Radon Test Kits Half Off During the Month of January

In honor of January being National Radon Action Month, Oakland County encourages residents to take action and test their homes for radon by offering radon test kits half-price ($5) all month.

What is radon you ask? Radon is a naturally occurring invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is usually harmless outdoors. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.

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RSV – It’s more than just a cold

As the temperatures turn colder, many of us are spending more time indoors. Colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses are more common in colder months. People are inside more often, allowing viruses to pass easily from one person to another. And the cold, dry air may help them spread. In addition, holidays are coming up when many of us will gather with family, friends, co-workers and loved ones.

You may have heard about RSV infections and associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations are on the rise, especially among infants and young children, with some U.S. regions nearing seasonal peak levels earlier than average.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. It’s the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children younger than age one in the United States.

Watch now as Dr. Calandra Green, Oakland County Health Officer, and Dr. Russell Faust, Oakland County Medical Director, discuss RSV and how you can protect yourself and others:

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Keep Food Safety on Your Holiday Menu

The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s a great time to enjoy special meals with loved ones. Whether you’re a pro at hosting the holiday meal or this will be your very first time, it’s important to follow and practice food safety tips. Oakland County Health Division put together a helpful list of safety tips that includes cleaning, separating, cooking, and chilling your food.

  • Clean: Wash your hands with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Separate: Keep meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery store and in the refrigerator. Prevent juices from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keeping them in containers or sealed plastic bags.
  • Cook: Cook food thoroughly. Meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to a safe internal temperature. Keep food out of the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F where bacteria can grow rapidly. After food is prepared, keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Chill: Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours.

Holiday Meal Safety Tips:

Turkey and stuffing are festive favorites, but they come with additional food safety concerns. Keep your holidays healthy by following extra precaution when preparing and serving holiday staples and don’t forget the four steps to food safety for your entire feast.

Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey Tips

Cooking a turkey requires planning and preparation; get started using these tips from the USDA.

  • Buy the turkey a few days before you plan to cook it.
  • Refrain from buying a pre-stuffed turkey. USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging.
  • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes), or in the microwave. Avoid thawing foods on the counter. A turkey must thaw at a safe temperature to prevent harmful germs from growing rapidly.
  • Remember that thawing the turkey takes 24 hours in the refrigerator for every four to five pounds, and cold water thawing takes 30 minutes per pound.
  • Be sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking.
  • Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 ºF.
  • Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2-2 1/2 inches deep.
  • Cook stuffing separately from the turkey for optimum safety.
  • Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer and ensure it is at least 165 ºF.
  • Let the bird sit for 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

Stuffing

The Partnership for Food Safety Education has a special section devoted to stuffing in their Talking Turkey guide.

  • Cook all stuffing and dressing to a minimum temperature of 165 ºF, whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird. For optimum safety, cooking your stuffing in a separate casserole dish is recommended.
  • Prepare and put stuffing in the turkey immediately before it’s placed into the oven.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients for the stuffing separately and combine just before using.
  • Stuff the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  • Bake any extra stuffing in a greased casserole dish.

Need more tips for preparing your feast? Call USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. The Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). USDA’s automated response system can provide food safety information 24/7 and a live chat during Hotline hours. Check out the Oakland County Health Division website for additional food safety tips.

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Oakland County Continues to Make Big Investments into Mental Health for Students

It has never been more important than now to recognize the role mental health plays in our overall well-being and helping those in need receive support. Oakland County continues to invest tens of millions of dollars in resources for school mental health, learning delay, food and housing assistance, and wraparound services for students and their families in 2022.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter and Board of Commissioners Chairman David T. Woodward, joined by educators, students, and community leaders, highlighted how American Rescue Plan funds are bolstering the beginning of the new school year during a recent news conference at the Pontiac School District Administration Building:

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Oakland County Resources for Older Adults

Older adult holding younger person's hands

Oakland County provides many services to help our rapidly growing older adult community and those who care for them. While National Senior Citizens Day is on August 21 each year, we want to celebrate older adults all month and highlight resources that are available to them year round.

To improve and expand upon these services, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter included funding for an Older Adult Advocate position in his balanced, three-year budget recommendation for fiscal year 2023-2025. This new position will coordinate and help improve services the county provides to older residents across all departments.

Additional resources and services are available within the county to help our community of older adults. Find a full list of services below to take advantage of:

Older Adult Services from Oakland County

Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center 

C.A.T.S. (Companion Animals Touching Seniors) offers older adults the opportunity to foster a cat. The program lasts two months, in which the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center provides all the necessary supplies to care for the cat. When the foster period ends, the older adult has the chance to adopt the cat. The only fee they are asked to cover is for the license. For more information, contact Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center at 248-858-1070 or email petadoption@oakgov.com.

Older adult holding a kitten

Board of Commissioners

The Healthy Aging Oakland County Ad Hoc Committee was formed in 2021 to create a strategic blueprint for an aging-friendly county that meets the needs of the rapidly growing 65+ populations and those who care for them.

In honor of Older Americans Month in June, 12 community members were recognized by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners with 2022 Oakland County Outstanding Older Adult Awards. The program, spearheaded by Commissioner Kristen Nelson (District 5), was designed to highlight Oakland County residents 60 years and older who demonstrate a passion for volunteerism and community service. Commissioners were invited to nominate a resident from their district for this special award program.

Group photo of board of commissioners

Health Division

The Oakland County Health Division offers a guide for older adults who are looking for information about aging well. Many resources are available for housing, health, medical, legal issues, and local services as well as other valuable information. Additional services the Health Division provides:

Contact Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or email noc@oakgov.com for more information.

MSU Extension

Older adults can subscribe to the MSU Extension-Oakland monthly newsletter, which offers up-to-date, research-based information affecting senior health and wellness issues. Each month includes a healthy recipe.

The Senior Market FRESH program is aimed at helping older adults eat healthier. Senior Market FRESH gives coupon vouchers to eligible older adults to get Michigan-grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and honey from farmers markets.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Senior Market Days:

Neighborhood Housing and Development

The county’s Neighborhood Housing and Development Division offers reverse mortgages for those aged 62 or older. Housing Counselors can explain the program to you so you can make an informed decision on whether it is the right product for your household. They can also provide the necessary certificate to be able to apply for a reverse mortgage. Call to speak with an advisor: 248-858-5402.

Parks and Recreation

Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers a variety of programming for active adults. Explore their parks, try a new activity, learn about Oakland County history and enjoy socializing with others in a welcoming, friendly environment. Older adults ages 62 and up can receive a free Annual Vehicle Permit to access eight of the 14 Oakland County Parks. Call 248-858-0916 or email info@oaklandcountyparks.com for more information.

Photos courtesy of Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Sheriff’s Office

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard’s 911 Emergency Senior Cell Phone Program is designed to equip seniors with a mobile means of contacting help in the event of an emergency. The cell phones are available to any Oakland County Senior Citizens free of charge. There is no monthly s​ervice fee to use the phone for emergency use.

Cell phone distribution hours are:

  • Every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon

Where:

  •  Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
  • 1200 North Telegraph Road Building 38E
  • Pontiac, Michigan 48341

Learn about domestic safety for older adults by visiting the Sheriff’s Office website.

Veterans Services

As a U.S. veteran, part of your life’s journey was serving our country, and the Oakland County Veterans Services team is dedicated to honoring your service and helping you to map out all the veteran benefits you have earned. Learn more about all the resources available to veterans.

For more information, call the Veterans Services Pontiac office at 248-858-0785 or the Troy/South Oakland office at 248-655-1250.


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