Author Archives: Marie Coppola

About Marie Coppola

Marie Coppola A long-time human resources administrator and paralegal (B.S. in Business Administration/ Psychology, Certified Paralegal), Marie writes to aid employees with positive career options and resources, and to assist in career development solutions for students and employees; counsels on resumes, securing employment, and being successful with promotable possibilities. Marie finds inspiration in her faith, which she enjoys passing on to others, and finds gratification in helping others wherever she can. Got a question, need advice? Marie can be reached at mcopp@ymail.com

 

Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not? It seems to have become a habit for many of us. By the way, the word "murmurings" refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings. You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable. Pessimism. Negativity. In the New Testament, Paul said: "Do you do all things without murmuring and disputing?" 

Have you noticed that many people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? -- lots of murmurings going on there. Our change in government has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered - big time murmurings at home and the office. Don't forget the economy or loss of jobs grumble - layoffs are increasing - homes are foreclosed.  There are countless things to whine and be bitter about and protest against. It hasn't been easy for anyone.

Paul the Apostle, in his ministry while traveling and visiting many countries, cites in one of his directives, a Letter to the Philippians, (2:14) -- "Do all things without murmuring and disputing".

You may not be aware of Paul of Tarsus, also called Paul the Apostle, who really was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles". Along with Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus' church is built, he was among the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Paul's conversion to a follower of Christ is a profound story of faith. He spread Christanity by accounts of his travels which are found as Letters in the New Testament of the Bible and are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live.

What do we do in answer to Paul's instruction - not to complain in all things. Sometimes it's hard not to vent. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest. It's hard to comply with the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at a ll."  How can we tweak that?

We could say, "If you can only say something negative, don't say anything at all". Negative begets negative. Positive begets positive. It's difficult to be positive when things are looking bleak, but does it help to heap more negativity on the pile?

It can become a habit to view everything with a sour outlook which becomes a bitterness and creates more murmurings. There's little worse than facing each day with doom and gloom. Becoming embittered won't change the price of gasoline or bring the prices down. It won't change the politics of the day or create a new healthcare plan.

Listen to yourself and see how you approach these subjects. Do you always say things like, "I'm afraid that...." or "I know that things are going to get worse before they get better".....or "I hate this or I hate that or I hate them or I hate him ...." or "That's BS" or "they're stupid" or "they are such a bunch of #&%$'s. And the beat goes on and the words become more heated and your murmurings may keep you from sleeping well at night. Your fear and hate will become self-fulfilling. You are what you think.

We can offset these complaints by offering words of kindness and compassion and hope. Change your heart and you will change your attitude. Kind thoughts and acts will replace your habits of negative thoughts. Negative and positive thoughts cannot share the same space in your mind. Crowd out those negative ones. God is still in control and local, national and world events are not as hopeless as we make them. Many others before us have lived through challenging times; bad times seem to be cyclical and eventually change from bad to good.

Be an agent for change. They say if you force yourself to smile, you will feel uplifted. A smile is the lighting system of the face.  It sure beats the frowns and growls. Smiles beget smiles. Maybe your co-worker or spouse or friend is tired of 'murmuring' or listening to yours, too, and you can make the difference to change that.

Don't get bogged down by the signs of the times. If you are spiritual, try to maintain a cheerful, willing mind, as we do what God has instructed. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..." (Phil. 2:14-16a).

Fill your spirit with Paul's teaching: "Do all things without murmuring and disputing". It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met Jeannie when I was 9.  She was 12.   She lived behind my cousin's house in a 2nd floor apartment.  My cousin and I were the same age and were together often until I met Jeannie who had authentic red hair, blue eyes and loads of freckles.   My cousin didn't understand why she wasn't included when we were together, but we didn't play like cousin and I did ~ Jeannie played religious school with me.

