Tag Archives: community

Homesickness in College Students

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

One of the main causes of distress in students is homesickness. According to the UCLA Higher Education Institute, over 30% of college students experience low-level homesickness, and about 69% of first year college students experience severe homesickness.

Homesickness is more than the concept of missing home or missing family — it’s the feeling of longing and feeling out of place. Whether they’re nearby, out-of-state, or studying in a foreign country, college students are not only experiencing a new phase of life, but they’re also at a new school, in a new place.

Although it’s normal to feel homesick, wanting to enjoy a home-cooked meal with family or not wanting to deal with adult responsibilities and academic pressures may quickly make homesickness grow. Homesickness builds in waves and can turn into more serious mental health issues if not taken seriously.

Last year, Assist America worked on a severe case of homesickness, helping an 18-year-old student from Germany who was hospitalized after his homesickness transformed into serious depressive episodes.

In the weeks leading up to his hospitalization, the student had shown increased signs of homesickness, including mentioning that he wanted to go home, a decrease in the desire to participate in activities and social events, and suicidal thoughts.

After a while, his roommates told the university staff about his behavior, and he was later admitted to the hospital. Once he was stable, Assist America arranged for transportation supervised by a medical escort to take him back to Germany.

Tips for Overcoming Homesickness

Some preventive measures can be taken by both parents and students to help overcome homesickness.

For Parents

  • You can help your child prepare for college life by visiting the campus ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves with its surroundings.

  • In the years before college, consider sending your child to summer camps, activities, or to visit family away from home , so they can gradually learn to deal with separation anxiety.

  • Avoid expressing your own anxiety about your child leaving for college in front of them. Instead, talk optimistically and positively about their new experiences to come.

  • Encourage your child to find trusted friends and adults on campus. These relationships will help them build connections in their new community and ease the transition.

  • Consider sending little surprise care packages to your child. Include their favorite cookies or candies, a new book, gift cards to their favorite stores, a letter, and a funny family photo.

  • Make the most of technology. Staying in touch on the phone or through video chat is easier than ever and can help the whole family feel connected.

For Students

  • Stay engaged in campus activities. Many colleges organize welcome week events to help students get used to college culture.

  • Establish and stick to a daily routine, even if it’s difficult to stay on track with exams and events around every corner. Routines are good for dealing with stress and anxiety and will help you adjust to your new community and class schedule.

  • Feeling homesick is normal, as long as you can handle the situation. To help battle feelings of loneliness, keep a family picture on your study table, video-chat often, or go old-school and write letters to family and friends back home.

  • Find ways to reward yourself as you make gains in your new routine. For instance, after submitting an important assignment or taking a big exam, take some time to do something fun or treat yourself with something you like.

  • If campus is only a drive away, you and your parents and friends can plan a few weekends throughout the school year to visit each other on campus, at home, or to meet at a halfway-point.

  • When packing for college, take some of your favorite decorations from your room to make your new room feel more like home.

  • Know what services are available to you to help you cope with homesickness. Too often students don’t realize all the things their college has ready to help them with exactly these issues. Never shy away from seeking advice from a trusted adult on campus about these services. Or you can look into these services privately on your school’s website.

While Studying Abroad

  • Students who study abroad are even more likely to feel homesick since they have to adjust to a whole new culture and lifestyle, learn to speak a new language, and meet all new people from many backgrounds.

  • A challenge while studying abroad is knowing who you can ask questions and how and where to get help. Before leaving, create a reference list with the names, contact details, and roles of people that will be helpful during your stay. Once you arrive, be sure to add anyone important you meet to your list. 

  • Schools often have an international student department who will organize welcome events and get-togethers. Be sure to attend those activities, especially at the beginning of your time abroad.

  • Many international programs also have Facebook groups where former and new students can exchange tips and experiences. Joining these groups to make connections and prepare before leaving home.

  • Make friends with people from the same country as you. When you’re missing home, spend time together. Your shared experience of studying abroad can make you feel a little closer to home.

How Assist America Can Help

Assist America provides useful services that can reassure parents and students studying out-of-state or abroad.

For example, Assist America can help students find where and how they can refill certain prescriptions before they even leave home, so they can plan their departure with peace of mind.

