With the pandemic now hopefully behind us, how can seniors most safely enjoy and celebrate this new summer?
There are two priorities to keep our communities elders safe.
- Avoiding the dangers of excessive summer heat and humidity (especially this year)
- Preventing falls, a year round need, but one where summer presents its unique challenges.
KEEP COOL DURING THIS HOT SUMMER
Unfortunately, heat exhaustion and heat stroke which can lead to death or serious disability, are much more common in the aging. Simple prevention includes staying out of the direct sun between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, exercising in air conditioning or during cooler times of day, staying well hydrated with water and electrolytes (sports drinks), and wearing loose, lightly colored clothing. Non-alcoholic drinks are the best for everyone during the heat.
HOW DO YOU SPOT AND TREAT SOMEONE WHO IS OVER-HEATED?
People with heat exhaustion or heat stroke can display weakness, dizziness, headache, confusion, fast pulse, heavy sweating, or red hot, dry damp skin. Treatment includes moving them to a cooler place, using cool cloths or a cool bath to lower body temperature, sipping water, and if they do pass out or symptoms get worse, get immediate medical attention or dial 911.
PREVENTING FALLS OUTSIDE
Falls are one of the major reasons seniors get hospitalized and even suffer an early death. Along with falling from heat exhaustion/stroke many summer activities can lead to falls. This includes falls while hiking up in our beautiful mountains or other attractive areas. Along with taking a sturdy walking stick to navigate curbs and other uneven surfaces, be sure to pack all the supplies you need to stay well hydrated and safe from the heat and sun. Be sure to take a charged cell phone and let someone not with you know where you’re going and when you expect to get back.
Closer to home, other activities that can cause a fall includes yard work and anything involving a ladder. Rather than risking an injury or maybe even your life climbing a ladder to clean a window or paint some trim, hire a college student or a contractor to do the work. It can save you in the long run, literally! Yard work can also involve lifting heavy bags, rocks or other items, All of which can contribute a joint and back pain, one of the most common reason seniors go to the doctor and use pain medication. Again, hire someone else to do the work to avoid it becoming a pain in the neck or your back.
While the COVID-19 vaccine has been available for several months–there are still many adults who have yet to receive their first dose.
Get information if you are eligible (most adults are). Find out what your county is offering. You may go to your county web site here in San Luis Obispo that will be ReadySLO.org. If you prefer you may go to the AARP site.
If you go to ReadySLO.org you can sign up for alerts from the County Health Departmen
In order to sign up: at a minimum you will need to include
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your address
- Your insurance information
- Your phone number
- your email address if you have one
When you get an appointment, you will receive a confirmation by email or text message. You will have some paperwork to fill out. They will ask the usual questions: “have you been out of the country recently?” “Have you ever had a an allergic reaction before?” You can either fill it out online or you can print it out and fill it out on paper. You will need to bring this paperwork with you to the appointment.
This can be a most challenging and frustrating process but it is getting easier now. It sometimes requires hours if ‘refreshing’ to see when an appointment is available but if you use ReadySLO.org it should be relatively easy.
If you need help going online to get this information or fill out some of the forms, please call Extended Family at 805.801.2512 or email us at email@example.com
I have been a nurse for over 40 years. I have worked in Hospitals, Long Term Care Facilities, Home Health Care Agencies and Hospice, most recently I have a business as a Care Manager Certified. There have been many articles in the news and on television about the misuse of opioids and the rising risk of addiction/overdose. My concern is just the opposite, I worry that because of this overreaction to the use/abuse of pain relievers that individuals will suffer pain needlessly because society, lawmakers and some health care providers are more worried about addiction than pain control. As a registered nurse and a Hospice providers I have always been an advocate for clients and their pain control. I don’t understand why clients who are in pain have to suffer because some individuals have a dependency problem with Opiates. If a clients does become addicted/dependent on pain medications couldn’t we deal with that through Mental Health Intervention etc. Instead we make it harder for clients who are in acute/chronic pain to receive adequate pain control. That makes no sense and is unfair to those in severe pain. Treat the pain and if necessary provide intervention to individuals who become dependent on alcohol, opiates, nicotine etc, that seems like a reasonable approach.
Following a Hip Fracture it is paramount to get a bone density exam, calcium and vitamin D levels and most likely start on medication. There is a new drug romosozumab/Evenity. Most of the old drugs (biophosphonates) stop the loss of bone density. Evenity actually increases bone density, the first medication which does that. Bone Density Exam, Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements then talk to your doctor about Evenity.
New studies and a review of older studies reveal that exercise can be of significant value in any effort to lower body fat and/or fight high blood pressure. These studies imply that exercise is medicine. Physicians are now considering officially prescribing exercise for people with high body fat especially around the abdomen and individuals with hypertension.
The researchers gathered 391 randomized, controlled trials–these are the gold standard for testing treatments–that looked at either medications or exercise to control weight or blood pressure. Exercise and/or lifestyle changes should always be the first intervention, one doesn’t need clinical trials or have to deal with the side effects which come with pharmaceutical interventions..
This is not really “hot off the press news”, we’ve known about this for years. Some individuals find it hard to exercise and increase their physical activity. If that’s the case with you the most important thing is to start slowly and gradually, try to make it enjoyable, do it with friends and try to have fun. Having fun alone could lower your blood pressure but having fun while you exercise it is even better medicine.