Thursday, December 19, 2013
Are you at risk of Diabetes? Take the following test. A score of 9 or higher means you are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes. This does not mean you have diabetes – you’ll need to see your health care provider for a blood test to find out if you have diabetes. Diabetes Risk Test I had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth OR I have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) [Points: 1] I have a sister or brother with diabetes [Points: 1] I have a parent with diabetes [Points: 1] I am overweight (see chart below*) [Points: 5] I am younger than 65 years of age AND get little or no exercise in a typical day [Points: 5] I am between 45 and 64 years of age [Points: 5] I am 65 years of age or older [Points: 9] TOTAL POINTS: *At Risk Weight Chart – find your height in the chart. If you weigh as much or more than the weight listed for your height, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Height Weight (in pounds) 4’10’’ 129 4’11” 133 5’ 138 5’1” 143 5’2” 147 5’3” 152 5’4” 157 5’5” 162 5’6” 167 5’7” 172 5’8” 177 5’9” 182 5’10” 188 5’11” 193 6’ 199 6’1” 204 6’2” 210 6’3” 216 6’4” 221 If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be interested to know about a Diabetes Prevention Program. The Diabetes Prevention Program is a proven way to prevent diabetes in people who have pre-diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, by making small lifestyle changes. The Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence based program for adults and is led by a trained Lifestyle Coach. The program meets in small groups for just one hour every week for 16 weeks, and includes supportive monthly follow up sessions. The trained coach leads the weekly sessions to help you improve your food choices, increase physical activity, and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes – that lead to the prevention or delay of a diabetes diagnosis. Individuals who participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program will get: o Lifestyle coaching o Group and individual support o Educational materials o Personalized feedback o Introduction of physical activity o Lifetime friends o Useful information o A healthier you! The program is based on a clinical research trial led by the National Institutes of Health, which showed that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by 58% overall, and 71% in people 60 years of age and older. The Diabetes Prevention Workshop is being offered by Niagara County Department of Health, Nursing Division at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport, NY Thursdays, starting January 23rd from 10:00 – 11:00am. To RSVP, please call 278-1900 and ask to speak to somebody about the Diabetes Prevention Program.
Monday, December 16, 2013
For many, the holidays are a time for families and friends to gather and for joyous celebrations. Even though the holidays are enjoyable, they can be demanding. For some, the added stress can lead to emotions that sneak up on you and pull you down when you least expect it. The holidays are not as joyful for some as they are for others. Maintaining good health throughout stressful times is directly linked to a positive mind set. Improving your mood need not be time consuming or expensive – try these simple strategies to distract your attention from the hectic pace of life around you and restore the energy you need. Make sure you are well rested. According to the National Institute on Aging, an estimated 30 percent of middle aged Americans don’t get enough sleep. Factors that can help you get a good night’s sleep are sticking to a regular bedtime, sleeping in a cool and dark room and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine after mid-afternoon. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Moderate exercise is an activity that leaves you feeling warm, but still able to talk. And don’t forget routine activities like mopping the floor and raking leaves are considered moderate exercise. Music has the ability to alter your mood. If you want to relax, listen to slow, soothing classical music. To energize yourself, pick something that is faster such as jazz or pop. Or consider making your own music by playing a musical instrument. Bringing a little creativity into your life can improve your sense of well being; it could be something as simple as trying a new recipe. By making a difference in the lives of others and becoming active, you generate positive feelings in your own life. Volunteering will fill your heart and let goodness shine in your life. Studies show that people who volunteer as little as two hours per week improve their own health. Worries drift away when you focus on others. Caregiving responsibilities layered on top of keeping up with holiday traditions can take its toll on dementia families, especially the caregiver. The person with dementia may also feel a sense of loss during the holidays. With some planning and adjusted expectations, your celebrations can be filled with joy and magical moments to cherish forever. Adjust your expectations No one, including yourself, should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event. • Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage • Choose holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you • Host a small family dinner instead of a throwing a big holiday party • Consider serving a catered or takeout holiday meal. Many grocery stores and restaurants offer meals to go. • Start a new tradition. Have a potluck dinner where family or friends each bring a dish Involve the person in the festivities - There are many manageable activities the person and you can do together, such as: • Wrap gifts • Bake favorite holiday recipes together. The person can stir batter or decorate cookies. • Set the table. Avoid centerpieces with candles and artificial fruits and berries that could be mistaken for edible snacks. • Talk about events to include in a holiday letter • Prepare simple foods such as appetizers • Read cards you receive together • Look through photo albums or scrapbooks. Reminisce about people in the pictures and past events. • Watch a favorite holiday movie • Sing favorite carols or read biblical passages When the person lives in a care facility - A holiday is still a holiday whether it is celebrated at home or at a care facility. Here are some ways to celebrate together: • Consider joining your loved one in any facility-planned holiday activities • Bring a favorite holiday food to share • Sing holiday songs. Ask if other residents can join in. • Read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud I hope this makes your holidays a little less stressful.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A nurse friend sent this to me and encouraged me to use it for a column to help spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some lives. During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this... A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. Sometimes, symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S * Ask the individual to SMILE. T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today) R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke. While I am passing along helpful health information, I’d also like to share with you how symptoms of a heart attack in women differ than symptoms men experience. Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack? ..... You know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack. "I had a completely unexpected heart attack at about 10:30 pm with NO prior exertion; NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might've brought it on. I was sitting comfortably in my recliner. The next moment, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion. After that feeling had seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my spine. This continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. I stopped puzzling about what was happening--we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of heart attack happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself, "Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!" “I lowered the foot rest of my recliner, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself "If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else......,but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in moment". I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room, and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in. "I then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the all they made to ER on the way.” “I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like "Have you taken any medications?") but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents to hold open my right coronary artery.” "I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and hospital are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.” Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men's symptoms, but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) heart attack because they didn't know they were having one, and commonly mistake it as indigestion.and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up....which doesn't happen. Your symptoms might not be exactly the same as described, so call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a "false alarm" visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be! Note that I said "Call the Paramedics". Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER--you're a hazard to others on the road, and so is your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road. Do NOT call your doctor--he doesn't now where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistant (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of a heart attack (unless it's unbelievably high, and/or accompanied by high blood pressure.) Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive...
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
It may surprise you to learn that art can be both healing and life-enhancing. The creativity that art making evokes is an opportunity to express oneself imaginatively, authentically, and spontaneously; an experience that, over time, can lead to personal fulfillment, emotional reparation, and transformation. This view also holds that the creative process, in and of itself, can be a health-enhancing and growth-producing experience. The Dale Association’s PROS Center for Wellness and Senior Centre welcome 2013 Niagara Art Trail visitors to 33 Ontario Street, Lockport on Friday, November 22nd from 4:00 – 6:30pm. Art will be on display and hand-crafted, affordable gifts will be on sale. And, perhaps the most unique feature along the art trail - “Recovery Suite” will be debuting at The Dale Association during Friday nights’ open house. “Recovery Suite” is a work in process for guitar and percussion and will include a mix of original tunes by Jim Caughill. Light refreshments will be served Clients of The Dale’s PROS Center for Wellness explore their life journey through art with wellness counselor Kristin Penny-Dunlap. “This special collection of recovery based art represents our clients’ individual goals and challenges. Our collaborative peer project demonstrates the power of group support through this multi media piece. We invite the public to experience a visual representation of the process of mental wellness and recovery,” says Penny-Dunlap. Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses art materials, such as paints, chalk, markers, and clay. The purpose of art therapy is much the same as in any other psychotherapeutic approach - to improve or maintain mental health and emotional well-being. “Self Expression Through Art” group is creating a piece on values and core beliefs. The “Mood Management” group is using the inspiration of looking at life in a positive way, turning negative thoughts into positive actions. “Telling Your Story Through Art” group is creating symbols that tell their stories. Colorful chalk art, created by participants of The Dale’s Memory Minders Program (social day program for adults with memory loss) will also be on display. Dementia robs many of the precious faculties from a person; however, artistic ability does not appear to be one of them, according to a recent study. This study shows promising results for dementia patients whose artistic ability has allowed them to continue to communicate with loved ones, because it enables them to bypass the language problems and have them express themselves in a different way. We see this at The Dale Association, as well. Quilts, created by The Dale’s quilters will be on loan for the art show, as well. Quilt group leader, Marilyn Harris, is happy that the public will see the unique and beautiful quilts. Artist and Dale painting teacher Toni Bullock will display her work and offer guests a sneak peak at the upcoming landscape painting class (no experience needed – so this is the opportunity for “budding artists” to finally take the painting class they’ve always wanted to take). Handmade items, perfect for the upcoming holidays will also be on sale during the art trail. The Dale Association has long supportive creative arts as a way of achieving positive health and invites the public to stop by during the Niagara Art Trail. Free admission and all are welcome! For more information, please call 433-1886.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Most people with dementia remain undiagnosed by their primary care providers, and families often fail to recognize the significance of early cognitive symptoms. In response, there has been a growing interest in screenings for memory problems. National Memory Screening Day is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), in collaboration with community organizations that promotes early detection of memory problems as well as Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and encourages appropriate intervention. By popular demand, The Dale Association is again participating in a day of confidential memory screenings, as well as follow-up resources and information about dementia and successful aging. These screenings are not a diagnosis, but can suggest whether a medical evaluation would be beneficial. Extensive study has indicated that these screenings are of value to individuals who participate in them. A screening can check a person’s memory and other thinking skills. It can indicate if someone might benefit from a more complete medical visit. It is important to identify the disease or problem that is causing memory loss. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easiest it is to treat one of these conditions. Unfortunately, with an issue as sensitive as Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, there is often misinformation. AFA has provided us with some facts to address some of the more common misconceptions about memory screening and National Memory Screening Day. AFA believes that all individuals should be empowered to make informed decisions to better manage their own health, not discouraged from screening based on misinformation. Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other medical conditions. Who should be screened? Memory screenings make sense for anyone concerned about memory loss or experiencing warning signs of dementia; whose family and friends have noticed changes in them; or who believe they are at risk due to a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or a related illness. Screenings are also appropriate for anyone who does not have a concern right now, but who wants to see how their memory is now and for future comparisons. Questions to ask: Am I becoming for forgetful? Do I have trouble concentrating? Do I have trouble performing familiar tasks? Do I have trouble recalling words or names in conversation? Do I sometimes forget where I am or where I am going? Am I misplacing things more often? Have family or friends told me that I repeating questions or saying the same thing over and over again? Have I become lost when walking or driving? Have my family or friends noticed changes in my mood, behavior, personality or desire to do things? According to a recent survey by Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 64% of individuals who responded to the study thought the behavioral symptoms (such as, irritability, anxiety) of the people they were caring for were a normal part of aging prior to their diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. 67% of these caregivers stated that these thoughts delayed the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, but age is the greatest risk factor. The number of people with the disease doubles for every five-year age interval beyond 65. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia is critical. It allows the individual and their family to learn and plan better for the future. I hope that as you read this article, you will take advantage of the free screening for yourself or somebody you care about (or both). The face-to-face screening takes place in a private setting. The person who administers the screening reviews the results with the person who is screened, and suggests that those with abnormal scores and those with normal scores but who still have concerns follow up with a physician or other healthcare professional. The person who is screened receives the screening results to bring to his or her healthcare professional, as well as materials with information about memory issues and questions to ask healthcare professionals. Information about successful aging, including the benefits of proper diet, physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and stress management will also be available. The memory screening tests made available to participating sites (including The Dale Association) are validated for effectiveness. It is important to keep in mind that NO medical test, whether for screening or for diagnosis, is 100% accurate and any test can produce “false positive” or “false negative” results. However, the memory screening test that AFA provides for National Memory Screening Day demonstrates 80 – 90% or higher probability of true positives and probability of true negatives in reviewed studies – similar to other established screening tests such as a mammography and Pap smear. Please help spread the word about Memory Screening Day on November 21, 2013 from 1 – 4 pm. Appointments are now being accepted for a free memory screening; please call 433-1886 to reserve your spot.