Thrive November 2020

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Others who can benefit from inpatient rehabilitation are postoperative patients, accident victims and cancer patients. 24 Hour Nursing Care • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Nutritional Counseling and Monitoring Case Management Call for a free assessment today. One Hospital Drive, Ste. 101 • Jennings, LA 70546 • Phone: (337) 821-5353 • Fax: (337) 821-5355 or 5366 • 2

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020


Mind & Body


It’s flu season again, but medical experts predict we may have fewer cases of flu this go-round because of the precautions we continue to take for COVID-19. Over the course of this year, scientists have learned much about viruses and how they spread. Turns out, handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing can help prevent a number of transmittable diseases, including flu. But nonetheless, we still need to be vigilant and take steps to fight the flu. In this special section, you’ll find stories on how to differentiate between the flu and COVID-19, kids and the flu, foods that might help ward off flu and its symptoms, and general tips to stay healthy.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020



by Kristy Como Armand

Flu season is quickly approaching and with it, many questions and concerns about its interaction and overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even before the emergence of COVID, it could be difficult during flu season for people to know if their respiratory symptoms were caused by the flu, a cold, allergies or a sinus problem, “ says Darci Portie, APRN, FNPC, with Iowa Primary Care. “Now with everyone worried about a spike in COVID over the winter, which is also peak flu season, people will be even more worried about the source of their respiratory symptoms.” Portie explains that the conditions differ in their cause. “COVID is caused by the 2019 coronavirus, and the flu is caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses. Different strains circulate each year.” Both viruses cause many of the same symptoms and are transmitted via close personal contact and through respiratory droplets, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. All respiratory illnesses share some similar symptoms that can affect the entire respiratory system – airways, lungs and blood vessels.

The symptoms that are most common in COVID-19 and the flu include: Fever (of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) Chills Headache Cough Muscle pain and body aches Weakness Fatigue (extreme tiredness or lack of energy) Nausea or vomiting (more common in children) Diarrhea (more common in children)

Portie says there are some specific differences that have been identified that will help determine if the cause of respiratory symptoms is more likely from COVID or the flu, including: SYMPTOM ONSET The flu comes on suddenly, with symptoms appearing one to four days after infection. COVID-19 symptoms can be more gradual. While COVID-19 symptoms can develop as early as two days after you’re infected, the CDC says five days after infection is typical, and it’s possible to be infected but not show any symptoms for up to 14 days.

COUGH TYPE & SEVERITY The flu usually causes a mild, dry cough COVID-19 cough symptoms are more severe, usually dry, persistent and can leave you short of breath.

COVID-19 symptoms that don’t typically overlap or are less common with the flu include: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Runny or stuffy nose Sore throat Shaking with chills New and sudden loss of taste or smell Portie explains that a possibility of COVID is characterized by at least two of its symptoms being present, but any one common flu symptom could be an indicator of the virus. Portie says if you develop symptoms and are unsure if you may have COVID or the flu, contact your doctor or see a trusted healthcare provider. “Because symptoms are so similar and can vary from person to person – the only way to confirm whether it’s COVID-19 or influenza is through testing.” She stresses that prevention for both conditions is important, especially this year when both viruses are expected to peak over the colder months. “The flu vaccine is readily available and recommended for everyone over the age of six months. There is not a vaccine available for COVID yet, so continuing to follow the preventive measures that have been in place since the virus emerged remains critical.”


Mind & Body | Flu Management



MAY FIND KIDS FIRST by Kristy Como Armand

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

For parents who have been worrying about protecting their children from the coronavirus pandemic since it began, the approach of flu season just adds to their stress. If you’re wondering when flu season will arrive in our area, Dr. Danielle Dixon, Pediatrician and Epidemiologist with SWLA Center for Health Services in Lake Charles, says to keep your eyes on the children in your neighborhood. If you live in an area where there are lots of children, be extra vigilant. Experts say flu may strike your community sooner and harder than areas without children.

Influenza viruses are found in the nose and throat. Because children touch their noses, eyes and mouths often, put things in their mouths, and touch each other often during play, flu germs spread easily. There is also a lot of contact between parents or caregivers and children: holding hands, picking up, feeding, changing diapers and more. Even teenagers are not typically great hand-washers. “There’s no denying the fact that schools and daycare centers act as incubators for numerous communicable diseases,” says Dr. Dixon. “The good news this year is many of the same health and safety precautions taken over the last few months to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also help prevent the spread of the flu. Although there is no way of accurately predicting how the changes brought about by the pandemic, such as wearing masks, virtual learning, increase handwashing, and crowd limitations will impact this flu season, there is no doubt these types of preventive measures should also help reduce the spread of the flu.” Historically, preschoolers often signal the first wave of the flu in their communities. According to a study conducted by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, children lead adults in presenting with flu symptoms. Researchers found that approximately 30 days after three- and four-year-olds started showing up in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms with the flu, adults followed. Another four-year study by Harvard researchers correlated winter emergency room visits of adults with flu symptoms to emergency rooms with census data for corresponding regional zip codes. Flu-like symptoms struck first and worst in the zip codes that were home to the most kids. Every one percent increase in the child population brought a four percent increase in adult ER visits. Researchers cautioned that this doesn’t mean the areas without kids are protected from flu. It just means they experience flu later and at lower rates. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone, including children over the age of six months, be vaccinated against the flu. Because the vaccine takes approximately six to eight weeks to provide full protection, Dr. Dixon says the best time to get the vaccine is before the end of November. “Flu season typically peaks between January and March, so even getting the shot as late as December will help protect children against the seasonal flu virus.”

Dr. Dixon explains that the flu shot has not been proven to protect against COVID-19 directly.

“ However, the flu vaccination

has many related benefits, including significantly reducing your child’s risk of getting the flu, reducing the severity of your child’s illness if they do get the flu, reducing their risk of hospitalization, and helping to protect them from the possibility of contracting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.” For more information about the flu vaccination for children, contact the SWLA Center for Health Services location nearest you. Visit



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Mind & Body | Flu Management

KEEP SNIFFLES, SNEEZES, AND COUGHS IN CHECK TIPS TO AVOID COLDS & FLU We are well into cold and flu season, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to take action. Statistically, kids contract six to 10 colds each year. What can parents do to reduce the number and severity of fall and winter illnesses?


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020


Flu shot. The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over six months of age.

Hand-washing. Germs travel like wildfire in schools. Kids often get sick after touching their eyes or noses after touching a book or a toy or another child with live cold virus germs. Teach kids to wash hands with soap and warm water.

The “cough pocket.” That’s what kids call the crook of their arm where they’ve (correctly) learned to cough and sneeze, reducing the chances of spreading colds.

Pack hand sanitizer and tissues in the backpacks of older kids.

When to share. If you can, donate some boxes of tissues, wipes, and hand sanitizers to the classroom to help build good habits and reduce the chances of other kids spreading germs.

When not to share. You’ve told your kids that sharing is good. Not when it comes to germs. Give your children their own pens, pencils, lip balm, and lotion.

Eat, drink, and be careful. Water fountains and cafeteria trays are as much as one thousand times as germy as toilet seats. Send your kids to school with their own water and teach them not to eat anything that falls on the lunch tray. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before eating.

Backpacks. Think of them as limos for germs. Ask your child to clean them out regularly. Wipe off spilled food or liquids. Pack food in bags or lunchboxes. Don’t let gym clothes, wet socks, gloves, and hats create a terrarium in there.

The common cold and flu are spread by direct contact with a virus, which is spread by others who are infected. Avoid public places, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands routinely, and avoid touching common objects in public places such as door handles, counters, and keyboards. Avoid touching your face without first washing your hands. Exercise helps to boost your immune system and keeps your heart pumping and blood flowing to better fight off a virus. Eat more dark green leafy vegetables, red and yellow veggies, and more fruits to help build antioxidants to fight off viruses. Courtesy of

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Mind & Body | Flu Management


We all know about washing our hands, not touching our faces, and exercising to stay healthy, but eating a nutritious diet boosts our immunity and helps us avoid that bane of cool-weather seasons – colds and flu. Eat these ten common foods to help ward off illness.


Mushrooms offer a good source of vitamin D and are underutilized immune-boosting food. In fact, clinical researchers discovered improved immune responses in cancer patients who receive chemotherapy and radiation after consuming mushrooms.

Turmeric is typically found as a bright yellow powder in the spice aisle. This immune system booster is often used in Asian curry dishes. You may also find turmeric supplements, but be careful with these - many have failed quality testing yet are still available on store shelves.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Sweet potatoes are a fall/winter favorite and are high in vitamins A and C, a one-two punch when it comes to knocking out bacteria and viruses.

Ginger helps our immune cells win the battle against colds and flu. Add fresh ginger to your stir-fry recipes or as part of a salad dressing. Researchers are discovering that fresh garlic may help kill bacteria and viruses. When possible, consume fresh garlic as opposed to relying on garlic capsules/supplements--the jury is still out as to whether these have the same effect.

Hot tea is a perfect beverage on a cold day, and it can fight off infection, as well. As an added bonus, drinking tea helps keep you hydrated.

Cinnamon provides comfort and contains essential oils that may help reduce the amount of time we spend getting over a cold or flu. Caution: cinnamon sugar is not the same as pure cinnamon!

Berries are naturally high in vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, and can be enjoyed fresh or frozen. Consume whole berries, rather than in juices/smoothies, for a boost of fiber. There has been some talk that elderberries may help you recover from illnesses faster, but further research is needed.

Honey has been used as an antibiotic for centuries. It was believed that ancient Romans would apply it to their eyes when they had a bout of conjunctivitis (“pink eye”). Turns out, they were on to something. Honey has been found to prevent the growth of bacteria. Add it to your tea or as a topping on your whole grain pancakes or waffles.

Yogurt provides a good source of vitamin A, protein, and zinc, making it a great snack. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria that may protect your digestive tract from diseasecausing germs. Combine yogurt, berries, and a teaspoon of honey, and you’ve got a near perfect superhero snack!

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Mind & Body

How to Manage TMJ and Stress-Related Headaches by Ashley Hornsby

Stress is something that we are, unfortunately, no stranger to in 2020. Prior to this year, it was easy to become overwhelmed with the day-to-day grind and seemingly never-ending list of to-dos, and rightfully so. It is difficult to juggle all of the demands that life has placed on our shoulders with the ever-lofty expectations that others (ok, usually ourselves) place on accomplishing them. For those of us in Southwest Louisiana, we long for the days that seem so much simpler than the reality we are now living. Stress can be a strange thing. It affects our health more than we may want to believe or admit it has. If it can have a negative effect on our health in normal times, no wonder so many of us are feeling more aches and pain, losing sleep, and experiencing upset stomachs. Headaches are also connected to our stress levels. Not only can stress trigger a headache, it can also play a role in increasing its intensity if you are prone to experiencing them. When we become stressed, our behaviors begin to change. We may clench our teeth or take shorter, more shallow breaths. Over time, these habits begin to create increased muscle tension and pressure within the head and face, resulting in headaches. The majority of people associate the telltale signs of popping or clicking in the jaw with Tempormandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder, but there are other symptoms of TMJ, including ringing in the ear, facial pressure, headaches, and ear pain. Many of these can occur from clenching of the teeth or pressing the tongue into the roof of the mouth or back of the teeth for extended periods. You may not even be aware you are performing these actions, even if you’re experiencing headaches. Here is a quick test to find out if you are guilty of doing this:


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

• Standing in front of a mirror, open your mouth with your tongue relaxed at the bottom. • Look at the edges of your tongue. • If you have indentions around perimeter of the tongue, this is called tongue scalloping, and you may experience symptoms coming from your jaw.

Physical therapists may ask a client where he or she places their tongue in their mouth when not talking or eating. Most have never thought about this before and have no idea where their tongue rests. It should rest lightly on the roof of the mouth with the teeth slightly apart and lips together. This is an important position to maintain, because in doing so; you can greatly reduce the severity and frequency of headaches. Incorporating deep breathing techniques into your day can bring upon the most immediate changes in reducing headaches and facial pain. Deep breathing creates a relaxation response in the body and mind, increasing the release of endorphins, improving your sleep, and decreasing your blood pressure and heart rate. Take a few minutes each day to be aware of your breathing to better prepare your body’s response to the stressors we encounter each day. Breathing drills do not have to be complicated. Most of our watches even have reminders asking us to breath, and we still don’t do it! We just hit the dismiss button and go on about our business. Many of us feel we cannot add anything else into our day because we simply don’t have the time, but you may be surprised at how you will begin to feel, just by adding a couple minutes of breathing into your routine.

We treat headaches, neck pain, and jaw pain. • Have you noticed popping or clicking in your jaw? • Have you begun avoiding certain foods or have difficulty eating because you cannot open your mouth as wide as you used to? • Are you having headaches more frequently or have been experiencing more pain and tenderness in your neck and face? • Do you often have pain in your ear and go to the doctor, only to find out that there is no ear infection present?

Maybe you’ve been told that jaw pain and headaches are something you just have to deal with. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

– Ashley Hornsby,

Call us today! (337) 990-5621 4150 Nelson Road Building C, Suite 12 Lake Charles

Try this deep breathing technique: • Place your tongue in its resting position, lightly on the roof of the mouth with the teeth slightly apart and your lips together. • Breath in slowly through your nose for a count of 4, focusing on expanding through your belly and lower ribs. • Exhale slowly through your nose for a count of 8 seconds, feeling the tension leaving your muscles in your neck and jaw. • Repeat for 1-2 minutes

We can all agree that 2020 has been an unprecedented year for SWLA, filled with hardships and uncertainty; but it has also been one filled with more love, generosity, and support than we could have ever imagined. While the old adage, you cannot change the past, is true, we can begin to embrace the hope of the future, learning new skills to help us feel better and move forward one day at a time. Ashley Hornsby is a physical therapist and co-owner at Thrive Physical Therapy. For more information, call 337-990-5621 or email


Mind & Body

New Procedure to Relieve

Chronic Joint Pain AVAILABLE AT CENTER FOR ORTHOPAEDICS by Kristy Como Armand

The Center for Orthopaedics (CFO) now offers COOLIEF radiofrequency treatment for the relief of moderate to severe chronic pain in the knee caused by osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by damage and breakdown of cartilage between bones and can lead to joint pain, swelling and stiffness. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is rising as both the age and weight of Americans continue to increase. “Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans; more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. It is the number one cause of adult disability each year and can lead to an increase in opioid use and loss of productivity,” explains Dr. Sarah Clevenger, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with CFO. “Of those who suffer with chronic pain, 30 million have osteoarthritis. Now we have a new, minimally invasive treatment option that is proving successful for many of these patients.” Traditional treatments for the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids and steroid injections. “Medication provides only short-term relief and comes with some potentially serious risks which include opioid abuse and dependence,” Dr. Clevenger says. “Steroid injections can provide relief for months at a time but may have to be repeated for continued pain relief.” While surgery can benefit some patients, Dr. Clevenger says not everyone is a candidate or is willing to undergo surgery. For example, patients suffering from chronic knee pain wait an average of nine years until they are ready or qualify for surgery. “I see many patients who suffer with chronic knee pain in my practice who are not immediate candidates for knee replacement surgery, but they still need pain relief. The procedure can also be performed on patients who have already had a total knee replacement yet continue to have pain,” Dr. Clevenger says. “Until now there have been few options available for these patients.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Dr. Clevenger says COOLIEF is designed to treat chronic pain lasting for longer than three months. The minimally invasive, outpatient procedure uses cooled radiofrequency (RF) energy to safely target the sensory nerves causing pain. Local anesthesia is applied to the patient’s skin and specialized needles that emit radiofrequency energy are inserted to ablate the nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. COOLIEF circulates water through the device while heating the surrounding tissue to create a treatment area that is larger than conventional RF treatments. This combination targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating, leading to pain relief while leaving motor nerves intact to preserve function. Studies show the COOLIEF technology is clinically proven to provide up to 18 months of pain relief, improved function and reduced need for medication. Patients leave the procedure with a small adhesive bandage at the injection site, along with instructions to ice their knee and take it easy for the rest of the day. They can return to normal activities right away. Most patients experience pain relief and improved mobility within several weeks, which allows them to get back to enjoying their everyday lives. “COOLIEF can be a game-changer for people with debilitating arthritis,” says Dr. Clevenger. “It’s not getting rid of the arthritis, but it can reduce the pain and enhance the patient’s quality of life significantly.” For more information about COOLIEF treatment at the Center for Orthopaedics, call (337) 721-7236.


Gobble, Gobble


The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but with tempting treats at every turn, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can also be the most challenging to stay on track. This year, consider these tips from Coach Ellen Stringer with Profile by Sanford—Lake Charles to enjoy the holiday season without overindulging in holiday cheer. “To avoid overeating when there is so much temptation present, you must be mindful before the big day even arrives,” said Coach Ellen. “Consider writing down a pre-meal plan for the holiday to help keep you focused on the foods you plan to eat. On the day of, begin as you do all other days by sticking to your regular eating plan, drinking plenty of water and getting some sort of activity in if possible. This will help you have the right mindset, so you will naturally eat the right portions. During the meal, put down your fork in between bites and breathe. This will help you to slow down and maintain a more reasonable eating pace. Check in mid-meal to see where you are on the hunger scale to avoid your stomach feeling pressure.”

If you’re thinking this sounds like a bunch of ‘bah humbug,’ don’t! Coach Ellen has plenty of tips to help you celebrate and take in the spirit of the day: • Opt for a napkin—appetizers may seem innocent, but nibbling on baked brie and crackers, meatballs or spinach-artichoke dip can add up to more than the main course. Consider using only napkins versus a plate. This will make it harder to overdo it with the high-calorie starters. • Dress up a mocktail—don’t rely on alcohol to put you in a festive mood! Instead, grab a pretty glass and fill it with sparkling water with a hint of mint or citrus. • Leave the leftovers—don’t take any leftovers home. If you’re hosting in your home, consider supplying to-go boxes and invite guests to fill them with the leftover food. • Try a food-free activity—incorporate a spontaneous dance party, flag football game or some type of activity that gets you moving and away from food.

“Finally, remember tomorrow is another day,” added Coach Ellen. “Have a plan to get right back on track in the morning. If you stray from your holiday plan, be kind to yourself and realize it is just one meal and one day. Move your thoughts forward and raise your fork and glass to feasting sensibly, moderately and contentedly.” To sign up for a free one-hour appointment with a certified coach to find out your specific goals and if the Profile path is right for you, call the Lake Charles store at 337-210-4029. To shop Profile products, visit the store at 4740 Nelson Rd., Suite 130 in the Lake Charles Kroger shopping center.


Home & Family

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA VETERANS CEMETERY The Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Jennings was dedicated earlier this year. It is the fifth and final state-run veterans cemetery authorized by the federal VA for the State of Louisiana. LDVA’s veterans cemeteries offer a final resting place of honor for Louisiana veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children. This veterans cemetery will have a total of 1,777 burial spots across ten acres.

“I am proud that more than 35,000 veterans and their families across Southwest Louisiana now have this cemetery as an option for eternal rest,” Col. Joey Strickland, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs said. “We offer a host of services for veterans in Jennings, and the cemetery is a great addition.” All members and veterans of the Armed Forces are eligible to be buried in a state-run veterans cemetery as long as they have met minimum active-duty service requirements and were honorably discharged.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Members of the reserve Armed Forces who died while on active duty or while on training duty, who were eligible for retired pay, or who were called to active duty and served the full term of service are eligible for burial in this cemetery. Their spouse, widow or widower, minor children and, under some conditions, adult unmarried children with disabilities are also eligible for burial here. Additionally, eligible veterans can be relocated to the new cemetery, but costs associated with relocation would be the responsibility of the family. The Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is located at 1620 Evangeline Road in Jennings, adjacent to the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home. For more information about this new cemetery or any LDVA services, call 225-219-5000 or email



Caring for a



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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

More than 65 million people, or 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free," when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion).

In this special section on caregiving, we honor all caregivers, with special attention and tips on caring for loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s and Diabetes. We also include information on caregiver self-care.


Home Safety Checklist People living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be at increased risk for injury or harm in the home. As the disease progresses, they will become unaware of potential dangers. Consider the following precautions to create a safe environment which can prevent dangerous situations from occurring and help maximize independence for as long as possible.

General Home Safety Tips • Store potentially hazardous items such as medication, alcohol, matches, sharp objects or small appliances and tools in a securely locked cabinet. • Keep all cleaning products, such as liquid laundry pacs and bleach, out of sight or secured to avoid possible ingestion of harmful chemicals. • Keep the number for the local poison control center posted by the telephone in case of emergency. • Make sure carbon monoxide, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are available and inspected regularly. Replace batteries twice a year during daylight saving time. • Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs, extension cords and excessive clutter. • Keep walkways and rooms well lit. • Secure large furniture, such as bookshelves, cabinets or large TVs, to prevent tipping over. • Ensure chairs have arm rests to provide support when going from a sit to stand position. • Apply stickers to glass doors at eye-level to ensure the surface is visible. • Install a latch or deadbolt on all doors that is either above or below eye level. • Remove interior locks on doors to prevent the person with dementia from locking themselves in. • Consider removing firearms from the home or storing them in a locked cabinet. • Enroll in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias

Kitchen • Use appliances that have an auto shut-off feature. • Prevent unsafe stove usage: Apply stove knob covers or consider removing knobs or turning off the gas when the stove is not in use. • Disconnect the garbage disposal. • Mark foods with purchase date and frequently check the refrigerator for and discard expired items. • Discard toxic plants and decorative fruits that may be mistaken for real food. • Remove vitamins, prescription drugs, sugar substitutes and seasonings from the kitchen table and counters. Laundry Room • Clean out lint screens and dryer ducts regularly to prevent fires. • Consider installing safety locks to washing machines and dryers to prevent inappropriate items being put in or taken out too early. • Install locks to laundry chutes to avoid temptation to climb into or drop inappropriate items down the chute. Bathroom • Install grab bars for the shower, tub and toilet to provide additional support. • Set the water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less to prevent scalding. Apply textured stickers to slippery surfaces to prevent falls. Garage • Limit access to large equipment such as lawn mowers, weed trimmers or snow blowers. • Keep poisonous chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner, out of reach. • Lock and properly store ladders when not in use to prevent a tripping or climbing hazard. • Remove access to car keys if the individual with dementia is no longer driving. • Install a motion sensor on the garage door. • Mark stairs with bright tape and ensure railings are sturdy and secure to prevent tripping or falls. For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at or call 800-272-3900.



Caring for Persons Living with

ALZHEIMER’S A GUIDE TO THE MAJOR STAGES OF THE DISEASE More than five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 16 million Americans provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care at an estimated value of 244 billion dollars for family and friends with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in 2019. Nearly half of all caregivers (48%) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. It’s a tragic disease that takes a toll on both the person living with the disease and their caregivers.

