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Author: Tracy Carpenter, BSW, LSW

Top Ten Tips for Talking with your Doctor

Top Ten Tips for Talking to your Doctor

There are many ways we can practice self-care, but did you know something as simple as preparing in advance for a medical appointment can have lasting effects on our long-term health? Below are ten ways we can do our homework to ensure the lines of communication between ourselves and our medical providers are kept open and clear.

 

10. Sometimes doctors may unintentionally make us feel rushed when we have an appointment. Write down all the questions that you have the day or two before your visit. That way you can have the list to refer to while you are face to face with the doctor. You don’t want to kick yourself on the ride home for forgetting to ask them something important.

9. Some of us experience some nervousness or apprehension when going to the doctor. If you are having anxiety surrounding a medical appointment, bring a trusted family member or friend with you to the appointment. Their presence alone may ease your mind.

8. Ask your doctor what they are prescribing and why they are prescribing it. It is important that you have a good understanding of your medications, as this can help you better understand your own health conditions.

7. Although it can be a little embarrassing, or maybe even scary, to admit that you are having confusion or forgetfulness around taking your medication, it is important to be honest with your doctor. They may have some suggestions, including getting your medications in monthly blister packages or utilizing an alarmed medication dispenser.

6. Don’t assume your doctor knows what medications you are taking. Bring a current list or bottles of both your prescribed/over the counter medications and dietary supplements.

5. Ask your doctor for a written printout of information on your specific medications. This can outline side effects, what to do if a dose is missed, and other details that you may want for future reference.

4. Confirm what time to take your medications. Ex: Does “four times a day” mean you have to take it in the middle of the night? And what exactly does “as needed” entail?

3. Let your doctor know if you have trouble taking pills. They may have some ideas or could prescribe a liquid medication you could take instead. Do not crush your pills unless given permission by your doctor.

2. Ask your doctor to arrange the medication be filled in easy open containers if you have difficulty with child-proof caps for easier access. Or if you have some vision impairments, ask if they can print prescription labels in the larger font.

1. Your health is important, and your feelings matter. Speak up if you have questions or if you do not understand something you are being told. And remember that it never hurts to get a second opinion if you are having doubts or if you did not feel comfortable with a certain medical provider. 

 

Thank you for joining us for our venture, In the Loop with LifeSpan. LifeSpan strives to highlight our commonalities while celebrating our differences throughout our community, and we trust that this blog will be an extension of that mission.

Regardless of whether you feel in the loop or perhaps out of it as our name suggests, LifeSpan strives to meet you where you are at, serving people at all points in the span of life.

Tracy Carpenter, BSW, LSW

Phone: (513) 868-9281
Toll-Free: (888) 597-2751

Emilie’s Retirement

After thirteen years working with LifeSpan, our beloved Emilie Ratterman has retired.  Along with spending time with her children, grandchildren, and other family members, she hopes to get a good start on the things she has not had time to finish.

People fall every day.  We fall behind.  We fall apart.  We, literally and figuratively, fall on our faces.  When asked how Emilie Ratterman, Intake & Referral Specialist, found herself working with older adults, she simply said, “I fell into it.”  Maybe it wasn’t just coincidence, but perhaps geriatric social work stuck out its foot and purposely tripped her, as it knew that the elderly population needed her.  And for the past thirty years, through trial and error, Emilie has found her footing, and stands both firm and committed to the clients she serves.

In 1989 a friend encouraged Emile to apply for an Outreach Coordinator position through Oxford Senior Center, and they offered her the job.  Emilie accepted the position, although admitted she was nervous working with a new population, as she had worked for the previous five years with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  In 1997 she became a care manager and remained at Oxford Senior Center until 2004 when a medical hardship forced her to step back from the care manager role.  Although she assumed her preference was working with families, this experienced showed her how attached she really was to her elderly clients.  “It was very hard to let them go,” she remembers.  After working part-time with both Oxford Senior Center and LifeSpan for the next few years, in 2008 she began her full-time position with LifeSpan as Intake and Referral Specialist while eventually earning her AIRS (Information and Referral) certification.  This position has given the opportunity to advocate for her clients in a different way.  “This job has worked out very well for me,” Emilie says.  “I’ve learned a lot about myself, my talents, and my weaknesses.”

