How to Handle Serious
EMERGENCIES A Caregiving Challenge
Also in This Issue: n Caregiving News & Notes n A Look at Georgia’s AAAs
Published quarterly by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging – Gateways to Community Resources 1
Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were established under the Older Americans Act in 1973 to respond to the needs of older adults age 60 and over in every community. To read more about each of Georgia’s AAAs and the services available, turn to a statewide map and news from each agency, beginning on page 9.
Georgia is divided into 12 AAAs, each serving a different part of the state. They are:
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1 Northwest Georgia 2 Legacy Link 3 Atlanta Regional Commission 4 Southern Crescent 5 Northeast Georgia 6 River Valley 7 Middle Georgia 8 Central Savannah River 9 Heart of Georgia Altamaha 10 Southwest Georgia 11 Southeast Georgia 12 Coastal Georgia
FALL 2009 Published quarterly through a cooperative effort of Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging.
For information contact: Atlanta Regional Commission Aging Services Division 40 Courtland St., NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-463-3239 email@example.com
Editorial Project Development: JAM Communications, Atlanta, GA Design and Production: Wells-Smith Partners, Lilburn, GA Georgia Generations is a:
On the Cover: Serious emergencies are a caregiver’s nightmare. Most are medical in nature, but be on the lookout for financial and housing emergencies as well. Here are common emergencies to anticipate – and what you should do if they occur. See story, page 4.
Fall 2009, Volume 9, #1 © 2009 by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, the Atlanta Regional Commission and JAM Communications make no warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission. All rights reserved.
Doctors larming news on the medical front: More and more doctors are no longer accepting Medicare, either because they have completely opted of out of the insurance system or they are not accepting new patients with Medicare coverage. The doctors’ reasons: Reimbursement rates are too low and paperwork too much of a hassle, according to a recent article in the New York Times. Trends indicate that internists are the most common culprits, but gastroenterologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists and other specialists are joining their ranks. Doctors who have opted out of Medicare can charge whatever they want, but they cannot bill Medicare for reimbursement, nor may their patients. Medigap, or supplemental insurance, policies usually do not provide coverage when Medicare doesn’t, so the entire bill is the patient’s responsibility. What to do: Check hospital Web sites and state medical societies or go to www.medicare.gov.
Opt Out A Medicare
m a c S
new scam spreading across the country seems to be targeting the elderly, who are the easiest to prey on. The victim receives a phone call from an individual who claims to be a jury coordinator. When the senior protests that he or she never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks for information such as a Social Security number, date of birth or even a credit card number. Once this information is given out, the victim’s identity is stolen. The swindle is particularly insidious because the caller uses intimidation over the phone to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. For more details, check out: www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_ scams060206.htm.
Surfing the Net Each issue of Georgia Generations offers several Web sites devoted to caregiving information and resources: www.needymeds.com offers a guide to patient assistance programs (PAPs), which are usually sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and provide free or discounted medicines to low-income, uninsured and under-insured people who meet the guidelines. www.seniorjobs.com pulls together a database of Web sites that feature job listings for seniors or other career information.
Protect Medicare and Medicaid Benefits
CAREGIVING NEWS&NOTES Rate of Diabetes Nearly Doubles
ewly diagnosed cases of diabetes rose to 9.1 annually per 1,000 Americans between 2005 and 2007. This compares to 4.8 per 1,000 people a decade ago, according to new Centers for Disease Control figures. The report, which compiled data from 33 states, found that the soaring incidence of diabetes was worst in the South. The numbers reflect the problem of obesity in the U.S., says the American Diabetes Association. Risk of type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — is closely linked to being overweight.
o you want to know more about the prescription drugs you or your family members are taking? Go to www.CRBestBuyDrugs.org, Consumer Reports’ new Web site, to learn more about the cost, effectiveness and safety of prescription drugs. This Web site is available at no cost to the consumer.
Generations Wins “Gold” “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” a feature story that ran in the Winter 2008 issue of Georgia Generations magazine, was a GOLD WINNER in this year’s annual National Mature Media Awards. The competition honors the best educational, marketing and advertisFinal certificate ing materials for older adults. art to be inserted In addition, the magazine won a SILVER award for “The Changing at next proof. Face of Georgia’s Seniors,” which was published in Summer 2008. The winning issues of Georgia Generations were selected from more than 1,000 entries, including AARP publications and national newsstand magazines.
Report suspected fraud and errors. Call your Fraud Project for details and to request a presentation.
A Caregiving Challenge
How to Handle Serious
EMERGENCIES By Martha Nolan McKenzie By Martha Nolan McKenzie
t ’s a caregiver’s worst nightmare. A panicked call in the middle of the night. A shocking surprise upon arriving for a visit. A sudden realization that your loved one is in trouble. Emergencies can shatter the precarious balance of a caregiver’s world. And many times, like a line of dominos, one emergency will trip a cascade of others. There’s no way to prevent emergencies altogether, but you can prepare for them. And preparation can go a long way toward smoothing out a crisis. Here is a look at four common areas of emergencies that caregivers face:
Medical Emergencies Of all types of emergencies, medical emergencies are the ones that stop a caregiver’s heart. Dealing with a loved one in crisis is taxing for even the most levelheaded caregiver. Just a little forethought and preplanning can go a long way toward taking a bit of the edge off an emergency. Here are some of the most common medical emergencies, their symptoms and suggested actions.
