Yoga with Jessica- Longest Day of the Year

dreamstime_xxl_93928666.jpg“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” — Rolf Gates

I’m sure you are aware June 21 is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, but did you know that June 21 is also the International Day of Yoga? This “holiday” began on June 21, 2015  (also known as World Yoga Day). The United Nations Secretary General is quoted saying, “Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.”  World Yoga Day promotes global health, harmony, and peace.

This day strives to raise awareness of the many benefits of practicing yoga around the world. In New Delhi, India, almost 36,000 participants were present for the largest yoga lesson in the first year. This set a new Guinness record!

Some objectives of World Yoga Day:

  • To convey the amazing and natural benefits of yoga
  • To introduce people to meditation through yoga
  • To bring communities together – to spend a day for health, away from a busy schedule
  • To magnify growth, development and spread peace all over the world
  • To relieve stress
  • To promote better physical AND mental health

Some building blocks of yoga:

  • Yoga builds calmness and peace
  • Yoga gives confidence and courage
  • Yoga builds strength
  • Yoga balances the body and soul
  • Yoga improves health and happiness

In a nutshell, yoga creates strength, awareness and harmony in both mind and body.  What have you got to lose?  Why not find a yoga class on June 21, in person or on-line, and give it a try?  You might just like it.  You might just find your new best friend.

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” — Rolf Gates

Namaste until next month…



Cameron patients receive help through unique therapy experience

Occ. Therapy-Community Garden
Kimberly and Kris Boots (Cameron occupational therapist) participate in an occupational therapy session at Cameron’s Community Wellness Garden, while sister, Annmarie, observes in the background.

Rehabilitation therapy can be hard, regardless of your age or situation. However, Cameron Memorial Community Hospital’s Rehabilitation department is utilizing Cameron’s Community Wellness Garden as a unique occupational therapy experience to help its pediatric patients in an enjoyable and meaningful way.

“Often times, children with sensory processing issues develop behavioral concerns due to the stress that is created from various sensations,” said Joell Stuckey, director of Cameron’s Rehabilitation department. “Our community garden plot is a perfect place for children with sensory processing issues to interact with a variety of physical sensations in a meaningful way.”

Sensory integration therapy aims to help children with a sensory integration disorder by exposing them to sight, sound, touch, smell, and movement through structured and repetitive interaction with the world. Over time, the brain will adapt and allow the kids to process and react to these everyday sensations more efficiently. “The kids using our garden during their therapy sessions are simultaneously experiencing and processing the different textures, temperatures, sights, and sounds which actually then carries over to improving their tolerance to other everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed,” Stuckey said. The garden can also be used with adults during therapy sessions by engaging in a fun activity while learning to focus on body mechanics or movement issues.

For more information regarding occupational therapy at Cameron Hospital, please call 260-665-2141 ext. 5144.

Find Support Through Your Community

Alzheimer's Series web bannerJoin us for an educational series to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease; how to respond and how to help your family.  This series is being offered in partnership by Cameron Memorial Community Hospital and the Greater Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

June 14, 2018:  Know the 10 Signs – Early Detection Matters

Gather an understanding of the difference between age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s.  Learn what to do if you think someone you know has the signs of the disease.

July 12, 2018:  The Basics – Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

This program is designed to help people understand the difference between normal age-related memory changes and more serious memory problems that should be evaluated by a medical professional. Topics discussed include the common causes of memory loss, risk factors and the importance of an accurate diagnosis.

August 9, 2018:  Dementia Conversations:  Driving, Doctor Visits, Legal & Financial Planning

Conversations with family members who are showing signs of dementia can be challenging and uncomfortable. This workshop will offer helpful tips to assist families in having honest and caring conversations with family members about dementia, which will help to reduce the stress that can accompany a disease like Alzheimer’s and connects you with helpful resources to enhance quality of life for everyone involved.

September 13, 2018:  Effective Communication Strategies

Communication is more than just talking and listening-it’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. As people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress in their journey and the ability to use words is lost, families need new ways to connect. Explore how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s, learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia, and identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

October 11, 2018:  Understanding & Responding to Dementia-Related Behaviors

Behavior is a powerful form of communication & is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings as the ability to use language is lost. However, some behaviors can present real challenges for caregivers to manage. Learn to decide behavioral messages, identify common behavior triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common behavioral challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

November 15, 2018:  Healthy Living for your Brain & Body – Tips from the Latest Research

For centuries, we’ve known that the health of the brain and the body are connected. But now, science is able to provide insights into how to make lifestyle choices that may help you keep your brain and body healthy as you age. Learn about research in the areas of diet & nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity & social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging.

All classes will be held in Conference Room 1 at Cameron Hospital from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  The series is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  To register, please call 800-272-3900.

Yoga with Jessica: Online Yoga…yay or nay?

dreamstime_xxl_99040733On a whim, I decided to check out a yoga class offered at a local church in my hometown. It was once a week for 8 weeks. It was close to home and the price was just right. I had never done yoga before, I didn’t know the instructor,  and I knew no one attending the class. It was truly on a whim. That was in 2011.

Beginning a yoga practice is just like any other new habit. It takes time, effort, and a willingness to not only learn but to set aside time for yourself. Finding just the right class for you can also take time.

Maybe you’re new to yoga and don’t feel comfortable going to a class just yet. Maybe you want to watch some YouTube videos from the comfort of your own home. Maybe you need to study the world of yoga before venturing into a class. Yoga teachers are not scary. We all have our own unique way of teaching, and I truly believe there is a type of yoga for EVERYONE!

I have found three online yoga teachers who, in my opinion, are amazing! They are all down to Earth, and they all offer modifications. My purpose this month is to introduce them to you, give you their links and let you check them out and make a well-informed decision.

Online yoga has its perks…

  • It’s your time, your place.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s your clothing choice (pj’s anyone?).
  • There is variety.

Yoga online also has some downfalls:

  • There is no personal connection.
  • You could have technical issues (internet connection).
  • You’ll get no extras and won’t have group energy to feed off.
  • You can develop bad habits.

Take some time. Weigh your pros and cons. Things have a way of working themselves out. It requires patience, faith and a willingness to go outside your comfort zone. Maybe now is not the time for you to begin or reincorporate yoga into your life. Maybe this article is just what you needed to jumpstart your yoga practice. Maybe you are already a seasoned yogi and this article peaked your interest to look into these or other online yoga classes. Whatever the case may be, find time for YOU.

Namaste my faithful readers…

Cameron partners with local law enforcement to promote safety


John Gonya, Cameron Security Director, M.J. Irwin, Cameron Security Supervisor, R.J. Robinson, Steuben County Sheriff’s Dept., Stu Hamblen, Angola Police Department and Ken Whitmore, Angola Police Department

First responders from Angola recently participated in an active shooter table top exercise/meeting that allowed the various organizations the opportunity to identify proactive ways to promote safety at the hospital.  “We saw some of the challenges that were experienced at the shooting incident at the YouTube headquarters,” said John Gonya, Cameron Security Director.  “We wanted to take the things they learned and try to apply those same principles here at the hospital.”


“The main impediment we identified was access,” said Gonya.  Therefore, the goal was to give first responders access to the hospital so they can respond appropriately in a crisis.  Cameron officials provided both the Angola city police and the Steuben County sheriff’s department with access fobs which will allow them entry to the building and to all secured units in the building, with the exception of the pharmacy.  The EMS was also given fobs so they can access the units for transfers and in the event of an emergency so they can access exterior doors if needed.  Cameron will be working on providing the same access to the area town marshals in the coming weeks.

For more information, call 260-667-5337.


May is Mental Health Awareness

This blog was provided by the staff at Cameron’s Senior Life Solutions.

dreamstime_l_103580430.jpgMental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  It influences how we think, feel, and act. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

This continues to be a taboo subject because of the stigma surrounding mental health. Note that the definition of “stigma” is:  a sign of social unacceptability; the disgrace or public disapproval with something.  Fear, anxiety, ignorance and just plain discomfort about the world of emotions may very well be where this stigma started.

Just like physical check-ups, mental health check-ups can be important in detecting any issues, concerns, or problems before they become serious. Consider asking for a simple evaluation from your doctor or healthcare provider.  Discuss symptoms such as excessive anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, irritability, sadness, suicidal or violent thoughts, thoughts of death, appetite or weight changes, and any other signs that you find worrisome or debilitating.

We need to think of our mental health just as we do our physical health.  If something doesn’t seem right, it should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Just like positive ways to handle stress, you can find positive & fun ways to practice mental fitness.  Here are a few I found that might not automatically come to mind:

  • Set realistic personal goals – reaching your goal will build your confidence and provide a sense of satisfaction
  • Do ONE thing at a time – be present in the present moment
  • Volunteer – this is a “win-win” activity because helping others makes you feel good about yourself
  • Daydream – take a few moments to close your eyes, breathe slow & deep, and imagine yourself in your dream location





Parkinson’s Disease: Do you know the early warning signs?

Old coupleMost people recognize the later stages of Parkinson’s disease — tremors and a shuffling walk are the most common signs. But the condition is difficult to diagnose early on; doctors don’t pinpoint most cases until they’re well past the initial stages. So is there a way to spot signs and seek treatment earlier? Yes, but you need to know what to look for.

The vague symptoms of Parkinson’s could point to many problems. That’s what makes early specific diagnosis difficult. And that’s what frustrates those who search for reasons behind your movement problems. But, there are recognizable signs that could at least put you and your doctor on alert, says neurologist Hubert Fernandez, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Neurological Restoration. And getting a neurologist involved earlier is the key, he says.

“It’s not uncommon for patients to see a rheumatologist or orthopedist for six months to a year for pain in the right shoulder or dragging the right leg. They might even get steroid injections that don’t work,” he says. “But, only a neurologist can diagnose Parkinson’s.”

Symptoms follow stages of the disease

Parkinson’s motor problems are quickly recognizable, Dr. Fernandez says. The tremors — rhythmic movement of lips, chin, hands and legs; rigidity; stiffness and slowness are hallmark signs. Balance and gait problems are also common. But, Parkinson’s symptoms start long before these problems emerge. As a progressive disease, Parkinson’s destroys the brain’s nerves from the bottom up, he says.

Stage 1: Parkinson’s attacks the base of the brain stem — the medulla — initially. This may cause constipation and can cause people to lose their sense of smell. These symptoms could strike decades before you see your first tell-tale tremor, Dr. Fernandez says.

Stage 2: Nerve deterioration in the pons (the brain’s message center) is next. Damage at this stage may lead to depression and REM sleep disorder. A person may “act out” their dreams while they sleep, potentially hurting themselves or others.

Stage 3: The tremor and shuffle appear here because the disease is attacking the part of the brain largely responsible for movement.

Stage 4 and 5: These are the most advanced Parkinson’s stages. Dementia and hallucinations often occur at this point.

When should you consult a neurologist?

Of course, not everyone who experiences constipation or depression, or who loses the sense of smell is at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Fernandez says. But, if you have those problems along with any of these factors, make an appointment with a neurologist:

  • First-degree relative with Parkinson’s with onset before age 60
  • One of the four motor features: resting tremor, stiffness, slowness, gait/balance problems
  • Repeated head trauma
  • REM sleep disorder

4 things you should know about Parkinson’s

In addition to learning what symptoms to watch for, there are four things you should know, Dr. Fernandez says:

  1. It’s a progressive disease. Parkinson’s disease worsens over time, but each patient progresses differently. Doctors will treat the symptoms to limit how much they impact your daily life.
  2. The cause is largely unknown. In 95 percent of cases, doctors don’t know why patients develop Parkinson’s. Often, a combination of factors are involved, including genetic susceptibility and environmental factors (such as having multiple head injuries). Research shows that genetic mutations are responsible for the rest of cases. “We don’t know what factors contribute to Parkinson’s,” he says. “And, we’re just beginning to uncover the susceptibility genes.”
  3. Treatment is symptom-dependent. How bothersome your symptoms are will determine how aggressively your doctor treats your disease. If your symptoms don’t disrupt your daily functioning, he or she likely will postpone prescribing medication. Dopamine, a chemical found naturally in the brain, is lacking or not produced in high enough quantities in people with Parkinson’s disease. Patients may take levodopa, a pill that is converted to dopamine when it reaches the brain. This helps manage Parkinson’s symptoms. It is often prescribed with a second drug called carbidopa, which prevents the nausea that can be caused by levodopa alone. Doctors also may use deep brain stimulation to treat you if you don’t get relief with levodopa, Dr. Fernandez says.
  4. Stroke, infection or other neurological conditions can mimic Parkinson’s. Don’t make any assumptions about your condition before you see a neurologist or Parkinson’s expert for a proper diagnosis.

Ultimately, remember that your journey with Parkinson’s is unique — so work closely with your doctor, Dr. Fernandez says. “It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with Parkinson’s is different, and treating it is about targeting the symptoms,” he says. “The most important thing is getting a good evaluation by a neurologist or Parkinson’s expert to make sure you’re on the right path.”

If you or someone you know is living with Parkinson’s Disease, we encourage you to join Cameron’s Parkinson’s Support Group. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at Cameron in Conference Room 2 from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Source: Cleveland Clinic’s “Health Essentials”

Stress Less This Spring

Spring.jpgStressor:  The situations and pressures that cause stress

We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as a tiring work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful.  Believe it or not, not all stress is bad.  Good stress can allow you to be more alert and focused.  Good stress can be described as positive, major life changes, such as a new job, a graduation, marriage, a vacation.

Stress occurs because we run out of emotional and sensible resources.  We do not always realize we are under stress until it has begun to overwhelm us.  It is important to acknowledge stress before it gets out of hand. Stress can negatively affect your mental and emotional health.  It can also create social and relationship problems.

Often, we resort to the unhealthy management of stress.  This could involve too much alcohol, smoking, drugs, overeating/mindless eating to name a few.

Instead of the unhealthy and negative management of stress, let’s focus on some healthy, positive, and fun ways to manage our stress.

  1. Adopt more moderate views/change your thinking patterns:
  • Reflect on positive experiences
  • Journal – record your feelings, thoughts and emotions
  • Have a more optimistic outlook on life
  • Use humor – watch comedy, smile, and make jokes
  • Refute negative thoughts
  1. Unplug:
  • Avoid social media, TV, and checking e-mails for at least 15 minutes a day
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Color – adult coloring books are the new rage. Did you know coloring stimulates the brain areas associated with motor skills, the senses, and creativity?!
  1. Build and maintain positive and supportive relationships:
  • Be with and around people who uplift your mood and provide emotional support.
  • Identify the nature and causes of stress: Minimize contact with stressors
  • Find social support/build up resources
  1. Activity:
  • Pick an activity that requires focus and is challenging – it can distract you from your worries
  • Be in nature if at all possible – breathe in the fresh air
  • Express yourself!
  1. Meditation:
  • Slow, deep breathing
  • Say “NO” to others. Say “YES” to you. Take more “ME” time.
  • Become mindful!
  1. Improve your diet:
  • Make a meal plan/meal prep
  • Eat clean/eat the rainbow/eat plenty of vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water/cut out pop/soda
Sources: The American University in Cairo ,  Beliefnet, and Active Beat

Yoga with Jessica: Breathing

April and (hopefully) spring greetings! As it begins to warm up outside and we start to venture outside, I thought this would be a good time to dive into the breath work of yoga. I love to take my yoga practice and classes outside whenever the weather cooperates. There is a more calming atmosphere in nature.

Have you ever noticed your breath when you are happy? What about when you are sad, mad or scared? Our breath expands when we experience love, compassion, kindness and positive feelings. On the other hand, our breath is somewhat restrained when we experience fear, pain, and negative emotions.

If you have ever attended a yoga class, the teacher has undoubtedly instructed you to “bring your attention to your breath.”  But what exactly does that mean? Basically, we want you to focus your mind on your inhales and exhales, without judgment. But what does that mean? When you inhale and exhale, it is a natural process, something you do without thinking. When we ask you to focus your mind on your breath, we want you to notice that inhale coming in. Notice it without judgment, without trying to change it, just notice how it comes in. Does it come in slow & deep or does it come in short and choppy, maybe with some restriction? Neither answer (or any other answer) is wrong. The same thing is true of your exhales.

Let me get a little more technical here. In our everyday breathing, the brain stem, or medulla oblongata, is being utilized. The medulla oblongata contains the control centers for the heart and lungs. When we bring our attention to our breath, we shift to utilizing the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex plays a role in attention, perception, and awareness.  When our attention comes to our breath, our mind starts to quiet and a sense of peace starts to wash over us.

YogaBreathworkNotice the picture of the person with one hand on her belly and one hand on her chest.  I invite you to try this simple practice when you have time.  You can be seated comfortably or lying down.  Place both hands on your belly or set yourself up like the person in the picture. Feel the rise and fall of your belly/chest as you breathe. Notice each inhalation as it enters your body and each exhalation as it exits your body. Let your breathing be soft, full and easy. No effort.  What did you notice?

Finding quiet time and bringing attention to your breath has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system.  You do not have to practice yoga to practice breath work.  You also do not have to practice meditation to practice breath work.  I do, however, strongly encourage you to practice it.  Who doesn’t need a little quiet time and stress release?

Namaste until next month.

Grilled Peanut Shrimp with Sesame Snow Peas

Stir-fryThe snow pea is a pea that is eaten whole in its pod while still unripe; they lend crunch and a fresh flavor. Snow peas are flatter and thinner than sugar snap peas, but both would work in this recipe. This is a simple, nourishing entree you can put together fairly quickly.

Peanut sauce ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon canned light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 10 medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Snow peas ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  1. Fill a medium pot with water and put on high heat to bring the water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the grill. Place all ingredients for peanut sauce except shrimp in blender or food processor; puree. Pour mixture over shrimp; let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Thread shrimp onto skewers; discard excess marinade not clinging to shrimp. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp are opaque.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, blanch the snow peas by immersing them in the boiling water 2 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Cook garlic and sesame seeds in olive and sesame oils for 2 minutes. Add drained snow peas; heat through, tossing well. Serve with shrimp.
Source: Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials