Tag: Healthcare

4 Steps to Find Relief From Shoulder & Neck Pain

Purchased Image

Shoulder and neck pain can be caused by a variety things, such as poor posture when seated or standing, sleeping in an awkward position, or turning your head suddenly.  These types of occurrences can happen to any of us on any given day.  Yet, it isn’t until the it’s too painful that we stop and take notice.

The other day, when I was backing my car out of a parking space I felt a piercing pain in my upper-right shoulder and neck area.  I wasn’t able to look over my right shoulder.  In order to turn, I had to rotate from my waist.   The pain was almost unbearable.  In this week’s post, I’ll share how I was able to find relief from the shoulder and neck pain using a number of diagrams I shared with my physician and physical therapist.


After my failed attempt of addressing the pain, I realized it was time to contact my doctor.  To streamline the appointment process, I thought it would best to first call the nurse practitioner.  The nurse recommended that I come in to see a doctor immediately and made the appointment for the same morning.  Within minutes, I put together a calendar (see below) documenting the series of events leading up to my doctor’s appointment.

Benefits of the Calendar

  • The act of creating the calendar enables the patient to review the past and decrease the chances of leaving out details
  • The physician can view the types of activities the patient completed as possible causes
  • Enable the physician to see the combination of symptoms and attempted treatments
  • Documents the duration and levels of shoulder and neck pain

To learn more about ways to prepare for a doctor’s appointment, read 6 Easy Steps to Maximize Your Next Doctor Visit.


SmartDraw Tip: In the Left Panel, select the Schedules & Calendars Category.  Navigate to the Monthly Calendars Sub-Category.  Enter the appropriate information.  The SmartPanel and Symbol Library that appears to the left of the Work Area is dependent upon the Template.  Simply click and drag symbols into the calendar as visual indicators of various types of appointments.  


In addition to prescribed medications, my physician recommended that I start physical therapy.  With each appointment, I received print-outs of instructions detailing each exercise.  It was difficult to stay on track since the exercises varied significantly when it came to times of days, how many reps to complete, and how long to hold the position.  Rather than having to refer to several pages of instructions, I decided to condense the information into a single page for quick reference.  For your own copy of the physical therapy exercises, click here (pdf).

PT Exercise Chart1

SmartDraw Tip: The Org Chart Template was used to create the above diagram.  Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Org Chart Template in the Preview.  Navigate to the SmartPanel, select the shape with photo option. 


After each physical therapy appointment, the therapist would add a new exercise or modify the existing exercises.  Here is a mind map of how I kept track of each of the sessions.  Although the mind map is easy to understand, it doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy to follow throughout the day.  I found myself struggling with completing the exercises as often as I should – especially during the work day.

PT Exercises1

SmartDraw Tip: Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Mind Map Template in the Preview. To create multiple shapes in the same tier or level, click the Enter key.   To navigate from one shape to the next click the Tab key.  


Having worked with personal trainers in the past, I learned that living healthy is a life style.  I was most successful when I incorporated my workouts into my daily routine.  I figured I would apply a similar approach if I wanted to relieve myself of the shoulder and neck pain.  Relying solely on my weekly physical therapy appointments isn’t a viable solution. So, I created this schedule to keep myself accountable.

Benefits of the Schedule:

  • Designated times were set aside for the exercises
  • Allow the patient to note symptoms and other items such as levels of pain by day
  • Check boxes give the patient the satisfaction of noting that an exercise has been completed
  • Enables the physical therapist to further understand the patient’s experience, thus allow them to better treat the patient’s needs

PT Exercise Schedule1

SmartDraw Tip:  The basis of the diagram above was an existing sample diagram.  In the Left Pane, navigate to the Calendars & Schedules Category.  In the Scheduling Calendars Sub-Category, select the Daily Scheduler – 2.  To add a column, navigate to the Ribbon.  Select the Table Tab, click the Insert Right control.

