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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: disabilities

photo of caregiver and clientLynn 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.


jigsaw puzzle piece printed with 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.


photo of Acadia Windows manufacturing plantRick Johnson,
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Since the days of aluminum storm windows in 1947, Acadia Windows & Doors has manufactured commercial and residential windows and doors in Rosedale. Skilled workers turn large sheets of glass, saws, and presses into energy efficient vinyl products engineered for maximum durability. Acadia’s products benefit from proprietary engineering, high tech equipment, and lean (and green) manufacturing processes. Today, Acadia is recognized as one of the East Coast’s major manufacturers of new and replacement windows and doors.

Since 2005, Acadia has worked closely with the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) to provide employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Acadia has hired nine employees from The Arc NCR with great success.  "We didn’t partner with The Arc NCR to be altruistic; we partnered with them because it makes sense as a business decision,” said Acadia’s Vice President of Manufacturing Neill Christopher. “This is a great pool of workers.”

Arc NCR workers have made a difference on the manufacturing floor, performing tasks that resulted in production line improvements for the company.  Arc NCR workers earn the same wages as people without disabilities doing the same job, and interact with their peers at the company in an integrated work environment.

“We had a great deal of trepidation when The Arc NCR first approached us,” continued Christopher. “This is a manufacturing environment, with large sheets of glass, saws and presses, all capable of inflicting serious injury.  What we learned is that everything that we did to make things safer for our team members from The Arc NCR made it safer for everyone else as well.  We’re an OSHA SHARP site; proud of our safety record while striving to always make our facility safer for all who work or visit here."

Acadia's success story with Arc was so impressive, the company was asked to join a panel at a National Governors Association meeting to discuss their experience in the field of disability employment.

When disabilities are not barriers, everyone wins.


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