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Who will help you write the happiest possible ending to your very first love story?

They were the first ones to give us the love and care we needed. When they're in need, how do we give it back?

Who will help you write the happiest possible ending to your very first love story?

Did you know there are 5 million people over 85 in the U.S. today?

And that will double by 2035?

If you have an older loved one, you know what a struggle it can be for them. Simple things that we do without thinking, like walking or grocery shopping, become nearly impossible challenges when your body just doesn't work the way it used to.

It can be heartbreaking when someone we love goes through this.

But who's going to help?

We're all so busy, with careers to build, families to manage, and other commitments, and it's often hard to work out what to do to help an older loved one.


As hard as it can be, adult children who can find the time — and have the right kind of relationship with the older person — may find the experience incredibly fulfilling. With the older person vulnerable in a way she or he never was, new opportunities for a profoundly deep, equal friendship appear. And a refocusing of what's really important makes the good moments so, so good.

In other situations, a professional caregiver can be the answer. Some people are finding professional caregiving to be a deeply rewarding career choice. It allows them to make a real difference in someone's life. And a caregiver/client arrangement can turn into an irreplaceable, life-changing relationship.

If we're lucky enough for our elders to live a long time — and if we're that lucky ourselves — we realize what an important role caregivers of all kinds play.

The pay for professional caregivers, though, is unfairly low.

It's often less than $10 an hour. Pretty shocking considering how vital these people are to so many families. We need to encourage good people to go into this line of work so when our families need them, they're there. And, of course, when a caregiver makes the life of someone you love livable, there just aren't enough thanks in the world.

Three women tell their personal stories about caregiving from three different angles.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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