Page 1

March • 2016

• What’s in store for an iconic Heights-area sculpture • Fun activities for seniors • Tips for saving money for retirement • Complete event schedule to The Leader’s 2016 Senior Expo Photo by Garen Ohanian

Page 2 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

The man who “Hearts” Houston


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Contributed Photo by Garen Ohanian David Adickes has built a name for himself by harnessing a love of Houston and channeling it for sculptures like the “We Heart Houston” sign near the Patterson Street exit off I-10 in the Heights area. That sculpture may soon be finding a new home.

Prolific Heights-area sculptor behind iconic art pieces talks new location for sculpture

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By Kim Hogstrom For The Leader It’s difficult not to smile while driving east on I-10 when passing the “We Heart Houston” sculpture near the Patterson St. exit in the Heights. Since 2013, the colorful, 20-foot-tall work has been a great sight for those with pride in Houston. However, the sculpture’s days there are numbered. The good news? Houston is getting a larger, more substantial sculpture touting our arts scene in its place. “Art is Everywhere Houston” is on the horizon, and promises to make an even greater impact. The “We Heart Houston” sculpture’s new location is currently under consideration according to the artist, 89-year-old David Adickes. A prolific and treasured local sculptor, Adickes has numerous larger-than-life works to his credit including “Virtuoso” at the Lyric Center, the enormous President’s Heads, and the 76-foottall Sam Houston on display on I-45 in Huntsville. Adickes is working with the Houston First Corporation to review options. Houston First is the agency charged with enhancing the quality

of life in our city, as well as advancing economic prosperity, and the city’s image with the world. “At first we thought we would move it in front of the Hobby Center on the slope of Buffalo Bayou,” Adickes said. “As people drove by, the skyline would have formed a backdrop for the piece. It was the perfect spot.” Well, not exactly perfect, as it turns out. The portion along Buffalo Bayou chosen for the sculpture routinely floods. Decision-makers concluded that it was only a matter of time before a photograph of a half-submerged “We Heart Houston” sign saturated the internet – not exactly an image the city wants to project. ‘My next choice of locations is on the jogging path as it runs near Stude Park in the Heights. People could still see the sculpture from the street as they drive by, and it would lend itself to joggers and people in the park taking selfies. That’s another good solution,” stated Adickes. Why the big move? Since the sculpture’s placement on Adickes’ 3,000-square-foot sliver of property along the feeder of I-10, a large town home development was constructed beSee Adickes P. 10

Page 3 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

Fun activities for local seniors By Betsy Denson Looking for a place to meet some friends, learn some new things or maybe get a little exercise? See these suggestions from Leader readers. Third Age Learning Center at All Saints Catholic Church, 215 E. 10th St. Jeanette Blesener says that one of the best places for senior activities is the Third Age Learning Center, TALC, at All Saints Church. She talks about their exercise classes, craft classes, games and more. “But their very best offering is the Lifelong Learning classes on Wednesday,” said Blesener.  “Professors and local speakers share knowledge on different topics such as history, sociology, philosophy, cooking, art, local history every semester.” Del-Mar Lanes, 3020 Magnum Road Every week day at Del-Mar Lanes, Del-Mar hosts a Senior Bowling League. Their senior leagues consist of men and women over the age of 55. Daily league times are noon on Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Whether you are an individual looking for a team to join or a group looking for a league to join, they can help you find a place. Call 713-682-2506 for more information. Trini Mendenhall Community Center at 1414 Wirt Road Sue Davis says that the Trini Mendenhall Community Center has a lot of good offerings. Check out their online Community Center Calendar – categories include arts and crafts, dance, fitness, games and language – or come by and see the sign-up sheets in the lobby. A Google reviewer noted that they have Wi-Fi for guests when you are attending an event there. Dad’s Club at 1006 Voss Road Dad’s Club has a water aerobics class every Monday through Friday from 10:3011:15 a.m. They also make ap-

pointments for AquaStretch™ which can help with lower back, neck, joint or muscle pain, idiopathic pain or nerve dysfunction, soft tissue prep, for synergy with massage, chiropractic, OMT and cranial work, post-surgical rehabilitation, pain management programs, scoliosis and other spinal deformities, and sleep problems. Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA at 1234 West 34th St. This spot may not be a secret but it’s the place to go

for a wide variety of exercise programs and classes for seniors. Two that specifically target those 55 and older are: SilverSneakers® which is a preventative exercise program that enhances the quality of life for mature adults across the country, and 50 Moving Forward which is described as “designed with you in mind, 50 years and older, juggling a variety of responsibilities at home and possibly at work and in your community, yet perhaps not always leaving enough time to focus on your-

self. With 50 Moving Forward, you’ll learn how even small differences in lifestyle choices can have positive health benefits.” Houston Parks and Recreation Department http://www.houstontx. gov/parks/senioractivities.html See the section with classes in Northwest Houston, including basketball, quilting, computer class, ceramics and more. Classes are free. Ages 55 and up.