You may want choose to the schedule to the next level.  Enter the times into your smartphone, thus receiving an alert when you should complete your exercises.

SmartDraw Tip:  Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Manual Diagram Template in the Preview.  To insert an image into the Work Area, navigate to the Ribbon and click Insert Tab.  In the Insert Tab, select the Picture control.  Locate the appropriate image file, then click Open.  Click and drag the image to the appropriate location.

How to Plan Your Next Hiking Adventure

https://pixabay.com/en/compass-hand-desktop-background-1753659/My experience summiting Mt. Whitney was incredible. I felt inspired, excited, vulnerable, and accomplished. The journey was long and grueling, but well worth it. I encourage anyone who is considering a physical challenge such as this to jump in with both feet- you won’t regret it!


Here are a few things that I learned and would recommend to anyone planning a hiking adventure:

How_To_Mind Map2SmartDraw Tip: Select different Quick Styles to apply to your visual after a Theme is chosen. First, select the desired Theme for your visual. Next, select the shapes that you would like to change. Finally, choose your desired style from the Quick Styles dropdown menu found in the Home tab .

1. Make a Plan

Create a detailed plan to help keep you and your group on track throughout the entire hiking experience! The more information included, the better.

Hiking Adventure Plan_Mind MapSmartDraw Tip: Make all shapes in your visual the same width, height, or both to create a consistent look. Simply select the shapes from the Work Area then choose your desired sizing from the Make Same dropdown menu in the Design tab. 

2. Train

Of course, a main and vital part of your plan will be to include a training schedule.

Screenshot of Training Hike Map2SmartDraw Tip: Use the Data Map Template to import and plot your data points, then replace the plot point with a fun symbol such as the mountains seen above. 

3. Get the Gear

Since your plan already includes the dates of your hike, you will be able to research the weather conditions typical to that time of year. This will help you immensely as you are preparing to get the hiking equipment needed for your hike. Take it from me- I waited until the week prior to my hike to visit outdoor stores in San Diego with the purpose of getting traction for my feet and potentially a pick axe for the snow. Store representatives looked at me like I was crazy for asking “do you have any pick axes?” I must have forgotten that I live in a climate of 70 degrees and sun year-round.

The form below is an example of something you could put together prior to your hike, complete with an “inventory” of your gear needs, as well as the estimated price of each item.

Gear Needs Inventory_Form2SmartDraw Tip: Add or remove columns from the form templates by clicking into a cell and selecting an Insert option (Insert Left, Right, Above, or Below) or Delete option (Remove Row, Column, or Contents of either) from the Table tab.

Use the Gear Needs Checklist for your next hike!

4. Take it All In

I am very goal-oriented. Typically, I am a “go hard or go home” type of person. This was the approach that I took when summiting Mt. Whitney, and as I reflect on it, with many of my life events. I forget that the end result is not the only important thing, but rather, the journey is just as important. My regret for this trip is not stopping more, to really look at the beauty of the nature surrounding me- not taking enough pictures. I have quite possibly the worst memory that I know of, so I really should have taken more pictures. My advice- pace yourself, stop often, and reflect on the beauty around you and on the people you are with. Check out the picture below and the training photos from a previous post entitled Hiking Mt. Whitney: Training Hikes and To Do’s.

5. Do it Again

Yes, you guessed it- I will be doing Mt. Whitney again. I recommend this to anyone who has already done Mt. Whitney! You Only Live Once (YOLO), right?

What summer challenges do you and your family have in store? Any advice for fellow hikers, or adventurous people in general? We would love to hear from you!

Hiking Mt. Whitney: Training Hikes and To-Do’s

Britnie at Summit Mt Whitney - original photo
Britnie at Summit of Mt Whitney

Mt. Whitney stands at 14,505 feet and is proudly named the highest summit in the contiguous United States. The mountain is located between Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest in California, and is part of the Sierra Nevadas. A round-trip hike of Mt. Whitney is permitted only by a winning lottery entry, is 22 miles, and is typically completed over a span of a few days. Myself, along with a group of 5 others, did it in a day.

