How to Talk to Loved Ones About Sleep Apnea Broaching a Touchy Topic If you’re concerned that your partner or a member of your family suffers from sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people of any age to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time, it’s important to note that most people who suffer from the condition only seek treatment after being urged to by a loved one. However, sleep apnea can be a sensitive subject, and you may need to ask more than once before those close to you to seek treatment. Here are a few tips to get you started. FOCUS ON THE SYMPTOMS. Focus on the health reasons for seeking treatment. The symptoms of sleep apnea are serious and don’t stop at daytime sleepiness. They also include impaired memory and cognition, feelings of depression, and high blood pressure. By keeping the conversation focused on the health reasons for seeking treatment, you keep the focus off of your loved one’s loud snoring and on their well-being. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE INDIRECT. When Dr. Jelinek consults with his patients about sleep apnea, he asks them whether or not they’ve ever been told they snore instead of asking them directly if they snore. This takes away some of the embarrassment people have about snoring. Sometimes, all you need to make the conversation more comfortable and productive is a small tweak of language. PROVIDE EVIDENCE. Some people need to hear it to believe it. With their permission, record your loved one while they sleep. After hearing the recording of their disrupted breathing for themselves, most people will agree to seek treatment. If somebody in your life is suffering from sleep apnea, keep in mind that the condition is often accompanied by embarrassment. By focusing on health risks, being indirect if needed, and providing evidence, you can be an instrumental part of getting your loved one the relief they need. Dr. Jelinek is one of only five dentists in the northern Virginia area who are Diplomates of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He is especially qualified to treat sleep apnea, and treatment doesn’t necessarily have to involve a CPAP machine. To learn more or to schedule an appointment for your loved one, call 703-584-5996 or visit NorthernVirginiaDental.com.
HELP YOUR KIDS ACHIEVE MORE THIS YEAR With Simple and Actionable Goals
With every new year comes an opportunity to reinvent ourselves or start down a new path toward self-improvement. Making resolutions is a big part of many families’ New Year’s traditions, and parents often have a desire for their kids to take part in that tradition when they’re old enough. Following through on resolutions is tough, especially for young children, but with your help, they can achieve their goals. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. You are your children’s role model for almost everything, including following through on New Year’s resolutions. So, ask yourself if you follow through on your own resolutions. When you proclaim that you will read more books or finally get a gym membership, do you actually try to do it? Your kids will assign as much importance to New Year’s resolutions as you do, so by sticking to your own commitments, you can help them stay on track too. KEEP THINGS SIMPLE AND ACHIEVABLE. When your kids are forming their resolutions, their first attempts will probably be very broad. Statements like “I want to be more kind” or “I will try to help more around the house” incorporate good values but don’t include any actionable steps. Help your kids think of tangible ways to act on those goals. For example, if they want to be tidier, a good resolution might be for them to clean their room once a week or take responsibility for one household chore every day. DON’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR THEM. While it’s important for you to help your kids formulate their goals, be sure that you aren’t taking over. If they’re ultimately responsible for their resolutions, they’ll feel more compelled to keep them. Instead, suggest different goal areas they could improve, such as home, school, or sports, and let them elaborate. When it comes to creating habits, nobody is perfect, so even if your kids falter on their goals in the middle of February, don’t worry. The important thing is that you continue to encourage them every step of the way.
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