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The Key to Good Caregiving is a Healthy Caregiver

caregiver-stress-prevention-cureIt is estimated that more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. For the vast majority, the deeply personal responsibility of caring for a loved one with a devastating disease constitutes a "labor of love," but caregiving can take a severe emotional and physical toll on those providing it.

In fact, 59 percent of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias rate their emotional stress as high or very high, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

A leading contributor is the fact that caring for a person living with Alzheimer's or another dementia poses special challenges. People in the middle to later stages of Alzheimer's disease experience losses in judgment, orientation and the ability to understand and communicate effectively, leaving family caregivers to help manage these issues.

An even greater stressor for many, however, are the personality and behavioral changes that accompany the disease.

"With Alzheimer's disease, family and friends experience a series of losses," says Ruth Drew, director of Family and Information Services at the Alzheimer's Association. "Watching a family member gradually lose their abilities day by day is extremely painful and stressful."

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5 Steps to Follow Up After a Heart Attack

heart-attack-follow-upAfter a recent heart attack, the road ahead may seem overwhelming, with many new medications, doctor appointments and lifestyle changes to navigate. This is a critical time to embrace a proactive role in your health because a heart attack is not just a one-time event; after a recent heart attack, you are at an even higher risk of having another one. In fact, approximately 200,000 people in the U.S. suffer a recurrent heart attack each year.

After hospital discharge for heart attack or severe chest pain (acute coronary syndrome), it's important to work with your doctor to ensure that you are asking the right questions about your health and have a plan of action for ongoing treatment. Matthew Budoff, MD, Professor of Medicine and Program Director, Division of Cardiology at University of California Los Angeles recommends these five steps to help you feel prepared to take charge of your health.

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Brighten Your Yard This Winter with the Help of Wild Birds

bird-wild-on-feederBright colors aren't often associated with winter - but they can be. In fact, a backyard full of beautiful colors and cheerful chirps may be just a few feedings away.

If you've never fed wild birds before, winter is the perfect time to get started. Opening up your backyard to birds during the coldest months of the year means you are helping sustain them during a time when food and water are scarce.

"The winter months are especially tough on birds," says Seth Estep, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Tractor Supply Company. "By providing them with a clean water source and food to eat, you'll not only enjoy seeing far more of them in your garden, but you'll also be helping them survive and thrive at a time when their natural resources are being threatened."

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Understanding Pinched Nerve Causes and Risk Factors

pinched, nerve, spine, treatment

“Pinched nerve” is a common term used to describe nerve compression, which can develop in a wide variety of body regions, according to Dr. Kaliq Chang, MD of the Atlantic Spine Center. When nerves leading from the spine become pinched, they often trigger symptoms in the arms and legs because these extremities are connected to nerves along the neck and back, respectively. These symptoms can be brief or enduring, minor or severe, or anything in between. Depending on where the pinched nerve is located, symptoms will vary. If it's in the back, you may feel pain in your buttocks that radiates down the legs or feet. If the pinched nerve is in your neck, the arms and hands can be the site of pain, numbness, weakness or tingling.

Many factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, can lead to pinched nerves. Certain factors increase the odds that you'll suffer from a pinched nerve, and Dr. Chang says they include: 

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Involvement in a motor vehicle accident
  • An occupation necessitating repetitive movements or sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history

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Creating Confidence: 8 Steps to Feeling More Self-assured

Creating Confidence: 8 Steps to Feeling More Self-assured
Virtually everyone struggles with a lack of self-confidence at some point in their lives and it's perfectly normal to feel unsure of yourself in certain situations. However, if you find a lack of confidence is holding you back from fully enjoying your personal life, or achieving your professional goals, it may be time to take action.

"There are actually steps you can take to rebuild your confidence, even when you're struggling to feel self-assured," says Susie Moore, a motivational speaker, best-selling author and life coach. "Confidence is a real-life super power that affects every aspect of your life, from your relationships to your career and social life, but it's also more attainable than you think."
Moore shares tips on how you can be your most confident self and live a
fulfilled, unconditional life:

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5 Ideas for Celebrating Grandparents and Forging Deeper Bonds with Family

5 Ideas for Celebrating Grandparents and Forging Deeper Bonds with Family
There's no arguing grandparents have special relationships with their grandchildren. Whether they are a couple hours' drive away or a flight across the country, distance doesn't dissolve this bond.
National Grandparents Day happens every September, but grandparents and families shouldn't have to limit the celebration to just one day of the year. Here are five fun ideas for staying in touch with family, no matter how near or far they live.

Play games online together
Technology can be a wonderful way for different generations to connect long-distance. Beyond phone and video calls, schedule time for grandkids and grandparents to play virtually. There are numerous programs that let players in different locations challenge each other to cards, checkers, chess and more. Interactive sketching apps make drawing or playing tic-tac-toe a breeze from two locations. A little play can make everyone's day.

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Lots of Life Left in Senior Pets

Lots of life left in senior pets
Every day, in shelters all across the country, senior animals are passed over by prospective pet owners. Why? Some people are looking for the energy of a new puppy or feel older dogs offer families too little time. But the truth is, providing a new home for an older animal may bring you a level of companionship you never imagined.
"Any shelter worker will tell you, puppies and kittens get adopted first and older shelter pets have a higher likelihood of being euthanized," says Andrea Arden, a dog trainer who's been featured on Animal Planet and the Today Show. "But if you're considering adoption, there are great reasons to choose a more mature pet."
Older animals can be just as cute and lovable as their younger counterparts. In fact, they often come with many wonderful qualities that take years to develop in younger animals.
Here are a few benefits to consider as you're looking for a forever friend:

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