Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heat Stroke Can Occur Indoors

Staying inside is no guarantee of avoiding heat-related dangers. That's especially true if the house is overheated. Many seniors try to cut electric bills by not using air conditioning, but that's not a good idea. Trapped hot air can cause the body to overheat, just like working or exercising outdoors.

At the very least, install a few battery-operated fans in separate rooms and utilize the one in the room that's occupied at any one time. Consider closing drapes and blinds to keep out the sun and rooms cool. Also see if local Department of Aging has options for energy payment or assistance programs for older adults on tight budgets.

Anyone who has older loved ones who mostly stay indoors should check in on them frequently during the summer, even if it's just a phone call. That's especially true for caregivers who knows their loved one tends to keep their air conditioning off.

Defining Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Heat exhaustion is the stage in which the body puts out symptoms that it's getting overheated. Unfortunately, many of these signals are rather mild, and therefore most people find them easy to ignore. Among heat exhaustion's symptoms:

Dry mouth and thirst
Feeling nauseous, sometimes even vomiting
Muscle cramps
Fatigue, perhaps feeling dizzy

Heat stroke is more serious. Among the symptoms of heat stroke:

Deep breathing and fast pulse
Hot, red, skin, but no sweating
Confusion, perhaps even hallucinations

Read more at Suite101: Senior Safety – Avoiding Heat Stroke: Advice Specific to Seniors During Hot Weather

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grannies Play Soccer in South Africa

Soccer is everywhere you turn these days, but did you hear about the seniors playing soccer in South Africa?

The 35 women, aged from 50 to 84, play for a team called Vakhegula Vakhegula or Grannies, Grannies in the Xitsonga language of northern South Africa. The team hails from a rural township near Tzaneen, 600 km (373 miles) north of Johannesburg.

The team was founded five years ago to help the older women keep fit and flexible, but the project has been so successful they have set their sights on a trip to the Veterans Cup competition in Lancaster, Michigan.

The team has been invited to play in America from July 13-18 for the Veterans Cup, where seniors come together and play soccer.

Whatever happens, however, the grannies have no regrets, saying playing football, often in their aprons after domestic work, has changed their lives.

Check out more about the Grannies at

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caring for Caregivers

If you or someone you know is caring for an aging parent or a friend who is chronically ill, you are one of 22 million people doing so – according to sources. Caregivers provide 80% of all in-home care, yet are unpaid for their volunteer activities. Here are some tips for caregivers to take care of themselves and others:

Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for professional help from nurses, etc.
Discuss long-term solutions, such as transportation, with a parent before the need arises.
Take care of yourself, mentally and physically, so you can be the best possible caregiver.
Stay informed about medications and treatments.

The web site also provides information about personal finances, Medicare, nutrition, travel, recreation, and other valuable resources for independent living.

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is recognized by communities throughout the world as a time to increase our efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. There are many ways you can become involved in the fight against elder abuse and to help spread awareness. Here are some suggestions that National Council on Elder Abuse offers:

- Make it a priority to visit an older friend or relative, especially someone you haven’t seen in a while.

- Wear purple in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. Purple is the color that has been designated for elder abuse awareness by the International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

- Start an elder abuse awareness group on a social networking site like “Facebook,” and encourage friends to join the group. Provide links to information and advocacy resources.

- Reach out to elders who may be isolated. Commit to visiting an older friend, family member or neighbor who lives alone or invite them to a family activity. Ask an older acquaintance to share their talents by teaching you a new skill, such as knitting or how to bake a favorite recipe.

- Volunteer for a program that serves elders. Consider becoming a nursing home ombudsman, health insurance advisor, Money Management Program volunteer, home-delivered meals driver, medical escort or friendly visitor.

You’ll find more suggestions like these on NCEA’s web site at

Anyone who suspects elder abuse should report it to their local elder services protection agency. Protective Services are designed to eliminate or alleviate the alleged abuse of an elder. Caseworkers work in conjunction with community agencies providing health, mental health and social services.

If you need assistance after hours, call the 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing