ong Island is transformed into a beautiful oasis of beaches and parkland over the summer, but senior citizens, especially those who enjoy the outdoors, need to be aware of special health concerns this time of year.
Lucy Macina, MD, Chief of the Division of Geriatrics greets patient Louise Anderson.
"Remaining hydrated is of primary importance during the warm weather," said Lucy Macina, MD, Chief of the Division of Geriatrics in Winthrop's Institute for Family Care. "Often, seniors feel cool, even when the temperature rises. As a result, they could miss the signals of becoming overheated."
Drinking plenty of fluids during the summer can help prevent heat-induced illness such as heat stroke, according to Dr. Macina.
Warmer weather also means the return of the dreaded mosquito and renewed concerns about West Nile encephalitis. Older adults should follow the same precautions as others regarding the avoidance of
"It is extremely important that seniors know the symptoms of encephalitis and seek medical attention immediately should they experience those symptoms," Dr. Macina noted. "That is because the disease can be more serious in an older person."
Precautions include ensuring that window and door screens are in good repair, avoiding the outdoors in the early dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active, and using insect repellant when outside for extended periods.
Dr. Macina's advice to assist her patients in enjoying their golden years in good health includes paying attention to available vaccines. "Flu shots are offered in the fall, but pneumonia vaccines can be given at any time," she stated. "Tetanus vaccine is also important and needs to be given every ten years. Seniors can receive
the tetanus shot at any time of year and should keep their medical records up-to-date to ensure that they are well protected against illness."
Winthrop's Division of Geriatric Medicine is a key part of its Institute for Family Care. In addition to
primary and preventive care geared to the older adult, the Division offers the RISE (Referral, Information,
and Support services for the Elderly) Program to help seniors and their family members navigate the healthcare system. RISE sponsors support groups for adult children and well spouses, provides individual and
family counseling and assistance with placement in long-term or assisted living facilities, and coordinates a free monthly lecture series, "Health Update for Seniors and Their Families." For additional information, please call (516) 663-2588.