When Hollie first approached me about hiking Mt. Whitney in 2015, I reacted as I usually do- excited, fearless, and ready for a challenge. Without really thinking, I said yes. Little did I know, Hollie had already entered the Mt. Whitney lottery to get our winning hiking date- June 5, 2015!

Her introduction email came quick, a little too quickly if you asked me. It was February 10th, and I received the following:

“SO…I’ve asked you to join me on a hike…Mountain Whitney that is. We will go up and down within a day. Are you ready?? I want you to come. You are coming! In my mind, you are committed. I am counting on you!”

Within the email was a list of our potential training hikes. We went at the training hard for the next three months. Below is my account of the adventure, along with a legend here for reference as you read:

Timeline legend


Mt. Whitney Post_Timeline Vertical2

To learn how to plan your next adventure click here.

Diabetes Control: Lower Your A1C in 90 Days


Receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis was overwhelming.  I have always considered myself a healthy person.  I eat right and workout.  So, how could this be happening to me?  If this sounds familiar, take deep breath and know you’re not alone.  With the support of my loving husband, guidance of my physicians, diabetes self-management clinics hosted by UC San Diego Health Systems, and SmartDraw, I was able to successfully bring my A1C levels from 10.5 to 6.3 in just 90 days.

My ability to take control of my diabetes in such a short amount of time impressed not only my physicians but the medical team at UC San Diego Health Systems.  As a result, I was invited as a guest lecturer to teach a class at the University of California San Diego on patient self-management and the use of technology.  If you’re interested in reading more about my guest lecture read 5 Steps to Make Your Next Presentation or Sales Pitch Perfect.

a1c results2

It’s been a little over a year and based on my most recent A1C test results, I have been able to maintain normal levels.  In this week’s post I’ll share with you the 5 tips to help you or your loved one take control of their diabetes.  An easy way to remember the 5 tips is S.P.A.R.K.  To be honest, finding out that I have type 2 diabetes was the spark that I needed to live an even healthier life.

  • Stay Active

  • Plan Your Meals

  • Avoid Risk Factors

  • Recognize the Signs

  • Keep Track


Tip #1: Stay Active

Being active doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run the next marathon.  It’s about having an active lifestyle.  There are a number of benefits to being physically active.  You’ll increase your energy levels as well as longevity.  At the same time you’ll decrease your glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels.

They recommend 3 types of physical activities: aerobic, resistance, and flexibility & stretching.  So, I decided to change my 30 minute morning cardio to 45 minutes and added pilates reformer classes 2x/week.

Use Your Smart Phone to Stay on Track

I have alarms for both my morning cardio workouts and my pilates reformer classes.  My physicians gave me the option to take insulin as part of my treatment.  I was determined to take control of my diabetes, so I took them up on their offer.  As you can see in the diagram below, I set a reminder for when and where to inject my insulin each day.

Phone Alarms2

SmartDraw Tip: You can insert photos or clip art into any diagram.  Navigate to the Insert Tab, select Picture.  Navigate to the appropriate file, click Open.  The image will appear in the Work Area.   

Take 10,000 Steps Every Day

My daily goal is to take 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles) per day.  I wear a Fitbit One to track my steps throughout the day.  I won’t go anywhere without my Fitbit.

How to Add Steps to Your Work Day

  • Rather than IM, email, or phone, walk to a co-worker’s office to talk to them
  • When making a phone call, stand up and pace around as you talk
  • Don’s stand, pace – when waiting for the plane, bus, or metro
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
  • Take a short walk after lunch

How to Add Steps to Your Day

  • When running errands, park further away and walk to your destination
  • Return the shopping cart all the way to the store, not to the cart port
  • Never use the drive through – get out, park, walk into the bank
  • During commercials, get up and walk around the house


Tip #2: Plan Your Meals

I’m often asked, “What’s a Diabetic Diet?”  My response, “A diabetic’s diet is a healthy diet.”

The Plate Method

One way to plan your meal, whether dining out or eating in, is to use a diabetic friendly version of The Plate Method during lunch and dinner.  When I do dine out, it’s not unusual for me to request a take-out box when the wait staff takes my order.  That way when my meal arrives, I simply set aside the portion of my plate that goes beyond the recommended amount.

plate method

SmartDraw Tip: To apply a shadow to an object use the Effects feature.  Select the object to which the shadow will be applied. Navigate to the Home Tab.  In the Effects drop-down menu select Shadow.  Select the appropriate shadow option. 

Basic Carb Counting Formula: One Carb Serving = 15 Grams of Carbohydrates

In my diabetes sell-management course, I learned that men can set a goal of 4-5 carb servings per meal, whereas women can aim for 3-4 carbs servings.  My typical day includes 3 meals (3-4 carb servings each) and 2-3 snacks (1 carb serving each).  I find it helpful to have a morning, afternoon, and evening snack to maintain my energy and proper blood sugar levels.

Portion Control

The portion you plan to consume my not be the same as the service size on the label.  Remember, if the label serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you’re consuming twice the amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates listed on the food label.

I usually prepare my meals using a food scale when I cook at home.  If you don’t have a scale handy, here’s a quick trick to measuring serving sizes.


Remember that a cup is about the size of your fist, the size of your palm is about the size of three ounces of cooked meat or fish, and an ounce of nuts is about a handful.

Tip #3: Avoid Risk Factors

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to use the insulin it makes.  Type 2 usually affects adult but it can begin at any time in your life.  Researchers do not fully understand why some people develop pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes while others don’t.  However, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is clear that certain factors increase the risk of having diabetes.

diabetes risk factors

SmartDraw Tip: With the exception of the scale and the beer foam symbols, each of the symbols in the diagram were created using various shapes, lines, and fills. 

Tip #4: Recognize the Signs

As part of my treatment I was prescribed to take metformin 2x/day, insulin 2x/day (9am and 9pm), and to test my glucose levels 4x/day (before meals and bedtime).  By testing my blood sugar before each meal I began to understand my body’s response to certain foods at various times of the day.  I kept detailed records of every test as well as the time of day.  With so much data, I decided to chart my results (see chart below).

5_By Meal Bedtime

SmartDraw Tip: You have the option to display or hide the data driving a particular chart.  In the diagram above, I have displayed the data to show that it is identical to the next chart.  Proving that this is a visual representation of the data I collected each day of my treatment.

Understanding the Diagram (above)

The goal is to remain consistent and within the target zone for that time of day.  During the day, I’m in the office and I usually pack a lunch that I planned the night before.  As you can see my fasting levels (blue) and lunch time (green) were the best.  The levels varied but only slightly, if at all.  As the day continues, you’ll see peaks and valleys develop (orange) with the most dramatic spikes appearing at bedtime (purple).  I have dinner with my husband as well as friends.   It was clear from the graph that when I’m dining with others, I need to be more mindful.

I always brought my SmartDraw charts and graphs to my doctor’s appointments. It allowed me to examine my strengths as well as my weaknesses.  My two physicians could also see it if was time to make a change in my treatment.

Tip #5: Keep Track

Keeping track of activities, meal times, and glucose levels was important to understanding my body.  At the end of each day, I would enter the values and then graph whether my glucose levels were in the target zone.  If I successfully met the goal of 81-110, I gave myself a star just like in grade school.

As noted previously, the information gathered in the chart below is the source of the data that created the previous layered graph.

5_Glucose Tracking Log w Insulin

Before I would share my records with my physicians, I wanted the opportunity to break down my results.  In other words, I wanted to explain the spikes whether extremely high or low.  In the chart below, I added an additional row called “Self Analysis.”

