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Making Change Stick

Making Change Stick

Maybe it was a heart attack… Tipping into the type 2 diabetic range… Or any other health or social scare.   The writing is now on the wall – something needs to change.   Eat better, exercise more, lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, meditate more, sleep well.  Typically, after the shock and fear are processed, there is a real and well-intentioned commitment to do things differently.  This time, things will be unlike before – until it isn’t. What is it that makes change so darn hard to maintain?  As it turns out, faulty thinking, misplaced motivation, poor strategies, and ineffective tools can all contribute toward that famous road paved with good intentions. Some factors that can sabotage our success: • Biting off too much to chew at once.  I can really relate to this one!  An ‘all or nothing’ kind of gal myself, I tend to think I can go from 0 to 1000% within a variety of arenas all at the same time and within one single leap of faith.  This is typically a surefire way to crash.    • Drawing on negative motivation rather than positive motivation.  While fear, regret, shame and guilt may cause us to try something new, research suggests that these motivators do not work long term. • Relapses seen as failure.  Slips or relapses are all part of the process and do not suggest that you have to throw in the towel!  Get back on track asap and do not let the ‘slip’ justify a regression to old habits. • Thinking about change as a finite event instead of an ongoing process.  Change requires an ever...
Bet There’s an App for That!

Bet There’s an App for That!

Do you line up the night before to buy the latest shiny new device being launched the next day? Perhaps you are a self-proclaimed “luddite” who opposes technological change.   More likely, you shun the two extremes and embrace technology that actually works, serves you, and makes your life easier, safer, and more convenient. New technologies are being introduced continually to help us maintain our independence and age more safely in place. Monitors alert us to take specific medications at prescribed times of day and ensure the medications are accessible only then. Do you fear a loved one will miss taking meds? No problem. A pre-recorded reminder message can arrive to the loved one through the TV set and a text message can alert you or another caregiver that the meds were not taken. Motion detectors can identify when routine activities of daily living fail to be carried out. Perhaps the fridge door was not opened throughout the day or the toilet was not flushed. Once again, caregivers can be alerted to the lack of activity.  In terms of your personal health, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar can be monitored on a regular basis. Various vital biomarkers can be tracked, recorded, and uploaded to a cloud file for review by your healthcare practitioners. Is mobility a problem or do you live in a rural area? Telehealth connections allow you to engage directly with healthcare professionals through Skype and other technologies.    Robots are being developed to assume some of the caregiving tasks and Japan is leading the way. With an emerging aging population and an insufficient number of caregivers...