6 Vegetables You Should Be Eating

Sometimes we’ll stick to the same routine when we reach for a salad or snack because we know what tastes good—or at least we know what won’t go straight to our thighs. However, many women are not getting all the nutrients their bodies need to prevent cancers, maintain a healthy weight, and make us feel good about our bodies. Sometimes the veggies we opt out for are the ones we need the most.

6 Vegetables You Should Be Eating

BEETS—You may not be the biggest fan of beets but its plethora of health benefits may help you to decide otherwise. Beats are a wonderful cleanser for the body as it aids in the blood’s purification, acts as a tonic for the liver, and is a preventer of a number cancers. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, & C, fiber, potassium, and iron, beets are also a high source of energy in that they are low in calories and high in sugar (a form of sugar that is released into our system gradually versus a candy-like sugar).  Beets are also beneficial for your mental health and libido. Beets are comprised of betaine, which is a substance used to treat depression. They are also made up of high amounts of boron, which is a direct producer of human sex hormones, so they act as a form of Viagra!

CAULIFLOWER—This vegetable is a great addition to any salad as it is low in calories and is an aid in weight loss diets. Its richness in folate is a wonderful treat for pregnant women, as well as its contents in niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine (other great B vitamins. Cauliflower is also a heart healthy vegetable as it protects our heart from many diseases, can help lower cholesterol levels in the body, and reduces the risk of various cancers including prostate, breast, colon, ovarian, and bladder. Its high level of antioxidants aid in the acceleration of aging and its omega-3 fatty acids acts as an anti-inflammatory. 

MUSHROOMS—Though this is technically a fungi and not a vegetable, it is still a highly recommended addition to any food intake. Mushrooms have absolutely no cholesterol or fats and have very little carbohydrates. The fiber and enzymes that make up the fungi help lower cholesterol and are recommended as a low energy food source for diabetics. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and minerals essential in building a strong immune system as well as are great for losing weight (due to its low fat and high fiber).  This fungi is also very effective in preventing breast and prostate cancer due to its level of Beta-Glucans and Linoleic Acid have anti-carcinogenic effects.

EGGPLANT—Not being one of the most appealing-looking vegetables on the planet, eggplant have such a great taste and health benefits. Its levels of fiber help with digestion and colon health. Due to its low level of calories, this too is a great addition to any weight-control diet. Eggplant acts as one big powerful antioxidant for the body while simultaneously helping to lower cholesterol levels 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS—In addition to being a preventer of a plethora of cancers, Brussels sprouts are also a huge supporter of cardiovascular health. They help prevent and reverse the damage made by blood vessels. Recent studies show that this vegetable helps to maintain and stabilize DNA within white blood cells by blocking activity of sulphotransferase enzymes. Its level of vitamin K regulates the body’s inflammatory responses along with its level of vitamin A, which boosts immunity, protects the eyes, and maintains healthy bones and teeth.

SWISS CHARD—This is more of an all-around healthy treat for your body. Swiss chard promotes hair health, since its rich in biotin, while simultaneously regulating your blood sugar.  Its levels of lutein maintain eye health while its level of iron provides the body with healthy blood circulation, preventing anemia. Its source of vitamin K and magnesium is crucial to brain and bone health—all while being a huge preventer in colon cancer.

Even though not all of these veggies seem tastefully appealing, there are so many great recipes to use in order to make them taste good while also keeping all of their amazing health benefits. Before you say no to the things our parents forced us to eat as children, give them one more try by throwing them in a stir-fry or adding a pinch of sal


Top 3 Healthiest Diets Plan

Dieting has turned into a routine for most of us women as we are always looking for the newest way to shed those extra 10 pounds or more without starving ourselves. Dieting has become a stressful and often unfulfilling routine that keeps us hungry and stressed out–both of which are not ideal for our lifestyle and mental health. But below are the top three diets that are fulfilling in every way: healthy, filling, and savory.

Top 3 Healthiest Diets

The Mediterranean diet: this diet features food that is closest to what we eat in the U.S. so it’s often easier to adopt and stick to.  This diet focuses on heart and brain health, diabetes prevention and control , cancer prevention …  This balanced diet is emphasized by fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, fish, eggs, cheese, etc. Not only will you be moderating and regulating your cardiovascular and digestive system but you will also lose weight and keep it off while avoiding a number of chronic diseases.

However with any diet there are pros and cons. While the Mediterranean diet is nutritionally sound and have a plethora of diverse food and flavors, there may be a lot of grunt work with preparation and it’s moderately pricey.

The DASH diet: this diet’s main goal is to prevent and lower high blood pressure. How this works is by increasing foods we’ve always been told to eat (whole grains, veggies ,fruits , low-fat dairy, and lean protein) and getting rid of the ones we grew to love (calories and fat filled sweets and red meats) in addition to cutting back on salt. Being on the DASH diet may prove to be difficult on giving up your favorite fatty, sugary, and salty foods. The recipes are generally convenient but the consumption of alcohol is prohibited. The foods consumed on this diet will keep you full, as there is a focus on fiber-filled fruits and veggies.

While this diet is heart healthy and nutritious, the foods take a lot of time and preparation and the items are generally pricey.

The TLC diet: the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association as a regimen that can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. TLC is designed to cut high cholesterol and improve your overall level. The emphasis on fruits, veggies, and whole grains is paired with the very light intake of saturated fat and salt, which is considered to be the best way to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay. There are no signs of serious risks or side effects by being on this diet and the great thing about this diet is that the TLC eating pattern is safe for children and teens as well.

This heart healthy diet is not a fad diet at all. The downside to this diet is that you would have to decode nutrition labels on almost everything you eat and you’re on your own with how to create recipes and keep it all with the program.

The fact of the matter is dieting doesn’t need to be “dieting”. By simply eating more fruits and veggies, cutting down on sugar, and going for walks 3-4 times a week we can extend our life and protect our bodies. You don’t have to “diet” for the rest of your life but you do have to make better choices if you want to be the best your body can be. Your body is your temple and a healthy house is a happy home! As always, consult your doctor before adopting any major dietary changes.

5 Everyday Tips to Help You Lose Weight

Weight fluctuates in most people, and many people gain weight during the winter months. This is in part due to holiday eating and seasonal treats that are popular in the winter, but it’s also a product of the human genetic code.

Tips to Help You Lose Weight

The Science of Winter Weight Gain

Before mankind built climate-controlled homes for himself, people were largely nomadic. It was necessary to eat extra calories and build up an extra layer of fat for the winter. This is something that happens in many animals, including humans, because it’s part of human nature to survive. So picking up pounds in winter is common. Now, you need to adjust your behavior so you can take off those extra pounds for spring and summer.

  • Pay attention to how much you are eating. Look at serving sizes and if needed, use measuring cups. Try eyeballing a cup of Cheerios and pour it into a bowl. Now, measure out a cup of Cheerios and pour it into an identical bowl. This experiment will show you why you need to measure.
  • Listen to music while you clean. Try to have fun with cleaning. Instead of just slapping the duster around or pushing the vacuum slowly across the floor, treat it like an activity. Move quickly. Dance along to the music. Push your muscles and your body, and you will burn more calories while you’re performing those chores.
  • Drink more water whenever you can. Swap out at least one soda for a bottle of water instead, and you will notice a difference. Cut back on those fancy coffee drinks, the carbonated sodas and the high-calorie fruit juices. Stick to simple water, and you’ll be amazed by the difference it makes.
  • Walk that extra mile when you get the chance. Park your car farther away from the door. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand, don’t sit, when the opportunity presents itself. Even if you don’t have time for a full-on exercise routine, you can find little ways to burn extra calories throughout the day.
  • Throw away all your white bread and switch to wheat instead. This one small change can create a big difference in your waistline. While you’re at it, avoid heavily breaded and fried foods. Replace such treats with steamed vegetables, low-fat pudding and other low-calories alternatives.

