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How to make The Elderly feel loved during a COVID19 Lockdown

How to make The Elderly feel loved during a COVID19 Lockdown

Just when we need each other more, we’re being forced apart

The battle to stop the spread of COVID19 is poised to dramatically increase the risk for loneliness, says 19th U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Social distancing, while a vital strategy to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, can worsen people’s sense of isolation.

“We find ourselves with a silent but common challenge of loneliness that people are struggling with all over the country and all over the world. And now on top of that, we're being asked to pull back from life-sustaining interactions with other people,”

Each day, as numbers affected by the worldwide pandemic escalate, one thing is clear: no matter where they live, the elderly face the highest risk.

 “The brunt of COVID-19 will be borne by the poor, elderly, and sick, and it is up to us to ensure they are not left behind,”  former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

According to a 2012 study from the United Kingdom, seniors die of the usual causes, but isolation is one of the main risk factors that worsen preexisting conditions.

Loneliness more harmful than a Pandemic

Loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Because of their age and a higher prevalence of comorbid conditions, individuals over the age of 65 are considered to be especially at risk for complications related to COVID-19. But during the current pandemic, these older members of the population are also at a higher risk of succumbing to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Simple things to make life worthwhile for the elderly?

Put them First

Tip: minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time, but when done consistently that small amount of time can make a big difference in how connected we feel.

Don’t get caught in bad news

It's tough to empathize if you are depressed. Dial down distractions and give undivided attention to people. “The cost to our relationships is significant. It impacts the quality of the interaction, and ultimately the quality of the relationship.

Serve

“We can call a neighbor ...and check on them to make sure they're doing okay. We can drop food off to somebody,” Murthy says. “We can write to people to let them know ... that we know, that they're going through a tough time and that we're thinking of them. These are small but powerful ways in which we can seek to serve others.”

 
Be innovative. 

At Fellowship, “to keep people’s spirits up, to keep them entertained and connected, we converted one of our spaces to a studio where we stream live activities and events and programming to an in-house channel that goes throughout the community.

We’re streaming religious services, entertainment, lectures, any type of content we can. We put out a schedule. We’re always looking to add to it. To ensure people have something to look forward, something to enjoy besides watching tv all the time,” noted Lawrence who runs  a care home.
 
On the brightside, so many individuals and organizations, musicians, artists, have come forward, streaming their performances online. Countless museums offer virtual tours. Churches, synagogues, and temples are streaming their religious services.

Fitness classes have even been thrown into the mix. 


Teach the technology.

The writer’s mother went from having no cell phone a few years ago, to an iPhone, mini iPad, and a second full-size iPad.If they are not familiar, walk them through new devices and tablets and programs and apps and streaming services. There are also online resources. SeniorNet and U3A.Online .

Apps like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, and Skype can help them to feel connected.
 
Pick up the phone. 

The landline (Yes! These do still exist.) Text messages just aren’t the same. Use the phone every day, on a regular basis, to call your older loves ones, even your older neighbors just to check in, even if it’s just to say hi.
 
Most of all, listen. 

“We need to try to understand this from their perspective, and hear their voices to tell us what they need,” stated Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and assistant professor of health care policy at the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.

“In many ways, this crisis may serve to deepen connections between generations and across communities.”

Tell us: have you been affected by the coronavirus?
If you have been affected or have any information or news tips for our journalists, we would like to hear from you

 


Mental Health for Managers at work.

Mental Health for Managers at work.

Leaders at work may seem to have everything figured out, but it is actually more stressful at the top than one perceives. There are so many articles online that educate employees on how to cope with stress at work, what employers should do to foster a stress-free work environment, how to cope with stressful bosses and so on. But what about the employers? How should they deal with workplace stress? Who do they talk to when they are depressed? Essentially, who watches the watchman?

“Management and leadership are not innate skills; they’re learned,” – Lauren Laitin.

