Public Health Departments Serve Communities throughout Idaho

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Dec 15, 2014

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Idaho - Boise and the Treasure Valley

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Public Health Departments Serve Communities throughout Idaho Idahos seven Public Health Districts were established in 1970 under Idaho Code to ensure essential public health services were made available to the citizens of the State. The Public Health Districts are controlled and governed by a local Board of Health appointed by county commissioners from that district. In the Treasure Valley, Central District Health Department provides services to Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. Southwest District Health provides public health services to Canyon, Adams, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. While Public Health Districts serve the health needs of low-income families and individuals, they also provide a broader range of services that impact everyone. Food establishment and public swimming pool inspections are conducted by health department staff to ensure safety for all. Child care facilities are inspected for health and safety. Public Health Preparedness staff work closely with local emergency response organizations such as law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services and health care facilities to plan and prepare for public health emergencies. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics provide supplemental nutrition, breastfeeding information and support, and referrals to other health care services for women, infants and children up to the age of five. Limited clinical services such as reproductive health/family planning, sexually transmitted disease treatment, and oral health education and preventive services for uninsured and Medicaid-eligible children are offered. Free or low-cost community-based Fit and Fall Proof classes for older adults are organized and overseen by local public health departments. Fit and Fall Proof classes are led by volunteer peer-leaders and designed to focus on functional exercises that reduce the risk of falling. The Public Health Districts are playing an integral role in chronic disease prevention. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke have risen dramatically over the past several decades due to tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor eating. The Public Health Districts work within their communities to convene and coordinate efforts to increase access to physical activity and healthy eating opportunities and decrease tobacco use within the various community settings such as worksites, child care facilities and schools. Reducing chronic disease is a complicated issue and requires the coordinated efforts of many community partners. Public Health is working to link nontraditional agencies to address the chronic disease epidemic. This is just a sampling of the vast number of services provided by local Public Health Districts to promote healthy people in healthy communities. Jaime Harding, MHS, CHES Program Manager, Health Promotion and Health Policy Central District Health Department Boise, Idaho

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Want to Bolster Your Manual Dexterity? 10 Simple Exercise Seniors Can Try

