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Holiday Hot Buttons

“My sister-in-law comes here once a year, during the holidays, and tries to tell me how to care for MY MOTHER!”
Do “helpful” relatives arrive for the holidays and criticize your caregiving? Are there holiday activities or toxic relatives that trigger stress or unhappy memories?
Holiday Tip: Prepare yourself. Anticipate your own holiday hot buttons. It may be best to limit your exposure to — or even avoid — certain discussion topics. Minimize the drama; don't try to resolve longtime family problems over the holidays. Suggest a family meeting scheduled after the holidays to address some difficult family topics offers similar caregiver suggestions: “Start with small steps, small decisions, and small changes. It is important to be direct and specific about your concerns, next steps, or even solutions. Sometimes an assessment by an "outside expert" can be a good way to start. For instance, if the elder has stopped showering, you might suggest bringing in a social worker or occupational therapist to assess the elder's ability to do daily tasks and make suggestions about how to make things easier and safer.” PBS Caregivers Handbook and Videos on: Starting the Conversation
Got questions? Wanna talk? Call 855-200-2372 or email  to discuss our roles as caregivers and available resources to help ease the load.



No matter how you slice it, Caregiving is complex. You may be providing an overwhelming range of support and may even be on-call 24 hours a day.


As a Caregiver, it may be difficult for you to ask for help. According to the Mayo Clinic, “this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed.”


Develop a team of people to help. Members of this team may or may not be family members or medical professionals. For example, get to know some responsible neighbor kids who can help take a load off mowing the lawn, feeding pets, or just remembering to take the trash to the curb on trash day.


Do you have a team? How do they help take a load off of your list of to-do(s)? 

Commission on Community Health and Wellness


Health in our community is of paramount importance.  We face many issues related to our health and wellness.  Check back regularly to the Commission on Community Health pages for important information and updates!

A Little Junk in Your Trunk?

A few extra pounds may be helpful IF you are physically active and eat a healthy diet. We all know that being obese increases risks of all kinds of health issues. But, a little extra padding can reduce the risk of breaking a bone during a fall; or allow for a reserve of stored energy if you get sick. According to a study from the National Cancer Institute, moderately overweight (10-15 pounds above ideal weight) people lived about 3 years longer than their normal weight peers.


The key to good health- for both overweight and slim people- is eating a healthy diet and being physically active.  We’re never too far gone to embrace a healthier lifestyle. For more information schedule an appointment with your primary health care provider. 


Nisha Jackson LNHA, MA

Why 7 Deadly Diseases Strike Blacks Most


Several deadly diseases strike black Americans harder and more often than they do white Americans.


Fighting back means genetic research. It means changing the system for testing new drugs. It means improving health education. It means overcoming disparities in health care. It means investments targeted to the health of black Americans. And the evidence so far indicates that these investments will pay health dividends not just for racial minorities, but for everyone.


Yet we're closer to the beginning of the fight than to the end. Some numbers:


  • Diabetes is 60% more common in black Americans than in white Americans. Blacks are up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a limb amputation and up to 5.6 times more likely to suffer kidney disease than other people with diabetes.

  • African-Americans are three times more likely to die of asthma than white Americans.

  • Deaths from lung scarring -- sarcoidosis -- are 16 times more common among blacks than among whites. The disease recently killed former NFL star Reggie White at age 43.

  • Despite lower tobacco exposure, black men are 50% more likely than white men to get lung cancer.

  • Strokes kill 4 times more 35- to 54-year-old black Americans than white Americans. Blacks have nearly twice the first-time stroke risk of whites.

  • Blacks develop high blood pressure earlier in life -- and with much higher blood pressure levels -- than whites. Nearly 42% of black men and more than 45% of black women aged 20 and older have high blood pressure.

  • Cancer treatment is equally successful for all races. Yet black men have a 40% higher cancer death rate than white men. African-American women have a 20% higher cancer death rate than white women.




Genes definitely play a role. So does the environment in which people live, socioeconomic status -- and, yes, racism, says Clyde W. Yancy, MD, associate dean of clinical affairs and medical director for heart failure/transplantation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Yancy says that all humans have the same physiology, are vulnerable to the same illnesses, and respond to the same medicines. Naturally, diseases and responses to treatment do vary from person to person. But, he says, there are unique issues that affect black Americans.


To read more, go to: WebMD

Infants die at higher rate in Kansas than other states

WICHITA, Kan. -- The infant mortality rate in Kansas is higher than other states. Around 250 infants will die this year in Kansas.


The national rate of infant mortality is 6.0 deaths per 1,000 births. Kansas is at a rate of 6.36 according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The 0.36 increase accounts for an additional 14 infants that are at risk of dying in Kansas.


There are higher counties in the state; Sedgwick, Johnson, Wyandotte and Shawnee are the highest according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. They account for over 50 percent of infant deaths.


Breaking the numbers down to Sedgwick County, zip codes east of downtown Wichita and to the south east have a very high rate of infant mortality. According to KDHE statistics, zip code 67214 has a 14.1 rate of infant mortality, which is the second highest in the entire state.


There are multiple causes for infant morality, but the four most likely causes are congenital anomalies, prematurity, sudden unexplained infant death and maternal complications.


Dr. Barry Bloom is director of the newborn intensive care unit at Wesley, he says that there are ways to lower the rate of infant death. “We would love to see the day that we are not necessary, but we will always be here for sick babies,” Dr. Bloom said, “many of the things that we have to deal with are preventable with changes in lifestyle.”


Bloom says that a woman’s health prior to pregnancy is very important during the pregnancy. Risk factors, like smoking, drinking and obesity, increase the chances of prematurity and abnormalities, even if the woman is not pregnant yet.

There are many other factors that cause infant mortality; they are very complex issues and sometimes out of the control of the mother.


The CDC ranks Kansas at 24th in the nation for infant mortality. That is down from years past.


Dr. Cari Schmidt is a research at the University of Kansas Medical School in Wichita. She has analyzed the data of infant morality over the past three years and has found that the areas inside the state with the highest infant mortality rates move around. One piece of information is driving her efforts in certain communities - African American babies in Wichita die at a rate three times higher white babies.

Both Schimdt and Bloom believe that the rates can be lowered and will be lowered. Their goal is to get Kansas below the national average of infant mortality.


One way to get the mortality rate down that has shown impact is to educate people about living a healthy lifestyle. Smoking, drinking and being obese increase the risk factors for problems during pregnancy. They also educate parents on safe sleep and how to take care of their infant in a safe way.  Organizations across the state are holding community baby showers, where parents and expecting parents get free information on how to help their baby be healthy.


Any infant that ends up in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) runs a very large medical bill. Bloom says that a parent can expect a minimum $50,000 bill. That is why he stresses the health of the mother during pregnancy in hopes that the infant is born healthy.


One rule to follow is the ABC rule. A – alone, always let the infant sleep along; B – back, always make sure the infant is sleeping on their back; C – crib, the infant needs to sleep in their crib. According to Schmidt, of all the infants that died of sudden unexpected infant death, all of them had unsafe items in their cribs. That is why she says to keep any loose blankets or bedding out of the crib. “They [parents] are adding those things to the crib because they want to comfort their infant and yet it becomes a hazard,” Schmidt said.


In 2007, there was a spike in the mortality rate in Kansas. Many committees were formed to try and decrease that rate. Christy Schunn of the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network says that the collaboration of doctors, community activists and government health care workers are what resulted.


Schunn has found that woman as young as 12-years-old benefit from education about pregnancy and healthy lifestyle habits. “There is much we can do, we have excellent services, we have people are wrapped around this and digging deep,” she said, “and I think we are successful and we will continue to see this downward trend.”

If anyone has any questions about resources available to try and prevent infant mortality, they can contact the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network at (316) 682-1301.


More information and video at KAKE News.  Also here: Infant Mortality


Health and Wellness Resources from the Sedgwick County Health Department

Need information on health services availabe in Sedgwick County?  Click here!

Take charge of your health!  Learn how!  Click here!

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