Baltimore County Now
Opening a World of Recreation for People with Disabilities
One of the greatest joys of my job is to watch the expression on the face of a parent or grandparent of a child or young adult with disabilities when they learn about the programs offered by the Office of Therapeutic Recreation (TR).
It’s like watching a light go off or separating the clouds to reveal a bright beam of sunshine. “I didn’t know” is often what we hear.
Specifically Designed Programs
The Department of Recreation and Parks is quite proud of the services offered through our “TR” programs. Under the superb leadership and advocacy of an exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers, TR offers a wide variety of programs designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends.
Imagine opening up a world of adaptive sports and fitness programming as an option in the life of an individual with disabilities. There is the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program offered as a cooperative effort between TR and the Maryland Council for Special Equestrians. Individuals with special needs can participate in “Barn Buddies,” “Meet the Horse” field trips, and two summer camps “Ride with Pride” and “Everything Horses.”
“The Sky is the Limit” community theatre in Dundalk offers people with disabilities the chance to shine on stage and behind the scenes in various productions through the year, including a summer performing arts camp.
TR options also include arts and crafts, adaptive aquatics through the League for People with Disabilities, Inc., and adaptive water-skiing in cooperation with Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports at Rocky Point Park in Essex.
TR operates 10 summer day camps that run for five weeks throughout the county with swimming, nature, crafts, sports, games and field trips as only a part of the fun and well supervised programs.
Social dances, social programs, sign language classes and horticultural therapy (TALMAR – Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) are a part of the vast, impressive and valued services offered through TR.
Details of the TR program are readily available through the office of Therapeutic Recreation by simply calling for your copy the bi-annual newsletter “Leisure Resources” (PDF) at 410-887-5370 (410-887-5319 TTY/Deaf).
Please help us deliver the message of this service by shouting from the rooftops; TR’s a true point of pride in that Baltimore County crown; don’t let it be a secret…let this hidden jewel shine!
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.
Lynn McCamie, Conference Chair and Manager, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Baltimore County Department of Aging
One of the important trends in health care and human services is the empowerment of the individual. Increasingly, we have opportunities to take charge of our health care, our careers and our finances, rather than allowing the “experts” to dictate our choices.
How can we bring empowerment to seniors and people with disabilities?
Teaching individuals to advocate for themselves is an important way to ensure that consumers can be in charge of their lives. Social workers, case managers and other professionals can support consumers to identify their strengths and take charge of their lives rather than “doing for” them. What a refreshing change!
Whether you are a professional, a consumer or a citizen with a passion for social change, the tools you need to empower yourself or others include legislative advocacy, knowledge of the legal system, techniques to avoid fraud and scams, and hands-on tips from consumers who have transformed their lives.
Learn all of this and more at the 12th Annual Advocacy Conference “Learning from the Leaders: Models of Advocacy for Older Adults and People with Disabilities.” The conference will be held on November 13, 8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m., at the Hunt Valley Inn at Cockeysville. This dynamic day, presented by the Baltimore County Consortium for Professional Education in the Field of Aging, offers cutting-edge presentations on topics that will equip professionals for the future. Along with the featured sessions the conference will offer a 3 hour ethics session, “Dignity of Risk; Balancing Safety and Personal Choices,” which meets the social work requirement for ethics CEUs. The entire conference offers 5 Category I CEUs for social workers. Registration is $65. For day’s agenda and registration form, go to
http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/aging/advocacyconference.html, or call 410-887-4200.
Take a welcome break, earn CEUs and learn about advocacy from inspiring leaders! Hope to see you there.