IGH MV #142 December 17

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in good December 2017 • Issue 142

Massage therapy Laura Weaver, licensed massage therapist, knows the value of a relaxing massage.

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Mohawk Valley’s Health Care Newspaper

High anxiety for holidays

Many just can’t handle the sensory overload

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Prepare for winter!

Core of the community Community Volunteer Award winner Judy Galimo among honorees at ‘Celebrate Life’ event.

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Keep yourself calm, cool and healthy See Balanced Body, Page 7

Captive to coughing

Oh, pistachios Along with almonds, walnuts, cashews and other nuts, pistachios play an important role in our weekly diet — perhaps, even, a starring role.

Not many things you can do if you’re stuck with cough, doctors say

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See SmartBites, Page 13 December 2017 •

Real men wear pink Philip Urtz and his nephew, Kash Pohl, take part in the recent Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.

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New Hospital update Page 3

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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family support group meeting from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Insight House, 500 Whitesboro St., Utica. The group is free and open to anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, opiates/heroin, or other substances. For more information about the group, call 724-5168, ext. 265, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. All calls are strictly confidential.


Overeaters Anonymous plans meetings Overeaters Anonymous meets from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in Room 101 (first floor) at Rome Memorial Hospital, 1500 James St., Rome. It also meets from 7-8 p.m. every Thursday at Oneida Baptist Church, 242 Main St., Oneida. Participants are asked to use the rear door. There are no dues, fees, weigh-ins or diets. For more information, call OA at 315-468-1588 or visit oa.org.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

AMZHMDNLM 14-Mar-2014 07:57

One step closer to reality New MVHS hospital taking shape; community forums planned in December Staff Reports


he Mohawk Valley Health System recently unveiled its long-anticipated site plan for its new regional health care campus in downtown Utica. After months of intensive planning that included discussions between the MVHS outreach team and about 2,000 individuals from workgroups representing different parts of the community, MVHS Perra officials released the designs for its integrated health care campus to an invitation-only crowd that included political, business and community leaders at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Utica. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the site plan at two community forums at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre in Utica.

MVHS said its integrated health campus would consolidate existing resources and eliminate redundancies that stem from its current operation of two hospitals, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in New Hartford and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, and having inpatient and outpatient services spread out on three campuses. It would also improve access and “elevate the quality of health care in the region, MVHS officials said. The new hospital is projected to have 373 beds and a 1,550car parking garage. It will be a 672,000-square-foot facility on 25 acres in lower downtown Utica, sandwiched within a five-minute walking radius between the Utica Memorial Auditorium, courthouse, police station, city hall, Hotel Utica, the Radisson Hotel and Kennedy Apartments. The site plan showed an outline of the external building and its footprint that includes the emergency department walk-in, ambulance entry, parking garage, a central utilities plant, a service entrance, sidewalks, green spaces and surrounding streets. None of the interior design


The Mohawk Valley Health System recently unveiled the site plan for its new hospital to be located in downtown Utica. has yet been completed. “We are excited to be able to share the site plan and outline of the new hospital and how it fits in the community,” said Scott Perra, president-CEO of MVHS. “We know that many members of our internal and external communities have been looking forward to the day when they could begin to have a vision of what the campus will look like.” He called the new design a complex, multi-year initiative. “We are designing from the inside out, first looking at the processes to care for the patients and then designing the space to provide the care,” Perra noted.

Developing site plan

MVHS officials said they intend to preserve the street grid as much as possible, but the plan calls for the hospital to occupy land south of

Oriskany Street. The main entrance will be on Lafayette Street, and the rear or service entrance is on Columbia Street. The east border will be along Broadway and the west will extend, with green space, along State Street. The parking garage will be located on the lower or north end of Cornelia Street at the corner of Oriskany Street, opposite the auditorium. The site map also shows a “potential” medical office building at the corner of Lafayette and Cornelia streets, surrounded by parking spaces. Officials noted the site plan is about 30 percent complete and will be undergoing much modification. It was required to meet a 30 percent standard in order to obtain approval for its certificate of need application

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From 2012-2016, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s annual operating margin has averaged 0.3 percent, considerably lower than the average of the four major for-profit health plans. Based on a comparison of earnings before interest and taxes, we would have needed to collect $1.6 billion more in premium revenue to achieve the same level of earnings as the major carriers over that period. Because we’re a business, not a charity, we need to earn a margin. But we do not pay dividends to shareholders. That works in your favor. We’re a nonprofit health plan, so we deliberately budget for low margins to keep coverage more affordable. We know you have other important things that matter. We’re neighbors helping neighbors build healthier communities.

A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

December 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Your Doctor

By Patrician J. Malin

Lovin’ the ER

Jana Podzimek, DO

Jana Podzimek has been a specialist in otolaryngology at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group PLLC in New Hartford since 2013. She treats patients for About half of Americans ear, nose and throat disorders and performs head and neck surgery. She has recently become accredited in a new treatment for Eustachian tube dysget health care in ER function. Recently, senior staff writer Patricia J. Malin had the opportunity hen Americans need medical care, almost one in two to interview the doctor concerning her career and outlook on health care. people choose the emer-


gency room, a new study reveals. “I was stunned by the results. This really helps us better understand health care in this country,” said physician David Marcozzi. He is an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s department of emergency medicine. “This research underscores the fact that emergency departments are critical to our nation’s health care delivery system,” Marcozzi said in a university news release. “Patients seek care in emergency departments for many reasons. The data might suggest that emergency care provides the type of care that individuals actually want or need, 24 hours a day,” he added. The analysis of data from several national sources showed that there were more than 3.5 billion emergency department visits, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions during the 1996 to 2010 study period. U.S. emergency department visits increased by nearly 44 percent over the 14-year period, the findings showed. Outpatient cases accounted for nearly 38 percent of visits, and inpatient care accounted for almost 15 percent of visits. In 2010, there were nearly 130 million emergency department visits, compared with almost 101 million outpatient visits and nearly 39 million inpatient visits, according to the report. Black Americans were much more likely to seek emergency department care than other racial/ ethnic groups. In 2010, black people used the emergency department almost 54 percent of the time. The rate was even higher for black people in cities, at 59 percent, the researchers said. The study also found that Medicare and Medicaid patients were more likely to use the emergency department. Certain areas of the country also appeared to have a fondness for the emergency room. Rates of emergency department use were much higher in the South and West — 54 percent and 56 percent, respectively — than in the Northeast (39 percent). The findings suggest that increasing use of emergency departments by vulnerable groups may be due to inequality in access to health care, the study authors noted in the

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Q.: I understand you’re performing a new treatment for a condition that affects the middle ear. How common is this dysfunction and does it tend to affect children more than adults? A.: Recently, we have started performing Eustachian tube balloon dilation for persistent Eustachian dysfunction. This presents typically as persistent pressure or fullness in the ears, sometimes even pain with occasional popping or crackling sounds in the ears and muffled hearing. The ACCLARENT AERA Eustachian tube balloon dilation is the first device approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States for this purpose. Currently, it is approved for use in adults aged 22 and older. Studies are on the way for younger populations. Eustachian tube dysfunction is thought to affect 1 to 5 percent of all adults. It is more common in children due to different anatomy, as well as their smaller size dependent on their age, in addition to usual risk factors. Q.: Does the condition happen more frequently in cold and flu season? What preventive actions do you recommend? A.: We have all experienced acute or transient Eustachian tube dysfunction associated with upper respiratory infections, even the common cold. The difference is symptoms clear within a week or two. With persistent Eustachian tube dysfunction, these symptoms can linger for months even with appropriate treatment. Prevention is certainly vital. This includes flu vaccines, limiting air droplet exposure, and better hand-washing techniques, among others. Q.: How did you treat the condition previously compared to the new system that uses balloon dilation? Will dilation be used in every case of Eustachian tube dysfunction or only when antibiotics don’t clear up the problem? A.: This was previously treated with antihistamines, decongestants, oral or nasal steroids, and if bacterial etiology was suspected, it was treated with oral antibiotics. If persistent, especially if associated with hearing loss and dizziness, ventilation tube insertion was performed to equalize the middle ear pressure, thus relieving symptoms. Eustachian tube dilation is indicated only when

cadaver specimens. But the technique as well as the technology is very similar to the balloon dilation of sinuses that we have been performing for a number of years already. Q.: You graduated from medical school in 1984. What prompted you to go into medicine originally? A.: When I was 14 years old, I had to undergo some testing in a nearby medical center. There, I met a wonderful mother who was there with her son of the same age who was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. There, I realized what I was meant to do.

medical therapy has failed to resolve symptoms. Q.: What did you have to do to get certified in this procedure and how long did it take? A.: Certification is required to perform this procedure. This includes both didactic as well as hands-on training in the operating room on

Q.: How did you choose the otolaryngology specialty? A.: I always thought I would go into primary care until one day while I was doing my emergency medicine rotation. I followed a doctor who was an otolaryngologist and I realized this is a great specialty that I would like to pursue.

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Lifelines Education: Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry-life science, University of Missouri, Rolla, Mo., (1974-78); Master of Science degree in microbiology-immunology, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo., (1978-80); Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, Mo., (1980-84); rotating internship, Garden City Osteopathic Hospital, Garden City, Mich., (1984-85); general surgery, Garden City Osteopathic Hospital, Garden City, Mich., (1985-86); residency, otolaryngology, head, neck surgery, Flint Osteopathic Hospital, Flint, Mich., (1986-89) Affiliations: American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; American Osteopathic Association; American Academy of Osteopathy; American Medical Association Hobbies: Travel; tennis; outdoor activities such as skiing and kayaking

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

Holiday Season Holiday Hazards Ahead Yuletide season can be rife with setbacks, so be prepared By Barbara Pierce


he holidays are a great time to enjoy with family and friends, celebrate life and reflect on what’s important. They’re also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Here are some tips to keep you healthy and safe this season. — Wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick. — Choking is a serious hazard. Take small bites, chew slowly and carefully, and avoid talking or being distracted while eating. Be wary of high-risk foods including hotdogs, grapes, candy with nuts, and hard fruits and vegetables. — Holiday heart attacks: The perfect storm of heart attack risk factors looms on the horizon — it’s the worst time of year for heart trouble. What is the deadliest day? Dec. 25. Holiday stress, heavy meals, ignoring chest pain, and skipping meds all contribute. Take your meds and moderation is key. — Prevent injuries: Injuries often occur this time of year. Decorations sure are pretty, but falling while decorating is not. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations. Make sure you’re not a statistic this year. Make sure your ladder is secure, locked open, centered and don’t step on the top two rungs. — Fire: Most residential fires occur during the winter. Keep candles away from children, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don’t use generators or grills inside your home or garage. Each year, many fires involve Christmas trees, and they can be deadly. “A lot of research has been done on which tree is more likely to burn: an artificial or a real tree,” said Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. “Artificial trees are more likely to burn, as real

Oneida, Herkimer in good

of us are putting on snow tires, said Welsh. “All- season tires are good to a point,” he said. But snow tires are built specifically to perform in winter conditions, so buy four snow tires.” • As it gets dark early these winter nights, we need good lights. Burned out or dim lights cause accidents; make sure your lights are good.

