Dementia Home Safety Tips

Dementia is a general term used to describe the loss of cognitive functioning, this includes memory, language, reasoning, and other mental abilities. It is also common to experience changes in vision, depth perception, hearing, and sensitivity to temperatures. Although dementia occurs more commonly in the elderly, it is not a normal part of aging.

Symptoms of dementia can affect a person’s ability to conduct normal activities. They can also pose a threat to personal safety.

Individuals with dementia may get lost in a familiar neighborhood, become confused, forget the name of objects around the house, have trouble with balance, or may not be able to complete tasks independently.  Following these tips can reduce the risk of potential hazards and help keep someone living with dementia safe at home:

  • Display emergency numbers and your loved one’s home address near all telephones.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home, and make sure they are in working order.
  • Avoid clutter.
  • Keep plastic bags out of reach.
  • Remove or lock up all guns or weapons.
  • Install safety locks on guns or remove ammunition.
  • Keep all medications in a locked cabinet or drawer.
  • Install grab bars in showers, bathtubs, and on toilets.
  • Secure large furniture to prevent tipping.
  • Mark the edges of stairs with neon-colored, glow-in-the-dark tape.
  • Place stickers or decals on glass doors.
  • Place “STOP” signs on all doors leading outside.
  • Install alarms on doors and windows.
  • Place deadbolts or latches on doors above eye level.
  • Keep car keys hidden.
  • Keep potentially dangerous kitchen tools such as knives locked up.
  • Remove the knobs from stoves.
  • Install appliances with an automatic shut-off feature.
  • Throw away decorative food or toxic plants that may be mistaken for real food.
  • Lower the temperature setting on water heaters.
  • Cover heating pipes and radiators.

These tips will help loved ones remain safe in their homes and live independently for as long as possible. As the disease progresses, safety precautions will have to be adjusted to adapt to a person’s abilities.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Sundowning?

If a friend or loved one is displaying symptoms of confusion that occur or worsen in the late afternoon and evening, they may be experiencing sundowning, also known as sundown syndrome.

Sundowning is typically characterized by problems with memory, thinking, reasoning, and mood regulation which present themselves through behaviors such as pacing, wandering, or closely following someone, in addition to more dramatic outbursts of yelling, crying, or violence. A person experiencing sundowning may suffer from paranoia, delusions, or insomnia, as well. Although these symptoms usually occur in the latter half of the day, they can also appear during the morning.

Over 20% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia suffer from sundown syndrome. The exact causes of sundowning are unknown, but physical discomfort, infections, sleep cycle disruptions, overstimulation, and low lighting can all worsen its symptoms.

Managing triggers is the best way to prevent or decrease the severity of sundowning episodes. Light therapy, music therapy, and familiar environments can also help. Additionally, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, or antipsychotic medications may provide relief in some cases. For people whose sundowning symptoms are linked to sleep-related triggers, melatonin can be used to help restore a normal sleep cycle.

It’s important to get a loved one suffering from sundown syndrome to a doctor as soon as possible and to advocate for them throughout the treatment process to ensure that any issues they can’t communicate on their own are identified promptly. Schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center now by calling (718) 670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is RSV?

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a respiratory illness that is typically most prevalent during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons. Most children born in the United States will have experienced it at some point before their second birthday.

The virus often presents symptoms similar to those of a cold, including a runny nose, coughing or wheezing, fever, and decreased appetite. These symptoms usually appear approximately four to six days after infection, but may not appear all at once.

While it usually does not lead to hospitalization, RSV can be particularly dangerous to children if it causes bronchiolitis or pneumonia to develop; it’s the most common cause of both of these illnesses in children under the age of one. If an infant develops either of these conditions, becomes dehydrated, or experiences significant difficulty breathing, the situation could become more serious and require hospital care.

RSV can also be especially dangerous for older adults, accounting for approximately 177,000 hospitalizations in adults over the age of 65.

The virus is usually spread through:

  • Bodily fluids such as mucus, saliva, or droplets
  • Surfaces that have the virus on them
  • Direct contact such as kissing an infected person

The best way to decrease the risk of an older adult or infant developing RSV is to prevent as many means of transmission as possible and promptly get them medical care if their symptoms seem to be worsening.

People and children who are at risk of developing severe cases of RSV should:

  • Avoid close contact with infected people and, if possible, close-contact settings such as daycare centers where RSV can more easily spread
  • Frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and refrain from touching their face until after they’ve done so

If you are sick with RSV, you should:

  • Avoid close contact with non-infected people
  • Frequently clean surfaces you’ve touched with disinfectant
  • Wear a mask and/or cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds

If you or someone you know has developed RSV symptoms that require medical attention, you can schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 670-5486 now.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

World Alzheimer’s Month

This September, Flushing Hospital Medical Center is raising awareness about the signs, symptoms, and causes of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as part of the World Alzheimer’s Month campaign. Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

A person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses their cognitive abilities, including memory recollection and behavioral regulation. In the later stages of the disease, a person can even lose their motor functions, leaving them unable to perform basic daily tasks such as bathing independently.

People can also suffer from multiple forms of dementia at once. This is referred to as “mixed” dementia and often occurs as a combination of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

Memory problems are one of the main early signs of Alzheimer’s, though they may be difficult to distinguish from similar symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may also have problems with word-finding, vision, reasoning, and finding their way around familiar places. These problems may appear or worsen as the disease progresses.

A mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors are believed to influence the development of Alzheimer’s; however, specific causes of the disease are unknown. As Alzheimer’s progresses, abnormal amyloid and tau proteins spread throughout the brain as changes in its structure and functions occur. There’s no clear way to prevent this spread, though early research indicates that regular activity and good heart health may help.

If you or a loved one are displaying potential signs of Alzheimer’s disease, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to receive a diagnosis or treatment by calling (718) 670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Healthy Aging Month

For this year’s Healthy Aging Month, Flushing Hospital Medical Center is taking the opportunity to provide our community with information that can help you maximize your potential health benefits as you age.

Some of the best ways to stay healthy as an older person include staying physically active, maintaining a nutritious diet, consistently socializing with supportive friends and family, and routinely visiting your doctor to prevent potential health risks.

Many people gradually engage in less physical activity as they get older, with half of all women and one third of all men aged 75 and older becoming completely inactive. Keeping up with light or moderate physical activity such as walking or weight-lifting is associated with significant health benefits, including better-maintained muscles, bones, and joints, a reduced risk of physical injury, improved blood pressure, and a more positive mood.

Nutrition also factors into your physical and mental health way as you age. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and water can be helpful for staying active and reducing your risk of developing chronic medical conditions.

Socialization is also important when it comes to your health. Friends and family can act as a safety net in times of need, support the activities that keep you healthy and provide companionship that can help you maintain a positive state of mind.

Finally, routine check-ins with your doctor can help identify and promptly treat any medical issues that may arise as you age. You can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Exercises To Improve Balance in Seniors

According to the National Institute on Aging, more than one in three people, aged 65 and older fall each year.

Serious falls can lead to hip fractures, broken bones, and life-threatening injuries. Therefore, it is important to identify risk factors and take the right steps to prevent an accident.

As we age, our risk of falling increases. This is due to several reasons; one of which is that our sense of balance deteriorates with time. While this may be concerning, we can lower the risk of falling and improve balance by engaging in certain exercises.  Here are a few recommended by the National Institute on Aging:

  • Tai Chi
  • Standing on one foot.
  • The heel-to-toe walk.
  • The balance walk

Balance exercises can help improve stability, coordination, and posture. They are also helpful for building strength.

Be sure to modify these exercises to match your level of comfort. You can also use the aid of a chair or wall for support. Most importantly, always consult your doctor before adding any exercises to your routine.

To learn more about balance exercise recommendations from the National Insititute on Aging, please visit https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/four-types-exercise-can-improve-your-health-and-physical-ability.  To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, contact 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flushing Hospital Offers Tips on Successful Aging

In many cases, how we age has as much to do with our mental attitude as it does our physical well-being. September has been designated Healthy Aging Month, an observance designed to focus our attention on the positive aspects of growing older.

Flushing Hospital understands the importance of successful aging and wants to provide you with the following practical tips to help you improve your physical, mental, and social well-being.

  • Try to remain positive in your daily interactions and distance yourself from the negative influences in your life. When you catch yourself complaining, look to change the conversation to something more positive.
  • If you find yourself bored or lonely, do something about it! Pick up the telephone and make plans to meet someone for lunch. You can also try a new hobby, volunteer your time with a local organization or take a class and learn something new.
  • Don’t comply with social norms and act how society expects you to act. Instead, think back to the age when you were at your happiest and be it.  This is not denial; it’s a way of staying positive, which can help you feel better about yourself.
  • A simple act like standing up straight can make you look and feel younger. Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you holding your stomach in, have your shoulders back, chin up? Fix your stance and practice it every day, all day until it is natural. You will look great and feel better.
  • Make an appointment to schedule your annual physical or other health screenings. By doing so, you can address any potential health concerns and end unnecessary worrying about some of your nagging ailments.