Heart at tacks. Most people are familiar with the classic symptoms of a heart attack: chest pain that is often described as an elephant sitting on the chest and pain that radiates down the left side of the body. “Those aren’t necessarily the symptoms that older patients report, however,” says Ernest Quattlebaum, head of the Paramedic EMS Technology Department at Augusta Technical College. “They may describe it as respiratory distress and a dull, aching pain between the shoulder blades and lower back. Caregivers and health care professionals need to be aware that the elderly heart attack victim may present with symptoms that differ from the norm.” According to the American Heart Association, other symptoms of a heart attack are anxiety, lightheadedness, stomach pain that might feel like heartburn, sweating, nausea and vomiting. If your loved one experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Medical advances have dramatically lowered the death rate from heart attacks, but most people don’t get to the hospital in time to take advantage of these advances. The sooner you can get your loved one to a hospital, the more likely he or she will be able to avoid serious damage to their heart. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, keep your loved one seated and calm. Loosen any tight clothing. If nitroglycerin is available, administer it. Give your loved one an Georgia Generations
aspirin. Do not allow him or her to downplay the symptoms and convince you not to call 911. Stroke. Most strokes are caused by decreased blood flow to a specific area of the brain. This results in the sudden onset of one or more symptoms. “You may have dizziness, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, numbness or weakness on one side of your body, or a sudden and severe headache that does not go away,” says Tami O’Neal, a nurse at the stroke center at Floyd Medical Center in Rome. “You could experience one of those symptoms or several of them, but it is important to recognize them and call 911 immediately because time is critical.” That’s because if a stroke victim can get a clot-busting drug within three hours, he may be able to stop or slow down the progression of the stroke so that the resulting damage will be less. While you are waiting for the ambulance, put your loved one on their side and prop them up. “You don’t want to lay them on their back because the muscles in their airway may be paralyzed too, so they could choke on their saliva,” says Quattlebaum. “Lay them on the side that has been affected or paralyzed, so that’s how the secretions will run out.” Falls. Falls are the top cause of accidents in people over the age of 65, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. They are also the main cause of serious injuries and accidental deaths in older people. Changes in strength, balance and eyesight, as well as interactions between medications, can all leave a senior more vulnerable to falling. “Falls are the most common emergency our aides encounter,” says Pati J. Kelly, executive director of ResCare HomeCare of Northwest Georgia in Blue Ridge, a provider of home care services. “We train our aides to evaluate each situation independently, but in general, I would advise a caregiver not to move the person who has fallen. The caregiver could actually cause more injury by moving the senior, so it’s best just to make them as comfortable as possible where they have fallen while you wait for the EMS to arrive.” Diabetes. More than 20% of the 60-plus population in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. It is also a notoriously difficult disease to manage, so it’s little surprise many senior medical emergencies stem from diabetes. Basically, there are two types of diabetic emergencies. Insulin shock results from too much insulin in the blood, which rapidly reduces the level of sugar in the blood, damaging brain cells. Insulin shock can be caused by taking too much medication, by failing to eat or by heavy exercise. Symptoms of insulin shock include fast breathing, fast pulse, dizziness, weakness, a change in the level of consciousness, vision difficulties, sweating, headache, numb hands or feet, and hunger. Diabetic coma results from too much sugar and too little insulin in the blood, causing malnourishment of cells. It can be caused by eating too much sugar, by not taking prescribed medications, by stress or by infection. Diabetic coma develops more slowly than insulin shock, sometimes over a period of days. Signs and symptoms
include drowsiness, confusion, deep and fast breathing, thirst, dehydration, fever, a change in the level of consciousness and a peculiar sweet or fruity-smelling breath. Distinguishing between the two types of diabetic emergencies can be difficult. If the patient is conscious, you can ask two very important questions that will help determine the nature of the problem: —“Have you eaten today?” Someone who has eaten but has not taken their prescribed medication may be in a diabetic coma. —“Have you taken your medication today?” Someone who has not eaten but did take their medication may be having insulin shock. Of the two conditions, insulin shock is a true emergency that requires immediate action. If the person is conscious, give them sugar in any form — fruit juice, soft drink, candy. If the person is suffering from a diabetic coma, the sugar will not cause them further harm. Medications. Many medical emergencies in seniors stem from medication — either taking too much or too little. It’s common for seniors to see several different medical specialists, and each specialist may prescribe medications without fully understanding all the other medications the patient is taking. Some of these drugs may react adversely to each other. Or seniors may not take the drugs as they are prescribed, either forgetting to take them altogether or taking a dose and then, several hours later, taking it again. Unfortunately, it is difficult for a caregiver to determine if this is the problem. Often the senior will complain that she does not feel good, but symptoms can vary widely depending on the medication in question. “If you suspect your loved one has taken too much or too little medication, call his or her doctor and tell him what you suspect and what you are observing,” says Kelly. “The best thing you can do is pre-dose their medicines for them, putting them in a box labeled by day and time. There are even medication boxes out there that will ring when it’s time to take the medicine and the individual boxes won’t open until the designated day and time.”
Mental Health Emergencies Late life can be a trying time on the psyche. Aging can cause cognitive changes, such as dementia. Chronic physical conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, can trigger mental health conditions, such as delirium and depression. And physical limitations and various losses can increase the risk of depression. Alzheimer’s. Although it’s the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of age-related mental health problems, Alzheimer’s comes on gradually, rarely
For details on Preparing an Emergency Care Plan, turn to page 15. Fall 2009
home to the caregiver. Adult children obtaining power of attorney and then abusing it.” The result can be heartbreaking — a lifetime’s worth of savings rapidly depleted or the loss of the senior’s longtime home. The symptoms of financial abuse can be myriad. He may not be able to pay for things he has in the past. Bills may be piling up. He may withdraw from family and friends for fear of the abuse being discovered. “Many seniors are reluctant to let anyone know what is happening because they are afraid their family will think they are no longer able to live independently,” says Hogan. “That’s why older adults often don’t tell their children when something like this happens.” The best way to prevent financial abuse is to put in a system of checks and balances. If one adult child is helping the senior with finances, have another adult child receive and review duplicate bank statements and credit card statements. “If you will put everything in one place..., it If a non-family caregiver is coming in, double and triple-check to make can make things much easier on survivors.” sure that person has a national — not just Georgia — background check, says Hogan. “Make an itemized list of valuables,” she says. “If they the paramedics — not as much for the delirium as for the don’t need it, consider locking it up — checkbooks, Social Secuunderlying condition that is causing it. Delirium is a symptom of something that needs to be checked out.” rity cards, jewelry.” Depression. This medical condition can lead to the Death of spouse. Often one spouse takes care of ultimate emergency — suicide. Indeed, suicide rates peak bill paying, investments, insurance — the entire financial during adolescence and again during old age. sphere of the couple’s life. If that spouse passes away or “Depression is really a huge problem in older people,” becomes incapacitated, it can feel like an emergency to the says Gail Hunt, executive director of the National Alliance for remaining spouse. “It can really be a problem if the spouse who Caregiving, a Washington-based organization for families normally handles everything no longer can, and the other caring for older Americans. “Caregivers need to be looking spouse is clueless,” says Linda Berggren, a registered financial for signs that it may be getting worse — the loved one’s pergerontologist and principal of Gifford, Hillegass & Ingwersen in Atlanta. “You hear about it all the time.” sonal hygiene may have gone out the window, they might not In such a circumstance, an adult child can often step in to be eating properly or they may have stacks and stacks of help sort through the finances. There are also services that newspapers when they used to love to read the paper. The can help. “I would suggest going to your local AAA (Area caregiver really needs to monitor the situation when depresAgency on Aging),” says Hunt. “They can refer you to services sion is present, and if she notices things are getting worse, that can help.” get the loved one in to see a doctor.” A little preplanning, however, can eliminate that need. Jack Myers, president of Total Asset Planning in Columbus, recommends that seniors or their caregivers write all their bank account numbers, investments, listing of assets, etc., in one booklet. Include account numbers, contact names and phone numbers. Collect other important documents, such as wills, livFinancial emergencies are far less common ing wills and durable powers of attorney and put them in the than their medical counterparts. But seniors same place as the booklet. “If you’ll put everything in one place can fall victim to theft or fraud, suddenly leaving their finanand then let your loved ones know where that is, it can make cial situation precarious. things much easier on survivors,” says Myers. Financial abuse. Financial abuse generates the Identity theft and scams. Fraud and scams are second highest number of referrals to the Georgia Departincreasing problems nationwide, and a disproportionate numment of Human Services’ Division of Aging, just behind ber of those fraud victims are seniors. Though adults age 60 self-neglect. This abuse is often at the hands of caregivers, and older comprise 15% of the population, they account for family or friends, according to Jennifer Hogan, the elder nearly 30% of fraud victims. A recent FBI investigation discovrights team leader with the division. “Adult Protective Serered that fraudulent telemarketers direct nearly 80% of their vices sees it all,” says Hogan. “The grandson borrowing calls to older adults. money and never paying it back. A caregiver convincing the “We are seeing a plethora of scams, including investment senior to sign a quit claim deed, transferring the title to their fraud, reverse mortgage fraud and Medicare fraud, as well as resulting in a true emergency. The exception is wandering and becoming lost, which over 60% of those with dementia will do at some point, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Wandering can be dangerous and even life-threatening. For tips on ways to reduce the risk of wandering, visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s Web site at www.alz.org. Delirium. Unlike Alzheimer’s, delirium can come on quite rapidly. Delirium is a sudden decline in attention, perception and cognition. The senior may appear confused and disoriented and may mutter or shout and seem hyperactive. Delirium is not itself a disease but a symptom of an underlying disorder. “Stroke, diabetes, kidney failure, infections — particularly urinary tract infections — can all cause delirium,” says Hany Elia, a psychiatrist at Serenity Behavioral Health Center in Augusta. “If a caregiver suspects delirium, he needs to call
home repair fraud and foreign lotteries and sweepstakes,” says Hogan. Caregivers and family members can help safeguard seniors from fraud. Begin by putting him or her on the national Do Not Call Registry (1-888-382-1222 or www.donotcall.gov) and Opt Out Registry (1-888-567-8688 or www.optoutprescreen.com). Buy your loved one a shredder or make arrangements to have financial documents shredded. Check your loved one’s credit reports regularly. Georgia residents can get two free credit reports per year from each of the three credit agencies. If your loved one can afford it, you might consider joining LifeLock for identity theft protection. “I recommend it for all my clients,” says Myers. “It’s about $110 per person per year. They monitor all your credit reports. If your identity does get stolen, they will reimburse you up to $1 million and help you fix the problem.” If your loved one does become a victim of identity theft, the first step to take is to freeze their credit. “For people 65 and older and victims of identity theft, it is free,” says Hogan. “The next step depends on how the identity was stolen. If it was through the mail or Internet, call the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338. If it involves the theft of a Medicare number, call GeorgiaCares SMP at 1-800-669-8387.” Outliving savings. This is a financial emergency that you can see coming. “Most people who were born in the Depression were not expecting to live this long,” says Hunt. “So even if you were thrifty your whole life, you might not have saved enough to last you well into your 90s.” Typically the adult children step in to help, if they can afford to. “The sooner the family can start having discussions about what will happen, the better,” says Hunt. “And the caregiver needs to think about it for him or herself — will the caregiver have enough money to last into his or her old age?”
Housing Emergencies Housing emergencies typically stem from a medical or financial emergency. A stroke leaves the senior unable to live alone in his home or, for whatever reason, the senior can no longer afford the residence. Or the house itself could have sustained damage or fallen into disrepair. “Either way, the first step is making sure you understand the exact situation,” says Andrew Parker, a counselor with AgeWise Connection’s Community Care Program in Atlanta. “Is the house livable? If the senior is not in the home — in the hospital, for example — will he be able to come back to the home eventually? If so, does the home need modifications?” All of these discussions need to involve the senior, if possible. “I would caution family caregivers to be very careful and thoughtful in making a quick decision,” says Hunt. “Sometimes out of guilt and feeling pressured, they act quickly and bring Mom to live with them, but maybe Mom would prefer to keep living in her own house with a home Fall 2009
health aide. Decisions about housing need to be made with the older person. They should have autonomy in this decision as much as possible.” And the best time to have discussions about housing is before any type of crisis. “We always get inquiries after the fact — after the senior has had a stroke or a fall,” says Parker. “The best way to handle a housing crisis is to familiarize yourself with a variety of options prior to needing them.” The best place to start, says Parker, is your local AAA. “We can give you an overview of the different types of living situations and community supports that are available. Once you know what is out there, talk with the senior and other family members about various options. Would another family member be able to step in during the interim if there is a waiting list for a facility? What can the family afford in the way of senior housing? Is a reverse mortgage an option? The time to discuss these things is before a crisis hits.” Gg
What You Need for the ER
ou’ve called 911 for your loved one. Now what? It’s time to gather the things you will need to take with you to the ER — a list of the senior’s medications, Medicare and other insurance cards and any advanced directives. Of course, laying your hands on all of these things during a crisis will be difficult at best — unless you have prepared beforehand. “I tell people to make a list of all the medications they take,” says Tami O’Neal, a nurse at the stroke center at Floyd Medical Center in Rome. “It’s critical information for the doctors to have. Some medications have side effects, for example, that could mimic a stroke. Or some could react adversely with others.” To prepare a medications chart, list each medication your loved one takes. Include the dosage and frequency as well as the prescribing physician. Also include the reason your loved one is taking the medication and what to do if he misses a dose. Include over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal remedies as well as prescription drugs.
Post this list on your loved one’s refrigerator or bedroom door. “EMTs will be looking for this information, and they are trained to look on the refrigerator and the bedroom door,” says Pati J. Kelly, executive director of ResCare HomeCare of Northwest Georgia in Blue Ridge. There are some other documents that belong with the list of medications in case of an emergency. “Make a list of all the doctors that your loved one sees,” says O’Neal. “Include the specialty — cardiologist, neurologist, etc. — and phone numbers. It’s important for us to know who to call to get their records if we need them.” If your loved one has an advanced health care directive, a DNR order (Do Not Resuscitate) and/or a living will, those documents should be posted on the refrigerator or bedroom door as well. “Remember, you might not be with your loved one when the paramedics arrive,” says Kelly. “It is important that they can find all the documents you have prepared.”
CO-AGE Recognizes Outstanding Advocates Above: Kay Hind (far right) congratulates the local award winners. Photo far left: (l to r) Ann Williams, Dr. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Karen Bachellor; photo near left: (l to r) Annette Bowling and Cheryll Schramm.
By Abigail G. Cox, Aging Services Coordinator, Georgia Council on Aging
he Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE) “post-session” meeting at the First United Methodist Church in Albany, Georgia, was a perfect backdrop to recognize older Georgians throughout the state and their advocacy efforts. The meeting was hosted by the SOWEGA Area Agency on Aging and included all of the highs and lows from the 2009 Georgia General Assembly session. Winners of the 2009 Martha Eaves Advocating for Positive Change Award were recognized for devoting time and energy to work toward positive change at the local, state or federal level. Outstanding individuals were nominated by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), and the award winners were: n Dot Benson, Atlanta Regional Commission AAA n Nancy Carter, Southern Crescent AAA n Dr. Dorothy Dye, Southeast Georgia AAA n Maggie Gantt, Central Savannah River AAA n Ronald Jarvis, Lower Chattahoochee AAA n Lucille Law, Northeast Georgia AAA n Alberta Mabry, Coastal Georgia AAA n Roy Mosley, Heart of Georgia Altamaha AAA n Georgia Smith, Middle Georgia AAA n Col. James Taylor, SOWEGA AAA In addition to seeing the awards presentation, attendees learned about the CO-AGE legislative and budgetary victories and setbacks of the 2009 legislative session. Cheryll Schramm, Chair of the Georgia Council on Aging, recognized distinguished guests, including State Representatives Ed Rynders and Winfred Dukes and DHR Board member Don Cole. Melba Paulk-Veazey, CO-AGE Chair, introduced Monica Couch, aging services
coordinator from the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center, who presented a video highlighting local advocates’ experiences at Senior Week at the Capitol. Outcomes of the 2009 CO-AGE priorities included proposed legislation for the Department of Aging (HB 354) and Parent Protection Act (HB 37), which had been introduced but stalled between the House and Senate. With the economic pressures of declining revenues, CO-AGE funding levels for the Community Care Services Program (CCSP), the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Program and the Support of Children in Grandparent Care were not met in the 2010 budget. However, HCBS was partially restored with $1.5 million, and both the House and Senate agreed to use $1,045,000 of stimulus money to go to the Meals on Wheels program. On July 9, CO-AGE hosted a Priority Setting Meeting in which the budgetary and legislative priorities for the 2010 session were selected. Those priorities include: Budget — Funding for the State Triad of Georgia; Legislative — Human Services Transportation Coordinating Council; and Estate Recovery and Caregivers. Carryover priorities from 2009 include: Department of Aging and Parent Protection Act. CCSP and the non-Medicaid HCBS, designated a perennial priority several years ago, will serve as the final budget priority for 2010. It is anticipated that the budget issues will remain front and center moving into 2010. Another highlight of the July meeting was the recognition of the following award honorees: Outstanding Legislator Award — Representative Mickey Channell (116th District); Special Contribution Award — Dr. Carolyn Bourdeaux, director, Senate Budget Office; and the 2009 Vita Ostrander Award — Annette Bowling from Albany, Georgia. For more information on CO-AGE, please call 404-657-5343. GG Georgia Generations
A Look at Area Agencies on Aging Around Georgia In communities across the country, Area
Northeast Atlanta Regional Georgia commission Southern crescent
Agencies on Aging (AAAs) serve as gateways to local resources, planning efforts and services that help older adults remain independent.
central Savannah River middle Georgia
heart of Georgia Altamaha
On the following pages are the programs and services offered by Georgia’s AAAs.
Covers a 15-county area surrounding Rome, Dallas, Dalton, Cartersville
“A Day for Grandparents”
Day for Grandparents” resource fair was held in Rome recently by Grands Who Care, a program from Mercy Senior Care that provides events, support groups, meetings and special speakers to grandparents and other relatives raising grandchildren. The fair was open to the entire community, with 18 information tables, activities for the kids, door prizes and carnival food, all free of charge. One of the most popular kids’ activities was horseback riding. Children also participated in face painting, water-pistol shooting, woodworking and arts and crafts. A pirate was present, as well as Romey, the Rome Braves mascot, and there was a martial arts demonstration. In addition to volunteers, exhibitors Fall 2009
them this week to follow up and invite them to our meetings,” says Julia Kimple, caregiver support coordinator. Rita Lawler, director of Mercy Senior Care, says, “We are proud of Julia Kimple, MS, and Laura Adams, MS, who planned this creative way to introduce grandparents to resources in the community and provide all kinds of fun for their grandchildren.” Ola Caldwell enjoys “A Day for Grandparents” with her granddaughter, J’Nya Caldwell. For other information, call the AAA of Northwest Georgia at and sponsors, a total of over 160 individu706-802-5506 or toll-free 1-800-759-2963. als attended: 64 adults and over 100 kids Northwest Georgia encompasses these counties: (26 living with grandparents). Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker, “We have contact numbers on each of Whitfield the potential Grands, so we will be calling
Atlanta Regional Commission Covers a 10-county area surrounding Atlanta
ARC announces launch of statewide resource Web site
re you searching for homemaker services in the Atlanta region? Perhaps you live in Marietta and would like to know about senior centers near your mother in Savannah. A new Web site will allow you to find this information at your fingertips. Georgiaservicesforseniors.org helps individuals connect to programs and locate critical resources. It is sponsored by Georgia’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging, which serve as central sources of resource information for older adults, caregivers and persons with disabilities. A valuable feature of the Web site is the search page where you can locate resources in any of Georgia’s 159 counties. Individuals can search for services by zip code, city, county or region. This online search tool contains information on many of Georgia’s most requested services, including in-home service and transportation options, housing and wellness centers, just to name a few. The information is managed by resource specialists who work at the 12 Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state and are familiar with the resources and services in their communities and regions. “We are very excited that the public
will now have the opportunity to quickly find contact information on over 50 topic areas,” says Patrice Earnest, education and resources coordinator at the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging. “This information represents many major services that are listed in the professional resource database. It is an invaluable tool for those who are making important decisions about one’s health and wellness. Of course, we still encour-
Atlanta Regional Commission, 404-463-3333 www.agewiseconnection.com
If you need caregiving information, contact an AgeWise Connection partner: Cherokee County Cherokee County Senior Services, 770-345-5312 Clayton County Clayton County Aging Program, 770-603-4050 Cobb County Cobb Senior Services, 770-528-5364 DeKalb County Office of Senior Affairs, 770-322-2950 Douglas County Douglas Senior Services, 770-489-3100 10
Fayette County Fayette Senior Services, 770-461-0813 Fulton County Fulton County Aging Program, 404-730-6000 Gwinnett County Gwinnett County Senior Services, 678-377-4150 Henry County Henry County Senior Services, 770-288-7001 Rockdale County Rockdale County Senior Services, 770-278-7230
age people to call us if they have questions, need consultation or additional information, but we believe that, when provided with accurate and complete information, people are empowered to make the best decisions for themselves.” By using the site, visitors can also easily click on their local Area Agency on Aging’s Web page and find a wealth of information on programs, services and events offered in their community. A local telephone number is provided so that visitors can consult with a professional information and referral specialist — all at no cost. “This Web site is the online vehicle for accessing Georgia’s Gateway to Community Resources,” says Earnest. “It is an important tool provided by each Area Agency on Aging as they ensure that seniors and persons with disabilities are connected to services that enrich their lives.” To access the Web site, visit georgiaservicesforseniors.org. Atlanta Regional Commission encompasses these counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Rockdale
Covers a 12-county area surrounding Athens, Winder, Monroe, Covington, Madison
Local senior honored by CO-AGE
ucille Law of Jackson County was honored as one of the 2009 Advocating for Positive Change Award recipients during the April 23 Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE) meeting in Albany. She was presented her award on May 4 at the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission by Kathryn Fowler, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging. The Georgia Council on Aging created this award to recognize older adults, age 60 and above, from across the state who have devoted time and energy to advocate for positive change at the local, state or federal level. Law was nominated by the Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging to receive this award because she genuinely cares about others and expresses her
concerns for older adults. She takes food and makes phone calls to sick people on a daily basis. Law is a member of the Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. She is also a retired codirector of the Jackson County Senior Center, Kathryn Fowler, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging where she currently (right), Lucille Law (center) and Mott Beck, executive assistant at the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission. volunteers and functions as the treasurer for their Northeast Georgia AAA, 305 Research Drive, Advisory Council. She is a devoted wife, Athens, GA 30605; 706-583-2546 or mother, and adoptive mother and 1-800-474-7540. grandmother to many people. Law never meets a stranger, and people are her NorthEast Georgia encompasses these counties: Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, passion. Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Walton For further information, contact the
Covers a 16-county area surrounding Columbus, Americus, Butler, Montezuma, Cuthbert
“Disabilities Day Columbus”
he Lower Chattahoochee Area Agency on Aging participated in “Disabilities Day Columbus 2009” at the Columbus Government Center in May. This event was sponsored by the Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities, which connects organizations and agencies that supply goods and services to help persons with disabilities. The committee was created in Columbus and has been successfully replicated throughout Georgia and Alabama. “Disabilities Day Columbus” was held as a celebration of the outstanding achievements of some of the 50,000 people with disabilities in Columbus. The event recognized agencies and individuals who strive to raise awareness in making the community more accessible and Fall 2009
resourceful for those in need. Columbus’s three past mayors were in attendance and presented an array of awards, including Youth Award, Employer of the Year, Person of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer and other exceptional service awards. Both the “Disabilities Day Columbus” event and the Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities are a perfect fit for the Aging and Disability Resource
Center that the Area Agency on Aging is currently developing. At “Disabilities Day Columbus” many community partners were willing to share their expertise and experience, and we are excited about the ADRC advisory council that will include many of these partners. It was a great day for persons with disabilities, their caregivers and the many agencies that offer programs and services for those with special needs. For more information, contact the River Valley AAA at 1-866-55-AGING. RIVER VALLEY encompasses these counties: Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Harris, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Webster
Heart of Georgia Altamaha
Covers a 17-county area surrounding Baxley, Dublin, Vidalia, Jesup, Swainsboro
A salute to a champion
f you are looking to meet a real “champion” for caregivers and an advocate for the aging or disadvantaged, look no further than Adail Treharn at Concerted Services, Inc. in Reidsville. As the lead care coordinator and case manager, Adail oversees the work of seven other care coordinators and three registered nurses. In addition, she has a caseload of more than 100 clients. Having worked for a community-action agency for 43 years, Adail can refer you to any community service that you may need. Her knowledge base is an asset to all partners in the Heart of Georgia Altamaha CCSP Network. Elected by her peers to serve nine terms as chairman of the network, Adail provided trainings in case management, quality assurance and customer service. Participating in an Area
Adail Treharn as a fortune teller at a “Live Healthy Georgia” event.
Agency on Aging pilot project to draft a Self-Directed Care Guidebook, she authored a poem entitled “Grants to Grant Wishes” that was included in the publication. Certified as a class leader for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program, Adail will now provide evidence-
based training to many caregivers. A member of the CARE-NET, Adail also has presented workshops for staff trainings, health fairs, elected officials, churches and local charitable organizations. As a community volunteer, Adail has been a Cubmaster, worked with migrant ministries, and is a drama coach, presenting programs at orphanages, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Adail loves the arts and incorporates them into her work and personal life to enhance the lives of others. We salute you, Adail Treharn! For information about other programs, contact Heart of Georgia Altamaha RDC, 331 W. Parker St., Baxley, GA 31513; 912-367-3648 or toll-free 1-888-367-9913. heart of georgia encompasses these counties: Appling, Bleckley, Candler, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, Wheeler, Wilcox
Covers an 18-county area surrounding Waycross, Valdosta, Tifton, Douglas, Folkston
Mobile dental van offers free services
entists and personnel from the City of Willacoochee and the Douglas area recently volunteered their time to staff the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Mobile Health Ministry Dental Van. Volunteers set up the mobile facility in downtown Willacoochee to provide two days of free services to people who could not otherwise afford dental care. “These are people who would normally not go to the dentist and usually suffer through the pain because they do not have dental insurance and cannot afford to pay for dentist visits,” states Glenda Yawn, City of Willacoochee Senior Center site manager. Glenda coordinated the event, and local dentists, hygienists and staff volunteered their time to provide this invaluable free dental service. The 12
Local dentists and hygienists volunteer their time.
Willacoochee First Baptist Church sponsored the dental van visit. “This is just a blessing,” said one woman who had recently stepped out of
the dental van with her mouth full of gauze. “I would have never been able to afford this.” Local dentists Dr. Andrew Jackson, Dr. Griff Lindsey and Dr. Eric Castor donated their time at the free dental clinic. The following personnel also volunteered their time: Cheryl Skipper, dental hygienist; Angie Owens, dental assistant; Shannon Freeman, dental assistant; and Mary Bennett, dental assistant. For more information, call the Southeast Georgia AAA at 1725 South Georgia Parkway West, Waycross, GA 31503; 912-285-6097 or toll-free 1-888-732-4464. Southeast Georgia encompasses these counties: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner, Ware
Covers a 13-county area surrounding Gainesville, Cumming, Clarkesville, Toccoa, Hiawassee
Operation Gratitude reaches out to military
hrough collection drives, letterwriting campaigns and donations of funds for shipping expenses, Operation Gratitude — a nonprofit volunteer corporation funded entirely by private donations — gives civilians anywhere in America an active, hands-on way to express their respect and appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. military. Mae Norris, a member of the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center, sent a letter to a soldier in November 2008, and to her surprise, received a letter back from the soldier shortly after. Since then, Mae has continued to correspond with this 15-year Navy veteran, a Georgia native from Camilla, currently on his fourth deployment in the Arabian Gulf area. Mae received a birthday
card from the soldier and a card from his family that included a family picture. Mae is proud of the connection she has made with the soldier and plans to continue to write and send packages. Hundreds of thousands of American service members are deployed in hostile and remote regions of the world and on ships in international waters. The physical conditions they must endure are difficult, and they may be separated from loved ones for long periods of time. Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on these service members’ faces by sending care packages to individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines stationed overseas. Operation Gratitude care packages contain food, hygiene products, entertainment items and personal letters of
Mae Norris corresponds with a Navy veteran.
appreciation, all wrapped with good wishes of love and support. If you would like information about Operation Gratitude, go to www.opgratitude.com or call the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center. Legacy Link encompasses these counties: Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, White
Covers a 10-county area surrounding Franklin, Newnan, LaGrange, Griffin, Carrollton
Case manager at work
aria Geter, a case manager for the Southern Crescent Area Agency on Aging, has been extremely busy trying to help the elderly in the area. She has been searching for resources and supplies for the many seniors on her caseload. Maria worked diligently with a client from the LaGrange area for months. The client had requested assistance with the repair of her wheelchair ramp. The ramp was in very bad shape — and was a Maria Geter and her client look over a refurbished ramp. danger not only to the client but also to all who visited her home. After materials to repair the ramp. A business many attempts and continued research for owner in the LaGrange area donated $350 resources, Maria and the client worked for the materials, and her son donated his together to acquire a donation for time to make the repairs. Just two days Fall 2009
after the client received the donation, the ramp had been fixed. Maria has been able to acquire many other supplies for clients, including food, diapers, medical equipment and various personal supplies. These items are greatly appreciated by all who receive them. No matter how big the tasks, Maria takes them on with a determination to help each person. For additional information, contact the Southern Crescent AAA, P.O. Box 1600, Franklin, GA 30217-1600; 706-675-6721, 770-854-6026 or toll-free 1-866-854-5652. Southern Crescent encompasses these counties: Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup, Upson
Central Savannah River
Covers a 14-county area surrounding Augusta, Thomson, Martinez/Evans, Waynesboro, Sandersville
“Gateway” staff delivers helpful info to seniors
typical day for the resource database, “Gateway” staff at which presently has the CSRA Area Agency over 3,000 services on Aging (AAA) consists for the CSRA. While of professional telephone the majority of the greetings, comprehensive resources are telephone interviews and applicable to the extensive searches for elderly and disabled, community resources. some serve the The information and entire family, Lee Walker, resource specialist, informs assistance team receives regardless of physical the CSRA community about services numerous calls daily, characteristics like provided by the AAA during a live broadcast on the Talking It Up Show. requesting help ranging age and health status. from personal care to It is not uncommon utility assistance. Help doesn’t always for the “Gateway” staff to turn to ESP for come easy, but just knowing that it may be utility or food assistance for individuals available can give great peace of mind. under age 60. The Gateway staff maximizes the efforts The CSRA AAA has made great strides of the Enhanced Services Program (ESP) in its delivery of information. About six
months ago, the agency partnered with the Talking It Up Show, an Augusta area highenergy radio program, to increase community awareness through the show’s live broadcast. This collaboration opened the door to mainstream communication, as it afforded the AAA an opportunity to inform an estimated 250,000 listeners about services and programs that aid in good health and independence. The partnership also demonstrates the show’s responsiveness to community needs. Tune in to the CSRA AAA segment of the Talking It Up Show every Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. by logging on to www.talkingitupradio.com. For more information, contact the CSRA AAA at 706-210-2018, 1-888-922-4464, or www.areaagencyonaging.com. Central Savannah River encompasses these counties: Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, Wilkes
Covers a 14-county area surrounding Albany, Bainbridge, Moultrie, Thomasville
Grandfamilies enjoy Georgia Agrirama
n a hot Saturday in late June, a group of grandparents and their grand children from the SOWEGA COA Kinship Care Program ventured to nearby Tifton to see the Georgia Agrirama. This intergenerational enrichment activity was planned to promote conversation and understanding between the grandparents, many of whom grew up in rural settings, and their grandchildren, who only know city life. The children were delighted with seeing farm animals and crops such as black-eyed peas and sorghum up close. They were amazed to ride a train pulled by a steam engine. A 15-year-old boy was asked if he knew what a small-frame building behind a farmhouse might be. After the boy made a few wrong guesses, the staff person sitting 14
inkwells and bringing their lunches. Some who had not experienced the one-room schoolhouse had with him on the difficulty imagining how train told him the teacher had taught so that the building many grades in one room. was an outhouse. Visits to the Tift The staff person home, turpentine still, explained how general store and other the outhouse buildings and displays at was built inside Agrirama provided a peek and how it back in time that the “worked,” and entire group enthusiastithe practical uses cally enjoyed, and the of Sears Roebuck conversations go on… A visit to the one-room schoolhouse. catalogues and For further informacorncobs. The tion, contact the boy said he was glad to be living in the Southwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging at present day! 229-432-1124 or toll-free 1-800-282-6612. Several grandmothers enjoyed reminiscSouthwest Georgia encompasses these counties: ing about their school days in the oneBaker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Worth room schoolhouse. They remembered Georgia Generations
Covers a 9-county area surrounding Brunswick and Savannah
Coastal seniors learn about identity theft
he models smiled, blushed and walked the length of the auditorium. It was the first modeling assignment for most of the participants in the Fraud Fashion Show, a feature of the region’s first ShredA-Thon, part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day observances on June 15. The fashion show gave attendants from the Brunswick and Darien Senior Centers a chance to learn the finer points of distinguishing bona fide members of law enforcement and other vital services from imposters. Each of the “models” paused onstage to point out things for seniors to look for if approached at home or in the community by someone who claims to be a police officer or utility company technician. Paint schemes of official vehicles, clothing types
and identification were discussed. The Shred-A-Thon focused on raising awareness of fraud and identity theft, particularly involving senior citizens. Representatives from Confidential Materials Management were on-site with their company’s high-powered mobile document-shredding equipment to assist local citizens in preventing identity theft by Captain David Trawick of the Brunswick Police Department properly destroying private papers. talks with seniors about identity theft. More than 1,000 pounds of paper were shredded, baled and For further information, contact the recycled. The event was sponsored by the Coastal Georgia Area Agency on Aging at Area Agency on Aging and the Coastal 1-800-580-6860. Alliance for the Protection of Elders Coastal Georgia encompasses these counties: (CAPE), a nonprofit organization dediBryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh cated to the protection of seniors.
