CD offers tips on care of elderly

Nearly 200,000 copies given out in Balto. County

December 29, 2003|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Hoping to help baby boomers as they begin caring for aging parents, Baltimore County's Department of Aging is distributing nearly 200,000 copies of a CD-ROM designed to answer questions about assisted living, nursing homes, retirement communities and more.

The free CD, called "Taking Care of Mom and Dad," provides information about the legal protections and resources available to senior citizens and about alternatives for continuing care.

"If mom's in the hospital and I'm sitting up at 3 a.m. and worried about her and I can't sleep, now I have the ability to pop this CD in and do all my homework and at 8 a.m., go to work on choosing, making decisions and advocating," said Department of Aging Director Arnold Eppel.

The CD is available in county libraries and senior centers. It was being distributed in The Sun to subscribers in Baltimore County yesterday.

The CD has eight topics: adult medical day centers, assisted living, hospice care, hospitals, independent living, nursing homes, retirement communities and senior centers. Within each category, it provides information about costs, regulations, services and other issues. It also includes printable legal documents for users to fill out.

For example, users can download forms to create an advance care directive without using an attorney, Eppel said.

The information about senior centers is Baltimore County-specific, but the rest, such as information about regulations, is applicable statewide.

The information was compiled and written by Department of Aging staff members. Production and distribution costs were paid for with a federal grant.

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said the CD is important because Baltimore County is home to a large senior population. One in four households in the county is providing assistance to a senior citizen, he said.

"Today's seniors and their families need quick and convenient ways to access up-to-date information on services for their older loved ones," he said.

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