Showing posts with label Health Care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health Care. Show all posts

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tips for Elder Care | The Sandwich Generation

One out of every eight Americans is currently caring for aging parents and raising their own children at the same time--this is known as the Sandwich Generation.  Millions of children are even caring for parents from a distance.  As a person providing care to my mom, I know it is easy to forget our own needs or enjoy the simple things.  Even the happy times can become one more thing we have to take care of in a day.

Navigating health care systems, financial systems, housing and trying to take care of oneself is a daily balancing act that can make a person feel sandwiched between enormous responsibilities with no help. It is often one person in the family who takes on all, if not most, of the responsibility of caring for elderly parents.

As an empathetic person coping with aging parents, I would like to share some of the resources I found most helpful to learn how to help elderly parents.  Think of them as sandwich ideas to make you successful as you are taking care of parents while you are in the Sandwich Generation.

Caregiver Support
Elderly caregivers
Elder care is a family affair! Thomas Gatsby loves his grand mom. is one of my favorite resources for caregivers.  For those of us providing aging parent care, it is impossible to leave our parents alone.  Therefore we need home care resources we can tap into online.  Going to an aging parent support group meeting is not something I can do since I cannot leave my mother alone.  Taking her along with me would make her feel like she's the cause of all my stress.  Online support groups have been a great resource I can utilize on my own time.

This website has a great forum with stories from other adult children who are providing care for elderly parents.  They have experience with the daily challenges I face and it's nice to relate to someone who is going through the same thing.

There is a link to tips for daily care, such as showering and dressing and other aspects of in home elder care.  I'm new to this and never had children, so helping someone else to dress, shower, brush their teeth was a whole new skill I needed to develop.  A person with dementia can forget to bathe, become afraid of water, the tub, etc.  I found that my mom can take sponge baths instead of full showers, which helped me tremendously because I was struggling trying to shower her every day.

AARP's Caregiving Resource Center online connects to the Take Care Blog with stories from other children dealing with elderly parents, as well as web chats and webinars with experts on caring for parents.  AARP can also be reached toll free at 1-866-389-5654, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday should you need to reach out to them.

F.R.A.N.K. (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors and Kids)
Make contact with friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and people you know through your children. Look for people who have either cared for an elderly parent or are now doing so.  They will be a great support to you, and are probably looking for support, too.  You can support each other through phone, email or even helping with watching kids or parents while one person has to take care of other responsibilities.

Reaching out to neighbors and even doctors who dealt with my mom prior to her dementia was a valuable resource for emotional support and it could be the same for you.  Sometimes family members are afraid to become involved because they realize their loved one is preparing for the end of life and can be too hard to face.  My siblings have a hard time with this and are often afraid that I will expect something from them that they cannot do or do not want to do.  I needed to let that go and not worry about it.  I have realized I cannot change the people around me and mom doesn't have time for that now.  We need to surround ourselves with people who can help when needed.  My aunt and cousin are great resources as they also provide elder care in their home, so we can support each other.  Don't give your up valuable time to worry about who isn't there and take time to analyze why siblings or others don't help out more.  Nothing escalates a burn out quicker than negativity and disappointment.

Governmental/Social Services
Each state has its own department of aging.  These government run programs offer many online links and phone numbers for resources including long term living, affordable healthcare and prescriptions, advocacy, health, and wellness.  The National Care Planning Council provides a list of each state's agency for aging.

Information Online
The National Council on Aging's caregiver website contains links that direct you to financial help, employment resources, information about scams directed at the elderly and resources for Medicare information. NCOA can also be contacted toll free at 1-800-677-1116.

FamilyWize Discount Prescription Card is a free prescription drug card to help with the prescription medicines often needed in caring for elderly parents.  The card is accepted at more than 61,000 participating pharmacies and can help anyone who is uninsured, if medications aren't covered, for high deductible periods, and Medicare patients who are in the donut hole.  The card is free and can be printed right from your computer or one can be sent to your phone if you don't have access to a printer.  There is no waiting period and no eligibility requirements and the savings are up to 75% on all FDA-approved medications.

Don't Do It Alone!

Meeting the daily challenges of caring for elderly parents, children and working can be a struggle.  At times, we feel helplessly sandwiched between all those who need us with no time to take care of ourselves.  But there are many resources available that can make this experience easier to manage.

