Stay hydrated

Some advice about hydration as the summer heats up.

Our member, Callie Wight, R.N., offers this advice about hydration as the summer heats up. This information originally appeared in the Idyllwild Town Crier on May 16, 2018.

Begin quoteDehydration is common and a very serious condition in older adults (64 years and older). Maintaining the body’s fluid balance is critical to healthy aging. Dehydration when not adequately treated can be fatal; it’s associated with serious effects like poor mental functioning, blood clots, infectious diseases, kidney stones, and severe constipation. Dehydration should be prevented whenever possible; properly diagnosed and treated when present.

As we age, there is a decrease in overall body hydration (the absolute amount of water in the body). In addition, kidney function and the sensation of thirst decline in older adults. Taken together, these account for the prevalence of dehydration. (Note: if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated).

With increasing age, a substantial number of older adults drinks less than 1 quart of fluid per day. The lower our body weight and overall body hydration, the sooner the loss of even a small amount of body water will cause dehydration. Environmental and disease-related risk factors play a substantial role among older adults. For instance, even a viral infection with its high fevers, vomiting and diarrhea can dehydrate.

The most important risk factors for dehydration were identified in a large study on a nursing home population: Being over 85 years old, female, having five or more chronic diseases, taking five or more kinds of medication, and being bedridden. Being dependent on others for care, and therefore water intake, can increase the risk of dehydration. Since much fluid is taken with meals, eating “like a bird” may lead to lesser intakes of water than is desirable.

Diagnosing dehydration in the older population isn’t straightforward. Classical signs such as the time it takes skin to rebound when pinched (recoil), increased thirst, and drops in blood pressure upon standing up are not reliable in older adults. At the same time, dehydration often causes symptoms associated with several other conditions in the elderly; symptoms like confusion, constipation, fever or falls. This all muddies the diagnostic waters.

However, good news, we can self-manage. When older adults know that they should not trust to thirst to signal dehydration (if you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated), but drink water because it is healthy, their intake increases above the absolute minimum intake of 57 ½ fluid ounces of water per day.

For calculating the minimum amount of fluid per day, an easy method is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Remember, that’s merely a minimum. Be sure to increase intake by many ounces in pregnancy/breastfeeding, hot weather, dry or humid climates, high altitudes and physical activity.

Caffeine leeches water from your body, so avoid it in sodas, coffee and even teas. (Black and green teas both contain caffeine.) Alcoholic drinks as well as fluids with high protein intake also leech body water.

Reminders to yourself, friends, loved ones to drink water plus keeping water visibly handy during the day can help. Don’t underestimate dehydration!End quoted material

See also:

CA DMV Now Issuing REAL IDs — You’ll Need It By 2020

By 2020, anyone who plans to travel domestically will need a REAL ID.

This post originally appeared in the Palm Desert Patch on January 22, 2018

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CALIFORNIA — The Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing REAL IDs on Monday. The identification cards comply with the federal Department of Homeland Security’s new requirements for traveling. The REAL ID card has a special marking in the upper right hand corner. The marking is of the California grizzly bear with a star, the DMV said.

Beginning 2020, anyone looking to travel domestically will need a REAL ID card with the exception of those under the age of 18. According to the DMV, you do not need a REAL ID to drive, apply or receive federal benefits, enter a federal facility, visit a hospital or receive life-saving services.

To apply for a REAL ID, you can make an appointment or walk into any DMV office. You will need proof of identity, proof of a social security number and a California residency document. For more information, go to REALID.dmv.ca.gov.

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Image: The Palm Desert Patch via the CA DMV

Resources for Seniors in Riverside County, CA

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. Our list begins with the Riverside County Office on Aging.

Precious Elder Ministry of St. Hugh's

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. The resources listed are within driving distance of Idyllwild and our Mountain Communities.

View or Download our Resouce List updated 1 September 2017

New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say

A report in the Guardian about research, on heart health and anti-inflammatory treatment, conducted over the last 4 years in the US.

