Sleep – plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety.
The way you feel when you are awake depends in part on what happens while you are sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. While you are sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash) or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn and get along with others.
If you are sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior and coping with change. Sleep deficiency has also been linked to depression, suicide and risk-taking behavior.
There are several factors that affect sleep such as: mental stress, the food we eat, alcohol, caffeine, our sleep environment and the medication we take.
Sleep problems are not an inherent part of the aging process. Many older adults have good quality sleep until the end of their lives. But sleep patterns tend to change. Some people find it harder to get to sleep and they awaken more often during the night and earlier in the morning.
Older people respond differently to medicines that do younger adults. It is very important to talk with your health care provider before taking any sleep medications. The drugs stay in your body longer and can cause grogginess when you are awake, making it dangerous and prone to falls.
Measures to help you get to sleep:
a light bedtime snack
avoid stimulants such as coffee 3-4 hours before bed
do not nap during the day
avoid too much stimulation, such as violent TV shows before bed
try to go to bed the same time every night and wake the same time each morning
avoid tobacco products, especially before sleep
practice relaxation techniques at bedtime, such as deep, slow, self-aware breathing. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale slowly for 8 seconds and repeat several times.
2019 Medicare changes – Every year the federal health insurance program called Medicare sees some changes to the coverage it provides. Many of these changes come in the form of adjustments to costs, as the program is designed to pass on a portion of its costs to its participants and those costs typically rise slightly from year to year.
Medicare Part A is designed to cover expenses related to hospital stays as well as expenses for skilled nursing facilities. For most people, Part A comes at no cost but the hospital deductible for 2019 is $1364, an increase of $24 from 2018.
Medicare Part B covers expenses for medically necessary services and treatments to address a disease or medical condition. Doctor visits are the most common service under Part B, but coverage also includes diagnostic testing, ambulance services and medical equipment.
For most people, the Part B premium will be $135.50 per month, that’s an increase of $1.50 from 2018.
Just like Part A, Medicare Part B comes with a deductible that you have to pay before coverage begins. For 2019, the Part B deductible will be $185, that’s $2 higher than 2018.
Medicare Part D & Medicare Advantage benefits can change each year, meaning premiums and deductibles can go up and benefits can change. It is extremely important to review your plan each year for these changes. If you are not happy with these changes, the annual open enrollment period allows you to change plans to better suit your needs and budget. This year’s open enrollment period is October 15th – December 7th, 2019 for a January 1, 2020 effective date.
File of Life & Wallet Med Cards – In the next couple of months I will be visiting churches and distributing Files of Life magnets and wallet med cards. Both will help rescue workers quickly find important information when every second counts!
The File of Life is a small, bright red magnetic holder that can be placed on the refrigerator and seen at once. The wallet med card is a small sturdy card that you can carry in your wallet.
They both have two-sided cards to fill in medical conditions, medication, insurance information, emergency contacts and more.
If you are transported to a hospital emergency room, information is immediately available to the medical staff. There is no wasted time in trying to get information to help to treat you if you are unconscious or confused or if your next of kin does not know the answers to the questions being asked.
Stroke Awareness – A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to cells. Without blood, brain cells die. This means that a section of the brain starts breaking down and brain function is altered.
Stokes are usually painless but a sudden extremely painful headache with no known cause can mean a stroke. Other signs may include:
sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech
sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs on one side of the body
sudden facial drooping on one side
sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination
sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
men and women can experience all the previous symptoms but women can also experience nausea, fast heartbeat or hiccups, pain in the face, chest or legs, full body weakness and shortness of breath.
If you notice any of these symptoms on yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death. Stroke treatments work best if administered within 3 hours of the first symptoms. When in doubt, get it checked out.