Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves

Out with the old and in with the new. A new year is a great time to go through all of the medications and give a thorough look at the stock in your medicine cabinet. 

Keep a list of all of the medications used regularly and others kept on hand for less frequent use. Maintaining inventory is essential information when you visit the doctor. A doctor needs to know everything that is used daily or from time to time. It will come in handy when the doctor is prescribing medications. Also, check with your doctor on any herbal supplements to see if they are necessary and safe to continue use.

As you go through your medicine cabinet, check the expiration dates. Take stock of regularly used over-the-counter medication. If you have some medication that you tried but hated because of how it made you feel, there is no reason to keep it. Check to see if pills have been stored improperly. If it is growing mold or mildew, toss it out. Medications that say “keep refrigerated” and sit in a warm cupboard are also a cause for alarm.

To properly dispose of medications, check to see if there is a medication take-back program in your area. If not, the FDA has guidelines on safely disposing of medications. Empty the pills into something people won’t want to touch, such as a plastic bag filled with dirt or kitty litter. Seal the bag and toss it in the trash can. Before recycling prescription pill bottles, remove or blackout identifying information on the package.

Make sure to monitor the medicine cabinet properly. Keep it locked and out of reach so that small children cannot find their way in or others cannot seek out medicine for abuse purposes.

When stocking your medicine cabinet, it is essential to have the basics on hand in case of a headache or sudden case of allergies. Remember to store medications in their original packaging so that you can reference usage and check expiration dates.

  • Your prescription medications
  • Pain and fever relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin
  • Allergy medications, including nondrowsy varieties
  • Eye drops
  • Calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream or spray or hydrocortisone for itchy skin or allergic reactions
  • Ointments for cuts and burns, such as antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream and aloe vera gel
  • Decongestants and cough drops for cold or flu symptoms
  • Activated charcoal for accidental poisoning
  • Medicine for an upset stomach, like calcium carbonate for heartburn or antacids for indigestion

Not only are medications necessary, but it is also essential to keep medical supplies on hand.

  • Adhesive bandages, gauze bandages
  • Cotton balls and Q-tips
  • Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
  • Soap and disinfectant
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins and scissors
  • Medical exam gloves
  • Nail clippers
  • Pill cutter
  • Eyeglass repair kit or contact lens cleaner (if relevant)
  • Everyday dental basics, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss

New Year’s Resolutions for Grieving

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Grief is hard enough to live with each day, but it can be daunting to face a whole new year lying ahead of us. We may be worried and scared of what the new year might bring and whether we can handle any more challenges. Our recent experience of loneliness and emptiness may make us hesitant to face a new year. It’s difficult enough to wake in the morning unsure of what the day will bring; what will we do with an entire year?

Our longing for the past can make us resistant to accepting the new year. We miss the days when we felt comfortable, safe and secure. We yearn for the person we lost and the past we shared. We think about how it was and wish we were back there. Who knows what the future will hold? Below are some grief recovery resolutions to help the healing process as a new year begins.

• Remember to live in the present. The past is gone; the future is uncertain. All you have is today and you will make the most of it.
• Go easy on yourself. And remember that every day is a healing day.
• Do the best you can for your own good. Do the best you can for the good of others.
• Engage in one hobby or activity that makes me feel good.
• Count your blessings, remembering that your cup is always half full and never half empty.
• Avoid setting unreasonable, perfectionist goals for yourself.
• Nurture your spirit through prayer, meditation, worship and inspirational readings.
• Take care of yourself by eating nutritious, balanced meals and by engaging in physical exercise.
• Believe that “help” is not a four-letter word; that asking for assistance with various issues is both mature and wise. Seek additional grief support if needed.
• Choose to respond positively and creatively to problems which come your way.
• Do not indulge in guilt and regrets because they don’t change anything.
• Maintain hope believing that the light always dispels the deepest darkness. Trust that the pain will pass and peace will come.
• Speak your loved one’s name and plan opportunities for remembrance.
• Forgive others for being human and fallible.
• Find role models to inspire you on my journey through bereavement.
• Be kind, compassionate and generous toward others.
• Practice patience with yourself because healing and recovery take time.

