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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

January 10, 2022 by Jennifer Little

https://stocksnap.io/author/mattmoloney

Human Trafficking is an issue that affects Ohioans of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, and Wear Blue Day is an effort to raise awareness of the signs and to, ultimately, stop this crime which destroys lives of vulnerable people in our own communities, and across the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice describes Human Trafficking as” a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex”.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 further recognized that this issue includes the use of “force, fraud or coercion” as well as the recruitment of those too young to give legal consent (under age 18).  This Act began to draw national attention to what is often referred to as “modern day slavery”.

The Department of Homeland Security describes the many ways this issue affects the people and institutions of United States – “Human trafficking threatens our physical and virtual borders, our immigration and customs systems, our prosperity, our national security, our personal and public safety.” Addressing the issues related to human trafficking is a national priority and includes strategies 1) to support organizations combating Human Trafficking, 2) to limit the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and 3) to end Child Sexual Exploitation.

Human Trafficking is not only a national concern, but a significant problem right here in Ohio.  According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Update in January 2020, Ohio ranks 4th in the nation for prevalence of human trafficking, even though our state population is only ½ to 1/3 of other highly ranked states.  In 2019 the Ohio Organized Crime Investigation Commission was part of an effort that rescued 110 trafficked victims and referred another 217 people to victim services.  One major Ohio law enforcement operation in 2020, involved 76 open missing/exploited children cases. 

January 11th is National Wear Blue Day and is part of the Blue Campaign sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and to educate individuals, law enforcement and organizations about how to recognize indications of human trafficking, and what to do if they suspect someone is being trafficked.

What are signs that someone may be the victim of human trafficking?

  • A person who appears fearful, timid or acts overly submissive or defers to an older or controlling companion for basic questions
  • Someone who has a sudden or significant change in behavior or withdrawal from school or other outside activities
  • A person who seems to lack possessions or appears to have been denied food, sleep, or medical care
  • A person who appears to have bruises at various stages of healing, signs that he/she may have experienced physical abuse over time
  • Someone who seems to have an overly restrictive living situation, such as limited ability to move about or to leave on their own

What can you do to assist someone you suspect may be a victim of human trafficking or to help combat this issue in your community?

  1. Report suspected human trafficking to the federal authorities at 1-866-347-2423.
  2. Encourage or assist the victim to text HELP or INFO to 233733 (BeFree). 
  3. Bring awareness to this crime by participating in #WearBlueDay on January 11th. Learn more about @DHSBlueCampaign and #WearBlueDay here:  https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/wearblueday.                                                                                                           
  4. In Ohio, participate in the Attorney General’s initiative to end human trafficking by visiting the website:  https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/humantrafficking.

Written by: Jennifer Little, MS, RD, LD, FCS Educator, OSU Extension Hancock County

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, MEd, FCS Educator, OSU Extension Wood County

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Justice website:  https://www.justice.gov/humantrafficking
  2. Homeland Security Human Trafficking webpage: https://www.dhs.gov/topic/human-trafficking
  3. Ohio Attorney General website: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Media/Newsletters/Criminal-Justice-Update/January-2020/New-human-trafficking-efforts-aim-to-make-a-differ
  4. Homeland Security Blue Campaign webpage: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/wearblueday

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a gift-wrapped box

With the holiday season comes gift-giving to our young people. Often, the gift box contains new technology for our teens and even younger children. The device could be a first cell phone, tablet, or even a laptop. When our young people exhaust playing with toys, we default to technology as the next level of gifts. My children are young adults now, but I can remember back to the iPod, laptops, Nintendo DS, Wii, and smartphones opened from the boxes at Christmas. For my son, we waited until 13 for his first phone, but for my daughter, we surprised her a year early at 12. As adults, we were in control, and we decided when they would get access. However, looking back, I would have delayed gifting some technology until later. 

It does not have control when it is in the box, but once you open Pandora’s technology box, devices can control a person. It is hard enough as adults to have the willpower to set down our devices. Young people struggle even more without fully developed will-power or self-regulation. Healthy boundaries are good to provide and can benefit children’s mental health. Setting technology boundaries before a device is out of the box or turned on for the first time is the best practice.

Some best practices include setting up data limits. If the data runs out, they can still use the device as a phone or in Wi-Fi, but they have just exhausted their “connected time”. Most phones now come with a screen time feature that limits time on certain apps, at certain times of the day, or which apps can be downloaded. Use these features to help enforce the guidelines, but do not depend on them alone. The Internet is a dangerous playground for youth to access unsupervised. Set restrictions on which types of websites they can visit and ensure all Internet use is done in public spaces.