US researchers find heart attack survivors given anti-inflammatory injections have fewer future episodes and lower cancer risk

Source: New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say | Science | The Guardian

Thyroid Cancer is the Fastest-Growing Cancer in America

In seeking to keep older Americans healthy and well, the AARP regularly posts information and suggestions for each of us to consider. Here is a recent article about Thyroid Cancer.

 

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Originally posted by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, on AARP, July 5, 2017.

As with all articles expressing facts and/or opinions about health and wellness: nothing in the sharing of this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider as you monitor and/or research your own health needs.

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Nearly three out of four cases of thyroid cancer are found in women.

Although the death rate from cancer in America is down 25 percent since 1991, there is one type of cancer rapidly increasing in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has tripled over the last three decades, making it the fastest-growing cancer.The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck, shaped like a butterfly. It produces hormones that enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism, heart, brain, muscles and liver, and keep the body functioning properly and effectively.The estimates for cases of thyroid cancer in America for 2017 have increased, and rates are higher in women than men, according to these figures published on cancer.org.

  • In 2017, there will be an estimated 56,870 new cases of thyroid cancer  — 42,470 in women and 14,400 in men.
  • An estimated 2,010 deaths will result from thyroid cancer  — 1,090 in women and 920 in men.

Women account for nearly three-quarters of thyroid cancer cases. The exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Research has concluded that better imaging technology has increased the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed. “Much of this rise appears to be the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past,” the American Cancer Society says.What are the signs or symptoms related to thyroid cancer? The American Cancer Society lists the following on cancer.org:

  • lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Talk with your doctor immediately if you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with thyroid cancer. Noncancerous conditions or even other cancers can also cause many of the symptoms.How can you protect yourself?Experts say most people found to have thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, and so emphasize that most cases can not be prevented. Professionals suggest regular self-exams to catch thyroid changes in the earliest stages as one of the best means of protection.Here are five steps to performing a self-exam from thyroidawareness.com:

  1. Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones and below the voice box (larynx).
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located farther down the neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

Health professionals estimate that 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems. The good news is that the survival rate of thyroid cancer patients is higher than for most other cancers. Early detection of thyroid cancer can open up more treatment options. You can also ask your doctor to check your thyroid health with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, a blood test that can determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

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Even more information

SHERIFF’S OFFICIALS WARN OF SPIKE IN “VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING” SCAMS

This scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

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Originally posted on Riverside County News Source August 19, 2017

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After a recent spike of incidents in Riverside County involving phone-based, kidnapping scams, Riverside County sheriff’s officials are reminding citizens to be wary of and to immediately report any phone calls or texts from an unknown person claiming a family member or loved one has been kidnapped or is being held for ransom.

The scams, which law enforcement officials and federal investigators first began to see in 2013 and have dubbed “virtual kidnappings,” have become more common and have been gaining popularity among criminals looking for a quick and too often very easy payout.

The scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

One 2015 task force uncovers over 80 victims of virtual kidnappings

In 2015, the FBI began a task force, dubbed “Operation Hotel Tango,” with Los Angeles-area law enforcement agencies. The multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency task force located more than 80 victims throughout California, Texas, Idaho and Minnesota. With average losses around $1,000 per family, the victim’s losses totaled $74,000.

Although many of the cases involved suspects looking for a quick, if not substantial, payout, some of the cases have been known to yield tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In many of the known cases, the victims were contacted over the phone by unknown suspects who claimed that their loved ones had been kidnapped. The suspects often said the kidnapped person had witnessed a crime, owed a debt or been smuggled across the border into Mexico and that they would be tortured and killed if a ransom was not paid immediately.

In some cases, victims reported they could hear the agonized screams of a person they were manipulated to believe was their family member. This was done to cause fear and panic in order to quickly extort ransom payments from the victims.

By the time the victims learned their family members had not been kidnapped and had never been in danger, the “ransom payments” had already been sent off to the scammers and were unrecoverable.

The callers have also often been known to keep the person on the phone throughout the process of obtaining and wiring the money, to ensure the terrified victim does not have an opportunity to contact law enforcement officials, friends or other family members.

One parent shares her two-hour long, nightmare ordeal

In one such incident reported to law enforcement officials in March of this year, the mother of a California Baptist University student was contacted by a unknown number with a Mexico prefix.

When the victim, 60-year-old, Laura Bontrager, answered the phone the first thing she heard was the screaming of a young woman, followed by an unknown man who got onto the phone and said he had kidnapped the woman’s college-aged daughter. The man told the victim he was holding a gun to her daughter’s stomach.

The man told Bontrager that her daughter had witnessed a crime involving a child and the only way she would ever get to see her daughter alive again was to wire him a ransom in Mexico. The man then ordered the victim to go to a bank and pull out as much money as she could.

Over the next two hours, the suspect kept the terrified victim on the phone, using the mother’s fear for her daughter to control her actions in trying to accomplish what he wanted.

After Bontrager went to an ATM and pulled out $1,000, her bank’s limit, and prepared to wire the money to the “kidnapper” her husband managed to get in touch with the daughter who had allegedly been kidnapped.

To the parent’s relief, their daughter was safe and at one of her classes at the college.

FBI warns of sharp increase of virtual kidnapping incidents

At a July 2017, press conference in Los Angeles, the FBI warned Southern Californians about the scam, saying that countless Southern California residents were known to have been targeted by scammers claiming to have kidnapped the victims’ loved ones. Although officials have identified many victims, they believe the true number of victims is much higher, but that many of the victims choose not to report the crimes.

During the press conference, one victim, a Westside LAPD traffic sergeant, shared his experience when he was targeted – unsuccessfully – during a similar virtual kidnapping scam.

The sergeant, explained he had been driving on the 405 Freeway when he received a phone call from a number he did not recognize. When he answered the phone, he could hear a person screaming, “Daddy, daddy, help me!”

“I didn’t recognize the voice,” the sergeant said, “so I tried to explain to her that she needed to call 911.”

At that point another person’s voice came onto the line and told the sergeant that his daughter had been kidnapped and he had to transfer money to the suspect in order to get his daughter back safely.

“They specifically threatened to put a bullet in the back of my child’s head,” the sergeant said.

As the phone call continued – for over one hour – the terrified sergeant spotted some Torrance police officers, who were able to determine that the intended victim’s daughter was safe at her school.

How to avoid being scammed by virtual kidnap schemes

According to many law enforcement agencies across the nation that have been hit by these types of scams, some common indicators you might be falling victim to a virtual kidnap scam include if:

— Incoming calls come from an outside area code or from these specific area codes: 787, 939 and 856.

— Calls come from an unknown number rather than from the alleged kidnap victim’s phone.

— Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone while demanding you obtain ransom money.

— Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer, which allows the money to be picked up anywhere in the world, or by specific means such as a “Green Dot” card.

Law enforcement agencies have also suggested potential victims try to slow the situation down. Call recipients should request to speak to the victim directly or ask for other forms of “proof of life” from the alleged kidnappers. If the kidnappers refuse to allow you speak with the victim, ask them to describe the victim, the vehicle they drive, or to answer some questions that only the real victim would know.

If the callers can not answer your questions or refuse to provide proof that your loved one is alive and uninjured, chances are you are being targeted by scammers looking for a quick buck.

Anyone with information regarding this type of fraudulent activity is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency. Those who live within jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department can also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Even more information

Into Your Hands, O God…

A prayer of trust even in dark times.

Man leaning on the wall

Into Your Hands, O God,
This solitude,

Into Your Hands, O God,
This emptiness.

Into Your Hands, O God,
This loneliness,

Into Your Hands—This
This all.

Into Your Hands, O God,
This grief,

Into Your Hands
This sleeping fear.

Into Your Hands, O God—What
What is left,

What is left Of me.

Edwina Gateley in Lyn Klug, Lyn King, All Will Be Well: A Gathering of Healing Prayers (p. 142). Kindle Edition.

Friday in the week is remembered in prayer as the day of the week that Jesus was crucified. Even in the Season of Easter the Church remembers that there would be no resurrection without crucifixion and death. We remember those who are now suffering in any way, in body, mind, or spirit. We remember that God is ever-present—especially in moments of pain and distress.  We remember with the hope and expectation of resurrection joy. ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: GraphicStock.com