Students who know they will need to see a doctor while away from home can call us or Assist America for referrals. Assist America also provides emergency trauma counseling for students on the phone, with referrals for follow-up sessions with specialists.

Finally, students going to a foreign country can use the Pre-Trip Information tool on Assist America’s website and the mobile app to familiarize themselves with their destination.

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Declutter Your Life

Covered Bridge: Downsize and Declutter for Safety

The month of August has this great week called the National Safe At Home Week, August 26 to 30, and that got me thinking about things that people could do to keep their home safer.

Did you know that our local Area Agency on Aging, LifeStream, has a program called “Safety Solutions” that not many within their newly expanded service area in Indiana know about? This program allows individuals to send a referral to LifeStream to assess the needs of someone on safety item(s) that may need fixed to make their living environment safer.

When I think of Safe At Home Week, what came to me instantly was to declutter! I must admit that I am a bit of a clutter bug when it comes to paperwork. I somehow have a hard time parting with things I might need down the road.

I’m finding myself getting a tad bit anxious when the papers seem to be too much to keep organized or in place. I need to make a change, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Why not use this month, or a week in this month, to get the clutter bug under control? I think you might thank yourself later when you have more peace, maybe more money in your pocket (hey, the summer is a great time for a yard sale), and a safer environment that is less cluttered. (I don’t really believe in the notion of being “clutter-free,” but I think we can work to have less clutter in our lives.)

Reid Health Alliance has great presentations about a whole host of topics that we share with the community, and one of them is called Downsize and Declutter. It gives practical advice on how to start the declutter and downsize process, how to stick with it, and the possible rewards of getting through the process, along with other helpful tips. If you’re interested in having an outreach liaison, like me, present this to your group, please email me at Morgan.Gunder@healthalliance.org to schedule a time. Happy decluttering!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Celebrate July!

Covered Bridge: Many Things to Celebrate

July, the month we realize Mother Nature has ever so graciously provided us with … heat!

When I think back as a child and remember what the month of July meant to me, the following things come to mind: having to go back to school in a month, melted popsicles, bike rides, swimming, tent camping trips, sunburns, and losing track of time due to the long days of sunshine.

When I think of July as an adult, I think of red, white, and blue, our armed forces, and this great nation!  Humidity is almost, if not already, at a yearly high. OK, most people don’t look forward to the humidity. I get it, but I will take it over the rain and snow pretty much any day. The sound of fireworks almost all month long and the delightful smells of hamburgers and hotdogs from our grill or from somewhere else in our neighborhood are basically daily rituals.

One thing I do differently from a child to an adult? I camp in an RV. Some call it “glamping,” but I call it convenience on wheels.

However, those aren’t the only things to look forward to in July. I look forward to celebrating events within our community that make summer that much more exciting.

This year, Reid Foundation will celebrate the 10th Annual ReidRide on July 21! No matter your fitness level, according to Prevention Magazine, “Cycling puts very little impact on your joints, so it’s kind to your body.” That sounds like a great reason to me to get out there and safely give it a try!

If you are not familiar with the ReidRide, your contribution provides shoes to children in need in our local community. Every $20 donated will buy a pair of shoes. Information on registering for the event and other ways to contribute can be found at ReidRide.org.

In other celebratory news, this year is Reid’s 113th birthday on July 27! Reid will celebrate with some special activities, so be on the lookout for those details!

Maybe, like me, you simply enjoy this month for all it represents, or maybe you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or another day of importance this month. No matter what it is, I hope this month brings you much happiness!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Remember Veterans

Covered Bridge: Remember Veterans this Independence Day

Independence Day is almost a whole month away, but I am already looking forward to it because, you guessed it, the food. Barbecued chicken and ribs, potato salad, and deviled eggs, all in the same meal? It’s almost too good to be true. However, the holiday also moves me beyond just my stomach.

While we always have a flag flying, we have a special flag we fly on the Fourth of July. This simple act always reminds me of the many service members who have defended and still are defending our great nation. I have many family members who have served in the military and still currently are. I can only imagine that being in the military is a very challenging experience, so I am thankful there are resources available to military personnel after they serve. One such resource is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Local veteran service officers can help veterans navigate the many useful programs offered in their area. The resources they offer include help finding employment, starting or continuing an education, or launching a small business. The VA also helps people who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, which can be a complicated process.

The VA website features an easy-to-navigate section on health topics. Some are of general interests (like cataracts), while others are topics of a specific interest to service members (like readjustment counseling). One of the department’s more pressing challenges is to provide support for homeless veterans or recently discharged service members.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the VA says veterans make up about 11% of the adult homeless population in the U.S. and oftentimes, deal with mental illness and substance abuse.

A local resource is our Wayne County Veterans Office. Our veteran service officer is Pete McDaniel. He is located in the Annex Building and is there Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays are by appointments only. This office provides many great local resources.

I know many of you have served in the military or have friends and family who have served. Reid Health Alliance Medicare thanks all those who have protected this country and have allowed us to continue celebrating Independence Day. This year, I plan on being more about the flag and less about the food.

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

 

Farmers Markets in Indiana and Ohio

Covered Bridge: April Showers Bring May…Farmers Markets

It’s that time of year again where the winter blues are finally behind us, the chance of rain diminishes a little each day, and summer is just around the corner. I thoroughly enjoy the abundance of sunshine and all the events this beautiful time of year brings to our local communities.

As most of us strive for a well-balanced lifestyle, I wanted to share a little information that might be useful to you or someone you know. One thing I love to do on a Saturday morning is browse the local farmers markets. Each one is unique in its own way and offers many different varieties of products, from homegrown vegetables and local honey to crafts and much more. This summer, I encourage you to get out and buy local while maintaining that well-balanced lifestyle.

To help you out, here are the local farmers markets in our area:  

Richmond, Wayne County: This outdoor market begins on May 5 in Elstro Plaza and continues every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon, through the end of October. Also, from July until September, they have a weekly Tuesday night market from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Elstro Plaza as well.

Connersville, Fayette County: Starting in mid-May, this outdoor market is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the downtown courthouse parking lot.

Liberty, Union County: This outdoor market begins in May and is on Friday evenings from 4:30 p.m. until dark in the courthouse square.

Brookville, Franklin County: This outdoor market begins May 17 and runs until the end of growing season from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s located at the space in front of the Brookville Treatment Plant.

New Castle, Henry County: This outdoor market runs from mid-May through mid-October and is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. It’s located on the east side of the Henry County Courthouse.

Eaton, Preble County: This outdoor market runs from mid-May through the end of September and is on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Barron and Somers streets.

Greenville, Darke County: This outdoor market runs from June 2 to October 13 and is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Darke County Courthouse at the corner of 4th and Broadway.

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

 

Types of Providers

Types of Providers

If you have complicated health issues or your doctor has called another doctor an industry term you’ve never heard before, you may be left wondering what all these health care names really mean. We can help you make sense of the different types of providers.

Your Doctors

Primary Care Provider (PCP)

A primary care provider, or PCP, is your main doctor. It’s who you visit for routine checkups, preventive care, and general health problems. Each person in your family can have a PCP, or you can all see the same one.

If you’re on an HMO or POS plan, you have to choose an in-network PCP who will oversee your care and refer you to specialists. If you’re on a PPO plan, you don’t have to choose a PCP to get referrals, but you can to get personalized care and savings.

And if you’re a woman, you can set a doctor as your PCP or choose another in-network doctor, like an OB-GYN, to oversee free preventive care, your yearly well-woman visit, or a pregnancy.

Setting and changing your PCP is easy. Just log in to Your Health Alliance to update your PCP.

Specialist

A specialist is a doctor who provides health care services for a specific disease or part of the body, like dermatologists, who focus on skin care.

Usually, you’ll be referred to a specialist when your personal doctor wants you to check on specific issues or problems. You’ll also be sent to a specialist when you’re diagnosed with something serious, like a heart condition or cancer, or if you find out you’re pregnant. 

Surgeon 

A surgeon is a doctor who is qualified to perform surgery, and they have their own specialties. If you have a heart attack and need surgery, your surgeon will be an expert in heart surgery.

If you’re sent to the ER because of an emergency or diagnosed with a condition or disease, you might be sent into surgery. But if you need a minor procedure, like having your wisdom teeth out, you’re seeing a surgeon too. 

Hospitalist

A hospitalist is a dedicated, in-patient doctor who works only in a hospital or network of hospitals. If you’re taken to the hospital in an emergency or accident, you might be treated by a hospitalist.

Help with Your Care

Care Coordinator

Care coordinators help you figure out your health care in lots of ways, especially after a hospital stay, diagnosis, or if you have a chronic or complex condition.

They can help provide you with resources, educational materials, and self-care techniques, help you understand your doctor’s instructions, connect you to resources in your community, and help you plan for the future.

Health Coach

Health coaches can help you or your family plan for better health. Our health coaches can help you get the best care possible from your healthcare team and get the most from your coverage.

They’ll partner with you to help in areas like nutrition, weight and stress management, and preventive screenings and immunizations.

Nurse Navigators

You might get help handling your care from a nurse navigator when you’re discharged from the hospital if you get a serious diagnosis. For example, a cardiac nurse navigator will help patients with a primary diagnosis of heart failure or myocardial infarction.

They will usually start the process by visiting you before you leave the hospital, then they’ll stay in-touch to walk you through the first 30 days after discharge. 

Nurse navigators can help you organize your appointments, connect you to education on your diagnosis, medications, exercise, diet, therapies, and when to call the doctor. And they might host support groups that can help people like you.

Other Kinds of Care

Home Health Care

Home health care is medical care, treatment, or skilled care you can get in your home. You doctor might recommend this in situations where care in your own home will be easier for your case and condition.

Skilled Nursing Facility

You doctor might order medical care that must be given or supervised by a licensed health care professional in a skilled nursing facility. This type of care could include:

  • X-rays and other radiology services
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Storage and administration of blood
  • Use of appliances, like wheelchairs
  • Meals, including special diets
  • A semiprivate room or private room if medically necessary

Hospice Care

Hospice care is special care for people who are terminally ill, including medical and physical care and help with social, emotional, and spiritual needs. It also provides support for family and caregivers.

Other Help

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who practice pharmacy, which focuses on safe and effective medication use. You might not think about your pharmacist’s skillset when you pick up your drugs at the pharmacy, but they’re trained to know how drugs work.

They know which drugs can interact to protect you from dangerous drug combinations, they can explain the side effects of your drug to you, and they make sure you’re getting the right dosage of your drugs on the right schedule.

Social Worker

Social workers are there to help you with social problems that can affect your quality of life and health care. They can help you and connect you to resources for domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse and neglect, housing and food insecurity, home-delivered meals, substance abuse, mental health issues, advance directives, and more.

Other Providers

Medical Director

A medical director is a leader who recruits and manages doctors, nurses, and other personnel. They also examine and coordinate processes within their organizations to improve and guarantee the medical quality of the facility. 

 

If you need to find covered providers, use our Find a Doctor or Hospital tool to search for covered doctors, hospitals, and more.

Healthy Resolutions like Fitness

Vantage Point: Healthy Resolutions Without the Cost

What just happened? I blinked, and all of a sudden, it’s 2018! The holidays came and went, and now it’s time to go back to our normal routines. I’m personally excited for spring to get here. I’m over this cold.

As I go back to my routine, I think of what I’m going to do differently this year. It is very cliché, but I really do look back on my previous year and reflect on what I can improve on for 2018. We can improve in every aspect of our life: relationships, work, finances, and health.

We all try to set goals and keep them for the entire year. But sometimes we set unrealistic goals, or we just don’t try hard enough. The most common goal I hear is having a healthier lifestyle. We all have at least one unhealthy habit that we want to kick to the curb. As I get older, I realize it is not about looking good or having “rock hard” abs, it’s about being healthy and strong.

There are so many ways we can have an active lifestyle. Many people would join a gym to reach that goal, but what happens if you can’t afford a gym membership? And the older we get, the harder it is to do heavy lifting or the more dangerous it is to use a treadmill.

We are so lucky to have an organization like the Wellness Place in the Wenatchee Valley. Its mission is “[t]o improve and enhance the health and well-being of community members through programs and education; inspiring every person to live their best life now.” Their current programs include targeting and supporting cancer patients, Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), and diabetes support services.

The SAIL program started in 2006 and focuses on balance and fitness for those 65 and older. Exercises that improve strength, balance, and fitness are the most important activities you can do to stay active and reduce your chance of falling as you age.

These classes are offered all over the greater Wenatchee area, and they’re no cost to the attendees. It is a great opportunity to kick off a healthier lifestyle for free. Learn more about the classes and when and where they take place and start your new year the right way.

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.