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Stay Safe this Halloween and have a Boo-Nilla Shake!

Halloween is a time for safety reminders. When outside gathering holiday treats make certain you don’t let the spooks and goblins cause too much fright and be mindful of the following:

  1. Carry some form of illumination at all times.
  2. Plan out your trick or treating route before Halloween.
  3. Trick or treat in groups.
  4. Wear comfortable footwear.
  5. Make sure the mask is comfortable without any visual impairment.
  6. Dress according to the weather and dress in layers.
  7. Check suspicious candy and stay in safe neighbors.
  8. Avoid unlit houses.

And, if you are looking for a safe holiday treat for everyone. Try a Boo-Nilla Halloween Shake for starters.

Get crafty and spookify your shakes for Halloween! Complete by Juice Plus+ Vanilla shake mix and a creamy coconut milk topping make this shake a healthy Halloween splurge.

Ingredients:
2 Scoops of Complete by Juice Plus+ Vanilla shake mix
16 oz milk of choice

For Topping:
1 can full-fat coconut milk chilled for 24 hours
1- 2 tbs sweetener like powdered sugar to taste

For Decoration:
Paint pens for the glass
Black sprinkles

 Directions:
1. Decorate the glasses by painting ghost faces!

  1. Prepare the Shake
  • In a blender, combine the milk and Complete powder.
  • Blend until smooth.
  1. Prepare Topping: Whipped coconut milk
  • Chill can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  • Chill a mixing bowl in the freezer for 20 min to an hour.
  • Use the solid white coconut cream from the bottom of the can. Save the clear coconut water for another use.
  • Scoop the solid white coconut cream into bowl.
  • With an electric hand-mixer beat the cream until fluffy and smooth.
  • Add in sweetener to taste if you like.
  • Return whipped cream to fridge until ready to use.
  1. Assemble
  • Dip the rim of the glass in a little bit of the frosting and roll in black sprinkles so they stick.
  • Poor the shake into the glass and top with frosting.
  • Serve immediately.

 

 

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Mental Heath in a Changing World

Young people and mental health in a changing world is sometimes difficult to understand. The month of October is nationally dedicated to mental health awareness! Luckily, there is growing recognition of the importance of helping others build resilience from early ages where mental illness beings to form. One half of mental illness beings at age 14, however, go undetected until later in life.

Prevention beings with better understanding and awareness of early warning signs as well as symptoms. The internet is an excellent tool to look up symptoms and disorders. There’s plenty of  resources such as online psych tests or lists of symptoms to look for. It’s a helpful first step to know what to look for and then visit a doctor to receive a official diagnosis.

When considering specific symptoms of mental illness, it’s important to keep certain things in mind. Of course the symptoms of mental illness themselves are important, but to truly be a mental illness rather than extreme distress, professionals look deeper than a checklist of symptoms to consider just how they disrupt someone’s life. The more precisely you’re aware of your mental illness symptoms, the better able you’ll be to communicate what you’re dealing with. This means that you and your mental health care provider can determine the best possible treatment plan so you can define new goals, get back into life, and transcend mental illness symptoms.

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October if Fire Prevention Month!

October is fire prevention month! In 2016 fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths and even more were injured so we take this very seriously.

Our team is dedicated to checking all of our client’s houses for safety hazards that can start fires. The client’s well-being is extremely important to us therefore, we make sure measures such as two unblocked exits are available, no combustibles are close to heat, looking at electrical equipment condition, and something as little as candles are taken care of.

Please spread the word and stay safe by inspecting you or loved ones home.

The URL below is a helpful fire prevention booklet for older adults.

http://files.esfi.org/file/Home-Fire-Safety-for-Older-Adults-Safety-Awareness-Program-Toolkit.pdf

 

 

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It’s Fall Prevention Month!

It’s Fall Prevention Month!  And, we are highlighting some tips to keep you and your family safe.

Falls can happen to anyone at any age and they can lead to serious complications.  However, as we age, our likeliness of falling increases and the injuries from falls can be more serious. Injuries can lead to long-term hospitalization which carries its own risks.

Below are some safety tips to prevent falls.

  1. Use your assistive devices as recommended by your healthcare practitioner.
  2. Maximize your vision by cleaning your glasses and avoid sunglasses in lowlight areas.
  3. Turn on entryway lights and add highlights to low light and unlit areas.
  4.  Keep flashlights in bedrooms, bathrooms and in easy access areas.
  5. Maintain a strong footing by wearing sturdy snippers and shoes.
  6. Keep pathways clear by moving furniture and items such as books and papers from floors.
  7. Remove scatter rugs and tape down edges of area rugs.
  8. Wipe up spills and keep floors dry.
  9. Have your hearing checked.
  10. Be checked for vitamin deficiencies.
  11. Stay hydrated year round.

 

 

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It is unfortunately well known that the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is still under investigation. However researchers are beginning to uncover that even without a cure, prevention may be possible just by exercising certain ways of life. Studies have exhibited that with appropriate diet, activity level, and cognitively stimulating hobbies the symptoms of AD can be suppressed.

