Category Archives: Healthy Living

Back on Your Feet Again!

Jayla Johnson, RN

Jayla Johnson has been helping patients in the Ringgold County community get back on their feet for several years. A kind person with a gentle touch, she helps seniors with their toenails and foot care every Monday. But don’t mistake her for a nail technician with a bottle of hot pink polish! She’s a Registered Nurse, who performs the kind of care that helps keep her patients independent and mobile.

Jayla sees many of her patients on a very regular basis. “I get to know them personally and it’s so rewarding. And they love it because it feels so good.” She sees an equal number of men and women for sessions that last about 30 minutes. She trims their toenails, grinds down thick nails, and files the rough edges of callouses on their feet. While she’s working, she inspects their feet and checks for sores or issues that the patient may not know about. Many of her patients are diabetic, which can cause neuropathy (the gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet.) “If I see anything that’s concerning, I have access to a doctor just across the hall,” says Jayla.

Many of her patients no longer have the flexibility to care for their own feet and nails. And others have poor vision which makes self-care difficult. “My patients are older, and they just need the help.” Jayla emphasized the importance of healthy feet…

“If your feet hurt, you’re less likely to get up and move which is so important for seniors. When you can walk comfortably, you’re more mobile, which improves your overall health.”

Foot and nail care services are available to patients through a doctor’s referral. Medicare payment is subject to a patient’s medical diagnoses. If you or someone you know can benefit, contact your physician to see if you qualify for a referral.

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Safety Tips for Swimmers

Swimming is a great recreational sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. But it’s important to know how to be safe while you’re in the water. The American Red Cross offers these important swimming safety tips you should be aware of before you head out to the pool or the lake:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first-aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
  • Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

Hooray for a safe summer!

Whether your summer days are lazy and long or packed with activities, you and your family will enjoy them more if you remember these top 10 sun safety tips.

1. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds is the most common cause of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. There are 72,000 new cases and 9,000 deaths from melanoma each year.

2. Indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage skin and can cause cancer. Indoor tanning is dangerous for younger users. People who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma.

3. Protect your skin. Apply a broadspectrum SPF 30 or higher. Reapply after 2 hours in the sun or after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Check expiration date, sunscreen has a shelf life of up to 3 years.

LOOK FOR Cream, Broad-spectrum protection, SPF to suit your needs and ingredients like: Zinc oxide, Avobenzone, Mexoryl SX

AVOID Sprays, powders, SPF above 50 and ingredients like: Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), added insect repellent

4. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brim hat. Pick a hat that shades your face, ears and back of your neck.

5. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays. Choose ones that have both UVA and UVB rays. They reduce the risk of cataracts, but also protect the skin around your eyes from the sun.

6. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is more likely during hot weather.

7. Seek shade, especially during the midday hours. An umbrella, tree or other shelter can reduce exposure to the sun thus decreasing your risk of skin cancer and heat stroke.

8. When feasible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts that can provide protection from UV rays. A wet T-shirt has less UV protection than a dry one, darker colors offer more protection than lighter colors. A regular T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so look for clothing that has information on its UV protection factor.

9. Know the early signs and symptoms of skin cancer. ABCDE rule can be a guide. Lookout for and tell your doctor about spots that have Asymmetry, irregular Border, Color that is not uniform, Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser or an area that is Evolving.

10. Other warning signs of skin cancer include: a sore that doesn’t heal; spread of pigment from the border of a spot; redness or new swelling around a mole; itchiness, oozing, bleeding or pain of a mole.

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You’re Not Alone

Bruce Ricker, D.O., is a physician in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic and cares for many elderly patients. “Senior Life Solutions has been invaluable,” he says. “I’ve referred so many people to the program and seen firsthand how it helps with recovery for depression and stressful life circumstances.” He adds that being able to offer it locally in Ringgold County is so important. “There are people who aren’t able to travel well, or no longer drive. The staff will pick them up and bring them to counseling. It keeps them from being socially isolated.” Dr. Ricker has observed that patients tend to do better with a holistic approach. He can prescribe medication for depression, but medication plus counseling together gets the best results. “Patients find out that even if the life situation that got them to the program is different from others in the group, coping mechanisms can be very similar and they can really learn from each other.” He added that just getting out of the house and being with other people can be beneficial in itself.

A physician’s point of view: Bruce Ricker, D.O.The real success of Senior Life Solutions is the staff, according to Dr. Ricker. “For them, it’s not just a job, it’s a profession and a passion. They are really in it to help people, and our community is blessed.”

• 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.
• Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness.
• One-half of all chronic mental illness begin by the age of 14; threequarters by the age of 24.
• 16 million American adults live with major depression.
• 42 million American adults live with anxiety disorders.
• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
• 90% if those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

It’s Never Too Late

Through intensive group counseling for individuals over age 65, Senior Life Solutions provides assistance to people who are dealing with emotional or behavioral issues often related to aging.
“Sometimes the journey of life can be difficult,” said Debra Robertson, RN, CCM, local director for the program. “Our team includes Becky Hunter, LISW, who is the full-time therapist, and Grace Warin the Office Patient Coordinator. Together, we’re focused on doing all we can to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve, encouraging them to be more independent in their own lives.”

Independent again
A woman in her mid 70s came to Senior Life Solutions with a myriad of health issues. Along with her physical problems, she was severely depressed, and because she lived more than 30 miles from town, she felt isolated as well. Debra explained that she had a hard time walking and her loss of independence contributed to her low sense of self-esteem. Through group and individual therapy, her mental health improved significantly. In addition, Debra worked with her insurance and primary care physician to connect her to the preventative care resources she needed. After eight months in the Senior Life Solutions program, her quality of life had improved drastically and she
graduated.

Ongoing support
A man in his early 70s came into the program with severe anxiety and depression. He’d been caring for his wife who was quite ill. He found himself giving up everything. He quit socializing and stopped participating in activities he enjoyed. He had to give up working to be the caregiver for his wife. His doctor referred him to Senior Life Solutions. After nine months, he was on the road to recovery, but had to step away when his wife took a turn for the worse. Several months later, she passed away and he returned and graduated from the program after four months. But like many people, he struggled emotionally during the holiday season, and came back to the program again. After the excellent support he received from his group, he’s now back on his feet with a restored quality of life.

Joining the program
Debra explained that anyone can refer a person to Senior Life Solutions. Although many people come as a result of a meeting with their physicians, referrals also come from concerned adult children, friends, and relatives. Insurance considers the program an out-patient medical service, and if potential patients have questions regarding insurance, they may contact the program directly. “Even if their insurance doesn’t cover our program, we’ll steer them in the direction to help them get the services they need,” said Debra. Though most
participants are 65 and older, people in their late 50s and early 60s can benefit as well. Typically, people attend group sessions three days a week for about four hours plus individual sessions twice a month. Once they’re feeling better, they move to fewer group sessions and then graduation.

For a confidential session on the benefits of Senior Life Solutions, contact Debra Robertson, 641-464-4468.

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