THE WARREN SENIOR VOICE Published By The: Warren County Department of Human Services, Division of Senior Services Volume II Number 1, January, February, March 2007 IN THIS ISSUE: Meet Alice Cummings A Vaccine For Shingles Tax Information Avoiding Medication Mixups And More! The Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders Everett Chamberlain, Freeholder Director, John DiMaio, Deputy Director, Richard Gardner, Freeholder REQUESTED ADDRESS SERVICE PERMIT NO. 30 BELVIDERE, N.J. PAID Belvidere, NJ 07823-1949 U.S. POSTAGE 165 County Rte. 519 So. PRESORTED STANDARD Wayne Dumont, Jr. Admin. Bldg.,Suite 245 Division of Senior Services Warren County Department of Human Services FINALLY, A WAY TO COMBAT SHINGLES I n May 2006, the US Food & Drug ing, tingling and/or burning. A few days Administration (FDA) approved a later a rash of fluid filled blisters appears vaccine that could cut in half the odds (usually on one side of the body or face). of coming down with the painful herpes zoster virus, otherwise known as shingles. Because Zostavax vaccine is so effective, some experts recommend it for everyone “Zostavax” has been approved for adults over 60. The vaccine works by helping to age 60 and over, and has also proven to protect the immune system from the shin- be effective reducing the pain and discom- gles virus as well as the associated pain fort of the disease for many of the people and other serious complications. Studies who suffer with shingles. show that if you do get shingles after being vaccinated, Zostavax may help prevent or The shingles virus is the same virus that reduce the debilitating nerve pain that causes chickenpox. Once a person has sometimes goes along with shingles. contracted chickenpox, the virus can live and remain inactive in the body for many If you get shingles, see years. With shingles, the virus becomes your doctor within the active again. Older adults and individu- first few days of getting als with immune system and other health the rash. issues may be at an increased risk of get- ting shingles. Zostavax is not a treatment for shingles. It is a vaccine to help reduce the chance The first signs of shingles are often felt and of developing shingles. If you do get may not be seen. These can include itch- shingles, see your health care provider within the first few days of getting the rash. The Warren Senior Voice is an informational publication published by the Antiviral drugs can treat shingles, but only Warren County Department of Human Services, if begun within the first three days after Division of Senior Services with funds provided by the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the start of symptoms. the NJ Dept. of Health and Senior Services, and the Federal Older Americans Act. If you’re over age 60, especially if you had The Senior Voice is free of charge to Warren chickenpox as a child, talk to your doctor County's older adults and citizens. All donations are used to support the cost of this publication. about getting the shingles vaccine. To make a donation, comment, or to subscribe to The Warren Senior Voice, send request to: Susan As with all drugs, Zostavax has side ef- Lennon, Executive Director; Warren County Divi- fects. Studies indicate that side effects sion of Senior Services, Wayne Dumont Admin Bldg., Belvidere, NJ 07823 are usually mild redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site. The Warren County Department of Human Services, Divison of Senior Services provides services with- out regard to race, color, national origin, in com- pliance with Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act Some people should not receive the of 1964, as updated, and regardless of handicap in Zostavax vaccine. Please check with your compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation primary care physician to see if you are a Act of 1973, as updated. candidate for this new vaccine. MEET ALICE CUMMINGS: scramble to its feet is something she’s never forgotten. On November 7, 2006, Alice Cummings In 1905, not yet eight years old, she went turned 109 years of age. to work in an envelope factory and earned $4.44 per week. She was born one week after Thomas Edison patented his movie camera, the She was 16 when she married Robert Kinetograph and two weeks before the Cummings, a 27 year old carpenter. In New York Sun ran the fa- 1915 Alice had her first child, mous “Yes, Virginia there is Helen, and two years later, a Santa Claus,” editorial. she had a second daughter, William McKinnley was our Alice. Helen passed away President. She was seven Christmas day 2003, in months old when we went Lopatcong Center, to war with Spain and six Philipsburg. Alice, now 89, years old when the Wright lives in Harmony. brothers flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk. Alice raised her daughters when horse drawn wagons On November 7, 1897, Alice delivered fruits, vegetables Cummings was born at and ice. In the winter, per- home. She was delivered by ishable food was kept out- a midwife to her mother, side in a box lined with Theresa (18) and John newspaper and oil-cloth for Morganweck (22). She had a younger sis- insulation. Gas, used for cooking, was ob- ter Mary who lived to be in her sixties. tained by feeding quarters into a meter on the wall. Alice recalls sitting in a rocking chair with her mother who would sing “I’m Forever Alice has two grandchildren. She has Blowing Bubbles”, and “Sweetheart If You many great grandchildren, several great- Should Stray”. Alice says of her mom...”she great grandchildren and also a great- was so beautiful as a young mother. I re- great-great grandson, who is now 5 years member asking classmates to wait with me old. so that they could see her.” Alice still has her own teeth, her mind is She also remembers time she spent with clear, and she uses a wheel chair to get her grandfather, Jacob, who drove a horse around due to weak legs. She doesn’t need pulled car for a living. Alice remembers glasses, takes no medication and does not how she loved it when her grandfather like to go to the doctor. would take her to the barn to see the horses, especially when a young colt was Alice loves chocolate especially Hershey due. The thrill of seeing a newborn colt bars and Almond Joy. 7 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MEDICATION MIXUPS whenever you visit your doctor, a special- ist, or your pharmacist. 