Author Archives: Elissa Bell

A Premium on Premiums: Coming Soon to Insurance Near You

 Open insurance enrollment across the country at businesses large and small will open within the next few weeks.  Many of us will be surprised by rate hikes or changes in our plans that may impact coverage.

I hate to be the one to tell you this unwelcome news, but it seems that this year’s rate increase will outpace last years. I’ve seen numbers ranging from 5-15% for an average rate increase.  In fact, Fitch Ratings anticipates the impact of COVID-19 could last for decades. The lucky (I mean prepared) ones will be able to negotiate based on better/more profitable health plan performance or strong health stats.  And I even know some companies that are absorbing the cost increases in whole or in part for their employees, given the challenges of this year.

A Long Haul

It’s likely that business owners and corporate leaders have been wrestling with their plans for months and trying to negotiate better rates. Health and benefits costs are one of the largest and fastest growing expense line items of any organization. The pandemic has made these costs even more unpredictable and uncertain.

We see this as a long-term trend because many consumers deferred health care and procedures for fear of the pandemic, or their surgeries were postponed because they couldn’t gain access to facilities.  Tangential costs related to diagnostic testing, mental health and chronic lasting symptom treatment will add to the cost.  Last month, we also wrote about the fact that nurses and other healthcare providers are experiencing burnout and are leaving the industry, driving up employee cost and placing a premium on talent acquisition.

But What Can You Do?

All of these factors contribute to companies being on high alert for ways to manage costs.  My team at PyxisCare has been working with clients – individual and corporate – to crunch the numbers and find creative solutions to rising costs. We have wonderful success stories of containing costs and creating wins for clients.  In some cases, our nurses work onsite with corporate clients to ensure appropriate health care utilization, resulting in fewer emergency room trips and better management of and accountability for chronic conditions. And in some instances, it’s a simple matter of understanding what plan best fits your lifestyle.  With Medicare open enrollment beginning on October 15 through December 7, you still have time to make great decisions. We would love to share our expertise with you.


Meet The Team: Sarah Herrington Financial Scenario Analysis Expert

“Our support allows clients to understand and utilize the best possible options both in quality and cost.”

Sarah Herrington, Nurse Client Advocate

 In the rapidly changing insurance and healthcare world, companies and individuals need help navigating the complexities of their options and next steps.  As Nurse Client Advocates, we manage the ever-changing intricacies of the healthcare system on a daily basis and can assist the client in navigating optimal plans. Once a client shares their needs and budget parameters, we provide the best options available and how to fully utilize the coverage most effectively.

 Financial Scenario Analysis has greatly expanded for clients – tell us about the art & science of working with clients to help them with decision making. Financial Scenario Analysis begins with reviewing client resources, then presenting options that align with needs. We work through a proprietary financial scenario analysis that presents them with options and then work alongside them to best utilize their finances.

 Families are often presented with difficult care decisions that are heavily predicated by financial circumstances. Share an example of a recent successful outcome.  Oftentimes, we are able to find benefits and programs for clients that are unknown to them. There are financial options that many people do not know about and do not know how to apply to receive. For instance, several of our clients qualify for therapies, massage, home health and other benefits they previously were not utilizing.

 We have a client with brain cancer who needed to make a decision to go to a memory care unit or receive 27/4 at-home care.  The client’s family hired us to complete a financial scenario analysis to support their best long-term decision-making. We priced each scenario and presented the analyses for them with multiple options. The family was able to use a combination of both options that provided the most comprehensive care plan for their loved one.

What is the average cost of an analysis?  Financial scenario analyses are priced by hour, but we do provide an estimate based on projected time.

How does this analysis help you determine how best to support a client? The analysis takes in all the available resources to determine the best course of action from a financial and service standpoint. Our support allows clients to know and utilize the best possible options both in quality and cost.

What do you see as a key factor of managing a client’s finances and how does it help them lead a healthier life? Preparation is the key financial factor that everyone needs to consider for a longer, healthier life. What will it cost to live with your desired quality of life in retirement? Not enough people really take the future seriously from a cost perspective. We cannot simply expect our finances to stretch without being prepared.

Do you see Financial Scenario Analysis continuing to be in high demand? Yes. As our population gets older and needs more access to healthcare, they will need more knowledge regarding finances. As Nurse Client Advocates, we can lead the process and help them achieve peace of mind.

What else would you like to share with us that would be helpful to people and companies in the future? Companies should always consider including long-term care and advocate benefits in their healthcare packages to support the long term health of their employees and their ability to contribute to a productive workplace.


Communication and documentation are key to sound employment practices, but when a large contingent of employees are working remotely, they are even more important…and more challenging.”             


Molly Jones, Partner, Wick Phillips, Employment & Labor

 The employment landscape is changing. What are the biggest factors affecting your work with companies/employers today? 

The ever-changing landscape of COVID has been the most frequent topic of consultation with clients in the past 18 months.  This pandemic has touched on and continues to affect many aspects of employment law – furloughs and layoff; health and safety protocols; COVID-related and other leaves; accommodation issues.  Currently, we are counseling many employers about returning employees to the office, focusing on keeping those employees safe but also increasing productivity and collaboration that may have been lacking with remote work.

Many companies are making work-from-home permanent for some – what future issues do you foresee with flexible working arrangements? 

Managing the performance of remote employees can be a real issue, especially when organizations have not grown organically or gradually into that arrangement. Some jobs and some employees work well remotely, while others are less successful, and managing remote worker performance requires even more consistent communication than managing a non-remote employee. With increasing workloads for many managers, performance management can be given short shrift or fall through the cracks altogether, which can exacerbate the problems. Working from home can also create challenges for non-exempt workers who are required to track and report their time. Because employees are more likely to multi-task between personal and work tasks at home, some employees may find it difficult to know when to record their time. Employers should set clear guidelines for non-exempt workers to ensure that they are accurately reporting all time worked.

Aside from management and compensation issues, remote work has other organizational challenges, like how to promote company culture and ensuring that employment opportunities are equal for all groups of employees. For example, issues of fairness can arise between workers who are required to work in the office and those who are permitted to work remotely. Given those obstacles, we foresee many companies opting for hybrid work arrangements (with 1-2 days remote per week), rather than moving towards fully remote work in the long-term.

How to you see labor shortages affecting employment over the long term? Or will the market correct itself?

 Employers are taking drastic steps to attract candidates right now. We’ve all heard stories of sky-high signing bonuses, hiring bonuses for jobs that traditionally do not have them, and even pay for showing up to an interview. Employers are focused on offering competitive pay and benefits and other creative perks that will bring workers in the door. As difficult as it is in the current climate, employers should continue to focus on hiring employees who fit the organization’s culture and needs for the long term rather than taking stop gap measures that might lead to additional problems in the future.

Since we have no way to know whether labor shortages are a short-term problem or not, retaining quality employees is equally, if not more, important than attracting new talent. This is a good time for employers to evaluate the status of their teams, not only in terms of compensation but work satisfaction, promotions, flexible work arrangements and other aspects of their jobs that could make employees more likely to stay with an organization long-term.

 What advice will help employees and employers in today’s workplace environment? 

Communication and documentation are always key to sound employment practices, but when a large contingent of employees are working remotely, they are even more important, but also more challenging. Setting up regular check-ins with employees and following up with a short email summarizing the discussion and future expectations can go a long way towards keeping the line of communication open and creating shared expectations. For employees who are working remotely, employers should emphasize that it is crucial to communicate what each person is working on so that employers can address any disparities in workloads.

Compassion Fatigue is Real

What happens when caregivers have nothing left to give?

Compassion fatigue, often called the negative cost of caring, has been around as long as human challenges have been around.  The simple definition of compassion fatigue is burnout. This specific type of burnout can be difficult to recognize because the work still gets done, patients are still cared for, but the provider may be physically and emotionally exhausted and unable to maintain healthy boundaries, with potentially harmful effects.

PyxisCare’s entire purpose is based on the ability to extend compassion though any and all situations – whether preparing for a long and healthy future, in crisis in the emergency room, managing chronic conditions for optimal living or preparing for end of life. In fact, I’ve written several times about the impact of caregiving on those of us taking care of aging parents, children, and other loved ones as they go through health and other challenges.

The Stakes are Higher Than Ever

Today, however, the stakes are higher than ever.  Compassion fatigue is personal and can cause depression, exhaustion, traumatic stress and a dulling of one’s ability to empathize with others.  Devastating for the people in your life.

Now, think about the massive and widespread effects of compassion fatigue on our health professionals – nurses, techs, counselors, therapists, doctors, and others who work in hospitals, clinics and places that provide care services.

Some areas of the country went into the pandemic with too few doctors, and now we are  nearing a nursing staffing crisis with overburdened hospitals and too few nurses and techs to support patients.  There are several extreme examples of this:

  • Oregon’s governor recently ordered 1500 National Guard troops to help hospital staff in the state.
  • A Florida county that’s urging residents to “consider other options” before calling 911.
  • Mississippi has 2,000 fewer nurses in 2021 than it did in 2020 and their only Level 1 trauma unit has been setting up a field hospital in a parking garage.
  • Many hospitals are deferring even critical surgeries and others have empty beds for lack of staffing.                                                                            *Source New York Times

Don’t Panic, But Do Your Part

I don’t say these things to cause panic. But this grim reality is something that we should all be aware of as we make our healthcare decisions and try for live longer, healthier lives. Think of it when you make your decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine or not. Think of it before you lose your temper because of a long wait in the Emergency Room or at your clinic. And if you know a nurse or healthcare provider, be there to support them and watch for signs they are struggling with workload and stress. Gratitude isn’t enough to protect them from an overwhelming sense of responsibility as they deal with a crisis that has lasted for 18 months and shows few signs of slowing. But gratitude is a good start.


Cassie Hopkins: Supporting Client Relationships

“Being honest, clear and compassionate during difficult discussions is key. Having these conversations in the correct way helps build trust during vulnerable times.

  Cassie Hopkins, PyxisCare Relationship Manager

 As PyxisCare’s Relationship Manager, you’re often introducing clients to concepts that may be new to them…what is the most commonly overlooked service that they need to know about?

Clients often do not know the full range of resources available to them, and that’s what our care managers are skilled in.  Beyond medical resources, there are often federal and local resources to tap, including day rehabs, respite care, companion care. Most don’t know the important documents necessary to have in place should they are unable to make decisions. A critical part of PyxisCare’s service is to educate our clients in making sure they have the right legal documents in place and why those documents are important in case of emergency.

What is the one document they are most surprised by when ensuring they are prepared for the future?  Younger and middle aged clients are often surprised when we ask them if they have an MPOA (Medical Power of Attorney) in place or a living will. Thinking about being unable to make your own medical decisions is a very vulnerable discussion and many think of it as something an older or ill person must have. Regardless of age, one should consider who can make medical decisions on their behalf. We work in an industry where life changes in an instant and these plans are a critical safeguard.

How do you approach leading clients through difficult decisions?  Being honest, clear and compassionate during difficult discussions is key, and you want clients to understand the weight of the decisions being made. Having these conversations in the correct way helps build trust during vulnerable times.

What is the importance of your role in supporting whole person care?   I am the introduction to what PyxisCare can do to help individuals and companies navigate difficult health care situations. Our Nurse Client Advocates are the heart of the team. They are there through all the difficult times with our clients, advocating on their behalf, and its my honor to continue to support the ongoing relationships we build. I often pull together a care team, which could include a financial planner, a medical services team and a lawyer or law firm who can assist with key documents.

 Your experience as a nurse helps bring a special kind of compassion to your current  role.  What else have you learned in your time with PyxisCare?  When I was a nurse, my goals were primarily clinical, to get the patient healthy enough to be discharged or to move on to the next step of their recovery. At PyxisCare, we truly take a holistic approach that encompasses their environment, finances/benefits, legal/documents, and psychosocial/emotional. Our approach ensures that our clients understand their options and are able to make informed decisions for loved ones. PyxisCare’s goal is to help with the health and well-being of not only our clients but their caregivers and families. It has been an amazing experience and I am proud of this team every day.

Party Like It’s 2019? Not So Fast.

Will we ever go back to normal?  Three months ago, we were celebrating the end of Covid as vaccines flowed freely and case counts were low across the country.  Then the delta variant crept in and said, “slow down.”

Case counts across the country are going up. As I write, North Texas, my home, sits in an area designated as a “high transmission” area, along with much of the country at this point. Even vaccinated people are getting infected at a higher than expected rate, although with much better outcomes than non-vaccinated people.

Here We Go Again

It feels helpless to just say “Here we go again” but that’s where we are. Variants may plague us for a while and our very best protection comes in the form of vaccines, plus masking and other general preventative measures. As a business owner with a medical background working with a talented team of tenured nurses every day, I’ve made no secret that I think getting vaccinated is the right decision for the greater good. However, many of my friends have chosen to not get vaccinated yet.  And I respect their reasons.

If you’re still thinking about it, but wondering when and where you can get vaccinated, check out for a list of nearby spots.

I expect that we are in for some turmoil with recent confusion about mask wearing and physical distancing – do we or don’t we? Layer together federal mandates, state directives and local control based on case prevalence, and guidance becomes even murkier.

Moving Ahead

The best we can do in moving forward is to examine our risk tolerance and take personal responsibility very seriously. We work with clients on making these determinations in a thoughtful way – with individual clients and also as consultants to leadership at companies.  All of them want to continue to live life and move ahead in the safest way possible. And so, we help them do that.

Mostly, I dearly hope that you and yours stay well and protect your health as we move into yet another season optimistic for improvement, but touched by the lasting effects of the pandemic.


Strategic Health Plan Management: Protecting Employees and Your Business During a Pandemic

“Because of the pandemic, environment became everything as people changed their work and home lives to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. In my experience, employees appreciate the investment their companies are making to keep them safe and well.”

— Duyen Nguyen, PyxisCare Director of Personal Health Nursing

Duyen Nguyen was PyxisCare’s first Personal Health Nurse, a position that is embedded in an employer’s organization and allows for on-site and immediate engagement to help employers achieve goals – chiefly better health and usage of health plans to improve and sustain employee health. Duyen’s role has grown and she now advises on several employer strategic health plans. We’ve asked her to provide insight on industry trends.

What is the top issue for your clients right now?

I’ve been advising clients on how to provide a safe and low-risk environment for employees. This is a top concern for employers as they look to maintain high productivity, serve their clients, recruit and retain talent, especially with Covid-19 numbers on the rise. The strategies vary depending on the industry – on-site manufacturing or building sites, versus professional services which can be delivered virtually and other business models. We have installed temperature scanners, implemented workplace policies and testing/tracing operations, provided access to vaccines, trained people in protective equipment usage and supported those who became ill with access to the best care and support services.

How are you working with your clients to solve these problems?

When Covid started last year, I worked with clients to provide a safe environment and guidelines for the employees who were working at the time. Before vaccines were available, I quickly connected with local clinics to provide fast/accurate Covid tests for those who were exposed or had symptoms.

One of the largest initiatives for employers was getting the workforce vaccinated. It was important that we provide easy access to vaccines, so we actually helped to set up appointments for the employees to get Covid vaccines. We also provided education to help allay fears about the vaccine and answer concerns. With that crucial protection, there were fewer cases of Covid among the employees in subsequent months. Since vaccines became readily available, we have organized on-site vaccine clinics at some employers.

Important to all of these tactics is ensuring that employees are connected with primary care physicians and leverage Telehealth visits when and if they need to see a physician quickly.

Are employees apprehensive about returning to in-person workspaces?

Through our combined efforts, clients have returned to work in person. Our companies provide rigorous screening, testing and environmental cleanliness. Employees were hesitant to return at first, but safety protocols have been adhered to and they have been able to maintain business continuity, so employees are safe and the companies are able to deliver. One client has even had zero cases onsite – that has helped the employees feel comfortable and happy coming back to work.

What are employers doing to ensure safe workspaces as employees return?

All the tactics are important but preventative and protective measures are the best way to protect employees. Vaccination, face coverings and continuing to physically distance when it’s possible are critical as we see additional spread across the country.

The more employers do to protect their employees, the more trust is established. Providing a safe environment increases trust and productivity.

Are employees utilizing benefits differently since the pandemic and/or return to work?

Yes, the pandemic has changed the work environment significantly – and some work environments will remain changed forever. We have proven some employees can work effectively remotely. And we have proven that we can make the on-site workplace as safe as possible through planning, prevention and protocols. Normalizing telehealth visits helps to maintain or even increase productivity because the employees don’t have to take vacation or sick time for their doctor visits.

What significant changes have you seen in the work environment in the past 18 months?

Previously, individuals rarely considered the impact their environment had on their health. With the pandemic, environment became everything as people changed their work and home lives to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. In my experience, employees appreciate the investment their companies are making to keep them safe and well. Now more than ever, employees value a safe workplace, healthcare benefits and access to excellent medical service when they need it most.

Summertime, Free Time & Free Summer Learning









It’s summertime and pandemic or not, parents are doing the very same thing we were doing pre-pandemic…looking for ways to keep our children entertained in healthy and productive ways.  While the past 15 months brought us a lot of tough moments, online learning and interactive opportunities have expanded in number and variety.  You’ll be happy that your kids will have a jumpstart on next year.

Enjoy this short list of FREE resources and share with friends.

  • Learn how to code with org

Get started with coding today! This app offers free courses and activities at all age and skill levels. This app is a great way to get your kid interested in coding and computer programming, without overwhelming them.  Try Code Bytes – quick mini lessons. And join millions of students and teachers in over 180 countries who participate in an Hour of Code. These one-hour tutorials range from Dance Party to Minecraft to learning about AI (artificial intelligence).  Find more here on the site.

  • Consider a Geocaching challenge. If you haven’t heard of this latest trend that melds science, technology and nature, it’s time to get started.  Start your search for more than 2 million geocaches with modern day treasure hunting in Texas State Parks.
  • 4-H Camp at Home. You’ve heard of 4H – and now they offer educational activities you can do at home under varying levels of supervision. Enjoy free activity guides on topics ranging from animal care to growing beans in a bottle to financial literacy and college readiness.
  • Crafting! Spending dedicated time creating something beautiful is an incredible way to focus and relieve stress.  Check out these free online arts and crafts classes offered by Michael’s craft stores.
  • Culinary experience Lettuce Cook joins the many options for free online cooking classes. In addition to free Covid-19 classes, you can also register and pay for summer camps and private instruction.
  • Looking for exercise that actually relaxes you? Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga, which offers several free programs online and on You Tube. Of course, you can opt for a subscription, but start getting the health benefits now!
  • org is a great resource for parents who want to know more about how to avoid the “summer slide” and even has specific programming in summer science and summer reading. Kids 3-12 can pick a topic they are interested in and find books, activities, and videos that make learning fun and interactive on their own terms. Topics vary from civics and math to dinosaurs and fairy tales.


“I have a passion to help young people overcome their past and have a brighter future. I have found a career that allows me to do this, as well as continue my personal advocacy for at-risk young people.”


René Lackey, RN, PyxisCare Nurse Client Advocate and Youth Advocacy Volunteer


What sparked your passion for working with at-risk youth?

 I have had compassion for children in need from a very young age. My parents divorced before I was sixteen and I experienced confusion, difficulty trusting and navigating healthy relationships and low self-confidence. However, I sought support and worked to improve my wellbeing, stability, joy and peace. As an adult, it was important to provide a refuge for my children and their friends who had come into our home over the years, longing to be cared for and valued. All this together created a passion in me to help young people overcome their past and have a brighter future. I have found a career that allows me to do this, as well as continue my personal advocacy for at-risk young people.

How do the events of one’s youth affect their adulthood?

 Trauma has a long-lasting impact on us. ACES or adverse childhood events are often overlooked, minimized, and misunderstood. Trauma can be specific acute events like abandonment, sexual or physical abuse, but can also be chronic neglect, exposure to substance abuse, or sustained housing or food insecurity. When trauma is not addressed it is stored in the mind and body and has a lasting impact on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can cause disease and mental health challenges.

How has the isolation of Covid-19 played a role in general mental and emotional wellbeing?

 The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the mental and emotional wellbeing of children and adults. Many young people are dealing with changes in their social lives, daily routines, and home environment. Economic challenges have led to food insecurity, job loss, and an increase in substance abuse in the home. People of all ages have experienced an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness, and feelings of isolation and despair. People with underlying mental health disorders have faced challenges with access to counseling and other healthy coping mechanisms. The risk of suicide and abuse increased significantly.

What are some keys to supporting the mental and emotional health of others especially coming out of the isolation of Covid-19?

As society learns to cope with the pandemic and emerges from the difficulties faced in a new normal, it’s important to continue to support our clients mental and emotional needs. Ensuring access to counseling, assisting with finding activities out of the home, encouraging safe connection with family and friends and a return to hobbies and work are important. Some who did not previously require medication for anxiety or depression may need medical treatment – at least for a time – to help cope and adjust.

Why are mental and emotional health just as important as the other aspects that PyxisCare evaluates with clients such as medical, financial and legal?

 As humans, we are complex. Studies show that up to 85% of disease is related to stress. “Dis-ease” – the word – speaks for itself. Anxiety, stress, depression all have an impact on the physical body. In turn, poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, or quality sleep also impact mental and emotional wellbeing. Taking care of our clients means keeping a close and constant eye on the whole person and offering support and resources to address all aspects of their health.

In addition to your work with PyxisCare, you’re also involved in a non-profit supporting new mothers. What is one of your favorite stories from your non-profit work?

 In 2018, I had the honor of meeting Nina (name changed for privacy).  She was 10 weeks pregnant. Nina was abandoned at a shelter before she was two and experienced early traumatizing abandonment. She was assigned a birthdate and will never know when she was born or exactly how old she is. This among many other factors impacted her sense of self deeply.  When I met her, CPS was investigating abuse in a foster care home where she was housed, and I was asked to support her through her pregnancy. I had the pleasure of walking through this beautiful young mom’s pregnancy providing medical advocacy, transportation to doctors, grocery shopping trips and more. Weeks before her baby was born, Nina shared with me that she wanted me in the room when her son was born. There were educational and cultural barriers to overcome, and she understood little of what was happening in the delivery room. Throughout labor, I was there by her side. Nina required ongoing support and we are still in touch today. She still has a long road ahead of her, but our team has loved them well – planting seeds of truth and guiding her practically and emotionally through life’s challenges. What a joy to just be a small part of her becoming who she was created to be.

In your work with the nonprofit, what skills make you a better Nurse Client Advocate?

This is so fun to answer because honestly it goes both ways. Nursing skills I developed over the years have helped me in my work in the non-profit as much as the reverse. I’ve developed discernment, patience, keen assessment skills, and time management/organization skills. I’ve learned to access resources and rely on others expertise rather than re-inventing the wheel. And most of all, I’ve learned to work in and leverage the expertise of a team, because it takes a village to do this type of work.


Vaccines & Vacations: How Will You Spend Your Summer?

Masks at Disney? You bet, but not everywhere. They'll have "Relaxation zones"

The United States is opening up.

Texas, where PyxisCare Management is based, is opening up.

When it comes to Covid-19 these days, it’s all about risk tolerance.

The numbers tell us that we can begin to safely and intelligently open – based on widespread vaccine availability and percentage of vaccinated adults, plus keeping some of the most common-sense preventions tactics like masking and keeping physical distance with people who aren’t vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids ramp up

Decisions, Decisions

Pfizer recently had its vaccine approval extended by the FDA for 12 – 15 year old’s, providing a choice for parents to have their younger children vaccinated. This is a highly personal choice and I encourage you to educate yourself and determine if this is the right path for your family. As an adult working with health compromised individuals, I was anxious to get vaccinated (along with almost 153 million other Americans as of May 10), but know others who have chosen differently.

Make A Plan

We are quickly approaching our second pandemic summer, and every family needs to have a plan for how they can make this summer count. Because the stakes are high for our emotional health, as well as our physical health.  The vaccine decision may affect your plans and whether you feel comfortable sending your kids away to camp, a history-making roadtrip, or if you’d feel more comfortable making select outings under tighter controls. Whatever your decision – don’t waste time – start getting your kids signed up for the free and low-cost options available to you. [read our expert blog for more ideas] (insert link to expert profile)

It’s been 14 months of varying degrees of isolation and disruption for children – who may not have the coping skills that many adults do. Experts say that the damage to mental wellbeing for adolescents will take a toll for years to come. Skyrocketing screen time has increased anxiety, depression and negative preoccupation and decreased healthy outdoor activity and peer interaction.  This can’t last, so those who haven’t, need to find a safe way to ease back in to “normal” activities.

What to Look for In a Summer Camp During COVID-19 -

Worth the Risk?

Only you, in consult with your loved ones, can decide what’s right for the children and adolescents in your life, and what fits your lifestyle. To weigh one risk against another is something we do all day, every day, without thinking – i.e. driving vs. flying, speaking up vs. staying silent. As a society, we may not ever sneeze in an elevator, get change in cash, or go to a crowded music festival without thinking about our risk of exposure – even long after this pandemic is gone. In some ways, we will be changed forever by Covid-19.

Regardless, we must encourage resilience in our youth, and we must find activities that keep them engaged, socialized and healthy. We still follow protocols and respect others’ personal decisions. My children have gone back to school, church and take part in scouting activities. I’m overjoyed to see them once again enjoying their everyday activities – albeit sometimes in a mask and with physical distancing. It’s a small price to pay and soon (if all goes as planned) even those restrictions will ease as medicine and responsible citizens do their part to protect each other.

Whatever your risk tolerance, stay attuned to your household, and make decisions that address the physical and emotional needs of the ones you love the most.