Dear AFSPA Member,
I hope this summer brings you rest, relaxation, and a chance to reconnect with loved ones near or far. Summertime should be calming and relaxing, so let’s make this season as stress-free as it is meant to be. Here are some activities to help you relax and resources to help support your overall mental wellness.
July 17 – 23 is Everybody Deserves a Massage Week. This annual observance promotes the many health benefits of massage therapy. If you regularly receive massages like I do, this may not be news to you. Massage therapy can help relieve anxiety, reduce stress, improve mood, combat insomnia, and overcome joint pain or other types of pain and discomfort. For many, the relaxation of a massage is immediate and leaves you feeling reinvigorated.
The Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) covers 50 massages per year! FSBP will cover massages up to $60 per visit from any licensed massage therapist or facility. I hope you take advantage of this amazing benefit this summer. There are special filing rules for massage therapy claims; for information on what information is required with your claim’s submission, click here. To learn more about our massage benefit and other alternative benefits we cover, including chiropractic and acupuncture, click here.
Usually, summertime calls for a relaxing vacation with family and friends. After two years of being cooped up at home, many of us are making plans to get out of town. But just remember while we might be done with COVID, COVID is not done with us and is still all around. If you are making international travel plans, I encourage you to check travel.state.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus for updated travel guidelines. In addition, I strongly advise you to consider getting travel insurance for extra protection in case anything goes wrong. Explore AFSPA’s travel insurance plans and Members of Household plans designed exclusively for traveling AFSPA members and their loved ones.
On the off chance you need medical care while traveling overseas, FSBP makes it easy. In fact, tune in to our AFSPA Talks podcast this month, and subscribe if you haven’t already. Our main topic will be about getting Overseas Care. You won’t want to miss this conversation. And if you want to join the discussion, log onto youtube.com/afspacares on July 28th at 11 a.m. ET for AFSPA Live, our Q&A livestream. To watch past AFSPA live episodes, click here.
National Therapeutic Recreation Week is celebrated this year on July 10 – 16 and is dedicated to highlighting the importance of recreational activities for individuals suffering from mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Therapeutic recreation programs include adaptive sports, pet therapy, expressive arts, muscle relaxation techniques, or even hobbies like horticulture. These programs are usually prescribed by medical professionals and facilitated by a trained and certified healthcare professional. If you or someone you know can benefit from this type of service, ask your doctor about how to get involved in these programs.
988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline
I want to bring awareness to a new crisis hotline number coming soon from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Beginning July 16, 2022, 988 will be the new three-digit nationwide dialing code connecting people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Compassionate, accessible care and support is available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress—whether thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. To learn more about this new initiative, click here.
Finally, July would not be complete without the celebration of Independence Day – the day that reminds us to be grateful for the blessings that our freedom represents and for the opportunities that it provides. I hope you and your family enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday. Whether celebrating in the U.S. or abroad, let us take a moment to appreciate the many freedoms we enjoy in the United States. The service you provide for our country helps preserve a lot of those freedoms, and for that I thank you.
To Your Health,
Paula S. Jakub, RHU
Executive Director, Senior Living Foundation