Prayer for 2021

Written by Brian Flood, Chaplain at Community Hospice

As we bid farewell to 2020, we know that this year has been filled with many trials and much separation. 2020 will always be a year that we will remember for many reasons, both good and bad. Today we are filled with excitement with all that we look forward to in 2021. My prayer for each of you is a year filled with blessings and times of coming together again with family and friends. I am reminded of this prayer that I recently read:

Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again.
Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us a mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.
Amen

You are not alone this Christmas

This year of 2020 has presented many types of problems and drastic changes to our way of living and the lifestyles we lead. The biggest challenge has been for those with loved ones that are in health care facilities. Visits made through a window or a phone call has become the new norm. As we are in the Christmas season, when we are usually gathered together with loved ones celebrating the birth of Jesus, again there is a great challenge that presents itself, the COVID-19 restrictions. Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are the format for the Christmas season. To overcome the COVID limitations, families should shower their loved ones with cards and meaningful gifts, showing that those in facilities are not alone. Even if it means talking to them through a window or on the phone, their family members are with them. Give those in isolation something to physically touch and hold on to as Christmas comes for them this year. Instead of slippers, consider giving an old ornament that has been a part of your family’s Christmas for years or frame a family photo to wish a Merry Christmas. Anything you can do to help your loved ones know that they are loved more than ever and not alone will be a wonderful Christmas gift. Blessings and Merry Christmas to Everyone.

Bill Eckert, Chaplain with Community Hospice

Ways to Help Your Child with Grief This Holiday Season

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Loss during the holiday season can be tough on children. Certain times of the year, especially holidays, can trigger an emotional reaction that reminds your child of the loss. Instead of joyous holiday fun, the festive spirit of the season can be marred by memories of the deceased loved one. Sadness and grief become part of the family tradition. Here are suggestions on ways to help your child cope when they are reminded of a loss. These focus on remembering and celebrating the loved one instead of trying to forget.

Chat: Talk to your child about their loved one, and be specific about your loved one’s favorite holiday activities and cherished memories. Keep the communication lines open by spending one-to-one time with your grieving child.

Play: Let your child know that it is necessary to take a break from grieving. Laughing and joking around is essential, as well as playing together and showing that you can take a break from grief, too.

Create: Allow them to process their feelings through dance, music and art.

Give keepsake memories: Give your child a small memento that belonged to the deceased that he/she can keep, such as a keychain, photo, locket or a picture. If possible, let the child choose the keepsake.

Plan: Let children help make decisions about holiday plans. They may feel they have more control over the situation when they are included in the planning process. Change is okay.

Be free to express yourself: Don’t feel like you have to be composed all of the time. It is okay to show your child your tears and feel your pain. Ask for a hug on rough days. Sit together and share memories.

Help with preparation: Let children help plan and prepare the meal. A lot of conversation happens in the kitchen, so use it to talk about the deceased.

Decorate: If you don’t feel like going all out with decking the halls, have a conversation with your children about how, what or where they would like to decorate, if at all.  Feel free to simplify the decorations – maybe find some small space to decorate, or buy a new tree or ornament and allow the child to pick it out.  Or let your child know that it’s okay not to decorate at all if they would prefer.  It will provide a sense of control and may open up the discussion of feelings and memories.  

Build new traditions. Look into creating new traditions while keeping some of the old ones. Children look forward to traditions and predictability. It is the fear of losing cherished holiday traditions that worry grieving children. Some of the practices will stay, so it’s essential to recognize and allow the creation of new ones.

For many grieving children, hope for the future is possible by remembering the past. With our love and attention, kids can learn to identify and understand their grief to grow and become emotionally healthy adults. They can bring these family traditions to their own families for years to come.

Original source: https://www.pinerest.org/supporting-grieving-children-during-holidays-blog/

Five Tips to Handle Grief During the Holidays

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When we have lost someone we love, the holidays can loom large and feel like something we do not have the energy or desire to handle. But sometimes, being with others can help to lighten that load. In our current COVID-restriction times, some of those gatherings are limited. They could be very different from our usual celebrations. So we are all grieving losses and grieving how different life is at this time—a double whammy. There are several things to keep in mind during this time.

1. Let go of or minimize expectations of what the Holidays or Christmas should be.
You may find that the messages that are so familiar for this holiday season, Happy Holidays, Joy to the World, or Merry Christmas, may be too much for you this year. Those may be emotional sentiments that you aren’t up to this Holiday season. The Holidays may have always looked a certain way in the past for you and your family, but this year perhaps it seems to be too much. Offer yourself and others who are grieving some grace and compassion and allow for some downtime and simplification in your Holiday celebration where it is needed.  

