By: Dr. Joan Pellegrini
Do you know or live near an elderly person who lives alone? Living alone offers the advantage of freedom but may have a unique challenge of limited resources for help when needed. The elderly are at particular risk because of medications and balance issues that can lead to slips and falls. As we get older we develop balance issues because of hearing, vision, and muscle loss and also degenerating nerves and bones. The falls are more likely to cause a broken bone because of osteoporosis. The elderly are frequently on blood thinning medications and this can cause serious bleeding with a simple fall.
Checking in on the elderly offers a support network that will allow them to stay in their home longer and safely. I have a provided a list of some concerns that you and your family or neighbors may want to discuss when discussing how to make sure the person of concern is safe and has a plan.
-) Do a home safety check to make sure rugs are secure and cords are safe, etc. A good reference is the website for Consumer Product Safety (www.cpsc.gov) which has a checklist for the older person’s home safety.
-) Advance planning and scheduling: who is going to check on the person and on what days and at what time? There are automated calling services available in some areas. If you live far away and cannot reach the person, who lives nearby that can be called? I would recommend at least a daily check to make sure they have not fallen or become ill in such a way they cannot call for help. It could be as simple as a daily test message that requires an answer in a certain amount of time before you or someone else goes over to check on the person.
-) Does this person need medication reminders? If so, will someone be able to check the pill counts? Does the person need an alarm to be set for medication reminding? Do they often forget if they took the pill/pills? Perhaps a check box on a calendar would work in that situation.
-) Is a medical alert system needed? These are companies that offer a bracelet or necklace with a button that can be pressed if the person has fallen or cannot otherwise call for help. A necklace may be a better option because a person having a stroke may not be able to move the arm that is necessary to press the button on the other arm.
-) Can this person afford a cell phone that can be used when they are not in their house? If not, there is a service through the Federal Communications Committee that will provide a low cost cellular phone for emergency calls only.
-) If there is bad weather (too hot or too cold) or the power is out then someone should check on this person to make sure they have what is needed.
-) If this person is your neighbor and you are going to a store, they may appreciate your offering to pick up a few things for them.
-) Should this person have an ID bracelet with emergency contact information? People who need this are the elderly with some memory or dementia issues.
-) Is this person safe to still be driving? If not, what can you offer to help them be able to give up their license and yet not suffer too much loss of freedom?
Each elderly person who lives alone has different needs. Some may need more frequent checking in and some may just need a number to call in case of emergency. Even without a formal plan in place, you may know someone who lives alone and could use a little bit of help or checking upon in times of bad weather, etc.
Marion Syverson was here for this week’s Finance is Fun to talk about what businesses are the riskiest to start.
Food - Grocery stores, in an already competitive filed there is a lot of pressure on prices is shops of this type. Margins, the profit above costs, are typically very small and could be as low as 1% Restaurants and bars are also risky businesses. Often owners are surprised by the high costs of equipment and building requirement for code compliance, licensing and wages.
Stacey Coventry was in the studio for Kristin in this week’s Pet of the Week with the Bangor Humane Society. Today she brought a six year-old pug mix named Bellatrix. Bellatrix is an loving and playful male who is great with cats, playing with children, or just relaxing as a lap dog. Bellatrix’s adoption fee is $180.
If you’re thinking of buying your first home know there is help available to get you there.
Certified housing counselor Heather Massow has tips for first time homebuyers.
Call 973-3500 or log on to penquis.org for more information
On Monday’s I Love My Pet, Meet Dessy.
Dessy belongs to Rob, Kim, Kaleb, Kylee, and Micah of Cambridge.
Her family adopted her in February from the Humane Society in Augusta.
Carol Higgins Taylor was in for this week’s Senior Watch to tell us about an upcoming free training for Savvy Caregiver.
Savvy Cargiver program is geared towards care giving for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
In Friday’s Noon Lunchbreak, Debbie McFarland from the SPCA of Hancock County was here with Jepetto.
Jepetto is a 1 year old Shepard mix. He is full of attention and quite the attention seeker. He would do best in a home with no other animals, and no kids under 12, as he can get somewhat overstimulated and can be too much for other furry friends and small children. He is very sweet and loves to play and be close to his people. He also is very affectionate and loves to go for walks.
Amy Badger of Bodies by Badger was in the studio for another Fitness Friday this week. She stopped in to speak to Wayne about stretching along with your exercises, and how the way that most of us were taught to stretch, may not actually be the most beneficial way for us to do it.
Amy Badger from Bodies by Badger was back in the studio on Friday for Fitness Friday. This week she was teaching Joy and Wayne some more exercises you can do with gliders right in your own living room.
