Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

You may not know it, but November is the month to go purple!  You will see buildings lit with the color purple and lots of publicity regarding Alzheimer’s disease, all to highlight November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregiver Month.  The tradition started back in 1983 when President Reagan (who died of Alzheimer’s disease) proclaimed the awareness month to call attention to this tragic disease.   Back then, fewer than 2 million Americans had the disease, today that number is 5.4 million.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US and the only one in the top ten that cannot be prevented, treated, or cured.  If the trajectory of the disease is not changed, by 2050, nearly 14 million Americans will be affected by Alzheimer’s.

So what exactly is Alzheimer’s disease?  I have been working in the field of cognitive impairment for over 15 years and the number one question I am asked is “What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?”  The best answer I can give is that dementia is an “umbrella” term much like the term cancer.  There are many types of cancer and there are many types of dementia as well.  Perhaps the easiest explanation is this….everyone who has Alzheimer’s disease has dementia, but not everyone who has dementia has Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is, however, the most common type of dementia, accounting for around 70% of all cases.  The hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss, particularly short-term memory loss in the early stages.  Vascular dementia (strokes that impair the blood supply to the brain) accounts for around 10% of dementia cases, and then there are other forms of dementia you may have heard of like Lewy Body or Frontotemporal dementia.  Dementia is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning.  It is important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not a mental illness.  It is a disease just as we know cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer to be physical illnesses.   And while there is a certain extent of memory loss that is a normal part of aging, the memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are not a part of normal aging.   Toward the end of this blog, I will list the ten warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease and attempt to differentiate between what is normal and what could be a red flag.

Why is this subject important to me?  Aside from the huge public health and expense issue this presents for our country (and every other country in the world by the way), it affected my family personally.  Three of our four parents in my immediate family were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within a two year period.  The disease changed everything for my parents, my family, and of course, for me and my priorities.  My loved ones have now been gone for a few years, having lived for 16 years, 14 years, and 11 years with the disease.  People ask me if I am relieved to be out from under the burdens of the disease.   I tell them I am just warming up and will not rest until we find an end to Alzheimer’s.   In the meantime, my quest is to help as many other families as possible who are dealing with this cruel disease.

A brief history of the disease

It might be a good time to switch gears and pause for a brief history lesson regarding Alzheimer’s.  The disease was discovered in 1906 by a German doctor named Alois Alzheimer.  He was presented with a 51 year old female we respectfully refer to simply as “Frau Auguste D.”  Her husband brought her to Dr. Alzheimer’s clinic when she displayed irrational behaviors.  Back then, it was usually, “off to Belleview for you” but Dr. Alzheimer was not buying it.  He cared for her at his clinic until her death three years later and then discovered the disease during her autopsy. Without going into “Brain 101” too deeply in this blog, excess build-ups of two proteins (amyloid beta and tau) are present in Alzheimer’s patients.  Now you may have the same reaction I have every time I tell the story of Frau August D…1906!!!!! What? It is 2015, why has this not been cured by now?

The disease is very complicated and it was only in the late 1980s that the scientific community realized that younger onset (diagnosis under 65) and regular onset (over 65) were the same disease.  Several research and diagnosis breakthroughs have occurred in the past decade and while there is no treatment or cure that stops the disease as of today, I have never been more optimistic that a breakthrough is possible.  Thousands of doctors and scientists around the world are working on the issue as we speak.

The high cost of the disease

You may not know that Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in our nation.  This year, the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients will be $226 billion (yes, with a “b”).  $153 billion of that will be Medicare and Medicaid costs for care of Alzheimer’s patients.   With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 everyday, we must put an end to Alzheimer’s.  1 in 9 of us will develop the disease past the age of 65.  Nearly half of us will have the disease at age 85.

The workplace stats are equally disturbing.  85% of caregivers under 65 are employed.  Alzheimer’s disease costs American business more than $60 billion annually, both in costs related to care and in lost productivity.  60% of working Alzheimer’s caregivers report that they have had to come in late, leave early, or take time off.  20% had to take a leave of absence.  13% had to go from full time to part time and 15% had to give up working entirely.

The caregivers

So I mentioned that November is Alzheimer’s Awareness and Caregiver month.  Who are these caregivers exactly?  There are over 15 million of us in the US.  This year we will provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care.  You History Channel buffs might think that ice road trucking is the most dangerous profession on earth, but I would submit that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is the most challenging.  Caregivers must navigate between making sure their loved one is protected from a variety of dangers (60% of Alzheimer’s patients will wander during their journey with the disease) and preserving their dignity.  These are our parents, our spouses, our friends, and treating them like children is never appropriate although their behaviors may certainly test our patience.

As the person moves through Early, Middle, and Late Stage Alzheimer’s, behaviors can become more and more challenging.  Just as we caregivers learn to handle one behavior, it disappears and another one emerges.  Caregivers take lousy care of themselves due to stress and worry.  They balance medical, legal, financial, and family dynamic issues that are complicated and emotional.  74% of caregivers report being somewhat to very concerned about their own health.  So…if you know a caregiver of a person with dementia, give them a hug in November, better yet, offer to help them pick up groceries, rake leaves, or treat them to a spa day; they will be eternally grateful.

The patients

You also may not know that women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease.  2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients are women.  The prevailing thought has been that this is because women live longer than men and the number one risk factor is age.  New studies are underway to further investigate whether there are other factors that may make women more predisposed to the disease.  Over 60% of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women as well.  Perhaps the most startling statistic is that a woman over 60 is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as breast cancer.

10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s

So now…as promised and if you are still reading this!… what are the common symptoms or early warning signs of Alzheimer’s?  The Alzheimer’s Association lists ten of them.  I will mention them all briefly and give a few examples from my own family experiences.

  1. Memory loss – not just forgetting the name of some movie star in an old film, but the type of memory loss that disrupts daily life and causes people to live in “sticky-note-ville.” Alzheimer’s erases short-term memory first so recently learned information may not be maintained like it was before.
  2. Changes in planning and problem solving – We all mess up a detail now and then but we are able to adjust and work through the issue. Many early-stage Alzheimer’s patients do very well as long as they stick to a routine.  When problems arise, however, their ability to compensate is limited.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks – We’re not talking about forgetting how to reprogram the thermostat and having to refer to the manual, we are talking about commonly performed tasks. An example would be my Mom who started taking 30 minutes to unload the dishwasher due to confusion.
  4. Confusion with time or place – We all forget what day it is occasionally but get ourselves back on track quickly. An Alzheimer’s symptom example might be someone who goes to the same activity each week but now cannot remember the route to take to get there.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships – In other words, Alzheimer’s patients do not see things the way we do. They may suffer from a lack of peripheral vision (which is why driving becomes an issue) and may not be able to identify how close an object is to them.
  6. Problems with speaking or writing words – We all forget a word occasionally but we are quick to substitute another one that makes sense in the context of our conversation. My Dad, however, would become very frustrated when he couldn’t think of any words to describe his watch or wallet.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps – We all lose things and if you find your lost keys in the pocket of the jacket you wore two days ago, that makes sense. If you find them in the freezer, that could be a sign that something is wrong.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment – We all make stupid decisions from time to time – to err is human as they say. But Alzheimer’s patients may lose the basic judgment to know when a scammer is taking advantage of them or they may buy an expensive item they simply can’t afford.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities – The person may be “hiding out” to avoid family, friends or work associates from noticing that they are having cognitive issues. We all “check out” occasionally but a noticeable difference in someone’s social interaction may be a cause for concern.
  10. Changes in mood and personality – We are not talking about the typical “set in my ways” or “you kids get off my lawn” type crankiness. We are talking about changes in a person’s demeanor that are significantly different and unusual compared to their baseline behavior.

It’s time to lift the veil on Alzheimer’s

I could write for hours on this subject (in case you can’t tell by now) but I want to close by urging anyone reading this who has a friend or loved one with warning signs to see a doctor immediately to discuss symptoms in the context of their overall health.  Many people are hesitant to discuss the subject but there are three reasons to do so.  First, it might not be Alzheimer’s at all, there are many other conditions that present symptoms that may be similar.  Secondly, if it is Alzheimer’s, perhaps a clinical trial would be appropriate; the care during these trials is excellent and the scientific community really needs participants.  And finally, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s allows the patient to express their wishes while they still can and it also allows family members to become knowledgeable about the disease, plan for the future, and learn the valuable caregiving skills they will need to maintain the highest quality of life for all involved throughout the journey.  In other words, you want and need to know…no matter what.

I hope this information and my story helps draw attention to this disease and an appreciation for caregivers during the month of November.  Please help spread the word during National Alzheimer’s Awareness and Caregiver month.   And please know that we here at MINES and Associates recognize the family and workplace pressures of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  Help, education, and coaching is available for employees who are balancing their responsibilities at home and at work.

And, oh yea, ski and snowboard season is upon us….be sure you and your friends and family wear helmets – your brain is your most precious and irreplaceable asset!


JJ Jordan

Associate, MINES and Associates

Family Caregiver

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TotalWellbeing: October 2015

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November 2015:  Be Aware of Your Intellectual Wellbeing

Wellness through Awareness!

Welcome to the November issue of TotalWellbeing! In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month we want to talk about Intellectual Wellbeing. This month we ask you to strive to make good habits that support your intellect and lifelong building of neuro-pathways in your brain. Read books, study music, lean new languages, dance, or try to do tasks with your non-dominant hand. All these things will build new pathways and help reinforce your brain as you get older. For a closer look at intellectual wellbeing and how it relates to our topics this month please read The Path, below.

As usual we invite to check out MINESblog. October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, so we took the opportunity to explore this topic from the eyes of caretakers and others who are caring for a loved one that has been diagnosed with a deadly disease. Our post explored the huge emotional and physical toll care-giving can have, and ways that a caretaker can support themselves while also supporting their loved one. On a lighter note, October 21st was “Back to the Future Day,” which for those of you who don’t know, was the day that Marty and Doc traveled to in the movie “Back to the Future 2.” In honor of this fun occasion, we took some time to look at the top advancements in health care, employee benefits, and mental health since the movie’s release in 1989. Check it out!

Continue to watch the MINESblog to see the latest discussions about wellbeing topics and tips on staying healthy and stress-free. For even more great resources be sure to explore the links to the left with important resources such as our LinkedIn showcase pages and Balanced Living Magazine.


To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path

Intellectual wellbeing, like any of the dimensions of wellbeing we discuss, is something that you should strive to nurture every day and throughout your life. Intellect is something that you can grow but you must also maintain it. Especially as you get older it becomes increasingly important that you strive to feed your brain and keep it busy to avoid losing any of your cognitive functioning. Make it fun. Choose puzzles or games that you enjoy, but that will also engage your memory or complex thinking. It can be anything from doing Sudoku puzzles in the morning all the way to dedicating yourself to learning a new language or a musical instrument. The goal here is to build new neuro-pathways. Over time various factors such as disease, lifestyle habits, and environmental contamination, can breakdown pathways in your brain and the more pathways you have already built, the more prepared your brain will be for whatever might happen.

Intellectual Wellbeing resources:

No matter what your age it is important to exercise your memory. Great ways to do this include puzzles and learning new things like a musical instrument or a foreign language. The ways you can expand your mind are endless. Check out some great tips and facts about improving your memory from by clicking below.

Read the full article here!


If you want to join the battle against Alzheimer’s and help end this terrible disease once and for all, click below and find out how you can join the cause with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Get Involved!

 Chakra To Your Senses

Many cultures believe in Chakras (shock-ras) which are, simply put, energy centers in your body that govern various aspects of your physiology. We will stay away from any religious aspects of these, such as their Buddhist symbolism, and instead focus on the general concept behind them to bring you more ways to nurture your body as well as mind. Click here to see a complete list of the 7 chakras and their properties.

Chakras to nurture this month: Crown and Heart

In order to support your intellectual wellbeing it will be important to be aware of, and nurture, your Third Eye and Throat Chakras. Your Third Eye Chakra, located on your forehead, is the location of your center for intelligence and wisdom, while your Throat Chakra is right where you think it would be. No surprise your Throat Chakra is the center for communication and expression. The reason these two are important to intellectual wellbeing is that in order for ideas and wisdom to prosper and spread we not only need to have free thought but also free expression to share the ideas and wisdom that we create as individuals. Support your centers of intelligence by creating and thinking outside the box, but don’t stop there, share your ideas and get others to do the same. Now get out there and have fun and be well!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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13 Changes in Behavioral Health Since McFly’s ’85

Today is #BackToTheFuture day, marking Marty McFly’s futuristic flight to October 21, 2015, as imagined from 1989, when telephones were all leashed and something called the Internet was a sleepy backwater for a handful of military folk and academic researchers. While the film scored several direct hits – wearable technology,video calls, fingerprint recognition – some predictions fell well wide of the mark, though with driverless cars on the horizon can flying cars be that far behind?  Here’s a list of what MINES sees as the most noteworthy, in some cases, landmark changes in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment in the last 30 years, with an emphasis on advances in employer-sponsored health coverage.

The Changes

Drug-free workplace Act of 1988 passes

The Drug-free workplace Act of 1988 establishes new guidelines for how to construct and implement programs that significantly decrease worksite drug abuse while increasing onsite productivity.

In the early 1990s managed mental health care made its entrance into the healthcare arena, with EAP being a source of referral into provider networks.

The inclusion of Managed Care for behavioral health changed the conversation about what accessing healthcare around behavioral health issues looked like by improving access to evidence-based solutions while decreasing behavioral health risk for employers offering services.

NCQA is formed in 1990

The NCQA was established to accredit organizations that provided evidence-based solutions for various intervention methodologies.

In 1990. WHO declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder

For a slew of reasons, including the later discovery of body dysmorphia, this changed the way we discuss homosexuality and other sexual and gender-related dysmorphic orientations, leading to later legal changes. 

Depression is identified as a significant risk factor in medical treatment adherence

This, among other studies, identifies many changes to the way that we charge, and interact with, disorders that ultimately changes our fee structure from FFS to FFV. We have been working in, and waiting for, this model for years!

SAMHSA founded in 1992

SAMHSA resulted in a number of new interventions for behavioral health that included Access to Recovery (ATR) and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). MINES has been intimately involved in the implementation of these methodologies that have saved lives and influenced the course of human events in Colorado for over a decade.

1995-97: ACE studies identify significant implications of early factors in health experience

Adverse Childhood Experiences are identified with high validity for longitudinal physical and behavioral health issues. These early identifiers are starting to be used in primary care.

HIPAA is established in 1996

The HIPAA laws started in 1996, but HiTech as a part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act really added teeth to the act. Most of behavioral health becomes afraid of information technology as a result of the 1996 act.

42.CFR.Part 2: 2002

The exclusion of health information regarding substance abuse issues significantly debilitates inclusion in public health information exchange resulting in reductions in capacity for intervention out of fear for privacy protection.

Meaningful use excludes behavioral health in 2009

The exclusion of independent Behavioral Health providers from Meaningful Use decreases the efficacy of integrated behavioral health by downgrading the value of those providers.

By 2007, more than 75% of employers provide an EAP to their employees

Finally, data on EAPs start to show their implementation pass 3 in 4 companies. Despite the quantity, quality improvement is still not established, nor quantified.

DSM-V is published in 2013

Significant advancements in the diagnosis of trauma disorders make major advances in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual.

Denver Startup Week focuses on Behavioral Change as a part of Healthcare

Despite the regulatory environment working against behavioral health, somatic health is recognizing, from a market perspective, that changes have to be seen in our intervention methodologies.


  • MINES implemented our first EAP in 1986, and our first Managed Behavioral Health contract in 1988, a history we’ve continued to 2015.
  • Antonovsky’s theory of Sense of Coherence and Salutogenesis are published in 1979, slightly before McFly enjoys his first trip through time. Beginning in 2011, salutogenesis has come to embody a new architecture for the interactional, yet individualistic, approach that MINES implemented as a core value in the understanding of a given patient’s current health state.
  • In 1973, Daniel Kahneman, with Amos Teversky, publishes cognitive bias theory which helps to underwrite the basis for Behavioral Economics – resulting in a new understanding of decision-making related to health decisions. His 2013 book, Thinking Fast and Slow, (fitting into the list) establishes his lifetime work in a way that influenced MINES’ overall understanding of cognitive errors.

Honorable Mention

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Program (PAIMI)

MINES hasn’t had any real interaction with this act or its implications, however, while researching this article came across a piece of legislation that appears to have some very significant value for the community as a whole. Based on its construction, we would highly suggest it has merit beyond our scope.

And 5 predictions for the next 5 years

  • Significant integration of behavioral health into primary care
  • Behavioral Health, unencumbered by Meaningful Use, will leapfrog legacy health systems
  • Further destigmatization of behavioral health treatment
  • Marijuana laws will further complicate workplace drug-free programs
  • Greater focus on resiliency as a methodology for creating healthier populations

What did we miss?

We’re 100% sure you have things to add to this list. Most of these have been implemented and we’ve seen their impact. But maybe you have other thoughts as to changes in the last 30 years that have dramatically affected Behavioral Health. What do you think? Comment below or provide thoughts on twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Ryan Lucas
Manager, Engagement & Development

With support from Robert Mines, Ph.D. (@robertamines), Richard Lindsey, Ph.D., Charles Epstein (@Backboneinc), Nic McKane


Breast Cancer Awareness: Tips & Self-Care for the Caretaker

Taking care of the ones you love

Often times, people who step into a caregiving role for one reason or another, are inexperienced in this critical role. There are a lot of unanswered questions: How do you talk to someone who has just been diagnosed? How do you support them in the best possible way? And one of the toughest questions: how do you take care of yourself through all of it? It is natural to want to help your family and friends, especially when one of them has been diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer, these are people that you love and cherish. In order to help them most effectively it is important to go into a caregiving role with specific goals and expectations in mind.