With the golden hues of age come the challenges of maintaining our physical agility particularly, our manual dexterity. Aging can pose hurdles to our ability to grasp a pen, navigate a smartphone, or effortlessly button up a shirt. But guess what? Its never too late to learn, to grow, to conquer. At IntegraCare, we live by this philosophy. In this spirit, were thrilled to share ten simple, engaging exercises that you, or your loved ones, can try out to strengthen manual dexterity. So, lets jump right in! Decoding the Puzzle: What is Manual Dexterity?Hang on a minute. Before we embark on our list of exercises, lets decipher what manual dexterity actually is. Well, its the ability to coordinate our hands and fingers with precision and control. Its a complex blend of strength, nimbleness, and finesse. Aging can lead to a decrease in these abilities, thanks to factors such as muscle atrophy, arthritis, or neurological conditions like Parkinsons disease.The importance of manual dexterity extends beyond physicality, seeping into the corners of our everyday lives. It means staying independent, comfortably performing day-to-day tasks, and keeping our hobbies alive. Interestingly, maintaining finger and hand dexterity can also keep our minds active after all, many manual tasks also stimulate our gray cells. Mindfulness and Manual Dexterity:Though it may sound surprising, the path to improving manual dexterity also involves a healthy dose of mindfulness. What is mindfulness, you ask? Its the practice of being fully present and engaged in what were doing at the moment, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by whats going on around us.In the context of improving manual dexterity, mindfulness translates to being fully attentive during the exercises, consciously focusing on the movement and coordination of our hands and fingers. This deliberate attention not only optimizes the effectiveness of the exercises but also turns them into a form of meditative practice. This can bring about a sense of tranquility and centeredness in our lives, enriching our physical and mental wellbeing. Top 10 Exercises: Simple, Effective, and FunNow that weve dissected the why, lets move on to the how. Heres our handpicked selection of exercises to help boost your manual dexterity: Finger Lifts: A simple exercise to start. Place your hand flat on a table. Try to lift each finger, one by one, while keeping the rest immobile. This exercise works wonders for the independence of your finger movements. Grip Strengthening: Got a stress ball or a grip strengthener lying around? Pick it up, and squeeze away! This move is brilliant for fortifying your hand muscles. Finger Touches: Start by touching your thumb to your index finger. Next, touch it to your middle finger. Continue until youve made a circle with each finger. This small exercise can improve hand coordination and dexterity significantly. Wrist Actions: Heres another one rest your arm on a table, let your hand hang over the edge, palm down. Now, slowly lift and lower your hand, moving only at the wrist. You can even add a small weight for resistance as your strength picks up. Towel Wringing: Lay a hand towel flat on a table. Using just one hand, crumple it into a ball. This is fantastic for fine-tuning motor skills. Playdough Manipulation: Who knew playing with playdough or therapeutic putty could be so beneficial? Its all about molding, shaping, rolling, and flattening a creative way to engage various muscle groups in your hand. Coin Shifting: Scatter a few coins on a table. Pick up each one and move it from one side to the other. This exercise is great for refining your pincer grasp. Puzzle Piecing: Jigsaw puzzles are not only a fun pastime but also a stellar way to improve hand-eye coordination and stimulate your mind. Shuffling Cards: No need to be a Vegas dealer to shuffle a deck of cards. Even slow, deliberate movements can significantly improve finger dexterity. Tickling the Ivories: Whether its on a real piano or a virtual one on your tablet, playing piano tunes is an entertaining way to work on finger independence and coordination.A Social Spin: Fun Group Activities for DexterityExercises can sometimes feel monotonous or solitary. But who said improving manual dexterity cant be a social affair? Here at IntegraCare, we believe in the magic of community and camaraderie. Thats why we encourage group activities that can double as dexterity exercises.Consider engaging in a group art project that involves painting, sculpting, or pottery. Even cooking classes can offer a fun way to work on your manual skills while creating something delicious! Besides being excellent for improving dexterity, these activities also provide an opportunity for social interaction, making the journey more enjoyable and fulfilling. The IntegraCare AdvantageAt IntegraCare, we understand that everyones journey with age is unique. We strive to provide personalized support that caters to individual needs and preferences. Our communities are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and compassionate, highly trained staff who are always there to lend a hand, whether its to guide you through these exercises or to support you in your daily activities.At the heart of everything we do at IntegraCare is a commitment to enhance the quality of life of our residents. Whether its through fostering manual dexterity, mental agility, or simply providing a nurturing and engaging environment, we are here for you every step of the way. A Few Last WordsPersistence and patience are the name of the game here. Keep these exercises in your daily routine, start slow, and gradually intensify your efforts.Here at IntegraCare, were not just a senior living community; were a part of your lifes journey. Were here to support, encourage, and inspire, whether youre considering senior living for yourself or a loved one.Remember, age is just a numerical side note, not a barrier to living life to its fullest. With these exercises, we hope youll discover newfound strength and independence in your daily life. Manual dexterity may seem like a small thing, but it can profoundly impact the quality of life you desire and deserve.Ready to give your manual dexterity a boost? Lets dive in! As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step or in this case, a single finger lift. Life is an adventure. Lets explore it together, one day, one step, one squeeze, one touch at a time. After all, its the little things that make life grand. Happy exercising!

