Mental illness can strike at any time
Mental illness plagues close to one in five adults in the U.S. It can emerge in response to a difficult life experience, or just as a physiological development. The good news is that mental illness is treatable, but knowing when to seek help can sometimes be a challenge.
Watch for signs of mental illness
Decline in personal care
Losing interest in personal hygiene and appearance are early signs that someone is struggling.
Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
A sudden increase or decrease in appetite can be a sign that your body is having a stress response. Look for weight loss or weight gain over a fairly short period of time. Likewise, needing several extra hours of sleep every day or being unable to sleep can be symptoms of depression or anxiety.
The world is full of brilliant introverts who prefer alone time. If, however, you are feeling a sudden and persistent loathing for social situations or a complete unwillingness to interact with people, that may go beyond introversion.
A desire to self-medicate in order to battle negative feelings can lead to greater struggles. Watch for an increase in alcohol use, unnecessary prescription medication use and/or illegal drug use. If you feel you NEED a substance to get you through a situation, take a closer look.
Persistent, penetrating sadness
If you find yourself feeling hopeless, or if someone you love expresses persistent hopelessness, this may indicate that the sadness is coming from inside.
Excessive fears and worries
We all worry, but fears and worries that interfere with our daily experiences in school, work or social circles can be cause for concern.
When to seek help for mental illness
One or two of these signs, does not mean you necessarily have a mental illness. If you are struggling with everyday functions and experiencing several symptoms at once, it’s time to call a doctor.
Family doctor is a good starting place to seek help for mental illness
Your family doctor is a good place to begin for a referral or advice on next steps. You can also call 211 to talk with a professional about local options for mental health care. If you or someone you know has thoughts of self-harm or thoughts of harming others, seek emergency medical help immediately.
One of the most difficult jobs in the world is being the caregiver for a person who’s chronically ill or has a disability.
The combination of concern and heartache over your loved one’s condition plus the physical demand of it can put you in a position where your own energy and emotional stores are empty. Once you’re in such a state, the quality of the care you provide will slip, too, and then everyone suffers.
Recognize the signs of caregiver stress
The first step toward taking care of yourself is recognizing the signs that you’re overly stressed. Oftentimes these signs will manifest as
• Sleep problems
• Poor eating habits
• Failure to exercise
• Failure to rest or see a healthcare provider when needed
To care for others, caregivers must also take care of themselves
If you identify with any of these signs, you need to take action; you need to take care of yourself. That begins with doing what you can to make sure you get sufficient sleep, eat healthfully and exercise, but in many circumstances, caregivers can’t find a way to fit it all in. If that describes you, it’s time to accept or ask for help.
Ask for or accept help
Discard any notion that the need for help indicates weakness or failure. It’s actually a sign of wisdom in knowing your limits and commitment to your loved one in keeping yourself strong for them.
Before asking for help, write a list of ways that others can step in. Do you need help with transportation? Do you need someone to come in the afternoons so you can rest or work out? Perhaps healthy meals are what you need. Or maybe you need all of the above. The beauty in having a list is that when someone asks how they can help—or you ask someone yourself—you’ll have a list of ways they can do it in a truly beneficial way.
Take time for other relationships
Social support is key for caregivers. Oftentimes caregivers become completely focused on the person they’re caring for and isolate themselves from other relationships that can uplift, support and encourage them. And that’s important for continued well-being.
That social support can be found among your existing circle of friends, your church or even a support group. If you’re seeking such support but don’t know where to turn, ask your doctor to refer you to a social services worker.
Caregiving can be especially overwhelming for people who also work outside their homes. FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, and if you’re eligible, it allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for relatives. You can learn more about this option through your employer’s human resources department.
See your doctor
Caregivers often are ministering to people with compromised immune systems, making it especially important to stay on top of your own health.
Plus, several studies have shown that caregivers are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety. These are conditions you should discuss with your doctor, first, to rule out any other causes and, second, to guide you to additional care. So if you’re showing any of the signs referenced above, be sure to mention them to your physician.
