Ticks are tiny creatures that barely tickle when they crawl over your skin. Makes me shudder just to write the sentence. Did you know that in Maine alone, 14 different tick species have been identified? Thankfully, they don’t all feast on humans. But one, the deer tick, is responsible for most of the tick-borne illnesses in humans in this state, primarily Lyme disease. If a tick is making a meal of you, determining if it’s a deer tick is important.
As we get older, unfortunately, we become more susceptible to infections. That’s because, with age, the immune system doesn’t work as well as it used to. It gets even more difficult if you are also dealing with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD or emphysema), heart problems or cancer.
Many of us who live in New England have probably experienced superficial frostbite or frostnip, as it’s sometimes called. Your skin feels like pins and needles and may be pale and numb. Ignore it and stay out a little longer and your skin will feel hard and frozen. If you get out of the cold at this point, when your skin thaws it will probably turn red and blister, but hopefully, you won’t have any lasting damage.
Mom is 88-years-old now and lives in a memory care facility. Her sweet tooth is going just as strong as she still is. The problem is she will sometimes eat one candy bar after another, to the point that she’s not hungry for a regular meal. One day a caregiver mentioned that my mother seemed a bit lightheaded that morning and she noticed a pile of candy bar wrappers in the wastebasket beside her chair. It was nearly empty the night before.
Lee, who’s in her 60s, thought she might have thyroid cancer a few years ago when a CT scan she had for something else showed a lump or a nodule on her thyroid. Further testing came back suspicious for papillary cancer, the most common type of thyroid cancer. “Suspicious” doesn’t automatically mean cancer, but Lee’s odds were 60 to 70 percent. The next step was surgery to find out for sure.
If your parent can’t drive any more, finding transportation in your community can seem like a daunting task. Lisa Corson, the Help Line coordinator at the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, urges people to try and plan ahead. When she takes a call from someone, it’s often after the elderly person has stopped driving and the family is in a bit of a crisis mode.