Life in General

Miscellaneous observtions on Life

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cropped-10599599_10152165669801150_7008699776045255450_n.jpg

 

This past week, I was reminded by three different sources to be still and know God.  I consider this a Godwink so I will pass this important message on.  God talks to us in Psalm 46:10 and says, "Be Still and Know That I am God".  How often do we sit still?  We have cell phones, IPods &  Androids vying for our attention.   The TV is constantly on - so is the fax machine and the computer.  Company is coming. have to pick up the grandkids later and someone's beeping to chat with you on Skype.   Lots of noises going on .....How do we get 'still'?

We say "Hey, we're busy...who has time to sit still?"

Let's look at Jesus.  Even in his busy ministry he got still...with God.  He would go out alone in the desert. He would pray and be still with God.  Doing so, he was refreshed and renewed.

Anyone can get refreshed and renewed with God.  It is important to be still and know that He Is God. You might say, "I'm way too busy to do that" or "God doesn't value me" or "I'm simply not religious". If you want to know God, you have to make some time for Him just like you do for your family, your kids, your dog, your job, technology and everything else that's on your plate.   Knowing God will give you extra strength and wisdom to do the things you do and even do things a little differently.  And it will give you benefits you can't get anywhere else. They're guaranteed.   "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:13]

Some say, "I don't know what to say to God".   God made you and He knows all about you already. Just talk to Him in plain language.  You don't have to use thys, thees and thous.  He'll be happy just to hear from you. And he will change your life. This is not a wish. This is a fact. You will become aware of life in a way different from how you are living it now.  if you start speaking to God, you will add joy, love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of who you and others are. He made you and loves you no matter what you are, say or have done.  Who else can you say that about?   Jesus will become your best friend.   Who will never forsake you.

Try it. Go alone into a quiet room, shut the door and turn off all technology.  Be still and focus on Him alone and not the things you have listed to do that day.   You may start by thanking him for all the good things in life He has given you -- yes, there are far more than the problems you are facing which overshadow them.  Get to really know God.   Listen in silence to what you may hear or think about.  When you are quiet, you will open your heart and soul to Him. 

God tells us through His Words,  "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."    It will change your life.  Not only is it guaranteed;  the warranty will last forever.

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

Posted in Book Report, Spirituality. Tags: , , , , on by . Edit

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2474859/Life-expectancy-gap-men-women-narrows-years.html#ixzz4iqmgix6p
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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.

Father Patrick Tonry, a priest of forty years in the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, has served as a pastor, military chaplain, prison chaplain, spiritual director, and editorialist.   I received "The Green Suit" recently which was written by him and have permission to share this St. Patrick's Reminiscence with our Irish brothers & sisters and those who have the Irish spirit.

As a young boy, there was one day I looked forward to with as much anticipation as Christmas.  No, it was not my birthday; the day I eagerly awaited was March 17th.

March 17th held special meaning in the Tonry household.   It was St. Patrick's Day, my parents' wedding anniversary and the day they immigrated to the United States.  My parents were married in 1927, in Ireland on St. Patrick's day.  Immediately after their wedding ceremony, they boarded a ship and sailed to the U.S. to begin their married life in a new country.

If the 17th of March fell dring the wk week, my father would take the day off work.  We kids had the day off, as did all the children who attended Catholic schools in Brooklyn and New York City.  To properly honor both my parent's wedding anniversary and the Feast of St. Patrick, we went to early morning Mass as a family.

My parents, my two older brothers and my little sister would dress in their Sunday best.  As the youngest son, I was given a special honor. I wore the color of the day    I had a beautiful emerald green suit with a matching tie. It was a source of pride for me that i was the only one in the family who had a green suit.  Naturally, I was only permitted to wear this suit on St. Patrick's Day.

After celebrating Mass, we would go back home and eat a big breakfast.  This special breakfast would keep us fueled for what seemed to me the longest journey ever:   the train and bus rides into New York City for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The train and buses were filled with families going into the city to watch the parade.  We would line up along Fifth Avenue and wait for the parade to begin.  It was thrilling.  I was awe-struck by the high school marching bands.  The sound of the drum lines would set my heart racing.  It was a beautiful sight to see the Irish dances come down the street, dancing in unison.

Some years, we would shiver because it would be so cold.  Yet, we stayed and watched the parade through the rain, wind, snow and sunshine.  We never left the parade until the flag of my mother's and father's country in Ireland passed.

Right after the parade, our family went to a small restaurant to have dinner.   My parents did not have much money, and they saved a little each month so the entire family could eat out on this day.  In fact, St. Patrick's Day was the only time we would ever eat out.  We always had dinner at home.

....These traditions in a family ceate meaning that makes family occasions more memorable.

The reason St. Patrick was special to my parents was because he gave his life in service to God and the people of Ireland.  His story begins in the early 400's.  Patrick was the son of a Roman official and at the age of 16, he was kidnapped and taken to pagan Ireland.  He lived in slavery for six years working as a shepherd.  During his enslavement. Patrick turned to God for comfort and companionship.  Patrick escaped, returned home and entered the priesthood.  Years later, he returned to Ireland as Bishop, his love of the Irish people drawing him back.  He traveled throughout the island, overcoming opposition from hostile chieftains and pagan Druids and converting most of Ireland to the faith.

...Today everyone can be like St. Patrick. a living reflection of the Gospel.   May the love of St. Patrick be with you and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Father Patrick Tonry, SM  February 2017

 

 

 

Living in a retirement demographic area, I often hear others lamenting they are losing their memories, or their keys, have problems remembering people's names, etc.  Dementia is jokingly mentioned, but many seniors do worry it can happen.   Our family doctor says  if you put the milk in the cupboard by mistake and then retrieve it - you're OK; but if you think it's OK to be in there, you may want to see your doctor.   He also states that we all have a 50-50 chance of experiencing dementia unrelated to family history or even if you have one parent who had dementia.

Recently I attended two meetings on dementia that were fact-filled.  Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect one's cognitive abilities in ways that affect daily life.  The three subtypes of Dementia are mainly:   1. Alzheimer’s Disease ( Plaques and tangles form inside the brain causing chemical deficiencies).  It is believed that this can start to have an effect on the memory center   2. Vascular Dementia (decreased blood flow the brain and different from Alzheimer’s in that it is caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain, commonly caused by strokes).   Approximately 20% of all dementia cases are vascular, making it the second most common type. Risk factors include a history of heart attacks, strokes – especially multiple strokes, diabetes, or high blood pressure.   3. Dementia with Lewy Bodies - This is the third most common form of dementia and is caused by build-ups of a certain type of protein in the brain. These deposits are called Lewy bodies and they effect a person’s perception, behavior, and thinking. Lewy bodies are often found in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s patients, making this form of dementia harder to diagnose.

The National Institute for Aging estimates about 7 percent of people over 65 will have some form of dementia.   What can one do, if anything, to protect oneself from risk factors?  You can affect your risk by how social you are, your exercise habits and your heart and diabetes management.

Although 'seniors' store vast information over the years, they sometimes need extra time to remember where they stored that info in their brain.   Like an over-programmed-filled computer that 'searches' for info and takes extra time to find it, so do our brains.  What a relief to remember albeit slower!

Some suggestions on how to reduce your risk factor:

  • Spend at least one day a week with younger people, especially grandkids,  even if it is on Skype video or the telephone.  Stay social with friends and family.
  • Walk, hike or swim (150 minutes of moderate exercise - weekly).
  • Treat depression; talk to your doctor; depression is linked to higher dementia risk.  And sometimes depression can appear to be dementia.
  • Cook and eat heart healthy.  Strive for a diet low in saturated fat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over your medications with you to see if any are at a risk for contributing to dementia or lacking in some vitamins.
  • Take some courses or classes.   It can stimulate your brain and/or socially meet new people.
  • Volunteer your time to a cause or interest you support.

