Do We Need a Survival Kit?

Do We Need a Survival Kit?

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…Do we need a survival kit?

July 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, hearing about the recent earthquakes in southern California reminded me that the same jolting experience could happen here.  Do we need a survival kit? What items would we need in case of an earthquake or other emergency where we would need to evacuate our homes?

A: That’s a very timely question!  We found a suggested “readiness kit” list from FEMA posted by Pleasanton Patch.  Some of us feel that we do need a survival kit and have begun gathering items to store in the trunks of our cars (in case we have to evacuate our homes), but we tend to forget to update and refresh them.  Here are some items to consider storing:

  • WATER: A gallon per day per person for three daysDo we need a survival kit? Full backpack with water bottle sitting on log at sunrise

  • FOOD: 3-day supply of non-perishable items (including for pets)

  • FLASHLIGHT, radio, batteries, and cell phone charger

  • FIRST-AIDE KIT and medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter)

  • BATTERYBACK-UP power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs

  • CLOTHING and blankets

  • WHISTLE (to signal for help)

  • FIRE EXTINGUISHER

  • CASH (in case ATMs are not working after an earthquake)

Now is a good time to check to see if the batteries or food you have stored away need replacing.  Let’s hope we never need to use our “readiness kits”!

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.

What Do We Need in a Survival Kit?

What Do We Need in a Survival Kit?

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…What Do We Need in a Survival Kit?

July 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, hearing about the recent earthquakes in southern California reminded me that the same jolting experience could happen here.  Do we need a survival kit? What items would we need in case of an earthquake or other emergency where we would need to evacuate our homes?

A: That’s a very timely question!  We found a suggested “survival kit” list from FEMA posted by Pleasanton Patch.  Some of us feel that we do need a survival kit and have begun gathering items to store in the trunks of our cars (in case we have to evacuate our homes), but we tend to forget to update and refresh them.  Here are some items to consider storing in your survival kit:

  • WATER: A gallon per day per person for three daysDo we need a survival kit? Full backpack with water bottle sitting on log at sunrise

  • FOOD: 3-day supply of non-perishable items (including pet foods)

  • FLASHLIGHT, radio, batteries, and cell phone charger 

  • FIRST-AIDE KIT and medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter) 

  • BATTERY BACK-UP power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs 

  • CLOTHING and blankets

  • WHISTLE (to signal for help)

  • FIRE EXTINGUISHER

  • CASH (in case ATMs are not working after an earthquake)

Now is a good time to check to see if the batteries or food you have stored away need replacing.  Let’s hope we never need to use our “survival kits”!

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.

Hot Weather and Food Poisoning

Hot Weather and Food Poisoning

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I have been invited to a potluck dinner in a local park.  But I am concerned about the hot weather and food poisoning?

A: You have reason to be wary:  More people get food poisoning in the hot weather of summertime than at any other season, according to the Department of Agriculture.  Here are some ways to prevent this from affecting you and your friends, as suggested by Consumer Reports on Health (July 2019, CR.org/crh):

PLAN YOUR GROCERY RUN – Avoid potential food poisoning, especially in hot weather, starting with how you navigate the grocery store.

  • “Pick up perishables, such as dairy and meat, right before you hit the check-out line to reduce the risk of them spoiling.”
  • “At check-out, make sure that frozen and cold items are packed in the same bag, which will help everything stay cool. But be sure to pack meat and seafood separately to keep them from contaminating other foods.”
  • “Don’t transport your groceries in the trunk; put them inside your car where it’s air-conditioned. If you won’t be going straight home after shopping, use a cooler or an insulated bag to stash meat and other perishables.”

ORGANIZE YOUR COOLERS – “Wrap meats tightly before placing it in a cooler to keep any juices from contaminating the other food, or put it in a separate cooler.”

  • “At an outdoor gathering, don’t leave perishable food in the same cooler as beverages. People will be opening and closing the ice chest frequently, and that can raise the temperature inside the cooler.”

GRILL SAFELY – “Keep knives, tongs, and platters you use for raw meat away Hot weather and food poisoning of BBQ Foodsfrom cooked food. If you’re cooking kebabs, use different skewers for meat and vegetables so that you can be sure the meat is cooked to the right temperature without burning the veggies.

  • “Use a meat thermometer, even for burgers, because you can’t judge the done-ness of meat or poultry by color.”
  • “Don’t partially cook meat at home and then take it to a picnic or barbecue to finish cooking. Half-cooked meat can be warm enough to encourage bacterial growth but not hot enough to kill the bacteria.”

KEEP AN EYE ON MORE THAN JUST MEAT – To avoid food poisoning, “Prepared food should not be left outside of a refrigerator or cooler longer than 2 hours (or an hour if the temperature is higher than 90 degrees F).”

  • “That goes for every element of your meal, from a crudité platter to grilled chicken. You might think you can get sick only from meat or dairy, but other food items can be host to dangerous bacteria as well.” (Examples include cooked rice and pasta.  Keep them chilled until serving, or serve by setting them in a bowl of ice.)

BE CAUTIOUS AT THE FARMERS MARKET – “Buy from vendors who wear disposable gloves to handle food – and who change them when they move between raw and ready-to-eat or cooked foods, or when they stop handling foods for such tasks as accepting cash.”

  • “Buy meat and eggs only if they have been stored in coolers or otherwise refrigerated.”
  • “Don’t buy raw milk or raw milk products. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says they’re some of the riskiest foods.”

Sharing food at picnics or barbecues can be one of the greatest pleasures of summertime.  By taking a few precautions, you can make sure that these happy events won’t be followed by the misery of food poisoning. 

If you would like to see more Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends articles go to the World Walk To Wellness website.

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.

8 Tips to Avoid Falling; The Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the Elderly

8 Tips to Avoid Falling; The Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the Elderly

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 15, 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, I read that “Every 11 seconds in the U.S., an older adult ends up in the emergency room due to a fall. ‘It’s the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly,’ says Catherine Colon-Emeric, M.D., chief of geriatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine. Do you have any advice that could help us avoid falling?

A: You certainly are not alone in having concerns about falling – and with good reason. The June issue of Consumer Reports on Health has some tips to help prevent falls.  Below are the 8 tips that can help all age groups but especially the elderly to avoid the risk of a broken hip or a concussion:

  • WATCH FOR MED SIDE EFFECTS

    – “Some prescription and over-the-counter meds can affect balance. For instance, diuretics may lower blood pressure too much and lead to dizziness on standing. Some allergy drugs, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl and generic) may cause dizziness and sleepiness….Some meds can cause dehydration, which can also increase the risk of falling when you stand up…. At least once a year, review your meds – Over-the-counter, alternative products, and supplements – with your doctor.” 

  • KEEP YOUR SENSES SHARP

    – “Eyesight naturally changes with age… [which] can make it more difficult to see shifts in terrain and other stumbling blocks. Hearing loss, too, has been linked to an increased risk of falling. A 2012 study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for example, found that middle-aged people with mild hearing loss were three times as likely to fall. See your eye doctor every year or two…. Have your ears checked at least every three years starting at age 50, or earlier if you are having trouble hearing.”

  • DECLUTTER AND REPAIR AT HOME

    – “Rugs, clutter, steps, cracked driveways and sidewalks, poor lighting, slick surfaces – all can contribute to tumbles. If you’re concerned about falling in the house and unsure about how to proceed, the Institute on Aging (blog.ioaging.org) has a home safety checklist.”

  • STRENGTHEN KEY MUSCLES

    – “Exercises that enhance gluteal, leg, and core strength Elderly man stretching and exercisinghelp with balance, says Colon-Emeric. ‘These muscles make it easier to catch yourself before you fall and make it easier to get out of bed, lift yourself off the toilet, or get out of the car.’ Moves like knee bends (stand tall and bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you) and sideways walking (keeping feet parallel, step out to the side with one leg, bring the other foot to meet it, then step out again) are part of a balance program called Otago that’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

  • PRACTICE FOR FALLS

    – “’Exercise is important, but simply practicing getting off the floor can make you stronger and less likely to fall,’ says Kathleen Bell, M.D., a psychiatrist and chairwoman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She suggests getting up and down 10 times three to four times a week. (When starting out, do this next to a bed or another stable object you can hold onto.)”

