The Heart of The Matter!

February marks American Heart Month.  It is also the month we American’s celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Other than the fact that you might receive dark chocolate for a Valentine’s Day gift if you are lucky enough to have a paramour with good taste, and the fact that dark chocolate in moderation can be beneficial to overall heart health, what do love and healthy hearts really have to do with each other? Obviously if you love someone, you want them to have a healthy heart.  We talked about that on CBS-6 Albany & Baptist Health System’s Six on Seniors segment this week.  Specifically, the importance of knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes and how to act quickly if you suspect that is what is happening to yourself or someone you are with. Some heart attacks come on suddenly and intensely, however the majority start slowly with pain and discomfort.  It could present as cest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.  Often times the affected person might experience discomfort in other areas of the upper body including pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or even stomach.  Another sign may be shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.  Make sure you pay heed to those warning signs.  Minutes matter here.  Be sure not to wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1! The warning signs for strokes may include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg particularly on one side of the body.  Often there will be sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding or the quick of a sudden...

It’s The Most Wonderful TIme of the Year… or is it The Most Stressful Time of The Year? You decide!

So here we are again, the beginning of the holiday season. Whatever your beliefs and traditions, or non-beliefs and non-traditions, the fact of the matter is ready or not it is happening! If you prefer to spend your holiday season more aligned with our special green friend “The Grinch,” the bad news is everyone around you will be encouraging you to snap out of it and get into the spirit of the season and all the fa, la, la, la, la that goes along with it. If you are more from the “It’s a Wonderful Life” camp, then welcome to the season! Complete with candy canes, sugar cookies and all things Christmasy & Hannakah-like…or whatever your faith tradition recognizes that raises awareness of being kind to all and promotes good-will towards men and women. One universal theme of the holiday season rings true for many – this time of year can bring along with it a whole host of new stresses. Whether you choose to embrace it, or hide under the couch for the season, you still have to make decisions about how you’ll handle yourself and all the surprises that accompany this time of year. Consider this: We ALL have the same amount of time to work with every single day. Be mindful and wise in how you spend that time, especially when the amount of invitations and obligations begin to steadily increase. Decide if you want to be a relaxed, happy holiday goer vs. a stressed out spastic mess. The energy you bring to all of those commitments and special occasions is how you’ll be thought of when those in the...

Helen Reddy sure knew of what she sang…

We all know the opening line of that infamous anthem celebrating all things female, “I AM WOMAN!”  And yes, it was and still is a very catchy tune, but who knew how much wisdom and truth was truly captured in those iconic lyrics.  In the opening stanza, which you can listen to in the YouTube link below, it mentions “In numbers too big to ignore” and it certainly seems this is indeed the case, especially when it comes to female caregivers.  In Monday’s Six on Seniors Segment on CBS 6 Albany we discussed women and their increasing caregiving roles. Women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbors.  If you were to put a dollar amount on what the economic impact of that would look like, it’s up over $188 billion annually.  WOW! The snapshot of the average caregiver looks something like this… she is a 49+ year old caring for her 65-70 year old parent who is not living with her.  She is married and employed.  She may have grown children either in college or older, and may even be a grandmother.  She is a masterful juggler of priorities and more than likely is a little burned out.  Now this is not to say that our male counterparts aren’t stepping up and helping out, but the scale is definitely tipped towards the feminine side. As you can imagine, there are health consequences, both physical and emotional for these ladies!  There was a national study done on women and caregiving that highlighted the conflicting demands of work and eldercare.  That study found that: 33%...
Baptist Health Making Dreams Come True

