Category Archives: Parish Nurse

6 Simple Self-Care Tips

Acknowledge Yourself

The first step: Remember that it isn’t selfish to look after yourself. It is critical for your happiness and well-being. You have limits, and they are crucial to help you honor your health. You have needs, and deserve affection, rest, sustenance, and grace—just like everyone else. And you have dreams, and are worthy of the time it takes to pursue what makes your heart come alive. <!–split–>

Gift Yourself

When is the last time you did this? Each week, choose something that will add to your life:

  • A colorful water bottle to encourage proper hydration.
  • A beautiful new journal to record your dreams.
  • An extra hour of sleep, or exercise, or creative expression.
  • If nothing else, give yourself a moment: We all need a moment of grace, forgiveness, or acceptance every now and then.

Restore Yourself

Think back to what made you feel happy as a child. Was it the smell of a library book? Or listening to the crickets at night? Maybe it was strumming a guitar, or walking barefoot in the grass. Try to recreate those experiences of simple pleasure.

Speak Up For Yourself

Choose a trusted soul and voice the unspeakable:

  • “I need help.”
  • “I am afraid.”
  • “I haven’t felt like myself in awhile.”

There is something about voicing the burden that makes it lighter. Give the people close to you a chance to support you.

Take The Pressure Off Yourself

What are you telling yourself about your parenting skills? What are you telling yourself about your appearance? What are you telling yourself about your long to-do list?

Now try setting more realistic expectations. Lower the bar; let something go. Ban the word “should” from your vocabulary today. And when you lay down in bed tonight, ask yourself, “Did I show up?” If the answer is yes, that is enough. It’s more than enough.

Notice The Good In Yourself

Take a moment to recognize any tough obstacles you’ve overcome, or lessons you’ve learned—and think about how far you’ve come. Then try to see yourself through the eyes of those who love you. They don’t see imperfections, failings, and mistakes. They see love, never-failing love. Try to see it too.

Take care of yourself and remember that God has your back! Go to Him in everything!

Your parish nurse,   Kara

What Happened to the Lazy Days of Summer?

Between memories of “boring” summers from my childhood perspective to last year’s isolated Covid summer, this summer has seemed especially busy in comparison. I am going to share some quick tips and reminders that will get you through the rest of the summer’s activities. Keep your newsletter handy, and read one or two per day, or read them all at once, if you have the time!

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BODY

Too hot to be outside? You still need fresh air. Get up early to enjoy a walk or sip your morning cup of coffee out on your porch.

Too hot and too busy to cook? Reach for the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. Don’t forget to add some protein, like a slice of cheese, a handful of nuts or a hard-boiled egg. Hot weather affects our hydration needs even if you stay in the house all the time. Don’t skimp on your fluids! Drinking water is your best option. Plan ahead and save money and time by filling your water bottle with water before you leave the house. If you have several water bottles you can pre-fill them and store in your refrigerator or freezer for an even quicker get away!

Too hot to move? See tip #1. When staying inside where it’s cool you can increase your movement by walking around your house every time a commercial is on the TV or add some extra movement to your daily chores. Stand on tiptoes when you reach for that higher shelf or knee bends when you empty the dishwasher.

MIND

Fresh air, activity and nutrition all play a part in our mental health.

Step away from the screens. Read a book, do a puzzle or take time to enjoy a hobby or craft. (It’s never too early to start on your Christmas cards!)

Hibernation is for bears not people. If you can’t get out of the house reach out to others by way of phone calls and letters or cards. Human contact is essential to our well-being. Schedule intentional quiet time into your life. Constantly running from work to kids’ activities to family gatherings to errands can leave you feeling empty and isolated. Use your quiet time to reflect and recharge.

SPIRIT

With all the beautiful gifts of summer and relaxed restrictions of COVID, practice gratitude. Even as the world is in turmoil find your oasis in God. Read the Bible, and/or a daily devotional or listen to a Bible podcast. Comfort and hope can be found in God’s Word. Attend weekly worship and Bible study groups. Being with others in fellowship is healthy for the body, the mind, and the spirit.

Whether your summer is crazy busy or a little bit boring, please take good care of yourself.

Blessings!

Kara Ade, RN, Parish Nurse

Sports Drinks

Is Gatorade Bad For You?

