Thursday, July 24, 2014

Doctor's Perspective

We must help our fellow man with basic needs

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We are all part of a larger society. Humans have basic physiological needs which include food, clothing and shelter. People need to have these basic needs met on an ongoing basis. Some people are hungry and they tend to focus on food, others are homeless and they focus on shelter. All other needs are put aside. This means they are not really concerned about such things as going to a movie or investing money. Their basic needs have to be met first.
Once an individual is able to provide for basic physiologic needs, the next thing he/she seeks is a level of consistency or safety. That might mean getting a permanent house or a full-time job. It also might mean worrying about health. Health care is a step up from basic physiology.
A psychologist named Maslow described this process in 1943. He indicated that people need to address basic physiologic issues first, then safety comes into play. Once there is a level of safety, the individual can then look to being part of a society. That might be a small society like family or a larger community. Individuals do not care about those things, however, if their other needs are not met first. The fourth level described by Maslow is related to esteem. Once the individual is part of society, there is a need to do something for that society and be recognized for it. Giving to charity and volunteering can do that. Accomplishments on the job can also do that.
Maslow felt that the highest level is called self actualization which is when the individual can spend time being creative. The individual can spend time solving problems. This is more of a mindful state. A question often arises as to what individuals at different levels can do for others who are not at their level. Individuals at the level of esteem can help individuals at lower levels. They might do this by contributing to a charity or volunteering for a non-profit organization.
As a society we need to help those individuals who have basic physiologic needs. Unfortunately, we tend to not interact with those individuals. We might see someone who is hungry buying cigarettes or lottery tickets. We need to be careful not to generalize that all individuals in a similar situation are like that.
We tend to stereotype people. We may know someone who collects a welfare check and spends the money on a big screen TV instead of food. We then think everyone is like that. There actually might be a significant group of people like this, however, we have no way of knowing the statistics.
It is easier in poorer third world countries. Starving individuals are easier to see. Homeless individuals can be seen in the streets.
These individuals are less obvious in our society. We have a more difficult time deciding who really needs our help so this is more of a challenge for us.
We need to help those people who need help. We need to stop enabling those people who do not really need it. There is no magic way of finding out who is trying to move upward from Maslow's physiologic level. Our work as a society is very difficult.

If you have comments about this column or suggestions for other topics, send an email to Dr. Anthony Policastro at

Get your children's car seats checked

Whether you're planning a trip to the State Fair, a day trip to the beach, or hitting the road for a longer vacation, everyone has at least a mental checklist they go through to make sure they have everything they need. No matter how long or short your trip though, SAFE KIDS Delaware wants you to know that one of the most important boxes to check off on that list is to get your child's car seat inspected by a certified professional.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children under age 12.

The correct use of child safety seats can reduce your child's risk of being killed in a crash by as much as 71%. Unfortunately, three out of four safety seats aren't installed properly.
In fact, at a recent car seat check event at Kent County's Safe Summer Day in Camden, 87% of the 16 installed seats that our technicians checked had at least one installation error. A list of car seat Fitting (or inspection) Stations can be found at At each Fitting Station, a nationally certified child passenger safety technician will check the seat for misuse and recalls, then work with families one on one to show them how to properly re-install the seat. Unlike in some states, Delaware police officers and firefighters do not receive this training in their academies, so families are encouraged to visit one of the Fitting Stations listed on the website, as their staff are certified technicians.
For more information about the right seat for your child, visit or for a Parent Car Seat Checklist. For more information on all child safety topics, follow us on Twitter - @safekidsde and Facebook at

Free guide for services available

The 2014-15 edition of the free "Guide to Services for Older Delawareans and Persons with Disabilities" is available in print or online through the Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD).
The 314 page guide, in English and Spanish versions, is filled with information on such topics as senior centers, home health agencies, caregiving resources, medical, dental and mental health services, emergency preparedness, financial assistance, housing options, government programs, transportation, volunteerism, hospice services and many more.
By 2030, Delaware's population of people age 60 and older is expected to reach more than 250,000, or more than one in four Delawareans. By that same year, the state also is projected to have the ninth-highest proportion of people 65 and older in the country. As baby boomers age, the number of Delawareans with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions is expected to increase dramatically.
This guide, along with the Aging and Disability Resource Center, offers a comprehensive resource for those in need of services for themselves or loved ones as they age or acquire a disability. For Delaware families, the guide can help them understand the many options available to them as they prepare for life changes, rather than be forced to make decisions in the midst of a crisis. The guide is updated every two years. Residents also are invited to access the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) database at The website has thousands of searchable listings, by county, for services for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
To view or download the guide, go to the division website at or the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at and click on the picture of the Guide cover in English or Spanish. To have a copy mailed to you, call the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at 800-223-9074 or e-mail your request to
If your organization is interested in becoming a distribution site, call Carol Barnett at 302-255-9364 or e-mail to

Free to Breathe Run/Walk

The Delmarva Free to Breathe Run/Walk featuring a 5K run/walk and 1-mile walk for all fitness levels, will be held on Sunday, Aug. 10 at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. All proceeds support Free to Breathe, a nonprofit lung cancer research and advocacy organization. To register and begin fundraising, visit