Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Important Information for Seniors About Heart Disease

5 things your doctor may not have told you about heart disease


Every day your heart beats an estimated 100,000 times to move 2,000 gallons of blood through your body. That equates to more than 2.5 billion beats in your lifetime! It's no surprise heart health is a priority for many people, especially considering that heart disease is so common.

One in four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease. More than 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You know you need to eat a nutritious diet, exercise and avoid smoking. However, there's a lot more you need to know to protect yourself and your family. Consider these five surprising things your doctor may not have told you about heart disease.

Heart disease can be caused by a genetic disorder

You may never heard of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a common, but inherited genetic disorder that causes heart disease. FH affects approximately one in 250 people worldwide, but currently 90 percent of people born with this genetic condition are not diagnosed. Individuals with FH have a high amount of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol in their blood from birth. This lifelong burden of cholesterol is a major reason why FH leads to very early and severe heart disease. The good news is that FH is manageable if detected and treated early in life. If high cholesterol and early heart disease runs in your family, learn more at thefhfoundation.org.

Many heart attacks occur outside the hospital

About 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, according to the CDC. This suggests that many people with heart disease don't recognize or act on early warning signs.

Heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or upper stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. 
  • Nausea, lightheadedness or cold sweats.
Know the signs. Trust yourself. If you have any of these symptoms or sense something is just not right, call 911. Or better yet, press your Medical Care Alert button.

Heart disease affects young people

Many people think heart disease occurs in old age, but it can affect people of all ages. Even if you or your family members are 30 years old or younger, you could be affected, especially if you have risk factors like high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease. Keep in mind, each child with a family member with FH has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disorder, which is present since birth. Untreated individuals with FH have up to a 20 times increased lifetime risk of early heart disease, yet 90 percent of people with FH are undiagnosed, according to the FH Foundation.

Children (even infants) can have high cholesterol

Many adults are regularly screened for high cholesterol, but it's not as common for children to be screened, although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children between the ages of 9 to 11 be screened for high cholesterol. These guidelines also recommend screening for FH as early as age 2 years if there is a family history of high cholesterol, early heart disease or known FH. Talk to your children's doctor about screening. FH is characterized by an LDL-C level of over 190 mg/dL in adults, or over 160 mg/dL in children. FH may also be confirmed with a genetic test, although this is not necessary for diagnosis.

You can maintain a healthy heart at any age

Being diagnosed with high cholesterol, heart disease or even FH is not a death sentence. Every person's health considerations are unique, but by working with your doctor, you can come up with a plan to help manage your health and maintain the strongest heart possible. This could include lifestyle changes and medications to manage the LDL cholesterol level in the blood. The key is to keep asking questions, learn about your specific health needs and stay dedicated to your heart health plan.

--Article Courtesy of BPT

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

5 Fantastic Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Practical and fun tips for your tax refund


It's that time of year again when you may find a little bit of extra money in your pocket, thanks to your annual tax refund. There are plenty of practical ways to spend it, such as putting it toward paying off credit cards, loan payments or even starting a college fund, but there is always something tempting about taking that money and putting it toward something just a little bit more fun. Instead, consider something that is both practical and fun that you will use every day and will help you save money throughout the year.

1. Learn something new: Maybe you have been meaning to learn a new skill or explore a subject that you have taken interest in. Your refund is the perfect solution to fund a new hobby. A little bit of cash and a few extra hours a week can go a long way in honing in on one of your new (or old) passion points. Look into your local community college, dance studio, art center, etc. and check out the various classes offered to find one that piques your curiosity. If you are lucky, these courses could turn into something far more fruitful that will last far beyond tax season.

2. Be on the cutting edge: Haven't you always wanted to be the first among your friends with one of the latest smartphones? Often though, it becomes too expensive between the phone, the update charge and the data fees. This year, use your tax refund to purchase one of the latest smartphones and a new wireless plan that allows you to save in the long-term.

3. Plan a staycation: Planning a vacation can be tough with a hectic family schedule. Between working out the details and packing, the planning process can become overwhelming. Why make it complicated when you can instead vacation from the comfort of your own home? Use your refund to have family-based experiences in your hometown - many museums, zoos, waterparks, etc. offer discounted year-round family memberships, too. Even though your staycation may end once the weekend is over, the new membership will allow for family fun to continue throughout the year.

4. Get fit: Have you faltered on that New Year's resolution to spend a few more hours a week at the gym? Your tax return is your second chance at getting into better shape this year. If the gym isn't for you, put it toward trying a new exercise class, or better yet, do it with a friend or partner! Many workout studios give discounted classes for your first session, so you'll have the opportunity to "try before you buy" - and if you love it, pick up a package of classes to reduce longer-term costs. Try exercising more, when you walk, take your HOME & AWAY Medical Alert System with you.

5. Cook a homemade family feast: While you could take your hard-earned tax return to a fancy restaurant, you could also make a fancy dinner right at home. Use your extra spending cash to revamp your kitchen with new appliances and ingredients that will allow for more exciting in-home dining. Splurge on a homemade pasta maker or a brand-new mixer, then work as a family to cook up your very own secret recipe. These purchases and new creations will result in a fun night of cooking for the whole family, but also will be around for years to come!

