Featured Story

Boy 10, Kills Himself

Today something saddened me to the point of tears when I realized a boy, very similar to my son killed himself after being bullied for months, maybe years. The boy was harassed, choked, beat and belittled by racial slurs. His mother was in constant contact with the school. Month’s prior, she reached out to the media to get the word out and request action from the school and involve the police. It was NOT enough. Seven killed himself on January 19, 2019.

I felt his mother’s grief as if it were my own, not because we both have 10-year-old sons, not because they share the same complexion, hair and eye color. But because I too live in Louisville, my son attends Kerrick Elementary school and bullied for several years. This tragedy could have been my own.

My son knows how to defend himself. He takes martial arts and is very skilled but he lacks the conviction to hurt another person. Does that make him weak? Of course not. That shows me he is stronger than I could ever be. He would rather suffer then to cause another being pain and suffering.

My son is a true hero and so is Seven Bridges who sacrificed his own life because he refused to cause someone else suffering. We should all take the time to learn from our children who believe in spreading more love than pain and hate.
Children and teenagers around the world, from various ethnic backgrounds, are bullied for numerous reasons. If we can not pave the way and learn to get along, how can we teach our children? Forcing our children to carry the burdens from our ignorance. They are paying the price with their sanity and lives.

As parents we must force schools to have effective policies in place for bullying. Gone are the day’s we ignore the pleas of students and parents voicing legitimate incidents. These are the day’s we demand action and change. It’s time we force schools to listen. Time we tell them we will not sacrifice any more of our children for this cause.

When a parent places a child in an unsafe situation or unsafe environment, the State removes the child from the parent. They do not return the child until the parents proves to the State, they can provide a safe environment. School’s do not provide safe environments for our children, yet law requires us to send our children to school. If not, we're prosecuted by the State. As a parent, I feel the school system should suffer a similar fate for failing to keep our children safe. State schools should provide more options for free online courses where children can learn in the safety of their home. Especially when children fear for their safety and have a history of being bullied. This would limit senseless tragedies like this one and save our beautiful children, such as Seven Bridges.

Please join me in supporting the family of Seven Bridges by helping them to receive justice for this horrific tragedy. https://t.co/seUhK6Jo4where...

I Believe in Santa Claus

December 17, 2018

Do you believe?

If you're a parent with children under the age of twelve, you defend the existence of Santa Claus because other kids and adults have lost their Christmas spirit and want to make the rest of us miserable nonbelievers. Not this year. I have a fix for that, but first... Do you believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas? 

I know people feel we’re creating false hope and unrealistic idea’s within our children by allowing them to believe since the magic fades away as they age or many unfortunate children are disappointed on Christmas morning for one reason or another, but I disagree.

The magic of Santa isn't about receiving gifts. It’s more than spoiled or ungrateful children contacting Santa asking for more things they don't need. If that’s what Santa represents to you, then you’re sadly mistaken. No wonder you’re a nonbeliever. Santa represents kindness, charity, joy, dedication and love. 

Take away the magical elves, the flying reindeer, and even the North Pole. Let’s pretend Santa is an elderly woman, who adores children but never had some of her own. This woman starts a tradition in her neighborhood where she buys gifts for those children and delivers them personally on Christmas day. Each year the tradition grows. Soon local churches and charities get involved and before you know it, the woman’s traditions grow to touch thousands of people over the years. No longer restricted to her small neighborhood. Now she provides gifts and maybe food for all the children in her town.
Let’s take our pretend story even further because a story like this would get plenty of media coverage and social media exposure if the right person posted it. Before you know it our small town, elderly, good Samaritan has gone viral. Her one small act of kindness started with a dozen children and grew to touch hundreds, then thousands and before long it’s a world wide phenomenon. Tada. Real life Santa Claus.

When you remove all the things from Santa which are unbelievable, you have a man who works all year round giving gifts to strangers and expects nothing in return. Random strangers do random acts of kindness all the time. Christmas is notorious for bringing out these fanatics who just want to see someone’s face light up and their eyes twinkle because something thought impossible happened to them. When you’re a child full of wonder and hope, then just maybe you will continue to believe in the impossible on the road to adulthood. Allowing you to accomplish amazing things. No matter the struggle involved. This is what Santa represents. A man bringing happiness to children to teach them to believe in the impossible because life can be harsh and cold. We could all use a little magic to help warm our spirits when cold nights find us.

