The Importance of Preventive Care: Don’t Trust Your Health to Luck

The Importance of Preventive Care: Don’t Trust Your Health to Luck

March is a month when four-leaf clovers pop up, climaxing with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day which was on the 17th. While it’s nice to fantasize that finding a four-leaf clover might bring luck, or believe in the “luck of the Irish,” relying on luck is no way to address health — especially as we age. According to a 2015 article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preventive services are highly underutilized by seniors, despite their potential to save lives. These are sobering statistics: Only 25% of adults aged 50 to 64 are up-to-date on services. Less than 50% of adults aged 65 or older are up-to-date. This is quite distressing, especially since routine preventive services are covered, in part or completely, by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Clinical preventive services can prevent or detect disease early, when treatment is more effective. These services include screenings for chronic conditions, immunizations for diseases like influenza and pneumonia, and counseling about personal health behaviors. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a number of preventive care screenings for seniors, including the following: Blood glucose and Type 2 diabetes Cognitive impairment Colorectal cancer Coronary heart disease Depression Glaucoma Hearing loss High blood pressure Impaired visual acuity Osteoporosis In addition, counseling is suggested with respect to fall prevention and alcohol and tobacco use. Plus, because our immune systems weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases, the CNC recommends in addition to a seasonal flu vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), seniors should also get: Pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against...
Looking for a Last-Minute Tax Deduction? Think S.A.F.E.

Looking for a Last-Minute Tax Deduction? Think S.A.F.E.

With April 15 looming, you’re probably seeing a lot of messages about how it’s not too late to add funds to a 401(k) or other retirement vehicle to quality for a deduction on your 2015 taxes. While it’s never a bad strategy to increase the money you’re putting away for your “golden years,” you may also want to consider making a tax-deductible donation to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports a cause you believe in — perhaps S.A.F.E. Our name says it all: S.A.F.E. stands for Senior Assistance Foundation for the Elderly. We care for those who have cared for us — our parents — by increasing public awareness of the potential dangers a senior’s home can pose to their health and offering services to enable a better aging lifestyle. Did you know: More than 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day? Among those 65+, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths? About half of older adults who are discharged for fall-related hip fractures will experience another fall within six months? Getting help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living? Many falls don’t result in injuries, yet a large percentage of non-injured fallers (47%) can’t get up without assistance. Those are sobering statistics, and they might make you think twice about supporting your parents’ desire to stay in their own home. That’s where we come in. S.A.F.E. provides home modification services that include removing hazards, adding special features or assistive devices, moving furnishings, changing...
Celebrate America’s Pastime

Celebrate America’s Pastime

Does a senior you love enjoy baseball? The sport known as America’s pastime starts to ramp up this month, providing opportunities to visit spring training in nearby Arizona and plan for the upcoming season. Taking in a baseball game is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening, enjoying the action on the diamond and getting a chance to catch up. Spring Training The Padres are part of the Cactus League, which includes 15 teams from the National and American leagues. The pre-season schedule began on March 1 and runs through April 2. Most games are in Arizona, but the April 1 and 2 games, against the Chicago White Sox, will take place in San Diego in Petco Park. The Padres’ spring training facility (shared with the Seattle Mariners) is in Peoria, AZ. Since the Cactus League is concentrated in the greater Phoenix area, you can plan to visit a number of ballparks, even two in one day if you wish. It’s best to make a plan and buy your tickets in advance, especially for teams that draw well, such as the Chicago Cubs. The atmosphere at spring training games is more relaxed and you may even run into major leaguers around the stadiums and in local watering holes. Regular Season The Padres’ 162-game schedule kicks off on the evening of April 4, when they host the rival LA Dodgers. Check the schedule, available on the Padres’ website, to pick out the games you want to attend this year. While becoming a full season ticket holder might not be in the cards, the Padres do have multi-game packs...
Not a Cane Lover? Choose a Walking Stick

Not a Cane Lover? Choose a Walking Stick

We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll say it again: getting older is not for sissies. One of the many things that can frustrate seniors is not being able to easily do things that were a breeze when they were younger. While it’s not a problem to give up some things — like sitting Indian-style on the floor, for instance — no one wants to have their mobility affected by nothing more than the passage of time. Even minus medical issues like arthritis, many seniors may find themselves struggling to maintain their balance while walking, but most will stubbornly refuse to use a cane, which they see as an old person’s tool. Failing to use a walking aid due to stubbornness can be a recipe for disaster, because falls taken by older people can result in serious medical problems. At S.A.F.E., we started thinking about alternatives to using a cane and stumbled on something we find rather brilliant. What about using a walking stick instead? Walking sticks come in many styles, and because they look a lot less clinical than canes, seniors may consider them to be more of a fashion statement or embellishment than a medical device. As long as they sport a plastic tip — an important stabilizing element — a walking stick may be the perfect solution for a cane-phobic senior. There may even be some medical benefits to using a walking stick, as noted by Linda Joy Mendelsohn, M.D., a doctor in Cochecton, NY. She wrote the following in Am Fam Physician: “For several reasons, I wholeheartedly agree that a walking stick is better...
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