LGBT Face Challenges With Aging

Hi this is Anthony Diaz. Did you know that there are concerns and issues that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) face as they start to age? It can be difficult and scary. Many of the LGBT have had to face challenges such as stigma, prejudice, family of origin abandonment, income, benefits exclusion and more.

As the gay transgender community ages, these difficulties do not go away, and often increase. We discover that often times, this community does not get enough health care, social services and couples do not get programs like Social Security or Medicare, which can have a direct impact millions of LGBT seniors.

With over 28 years of experience under my belt for the aging population, I feel it is important that I try to help raise awareness about the concerns that this populations that may experience as they age. The National Council on Aging and the American Society on Aging in Chicago did a study on the aging LGBT and found that this population of older adults faced issues such as isolation and unequal treatment. What this study demonstrated was this population tends to be a little poorer and sicker as they age and have far less social and community engagement.

A number of problems faced by LGBT seniors stem from the fact that they do not have the same family support systems as heterosexual people do. Legal policy often exclude LGBT people adding social and economic consequences which sadly, can deny LGBT seniors access to financial resources and community support networks.

There’s a great deal of challenges and pitfalls for same-sex couples and I am glad to be part of a team that helps the LGBT community age and face these issues with what we hope is not only helpful but hopeful.

Seniors and Summer Tips

10455147_789109084454026_40626483893903977_nHi, this is Anthony Diaz here. Yes, the summer is here and we have the pink flamingos and misters going to make it more comfortable for our residents. Still, we need to remember that the heat can take a toll on seniors. Extreme heat is a leading cause of preventable death among seniors and with recent record-breaking temperatures, it is important seniors and caregivers know how to stay safe in hot weather.

Seniors do not feel the heat the way younger people do, and so might not be aware of the risks of high temperatures. Physiologically, as we age our bodies lose some natural ability to regulate temperature, making seniors more susceptible to temperature changes in the environment according to experts at the American Geriatric Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging. Last week in our blog, we talked about foods that can help hydrate seniors. This week let’s talk about basic heat tips.

Always try to be in an air-conditioned environment. If you do not have air-conditioning at home, visit an air-conditioned shopping mall, restaurant or library. Also have seniors take a cool shower or place cool towels around pulse points such as the neck and armpits.

Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages without too much sugar. When the body sweats, it loses vital salts and minerals, so grab a sports drink. If liquid intake is limited, eat cold fruits that contain high amounts of water like watermelon and cantaloupe.

Stay out of the sun during the warmest parts of the day which is usually between 10 or 11 am and 3 or 4 pm.

Limit strenuous activity and exercise. Our body works hard enough during the hot days that adding strenuous physical activity can be detrimental. If your senior exercises regularly, try it during the early morning or late evenings. Planning around the hottest time of the day can help to limit exposure to the heat.

Take frequent breaks to cool down. When spending time out in the hot sun, it’s beneficial to take numerous breaks to recover. Having a cool area in his or her home in which to recover can also be beneficial.

Seniors may be much more likely to develop sunburn because of the specific texture of their skin so use sunscreen whenever possible and light long sleeved shirts.

When planning for an outing or picnic with the seniors coming along, prefer places with cool shades and ventilation

Give seniors cool treat like ice creams, popsicles, and any other frozen refreshing treats to keep everyone cool during the hot season. They enjoy those tasty summer treats too!

Pink flamingos and misters won’t prevent seniors from getting heat stroke so please follow simple tips to make sure your loved one is protected from the heat this summer.


Keep Seniors Hydrated This Summer

Hi this is Anthony Diaz from Rosa’s Chante Adult Care Home. Did you notice that in Tucson we broke the record this week? It was 108. Did you also know that as you age, you become more susceptible to dehydration for several reasons. The way your system works, your body’s ability to conserve water is reduced during the summer months. Your thirst sense becomes less acute, and you’re less able to respond to changes in temperature. With older adults they tend to eat less than younger people and may forget to eat or drink altogether. We need to be careful because dehydration can be compounded by chronic illnesses such as diabetes, dementia, and by the use of certain medications.

Combating elderly dehydration is a huge issue for the elderly. A recent University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65. Dehydration has been associated with increased mortality rates among older adults and can accelerate or bring about emergency hospitalization and/or increase the risk of hospital stays. It is a frequent cause of hospitalization of older adults and one of the ten most frequent diagnoses responsible for hospitalization in the United States. Dehydration has been associated with many elderly health issues, including elderly confusion, impaired cognition, falling and constipation.

There are steps you can take to make sure the elderly are getting enough hydration. Fluid intake is key and try to keep water bottles available throughout the day wherever the senior is. Encourage flavored waters for a change and variety. There are a variety of ways you can flavor water, which can include adding fresh fruits and vegetables.

One great way to keep the body hydrated is through the foods we eat. Some of the top foods include, watermelon, which is 95 percent water and rich in vitamin C. Then there is cucumbers also 95 percent water and provides calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium which is great because potassium and sodium work together to maintain fluid levels in the body. Strawberries are 92 percent water and rich in potassium and Cantaloupe is 90 percent water and rich in potassium. Simple fruits and veggies can make a big difference when it comes down to keeping seniors well hydrated.