Flushing Hospital encourages the older members of our community to use September as the motivation to use these tools and others in their quest for successful aging.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Vaccinations For Older Adults

Vaccinations for Seniors

Most people understand the importance of getting their children vaccinated. A great deal of attention has been paid to protecting them from dangerous conditions that could affect their undeveloped immune systems. Although much attention has been paid to the youngest portion of our population, there is another at-risk group that needs to be aware of vaccines that can help keep them healthy – our senior citizens.

There are many vaccines recommended for older adults but unfortunately, many seniors do not receive them.  Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences because as we age our immune systems weaken and the likelihood of developing serious complications increases greatly.

There are four suggested vaccines that all adults over the age of 65 should receive. They are:

  • Influenza vaccine – It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of seniors do not receive their annual flu shot. This is alarming because according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 85 percent of all seasonal flu-related deaths are among people 65 and older. Getting a flu shot every year can drastically decrease the chances of getting the flu and the complications that accompany it.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine – Older adults are much more likely to develop complications from the pneumococcal bacteria, such as blood infections, meningitis and pneumonia itself. Pneumococcal disease is responsible for the deaths of about 18,000 individuals over the age of65 each year. To protect against pneumonia it is recommended that all adults over 65 receive a series of two vaccines administered one year apart.
  • Tdap booster – This vaccine provides protection against three conditions – tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. This is especially important for older adults who spend time around infants, such as grandchildren since pertussis, also known as the whopping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be life-threatening to babies. Even if you received this vaccine as a child it’s important to get the booster as its effectiveness wanes over time.
  • Shingles vaccine – The infection herpes zoster develops when the chickenpox virus, which lies dormant in almost all adults who had chickenpox as a child, reactivates later in life.  When it returns it can cause a blistering painful rash. It is recommended that all adults over the age of 50 receive the shingles vaccine, even if they already had shingles. The latest and most effective shingles vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart.

All older adults should adhere to these vaccinations to protect not only themselves but their loved ones as well. If you are over 65, speak to your doctor to find out if you are up to date with all your recommended vaccines.  If you would like to make an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Exercise and Aging

It is never too late to begin a regular fitness routine.  In fact; the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging promotes exercise and physical activity as an important factor in healthy aging.

 

Older adults are encouraged to incorporate the following four main types of exercise into their routine:

  1. Strength Exercise
  2. Endurance Exercise
  3. Balance Exercise
  4. Flexibility Exercise

Each type of exercise offers several benefits when performed on an ongoing basis. These benefits can be achieved by doing a variety of physical activities.

  • Strength Exercise- Helps to build muscle and makes them stronger. Stronger muscles can make it possible for older adults to remain independent longer. These benefits may be achieved by participating in activities such as lifting weights or resistance training.
  • Endurance Exercise-Helps to promote a healthy heart rate and improve breathing. This type of exercise focuses on overall fitness as well as keeping the cardiovascular and respiratory systems healthy. Activities such as aerobics, swimming, walking, dancing or jogging are considered endurance exercises.
  • Balance Exercise-Helps to reduce falls, a problem that is common in older adults. This type of exercise focuses on building lower body strength. Activities such as Tai Chi, walking heel to toe and standing on one foot are considered balance exercises.
  • Flexibility Exercise-Helps to stretch muscles, promotes freedom of movement and in some instances improves balance. Examples of flexibility exercises include yoga, Pilates, bending to touch your toes or stretching your arms across your chest.

Before beginning a fitness routine, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor first.  You can work with him or her to create a routine that is compatible with your lifestyle and health. To receive more information about exercise and aging, please visit the National Institute on Aging website https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Benefit of the Annual Physical

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The greatest benefit of an annual physical is knowledge for both you and your physician.  An annual visit establishes a baseline for your personal health.  Armed with this information, your doctor can detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors.

Nearly one third of the population with a chronic disease is unaware that they have the disease.  According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, as many as 100,000 lives could be saved each year by increasing preventive care services.

Health screenings, such as blood glucose and blood pressure tests can easily detect the two most chronic conditions, diabetes and hypertension before they cause serious health issues.  The Centers for Disease Control cites that seven out of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic disease.  Proper management of these conditions can prevent unnecessary hospitalization.

In order to get the most out of your annual physical, take a moment to prepare:

  • Make a list of your health concerns
  • Make a list of all the medications you are taking
  • Get a copy of your medical records and your family medical history

Dozens of Patient Care Specialists, on staff at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, are ready to provide you with your annual check-up.

Flushing Hospital is a certified Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) in its Ambulatory Care Center. The Center offers more than 50 outpatient general and specialty services for children adolescents and adults.

Flushing Hospital’s ambulatory care services accepts most major insurances, is centrally located and has convenient patient hours.  Call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.