Generations Magazine Spring 2023

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Publication of the
PAGE 30 Improving Heart Surgery for Generations PAGE 10
Duffie Dixon Dr. T. Sloane Guy, MD


Flowers, candles and fun in bloom at Lovin Florist

Gwinnett County offers activities and events to enjoy at senior centers

Your Green: You can’t take it with you

Improving Heart Surgery for Generations: Robotic Heart Surgery Arrives in Gainesville

The Park Springs Secret: It’s All About the People

Generations Spring 2023

Aurora’s 28th season opens with musical Beautiful; also coming up is Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band

Learn Chick-fil-A’s unique story at Backstage Tour

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Former TV news reporter enjoys sharing what’s happening at Gwinnett County Library

City of Lawrenceville offers award-winning events and celebrations in the beautiful DTL

3 Heart Health Numbers You Should Know


Protecting Older Georgians from Scams

Gwinnett Stripers: A winning team in Triple-A baseball and family fun

City of Norcross works to grow living heirlooms of its Champion American Elm

Adults of all ages learn how to help with drug, alcohol and suicide prevention

A Lifestyle, Health & Active Aging Magazine

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS — Janet McCray | Janie Roling | Mary London

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS — Beth Slaughter Sexton


GENERATIONS MAGAZINE (ADVERTISING INQUIRIES CONTACT): Gwinnett Daily Post / SCNI Events — (770) 963–9205 x1210 — — —

Generations 50+ Boomers & Seniors magazine is published twice a year by the Gwinnett Daily Post / SCNI Events


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City of Suwanee remembering its past while embracing an exciting future

Get help navigating Medicare

Piedmont Eastside has its heart in Gwinnett County

ON THE COVER: T. SLOANE GUY, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Heart Surgery at NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery.


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Flowers, candles and fun in bloom at Lovin Florist

A Gwinnett County landmark since 1960, the award-winning Lovin Florist continues to grow as friends and customers stop by for the flowers, but stay for the fun. Its popular Sips & Stems classes invite budding flower designers to learn from the experts on how to make floral arrangements, wreaths and dried flowers.

“We do two of those a month,” Lovin Florist’s owner Brandon Neisler said. “People can bring a bottle of wine and we’ll have a two-hour class. It can be girls’ night out or date night or it can be anything.”

Neisler, a Lawrenceville native has owned Lovin Florist at 173 North Perry Street in Lawrenceville for about four years. His love of flowers began with his Great-Grandma Jewell Parr, who was known for her beautiful flowers. Since buying the florist in downtown Lawrenceville, Neisler has expanded to a second location in Braselton. Located at Chateau Elan, the second Lovin Florist location, as well as the first location was recently remodeled in a style that Neisler describes as “shabby chic.” In addition to flowers, both stores feature gift collections and other items and this month, Lovin Florist will debut its own line of candles.

The all-organic soy wax candles feature essential oils and Neisler says people can dip their fingers into the melted wax and use it as a moisturizer. With names like Lavender Lemonade, Just Peachy, Moody Melon and Strawberry Poke Cake, each scent has a special meaning and are rotated seasonally. Neisler said his great-grandma always made strawberry poke cakes for her family, so it holds a special memory for him. All candles are made in the USA. The soy is grown on a farm in Iowa; essential oils come from Tennessee and the candles are hand-poured in Lawrenceville.

For the second year, Lovin Florist will have Flower Market Saturdays at both stores this spring and summer. Shoppers can stop by on Saturdays, choose stemmed flowers and go home with hand-tied bouquets.

“Our weddings and events have just been skyrocketing,” Neisler said. “We are booking months in advance for weddings and events

and already taking bookings for the end of the year right now.”

Lovin Florist was recently honored with being named one of seven florists designated as “The Best Of In Georgia” competition. For more information, visit


How to make new friends after 50

The early years of midlife are a hectic time for many people. Around the time a lot of people reach their late 30s and early 40s, they’re balancing the responsibilities of a career and a family. But as people enter their 50s, some of those responsibilities tend to be less significant, leaving more time for recreational pursuits.

Hobbies and other pursuits outside of work are often more fun when enjoyed with friends. People over 50 undoubtedly recognize that it’s not always so easy to make new friends, even though it’s undeniably beneficial to have supportive relationships into your golden years. A 2017 study from researchers at Michigan State University found that valuing friendships was a stronger predictor of health and happiness among older adults than valuing family. Those results align with an earlier Australian study that found Australians age 70 or older tended to live significantly longer if they had more strong friendships.

Making friends after 50 might not be as simple as it was during your school days, but these strategies can help men and women in midlife build new friendships.

• Identify your interests. Fiftysomethings who have spent the last couple of decades building a career and raising a family can give some serious thought to their interests outside of work or passions they hope to pursue now that they have more time to commit to such pursuits. The more interested you are in a given activity, the more likely you are to stick with it. And the longer you stick with something, the more likely you are to meet likeminded individuals (i.e., future friends) willing to make similar


• Utilize social media. In years past, men and women over 50 may not have had any readily available tools to reach out and connect with new people. Social media has made it much easier to build such connections. Even the most obscure passions likely have a social media group of locals devoted to them, and these groups can be great ways to meet new people. A local runner’s club may have its own social media accounts, and local governments and community groups often share information about sports leagues and other groups via social media.

• Sign up for group outings. Communities often sponsor group outings to museums, the theater, sporting events, and other day trips. Signing up for a bus trip to a local museum presents a great opportunity to meet people who share your interests, providing the potential to build lasting friendships built on a foundation of shared interests.

• Broaden your horizons. Just because you’re in your 50s doesn’t mean your friends have to be. Don’t hesitate to invite younger or older acquaintances and colleagues over for dinner or on weekend excursions. Friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages, so you could be missing out if you’re not willing to extend a hand in friendship to people of different ages and backgrounds

Making friends after 50 can be challenging. However, various strategies can help men and women over 50 connect with new people.


Gwinnett County Government proudly supports our vibrantly connected community by delivering superior services.

Our residents, businesses, schools, local governments, and nonprofits have a long tradition of working together to make Gwinnett the best place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

It’s what we call the Gwinnett Standard – an expectation of excellence in everything we do – and it’s exemplified by the nearly one million residents who call our diverse and dynamic county home.

Together, we serve with intention to ensure Gwinnett is the preferred community where everyone thrives.

GENERATIONS MAGAZINE 6 | @GwinnettGov 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, GA | 770.822.8000

Gwinnett County offers activities and events to enjoy at senior centers

As the second most populous county in Georgia, Gwinnett is now home to an estimated one million residents. More than 11 percent of those people are 65 years of age and older, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census. Through its Senior Services, Gwinnett County makes sure its older residents get the best the county has to offer.

Senior Services, a section of Health and Human Services helps Gwinnett County residents age 60 or older, or their spouse, enhance their quality of life and maintain their independence through education, support, referrals and free or low-cost services.

At its numerous senior centers throughout the county, older residents enjoy receiving services and participating in activities that support their independence, enhance their dignity and quality of life, as well as meeting their diverse needs and interests. These centers encourage seniors to experience new activities, learn skills and support community involvement and socialization.

Services may include transportation to and from the centers, breakfast and lunch and individual counseling. Activities may include educational and fitness classes, arts and crafts, recreational interests, volunteering, day trips, basic haircutting and more. Some activities and day trips may require minimal fees.

Gwinnett County’s older residents are invited to stop by and visit the Buford Senior Center, Centerville Senior Center, Gwinnett Senior Services Center, Lawrenceville Senior Center, Norcross Senior Center and the Snellville Satellite Congregate Senior Program to see what they have to offer.

Seniors must apply to become a participant at the centers. For more information, including how to apply and application requirements, visit gwinnett/departments/communityservices/healthhumanservices/ seniorservices. For more information or assistance, residents can also call 678-377-4150.

Seniors must apply and qualify for services, which may have waiting lists. However, seniors who demonstrate economic need, social need or frailty/institutional risk may receive priority. Seniors who do not qualify for services may receive information and referrals as applicable.

Also through its Senior Services, Gwinnett County has care managers who work to help seniors develop an individualized care plan; build and strengthen their family and community support; educate and support them and their caregivers; enable them to remain in the most appropriate and safest environment; identify and enhance their knowledge, skills and assets; increase and improve their access to and quality of service, as well as maintain their independence.


You Can’t Take It With You

As the saying goes, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Unfortunately, both are inevitable and unavoidable. Since none of us know when our time will arrive, it is important to plan properly and leave instructions to lessen the hardship on those left behind.

Some things to prepare now:

Beneficiary Designations: Make and periodically review the beneficiary designations for all life insurance policies and investment accounts. Have designated contingent beneficiaries in place in the event your primary beneficiary dies before you.

Life Insurance: The money life insurance provides serves as financial support for those you leave behind. If you have anyone who depends on your income, it is imperative that you have sufficient life insurance protection. It is also important to plan accordingly for the loss of a stay-at-home parent, as the cost of replacing the care that parent provided can be substantial. Our office can provide you with an assessment of your life insurance needs and quotes on obtaining needed coverage.

Financial Power of Attorney: This document allows you to name one or more “agents” to handle all or some of your financial and business affairs in the event you become incapacitated. You may allow someone to handle all of your financial affairs, or, you can limit the authorization to perhaps only the ability to pay monthly bills from your account only while you are incapacitated.

Resources for more information and sample POA forms can be found at on our Helpful Web Link page. This document can be revoked or changed at any time prior to becoming incapacitated.

Advance Directive for Healthcare: In the State of Georgia, the Advance Directive for Healthcare replaced the Living Will and

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This document was updated in 2016, and a link to the revised form is available at www. at the Helpful Web Links page. This form enables you to choose what type of life-sustaining medical care you want in the event of incapacity and removes the burden of life-support and other related decisions from your loved ones, eliminates the conflict over decisions, and ensures you have a say.

Create a Will: A will’s primary purpose is to help convey titled property and gives you the ability to name an executor for your estate and guardians for minor children. Whether you have only a few small possessions or a multi-million-dollar estate, you should specify who you want to receive your property upon your death. There are tools online and programs to help you prepare your own simple will according to the guidelines in your state of residence; however, you likely will need the assistance of an attorney for more involved situations.

Create a Trust: Those with more complex situations or minor children may need to look into setting up a trust. A trust is a legal entity wherein a person gives ownership of his or her assets to a separate entity (the trust), which holds the property for the benefit of a third-party beneficiary. Trusts also allow you to control how your assets are distributed.