With this information in mind, we have been looking for activities that will contribute to a healthy diet, physical activity, and mental stimulation.

We have found that gardening has been proven to have healing affects and is a therapeutic community activity.

Unfortunately, with age, comes physical and mental limitations. That’s why we have become huge advocates for hydroponic and aeroponic gardening.

This type of gardening is just as beneficial as traditional gardening and it eliminates all of the stress and frustrating extrinsic influences (weather, bugs, pesticides, etc.). When deciding on the kind of hydroponic/aeroponic garden it is important to do research in order to discover one most suitable for your lifestyle. After doing our own research, we found The Tower Garden by Juice Plus.

What we value most about the Tower Garden is its appeal to all age groups. We are proud to have donated Tower Gardens to various schools, organizations, and assisted living communities. We have observed firsthand the TG’s lasting benefits on all ages for innumerable reasons. Among the groups of individuals that we have seen benefit from the TG, is the group that is suffering from cognitive decline, including AD and Dementia. It was important that the TG could be enjoyable for all family members, because our goal was to create an activity for visitors and residents to bond over together during the visits. It can be difficult to check a loved one into an assisted living facility, however from observation, this transition can be easier and less daunting if parts of pre-assisted living life are continued once checking into a facility.

Hydroponic gardening has the power to transform a place into a home by providing this communal activity that promotes the creation of life by simply planting a seed. The act of gardening encourages the feeling of purpose among all those affiliated. The progress of the garden symbolizes something to look forward to each day.

In addition to the mental benefits, another perk of hydroponic gardening is that it eliminates the aspects of gardening that are physically demanding, such as kneeling, digging, weeding, etc.  The TG specially has a vertical design, which protects the gardener from injuries that are frequently caused by bending down.

The Tower Garden has the ability to enhance motor and sensory skills, improve social interactions, maintain high levels of cognition and interest, increase attention span, proliferate brain volume and grey matter, decrease agitation and aggression, and provide a strong sense of community. Overall, serving as a type of therapy for those suffering from cognitive disorders.

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Updates on Alzheimer’s Disease

Recent studies show that about 40 percent of Americans over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease; therefore, hundreds of scientist are researching ways to intervene and untimely treat Alzheimer’s.  Within the month of August 2018 there has been scientific progression in counteracting memory loss as well as developing new techniques to understand the disease itself.

If you were to view a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease under a microscope you would see abnormal clusters of plaques and protein fragments building up between nerve cells. In addition, dead and dying nerve cells create tangles. The most damaging aspect of the plaques is its ability to completely block signals at a junction in the nerve called the synapse. In simple terms, the synapse is the point of communication between two neurons or a neuron and a cell. Ultimately when the synapse is obstructed the neurons can’t instruct or communicate with important human body parts such as muscle’s or glands.  The growth of these plaques is one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A new development by Purdue University now provides researchers with a 3D look of brain molecules with much greater details. This revolutionary nasoscope helps scientists understand the structure of plaques that form in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. The goal is to use this invention to potentially stop the formation of the plaques.

Another recent discovery links aspirin and reduces the severity of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most chiefly used medications in the world can actually reduce the amount of amyloid plaque commonly founding in brains affected with Alzheimer’s. When running tests with lab mice, scientists found Aspirin stimulates lysosomes or properties of the cell that clear cellular debris.

Dementia diseases impair the ability to form new memory; making it extremely important to study the role neuron’s play in memory and learning. Researchers at Uppsala University have unraveled the significance of the OLM cells. When the OLM cells were overactive on experiments with lab mice, the mice’s memory and learning functions worsened. Now researchers are one step closer to finding which cells they should primarily look at when studying memory loss. Uppsala University is continuing to study OLM cells and other memory related links to Alzheimer’s.  They believe that certain cells, maybe even OLM cells, can improve memory under specific conditions as well.

You could learn more about scientific progression towards curing Alzheimer’s disease on websites such as Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Association. You could also get involved in funding research by finding your “walk against Alzheimer’s”though ISTAART.

 

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National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness + Prevention month!

July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, a chance to improve and raise awareness about orofacial clefts. In the United States has approximately 2,650 babies are born per year with a cleft palate and 4,400 are born with a cleft lip. A cleft lip happens during mid pregnancy when body tissue and cells from each side of the head grow towards the center of the face, causing the babies lips to not join before birth, usually an open space between the lips and nose due to lack of tissue. A cleft palate is also formed during mid pregnancy; however, the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join together completely leaving some babies with front and back parts of the palate open. Both defects leave babies with feeding restrictions, breathing, and problems speaking clearly.

To help reduce a woman’s risk for having a baby with an orofacial cleft or other craniofacial condition, health care providers should encourage patients who are thinking about becoming pregnant to commit to a healthy lifestyle such as monitoring diabetes and to quit smoking. CDC and its partners are working to better understand the preventable causes of clefts and craniofacial defects. You could also donate to organization Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides free cleft repair surgery and cleft care to children in over 80 countries! Surgeries are recommended to take place within the first 12 months of life, but the organization works with youths with clefts as well.

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Everything you need to know about Hepatitis

August is Hepatitis awareness month Hepatitis, a highly contagious infection, causing inflammatory conditions to the liver. Some types have no treatments and still very present in modern day society. There are various types of hepatitis including: type A, B, C, D, and E and important to educate yourself about all the strains of hepatitis to prevent infection. All of which have different ways of being virally transmitted as well as different symptoms and treatment.

Hepatitis A, started by virus HAV, is caused by a viral infection most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from another infected with hepatitis A. It has short-term effects, which usually requires no treatment and has flu-like symptoms. There is a vaccine for hepatitis A given in a series of two injections, 6 to 12 months apart. Always washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom is a simple way to prevent infection.

You can only get this strain of hepatitis transmitted through blood or other body fluids. Hepatitis B, otherwise known as HBV, is estimated to be 600 years old. Over time Hepatitis B has adapted to humankind making it difficult to spot any symptoms at all. If HBV is left untreated it can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis both of which has the potential to be fatal.  Around 2.2 million Americans have HBV: however, only 25 percent of adults are vaccinated against the disease. In recent years, scientist have innovated the HBV vaccine to only two shots within a month time span.

Hepatitis C or HCV is a blood borne virus, meaning you can only contract the virus by coming into contact with the blood of someone who already has it.  This virus shows zero symptoms because HCV is able to reduce the immune systems response. HCV can be both acute and chronic all depending on how fast you treat the virus. Due to the fact HCV has little to no noticeable symptoms more than half infected with HCV end up with chronic health problems such as liver damage. So far there are no vaccines available to prevent hepatitis C.

Out of the five strains hepatitis D is considered the most severe because it requires hepatitis B to duplicate itself. In other words you need HBV in order to get HDV. The only treatment of HDV is treating for HBV first. Some symptoms include severe joint pain, dark urine, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Like hepatitis A, HEV is spread through indirect fecal contaminated food and water. Hepatitis E, which is a short-term and self-resolving version of hepatitis and most common in countries where water and sanitation are sparse. This strain of hepatitis is associated with more intense liver damage and higher mortality rate than HAV. HEV has been connected to different meats such as boar, pork, and deer meat; therefore, it’s very important to toughly cook poultry. Usually Hepatitis E goes away on its own, but one day a shot could be available and is already licensed in China for tests.

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June is… Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month 

Not only does June suggest the beginning of summer, it also represents the month dedicated to Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness. Before becoming your own advocate for Alzheimer’s disease it is vital to gain an understanding of how exactly the brain works with versus without Alzheimer’s. Three sections make up the brain; the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem.

The cerebrum is probably what you think of when you imagine the brain. It contains all of the brain’s lobes (frontal,parietal, occipital, and temporal) that control major functions such as thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling, etc. It is also responsible for movement control. The cerebellum is located underneath the cerebrum, towards the back of the head. You can blame your coordination and balance skills on this part of the brain. The brain stem serves as the extension cord between your brain and spinal cord, and controls automatic functions which are functions that we do not need to consciously tell our bodies to perform. Such as breathing, digesting, heart rate, and blood pressure.

The most valuable players of the brain, are the neurons. The branches extending from these nerve cells connect at over 100 trillion points, and the average adult brain contains around 100 billion cells. This network of neurons, often referred to as a neuron forest, releases signals that travel through the “forest”. Thus signals represent the basis of memories, thoughts, and feelings; all functions that decline in Alzheimer’s patients.

The signals move along the neurons, which connect to one another at the synapse. The signals, which act as electrical charges, often trigger the release of neurotransmitters once they reach the synapse. As these neurotransmitters travel across the synapse, they transmit signals to other cells. This transmission results in the creation of a code that our brains generate in order to explain thoughts, memories, skills, and other characteristics that differentiate us from one another. Our brain’s coding alters whenever we experience new situations, skills, people, emotions, etc.

So now the question is, how is all of this effected by Alzheimer’s disease?

The neurons are the main type of cell destroyed by Alzheimer’s, hence the electrical charges and the neurotransmitter activity are disrupted. As a result of the interference of neurons and their connection to one another, the brain’s code is misinterpreted. This explains why early signs of Alzheimer’s typically include memory loss and confusion.

When neurons and surrounding tissue are lost, the brain experiences shrinkage. As the anatomy diminishes, it becomes inefficient resulting in the deterioration of specific functions. When the brain’s cortex is impaired, thinking, planning, and remembering becomes compromised. The hippocampus, an area of the cortex responsible for the formation of new memories, experiences extreme depreciation in Alzheimer’s patients.

Fluid-filled spaces in the brain, called ventricles, expand. And plaques, which are clusters of protein fragments, build up between neurons. Tangles are present within the dead and/or dying neurons, these twisted strands of protein along with the plagues are suspected to be the culprits behind cell death and tissue loss in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. As the disease progresses, plagues and tangles spread through the cortex. The quicker the spread, the more severe the Alzheimer’s is; hence how long the patient will experience symptoms of the disease. Similar to the brain, each case of Alzheimer’s is unique, to find out more information, visit www.alz.org.

By: Piper Newhall

References: www.alz.org 

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