Boost Your Brain Health With These 10 Superfoods

Our brain, that tireless workhorse, controls every thought we conjure, every memory we cherish, and every word we utter. It even choreographs our every move. So, how about we give it a little love and feed it well? Ready to discover the magic foods thatll give your brain the fuel it craves? Unraveling the Intricate Dance of Nutrition and Brain Health The Brain-Nutrient TangoOur brains, ever-hungry for energy and nutrients, need the right fuel to keep the cogs turning smoothly. Some nutrients, in fact, are the VIP guests at the brains party. The Omega-3 Fan ClubOmega-3 fatty acids arent just good for your brain; theyre its VIP party guests! Theyre the building blocks of brain and nerve cells, and without them, we might find ourselves in a learning rut or battling the blues. Antioxidants The Brains BodyguardsThen there are antioxidants, the brains personal bodyguards. They shield the brain from the onslaught of oxidative stress, which can wreak havoc on cells and fast forward brain aging and diseases. Your Brains Top 10 Best FriendsReady for the grand reveal? Heres the A-list of foods thatll supercharge your brain and get it firing on all cylinders. 1.) Fatty FishWhen it comes to brain food, fatty fish usually steal the limelight. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, these swimmers offer a VIP treatment for your brain. 2.) BlueberriesBlueberries come packed with antioxidants that put the brakes on brain aging and give your memory a boost. Think of them as the brains personal shield against harm. 3.) TurmericThis golden spice, a darling of curry powder, wears many hats for brain benefits. Curcumin, its active compound, can cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver anti-inflammatory and antioxidant gifts. 4.) BroccoliBroccoli, with its rich antioxidant and vitamin K profile, is believed to root for brain health. Vitamin K helps in forming a type of fat thats densely packed into brain cells. 5.) Pumpkin SeedsPumpkin seeds might be small, but theyre giants when it comes to brain health. Theyre bursting with antioxidants and brimming with magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. Now, thats a nutrient party your brain would love to join.6.) Dark ChocolateDark chocolate and cocoa powder arent just indulgences; theyre powerhouses of brain-friendly compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. So, go ahead and enjoy a square (or two) of dark chocolate guilt-free!7.) NutsNuts arent just for squirrels. Research shows that eating nuts can amp up markers of heart health, and a healthy heart is a happy companion to a healthy brain. Walnuts, in particular, wear the omega-3 crown in the nut kingdom. 8.) OrangesOranges, with their generous vitamin C offerings, are a ticket to warding off mental decline. Savor a medium-sized orange, and youll be treating your brain to a significant dose of this essential vitamin. 9.) EggsEggs are the poster child of brain foods, boasting several brain-friendly nutrients, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Your body uses choline to whip up acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. 10.) Green TeaGreen tea does more than quench your thirst. It serves up caffeine and antioxidants, and its reputation for boosting mood and cognitive performance is well-deserved. Eating Your Way to Brain HealthAdding these superstar foods to your daily diet is simpler than you might think. Start your day with a sprinkle of blueberries and nuts on your oatmeal. How about a lunch salad crowned with broccoli and eggs? Enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up with green tea, and round off your day with a square of dark chocolate. Remember, in the quest for brain health, consistency is the secret sauce. Delicious Recipes for Your BrainWho says brain food has to be boring? Here are some simple recipes to make your brain sing:Berry and Nut Smoothie: Start your day with a power breakfast. Blend blueberries, a dollop of almond butter, a handful of spinach, and almond milk. Its a brain-loving smoothie thatll have you leaping out of bed!Salmon Salad: For a brain-boosting lunch, grill a piece of salmon and serve it atop leafy greens. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of fresh orange juice for a refreshing twist.Turmeric Tea: Unwind with a cup of warm, soothing, and brain-healthy turmeric tea. Simply boil a cup of water, add a teaspoon of turmeric, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten with a touch of honey. Brain Health: Its More Than Just FoodGood nutrition is vital for brain health, but it doesnt stop there. Lets shine a spotlight on the other stars of the show. Hydration The Brains ElixirWater isnt just a thirst quencher; its a brain elixir. Dehydration can play tricks on your short-term memory, focus, and decision-making skills. So, keep your brain happily swimming in a well-hydrated body. A humble glass of water might be the simplest brain boost you can give yourself today. Brain Gymnastics: Exercise Your Way to a Healthier BrainDont let muscles steal all the exercise glory; your brain deserves its share. Regular physical activity sets the stage for increased blood flow to the brain, growth of new brain cells, and enhanced memory and thinking skills. So, lace up those sneakers and get your brain pumping!Sleep The Brains Repair TimeWhen we sleep, our bodies arent just snoozing; theyre hard at work repairing and rejuvenating themselves. A solid nights sleep can elevate memory, spur creativity, and sharpen problem-solving skills. On the flip side, sleep deprivation can throw a wrench in cognitive function and mood balance. So, make sure youre catching enough Zs for your brains sake. The Last WordThe bottom line? Your brains health is in your hands. A diet studded with the foods weve explored can rev up your brain health and turbocharge your cognitive functions. Isnt it about time you gave your brain the culinary love it deserves?Here at Integracare, were more than just a care providerwere a community. We take pride in offering four distinct types of care: assisted living, memory care, independent living, and short-term/respite care. Spread across 18 vibrant communities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, our standards of care remain uniformly high, ensuring the best for our residents. Interested in becoming a part of our community? Wed love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today for more information. Your journey to improved brain health doesnt have to stop at nutritious food; with Integracare, it can be a holistic experience. Your Questions, AnsweredCan these foods boost my memory? Absolutely! Many of these foods are known to support memory and cognition.How soon will I notice the effects on my brain health? Brain health is a marathon, not a sprint. A nutritious diet will yield long-term benefits.Can these foods ward off brain diseases? While no diet can offer a 100% guarantee against brain diseases, a healthy diet can significantly lower your risk.Can I just try supplements instead? Supplements can lend a helping hand, but they shouldnt replace a well-rounded diet. Remember, nothing beats the real thing. Your TurnWith this brainy food guide in your hands, youre ready to give your brain the nourishment it craves. So, why not start today? After all, your brain deserves nothing less than the best. Happy eating to a healthier, smarter you!

Managing Seasonal Allergies

  Seasonal allergies can affect seniors just like people of any age. Older adults may experience symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes due to allergens like pollen and dust. While some seniors may experience a decrease in seasonal allergies as they age, others may find their allergies worsening with time. It is important for seniors to manage their allergies effectively to avoid discomfort and potential health concerns. As seniors age, their immune systems may become less effective at fighting off allergic reactions, making them more susceptible to mild symptoms triggered by allergens such as pollen. Here are a few common Over-the-counter medications that you can use to manage seasonal allergies: Nasal steroids: These include Flonase (generic is fluticasone), and Nasacort (generic is triamcinolone). These medications are generally considered the first-line treatments for allergies. Doctors and pharmacists prefer these treatments for moderate to severe or persistent allergy symptoms. These treatments are also beneficial for itchy, irritated or watery eyes as well as nasal congestion.2ndgeneration Antihistamines: These medications which include Claritin (generic is loratadine), Allegra (generic is fexofenadine) and Zyrtec (generic is cetirizine) are good for milder allergy symptoms, or those symptoms that occur occasionally. It is very important that seniors stick with the 2nd generation antihistamines and AVOID Benadryl (generic is diphenhydramine) or Chlor-Trimeton (generic is chlorpheniramine). Antihistamines such as Benadryl can cause excessive sedation, worsen glaucoma, and promote increased fall risk in elderly patients. Therefore, it is best to avoid Benadryland Chlor-Trimeton when you get older.Nasal Antihistamines: These include brands Astepro and Astelin, and these medications are considered add-ons to nasal steroids. If you are still suffering from allergy symptoms while on a nasal steroid, these may provide additional help.Ophthalmic antihistamines: For those with watery or itchy eyes, in which nasal steroids are not quite enough, medications such as Zaditor (generic ketotifen) or Pataday (generic olopatadine) are eye drops that can provide additional benefit.Lastly for uncontrolled nasal congestion one can consider nasal decongestant medications such as Afrin (generic is oxymetazoline). Realize there are some warnings with these medications. They can cause rebound nasal congestion if used for 3 days or more. Reserve this medication for nasal congestion that does not respond to nasal steroids, or for the occasional nasal stuffiness. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, avoid this medication.The management of seasonal allergies includes nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches. Nonpharmacologic measures include nasal irrigation and allergen avoidance (e.g., keeping windows closed, using window screen filters and air conditioning, limiting outdoor time during peak allergen season, showering after outdoor exposure). Choose a medication based on severity of symptoms, patient age, other medical conditions, and preferences.  Immunotherapy (subcutaneous or sublingual) can be considered if other management is not adequate or if the patient has seasonal allergies in combination with asthma. Alternative therapies (e.g., supplements, homeopathy, and acupuncture) have been used and promoted for seasonal allergies; however, there are insufficient data to recommend these therapies.--------------------------------------------------------------------------Seniors can help manage their seasonal allergies by incorporating an immunity-boosting diet that includes foods like apples, strawberries, ginger, leafy vegetables, walnuts, and fatty fish. It is crucial for caregivers of seniors to be aware of how seasonal allergies can impact older adults and provide the necessary care and support.If you are a senior or a caregiver of a senior experiencing seasonal allergies, it is recommended to seek guidance from healthcare professionals on how to effectively manage and alleviate allergy symptoms. Implementing strategies to minimize exposure to allergens and incorporating healthy lifestyle habits can significantly improve the quality of life for seniors dealing with seasonal allergies.As we grow older, our body changes and so does our immune system. Just as we no longer run as fast as we once did, we may lose our tolerance to potential allergens, from pollen to dog hair. And, on the flip side, we may build immunities to the things that once bothered us, research shows.  Nasal antihistaminesSee a comparison of nasal sprays for allergic rhinitis later in the document.Add-on therapy with nasal steroids, if needed (especially for nasal congestion).1,3,8Under two years (Astepro [US]) or under five   years (Astelin [US]).9Under six years (olopatadine).9Neither available as single-ingredient nasal sprays in Canada. Ophthalmic antihistaminesAdd-on therapy for eye symptoms with nasal steroids, if needed.1Under three years (ketotifen, olopatadine [Canada]).9,15,16Under two years (olopatadine [US]).9 Decongestants (intranasal, oral)Inadequate response from a nasal steroid for nasal   congestion.2Use in combination with an oral antihistamine  (intranasal).3Intermittent nasal congestion.2Hypertension, arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, diabetes, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (oral).2Prolonged use (more than three to five days) (intranasal).2,3With monoamine oxidase inhibitors.6Monotherapy (intranasal).6