Making Your Summer Healthy and Safe

By Sprenger Home Health Care

The summer months are a great time for outdoor activity but with it comes an increase in the incidence of heat related illnesses, especially for seniors.  

Did you know that as early as age 65 our bodies are changing in how we respond to heat? As we get in that round of golf, mow the lawn, work in the garden or take a good walk we need to heed and take extra precautions to avoid heat illnesses.

As we age, we don’t tolerate, and just as importantly don’t perceive heat as we did. Because of that we may be reaching for that sweater when everyone else is comfortable in a short sleeve shirt. Take cues from those around you and think twice before adding that extra layer.

One of the most important things we can do to stay healthy is to make sure we’re well hydrated. Our ability to perceive thirst has diminished making this even more challenging. Dehydration can lead not only to heat related illnesses but to falls as well. When we’re dehydrated the chances of dizzy spells and fainting increase.

Don’t forget about sunscreen. Our skin has become thinner so sunscreen is even more important when planning outdoor activity.

Diet and nutrition play an important role as well. Eat light! Consuming foods that are easy to digest as well as smaller more frequent meals will serve you well. Be careful about food storage. Foods spoil more quickly in the heat of the summer. The website is packed with good information for senior nutrition.

Plan your outdoor activities when the air is cooler. Mow the grass and work the garden in the evening. Plan your tee time and take that brisk walk early in the morning and don’t forget your water and sunscreen!

Have a healthy and safe summer!

Nord Warm Line Helps People With Mental Challenges

By: The Nord Center

Did you know that one in five American adults have experienced a mental health issue? Young people also suffer from mental health issues – in fact, one in 10 children experience a period of depression. For people who need someone to talk to, there is the Nord Warm Line.

The Nord Center, with the support of the Lorain County Board of Mental Health, has launched its Warm Line, a free, confidential telephone support service for anyone in Lorain County experiencing a mental health challenges such as loneliness, anxiety or substance use.

The Warm Line is staffed by mental health consumers who have experienced mental health issues themselves.  Having learned to live a full life through their own recovery, Peer Support Specialists want to help others struggling with similar concerns. Peer Support Specialists do not diagnose or treat, but are trained to listen and offer non-judgmental support and shared experiences of hope and recovery.

“Support from those who have experienced similar issues can be a source of great comfort to someone having trouble coping,” states Amy Denger, The Nord Center CEO & COO.  “We received nearly 16,500 calls to our Emergency/Crisis Line last year. Our goal with the Warm Line is to provide support and encouragement to individuals before they reach a crisis point. Sometimes they just need someone to talk to who understands what they are going through.”

Warm Line services are available Monday through Friday, from 1pm-10pm. To speak to a Peer Support Specialist, please call 1.800.888.6161 and ask to be connected to the Warm Line.

Fighting Chronic Illness with Proper Nutrition

By: Chris Phillips, Sprenger Dining Services

It’s projected by the year 2030, 22%of the world’s population will be 65 years old or older. You probably don’t need me to tell you, but this is a large amount of people! In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the same demographic only accounted for 4% of the world’s population at the beginning of the century. Chances are, if you don’t fall into this category, you know someone who does. Someday you’ll fit this category and it’s important to know what you can do to improve not only the number of years in your life, but the quality of those years.

It’s commonly known as we age, we’re more susceptible to disease and disability. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other chronic degenerative conditions all affect the elderly.

There are different techniques and care plans for each condition, but the one thing that can help with all of these conditions is proper nutrition. It will give your body the necessary nutrients to fight any chronic condition and prevent it from becoming worse.

If something like proper nutrition is so important to your health it must be hard to maintain, right? The answer is no!

Older people don’t need to ingest as many calories as younger people due to factors like a slower metabolism, but they do need to make sure they maintain a proper level of minerals and vitamins. This can be done by choosing nutrient dense foods like fruit, fat free cheese and whole wheat crackers instead of sugar filled snacks like cookies and ice cream. Choosing fish, poultry and soy protein foods like tofu will give you your necessary protein. Calcium can come from low-fat milk, calcium fortified orange juice and broccoli. Vitamin B12 can be attained by eating low-fat meat, poultry, fish and fortified cereals. Get your Vitamin D from fortified milk and milk products, and fatty fish. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables for fiber and top it off with 6-8 glasses of water a day.

When preparing food, you should bake your food instead of incorporating other techniques, such as broiling. High heat causes foods to develop toxic compounds called Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products. These AGEs can contribute to hardening of the arteries, wrinkles and stiff joints and should be avoided to achieve optimal health.

Don’t let diminished senses keep you from maintaining healthy nutrition. Add flavor to your food by using low sodium seasonings, such as lemon juice, ground pepper, curry pepper and fresh or dried herbs of all types. Diversity in color and texture of your food can make your food look more appetizing. If you’re having trouble eating, try eating small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals to increase the appetite and stimulate the senses.

One day age catches up with all of us, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Adopt these techniques and you can age well while fighting whatever chronic conditions life throws at you.