A park in Bangor will transform into a movie theater Friday night – and everyone’s welcome to take a seat.
Bangor Baptist Church is hosting a free movie night at Broadway Park on July 18th.
Dietician Mary Lavanway shows us a salad idea for all those summer barbeques.
Serves: 6 (2/3 cup each)
3 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Cabot® Sharp Light Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Hellmann’s® Light Mayonnaise
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Ground Black Pepper
To learn more about any of the topics discussed on this gardening segment, visit, windsweptgardens.comIf you have a topic you’d like to see discussed with Bob Bangs, send us an email at email@example.com.
In this week’s Senior Spotlight, Wayne sat down with Sadie Marsh, Community Liason for Amedisys Home Health and Cassandra Byorak, RN and Unit Manager at Brewer Center for Health and Rehabilitation. They spoke to Wayne about a presentation on Stroke Prevention and Recovery, which will take place Thursday, July 24th at the Brewer Center for Health and Rehabilitation starting at 11:30 AM.
By: Amy Movius MD
Sneezing. Itchy, watery eyes. Runny nose. Dark under-eye circles. Anyone with allergies is familiar with these symptoms. Allergies often flare in springtime with all the spectacular blossoming and blooming -and pollen production – going on. Allergies don’t take a summer holiday however, and pollen remains the main culprit. The source of the pollen does change though: in spring it’s trees, in summer it’s the more mundane grasses and weeds. Ragweed, a top allergy offender, swings into full gear in August. You don’t have to see it to feel it either, since ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles on the wind. Pollen isn’t the only summer allergen. Summer air pollution – think ozone – can worsen allergy symptoms. Higher temperatures and less wind (=summer) increases ozone. Also, there are allergies to beware of an entirely different kind – the kind that stings and bites and seem to be everywhere in summer. Bees and wasps and other stinging/biting insects commonly cause pain and swelling locally. Some people will be terribly, dangerously allergic to them however, even if they’ve never been bit before. Anyone who gets a rash or swelling all over, even the first time after a bite, should be very concerned. These types of allergic reactions frequently get worse each time they occur and can be life threatening. Staying inside all summer wouldn’t be much fun – nor would it protect you from all allergies. Mold loves damp and humid places, a description that applies to probably every bathroom and basement in Maine during the summer J. Also, dust mites – a relentless year-round allergen – peaks in the warm and humid summer months. They don’t bite but rather eat dead skin cells (gross, I know) and so hang out where people do; in beds, pillows, upholstery, and carpet.
Management of summertime allergies includes avoiding and limiting exposure to allergens, removing allergens as much as possible, using over-the-counter medications, and seeking medical advice and sometimes specialized care and treatment when allergies are more extreme. For outdoor allergies, checking pollen counts is a good start. They tend to be higher on warmer, drier and windier days, and peak midday to afternoon. Exercising inside and keeping windows closed can be helpful on high pollen days. Likewise, a good rain can temporarily clear pollen away. If you know you will be exposed to an allergen, taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can prevent symptoms more easily before they start. If pollen sensitive, wearing a hat and sunglasses outdoors will keep some pollen out of the face and eyes. Wear gloves when doing activities such as gardening and avoid touching face. Washing hands when coming indoors and rinsing eyes with cool water is helpful as well. Showering and washing hair at night and changing clothes before getting into bed will also remove any leftover pollen clinging to you from the day. As for stinging insect exposure, avoid going barefoot in areas they inhabit. They are attracted to bright colors and sweet smells so avoid like clothing and scents in these areas as well. Also, don’t drink from open cans outside (they like to fly in for a sip) and keep food covered. Those with severe allergies should always carry an epi-pen with them as prescribed. For indoor mold, keep prone areas as clean and dry as possible, and use dehumidifiers if available. Dust mites are everywhere and just the right size to be inhaled. Vacuuming and just walking on carpet will send them floating into the air. An estimated 90% of people with allergic asthma are dust mite sensitive. Covering mattresses, pillows (polyester ones best), and box springs with airtight dust mite covers is an excellent idea since we spend about a third of our life sleeping. Weekly washing of all bedding in very hot water and drying on high heat is recommended to kill dust mites. For other indoor areas, floors should be damp cleaned or vacuumed with HEPA filter at least weekly. Laundering throw rugs, opting for blinds over drapes, and avoiding dust mite loving collectors such as stuffed animals can also help keep the population down.
1. Summer Allergies. webmd.com
2. Top 5 Summer Allergens – ABC News. abcnews.go.com, May 29, 2012
3. Don’t Let Allergies, Asthma Spoil a Summer Soiree and Keep Your Green Thumb. accai.org
4. Dust (Dust Mite) Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments. webmd.com>