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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: health

Important Tips from Safety Experts

This kind of cold weather is not just unpleasant, it can be dangerous. Baltimore County’s safety experts have some important tips for protecting your home and family.

graphic of dripping faucet

DPW Says Let Faucets Drip

Baltimore County’s Department of Public Works advises homeowners to let water taps drip during this week’s extreme cold weather. During single-digit temperatures last year, more than 500 water meters froze. Maintaining the flow with a slow drip, say County engineers, will usually keep water in the pipes from freezing, and save homeowners considerable grief.

Last February Baltimore City (which maintains and repairs the metropolitan water system) was swamped with requests to thaw frozen meters. With the County's help, water service was quickly restored. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  

Power Outage Precautions

Power outages can go side-by-side with winter storms. Lights go out and some lose heat. When this happens some of us turn to generators to keep warm and informed.

Generators produce carbon monoxide, CO, a deadly gas. Keep your generator at least 15 feet from the house or building. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding use and review the Fire Department’s safety tips for portable generators.

For those who have gas stoves and ovens, never use an oven to heat your home!

Ice Can be Dicey

Cold weather along with snow and ice can be dangerous. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to problems in the winter.

Beware of “black ice” when you leave your home or work. What appears to be a wet surface can be very slick ice. Be cautious and take your time walking on this winter treat. This warning applies to driving too! Many accidents occur when black ice forms.

Ice melting products should be kept near the door along with your shovel. And beware of steps and handrails; they can be treacherous if not wiped down and salted.

Don’t Overdo with the Shoveling

Anyone who has heart disease or chronic lung disease should not shovel snow or scrap ice. Shoveling is hard on the heart muscles and can cause a cardiac event. Ask a friend, neighbor or relative, or hire someone to clear the sidewalk and driveway.

Stay Warm and Dry

When venturing out in the cold, wear a hat or scarf, warm gloves or mittens, and warm, dry socks inside your boots. Wear a heavy coat, jacket or dress in layers. If the wind is blowing then wear a scarf across your face. Wind burn is hard on the skin just like sun burn. Wear sunscreen in the winter.

And last but not least, remember your pets. They feel the cold as much as you do and rely on you to keep them safe and warm.

Louise Rogers-Feher
Public Safety Office of Media and Communications


photo from senior event Better Fitness and Nutrition Enhances Overall Well-being

In the new year, there are more opportunities to be a better you at Baltimore County Senior Centers. And it is up to you to do more to map your own path to wellness in 2016.

With a holistic approach to eating better and exercising, you will discover wellness results – mind, body, and spirit.

And this year, the Baltimore County Department of Aging wants to assist you in meeting those goals. Take advantage of senior centers that offer a variety of programming that will inspire you to live well.

If You Want to Lose Weight

Each center offers fitness centers with the strength equipment and cardio aerobics classes.

You need muscle to burn more calories. With age, the body’s metabolism slows because of a loss of muscle. To counter this physiological effect, it is recommended that you do more weight-bearing and strength training exercises that will rev up the body’s metabolism.  

However, weights and aerobics alone won’t do it though: what you put on your plate is vital to your success. Here are some recommended smart nutritional tips.

If You Want to Think Better

The cumulative effect of exercise and eating better has a more pronounced influence on the way we think and other Brain Matters.

Look for specific programming at your local senior center that will provide resources, activities and strategies to increase your brain fitness and health.

Here’s Why All of This is so Important…

Studies show that your digestive system is the feeding tube to your brain. Consistently eating high fat, tasty foods we love can lead to a myriad of health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the list goes on. With that, in some cases, comes issues of mental decline or brain fog.

You can learn about “power foods” and how to manage chronic diseases through the department’s evidence-based health education programs. It’s never too late to make physical and healthy lifestyle changes, which boost your mental vitality and will help increase your zest for life!

Karlayne Parker
Wellness Specialist, BCDA Senior Centers Division


photo of young man with grandmotherNew Resource Available

Planning to visit with your older relatives for the holidays? While most of us look forward to seeing our parents and grandparents, this additional family time can sometimes be stressful.

You may find that your older relative has some new health issues and may be less able to manage their daily routine. You may not be prepared to talk with them about these issues, or to find the help they will need. Where can you turn? 

Addresses Challenges and Strategies

A new resource is now available to help address the many challenges family members face in caring for an older relative. Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) has produced a comprehensive booklet, sponsored by Elizabeth Cooney Care Network, focusing on tips and strategies to assist family members in their caregiving role. The booklet is titled “Family Caregiving: The Art of Caring for Your Older Relative.”

Within the pages of the booklet, readers will learn how to recognize aging-related changes, red flags indicating potentially serious problems as well as signs and symptoms of depression and dementia. Included are tips for making the most of the doctor’s visit, having difficult conversations about changing abilities and supporting when your older relative needs to move. A number of checklists within the booklet offer guidance for home safety and caregiving from a distance. Many local and national resources are listed throughout the publication with telephone and web address contact information.

Free Copy Available

Pick up your free copy of this helpful guide in all Baltimore County senior centers and public libraries. Or, to receive a complimentary copy of the booklet by mail, you may call Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594.

Michelle Bruns, Caregiver Program Manager
Baltimore County Department of Aging


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