Thursday, April 23, 2009
Is wearing designer clothes important?
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

The economy has caused most people to look at how they spend their money. There are opportunities for savings in many areas. One of those is related to clothing. We sometimes forget that the purpose of clothing is to keep us warm and comfortable. Clothes should be clean. They should be neat. They should be without holes. Beyond that, there are not many requirements. Unfortunately we live in a society that has forgotten the basic lessons of clothes. The message that society sends is that it is important to wear brand name clothing. The suggestion is that if you do not have some kind of designer clothing on, there must be something wrong with you. The only ones who really benefit from brand name clothing are the people that make it and the people that sell it. There is no real benefit to the wearer of such clothing. Unfortunately society has falsely attached a fashion benefit to such clothing. If someone wears such clothing, they must have class. If someone does not wear such clothing there is something wrong with them. In reality, the only thing that is wrong is the perception of the people who think that way. In the days of our founding fathers most people had about 6 outfits to wear. There was no need for more than that. Now there are some individuals who may wear that many outfits in a single day. Now is the time to think about buying things that cost less. That is true even if they do not have a brand name. If your child objects to wearing such clothing, it points to a problem with self esteem. The fact that they cannot subject themselves to what others might say about their clothing suggests that they need clothing to substitute for feeling good about themselves. The issue extends far beyond clothing. It is something that parents will need to address in other ways. One of the things that I recommend for my patients is that every one of them should have one thing that makes their classmates all jealous of them. Clothing is not what I am talking about. It can be a hobby. It can be a musical instrument. It can be a sport. Each child is different at something else. I can give a concrete example to this. When I was stationed in South Carolina, I was taking care of a patient with a short term memory problem. It interfered with her ability to remember answers in class. For that reason, her 6th grade classmates picked on her a lot. It led to relatively poor self esteem. I advised her parents to find something to support her self esteem. She decided that she wanted to do gymnastics. She had a natural talent for it. Inside of six months, she was placing in the top ten of every meet she entered. Every time that happened, the school would announce it on the loudspeaker on Monday. She became one of the most popular girls in the school. Nobody cared about her short term memory. Our children need to be proud of themselves. They need to be proud of their accomplishments. It should not have to extend to being proud of what brand clothing they wear. The current economy suggests that now is a good time to teach them to be proud of other things. It also will save money.

Dr. Lyles earns designation Dr. Yvonne Lyles has been elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians. She is attending the Convocation Ceremony on Thursday, April 23 at their annual national meeting in Philadelphia. This honor allows her to add FACP after MD to her name. Last year she was recertified by exams in both Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She also became a certified medical director through the American Medical Director Association while serving as medical director for Life Care at Lofland Park. Dr. Lyles has earned continuing medical education credit for the ACP Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program with every edition since medical school.

Volunteers needed for MS events The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society needs volunteers to help with their spring fundraising event Twilight at Baywood Greens on Friday, May 29 in Long Neck. Volunteers are needed on the day of the event from 4 to 8 p.m. and may choose from a range of activities, including registering event participants, supporting participants at rest stops, distributing t-shirts, loading and unloading supplies, setting up refreshments, and cheerleading at the finish line. For more information, contact Jenna Wagner at 302-655-5610 or email

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a General Cancer Support Group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The free monthly support group meets in the Second Floor Conference Room of the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community-Delaware is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. For more information and to register, call 645-9150.

Laurel Depression Support Group There will be a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call Life Matters Counseling and Consulting at 302-465-6612.

Nurses' assistant program Become a member of the rapidly expanding health care field by taking the evening nurses' assistant course, offered through Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. Instruction will be given at LifeCare at Lofland Park in Seaford and Delaware Tech in Georgetown from April 27 to June 25; classes will meet on Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. This 150-hour course teaches students to safely perform basic nursing skills under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Graduates will be prepared to take the Nurse Aid Competency Exam for certification. All nurses' assistants must take this exam to be certified to work in Delaware. Funding through the Department of Labor and limited scholarships are available for this course. For complete information, contact Delaware Tech's Corporate and Community Programs at 302-854-6966.

Volunteer training offered Compassionate Care Hospice is offering training for anyone interested in being a hospice volunteer on April 27, 29 and May 4, 6 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. The training will he held at the Cancer Care Center, second floor Conference Room, Nanticoke Hospital in Seaford. Volunteers must be at least 18-years-old, submit to routine background checks and participate in 16 hours of specialized training. Compassionate Care Hospice supports patients and families throughout Sussex County so volunteers can work in their own community. Volunteers are able to work according to their schedule and preference. Volunteers can also make phone calls from their own home and/or provide office clerical support. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in monthly support meetings and exchange phone numbers to build a support network. For more information, contact Felicity Lavelle at 302-934-5900 or

How to live with a chronic disease Anyone living with a chronic disease will benefit from a free six-month course on self management held at the Easter Seals office, 22317 DuPont Highway, Georgetown. Barbara Tucker, Community Ed coordinator for Delaware Hospice, will conduct the course, entitled "Living Well," which will meet for six consecutive weeks beginning on Thursday, May 7, from 1 to 3 p.m. This interactive class will help participants learn how to deal with topics such as fatigue, depression, medications, problem solving, nutrition and physical activity. Participants will learn how to make action plans, talk to their healthcare provider and communicate better with family members. Registration is required by May 1 and space is limited. To register, call Sally Van Schaik at 302-253-1140.

Win free care in essay contest The Home Instead Senior Care office serving Kent and Sussex Counties is sponsoring Caring Today magazine's "Give a Caregiver a Break" essay contest to honor family caregivers for their tireless service and dedication. The contest will award $16,000 in free caregiving services to the winning essay writers. In 500 words or less, non-professional family caregivers can relate their caregiving experiences, including the challenges they've faced, how they've embraced their role as a caregiver for a senior loved one and inspired others. Entries must be submitted by June 15. Grand prize is $5,000 of free care from Home Instead Senior Care; two first prize winners will each receive $2,500 of free care; and 12 extraordinary caregivers will receive $500 in service. The top three winning essays will be published in the fall issue of Caring Today and all winning essays will appear on Complete rules for the contest can be found at or