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EAGLES Men’s Health

UPDATE Prostate Cancer Low T Low Back Pain

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013




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w w w. s t y l e m a g a z i n e c o l o r a d o . c o m w w w. m e d i c a l a n d w e l l n e s s . c o m PUBLISHER Lydia Dody | MANAGING EDITOR Angeline Grenz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Scott Prosser SENIOR DESIGNER Lisa Gould DIGITAL DIRECTOR Austin Lamb | ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVES Jon Ainslie (970) 219-9226 Lydia Dody (970) 227-6400 David Knight (970) 619-9846 Saundra Skrove (970) 217-9932 OFFICE MANAGER/ABOUT TOWN EDITOR Ina Szwec | ACCOUNTING MANAGER Karla Vigil CIRCULATION MANAGER Trisha Milton COPY EDITOR Corey Radman PHOTOGRAPHER Marcus Edwards Photography CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Emily Hutto, Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, Corey Radman, Kay Rios, Brad Shannon, Carl Simmons, Tracee Sioux, Elissa A. Tivona, Michelle Venus AFFILIATIONS Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce Greeley Chamber of Commerce 2013 STYLE MAGAZINES January-Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness Magazine and McKee Medical Center & North Colorado Medical Center Medical Directory February-Style March-Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness April-Style May-Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness June-Style July-Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness Magazine and University of Colorado Health Medical Directory August-Style September-Women’s Health & Breast Cancer October-Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness November/December-Holiday Style Style Media and Design, Inc. magazines are free monthly publications direct-mailed to homes and businesses in Northern Colorado. Elsewhere, a one year subscription is $25/year and a two year subscription is $45/year. Free magazines are available at more than 275 locations throughout Northern Colorado. For ad rates, subscription information, change of address, or correspondence, contact: Style Media and Design Inc., 211 W. Myrtle St., Suite 200, Fort Collins, Colorado 80521. Phone (970) 2266400, ext. 208. Fax (970) 226-6427. E-Mail: ©2013 Style Media and Design Inc. All rights reserved. The entire contents of Style Magazine are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Style Media and Design Inc. is not responsible for unsolicited material. All manuscripts, artwork, and photography must be accompanied by a SASE. The views and opinions of any contributing writers are not necessarily those of Style Media & Design Inc.


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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



Lydia’s STYLE Magazine


Yesterday while I was on the bike at the gym.... I was reading the September Style magazine with excitement and before I even realized it, I had been on the bike for an hour! I wish I had a new Style magazine each and every time I was on the bike. Christina Salas, Ernest Health I am a faithful Style reader; I read each magazine. I want to thank you for the September issue that I really enjoyed. Reading the stories reminded me to do a breast self-exam and doing it, I discovered a lump. Thankfully, it did not turn out to be breast cancer! I appreciate what you do; you do some amazing things for our community. I loved the issue! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Pam Miller, Reader I’ve read Lydia’s Style ever since moving to Fort Collins 19 years ago. I love the magazine and I look forward to each issue and seeing all of the community members I know represented in the fashion shoots, the charity and social event pages, and in articles. I remember the first issue I ever read; I was amazed at the quality and the “glam factor” of the publication and it stood out from all the other regional publications. I think it’s fantastic that our city has such a beautiful, well-edited and high-quality magazine. Lydia is a fine example of entrepreneurship and her team continues to find ways of showcasing

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

what is happening in our area in ways that are meaningful. Thank you for all of the years of giving Fort Collins something to celebrate and a gorgeous representation of our very special region! Dawn Duncan President, Yellowbright, Inc. I always love Style Magazine. Thanks for such a wonderful read with all of the fashion and entertainment news. Lonna Miller THANK YOU FOR THE BREAST CANCER MAGAZINE

On behalf of the 2013 models and model committee I wanted to thank you for yet another successful and inspiring Breast Cancer and Woman’s Health Issue. I am sure the stories have already touched many. It was an honor and so much fun to watch the models bond this year thorough fittings, the magazine release party, and now preparations for the annual Gala. Everyone looked so great thanks to all the wonderful stylists and stores that donated their time and energy to the models. I truly hope this has been an experience they will remember forever – I know I will. Lydia, thanks for providing us a place to share our experience and most of all for letting us shine! Mary E. Rutledge Former Model and 2013 Model Committee Chair

I have had so many nice comments on being a model in the September issue of Style. People have said, “How is the Star?” “Loved your picture and story in the Style Magazine,” and made comments like, “You look beautiful in the new Lydia’s Style Magazine,” “Love your positive attitude,” and “You are an inspiration.” And, a sweet comment was, “I saw your picture at my doctor’s office and had to read the article… then the staff wanted to know which one you were and I got to tell them your story!” Thank you so much, Adrienne Justus Model, September Style Magazine When I went into Dr. Lisella’s office for my radiation treatment after the September Style was released, they greeted me calling me a celebrity! One of the techs had the magazine open to my story and asked for my autograph. Some of the other models had already autographed the copy of Style at the Radiation Oncology office. Fun and uplifting! Donna Geyer Model, September Style Magazine

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM READERS. SEND YOUR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS TO: Phone: 970.226.6400, ext.215 Fax: 970.226.6427



Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness

October 2013








ON THE COVER: Eagles defenseman Isaac Smeltzer helps you gain strength and add endurance with tips for your workout. Join Smeltzer and other Eagles players and see how they stay healthy on and off season. Cover photo courtesy of Diane Madden.

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From the Readers

Publisher’s Letter Testosterone Therapy: Helping Guys Get It Done To Screen or Not to Screen, Prostate Cancer Detection and Treatment Can I Have a Mo-Ment, Please?

Good News for the Weekend Warrior

Training with the Colorado Eagles

Eagles Season Takes Off

Local Physician Outpaces Marathons Columbine Commons Fills Need in Windsor Senior Housing and Services Options

Travel Options Tailored to Seniors Love Skiing? Then Get Ready the Right Way Get Fit/Give Back Events Calendar Family Focus: Workshop Helps Boys Becoming Men Vet Section: NoCO Loves Dogs Vet Section: Products for Your Pets Vet Section: Coping with the Loss of Your Pet

The articles in this issue of Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness are presented for your general knowledge and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.

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Staying Healthy, Fit and Strong I have to admit we were very excited about featuring our Colorado Eagles hockey team in this men’s health focused issue of Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness. I didn’t know until meeting with the Colorado Eagles that 51 percent of their ticket holders are women. But after meeting them at Miramont for their workout, I could definitely understand why many of their fans are women! We got to know a few the charming players off the ice while photographing their workout; I was impressed with their commitment to training and diet, and their desire to do whatever it took to play their very best. Did I also mention they are easy on the eyes? Strong, fit, nimble


and healthy. Great role models for our “Training With the Colorado Eagles” article and overview of off-ice workouts in “Working Out With the Colorado Eagles.” We might not all be elite athletes but numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity is one of the most important lifestyle preventatives of disease. Keeping muscles and core strong, staying fit and fine-tuning balance and flexibility will go a long way to keep you active, healthy and free of injuries. Unfortunately, many men pack their entire scope of physical activity into their weekends. These weekend warriors set themselves for ongoing, persistent low back pain. Without consistent conditioning and core strength training, overdoing it on the weekend can cause problems. Read “Good News For the Weekend Warrior” to learn ways to decrease the risk of back pain and treatment options if you already suffer from it. Speaking of fitness, I was very impressed and amazed learning about a local physician who challenges himself competing in adventure racing and endurance competitions. Not only does it include carrying your food and water, navigating skills to stay on course, enduring up to 36 hours in rough terrain, but can include repelling off a bridge or a building or enduring freezing weather. Read “Local Physician Outpaces Marathons” to get acquainted with this competitive internal medicine doctor and his passion. If your favorite winter activity is skiing, be sure you start preparing now. In “Love Skiing? Then Get Ready The Right Way” learn what Kelly Cole, personal trainer, says about conditioning to help with endurance, recovery and injury prevention to ski your very best. When speaking about men’s health two topics continue to surface. Low T is a reoccurring theme as men age and

start to experience fatigue, lack of drive and loss of muscle mass. Today there are a variety of successful treatment options. Read “Testosterone Therapy: Helping Guys Get it Done” to learn of various ways to address this concern. And, another common topic most men will have to face is issues with their prostate. Today there is currently some controversy as to what ought to be the proper screening protocol. Read “To Screen or Not to Screen Prostate Cancer Detection and Treatment” for local physician recommendations. Over the years I have watched with great admiration the expansion of Columbine Health Systems’ senior services. Bob Wilson founded this organization with a nursing facility in 1971 and has had the vision and foresight to expand it as the needs of our senior population have grown. Wilson and Yvonne Myers, Director, provide the seasoned leadership of this exceptional organization with the most recent addition being the Columbine Commons soon to open in Windsor. Read about their expansion into Windsor and about this new state-of-the-art senior facility. As our parents age, the decision whether they continue living at home or move into senior housing is often a topic of conversation. We have lots of wonderful options in our region. Read “Senior Housing and Services” to get acquainted with businesses whose focus is providing a variety of housing choices and in-home services that provide a high quality of life in later years. This issue is packed with lots of great information to help you stay informed about health and wellness topics. I hope you enjoy reading the many interesting articles that relate to staying healthy and keeping fit and injury free. Wishing you an active and healthy fall,

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



L o w Te s t o s t e r o n e




uys: Feeling tired? Losing your shape – and your drive? Especially for older men, the issue may be low testosterone. And therefore, maybe it’s time to consider testosterone therapy. “Testosterone is what drives men,” says Victor Palomares, PA-C, of Loveland Family Practice, Colorado Health Medical Group. “I’ve been doing testosterone therapy more than anything else for the last 20 years, and I enjoy doing it. Men are living longer, and therefore they also want to feel younger, longer.” “Treatment can provide significant


improvement in quality of life – energy, recovery time after exercise, exercise capability, body composition, improved muscle mass and decreased fat,” says Patrick Mallory, D.O., of Mallory Family Wellness in Loveland. “In addition, it improves libido and may improve erectile dysfunction, improves mood, and many men say it improves mental clarity and sleep. Also, longstanding low testosterone is also associated with osteoporosis, so testosterone treatment with either men or women will help improve bone mass.” However, he adds, “Treatment is optional; it’s not dangerous to not treat low testosterone.” There are a variety of treatment types available for those who wish to pursue testosterone

therapy. “It’s really personal preference,” says Cathy Robinson, PA-C, at Allura Skin, Laser and Wellness Clinic in Fort Collins. “The traditional method is injection, but that requires the patient to come in once every one or two weeks. Also, shots produce spikes in testosterone level, and so it goes up and down. We can also prescribe topical creams. The benefit to either of these is that they might be cheaper.” “What we prefer to use are subcutaneous pellets,” Robinson adds. “I’m biased, but I think the pellets are the best. Men only have to come in every five or six months. It’s a procedure where we numb you then insert the pellets in the subcutaneous fat between the skin and the

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Cathy Robinson, PA-C, Allura Skin, Laser and Wellness Clinic

muscle in the gluteal area. The body forms blood vessels around the pellet, and when you’re active you have more blood flowing over the pellet. The great thing about it is that it’s a consistent slow release, and doesn’t go through the liver, which makes it safer because it doesn’t interfere with your blood clotting factors, meaning you are not at higher risk for blood clots with this method and it actually lowers cholesterol.” Creams also don’t go through the liver, which is a good thing, she adds. Other possible therapies include gels and patches. However, Palomares points out, “the downside to patches is that some people have allergic reactions to the adhesives.” “Most people know that tablets can be dangerous because of their potential effects on the liver,” Dr. Mallory adds. “There’s only one we prescribe, the BLA (bio-available lymphatic absorption) tablet. We can also supply any other hormone in a tablet form. BLA tablets are absorbed differently from other tablets, which is why we only use these kind. They’re a great option for women, but don’t work as well for men.” As is probably already apparent, each therapy has its plusses and minuses, even aside from cost and convenience. “With creams, you have to be careful not to hug your wife and kids before it dries, because you can transfer it to them,” Palomares says. “With injection, there’s pain at the site of the injection; also, there’s the peaks and troughs of having testosterone injected into the body, because we’re giving you a bigger dose immediately and it takes a while to get into the bloodstream.” However, he adds, “the most common form used is injection; we get

