Tag Archives: Vantage Point

Join the Fight

Vantage Point: Join the Fight

As days go by, we never really notice change until we sit down to reminisce and look back at our past. Every couple of years, I look back at old family pictures and home videos and realize how much has changed. This triggers memories and further discussion on that particular time in my life.

As we go through our lives, we meet so many people. It can be hard to remember all their names, well at least for me, but I always remember faces for some reason. I love to see people I remember, even if I don’t quite remember their names.

In this line of work, I get to see so many people with different backgrounds, and unfortunately, with different illnesses. When I first encountered Alzheimer’s disease, I wasn’t sure how to approach it or even how to act. It was not an obvious sign. Instead, it was very subtle. I really had to pay attention and see the different demeanor this person had.

After that encounter, I started to do my research on what happens when a person gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I came across the Alzheimer’s Association. I learned so much on its website and realized how Alzheimer’s is so common. Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States? The disease also accounts for 60–80% of all dementia cases.

This illness takes away so many of our loved ones, neighbors, and friends. So what is being done? How can we stop this terrible disease from taking so many memories away? One thing to keep in mind if you are going through this, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association has walks all over the county each year to raise awareness and funds for the research of an Alzheimer’s cure. The main reason for the walk is Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.

Here in the Wenatchee Valley, the walk will take place on September 8, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Pybus Public Market. In Grant County, the walk will be September 15, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Moses Lake High School. The Yakima walk will also take place September 15, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Sarg Hubbard Park.

To join the fight, join the Alzheimer’s Association at one of these walks. It’s an opportunity to be the change and the voice for those who are no longer with us.

 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.

Make Time to Declutter

Vantage Point: 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.

What came to me instantly was to declutter! I must admit that I am a bit of a clutter bug. I somehow keep collecting more pots and pans (I’m honestly not sure how this happens), and I have this need to collect cookbooks or cooking magazines that have yummy recipes in them. And don’t even get me started on my Halloween decorations collection.

I’ve come to recently realize that I just have too much stuff. I’m also finding myself getting a tad bit anxious when the stuff seems 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.)

Health Alliance Northwest 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 Breck.Obermeyer@healthalliance.org to schedule a time. Happy decluttering!

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.

Wedding Planning: From Ceremony to New Life

Vantage Point: Wedding Season Brings Many Changes

Summertime is here, which means wedding season has arrived.

Weddings are filled with so much love and anticipation. These magical ceremonies take so many months of planning and preparation, like figuring out the date, color scheme, invitations, venue, photography, bridal shower, and of course, the guest list.

As the special day arrives, you get to see all of the hard work and planning come together. As the day goes on, the happy couple gets together and dances the first dance, enjoys delicious cake, and takes pictures with all the guests.

As you wind down and look into the future, the next phase of planning begins. This is a new life as you are no longer only thinking about yourself but also about your significant other. Many new married couples move into a new home, which means you might have a new address.

Before putting your new last name on the mailbox, you need to officially change your name. The first step is visiting the Social Security Administration office or mailing in an application for a new Social Security card. Once that is complete, the next stop is the Department of Licensing. This will give you a chance to retake that driver’s license picture you probably didn’t like anyway. It will have a new name and your new married smile, plus your new address.

Once you have changed your name with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Licensing, changing your name with other companies should be a breeze. Places to contact would be your employer’s office, credit card companies, banks, and insurance companies. Now that you are married, your insurance options might change. This is a great time to take another look at your current coverage.

Another very important part of this is to update your Power of Attorney (POA). Since you are officially a new couple, you’ll need to complete a new Power of Attorney. With all the changes in your life, you might want to reconsider who your POA is.

It all seems like a lot of paperwork, but once it is complete, you won’t have to think about it anymore. You can put it behind you and start your new beginning.  Then, you can sit back, relax, reminisce about your wonderful wedding day, and look into the bright new future.  

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

Ready for Summer Fun

Vantage Point: Summer Is Here

Every season, I can’t wait for the next season to be here (like when it’s finally summer, I’m waiting for fall and the cooler temperatures). I’ve always done that, but I’m getting better about living in the moment.

Now that summer is here, I’ve started thinking about a few questions. How do you want to enjoy the season we’re in? What would you like to accomplish this summer that maybe you’ve wanted to accomplish in summers past and haven’t?

Here’s my goal list for a really fun family summer:

  1. I want to camp more, much more. We have a family cabin where we can escape into the outdoors, but it really isn’t the same as camping. I want to work on my camping skills while teaching my children the awesome aspects of nature.

  2. I want to take a nicely planned trip to the beach.

  3. I want to have more family dinners where we eat outside with extended family, share a good meal, and converse. I think the summer season allows the perfect time to do this.

  4. In the vein of family dinners, I want to try more fun summer recipes that will make me a culinary legend in my family’s eyes.

  5. I would like to take more family walks. Not only is being healthy a focus for me and my family, but I would also love for us to have those summer memories of being together, talking, and walking.

While you’re out accomplishing your summer goals, don’t forget about summer safety tips. Remember to never leave little ones or animals in any hot car or hot area, drink plenty of water, and make sure that your loved ones are getting enough hydration as well (fur family included).

If you happen to take walks later in the evening or early morning when the light is lower, remember to wear light or bright clothing, and maybe have a reflective light or flashlight with you (or a reflective vest) so that people can see you and you stay safe.

Sunscreen is always important, no matter what time of year. Don’t let a cloudy day fool you when it comes to sun protection. Wearing sunscreen on cloudy days is as important as wearing it on sunny days, but on cloudy days, the sun is being sneaky, and you don’t realize how much sun you’re getting.

Have a safe and goal-filled summer!

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.

Sun Protection at Any Age

Vantage Point: Making Sense of Sun Protection

Hurray for warmer weather. I must say, I sure do love springtime and seeing all of our trees thriving and blooming. The color is coming back into our communities as the grass turns greener and people start hanging flowerpots on their patios. Although we are not quite in the summer season, the sun is making an appearance, which means summertime is near.

During the summertime, we all love to enjoy some time outdoors and enjoy the nice warm weather. Some of us like to go for a stroll around the park. Others might want to spend their time by the pool to cool off. I love doing that myself.

When getting ready for a pool day, I make sure to have everything I need by my side. I make sure I have my towels, snacks, water (to stay hydrated), and floatables for maximum relaxation. And the most important part of our pool day is having our sunscreen applied.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been great about applying sunscreen when being out under the sun, but the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to protect my skin. Since summer is near, I want to make sure I take the right precautions as my family and I spend time outdoors.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention – about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86% of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.”

It’s very scary to think how high these statistics are when we’re all under the sun on a daily basis. Reading these statistics makes me think twice about if I really want to spend time out by the pool. How do I know what sunscreen is giving me the best protection?

The Skin Cancer Foundation can help with that too. “Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF or (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin.” They also say that people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a daily basis show 24% less skin aging than those who don’t.

After getting more insight into skin care and sun damage I will definitely enjoy my time off outdoors cooling down, just with plenty of sunscreen. I’m ready for summer 2018!

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.

Drive to Fight Stress

Vantage Point: Take a Drive to Fight Stress

When was the last time you took a drive to nowhere? I guess I should back up a bit. Have you ever taken a drive to nowhere? If you haven’t, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

It can be very refreshing to have time with your thoughts or to sing at the top of your lungs (without judgment), or both. I think the movement of the car, the feeling of forward progression, gives me a feeling of stress relief.

Stress is such a horrible thing to deal with, and to those who are experiencing it, you are not alone! In order to combat the stresses of life, maybe a nice drive to nowhere is in order.

My favorite drives have been mountain-related. I’m so lucky to live within an hour of the mountain roads and fresh air. We have a family cabin on one of the passes, and the drive up there is gorgeous.

We recently went up there to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the evening drive was spectacular. There was the faintest chill in the air, which made the light moisture on the roads start to freeze, causing a wonderful sparkling effect when our headlights hit the newly formed frost. Not only that, but the local radio station had just switched from general music to Christmas music, and the car was toasty and warm. Talk about an oddly magical drive and wonderful anticipation for a family-filled, country-cabin Thanksgiving.

These are the kinds of moments when you just look at the beauty and enjoy the ride that can really combat stress.

I used to make the same drive to Central Washington University every day for 4 years while I was getting my degree. I started off loathing the drive, but eventually the drive to Ellensburg and back became a solace for me.

I used the drive to school to really ramp up and plan what I was going to do with my day, how I was going to study, or what resources or help I was going to seek out while I was there. (I was and am still horrible with math.)

I used the drive home to really come back down from the stress of school, and by the time I got back to town, I was relaxed and ready for what the rest of the day held. I also sing in the car to combat stress, and there was a lot of singing in those days.

I know this may be an odd way to deal with stress, but you never know what might work and help relieve the tensions of life. Go ahead, take a drive, and even sing at the tops of your lungs. It helps!

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a homegrown girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world. When not attending community events or providing Medicare education throughout the Valley, she can be found indulging in her hobbies of homesteading, pioneer cooking, and learning new survival techniques. She also has a strong love for all things Halloween.

Trends Coming Full Circle

Vantage Point: Coming Full Circle

I don’t know why, but lately, everywhere I look, I see so many things becoming popular that are from “back in the day.” Yes, we all know as each day goes by, we’re getting just a bit older. We don’t feel it, but as I look back 3 or 6 months at a time, I notice subtle changes.

When I was growing up, my parents still owned a telephone that had a long swirly cord attached, and you had to sit in the kitchen to be on the phone. As time went on, I remember going to friends’ houses after school, and they had wireless home phones that they could take into their rooms.

I would go home and beg my parents to please get a wireless home phone. It took a lot of begging, but we finally got one. Now, I see that fewer and fewer people have home phones at all, and I personally miss them.

Then came the camera. As a child, my mom would purchase film for her camera, we’d take pictures, and once the film was full, we’d take it to the store and fill out an envelope with our information to pick up our pictures in a couple of days.

Then, digital cameras with an SM card came around. You could retake pictures as many times as you wanted and then choose which ones you wanted to print.

Now, most of us don’t even own cameras since we have cameras on our phones. Most people don’t even print pictures nowadays, they just save them to hard drives, social media, and the cloud. I’ve personally lost so many pictures when my phone has suddenly stopped working.

My younger sister recently had a birthday, and I asked for a list of things she might want. At the top of her list was an Instax mini camera. I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up online.

Of course, it’s the new version of Polaroid camera. Apparently, they’re the cool thing to have with all the young teens. I found it humorous that everything had come full circle. First, we had physical versions of our pictures, then we loved the digital versions, and now we want the physical versions again.

Everything really does come full circle, fashion, music, and even electronics. I myself am really considering getting a Polaroid camera so I can be part of the cool kids again.

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.