Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Message from the United Stroke Alliance CEO


A message from Larry, the CEO of United Stroke Alliance, a national organization and parent organization of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp (RRSC), Stroke-Out-Stroke(SOS), and Youth Education on Stroke (YES).  
In the last newsletter, I described the story of one person creating a wave of positive change for thousands of people when Marylee created and implemented the concept of a weekend retreat for stroke survivors, caregivers and their families. After her husband, John, had his stroke in 2001, Marylee searched for resources that could help her navigate the potentially long road to stroke recovery for her and John. After exploring and talking with many people, she thought a weekend retreat would be a great opportunity to meet and support other stroke survivors and caregivers. The first stroke camp was held in 2004. At the end of 2019, 265 stroke camps were coordinated in 25 states. In addition to the stroke camps, stroke awareness programs evolved such as Strike Out Stroke (tm), Youth Education on Stroke (tm), Stronger Than a Stroke (tm), and a video series called, You’ve Had a Stroke, Now What (tm)?

In 2004, she had no idea her initial idea and effort would connect thousands of stroke survivors and their families as well as educate millions of people on the signs of stroke. Most of us would agree that one person creating a national impact is quite unusual and unique….…….or is it?

Sometimes we have specific intent as we connect with people. In these connection we want to express our feelings, good or bad, and other times we have a desire to share ideas or beliefs. However, in some situations we have no idea of the impact. For example, imagine the difference it could make when giving a homeless person a ten-dollar bill, or sharing a kind word with a colleague or just making pleasant conversation with a stranger. Most of the time we do not give these gestures a second thought. Consider the outcome when the homeless person shares a portion of the ten-dollar bill with someone or shares a kind word with another. Suddenly, a single positive gesture becomes two and those two become four. All of us have the capacity to change the world with kindness, respect, and generosity. Now, more than ever we need each person doing their best, in their own way, to change the world.

Some would say, the mountain is too high to climb, but remember the story of small town woman changing the world with one idea. Imagine the world if everyone had their own story.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Living Options for Seniors


The following information is provided by Harry Cline creator of  The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource offers advice, tips, and solutions from around the web.

Harry Cline is also an author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
Living Options for Seniors

How to Make the Right Decision for You

Living options are more plentiful for seniors than ever before; many older adults find that they’re able to stay in their own home and age in place rather than moving to an assisted living facility, while others want to age in community with like-minded adults. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot to think about if you’ve been recovering from a stroke, including how to budget for living costs, whether to sell your current home or rent it out, and how to make your place more accessible and

Now is the Time to Start Planning

You need plenty of time to weigh your options, prepare for a possible move, and figure out what your next step should be. With such big decisions knocking at your door, it’s important to have a support system in place, so talk to your loved ones to get their opinions and help. This is a great way to reduce stress and make the process go a bit smoother. 

Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market fluctuates quite often, so it’s imperative to get familiar with where it is currently in your area if you’re ready to buy and/or sell. Take a look online to find out the the details about the market details about the market, such as what the average down payment is, update trends, how much homes are going for in your desired neighborhood, and what you might expect to get from your current home. This will not only help you budget if you’re going to downsize, but it will also help you figure out what buyers are looking for so you can make a quick sale.

Consider Accessibility

No matter where you choose to live as an older adult, it’s imperative to consider your home’s accessibility and make sure it’s safe and secure. Think about where your health will be a few years down the road; if you have another stroke, are injured or become sick and mobility is a factor, will you be able to navigate your home safely? Stairs, outdoor steps, and certain types of flooring can quickly become fall hazards for seniors. If you know you want to downsize, you might look for a home that already has accessibility features in place, such as wider doorways and open space to allow for equipment like a wheelchair. If you’re aging in place, you’ll want to 
make at least a few simple modifications to ensure your continued good health. Keep in mind that the average national cost for these modifications is approximately $9,000, though that number can go up or down depending on how much work your home requires.

Consider Assisted Living

These days, there are many different types of assisted living options for older adults. Whether you need home health care, a facility that will help you with daily tasks, or a community where you can remain independent but living among other seniors, there are plenty of choices depending on your needs. Think about your budget, and take a look at your healthcare plan to see if it will help cover the cost of any of these options.

Think About Renting Out Your Home

For many seniors, the cost of downsizing is the thing that makes them wary. However, it’s best not to wait to make a move, as you never know what state your health will be in — in fact, waiting might make things more difficult on you. If cost is a major factor, think about renting out your current home so you’ll have a source of income. Ask a friend or family member to help you set it up; it may take a bit of work to make repairs or updates that will attract renters. 

