This week on Parents Are Hard to Raise…

What you should Never, EVER Touch when traveling on an airplane,

Why a good economy can pose real risks to our aging parents,

How sleep habits impact fall risks,


5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

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Show Transcript

Parents Are Hard To Raise S03 Episode 93 Transcript

[00:00:00] The world's becoming a dangerous place for us women. Lipstick bodyguard looks just like an innocent little lipstick but it will instantly drop any attacker to his knees so you can get away unharmed. Lipstick bodyguard fear no evil. Get yours today only at

Announcer: [00:00:38] Coming up this week on Parents Are Hard To Raise why a good economy can pose real risks to our aging parents. How sleep habits impact fall risks and foods that can boost your mood. Parents Are Hard To Raise is now available on Spotify and it's 180 million monthly subscribers.

Diane Berardi: [00:01:09] Welcome to Parents Are Hard To Raise. Helping families grow older together without losing their minds. I'm elder care expert Diane Berardi.

[00:01:18] So I took my mom shopping on Saturday.

[00:01:24] She wanted to get out and go shopping but she was kind of nervous in the morning and said, Oh I don't know if I can go. And I'm like OK, I'll just go for you and then after a while she's saying OK. No I'm going to go, I want to go. So...

[00:01:40] And she had a list of stores, like three different stores she wanted to go to. So I'm like OK that's fine. But of course it's a Saturday shopping. So you know how that is. And in the town that she lives in, it's like the shopping capital of the world. I mean it's just... There's just stores that's all there is. And houses.

[00:02:02] So I was like, OK, where are we going first? So of course we have to go to Bed Bath and Beyond because she wants a new shower head. So I'm like OK. So you can imagine how busy Bed Bath and Beyond is on a Saturday but... And of course in the town she lives in there's two different ones. And we were going to go to the one that's less known and sort of hidden.

[00:02:29] So... Did you ever try to get a wheelchair out of the trunk and you know your mom or dad in the wheelchair, you know your car's parked to the side and in front of the crosswalk. So... In New Jersey we have these crosswalks where the cars have to stop for pedestrians. So, we're trying to get my mom out of the car and into the wheelchair. And there is a woman behind us and she's just honking her horn like, "get up and get out of the way.".

[00:03:07] And I'm pointing to the wheelchair, you know, looking at her like but you know I'm trying to get this person in a wheelchair. And my mom's going, we'll let her go. But there is nowhere... You know, she can't. She has to just, you know, there's cars everywhere.

[00:03:23] So, finally we get my mom into the wheelchair and then I'm trying to maneuver her into the store.

[00:03:30] Now... For those of you who know how to you wheel someone in a wheelchair and you have experience with that, getting in and out of a store is not that easy because of the lips trying to get into the store. And of course, I'm trying forward you know, and I've used wheelchairs before, and I've taken her to the hospital, different floors, different places, but I guess I was so rattled from the woman Beeping, You know... Because my mother was getting nervous. And I'm trying to get her into this store and she's going to me, "I think I'm going to wind up on the floor." And I'm like, No, I'll get it. [laughing].

[00:04:06] And then some guy comes over and he's like, "Can I help you?" And I'm like No no no.

[00:04:11] And then it hit me. I go Wait a minute... I have to around. I have to back into the store. So, okay, I finally got her into the store.

[00:04:19] Now... People don't know, I guess, how to deal with someone in a wheelchair and someone pushing in a wheelchair, because you're in a crowded store, and now this time of year I guess their sale racks everywhere. And of course my mom wants to look through the sale rack clearance aisles. And there's a lot of people in those clearance aisles. And I'm trying to maneuver her in the wheelchair into those clearance aisles. And I'm like Ma, I don't know. And she's going to me, "go slow... Make sure you go slow so I can look at all the stuff that's on clearance." But there's people behind me and people trying to like push. So I'm like, I gotta... We got to keep going. I can't. There's people behind me...

[00:05:04] So if people listening... You have to know... We have to have wheelchair etiquette. We have to have you know we have to have etiquette for this. You have to see, if someone's pushing someone in a wheelchair, you can't just try to push them out of the way. You have to realize... you know, I tried at certain times to move to the side but if there's nowhere to go...

[00:05:31] So why are we in such a rush? I mean you're in the store, you're obviously shopping. OK. You might have something to do. But please, we have to educate people. You have to treat people in a wheelchair and their caregivers-- you have to treat them with patience. And you have to give them a lot of credit, because this is an everyday occurrence for people.

[00:05:55] You know it's different when, maybe not so much though... I was going to say when you're going in the lab or into the hospital, by kinda not really. When you think about it because there's crowds everywhere. There's people vying for position.

[00:06:08] So I just want to say if you in your travels can teach people, hey you know just be patient. Be patient for that person trying to get their mom or dad out of the wheelchair, into a building or into a store. And be patient if they're wheeling somebody in the store, because it's not... It's not nice. There's no other way to put it. But it's not nice. It's common courtesy.

[00:06:38] So I've been getting so many emails about your parents in nursing homes. And the main theme throughout the emails is there's not enough staff. You know there's people writing that you know Mom fell out of bed and broke her arm or dad was hospitalized because he was dehydrated or mom was lying in bed waiting for a nurse, she kept bringing the call button, or I look and there's no staff. You know there's no one to help. I see a nurse's aide and I'll say Geez mom hasn't had her shower yet and she'll say, Well I have 40 patients to take care of. You know I've 40 patients to wash, to feed and take care of.

[00:07:17] So I just want to clue you in...

[00:07:20] In economic times of low unemployment, nursing home quality suffers. And that's not just me saying that. Georgetown University Medical Center did a study and found the quality of care in nursing homes improved during periods of recession, and care worsens when the economy is good.

[00:07:42] So you say, Well why is that? You know, how do how do fluctuations in business cycles, in the economy affect the quality of care in nursing homes?

[00:07:51] Well when you think about it, nursing home care is highly labor intensive. The care is mainly delivered by nurses and nurse’s aides. And the residents in nursing homes today, they have physical impairments or cognitive dysfunctions that require a lot of care. And providing this care can be physically and mentally taxing. So during low unemployment, when the economy is good, there's so many other opportunities and options that are more attractive than nursing home positions.

[00:08:26] So in periods during low unemployment, there's higher turnover, nursing home staffing levels are not up to what they should be. Trying to keep staff, staffing retention rates are lower.

[00:08:41] When we have a downturn, an economic downturn, people are willing to take positions that they may not normally prefer, like in a nursing home, because there are less options.

[00:08:52] So researchers found in this study, the higher unemployment rates are associated with a statistically significant improvement in quality of care in nursing homes. During those times. Nursing homes are more compliant with health regulations. Nursing home residents on average are less likely to have pressure ulcers, or have significant weight loss. And these are measures of quality care. During the higher unemployment rates. Nursing homes can keep their staff better. They reduce their turnover, because people say, Well, I have a job. I'm going to keep my job. So there's less turnover.

[00:09:35] So what do we do? What do you feel should be done? Is it higher reimbursements to nursing homes, so they can pay their staff more, and make these positions more attractive, make them more competitive with other positions? There's so many other positions out there for people today, in retail, Amazon, U.P.S. I mean, there's so many more glamorous, less taxing physically and mentally. Do nursing home work environments have to be more desirable? There's a lot of questions about that.

[00:10:09] But so many people have say geez you know I don't see anybody. You know you go to call someone... You even see that in hospitals, as well.

[00:10:17] I was telling you about my experience, with my mom, in the past several months. And you don't see a lot of staff. And what's happening in nursing, is a lot of nurses are retiring. And we don't have as many younger people going into the nursing profession. There's so many other professions they can go into too. Even in the medical field there's nurse practitioners, they're going to become doctors. I mean there is even shortages of doctors. So what do we do, you know?

[00:10:44] But those are some of the things you might see, and you know, you might you might realize now why that's happening. Our economy in the U.S. is booming and there's less personnel in the nursing homes or even in hospitals.

[00:10:58] We had talked about in previous shows you may have to be there more or someone there or hire someone to sit with Mom and Dad, to make sure they're eating. To make sure if they get out of bed that they don't fall. To make sure that they're getting the care that they need.

[00:11:14] In a moment, we're going to talk about one thing that can happen with disrupted sleep. But first, if you're a woman or there's a woman in your life, there's something you absolutely need to know.

[00:11:26] I want to tell you about my friend Katie. Katie is a nurse and she was attacked on her way home from work. She was totally taken by surprise. And although Katie is only 5 feet tall and 106 pounds she was easily able to drop her 6 foot 4, 250-pound attacker to his knees and get away unharmed.

Katie wasn't just lucky that day. She was prepared.

In her pocketbook, a harmless looking lipstick, which really contained a powerful man stopping aerosol propellant.

It's not like it was in our grandmother's day. Today just going to and from work or to the mall can have tragic consequences. The FBI says a violent crime is committed every 15 seconds in the United States. And a forcible rape happens every five minutes. And chances are when something happens, no one will be around to help.

It looks just like a lipstick. So no one will suspect a thing. Which is important since experts say, getting the jump on your attacker is all about the element of surprise.

Inside this innocent looking lipstick is the same powerful stuff used by police and the military to disarm even the most powerful, armed aggressor. In fact, National Park rangers used the very same formula that's inside this little lipstick to stop two-thousand pound vicious grizzly bears dead in their tracks. It's like carrying a personal bodyguard with you in your purse or your pocket.

Darkness brings danger. Murderers and rapists use darkness to their advantage. We all know what it's like to be walking at night and hear footsteps coming at us from behind. Who's there? If it's somebody bad, will you be protected? Your life may depend on it.

My friend Katie's close call needs to be a wake up call for all of us. Myself included. Pick up a Lipstick Bodyguard and keep it with you always.

Announcer: [00:13:25] You're listening to Parents Are Hard To Raise. Now, thanks to you... The number one eldercare talk show on planet Earth. Listen to this and other episodes on demand using the iHeart Radio app. iPhone users can listen on Apple podcasts and Android users on Google podcasts.

[00:13:45] Want a great new way to listen to the show? Have an Amazon Echo or Dot? Just say, "Alexa, play Parents Are Hard To Raise podcast."

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Announcer: [00:14:01] It's as simple as that.

Diane Berardi: [00:14:04] There are so many ways to listen to our show.

[00:14:07] iHeart Radio. Spotify. Roku. You can listen on your smartphone with Apple podcasts and Google podcasts. You can get us an Apple TV, Direct TV or like Dolly said, just tell Alexa to play parents are hard to raise. Simply say, Alexa play parents are hard to raise podcast. It's that easy. That much fun.

[00:14:32] So... Are falls more likely when you've had a bad night's sleep?

[00:14:37] Researchers from the University of Warwick have demonstrated a relationship between disrupted sleep and the reduced capability to control our posture and balance. Disrupted and fragmented sleep leads to serious balanced deficit.

[00:14:54] Makes sense. I noticed my dad; he's not sleeping well. You know, he says, I don't fall asleep or I fall asleep and I wake up. And he's been unsteady on his feet and he keeps I notice... Fortunately he hasn't fallen where it's serious, but he's been falling more. So it kind of makes sense, you don't sleep well, you feel a little dizzy and unsteady.

[00:15:16] There's so many stories I hear about, "My mom was in the hospital and you know she went in for pneumonia and then she fell and she broke her arm or she fractured her hip.

[00:15:28] And so this is serious. And hospital administrators we have to take a look at this, because falls in hospitals you know people having disrupted sleep, fragmented sleep and that happens with the elderly. It happens with all of us in a hospital. You're in unfamiliar surroundings and especially the elderly, they're being administered medications in the middle of the night or you know maybe they're getting their blood pressure taken every two hours or maybe they're on medications that they've never been on before. You have the noise level. You have the lights. So people wake up and they fall. So this is a big issue. And a big issue for it not only all of us, but for our elderly parents. So hospital administrators take note of that.

[00:16:16] While I was doing my show prep I found some interesting little tidbits that I wanted to share with you.

[00:16:23] So... Are they really "feel good" foods?

[00:16:28] If they're are... Ha, I want to give them to some people. [laughing] Because, we want... Well we want everyone to feel good. But I want to introduce you to a few foods that have the potential to boost your mood. And that's what I want to do. I want to boost the mood of some people, because some people are crabby all the time. Some people are cranky... [laughing] [00:16:50] So there's certain foods that contain serotonin, which is a hormone. It's also a chemical that nerve cells produce, and it's known as the "happy chemical." So it appears to play a role in regulating mood.

[00:17:06] Serotonin manages your emotional well-being and researchers say you're likely to be anxious and exhausted if you lack this chemical. So, these feel good foods will boost your mood. So maybe if there's someone that you want to boost their mood, give them some of these foods.

[00:17:24] So, one of them is Brazil nuts. They provide selenium. And studies show selenium reduces depression. You need three of these nuts to account for your daily selenium intake.

[00:17:36] Oats... You always see people eating oatmeal in the morning... Releases energy in the bloodstream slowly so it stabilizes your blood sugar and your mood. It also contains selenium which increases serotonin.

[00:17:49] Bananas-- they have tryptophan, vitamin A, B6, C and magnesium. So the carbohydrates in bananas help the brain absorb the tryptophan, while the vitamin B6 converts it into serotonin, to boost your mood. This mood-boosting effect also reduces sleeplessness and anxiety and the magnesium improves brain function.

[00:18:17] Fatty fish-- People who don't have enough omega 3 fatty acids in their systems are prone to depression. So eating mackerel and salmon will maintain the health of your brain.

[00:18:29] Lentils. They increase serotonin in the brain. Lentils enable a calm, happy state of mind. So give people lentils... They keep your mood even by stabilizing your blood sugar. They also contain Folate, which prevents depression.

[00:18:46] Chicken and turkey. They have amino acids, which the body needs to convert tryptophan into serotonin. They also have Tyrosine which limits symptoms of depression and regulates mood.

[00:18:59] Dark chocolate... You always hear about that... Releases endorphins and serotonin, and it plays a part in reducing perceived stress.

[00:19:07] And oysters, which are high in zinc. And zinc deficiency can lead to depression.

[00:19:14] So I'm going to start eating Brazil nuts, because that's an easy snack. And a banana. And some oats. I'm gonna start eating all of these foods. And I'm going to give them to some people, too. [laughing] [00:19:28] So... I'm saying, I'm going to give these foods to some people.... So if you look up "curmudgeon in the dictionary, that's one of my producers. And he's giving me dirty looks, because he knows I'm going to be giving him some Brazil nuts, some bananas, some oats, some chicken, some turkey, some oysters... I have to remember the rest of them. [laughing] [00:19:47] So, On that note...

[00:19:49] I came across this article... Are workers who sing together happier employees? So maybe you guys in the booth should start singing together. [laughing] [00:19:59] A new British study suggests being part of a workplace choir was associated with lower levels of work related stress and a feeling of having more support from co-workers. There you have it...

[00:20:12] Did You know, for a better night's sleep.... Try a weighted blanket. They're designed to mimic the feeling of being swaddled, so the blanket appears to ease anxiety. According to several recent studies that could lead to longer deeper sleep.

[00:20:30] Did you ever see people taking selfies? They just constantly take selfies and post them. Another recent study indicated that excessive selfie posting could alienate online friends. Maybe people want that? I don't know. Instead of focusing on yourself point the camera outward to the world around you.

[00:20:53] Here's something we may not always remember to do. Clean your shower head. Sometimes you overlook it because, hey, you have to look up. It's up there. But your shower head can harbor microbes that have been implicated in lung infections, so you should wash it every other week with a household cleaner that contains ammonia.

[00:21:13] So, we're at the height of flu season right now. Being married to an infectious disease specialist has its downsides, because he reminds me of this every two minutes... And a lot of us fly, a lot of us take transportation, but staying away from germs can be challenging when at an airport. Four billion people flew last year in 2017. And guess where the most germs are? On that check in kiosk. You know you don't think about it, but how many people use that kiosk. Plastic bins. The plastic tray tables, escalator and stair handrails. Those tram handrails. Toilet lids. The locks in toilets. The flushing buttons. And take a window seat, because researchers have found people sitting in the aisles were more likely to catch colds and the flu.

[00:22:15] I love getting your emails and questions so please keep sending them. You can reach me at Diane parents are hard to raise dot org or just click the green button on our home page.

[00:22:25] Parents Are Hard To Raise is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York.

[00:22:32] Our New York producer is Joshua Green. Our broadcast engineer is Well Gambino. And from our London studios, the melodic voice of our announcer, Miss Dolly D.

[00:22:43] Thank you so much for listening. Till next time, may you forget everything you don't want to remember and remember everything you don't want to forget.

[00:22:52] See you again next week.

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