means to connect with the community. No where is this connection stronger than within the County’s senior center exhibits. We have a Power of Age Art Show that features local artists that are the champions from our 20 senior centers in seven different art categories ranging from woodwork to painting. Come vote for the Best In Show. Next energize your life by stepping into one of the fitness classes taking place on site and try a new exercise for free. If you like it, you can join a class in your community senior center.
Further, you can ENGAGE yourself by traveling through the Volunteer Fair and the Employment Fair. People of all ages are looking for means to supplement their income. The Employment Fair will bring local companies that are hiring as well as some region resources to help polish your employment search. If you are looking for a way to keep active and don’t want a job, then the Volunteer Fair is just the thing. Here you can find rewarding ways to give back to your community and make a difference for generations to come!
Let Expo ENTERTAIN you! From the moment is opens to the time it closes, Expo features a wide array of music to you. Do you like barbershop quartets, oldies, big bands? Then plan your day around the ENTERTAINment schedule. The not-to-miss favorite, who is back by popular demand, is the Original Drifters who will perform on Wednesday, October 22 from 4-6p.m. Who couldn’t groove to “Under the Boardwalk”, “This Magic Moment” and “Some Kind of Wonderful?”
Next, we have a Living Life to the Fullest Silent Auction that promises to offer many great baskets full of items to ENTERTAIN you. From a weekend getaway in Washington DC or Ocean City to snowboarding lessons at Whitetail, the auction is a definite stop on your travels around Expo.
Also, you could win great prizes from the many vendor raffles that are ongoing in addition to the free gift that you get with paid admission. GBMC and BGE have sponsored a travel/medical document holder as our free gift this year.
EMPOWER, ENGAGE & ENTERTAIN
Are you ready for the experience? Baby Boomer/Senior Expo takes place on Wednesday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Timonium Fairgrounds. For more details, visit www.seniorexpoonline.com.