Health Beat – May 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Gardening for Seniors

How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total well being affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com

Health Beat – April 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Home Safety for Seniors

Aging in place requires a safe, comfortable environment that is adaptable to changing needs as people age.  Since aging is often accompanied by physical changes such as decline in vision, balance, hearing, reflexes, and strength, accommodations must be made to the home to allow a person to function safely.  Below are the top suggestions of experts that will help prevent injury.  The first several address the most frequent cause of injury:  falls.  In other articles we will explore more specific recommendations for fall risk prevention.

  •  Place frequently used items within reach. Never stand on chairs or stools to reach upper shelves.
  • Remove potential tripping hazards: electric cords, low-lying furniture (coffee     tables), area rugs, loose carpet.
  • Even out differences in floor heights from room to room by installing beveled thresholds
  • Footwear worn at home should have non-skid soles and be in good condition.
  • Check stairways for safety: treads that are secure, carpeting that is not loose or worn, even heights of risers, take care of any protruding nails, get rid of clutter stored on steps, install secure handrails on both sides of stairs, etc.
  • Install night lights in halls, bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Don’t use chairs with rollers on the legs.
  • Replace handles on doors, cabinets, and furniture that makes grasping them easier.  Bar-shaped door handles are often easier with arthritis.
  • Use non-skid mats in showers and tubs.  Install sturdy rails in showers and a bench if balance is a problem.
  • Inspect walkways and driveways and repair any problem areas.
  • Light entryways, pathways and yards.
  • Install or inspect smoke alarms to assure proper functioning.
  • Check that small appliances are working properly and are in good condition, e.g., toasters, space heaters, blenders, coffee makers, microwaves, etc.  Use of such appliances can be dangerous if near flammable materials.  This is particularly risky in the elderly.
  • Post all emergency numbers in large print near the phone or on the refrigerator, i.e. emergency contacts, doctors, poison control. Program the phone with all emergency numbers and important contacts.
  • Store all medicines safely.   A further Senior Matters article will cover medication safety.
  • Install ramps outside and inside the home where necessary for wheelchairs.

 

Health Beat – March 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.


How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total wellbeing affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com

Health Beat – February 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

I often hear people joking about middle age “senior moments,” as though this is something to be expected as we age.  Behind these jokes is a natural worry:  am I developing dementia?  While it is true that our memory declines as we age, experts in aging have discovered that there are straightforward ways to delay this process and improve quality of life.

Since aging of the brain is closely related to cardiovascular health, the most important strategies involve maintaining heart health.  This means controlling blood pressure, exercising regularly, and controlling weight and cholesterol.  Preventive practices focused on these areas not only prevent heart attacks and stroke, but also are likely to reduce risk of developing cognitive (thinking and memory) decline substantially.

Other important brain health tools include eating a “heart healthy” diet, often also called a “Mediterranean diet”.  This means eating mostly plant-based food: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and legumes and seasoned with spices and herbs instead of salt.  Fats should be limited to olive or canola oil.  Fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice a week, and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt should be eaten in moderate portions occasionally.  Meat and sweets should be eaten not more than a few times a month.  An optional glass of red wine once a day (not more) may also protect.   Following such a diet has been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s disease by 40% as well as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Other important factors in maintaining brain health include getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and “exercising the brain” by increasing social interactions, especially conversation.

We will be exploring some of these factors in more detail in future columns.  Next column we will address the health benefits of growing and eating fresh vegetables and local resources.

Jump! Jump! Jump!

A sure sign of spring is when the kids start jumping rope on the playground and we can expect to see more of that next week following the “Jump Rope for Heart” kick off assembly at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

The program has been expanded this year to include all grades (K through 6) and, while the emphasis is on physical fitness students may also be seeking adult support in the form of donations to the Heart Fund. If you know a student, ask him or her about it.

Coordinator Paula Bailey also says the program this year will include a “Memory Wall.” Students and staff will receive red hearts to bring home. They can put the name of someone who has passed away or who has had a heart-related illness. All of the hearts will be posted on a wall to create awareness.

The program culminates on April 14th with a full day of jumping and related activities at the school. Valley Grange is happy to promote this event and healthy hearts! (But I don’t think Bookworms will be jumping rope!)

Additional information is available at this website

Don’t forget… Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2nd through May 6th and this is just one example of the efforts they make! Thanks also to Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Allen and Miss Saponara for their efforts organizing  this program.

September Health Beat

“Karen’s Kolumn” is researched and written by Public Health Nurse Karen Dolley. We appreciate her support and willingness to share!

September is Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month!

The Centers for Disease Control join other public and private organizations this month to promote eating fruits and vegetables for better health. The vast majority of Americans do not get their recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Consumption of less healthy foods and beverages like soda and fatty fast foods is replacing healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables, especially among young people. French fries account for about one third of vegetable servings among children ages 2-19 years old!

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are more likely to have a reduced risk for many chronic diseases including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Intake of some high fiber fruits and vegetables is associated with lower blood glucose and lower blood lipid levels. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and low in fat. Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher calorie foods can be part of a weight loss program. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy. Diets rich in potassium from beet greens, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Diets rich in Vitamin A from carrots, spinach, and winter squash help keep eyes and skin healthy and help to protect against infections. Diets rich in Vitamin C from peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, and broccoli help heal wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Adequate Folate from spinach and asparagus may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.

All fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables count toward a fruit and vegetable goal. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

At http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov you can find more information about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need, recipes, and tips for adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. As summer comes to an end and fall begins, visit your local farm stand for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. And ENJOY!

Students Exceed Goal and Jump!

From a recently issued press release…

Caleb Rolfe goes airborne during Jump activities

Guilford– McKusick Elementary School and Guilford Primary School students exceeded the goal they’d set by raising nearly $2600 in their recent  “Jump Rope for Heart” Program. The program was coordinated by School Nurse Sharon Foster and Paula Bailey an Ed Tech at McKusick. The program is an outreach program developed by the American Heart Association. By participating in Jump Rope for Heart students learn how their hearts work and how to take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. They also learn about children who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and how they can help them. In short, children have fun and feel good by helping others.

Foster explained she was very pleased how the program reached into each classroom with cardiac education. “The students understand more about why we jump and it was also pretty great that the students got a little over an hour of exercise while having fun and earning money for a great cause

Guilford Selectman Proclaim Celebrate G.P.S Day!

(From a recent press release)

Guilford—Guilford Selectmen recently issued a proclamation declaring April 16, 2010 as Celebrate Guilford Primary School Day, urging that “this day be observed by taking time to recognize and acknowledge the important role Guilford Primary School, and all our schools play in making our communities great.” Noting that “our schools contribute not only to the growth of students but also to the growth and health of our communities” selectmen also acknowledged that “our schools are the backbone of our democracy, providing young people with the tools they need to maintain our nation’s precious values of freedom, civility, and equality.”

Community leaders, teachers, students and parents will gather at the Valley Grange Hall and culminate Guilford Primary School Day with a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM. At 7:30 PM Valley Grange Leaders will present the school with their annual Community Citizen of the Year Award. The public is invited and will be given an opportunity to provide testimonials to the accomplishments and community services the school’s teachers, staff, and kids make.

Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma notes that there is a special irony in that the day is also the day the school’s Jump Rope for Heart culminates. Jump Rope for Heart provides students with an opportunity to learn how their hearts work and how to take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. And they will learn about children who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and how they can help them. In short, children have fun and feel good by helping others.

“The kids have been busy collecting pledges and practicing their jump roping skills,” Boomsma noted. “But this is just one example. It seems like there is always something going on at the school that not only benefits the community but also provides real life learning opportunities for the students. That’s why we chose them to receive this award.”

Jump Rope for Heart!

McKusick Elementary School and Guilford Primary School kicked off their annual “Jump Rope for Heart” Program in some fast-paced assemblies coordinated by School Nurse Sharon Foster, School Nurse and McKusick Ed Tech Paula Bailey. Many of the students remembered the program from last year when the combined efforts of the two schools raised over $3,000 to benefit the American Heart Association.

Chelsea jumping

Chelsea Cookson practices her jumping style.

Students are given a collection envelop and have several weeks to collect donations (with parental permission, of course).  Nurse Foster explained that while there are lots of activities and prizes for those who jump, it’s important to remember the “focus is just what the program name says, ‘Jump Rope for Heart.’ So while we want to raise as much money as we can, we’ll also get some great exercise and have lots of fun!” Students and teachers got to practice their technique using pretend jump ropes during the assembly. Many continued their efforts during recess.

By participating in Jump Rope for Heart students learn how their hearts work and how to take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. And they will learn about children who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and how they can help them. In short, children have fun and feel good by helping others.

One of the rules students must follow is “no door to door solicitation” so adults who would like to support the schools and this cause are encouraged to find a student or contact the schools.  Collection envelopes are due back to McKusick by April 9th and to Guilford Primary School by April 16th – which by coincidence is Celebrate Guilford Primary School Day, sponsored by Valley Grange. Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange finds this “uniquely appropriate because it’s one of the many examples of how our schools and kids are good citizens. We just hope the kids don’t get too worn out from jumping because we’d like to see a lot of them and their parents at the celebration later in the day.”

The Celebrate GPS Program will begin with a community potluck supper at the Valley Grange Hall at 6:00 PM followed by a presentation of the Valley Grange Community Citizen Award at 7:30 PM. The Valley Grange Hall is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

February Health Beat

“Karen’s Kolumn” is researched and written by Public Health Nurse Karen Dolley. We appreciate her support and willingness to share!

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to take care of our heart health?

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The four most common kinds of cardiovascular disease are heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

The purpose behind American Heart Month is to suggest lifestyle changes for improving quality of life, reduce the risk for heart disease, and empower all persons to take action in case of signs or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity-overweight, diabetes, tobacco use, and exposure to second hand smoke are all risk factors associated with heart disease.

The chance for developing heart disease can be reduced with a healthier lifestyle including eating a healthy diet, exercising, smoking cessation, and avoiding second hand smoke exposure. Some suggestions include (more…)