5_Glucose Tracking page 1

SmartDraw Tip: To apply shading to an object use the Fill feature.  Select the object.  Navigate to the Home Tab, select Gradient.  Select More Gradient.  Select the appropriate Style and Color options.  Click OK.

Start Keeping Track Today!

If you’d like to start keeping track today you can download a pdf version of the form below – just click here!

5_Daily Log Form

Make Smarter Choices About Your Health

We all want to lead healthy lives.  To do so we need to first realize that our health is in our own hands.  No one else is responsible for whether we wake up to go for a run before work, resist temptation of the slice of birthday cake in the break room, or decide stay at our desks to have a working lunch instead of taking a walk for some fresh air.  Those are the decisions that we make every day at work.  It’s time to take charge of your health.  We all know that we should go for routine check-ups, get physical, drink more water, eat healthy, and maintain a healthy weight.  The big question is how?  If you take a moment to explore SmartDraw’s categories, you’ll find a wealth of information in our Healthcare Category.


Healthcare Category

The Healthcare Category contains a number of sub-categories that range from anatomy illustration diagrams to health & fitness to medical processes.  Depending on your profession or if you’re in a particular field study, you may find that a combination of these templates will prove to be valuable personally and professionally.    Although there are a number of templates that can easily be applied, this week’s spotlight will be focused on  a few of the templates you’ll find in the Health & Fitness sub-category.

Healthcare Category’s Sub-Category List* 

  • Anatomy Worksheets
  • Anatomy Illustrations
  • Cancer
  • Cardiology
  • Dentistry
  • Diabetes
  • Disorders
  • Health & Fitness
  • Injury Report
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Medical Examination
  • Medical Processes
  • Neurology
  • OB-GYN
  • Orthopedics
  • Patient Care
  • Pediatrics

*Note: Each sub-category contains a folder of templates and sample diagrams.


SmartDraw Tip: To access the Health & Fitness sub-category, simply open SmartDraw.  In the Left Panel of the Category screen, select Healthcare.  The Health & Fitness sub-category will appear in the Category Preview and the remaining sub-categories will appear in the Left Panel as shown above.

Diagnosing Overweight and Obesity Diagram

The most common way to find out whether you’re overweight or obese is to figure out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of disease. BMI is calculated from your height and weight.


Food Guide Pyramid

This is a high level guide to eating healthy.  If you want to be heart healthy, avoid eating foods high in saturated fat, transfat, or cholesterol as they can lead to high blood cholesterol.  To keep your cholesterol levels down, eat foods low in saturated fat, such as lean chicken or turkey (baked or roasted, without the skin), fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains.  To obtain a dietary guide tailored to your personal health and life style, it is best to consult your physician or take a nutrition class offered by your doctor.

food pyramid

Vitamins in Your Diet

According to the Mayo Clinic, whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:

  • Great nutrition. Whole foods are complex and contains a variety of nutrients that your body needs.  For example, an orange provided vitamin C plus beta carotene, calcium, and other nutrients.  It’s likely that these compounds work together to produce their beneficial effect.
  • Protective substances.  Fruits and vegetables naturally contain substances called phytochemicals. Studies have shown that they may help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.  They are an excellent source of antioxidants.
  • Essential fiber.  Foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide dietary fiber.  By including fiber in your healthy diet, you can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention it can help manage constipation.
Source: www.mayoclinic.org

6 Easy Steps to Maximize Your Next Doctor Visit

Purchased Image

With overflowing waiting rooms, we have even less time to spend with our doctors to discuss our health issues.  As a result, we have less time to complete a thorough exam, report our symptoms, ask questions, and discuss treatment options.   It’s in our best interest, as patients, to properly prepare so that we can maximize the limited time we have during a doctor visit.

In January, I was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes.  Although I have a family history of type 2 diabetes, the news still came as a surprise.   I had hoped I would have it later in life.  Fortunately, within in the first 90 days of my diagnosis I was able to successfully bring my A1C level down from 10.5 to 6.3.  I can attribute much of my success to learning how to maximize my doctor’s appointments.  An easy way to remember how to maximize a doctor visit is that it’s all about your H.E.A.L.T.H:  History Education Arrive Listen Track Homework.


It’s important to ensure that your physician has all the information they need in order to make and educated decision regarding a diagnosis.  Providing information such as your family medical history, timeline of your symptoms, and a complete list of the vitamins and herbal supplements that you take are all relevant.  Before your next appointment, take a moment to create a Mind Map that you can provide at the start of your next doctor visit.


SmartDraw Tip: Mind Maps are perfect for organizing ideas and thoughts.  If you’re in the process of remembering the progression of your symptoms, it’s the perfect tool to get your thoughts in order before your next doctor’s visit.  Click here to learn how to create Mind Maps with SmartDraw.

Demystify the Situation Through EDUCATION

As part of my treatment, my physician recommended that I take a series of   diabetes self-management clinics hosted by UC San Diego Health System.  I found the courses along with online information to be helpful in making the appropriate changes to my diet and exercise.   In addition, gaining an understanding of the known risk factors (diet, medication, exercise, and stress reduction) played an integral role in maintaining healthy glucose levels.


SmartDraw Tip: To create the diagram explaining what is diabetes, I started with the Manual template.  Then with the use of various symbols from the Symbol Library, fonts, text sizes and the use of color I was able to demonstrate the differences between the two. In addition, SmartDraw has an extensive   Healthcare Category that includes over 1,500 healthcare graphics as well as information sheets, medical forms and much more.  If, for example, you entered “diabetes” into the search field you would discover a   wealth of information on diabetes.   The information available in SmartDraw is perfect not only for my own knowledge but to share with family and friends.  


Arriving early to your doctor’s appointment is placing a priority on your health.  Take advantage of the time in the waiting room to complete the necessary paperwork as well as give yourself time to focus on you and your health.  Write down any last minute questions or recent symptoms that are not already included in the Mind Map you created earlier.

LISTEN and Take Notes

Stay focused during your appointment and listen carefully to what your doctor is saying. If you don’t understand something, politely ask your doctor to explain it in simpler terms.  If it will help you to remember, take notes.  Many healthcare providers now have online resources that allow you to communicate with your physician after your appointment.  If you are unclear about the prescribed treatment, be sure to contact your physician directly or through the online portal.

TRACK Your Progress

As you begin the prescribed treatment, it’s important to note your body’s reaction and progress.  In some cases, your may require a higher dose or a different type of treatment.  As for my treatment, my primary care physician and my physician specializing in diabetes treatment asked that I test my glucose levels on a daily basis.  Knowing my glucose level before each meal helped me control my diet and exercise.

Information Included in the Tracking Chart:

  • Steps (My goal was to complete 10,000 steps per day)
  • Meal time and glucose level
  • Exercise and duration
  • Medication and doses

SmartDraw Tip: I’m a visual person so documenting my glucose levels wasn’t enough.   I converted the data into a diagram by plotting the information using the Table feature.  I used a series of symbols and colors to add emphasis to my results.  You can learn how color and effects were used in the diagram in the SmartDraw User Guide: Fundamentals for New Users.

5_Glucose Tracking Log w Insulin


I wanted to provide my physicians with proof of that I not only tracked my progress but that I understood the data.  I added a section called “Self Analysis” where I noted variances in my glucose levels.   Noting my highs and lows (dots appearing in the blue bars), increased my understanding of how my body reacts to certain foods, portions, and meal times.

SmartDraw Tip:  In a previous SmartDraw Spotlight post on How to Increase Productivity Using Custom Templates, we covered how you could customize SmartDraw to your personal needs. Since I would be tracking my glucose on a regular basis, I added the “My Daily Glucose Log” as a Custom Template.  Now, I can simply click and drag the custom template into the work area and enter the data.

CLICK HERE for a pdf of a blank My Blood Glucose Daily Log Form

5_Glucose Tracking page 1

To gain a further understanding of my glucose levels by time of day, I created the chart below.   It not only indicated whether my levels were within target range, it also noted when I was beyond target (bold red text).   When I shared the chart (below) with my physicians, they were thrilled with my progress.  They were also impressed with the speed in which I was able to lower by A1C.

SmartDraw Tip: Just like my previous post on Maximizing Time and Minimizing Effort with Custom Categories,  I decided to create a Custom Category of all the templates and diagrams I use to track and analyze my glucose levels.  All the information I’ve documented is now centrally located and easy to access.  Tracking your progress is simple when you have SmartDraw.

5_By Meal Bedtime

Through this experience, I have realized that all the power you need to manage your health comes from within you.  I am truly grateful for the support I have received from my family, friends, and doctors.  It truly has been a partnership working with my physicians, with SmartDraw as the key support tool in managing my progress.  Today, I only test my blood 2’x a day instead of 4’x and I continue to do what I can do to live healthy life.

World Diabetes Day – November 14

The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and it’s member associations in more than 160 countries and territories.  They are supported by all Member States of the United Nations, as well as by other associations and organizations, companies, healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes and their families.  The WDD campaign draws attention to issues of importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight.

SmartDraw Tip:  Based on the information provided by the International Diabetes Federation, I was able to reproduce a map of the global projections of the millions of people who will have diabetes in 2035.  You can view a video on Making Infographics in SmartDraw to learn how the diagram (below) was created.



Aging in America – A Troubling Infographic and Helpful Resources

https://pixabay.com/en/hands-walking-stick-elderly-981400/Our Aging Population

Life expectancy in the US is increasing, and it’s doing so dramatically. In 2011, a newborn baby could expect to live 79 years, up from 69 years in 1960. In 1900, a lifetime lasted only about 47 years.

Today, our odds of becoming centenarians are impressive. If you’re 55, you have a one-in-eight chance of seeing a 100th birthday. If you’re 20, your odds are about one in four.

Living Longer Isn’t Always Living Better

senior infographicBut living longer isn’t necessarily living better for many Americans.

In years past, older people in the United States have relied on family to provide care and support.

Shifting family trends, such as marriage later in life, divorce and an increasingly mobile younger generation have changed the status quo. Many seniors often can’t rely on spouses, children and other family members for help.

65+: A Fast-Growing Demographic

The older population is growing-and it’s growing fast. The number of people 65 and older in the US is forecast to double in the next 40 years. And the older this group gets, the more likely they are to be living alone; even as they approach the age at which they may need help from others the most.

Organizations That Offer Help to Seniors

Thankfully, there are many organizations throughout the country that offer services to seniors. Often free of charge, these groups help those in need of assistance with day-to-day tasks or just a friendly face to check up on them.

One such organization is ElderHelp of San Diego. As a volunteer with ElderHelp, I’ve seen firsthand the difference we can make in the lives of seniors who may not have many people in their lives, or anyone at all, to support them.

ElderHelp offers great services such as rides to appointments and errands, help with personal care, grocery shopping, home repairs, yard work, and dog walking (my favorite) – to name just a few.

Often, our seniors just want a friendly visit or phone call to know that somebody cares about them. And the good news is that groups like ElderHelp exist all across the United States, ranging from local senior centers to far-reaching national organizations (see the map below to link to a few of the many nonprofits that are out there).

senior map

If you or a neighbor, friend or family member is having trouble going it alone, there are people that want to help. Or perhaps you want to lend a hand yourself. Get in touch and see what they can do for you… or what you can do for them.

Follow the links from the images above to access interactive visuals which you can download if you’d like. Also, if you have organizations in your area that you’d like us to add to our map, please respond in the comments section below.