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Fall Prevention

 

Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not. Most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk.

Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

Every year on the first day of fall, we celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day to bring attention to this growing public health issue. To promote greater awareness and understanding here are 10 common myths—and the reality—about older adult falls:

 Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.

Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” But the truth is that 1 in 3 older adults—about 12 million—fall every year in the U.S.

 Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.

Reality: Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

 Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.

Reality: Some people believe that the best way to prevent falls is to stay at home and limit activity. Not true. Performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.

 Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.

 Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.

 Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.

 Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you’ve been a “couch potato” your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls.

Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.

Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many different ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications.

 Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.

Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your optometrist for a referral.

 Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.

Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you in its safe use.

 Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.

Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort. Bring it up with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help. They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling.

 Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parent, spouse, or other older adult if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings, and it’s none of my business.

Reality: Let them know about your concerns and offer support to help them maintain the highest degree of independence possible. There are many things you can do, including removing hazards in the home, finding a fall prevention program in the community, or setting up a vision exam.

Learn more about falls prevention at www.ncoa.org/FallsPrevention.

 

© 2013 National Council on Aging. All Rights Reserved. www.ncoa.org

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New Medicare cards are on the way

Have you ever notices that your Medicare card number is a social security number, usually your own? It is important to safeguard this number against identity theft and never give it to strangers over the phone. So why doesn’t Medicare just change the number. Well, Medicare is changing the number. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing out new cards to beneficiaries with an 11-digit combination of letters and numbers that has nothing to do with your social security number. CMS will stagger these mailings, and by April 2019, all Medicare beneficiaries will have their new cards. You will not need to do anything to receive your new card. It will be sent via mail.

Having your Social Security number removed from your Medicare card helps fight medical identity theft and protect your medical and financial information. But even with these changes, scammers will still look for ways to take what doesn’t belong to them. Here are some ways to avoid Medicare scams:

  • Is someone calling, claiming to be from Medicare, and asking for your Social Security number or bank information? Hang up. That’s a scam. First, Medicare won’t call you. Second, Medicare will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.
  • Is someone asking you to pay for your new card? That’s a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
  • Is someone threatening to cancel your benefits if you don’t give up information or money? Also a scam. New Medicare cards will be mailed out to you automatically. There won’t be any changes to your benefits.

For more information and to report suspected scams contact AgeSmart Community Resources at

1-800-326-3221.  AgeSmart Community Resources is your local Area Agency on Aging.

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Thank You to our Sponsors

 

AgeSmart Community Resources wishes to thank the following Organizations for supporting the 2017 Healthy Living Expo.

Thanks to your sponsorship, support and participation this year’s Healthy Living Expo will be exceptional.

 

 

                                                                

                                                          

 

                                                                                  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

                                                                                                                                         

 

                                                                                                                   

 

                                                                                                                                         

 

 

                                                                                  

                                                                                

                                                                                                      State Representative Jay Hoffman

 

                     

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What does repealing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare mean for you?

If you are receiving Medicare benefits you can expect to see changes if the Affordable Care Act(ACA)/Obamacare is repealed.  When the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was first enacted it added enhancements to existing Medicare benefits.

  • The ACA significantly decreased the number of uninsured. A repeal of the ACA would once again increase the number of uninsured passing that cost on to hospitals, doctors, other providers and patients including people on Medicare.  Expect an increase in Medicare Part A and B deductibles and copayments.
  • The ACA added Preventive Services at no cost to you. If the ACA is repealed, expect to pay for your annual Well Visit, PSA Test, Mammogram and flu and pneumonia vaccines, among many others.
  • The ACA has been lowering the cost of the doughnut hole. If the ACA is repealed it means the return of the doughnut hole. For those in the doughnut hole they may have to again pay 100% of the cost of their prescriptions, as they did prior to the ACA.

For more information:

National Associations of Area Agencies on Aging:

http://www.n4a.org/files/ACA_PolicyBrief_Jan2017_final.pdf

Kaiser Family Foundation:

http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/what-are-the-implications-of-repealing-the-affordable-care-act-for-medicare-spending-and-beneficiaries/

 

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From the Collinsville Faith in Action Director’s Chair

Traveling for Pizza
By Lori Fry

A past episode of the popular sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” featured two main characters traveling a good distance to purchase pizza on a whim. When my hometown pizza restaurant closed due to retirement of the owner, I believe the show’s antics gave me the start I needed to embark on my own pizza journey. I can’t say I traveled as far as the main characters, but I did make a memorable trip to Southern Illinois.

My pizza place was one of those single owner with a dream kind of places. Every small town has one or maybe two. I am sure everyone in town was related to someone who worked there, the owner, or had some other direct connection to the restaurant. My connection was the owner was a friend’s uncle and we all heard about the place daily at school. My real reason for visiting the place so regularly was much more direct. I am sorry to say my mother was a terrible cook and we had a standing order for two large pizzas every Friday night to avoid the kitchen.

As in many small towns, any member of my family could walk in and pick up the pizza with or without cash. They knew us by sight. Record keeping was informal. The owner knew someone would come in eventually and pay the bill – or bills. A bad week found me there two or three times for comfort food. I could say it was my second home, but that would be stretching the truth. It was certainly my hideout from the world.

When I heard the place was closing, I spent a good deal of time on Facebook with high school friends determining the final day and who was available to meet me for dinner. I anguished for a week to make time for the “road trip”. The thought of missing out on one last pizza was pretty daunting. I am embarrassed to say I lost a little sleep mentally moving my schedule to fit this dinner in.

In the end, I made it there for one last pepperoni, mushroom and onions. My husband, mother and brother were with me for this milestone. I took pictures to paste online for my many friends too far away to make the trip. The longtime waitress, Ruthie, remembered me vaguely and was shocked that we had driven “from St. Louis” to eat pizza. Hometown folks were coming and going with their carry outs and I saw several customers that I knew. All in all it was a good day.

I can’t help but wonder why I put so much effort into some pizza. We have pizza of some sort at many restaurants in Collinsville. The pizza wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered it. The folks I ended up eating with I see regularly. I visit my hometown and friends there fairly often – so that’s not it.

Maybe it was just the memory of something good – happy times. I wonder how often simply getting out and about can bring up memories long forgotten. I’ve said for the last year that the Elder Connection “just ate at restaurants this year”. After this trip, I can’t help but remember all the stories Elder Connection members were telling over dinner -all the happy times. I guess I shouldn’t say the Elder Connection “just ate out”. I should say they made memories in the midst of old ones. I finally get why eating out together is so important. Let’s get some pie together. I bet one of us has a story to go with it.

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Healthy Eating for Thanksgiving

It is the holiday season once again; which means loads of tasty food. Thanksgiving only comes around once a year and often we over indulge. So, what is the harm in splurging, right? According to WebMD the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. While this seems like a minimal amount, without increased exercise it does not get taken off throughout the year. With a small amount of planning, the guilt and worry of over indulging can be significantly minimized; and without cutting out the foods that we love.

Some foods only come around during the Thanksgiving season such as pumpkin pie or green bean casserole, and it is hard to resist taking more then we need. While taking large portions is easy to do, sticking to smaller portion sizes can allow us to enjoy all of the delicious specialties, and not feel stuffed after we are done. It is reasonable to enjoy a variety of different choices, just be mindful of how much you need to feel satiated. This is a simple step, but is hard and takes a lot of self-awareness to know when you are full.

Along with smaller portions, eating slowly can also influence the amount of food that we eat. Eating slowly gives the body a chance to respond to what we have just put in it, allowing the “full” feeling when the body has had enough to eat. When an individual eats too fast this “full” feeling can be overlooked. Another way to reduce over eating is leaving the dinner table after everyone has finished. By visiting with food on the table it encourages more eating. Instead initiate the clean-up; this will take stress off of the host and allow for everyone to have more time together.

Thanksgiving has good food and it is hard to stop with just one small helping. Using low-fat and no sugar options are a great way to cut out calories without taking away from the amount eaten. Not everyone will use these options, but by bringing one of your own it can take a large chunk out of caloric intake at the Thanksgiving meal. While many may think that saving up our calories for the big meal is advantages, experts say that eating a well-rounded breakfast in the morning can help give you more control over your appetite. This could be something as simple as an egg, whole wheat toast, fruit, and a glass of milk. Putting something in your stomach will stop you from being starving when you arrive at the gathering.

Healthy eating during the holidays does not mean you have to watch everything you eat. Being mindful of your portions, eating slowly, choosing low-fat and no sugar substitutes, and eating a well-rounded breakfast are a few options to decrease caloric intake. Eating healthfully is not always easy during the holidays, but choosing one or a few of these options can help. It is easy to over indulge, but with some planning it can be avoided. So, have a plan in place and enjoy the food, friends, and family; most of all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Domestic Violence and Older Adults

Domestic Violence in Older Couple Relationships

When society talks about domestic violence (DV) the discussion normally focuses on couples that are young, dating or recently married. But, DV can happen in any relationship. DV is an pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power and control. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victimized by a partner at some point in their lives.
Sometimes DV starts early in the relationship and just continues in various ways throughout the entire lifespan. For elderly victims there were few options to leave a violent relationship as DV only became recognized as a crime in Illinois in 1986. Prior to the passing of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) there was little that could be done to get the assistance that is needed to find safety from ongoing abuse.

