I had a great holidays with my family and was reminded of the issues facing the older generation. We can thank them for so much, including making this country a wonderful place to live, for everybody… (I feel it necessary to include a message of inclusiveness given recent political happenings). Share some of the information below with any seniors in your life. It could make a world of difference for someone, or a whole family!

Cold Weather Can Be Trouble for Older People

Cold weather can be risky for anyone, but especially for older people. Winter brings more than just slippery ice and the flu. The cold itself can also lead to hypothermia-a temperature drop inside the body that can be deadly if not discovered and treated quickly and properly.

Hypothermia is marked by unusually low body temperatures, below 96° F (35.5° C). What may seem like a mere couple of degrees can have a devastating effect. Severe hypothermia can cause an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart failure.

The elderly, who often suffer other illnesses or take medications that can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, are especially vulnerable to hypothermia.

How can you tell if someone has hypothermia? Here are a few signs:

  • Confusion or sleepiness,
  • Slowed, slurred speech
  • Shallow breathing,
  • Weak pulse or low blood pressure
  • A change in behavior or appearance during cold weather;
  • Excess shivering or no shivering when cold,
  • Stiffness in the arms and legs,
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions.

If you suspect someone you know might be suffering from hypothermia, take his or her temperature. If it appears below 96° F, call a doctor immediately.

Also, here is some information on heart attacks. One of our nation’s most prolific killers:

Know the Signs of Heart Attack — Then Do Something

Too few Americans get to the hospital quickly enough when a heart attack occurs. The main reason is patient delay. Those experiencing heart attack symptoms should call 911 within minutes – 5 at the most. Instead, studies show they wait 2 hours or more before seeking emergency care.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other organizations recently made available a host of resources to help Americans know how to react to a heart attack and thereby to save heart muscle and lives. The resources, which include a wallet card, a brochure, and a special Web page, are part of a major campaign called “Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs.” All materials are available free on the “Act in Time” web page: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/actintime.

Signs of Heart Attack:

  • Chest discomfort & pain
  • Discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness

My uncle has spent a large part of his life in a longterm care facility. This is because he suffers from blindness. This latest story gives me hope others won’t have to endure what he and his family has:

Blindness Affecting More and More Americans

More Americans than ever are facing the threat of blindness from age-related eye disease, a new report says. Over one million Americans aged 40 and over are currently blind, and an additional 2.4 million are visually impaired. These numbers are expected to double over the next 30 years as the Baby Boomers age.

The Vision Problems in the U.S. report was released by the National Eye Institute. The report addresses the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the U.S., including:

Diabetic retinopathy, believed to be a leading cause of blindness in the industrialized world in people between the ages of 25 and 74;

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness and vision impairment in Americans aged 60 and older;

Cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide; and

Glaucoma, a chronic disease that often requires life-long treatment to control.

A copy of the full report is available for download at www.preventblindness.org and www.nei.nih.gov/eyedata.

Happy New Year one last time and do your best to stay healthy!