What to do:

• • • • • • •

The decision to become a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is not an easy one, and the reasons for taking on this challenging role vary. A family may desire to keep their loved one or friend at home; someone may accept the task because they live with or in close proximity to the person with dementia; or a caregiver may have a perceived obligation to the person with dementia. Caregivers often indicate love and a sense of duty when describing what motivates them to assume care responsibilities for a relative or friend living with dementia. As the disease progresses through major stages, the type of care a person living with Alzheimers’ needs changes.

Early Stage In the initial stage of Alzheimer’s, which can last for years, most people function independently. They may still drive, visit friends, volunteer, even work. A caregiver’s role (often called care partner in this stage) in this stage is to provide support, companionship, and prepare for what’s to come.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

• • •

Together, begin making decisions about the future, ie legal, financial, and long-term care planning. Consider potential treatment options for your loved one and participation in clinical trials. Start to assume more household chores, as appropriate, and help your loved one develop new coping strategies. Assess safety issues in the home. Avoid situations that may stress your loved one. Communicate often with your loved one and ask them what they need and how you can help. Find activities to do together that are fun for both of you. Help your loved one keep track of appointments, recall names or words, manage money, take medications, and facilitate transportation if they can no longer drive. Help your loved one stay healthy for as long as possible: encourage physical activity, prepare healthy meals, maintain a daily routine, reduce stress, and find ways to relax. Be mindful of your own emotions. Initially, denial is common for caregivers, but staying in denial for too long wastes valuable time. Other common caregiving emotions include fear, stress/anxiety, anger/frustration, grief and depression. These same emotions can affect the person diagnosed with the disease. Talk together about your feelings. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you need help.

Middle Stage The middle stage of Alzheimer’s is typically the longest and possibly the most challenging, in terms of caregiving. Damage to the brain can make it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks. He or she may jumble words, have trouble dressing, get frustrated or angry, or act in unexpected ways, such as refusing to bathe. They may forget how to cook, do laundry, and other everyday tasks. They might be prone to wandering and lose their way. Your loved one may experience depression, anxiety, irritability, and repetitive behaviors. As the disease progresses, other changes may occur, including sleep changes, and physical/verbal outbursts. Communication becomes more difficult, as he or she struggles to find the right word, repeats questions, and loses his or her train of thought. Eating, dressing, and grooming become more difficult. During this phase, a person living with Alzheimer’s should not be left alone and needs a great deal of supervision for safety reasons. This requires the caregiver be flexible and patient.

What to do:

• • • • •

Take on more responsibility at home. Adapt and restructure daily routines. Take care of yourself, take breaks, and lean on your support group. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself. Seek out respite services in your community, and accept offers of help from friends and family. Continue to find activities to do together, such as cooking, enjoying music, or going for walks. Find new ways to connect and deepen your bond. Consider making the decision to no longer allow your loved one to drive. Strive to remain calm when dealing with challenging middle stage symptoms.

Late Stage This stage can last from several weeks to several years. Around the clock care is usually required. Your loved one may lose the ability to speak and walk. Eating and swallowing becomes difficult. He or she will need full-time help with personal care. They become vulnerable to infections.

What to do:

• • •

• •

In this last, tragic stage, you’ll want to preserve your loved one’s quality of life and dignity. He or she may not be able to communicate well with you, but they may still be able to understand more than you realize, so do interact often. In the late stage, a person with Alzheimer’s experiences his or her world through the senses. So interact by playing favorite music, read to him/her, look at old photos together, prepare favorite foods, massage hands and feet with scented lotions, brush her hair, or sit outdoors and experience nature, weather permitting. Ensure adequate nutrition and hydration. If care at home becomes too difficult, consider other care options, such as a care facility and hospice.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a valuable source of information for caregivers. Go to

AS A CAREGIVER, IT IS VITAL TO MAINTAIN YOUR OWN PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH: • Think about ways you can get support now. For example, include an afternoon to yourself in your monthly schedule. Ask others to visit or go to lunch with the person living with dementia while you’re away. • Build a support network. Create a support system before you think you need one to minimize your stress as the disease progresses. Look at current support systems you have already in place and consider the people you turn to most often in times of need. • Connect with other care partners to acquire encouragement and comfort from others who understand what you’re going through. Learn more about in-person and online support groups. • Ask for and accept help. Care partners often wait too long before asking for help from others. • Rest when needed and allow time for yourself and your own interests. • Try not to take things personally; symptoms of the disease can cause an individual to forget events or commitments. Remember this is not a reflection of his or her character. • Stay healthy through diet, exercise, and regular visits to the doctor. • Stay engaged by continuing to be involved in activities that are important to you and enhance your sense of wellbeing. • Allow yourself the opportunity to laugh when funny situations arise.



Driving &

DEMENTIA Driving demands quick reaction time and fast decision making. Consequently, a person with Alzheimer’s will eventually become unable to drive. Dealing with the issue early on can help ease the transition. Have the Conversation

• •

When the conversation does not go well some people give up driving easily, but for others this transition can be very difficult. Be prepared for the person to become angry with you, due to the memory and insight issues that are part of Alzheimer’s.

Losing one’s driving independence can be upsetting. It’s important to acknowledge a person’s feelings and preserve his or her dignity and a sense of independence, while ensuring the person’s safety and the safety of others. To start the conversation:

• • •


Initiate a dialogue to express your concerns. Stress the positive and offer alternatives. Address resistance while reaffirming your unconditional love and support. Appeal to the person’s sense of responsibility. Reinforce medical diagnoses and directives. Ask the physician to write a letter stating that the person must not drive. Or ask the physician to write a prescription that says, “No driving.” You can then use the letter or prescription to reinforce the conversation.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Consider an evaluation by an objective third party. Understand that this may be the first of many conversations about driving

Be patient and firm. Demonstrate understanding and empathy. Acknowledge the pain of this change and appeal to the person’s desire to act responsibly. Ask a respected family authority figure or your attorney to reinforce the message about not driving. If the conversation does not go well, do not blame yourself. The disease can impair insight and judgment, making it difficult for people to understand that their driving is no longer safe. Also the disease can cause mood and personality changes that make reactions more pronounced. As a last resort, take away the car keys, disable the car or remove the car completely. When you do any of these things, be sure to provide safe, reliable alternative transportation.

Making your skin look young again...









Tips for Planning Ahead

• • • •

Remember that each situation is unique. What works for one person may be different from what works for another. Involve family and close friends in the plan. Confront resistance. Empathize with those who are uncomfortable having the conversation and stress the importance of preparing for the future. Develop an agreement for all to share that includes practical safety steps, such as a periodic driving assessment, a GPS monitoring system for the car, and alternate transportation options.

Transportation Options: Driving is not the only transportation option available. There are many options people can explore that will allow them to continue to travel independently and remain in control of their mobility.

• • •

Transition driving responsibilities to others. Arrange for family members and friends to provide transportation. Arrange a taxi service. Use special transportation services for older adults. Access local resources using the Eldercare Locator at www. or use the Alzheimer’s Association’s Community Resource Finder to search for transportation services. Reduce the need to drive by having prescription medicines, groceries, or meals delivered.

For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900 or see their website,

(337) 508-2559




Helping Someone you Love with

DIABETES by Lauren Morris

When a friend or family member is diagnosed with diabetes, you might wonder how to best support them on their journey with this new diagnosis. By educating yourself on the disease and learning how to integrate their new lifestyle into your own, you’d be surprised how simple it is to help someone you care about feel a little more at ease when faced with living with a life-changing diagnosis. It’s estimated that 425 million people are living with diabetes, and it’s predicted this number will only increase with time. “With diabetes being as prevalent as it is, it’s important that not only are patients educated on what it means to be diabetic, but also that those who are close to patients increase their knowledge of the disease, as well. Knowledge is power, and that is absolutely the case with diabetes,” says Samantha Rider, LDN, RD, CDE, certified diabetes educator with the Endocrinology Center of Southwest Louisiana, an affiliate of Imperial Health. If they are willing and you are able, accompanying them to their appointments can also be helpful, especially in the early days after their diagnosis. “The better you understand what diabetes is, the better you can help them and yourself,” Rider says. Diabetes education classes are usually recommended for the patient to help them learn more about their condition and its management. Rider says if you are able to attend these classes with your loved one, that is both a great way to show your support and learn more about their condition. These classes will help the


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

patient and family identify appropriate blood sugar target ranges and provide suggestions for the appropriate response if blood sugars are high or low. She explains the classes focus on interactive experiences to help both the patient, their friends and family members to feel informed and comfortable making treatment decisions. The good news is that through diet and exercise, and in some cases, medication, diabetes can be managed. When building any new habit, doing it with support makes the change a lot easier. “One of the best things you can do to show that support is to make the same changes they’re having to make,” says Rider. “Implementing a healthier lifestyle will be beneficial to your overall health, as well. You might want to purchase a diabetic cookbook and plan out each week’s meals and then cook it together. Changes are easier to make with someone right by your side.” When making lifestyle changes, it’s important to be patient. “For example,” says Rider, “someone newly diagnosed with diabetes won’t be able to just run to the grocery store anymore and rush through, picking up their usual items. They will need to read labels, and they’ll probably need help deciphering all the information a nutrition label provides. Be patient and respectful of their new situation, and help if you can.” Some patients are more sensitive than others about asking and receiving help with their new condition. “It’s important not to offer unsolicited advice or criticism,” says Rider. “If your loved one asks your opinion, offer it supportively, otherwise, find other ways to be a positive presence.”

When someone is first diagnosed, it can be easy to want to help them with everything and overcommit. “Only agree to things you know you’re able to provide,” says Rider. “If your loved one relies on you for things you aren’t able to do consistently, this will cause them more stress, and stress can affect blood sugar levels.” When caring for someone with diabetes, it’s also important to continue taking care of yourself,” adds Rider. “You aren’t able to give to others when you aren’t at your best. Your goal is to provide love, care, and support to help them manage their condition and live an easier and healthier life with it.”

For more information on diabetes diagnosis, treatment and education, call the Endocrinology Center of SWLA at (337) 310-3670.

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Leading Ladies in Business

Southwest Louisiana

is known for rearing strong, independent, feisty women, which translates well into success in the business world. Our 2020 list of Leading Ladies in Business have an added component of challenge to their stories; their roles have all been affected in some way by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The women on the following pages represent a wide range of professions: financial management, real estate, education, public and community service, industry, and healthcare. Whether they have been an integral part of the recovery process or their businesses took a direct hit due to the storms, they all have one thing in common – they persevere through the adversity and strive to do the best they can for their clients and our community. 28

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Congratulations to Sara McLeod Judson, President of the Community Foundation of SWLA! Sara

personifies the foundation’s mission to ‘connect people who care with causes that matter’ with her commitment to helping improve the quality of life for Southwest Louisiana by finding others with the same passion, and giving them the outlet to make a positive impact.


The Power of Women. We proudly congratulate our own Margaret Harris on her “2020 Leading Ladies” recognition. Margaret is a great asset to our company and an outstanding member of the Southwest Louisiana community. We thank Margaret for her continued dedication to excellence and extend a special appreciation to Thrive for providing the opportunity and resources to help our businesses and community leaders develop and excel. Together, we power life.

A message from Entergy Corporation ©2020 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business

Misty Clanton MAYOR OF DERIDDER, LOUISIANA Misty Clanton was born and raised in

DeRidder, La. After graduating from McNeese State University with a Public Relations degree, she navigated through a series of diverse roles; first at a customer service call center and then as a modular home salesperson in Baton Rouge. She served as a financial advisor before landing a Project Coordinator position with the City of DeRidder in 2009. Later, she became Director of Community Services, and in 2018, she was elected Mayor. “Every job I had taught me a lesson and I have used every skill I have gathered on my journey now as mayor,” she says. Clanton considers it a privilege to be able to help shape the future of her hometown. “I truly enjoy being a part of the decisions that help make our city a better place for now and for the generations to come. It is rewarding to be able to help people, even in the smallest of ways.” During the many challenges of 2020, Clanton has been reminded of why she wanted to become Mayor. “The difficult days have strengthened the relationships I have with the people I serve as well as the people I work with. These difficult times have also tested and pushed me personally. As Mayor, I had to put the city first and rise above my fears and concerns to meet immediate needs. My responsibility now is ensuring our people and businesses bounce back.”