If you’re still a nonbeliever than I ask you, no challenge you; I’ll go a step further and triple dog dare you to play Santa. I mean perform a random act of kindness for someone less fortunate than yourself. No strings attached or ulterior motive behind the good deed. A simple sandwich lunch for a homeless person, donate your family’s old coats (gently used, not missing buttons and zippers) or donate your time to a local shelter or church, whatever the situation calls for. If you’re open, the act will find you.

People in your neighborhood, your city and around the world are hungry and without adequate shelter. Each situation is different and misfortune develops for various reasons. Your neighbor, a family member, a coworker or your best friend can live in an undesirable situation and ashamed or afraid to ask for help. Charities and churches are available to help people and you can too by stepping into Santa's shoes.

If you’re still a non believer after playing Santa, at least you tried, right? Did you give it an honest shot by opening your mind and heart? Got out there and talked to people? Ask what they wanted out of life? Listened to their concerns and problems without judgment? Set your beliefs to the side?

Not all of us have the makings to become Santa but we can at least strive for it and just maybe, pass along some magic.

Support the Caregiver You Know

Do you know someone who takes care of a patient? Do you call to check on them?

They may not look like they need or want help, but they could use your aid. Caregivers need qualified individuals available to relieve them and provide support. A daily thirty-minute break or someone to talk to can help tremendously. Caregiving is an enormous responsibility and even the best caregivers become overwhelmed. 

Caring for anyone is stressful, more so when your patient requires care seven days a week, around the clock. Caregivers exert themselves mentally, emotionally and physically all the time. Sometimes they are the only option for family members suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other debilitating conditions.

If you have a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor who is a caregiver, give them support. Thoughtful gestures and small favors make a difference; when you offer to assist them, keep your word and deliver upon the agreement. 

Everyone’s life is hectic and constantly changing, what is unimportant to one person is a big ordeal to someone else. You forgetting to pick up their prescription or gallon of milk may seem insignificant to you, but would it be insignificant if someone forgot to feed your pet or pick up your child after school? You may think those are different circumstances but they're not. The milk could be for their child and the prescription could be an inhaler, insulin, or heart medicine. Something required for them to function. The point is when people decide upon verbal agreements they expect someone to fulfill them. Don’t offer them help only to disappoint them.

I know people want to give a lending hand but don't know how to help without feeling like a nuisance or intruder. Many caregivers are stretched to their limit and short on time, anything you can do to alleviate either is beneficial. If you have strict time constraints don’t offer to cut their grass knowing you barely manage to cut yours. Start with small task.

If you are a caregiver who rejects help because of experience or pride, then you’re making an extensive mistake. I have too much pride, something I’m working on but even I yearned for help when caring for my mother. My mother was diagnosed with dementia and lost both legs due to poor circulation after her diagnoses. Please learn from my struggles and don’t go at this alone.

Take the time to research and join a support group specific to your patients needs. Most likely the problems you are facing, someone in the group has experience with and can share their knowledge. If not, the group can help you come up with a solution or provide an ear while you vent your frustrations.

Before we part, I would like to suggest way's you can help the caregiver you know. The following suggestions allow you to help without making the caregiver feel indebted to you or too much to ask of you if you’re sincere. Each person's situation is unique, so after reading the idea’s I’ve provided, it may spark others within you.

Suggestions:

  • Let them know you are there for them and mean it.
  • Make routine visits to check on their well-being. 
  • Grocery shopping or picking up their groceries. They can place their order online since most markets have pickup options and you can pick it up for them. 
  • If you have a garden, and you can spare an extra tomato, pepper, cucumber or whatever, give it to them.
    If you’re handy with tools, offer free maintenance service.
  • Wash or vacuum their car. 
  • Yard work. Water their plants, cut their grass, pick up leaves or shovel their snow. 
  • Volunteer to read or sit with their patient for 30 minutes, maybe longer while they catch up on another task. Maybe get well-deserved time to themselves. 
  • When you’re at the grocery with extra money, buy a thoughtful treat. Such as their favorite dessert, beverage or flowers.
  • If you know each other well enough and you’re a decent cook, prepare them a meal. Best to discuss preferences and food allergies before you waste time and resources preparing food they don’t eat. This could be a huge help to a caregiver short on time and finances.

Suggestions for those with limited time or resources:

  • Check on them and ask how they are. 
  • Send daily motivational text; words of encouragement.
  • On garbage day, set out their trash when you set out yours.
  • Offer to walk their dog or feed their pets.
  • Every week you could offer a housekeeping service such as vacuuming, helping with laundry, or dishes. 
  • When you go to the store, pick up items for them. Such as the pharmacy, pet store or other places the caregiver visits along your route.