2. Be with family and friends.
We tend to isolate or withdraw from social interactions when we are grieving. While there may be times when you need that quiet alone time, there is also incredible value in being surrounded by those who love and support you. Stay connected with those who will sit with you through your ups and downs, those who will listen as you share your memories or stories of your loved one. Especially this year! 

3. Let yourself continue to grieve.
It’s okay to keep your loved one a part of the holiday celebration this year. Whether that’s through conversation, a picture displayed for all to see, or setting a place at the table in their memory. Do your best to give yourself and your family permission to continue to grieve and allow for those expressions of emotions through the season as they come. 

4. Eliminate or reduce unnecessary stress.
The Holidays can add to the stress you may already be experiencing. Pay attention to your body and how you are feeling so that you can keep from overextending yourself. The idea of ‘keeping busy’ can be helpful to a point, but it can also increase stress and delay our need to talk through our thoughts and feelings related to our loss. 

5. Talk about the person who died.
Most people we talk to want to keep their loved ones a part of the family conversation, but most are afraid to be that first person to bring it up. It’s what is often called “the elephant in the room.” Talking about loved ones who have passed is a beautiful way to keep the memory of your loved one alive for you and the entire family. 

Remember the often used “The Three C’s of Coping with the Holidays”: Communicate, Choices, Compromise.
https://hospicefoundation.org/End-of-Life-Support-and-Resources/Grief-Support/Journeys-with-Grief-Articles/Three-C-s-for-Holiday-Grief

Understanding Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19 with Community Hospice

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Processing the passing of a loved one is challenging, no matter the circumstances. However, during this restrictive COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with grief and bereavement has changed drastically. Jodi Salvo from the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition chatted with two specialists from Community Hospice in a podcast. Julie Yoder and LeAnn Mallernee specialize in bereavement care, and their conversation can help listeners understand the difficulties people are facing right now.

Many people have experienced isolation and separation from loved ones throughout 2020. Loved ones have passed on alone, funerals have been restricted or canceled/postponed, and the grieving process has been disrupted unnaturally. The light in this darkened time is that there are people who know how to help, and Community Hospice has the information and support people need.

Remembering Dr. Leslie Harrold and Julia “Judy” Linder

Within two weeks, Community Hospice lost two of our legacy volunteers – Dr. Leslie Harold and Julia (Judy) Linder. Both of these women were instrumental throughout the years in assuring the success of our organization. Undoubtedly they will be sorely missed. We had the privilege of taking care of both of them at the Truman House.

Dr. Harrold started serving as a volunteer Medical Director for Hospice of Tuscarawas County in 1987 and continued to volunteer in some capacity for 34 years, including serving on our Board of Trustees for 18 years, until just weeks before her passing. According to numerous staff, Dr. Harrold was nothing short of a genius – she had a memory like a steel trap and knew something about everything. Sometimes employing methods and treatments that were unconventional, she always had the patient’s best interests in mind. Dr. Harrold cared deeply for our staff and often gave to those in need anonymously. For many years she served as Medical Director 24/7 and 365 days a years.  There were even times she would takes calls from her home – while dealing with some sort of health issue herself – because she refused to let the other medical staff down and feel overworked. Dr. Harrold was selfless and a true advocate for Community Hospice.

To view her memorial service, please visit our YouTube page here:
Dr. Harrold Memorial Service

We would also like to remember our dear friend Julia “Judy” Linder who passed away on September 4. Judy’s passion for Community Hospice began in 1986.  During that time she led our Fundraising Committee and served as a Board of Trustees member for 24yrs. Anyone who knew her knew that she was a Hospice Volunteer, and if you talked to her long enough, she would ask for a donation to hospice. Judy rarely took “no” for an answer. She raised millions of dollars over the years for Community Hospice and was instrumental in the purchase and creation of the Truman House. Judy advocated for Community Hospice any chance she got. Even from her bed in the Truman House, Judy and her husband worked to raise money, securing a check for $10,000. In 2003 Judy was recognized by the National Hospice Foundation for her outstanding volunteer service as a nominee for the Volunteers Are the Foundation of Hospice award. She was also selected as the 2014 Midwest Care Alliance Volunteers recipient of the Heart of Hospice Award. Judy will be greatly missed.

My Journey to Heaven

When a doctor tells you your time is almost up because you have cancer and pulmonary hypertension of the lungs…instead of being sad, I was put on Hospice and that day changed my life. I handed my life over to God and since then God is in complete control. He has allowed me to watch my two older children become grandparents and these two babies have changed our family and brought us so close.

