407-645-5933 ext. 236 info@jfgo.org

August 5, 2022

Summer Safety

Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. 

Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body. Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all forms of hyperthermia. Older adults are at particular risk for these conditions, and this risk can increase with the combination of higher temperature, individual lifestyle, and general health.

Lifestyle Risks:

Seniors seldom drink enough fluids. Other risks include living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places, and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions. Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler spaces on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters, and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups, and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

Factors that increase the risk of hyperthermia may include:

  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
  • Heart, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
  • Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
  • Medication-reduced sweating, caused by diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
  • Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Alcohol use

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include a significant increase in body temperature (generally above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), changes in mental status (like confusion or combativeness,) strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering, or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with heat stroke symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned, or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
  • Encourage the individual to shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit, and vegetable juices. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 1, 2022

Exercising Our Brains

Most people notice changes in their thinking and memory as they grow older. Neurologists tell us that some older adults develop dementia, however, most memory changes are age-related and normal.

Staying physically active benefits every organ in our bodies—and that includes the brain. Our brains also need a good mental workout. Studies show that cognitive decline can be reduced through a combination of daily activities, like using a computer and playing word games.

Mental stimulation encourages new connections between brain cells—and these connections provide alternate pathways for accessing memories, making it easier for the brain to compensate for the cognitive changes associated with dementia.

The emphasis definitely is on “new,” because neurologists say that when it comes to top-notch brain exercise, novelty is especially beneficial. 

  • The number one way to stay mentally (and physically) fit is dance.  The combination of learning new information and movement is especially good for the brain.
  • Consider taking classes—both the information and social interaction help the brain!
  • Learn a new language or art form.
  • Read and join a book club for both mental and social stimulation.
  • Do puzzles of all sorts.
  • Play video games.
  • Get outside and garden!

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

September 16, 2022

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is defined as “an intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” It is a term under which five types of abuse are reflected:

  1. Caregiver Neglect: Family members who live with their elderly parents may leave their loved ones alone while they are at work. While they would not leave their children alone, a senior with dementia may be just as vulnerable.
  2. Financial Fraud and Exploitation
  3. Psychological Abuse
  4. Sexual Abuse
  5. Physical Abuse

At least 10% of adults age 65 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year, with some older adults simultaneously experiencing more than one type of abuse.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

September 9, 2022

Summer for Someone with Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander. Wandering is best described as a tendency to roam or walk around without a clear destination or purpose. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the destination or purpose of the walk is often forgotten, causing them to become confused or lost. 

As a caregiver, you must be concerned about the safety of someone who wanders. There may be no harm in wandering a contained space, but for someone with dementia who gets lost outside, the risk of injury is high. You would not allow a child to roam. A senior with dementia may have equivalent judgment. 

There are several reasons why a person who has dementia might wander, and understanding these will help you put some practical interventions in place: 

  • Stress, fear, and anxiety 
  • Searching for important people, such as old friends or family members 
  • Searching for the bathroom 
  • Searching for food 
  • Visual-spatial challenges 
  • Memory loss 
  • Boredom, especially at night (called sundowning) and restlessness 
  • Pain 
  • Poor sleep, restlessness 

People with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may have pain and can’t express it verbally, so they wander to find relief.  Overstimulating environments can also cause anxiety and the urge to “get away.” 

Home Adaptations to Support Safe Wandering: 

  • Keep spaces clutter-free to minimize fall risk 
  • Remove rugs to minimize risk of falls 
  • Eliminate the need to use stairs 
  • Lock the stovetop to prevent your loved one from trying to cook 
  • Keep windows and doors locked 
  • Install alarms on all exterior doors 
  • Camouflage doors–hang curtains over exterior doors to make them less visible 
  • Use a pressure-sensitive alarm mat to notify you when your loved one gets up at night 
  • Install gates to dissuade entry to unsafe areas of the house, including stairs 
  • Fence in the backyard to allow your loved one access without risk 
  • Install safety locks on kitchen cabinets 
  • Lock up all medications and cleaning products 

Behavioral Strategies for Wandering Caused by Dementia 

Knowing that part of the cause of wandering is boredom, anxiety, and fear, learning behavioral strategies to keep your loved one occupied can prevent unsafe wandering. The added benefit is reducing unwanted agitation and frustration. 

Here are some ways to help a loved one with dementia:  

  • Redirect and distract with an activity or exercise 
  • Find out if your loved one is in pain, too hot or cold, thirsty, or hungry 
  • Minimize noise and overstimulation 
  • Turn on the music–music has been found to have a calming effect on people with dementia 
  • Listen to your loved one’s concerns with compassion, and to the extent you can, try and alleviate their fears and anxieties 
  • Provide lots of healthy snacks–wandering uses excess energy reserves and frequent snacks can help offset weight loss caused by dementia 

While it may be impossible to prevent wandering completely, you will want to permit safe wandering and reduce the risk of falls. Most importantly, measures should be taken to prevent your loved one with Alzheimer’s from venturing outdoors, particularly in Florida, where summer heat can be life-threatening. 

Technology for People with Dementia 

Safety products that permit safe wandering have come a long way over the years. Today, there are a range of devices to manage and monitor your loved one’s activities and give yourself a break from constant supervision. 

  • An Emergency Response System (ERS) detects falls and has built-in GPS tracking 
  • In-home video monitors with continuous feeds can be monitored via smartphones 
  • Smart sensors collect data, detect unusual movement, and monitor for smoke and carbon dioxide 
  • Safety Alarms alert you to movement and can be installed on beds, chairs, wheelchairs, doors, and windows 

Constant supervision and interaction with your loved one can be exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and symptoms and behaviors become more than you can manage at home, a memory care community can help. These communities are specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and provide around-the-clock care to assure the safety and well-being of those with memory challenges and wandering symptoms. 

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 8, 2022

Caring for Someone with Dementia

It is estimated that 1 in 3 people with dementia and 1 in 7 of those with Alzheimer’s live alone. A diagnosis of dementia does not automatically mean a person cannot safely live independently; some people may be able to live on their own for a time after their initial diagnosis. Others may be at too much risk to continue living alone.

It is common for people living with dementia to go through a series of stages, from complete independence to living with someone or needing a long-term care placement over the course of disease progression. When a person who has lived alone eventually needs to consider other options, the move to live with someone can be difficult for all those involved. Some people with dementia may try to hide or compensate for the problems they are experiencing. If you are a family member or caregiver of a person with dementia, it can be difficult to decide whether a person who is living alone is truly in need of help.

Please keep in mind that just as a child cannot be safely left alone, neither can seniors with child-like capacities or judgment be safely left alone.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

September 2, 2022

Summer Safety

Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. It is critically important that adults particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses know how to safeguard against problems.

Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body. Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are forms of hyperthermia. Older adults are at risk for these conditions, and this risk can increase with the combination of higher temperature, individual lifestyle and general health.

Lifestyle factors can include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions. Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler spaces on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. 

Factors that increase the risk of hyperthermia may include:

  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions 
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases
  • Use of multiple medications
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications 
  • Age-related changes to the skin 
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Alcohol use

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include an increase in body temperature, changes in mental status, rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering or coma. 

If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • Call 911
  • Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water 
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth 
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer water or fruit juice

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.