Cupid replaced by Visiting "Angels" this Valentine's Day!

On a normal Valentine's Day Cupid can be very busy, however this year he has enlisted the help of “Angels!" Valentine’s Day can often bring feelings of loneliness for individuals spending the holiday by themselves, especially seniors living alone. This year Visiting "Angels" are surprising seniors with its “Blossoms of Love” program where caregivers drop in with a bouquet of flowers to seniors reminding them as their “Angel” we are always with them.

Flowers can help brighten up a senior’s day.  Visiting Angels in Auburn is delivering beautiful bouquets of flowers to numerous clients that may be widowed, live alone or their family is out of state during the holiday season. Studies show that upon receipt of flowers seniors experience an immediate increase in happiness, become more engaged in social activity and can even help seniors perform higher on memory tasks.

“Putting a smile on the faces of our clients is a priority,” says Debra Desrosiers, CSA, CADC, Director of Visiting Angels in Auburn. “Blossoms of Love, not only allows our caregivers to show how much we care, but to make someone who may be alone feel extra special this Valentine’s Day.”

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Bea L.
Merrimack, NH

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Ginny G.
Manchester, NH

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Madelyn L.
Bow, NH

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Dorothy A.
Goffstown, NH

Hypothermia and Older Adults

Tips for staying safe in cold weather

The cold truth about hypothermia is that Americans aged 65 years and older face this danger every winter. Older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia because their body's response to cold can be diminished by underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, some medicines including over-the-counter cold remedies, and aging itself. As a result, hypothermia can develop in older adults after even relatively mild exposure to cold weather or a small drop in temperature.

These tips from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health will help older people avoid this dangerous cold-weather condition. When the temperature gets too cold or the body's heat production decreases, hypothermia occurs. Hypothermia is defined as having a core body temperature below 95 degrees.

Someone suffering from hypothermia may show one or more of the following signs: slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness or confusion, shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs, poor control over body movements or slow reactions, or a weak pulse. If you suspect hypothermia, or if you observe these symptoms, call 911.

Here are a few tips to help older people avoid hypothermia:

  • When going outside in the cold, it is important to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through your head and hands. Also consider letting someone know you’re going outdoors and carry a fully charged cellphone. A hat is particularly important because a large portion of body heat can be lost through the head. Wear several layers of loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia.
  • Make sure your home is warm enough. Some experts suggest that, for older people, the temperature be set to at least 68 degrees.
  • To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has funds to help low-income families pay heating bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Applicants can call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project at: 1-866-674-6327, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to the LIHEAP website http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/resource/liheap-brochures. NEAR is a free service providing information on where you can apply for help through LIHEAP. The Administration for Children and Families funds the Energy Assistance Referral hotline.

The NIA has free information about hypothermia, including the brochure Stay Safe in Cold Weather, the fact sheet Hypothermia: A Cold Weather Hazard, and a fact sheet in Spanish La hipotermia: un peligro del clima frío. You can read these and other free publications on healthy aging on the NIA website or order free copies by calling NIA’s toll-free number: 1-800-222-2225.

Courtesy: National Institute on Aging: www.nia.nih.gov

A rich, warm chocolaty cup of cocoa should warm your heart, not hurt it.

For those who want a comforting and steaming drink to help fend off the end of winter, this recipe offers a luxurious cup of hot chocolate with a consistency similar to heavy cream, yet it is still heart-healthy.

The secret ingredient is corn starch.

It’s both “heart-warming and heart-healthy,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at Penn State University and volunteer for the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee. “You’re treating yourself with a very luscious, satisfying beverage.”

Heart-Healthy Hot Chocolate

2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk

1 Tbs corn starch

1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

3-4 Tbs water

Step 1: Mix corn starch, cocoa powder and water together. Do this in small steps to help avoid lumps. Keep adding water until it becomes a thick liquid.

Step 2: Heat milk on high until it is steaming. Stir constantly. Stir in the liquid corn starch-cocoa mixture.

Step 3: Continue stirring the milk until the liquid thickens to preference.

Step 4: Serve immediately.

Courtesy: American Heart Association www.heart.org

Today is National Wear Red Day!

4SM.go red event logo GRFW Horizontal no sponsors1

Today marks the 13-year anniversary of National Go Red for Women and looking back, tremendous strides have been made. They include:

  • Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third of women has lost weight.
  • More than 50% of women have increased their exercise.
  • 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets.
  • More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels.
  • One third of women has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
  • Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day.
  • Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

But despite progress, more work is crucial. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. But what’s more powerful? Millions of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends making a change.

Funds raised by Go Red support educational programs to increase women’s awareness about their risk for heart disease and stroke as well as critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health.

Do you know what causes heart disease in women? What about the survival rate? Or whether women of all ethnicities share the same risk?

The fact is: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!

But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.

There are a several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason.

Since its inception, the American Heart Association (AHA) has lead efforts in research, prevention and treatment of heart disease, providing knowledge-based solutions for people of all ages.

These statistics are used by health researchers, clinicians, healthcare policy makers, media professionals and consumers, serving as a major source for monitoring the cardiovascular health of the wider population. Here are some of the latest findings.

General statistics

  • Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
  • An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
  • 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education
  • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
  • Women who are involved with the Go Red For Women movement live healthier lives.
  • When you get involved in supporting Go Red For Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.

One of the best weapons against heart disease is to get to it before it gets to you. Early detection can make all the difference in a successful battle against the No. 1 killer of women. Women are encouraged to take the initiative in your own personal heart disease battle so you won’t become a surprised victim later.

Schedule a Well-Woman Visit with a health care provider. It’s an annual check up that gives your doctor the chance to spot the signs of heart disease while there’s still time to take necessary steps to conquer it. The Well-Woman Visit is also a great opportunity for your doctor to be on the look out for other health concerns. 

For more information please visit www.goredforwomen.org

Manage and Control Your High Blood Pressure During Heart Month!

Management and control of your blood pressure is up to you, however does not have to be a difficult task. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It's easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor's office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

Control of blood pressure is a team effort. With the help of loved ones, health care professionals, pharmacists and more, this can be accomplished quite easily. One of the most important steps is to make a blood pressure goal and outline ways to reach this goal. If taking blood pressure medication, make sure you take your medication faithfully and stick with the plan outlined by your medical team.

Monitor your own blood pressure by keeping a log and most importantly make healthy choices. Exercise daily, improve your diet by shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to avoid foods high in sodium. Lastly, quit smoking. There are many tools available to help you do this.

For more information on how to monitor and control blood pressure visit www.heart.org

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