WHO framework to understand SDOH

I’ve been researching (again) about social determinants of health, which are now easily referred to as SDOH (first part of the package). I watched a video about the Wonder Women of Indonesia who are empowering families with skills to use clean energy technology — they packaged it. I started thinking about how we as Americans have it so easy with our clean, drinkable water. Then I thought about how people were not always so good about drinking water. What changed? They packaged it. Now, during the pandemic bottled water is flying off the shelves.

Why is Amazon so successful? They…


My exercise physiology professor, Dr. Steven Aldana, told us the most important food to eat every day was oatmeal. I’ve never forgotten that. I’ve tested it and seen it for myself and with others, and I believe him.

In the morning, you are breaking your fast, and your body needs carbs. But not the typical unhealthy breakfast foods full of simple carbs and sugar, like pancakes, syrup, bacon, hash browns, and orange juice. After sleeping, our body, particularly our muscles, need a small amount of complex carbohydrates, which are derived from whole grains containing fiber.

Simply by adding one-third cup…


Whether or not one or both of you were wearing masks, physical contact or being in close proximity for 10 minutes or longer with a Covid-19 positive person, you are at risk of being infected.

I was a skeptic about contact tracing, mainly because I did not want my freedoms and privacy infringed upon. But now I think it is a good idea if we are going to be successful in stopping the spread of Covid-19; and it is a better option than keeping everything shut down.

Somewhat disagreeing with using phone apps for contact tracing, I understand the efficiency of technology. But to be transparent, I simply do not trust what the powers-that-be do with the information provided by that technology. …


Reeling of feelings about healing and stealing time to make meals. Statistics seem unreal as the news reveals daily, something new for us to deal with.

Spiels and rants and opinions, shrills and shrieks inside, physically and in my head. Dread what’s next.

Try to flex with motivation. Stumped, with lack of relations with others, which is missed. Kissed handshakes goodbye, wide circles around people, distrust behind masks of those near and far. Being told it helps. Questioning, while not wanting to risk that I might overcome but loved ones might not.

Caught in the middle of an inevitable riddle…


When your loved one has passed away, your self-care is more important than ever. Although caregiver support services do not yet have a transitional program that helps people who are no longer caregivers since the funding for that client suddenly stops once the care receiver has died, grievance support is available through other organizations. Before the family caregiver case is closed, the case manager will attempt contact to provide resources for grief support. Since the former family caregiver is grieving and dealing with the logistics of a death in the family, many times contact is not made. It is a…


To reiterate the purpose of ongoing family caregiver support services, the goal is to monitor and encourage your self-care so that you can continue providing the best care for your loved one at home. Family Caregiver Support Programs (FCSP) provide one-on-one consultation from a case manager, who is typically a gerontologist or social worker. The organizations that have FCSP will facilitate caregiver support groups and provide education and training for caregivers, the community, and professionals. And as funding permits, FCSP provides respite and supplemental services. If family caregivers call these centers for information and referral and do not want ongoing…


Decreasing risks for falls or “fall prevention” is often targeted in older adults, but this can also help you as the family caregiver. You can focus S.M.A.R.T. goals on protective approaches to be a healthier caregiver, particularly in your environment. When you modify the home for the one you are caring for, intending to prevent falls, you are also decreasing the risks of injuring yourself. …


Nagi Model of Disablement (Saad Nagi, 1965).

What does it mean to be healthy? When health companies focus on “wellness” what are they referring to? It can be any number of aspects of wellness relating to health care and seeing your doctor; physical activity and exercise; good nutrition or weight loss; mind-body, meditation, and spiritual or energy connection; formal or informal education; social connection; emotional health through therapy or counseling; and being a productive employee in the workplace. Each of these fit into the categories or dimensions of wellness: physical, spiritual, intellectual, sociological, emotional, and vocational. …


Self-care to enhance vocational wellness might be satisfaction in your current job or career or finding a new job, even if it is part-time. If you are retired and no longer identify in that work role you had previously, you might have to figure out ways to be happy in your new role as a family caregiver. If you want an additional vocation, or something separate from being a family caregiver, you could volunteer somewhere or find a way to use your education, skills, and talents.

If you enjoy your job and want to keep it, caregiver responsibilities might be…


When we target intellectual wellness, we are talking about brain health. Everything healthy we can do for our brains is closely related to all that we do for our bodies to be healthy. So, indirectly, good nutrition, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol, emotional, spiritual, and sociological wellness are all good for the brain and a healthy mind-body connection. But you can also specifically focus on your cognitive health, especially if you have brain diseases that run in your family, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Research studies have shown that formal education such as completing college has lifetime positive cognitive effects…

Amy Blackburn, MSG, MPH

USC Master of Public Health, gerontologist, kinesiologist, writer focusing on the dimensions of wellness, targeting self-care for family caregivers.

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