4. Whenever you get a prescription, ask your pharmacist to go over all of the pre- scribing information. Make sure that the name of the drug on the prescription matches what’s printed on the bottle. Read through the package insert (if you didn’t receive one, ask for it) for any side effects or interactions. If anything is unclear or confusing, ask the pharmacist. Don’t leave the store until you’re 100 percent comfort- able with the medication and how to take it. 5. Ask questions about your medications when you’re in the hospital. Find out the Y our doctor scrawls a few words on purpose of each drug, its interactions, and a prescription pad and hands it to whether you’ll have to continue taking it you. You know you can’t read it - once you’re discharged. can your pharmacist? 6. Know which side effects have been Here are some recommendations to pre- associated with all of the drugs you’re vent medication mix-ups. taking. If you start having any of these symptoms, report them to your doctor im- 1. Any time you get a new prescription, mediately. ask a lot of questions. Have your doctor tell you and write down: the name of the 7. Know your rights. You have the right drug, what it treats, the dosage, how often to make final decisions about your medi- to take it, what side effects or interactions cation, and the right to be told of any drug it could have, and what to do if you experi- error that occurs, and the effects it might ence side effects. have on your health. 2. Do your homework. Look up any new Any time you get a new medication, ask medication in drug reference books or on your doctor about possible interactions, the Internet. If you search the Web, use and read the printed insert. It should con- reputable sources of information, such as tain a list of foods to avoid when taking the the National Institutes of Health (http:// drug. Blood-thinning drugs such as aspi- medlineplus.gov) rin and warfarin (Coumadin) can make you bruise more easily because they affect 3. Keep a list of all the medications you blood clotting. Some supplements, such as are taking. This includes non-prescription gingko, garlic, and fish oil, can have a sim- and alternative remedies. Take it with you ilar effect. or scolded. In the old days the parent would reinforce that punishment and scolding at home. Now, when a child re- ports the same situation to their parent(s), it is not uncommon for the school to get visited and the teacher berated. The other major generation divider has to do with the role of “mother”. The older gen- Have you ever wondered why we never had eration grew up where the mothers’ priori- a “generation” gap years ago, why there is ty was to remain at home, raise the chil- one today and what, if anything, we senior dren, cook meals and keep the house and citizens, my contemporaries, are doing to clothes clean. If she had to work to add to diminish it? household funds, it never interfered with her duties as a mother. Today’s mother views Remember when it was commonplace for her role differently. Her priorities may now two or three generations to live under the include furthering her career and adding to same roof, share meals, social events and the family income, but it seems “family” has house chores on a regular basis? In fami- thus assumed a new position in the home. lies where more than one sibling had a home, the location changed from time to With each of our generations having differ- time, but the arrangements did not. This ent values and beliefs, it was inevitable that interweaving of different age groups as a our two worlds would clash. One may even daily routine lasted for many years. It think that harmony in the house would be seems ours was an era without a genera- eroded. In my experience, however, the con- tion gap. So where did this phenomenon flicts never lasted very long or were par- come from? Some think the generation gap ticularly very bad. Frankly, I can’t say which was precipitated by dramatic changes in generation was responsible for creating or family values, and these changes were en- bridging the gap that was created. thusiastically embraced by the “younger generation”. I do know this. Lately it seems to me that my own contemporaries may be per- The older generation believed children petuating this generation gap by “flocking” should be seen and not heard, while to live in age-restricted senior citizen younger folks believed that restraining chil- housing complexes. dren from making noise would inhibit a healthy emotional growth to adulthood. The older set believed spankings were GO FIGURE! sometimes necessary; however the young- er generation preferred verbal admonish- ment, rationale, explanations. An example of the generational diversity in child-rearing is highlighted in the story of the child who came home from school to tell a parent that he or she was punished CALL SOCIAL SECURITY DIRECT DRIVER'S SAFETY CLASSES A Social Security service repre- ( Formerly 55-Alive ) sentative is ready to help you with your social security needs. Washington Twsp. Seniors February 28, 2007 & March 7, 2007 Call: 610-559-9378 press 1, 9am – 1:30 pm Contact: Gail Werner – 876-5941 then the extension number be- low: Skylands Bank Plaza If your name begins with : Hackettstown, NJ March 1, 2007 & March 8, 2007 AAA-EDE Ext. 226 10am – 2:30 pm EDF-LAM Ext. 221 Contact: Joan Moskowitz – 850-6872 LAN-RIV Ext. 213 RIW-ZZZ Ext. 228 Masonic Lodge – Washington March 13 & March 20 If you have a personal computer 10 am-2:30 pm you may also send your question Contact: James Taylor – 453-3365 via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Panther Valley-Allamuchy May 5 & May 12 October 6 & October 13 Contact: Jane Sanson – 852-8400 Old Greenwich Church REMEMBER! 16 Church Rd., Stewartsville, NJ March 29 & April 5 Your donation helps us 10 am – 2:30 pm Contact: Carl Guthardt 479-4830 continue to bring you the latest information through the Senior MUST ATTEND BOTH SESSIONS Voice……….. TO BE CERTIFIED Domestic Abuse and the Senior PROPERTY TAX RELIEF Population PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS The term “Elder Abuse” generally brings to AND DISABLED mind the mistreatment or neglect of a help- Property Tax Reimbursement: In less elderly person within the home or a care 2007 this program will provide prop- facility. An article in the August issue of the erty tax relief for those over age 65 Senior Voice dealt with this issue and the and disabled residents whose in- guidelines surrounding Adult Protective Ser- comes in 2007 are under $43,700 for vices. a single person and $53,582 for a couple. Inquire at your municipal or Sometimes the abuse of an elderly person township office for program applica- within the home is a continuation of a long tions and information. The Warren history of domestic abuse by a partner or other County Division of Senior Services household member. The relationship may can assist with information. Call toll have been abusive since its inception, long free 1-877-222-3737. before the victim would qualify as being a se- nior or may have evolved into an abusive rela- Property Tax Deduction: Annual tionship over the years. Studies show that in deduction of up to $250 from prop- most abusive relationships the abuse becomes erty taxes for homeowners age 65 or more frequent and violent with the passage older or disabled who meet certain of time unless something dramatic is done to income and residency requirements. interrupt it. In these cases many times the This benefit is administered by your victim of the abuse would not be deemed “vul- local municipality. nerable” or “incompetent” and might not qual- ify for the Adult Protective Services program. Veteran’s Deduction: Annual de- duction from taxes due on real or per- Seniors in these situations may feel that they sonal property paid to qualified war don’t fit the profile of a client of the tradition- veterans and their unmarried surviv- al domestic abuse programs either, that these ing spouses. The deduction is $250. programs are geared to younger adults. Noth- This benefit is administered by your local municipality. ing could be further from the truth. The War- ren County based program, the Domestic Disabled Veteran’s Exemption: Abuse and Rape Crisis Center (DARCC) of- Full exemption from property taxes fers its free and confidential services to all on a principal residence for certain who find themselves within an abusive rela- totally and permanently disabled war tionship regardless of age. veterans and their unmarried surviv- ing spouses. Unmarried surviving Some of the services offered by DARCC are: spouses of service persons who died 24 hour hotline service (908) 475-8408, emer- on wartime active duty may also gency shelter, individual and group support- qualify. This benefit is administered ive counseling, legal advocacy and court, hos- by your local municipality. pital and law enforcement accompaniment. Perhaps an abused individual might want to FAIR Rebate: Renters file along work on a safety plan or explore options with with their NJ Income Tax return. a counselor. This help is available, please give Homeowner’s rebate applications are us a call. sent by the state to each homeowner. by Sheila Garry Avery Community Education Director Domestic Abuse and Rape Crisis Center in Warren County DON’T FALL FOR THIS! Okay, we know, you’re careful, and this is the best type of exercise program for you something that will never happen to you. and stick to it. That’s what one third of everyone over 65 2. Get your medicines reviewed. As we said too, but it happened to them anyway. age, the way medicines work in the body You just can’t kid yourself and the num- can change. Some medicines, or combina- bers don’t lie: A FALL IS A MAJOR tions of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall. CAUSE OF DISABILITY AND DEATH IN PEOPLE OVER 65! 3. Get your vision checked at least once a year. Poor vision will increase your Even if a fall doesn’t chance of falling. Improve the lighting in cause an injury, it your home. As we get older, brighter lights may still have lasting are needed to see well. Hang light-weight negative effects on curtains or shades to reduce glare. you. It’s “the fear factor”, because now 4. Make your home safer. Half of all falls you’re afraid you’re occur in the home. Take these precau- going to fall. You tions: may start to restrict any activity that you Remove trip hazards from stairs and feel is threatening. places you regularly walk. This can lead to a re- duction in exercise……which leads to fur- Remove small throw rugs or use dou- ther weakness……which increases the risk ble-sided tape to keep the rugs from of another fall….and so on. slipping. Place regularly used items in plac- Who Is at Risk of Falling? es you can reach easily so you don’t have to use a stepstool. YOU ARE! Everyone is, and the risk in- Put grab bars next to your toilet AND creases with age. It could be due to age in the tub and shower. related changes, medical conditions like arthritis, cataracts or hip surgery and the NEVER use a towel rack as a grab medications you take can also place you bar. at risk. Put non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. These FOUR TIPS WILL DECREASE YOUR RISK: Have handrails and lights put in all staircases. 1. Exercise is one of the most important Always wear shoes inside and out- ways to reduce your chances of falling. Ask side the house. Avoid going barefoot your doctor or health care provider about or wearing slippers.