FOR YOUR HEALTH – Uniformed Services Members: Protect Your Family With The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

(NAPSI)—The prospect of needing long term care may be far from your mind today, but be aware, circumstances can change. A long term care event can happen at any age, and the potential financial and emotional strain that comes with it can affect you and your loved ones.

Millions of Americans require long term care during their lifetimes*. This includes needing either cognitive or physical assistance with simple tasks such as bathing, eating and dressing—trivial things most people do every day without a second thought. Unfortunately, traditional health insurance plans—including TRICARE For Life—do not pay for the chronic, ongoing assistance with daily living that is most often associated with long term care.

In fact, the long term care benefits offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tied to specific triggers, including service-connected disability, available funding and even your ability to contribute to the cost of care. Long term care can be expensive and service members often rely on the VA to cover the associated costs. Depending on your eligibility status in the VA program, the level of coverage available to you may not be enough. For this reason, you may want to research stand-alone long term care insurance such as a plan offered through the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP).

Since its launch in 2002, the FLTCIP has offered active and retired members of the uniformed services the opportunity to help take control of their future long term care needs. Designed to provide solutions for a range of financial situations, this employer-sponsored program provides comprehensive coverage for more than 270,000 enrollees.

Many members of the federal family are eligible to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP, including active and retired members of the uniformed services. Certain qualified relatives are also eligible to apply even if you do not. Qualified relatives include your spouse, domestic partner, parents and parents-in-law, and adult children.

Coverage under the FLTCIP

The FLTCIP can lessen or even eliminate an individual’s reliance on a loved one to provide hands-on care. Consider these important benefits:

  • The FLTCIP offers coverage in a variety of settings—at home or in a facility, such as an assisted living facility, an adult daycare, or a nursing center—and your choice of caregiver.
  • If home care is your preference, the stay-at-home benefit includes a range of services that support care in your home, helping you maintain your quality of life in familiar surroundings.
  • Informal care provided by friends and family members, as long as they do not live in your home at the time you become eligible for benefits. Benefits for care provided by family members are limited to 500 days.
  • The program’s care coordination services offer enrollees and their qualified relatives information about long term care resources, such as local care providers and relevant community programs, as well as valuable support to your family and friends.

Talk candidly with your family members and tell them about the FLTCIP. Starting the conversation prior to needing care can help you prepare for the unexpected. Visit to learn more about the benefits of applying for the FLTCIP.

For personalized assistance, call (800) LTC-FEDS (800) 582-3337/TTY (800) 843-3557 to speak with a program consultant. He or she will answer any questions you may have and can walk you step by step through the plan design and application process.

You should also know that certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage. You need to apply to find out if you qualify for coverage.

More about the FLTCIP

Established by an act of Congress in 2000 and overseen by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the FLTCIP is designed to meet the specific needs of the federal family. The long term care insurance under the FLTCIP provides industry-leading benefits and offers flexible options that allow enrollees to tailor coverage to meet their needs.

The FLTCIP is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, insured by John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, and administered by Long Term Care Partners, LLC.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: The American Dream All Over The World

(NAPSI)—Most people know someone who has dreamed of leaving the rigidity of a 9 to 5 job to pursue the flexibility of entrepreneurship. The majority don’t pursue that avenue, and the reasons vary, including financial obligations, time constraints, or fear of the unknown.

In fact, two in five Americans dream about the day they can tell their boss they quit, but it’s not necessarily because they hate their job—instead, it’s because 67 percent have dreams of being an entrepreneur, according to new research commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition.

And people really do feel their ideas can change the world—results show that, of those who aspire to open a business, 68 percent believe their idea would be revolutionary for the industry.

People often associate entrepreneurship with “The American Dream,” but according to the research that surveyed 23,500 respondents—spanning 24 countries and including 2,000 Americans—looking at the entrepreneurship dreams of people around the globe, as well as their motivations and the challenges, the entrepreneurial dream is shared globally.

“Starting a business from the ground up can be daunting but the opportunity to pursue your own passion can be a liberating and exciting experience,” said John DeSimone, co-president and Chief Strategic Officer, Herbalife Nutrition.

The International Survey

Across the globe, 64 percent of respondents cited their top reason to start a business was to follow a passion. For Americans, this was followed by becoming their own boss (59 percent), supporting their family (51 percent) and wanting to solve a problem/improve the world (36 percent).

The survey found that 52 percent of aspiring American entrepreneurs have already taken steps to open their business. But that doesn’t mean there’s an easy road in front of them: With all the barriers business owners face, 81 percent of Americans interested in starting a business feel overwhelmed by the prospect.

And 76 percent feel they may never have the opportunity to follow their dream, compared to 69 percent globally. Interestingly enough, 67 percent of Americans believe women face different challenges than men when it comes to opening a business, including “defying social expectations, dealing with limited access to funding and struggling to be taken seriously.”

The biggest barrier to entrepreneurship across the globe was found to be the initial cost of opening a business (65 percent). To finance the initial costs, Americans say they would use their own money (67 percent), followed by investors (36 percent) and money from family (34 percent).

Where Is the Opportunity?

As the gig economy explodes, more and more people are picking up a side gig to supplement their income, and that often involves selling products. As it stands, the side gig looks to be set to spread widely among all generations, perhaps becoming key income support for everyone from twenty-somethings to those who have supposedly long retired.

In fact, about a quarter of all Americans—that’s 81 million people—participate in the sharing economy, according to the Pew Research Center. Of that, a record 18.6 million Americans now make a living or supplement their income with direct sales, according to the latest data available from the Direct Selling Association.

As a result of the flexibility afforded by the gig economy, direct selling is proving to be an increasingly appealing option for people in search of the entrepreneurial opportunity of making part-time or full-time income. Direct selling is an industry that has always championed the power of free enterprise and a flexible, entrepreneurial approach to work. Now, more than ever, American innovation and dynamic change have pushed this important model to the forefront of the collective economic future.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Safeguard Your Smile, Wherever You Go

(NAPSI)—Smile. It’s vacation time—and there are so many paths to fun and adventure close to home.

Try winding your way through the Wisconsin Dells water parks or sailing Lake Superior.

If you’re thirsting for Wisconsin history—and great local brews—there’s Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. Relax in gracious Lake Geneva. Or gear up for great hiking and biking in scenic Door County.

So pack your bags, and don’t forget your toothbrush—healthy teeth and gums don’t take a vacation.

To help, here are some toothsome tips to protect your oral health en route.

Before you go

Now is a good time to think of your last regular dental checkup. If you can’t recall, you might want to check in with your dentist and look for any imminent problems. If you take care of them before you go, it’ll be easier to keep the fun flowing.

Have toothbrush, will travel

Whether you’re road-tripping or hopping on a flight, your oral hygiene routine shouldn’t take a backseat to fun. Steer clear of dental troubles with regular brushing and flossing.

Visit the travel toiletries section of a drug or discount store. You’ll find plenty of essentials to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy on the go—including travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

Especially handy for long flights or camping: disposable mini-toothbrush packs. They don’t require water or toothpaste and fit easily into tiny purses, too.

Go ahead, vent (your toothbrush)

Moist environments breed bacteria, so keep your toothbrush as dry as possible while on the go. A vented toothbrush carrier will do the trick.

When you reach your destination, take your toothbrush out of its case so it can dry thoroughly. Keep it away from the sink and at least several feet from the toilet. (Flushing makes bacteria airborne.)

Water you waiting for?

Everyone should have a personal water bottle that’s easy to hold and carry. You’ll be less tempted by sodas and sugary drinks that aren’t very sweet to your teeth, and more likely to drink water.

“Drinking water, especially fluoridated water, helps reduce cavities and protects precious tooth enamel by washing away harmful acids and bacteria,” explained Dr. Fred Eichmiller, Vice President and Chief Science Officer for Delta Dental of Wisconsin. “And if you add ice to cool down your drink, don’t chew it. Ice cubes can crack open fillings—which can crash the best vacation plans.”

Swish, rinse, repeat

If you can’t brush after indulging in sticky, sweet treats (such as s’mores), just swish. Keep water nearby while you’re traveling. Dr. Eichmiller encourages patients to make a habit of swishing after meals in any case to clear lingering food particles from your mouth.

Brace for emergencies

If you or anyone you’re traveling with has orthodontia, it’s smart to pack some dental wax. If a bracket or wire pops loose, the wax will protect your gums and mouth from injury until you can see your orthodontist.

Do you develop canker sores from spicy or salty indulgences? Then remember to pack a small tube of benzocaine (over-the-counter topical anesthetic). Applying ice or rinsing with warm salt water can also help.

Gum’s the word

Sugar-free gum can be a lifesaver after meals on the go, especially if you can’t brush away food particles. Gum chewing greatly increases the production of saliva, which can help reduce tooth decay. It can also satisfy your sweet tooth, so you can say no to snacks that are high in sugar.

The best vacation photos are the ones in which everybody’s smiling. So keep these tooth-saving tips in mind wherever you wander—and enjoy.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Make Health A Family Reunion Affair: Talk With Your Family About Kidney Health

(NAPSI)—Family reunions are a great way to reconnect with loved ones, celebrate your family’s heritage and make new memories. Family reunions are also an opportunity to talk about family health history.

You may have family members who have diabetes, high blood pressure or both. These are conditions that often run in families and are risk factors for kidney disease. Kidney disease affects African Americans more than other groups. That’s why it’s important to talk to your family about risk factors for kidney disease, how to get tested and how kidney disease can be treated.

Kidney disease is a serious and common health problem, affecting an estimated 30 million adults in the United States. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney disease can often get worse over time and may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health. The sooner you know about your family history of kidney disease, the sooner you can make changes to help protect your kidneys.

To get you started talking with your family about kidney health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a part of the National Institutes of Health, created the Family Reunion Health Guide. This guide offers basic information about kidney disease and suggests approaches you can take to connect with your family about kidney health. You can use this guide to help make kidney health a family reunion affair. Information in the guide includes materials and tips to help you:

Talk With Your Family About the Risk Factors for Kidney Disease

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease. You are also at risk if you have a family history of kidney failure or have heart disease. The Family Reunion Health Guide can help you talk with your family about kidney disease and its connection to diabetes, high blood pressure and other risk factors.

Encourage Family Members at Risk for Kidney Disease to Get Tested

Many people with kidney disease don’t know they have the disease until their kidneys begin to fail. This is because you can have kidney disease without any symptoms. The good news is that when kidney disease is found early, there are ways to protect your kidneys by managing your blood pressure, eating a healthy diet and being active. There is no cure for kidney failure, but dialysis or a kidney transplant can help you live longer and feel better. The sooner you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to prevent more serious health problems. This is why it’s important to talk with your family about the need to get tested.

Make a Family Commitment to Kidney Health

You can reduce your risk for developing kidney disease by taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle. Diagnosing and treating the disease early can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease. The Family Reunion Health Guide shares ideas for how you can encourage family members to take steps to protect their kidney health. By being your family’s kidney health champion, you can help ensure that your family enjoys many more reunions to come.

Learn More

For more information about kidney disease, kidney failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and more, or to access the Family Reunion Health Guide, visit the NIDDK website at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Five Ways To Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

Members of the Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post #5, and Forrest J. Pare VFW Post #1285, in Waterville, joined together on Sunday November 11, for a special Veterans Day ceremony at Castonguay Square, in downtown Waterville, in front of city hall. (Photo by Central Maine Photography)

(NAPSI)—It’s a tragedy: Every day, 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives—a needless loss of 8,000 service members a year.

The Problem

Returning veterans may experience divorce, joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness.

The often-devastating effects of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS), plus the loss of their military community support, can cause a downward spiral.

Symptoms of mTBI include headaches and problems with balance, sleep, vision and memory. Emotional signs include depression and anxiety. But today’s treatment approaches and therapeutic technologies offer hope for veterans feeling overwhelming physical and emotional pain from these invisible wounds of war.

What You Can Do

1. Be observant about behavior changes. For many veterans, the physical symptoms of mTBI are not obvious. Be on the lookout for loss of interest in meaningful activities, personality changes, social isolation and substance abuse.

2. Reach out and spend time together. Let a veteran know he or she is not alone. Meet for coffee or go for a walk. Listen and encourage them to seek help.

3. Tell veterans and their families about helpful programs. Encourage caregivers, spouses and friends to seek help on behalf of a veteran.

One outstanding option that’s transformed the lives of more than 550 veterans and their families is the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga. This innovative program provides up to 12 weeks of intensive rehabilitation, at no cost to the veteran, to treat mild to moderate brain injury and psychological concerns of those who served in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001. Treatment plans are personalized to each veteran’s needs. The program is open to all post-9/11 veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges.

Because of intensive and comprehensive therapy, rehabilitation and life coaching, SHARE has become a model for centers nationwide. Experts in working with veterans provide medical consultation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and cognitive therapy, recreation therapy, case management, neuropsychology, chaplaincy and counseling.

