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It’s Hurricane Season: Are You Ready?

Posted on: June 28th, 2017 No Comments

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 No Comments

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

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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.

It’s That Time of Year…the Flu is Here

Posted on: February 1st, 2017

Just because you haven’t gotten the flu this year doesn’t mean you are out of the woods yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is prevalent in 35 states. So how can you protect yourself? The CDC recommends everyone take some common sense steps to prevent contracting or spreading the flu. It is recommended that most people over 6 months old get a flu vaccination. You can visit the CDC’s website for specific recommendations. Washing your hands frequently can help keep you from getting sick and spreading germs to others. Certain individuals are at higher risk for complications from the flu. Those with existing health conditions and the very young and the elderly fall into this high-risk category and should take caution when it comes to this virus. If you think you may have the flu, see your doctor as soon as possible to get tested. There are anti-viral medications that can be prescribed to help shorten the duration or prevent the flu if you’ve been exposed. For more information on the flu and flu prevention, visit the CDC’s website.

January is Cervical Health Month

Posted on: January 24th, 2017

Close up profile of mother and daughter looking at each other

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Fortunately, it is also slow growing and therefore easily preventable. Cervical cancer tends to strike women in middle age, but routine screenings called Pap tests can aid in early detection and treatment. Depending on your age and family history, your doctor can suggest a screening schedule that is right for you. Cervical cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms early on, so it’s important to get your recommended screenings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists HPV (human papillomavirus) as the primary cause of all cervical cancers. An HPV vaccine is available to preteens/teens/young adults and is recommended for protection from the viruses that are responsible for most cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

For more information on cervical cancer, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s or Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s websites.