Why is DIVORCE during and after retirement on the rise?

Protect your marriage
Protect your marriage from the stresses of divorce

Divorce around retirement – You’ve seen it in pop culture, in famous people. And, you’ve likely seen it in your own community. It won’t be surprising if you are seeing this trend in your own family, even your own marriage.

The incidence of divorce over age 50 is experiencing a sharp rise. It has nearly TRIPLED since 1990. (Interestingly, the divorce rate among younger adults under age 40 is declining). So, why are the Boomer’s divorcing at an unprecedented rate?

The role of RETIREMENT in divorce

Retirement is one of the top 10 biggest life adjustments. It is a time of huge transition ranking right up there with marriage, having children, moving, and loss of a loved one.

Many people enter retirement unprepared. They often haven’t thought about the daily changes, the sudden loss of routine, and the sudden increase in togetherness time with their spouse.

In a perfect, romantic world, more time together is exactly what each couple wants. Nothing in life is perfect, at least not for long.

That’s not to say that marriages can’t thrive in retirement. They absolutely can. But that usually requires some communication, compromise, and adjusted expectations.

A healthy marriage in retirement

Both partners have a lot of change to navigate with retirement. Time spent together usually increases. Either partner might find that restrictive. The more we are together, the more complicated communication can be as well. (It is much easier to say the wrong thing when you’re talking more).

  1. The most important step to a healthy marriage in retirement is to talk about it before it happens, or at least before relations get very hurtful after retirement. Rarely do both partners have a clear picture of what retirement will really be like. But, both have some ideas of what they want it to be like. How much have you talked about this?
  2. Until it happens, sometimes people don’t even know what might annoy, frustrate, or stifle them in retirement. Agree to be open with one another as these stumbling blocks present themselves. Recognize that they will occur, and before they are personal or hurtful, calmly talk about them.
  3. Plan for how you will maintain some independent interests and activities. If you have had only a few hours in the evening and on the weekends together for decades, 24/7 togetherness can be overwhelming.
  4. Talk about expectations. What are common aspirations, plans, and desires? Unmet expectations are almost always at the center of a divorce. Often, one doesn’t know what the other was expecting until the relationship is too far-gone. Don’t let that happen.
    1. I’ve seen examples where one person wants to travel while the other wants to stay home.
    2. Sometimes one has always dreamed of taking couples dance lessons and the other would rather do anything but that.
    3. A big issue I’ve seen is one spouse wants a lot of togetherness going and doing things while the other wants to spend most time with the grandchildren.
  5. Include the more intimate parts of your relationship in your planning. This is an area of frequent mismatch in expectations. There is NO truth that sex ends at a particular age. It is very helpful when partners can open discuss these expectations and honor what motivates the other partner to share the same desires.

Planning is key

Don’t leave your marriage to chance after retirement. Recognize that retirement is a major life transition. Respect the wide range of emotions and adjustments each partner will make.

Retirement Wellness Strategies is here to help!   Let us help you preserve your health and strategically plan for all aspects of your retirement such that it is Meaningful, Active, Sustained, and Healthy!

Learn more at www.retirewellness.com, michelle@retirewellness.com, or call 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Marriage is sacred. Marriage vows are committed in the presence of God and witnesses.

Yet, marriage can be very hard. Marriages go through good and bad times (as usually stated in the vows).

Today’s culture values feelings over commitment. Culture supports and sometimes even promotes greater focus on self than on a partner.

I know so many lovely people who have experienced the trauma of divorce. Know that you are deeply loved. God knows the details. Give the grief, disillusionment, and any other feelings over to him who can heal all wounds.

Where have you made mistakes in your marriage?

When have you put yourself above your spouse?

When have you been hurtful and unkind?

When have you taken your marriage for granted?

I believe all married people have done these things. We all have difficult days.

The commitment of marriage doesn’t mean sunshine and roses.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

There’s a reason these verses list all of the ways we mess up in marriage or any love relationship.

If you feel like you’ve done it all wrong, don’t give up hope. Love comes from God, and He can fill your love bucket at any time…just ask. Love is so much more than a mushy feeling.

