Gulf Coast Woman

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    Unlocking the maze

    Form The National Institute on Aging Paying for long-term care can be a significant concern for older adults and their caregivers. To cover these expenses, individuals often rely on a combination of personal funds, government programs and private financing. PERSONAL FUNDS (OUT-OF-POCKET) Initially, many seniors use their personal savings, retirement funds, investment income or proceeds […]

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    Mississippi Heroes: Celebrating caregivers, restoring hope

    One day, we at Mississippi Heroes got a call from a local businessman who had hosted one of our Caregiver Hero reveals. A man named Richard Hogan approached him at Pass Christian Harbor asking for help in his search for a used wheelchair-capable van. Richard’s wife, Fay, was in intensive care because she suddenly had […]

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    9 must-have items for senior caregivers

    If you’re a caregiver, you probably would welcome all the help you can get. Fortunately, there are a plethora of products on the market that can make life easier for you and the senior you’re caring for. HERE ARE SOME MUST-HAVE ITEMS TO PUT ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST: 1. PILL CUTTERS   Easily split supplements […]

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    Don’t get caught unprepared

    Click the image to view the Seniors Blue Book Aging, whether it’s happening to us or our loved ones, tends to catch us by surprise. Although we all expect to get older and eventually need more assistance, we put off thinking about it until we absolutely must. And when that happens, we find ourselves woefully […]

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    Long-term care ombudsmen: Advocating for seniors

    From Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District Area Agency on Aging

    The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD) Area Agency on Aging employs three representatives of the Office of the State Ombudsman. Each serves the long-term care residents in their designated area of the 15 southernmost county SMPPD region.

    In Mississippi, the long-term care ombudsman is a state employee, but the office’s local representatives are employed by other contracted entities, typically an Area Agency on Aging. In this structure, the long-term care ombudsman has programmatic oversight while the Area Agency on Aging has personnel oversight.


    An ombudsman serves as an agent, representative or spokesperson on behalf of another. Long-term care ombudsmen act at the direction and for benefit of long-term care facility residents. The idea of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program was developed during the Nixon administration, and in 1972, it was implemented in five states in response to complaints of nursing home abuse.

    By the late 1970s, all states were mandated to have an Ombudsman Program as a requirement of the Older Americans Act. Later, other adult care facilities, such as boarding homes and assisted-living facilities, were added to the program’s scope of responsibility. In 1992, the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program was created to amend the Older Americans Act. It included a collaborative effort of the Ombudsman Program with other advocacy programs to address older people’s understanding and exercise of their rights, as well as access to assistance with problems they encounter.


    Local ombudsmen serve as resident advocates and support the resident’s highest possible quality of life and care. In doing so, ombudsmen receive, investigate and resolve complaints that affect residents of long-term care facilities. These complaints most often involve substandard quality of life and care, violations of resident rights, financial exploitation, abuse and neglect.

    Anyone can file a complaint with the ombudsman. Ombudsmen receive complaints from residents, family and friends of residents, facility staff and any other person concerned about the welfare of a resident of a long-term care facility. All communication is confidential and can be anonymous. Anyone who is in a position to threaten or interfere with a resident’s rights, health, safety or welfare can be investigated, including other residents, facilities, facility employees, service providers, relatives, public or private agencies and guardians or conservators. Complaints regarding long-term care can be filed by phone, in person or in writing to the state or local ombudsman.

    In addition to addressing complaints, local ombudsmen answer questions and provide information about long-term care through individual consultation; promote resident, family, and community involvement in long-term care through resident and family counsels; educate community members and promote awareness of the needs of long-term care residents through outreach opportunities like health fairs and nutritional center events; coordinate efforts with other agencies and organizations concerned with long-term care, such as Adult Protective Services and Medicaid; and identify issues and problem areas in long-term care and recommend needed changes.

    Learn more and connect with SMPDD at Contact the Gulfport Area Agency on Aging office at (228) 868-2311.

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    Spilling her secret: Nadine Gentles

    Jamaican-born Nadine Gentles came to the U.S. in 2001 and spent her first three years in Mississippi working odd jobs. Today, she is owner of Dorcas Couture Customs, a brand she launched in 2015 as a tribute to her mom, the late Dorcas Gentles, who taught her how to sew and inspired her love of fashion.

    “I would like think of myself as a more couture designer with an urban flair,” she says. “We offer custom designs from start to finish.”

    Gentles is a talented creative who is serious about skincare; here are the products that comprise her beauty routine.


    I love using products that are edible on my skin. The ingredients in Three Notes Multi-Tea Crème Facial Cleanser are various herbs used for teas, and it works wonders for my normal-to-oily skin. This cleanser is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that soothe the skin, leaving it smooth, soft and nourished.


    My skin is on the sensitive side, and many toners are too harsh for my skin. E.l.f. Pure Skin Toner moisturizes and smooths the complexion, and it is formulated for daily use in your skincare routine for all skin types (even sensitive skin). Infused with calming, skin-happy ingredients like oat milk, aloe juice and niacinamide, this non-irritating toner gently nourishes and softens, promoting smooth, even and healthy-looking skin.


    The high-efficacy snail essence in COSRX Advanced Snail Radiance Dual Essence mixes with the radiance essence upon pumping to create a combination of plumping and brightening care.


    Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is a natural dark spot diminisher to visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots and even skin tone, providing a radiance booster for your complexion. It works on and diminishes all types of dark spots, including mine due to aging, sun exposure and my glasses.


    For my nighttime routine, after washing with my Three Notes cleanser, I use Mary Kay TimeWise Replenishing Serum+C. This gives my skin a lifted and firm appearance and helps with collagen and elastin.


    TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum contains not only vitamin C, but also hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to correct dark spots, even skin tone and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.


    Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner is a leave-in treatment that primes, detangles, preserves color vibrancy and adds shine.

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    5 questions with Surrendered Studios Barbering Ministry

    (r to l) Rayce Dossett, Dallas Barbee and Matt Barbee of Surrendered Studios Barbering Ministry


    Dallas Barbee

    Here, we talk with Dallas Barbee, owner, master barber and speaker with Surrendered Studios Barbering Ministry, located at 2337 Pass Road, Unit B, Biloxi.


    Surrendered Studios is a luxury barbering ministry focused on using our time and talents to bless those less fortunate in our community, as well as encouraging others through aid, mentorship and educational opportunities to do the same. We want to share the love of Jesus and spread hope one haircut and relationship at a time.


    I had been doing similar work in Spokane, Washington, for many years, but in the end of 2021, my husband and I felt a call in our hearts to relocate and rebuild our ministry and barbering program on the Gulf Coast. We wanted to provide a wider range of support and services to those in need, and, through my husband entering barbering school here, we recognized a lack of high end, professional barbering services, as well as mentorship for young barbers in the industry.

    I knew with my background, experience, education and a call from The Lord, we could build something special for both guests and staff. We are a fully “faith-funded” program, which has been challenging and incredibly beautiful at the same time. We’re basically a pay-it-forward program and provide free services to those in need, but we still pay the staff for their time through gifts given through our website, TikTok, people in the community and an apparel line we created to financially support the ministry.

    Watching people take part in what we do here is such a joy, and being generous is one thing you’ll never regret.


    We recently began releasing a line of our own, handcrafted beard- and body-care products that we are extremely proud of. Being able to provide luxury services is one thing, but we pride ourselves on also equipping our guests with the education and products to practice the same level of self-care at home in between visits to the studio. These products are truly created with so much intention and love! We want our guests to know how valuable they are and how much they deserve products that produce results.

    The team at Surrendered Studios Barbering Ministry contributes their time and talent to serve the less fortunate in the community.


    The impact we have is something that can be tricky to measure, as it’s so personal to each situation. Sometimes, it’s a warm cup of coffee on a cold, wet morning for one of our homeless friends. Other times, it’s getting a guy ready for his first job interview or wedding. The moments we get to share with our guests often are overlooked and taken for granted in today’s busy world, but here at Surrendered Studios, we slow down. We listen. We provide that safe, judgment-free space for people to open up and even begin to heal. Our most significant initiative is providing a luxury barbering service and experience at no cost to the guest who can’t afford it, with no judgment ever, while teaching others to use their time, talents and/or businesses to do the same.


    The greatest gift I have received by being part of this ministry is simple: relationships. Because of our everyone-is-welcome, open-door policy, we have gained friendships with the least likely of people, from those experiencing homelessness and living on the abandoned golf course behind our studio to the newly enlisted, terrified military kid to the multimillion CEO and the single mama just struggling to put food on the table. We love them all! They all have important stories to tell and things to teach us, and we look forward to hearing every one of them.

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    Begin your wedded bliss with the perfect honeymoon

    By Paige Heitzmann

    You’ve said, “I do,” cut the cake and danced the night away at your reception. Now it’s time to start your life together in total harmony with the perfect honeymoon. First, figure out your couple travel style; are you leisure seekers, thrill chasers or wildlife wanders? No matter your dream vacation, there’s a honeymoon destination to make it come true.

    Here are some of the most popular honeymoon options:


    The number-one choice of brides and grooms is a honeymoon getaway to a beautiful Caribbean resort offering all-inclusive packages. Note: You probably will need a passport for this trip.

    The all-inclusive features at such resorts mean that throughout your stay, all the meals and beverages (including wine and spirits), plus tips, are included in the price. These resorts also offer great pools and beach fun with snorkeling, sailboats and double hammocks.

    Pro tip: Your package, including flights, can be booked as early as 331 days before the date you plan to fly home. You can have 10 months to make payments!


    Universal Studios Theme Park and Disney World are popular U.S. honeymoon destinations. It is amazing how private, and even romantic, it can feel in these people-filled places. This option also allows you to pay for almost everything in advance.

    Pro tip: Another nice option is the photo packages offered by both amusement parks. This makes it super easy to add honeymoon photos to your album.


    Cruises remain among the top five honeymoon choices for couples. This option comes close to the all-inclusive beach resort experience. Sail from a U.S. port, and you do not need to have passports.

    Pro tip: The cruise lines set their prices 18 months to two years out, making these vacations easy to budget and pay for.

    By discussing your priorities with your travel consultant, you can spend your honeymoon at the perfect destination for you and your new spouse. Just as you have relied on professionals for your perfect wedding day, we urge you to use a professional travel agent to assist with planning your perfect honeymoon. Final pro tip: Most travel agencies offer a “bridal registry” so family and friends can gift money for the honeymoon.

    As you lift a glass toasting each other on wedding anniversaries to come, this special trip is sure to be among your favorite wedding memories.

    Paige Heitzmann is an accredited cruise counselor and certified travel advisor with Travel Affiliates. Reach her at (228) 604-0070.

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    Hidden wounds: how domestic violence impacts children’s mental health and behavior

    By Jamie Allen

    When Sarah was in elementary school, her teachers described her as smart, kind and energetic. At the start of this school year, she made good grades and had several best friends.

    However, as the school year progressed, Sarah’s behavior subtly changed. She started being absent a lot. While at school, she was tired and distracted. She was failing tests and forgetting to turn in her homework. She started getting into arguments with her best friends and even pushed one during a disagreement.

    Everyone noticed these changes, but no one could figure out what was causing the behaviors. When school officials talked to Sarah and her mother, everything seemed fine at home. Sarah lived with her mom, little brother and her mom’s boyfriend. They had a nice apartment and good jobs.

    Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, money had been getting tighter and tighter, and tension flared between the couple. Sarah’s mom and boyfriend were arguing a lot more, and a few times, things even got physical. They didn’t think Sarah and her brother were aware, since they mostly would fight behind closed doors or after the kids went to bed. But in fact, the children were painfully aware and paying close attention to the arguments.

    Domestic violence, no matter the form or intensity, will impact a child. Children are considered secondary victims of interpersonal violence when their parents are involved in such a relationship. It doesn’t matter if the parent is the victim or the abuser. Children learn by what they see and hear, and they mimic their caregivers’ behaviors. The child’s symptoms most often appear at their daycares, preschools and classrooms as conduct problems and poor educational performance. The effects can look just like other common disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and learning disabilities. Other common effects on children include anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem and self-harm. Children also may also experience any emotions their parents might feel, which manifests in their behavior.

    The good news is that help is available, and symptoms can be reversible. Sarah’s family sought counseling. They learned more about domestic violence and how to cope with life’s stressors. As a result, Sarah is thriving in school once again.

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    Regaining her power

    CeeCee’s survivor story

    When my journey with the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence started in October 2015, I was a single parent in an abusive marriage, which causing me physical harm to the point that I could not take it anymore and called 911. The officers from that call referred me to Adrienne’s House, Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence’s satellite domestic violence shelter.

    During my three months there, I received counseling, safe housing and various resources. However, one day, I answered my husband’s call, and he gave me his word that he would never hurt me again. Because I wanted a family filled with what I thought was love, I returned home.

    Things were good initially, but three months after I returned home, the abuse resumed and was worse than the first time. It was as if he were teaching me a lesson and creating a level of fear so that I wouldn’t leave him.


    One day I mustered up the courage to flee once again, finding a safe space and supportive environment in the shelter to rebuild my self-esteem and confidence. I have utilized shelter resources at both Jane’s House and Adrienne’s House a total of seven times, with my last stay being in 2022-2023. Each time, I was empowered, supported and never judged nor made to feel unwanted.

    During my most recent shelter stay, I managed to regroup and push through the heartache, pain and tears; I was able to be myself. I regained the power in my voice and was able to use that to create a change in my life. I returned to school and graduated in addition to obtaining a career I truly enjoy. I was able to work with community agencies, as well as shelter staff, to obtain my United States citizenship.

    Today, I am fortunate to be a safe provider for my children in an environment where they can be comfortable and don’t have to feel like they are in danger. The work that is done at The Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence has been lifesaving and life changing and continues to be a great support. I am grateful for the work this agency does and the aid its staff provides, and I would encourage anyone who is dealing with domestic violence to connect with them.

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