Plan to Stay Safe, Mobile, and Independent

The Center for Disease Control asks, “How would you get to the grocery store if you suddenly found yourself unable to drive? Would you be able to get to doctor appointments, social engagements, or church? Does your community have reliable public transportation or rideshare services?”

Mobility is the ability to get where you want to go when you want to go there. Many people make financial plans for retirement, but not everyone plans for the mobility changes that may come with age. One in four Americans now 65 years old will live into their 90s. It makes good sense to plan for what’s ahead.

CDC developed the MyMobility Plan to help older adults address possible changes and stay safe, mobile, and independent longer. This planning tool is aimed at adults nearing retirement age and provides information and tips in three main sections:

  • MySelf – a plan to manage personal health to maintain mobility and stay independent
  • MyHome – a home safety checklist to help prevent falls
  • MyNeighborhood – a plan to get around in the community

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Plan to Stay Safe, Mobile, and Independent

The Center for Disease Control asks, “How would you get to the grocery store if you suddenly found yourself unable to drive? Would you be able to get to doctor appointments, social engagements, or church? Does your community have reliable public transportation or rideshare services?”

Mobility is the ability to get where you want to go when you want to go there. Many people make financial plans for retirement, but not everyone plans for the mobility changes that may come with age. One in four Americans now 65 years old will live into their 90s. It makes good sense to plan for what’s ahead.

CDC developed the MyMobility Plan to help older adults address possible changes and stay safe, mobile, and independent longer. This planning tool is aimed at adults nearing retirement age and provides information and tips in three main sections:

  • MySelf – a plan to manage personal health to maintain mobility and stay independent
  • MyHome – a home safety checklist to help prevent falls
  • MyNeighborhood – a plan to get around in the community

Read more

What can a caregiver do from far away?

The National Institute on Aging shared that anyone, anywhere, can be a long-distance caregiver, no matter your gender, income, age, social status, or employment. If you are living an hour or more away from a person who needs your help, you’re probably a long-distance caregiver.

You may ask yourself—what can I really do from far away? Long-distance caregivers take on different roles. You may:

  • Help with finances, money management, or bill paying
  • Arrange for in-home care—hire professional caregivers or home health or nursing aides and help get needed durable medical equipment
  • Locate care in an assisted living facility or nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility)
  • Provide emotional support and occasional respite care for a primary caregiver, the person who takes on most of the everyday caregiving responsibilities
  • Serve as an information coordinator—research health problems or medicines, help navigate through a maze of new needs and clarify insurance benefits and claims

Read more

Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be dangerous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. 

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take These Steps for Your Home

Many people prefer to remain indoors during winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Cars driving on snowy roadGet your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Car

Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
    • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
    • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:
      • cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries;
      • blankets;
      • food and water;
      • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
      • compass and maps;
      • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
      • first-aid kit; and
      • plastic bags (for sanitation).

Equip in Advance for Emergencies

Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
    • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
    • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
    • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

Children playing in the snow
Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; windproof coat, mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Take These Precautions Outdoors

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone.

Grandson hugging grandfather
Be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.

Do This When You Plan to Travel

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
    • Make your car visible to rescuers. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, raise the hood of the car (if it is not snowing), and turn on the inside overhead lights (when your engine is running).
    • Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area. Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.
    • Keep your body warm. Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Huddle with other people if you can.
    • Stay awake and stay moving. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems. As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve circulation and stay warmer.
    • Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe—this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.

Be sure to visit CDC’s Winter Weather webpage for more winter weather safety tips.

Home Safety and Alzheimer’s Disease

The National Institute on Aging shared that over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease become less able to manage around the house. For example, they may forget to turn off the oven or the water, how to use the phone during an emergency, which things around the house are dangerous, and where things are in their own home.

As a caregiver, you can do many things to make the person’s home a safer place. Think prevention—help avoid accidents by controlling possible problems.

While some Alzheimer’s behaviors can be managed medically, many, such as wandering and agitation, cannot. It is more effective to change the person’s surroundings—for example, to remove dangerous items—than to try to change behaviors. Changing the home environment can give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely. Read more

What you should know about trampolines and bounce houses

Uzma Muneer, D.O.Specialty: Pediatrics shared in Edward-Elmhurst Health Blog that you may want to think twice before taking your kids to the next trampoline park or inflatable bounce house party. Before you know it, innocent fun can result in sprains, strains, broken bones, or even something more serious. It happened recently to a 3-year-old boy in Florida, who fell and broke his femur after jumping on a trampoline with his parents right next to him. The accident left the boy in a body cast from the waist down. Another 10-year-old girl recently broke her nose after bumping heads with another child on a moon bounce.

Although these play sets can be fun to jump on, thousands of people are injured on trampolines and bounce houses each year. Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones (sometimes surgery is needed)
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Sprains/strains
  • Bruises, scrapes, and cuts
  • Head and neck injuries

Parents should be aware of the risks these play sets can pose and how to minimize accidents.

Read more

ATVs kill more children than bicycles: Pediatricians urge families to yield to safety

Trisha Korioth, American Academy of Pediatrics, shared in Advocate’s Children Health that you don’t see them just on farms anymore. All-terrain vehicles are popular among outdoor enthusiasts of all ages who ride them through trails, fields and off-highway vehicle parks.

The four-wheeled motorized vehicles require skill and quick thinking. Therefore, the Itasca-based American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children under 16 should not use them.

In 2015, at least 73 children younger than 16 died and 26,700 were seriously injured by ATVs.

“More kids die on ATVs than die from bicycle crashes,” said Dr. Charles Jennissen, a pediatrician and safety expert who studies ATV injuries and deaths in children.

His 13-year-old cousin and a neighbor were killed when they drove an ATV onto a roadway near his boyhood farmhouse and were struck by a pickup truck.

More than half of ATV deaths occur on public roadways. Despite their name, ATVs are not safe on all terrains. They have a high center of gravity and off-road tires that unevenly grab paved or gravel road Read more

Tips for Keeping Your Car Cool in Summer

The Allstate Blog Team shared that if you are wondering how to keep your car cool during summer, there are plenty of simple things you can do. From maximizing your air conditioning to taking advantage of a shady spot when parking, the following tips can help you maintain a cooler vehicle on those hot and humid summer days.

Block Car Windows from the Sun

Cars can trap heat, causing the temperature inside them to quickly rise, says the National Weather Service. According to one test, a parked car’s temperature rose from 80 degrees to more than 94 degrees in about two minutes and reached 123 degrees within an hour. A car can reach up to 200 degrees inside, according to Consumer Reports.

Reducing the amount of heat entering through your windows may help keep your car cooler, making it more comfortable when it’s time to take a ride. Here are some tips to help keep your car cool in the summer:

  • Sun shades: Sun shades help block the direct rays coming into your vehicle, says Consumer Reports. This keeps the temperature slightly lower, which can help your car cool down more quickly once the vehicle is started.

Read more

Prevent child deaths in hot cars

Amanda Krupa from the American Academy of Pediatrics shared that a child left in a hot car can die of heat stroke very quickly. But this tragedy can be prevented.

Here are some facts about hot cars and tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep kids safe.

Facts about child heatstroke in cars

• Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children under age 15.

• Heat stroke can happen when the body is not able to cool itself quickly enough.

• A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult does.

• When left in a hot car, a child’s major organs begin to shut down when his temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

• A child can die when his temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Cars heat up quickly. In just 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Cracking a window and/or air conditioning does little to keep it cool once the car is turned off.

• Heat stroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set reminders

Any parent or caregiver, even a very loving and attentive one, can forget a child is in the back seat.

Being especially busy or distracted or having a change from the usual routine increases the risk. Read more

What to know about traveling with Medicare

Happy portrait of senior couple, woman embracing her husband

www.Medicare.gov suggests that before you go, remember to look into Medicare coverage outside the United States.

If you have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance), your health care services and supplies are covered when you’re in the U.S. However, in general, Medicare won’t pay for health care services or supplies if you travel outside the U.S. (except in these rare cases).

That doesn’t mean you have to travel abroad without coverage. Here are 3 ways you can get health coverage outside the U.S.:

  1. If you have a Medigap policy, check your policy to see if it includes coverage when traveling outside the U.S.
  2. If you have another Medicare health plan (instead of Original Medicare), check with your plan to see if they offer coverage outside the U.S.
  3. Purchase a travel insurance policy that includes health coverage.

Read more