Awards and Recognitions

2010 Alumni of the SWLA Leadership Program 2014 SWLA Women’s Business Network Up and Coming Business Women of the Year 2015 Thomas J. Morris Sr. United Way of SWLA Volunteer of the Year 2015 BeauCARE Rhinestone Round-up Sheriff 2016 Alumni of Leadership Louisiana 2019 Zeta Phi Beta Trailblazer

Volunteer Work

Past member of the DeRidder Women’s League, DeRidder Lion’s Club and BeauCARE Head Start Policy Council Past board member of the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce and current chamber member Board of Directors for Hope Village and DeRidder Rotary Club Board of Trustees for the Beauregard Agape Community Clinic Board of Directors for Fort Polk Progress

On Finding Balance This is a work in progress. 2020 has been an eye-opening experience that shook us out of our regular routines. I am a mother to two elementary-aged children. Having them out of school or attending virtually has been a struggle with two working parents. I believe in being fully present in each moment – whether at home or work. There have been days when my role as Mayor has rightfully consumed me. There were also times that my children required my complete attention to get through school work. Perhaps balance isn’t possible for me at the moment; however, being flexible is. I am still learning that I can’t do it all, and to give myself a little grace.

Best Advice Often, women try to be who they are not. Don’t try to hide your emotions, your empathy or your heart. Make those things work for you. Use your intuition and let it lead you. Stay genuine to yourself and let that guide your decision-making. If you aren’t excited to go to work each day – look for another path. Find your passion.

30 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Denise Durel PRESIDENT & CEO OF UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA Denise Durel has worked for a non-profit for

the past 33 years, starting with the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Lafayette where she lived at the time. In 2009, Durel moved to Lake Charles and began working for the United Way of Southwest Louisiana. “I love being able to collaborate with a wide variety of partners. Great things happen when the right people are at the table. Our team at United Way focuses on connecting the dots to make things happen.” Durel says she loves being able to creatively help people and she leads by example. For Hurricane Laura, she returned to Lake Charles from Lafayette within hours after the storm. “I wanted to have a grasp on what we, as a community, were dealing with. Clearly, we needed to act fast to document the devastation. I will never forget that day. Simply unbelievable.” Once Durel assessed the destruction, she immediately got to work. Though her own home was damaged, she focused first on the needs of the community by partnering with the United Cajun Navy and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department and found a location for a central distribution site, which served as the single entry point for in-kind donations to the City of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, and the Office of Homeland Security. “For weeks we operated seven days a week and now it’s Monday – Friday. When we started, we were providing 500 meals a day; but as other organizations began to close their meal service, we have increased and now average 2,000 meals per day.” Whether she was shopping at Lowe’s for generators, driving out of town to purchase gas cards, or organizing grocery giveaways, Durel has been on the front line of hurricane recovery for over two months. “I am determined to do whatever I can to meet every request for help. My goal is to find or provide the right resources for every need and thanks to our donors, we have been able to do just that. We are now preparing to move into the ‘long term recovery’ phase – assisting low income people with repairs to their homes.” While Durel has certainly received kudos, she says the most important recognition she has ever received isn’t something hanging in a frame or sitting on a mantel. “It’s just the sincere heartfelt thanks and appreciation from the people that we’ve been able to help and from the people of our community.”

On Finding Balance Early in my career, I was a mom of three young children. There were many days when it was tough! Most evenings, I would often sit at my kitchen table way into the night just to get everything done for work. Fortunately, I had supportive people around me who understood the importance of my work. It has always been important to me that my team have the ability to be the best parents they can be.

Best Advice Be honest with yourself. Know what you do well and know your weaknesses. Work harder than the people around you. Don’t just achieve but overachieve, and always over-exceed everyone’s expectations . . . especially your own.


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business


Tobie Bessette Hodgkins


Tobie graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Arts

degree in Political Science, a minor in business and plans to go to law school. She changed her mind about law school, and her parents, who had just purchased the Century 21 Franchise, convinced her to get her real estate license and come to work for them. She started out in sales, gradually moved into management, and then obtained her broker’s license.

Tobie and Tara took over ownership of the company in 2012.

Tobie and Tara come from a family of entrepreneurs. “Our parents and all our grandparents were self- employed, so early in life we witnessed the results of hard work and the importance of building a reputation of excellence,” said Tobie. “We both feel a tremendous responsibility to continue that tradition of excellence and I think we have succeeded,” added Tara. Tobie’s main focus has always been on training and development. “I find it extremely rewarding to work with someone who knows absolutely nothing about the real estate industry and watch them build their business and succeed.” For Tara, a strong relationship with their agents and staff creates a team approach to individual and company success. “I believe that real estate is less about selling and more about relationships. Helping our agents cultivate those relationships and succeed in their personal businesses is extremely fulfilling.” “We were fortunate not to have major damage to our office from the hurricanes, and Tara and I both felt it was extremely important to reopen the office as soon as possible,” said Tobie. “We had quite a few agents, as well as clients, who had a tremendous amount of damage to their homes and we wanted to do everything we could to support all of them as they worked to recover.” While Tobie had just minimal damage to her home, Tara’s had extreme damage, first with Laura and then Delta. “It has been such an overwhelming experience that I have really had to break it down to day-by-day and sometimes even hour-by-hour as we work through it,” says Tara. “I am extremely thankful that Tobie has been able to focus on getting our office back to normal so I can focus on restoring my home.”

Awards and Recognitions TARA:

2012 Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors Realtor of the Year 2007 Junior League of Lake Charles Active of the Year

TOBIE AND TARA FOR CENTURY 21 BESSETTE REALTY, INC: CENTURY 21 President’s Hall of Fame Office – 2014 CENTURY 21 Ambassador Award - 2007 CENTURY 21 Per Person Productivity Award – 2008, 2011 – 2019 CENTURION OFFICE – 2001 – 2008, 2011 – 2019


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020


Tara Bessette Demarie


Tara graduated from McNeese State University with

a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts Education. She started her teaching career in the gifted and talented program in Cameron Parish and later taught in Calcasieu Parish. She decided to obtain her real estate license “just in case,” worked a summer break at her parent’s real estate company and she was hooked. She went on to become the Broker for CENTURY 21 Bessette Realty Inc.

Volunteer Work TOBIE:

Junior League of Lake Charles Southwest Louisiana Board of Realtors Louisiana Realtors Association National Association of Realtors SWLA Economic Development Alliance – 2018 Chair of the Board, Chair-Elect, Vice Chair Education and Workforce Development, Vice Chair of Quality of Life Past member of the Workforce Investment Board Past Member of Junior Achievement of Southwest Louisiana Alliance for Positive Growth


Junior League of Lake Charles – served as President in 2008-2009, Sustaining Advisor to the Board 2019-2020 Southwest Louisiana Board of Realtors – Board Member 2009-2014 Louisiana Realtors Association – Regional Vice president 2017, Board of Directors 2011-2014, LARPAC Trustee – 2013-2016, Risk Management Vice Chair – 2015, Chair 2016, Leadership Chair – 2013, Leadership Team – 20102012, Grievance Team, Marketing and Member Services Team, LR Fall Conference Planning Team 2012/2015 MLS Data Collaboration Team National Association of Realtors National Parkinson Foundation – SWLA / SETX – Board Member Lake Charles Children’s Museum - Board Member Children’s Miracle Network – Board Member

On Finding Balance TOBIE: It was definitely a struggle to balance work and family when my boys, now grown, were young. I tried my best to leave work at the office and focus just on my family when I got home. I also had a very strong support network. Tara and I were fortunate to be able to work together and our kids were very close in age and went to school together for many years, so we were able to rely on each other a lot

TARA: I definitely understand this feeling – good old fashioned guilt. I found it

much easier when we all set a schedule and stuck to it. Learning to turn work off is difficult when you own a business, but I set expectations with my husband and sons, and with my work family, and we all respect each other’s time. Family comes first for me so I am very lucky to have an extremely supportive husband and sister. While some might cringe at the thought of working with family, we have each other’s back and can come in as the pinch hitter when needed.

Best Advice TOBIE: Network with other women professionals and if your industry has a

professional organization, get involved. Know what is going on in your community, with the local and national economy, and continually educate yourself so that you can stay on the cutting edge of your industry.

TARA: Education and determination. Even after 20 years in the real estate industry I continually take classes and complete certifications so I can learn about new regulations or education that I can pass on to our Realtors. I also make a point to set monthly and yearly goals with the action steps on how to attain those goals. I review regularly and tweak if necessary. This year, it has been very necessary!


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business




Tonya Griffith graduated from Southern University

with a degree in Business Marketing, but the financial markets were always her passion. After college, she worked as a pharmaceutical rep in Baton Rouge. When she and her husband returned to their hometown of Lake Charles, they started a family and Tonya took a 3rd grade teaching job so her schedule would match her children’s. Tonya says her pharmaceutical and educational experience strengthened her skills for her current role as a financial advisor – an ability to break down complex strategy to everyday language. “When our team develops a financial plan that successfully helps a client reach their goals, there is no greater reward.”

Awards and Recognitions TONYA:

2013-2020 Premier Advisor (a distinction held by a select group of Financial Advisors within the firm) 2013 Speaker for Barron’s Chicago Diversity Summit 2016 Recognized as Delta Women in Business in Louisiana

Volunteer Work TONYA:

United Way Board of Directors Teen Connections volunteer (financial literacy education for youth) SIE program sponsorship for universities in Louisiana and Virginia


Big Brother Big Sisters board member


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

&Courtney th


Courtney Griffith, Tonya’s daughter, joined her

mother in the financial advisor business in 2014. She says her career has been more of an adventure than a path. As a high school senior, she earned her emergency medical technician certification. In college, she majored in biology, in anticipation of medical school; but she soon realized healthcare wasn’t her calling. After a period of career soul searching, Courtney changed her major to criminal justice and worked as a patrol officer full time. Though she loved her work, Courtney had to leave the force due to a health issue. It was then that Tonya invited her daughter to a Wells Fargo Women Advisors’ Summit. “While there I met many successful women and heard their stories. I was hooked. I resigned as a police officer and put all my focus on becoming a credentialed financial advisor.” Courtney says she enjoys helping her clients achieve their goals and live their best life. “My goal in life has always been to help others. Now I can do so in a profound way. My success is tied to the success of my clients.” After Hurricane Laura, Courtney and her father spent two weeks cutting trees, tarping roofs, and helping others. But she needed to get back to helping her clients, and because there was no power and cell phone coverage was spotty, she packed up her Jeep and headed for Colorado for a working vacation with her dog. “I got there just in time for a snowstorm. It was awesome to be able to go from the heat we all remember from that time to snow. When I got home, I was rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything . . . then Delta came and we left again. We were safe and grateful that Delta didn’t do any further damage to our home.” The Griffith’s business was located in the Capital One Building and was obviously destroyed. The team had already been working remotely due to COVID, but Tonya moved their practice to a location where she could service their clients with little interruption. “Even though we have a process in place to reach out to our clients, we made it a point to simply call to make sure everyone was fine,” says Tonya. “SWLA is strong and resilient and we are here with our clients working through the recovery process day by day.”