Phones also have helpful features, like knowing your children’s location or contacting them after school. Some educational apps will help youth study and learn about different topics. Show your youth how they can be content creators rather than just consumers. Many apps teach youth coding to create the app versus just consuming the app. Ohio 4-H just launched a program called Clovers CODE, which helps youth in 4-H learn to create apps and the code behind the app.

Modeling guidelines is also important. If your family rule is no phones in bedrooms, then have a family charging station in a central place in the home. Introduce a “no phones at dinner time” rule and abide by that. Show your children that immediate responses to their friends are not urgent and can wait by delaying your own replies. And instead of spending time on devices, enjoy time together this holiday playing family games.

As you wrap up all your boxes this holiday season, do not forget to think outside the box and set your family boundaries before the technology is gifted to your children.

Written by Mark D. Light, Ph.D., Leader, Ohio 4-H STEM & Digital Engagement Innovations

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, MPH, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

References:

Abi-Jaoude, E., Naylor, K. T., & Pignatiello, A. (2020). Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health. Canadian Medical Associaton Journal192(6), E136-E141. https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/6/E136

Dempsey, S., Lyons, S., & McCoy, S. (2019). Later is better: Mobile phone ownership and child academic development. Economic and Social Research Institute. http://aei.pitt.edu/101971/1/RB201903_01.pdf

Wiles, B. B., Schachtner, L., & Pentz, J. L. (2016). The New Screen Time: Computers, Tablets, and Smartphones Enter the Equation. Journal of Extension54(2), 10. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol54/iss2/10/

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For many, the holidays are filled with celebrations and festivities with family and friends, but it can be a worrisome time for those who have difficulty getting around, or are confined to their homes. Older adults might choose to forego family celebrations and festivities for fear of falling or being a burden on family members. By skipping family functions, older adults may have an increased feeling of loneliness and isolation during the holidays.

Unfortunately a day out with an older adult cannot be spontaneous. However, with a little pre-planning and modifications, holiday traditions and activities can be safe for older family members. This may require some changes to family plans, but having senior family members with you during the holidays is well worth the adjustments.

In order to make celebrations suitable for every family member, here are some things to consider during the planning process:

  • How far can the person travel?
  • Are the costs affordable to someone on a limited budget?
  • How much walking is involved?  Are there hills or other obstacles that would make it hard to navigate?
  • Is there wheelchair access?
  • Is there parking nearby?
  • Are restrooms easily accessible?
  • Are there benches or chairs that can be used?

Planning what you need to take with you is also important. Be prepared for the unexpected. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have all the medications needed. Take an extended supply, just in case you are still out when the next dose is due.
  • Have clothing appropriate for the weather and the outing. Comfortable shoes and warm weather clothes are important.
  • Bring some snacks and plenty of water.

Once you get to the activity, the next step is to be alert to any hazards or problems that might occur. Holidays are a joyful time of year meant for get-togethers, memories, and a touch of nostalgia. However, the holiday season can be one of the most dangerous times for older persons. For example:

  • Holiday decorations may affect the ability of your loved ones to move freely throughout the home. Just because you can easily navigate the extra decorations, doesn’t mean that your loved one will.
  • Look for extension cords or floor rugs that can lead to a fall.
  • Make sure that walkways are clear of ice and snow.

Additional considerations are needed for family members living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, consider the effect of too much clutter: Too many lights, music and decorations can be overwhelming. The Alzheimer’s Organization provides additional tips on how to help family members with dementia enjoy the holidays. In addition, the Healthy Aging Network Telecast on Managing Family Members with Dementia Over the Holiday Season provides additional tips to help you and your family.

The holidays give older adults something to look forward to, provides a stimulating change of scenery, and create pleasant memories to carry with them. So, even though it may take a little extra planning and work, involving your older family members in holiday celebrations can improve the meaning of the holiday season.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Clark County, tutt.19@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Pickaway County

Sources:

Reducing Loneliness: How to Help Seniors During the Holidays, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20047715

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two people side by side reading books

This year, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join over 100 of my colleagues in reading and discussing the book Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Together, we chose to focus on racial literacy through a yearlong book club and respectful dialogue series.

