Go Red For Women This Month

Go Red for Women in February. Ladies, you really need to pay attention and be proactive with your health especially when it concerns your heart! This campaign really hit home for the staff in the Office for the Aging, when we had two ladies in our office over the past year that were diagnosed with heart problems. As with many women who have heart issues, they did not present in the usual manner of chest and left arm pain. One in fact went to the ER multiple times with dizziness and fainting/fatigue before they were able to catch her heart “in the act.” She had an arrhythmia (abnormal beating of the heart) that did not show the first few times she was evaluated. Like many women, she thought since they did not find it the first time there must not be a problem. But that would have been a grave error that could have cost a life.

Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in the US causing 1 in every 3 deaths. There are many risk factors for heart disease but the most common are smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart murmur. The Go Red Campaign is designed to not only bring awareness to the issue and risk factors but also highlight how women have very different symptoms from the typical “heart attack symptoms” we associate with men. Since women symptoms can often be very vague, they and their doctors can sometimes mistake the symptoms as something else. Compounding the problem is that some heart tests like EKG (electrocardiogram) are not as sensitive for women. By this I mean you can have a normal EKG test even though there is a problem like my friend who I highlighted above. It’s important to keep pursuing the matter with your doctor if you continue to feel unwell especially if you have risk factors for heart disease or a family history of heart problems. Some atypical symptoms of women who are having a heart attack can include unexplained shortness of breath, nausea, back pain and jaw pain. For more information on heart disease and the “Go Red for Women Campaign,” visit the American Heart Association website at www.goredforwomen.org.

In February, I also like to remind people about the Enhanced STAR for home-owners who are age 65-plus. Most homeowners who have signed up for the regular STAR program do not need to reapply every year but seniors who get the Enhanced STAR exemption may need to provide updated income information or reapply to get the expanded benefit. Enhanced STAR provides an increased benefit for the primary residences of senior citizens (age 65 and older) with qualifying incomes ($86,000 or less for the 2017-2018 school year) based on the first $65,500 of the full value of a home. The STAR benefit applies only to school district taxes. It doesn’t apply to property taxes. If you have gotten the Enhanced Star benefit in the past or if you want apply for the program, check in with your local assessor before March 1, 2017, to see what you need to do to get or continue to get this benefit.

If you are having trouble paying your property taxes, there is help available through COI foreclosure program and the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging. Currently there are over 500 hundred parcels on the 2018 property foreclosure list. This is very concerning for the Office for the Aging staff since we do not know how many on the list are seniors or disabled people who just need help connecting to resources. This year OFA is working with COI and other county and community agencies to reach out to those on the foreclosure list to help them with options so they can stay in their homes. Getting a foreclosure letter can be very scary, but doing nothing will not solve the problem. Call NY Connects today so we can examine your situation and link you to programs and services that can help. For more information on foreclosure assistance or property or school tax reduction programs call the NY Connect helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582. We are here to help you.