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


Patrick Mallory, D.O., Mallory Family Wellness

much better results because we can monitor blood levels more closely; we know exactly the dosage they’re getting; and men say they see results faster.” As far as which therapy is right for men, Dr. Mallory says, “It’s primarily a personal choice, determined by lifestyle and cost. For example, topical forms have to be applied every day, and they can leave a residue on anyone they might have contact with. Hugging, especially kids and pets, can transfer the hormone and produce some adverse effects. On the other hand, some people are deathly afraid of needles and don’t want injection. Pellets are very convenient, as they get implanted by a brief procedure in the office, which requires no stitches. The tradeoff is that it’s the most expensive therapy.” Most therapies use a method called bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. “The word ‘bio-identical’ refers to the hormone prescribed; it means they’re identical to the hormones the body makes, versus using synthetic hormones,” Dr. Mallory says. “Almost all testosterone formulations are bio-identical; the one exception is injectable.” No matter what form of therapy is used, Dr. Mallory points out, “There are some risks or down sides. It can increase the concentration of red blood cells, which basically makes the blood thicker and can increase the chance of blood clots. In both men and women, testosterone can be converted into estrogen; if that happens to a significant degree, it can lead to growth of breasts in a man, as well as emotional changes. “It used to be thought, and still is by some, that testosterone can cause prostate cancer, but the conventional thinking now is that if prostate cancer already exists it can accelerate it, and rapidly,” Dr. Mallory adds. “Testosterone can


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Victor Palomares, PA-C, Loveland Family Practice, Colorado Health Medical Group

continue to grow the prostate; that’s not cancer, but it can cause a number of urinary symptoms. It’s rare, but it can also affect the liver. It can also cause testicular shrinkage and infertility; for many older men now facing low-t issues they don’t care about that, but with younger men it’s something we need to be careful about.” Because of all these possibilities, those undergoing testosterone therapy of any sort need to first be checked out, and then regularly monitored by a medical provider, Palomares says. “There are various blood tests we’d like to do to ensure the problem is only low testosterone, because feeling run down can be caused by the thyroid or anemia. We evaluate each man’s medical history, what medications he’s taking, his past injuries, whether he has diabetes or heart disease – all of which can contribute to sexual dysfunction or low testosterone. Ninety-five percent of patients who come to see me do so because of some form of sexual dysfunction. “Of course, testosterone therapy isn’t going to make you Superman,” Palomares adds. “It takes a while to get into your system and we need to monitor your progress.” In terms of how quickly that progress comes, he says, “In two weeks, most men start feeling more energy and sexual drive. After three months, their muscle mass really begins to increase, and their energy and sexual drive have increased even more. Guys feel they can get done what they want to get done.” For all these reasons and more, testosterone therapy may well be something guys want to get done – and sooner rather than later.

Carl Simmons is a freelance writer based in Loveland.

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



Prostate Cancer



rostate cancer screening recommendations have changed. It used to be that once men hit 50, their annual physicals included a digital rectal examination and blood tests for prostate specific antigen (PSA). Because their doctors said so. Period. The end. In May 2012, that discussion changed. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released an assessment of PSA use and determined that it wasn’t a helpful way to detect cancer, in part, because of its tendency to flag potential cancers where there were none. “Three out of four men with an elevated PSA will not have cancer,” says Tim Soper, M.D., urologist with Colorado Health Medical Group. That inherent weakness in the PSA blood test does not mean that Dr. Soper and his urologic


colleagues in the AUA (American Urologic Association) think the test should be abandoned. He elaborates, “Medicine is so different now than it was 15 years ago. It used to be this very paternal approach – ‘You will do this.’ And now, it’s not quite so black and white. Because of a lack of accuracy in how we screen for prostate cancer, because there is difficulty in determining worrisome versus more indolent cancers, and finally, because of the potential side effects of active treatment of prostate cancer, recent recommendations have changed.” The AUA is the national advocacy group representing the American Board of Urology. Their April 2013 response to the task force report was more measured in its approach to PSA screening. Board certified urologists and most other general practitioners follow their set of recommendations. For early detection of prostate cancer the

AUA recommends the following: • Men under age 40 should not be screened via PSA blood test. •

No routine screening for men aged 40-54 of average risk.

Men with first-degree relatives with prostate cancer or of African American decent are at higher risk for prostate cancer. They should individually discuss this screening with their physician.

Men aged 55-69 should weigh the benefits and risks with their physicians.

Men over 70 or with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years should not be screened.

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Curtis Crylen, M.D., Banner Health Clinic

Depending on how you read it, it is possible to assume one might never be screened, but that statement makes doctors nervous. Dr. Soper explains, “It’s important for men to have an informed discussion with their providers. The PSA should be used rationally – not abandoned completely. It’s part of an overall decision-making process.” The target group for possible screening, those men aged 55 to 69, are the ones who most need to have a discussion with their doctors. The benefit to screening is catching cancers in early, curable stages. However, the chance that a PSA test flags an elevated antigen level that isn’t cancer is large. An elevated level will likely require more invasive tests like biopsy, not to mention the stress of worrying that you might have cancer. Only one out of four elevated PSA levels will turn out to be cancerous, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Those odds are why the AUA recommends sharing the decision-making process between doctor and patient after informed discussion. It’s important. The dry statistics would seem to steer a person away from annual preventative screening. And yet, when asked if that man aged 55 to 69 were his brother, Dr. Soper responds unequivocally, “I’d tell him to get tested.” Curtis Crylen, M.D., is a urologist with Banner Health Clinic in Greeley and Loveland. He says, “One of the worries with the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation is they considered relatively older but long-term studies and didn’t take into account changes which we think are positive in last 10 to 15 years in terms of the way we screen, counsel and treat for prostate cancer.” In other words, they didn’t use all the facts. Dr. Crylen, like many other urologists, worries that the new recommendations for early detection screening will ultimately result in fewer cancers being caught soon enough to treat. He adds that in addition to the high-risk groups, men experiencing urinary symptoms like difficulty or pain urinating should see a doctor.

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

Tim Soper, M.D., Colorado Health Medical Group

He says, “There are no warning signs or symptoms of prostate cancer. That’s one of the reasons that we as urologists in the AUA feel strongly about continuing to screen. The PSA blood test is minimally invasive. It is easily administered and inexpensive. So it’s reasonable to pursue.” Paired with an annual digital examination (everyone’s favorite), the AUA suggests that this “modern PSA era” has resulted in an improvement in early detection and therefore an improvement in survival rates from prostate cancer. The number of people at present who are diagnosed with metastatic (incurable) cancer is now 75 percent lower than it was before the PSA screenings began. Since patients usually land in a urologist’s office after an elevated PSA level has shown up on a routine test, the biggest question directed to Drs. Soper and Crylen is, what happens after that test?


Treatment for prostate cancer doesn’t really get any less complicated than the initial screening discussions. It is a relatively slow moving cancer. Most men, if they live long enough, eventually develop prostate abnormalities. Those abnormalities often turn out to be cancerous. Much of the time, the risks of cancer treatment outweigh the potential benefits for a man over 70, especially if he has multiple other health problems (or co-morbidities). For men aged 55 to 69 who do face a positive prostate cancer diagnosis, the outlook is good. Much better than in days past. Robotic surgery is minimally invasive, reduces blood loss during surgery and improves recovery times. Radiation treatments are also becoming more and more precise every year. Dr. Crylen summarizes a typical course of treatment. “If the cancer is confined to the prostate, treatment would likely involve the removal of the entire prostate or radiation treatments to the prostate. There are some misconceptions about the invasive nature and likelihood of side effects of both of these treatments. Like many areas of science, there

has been significant progress even just recently.” Sometimes, the best choice is just to watch the problem. Dr. Soper explains, “Active surveillance is a very viable option that I think is going to be used more and more.” With active surveillance the patient and doctor keep on top of periodic testing, including biopsies of the prostate to see if it grows. “If the grade of the cancer is not high, if the amount of the cancer is not large, we monitor frequently. If the grade and volume of the cancer begin to change, we treat at that time. That’s a fairly new concept that a lot of men do quite well with.” By the time most men develop prostate cancer, their need for its main function, production of seminal fluid (which aids in fertility), is in the past. However, the quality of life functions that treatment can impact are huge. Regular continence and erectile function top the list of quality of life indicators for many men. The chances of having problems with erectile function post-surgery are between 35 and 50 percent. Irradiation treatments run the same basic risks, 25 to 50 percent will have problems that will require assistance, likely an oral medication like Viagra. The possibility of having significant continence problems or leakage of urine is 10 to 15 percent, post-surgery. “It’s important to understand that these things can be dealt with,” says Dr. Soper. “Problems with the prostate do not mean you’ll never get another erection or have urine constantly leaking down your leg.” The biggest factor that affects men’s health, say both the doctors, is men’s willingness to go to the doctor at all. Often men come in when it’s too late. Seeking regular care is a very healthy choice, one that may save your life. Whether you choose to screen for PSA or not, schedule a physical today.

Corey Radman is a National Press Women award winner and regular contributor to this magazine.



Prostate Cancer

to de-stigmatize male cancers like prostate and testicular cancer. Men shave completely on November 1 and then grow only a mustache for the next 30 days while raising awareness and money through the website. A sizeable 83.1 percent of Movember proceeds go directly to research. Last year’s U.S. campaign raised $21 million. Worldwide 2012 totals exceeded $147 million raised by 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (men and women who participated). Fort Collins mustacher, Ken Smith, is hoping to bring the campaign to Northern Colorado. “I thought it was an amazing effort, but what really sold me was Movember’s transparency.” A long-time Matthews House board member and professor at CSU, Smith appreciated Movember’s low overhead as well as their exclusive pledge to support collaborative research only. Higher learning institutions don’t always like to share their secrets, but if they want Movember money, they’re going to have to. “This brings results to me much quicker,” he says. You see, Smith isn’t just a philanthropic soul, he’s a prostate cancer survivor who is currently dealing with a second recurrence of the slow-growing cancer. It’s why this campaign is personal to him. It’s why he’s willing to talk about these deeply personal issues publicly. “There are some men who just don’t like to talk about any potential problems with their prostate. It sits at the heart of your manhood. That area of the body has everything in it. Some men would rather take their chances with prostate cancer than risk the side effects of prostate cancer treatment,” he says. But Smith is living proof that early detection and screening saves lives. In his case, early screening caught cancers twice. “My doctors have told me, I wouldn’t be standing here if not for the annual blood tests and digital screenings.”

