Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Shivering Cold

It's been some time since I can remember the bitterly frigid temperatures we have been experiencing this winter. As the temperatures plummet it is very important to take special care to protect yourself when you are going to be outside even for only a short period of time.  When temperatures drop and wind speed increases, heat leaves your body more rapidly. The body's natural response to cold exposure  is to use energy  to protect its' core. The body will shift its' blood flow from your extremities (hand, arms, feet and legs) and outer skin to try to maintain the body's core (chest/abdomen) temperature. It is that shift that allows your exposed skin and extremities to cool rapidly.
Most people, especially individuals who work outside, have learned to properly layer to provide protection but even the slightest lowering of temperature can lead to a condition known as cold stress. Cold stress can occur without initially being noticed. Cold stress is an umbrella term that describes those various cold related illness (hypothermia, frostbite trench foot, and chilblain)  hat occur when working in cold/wet conditions.
Learn more about the symptoms, treatments and prevention of cold stress conditions "Cold Weather Casualties and Injuries Chart".

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Time for Recharging Daily

As the old year goes out and the new one rings in many of us make those "New Year's Resolution". For me the more common resolution of vowing to exercise regularly or weight loss are always short lived. By the end of February even those with the most serious of intent get swept up into LIFE and the daily routine of exercise and healthier eating get loss in the one thing many seem to have no problem in maintaining...a life of busyness. Our lives so easily become an endless list of daily to-dos and before we even realize there seems to never be time for self. This routine not only can lead to physical dis-ease but can be detrimental to your mental well-being as well.  
In order to remain healthy, happy and productive, it is imperative to care for self first. Envision the body as a order for it to operate at peak performance it must be recharged. We need to be refreshed on a daily basis to continue to be at an optimal state. It is not a matter of not having time to consider our own needs first but more making it a priority without the burden of feeling guilty for doing so. 
Me-time is time to be with and celebrate self and is different things for different people. It can be something as simple as 15 minutes of daily reflection as you enjoy a cup of coffee or a brisk morning nature walk. Me time are those things which bring a sense of peace and serenity to your soul.
Whatever Me-Time is to you...vow in 2018 to make that time for yourself. Stop putting yourself at the bottom of your to-do list and rise to the top. Take a few minutes to give some feedback of what your Me-Time looks like.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Winter Safety for Seniors

As the temperatures continue to fall, there are special considerations to be addressed for seniors. The colder months presents special risk for older individuals. To name two that come to mind are seasonal depression due to isolation and hypothermia because of poorer circulation.
The colder temperatures can also lead to flares of muscular-skeletal or respiratory conditions so extra precautions and monitoring by a medical professional may be warranted.
 Here are some recommendations from Five Star Senior Living to help protect seniors during the cold weather months.
  1. Due to decreased exposure to sunlight Vitamin D deficiencies are more common in the winter months. As Vitamin D is an important protector of the heart, discuss with your primary care physician if there is a need for Vitamin D supplementation.
  2. Despite the news that the flu vaccine this year is not as effective as hoped, because of the increased health risk associated with the flu for older adults, vaccination is still highly encouraged. Be sure to practice good hand washing techniques and whipping surfaces down frequently. Try to keep hands away from your face and keep sick household members as isolated as possible. 
  3. Many seniors live alone and during the winter months they are subject to spending too much time without social interactions. To help curb feelings of loneliness, use video chat services to connect with others face-to-face.
  4. Snow and ice present an increase risk for slip and fall injuries. Enlist the service of an individual or company to keep sidewalks and walkways clear. If finances are an issue, check with your local agency on aging to see what services are available for senior adults.
  5. Have the proper gear to get through the colder months. This includes winter boots and non-skid sole shoes. For those who use a cane or other similar assistive device, get an ice grip for the tip. Anytime you venture out be sure to have on a hat, gloves/mittens, dress in layers and wear loose fitting clothes made of natural fabrics. Check out FEMAs guide to help keep winter safe "Winter Storms & Extreme Cold".
  6.  Keep pantries well-stocked and when possible have an emergency medication supply on hand.
  7. When possible have a designated person who can check in on you on a regular basis. If there is use of medical equipment in the home that requires power...register for priority status and have your local utilities numbers on hand in the event of loss of power. 
Planning ahead is imperative to help ensure seniors remain safe during the cold of the winter.