The importance of friends as we age

At the end of the day, only the good ones, those who really care, those who know us best, are the ones that will stay. Friends are more than just company because now we know that as we age, they become an important part of our happiness equation.

It’s not like we didn’t know the relevance of good friends for every human being, but now there is new research that proves that the friends we keep as we age, will actually have a great impact on our health, and as consequence, in our happiness.

But, how is it that friends could play a bigger role in our wellness than family? Experts say that there are different factors and explanations.

We can start with the obvious reason. Friends are chosen people in our lives, while family members are not an option. It means that you choose people who you find an identity to, people who make you feel good,  and who you can trust.

While friends are only the people you decide to allow in your circle, it means that you have good times with them, you build positive memories around them and it grants you a wellness feeling. On the other hand, family relationships could be monotonous and intense. You can’t just leave or forget about your family, but the friends that are not your perfect fit, the superficial ones, or the ones who are there only to bring drama to your life, are usually left behind to let space only for the good ones.

So, is not crazy to hear now that as a natural reaction, older people tend to trust more their friends and very close family members, like a spouse or children, than any other family members, and is not crazy at all to know that they declare themselves happy and healthy people.

The research about this topic included chronic health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis, and the specialists found that friendships had an impact on senior health levels related with this conditions. In conclusion, if you have good friends, cultivate those relationships, value them and remember that they could be your main support at the end of this road called life.

How’s Your Life Through Social Media?

It’s #SMDay!

Happy Social Media Day! Yes, there is a commemorative day for that. Actually, it’s a global celebration that today completes 8 years. If you think about it, is not crazy. After all, we basically live in two worlds simultaneously: the real one, and the virtual one. The virtual world is the one that helps us to escape from the real one and is a mix of social media platforms.

Thanks to social media we have our loved ones and life friends within the reach of a click. We know now what happened to old classmates we never saw again. We know who’s marrying, divorcing, having babies, dying or welcoming a new life era into this crazy world.

But social media is responsible also for the lack of personal communication between us and the people who live under our own roof. Social media is keeping us far away from our kids, our partners, our parents, and our siblings. A conversation is almost a rarity during a family meal because everybody is busy posting and eating…in that order.

Social media is the heart of the communication around the globe and there is nothing we can do to stop its accelerated and overwhelming growth. What we can do is to be conscious about its use and abuse. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy the benefits of social media and its speed, its immediate effects and its incredible flexibility to find or post content.

Every day is a learning process. Social media offers updates, tools, and developments made to facilitate our lives, not to hinder our interpersonal relationships. Itś in our hands, literally!

We carry the world in our hands, we can connect with whoever we want with a simple click, but we can also use those wonderful technological benefits only when we really need so.

Every app, every platform, and every site are there, always! We make the decision to use them or not, and how.

Let’s celebrate these great tools that modern times and technology are giving us thinking about the relationship we have with social media. We can commemorate this anniversary evaluating how healthy or not is our link to those platforms.

It is #SMDay and we can make it bigger and more important for our own sake. Again, it’s in our hands.

Traveling light is not only comfortable, it is healthy.

Planning a trip is a complex project that could be fantastic for you, or it can drive you crazy, depending on how you handle the situation.

The organization is the key. Is not a bad idea to write down every step of your plan, but overall, is never a bad idea to think ahead what you will need for your trip in terms of baggage, clothing, shoes, etc.

Yes, we all want to bring “all we need” to our vacation spot but, what is what we really need? That’s the first question you have to ask yourself, and please be honest while answering because you may end up carrying 4 suitcases instead of 2, or even 1.

What’s the difference between 1 or 4 suitcases if anyway all of them will go on the plane or the car? Well, every year thousands of people suffer from luggage-related injuries, and that’s a reality. In the simple act of lifting or carrying for a few minutes or even seconds your suitcase, you can get a painful injury that will ruin your trip before it actually starts.

Sports medicine physicians have a few tips for you so you can enjoy every step of your vacation without an unwanted injury caused by heavy or overloaded baggage. The process to avoid one of those injuries starts with the packing and the type of suitcase you use:

  • Large and heavy bags are difficult to control. Try using small or medium suitcases.
  • Wheeled luggage is the most comfortable and easy to move around.
  • Avoid buying a cheap suitcase. The wheels might not be strong enough.
  • It’s not only about how much you pack, but also how you pack it. Distribute the weight.

Once you are ready to check or carry your suitcases, have in mind these simple steps:

  • Bend your knees always.
  • Your knees and hips should be firmly engaged while lifting objects from the floor.
  • Keeping the suitcases close to your body will help you on the lifting.

Remember that your time off should be happy and enjoyable. Maybe you can live without that huge hair dryer, the dozen of high heels, or the 2 computers you plan to pack. After all, is vacation time, free time. Free yourself from that and enjoy a simpler, lighter and definitely healthier trip.

Napping is becoming a world trending

It’s not a luxury, but a necessity.

If you feel sleepy and tired after lunch, if your energy levels decrease to the point that you can’t even think or focus, you are not alone. The number of people suffering from sleep deprivation in the United States grows alarmingly due to a lifestyle that doesn’t give a break to rest.

Nappers were popular in the past, but modernity ended up almost extinguishing them in our country. Personalities like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were known by the appreciation they had for a good nap before the end of their day. Seems like they got great benefits from their breaks to sleep in the middle of their day, right?

So, if important people like them benefited from naps, why not us? Although naps don’t restore the lost sleep, if you have the chance to sleep for at least 20 minutes when you feel tired in the middle of your daily routine, it would represent a boost in your energy, and in your state of mind.

Now, according to Sleep Experts, the length of your nap determines the benefits you can get from it. Therefore, if you nap for 20 minutes, you will perceive benefits in your motor skills, attention, and alertness. It sounds good, right? Well, this will sound even better to you: A 60 to 90 minutes nap not only offers all we mentioned before, but it also makes new brain connections and refreshes your creative functions.

Napping is so important that there is a whole classification of naps:

  • Emergency napping: When you feel suddenly tired and your regular activities, like driving, or operating a heavy machine are affected, an Emergency Nap could help you to fight fatigue and to continue with your day without risking your wellness.
  • Planned napping: You know your body, and you probably know at what point of the day you will feel tired. Prepare yourself to rest with a nap before the fatigue takes control over you.
  • Habitual napping: Just like babies take a nap around the same time every day, adults can do the same. Taking a recurrent nap when you know you will need it, is an increasing practice.

If you still have doubts about napping, don’t feel bad. The guilty will disappear when you know that big companies like Google, Zappos, Capital One, Ben & Jerry’s and PwC allow their employees to nap at work.

It is real! Addiction to smartphones is not a fantasy.

Find out if you are addicted to your smartphone

Just like happens with alcohol, food, or drugs, if you overuse your smartphone you might be at risk of developing an addiction.

This is not a mom theory, or the typical adult speech to a teenager, it is a reality proved by science and medical experts.

The most recent warning came from experts at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, who have said that there are two warning signs we can detect for smartphone addictions. The first one is when your device is interfering with your life. The other one is when you get withdrawal symptoms when you try cutting back.

Now, as in any other addiction case, it’s not easy to accept we have a problem, and it’s even more difficult to take action to fight against it. However, there are certain things that we can start doing at least to determine if the use of the smartphone is already a problem or is on its way to become one. Here are some questions you should ask yourself, and be honest!

  1. Are you having concentration issues at work because of the use of your smartphone?
  2. If you don’t have your device at hand, are you constantly thinking about it and you get irritated?
  3. How often do you check your phone? Probably, more than it should be?
  4. Have you had comments or critics from friends and family about the overuse of your smartphone?

The first step is to recognize where are you on the addiction zone. If you are already there, or getting closer, it is time to do something.

Again, as in any other addiction problem, there is a process that might not be easy, but it could be your ticket to get out of a serious problem…because it is serious.

Let’s start by setting aside the phone for a few hours every day. It could be as soon as you get home, it could be during your lunch break, or at any time of the day, but it is important to be constant, to have goals and to keep those goals in mind.

Talk to your friends and family to establish together some rules of use while being on a social activity or at meals time. It will help all of you.

Once you start learning how to separate from your device for a few hours every day, you can go to the next step. Instead of charging the smartphone in your bedroom, do it in a different place of your home. It will help you to avoid the temptation to use it at night or early in the morning.

Nobody said it was going to be easy but it is definitely possible and it will be very positive!

Support and Service Animals, What You Need to Know

They are loyal, unconditional, always happy to see us, never mad at us. Pets are without a doubt the most pure love we can find, only after the one between parents and children. A pet won’t expect from you nothing more than love and care.

Over time we have discovered that dogs, for example, are great for kids and sick people. Now some dogs are not only allowed, but required to be present at certain hospitals where they can offer that unique love to lonely, depressed or very specific patients. They are considered Therapy Animals and they need to have obedience training. Their primary purpose is to provide affection and comfort to people in hospices, disaster areas, hospitals, nursing homes, or retirement homes. They are great also for patients with learning disabilities.

Now, Service Animals, just like those who are a guide for blind people or patients with other physical conditions are dogs, or in some cases miniature horses, trained to perform major tasks to assist people with physical disabilities. In order to be a service animal, they have to be certified on their training, and those who qualify to have a Service Animal are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Now, there are patients who suffer from other kind of conditions like phobias, anxiety, depression, or stress due to a specific situation. They might find relief having an animal by their side. In this case, they could qualify to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), and usually, they are dogs, cats or other animals that are not required to be trained to perform a specific task. However, in order to have an ESA, the animal has to be prescribed for a person by a licensed therapist, like a mental health professional, in a formal letter that should state the need of the animal for the treatment of that person.

ESAs are protected by the Air Carrier Access Act  and the Fair Housing Amendments. Those laws protect an emotionally disabled person and his or her Emotional Support Animal. However, and different from the Service Animals, other businesses, places or institutions, like restaurants, hotels or stores are not obligated by law to admit your ESA.

While we have seen an increase on the number of Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals, it is important to understand the difference between those categories and over all, the importance and seriousness of their role in someone’s life. If you believe you may qualify to have a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal, talk to you physician and ask all the questions you need.

Little Things Make Big Memories

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day for our Senior patients. We wanted not only to thank them for entrusting us to take care of their health, but also to offer them a nice evening, a moment of happiness and joy that sometimes is difficult to have in the middle of the crazy routines we all are immersed on.

We spend weeks planning every detail to make of this one, a beautiful event. The idea was to show our appreciation and love with little things that together would make a great memory for all of us.

Well, we ended up receiving the presents and the gifts, because every single person who attended our Mother’s Day Celebration brought a big smile, the best attitude and the lovely intention to spend a couple of hours with us. They gave us the gift of their presence and their joy…they made our day!

Sometimes is difficult to appreciate little things that can make a big difference in someone’s life. We take for granted moments, people, situations and feelings, and reality is that we don’t even take the time to enjoy those things, but our wonderful guests at this beautiful celebration knew exactly why they were there. They were excited about the music, a simple balloon ripped the smile out of some of them, some muffins and pastries made them happy, and you can’t imagine how long the line was for a massage!

They probably have all that at home, or they could if they would want to, but what we realized is that all together, at the same time, in the same space, was what made the magic.

Hopefully new friendships arose from that event, and some stress was liberated, or maybe someone forgot a problem at least for those hours. If we accomplished at least one of those things, we can say we did good! To all the patients, their relatives and friends who brought them, to the new faces that visited us for the first time, and to all our great staff, Thank You! One more time, we confirmed that we are serving a great community!.