Summer Hydration 101

During the dog days of summer, more commonly known as July, emergency rooms across the country see increased numbers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both can be dangerous or deadly. Especially for seniors.

To help caregivers and the older adults they care for fight dehydration, we have put together this quick overview of hydration essentials.

Concern: How much water do you need?
Answer: Health experts advise you to drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water a day. If you are out in the summer heat, you should drink an additional two glasses of water before you go out and keep water outside with you.

Concern: I can never drink 8 or 10 glasses of water in a day!
Answer: Hydration is an important part of staying fit. It helps keep your body in balance in a variety of ways. It also helps maintain appetite control. Try drinking two glasses of water first thing in the morning and two with every meal. Then keep water with you to drink between meals.

Concern: I usually just wait until I feel thirsty to drink. Isn’t that OK to do?
Answer: Thirst is a signal that your body is already behind in water intake. You need to drink water before your body sends that “I’m thirsty” signal.

Concern: I really don’t like the taste of water. Can’t I just drink coffee and juice instead?
Answer: No. Coffee can actually contribute to dehydration. The same can be said for sugary juices and soft drinks. Consider adding lemon or lime slices to your water to help jazz up the taste. Some nutritionists also recommend cucumber slices and mint in your water to add flavor.

We also advise you to learn more about the warning signs of dehydration. The health experts at AARP have put together a great article, Extreme Heat Warning: Beware of Dehydration. http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2012/dehydration-signs-and-symptoms.html It offers some great tips on how to recognize the symptoms of heat related illnesses and what to do if you suspect someone is at risk.

Have you or a loved one experienced a heat related illness?

Celebrating Flag Day!l

We thought Flag Day provided us with a good opportunity to share flag etiquette tips with you. We have researched and pulled together the ten most common rules for maintaining and preserving the honor of Old Glory.

1.The American flag should never be dipped to any person or thing.

2.It should only be flown upside down as a distress signal.

3.You should never have anything – not a mark, a letter, a figure, a number or a word – placed on the flag.

4.The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and with ceremony. As the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground.

5.To store a flag, it should be neatly folded.

6.When a flag is so worn it no longer represents a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner. Organizations such as the American Legion routinely offer such ceremonies.

7.If the flag is to be displayed with another flag, it should always be the first one raised and the last one lowered. No other flag should be larger than it or placed above it.

8.Unless there is nighttime illumination, such as a spotlight, the flag should only be flown from sunrise to sunset.

9.The flag should be saluted as it is raised and lowered.

10.For indoor display of the flag, it should always be placed to the right of the speaker or the stage in a place of honor.

Feel free to share these flag etiquette tips this Flag Day!

Aging & Summer Skin Care: Top 7 Tips for Protecting Your Skin

Many older adults grew up in a time when baby oil and iodine were used as a part of a summer sun regime. That puts them at higher risk for sun damage including skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Over the past three decades, more people have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other forms of cancer combined.

So as we head in to sunnier days, we advise caregivers to review the best ways for keeping their skin safe during the dog days of summer with their older loved ones.

Here are our Top 7 Tips for Summer Skin & Sun Protection:

  1. Always wear sunscreen. Reapply it several times a day if you are outdoors. Check the sunscreen label to be sure, but most advise reapplying every four hours. More often if you are in and out of the water.
  2. Because skin becomes thinner as we age, moisturizers are also important. After a day outdoors, be sure to moisturize your skin.
  3. Avoid the times of day when the sun is the hottest. Try to work in your yard early in the morning or later in the evening. That will help protect your skin from the most intense rays of the sun.
  4. Wear a hat. A hat helps not only keep your body cooler, but to keep the sun off your face and prevent sunburn. If you get the right hat you can also protect the back of your neck.
  5. Wear protective clothing. Long sleeves and pants offer older, thinner skin more protection. There are even clothing lines that have UV protection in the fabric.
  6. Sunglasses are a must. Especially during the hottest parts of the day. Look for those that offer “UV protection” and not just dark lenses. Experts advise looking for labels that say “UV 400”. If you have cataracts or have had cataract surgery or you have macular degeneration, you might want to consider wraparound sunglasses for side protection.
  7. Our final word of summer sun caution… Read the labels or ask your pharmacist if any of your prescriptions make you more sun sensitive. Some prescriptions – and even some over the counter medicines – make you more sensitive to the sun’s rays. That means you may burn and even blister faster.