Making the Right Choice for your Needs

Making the right choice for your needs when it comes to senior living can be a challenge, so think about which option will benefit you the most. Talk to your loved ones during the process so you can get their feedback and support, and give yourself plenty of time to make decisions.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A word of wisdom!




A word of wisdom!

Keep Practicing Your Writing!
by Gopi A. Tejwani, Ph.D.

I suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke, at the age of 62, more than twelve- years back. An AVM in my brain stem ruptured. I was in a coma for two weeks, seven weeks in the hospital, three months in a wheelchair, six months on sick leave, and three years in professional therapy. With the grace of God, family, and friends' support, rehabilitation, and hard work for years, I survived. I am 75 now, still, teach part-time at a major university in Ohio.

While in the rehabilitation hospital, I realized that the stroke has put my body in deep trouble. My all right side of the body, from foot to hand has become very weak. I am right-handed, and all fingers in my right hand are curled up! I could control the thumb in my right hand but none of my other fingers will listen to my command. I could not touch my thumb with any finger. I could not hold a pen in my hand. How can I write? What kind of a teacher I will be who cannot write on a blackboard? These thoughts crossed my mind. I thought my life was over if I cannot write, walk, drive, use a computer or not take care of my daily essential functions. I had so many of these problems, and I will tackle them in other essays. This essay mainly focuses on the writing aspect.

Instead of griping about these problems, I decided to tackle these problems simultaneously. I thought if I cannot write with my right hand, let me practice writing with my left hand. My idea was to write 1,2,3…..,98,99,100 and a,b,c……x,y,z., daily three times on plain paper. I kept writing for over a year with my left hand. I became comfortable writing short sentences with my left hand. I was ecstatic! I could write checks and pay my bills! At the same time, I also started writing with my weak right hand, occasionally. In about two years, my index finger in my right hand started gaining strength. I started practicing writing with my two fingers, my thumb and the index finger, of my right hand. Soon, I noticed that writing with my right hand was neater and more comfortable than my left hand. Nowadays I write with two fingers of my right hand.

Meanwhile, after 7-8 years after my stroke, even the middle finger of my right hand has gained strength to a point that I can control its movement at will. The movement of two little fingers also I can control, but they move always jointly. I cannot control separately the movement of my 4th or 5th, little finger.

Writing with two fingers, thumb, and index finger requires grabbing the pen carefully and writing is not as firm-handed as with three fingers. Now that my middle finger also has gained strength, I am practicing writing with three fingers of my right hand. I aim to be able to write long letters. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Remembering who You’ve Been Is Key to Knowing Who You Are



+++++++Street & Steeple for February 26, 2021 By Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church

“Remembering who You’ve Been Is Key to Knowing Who You Are”


How very appropriate is the naming of Macomb’s first black Chief of Police coming in the month of February although he won’t assume the position until later this year when the current chief retires. I congratulate Jerel Jones on his very significant honor and achievement. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him, though I can’t say for sure because I don’t recall all the fine officers who have pulled me over to compliment me on my wonderful driving or some other reason of which I was not guilty!

February is, in fact, Black History Month. Before its end, this European American would like to congratulate all African Americans for their rich heritage of achievements! My personal hero is George Washington Carver. That is because of my love for all things peanut, including peanuts themselves, extra crunchy peanut butter, chocolate covered peanuts & peanut clusters, dry roasted peanuts, peanuts in the shell at Cubs games, princess chicken, and Payday candy bars!

If you aren’t aware, Carver, a black man, was one of this country’s foremost nineteenth century scientists, seeking to discover new crops, for the South, to replace cotton, which would not deplete the soil nearly as much, one of them being peanuts, for which he is best- known. He discovered 300 different uses for them. Interestingly enough, peanut butter was not one of them! Carver is just one of a multitude of African Americans who’ve contributed to this nation’s greatness, a great many of them being legislators, judges, and educators, as well as, more than one of them a pastor, perhaps the best known of all the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!

We in Macomb claim yet another, also deceased, C. T. Vivian. Today, surely Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman are among the few very best actors, as was Cicely Tyson before her untimely death. Our vice president was a very effective senator before embarking upon her current gig.

We who are Asian, European, and Latino Americans, as well as any Antarctican and Australian Americans, ought to be celebrating black history alongside our brothers and sisters of color. No doubt, no race of people have come from a more disadvantaged history to make a name for themselves! Their ancestors were brought here against their will to be enslaved and treated as property. Even after their emancipation the road to full prosperous citizenship was not an easy one, nor is it for them today.