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Medicare's annual open enrollment period starts October 15th and ends December 7th. This is the time of year when everyone with Medicare can join or change their health and prescription drug plans for 2014. This includes anyone using traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage. Depending on our needs, you can switch coverage from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. You can also switch your Part D plan, which pays for medications. Any changes you make will take effect January 1st. Medicare Advantage participants should review plan changes as soon as they receive information from their providers. Changes could include costs such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, as well as changes to covered procedures, tests and other provisions. Some plans may be eliminated, requiring enrollees to choose a new plan or default to traditional Medicare Part B. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans continues to increase, with more Medicare beneficiaries choosing these plans in recent years. Medicare beneficiaries should receive their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers. Take time to review the information you receive and look at all of your Medicare options; you may find more affordable coverage through a different combination of plans -- whether Medicare Advantage or traditional Medicare with Part D and Medigap plans. Keep in mind that you may see a lot of ads for Medicare plans, but there could be a plan that's perfect for you that isn't getting a lot of attention with ads and mailers. This is an important opportunity to make sure you are getting the most from your Medicare benefits. Every year, Medicare plans change and so do your needs. It’s worth the time to shop around to see if the coverage is still the best for your situation. A free “Understanding Medicare Plan Choices for 2014” meeting is scheduled for October 31, 2013 at 10:00am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. Learn about the changes to Medicare plans, get updates about enrollment, NYS EPIC, Medicare Part D and the “Extra Help” Low Income Subsidy Program. Representatives from Niagara County Office for the Aging, NYS EPIC, and Medicare Advantage Plan Representatives will be present to provide enrollment assistance and to answer questions.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
They’re age 80 and older, yet they have the memory and brain power of people in their 50s. So what’s their secret? That’s what researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are trying to figure out. A new study found that this elite group of elderly — or SuperAgers, as researchers call them — have brains that appear as young as people in the prime of middle-age. In fact, one brain region of this SuperAger group was even bigger and healthier than a person’s in midlife. The senior study author wanted to know what was different about the brains of people in their 80s who were super-sharp cognitively. For the study, participants in their 80s and older were screened. Only 10 percent of those who considered themselves to have “outstanding memories,” made the cut. Eventually, 12 SuperAgers, plus a control group of 10 normally aging adults with an average age of 83, were chosen, as well as 14 middle-aged participants, average age 58. Looking at three-dimensional MRI scans, researchers were surprised by the remarkable appearance of the SuperAgers’ cortex – that is the portion of the brain responsible for memory, attention and other thinking abilities. While the cortex had begun to thin among normally aging people in their 80s, the SuperAger group had a thick, healthy cortex similar to adults 20 or 30 years younger. Plus, in another brain region important for memory, the SuperAgers’ was actually thicker than those age 50 to 65. Researchers’ ultimate goal is to unlock the secret behind why some people are protected against the deterioration of memory and diminished brain cells that typically accompanies aging. She hopes her discoveries can help protect others from memory loss or even Alzheimer’s disease. Many scientists study what’s wrong with the brain, but maybe we can ultimately help Alzheimer’s patients by figuring out what goes right in the brains of SuperAgers.
Monday, September 30, 2013
According to National Council on Aging, senior centers are a community focal point and have become one of the most widely used services among older adults. Today, 11,400 senior centers serve more than 1 million older adults every day. Some interesting facts about participants: • Approximately 70% of senior center participants are women; half of them live alone. • The majority are Caucasian, followed by African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, respectively. • Compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction and lower levels of income. • The average age of participants is 75. • 75% of participants visit their center 1 to 3 times per week. They spend an average of 3.3 hours per visit. Services: • Senior centers serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network – connecting older adults to vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent. • Senior Centers offer a wide variety of programs and services, including: o Meal and nutrition programs o Information and assistance o Health, fitness, and wellness programs o Transportation services o Public benefits counseling o Employment assistance o Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities o Social and recreational activities o Educational and arts programs o Intergenerational programs • To maintain operations, senior centers must leverage resources from a variety of sources. These include federal, state, and local governments; special events; public and private grants; businesses; participant contributions; in-kind donations; and volunteer hours. Most centers rely on 3 to 8 different funding sources. Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, mental, and economic well being. Baby boomers now constitute more than two-thirds of the 50+ population. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults. We invite you to visit our Senior Center, at 33 Ontario St, Lockport!