Losing Weight

Weight loss is something you have to work at every day. Weight gain happens slowly over time, so weight loss works the same way. Continue to pay attention to your own behavior and stick with it, because results may be slow. But if you stand by your changes, your body will eventually follow suit.

Six benefits of outdoor activities for kids

You must have noticed that kids have a natural preference for outdoors as compared to indoors. This is in fact as nature planned it. At this stage kids are driven to have the desire to find out the abilities and limitations of their bodies. Outdoor activities including but not limited to swimming, skating, swinging, and biking satisfy the kids need for exploration and discovery while at the same time building their confidence. This is in addition to the obvious advantages of these activities to their body’s development.

outdoor activities for kids

The following are a few of these advantages of outdoor activities for kids:
Interaction with nature
When at a young age that is the time that man is most strongly connected to nature. This is the factor that makes kids naturally be attracted to the outdoors to interact with. They should be allowed to do this provided there is adult supervision. This experience will help the kid to love nature and even in the future understand the purpose of protecting it.

Social skills
The child will learn proper social skills by the interaction with playmates and even with adults. They will learn to respect the preferences of others by understanding that it is not all times where they will get their way. They get to learn that contrary to the atmosphere created at home when they were babies, the world does not revolve around them. Also interaction with adults helps the adult to be able to impact the right values in the child while realising in time if the child picks up any negative values.

Psycho motor development
Due to the numerous often straineous activities that kids carry out outdoors their muscles develop in strength. Again due to the variety of activities they engage in, they greatly streamline their muscle-nerve-mind co-ordination due to their continued use. As compared to other activities like watching television where only the optical nerve and the brain are stimulated, outdoor activities use a myriad of muscles and nerves concurrently. This helps to improve the co-ordination of these systems of the body.

Personal independence and spirit of competition:
Most of the outdoor activities that kids engage in are often a competition of some sort. They are either in teams or each works on his own. These activities culture in the kid the realisation that there are times in life where you have to either work independently or as part of a team to get what you want to achieve. In addition the spirit of healthy competition is cultured in them which will make them grow into ambitious adults.

General health
Due to regular exercise and detoxification through sweating, the bodies of kids who are actively engaged in outdoor activities are found to be less susceptible to attack by disease. This is because their immune system becomes stronger as their bodies produce more blood and in it more white blood cells. So allow your kids out more often and you might not have to use that ehic renewal card so often.

Stress reduction
Contrary to what most people believe kids also have issues that disturb their minds. In fact due to their limited view of the expanse of the world they are disturbed by very many issues despite how small they may seem to an adult. Adequate outdoor activity however ensures that the stress remains at manageable levels.

Outdoor activities have numerous advantages and should be encouraged especially for kids. It may be the best way to ensure good and all round development of your child. So as long as they have adult supervision and they have their sunscreen on let them go out, have fun and grow.


Men often ignore signs, aviod doctor visits

When Richard Dyer needed a physical to obtain VA benefits, he was surprised to find he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes type 2.

He had been feeling sluggish, drained of energy and seemed to be fighting a constant minor cold or flu he couldn’t quite knock off. But he brushed off the symptoms as signs of aging since he was nearing 60.

“I figured it was all downhill from here,” he said with grin.
Karen L Jacobs
TGH doctor Karen L Jacobs examines patient Jimmy Piccorelli at the Tampa General Medical Group offices at 214 Morrison Road in Brandon. JAY CONNER/STAFF

Dyer isn’t alone when it comes to ignoring signs of problems or avoiding a trip to a general practitioner for a yearly physical. Men, and particularly single men, are more likely to skip regular doctor visits until a significant symptom interferes with their daily activities.

Health officials say that can be can be deadly.

National Men’s Health Week begins Monday and is intended to bring awareness to health issues affecting men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top 10 deadliest health issues for men include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease and influenza.

Heart disease

According to American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading case of death among American males, killing 307,225 men in 2009. It is estimated that 8.5 percent of white males, 7.9 percent of black males, and 6.3 percent of Mexican Americans have coronary heart disease.

Most startling is that half to those men who die from heart disease have no previous symptoms.

Risk factors for heart disease include:



Poor diet

Physical inactivity

Excessive alcohol use


According to the American Cancer Society, the main types of cancers suffered by males include prostate, colon, lung and skin cancers.

Prostate cancer risk increases as a man gets older, typically occurring in males over the age of 65 and having one or more relatives with prostate cancer increases the risk.

Men beginning at age 45 should discuss their specific risks with their doctor and determine if they should begin testing. Some harm from testing might outweigh the benefits in some cases.

Colon cancer can develop in males and females, typically found in ages 50 and older. Those with a personal family history of colon cancer or who have polyps in their colon or rectum or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to develop colon cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends testing for polyps and cancer should begin at age 50. They might include a Flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy, a double-contrast barium enema or a CT Colonography (visual colonoscopy).

Lung cancer is caused 80 percent of the time by smoking, although even nonsmokers can develop the disease. Those at risk because of smoking or a history of smoking or who live with a smoker should be tested even if symptoms are not present.

The best defense against cancers of any type is early detection before it spreads.


Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death of Americans. According to the American Stroke Association, 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Risk factors include:

High blood pressure


High cholesterol

Excessive weight

Unhealthy lifestyle without healthy diet and exercise

Stroke is not age discriminatory. It can hit at any age if the risk factors are present.

Type 2 diabetes, also referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes, is the most common form, affecting as many as 90 to 95 percent of those living with diabetes. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes may include:

Increased urination

Frequent thirst and hunger

Unusual weight loss or gain

Extreme fatigue

Blurry vision

Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

It is important for everyone to become mindful of their body’s “normal healthy symptoms”, stay proactive in maintaining good health by making healthy choices, and maintain regular well checkups to set a baseline for optimal health. Men are typically less comfortable discussing health topics, which could put them at an increased risk for certain diseases that might have been avoided.

Dyer has become proactive in his own health by watching his cholesterol, blood pressure and following a fitness and nutrition plan. A reversal of his main symptoms was experienced almost immediately after making significant changes, he said.

“I feel younger than I have for quite a few years.”

LeBlanc: Male caregivers in today’s world

Since the beginning of time, women traditionally have been the caregivers of elderly family members, ill spouses, neighbors, etc. But a change is beginning to take place; more and more men are rolling up their sleeves and taking their places among the women involved in this noble undertaking. Most of these dedicated men either are middle-aged or older. From what I can see, they are in it for the long haul, committing themselves to being there for others in need.

With massive numbers of baby boomers aging, more and more families are finding themselves members of what’s called “the sandwich generation.” These are folks caught between growing children and aging parents. Becoming a caregiver not only is an ethical thing to do, it also makes the most financial sense for many families.

Yes, times have changed. As I said, for generations women typically have been the caregivers for family members in need. This often was due to men being the primary breadwinners and women being at home and available. Now, however, caregiving duties can be divided according to work schedules and not gender.

Be sure to communicate ahead of time with employers. Explain the circumstances and what they may need to anticipate for the near future. Try to work out a plan that will satisfy everyone involved. (Retaining employment may not only be important because of financial matters but also medical insurance coverage and maybe even personal satisfaction.)

According to research — and my own experience — male caregivers are more likely to hold their emotions deep inside. By not opening up and talking about their feelings, stress can become a major factor. Normally, men also refrain from asking for help until it is far too late — kind of like never asking for directions until they are completely lost. I’m advising all male caregivers to open up, especially to doctors. Don’t let the stress and depression sneak up on you and tear you down. As a matter of fact, this goes for all caregivers no matter the gender.

I was my father’s “male” caregiver for 10 years. Even though he suffered and eventually passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, I always tried not to show weakness. I knew my father was counting on me and I never wanted to disappoint him. I felt as if my manhood was at stake. The bottom line here is that not everyone can do this job.

Don’t be ashamed if you can’t handle it. Ask for help! If you don’t, this could haunt you for the rest of your life and I’m sure that is not what your loved one would want for you. If you cannot deal with it, find someone who can, then dedicate yourself to be a supportive kinsman for the rest of his or her life.

Focus on the positive aspects of caregiving. Chiefly, I believe what kept me going was the companionship I shared with my dad. This may sound peculiar considering that throughout the last years of his life he hardly recognized who I was, but I will never regret the years that I spent with him. This was, no doubt, the most exceptional time of my life.

So, to my fellow male caregivers, these are the things you need to concentrate on: staying healthy, learning to ask for assistance, enjoying some sort of social life and, most of all, maintaining a positive attitude.

Like the Marines, let’s constantly cheer “Semper Fi,” meaning, “Always Faithful.”

For a decade Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father, after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He can be reached at us41books@bellsouth.net. His newly released book “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors,” and his other books “While I Still Can” and an expanded edition of “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfullness,” can be found at www.commonsensecaregiving.com.

Brittle diabetes patient deals with daily challenges

At age 35, Laurie Arnold’s body is breaking down. The gastrointestinal challenges she has had most of her life are getting worse. She is going blind in both eyes, and neuropathy is settling in to her fingers and toes.

But Arnold is a miracle, said her mother, Yvonne Rupert. She was diagnosed at 9 with brittle diabetes and Rupert was told her daughter wouldn’t live past 32. She is defying her odds and only recently started showing real signs of losing ground with her fight.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Brittle diabetes is sometimes used to describe the condition of patients who have frequent swings in blood glucose levels from very high to very low.” While blood glucose naturally rises and falls throughout the day in response to meals, activity or other influences, spikes with Brittle diabetes — sometimes called labile diabetes — can hit dangerous levels, requiring medical attention.

Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent. That means Arnold’s pancreas doesn’t produce the insulin her body needs to regulate the glucose in her blood. With brittle diabetes, Arnold is challenged even more because traditional methods that typically make Type 1 diabetes manageable often do not work.

The result is dramatic and nearly constant spikes and drops in glucose levels throughout the day, making it nearly impossible to regulate. And that disruption dramatically harms vital organs.

Still, Arnold considers herself blessed. Diabetes is often a deterrent to pregnancy because the strain on the mother’s body could cause death. Arnold lost her first pregnancy to miscarriage. Her second resulted in a stillbirth.

But nearly four years ago she and her boyfriend, Joe Rera, had a son.

Jayden, who his parents affectionately call “Bug,” is the light in Arnold’s journey. Although she is losing her sight due to significant hemorrhaging, Arnold’s blue eyes sparkle when she speaks of her son. Like any mother facing a potentially terminal illness, Arnold is worried she will not be around to watch Bug grow up.

Arnold has been independent her entire life, Rupert said, and too proud to ask for help. A server at an Olive Garden restaurant in Port Richey for more than 10 years, Arnold only recently began reducing her hours because of her health.

“They’ve been wonderful,” she said of her employer. But the family is struggling financially to survive.

Because of her failing eyesight, Arnold no longer drives. She receives laser injections on a regular basis, which aren’t covered by Medicaid. And she relies on her son’s father to provide the majority of the couple’s income.

Now Arnold admits she needs help, although it is difficult for her to ask. But Rupert says she will do anything to save her child. A server for The Jersey Cafe, Rupert is so popular that her customers have taken up a collection to help offset Arnold’s medical challenges.

She needed a special insulin pump, and Rupert started the collection in hopes of helping offset the cost. “One of my customers came in with the pump,” Rupert said, her voice cracking slightly.

But the fight is ongoing. Perhaps because brittle diabetes is less common and not widely understood, patients receive little relief and face lots of frustration. When Arnold needs serious medical attention due to glucose spikes or drops, hospitals immediately want to admit her for an extended stay.

“They spend days trying to regulate her sugar,” Rupert said, which has, at times, dropped dangerously low.

Arnold said she immediately tells medical personnel about her condition. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “They still try and treat it like traditional diabetes.”

Rupert speaks of the hurdles her daughter faced growing up with diabetes. And Arnold listens intently but offers no detail. She doesn’t remember. Her mother added that amnesia is part of the disease.

Still there is sadness behind Arnold’s eyes. She has surrendered to her plight, recognizing she does need help. And her mother will stop at nothing to make her daughter’s life easier.

It begins, she said, by bringing awareness to the difficulties of brittle diabetes. “If our story can help someone, then we have to tell it,” she said.

The family is planning fundraising events to assist Arnold and to bring awareness to this more-complicated form of an already deadly disease.

For more information on how you can help this family, contact Joe and Valerie Cuce, owners of Jersey Cafe, at (352) 596-1424.

Couple faces health challenge while caring for grandchildren

Kathy Casey Gutierrez, to most who know her, is a soft-spoken hairstylist at A-1 Hair Designs off Sunshine Grove Road.

The 67-year-old Spring Hill resident has learned how to hide her pain.
Kathy Casey Gutierrez

Life, they say, doesn’t give you more than you can handle. But on some days Gutierrez wonders if anyone is keeping count.

She and her husband, Jose, are raising their two grandchildren.

Their granddaughter, 12-year old Bless Casey, was 5 when her father no longer could care for her. And six years ago their 28-year old daughter was killed in an automobile crash on Spring Hill Drive. Her son, Joey, was 3.

The Gutierrezes, married 30 years, teamed up to raise the children despite dreams of a quiet retirement after both had worked hard all their lives. “They’re our grandchildren,” Kathy Gutierrez says. “They have no one else.”

Then, two years ago, Jose began having problems with his vision after recovering from pneumonia. He kept working, hiding his symptoms. He later mentioned he was having trouble seeing. At one point Gutierrez realized how serious it was. “He almost crashed the car,” she says.

A blood test revealed kidney failure. His organs were beginning to shut down.

“They told us he would have died if he’d waited much longer,” Kathy Gutierrez says, her face stoic.

Her husband went on dialysis and, from his home, clears the fluids from his body that his kidneys no longer can handle. He had to quit working and the family relies entirely on Kathy Gutierrez’s income from the salon. Jose Gutierrez watches their granddaughter during the day. And after working a long shift, Kathy takes over the children’s care.

It hasn’t been easy, she said. Bless Casey is dealing with school and normal adolescent challenges. Kathy struggles to help her without much support.

Jose Gutierrez, placed on a waiting list for a new kidney, is running out of time. Unless the couple can raise $6,000 for a one-year supply of anti-rejection drugs by Saturday, Kathy Gutierrez says, her husband’s name will be removed from the list.

A collection jar, placed on the counter at A-1 Hair Designs, had collected $38 by the end of last week.

Bonnie Johnson, owner of A-1 Hair Designs, says she cries inside when thinking about her friend who has worked with her at the shop for years. “She has too much on her plate,” Johnson says. She has watched Kathy Gutierrez bond with clients, opening up her heart with little protective filter. “She’s a wonderful person,” Johnson says.

In an effort to help, Johnson suggested a benefit car wash where she and Kathy will give haircuts for donations. The event is planned for Saturday at Advance Auto Parts at the corner of Cortez Boulevard and Sunshine Grove Road. The stylists will cut hair from 8 a.m. until noon.

Raising two grandchildren was difficult enough for the Gutierrezes to manage. But the couple sacrificed and did what they knew was the only thing they could do.

After the death of their daughter, and still mending from the heartache, they now face this latest challenge. Jose Gutierrez never considered the possibility he might get sick.

But the couple are strong, resourceful and hopeful the community will help them keep Jose on the transplant list. They don’t expect to meet the $6,000 goal with one benefit car wash, but it’s a start.

“We are hoping we can show that we are trying,” Kathy said.

For more information on how to help, contact Bonnie Johnson at (352) 398-3346.

LeBlanc: Baker act is a dementia dilemma

In 1971, Maxine Baker was a state representative from Miami. She had a heart for mental health issues and this concern led her to sponsor a bill in the Legislature. The bill soon became a Florida statute, aptly named, “The Baker Act.” (Baker Acting has become a slang word used across the U.S.) The purpose of this law is to allow for involuntary examination ordered by law enforcement officials, judges, physicians, of at–risk-individuals suspected of having possible mental illness (as defined in “The Baker Act”). There must be a strong concern that these individuals may harm themselves or others.

Having spoken to hundreds of families in crisis, I have a deep concern regarding when it is or is not an appropriate time to “Baker Act” family members struggling with dementia. After all, it is a 72 hour mandatory commitment for a psychiatric evaluation. This may result in strong resentment and anger that can last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, I have seen Baker Acting used as practically a babysitting tool. This is abuse of both the individual and the system.

When I started working on the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Program, I sat down and directly addressed this problem with hospital administrations. Often, I would just get a quizzical look and nothing further would be done about it. But, after concluding the first six month pilot program at Bayfront Health Brooksville Hospital, we called a meeting and the first thing the chief of nursing said was, “My goodness! We have had dementia patients coming out of care facilities, being Baker Acted, when the only real problem was that they were suffering from a urinary tract infection. They simply needed to be on the correct antibiotics.”

During the required 72 hour period, which according to Department of Children and Families actually averages 4.5 days, the person ordered is not allowed any family contact and is many times physically and/or medically restrained. Now, imagine yourself going through that and suffering from dementia at the same time.

Considering the many questions about doing such a radical thing, as caregivers, we should only use Baker Acting as a last resort when it comes to dementia.

Unfortunately, the general public and even many first responders do not usually understand the difference between “cognitive impairment” and a mental illness. Again, Baker Acting can only be initiated by law enforcement officers, physicians or circuit courts. There has been a 50 percent increase in these orders in the past 10 years in Florida. The state has a budget as of 2013 of $77.5 million for these specific beds.

I have been doing quite a bit of first responder training on dementia care and I have run into the same conversation during every class I teach. For example, I just taught a couple of classes to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department, they stated that when they get a call out to a home where there’s a situation with dementia involved, they really don’t have a choice, the dementia person ends up getting Baker Acted. Many times the caregiver has hardly slept and their exhaustion is actually the instigator of the situation. I truly feel for the officers. They explained that if they leave both parties at the scene and another call comes in from the same residence, they could be looking at their own suspension or even worse.

Let’s look for another option. I believe that instead of Baker Acting there should be a 48 hour respite available in, let’s say, a skilled dementia care facility. This would serve to defuse the situation, instead of it escalating.

There are after effects that nobody sees except the family. I can’t tell you how many times the courts step in to tell the family, “Obviously you can’t handle your loved one.” The next thing you know a legal guardian is appointed and the family’s rights are removed. It doesn’t matter if you have power of attorney or not. Your loved one could be placed in a facility 100 miles away and there is nothing you can do about it.

We have to find other options. I will soon be putting a team together to start talking to our state officials about this. We must initiate the conversation now.

For a decade, Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father, after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He can be reached at us41books@bellsouth.net. His newly released book “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors,” and his other books “While I Still Can” and an expanded edition of “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” can be found at www.commonsensecaregiving.com.

Working together

What if solutions to pain management and optimum performance in daily living were easy to obtain from a source that genuinely cared about your health?

What if masterminds of nutrition, massage therapy, wellness treatments, physical training and therapies, and other proven body and mind disciplines combined their maximum resources and skill levels to develop a customized plan to fit your specific set of needs?
Working together
Roman Hill works with J.W. Mitchell Soccer defensive captain Toni Lowden at Team Restorative in Spring Hill. Kim Dame

Suppose you could have all of that under one umbrella. Would you try it?

That unique way of thinking is the foundation under Team Restorative, an all-inclusive, multi-tiered approach to better health. And it is available in Spring Hill.

With a focus on feeling better from the inside out, many options exist. But finding a complex program that caters to the individual from all aspects of health isn’t so common. Team Restorative is proving it works.

The facility, now in its fifth year, began as a home health contract company with in-home care. They branched into outpatient services and continued to broaden their scope of care to incorporate the whole body experience, adding more segments that piece together to provide a complete circle of care.

And it takes a dedicated team to reach that objective. Medical, physical, occupational and speech therapists, along with holistic massage therapists, nutritionists and personal trainers are all incorporated into each team member, providing the best solutions to real health issues.

It is called Team Restorative; Wellness, Performance, Care and Therapy. And it is conceivable for a client to begin their care at Restorative for one purpose and utilize all four.

“We work so well together,” said Jim Hallett, one of Team Restorative’s founders, along with fellow co-founders Bob Nye and Justin Spiegel, the company’s two head physical therapists.

A client might be working with any of the other team members, like Jose “Chelo” Alonso, a Restorative Performance certified personal trainer/physical trainer, or Jennifer Darby, the team’s nutrition specialist, or Damien Wolff, a holistic wellness coach and medical massage therapist or Roman Hill, Restorative’s orthopedic medical massage therapist or Bob Nye, medical massage therapist.

The key lies within this being a multi-faceted approach, where all aspects are considered from every angle with the same goal; to reach better health, relief from pain, higher achievements in sports related activities and building healthier, more vibrant lifestyles.

Louise McNish, of Spring Hill, has been working with Jennifer Darby on personal training and nutritional meal planning for about a year. “I originally went to lose weight,” said McNish, 73. A diabetic who was also recovering from surgery, McNish admitted she had allowed herself to become sedentary.

After working with Darby and finding a fitness plan that worked for her, she began noticing substantial improvements in her health. “I’m walking again and getting my mobility and independence back,” she said.

McNish was always health conscientious but felt she needed the motivation and encouragement from an individual trainer. She never liked the gym environment.

“Everyone can benefit from exercise,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old.”

Restorative is about building a healthier lifestyle. Medical massage, rehabilitation after an injury, weight loss, even enhanced physical performance strength training are all under the specialized scope of services.

Mike Rado can speak about the performance aspect of Restorative as it has applied to his son, 14-year-old Domenick. The Nature Coast Technical High School freshman loves baseball, has played in some capacity since he was 6 and aspires to attend college on a baseball scholarship.

Domenick started with personal performance enhancement training shortly after school started for the year. He was good before Restorative, Mike said. “But he’s even better now.”

Mike spoke of a defined strength, both physical and mental. Alonso has been working with Domenick twice a week to achieve his athletic goals.

“Performance is the training of the elite athlete in high school,” Alonso said. Clients like Domenick work with Alonso on a fitness regiment designed to enhance his physical and mental athletic ability. Athletes who come to him see themselves as victory achievers who want to take their performance to higher levels.

“With Restorative Performance, they have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skill,” Alonso said, “from two amazing physical trainers, two amazing physical therapists and two amazing massage therapists.”

Combining all those aspects along with proper nutrition, the client’s body learns how to stay calm.

And each segment of the process is scrutinized and dissected by each member on the team, which also helps identify areas of focus or improvement that might be missed otherwise.

But more than rehabilitation therapy, strength and performance training, medical massage and nutritional and holistic counseling, Team Restorative is the solution for the whole body.

“The people that we have here are what make it so good,” said co-owner Jim Hallett.

It is a team environment, with several elements working together. Without each dedicated link, the success rates wouldn’t be so impressive.

Team Restorative will be hosting a free seminar on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. Stay Healthy Through the Holidays will pack several informative tips on stress management, fitness and nutrition during the holiday season.

Team Restorative is located at 4121 Mariner Blvd. Schedule a free consultation by calling (352) 340-5924.