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Unintentional Injuries: How Can You Protect Yourself?

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 No Comments

According to the National Safety Council, more than 145,000 deaths in 2015 were the result of unintentional injuries. Topping the list is poisoning, usually as a result of a prescription drug overdose. Motor vehicle crashes come in second for unintentional-injury-related deaths. Everyone can do their part to make the roads safer by not texting while driving or driving while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In terms of unintentional injuries, the elderly are especially at risk for dying from falls or suffocation by choking. Fortunately there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk for falls. Keeping floors clear and uncluttered, making sure indoor and outdoor lighting is sufficient for visibility, installing grab bars and no-slip mats in showers and tubs, and keeping often-used items easily accessible are just a few ways you can reduce fall risk. In addition, staying active and practicing yoga or tai chi can improve balance and coordination, which can significantly reduce your risk of falling.

For more information on fall prevention and protecting yourself from unintentional injury or death, visit the National Safety Council’s website.

Heat Stroke: Know the Signs

Posted on: June 30th, 2017

Shot of an old lady sitting on the grass on a sunny day, feeling faint, and a young woman assisting her

As the mercury rises this summer, it is important to recognize the signs of heat stroke and know how to prevent it. Older people are more susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies are less adaptable to changes in temperature. In addition, certain medications can also affect how their bodies react to changing temperatures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are all signs of heat stroke:

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Feeling confused
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and you should call 911 if you or a loved one experiences the above symptoms. While you can cool someone off by bringing them into an air-conditioned home or using cool towels on them, the CDC says you should not give them anything to drink.

If you are caring for an aging loved one, make sure they drink plenty of water, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Make sure they spend time in air conditioned buildings or in a cool, shady spot during the hottest part of the day. Have them dress in light colored, loose fitting clothing and avoid strenuous exercise or activity during the heat of the day.

For more information on heat stroke and heat-related illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s Hurricane Season: Are You Ready?

Posted on: June 28th, 2017

palms at hurricane

It’s that time of year again—the 2017 hurricane season officially kicked off on June 1st and there have already been several tropical disturbances to date. It’s always a good idea to review your emergency plan with your family and make sure you have a disaster supply kit with up-to-date non-perishables and other necessities on hand.

An emergency plan lets you and your loved ones know where to go and how to communicate during an emergency. Build in alternative forms of communication in case of cell service disruption and power outages. For more information on developing an emergency plan, visit Ready.gov.

What should your disaster supply kit include? Pack enough water and non-perishable food for 3 days per person, flashlights & batteries, and a first aid kit. For a complete list of other emergency kit essentials, visit Ready.gov.

It’s a good idea to review your evacuation routes. If you are local, you likely experienced Hurricane Matthew last October and the experience may be relatively fresh on your mind. Consider what worked (and what didn’t work) during and after the storm and adjust your plans and preparation accordingly.

For more information on hurricane and emergency preparedness, visit Ready.gov.

Is It Alzheimer’s?

Posted on: June 1st, 2017

A senior couple. The wife is caring for the husband.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is not a normal part of aging. The disease usually strikes individuals 65 years and over, but younger people are not without risk. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments available that can help slow the progression of the disease and help manage symptoms. Early detection can make a huge difference in the quality of life of someone who is diagnosed with this disease.

So what are some of the symptoms and how do you know whether to worry? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 early warning signs that you or your loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease. If you are suddenly forgetting dates or information you just recently learned, having difficulty completing tasks or following a conversation, and misplacing things, it may be time to call your doctor. The Alzheimer’s Association’s 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease is a great guide for knowing when a symptom is something to worry about or whether it is just a normal part of aging. Knowing your risk factors for this disease and knowing the early warning signs can help you identify red flags—and seek appropriate medical help sooner rather than later.

May is Older Americans Month

Posted on: May 30th, 2017

Older Americans Month is really a celebration of what aging means in today’s society. Being an “older” adult doesn’t mean the end of your career or that you suddenly have to give up doing the things you love. In fact, the opposite is often true–seniors today are taking on a new career, trying new hobbies, and volunteering with organizations that inspire them. Encore.org is utilizing those in midlife and beyond and their  “powerful source of talent with the accumulated skills, experience and wisdom to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges.” Whether you are looking for volunteer work or a supplemental revenue stream, Encore helps seniors connect work, service and social impact. The National Center for Creative Aging is another great resource for seniors interested in the arts. Considering a second career in retirement? The AARP’s article “Ready for Your Second Career” can answer some of the questions you might have. Growing older has never been so fulfilling!

Grow Your Greens!