These are just suggestions and ways to show the caregiver you know support. I am sure once you set your mind to helping someone deserving you will come up with your own idea’s.

Everyday People Become Caregivers for Dementia Patients

Needed: Caregivers for dementia patients!

Imagine you awake one morning in an unfamiliar room; missing the details of your arrival. Besides amnesia, you suffer from disorientation. Your body is not functioning and aches everywhere. You try to speak but words are missing from your vocabulary. The first person you meet, you have never encountered. Throughout the day more strangers enter the room and you realize you are in a nursing facility being treated for a disease. The doctors and nurses say you have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

A disease you don’t recall having. You stare at them in disbelief as you contemplate their words. You last remember being in your safe, secure environment. Now you're surrounded by strangers and forced to spend the rest of your life in a constant state of confusion and uncertainty. How pleasant and welcoming would you be with this new reality? Especially if you don't understand what's happening to you.

Your mind, which operates your body, is foreign to you. And each day, your mind slips further and further away. Who can you trust in this critical time of need?

Out of the millions diagnosed, a limited few can afford to live in sufficient nursing facilities. Some patients may not want to which is one reason more people are thrust into the caregiver role. Hopefully patients have a compassionate, considerate, caregiver as a viable option for long-term care. If not, dementia patients may isolate themselves from the world. Suffering through their condition with inadequate care.

It’s estimated, 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Association, in 2017 caregivers provided about 18.4 billion hours of care to people living with dementia. People who never realized they stepped into the caregiver role the moment they provided care for their child or an adult unable to care for themselves. Regardless of the relationship, unpaid relatives are caregivers. Caregivers can be the spouse, partner, friend, or a stranger to the person diagnosed with dementia. Not all caregivers are professionals. Many are everyday people caring for their loved ones.

Before my mother was diagnosed with dementia, she made her children promise to never admit her to any long-term care facility. If we did, she would come back and haunt us. Not wanting to find out if she could uphold her promise, we honored her request but more because we loved her. We believed no one could care for her better than her family.

However, us every day people need guidance and instructional material. Providing care for dementia patients is a little more challenging than caring for someone diagnosed with other ailments. It requires someone with knowledge of the disease. Able to identify the three stages if the person has Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to explain things in a way the patient can understand. And by diverting disagreements and confrontations with the patient.

The caregiver cannot help their patient if they don't know how to communicate or treat them. You cannot expect someone to comprehend what you are saying if they do not recognize or know the definitions of the words being spoken. When caring for any patient, a caregiver should be able to understand body language and facial expressions. Is the person experiencing discomfort or pain and unable to communicate? Can the caregiver tell if the patient understands the explanation of treatment and medication administered to them?

It's plausible the caregiver will care for their patient through the stages of the disease. The caregiver and person being cared for will build a relationship. As the patient, you want to feel comfortable with your caregiver. From that relationship, trust and respect will develop between the two of you.

As a caregiver, it’s important to remember your patient is suffering from a brain disease which decreases their mental and physical capacity over time, so patience and humility are good traits to have. It doesn't hurt to have a thick skin to endure abusive outburst that can become violent on days your patient is frightened and lashing out. And always treat anyone under your care with dignity. 

6 Risk Associated with Dementia

This is a continuation from the previous weeks post.

As you may recall, I am not a medical professional. We are social media friends and I am sharing a post on ways to decrease your chances of developing dementia.

1.) Eat Healthier Foods

Drop processed foods from the menu. Eat foods which help build a stronger healthier cerebrum. Foods containing antioxidants and help with inflammation like leafy vegetables. Doctors and scientist believe certain foods cause our brains to shrink and boost our risk of dementia.

Start your day with a nutritional breakfast and not one consumed with sugar. Stop setting yourself up for afternoon failure by choosing unhealthy choices. Also, limit salt and sodium intake which increase your risk for other long-term concerns besides dementia such as heart disease or stroke.


2.) Manage Blood Sugar & Health

You can lower your risk of getting diabetes by eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. Eat fewer foods filled with empty calories (sugar) and exercise daily.

I have heard people state we as humans need sugar to live. WRONG. The human body needs glucose and insulin to live and a healthy human body can produce both. Glucose is our main source of energy and its carried through our bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which allows glucose to move from our blood stream into cells, muscles and fats. Our livers produce the correct amount of glucose and releases it as needed for us to function and maintain our blood sugar levels. When we eat and ingest more than the required daily dose, our bodies stop producing. Trying to limit how much is in our body.


3.) Avoid Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a defense mechanism our body activates when bacteria is inside the body, an infection or anything causing the body harm. If the inflammation defense system is disabled, damaged cells and tissue cannot heal from infections or wounds. When the body forgets to deactivate the defense system, and it's stuck in active mode all the time, it becomes an issue. It becomes chronic inflammation and will last for years if untreated.

What happens if the defense system stays active? Depending on the area affected chronic inflammation can become very painful, cause swelling and immobility. Doctors believe chronic inflammation can cause rheumatoid arthritis, certain variations of cancer, and damage brain cells by interrupting the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.

4.) Eliminate Chronic Stress

There are two types of stress, acute and chronic. From my understanding, acute stress is normal. You drop your new phone and crack the screen, or you oversleep and late for work which makes your blood start pumping. You are feeling the pressure. The pressure you are feeling means your stress hormones are working. How you respond to any situation determines if your acute stress transforms into chronic stress.

If your stress level never decreases and stays activated on the time, then your stress hormones will never deactivate. Your acute stress becomes chronic stress. This means your stress hormones are getting overworked. Eventually you’ll develop an anxiety disorder, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. All linked to dementia.

5.) Eliminate Depression & Anxiety

We hear those words often, but what is depression? For the few I spoke with, depression is an illness which fills them with feelings of melancholy so strong they can't move forward. Nor be bothered with their children, spouse or anyone. Solitude is their preference, so they can sleep and continue their depression. Let their thoughts of sadness, failure, worthlessness and death torture them right out of their minds.... because that's what's happening.

According to a psychologist, depression is more than overwhelming sadness. It's a sickness which causes the millions of people living with the disorder excessive suffering. Feelings must be present daily for a few weeks before it's considered depression. In our crazy society, a few weeks can have a year worth of drama. Two weeks filled with problem after problem can become fatal to a person living with depression or even anxiety. How about when we notice the behavior after a few days we get involved?

Don't let family members, friends, neighbors or coworkers suffer. Get them help or put them in contact with someone who can assist them. Check on them frequently. Depression is a serious issue and people are suffering unnecessarily.

6.) Stop Smoking

Smoking is addictive and the sooner you start the more damage you cause. When a person smokes their defense system (inflammation) tries to protect tissue in the lungs. If the defense system doesn't turn off, then the smoker risk severe damage to their lungs. Smoking is linked to heart disease. As we are learning, anything that interferes with our breathing or forces the heart into overdrive mode increases someone's chances of dementia.

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy or brings you peace of mind?

This is where I normally get the deer in headlight’s look or the huh expression.

Your response to the above question should be automatic, not your life, every single day.

When you're asked what makes you happy, be ready with an honest answer. There is no right answer because it depends upon the individual. However, your happiness shouldn't revolve around other actualities, such as your significant other, children, pets and achievements.

I know some of you are thinking my children and spouse make me happy. And that’s a great feeling but it can’t be your only source for happiness. Your happiness is then contingent upon someone else. It should come from within you, then nobody can prevent or damper your joy.

What makes me happy? The feeling of accomplishment I get when I walk or exercise. Followed by an unexplainable peace. I find a similar peace when I listen to music or witness one of nature’s moments. Such as flowers blooming in the spring, the change of colors in the fall, a sunset, an eclipse, or any awe-inspiring mother nature wonder. If I am overcome with the urge to pull out my phone and capture the moment in a photo, then yes, I'm inspired. I also find joy and fulfillment when I read books, learn something fascinating and create thoughtful gifts for someone, for no occasion.

Start small, with the simple things. Whatever sparks something within you. When you discover your happiness or feelings of peace store it in your long-term memory for retrieval later.

We all could use more reasons throughout our days and life to smile and have inner peace. Once you can conjure the spark which ignites your happiness with a single thought, you have the power to change your day. Habitual positive daily changes, in turn, lead to positive lifestyle changes.

One memory can be the source for a positive day. Every time something threatens to ruin your day, retrieve your happy memory or memories. Who says you can only have one? The happier the memories you have in storage the more positive energy you have on standby.

Build your reserve for happiness, today. Write two or three happy provoking things fitting the criteria I stated in the above post. Afterward, remember them; even if you must write them on a post-it note, store them on your phone, or get them printed on a t-shirt. Do whatever is necessary to embed them into your long-term memories.

You and I are going on an adventure which will transform you from the “go with the flow” type to a fulfilled, trailblazer making their own path. During your transformation you will require happiness and inner peace, both are mandatory for your success.
You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you. Now believe in yourself and go find your happiness.

~Til Next Time!