Taking care of my mom for the last two years has been the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but it has also been the most rewarding.  I used to worry that I didn't have an important job title, like CEO of "something".  I relentlessly pursued higher education to "better myself".  Now I know the most important job I've ever had didn't require experience or a college degree.  I'm not the manager or director of anything.  I'm proud to say that my title is Caregiver and member of  The Sandwich Generation.  I'm also relieved to know that I don't have to go through this alone. Neither do you.

Caroline Carr
Caregiver and Contributing Writer

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Sandwich Generation - A First-hand Perspective

Caught in the Middle

The Sandwich Generation  is a growing situation.  It describes a generation of people who find themselves caring for elderly parents or relatives while still raising their own children.  In a difficult and uncertain economy supporting one's own children is challenging enough.  Adding the care and expense of an elderly parent or parents can be both heartbreaking and financially challenging.  It's often easy to lose ourselves in the myriad of people that surround us.

Aging Parents - A Growing Dilemma
The  Pew Research Center reports:
Elderly Parents Care
Between 7 and 10 million adults care for an aging parent long distance.
  • 1 in 8 Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are adult children caring for an aging parent and raising own children.  
  • Between 7 and 10 million adults care for a parent long distance.  
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of Americans 65 and older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Carol Abaya, nationally recognized as an expert in eldercare, breaks down the sandwich generation into three categories:
  1. Those who care for their own children and care or help with their aging parents as well.
  2. Those in "their 50's and 60's caring for elderly parents, their grown children and their grandchildren. Adults in their 30's and 40's who care for their own small children, elderly parents and grandparents."
  3. Any one else involved in elder care.
Living with Elderly Parents

It is often unexpected and can turn your life upside down.

My story:  After a frantic search for my keys, tripping over my cats to the front door, and already late for work, my phone rings.  It is my mom's car dealership. "I hope I'm not overstepping anything here, but we just took your mom home."  My heart is in my throat thinking something terrible has happened.  Well, yes and no. Mom was not hurt or in an accident.  However, she took her car over because she thought she had gotten a call that it was due for maintenance.  The dealership had not called.  But when she arrived, the agent noticed that she seemed confused and could not get her car to shut off.  Worried that she should not be on the road, they told her they would look the car over for her and change the oil and shuttle her home.  Then they called me.  My mother never drove again after that.  After a few weeks and an escalating issue with her breathing, she was hospitalized for pneumonia.  During that time, a CAT scan revealed that she had suffered several mini-strokes.  She was developing Dementia.  I suddenly found myself sandwiched between my own home in the city, hers in the suburbs, a two-hour drive in traffic, and a job that did not allow employees to call out sick. 

I quickly realized my mom would not be able to live on her own, which meant drastic changes to life as I knew it:
  • I had to rent my house, quit my job, and move in with her. 
  • I also realized that I was going to need a lucrative income without leaving my home. The challenge was to find other, less conventional ways of earning a living from direct sales to consulting and writing. 
  • I also need flexibility for doctor's appointments, my mom's ups and downs and my need to include her in my travels outside the home because she cannot be left alone. 
Elder Care - A Family Affair

Sandwich Generation
Elder care is challenging, but the rewards are great for the family.
The responsibility of caring for an aging parent or spouse did not single me out.  Both my aunt and my cousin joined the sandwich generation together.   On Thanksgiving night about six years ago, my cousin showed up at my house with suitcases in hand and her young son. Normally she showed up with a side dish, this year she brought a family!  My aunt found herself joining the ranks of the Sandwich Generation when she had to care for her disabled husband, her daughter and grandson. And her daughter raises her young child while sharing in the care of an elderly parent.

Both women work full time jobs and struggle with the demands of their careers.  Sharing in the daily care of my uncle, they are challenged with navigating the ever-changing Medicare system and his worsening condition.  Neither of them thought they would be in this situation.

Common Eldercare Situations
  • Recently, my uncle chose to stay late at elder care, without notifying my cousin who needs to take her son to team practice.  Because she had to wait for her father's bus to help him into the house, her son was late. Dementia has diminished his ability to use a house key to let himself in.
  • I have experienced this with my mother. She knows how to lock a door, and has often locked me out! But unlocking the door is a challenge.  My mother sometimes stands at the window, smiling at me, but doesn't understand that I need her to let me in.  In this situation, it's really important to remember your key at all times!
My cousin and I laugh at the numerous times we've been locked out and our parents don't answer the door.