Ephesians 5:33 ESV

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

1 John 4:7 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

I pray your love and marriage are resilient. If your marriage has officially ended, I pray you find healing, forgiveness, and hope for a bright new future. God is good!

Blessings,

Michelle

 

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Retirement preparation

The best laid plans… When retirement is unnecessarily too short

Retirement preparation
Retirement should be meaningful, active, sustained, and healthy.

I am sad.

I am surprised.

I am mad.

So, I need to take action.

Retirement is often not the golden age of happiness that is dreamed.

Retirement is a MAJOR life transition – up there with marriage, having children, and moving.

I have been researching more and more about retirement. As a healthcare professional, I have seen TOO MANY people lying in a hospital bed with their future retirement plans dashed. And, TOO MANY times, this event that led to the hospital could have been prevented. If only things had gone differently hours, days, months, or years earlier, this hospital visit could have been avoided.

Role of Medication Use

Medication use plays a part in these avoidable events at least 80% of the time. There are many ways medication can be part of the problem:

  1. Not taking a medication that is prescribed.
  2. Taking too much of the medication.
  3. Taking too little of the medication.
  4. Taking a medication for one thing that makes another problem worse.
  5. Taking medications that are not safe together.
  6. Having a severe side effect from a medication.
  7. Not seeking medical care for a problem that should be treated with medication.
  8. Taking a medication when no medication is needed.

And then there are multiple variations of each of these issues.

Medications are not benign.

Medications are not all bad.

Medications can save lives.

Preparing for the future

Sometimes the preventable problem is related to lack of planning for retirement.

Most people think of MONEY when they think of retirement planning. There are many professionals who dedicate their career to helping people secure the finances for retirement. Others focus on insurance and protection of assets.

Few have made plans for the enormous lifestyle transition that is retirement. Those who especially struggle with the transition are:

  • people who are very busy at work with a lot of responsibility,
  • those who always have people lined up to talk with them,
  • those who are the decision makers, and
  • those who run the company.

Work Withdrawal

The withdrawal from the daily demands of work can be similar to any other withdrawal from an addiction. Symptoms the first few days can include:

  • sense of loss
  • restlessness
  • frustration
  • anger
  • palpitations
  • sense of loss

Later withdrawal symptoms can be:

  • depression
  • despondence
  • loneliness
  • feelings of inadequacy or irrelevance
  • anger
  • lack of concentration
  • irritability

Planning for Retirement

Finding the retirement years of your dreams takes planning. How will you prepare for the first day the phone no longer rings, people are no longer lined up outside your office, and the big decisions are made without your input?

We dream of retirement practically from the time we start working. The thought of a break from the pressure sounds wonderful. Then it happens…

I have talked to many men, most thinking they had planned well for retirement, who are then surprised and disappointed when the realities of the transition hit. Others plan to never retire to avoid going through this.

A successful transition to many happy years and a long delay of functional decline is possible!!!

Contact us today at www.retirewellness.com, or call 410-472-5078, or e-mail michelle@retirewellness.com.

BIBLICATION APPLICATION

Retirement is a Biblical concept. We are designed for a period of rest from work, but not from ministry.

Going back to the Levites –

Numbers 8:23-26 ESV

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.

And how wonderful to have a phase of life where you keep doing the joyous parts and let the hard work go!

Acts 20:24 ESV

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

It might feel frightening to let go of a decades-long career and enter the unknown of retirement. Then again, that is right where you should be, and God can use you in amazing ways!

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Philippians 1:6 ESV / 67 helpful votes

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 71:17 MSG

You got me when I was an unformed youth,
    God, and taught me everything I know.
Now I’m telling the world your wonders;
    I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.

Consider how God wants to use you in retirement. What blessings are just around the corner, when you give the part of your life completely over to His guidance?

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Take in-date medications in 2018!

New Year’s Resolution, Remove Expired Medications

Take in-date medications in 2018!
As you start 2018, take the time to dispose of expired medications

The new year is upon us. I hope your 2017 has been full of happy memories and joyous occasions. Now, as we move on to 2018, I have a New Year’s challenge for you. I challenge you to take only in-date medications; remove and properly dispose of expired meds.

