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Article courtesy of National Care Planning Council
It was 3:00 PM when Linda noticed her elderly neighbor had not been out to pick up her paper nor opened her windows. A heat wave had kept temperatures near 100 degrees all week long. When Linda knocked on her neighbor’s door, Megan, 88 years old answered immediately. “Is it morning yet?” she asked confused at why Linda was at her door. Linda noticed that Megan’s eyes were sunken, she was disoriented and dizzy. The temperature in her house was well over 100 degrees. A call for an ambulance saved Megan’s life. She was extremely dehydrated and suffering heat exhaustion.
With the hot summer heat upon most of the nation and temperatures topping 100 degrees, dehydration and heat exhaustion are a high danger for the elderly. Illnesses relating to aging, medication and the body’s aging process cause a quicker reaction to the heat than someone younger.
An elderly person may not recognize what is happening until life threatening conditions have become evident. Family and friends can save the lives of their loved ones and friends by simply checking on them daily during the hot season and knowing the danger signs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists signs to watch for in elderly with heat exhaustion and fatigue:
Nausea or vomiting
Skin: may be cool and moist
Pulse rate: fast and weak
Breathing: fast and shallow
A few simple steps can help someone suffering from the heat. If they do not have air conditioning, provide a fan to move the air around, see that there is plenty of water within reach of their chair or in the refrigerator. Freeze some bottled water to set on their laps or in their chairs to help lower their body temperature. Encourage them to take a cool shower during the hottest time of day. Take them on an outing to a mall or other air conditioned facility. Check the hours and activities at local Senior Centers where they can spend some time during the day.
Volunteer services extend extra time in the summer to check on the elderly. Meals on Wheels volunteers in Mid-South make a point to leave extra water with daily meals.
Shelby County Senior Services volunteer staff check on dozen of residents most susceptible to hot temperatures. Humboldt State University youth volunteer group helps seniors throughout the year.
Neighborhoods are filled with people who are dog walkers, bird watchers, joggers, walkers and baby strollers. This summer let’s add elderly helpers to that list. Just being an alert neighbor may save a seniors life.
Arthritis can cause debilitating joint pain that makes walking a burden, but physical activity is encouraged and can provide health benefits to those suffering from these disease. So how can you keep moving? Find the right pair of shoes! Not all types of arthritis affect people the same way, so individuals should try on several different types of shoes to find the right one for them. AgingCare.com’s article, “Find the Perfect Shoe for Arthritis,” can help make shoe shopping easier. By debunking several myths about the disease and suggesting certain brands and styles of shoes, arthritis sufferers can make better decisions regarding their footwear. A store to try? Euro Comfort Footwear, based in California, specializes in shoes for older adults suffering from arthritis and other medical conditions.
The physical, mental and emotional toll family caregiving takes on a person is enormous. So why do so many caregivers go it alone? Read AgingCare.com’s article “Why Caregivers Refuse Help” for insight into this behavior. Chances are, if you are a family caregiver, you will be able to relate and hopefully see the value and necessity of seeking help and how it can ultimately make you a better caregiver to your loved one.
The number of people with prediabetes and diabetes is on the rise. It is striking people at younger ages and is closely linked to obesity. Adopting a healthy lifestyle including exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods, and losing weight can greatly reduce your chances of getting diabetes. Complications from the disease can be serious and include heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney failure, limb amputation and early death. For more information on the diabetes epidemic, read Healthfinder.gov’s article “U.S. Diabetes Cases Jump to 29 Million: CDC.”
Melanoma and other types of skin cancers are on the rise. Read this Fox News article, “10 Things You Don’t Know About Melanoma,” to boost your knowledge of this deadly disease.
Trying to determine Medicaid eligibility can be daunting! It is a good idea to set up a meeting with an attorney who specializes in eldercare issues and possibly even your financial planner before making any changes to bank account and property holdings as you consider qualifying for Medicaid. Agingcare.com’s article “How Joint Bank Accounts and Property Affect Medicaid Eligibility” is a great starting point for basic Medicaid eligibility questions.
Home Care Plus is supporting the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge all adults to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults:
Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May!
A recent study shows that Y chromosome loss, something that can occur as men age, may actually predict cancer risk. The study, published online in Nature Genetics on April 28, found that men who have significant Y chromosome depletion were three times more likely to get cancer. For more information, read the full article “Y Chromosome Loss Linked to Higher Cancer Risk in Men” at Healthfinder.gov.