On Finding Balance TONYA: Establish time block boundaries. COURTNEY: I believe in maintaining boundaries where

possible. Usually on the weekend, I leave my work cell on the charger and enjoy one of my hobbies. I recommend everyone have at least one hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with work. Mine is hiking and camping. I admit I do still check the phone for missed calls, but the weekends are generally my time. During the week, my boundaries are not as defined. Sometimes I work till 6:00 p.m.; sometimes I can shut down at 4:00 p.m. – it just depends on what my clients need and what the team has going on.

Best Advice TONYA: You are more equipped than you realize. Be kind to yourself, be authentic, and do your own research. If someone closes a door, find a window.

COURTNEY: Never give up just because someone tells you that you can’t do something. The only person who can decide if you are suited for something or not is you! Stay consistent and don’t be afraid of change or challenging the status quo.


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business




worked in “customer facing positions.” She was employed in retail during and shortly after attending college at Northwestern State University and graduating from McNeese State University with a concentration in Business Management. Since then, she has worked in customer service and managed industrial accounts at Entergy and Gulf States Utilities. “I always sought positions that focus on our customers,” says Harris. At Entergy, Harris represents the company with local officials and media as well as taking care of a portfolio of customers and providing leadership for their Customer Service team in Southwest Louisiana. “Whether it’s large growth projects or widespread recovery and rebuild, collaboration is key to success,” she says. “I enjoy being a part of just that . . . working together utilizing the talents of the whole team to reach the best outcomes.” Harris, in her previous role as an Industrial Accounts Manager, was the first woman to join Entergy Louisiana’s Industrial Accounts’ Service group coordinating all aspects of service with large industries. That role grew into also negotiating large contracts. She worked with industrial customers through the planning and execution of very large LNG and petrochemical projects and interfaced internally and externally on large Entergy projects. “In that position I learned so much about our transmission system and about customers’ products and feedstocks, which helped me have a broader understanding of the Entergy system and the customers we serve. The variety in my work keeps me going.” Harris says working in a service industry provides an immediate opportunity to help customers, solve problems, foster understanding, and add value. As SWLA residents well know, Entergy has played a major role in the ongoing recovery process after Hurricanes Laura and Delta. “Every employee at Entergy has a storm role. We are ‘all in’ for getting power to our customers. We recognize that restoring power gives individuals and communities hope. Investing in people is important to me, whether employees, customers, or the community. That’s part of who I am. I’m proud that Entergy invests in the communities we serve. 36

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Volunteer work Active member and choir member of Henning Memorial United Methodist Church Chamber Southwest Board of Directors Volunteers in Aid to Disaster (VOAD) Red Cross Advisory Council for SWLA SWLA Public Relations Officers (SWLA PROs) Partners in Education Salvation Army supporter and other philanthropic groups

On Finding Balance I struggle with work/life balance. I do enjoy exercising and walking at the end of the day to move on from the work mode to spend time with my family. At times, balance is challenging. I achieved a better balance when our children, Meredith and Austin, were home. My husband, Wayne, and I enjoyed and attended their activities together.

Best Advice Choose a profession that brings you satisfaction and joy. Find contentment in what you do. Be true to your own style and find ways to grow in your profession even if it is not looking for the next move up. Make and take time for your family. Find time for yourself to stay mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy. It’s important to recharge; worship is an important part of my week.

FIND A NEW HOME FOR YOUR FINANCES. For over 18 years, Denise Rau, CFP®, and the staff of Rau Financial Group have been fully invested in helping clients pursue their financial dreams. Whether its getting started with investing, saving for college, defending your family from financial uncertainty, preparing for retirement, arranging your estate, supporting an aging parent, or all of these, we’ll listen to your goals and dreams first. Then we’ll develop a sound strategy and customized financial plan to help you pursue them. There’s no time like the present to plan for your future. Give us a call today. (l-r) Denise Wilkinson, Denise Rau, Debora Alexander and Latrana White

(337) 480-3835 | 1634 RYAN ST., LAKE CHARLES

Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Goss Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Goss Advisors and Rau Financial Group are separate entities from LPL Financial.


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business

Megan Monsour Hartman PUBLIC REL ATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PHILLIPS 66 L AKE CHARLES MANUFACTURING COMPLEX Even before she attended college, Megan Hartman’s career goal was to work in public relations for a local refinery. A native of Lake Charles, she attended LSU, majoring in Mass Communications/Public Relations. While in college, she discovered a passion for our state, and sought a job in the Louisiana travel and tourism industry. She landed a media relations role with the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) before graduation. A few years later, she was hired by CITGO to work in government and public affairs. After several years at CITGO, Hartman returned to the CVB as Senior Public Relations Manager. In 2016, she returned to the energy industry as the Public Relations Director at Phillips 66. “I’m currently living my high school ‘dream job’ and am loving it! It’s rewarding to serve our community as an advocate to impact lives. Whether through philanthropic gifts, volunteerism, or developing strategic community partnerships, serving Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) through my profession is my passion.” Hartman serves as Public Information Officer during a crisis. COVID-19 and Hurricanes Laura and Delta have put her to the test! “The last few months have been challenging to say the least. My prayers go out to everyone impacted by the storms. While we still have a long road to recovery, it’s amazing to experience what the people of SWLA have accomplished since August 27.” Hartman was part of the Phillips 66 Lake Charles Away Team during both hurricanes. “I evacuated to Houston and worked in our corporate headquarters’ Emergency Operations Center. I was responsible for communicating with our employees and elected officials about our hurricane plan, our return to work schedule, and employee assistance Phillips 66 provided. Thankfully my husband and our family were able to care for our children while I was away.”

Awards & Recognitions 2018 Graduate, Council for a Better Louisiana’s Leadership Louisiana 2018 10/12 Magazine’s 20 Young Leaders to Watch 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Award for Memories Matter Campaign 2017 United Way Employee Campaign Chair Award 2017 Thrive Magazine’s 13 Thriving 30-Somethings 2016 Women’s Business Network Up & Coming Business Woman of the Year

Volunteer work SWLA Public Relations Officers Chairperson and Founder Family and Youth Counseling Agency board member Phillips 66 Political Advisory Committee Advisory Member Lake Area Industry Alliance Communications Committee member Phillips 66 Community Advisory Panel, coordinator Public Relations Society of America, member Alzheimer’s Association of Louisiana volunteer

On Finding Balance I schedule an annual weekend alone to stop and think introspectively about my values, my personal goals, and how to realign my core beliefs with my life activities and schedule. It’s also important to find accountability, whether that’s through an honest friend or family member or a life coach.

Best advice Ensure your values and goals are in alignment with your schedule. Stick up for your beliefs, share your viewpoints, and ask questions. Stand up for others who can’t stand up for themselves. Be a team player and give credit where credit is due. Realize you can’t do it all, nor alone. Develop a strong supportive team who cheers you on. Make it a priority to do what you love. 38

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020




working in public relations. During college at Henderson State University in Arkansas. She majored in Mass Media and was “dead set” on a career in journalism. But God had other plans for her life, she says. After working for a year as a news reporter at KPLC, she took a position at the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office. Four years later, she began her current role as Public Information Officer with CPSB. Holland says she finds her job rewarding because it allows her to share CPSB information about the students, faculty, and staff with the public. “As the fifth largest school district in the state, we have lots of amazing stories to share. I’m blessed to work for this district and to bring the district’s stories to life. I’ve always told myself that if I’m doing my job correctly, no one will see me. In public relations, I feel that my role is to give credit where credit is due. Whether it’s our superintendent, a principal, a custodian, or a bus driver. The people in our district serve as my motivation to excel and succeed.” A life-long resident of SWLA, Holland says she had never experienced anything like the devastation from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. “When Hurricane Laura hit, I was 36 weeks into a high-risk pregnancy. My husband and I evacuated with our son to Baton Rouge, where I delivered our sweet baby girl on September 11. During that time, I did everything I could to help our school district. I wish everyone could see what was happening behind the scenes during that time, and even now. Our leadership worked essentially around the clock. While I was unable to be ‘boots on the ground,’ I offered support and provided communication to our families, as possible. It was incredibly challenging for everyone. It still is.”

Volunteer Work

On Finding Balance

Fellowship of Christian Athletes– former board member Trinity Baptist Church – Women’s Ministry team

I do my best to separate work from wife/mom life, but that isn’t always easy or possible. As with my job, communication is imperative in the family setting. Even if it means not answering emails for a few hours in the evening and simply being present with my family, it’s important.

Sunday Morning Bible Studies Leader

Best Advice

United Way – Cabinet Education Chair

Always ask for a seat at the table. Even if a meeting or discussion may not directly pertain to you, know what’s happening within your organization. Each person has a different perspective, and that is valuable to a team. Be involved in your organization. Be committed and loyal to it. Believe in its mission. If you can’t do these things, perhaps it’s not the right job or organization for you in this season of life; but when it is, it makes all the difference.

SWLA PROs – Steering Committee National School Public Relations Association – member


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business


Judson CEO, COMMUNIT Y FOUNDATION OF SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA Sara Judson graduated from the University of

Mississippi with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Although she has never worked at a television station, Judson says her education has served her well throughout her career. “I have been on the other side of journalism in marketing, public relations, and organizational development for CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, former Mayor Willie Mount, Lake Area Medical Center, and former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston. In all those roles and experiences, journalism continues to be a cornerstone of my profession.” Judson has been CEO of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana for seven years. “I work with individuals, families, companies, other non-profits, who have a passion for making Southwest Louisiana an even better place to live. We connect people who care with causes that matter; be it building a dog park, planting trees, developing our workforce or helping our region recover from two major hurricanes.” On the eve of Hurricane Laura, Judson and her husband, Mark, evacuated to Baton Rouge for what they expected to be four or five days. They ultimately found a temporary apartment where Sara lived for the month. “The experience of evacuating reinforced for me the importance of friends, family, and people being connected, helping each other.” Tragically, like so many under post-hurricane stress, Judson’s beloved mother, Cissie McLeod, passed away October 19 after spending time in her evacuation with each of her three daughters. During Judson’s evacuation, she worked remotely from their partner, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. “I needed to be in a place where I could communicate with as many people around the country as possible to help raise disaster recovery dollars for our region. Corporate as well as individual dollars started pouring in through the website. To date (late Oct.), we have raised over 6.5 million dollars for relief efforts. Top donors were the Walmart Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, who each gave one million, but my favorite donation story is about a contribution that arrived in an envelope postmarked from somewhere in the state of New York, with three dollar bills given anonymously. Someone there watched the news, cared about what was happening in Southwest Louisiana and wanted to help our region. That’s why I love what I do and why I’m so passionate about the kind of work we are doing at the Community Foundation.” 40

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Awards & Recognitions Graduate – Leadership Louisiana 2004 Sustainer of the Year by the Junior League of Lake Charles 2013 Alumni of the Year – Leadership Southwest Louisiana 2018 40 Under 40 (By the Times of Lake Charles - a long time ago!)

Volunteer Work Sustaining advisor, Junior League of Lake Charles, Inc. Board member – Council for a Better Louisiana Coordinator and Reading Buddy - First Presbyterian Church and Friends 2nd Grade Reading Buddy Program

On Finding Balance My main source of exercise is walking with friends in our neighborhood. That gets me moving and keeps my mind fresh at the beginning of the day.

Best Advice Determine what you are passionate about and match your skills and talents with that passion.