Shave the Date!





world-wide, clever campaign you’ve probably never heard of is getting some traction in Northern Colorado. Linking mustaches with male-exclusive cancers is the genius of Australian Movember founders who initially just wanted to bring back the mustache trend. (Mo is Australian for mustache.) In its second year, 2004, founders linked mustaches to prostate cancer and were off and running. The first 30 participating mustaches in 2003 now exceed over 1 million worldwide campaign participants in 21 countries. The Movember campaign, much like early pink ribbon campaigns for breast cancer, seeks

In partnership with Scissors and Sinners Barbershop, Smith is hosting a Movember launch party on November 1. Smith’s team, FOCOMO, includes staff from Tony’s Bar, Washington’s Sports Bar, CSU Soccer Team, Old Town Fitness and several other organizations and businesses in town. All will be clean-shaven at the party and begin their 30 days of mustache growing and awareness spreading. Local breweries Funkwerks and Verboten Brewing are also planning special activities around the event. Smith says he hopes all the hoopla will get people talking about men’s health issues. “I won’t go so far as to offer free digital exams at the launch party,” he teases, “but I do hope people will become more aware.” Join Smith’s team (FOCOMO) or start your own at Corey Radman is a regular contributor to this magazine. Contact her at

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6028 Stallion Drive, Loveland, CO 80538

970-593-0999 •

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



Low Back Pain




aydreaming from a stuffy cubicle late on a workday afternoon, you imagine jumping on that mountain bike and heading for the trails at Lory State Park. Or maybe you’re anticipating the sweet satisfaction after a Saturday clearing out the dusty boxes and broken furniture accumulating in the garage. The only thing holding you back from making these plans into reality: persistent low back pain. Back specialists in Northern Colorado agree that you can make fantasies like these come true and avoid suffering low back pain for days or weeks afterwards. But you need to take a few smart precautions. Physical therapist Jason Ball, at the Berkana Rehabilitation Institute, describes the typical person who comes into a rehabilitation clinic complaining of low back pain as a “weekend warrior.” Ball says, “In general, [weekend warriors]


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are the people who participate in higher level physical tasks or activities a couple days per week but don’t have the time, means or motivation to ‘train’ for these activities during the week.” Without proper conditioning, they often lack sufficient strength, endurance and coordination in the hips, lower body, lower back and abdominals – the muscle groups commonly referred to as the core. Low back pain is a very common symptom for guys who overdo physically on the weekend after sitting all day Monday through Friday. In two days they want to tackle activities like landscaping, home remodeling, automobile repair and maybe add in cycling, running, golf or the occasional backyard athletic game. Others simply resolve to get back to regular exercise routines at the gym or regain former fitness levels after a long stretch of inactivity or sedentary work. In cases like these, Ball points out “the muscles and associated tissues atrophy and weaken because of a decreased level of activity and this results in an inability to withstand the types of loads placed on them during ‘weekend warrior’ activities.” It boils down to the simple fact that for most people during the day their core isn’t being challenged enough. “All of the core muscles and their associated connective tissues (tendons, ligaments and fascia) are involved to some degree in providing the required stability to the lower back. Lower back pain, as the most recent research has proven, is most often traced back to a deficiency in core strength and coordination,” explains Dr. Ball. To help weekend warriors avoid the unfortunate side effects of deskbound work lives and to maintain the musculoskeletal health of the back, specialists stress several simple measures. Core stabilization exercises top the list. Physical therapists recommend that men follow exercise routines that balance aerobic activity with strength training. Patients are encouraged to incorporate specific core exercises, inspired by programs like Pilates and yoga, into regular workouts. Websites like www.askmen. com offer top 10 core strengthening exercises, including how-to instructions for crunches, planks, windmills and others. Although not everyone will develop the coveted abdominal “six-pack” as a result, the odds of avoiding low back pain are much improved. Dr. Ball does advise individuals to work with a physical therapist for exercise routines specifically tailored to them that will offer optimal benefits. Robert Benz, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies, also stresses the importance of keeping muscles around the back and abdomen strong. He says, “I also encourage patients to maintain flexibility of their spine and hips, and keep their hamstring muscles stretched out. Performing a daily 10 minute core strengthening and stretching program can help a great deal.” Dr. Benz reflects, “There are many patients who come into my office with episodes of severe back pain [who] are surprised that these symptoms will usually resolve over a couple of weeks with anti-inflammatories and an exercise program. The tough part is convincing patients

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


Jason Ball, DPT, Berkana Rehabilitation Institute

to continue to do their exercises once they feel better.” Other sound measures to decrease risk of back pain include: not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and using good lifting techniques. And there’s one more: being mindful of posture, especially while sitting and working on the computer. Changing positions on a regular basis is an excellent antidote to long stretches of deskwork. A reasonable rule to follow is: If you’re sitting in a chair during the day, get up and move every 30 minutes, even if it’s just for a minute. In terms of treatment, Drs. Benz and Ball agree that exercise programs and anti-inflammatory agents are most effective, but they note complementary treatments like application of cold or hot packs, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, acupuncture and others that have resulted in benefits for some patients. “There is a great deal of variability in how well an individual responds to any one treatment and thus, if a patient is not improving with one treatment, it is reasonable to try something


else,” says Dr. Benz. Dr. Benz cautions that some cases of low back pain are the result of more serious conditions that may take longer to resolve. The majority of these are due to regular wear and tear on the spine that comes with aging. He says, “As we age our spines age with us. The discs, which are cushions between the front part of the vertebrae, tend to become less cushiony as we age.” In some cases these discs develop tears or bulges that may lead to pain. Also, small facet joints between vertebrae on the back of the spine can develop bone spurs as discs degenerate. He points out, “The more serious degeneration that occurs in our spines is genetically determined and thus there is no way [for some] to completely prevent back pain. I often jokingly tell patients they should have picked their parents more carefully.” Certain conditions, particularly in patients with pain down their legs that limits standing and walking, can be addressed surgically to improve recovery. Surgical procedures have proven most successful in carefully selected patients with a clear source of pain that impinges on the spinal

Robert Benz, M.D., Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies

nerves and who do not have other problems like depression, substance abuse, or diffuse pain complaints such as fibromyalgia. In most cases, back specialists opt for nonsurgical approaches first. Ultimately, patient goals are the primary motivators. Dr. Benz explains, “There are a myriad of non-surgical treatments including medications, braces, independent or physical therapy-guided exercises, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, yoga, Pilates and traction amongst others. I typically have patients work with physical therapy to develop an independent home program in order for patients to be empowered to manage their back pain.” The good news for weekend warriors: These programs work. Healthcare providers report dramatic pain reduction, often up to 50 percent, in any given patient, even patients who are post surgery, as a result of simple exercises over two to three weeks. Elissa Tivona is a freelance writer based in Fort Collins.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


Photo courtesy of John Babitz.




or team members of the Colorado Eagles, exercise and nutrition are a way of life. Being in shape means they will be less prone to injury, and most importantly perhaps, being in shape means they will play better hockey and get more ice time. Men who don’t play a sport for a living can learn a thing or two about nutrition and exercise from these hockey players; tips that will help the average Joe become an above average kind of weekend athlete.

Work out like a Colorado Eagle

When hockey season is in full-swing, the players live on what they call the “chicken and pasta” diet. With hours spent on the ice every week, they don’t spend much time in the gym, but when they do get a workout in they use it to maintain


their current fitness level. “You don’t want to push it too hard because you don’t want to be sore for a game,” says defenseman Jason Beatty. During off-season it’s a different story. Although most players take a brief break at the end of the season, they quickly move into a strict exercise and nutrition routine. Each player has individual fitness goals during the summer, but they all strive to be in the best shape possible going into the season. “Offseason I work out about six days a week. On Sunday, I usually take the day off of the gym and the diet,” says Teegan Moore, a forward. Some of the players, like Fort Collins native, Eagles forward A.J. Hau, spend the summers biking and hiking. Like many other players, Hau practices plyometrics, also known as jump training. This trains the feet and brain to react quickly, and helps with explosiveness, so necessary in the sport of hockey.


Eat like a Colorado Eagle

Nutrition is a big part of the players’ regimen, and while most of the players find a particular routine that works for them, Eagles trainer Chris Porowski recommends eating a varied diet and eating smaller portions more frequently. A good rule of thumb, he says, is to never skip breakfast and eat meals that are 60 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 10 percent fat. Defenseman Isaac Smeltzer’s favorite activity, outside of hockey, is grocery shopping. As an avid reader of food blogs and fan of the Food Network, Smeltzer spends a lot of time learning about food. His biggest nutrition tip is to start every day with two cups of water. “I’ve gotten into mixing a paleo diet with a lot of the superfoods like hemp hearts and chia seeds,” he says. “I love getting my protein from organic chicken and free range eggs, or things most people don’t think of, like quinoa.”

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Colorado Eagles 2012-2013 team photo.

Photo courtesy of Diane Madden.

While Smeltzer adheres to the six small meals a day system and is a big believer in vitamins and supplements, he admits that what works for him might not work for everyone, but he encourages people to research what they are putting in their bodies.

The takeaway for the average weekend warrior For men who aren’t professional athletes, there are good reasons to stay healthy, and quality of life is at the top of the chart. Porowski notes that most men exercise in order to facilitate the rest of their life outside of the gym. Some work out to prevent heart disease or weight gain, while others concentrate on staying active in order to play rec league soccer or to climb fourteeners. “Figure out your goal and tailor your workout program to that goal,” says Porowski. “Find things at the gym that augment those kinds of

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

activities that you like to do.” Staying injury free is important to everyone, and for the Colorado Eagles injury prevention is always top of mind. Having a strong core helps, but keeping your core strong isn’t as simple as throwing a few crunches into your workout. To specifically work your body’s core, it’s advisable to solicit the help of a certified personal trainer. These individuals can help you incorporate core-specific exercises into your workout routine, and can teach the correct form when performing these exercises. “You can work your core out during almost every workout,” says Hau. “It’s just a matter of keeping your core straight and tight.” Warm ups and cool downs are also a good way to prevent injury. Like a race car, our bodies don’t run well if they aren’t revved up. Cooling down after exercise is just as important. Abruptly ending a workout can lead to

Photo courtesy of Thomas Miller.

Photo courtesy of Diane Madden.

pain the next day, which may lead to skipping that day’s workout, and Porowski says this can become a vicious cycle. “If you jump on a bike for just 10 minute after your workout, that will definitely decrease the amount of delayed onset muscle soreness 48 hours post exercise,” he says. Hockey players might have different incentives for staying fit, but by applying their methods, an average person can enhance their overall health, fitness and state-of-mind. Find what works for you and stick with it. You may never play against Beatty or Moore, but you will certainly be around to play street hockey with your grandchildren.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is a freelance writer & the Mayor of, the place for information on Colorado festivals and travel.


working out with the

Eagles players are gearing up for their 2013-2014 season. That means plenty of time on the ice and in the gym getting ready for their first game on October 18 in California. While few people need to train as extensively as a professional sports team, working out with the Eagles players can give you an edge during your strength training regimen. Forwards Teegan Moore and A.J. Hau, and defensemen Isaac Smeltzer and Jason Beatty share with us some of their favorite workout moves for building strength on the ice. “These exercises will help you develop a lot of strength, more mass and increase your explosive power,” says Chris Porowski, the Eagles trainer since their inception in 2003. (Note: If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor or personal trainer before tackling a new workout.)

Teegan Moore Position: Forward Hometown: Thompson, Manitoba DOB: 1/3/86 Height/Weight: 5’11”, 212 lbs. Games played with Eagles: 35 Goals with Eagles: 7 Assists with Eagles: 12 Points with Eagles: 19 (7-12-19)

• Box Jump – Adding a little plyometrics into your strength training routine helps you to develop explosive power quickly. Porowski challenges, “A perfect squat has the shin and back parallel. You should stick the landing in this move in same position you started with.” • Stand with feet shoulder width apart at a comfortable distance from the box. When ready, drop quickly into a low squat, then push your feet through the floor to propel yourself onto the box, swinging arms in sync. Try to land lightly on feet and rise to standing position with control. Recover fully between jumps.

• Barbell Squat – A standard weight training exercise that works the quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. “Anyone who is trying to gain mass – this is the exercise for them,” says Porowski. • The key to a proper squat is control. When using a barbell, perform inside a squat rack for safety purposes. Place barbell on shoulders and keep feet should width apart with toes slightly externally rotated and face forward. Slowly lower body until the angle between the upper leg and calves is slightly less than 90 degrees. Raise bar as you exhale by pushing the floor with the heel of your foot until legs are straight again.

