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How to Beat the Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What Older Adults Need to Know

Note: This blog post was updated on March 7 with the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please check back frequently for updates and visit CDC for the most current news.

The situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly, and NCOA is taking proactive steps to share the best information we have to protect the public’s health, especially among older adults. Now is the time to stay informed and follow basic tips to protect yourself and those around you.

Older Adults at Higher Risk

The CDC has identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. According to the CDC, early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.

This is likely because as people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection, and because many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness. Age increases the risk that the respiratory system or lungs will shut down when an older person has COVID-19 disease.

That’s why the CDC is recommending that people at higher risk take the following actions:

  • Stay at home as much as possible.

  • Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications, food, and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time.

  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.

  • Avoid crowds.

  • Stay up to date on CDC Travel Health Notices.


Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that people with serious chronic conditions, especially the elderly, should think twice about traveling or going to crowded places. He advised that these individuals take the simple steps of “not putting yourself in a situation—whatever that might be—that might increase the risk given your situation.”

The CDC is urging individuals to stay calm and Share Facts, Not Fear. Among the CDC’s advice are these common-sense tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.


How to Support Older Adults

People of all ages can support older adults during this time. Many older adults depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence. The CDC recommends that family members, neighbors, and caregivers:

  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.

  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.

  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.

  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

The Greatest of These Is Love

This video is in honor of all of you who put the welfare of your loved one above yourself, who give and keep giving when you no longer receive a reward. May your love succeed in blessing your loved one and make your life abundantly richer in the process.

Staying on Track with Exercise Goals

Exercise makes every task easier, whether you're 8, 38 or 88. We all know this, but following through can be a struggle.

With exercise, our increased circulation strengthens our immune systems and brain. The improved muscular functions reduce risk of injury from falling. Each of these benefits snowball into an avalanche of blessings, and all from the simple choice to exercise.

Here's what researchers from the University of Michigan had to say about whether seniors can still exercise:

Click to watch video

Sometimes, all it takes to stay motivated is focus. To stay on track with our exercise goals, let's get our brains engaged into the many benefits of staying in shape so our bodies will follow!

Let's focus on our health in 2020!

Looking for a caregiver to help you with your goals?

Contact us now!

Discover Your Family Health History

How many times has a health professional asked a family health history question you couldn't answer?

Did you know that simple awareness of your family's health patterns can both inform your future health decisions as well as alert your doctor of preventable issues where you may be vulnerable?

A product of the NHGRI and the U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, the My Family Health Portrait is a website that helps you create your own family health history. Using any computer, an Internet connection and an up-to-date Web browser, you provide your health information to build a drawing of your family tree and a chart of your family health history. Both the chart and the drawing can be printed and shared with your family members and your doctor.

Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk, and help you take action to keep you and your family healthy.

In November 2004 - and to coincide with Thanksgiving, when families traditionally gather - U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a national public health campaign called the U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative.

The campaign focused attention on the importance of the family health history, and encouraged all families to learn more about their health histories. To help with this, the initiative launched My Family Health Portrait: a downloadable tool for use on a personal computer to complete a family health history. One year later, in November 2005, U.S. Surgeon General Carmona furthered this initiative by launching the Web-based tool, My Family Health Portrait.

At Cura for Care, we believe it's always a good time to spend time with your family. This holiday season, use your family time to learn more about your family health history.

To learn more about our professional at home services for seniors experiencing memory loss, click here.

To learn more about compiling your family health profile, click here.

About Alzheimers

AFA’s National Memory Screening Program provides free, confidential memory screenings–administered by qualified healthcare professionals–to individuals across the country.

A memory screening is a simple and safe “healthy brain check-up” that tests memory and other thinking skills. The memory screening is a series of questions and/or tasks that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and can indicate if someone might benefit from a comprehensive medical evaluation. It is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a physician or other clinician.

  • Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by a number of medical conditions, including vitamin deficiencies, thyroid issues, and depression, as well as dementia-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s.

  • Some memory problems–such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems– can be readily treated. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions.