4. Volunteer or donate to organizations battling the epidemic of veteran suicide.

5. Support fundraisers and events, such as the Shepherd’s Men Run. Annually, a team of committed volunteers runs seven days of half marathons in multiple states wearing 22-pound flak jackets—to increase awareness of treatment options and suicide prevention for veterans. Shepherd’s Men have raised millions for this heartfelt mission.

Learn More

Veterans and those who want to help can call 404-603-4314 or visit and

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Suspect Stroke? Call 911

(NAPSI)—A stroke can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time, so it’s important for everyone to learn and understand the signs and symptoms of stroke. The condition, also known as a “brain attack,” is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 795,000 people each year.

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain is blocked by plaque (acute ischemic stroke) or ruptures and bleeds (hemorrhagic stroke). When it comes to treating stroke, every 10 minutes can save up to 20 million brain cells. That’s why it is crucial to recognize the signs of stroke and act with urgency. If you suspect stroke, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

Learn the signs to help make a difference

In more than 60 percent of stroke cases, someone other than the patient made the decision to seek immediate treatment. The signs of stroke can be subtle and hard to recognize, so educating yourself and others is key to noticing and responding quickly to the sudden onset of one or more of them. You might know the BE FAST signs of stroke but would you or your loved ones be able to identify all 10 signs and symptoms?

  1. Confusion
  2. Difficulty Understanding
  3. Dizziness
  4. Loss of Balance
  5. Numbness
  6. Severe Headache
  7. Trouble Speaking
  8. Trouble Walking
  9. Vision Changes
  10. Weakness

More than 6.5 million people in the United States are stroke survivors. If you experience a sudden onset of any of these symptoms or recognize the signs in someone else, don’t wait to seek help. It’s okay to overreact because when it comes to stroke, the right care—right away—has the potential to save lives.

Who’s at risk?

While certain risk factors of stroke, including age, race, gender or family history, are out of your control, there are many factors that you can manage to help reduce the chances of having a stroke.

Manageable risk factors of stroke include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AFib), high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, poor circulation, lack of physical activity, and obesity. Choosing healthy lifestyle choices, not smoking or using tobacco products, limiting alcohol consumption and exercising regularly can help greatly reduce your stroke risk.

Educating yourself on the signs, symptoms and risk factors of stroke, and empowering others to do the same, can make all the difference for someone experiencing a stroke. Trust your instincts and take action. Your quick action can help improve treatment and recovery from stroke.

To learn more about stroke and how to recognize all 10 signs and symptoms, visit

BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. © 2011 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Fighting the opioid epidemic

(NAPSI)—According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care professionals could save more than 130 lives lost to the opioid epidemic each day.

How? With a deeper understanding of pain, pain medication and addiction, especially related to opioids. Communities rural and urban are witnessing a growing and deadly phenomenon, while health care providers feel caught between prescribing guidelines and patients’ needs.

To address this issue, doctors, nurses, dentists, physician assistants, pharmacists and other clinicians can take courses from CME

Outfitters and USF Health, supported by an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson, that provide strategies for how and when to prescribe opioids, better understand the biologic underpinnings of pain and addiction, and look at targeted, effective and safe treatment alternatives.

Fighting the opioid epidemic in our communities goes beyond educating the health care professionals who prescribe opioids to educating patients as well. If you are prescribed an opioid:

  • Make sure you understand your treatment and what to expect
  • Learn how to safely dispose of unused medication
  • Understand how to help loved ones struggling with addiction
  • Know what lifesaving measures you can take in case of an overdose.

Learn more at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Support For People With Disabilities On The Journey To Work

(NAPSI)—About 40.7 million Americans have some kind of disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you or someone you care about has a disability, you may wonder what it means for employment. You may be encouraged to know that there are supports and services available that can help you or your loved ones pursue work and reach your goals through Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program.

Ticket To Work Program

The Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and want to work. This program is free and voluntary. Program participants select a service provider to help them prepare for, and find, a job. The provider may be a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency or an Employment Network (EN)—a public or private organization that has an agreement with Social Security—to offer:

  • Career planning
  • Job placement assistance
  • Ongoing employment support.

These career development services and supports are unique to each individual. Participants work with their service providers to develop a customized plan and identify the supports they need to reach their work goals.

Finding A Path To Financial Independence

The road to financial independence looks different for everyone. Whether joining the workforce for the first time or returning after a difficult diagnosis, there are challenges that each person must navigate. Working with a Benefits Counselor and Ticket to Work service provider can help you remove some of the obstacles and learn more about the resources available to you.

This could include Social Security Work Incentives, which are designed to help you transition to the workplace. A Benefits Counselor can help you learn more about Work Incentives, including which ones you qualify for, and discuss how working will affect your benefits.

If you connect with an EN, the EN can help you find answers to questions, whether they’re about reporting your wages to Social Security, requesting job accommodations, or even how you can advance your career to earn even more money.

With the knowledge, support and services of a Ticket to Work service provider, you may find yourself on the path to success and financial independence through work.

Learn More

For more information about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Benefits Of CBD Products

(NAPSI)—One of the best and most effective ways to benefit from nonpsychoactive, THC-free CBD is to use it on the largest organ of your body: your skin. CBD oil is the nonpsychotropic component of marijuana and hemp, well-known for relieving aches and pains when applied topically. Now, it’s found in skin care products such as the luxury line from Mermaid Wizdom—and with good reasons.

Here are three:

  1. Acne: CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory with the ability to help calm skin. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, research indicates CBD’s soothing properties can help diminish breakouts and reduce redness. Recent studies show that CBD may also decrease excessive oil production.
  2. Aging and Wrinkles: CBD oil’s antioxidant properties can help lessen the visible signs of aging. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A stimulates the cells responsible for producing tissue that keeps skin firm. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production. Vitamin E blocks free radicals from the body, to help slow down the aging process.
  3. Sensitive Skin: CBD oil has been found to sooth sensitive skin and studies indicate that it helps inhibit triggers of disorders such as psoriasis and eczema.

For more information, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Pressure ulcers costs healthcare billions each year

Pressure ulcers cost U.S. healthcare $10.2 billion and contribute to nearly 29,000 hospital deaths each year. But new technology can dramatically curb the pressure ulcer pandemic.

by Margaret Doucette, D.O.

(NAPSI)—American healthcare, renowned for pioneering new technology to save lives, has all but ignored one of the most costly and deadly Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs), which the federal government defines as preventable patient injuries.

While the number of other HACs has decreased by 8 percent, pressure ulcers have been resistant to improvement efforts. They continue to grow by 10 percent annually.

Pressure ulcers are both costly and deadly.

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that pressure ulcers add $10.2 billion to U.S. healthcare costs. As the chart above shows, pressure ulcers are associated with more than 45 percent of the nation’s 63,619 HAC-related deaths and are the leading contributor to HAC-related deaths.

Costly, deadly problem

Averaging the impact among the nation’s 5,534 hospitals means that each will treat more than 127 pressure ulcers, write off more than $1.8 million in unreimbursed treatment costs and see more than five pressure ulcer patients die every year.

Medicine has wrestled with the problem of pressure ulcers for generations. Their prevention relies on physically moving or turning a patient at frequent intervals to relieve pressure on different parts of the body. Unfortunately, turning a patient can slip on the priority list of busy hospital staff.

Technology that monitors patient movement and notifies nurses when a patient needs to be turned exists and is available throughout the United States. Dozens of studies presented in public medical forums demonstrate that a wearable patient-monitoring technology helps hospitals prevent pressure ulcers, reduce their medical costs and save lives. These studies all monitored patients at risk for pressure ulcers using the Leaf Patient Monitoring System, the only system on the market designed exclusively to help providers prevent pressure ulcers.

One randomized trial of more than 1,200 patients at a large California academic medical center concluded that the pressure ulcer incidence rate was 74 percent lower among patients monitored by the wearable monitoring system.

Tech can save lives, money

Applying the same rate of reduction to the national problem, the deployment of wearable technology could save more than 21,000 lives and nearly $7.5 billion in unreimbursed healthcare costs each year. For the average hospital, that would mean $1.36 million in annual savings.

Technology can help our understaffed clinical teams reduce the risk of very preventable pressure ulcers. For the sake of our patients’ well-being—and our healthcare institutions’ financial stability—we need to seriously consider the benefits new technology can provide.

  • Margaret Doucette, D.O. is chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Boise VA Medical Center, where she oversees wound prevention and care efforts. The founder and former medical director of the Elks/St. Luke’s Wound Care Center and a co-founder of the Idaho Pressure Ulcer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Doucette has been instrumental in developing wound care programs across the continuum of care in Idaho. She is published and presents nationally and internationally. She is adjunct faculty at several universities and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington.