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How To Keep Old Age From Messing Up Your Mental Health

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I spent my elementary years under the care of my grandparents most of the time because my parents – who were both in the Army – got deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan almost simultaneously. I remembered clinging on to my mother’s leg at the airport, feeling so sad about their departure. But Mom said, “Your father and I are doing this to make sure that you have a safe future, baby. Besides, we will FaceTime every day, so you wouldn’t miss us so much. Grandpa and Grandma will also be there to play with you all the time.”

In the first couple of days after my parents’ deployment, my grandparents allowed me to mope around. They did not force me to talk or eat with them; they even brought food in my room and let me process my emotions independently. I believe it played a pivotal role in my ability to cope whenever my parents’ vacation leave ended, and they had to return to their stations overseas. 

On the third day, though, Grandpa went to my room. He said, “Come one, sugar bear, let’s go to the park. My friend Carl is already with his granddaughters, and they are waiting to play with you.”

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I wanted to say no, but I had always liked Grandpa’s friend. He was funny and jolly and full of stories about the olden days, just like my real grandfather. Besides, I felt excited to see his granddaughters, Brittany and Ellie, with whom I often played for as long as I could recall. With the three of them in sight, there would be no dull moment.

Our playdates became a weekly thing for years. Sometimes, we would stay all day long at the park, running and jumping around like monkeys. Other times, we would visit each other’s houses and have slumber parties. But what I honestly looked forward to every month was the Jerry and Karl show that our grandpas prepared just for us.

Grandparents In Action

Jerry and Karl show was a concept that the two grandfathers made up to entertain their grandchildren. It was always a hit because they could sing, dance, act, and even play musical instruments. 

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I knew even at a young age how challenging it must be because they never repeated the same performance twice. When I voiced out my concern to Grandpa, he said, “It’s okay, sugar bear. Karl and I are natural performers; we used to be in a band in our mid-20s, so this is how we relive the good, old days.” At that moment, I was in awe of my grandfather.

I used to think that most people past the age of 60 wanted to do nothing more than sitting in a rocking chair or walking slowly to their destination. Still, here were Grandpa and his best friend – they were well into their 70s, but it did not seem like old age changed anything about them physically or mentally.

If you worry about growing old and having poor mental health, let’s all take a leaf out of Grandpa’s notes and do the following:

Try Different Activities Often

Every morning, Grandpa wakes me up at 6 A.M. so that we could jog around the community with Grandma. It had to be that early because: a) some neighbors would stop us for a chat, and b) we needed to buy fresh foods at the local market. Meanwhile, the oldies would spend the afternoon knitting, gardening, reading, and making music.

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Though I am far from being a psychological expert, it is evident that the wide variety of activities has kept their brains from idling away. Thus, nothing gets past my grandparents, and they could take care of themselves well.

Stay Around Loved Ones

Grandpa often credited taking care of me as the primary reason why he was still mentally stable during old age. He would say, “My granddaughter is clever; she can run circles around an old man like me if I do not remain sharp. If it was just my wife and me at home, we might have lost our marbles a long time ago.”

I did not want to believe that at first, but after a field trip at a nursing home, I realized that Grandpa might be correct. Many of the elderly folks I met had not seen their kids or grandkids for months or years, and their mental health deteriorated quicker than others’.

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Live Each Day Without Regrets

Live each day without regrets” – this was a direct quote from Grandpa. He told me this when I went home, sad, and found out that it was because I did not get the role of Wendy in our school production of Peter Pan. After wiping my tears, he uttered, “There is no reason to be upset. What matters is that you tried to get the part. Hence, you wouldn’t have to wonder about what could’ve happened if you auditioned for it.”

Grandpa did not need to say that that’s the same principle he lived by. If the show was not testament enough, he went snorkeling with Dad one time and was the oldest person that the instructor saw doing it. He had also tried snowboarding, swimming with sharks, skydiving, and other extreme activities.

If we remember to do at least one of the things above, our mental health may be the least of our worries when we grow old.

 



COVID-19 Health Awareness – Managing Sleep

We are all under a lot of stress and anxiety because of this pandemic issue. And those mental conditions can manifest in tons of ways depending on each one of us. But for some, anxiety and stress affect the emotional aspect that causes them to experience difficulty in sleep. It shows up sometimes in either having a hard time falling or staying asleep. In some unfortunate instances, some individuals do not even feel tired, which makes them available for a whole day waking hour.

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Why Sleep Is Important

Getting enough sleep is essential because it helps in the development of brain function. When there is enough brain energy, it promotes better problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It also impacts an individual’s self-confidence, making them more emotionally, physically, and mentally in control. Sleep also helps promote a better cognitive function where it increases knowledge retention and develops long and short term memory. Sleep is also a better way to reduce stress and inflammation, as it promotes a better boost in the immune system.

How To Get Better Sleep?

Our minds learn to associate with sight, smell, hearing, sense of touch, and vibes. These are reflexive responses that are entirely out of our control. These are the factors that often prevent us from going to sleep. Unfortunately, we can’t control them. But what we can do is train our brain to know when the right time to sleep is. How can we do that?

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Creating A Wind Down Routine

To train our brain, it must first recognize a couple of last activities we do before bedtime. These activities associated with sleeping are listening to soothing music, taking a hot shower, drinking a cup of hot tea or chocolate milk, brushing our teeth, reading a book, putting on our pajamas, and turning off the lights. So with that, we must keep a consistent schedule of doing those things whenever possible. Also, it helps the brain recognize sleep when we wake up around the same time every morning. So if in case it is difficult to wake up early each day, we can set up an alarm to help us get through with the process.

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Limit Naps During The Day

It is essential to allow our bodies to rest from time to time, and napping is a great way to do that. However, to get a better night’s sleep, we should limit our naps during the day for less than 30 minutes. That way, our body can acknowledge exhaustion at night. Also, we must avoid napping in our bed, making us want to sleep more during the day. It would be much better if we take a nap on the couch, or find a comfortable position on the floor. If possible, we should only take at least one nap during the day. That is enough to help boost our energy. Napping more than that can distract the brain and body from recognizing night time sleep.

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Limit The Use Of Devices

Sleep requires silence and dark surroundings to allow a drifting subconscious. To help ourselves get the rest we need, we must put away all the unnecessary devices that prevent us from thinking about sleep. We should cut our screen time before bed and place our smartphones in out-of-reach areas. That is because our brain recognizes the tone of the light emanating from the device as the same as sunlight. Therefore, we should turn our screen brightness down low. If possible, we need to shut off our phones. That way, those devices cannot cause any brain stimulation and cannot generate a biological trigger to the brain’s alerting system.



How To Properly Care For The Elderly

It is a great experience to be at the Elderly Care event 2019. I was able to learn so many things, especially on properly caring for the elderly. From the engagement up to mental health management, I can say that I fully understand the significance of my role in their lives.

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Role Reversal – One thing I do understand now is that life follows a role reversal. Meaning, when we are kids, our parents took care of us because there are things we can’t do all by ourselves. And when they get older, we do the same thing for them. It becomes our responsibility to look after them because there are things they can no longer physically do.

Safety Measures – There are a lot of hazards at home that can endanger the elderly. Some are lethal to their physical health. Examples of these are uneven flooring, cluttered room, improper lighting, and many more. We must secure the comfortability of the elderly at home, and we shouldn’t make them feel they are locked up.

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Ensure Physical Activity – A right amount of physical activity helps a lot in boosting the immune system. Thus, we must ensure that our elderly takes at least 10 to 15 minutes of light exercise. These can include walking and stretching. Also, we should provide them nutritional support. Thus, we need to ensure they eat healthy food such as fruits and vegetables.

Emotional Care – Most elderly are sensitive to their surroundings. That is why we need to ensure that they keep their emotional aspect in a balanced state. We need to avoid putting them in uncomfortable situations. It is vital not to put pressure on them, especially when it comes to their preference in things such as food, activity, leisure, and rest.



Learnings On Case Management From The 2019 Care National Conference

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Case management is a crucial pillar of health care, a resounding point raised by health workers from various disciplines in ACMA’s 2019 Care National Conference. The conference tackled best practices of case management, such as integrating social determinants into health care and optimizing health insurance. 

Synergizing Care

Healthcare rarely exists in a vacuum as patients undergo their medical journeys from the emergency room to aftercare. Frequent changing of hands is standard, with the patient receiving care from one specialist to another. Moreso, other needs such as psychosocial and spiritual are also essential aspects of patient care.

Case management comes in as a holistic synergy of these various services that healthcare providers can give to patients. Case studies presented in the conference showed actual scenarios where case management made a difference for both patients and health providers. Patient-centric care and research into social health determinants became vital topics in the conference.

Health’s Social Dimension

Health is not only a medical concept but also rooted in the social gears of the real world. Participants of case management conferences reflected the diversity of the discipline in terms of their origins and specialization. 

Given the rampant use of medical jargon in healthcare, professionals emphasized educating patients should know the treatment they will be receiving. Similarly, pointers on how to cultivate a healthy mental headspace for patients should be available. A roundtable on utilization management also specifically addressed how health insurance companies can further help patients manage healthcare costs.

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A Meeting of Minds

Case management is a multidisciplinary field. Exchange of new insights and knowledge between stakeholders pushes the field’s standards further. Conferences are also an excellent platform for expanding networks and sharing practical information between clinical specialists and professionals from other areas such as health insurance providers, psychologists, social workers, data scientists, and even priests. 