Jason Beatty Position: Defense Hometown: Sturgis, Saskatchewan D.O.B.: 2/20/83 Height/Weight: 6’1”, 224lbs. Games Played with Eagles: 402 Goals with Eagles: 22 Assists: with Eagles: 61 Points with Eagles: 83 (22-61-83) Penalty Min. with Eagles: 657

• Shoulder Press – This classic weight lifting move not only pumps up your deltoids, but it will also create hard abs by activating core muscles and help you increase your overall upper-body strength. • Stand with feet shoulder width apart or plant feet firmly on ground if performing move from an incline bench. Start with elbows bent and the bar or dumbbells at shoulder level. Press the bar overhead, squeezing shoulder blades together. At beginning of the move, shoulder blades should be squeezed together and then protract (move forward and apart) through the move. Do not lock elbows; keep them slightly bent throughout move. Return to start but do not allow the bar to touch your chest. Perform desired number of reps.


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• Power Clean – “This is similar to a squat and uses multiple muscle groups. Another great exercise for building mass.” This explosive move involves strength and power. Hamstrings are the main beneficiaries, but the move also engages calves, forearms, glutes, lower and middle back, quads, shoulders, triceps and traps. • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and toes pointing out slightly. Squat down and grasp bar firmly with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. With back flat or slightly arched and chest up, lift bar forcefully. As the bar passes the knees, thrust hips forward and continue to pull the arms as high as possible by shrugging your shoulders and keeping the bar as close to the body as possible. When the bar reaches maximum height pull your body under the bar and rotate your arms around and under the bar. Flex the hips into a quarter squat position at the same time. Once arms are under the bar, inhale, lift your elbows so that the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Catch the bar in a quarter squat, exhale and stand fully erect. Slowly reverse move and lower to the ground.

A.J. Hau Position: Forward Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado DOB: 2/28/86 Height/Weight: 6’0”, 185lbs. Games played: 85 Goals: 7 Assists: 10 Points: 17 (7-10-17)

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

Isaac Smeltzer Position: Defense Hometown: Estevan, Saskatchewan DOB: 5/30/87 Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210 lbs. Games played with the Eagles: 77 Goals with Eagles: 2 Assists with Eagles: 8 Points with Eagles: 10 (2-8-10) Penalty Minutes with Eagles: 143

• One-Legged Squat – A one legged squat is a great way to build strength and balance. Adding in the barbell creates a new dimension that also incorporates the upper body and core. “This is one of the best exercises, period, for any athlete,” according to Porowski. “You cannot do one-legged squats without engaging hips, gaining hip stability. This great for skiers, hockey players and runners too.” • In A.J.’s version, he uses a resistance band to tether his leg. The challenge of this exercise is to keep your balance. Starting in a lunge position, straighten, drawing up tethered leg with control to the front of the body. Slowly lower back to the lunge position. Repeat number of desired reps with first leg, then switch to other leg.

• Pull-Up – The payoff is worth the challenge when mastering the pull-up. This move works the latissimus dorsi, one of the largest muscles in the upper body. “Another all-time best exercise,” says Porowski. • Hang from a pull-up bar using an overhand grip that is just wider than shoulder width. Without moving your lower body, pull yourself as high as you can. Your chin should rise above the bar. Pause momentarily at the top, and lower the body until your arms are straight and repeat.



he Colorado Eagles were founded in 2003 as an expansion franchise in the Central Hockey League. The Eagles were successful in the CHL, winning two Ray Miron President’s Cups, three regular season titles, five conference titles and six division titles in eight seasons. Northern Colorado fans have wildly supported the Eagles, who play at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Photo courtesy of Diane Madden.


In 2011, the Colorado Eagles moved to the ECHL and were then assigned to the Western Conference’s Mountain division as part of the league realignment for the 2011-2012 ECHL season. After an early playoff exit in the first round against Idaho last year, many Eagles players have spent the summer with a bitter taste in their mouths. “I’ve been lucky enough to be here for two playoffs now and two first round exits, so that bitter taste is really growing. I’d love nothing more than to win a Kelly Cup here, especially for the fans,” says defenseman Isaac Smeltzer. “It would be a chance of a lifetime to experience something like that.” Smeltzer’s teammates echo his sentiments. The players feel that if they had beaten Idaho in the playoffs last year, the team would have gone deep. The overriding sentiment is to make it happen this year, and head coach Chris Stewart doesn’t shy away from talking about last year’s frustrating playoff exit, and their goal of winning the cup this year. “Coach Stewart says, ‘If you can’t openly talk

Welcoming Dr. Ross Barner and Dr. Craig Nerby

about it, how can you achieve it?’” says forward A.J. Hau. “The team goal is to get back to where we’ve always been and that’s to win our division and win our league and then win the championship and the cup. It’s everyone’s goal.” The newest additions to the team include Marc Cheverie and Luke Fulghum. Cheverie is a 6-foottwo, 185-pound goaltender who spent three season with the Pioneers at the University of Denver. Prior to joining the Pioneers, Cheverie was drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers. Luke Fulghum is a 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward who won two NCAA National Championships with the University of Denver in 2004 and 2005. In 482 professional games, Fulghum has racked up 468 points, including 233 goals. “The guys that we’ve signed are all really good players and they are really good people,” says Smeltzer. “I think character is a big core part of what Coach Stewart tries to bring here. If you have a tight locker room and a bunch of guys with good character – that goes a long way.” The Colorado Eagles season starts on October 18 in Bakersfield, California. Their season home opener is October 25, against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season, the Idaho Steelheads. The rest of the Eagles 2013-2014 schedule can be found at Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is a freelance writer and the Mayor of, the place for information on Colorado festivals and travel.

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Endurance Training




hile Phillip Rhoads, M.D., appreciated the rigors of marathons and triathlons, he needed just a bit more. He found it in adventure racing and endurance competitions. Adventure racing combines paddling in either a kayak or canoe and then on-foot through obstacle courses. “You use a map and compass to navigate your way through the course. The short ones are eight or nine hours and the longer ones can be up to 36 hours,” he says. “It’s usually a team of three or four people and typically coed. You do the course together.”

The Adventure Lover

Dr. Rhoads had competed in triathlons and wasn’t new to long runs. One day, in Little


Rock, Arkansas, he and his wife, Melissa, discovered adventure racing when they noticed people repelling off the side of a building. “I said ‘I want to do that someday.’ She said, ‘Let’s get our neighbors and do it.’” That’s exactly what they did and Dr. Rhoads found that something extra he was seeking. “Part of the fascination is the navigation part. I like using a compass, figuring out where you are, and if you get lost, you use the map to get back on course. You also get to see some incredible countryside. And I like the idea of all day, all night, and all day.” It’s rigorous, he admits. “You carry all your food and water.” There are some rest stops where participants can restock as they transfer from one discipline to another but teams are prepared in case those opportunities aren’t available. “You sometimes have to purify the water you find.” The courses are in different locations,


sometimes even in urban settings incorporating rope course settings. “You may have to repel off a bridge or a building to stay on course,” he says. Dr. Rhoads trains in each discipline: running, biking and paddling. “And I practice my navigation.” The competitions are usually held in the fall and spring but they can be any time throughout the year. “I’ve done them in freezing temperatures during winter months and in the heat of August. They’re held all over the world.” In the U.S., they are held all over the country but there seem to be more in the Midwest. “In Colorado, there are two or three races each year. We’ve done them in California, Texas and the Midwest.” Each one is unique, Dr. Rhoads says. “They are all tough for different reasons. But the Ozark Challenge is probably the toughest one.

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Dr. Phillip Rhoads, internal medicine doctor at Banner Health in Fort Collins, loves adventure racing in his spare time: rope courses, repelling buildings and bridges, navigating a map and generally racing across the countryside and through cities.

It’s 36 hours in rough terrain the whole time. We actually finished it in 25 hours.” It helps having a team that works well together. “I’ve got a great group I work with all the time.” Now 43, Dr. Rhoads has been in adventure competitions for eight years and has worked out his needs for the events. “It’s important to get enough calories and enough carbs. I found something that works for me. I need to consume a gram a minute (60 an hour) and some of that comes from a drink mix you can put in a Camelback. It has both carbs and proteins and, mixed with the water, it’s a good combination. There are studies on how water and protein together help you hydrate better.”

How to Get There

It’s important to individualize training and course needs for anyone wanting to compete in any area of endurance. “Talk to your doctor first if you’re just starting,” he advises. “Make sure you’re healthy and it’s safe to participate in that sport.” After that nod of approval, he says there’s more to do before jumping into the sport. “Educate yourself on things like your diet, the kind of equipment you need. Does your bike fit you well? Are your shoes appropriate? Does the equipment reduce the chance of injury? Come up with a training schedule.”

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

For anyone just beginning, he suggests starting slow and building an aerobic base. “It’s a mistake to do too much too soon. Start with 20 minutes a day two or three days a week and then every three weeks, increase that by five minutes. If you’re training, you can find websites that will help determine your target heart rate. They will also explain what zone is good for building your aerobic base and then how to move on to build your speed. It helps to know what heart rate to shoot for.” Altitude can make a different in heart rates and in hydration. “In altitude you’ll hit your target sooner.” Pay attention to your body, Dr. Rhoads says. “You have to be ready to adapt to injury and change your schedule. And measure your progress: How long does it take to ride 20 miles now and how long two weeks from now?” Having partners is a plus, he adds. “Finding people with like interests helps because it gives you someone to keep you accountable when you train. Those same people can also keep you company.” Dr. Rhoads has maintained his team even in the move from his home in Arkansas to Colorado. He earned his medical degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock where he completed his internship and internal medicine/pediatrics residency. “I was looking for job changes and this opportunity opened up.” He joined Banner Health at the new location in Fort Collins, 702-A West Drake. The building opened September 9 with three doctors, two in family medicine and Dr. Rhoads in pediatrics and internal medicine. The building currently houses offices, a lab and X-ray. Plans are in place for an additional two doctors and other providers. Dr. Rhoads is happy with his choice both in Banner and also in Fort Collins. “We always liked this area and there are plenty of opportunities to compete.” He recently competed in Buena Vista and found the challenge at altitude. “My training was done in Arkansas and Fort Collins and then I competed at 8,000 feet. I dried out a lot faster.” But, as the saying goes, when the going gets tough… “Training gets you so far and can make you faster but, when you get in a tough spot, you just have to embrace the misery.” Dr. Rhoads suggests several online sites for helpful information. Adventure racing websites:;; local race websites: and On, writer/runner Hal Higdon offers marathon training plans and has information on heart rate zones for training. Kay Rios, Ph.D., is a freelance writer located in Fort Collins. While she aspires to running great distances, currently it’s limited to running softball bases when she’s lucky enough to outrun a fielder.




Columbine Commons, which will open in December, is an attractive and welcome addition to the senior services that will be offered in Windsor.




orthern Colorado seniors will soon be enjoying assisted living, rehabilitation and nursing home services in a home-like environment with concierge-like service. Modern amenities at Columbine Commons, an assisted living and nursing home, include crown molding, abundant closet space and chef-prepared choice menus with local produce. Columbine Health Systems is building a modern and well-appointed assisted living and nursing home in Windsor, due to open December 9, 2013. Columbine Commons, a 62,400square foot state-of-the-art facility, will feature a 30-bed nursing home with an emphasis on rehabilitation services, and a 60-bed assisted living apartment complex. With an ever-expanding and competitive


healthcare market, Columbine chose Windsor because it is an underserved area for the senior population. Columbine Health Systems sees 1,100 patients every day and employs over 1,200 people, which provided the necessary market research to illustrate a need. Columbine’s extensive network includes independent living, rehabilitation and therapy services, transportation services, a geriatric education center, the Lifestyle Centre health club, home health services, a pharmacy and infusion therapy services. Columbine began with a Fort Collins nursing facility in 1971 and has expanded since then to 22 businesses. Founded by owner Bob Wilson, CHS has been in the Northern Colorado area for over 40 years. In addition to the new nursing/assisted living facility Columbine will be expanding its existing businesses – Columbine Medical Equipment, Columbine Poudre Home Care, Bloom at Home, Poudre Infusion Therapy

and Pathways Hospice to the adjacent Windsor Medical Center to further serve the Windsor area. “We get the pulse of the community because we’re right in the middle of the need for senior services,” says Yvonne Myers, health systems director, Columbine Health Systems. While many healthcare providers are ramping up services in preparation for what is being called the Silver Tsunami, Myers says this facility is being built to serve today’s senior population and they’ll have to keep building to accommodate Northern Colorado’s share of the 10,000 baby boomers who are turning 65 every day. “We’re trying to meet today’s need,” reports Myers. “Every day in the U.S. 10,000 people turn 65, but our average age at Columbine is 87. We also see many 65 to 80-year-old knee replacement patients who need rehab and then they go on with their active lives. Twenty years from now the Silver Tsunami wave is coming to

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us; we’re going to have to continue building to meet that need.”

Homes, Not Institutions

Columbine is designing a modern facility, with a more home-like atmosphere, and a more efficient business model to serve today’s seniors better. “Many existing nursing homes were built in the 1960s, when Medicare and Medicaid came about,” says Myers, noting the reason for the institutionalized design. “Our facility will have large hallways and big rooms. Each of our rooms has their own heating and cooling systems, so it can be as cold or warm as you like and it won’t bother anyone else.” With a great view looking out over the Front Range, the nursing home will also feature activity rooms and therapy rooms. The staff is a blend of current Columbine employees and new employees, with patients receiving care from the same staff during their stay.

Apartment Living with Perks

Assisted living has significantly shortened the length of time seniors spend in nursing home facilities and increased their lifespan. When seniors have access to healthy meals every day, someone to remind them to take their medications on time, assistance in daily care and access to social interaction, they remain healthy and active for much longer. “People who move into assisted living need help with activities of daily living, like managing their schedules and routine dressing. Often our residents might need help putting on a leg brace and their clothes, but once that’s done they are good to go for the rest of the day. Even having someone regularly giving seniors their medications on time keeps them safe, so they don’t forget or take the wrong dose. If people get their meds on time and three meals a day, they are golden,” Myer says. The assisted living facility consists of 60 small apartments on two stories. The emphasis is on health and wellness, with many amenities, activities and a consistent staff. Residents have access to outpatient therapies as well. Residents choose from three apartment styles and two care levels, based on their aesthetic preference and the level of assistance they need. Special care has been taken to design the apartments like homes, rather than institutional hospital rooms, even down to the window styles and crown molding. Some of the apartments are set up to have a living room and bedroom, while others are designed like studio apartments or lofts. “People do better in smaller spaces as they age. When people are young they have large homes, then they move into smaller condos,” notes Myer. “We rely on the consumer to tell us what the important parts of the apartment are. We put a lot of energy into the closets. People like

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013

big closets where they can store their Christmas trees and winter clothes. These apartments are homes with medical features. With this model, 70 percent of our costs are the staff to take care of you. If you add real estate on top of that it’s an unbelievable cost. Our smaller apartments help keep the cost down for our residents.”

Cost Sharing Makes Sense

To cut the end cost for patients, Columbine is operating one kitchen, one housekeeping department and one laundry operation. Sharing these services makes sense because all residents, whether in the nursing facility or the assisted living, will use them. Sharing the services reduces staff and overhead expenses to run two facilities. Columbine is operating from a new dining model in the nursing home and the assisted living facility. Rather than a cafeteria-style of institutional food, they have hired a registered dietitian to ensure the health and quality of the food, as well as a culinary chef to ensure the appeal of meals both in flavor and presentation. More like a restaurant with fresh batch cooking, residents will have choice menus where they can order what they like in an open dining atmosphere.

Cost and Payment

Senior care is expensive. Columbine has used creative planning to reduce the end cost for patients and their families. Nursing home care can cost from $275 to $325 per day. Assisted living runs $3,800 to $5,300 per month, depending on size of apartment and assistance required. Because they have been in the senior care business since the 1970s, Columbine is adept at finding creative ways to finance senior services. They work with Medicare, Medicaid, long-term insurance companies and private pay clients within the entire System. “We work very hard to find a resource to pay for your care. For many seniors, their home is their asset. You have to think about what age 87 looks like and plan for that,” Myer says. “We are one of the largest Medicaid providers in Northern Colorado and we have many options there. We are also a very large private pay provider.” Columbine Commons is already experiencing popularity, with queries coming in from seniors and their families. Many Windsor residents are excited to move their aging parents closer to themselves, for more convenience and to strengthen their familial bonds. Other families are excited about the home-like environment and the active lifestyle the facility promises residents. For more information, contact Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach and author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories; she blogs at Contact her at traceesioux@


special advertising section

Collaborating with Columbine Health Systems

Drahota has nearly completed its ninth project for Columbine Health Systems at the corner of Main Street and 15th Street in Windsor, CO, just west of Windsor Medical Center. Columbine Commons, the $11 million, 62,400-square-foot healthcare development, is currently under construction by Drahota and includes a 30-bed, one-story skilled nursing wing combined with a 60-room, two-story assisted living wing.


Bob Wilson, owner and CEO of Columbine Health Systems, broke ground on the project a year ago with a shovel from 1942. The shovel was used by his uncle, Newt Wilson, to break ground for Sky Chefs, the first catering service to the airlines. The shovel was also used to break ground for The Winslow, independent living in Fort Collins. “I purchased the Columbine Commons property about 10 years ago, anticipating serving the residents of Windsor and Weld County, and I’m glad that we’ve brought another needed facility to the area,” says Bob Wilson, owner and CEO, Columbine Health Systems. The long-term relationship between Drahota and Columbine Health Systems has been forged on trust, commitment and quality and continues with the latest addition to the Columbine Health Systems portfolio – Columbine Commons.

Congratulations Columbine Commons

– Proud Drahota Partners & Subcontractors

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


Congratulations Columbine Commons

– Proud Drahota Partners & Subcontractors


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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013





Aging parents and grandparents can live more independently than ever with the abundance of senior-oriented services and housing options available along the Front Range. Tailored to providing a high quality of life for seniors of all levels of health, these providers are the safety net that many are looking for when it comes to planning for their loved one’s senior years. Learn about some of these providers:

6801 W. 20th St. #207 Greeley (970) 378-1409 Caring Hearts Home Health is a full-service medical and non-medical agency. They provide skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social services, certified nurse aides, homemaking and personal care assistance. Caring Hearts serves Northern Colorado, Weld and Larimer Counties. Two local nurses, Denise, RN, and Kim, LPN, started Caring Hearts in 2001, when another agency closed their doors. The nurses were left


with several clients who needed care and no agency available to provide those services. To ensure these clients would receive the care they needed, Denise and Kim formed Caring Hearts Home Health. As the agency continues to grow, Denise remains a very active part in agency operations. Kim has since retired. Because Caring Hearts has always been locally owned and operated by nurses, patient care is their first priority. In the home setting, both the staff and patient can slow down and really learn together the best way to address the individual needs of each client. Home care is a valuable part of the continuum of care; with many clients seeing multiple physicians and quicker discharges from hospitals, home health nurses can ensure medications are being taken correctly, provide care to wounds and teach clients to live with their diseases. Caring Hearts therapists fill the gap between hospital discharge and outpatient therapy

services. Therapists also teach the client how to adapt to their living environment, something that cannot be done anywhere but at home At Caring Hearts, care is not contracted out for their clients. All staff, including nurses and therapists, is employed by Caring Hearts, allowing them to provide a consistent quality of care for every referral they receive. This also allows a consistent staffing flow, knowing that they can accept new patients without having to contact outside resources to be sure the clients’ needs can be met. Caring Hearts has been providing care to Northern Colorado for over 12 years and they strive to provide the quality of care they would want for their loved ones. Caring Hearts accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances. They are Medicare/ Medicaid certified and surveyed by State Law to ensure quality. Home health care is a benefit covered 100 percent by Medicare and Medicaid.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013





3711 John F. Kennedy Pkway., #317 Fort Collins (970) 494-0289

Home Instead Senior Care is a licensed non-medical home care agency. They assist clients with companion services such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and general household services. They also provide personal care services such as bathing, grooming, toileting, mobility and dementia care. Home Instead CAREGivers provide these services for as little as an hour a day, up to 24/7 care. The agency is part of the Home Instead Senior Care network of over 1,000 offices in 17 countries. They are locally owned and operated by Carol and Mike Maguire and have been serving families throughout Northern Colorado since 2001. The Maguires’ background with Home Instead is extensive. Mike grew up four houses away from the company founder in Omaha, Nebraska. Carol started with the company as a CAREGiver in 1996. Home Instead Northern Colorado currently has 20 administrative staff members with almost 200 combined years of experience working with older adults. They also have almost 300 CAREGivers working with local families every day. They bring thousands of combined years of experience to their clients. “We feel very blessed and fortunate to work with such a diverse and talented group of geriatric care professionals,” says Mike Maguire. Sometime in early November, Home Instead will deliver their two millionth hour of care to families in Northern Colorado. “This means the world to our team. Every hour of care delivered is an hour of peace of mind for the family. To be able to relieve the tremendous burden of being a family caregiver, if only for a few hours a day, brings us great satisfaction.” The growth of the Home Instead agency allows the Maguires the opportunity to bring innovative training opportunities to their CAREGivers. Furthering the education and skills of their team is a large area of focus. This fall, Home Instead is embarking on a journey to provide free training to families who are caring for loved ones with memory care issues. The Alzheimer’s and Dementia CARE training program for family caregivers is already proving to be a great success. Home Instead Northern Colorado looks forward to further helping provide the community with resources to be as successful as possible when caring for their aging loved ones.

2726 West 11th Street Road Greeley (970) 352-8487

Hospice of Northern Colorado serves the rural and urban communities of Colorado’s Weld, Morgan and Larimer Counties. Their services meet the demographic profile of our area, which encompasses a diverse economic and minority population. In 2012, Hospice of Northern Colorado cared for 617 patients in Northern Colorado. They provide caring, comprehensive, individualized hospice services to terminally ill patients in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living centers and their In-Patient Care Center. The In-Patient Care Center is the largest in-patient facility in Northern Colorado with 12 patient beds available for acute or respite care. Their patients receive unparalleled end-of-life care during the final months, weeks and minutes of their life. Beyond assuring that patients are as comfortable as possible, the agency also assists family members in making final arrangements, saying goodbye and beginning to heal. Their bereavement counselors reach out to more than 600 families per year, offering free individual counseling and group therapies for up to 13 months after their loved one passes. In addition to hospice care, they are proud to offer patients palliative care. Palliative care is provided to those who are facing a chronic or life-limiting illness. Such care differs from hospice care in that palliative care does not require a six months or less prognosis, and you do not need to be living with a terminal illness. For more than 35 years, Hospice of Northern Colorado has touched the lives of more than 22,000 individuals at the end of their lives. Hospice of Northern Colorado’s mission is to honor and dignify life’s final journey, console the grieving and educate the community. This year they celebrate 35 years of caring for the Northern Colorado communities. Presently, Hospice of Northern Colorado employs approximately 60 professionals and utilizes the resources of nearly 50 volunteers in Northern Colorado. Hospice of Northern Colorado was granted an exemption for federal income tax in January 1980 and certified to accept the Medicare in May 1982. Since their inception, part of their mission has been to provide hospice care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. In 2012 Hospice of Northern Colorado cared for 617 patients and provided $396, 631 in uncompensated hospice care to patients in Weld, Morgan and Larimer Counties.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013




1000 South Lemay Ave. Fort Collins, (970) 482-7925

826 Blondel St. Fort Collins (970) 631-8251


Fort Collins Health Care is an intimate rehabilitation and long term care facility. The smaller size facility helps residents feel welcome inside the community, where they will have familiar faces providing their care each day. Fort Collins Health Care is licensed for 83 beds. They offer a variety of services including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. They also specialize in wound care and short-term rehabilitation. Fort Collins Health Care’s dynamic rehabilitation staff works diligently to meet their resident’s needs, accommodating their preferences while meeting their physical goals. Room amenities include television and phone and a 24-hour nursing staff. They provide multiple outings to residents each month and try to introduce new activities like fishing trips and Christmas light tours. The facility also features an open dining area called Grey Rock Grill, and a full menu and wide variety of food available at each meal. Residents can also enjoy a cup of coffee in the Bear Creek Bistro or just relax and watch movies on any of the flat screens throughout the home. Each staff member at Fort Collins Health Care Center is dedicated to making every resident’s experience memorable, comfortable and successful. Fort Collins Health Care Center is focused on quality of life as well as quality of care. They have had the same administrator for three years, and the resulting stability and consistency have led to improved care and quality of life for those they serve. In 2013, this home went from one star on the Quality of Care rating to a four-star rating. From an overall satisfaction perspective (based on discharge and in-house surveys) the population has been drastically happier in the past years. In 2010, the home received a satisfaction rating of 64 percent and a quality of meals score of 39 percent. Through hard work and a focus on quality, those scores took a significant jump in 2012; residents gave the facility a 96 percent for overall satisfaction and 94 percent for quality of meals. The home is transitioning to the Neighborhood model currently, and is engaged in an internal facelift in 2013.

Seniors Helping Seniors is committed to providing their senior clients with the ability to choose an independent lifestyle in their own homes for as long as possible with the dignity and respect they deserve. They are a national franchise operation with a history of high standards and values in providing care to seniors. Their services include companionship, light housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care and dressing, transportation, doctor’s appointments, yard work, home maintenance and small repairs. Seniors Helping Seniors also provides 24/7 or overnight care. They tailor schedules and services to best meet the needs of each individual and family. They are also in tune with making senior care affordable. “We can look at ways to help minimize the cost for you if at all possible,” says franchise owner Linda Gabel. Seniors Helping Seniors’ mission is to find caring, loving and compassionate seniors (age 50 or older) who can provide a broad variety of services. They work to “match” caregivers with clients and hope to create friendships as well as to provide services. Because their workforce consists mainly of seniors, their organization and services are unique and responsive to the needs of families. “Our caregivers truly understand the challenges of aging and loss of independence.” Care providers are trained in personal and dementia care, with an emphasis on communication and listening skills. All have had a background investigation and personal reference checks. Many have retired from positions in the healthcare industry. Seniors Helping Seniors began in 1998 as a non-profit business in Reading, Penn. The founder, Kiran Yocum, had work many years with Mother Teresa and understands the strength and compassion it takes to help others. The organization began franchising in 2006 and today there are over 240 franchisees in the United States and England. Gabel is a Certified Senior Advisor and has a certificate in dementia care from the Alzheimer’s Institute. Tina Saldanha, client relations manager, has worked as a care provider and also has background and training in human resources. Scheduler Kate Fens training and background are in business and systems engineering. “Seniors Helping Seniors is truly committed to helping others and that adds to our own purpose in life. We believe this is what makes our program unique,” says Gabel.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013




735 Locust St. Denver (303) 320-4377

Our Mission is to Serve Others 1919 68th Avenue Greeley (970) 304-1919


Berkley Manor Care Center is a 94-bed facility located in southeast Denver. Berkley is dedicated in providing each resident with the highest standard of care. Berkley’s dedicated healthcare team provides skilled nursing service and short-term rehabilitation that is personalized to the individual. Berkley’s care team encourages maximum independence in a beautifully appointed setting. Short-term rehabilitation patients enjoy a wide range of amenities such as private suites with flat screen TVs and telephones, wireless Internet access, a full activities calendar, family room and a recently renovated therapy gym. The patient and family experience is what sets Berkley Manor Care Center apart from other facilities. They make providing first-class service a daily focus in everything they do for their patients, residents and their families. The experience begins immediately when a family member pulls into the parking lot and sees the beautiful exterior and maintained lawn. Entering the building, they are greeted by Berkley Manor’s team of caregivers who work right alongside them to ensure all their needs and expectations are exceeded throughout their entire stay. Whether a patient is here for a short-term rehabilitation stay, hospice care, post-operative recovery or long-term care, They make it a priority to ensure the same level of care and service is delivered to all individuals who enter their building Berkley staff collaborates with the Medical providers, nursing and therapy staff to provide education with compassion and specific training. The therapy department has constant medical provider involvement to ensure the best possible outcomes. Therapy strives to provide top quality care and support to their patients. The nursing staff provides excellent clinical outcomes directed by the desire to maintain the best possible health. They achieve the highest of standards by daily communication with the medical providers, pharmacy and therapy. The team strives for perfection with every patient they touch. Berkley became part of the Life Care Centers of America family back in the early ‘80s. Berkley was expanded to a two-story facility to provide more services to the area’s senior population.

Grace Pointe is Greeley’s newest senior living community. Grace Pointe opened in 2009 under the local ownership of President and CEO, Steve Briscoe. Briscoe believes he is blessed with a business that demonstrates service to others while providing employees the opportunity to make a positive difference. Serving residents is the priority, as reflected in their mission statement, “Our mission is to serve others, serving is our highest calling.” Grace Pointe offers a variety of lifestyle, service and care options featuring independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled care and a full service rehabilitation center. The commitment to residents is hospitality with dignity and grace in a caring and comfortable environment, including fabulous cuisine. Local favorite, chef Steve Klady creates a delectable dining experience for residents every day. Grace Pointe offers 35 assisted and independent living apartments designed for residents who need additional care to meet daily needs. The staff provides individually tailored plans of assistance and engaging social activities in a home-like environment. A full activity calendar keeps residents active, whether they are playing Dodge Ball (with balloons), singing the Oldies or on an outing. The Memory Care community is designed for residents coping with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The 22 private suites have their own bathroom and European style shower; four companion rooms are available for couples. Person-centered care programs offer purposeful activities to address each resident’s specific needs with compassion. Comprehensive therapeutic activity programs include music, art, movement and other recreational activities like bus trips and outings. Skilled Care at Grace Pointe consists of 53 suites, 49 with their own bathroom and European style shower; four are semi-private. Thirty-five suites are dedicated to the inpatient Rehabilitation Center for post-hospital and post-surgical care. Physical, occupational and speech therapies are offered for both outpatient and inpatient at the Rehab Center – a great asset not only to residents within Grace Pointe but to the Greeley community. The Rehab Center director, Carol Fustos, provides 28 years of PT experience with an interest in neurological disorders. Her diversified staff provides a strong knowledge base and desirable patient outcomes. Each therapy discipline plays a vital role in a patient’s rehabilitation. The goal at Grace Pointe is to help patients regain as much functional independence as possible. Grace Pointe’s “Grace Pointe Gives Back” program hosts several fundraisers every year for nonprofit organizations such as Guadalupe Shelter, Weld County Food Bank and the Alzheimer’s Association. Through garage sales, purse parties, silent auctions and flower basket sales, these fun events bring folks together for a good cause. It’s all part of the mission at Grace Pointe to serve others.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013




of Greeley 5300 W. 29th St. Greeley (970) 353-6800

2101 S. Garfield Ave. Loveland (970) 669-3100


Nestled in a lively neighborhood surrounded by residential homes and shopping centers, MeadowView offers something special to their residents: the nostalgia of home and a strong sense of community. MeadowView’s services include assisted care living and memory care in a setting that offers an alternative to the typical senior living facility. MeadowView places a high value on keeping seniors active and engaged. The assisted living wing is “designed to get people to come out and spend time together and create friendships. We think we do an exceptional job of that,” says Michelle Silva, director of marketing and admissions at MeadowView. MeadowView is situated on 5.3 acres with long views towards the mountains. The building is 68,000 square feet with one wing dedicated to senior assisted living and the other for the memory care wing. The assisted living portion of MeadowView includes 51 apartments ranging from studios, one bedroom and two bedrooms. The bright, airy apartments have kitchenettes with small refrigerators, microwaves and sinks. Memory care apartments feature one-room studios with full private baths. Activities and family involvement are important to the MeadowView lifestyle. A complimentary meal is offered to the family of the memory care residents every week. MeadowView’s executive chef serves up a variety of meal choices daily in the Grand Lodge dining room. And residents can enjoy social time in the billiards/ theater room, family dining room or other neighborhood gathering spaces. The monthly rent includes 24-hour certified staff, three delicious chef-prepared meals, mid afternoon hydration service, weekly housekeeping, daily bed making, planned activities, two spa baths a week, laundry, scheduled transportation, 24-hour emergency response system, utilities (except telephone) and cable television service with 67+ channels. They also offer assistance with medication management, bathing, grooming, dressing and incontinence when needed. Any community can have an attractive new building but what MeadowView firmly believes is that what makes it feel like home is the people inside. At MeadowView, residents have it all… new, beautiful, innovative activities, great caring staff and great residents. “Our philosophy is to make every moment a great moment, allowing residents to grow older with dignity and grace,” says Silva.

It’s about living. Good Samaritan Society’s Loveland Village works to exceed the needs of their residents. Their community provides everything seniors age 55 and older need to live comfortably within a maintenance-free environment. It’s the difference between finding somewhere you can stay and somewhere you never want to leave. Whether a senior is considering downsizing to a twin home or apartment, needs a little help from friends or has a need for healthcare and therapy, Good Samaritan’s Loveland Village can provide for those needs. The Loveland Village campus offers walking trails, a media center, a fully equipped fitness center, pool and spa, spiritual chapel and many more amenities available for all residents. During a daily stroll, you may find one of their many residents busy in the garden or fishing on the dock. Seniors enjoy the variety of daily menu options prepared fresh in their kitchen. And they can rely on the staff to be available in case they need anything. Senior services include assisted living apartments, rehabilitation and skilled care services, memory care, hospice care, inpatient therapy and more. Nestled in a quiet, pastoral setting, Good Samaritan Society - Loveland Village offers a breathtaking view of the majestic Rocky Mountains with a variety of activities, security and a place to call home on a beautifully landscaped 50-acre campus. Staff at the Village work hard to provide the highest quality of care while the leadership at Loveland Village practices the Society’s hallmark values. Good Samarian Society strives to be Christ-centered, resident-centered, staff-centered and community-centered. They are dedicated to enhancing the lives of their residents by giving attention to the fine details of everyday life. It rests in the philosophy that everyone deserves to feel loved, valued, and treated with dignity – both residents and staff alike. Good Samaritan understands that senior communities are often places where people live for weeks, months and even years. In a care setting, clinical practice and clean environment are important. Just as important are loving relationships, a homey atmosphere and choices. It’s a place where seniors will find warmth, friendship and a spirit of community. At Loveland Village, it’s about healing the body and soul, embracing changes, and experiencing God’s amazing grace and never-ending love.

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013




A tour of Cumbres Toltc Railroad, along the Historic Rails of Colorado tour offered by Mountains & Plains in 2011. Photos courtesy of Bill Bertschy.




ill Bertschy made a career teaching people about the environment and our relationship to it. As the director of Colorado State University’s Pingree Park Campus, he was key to the development of Poudre School District’s Eco-Week program, where thousands of fifth graders have explored, learned and made life-long memories. At the same time, Bertschy was developing programs in conjunction with Elderhostel (now called Road Scholar), bringing older adults to the mountain campus to enjoy birding, astronomy, watercolor painting and nature photography. It’s no surprise that when Bertschy, 64, retired in 2008 from his post after three and a half decades at Pingree that he created Mountains and Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and



Service, a nonprofit organization that allows him to continue dedicating himself to his passion: lifelong learning. “People from all over the world participate in our programs,” says Bertschy, who estimates that they’ve served more than 5,000 people in five years. Mountains and Plains Institute offers about 60-70 programs a year. “This fall we’re taking groups to ride the historic railroads of Colorado. Other groups are photographing nature in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, bicycling Bryce and Zion and hiking through the Arches and Canyonlands in Utah.” And most of the people signed up for these trips are over age 60. “They’re an active bunch,” Bertschy laughs. Jeune Reinhold has gone on several trips, from Pingree Park to the historic railways to Africa. “I’ve been to Africa 14 times and this

was one of the best organized trips I’ve been on. The variety of activities was outstanding,” states the nonagenarian. “We’d get up early and go out before breakfast. All the safaris were well planned and the guides were knowledgable.” Reinhold ticked off the animals she saw: elephants, rhinoceri, giraffes, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs – just to name a few. “We stayed in very nice hotels and had evening gatherings, where we would share pictures we took during the day and discuss the next day’s activities.” Every trip is all-inclusive. Typically, they cost between $849 for five nights to the most expensive at eight nights for $2,398 — with trips to Africa ranking as the priciest. That’s something Reinhold appreciates. “There are no hidden charges. If they say this is what it’s going to cost, then that’s what it costs,” she says emphatically. In addition to the more adventure-oriented treks, Mountains and Plains Institute also

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Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


Photos courtesy of Bill Bertschy.

coordinates a robust musical program where participants perform chorale music under professional direction and this summer enjoyed trips to Aspen’s annual Music Festival where they delighted in classical music concerts performed by renowned musicians along with other cultural pursuits. A second mission of Mountains and Plains Institute is to engage its members in service projects. Their inaugural project, Estufas y Salud (Stoves and Health) is based in Guatemala, and helps to bring clean cook stoves to low income families. “We work with Will Smith, an engineer who designed very efficient, very inexpensive stoves. They cost about $10 to build and use 80 percent less fuel (wood) to operate,” explains Bertschy. “That means a lot to these families, who can spend up to 50 percent of their disposable income on wood or go out and gather it themselves.” Bertschy remembers when Smith demonstrated the stove to a group of women and children in one rural community. “He told them he was going to cook tortillas with just a few wood shavings and two sticks. They all laughed at him,” he says. “But once he had the stove going and made the tortillas using so little fuel, They were sold. There was no laughing.” Another project embraced by Mountains and Plains Institute is the Wildlife Connection in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. Often, elephants


Bill Bertschy, former Fort Collins City Councilman, is the owner of Mountains and Plains.

wander outside the park’s borders and raid subsistence farmer’s fields, destroying the crops so vital to their livelihoods, leaving the farmers and their families feeling both powerless and fearful. Many times, the elephants are killed in retaliation. This, along with illegal poaching, is devastating elephant populations in Tanzania and throughout Africa. “Did you know that elephants hate bees?” asks Bertschy. “It’s true, they do. So the Wildlife Connection team devised these barrier fences constructed of hollowed out logs that hold beehives and are hung between wooden poles. The elephants stay away — they don’t go near them. It protects the farms and, ultimately, protects the elephants as well.” For those wishing to make an impact on the world, these projects provide an avenue to do just that. Participants arrive on site and are put to work, helping in ways that make the best use of their skills and motivation. No expertise, other than a willingness to help with programs that make positive impacts, is necessary. More information about Mountains and Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and Service, can be found at their website,

Michelle Venus is a freelance writer based in Fort Collins.

Lydia’s STYLE Magazine

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



Skiing isn’t just a hobby. For many, it is a holy commune with blue skies, deep drifts of white powder and your prowess over the mountain. The heady freedom found on the slopes is what makes the winter season worthwhile. But if skiing has you paying double in the form of pain, sore muscles and tired joints at the end of the day, maybe this year it is time to try a little conditioning. Conditioning for ski season can help with endurance, recovery and injury prevention. In a nutshell, “conditioning can help you enjoy the sport even more,” according to Kelly Cole, certified personal trainer at Raintree Athletic Club. A couple keys to good conditioning include stabilization exercises and endurance training. Stabilization exercises include lunges, single leg balance movements, planks, etc. Stabilization exercises help strengthen the core and joints, and increase tendon and ligament strength, mobility and endurance. Stabilization exercises strengthen our ‘foundation muscles.’ Cole says many overlook the importance of stabilization exercises but these movements target the smaller, underactive muscle groups that are frequently dominated by larger muscles. “Whether it is skiing or another sport, the more you strengthen and build your foundation, the better your performance.” Often we need to realign the body so that there are not areas of over activity and under activity. One way to do this is to combine a lower body movement with an upper body movement: a squat, for instance, with an arm movement. “We are training and utilizing multiple muscle groups at the same time, increasing the activation rate of these smaller, underactive muscles.” The most effective exercises in ski

conditioning are those that mimic the moves of the sport you are training for – one specific way to do this is to train by fatiguing the muscles from strength exercises then going directly into endurance training. “Think about a slalom: bending knees, shifting hips but you are doing that move all the way down the hill so it needs both strength and endurance.” Here is where learning the art of foam rolling, or self myofascial release, becomes extremely beneficial. “Basically, we are releasing the myofascial tissue that has built up and developed a knot in the muscles. Proper foam rolling can stimulate and release that area and the muscle can return to optimal length,” says Cole. “If you are really tight, and not taking care of your body with foam rolling and stretching, your performance on the mountain will likely be hindered.” “The glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings – these affect everything above them and everything below,” he continues. Cole adds that men often have the bad habit of focusing too much on the upper half of the body. While upper body strength is important, conditioning the lower body correctly actually helps you gain more strength on top. “In fact, the lower body is your testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) source,” says Cole. “When you have a bigger release of those, you actually allow more testosterone and HGH to sit in the body.” He suggests working out legs one day, followed by the upper body next. Cole has basic guidelines that even the leisure skier should follow to properly condition for the ski season. He recommends working the 10 major muscle groups 3-4 times a week. He says these workouts should be done via free weights or resistance bands – not on

weight machines. The 10 major muscle groups include: glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, calves, core (including lower back), back and the biceps/triceps. For the first four weeks, focus on 10-12 repetitions at 55 to 65 percent of your maximum strength. After the first four weeks, increase reps to 12-15 and decrease the rest period in between repetitions. At the same time, he says to ‘confuse’ the body by working in higher intensity training between strength workouts. Try circuit training, elliptical machines and stair climbers that mimic climbing in elevation. Aerobic exercise should be a minimum of five times per week at 30-minute intervals. There are some group fitness classes that can be added to your workout routine to enhance your ski conditioning. In particular, Cole recommends classes like Body Pump, kick boxing cardio workouts, yoga and Pilates. Yoga in particular, says Cole, can be “an amazing strengthening form of exercise – the movements allow you to strengthen from a flexible state.” Of course, the best ski conditioning is accomplished under the supervision of a certified professional trainer who can assess your individual physical condition and create the workout that is right for you. If ski conditioning is something that appeals to you, start at least a month in advance and continue conditioning throughout the season. If you follow this formula you may just have your best season yet.

Angeline Grenz is editor for Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness.

IMPORTANCE OF FLEXIBILITY Kelly Cole, certified personal trainer at Raintree Athletic Club, gives some guidelines for getting the most out of your ski conditioning workouts.

Flexibility is allowing a joint within the body to perform a full range of motion. When soft tissues within a muscle become tense, the surrounding joints are unable to work through a full range of motion. Joint performance is now decreased which will decrease the performance on the ski slopes.

thighs and hips. This is a great overall leg and hip stretch. • Quadriceps: Lying on one side, grab the lower part of the shin and pull heel in direction of the butt until a stretch is felt in the upper front of leg.

• Focus areas to increase flexibility and performance for skiing include the upper legs, both front and back, as well as the hips, shoulders and back.

• Lower Back: Lying face up, rotate hips to one side. Allow back to remain relaxed so movement occurs at torso. Can also rotate slowly back and forth to practice a ski like movement.

• Wall Splits: Lay face up with legs up against wall. Extend legs to stretch the hamstrings and calves. Spreading legs apart will stretch the inner

• Chest Wall Stretch: Place hand against wall, slowly rotate body away from hand until stretch is felt across the chest and shoulder region.

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G E T F I T, G I V E B A C K C A L E N D A R

Run, run, run as fast as you can to get involved in these great events that get you active over the festive fall months and give back to nonprofits of Northern Colorado.

T h e F o u r t h A n n u a l P h a n t o m 4 - M i l e r w i l l b e h e l d o n S a t u rd a y, O c t o b e r 2 6 , 2 0 1 3 a t Embassy Suites Loveland. Race entry includes a 4-Miler run/walk, entry into the costume c o n t e s t , a t i c k e t i n t o t h e f a m o u s B o n e C h i l l i n g B re a k f a s t a n d t h e b e s t r a c e t - s h i r t i n N o r t h e r n C o l o r a d o . K i d s u n d e r 1 0 e a t f re e a n d h a v e t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h e k i d s f u n r u n , face painting and cookie decorating. This is truly a fun for the whole family race! Visit their w e b s i t e f o r m o re i n f o r m a t i o n a n d t o s i g n u p t o d a y : w w w. p h a n t o m 4 m i l e r. c o m




1 2 – CSU Homecoming Race 5K, 9 a.m., CSU Oval, Fort Collins. Proceeds benefit t h e H e a r t D i s e a s e P re v e n t i o n P ro g r a m of the Human Performance Clinical/ R e s e a rc h L a b . w w w. h o m e c o m i n g . c o l o

2 – University of Colorado Health’s Heart Half, Half Marathon/10K/5K, 8:30 a.m., B o y d L a k e S t a t e P a r k , L o v e l a n d . w w w.

14 – Christmas Classic 4 Mile, 10 a.m., Fort Collins. Benefitting the Larimer C o u n t y C h i l d A d v o c a c y C e n t e r.

9 – Ve t e r a n s D a y 5 K , 8 a . m . C S U O v a l , F o r t C o l l i n s . B e n e f i t t i n g t h e Ve t e r a n Scholarship Fund at CSU. www.veterans.

1 4 – J i n g l e B e l l 5 K R u n / Wa l k f o r A r t h r itis, 10 a.m., Colorado State University Campus Oval Drive, Fort Collins. Bene f i t t i n g t h e A r t h r i t i s F o u n d a t i o n . w w w. jinglebellrunnortherncolorado.kintera. org

25 – Dead Celebrity 5K, 7 p.m., Old Town, Fort Collins. Benefitting Fort Col lins Read Aloud.