  • SKIP THE FANCY FOOTWEAR —

    “If you struggle with balance, choose shoes with sturdy, nonskid soles that fit snugly enough so they’re not sliding around underneath you. ‘You don’t have to opt for ugly shoes, but you don’t want to be walking around in bedroom slippers either,’ Bell says. If you’re unsteady, heels aren’t a good idea, nor are those hot-weather favorites, flip-flops. They offer zero support, catch on rugs, often have little grip on slick surfaces, and slip off easily.”

  • TRAIN FIDO RIGHT –

    “Having a pet can be good for your health, but your beloved pooch may also trigger falls by tripping you or pulling you down…. ‘Besides making sure you’re matched with a dog that suits your lifestyle, working with a trainer to learn how to control your dog and using a good leash and collar can help minimize falls,’ says Grace Anne Mengel, V.M.D., an assistant professor of clinical primary care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.”

  • FACE YOUR FEARS –

    “Research suggests that simply being afraid of falling increases your likelihood of taking a tumble. In part, anxiety about falling can make it harder to focus on your surroundings. This fear can also cause you to limit physical activity, which in turn can lead to muscle weakness. If you find yourself frequently worried about falls, speak to your doctor.”

I hope these suggestions can help you avoid falling and allow you to continue to enjoy taking walks.

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.

Help Boost Your Memory

Help Boost Your Memory

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, you offer good advice on how we should “move more” for wellness, but is there any way we could also help boost our brain power?

A: That’s a timely question, as June happens to be national Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  Just in time, our local newspaper included a “Spry Living” insert, with a list of “brain-booster” tips, including the following:

Brain-Boosting Tips for Memory

  • KEEP MOVING! Yes, you’ve heard it before, but regular exercise Men and Women walking on a path building their memorytops the list of experts’ recommendations to stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s (dementia) and to stimulate the creation of more brain cells, according to Wendy Suzuki, PhD, a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University and author of Happy Brain, Happy Life.  “One study of older adults found that walking 40 minutes a day, three days a week, increased the size of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, — effectively reversing age-related loss by a year or two.”
  • ENGAGE MULTIPLE SENSES – University of Iowa researchers found that our memory for sounds declines as soon as 4-8 seconds after we hear them. “Repeating something back immediately can help shore up your memory, but seeing the words works even better.”
  • CLOSE YOUR EYES – “University of Surrey research shows that shutting your eyes frees up brain power and helps bring back recent and distant memories. Respondents who closed their eyes scored 23 percentage points higher on a memory test.”
  • HIT REPLAY TO PRESERVE GOOD MEMORIES – “We tend to remember what we pay attention to,” says Suzuki. “The more you bring a memory back to mind, the stronger it becomes.” Repetition strengthens neural connections, allowing the memory to resist interference from other memories or general degradation.
  • DOODLE – “Unlike many dual-task situations, doodling while working can be beneficial,” says Jackie Andrade, PhD, author of a British study that found the activity can boost recall by nearly 30 percent.
  • ADD CINNAMON TO YOUR COFFEE [OR TEA] –“The scent boosted cognitive functions – including memory and attention span – in a study at Wheeling Jesuit University. The spice also contains two compounds that may help prevent the brain cell changes that lead to Alzheimer’s.”

Who among us has not had a so-called “senior moment,” perhaps when it comes to remembering a person’s name…or where we left our car keys? If any of the above can help reduce those foggy-brain feelings, they are worth a try!

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

May is Women’s Health Month!

May is Women’s Health Month!

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, aren’t you forgetting something?  Isn’t May Women’s Health Month?    

A: OOOPS!  Thanks for the reminder!  This is our last newsletter for May, but there still is time to encourage the women in your life to get their annual physicals, including mammograms.

I am told that neither procedure is anyone’s favorite, but an important part of wellness is preventative care.  An annual check-up with one’s doctor, followed by referrals for lab work and (for females) a mammogram, may be what prevents a premature death.

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month.

It is no coincidence that May also is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. One out of every two women (and one in four men) over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.  Even more shocking:  Twenty percent of seniors who suffer a hip fracture die within one year!  Check with your doctor to see if your Medicare coverage will cover the cost of a bone mass measurement procedure (which is quick and painless).

Better still, make sure your diet includes foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.  Doing regular weight-bearing exercise – such as walking – also can help prevent osteoporosis in women and men.

For more information on Women’s Health topics check out this resource from The Office on Women’s Health. 

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!