From this stage, they bring this insight back home to share with their colleagues. With all of these learnings from the conference, healthcare can thus become a seamless experience for patients who are otherwise going through a difficult journey.



Life Of A Patient Dealing With The Symptoms Of COVID-19

It is already more than a month since the world experienced a global outbreak known as the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, thousands of people are reportedly infected by the disease, and quite a number of them already died. And until now, the spread of the virus continues to grow despite the world’s strict safety measures such as social distancing and regular hand washing.

On a small scale, only a few people are ignoring the deadly disease because the majority of the individuals in the world are following necessary health measures. That is perhaps due to the unfortunate information that there hasn’t been any cure for the diseases yet. However, for those who ignore public health message, some of them suffer from the signs and symptoms.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of The Virus?

The typical one to two days start of the symptoms of COVID-19 is very similar to the common cold. In most cases, it gets accompanied by a mild sore throat. Then usually, there is a fever and physical discomfort as well. And with all these common symptoms, there is nothing much to worry about it because a patient can still manage to eat and drink as usual. The person can still be active and can still look healthy at some point.

However, for the 3rd day, some of these symptoms appear to get worse. The patient’s throat will feel a bit painful. It will soon become difficult to swallow small amounts of food. In a different individual’s experience, drinking water becomes their problem. Aside from that, body temperature will start to read at around 36.5 degrees Celsius. In some cases, though it is mildly uncommon, an individual will experience vomiting and nausea. It is also possible that diarrhea can set in as well.

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In the fourth and 5th day, the symptoms of the virus become more serious. Other symptoms will eventually manifest, and an individual may suddenly feel physically weak and exhausted. The body temperature of the patient may go up to 37 or 38 degrees Celsius as well. Though, in some instances, other individual’s temperature remains the same despite having physical pain.

Then, for the 7th day of experiencing physical difficulties, the patient will soon have fever along with a dry cough. Then due to the throat’s inability to allow airflow, Dyspnea happens. It is a condition where an individual suddenly feels difficulty in breathing. In this stage, he often feels physically and mentally tired. The patient is somehow unable to stand up and prefer always to lie down.

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And after the 7th day without showing any signs of recovery from these symptoms, the patient soon suffers from consistent coughing and breathing difficulty. Then fever gets higher and higher. Headaches, body pain, and diarrhea also get worse. With that state, admission to the hospital becomes necessary.

On the 8th day, the patient begins to suffer, and his other medical conditions will roll up with the virus’s symptoms. That is where severe shortness of breath comes in, and temperature reading goes above 38 degrees Celsius. Usually, at this stage, doctors examine the chest for the status of respiratory conditions.

For the next 10 to 15 days, if the patient is unsuccessful in recovering from the symptoms, then he must prepare for the possibility of having an acute cardiac or kidney failure. From there, death can be expected.

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But please note that this general overview serves as a compilation of an initial self-assessment purpose only. Some of these daily signs and symptoms may vary from one person to another. So if you are not feeling well, you should seek professional medical care immediately. Be sure to have an accurate diagnosis of your condition so that you can receive proper treatment for COVID-19.



Qualities To Look For In An Insurance Agent

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The 2017 Riverside Conference focused on economic developments and policy, which includes why insurance is a “must” nowadays. It also tackled a topic that most people miss out when getting this service – the qualities that they must look for in their insurance agents. Believe it or not, your insurance agent has the same weight as the insurance package. If they’ll take care of you, then your insurance is in good hands as well. 

Good Listener

There are a lot of agents who are only there to talk to you to earn a commission. They don’t find time to listen and analyze their client’s needs, and what will be the most helpful setup for them. If this is the kind of agent you have, dump him! It is essential to put the needs of the clients first, even if you avail of a product where they’ll receive a lower commission. 

Persistent

There are a handful of clients who might take time convincing. It may be because they don’t understand the product that much yet, or they don’t have the time to decide because of their busy schedules. One good trait that the right agent should have is persistence. They have to know when to keep going (and get that sale), but they should also know when to give up.

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Entrepreneurial Spirit

Some insurance packages have an integrated investment feature. Your insurance agent must acquire an entrepreneurial mindset that will enable you to grow your money. He should be capable of making plans, drafting tailored strategies, spotting opportunities, and undertaking risks. This characteristic will be a driving force to your success! 

Good Customer Service

Believe it or not, there are a lot of agents who disappear after making the sale. However, it’s part of their job description to serve you still whenever you have issues and concerns regarding your insurance. A right agent is reachable at any time of the day, or someone who calls you back immediately once they’re free. 

Coachable

Just because they’re the ones selling the services doesn’t mean that they know everything about it. There might even be times that you’re more familiar with its ins and outs. Look for someone that’s coachable. If they’re still open to new learnings and knowledge, then you don’t have to worry about them handling your money.



Tightening The Bond: In Sickness And In Health

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“Through sickness and health” is once and for all to be acknowledged by both individuals in the sacrament of matrimony.   It is the vow taken by a man and a woman which establishes them a partnership of a lifetime. But life inevitably will come to a time where they will struggle from the problems arising from dispositions of this said lifetime. These problems generally include medical conditions, financial factors and even relationship exhaustion for both individuals. And if these problems persist, it may ruin the sanctity of vows taken and the sacred ceremonies that both parties take heed of an oath.

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In Vitro Fertilization: Technology’s Gift To Infertile Couples

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Many couples, who after exploring different options to treat infertility, still fail to have their own child.   Having the inability to conceive puts both of them under so much stress and emotional turmoil, and often this becomes the cause of the relationship becoming unstable.

 

My husband and I have been married for two years and have been wanting to have kids.  Every time we have a gathering with friends, we feel pressured whenever topics about kids are brought up.  Because of pressure and maybe shame, we just sometimes not show up during our group dates.

Our doctor keeps on encouraging us that we should never give up, and we still can have our own kids through in vitro fertilization, but we have to prepare for it financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  As a matter of fact, we are talking about it, gaining insights about how it works, and in the process of finding out if our insurance is going to cover it.

 

How In Vitro Fertilization Works

In vitro fertilization is a modern procedure which aims to assist couples to bear a child of their own.   It is a process where mature eggs are being collected from the ovary and fertilized by sperms in a laboratory.  The embryo or the fertilized egg is then deposited back into the woman’s uterus.  A cycle of IVF could take two weeks.

 

IVF generally has a higher success rate especially for women below 35 years of age, making it the most effective technology in assisting couples to have a child.   It can be done using the husband and wife’s own egg and sperm or can be from a known or unidentified donor.

 

Successful And Failed IVF

Some successful people have tried in vitro fertilization, and some of them have even come forward to tell about their experiences within vitro fertilization.

 

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Khloe Kardashian has been very open regarding her fight with infertility and her unstable married life.  Her body does not have the ability to release an egg, and the lining of her uterus is not thick enough to hold a pregnancy.  She attempted IVF with the hope that a child would save her relationship with NBA player Lamar Odom, but the treatment did not work out, so did her relationship.

 

Giuliana Rancic, E! News host, had three IVF cycles.  The first attempt, she got pregnant but had a miscarriage, the second did not work out and she did not get pregnant.  During the third time, she found out that she had breast cancer, so she and her husband decided to have a gestational surrogate to carry their son who was finally born in 2012.

 

Nicole Kidman had miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy that caused her depression.   She never stopped and had tried all the possibilities to get pregnant.  Nicole had her first child in 2008 and through a gestational carrier had her second one in 2011.   She said that though the success rates were meager, she still tried and had the miracle of her life.

 

Sarah Jessica Parker also had twin daughters who were born through a  gestational surrogate in 2009.

 

Brooke Shields even wrote a book which tells about her struggle to get pregnant and the postpartum depression she had.  She had several failed IVFs and a successful one in 2002, where she gave birth to a baby girl in 2003.

 

Emotional and physical pain and shame brought by being unable to bear a child could put couples in so much stress.  No matter how having no kids affect your relationship, it is essential to endure the hardships, share your feelings and be each other’s support.  The psychological wellbeing of both couples is paramount to improving the relationship and keeping couples more relaxed especially during sex.   Sex should not only be about conceiving, but couples should enjoy each experience.   Support from friends and families is also essential to enhance the healthy relationship between infertile partners.

 

Those who had failed and even those who have had successful IVF treatments have only one thing to say about the process.  It is an upsetting and brutal process as it puts them in an emotional roller coaster. But no matter what, once they take a look at their baby, the feeling is unbelievably beautiful, and they are very thankful that they did it anyway.

 

Just like what our doctor had advised us, stability in the relationship and healthy psychological status of the infertile couple, like us, can aid a lot in having a successful in vitro treatment.   And since we are already considering it, we are preparing ourselves emotionally and mentally whatever the outcome may be.

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In vitro fertilization is quite expensive and some 15 states in the US protect couples through its law regarding insurance covering part of the infertility treatment.  Though complicated and straightforward, there are insurers who don’t cover infertility services, but some pay for all of it, and some just go in-between.   Find out if your state belongs to those who support infertile couples to get some help with payment for fertility services through insurance plans.

 

Here is a list of quotes about pregnancy from therapists and counselors:

  • “Getting a younger sibling is a really big deal for children.” – Hilary Mandzik, PsyD
  • “Preconception counseling is especially important for women who are on medications for bipolar disorder or depression.” – Malina Spirito, PsyD
  • “Pregnant women who exercise – under the care of their doctors – are better able to manage stress.” – Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD



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