Caring for Your Well-Being

The tragedy of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida has sparked a massive debate between gun control laws and mental health issues. As you probably have read or seen in the media, there are extensive arguments for both sides of the issues. No matter what your political or personal views are, we can all agree that mental health is a very important aspect of our lives. Yet we are not constantly reinforced to take good care of our mental health. Think back to your upbringing, schooling, or training from work – how many figures in your life taught you to take proper care of your mental health? Now think about the stigmas and stereotypes associated when you think of “mental health issues.” Do these stigmas inhibit you from seeking mental health support?

According to American Psychological Association, one in four adults of age 65 or older experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or dementia. As you age, it may become more difficult for you to take care of your mental health, especially if you need to care for your physical health. But according to the World Health Organization, mental health correlates with physical health.

It’s important to remember that you are responsible for your own mental health. If you are feeling depressed, have anxiety, feel anger, or feel isolated or lonely, it is your responsibility to speak up when you visit your primary care practitioner. Many health systems are merging health care into primary care visits, and if your doctor is unable to help you, he can direct to you to the right place. There are many factors that can affect your mental health. You don’t have to have gone through a traumatic experience to have mental health issues. You don’t have to invalidate your feelings by thinking that it is “not a big deal”, or thinking that you can “tough it out.” It is far better to be proactive and seek help or support instead of hiding behind any feelings of shame or embarrassment.

If you are thinking about seeking support for your mental health but don’t have healthcare or don’t know where to start, there are many resources available locally and even online. If you visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, you can find local and online peer support groups. You can contact your county’s public health office to be referred to a professional, a screening and assessment service, or a local support group. If you know someone else who seems to be having mental health issues, you can reach out and advise them to seek support. Remember that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your body. With a little effort, you can have the support that you need to maintain your well-being.

Resources By County:

San Bernardino Public Health:

Riverside University Health System:

Orange County Social Services Agency:

Senior Health Outreach & Prevention Program:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:


Mobile Home Fire Prevention

According to a study done by AARP and Foremost Insurance Group, the leading cause of mobile home fires is insufficient maintenance of the home and its mechanical system. For example, your clothes dryer needs to be cleaned for lint after every use and the attached lint vent needs to be cleaned about twice a year. You can accidentally start a fire in your dryer if you don’t property clean and maintain appliances as instructed in the manual. This applies to other appliances and heating systems that you own, such as space heaters, woodstoves, water heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces, to name a few.

There are other careless accidents that cause many fires in mobile homes.  It is important for everyone to be prepared for these types of situations. Regardless of the type of mobile home you reside in, do you have an exit plan? Do you have a smoke detector installed with sufficient battery to alert you? Do you have family, friends, or caretakers that you can call to assist you in the time of need? These are only a few questions you need to ask yourself so that you can be prepared in case of emergencies. Most people live thinking such disaster could never happen to them, but it never hurts to take some time to think about being prepared.

Make sure to read the full article by AARP and Foremost Insurance Group on Fire Prevention.


Also, visit the links below for additional information about fire safety and disaster preparedness.

Prevent Drownings in your Home and at the Pool

Orange County drownings reached a four-year high in 2012. It takes only seconds and a couple inches of water for a child to drown. The following steps can help prevent drownings.

  1. Install safety locks on toilets and keep bathroom doors closed when there are small children in the home.
  2. Empty all cleaning buckets immediately after use.
  3. Empty kiddie pools immediately after using them and never leave children unattended around the pool when it is full.
  4. Install barriers around your home pool. These should be at least 4 feet high around the entire pool. Make sure the latch is out of the reach of small children. Installing alarms and pool covers add an additional layer of protection.
  5. Do not allow children to have breath-holding competitions.
  6. Do not consume alcohol when watching children swim. It takes only seconds to drown and if you have been drinking your reaction time might not be fast enough.
  7. Become CPR certified.

The signs of drowning are not as apparent as the movies make them out to be. Oftentimes most of the movement happens after the child is completely submerged under the water. Keep your eyes on your children at all times even if they are excellent swimmers.

How to Prevent Foodborne illness

  1. Clean: Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit or vegetable, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours.
  2.  SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on one that held the raw meat.
  3. COOK: meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 158°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
  4. CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.

Norovirus: What it is and how to keep yourself from getting infected.

Norovirus is extremely contagious and affects 21 million Americans a year. Often referred to at the “stomach flu” it is responsible for 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths a year according to the San Bernardino County Health Department. It causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Due to the many strains of the virus you can become infected multiple times in your life. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Norovirus, so prevention is crucial.

You can become infected with the virus if you have contact with someone who has the virus. This can happen in various ways including sharing food or drinks with someone who has the virus (they could have it and not be showing any symptoms yet and still pass along the virus), public areas can harbor the virus if not disinfected and cleaned properly.

In order to prevent yourself from picking up this terrible virus make sure to wash your hands before touching your mouth for any reason including, eating or putting on lipstick. Wash your food, as you do not know who was handling it before you bought it at the store. Most importantly if someone in your home gets the virus make sure to wash all laundry thoroughly and wash your hands each time you come into contact with the infected person.

Click here for more information on prevention and treatment of Norovirus.