Letter of Instructions: Drafting a letter of instructions can be helpful to your loved ones. It can be a simple list or letter. You should mention where your important legal documents will be found; provide bank and retirement account numbers; list life insurance policies; provide contact information for clergy, accountants, and lawyers; instructions for the funeral; and express your wishes for the distribution of personal possessions. Keep this document current and tell key family members or key advisors where it is located or leave a copy with them to be opened upon your death, or consider discussing it with those closest to you prior to your death.

We believe estate planning is an important part of an effective retirement plan. If you want to be proactive and start the process of reviewing your needs, please call 770.931.1414 or visit our website at for a consultation.

“Your Green” with Roger Green, MSFS, CFP®

Improving Heart Surgery for Generations: Robotic Heart Surgery Arrives in Gainesville

Bill Mayfield and his wife traveled to Georgia from their home in Minnesota in January 2023 to visit their son, when Bill suddenly started to feel ill.

“We were looking forward to hiking while we were here, so I was preparing by walking on the treadmill at the hotel,” Bill said. “I couldn’t walk very far at all without getting short of breath and really tired.”

His shortness of breath prompted him to stop by Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) Urgent Care in Dahlonega, where the care team discovered a heart murmur. They quickly referred him to T. Sloane Guy, MD, director of minimally invasive and robotic heart surgery at NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Guy explained Bill needed heart surgery, and that he was an excellent candidate for a less-invasive robotic surgery option.. Bill and his wife were optimistic but wanted to go back home to Minnesota to do a little research.


Cutting-Edge Care

Patients in northeast Georgia and across the country, like Bill, have access to cutting-edge options now that Georgia Heart Institute and NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery offer minimally-invasive robotic heart surgery.

During his surgical training, Dr. Guy focused his skills specifically on mitral valve repairs, which is exactly what Bill needed to correct his mitral valve regurgitation. Dr. Guy prides himself on performing the procedure, which fixes a leaky or stiff mitral valve in the heart, in the least invasive way possible – something that’s hard for other surgeons to achieve because of the commitment it takes to learn.

“I read that Dr. Guy was one of the best robotic heart surgeons in the country,” Bill recalled. “It made the most sense for us to make the trip back down from Minnesota, and it was definitely worth it.”

Bill was the first patient to undergo robotic heart surgery at

Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), and he made a rapid recovery.

“Just two days after the surgery, I was leaving the hospital and feeling great. I can’t believe what the team was able to do through these tiny incisions,” Bill said. “I remember when my brother had open heart surgery, and this is a totally different experience.”

The Robotic Difference

Heart surgeries that formerly were only available through open heart surgery can now be performed through tiny incisions – about 8 millimeters long.

The surgery went so well that Bill was able to leave the hospital just two days after the surgery, and he was able to fly home to Minnesota after his follow-up appointment the following week.

“We’re able to offer patients an option that’s significantly


less invasive, meaning faster recoveries and smaller scars for patients when compared to open heart surgery where an incision might be eight to 10 inches long,” said Dr. Guy. “The heart surgeries I perform robotically use incisions that are the size of the diameter of an ink pen. This means patients can have a significantly shorter recover time so they can get back to their normal activities sooner than open heart surgery patients.”

What is Robotic Heart Surgery?

Robot-assisted surgery is a type of minimally-invasive procedure that’s especially advanced. During endoscopic robotic valve surgery, the heart is accessed through two small incisions. A specialized camera is placed into the body through the incisions, allowing the surgeon to view real-time video of the surgical site.

Guided by that video, the surgeon can use small instruments to repair the valve without moving the heart. Because these

processes make less of an impact on the body, they provide patients with a number of benefits, including reduced blood loss, less risk of complications and a quicker recovery.

During robotic heart surgery, the surgeon sits at a console near the patient. The surgical instruments, guided by the robotic arm, move in real time with the surgeon’s hand and wrist movements. These tiny instruments can make much smaller movements than human hands can, meaning there’s less damage to surrounding tissue.

Renowned Surgical Care

The addition of robotic heart surgery gives patients even more confidence in the cardiovascular surgical services of Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) they’ve known and trusted for 13 years.

“Whether the surgery is done using a minimally-invasive approach or an open approach, our primary goal is providing the best possible treatment plan and outcome for each


individual patient,” said Clifton Hastings, MD, medical director of NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery. “We’re collaborating with the cardiologists of Georgia Heart Institute to coordinate care across specialties, providing patients a more seamless patient experience.”

Robotic heart surgery is just one of the robust treatment offerings at NGHS. The surgeons of NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery are an integral part of Georgia Heart Institute, NGHS’ comprehensive heart and vascular service line. This includes heart care services such as the Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Metabolism & Lipids; the Heart Failure Treatment & Recovery Center; the Women’s Heart Center; and the Structural Heart Center.

“We’re collaborating more than ever with the cardiologists of Georgia Heart Institute to provide patients with a seamless experience, should they need heart or thoracic surgery,” Dr. Hastings said. “This means that patients can see Georgia Heart Institute’s cardiologists for everything from preventative treatment, to complex interventional cardiology procedures, to our team for advanced heart surgeries.”

To schedule an appointment with NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, call 770-219-7099. To schedule an appointment with one of Georgia Heart Institute’s cardiologists, visit or call 770-5342020.


The Park Springs Secret: It’s All About the People

Active seniors from all over the country have discovered a secret. It’s a Life Plan Community located just east of metro Atlanta in Stone Mountain, GA, Park Springs. What makes it so special? The people! From the caring staff and exceptional residents (or Members as they’re called), it’s the people that make this community truly special. That special quality begins with the dedicated Medical team in the onsite Wellness Clinic. “My approach to healthcare is not restrained by time,” says Medical Director, Dr. Khurram Khan. “I am able to provide better care.” Dr. Khan is part of a team of onsite geriatricians, including a highly-trained movement disorder neurologist, and a nurse practitioner. A complete Continuum of Care including Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, and Respite Care is available as well.

The community is also centered around the people behind Park Springs’ legendary cuisine. “One of the top reasons people come here is for a culinary adventure,” says head chef, Marcus Walden. “From Mediterranean to Italian to French to Japanese, I don’t have any boundaries.” Delicious, healthy menus are available in multiple dining venues from formal dining to casual fare.

When Members aren’t connecting over a great meal, they can be found having fun in other ways all across the tranquil 61-acre campus. Over 50 Member-led clubs and social groups, an abundance of amenities, and a totally maintenance-

free lifestyle mean there’s always something fun to do and someone to do it with.

“You have to re-program your thinking because now you can do more fun things than you ever could do before!” says Member, Doug B.

From playing pétanque, bridge, and mahjong to joining neighbors for a game of water volleyball or golf at Stone Mountain’s two championship golf courses, there’s a friendly face at every turn.

“Park Springs is so people-oriented,” says Member, Marilyn S. “The staff is so friendly; if I don’t say hello to them first, they say hello to me first. We know lots of the staff and we know tons of Members. It’s really fun.”

Experience the exceptional people of Park Springs for yourself. Call 678-684-3300 or visit today.


The award-winning Aurora Theatre begins its 28th season with the Tony and Grammy-award winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Presented August 17 to September 10 on the Lawrenceville Arts Center’s Clyde & Sandra Strickland Grand Stage, this musical chronicles the inspiring true story of Carole King’s journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Starring Bethany Irby as Carole King, Beautiful features words and music by Gerry Goffin, Carol King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Based on the book by Douglas McGrath, the musical is directed and choreographed by David Rossetti with music by arrangement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing and music direction by Ann-Carol Pence.

Since writing her first number one hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow? at the age of 17, King has become one of the most celebrated and iconic singer-songwriters of all time. She wrote the song for The Shirelles with her then-husband Gerry Goffin. The dozens of chart hits they wrote during this period have become part of music legend, including Take Good Care of My Baby, The Loco-Motion, Up On The Roof, One Fine Day, Just Once In My Life, You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman) and many more.

To date, more than 400 of King’s compositions have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists resulting in 100 hit singles. Her 1971 solo album, Tapestry took King to the pinnacle. The musical tells the story of her journey as a singer-songwriter and features many of her hit songs, including You’ve Got a Friend, On Broadway and others.

“We open with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” Aurora’s Al Stilo said. “Knead is a heartwarming play about a woman on the night before her 60th birthday trying to conquer her mother’s confusing bread recipe and all of the memories and emotions that are folded into this process. The other cool part is the loaf of bread is baked from start to finish in real time during the show. We also have a new comedy set in a retirement community and as always, Canteen appeals to all ages, but is full of great nostalgia.”

An Aurora original, Christmas Canteen will be on the Clyde & Sandra Strickland Grand Stage November 24 to December 23. Thousands flock to the Lawrenceville Arts Center each season

to experience the joy of this unique theatrical tradition. With spectacular musical numbers, bursts of comedy and a touch of nostalgia, all ages enjoy this holiday tradition.

Written and performed by Mary Lynn Owen, Knead will be on the Lawrenceville Arts Center’s Metro Waterproofing Main Stage January 25 to February 18. A woman plagued by insomnia is determined that her mother’s bread recipe will work. The ingredients of time and memory keep interfering and the breadmaking process becomes a deeper journey. On the eve of a significant birthday, the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants mixes the ingredients of her past into a spectacular night that rises and falls with loaves that somehow end up in the oven. Owen is a Suzi Bass Award-winner for her performance in Aurora’s Wit Greener Pastures by Lori Fischer opens March 21, 2024, on the Clyde & Sandra Strickland Grand Stage and continues through April 7. Featuring the story of 48-year-old Dorothy, a two-bit actor with performance anxiety who has reached her breaking point portraying a singing sandwich on the local children’s show, Lunchtime with Munchkins, the show has been called a “Golden Girls meets The Odd Couple crowd-pleaser.” When Dorothy finds a technicality in her contract, she chucks it all to live the good life at the Greener Pastures Retirement Center.

Sister Act completes Season 28, and is based on the 1992 Touchstone Pictures Sister Act film. Starring Jasmine Renee Ellis as Deloris Van Cartier, Sister Act will be on stage next May 23 through June 16. Lounge singer Deloris witnesses a murder and is placed in protective custody in a convent. Disguised as a nun, diva Deloris is at odds with the rigid lifestyle of the sisters.

This month, as it finishes up Season 27, the Aurora presents The Play That Goes Wrong, which is about opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor, where “things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous.” This Olivier Award-winning comedy offers a hilarious hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes.

In addition, the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band will be on stage at the Aurora Friday, July 14. Order online with promo code GENERATIONS and get $5 off tickets (some restrictions apply).

To purchase season tickets or for more information about all upcoming Aurora events, visit Free parking is available in the adjacent parking deck.

Aurora’s 28th season opens with musical Beautiful; also coming up is Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute

Soft tissue injuries and how PT can benefit recovery

Soft tissue injuries are more common than people may realize. In fact, anyone with an undiagnosed pain in his or her body may be suffering from a soft tissue injury.

According to Delaware Integrative Healthcare, bone injuries garner significant attention because broken bones and fractures can be very serious. But soft tissue injuries, when left untreated, also can be troublesome and jeopardize individuals’ athletic pursuits.

Verywell Health defines soft tissue injuries as trauma to any muscle, skin, tendon, or ligament in the body. Injuries may result from overuse or acute trauma, which is an external force applied to the body. Common examples of soft tissue injuries are lacerations, abrasions, contusions, sprains/strains, bursitis, and tendinitis.

Strains are injuries to muscles or tendons and sprains are injuries to ligaments, which are elastic bands of tissue that connect and stabilize bones. Both strains and sprains are common soft tissue injuries. Bursitis and tendinitis also are common. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, a fluidfilled sac that provides a cushion between the bones and muscles or tendons. Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons, which connect muscles to bones.

Many minor (Grade 1) soft tissue injuries that involve muscles, tendons and ligaments may heal when injured persons follow the protocol known as R.I.C.E., which is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. R.I.C.E. is widely recommended for these types of injuries. However, more serious soft tissue injuries may take extended time to heal. Some of these injuries also may lead to permanent changes in muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing certain body parts to cease functioning how they used to. That may be the case with Grade 2 (moderate) or Grade 3 (severe) injuries. Further medical attention may be needed and physical therapy may be prescribed.

The Ace Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Institute says soft tissue injuries account for most of the injuries that outpatient physical therapists treat. A therapist will analyze the type of injury and the pain or impairment it is causing to develop a rehabilitation program. Physical therapists often perform various treatments geared toward reducing swelling and inflammation. Manual therapies to help restore normal motion also are part of soft tissue treatment plans. Stretching and strengthening exercises may be incorporated to improve endurance and repair soft tissue. Orthotic therapy may be needed to correct certain imbalances, advises Algonquin Chiropractic Center. Physical therapists also can educate patients about how to strengthen the body to help reduce risk for future injuries.

Soft tissue injuries are common and usually can resolve with rest. Guided physical therapy may be prescribed for more severe cases.


The advantages of RV travel

Individuals who are approaching retirement or those who already have said goodbye to the working world may find they are ready to make some life changes. Travel is something many older adults enjoy when they have much more free time to see the sights.

Recreational vehicles are great ways for people to get out and about. An RV is more than just a way to get around; for many people it becomes a lifestyle. According to the RV Industry Association, about 10 million American households own RVs.

There have been more RVs on the road in recent years, and there are now more facilities to accommodate them. RVIA says there are now roughly 18,000 campgrounds around the country, and certain facilities are pushing to improve and upgrade campgrounds in national parks and on federal lands. Individuals considering if the RV lifestyle is for them can refer to this list of RVing benefits.

• Inexpensive travel (or living): RVers may be attracted by the idea of low-cost travel that doesn’t involve hotels and airfare and greatly reduces their reliance on restaurants while traveling. RVs can be rented for roughly $100 to $500 per day, and RV parks usually run between $35 and $50 per night, according to Allianz Travel Insurance. To keep the costs down even more, certain truck stops, big box retailers, churches, hotels, movie theaters, casinos, rest stops and

other roadside locations will allow free overnight parking. Just verify before staying to avoid being ticketed.

• Freedom to come and go: When traveling in an RV, there are no set check-in-/check-out times to follow or boarding times to meet. RV travel can be strictly on your schedule.

• Plenty of help: Others who have embraced the RV lifestyle tend to be very friendly and ready to make new acquaintances at campgrounds and other stops. Those with more experience may be willing to share their expertise and pitch in to offer tips for better excursions.

• Creature comforts: People who vacation or choose to live in their RVs tend to keep familiar items and essentials on hand. Those can include preferred linens, clothing, toiletries, books, games, and more. When taking such items along, there’s no need to pack and unpack much for any trip.

• Follow the weather: If desired, RVers can pick up and follow the jet stream. If 70-degree days are your thing, then follow those temperatures coast-to-coast. If you like skiing or snowboarding, you can head to colder climates.

• Downsize: The RVIA says that RVs are available across a wide range of price points. So if the idea is to trade in a stationary house for an RV, you may be able to do so for as little as $6,000 to as much as $500,000.

The RV lifestyle may attract soon-to-be retirees. There are various advantages to getting on board.


Money management tips for retirees

What constitutes a perfect retirement is different for everyone. Some people may imagine spending their golden years fishing their days away, while others may aspire to finally embrace their inner globetrotter. Though individuals’ retirement dreams differ, every retiree will need money, which only underscores the importance of a wise and disciplined approach to money management.

Average life expectancies have risen considerably over the last several decades. According to estimates from the United Nations Population Division, the average life expectancy in Canada for both sexes is just under 83 years, while it’s slightly more than 79 in the United States. Those figures are a welcome sign, but they may inspire a little fear among seniors who are concerned that they might outlive their money. No one knows how long they will live, but everyone can embrace a handful of money management strategies to increase the chances that they won’t feel a financial pinch in retirement.

• Study up on the tax implications of withdrawing from your retirement accounts. Every retirement investment vehicle, whether it’s an IRA or a 401(k), has tax implications. Money withdrawn too early may incur tax penalties, and even money withdrawn long past retirement age could elevate retirees into a new tax bracket that could prove costly. A financial advisor can help retirees determine the tax implications of withdrawing money from their retirement accounts and may even develop a detailed guideline of when withdrawals should be made and how much should be withdrawn in a given year in order to minimize tax liabilities.

• Prioritize your own needs. Though retirees, particularly those with children and grandchildren, may feel an obligation to help their families in difficult financial times, generosity can be very costly for adults who have stopped working. Retirees may or may not have opportunities to generate new income, and even those who do likely won’t

make enough to meet their daily financial needs. Given that reality, retirees must prioritize their own financial needs, including their immediate needs and those they will have for the rest of their lives. Though it might be difficult to turn down loved ones’ requests for financial help, retirees must make sure they can pay their bills and maintain a quality of life that won’t jeopardize their long-term health.

• Examine your housing situation. Equity in a home is a feather in the cap of many retirees. Retirees who own their homes and live in locations with high property taxes might be able to cash in on their equity by selling their homes and downsizing to a smaller home with lower property taxes. If moving is not a consideration, discuss a reverse mortgage with a financial advisor. A trusted financial advisor can highlight the advantages and disadvantages of reverse mortgages, which are a great option for some people to improve their financial well-being in retirement.

• Stick to a budget during retirement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that roughly 70 percent of individuals who turn 65 will need long-term care in their lifetimes. That’s just one expense retirees must budget for, and it’s more sizable than some people may recognize. In fact, the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate found that the average retired couple age 65 in 2022 will need roughly $315,000 to cover health care expenses in retirement. And health care costs are just one of many expenses retirees can expect to have. Budgeting and avoiding overspending can ensure retirees have the money they need when they need it.

No one wants to outlive their money in retirement. Various strategies can help retirees effectively manage their money so they can enjoy their golden years without having to worry about their finances.


The benefits of crossword puzzles

Crossword puzzles are one of the most popular pastimes in the world.

Crosswords are square grids made up of white- and blackshaded squares. The goal is to fill in all of the letters to form words and phrases that work both vertically and horizontally. The grid varies based on the country of origin. Certain grids also have 180-degree rotational symmetry so that the pattern appears the same if the paper is turned upside down.

Historians are uncertain about who created the world’s first crossword puzzle, although it is believed to be something that originated in the 19th or early 20th century. Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, England, published a word-cross puzzle in the New York World that had many of the features of the modern game, and the crossword is frequently attributed to Wynne.

Even though crossword puzzles have been entertaining and helping people pass the time for more than 100 years, the benefits of crosswords go beyond boredom-busting. Various studies have shown the positive effects crossword puzzles can have on a person’s brain and capacity to learn.

• Improve vocabulary: Crossword puzzles introduce players to new words. And players may learn some interesting facts about various subjects simply by filling in crosswords correctly.

• Strengthens memory: The more frequently participants

engage with word puzzles, the better they can perform tasks that measure attention, reasoning and memory, according to a study from the University of Exeter Medical School and Kings College London. The study found people who play crosswords have brain function equivalent to those 10 years younger than their actual age.

• Improve socialization: Crossword puzzles can help you connect socially with others who also play crossword puzzles. Solving a puzzle together as a group is a fine way to connect and meet new people.

• Help relieve stress: Crossword puzzles can engage the brain and mind, helping direct attention away from stressful situations. Crosswords also provide a way to relax and unwind.

• May help prevent brain diseases: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research indicates keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build reserves of brain cells and connections. In addition, those who keep their minds active may have lower amounts of a protein that forms beta amyloid plaques attributed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Crossword puzzles can fill empty hours with an entertaining and educational activity. However, there are many other benefits to doing crossword puzzles that may surprise even the most ardent puzzle enthusiasts.


THREE fun & effective outdoor exercises for seniors

The benefits of spending time in the great outdoors are significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spending time outdoors may improve mental health and help to reduce stress, and the vitamin D the body absorbs while outside can have a positive effect on blood cells and the immune system.

Seniors can benefit from the great outdoors as much as anyone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which strengthens bones. That’s especially beneficial for seniors, as the National Council on Aging notes that bone density often decreases after age 50, which can increase the risk of fractures. That’s especially so in women over the age of 50, as a 2021 report from Amgen, Inc., indicated women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density within five to seven years of menopause.

Spending time in the great outdoors also provides a social benefit, encouraging individuals from all walks of life, including seniors, to get out of their homes and spend time with other people.

With so much to gain from spending time outside, seniors can consider these three outdoor exercises as they seek to maintain or improve their overall health.

1. Walking is free and effective. In fact, WebMD notes that a brisk 30-minute walk can improve blood flow, contribute to a stronger heart, strengthen bones, and even help people sleep better at night. In addition, a 2022 study published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that people between the ages of 40 and 79 who walked about 9,800 steps per day were 51 percent less likely to develop dementia than people who didn’t walk much at all.

2. Cycling: Riding a bike is both fun and a great form of outdoor exercise. Though many studies regarding the health effects of cycling have looked at the value of riding a bike to work, a scenario that does not apply to retirees, the results of such studies still offer insight into just how valuable it can be to ride a bike. For example, a 2020 study published in the journal The Lancet found that people who cycled to work were 24 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 11 percent less likely to develop cancer. Seniors, whether they are still working or retired, can incorporate cycling into their daily routines and enjoy all the fun and health benefits that riding a bike provides.

3. Hiking is a bit more strenuous than walking, particularly when individuals choose to traverse steep and/or rocky

terrain. WebMD notes that hiking after age 60 can help people reduce their risk of falls and fractures; lower their risk for a host of ailments, including coronary heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes; reduce blood pressure, even in adults who have already been diagnosed with hypertension; and maintain healthy bones and joints. Hiking is not a one-size-fitsall activity, so seniors, especially those who would characterize themselves as novice hikers, are urged to speak with their physicians prior to hiking trails that are not flat.

Seniors can consider these three fun activities and others as they answer the call of the great outdoors. Walking, cycling and hiking offer a great reason to get out of the house and reap the health-related benefits of spending time outside.


Learn Chick-fil-A’s unique story at Backstage Tour

The name Truett Cathy, much like the restaurant he founded is something generations of Georgians have known since they were old enough to eat a nugget. The beloved late founder of the successful Chick-fil-A chain of restaurants and the story of how it all began is the central focus of the company’s Backstage Tour, which is open to the public.

“Throughout the tour, guests will get to experience Chickfil-A’s most valued company assets: our hospitable people and our unique story,” said Sarah Lively, who works in the company’s public affairs office.

The Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour is a walking, guided tour with the central focus being Cathy and how he started the famous company. There are two in-person tour options for guests, “The Original” or “The Deluxe.”

The Original tour is one hour in length and includes a visit to Chick-fil-A’s History Museum, Car Museum and Truett Cathy’s office. The cost is $10 per person, plus tax. The Deluxe tour includes the same stops as The Original tour, plus a quick shuttle ride to see new product development in The Kitchen and a visit to The Nest, the training center. The cost is $20 per person, plus tax. The company also offers a one-hour Virtual Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour free of cost. This live, storytelling journey is around the values and vision of Cathy. Guests enjoy

stories of the company’s humble beginnings and 75 years of continuous growth, a sneak peek into the future, a one-onone visit with the archives team, plus an inside look at Chickfil-A’s test kitchen and training center.

Anyone interested in registering for a Backstage Tour can visit

For the past decade, almost 194,000 people have visited the Chick-fil-A Support center to take a Backstage Tour. The Chick-fil-A Support Center is located at 5200 Buffington Road, Atlanta.


Dating later in life

People are living longer, a reality that can be traced to a number of factors, including advancements in medicine and greater dissemination of information regarding preventive health care. According to data from the United Nations Population Division, the average life expectancy in the United States is 81.65 for women and 76.61 for men. Canada has even higher life expectancies, at 84.74 for women and 81.15 for men.

As people live longer, some may outlive their significant others and ultimately find themselves once again interested in sharing experiences with a special someone. Seniors ready to re-enter the dating pool may find that things are quite different from what they experienced as naïve teenagers or young adults. Dating used to be about hanging out with friends and meeting people at shared events, such as school dances or work parties or even while enjoying a night out with friends. Nowadays, dating often begins in cyberspace. This can be confusing and anxiety-inducing for adults who didn’t grow up with technology guiding their every move.

According to a report in The Atlantic, more than one-third of baby boomers are not currently married, and this generation has had higher rates of separation and divorce and lower rates of marriage than the generations that preceded them. Many boomers have years ahead of them to devote to new relationships. Here’s what they may want to know before navigating twenty-first century dating waters.

• You’re not in this alone. While online dating may be portrayed as a young person’s game, plenty of older adults are now

finding connections online. In fact, many different dating apps are geared toward the senior set, including SeniorMatch, eHarmony, Singles50, OKCupid, and Silver Singles, among others.

• You have more time for fun. As a senior, you may have more time to devote to recreation and leisure. This can be a great opportunity to get out and meet someone who shares your passions and interests.

• Online dating has its advantages. While online dating apps and websites may have certain things working against them, particularly if their algorithms for pairing people are not finetuned, they also can be helpful. Online dating can expand social circles beyond local neighborhoods or even states, provinces or countries. You’re casting your net over a much larger body of water. Furthermore, dating app profiles typically spell out exactly what another person is seeking, which can save seniors from having to revisit awkward dating moments from years past.

Seniors may have to navigate new waters in modern dating. But with a good mindset and a little persistence, it is possible for seniors to find a special someone in cyberspace.


Experiential gifts for seniors

Holiday shoppers know that, seemingly every year, there’s one person on their shopping list who’s hard to shop for. Seniors may fit that bill, as many have already accumulated a lifetime’s worth of goods and gadgets. That’s why experiential gifts can be such a good fit for seniors come the holiday season.

Experiential gifts are wildly popular. In its 2021 Winter Holiday Shopping Report, the market research firm Mintel revealed that nearly half of individuals surveyed for the report felt that experiential gifts are superior to tangible items. Seniors who already have everything they need might be even more enthusiastic about experiential gifts, which may encourage them to get out of the house or pursue passions they’ve long had a passing interest in. This holiday season, shoppers can consider these experiences as they look for something new and unique for the seniors on their shopping lists.

• Biplane flight: Few experiences are as exhilarating as a flight in an open cockpit biplane. Biplane flights are unique to each company that offers them, but some planes can accommodate two passengers (in addition to the pilot), making this an ideal gift for senior couples who aren’t afraid of a bird’s eye view. The length of a flight depends on shoppers’ budgets, but no matter how long seniors are in the air, they’re sure to return to the ground having enjoyed a truly unique experience.

• Hot air balloon ride: If riding shotgun with a pilot in a tiny plane is more adventure than your favorite senior may be seeking, a hot air balloon ride may be more suitable. Hot

air balloon rides provide a truly stunning way to experience idyllic settings and a calm way to take to the skies on a beautiful day. Rides tend to last around an hour, but companies typically offer various packages and may even let shoppers customize rides for their loved ones.

• Theatre tickets: The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, but seniors were among the groups most vulnerable to serious infection if they caught the virus. As a result, many seniors strictly adhered to social distancing guidelines prior to getting vaccinated. Now that seniors are eligible to be fully vaccinated and even receive two rounds of booster shots, a trip to the theatre can reignite their passion for live entertainment and make for a memorable night out.

• Cycling tour: Modern seniors are among the most physically active demographics. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that, within months of the pandemic being declared, adults age 65 and older averaged 100 more minutes of physical activity than the next closest cohort. A cycling tour can make for a perfect gift to active seniors. Tours may be designed to visit local places of historical significance, idyllic natural settings or local eateries. Wherever the tours ultimately end up, they’re sure to put a smile on active seniors’ faces.

Experiences can make for the perfect holiday gifts for seniors who have it all.


Strength training for seniors

A balanced diet and exercise, which includes a combination of aerobic activities and strength training, is necessary to maintain long-term health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do to protect their overall health. Exercise helps to delay or prevent many of the conditions that come with age. Adults ages 65 and older should aim for the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, and at least two days of activities that strengthen muscles.

When it comes to muscle strengthening, seniors can follow these safety guidelines as they embark on their strength-training journeys.

• Speak with a healthcare provider first. Get the green light to proceed with an exercise regimen before beginning by having a discussion with your general practitioner about your fitness goals. Your doctor can recommend strategies that are safe and point out any exercises that may compromise your overall health.

• Master basic exercises first. Anyone new to strength training, which is sometimes known as resistance training, can start out slowly, even using just body weight, to provide resistance. Resistance exercises can include squats, crunches, modified

pushups, planks, and lunges.

• Graduate to resistance bands. When you’re ready to move on to something else, consider resistance bands as an alternative to free weights. The bands can help you develop good form before introducing weight. Good form is key to avoiding injury.

• Work with a trainer. Working with a certified personal trainer can help you learn how to use free weights and strengthtraining machines correctly. A trainer also can create a routine that includes the right number of sets and repetitions to gradually build and maintain muscle mass. If you decide against hiring a trainer, gym staff members may guide you through equipment and demonstrate proper form.

• Exercise with a friend. Strength training with a friend or family member can provide motivation and keep you on target to meet your goals.

• Build up gradually. Your first strength session should only last 10 to 15 minutes, according to Tiffany Chag, C.S.C.S., a strength coach at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. This enables you to gauge soreness. Wait until soreness abates before beginning your next session if you are new to strength training.

Strength exercises are a vital part of maintaining health as a senior. Such exercises help maintain muscle mass and also improve balance and bone health.


If her name and voice sound familiar, they should. For 14 years, Duffie Dixon was a television reporter in Atlanta, covering everything from murder trials to hurricanes. These days, she’s swapped her Emmy awards for credentials as the Director of Marketing and Communication for the Gwinnett County Public Library. Next month will mark her first year in the position, and it is a perfect fit.

“I call this my second dream job,” Dixon says.

As a teenager, Dixon knew she wanted to be a broadcast journalist. It combined everything she was interested in--writing, video, interviews, talking on camera, and being the first to know when something was happening and why.

“As a college freshman, I showed up at one of the local TV stations in my hometown and asked if I could clean out waste baskets or file newspapers, anything to see how TV news was made,” she said. “The news director flatly said no, saying I was too young and had no experience. The main anchor quietly told me to show up the next day if I wanted to learn more.”

She did. Day after day, she would watch, listen and perform whatever tasks she could find. A couple of weeks later, the news staff announced they’d be keeping her as an unpaid intern. Over that first summer, Dixon learned to write news copy, shoot and edit videotape, interview people, and assemble entire stories.

“Small stations are always short of warm bodies, so the reporters and anchors encouraged me to go out as a reporter and cover a few stories,” Dixon said. “Then they aired them! My mom and her friends were freaking out that I was on the local evening news.”

Dixon was hooked and transferred to Pepperdine University in Southern California, where she graduated with a BA in Broadcast Journalism.

Her first job was as a reporter and an anchor for KPVI-TV in Pocatello, Idaho. She and her husband then moved to Charlotte, NC, where she became a crime reporter for WBTV. Their third and final stop was Atlanta. Dixon worked briefly at WSB-TV as a freelance reporter and then joined WXIA-TV (11Alive).

“I really had a dream career,” she said. “I have worked with some of the best people in the business. I’ve seen and done incredible things. I’ve had the privilege of sharing important,

impactful stories. It is a bizarre feeling when you reach your life’s career goals. No one tells you that can actually happen.”

She says her new role at Gwinnett County Public Library is just as fulfilling. Likely, more.

“I feel so lucky to have landed this position,” Dixon said. “Everyone here is so great to work with. At heart, I’m a storyteller, and the Gwinnett County Public Library is full of amazing people and stories. The things we are doing to change people’s lives are unbelievable. My job is to let the community know about all we have to offer.

Libraries have long been one of her favorite places to be. She volunteered at Meadowcreek Elementary in Norcross in the Media Center for years, reading to kids and shelving books. One of the first things she did when she and her husband moved to Suwanee 21 years ago was to get a Gwinnett County Public Library card.

“I’ve always loved our library system in Gwinnett County,” Dixon said. “My staff actually laughs at how old my card is. Apparently, I’m carrying around a ‘vintage.’”

It is obvious she is passionate about her job when she is asked to list some things offered at the library’s 15 branches.

“Where to start?” Dixon says. “We offer so many services and programs, all of which are free! The comment I often hear is, ‘I had no idea the library did that!’ My mission is to share all of the things we are doing to engage kids, teens, and adults in our community.”

Her list is long. She mentions educational programs, business classes, free Wi-Fi, dual language classes, book clubs, access to equipment and space for podcasting, video production, 3D printing, Cricut, coding, Glowforge carving and etching, sewing machines, and cooking classes.

The Gwinnett County Public Library is said to be by far the most extensive system in the state. More than two million customers walked through the door last year. They checked out nearly four million materials, including books and audiobooks. The library averages 70,000 new customers a year.

“It is a big operation,” Dixon said. “I’ve been impressed since I got here. My biggest challenge is having enough hours in the day to share all of the good things we’re doing. That’s a great challenge to have!”

Former TV news reporter enjoys sharing what’s happening at Gwinnett County Library

Fun ways for seniors to stay active

Physical activity is an important component of overall health. Health experts advise that exercise can increase lean body mass, prevent conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, improve balance, and positively affect mental health/ cognition. Exercise also can foster socialization with others, helping people overcome boredom and isolation.

As individuals get older, they may not be able to participate in all of the activities they enjoyed as youths, but that doesn’t mean older adults must resign themselves to sedentary lifestyles. There are plenty of entertaining ways to remain physically active that can accommodate any limitations a person may have. Explore these methods for staying active.

Explore senior center offerings

Community senior centers often fill calendars with a vast array of activities, some of which can include physical activities. Hikes, walking tours, dances, and other activities all serve as entertaining ways to get out and about while meeting some fitness goals.

Garden or do yard work

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotions says adults should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Raking leaves, mowing the lawn, digging in flower beds, trimming bushes, and other outdoor tasks could help a person meet this quota in a way that doesn’t seem like exercise at all.

Play games with grandchildren

Little kids may inspire older adults to be more active, as it can be difficult to keep up with those youngsters. Take infants or toddlers for walks or push them in strollers. Attach a child seat or towing carriage to a bicycle and ride around the neighborhood. Play games that require movement, such as hide-and-seek or Marco Polo in the pool. If it’s snowing, have a snowball fight or make a snowman in the yard.

Take up a new hobby

Find hobbies that incorporate physical activity. Perhaps learning to salsa dance or taking Zumba™ will be fun?

Pickleball has caught on across the nation. The sport is a mix of tennis, racquetball and badminton that caters to all ages. Joining a bowling team is another way to get active and meet new people.

Physical activity is important at any age. Seniors can explore fun ways to stay in shape and be active to reap all the benefits of exercise.


City of Lawrenceville offers award-winning events and celebrations in the beautiful DTL

With a success story envied by every Georgia town, the City of Lawrenceville keeps pushing forward creating more to see and do in Gwinnett’s county seat. Downtown Lawrenceville, also known as The DTL has undergone a $500 million renovation over the past five years, including public-private partnerships. Flourishing with more businesses, visitors, residents and events, the once-sleepy town square is now wide awake with shops and restaurants up and down its streets and an ever-growing vibrant nightlife.

To say the city calendar is filled with events and celebrations is not just a PR phrase. It is actually filled with everything from concerts and plays to outdoor movies, festivals and almost daily offerings. In fact, the efforts of those who plan events for the City of Lawrenceville were recently recognized in a prestigious competition. At the Southeastern Festival & Events Association awards ceremony, the City of Lawrenceville and its events team won half a dozen awards. The city won bronze awards for Best New Event, CULTURA; Best Children’s Event, Free Comic Book Day and the award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Around the World in the DTL. The city won silver for Best Event Under $75,000, CULTURA. The City of Lawrenceville won two prestigious gold awards in the competition, including Best Marketing Concept, Free Comic Book Day and Best Program, Around the World in the DTL. Members of the City of Lawrenceville Events Team include Jasmine Billings, community development manager; Milo Sather, coordinator; Lindsey Curnow, event coordinator and Alaina Tullis, marketing and communications coordinator.

The City of Lawrenceville welcomes back DTL Happenings, the free pop-up event series offering a variety of experiences from yoga classes to pop-up movies. Free Comic Book Day is May 6, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The city again hosts LIVE in the DTL, the free summer concert series on the Lawrenceville Lawn. The Juneteenth Celebration Concert also returns this summer, as do free Feature Friday and Pop-up Movies. Prelude to the Fourth is June 30, from 5-10 p.m., complete with a spectacular fireworks show.

Fall events include Around the World in the DTL Sept. 22 and 23; CULTURA: Fiesta Latina Oct. 13, and BOO Fest on Oct. 27. Harvest Festival is Nov. 4. The year ends with Santa and more with the return of the Hometown Holiday Parade Dec. 2. For a complete listing, visit

In addition, residents and visitors can now view upcoming events, check out where to shop, dine and find public parking all while roaming around the square. With its new downtown digital signs, the city presents such information on one side of the sign while the other side features digital works of art created by local artists and students. The City of Lawrenceville has partnered with the Hudgens Center for Art & Learning to display a collection of works by students from the smART Honors Program, which provides opportunities for students who cannot afford private art lessons. Teachers from Norcross, Discovery, Peachtree Ridge, Brookwood, Lanier and Phoenix high schools select students who show artistic talent and whose work is then displayed on the five digital kiosks situated around the square.

The city also partners with the Hudgens Center as it installs works from its permanent collection inside City Hall on a rotating basis. Works are on the lower, main and third levels and residents and visitors are invited to view the artworks on display at City Hall, located at 70 S. Clayton Street.

Works currently on the main level include paintings by Elinor Dixon and Burt Hassen. City Hall has previously displayed photo-screenprints from artist Ben Shahn and portraits from photographer Richard Calmes. The lower level features black and white landscape photographs from the Georgia Nature Photographers Association. The third level displays physical works from the Hudgens Center’s smART Honors Program, the same works shown on the digital signs around the square. From June 14 through July 4, the community can visit City Hall to see artworks themed around the American Flag as part of the DTL Happening event series.


3 Heart Health Numbers You Should Know

When it comes to your heart health, you likely know how lifestyle factors like exercise and nutrition can impact your risk of disease. But how can you tell if you’re tracking in the right direction?

While a number of risk factors like personal and family health history can’t be measured, there are a few metrics that can provide a good picture of your heart health and fitness. Familiarizing yourself with these numbers can help you better understand your disease risk and manage your overall health. By tracking and monitoring these numbers, you can work with your primary care provider to set goals, make lifestyle changes, and reduce your risk of disease over time. Here are 3 heart health metrics you should get to know:

1. Blood pressure

Blood pressure refers to the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood through the arteries to the rest of your body. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart contracts, and lowest when it’s at rest. As a result, your blood pressure fluctuates slightly throughout the day as you exercise, eat, sleep, drink, and experience varying levels of stress. It can also change with age, medications, temperature, and a number of other factors.

2. Blood glucose

Blood glucose refers to the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) that is found in your blood. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting the food you eat into glucose – which is then transported through the bloodstream to be used for energy and stored in your cells for later use. Your pancreas produces an

important hormone called insulin that helps your cells absorb and store glucose.

3. Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat that plays an important role in many bodily functions. It helps your body build cells, create vitamins, and produce hormones, as well as digest food. While cholesterol is necessary for a number of reasons, too much can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What else you should know

Paying close attention to your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels can help you better understand your risk of heart disease and take control of your cardiac health. If your numbers are higher than they should be, your primary care provider can partner with you to create a personal care plan to help you lower your numbers and get back on track.

To read the full blog post on One Medical, visit https://www.

Attend a One Medical Seniors Event and Learn More About Your Health

Attention seniors on Medicare! One Medical Seniors is a doctor’s office designed around you and your needs. With convenient locations, on-site labs, and care coordination with specialists, our entire team works together to provide you with the best care possible. Come meet us at one of our no-cost events, like a Sip and Paint or a Medicare Made Easy, and bring a friend! Learn more about our events at https://ioraprimarycare. com/ga-events/.


Gwinnett Stripers: A winning team in Triple-A baseball and family fun

Living almost within earshot of Coolray Field, the Skidmore family of Lawrenceville has cheered on the Gwinnett Stripers for years. They remember the excitement of watching construction at the ballpark and were among the first fans to attend a game when the stadium opened in 2009.

“We just love it,” Kathy Skidmore said after attending a recent Stripers game with her family. “It is so much fun to see how our grandchildren enjoy baseball and this is just a great experience for them.” Her husband, Chip and sons Corey and Carson all grew up playing baseball—especially Corey who pitched, played outfield and lettered in baseball at Collins Hill High School. Now Corey’s sons are following the favorite family pastime with seven-year-old Carter in his third season as he plays with the Pirates in Dacula’s Bogan Park. The first-grader likes to tap his bat on home plate like he’s seen the Stripers and Braves players do. While his three-yearold brother Cameron is not yet on a team, he enjoys throwing the ball and cheering for his big brother along with their mother Lisa and baby sister, Sophie.

Taking their grandchildren to see the Stripers has created special memories and fun family time for the Skidmores. For its part, the team offers an exceptional program of special promotions, events, activities and exciting games, all geared to celebrate the Stripers and bring families together at the ballpark.

The Gwinnett Stripers are now in their 14th season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. In 2022, the team hosted 216,177 fans over 73 home dates at Coolray Field, the largest single-season attendance since 2016, and an increase of 53,683 over the 2021 season. Gwinnett’s season-high attendance of 9,069 on July 30, for the first of five Braves World Champions Replica Ring Giveaways was the team’s first crowd of 9,000-plus since August 2019. The team schedule this season includes 75 home games.

In addition to exciting baseball games featuring the future stars of the Atlanta Braves, the Stripers also host a slate of special nights and promotions throughout the season. Fireworks follow each Friday night game, weather permitting. Dozens of fan giveaways and specials include clear fanny pack giveaways; free dog admissions on Wednesdays with one paid owner; food buffet specials; hat giveaways; hotdog and dessert specials; bobblehead giveaways and many special emphasis nights, such as Star Wars Night featuring favorite characters and where the first 500 kids get a glowsaber.

