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News of interest to ARCRA members

  • 07/15/2021 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    In case you missed it, here is the link to the June 10th ARCRA Webinar on Brain Heath presented in partnership with AARP. It featured Sarah Lenz Lock AARP Senior Vice President of Policy and Brain Health and Executive Director of AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (see bio below).  The program was a conversational interview format, moderated by David Therkelsen, ARCRA Past President, and former CEO of the St. Paul chapter and interim CEO of the North Central Blood Services Region.

    Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15yaMXsH_XSrQtXKUp1hl94nJQAhM6Wnt/view?usp=sharing

    Sarah talked about the Six Pillars of Brain Health https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/the-science/ to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  They are easily remembered through the acronym BE MORE:

    • Be Social
    • Engage your Brain
    • Manage Stress
    • Ongoing Exercise-150 minutes per week
    • Restorative Sleep-7 to 8 hours per day
    • Eat Right

    Sarah encouraged us to take advantage of a unique offer from AARP during June, Brain Health Awareness Month.  Take the AARP Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment for free (normally $14.00).  The free assessment is a limited-time offer good from June 1-June 30, 2021 for AARP members https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/assessment-free-june/.  The Brain Assessment will provide a personalized plan on how you can maintain your brain health.

    Access Staying Sharp, https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/ a brain health program that offers a holistic, life-style based approach to brain health based on science.  The site provides self-paced activities and presents lifestyle choices that can be added to your daily routine.  You can access:

    • Brain Health Challenges-practical, daily skills
    • Information on lifestyle habits that help or hinder brain health
    • Activities that you can easily add to your daily routine
    • Recipes with ingredients that nourish mind and body
    • Games that are challenging and fun

    Staying Sharp provides evidence-based strategies of what works, focusing on lifestyle interventions not pharmaceuticals.  Some of us on the webinar were hopeful maintaining brain health was as simple as increasing the daily number of Crossword and Sudoku puzzles we mastered. While taking on more difficult versions can be challenging and personally satisfying, we were disappointed to hear they will not maintain cognitive function. On the other hand, participating in a challenge that involves social interaction like Words Games with Friends or Scrabble, can help to build up our cognitive reserve.

    Music is also incredibly powerful in stimulating the brain https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/music/ .  We all enjoy listening to music we know from “our generation” because it can provide comfort, calm, and reduce stress. However, to stimulate you brain, challenge it to listen to new and different styles of music...Hip-hop anyone?

    The social isolation related to COVID-19 protocols have negatively impacted our brain  and physical health  https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/covid/.   Many of us lost our social interactions, like visits with friends and grandchildren, travel, and our regular routine of attending religious services, weekly bridge games, volunteering, and family and community events and celebrations.  Others put off needed medical visits or treatments and now face more severe and threatening health issues as a result.

    Sarah also referenced the wealth of Brain Health research and resources found online at AARP to help each of us maintain and improve our Brain Health as we age.   Check out these resources on Brain Health:  

  • 06/30/2021 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    The dangerous heat wave will continue in the West for the rest of the week and in the Northeast. The American Red Cross is working with local officials to open and support shelters and cooling centers for people affected by the record-breaking high temperatures in the West and in the Northeast. 

    It’s urgent that people take steps to stay safe during the excessive heat. High temperatures and humidity claim the lives of more than 600 people in this country every year. Those more at risk include adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants, children and athletes. Some medications make the effects of extreme heat worse. People with heart disease, poor blood circulation, obesity and mental illness are at risk for getting sick if the temperatures climb.

    The National Weather Service reports the unprecedented heat in the West will move inland with temperatures as high as 30 degrees above normal in a region where many residences don’t have air conditioning. Excessive heat warnings have been issued and people are urged to follow heat safety steps such as stay in air-conditioned areas, drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities. More safety information below.

    More than 140 trained Red Cross disaster workers are responding, some virtually, to operate and support 11 shelters and cooling centers where more than 400 people sought a cool place to escape the heat. The Red Cross is working with state, local and tribal officials to determine what other help is needed.