She attended a Catholic school in the next town; about 1.5 miles away.   Although I was born a Catholic and by age 9 had received First Holy Communion, our family then were Easter and Christmas attendees.  Every day Jeannie wore a gray plaid jumper uniform to school unlike my outfits to public school.  What stands out most about her is she would go over all her papers from school with me which always had her initialed cross on the top.  I learned as much from Jeannie about God, the church and its sacraments as  I did for a year at faith classes.  She instilled a love and reverence about God and the Bible I hadn't had before.

Her love of faith included coming to my house at 8:00 am every Sunday morning for the 9:00 am children's mass.  I was always asleep and my mom would yell, "Jeannie's here for church".   I always went.  We walked there together every Sunday where I learned about being in God's House for the Sabbath.

We moved when I was 12 and I didn't see much of Jeannie after that.  Saw her when I was in my 20s - she was married & with her husband.  We talked about getting together but we lived a distance away.

Many years had passed when I was attending a faith sharing class and we were asked who was our foundation in faith?  I immediately thought of  Jeannie.  I thought about her all that day and tried to call her through her brother who was the only name listed locally.   He remembered me and told me the sad news that she had recently passed - having had a weak heart since childhood.  I never knew she did.  We both cried.  I remembered her birth date and told him I would have a mass said for her and would send him the notice.

The only opening my church had on that date for her mass was not held at the church; it was in the Catholic school where masses are said one day a week.   I made the date for her birthday at the school mass at 8:00 am which the school children usually attend.

But on that day several months later, I had forgotten the mass date.  Since I didn't usually get up that early, I had not set the alarm that day.

Early that morning in the still darkness the day of her birthday,  I woke up suddenly out of my sleep and next to my bed was a white brightly shining figure standing next to me.  I was stunned but not afraid.   It looked like an angel and I had never had any visions or hallucinations my whole life.  Or was it a dream?  The vision was bright but not frightening. Then I saw red hair on this figure; immediately I said, "It's Jeannie's mass today".

I jumped out of bed waking my husband up and we scurried to the school.   I was still stunned by the apparition .  We were there on time and when the mass started, the school children walked down the aisle to sit in the front and they had on uniforms.  The girls wore gray plaid jumpers.  Just like Jeannie's.

I felt Jeannie's presence there that day; the uniformed children were a special treat which would not have happened if I had the mass said instead at our church that day.   I found that more than coincidental that I could remember and pray for her by going back in time when she was that age.   Remembrances of her from others recall how kind and giving she was to all.  She lived her faith.   She took care of her ailing father and the night he died, she died also that night.

Do I believe it was Jeannie who woke me up for her mass?  Yes, I do.  How fitting my dear, sweet friend would come to my house at 8:00 am  to take me to church.

 

 

 

 

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments during recessions and depressions.  We can say those circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we added all big ones to all the little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I know that I have done it more than once.

I have felt expectations when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was 'my time' in the department to move up, and I 'sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn't. I ‘expected’ the school to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with 'nothing to do' while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an "A" that I worked on diligently in my writing class, and instead, I got a "C." No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I 'expected' them.

When I placed my expectations on people, again I was usually disappointed.  Someone repeated something I asked them not to.  Someone didn't invite my best friend to a party they were having.   Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people may and do change; the unexpected happens to us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can.  But at times, I used to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they didn't or couldn't, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how did I finally learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for my joy or happiness? Can one unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can.  There is no commandment saying, "Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do." Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others; not expecting them to do good for us.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son.  It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much, how he looked or how he dressed. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected not only our relationship but included the whole family.

Frustrated, I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did.  What?  Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was fine and perfectly happy with himself, his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. That would help us communicate without friction.  told him there was nothing my son did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good - thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor's advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

I practiced making a habit of gratitude instead of expectation.  Expectations can become habit-forming and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man - my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement.


Some people question and many ask about Mary, Jesus' Mother, being born without Original Sin. They say, that since Mary refers to her Redeemer and Savior, would she do that if she were without Original Sin?

Some reply that Mary probably did sin in her life - if she didn't, then she would be considered a god like Jesus.

The church teaches Mary was free of Original Sin. How does the church come to this conclusion through scripture?

Mary is seen as the Ark of the New Covenant ~ a spotless vessel who carried a sinless Jesus ~ and that Ark would be sinless, too ~ of original sin.  God chose Mary among women, unblemished of sin, and full of grace to carry the baby Jesus in her womb.

There are many references which tie in this dogma to Scripture.  I found a Catholic interpretation and will repeat it here:   This is only one of the many ways it is explained ~~~~

"It seems clear that Luke has used typology to reveal something about the place of Mary in salvation history."  God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled Mary.  At that time Mary's womb became the dwelling place of the presence of God"  [Luke 1:35].

In the Ark of the Old Covenant, God came to his people with a spiritual presence, but in Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, God comes to dwell with his people not only spiritually but physically, in the womb of a specially prepared Jewish girl.   [Exodus 40:34-35] says "God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled the Ark. The Ark became the dwelling place of the presence of God".

"The Old Testament tells us that one item was placed inside the Ark of the Old Covenant while in the Sinai wilderness:  God told Moses to put the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inside the ark [Deut. 10:3–5].  Hebrews 9:4 informs us that two additional items were placed in the Ark: "a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded."

"Notice the amazing parallels:

  • In the ark was the law of God inscribed in stone; in Mary’s womb was the Word of God in flesh.
  •  In the ark was the urn of manna, the bread from heaven that kept God’s people alive in the wilderness; in Mary’s womb is the Bread of Life come down from heaven that brings eternal life.
  • In the ark was the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood; in Mary’s womb is the true priest.

In the third century, St. Gregory the Wonder Worker said that Mary is truly an ark—

  • "gold within and gold without, and she has received in her womb all the treasures of the sanctuary."

 

© Marie Coppola, Revised December 2012   

Reference: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510fea5.asp

 

Universal Health Care (UHC) which is also known as universal care, universal coverage or universal health coverage is a term that is used to address a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to every citizen of a specific country.  It addresses:   Who is covered?  What services are covered?  How much of the cost is covered?

 

Universal health care was first started in Germany in the year 1883 and spread through other countries especially the rich countries of Europe. America does not practice this type of health right now.  Sometimes the universal health care system is referred to as free health care (in Canada). In a real world, there is nothing like a free health care, somebody is actually paying for it.

 

The Pros of UHC:   *This is perhaps the greatest advantage of universal health care, every member of the society that practice this type of health plan can be able to access health care no matter his social status.   Since no single human life is greater to another, the poor can be able to receive exactly the type of health care that could only be afforded by rich men under normal circumstances. This type of health care does not discriminate against anyone. It puts all the legal members of the society on the equal pedestal.  It also improves public health, has less paperwork, stops medical bankruptcies, benefits businesses, boosts economy and is seen as a human right.

 

The Cons of UHC:  *This is perhaps the least advantage:  Long Wait Time. This type of health care system often results in long wait times for patients and not everyone may receive the type of care that they need. Since this type of system is run by the government there can be a lot of red tape and bureaucracy.

 

It Leads to A Socialism State.  Bernie Sanders has been criticized that his universal health care plan is such an un-fetched dream. To make this happen, he admitted that he would have to increase taxes to every citizen, which can plunge United States into a socialism state where government controls the distribution of goods and services. It could be a first step towards government controlling other aspects of the economy.

 

The universal health care will reduce the amount of money doctors can make thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.Those with higher incomes may complain that their money is going to pay for the health care of other citizens when it should be going to pay for their own health care. Medical Abuse (unnecessary visits by patients)  can lead to Rationing  and cause backups in office visits.

 

There Is No Free Lunch  There will be an increase in taxes.  If there is no competition between choosing a doctor, there may be no Innovation thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.  And it takes time to put this new system in place; to get there, may take a long haul in time.

 

**Increase Government Debt:  This is probably the biggest argument against universal health care. Implementing a single payer health care system causes an increase in taxes as the system needs to be paid for. The overall costs of the system can be draining on a country and causes large debts & would amount to enormous growth in government spending and debt.   Governments aren’t that great at running large systems and the fact that the government runs health care can lead to a lot of problems. To run the health care system there may need to be cuts made in other areas of the government.

 

Universal care coverage and single payer system may be confused for one another because they are closely related concepts however they are two separate things.

Universal healthcare coverage refers to a system where every individual in the United States will receive health coverage. Under universal coverage, the over 46.6 million Americans who albeit have no health insurance will receive coverage

Whereas, a single payer system is the type of healthcare plan where one party mostly the government, will be responsible for paying all healthcare claims. Currently, the type of health care system in place in United States is the one where separate private insurance companies are charged with paying for the healthcare claims of the rich few who were able to afford the insurance while federal and state government pay some special  healthcare care claims through the programs known as Medicaid and Obamacare.

Usually, universal healthcare coverage and single payer health insurance system go together since in most cases, the federal government will be the one responsible for the administration and payment of health care system that provides coverage for millions of people. On the other hand, it’s possible to have a universal healthcare coverage in place without having a single-payer system. In theory, it is possible to have a single-payer system without universal healthcare coverage however the possibility of it is extremely unlikely since such a system will undoubtedly be managed by the federal government.  Source: https://www.formosapost.com

Marie Coppola July 2017

 

 

 

It's a fact - the older you get, the wiser you are.   Now that’s a comforting thought. According to the daily news media, research supported by the Russell Sage (no pun intended) Foundation, the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation Grant, indicates that socially, older folks, more than younger or middle-aged ones, are more apt to recognize and accept different values, acknowledge and accept uncertainties and changes in one’s life and to acknowledge others’ point of views.

So, mind and hire your elders!  It’s not as important in life and work  to know how the SEO works or how to program the DVR or how to text someone as it is to handle ‘social wisdom’ – how to get along with people and handle disagreements.

Researchers found that age affects wisdom at every social class, level of education and IQ. Even though older people don’t have the technological wisdom that younger ages have in computers and everyday technology, they do have the advantage of analyzing and solving social problems.

Demographic splits of groups numbering almost 300 — ages 25 to 40, 41 to 59 and 60 plus were given hypothetical situations regarding finance, economic growth, customs, and world problems. The researchers analyzed the results, not knowing which individual or group age the responses came from. Ratings were based on social interchanges such as compromise, flexibility, seeing the other viewpoint and mediating conflict resolution.

Then over 200 of the same groups participated in a second hypothetical area and yet a third comprising scholars, psychotherapists, clergy and counseling professionals.

The results of these tests concluded that economic status, education and IQ were related to having increased wisdom, but academics were no wiser than nonacademics with similar education levels. Researchers were surprised at how much wisdom the groups showed in disputing societal problems. Richard Nisbitt, one of the researchers said, “There is a very large advantage for older people over younger people for those (issues)”. Another researcher, Lynn Hasher remarked that “the study is the single best demonstration of long-held view that wisdom increases with age.”

She continues, “What I think is most important…is that it shows a major benefit that accrues with aging…rather than the mostly loss-based findings reported in psychology. As such it provides a richer base of understanding of aging processes.” She also cited the critical importance of workplaces providing the opportunity for older employees to continue to contribute.

Many work places do the opposite and retire aging employees and replace them with younger employees at a lower salary, compromising the experience and life situations these employees can contribute to the work force by their ongoing and diverse experiences.   More advantages:

1. They have good leadership skills. Older workers make good leaders because they often have stronger communication skills than their younger colleagues.  They remember a time when communication wasn't dominated by email or texting.

2. They know what they want.   Older workers are more stable to stay at a job than to try to 'climb the ladder" or job hop.

3. They're loyal. Since older workers are typically more satisfied with their jobs, they also tend to stay.

4. They have a good work ethic. 90 percent of the respondents who were older said that being "ethical" is "extremely or very important" to workplace culture, the highest percentage of age-workers.

5. They have strong networks. Older workers have been in the workforce longer and they've had more time to meet people and network along the way.

Marie Coppola  Revised July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some time ago I read a book entitled  "When God Winks at You" by SQuire Rushnell. It is a great, little 232-page book of short stories about famous and not-so-famous persons who experience what they believe are "special messages from God ~ a Godwink ~ to let them know that He's there and that He's listening".  And maybe telling you something.

Sometimes it's directed to a person and sometimes it's through others.  We all experience these moments - a connection through someone or a chance occurrence that makes one think, "that was strange." We can learn to recognize and appreciate them as messages - if we only keep our minds, eyes and heart open to them.

I experienced one.  A good friend who was going through a stressful time wasn't  thinking clearly and felt that God wasn't listening to her or giving her any paths to follow.  I told her about the Godwinks book - how it was comforting - and said I could get a copy for her.  She was agreeable.

Later that same day, I was going to a thrift shop to drop off some things.  When I got there, my eye spotted a necklace at the jewelry booth.  It was a rose replica of  the exact design, color  and material of a pin that my mother used to wear many years ago.  It was given to me after her death.  I had kept this special pin for many years and recently gave it to my sister because her middle name is Rose ~ the same as our mother's name.  I looked at the necklace a long time and then put the necklace back on the display thinking that I would come back and buy it after my drop off.

When I was finished, I turned around and noticed a books for sale table and the first book I saw was "When God Winks at You".  Thinking this was a Godwink as I had just mentioned it, I purchased it for my friend.  Behind me was the jewelry  booth  and I decided to look at the necklace again.  It was off the display where it had been hanging.   Feeling disappointed and turning to leave, for some reason, I looked down and there was the necklace at the tip of my shoe. I picked it up and marvelled that it was not only still there ~~ but right in front of me. I just stared at it.

 

The seller looked at me and asked if something was wrong.   I said, "This is just like the rose that my mother used to wear."  She told me to enjoy it as a gift from her.

Feeling uplifted, I put the necklace on thinking  it wasn't just a coincidence that I had 'found' it.   I stopped by my friend's house to give her the book.  When she opened the door, she looked at me and my necklace and exclaimed, "That's the necklace I donated to the school's fund-raising project!!"   A double Godwink?

I never think about getting something in return when I give, but it always happens in some way. I gave my sister my mother's rose and I got my mother's rose back.   A coincidence or a Godwink?

Marie Coppola  © July 2017

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About Marie Coppola

Marie Coppola A long-time human resources administrator and paralegal (B.S. in Business Administration/ Psychology, Certified Paralegal), Marie writes to aid employees with positive career options and resources, and to assist in career development solutions for students and employees; counsels on resumes, securing employment, and being successful with promotable possibilities. Marie finds inspiration in her faith, which she enjoys passing on to others, and finds gratification in helping others wherever she can. Got a question, need advice? Marie can be reached at mcopp@ymail.com

 

 

According to the U.S. Census, fathers are fast disappearing from American homes and one in three children, or approximately 20 million live without one.

The census recorded the fact that 160,000 new families with children were added, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million and nearly five million live without a mother.

More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father.  Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent.  If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.

This fatherlessness can be seen in our homes, schools, hospitals and prisons and especially in families. Back when families were more intact, many fathers protected, mentored, guided, supported, taught values, played sports, added humor, and helped in bringing up their child or children. Today, there are many fathers who, for a variety of reasons, are absent, either emotionally or by distance and play a small or no part in bringing up their child or children.

Children need both parents’ influence for a balanced upbringing. They usually receive nurturing and care-taking from their mothers.  Fathers can supply discipline, authority, companionship and be an example as a role model. Role models are important for both boys and girls. Boys look to their dads as the type of man they want to be when they grow up; girls look to their dads as models of a possible future mate. Fathers’ praise, unconditional love, encouragement, support, and guidance are as important to children as the fostering acts a mother supplies.

Research has concluded that the father/child relationship is more important than once believed. With a baby, a father is usually more physical at playing games than the mother and makes a playful and joyful contribution to a baby’s life. As small infants and children, they can receive assurance and empathy from a dad when mom is not available or busy with something else. School age children benefit from the caretaking of dads who help with their care in transporting them to school and activities, helping them with homework, or teaching them responsibility. Many fathers join in sports activities with both boys and girls through softball, baseball, football, soccer and form a lasting team tie with their kids.

Children who have both parents who express these characteristics are blessed, indeed. Sometimes, they may have grandparents, step parents, or guardians who also exhibit traditional and loving nurturing.  Studies show that a father who exhibits love, kindness and faith values to his children - in turn foster those values that their children will emulate with their own family and children.

And sometimes, there are children, who, for various reasons, may be absent a father. He may have died, or separated away from the family, or simply is out of the picture. There can be a family member or male friend who can pitch hit for an absent father and help fill the void a father leaves. An absent father in a family could make his child at a higher risk of drug abuse, smoking, alcohol abuse and other risk-seeking behaviors. Other problems with absent fathers can be unhealthy relationships with others, poor grades in school, and problems in social relationships.

At some point in our lives, all of our fathers will leave us. For those of you who mourn a lost father, for whatever reason, take heart. We still have a Heavenly Father, Who will never leave nor abandon us.

Recently I heard a great quote by Sigmund Freud: “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection."  God bless ALL fathers this Father’s Day – may your love and caring for your children bless and reward you with love returned.

June 8, 2017  Marie Coppola


The good news is that folks are living longer.    As of the end of last year, overall average life expectancy has increased to 78.8 years.  For men, it is age 76 and for women, it is age 81.  But the gap between women and men has narrowed to less than 4 years.

The potential lifespans of men and women are more similar now than at any time since the early 1950s, when the life expectancy of women was just over 70, and men could expect to live only to their late 60s.

Life expectancy has continued to rise as all generations enjoy unprecedented wealth, better nutrition, healthier lifestyles and advancing medical science.  

What happens when one of them dies?   Does the surviving spouse stay in their home or go live with family or relatives?  

There are many retired senior couples here in the south.   Many of them live productive and social lives as well as staying active in work, church and community activities.   What do they do when they become 'single' again?   Also, some seniors are faced with the double stress of caring for both children and ageing relatives, as well as providing for their family financially.  Losing a spouse is a double-edged sword - highly emotional - yet financial issues have to be addressed.  Some rush to sell their home, change financial accounts or have to decide to stay where they are or relocate.

The experts give this advice:  1)  Don't rush into anything you may regret later 2) Any long-term decisions or major changes should not be made until at least six (6) months after your spouse's death.  3) Seek a financial expert's advice instead of relying on relatives' or friends' advice.   They may not be up-to-date on regulations, tax laws and more.  4) Update your own legacy plans (preferably with a finance expert). 

A common concern of widows & widowers is who will care for them if they become ill or infirm.  Have insurance or funds for long-term care?  Move in with adult children?  Or live in a nursing home?  Some local people have moved to another state to be with family; some of these situations work and others feel like they are chauffeur, cook and baby sitter.   They miss the friends & activities they had to give up.   Some move back.  Other experts advise: 1) don't put your house on the market; 2) don't give away money to your children or charity; 3) don't agree to move in with a child.  These things may make sense, but it isn't good to make rash decisions.  Especially since the most challenging aspect of your 'single' life is the emotional aspect.  The death of a spouse is one of the most devastating events of a person's life.  Harder still If one did not play an active role in the household finances.  

My own advice: Try to not make any major decisions for six months to a year.  Try to stay busy with regular outlets of social, church & community work.  Try to relax and get together socially with friends regularly.   Try joining a support group.  Try staying with your children as a test run before you make a concrete decision to move there.  Seek and lean on your faith.  Would you stay where you are or would you move?

Marie Coppola  July 26, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prescription drugs can help sufferers of medical problems by alleviating their symptoms of chronic pain. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has come out and advised that addiction to prescription painkillers has become an undisclosed epidemic -- and it kills thousands of Americans each year.

This alarming news which include morphine and codeine has actually tripled.   Deaths from overdoses used to occur from illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine but now prescription painkillers have taken the lead. There are as many reported deaths in country areas as there are in cities. Over 100,000 Americans a year are taken to emergency rooms with overdose issues.

Americans are abusing painkillers and they are not hard to obtain. As Americans get more sedentary and have obesity problems, they are experiencing more back pain and damage to their joints and are in chronic pain. They seek out something to dull the pain and turn to painkillers. Doctors are prescribing relief from pain in the form of pain pills to about five percent of Americans in a months' time. Use of pain pills can cause a feeling of well being and patients on them tend to abuse them and depend on even after the original pain they were taking them for - has disappeared. Patients mistakenly feel that because a doctor has prescribed these pills, that they are 'safe' to take and don't realize the danger when they increase the dosages on their own.

When the prescription refill expires, users go to other or new doctors for new prescriptions, or ask friends or family members to share theirs or go on the internet to find them or can even find them on the street. Although some states have databases which track who takes what drugs, they do not yet share that information with other states. People will cross state lines to get the drugs they can't get in their own state.

Problems begin when a person in pain does not find relief in the prescribed amount. They take extra pills to overcome that pain and become psychologically dependent or addicted to the higher amount. In the prescribed amount, the pills are safe to take, but higher doses can cause a person to stop breathing. An even bigger problem to one's health and can be fatal to the user is when they combine this higher dosages with other drugs they may be taking or taking them with alcohol - both of which increase the risk of overdose and death.

Doctors are advising that persons with chronic pain combine an anti-inflammatory drug and/or muscle relaxant and other methods such as patches or injections. The focus should be on being functional without increase in dosages and pain management awareness that they may always have some level of pain.

From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to data published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. These deaths increased by 9 percent (813 more deaths in 2014 than 2013).  Increases in prescription opioid pain reliever and heroin deaths are the biggest driver of the drug overdose epidemic. Deaths from heroin increased in continuing a sharp rise that has seen heroin overdoses triple sincel 2010. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are on the upswing.

“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”

Here are the facts:  Drug overdose deaths are up in both men and women, in non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and in adults of nearly all ages. Rates of drug overdose deaths were highest among five states: West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.The findings show that two distinct but intertwined trends are driving America’s overdose epidemic: a 15-year increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses as a result of misuse and abuse, and a recent surge in illicit drug overdoses driven mainly by heroin.

More than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involved opioids, including opioid pain relievers and heroin. The largest increase in opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids (not including methadone), which were involved in 5,500 deaths in 2014, nearly twice as many as the year before. Many of these overdoses are believed to involve illicitly-made fentanyl, a short-acting opioid. In addition, heroin-related death rates increased 26 percent from 2013–2014, totaling 10,574 deaths in 2014. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use—especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. The increased availability of heroin, its relatively low price (compared to prescription opioids), and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use, overdoses, and deaths.

How to stop the epidemic:  The new findings point to four ways to prevent overdose deaths:

Limit initiation into opioid misuse and addiction. Opioid pain reliever prescribing has quadrupled since 1999. Providing health care professionals with additional tools and information—including safer guidelines for prescribing these drugs—can help them make more informed prescribing decisions.

Expand access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment—including Medication-Assisted Treatment—for people who suffer from opioid use disorder.

Protect people with opioid use disorder by expanding access and use of naloxone—a critical drug that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose and save lives.

State and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement agencies must work together to improve detection of and response to illicit opioid overdose outbreaks to address this emerging threat to public health and safety.

CDC works with states, communities, and prescribers to prevent opioid misuse and overdose by tracking and monitoring the epidemic and helping states scale up effective programs. CDC also improves patient safety by equipping health care providers with data, tools, and guidance so they can make informed treatment decisions. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose.