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WELLNESS TIP OF THE WEEK
Rejuvenation in Three Minutes?
by Gail Lachs
The onset of spring brings brighter days and the vibrant energy of new beginnings. For many of us, it also stirs the desire to break free from old habits and take a fresh approach to a healthier lifestyle. Spring is the perfect season to begin simple effective changes that will breathe new life and vitality into our daily routine. This month, consider taking just three minutes to add a mindful breathing practice to each day. Just three minutes! Do it anywhere … in your car, at your desk, in your kitchen.
Begin by finding a comfortable seated position, set a timer and close your eyes. For the next three minutes, let go of the busy distractions of your mind by allowing all of your awareness to follow the rhythm of your breathing. Notice how your muscles stretch as you deepen each inhale and how tension melts away with each exhale. For three minutes, be fully present, finding calm and stillness in the moments between each breath. The next time, you may even want to spend five minutes … or more!
Gail Lachs is the owner and director of Windsoul Studio, a yoga and healing arts center in Tyngsborough, Mass.
HEALTH IN THE VALLEY
Home Health VNA’s Complex Care Management Program
(excerpted from a full story in the March/April 2017 print issue)
( sponsored ) George just wanted to be well enough to spend time with his wife.
George Lewis was determined to get his strength back and his medical condition under control so he could stay in his own home and resume his familiar routine — cooking his own meals, talking with friends and neighbors and taking a daily walk to the mailbox. Most importantly, George wanted to be well enough to visit with his wife Terry, who lives nearby in a nursing home due to the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Terry and I had a great life together,” said George. “The hardest decision I have ever made was to admit Terry to a nursing home. But she wasn’t safe at home. She started to wander and not know where she was. And, my health began to decline from stress and worry.”
George had been in and out of the hospital for the past several years due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and other complex medical conditions. However, when he recently had three hospitalizations in one month followed by six weeks of recuperation at a rehabilitation facility, George knew he had to get his disease under control or risk not being able to spend time with Terry, the one person in his life who always made him smile and always made him laugh.
“When George was referred to Home Health VNA, he was immediately admitted to our Complex Care Management Program due to his repeat hospitalizations and multiple diagnoses,” said Lauren Crowley, RN, Complex Care Manager. “He was weak, at high risk for a fall, on multiple medications and clearly unsure of how to manage the symptoms of COPD or monitor his diabetes. He also had not been to visit his wife in several months. He missed her and was determined to do all he could to be back by her side.”
But even after establishing a medical team totally committed to keeping George out of the hospital, Crowley knew that he needed more. “Even the most determined patients sometimes need a little extra support to keep motivated in order to make difficult but positive changes to improve their health,” said Crowley. For George that “little extra help” was Evelyn Peralta, his health coach.
As George’s coach, Evelyn telephoned him every day to check on his health, discuss his goals of care and encourage and support him during his long recuperation. Evelyn also provided the daily, positive feedback that George needed to help him through the rigors of his medical care. She listened when George was frustrated, helped him problem solve and encouraged him when he needed it most.
“Evelyn keeps me out of the hospital,” said George. “She’s calm, kind and helps me stay on the right track so that my symptoms are under control. I know I would have been back in the hospital without her support.”
With the help of his home health care team and his health coach, George’s condition is stable and he has been out of the hospital for more than four months. Most importantly, he’s back to visiting his beloved wife Terry, spending every Saturday by her side.
Home Health VNA
360 Merrimack Street, Bldg. 9
Lawrence, MA 01843
WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Wellness Wearables: Stanford Creates Wristband with Sweaty Solution
Wearable health devices that can measure blood sugar and other such bodily functions have been in development for quite a while, but they haven’t yet hit the mainstream market. Part of the reason might lie in the need for the majority of these devices to use an invasive method of gathering fluid (such as a small prick from a needle to retrieve blood), which, for obvious reasons, isn’t exactly convenient or viable for every consumer. Stanford University researchers say they’ve got a solution in the form of a wristband that can measure some of the aforementioned functions with just a few drops of sweat … and while it’s not yet market-ready, it certainly offers a more appealing prospect than drawing blood. (via NBC News)
In Unlikely Alliance, Prince William and Lady Gaga Talk Mental Health
They might not be the first people you’d think would form a partnership, but it’s true — pop superstar Lady Gaga and Prince William have teamed up, but it has nothing to do with their respective careers in music or British royalty. Instead, the prince and pop idol created a video discussing mental health in their efforts to kick off a wider campaign for the charity Heads Together: but while that charity is U.K. based, the wider message should come across loud and clear to people worldwide. Lady Gaga, who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, and William, who went through a depression after his mother’s death, both want to see the conversation around mental health expand — for only in that case, said the pop star, can those with mental illness feel like “we are not hiding anymore.” (via USA TODAY)
“Wellness Cruise” to be Offered by Weight Watchers and MSC Cruise Lines
A partnership between Weight Watchers International and MSC Cruise Lines has led to the development of a seven-night themed “wellness cruise” featuring hiking, snorkeling, diving and more. The cruise’s inaugural voyage will set sail from Miami next month — and it’s sold out despite ticket prices running at a princely sum of $945 per person, higher than MSC’s average trip. This unique vacation option marks a trend in the overall travel market, which has been trending toward fitness-based activities recently. Unsurprisingly, that means a boost in business for people like Jeri Donovan, who owns a wellness travel agency. “People want yoga classes, Pilates, fitness, healthy cuisine, a spa with an array of treatments,” she said. That’s a long way from the typical “buffet line” imagery many people envision when they think of a cruise. (via Fox News)
LOCAL HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS
Join Dr. Irwin Buchwald and Lowell General Hospital’s Respiratory Department for a free COPD Education Seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. to learn about the disease process, medication administration as well as how to control symptoms and exacerbations of COPD. Lowell, Mass. | LowellGeneral.org
The Haverhill YMCA is having its annual Healthy Kids Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free events for the whole family will be held until the late afternoon, including gymnastics, aquatics and sports activities. Guests include Holy Family Hospital, Med Express, Cedars, Walgreens and more. The event is open to the public. Haverhill, Mass. | NorthShoreYMCA.org
The Mt. Washington Alliance Community Health Fair will be held at Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free health screenings, vision checks and dental work will be accompanied by food, games and giveaways. Haverhill, Mass. | MtWashingtonAlliance.org