Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ensure Your Pets Have a Safe Trip

If you are going to travel with your companion animal, whether a cat, dog, or perhaps a reptile or other creature, you need to ensure it will be kept safe from harm and injury. Here are a few tips from the Canada Food Inspection Agency for making your pet’s journey a safe one.

Health Check
It is always a good idea to check the health of your pet before any long trip to make sure it is fit to travel. Health certificates or other documentation may be required when taking your pet on an airplane or to another country, including the United States. Find out in advance what will be required.

In Your Vehicle
Contain your pet. Animals that could distract the driver should be contained. Some animals, such as cats, are more comfortable in a vehicle when they are in a carrier. Pets should not be allowed to roam freely in the back of pick-up trucks or be exposed in any way to flying debris.

Watch the weather
 Animals should not be kept in parked vehicles for long periods of time, especially in hot or cold weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise or fall to levels that could cause your pet to suffer or even die. If you must leave your pet in a vehicle for a short period of time in hot weather, ensure it has fresh water and leave windows open a little on either side of the vehicle to create a cross-breeze.

Provide food, water and rest. On long trips, make sure your pet has food and water, and make sure that you make regular stops so it can rest or get out and walk around.

The Ultimate Human Freedom

"Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom...The power to choose, to respond, to change."

Stephen R. Covey 

My Mother Refuses to Discuss Finances With Me; Doesn’t She Trust Me?

A - Financial matters are often the last bastion of control, so you must reassure your mom that knowing doesn’t mean taking over:

Remind her that all decisions she has made about her care and well-being will be respected, but they must be documented – are Powers of Attorney and a Will in place?

Explain that to carry out her wishes, you need to know the relevant players now, not when a crisis occurs.

Meet her banker, accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent and lawyer before they need to contact you in a crisis.

Help simplify her banking arrangements by using electronic payments, direct deposits and consolidating accounts into one branch.
Try not to take her attitude personally; your mom may be trying to spare you time and effort. As you work together on a solution, your mother may feel comfortable sharing more information and, ultimately, more responsibility.

This information was provided by, Pat M. Irwin, BA, AICB, CPCA, is founder and president of ElderCareCanada, a single-source consulting firm for adult children and their families, addressing all aspects of elder care -

Playing it Safe

As summer beckons us to spend more time outdoors gardening, exercising or relaxing in the yard, it also beckons other creatures - insects, bees and yellow jackets. Most of the time, they leave us alone if we leave them alone. But, occasionally, they bite and sting, ruining an otherwise perfect day. Most people get over bites and stings in time to weed the sweet peas or go for a stroll by afternoon, reacting only mildly. A mild allergic reaction - including swelling, redness, pain and itching - can cause an undue share of misery.

But a small percentage of the population reacts violently to insect bites and stings. Recognizing the difference between an ordinary immune response and a severe allergic reaction can mean the difference between life and death.

Severe Reactions - Within minutes from the time an insect bite or bee sting occurs, toxic effects follow. A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, occurs when any of these symptoms are present, for which immediate emergency care is required:

  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • trouble breathing
  • hives
  • dizziness
  • nausea, cramping, diarrhea or vomiting
  • loss of consciousness

Large skin infections and reactions to a bite or sting also call for immediate care. According to HealthLinkBC, shock may occur if the vital organs are not supplied with an adequate amount of blood.

Pest Prevention

Avoiding severe reactions is key to outdoor safety, and managing your surroundings helps prevent this from occurring. In addition to staying alert outdoors and using insect repellant according to directions, other steps also help. Keeping drinks covered, especially sweet drinks like juice and pop, is one way to help keep insects away. The yellow jacket, a common name for a predatory wasp, seems particularly attracted to sugary liquid, but its behaviour is somewhat predictable. “Yellow jackets tend to only be aggressive if provoked or if they feel their nest is threatened,” says Bill Melville, quality assurance director in the pest management industry. Homeowners should monitor their homes frequently for hives and nests. When food is brought outdoors, special precautions should be taken. “When picnicking outdoors,” says Melville, “keep food in tightly sealed containers and cover pop cans, as yellow jackets often enter cans unseen.”
Treatment Tips
If all precaution fails, and a bee sting or yellow jacket sting occurs, panicking could worsen the outcome. Move as calmly as possible away from the area, brushing away the pest. Although yellow jackets can sting repeatedly and fly away to sting another day, bees leave their stingers in the skin. If stung by a bee, remove the stinger quickly by scraping it with a fingernail: squeezing the area surrounding the stinger forces more venom into the skin. Insect bites can be treated with a cold, moist cloth three to four times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion helps reduce itching and swelling. Finally, resting the affected area on a pillow above the level of the heart helps prevent further swelling. And after a run-in with yellow jackets, bees, or any other outdoor insect out to get you, there may be no better remedy than a good, long rest - indoors, of course!

Article by, Jim Tipton, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine

Monday, June 4, 2012

Know the signs of coronary heart disease…

…from an article by the World Health Organization
Worldwide, a substantial number of men and women who have coronary artery disease die within 28 days after experiencing symptoms; of these, two-thirds die before reaching a hospital. It is critical that everyone recognizes the warning signs of a heart attack, which may include:
Chest discomfort.
 Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of breath.
 Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms.
 May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
Women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths.  As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

If you feel that you are experiencing heart attack symptoms, do not delay. Minutes matter!  Call 9-1-1 immediately.  While waiting for an ambulance, chew one adult-strength (325 mg) aspirin tablet:  Aspirin reduces the risk of death by up to 23% if administered when a heart attack is suspected, and for 30 days thereafter. The use of aspirin as a heart attack first aid could potentially save 10,000 lives each year.
“3.8 million men and 3.4 million women worldwide die each year from coronary heart disease.” — World Health Organization

Heart attack risk rises after loss of loved one

…an article from the National Institute of Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an affiliate of Harvard University
A person's risk of suffering a heart attack increases by approximately 21 times in the first 24 hours after losing a loved one, according to a study lead by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The study published Jan. 9 online in the journal Circulation found the risk of heart attack remained eight times above normal during the first week after the death of a loved one, slowly declining, but remaining elevated for at least a month.
Researchers interviewed approximately 2,000 patients who suffered myocardial infarctions, or heart attacks, over a five-year period. Patients were asked a series of questions about potentially triggering events, including losing someone close to them in the past year.
While there is widespread anecdotal evidence that the death of a loved one can lead to declining health in survivors, few studies have looked at the acute effect of bereavement and grief on myocardial infarction.
"Bereavement and grief are associated with increased feelings of depression, anxiety and anger, and those have been shown to be associated with increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in the blood that make it more likely to clot, all of which can lead to a heart attack," says lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, MPH, ScD, a post-doctoral fellow in the cardiovascular epidemiological unit at BIDMC.
"Some people would say a 'broken heart' related to the grief response is what leads to these physiologic changes," says senior author Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, a physician in the Cardiovascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of BIDMC's cardiovascular epidemiological research program.
 "So that emotional sense of the broken heart may actually lead to damage leading to a heart attack and a physical broken heart of a sort."
Mostofsky and Mittleman think that being aware of the heightened risk can go a long way toward "breaking the link between the loss of someone close and the heart attack."
"Physicians, patients and families should to be aware of this risk and make sure that someone experiencing grief is getting their physical and medical needs met," says Mittleman. "And if an individual develops symptoms that we're concerned might reflect the beginnings of heart attack, we really need to take it very seriously and make sure that that patient gets appropriate evaluation and care."
Providing appropriate psychological interventions for someone who is grieving is also important. Mostofsky says, "We do think it's plausible that social support during that increased time of vulnerability would help mitigate the risk of heart attack."

Five tips for boomer-friendly retail design…

…an article found on an American website, but very useable in Canada
While many retailers are focusing on young, technology savvy shoppers these days, they can’t afford to ignore older baby boomers who account for roughly one in every four consumers and possess much of America’s personal wealth and spending power.

What does that mean when it comes to designing your store? Appealing to this generation of 48 to 66-year-old shoppers takes some finesse. You don’t want to make boomers feel old. Nor do you want to shut out the younger generations. The key is figuring out “those hidden things boomers respond to that everyone benefits from,” says Seanette Corkill a Vancouver, Wash., retail design consultant.

Here are five strategies to help make your stores boomer-friendly:

1. Adjust your lighting

Getting lighting right is critical for any store and any customer, but it’s especially important for older shoppers. Jenny Wall, owner of Moose Mountain Trading Company, a Steamboat Springs, Colo., store that specializes in women’s sweaters, added spotlights and sconces to the overhead ambient lighting to make sure older shoppers didn’t have to strain their eyes. “The aging eye perceives color differently,” says Corkill.
 “It tends to see more yellow.” Corkill suggests avoiding lighting with too high a temperature, which could increase the yellowness of your store and make it look less attractive. She also cautions against angling spotlights too much, causing them to point across and into shoppers’ eyes rather than down at objects. While such invasive light can be blinding to more sensitive, older eyes, it makes the shopping experience less pleasant for shoppers of any age.

2. Keep merchandise uncluttered and accessible

Think carefully about how you organize your merchandise. Younger customers may not mind walking into a store crammed with stuff, but a boomer might be repelled by too much inventory on display, says Corkill. “It’s not a garage sale.” Where you place merchandise matters to boomers, too, of course. Linda Cahan, a West Linn, Ore., retail design consultant, recommends that retailers always place products targeted to boomers at least two feet above the floor. “Younger people will bend, whereas older people will not want to,” she says. “Don’t put extra-larges on the bottom.”
3. Tidy up your space

You always want to keep a clean store, but tidiness is especially important to older customers. Alice Cunningham, who owns the Olympic Hot Tub Co. makes sure the hot tubs in her five Seattle area showrooms are carefully wiped down and that customers have clean, warm towels to dry their hands after dipping them in the water. “Women boomers, especially, are crazy about cleanliness,” she says. Wall, a 57-year-old boomer herself, agrees that her older shoppers value the polished look of her clothing store. “Quality is important,” she says. “We try to fold and straighten and have things together.”
4. Avoid fine print on signs and price tags

Boomers naturally appreciate large, easy-to-read type on price tags and signs. If your customer has to pull out her glasses to read a tag, that doesn’t bode well, Corkill says. “They’ll just skip over what they can’t read, and that means lost opportunity to influence a sale.” But you don’t want to go too far and put giant fonts on everything. That might offend older customers, as well as signal to younger people that your store is for their parents’ generation. “You’ve got to make it workable for everybody,” Corkill says. “You don’t want to delineate yourself so specifically that you alienate others.” You might be tempted to get fancy with swirling, elaborate fonts, but it’s safer to go with a simple font for price tags and signage. That way, customers won’t struggle to make out prices or words, and your store will have an overall cleaner look.
5. Greet customers when they walk in the door

The older the customer, Cahan says, the more personal interaction they usually want when they go shopping. “When somebody 45 or up walks into a store, they don’t just want to be acknowledged; they need to be acknowledged,” she adds. “Otherwise, they will get annoyed.” Making that personal connection can go a long way toward building long-term relationships with boomer customers.
 At Moose Mountain Trading Company, Wall and her sales staff offer older customers tips on how to accessorize or wear certain items. “We do it in a way that’s not pushy, but that’s more educational and fun,” she says.