Elderly Parent's Care
My one friend who is dealing with elderly parents has the additional pressure of caring for her aging parents from a distance.  We often miss the simple things like children or grandchildren's events due to travel, appointments, and the unpredictability of dealing with an elderly parent.  Despite the sacrifices, we consider it a privilege and agree that there is nothing else we'd rather be doing than caring for elderly parents.

As the population ages, and more adult children dealing with aging parents join the sandwich generation, the need for resources that can provide emotional support, financial, medical, and other social services will also grow.  Tomorrow's article, The Sandwich Generation - Tips for Living with Elderly Parents will provide links for resources that can help us build healthy sandwiches, filled with ingredients that aid us to meet the challenges of the most important job we'll ever do.

Caroline Carr
Full Time Caregiver and Contributing Writer

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Problems Sleeping and Health Risks

SLEEP - we all need it, but many of us do not get the amount of sleep we need; and therefore, do not reap the benefits of sleep.

We have all said it, "I AM SOOOOOO TIRED!"

Well today I am feeling it.  Part of it is my own fault; I leave work only to do more work.  I think it's called "Too Much on My Plate"!  I have been up until midnight the last three nights and my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. - UGH!  The other part is that as I get older my sleep deprivation gets worse.  I always considered myself a light sleeper, but compound that with back issues and typical aging body aches and the result is problems sleeping.  Even when I work out every day, I sleep slightly better, but still NEVER through the night!

I look for "Mr. Sandman", but he never comes. (Loved this song as a child.)

Of course, I shouldn't complain.  My daughter has narcolepsy, but not the kind where she falls asleep if she sits for too long.  Her brain literally doesn't know exactly when she is awake or asleep.  So at night when she thinks she is sleeping she is actually awake (makes for very active nights because her nighttime "day" dreams become reality) and during the day she may look awake, but her brain sometimes shuts down.  That is when we say, "She has entered THE ZONE."  It actually isn't funny, but we try to keep it light.

One day while driving to the trade school (she just started) she called me in tears.  She missed her exit.  She didn't know where she was. (This also has to do with a learning disability.)  I asked her to tell me what was around her.  Luckily we were able to turn her around, but in guiding her way, she said, "I think I fell asleep!"  I quickly said, "Don't tell me that!" (Mom's worst nightmare.)  We now never let her drive long distances alone (even though she is 20) because of her sleep disorder.  It is considered a neurological disorder by the state.

But she is not alone.  According to the Behavioral Effects of Disturbed Sleep (BEDS) Consortium at UIC College of Nursing, "problems with sleep affect over 50 million Americans, and these problems increase with age.  Over 70 sleep disorders are now recognized."

Sleep obesity
More than 50 million Americans suffer from problems sleeping.
The crazy thing is that everyone requires a different amount of sleep. Someone recently posted on Facebook a picture and stats on David Goggins (Navy Seal) - he ONLY sleeps three hours a night!! I would be sooo grumpy! Some people can go on little sleep and others require more sleep, but either way - when someone has a problem sleeping - the  sleep deprived person (adult or child) could face health issues as a result.

So what are sleep deprivation effects?

According to a health article on sleep by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, "untreated sleep disorders can raise your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other medical conditions."  This is backed by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Their list is long for the relationship between getting enough sleep and long-term health risks.
  • Obesity - Yes, sleep studies show that sleeping more than six hours per night on a regular basis may help lose or at least control weight.  Lack of sleep affects metabolism, insulin, and processing of carbohydrates.
  • Diabetes - A lack of sleep can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. As with weight, sleep affects "the way the body processes glucose."
  • Heart Disease and Hypertension - Inadequate sleep can elevate blood pressure the next day for those who are already at risk
  • Moodiness - Another symptom of lack of sleep (I can attest to this one.) may be irritability and moodiness the next day.  Insufficient sleep may also lead to depression, anxiety, and mental distress.
  • Improper immune function - A body at rest is able to repair and heal better.
  • Life expectancy - Due to the fact that poor sleep is associated with so many disorders; it is not surprising that all of these effects of a lack of sleep can shorten your life span.  
To learn more about these risks and their related sleep studies, read the "Sleep and Disease Risk" at

To make matters worse, a Center for Disease Control 2010 study revealed that 30% of workers sleep less than six hours a night.  So we are not just talking health issues, we are talking safety issues as well.

I remember my dad wrecked his Buick driving home one night. Why?  Because he fell asleep at the wheel.  According to an interview with Dr. Gaynes of the CDC on the topic of "Staying Awake Behind the Wheel," driving drowsy is a problem.  He said that statistically, "Drowsy driving was implicated in about 16 percent of fatal crashes and 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization."  

