September 2023

Staying Safe

Hot weather safety tips for seniors

As the summer temperatures continue, it is important to make sure we’re staying cool. This is true for our seniors as well. Temperatures above 80 degrees can pose sever risk to our 65+ population.

According to the Health in Aging Foundation, “Every summer, more than 600 Americans die of health problems caused by excessive heat and humidity. Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions are at high risk of developing heat-related illnesses, because of aging-related physical changes in the body, chronic health conditions, and even effects of taking some medications”.

Here are some tips and tricks to staying safe in these rising temperatures:

  1. Stay Hydrated! Beverages like water, juice and other clear liquids can aid in hydration. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these may make dehydration worse.
  2. Dress for the weather! Wear lightweight, loose clothing that is light in color. Don’t forget to add a wide brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
  3. Cool Down! Stay indoors where the air conditioning or fans can cool your body down. If you’d like to go out, head to the mall or library. Dampening a washcloth and putting it on your wrists, ankles, armpits, and neck will also help you to stay cool.

Find out about the different types of overheating and know the signs by clicking here:

Hot Weather Tip Sheet


Dementia: Not a normal part of aging

Check out these signs of dementia

To help you understand what Alzheimer’s disease might look like, the Alzheimer Society has developed the following list of warning signs.

Sign 1: Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities

Are you, or the person you know, forgetting things often or struggling to retain new information?

It's normal to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues’ names or a friend’s phone number only to remember them a short while later. However, a person living with dementia may forget things more often or may have difficulty recalling information that has recently been learned.

Sign 2: Difficulty performing familiar tasks

Are you, or the person you know, forgetting how to do a typical routine or task, such as preparing a meal or getting dressed?

Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may forget to serve part of a meal, only to remember about it later. However, a person living with dementia may have trouble completing tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal or playing a game.

Sign 3: Problems with language

Are you, or the person you know, forgetting words or substituting words that don’t fit into a conversation?

Anyone can have trouble finding the right word to express what they want to say. However, a person living with dementia may forget simple words or may substitute words such that what they are saying is difficult to understand.

Sign 4: Disorientation to time and place

Are you, or the person you know, having problems knowing what day of the week it is or getting lost in a familiar place?

Have you ever forgotten what day of the week it is or can't remember why you went into your bedroom? It happens to all of us. People living with dementia can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.

Sign 5: Impaired judgment

Are you, or the person you know, not recognizing something that can put health and safety at risk?

From time to time, people may make questionable decisions such as putting off seeing a doctor when they are not feeling well. However, a person living with dementia may experience changes in judgment or decision-making, such as not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.

Sign 6: Problems with abstract thinking

Are you, or the person you know, having problems understanding what numbers and symbols mean?

From time to time, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as using a calculator or balancing a check book. However, someone living with dementia may have significant difficulties with such tasks because of a loss of understanding what numbers are and how they are used.

Sign 7: Misplacing things

Are you, or the person you know, putting things in places where they shouldn't be?

Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. However, a person living with dementia may put things in inappropriate places. For example, an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

Sign 8: Changes in mood and behavior

Are you, or the person you know, exhibiting severe changes in mood?

Anyone can feel sad or moody from time to time. However, someone living with dementia can show varied mood swings – from calmness to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.

Sign 9: Changes in personality

Are you, or the person you know, behaving in a way that's out of character?

Personalities can change in subtle ways over time. However, a person living with dementia may experience more striking personality changes and can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include lack of interest or fearfulness.

Sign 10: Loss of initiative

Are you, or the person you know, losing interest in friends, family and favorite activities?

It's normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. However, a person living with dementia may become passive and disinterested and require cues and prompting to become involved.

And one more sign to be aware of: Challenges understanding visual and spatial information

Are you or someone you know having problems seeing things correctly? Or coordinating visual and spatial information?

Do you or they have double vision? Or are there issues navigating space, or placing things easily and correctly on a table, such as a pencil or mug? Sometimes dementia can be the cause of these issues, and it's important to see a doctor and eye specialist to get everything checked out.

If you are concerned about any of these signs, please talk to your doctor. After a series of tests and assessments, a qualified healthcare provider can confirm whether you or someone you know has dementia.


Medicare Moments

Medicare Open Enrollment Part I: Annual Review of Your Current Plan

Did you know that, from October 15 to December 7 each year, seniors with Medicare, or their caregivers, can change their health insurance plans to better match their healthcare needs?

Even if you are satisfied with your coverage, it never hurts to look at other plans that may cost you less.

What to Look at First:

  • Whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage — your plan may have changed. Don’t be caught by surprise.

  • Review the Annual Notice of Change, as well as Medicare & You 2024 (will be mailed to you in September), to see if there will be any cost increases in the coming year, including, premiums, deductibles, or copays.

  • Prescription drugs – will they continue to be covered? At a higher cost?

  • My doctors – will they still accept my Medicare?

  • Has the status of your health changed since last year that may require anew specialist or additional services, and possibly higher expenses?

Let a SHINE Counselor assist you with these and other questions.

To talk to a SHINE Medicare Counselor, call the Elder Helpline 1-866-467-4624

Next Edition of Medicare Moments: Open Enrollment Part II: Changing Plans

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