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The benefits to establishing advanced healthcare directives

Healthcare proxy Appointing a healthcare proxy ensures that there will be someone there who has the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself. This may be a spouse, child, relative, or close friend. The Mayo Clinic suggests choosing a person who can be trusted to make decisions that adhere to your wishes and values and to be your advocate if there are disagreements about your care. Be sure to have a candid discussion with your healthcare proxy in which you go over the types of medical care you wish to receive

and any ways you would or would not like your life prolonged. It helps to keep the proxy up-to-date on any medical conditions you may have so that he or she can make the most informed decisions on your behalf. Having a healthcare proxy does not mean you are giving up your right to make medical decisions. It’s a fail-safe in the event you are unconscious or cannot direct medical care. Living will An advanced healthcare directive enables you to create specific written instructions for future health care, known as a living will. The living will should include wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments and resuscitation if you are no longer able to speak on your


own behalf. It also can spell out whether you want to remain in a hospital or receive palliative care at home for a terminal illness. A living will can be changed if/when your wishes or circumstances change. Legal and medical advice Although legal advice is not required for an advanced directive, it can be helpful to iron out the legalities of your directives. Speak with your doctor about your desires and needs. A physician can help you form a coherent directive that is in line with your wishes. Remember, an advanced directive is not reserved for the elderly. Any consenting adult age 18 or older can benefit from a living will and other documentation.

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Healthy adults may give little thought to injuries or illnesses. When the going is good, it is easy to forget about the less pleasant side effects of aging. However, putting off these conversations and decisions can lead to unnecessary obstacles in the years to come. Advanced healthcare directives can be invaluable resources for family members and friends who will be responsible for managing a person’s plans should they become unable to make their own decisions. Various organizations, including AARP, offer resources on advanced planning and the options available to adults looking to plan their estates. The National Healthcare Decisions Day movement, a group dedicated to providing clear, concise and consistent information on healthcare decision-making, defines advanced directives as establishing: • a “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”), or the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself. • a “living will” to document which medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life. While these are decisions that people often put off, it’s important to make them as early as possible. Not only will they dictate your wishes, they’ll take the pressure off of loved ones who would otherwise be tasked with making difficult decisions on their own.


Page 6 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

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Downsizing and other life changes often find seniors leaving their comfort zones to move to new neighborhoods or regions of the country. It can be difficult to leave those comfort zones behind, especially when it means saying goodbye to close friends or family members. Establishing new social circles as a senior can be challenging. But with a little effort and the right attitude, seniors can meet new people and enjoy the excitement that comes with new friendships. • Join a club. If you have a particular hobby or interest, rekindle it in your new location. Find a local gardening club, church-sponsored organization or fitness center where you can meet like-minded men and women. Ask the real estate agent who helped you relocate to make suggestions on where to find community information and read community notices in the local newspaper. • Get a dog. Dogs make great companions inside of the house and also serve as an ice breaker when you are outdoors. Take plenty of walks and take advantage of opportunities for conversation when people come up to you to inquire about your dog. Explain your situation and you may make some new friends along the way. • Volunteer your time. Many people make new friends through

volunteering. Volunteer and you’re likely to meet people who share the same interests as you. Sign up with a favorite charity or volunteer at nonprofit events and look for familiar faces. Start talking to those people you meet again and again. • Participate in church events. Places of religious worship are often cornerstones of a community, and they frequently host different events to get parishioners or members together. Read the bulletin and get involved in pot lucks, retreats, movie nights, and other church-sponsored events. • Work at a school. Schools also serve as hubs of community activity. Volunteer or work for a local school and you will soon find yourself immersed in your community’s weekday hustle and bustle. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about your new neighborhood in the process. • Host your own party. Go out on a limb and plan a “new to the neighborhood” party. Put invitations in neighbors’ mailboxes and invite everyone over for snacks and cocktails. Remember, neighbors may be just as nervous about new faces as you are, and a party is a great way to break the ice. Change can be hard for people seniors starting out in new communities. With some gumption and a few strategies to get started, anyone can expand their circle of friends.

