Caregiver Mental Health During COVID-19

AARP recently released findings of a study that analyzed over 236,000 cases of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. The study indicates that up to one-third of survivors suffer from psychiatric or neurological illnesses within six months of infection, with 34% of those further diagnosed with mental health or neurological disorders. The most common conditions were mood and anxiety disorders, but it also identified a higher rate of insomnia, dementia, and even encephalitis.

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Surrogate Decision Making in Mental Health Cases

In many respects, those who suffer from mental health issues fall through the cracks the most – whether that be cracks in the medical system, in public benefits, or in estate planning and guardianship law. People fall through because the system is largely designed to take care of those with physical needs or severe cognitive disorders, not those who look and feel just fine on the outside. Mental health issues are difficult because it isn’t clear when an individual is deemed incapacitated, and without that clarity, they have the right to be free from Probate Court jurisdiction from a Guardianship and can easily revoke or amend a power of attorney to remove someone that is irritating them in that moment. Unfortunately, it’s in those moments that they need surrogate decision makers the most.

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National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

kidsNational Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is May 6 through May 12.  You can find year-round educational seminars near you by visiting the Child Mind Institute website. A child’s mental health may be affected by stress.  Some stress can be beneficial, but if you are concerned that your child is too stressed, you may encourage him or her to take the stress-o-meter quiz offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

– Posted by Amanda Buzo

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Making the Most of Your Doctor’s Visit

Many of us have experienced visiting our doctor and, when relaying the situation to our loved ones afterwards, realizing that we may have forgotten to ask important questions or that we are unable to summarize what the doctor told us.  For those who visit the doctor frequently or who are unfamiliar with medical jargon, going to the doctor can be a stressful and time consuming endeavor.  Therefore, we have a few suggestions to help you make the most out of each appointment.

Keep a medical binder.  The binder can be as fancy as something from an office supplies store with tabs or as simple as a folder.  The important thing is that you can use it to easily find the information you need.

Use the medical binder for each appointment or communication.  The binder can be used to keep your notes, list of prescriptions, health insurance information, test results, business cards, list of hospitalizations, contact information for medical providers and pharmacies, etc.  The binder may also be a good place to keep an extra set of your executed health care power of attorney and living will.

Prior to your appointment, write down why you are visiting the doctor and the questions you have.  It may also be helpful to document your symptoms, and include when they started, the frequency, if something causes the symptoms to worsen, and how it impacts your life.

Know, and communicate, your family medical history.  If you are computer savvy, it is helpful to

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Children’s Tylenol Recall

pillsAccording to a news alert from the New York Times, the McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit of Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily begun a recall of certain children’s over-the-counter liquid medicines because of manufacturing deficiencies.  The deficiencies may affect the potency, purity or quality of the products, the agency said in a statement.  Consumers should stop using certain lots of infants’ and children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl products because some of them may contain too much of the active ingredient.  Please visit the Tylenol website for more information about the recall.

– Posted by Jill Fowler

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Hickman & Lowder is Going Green

Hickman & Lowder recently became a Certified Green Law Firm through the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.  To become certified, participating law firms must commit to taking concrete steps toward reducing their energy consumption and paper usage.  Some components of our certification plan include using compact fluorescent bulbs, printing on both sides of the paper when feasible, recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, and cans, and turning off lights and powering down equipment when not in use.  The goal is to reduce overall consumption by 10%.

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The Benefits of Volunteering

This past Saturday was International Volunteer Day, a day sponsored by United Nations to recognize the efforts of individuals who donate their time towards the greater good.  How did you celebrate?  I spent the afternoon roller skating with Katie and Alexis, the two girls I mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters.  There were a few spills; but, as always, we had a lot of fun.

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Expressive Therapy

Recently, Attorney Judy Saltzman and I were admiring some of the creative artwork she has received over the years from her special education clients.  Pictured to the left is one such piece from a four-year-old boy with Autism.  This made me think of the importance of the arts in all of our lives, but especially for people with disabilities.

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