Posted on: May 1st, 2017

511985

The warm, sunny days of spring and summer offer the perfect opportunity to get outside and exercise your green thumb. Gardening offers many physical and emotional benefits. Almost everyone’s health could benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables (which are high in fiber and antioxidants), so plant a few of your favorites or expand your horizons and try something new. Being outside helps reduce stress and anxiety, and weeding, planting and tending to your garden keeps you active. A flower garden can brighten your yard and your mood with every colorful bloom that grows.

Gardening doesn’t have to be intimidating, even for novices. Most plants don’t require a lot—just plenty of sunshine, decent soil and regular watering. Tomatoes, basil, squash and greens are great plants for gardening newbies to start with. If you don’t have space in your yard for a traditional garden, tomato plants and herbs like basil, cilantro and rosemary can be grown in containers in a sunny corner of your porch. Just make sure they are convenient to a hose or another water source to make watering easy.

Studies have shown that physical activity decreases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and protects cognitive function. Gardening keeps you active—tilling the soil, spreading mulch, weeding, planting, watering—every little bit of movement helps. Make a plan to visit your local garden store today!

Your Brain Health and Aging

Posted on: April 26th, 2017

Female Anatomy Brain Full

The human brain is a wonderful, complex organ, which, among other things, is responsible for our cognition and memory. Unfortunately for many, aging brings a host of unwanted changes, both physical and mental. Many people mistakenly believe that you either get dementia (or other forms of cognitive decline) as you age or you don’t—but research has found many factors can contribute to or make cognitive decline worse. The good news is that a number of these risk factors are within our control and, like so many other chronic diseases and health conditions, can be managed by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Did you know that poor oral health has been linked to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health Basics)? Researchers are currently studying whether a common bacteria associated with chronic periodontal disease could play a role in dementia. A small study at the University of Central Lancashire found products from the bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of several deceased individuals who suffered from dementia. Visiting the dentist on a routine basis, along with consistent daily brushing and flossing can help bolster oral health.

The ACL, NIH and CDC have collaborated on several wonderful resources to help you better understand certain risk factors for dementia and steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Check out their Brain Health as You Age fact sheet and their Medicine, Brain and Your Age informational resource to learn more. Exercising, eating a diet high in fiber with lots of fruits and veggies, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of cognitive decline as well as many other chronic diseases.

Family Caregiving: Finding Balance

Posted on: April 5th, 2017

One thing is for certain if you’re a family caregiver–you are not alone. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving’s 2015 report Caregiving in the U.S., over 34 million U.S. adults have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50+ in the last year. Many of these caregivers are helping loved ones with chronic physical conditions or memory loss, and few have any professional training or experience providing this kind of care. The report also highlights the tremendous time these caregivers devote to their loved ones–on average caregivers are spending 23 hours per week on caregiving tasks–but many spend nearly twice that. Many of these caregivers are also still employed full or part time, and their caregiving responsibilities require them to take time off of work.

The physical and emotional stress of caregiving often takes its toll on the health of the caregiver. Caregivers often neglect their own doctors appointments and preventive care when they are responsible for caring for a loved one. In addition, healthy eating and exercise can also take a backseat to their loved one’s care. The good news is that we can help! Our trusted team of professional, compassionate caregivers can help share the caregiving load. If you work full or part time or just need some time to care for yourself, our dependable caregivers can give you peace of mind that your loved one is being well taken care of. We would love to help you and your family–give us a call today at 843-628-3642!

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on: March 21st, 2017

close up potrait of Asian senior couple on bright green background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S among cancers that affect both sexes. Early detection and better treatments have lead to better outcomes for many colorectal cancer patients. A healthy lifestyle—eating lots of fruits & vegetables and limiting red and processed meats, exercising and maintaining a healthy BMI, not smoking—can reduce your risk for the disease. Certain risk factors exist that are out of your control, such as family history of the disease and having Crohn’s or another inflammatory bowel disease, can also increase your risk. It is recommended that most adults get screened for this type of cancer starting at age 50, but it’s important to discuss your risk factors with your doctor to determine the right age and screening regimen for you. For more information on colorectal cancer, read the CDC’s Screen for Life informational sheet.

Some people avoid getting screened because they don’t like the idea of getting a colonoscopy, but there are other testing options available that you can discuss with your doctor. Early detection can save lives, so if you’re over age 50 don’t put off your screening any longer!

Don’t Underestimate Your Risk of Heart Disease

Posted on: February 17th, 2017

Female doctor with the stethoscope holding heart

Too often women assume heart disease isn’t something they need to worry about. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death women in the U.S., claiming nearly 290,000 lives each year. So what can you do to protect yourself? Manage your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, quit smoking and eat a healthy diet low in saturate fats. For more tips for protecting your heart health, read Roper St. Francis’ article “A Woman’s Guide to Beating Heart Disease.