But that is not all; we haven't even really hit on sleep disorders. Some of them are:
  • Chronic Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Sleepwalking
  • Sleep Apnea
  • REM Behavior Disorder
The research, the facts, and the stories could go on.  To see more interesting facts on sleep - check out

When it comes down to it there is no replacement for a good night's sleep.  I like the way the CDC puts it "...sufficient sleep is not a luxury--it is a necessity--and should be thought of as a 'vital sign' of good health."

Check in tomorrow for how to get better sleep and the benefits of sleep!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

26 and Uninsured...Drastic Measures for Insurance Coverage

You know that saying, "drastic times call for drastic measures?" 

I never truly knew the murky meaning behind that saying until a few weeks ago. 

health insurance
Back then, we worried about
 what to dress to put on our barbies, not health insurance.
As much as it drives me crazy when she permanently borrows my clothes and uses all of my shampoo when she visits, putting sibling rivalry aside, my older sister Kathryn is pretty awesome. Plus, she got the cooking gene in the family and can make a mean jar of homemade pickles - mmmmm.

But two weeks ago at a family get-together, my sister said something not so awesome that almost made me choke on my turkey hoagie.  Something I never thought would trek through my ears--not for at least a couple more years.

You see, my sister's 26th birthday is tip-toeing nearer as we get closer to September - another year older (and usually wiser! Joke!)  But seriously, this is one birthday she is not looking forward to because as of September 30th, she will lose her health benefits.  Under the Affordable Care Act, she currently is able to get insurance coverage through our parents until she is 26.  According to a recent report published by Commonwealth Fund, she is one of the 6.6 million young adults that President Obama's health care law helped stay or be put back on their parent's health plan.  That's fantastic, but as of her 26th birthday, it's sayonara Kathryn- you are on your own!

I know the suspense is killing you.  Wondering what she said that didn't sit so well with me?

Hint - Health Care Insurance to the Extreme!

She shared that she is thinking about marrying her boyfriend of four years purely so she can be covered under his health insurance plan offered through his job.  WHAT!?  I had to put my fingers in my ears! 

I was expecting we're in love; I have his promise ring; or we've been together for four years.  I've always known he was the one for her and that they are going to get married eventually, but to marry because of her health insurance dilemma.  Is that OK?
26 uninsured
Can you tell which one of us will lose our  health insurance? 
Under different circumstances, I would be elated if she was getting married.  (Being her only sister, I would assume I would be a bridesmaid in her wedding.)  But how far should a person really go to have health insurance?  What is the cost of health care for people like my sister?  Is sacrificing her dream dress, wedding venue, and first dance for a quick exchange of vows at the courthouse the answer?  Will "Til I get insurance do we part" be their wedding vows?

If you're wondering how my sister got to this fork in the road,  Kathryn was only doing what most young adults are encouraged to do--go to college.  We live in a society where fostering minds with education is pivotal to success.  Time just ran out for her.  A switch in majors and schools set Kathryn back (FYI - not all junior college credits transfer to four year schools).

Even though we are almost three years apart, we ended up graduating hours apart on the same day last May. I received my bachelor's in four years at the age of 22 and she received hers in six years at the age of 25.  I have an ample amount of time until I hit 26, while Kathryn only had a year to find a full-time job which offered benefits.

Unable to obtain a full-time teaching job due to the combination of an abysmal job market and the amount of graduated teachers she has to compete with, she has filled in her time as a substitute teacher.  She recently started a part-time job as a science educator, but working part-time does not qualify her for benefits to help with prescription medications or doctor visits. 

health care options
A bird? A plane? Look Kathryn,
there are options for you other than marriage!
According to the same report, out of the more than 1,800 young adults surveyed nationwide, nearly 2 in 5 young adults ages 19 to 29 reported a gap in health insurance in 2011.  Those numbers are a little scary. What's a girl like my sister supposed to do? I told her we would figure it out together.  As long as she makes me her famous red velvet cupcakes!  That's fair, right?

What lengths would you go to for medical insurance?  Please share!! (No judgment here!)

Krysta W.

Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July Safety Tips - Word to the Wise

The 4th of July - the day we - as a country no matter our ethnicity, culture, or heritage - come together in one day or week (if you're lucky) to celebrate this country's unity and declared freedom.  Being of multicultural descent - my family, who has been here for several generations, celebrates in typical American style of barbecue, swimming, enjoying our friends and family and going to see the display of fireworks in town.