Forbess -

McCorquodale MS, CEAP, LPC-S, LMFT, OWNER, SOLUTIONS COUNSELING & EAP Keri Forbess-McCorquodale knew she wanted

to be a therapist when she started college, so her career path was a straight one. She earned Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Counseling degrees from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. When she moved back home to Lake Charles, she was hired as a counselor at United Way Agency and later became the director of their adolescent substance abuse program. Forbess-McCorquodale calls her introduction to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) field “blind luck,” discovered when working at a counseling agency that also provided EAP services. As she learned more, she knew it would be a good fit. “I love Industrial and organizational psychology, and the ways home and work intersect and influence each other,” she says. “I also enjoy management concepts and helping supervisors become strong leaders, and I really like providing trainings and seminars.” Today, her growing company has contracts with businesses and organizations across SWLA, providing counseling for their employees, management consultations, and workshops on both psychological and work topics. “I love the field I am in and the work I do,” says Forbess-McCorquodale. “Supporting clients as they go on their journeys to develop and become healthy is such an honor, and helping companies be successful, and being a resource for management with regards to psychological behavior is very energizing.” Although Forbess-McCorquodale is feeling what everyone else is feeling after the barrage of two hurricanes – tired, overwhelmed, and ready for this all to be over – she says she has viewed her role during all this as one of calm leadership. “It is my job to provide a stable environment for my team, so we can provide our services to our clients. Our office was completely destroyed, but within days after Hurricane Laura, I had secured a temporary place for my business to move into and my team and I were providing tele-counseling within a week of that storm.”

Volunteer work Junior League of Lake Charles, Sustaining Member (Past President) SWLA Law Center (President-elect) Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (Secretary of the LA Chapter)

On Finding Balance My only child is in college now, but oh, how I struggled when he was younger. I always felt I should be at home when I was at work and vice-versa. I decided to be fully present wherever I was. When I was at work, I learned how to tune in and be as productive as possible. When I was at home, I focused on spending time with my family and not letting the job creep in. My husband, Rob, has always been just as hands on as me, and we shared equally in parenting responsibilities.

Best Advice Don’t try to go it alone. Look for people who exhibit qualities you admire and ask to be mentored. Educate yourself on the characteristics of successful people, and work to build those characteristics. Finally, be kind and gentle with yourself; berating rarely motivates, whereas encouragement rarely doesn’t.

Awards/Recognition Outstanding Women of America Active of the Year, Junior League of Lake Charles


Places & Faces | Leading Ladies in Business

JayVon Muhammad

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SWLA CENTER FOR HEALTH SERVICES JayVon Muhammad describes her career as “quite a

journey.” It began when she was a California teen mom who earned her GED at age 18 and enrolled in a medical assisting program. She worked as an OB-Tech at Kaiser Hospital, where she discovered her love of midwifery. Muhammad attended the National College of Midwifery and worked in the field for years. She eventually became a Program Coordinator with the Marin City Health and Wellness Center, where she fast-tracked to CEO. “Midwifery is by far THE best job I have ever had. I struggled with the transition from clinician to administrator because I was so used to doing the hands-on work, working closely with women to bring new life on the planet. When I was offered the opportunity to become the program CEO, I had several thoughts. The first was ‘Can I do this?’ but after that initial thought came, ‘I have to do this.’ The only thing better than helping one family is having the power to help my community, city, nation . . . I have not looked back since. “ In January 2019, she accepted the position of CEO at SWLA Center for Health Services and relocated to Lake Charles. “I create programs that help people like me become better people. I grew up experiencing trauma, abuse and poverty, lessening my ability to be whole, healthy and happy. I want to continue to grow and am currently a student at Bastyr University, working on a Maternal and Child Health Systems (policy) Master of Arts program.” Being from California, Hurricane Laura was Muhammad’s first hurricane experience. “I could not have imagined the level of devastation a storm could deliver. I had significant damage to my property and SWLA Center for Health Services lost all its medical and behavioral health space. It is a devastating loss to our work, but we’re finding solutions. My response, beginning before the storm, was to take care of the people we serve, from housing people during the hurricane to feeding and providing supplies immediately after – 2400 meals on some days. This work continued after Hurricane Delta. We have to make sure that our community has what it needs. It is our job!”

Awards/Recognition Humanitarian award by Sanjay Gupta on behalf of Americares. Over the past 20 years I have received many awards centered around equity work, and I am proud of each one.

Volunteer Work National Association of Certified Professional Midwifery National Association of Birth Centers of Color The Quality of Life Road Trip

On Finding Balance As a society, we must do more to protect women and allow them to be dynamic. After I married, it became easier for me. I had two more children and finished midwifery school. I started a home birth practice that allowed me to be somewhat flexible with my time. My husband supported me, and together we made it work.

Best Advice Keep pushing! Women are natural leaders. Don’t let anyone convince you that we have to compete with men to be great. Women are compassionate, smart, dynamic, multitaskers, and we can be tough when we need to be.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Women Who Mean Business. For over 70 years, First Federal Bank of Louisiana has been a partner to the business community, helping to strengthen our local economy. We’re proud to support women in business throughout our organization, as they provide guidance and financial support for our customers to succeed in this rapidly changing marketplace. Join with us in celebrating women in business across Southwest Louisiana.

(337) 433-3611

CENTURY 21 Bessette Realty is celebrating 30 years of realty success. Founded in 1990 by Harvey and Moria Bessette, we are proud to remain family-owned and operated by the next generation of CENTURY 21 Bessette owner/brokers, Tobie Bessette Hodgkins and Tara Bessette Demarie. Your trust and confidence are what motivate our team every day. As we move into the next decade, we renew our commitment to service and sales excellence, and welcome the opportunity to be your RealtorÂŽ for life.

THE KEYS YOU NEED FOR 30 YEARS | 474-2185 3025 Lake Street, Lake Charles Each office independently owned and operated. Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission.



Woman an by Kristy Como Armand

Earlier this year, we celebrated the

100th anniversary of women earning the right to vote in this country. Emphasis on the word earned. The reason women today enjoy the full rights of citizenship is because our grandmothers and great-grandmothers demanded it. They literally took to the streets in protest, picketing in front of the White House while being harassed by spectators and arrested by police for “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” They were jailed and mocked and ignored and still they persisted. And eventually — together — they won. Here’s something you may not know about this historic milestone: When the 19th Amendment that gives women the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1919, it required the approval of 36 states to become law. Thankfully, 36 other states did vote for it, because Louisiana did not. Though the new law went into effect nationwide in 1920, our great state didn’t get around to actually ratifying the 19th Amendment until 1970. Through a combination of individual daring, collective might and dogged determination, women have come a long way since then. Right here in Lakes Charles, when Willie Landry Mount first ran for mayor in 1993 (just a little over 20 years after our state voted to give women the right to vote), many people thought she was crazy. “A woman mayor?!?” But she won, and suddenly the unthinkable became . . . normal.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

She went on to serve as mayor for six years before running for the office of State Senator. She won and was re-elected for two additional terms without opposition. Just last year, there was a record number of women elected to Congress, but even at that high water mark, women still only hold about a quarter of those 535 seats (as of the date this publication was sent to printer. This could change in the November 3 election). We’re half the population of this country, we vote in larger numbers and at a higher rate, but we’re still grossly underrepresented at both the federal and state levels. And, as of last year, women hold only 15 percent of seats in the Louisiana state legislature. That’s one of the lowest percentages in the country. We would need to elect 51 more female lawmakers just to get it up to 50%! Let’s get to work on that! It’s not just a matter of political representation. Our wage gap is one of the widest in the country. If current trends continue, women in Louisiana will not see equal pay until the year 2115! According to the nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if employed women in Louisiana were paid the same for comparable work as men, their poverty rate would be reduced by more than half and poverty among employed single mothers would also drop by more than half! There is good news to report, however. The percent of women business owners in Louisiana has risen over time and now represents more than a third of all owners. Women have always owned businesses, but the pace has picked up because women are better educated and have more corporate experience than before. The Center for Women’s Business Research reports that 65% of the women who have started businesses in the past decade learned the ropes as managers in big corporations. They made it to the top, decided the view from the corner office wasn’t what they thought it would be, and took their talent and experience elsewhere - to create something they could call their own. Women start more than twice as many new companies every day as men do. And multiple studies show these businesses are more successful than those owned by men. Many women would agree that’s because we have learned we don’t have to play by the established rules to succeed. We can leave those rules behind and carve our own path to success, one that includes the flexibility we need to take care of our families and our career. In so many ways and thanks to much hard work and sacrifice, women are emerging as the powerful force in society we were meant to be. That we are making progress is a credit to the untold, nameless women who showed up to vote, took jobs in traditionally male industries, demanded fair treatment and fought back against injustice. Perhaps most of all, it is thanks to the women who used their success and strength to lift up other women.

We all face obstacles and setbacks, many devastating. But as women we are at our most powerful when we can use our pain, our disappointment, and our frustration to drive fundamental change and help others in need. We need not be held back by what we do not have, or do not yet know. We must not be daunted by the size and scope of the problems we encounter. We can transform the injustice and discrimination we face as women into something that fuels our passion, that unites us in action to make our state a better place for our daughters and granddaughters. As the saying goes: “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

As Maya Angelou said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

One More Reason to Choose the Center for Orthopaedics The Center for Orthopaedics proudly welcomes orthopaedic surgeon Michael Garitty, MD, to our medical staff. • • • • • •

From Baton Rouge, Louisiana Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Doctor of Medicine, LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana Internship in General Surgery, Greenville Health System, Greenville, South Carolina Orthopaedic Surgery Residency, Greenville Health System, Greenville, South Carolina Fellowship in Adult Reconstruction Surgery, Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, Jackson, Mississippi

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garitty, call the Center for Orthopaedics at (337) 721-7236 or visit LAKE CHARLES • SULPHUR




Straight Answers to Your Questions on Industry and the Environment


I see the flares burning at local industries and can’t help but wonder what they’re burning, or if something is on fire. Is it dangerous?


Flares are a safety mechanism.

Flares process excess gas by burning it off. This safety mechanism minimizes air pollution and helps prevent industrial accidents. The noise that sometimes accompanies a flare is from the steam that’s used as a coolant. When the steam is introduced, it creates a hissing or rumbling noise. The steam cools the system, reduces smoke and minimizes air pollution. We know flares can cause concern and questions, and we try to minimize their use as much as possible because they’re so costly. Understanding why the flares are used can hopefully put any concerns to rest.

Joe Andrepont


senior community affairs director with local industry

Lake Area Industry Alliance

Light it up-



BY DESIGN Nothing brings warmth to landscaping quite like custom lighting and no one does it better than we do. From a simply lit pathway to a brilliant yard overhaul, our lighting specialists can make your yard glow. The possibilities are endless! Landscape Management Services is proud to have examples of our work across neighborhoods in Southwest Louisiana. From planning to execution, our awardwinning team will exceed your expectations. Give us a call us today to book your exterior lighting, fall color or landscape consultation.

5005 Cobra Road, Lake Charles (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm Sat: 8am – 2pm (Seasonal Hours)


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020


Joshua Robinson

Vice President of Marketing

NOVEMBER 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21 9PM – MIDNIGHT All mychoice® members receive one free entry. For extra entries, play your favorite slot machine or table game. Play Thursdays for 5X entries! Every 10 points is one entry. Activate entries at a kiosk or slot machine from 7pm - 11:55pm on promotional days. Bonus entries must be activated at a kiosk. Winners will have 3 minutes to report to the promotional area.

Must be 21 years of age or older. ©2020 Penn National Gaming, Inc. All rights reserved.



Places & Faces


Our linemen and employees truly appreciate all of the support and love from our community.


Main Office 1010 East First Street DeRidder, LA 70634 Toll Free: 800.367.0275 Phone: 337.463.6221


Branch Office 975 North Perkins Ferry Road Lake Charles, LA 70611 Ph: 337.855.6684

TPOSTHURRIC RESOU Is your world still turned upside down from back-to-back hurricanes? The following businesses can help.



for SWLA

• Alert Notifications • Appointment Scheduling Services • Conference Calling • Dispatch Services • Email Monitoring • Event Registrations • Medical Answering • Real Estate Connections • 1st Level Tech Support • Voice Mail • Virtual Receptionist • Voice Broadcast



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020




Get A FREE Consultation For Your Insurance Claim! Hurricane Laura caused catastrophic damage to many homes and businesses throughout Louisiana, including Lake Charles and its surrounding areas. Local firm Dwight & Gary is teaming up with Merlin Law Group, a firm devoted to property insurance claims, to help residents and business owners secure the recovery they need and deserve. With over 35 years’ experience handling property insurance claims, our dedicated trial team and financial resources can help you see your insurance claim through and receive your entitled coverage benefits. If your insurer is delaying, denying or underpaying your claim, please do not hesitate to contact us at 337-488-6350.

merlin law group


Over $15,000 has been raised since August 27th. 100% of the donations we receive go directly towards providing gift cards to our Littles and their families for living essentials as they begin to recover and rebuild.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

The Struggle has made US Stronger. Coushatta Tribe of Louisian

Above all, the people of Louisiana as well as the tireless crews, volunteers, and essential helpers from near and far have withstood many challenges with both courage and compassion. We pray Our Creator continues to protect and provide for our community. We are Louisiana & Coushatta STRONG! We are Many Roles of One Community. We are an US.




Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

We’re committed... The spirit of Southwest Louisiana is built on resiliency – overcoming adversity, evolving as we grow. Sasol and its employees are proud to share in this spirit, investing time and resources to help our region recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Laura.


in relief funds to the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana

Temporary housing, housing repairs


land use donations

to restoration crews for equipment staging

and other direct assistance for employees

Sasol remains committed to ensuring that Southwest Louisiana comes back stronger than before.



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Money & Career


for Every Age

Wise money management is a process that evolves and adapts as a person matures. From childhood to retirement, the way we earn, spend, save, and invest our financial resources can and should be monitored and managed through ageappropriate planning and strategies. In this special section, you’ll find tips to best help you achieve your financial goals – no matter what stage of life you are in.


Money & Career |


How to Teach to Your Kids About


Learning wise money management should begin in childhood when life-long habits and mindsets are most easily formed. Chris Foster, Senior Vice President of Lending at Merchants and Farmers Bank, has seven children at home. “It’s going to be important to include our kids in conversations about savings and other aspects of money management because we want that to be a normal part of their lives.”

Here are seven tips to help your kids establish a firm financial foundation.

TALK OPENLY—AND EQUALLY When teaching kids about money, speak openly, and equally with both your girls and boys. Studies show that parents are more likely to talk to girls about household financial topics like budgeting and to boys about more sophisticated topics like long-term financial planning and investing. Ensure you have the same money conversations with your daughters and sons—whether it’s about paying for groceries or saving for retirement.

GET KIDS INVOLVED Taking a trip to the store? Even a young child can learn to handle money, comparison shop, and choose between a need and a want. Planning a family vacation? Get everyone involved in a cost analysis and savings plan. Have a teen headed for college? Teens should be aware of the costs and how they’ll be covered—including possibly contributing some of their own earnings to a college account.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Email or Text Notification when your RX is ready!

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MAKE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK A GIVEN AT HOME Women still earn only about 80 cents to a man’s dollar, and often that pay gap begins at home. If you expect your kids to earn their allowance by doing chores, pay an equal amount for equal work. Don’t divide chores by gender (i.e., girls clean the kitchen, boys mow the lawn) and don’t value one type of work over the other. Help your daughter gain confidence to negotiate a fair salary in the future by showing her at an early age that a job well done has the same value no matter who does it.

601 S. Pine Street • DeRidder, LA 70634 • (337) 463-7442 •

GIVE KIDS FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EARLY ON Once kids have money of their own, they should learn how to manage it. Schools often don’t include financial education as part of the curriculum, but you can teach this at home. “My wife and I have built money management into her homeschooling curriculum and an old-fashioned piggy bank is actually a great tool,” adds Foster. Start by having young kids set aside a portion of their own money for something special. Later, open a savings account in their name, and teach them to deposit a percentage of allowance and gift money into the account. Watch the balance grow together. Encourage your older kids to get a part-time job and encourage responsibility for sharing the cost of some of their own expenses. When it comes time for big-ticket items like a car, include your kids in the process from researching to financing. These are real-world situations that everyone needs to learn to navigate.


Kids learn as much by what we do as what we say. The example you set, consciously or unconsciously, will send a message about how we spend, save, and invest. The kids will notice. For more information, call Merchants & Farmers Bank at 337-4792086 or visit them at 4091 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70605,


copiers • scanners • printers • fax • shredders

Locally owned and operated for over 30 years

600 W McNeese Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-9913


Money & Career |


Young Adults – What they Need to Know to


Remember your high school or college days, when you’d be low on cash with your friends or you’d take out another loan to pay for the upcoming semester? You probably didn’t stress – you’d either hit up your parents or lean on a credit card. And you couldn’t wait to land that full-time position and make serious money!

The only problem is that too many high school and college students live day-to-day, beyond their means, and build debt that will take years, even decades, to overcome. Why does this matter? It’s a problem because the extra financial burden has many young Americans stressed and less productive. According to a report from Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Workplace Benefits, 67% of millennials say financial stress overtakes their ability to focus and be productive at work and school. This is more than twice as likely as baby boomers — 32% of whom worry about the same thing. Young adults have been potentially set up to fail due to a lack of financial education, direct marketing by credit card companies, and student loans. Upon graduation, many young adults are hit with a wall of personal finance dilemmas. Some need to pay rent, find a job, pay off student debt (the average student loan debt at graduation in 2016 was $37,132), and many of them have no idea where to start because they’ve never been taught.

Parents, here are some things you can do or teach your kids before they graduate.

DON’T COUNT ON YOUR HIGH SCHOOL Currently in the U.S., most high school graduates never take a single class on personal finance or economics. Without the basic understanding of financial terms and practices, your children will be unprepared. If your school doesn’t teach a minimum of one year on basic finance, it’s up to you to give your kids the tools they will need.

MODERN MONEY Yes, dollar bills and cents are still used, but not as much as you think. It’s estimated that less than 10% of the currency in the world is actually paper and coins. This means your children need to know how to manage “invisible money”, including paying bills and ensuring bank accounts don’t hit zero. Stop writing checks and use online services while your kids are young enough to do it with you and can learn by example. 58

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

SAVING MONEY It sounds simple, but 39% of Americans admit to having zero in a savings account. 57% say they have less than $1000 in a savings account. Teach your children to take a portion of any money they receive (birthday, holiday, babysitting, mowing grass, etc.) and place it in a savings account. Generally, 50% should go to savings, 40% to spend, and 10% to share.

INVESTING If your children ever want to retire, they will need to invest money somewhere along the way. Fortunately, there are resources available to teach them how, including some fantasy investing games which would allow them the chance to invest pretend money.

CREDIT CARDS Around a certain age, your children will be bombarded with marketing materials from credit card companies. So be ready! If you want your children to have a card, make sure you sign up for spending notifications or that it’s only used for emergencies. Choose a card with a low annual percentage rate and make sure it is paid off each month. This can be dangerous territory, so if there’s one place to be overprotective as a parent, it’s here.


STUDENT LOANS Currently, U.S. student loan debt is $1.5 trillion and nearly nine million loans are in default. Have your children follow this simple rule - don’t borrow more than they would earn in their first year out of school. In other words, if your child is going to make $24,000 as a first-year teacher (about $20,000 after taxes), don’t take $50,000 in loans.

COMPOUND INTEREST Compound interest is when a bank pays interest on both the principal (the original amount of money) and the interest an account has already earned. As an example, if you put $1000 in the bank with compound interest of 10%, in 20 years the $1,000 would be more than $7,000. Without compound interest, it would be $3,000.





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Overwhelming? It can be, but disaster can be avoided. You still have time. Help your young adult kids learn to be financially smart and savvy. Gregg Murset is a Certified Financial Planner and CEO of BusyKid.

119 West College Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-3651 | Monday – Thursday: 11am–10pm | Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm Closed Sunday | Happy Hour 4–7pm


Money & Career |


GETTING SQUEEZED IN THE MIDDLE Managing Midlife Money Demands

by Kristy Como Armand

Adults at mid-life often face two equally demanding financial needs: supporting teens and young adults, while providing financial assistance for health and long-term care expenses of aging parents. All this is taking place at a time when career stress is typically at its peak and when financial priorities should be paying down debt and saving for retirement. Throw in a pandemic and a couple of hurricanes, and “mid-life crisis” takes on a whole new meaning.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

“We see more and more of this financial squeeze as adults move through their 40s and 50s,” explains Jamie Schiro, Vice President and Westlake Market Manager for Lakeside Bank. “Midlife brings a unique set of financial challenges that require informed decisions to pave the way to financial stability for yourself and your family.” If you are feeling trapped in the middle of equally important financial obligations, it may comfort you to know you are not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly ten million adults between the ages of 41 and 59 find themselves “sandwiched” between financially dependent parents and children. Nearly one-third provided financial assistance to a parent last year, and about half are supporting at least one young or adult child. “Most adults in their 40s and 50s feel financial pressure from family obligations,” says Schiro. “And while much of this is unavoidable and just part of being a responsible parent and adult child, it doesn’t mean these circumstances have to throw you completely off track of your own financial goals. The key is having a plan that will allow you to balance your family’s financial needs with your own financial security.” For example, many midlife adults are tempted to cut back on their personal savings and retirement investment to save for the earlier goal of funding their children’s college education. Schiro advises exploring other options before making this financial decision. “You aren’t doing your children any favors if you put them through school only to become financially dependent on them down the road. And keep in mind, in most cases you can easily get financial assistance for college expenses, but you’ll have a hard time getting a scholarship or student loan to fund your retirement. You are basically on your own. That’s why it’s so important to make retirement saving a priority. This isn’t something you should plan on taking care of after you take care of everything – and everyone – else.” And when it comes to making decisions about how to best provide any needed financial support for your parents, Schiro says the first step is to sit down with them and have an honest discussion about their finances. “This is difficult for many people to do, but you can’t know how much – if any – help they need, much less figure out how you can stretch your budget to assist them, without getting an accurate assessment of their financial situation.”


TIMPERIAL H HEALTH I N FORK Schiro says it’s important to look at everything, including all sources of income and expenses, as well as assets and liabilities. Once you have an idea of their cash flow, budget and assets, you can help them explore their options, which may include cutting back on expenses, reviewing insurance coverage and deductibles, moving to a smaller home or liquidating certain investments. A trusted financial professional can help determine the best decisions for your parents’ future, based on their age, health and overall financial status. “No matter how you look at it, if you’re at midlife, you’ve likely got a lot on your financial plate,” says Schiro. “And although your natural inclination may be to serve yourself last, doing so can have farreaching financial implications that will impact you and your family for years to come. Remember, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that you are able to take care of yourself and your family as you get older. Don’t lose focus on your future financial security as you cope with the demands of providing any needed financial support for your children and your parents. It may not be easy, but you have to keep your long-range financial goals in the mix.” Learn more about financial services available at Lakeside Bank at


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Money & Career |



Can Help People Save & Spend Smartly at any Stage of Life The double dose of storms was a gut punch for all of us, but getting some financial security as we recover can bring peace of mind. Financial strength can be built through a credit union. A credit union has some major differences from banks:

PARENTS AND FAMILIES By putting a small amount per month in a savings program, you’ll get in the habit of saving — both for yourself and your kids. Although saving for college should never come at the expense of your retirement, you can benefit from putting away money while your kids are still young.

