• July 10, 2017 /  Basics

    How Older Ones Can Stay Safe in the Summer

    The summer is now here in full force and in most areas of the country there are times that it gets dangerously hot. The fact is, older ones are more susceptible to its ill effects. As you get older, your sweat glands are less active, and make it harder for your body to eliminate heat. Even seniors as young as their 60s still have a higher risk in the heat, especially if they have any chronic health conditions.

    There are 4 basic, vital steps that everyone should take to protect themselves. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns as well, and see what advice they have for you.

    1. Sun Protection: First and foremost, you need to protect yourself before you even step outside. And that means more than applying sunscreen! You should absolutely wear it, though, any time you go out. Even when in the shade, or when it doesn’t seem too sunny, you should still apply it. You’d be surprised how much exposure you get even at those times!

    The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using “broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher”. This level of SPF filters out about 97 perfect on the sun’s UV radiation. Broad-spectrum ensures that you’re protected from both UVA and UVB rays.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Sunscreen can only do so much. You need to protect yourself additionally by wearing broad-rimmed hats and sunglasses. Choose loose-fitting clothing made from a breathable fabric such as cotton, and choose lighter colors. Avoid prolonged exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hottest part of the day.

    2. Keep Hydrated: Most adults need about two quarts (64 ounces) of fluids every day, but that amount increases with heat and humidity and can change based on various medications. Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which will actually dehydrate you.

    If you struggle to drink enough water, remember that you can get extra hydration by eating water-rich foods such as cucumbers and watermelon. You can also purchase flavored waters, drink a half-and-half mixture of fruit juice and water, and include plenty of ice in your usual favorite beverage. But in the end, these need to be an accompaniment to a consistent intake of water throughout your day.

    3. Cool Down: What steps can you take to stay cool throughout the day? If you feel very hot and uncomfortable, try a cool shower, or sit with your feet in a basin of cold water. Keep your AC at a reasonable temperature. If you’re out and about, be sure to have air-conditioned places around you – this includes coffee shops, libraries, stores, and the like. This is a great way to get mild exercise, too. Some seniors enjoy walking around malls in the early morning, especially if they have a friend to join them.

    4. Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke: Even if you follow all of these steps, as a senior you’re more prone to experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Part of the reason for this is that older ones have a harder time, on average, monitoring and adjusting to big changes in temperature. As the CDC points out, “People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.”

    According to the Mayo Clinic, heat stroke symptoms include:

    • High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
    • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
    • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.
    • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
    • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
    • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
    • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
    • Headache. Your head may throb.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate help. Call 911 and if you have any family or friends nearby, alert them to your situation, so they can stay with you until professional help arrives. In the meantime, some quick steps you can take include getting indoors or into the shade, removing excess or heavy clothing, and using a hand-held fan with a water mister.

    By following these guidelines, you can be sure to have a healthy, enjoyable summer!

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  • July 4, 2017 /  Special Needs

    I know Lori Cochrane from our association at the local Professional Fiduciaries Association chapter where she is chair of the education committee. She is also a local, licensed professional fiduciary specializing in all matters of the person and practices a person-first-and-centered philosophy as a special needs and health care advocate. She earned her B.A. in Behavioral Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from CSU, Sacramento. She is a professional member of the National Guardianship Association, Professional Fiduciary Association of California, The Arc of California, and the Placer County BAR Association. She has been helping families during times of difficulty and transitions since 2000. Lori can be reached at 916-705-7309 or Lori@CochraneCSS.com.

    This is posted with permission and may also be found at:  https://www.cochranecss.com/single-post/2017/06/06/SPECIAL-NEEDS-PLANNING-Who-will-watch-over-my-child-with-special-needs-as-they-age-when-I-am-not-able

    Special Needs Planning: Who will watch over my child with special needs as they age when I am not able?

    For parents of a child with special needs many questions arise as the child becomes an adult;

    Will they be able to live independently? Will they have an adequate and dignified place to live? Will they be able to pay their own bills? Who will watch-over my child to ensure their needs are met?

    If you have come to the realization of life-long dependence for your child, planning for their transition into adulthood will go a long way to ease your mind. Before your child turns 18-years-old, becoming an adult, it is important to plan for who will make decisions on their behalf if they are not able. Consult with an attorney to discuss whether assigning an agent with power of attorney or establishing a court conservatorship is appropriate.

    Who can be assigned as a decision maker?

    Parents are the likeliest chosen decision makers. The usual recommendation is to select one parent primarily and the other parent as an alternate. Both parents may be assigned as co-conservators if your adult child does not have capacity.

    The usual recommendation when planning is to include a succession plan in the event you become unavailable, incapacitated, or die. You may consider including a close responsible adult as an alternate. Whoever is selected they must be over 18 years of age, and be willing to serve in this role.

    The qualities of a person best suited to act as a decision maker for a person with special needs is someone who will act in the best interest of the person, separate from their own interests. They must be trustworthy and capable as a strong advocate navigating and adapting the plan of care as the person ages. They must have the knowledge necessary to preserve the person’s public benefits and prudently manage their finances. Direct service providers or their employees may not serve in this role.

    There are professionals who specialize in this area who can help you plan, manage services, and advocate for your adult child’s best interest.

    How will I know when it’s time to seek help?

    Planning for your inability to serve as your child’s decision maker is wise. The loss of your ability or willingness to manage important things isn’t likely to be black and white or happen overnight. As time progresses and the realities of aging become known, you as a parent may find yourself less-willing or less-able to manage everything for your adult child. Maybe you are feeling it is best to be busy in your own lives or you want to help your adult child become less dependent on you.

    The need for less dependency or a less restrictive arrangement may become apparent. You may choose to step-back somewhat to provide your adult child the tools or resources which will be available to them as you become less available. Arranging for your adult child to live outside of your home with the necessary supports will be important to do before long. Finding an appropriate living arrangement along with navigating the maze of resources and public benefits, can be managed by a professional.  You might consider involving a licensed professional fiduciary to help with the transition between your adult child being your dependent, to your adult child living independent of you.

    What can a licensed professional fiduciary do to help the transition?

    Licensed professional fiduciaries provide critical services to help protect and maintain quality of life for vulnerable people. When it comes to people with special needs, some professional fiduciaries who specialize can identify critical needs, manage a person’s publicly provided services, protect their public benefits, and consult with doctors and attorneys as necessary.

    A Licensed professional fiduciary can open an *ABLE Act account on behalf of a person, and serve as the legal representative managing the account.

    A licensed professional fiduciary can also serve as a consultant, or as agent for power of attorney for health care and/or for finances. They can also serve as a court appointed conservator for a person with special needs under a limited conservatorship. Some fiduciaries specialize in serving as either health care agent or finance agent as trustee.

    In California, fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the state of California’s Professional Fiduciary Bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs.  You can learn about the high standards and stringent requirements licensed professional fiduciaries are held to by visiting their website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov.

    *You can learn more about the ABLE Act by visiting www.ablenrc.org.

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