Rarely though violence can begin in a relationship as they age where there were no indications of abuse earlier. Though no relationship is “perfect” some normal lifespan stressors may exacerbate personal issues. Retirement, increased time together, medical issues and other changing roles can make it necessary to learn new skills to weather the changes that naturally occur.
Widows and widowers may encounter an abusive partner if and when they begin a new relationship. If abuse was not present in their previous relationship they may be taken aback and not know what to do or where to find help. They may be embarrassed or fear being alone again if the relationship ends.

DV is a crime that is mostly committed by men, but women can be violent, also. All DV is wrong. Sometimes there is substance abuse, money stressors, or depression present in the abuser but none of these are excuses that justify hurting someone else. The longer the abuse goes on it may be more difficult for the victim to leave and the abuser often interprets that as their actions must be right. It is not about the abuser not being able to control themselves or their anger; they use their anger to control their victim and get their way.

What should you look for when you think DV may be present in a relationship?

You may have a friend or family member that you think may be in an unhealthy relationship or you may be wondering if you, yourself, are being abused. Do you recognize any of these characteristics?
• Intense jealousy
• Needing to keep the partner abreast of their whereabouts constantly
• Name calling
• Physical assaults like: grabbing, pushing, slapping, holding you down, threatening with a weapon
• Forcing sexual activity, including: intercourse, coercing you to watch pornography, inappropriate requests for unwanted activities
• Making financial decisions that put the families future at risk; refusing access to medical care or assistive equipment
• Isolating you from friends and family.
• The relationship seems “too good to be true”
• Past abuse. The best indicator of future DV is past DV. It may escalate over time or there may be long periods of time where the abuse seems to have ended. There may be a “cycle of violence” with periods of tension, explosions, apologies and even times that seem perfect.
Help is available and it is free!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is an important time to learn the facts. To find your local resource contact AgeSmart Community Resources (800-326-3221) and they can share the closest agency. Together we can create peaceful lives, households and communities!

Information gathered from the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Author tag–Debby Mize, BS ICDVP
Director Peacework Consulting

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Simple tips for lowering fall risk in older adults

Simple tips for lowering fall risk in older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.  Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults.

How can older adults prevent these falls?  Environmental and health factors  can  both lead to falls.  Listed below are some preventative actions that older adults can take to decrease their chance of falling both in and out of the home.

Health Factors:

  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
  • Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update their eyeglasses to maximize their vision.  Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside. Clean eyeglasses regularly.
  • Talk to their doctor about adequate calcium and vitamin D intake—from food and/or from supplements.
  • Do weight bearing exercise.
  • Get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.

Environmental Factors to consider (this list does not include all potential hazards, but is a good place to start.)

  • Place lamps and a cordless phone within easy reach of the bed or often-used chair.
  • Ensure there is a clear pathway between the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Set up nightlights in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Keep a flashlight close to the bedside and another in the kitchen in case of emergencies.
  • Discard all throw rugs.
  • Ensure suitable chair heights, including tub and toilet seats.
  • Double check shoes for proper fit, preferably they are low heels and slippers with non-skid soles.
  • Ensure there is a long-handled shoehorn to assist putting on footwear.
  • Organize clothes and necessities so they are within easy reach.
  • Maintain assistive devices, such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs and others in good working order
  •  Add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet
  • Add railings on both sides of stairways
  • Improve the general  lighting in the home.
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Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provide eligible seniors with resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from approved farmers’ markets.  The purpose of the SFMNP is to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables with low income seniors and to expand the awareness, use of and sales at farmer’s markets.

Low-income seniors generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185 percent of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines (published each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), are the targeted recipients of SFMNP benefits.

In Illinois checks for seniors are distributed at local senior

Facilities through the cooperation of the Illinois Department on

Aging, Area Agencies on Aging and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  In Clinton, Madison, St. Clair and Washington Counties the checks are distributed at the local Farmers Markets only.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program season begins July 1st and ends October 31st.

Applications are available at the Farmers markets listed below.

For a downloadable and printable copy of ‘Illinois…What’s in Season’  go to  http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/WhatsInSeason.pdf

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