Be careful out there!

— Seasonal car accidents: Driving in the winter can be dangerous. Not only do you have snow and ice but there are fewer hours of daylight. Christmas and New Year’s, when alcohol is responsible for nearly half of accident fatalities, have their share of road perils. To stay safe from those statistics, Ed Welsh, regional general manager, AAA Northeast, offers suggestions on how avoid an accident in winter: • Winter weather is less predictable. You may come out to your car and find it covered with snow. It’s important to take the time to brush the snow off, Welsh said. He recommends a telescoping snow brush; it works well and can be bought where auto supplies are sold. • Another thing that causes accidents in winter months is that fewer


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

trees are 50 percent water.” Packer’s recommendations: Keep your tree well watered. A properly watered tree will not ignite. When you bring the tree home, it’s a good idea to make a fresh cut of the trunk, about a quarter-inch. This reopens the stem and the tree can absorb water better. Don’t add anything to the water. “All that does is make your dog sick,” she added.

• Drivers of four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles are often over confident that their vehicles will get them through the snow. They give the driver a false sense of security. “They drive too fast for the conditions and end up in the ditch or on the guard rail,” Welsh said. If your car can be taken out of four-wheel drive, take it out and drive in two-wheel, Welsh recommends. Drive your all-wheel vehicle as if you did not have all-wheel drive. • Avoid driving if you are drowsy. Feeling sleepy is especially dangerous when you are driving as it slows your reaction time, decreases your alertness and impairs your judgment just as much as drugs or alcohol. • Stay sober or designate a driver. • Pets: John Treen, shelter manager, Steven-Swan Humane Society, Utica, offers these tips to keep your pets safe and happy: — Poinsettias are poisonous to cats and dogs. So are amaryllis, mistletoe and holly. When animals eat these plants, it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, even cardiovascular problems. Instead decorate with artificial plants made from silk or plastic. — A little turkey is OK (not the bones) but don’t overfeed. Ham is dangerous to animals. Chocolate is dangerous, especially dark chocolate, he said.



A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2017 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email: lou@cnymail.com

Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Deb Dittner, Pauline DiGiorgio Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement — not to take the place of — the recommendations of your health provider.

December 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Holiday Season

‘You better not cry’

Santa is coming to town, but many will not be overjoyed By Barbara Pierce


erry Christmas! Happy New Year! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Well, not for all of us. With all the glitter and merry, many are in caves of gloom. This time of year can especially tough. Some of us would prefer to skip the holidays and just fast- forward to January. Many things add to the stress and difficult emotions of this month. Some of the struggles we face: • Relative time: Because the holidays are so stressful, tensions can arise even in the closest of families. Old grudges can surface. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean that you get along or even like him or her. “If seeing your family is stressful, set time limits,” said Deanna Brady, psychiatric nurse practitioner and owner of Present Tense Psychiatry in Clinton. “Take the initiative to plan where you will get together with them. For example, if you’re more comfortable at your mom’s than at your sister’s, choose to go to your mom’s. Limit how long you’ll stay — just excuse yourself. Think ahead about various

options until you come up with a scenario that makes you feel comfortable,” Brady advises. “Don’t isolate yourself during the holidays. Participate with others, but on your terms.” Practice acceptance of others. When you have an issue with a family member, they won’t change — don’t expect that maybe this year will be better. Accepting others as they are, with their weaknesses, doesn’t mean being blind to their shortcomings. It just means you stop fighting it. You work around it. • Loss and grief: “When you’re grieving a loved one’s death, the holidays can be especially painful,” said Melissa Kehler, facilitator of Grief Survivors at the Good News Center in Utica. Grief Survivors support groups meet weekly to help people who have had a loss. “Honor your feelings of grief and loss during the holidays,” advised Kehler. “Feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to cry.” Also, don’t feel guilty if you do find yourself having a good time during celebrations. “Don’t be pressured by tradition,” added Kehler. “If you don’t feel like putting up a tree, don’t.” And, the person who is grieving wants to hear the name of their

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Melissa Kehler, facilitator of Grief Survivors at the Good News Center in Utica, gives valuable advice to those missing a loved one this holiday season. loved one, but the family avoids talking about that person, she said. “The griever needs to be the one who brings it up. You might say: ‘Tell me about a time you were with Uncle Charlie.’ The griever sets the tone,” Kehler said.

Honor those who have passed

Finding a way to honor your loved one during the holiday celebrations can be especially meaningful. “Consider setting a place at the table for the one who died, and everyone puts a word of gratitude for that person on the plate, or says one thing about the person,” Kehler suggested. Kehler invites those who are grieving to a “Surviving the Holidays” seminar set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. Call 315-735-6210 or visit www. thegoodnewscenter.org for more information. The free seminar will help participants discover how to deal with emotions, what to do about traditions, tips for surviving social events and finding hope for the future. “It’s a great success. Many people come and learn things that help them get through the holidays,” she said. • Loneliness: For many people, the holidays emphasize their loneli-

ness. Some live far from family and miss seeing their loved ones this time of year; others dread going to holiday parties without a partner and end up staying home. If you know that you’ll be alone, plan ahead to do something new. Like a mini getaway or connect with an old friend. If you’re staying home, plan your day, perhaps a classic Christmas movie, a delicious meal, or a special book. If you won’t be with loved ones, you may want to seek out other people in your situation. Do you know someone at work, school or your neighborhood that is also alone? Reach out and suggest an activity. “We have a large population of seniors in this area who are isolated and lonely,” said Cindy Shepherd of Lutheran Care in Clinton. “We have a wonderful core of volunteers who provide a really valuable service. We’re filling a real need; they won’t get their needs met if we don’t do it.” • Consider volunteering: There are isolated seniors who would love to see a friendly visitor through Your Neighbors in Clinton at 315-235-7149. Or help care for animals at the Steven-Swan Humane Society in Utica (315-738-4357), or the Humane Society of Rome (315-336-7070), or in the peaceful setting of Spring Farms CARES Animal and Nature Sanctuary in Clinton (315-737-9339).

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

Winter Care The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Winter Wellness Stay healthy during the chilly months


can’t remember the last time I had the flu or even a cold (knock on wood as I’m saying this — don’t want to jinx myself!!). People around me could be coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose, and I seem to make it through with barely an issue. If I do start to feel a bit under the weather, I move into immediate action and am able to bypass an illness. What, you might say, do I do? I step into action by adding immune-boosting ingredients into Dittner my daily activities. Here’s what I do and I encourage you to add whatever sounds appropriate to you into your winter care regime. Beginning in mid-October, I start diffusing therapeutic grade essential oil into my main large room of my home on a daily basis. I continue this practice until mid-March or April depending on the illnesses that are out and about. Thieves® oil is a combination of cinnamon bark, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils. I also clean my home with products made of Thieves® oil. Smells so wonderful! Vitamin C is a potent immune booster and antioxidant. When making a smoothie, I make sure to include plenty of organic fruit. If you prefer to juice, make sure it’s fresh. Processed fruit juice may be high in Vitamin C but it also contains plenty of sugar and preservatives. A whole food source of Vitamin C you can use is camu camu and freshly squeezed lemon. Throat scratchy or sore? No worries. Grab a teaspoon of raw local honey to coat the throat, relieving a

cough and sore throat discomfort. Honey contains antioxidants, trace minerals, vitamins and amino acids. It’s also antibacterial and antiviral. For added protection, I’ll add a drop or two of Thieves® oil to the spoonful of honey, swirl it around with a toothpick, and down the hatch it goes. Works every time! I love the smell of organic, coldpressed coconut oil and incorporate it into my toolbox for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. In cool to cold weather months, coconut oil is hard so it won’t dissolve in water. It will melt when added to warm water or can be added to your morning cup of Joe. You can also add coconut oil to smoothies or in your oatmeal. Decrease the stress in your life as much as possible. Physical, chemical, and emotional stress weakens your immune system. Some stressors include but are not limited to caffeine, sugar, medications, toxins in personal care and cleaning products, drugs, alcohol, inflammatory foods, antibiotics, and sleep deprivation. There are also ways to help deal with stress through meditation, massage, yoga, tai chi

and acupuncture.

Avoid hand sanitizers

Wash your hands with pure soap and water. I do not recommend hand sanitizers or wipes as these typically contain chemicals. Carry a natural soap in your bag or brief case for use at work or out and about. Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure, filtered water on a daily basis for hydration. Try not to purchase bottled water in plastic bottles as it contains xenoestrogens that can increase the risk of certain cancers and contribute to numerous health issues. Glass jars such a Mason jars are a good option as are “covered” glass bottles or even bottle “cozies.” Grapefruit seed extract has antibacterial properties that can aid in common cold symptoms. When purchasing GSE, look for a reputable company as additives are sometimes hidden inside. The powerful oil of oregano is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, and should be used on a shortterm basis only. This oil is very potent and longterm use can cause irritation to the lining of the stomach. This oil is to be

used with caution if you have high blood pressure. If you have any questions, consult your health care provider. If you do not tolerate oregano oil, you can substitute with olive leaf. Herbal tinctures that include echinacea, golden seal, astragalus, and elderberry each boost the immune system, but can be even better when combined. Again, consult your health care provider if you have questions. A very simple and feel-good immune booster is dry brushing. The best time to do this is right before showering, once to twice daily. Dry brushing helps to stimulate and cleanse toxins from the lymphatic system, removes dead skin layers, tones the muscles, helps digestion, removes cellulite, stimulates circulation, increases cell renewal, and promotes a healthy glow. Last but not least (and my favorite) consists of whole nutrient-dense foods. Eating clean foods including dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies, and whole unprocessed grains (quinoa, oats) will boost your immune system. Look for items with just one ingredient such as broccoli, spinach, and apple. When you look at an ingredient list, make sure there are no more than three to five ingredients. Avoid processed foods (anything that comes in a box) as these are typically non-nutrients. Greet your winter months with layers of comfy, skin-so-soft clothes, health, and, most of all, a smile! • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner. com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Winter Care Flu Busters Do I need a flu shot? How about a vaccine for shingles? Pneumonia? By Barbara Pierce


ow many times have you heard that you should get a flu shot? There’s good reason for the hype: Over the past few years, the vaccine has prevented millions from getting the flu. “You do need to get a flu shot each year,” said pharmacist David Goodman at Walgreens, New Hartford. New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the viruses. Everyone should get the flu vaccination, but it’s even more important for older people, recommends Goodman. An annual flu shot is the best way to reduce the chances of getting the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation: Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks — but those can be pretty miserable days while you’re knocked out of commission.

Some people can develop serious complications, like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections as a result of the flu. These complications can be life threatening. Even healthy children and young people can get serious complications. “I’ve seen my fair share of 26-year-olds, with no underlying illness, who suddenly can’t breathe, have a high fever, and must be put in the intensive care unit,” said an ER doctor online. The vaccine doesn’t guarantee 100 percent that you won’t get the flu, but experts agree that it’s far and away your best bet for bucking the flu. There’s a myth going around that getting the vaccination can give you the flu. “It’s impossible to get the flu as a result,” explained Goodman. “The vaccine is inactive, not alive.” An inactive virus can’t transmit infection. It takes a week or two to get protection from the vaccine. So people who get sick soon after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. But people assume


Your Doctor

By Patrician J. Malin

Otolaryngologist applies innovative treatment Continued from Page 4

Q.: What’s the most positive aspect of your job? A.: There are many positive aspects. The patients that we get to meet of all ages have so much to offer. It is rewarding if we can help them feel and function better through new technology, procedures or sometimes, just reassurance. Q.: How do you keep up with the latest advances in your specialty? A.: Medicine is rapidly evolving in every specialty, especially in otolaryngology. I always find hands-on Page 8

courses as well as a wealth of information from national meetings that we can incorporate into our practice. Q.: Since Utica is a small community, does it still take time for advances in medicine to reach physicians here compared to when you started your career? Or does using the Internet and posting on websites and blogs facilitate the use of new techniques and treatments, such as balloon aeration, sooner? A.: I believe the practice of medicine here in Utica is staying at the forefront of the constantly evolving

that the shot caused their illness. It definitely did not.

Easy access to shot

It’s easy to get a flu shot. You don’t even have to see your doctor. Most major drug stores now offer vaccinations without an appointment. So not only do you not have to see your doctor, you are going someplace that you’re probably going to anyway. Walgreen’s Pharmacy is open to get your flu shot; there are walk-ins and you don’t need an appointment. With most insurance, you won’t even have a co-pay. — Shingles: Shingles is a painful skin rash, caused by reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. Older people and those with a weakened immune system have the greatest risk of developing shingles. The itchy blisters it causes are extremely painful and can last two to four weeks. “You don’t want to get shingles,” one victim told NBC News. Almost one out of three people in the United States will develop new developments due to many dedicated medical professionals. Certainly the Internet expedites communications, not just between medical professionals but also among patients that are more educated about a particular issue or procedure. Q.: How has technology improved your specialty? What advances would you like to see that haven’t yet been invented or implemented? A.: Technology has made such a difference in so many ways. It is hard to describe in just a few sentences. It changed the diagnosis as well as treatment options in all the sub-specialties of otolaryngology. There is now earlier detection of tumors, and more conservative management in terms of sparing more of the normal function and expediting recovery. Utilizing minimally invasive techniques such as the Eustachian tube dilation allows patients to feel better and be more productive sooner. There is so much more to be done, especially in head and neck cancer treatment and prevention, chronic ear disease and chronic sinusitis.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

shingles during their lifetime, half of those over 85. People have described pain from shingles as excruciating, aching, burning, and stabbing, compared to the pain of childbirth or kidney stones. This pain can cause depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and loss of appetite. It can interfere with daily activities like dressing, bathing, eating, cooking, and shopping. Shingles can lead to eye complications that can result in vision loss. In the past, the shingles vaccine was recommended for anyone over 60. Recently, the CDC has changed this, and now recommends that anyone over 50 be vaccinated against shingles. A new vaccine to prevent the shingles, Shingrix, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It is far more effective than the vaccine now in use; it reduces the risk of shingles by 97 percent. The current vaccine reduces the risk by 51 percent. Shingrix has yet to be released for use by the public, said Goodman. Watch for it to be available soon. — Pneumonia: Pneumonia needlessly affects millions of people each year. It can often be prevented — lower your risk of getting pneumonia with vaccines. The CDC recommends that instead of just a single dose of PPSV23, everyone aged 65 and over should also get a shot of PCV13. If you’ve never gotten a pneumonia shot, get a dose of PCV13 first, and then get a dose of PPSV23 six to 12 months later. Only a single dose of each vaccine is needed. Those who have already been vaccinated with PPSV23 can get PCV13 later, as long as it’s been at least a year since the PPSV23 vaccination. When it comes to preventing pneumonia, the bottom line for older individuals is clear: Get vaccinated twice.

Health Briefs MVHS to host blood drive at the St. Luke’s Campus on Dec. 5


he Mohawk Valley Health System will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 5 in Allen-Calder Conference Rooms 3, 4 and 5 at the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., Utica. Donors are asked to enter through Allen-Calder Entrance 7 at the back of the campus. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day in the United States, but only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. Just one donor can help save or sustain up to three lives. For more information or to make an appointment, call 315-624-8259. You can also register online prior to the event at www.redcrossblood. org, or the day of the event at www. redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.


• Free Hearing Screenings* • Free Demonstrations • Free Clean & Checks • Latest Hearing Technology • Tinnitus Relief • 0% Financing Available

™ We Have 10 Convenient Locations In This Area! Auburn 315-840-0511

Cicero 315-752-6290

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Norwich 607-333-9090

Oneida 315-367-2121

Oneonta 607-353-8055

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*This information is intended for the sole purpose of fitting or selecting a hearing aid and is not a medical examination or audiological evaluation.

Winning at Relationships Follow this advice and build a happier, healthier bond By Barbara Pierce

Married at First Sight” is an absurdly popular reality show where singles agree to marry a stranger. Matched by a panel of experts, they meet for the first time at the altar as they are married. The problems they face in creating their relationships are the focus of the show. Wellknown relationship expert Dr. Passero Pepper Schwartz educates, advises, and supports the couples as they stumble along. She shares her best relationship tips online and we share them here. We stumbled on a knowledgeable local expert, Denise Passero, 62, of Amsterdam. She is an expert as she has been happily married to her husband for 33 years. The adjunct professor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College shared her opinions on Schwartz’ tips and offered those of her own. • Don’t be stingy with the positives, says Schwartz. “You can’t give too much affection. But too many couples dole it out like it’s a scarce

commodity.” “Compliments will make him feel good,” agrees Passero. “They should be genuine and from your heart. And they should be often.” Compliments are like magnets; they create more of the behaviors you want. Look for things to be positive about, she adds. Little things, like, “Thanks for picking up the milk on your way home,” or, “I really like that you took out the garbage, thanks!” No matter how busy, tired or overwhelmed you feel, there’s plenty of time for little remarks, affectionate remarks, approval remarks — and these can change the environment says Schwartz. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Take positive approach

• Emphasizing your partner’s negatives can simply make those negatives stronger, says Schwartz. For example, “You say to your partner, ‘You’re a playboy. You just don’t want to settle down. You weren’t serious about this marriage,’” says Schwartz. “Yet you desperately want your partner to be serious, and to be in love with you, but you’re so frightened that you accuse them of these things, some of which the person denies. You keep pressing it until you’re teaching the other person to

think about themselves that way.” “We think of negativity as an emotional disease on the order of cancer. It is pervasively destructive and ultimately kills the relationship,” says relationship expert Dr. Harville Hendrix online. • Be supportive of him, says Passero. “Offer him help with things he’s doing. Don’t be afraid to get out there and get your hands dirty. Become involved in the things he’s interested in, even if it’s something that you’re not interested in,” she added. • Treat your partner like you would like to be treated, she adds. She and her husband follow the Bible and its teachings on marriage, such as being gracious in speech and treating the other like you would like to be treated, making their marriage a place where both can be fulfilled and happy. • Commit yourself to showing as much love as often as you can, says Schwartz. “It can’t protect you from everything, but when people feel truly loved from someone they respect, it makes it likely the relationship will go the distance.” • Ask for his help. “Make him feel you need him,” says Passero. “Let him know he’s an important part of your life. Or, he’ll ask, ‘Why am I here in this relationship?’” Men like to solve problems and fix things. When a man helps a

December 2017 •

woman, shows off his abilities to her and gets thanked for it, he feels good about the whole thing. He feels more powerful and happy. Don’t expect him to read your mind. Say what you want, clearly. Being in a relationship with a woman who wants him and needs him is every man’s fantasy, said one man. He feels like a man, he puts on his best behavior, and everyone wins. “Men like to feel needed, like they’re her knight in shining armor,” said another man. But at the same time, there’s a thin line between needing a man and being needy. Get this wrong, and you could do serious damage to the relationship. “Marriage is a union of two good forgivers,” Passero said. “I heard that somewhere and it is so true. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Being willing to forgive our mates and not take ourselves too seriously is so important.” Forgiveness, resilience, and a sense of humor also have to be part of the package. And, about married at first sight — don’t even think about it. To live with another person is hard at first; we do need the chemistry called love, lust, or whatever it is, to get us through the often-challenging transition period.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Mental Health

Flying Colors Expert: Colors affect mood By Barbara Pierce

Ever have a day when you just can’t figure out what to wear? Maybe you keep changing and nothing seems right?” asks Betty Ann Petkovsek. “The problem is what color you need to wear that day.” Color definitely affects us, said Petkovsek, owner of Silver Mist Connections in Little Falls. “There’s not a lot of scientific Petkovsek proof; I can’t really explain it, but it’s there. Color does affect us,” she said. “Color can affect your energy level. When we need a boost in one area, that’s the color we’re drawn to — you keep changing until you get to the color you need,” said Petkovsek. Generally, warm colors such as

red and its neighboring hues on the color spectrum are active, exciting. Cool colors such as light green, blue and violet are passive, calming. Red is the most energetic color, said Petkovsek. Red increases your energy level and is a great way to ignite action. Wear red when you need an energy boost, want to be assertive, or exude sexuality. If you need more action, wear red. Red is the color that catches the eye the most. It stands out from the crowd, which is why road signs, like stop signs, are red. If you’re going to give a talk or run a meeting, wear blue, Petkovsek recommends — even if it’s just a blue scarf or crystal. Blue is the color of the mind; it has a palpable calming effect and positively affects mental clarity. Blue is a dominant business color. Blue is the color of the sea and the sky. It is therefore associated with calmness, influence, honesty, cleanliness, and spirituality. Green is the easiest color on the eyes, making it the color of rest and

What if you could choose?

5 Days or 45 Days

relaxation. It connotes nature in our minds and mentally balances and reassures us. Yellow is associated with happiness, energy and togetherness; use it to boost confidence and enhance optimism. Yellow activates the anxiety portion of our brains so it can cause fighting or make babies cry. Orange, the hybrid of red and yellow, invokes associations with basic survival — like food, shelter and warmth. It’s also the “fun” color, full of life and energy. Purple is luxurious and inspiring. It inspires creativity and thought, leading to wealth and comfort. It is royal and velvety and makes you feel like you can achieve. Research on the psychology of color shows that we do respond to color; it affects us on a subconscious level. People see color before they see anything else; they make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds; up to 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone.

Color connotes warmth


Page 10

Pantone, which calls itself the “global color authority,” did interesting research, Petkovsek said. The workers in one of their offices, with pastel blue walls, continuously complained of being too cold, wore sweaters and layered clothing. When they repainted the room in a pastel pink, the sweaters came off and the complaints stopped. The temperature in the room had not changed. Color substantially influences what we purchase. Advertising executives know a product can be a hit or a flop based on the color of the packaging. Who would want to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle if they didn’t get the feeling that Harleys were rugged and cool? Pink wouldn’t work at all. McDonald’s high-energy colors of red and yellow appeal to children, kindle appetites and create a sense

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

of urgency. It might not be the same ridiculously big chain it is today without using red and yellow so effectively. Starbucks uses green as its primary color. Using green shows that Starbucks hopes to promote a sense of relaxation in their cafes, welcoming patrons to come in for a break during a stressful day. Colors affect people in different ways, Petkovsek said. Colors are processed though our sense of sight. What we see is perceived and transformed through our memories and experiences. One person may have a positive reaction to a certain color, another negative, because of their childhood experiences. There is also a relationship to culture, she added. Different cultures, different nationalities and the traditions of each affect how we perceive colors. Males are “doers,” she said; red is the action color and the basic color of male energy. Blue is the basic color of female energy — blue like water, flowing, nurturing. There is a duality here, as males are generally drawn to blue as their favorite color; females to red shades in the red spectrum. Using colors to dress and to decorate your home or office has a massive impact on you, from your productivity and energy levels to your creativity and overall happiness. There are several websites and books that give details. Betty Ann Petkovsek, Silver Mist Connections, can be reached at 315-717-3164 or see her website: silvermistconnections.com.

Correction In the September edition of Mohawk Valley In Good Health, the name of the owner of From the Heart Holistics in Utica was incorrect. The owner is Toni La Bella. The newspaper apologizes for the miscue.

Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Sexual harassment We are all potential victims of unwanted advances


urn on the news these days and you‘re sure to hear more allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men: Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, chef John Besh, and journalist Mark Halperin. And that’s just a few — it’s a depressingly long list. “We’re in the midst of a watershed moment as the drip-drop of non-stop allegaPierce tions turns into a tsunami,” said journalist Megyn Kelly on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today.” Kelly left Fox News in January after the drama of sexual harassment charges against ousted chief Roger Ailes. But it’s not just celebrities who are victims and perpetrators. It’s all of us, us ordinary women and men. “The big story here isn’t about Hollywood celebrities at all — it’s that for thousands of women, across income levels and industries, sexual harassment on the job is a pervasive and daunting threat,” said 9to5.org online. Sexual harassment is a major problem for women all across the world. It affects both men and women, though women bring the most allegations. The effects range from uncomfortable to devastating and profound. They can jeopardize one’s emotional and physical health. They can endanger personal relationships. They can cause significant stress and anxiety that may lead to health issues, like loss of appetite, headaches, weight changes, and sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances can lead to other serious health problems. In addition to health problems, sexual harassment frequently leads to financial challenges — lost wages and unpaid leave. The career of some victims may be adversely impacted, as they cannot get references if they leave their current position to avoid a hostile work environment. By law, every employee in New York is entitled to a working environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. New York state statutes state that sexual harassment in the form of a “hostile environment” consists of words, signs, jokes, intimidation or physical violence of a sexual nature, of which are directed at an individu-

al because of that individual’s sex. Also, harassment takes the form of any unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit statements, or sexually discriminatory remarks that are offensive, which cause discomfort or humiliation, or interfere with the recipient’s job performance.

Employer may be liable

The burden of preventing sexual harassment rests on the employer. Employers are responsible for providing a work environment that is free of harassment. Employers are required by law to prevent and deal with harassment. If the employer has not taken steps to prevent and deal with harassment, the employer may be liable for any harassment. What should you do if you experience sexual harassment? Don’t take it. If you think an individual or group is sexually harassing you, don’t accept it as a joke. Don’t encourage the harasser by smiling, laughing at his or her jokes, or flirting back. Let him or her know that you do not want this attention. Experts recommend: — If possible, tell the harasser that the behavior affects you negatively. If possible, tell the harasser what behaviors you find offensive. “‘No’ is an option to you,” advises Kelly. “You can say ‘no’ and walk out. You are in the right.” — Write it down: Write down the incident in as much detail as possible. Leave out your feelings or judgment. Just write the facts, dates, times, and witnesses. Keep this outside of your workplace. — Consider writing a letter to the harasser; keep a copy. — Check your company policies. Most employee manuals have procedures for reporting harassment. Follow them closely. If you feel that reporting the incident to the person indicated is going to be a problem — for example, you’re supposed to report to your supervisor when he is the one harassing you — find a senior ally in the company who can help you get your message to the right people. “Even if HR is a real option, it doesn’t always go your way,” said Kelly. “If you take a shot at the king, you better kill him. You’ve heard that saying. If you don’t win this showdown, you know what’s going to happen to you.” — Contact the Civil Rights Bureau, NY State Attorney General’s Office, at (800) 771-7755 or civil. rights@ag.ny.gov. — Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the federal government. You have 45

days from the event to seek help and advice from the EEOC. — Consider seeking counsel, even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit. This might help you understand how the law is on your side and help coach you to find a resolution. “It takes guts,” said Kelly about

those who are now coming forward. “It takes a lot of guts.” Retaliation for making a complaint about sexual harassment is prohibited by law. If it does occurs, you may have a separate claim of retaliation in addition to any claim of sexual harassment.

• Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, “When You Come to the Edge: Aging” or if you have questions for her, contact her Raymond Alessandrini, OTR/L, CLT at barbarapierce06@yahoo.com.




505 Roberts Street, Utica NY 13502 | 315-790-5392 | Interiawellnesscenter.com

December 2017 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11

By Jim Miller

Assistance dogs provide help, love

s d i K Corner

What really works to fight a stubborn cough?


f you’re looking for a cough remedy this cold season, you might be out of luck. Nothing has been proven to work that well, according to a new report from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). After reviewing clinical trials testing everything from cough syrups to zinc, an ACCP panel came to some less-than-positive conclusions: Overthe-counter medicines — including cold and cough products and anti-inflammatory painkillers — cannot be recommended. Nor is there evidence supporting most home remedies — though, the group says, honey is worth a shot for

Health Briefs Folts Home names nursing director Kathryn Fell has joined the staff at Folts Home in Herkimer as director of nursing. She is a graduate of the Community General nurse practitioner program and Syracuse University. Fell has been a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner for more than 25 years and is wound care-certified and hyperbaric-certified as well. Fell Fell has worked as an NP for a vascular surgery and cardiology practice and has worked in the Binghamton, Cortland, Syracuse and Cooperstown areas. Folts Home is a 163-bed skilled nursing facility nestled in the historic village of Herkimer. Page 12

kids. Every season, most people probably battle at least one cold-induced cough, said report author, physician Mark Malesker. And they apparently want relief. In 2015, Americans spent more than $9.5 billion on over-the-counter cold/ cough/allergy remedies, according to the report. “But if you look at the evidence, it really doesn’t support using those products,” said Malesker, a professor at Creighton University in Omaha. Unfortunately, he said, there have been no big advances made since 2006 — the last time the chest physicians issued guidelines on treating cold-related cough. So what do you do when a hacking cough keeps you up all night? A couple of studies have found that honey may bring some relief to children age 1 and up. (Honey should not, however, be given to babies younger than 1 year, the physicians’ group says.) There was also “weak evidence” that zinc lozenges might help ease adults’ coughing — but it wasn’t enough to recommend them, according to the report. Plus, it says, zinc can have side effects, including a bad taste in the mouth, stomach cramps and vomiting. What about storied home remedies, like Grandma’s chicken soup or neti pots for nasal irrigation? There’s no strong evidence for them, either, the review found. On the other hand, Malesker said, if your favorite tea or soup makes you feel better, use it. “It’s very frustrating that we haven’t found a good way to address this,” said David Beuther, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, a Denver hospital that specializes in respiratory diseases. A simple cold-related cough is generally something healthy people can wait out - but it can be miserable, Beuther pointed out.

Dear Savvy Senior:

negotiating traffic and more.

What can you tell me about assistance dogs for people with disabilities? My sister, who’s 58, has multiple sclerosis and I’m wondering if an assistance dog could help make her life a little easier.

For those who are deaf or hearing impaired, hearing dogs can alert their owner to specific sounds such as ringing telephones, doorbells, alarm clocks, microwave or oven timers, smoke alarms, approaching sirens, crying babies or when someone calls out their name.

Inquiring Sister Dear Inquiring, For people with disabilities and even medical conditions, assistance dogs can be fantastic help, not to mention they provide great companionship and an invaluable sense of security. Here’s what you and your sister should know. While most people are familiar with guide dogs that help people who are blind or visually impaired, there are also a variety of assistance dogs trained to help people with physical disabilities, hearing loss and various medical conditions. Unlike most pets, assistance dogs are highly trained canine specialists — often golden and labrador retrievers, and German shepherds — that know approximately 40 to 50 commands, are amazingly well-behaved and calm, and are permitted to go anywhere the public is allowed. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of assistance dogs and what they can help with.

Service dogs

These dogs are specially trained to help people with physical disabilities due to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, chronic arthritis and many other disabling conditions. They help by performing tasks their owner cannot do or has trouble doing, like carrying or retrieving items, picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, assisting with dressing and undressing, helping with balance, household chores and more.

Guide dogs

For the blind and visually impaired, guide dogs help their owner get around safely by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps,

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

Hearing dogs

Seizure alert/response dogs

For people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders, these dogs can recognize the signs that their owner is going to have a seizure, and provide them with advance warning, so he or she can get to a safe place or take medication to prevent the seizure or lessen its severity. They are also trained to retrieve medications and use a pre-programmed phone to call for help. These dogs can also be trained to help people with diabetes, panic attacks and various other conditions.

