Thursday, June 20, 2019

Elder Abuse

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While most people love and care for their elders, it is a sad truth that Elder Abuse is far too frequent in today's society.  Last Saturday was Elder Abuse Awareness day and in honor of it, I would like to bring up the common types of elder abuse.

Over half a million US citizens are victims to elder abuse each year, and abuse can come in many forms.  Abuse is not just physical, but can also be emotional or financial.  Physical abuse is easy to spot, like bruises, scared behavior.  Other forms of abuse can be much more difficult to identify.

Physical elder abuse – The non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.

Emotional elder abuse – The treatment of an older adult in ways that cause emotional or psychological pain or distress, including; Intimidation through yelling or threats, humiliation and ridicule, habitual blaming or scapegoating, ignoring the elderly person, isolating an elder from friends or activities, or terrorizing or menacing the elderly person.
Sexual elder abuse – Contact with an elderly person without their consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts, but activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual elder abuse
Elder neglect – Failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation. This constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be intentional or unintentional, based on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elderly charge needs as much care as they do.
Financial exploitation – The unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside scam artist. An unscrupulous caregiver might; misuse an elder’s personal accounts, steal money or household goods, forge the elder’s signature, engage in identity theft. Typical scams that target elders include; announcement of a “prize” that the elderly person has won but must pay money to claim, phony charities, investment fraud.
Healthcare fraud and abuse – Carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and other professional care providers. This can include; not providing healthcare but charging for it, overcharging or double-billing for medical care or services,getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or for prescribing certain drugs, overmedicating or undermedicating, recommending fraudulent remedies for illnesses or other medical conditions, medicaid fraud.
If you suspect someone is a victim of elder abuse or are a victim of elder abuse yourself, seek help immediately.  Contact your doctor, a family member you can trust, a close friend, and contact an elder care hotline such as: 1-800-677-1116 for the Elder Care Locator.  Your safety is important, do not confront you or your loved one's abuser alone.
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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Exercise tips: Knees

As we get older, our joints begin to deteriorate, and we lose the ability to move the way we used to.  You might be worried that if you exercise with your weakened joints, that you'll only cause further pain and hurt yourself rather than help.  It's a logical fear, but worry not, our bodies aren't like Car Breaks or the Tip of an Eraser where the more you use it, the less effective it is.  The more we work out our joints the stronger they become, the key is to pace yourself and do some warm ups.

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Riding an elliptical, walk on a treadmill, do wall push ups. These and other light exercises are low impact and will warm up your body for exercise. Reducing your risk for injury and help get your body into the momentum of a workout!

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1. Straight Leg Raises

If your knee’s not at its best, start with a simple strengthening exercise for your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh. This move puts little to no strain on the knee. Lie on your back on the floor or another flat surface. Bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

2. Hamstring Curls

These are the muscles along the back of your thigh. Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and hold that position. Do three sets of 15. You can also do this exercise standing while you hold onto a chair and lift one leg at a time. If this becomes easy, you can add ankle weights, slowly increasing the weight from 1 to 3 to 5 pounds.

3. Prone Straight Leg Raises

Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldn’t feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.

3. Prone Straight Leg Raises

Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldn’t feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.

4. Wall Squats

This is a more advanced move. You’ll keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, and keep your back and pelvis against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Don’t bend too deeply. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, change your position. Repeat the exercise, and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.

5. Calf Raises

Stand facing the back of a sturdy chair, other support such as the back of a couch, or a wall bar at the gym. You can also do this on the stairs, holding on to the banister with your heels hanging off the edge of the step. Slowly raise the heels as high as you can, then lower. Do three sets of 10-15. When it becomes easy, lift one foot slightly off the floor, with all your weight on the other foot.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Health and Safety tips: Raw Food Safety

I'm sure most of you already know, but it's not safe to eat raw meats.  Raw meats can contain an array of harmful bacteria and parasites that could lead to dangerous food borne illnesses.  Here are a few tips to keep your food fresher longer, by knowing how to properly handle raw meats.

Proper Storage: Always store your raw meats on the bottom most shelf of your fridge, this will prevent food contamination should the packaging ever leak.  Last thing you would want is raw meat drippings on your fruits and cooked foods.  Make sure your fridge is anywhere between 34 - 40 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Handling: Always separate raw meats from other foods when cooking, especially on cutting boards and utensils. Never place cooked meat on a surface that was in contact with raw meat unless its been cleaned with hot, soapy water.

Cooking Guidelines: Washing meat is pointless unless your trying to remove particulate, all it will do is contaminate other surfaces with the splash.  The only way to kill contaminates is to cook food to a proper food temperature. When you get your food, freeze it unless you plan to cook it within the next 3-5 days.  Fresh beef, lamb, pork, and veal, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, while poultry is safe at 165 degrees, and ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees.

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You might be wondering why some animals can eat raw meat and not get sick, that might be because they have stronger appendix than us.  According to newer studies, the appendix protects the good bacteria in your digestive tract from the bad bacteria.  The reason we cook our food other than it tastes good, it kills harmful bacteria and parasites that might have made its way onto or inside your food.  Generations of cooking our food means we were ingesting less and less food borne bacteria, making our appendix weaker as humanity grew. Some meats are safer to eat raw or near raw like sushi or steak, but it is always best to make sure food is cooked to a proper internal temperature.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Getting Important Resource info

When a loved one develops dementia, it can be a very scary process.  You might not know where to go or how to care for your loved one.  It's this reason that Gulf Coast Dementia Services exists.  Gina Germany had started a non profit, who's goal is to spread awareness of dementia, and make resources available to those in need.  So I and a few board members teamed up and prepared the Resource Guide Book.  It has everything you need, from information about dementia, some steps you may need to take, and a complete list of phone numbers of experts you can call (all sorted in specific categories, no less!)


So now you might be asking, "How can I get a hold of this compendium of information that I need?" Well my dear friend you are in luck, because it is absolutely free! If you live in the Gulf Coast region of Alabama you might have already seen this book at some hospitals and senior care facilities.  If you haven't seen it or don't want to waste time hunting one down, you can call us at 251-445-4204 and I'll prepare a book for you or you can go to GCDS's website and download a digital copy to print for yourself. Just go to and scroll all the way to the bottom of the home page.  There you will see the image listed above with a working button to let you download a readable PDF of our book.  From there all you have to do is press "print" when you open the file.  Hopefully you find this information helpful, and you can help donate to Gulf Coast Dementia Services so we can continue to bring you more resource guides and spread awareness to the troubles of Dementia!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Dangers of Summer Heat

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It's progressively getting hotter as the days get longer and there are some hidden dangers of the sunny days, especially with cars.  While it may only be 70 - 90 degrees outside the insides of cars trap in heat and it can get much hotter, dangerously so.  While a typical, 80 degree, day might be toasty but nice, in a car it would only take a few minutes to get to 110 degrees.  That may not sound too hot to be dangerous but remember, if your core temperature reaches 107 degrees, then the proteins and enzymes in your body will breakdown and cease to function, leading to death.  This is why you should never leave a child, pet, or anyone in the car unattended in the summer.  Cracking a window isn't enough the airflow is too stagnant to get the heat out at a safe rate, if you ever have to leave someone in the car, leave it running with the AC on full blast.

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Cars aren't the only danger with summer heat, asphalt is also dangerous in the sun.  As you might already know, black and other dark colors absorb heat very well and can heat up fast.  Roads and parking lots are exposed to the sunlight all day making them very hot.  Walking across one can lead to a heat stroke if you dont stay hydrated, and could even burn your feet if you aren't wearing shoes. For the safety of pets and small children, please avoid pavement where possible and walk on grass.

Summer is great and fun, but remember that there are dangers everywhere.  Take necessary precautions, stay hydrated, and be safe!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hip Replacements and How to Prevent Them

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Modern medicine is amazing these days, we can repair parts of our bodies that fail, or even gain prosthetics that react to our own muscle movements for our lost limbs.  One modern marvel is the Hip replacement, a ceramic or metal ball and socket used to replace our own hip joint should the bone degenerate or break.  This procedure is fairly common in people over the ages of 65 (370,000 Americans each year replace their hip) and it helps correct the joint pain of a bad hip.  Unfortunately medicine isn't perfect, and at least 10% of all people who get a hip replacement have to have a 2nd procedure to repair the new joint because of mechanical failure, dislocation, or infection.  So what can we do to avoid getting a hip replacement? Exercise of course, keeping your body in peak condition is the best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy!

Below are various hip exercises you can do to build muscle strength and reduce your risk of having to replace that hip!

The Good Morning, stand with your feet spread apart slightly, then bow as far as you can or until your torso is parallel with the floor.  Keep your core braced, don't want to injure your back while you're protecting your hips!

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The Glute Bridge, lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, clench your glutes as you raise your hips til you form a slope.  Hold the position for a bit, then lower.

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Hip Abduction, put a resistance band around the leg of heavy furniture or a pole, and around your ankle facing that object. Spread your legs, shoulder width apart and bring the banded leg in until your ankles touch. you can also do this by putting the band around both legs, and spreading your legs.

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Keep your body healthy and strong, and you shouldn't need a hip replacement, but if you are noticing significant joint pain, go see your doctor and discuss options!!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Spring Activities

Is everyone enjoying spring so far? The sun is shining, the days are getting warmer, flowers are blooming and birds are chirping!

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Keeping a healthy body keeps your mind healthy, and can reduce your chances of developing dementia.  So, lets take advantage of this lovely weather!  Jog for a bit, get your blood pumping.  Make sure to stay hydrated, especially in Alabama, where it's been in the 90s these last few days.  If it's too hot, go for a swim, the water offers great resistance training that is very low impact on your body, while keeping you cooled and refreshed, meaning you can exercise more for longer and it wont feel nearly as draining on your body and joints!  There are many great spring activities that can count for exercise, like biking, roller blading, frisbee, soccer, and even golf (if you use a hand caddie).  What ever you you prefer to do outside, it's leagues better for your health than sitting at home and watching TV all day! Just be safe on hot days and stay hydrated!

Here are some graphics from Ontario Parks showing some of the health benefits of some activities!
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HPHP hiking info