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Coffee with a Cop

“Coffee with a Cop” is a way for seniors to meet with local law enforcement in a casual environment to talk about their concerns, safety issues and to get to know each other.

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Bluebird Hill Organic Farm

This was the second Field Trip for the Health and Wellness Discussion Group.

We went to Bluebird Hill Farm and learned about Edible Flowers. Norma Burns, owner of the farm, gave us a tour of her garden while teaching us about which flowers were edible and how to pick them and it was the responsibility of the group to gather enough to make an Edible Flower Lunch. Once we gathered enough flowers and greens we headed to the kitchen and began to prep our Wild Edible Feast!

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Eno River Hike

When we got on the van the sun was still mostly shining. By the time we got to the trail head (45 min. later) it was completely cloudy and noticeably cooler. By the time we got to the end of the first trail it was raining and by the time we got into the second trail it was snowing! The wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees, but we toughed it out.

 We had a good turn out considering the forecast and it turned out to be a good hike despite the weather.

Thanks Larry for most of the photos!

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We Have A New Shed!


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The Chatham County Council on Aging recently installed this new storage shed, thanks to a grant from the Carolina Meadows Community Grants Program.  The shed will allow the Council to expand its inventory of items donated to help seniors, such as wheelchairs, hoyer lifts, shower chairs and mobility aids.

Chatham Council on Aging Expands Storage of Equipment that Helps Many

“Thank you for the use of the mattress for my Dad and for all the help you have given both my Mom and Dad.”

“I am a diabetic and both of my legs and feet were in very bad shape. I knew I would soon lose them-they were so swollen and infected. Within two weeks of receiving the wheelchair from you, a ‘miracle.'”

These statements represent a few of the many expressions of thanks from seniors and their families who have benefited from the equipment that the Chatham County Council on Aging makes available.

Such efforts are only possible when individuals and organizations donate a wide range of items (new and used) that the Council then loans to seniors and others in need.  While this equipment often helps older adults remain living safely and more independently at home, the Council also provides some items to improve the quality of life of residents in local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Examples of helpful donated equipment include: hospital beds and mattresses, wheelchairs, hoyer lifts, shower chairs, raised toilet seats, walkers, canes, and many other assistive devices and mobility aids.

While this is an important service that the Council has offered for some time, its capacity has been limited for several reasons. A major challenge had been limited space to store such items as well as the need for additional volunteers to help provide this service.

Dennis Streets, director of the Council on Aging, reports that a generous donation has provided a new accessory building at the Eastern Chatham Senior Center in Pittsboro. “It will allow us to store much more equipment for use by our seniors and others in need.” The grant came from the Carolina Meadows Community Grants Program.

Amy Gorely, director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach at Carolina Meadows, emphasized, “We saw this as a significant community need, and appreciate the Council’s leadership in making this vital service available to seniors throughout the county. Carolina Meadows is pleased to contribute to this important cause and encourage others in the community to support the Council in this work.”

Butch Phillips of Foscoe Trading Company also assisted with securing the accessory storage building.

While excited about the increased storage capacity, Streets said, “We rely on the help of volunteers to provide this service. We have no funding for dedicated staff support to provide this equipment service.”

The Council on Aging appeals for volunteers to assist in managing this important community service under the leadership two volunteers. Dr. Gerald Strope, a board member for the Council on Aging and a volunteer, explains, “I want to do my part to support this important service and assure that the equipment we loan is in good operating condition and safe for use.  We definitely need the help of others to provide quality service to community members in need.”

The volunteers would help with such tasks as: inventory and organize the equipment; assure that the equipment is clean, operable and safe; make needed equipment repairs; handle pickup and delivery of items; assist those with questions about the availability and use of equipment; publicize the service;  coordinate other volunteers; and other related duties.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Megan Adkins at the Council on Aging at 919-542-4512 or Megan.Adkins@chathamcoa.org<mailto:Megan.Adkins@chathamcoa.org>.  You can also apply to volunteer through the Council on Aging website at http://www.chathamcouncilonaging.org/Volunteer.

If you have questions about the service or have items to donate, contact Alan Russo or Ethan Lechner at 919-542-4512, or Vickie Cheek at 919-742-3975.  Monetary donations to the Council are tax deductible.  The Council will provide a letter to those donating equipment acknowledging receipt of the items.

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Winter Weather Tips

 Winter Weather Tips from the Chatham Council on Aging (January 2015)

Winter presents safety hazards in possible frostbite, wind-chapped skin, and

hypothermia. Winter weather can often be severe enough to cause amputation or

death.  The following are some tips to consider:

 Dress warm enough to withstand the lowest forecasted temperature or wind chill

temperature.  Dress in layers so you can remove if you begin to sweat, because

sweating will increase your chance of hypothermia.

 Cover all of your exposed skin in sub-zero weather, including your face, hands,

neck, and eyes (wearing goggles can protect the skin around your eyes).

 Wear long underwear rated for cold weather.  The best winter weather

underwear will be made of polypropylene to keep water away from the skin.

         Mittens vs. Gloves—While gloves may look fashionable, wearing mittens can

actually save your life. With your fingers touching each other inside mittens, they

generate more body heat than when they’re inside gloves.  Do not take your mittens or

gloves off for extended periods of time, and never take them off in extreme sub-zero

temperatures.  Your fingers and toes are subject to frostbite the quickest because they

are farthest from your core and have the smallest surface area. Think twice before

walking outside with your hands in your pockets. Why? Keeping your hands in your

pockets increases the risk of you falling or completely losing your balance in case you

slip while walking on ice or snow.

