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grandparents, loneliness, grandkids
via Pexels

A grandfather and granddaughter holding hands.

This article originally appeared on 04.27.22


Loneliness is one of the most dangerous health problems in the United States, although it’s seldom discussed. Psychology Today says loneliness has the same mortality risks as obesity, smoking, alcoholism and physical inactivity.

A meta-analysis from Brigham Young University found that social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by up to 50%. The problem with loneliness is that people suffer in silence and it afflicts the ones we don’t see.

A TikTok user who goes by the name Megan Elizabeth recently shared a touching story on social media about how her grandfather was feeling lonely so he reached out to her. The story shows what can happen when one person is brave enough to confront their social isolation and the important role grandkids can play in their grandparents’ lives.


It started when Megan's grandpa texted her to ask if she'd like to come over for a sleepover. “I haven’t been feeling well and miss you. We can order food and watch a mystery show. Love, grandpa,” he wrote.

Megan was happy to go see him, so grandpa made a series of requests to make the sleepover a hit.

“Could you pick up applesauce? The cinnamon kind,” he asked. “And if you go somewhere with mash potatoes, I would like that because I have no teeth and can only eat soft things. Ha!”

He also wanted some strawberry ice cream for dessert. “Thank you. You are my favorite granddaughter,” he ended the conversation. Megan later noted that she’s his only granddaughter.

Megan came by with a big bag of food and some ice cream and the two hung out and watched his favorite black-and-white “mystery movies.” When it was time for bed, grandpa hadn't forgotten how to put her to sleep. He got her a glass of water to put by the bed in case she got thirsty and left a flashlight on the nightstand just in case his 29-year-old granddaughter got scared.

The next morning, at 5:30 am, he watched her leave for work.

Grandfather and granddaughter grew up close to one another. Megan lived with her grandparents when she was young while her parents saved up money for a house. When they bought one, it was right across the street.

“I am so lucky to have grown up with my grandpa and my grandma (rest in peace),” she wrote on Instagram. “I feel so happy. I am thankful for my grandpa and he will never understand how much love he truly has shown me. And more importantly, the love he showed my grandma while she was alive. I believe in love and loyalty because of this man. He is my hero,” she added.

Megan's time with her grandfather made her realize a valuable lesson about her life.

"I think one of the most important realizations I have had recently is that it’s important to live in the moment but it is important to live in the now with intent," she wrote on Instagram, "so that when you are 92, you look back and smile at all the people you loved, the memories you made and the life you chose to live."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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