Staying connected to friends and family is key and one of the most important ways to avoid dementia.  The risk of dementia is higher if one is lonely or isolated.  Millions of people 50 and older (about 1 in 5) live alone and are at risk of isolation.  The fastest growing type of household is individuals living alone.  And many of those over 50, have no one to talk to about important matters.

Try to stay socially active; If you are homebound and/or can't get around easily, learn to text on a cell phone or video chat or even social media chat, ie, Facebook. Twitter.   In a busy world, a hello by text, especially to the teens & young adults in our lives, wlll ensure a faster return quicker than a return phone call.   If you are not up-to-date in technology in computers or cell phones, there are FREE courses to learn about them.   And a good brain exercise.

Being socially active, getting regular exercise (physically and mentally) and managing chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease) are all plusses to reduce your chances of dementia.

 

 

 

 

 

Black bears, the largest land mammals of South Carolina, once roamed the entire state. As human populations increase and development encroaches on their territories, there is more the likelihood of bear & human encounters.

Black bears are excellent climbers and good swimmers.     Bears prefer large expanses of forestry containing hardwoods, shrubs, blackberries, and pokeberries.  Wetlands such as swamps and bays also provide good habitat.   However, black bears are adaptable.  As long as they can find adequate food sources and have suitable den sites, black bears can be found in a variety of habitats..  They will feed on whatever is readily available.

Their natural diet consists of berries, nuts and plant matter (over 80 percent) as well as insects and meat (less than 20 percent). Bears use their incredible sense of smell to find alternative food sources such as garbage, bird feeders, outdoor pet food, agricultural crops, etc., which can result in them becoming nuisance bears. A shortage of natural food sources and lack of rainfall can cause home ranges to vary greatly. Black bears will travel large distances to find adequate food sources. In addition, juvenile bears, especially the males, must disperse to find new home territories. Dispersing juvenile bears have been sighted in many counties in South Carolina. These bears are usually transient and do not stay in the area for long.

Male black bears are generally larger than females. An average adult male can weigh between 150 - 350 pounds while the female averages between 100 -250 pounds. However, when food is plentiful, older bears have been documented at weights above 400-500 pounds. The largest black bear recorded in South Carolina was 609 pounds.  Their average life expectancy is 18 years in the wild.

Tammy Wactor, wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said there is an estimated 800-1,000 black bears across South Carolina, with most found in the more heavily forested and mountainous Upstate region, and a smaller population of 300-400 bears in the coastal areas (as of July 11, 2015).

Bears emerge fron their dens and come out looking for food in the spring ~ the peak of their breeding season is June, July, sometimes early August. They are most active at this time of year, and that, combined with habitat depletion, makes it more likely for humans to encounter them, and vice versa, said Kayla Brantley, a state bear biologist based in Horry County.

A state Department of Natural Resources official said it’s not a surprise that a bear was spotted crossing a street near homes just north of Myrtle Beach.

Black bears are not generally aggressive even when confronted by humans. However, due to their size, they need to be respected. No injuries or deaths have been attributed to black bears in South Carolina.

If you encounter one in your back yard like someone In the area of old Route 17 did recently when the bear was investigating their backyard cook-out (they left it and retreated into their home (and the bear had a gourmet meal).     If you find yourself in this situation, don’t corner the animal or make it feel threatened.   Stand your ground, and some say to raise your arms to appear larger.   Don't run.  Slowly back up, keeping your eye on the bear (not eye contact)  and try to put more space between you and the bear.  Talk calmly so that it can identify you as human.   A good way to steer clear of any run-ins with a wild animal is to secure trash, take down any type of animal feeder at night and keep grills clean.

Marie Coppola  January 2017