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Live Life On Your Own Terms

What disabled employees can tell you about working from home

working from home optWhen George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, one of its provisions required workplaces with more than 15 employees to offer workers with disabilities reasonable accommodation. Twelve years later, in 2002, a federal guidance specifically named remote work from home as a required form of reasonable accommodation.

Today, millions of full-time employees with disabilities or chronic illnesses telework from home, and what they’ve learned can help you be productive during this time of COVID-19 sequestration.

Commuting to an office, store, or other place of business to work creates a psychological separation between work life and home life. Disabled teleworkers can’t commute, so they create this kind of separation at home. Here’s how you can too:

See the doctor without having to go see the doctor

See the doctor optThere’s a demographic group that’s even more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than elders, and that’s doctors and other health workers.

In Italy, where actual cases outnumber those reported by China, the Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,629 health care workers – roughly 8.3 percent of all cases in Italy – have contracted COVID-19 from working with inadequate equipment or being exposed to asymptomatic carriers. And sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surrounded by people with symptoms, isn’t exactly a good example of social distancing. “When somebody has symptoms, they may be the last people who should go to a doctor’s office or emergency room,” says Dr. Andrew Diamond, chief medical officer of primary care provider One Medical. “They may be exposing other people – or themselves.”

Self-quarantine doesn’t have to be house arrest

self quarantine 2By now, you’ve probably heard or read all you need to know about self-quarantining and social distancing – and then some. But one thing you haven’t heard is that precautionary measures like these can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, self-isolation can help protect the age group most susceptible to COVID-19 – people age 70 and older – from infection. But on the other hand, it can be bad for your emotional, cognitive, and even physical health.

There’s a vicious cycle at work: Sitting home virtually alone can generate stress, depression and anxiety, especially in a time of officially declared pandemic. Those feelings increase activity in the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that focuses on repetitive negative thoughts. “When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain malfunctions, and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance. And that produces more stress.

But breaking this cycle can be as easy as a walk in the park. Literally.

These self-quarantine tips could help prevent more than coronavirus

self quarantineYou’ve probably heard or read in the news that adults over 65 are the age group most susceptible to Coronavirus infection, and should self-quarantine to protect themselves.

But long before the Coronavirus outbreak, thousands of people over 65 have been quarantining themselves – not from pandemic disease, but from human contact and mental stimulation. And, as I’ve written before, that kind of isolation can have equally real effects on physical health, not the least of which are higher risks of cardiovascular problems, some cancers, hypertension, depression, anxiety, loss of cognitive function, and even osteoporosis.

Thanks to today’s technology, there are plenty of ways to enjoy social and personal contact without physical contact.

Why it pays to see the doctor when you’re not sick

march 2020 optIn short, because it could keep you from getting sick in the future – with screenings and tests that can help keep you healthier and more independent.

According to the Center for Disease Control, “Fewer than half of adults 65 or older are up-to-date with core preventive services despite regular checkups.” These services “include immunizations, screening tests and counseling to prevent the onset of disease and disability.”

More than 100 different medical organizations each have their own different lists of preventive care recommendations, while the US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF] has focused on these essentials: