Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe for a Mentally Healthy Community

Recipe for a Healthy Community: Serving size - entire community, especially the 1 in 5 who live with addictions and mental illness: 1# - Prevention; 2 bottles – Mental Health First Aid; 8 ounces – 24 hour Crisis Services; 1 quart – Same Day Access; 1 bushel – Treatment for Mental Illness and Addictions; ½ cup – Trauma Informed Care; 4 cans – Primary Care; 1 box – Criminal Justice Diversion and Re-entry; 1 gallon – Housing; 3 bunches – Supported Education and Employment. Directions: Line pan with Prevention, so fewer children and adults suffer; Begin with Mental Health First Aid, so everyone can recognize and help people in need; Add in 24 hour Crisis Response and Same Day Access to services to save lives; Mix with Treatment to promote recovery; Pour in Primary Care to improve health; Fold in Criminal Justice collaborations, keeping people and communities safe; Add in Housing so everyone has a place to live; Blend in Education and Employment to build a strong economy; Sprinkle with Trauma Informed Care to ensure respect for all; Blend well and properly plate with adequate funding. ENJOY A HEALTHY COMMUNITY! This recipe is printed with permission from National Council for Behavioral Health. I hope everybody has a happy, healthy holiday season and 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Year End Thank You

As the year ends and we celebrate the holidays – I wish each of you a joyous and healthy holiday and a happy new year. And, on behalf of The Dale Association and all charitable organizations in our community thank you for your kindness and seemingly endless generosity this past year. The end of the year is a good time to look back and reflect on those things we are thankful for. I’d like to say thank you to all of the people who have donated time, money, and/or items that support our fundraising efforts – those fundraising efforts help pay for the things we do, and therefore help us fulfill our mission in this community. Our mission statement… “To provide comprehensive services and coordinate connections for Adults in Niagara and neighboring counties with enhance their health and Wellness and empower them to strengthen bridges to their communities.” … it serves as a reminder of the reason The Dale Association exists in this community. And therefore, the reason we do the things we do – it may be supporting older individuals with our senior services… it may be assisting seriously and persistently mentally ill adults achieve mental wellness and to stabilize their emotions… it may be enriching the lives of people through our educational classes and volunteering programs… or it may be supporting caregivers by providing resources that help them be better caregivers …or it may be assisting older adults with vision and/or hearing impairments maintain their independence. Whatever the service, all focus on believing each person has value and we hope to enhance their potential to live their life to the fullest. Regardless what your charity of choice is, it is probably their mission and what they do that you believe in. Almost certainly, I can speak for all charitable organizations when I say that we are so grateful for the generosity of this community, our community, when it comes to delivering each of our missions. All fundraising activities support programs of charities and as I said above, it is what is accomplished with the money and donation of time that really defines each of our purposes. The purpose of fundraising is more than about the money – it’s about the results accomplished by our use of the money. It is through our donors and volunteer supporters and what they give that enables us to make a difference. Fundraising is at its best when we can match our need for donations with your desire to support organizations that have made a difference in your life or the lives of family and friends. Many non-profit charitable organizations all across the nation rely more and more on fundraising as a means to support their mission and the Dale Association is no different. You may be astonished to know that we need to raise over $300,000 to continue to serve the adults of this community. This past year, many of you have supported Dale Association fundraising efforts by making a gift to the Annual Giving Campaign, by pledging at our Dale Hearts and Caring People fund, through general donations, by attending events, by becoming a sponsor, or by making a charitable gift through you estate planning. The money raised helps us sustain our mission in this community. To all of you – THANK YOU! And thank you on behalf of all the charities you support all year long.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Medication Management

“Medication Management” is a simple phrase that refers to an often complicated family caregiver task. It may mean ordering and picking up prescriptions, setting up a pill box, reminding a family member to take their pills or even giving injections. The task variables usually are defined in terms of the complexity of the task itself – not taking into consideration if the care recipient is able and willing to cooperate. Caregivers for those with dementia know how big a difference in cooperation can make. A recent article written by a caregiver noted, “Medicine time with my dad has become one of the greatest difficulties, often taking an hour or more as we cajole, distract and sweet-talk him into swallowing pills or liquid medications. He doesn’t understand why he should do so.” When an otherwise straightforward task turns into an emotional battle of wills, it means more stress for already stressed caregivers. This is an important finding in a recent study. The study found that 61% of family caregivers caring for somebody with both cognitive or behavioral condition as well as chronic physical condition felt stressed “sometimes to always”. Nearly half reported feeling depressed within two weeks of completing the survey. This rate is significantly higher than the rate reported by family caregivers caring for someone with a chronic physical illness but no cognitive or behavioral condition. A majority of the dually challenged caregivers were women between the ages of 50 and 79 and about half lived with the person needing care. Most had provided care for several years. While it is well recognized that people with cognitive or behavioral conditions may act in ways that make them hard to care for, the report found they also are less healthy than care recipients without these conditions. Nearly 90% of such people also had higher rates of chronic medical diagnoses, such as stroke or hypertension, arthritis or osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. These conditions are commonly treated with many medications that require frequent monitoring and different forms of administration. Most (84%) family caregivers for people with both kinds of conditions assisted with the medication management, along with providing personal care and managing household tasks. They were two and a half times as likely as other caregivers to say it was hard because their family member did not cooperate. As a result, they found medication management time consuming. When asked what would make the task easier, almost one-third said, “more cooperation from their family member.” Strikingly, two-thirds of these caregivers reported they had little or no training, learning how to administer at least some of the medications on their own. Family caregivers need a lot of help. Family caregivers need training and support that help them understand the sources of someone’s resistance to care and provides effective ways to respond. Making sure your loved one takes their medications and cooperates should be a routine part of loving care, not a constant source of conflict.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Stress

