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Media Contacts

Kathleen Gilbert
Department of Applied Health Science

Alice Lindeman
Department of Applied Health Science

Teresa Grossi
Center on Community Living and Careers

Living Well

Health and wellness tips from Indiana University

EDITORS: This monthly tip sheet is based on Indiana University faculty research, teaching and service. "Living Well Through Healthy Lifestyles" is the guiding philosophy of IU Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. In keeping with that philosophy, this tip sheet offers information related to both physical and mental well-being. Faculty in other IU schools and departments also contribute their expertise in this area.

Living Well for August features crafting as a means to cope with grief, losing weight by talking and writing, and home ownership for people with disabilities.

Grieving quilt

Photo by: Kathleen Gilbert

Participants in Kathleen Gilbert's study used quilting and other crafts to help them cope with loss

Print-Quality Photo

Making crafts can help the grieving process. Knitting, crocheting, quilting and woodworking can all be tools to help manage grief, according to Kathleen Gilbert, a professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University Bloomington. Gilbert is currently completing a study on how crafts are used to cope with loss. "Crafts have a decided calming effect," Gilbert said. "The repetitive actions are physically soothing." Any craft that is structured and uncomplicated can create this effect, Gilbert said. The end result doesn't have to be pretty or especially creative -- or even permanent. "I talked with one woman who always took apart what she made after it was finished. Once the activity has calmed you, you can put it away if you choose," Gilbert said. Some of the people in her study do keep their projects as a way to commemorate their loss or to affirm the healing process. "Follow your inclinations," Gilbert said. "You can take up something you learned in Girl Scouts, whether it's stringing beads or working with clay. You don't need great skill to receive the beneficial effect." The Department of Applied Health Science is in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Gilbert has a number of photographs from the study. She can be reached at 812-855-5209 or

Talking and writing can help shed pounds. Jump-start weight loss without breaking a sweat: dietitian Alice Lindeman says talking and writing are two of the most important tools she shares with her patients. Lindeman, who is a professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University Bloomington, offers the following tips:

  • A vital step in changing eating patterns is finding someone you can talk with about the process. "The most important role I have had is to be someone patients can talk to about anything, no matter how private or embarrassing. I don't tell them what to eat, I help them solve their own issues," she said. A good friend or counselor can create a trusting environment in which to explore old habits and new dreams. "We don't just talk about the patterns that need to change. We talk about what joys you want to experience. What would losing weight allow you to do?" Whether you want to wear a beautiful Easter outfit, ride the roller coaster at a theme park or simply enjoy spending time with your grandchildren, Lindeman said, telling someone about that desire will help you make it happen.
  • Pen and paper can be your biggest allies in changing eating habits. Lindeman suggests making three lists of the foods you enjoy for pleasure. "Write down what you have to have, what you want to have, and what would be nice to have. Then commit to keeping the 'have to have' foods in your life by deciding when you can have small amounts of them," she said. You don't have to give up all the foods you love, but you do need a rational eating plan. Thinking ahead and acknowledging your desires can help fit pleasurable foods into a responsible strategy for weight loss. Writing can also help after the fact, Lindeman said. "A food diary is a wonderful tool. But you can't stop with just writing down what you eat. You have to go back and review it and look for patterns." She suggests using the diary to find out what triggers overeating. Are you waiting too long between meals? Skipping breakfast? Getting tired or frustrated during the day? By learning about your habits you can structure your plan to include healthy snacks that keep your energy up all day long.

Lindeman can be reached 812-855-6437 and

Home ownership is within reach for people with disabilities. People with physical or mental disabilities face a number of hurdles in becoming home owners, but these setbacks can be overcome, said Teresa Grossi, Director for the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University Bloomington. Financial constraints, home design issues and uninformed attitudes can be barriers to home ownership for people with disabilities. "Americans with disabilities often have to live in other people's brick and mortar in order to have access to the services they need, but many people would prefer to live alone," Grossi said. Independent housing can be just as convenient as group living for people with disabilities. "It just takes some planning and creative thinking to get started."

Grossi suggests the following steps for homebuyers with disabilities:

  • Make use of consultant services. "A home ownership counselor can help you get your financial house in order and find access to other means of support," Grossi said. There are a number of state and private programs to assist homebuyers with disabilities.
  • Start a nest egg, no matter how small. "Even $500 is a good start. We suggest saving up $1,500 if possible," Grossi said. Closing and inspection costs and retrofitting for access will require some investment.
  • Before you buy, bring an occupational therapist to the home who understands your needs and can determine what changes to the structure will be necessary. Each person's needs are unique, but common features to look for are at least one entrance that is level with the ground, an open floor plan and larger bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Start thinking ahead about medical needs and in-home assistance. If you use Medicaid, you may be placed on a waiting list for in-home care. Inquire about potential services as early as possible.

The CCLC houses the Back Home in Indiana Alliance, which assists Hoosiers with disabilities in obtaining affordable and accessible housing. For more information, visit the Center on Community Living and Careers at Grossi can be reached at 317-638-2392 or

Elisabeth Andrews, 812-856-3717 and, and Tracy James, 812-855-0084 and, with IU Media Relations, can assist reporters with these tips.