Baptist Health Making Dreams Come True

It’s all in a day’s work here at Baptist Health.   Clem Palmer, one of our dedicated Activities Assistants here at Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, knew that one of her residents, Joe Poupard, would really benefit from a new state-of-the-art digital television set.   The old one he had been watching had a small screen and the picture wasn’t coming in very clear any longer.  Clem nominated Joe to be a “Dreams Can Come True” candidate. “Dreams Can Come True” is just one of many programs that the philanthropic arm of Baptist Health System supports. We are able to support the program through memorial contributions from families remembering loved ones that have passed on, and through the other generous donations we receive from our fund raising events. Anyone can nominate a resident to receive some special treatment, an outing or an item they may want but may not be able to afford. When we asked Joe what he was looking forward to watching on his new TV he enthusiastically replied, “music programs!”  In his younger years, Joe used to play with Bobby Vinton’s band as a trombonist back in the ‘60’s.  His love of music has stayed constant in his life. Happy viewing, Joe! If you’d like to donate to The Dreams Can Come True Program at Baptist Health System via Paypal secured transaction, please click the button. Baptist Health System Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 297 N. Ballston Ave. Scotia, NY 12302 518-370-4700 Judson Meadows Assisted Living Community 39 Swaggertown Rd. Glenville, NY 12302...
Sleepless as a Senior?  You are in Good Company!

Sleepless as a Senior? You are in Good Company!

Sleep can often appear as fair weathered friend.  When we are in the greatest need of her company, she often has other plans.  Or so it seems as we age.  Along with the physical changes that occur as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process.  Many older adults report being less satisfied with their quality of sleep and find themselves more tired throughout the day.  And if that wasn’t exhausting enough, as we add on the years it often becomes more difficult to get to sleep and remain in that state.   There is a decline in the REM sleep (the important stuff!) and often we find ourselves wide awake for no good reason at all.  No matter what your age, sleeping is essential to your physical health and just as importantly your emotional well being.  For older adults, actually ALL of us, but for the sake of this blog, I am referencing those 50 and beyond, a good night’s sleep is especially important because it helps improve concentration and memory function and allows your body to repair any cellular damage that may have occurred during the day. Most physicians consider sleep to be a barometer of a person’s health.  Most of us who don’t sleep well are more likely to suffer from depression, attention and memory problems and excessive daytime sleepiness. So how many hours of sleep do older adults truly need you ask?  Well more than we are probably all getting.  Sleep requirements vary, however MOST healthy adults require between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. So here’s the...
Shaping up for Surgery!

Shaping up for Surgery!

Do you have an upcoming Surgery scheduled? It turns out Americans have an average of nine operations during a lifetime.   This past Monday on Six on Seniors during the noon news on CBS 6 Albany, Channel 6,  Tim Bartos, President and CEO of Baptist Health System, provided some important information on how to get yourself in shape before you check in for that surgical procedure.   Kick the Butts! It turns out smokers, compared with non-smokers, have nearly double the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or other severe complication during, or immediately after surgery. Stopping for even a few weeks can make a dramatic difference. Get your Blood Sugar Tested! Having high blood sugar during surgery increases your risks of wound infections considerably….triples it in fact….if you are scheduled for a surgery, make sure you get a fasting blood glucose test. And don’t forget the basics too, like exercise and good nutrition.  Put on your walking shoes! Patients who aren’t reasonable fit before surgery often don’t have as good of outcomes as able-bodied patients. Having surgery is like running a marathon – or like going into battle, you need to be prepared to recover from major trauma. Nutritional Supplements can help! Many patients are dangerously malnourished when they come in for operations which can increase the risk of complications and death afterward. Drinking a prescription supplement four or five days prior to surgery can cut that risk IN HALF! Be mindful of drug interactions! Pay Mind to Your Medications! Coumadin, Plavix and other blood thinners can cause bleeding problems during surgery. Be sure your doctor reviews your medicines with you, and the plan...

Senior Dating – A Few thoughts on getting Back in the Game!

  Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and if you are over 50 and single, you might be finding the dating world a bit different than when you got started.  This past week on Six on Seniors, on CBS 6 Albany, www.cbs6albany.com  Tim Bartos, President and CEO at Baptist Health System www.bapthealth.com left us with some interesting thoughts on looking for love later in life. There’s some good news, 50 is by no means old and there is still plenty of fun to be had!  Typically by age 50 or beyond, you are secure in yourself and know what you are seeking in a relationship with a special someone. If you are newly single, either through a divorce or are widowed, there are several great reasons to get back out there and take another look at the dating world. Here is reason number one…..because you can!  Gone are the days where you had to meet someone at church or through a mutual friend. The internet has changed everything and has made finding a real connection much more accessible for everyone. While there seem to be hundreds of dating sites out there, there  are a couple specifically geared towards seniors.  Some are even free. Many on-line dating sites offer special sections just for seniors. Most sites are straightforward. You register, create a profile with your hobbies, interests and contact information and then sit back and wait for the inquiries to come in. A couple of popular ones are match.com, voted best for seniors, and e-harmony. Keep safety in mind if you choose on-line dating as an option,  never give out personal information...

The Beat Goes On!

Even Sonny & Cher knew this in 1967 when they released “The Beat Goes On” our hearts are truly amazing!! You can feel your heart beating away every time you put your hand to your chest, but do you have any idea what’s really going on in there or what keeps your heart ticking as it should? Every day, your heart beats about 100,000 times, sending 2,000 gallons of blood surging through your body. Although it’s no bigger than your fist, your heart has the mighty job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed your organs and tissues. Any damage to the heart or its valves can reduce that pumping power, forcing the heart to work harder just to keep up with the body’s demand for blood. So how do you make sure your heart is in tip-top shape? Well for starters keeping your body in good health helps keep the heart an efficient organ. Try your very best to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and don’t skimp on the exercise.  And yes, you can enjoy some heart healthy red wine and dark chocolate here and there too!  I find they are better together, but that’s just one gal’s opinion. Coronary Heart Disease un is the number one cause of death in The United States.  February, in additional to being the month we celebrate the gifts of love and affection through chocolate, valentines, flowers and assorted other trinkets, is also by no coincidence American Heart Month. This past Monday on Baptist Health’s weekly Six on Seniors segment on CBS 6 Albany’s Noon News, Tim Bartos, President and CEO...

Winter Safety Tips for Seniors!

  If you live in Upstate New York, you know that come this time of year, we are in some for some cold, nasty weather.  While die-hard skiers, and husky sled-teams may disagree, snow, ice, wintery mix, etc. can be downright treacherous for many of us!  On Monday, 1/19/15, during CBS 6’s, Six on Seniors segment, Tim Bartos, President and CEO at Baptist Health System, talked about some strategies for keeping older folks safe this time of year.   Here are a few of those ideas. Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. Unfortunately falls are far too common an occurrence for many seniors, especially during the winter months. These falls can cause major injuries like wrist and hip fractures and head trauma.  Falls, unfortunately, are the leading cause of death and injury in men and women over the age of 65. Avoid falling by wearing shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Try not to head out and about if you don’t need to until the roads are clear. Take into consideration if you are using supplemental home heating devices to stay warm that using a fireplace, gas heater or kerosene lantern can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if you need to.  Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher for the home and learn how to use it.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as  the saying goes. Staying safe and warm outside of your home during cold, winter days can be challenging too, particularly if the senior you are worried about...

How to Tell if You’ve Got a Real Hoarding Problem!!

If you are anything like me, you might have three sizes of clothes in rotation at any given time in your closet. The size you used to be, the size you want to be, and the size you are. So that leads to A LOT of extra clutter going on in the closet. And that is just my clutter, limited to a couple of closets. Add to that my significant other’s collection of “handy household items” which includes various beer making equipment, a bread machine, an ice-cream maker and a wok to name a few. Hmmmm, let’s see, I haven’t had a home brewed beer in the almost six years we have known each other and the only ice cream we eat comes from Stewart’s! You get the idea……it is easy to start accumulating “things and stuff” that you have no use for and before you know it, you’ve got clutter. Clutter is certainly one thing, but full-on hoarding is quite another. This past week Tim Bartos, our President and CEO here at Baptist Health System talked with Liz Bishop on “Six on Seniors” about the differences between being messy and disorganized with clutter and when it becomes cause for worry, and could be something serious like hoarding disease. Here is Monday, 1/12’s Six on Seniors Segment in case you missed it: Hoarding disease often affects the elderly, although they are not exclusive to it. It’s not a result of poverty, but rather an emotional disorder with complex and varied causes. Many senior hoarders severely neglect themselves and their homes and suffer from some level of dementia, which can...