What to say to a recently diagnosed loved one?

So what do you say to a loved one that has been recently diagnosed with cancer or another life threatening disease? The answer is, surprisingly, not much. To avoid being overbearing it is important that you make sure your loved one knows that you are there for them but only as much as they need or want. Educate yourself about the diagnoses and the type of cancer/disease that they have so that you can understand what they are going through. Avoid using that knowledge to offer unwanted advice by insisting they try this or that, just because you read about it online. Oftentimes the best thing you can do is simply spend time with them and share their feelings by offering a shoulder to cry on. Avoid being judgmental or being overly optimistic by saying things like, “you’ll be fine,” or “you’ll get better, don’t worry about it.” These sorts of things can make them feel like you don’t actually understand the gravity of the situation or understand their feelings; instead, simply assure them that you are there for them.

Here are some “do says” and “don’t says” from to get you started:

Some options to help show your care and support:

  • I’m sorry this has happened to you.
  • If you ever feel like talking, I’m here to listen.
  • What are you thinking of doing, and how can I help?
  • I care about you.
  • I’m thinking about you.

Some examples of phrases that are unhelpful:

  • I know just how you feel.
  • I know just what you should do.
  • I’m sure you’ll be fine.
  • Don’t worry.
  • How long do you have?


Support them

Care-giving can be a long, difficult road, so it is important that you are prepared and know the best, most practical ways to help and support your loved ones. First, as mentioned above, it is critical that you research their cancer diagnoses, treatment courses, side-effects, and anything else that you may be concerned about. This will help you be a more effective support source. Once you have a better understanding of the situation you can help your loved one seek out the best treatment, with the direction of their doctor of course. Rely on the experts but use your education to ask good questions to manage expectations on treatments and to know when a second opinion on things may be appropriate.

Aside from helping with the logistics of care, you can also make a huge difference by offering help in other areas of their lives. To make things easier, instead of simply telling them that you are there if they need anything, take the burden off of them and offer to do specific things they may need. These can be things like offering to walk their dog, do the dishes, go to the grocery store or pharmacy for them; be specific and timely and you will be a huge help to them without being overwhelming.

Make sure that you are truly present for them. Offering company and a way to take their mind off of their condition is also critical. While nothing you can say or do will cure them or make their treatments any easier, having someone that is there to talk things through and to gain emotional and spiritual support from can make all the difference. It is also important to try and take the attention off their condition from time to time, while supporting their wellbeing. Think about exercising with them to the extent that they are able, make time to watch a movie or play a game together, or do whatever other activities they are able to enjoy without over-exerting themselves. And most importantly try and make them laugh. Being light, silly, and breaking the serious tone can work wonders by creating fond memories together and maintaining a positive outlook day to day. Another important goal to all of this is to make things as normal for them as possible. Do not treat them as though they are fragile creatures. They are the same person that they have always been to you; make sure to remind them of that.

Support yourself

Being a caregiver or go-to person for someone with a chronic illness, especially for a loved one, can be extremely draining, both physically and emotionally. It will be critical that you take care of yourself as much as you take care of your loved one. The most common areas were caretakers’ wellbeing is affected include; trouble sleeping or finding time to sleep, poor eating habits and lack in meal preparation time resulting in less healthy diet, lack of time to exercise or lack of motivation to be active, being unable to stay in bed when sick, and also the failure to keep up on their own medical needs and doctors appointments. All of these can be detrimental to your personal wellbeing so it is imperative that you take steps to limit your stress and maximize your self-care as much as you are able.  Some ways that you can manage this include asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance now and again. Be specific in how they can help you and let them decide what they are willing and able to do for you. Even little things like someone willing to cook a dinner for you or the one you care for once a week can make a big difference.

Sleep is another huge concern. Remember that if you are sleep deprived you not only become a less effective support-giver, but you actually can become a danger to yourself and the ones you care for. Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep. Ways to help with this include setting a maximum amount of time that you can spend with your ill loved one. You may feel the need to be by their side 24/7 but that is just not realistic. Remember that you are human and need to take care of your own needs as well, as much as you would like to be superman. Set sleep goals and take a nap or go to sleep early if you are feeling tired.

Do not feel guilty if you need to re-energize by taking time for yourself. It is not a selfish thing to still engage in your favorite hobbies, social activities, and exercise routines. Setting goals is a good way to accomplish this. List them out if you have to but make sure that you are still striving for things in your own life. Set certain exercise goals, or goals for a certain number of hours of sleep each night. By making time for yourself it will not only give your mind a break, but will make you a more effective and energized source of support when you reconvene with your sick loved one.

Don’t forget that while you may be thinking about your loved ones’ care and doctors visits, do not let yourself forgo your own care. Annual exams with your physician, dentist visits, prescription regimens, and any other care you normally undergo is still just as important as it was before your loved one was diagnosed. Aside from just being important to maintaining your own health, seeing your doctor also affords you an opportunity to seek their professional opinion on how to limit stress, improve your diet, and otherwise limit the impact of the caretaker issues that you may be dealing with.

Finally, remember that you are not the only one that is going through this dire situation. There are many other people that may be in the exact same situation as you. Don’t be afraid to seek out social groups either locally or online. Be open-minded to going to a support group to connect with others that can lend an ear or even a helping hand. It also helps to talk with people who have experience dealing with the same issues as they can understand what you are going through better than most others and could even be the source of some meaningful new friendships.

Saying goodbye

Through this whole process it is important to accept the fact that some people get better and some are not able to recover. Your loved one may be on the road to recovery and will one day be all better; but, in some cases death is inevitable and it’s important to be prepared to say goodbye. Grief, when dealing with a long term illness, is a lot different than that of a sudden death, primarily because there is period of time where there is an expectation of death. In their book “Saying Goodbye,” Dr. Barbara Okun and Dr. Joseph Nowinski detail the grieving process from diagnosis to death in 5 phases:

Phase 1: Crisis

This stage begins with the diagnosis of the serious or terminal disease. A crisis is created in the lives of those involved. Anxiety and fear are the most prevalent emotions during this phase. The best thing to do in this phase is to remove as much of the unknown as possible by researching the disease itself, treatment options, and what to expect throughout the rest of the process.

Phase 2: Unity

This stage is when the person who was diagnosed and their friends and family accept the situation and begin to come together and define their role going forth. It is important to define what the needs/capabilities of each person is and be open and honest with all involved.

Phase 3: Upheaval

Upheaval occurs as the life changes brought on by the situation begin to create issues and difficulties with in the social circle of family and friends. Frustrations, guilt, and resentment can surface creating animosity between friends and family members. During this stage it is important to maintain open communication and try your best to let go of negative feelings as they arise.

Phase 4: Resolution

This stage occurs once the ill person has reached a point where recovery is no longer an option and death becomes a reality. Family members and friends begin to accept the reality of the situation. This is where the real grief starts and various people will have a stronger reaction than others. It is important to let everyone grieve in their own way and not pass judgment. This phase is important in that it may be the last chance to resolve issues between yourself and the dying, recall good memories of the times you spent together, and to say any last words you have before they pass. Seize the opportunity when you can.

Phase 5: Renewal

The final stage begins after the person has passed on, usually at their funeral. This can be an extremely confusing time as everyone grapples with the reality of what happened and their own mixed emotions. But this is the time where you can begin to try and focus on the good times you spent with them, and decide how you will remember them and honor their life in a positive light.

Source:  Saying Goodbye by Barbara Okun, Ph.D. and Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. by arrangement with Berkley Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc, Copyright © 2011 by Harvard University.

These descriptions are just a brief overview. For a full description of the phases please visit

Whew, okay heavy subject I know, but it is one that we could all face at some point in our lives. If you or someone you know is dealing with this in their lives and needs help, please seek out support groups online or at a local cancer center, or consider seeking professional counseling. If you have an employee assistance program through your employer, it can be a great resource that can provide guidance, help finding information, and referrals to counseling.


To Your Wellbeing,

-Nic Mckane



American Cancer Society


Family Caregiver Alliance

Cancer Care

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TotalWellbeing: October 2015

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October 2015:  Be Aware of Your Spiritual Wellbeing

Wellness through Awareness!

Welcome to the October issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we are going to look at our wellness topic, Spiritual Wellbeing, as it pertains to another important theme for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Before we get into how spiritual wellbeing plays a part in your life, we want to bring awareness to the fight against Breast Cancer and encourage you to get involved. MINES will be posting resources and tweets all month long on important issues pertaining to BCAM, but you can get involved right away by following the link in the wellbeing resources below to find great local resources and ways that you can help support the fight against Breast Cancer. For a closer look at spiritual wellbeing and how it relates to our topics this month please read The Path, below.

As usual we invite to check out MINESblog. Last month we had 3 very important posts. One of our case managers, Alea Mackley, discussed Suicide Prevention in the Workplace. Next Ryan Lucas, Manager of Engagement and Development, covered 5 important considerations for those suffering from depression in honor of National Suicide Prevention Day. And finally to balance things out with a post on a lighter topic, Nic Mckane, yours truly, looked at The Importance of Family Influence on Healthy Habits.

Continue to watch the MINESblog to see latest discussions about wellbeing topics and tips on staying healthy and stress-free. For even more great resources be sure to explore the links to the left with important resources such as our LinkedIn showcase pages  and Balanced Living Magazine.


To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path

Spiritual wellbeing could be defined as our level of peace and harmony tied to our sense of purpose within the world. Now where does Spiritual Wellbeing play a part in all Breast Cancer Awareness Month? In a word, hope. More specifically, maintaining positive spiritual wellness and remaining resilient when you or a loved one are faced with a diagnosis is hard — but crucial. Maintaining a positive state of mind has also been proven to impact treatment outcomes and limits despair during the darkest times in life. Not only does a high level of spiritual wellbeing make you a more resilient person during bad times but studies show that those that have overcome hardships have higher levels of happiness overall. This is due to a higher awareness of the small things in life and appreciation for the happier times in life. So this all just goes to show that good or bad, a positive, balanced mind can make all the difference.

Spiritual Wellbeing resources:

Keep your own spirits up! Find out some of the science behind spiritual wellbeing and its connection to our overall happiness. The University of California has some excellent overviews of spirituality and what it means to each of us as individuals as well as some great resources to help enhance your sense of spiritual satisfaction.

Read the full article here!


The American Cancer Society is a great organization that is no stranger to fighting the good fight. You can support all the great things they are doing by getting involved in local events or donating to the cause.

Get Involved!

 Chakra To Your Senses

Many cultures believe in Chakras (shock-ras) which are, simply put, energy centers in your body that govern various aspects of your physiology. We will stay away from any religious aspects of these, such as their Buddhist symbolism, and instead focus on the general concept behind them to bring you more ways to nurture your body as well as mind. Click here to see a complete list of the 7 chakras and their properties.

Chakras to nurture this month: Crown and Heart

In order to support your spiritual wellbeing it will be important to be aware of, and nurture, your Crown and Heart Chakras. Your Crown Chakra, located in the top of your head, is actually your spiritual energy center as well as intelligence. You can nurture your spiritual center by stimulating your intellect and critical thinking. Read an inspirational book, or engage in some meaningful conversation. Your Heart Chakra, located right where you think it’d be, is your center for love and compassion. Support your heart by spending time with those you care about, or even try some inward reflection such as writing in a journal or writing some poetry or music if you’re feeling creative. Now get out there and have fun and be well!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Suicide in the Workplace

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. Consider that number for a moment.  Imagine someone asked you to count 1 million toothpicks.  How long would it take?  Most Americans have been impacted by suicide.  The topic of suicide and the workplace is not frequently talked about and often gets overlooked.

A colleague or employee contemplating suicide can be overwhelming for HR representatives, supervisors, and managers.  You may not know what your role is or how to offer support without overstepping professional and personal boundaries.  One of the most difficult questions has to do with assessment.  How does one determine if a person is really at risk for suicide, and if a risk is detected what is the most effective way to intervene?

This blog provides a brief reference, or starting point, for developing strategies to manage suicide in the work place.   It addresses warning signs, prevention tips, and postvention tips.  It also offers suggestions for what you can do to support those who have lost an employee or co-worker to suicide.

When a person is contemplating taking their own life, they often will not voluntarily tell anybody.  They may, however, reach out in non-direct ways.  Below are some warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide:

  1. Talking, writing about suicide/death. The phrases, “I wish I were dead” or “the world would be better off without me” are common examples of things suicidal people might say.
  2. Someone might be suicidal if they begin actively seeking access to guns or other weapons, pills, etc.
  3. They begin putting their affairs in order. Things like making a will, or tying up loose ends as not to be a further burden on friends and family might be a sign that they are contemplating leaving for good.
  4. A person who appears down, depressed, or hopeless.
  5. Isolating themselves from others. Somebody who normally engages socially might become isolated or start to withdraw from co-workers, work engagements and other social obligations might be suffering from major depression.
  6. Increase in risky behavior. If a person significantly increases alcohol, or drug use, incidents of unsafe sex, calling into work, reckless driving, or a host of other harmful activities, they are demonstrating unsafe behaviors and may have given up.

If you witness one or more of the above behaviors the next step is to determine their risk.  It is helpful to consider multiple factors that could increase ones risk.  The brief list below is a place to start.

  1. Biopsychosocial factors: The individual is at higher risk if they have a history of trauma or abuse, alcohol or drug addiction, or mental health issues–especially those that have gone undiagnosed or untreated.  If there have been previous attempts and/or a family history of suicide then this would increase the likelihood that someone would seriously complete suicide.
  2. Sociocultural factors: Being part of a stigmatized, non-dominate group in society like LBGTQ can cause a person to feel isolated especially if they do not have the support of friends and family.  The person may have been in a social environment where suicide is normalized, they may have had friends or family complete suicide which makes suicide contemplative.  Barriers to mental healthcare associated with socioeconomic issues prevent individuals obtaining the help and early intervention they need.
  3. Environmental factors: These might include a recent job loss, dropping out of school, or loss of a loved one or relationship.  The person may live in an environment where access to guns or pills is readily available increasing their means–subsequently increasing risk.
  4. Does the person have a plan, intent or means to commit suicide? If somebody discloses that they have a specific plan to harm themselves, high motivation to do so, and a way to do it, they are at high risk for committing suicide.

If you have seen the warning signs in someone and determine that they are at high risk and you feel they are in imminent danger you should get them to a mental health professional, call 911, or take them to the nearest emergency room.  For long-term suicide prevention tips in the workplace see the ideas below.

Prevention tips:

  1. Make help accessible by posting suicide prevention hotlines in lunchrooms, break rooms, and bathrooms.
  2. Raise awareness regarding resources; make sure employees know that they have an employee assistance program (EAP) and that using the benefit is confidential. Post flyers with numbers to the EAP so that number is accessible to everyone. Oftentimes EAP programs are accessible to human resource representatives, mangers, and supervisors; take advantage and seek advice.  Have a list of community resources that offer mental health services.  Let employees know that they can also talk with their human resources representative.
  3. Educate employees by destigmatizing mental health and substance abuse issues by offering lunch and learns or trainings on various topics such as suicide, healthy coping skills for managing stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues.
  4. Create a balanced work environment by allowing for “mental health” days or offering work from home days if it’s possible. Managers and supervisors can help by assisting in resolving work problems as they arise and managing conflict effectively between co-workers, managers, and supervisors.

If your company has experienced a suicide, the loss of a colleague or employee can be shocking and traumatic. Below are a series postvention tips that might be helpful in the event of a workplace suicide.

Postvention tips:

  1. Acknowledge that your employees may have strong emotions surrounding the suicide and will need opportunities to express their feelings.
  2. Supervisors and managers should be on alert for PTSD symptoms. A drastic change in behavior may be a sign that a person is having a hard time dealing with the incident.
  3. Encourage healthy grieving by providing a basic understanding of the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.  The stages of grief affect individuals differently at various rates.   Some employees may express their grief as sadness or anger over a long period of time, while others may get back to their normal lives rather quickly.
  4. Offering empathetic and compassionate listening will give employees permission to talk openly with their supervisors and managers and will give them the opportunity to ask for what they might need in their grief. Being accessible to employees lets them know that they are not alone and that they are supported
  5. Become a role model for healthy grieving by being open with your feelings surrounding the suicide.

The purpose of this blog is not only to help employers notice the warning signs of suicide and help them assess their employee’s risk for suicide, it also serves as a basic framework on how to instill awareness regarding suicide, prevention and postvention tips in the workplace.  It is likely that if there is early recognition and intervention of a person who is contemplating suicide, that there can be a positive outcome.  In honor of suicide prevention month remember, asking someone “how are you doing” or “are you ok” should reach farther than the project they’re working on.  By asking and being open to talk, you can save a person’s life.

Helpful resources:

Crisis Lines:

1-800-273-TALK (8255):  This number will connect you with a mental health professional who will be able to assist you.



The Jason Foundation:


Alea Makley, MA
Case Manager
MINES & Associates

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Family Health & Fitness: The Importance of Family Influence on Healthy Habits

It’s no surprise that our family and friends have an impact on our own habits and preferences, but do we realize just how strong this influence can be and how much of what we do, eat, wear, say, and think may be a conglomerate of our social influences? Like it or not those close to us have a say in our lifestyle choices without us even being aware of it, and in turn, we influence our own family and friends even if we are incognizant of this power we possess. Now don’t worry, no one has mind control powers here, it’s just simple social influence, and habitual behavior developed over years of contact with those you spend time with. Now this influence can reach into all sorts of facets within your life, such as what TV shows you watch, what clothes you wear, and so on. This blog focuses on influence over our health habits and diet, and look at what sort of barriers to change certain social connections might pose.

The social influence of family on health and fitness affects all  family members of all ages. It can be both for better and or worse in terms of the types of habits your social connections can have, even as adults. One study published in The American Journal of Health Promotion said that, “Data clearly indicate that social relationships have the potential for both health promoting and health damaging effects in older adults.” (Seeman 2000) Now this study may have been looking at adult influence but it extends to children as well. In fact the influence that parents have is much more persuasive, especially the younger a child is, so it is important to start training healthy, sustainable habits as early as possible.

Even with outside influences such as physical education in schools, how well children and teenagers adopt these programs depends largely on how the principles presented in the program are reinforced at home. One study looked at the efficacy of physical education programs in elementary school in relation to home support. The study took took two groups of elementary level students and gave them both the same physical education at school but only one group received the additional requirement  that parents also conduct health and nutrition study at home. In the end, the students who had the at-home component scored significantly higher on physical education and nutrition testing, as well as more improved body fat composition and blood sugar levels  than the students who had no at home participation. “The family component of the program provided a practical approach to improving physical activity and nutrition behaviors for elementary school teachers who teach many participants in a crowded curriculum” (Hoper, Munoz, Gruber, Nguyen, 2005).

Another way parents sway children’s health is by controlling access to certain healthy outlets. Until they are old enough and financially able to move out, children are, for the most part, at the mercy of the rules, standards, and family customs set by their parents. Parents are the gatekeepers. Make no mistake about it, kids may have preferences; however, their desires and what they are actually capable of are two different things. For example,12 year old Sally might really want to play soccer and get the outdoor exercise, but if her parents cannot or will not accommodate Sally’s desire to play soccer for whatever reason, such as being too lazy or busy to drive Sally to practice, access to this outlet is barred.  “Parents’ reported physical activity was not associated with child activity or fitness. However, availability of transportation by parents to sport and fitness activities was significant…” (Sallis, Alcaraz, McKenzie, 1992).  So all you soccer moms and dads can rejoice, for you are truly doing your children a favor and contributing to their future health habits. But encouragement sometimes isn’t going to be enough and that’s where engagement comes in.

Increasing the frequency that a person has in opportunity to engage in healthy activities with one another, increases the chances they will adopt the behavior in their life going forward, meaning that children, as well as adults, are much more likely to participate in an activity if they have a friend, family member, or spouse participating in the activity with them. This can be for various reasons that differ from individual to individual; whether it is a feeling of social obligation, a role model’s influence, or that it’s just more fun to do things with friends or family.

It’s not all about physical activity alone; diet plays an important factor as well. The food we eat and our likelihood of choosing the healthier option is weighted in the homestead as well. And it’s no joke just how much it matters that we are exposed to good balanced diets and nutrition information growing up. One study suggests, “Family and home environment factors explained more than 50% of the variance in students’ FV (fruit and vegetable) consumption.” (Gross, Pollock, Braun, 2010). Providing fruits and vegetables, teaching children about the importance of nutrition, and restricting processed and sugar-filled foods, are all important steps to contributing to a healthy lifestyle that will stick with children throughout their lives.

So with all this in mind we need to look at this from two directions; as influencers and as well as  the influenced. As influencers, especially if you have children, you must be aware of the message you are sending whether it is by consciously or habitually setting an example, make sure it’s an example you want to set.  Children learn by the do as I do rather as I say approach to parenting. As you take care of your own health by eating well, exercising, and showing that living well is a priority for you, friends, co-workers, children, and other connections in your life will be subtly swayed by your choices. As the influenced, it is all about awareness. By being aware of the influence that others may have, you can begin to choose what habits of others to adopt and which to ignore. Your friend that asks you to go hiking with them all the time, they might be making you a little more active; your friend that wants to go out drinking and eats nothing but junk food, maybe not so much. But don’t let this information keep you from hanging out with your favorite buddy just because they have some unhealthy habits or make a bad choice here and there, just be aware of their influence and maybe try and sway them to the side of wellbeing with a little social influence of your own.


To you wellbeing,

  • Nic Mckane
    Business Development Coordinator
    MINES & Associates



  • Chris A. Hopper, Kathy D. Munoz, Mary B. Gruber & Kim P. Nguyen (2005) Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport Volume 76Issue 2 pages 130-139
  • Teresa E. Seeman (2000) Health Promoting Effects of Friends and Family on Health Outcomes in Older Adults. American Journal of Health Promotion: July/August 2000, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 362-370.
  • Susan M. Gross, PhD, MPH, RD Elizabeth Davenport Pollock, MS, LGMFT Bonnie Braun, PhD, CFCS. (2010) Family Influence: Key to Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Fourth- and Fifth-grade Students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Volume 42, Issue 4, July–August 2010, Pages 235–241
  • James F. Sallis, PhD; John E. Alcaraz, PhD; Thomas L. McKenzie, PhD; Melbourne F. Hovell, PhD, MPH; Bohdan Kolody, PhD; Philip R. Nader, MD. Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(11):1383-1388. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160230141035.

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5 things on World #EndSuicide Day #WSPD

In support of National Suicide Prevention Day, and in light of recent events regarding the Ashley Madison data breach which has resulted in a number of suicides the latest of which included a New Orleans pastor, we at MINES wanted to provide a short, but hopefully helpful list to those that experience incredible moments of stress or seemingly impassable obstacles that can sometimes trigger impulsive actions such as suicide or even destructive, non-lethal behavior.

Here are 5 considerations before you act:

  1. Your family and friends can still be a support to you
    In many cases, under extreme stress, family and friends will still come together to support one another, no matter what the present relationship might look like. Don’t discount the value that these relationships have or their depth in the individual(s) you may reach out to.
  2. You are not alone
    Many people experience the same anxiety, depression, or fear that you are experiencing. It may not seem like it right now, but it’s absolutely true. You have an opportunity here to take a step back and return to the issue later. When you come back, take a moment to reflect on how you could have made your decision and what that would have meant to your future self.
  3. This too shall pass
    All too often, when confronted with an extremely stressful situation, our brains shut down the ability to consider the long term consequences of our decisions. This leads to irrational decision-making. Taking the time to reflect on your thoughts about your feelings can help to provide a greater perspective on the issue.
  4. Remove the option
    If you are feeling hopelessness or despair and are considering suicide options, begin by removing those options. Ask for help from someone to help you remove those options.
  5. Seek help from professionals
    Being in this position is not easy and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help—even in little ways. But if you really do think that you are not strong enough to get through your current situation right now, there are resources available to you.

If you, or someone you know, may need help immediately, there are options.

  1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255
  2. Chat with the LifeLine online
  3. Contact your Employee Assistance Program. You can get this information confidentially from Human Resources at work
  4. Go to the nearest Emergency Room. You can locate your nearest hospital here
  5. There are a ton more resources here

The MINES Team

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TotalWellbeing: September 2015

 Total Wellbeing Icon

September 2015:  Be Aware of Your Emotional Wellbeing

Wellness through Awareness!

Welcome to the September issue of TotalWellbeing! Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th, meaning this month will be an opportunity to get involved with this important cause. Mines will be bringing you resources throughout the month to support those affected by suicide as well as information on how you can get involved and help those in need. So stay tuned this month to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, as we tackle this issue together.

What better month to discuss emotional wellbeing. The power of positive thinking cannot be overstated. While there are many things that happen that we may not like and also may not have any control over, from things like bad weather to getting sick, how we react can make all the difference. To explore this dimension more closely please read The Path, below.

Last month was when most kids go back to school, and while they may dread the start of a new season, you can use the extra time away from the kiddos to your advantage. MINES discussed how you can use this time to practice your lifelong learning, and the importance of striving to make yourself wiser, one day at a time. Make sure to check it out, it’s sure to make the new school year more interesting. Continue to watch the MINES blog to see latest discussions about wellbeing topics and tips on staying healthy and stress-free. For even more great resources be sure to explore the links to the left with important resources such as our LinkedIn showcase pages and Balanced Living Magazine.


To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path

Emotions can be one of the most powerful forces in our lives when it comes to happiness, decision making, day to day activities, and pretty much everything else going on in our lives. The path to Emotional Wellbeing comes from staying aware of your emotions and what affects you both positively and negatively. Do what you can to maximize your positive influences while minimizing the bad. While there are some things in life that we may have no control over, how we react to them is within our control. It is critical to be able to approach life difficulties while looking at the bright side of and keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind. The power of positive thinking can have a transformative effect on your outlook and quality of life and help you get over any hurdles that may come your way.

Emotional Wellbeing resources:

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder” –Henry David Thoreau. For inspiration and helpful tips, check out what the doctors on have to say about emotional wellbeing and the quest for happiness.

Check it out here!

Teen angst is normal, but what about when it’s more serious? Emotional turmoil can be brought on by the desire to be independent while still needing boundaries and rules set by parents. During this time, some teens may struggle with self esteem issues, anxiety or depression. Learn the warning signs of mental health issues and how to help.

Check it out here!

 Chakra To Your Senses

Many cultures believe in Chakras (shock-ras) which are, simply put, energy centers in your body that govern various aspects of your physiology. We will stay away from the spiritual aspects of these and instead focus on the concept behind them to bring you more ways to nurture you body as well as mind. Click here to see a complete list of the 7 chakras and their properties.

Chakras to nurture this month: Heart and Sacral

In order to support your emotional wellbeing it will be important to be aware of, and nurture, your Heart and Sacral Chakras. Your Heart Chakra is right where you think it’d be and acts as a center of compassion, love, and desire. You can nurture your Heart by connecting with yourself as well as other. Do things that fill you with joy and compassion, have deep talks with those you care about, and be open to the love and compassion of others. Then for your Sacral Chakra, located behind your naval, choose activities that nurture your romantic side. Have a nice dinner with your significant other, go dancing, or even just a nice relaxing hot bath will help support your relationships, empathy, and sensuality which are all important aspects of your emotional wellbeing. Now get out there and have fun and be well!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Psychology of Performance #53: Back to School – Adults as Lifelong Learners

It is that time of year when schools start up again, students are excited to go back to school, parents may be relieved, and educators are gearing up for a new round of teaching.  For adult learners and workers — even those retired — leaning is no longer a seasonal event. We all get to keep learning and adapting as we go through life. Warren Buffet’s partner, Charlie Munger, was a lifelong learning advocate. He said, “Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading, cultivate curiosity, and strive to become a little wiser every day.”

Why is this so important? The rate of new knowledge used to double every 100 years in 1900, by the end of WW2, it doubled every 25 years, then it was every five, now in an article by David Schilling, August 13, 2013, (Knowledge Doubling Every 12 Months, Soon to be Every 12 Hours) it is every 12 months and estimates are that soon it will be every 12 hours! This is a pace that is only attainable through technology. From a human processing point of view, it is daunting. Think about how much technology has evolved in your lifetime. How much of your job today is contingent/dependent on technology and new information compared to five years ago? What about when you started your career?

Keeping up with changes in your field of work, the technology, and changes in everyday living requires self-directed learning.  It requires you to think about where you will find the information, how to learn it so it can be useful, and how to apply it. In your work, you may also need to develop more advanced thinking skills in areas of analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information.

With the pace of change, how do you even keep up? Regular and systematic reading, self-study schedules, looking at small amounts at a time so it is not overwhelming can all be useful strategies for making incremental progress. Some cognitive beliefs that can be helpful in your aim to become better with your lifelong learning goals are:

  • 10% of something is better than 90% of nothing
  • Do your best and forget the rest
  • Don’t give up because you can’t learn it all, keep up with it all, or be perfect at it all.

Set yourself up for success. There is no race, just perseverance. Be curious about topics and areas of knowledge. Search for the best sources of information synthesis, the best theories, the best models that allow you to succeed.


Here is to your wisdom! May it continue to grow.

Robert Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

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