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gain·​say | gān-ˈsā

gain·​say | gān-ˈsā

Merriam-Webster’s definition: to declare to be untrue or invalid

What to do when, despite evidence to the contrary, a loved one continues to gainsay that he or she needs help in their home. As a Patient Advocate, I’ve received countless calls from distressed family members concerned about the safety and well-being of their loved ones who refuse to acknowledge they need help. It’s a delicate situation with no ‘one’ right answer.

Time and time again, callers express overwhelming frustration over a parent or relative they’re concerned is not eating well, taking medications properly, going to doctors’ appointments, or understanding what is being said by their doctor when they do go. They may have fallen a few times, and there’s concern about whether or not they’re still safe in their home.

As if all this weren’t enough, the kicker is when the loved-one in question denies there are any problems and refuses to accept help! How do we stand by and watch someone exercise their right to make poor decisions?

These issues are at the heart of much family discord and distress, with everyone fighting over what to do. Unfortunately, having the mental capacity to make decisions does not guarantee the use of good judgment, and there’s little we can do to force someone to accept help if they refuse it.

There are, however, a few approaches that may get better results than all-out combat.

  • Consider the Family Dynamic: In our culture, the parent/child relationship has a built-in dynamic defining who advises who. Many seniors are reluctant to accept guidance from their children. Consider asking a trusted friend of your loved-one to broach the subject of getting them help. We are often more receptive to the advice of our peers than our children or younger relatives.
  • Empower Rather than Disempower: The aging process is often accompanied by a feeling of a loss of control. Many people stubbornly hold on to wrong decisions to assert authority over their situation. Try taking a team approach and giving your loved-one a voice in creating a plan to improve the quality of their life and make it possible to live safely in their home.
  • Start Slow: Personal care is just that – personal. Most people are uncomfortable with strangers coming to their home, and especially with having them help with bathing and dressing. Why not start with assistance with grocery shopping and light housework and build from there?

Despite the many community living options with built-in assistance available today, the truth is, most people still prefer to age in their homes. Approaching the associated challenges gently and with compassion, affords those we love most to age with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Contact Cathy Abreu, RN, BSN, BCPA at 908-528-3977 or Cathy@NavitaHealth.com for more information on how to keep your love-one safe at home. Visit our website at NavitaHealth.com

Have Heart!

Hearing from your doctor that you have “heart failure” can be daunting and scary. It might make you think your heart is about to stop working and there’s nothing that can be done. What it really means, however, it that your heart isn’t working as well as it should. If you’re on the receiving end of this diagnosis – have heart, get educated and take action.

To start, there are several different types of heart failure and they require different treatments. It’s important to get a clear understanding of what type you have and what treatments apply to you. Treatments may be any combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and devices or surgical procedures.

You will likely be working with several healthcare providers that will make up your healthcare team. Members of your team may include: your primary care doctor, cardiologist, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, case managers and pharmacists. It’s important to develop good relationships with all members of your healthcare team. Talk to them openly and honestly. Keep them informed about symptoms or changes in your condition so that they can help you. And remember, you and your caregivers are also essential members of your healthcare team.

Good communication with your healthcare team can help you get the most out of your doctor’s visits. Knowing what questions to ask and understanding what your healthcare provider is saying can help you feel confident that you’re getting the best care.

Here are some tips for communicating with your healthcare team:

  • Be prepared: Bring a list of all medicines you’re taking to the appointment. Make a list of your current symptoms. Try to describe how you feel and any changes in your condition. Write down your concerns and questions.
  • Ask questions: Making the right decisions for you starts with asking questions. Take notes or record your conversation so that you can review the information later. It’s often helpful to bring someone with you to be an extra pair of eyes and ears and help with note taking.
  • Clarify what you hearIf the information you receive from your healthcare team is unclear, ask them to use simpler words or explain it in a different way. Then repeat what you’ve heard back to them in your own words to make sure you’ve understood correctly.

Although living with a chronic condition like heart failure can be challenging, many people learn to manage the condition and enjoy full and meaningful lives. Living your best life lies in your hands. Educate yourself, take charge of the things you can control, and lean into the support of your loved ones and healthcare team.

For a detailed list of questions to ask at your doctor’s appointments, contact Cathy Abreu at 908-528-3977 or Cathy@NavitaHealth.com

Does Your Life Need More Balance This Year?

by Greg Schweitzer, MBA, DAy

Do you wake in the morning feeling refreshed and alert, or would you like to stay in bed for another hour or two? Are you excited about the day ahead, brimming with enthusiasm and passion? It’s our birthright to be joyful and alert. If that’s not your experience, you can get there.

Here’s the deal. Our state of being and wellness is dependent upon our internal energy level. If it’s blocked, you may experience fatigue, lethargy, anxiety and depression.

So, what blocks our natural energy flow and what can we do about it? It’s simple to understand. The culprit is that there’s constriction and tension inside us due to stress and trauma. Here’s an illustration, if you crimp a garden hose, you will not get the flow that you need to water your garden. If you don’t fix the hose, your plants will suffer. Like that, chronic stress and trauma have this influence on our nervous system and energy.

Here’s the good news. While this debilitating condition is widely prevalent today, we are not victims of the past or the circumstances of our lives. We can significantly minimize the influence of stress and trauma in our life through simple self-care.

With the start of a new year, we have a perfect opportunity to redirect our focus to bring our life into BALANCE. Here are some of our basic needs: rest, stress reduction, exercise – movement, and a diet of real food. Also important, relax, smile more.

Where to start?

It’s of paramount importance that we bring peace to our overactive minds. For this, meditation is an essential today. Nothing will bring balance to your life faster and more effortlessly that calming your heart and mind with deep meditation! This brings higher consciousness, higher awareness, a simply better life.

Now, you may think that your too busy for this. Well, that’s cool. We all need and want to be productive in our lives. Activity is the basis of achievement, however “over the top” levels of activity for long periods are not sustainable. In fact, without balance, we damage our brain and nervous system, not to mention the deterioration in other systems of the body – the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune… You get the idea. The outcomes from this style of living are not pretty because the influence of overwhelm and overdoing accumulates in time.

However, with balance, you will: have more energy, sleep better, and make better decisions. You will also be more creative and effective in your work and home life. People will love you more, and you will have more joy in your heart. When there’s balance in our life, we’re operating on all cylinders. The quality of our life soars. If this sounds appealing or too good to be true, please join us or do some research on healthier ways to live.

I invite you to check out our coaching options – both Wellness and Life Coaching, along with an Effortless Meditation refresher and the new Advanced Meditation Group meetings. Let’s all live a more balanced life in 2020! The world needs it, and we’d love to help.

For information about Greg Schweitzer and his Effortless Meditation classes call 610-670-6700