The Little Anglers Kids Club is open to all Stripers fans ages 12 and younger. For $20, members get a membership card, Kids Club item,

one general admission ticket to all Sunday home games and more.

There are a number of updates and new additions fans will experience this season at Coolray Field, which is located at 2500 Buford Drive in Lawrenceville. Through a new partnership with the all-in-one digital personal finance company, SoFi, Coolray Field’s premium location for groups of 100 will now be known as the SoFi Super Suite. The entire space has been updated with SoFi’s vibrant turquoise colorway and includes sleek, modern furniture.

The Stripers have partnered with another innovative Georgiabased brand--Pontoon Brewing Company, to introduce the Pontoon Brewing Boathouse. Located behind Section 105, the Boathouse is a social space for baseball fans and craft beer enthusiasts to enjoy the game along with one of Pontoon Brewing Company’s craft beer selections. The Boathouse will also have a menu of premium food options, including Pontoon Wings, the Cuban Sandwich, Crab Cake Sandwich and Fish Tacos.

The Stripers and concessionaire Professional Sports Catering have teamed up with several new partners on updated concession stands and new specialty foods. All the Fixins featuring “downhome Southern fare with a local flair” will add to its menu sweet tea, Bacon Onion Jam Footlong Hotdog; BBQ Sundae, Catfish Basket, Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, Blooming Onion Petals and Strawberry Shortcake. New items and updates have also been made to concessions and specialty foods at Grab ‘N Go, Oatly, Rachetti’s Café & Pizzeria, Sahlen’s Hot Dogs, Shiner Bock Bar and Sweet & Boozy Ice Cream.

After a successful roll-out to patrons in the Cutwater Club last season, the Stripers are making mobile ordering and in-seat delivery available to fans throughout the Coolray Field seating bowl. QR codes on the backs of seats will direct fans to the Ordr app, where they can purchase items and have them delivered directly to their seats.

To buy tickets to an upcoming Stripers game or for more information on the Stripers schedule and special promotion dates at Coolray Field, visit


Lowering blood sugar may reduce Alzheimer’s risk

Aging is associated with certain ailments, some of which concern seniors more than others. One of the conditions many older adults worry about is dementia, particularly in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. Though there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, recent research suggests reducing blood sugar may be associated with a lower risk.

Doctors and researchers have determined a link between high blood sugar levels and the formation of dementia, which includes a loss of memory and thinking skills that afflict millions of older people. A 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, even when diabetes was not evident, there is a correlation between sugar and dementia. A blood sugar level above normal levels (depending on activity level and weight, among other factors) can contribute to an elevated risk of developing dementia. Furthermore, a longitudinal study published in 2018 in the journal Diabetologia, which followed 5,189 people over 10 years, found those with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar — whether or not those blood sugar levels classified the people as being diabetic.

The link could be due to an enzyme that breaks down insulin. Insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain, which are the same

proteins that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, is a factor in the connection to dementia. Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, reviewed studies and found that people who have type 1 diabetes and don’t produce enough insulin can’t break down the amyloid proteins naturally. Furthermore, those who take insulin to treat diabetes can end up with a surplus of insulin in the body. The insulin-degrading enzyme gets used up trying to break the surplus down. This doesn’t leave enough enzyme to tackle amyloid brain clumping proteins. These same scenarios can occur in people if their blood sugar levels are elevated, even if they don’t have diabetes yet.

Data published by Harvard Health Publishing indicates “any incremental increase in blood sugar was associated with an increased risk of dementia.” Individuals who have elevated blood sugar levels, or roughly 100 mg/dL or higher after a fast, can tame sugar levels by exercising, losing weight and shifting away from highly refined grains. Individuals also may want to favor a Mediterranean style of eating, which focuses on fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and beans over a processed carbohydrate- and sugar-laden diet.

High blood sugar is another factor linked to the formation of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Making lifestyle changes can keep seniors healthy throughout their golden years.


City of Norcross works to grow living heirlooms of its Champion American Elm

Much like the grand lady she is, the 300-year-old Champion American Elm tree in the City of Norcross is famous for her beauty, her strength and endurance and she is exactly what all the other little American Elm trees want to be when they grow up.

Thanks to science and a word that was not coined until she was already 200 years old, cloning the Champion American Elm tree is now a huge part of keeping the tree’s heritage alive in the City of Norcross. Plant physiologist Herbert J. Webber first coined the term “clone” from the Greek klon in 1903, to refer to the technique of propagating new plants using cuttings, bulbs or buds.

Now the City of Norcross, Green Reyno Nursery and SavATree have initiated a long-term project for the asexual propagation and production of genetic clones of the tree as a heritage endeavor for the Norcross community. Propagation and production of cloned trees is a long-term project, possibly as long as five years before new trees are ready for planting. The process starts with the collection of cuttings from the tree. Cuttings are taken early in the morning when the cells in the leaves and stems are most turgid, meaning holding the most water. The cuttings are then transported, in coolers with wet sheets and ice packs, to the North Carolina propagation facility of Green Reyno Nursery, which is owned by Bill Reynierson. At the facility, the cuttings are transplanted into 50-cell, 5-inch-deep propagation trays with a rooting hormone and placed on growing tables. Reynierson has 10 propagation houses (17,000+ square feet) and a staff of four to monitor and manage his facility. Each propagation house has an automatic misting system to keep the leaves from drying out (7 seconds every 5 minutes depending on temperatures), along with circulation fans, louvers and exhaust fans. Plans call for the cuttings to successfully root in the cells and be ready for transplanting to three-gallon containers. As they are “grown out” in the containers, they will be monitored for health, growth habit and form and vigorousness and then moved to a growing farm. The city states its goal is to continue the heritage of its Champion American Elm into the next tricentennial. The City of Norcross has already completed several rounds of cuttings.

“We are trying to trick these cuttings into thinking that they are still on the tree and growing and try to coax them into putting on roots to replace the water transport that would be happening if they were still on the tree,” Reynierson said. He is finding that the timing of the cuttings, the size of those cuttings, and even the part of the tree where the cuttings are taken can all influence the success of the propagation effort. No stranger to American Elm propagation, he typically takes cuttings from much younger trees that are growing vigorously. The percentage of viable rooted cuttings has been relatively low to date, but the team at Green Reyno, SavATree and city staff remain excited and upbeat about growing this living heirloom of Norcross history.

The beautiful American Elm tree, which is located in the city’s Betty Mauldin Park is older than the City of Norcross and is a nostalgic reminder of the old-town atmosphere that is characteristic of historic Norcross. It survived the devastating Dutch Elm Disease in the early 1900s, which killed most American Elms throughout North America. The historic tree continues to withstand the stress of an urban environment. The buttressed multiple trunk and broad, rounded crown are characteristic of the species. The tree stands 80 feet tall with a spread of 125 feet and a trunk circumference of 233 inches. In 1999, it was named a State Champion Tree by the Georgia Forestry Commission. Maintaining the health of the tree is a priority for the City of Norcross. Arborists at Downey Trees have partnered with the city for more than 10 years to implement a custom tree health care program. The tree is pampered with extensive arboricultural support, including fertilization, inoculations to minimize pests and diseases, soil decompaction, mulching, lightning protection and support cables and bracing to support its massive limbs.

Norcross, which has long been recognized as a Tree City USA, takes great pride in its Champion American Elm tree, which is estimated to have been growing since the early 1700s. The city was established in 1870, at least 150 years later. The grand lady has presided over this part of Norcross for three centuries and in the spirit of “if that tree could talk,” it would be amazing to know what it has witnessed since it began as a tiny elm tree growing in the rich soil of what would become the state of Georgia in 1788.


How to use diet to combat age-related bodily changes that can affect your health

The human body is a marvel. How the body transforms over the course of an individual’s life is one of its more remarkable qualities, and those changes never cease, even as individuals near retirement age. The changes associated with aging include physical transformations but also more subtle shifts the naked eye cannot see. For example, metabolism slows as individuals grow older, and aging also can lead to a decrease in bone density and muscle mass. These changes affect how men and women at or nearing retirement age should approach their diets in recognition of the various ways their nutritional needs change at this point in their lives. Any modifications to a diet should first be discussed with a physician, but the following are some ways aging adults can use diet to combat age-related changes to their bodies.

• Prioritize protein. The authors of a 2010 study published in the journal Current Opinion in Nutrition and Metabolic Care recommended that older adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of protein with each meal. The researchers behind the study concluded that such consumption could limit inactivity-mediated losses of muscle mass and function.

• Overcome reduced production of vitamin D. WebMD notes that people over 65 typically experience a decrease in natural production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods, so aging men and women may need to rely on supplementation to ensure their bodies get enough of it. Vitamin D helps with anti-inflammation, immune system support and muscle function, among other benefits. So it’s vital that aging men and women find ways to get sufficient

vitamin D.

• Consume ample dietary fiber. The National Resource Center on Nutrition & Aging notes that fiber plays an important role in the health of older adults. Fiber has been linked with heart health, healthy digestion, feeling full, and preventing constipation, which the online medical resource Healthline notes is a common health problem among the elderly. Though the NRCNA notes that older adults need slightly less fiber than their younger counterparts, it’s still a vital component of a nutritious diet. The feeling of fullness that fiber consumption can provide also is significant, as it can ensure adults who aren’t burning as many calories as they used to aren’t overeating in order to feel satisfied. That can make it easier for such adults to maintain a healthy weight.

• Monitor intake of vitamin B12. The NRCNA notes that vitamin B12 is involved in a host of important functions in the body, including nerve function and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is most easily found in animal products, which many aging men and women must largely avoid due to other health concerns. In such instances, men and women can discuss supplementation with their physicians as well as alternative food sources of B12, such as fortified cereals, salmon and other items.

Bodily changes related to aging increase the likelihood that men and women will need to alter their diets in order to maintain their overall health.


How seniors can help themselves and others through mentoring

The role of mentor is complex and sometimes vulnerable to misinterpretation. According to the employment resource Indeed, a mentor is an individual who acts as an adviser or coach for a less experienced person. Mentors often share their experiences and may even offer advice to their mentees.

Anyone can serve as a mentor, though individuals who accept that responsibility are typically older and/or more knowledgeable than their mentees. Mentors may be athletic coaches, teachers, business associates, or esteemed family members. Mentoring is something older adults can consider as they look to share their knowledge with others.

Mental and emotional benefits

Many successful individuals credit mentors with helping them achieve their goals. However, mentors also walk away from mentoring having gained something significant. According to the caregiving company Seasons, mentoring can keep an aging mind sharp. Being a mentor may help at-risk seniors reduce their chances of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Gerontology, gains were shown for mentors in “executive function and in the activity of prefrontal cortical regions in older adults at elevated risk for cognitive impairment.”

Mentoring also may give seniors extra reasons to get up and go each day. A scheduled task like mentoring fosters social interactions

and changes of scenery. Information published in Harvard Business Review indicates seniors who mentor young people may be three times happier than people who do not.

Qualities of good mentors

Seniors considering mentoring should go over what can make a good mentor-mentee relationship. The following are some characteristics of successful mentors.

• Engage: The mentor should show genuine interest in the mentee, asking about their goals and expectations. Conversation should come easily.

• Participate actively: It’s important to make the time for mentoring sessions according to what the mentee can manage with his or her schedule. Lessons should be tailored to what the mentee hopes to gain from the relationship. Gauging success along the way and tweaking things as necessary can keep mentoring sessions on target.

• Listen well: Mentors recognize the importance of listening first and then responding to the questions and needs of the mentee.

• Possess expertise: A mentor needn’t have an advanced degree or special certification, but he or she should have more experience in a given field or subject than the mentee.

Mentoring is a consideration for seniors looking to remain active in their communities and share their knowledge with others.


suicide prevention

In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control reported that almost three in five teenage girls felt persistent sadness, doubling the rate of boys with one in three girls seriously considering attempting suicide. The findings were based on surveys given to teens across the U.S. in 2021.

The rates of sadness are the highest reported in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reflecting a national tragedy compounded by the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is conducted every two years and the rates of mental health problems have gone up with every report since 2011. In addition, medical experts report seeing more young patients test positive on screenings for depression. About 57 percent of the girls reported feeling sadness every day for at least two weeks during the previous year. Depression symptoms sometimes manifest differently in boys and girls, according to the CDC report. Girls with depression often have continuous feelings of hopelessness or sadness and boys with depression often show aggression or irritability, the report states.

GUIDE Inc., is at the forefront of educating and training area individuals interested in learning how to help young people in crisis. In addition, GUIDE is a leader in working to increase the availability of suicide prevention gatekeeper training; decrease the perceived stigma of suicide; increase awareness of suicide prevention and intervention strategies and increase use of evidence-based suicide prevention strategies.

Amira Abdulhafid, program director for suicide prevention at GUIDE works to promote programs and training designed to help adults who work with young people learn how to help them when they are experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or in another crisis. Abdulhafid reports Gwinnett County experienced a 91 percent increase in suicides among young people age 10-24, from 2020 to 2021.

Much of GUIDE’s training is free while other programs charge a nominal fee. Whether it’s a class on “Marijuana: More Harmful Than You Think” or “What is Heroin?” or “The Brain and Addiction,” just to name a few, GUIDE Inc., is a leader educating and training individuals interested in helping young people with a range of issues. One such program, Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent, ages 12-18, who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Abdulhafid visits locations throughout the county where she offers resources and presents information to area residents.

Gatekeeper training refers to programs designed to teach individuals the warning signs of suicide and how to respond in a crisis situation. GUIDE also offers a downloadable brochure that can be used to learn about warning signs, crisis lines, Gwinnett resources, training and more. For the brochure, a list of crisis lines and national and statewide suicide prevention and mental health initiatives, or to sign up for training, visit

Since 1986, GUIDE has contributed extensively to the prevention field in Georgia, garnering many awards and honors for its accomplishments. Its mission is to improve community conditions by utilizing collaborations, promoting positive youth development, delivering specialized training and resources and preventing substance use and abuse. GUIDE began 37 years ago as a joint effort between the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Both boards wanted to have a comprehensive, coordinated and proactive approach to reducing and preventing substance use and abuse.

Adults of all ages learn how to help with drug, alcohol and
Amira Abdulhafid, program director for suicide prevention at GUIDE

Protecting Older Georgians from Scams

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is urging Georgia’s older adults and their caregivers to stay informed on how to recognize and avoid some common scams, and we here at Georgia SMP want to help spread the word. While these schemes can and do happen to people of all ages, the perpetrators often target older adults because they are frequently home during the day, have money saved, and may be too polite to hang up the phone states a consumer alert released by Attorney General Carr’s office.

These are a few common scams targeting older adults that we would like to highlight in today’s article:


“Kidnapping” Scams: In these scams, fraudsters use scare tactics to try to get you to pay a large sum of money – typically via wire transfer or gift cards – to rescue a loved one who is in a dire situation. They may pose as your grandchild, a friend of his or hers, or a police officer. They tell you that your grandchild is badly hurt or in jail and that you must send money immediately to help him or her. In a similar scam, con artists claim to have kidnapped your loved one and insist that he or she will be harmed unless you pay a ransom immediately.

Law Enforcement Imposter Scams: Con artists are using phone spoofing technology to make it appear as though you are receiving a call from a legitimate law enforcement agency. In one reported scenario, the imposters claim that the potential victim was summoned to a federal grand jury and missed the court date. Because of this, the individual is told that they must report to a local law enforcement office for bond and to “process the paperwork.” To resolve the issue, the perpetrators instruct the potential victim to go to a retail store and buy “bond vouchers” in the form of gift cards.

Utility Scams: Fraudsters pose as representatives from your local gas or electric company. They may call or knock on your door, claiming that you have an unpaid balance and that unless you pay immediately – typically via prepaid gift cards or money order–they will shut off your service. Please contact your utility company directly at their legitimate customer service number listed on your bill or their official website to verify if there is an issue with your service or an unpaid balance.

Email Scams Targeting Faith Based Communities: In a common version of this scam, con artists set up email accounts that display the actual name of the rabbi, priest, pastor, imam, or

other respected member of a particular house of worship. The fraudster then emails the members of the congregation asking for emergency donations to help someone in need and instructs the recipients to purchase gift cards

Medicare Scams: Scammers frequently attempt to charge Medicare for items and services never rendered or that are not medically necessary. Please do not give your Medicare number out over the phone and remember if any item or service is truly “free” you will not need to provide your Medicare number. Regularly review your Medicare statements for suspicious charges and call the SMP hotline at 877-272-8720 if you detect a suspicious or potentially fraudulent charge.

Red Flags of a Scam

Although the variety of scams can seem endless, there are some common characteristics that can help you to recognize and avoid a potential scam. We call these “red flags.”

Be on the lookout for red flags such as:

• High pressure tactics to act immediately

• Being asked to pay money via gift card or wire transfer

• Use of scare tactics, like telling you a loved one is in danger, or threatening arrest

• Being asked to provide personal information such as passwords, Social Security and Medicare numbers, account numbers, or financial information

• Get-rich-quick schemes, lottery winners, and other promises that sound too good to be true

Figuring out whether a call, text message, or email you receive is legitimate or not can be a confusing task. If you are not sure whether a contact or solicitation is legitimate, hang up the phone. If it’s an email or text, do not reply, click on any links, or download any attachments. Look up the actual contact information for the company or organization claiming to contact you and call their legitimate customer service number to verify whether you need to take any action or provide any information. If you have questions or concerns or wish to schedule a free educational presentation on how older adults can protect themselves from these types of scams, you can call the SMP hotline at 877-272-8720.

This project was supported, in part by a grant (Nos. 90MPPG0049, 90MPPG0024 & 90MPPG0023), from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

City of Suwanee remembering its past while embracing

Known as forward-thinking and on-the-go while embracing its white-hot future—Google even named it “Georgia’s eCity”--the award-winning City of Suwanee knows that to understand where it’s going, it needs to know where it’s been.

In conjunction with North Gwinnett High School senior Ashlee Tam, Suwanee is working to record much of that past as it seeks to identify its many cultural assets through the Suwanee Historic Downtown Preservation Initiative. A cultural asset is something that has value because of its contribution to a community’s creativity, knowledge, traditions, culture, meaning and vitality. Tam has spent the past few months identifying some of Suwanee’s local cultural assets, researching and writing about them and interviewing the “local legends” who impacted the people and places and some names in Suwanee. The Suwanee Historic Downtown Preservation Initiative will serve as Tam’s Girl Scout Gold Award Project.

At the top of the list is Everett’s Music Barn where brothers Randall and Roger Everett established bluegrass in Suwanee in 1964. Playing guitars and singing together, they entered a local radio show talent contest and became regular members of the show with their family attending each week to provide the applause. The shows were recorded on Friday nights in the family living room and then jam sessions began taking place on Saturdays until finally a music room and a barn were added to the home to accommodate the growing number of guests and musicians. While the brothers have passed on, their dream and music live on each Saturday night beginning at 8 p.m. The stage is open to all levels of talent for jam sessions.

Through her research and recording of events, Tam shares many interesting stories of people, places and things important to the history and culture of Suwanee. She tells about the 1950s Suwanee Caboose, which was acquired in 1992 by the city to honor Suwanee’s roots as a town built on the foundation of transportation. The old caboose was rusty and in need of restoration, so a local body shop donated paint and volunteers came out to paint, including Atlanta Braves pitcher Mark Wohler. At the time, the City of Suwanee did not have a tree lighting ceremony. Jeannine Haynes and Polly Holt took the opportunity to “light up the caboose” and the Caboose Lighting tradition was born that Thanksgiving in 1994. The landmark is stationed at Main Street near Pierce’s Corner overlooking the shops in Old Town Suwanee. To read more of Tam’s stories about the City of Suwanee’s cultural assets, visit www.

The Suwanee community has been called one of the most desirable places to live in the Atlanta area and has been named by several national publications as one of the best places to live and raise families, including Money, Family Circle and Kiplinger. com. Suwanee has also been named Georgia’s eCity by Google. Google’s eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state. These cities’ businesses are using the web to find new customers, connect with existing customers and fuel their local economies.

The City of Suwanee states it is committed to maintaining a high-quality of life for its approximately 19,000-plus residents.

Suwanee is known for its many parks, special events and mixeduse developments, as well as more than 600 acres of park land and many miles of walking trails. The Town Center is called the community’s “front yard” where residents and visitors gather for events, or to shop, eat or simply relax and play.

Suwanee has an extensive listing of activities ranging from food trucks and festivals to special running events, fashion shows, outdoor movies, concerts and other entertainment. For a complete listing, go to Of particular note are the Summer Porch Jam on June 16, at 6 p.m. at 541 Main Street in Old Town Suwanee and Suwanee Fest September 9, at 9 a.m. at Town Center Park. In addition, the City of Suwanee is noted for its unique SculpTour, which brings a variety of sculptures to downtown Suwanee on a rotating basis.

Many of its initiatives and projects have earned the City of Suwanee regional, state and national awards and certifications for the past several years. Just in 2022, the City of Suwanee won more than a dozen awards, including the Georgia Downtown Excellence Award for Glow in the Park with the Atlanta International Night Market, Creative New Event; Best Cities to Live in the South #32, 24/7 Wall Street; Best Event Over $75,000, Silver, Suwanee Fest 2021, Southeast Festivals & Events Association; Number 1 Beer Festival in the Country, Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest, USA Today and The Starr Award, Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Georgia Municipal Association, to name several.

an exciting future

Get help navigating Medicare and much more

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, almost 7 out of 10 U.S. adults ages 40-79 have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days, with around 1 in 5 using at least five prescription drugs. With multiple drugs, sounds like it might be a prescription for a mix up.

There are many tips and tricks for taking medications correctly and regularly, whether one uses a pill box that organizes medications or sets a reminder each day to let a person know it is time to take a medication. Among its many services, Clover Health offers the following advice on managing medications.

1. Take your medication as directed. Always ask questions if you don’t understand and never take a bigger or smaller dose.

2. Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first. It can be very dangerous to stop taking some prescriptions abruptly.

3. Update your medication list regularly. This list should include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and vitamins. Note the dosage and how often you take it. Also include the phone number of your pharmacy and if you see more than one doctor or have been to the ER or hospital, share the list with all of them.

4. Create reminders. Whether you use a chart, a pill organizer or set alarms on your phone, reminders are good to make sure you never miss a dose. Another trick is to store your medicine next to your coffee maker or toothbrush so you will see them at the same time every day.

5. Stay in touch with your doctor. During these visits, your physician may adjust your medications depending on changes in your health. Keep your doctor up to date on what supplements and herbal remedies you might be using. Some can interact dangerously with prescription and over-the-counter medicines. In addition to presenting ideas on managing medications and providing information on a range of topics important to senior adults, Clover Health also helps people navigate Medicare and offers Medicare Advantage plans that include Part D prescription drug benefits. Clover Health’s Medicare plan specialists inform

those turning 65 or who are new to Medicare about its zero or low monthly premiums; plans with up to $2,000 dental allowances; allowances for groceries and over-the-counter items; hearing and vision coverage; savings on preferred and non-preferred insulin; zero or low co-pays for unlimited primary care visits; low co-pays for specialist visits; zero co-pays for many generic drugs; zero or low cost shares for diabetes monitoring supplies and telehealth for virtual doctor visits.

With its Medicare Advantage plans, Clover Health states its PPO provider networks are broad and open, enabling its members to see any doctor participating in Medicare willing to accept them. Many Clover Health PPO plans allow members to pay the same low cost shares whether the doctor is in or out-of-network. Clover Health collaborates with doctors by providing them with its Clover Assistant technology at no cost. Clover Assistant helps primary doctors get a more complete view of a member’s overall health by linking all healthcare information in one place. In addition to in-person office visits, members can also see their doctor from the comfort of their own home. They connect with physicians by video or phone call. If a personal doctor is not available, Clover Health states it can connect the member with a doctor or nurse practitioner via video or phone.

Medicare is the U.S. health insurance program for people 65 and older and while it helps with the cost of health care, it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. For those who choose to have Original Medicare, Part A and B coverage, they can buy a medicare supplement insurance policy from a private insurance company. People have choices for how they get Medicare coverage. Carmalitha Gumbs, head of community engagement for Clover Health says she encourages seniors to decide what they want in a Medicare Advantage plan and then visit the Clover Health website to see what makes it unique. She said Clover Health’s Medicare Advantage plans can lower a person’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs and stretch their retirement dollars.

Gumbs and other Clover Health professionals are available to assist baby boomers and those 65 and older with plans and supplemental benefits designed to encourage healthy and happy years to come. For more information, visit


Piedmont Eastside has its heart in Gwinnett County

Eastside Medical Center joined Piedmont in August 2021, becoming a part of a 22-hospital system that places quality, safety, and service at the center of everything it does for the communities it serves. Through a network of 1,600 physical locations, Piedmont cares for 3.7 million patients and serves communities that comprise 80 percent of Georgia’s population. Piedmont is committed to providing care close to home.

Longtime Gwinnett County resident Eddie Payne says he now understands how important it is to have access to highly trained doctors and advanced clinical procedures close to home. For Payne, it proved lifesaving.

Early one morning, the Payne family was getting ready for the day when Eddie informed his wife, Robin, that he wasn’t feeling well. He told her he had an “unusual” pain in his chest. He planned to go back to bed, but Robin insisted he take his blood pressure first. It was 207 over 127. Instead of going back to bed, Robin put Eddie in the car and took him straight to Piedmont Eastside Medical Center’s emergency department.

Piedmont Eastside Medical Center is an accredited chest pain center with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, or Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) & Resuscitation, the highest national accreditation for emergency heart care. When minutes matter, Piedmont Eastside is equipped to quickly treat heart attacks close to home.

Piedmont Heart Institute provides comprehensive cardiovascular care and, at Piedmont Eastside, is the premier cardiology provider in the area. The practice has five interventional cardiologists who perform minimally invasive stent placement, cardiac catheterization, and balloon angioplasty. It also has one electrophysiology cardiologist who diagnoses and treats heart rhythm disorders and two general cardiologists who treat all kinds of heart disease.

Omar Kashlan, M.D., a Piedmont Heart Interventional Cardiologist, saw Payne in the emergency room and told him that the pain he was having was caused by a 100% blockage in his right ventricle. Simply put, Eddie was having a heart attack, and had Robin not insisted he go to the hospital, he could have died. Within minutes, Eddie was taken to the cardiac catheterization lab at Piedmont Eastside, where Dr. Kashlan placed a stent, allowing blood and oxygen to return to the heart. Following the procedure, Eddie was monitored in the ICU before being downgraded to the medical floor and, ultimately, discharged home.

To help his heart get stronger, Payne was prescribed 12 weeks of cardiac rehabilitation at Piedmont Eastside. In addition to helping him recover from the heart attack, the program would teach him how to prevent other heart-related issues, teach him stress management techniques, and even help him with his diet. Both Eddie and Robin have health concerns, and Eddie’s heart attack not only brought them closer together but also served as a wake-up call. They decided they were ready to do whatever they needed to do to improve their health, for each other, and for their children and grandchildren.

“I have a new lease on life,” Eddie said. “I want to be here for a long time, and I’ll do whatever I can to stay here.”

Said Robin: “I now take Eddie’s blood pressure every day and keep up with his new diet, so he doesn’t feel alone in this. We are partners for life, even in this new routine. I’m just happy Eastside saved his life and I didn’t back down from knowing the signs of a

heart attack.”

Piedmont is proud of the fact that it offers high-quality care close to home through an integrated health care system that makes things easy for its patients. Piedmont Eastside has been a healthcare leader in Gwinnett for 40 years, and by joining Piedmont, it continues to broaden its impact in the community. Through seamless integration of care, Payne was diagnosed in the emergency department, underwent a procedure in the cath lab, was monitored on the inpatient cardiac unit, and was then discharged for follow-up treatment at outpatient cardiac rehabilitation.

“There’s nowhere else you can go to get this kind of care from people who truly care about you,” said Payne.

Today, the Paynes enjoy spending time together and with their loved ones. Eddie is 71 years old and hopes that this was his one and only heart attack. “When something feels off with your body, trust your gut, and most importantly, trust your spouse,” he advises. For more information on Piedmont Eastside Medical Center or Piedmont Heart Institute, visit


Articles inside

Flowers, candles and fun in bloom at Lovin Florist article cover image
Flowers, candles and fun in bloom at Lovin Florist
page 4
How to make new friends after 50 article cover image
How to make new friends after 50
pages 5-6
Gwinnett County offers activities and events to enjoy at senior centers article cover image
Gwinnett County offers activities and events to enjoy at senior centers
page 7
You Can’t Take It With You article cover image
You Can’t Take It With You
pages 8-9
Improving Heart Surgery for Generations: Robotic Heart Surgery Arrives in Gainesville article cover image
Improving Heart Surgery for Generations: Robotic Heart Surgery Arrives in Gainesville
pages 10-14
The Park Springs Secret: It’s All About the People article cover image
The Park Springs Secret: It’s All About the People
pages 15-17
Soft tissue injuries and how PT can benefit recovery article cover image
Soft tissue injuries and how PT can benefit recovery
pages 18-19
The advantages of RV travel article cover image
The advantages of RV travel
pages 20-22
The benefits of crossword puzzles article cover image
The benefits of crossword puzzles
page 23
THREE fun & effective outdoor exercises for seniors article cover image
THREE fun & effective outdoor exercises for seniors
page 24
Learn Chick-fil-A’s unique story at Backstage Tour article cover image
Learn Chick-fil-A’s unique story at Backstage Tour
page 25
Dating later in life article cover image
Dating later in life
page 26
Experiential gifts for seniors article cover image
Experiential gifts for seniors
pages 27-28
Strength training for seniors article cover image
Strength training for seniors
pages 29-31
Fun ways for seniors to stay active article cover image
Fun ways for seniors to stay active
page 32
City of Lawrenceville offers award-winning events and celebrations in the beautiful DTL article cover image
City of Lawrenceville offers award-winning events and celebrations in the beautiful DTL
pages 33-34
3 Heart Health Numbers You Should Know article cover image
3 Heart Health Numbers You Should Know
pages 35-36
Gwinnett Stripers: A winning team in Triple-A baseball and family fun article cover image
Gwinnett Stripers: A winning team in Triple-A baseball and family fun
page 37
Lowering blood sugar may reduce Alzheimer’s risk article cover image
Lowering blood sugar may reduce Alzheimer’s risk
page 38
City of Norcross works to grow living heirlooms of its Champion American Elm article cover image
City of Norcross works to grow living heirlooms of its Champion American Elm
pages 39-40
How to use diet to combat age-related bodily changes that can affect your health article cover image
How to use diet to combat age-related bodily changes that can affect your health
page 41
How seniors can help themselves and others through mentoring article cover image
How seniors can help themselves and others through mentoring
page 42
suicide prevention article cover image
suicide prevention
pages 43-44
Protecting Older Georgians from Scams article cover image
Protecting Older Georgians from Scams
pages 45-46
City of Suwanee remembering its past while embracing article cover image
City of Suwanee remembering its past while embracing
pages 47-48
Get help navigating Medicare and much more article cover image
Get help navigating Medicare and much more
page 49
Piedmont Eastside has its heart in Gwinnett County article cover image
Piedmont Eastside has its heart in Gwinnett County
pages 50-51