The Caring Connection Edition 1, Volume 2 April-June 2018

april 2018 Caring Connection newsletter

Tips for Staying Healthy

A healthy lifestyle can help you thrive throughout your life. Making healthy choices isn’t always easy. It can be hard to find the time & energy to exercise regularly or prepare healthy meals. However, your efforts will pay off in many ways for the rest of your life.

Steps you can take:

  • Be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week. Break this up into three 10-minute sessions when pressed for time. Healthy movement may include walking, sports, dancing, yoga, running or other activities you enjoy.
  • Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in sugar, salt and total fat.
  • Avoid injury by wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and using street smarts when walking alone. If you own a gun, recognize the dangers of having a gun in your home. Use safety precautions at all times.
  • Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Ask your health care provider for help. UCSF’s Tobacco Education Centeroffers smoking cessation and relapse prevention classes as well as doctor consultations for smokers trying to quit.
  • Drink in moderation if you drink alcohol. Never drink before or while driving, or when pregnant.
  • Ask someone you trust for help if you think you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • Help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS by using condoms every time you have sexual contact. Condoms aren’t 100 percent foolproof, so discuss STI screening with your provider. Birth control methods other than condoms, such as pills and implants, won’t protect you from STIs or HIV.
  • Brush your teeth after meals with a soft or medium bristled toothbrush. Also brush after drinking and before going to bed. Use dental floss daily.

Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s harmful rays are strongest. You are not protected if it is cloudy or if you are in the water — harmful rays pass through both. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays.

Maintaining a Healthy Outlook

Women today have busy, demanding lives. You may feel pulled in different directions and experience stress from dealing with work, family and other matters, leaving little time for yourself. Learning to balance your life with some time for yourself will pay off with big benefits — a healthy outlook and better health. Steps you can take:

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Be involved in your community.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and do things that make you happy.
  • Keep your curiosity alive. Lifelong learning is beneficial to your health.
  • Healthy intimacy takes all forms but is always free of coercion.
  • Learn to recognize and manage stress in your life. Signs of stress include trouble sleeping, frequent headaches and stomach problems; being angry a lot; and turning to food, drugs and alcohol to relieve stress.
  • Good ways to deal with stress include regular exercise, healthy eating habits and relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation. Talking to trusted family members and friends can help a lot. Some women find that interacting with their faith community is helpful in times of stress.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. Adults need around eight hours of sleep a night.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you feel depressed for more than a few days; depression is a treatable illness. Signs of depression include feeling empty and sad, crying a lot, loss of interest in life, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, get help right away. Call 911, a local crisis center or (800) SUICIDE.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2018

The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence is partnering with the Howard County Police Department, the Office of Consumer Protection and the Howard County Sheriff’s Office to spread awareness about the types and signs of elder abuse. To learn how you can recognize and report elder abuse, follow us on Facebook or view the Elder Abuse Awareness Guide and other information, below.
Elder Abuse Awareness Guide                                       A collaborative effort of the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence and its community partners, the Elder Abuse Awareness Guide was designed to help individuals, first responders and other professionals throughout the community to recognize the signs, symptoms and types of elder abuse, as well as develop strategies to reduce the incidence of abuse and spread awareness


How to report suspected abuse? 
Raising awareness about the types and signs of Elder Abuse is just the first step. The Office on Aging and Independence and Howard County Police urge citizens to “make a difference, make the call” by calling 9-1-1 to report suspected abuse or neglect. To learn more about local, state and national organizations involved in the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, click on one or more of the following links. To contact the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence for assistance, call 410-313-1234 (voice/relay) or email



Parkinson’s Disease

Also called: Paralysis agitans, Shaking palsy

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don’t produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Sometimes it is genetic, but most cases do not seem to run in families. Exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role.

Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body. Later they affect both sides. They include

  • Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Poor balance and coordination

As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking, or doing simple tasks. They may also have problems such as depression, sleep problems, or trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking.

There is no lab test for PD, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors use a medical history and a neurological examination to diagnose it.

PD usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women. There is no cure for PD. A variety of medicines sometimes help symptoms dramatically. Surgery and deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help severe cases. With DBS, electrodes are surgically implanted in the brain. They send electrical pulses to stimulate the parts of the brain that control movement.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Licensed as a Residential Service Agency by the MD Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene.



In the News: Talking With Alzheimer’s Patients
Communication is, as they say, a two-way street. And when it comes to communication with Alzheimer’s patients, both of you may have a difficult time understanding the other. The Alzheimer’s patient can have trouble processing what you say, and you may not follow what they say because they mix words or repeat words or phrases.

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips to improve communication:

  • Show interest by maintaining eye contact and staying close to your loved one.
  • Avoid distractions and noise that can interrupt concentration.
  • Talk in short sentences with simple words.
  • Don’t interrupt or hurry an Alzheimer’s response, even though it may take minutes for them to answer.

Finally, realize that the frustration with communication works both ways and is the result of your loved one’s disease, not their attitude. Be patient.



april 2018 Caring Connection newsletter

The Caring Connection – Edition 1, Volume 1 January – March 2018

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Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About In-Home Care

There are a lot of misconceptions about what in-home care is, when it is needed, how to pay for it and more. Here is a short list to clarify:

  1. You’ve got a friend. It’s called “companion care” and it’s about helping to alleviate loneliness. The fact is, many people in our society feel lonely and this can lead to depression. Some experts believe that it can even lead to dementia. Quality in-home care agencies will be committed to matching professionally-trained caregivers with clients so that they can strike up a relationship based on common interests or backgrounds. For example, a caregiver in her 30s may have been in the military and connected with a client in his 80s who also served in the military.
  2. Take a break. It’s called “respite care” and it’s about giving a family caregiver a change of pace or duties for a brief time. You can’t pour from an empty cup and that is very true with caring for someone. The family caregiver needs to replenish their spirit, their energy, and more. Hiring a professional in-home caregiver or just asking another relative, friend or neighbor to take your place for a few hours a week can provide time to relax and maintain connections to people or personal interests. The care recipient also benefits when their primary caregiver feels more rested and relaxed.
  3. You don’t have to choose just one. When it comes to long-term care, there are options. These can be overlapped for the maximum benefit for all parties. For example, you might need to move an elder loved one into an assisted living facility but you can still keep their in-home caregiver to help with anything from bathing to medication reminders, which aren’t included as part of the facility costs. Or, hire a professional caregiver to help with transportation after adult day care when you are still at work. Depending on the illness or condition that led to a need for assistance, a person’s abilities and therefore choices for care will naturally change over time.
  4. It’s too expensive. There are many ways to pay for in-home benefits (for spouses of veterans care services beyond your personal savings. There are veterans’ too), long-term care insurance, some life insurance, and in some states, if a person meets the qualifications, Medicaid care recipients may be able to pay a family member to be their caregiver. It can be complicated to research these payment options, but it can also be worth it to take advantage of a program that eases the stress on the caregiver and recipient.
  5. One size fits all. Quality in-home care should be customized to the individual. This is not nursing home care from the movies, but unique plans built around each person’s specific condition, abilities, and preferences. It starts with caregiver and client matching, professional training, and… listening. Who are you? What matters to you? What do you like to do? What do you need?

10 Things You Should Know About Your Parent’s Finances

10 Financial Questions to Ask Your Parent:

  1. Have they named a durable power of attorney to manage their finances? The first step is to find out if they have named a Durable Power of Attorney (POA). Without a POA in place, you’ll have to go to court to get guardianship of your parent in order to access accounts on their behalf.
  2. Where do they keep their financial records? Whether they keep their money and documents in a bank, a safe, or under the mattress, you need to know where to find records when you need them. Where are keys or codes to lock boxes or safes located?
  3. What are their bank account numbers and the names of their financial institutions? In addition to knowing where they keep their money, you need specifics on all accounts. What banks do they use? Who is their mortgage company? Do they have an investment firm?
  4. What are your parent’s monthly expenses? Gather information about their mortgage, car payment, credit card debt, electric bill and other expenses.
  5. How do they pay their bills currently? If there are automatic deductions being taken out of a checking account, you need to know about it. Do they use online banking or only paper checks?
  6. How much is their annual income, and where does it come from? Does your parent receive a monthly pension check? Do they have dividends coming in from investments? Do they get money for a disability or alimony?
  7. Do they receive Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security? If your parent becomes incapacitated, you may have to investigate the status and eligibility of their government assistance. Some government programs also require you to obtain additional permissions in order to manage their account(s).
  8. What kind of medical health insurance do they have in addition to Medicare? Do they have health insurance provided by an employer? If they are retired, are health benefits included as part of a pension?
  9. Do they have long-term care insurance? A “regular” health insurance plan does not cover the cost of assisted living or a nursing home. Did they purchase a long-term care insurance policy to cover the cost of long-term care? If they do not have a policy and can no longer live on their own, what can they afford in terms of care and housing?
  10. Do they have an accountant, financial planner or attorney? Who is it and how do you contact them? Have they done any estate planning?

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