  • Early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may afford a person the opportunity to take advantage of treatments that may slow the changes in memory and thinking skills or participate in a clinical trial.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can improve one’s quality of life. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can learn more about the disease, including available and emerging medical treatments; get counseling and other social services support in their community; address legal, financial and other planning issues; and have more of a say in decision-making. Caregivers and other family members can take advantage of community services, such as support groups, which can help them feel better–physically and emotionally. They can discuss treatment, future care and other issues with their loved ones, rather than having to make decisions on their own.

It is very important to identify the disease or problem that is causing memory loss. That is why a person should follow up for a complete checkup with a qualified healthcare professional.

AFA has screening sites throughout the country which provide free, confidential memory screenings. Additionally, many physicians perform memory screenings.  Memory screenings are covered by Medicare as part of the Medicare Wellness Program, and are often covered by insurance companies as well.  Check with your doctor for more information.

To learn more about our professional at home services for seniors experiencing memory loss, click here.

Alzheimer’s information courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association.

For Alzheimer’s screening information, contact your doctor.

Here are three ways you can make sure your body can stay in motion for a long time to come:

  1. Stretch every day

Simple stretching can increase your range of motion and decrease pain in conditions like rotator cuff tendinopathy. The great thing about stretching is that you can do it anywhere, and it only takes a few seconds to a few minutes.

There are three types of basic stretches. You can choose to focus on increasing flexibility or you can work on mobility, too.


Static stretching — You probably learned this style in middle school. (Think standing toe touch and thigh stretch.) Static stretching increases flexibility by putting light tension on a muscle and holding the position for 30-60 seconds. Be sure not to bounce. It's best to warm up first before attempting this type of stretch.


Isometric stretching — In this type of stretching, you get into a static stretch position, then gently contract the stretched muscle. Keep the length of the muscle and the angle of the joint steady. Hold for 10-15 seconds then relax your muscle for about 20 seconds or more, then repeat. Isometric stretching increases strength and flexibility.


Dynamic stretching — When you roll your neck, do walking lunges or arm windmills, you're doing dynamic stretching. A dynamic stretch takes a specific movement and allows the joints and muscles to move through their full range of motion.

Dynamic stretching is controlled and smooth. It's a great way to warm up before exercising and helps increase range of motion.


When beginning a stretching routine, remember to take it slow. Stretching too quickly and too far can trigger your body's defense mechanisms to protect itself from tearing joints and muscles. Stretch just until you feel tension. If you feel pain, you've gone too far.


2. Discover foam roller self-massage.

They cost as little as $10 and come in many lengths and densities. A foam roller is an easy and convenient way to release tension in muscles and connective tissue, which helps increase flexibility and improve mobility.

For beginners, a medium foam roller may be most comfortable.

3. Use your body's natural movement

Using your body's natural movements can increase your mobility, stability and balance. Plus, it adds a little playfulness into your day. One example of a "natural movement" activity is crawling. Getting down on all fours strengthens and mobilizes just about every muscle and joint in your body. Climbing, carrying, throwing and catching (safely and gently, of course) are other ways to keep yourself supple.


However you choose to move, remember to breathe freely, start slow, be gentle, and don't bounce.


Perhaps most important: Find stretches and other activities you actually like to do that fit into your daily routine. That's the best way to guarantee you'll stick with a more flexible way of life.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

How to Strengthen Brain Power as You Age

"I completely forgot what I was saying. I'm really getting bad."

It's scary to think our forgetfulness is a symptom of approaching dementia. Thankfully, cognitive decline is a normal part of aging that doesn't necessarily foreshadow mental collapse. If you'd like to strengthen your brain power, follow these important steps:

1. Stay curious - and cautious. Research shows that seniors who approach potential scam calls as potential scams are on track for mental acuity far into their golden years. It's when seniors assume every call is legitimate that they get into trouble. Not only that, but research shows that seniors preferring not to know about how to identify scams is a common characteristic of those who are on the road to significant cognitive decline.