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Dignity Memorial is in the business of helping individuals protect their families on one of the worst day of their lives by helping them take care of their pre-arrangements. This allows individuals to protect their loved ones from the financial and emotional burden of planning their final arrangements, and it allows the family to focus on the celebration of their loved ones life, free of the burden of making all those decisions.

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Join Senior Advantage at St. Joseph Medical Center in the Heights Senior Advantage is a free program for men and women ages 55 and better. We host monthly seminars and social events with topics and activities geared towards the active, fun-loving senior adult in mind. Most events are held at our Heights campus located at 1917 Ashland St. Monthly Events:

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Page 10 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

Fighting osteoporosis with the power of weight-based training Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that occurs when a person loses too much bone, produces too little bone or both. Though the disease is most often associated with women over 50, anyone can suffer from osteoporosis, which weakens bones and can make them more susceptible to breaks. Exercise is a great way for men and women to build and maintain strong bones in an attempt to prevent the onset

of osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, weight-bearing exercises can help build and maintain bone density. But the NOF notes that men and women who have suffered broken bones due to osteoporosis or those at risk of such breaks may need to avoid high-impact weight-bearing exercises, which include dancing, hiking, jogging, and jumping rope, among others. For those whose physi-

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Adickes from P. 2

Contributed Photo by Garen Ohanian Art is certainly everywhere for David Adickes, seen here posing with his current work-in-progress. The 37-foot-tall “Art is Everywhere Houston” piece will evenutally be visible to a large number of commuters all along I-10.

hind the work. Then, another wall was built between the town homes and the sculpture itself. The aesthetics no longer fit, says Adickes “Another reason we’re moving ‘We Heart Houston,’ is safety,” said Christine West, Cultural Programs Manager with Houston First. “It’s popular, and people want to stop and photograph themselves standing with sculpture, but it’s dangerous to do that where it is. There’s no parking along the feeder road and traffic whizzes by there. Houston First wants to place it where people and families can enjoy it without risk, and we can actively maintain it.” Adickes solution is to replace the old sculpture with his new, bigger, 37-foot-tall “Art is Everywhere Houston” piece. The new work will include the same whimsical colors and celebra-

tion of pride as “Heart” and will stand up well against the wall and construction behind it. As it is taller than the existing 20-foot sculpture, it does not lend itself to close-up photos, and “Art is Everywhere Houston” will be visible to a greater number of commuters on I-10. There is no current timeline for the switchoff. Logistics are a challenge. In addition to deciding where to place “We Heart Houston,” the 10,000 pound, concrete piece will require a commercial crane to lift it onto a flatbed truck for transport. In the meantime, Adickes is already sculpting its replacement. He may also have a few surprises in mind. “You never know what may appear along with the new sculpture,” Adickes said. “You just never know where art will happen in Houston.”

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Anemia and aging - know the signs of the blood disorder before complications Aging is accompanied by a number of physical changes. Some of these changes, such as vision impairment or loss of hearing, are anticipated, while others may arrive unexpectedly. One condition many adults unexpectedly encounter is anemia. While anemia is common in older adults and its prevalence increases with age, it is not a condition that is widely considered part of the aging process. Anemia is often a symptom of a hidden problem that needs to be addressed promptly. Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders, affecting more than three million Americans, says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The American Society of Hematology notes that anemia is characterized by

insufficient levels of red blood cells in the blood. Anemia also occurs when red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the various organs and tissues throughout the body, are not functioning properly. Very often the signs of anemia are overlooked or go unnoticed until a blood test determines low hemoglobin (Hb) or hematocrit (HCT) concentrations. Some people discover they have anemia as they attempt to donate blood, at which time their red blood cell count is found to be inadequate. When the body lacks oxygen, any number of the following symptoms may be experienced: • weakness • dizziness • extreme fatigue • shortness of breath

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Page 13 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

