Autism Sparks – Great Resource for Connecting with Your Child with Autism

Autism Sparks – Great Resource for Connecting with Your Child with Autism

autism sparksApril has been designated national Autism Awareness Month and provides the perfect opportunity for individuals and organizations across the nation to educate their communities about autism.

Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills.  People with autism can also have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.

How do you best interact and connect with your child with autism?  Autism Sparks is a valuable resource for parents and siblings of children with autism.  Their mission is to share thoughts, tips and information that will spark ideas for you that will help your child.   Here are some of best and most-shared tips from their facebook page:

  • “Some children with autism find it hard to let go of an idea once they’ve got hold of it, so they can get very upset if they mistakenly think something is going to happen and then find out that it isn’t. Correcting misunderstandings as soon as they are discovered may help to avoid a big upset later on.” (4/5/2014)
  • “For some children with autism, things tend to be very black and white – e.g. something is perfect or it’s a total failure. This can be positive in that they can have high standards. The downside is that it can also cause them lots of stress, when things aren’t perfect. If your child is like this, consider teaching them to grade experiences, either descriptively or using a 5 point scale, for example.” (3/27/2014)
  • “Some children with autism can become so absorbed in their own activities that it can be hard for us to find a way in. If you’re finding it hard to break into your child’s world, watch what they like to play with, and if possible get several of each thing. Then if your child picks up a certain item, there is another one available for you to pick up and join in. Watch what your child does with the item – children with autism often have wonderful ways to look at the world that the rest of us just haven’t considered – and try it for yourself (within reason!). Be GENTLY intrusive.” (3/25/2014)
  • “People with autism have to work hard to process social information that most other people understand instinctively. While a social encounter can be relaxing for most of us, it can be exhausting for a child with autism. If this is true for your child, give them time each day to be on their own, or with low social demands.” (3/23/2014)
  • “Children with autism tend to be more anxious than the rest of us, as they constantly find situations and other people confusing. Don’t wait until your child is very anxious before you attend to their well-being – give them lots of well-being spikes peppered throughout the day (favourite foods, time with favourite toys, being squashed under a cushion, etc). Do things with the express intention of addressing well-being.”  (3/16/2014)
  • “Children with autism generally have higher levels of anxiety than the rest of us. It’s easy to see when some children are in an anxious state, but others are much harder to read. It is these children who suddenly go from seemingly calm to meltdown. However, if we look for the clues that indicate rising anxiety levels, we can usually find them – even if they are not what we expect – and help the child get back to a better state.” (2/18/2014)

These are just some examples of the type of helpful information that can be found on the Autism Sparks facebook page.   I encourage you to follow them and share the knowledge found there and help raise autism awareness.  Follow them at


Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times.  Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns.  Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be non-verbal, and others may be very high functioning.  An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.

The Scoop on Easter Traditions

Easter is a Christian holiday, but some of the most common traditions surrounding Easter seemingly have nothing to do with religion.  Many of these traditions have been around for centuries, while a few, like Easter candy, came about in relatively modern times.  Ever wonder how these traditions came about?  You won’t find anything about them in the Bible, but here’s the scoop on some of the most cherished Easter Traditions.

Easter Bunny

Easter-BunnyAccording to popular lore, it is the Easter Bunny who provides goodies (usually chocolate candy or ornate eggs) to children who leave their baskets out the night before. Many candy companies have taken advantage of the popular tradition and offer Easter Bunny-themed candy for that part of the year.  However, where did this tradition of a bunny that gave out eggs come from?

In the ancient world, the rabbit has long been a symbol of fertility. The rabbit is known for its reproductive prowess, in fact even today we talk of couples who have many children as “multiplying like rabbits.” Because it is known to reproduce often, it was seen has having special powers in assisting humans to reproduce. In fact our own lucky rabbit’s foot goes back to this ancient tradition.

In Europe prior to the introduction of Christianity the ancient pagans already had their own springtime festivals, as did almost all other ancient peoples. Because spring is the time, after the harshness of winter that the world begins to bloom once more, it is seen as a time of replenishing and renewal, birth and rebirth, fertility.

As Christianity expanded north from the Mediterranean world where it was born and first grew, it was common for Christians to attempt to incorporate pre-Christian ideas and rituals and place them within the context of Christian ideas and rituals, creating a mix of both Christian and Pagan.

These traditions co-existed for some time. When exactly the rabbit first became a major part of the Christian celebration is unknown. The first written mentions of the Easter Bunny came from Germany in the 15th Century, although we do not know for how long the Germans had used the symbol. It was also in Germany that the tradition of making chocolate bunnies to celebrate Easter began, sometime during the 1800′s.

According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called ‘Osterhase’ or ‘Oschter Haws’.  Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.  Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.

Easter Eggseggs

The precise origin of the ancient custom of decorating eggs is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs—and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes.

From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, and then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. An egg hunt involves hiding eggs outside for children to run around and find on Easter morning. Eggs are rolled as a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb. In the United States, the Easter Egg Roll is an annual event that is held on the White House lawn each Monday after Easter.

Easter Candy

jelly beansEaster is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween. Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s (although the jelly bean’s origins reportedly date all the way back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight). For the past decade, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep, a sugary, pastel-colored confection. Making their debut in the 1950′s, the original Peeps were handmade, marshmallow-flavored yellow chicks, but other shapes and flavors have since been introduced.

Easter Basketsbasket

The use of Easter baskets developed from the  modern symbolism of Christianity. Christians celebrate Easter because it signifies Christ’s resurrection.  During Lent,  which lasts for 40 days before Easter, many Christians sacrifice the consumption of food and other items until Easter. The tradition of feasting on a large Easter meal symbolizes the end of Lenten fasting. In earlier times, this Easter feast was brought in large baskets to church to be blessed by priests. Thereby, the link between a religious holiday and Easter treats was formed. The blessing of the contemporary Easter basket in Catholic churches today is similar to the ancient Jews who brought in their first seedlings for a temple blessing.

The tradition of padding Easter baskets with Easter grass has its roots in Dutch tradition. Dutch children were said to be awaiting the delivery of eggs on Easter Sunday. The children would lay these eggs in birds’ nests similar to the various colored nests of green, yellow, purple and other grass nests used in modern Easter baskets. In America, the Pennsylvania Dutch wait on Easter for the Easter Bunny  to bring eggs, which are deposited on what’s described as a “rabbit’s nest” or Easter grass that lines Easter baskets.

Easter Parades

bonnetEaster processions or parades  have been part of Christian culture since its earliest beginnings. The Bible records two processions in the first Holy Week, and are seen as the earliest predecessors of the modern Easter parade.

During the Dark Ages, Christians in Eastern Europe would gather in a designated spot before Easter church services, then walk solemnly to the church. Sometimes the congregation would form another parade after the services, retracing their steps and singing songs of praise. These processions had two purposes—to demonstrate to churchgoers the unity of spirit found in their faith, and to reach out to nonbelievers in a highly visible manner. Even in those times, participants wore their finest attire to show respect for the occasion.

The Easter parade is now an American cultural event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday.   Persons participating in an Easter parade traditionally dress in new and fashionable clothing, particularly ladies’ hats. The Easter parade is most closely associated with Fifth Avenue in New York City, but Easter parades are also held in many other cities.

Happy Easter!!

happy easter

Sources: History Channel, Mental Floss, Wikipedia, Yahoo! Voices, Huffington Post,

Celebrate Siblings Day with a Medical ID for Everyone

FamilySiblings Day (sometimes called National Siblings Day) is an American celebration held annually on April 10 to honor the relationships of siblings.  Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it is not federally recognized, although this is the stated goal of the Siblings Day Foundation.  

History of Siblings Day

  • After losing both of her siblings early in life, Claudia Evart, a native New Yorker and resident of Manhattan, felt inspired to create the Siblings Day Foundation (SDF), a tax-exempt organization whose goals include the establishment of a National Siblings Day, to be celebrated annually on April 10, the birthday of her late sister, Lisette.
  • The Siblings Day Foundation is a New York and Massachusetts based organization with the principal office located in Manhattan.  It was incorporated in Massachusetts 1997 and became a not-for-profit organization in January, 1999.
  • Carolyn Maloney, then U.S. Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, officially saluted the holiday and introduced it into the official Congressional Record of the United States Congress on April 6, 2005.
  • In 1996, Congress stripped itself of the authority to create commemoratives leaving sole power to do so in the hands of the president.  During their presidency, George Bush in 2008 and Bill Clinton in 2000 signed a Presidential Message recognizing April 10 as Siblings Day.  A Presidential Proclamation is needed to officially establish April 10th as National Siblings Day.  Click here to read both presidential messages.

How to Celebrate Siblings Day

Siblings Day follows the spirit of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day – a great American tradition and celebration of family-unit values.  It is an uplifting celebration honoring people who have shaped our values, beliefs and ideals, the foundation says on its website. It is a relationship as equally important as a parent’s relationship. Siblings are the reason we celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.  Some ways to celebrate are:

  • Send your siblings a card or small gift.
  • Invite your siblings to dinner.
  • Do a good deed, favor, or chore for your siblings.
  • Call them…A cheerful word of appreciation can work wonders.
  • Get them a medical ID.

Why a Medical ID?

Getting a children’s medical ID for each child in your family can keep the child with a medical condition or allergy from feeling alienated by their condition.  It also helps the child without a medical concern to feel like they are special too and being treated equally.  If your child does not have a medical condition or allergy, a children’s medical ID that simply has their name on it along with emergency contact phone numbers is a great idea.  Even kids who know their parent’s phone number well might have trouble communicating it in an emergency or if they are in shock.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace.  Traditional medical ID bracelets are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some medical IDs now include MyIHR compatibility that can carry a person’s full medical record. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID, so it will be seen when it is needed.

Source:  Siblings Day Foundation

April is Autism Awareness Month

AMID_AutismMonth (850x1800)The month of April is Autism Awareness Month, an entire month devoted to raising awareness about this disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism – 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls, meaning boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  Nearly every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with autism.  It’s the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet it is also the most underfunded.

What is Autism?

Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.  It impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.  People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases, completely overcome.  While there is no cure, autism is treatable.  It is not a hopeless condition.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

while the month of April is Autism Awareness Month, the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2014.  On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity.  Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.

What Can I Do to Help?

  1. Learn more about all aspects of autism and the spectrum.  Search the internet for autism facts.  You’ll be surprised by how much information is readily available.  Some great websites you can start with are,,, and, although there are many more.
  2. Make a financial donation to a nonprofit organization that works to help children and their families affected by autism.
  3. Volunteer for a nonprofit that does work in autism research or autism fundraising.
  4. Host a fundraiser:  Fundraise Your Way offers supporters the opportunity to raise funds for their special events though the internet.  Participants have the chance to create their own event, team and individual web pages as a means to involve people from all over the country in support of their events.
  5. Light It Up blue!  Light It Up Blue is sponsored by Autism Speaks  and is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.  On April 2nd, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges,  retail stores homes and communities will take part in Light It Up Blue by lighting their buildings blue, hosting fundraisers, and spreading autism awareness.  Click here to see ways you can participate.

Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times.  Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns.  Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be non-verbal, and others may be very high functioning.  An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.



1966903_10152032890619033_316741511_nAmerican Diabetes Association Alert Day® is a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Today, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, is Alert Day.

The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

For every test taken, Boar’s Head Brand® - a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 25 through April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day is also nationally supported by Walgreens.

For more information on  American Diabetes Association Alert Day® or the Diabetes Risk Test, read the American Medical ID blog post dated Feb. 27, 2014 or visit American Diabetes Association.

Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test!

Type 2 Risk Test

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

Source: American Diabetes Association


March is Red Cross Month – 10 Ways to Help

AMID_RedCrossMonthMarch is American Red Cross Month.  The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S. affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; communications services and comfort for military members and their family members; the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products; educational programs on preparedness, health, and safety; and international relief and development programs.

The American Red Cross is a nationwide network of more than 650 chapters and 36 blood services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prepare for and respond to medical emergencies.

Approximately 500,000 Red Cross volunteers, including Femacorps and Americorps members, and 30,000 employees annually mobilize relief to people affected by more than 67,000 disasters, train almost 12 million people in necessary medical skills and exchange more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their family members. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals nationally and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.

As a nationwide non-profit with a rich history spanning more than 130 years, the Red Cross depends on the generous contributions of time, blood and money from the American public to support its lifesaving services and programs.

Here are ways you can help:


  1. Online – Visit & donate once or set up a monthly donation.
  2. Text – Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10
  3. Call – To donate by phone via credit card, call 1-800-733-2767
  4. Corporate Support – Purchase products and support programs that benefit disaster relief or other important services.
  5. Mail – Please make checks payable to American Red Cross and send to: American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018


  1. Airline Miles – You can put your unused miles to work for the Red Cross through the generosity of several major airlines
  2. Credit Card Points – Many card members can redeem points and donate them to the American Red Cross for cash donations
  3. Hotel Points – Donated points assist in providing temporary shelter for those displaced from their homes during disasters.

Give Blood

The need for blood is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply.  Donate today, you’ll feel good knowing you’ve helped change a life!


Every single day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies.  Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or support to a military family member, their vital work is made possible by people like you.  It is through the time and care of ordinary people that they can do extraordinary things.

In many Emergency Reference Guides, from Babysitter’s Guides to Wilderness and Remote First Aid, the Red Cross reminds people to look for a medical ID bracelet or necklace when providing emergency care.  A medical ID provides important information about a person’s condition, medications, and allergies.

To learn more, visit



Ryan Reed to Compete in the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 presented by Lilly Diabetes

300Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Ryan Reed will compete in this Saturday’s (March 15th) Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS).  This marks the second NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at this track for him.  Reed will be driving the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes℠  presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang.  In his other start at the .53-mile oval in the fall of 2013, Reed started 27th and finished 26th.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Bristol, Tennessee, area or go to the race, Drive to Stop Diabetes℠  (D2SD) will host an activation space in the fan midway at BMS. The display area features the No. 16 D2SD racing simulator, diabetes awareness and educational materials as well as various prizes. The display is open March 15 (8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) and March 16 (8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.).   Reed will also appear for a Q&A at the Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ display on Saturday, March 15 from 9:20 – 9:35 a.m.

Reed on racing at Bristol Motor Speedway:

“Bristol was probably the toughest race track for me that I went to last year. I was able to learn a ton and I think having that experience will help us get our first top-10 of the season. I am so excited that  Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ is going to go get so much exposure this weekend, and I can’t thank Lilly Diabetes enough for making that happen.”

About the American Diabetes Association: 

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.

About Lilly Diabetes

Lilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when they introduced the world’s first commercial insulin. Today they are building upon this heritage by working to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes and those who care for them. Through research and collaboration, a broad and growing product portfolio and a continued determination to provide real solutions—from medicines to support programs and more—they strive to make life better for all those affected by diabetes around the world.

Source: Drive to Stop Diabetes℠


The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

Dexcom Supports NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed’s American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Initiative

Ryan ReedDexcom, Inc., the leader in continuous glucose monitoring, announced on March 5th that it is supporting NASCAR driver Ryan Reed and the American Diabetes Association’s Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ national diabetes awareness initiative (click here to read the full announcement).  As part of the campaign, Dexcom will support Ryan Reed and the Association’s Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes to build awareness about the importance of daily monitoring and tracking of glucose trends in the management of diabetes.  Other Drive to Stop Diabetes partners include American Medical ID, Logitech and Playtech, along with entitlement partners American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes.

20 year old Ryan Reed - who has type 1 diabetes – teamed up with Seth Barbour in the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes Presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang in 2013. This unique collaboration uses Ryan’s story as the voice. The Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign includes awareness and educational efforts at select NASCAR Nationwide races this year, as well as at several off track health and wellness initiatives throughout 2014.

Reed takes a number of precautions each time he climbs behind the wheel of his bright red-and-white Ford Mustang. He uses a continuous glucose monitor to read his levels the entire time he’s inside the race car.  The monitor mounts on his dash, next to the rest of the gauges, so that he can monitor it just like engine water temperature or oil pressure.   One of his pit crew is trained to  give him an insulin injection if needed.  Reed also carries a high sugar, carbohydrate blend drink that he can drink if his blood sugar gets a little bit low.



The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.





Top 10 Foolish Health Beliefs

There are plenty of ridiculous health claims around the internet, and many of them seem really believable.  Some we’ve heard all our lives from family, friends, and people peddling products. How do we separate the truth from myth and misinformation?  With help from some of the most reliable health, news, science websites and magazines, we’ve tracked down the answers for you!

April Fool’s Day is  just around the corner … here’s a reminder not to be fooled by these top 10 health beliefs.

  1. Eating a lot of carrots can save your failing vision.  Vitamin carrotsA is essential for good vision – no one’s refuting that — but you only need a small amount. One half-cup of raw carrots will provide you with 184 percent of the recommended daily value. An excessive amount of beta carotene, the compound in carrots that’s converted to vitamin A, can not only make your skin turn orange, but studies show it has also been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in some people. So enjoy the crudité, but if you worry that your eyesight is failing, make an appointment with an optometrist or an eye doctor. (Source: Huffington Post)
  2. You can get the flu from the flu vaccine. This myth endures flu shotpartially because of the timing factor.  It takes a week or two for the full effect of the vaccine to kick in, so if you were unlucky enough to be exposed to the flu right before or after you got the vaccine, you’re probably still going to get sick. But James J. Turro, MD, FACP, an internal medicine physician at the Mount Kisco Medical Group, says the other reason this myth perpetuates is that it’s normal to feel a little bit sick in the day or two after your shot. The vaccine “tricks” your body into making antibodies against the flu, and that response can make you feel achy and slightly feverish. “I’ve been getting the flu shot for 30 years now, and I always feel a bit off for a day or two afterwards,” he says.  (Source: Westchester Magazine)
  3. organic-bananas-fruit-400x400

    Photo credit:

    If the label says “natural,” it means it’s better for you. The word “natural” is not defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and can mean just about anything. Even products labeled “all natural” can be highly processed and contain high fructose corn syrup, a manufactured sugar that some researchers think is a contributor to the spike in obesity. The word “organic”? Now that’s regulated by the USDA and means the food is made without most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics. (Source: Health Magazine)

  4. gum-seven_300

    Photo Credits: Holly Lindem, Real Simple Magazine

    Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years.  Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either. (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

  5. wet-hair-600x450

    Photo credit:

    Going out with wet hair will make you sick.   No matter what your Nana said, studies show that having your hair cold and damp doesn’t make you more susceptible to coming down with a case of the sniffles. “Researchers put cold viruses in the noses of two groups of people, and one group was then exposed to cold, wet conditions,” says Rachel Vreeman, MD, co-author of Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They”l Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked. “People who were chilled were no more likely to get sick than those who weren’t,” she says. (Source: Prevention Magazine)

  6. Microwaving food destroys nutrients.  Microwaving food does not destroy microwave-999882-mnutrients. In fact, according to Caroline Kaufman, a registered dietician nutritionist based in Los Angeles, in some cases microwaving food offers health benefits.  “A fast and convenient way to steam vegetables, microwaving can help people retain more water-soluble nutrients often lost when drowning vegetables in water and cooking them too long. Microwaving also helps preserve heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C due to a faster cook time,” Kaufman said.   (Source: Fox News)
  7. eggs

    Photo credits: Plamen Petkov, Cooking Light Magazine

    Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.  Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body.  The confusion can be boiled down to semantics: The same word, “cholesterol,” is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol—the fat-like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs—doesn’t greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Your body makes its own cholesterol, so it doesn’t need much of the kind you eat. Instead, what fuels your body’s cholesterol-making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat. One large egg contains about 1.5 grams saturated fat, a fraction of the amount in the tablespoon of butter many cooks use to cook that egg in. So, cutting eggs out of your diet is a bad idea; they’re a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals.  (Source: Cooking Light Magazine)

  8. Cold weather makes you sick. “People have studied this in so many different ways — going so far as studying all the people on an island in the MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAArctic Sea to see if they’re getting more sick than people in warmer places,” Vreeman says. “Scientists have done tests where they’ve put cold viruses right into people’s noses to see if they get sick more easily in cold conditions.” Cold, she says, is not the culprit. ( Source: Chicago Tribune)
  9. Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the eyes. Although parents tvhave been saying this ever since TVs first found their way into our homes, there’s no evidence that plunking down right in front of the TV set damages someone’s eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, so they often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television or holding reading material close to their eyes.  However, sitting close to a TV may be a sign of nearsightedness. (Source: KidsHealth)

  10. Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever.  The old wives’ tale has been a staple since Photo credit: Huffington Postthe 1500s.  “Colds and fevers are generally caused by viruses that tend to last seven to 10 days, no matter what you do,” says Rachel Vreeman, M.D., a fellow in Children’s Health Services Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “And there is no good evidence that diet has any effect on a cold or fever. Even if you don’t feel like eating, you still need fluids, so put a priority on those.”  If you’re congested, the fluids will keep mucus thinner and help loosen chest and nasal congestion. (Source: Huffington Post)






7 Tips to Spring Cleaning a Senior Loved One’s Home

The following is re-posted from a recent blog post on the One Call Alert website.  Click here to read the original blog post.


Why is spring the time of year we take a step back and do a thorough cleaning of the house? Well, I am glad you asked! A not so long time ago, dark colored grime and soot would build up over the winter months from using candles, kerosene lamps and wood or coal burning stoves. So each spring, as the days started getting longer and the temperature started getting warmer, it was time to scrub every surface and launder everything made of fabric. You opened up your windows and doors to let the winter out and you breathed in the fresh scent of spring.

Even with the modern conveniences electricity and technology have brought us spring cleaning remains a long held tradition for many families. Sure, the chores have changed and it might be more about emptying out the garage and painting a few walls, but spring is still a time to focus on cleaning and home improvements.

If you are a caregiver, it may also be time to focus on your senior loved one’s home. Is it cluttered? Is a deep cleaning in order? Are repairs necessary?

Here are seven tips to help get you started:

1. The All Important To-Do List. Write down everything you and your senior loved one would like to get done. Tasks may include yard work, fresh coats of paint, deep cleaning, and more.

Tasks to include that will reduce senior safety hazards:

  • Sort and clean out the medicine cabinet. Make sure all expired drugs have been removed.
  • Go through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to remove all expired or rotten food.
  • Replace light bulbs where needed and ensure that the bulb offers enough light.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check all electrical outlets in each room to be sure they’re covered by a plastic plate, working, and not damaged or loose.  Put your hand on the wall around each outlet to check for warmth, look for flickering lights and sniff for strange smells. If you ever see sparks or smoke, call an electrician immediately.
  • Clear clutter away from all walkways in and out of the home.
  • Throw rugs, low furniture, and other seemingly normal furniture may be tripping hazards, user your judgment and remove whatever isn’t necessary.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom for ease of use with the toilet and bath.
  • Test the medical alert system in every room of the house and make sure all emergency contact information is accurate.

2. Put it on the calendar and follow through with it. Make sure to block off an appropriate amount of time in your schedule for the tasks you want to get done. Whether you make is a full weekend of work or split it up into chunks of time over a few weeks, it is important to stick to your schedule. Don’t let it drag on week after week, just get it done.

3. Create a budget and stick to it. Just like any home repair, spring cleaning has costs associated to it and they may spiral out of control if you are not careful. Make sure you know what the fees are for local dumping and check rates on the delivery of a dumpster if one is needed. You will need cleaning supplies, bags for garbage and donations, painting supplies, and more. It is always best to understand the costs ahead of time and work them out with your senior loved one and your co-caregivers.

4. More hands make for faster work. Invite other members of the family local friends to come and help out. The more people that can help the more you can get done and the better life you will help to provide for your loved one. If you can’t convince family members to lend a hand, try hiring some local neighborhood kids to help.

5. Make your senior loved one feel useful. If you keep your loved one engaged and feeling useful, no matter what the limitations might be, you will get more done. If your loved one has a difficult time lifting things or just getting around the house, provide them with sedentary tasks that are also very useful such as sorting, polishing, and filing. If there are big decisions to be made about throwing something out or a significant home repair, make sure to consult your loved one first.

6. Focus big picture first. Instead of deep cleaning a small part of the home or planting new shrubs first, focus on the big picture stuff like getting the clutter out and making sure the home is safe. Many seniors who have accumulated a lifetime of belongings often have so much stuff that it clutters the house and make it difficult to clean. Don’t just dust around the piles, manage the problem first. Look at storage options for everything that your loved one wants to keep. Don’t just throw things out; handle the clutter in a diplomatic and straight forward manner.

7. It’s not just about cleaning. Take this time to help figure out how to make sure the home stays clean and safe. If you discover your loved one has piles of unpaid bills, expired food in the pantry or hasn’t been cleaning up after the pets, it is probably time for some extra help around the house and added weekly visits.

One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.