The blood bank serving The Villages® and other parts of Central Florida is now testing all donor blood for COVID-19 antibodies. Potential donors are encouraged to contribute to help researchers find answers on possible immunity.
The demand for telemedicine and telehealth services has exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ashley Wood, medical director at The Villages Health Creekside Care Center was recently featured in The Villages Daily Sun for providing telehealth services.
Each year, our nation celebrates National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May. This year is no exception, but it does hold some new challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts agree regular physical exercise has a profound and positive impact on our immune system and benefits both the mind and body.
How can you accomplish your physical exercise goals and regimens during a time when access to gyms and parks are restricted? With some simple adjustments and determination, it’s still possible. These suggestions are only intended for individuals without any symptoms or diagnosis of respiratory illness and should not replace medical guidance in case of any health condition.
A more sedentary lifestyle can have negative effects on our physical and mental health and overall quality of life. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults aged 18 and over do a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activities throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity throughout the week. This should include strengthening activities at least two days per week.
For older adults with poor mobility, three or more days of physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls is suggested. You can follow the five elements of fitness from almost any area of your home:
- Warmup. This can be as simple as walking around your house at a steady pace, on a treadmill or at a slow pace on a stationary bike. These activities prepare your body for a more vigorous activity and help prevent injury.
- Cardiovascular. Try “high knee” exercise, which is essentially running in place. Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides. Lift one knee toward your chest. Lower your leg and repeat with the other knee. Continue alternating knees, pumping your arms up and down. Other ideas include jumping rope or even dancing to your favorite tunes! Try an exercise video or pedal faster if you have a stationary bike.
- Resistance. Strength-building exercises not only build muscle and increase bone density, but help your body burn more calories and can even boost your mood. Some good indoor strength-building exercises include push-ups, crunches, and squats; working with dumbbells or bands.
- Flexibility. Stretching allows for easier movement and helps give your muscles and joints a greater range of motion, improved balance and increased balance. Some ideas for this training include neck stretches, shoulder stretches, hamstring stretches, glutes stretches and more. Work in some stretch routines that target the areas of your body you would like to be more flexible.
- Cooldown. The cool-down portion of a workout routine is designed to reduce your heart and breathing rates and gradually cool your body temperature. It can also reduce muscle soreness and stiffness and prevent venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which can cause dizziness. To cool down, you can walk around your home, stretch out your legs, stretch your chest, or do some slow-paced jumping jacks.
Remember, any physical activity is better than none. Start slow and increase duration, frequency and intensity over time. During this time of COVID-19, even short amounts of activity at a time can make a difference. Over the course of a week, you’ll be surprised how much you’ve accomplished. Even cleaning and gardening help you stay active and flexible.
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A Message from our Chief Medical Officer Regarding Your Care
As you are aware, COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a serious concern all across the country and the world. Social distancing is the one thing we can all do to reduce the spread to protect ourselves and others. To that end, The Villages Health is moving rapidly to reduce both the number of patients (both sick and healthy) in the care centers, and the number of our team members working in and traveling through our facilities – all without sacrificing the level of care we deliver to you and our community.
To that end, we are now offering telehealth visits. Many of your medical concerns can be addressed by this visit type. You can now hold an appointment with your provider over the telephone, with an option to connect by video. This is the best way to assure your safety, and the safety of our other patients and team members.
If you have an upcoming appointment, you will be contacted soon (if you haven’t been so already) to discuss updating your appointment to a telehealth visit. You will not have to reschedule or cancel your appointment.
If you do not want a telehealth visit, you will have the option to reschedule or cancel your upcoming appointment.
If you wish to schedule a future telehealth appointment, you may do so by calling your care center to schedule an appointment just as you have done in the past.
Please be advised, if your situation requires an in-office visit we will still see you. However, your need will first be assessed by our medical team. Before you are permitted to enter the care center, you will be screened for potential COVID-19 exposure. If you are symptomatic, you will be advised to self-quarantine. Testing supplies are not available at the Care Center at this time.
I want to assure you that The Villages Health is still here and available to keep you healthy and to heal you quickly. Thank you for your patience, flexibility and understanding during this unprecedented time.
Jeff Lowenkron, MD, MPP
Chief Medical Officer
The Villages Health
You May Register to Attend an Online Class
Please DO NOT Come to the Learning Center
We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 virus and taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus as per the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations. As a result, we will temporarily conduct our Learning Center classes virtually and will suspend some seminars and expos until it is determined safe to conduct them in person.
Please note: if you are scheduled for a memory screening, you may still attend. Please review the following list for full details on upcoming events, seminars and classes.
Learning Center Classes
For your safety, Learning Center classes will be conducted virtually. Please DO NOT come to the Learning Center. Instead, you may continue to register for your classes of choice and we will send you a link to join us ONLINE.
Matter of Balance Classes
Cancelled through the end of March
Five Wishes Seminars
Cancelled through the end of March. If you already registered for these programs, we have sent you a link to register for April sessions.
Audiology Seminars and Expos
Cancelled through the end of March. If you already registered for these programs, we have sent you a link to register for April sessions.
Medical Nutrition Therapy and Diabetes Education Appointments
Individuals scheduled for medical nutrition therapy or diabetes education will be offered the opportunity to have their sessions virtually.
We will contact you with details of how to join us via telephone or an easy-to-use webinar option.
You may still join us for your memory screenings. We will allow extra time to sanitize the space between each appointment.
Call The Learning Center at 352-674-1779 for more information or for any questions you may have.
For up-to-date information related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Florida, we recommend visiting the Florida Department of Health website.
Measures We Are Taking to Protect Against COVID-19
In an effort to protect our patients, visitors, physicians and staff, The Villages Health has implemented some safety measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other illnesses. These measures include:
On the Phone Patient Screening
If a patient calls to book an appointment and complains of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, the Registered Nurses who staff our Nurse Help Line will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to properly screen patients and to advise the patient how to proceed.
Patients exhibiting symptoms should not enter the care centers. Instead, please Call Our Nurse Help Line at (352) 674-1777.
At the Care Centers
In the event a patient does arrive at one of our Care Centers with complaints of fever cough, or shortness of breath, the following will occur per CDC guidelines:
- The patient will be greeted with a large sign asking them to STOP, DO NOT ENTER and instead please Call Our Nurse Help Line at (352) 674-1777.
- If a patient does enter the lobby, they will be given a mask and asked to wait in a separate area in order to minimize exposure to others.
We are taking extra measures to sanitize our facilities during the day and to remove items that could spread illness (e.g. magazines and newspapers from our care center living rooms). The Villages Commercial Property Management has also enhanced its efforts to align with the recommended standards for the COVID-19 virus cleaning and maintenance practices. They have expanded the scope of their janitorial services to include specific attention to the cleaning and disinfecting of hard surfaces of all common areas of facilities within our community, including The Villages Health Care Centers.
For the duration of the CDC’s social distancing recommendation, we’ve moved our learning center classes to an online format. You may continue to register as normal for the classes that you are interested in and a link will be sent to allow you to join from home.
Furthermore, if staff members are sick we are allowing flexible time off policies to allow them to fully recover and to prevent the spread of illness.
Testing kits will be available at The Villages Health Care Centers very soon. Only ten (10) kits per care center will be available at a time, and will be given to patients who exhibit symptoms per CDC guidelines.
How can you protect yourself?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid large gatherings, including sporting events, church and grocery stores during peak times.
- When you must be around others in public, keep a 6-foot distance between you.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Please know your safety, and the safety of our physicians and staff, is of the utmost importance. We are in close communication with the CDC, other government agencies and internal teams to remain fully on top of the situation.
For additional resources, we will post periodic updates on our website at TheVillagesHealth.com/coronavirus. You are also encouraged to visit www.floridahealth.gov for the latest information related to COVID-19 in Florida. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health has set up a COVID-19 call center available 24/7 at (866) 779-6121.
Jeffrey Lowenkron, MD, MPP
Chief Medical Officer
The Villages Health
|We realize that you may have questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and want to make sure you have the latest information:|
- As of March 15, 2020, there are no known cases of coronavirus infection reported in the Tri-County area. There are 106 confirmed cases in the State of Florida.
- At the present time, more people may be concerned about being infected with coronavirus than actually have it.
- Most people who develop symptoms from the virus have a flu-like illness.
- Influenza can cause serious medical problems, therefore, immunization against influenza is strongly encouraged. At this time, there is no vaccine or specific treatment available for the coronavirus.
- For mild cases, rest, fluids, good hand-washing and time will resolve most infections.
- Even persons with mild infections can help the prevention effort by limiting their exposure to others and following the guidance that has been outlined, including self-quarantine.
- Additionally, thorough hand washing with soap, respiratory etiquette, such as covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoiding contact with others if you are sick are helpful measures to reduce disease transmission in a general sense (including coronavirus).
- Persons who recently have returned from foreign travel are advised to self-quarantine by remaining at home for 14 days upon return. If these persons develop symptoms (fever, productive cough/shortness of breath), they should contact the local health department.
- Testing is not widely available as of March 15, 2020. Commercial laboratories and the Department of Health are working to increase testing capacity.
- Since there is no specific treatment for COVID-19, both a positive and negative test results are treated based only on clinical symptoms.
- For general public concerns and questions, the State of Florida Department of Health has established a dedicated call center at 866-779-6121
- Latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can be found online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html or the Florida Department of Health at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/.
Eating right and staying fit are important regardless of your age. As we get older, however, our bodies require different nutrition, so it becomes even more important to make the right choices.
Healthy eating, regular physical activity and a positive mindset can help you live not only a longer life, but a more fulfilling and happy one. These important components can also delay health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
How do you achieve this important balance?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. With some simple planning, you can ensure you are getting the right nutrition at the right time each day. Experts agree that planning out your daily menu using good food choices is key to success. Doing so will keep you on track and give you more dedicated time to the physical activities you enjoy because you won’t be spending as much time in the kitchen.
How do you get started?
The National Institute on Aging recommends making a shopping list. Doing so will not only remind you to shop for the foods you should be eating, but will help you stick to your food budget. They have even provided a handy “My Shopping List” with nutritious, healthy options to take with you to the grocery store.
After shopping, build your meals following a simple, healthy, balanced diet by:
- Changing up your protein choices to include lean meats, fish, beans, peas and lentils, low-fat cottage cheese, pork loin and bison.
- Making at least half your grains whole grains.
- Making half your plate vegetables and fruits.
- Adding in three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy daily (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
Some additional healthy eating tips for seniors include:
- Use less salt. As we get older, our sense of taste declines and we may reach for the salt shaker to add flavor to our food. This is not a good idea. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues, like stroke, kidney disease and heart disease. Use seasonings that don’t contain salt, like fresh herbs and spices instead
- Use less sugar. Not only are refined sugars empty calories, but they add no nutritional value to your diet. Replace sugar heavy foods with fresh fruit, yams and other naturally sweet foods.
- Choose healthy fats. Fats are a necessary part of any diet, but it is important to reduce or eliminate saturated and trans fats. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and nuts are all great choices.
- Eat a variety of foods. It’s especially important to be aware of the variety of nutrients we are putting into our bodies as we age. Opt for a mix of lean protein, fruits and vegetable, whole grains and low-fat dairy products every day.
We can also help you right here at The Villages Health! Learn how to improve your eating and overall wellness choices at our Learning Center. We offer free classes and health screenings for the whole community that can help you achieve your personal health goals. Classes are free, but fill quickly. Be sure to invite a friend, neighbor or loved one. Registration is required.
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As we get older, the decisions we make at the grocery store can have a significant impact on our health. It’s important to buy food that is good for your heart. Eating a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein and fiber can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Below are 5 tips on how to make heart healthy choices at the grocery store.
- Buy Several Fruits and Vegetables. Adults should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid Buying Butter. Avoiding butter can help lower cholesterol. It is recommended to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
- Buy High Fiber Foods and Nuts. Fiber is great because it keeps you full and helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber is found in beans, whole-grain cereals and nuts. Walnuts and almonds specifically have shown a positive impact on heart health.
- Don’t Buy High Fat Dairy and Meat. Look for yogurt, milk and cheese that have less than 2% fat. When it comes to meat, you want to buy cuts that end in “loin” like tenderloin and sirloin. These cuts generally have less fat.
- Buy Frozen or Canned Fruits and Vegetables. Canned fruits and vegetables have similar benefits and contain the same vitamins and minerals. It is important to choose unsalted and unsweetened options.
To learn more about how to avoid strokes and heart attacks, register for our free heart health classes. You do not have to be a patient or resident to attend.