WHY worry about the expiration date?

Sometimes we think expiration dates are just there to make us keep buying new medicine. But, in reality, there are TWO big reasons expiration dates are important. Extensive research is done when medications are created to determine for how long they are effective and safe. This date, when either changes, is the expiration date.

Past this date the medicine will not work as well. If you take a medicine to control your blood sugar that is expired, it might not lower your blood sugar as much. If you take an expired medicine for pain, your pain might not go away.

The other risk is a safety risk. Chemicals change over time. Have you ever opened an outdated bottle of aspirin? It smells like vinegar. That is because it changes into new chemicals over time, one of which is vinegar. Other medicines change into chemicals that can be extremely dangerous.

It is not worth the risk.

HOW do I check and dispose of expired meds?

Go through ALL of the medications in your house, cars, purse, etc. Check the expiration date on each one. If it is expired, put it in your discard pile. (But don’t throw it in the trash just yet, there are two more steps).

Next remove all labels that contain information about you or your family. Shred or cut up the label. If you can’t get the label off, scratch out your name and prescription number at least. This is one of many forms of possible identity theft.

Now comes the tricky part. What do you do with all of these medications? There is not an easy answer. In order of ‘best options’, dispose of them in one of these ways:

  1. Take them to a ‘Medication Take-Back’ event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Or call the DEA’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539
  2. Talk with your local pharmacist to see if you pharmacy can dispose of medication. Check this link for participating pharmacies: http://disposemymeds.org/medicine-disposal-locator/ Or, your pharmacist should know who in your community does dispose of medication, if there is a source.
  3. Follow the guidelines in this recently updated FDA directive: https://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm
  4. Dump them out of their bottles and put with kitty litter, coffee grounds, or something else that you can’t eat. Then, seal the container and put it UNMARKED in a garbage bag and out with the garbage.
    1. DO NOT flush the medication or put it down the drain. This leads to it reaching the water supply. This used to be encouraged, and now many medicines/hormones/chemicals have been found in the water supply.
    2. Ultimately, putting them in the trash can lead to them being in the water supply as the trash breaks down and leaches into the ground.
    3. This is why an official ‘take-back’ event is the safest option.

REPLACE the medications you occasionally use

As you are sorting out your expired medicines, keep a list of those you use so you can replace them. If it is a prescription medicine, your can see on the label if there are refills remaining. Note, for non-controlled medicines, there are usually available for up to a year. For controlled medicines, the time might be shorter. If you are beyond that time, and you still need the medicine, call your physician to inquire about another prescription.

As you are replacing medicine, over-the-counter medicine, vitamins, and supplements, know that generic versions are just as good as brand. I purchase generic for my family. They have been carefully tested and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to assure they contain the same key ingredients and work the same.

This is an important step in your New-Year’s fresh start. It is important for your safety and the safety of your family.

Happy New Year!

For more information about expired medication and proper disposal, contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact, call 410-472-5078, or e-mail michelle@medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We are entering a new year. It can be a time to think of fresh starts and hope for the future. It is a great time to reflect on how your life has been changed through your faith.

At the moment we give our life to Christ, we know that our old self is gone. We now live a NEW life in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What a refreshing reminder! Bask in the glow of your new life in Christ as you enter this new year.

I challenge you to take a challenge I FINALLY took in 2015 and again in 2017. Read the Bible from cover to cover. I have read my Bible, participated in Bible studies, had several Bible-based lessons, but I had never actually read it start to finish. It has been so enlightening! So many things make more sense. And I hear from those who have done this several times, the insights are new and different each time.

I am praying you will be richly blessed in 2018,

Michelle

 

Finding true JOY this Christmas 2017

Joy
Find and experience the true joy that can be yours this Christmas and forever – no matter what 2017 has brought your way.

This has been a complex year; downright difficult for many people.

Yet this is a season of hope and joy. (Not the happy, exuberant, all is perfect kind of joy; the hope in the one-true-God type of joy).

Joy Defined

Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy but joy is also gift.”

Why is Christmas so special? Christmas is the birth of the joy and a demonstration of God’s love for each of us:

For those who lost loved-ones who were senselessly murdered

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose loved ones were killed in the hurricanes

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose loved ones were killed in the fires

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who lost loved ones from any means

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those whose lives were turned upside down by natural disasters

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who experienced major disappointments

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who are disillusioned by the political divide in this country and elsewhere

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who are disgusted by the reports of harassment

                                                                                                His love endures forever

For those who feel like they are spiraling out of control

                                                                                                His love endures forever

 

Romans 8:31-32, 38-39 NLT (I encourage you to read this whole chapter)

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are going to face terrible trials in this life. No one is exempt. Yet we are given countless opportunities in this life to experience God’s never-ending love. That is where we find the peace and joy.

I pray you seek and find this JOY this Christmas!

Blessings,

Michelle

Attitude – the choice is yours and the impact is huge for your health!

Attitude
Choose your attitude each day, and make it a good one for your health!

Is your attitude the RESULT of what is happening around you? Is it the RESULT of what others do to you? Is it the RESULT of your life circumstances? —-OR—-Is your attitude your CHOICE?

I propose your attitude is your CHOICE!

We live in such a blame society. People are called haters, shamers, intolerant, biased, and worse.

So often we try to claim that others made us the way we are – sullen, angry, withdrawn, hurt, rejected.

We give others and situations the power to determine how we are going to go through each day and how we are going to approach life.

If you are a balloon bouncing in the winds of circumstances, there is hope!

How to choose your attitude

What are your first thoughts in the morning? How do you approach your day? What music do you choose? What do you read, think about, and how do you plan for your day?

These aspects of your life are associated with maintaining health even in the midst of negative events:

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

The items on this list have all been linked with improved health.

And I will add having a source of HOPE. I believe hope is powerful in the midst of difficulty.

Gratitude and attitude

Another way of thinking that improves your attitude and your health is gratitude. For what are you thankful? No matter how many bad things are around you, what is good? You’re still here if you’re reading this! What parts of your body work? What are you able to do? Who do you care about? Where are your safe places? Where is the beauty around you – pictures, nature, architecture, music, literature, videos, clouds, trees, or babbling water?

Find those good things and be thankful for them. Fill your bucket with all of the good in your life. It makes the bad much more tolerable.

Make it about someone else

Doing something for or being kind to someone else can be a real attitude adjuster. Rather than focus on yourself and your own needs, raise your head and look at the people around you. Find something small you can do to make someone else’s day. You will be amazed that you benefit from those actions at least as much as the person you blessed.

Health benefits of a good attitude

No one can choose your attitude except YOU! This is such a liberating concept. In the midst of and despite the difficulties of life, you can each day CHOOSE to have a GOOD attitude!

When you do, your physical health (blood pressure, breathing, kidney function); your mental health (calm, clearer thinking, more creativity); your emotional health (less reactive, more even emotions); and your spiritual health (happiness, hope, joy) benefit.

For more information about how you can choose your own attitude and the health benefits, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact, michelle@medsmash.com, or call at 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Choosing and displaying a good attitude consistently is one of the best ways you can ‘let your light shine’. The world is craving examples of ‘good’ in the midst of the struggles of life.

Proverbs 15:30 NIV

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.

Most people are pushed and pulled and slammed against the wall when events happen. It’s hard to catch your breath, let alone be positive, if you don’t have some anchor.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Psalm 112:7 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

John 16:33 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We have eternal hope and joy to hold onto in the midst of anything that happens. We have the assurances of God that we are never alone.

1 Thes 5:16-18 NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8 :28 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

If you haven’t heard Francesca Battistelli’s song, Where Were You?, I highly encourage you to listen.

Yes, the difficulties of life will keep coming at you. You know they will, but those are the very events that allow us to grow deeper in our faith and find that hope that keeps our attitude good in the midst of everything.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Choose your good attitude each day and let it shine for the world to see!

Blessings,

Michelle

Gratitude, love, and health

Celebrating the Glory of Today – Gratitude and Love

Gratitude, love, and health
Gratitude for beauty and blessings improves health.

We spend so much of our time thinking about tomorrow, planning for tomorrow, working for tomorrow, hoping and dreaming for tomorrow. But tomorrow is never here, and we’ve learned that over and over.

We’ve seen so many examples lately of the value of living in the moment. There is value in loving those around you each and every day. You never know which is that last day.

Rather than be depressed about that, we can claim the joy and the opportunities of each day that presents itself to us.

Seasons of Loss

We have lost a dear friend in the last couple of weeks. He was someone who was always thinking of and giving to others. He was a very strong-in-his-faith man. He died in a freak accident doing what he does best – helping others. He was building a Habitat for Humanity house. We will never know what happened. The freak accident occurred, and he was suddenly gone.

A tiny baby died in his sleep at two months. There was so much promise there. Why was that child taken at such a young age?

Then we see the news stories of people harming one another. It seems there are more and more stories of mass deaths and of people managing conflict with murder.

The tragedies of nature have taken even more lives and wreaked havoc in many parts of the world.

It’s been such a heavy season of so many people taken at a time no one would have expected.

How do we keep moving forward?

So with that in mind, how can we live each day to its fullest? The more we live in gratitude and love and recognize the joys that are around us in spite of the tragedies, the more healthy we are.   It lowers our blood pressure and anxiety levels. It lowers our risk for heart attack and stroke.

Gratitude and Love

Gratitude and love allow us to think so much clearly. They take us out of that worry mode and in to a more creative space in our brain. We think more clearly, can be more rational, and recognize the good when our brain is fully functioning at calmer times. This calm allows our breathing to slow. It allows us to really see the things around us rather than be so focused on what’s ahead.

I encourage everyone to take a deep breath. Love on the people who are around you. Look around with joy and gratitude at the many blessings that you do have.

Remember with fond memories, and hopefully with some tears and laughter, those who we’ve lost.

Let this be a day of renewed health and joy and love.

At Meds MASH we would love to talk with you more about the benefits of gratitude and love. You can reach us at www.medsmash.com/contact; michelle@medsmash.com; or 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

As worshippers and faithful followers of Christ, we are instructed over and over the Bible to praise and worship and show our love through gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you tried making gratitude your very first morning event, before you even crawl out of bed? I find when I start my day in thanks it sets the tone for a much better day. I can be grateful for the fact that a whole new day is before me, and once I get started, there are SO many things to list. Even the warm bed and blankets are a gift that not everyone shares. It’s so easy to take home and family and jobs and clothes and food and friends for granted.

James 1:17 ESV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Start your day with gratitude and joy and just see where it heads from there!

Psalm 118:24 ESV

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

When you are sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, or feeling your hope dampen, count your blessings.

Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

And finally, remember, His love endures forever!

Psalm 118:1-18 ESV

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …

Blessings,

Michelle

Prevent falls; manage changes

Fall Changes, Falls, and Your Changes

Prevent falls; manage changes
Physical changes can increase risk of falls.

In Maryland, the leaves are turning beautiful fall colors. The air is crisp more often, and that fuzzy blanket feels good at night! The move from summer to autumn makes itself known in obvious and in subtle ways.

Throughout life, your body makes changes, too. Some are obvious. Some are subtle.

Many of these changes increase your risk for falls and/or injury with a fall.

Obvious changes

  • Joints get stiffer
  • Lung capacity gradually decreases – you might get short of breath easier
  • Skin gets drier as overall body water content decreases
  • Vision changes, especially your ability to see up close
  • Skin and tissues get looser

Subtle changes

These changes are usually caught when your doctor monitors your labs, your urine, or does a physical exam.

  • Kidneys slow down
  • Liver slows down
  • Bones get less dense (hard)
  • Reflexes aren’t as quick
  • Risk for urinary track infection goes up
  • Hormone production changes – for men and women

Association with falls

As we move slower, have more joint pain, lose some of our range of motion, and reflexes slow, the risk of falls goes up. As senses such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, and even taste change, these also increase the risk of falls.

The kidney and liver changes are especially important as we think about the impact on how our body handles medications. The liver is the key organ that breaks down medicines in our body. The kidney is one of the primary ways they are then removed. So, as our kidneys and liver slow down, for many medicines, we need lower doses. Sometimes, at some point in the decline of kidneys or liver, some medications should NOT be used at all.

Falls can lead to losing your ability to walk, run, climb stairs, and be as active as you would like to be.

Remember, with accumulated years we also grow in wisdom, in maturity, and learn to count the blessings in our lives! Graceful aging is a beautiful thing. I just don’t want you to fall!

Call us at Meds MASH for a thorough assessment of your current changes, your medications, and ways to decrease your risk of falls. This is one of our specialties! Michelle is one of the creators of a comprehensive falls risk assessment.

You can reach Michelle at michelle@medsmash.com; 410-472-5078; www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICATION APPLICATION

Our bodies aren’t the only things that change with time. Our Christian walk is also a journey with twists and turns. Ideally it is an uphill climb to more maturity. But without practice and several bumps in the road, it can be a very flat journey.

Ephesians 4:14-15 ESV

So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Growing, learning, and changing take effort and dedication. Practice makes perfect. I don’t expect any of us will reach perfect until Heaven, but practice can certainly help us with improvement.

Hebrews 5:12-13 ESV

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

To grow and change, we take risks, learn from our mistakes, and gain confidence as God sees us through each obstacle.

James 1:1-27 ESV

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. …

Romans 5:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Rather than avoid the changes that include hardship, know that God will get you through them, and you will grow and change in beautiful ways with each piece of the journey.

Blessings,

Michelle

Learn How YOU Can Be a Life Saving Hero – Cape Optional!

Be a hero to prevent opioid overdose deaths
Be a super hero and save a life! Save opioid overdose deaths.

We need a hero! People are dying at alarming rates. Who is your favorite superhero? Have you ever dreamed of being a superhero? Can you picture yourself as a hero? [I’m curious, in your vision, are you wearing a superhero cape? What color?]

The need for a hero

The rate of overdose and overdose deaths is rising rapidly. It is hard to even fathom this epidemic. In particular, overdose rates with opiates are skyrocketing. Opiates are pain medications such as oxycodone, Percocet®, Oxycontin®, hydrocodone, Vicodin®, methadone, Fentanyl®, and more. An illegal opiate that is readily available is heroin. Now there are batches of heroin that are ‘cut’ with other drugs such as fentanyl and carfentanyl (used to sedate elephants). These mixtures are getting more and more dangerous.

The way these drugs are fatal are that they stop the breathing process. At low doses, for the treatment of pain, most people take prescription opiates and are fine. As the pain lessens, the use of the opiate should lesson. However, for some people the brain starts to beg for more and more. As the brain gets huge amounts of excitement through neurotransmitters such as dopamine, the rest of the body says, ‘Whoa, that is way too much!’ The body stops making its own supply of these neurotransmitters and it shuts down the receptors that move them along. So, it takes bigger and bigger doses to get the same effect. And, if someone suddenly stops taking the drug, withdrawal starts. This is a terrible feeling with nausea, vomiting, chills, agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, yawning, and more.

Not everyone who takes an opiate for their pain will ever feel this rush of excitement and have their brain demand more. One of the many problems right now, is there is no way to know who will get this rush of excitement that can lead to addiction and who won’t. People with a risk for addiction some in every age, gender, size, race, financial pattern, level of education, and geographic area.

There are many available statistics. Here are some from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids.
  • As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
  • Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.

How you can be a hero

To be a hero, you just need to carry and know –

  • When
  • Why
  • How

to give Narcan® to someone who has overdosed on an opiate.

Naloxone is a medication that can block the receptors to opiates. When given, it puts the person is immediate withdrawal. If someone has overdosed and is either sound asleep and can’t be woken or has stopped breathing, naloxone can block those receptors and wake them up. If the overdose very recently occurred, it can help breathing start again. Naloxone can save the life of someone who has overdosed!

Outside of a healthcare setting, there are two products regular people are likely to use to save a life.

If you suspect an overdose, try to wake the person. When they don’t respond to shaking and talking to them, try rubbing their breastbone with your knuckles. If no response, TREAT!

  • Narcan® is a nasal spray
    • Put index and middle finger on either side of the nozzle
    • Put the nozzle in the nose
    • Push the plunger
  • Evzio® is an injection that goes into the thigh
    • The device tell you what to do
    • Remove the red cap
    • Put the device against the thigh
    • Push the button
    • Hold until the 5 second countdown is complete

The sudden withdrawal from the medication might cause the person to vomit or two be very surprised and angry. It does not feel good to be in sudden withdrawal.

It DOES feel good to be alive!

Call 911 to continue the person’s care and to help them into rehabilitation.

Note, depending on the opiate dose that was taken, after 2-3 minutes the person might need another dose if they go back to sleep. This is SUCH a brief description. Call us to talk about this in more detail at 410-472-5078, or e-mail me at michelle@medsmash.com, or contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

What is our role in this sad, alarming epidemic? Why is this happening? What are so many people struggling with addiction?

Are addicts bad people? Are they being punished? Are they ‘those people’? Before the addiction, were they different from you and your family?

I know many have these opinions about ‘them’.

I challenge you to respond with compassion and love for all people. Until a discovery is made of the ‘addiction gene’ or addiction identifier, each and every person prescribed an opiate beyond the time or dose needed for their pain or experimenting with an opiate could find him/herself instantly struggling with addiction.

I know some of you will disagree with the following, and I would love to hear from you.

I wonder how much of the current opiate addiction overdose epidemic is a sign of our stressed out time and how much is a challenge for us to demonstrate the length we will go to be compassionate and care for each other.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Galatians 6:2 ESV

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Matthew 7:12 ESV

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Zechariah 7:8-10 ESV

And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

I encourage you to rise to the occasion to show compassion, learn more, and save lives. You can contact me at michelle@medsmash.com

Blessings,

Michelle

Kindness improves your health!

Kindness, Care of Others, and Your Health

Kindness improves your health!
Choose kindness to improve your health

When was the last time you did something for someone else? When is the last time you were kind? When did you do something for someone else expecting nothing in return? Kindness is so good for your health!

This is not just my idea. Kindness and thinking of others rather than always thinking about yourself is promoted by most of the world’s religions. All of the major religions encourage treating other people the way we want to be treated. If we would find something hurtful, then we shouldn’t do that thing to other people.

In my mind, if all of the major religions of the world agree to this basic principle, then it might truly be good for you!

Kindness is a choice

Good, beautiful things happen all around you every day.

Discouraging, annoying, negative things happen all around you every day.

Which do you notice more?

Is your first, natural reaction a kind one – or – a negative one?

We might tell ourselves that events are happening TO us, but the reality is, we get to choose our reaction. Our response is in our own control.

Maybe you haven’t always exercised that control, but you can choose kindness over a more negative response.

When we focus on other people, we both benefit!

Kindness and health

As I’ve researched this I have been amazed at all of the studies, literature, and measurements of the health benefits of kindness. Noticing, caring for, and being kind to other people has a positive benefit throughout our whole body.

Kindness is good for your mental and your physical health!

Here are just a few of the changes that YOU will experience when you are kind:

  • More relaxed
  • Less focused on your own pain, mood, worries
  • More positive outlook
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Decreased loneliness and helplessness
  • Sense of feeling connected

Kindness has also been shown to:

  • Help with weight control
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Decrease your acid reflux in your stomach
  • Boost your immune system
  • Help you sleep better
  • Decrease your pain

Truly, there is so much to gain! When you are kind, the whole world feels like a brighter place.

I have seen medication use decrease, overall health increase, and people love their life so much more when they decided to practice kindness.

For more information, a list of references, or just to chat about this topic, please contact me at michelle@medsmash.com; 410-472-5078; or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Kindness is at the heart of the Golden Rule. When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, here was his response:

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

If you are loving your neighbor as yourself, then you are good, kind, helpful, understanding, forgiving, and loving.

We all long to be loved. We all like when kindness is shared with us.

I propose we were designed to express and experience kindness as a key element of our lives.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 11:17 ESV

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

Kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I encourage each of us to practice kindness. When tempted to have an angry, frustrated, or negative response, stop and consider the choice of kindness.

Blessings,

Michelle

2% have great med regimens

Are you part of the 2% with a perfect medication regimen? I hope so!

2% have great med regimens
Are you in the 2% with a perfect med regimen or part of the 98% with room for improvement?

After thousands of patients and over 20 years of collecting data, I consistently find that 2% of the patients I see don’t need any medication change.   I hope you are in this esteemed 2%. It means your medication regimen is safe, effective, dosed correctly, and working just as expected for you. You have no unmet health needs. You are doing the things you want to do in your life with no limitations posed by medicine.

A full 2% understand their medications and take them correctly.

How do you know if you’re part of the other 98%?

A medication use specialist reviewing your health plan might uncover any of these things:

  • Your medication is causing a side effect that is impacting your day
  • There is another medication that could have the same benefit without the disruptive side effect
  • Your dose is too low to completely do what it is intended to do
  • Your dose is too high for what you need
  • Your kidneys or liver have changed, so your dose needs to change
  • A medication for one purpose is making another medical condition worse
  • You have a problem that could be treated and no treatment has been started
  • You are not taking the medication that has been prescribed and have not told your healthcare team (doctor)
  • The medication is so expensive you are having to make decisions about what to purchase each month
  • Your medication is not covered by your insurance; another safe and effective option is covered
  • You take your medicine at a time of day that will limit its effect
  • You take your medicine with other medicine or food that will change its effect
  • Your medication is making your dizzy or otherwise increasing your chance for falls
  • Your memory is changing because of your medication
  • The time of day you take your medication is limiting its effectiveness
  • You don’t remember which medication is for which indication
  • You have your medications confused
  • You pick and choose each day which medication to take (when maybe it only works if taken regularly)
  • You are taking a medicine that you no longer need
  • Medications, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter items, and other things you take aren’t known by your healthcare team, are causing issues or are making you better such that you no longer need some of your prescriptions

What if you’re part of the 98%?

That’s why I do what I do!

The key elements of a Meds MASH health review:

  • Talk about your health goals and hopes
  • Review your health records
  • Review all of your medications exactly as you use them
  • Assess all of your supplements, herbals, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and the things you take just once in awhile
  • Evaluate your falls risk (helpful even if you are an athlete)
  • Evaluate your heart disease risk
  • Evaluate your memory
  • Assess your depression, anxiety, stress levels
  • Prepare you to get the most out of all healthcare visits with your doctor, therapist, or other providers
  • With your permission, share our findings and recommendations with your doctor and healthcare team
  • If you prefer, coach you to share our findings and recommendations with your doctor and healthcare team
  • Help your doctor with prioritizing items and medication titration (very gradually, carefully monitoring changes)

Contacting Meds MASH

A full 98% of people have room for improvement or education with their medications. Nearly ¾ need an actual medication or dose change. Even after I have worked with people for years, about ½ of the time, there is more work to be done. I never make changes all at once. Your health is too important.  Any changes, agreed to by you and your doctor, are made one at a time while we carefully monitor your response.

If you want to know if you are in the 98%, contact Meds MASH today at www.medsmash.com/contact or by calling 410-472-5078 or e-mailing michelle@medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

This health blog was about the fact that most people have some room for improvement in their medication use.

Isn’t the same true in our life? I know I have a lot of room for improvement!

The sermon at my church today was about patience. I will readily admit that is not my strong suit. God has taught me a lot on this subject throughout my life so far. Like most of you, events have happened that absolutely stopped me in my tracks. All of my plans were out the window. The future was completely unclear. These are the times when we choose to shut down, take over our own planning, or give it all to God’s plan.

Solomon was the king blessed with great wisdom.  He was well aware of the value of waiting on God’s plan.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

As hard as we try to control these things ourselves, we can’t create, accumulate, or lead to the magnificent degree possible through Christ.

You are loved! God wants to guide you through your life according to HIS plan.

Throughout the Bible we have examples of God’s plan going beyond what we can even fathom. Even in terrible times, when people find themselves in dire situations, God has repeatedly demonstrated how He can turn things around.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jesus addressed our tendency to stress out, worry, and try to assume control.

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can you improve your life by turning it over more fully to God? He loves you! He has great plans for you! How can you be 100% committed to God and his plan in your life?

Blessings,

Michelle