Our bodies are designed to work hard to maintain an even internal temperature. Heat stroke is serious business, so knowing how to prevent it, the warning signs of it occurring, and what to do about heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be lifesaving. The simple, common sense answer of course is “stay cool and hydrated.” Sounds easy enough – but it is more complicated than that.
Understand your risk level. Healthy people can be adversely affected by heatwaves, as can those who are very young and those 60 and better. Some medications and some long-term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and dementia can lead to greater risk. As the body heats up, blood vessels close to the skin open to transfer heat back to the environment – this makes the heart work harder. Sweating takes place for the same reason. In our dry climate, many people do not realize they are becoming dehydrated because the sweat evaporates immediately. For those not acclimated to high altitude, symptoms from heat are exacerbated and may be hard to distinguish from altitude sickness. Residences may remain quite warm at night if they heat up during the day. When it fails to cool down sufficiently at night, this places greater stress on the body. Even during rest, at 85 degrees, the body can lose nearly a half-gallon of water overnight.
Signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
What to do. If you, or someone you are with, is experiencing mild heat exhaustion symptoms, try to cool down. Basic first steps – Get into shade. Sit or lie down and raise feet. Take fluids. Place cool cloths or packs on armpits, wrists, ankles, the back of the neck. Heat exhaustion that cannot be alleviated may be a symptom of heat stroke that may require immediate medical intervention.
The caregivers in our community are important – and deserve to be celebrated by us all. They don’t stand up after every long day and say “ta-da” – but they certainly could. Caregivers provide an astonishing array of services across an almost unlimited range of needs. They help many individuals remain more independent by providing smaller degrees of assistance. At the other end of the spectrum, they bring a warm heart and critical skills into very difficult situations where all hope has been otherwise erased for individuals and families facing the crushing array of losses that life can bring to us.
A recent study examined supports that family caregivers deemed important for them to maintain their own wellbeing. It showed women are more often caregivers (60%) and that caregivers have more chronic health conditions than their non-caregiving peers. Caregiver supports that they deemed valuable include:
ASI’s website provides information on our support programs and a wide variety of resources for wellness and aging, including caregiver resource information. One aspect of ASI’s programs that support community caregivers is our Medical Alert Monitoring. This program provides essential material aid for monitor units and fees to consumers and their families for greater assurance of security in case of emergency. Our Meals on Wheels program also supports caregivers locally.
If you or someone you know needs a medical monitoring device or Meals on Wheels services, you can contact us at ASI to find out more. Our site also provides information about other ASI programs in Archuleta County and contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.
The recent upswing in computer attacks serves to remind us that everyone can experience phishing, ransomware, or other theft of your data. Once a hacker has your data, it is not simply a matter of “getting it back” or “recovering” your images, accounting, correspondence, and whatever else you keep on your devices. That data is now Free Range – it is out in the world and cannot be pulled back. If that data includes access to your banking and investments, you may really be sunk.
A false sense of security may be fostered through backups and cyber insurance. For those individuals and companies who go to great lengths to protect their information, they are likely to discover that backups are equally corrupted by malware and/or their cyber insurance does not cover them for the event they have experienced. Create a series of backups that are separate from your device (and family or business networks) and secure the backups in a safe (preferably fire and waterproof) location – best practice is a separate backup drive combined with a backup in the cloud. To learn more about how to go about protecting your data, the pictures of your family and friends, your bank accounts, and everything else digital in your life, the FTC provides free tips for consumers and businesses at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/. You can search by topic and get up-to-date, easy to follow instructions.
Our website provides information about ASI programs here in Pagosa Springs, as well as resources for wellness and aging. Our site also provides information about other ASI programs in Archuleta County and contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and Meals on Wheels.
We’ve mentioned music before as a means of boosting our well-being. Turns out, part of that positive impact is that music helps improve sleep – something that improves well-being in its own right. Sleep disturbances affect more than 40% of adults 65 and better, up to 70% in some study groups. Poor sleep impacts physical and mental health, and processes from cognitive functioning to balance – resulting in increased accidents and other issues.
Music therapy is evidence-based and is used in therapeutic interventions. Studies on this subject have been found to agree that older adults who engage in music therapy experience “significantly better sleep quality than those who did not listen to music.” Calmer, slower-tempo melodic music provided the best results. The positive effects also increased in those who enjoyed music for more than four weeks. They reported longer-lasting sleep quality improvement.
But you don’t have to be a practitioner to gain the benefits of having music in your life. If you’ve let your favorite music fall out of your life, for any reason, considering easing it back into your day as a safe, effective, and easy remedy that can boost other aspects of your day. Caregivers can provide the bridge for many key activities, including finding out what music that person likes and bringing that into the daily environment.
Our website provides information about ASI programs here in Pagosa Springs, as well as resources for wellness and aging. You can also use our website to learn more about The Community Café for take-out and Meals on Wheels.
Whether you are a caregiver for a family member, for a job, to answer to your passion for helping others, or for all these reasons, there is no denying that you need a strong dedication to meet the challenges you face each day. Good information can support you and help you be successful in your work and, in turn, in maintaining a positive approach over the long haul.
Archuleta Seniors Inc (ASI) outreach includes caregiver and family member engagement and resources for wellness, aging, activities, and education. We provide ongoing material aid support for monitor units and fees for medical alert monitoring systems. While we are unable to keep the Center open for in-house dining and social activities, our ability to provide meals does decrease the isolation that those we serve are experiencing. You can contact us through our website, or by calling 970-264-9167, to get information about meals for adults 60 and better and their caregivers.
A key ally in our community service and caregiver support network for Pagosa Springs is the Mather Institute. They provide up-to-date, free industry information, ranging from facts sheets to papers and reports. You can learn more about trends, innovations, resilience, workforce wellness, and other helpful information at: Mather.
You can go also link to Mather through our website to learn more about caregiver and other resources. And you can learn about ASI programs here in Pagosa Springs, find resources for wellness and aging, and make reservations with The Community Café for take-out and Meals on Wheels at: http://www.psseniors.org/.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is where scams in the U.S. are reported and investigated, and with any luck resolved. Back in 2014, the FTC launched Pass it On based on a pair of simple truths:
• Most older adults are active and engaged in their communities; and
• Sharing what you know can help protect others in your community.
This approach is working – far from being the vulnerable victims that most people perceive older Americans to be, the FTC reports that:
• Older adults are the least likely of any age group to report losing money to scams.
• Consumers who are 60 and better spot and reported fraud before losing money at nearly twice the rate of people between 20 and 59.
That said, the scams that do gain the greatest traction for those 60 and better are phone scams. This type of fraud includes tax and benefits schemes – targeting those aspects of people’s lives where individuals feel they have little control and so are more likely to respond to phone communications. Government imposters ranked second in the November 2020 FTC list of most damaging scams against those 60 and better. The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker reports that bogus tax collection came second in their online survey in 2019. In tax-related identity theft, stolen Social Security numbers may be used to get a tax refund or a job. Thieves posting as members of the Social Security Administration (SSA) hit record levels, up 30% in 2020. The Area Agency on Aging wrote about another government imposter scam – Medicare fraud – in the March 4th Pagosa SUN (Volume 113 – No 24).
What Can You Do?
Here at tax-time, you can foster awareness. Your experience, expertise, and trusted place in our community serve as a force for good against scammers. If you’re interested in learning more about stopping scams, you can download the free, no-registration-required FINRA report “Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims.”
You can learn more about The Community Café, take out and Meals on Wheels reservations, and other ASI programs on our website: http://www.psseniors.org/.