I have a son who is into drugs and who I cannot help anymore. God has put a shield on my heart so I have peace. He has put me in a wonderful place now because my son is getting the help he needs. I live in so much peace.

One day when my burdens were heavy, I was sitting in my chair and when I closed my eyes and talked to God I felt him there on my couch. It was the most wonderful experience. Everything I asked for, he did. Amazing. God answered my prayers through people he sends into my life, through things on television – sometimes I feel like they are talking directly to me. I am so blessed. My journey to heaven is so wonderful and very peaceful now.

My husband died of COPD and I was his caregiver. Without Hospice I wouldn’t have made it. Now I am the patient and I didn’t think twice about making this journey without Hospice. I share my experiences with many people – cashiers, friends, anyone who will listen. People are afraid of Hospice. They think you have to be dying in 6 months. For me, I will be with Hospice for 2 years in November. I am only alive by the grace of God because I believe he has things he wants me to do yet. And that is what makes it so special. I have had more peace these last 2 years than any other time in my life. I pray that God takes me in my sleep and my children, friends, and family need to be happy because that is my wish and God did it for me.

There is not a day that goes by that God doesn’t take care of me, if I’m willing to see it. It doesn’t matter what we face, God is with us. I am not alone.

Dorothy McCune

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Remembering Cicely Saunders: A Pioneer of Hospice Care

Written by Gayle Mack

 

Cicely Saunders was a tall, bright, energetic teenager growing up during WWII in London, England.  She was raised in a business-minded family, who pushed her towards an education in philosophy, politics, and economics.  But it was wartime and she wanted a career with a practical impact and decided to become a nurse. Early in her nursing career back problems prevented her from strenuous labor and she changed directions, qualifying in social work.  Gearing her training to public health, she was unknowingly setting up a well rounded direction for her life.

   

Many of the patients to which Cicely was assigned were chronically or terminally ill and she found that the hospitals were poorly equipped to deal with dying patients.  One of her most impressive patients in the late 1940’s was a Polish Jewish refugee who had escaped from the notorious Warsaw ghetto.  After already enduring much suffering, he found himself diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unexpectedly, Cicely found herself in a close relationship with this man. Their long conversations revealed a whirlwind of heartfelt unresolved needs.  Spiritual conflicts made his physical pain even more intense. She was able to help him come to terms with his faith and found that this gave him peace and helped his pain. Her faith was tested and strengthened as well.  With a small legacy left from him upon his death, she began a dedicated life of caring for the dying. 

   

Working with the medical profession and hospitals, Cicely became acutely aware of the deficiencies in treatment options for the incurably ill patient.  These patients and their families were often told: “there is nothing more that can be done”.  But Cicely refused to accept that there was so little to offer on their behalf and was determined to address the inadequacies.  Having been advised that to be able to change the attitude of the medical profession, she should get into medicine, that is precisely what she did, and became a physician.

   

She was awarded a research scholarship and did exhaustive research in palliative care.  She learned about the importance of symptom control by paying careful attention to details while listening to her patients.  One of her insightful mottos was, “let the patients do the teaching.” 

   

Dr. Cicely Saunder’s hospice care concepts were in the works, and by the 1960’s she was doing fundraising for a hospital specializing in these concepts.  St Christopher’s Hospice was founded in 1967 and is to this day a beacon of holistic care in its multi-professional approach.  Through the years Cicely was given dozens of awards, honorary degrees, and commendations ranging from the president of the US, to the pope, and was made a Dame of the British Empire.

   

And what was her inspiration?  The Jewish soldier she met and loved, and all the many patients she met thereafter.  Her strong Christian faith was also a major factor in her commitment to the dying and remained an anchor throughout her life.  After years of self-sacrifice and devotion to her cause, she found a loving partner and was happily married. 

   

Dame Cicely Saunders is universally recognized as the founder of the modern hospice movement and made quite an impression among some of her American counterparts. Some of her introduction to the US came through Florence Wald of the Yale University Nursing School, who was credited with promoting the hospice movement in the U.S.   Those remembering Cicely would reflect that her vision was not that hospice be a monument to itself, but be an ongoing entity with new research and ever-growing creativity.

  

To quote this wonderful woman, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.  We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

 

Pioneering hospice founder Dame Cicely Saunders remembered April 30, 2018

Photo courtesy of  Sunday Post : Pioneering hospice founder Dame Cicely Saunders remembered April 30, 2018