Many adults today find themselves stuck in a stage sometimes called “the sandwich generation.” These adults are still raising their children, but are also caring for elderly parents living in their home.
November is National Family Caregivers Month, and this year’s theme is “Take Care To Give Care.” It’s easy to see why: caregiving for two groups can be stressful and difficult. Many men and women stuck in the middle suffer higher levels of stress and stress-related illnesses. According to the Caregiver Action Network, these adults are twice as likely to suffer depression.
Their message: Take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of others! Finding time for just you or for you and your partner is difficult.
Taking Care of Yourself While Caring for Elderly Parents:
- Schedule a date night with your partner at least once per month. Your date doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner. Even taking a walk together is a nice way to take a break.
- Schedule time for yourself every week. This time might be your morning yoga or jog. Maybe it’s a hobby you love to do. Put this time on the calendar and make sure everyone knows that time slot is off limits.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are services that offer babysitting and elder care, and if you can’t afford those, consider turning to a neighbor or family member. Make a list of a few people you can call just for those times when everything goes wrong.
The Effect on Children
According to a 2009 National Alliance for Caregiving survey, more than one-third of caregiving families had children under age 18 living at home. The survey also showed that 1.3 million American children participated in caregiving activities. Studies have shown living with grandparents can have a positive effect on both the older and younger generations, but it can also cause stress for both groups.
Here are some tips for helping your children become a positive force in your parents’ lives (and vice versa):
- Balance their involvement. You, the parent, must find your own balance in caring for both groups. But as the parent to your children, you must also be watching that your children aren’t overburdened with care responsibilities. Children who take on roles helping care for their grandparents may be taking time away from school work, extracurricular activities, and even playtime. They may feel burdened by this, but afraid to speak up.
- Avoid assignments. Taking care of their grandparents isn’t the same as taking out the trash and should not be assigned the same as a household chore. By asking if they want to help, you give your children the option to say no. Praise them if they choose to assist, but avoid making them feel guilty when they don’t.
- Find kid-only time. Be sure your children don’t feel neglected as you work to care for your parents. Take time each week to play with your children, take them out, spend time with them alone, away from grandparents.
Questions about caring for elderly parents and children? Generations Family Practice offers comprehensive services so we can help you with everything from checkups and illness to therapy and skincare. Call us today to find out how we can assist you.
Fall time is the ideal time to check off "To-do" items like getting your flu shot and checking your fire alarms. Generations can help with this and more in our October newsletter! Click here to read it now.
A small taste of what's inside:
Flu Season: Help Your Kids Get Past the Flu Shot
Flu season is approaching and that means it’s time for both children AND adults to get a flu shot. And this year, it will be a shot — even for children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against the use of FluMist, the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, because studies have shown it is not effective.
Shots are often a scary thing for kids, especially since they get so many of them while they are young. Here are some tips for getting through the shot:
Don’t lie. If your child asks, don’t tell them they aren’t getting a shot or that it won’t hurt. This could ruin their trust in you. Explain that shots protect them and it will hurt, but only for a few seconds.
Don’t overhype. If your child doesn’t ask in advance, don’t talk about the shot all week. It may make him anxious and build the incident up in his mind.
Distract. Check with your doctor about applying an anesthetic cream before the shot. During the shot, hold your child’s hand, make funny faces, or do whatever you can to help him or her get through it.
Comfort. Provide hugs and a comfortable lap to sit in after the shot is done while your child calms theirself. Some doctors don’t recommend pain relievers afterward, but some do, so check with your doctor about using Motrin or Tylenol.
About Our Flu Vaccines
At Generations Family Practice, we have flu vaccine available for ages six months and older.
Fluzone is available for children ages 6 month to 35 months of age.
Flucelvax Quad is available for ages 4 years and older. Flucelvax is the first FDA-approved flu vaccine made from cells instead of chicken eggs. It is also antibiotic free, preservative-free and latex-free. This vaccine offers the same protection as the traditional egg-based flu dose.
For ages 65 and up, we provide a high-dose flu vaccine.
Patients are welcome to walk in for their flu shot as a nurse visit Monday through Saturday during regular business hours. We can also administer the vaccine during a scheduled office visit. For more information, give us a call at 919-852-3999.
What to Do if Someone You Know is the Victim of Domestic Abuse
Seeing someone you care about get hurt is hard. It’s natural to want to help or to “fix” it. But that’s not always the best approach.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. One in four women and one in four men have been victims of some type of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. In North Carolina, there were 108 domestic violence-related homicides in 2013.