2. Be careful about self-medicating with alcohol.
From "A Well-Aged Mind" by the NIH:

Alcohol poses risks for the older brain. It can take less alcohol to alter judgment, coordination, balance, or sleep patterns in an older adult. Older adults may change their drinking habits to cope with the death of a partner or other loved one, or because they’re lonely.But drinking can also be part of social activities for older adults, explains Dr. Edith Sullivan, an alcohol researcher at Stanford University.


“Older adults might feel that ‘well, I’m old now, it’s OK for me to drink,” Sullivan says. But older brains and bodies are especially vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, she adds.


A recent study by Sullivan and her team used brain imaging to see how alcohol affects the brain. They found that older adults who misused alcohol had greater loss of brain tissue compared with their peers who didn’t drink.

The good news, she explains, is that some problems with thinking or memory caused by medications or alcohol misuse can be reversed. “That’s different from classical dementia, which is a one-way street of decline,” says Sullivan.

3. Be careful about prescribed medications, too. Even if you're not suffering from alcohol abuse, you can still suffer dangerous repercussions from medication errors due to physicians being unaware of what all you're taking. Make sure to keep a detailed list of all your meds, and give it to any physician who treats you. Both your brain and your doctor will thank you!

4. Focus on your strengths. Older adults have a great deal of wisdom that younger generations lack. According to NIH aging expert Marie Bernard, "Older adults have greater verbal ability than younger adults. They’re better problem solvers. And accumulated experiences are very helpful."

While it can be tempting to bemoan the younger generations' lack of respect or interest in your experiences, remember that life is relationships. Gaining the right to speak comes with time, so now's the time to get involved in multi-age activities where you can build relationships with those who need your stories. Volunteering at libraries, afterschool programs, and similar activities in your neighborhood on a regular basis are all ways to gain access to younger ears who need your strong brain. And as you see the need, you'll be inspired to strengthen your brain!

For Cura for Care services, click here.

​To learn more from the NIH about brain health, click here.

Talking with Your Doctor

You only have 18 seconds - that's the average time a doctor waits before interrupting a patient. As a patient, it is important you are able to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information. 

Be prepared for your visit:

  • Make a list of concerns in order of their importance to you.

  • Write down all of your medications, vitamins, and supplements.

  • Note all health and life changes since your last visit.


For Cura for Care services, click here.

To learn more from the NIH about talking with your doctor, click here.

Ten Tips for Aging: A Refresher!

We have all heard and read about the things we need to do to stay happy, healthy and active as we age.  Here’s a great list to remind us, from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, U.S. News & World Report’s #1 Ranked Hospital.

Maintain Your Brain

Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, or read a book.


Take Charge of Your Health

You are your own best advocate. Bring a list of your current prescription and non-prescription medications, including supplements; keep a list of your health concerns; and, ask questions!


Reduce Stress

Long-term stress can cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods.

From getting enough sleep to cultivating relationships, from eating nutrition-rich foods to living an active life, these are all reminders that healthy aging is attainable.

Learn More!

For Cura for Care services, click here.

For more from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, click here.

The Connection Between Menopause and Alzheimers

New research has uncovered links between menopause and Alzheimer's in women. According to Lisa Mosconi, a researcher who's devoted her entire career since she was 20 to exploring and obliterating Alzheimer's Disease, hormonal factors play a huge role in brain health.

Mosconi has written extensively about how women can prevent onset of Alzheimer's, digging deep into issues like hormone replacement therapy and how "false" estrogens derived from pesticides and plastics can do more harm than good.

Included in her research is an attempt to educate younger women on behavioral steps they can take to protect their brains throughout premenopause, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause using natural hormone-producing sources. She says, "Many foods naturally boost estrogen production, including soy, flax seeds, chickpeas, garlic and fruit like apricots.


"Women in particular also need antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E, found in berries, citrus fruits, almonds, raw cacao, Brazil nuts and many leafy green vegetables."

Mosconi advocates a heightened interest in women's brain health. "Perhaps in the next decade it will become the norm for middle-aged women to receive preventive testing and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, just as they get mammograms today."

To read more of her research, click here.

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