For many, the holidays are a time for families and friends to gather and for joyous celebrations. Even though the holidays are enjoyable, they can be demanding. For some, the added stress can lead to emotions that sneak up on you and pull you down when you least expect it. The holidays are not as joyful for some as they are for others. Maintaining good health throughout stressful times is directly linked to a positive mind set. Improving your mood need not be time consuming or expensive – try these simple strategies to distract your attention from the hectic pace of life around you and restore the energy you need. Make sure you are well rested. According to the National Institute on Aging, an estimated 30 percent of middle aged Americans don’t get enough sleep. Factors that can help you get a good night’s sleep are sticking to a regular bedtime, sleeping in a cool and dark room and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine after mid-afternoon. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Moderate exercise is an activity that leaves you feeling warm, but still able to talk. And don’t forget routine activities like mopping the floor and raking leaves are considered moderate exercise. Music has the ability to alter your mood. If you want to relax, listen to slow, soothing classical music. To energize yourself, pick something that is faster such as jazz or pop. Or consider making your own music by playing a musical instrument. Bringing a little creativity into your life can improve your sense of well being; it could be something as simple as trying a new recipe. By making a difference in the lives of others and becoming active, you generate positive feelings in your own life. Volunteering will fill your heart and let goodness shine in your life. Studies show that people who volunteer as little as two hours per week improve their own health. Worries drift away when you focus on others. Caregiving responsibilities layered on top of keeping up with holiday traditions can take its toll on dementia families, especially the caregiver. The person with dementia may also feel a sense of loss during the holidays. With some planning and adjusted expectations, your celebrations can be filled with joy and magical moments to cherish forever. Adjust your expectations No one, including yourself, should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event. • Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage • Choose holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you • Host a small family dinner instead of a throwing a big holiday party • Consider serving a catered or takeout holiday meal. Many grocery stores and restaurants offer meals to go. • Start a new tradition. Have a potluck dinner where family or friends each bring a dish Involve the person in the festivities There are many manageable activities the person and you can do together, such as: • Wrap gifts • Bake favorite holiday recipes together. The person can stir batter or decorate cookies. • Set the table. Avoid centerpieces with candles and artificial fruits and berries that could be mistaken for edible snacks. • Talk about events to include in a holiday letter • Prepare simple foods such as appetizers • Read cards you receive together • Look through photo albums or scrapbooks. Reminisce about people in the pictures and past events. • Watch a favorite holiday movie • Sing favorite carols or read biblical passages When the person lives in a care facility A holiday is still a holiday whether it is celebrated at home or at a care facility. Here are some ways to celebrate together: • Consider joining your loved one in any facility-planned holiday activities • Bring a favorite holiday food to share • Sing holiday songs. Ask if other residents can join in. • Read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud I hope this makes your holidays a little less stressful.

Medicare for 2015

Medicare's annual open enrollment period ends December 7th. This is the time of year when everyone with Medicare can join or change their health and prescription drug plans for 2015. This includes anyone using traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage. Depending on our needs, you can switch coverage from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. You can also switch your Part D plan, which pays for medications. Any changes you make will take effect January 1st, as long as the plan gets your enrollment request by December 7th. Medicare beneficiaries should have received their Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers. People should review plan changes as soon as they receive information from their providers. Changes could include costs such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, as well as changes to covered procedures, tests and other provisions. Take time to review the information you received and look at all of your Medicare options; you may find more affordable coverage through a different combination of plans. Keep in mind that you may see a lot of ads for Medicare plans, but there could be a plan that's perfect for you that isn't getting a lot of attention with ads and mailers. This is an important opportunity to make sure you are getting the most from your Medicare benefits. Every year, Medicare plans change and so do your needs. It’s worth the time to shop around to see if the coverage is still the best for your situation. If you have not yet made your decision for 2015, representatives will be on hand at The Dale Association to provide information to help you make this important decision. Medicare Insurance Company Representatives will be at 33 Ontario Street, Lockport on the following schedule: Fidelis Care: Monday, November 24th from 10:00am – 1:00pm Independent Health: Wednesdays and Fridays in November and until December 5th from 9:00am – 3:00pm BlueCross and BlueShield: Tuesdays in November and December 2nd from 9:00am – 4:00pm United Health Care: Monday, December 1st from 10:00am – 12:00pm