Finding a Dog

If your sister is interested in getting a service dog, contact some assistance dog training programs. To find them, Assistance Dogs International provides a listing of around 65 U.S. programs on its website, which you can access at AssistanceDogsInternational.org. After you locate a few, you’ll need to either visit the website or call them to find out the types of training dogs they offer, the areas they serve, if they have a waiting list, and what upfront costs will be involved. Some groups offer dogs for free, some ask for donations and some charge thousands of dollars. To get an assistance dog, your sister will need to show proof of her disability, which her physician can provide, and she’ll have to complete an application and go through an interview process. She will also need to go and stay at the training facility for a week or two so she can get familiar with her dog and get training on how to handle it. It’s also important to understand that assistance dogs are not for everybody. They require time, money, and care that your sister or some other friend or family member must be able and willing to provide. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.


The skinny on healthy eating

Pistachios do a heart good


very December, my husband and I get a gift tin of roasted pistachios from my aunt. No surprise, they’re gone in a day, what with the way we swarm and crack and devour the tasty kernels. Not too long ago, Auntie’s tin would have provided our pistachio fix for the year. But these days, December isn’t the only month we eat pistachios. Along with almonds, walnuts, cashews and other nuts, pistachios play an important role in our weekly diet — perhaps even a starring role. We frequently reach for pistachios because they’re so good for hearts. Numerous studies have shown that pistachios in particular can help reduce bad cholesterol and that the omega-3 fatty acids present in pistachios can help lower blood pressure and protect against abnormal heartbeat. What’s more, pistachios are rich in L-arginine, an essential amino acid that makes arteries more flexible and less susceptible to blood clots. On top of everything,

pistachios contain a decent amount of cholesterol-lowering fiber. If you’re worried that pistachios — and their high fat and calorie content — are bad news for health and weight, it’s time to refresh your thinking. Most of pistachios’ fat is good-for-you unsaturated fat; and, relative to other nuts, pistachios have fewer calories than most (about 160 per 50 kernels). According to a Harvard study, in fact, frequent nut eaters were less likely to gain weight. “Nuts are high in protein and fiber, which delays absorption and decreases hunger,” said physician Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Compared with other nuts, pistachios boast a roster of nutrients and are an especially good source of protein, vitamin B6, copper and manganese. And while pistachios may not pack the antioxidant punch of walnuts or pecans, they do dish out two antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin — that promote eye health.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Zesty Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

¾ cup shelled pistachios ¼ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (suggest panko) 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced in half, horizontally) ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ground coriander salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup chopped, roasted pistachios

Kneading relief

Working those knots and kinks out can prove beneficial By Kristen Raab


une into your body and notice if you have any discomfort. If you noticed tension or tightness in areas such as your back or neck, you might consider massage. The Mayo Clinic states that massage can lead to significant pain reduction, relieving muscle tension and reducing stress. Maeve Yourdon, licensed massage therapist, said massage does more than make a person feel relaxed. Blood Weaver pressure, heart rate and body temperature can all be lowered. In addition, levels of the stress hormone cortisol can be reduced. Blood flow is increased, and muscles, tendons and ligaments lengthen and relax. “Experts estimate that upwards of 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Nothing ages us faster, internally or externally, than high stress. Massage is an effective tool for managing this stress, which translates into decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy, improved concentration, increased circulation

and reduced fatigue,” sad Laura Weaver, licensed massage therapist. Yourdon has 10 years of training, a New York state license in massage therapy and certifications in lymph drainage, reflexology, rotator cuff, fibromyalgia, and pregnancy. Weaver has been an LMT for six years. Weaver has worked Scarafile Family Chiropractic in New Hartford for the last four years, and is “always excited” to go to work, she said. Weaver’s strong desire to help people initially led her to become a teacher of alternative medicine. After deciding she could help people in other ways, Weaver was accepted at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in Syracuse. “I don’t even view it as ‘work’ or a ‘job’ because it’s so much fun,” she said.

Who should get massages?

Yourdon says anyone can benefit from massage. “A person could have a massage that has an issue, maybe a shoulder that hurts, or back pain, and massage helps,” she said. Pain is not the only reason to get a massage though. “I have clients who are physically active and come in for maintenance to prevent injury,” she said. And still others get massages to be sure “they stay on top of their stress both physically and mentally,”

she added. People of any age can get a massage. “Technically, I even treat the unborn during pregnancy massage. I do abdominal massage during pregnancy, and yes, I have been kicked,” Weaver said. For women in the earlier stages of pregnancy, it can be difficult to find a massage therapist. Yourdon treats each client as an individual, and if “we reach an understanding, we sign paperwork and proceed,” she said. Weaver said massage helps pregnant women by reducing pain and swelling and can also reduce their labor times and hospital stays. She added it may reduce the visibility of cellulite and stretch marks due to improved circulation. For those who have an injury or unexplained pain, Yourdon recommends seeing a doctor before a massage therapist. In addition, “if there’s hot swelling, a deformity, or you are ever concerned, see a doctor,” she said. It is also important to allow some healing to take place when one is injured. A day or two will allow healing to begin if you have sprained your ankle, or participated in a marathon. “Your muscles will need to swell because lymph is going to the area to bring white blood cells to begin

December 2017 •

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil baking sheet (if using a baking rack, line sheet with foil and then lightly oil rack). Finely grind nuts in food processor. Add breadcrumbs and all the spices up to the chicken breasts and blend, using on/ off turns. Transfer mixture to a plate. Coat chicken with nut mixture (lightly pressing mixture into chicken), and place on prepared baking sheet or rack. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice into thin strips (if desired). While chicken is cooking, whisk together remaining ingredients for yogurt sauce; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken on a bed of fresh or sautéed greens; drizzle with sauce; garnish with chopped pistachios.

Helpful Tip Monitoring your weight? Sodium intake? Opt for unsalted pistachios in their shells (studies show you’ll eat less).

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

nist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

healing, and I don’t want to upset that process,” Yourdon said. Yourdon also recommends drinking a lot of fluids throughout the healing process. Weaver says, “Traumatic experiences, grief, anger, fear, these emotions and many more take up residence in your tissues, muscles and body and manifest themselves as pain and disease when they aren’t dealt with properly.” Therefore, while massage is good for physical relief, it is also helpful in dealing with emotional concerns.

Risks involved

The Mayo clinic says massage may be beneficial for most people. However, individuals with the following conditions should consult their physicians prior to booking a massage. — Bleeding disorders or taking blood-thinning medication — Burns or healing wounds — Deep vein thrombosis — Fractures — Severe osteoporosis — Severe thrombocytopenia While many of us might love to get weekly massages, such frequent visits might not be practical. “Two weeks is the ‘go-to’ for getting massages,” Yourdon says. At that point, most of the effects of the massage have worn off. Yourdon recognizes that schedule might not be cost effective. Her clients are more likely to come in once a month. “Most come for maintenance now. They have pain, but are in a place where they are good with that amount of time,” she said.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

Pauline’s Pieces

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Ways to wellness: acupuncture; infrared heat therapy

Many are ‘getting the point’ toward wellness (Editor’s note: The following is the third and final segment in a series on “Ways to Wellness.” The segment on infrared heat therapy is being repeated due to errors in the original presentation.)


hen I decided to start writing my “Ways To Wellness” series, acupuncture was one of the first topics on my list. Like many In Good Health readers, the most common thought that pops into my mind with acupuncture is needles. How are needles going to bring me a sense of wellness? This is why I needed to dive into some research first to see the ins and outs of this widely questioned DiGiorgio practice. Shana Kearney, licensed acupuncturist at From the Hearts Holistic in Utica, was ready to give me the ABCs when it came to acupuncture. Acupuncture stems from traditional Chinese medicine. It requires the use of sterile, disposable, onetime-use needles that are placed on the pressure points of one’s body. Each point is very specific and is designed to promote self-healing by balancing your body’s disharmony. There are many uses for acupuncture, but the most common are pain management (which Kearney specializes in), relieving stress and anxiety, and to treat a variety of acute

and chronic conditions. Below is a description of my first acupuncture experience! As I walked into the spa-like setting of From the Hearts Holistic, 2111 Genesee St., my body switched to relaxation mode. My acupuncturist, Kearney, had me fill out a health form to get to know me better and showed me the different treatment rooms along with introducing me to Toni La Bella, owner of From the Hearts Holistic. The treatment room was ocean blue with a calming lighting scheme and soft spa music. Kearney instructed me in advance to wear comfortable clothing, so there was no need to remove any for my treatment.

Balancing act

I was placed on the bed on top of a heated mat (which feels amazing on the lower back), with the softest blanket over my lower body. She explained to me that she would choose points to create a “balancing, relaxation and overall wellness” effect on my body. She customizes all treatments to the patients’ needs and wants, but I had stated no specific pain or problem. The pressure points she chose to insert the needles were in my legs, wrists, forehead and ears. She said these points promote circulation, blood flow and boost my immune system. Here are my honest thoughts of getting needles poked all over me: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but Kearney is so calming that she washed away any second thoughts of me running out of there,

Shana Kearney, right, licensed acupuncturist at From the Hearts Holistic in Utica, administers acupuncture to fitness sensation Pauline DiGiorgio. even after seeing needles close to my face. She reassured me the feeling of them being inserted was either a light pinch or a feeling of nothing at all. Let me tell you, I felt nothing at all. Kearney is very skilled, experienced and quick. As each needle went in, I felt a sensation of warmth and body balance. Going from right to left, she made sure to equal out the pressure points. So let’s break down what exactly is happening to the body during this time. There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the body, each carrying their own energy channel. Chinese doctors use the term “Qi” to describe the energy flows that pass through the channels. The belief of the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy is based on the needles correcting the “ Qi” imbalance (for instance, back pain). When the needle stimulates acupuncture points, it sends sensory neurons to the central nervous system. This causes the release of endorphins — a natural painkiller — and other neurotransmitters that modify nerve impulses. Your body’s

response is to numb pain, or if used for anxiety, the body will use the release of endorphins for the “feelgood” relaxed effect. I then was left alone briefly to lay back and relax. This is when I performed a body scan on myself, focused on some breathing and a bit of meditation. You do feel the needle in your muscles. It was such an interesting feeling. I could definitely understand the pain management aspect of acupuncture. This is ideal for people that have a strong mind-to-body connection or would like to start strengthening that important action. Mindfulness is so vital to understanding wellness within yourself. After about 20 minutes, the needles were taken out painlessly, and Kearney performed what she called moxa therapy on my stomach. The goal of moxibustion is to warm and promote healing to the area using a dried plant called mugwort. I had told Kearney that I’m often cold and that my stomach at times suffered from indigestion. This was such a neat therapy and I felt positive effects immediately.

Ways to wellness: infrared heat therapy By Pauline DiGiorgio


ome days — and I know I’m not alone — I want to shut off the outside world and disappear for an hour or two. Let me introduce you to a wellness hack that is sure to calm your inner stress-prone self, while helping recover those post-workout muscle aches. Saunas, hugely popular in Finland, have been commonly used since the 1950s. They are found mostly in gyms, spas and even in homes (those lucky ducks!). Saunas have amazing benefits with their main perk being detoxification as the steam and high heat make bathers perspire, sweating out toxins. As you loosen up, your muscles also release tension, allowing you to soothe the sore. When I ventured out to research the top 2017 wellness trends, infra-

Page 14

red saunas sparked my interest. It’s a new way to escape into a little box of solo heaven alone to detox. Infrared saunas are less common then the traditional “sweat your tush off” sauna, but with a few advantages. Infrared heat provides and acts like natural sunlight — in Central New York, it’s an unpredictable friend that shows up when it pleases — without any of the dangerous effects of solar radiation. Infrared heat lamps transmit invisible infrared light waves deep into your body, all the way to your muscles, nerves and bones. It heats the body normally, not using forced heat like the traditional sauna. You are basically sitting in a warm, happy place with rays of safe heating. It increases your blood circulation and will strengthen your cardiovascular system as your body increases sweat production to cool

itself off. That means your heart is pumping more blood, like the continuous effects of exercise. By enriching your blood with oxygen, you’ll feel more energetic rather than droopy, which I’ve experienced in the “hot box” after a gym session. Light therapy I believe works wonders. You’ve probably heard of ultraviolet light therapy boxes. Those babies can run you up to $100. Self-awareness, relaxation and “brain break time” are priceless. Infrared saunas stimulate neurogenesis, which encourages the growth of new brain cells and increases norepinephrine levels to support attention and focus. Basically after a 20-30 minute session, you’ll be feeling a lot more relief from whatever stressor was taking up your precious energy. I was excited to try The Rut organic salon in Whitesboro after hearing some great reviews. They have one of the area’s only infrared

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

saunas, so I booked myself a session and here is my experience. The kind employee presented me with a chart of different light-emitting diode therapy color choices to chose from, like an energizing red, healing green, or mental-inspiring yellow. I chose a mixture of relaxing blues. I wanted to use the session for a mid-day meditation, and I knew that color would work wonders. I then was led into the back room, was supplied with a fresh towel, and instructed on how to watch a monitor for a time countdown like a tanning bed. When I finished, I had a content, clean and satisfying presence that I held onto for the entire day.

• Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at ptlifts@gmail.com.

New downtown Utica hospital taking shape Continued from Page 3 from the New York State Department of Health. MVHS officials intend to file another CON to consolidate Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center into a single corporation. The exterior and interior design process will be ongoing into 2019, when groundbreaking is expected. MVHS officials hope the new hospital will be completed by 2021. “This new hospital will transform the health care our residents receive by giving them a state-of-theart facility, the highest level of medical technology and a team of doctors, specialists, surgeons and caregivers that will allow them to be adequately treated right here in the Mohawk Valley,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. One new element that was added

to the plan recently was the inclusion of a new and expanded Masonic Medical Research Laboratory. MVHS and MMRL announced a memorandum of understanding and proposed affiliation last January. The lab, which is located on the Masonic Community Home campus in east Utica, was founded in 1945. Since the 1960s, it has become world famous for its research into cardiac health, including cardiac arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, and in more recent years, electrophysiology, molecular genetics and stem cell biology. “This announcement brings us one step closer to a day when our researchers and MVHS clinicians will share common space that will foster collaboration and innovation,” said David Schneeweiss, MMRL board president. The Masonic lab would cost $1.4 million, but the lab will pay for construction and sign a lease to pay for maintenance, MVHS officials said.

AHA executive director steps down


he American Heart Association-American Stroke Association will soon have a new executive director in Utica. Former executive director Jennifer Balog is leaving the association to pursue continuing education. “Over the past four years, I have worked with such dedicated volunteers with a true passion for the mission and worked with such a talented staff,” said Balog. “Together, this community’s efforts have made a tremendous impact on our fight against

heart disease and stroke, which I am certain will continue.” In her four years with the AHA/ ASA, Balog has made significant contributions to the advancement of the association’s mission in the community, including growing the community impact grant program to fund local projects improving the health of the Greater Utica area, an increased focus on lifesaving hands-only CPR trainings, and revitalizing America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Weekend.

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The Social Ask Security Office

From the Social Security District Office


Is it Medicare or Medicaid?

lot of people have a difficult time understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs begin with the letter “M.” They’re both health insurance programs run by the government. People often ask questions about what Medicare and Medicaid are, what services they cover, and who administers the programs.


Let’s start with Medicare. Medicare is the national healthcare program for those aged 65 or older and the disabled. You pay for some Medicare expenses by paying the Medicare tax while you work. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the agency in charge of both Medicare and Medicaid, but you sign up for Medicare A (hospital) and Medicare B (medical) through Social Security. You can apply for Medicare online from the convenience of your home at the link on our website: www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/. If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you reach age 65 or are in the 25th month of receiving disability checks, we will enroll you automatically. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug) plans are available for purchase in the insurance marketplace. Social Security administers a program called Extra Help to help people with low income and low resources pay for premiums, co-pays,


Q: My daughter is 19 years old. In her senior year of high school, she had an accident that paralyzed her. It doesn’t look like she will be able to work in the near future, and since she has never worked she hasn’t paid Social Security taxes. Can Social Security still help her? A: Your daughter may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is a needs-based program paid for by general revenue taxes and run by Social Security. It helps provide monetary support to people who are disabled and who have not paid enough in Social Security taxes to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. To qualify for SSI, a person must be disabled, and have limited resources and income. For more information, visit our website and check out our publication, You May Be Able To Get SSI, at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

December 2017 •

and co-insurance costs for Part D plans. You can find out more about Extra Help and file for it at www. socialsecurity.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp. Each year, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publishes Medicare and You available online at its website at www. medicare.gov/medicare-and-you/ medicare-and-you.html. This publication is a user’s manual for Medicare.


Each state runs their own Medicaid program under guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicaid offers care for the most vulnerable among us. While it does not require paying taxes while working, it does have guidelines about how much income and resources you can have to qualify. Medicaid provides coverage for older people, people with disabilities, and some families with children. Each state has its own eligibility rules and decides which services to cover. The names of the Medicaid program may vary from state to state. You can read about each state’s Medicaid program at www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/ by-state/by-state.html. You can find each state’s Medicaid contact information at www.medicaid.gov/aboutus/contact-us/contact-state-page. html. Medicare and Medicaid are two of the major insurance programs that provide healthcare to the American public.

Q: I usually get my benefit payment on the third of the month. But what if the third falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday? Will my payment be late? A: Just the opposite. Your payment should arrive early. For example, if you usually get your payment on the third of a month, but it falls on a Saturday, we will make payments on the Friday prior to the due date. Find more information about the payment schedule for 2017 at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs/calendar. htm. Any time you don’t receive a payment, be sure to wait three days before calling to report it missing. To ensure that your benefits are going to the right place, create a my Social Security account. There, you can verify and update payment information without visiting your local office. Please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount to create your account.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health News Excellus BCBS names medical director Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has named Mew Kwan Chan-House as one of the company’s medical directors working in the Utica region. Chan-House, a licensed and board-certified pediatric physician, joined Excellus BCBS in April 2017. She has 12 years of clinical, administrative and teaching experience in both Chan-House hospital and private practice settings. In her new role, she is responsible for utilization, disease management and health care quality reviews. Prior to joining Excellus BCBS, Chan-House was medical director of pediatrics for Bassett Medical Group/A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, as well as medical director for the Oneonta City School District. Before that, she held the position of general pediatrician for Holyoke Pediatric Associates in Holyoke, Mass., and was a general pediatrician and partner with Riverbend Medical Group in Chicopee, Mass. Chan-House received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Albany. She is a graduate of the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine, and completed her pediatric residency at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass. Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, Chan-House is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Excellus BCBS earns top marks Excellus BlueCross BlueShield received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Excellus BCBS joins the ranks of 609 major businesses in the United States that also earned top marks this year. The 2018 CEI rated 947 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. Excellus BCBS’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a best place to work for LGBTQ equality. For more information on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei. Page 16

Senior Network Health transportation van gifted by MVHS volunteers The Faxton St. Luke’s Volunteer Association gifted $45,000 to purchase a new patient transport van for Senior Network Health. The van is used for transportation to and from medical appointments for individuals in the community who are supported by SNH services. SNH is a managed long-term health care plan for individuals who need assistance with day-to-day health maintenance and support activities. Members of the Mohawk Valley Health System volunteer board shown in front of the van are, from left, Elise Hereth, Nancy Randall, Craig Heuss, Jane Gwise and Pam Joswick. The money was raised by volunteers primarily through the volunteer-run gift shops at the Faxton and St. Luke’s campuses, along with commissions received from vendor sales.

FNP joins MVHS surgical office

Nurse Practitioners and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Steven Sickler has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group Surgical Office at the St. Luke’s Campus as a family nurse practitioner. Sickler earned his Master of Science in nursing, family nurse practitioner at SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica and his Bachelor of Science in nursing, pre-medical sciences, from Syracuse UniversiSickler ty at Utica College in Utica. He earned three Associate of Applied Science degrees: two from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica in nursing and paramedicine and one from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse in fire protection technology. He also earned a certificate in paramedicine from Herkimer County Community College in Herkimer. Prior to joining MVHS, Sickler was employed as a firefighter and paramedic at the City of Utica Fire Department, where he continues to work full time. He has also been employed as a nurse practitioner at the office of Dr. Scott Brehaut in Clinton; at the Stroke Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica; and as a FNP at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. Sickler is a member of the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association, the American Association of

NP joins MVHS New Hartford Medical Office Noreen Baynes recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as an adult nurse practitioner at the New Hartford Medical Office-Crossroads Plaza and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Baynes was employed at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Baynes Medical Center in New York City as a senior staff nurse on the cardio-thoracic step-down unit and as a nurse practitioner in the advanced heart failure/LVAD program. Baynes earned Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology-biology and nursing at SUNY Binghamton. She earned a Master of Science degree in adult/geriatric nurse practitioner, magna cum laude, at Hunter College Bellevue School of Nursing, City University of New York, New York City.

East Utica Medical Office gains FNP Arianna Giruzzi has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group at the East Utica Medical Office as a family nurse practitioner.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

She has privileges at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and has been employed at the St. Elizabeth campus as a registered nurse on the intensive care unit since 2013. Giruzzi has also been employed as a clinical instructor at the Utica College nursing department and at Faxton Giruzzi Urgent Care at the MVHS Faxton campus. Giruzzi earned her Master of Science degree in family nurse practitioner studies at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica and her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing sciences from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Ariz. She completed her associate’s degree in nursing from St. Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica. She is certified in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, basic life support, peritoneal dialysis and National Institutes of Health stroke care.

MVHS names HR business partner John A. Martin has been named human resources business partner for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, Martin is responsible for aligning business objectives with employees and management in designated sites and units. He will

Continued on Page 17

Health News Continued from Page 16

and Oneida County clinics and physicians’ offices in 2018 to support point-of-care screening of children. HealthNet has been working with Herkimer County Public Health, the Oneida County Health Department, and the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition to identify health care practices willing to accept placement of the LeadCare II Systems. Interested health care providers can call the HealthNet offices at 315-867-1576 to request more information.

also assess and anticipate human resources-related needs and communicate proactively with the human resources department and business management. Prior to joining MVHS, Martin served as vice president of human resources at Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica. Martin reMartin ceived his Bachelor of Science degree in business management and his Master of Business Administration at the University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.

LFH worker goes the extra mile

Nurse manager for surgical services named Jessica Gurdo has been named nurse manager for the operating room, cardiothoracic operating room, recovery room and central sterile department at the St. Elizabeth campus in Utica. Prior to her nurse manager role, Gurdo served Gurdo as the nurse clinician for the operating rooms, recovery rooms and central sterile departments at the Faxton and St. Luke’s campuses. Gurdo earned her Associate of Applied Science from St. Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in nursing from SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica.

SDMG names employee of quarter Janet Marcella is the employee of the fourth quarter for 2017 at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Harford. Marcella began her career with SDMG in January of 2000 after earning her licensed practical nurse degree at Mohawk Valley Community College. Since 2010, she Marcella has been a mainstay in the internal medicine practice of Dr. Thomas John. “Janet’s focus is always on the patients she cares for, often going the extra mile in times of need. She approaches even the most challenging situations with professionalism and a smile,” an SDMG spokesperson said.

MV IGH - Your health news now!

The Mohawk Valley Rotary Club is spearheading a community food drive to aid the less fortunate in the community this holiday season. Spearheading the effort are, from left, club president Cindy Bennett, Rocco Lamanna, Irving Mason, Salvation Army Captain John Wood, treasurer Travis Olivera, Michele Hummel, Joanna Marshall, secretary Elyse Enea Bellows and Bonny Brownrigg (holding sign).

Mohawk Valley Rotary Club conducts holiday food drive to feed less fortunate


he Mohawk Valley Rotary Club is organizing a community food drive in an effort to help alleviate hunger during the holiday season. Now through Dec. 12, the following locations will be accepting non-perishable food items on behalf of the Mohawk Valley Rotary Club during regular business hours: Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, Hummel’s Office Plus, Ilion Free Public Library, Frank J. Basloe Library in Herkimer, Frankfort Free Public Library, Frankfort village office, Sorrento’s Pizzeria, Salvatore’s Pizzeria, Franco’s

HealthNet: Lead testing units available Herkimer HealthNet has placed four LeadCare II units in health care facilities in Herkimer and Oneida counties this year thanks to a grant it received from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. LeadCare II is a new finger-prick lead testing unit that is a faster and less intrusive process for children and adults compared to the previous venous draw process. The finger prick method can be less painful than drawing blood from a vein in the arm, according to HealthNet. HealthNet placed the new LeadCare II units at Adirondack Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, 1 Oxford Road, New Hartford; Herkimer Fam-

Pizzeria, Mohawk Village Market, M&T Bank, NBT Bank, GPO Federal Credit Union, AmeriCU, Adirondack Bank, Moose River Coffee House, Kinney Drugs in Ilion, Berkshire Bank, and Melrose Supermarket. All donations will benefit Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army Food Banks serving Herkimer County. Monetary donations can be mailed to Mohawk Valley Rotary Club, P.O. Box 222, Herkimer. For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ MohawkValleyRotaryDistrict715. ily Nurse Practitioners, 237 E. Steele St., Herkimer; and Little Falls Hospital’s patient centered medical homes at 3085 Bridge St., Newport, and 9 Gibson St., Dolgeville. HealthNet is a partner with The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties in support of the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition. The coalition’s goal is aimed at eliminating childhood lead poisoning in the region by 2030. Early detection of lead poisoning in children is critical in identifying and providing needed support to children and families. Thanks to the $50,500 grant, HealthNet will be able to place three more LeadCare II Blood Level Testing Systems and start-up supplies in health care practices in Herkimer

December 2017 •

Barb Lyzenga, unit secretary/ emergency department team leader who has been with Little Falls Hospital for nearly 20 years, is the recipient of the 2017 third quarter “Going the Extra Mile” award. The GEM award recognizes staff for going above and beyond Lyzenga their typical job duties and making a significant difference by improving the quality of health for those they serve and exceeding LFH’s customer service standards for patients, clients, guests and co-workers. “Working in the emergency department can, at times, be stressful. Barb’s non-judgmental and positive attitude in high-stress situations is the reason she truly deserves the GEM award,” says fellow co-worker, Deb Richards.

NYSARC changes name to The Arc New York NYSARC, New York state’s largest nonprofit organization supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has changed its name to The Arc New York. It made the name change official at the organization’s recent fall annual meeting at the Saratoga Hilton. The Arc New York joins nearly 700 state and local chapters across the country who have chosen to brand with The Arc — the largest national community-based organization advocating for and supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. For the last 60 years, The Arc has staunchly advocated and achieved significant legislative victories that have improved the supports, services, and rights for people with disabilities. For more information, go to www.TheArcNY.org.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

Real men wear pink

Mohawk Valley community rallies in fight against breast cancer By Patricia J. Malin


hile October is breast cancer awareness month, women for decades have kept yearround awareness of a threat that can dismantle entire families. Today, women are scheduling mammograms, encouraging other women to get screenings, wearing pink, supporting causes and activities such as the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, or buying products that aid in the research and treatment of breast cancer. We always read the statistics and shudder. In 2017, about 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society, and we know women in the community or in our families who are affected. Apart from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women. Breast cancer was always all about “us” (women) and it seemed as if the other half of the population does not need to apply or pay attention. That message is changing. The American Cancer Society is now Elinskas reaching out to the other side and enlisting them in the battle to fight not just breast cancer in October, but to increase awareness of cancer that affects men, women, children and families — all of us. The Utica chapter of the ACS got on board with this inclusive message by organizing a “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign recently. It signed up a group of prominent local gentlemen to raise their voices while raising funds for breast cancer research. “Real Men doesn’t specifically raise funds for breast cancer in men, just breast cancer in general — which would also include men,” said Robert Elinskas, senior community development manager of the Northeast Region American Cancer Society Inc., based in Utica. “I think it helps empower men to be leaders in the fight against this disease which tends to overwhelmingly strike women.” Real Men Wear Pink set up an official website with details about the Mohawk Valley campaign, featuring biographies, photos and their personal reasons for committing to the cause. Elinskas commented, “I’ve known so many women (and men) who have had to face this disease, and I’m doing this in their honor and memory. Since I started working for the American Cancer Society nearly 23 years ago, I’ve come to know so many amazing survivors who have touched my life. “I’m looking forward to joining in on this special project to honor and remember all those I’ve known who have fought this disease,” Elinskas said. The Real Men Wear Pink web Page 18

page reported its fundraising results. Philip Urtz of Rome raised $1,545, followed by Jeff Oyer, a sales consultant at Steet Toyota ($1,400). Anthony Zee Donaldson raised $1,189, and Elinskas $915. Six employees of GPO Federal Credit Union raised $871, and a group of officers from the Utica Police Department chipped in $850. Bob Roth, co-owner with his wife, Cindy, of A. Vitullo men’s clothing store, raised $585. Steve McMurray, vice president and general manager at NewsChannel 2 (WKTV), raised $350. Steve Sloan, president of S.R. Sloan, Inc., a manufacturing company, raised $350. Sloan said on the website that he would wear pink every day in October and dedicate his time and efforts to raising awareness of breast cancer. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. gave $285. The Mohawk Valley Health System team contributed $2,301 during the Making Strides Walk in October.

Horrific disease

McMurray talked about how cancer claimed the lives of both of his parents. His mother, Eleanor Jane Knox (known as Jane), a teacher, was just 48 years old when she passed away in 1988 when McMurray was 14. “She had a mastectomy in 1983 (I was 10), and then was clean for three years until cancer reappeared in the fall of 1987,” he said. “Cancer McMurray returned in the other breast and had spread throughout from there. Her health precipitously declined in December and she died in early January. It was so fast. She had many doctor’s visits and appointments, but by late December it was apparent that nothing more could be done. It was so heartbreaking to watch. My dad was trying to be as much of a rock as he could be, but even he was unprepared for how quickly things occurred.” Then his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. He was cancer-free until late 2014 when doctors found spots on his pancreas. “By the time they found those, he had lost so much weight and was so weak, he was never in a condition to have a biopsy to affirm that he in fact had pancreatic cancer. Still, based on how much weight he lost and how fast, that was likely the culprit.” Because of his family history, McMurray, who is now in his mid-40s, said he gets routine cancer screenings and keeps up with research on cancer. “I know that great progress has been made, not only with mammograms, but treatments as well,” he said. Urtz explained how he got involved in Real Men Wear Pink because of his mother and grandmother.

Philip Urtz and his nephew, Kash Pohl, participate in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. “My grandmother, Nettie D’Arrigo, was a four-time survivor of breast cancer,” he said. “She is my hero and to be called a survivor of breast cancer is incredible, but to have survived it four different times is unbelievable.” She was first diagnosed in 1986 and died in 2006 at the age of 78. Her daughter, Karyn Urtz, Philip’s mother, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, but participated in the Making Strides Walk with other members of the family. “Doing this is the least I can do to show her my support,” Urtz said. “She is the strongest woman I know. She is handling it very well. I told her she will never do it alone. We will battle this together and come out on top.” Philip said his sister is closely monitoring her health and he also plans to get screened for cancer. The Making Strides Walk, he added, is for “all cancers.” Oyer of Utica lost his mother to colon cancer in 2005. He didn’t get involved in fundraising for cancer until this year, he said, after a friend and client approached him. He managed to raise close to $1,400. Nicholas Mayhew, president and

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

chief executive officer of GPO Federal Credit Union, led his squad and said he is fundraising to honor his parents who both died from cancer. Jeff Rowlands, manager of GPO Federal Credit Union’s Oneida branch, said his wife “is a proud seven-year survivor of breast cancer.” Joe Helmer said he has loved ones who have been affected by cancer. Helmer also raises money for the American Cancer Society by participating in No Shave November with other GPO employees, including Ibrahim Kajtezovic. Both of Kajtezovic’s parents died from cancer. Saphar Art and Matthew Smith are member service representatives for GPO Federal Credit Union and also lost family members to cancer. As an extra way to help cancer victims and encourage GPO members to contribute to Making Strides, Smith will be donating his hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Sloan said online that he is grateful several of his family members have survived breast cancer, including Liz, his wife of 28 years. Their sons, Peter and Jacob, and Jacob’s wife, Brianne, also joined in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign.



Continued from Page 2 Narcan kits will be available to those who are interested, while supplies last. Naloxone is a prescription medication that reverses an overdose by blocking heroin or other opioids in the brain for 30 to 90 minutes. The Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, provides certified alcohol and substance abuse treatment services. Ashlee Thompson, Community Recovery Center program director, and registered nurse Michelle Barrett will present the program, which is free and open to the public. Advance registration is preferred for planning purposes, but not required. Call the Community Recovery Center at 315-334-4701 to make a reservation or for more information. The Community Recovery Center is certified by the Department of Health to operate an opioid overdose prevention program. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Dec. 3

Twigs to honor docs at Tree of Lights event The Rome Hospital Twigs will hold the annual Tree of Lights ceremony in the lobby of the Rome Memorial Hospital on Dec. 3. The celebration will start at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the hospital where just prior to the treelighting, Rome Twigs will honor OB/GYNs Ankur Giustra Desai and Lauren Giustra for their years of service to Rome Memorial Hospital and the community. At 7 p.m., the honorees will flip the switch to light the Tree of Lights. For more than 20 years, Desai and Giustra have delivered patient-centered care at RMH, which has been recognized for safety, quality and low c-section rates. Desai As a result, the maternity department earned the Excellus BlueCross/ Blue Shield with the Blue Distinction+ for Maternity Care. The Tree of Lights has been an annual fundraiser for the volunteer organization since 1989. Var-Flex is underwriting the expenses of the Tree of Lights campaign. The Twigs will use proceeds to buy hospital equipment and support services at RMH. Last year’s

Tree of Lights campaign raised more than $11,500.

Dec. 6

Caregiver support group presentations set

Dec. 11

Support group to meet at Rome Memorial Hospital The brain aneurysm, AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and stroke support group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rome Memorial Hospital’s second-floor classroom. The group meets on the second Monday of every month. RMH is located at 1500 N. James St., Rome. For more information, call Deb Dunn at 315-533-6467 or email RomeNY@JoeNiekroFoundation.org.

Dec. 14

The Oneida County Office for the Aging and Continuing Care is hosting a caregiver support group presentation. Three senior centers will discuss their programs and provide information about their agencies — Ava Dorfman Senior Center, Rome; Parkway Center, Utica; and North Utica Community Center, Utica. The event will be held at the North Utica Community Center, 50 Riverside Drive, Utica. The center will provide tours. December’s caregiver support presentation will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 6. American Association of Retired Persons’ Associate State Director Laura J. Ehrich will speak on the topic of fraud, scams, and identity theft. Ehrich will also provide caregiver resources as well as the services and benefits AARP offers. For more information, contact 315-798-5456.

Laryngectomy support group to meet

Dec. 7

Family support group focuses on addiction

Parents bond to battle addiction A support group — Parents of Addicted Loved Ones — meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Canajoharie Fire House, 75 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie. The next meetings are Dec. 7 and Dec. 21. The support group is for parents with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. PAL is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of parents. For more information, visit www. palgroup.org or call PAL at 480-3004712.

Dec. 11

Support forum for patients, cancer survivors The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Cancer Center’s monthly support forum for patients and cancer survivors will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 11. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the Cancer Center’s fireplace lounge on the main floor of Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The forum, led by the Cancer Center’s social worker, offers support to anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5241.

The Laryngectomy Support Group will hold its monthly meeting at noon Dec. 14 in the Sister Regina Conference Room on the first floor of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center hospital building, 2209 Genesee St., Utica. The support group is sponsored by SEMC. Laryngectomy support group meetings are held at noon on the second Thursday of each month. A laryngectomy is the procedure to remove a person’s larynx and separates the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. The laryngectomee breathes through an opening in the neck, called a stoma. The public is welcome to attend. Those with questions can call the speech therapy department at 315801-4475.

Dec. 18

Families who are dealing with the problems of addiction can find help and information at a support group meeting from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 18 in the second floor classroom at Rome Memorial Hospital. The group meets the third Monday of each month and is free and open to everyone. Offered by the hospital’s Community Recovery Center, the support group provides an opportunity to discuss issues with others who are in the same situation. Certified by the New York State

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers alcohol and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, the center participates with most major insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. A sliding scale fee is available for self-pay clients. For more information about the support group or the Community Recovery Center, call 334-4701.

Dec. 20

Valley Health Services accepts syringes Valley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on Dec. 20. The service is available on the third Wednesday of every month. The waste must be in approved puncture-resistant containers available at local pharmacies and properly marked “biohazard.” The containers may be brought to the outpatient receptionist on the ground floor at VHS, who will contact the personnel responsible for medical waste disposal. VHS is located at 690 W. German St., Herkimer. Questions may be directed to Tammi King, infection control nurse, at 866-3330, ext. 2308.

Jan. 11

HealthNet to feature health and wellness series Herkimer County HealthNet is sponsoring a free health and wellness series open to anyone interested in living a healthier and balanced life. Crystal Hein, registered dietitian, will lead the series. The series will feature different topics from 5-6:30 p.m. each month at Herkimer Community College, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, room 295. Class topics will be: — Basics to weight loss, Jan. 11 — Inflammation and diet, Feb. 6 The seminars are open to all, but reservations are required. For more information or to register, call HCHN at 867-1552 or email Elyse Enea at eenea@herkimercounty. org.

Making a donation this year? First, check with Better Business Bureau


e all know to check with the Better Business Bureau before making a purchase, hiring for the home or buying a car, but did you know that you can check with BBB before you give to charities, too? BBB knows that people have concerns and wonder if an organization is legitimate before they give. BBB has verified information available to help you give with confidence. “BBB’s information isn’t just great for donors, it’s a valuable accountability tools for charities, too,” A BBB spokesperson said. BBB has 20 standards for charity accountability. Once a charity meets all 20 standards, it’s a BBB-accredited charity. The reports show how charities

December 2017 •

performed against the 20 standards for charity accountability. BBB’s charity reports show people how a charity raises money, how that money is spent and more. The evaluation process looks to ensure that the organization’s board of directors is providing adequate oversight and that it’s being truthful in fundraising, among other things. Each year, BBB publishes its “Upstate New York Giving Guide,” which highlights the evaluation conclusions of its charity reports. This year’s guide was recently released. For the guide, visit bbb.org/upstateny. All charity reviews are online at bbb.org or give.org. Information is also accessible by calling 1-800-8285000.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19


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357 Genesee Street, Oneida, NY | (315) 363-2123

Above and Beyond

‘Celebrating Life’ event honors those who give of themselves By Patricia J. Malin


hen Bob Biscombe first met Peg on the first day of their respective teaching careers at Camden Central School in 1966, it was virtually love at first sight. The couple has been side-by-side ever since, and expects to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next May. Over the last decade, however, the couple has arguably weathered more challenges to their wedding vows than in the previous decades combined. Peg, now 73, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006. “It’s been a journey,” said her husband as he stood next to his wife, who sat silently unaware at the dinner table. “It’s terrible. It affects her memory. It took her memory.” Though Peg depends totally on her husband, Biscombe is determined to keep Peg at home. His only respite is taking Peg to the Ava Dorfman Senior Center in Rome five days a week. It’s nearly 20 miles one way from their home in North Bay on the shore of Oneida Lake. “The 400 miles I travel is worth it,” he explained. “She’s far better home than in a nursing home.” Biscombe was named the winner of the Informal Caregiver Award during the Oneida County Office for the Aging and Continuing Care’s “Celebrating Life” dinner at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro recently. The Office of the Aging teamed with the Greater Mohawk Valley Community Elder Wellness Council, Inc. to honor local caregivers during National Family Caregiver Month. Melinda Ruiz nominated Biscombe, the primary caregiver for his wife. The award is given to an unpaid caregiver, a family member, friend or neighbor, who volunteers her or his time willingly to help an older person living at home. Biscombe talked fondly about how he met Peg initially, explaining that they were married two years after they first met. They taught at Camden for more than 30 years and Page 20

raised two children. Their children live out of state (one is in Wyoming), so he has little help in caring for his wife. She has four siblings, he added, but they are elderly, too. “I had no clue about [the award],” he said. “I’m humbled. I’m just doing the best I can.” Devotion comes in other forms, so caregiver awards were presented in two additional categories. Each of the categories and the recipients represents an essential support to the community and are the unsung heroes-heroines of the community, the Office of the Aging stated.

Standout citizens

Judy Galimo received the Community Volunteer Award, which is presented to someone who volunteers his or her time and is considered a community leader. Two people were honored with the Professional Caregiver Award: Joy Barry, director of nursing services at Colonial Park Rehabilitation & Galimo Nursing Center in Rome, and Jane Devecis, director of activities at The Presbyterian Home in New Hartford. Galimo sits on the board of directors of both the Abraham House and the ALS Foundation. She joined the ALS Foundation six years ago, she said, after her husband, Michael, lost his battle with what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A mother of three grown children, she works for the family business, LB Security. She was invited to join the board of Abraham House, a two-bed hospice facility in Utica. “I do whatever I can to help them in fundraising,” she said. The professional award is given to a paid health care professional who is employed in a hospital, nurs-

Bob Biscombe is a stalwart for his wife Peg, who is afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. ing facility or home care agency. The honoree is someone who colleagues believe provides exceptional care. While these are paid positions, professional caregivers in this category provide their care above and beyond the expectations of the job. Sarah Paparella nominated Barry because of her “dedication, fervor and compassion” for the residents at Colonial Park. Devecis The “Rose Garden Ensemble,” a group of musically minded volunteers including Rose Hosp, nominated Devecis, who has worked at The Presbyterian Home for 42 years. Although Devecis was a native Utican, she had lived in California before returning home to take a job as an activity aide at The Presbyterian Home in 1975. It helped that her husband had accepted a job at Mohawk Valley Community College at the same time.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2017

From merely assisting at first with planning activities for Presbyterian Home residents, Devecis soon became the activities director. She feels she has expanded the job and said she has no plans to retire. Devecis supervises a staff of six to meet the needs and requests of 239 residents, which includes some in the medical daycare unit. Among activities she has implemented are music therapy, allowing residents to keep pets (the home has a pet rabbit), and teaching seniors to use computers and iPods for email and Skype messaging with their families. “Baby Boomers are coming in now and they have high expectations for (using) technology,” she explained. One of the biggest changes she has seen over four decades is the trend toward more rehabilitation and shorter stays. “People are staying in their homes longer,” she noted. Many of today’s seniors are more physically active than earlier generations, so Devecis has organized bowling and basketball teams that play “friendly” matches versus residents from other nursing homes.

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