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A MAGAZINE

FOCUSED ON SENIOR LIFESTYLES

INSIDE: Otto Lohrenz got tired of walking so he ran _ all the way to a national medal. Page 4

Prime Festival THURSDAY OCT. 13, 2011

9a.m. - 2p.m. Buffalo County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building • Kearney

More on page 2

PUBLISHED BY THE KEARNEY HUB


Page 2 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Laughter Helps Prime Festival to feature funny friends performing as Millie and Mollie

Samaritan Society and Ag Navigator. A concession stand with homemade food will be provided by Faith United Methodist Church. The event is free to the public. The main entertainers, Millie and Mollie said they hope to bring lighthearted ed to grow and grow. Now we do travel By REBECCA McMICKELL fun to the Prime Festival with their mostly around Kansas and Nebraska to Hub Staff Writer comedic portrayal of two bring some fun to special strong-willed elderly KEARNEY — Twenty-three years ago, events,” Mosteller said. women. The Prime Senior Festival Becky Saddler and Martha Mosteller “We’ve always described will include more than 50 began performing a comedy routine ourselves as clean family exhibits from health and fittogether, mostly to relieve stress, Saddler entertainment,” said Becky ness professionals, financial said. Saddler, who plays Mollie. Today, the pair uses laughter to help oth- advisers, beauty and fashion But that’s not to say the experts, senior living faciliCourtesy ers relieve stress, too. shows aren’t fun, she added. ties, exercise programs and The duo, known as Millie and Mollie, Martha Mosteller (Millie) FRIENDS MILLIE (Martha Mosteller) and are featured at this year’s Prime Senior “You can expect a lot of more. Mollie (Becky Saddler) began dressing up Festival. Free seminars will be offered through- laughter. As we get older, we discover lots as elderly women and performing a comeof things about Millie and Mollie and The event will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. out the day from major sponsors Good dy routine 23 years ago as a way to about ourselves. We can just laugh at the Samaritan Hospital, Kearney Eye InstiOct. 13 at the Buffalo County Fairground relieve stress. Since then, the pair have tute, Kearney Orthopedic and Sports Exhibit Building. traveled across Nebraska and Kansas CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 “We got started locally, and it just start- Medicine, Evangelical Lutheran Good bringing laughter to parties and events.

“People need to laugh a lot more than they do. If we can make people laugh, then we’ve done our job.”

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Page 3 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Patsy Cline tribute singer Ferree to come back for fifth year at Prime Festival MELINDA FERREE of Wilcox belts out a Patsy Cline classic at the 2010 Prime Senior Festival. As a Patsy Cline tribute singer, Ferree has provided entertainment at the Prime Festival for four years.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

quirks that old age brings,” she said. The first performance of Millie and Mollie was in 1988 at a church in their hometown of Washington, Kan., on Grandparents Day. “We thought it would be fun to dress up as old ladies,” said Mosteller, who plays Millie. “The woman who introduced us asked us what we wanted to be called and off the top of my head, I just said Millie and Mollie.” Originally the act included singing and a comedy performance, but the pair has since given up the songs. “The act has evolved because over the years we’ve each developed a character, and once you get into character and have that costume on, it’s difficult to get out of character, and that makes it harder to sing together,” Saddler said. Now the performance centers on the unique personalities of Millie and Mollie. “Mollie is a little bit irreverent and is bossy and loud, and it’s really hard for her to do anything well. Millie is the prim and proper one, excited easily and quieter of the two,” Saddler said.

Kearney Hub file

She said music is still part of the act, but in a much different way. “One year, we discovered nose flutes, so sometimes we will play songs that way,” she said with a laugh. For Saddler and Mosteller, performing as Millie and Mollie is fun and fulfilling.

When they began, they were each raising families and dealing with busy lives as full-time teachers. “Martha and I have both been theater people, and so we take it as a character, not as who we are,” Saddler said. “But I went through some really bad years, and I

“I love singing. I listen to Patsy Cline’s music all the time, so it’s something I really enjoy.” Melinda Ferree would come to the job and all the way there I would be crying and distraught, but I would get on stage and sometimes those were the best shows we ever did.” Mosteller agrees. “People need to laugh a lot more than they do. If we can make people laugh, then we’ve done our job,” she said. Also performing is Wilcox native Melinda Ferree. Her Patsy Cline tribute has been a Prime Festival favorite for four years. “I love singing. I listen to Patsy Cline’s music all the time, so it’s something I really enjoy,” she said. “There is a certain age group that her music speaks to, and it’s always fun for me.” For free transportation to the Prime Senior Festival, call RYDE Transit at 8655677. email to: rebecca.mcmickell@kearneyhub.com

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Page 4 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Ashley Leever, Kearney Hub

OTTO LOHRENZ, a retired University of Nebraska at Kearney history professor, began running in 1990 at the age of 65 as a way to stay in shape. He began entering running competitions and earned a bronze medal at the National Senior Games in 2011. Lohrenz, now 86, displays his running medals in his home.

Late start, big finish Running since he was 65, Lohrenz gained better health, a sense of accomplishment – and a national medal By ASHLEY LEEVER Hub Intern

week at the Kearney High School track or at the Cushing Coliseum indoor track at UNK during bad weather. Since he began running 21 years ago, KEARNEY — For Otto Lohrenz, running two miles at the age of 65 came easi- Lohrenz said, he has run around 13,000 miles. ly. Running has helped Lohrenz to maintain When Lohrenz taught history at the Unia healthy weight, blood presversity of Nebraska at Kearsure and cholesterol level. It ney, he would walk a few became a way for Lohrenz to blocks from his home to his stay healthy as well as a time office on campus. After retirfor him to be alone and think. ing in 1990, he wanted to “When you run, you have a continue an exercise regimen. feeling of accomplishment. He started walking with his You have done something,� wife, Elma, but soon got Otto Lohrenz Lohrenz said. “I like the idea bored with walking. of the silence and the soli“I wanted to keep doing some exercise, so I walked. But that was a tude. I often think through problems when I run, or I come up with ideas.� little boring, so I started to run,� Lohrenz Running provided a place for Lohrenz to said. “I was surprised I could run. The first time I tried, I could run two miles easily.� think about his scholarly goals as well. Lohrenz, who had never run on a regular Since he has retired, he has had 50 articles basis before, soon fell into a routine of running three miles a day, five days a CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

“I was surprised I could run. The first time I tried, I could run two miles easily.�


Page 5 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Grandparents with webcam hit YouTube jackpot McMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) — It slowly began to dawn on Esther and Bruce Huffman that perhaps they were being filmed. “Warning,” the gray-haired, bespectacled grandmother reads off the screen. “You must stop recording before trying to close cyber link.” Pause. “Maybe this recorded us,” says the neatly coiffed, rosy-cheeked man next to her. “Aw, gee,” Esther replies. The realization came toward the end of a nearly three-minute video that has launched the retired Oregon couple to YouTube stardom. They had unwittingly captured their first attempt at learning how to work the webcam on a new laptop. The Huffmans met a couple of years after Bruce’s first wife died, at the retirement complex in which they both lived. She liked his vivacity; he thought she would be a sturdy rudder to his boundless energy. In the video, she plays the straight man

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as she tries to make a serious attempt at the request of their children and grandchildren. He’s bouncing in his seat next to her, making monkey faces. Esther had bought a laptop late this summer. Already a Facebook user, she was asked by her family to try recording videos for the amusement of the grandchildren. In mid-August, the couple sat in front of their laptop, fiddling with the controls of a video recording program. Somehow, they got the program running. Somehow, they pressed “record.” It was filming as Bruce jokingly fretted Associated Press about his appearance. “I’m so sad, Esther, I’m so sad,” Bruce says with a sad-clown BRUCE HUFFMAN makes a monkey face as his wife Esther laughs in September in

In mid-August, the couple sat in front of their laptop, fiddling with the controls of a video recording program. Somehow, they got the program running. Somehow, they pressed “record.”

McMinnville, Ore. The couple have gained unexpected fame after their three-minute long accidental webcam video reached viral status on YouTube.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

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Page 6 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Lohrenz won bronze in 800-meter run at 2011 National Senior Games CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4

published in scholarly journals. In order to keep himself motivated, Lohrenz kept a journal of his running. When he read about the different races in the region, he decided to enter to see how he stacked up with his competition. “If you run competitively, that’s also a motivating factor. You want to get ready. You want to be in shape and compare how you stack up with other people,” Lohrenz said. Once Lohrenz entered one competitive race, he began entering 10 to 12 races a year, including the Sue Bush Memorial Run in Kearney, the Cornhusker State Games, the Nebraska Senior Games and the National Senior Games. And he never went home empty handed. “I think I won something in every race I ran. I don’t think I was ever shut out,” Lohrenz said. Lohrenz has won over 150 medals and ribbons since he began competing. He qualified and competed at the National Senior Games for the first time in Baton

Rouge, La., in 2001. After competing in 2001, 2005 and 2007 at the National Senior Games, Lohrenz always finished in the top eight but never in the top three. But 2011 was his year to bring a topthree finish back to Nebraska. Lohrenz traveled to Houston with his wife, Elma, in June to compete in the 400-meter dash, 800-meter run and the 1500-meter run. After 20 years of competing, Lohrenz accomplished his goal of winning a medal at the national competition. He won a bronze medal in the 85-89 age division in the 800-meter run at the National Senior Games. “My one goal was to get a national medal and I did it,” Lohrenz said. Now that Lohrenz has his national medal, he hasn’t decided if he wants to compete in the National Senior Games again. However, he doesn’t plan to stop running anytime soon. “I’m hoping my running is going to pay off. I realize it doesn’t guarantee anything. I’m hoping it helps and is worthwhile,” Lohrenz said.

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YouTube video’s success may mean people want to see happiness, proves fun doesn’t stop at old age CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

utes of two Oregonians in a retirement community doing ... well, not much. expression. “Look at all the wrinkles up Perhaps, Esther said, people were there and the cracks in my head.” attracted to its joy. We’re under such a There is singing. negative news barrage daily, she said. “Hello my darling, hello my baby, War, crime, natural disasters — wouldn’t hello my ga-doh-go,” Bruce intones, slid- people rather watch an 86-year-old man ing from Looney Tunes into gibberish. singing Looney Tunes? “Lala-te-ki-ka.” Lynette Paulson, Esther’s daughter, Bruce makes faces, leaning close to the ventured that the unmitigated happiness laptop screen and blowing out his cheeks: in the video resonates with viewers. “Now look at the monkey. That’s a pretty “They want to see that joy,” Paulson good monkey!” said. “It just brings you up.” When the couple realizes the webcam Or maybe, said 27-year-old grandson might have been recording their antics, Luke Erickson, it shows the possibility they stiffen. But their 21-year-old grand- that age doesn’t mean infirmness or disdaughter, Mindy, saw the video’s potencontent, but that two spectacularly unselftial. With their permission, she uploaded conscious people eight decades on are the file, dubbing it “Webcam 101 for capable of happiness and supporting and Seniors.” A month later, it was nearing 3 loving each other. million views on YouTube. “I don’t know how to do this,” Esther In the crush of media that has descend- complains in the video. ed on them, the Huffmans struggle to Bruce leans in to her. explain what made the video so com“Whatever you do,” he says, “you do pelling. After all, it was just a couple min- fine.”

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Page 7 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Old boys network expanding, survey figures show full Census done every decade, suggests spouses often handled the homemaking, that men are closing the gap. they’re less likely to be experienced at According to the survey, there were doing their own laundry and cooking their 7,556 Lehigh Valley senior men living own meals when they are alone. Therefore, alone in 2006, compared with 10,252 now, they are more likely to take residence with while the number of a family member or 69 single senior women living there. EMMAUS, Pa. (AP) — When Gene senior women living at a nursing home, “Oh, yes, the ladies all like him,” 91Held moved into the Ridge Manor senior alone remains flat at theorized Rick year-old Ridge Manor resident Judith apartments in Emmaus, he quickly realjust more than 24,000. Daugherty, director Lieberman said. “That’s what happens ized that he was going to be a very popuExperts say it’s not of the Lehigh Counwhen there are 10 women for every man in difficult to understand lar guy. ty Senior Center. the building. Plus, he’s got that puppy.” He’s the center of attention during why senior women When Williams Pebbles not withstanding, the latest almost every trip to the community room, living alone have long Biggs, 88, of AllenJudith Lieberman, Ridge Manor resident and when he walks through the lobby with U.S. Census figures suggest that Held outnumbered men by town, found himself might be in for some competition. his toy poodle Pebbles on a leash, he’s more than 3-to-1 in alone after his wife usually surrounded by a crowd of adoring According to numbers released last week the Lehigh Valley statistical area, which of 60 years, Arlene, died 10 years ago, his by the American Community Survey, the women. includes the counties of Lehigh, need to remain self-reliant prompted him number of men aged 65 and older and liv- Northampton, Carbon and Warren in New to become one of the few senior men willLet’s not mince words: Held’s a babe ing alone in the Allentown-Bethlehemmagnet. Jersey. Women on average live five years ing to live alone. But the 68-year-old retired truck driver is Easton metropolitan statistical area longer than men, and because more are “I had to learn to cook, but I was deterthe first to admit, it’s more about math than increased 36 percent since 2006. Meanaccustomed to taking care of their famimined to stay independent,” Biggs said, as his charisma. Ridge Manor, like most inde- while the number of senior women living lies, they tend to be more willing — and he played poker Friday at the Lehigh alone remained flat. pendent senior living communities in the more equipped — to remain independent County Senior Center. “I sure wasn’t To be clear, elderly women still domiLehigh Valley and nationwide, is dominatafter their spouse dies. going to move in with someone who was nate. But the American Community Sured by women. When he arrived in June, Conversely, men are more likely to die Held was just the fifth man, compared with vey, a sampling taken annually and not the before their spouses, and because their CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

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P RIME Dillinger relative may move historic farmhouse, collections for better tourism opportunities MOORESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A relative of 1930s gangster John Dillinger might move a central Indiana farmhouse once owned by his family, saying local officials haven’t shown any interest in turning it into a tourist attraction. Dillinger’s great nephew Jeff Scalf says he’s started talking with people in John Dillinger Greencastle and two out-ofstate locations about sites for his collection

of Dillinger items and possibly the farmhouse that is now in Dillinger’s hometown of Mooresville. Morgan County Councilman Jeff Quyle tells The Reporter-Times that Scalf prepared a good set of ideas but no formal plan has ever been presented. Authorities say Dillinger’s gang killed 10 people during a yearlong spree of bank robberies and shootouts before FBI agents fatally shot him in Chicago in 1934. Dillinger’s relatives maintain he never killed anyone himself.

One theory says new generation of senior men better equipped for independence than those before more likely to be independent,” Daugherty said. “But I’m still not sure what to make going to tell me what to do and how to of it.” live.” Maybe it’s the result of some quirky staBut experts are hard-pressed to explain tistical anomaly that can’t be easily why men who share Biggs’ need for inde- explained. The increase could be the result pendence are now gaining on women. of some past influx of young men around John Mehler, director of the Northamp- the 1960s or 1970s, perhaps to work in the ton County Area on Aging, thinks he steel industry, said Stephen Golant, a proknows why — sort of. fessor of geography who specializes in “Men are living longer these days,” gerontology at the University of Florida. Mehler said. “More men are living past 70, “The only other interpretation is that for so that’s more men around to live alone.” some reason in the last decade you had a It is true that men have closed the life larger net in-migration of older men,” expectancy gap. In 1990, women on aver- Golant said. age lived seven years longer than men, and Maybe more men came back to the that gap is now down to five years. But Lehigh Valley to be near their families, he even Mehler admits that gradual closing said. probably isn’t enough to account for the Or maybe the numbers of independent rapid increase in senior men living indewomen will again widen the gap by the pendently. next Census, and we’ll never know what Another theory is that the generation of happened. men now entering the senior citizen popuWhatever the case, Held isn’t worried. lation experienced adulthood in the 1970s Since he moved into Ridge Manor in June, and 1980s. Those decades ushered in a three other men have arrived. While socinew proliferation of families in which both ologists, statisticians — and overmatched parents worked. As a result, they were journalists — try to figure it out, he’ll forced to help take care of the house and keep delivering groceries to Clara on the family, and therefore were better equipped fourth floor, cookies to Peggy on the third to remain independent when they found floor and chocolates to Bonnie on the secthemselves alone in their senior years. ond floor. “That certainly makes sense. We know “It’s great living here,” he said. “Pebbles men are living longer today and they’re likes it, too.” CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

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Page 9 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME NATIONAL B RIEFS

Colorado audit shows veterans’ nursing homes lost money

RETIRED ANTHROPOLOGIST Bill Fairbanks heads south on Illinois 32 after making a brief stop in Stewardson, Ill., Sept. 12. Fairbanks is walking cross-country to find out more about America’s inhabitants and what drives them. He started his trip in California in 2009 and his final destination is Boston.

DENVER (AP) — A state audit shows five Colorado nursing homes for veterans lost more than $1.5 million over five years. Auditors said in September there were no clear goals for keeping the nursing homes solvent. According to the Denver Post, the Department of Human Services disagrees and says its capacity goals were adequate. The nursing centers are located in Aurora, Florence, Monte Vista, Rifle and Trinidad. The state sold the home in Trinidad in February.

Maryland senior center project moves forward with county funds HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Washington County officials are putting $800,000 in county funds toward a senior center project at Hagerstown Community College. The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports that the funding will allow the $5.85 million project to move into its construction

Associated Press

phase. The $800,000 fills in a funding gap that was created when an anticipated state grant fell through. The center is to include a gymnasium, kitchen, Internet cafe, multipurpose dining room and meeting and activity rooms.

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County Administrator Gregory Murray says state delegates are still trying to get the county the $800,000 it sought from the Maryland Department of Aging, but that waiting for that money would delay the project into next fiscal year.

County commissioners voted unanimously to use county funds for the project.

Nevada gets award for holistic health program for aging prisoners CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada program that helps meet the needs of elderly prisoners in Carson City is getting national recognition. The Nevada Department of Corrections awarded psychologist Mary Harrison with the first-ever Dr. Mary Ann Quaranta Elder Justice Award at Fordham University in New York City on Oct. 8. Harrison administers the Senior Structured Living Program that’s known as “True Grit” at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center. True Grit began in 2004 as a way to address the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of an aging prison population. Officials say the program uses volunteers and passes no additional cost to taxpayers. The program serves more than 130 men. Another 265 prisoners have participated prior to their deaths or discharge.

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Page 10 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

Grandparents step up for second round of child-rearing Many young parents face poor economy, so grandparents spending extra time, money, energy to help out, get involved

time even if he and his wife worry about The latest numbers are based partly on their grandkids’ futures. Their oldest separate analyses by Goyer and Peter grandchild is 16. Francese, founder of American Demo“It’s not so much the day in and day out, graphics magazine who is now a populait’s the big picture as to how these young tion analyst for the MetLife Mature Markids will grow up and pay for a college ket Institute. Their data were supplementinvolvement, reflected in census figures education and buy a house,” he said. “The ed with the latest 2010 census figures as By HOPE YEN released in September, is now being driven middle class is so much Associated Press well as interviews also by the economy and the graying U.S. less well-off than it used with the Census population, including the 78 million WASHINGTON (AP) — America is to be. We’ve put aside Bureau and other boomers born between 1946 and 1964 swiftly becoming a granny state. some savings for them, experts. who began turning 65 this year. Less frail and more involved, today’s but with seven grandCurrently about 5.8 “We help out in terms of running grandparents are shunning retirement children it can only go million children, or Amy Goyer, family expert at AARP errands, babysitting, taking the grandkids homes and stepping in more than ever to so far.” nearly 8 percent of all to doctors’ appointments, and for back-toraise grandchildren while young adults Flockhart’s situation children, are living school shopping,” said Doug Flockhart of is increasingly common, demographers struggle in the poor economy. with grandparents identified as the head of The newer grandparents are mainly baby Exeter, N.H., listing some of the activities say. household, according to 50-state census that he and his wife, Eileen, do for their boomers who are still working, with “Grandparents have become the family data released Thursday. That’s up from 4.5 five kids and seven grandchildren. But greater disposable income. Now making safety net, and I don’t see that changing million, or 6.3 percent, who lived in such up 1 in 4 adults, grandparents are growing that’s just the start. any time soon,” said Amy Goyer, a family households in 2000. They also pitch in with health care pay- expert at AARP. “While they will continue at twice the rate of the overall population Much of the increase in grandparent ments for family members due to insurand sticking close to family — if their to enjoy their traditional roles, including caregivers occurred later in the decade grandkids aren’t already living with them. ance gaps, and their pace of activity has spending on gifts for grandchildren, I see after the recession eliminated jobs for picked up substantially since their daughGrandparents in recent decades have them increasingly paying for the extras many younger people, surveys indicate. often filled in for absent parents who were ter, who lives three blocks away, gave that parents are struggling to keep up with The 8 percent share of children now living birth to her first child this month. Flockill or battled addiction, or were sent to — sports, camps, tutoring or other educahart, a retired architect, likes the family prison. The latest trend of grandparent tional needs, such as music lessons.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

“Grandparents have become the family safety net, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

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Page 11 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Experts believe number of children living with grandparents is largest share ever percent. Each of those states saw slower population growth overall since 2000, parwith grandparents is the largest in at least ticularly among young people. 40 years — and it is believed to be the The District of Columbia posted a largest share ever, the population experts decline of more than 20 percent in grandsay. children living with grandparents, a sign of In all, there are 62.8 growing gentrification in million grandparents in the nation’s capital in the U.S., the most ever. which smaller-sized They are projected to white families are make up roughly 1 in 3 replacing black families adults by 2020. with grandparent careNearly half the states givers, who are moving had increases of 40 perto suburban areas. cent or more over the Francese says the last decade in the numstereotype of grandparber of grandchildren ents who are frail, recedliving with grandparing and dependent is ents. They were led by changing. He noted that states such as Nevada, unemployment among Peter Francese, population analyst, founder workers ages 25 to 34 Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, of American Demographics magazine Arizona and Kentucky, last year was double that which had influxes of of Americans aged 55 to young families or suffered higher rates of 64. U.S. households headed by baby poverty. boomers also commanded almost half of On the other end of the scale, New Jerthe nation’s total household income, and sey, New York, Michigan and Louisiana are more likely to be college graduates saw the smallest increases, less than 10 than grandparents in previous generations. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

“Grandparents are supposed to be old, gray-haired people tottering around, but the vast majority are actually in the work force. There is not much doubt that the recent recession has brought grandparents and grandchildren together.”

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mendations by late November, with action by Congress before year’s end, or various parts of government will face automatic spending cuts. Estella Hyde, 65, who lives near Erie, Pa., said additional government aid — not spending cuts — would go a long way for grandparents. She and her husband have raised their granddaughter, now 18, off and on since she was a year old, when Hyde’s daughter-in-law at the time said she didn’t want the burden. Eventually the Hydes were able to adopt their granddaughter legally, which allowed her to have coverage under their health plan, but only after the couple fought through red tape and paid $10,000 in adoption fees. After a difficult childhood, her granddaughter will attend college this fall. “It never happens in a happy situation where a son or daughter comes and says, ‘I need you to raise a child for me,”‘ said Hyde, a nursing professor who is now retired. “We were very lucky, we were able to financially take care of her and support her. But many grandparent caregivers need other sources of assistance.”

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These grandparents reject living in senior communities in favor of “aging in place” in their own homes, near family. In 2009, households ages 55 or older spent billions of dollars on infant food, clothes, toys, games, tuition and supplies for grandchildren, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Grandparents are supposed to be old, gray-haired people tottering around, but the vast majority are actually in the work force,” said Francese, who released a paper on the topic last month. “There is not much doubt that the recent recession has brought grandparents and grandchildren together.” The government figures come as a congressional supercommittee considers possible reductions to Medicare and Social Security to achieve $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts under the terms of the debt ceiling agreement. Up until now, lawmakers’ proposals to cut the entitlement programs have met resistance from older Americans, including those 45 and older, who now make up a majority of the voting-age population. The committee must issue its recom-

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Page 12 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“Generations of our family have received great “G care at Good Samaritan Hospital.” hav Go

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Page 13 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

Fewer Medicare Part D enrollees hit coverage gap By The Associated Press

Enrollees and their drug plans share costs up to a certain amount each year. Then enrollees pay the full cost for prescriptions Fewer Medicare prescription drug plan before becoming eligible for catastrophic enrollees are falling into a coverage gap known as the doughnut hole in which they coverage, where the plan resumes paying and covers 95 percent of the bill. bear the full cost of their prescriptions, This year, for example, customers and according to a study from the nonpartisan their drug plans must spend $2,840 Kaiser Family Foundation. A total of 19 percent of Medicare Part D before they reach the coverage gap. Then beneficiaries pick up the next $3,608 beneficiaries who did not receive lowincome subsidies hit that gap in 2009, the before they become eligible for catalatest year for which figures are available. strophic coverage. Congress created the gap essentially to That compares to 26 percent in 2007. Peokeep prescription drug spending within a ple who receive low-income subsidies do budget and offer both up-front coverage not have to make payments in the doughand protection against big expenses. nut hole. The health care overhaul aims to graduKaiser said the increased availability of ally fill the gap. This year, those who cheaper generic drugs for some chronic conditions may be behind the drop in peo- reach it will receive 50 percent discounts on brand-name drugs. Plans that offer Part ple hitting that coverage gap. About 29 million people are enrolled in D coverage also will pick up 7 percent of the cost for generics. Medicare prescription drug plans.

Medicare milestone: Chief eligible for program WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials say Medicare has reached a new milestone: for the first time, it’s headed by someone old enough to receive benefits. Administrator Don Berwick turned 65 in September, and he says he’s begun applying for his Medicare card, sending for a notarized copy of his birth certificate. Medicare is different these days, said Berwick, more focused on keeping sen-

iors healthy into their 80s. Many new enrollees are in better shape than their parents were when they joined. Though Berwick will be one of the 2.8 million baby boomers joining this year, he said he wants to keep working as long as he can. That means Medicare will be secondary to his job-based insurance. It might get the attention of those looking to raise the eligibility age to cut costs.

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Page 14 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Page 15 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THIS EVENT IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC & SPONSORED BY... Kearney Orthopedic & Sports Medicine

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Page 16 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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P RIME

Alzheimer’s families pleading for new national strategy Obama administration drafting plan to combine research, assistance WASHINGTON (AP) — As her mother’s Alzheimer’s worsened over eight long years, so did Doreen Alfaro’s bills: The walker, then the wheelchair, then the hospital bed, then the diapers — and the caregivers hired for more and more hours a day so Alfaro could go to work and her elderly father could get some rest. Alfaro and her husband sold their California house to raise money for her mother’s final at-home care. Six years later, the 58-year-old Alfaro wonders if she eventually develops Alzheimer’s, too, “What happens to my care? Where will I go?” Dementia is poised to become a defining disease of the rapidly aging population — and a budget-busting one for Medicare, Medicaid and families. Now the Obama administration is developing the first National Alzheimer’s Plan, to combine research aimed at fighting the minddestroying disease with help that care-

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givers need to stay afloat. “This is a unique opportunity, maybe an opportunity of a lifetime in a sense, to really have an impact on this disease,” says Dr. Ronald Petersen of the Mayo Clinic, who chairs a committee that began in late September advising the government on what that plan should include. An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or similar dementias. It’s the sixth-leading killer. There is no cure; treatments only temporarily ease some symptoms. Barring a research breakthrough, those numbers will worsen steadily as the baby boomers gray: By 2050, anywhere from 13 million to 16 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer’s, costing a $1 trillion in medical and nursing home expenditures. But that’s not the full toll. Sufferers lose

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Page 17 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Report estimates over $200B of unpaid care dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients Alzheimer’s, when there are good drugs to battle back HIV but nothing comparable the ability to do the simplest activities of for dementia. daily life and can survive that way for a Overwhelmingly, they ask for resources decade or more, requiring years of care to help Alzheimer’s patients live their last from family, friends or paid caregivers. years at home without ruining their careAlready a recent report finds that nearly givers’ own health and finances. 15 million people, mostly family mem“Either you’re rich and can afford $25 bers, are providing more than $200 billion an hour for care at home, or you send him worth of unpaid care. to a facility. We’re in the middle of the Thousands of those caregivers have road,� says Shirley Rexrode of suburban turned out at public meetings since early San Francisco, whose 85-year-old father, August — and at a “telephone town meet- Hsien-Wen Li, was diagnosed with ing� organized by the Alzheimer’s Associ- Alzheimer’s nearly three years ago. ation that drew 32,000 people — pleading Adult day care didn’t work out — even for a national Alzheimer’s strategy to bring at $90 a day, the only place with an openchanges. ing couldn’t handle the behaviors of They want primary care doctors trained Alzheimer’s. Rexrode says her mother, to diagnose dementia earlier, describing Li’s primary caregiver, has suffered some how years of missed symptoms cost them depression from the stress. precious time to make plans or seek treat“We just have to muddle through, but ment. That’s a recommendation being we don’t know how long we can,� echoed Tuesday in an international Rexrode says. Alzheimer’s report. And while Medicare will pay for doctor They demand to know why the National bills and medications, even getting to the Institutes of Health spends about six times more on AIDS research than on CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16

Associated Press

DOREEN ALFARO holds a photograph of herself and her mother Anita Franco at her home in Aptos, Calif., in this photo taken Sept. 8. Dementia is poised to become a defining disease of a rapidly aging population. Around the country, thousands of families are pleading for changes to improve early diagnosis and help keep loved ones at home instead of in nursing homes. Doreen’s mother Anita Franco died from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2005.

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Page 18 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Federal health officials plan to have first draft of national Alzheimer’s plan by December CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17

doctor can be a hurdle. When her 89year-old mother with advanced Alzheimer’s developed a urinary tract infection, Susan Lynch couldn’t find a doctor willing to come to her parents’ home in Fall River, Mass. Lynch flew there from her Gaithersburg, Md., home

but couldn’t carry her mother down the stairs. A private ambulance service didn’t have an opening for weeks. Lynch wound up calling the town ambulance for a costly but Medicare-covered trip to the emergency room. Federal health officials, who promise a first draft of the national plan by December, say they’re getting the message.

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“Folks desperately, desperately want to “That’s a concern, a very real one,” says be able to provide the care themselves,” Mayo’s Petersen. says Donald Moulds, a deputy assistant The law that requires a national secretary at the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s plan didn’t set funding, and Human Services who Moulds is mum on a oversees the project. possible price tag. “It’s very, very hard Almost complete is work. Figuring out betan inventory of all ter mechanisms for supAlzheimer’s-related porting people who are research and care trying to do that work is reimbursement paid the right thing to do.” for by the U.S. govIt also may be cheaper ernment, to look for for taxpayers. Nursing gaps that need fillhomes not only are ing and possible savpricier than at-home ings to help pay for Donald Moulds, Department of Health and care, but many families them. Human Services only can afford them Other countries through Medicaid, the including England health care program for the poor. Another and Australia — and 25 U.S. states, by key, Moulds says, is better care coordinaMoulds’ count — have developed their tion as Alzheimer’s complicates the many own Alzheimer’s plans. But the U.S. is other health problems of aging. taking a special look at France, where But given the budget crisis, the big President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 question is whether any anti-Alzheimer’s pledged to invest 1.6 billion euros, about strategy can come with enough dollars and $2.2 billion, over five years for better other incentives attached to spur true diagnosis, research and caregiver support change. and training.

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Page 19 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

Mother, daughter separated for first time, but not by far By PIPER CASTILLO

allow them to live under the same roof, they chose the next best thing: They moved next door to each other at the LARGO, Fla. — Unlike a lot of mothers Palms of Largo, a 95-acre intergenerational living community. and daughters, Eva and Jocelyn Meunier “We decided on moving to (the Palms always wanted to live together. of Largo) because it had the two types of Jocelyn’s independent streak convinced her early on that she didn’t want living we both needed,” Jocelyn explained. to marry, and she said Catholic women Eva moved into Sabal Palms, a nursing of her generation “only moved out of home and rehabilitation center on the your parents’ home once there was a Palms campus, where she can receive wedding ... so I always planned to stay around-the-clock care if needed. in my parents’ house.” Jocelyn, who is still able to drive and Even so, some might be surprised by the continue her independent lifestyle, has enduring strength of their bond. Eva is 106. Jocelyn is 84. They have lived togeth- moved into an apartment next door at er all along. And this year when their differing health conditions would no longer CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

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JOCELYN MEUNIER, left, and her mother, Eva Meunier, are next-door neighbors at a Florida intergenerational living community. Jocelyn is 84; Eva is 106.

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Page 20 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Bond between mother and daughter has kept both women strong through health issues knowing that they are being taken care of in a specific way, and then they can still Regal Palms, an assisted-living facility. see each other.” This is the first time a mother and Jocelyn starts most days with a visit to daughter have been housed at Palms of her mother’s room. She’ll pull out her Largo, said Leigh Bullen, life-enrichment walker — the same walker her mother director at Sabal Palms. used for many years — then walk past the “This is very rare,” Bullen said. “I pond in front of her building and around think what this brings to them is that the bend to Sabal Palms. On days when there’s a comfort zone, a sense of security she plans to go shopping after her visit, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19

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bout of bronchitis, they realized it was she’ll drive her Buick around the bend to time to make a major change. Sabal Palms. “We realized it was time to move, and it These days, Eva seems content to sit quietly with her daughter during their vis- was difficult. My mother used to joke that the only way she’d leave our condo was its. She has lost much of her vision and feet first, but that was long before she uses a sound-amplification device to conturned even 100,” Jocelyn said. verse with others. While she’s an ardent On Aug. 19, Eva celebrated her 106th baseball fan, she doesn’t watch baseball on birthday with cake, balloons, her daughter, TV as often as she used to. her new neighbors in Sabal Palms and two “I think it’s because it is just so hard for of her nieces, Suzanne Gray of Largo and her to see and hear,” said Jocelyn. But “the Andree Giguere of first thing she asks me Lakeland. when I come in the door The Palms of Largo is how the Rays did on staff had a surprise for TV the night before.” the birthday girl: a Jocelyn also knows harpist who performed Eva loves to hear news in her room. Music or simply talk about always has been spetheir family in Rhode cial for Eva, an opera Island. singer who performed In 1952, the Meunier throughout New Engfamily moved to Florida Jocelyn Meunier land beginning in the from Woonsocket, R.I., 1930s. a town with a strong “I’ve loved music all my life, and my French-Canadian community. The relocation was for the health of Armand Meunier, parents used to say I sang all the time from when I was a baby,” said Eva. “But I Eva’s husband and Jocelyn’s father. “My stopped singing when we moved to Florifather had an enlarged heart, and doctors told him he’d have to move to a warmer cli- da. It was a time when I didn’t feel like singing anymore because it was a time to mate or he would die,” Jocelyn said. take care of my husband’s health.” First they lived in a home in St. PetersFor both women, their Catholic faith burg. Armand survived for 10 more years has always been front and center, said and died in 1961. Eventually, Eva and Jocelyn, an active member of St. CatherJocelyn moved into a St. Petersburg conine of Siena Catholic Church. Eva, who dominium together. In the 1990s, both women began suffer- was a charter member of the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg, ing from serious health problems, said likes to peek at a portrait of Pope John Jocelyn, who retired from the accounting Paul II near her bedside and every Friday department at Allstate Insurance in 1985. welcomes Eucharistic ministers from St. Eva was diagnosed with colon cancer. Catherine’s to her room so she can receive She had surgery, “but since she was weekly Communion. already in her 90s, they told her to not Although times have changed for the have radiation or chemotherapy,” Jocelyn two women, Jocelyn feels their close bond said. Jocelyn was diagnosed with Parkinhas kept them both strong. son’s disease, but it was manageable, so “We have always known that we will they stayed in the condo. stay in proximity of each other,” she said. However, in January, after Eva took a serious fall and Jocelyn suffered a tough Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.

“We realized it was time to move, and it was difficult. My mother used to joke that the only way she’d leave our condo was feet first, but that was long before she turned even 100.”

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Page 21 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

What goes around, comes around After fire destroys his business, kindness, charity come to man who has helped community for past 43 years By BEN BENTON Chattanooga Times Free Press CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Y.B. Ashby is a force of positive energy in Grundy County. The 90-year-old’s work as a volunteer is widely known, his efforts to preserve the county’s military history unparalleled, his dedication to the community unquestioned, his friends say. For many in Grundy County, Ashby is the man to turn to for help. Now it’s his turn. On Aug. 29, Ashby’s business and equipment were destroyed in a fire. He discovered that his insurance did not cover the building that housed his printing and trophy business and some irreplaceable

phy parts and medallions meant for local schoolchildren. He lost several computers, a number of printers, two offset printing presses, materials for making signs, trophies, plaques and some photography equipment, he said. He salvaged an aging cast-iron paper cutter from the ruins, but little else. records for the Grundy County Veterans “The thing that bothers me most is in Historical Society. one of the filing cabinets we had all of the The building, a converted mobile home, records of our deceased veterans,” he said. and all its contents burned to cinders along Veterans’ families over the years had filled with about $1,000 worth of U.S. flags out forms describing length of service, intended for raising money for the vetercommendations and the like. The papers ans group. Information on the county’s were to be preserved in a book. deceased veterans that was part of Ashby’s The filing cabinets now lie on their efforts to preserve local veterans history sides, scorched a grayish-black with only was destroyed. ashes inside. Ashby, president of the VeterAshby also is recovering from a bout ans Historical Society, said he desperately with cancer — not his first one — and hopes that some of those veterans’ families said there’s only so much he can do to are still around to help him restore the colrecover from this most recent blow. lection. “We’re going to just have to be at the Ashby has been an unexpected treasure mercy of our creditors and the Lord,” he for Grundy County, Grundy County native said. Gayle VanHooser said. He stood at the fire site recently sifting “I can’t think of all the adjectives that through the ashes to uncover charred trowould describe him,” said VanHooser, the

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county register of deeds who’s helping organize the help effort. “Mr. Ashby has always been a person that was interested in uplifting the people and accentuating the positive for our area,” she wrote about him in a Jefferson Awards nomination letter extolling his impact on the community. “I have never known a more devoted champion for our veterans and their families,” she said. Ashby moved to Grundy County to retire in 1968, but stayed busy by opening his small business and launching the county’s first Chamber of Commerce, VanHooser said. In the mid-1980s, he started a small newspaper, the Grundy County Post, and in 1994 launched television station GCTV, broadcasting County Commission and school board meetings. Otherwise, he focused most of the content of both operations on local veterans, volunteerism and children, she said. In 2007, Ashby worked with Tennessee CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

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Page 22 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Community members say the effort Ashby puts into his volunteer work is inspiring unteered to play taps at more than 400 local military funerals, she said. Consolidated Coal Co. to obtain a museum A campaign to help “would be a very home for the Veterans Historical Society unique way to turn the tables and uplift in a Palmer, Tenn., church. The company Mr. Ashby for his kind deeds for others,” built the church in 1923 during coal minshe said. ing’s heyday in Grundy County. VanHooser said she and supporters have Ashby also is a Church of Christ minis- established an account at a local bank to ter and still fills in when needed at local accept donations. churches, VanHooser said. Sheriff Brent Myers, born in 1974, said Using a self-playing bugle, he has volhe’d known about Ashby and his work for CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

veterans most of his life. “He’s an exceptional person,” Myers said. “He’s one of those types of people who will go out of his way to try to help you. “He’s been an inspiration to me to see somebody put that much effort into what he does,” he said. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, Ashby becomes most passionate when he talks about local veterans. “The reason that we made the decision

to move to this county is so we could do something for our fellow man and work for the Lord. And I borrow an expression from Gen. Douglas MacArthur,” Ashby said, his still-strong, resonant voice filling with emotion under a cloudy September sky. “I feel like I’m ‘... an old soldier who has done his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty,’” he said, his eyes steel blue and sharp. “And I’m going to keep trying.”

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Page 23 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

Let ’em eat chocolate, says advocate of change in senior care By TOM KISKEN Scripps Howard News Service VENTURA, Calif. — At Tena Alonzo’s nursing home, residents sleep as late as they want. Care schedules revolve around their convenience, not the staff’s. If they’re used to a small cocktail at night, they have one. And they eat what they want — chocolate or dessert before dinner — regardless of their health. “If you’re 85 and you’re demented and it’s the end of your life, isn’t it time to eat lemon pie even if you’re diabetic?” she said before talking to Ventura County nursing-home operators about following a style of care presented as a national model. “Isn’t it time to just enjoy whatever in life is important to you?” Called a culture of comfort, it revolves around the principle that if residents are comfortable, they’ll be happy. There won’t be the need for physical restraints or powerful antipsychotic drugs to control their behavior, Alonzo said. The Beatitudes nursing home in Phoenix, especially the dementia floor,

Scripps Howard News Service

was once a place families avoided and doctors didn’t want to admit their patients. People in the hallways cried out for help and suffered from dehydration. About 14 years ago, staff turned everything upside down, said Alonzo, director of research at the Beatitudes community

HAZEL ENG, 89, right, who lives at Ecumen nursing home and has Alzheimer’s disease, holds her favorite doll Aug. 13 at the North Branch, Minn., facility as her daughter, Jean Lynch, visits. As part of the facility’s Awakenings program, Eng was taken off the powerful antipsychotics she was taking, and now beams as she ambles the hallways, reads the newspaper, tells stories and constantly laughs.

and part of the team that led the change. Staff took extra time to know the residents and families to understand what makes people comfortable. That might mean adjusting the time of trips to the bathroom, a nurse flipping through a photo album with a resident or not trying to

change the mind of someone who has Alzheimer’s. “Don’t confront. Don’t reason,” she said, suggesting neither tactic works. Understanding they couldn’t change the way residents with dementia think, staff concentrated on changing the way residents felt. They used music, food, hobbies or anything else that made people feel at home. The residents called the shots. “It’s really time to get out of people’s way and let them live,” Alonzo said. Some Ventura County nursing-home administrators said they already do much or at least some of what Alonzo advocates. But when she talked about letting people eat whatever they wanted, the debate started. “Ludicrous,” said Dr. Robert Buckingham, an Ojai internist involved in nursinghome care, suggesting that allowing free access to sugar only worsens inflammation, joint flexibility, diabetes and even dementia. “There’s a lot of things that cascade when you throw sugar at the patient.” When a nursing home administrator CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

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Page 24 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Some senior facilities are open to idea of comfort-based care; others say no way

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whatever he can to improve their condition. “At what point do you close the door voiced his agreement with the doctor, oth- and say it doesn’t matter anymore?� he said, suggesting that progress is being ers in the audience quietly booed. They made on treating dementia. cited patient rights and suggested that Others saw comfort-based care as affiradjustments in medication could lower the mation or reason to incorporate more risks. At least one assisted-living facility, change. the Ventura TowneHouse, has already Sylvia Taylor Stein of the Long Term removed dietary restrictions. Care of Ventura County ombudsman and Others said they like the concept of food freedom, but wondered about the feasibili- watchdog program, which was host of Alonzo’s presentation, said when nursing ty. “We need to know what is the balance,� homes started, they were modeled as hospitals to care for seniors. But no one realsaid Sister Lourdes Lara, mother superior of the community running Mary Health of ized people would live in them for 25, even 40 years, she said. the Sick nursing home in Newbury Park. Nursing-home culture is built around Alonzo said the choice is the resident’s, pain management, Stein said. Alonzo’s expressing the mandate she hopes rules the model is based on the premise that if a reslast three or four years of her life. “You will give me all the chocolate that ident is made comfortable, much of the pain may go away. I want,� she said. Taylor Stein said it’s not enough to Buckingham suggested that some of incorporate isolated pieces of the new what Alonzo advocated is oversimplified. He cited her statement that Alzheimer’s is model. “What we’re trying to do is transform terminal and can’t be prevented or slowed. the whole thing,� she said. He said families of his patients want Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. comfort, but they also want him to do

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Page 25 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

All for the sake of youth Boomers expected to spend billions to fight aging

ported anti-aging products. “Our culture places great value on staying young, but aging is normal,” the institute says. “Despite claims about pills or treatments that lead to endless youth, no treatments have been proven to slow or reverse the aging process.” Its advice for aging well is basic: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, don’t NEW YORK (AP) — Baby boomers smoke. heading into what used to be called retire“If someone is promising you today that ment age are providing a 70 million-mem- you can slow, stop or reverse aging, ber-strong market for legions of compathey’re likely trying hard to separate you nies, entrepreneurs and cosmetic surgeons from your money,” said S. Jay Olshansky, eager to capitalize on their “forever a professor at the University of Illinoisyoung” mindset, whether it’s through Chicago’s School of Public Health who wrinkle creams, facehas written extensivelifts or workout regily about aging. mens. But such advice It adds up to potenhasn’t curtailed the tial bonanza. The demand for anti-aging market research firm products, including Global Industry Anamany with hefty price lysts projects that a tags that aren’t covboomer-fueled conered by health insursumer base, “seeking ance. These include to keep the dreaded cosmetic surgery proNational Institute on Aging signs of aging at bay,” cedures at $10,000 or will push the U.S. more, human growth market for anti-aging products from about hormone treatment at $15,000 per year $80 billion now to more than $114 billion and a skin-care product called Peau Magby 2015. nifique that costs $1,500 for a 28-day supAnti-aging enthusiasts contend that life ply. spans can be prolonged through intervenIn contrast to the caution of mainstream tions such as hormone replacement theraorganizations, there are many vocal propy and dietary supplements. Critics, moters of anti-aging products and proceincluding much of the medical establishdures, including the American Academy of ment, say many anti-aging interventions Anti-Aging Medicine. It plays host to are ineffective or harmful. annual conferences in the U.S. and abroad, From mainstream organizations such as and claims 22,000 members, mostly physithe National Institute on Aging, the gener- cians. al advice is to be a skeptical consumer on In its mission statement, the academy guard for possible scams involving pursays the disabilities associated with normal

“Our culture places great value on staying young, but aging is normal. Despite claims about pills or treatments that lead to endless youth, no treatments have been proven to slow or reverse the aging process.”

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aging “are caused by physiological dysfunction which in many cases are ameliorable to medical treatment, such that the human life span can be increased.” One of the academy’s co-founders is Robert Goldman, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. He contends that much of the resistance to the anti-aging movement comes from sectors of the health and pharmaceutical industries that feel threatened financially — for example by the surging use of overthe-counter nutritional supplements. “It all has to do with who’s controlling the dollars,” he said. Though many anti-aging interventions are expensive, Goldman said people on tight budgets still can take useful steps such as drinking purified water, taking vitamins and using sunscreen. Olshansky, who over the years has been among Goldman’s harshest critics, believes there will be scientific breakthroughs eventually, perhaps based on studies of the genes of long-lived people,

that will help slow the rate of aging. In the meantime, Olshansky says, “I understand the need for personal freedom, the freedom to make bad decisions.” A look at some of the major sectors in the anti-aging industry:

Skin care One of the industry’s booming sectors is anti-aging skin care, featuring wrinkle creams and facial serums. By some estimates, the U.S. market for cosmeceutical products — cosmetics with medicinebased ingredients — is approaching $20 billion a year. The FDA, which oversees cosmetic safety and labeling, doesn’t require manufacturers to prove the effectiveness of cosmetic products before they go on sale, and many ads make claims which critics say are exaggerated or unverifiable. The AmerCONTINUED ON PAGE 26

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Page 26 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME Skin care, hormone replacement therapy, cosmetic surgery each stir own controversies CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

ican Academy of Dermatology recommends consulting a dermatologist on what skin care products have been proved safe and effective in human studies. Consumer Reports has ventured into the realm of anti-aging cosmetics several times recently, using high-tech optical devices and other scientific methods to assess the products. Last year, the magazine tested face serums and wrinkle creams for prices ranging from $20 to $335 and all claiming to reduce wrinkles. “After six weeks of use, the effectiveness of even the best products was limited and varied from subject to subject,” according to the review. “When we did see wrinkle reductions, they were at best slight, and they fell short of the miracles that manufacturers seemed to imply on product labels.” One recent development in anti-aging skin care is the use of stem cell technology. ReVive’s expensive Peau Magnifique is among the new products, claiming to “recruit adult stem cells into brand new stem cells.”

Neither Consumer Reports nor the FDA has conducted any specific assessment of Peau Magnifique’s effectiveness. On a Web site called Makeupalley.com, some customer reviews raved about it; others trashed it as a waste of money.

Hormone replacement therapy Numerous companies and clinics promote hormone replacement drugs, including testosterone for men and custommixed “bioidentical” hormones for women, as a way to slow the aging process. Many consumers have seen ads featuring muscle-bound Dr. Jeffry Life, now 72. He used testosterone and human growth hormone in his own bodybuilding regimen and recommends hormonal therapy for some of the patients patronizing his agemanagement practice in Las Vegas. The FDA has approved hormone replacement drugs for some specific purposes related to diseases and deficiencies, but not to combat aging. “Finding a ‘fountain of youth’ is a captivating story,” says the National Institute on Aging. “The truth is that, to date, no

research has shown that hormone replacement drugs add years to life or prevent age-related frailty.” Hormone drugs can be expensive. HGH shots can cost more than $15,000 a year, according to the institute. A hormonebased dietary supplement known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a precursor of estrogen and testosterone, is marketed online for $12.95 per capsule by Utahbased NutraScriptives. Some proponents say over-the-counter DHEA supplements can improve energy and strength, boost immunity and decrease fat. The institute says there’s no conclusive scientific evidence of any such benefits.

Cosmetic surgery According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 13.1 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. in 2010, a 77 percent increase over a decade. The most popular treatment is with the wrinkle-smoothing drugs Botox or Dysport. They account for 5.4 million procedures, averaging about $400 per treatment. More invasive procedures come at a

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higher price. Facelifts can run from $6,000 to $15,000; the plastic surgeons’ academy reported performing 112,000 of them in 2010. “Cosmetic surgery has become table talk at home. There’s a lot of satisfaction and acceptance from people who’ve had it, friend to friend, word of mouth,” said Dr. Peter Schmid, who runs a cosmetic surgery practice in Longmont, Colo. While the noninvasive procedures cost less than a face-lift, the effects won’t last as long and repeat treatments might be needed several times a year, Schmid said. He advised patients to calculate carefully which type of procedure makes the most sense for them financially. Some critics of the anti-aging industry are supportive of cosmetic surgery, provided the patient can comfortably afford it. Professor Robert Binstock, an expert on aging at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, told of a recently widowed friend whose spirits lifted after getting the bags under her eyes removed. “If you feel better looking in the mirror in the morning, fine,” he said. “I have no objection to people being narcissistic.”

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Page 27 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

P RIME

News junkie calls it quits for full year Professor’s thought experiment helped him gain new perspective ABILENE, Texas (AP) — For Albert Haley, it took about 11 months for the withdrawal symptoms to finally subside. Every day — the mornings, in particular — he felt that temptation to relapse. Just one headline. One segment of cable news. One brief chat on the current direction of domestic economic policy. But he had to stay strong. Haley, an English professor at Abilene Christian University and self-diagnosed news junkie, had gone cold turkey. For one year, he would avoid all news and culture from the world at large. Starting Sept. 11, 2010, he started piling his copies of The New York Times and Reporter-News in the garage. The Haley home became a bunker of sorts, with TV and Internet use curtailed to keep Haley in his bubble. His wife, Joyce, and son, Cole, had to

watch their words around him — every casual dinner table discussion could contain catastrophic spoilers. All this in the name of a thought experiment. Haley called it “The Van Winkle Project.” By pulling himself out of the loop for a year, he hoped to gain a new perspective of the world and his own consumption of news. Day by day he documented the ebb and flow of his sanity on a blog, thevanwinkleproject.blogspot.com. Ideally, Haley thought going news-free could allow him to obtain a sort of “pristine ignorance.” As an avid news consumer, he found himself getting put through an emotional wringer every time a crisis, real or exaggerated, came up. What good was it doing him, for exam-

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ing in the community. But even that had its drawbacks: He accidentally learned of the successful rescue of a certain group of Chilean miners while he was reading a school newsletter. The grand irony of the whole experiment is that Haley actually started to accept his new lifestyle just as it was coming to an end. He rediscovered the simple pleasures of vinyl records after years spent listening to CDs. He caught up on old books and movies, and got some more writing done. And for all the torture he put himself and his family through, Haley believes the experience will change him for the better. “Today’s news is kind of like an all-youcan-eat buffet,” Haley said. “But you can overeat, and some of it is just junk food. ... From now on I’m going to focus more on news fruits and veggies.”

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ple, to know how many gallons of crude pumped into the ocean during last year’s Gulf oil spill? It only made him feel powerless and drained. Not surprisingly, though, a year spent “asleep” often had the same effect. The not knowing was often the worst part. When a major world event happened, he could almost perceive the temperature of the room change. He’d pester his family with bizarre, roundabout interrogations at home, fishing for little hints. And the spoilers he encountered were often even more frustrating because they never painted the complete picture. Unrest in the Arab world. A massacre in Europe. Something devastating involving an earthquake and a nuclear reactor in Japan. These snippets were all Haley knew about three of the past year’s major events, and they only provoked more questions. At the same time, he also allowed exceptions for news on local events, so he could stay dialed in to what was happen-

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Page 28 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Prime October 2011