Retirement saving, more money tips for late bloomers Today’s young professionals hear about the importance of saving for retirement seemingly from the moment they are hired. In addition to discussions with human resources personnel about employer-sponsored retirement plans, young professionals are learning about the importance of saving for retirement thanks to the abundance of financial-planning advertisements on television, the radio and the Internet. Older workers may not have been so lucky, and many may find themselves trying to play catch up as retirement age

draws closer. While it’s important to begin saving for retirement as early as possible, late bloomers whose retirement dates are nearing can still take steps to secure their financial futures. • Pay down debts. Eliminating debt is good for men and women of all ages, but especially so for those nearing retirement. Substantial debt may delay your retirement and can greatly reduce your quality of life during retirement. If you still have substantial debt, eliminate that debt before you start saving additional money for re-

tirement. Once your debt slate has been wiped clean, you can then increase your retirement contributions. • Eliminate unnecessary expenses. If your retirement savings are low (many financial advisors now advise men and women that they will need at least 60 percent of their pre-retirement income each year they are retired), start cutting back on unnecessary expenses and reallocate that money toward retirement saving. Cutting out luxury items, such as vacations to exotic locales or country club memberships, is one way

to save money. But don’t overlook the simpler ways to save, such as canceling your cable subscription or dining at home more often. • Downsize your home. Many empty nesters downsize their homes as retirement nears, and doing so can help you save a substantial amount of money. If the kids no longer live at home or if you simply have more space than you will need after retirement, downsize to a smaller, less expensive home. Monitor the real estate market before you decide to downsize so you can be sure to get the

best deal on your current home. Downsizing saves on monthly utility bills, property taxes and a host of additional expenses. Downsizing also means less maintenance, which gives you more time to pursue your hobbies upon retiring. • Take on some additional work. While you may have long felt you would slowly wind down in the years immediately preceding retirement, taking on some additional work outside of your current job is a great way to save more for retirement and perhaps even lay the foundation for a post-


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retirement career. Workers over the age of 50 can be invaluable resources to startups or other businesses looking for executives who have been there, done that. Look for parttime jobs that seek such experience. Even if the initial jobs don’t bowl you over financially, part-time consultant work in retirement can make up for lost retirement savings. Men and women on the verge of retirement can take many steps to grow their retirement savings and make their golden years that much more enjoyable.

Seniors caring for grandchildren face challenges In the not-so-distant past, it was quite common for various generations of a single family to live under one roof and for many different members of the family to play a role in raising the children. But that dynamic slowly changed as families spread out geographically. However, when the economy faltered and parents of young children realized they needed help, many returned to the old way of doing things. Grandparents stepped up to look after their grandkids, and adults moved back home with their aging parents. Some seniors needed to move in with their children to make ends meet. A study of data from the Rand Corporation found that, of the four million children living with their grandparents in the United States, 2.5 million live in three-generation households. Nearly 1.5 million live in split-generation households or ones in which grandparents are raising their grandchildren. The proportion of all grandchildren living in threegeneration households, 3.6 percent, has been steady in recent years. Research suggests that split-generation households are usually formed when parents are no longer able to take care of their children because of physical or mental illness, substance abuse, or economic problems. Three-generation households, on the other hand, are generally formed because of problems parents encounter living independently, such as through separation or divorce or due to unemployment or economic need. Caring for their grandchildren can elicit many feelings in grandparents, from nervousness to excitement

about a fresh face around the house. Raising grandkids can be overwhelming for elderly men and women, but the following are a few tips that can make the process easier. • Explore your feelings. When you acknowledge your feelings, you are on the right path to making things work and recognizing possible obstacles. • Expect mixed feelings from others. Grandchildren and your own children also may be apprehensive about this new living situation. Encourage everyone to share their thoughts and come to a consensus on how things will be done. Expect it to take some time to establish a schedule, and don’t be discouraged by any initial behavioral problems. • Take care of yourself. Grandchildren, particularly young ones, can have a lot of energy and may require constant attention. Caring for such lively youngsters can be taxing on grandparents, who must make their own health and nutrition a priority. Give yourself some time for recreation and rest. Have grandchildren help out where they can. Don’t feel you have to spend every moment entertaining them. • Ask for help when needed. Reach out to friends or community members if you are feeling overwhelmed. There are a number of resources available to you, and many organizations, including AARP, have their own tips for assisting threegeneration households. Multi-generational households are common once again. Families who work together can make the most of such living arrangements.

Page 14 • SENIOR EXPO • March 26, 2016

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