Full-Time Job And Full-Time Caregiver? Here’s How A Flextime Work Schedule Could Help

It all falls on you. When you’re juggling your own life, plus your kids and your aging parents, you are the go-to person for, well, everything. You have to make time for doctors’ appointments, prepare meals, and help parents with everything from managing their medications to helping them get dressed.

Add a full-time job to the mix, and you have a recipe for caregiver burnout.


43.5 million: Number of adult family caregivers caring for someone 50+ years of age

Source: Family Caregiver Alliance



More than 1 in 6 Americans who work a full- or part-time job also cares for an elderly or disabled loved one.

Source: Gallup, February 4, 2011



Caregivers with full-time jobs are more likely to have poorer physical health than non-caregivers.

Source: Gallup


Working remotely or having a flextime work schedule could alleviate some burdens. You’ll have greater chances to work around doctors appointments and other caretaking responsibilities, while still being productive in your job.


But this type of work arrangement isn’t for everyone.



Flextime work schedule: Instead of working 40 hours a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, you pick your own start, break, and end times.

Working Remotely: Instead of working at your company’s office, you work from home. This saves time on commuting, but you’re always accessible to your colleagues.

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried



Would a flextime work schedule or telecommuting make sense for you?

Your Responsibilities Job Requirements and Workplace Culture Your Abilities and Preferences
Are you the primary caretaker of aging parents? Can your work be done independently?


Are you more productive when you work alone?


Do you work a full-time job that requires long stretches of concentration?


Does the culture of your work allow non-traditional work schedules? Do you work well with little supervision or structure?


Do you have a long commute to work?


Are the resources you need to work available at home? i.e. computer, internet, faxing, phone conferencing Are you a high performer with performance reviews to prove it?


Do you struggle to balance work schedules and caretaking?


Do your aging parents require frequent doctor visits or constant care at home? Are you good at multitasking?
Do you primarily communicate by phone, email or instant message? Are you able to stop working when it’s time to call it quits for the day?


The more you answered yes, the better the chances are that a flexible or remote working arrangement could work for you. Talk with your boss.


3 Tips For The Conversation With Your Boss:


  1. Focus on company benefits, not just your needs.


The days you miss—whether it’s because you’re taking your elderly mom to the doctor or because you’re sick—costs your employer lost productivity. You wouldn’t use this statistic in your talk, but it’s worth knowing:



$25.5 billion is lost in productivity from full-time workers who miss days because of caretaking duties.

Source: Gallup


This means you need to explain how a flexible schedule or remote work option can help boost your productivity. Maybe you’ll be able to start earlier to make sure certain tasks are handled when your boss arrives. Or perhaps you’ll whip through your to-do list faster because you can work when and where you’re most productive.


  1. Put the arrangement in writing.


If your boss agrees to the arrangement, clarify all the details and put them in writing.


Points to include:

  • Days and times you’ll be working or at least be accessible
  • Dates and times when you’ll be inaccessible because of medical appointments for your aging parent
  • Dates for any onsite team meetings
  • How long the arrangement will last
  • How you’ll be expected to stay in touch
  • Support or resources you’ll need from your employer


  1. Try it out.


If committing to the new work schedule is difficult for your boss, ask for a trial period.

Try flextime work one to two days a week for a month. This will give you and your boss the chance to work out any kinks in the arrangement—and to make sure the flexible or remote working arrangement works for both sides.

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How Poor Posture, Mobile Devices and Back Pain Go Hand in Hand

Raise your hand if you consider losing your smartphone or tablet a slight emergency. Now keep your hand up if you’d stop what you were doing immediately to look for it and buy another one the same day if it didn’t turn up.


We’re addicted to our gadgets—smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops and whatever else our favorite tech companies come out with. So much so that nearly ⅓ of us say we can’t live without them, according to a November 2012 study from the Pew Research Internet Project.

And while nobody’s knocking the love we have for our gadgets, if you’re starting to feel pain in your neck and back from spending hours slouched over to thumb a text message, it may be time to do something about it.


80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives

Source: American Chiropractic Association


Having Text Neck

This excessive use of smartphones and other mobile devices is creating similar strain on the neck and back that developed when people started to spend hours a day hunched over using a computer, says a November 2009 study from the American Public Health Association.

People with a habit of dropping their heads forward pay for it over time. Most cases of back pain are caused by mechanical issues, like slouched posture, and not by diseases and illnesses, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

The red flag is when the head, neck and shoulders are overused from leaning forward to look down at phones, laptops and tablets, according to the Text Neck Institute (Yes, that’s really what it’s called).

This, in turn, leads to a curved posture that resembles a slight hump back—plus neck and back pain, according to a June 2013 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.


Good Posture Is Important

Where’s my phone?!


29% of cell phone owners say they “can’t imagine living without” their cell phones.

Source: PewResearch Internet Project, November 2012


If you’re used to hunching over to use your mobile device, send yourself a text message that says, “Sit up straight.”


Because the habit has probably become so ingrained that you’re not conscious of it, you’ll have to take extra effort to walk and sit tall, according to the North American Spine Society.


This starts with sitting and standing with your chest up and shoulders back. Then, instead of dropping your head forward to see the screen, bring your elbows in to touch your waist and lift the screen closer to your face. There, isn’t that better?


If you’re sitting to use your laptop or tablet, sitting up straight will ensure that the weight of your head is supported by the spine; this decreases the stress placed on disks and also supports the ligaments in the neck, says the North American Spine Society.


Sit as straight as possible by getting a separate keyboard and mouse for your laptop. Now you can sit further back from the screen and keep it at eye level, rather than slouching over that tiny keyboard. You can also get a stand to raise your laptop closer to eye level or drop the height of your chair.


The goal is to get yourself in a position where your shoulders are squarely facing ahead, instead of rounded forward and your head is raised to a straight, neutral position, not dropped downward.


Sitting up straight supports the body against gravity, which tends to pull our heads and shoulders forward even more when we slouch. It allows the correct amount of muscle tension and provides balance, according to the American Chiropractic Association.


Exercise To Improve Text Neck

There are also a couple of exercises that the North American Spine Society suggests doing twice a day to increase the strength and range of motion in the neck. This will prevent your neck from becoming too stiff. You can do these just about any place where you can send a text message.


●     Neck rotations. With your head in a neutral position, slowly turn your head to the left as far as you can and hold it for 5 seconds–do the same to the right. You can do this exercise either sitting or standing. Do this in sets of 5.


●     Scapular retraction. Stand with your arms at your side and the head and neck in a neutral position. Pull your shoulders blades back and downward. Hold this position initially for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds. Do this in sets of 5.


If your neck or back pain persists or gets worse, use that beloved smartphone to make an appointment with our orthopedic specialists, who can help manage your pain.



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Prediabetes Vs. Type 2 Diabetes

If you could avoid taking lifelong medications and going to the doctor all the time, would you?

People with prediabetes face that question—whether they know it or not.


86 million US adults age 20 or older had prediabetes in 2012

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services



Prediabetes Is A Warning Sign

Prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose reach levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Think of it as the yellow light on a traffic signal.


It means if you don’t make changes to your lifestyle, you’ll probably get full-blown Type 2 diabetes.


Source: National Institutes of Health


Most people with prediabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they make major lifestyle changes, such as:

  • losing 5% to 7% of their body weight
  • eating healthier
  • increasing physical activity

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services




How to Know If You Have Prediabetes

If you’re overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors for diabetes, you should ask your doctor to test you for prediabetes, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA).


Risk Factors for Diabetes

  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander descent
  • Having gestational diabetes
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing 9+ pounds
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a HDL cholesterol level below 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having blood vessel problems affecting the heart, brain, or legs

Source: National Institutes of Health





Prediabetes and diabetes have many similarities. But with the latter, symptoms are more severe, treatments more involved, and risks of other health issues are greater.


So if you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, use the chance you have. Pay attention to the yellow traffic signal, and do what it takes to avoid Type 2 diabetes.

Mountain View Hospital will work with your primary care physician to provide the best possible education and management. Contact our Diabetes Center, MVH Professional Services, today! 801-465-7045

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6 Ways To Care For Your Spouse After A Heart Attack

Your spouse suffered a heart attack. It was frightening. Maybe one of the scariest moments of your life. Thankfully, he survived. Now that he’s home, you’re wondering how to best take care of him.



1. Take Care of Yourself.

MtnStar_MTNVIEW_6WaysToCareForYourSpouseAfterAHeartAttack_02It may seem strange to think about your own health after your spouse suffered a heart attack. But you’ll best be able to take care of your spouse if you’re in good health.

Caregivers Are At Higher Risk For Mental And Physical Health Issues

● 40-70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.

● Caregivers’ hearts react more to stressful conditions, putting them at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

● Caregivers have diminished immune response, which leads to frequent infection and increased risk of cancers.

● Caregivers have a 23% higher level of stress hormones and a 15% lower level of antibody responses.

Don’t put off your own healthcare needs. Take this opportunity to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle together.

Source: Family Caregiver Alliance

2. Rally Support.


Depending on her condition after the heart attack, your spouse may require a lot of time and attention. This can be very draining for you emotionally and physically. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

Get the physical and emotional support you need to maintain your health and the health of your spouse.

Let your family and friends know about her condition and how they can help. Ask a family member to cook a healthy meal once a week or to drive your spouse to a doctor’s appointment. Or ask a friend for a listening ear.

3. Remind Him To Take His Medication.


After your spouse’s heart attack, the doctor will most likely prescribe some type of medication. Some medications prescribed after a heart attack lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, relieve chest pain (angina), or reduce risk of blood clots forming. If taking medication on a daily basis is new for your spouse, he may need reminders.

Be creative. Set alerts on his cellphone or stick notes on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. Whatever will get his attention and remind him to take his meds. These meds are important. They may prevent future heart attacks or stroke.

4. Know The Signs Of A Heart Attack And When To Call 9-1-1.


Unfortunately, if your spouse had one heart attack, her chances of having another are higher. And symptoms for a second heart attack may look different than the first.

Signs of a heart attack include:

● Chest pain lasting more than a few minutes

● Cold sweat

● Lightheadedness

● Nausea (more common in women)

● Numbness, aching, or tingling in the arm (usually the left arm)

● Shortness of breath

● Weakness or fatigue


It’s important to understand how angina (chest pain) and a heart attack differ. Angina is chest pain usually brought on by physical exertion. This type of pain goes away in a few minutes after resting or taking medication. Pain from a heart attack is more severe and doesn’t go away with rest or medication.

If you’re unsure whether the pain is a heart attack or angina, call 9-1-1. The faster your spouse gets medical attention, the better his chances of survival and recovery.

Source: National Institutes of Health 1, 2

5. Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle.


The good news is that cardiovascular disease can be fought by making healthy lifestyle choices. Join your spouse in the new healthy lifestyle so you both can benefit.

1. Eat a healthy diet. This means lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish. Limit salt, added sugars, saturated fats, and red meat. Avoid trans fats.

2. Stay active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, five or more days a week. This can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and keep weight at a healthy level. If you’re not used to exercise, start with 10 minutes a day, then work your way up.

3. Limit alcohol consumption.

Source: American Heart Association


4. Find ways to manage stress. Stress is an everyday part of life. If left unchecked, it could put you and your spouse at greater risk for disease.

Healthy Ways To Manage Stress

● Talk with family or friends.

● Take up yoga or meditation.

● Try journaling.

● Get regular exercise.

● Sleep six to eight hours a night.

● Remember to laugh.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of fat in your body. A BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.

6. Quit smoking.

Source: American Heart Association

6. Ask Your Doctor About Having Sex.


Your sex life may be a real concern to you and your spouse. You’re not alone. Many couples have this concern after a heart attack.

Don’t be afraid to bring up this topic with your doctor. It’s probably okay to have sex if your spouse’s condition has stabilized. Your doctor will be the best person to give you the assurance and advice you need.

Source: American Heart Association

To learn more about life after a heart attack, schedule an appointment with a Mountain View physician today.

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Viral Infections: Should You Send Your Kids to School?

There’s been a lot of hoopla surrounding the recent respiratory illness enterovirus 68 outbreak. A lot of parents are worried about what this means for their children.

If you’re one of those parents, you may wonder: Is it okay to send your child to school if he’s got a runny nose? The sniffles? A cough?

All of these are symptoms of a number of viral infections, ranging from the common cold to the potentially fatal enterovirus 68—the respiratory virus that has hospitalized 30 kids in Missouri and Illinois in August alone.

Here’s what you should know about viral infections:

What Is a Viral Infection?

As their name implies, viral infections come from bugs called viruses. Viruses are little capsule-like objects found inside genetic material—such as a person’s cells, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains. They are many, many times smaller than bacteria.

But when it comes to illnesses, size doesn’t matter. Viruses are the cause behind diseases ranging from the common cold to smallpox.

How Viruses Get You Sick

The fact that they live inside your body’s own cells is what makes viral infections so difficult to treat, the CDC says. They use your cells to protect themselves against medicine, which is why antibiotics don’t work.

The good news is that vaccines—like the flu vaccine—can protect you from viruses. But not all viruses have vaccines.

How Are Viral Infections Spread?

Some viral infections—like the common cold—are spread by contact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains.

Enterovirus D68 is no different.

When someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, their germs spread to anything they come in contact with—from a tabletop or door handle to another person.

You Can Prevent the Spread of Viral Germs


So, Should You Send Your Kids to School?

If your child has a viral infection, keep her home from school. If you find out that someone in your child’s class has a Enterovirus D68 or some other viral infection, ask the school how they are ensuring that other students don’t become infected.

The Common Cold Is the Main Reason Kids Miss School



The NIAID says you can help prevent the spread of viral infections if your child is sick by having him:

●     Stay home from school and other activities while sick

●     Avoid close contact with others—hugging, kissing, shaking hands, etc.

●     Move away from other people when coughing or sneezing

●     Cough or sneeze into a tissue

●     Wash his hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing his nose

If you’re unsure whether your child has a viral infection, you may contact one of the many physicians that work at Mountain View Hospital, just in case.


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