Preparing an Emergency Care Plan
hat if it’s not your loved one who has an emergency, but you? Family caregivers do get sick or have accidents that prevent them from providing care. Then what? To prepare for such an eventuality, a caregiver should prepare an Emergency Care Plan. It should include all essential information another person needs to know to take over in your absence, be it a few days or longer. The seven essential areas to cover in an Emergency Care Plan are:
Medical Emergency Contact Information. Include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the doctors your care recipient sees to manage their condition. List all contact information for medical insurance companies. Also include the dentist, hearing center, eye doctor and other medical services you may use for lesser emergencies that could come up in your absence. In addition, include your hospital, pharmacy and the contact information for the person who holds the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
Family Contact Information. List all the people who’d need to be called should there be a medical emergency requiring hospitalization of your care recipient. Also make a note of which family or friends might be willing to patient-sit in your home for an hour or two, if needed, to back up the person who takes over in your absence.
Health Condition Information. List all the medical conditions that apply to your loved one.
Medications. On this page, include not only the names of the drugs and dosages your loved one needs but also the times of days to dispense the medications, where you keep the bottles in the house, and what each drug is for.
Daily Routine. Write out detailed
Mom’s E m e rg e n C a r e P la c y n
instructions for: special toileting requirements, transfers, showers, dressing, exercises or therapies and other daily routines.
Meals and Food. List any special dietary needs your loved one has, including the time frames when meals are usually served. List all foods and liquids that are not allowed because of drug interactions, swallowing issues or allergies.
Home Health Care Services. List contact information for professional home care services that you’ve checked out and/or prefer to use for your loved one if a family member cannot do it. Finally, be sure to let loved ones know about the Emergency Care Plan you have prepared and where to find it. Excerpted from How to Create a Family Caregiver’s Home Health Emergency Care Plan by Jean Riva.
Thanks to these Georgia companies and organizations for their generous support
Georgia Council on Aging
Personal care in the Br idgebuilder s, I nc. comfort and privacy of your own home. Customized services delivered with compassion, integrity and professionalism. 600 S. Central Ave., Hapeville 30354; 404-765-4300.
The Georgia Council on Aging advocates on behalf of older Georgians and their families. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.gcoa.org
Good Measure Meals
Accessible, visitable and livable for everyone! Homes built with the future in mind. A voluntary certification program. www.easylivinghome.org
Good Measure Meals provides “Gourmet Meal Plans for a Healthy Lifestyle.” Less than $20 daily for 3 meals. See the 5-week menu at www.goodmeasuremeals.com or call 404-815-7695.
Evercare is an awardwinning health care management organization serving aging, vulnerable and chronically ill people. Please visit our Web site at www.evercarehealthplans.com or call 1-800-634-0127 for more information.
GeorgiaCares GeorgiaCares is a private public partnership that assists Medicare beneficiaries with health insurance questions and Medicare problems. GeorgiaCares also seeks to enroll all eligible Medicare beneficiaries in all low-cost prescription assistance programs. For assistance please call 1-800-669-8387.
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. At Pfizer, colleagues in more than 90 countries work to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide. www.pfizer.com
How can I help?
ResCare HomeCare offers personal care and support, homemaking, respite, professional nursing and more in the home, hospital, or residence. Call 1-800-558-2797 or visit www.ResCareHomeCare.com
SecureHorizons® by United Healthcare is dedicated to providing quality health care coverage to people with Medicare. As an innovative leader in the health and well-being industry, we pair outstanding clinical insight with consumer-friendly services and advanced technology to help seniors achieve optimal health. Please call 1-800-555-5757 for more information. Georgia Generations is published and supported by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging. Additional circulation support is provided by the generous sponsors listed here. For more information on becoming a sponsor of Georgia Generations, please call 404-463-3222.
The Thanks Mom and Dad Fund® honors those who inspired our lives by supporting aging programs and services for older adults. Grants are made to aging programs throughout Georgia such as home-delivered meals, adult day care, transportation and other vital services. To make a gift and honor someone special, call 1-800-676-2433 for more information.