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Health and Wellness

Unsung heroes from Lakes Region honored

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Children's Trust and Gov. Chris Sununu will present 29 awards Feb. 22 to honor and recognize extraordinary parents and caregivers who go above and beyond to be the best parents that they can be. Honorees and their families will gather in the Governor and Council Chambers at the New Hampshire State House in Concord for the annual Unsung Hero Awards ceremony.
Below are local honorees:

• Erica Brough of Laconia was nominated by Scoop Welch. Erica is a single mother, working two jobs to support her two sons. While expecting her second child, she was informed that she would not be able to access Child Care Scholarship funding. Erica wanted to continue to work, but knew the cost of child care would be prohibitive. Utilizing the NH Child Care Scholarship Wait List, Erica was eventually provided the additional financial support that she needed. After taking additional college courses, Erica is now the center director at the Belmont location for Lakes Region Child Care Services. On top of working and taking care of her family, she is an active volunteer at the Family Violence Prevention Council and Granite United Way.

• April Hanks of Belmont was nominated by Mary Mirkin. April is the single parent of twin boys, Crystian and Brooklyn. Because they were born prematurely, their first years of life were very difficult. April showed great strength and tenacity in reaching out to medical providers and arranging a vast array of early intervention services for her boys. April continues to travel from Belmont to Lebanon for numerous medical appointments at Dartmouth, all while maintaining a full-time job to support her boys. Her sons, now 6, are making great progress, thanks to April's courage and resilience.

• Denise and Syl Lapierre of Belmont were nominated by Jennifer Doris. Denise is an amazing mother to her children. When Denise received her son's autism diagnosis, she looked at the many opportunities that ASD would bring to the family. Denise advocated for all the services her son needed in order to excel. Not only is she a strong resource for her son, but also for many people in the community. She found her way through leadership programs and has become an advocate not only at the local level, but also the state level.

• Ross Leclair of Belmont was nominated by Amy Leclair. Ross is a single dad to a beautiful baby girl named Olivia. Olivia was born five weeks early, and shortly after she arrived home, Ross and his partner separated. Having a newborn is difficult, but it is particularly difficult when there are two separate parenting styles. Ross had to fight to stay in his daughter's life, and with perseverance and determination, he now shares custody. He always has his daughter's best interests at heart and supports her emotionally, physically and financially.

• Lesle and Rudy Tibbetts of Meredith were nominated by Kierin Williams. Lesle and Rudy have two children and are foster parents to a 2-year-old boy, Cade. Every day is another adventure – this year was Cade's first time seeing and playing in snow! Lesle and Rudy are loving and caring to Cade and intend to adopt him. Lesle and Rudy are working hard on building his communication and social skills. The Tibbett family and Cade are a perfect example of understanding a child's physical, developmental and emotional needs. They work diligently to help Cade grow with competence while promoting his well-being.

• Crystal Cutting of Ashland was nominated by Tricia Murphy. Crystal and her daughter, Izabelah, came to the Bridge House Homeless Shelter and the Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth in November 2015. Crystal secured a spot for Izzy in Head Start at Whole Village and began taking advantage of the resources offered. She took classes to secure her diploma, get a job, and began renting an apartment. Crystal has also obtained a vehicle through a program with DHHS and Good News Garage. She has also been able to reestablish a relationship with her two older children. Crystal has undoubtedly put in the hard work necessary to point her life in a positive direction.

• Jason Kingsbury of Northfield was nominated by Christina Beadle. Jason is a doting father to his son, Landen. Landen was born with a dangerous venous lymphatic abnormality in his windpipe, causing the risk of closing his airways. Jason makes the best of every visit to Boston Children's Hospital, advocating for Landen in any setting. When Landen is healthy, Jason always plans fun learning adventures while incorporating ways to give back to the community. Jason strives to set a good example for his son to follow, all while growing his own small local business.

Live Free Home Health Care offers safety tips

NEW HAMPTON - Whether facing a discharge from the hospital or preparing a home to safely age in place, for family caregivers, it's easy to be blindsided by the unexpected needs that arise. Sometimes basic home care equipment and supplies are not understood or even thought about until they are needed quickly, and the chaos that ensues can be overwhelming.

There are literally hundreds of types of equipment for frail seniors and physically challenged children or adults that claim to make life safer and easier. But how do you decide what is needed and what works best?

Here are a few general insider tips on commonly purchased home care equipment items:

• Commode vs. a raised toilet seat or safety frame: A commode can replace both a raised toilet seat and a toilet safety frame and has the additional benefit of being mobile, so can be used independently at a bedside as well.
• Shower bench vs. a shower board: A shower bench is helpful for people who feel unsafe when lifting their legs over the side of the tub and greatly reduces the risk of falls when getting into and out of the bathtub. The main benefits of shower benches over shower boards are that they have backrests and are height adjustable. Having a taller surface makes getting up from sitting easier and backrests provide more support to people that fatigue easily. Shower boards can also be difficult to fit securely to a tub.
• Rollator walker vs. a two-wheeled walker: A rollator, or four-wheeled walker, is often the walker of choice for seniors because it includes brakes, a seat and a basket/bag, and works well both indoors and outdoors. However a standard two-wheeled walker might be more appropriate for someone who is forgetful and may have trouble remembering how to use the hand brakes on a rollator or need the walker to support all of her weight.
• Short bedrail vs. a wide bedrail: A wide bedrail can make it more difficult to get into bed. Positioned correctly, the bedrail should be placed at the top half of a bed, beside the pillow area. The actual positioning along the bed can vary depending on the person's preference.

Home care recipients and their families can rest assured that through the help of a professional home care agency such as Live Free Home Health Care, equipment recommendations can be made and the ordering and delivery of the equipment can be managed.

A professional home care agency can also assist with:

• Options to pay for equipment
• Equipment training
• Identifying changing needs

For further tips and information on home care equipment, contact Live Free Home Health Care, a local resource for home care services and trusted aging advice.

Ways to improve knee pain

Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Sports, exercise and other activities can cause muscle strains, tendinitis and more serious injuries. Knee pain shouldn't be ignored, here are some tips to help lesser knee pain and improve mobility.

Exercise - Low impact cardio exercise strengthen muscles and increases your flexibility. For example you can walk, swim, do a stationary cycling and or an elliptical machine.

Maintain a healthy weight - Carrying extra pounds can exert additional pressure on your joints and can contribute to knee pain. Talk to your doctor about developing a healthy eating plan and exercise program to help you lose weight sensibly.

Give physical therapy a try - A physical therapist can help design an exercise program that fits your individual ability level and teaches you proper techniques that will spare your joints.

Get enough rest and relaxation - Rest and relaxation can go a long way to promote good health and reduce your pain. A good way to practice this is deep breathing and mediation.

The Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association offers professional home health care services, making it possible to receive comprehensive health care services in the comfort of your home. Working with clients and their physicians, LRVNA can develop a customized home care plan to reach patients recovery goals, optimum health and independence. LRVNA's services include, Pain Management, Physical Therpary, and much more. Call LRVNA at 603-279-6611 to discuss your health care options.

DANIELA BAYER - Did you know that prayer can help?


Engaging in a prayer is a common practice in times of illness.
A national survey with 23,000 adults in the United States revealed that 9 in 10 adults participate in some form of spiritual practice. Prayer is the most universally practiced spiritual behavior, and it is much more established in the U.S. than most industrialized nations.
A prayer is not only a mechanism for connecting with the divine – it is also a powerful tool for the purpose of self-examination. And for 50 percent of adults, it is common to pray on behalf of someone's difficulties or request the prayers of others during times of high stress. A petitionary prayer brings people together who form a social support system for those in difficult personal circumstances. Engaging in a prayer is beneficial for mental health as it helps to cope, have hope, and even manage pain and prevent depression. Studies have documented a dynamic relationship between prayer and positive health outcomes, where individuals experienced positive emotions and felt motivated to adopt healthy beliefs and make positive and lasting lifestyle changes. In their spiritual practice, people found a source of strength, resilience, and inspiration.
Prayer as a behavioral strategy is used to assess situations and evaluate the resources available for dealing with the situations. In health and healing practice, a prayer becomes both a remedy and an escape from a situation. Praying to a higher power is used to influence an outcome, accept reality, or distract thoughts. Research conducted in different parts of the world reached the same conclusions – religious and spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, and worship, have been found to stimulate positive emotions like love, hope, faith and forgiveness.
Prayer is not reserved only for the religious person. Nonreligious people also use prayer during times of high stress or illness. Instead of hoping that something would take the bad situation away, the most frequently endorsed strategy is about applying the power of belief to help make sense of a situation. This approach typically leads to greater peace of mind, sense of harmony, comfort, self-fulfillment, resilience, and relief from suffering by being able to rise above the challenge. Holistic health care integrates the physical, emotional, social and spiritual realms, recognizing their significance and contribution within the system of medicine. The realm of spirituality is multidimensional, where a prayer is an expression of our desire and ability to transcend the self and connect with something or someone else. This process may or may not involve religious beliefs. Something greater than the self may be a life force, a higher power, beauty, nature, a god or something beyond the physical universe. The choice comes down to personal preference and understanding. Prayer is just one of the tools in the toolbox of this contemplative and mindful practice.
There is a scientific component to this exploration as well. Neuroscientific research studies provide evidence that demonstrates the plasticity of the human brain and shows that the brain maintains tremendous capacity for change throughout its lifetime. The brain is able to learn and transform its own structure – by design. With the use of sophisticated technology, we are able to observe and measure neuroplasticity produced by intentional and mindful practice. The brain is resilient, malleable, and responsive to experience, including the experience of prayer, positive affirmation, and spiritual practice in general.
This is powerful.
Be well!

Dr. Daniela Bayer, PhD is a consulting psychologist, behavioral coach, and a contributing writer for The Laconia Daily Sun. Have a question or need additional information? Call Dr. Bayer toll-free at 1 (888) DrBAYER, or 1 (888) 372-2937.

Shattuck named Caregiver of Month

NEW HAMPTON – Sara Shattuck, of Bristol, a four-year personal care provider at Live Free Home Health Care, has been named Caregiver of the Month for January 2017.
As a personal care provider, Shattuck is prepared to assist in the care of her clients in their own homes through non-medical services. Many of these include: meal preparation, transportation, companionship, light housekeeping and family respite.
Although her schedule includes three overnight shifts per week as well as some day clients, Shattuck feels strongly that her schedule contributes to her being available during the day for her husband and two children.

"I can't complain at all about my schedule, which is certainly one of the strong points of working at Live Free," she said.
"I love them all," is Shattuck's description of her relationship with her clients. She speaks of enjoying their wide range of personalities and experiences.
"I have my regulars, but have kept in touch with many of my past clients," she relates. "I think of all of them as my grandparents, and see myself rather as a friend and companion as I go about my duties," she concludes.
"Sara exemplifies the values and mission of Live Free. Sara has never called to say she can't make it to work. She's someone you can count on." Said Live Free Executive Director Tammy Niles. "Not just to show up but to show up and really make a difference in someone's day...someone's life! We count on Sara because we know we can."


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Sara Shattuck, left, was named Caregiver of the Month at Live Free Home Care. With her is Executive Director Tammy Niles. (Courtesy photo)