July fourth is the day we celebrate freedom and unity.
We also get to enjoy our Indo-Armenian neighbors who once a year have a blow-out bash with their friends and family.  Amazing sweet smelling cultural cuisine wafts through the air, the exotic, beautiful bells and music of their heritage plays as they dance through the night, ending with their own colorful fireworks display.

Now I realize I have a couple of days, but the July fourth holiday period actually is much longer than just one day or so the statistics show.

From traveling to swimming at the beach to boating and backyard bashes with friends and family, there are barbecues, an abundance of tasty treats, drinks of all flavors and fireworks!  However, what is supposed to be a day of celebration is often reflected as a day of many accidents and injuries.  Therefore I thought some insight, wisdom, and a few statistics might be a bit prudent.

Impaired Driving - Not a Wize Way to Spend Your Holiday

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), "Most Americans don't realize that July 4th is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes."  During 2010 Fourth of July celebrations (from 6:00 p.m. on July 2 - 5:59 am on July 6):
  • 392 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes
  • 39% involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher
  • 80% more alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place at night
  • 50% of young drivers killed were alcohol impaired (BAC of .08 or higher)
If you do drink on the 4th, please DO NOT drive! 

Getting Fired Up - Not Just From Fireworks
Did you know that a Sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees? This small fact from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is just one reason NOT to let children light or play with Sparklers.  The CPSC also offers other safety tips for a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.  Some alarming burn and firework statistics for not following the tips in 2011 resulted in:
  • An average of 200 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks related injuries
  • 65% of these injuries occurred within the 4th of July holiday period
  • Most injured body part is no surprise the hands and fingers - 46%
  • Most injuries by type of fireworks goes to the Sparklers - 17%
For more interesting statistics go to  Be sure to know some basic burn care as well - just in case.

Also - watch the barbecues, backyard fire pits and camp fires - statistics from the National Fire Data Center indicate that more than half of the 11,000 injuries related to these types of fires happen the first week of July.

Turning Up the Heat
Keeping to the hot topic of heating things up.  It is July and the temperatures across the nation have been hot and the weather unpredictable.  With temperatures soaring into the 90's in many states, drink your water!  Alcohol will actually cause you to get dehydrated, so drinks with electrolytes, juices, and water, water, water - will help prevent the many heat related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, and sunburn.  Even if you are in the water don't discount the power of the sun!   For tips on preventing heat related illnesses check out One food with sweet water power and great nutritional benefits is watermelon - check out some amazing recipes from our "Fruit-tastic Watermelon News For Your Summer" blog!

Have fun, be safe, and if you find yourself packing this week for your holiday summer vacation check out Krysta's blog of things to remember on your summer vacation "Don't Forget FamilyWize this Summer!"

Happy 4th of July from FamilyWize!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Friday, June 29, 2012

Options for MediCare Part D Prescriptions

Working at FamilyWize really gives me assurance that there are always options when it comes to getting needed prescription medicine - even those of you in the donut hole who are probably asking, "Now what?" 

medicare prescription assistance programs
Light on the other side of the Donut Hole.
If you are new to Medicare and the Part D prescription coverage gap, then there are a few things you need to know:
  1. There is a temporary gap in prescription coverage depending on the plan you've chosen so your monthly prescription medication costs may rise.
  2. Whether or not you enter into the coverage gap is based on your drug plan spending for those drugs that are covered.
  3. Once you enter whether or not you will exit the donut hole additional funds and qualify for catastrophic coverage for the remainder of the year is based on your out of pocket expenses while in the Medicare coverage gap.  
Confusing? For more information or help go to or call 1-800-MEDICARE or check with your pharmacist.

If You Calculate That You Won't Spend Enough Money Out of Pocket to Qualify for Catastrophic Coverage... Then Here Are Tips to Make the Best of the Coverage Gap While You Are In It

If you do enter the coverage gap, as promised from last week's blog "The Dreaded Medicare Donut Hole"; here are some options and resources on how to land softly and survive the donut hole dunk! 

If you think you will spend enough to get out of the gap - DO NOT use these options.
  1. Compare, Compare, Compare - If you are not going to spend enough to get out of the donut hole, say it with me-COMPARE!  There are many options from manufacturer rebates to store programs that may be able to help you save a chunk of money.
  2. Chat with your Pharmacist - Your pharmacist is aware of different programs that can be used in conjunction with Medicare Part D insurance.  Talk to your pharmacist to see which program would work best for you based on the medications you are prescribed.
  3. Talk to your Doc - Your doctor doesn't necessarily know what health insurance you have because there are medical billers whose jobs are to handle insurance matters.  (I know this because a good friend is one!)  Let your doctor know that you are a Medicare Part D recipient and have fallen into the donut hole. See if your brand-name prescription medications have generics that could be just as effective.  Your doctor might have some other tricks like changing your medication's strength or dosage to save you money or even hook you up with some samples to get you through to the other end of the gap.  Who doesn't love samples! 
  4. Resources - National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit and advocacy organization that works with various organizations to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their community.  It offers a free service called BenefitsCheckUp.  After you answer a series of questions, it creates a personalized report of the programs that may be able to assist you in areas such as medication, food, and housing.  You can also view different State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs put together by that may be able to give you a hand.
  5. Talk it Out - Check out message boards or blogs to connect with people who are in the same boat you are.  It might make the process a little bit easier.  Online support can be a great resource.
  6. FamilyWize - We can help Medicare recipients who have fallen into the donut hole.  If you know you won't get out, you can use FamilyWize FREE discount prescription drug card to save up to 75% on your generic medications.  FamilyWize can be used for FDA-approved medications in and out of the gap that aren't covered by Medicare when purchased at a participating pharmacy.
Whether you are in the donut hole or are able to spend enough to get catastrophic coverage,  we want to help you find options!  If you know of options that are not listed here, please share!

Krysta W.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Affordable Health Care - The Court's Decision

It has been decided.  The Supreme Court made their ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act.  The court upheld the mandate that the federal health care reform bill, brought forth by President Obama and Congress, can require Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty stating that it is "characterized as a tax," which is permitted by the Constitution.
medicine uninsured health care cost
Supreme Court passes federal health care reform bill.

FamilyWize does not take a political position on this decision.  Our stand is that we fully support affordable health care for all children, individuals, and families in the United States.

But even as government moves forward to implement the federal health care law, there is nothing in legislation that mandates coverage of prescription medications.  

There is an unprecedented and growing need for prescription medicine coverage.  More than 80 million people in the U.S. are uninsured or underinsured.  More than ever, people need access to affordable medical and prescription coverage.  

Even when this Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014 problems with the rising cost of medical bills and prescription medication do not go away.  In order to make health care more affordable, insurance plans are cutting out or cutting back healthcare coverage, and especially prescription coverage.  No matter who you are in America; the increasing costs of getting necessary prescription medicines may seem to be an UN-Affordable act.

There Are Options and Help with Your Health Care Bills

Since 2005, FamilyWize has been working with the United Ways to provide affordable prescription medicines to everyone in America whether they have health insurance or not.  FamilyWize has set a goal to "reduce the cost of medicine for children, families, and individuals by $1 billion by the end of 2015."

affordable health care
Family Wize discount drug card is free nationwide.
With the constant changes in Medicare, Medicaid, and increased expenses to state and federal governments, every person can help another person get a FREE FamilyWize United Ways prescription discount drug card. We are a country "united" and we need to work together to make affordable options in prescription drug costs.  Across our country over 60,000 pharmacies are providing discounts to individuals and families who may not otherwise afford their prescribed medicines.  From the Medicare Donut Hole to middle and lower income individuals and families who are uninsured or under insured - health care costs are on the rise for everyone.

So please take one minute today to help do your part in making health care more affordable.

Print a discount drug card or text the word "family" to 700700 and  start saving money on prescription medications!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nutrition in a Nut-Shell

"Nuts" - it is a loaded word.  It could be referring to a state of mind or a behavior or action, but today I am going to look at nuts in its simplest form - a bountiful food full of nutrition and health benefits.  

It is no coincidence that nuts are either a morning or afternoon snack for me. In fact, as I am writing, I just grabbed a handful out of the jar that sits on my desk.  These are raw almonds, but I enjoy just about every flavor of nut from walnuts to the sweet pecan to cashews, macadamia, peanuts, and more.  Why?  Because the nutritional value in tree nuts and peanuts is tremendous.  They are a perfect, bite-sized power snack.  You may call me a raw health "nut", but I'm okay with that.

health nut nutritional facts
One handful a day is all you need!
Did you know that nuts are considered a fruit or drupe?  And in the case of the peanut - a legume?  Whatever you call them - they are full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and unsaturated fats. 

Nuts sometimes get a bad wrap due to the high caloric content of this small delicacy, but in fact they are one of the healthiest foods you can eat.  From heart health to Type 2 diabetes to obesity and cancer prevention, the nutritional value of nuts is great.  We may not be able to control health care, diseases, water, and the environment, but we can take the information on nutrition found in nuts and take small steps to learning how these tasty essential nutrients may have a profound impact on our health.

Just a few nutty studies include:
  • Human Research Center on Aging study as posted on the United States Department of Agriculture website, concluded that antioxidants found in nuts due to their high polyphenol benefits have positive effects against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes.  
  • The Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition also touts the antioxidant and phytonutrient benefits of resveratrol, phytosertols and beta-sitosterol found in peanuts and tree nuts.
  • In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a statement that 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts may reduce the risk of heart disease.  
  • The University of Nebraska published an article "NUTS for Nutrition" which references studies by the International Journal of Obesity for weight control, and a Harvard School of Public Health study for helping with Type 2 diabetes.  
The nutritional facts about walnuts, almonds, peanuts and the many other tree nuts include a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids for fighting inflammation, iron and zinc which delivers oxygen to your cells and can prevent anemia, heart healthy monounsaturated fat (macadamias have the highest MUFA), which help with cholesterol and heart health, while selenium and the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol have certain cancer fighting properties (Journal of Medicinal Food and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center).  

Wondering what are the tree nuts?  The FDA list of tree nuts includes:
Almond, beech nut, Brazil nut, butternut, cashew, chestnut, Chinquapin, coconut, gingkgo nut, hazelnut (filbert), hickory nut, macadamia nut, pecan, Pili nut, pine nut, pistachio, shea nut, and the oh so beneficial walnut.

Incorporating nuts into your diet as a snack may give your body some of the advanced essential nutrients you might otherwise be missing.  Try it - you might just like it!

No matter how you crack it - tell us which nut is your favorite and how you like to eat it.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Uninsured 20 Somethings - A Lack of Health Care

It's in the news and I don't think we can get around it so I am going to say it - Affordable Care Act.

Whew - that wasn't so bad!  I think health care insurance and medical coverage are something that each one of us faces on some level every day.  But what I don't think we all realize is how differently it impacts life based on a person's age.

So my daughter just turned 20.  She was in college and then a trade school. Now that she is done with school and working anywhere from one to three jobs to have financial freedom, her time and freedom fluctuates based on the number of jobs she has.

It is great she works, but none of the jobs offer health care.  She is in a growing, trending industry, but it all depends on the region, length of time worked, and the size of the company - so far she has not had an affordable health care plan if any at all.

health care health care plan
Many college age adults have no health insurance coverage.
Thankfully - due to all this healthcare reform - good, bad, or indifferent - she was able to get insurance coverage through my husband's healthcare plan.  Both my husband and I work - yet we have insurance premiums that we pay for through his company.  And even though my daughter and other young adult are working full-time, many still cannot afford the health care premiums associated with proper medical health insurance.

Recently "The Commonwealth Fund" conducted a survey.  Their report "Young, Uninsured, and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act is Helping"  indicated that young adults from ages 19 - 29 often do not have access to or choose not to take part in the healthcare plan even if offered by their companies.

affordable health care plan
Many struggle with everyday bills and need affordable health care
Like my daughter prior to the Affordable Care Act, young adults who typically lose insurance coverage when they graduate high school or college are still choosing between bills (rent, utilities, food, and school loans) and proper medical care and needed prescriptions.

I am not taking a position on the whole healthcare reform, but I do know based on this study - our young adults are at risk.  The study indicated that young adults - ages 19- 29 who have gaps in health insurance, are at a higher risk for injury related visits to the emergency room, are more likely to have babies at this age, 15%  have chronic health conditions requiring a doctor's care and prescription medications, and in the last 30 years this age group's obesity rate has "increased threefold".

So over the next week or so, we are going to take a closer look at what I found young adults are doing to cope with being uninsured.  Similarly to our Medicare Donut Hole blogs, we will be doing a short series.  Next week we will tell you what measures we discovered some are taking to get health insurance as well as sharing a few of the options out there in finding affordable health care.

If you or someone you know is 20-something and does not have health insurance, let us know what you or they are doing about going to the doctor's or getting prescription medicine when needed.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager