Thursday, June 27, 2019

Stimulate your Brain with a Hobby

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Television, while entertaining, isn't very productive or healthy for you.  In moderation television is fine, but we now live in the era of binge watching.  Whole seasons of television shows released at once, all at our fingertips thanks to the power of the internet.  Self control is out of the window and odds are we have all wasted a day watching back to back TV shows.  I know I have wasted several days watching my favorite shows, but all that sitting and not moving isn't healthy for our bodies.  There are many forms of entertainment that we can partake in that can engage our bodies and our minds.  Find a hobby that you enjoy the most, it doesn't have to be the most physically engaging thing or the most stressful mind puzzle, just something to pass the time without it being absolutely mindless.

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Image result for painting model kitsThere are many low stress hobbies to try, or high stress hobbies if you're looking to engage in a challenge.  Knitting, cross stitching, cooking, painting, building, puzzles, sculpting, board games, you name it.  There are countless activities for you to partake in, and the most important thing is that it's fun.  

I'm not telling you to quit TV, "cold-turkey" and give up on your favorite shows, I'm encouraging you to engage your mind more often, and try new things!  I personally enjoy arts and crafts hobbies, particularly drawing illustrations/writing comics, and building/painting miniatures.  I'm a fidgety person at heart, so I need to have hobbies that keep my hands busy.

Go find what's fun for you! Life is about experiences, so go try something new, who knows? It might be your new favorite thing!

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.