Here are some other tips:

CREDIT UNIONS ARE NOT-FOR-PROFIT. THEREFORE, THEY CAN OFFER LOWER LOAN RATES AND HIGHER RETURNS ON SAVINGS. Locally, Southwest Louisiana Credit Union has been a strong part of the community since 1952. It has ditched the traditional banking model and adopted a fresh perspective while finding innovative ways to serve its members. A credit union can serve people of all ages.

YOUNG ADULTS There are thousands of companies competing for your money. Your job now is to balance your needs and your wants. You may find it’s time for you to have your own checking account at a credit union when you have your own bills to pay and make many of your own purchases. You’re responsible for keeping track of how much money is there. If you bounce a check, you’ll have to pay fees in addition to covering the amount of the check, and your credit rating may suffer. With a little discipline, balancing your checkbook is easy. Record all checks, ATM withdrawals, point-of-sale transactions, deposits, transfers to or from other accounts and automatic payments. When you’re on your own, no more than one-third of your gross income should go to repay your monthly debt, including rent or mortgage payments.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

• Don’t sign for a loan until you understand all the terms. • Pay off credit card balances in full each month. If you stay within your credit limit but pay only the minimum monthly payment, you could be in debt forever. • Don’t have more credit cards than you need. • If you have trouble paying bills and just let things slide without first seeking help, the resulting negative information in your credit report may seriously limit your ability to borrow money, rent an apartment or even get a job.

MIDDLE-AGERS Take advantage of credit union’s ability to provide low-interest and responsible short-term loans when facing things like: • An unexpected medical debt • A surprise medical billing • Job loss

Also, a credit union helps people buy a home — maybe a downsized one, for empty nesters — through access to easy and lower-cost home loans. Additionally, it can assist working families in sending children to college via lower-cost student loans.

RETIREES, OR NEARLY RETIRED From low loan rates and great savings earnings, to free services and convenient access to your money, a credit union can provide an excellent way to manage money. Whether people need to start saving for retirement — or need a hand to recover from a cracked or broken retirement nest egg — a credit union can help with strategies to jumpstart recovery. A credit union also ensures that its members’ personal financial data is secure and is protected against hackers and other bad actors. For more information about a credit union’s advantages, and about personal financial security, visit


Money & Career |


Doing the (Stock Market) Math:

3 RULES FOR RETIRED INVESTORS Retirees who make regular withdrawals from their portfolio have specific risks that younger investors need not worry about. That’s why it’s so important to understand the math behind what you’re doing—especially in times of market turmoil.

“If you’re in this category, you’ll want to talk to your financial advisor,” says Peter Mougey, a national securities and investment fraud attorney. “Don’t blindly move ahead, hoping to catch the rebound. And don’t leave their office until you’re sure you understand the math.”

Retirees should keep three “math rules” in mind as they talk to their advisors:

RETIREE MATH RULE 1 In a declining market, withdrawing too much money can lead to a financial downward spiral. Let’s look at a scenario where you’re withdrawing considerably more than four percent a year from a portfolio that’s $100,000 and heavily weighted to stocks. Due to a hit this year from the coronavirus market, you could be down to $80,000. If you are also taking out $1,000 per month, or 12 percent, since the beginning of the year, it is possible your life savings has declined to $75,000. If the market continues its gyrations while you make $1,000 monthly withdrawals to the year-end, your portfolio could be close to $60,000. Next year, to support this $1,000 per month withdrawal, your portfolio would need to return 20 percent. This is almost impossible over the long-term. To recover to the $100,000 and support the withdrawal, the market would need to bounce approximately $50,000, or almost 80 percent, to return to $100,000. If the market declines, older, retired investors making regular withdrawals may find themselves in that downward spiral. “The golden rule of investing while taking withdrawals: don’t go backward to the point where recovery is impossible. To avoid this, you and your advisor may need to watch for a couple red flags,” Mougey says.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

RETIREE MATH RULE 2 Don’t withdraw more than four or five percent (even in the best of times). First, add up your monthly cash needs throughout the year. If your total cash need is more than four to five percent, you are likely withdrawing too much. Many financial advisors tell retired investors they can rely on the average long-term stock market return. Often the range they rely on is 10-12 percent. This is bad advice, says Mougey. “I have seen the devastation this advice causes more times than I can count. An advisor may say, ‘Why work when your withdrawals are more than you are making now?’ The financial advisor recommends a portfolio of almost all stocks and higher-risk bonds to support taking distributions at this level. This advice may backfire. The academic and industry literature suggests portfolios can sustain only four to five percent over the long-term,” he adds. “The further you get away from four to five percent, the higher the risk you’ll be involved in a spiral that you can’t recover from.”

RETIREE MATH RULE 3 Stocks are a young person’s game (too many stocks = too much volatility). If you’re retired and your portfolio is almost all stocks, stock mutual funds, and high-yield bonds (often called junk bonds), you are exposed to too much volatility. Granted, stock returns are much higher than bonds, but the additional return comes with much higher risk. Volatility that comes with stock portfolios, coupled with withdrawals, is a recipe for disaster for retired investors. Quite simply, you don’t have 20 years to allow averages to smooth volatile stock returns. Your investment-grade bonds allocation should be approximately your age, says Mougey. For example, if you are 70, then you should have no more than 20-30 percent in stocks. Fewer stocks and more investmentgrade bonds will reduce volatility, minimize the harm sequence of stock returns can cause, and allow you to enjoy retirement without outlasting your money. Is it time to rebalance your portfolio? Stop taking withdrawals for a while? Go to cash? It depends on your situation, says Mougey—just make the decision deliberately and with both eyes open. “Don’t just keep doing what you’re doing and hope for the best,” he says. “These are extraordinary times, and hope is never a strategy. Neither is blind trust in your advisor. Make sure you’re fully aware of the issues and engaged in making the best decisions for your life and your future.” Peter Mougey is a national securities and investment fraud attorney with Pensacola, Florida’s Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.

STRETCH YOUR RETIREMENT DOLLARS 4 Tips for Making your Savings Last Longer Many retirees and those nearing retirement express a common fear. They worry about running out of money and finding their bank account drained with years of life still ahead of them. “The reality is that a large percentage of Americans simply don’t have the kind of savings they need,” says Chuck Price, president of Price Financial Group Wealth Management Inc. “When that’s the case, there are other strategies they’ll need to consider.”

He suggests the following to stretch retirement dollars as much as possible:

WORK LONGER Nothing says you have to stop working at a particular age. You can continue in your career, find a new one, or just work part-time. Even temporary employment can help keep the cash flowing so you don’t have to tap into your savings too much.

CULTIVATE ALTERNATIVE INCOME STREAMS You can reduce your reliance on your retirement portfolio by cultivating income streams. “This could be done through a side business or maybe by making investments outside your retirement portfolio that pay dividends,” Price says. “There are a number of ways you might be able to come up with some extra income.”

CUT COSTS Are there expenses you can eliminate if money becomes tight? Maybe you don’t need to play golf every day or dine out so often. Are you paying for insurance on an extra car that you no longer need or for a motorcycle you rarely ride? “Retirement is supposed to be fun, I know, but in tough economic times you’ll need to make decisions,” Price says. “If your situation improves, you can add some of those luxuries back later.”

RECONSIDER THE FINANCIAL HELP YOU GIVE OTHERS Seniors often want to help their children and grandchildren financially, but you might need to cut back on your charity. “If your own survival and financial situation is being threatened, you need to pull back a bit,” Price says. “You’re trying to make your money outlive you, so it might be necessary in times of economic turmoil to reduce how much you provide to others.” On the upside, Price says, it’s worth noting that expenses in retirement might not end up being as much as you think. “Most people spend less money as they get older because they stop driving, traveling, and buying clothes. The main exception is if there’s a need for long-term care, which can be very expensive. But most of my clients in retirement, usually after about age 80, aren’t spending anywhere close to what they had planned for.” Chuck Price is president of Price Financial Group Wealth Management Inc. and author of Investing Simplified: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.



for life


from Solutions Counseling & EAP by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

Getting By

I’m not going to lie. I’m tired. Are you tired? I’ve been keeping a brave face on for so many months now, I can’t remember not having to have it on. This isn’t how it is supposed to be. Life is supposed to be a series: a challenge occurs, you put a brave face on and soldier on, the challenge passes, and you get back to normal. The challenge isn’t supposed to last for months on end, then be supersized by two hurricanes. Normally, I am writing about gratitude for this issue. After all, it is November – a time of cooler weather (finally), warmer clothes (finally, BOOTS!), pumpkin spice everything, and Thanksgiving. What’s not to be grateful for? Well, this year I am struggling. It’s not that I’m not grateful. Things could be so much worse. Even the people I know who lost everything are trying to be grateful and telling themselves, “Things could be so much worse.” We are all trying. We really are. It’s just that the weight of slogging through the physical and emotional debris of the last couple of months, when we were already heavy with pandemic pandemonium, is almost too much. Almost. That is the key word here. When I work with clients who have chronic pain issues, we use the word “almost” a lot. “It’s almost too much to bear.” “You almost don’t want to be here anymore if you have to live like this.” The word “almost” gives us a way to acknowledge the depth of our emotions without being final. The word “almost” also reminds us that we can still carry on. If it were truly too much, we wouldn’t be here any longer. But we are still here. Putting one foot buried in concrete blocks in front of the other. I want to share with you the things I have been doing to help me get through these trying times. These are the things I do regularly because I have found them to be helpful and comforting. Exercise. I must have walked a million miles in the last nine months. Prior to the pandemic, I worked out at a gym. When the gyms were closed, I rediscovered walking, which I had always loved many years ago. I had stopped walking, and started other forms of cardio, because I wanted to burn more calories. I forgot how much I love walking: being outside, using all five senses while walking, and letting my brain process and problem solve. I don’t see me giving this up (and I don’t think my dog will let me).


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020

Yoga. I decided to try yoga during the pandemic. I had always heard about it, read about the benefits, and, goodness knows, I needed something to help me calm down! I was never very interested in it because I was exercising in other ways and practicing mindfulness in other ways. Well, I have drunk the Yoga “Koolaid.” I’m a true believer now. I had no idea how much all my muscles needed to stretch. I had convinced myself that “everything hurting” when I get up in the mornings is a result of all that exercise and is normal. Now I know it doesn’t have to be that way. A friend turned me on to Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She is so calming, positive and relaxing. She doesn’t know it, but she’s my friend. Podcasts. I know I’m late to the party with this one. I have always been a “book on CD” girl and was constantly at the library checking them out. And, yes, I go in person because I need to LOOK at the book on CD. When the libraries closed, I decided to check out this podcast thing. Yet more “Koolaid drinking,” friends. I know there are a million podcast options out there, but I have a few favorites for you to consider: Armchair Expert with Dax Sheperd – he’s funny, he’s smart, he’s committed to growth. This was my first podcast, and completely got me hooked. Smartless with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett – I laugh out loud at every single episode. Dolly Parton’s America. This is a limited series podcast. And it’s about Dolly Parton. Need I say more? Dr. Death, Bunga Bunga, Broken, Dirty John, The Shrink Next Door, Deep Cover. All limited series, and all true stories. I was enthralled with all of them! Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel. Esther is a famous therapist and she meets with a couple for only one session to work her magic. She is a unicorn.

Disclaimer: Not all of these podcasts are suitable for all ages. To wrap up: It’s ALMOST too much for us, we are tired of putting on brave faces, we need to exercise for sanity, we need to find something that is calming for the sanity of others, and we need to lose ourselves in some way. That’s our current playbook for getting by. Onward!



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • November 2020