January – March 2019 Caring Connection

In the News: One-Third of Nursing Homes Lack Basic Fire Protection 
How safe are the nation’s nursing homes from fire? A recent survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that nearly one-third of the nation’s 16,300 nursing homes do not have automatic sprinklers to fight a fire. Many do not even have smoke detectors.

Congress ordered the GAO study after nursing home fires killed 31 people last year in Connecticut and Tennessee. The study concluded that the federal government had not done enough to make homes safe for elderly residents.

As a result, Medicare officials are rewriting safety standards for nursing homes, requiring all resident rooms to be equipped with smoke detectors and facilities to install sprinkler systems. The rules should take effect over the next few years.

The rule of thumb has been that newer homes have sprinklers and smoke detectors, but older ones without sprinkler systems haven’t even been required to install smoke detectors.

For now, caregivers are advised to check out this important detail when they research nursing homes for family.


Fast facts on arthritis

Here are some key points about arthritis.

  • Arthritis refers to around 200 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It can cause a range of symptomsand impair a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks.
  • Physical activity has a positive effect on arthritis and can improve pain, function, and mental health.
  • Factors in the development of arthritis include injury, abnormal metabolism, genetic makeup, infections, and immune system dysfunction.
  • Treatment aims to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain quality of life. It involves medications, physical therapies, and patient education and support.

jan 2019 caring connection newsletter

Popular New Year’s Resolutions

Reduce Stress

“Stress is a reaction to changes in life. Changes do happen, so when they occur be ready with your best coping strategies. Deep breathing, relaxation, physical activity, meditation, and music are all strategies that can help you reduce stress.”
– Amy Lukowski, PsyD



“Treat the 1st of every month like the 1st of every year. That way if you’ve fallen off your diet during January, February 1st is a new opportunity to get back to it.”
– Carrie Gleeksman, MS, RD, Clinical Dietician



“Start gradual with small goals and slowly build up to your long term goals. Don’t expect to be able to run a marathon the first time you go out.”
– Josh Fruchtman, PT


Quit Smoking

“Smoking is a very orally fixated habit. One tip many have not heard of is the “Straw Method.” Find a straw that has the width of a cigarette, cut the straw down to the size of a cigarette, stuff the straw with cotton-this acts as a filter. Puff on that instead.”
– Robert Shaw, Colorado Quitline Counselor









Helping People with Alzheimer’s Disease Stay Physically Active

From the National Institute on Aging at NIH

Regular physical activity has many benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise helps keep muscles, joints, and the heart in good shape. It also helps people stay at a healthy weight and can improve sleep.

Caregivers can help people with Alzheimer’s disease be more active and stay safe:

  • Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several 10-minute “mini-workouts” may be best.
  • Help get the activity started or join in to make the  activity more fun.
  • Find time in the morning for exercise.
  • Break exercises into simple, easy-to-follow steps.
  • Choose comfortable clothesthat are suitable for the weather and appropriate shoes that fit well.
  • Make sure both you and the person with Alzheimer’s drink plenty of waterwhen exercising.

Some physical activities to try:

  • Take a walk together.
  • Do simple tasks around the house, such as sweeping and raking.
  • Work in the garden.
  • Play music and dance.
  • Exercise with videos made for older people. Try the sample workout on NIA’s free Go4LifeDVD.
  • Throw a soft rubber exercise ball back and forth.
  • Lift weights or household items such as soup cans.
  • Use resistance bands, which you can buy in sporting goods stores. Be sure to follow the instructions.

jan 2019 caring connection newsletter

Future Driver Safety Course

Catonsville Senior Center

(410) 887-0900

January 28, 2019 9am-1pm

Register and pay in advance inside the office. $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-AARP members.


The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is the nation’s largest, volunteer-run tax preparation program to assist eligible taxpaers in electronically filing their taxes by providing free tax return preparation and filing. The service is aimed at low to moderate income taxpayers with special attention to those 50+ Senior Centers & Tax Aide locations across Baltimore City & Baltimore County will be hosting Tax-Aide beginning in Early February 2019. Appointments will be available on a first come-first serve basis & can be made beginning January 2, 2019. For more info, go to https:www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/aging/financial/taxaide.html/



This program is located within the main bldg of the Ellicott City 50+ Center. This is a supervised 4hr licensed program that promotes a balance of well-being, self-reliance, socialization, and independence of adults who may require some assistance with daily activities. This program features: seated exercise, musical entertainment, arts, stories, memory enhancement, educational programs and more! For more info, call Felicia Stein at 410-313-1425.

jan 2019 caring connection newsletter