Tag Archives: quality of life

Children's Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week. Sometimes kids are just being kids, and sometimes they can have real mental health concerns, and getting help can improve their quality of life.

Self-esteem is an important part of kids’ long-term mental health. These are some simple ways to boost your child’s self-esteem.

Boosting Your Children's Self-Esteem

 

If children worry excessively to the point that they’re restless and have trouble concentrating or sleeping and it interferes in their day-to-day life, they may have an anxiety disorder.

Worrying Too Much As a Child

 

Children might have ADHD if they frequently lose things, have trouble paying attention, are forgetful, and have trouble holding still.

ADHD Signs and Symptoms

 

If your child swings from highs that include excessive energy, risky behavior, and a feeling that nothing can go wrong to lows that include constant sadness and low energy, they may have bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

 

Depression includes feelings of sadness and hopelessness that last longer and go above normal feelings of sadness. If your child has it, there are treatments to help.

Fighting Depression as a Child

 

Your child might have obsessive compulsive disorder if they’re overly afraid of germs and things being disorderly or if they have to double-check things over and over.

OCD in Kids

 

If your child is having delusions, it can be very scary for you and for them. Learn more.

Fighting for Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.

What is Endometriosis?

 

Endometriosis affects 176 million women from 15 to 49 years old worldwide.

The Reach of Endometriosis

 

Endometriosis isn’t caused by your lifestyle, but the severe pain it causes can hurt your quality of life.

Hurting Your Quality of Life

 

28% of women with endometriosis suffer from infertility.

Fighting the Effects of Endometriosis

 

Women with endometriosis usually aren’t diagnosed for 7 to 11 years, preventing many from having kids or living normal lives.

Identifying Endometriosis

 

Women usually see 7 doctors before endometriosis treatment starts. Raising awareness of what’s normal in teens and women can help!

Find a march or host a Yellow Tutu Tea Party and help fight endometriosis.

Make a Difference in Endometriosis

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Planning for a Happy Retirement

Long View: How Much Money Do You Need for Retirement?

Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” is still true today, especially when thinking about retirement. I think about the possibilities once in a while, but it seems too far in the future to worry about it right now.

I know in my grandparents’ day, retirement didn’t require much planning. Most folks didn’t live long enough for it to be a problem. These days with modern medicine, longevity is a much more attainable goal. It’s the actions we take to prepare for it that have the most impact on our quality of life.

The United States Census Bureau says people age 90 and older make up 4.7 percent of the population 65 and older. That’s expected to be as high as 10 percent by 2050.

I used an online retirement calculator to find out how much I should have saved at this point in my career. The results indicated I was well under my goal. The predictions were based on a life expectancy of 92 years, a daunting prospect at this stage of the game.

I have been meaning to increase the amount I put aside for retirement, but it seems I just don’t get around to it. Benjamin would advise me to “never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” Having looked into the future, I will definitely take some action. Even a slight increase now will make a difference in the long run.

“Obviously the earlier you start to save for retirement the better,” says Bob Ballsrud, executive vice president of Busey Wealth Management. “Our younger clients often invest in more growth assets because they have the time to recover from any temporary downturn. More mature clients often are encouraged to lower their risk because they will need to access the funds sooner. Either way, it’s the consistency of action and the appropriate planning that help you meet your goals.”

I know there are a number of factors to consider before retirement. It seems advance planning is the best course, or as Ben tells us, “Employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure.”

Plan Ahead with Health Insurance

Part of planning for your future is making sure you can cover medical and hospital costs when you need to. Learn more about Medicare, wellness, and health insurance in general at HealthAlliance.org.

Preparing for the End of LIfe

Vantage Point: Planning for Quality at End of Life: Education to Ensure Dignity

For Health Alliance Medicare, responsibility is not just paying health claims when our members visit the doctor, but more importantly, it’s stewardship—safeguarding and protecting by providing quality and education. Special people called star coordinators help do just that by developing and using Medicare quality and chronic care improvement programs.

On April 22 at 2 p.m., Health Alliance will partner with local experts Dr. Timiras, Dr. Weiss and Ginny Heinitz, RN, from Confluence Health as well as Bruce Buckles, executive director of Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington, to hold a Wenatchee educational event. What makes this opportunity unique is that it features an insurance company working in tandem with care providers and a community resource organization to help educate members on the daunting subjects of palliative care and advanced directives.

Not everyone knows palliative care is a team approach that not only improves the quality of life for patients facing problems associated with life-threatening illness but also serves as a support system to patients’ families. Through the prevention and relief of suffering by early identification, assessment and treatment of pain, palliative care addresses physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems and affirms dying as a normal process of living.

In addition to palliative care, our expert panelist will provide valuable information on preparing advanced directives. People who work in the medical field often witness family and friends struggling alone to make decisions on behalf of their loved ones who did not document their wishes ahead of time.

Questions, such as who will make care decisions for you when you can’t, what kind of medical treatment do you want, how comfortable do you want to be, how do you want people to treat you, and what do you want your loved ones to know, can alleviate tremendous stress for the family in the event of a life-threatening illness.

Health Alliance hopes this educational opportunity will enhance quality of life and serve as a gesture of stewardship by teaching attendees how to ensure dignity and freedom of choice at the end of life. If interested in attending, please email Shannon Sims at shannon.sims@healthalliance.org or call 877-750-3350. Videos of the event will also be available here after the event.

Sleep for the Whole Family

Long View: Take Time to Rest Easy, Don’t Skip Sleep

I know we all think about ways to carve out more time in our busy lives, and I’m sure we’d all like to be more efficient. Sometimes I think getting by on less sleep is the way to go, but after looking into it, there are some problems with that solution.

There are lots of reasons you might not get enough sleep—illness, stress, family commitments, and job issues. Bad sleep habits, like irregular schedules and eating too much before bed, can lead to insomnia whether or not you’re actually trying to skip sleep. The causes of a bad night’s sleep seem endless, and so do the effects. But your primary care doctor can get you started on the right path to better sleep.

I can’t close my eyes to the fact that my sleep habits aren’t always the best, but I try to maintain a regular schedule. Typically, I read a few pages from a book with a serene topic before I drift off. For a while, I was concerned about afternoon drowsiness until I was able to tie the symptoms to carb loading at lunch. I also took a medicine that had vivid dreams as a possible side effect. My dreams are vivid enough as is. The medicine made them unbearable, so my doctor and I decided we would take another path.

My friend Karen Stefaniak is our wellness program administrator here at Health Alliance. She shared her knowledge on sleep.

“Recent studies are linking reduced sleep duration—five hours or less—to weight gain,” Stefaniak says. “Not getting enough sleep affects the two hormones that tell us when to eat and when to stop eating. People who are sleep-deprived produce more ghrelin, the hormone that tells us when to eat, and less leptin, the hormone that tells us when to stop. Plus, when we don’t get enough sleep, our metabolism slows down, and we tend to crave high-carbohydrate foods that provide a quick energy boost.”

So are we actually helping ourselves at all by sleeping less? Probably not. It lowers our waking quality of life and increases our risk for accidents, and it even makes us want to eat more. I think I need to consider a good night’s sleep a necessity rather than a luxury. You can rest easy knowing I will pay more attention to my sleep habits going forward.

Blind Prespective

Vantage Point: Local Organization Puts Struggles of Blind in Plain Sight

During my outreach travels for Health Alliance Medicare, I’ve been blown away by the beauty of the sun rising over the cornfields of the Columbia Basin and eagles nesting along the Wenatchee River. Recently meeting Jodi Duncan of Samara’s Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired, however, inspires me to never take my sight for granted.

Jodi founded Samara’s, named after her daughter who developed juvenile diabetes at age 9 and began losing her vision in her early 20s. Before passing from the disease in 1995, Samara asked her mom, “How come they can’t help people like me?”

In Jodi’s grief, she took that question to heart.

The foundation’s mission is to give people with sight impairments the opportunity to improve their quality of life and further learning through advocacy and technological support. Samara’s work includes providing audio crosswalks, Braille printers, magnifying equipment, teacher training programs, and camp opportunities for all ages. Samara’s outreach within Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties relies on funding from events that Jodi’s small army of volunteers organize and facilitate.

One of the biggest myths about Samara’s foundation is that a person in need has to rent the equipment. All equipment is loaned free of charge, and 100 percent of the money Samara’s raises stays local. Some fundraisers include a quilt raffle or a “Dinner in the Dark,” where participants eat blindfolded.

For information or for ways to support Samara’s, please call 509-470-8080 or visit Samaras.org.

Through my work at Health Alliance Medicare, I regularly get the opportunity to help connect people to valuable community resources. But in meeting Jodi, I could not help but be especially touched as tears still well in her eyes while talking about her daughter. This showed me the foundation named in Samara’s honor is more than just a non-profit—it is the work of a mother’s eternal love.