         Wear proper socks and boots.  Waterproof boots keep your feet dry. Multiple

layers of socks and spare socks offer you the opportunity to remove or add layers.

 Drink warm, sweet beverages that do not contain caffeine or alcohol.

 Eat hot, high-calorie foods (like hot pasta dishes) to encourage your body to burn

the foods and keep you warm.

Heater Safety

People rarely agree on an ideal temperature. What’s too cold to some is blazing hot to

others. Be careful if using space heaters—make sure you are taking ALL precautions

necessary. Do not use them near paper or other flammables. Never try to heat your

home using a gas stove, charcoal grill, or other stove not made for home heating.

Some Frostbite and Hypothermia Symptoms and Treatments

Frostbite symptoms and treatment include:

 Loss of sensations / loss of feeling in your extremities

 Skin will be flushed before turning grayish yellow or white.

 Skin will feel cold to the touch.

 Treat frostbite by moving the person to a warm area.  Remove any clothing that

may affect circulation.  If there is no danger of the affected area becoming cold again,

submerge the affected area (hands, feet, etc.) in warm (105 degrees Fahrenheit) water

for 25 to 40 minutes.  Then keep the area warm and dry, and seek medical assistance.

Hypothermia symptoms and treatments include:

 Body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

 May exhibit slow speech, memory lapse, uncontrollable shivering, and stumbling.

 Treat hypothermia by moving to a warm area.  Remove cold clothing and dress

in warm clothing.  Wrap the entire body in blankets to warm the core first.  Offer warm,

sweet drinks without caffeine or alcohol.  Never rub limbs because the coldest blood is

in the limbs, and stimulating the limbs will drive the cold blood to the heart, causing

heart failure.

Remember—Ask for help if needed.

A Few More Things to Consider

Stock Up on Supplies

Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to

flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm

blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freezer so

keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power

goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Move around a lot to raise

your body temperature.

Fight Wintertime Depression

Because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around, many seniors have less contact

with others during cold months. This can breed feelings of loneliness and isolation. To

help avoid these issues, family members and friends should check in on seniors as

often as possible. Even a short, daily phone call can make a big difference. Seniors

can also arrange a check-in system with neighbors and friends, where each person

looks in on one or two others daily.

Eat a Varied Diet

Because people spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods,

nutritional deficits — especially Vitamin D deficiency — can be a problem. Consume

foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains and seafood options like tuna

and salmon.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buy

an updated one if needed.

Again, the most important tip to keep in mind during the colder months is to ask

for help if needed. If you need to clear your property of snow and ice, don’t hesitate to

ask a family member or neighbor. Arrange rides to the grocery store and doctor’s

appointments. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Wintertime can certainly pose challenges for seniors, but with a bit of planning and

awareness, you will stay healthy and experience the joys of springtime soon enough.

Contact us at the Chatham County Council on Aging if you have questions or if you

think we might be able to help.

Eastern Chatham Senior Center – 919-542-4512

Western Chatham Senior Center – 919-742-3975


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Fall Prevention

I’m sharing the attached resource on “winterizing,” or winter-specific tips to prevent falls.

This resource was developed by  Mindy Renfro, the lead for Montana’s Fall Prevention Coalition and shared with me by the Director of the National Falls Prevention Resource Center at the National Council on Aging.

Feel free to redistribute this resource.

Happy Holidays!

Nicolle Miller, MS, MPH, RD, LDN

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

Aging Specialist, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

 

                              Winterize to Prevent Falls

Below are five simple steps that YOU can take today to make a big impact on falls for older adults and adults with disabilities in your community:

  1. Raise awareness by posting and disseminating this simple and colorful infographic — 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall — from the National Council on Aging.
  2. Check shoes, boots, and assistive devices and be sure that they are “winterized.”
    1. Ingrid – Ice Gripper Cane Tip is available at Fashionable Canes and Cozy Winters
    2. Yaktrax Spikeless Ice & Snow Shoe Gripper Sole Covers are at Fashionable Canes
    3. Keen shoes can be found at OnlineShoes
    4. Try this inexpensive way to make wheelchair snow tires
  3. Encourage older adults to carry a Ziploc bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on very slick surfaces. More information about using kitty litter for traction can be found here.
  4. ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Encourage adult children to give fall-proofing holiday gifts to their parents:
    1. Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button
    2. Higher toilets in the home
    3. Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses
    4. Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds
    5. Install firm stair railings on both sides of stair ways and set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances
    6. Cover the entryway to the home and provide a table to set down bags while finding keys
    7. Give tiny flashlights to attach to keys, hats, and coat buttons. Shorter days mean more time in the dark.
  5. Begin to check ALL older adults with the STEADI fall risk screening tool as part of your normal intake and re-evaluation process. You can learn to administer the STEADI screen and you can learn how to use the Otago Fall Prevention Program and other evidence-based falls prevention programs as part of your community-based fall prevention programs.

Help make this season a safe, warm and wonderful one for your patients, your family and your community.

Source: Mindy Oxman Renfro, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS; Chair, American Physical Therapy Association’s AGPT Balance & Falls SIG; Lead, Montana’s Falls Free Coalition; University of Montana Rural Institute/MonTECH programs.