Last year my grandmother had to move to assisted living. Needless to say, she was reluctant to go. At 88, she had been living on her own for over 40 years. She liked her privacy and was fiercely protective of her independence.

Unfortunately, she was also in the beginning stages of dementia, and it was starting to affect her ability to take care of herself. Because she kept a lot to herself, we didn’t discover exactly how bad it was until the day a police officer showed up at my door to tell me that my grandmother had been in an accident.

She wasn’t hurt, but she had gotten confused and driven into someone’s yard. She was fine, the other party was fine, but the car was banged up. After her accident, we discovered the extent of her problems.

·  She had stopped cooking and her daily diet consisted of chips, candy, and soda – things she could grab quickly, whenever she remembered to eat.

·  She had completely stopped taking her insulin, and had not seen her doctor for months.

·  She had hypertension and had stopped taking those meds as well.

·  She had stopped paying her Medicare premiums and other bills.

We took turns caring for her. I would bring her breakfast and give her morning insulin, my aunt would bring her a healthy lunch, take her afternoon readings, and take her to her doctor appointments; my mother would do the evening meal and insulin, and took over her financial affairs to make sure her bills were paid and got her back on Medicare.

After a few months, we discovered that she was leaving the house without our knowledge. She was taking cabs to run errands, and then getting rides home from complete strangers, sometimes with wads of cash in her bag.

We found a great facility that offered apartment-style units, with 24-hour nursing care. That way, my grandmother could maintain her privacy, but qualified help was literally right outside her door.

The nurses make sure she eats, they take her vitals and administer her meds, and they help with her memory care, and they make sure she gets to the doctor. They also helped her transition into the facility by introducing her to fellow residents, and getting her involved in activities. She has free run of the facility but they also keep track of her and keep her safe.

The nurses at this facility are a godsend.

I was so grateful to them that I decided I wanted to know more about the women who make my grandmother’s life safer and healthier.

There’s Colette. We found out that she’s actually a geriatric nurse practitioner. She started off with an Associates degree from a local nursing school, but then went on to get her accelerated BSN from Gwynedd Mercy University before getting her masters there as well. She told us that she had wanted to be a geriatric nurse since she was a teen and had to take care of her own grandmother. She’s there almost every time I visit, and my grandmother loves her.

Sarah is actually a nurse aide, but she does many of the jobs that the regular nurses do, including bathing the residents and dispensing medications. She got her CNA from community college, but she’s planning to go back to school for an RN. I also found out that she has five black cats, all rescues, and is also a master gardener.

Mary is probably the oldest nurse on the floor, and she has been there the longest. I don’t get to see her often, because she’s usually gone before I show up. However, some days she stays late to play a round of bid whist with some of the residents, my grandmother included. Sometimes she plays a few songs on the baby grand on the main floor near the dining room. I found out that she had originally gotten a music degree, and even taught high-school choir, before she started nursing 20 years ago.

Getting my grandmother into care was a lifesaver for her, and for our family. All of these women, and the countless others that I don’t have the space to mention, have helped my family through this difficult transition, and have improved my grandmother’s life immensely.


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that typically develops in the lungs or abdominal organs. Associated with symptoms like painful cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, this illness can have a devastating impact on both physical and psychological health.

What’s more, the methods used to treat mesothelioma are often aggressive in nature, and lead to a number of uncomfortable effects.

Thankfully, there are several ways patients with mesothelioma can improve their health and restore quality of life, no matter their diagnosis or prognosis. Keep reading for tips on coping with mesothelioma and the treatment process, which includes information on traditional therapies, lifestyle choices and more.

Education

Since mesothelioma is a rare disease, a definitive diagnosis may come along with a number of questions and concerns. Open communication with a physician can offer a better understanding of mesothelioma and its treatment options, which, in turn, helps patients play a more active role in their own recovery. Common concerns relating to a mesothelioma diagnosis include the disease’s type, location and stage, as well as questions regarding the risks and side effects associated with certain treatment options. This can help alleviate fears and anxieties, as well as help patients prepare for the treatment stage of recovery.

Psychological Treatment

Understandably, a cancer diagnosis can lead to a variety of issues relating to psychological and emotional health. Many patients experience depression, anxiety, anger, mood swings and other effects, which can interfere with daily activities, as well as impact health and quality of life. Therefore, seeking psychological treatment is often necessary to overall well-being.

Through talk therapy, patients can work through the psychological effects of this disease, as well as formulate coping strategies in the interest of long-term mental health. Plus, support groups, family counseling and other psychological services are conducive to recovery, as they address the varied emotional effects associated with mesothelioma and other types of cancer.

Compensation

In most cases, mesothelioma is a direct result of exposure to asbestos. And since workplace exposure to this toxic substance is extremely common, many patients are entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other factors. For these individuals, law firms specializing in mesothelioma can often prove workplace exposure and recover damages from insurance companies and negligent employers. And while a lawsuit may not aid in physical recovery, it can provide peace of mind and the financial means to seek effective treatment.

Lifestyle Choices

Mesothelioma can have devastating effects on the body, as can the methods used to treat it. For example, chemotherapy, radiation and pain management drugs are associated with a number of uncomfortable effects, some of which include nausea and vomiting, weakness and fatigue, poor body function and sleep disturbances. However, with the following lifestyle choices, patients can improve strength, enhance energy and restore healthy body function:

  • Dietary changes. An unhealthy diet can exacerbate the symptoms of mesothelioma, as well as worsen the side effects of certain therapies and medications. On the other hand, a balanced, nutrient-rich meal plan can help patients build strength, enhance energy, improve digestive function and much, much more.
  • Physical activity. Regular exercise can provide a number of advantages to mesothelioma patients. For example, even mild physical activity, such as yoga or walking, can boost energy, reduce depression and anxiety, improve body function and lend to better quality of sleep.
  • Staying busy. For patients with mesothelioma, staying busy is essential to a healthy recovery. For example, hobbies, relationships, and other interests can help alleviate the emotional and psychological effects of this illness, as well as enhance overall quality of life.

 

Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive disease that is often difficult to treat. And while this illness is associated with a number of symptoms and effects, the tips listed here will help patients aid in their own recovery as they improve health and well-being.

Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive disease that is often difficult to treat. And while this illness is associated with a number of symptoms and effects, the tips listed here will help patients aid in their own recovery as they improve health and well-being.


In 2012, the number of uninsured Americans was around 46 million. That is a slightly lower, but statistically insignificant difference from the previous year’s uninsured numbers. That puts the total uninsured at about 15.4% of the total population. That does not even account for the millions of people who are woefully underinsured.

Even if you make plenty of money, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. That is reason enough to learn a few important facts about health insurance including:

  • How to buy
  • Types of policies
  • Government options

How to buy

43.5% of Americans: that is about 60% of the insured, get their policies through their employer. This is called group insurance. There was a time when this is how over 70% of Americans were insured. With that number decreasing, more people are having to go it on their own. Individual vs. group insurance is a very different animal.

Pre-existing conditions are usually covered under group insurance. The group is big enough to absorb those extra expenses. That is because there are many in that group that will never get sick. As an individual with pre-existing conditions, you will find a different reception. Some companies will simply not do business with you, while others will charge extravagant rates for basic coverage. If you lose your job, you will have a window of opportunity to purchase your existing insurance at a reduced, individual rate.

Outside of work, there are two routes you can choose. You can go through a broker who will research a variety of plans from all the major companies and offer you the one that best fits your needs (think Progressive for car insurance), or you can deal directly with an insurance provider and put together a more full-service package that includes a PPO network, accident protection, and short-term disability such as USHealth Group Private.

Types of policies

The three most common types of insurance are HMOs, PPOs, and Major Medical + HSAs. Health Maintenance Organizations provide the most coverage at the lowest price, and are great for preventative care for the whole family. The serious knocks against HMOs are that they are too restrictive. They are designed to provide care within a specific network of providers and it can be both difficult and expensive to go outside the network. The other negative is that HMO providers are rewarded for limiting medical treatment as much as possible. The idea is that if you keep a person healthy with inexpensive and regular office visits, problems can be identified early, and expensive tests and treatments can be avoided. If your family is reasonably healthy to begin with, this could be a great option to keep them that way.

The biggest difference between an HMO and a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) is that the patient has the freedom to choose any doctor she likes. Usually, a referral is not needed to see a specialist. For this freedom, one can expect to pay a bit more for the policy, as well as higher copays and deductibles. This option removes your primary physician as your medical gatekeeper and gives you more control over your family’s health care.

HSA stands for health savings account. It is not a stand-alone health plan, but is used in conjunction with other health plans. If a person opts for a plan that only covers major medical, they will often have an HSA to go along with it. As the name suggests, an HSA is a savings account used to pay medical bills as they arise. The idea is that you would pay into it monthly, and use it for low-cost services like doctor visits and labs. Your major medical policy is there for big ticket items like hospitalization and surgery. Major medical plans are much less expensive, but only cover major medical. This might be a good plan for someone who never goes to the doctor.

Government options

There are two major sources of government insurance: Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is provided by the state and is based on income. Even as the number of people receiving insurance through work decreases, the number of Medicaid recipients is increasing. For families who have fallen on hard times, this option can provide even more comprehensive coverage than the policy once provided by an employer. Medicare is provided by the state, and is based on disability and age. It is an excellent resource for people with physical challenges.

There is much more to learn about insurance. No one, not even insurance agents can know it all. It is a highly regulated industry for good reason. But this one thing is easy to understand: having no insurance is a very bad thing. Find an agent or agency and start the conversation.


Oscar winning actress, Angelina Jolie, bravely admitted to the world that she underwent breast augmentation after losing both her breasts in a double mastectomy. The news dominated headlines because many people hadn’t heard of such a thing – a woman opting for a preventative procedure, and then admitting to cosmetic surgery. For many, this was the first time they’d heard of a non-superficial reason to garner breast implants.

In an op-ed piece titled “My Medical Choice,” Jolie tells her audience that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which increases her risk of breast cancer to about 87 percent. “I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could,” says Jolie. Her mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56, and Jolie has no plans to leave her children similarly motherless. She writes, “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”

About her breast implants, Jolie has this to say:

“There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”

She’s a brave woman indeed, and she’s helped to open the world’s eyes to alternative reasons to get implants. In truth, there are many reasons a woman chooses to have her breasts augmented. And, no one can argue that Jolie had a perfectly good reason to have her breasts reconstructed, after she lost both of her natural breasts in a double mastectomy.

What are some of the other reasons a women may decide to undergo breast augmentation?

There are many reasons that a woman might opt for breast augmentation, says, leading Baltimore breast augmentation surgeon, Dr. Adam L. Basner. A member of the prestigious Mentor’s Preferred Physicians Program, Dr Basner lists the following reasons as the most popular reasons a woman chooses to undergo breast augmentation surgery:

·To enhance the body contour of a woman who, for personal reasons, feels her breast size is too small

·To restore breast volume lost due to weight loss or following pregnancy

·To achieve better symmetry when breasts are moderately disproportionate in size and shape

·To improve the shape of breasts that are sagging or have lost firmness, often used with a breast lift procedure.

·To provide the foundation of a breast contour when a breast has been removed or disfigured by surgery to treat breast cancer

·To improve breast appearance or create the appearance of a breast that is missing or disfigured due to trauma, heredity, or congenital abnormalities

Studies have shown that a full chest can help a woman achieve a full life.

As it turns out, breast implants, even those garnered for cosmetic reasons, can have a positive effect on one’s life and mental health. According to a study performed by the University of Florida’s College of Nursing, breast implants have psychological benefits, as they improve self-esteem. 84 women were studied before and after surgery. These women reported higher self-esteem and improved sexual satisfaction post-surgery. Thus, leading researchers to determine that breast augmentation has health benefits, especially in women who perceive their breasts as physical deformities.

It seems that breast implants have lived with this stigma of being superficial for too long, but the truth is they have their benefits, and many of the women who have them aren’t superficial at all, but rather simply seeking to improve their life overall.

Parting words from Angelina Jolie:

“Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”