You work hard all year and deserve to reward yourself with something fun and practical that can bring a little more balance to your emotional and financial health. For more information and ways to save, visit StraightTalk.com.

*At 60GB, Straight Talk reserves the right to review accounts for usage in violation of its Terms and Conditions. Please refer to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at StraightTalk.com. A month equals 30 days.
--Article Courtesy of BPT

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5 Tips to Keep Allergy Sufferers from Dreading Spring

5 tips to feel better immediately during spring allergy season

From flowers poking through the ground to ditching heavy winter parkas, it's easy to look forward to spring. Unless, of course, you have allergies. Then, the path to warmer weather and additional daylight could be marked with watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. Makes it hard to be excited, right?

It doesn't have to.

While spring carries its own concerns for allergy sufferers everywhere, there is relief. Now is the perfect time to set plans in place to help ease your allergy symptoms before they begin.

"People think they're doing everything they can to battle spring allergies," says allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "But many still find themselves under siege from pollen and other allergens that appear once the weather starts to warm up. What they don't realize is that by following a few simple rules they can make life a lot more pleasant, and their allergies more bearable."

As you start your spring allergy planning, keep these five tips from ACAAI in mind. Use them and your spring will be filled with flowers and breezes, not coughing and sneezes.

1. It may not only be allergies. In some cases the symptoms you are experiencing may not be caused by allergies alone but by another complication such as asthma. Research shows two-thirds of people with asthma also suffer from allergies, making symptoms worse during the spring season. If your symptoms include a persistent cough or feeling winded quickly, asthma could be the cause of your trouble. Shortness of breath is one of the main reasons people press their Medical Care Alert button. If this sounds familiar, consult your allergist. Your allergist can help identify the source of your asthma and help treat your allergies to manage your symptoms.

2. Take a deep dive for spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a must for many people, but if you suffer from allergies, it's even more important. Clearing dust and cobwebs can ease your sneezing, but for better results, roll up your sleeves and give your home a deep scrub. A thorough cleaning can eliminate allergens such as dust mites and mold, and clear the air.

3. Start your relief early on. Don't wait for your eyes to begin watering before taking your allergy medicine. Be careful, drug interaction can lead to dizziness, which can lead to falling. A way to help prevent an accident would be by purchasing a fall detection button or unit from Medical Care Alert. Start your medications at least two weeks before the season begins, and they will already be in your system when you really need it.

4. Clean your air effectively. When looking for support to clean the air in your home, don't choose an ionic air filter. These filters require more airflow to operate properly than most homes are able to provide. Instead choose a HEPA room air cleaner rated with a Clean Air Delivery Rate. If you have central air, change your filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 to keep your air as clean as possible.

5. Resist the urge to breathe in fresh air. After months cooped up indoors, you want a fresh breeze, but before you open your windows, beware. Opening windows allows pollen and other debris into your home where they can settle in your carpet or upholstery. As hard as it can be, you're better off keeping your windows closed during peak allergy season. Use your air conditioning to regulate your home's temperature instead.

For people with allergies, spring's annual arrival feels like a mixed blessing. By using the tips above, you can ensure that you have everything you need to make spring great. And you'll do so with less of the coughing and sneezing that can go with it.

--Article Courtesy of BPT

Saturday, January 6, 2018

At 79, She's More Than Just The "Bird Lady"

If you're looking for inspiration on how to make a difference, look no further than Nancy Forrester.
Nancy Forrester and Blue

Residing in downtown Key West, Florida Nancy Forrester is an artist, teacher, environmental activist, and plant & animal lover. She's been rescuing, rehoming orphaned parrots for over 30 years. 

As the founder and owner of Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden, she runs a small sanctuary in Key West for unwanted parrots dedicated to the best care in rescue, rehoming and caregiving.

Take the short walk from Key West‘s Duval Street to Nancy Forrester’s house, and you're transformed from the touristy strip to a residential part of town. The scenery changes from shop-window displays of neon muscle shirts to chickens strutting along the sidewalks in front of small, well-loved homes. If you blink, you'll miss it. But once inside, the world is transformed.

Hats off to Nancy - an inspiration for us all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Avoid Ice Slips And Falls With This Unexpected Trick

Homeowners are liable for snow and ice control and can get sued for injuries.

Whenever it snows, it is common to see shopping center employees and business owners out and about clearing pathways, parking spaces and entrances of snow and ice. But this isn't just good business to help customers get in the door, it is also a liability issue should someone slip, fall and injure themselves. Homeowners, too, face similar, albeit more limited, liability if they fail to take adequate steps to remove such slippery hazards from their property.

Generally speaking, homeowners are responsible for limiting dangers on their property, but in some cases this can also extend to public sidewalks abutting the home. In some localities, Homeowners Associations (HOAs), and governments also require that homeowners clear snow and ice or face fines. A regional survey of county and municipal ordinances conducted by the Salt Institute found that 83 percent have written policies directing property owners to remove accumulated snow and ice "within 24 hours of the end of the snowstorm." Penalties for property owners not complying can range from nominal tickets to misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $500.

Shoveling snow is simple enough, but ice is another matter, and nothing works better to

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Senior House-guests Get Special Treatment

How to prepare your home for older visitors

Whether it's for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home can be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.

"Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations," says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living's senior vice president of resident and family engagement. "Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults' varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs."

Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.

Outdoors


The walkways to many homes are cracked or uneven, which is a risk factor for falls. Make sure the pathway is cleared and easy to see, shovel show in the winter and sweep leaves in the fall. Stairs can be tricky to maneuver as well. If possible, add a ramp that leads to your door. If there are stairs, install handrails on each side. Entryways divided by a threshold can be tricky for someone with mobility issues. Eliminate this common tripping hazard when seniors visit.

Clutter


The easiest thing you can do is remove clutter (especially on the floor) to allow sufficient space for senior guests who may be in a wheelchair to maneuver around rooms. Remove or tape down all cords. Rugs may look nice but they are a leading tripping hazard. Remove all accent rugs from your home, and in areas like the entryway where you must have mats, make sure they are secured with non-slip material.

Light


Seniors need more light than you do in your home, particularly in notoriously dim areas such as entryways, hallways and staircases. Replace existing soft light bulbs with brighter or higher wattage ones and add motion-sensor lights to bathrooms. Adding night lights throughout your home is an easy addition that helps seniors see better, especially at night or on darker winter days.

Emergency Contact Information


Make sure your houseguests bring their list of medications and any emergency contact information with them.  Medical Care Alert offers a free Emergency Information Form you can download and keep handy in the event of an emergency.

Stairs 


Ideally, a senior won't have to navigate stairs, but if you have some in your home, you can make the space safer by having railings on both sides. Railings should be at least 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate seniors with limited dexterity and aging grips. What's more, help each stair be more visible by using contrast strips (available at your local hardware store).

Bathrooms


Make bathrooms safer by adding well-placed grab bars next to the toilet and in bathing spaces. In the shower or tub, add non-slip strips and a shower seat for comfort and ease of use. For guests who are staying awhile, consider adding a handheld, adjustable-height showerhead. Finally, set the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees as to avoid unintended burns.


Room selection


Whether your loved one is staying one night, one month or more, selecting the right room will increase their comfort and safety. One-level living is key, so if possible use a room on the main floor with easy access to the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Furniture, including the bed and chairs, should be at a good height (neither too low nor too high) to be easily used. Knobs can be difficult, so consider replacing round door handles with lever handles.

"In addition to these tips, I recommend having a conversation with your loved one before their stay," says Terry. "Talk to them about what will make them feel at home in your home. What's most important is enjoying your visit to the fullest and spending valuable time together."

-- Article courtesy of BPT

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Safe Handling Your Thanksgiving Turkey

The annual turkey dinner is a seasonal staple. A little extra preparation can make the meal as satisfying and enjoyable as the rest of the holidays. 


Think of the holiday season and answer this question: The holidays are the only time of year I do ... what?

Maybe it's the only time of year you set up a Christmas tree, hang mistletoe or travel to a certain destination. For many, the holidays are also the only time of year that you prepare the traditional holiday meal.

And that can lead to trouble.

Each year in the U.S., one in six people will experience food poisoning. There are 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 patient deaths that can be traced back to foodborne pathogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's especially dangerous for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems.

Improper food preparation is one of the most common causes of food poisoning, and the risk increases during the holidays when people try to make lavish meals they would otherwise not prepare. To help keep you and your family safe this season, The Partnership for Food Safety Education - supported by Cargill, Costco Wholesale and the Frozen Food Foundation - is launching The Story of Your Dinner campaign and sharing safe preparation tips for a holiday staple: the turkey dinner.

Preparing the perfect holiday turkey this season


  • Plan for one pound of meat per person. If a frozen turkey works best for you, allow the bird to thaw for several days in the refrigerator. Generally, you will need to plan one day for every four pounds of turkey to ensure your bird completely thaws. While your turkey is thawing, keep it on the bottom shelf in a rimmed baking pan to prevent juices from spreading.
  • Do not rinse your raw turkey. Rinsing the turkey is not a safety step and can increase the risk of spreading bacteria to the sink and other surfaces.
  • For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole. Because stuffing is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, it's important to handle it safely and cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature (at least 165 F) as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook your turkey to at least 165 F and always use a food thermometer to ensure your turkey reaches this safe internal temperature.
  • When checking to see if your turkey is done, insert the food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
  • Put extra turkey, stuffing and other leftovers in the fridge within 2 hours. Consume, freeze or discard leftovers within 3 or 4 days.

The annual turkey dinner is a seasonal staple. A little extra preparation can make the meal as satisfying and enjoyable as the rest of the holidays. It's also a great time to check up on elderly family members and make sure they can remain independent living at home, and possibly get a medical alert system for them.  To learn more about safe food preparation and find a complete turkey roasting chart, visit StoryofYourDinner.org.

-- Article courtesy of BPT