Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Area Agency on Aging Programs (Fall 2019)

A few months ago, I would be offering A Matter of Balance program in Hunt County for individuals with advanced birthdays that were concerned about falling or that wanted to start activities to decrease their likelihood of falling.  The first program session was extremely successful, and I am happy to announce Hunt County Texas A&M AgriLife is partnering with the Greenville Fire Department and the Area Agency on Aging to offer a second session.  This program will be offered on Thursdays in Greenville at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center, 5501 Business Hwy, 69 S. Greenville, TX 75402 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am beginning September 26th. 

A Matter of Balance, an eight-session evidence-based fall prevention program, has been specifically designed to help seniors age sixty and older reduce their fear of falling and increase activity levels. Many older adults who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Activities are conducted in two-hour sessions once a week over an eight-week period (North Central Texas Council of Governments, 2017). Please join us if you are concerned about falls, have fallen in the past, have restricted your activities due to falling concerns, or have an interest in improving balance, flexibility, and strength.

In addition to A Matter of Balance, Hunt and Rockwall Texas A&M AgriLife will be joining together to offer another Area Agency on Aging program in September, Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM).  CDSM is a six-week program was designed by Stanford University to help individuals living with a chronic disease build confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives. Participants will learn techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation; appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance; appropriate use of medications; communication techniques, proper nutrition information, and decision-making skills. If you are living with a chronic disease or are a caretaker of someone with a chronic disease, please join us.  CDSM will be held every Monday from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm beginning September 9th at the Hunt County AgriLife Extension Office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX 75401.

Both programs are open to all and free of charge; however, space is limited and we ask that you please register by emailing Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu or calling (903) 455-9885.

If you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Fall 2019

Image borrowed from Forbes.com
Summer 2019 was super busy at the Hunt County Extension Office.  I have never looked forward to school starting back and my family (and work life) getting back into a routine as much as I am this year.

We have many new and exciting programs starting up this fall.  We look forward to bringing you many new and amazing educational programs!  Stay tuned to see what all we have to offer!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Matter of Balance


Aging comes with a variety of unique quirks, oddities, and issues, but falling seems to be a universal association. In the United States, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries. According to a compiled list of fall related statistics by the National Council on Aging (2019), one in four Americans over age sixty-five fall every year. Additionally, every eleven seconds someone over age sixty-five is treated in the emergency room as a result of a fall and every nineteen minutes someone dies from a fall related injury. In other words, falls are responsible for more than 2.8 million ER visits and more than 27,000 deaths annually. The fear of falling can lead to reduced activities, physical health decline, social isolation, and depression. However, falling (and injury) does not have to be a part of aging. Falls can be avoided through lifestyle changes and participation in evidence-based fall prevention programs. 

A Matter of Balance, an eight-session evidence-based fall prevention program, has been specifically designed to help seniors age sixty and older reduce their fear of falling and increase activity levels. Many older adults who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Activities are conducted in two-hour sessions once a week over an eight-week period (North Central Texas Council of Governments, 2017).

Hunt County Texas A&M AgriLife is partnering with the Area Agency on Agency of North Central Texas to host A Matter of Balance. This eight-session program will be held on Mondays beginning July 1stat 11:00 am at the Commerce Public Library, 1210 Park Street, Commerce, Texas, 75428. Please join us if you are concerned about falls, have fallen in the past, have restricted your activities due to falling concerns, or have an interest in improving balance, flexibility, and strength. 

This program is open to all and is free of charge. However, space is limited. Please email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu or call (903) 455-9885 to register. 

If you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401. 

References:
National Council on Aging. (2019). Falls Prevention Facts. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/
North Central Texas Council of Governments. (2017). Health Classes for Older Adults. https://www.nctcog.org/aging-services/older-adults/health-classes



Thursday, May 23, 2019

May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month. Do you know your numbers?


According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults are living with high blood pressure (also called hypertension), yet many are unaware that they have it. In kids and teens, elevated blood pressure is becoming increasingly common, which may lead to health problems later in life. During May’s National High Blood Pressure Education Month, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is working to raise awareness and share the most important tips to prevent or manage high blood pressure. 

Knowing your risk factors is the first key prevention strategy. “Besides age, genetics and a family history of high blood pressure, there are lifestyle risk factors that you can control, such as obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption,” said Dr. Sumathi Venkatesh, a health specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Certain medical conditions like diabetes can also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure,” she added.

Because there are no obvious symptoms or warning signs for high blood pressure, it’s often called a “silent killer.” That’s why regularly monitoring your blood pressure and understanding your results is another key prevention strategy. A blood pressure measurement includes two numbers: The top number measures systolic pressure, which is the force of the blood against the arteries when the heart beats, and the bottom number measures diastolic pressure, which is when the heart is relaxing between beats. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered normal, while readings above 130/80 mean a diagnosis of high blood pressure. 

Knowing your numbers could save your life. “Chronic uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and result in heart attack or stroke, the two leading causes of death in the U.S.,” said Dr. Venkatesh. “High blood pressure may also contribute to kidney disease, vision problems, and peripheral artery disease, but the good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled by taking prescribed medications and following a healthy lifestyle.” 

Following The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or “DASH” dietary pattern, is one of the best ways to prevent or treat high blood pressure. This healthy approach includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables plus whole grains, nuts, fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy products, while limiting added sugars and saturated fats. Sodium intake should not exceed 1500 mg per day, so it’s important to check the sodium content listed on the nutrition facts label for any packaged foods. Other key prevention strategies include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Finally, be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any health concerns or challenges. Healthy blood pressure is a target within reach.

For help understanding your blood pressure numbers, click here

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401. You can also read more about this and many more topics on our website, https://hunt.agrilife.org.



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Rethink Your Drink - Infused Water Recipes

One of the biggest complaints when trying to increase your water intake is that it gets boring. If this is the case for you, try infusing your water with fresh or frozen fruit. Water bottles with infusion compartments are now easy to find, but you don’t have to have a special water bottle you can just place the fruit directly in your bottle and drink up. Check out some of my favorite flavor combinations in here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Spinach

Spinach is a popular vegetable that can be enjoyed raw in salads and sandwiches, cooked in soups, or sautéed as a side.  Spinach, best grown in mild climates with an abundance of fertile, high quality soil and water, put Crystal City, Texas on the map in 1917. This southern area of Texas is best known as the Wintergarden region and is recognized by farmers for its long growing seasons. From 1930-1950, the Wintergarden region experienced a “spinach boom,” making Texas the top spinach producing state in the US. Over time, consumer demands influenced production in Texas, leading to varieties such as “baby” and “teen” flat-leaf spinach, according to Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist. From 2006-2016, Texas experienced a 29% increase in spinach production, jumping from 32,025 tons of spinach produced to 41,215.


Other than being a popular commodity in Texas, spinach has many nutritional benefits, including its
high vitamin and mineral counts, caloric density, and its contributions to heart health. Nutritional facts for 100g (or 3 ⅓ cups) of spinach:
  • 2.86g of protein
  • 3.63g of carbs
  • 0.39g of fat
  • 28.1mg of Vitamin C
  • 469μg of Vitamin A
  • 482.9μg of Vitamin K
  • 194μg of Folate 

Spinach is also very low in calories; one cup of raw greens contains roughly 7 calories (USDA).

While spinach is often found in salads and soups, it can also be enjoyed in pastas and dips. AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight has developed a plethora of recipes to incorporate spinach into your meals as a main ingredient, including Chicken and Spinach Lasagna, Spinach Quiche, Black bean and Spinach Quesadillas, and Spinach Pasta Toss. To find more nutritious spinach recipes, visit dinnertonight.tamu.edu/.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401. You can also read more about this and many more topics on my blog,  http://agentsarah.blogspot.com/

References:
USDA. (2019). Spinach.  SNAP-Ed Connection. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/spinach.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Loving your heart - for the health of it!

While February is best known for Valentine’s Day, did you know that it is also American Heart Month? This February, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommends giving your heart love, too, by being aware of heart problems and the steps you can take to prevent them.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 610,000 deaths each year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The root cause of heart disease is plaque formation and buildup that occurs when coronary arteries become clogged by cholesterol, fatty deposits, and calcium. Buildup causes arteries to become narrow, making it difficult for oxygen and blood to flow through the body and to the organs.

Anyone is at risk for developing heart disease. However, people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoke cigarettes are at higher risk. According to the CDC, about 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors. Additional factors that contribute to the progression of the disease include:

                     Diabetes
                     Being overweight or obese
                     Poor diet
                     Physical inactivity
                     Excessive alcohol use
                     Having a family history of heart disease
                     Age, especially in women 55 and older

Dr. Sumathi Venkatesh, Extension Program Specialist with Healthy South Texas, recommends taking preventative measures by becoming aware of risk factors and consulting with a doctor on a regular basis. Developing a treatment plan with a physician can help stabilize blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels. Other preventative measures include:

                     Eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables
                     Being physically active
                     Stopping the use of cigarettes
                     Limiting alcohol intake
                     Reducing sodium intake

When it comes to pursuing a healthy lifestyle, try incorporating heart healthy foods into your diet such as green, leafy vegetables, avocadoes, whole grains, and seeds. Add these ingredients into meals like Quinoa Cakes, a Fresh Berry Caprese Salad, or an Avocado Mandarin Salad by using recipes from AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight. To find more recipes, visit dinnertonight.tamu.edu.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401. You can also read more about this and many more topics on my blog,  http://agentsarah.blogspot.com/

References:

Centers for Disease Control. (2019). https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm