Freedom Friday: What makes a good life?

For 75 years, 724 men, their wives, and their 2000 children, were interviewed year after year, about their work, their home lives, and their health; and this is what they have learned.

The clearest message that they got from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

The researchers learned three big lessons about relationships. The first lesson is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected.

The second big lesson that the researchers learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.

And the third big lesson that the researchers learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper longer.

So this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human. What we’d really like is a quick fix, something we can get that’ll make our lives good and keep them that way.Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.

But over these 75 years, the research study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community.

To watch Robert Waldinger talk about, “What makes a good life?”

http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness?language=en#t-380124

#zerobarriers

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To realize The value of a sister/brother, Ask someone Who doesn’t have one.

To realize The value of ten years: Ask a newly Divorced couple.

To realize The value of four years: Ask a graduate.

To realize The value of one year: Ask a student who Has failed a final exam.

To realize The value of nine months: Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize The value of one month: Ask a mother Who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize The value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize The value of one hour: Ask the couple who turned backs and slept without a word.

To realize The value of one minute: Ask a person Who has missed the train, bus or plane..

To realize The value of one-second: Ask a person Who has survived an accident.

Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have. You will treasure it even more when You can share it with someone special.

Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you value each moment and share it with others.

PS:  Remember to hold the ones you love just a little closer and tighter this week without expectations.

 #zerobarriers

Brilliant design: stairs that incorporate a wheelchair access ramp

#zerobarriers

brillant ramp and step design

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January was Poverty Awareness Month.  Nearly 1 in 3 individuals with disabilities are living in poverty, which is twice the rate for individuals without disabilities.

A clip from a Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, rally went viral climbing to the most-viewed lists on a number of websites, including the Washington Post. In the clip, a woman suffering from disability-induced poverty tearfully describes her plight:

“It’s so hard to do anything to pay your bills, you’re ashamed all the time…when you can’t buy presents for your children it’s really really really hard – and I work 3, 4, 5 jobs sometimes, always minimum wage, I have a degree, divorced and it’s just I’m waiting for disability to come through so my parents have to support me – it’s just hard.”

Despite general improvements in the economy, people with disabilities feel that they haven’t benefited from the gains — and that many of the gains have instead gone to wealthier Americans. On top of that, there are Presidential candidates, as well as members of Congress, who are openly advocating for cutting the benefits that lower-income people rely on to make ends meet.

Although they don’t get much play in mainstream poverty discussions, individuals who are experiencing the effects of a disability are a huge part of the poverty landscape in America. Finding ways to increase the incomes of people with a disability (whether through market or transfer income) is an indispensable part of any serious anti-poverty strategy. #zerobarriers

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/25/a-remarkably-moving-thing-happened-at-a-bernie-sanders-rally-today-in-iowa/

stimulus

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.)

Viktor Frankl suggests that we can grow and change and be different if we can learn to recognize, increase, and make use of the space between stimulus and response.  If we develop that awareness, we can find inner happiness.

Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you find your space, pause, and respond instead of react.

PS: Remember to hold the ones you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations).

#zerobarriers

Can Medicaid take my home to pay for my nursing home care? 

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As a general rule, a person’s home is exempt and is not counted as an asset if the equity value of the home is under $552,000 and if you are married.  However, in North Dakota there is another rule that is rarely talked about, that can force you to sell your home if you are in a nursing facility for 6 months or longer.  The rule is hard to find, but I found it in the North Dakota Administrative Code and it states that “property is not occupied by an individual in long-term care or the state hospital, with no spouse, disabled adult child, or child under age twenty-one at home, unless a physician has certified that the individual is likely to return home within six months.”  NDAC 75-02-02.1-01(22 – Occupied)

In other words, if you are single, own your home, and are in a nursing facility for 6 months, Medicaid will no longer cover your stay at the nursing facility.  That means you will either have to pay out of your own pocket, sell your house, or move back to your home once that 6 month stay occurs.

The median annual rate for nursing homes in North Dakota is $87,553.  The median annual rate for Home Health Aide Services is $53,310.  You can add Adult Day Care Daily rates of $16,357 (median annual rate) and you would still be able to stay in your home for less than a nursing home.

Freedom Resource Center can help you explore moving back to your home with home and community based services in place.

One other bit of North Dakota information…the ND Administrative Code also defines an “Institutionalized individual” as an individual who lives in a nursing facility.  (NDAC 75-02-02.1-01(16 –Institutionalized individual)

http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/75-02-02.1.pdf?20160128141745

https://www.genworth.com/dam/Americas/US/PDFs/Consumer/corporate/North%20Dakota_gnw.pdf

#zerobarriers

Sandy Gessler, of Grand Forks, sits with her service dog, Cozmo in this submitted photo. Gessler said her service dog helps her manage her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Sandy Gessler, of Grand Forks, sits with her service dog, Cozmo in this submitted photo. Gessler said her service dog helps her manage her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Gessler, of Grand Forks, was visiting Willmar Jan. 2 when she ran into a problem trying to find lodging for the night. Though she made reservations with a local motel, when she arrived with Cozmo the manager made her leave, repeatedly saying he had a no-pet policy.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act state service dogs are not pets and are allowed in most public places, even if the business has a no-pet policy. Businesses that don’t accommodate a service dog are breaking the law.

Gessler left the motel and found a room elsewhere, but even there she didn’t receive a warm welcome. The second motel charged her $10 for Cozmo to stay in the room, again against the ADA. She said the motel staff also asked for proof Cozmo was a service dog, also illegal.

“I find hotels very, very difficult to deal with,” Gessler said, adding she has had issues many times across the country.

The ADA clearly states businesses are only allowed to ask two questions regarding a service animal – is the dog a service animal required because of a disability and what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask for proof of a disability or ask for the dog to demonstrate a task. Service dogs do not have to be specially licensed or registered and the owners do not have to carry special papers on them.

If you want to read the entire article by Shelby Lindrud / Forum News Service Today, you can find it at http://www.inforum.com/news/3933266-minnesota-hotel-illegally-denies-lodging-veteran-service-dog

#zerobarriers

Motivational Monday: No excuses

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If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. (Jim Rohn)

Wishing you peace and wellbeing you find your way without excuses.

PS: Remember to hold the ones you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations)

#zerobarriers

Freedom Friday: The Cloud Walkers

Members of the Cloud Walkers pose in camp on Day 4 of their Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. They are (from left), George Osgood, Karwin McCain (team physician), Kevin Robinson, Johnny Martinez, Scott Wilson, Rick Smith (team medic), Mona Patel (team leader), Cory Torres, Greg Lego (team physical therapist), Justin Pfaff (team prosthetist/amputee), and Ian Warshak. Photo: Courtesy /Mona Patel

Members of the Cloud Walkers pose in camp on Day 4 of their Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. They are (from left), George Osgood, Karwin McCain (team physician), Kevin Robinson, Johnny Martinez, Scott Wilson, Rick Smith (team medic), Mona Patel (team leader), Cory Torres, Greg Lego (team physical therapist), Justin Pfaff (team prosthetist/amputee), and Ian Warshak. Photo: Courtesy /Mona Patel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#zerobarriers achieved.

Members of the Cloud Walkers wanted to show that even those who are amputees can do something like climbing Kilimanjaro.  Mona Patel, who has worn a prosthetic leg since 1997 and leads the amputee support group San Antonio Amputee Foundation, hand-picked the members of the Cloud Walkers (team motto: “For those willing to overcome, we will show the world you can walk among the clouds”) for the once-in-a-lifetime climb. Under her leadership, and after months of training climbs at area parks and in Taos, New Mexico, all but one of the Cloud Walkers made it to the summit the legendary mountain which, at 19,341 feet, is the highest peak in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

The Cloud Walkers included eight climbers, all amputees, along with the four-person medical staff and three-person film crew documenting the climb.  One of the amputees participating in the climb received services from Freedom Resource Center years ago, when Donene Feist worked in our Jamestown, ND office, as an Independent Living Advocate.

For the complete article, go to: http://www.expressnews.com/lifestyle/article/S-A-amputees-conquer-Mt-Kilimanjaro-6770434.php?t=cc89c94e7f01065692&cmpid=email-premium#photo-9275998

For information on the Cloud Walkers, visit http://www.saamputeefoundation.org/

 

 

International Day of Acceptance

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Annie Hopkins was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who demonstrated what is possible when you love life. In 2007, she recruited her brother Stevie to help her start a company to spread her message. She created 3E Love with the idea that her “Wheelchair Heart” symbol unified people of all abilities and it ignited conversations every day that would help change attitudes for the better.

Social acceptance is the key… not the pity and ignorance with which she grew up. Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life!

Friends, tell the world you embrace who you are; a person with social rights, who has an opinion, who has interests, who has goals, who loves life, and who will not be without a voice in society. You are not living disabled, you are living.

Supporters, join us in telling the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities – you also have a role in our culture and life. You can have an impact on the future by wearing your heart on your sleeve and proudly demonstrating acceptance.

What is IDOA?