 

It must be noted that it’s not just Chief Executives who feel the heat. A 2015 study suggests that folks in the middle of any hierarchy seem to have higher rates of anxiety and depression than those at the top or the bottom.

Employees who do not have supervisory roles have to deal with expectations from their superiors, but for most bosses, it’s a two-way pull. They are almost always subordinates, whether it’s to someone higher up the organizational ladder or — in the case of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners, they also report to customers, stockholders, a business partner, or a board of directors. A boss’ challenges exceed common workplace stressors. They deal with scarcity of jobs, sacrificing personal relationships for professional success and its potential effects. Bosses have to deal with demands from those below and above them. But once they get the skill of management under their belt, the question is “what next?”

An employer needs to make sure that employees or those they superintend over have the resources they need to get their projects done, sometimes within time and budget constraints that can seem uninformed at best.

Paying workers’ salaries on time at the end of the month also induces a lot of stress for employers. Most employees are oblivious to the state of the company’s finances. During times where business is slow, employers have to bear the cost of payment of salaries and make employees happy even in their distress. 

Weathering the storm in the economy of their country of operation, in order to keep businesses running, is another daunting deal for employers. In Ghana, for instance, most companies have folded up due to lack of business opportunities, income and the general economic status of the country. This has contributed to some business owners being depressed and as such resulted to those who lost their life’s work, others who are at the precipice of losing their companies and are also on high alert as well as those who are fortunately still in business but are on the verge of anxiety about future uncertainties. Uncontrolled fear of failure leads to depression and other mental health problems for these employers.

When employees do not meet deadlines or are unable to reach set targets for the month, it causes a lot of worry for their superiors, especially when so much time, money and other resources have been invested and little or no result is yielded. Many a time this emanates from lack of motivation, employees falling behind on the company’s vision and in most cases, employees’ negative attitude towards work such as: lateness, indifference, absenteeism among others which affect work output. The onus lies on the employer to ensure that all facets of the company work well in a coordinative manner and on time, which could be strenuous.

The hassle that comes with being a boss is real. While they work to keep the workplace in tune and make sure everyone is happy, necessary checks must be put in place to ensure there are proper communication channels as well as cultivate healthy relationships with colleagues, clients and business partners. 

Some clients do not deliver as promised and this can be difficult to deal with, yet bosses have to develop the acumen to tactfully manage and handle such clients for future business relations.

 

Staying ahead of the competition

The days of monopoly are over. Every business has at least one or more competitors who are always planning and strategizing to become or remain market leaders. Whereas some employees may have the luxury to rest after work, most managers indulge in rigorous planning on how to stay ahead of their competitors, build and maintain client relationships and in some cases poach clients from their competition.  

Taking care of workers' needs and maintaining a healthy and decorous environment for people with different backgrounds and personalities can be very stressful. As a boss, ensuring that there is peace, harmony, and discipline can be a herculean task. Even when these are not achieved, the boss must ensure some form of teamwork and coordination among workers to help push the vision of the company forward. Lack of unity and teamwork could ruin the future of the company.

Analyzing the various factors that result in high stress levels among employers show that there are some ramifications that come with work-related stress. Although stress is inevitable in everyday life, extreme stress levels have been linked to a host of health hazards, either physically or psychologically.

Distraction or the inability to focus, headache, irritability, and changes in sleep patterns are just a few of the symptoms. It gets more treacherous than that. "When people experience stress, they often stop doing some of the healthy coping strategies that usually help keep their mood on track," Alice Boyes. Stress has an effect of ruining a person’s mood, which leads to abandoning activities and practices that help regulate mood, which consequently create more mood-related problems. Skipping normal coping mechanisms can lead to adopting unhealthy ones, like drinking or substance abuse, or getting into arguments at the drop of a hat just to let off some steam. Those things, in turn, can put a strain on relationships. Stress has been linked to health problems like high blood pressure, and those who turn to stress-eating as a coping mechanism may also be inviting increased risk of heart diseases due to large intake of sugary and fatty foods, for instance.  

According to research conducted by Harvard Medical School, women in stressful roles may also be faced with higher rates of fertility problems that could spiral into a frustrating, potentially devastating infertility cycle. Even without physical symptoms, chronic stress could lead to psychological conditions like depression and, if left long enough, burnout. In some situations, work-life overshadow their personal lives which strains their personal and social life. All too often, most stressed bosses notice they are separating from their norms. “Work-related issues aren’t the only factors that drive personal problems, but certainly people feel like it’s hurting their ability to be there for others,” said McLeod.

What then can be done to help the “watchmen?” It may be time to brainstorm solutions. Everyone experiences stress, and prolonged stress can have very real physical and emotional effects on one’s health. How one chooses to deal with stress often makes the difference between lemons and lemonade.

A support group may be necessary, most bosses do not feel secured opening up about their problems especially to their employees, which is why talking to people of their rank or above them about their problems could help, whether they are in the same company or not.

Health B

Get a trusted confidant to talk to. It is best to have that one friend or partner who understands. Such people are able to tell when one is entering a bad place in their lives and can help pull them out. They can offer a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on when times are hard.

Bosses can sit with their teammates and manager(s) to work through ways to improve a process or situation that could end up benefiting not just them, but the entire team and internal relationships as well.

As part of stress-management tips, one can take more action-friendly steps like keeping their to-do list short, taking one thing at a time, and asking instead of guessing. One can also take a step back, take a deep breath and reflect on what they can do to improve their daily routine.

Employees can also help their employers by exhibiting the highest standard of discipline at work, and meeting targets and deadlines. When the boss is doing an awesome job despite the unique pressures they face, the staff should take a minute to acknowledge their effort. Boss’ Day initiative can be taken by the company from time to time just to say “thank you”.

No matter where and the rank one finds themselves, remember that taking care of your mental health is the smartest decision you could ever make for your life. “Health does not always come from medicine. Most of the time. It comes from peace of mind, peace in the heart, peace in the soul. It comes from laughter and love.” – HealthyPlace.com

Giving Priority to Sleep: The Right Dose to a Healthy life

Giving Priority to Sleep: The Right Dose to a Healthy life

… A clear conscience and a grateful mind are the pillows to sleep on.

After a long stressful day

#CannabisDecriminalization - Ghana Decriminalizes Cannabis

Who Passed a Joint?

Ghana now joins the likes of  Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, and South Africa to decriminalize hemp for medical and industrial use.

Parliament Friday evening passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019, to treat drug dependence as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, incarceration, punishment, and repression.

“The fundamental goal of drug policies should be to improve the health, safety, security and socio-economic well-being of people by adopting appropriate measures to combat illicit crop cultivation and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as its associated substance,” a report on the Bill, presented to the plenary by the Committee on Defence and Interior, said.

hep

(Hemp Association of Ghana (HAG) held a sensitizing training workshop on Monday with stakeholder farmers IMG: TheWorkergsGH)

What control measure has been put in Place?

The Commission would be responsible for ensuring public safety by controlling and eliminating trafficking in prohibited narcotic drugs and prevent the illicit use of precursors, co-ordinating the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

It would also act in consultation with other public agencies and find alternative means of livelihood for farmers who cultivate illicit narcotic plants.

The new law also empowers the Minister for Interior to grant licences for the cultivation of cannabis of not more than 0.3 percent THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives the users a high sensation, for industrial and medicinal purposes.

The Committee noted that the Government needed to ensure that legislation met current international standards concerning narcotic offences.

How much Green Money will boost Ghana’s economy?

In Ghana, there is already the Hemp Association of Ghana (HAG) which has signed a deal with a Ghanaian-owned Cannabis business operator based in Portugal.

The deal will gross a staggering $ 56 million in five years from merely cultivating and exporting industrial hemp from a land size approximating 100 acres.

It will rake in around $2.8 million per harvest of HAG’s industrial hemp on the planned 100 acres.

Taxes to the Ghanaian government could gross over $ 10 million from just 100 acres of industrial hemp if the authorities evaluate the industrial potential of the plant taking the world by storm currently.

The independence of the HEMP Industry will be meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the HEMP Industry in Africa and that is why irrespective of the gains made by Ghana, The Hemp Association of Africa remains our long term aim and objective!

 We seem to get lost in this issue of getting high, and all we can talk about as Ghanaians is smoking.

As President of the Hemp Association of Ghana, we are not promoting smoking, we are promoting the industry, we are promoting cleaning up the environment, we are promoting creating a new revenue stream for government in terms of taxing from cultivation and export and we are talking about promoting medicines that are far better than opioids, medicines that cannot kill you because no one has died from taking cannabis.”

Cannabis Sativa is used for over 50,000 industrial uses, including being used as a cheaper alternative to cotton, paper car dashboards, and building houses and for medicinal purposes.

The Global Cannabis Market is estimated currently at over US$ 100 billion and estimates for the next five years peg the market size at a staggering $ 300 billion.

Corporate wellness…Need for Employers to Change the Approach to Employees Well-being

Corporate wellness…Need for Employers to Change the Approach to Employees Well-being

Corporate well-being is increasingly entrenched in workplace cultures and strategies. A happier and healthier

THE CORPORATE WORLD & MENTAL HEALTH

THE CORPORATE WORLD & MENTAL HEALTH

When mental health is mentioned, most people automatically think about madness, hallucinations among other severe mental problems. However, anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa are examples of mental health problems. Stress, on the other hand, is a reaction to events or experiences in one’s home, work-life or a combination of both. Common mental health problems and stress can co-exist independently. People can experience stress and physical changes such as high blood pressure without having anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. One can also have anxiety and depression without experiencing stress. The key difference between them is the cause and the mode of treatment.

Though work is good for us, work-related stress can exacerbate an existing mental health problem, making it more challenging to control. If work-related stress reaches a point where it has elicited an existing mental health problem, it becomes hard to detach one from the other. From research, there are numerous ways corporate workload and work-related stress affect mental health of corporate workers as well as various preemptive steps that can be taken to nip these in the bud but how?

First, there is a need for people to understand what “mental health” is so they can identify and address them as expected.  Mental health thus, is about how we think, feel and behave and the two most common are anxiety and depression.

On the corporate front, job insecurity or fear of losing one's job is one of the major problems people have to deal with. In Ghana, for instance, severe anxiety has been one of the ramifications of the fold-up of banks and some financial institutions. People with anxiety disorders respond to these situations with fear and dread, as well as with physical signs of anxiety or panic, such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating. This can easily be identified if workers’ responses are not appropriate for a situation, or cannot control their responses, or if their anxiety interferes with normal functioning, they are probably showing indicators of anxiety disorders.

Depression is a typical example of Mood disorders. Depression in the corporate world usually is as a result of stress emanating from feeling very strongly that one doesn't fit the job they do. Sometimes, the guilt some people (especially parents) feel about abandoning and constantly missing some very important moments with their family and friends while they are at work, can cause some form of guilt which aggravates depression. Continually working overtime can affect one's home life; this poor balance can lead to feelings of depression in many people. If one's needs exceeds their salary, it can cause one to feel stressed and worry, which can also lead to depression. Finally, low morale at work as a result of one's hard work constantly being unacknowledged is a big contributor to work related depression.

Eating disorders include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders. In the corporate world, trying to maintain the corporate look due to the act of body-shaming sometimes puts a lot of pressure on workers making them preoccupied with food, weight, and body shape, as well as caloric restriction. Others also force themselves to purge by self-induced vomiting, resorting to laxatives or exercising excessively.


Antisocial personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder are examples of Personality disorders, albeit being side effects of some traumatic experiences. Issues like body-shaming and lack of confidence can trigger antisocial disorders. Being anxious, depressed or having low self-esteem may more likely result in paranoid thoughts. Constantly worried that an individual want to sabotage one’s work and continually being on edge makes one more likely to interpret things in a negative way. These can make one develop obstinate personality traits that are perturbing to the person and/or cause problems at work. In addition, the person's pattern of thinking and behavior significantly differ from the expectations of co-workers and are so rigid that they may interfere with the person's normal functioning.


Other effects mental health problems have on workers are

Lack of confidence in one’s self. One may have a hard time concentrating, learning, or making decisions. Most times if one can’t concentrate they may then also think that they can’t do their job well or worry about losing their jobs and this affects work performance.

In Canada for instance, mental health problems cost employers billions of dollars in absenteeism or sick days, “presenteeism” (coming to work, even when the employee can’t work well), and lost productivity; which of course goes a long way to affect the economy as a whole.

Just as there are factors that cause stress and mental health problems to employees, there also are a lot of factors that causes stress to employers as well which may include: achieving the target of the year, salary payment, and fear of failure or collapse of business amongst others.

People who experience mental health problems may be withdrawn from others and their environment and may act in unexpected ways such as taking a lot of time off, or appear less productive than usual. This can put a strain on relationship with supervisors and co-workers.

Hence, how do we curb or reduce the occurrence of such situations at our workplaces, what can be done individually or as a group to make sure co-workers, employees or employers are in a good mental state at work? For it is only with a sound mind that great ideas are produced.

First of all, we need to be each other's keeper. This may sound like a platitude but it is incredibly helpful. Addressing this individually,

  • When one notices that one is always anxious about going to work, because they are mostly unhappy and tearful at the workplace and finds it difficult to interact with others, then some introspection is needed. 
  • One can talk to someone. Find a person that one is most comfortable around in the office and put in the effort to get one to warm up and open up about their mental health. Talking can help one get one’s problems into perspective; “a problem shared is half solved.” 
  • One can seek help. Look into speaking with a therapist or other professionals about the problems. 
  • Talking to one’s superior is another way to go. Not having the best of relationship with one’s superior can also be stressful. If possible, one could talk to them or find a way of settling issues amicably, they may also like to help in their own way to have a peaceful workplace. 
  • When one is depressed or at the precipice of getting depressed, self-care goes south. Make a conscious effort to eat well, sleep well and take good care of yourself.

Whether work causes the health issue or aggravates it, employers can help their employees. Work-related mental health issues must be evaluated to measure the levels of risk to staff. Where a particular risk is recognized, steps must be taken to eradicate it or reduce it as much as sensibly attainable. Some employees may have a pre-existing physical or mental health condition when recruited or may develop one caused by factors outside of work. Irrespective of that, employers can help by: 

  • Organizing and participating in mental health educational programs at work.
  • Promoting communication and open conversations. This can be achieved by raising awareness and unlearning the stigma associated with mental health while providing a mechanism for monitoring actions and outcomes. 
  • Developing positive aspects of work and the strengths of employees. Addressing mental health problems regardless of cause. 
  • Being aware of the workplace environment and how it can be adapted to promote better mental health for all employees.
  • Learning from the motivation of organizational leaders and employers who have taken action. 
  • Involving employees in decision-making, conveying a feeling of control and participation. 
  • Recognizing and rewarding the contribution of employees are but few strategies employers can employ to reduce or eliminate mental health problems.


Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression. This goes to show that such conditions exist, are serious and have palpable effects on people. “Having a mental disorder isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when people just assume you can get over it.” - HealthyPlace.com

Healthy habits to embrace in 2019 to stay healthy at the office

Healthy habits to embrace in 2019 to stay healthy at the office

With the holidays officially over, it’s time to get back into things at the office. With the average person spending

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