According to the Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, respectful dialogue is “engagement in honest, thoughtful and reflexive conversation with the goal of understanding one another.” When engaging in respectful dialogue, you do not have to agree with or adopt the perspectives of all others. Instead, you listen to other perspectives with curiosity and the goal of learning.

When engaging in a respectful dialogue, it is helpful for all participants to establish and agree to common expectations for the conversation. Some of the expectations our book club group adopted include:

  • Speak from your own experience only. No one is a spokesperson for an entire group.
  • Assume positive intention, but own your impact.
  • If you are upset or offended, say so, and say why.
  • No shame or blame – be gracious and remember we are all learning.
  • Listen to understand, not to respond.
  • Challenge by choice. No one should ever feel pressured to interact or engage.
  • Try leaning into the discomfort that these conversations can sometimes evoke.
  • Be empathetic and compassionate – toward others AND yourself.
  • Be respectful, even if you disagree with something.
  • Remember it’s okay to disagree, but don’t make it personal. Stick to the issue. No name-calling or put-downs.

If you’re interested in participating in a respectful dialogue on a tough topic but don’t know where to start, reach out to your local library to see if they have any upcoming events you could join. For example, the Columbus Metropolitan Library joined eight other libraries in central Ohio for an 11-week One Book, One Community event in November 2020 – January 2021. In 2021, they hosted monthly virtual panel discussions on race and social justice, each one centering on a different book, movie, article, or music selection. Many of these selections and other titles that your local library may be able to recommend come with discussion guides you can use to host a respectful dialogue of your own with friends, family members, or co-workers.

On the topic of racial literacy, the American Library Association has a list of recommended anti-racism titles for all ages, and both Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Common Sense Media offer advice for parents on talking about racism with children. As the parent to a toddler, one thing I learned from my experience reading this particular book and participating in this book club is the importance of starting conversations about tough topics early in life.

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County.

Reviewed by: Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County.

Sources:

American Library Association (2020). Reading for change: Booklist recommended antiracism titles for all ages. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/reading-change-booklist-recommends-antiracism-titles-ages

Common Sense Media (2020). How to talk with kids about racism and racial violence. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-talk-with-kids-about-racism-and-racial-violence

Nationwide Children’s (2020). How to talk to your kids about racism. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2020/06/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-racism

The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion. (n.d.) Respectful Dialogue Toolkit. https://odi.osu.edu/respectful-dialogue-toolkit

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Every time I go to the store lately I see things declaring, “Happy Fall Y’all!” or some variation. While many people love all things fall, I am not a fan. Yes, you read that correctly, I am not a fan of fall. First, the changing colors on the trees means the leaves are dying in preparation for the long, cold, dark months ahead. The marked shortening of the days means that soon it will be dark when I leave for work and dark again shortly after I get home. “Sweatshirt weather” means it’s too cold to swim or stand up paddle board, two things I enjoy. While we still have time to take our boat out, we will have to bundle up while doing so. Then there’s the dreary, rainy, blah days that are characteristic of fall in Ohio. So, while many of you are basking in the season, some of us are struggling.

Woman with hat pulled down over her face. Face has a grimace.

For many years I did not realize why I lack the excitement and anticipation of fall like so many people I know. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I have the winter blues, a milder form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that begins and ends about the same time each year. As the name implies and as many people understand it, winter blues and SAD often occur in winter, not late summer/early fall like my symptoms. After teaching about mental health, I finally realized that my disdain for fall actually has a cause. While winter blues and SAD typically DO occur later, they can actually occur ANY time of the year, and in fact, some people experience symptoms of SAD during the summer, sometimes referred to summer blues or summer depression. Since I do not have a background in mental health, I was surprised to learn this. Besides, how could ANYONE not LOVE summer and ALL that it offers? All joking aside, regardless of when someone experiences symptoms, there are things you can do to help.

As I looked back over my blog articles from the past, it appears I am inspired to write about this topic each year around this time. I think revisiting information about winter blues and SAD helps me to be more proactive in doing things to reduce my symptoms. The American Psychological Association provides these tips:

Person walking on a path through the woods with an umbrella.
  1. Experience as much daylight as possible.
  2. Eat healthily.
  3. Spend time with your friends and family.
  4. Stay active.
  5. Seek professional help.

I find exercising regularly, ideally outside, in addition to eating healthy, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, and spending time with my family to be helpful in warding off symptoms. It usually takes me a bit to get into a groove, especially as the days get shorter and shorter. Once I am able to get into a routine, I find I can actually enjoy some of the characteristic fall activities, though summer will forever be my favorite season.

Some of the risk factors for SAD include:

  1. Being female. Women are four times as likely to develop SAD than men.
  2. Living far from the equator. One percent of Florida residents compared to nine percent of Alaska residents suffer from SAD.
  3. Family history. A family history of any type of depression increases the risk of developing SAD.
  4. Having depression or bipolar disorder. Depression symptoms may worsen with the seasons if you have another condition.
  5. Younger Age. Younger adults have a higher risk than older adults. SAD can occur in children and teens as well.

So, as I remember all the fun summer activities that are no more, I will focus on things I can do to help me make the most of the changing seasons. Just don’t expect to see any fall decorations at my house until mid-October!

As always, if you or someone you love is struggling, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional or a primary care physician.

Written by Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County, scammahorn.5@osu.edu

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Seasonal affective disorder. American Psychological Association. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/topics/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder.

Harmon, M. D. (2019, October 21). Fall: A sad time of year. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/10/21/fall-a-sad-time-of-year/.

Harmon, M. D. (2020, December 11). What’s so great about fall ya’ll? Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/10/08/whats-so-great-about-fall-yall/.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2017, October 25). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) | Michigan Medicine. (2020, September 23). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw169553.

Site-Name. (n.d.). Chestnut Health Systems. Get Help Now. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.chestnut.org/how-we-can-help/mental-health/learn-the-facts-mental-health/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/.

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Autumn is quickly approaching, but for older adults and their caregivers the word fall is more than just a season. For many older adults, the word fall can bring up fearful thoughts of injury, loss of independence, and even death. Unfortunately, the statistics support this fear. Falls are the leading cause of injuries for older Americans. Did you know that 1 in 4 older adults fall each year? It is a staggering statistic that leads to an older adult being treated in the emergency room every 11 seconds for a fall related injury. Falls among older adults are very costly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, about $50 billion is spent on medical costs related to non-fatal fall injuries and $754 million is spent related to fatal falls.

However, there is an additional cost to consider. That is the impact that falls have on caregivers. Caregiving can be a tough job that can take a toll on the caregiver’s health, especially as their loved one’s health declines. A single fall can impact the care recipient’s health adversely. Caregivers have reported a significant increase in caregiver burden after a loved one’s first fall, and increased anxiety over concerns for their loved one’s safety and well-being.

Falls prevention is a group effort. The National Council of Aging has a Falls Prevention Conversation Guide For Caregivers that provides caregivers with tools to help them take preventative steps to reduce the risk of their loved one falling. Below are three steps designed to help prevent a loved one’s serious injury, help them stay healthy, and maintain an independent lifestyle. The information gathered in these steps can help start a conversation with the person you are caring for to determine if they are at risk for a fall, and develop an action plan.

  1. Complete the Falls Free Check Up Assessment to determine if the person you are caring for is at risk for a fall.
  2. Talk about falls prevention with others. Use the observations from Step 1 to start a conversation with family, friends, physicians, and the person that you are providing care. The guide includes conversation notes on how to begin.
  3. Develop a falls prevention action plan. Now is the time to put the information gathered from the first 2 steps into action by immediately creating a falls prevention action plan. The guide shares 7 action steps to help create the action plan.

Many people think that falls are just an inevitable part of aging. However, most falls are preventable. September 20th-24th, 2021 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. This campaign brings awareness to the prevalence and prevention of falls. To find more information about the topic and Falls Prevention Awareness Week, visit the National Council on Aging or the Ohio Department of Aging.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, OSU Extension Educator, Clark County, tutt.19@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly MEd., OSU Extension, Family Consumer Science Educator, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

References:

Cost of Older Adult Falls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Retrieved September 13, 2021 from: https://www.cdc.gov/falls/data/fall-cost.html

Dow, B., Meyer, C., Moore, K.J., & Hill, K.D. (2013). The impact of care recipient falls on caregivers. Australian Health Review, 37(2), 152-157

Falls Prevention Conversation Guide For Caregivers, The National Council on Aging, Retrieved September 13, 2021 from: https://assets-us-01.kc-usercontent.com/ffacfe7d-10b6-0083-2632-604077fd4eca/fd1890e1-4a6b-4ede-9acb-4775de02f27f/2021-Falls-Prevention-Awareness-Week_Conversation-Guide-for-Caregivers_English_6-29.pdf

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Since my last blog article From Languishing to Flourishing, I have continued to ponder on what it means to flourish. Today’s blog post was inspired by this quote by Robert Fulghum… “‘Who do you think you are?’ That’s the big one, isn’t it? A flourishing life depends on how you answer that.” 

The quest for self-knowledge has fascinated philosophers and sojourners alike for millennia. Socrates told us that “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” So basically, we need to know ourselves before we can know anything else. Self-Awareness is the ability to be aware of one’s inner life—one’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors, values, preferences, strengths, attitudes, etc., and how this inner life impacts behavior.

Person holding cell phone with reflection of own face

There is great benefit to knowing oneself. When you know yourself well, you can:

  • Live happier
  • Make better choices
  • Resist social pressure
  • Strengthen resilience
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Understand and tolerate others
  • Live with vitality and enjoyment

Author Meg Selig uses the acronym VITALS to help us understand how to achieve greater self-knowledge.

Values – Even by just thinking about your values, you’re more likely to act in accordance with them. What’s most important to you?

Interests – What are your hobbies, likes, activities? You can ask yourself these questions: What draws your attention? What piques your curiosity? What concerns you?

Temperament – This is the tendencies we were born with. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you like the big picture or the details? Do you plan ahead, or figure it out as you go?

Activities Around the Clock – What is your best time of day? Are you a morning or evening person? How do your biorhythms affect your day?

Life Mission and Goals – What have been the most meaningful events in your life… and how have those events impacted and shaped who you are?

Strengths – What are you really good at? What character strengths do you have? What do other people compliment you on? Knowing your strengths can boost your confidence. Additionally, understanding your weaknesses can give you a realistic picture of yourself and help guide you in areas to improve upon.

For more ideas and a meditation on how to advance your self-awareness, see this post by Harvard Medical School. According to this post, most people tend to overestimate their level of self-awareness. What can you learn about yourself this week? It just might surprise you!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

Sources:

Advance your self-awareness. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Jan 13, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/advance-your-self-awareness

SEL for Adults: Self-Awareness and Self-Management.” Greater Good in Education. 2019. https://ggie.berkeley.edu/my-well-being/sel-for-adults-self-awareness-and-self-management/

Selig, M. “Know Yourself? 6 Specific Ways to Know Who You Are.” Psychology Today. Mar 9, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201603/know-yourself-6-specific-ways-know-who-you-are

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White, round pills with a blue background

If you have ever had leftover medication that you no longer needed, did you store it in your medicine cabinet in case you get the same illness in the future and want to have it readily available? Maybe you kept the medication in case you need it again for pain?  If yes, that is NOT OKAY!

Everyday more than 4,300 Americans misuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time. Prescription drug misuse is a public health concern in the United States. Prescription drug abuse is using prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescriber. It includes taking a friends prescription painkiller for your nagging backache or someone’s anti-anxiety pills to help one become calm. The prescription drugs most abused include opioid pain killers, anti- anxiety medications, sedatives and stimulants. Every day, more than 128 people die from an opioid overdose, and this includes both prescription medications and heroin.

Where do most people who misuse prescription pain relievers get them? From their doctors, the internet, or from family and friends? If you said family and friends, you are correct. Since most individuals who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from family or friends, it is very important to dispose of leftover medications properly when you are done using them.

a white box with locks on them and it says medication disposal in writing on it.

How to dispose of medications

 Once finished with a prescription, you have three options for disposal:

  1. Safely dispose of medications by putting them in a drug drop box.
  2. Find a drug take back program. Many communities offer programs that allow the public to bring unused medications to a central location for proper disposal. Take advantage of the drug take back programs in your community.
  3. If you do not have a drop box or take back program near you, dispose of medication safely at home by following these steps: 
  • Remove pills from their original container and mix them with undesirable substances such as kitty litter, coffee grounds or dirt.
  • Place the mixture in something you can close, such as a re-sealable storage bag, empty can or another container to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
  • Throw the sealed mixture into the trash.
  • Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine package to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the medicine container away.

Remember to do YOUR part and do not leave unused or expired drugs around. Properly dispose of medications to help combat the prescription drug misuse epidemic.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20376813

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines

http://www.generationrx.org

Written by Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Wood County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

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a computer with a refresh sign displayed

Last month our colleague Dr. Mark Light wrote an article about digital minimalism and encouraged us to take a 30-day digital decluttering challenge. Like Mark, I made the decision to delete the Facebook app from my phone this past year, and I have to say I don’t miss it! I was finding that for me, the stress and frustration I experience when I see political banter and misinformation circulating social media outweighs the joy of sharing personal photos, experiences, and updates on a regular basis. I now check Facebook about once a week from a browser to make sure I’m not missing any major life updates from close friends and family, but it is no longer part of my daily life. In doing so, I have found a way to personally practice digital minimalism – “a philosophy of technology use” from Cal Newport “in which you focus your online time on a small number of activities that strongly support the things that you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

While this approach has worked for me, I recognize that not everyone may be ready to take such drastic actions as deleting social media apps from devices, even if they feel the urge to do some digital detoxing. In fact, some experts acknowledge that it may not be realistic to completely “break up” with social media. Chris Stedman, author of IRL: Finding realness, meaning and belonging in our digital lives, says “if we’re going to have a healthier relationship with social media, we’ve got to stop thinking of it as a mindless activity and start thinking of it as a meaningful one with the potential to reveal certain truths about ourselves.”

gardening gloves weeding a garden

Doing regular self-reflection and decluttering, much like a gardener would regularly check on and weed their garden space, can help you enjoy and find meaning in your social media use. For example, rather than endlessly scrolling through a social media feed, you might choose to stop regularly and assess what emotions are evoked by the content you’re reading. Does your social media use bring you joy and amusement, or does it leave you feeling anxious, discouraged, or frustrated? If the latter, you may do some decluttering by choosing to unfollow certain people or accounts. Taking regular breaks from social media can also be helpful. These are not permanent break-ups, but more like sabbaticals or vacations to disconnect and see life from a different perspective.

Whether you choose to become a digital minimalist or to simply do some digital decluttering, I encourage you to consider how digital detoxing could benefit you today.

Sources:

Aina, M. (2021). Glued to your phone? Here’s how to rethink your relationship with social media. NPR Life Kit. https://www.npr.org/2021/07/16/1016854764/social-media-balance-relationship-boundaries

Newport, C. (2019). Digital minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world. https://www.calnewport.com/books/digital-minimalism/

Written by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewed by Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

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a preschool child

Selecting the right childcare for your child has always been a big decision. Although the pandemic brings with it a new set of rules, many of the same questions still leave parents feeling stumped when choosing childcare. Here are some common considerations when selecting care for your child as well as information from Ohio’s two licensing entities, Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS).

Select the type of program that is right for your child.  Ohio has different types of programs such as child care centers, family child care, licensed early care and education programs, and child day camps. Each comes with specific licensing requirements.

Do your research. You can learn a lot about a program before ever stepping inside. Get references from friends and family. Search the program on social media to see if you are comfortable with their posting protocols. Do hours of operation meet your needs and are they flexible? Are tuition rates within your budget? What is their Step Up to Quality rating? What is their learning philosophy and curriculum? Review their current inspection reports to verify compliance with licensing rules. You can search your prospects at http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/.  Once you have narrowed down your choices, schedule a visit. 

During your visit, ask questions and be observant. Are there enough materials for all children? Is the outdoor play area well-maintained and safe? How do the teachers interact with children and maintain ratios? Is family engagement a priority?  What is the pick up and drop off routine?  How are special occasions like birthdays or holidays recognized?  Although many questions should be addressed in the parent handbook, you should also take the opportunity to ask about staff turnover, security, and visitation policies.  If your child has any medical issues, ask how they are equipped to handle medical emergencies.  What are meal times like? What is their philosophy on discipline? Meet as many of the staff as possible, not just your child’s teacher. If you see children sitting in front of a television, keep looking. There isn’t anything a cartoon can teach your child that a good teacher can’t!

Go with your gut. If you get the feeling staff or children are not happy, the environment is not clean or safe, or there is no interaction between children and adults, leave. This is their first opportunity to impress you and if they don’t now, they never will.

Establishing a relationship with the right childcare for your family may take time, but the benefits of high-quality early experiences will last a lifetime! 

Additional Resources for families:

https://boldbeginning.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/bold/

http://education.ohio.gov/

https://jfs.ohio.gov/CDC/

http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS08076/pdf/ 

If you cannot afford childcare, you may qualify for assistance through publicly funded childcare. Learn more at https://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/Page4.stm.

Written by Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Butler County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

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