Firearms Take Back on Nov. 1

The Safety and Security Committee of the Resident Council is sponsoring a firearms take-back event on Monday November 1st. This will be done in collaboration with our Security Department and the Baltimore County Police. This is a legal, nonthreatening, and convenient way for residents of Charlestown to rid yourselves of any unwanted firearms–guns, rifles—or ammunition from the privacy of your home. A plain-clothes police officer with valid identification, accompanied by someone from our Security Department will go directly to your apartment to collect any of these items that you no longer want to have in your home.


This is a completely voluntary event. It is a safe and responsible way to dispose of such items. If you would like to participate in this program, call Craig Nelson, Manager of the Security Department at 410-737-8815 or Shawn White, Deputy Manager at 410-737-8808. They will see that you are on the list and will coordinate with you for the collection of your items.

Call any time before November 1st.

Campus Emergencies, Power Outages and Swift Reach

For those who do not know, Swift Reach is our automated phone system that can send recorded phone messages to all residents whose phone numbers are on record in the Resident Directory. If you are not listed in the Resident Directory you need to ask for a Change Form from any lobby desk and specify on the form that this is “for Swift Reach only” and return it to the lobby desk. If you want to be listed in the Directory, add your apartment number, and email address, if you have one, without stating “for Swift Reach only”. Not all Alerts are Campus-wide, they may be limited to the area of the circumstance.

During power outages, if your phone requires electricity IT WILL NOT WORK. Phones which are connected to a phone jack in the wall (photo A), and do not require electricity to function, will work when the power is out. Keeping a standard, corded phone available can be a lifeline simply by hooking it up to a phone jack (photo B). These particular phones can be purchased on-line, in local retail outlets or at the Treasure Chest in Brookside for under $10 for those who may need one.

Wireless phones are powered by electricity and connected to your phone outlet and will not work as the unit that plugs into the phone socket (the base station) also needs power to operate and does not tend to have a battery backup (photo C).

A fully charged cell phone will work during power outages. Residents may chose to list this number for “Swift Reach only”. Recently, General Services has added the Swift911 Text Alert Program that allows them to notify you via Text in these type situations if you have a Smartphone. You just send a text to 443-947-3474 stating “Add” and a text reply will state “confirmed”. If you do not receive a reply text, then repeat your text using all caps in “ADD”.

One important preparedness step is to put together an old-fashioned contact book so when your cell phone is drained of power you have phone numbers for loved ones available for you to call.

Now, in case you do not hear the Swift Reach message in its entirety or your voice mail message was cut off, call the Alert Line 410-314-7944 to hear the message. If you learn later that there was a Swift Reach Alert and your phone records indicate you did not get the call, you may contact General Services to have them verify if the call was made and to which phone number of yours was dialed.

All of this emergency info, including phone numbers, is readily available at the bottom of the Home Page.

Charlie Eichenlaub
Communications Committee

Photo A

Photo B

Photo C

Learn More About Falls Prevention

STEADI: Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries
Stay Independent: Learn more about fall prevention

Four things you can do to prevent falls

  1. Speak up. Talk openly with your healthcare provider about fall risks and prevention. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
  2. Keep moving. Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
  3. Get an annual eye exam. Replace eyeglasses as needed.
  4. Make your home safer. Remove clutter and tripping hazards.

Be Part of the Solution by Participating in a Safety Information Event on June 12

National Safety Month Safety Information Event
June 12, 2019
11:30 AM – 1 PM
Cross Creek Lobby | Fireside and Terrace Lounges

The Safety & Security Committee and the Charlestown Security Staff will be recognizing National Safety Month by offering safety information on:

Distracted Driving | Falls | Fire | Scams

Visit one of the information tables and pick up your free safety material. Look for the safety posters that will be displayed around campus during the month of June.

Step Safely into Spring

Every second of the day an older adult falls, making falls the number 1 cause of injuries and death in this age group.* Even though one in four older adults reports a fall, they are unlikely to mention this to their health care provider. At Charlestown, 2018 data reveal that there were 11,508 falls but most residents never fell a single time (73%) or fell only once (14%) with only 9% having multiple falls. The vast majority of falls (83%) occurred in residents’ apartments. Falls, even though common, should not be considered a normal part of aging because with education, care, and attentiveness, a great many are preventable.
So what actions can we take to reduce the risk of falling and enable you to Step Safely into Spring. There are 5 major areas of action. Clearly, not all of these recommendations will apply to everyone.

Keep moving because lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases the chance of falling.
• Focus particularly on exercises that increase your balance and make your legs stronger.
• Utilize the Fitness Center for Balance Classes, Yoga, Tai Chi and/or join a walking club. Residents who take the Erickson Balance class reduce their risk of falls.
• Whether you walk with or without a rollator/walker take advantage of Charlestown’s interconnected hallways to exercise.

Talk with Your Health Provider:
• Tell your provider if you have fallen, feel unsteady or worry about falling.
• Develop a plan to improve your balance and leg strength. A referral to physical therapy or a personalized. strengthening/balance program in the Fitness Center may be appropriate.
• Review your prescribed and over the counter medications because some may make you sleepy, dizzy and/or unsteady.

Make Your Home Safer:
• Remove throw rugs or tape them down.
• Do a review of your floors to identify items like books, wastepaper cans, clothes/shoes that you might trip over and remove them.
• Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
• Increase the lighting in your home to increase visibility such as a night light in the bathroom.
• Keep frequently used items, food, dishes, clothes in cabinets or clothes closets that you can reach without using a step stool.
• Wear shoes with good support inside and outside your home.

Have your Eyes and Feet Checked:
• Have your vision checked yearly and if you wear glasses you may need a new prescription. You also may have conditions that limit your vision like cataracts or glaucoma.
• Have your feet checked to see if you have conditions that interfere with your balance and mobility and thus need to see a podiatrist.

If You Have Pets:
Pets provide much joy and companionship. Having pets have documented health benefits such as lowered blood pressure and reduced depression and loneliness. However, there are fall risks with pet ownership. Most falls related to pets occur in the home (62% for dogs and 86% for cats) Below are a few actions you can take to reduce falls related to your pets.
• Be watchful of pet toys that you may trip on and pick up frequently and store in a basket or corner of a room.
• Be watchful of any spills from food or water dishes and clean up.
• Be watchful as you walk around your home since pets often get underfoot.
• For those with dogs: walking can be a risk for falls. If your dog tries to jump up on others or pull you down running after a squirrel, obedience training may help.

June is National Safety Month. The Safety & Security Committee and Security Staff will be providing material on falls, distracted driving, scams and fire prevention.

* All statistics from the CDC or Charlestown Falls report

Janet D. Allan, Chair and Ken Jarboe, Assistant Chair,
Safety & Security Committee


Charlestown Dedicated Medication Disposal Day

The National Opioid Crisis continues to be a major health problem. We’ve learned that addiction can happen to anyone anywhere and we need to continually rid our medication cabinets of any drugs that are no longer needed or become outdated. In response, the Residents’ Council Health Committee continues to partner with Charlestown’s Security and Emergency Services and the Baltimore County Police Department in holding dedicated collection days of old/unused medication.

Medication Disposal Day will be held four times a year on Mondays, from 1 – 3 PM. Disposal locations will be at the Fireside and Terrace lounges and at Cross Creek lobby.

This will give all of our residents and staff another opportunity to dispose of unwanted and outdated medications in a safe and secure manner without the need to leave the campus. In addition to prescription drugs, over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements, and pet medications will also be accepted for disposal.