Are you a summer ‘sun worshipper’? How do you protect your skin from the summer sun?

Discharge Planning: A Guide for Families

Discharge Planning: A Helpful Guide for Families

The transition from a hospital, skilled nursing home, or rehabilitation facility back to your home can be challenging and stressful. There are many critical logistics to line up ahead of time. This guide can help ease the process and may lead to fewer unnecessary re-hospitalizations and a reduced rate of re-injury.

Before you go home:
* Do you know about any medical problems, such as possible infections or complications?
* Have you fully informed your caregiver about them so they know to watch for them?
* Are you aware of what after care will be needed in case you are unable to do this for yourself?
* Will a family member, friend, or hired caregiver be helping you after you are discharged?
* Do you know their availability and what schedule they can commit to?

Medication:
* Does anyone besides yourself know where your medication is located?
* Can you select the right medication in the right dosage?
* Have you fully informed your caregiver about your medication as a backup to yourself?
* Do you have someone who can help you fill your prescriptions?

Personal Care:
* Will you be able to shower and/or use the bathroom or your own?
* Will you need assistance with your personal care to be safe from injury?

Meals:
* Will you be able to prepare meals on your own?
* Have you asked your doctor about diet restrictions?
* Do you have someone to shop for food, prepare meals, and help with housekeeping while you recover?

Equipment:
* Will you need special equipment, like a hospital bed, walker, or wheelchair?
* Is there someone who can arrange to have this equipment delivered to you?
* Do you have the necessary safety equipment set up or installed at home such as grab bars, a tub bench, a raised toilet seat or a 3-in-1 commode?
* If you go home in a wheelchair, do you have handicap access?
* Will you be able to use stairs if needed?

Emergencies:
* If you live alone, do you have a personal emergency response system in place?
* If not, can you get to a phone in an emergency?

Transportation:
* Will you be able to drive?
* If not, do you have someone available to transport you home and then as the days follow to physical therapy, medical appointments, and errands?

If you answered "no" to some of these questions, you may want to consider home care and what options are available to you. If you are considering hiring assistance, here are some helpful tips on what to look for in a quality home care agency.

* Are they owned and operated by licensed professionals who fully understand your needs?
* How long have they been in business?
* Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
* Do they hire only experienced caregivers?
* Are their caregivers employed or subcontracted by them?
* Are they paid "under the table"?
* Is there an extensive reference and background check conducted on new caregivers?
* Do they continuously and systematically monitor their caregivers?
* Do they provide supplemental care in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities?
* Do they offer a full line of services, such as hygiene assistance, meal preparation, diet and hydration monitoring, light housekeeping, transportation to appointments, errands and shopping, and joyful companionship?
* Are their services customizable in terms of schedule and services to best fit your particular needs?
* Does the agency provide 24/7/365 access to a case manager in case of emergencies?

This information is provided as a community service by Visiting Angels of Auburn NH. For more information, please visit: www.homecareofnh.com or call 603-483-8999. Visiting Angels was awarded the "HomeCare Pulse Best of Homecare Award" in 2012 and 2013.

Alzheimer's Disease an Epidemic

Not everyone is aware that Alzheimer’s disease is not just a memory loss – Alzheimer’s kills. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America and on the rise. The numbers are in and the statistics are too staggering to ignore. The increase in Alzheimer’s disease in Americans is now at an epidemic level. Among the top six killer diseases, between 2000 and 2010, there was a decrease in every single oneexcept Alzheimer’s. In fact, the increase in numbers of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease was 68%. See the change in number of deaths for Americans aged 65 and older from 2000 to 2010.

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Source: Alzheimer's Association 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures

Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is not a disease exclusive to senior citizens: over 200,000 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are under the age of 65. Every 68 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds! Please visit www.alz.org/facts for more important statistics. These numbers are a big wake-up call and a call to action.

I need your help. If you are a business owner, your support is needed. If you (or your family) have personally been touched by this disease, again, we need your help. Even if you (or your family) have not been touched by Alzheimer’s disease and you are not a business owner, your help is still eminently needed. As the Regional Leader for The Walk To End Alzheimer’s, we need volunteers and business commitment. Please reach out to me at (603) 483-8999. Working together to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, every little bit of time and funds will make a big difference!

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