    Please follow local guidance on dealing with extreme weather conditions.. To find an open shelter/cooling center, visit redcross.org or download free Red Cross app “Emergency” and view open facilities. If you don’t have access to a computer or smart phone, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767)..

    In addition to the free Red Cross app “Emergency”, the Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to information on handling common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies. Download for free here or search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store. Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you can help save a life.


    Learn about what to do to help someone with heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

    1. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
    2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeine and non-alcoholic fluids.
    3. Check on family, friends and neighbors without air conditioning, who are alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
    4. If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
    5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
    6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
    7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
    8. Postpone outdoor activities.
    9. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
    10. Check on animals frequently. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

    Read more at Red Cross.org

  • 06/30/2021 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    Across more than 50 high-risk communities, Red Crossers and community partners helped educate more than 73,000 people on how to protect themselves against home fires.

    Although this year’s activities looked different because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they remained critically important as home fires have continued to be the nation’s most frequent disaster. So far, the Home Fire Campaign has saved more than 850 lives that we know of — with many of these attributed to lifesaving Sound the Alarm activities.

    Wisconsin resident Rita Thompson told Red Crossers that, “I feel more protected,” when she spoke with volunteers about her home fire escape plan, while local firefighters installed free smoke alarms to replace outdated ones in her home.

    The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign — which has reached 2.4 million people since October 2014 — continues to be a lifesaving success because of the dedication and innovation that each Red Cross staff and volunteers show every day.

      Click here for a video message

  • 06/14/2021 9:35 AM | Anonymous

    Red Cross reports red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers climbs by 10% in 2021 – more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions

    June 14 is World Blood Donor Day – an important reminder about the critical need for blood as the country turns the corner on the devastating COVID-19 pandemic

    "The Red Cross is currently experiencing a severe blood shortage,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Our teams are working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients – distributing about 75,000 more blood products than expected over the past three months to meet demand – but we can’t do it without donors. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.”

    Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021 – more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide transfusions. Twenty to 40% of trauma deaths that occur after hospital admission involve massive hemorrhaging. In these dire circumstances, doctors may need hundreds of blood products, depending on the severity of the trauma, to help save a life.

    In addition, there is great hospital demand for blood as patients who previously deferred care during the COVID-19 pandemic present with more advanced disease progression, therefore requiring increased blood transfusions.

    With less than half a day supply available of type O blood in recent weeks, there is an emergency need for type O donors. Type O is the most needed blood group by hospitals. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.

    “Some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care. As we return to pre-pandemic activities and resume travel to visit loved ones, we want people to remember the needs of patients this summer and the power so many of us have to help save lives,” Hrouda added.

    Patients need the help of the American people – please schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed.

    Read more at redcross.org/about us

  • 06/09/2021 9:23 AM | Anonymous

    Summer heat can be dangerous for pets.  Red Cross has some tips to keep your pets safe this summer.  

    1. Don't leave you pets in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes to run into the storr, post office or bank.  Even with the windows cracked open, the interior temperature can quickly reach 120 degrees.
    2. Animals can also suffer heat stroke.  Dogs with short noses or snouts, like a boxer or bulldog, overweight dogs, dogs with heavy coats, older odgs, and dogs with respiratry issues are particularily prone to heat stroke.
    3. Signs of heat stroke in your pet include:
      -Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down
      -Brick-red gum color
      -Fast pulse rate
      -Unable to get up
    4. If you suspect heat stoke, take your pets temperature rectally.
      -If temp is above 105 degrees, cool your pet down. You can hose them down with the garden hose or get them into cool water in the tub or shower until their temp is down to 103 degrees.
      -Bring your pet to the vet asap because heat stroke can cause organ dysfuntion and failure.

    For more Summer Safety Pet Tips check out this article at redcross.org

  • 06/01/2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    This year's hurricane season is predicted to be very active.  A brand new  disaster relief distribution center in Atlanta represents a partnership with Amazon, Red Cross, and five global humanitarian aid organizations.  The new distribution center will provide a faster response to communities hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

    "This most recent effort in the disaster relief hub is an opportunity for us (the Red Cross) to leverage their (Amazon's) expertise in logistics and be able to work with them to get resources just in time to places that are hard to get stuff to," Trevor Riggen, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services said. "Places that are difficult to move resources without a plane, and Amazon has that capability to move things quickly."

    Read the more at CNN

  • 05/30/2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    Throughout the 140-year history of the American Red Cross, the entertainment industry has been a great supporter of our lifesaving mission. Today, the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet works to raise awareness of Red Cross services, volunteer opportunities and fundraising needs in times of crisis — a proud tradition that traces its roots back to the early years of our organization.

    Artist Norman Rockwell created the Mobilize for Defense Support the 1951 Red Cross Fund to support the mobilization of Red Cross resources to provide assistance during the Korean War.  Red Cross provided field representatives, volunteers, blood and emergency communications to support armed forces personnel and their families.

    Other Celebrities include:

    • Trace Adkins
    • Jim Cantore
    • Diana Princess of Wales
    • Walt Disney
    • Josh Duhamel
    • Amy Grant
    • Patty LaBelle
    • Eli Manning
    • Eleanor Roosevelt
    • Darius Rucker
    • Jane Seymour

    Read more here

    Watch Red Cross 140-years of service videos here

  • 05/07/2021 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is May 8, a time to recognize the work of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff around the world who are responding to the growing needs of communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The incredible spirit of more that  volunteers all over the world during this crisis is not only a cause for admiration but also a source of inspiration for others to get involved too.

    World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is an opportunity to recognize the more than 13 million volunteers for their dedication to the humanitarian cause and Fundamental Principles and to thank them for their kindness, bravery and selflessness.

    Although physically distant from one another, workers and volunteers are truly united in this crisis. During these challenging times, the global network of the Red Cross and Red Crescent demonstrates that it is united in its dedication to help people in distress. This year has been an unprecedented time and one that is pushing humanitarians to adapt to new ways of volunteering and working together for communities-in-need. And in these times of physical distancing, teams have learned to comfort and show solidarity from afar.

    Today’s world is in a state of constant upheaval and permanent crisis, but whatever the problem – a pandemic, natural hazard, the climate crisis, conflict or migration – Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are visible ambassadors for peace and solidarity. They are active players in shaping the future of communities and countries around the world. In these trying times, their commitment and dedication to alleviating human suffering remains strong and powerful.

    Drawing on more than 150 years of humanitarian action, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is committed to providing relevant and timely humanitarian service to vulnerable communities now and into the future. 

    Read more about World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

    Read about World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day on Wikipedia

  • 05/07/2021 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    On this day, also World Red Cross Day, across more than 50 cities nationwide, Red Cross volunteers will meet with families by appointment outside their homes or virtually by phone, to review a home fire safety checklist, create an escape plan to practice their two-minute drill and offer a smoke alarm installation when it is safe to do so.   

    Since the April 8 launch of Sound the Alarm, Red Cross retirees, volunteers, staff and partners have been working tirelessly and safely during COVID-19 to deliver the mission safely to at-risk households.

    This annual Sound the Alarm initiative is a key part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which has saved at least 864 lives since launching in 2014. This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from national partners, Delta Air Lines and Lowe’s, and those of local donors.

    Take the opportunity to pledge to prepare to keep your families, friends and community safe. If you are in a region that had limited volunteer opportunities, there are still ways for you to participate in this year’s activities.

    Read more about Sound the Alarm on redcross.org

  • 05/02/2021 9:36 PM | Anonymous

    The Department of Homeland Security announced that Americans now have two more years to obtain a Real ID driver’s license or identification card.  Every U.S. air traveler 18 and older will be required to present a Real ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification, such as a U.S. passport or military ID, to board a domestic flight starting May 2, 2023.

    Postponing the enforcement of the last phase of the Real ID Act will give motor vehicle departments across the nation more time to process the new credentials after many were closed or reduced services because of COVID-19. Implementation was scheduled to take effect in October.

    Less than half of Americans with a license and state identification card have a Real ID-compliant document, generally identifiable by a star in the upper-right corner.

    Read the announcement from DHS  here.

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