Over the thirteen years that Emilie has been with LifeSpan, she has witnessed a shift in the overall questions and needs of the people calling in.  “Callers with health problems are now younger,” she says.  “We are also seeing more family members living with the clients.”  But the feeling of helping others hasn’t changed.  “When people say I have helped them and thank me profusely, I feel like I’m in the right place,” she says.  “For some, it is educating them about elder care in relation to what they are experiencing with their parent. For others, it is calming them down and helping them gain perspective.”

Regardless of who is on the other end of the line, through her knowledge and calming spirit, Emilie helps the person prioritize their needs and most importantly assures them that they are not alone in their current circumstances.

Emilie always told herself that once she turned seventy that she would retire, and with this milestone quickly approaching, she knew the time was right for her to make this difficult decision.  In this next chapter, she plans on doing things that she hasn’t had the time to do while working full time.  “Sleep later… go to the gym in the morning when I have more energy… gets some body parts repaired… convince my husband to retire, too, so we can take those trips we said we would take.”

She will also continue giving to the community through volunteering, specifically with OSHIIP, an organization Emilie has been involved for twenty plus years; “almost as long as they have been around”.  And we may find her tucked into the Intake and Referral corner helping with some organization and the updating of community resources.

She has some sound advice for those entering this field: “Go in with the attitude that there are always things to learn,” she says.  “Think creatively when helping a person problem solve.  Even if your idea seems out there, it means you are thinking and may come up with some solutions.  And be open to guidance whether from a supervisor, a co-worker or if you have faith, God.”

Emilie fell into this field, and over time, LifeSpan staff and clients fell, too.  They fell in love with her. Emilie’s insight, passion, and commitment is a testimony to the thousands of lives she has touched.  We thank her for her contributions to LifeSpan and hope everything will continue to fall into place in her life.

 

Unwanted Prescriptions

What should I do with unwanted or expired prescriptions that I found in my cabinet?

In the busyness of life, it is easy to overlook the expired, partially filled prescription bottles that may be overrunning our cabinets. However, this can pose both environmental and health risks, including the opportunity of misuse, abuse, or even accidental exposure. They may also be a source of theft by individuals looking for easy access to prescription medicines, especially pain pills.

Properly disposing of our medications is one simple thing we can do to decrease these risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 there were enough pharmaceuticals prescribed to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a full month straight. In efforts to support our communities and to ensure the overall safety of its residents, the National Take Back Initiative was established to give those with outdated and unwanted medications a safe way to dispose of them.

Unwanted, unused, and expired medications can be taken to a local police department for collection and disposal using methods that are both legal and environmentally friendly. Keeping them around poses a risk to older adults who may take them by accident.

24-hour drug drop boxes are available seven days a week in the lobby of the following police departments:

  • City of Fairfield – 5230 Pleasant Avenue, Fairfield
  • Hamilton – 331 Front Street, Hamilton
  • Monroe – 233 S. Main Street, Monroe
  • Visit the Ohio Attorney General for a full list of drug drop boxes

 

 

Thank you for joining us for our new venture, In the Loop with LifeSpan. LifeSpan strives to highlight our commonalities while celebrating our differences throughout our community, and we trust that this blog will be an extension of that mission.

Regardless of whether you feel in the loop or perhaps out of it as our name suggests, LifeSpan strives to meet you where you are at, serving people at all points in the span of life.

Top Ten Reasons We Love Leigh Ann

Top Ten Reasons We Love Leigh Ann

In honor of our Care Manager Team Lead, Leigh Ann’s LifeSpAnniversary, we bring you our top ten favorite things about Leigh Ann!  We are so proud to have worked with her these past 20 years! Her compassion, dedication, and artistic skills are just a few reasons why we love her!

10. “Multi, multi, multi-talented, resident computer and Q [program software] geek!”

9. “She reprimands gently, she’s personable and easy to talk with.”

8. “I asked Leigh Ann to paint a special picture for me last year for my brother and sister-in-law. They helped my husband and I do a mini make-over in our backyard. Leigh Ann did a wonderful job and I wrote a letter to Steve and Lorie thanking them and why looking at trees nourish my soul. They put the letter in the back of the painting because they liked it so much. I wanted the gift to be special and Leigh Ann made that happen with the hand-painted pictures of the tree. My letter would not have been enough, but paired with the painting it was perfect!”

7. “LA never loses her cool or shows frustration regardless of how many questions I ask her. And she is the Queen of Q!”

6. “When I first started I remember thinking ‘I’m gonna like this lady’ because her office was filled with plants! She’s my plant and craft lady! She brings so much joy to the office with both of these!”

5. “When I was hired, before my official first day, Leigh Ann sent me an email. She welcomed me to the agency and encouraged me to dress in layers or to wear a jacket, as the office is sometimes cold. I remember thinking how sweet it was for her to go out of her way to make me feel comfortable as a new LifeSpan employee with something as simple as that.”

4. “I met Leigh Ann in 2002 when she and I were a bit younger. Leigh Ann has been like a Polar Star to me…fixed and constant. One must also add talented and fun! LifeSpan would not be the same without her.”

3. “When I was on my crutches (both times), LA was my office neighbor and she would walk me to the kitchen and carry back my coffee and oatmeal for me.”

2. “She’s always willing to listen and help when she can. I also love all of her crafting skills and green thumb!”

1. “Leigh Ann spent HOURS with me finding and printing information for the accreditation. Leigh Ann also trained me on the Q and she was so patient! I know if I have a question on anything, I can go to Leigh Ann. If she doesn’t have the answer, she knows who will! LOVE HER!!”

 

 

Thank you for joining us for our new venture, In the Loop with LifeSpan. LifeSpan strives to highlight our commonalities while celebrating our differences throughout our community, and we trust that this blog will be an extension of that mission.

Regardless of whether you feel in the loop or perhaps out of it like our name suggests, LifeSpan strives to meet you where you are at, serving people at all points in the span of life.

Todd’s Wine and Music

 Some may say the best celebrations include good music, good wine, and good company. Our client Todd would completely agree.

“I think all of the time that I’ve had such a wonderful life,” Todd reminisced. His life, however, had a challenging start.

“When I was five years old, I went to sleep like any other night,” Todd said. “And the next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed.” Paralyzed from the neck down, Todd was rushed to the hospital where he would spend the next six months being treated for polio. To this day, Todd has paralysis on his left side. But even with this rough beginning, Todd beat the odds and learned to go with the flow: the flow of music and wine. 

While growing up, Todd worked at his dad’s auto parts store where local musicians would hang out. He was given the opportunity to watch their recording sessions and developed a passion for music, specifically soul and R&B, and would learn to express this love through the drums. He continued this passion by touring the country from 1962 to 1967, yet it wasn’t until he found himself at a hole in the wall bar in Burlington, Iowa just shy of closing time that he came to a fork in the road.

“I asked myself, ‘what in the world am I doing?’” Todd laughed, remembering playing his final show to a crowd of four or five drunk people who were just not ready, or sober enough, to go home. As much as Todd loved music, he knew that music as a career had run its course, and he needed a change.

He decided to try a different route and so, to try his hand at something new, he purchased a bar just outside of Hamilton. After a couple years he transitioned from bar owner to wine distributor when he dropped everything and traveled from Hamilton to California with the dream of starting his own company. This risk led to 30 plus years in the wine industry, representing 150 wineries around the world. During this time he was fortunate enough to travel internationally including to France, Italy, and Germany.

He attributes his success as a salesman to both connections and loving your product. His favorite wine is “anything anyone wants to drink”.

“I never tried to be a connoisseur,” he adds, “but a salesman. There is a difference.”

If the best celebrations include good music, good wine, and good company, you could say Todd’s life has been one of the best ones.

 

Thank you for joining us for the fifth installment of our new venture, In the Loop with LifeSpan. LifeSpan strives to highlight our commonalities while celebrating our differences throughout our community, and we trust that this blog will be an extension of that mission.

Regardless of whether you feel in the loop or perhaps out of it like our name suggests, LifeSpan strives to meet you where you are at, serving people at all points in the span of life.

Gloria and her Crochet

“This is Midget,” Gloria said, introducing me to the crocheted giraffe. “Isn’t it the stupidest looking giraffe you’ve ever seen?”

I can honestly say I have never been properly introduced to a giraffe before. But I didn’t think it was at all stupid. It was obvious that Midget, along with her other crocheted animal friends, were created with love. (Though, I guess if you think about it, love can appear stupid, sometimes.) Nevertheless, isn’t love behind all handmade things?

I know nothing about crocheting. I can’t even thread a needle. Truth be told, I have rocked my share of pants “hemmed” with duct tape. So this crocheting business…I know there is yarn involved. And patience. Yarn and patience. But beyond that, I am pretty clueless. I am guilty of using crocheting and knitting interchangeably in conversation. (Apparently calling someone who crochets a knitter and vice versa is a sore spot for some …good to know that ahead of time, considering they are both armed with long hooked needles.) Come to find out, just like different golf clubs are used for specific shots, there are various sized crochet hooks for different projects. So I guess one could say that crocheting is the golf of the yarn world. Instead of nine irons and putters, crocheters depend on hook size, like C-2 or J-10.

No, I really don’t know anything about golf, either.

Our client Gloria, an avid crocheter, was born in Bangor, Maine. Just like the world-famous author Stephen King. “Crocheting keeps my brain working,” she said. “That, and reading.” And although she loves to read, Gloria is more into medieval historical fiction than horror or suspense. In fact, since 2012 she has read at least 1500 books.

It was Gloria’s grandmother who tried to teach her to crochet when she was young, but she didn’t really pick it up until her children were all grown up. “I needed something to pass the time.”

About a year and a half ago, Gloria was getting buried in her projects, specifically beanies. “I didn’t know what to do with the darn things. There were hats everywhere!” So, after untangling herself from the web of yarn she weaved, Gloria reached out to numerous hospitals to donate her crocheted hats to the newborn babies in their facility. Christ Hospital graciously accepted Gloria’s offer.

“They asked for me to crochet red ones to represent the American Heart Association,” Gloria said. So she replenished her yarn supply and began cranking out red hats.

After she had filled boxes and boxes of red hats, Gloria eventually branched out and started using other colors and patterns. “The red…it started driving me crazy!”

In between reading the latest medieval historical fiction novel and playing around on her computer, Gloria putters around her home, working on this and working on that. There are some days arthritis in her right hand slows her down, but she doesn’t let it stop her. “I don’t like starting anything I can’t finish.” Her current project is a colorful afghan that hangs incomplete on the back of her couch.

Some of us are a little like Midget. Awkward, perhaps, though undoubtedly loved. Others of us are more like Gloria’s afghan in the works. Incomplete, but beautiful just the same. And we can all learn from Gloria that in spite of anything that may get in our way, arthritis or otherwise, we push through the pain. Because regardless of whether we are knitters or crocheters; golfers or giraffes, we are all doing the very best we can in this life, day by day, stitch by stitch.

 

Thank you for joining us for the fourth installment of our new venture, In the Loop with LifeSpan. LifeSpan strives to highlight our commonalities while celebrating our differences throughout our community, and we trust that this blog will be an extension of that mission.

Regardless of whether you feel in the loop or perhaps out of it like our name suggests, LifeSpan strives to meet you where you are at, serving people at all points in the span of life.