Facts About Falls
Falls are leading cause of injuries in older adults
Falls are disturbingly common in older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults over age 65 fall each year and the results of those falls can be devastating.
In fact, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults, with about one in five people suffering moderate to severe injuries—causing loss of mobility, long-term care and even death.
Common risk factors for falls among elder adults
The National Institutes of Health have identified the greatest risk factors. Addressing them could be key in preventing thousands of injuries each year, and they could be key in preventing yours.
Weakness, especially in legs
That’s why it’s critical that people exercise throughout their lives, including their senior years. Weight-bearing exercises can be especially helpful, particularly for people who have osteoporosis, and be sure to get sufficient calcium and vitamin D.
Balance and gait
Exercise can help here, too, with many experts specifically lauding the benefits of Tai Chi. Balance and gait issues, however, can also caused orthopedic issues, such as arthritis, so addressing those issues medically is also important.
Low blood pressure
Whether constant or upon standing, low blood pressure can lead to fainting and dizziness, both of which are common causes of falls. Low blood pressure can result from neurological conditions, illnesses or simple dehydration. Once you understand the cause of low blood pressure, your doctor can help you treat it. Just be sure to drink plenty of water in the meantime.
Most adults find their eyesight declines with age, but cataracts, glaucoma and depth perception issues can make it dangerous. In addition to seeing your eye doctor regularly, adapting your environment can help. Increase lighting in your home and eliminate tripping hazards, such as rugs, power cords and low-level furniture and décor.
The more medications you take, the more likely you are to experience interactions that may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re experiencing any of those symptoms. He or she may be able to adjust your medications to alleviate those issues.
Simple steps go a long way toward preventing falls
Another way to address several of these factors and reduce falls for anyone is to install rubber mats in your bathtub and grab bars throughout your bathroom. It’s also wise to add double railings to any stairs inside or outside your home.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure. In this case, a few extra steps can make a tremendous difference in the quality and longevity of your life.
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Inclusa is thrilled to announce we are now an available option for Family Care in Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Walworth counties with services to begin October 1, 2019.
“Having the opportunity to offer something new alongside local partners and providers allows us to enhance and preserve the unique communities within each area,” Mark Hilliker, Chief Executive Officer of Inclusa.
With age comes wisdom, as the old saying goes. But for some of us that wisdom comes at a high cost, especially when we find we’ve become a victim of a scam. Here are some of the most common scams seniors may encounter.
- Internet and email scams. The internet can be overwhelming, and often tech-savvy offenders have the upper hand. Beware of emails making promises that are too good to be true or people you don’t know who reach out to you via social media or other online venues. You should never share your personal information with someone online, especially bank routing, account and social security numbers. Also, never send money to receive a prize.
- Health care and prescription scams. We all want to save money on the cost of our prescriptions, but use caution, particularly when using online sites that promise deep discounts. Many shoppers who have trusted these sites have paid for their medications and never received them. Also, be wary of people who call and say they are health care or Medicare representatives who then ask for your personal information. In some cases, scammers have used that info to bill Medicare and keep the money.
- Investment and Financial Scams. Whenever someone offers you an opportunity to invest and make huge profits, proceed with caution. There are many so-called opportunities to invest in fictional businesses and vacation properties. Likewise, take great care when choosing a financial advisor, and always keep an eye on your accounts.
- Cashier’s check and bad check Scams. If you sell items online, you may be contacted by scammers. If a potential buyer wants to issue you a cashier’s check for the item, beware. Scam artists will often ask someone to cash the check and return the extra money. Days later, the victim finds out the check is fraudulent. Take care with personal checks as well, which can bounce after deposit, leaving you liable.
- Relative in trouble scam. Some scam artists will gain the personal information of a loved one, scare you into thinking they are in trouble and then request you send money. In other cases, someone may call and get you to guess who they are and, then use that identity to convince you they need help.
Bottom line: If the offer seems too good to be true, if they ask for personal information, if you feel pressured or if it just doesn’t feel right, chances are it’s a scam. Take a breath, discuss it with someone you trust and check the organization or offer with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org or on Snopes.com. If someone is trying to scam you, you may also want to contact the police