Archive for June, 2014
I have a very soft spot in my heart for the older generations and for their caregivers. As kids, we spent many Sundays walking through the local nursing home, getting to know some of the people who would call that place home. My mom worked as a nurse there for many years. When we had the opportunity to visit her, that gave us an opportunity to visit them as well. As an adult, I have had the great pleasure to work with many clients in the same age category. I still have files on two of my first clients when I first came to Boston. They had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary when I began working with them. Since then, I have attended both funeral services.
Today, one out of three people in the United States choose hospice care when they are dying. Hospice is a concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families. I have visited family and friends in hospice in their homes, in a unit at a hospital and even a special residential facility. The idea of hospice can be done anywhere.
Sometimes in the final days of life, it may feel fears are exacerbated due to doctors poking you with needles, calling for more tests, giving patients and family a sense of loss of control. Hospice can give back some control over someone’s final days through its compassionate focus on treating pain and helping both the dying person and the person’s family emotionally grapple with what’s to come.
A person’s hospice team develops a care plan that helps control pain and symptoms. The team also will:
- Help the patient and family members deal with the emotional and spiritual aspects of dying.
- Equip the patient’s home with needed medical supplies and equipment.
- Coach family members on caring for the person.
- Provide quick-response care on an around-the-clock basis when pain or symptoms flare up.
- Make bereavement care available to the patient’s surviving family and friends.
When choosing hospice, there are many things to consider.
- How many levels of hospice do you provide?
- Are you certified by the Joint Commission?
- How do you measure quality of care?
I have seen firsthand the compassion hospice caregivers offer to patients and their families. To me, this is a fine art and skill that few are authentically able to offer. Finding the right fit for all is important in one’s final days.
Over the last several weeks, I have seen many social and media websites slam programs like Crossfit. Their claims are that too many people are getting injured, therefore, the risk is greater than reward.
I would like to say, EVERYTHING we do has risk and reward. It is true that injuries occur in programs such as Crossfit. But they also exist in yoga practice, marathon races, functional movement classes. Rewards come in all shapes and forms; improved strength, increased endurance, decreased stressed, more mindfulness. A reward can also be a lesson learned. Maybe we need more instruction, better focus.
When I first came into the fitness industry, I remember being in our group exercise studio with a few other trainers. We started playing around on the stability balls, looking for something challenging to do. I had a thought to try to stand on the ball. After a few ill attempts, I was able to find that sweet spot, standing atop of the ball. While this was fun and boosted the ego a bit, the risk was much greater than the reward.
During my yoga teacher training, one thing that stuck in my mind was, “leave the ego at the door.” I try to use this mantra when working out myself or training my clients. Limiting the distractions and decreasing the risk of injury is high on my priority list. There is a fine line between going far enough and having gone too far.
No two people are built the same way, move the same way or learn the same way. Crossfit, Pilates, marathon running, obstacle courses all have their place. Allow people to gravitate to works for them and let them figure out the risk and reward.
This is a time of year where rainbow flags hang from storefronts, floats crawl down the street and LGBTQ organizations share their message. With millions of people flocking to PRIDE celebrations, what better opportunity than to remind everyone the importance of LGBTQ health. Members of this community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers. Differences in sexual behavior account for some of these disparities, but others are associated with social and structural inequities, such as the stigma and discrimination that LGBT populations experience.
Research suggests that lesbian and bisexual women are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including overweight and obesity, poor mental health, substance abuse, violence, and barriers to optimal health care resulting from social and economic inequities.
HIV/AIDS is by no means a strictly LGBT issue, but men having sex with men is still the most prevalent transmission category, accounting for 77 percent of HIV diagnoses in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
LGBTQ youth are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers.
Below are a list of health resources for the LGBTQ community
- National Coalition for LGBT Health
- Fenway Health
- National LGBT Cancer Network
- Transgender Health and Law Center
Edie Windsor, Harvey Milk, Laverne Cox are all trailblazers. Their work in the LGBTQ community has put the issue of health on the map. Take PRIDE in yourself and your health.