If you’re witnessing domestic violence or suspect a problem, you may want to call the police. But according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline,calling the police may not be the right solution. Instead, try these steps:
Be supportive and listen. It’s important to acknowledge they are in a scary situation. Your friend may have trouble talking about the abuse; they need to know someone is available who believes them and will hear what they have to say.
No judgement. There are many reasons people stay in abusive relationships. Judgement will not help.
Encourage activity. The more support someone feels they have outside the abusive relationship, the more likely he/she is to leave.
Encourage him/her to develop a Safety Plan.
Encourage him/her to find support and guidance from programs in your area. Offer to go with them to police or support groups. Call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get more information.
Domestic Violence Resources
InterAct of Wake County is the local organization that helps those suffering domestic violence. Here is a nice list of other Wake County domestic violence groups. Or you learn more about domestic violence and how you can help:
Half — yes, 50 percent! — of all U.S. home fire deaths occur at night between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when people are most likely to be sleeping. That’s why National Fire Prevention Week October 9-15 is the perfect time to check the smoke alarms in your home.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, a lot of people have misconceptions about their smoke alarms, which can save lives — but only if they work. About 60 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or alarms that don’t work. When smoke alarms fail, missing or dead batteries are usually to blame.
When was the last time you check your smoke alarm? Here are steps you can take to make sure your family is safe:
- Change the battery on your smoke detector every time we spring forward or fall back for Daylight Saving Time.
- Smoke alarms should be tested once per month.
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Fire Prevention Resources
Fire Prevention Week is organized by NFPA to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The NFPA has some useful resources on its website for parents and teachers, like the infographic and video below, plus fun quizzes and more!
Sparky the Fire Dog® shows how to find out the age of a smoke alarm. Courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.
Shouting, yelling, disagreements — these may all leave you concerned about how to stop fighting with your teenager. it’s all part of the package when your child is no longer a child, but is not yet an adult.
Whether it’s eye rolling, big sighs, the silent treatment, or outright shouting, constant arguing that stems from conflict during this time can turn your happy house upside down. So what can you do?
First, it’s important to note that the teenage years are when we gain abstract reasoning and the ability to consider multiple viewpoints. According to research, the best approach is to take advantage of this, helping your teenager use problem solving to resolve disputes instead of attacking or withdrawing.
It Begins with You
You may want a quick fix when figuring out how to stop fighting with your teenager, but the best tactics require thought and effort.
Guiding our teens in this way is a challenge and in truth, more about how we react to them than what they do to incite the argument. And that’s often the place to start: self-examination. As parents, how we handle our not-yet-adult children can start or stop an argument.
Debbie Pincus, author of The Calm Parent, says you must ignore the gauntlet your children throws down when they refuse to do as you asked.
“If you are going to preserve your integrity at this point and care for your own emotional wellbeing—and be the leader in your family—what would you do next? The answer: Stop participating. At this moment, the best thing to do is state your well thought-out position one more time—and then walk away.”
Stay on Your Teenager's Team
A pause can make a big difference, according to Dr. Marlo Archer, who encourages parents to take advantage of what their teens say as a way to open discussion about serious topics. Pausing and then taking time to listen to what your child is saying underneath his or her comments can help you stop an argument before it starts.
“Your silence instead of an immediate punitive response can allow them to focus on what’s going on in their own head. When you’re yelling at them, they don’t have any room in their head to feel badly about they just behaved.”
Remaining calm is difficult, especially as we watch our children make mistakes. But Pincus argues that sometimes, we must let them, as part of their education and transition toward adulthood. Of course, we need to prevent some mistakes, the ones that affect their health and wellbeing. But by staying on your child’s team, not seeing him or her as the enemy, you’ll have a lot more success in helping them navigate the pitfalls and become a happy and healthy adult.
Stop Fighting with Your Teenager
More questions? Still at a loss for how to stop fighting with your teenager? Give us a call if you are having trouble communicating with your tween or teen.
What should you know about the Zika Virus if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant?
If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, a far-off vacation seems like a good idea: a babymoon time when you and your husband can travel together one last time without children. And of course, summer is the perfect time to finally get to that white sand beach and turquoise water.
But news of the Zika virus may have you wondering: is it safe?
It’s a question many are asking, including Olympic athletes on their way to Rio, Brazil. American cyclist Tejay van Garderen dropped out of consideration because his wife is pregnant.
While you may not want to skip your trip, pregnant women and those trying to become pregnant should consider all the facts before traveling to certain parts of the world - and now in some areas of the United States.
Infection and Symptoms
People become infected with the Zika virus through the bite of a mosquito. A man can also pass the virus to his partner during sex. A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her child during pregnancy or delivery.
Zika’s most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika rarely requires hospitalization or causes death. In adults, it’s usually a mild illness lasting for several days. Some people may not realize they’ve been infected.
There is a lot not known about Zika at this time. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is uncertain whether a woman who contracts the Zika virus will give it to her baby, or if she does, whether the child will develop any birth defects.
What we do know is that Brazil has experienced a significant outbreak of Zika virus and since then, more babies have been born with microcephaly. Scientists studying the issue have concluded that there is a link, though other things also cause microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected because the baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth. Babies born with microcephaly may experience several problems after birth including:
- Developmental delays
- Intellectual disability
- Problems with movement and balance
- Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
Where (Not) to Travel
Summer fun can be found in many places, making it fairly easy to avoid risky areas. If you are concerned, it’s best to avoid the following:
- Miami, FL (recent out breaks)
- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
- The U.S. Virgin Islands
- American Samoa
- Southeast Asia
- Pacific Islands
Outbreaks are occurring in many other areas as well, and it’s best to check the CDC’s travel page for the latest information.
Generations Family Practice now offers a lab test for Zika. Please note that not all insurers cover it. Learn more about Zika and pregnancy from the CDC and speak to your Generations’ provider about any concerns you have regarding Zika or other travel risks this summer.
Why are so many people dying of accidental drug overdoses? The truth behind prescription drug misuse and how to avoid disaster.Tuesday, 25 April, 2017
Prince’s death has highlighted a problem in America: the risk of drug overdoses. You’ve likely heard many celebrity names during the years — from Elvis and Judy Garland to Heath Ledger and Amy Winehouse.
In fact, you might think of drug abuse as either a celebrity problem or a problem for lower-income people. Instead, death from drug overdoses has increased at an astonishing rate among all socioeconomic levels and ethnic groups in the past few decades. According to the New York Times, “the number of these deaths reached a new peak in 2014: 47,055 people, or the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day.”
Many of these overdoses are from opioids, a class of drugs that includes heroin and fentanyl, the medication that led to Prince’s drug overdose. Other examples of opioids are: morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. You might recognize them by their brand names including OxyContin®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Percodan®, Tylox® and Demerol® among others. The Times reports that opioids were involved in more than 61 percent of deaths from overdoses in 2014.
Often, these drugs are obtained legally. Many people are prescribed opioids for chronic pain. According to an analysis published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the majority of opioid prescriptions are written by family physicians and general internists.
This year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidelines about when to prescribe such medications. Right now in the physical therapy community, a hashtag #ChoosePT is working to create awareness about other ways to treat chronic and acute pain without turning to drugs.
“As doctors, our goal is to promote healing and recovery for our patients,” said Dr. Melanie Mintzer of Generations Family Practice. “While this means treating pain, we do not want to cause addiction to narcotics as a side effect, which can create an unnecessary chronic disease for some patients. It is a delicate balance and we are committed to identifying the causes of pain and treating them with multi-modality interventions to prevent addiction or accidental drug overdose.”
As we, the medical community, work to do better, we must also do more to educate those who might misuse these drugs. Those who choose to misuse prescription drugs for recreation may be obtaining them from someone else and may not have been informed of their dangers. There is a stigma associated with drug use that leads many people not to discuss it or try to get more information about it.
Avoiding disaster means attacking the problem on multiple fronts, including:
- Teaching everyone never to mix opioids with other sedatives.
- Making it easy to access naloxone, an inexpensive drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdoses.
- Carefully considering whether stricter drug punishments are truly the solution.
As your doctors, we hope that you’ll come to us with any questions or concerns about prescription drug use for yourself or family members.
Dear Patients and Friends,
We’re sad to report that Linn Floderus, NP, one of our Family Nurse Practitioners, is leaving Generations Family Practice to embark on a new opportunity. Her last day in the office is Wednesday, June 22.
Linn began working with the GFP family in 2013 and we are grateful for her three years of service. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors.
Our goal is to provide a caring place for you and your family and we know trust is an important part of that relationship. If you are a patient of Linn’s and have questions about your future care with our other team members, please feel free to call us at (919) 852-3999.
Dr. Melanie Mintzer
Painful periods? While pain is a normal part of most women’s menstrual cycles, some women experience debilitating pain before and during periods, during sex and more. March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to understand more about something often misunderstood.
Here are the fast facts on endometriosis:
- It affects 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S.
- The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. Endometriosis occurs when this type of tissue is found outside the uterus -- usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity.
- The misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions, which go through the same process as your cycle: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation -- and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.
- Pain before and during periods
- Pain with sex
- Painful urination during periods
- Painful bowel movements during periods
- Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea.
Below are two wonderful and informative pieces we found to help you better understand this disease.
"Did You Know Killer Cramps Are Not Normal?" is a great video by the folks at Endometriosis Foundation of America that shares information about Endometriosis in an informative and enagaing manner.
The below infographic from RMA of Texas presents symptoms, causes and treatments for endometriosis and aims to bring more awareness to this terrible disease so hopefully a cure can be found soon.
[Click image for full size version]
Generations Family Practice has been growing incredibly fast over the last year due to your support, referrals and a rapidly growing population in the Cary area. We are at a point where we need to make some dramatic changes to keep up with the growing demand and also continue to provide you with the service you have grown accustomed.
In order to better serve our patients here in the office, to decrease hold times for incoming calls, and to increase front office efficiency we will be implementing a phone tree. You will still be able to reach our staff, but your calls will be distributed according to the purpose of your call and may not go directly through our front office attendants. In many cases you may be asked to leave a message. Please do not be discouraged, as these messages will be retrieved promptly and distributed to the intended recipient in a timely manner. We will continue to address your concerns and respond to your needs as quickly as possible.
Another change we plan to implement is a change in our scheduling. We know it's been difficult for you to schedule appointments with your primary care doctor recently. We are working hard to remedy this issue so we can provide you with the best possible care. In order to make our providers more accessible to their patients we are changing how we schedule your appointments. To make this new system work, we will need your help. We will begin asking that you arrive at least 5 minutes early for your scheduled appointment, come prepared with a list of your current medications and your current insurance information, and please be forthcoming with your reason for scheduling your appointment. The more we understand why you are coming, the better prepared we can be and the more quality time you will have with the provider. There will also be times when you will be asked to complete certain paperwork ahead of time and bring it to the appointment with you. If you are unable to adhere to these requests please plan to arrive early, so the needed paperwork can be completed in the office before your appointment.
The changes in our scheduling will also require us to be stricter when accommodating patients who arrive late for their appointment. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, it may be necessary to reschedule.
Walk-ins are another change we will be making within the office. Starting April 15th, we will no longer have a designated hour every day to accommodate walk-ins. Walk-ins will be handled on an as-needed basis, for patients who are sick with minor conditions, such as sore throat, ear infection and sinus infection. A patient who walks in will be worked in to the schedule accordingly. Because scheduled patients take priority over a walk-in, anyone who chooses to walk-in, rather than schedule an appointment, should expect to wait. Wait times will vary and an expected wait time will be unpredictable. Patients are strongly encouraged to contact the office to schedule an appointment whenever possible.
Lastly, starting April 15th, we will close our doors for lunch at 12:00pm and reopen at 1:00pm.
Please be patient with us as we make these changes and grow accustomed to our new workflow. You can expect to start seeing the beginnings of these changes in early March and we hope to complete the transition mid to late April. We hope to have a smooth transition and cause as little disruption to our patients as possible.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Choosing the right Cary pediatrician can feel overwhelming, especially for new parents or people who are new to the Cary or Triangle, North Carolina area. Your child’s wellness is your top priority, and there are many aspects to health care in the first several years of life, including:
- Vaccines and immunizations
- Well-child exams
- Annual physical exams and checkups
- Treatment for sports injuries
- Sports physicals and back-to-school physicals
- Vision and hearing screenings
- Care for chronic conditions and diseases
During your search for a pediatrician’s office, here are some things to consider.
We Hope You’ll Choose a Generations Family Practice Cary Pediatrician:
- After Hours Care - We know children don’t always get sick between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We are happy to offer an after-hours, on-call provider for those other times.
- Consistent Doctor - Some pediatric offices shuffle you around to a different doctor at each visit. At Generations Family Practice, your child will see Dr. Christine Macomber. Both you and your child get to know the doctor much better and she will get to know you. She can watch for specific health concerns over time and monitor your child’s development.
- A Place for the Whole Family - Because GFP offers a variety of services for the entire family, you can book appointments together, from skincare and OB/GYN services to men’s prostate screenings. Plus, your children can “graduate” from the pediatrician's office straight to our other primary care physicians. Our pediatric services include sports injuries and mental and behavioral health. The family doctors at GFP understand the importance of preventative care to keep your child healthy for years to come.
- Convenient Location - At some point in 18 years, you will have to rush to the doctor before or after work. Rushing to the nearby doctor in Cary is much easier than driving all over the Triangle. Choose a doctor’s office you can reach easily.
Learn more about our philosophy and children’s medical services. Or call us to learn more about starting your children at Generations Family Practice: 919-852-3999.