According to Gatorade’s website, the drink was “born in the lab” when researchers looked at why athletes were falling ill after strenuous exercise in the heat. They found that these athletes were losing electrolytes and fluid with exertion, but not replacing them. Gatorade was developed to replace crucial electrolytes and carbohydrates while hydrating at the same time. While it’s marketed as a sports drink, Gatorade isn’t only consumed by athletes. Children drink it at lunch or after soccer practice, and it’s even developed a reputation as a hangover cure. But while Gatorade may contain less sugar than soda, is it actually good for you? <!–split–>

The “Good” Of Gatorade

When you exercise, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water is the most logical form of hydration. However, sports drinks like Gatorade contain sugar and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Sports  drinks can help replace what we lose during longer duration exercise, especially in the heat.

Electrolytes and carbohydrates help athletes refuel and re-hydrate. This is what makes sports drinks popular. Electrolytes help regulate the body’s fluid balance while the carbs provide energy. Gatorade claims their product hydrates better than water because of these additional ingredients. Some research backs their claims. A report from the University of California, Berkeley says that sports drinks might be better than water for children and athletes who engage in prolonged, vigorous physical activity for more than one hour, especially in hot conditions. However, you should note that those exercising less than 60 to 90 minutes may not need Gatorade to maintain or improve performance.

The “Bad” Of Gatorade

So, what about use of sports drinks for the average person? The vast majority of people who drink Gatorade are not athletes. And according to the Berkeley study, most people who drink sports drinks at least once a day aren’t as physically active as they should be. A 12-ounce serving of Gatorade’s Thirst Quencher contains 21 grams of sugar. But because a regular bottle of Gatorade contains 32 ounces, you’re actually getting 56 grams of sugar.

While that’s still less sugar per ounce than your average soda, it’s not exactly healthy. In fact, Berkeley researchers say the sugar in sports drinks may be contributing to the child obesity epidemic by increasing caloric intake. When consumed often, the sugar content of Gatorade can also contribute to tooth decay, especially in children. For people who are less active, getting extra sugar and sodium throughout the day isn’t necessary or recommended. The extra calories from a sports drink could contribute to weight gain. The extra sodium could increase the risk of high blood pressure over time.

Also of importance to note is that Gatorade contains food dyes such as Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5. These artificial dyes are derived from petroleum and may increase the risk of hyperactivity in children. They’ve also been linked to cancer.

Takeaway

Make the right decision for your kids.  While Gatorade can help you stay hydrated, it’s best to only drink it when needed. For people who are not exercising for at least one hour, five days per week, water is the best bet for staying hydrated. Electrolytes coming from natural sources without added sugars and dyes are recommended. Experts suggest parents limit their children’s consumption of sports drinks like Gatorade due to their sugar content and artificial coloring. A researcher who has worked with Gatorade in the past told NPR that Gatorade shouldn’t be singled out as the “bad guy.” She emphasized that parents need to evaluate sugar consumption from all sources when helping their child make the healthiest decisions.

For most children, water remains the best source of hydration, and foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source of carbohydrates and electrolyte replacement.

-Written by Anna Schaefer and copied with permission.

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

If Only I Had Known …

Hindsight is 2020, or perhaps more aptly, 2020 is hindsight!

Focusing on hindsight can be a positive or negative experience, depending on what we take from it. To be on the negative side of hindsight is to be living with regret. Living with regret prevents us from moving forward toward a fulfilling life. <!–split–>

Living with regrets can have a debilitating effect on our psychological health. When we focus on what we could have, should have, or would have done, we become mired in a whirlpool of helplessness, which can then spiral into depression.

The symptoms of depression include sleeplessness, trouble eating, lack of energy, and loss of interest in the things that give us pleasure, making it very difficult to cope with the normal ups and downs of life.

Living with regrets also takes a toll on our physical health. Regret makes stress. Stress causes anxiety. Anxiety can increase our blood pressure, increase the workload on our hearts, and cause heartburn and other digestive issues. Also, when our stress levels increase, we may turn to coping mechanisms, such as overeating, inadequate sleep, self-medicating with food, alcohol, smoking or drugs.

A change in perspective in how we deal with hindsight can make a big difference. Hindsight can have a positive effect in our lives. As we look back at our experiences, we can evaluate and learn from them, which give us the tools to move forward.

So, let’s play a game called “If Only I Had Known…COVID-19 Edition”. I’ll go first!

If Only I Had Known... that I would discover how much I love to create new recipes from food already in the house, since I don’t go to the store every other day.   Negative: I ate everything I cooked without thought of the consequences. Positive: I’ve learned to utilize what I have in the cupboard, control my portions and save money.

 If Only I Had Known… that I would be semi-housebound for so long. Negative: I can’t go anywhere, so I may as well just sit around and watch TV. Positive: I can use this time at home to clean out that horrible cupboard (admit it – we all have at least one), or do other activities that are fun, helpful and/or creative, such as needlework, gardening and riding that dusty stationary bike.

If Only I Had Known… how much I miss seeing my extended family, my church family and my friends. Negative: I never get mail or phone calls anymore; I’ve been forgotten. Positive: Others are feeling lonely too. I reach out with phone calls, and I send letters and emails. It helps me to talk with people outside my home; I feel better, and make someone else feel better too.

COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while yet and we can lament all that we have lost or we can focus on the positive things that we have learned about ourselves in the last year. It all comes down to choices: become stuck in past regrets or move forward with positivity and hope. (I vote for hope!)

Blessings!   Kara Ade, Your Parish Nurse

Reprinted with permission by Laura Brown, RN, Parish Nurse

Patience

Such an important word this year. As you listen to the news and hope to have a vaccine to help us fight against the COVID virus, the reality is the vaccine is not as available as we were hoping for. Trying to get an appointment for the first of two vaccines can be frustrating and challenging. Even thinking how and when the second vaccine will be available is just plain overwhelming. <!–split–>

Many of you have called me to see if I can get you scheduled, which I thank you for doing. I have to schedule as the sites open up with available appointments, it is a slow process, and I am sad to say I am not always successful!

So, this is what we all need to do for a vaccine appointment. We need to wait patiently. The country needs more vaccines produced. Will it be next week or in March? I cannot answer that. However, once production increases and the QC receive more vaccines, it will be abundant and available for those that want the vaccine.

It is difficult to wait, to be patient. Let us support each other, as we know there is hope that this vaccine will be available for all soon! But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.           Romans 8:25 Be well, my friends!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Honoring Black History Month: Notable Contributors to the Medical Field

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931)   Dr. Williams performed the first successful open heart surgery in 1893 and founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses (the first black-owned hospital in America) in 1891. From 1893-1898, he was Surgeon-in-Chief, Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, DC. He also founded the National Medical Association in 1895 (African Americans were denied membership in the American Medical Association). As a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913, he was the first and only African American member for many years. <!–split–>

Dr. William Augustus Hinton (1883-1959)   First African American physician to publish a textbook – Syphilis and Its Treatment, 1936. He is known internationally for the development of a flocculation method for the detection of syphilis called the “Hinton Test.” Dr. Hinton is also the first African American to hold a professorship at Harvard University. He attended the University of Kansas from 1900-1902 and then transferred to Harvard, graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1912. From 1921-1946, he taught bacteriology and immunology at Harvard before being promoted to clinical professor in 1949.

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926)   First Black professional nurse in the United States (1879). Mary’s parents moved from North Carolina to Boston, where she was born on April 16, 1845. In Boston, black children were not permitted to attend schools with whites until 1855, and even in New England, domestic service was the only way for a Negro woman to make a living. Interested in a nursing career from the age of eighteen, Mary was a “nurse” for several prominent white families prior to entering formal nurse training. On March 23, 1878, she was the “first coloured girl admitted” (Medical and Nursing Record Book, 1878) to the nurse training program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children; she graduated sixteen months later at the age of thirty-four. (Note: Mahoney’s biographer, Helen Miller, was Associate Professor of Nursing Research at North Carolina Central University.)

Dr. David Satcher

  • 16th Surgeon General of the United States, sworn in Feb. 13, 1998
  • Director of Center for Disease Control (CDC), Nov. 15, 1993 until being sworn in as Surgeon General. While at CDC, he increased childhood immunization rates from 55% in 1992 to 78% in 1996.
  • President, Meharry Medical College, 1982-1993
  • Elected in 1986 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

 Dr. Ben Carson

  • Director (at age 32), Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.
  • Separated Siamese twins joined at the cranium in 1987. A 70-member surgical team, led by Dr. Carson, operated for 22 hours.
  • Graduate of Yale University; MD, University of Michigan School of Medicine.
  • Described in his autobiography, Gifted Hands (1990), as an unmotivated child from the Detroit ghetto.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895?)   First African American female to earn a medical degree, 1864 (New England Female Medical College, Boston). Note: Controversial with Rebecca J. Cole, (1846-1922) who received a medical degree from Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1867.

These are just a few of the notable African Americans that have made contributions to our medical community!

 Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

From The Parish Nurse . . . Pandemic Marathon Tips

A well-known saying among marathoners is that “There are two halves to every marathon—the first 20 miles and the last 6.2.” While not mathematically accurate, this saying is correct in that it takes as much effort to complete the first 20 miles as it does the last 6.2. <!–split–>

I have been fortunate to complete a few marathons over the years, so I know how difficult the final miles can be. Actually, it’s miles 20-25 that are the most difficult because once you get to mile 25, you get a psychological lift that the finish line is not far away. At mile 20, though, you are exhausted. The runners are no longer talking to each other (a complete change from earlier in the race) as they are conserving every ounce of energy they have in order to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The people cheering them on also disappear around mile 20 because spectators need to hurry to the end themselves to watch their friend or family member cross the finish line. Those last miles are lonely, and your mind plays tricks on you, raising doubts about whether you will be able to finish.

This all came back to me when I realized how exhausted I am feeling by this pandemic marathon we all are running right now. None of us signed up for this marathon. And none of us could have prepared for it because we had no idea it was coming. We have no way of knowing if we are now halfway through this race because no one can say for sure how much farther it will be to the finish line. Even if we are metaphorically at mile 20, the remaining miles will likely be more challenging than we can imagine.

I went online and researched some tips for first-time marathoners, looking for specific recommendations for the “second half” of a marathon. I share these tips with you here because I think they are timely for our current situation.

  • Hydrate and refuel often. Runners all have their favorite drinks, gels, and energy bars. They know from experience what boosts their energy best. We, too, know what boosts our spiritual, emotional, and physical energy and need to intentionally consume as much of that as possible right now.
  • Stop at every aid station, and get medical attention if needed. Marathon organizers add extra aid stations in the final miles, spacing them closer together. Medical tents are also available if needed. aid stations in a pandemic can be a phone or Zoom call with a friend or loved one, a walk around the block, meditation/prayer, or participating in an online offering that boosts our spiritual and emotional well-being. Unlike a marathon race, we may need to create our own aid stations, being proactive, and spacing them more closely together. And if you do need to visit the medical tent because you are in pain, know that it is a sign of wisdom and strength to reach out for support from someone trained to help, such as a therapist, clergy person, or medical professional.
  • Slow down and walk when necessary. Listen to what your body, heart, and soul are telling you. Feeling exhausted? Slow down. Take a break. Learn to rest, not quit.
  • Focus on short-term goals, rather than just the finish line. Some runners make it their goal to just make it to the next aid station or mile marker. Others focus on running for two minutes and then walking for 2 minutes. This week, I talked with someone who said their goal right now during COVID was to take a shower and get dressed every day. I applauded that goal. We are thrilled to read the good news about vaccines, and we so very much want the finish line to be just around the next corner. Right now, though, we need to focus on shorter-term goals and merely putting one foot in front of the other because letting our guard down now could risk not making it to the finish line or preventing others from not getting there.
  • If you see another runner struggling, stop, and offer support. Everyone has a story of why they run a marathon, and except for the few elite runners that are competing to win, everyone is cheering for and helping each other along the way. I will never forget once when I was walking and struggling to finish a race, and several people stopped and walked with me for a moment as they offered an encouraging word. It made all the difference.

This pandemic is an endurance event like no other we have experienced. We don’t know exactly how much longer we have to go, and the second “half” is likely to be every bit as challenging as the first. So let’s remember these marathon tips and do all we can to help each other get across the finish line, arm in arm, together.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

–Used with permission by Living Compass

FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . Prayer for Putting on a Face Mask

Creator God, as I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacramental nature of wearing of this cloth. Let it be a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbors, as I love myself.

Christ Jesus, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smile in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions.

Holy Spirit, as the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully and caringly to all those I meet. May this simple piece of cloth be shield and banner, and may each breath that it holds, be filled with Your love. In Your name and in that love, I pray.   AMEN. (Rev.  Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada)  <!–split–>

Expressing Thanks May Be One Of The Simplest Ways To Feel Better.

The holidays have begun, so perhaps December is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Research On Gratitude

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.

 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to your-self.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. . Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

—-Harvard Health Publishing

 

FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . Why Eating Enough Protein Is Key to Healthy Aging

We know that protein is such an important part of our diets. It helps us recover after workouts, protects our bones, and even gives us energy. Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, registered dietitian and founder of BZ Nutrition, explains that getting enough protein now can also help you out as you age. “As we age our muscles gradually get weaker and our bones become frail leading to muscle wasting, fractures, drastically decreasing your quality of life,” says Zeitlin. “Maintaining a good amount of protein in your diets much earlier on, starting in your 20s, helps to prevent all that weakening and de-compensating from happening.” While eating protein can’t stop aging in its tracks, Zeitlin says it can help with “repair” as things start breaking down. <!–split–>

“The older we get, the more ‘repair’ we need, and protein is our body’s main tool in performing repairs—that is true for inside and outside,” says Zeitlin. “Even our hair, skin, and nails need more of an assist through the years. [Women, especially] experience a lot of shifts in our hormones through our lives and protein remains an essential part of keeping them in balance and healthy.” Andrea Mathis, RDN, an Alabama-based dietitian, says that people should also eat more protein as they age. “As we age, the recommended protein intake increases to help prevent our muscles from deteriorating and to help our bodies recover from injuries properly,” she says. While getting enough protein is important, you should also consider the type of protein you’re eating.

“Most people think of our animal-based proteins first—looking at you, chicken,” says Zeitlin. “But when it comes to longevity and healthy aging, plant-based proteins play a key role thanks to their better-for-you fats and antioxidants.” Pistachio nuts and hemp hearts are some of her favorite options. “One serving of this plant-based protein offers up 6 grams of protein. Plus their colors of green and red-purple come from those antioxidants,” says Zeitlin. She keeps the Wonderful Pistachios No Shells ($17) on hand to throw into salads and stir-fries. “Another great plant-based protein are Hemp Hearts, 1 serving provides 10 grams of protein and they are a good source of B vitamins that will help to keep your energy levels up throughout the days and years! Add them to your morning oats and smoothies.”

When it comes to animal proteins, Zeitlin says eggs are an excellent choice. “Just one egg provides 6 grams of high-quality protein and is an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that works to support cognition, keeping our brain sharp through the years,” she says. “Another bonus of eggs is that they have carotenoids, too, which promote healthy eyes as we age. Scramble them with spinach for breakfast, go hard-boiled for a snack, and for dinner, mix them with your cauliflower rice and other veggies for a protein-rich ‘fried rice.’” Seafood is another great choice because of its serious omega-3 fatty acid content. “Omega-3 fatty acids [help decrease] inflammation throughout the body, working to fight against premature effects of aging,” says Zeitlin. “Add some lox to your bagel, shrimp to your stir-fry, tuna to your salad, and pair broiled salmon with your favorite veg for dinner.” By Kara Jillian Brown

 

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . 10 Ways to Avoid Falls

  1. Get Moving   Regular exercise is a great way to improve your balance and flexibility. It also helps your bones get stronger and denser. That will lower the chance that you’ll fall and break one. Choose gentle activities like yoga or Tai chi and swimming and easy stretches are good, too. Lift weights to help with your strength.  <!–split–>
  2. Turn on the Lights   Make sure your home is well-lit so you don’t trip  in the dark. Put in ceiling lights or add switches so lamps can be turned on as you walk into the room. Double-check that your path from the bedroom to the bathroom has enough light, and use night lights throughout your house.
  3.  Wear the Right Shoes   Get ones that give you good support to help keep you on your feet. Choose low heels with rubber soles, not leather. Wear them even when you’re home. Don’t walk around in socks, backless shoes, or loose slippers – – especially on bare floors.
  4. Do a Bathroom Makeover   Install grab bars next to toilets, tubs, and showers. Attach non-skid strips to tile floors to make them less slick. Water makes things slippery, so put a non-skid bathmat on your tub or shower floor. For extra security, use a chair when you’re in the shower. Get a toilet safety frame or raised seat to make it easier to get back on your feet.
  5. Make Your Steps Safer   Be sure stairways in your home are well-lit. Install handrails on both sides so you’ve always got one in reach. If your stairs are slippery, add non-skid tread.
  6. Keep Rugs From Sliding   Replace them with non-skid ones, or add non-slip tape or pads under them. Make sure your wall-to-wall carpets are securely tacked to the floor, especially on steps.
  7. Clear the Clutter  The less stuff you’ve got lying around, the safer it is to get around your house. Keep cords and phone lines tucked out of the way, especially where you walk. Use wireless devices when you can. Also, don’t put magazines, plants, or other items in the middle of the room.
  8. Be Smart With Storage   Keep items you use a lot where they’re easy to reach. Don’t stash them on shelves that are too high or too low. If something is out of your reach, though, you can use a “grabbing” tool to help you get it.
  9. Watch Where You Sit and Sleep  Use higher chairs that are easier to sit down on and get out of. Or add a cushion to a lower one. Make sure they have armrests, which give you support when you stand up. If your bed is very high or low, swap the mattress with one that’s a better height.
  10. Get Your Hearing and Eyes Checked   If you don’t hear or see well, it can throw off your balance. Use hearing aids if you need them. And make sure your glasses or contacts are up to date. Try not to wear bifocals when you go up and down stairs, because it can make you feel dizzy.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara