Martha Raymundo, MD, is the newest member of the medical team at Holy Cross Health Partners at Asbury Methodist Village, providing primary care to older patients in the community. Here, Dr. Raymundo answers some commonly asked questions about what issues seniors should consider to maintain their best health in the upcoming cold weather seasons.
Q: What is the single most important thing you would tell older patients about health care and prevention in winter?
The flu season is October through May, peaking December and March. In older people and those with chronic illness, flu can cause severe illness, and even death. If you don’t have a contra-indication to the flu vaccine, getting vaccinated annually is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.
Influenza vaccine is given yearly because immunity decreases after a year and strains included in the vaccine can vary from year to year. Holy Cross Health Partners at Asbury Methodist Village offers flu shots to residents of Asbury Methodist Village, and non-residents as well.
Q: What other seasonal health issues might seniors face?
Because many older people stay inside during winter, they can develop vitamin D deficiency. Try to get some sunshine for a few minutes a day, eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as salmon and eggs, and perhaps take a vitamin D supplement.
People can also get more depressed during the winter because of shortened daylight and decreased social interaction. Talk to your doctor if your depressed mood is persistent for more than one to two weeks.
Be very cautious in winter weather conditions to avoid a fall - wear skid-free shoes when walking outside and take it slow. Avoid frostbite or hypothermia by wearing layered clothes and proper winter wear, including a hat and gloves.
Last but not least, it is important to get two and a half hours each week of moderate physical activity regardless of the season to maintain your best health. You can participate in Holy Cross Health's Senior Fit exercise classes held at Asbury Methodist Village every Monday and Wednesday, join a local gym or call a friend and walk the mall. Just keep moving and spring will be here soon.
Q: As the newest member of Holy Cross Health Partners at Asbury Methodist Village, can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I am board certified in both geriatric medicine and primary care, and I have been involved in health issues facing seniors for more than 11 years. I have a private practice in Baltimore serving adults of all ages, and I am excited to work with the residents of Asbury Methodist Village to provide person-centered care, based on mutual trust and communication. My patients are partners in their own health and I will work with you to achieve the best quality of life regardless of your age or condition.
Martha Raymundo, MD, is a board-certified specialist in geriatric primary care. To make an appointment at Holy Cross Health Partners at Asbury Methodist Village, call 301-557-2110; Asbury Methodist Village residents dial ext. 5800.