Just why is it necessary to take a month devoted to someone’s history? It is impossible to fully appreciate who you are unless you know and remember who you once were! In fact, the entire Bible book of Deuteronomy is the history of the Israelites following their exodus from Egypt.

Moses knew that for his people to be thankful and obedient to God as fully as they should be in the present they needed to be reminded of how many times God had miraculously protected and blessed them in the past!

It is, also valuable for an individual to know and remember who she or he was to fully understand who he or she is or should be! I don’t know you, but I’d venture a guess that you are either trying to live up to someone or not repeat someone’s mistakes, probably a parent. That can be either good or bad. It is important, though, to know precisely who that person was or your efforts will be in vain!

As an example of what I’m talking about, please consider the following example. My wife, Nancy, was the Macomb Jr. Sr. High School, head librarian. Once, a seventh grade student she had not yet met came to her to check out a book. She recognized his last name to be that of a past student who delighted in trying the patience of the teaching staff. She asked this new student if he was any relation to the previous one. His answer was, “Yes, he’s my father, but I’m nothing like him!” and he wasn’t. Now that was a young man who knew, precisely, who both his father was and who he, himself, was, also!

Each of us would benefit from being so fortunate, at least as far as knowing oneself is concerned. As for me, I’m much like the Israelites. My massive, life changing stroke was, now, a little over nine years ago. Before it I was pastor of University Baptist Church which I considered my dream job because it was where both God and I wanted me. Finally, after only a partial recovery, I announced my retirement knowing I could no longer shepherd the church to either God’s nor my expectations! Since it’s now going on ten years since my stroke, I, quite often, get discouraged and despair that I’ll never fully recover short of heaven.

Nancy has kept a daily journal beginning on the day of my stroke. It helps me, whenever I am so discouraged, when we read through it, to remember how God has graciously reduced my six significant physical abnormalities immediately following my stroke to just the two which persist, a constant pain in my head and paralysis on my entire left side. Even there, God is continuing to bless, having lessened my head pain level from an average of an eight to, in this very last year, a three!

I should know that a God like that can certainly still make me whole again here on earth, but if He chooses to wait until I meet His Son in the clouds, I still know He knows and wants what is best for me, as He always has!

I feared my ministry had ended with the stroke, but God, through MACMA ( Macomb Area Christian Ministers Association ) urging me to still be a part of them, allows me to periodically write these articles which the ”McDonough Voice” graciously publishes every Friday. Because Nancy sends, via email, copies of my articles to family & friends who’ve requested a copy, I now have a ministry in no less than five states in this country and in two countries in Europe! God, in His providence, has expanded my ministry from a small church in just one location, just giving me a different ministry!

I assure you He can and wants to do something similar for you, giving you the desires of your heart. If you’re discouraged and down because of some expectation you have realized may not come to fruition, as I get sometimes, put your hope and trust in the One who is all powerful and all loving!

Each of us, as we consider who we are, must remember that he or she is a product of his or her parents. God doubly blessed me when I was born to evangelical Christian parents who were, also, fanatical Cubs followers! Of course, being born to Christian parents didn’t make me a Christian, but, at an early age, my mother led me to put my faith in Jesus as my Savior and my life under His control as my Lord.

All of us must remember that all of life is connected. Our past is responsible for our present which will decide our future! Of course we can’t change the past which makes what we do in the present very important! God cares about that, also.

Ephesians 5:15 – 16 reads, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Each of us, when faced with a decision and before every action, should take time to ask him or herself, “In light of my past experiences, current situation, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?” The question is not the “right” thing to do, but “wise!” Something can be right and still not be wise.

Paul, speaking of our freedom in Christ, wrote, All things are legal, but not all things are profitable. As for us who are Jesus followers, Paul wrote that before being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we were self seeking sinners intent on fulfilling our fleshly desires, but now, as Christians, ought not to be that way any longer, rather, exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit! I have to admit that I am, too often, still intent upon fulfilling my ever expanding flesh(ly) desire for food! I ought not be that way, knowing from whence I’ve come.

The thing about the past is that we must leave it behind. Some of us are only too happy to do that while others of us wished we still lived there, but none of us can! I hope I’ve convinced you that the present is all you have, at this time, and how important it is that you use your time wisely because what you do now will direct who you are in the future. It is so very true that knowing who you were is the key to knowing who you are!

- Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church