Stories in this issue:
- Annual Caregiving Conference Summary
- Improving Your Health in the New Year
- Introduction of OPAL Senior Center
- Assistive Technology Highlight
The Caregiver Program Annual Conference, "Creative Caregiving: Thinking Outside the Box," was held virtually on November 9. This mini conference had a lot of information packed into a three-hour period. The speakers presented on topics designed to help caregivers learn ways to make their care partners and their own lives a bit easier, hopeful and joyful.
Our Keynote speaker, Loretta Veney, kicked off the conference with a very inspiring message. Through stories of her caregiving experience with her mother, she provided tips on how to find humility, hope and humor in caregiving responsibilities. Humility, defined by Loretta as "caring for others without making them feel like a burden", can be found through kindness, encouragement and patience. When discussing hope, Ms. Veney stated, “Know you are not alone.” Find support in family, friends and other caregivers. Moving to humor, her message is: Include fun and engaging activities daily and on good and bad days let yourself laugh. Using these three concepts can help caregivers change thoughts of “I give up” to “I got this.”
The second session “The Joy of Creative Engagement” was presented by Ilyana Kadushin, the Executive Director of Stories Love Music. Ms. Kadushin talked about how caregivers can blend music and storytelling to create meaningful engagement. Using her vocal talent Ilyana provided two music mediation exercises to give the audience a sample of how music can be engaging and lead to creativity. Music can be used to shift you and your care partner’s mood during challenging times. Finding music that your care partner relates to can help to prompt engagement in storytelling. Stories Love Music provides free workshops for caregivers throughout the year.
The wrap up session took a bit of a shift on the creative theme. James Whitney, OTR/L OTD, from the Assistive Technology Program at the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDTAP) delivered a very informative presentation on creative assistive technology. Mr. Whitney provided illustrations and information on over 50 devices that can help make a person with limited abilities quality of life a bit better. These items ranged from a simple plastic plate lift to advanced tech devices. He also provided information on the services that MDTAP provides.
View the resources below to learn more about how to improve your health in the new year.
Healthy Eating Websites
Healthy Eating Apps
- Fooducate: Scan grocery barcodes and get a nutrition grade from A to D with this award-winning app.
- FoodPrint Nutrino: Enter your current and target weights and food preferences and this app builds a personalized menu to bring you closer to your goal. The app’s goal is to help empower better nutritional decisions for better health outcomes.
Exercise Websites and Programs
Baltimore County Senior Centers have both online and live exercise classes. View the resources to learn about how to improve your health in the new year.
- Human: Commit to moving at least 30 minutes every day with this simple app, which uses location tracking to measure your activity and notifies you when you’re done.
- Daily Yoga: Not into running? Yoga is a great outlet for fitness. It is proven to reduce back and joint pain and dramatically increase flexibility, especially for older folks. But yoga studios can be expensive and intimidating at first. Try this free workout apps, Daily Yoga. The app offers more than 100 yoga and meditation classes to people of all skill levels to complete each day.
Baltimore County Department of Aging is excited to open their 21st Senior Center—The OPAL Center, which stands for Online Programs for Adult Learning. However there are no doors or walls at this virtual senior center and members will participate in classes and programs online! More than 40 weekly class offerings such as fitness, line dance, Spanish, crafting, writing, meditation, Zentangle, drawing or watercolor, virtual tours of museums, cooking workshops, journaling, health topics and more.
Assistive technology can enhance caregivers' well-being because of its potential for alleviating a number of stressors associated with caregiving. From mobility devices, wearables and apps there has been an increase in healthcare technology available to the aging population. The following device can be helpful to someone who is in the beginning stages of memory loss.
Talking Photo Albums
Voice recordable photo albums hold pictures of loved ones, each with a button that plays a recorded message explaining what’s on the page. This can be a great way to remember loved ones or fun times in the past, and the pages can also include practicalities like medication management (accompanying pictures of medicine), reminders of things like appointments, and instructions for operating appliances like the washing machine or microwave.