Monday, September 23, 2013
What are your personal financial goals? Amid the frenzy of financial demands—such as ensuring the stability of everyday lifestyle needs and planning for a secure retirement – do you also want to pass on some of your assets you worked so hard for over the years to your loved one? Do you have assets set aside for legacy gifting? An astonishingly large number of us, whether our assets are modest or great, live unaware of the power of planning. It is easy to put off future goals when today’s challenges and pleasures seem a high priority. Yet, the purpose of planning, after all, is to protect the people you care about most, long after you are unable to do so. The public is invited to a free seminar “How to Give the Ultimate Keepsake – learn how asset transfer planning can help increase the amount of money you leave to your heirs.” The seminar is presented by Doug Brino, northeast region sales director for Great West Life; hosted by David Gibbons, financial consultant from M&T Securities, Inc and Chris Marra, Lockport branch manager from M&T Bank on Wednesday, September 25th from 11:00 am – 12:00pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. A man from humble beginnings, Phil never thought he would be in a position to make large estate gifts. But as his career blossomed and his wealth increased, he continuously thought back to his childhood and the values taught to him by his mother. “My mother used to say, ‘It’s more important to do good than it is to do well, but if you do well, you must do good.’ ” Phil finds great satisfaction from sharing his blessings with others. The seminar will provide strategies to ensure your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries while having you maintain access to your money. Jessica recently lost her mother. Mom thought she had planned well, but Jessica found out when it was too late that there were many loose ends to mom’s estate plans that cost the family dearly. Now, Jessica is determined to make sure the same thing does not happen to her family when she is gone. Another topic that will be discussed at the seminar is that transfers of assets can be free from federal income tax and beneficiaries can possibly avoid the delays and costs of probate. People interested in attending the free seminar are asked to RSVP to Chris Marra at 433-6733. Assorted cookies and beverages will be served.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Sensory changes that people experience as part of the aging process are often misunderstood and lead to false stereotyping or labeling of a person as confused or failing. Sensory changes can include vision, diminishing taste or smell, or the focus of this week’s column, hearing changes. If you are an individual with reduced hearing, my hope is that this information will provide some tips to aid you in your daily functioning, happiness, and independence. If you are family or friend of a person with reduced hearing, my hope is that you too will gain some ideas about how to help your relatives and/or friends with their hearing loss. And, free hearing screenings will be offered for individuals who are interested. Be aware that as people age, there is a decline in their ability to hear. This age related hearing loss is usually greater for men than for women. The reason for this is unknown, but it is suspected that men have been exposed to more damaging noise during their lifetimes in the military service or in their jobs. People with hearing losses must depend upon others to speak clearly to them because they cannot compensate for their hearing loss themselves. When speaking to a hearing impaired individual, speak clearly and slowly and do not change the topic abruptly. Be sure to face the person at eye level and have light on your face so lip reading is possible. Ask the person what you can do to make hearing easier. People with normal hearing have a wide range between the quietest sound they can hear and the loudness which will be painful or irritating. For the hard of hearing, this range will be much smaller. Sounds may have to be quite loud to be heard, but if the sounds are even a little louder they may be too loud and become painful. Hearing loss is worse for high frequencies; some sounds will be heard while others will not. Sounds may be distorted, heard incorrectly, or misinterpreted. Talk to hard of hearing people to find out what tone is best to use with them. Do not assume that simply making things louder will resolve the problem. Try not to allow your voice to become high and shrill – women should be especially careful about this. When there is a sound system being used for music or an oral presentation of any kind, it should be adjusted so that the base and lower tones are predominant. This will make it easier for hard of hearing people to enjoy the music or understand what is being said. Hearing loss is greater for consonants than for vowels. S, Z, T, F, and G are particularly difficult to tell apart, causing difficulty in hearing words correctly. Similar words such as cat and sat can be difficult to discriminate. People should be aware that even if the sounds can be heard, they might not always be heard correctly. It is helpful to choose a quiet private place with out background noise for conversations. Some hearing deficits can be helped by the use of hearing aids. They must be worn and adjusted correctly in order to help. And, select a seller who promptly responds to your concerns and works with you to resolve fitting and volume adjustment problems. Look for a seller who will teach you how to use the device and be available to service it. Some hearing deficits cannot be helped by hearing aids and the hearing is so poor that verbal communication is difficult. In this case, encourage use of nonverbal communication such as big smiles, waving or demonstrating. Provide items which can be seen and handled as conversation starters. Also, do not overlook the potential for writing to communicate. Provide opportunities for people to participate in activities that are enjoyable but require little conversation; playing cards, doing puzzles, preparing food and taking walks for example. When people cannot hear what is being said, be sure that they know what is going on and what the conversation is about. If there is a conversation that does not concern them, tell him/her the topic so that he/she will not feel left out or talked about. Hearing is important to more than communication. It is also a way of getting signals from the surroundings and therefore relates to safety. People who work or live with a hard of hearing person should keep this in mind. People in the community should also consider that an older person crossing the street may or may not hear a car horn. Hearing loss affects several aspects of a person’s life and the lives of their family and friends. Learning how to handle the hearing loss can be beneficial to everyone. If you or somebody you care about would like a free hearing screening, appointments are now being scheduled for October 2, 2013 from 3:30 - 5:00pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. The screenings will be done by Mr. David Pucci, an audiologist with Niagara Cerebral Palsy. Please call 433-1886 to register.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Qigong is coming to Lockport. What is Qigong? It is an ancient Chinese health care practice that uses gentle movements to promote strength, balance, relaxation, and coordination. It can be practiced sitting or standing and integrates posture, breathing techniques and some mental focus and relaxation techniques. The word is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced “chee” and is usually translated to mean the energy that flows through all things. The second word, gong, is pronounced “gung”. It means accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong means cultivating energy. The gentle rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong, find that it helps one regain youthful vitality, maintain health and speed recovery from illness. Western scientific research confirms that Qigong reduces hypertension and incidence of falling in the aged population. One of the more important long-term effects is that Qigong reestablishes the body/mind/soul connection. When these three aspects of our being are integrated, it encourages a positive outlook on life that helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced life style, which brings greater harmony, stability and enjoyment. Jennifer Pedini, Stay Well Qigong Instructor, encourages people of all abilities to give Qigong a try. She says, “Qigong can interest and benefit everyone, from the most physically challenged to athletes. Anyone can enrich their lives by adding Qigong to their routine – of special interest to me is adults who are looking for gentle exercise to enhance balance, or reduce stress, or improve their overall health.” Ms. Pedini goes on to say, “A free introductory class is being offered for individuals who are curious and want to see if Qigong is something they would like to try. I think they will feel really good at the end of an hour, and want to add it to their wellness routine.” The free introductory class is being offered on September 11, 2013 from 9:00am – 10:00am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport, NY. Each class is $5.00 per session after the free session and enrollment is open with the ability to join anytime. The only “equipment” needed for this exercise is comfortable clothes and the desire to try the slow gentle movements of Qigong. As with any exercise program, it is recommended that you check with your physician before starting any new exercise.
Monday, August 26, 2013
A growing number of persons suffering from major chronic illnesses face many obstacles in coping with their conditions. Chronic diseases are conditions that are usually not immediately life threatening, however they place substantial burdens on the health, economic status and quality of life of individuals, families and community. People with chronic conditions must deal not only with the disease(s), but also with the impact on their lives and emotions.
According to a recent study, 79% of non-institutionalized people age 70 and over report having at least 1 of the most chronic conditions affecting this age group. Those conditions include:
Evidence suggests that a program to help individuals, family members, friends, and care-givers through a self-management program can help improve health. Living Healthy is an education program that is being offered locally – with an aim to increase the knowledge of people living with chronic conditions and teach them the skills to better manage those conditions. The program provides information and teaches practical skills.
All individuals, who participate in a chronic diseases self management program, will learn about the following subjects:
Discussing problems common to individuals suffering from chronic diseases
Problem solving techniques
Treatment decision making
Cognitive management of pain, stress, anger, depression and other negative emotions
Communication with family, friends and physicians
Nutrition and development of a long-term exercise program
A study of past program participants found that hospital stays were reduced; communication with physicians was improved; and participant energy and confidence in their ability to manage conditions improved.
Living Healthy will not conflict with existing programs or treatments. It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease specific instruction.
Enthusiasm is growing for the role of a self management program in controlling and preventing chronic diseases. If you are living with a chronic disease and want to register for a self management program, a free weekly workshop given over 6 weeks is now being offered locally.
Dates and locations include:
John Duke Senior Center
1201 Hyde Park Blvd
Niagara Falls, NY
Thursdays from 1:00 – 3:30pm
9/5, 9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, and 10/10
The Dale Association
33 Ontario Street
Lockport, NY 14094
Fridays from 1:00 – 3:30pm
9/6, 9/13, 9/20, 9/27, 10/4, and 10/11
Monday, August 5, 2013
“I have two doctors - my left leg and my right leg" wrote British author George Trevelyan in 1913 about the health benefits of walking. A century later, modern medical experts echo the same advice: Get up and walk.Walking may be the single best — and easiest — exercise you can do to improve your health in 2013. Not only will going for a daily walk help you feel better now, it will help you maintain your independence and ability to do daily tasks as you age, according to a health professor at Missouri State University who has helped older, sedentary men and women start a walking routine.
Research also has shown that walking regularly can help protect the aging brain against memory loss, dementia, help cut the risk of heart disease, reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults by a whopping 60 percent. And we're not talking marathon walking. The peak benefits come from 30 minutes of exercise several times a week, say experts.
Most of us do need to move more: Only 30 percent of people ages 45 to 64 say they engage in regular leisure-time physical activity, and that drops to 25 percent for those 65 to 74, according to the National Institute on Aging, which has launched a "get off your duff" campaign called Go4Life.
Go4Life is a federal campaign for people 50 and older and encourages sedentary older adults to reap health benefits by making physical activity part of their daily lives. The campaign developed from concerns that, despite proven health benefits, exercise and physical activity rates among older people are low.
"If we want to become a healthy and fit nation, we need to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life," says the U.S. Surgeon General. "Go4Life provides older adults with the tools and resources to get moving and keep moving. We are moving our health care system from a focus on sickness and disease to a focus on wellness and prevention."
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Throughout our lives, many of us are asked to care for another person – to become family caregivers. Perhaps you were called upon after a loved one’s illness slowly progressed to the point where he or she needed help at home. Maybe someone needed your help suddenly after a tragic accident. Your caregiving responsibilities may be short-term or indefinite. Whatever the circumstances, the road ahead on your caregiving journey may seem long and uncertain.
Please know you are not alone. Although you may feel isolated, together family caregivers are part of a large community. According to a 2009 survey, over 65 million people in the United States or 28.5% of the population, serve as unpaid caregivers to an adult family member, a child with special needs, or a friend.
If you look around, you might discover:
· Your coworker cares for an elderly parent at home.
· A family friend might be a caregiver to a spouse with a serious illness.
· Your neighbor is dealing with a family member with end of life issues.
Each caregiver situation is unique, yet all share universal experiences.
Most caregivers (86%) are related to the care recipient. 36% care for a parent. Nearly a third of households report that one person has served as an unpaid caregiver in the past year. Studies show that caregivers are all ages and come from all walks of life, although in recent years the age of both caregivers and care recipients have increased.
Maybe you never considered it caregiving; some of the tasks that caregivers help with include:
· Grocery Shopping
· Preparing meals
· Managing finances
· Helping with medications
· Arranging or supervising paid services
Half of caregivers also report assisting with the tasks associated with personal care, including:
· Getting in and out of bed and chairs
· Getting dressed
· Helping bathe or shower
· Getting to and from the shower
· Feeding the care recipient
· Dealing with incontinence and diapers
It is a myth that most of our nation’s elderly are cared for in nursing homes or health care institutions. Family members and friends primarily provide most long term care at home. 58% of care recipients 50 years of age or older live in their own home and 20% live with their caregiver. Only 11% live in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Caregiving delivered via family and friends results in significant savings to the government, health care institutions, and agencies that would otherwise be responsible for delivering care. It is estimated that the care delivered by informal and family caregivers adds up to about $375 billion each year.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Sensory changes that people experience as part of the aging process are often misunderstood and lead to false stereotyping or labeling of a person as confused or failing. Sensory changes can include vision, diminishing taste or smell, or the focus of this week’s column, hearing changes. If you are an individual with reduced hearing, my hope is that this information will provide some tips to aid you in your daily functioning, happiness, and independence. If you are family or friend of a person with reduced hearing, my hope is that you too will gain some ideas about how to help your relatives and/or friends with their hearing loss.
Be aware that as people age, there is a decline in their ability to hear. This age related hearing loss is usually greater for men than for women. The reason for this is unknown, but it is suspected that men have been exposed to more damaging noise during their lifetimes in the military service or in their jobs. People with hearing losses must depend upon others to speak clearly to them because they cannot compensate for their hearing loss themselves. When speaking to a hearing impaired individual, speak clearly and slowly and do not change the topic abruptly. Be sure to face the person at eye level and have light on your face so lip reading is possible. Ask the person what you can do to make hearing easier.
People with normal hearing have a wide range between the quietest sound they can hear and the loudness which will be painful or irritating. For the hard of hearing, this range will be much smaller. Sounds may have to be quite loud to be heard, but if the sounds are even a little louder they may be too loud and become painful. Hearing loss is worse for high frequencies; some sounds will be heard while others will not. Sounds may be distorted, heard incorrectly, or misinterpreted. Talk to hard of hearing people to find out what tone is best to use with them. Do not assume that simply making things louder will resolve the problem. Try not to allow your voice to become high and shrill – women should be especially careful about this. When there is a sound system being used for music or an oral presentation of any kind, it should be adjusted so that the base and lower tones are predominant. This will make it easier for hard of hearing people to enjoy the music or understand what is being said.
Hearing loss is greater for consonants than for vowels. S, Z, T, F, and G are particularly difficult to tell apart, causing difficulty in hearing words correctly. Similar words such as cat and sat can be difficult to discriminate. People should be aware that even if the sounds can be heard, they might not always be heard correctly. It is helpful to choose a quiet private place with out background noise for conversations.
Some hearing deficits can be helped by the use of hearing aids. They must be worn and adjusted correctly in order to help. Here are some tips on making smart hearing aid purchases. It is always wise to have a doctor test your hearing so you can find out the cause of your hearing loss and your specific needs. Get a referral from your doctor or friends who were satisfied with the services received from a hearing aid dealer. And, select a seller who promptly responds to your concerns and works with you to resolve fitting and volume adjustment problems. Look for a seller who will teach you how to use the device and be available to service it.
Some hearing deficits cannot be helped by hearing aids and the hearing is so poor that verbal communication is difficult. In this case, encourage use of nonverbal communication such as big smiles, waving or demonstrating. Provide items which can be seen and handled as conversation starters. Also, do not overlook the potential for writing to communicate. Provide opportunities for people to participate in activities that are enjoyable but require little conversation; playing cards, doing puzzles, preparing food and taking walks for example.
When people cannot hear what is being said, be sure that they know what is going on and what the conversation is about. If there is a conversation that does not concern them, tell him/her the topic so that he/she will not feel left out or talked about.
Hearing is important to more than communication. It is also a way of getting signals from the surroundings and therefore relates to safety. People who work or live with a hard of hearing person should keep this in mind. People in the community should also consider that an older person crossing the street may or may not hear a car horn.
Hearing loss affects several aspects of a person’s life and the lives of their family and friends. Learning how to handle the hearing loss can be beneficial to everyone.