2 8 – 1 2 t h L o v e l a n d Tu r k e y Tro t , 8 : 3 0 a.m., Loveland. Benefitting the Heart Wa t c h e r s R e h a b i l i t a t i o n P r o g r a m a t M c K e e . w w w. b a n n e r h e a l t h . c o m

31 – KRFC 88.9 FM 28th Resolution Run 5K, 6 p.m., CSU Campus, Fort Collins

2 6 – 2 0 1 3 P h a n t o m 4 - M i l e r, 9 a . m . , Embassy Suites, Loveland. Benefitting Animal House, Denkai Animal Sanctuary, a n d t h e L a r i m e r H u m a n e S o c i e t y, w w w. p h a n t o m 4 m i l e r. c o m

2 8 – 1 6 t h A n n u a l Tu r k e y Tro t , G re e l e y. B e n e f i t t i n g t h e C a rd i a c a n d P u l m o n a r y R e h a b i l i t a t i o n p ro g r a m a t N o r t h C o l o r a d o M e d i c a l C e n t e r. w w w. n c m c f o u n

2 6 – 4 t h A n n u a l C S U Tr i a t h l o n H a l l o w een 5K, 9 a.m., CSU Oval, Fort Collins. B e n e f i t t i n g t h e C S U Tr i a t h l o n Te a m a n d A t h l e t e s i n Ta n d e m . w w w. c s u t r i . c o m

2 8 – Fort Collins Club Thanksgiving Day R u n 4 M , 9 a . m . , O l d To w n F o r t C o l l i n s . Benefitting the Food Bank for Larimer C o u n t y. w w w. t i m b e r l i n e t i m i n g . c o m

FOAM ROLL Also known as self-myofascial release, this flexibility concept allows tight areas or “knots” to relax so the muscle tissue can release and realign. This will prevent posture dysfunctions and, most importantly, injuries.

most tender area. This area will feel similar to pinching a nerve, as this will reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.

hands on hips keeping shoulders down. Lift one leg and hold beside balance leg. Hold for 5 to 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.

STABILIZATION TRAINING Regardless of the type of training, maintaining stability is crucial for all movement patterns. Improving stabilization will increase the body’s ability to stabilize a joint in action.

• Single Leg balance Reach: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hips should remain neutral. Place hands on hips keeping shoulders down. Slowly lift one leg off ground and move laterally (to the outside of the body). Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

1 2 – F i re b i rd F re n z y 5 K , 8 a . m . B o a rd walk Park, W indsor. Benefitting W indsor Charter School.

• Apply gentle force to these areas. Hold each tender area for 30 seconds, repeat twice or as needed. • Calves: Place foam roll under the mid calf. Roll onto the most tender area and hold. • IT Band/TFL: Laying on one side, foam roll should be located below hip. Roll onto most tender area and hold.

• Stability training should occur in an unstable environment where one can safely control a movement • Focus on movements specific to those on the ski slopes.

• Adductors/Inner Thigh: Lay face down placing leg across foam roll near groin area. Roll onto most tender area and hold.

• Emphasize lateral or side to side movements similar to slalom, using tools such as balance boards and movements that require standing on one leg. An increase in balance will help control speed while skiing.

• Piriformis/Glutes: Sitting on top of foam roll just behind the hip, cross one foot over opposite knee. Lean in direction of crossed leg. Roll onto

• Single Leg Balance: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hips should remain neutral. Place

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• Single Leg RDL (Romanian Deadlift): Stand with feet together. Hold dumbbell with left hand. Draw belly button in to engage your core and roll shoulder blades back and down without arching the lower back too much. Keep balance leg slightly bent at the knee. Lift opposite leg off ground and slowly lean forward until chest is about parallel to ground. Maintain posture, return upward and repeat. To set up a fitness consultation, contact Kelly Cole, Raintree Athletic Club Certified Personal Trainer, at


family focus

Workshop helps boys

Becoming Men

It was natural for North Colorado Medical Center’s (NCMC) Spirit of Women health education series to give women and their adolescent daughters a place to discuss sensitive and awkward subjects that come up in puberty. Spirit Girls … and Moms, Too! proved popular; but requests for sessions for boys were a bit of a surprise. NCMC created “Boys 2 Men: Understanding the Brains and Bodies of Boys!” featuring experts in adolescent health discussing physical and behavioral changes and how to talk about tough topics like sex, drugs and pressures boys aged 11 to 14 face. “There’s demand from parents and guardians with questions about this phase,” notes Kris Howard, manager of NCMC’s Spirit of Women program. “Some parents don’t understand how to talk about these topics, or they have specific challenges and frustrations. We’re here to share important, correct information with boys and parents.” The presentation is typically done by Dr. Laurie


Berdahl, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Banner Health Clinic OB/GYN, and her husband, Dr. Brian Johnson, a child and adolescent psychologist and University of Northern Colorado professor. Together, they wrote the book “7 Skills for Parenting Success,” to give parents tools to succeed. Together, doctors, parents and kids cover the body and brain changes that start at age 10. Physical changes – voice, growth and more – are generally complete by age 17 to 19. Brain changes, the growth and rewiring of mental processes, don’t finish until about age 25. Along with some detailed discussion of male reproductive organs and where babies come from, the doctors cover why this can be such an exciting and confusing time, and why poor choices can be dangerous ones that have long-term impact. The doctors note that there’s pressure to engage in sexual activity, and in many cases, teens will have sex, then stop. “Having sex does not make you a man,” said Dr. Johnson. “Being responsible, making good decisions, and taking care of yourself and your family make you a man.” The discussion also offered some safeguards


for children at this age. Many kids consume six or more hours of media a day, filled with unhealthy messages. To minimize damage, don’t allow R-rated movies, turn off background TV (especially at meals), forbid video games where people or animals are harmed, delay giving them smart phones and keep phones in your room at night, along with removing TV, internet and movies from boys’ rooms. Drugs, at this young age, can have significant permanent impacts on mental development. Tragically, the doctors lost a nephew, whose first exposure to substance abuse was marijuana, to drugs. “Marijuana is not medicine,” said Dr. Berdahl. “It can cause permanent damage in young developing brains that will impact all phases of life.” Friends become increasingly important as developing boys seek independence. It is important for parents to help boys find good friends. Isolation, the doctors note, is very bad for kids. Trouble can also arise during unsupervised time with other kids, and when dating. Permitting dating only after turning 16 can help avoid some issues. Johnson leaves briefly to discuss private

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questions with the boys. Then while the boys have a karate self-defense lesson, Dr. Johnson rejoins the parents and Dr. Berdahl to cover “How to help your son through puberty, and survive his adolescence!” Two significant takeaways cover rule making and “using their frontal lobes to your advantage.” The doctors shared a mnemonic, PS I’M HELPING, as a reminder of important reasons to establish boundaries: Personal Safety – rules to keep you safe. Important Morals and manners – rules to impart specific morals and manners. How Emotional you get – rules to avoid parental “hot buttons.” Long-term Problem – rules to prevent or solve long-term problems or conflicts. I’m Not Going there – rules necessary when parents fear their child’s reaction to setting the rules. Dr. Johnson explains how frontal lobe development in adolescent brains can work in parents’ favor. Many kids come up with wild ideas they want to do. They ask their parents, who of course say no, and that sets off a debate. Johnson suggests avoiding confrontation by saying “Okay, if you ____, we’ll talk about it.” He shares an example of a 16-year-old boy who met a girl online. The boy decided he would visit her over spring break. The parents said, “Okay, if you figure out the trip, how you’ll pay for it, set up your transportation, buy your ticket, get to the airport, catch the train when you arrive, where you’ll stay – then we’ll talk about it.” Because the brain is still developing, many adolescents simply can’t plan such a complex event. “You haven’t committed to anything, you’ve set parameters to be met to have the discussion,” he said. “Chances are, they’ll run into roadblocks, become frustrated, and you never have to have the discussion.” While the material presented is weighty, the approach is not. “Our whole purpose is to create a fun, safe, engaging environment where the boys and their parents can learn, and open up the opportunity for future conversations at home,” said Howard. “Our attendance, and the feedback we get from the kids and the adults who attend, shows us that this material is valued by families and the community.” The doctors emphasize that it’s important for parents to have a sense of humor, but to laugh with your sons, not at them – don’t tease, as that can drive them away at times when it is most important to have open communication. “They are not young adults, they need just as much supervision and guidance, but in a different way. Keep them busy with chores and various activities, and talk to them about what makes a boy into a man – and what doesn’t.” For more about NCMC Spirit of Women events, including upcoming Boys 2 Men sessions, visit Find more from Drs. Berdahl and Johnson at and Brad Shannon is a freelance writer based in Loveland.


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Dog Friendly

Photo courtesy of Emily Hutto.



here are three things that Fort Collins has more of than most other cities: bikes, beer and dogs. Bikes and beer, often in combination, usually get the spotlight, while more than 20,500 dogs licensed in the city are rarely recognized as one of the largest dog populations in the country. That’s about 1 dog per every 6 people. Outside of Fort Collins, dogs are just as prevalent in communities like Loveland, Windsor and Greeley, with more than another 20,000 dogs registered. With large numbers of local veterinarians, countless dog-friendly hiking opportunities, multiple dog parks and a plethora of businesses catered to our four-legged friends, it’s no wonder Northern Colorado is such a dog lover’s paradise. “The region is very agriculturally based – I think it all starts there, with your farm dogs. That transfers into cities, where there’s


expendable money [to spend on our pets],” says Jacquelyn Berezoski, manager at Poudre Pet and Feed Supply’s west store on Taft Hill and Drake. “Poudre Pet and Feed originated with two stores when I first started two and a half years ago, and we now have four locations. Myself, I now have three dogs.” “People here love being outdoors; rain, snow, shine – it doesn’t matter, they’re hiking or backcountry skiing, or going to the lake or the river. There’s so much more that you can do, and that you can do with dogs,” Berezoski continues. “There are even places where, if your dog is on command, you don’t even have to have him or her on a leash.” Well-behaved dogs are welcome at a lot of local breweries, taverns, coffee shops and other businesses throughout the area. Some of the most accommodating are Odell Brewing Company, where you can purchase spent grain doggie biscuits; Liquor Kabinet and Pringle’s Liquor in Fort Collins, where your pup can help you pick out your next bottle of


wine; and the Human Bean drive-thru coffee stations on north and south College Avenue. Dogs are also welcome at Verboten Brewing in Loveland, the Swing Station bar in Laporte, New Belgium, Funkwerks’ beer garden, and on the patio at The Forge Publick House in Old Town Fort Collins, to name a few. With so many dog-friendly patios, DIY doggie grooming businesses, and water bowls on just about every park corner, it’s undeniable that Northern Colorado loves its dogs. “Our return to owner rate is 3 to 5 times the national average in our community,” says marketing and community outreach manager at Larimer Humane Society, Stephanie Ashley. “I think in general we’re an animal-loving community, so more people are apt to license their animals and be responsible pet owners.” Whether you’re a native or just visiting, Northern Colorado’s exceptional dog accommodations make it so you never need to leave your best friend at home. Here’s a guide to the best hikes and dog parks in the region.

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HIKING •••• Some of the most dog-friendly hiking in Fort Collins can be found at Horsetooth Falls, a 2.35 mile trek to waterfalls in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Park; Lory State Park in Northwest Fort Collins; and Roosevelt National Park in Poudre Canyon, where pets trained on command are even welcome to roam off-leash.

HIKING •••• There is a 2.2-mile trail around Windsor Lake at Boardwalk Park on 5th Street that features a dog-friendly swimming beach where you can also go boating, fishing, kayaking and canoeing.


This basic, one-acre park sits at the southwest corner of Poudre Natural Area. Bring your own water.

Spring Canyon Dog Park This dog park sits along Spring Creek at the Spring Canyon Park at the west end of Horsetooth Road. The park spans nearly three acres, and includes a small and shy dog area, and a seasonal swimming pond.


Poudre Pooch Park

Where - Eastman Park Dr at 7th Street, Windsor, CO 80550 When - daylight hours Amenities - easy access to 14 acres of open land Poudre National Area Call - (970) 674-3500 Web - poudre-pooch-park CONT. TO PG 63

Where - 2626 W Horsetooth Road, Fort Collins, 80526 When - 7 days a week, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Amenities - waste bags and trash cans, water bucket and bowls, water fountain Call - (970) 221-6660 Web -

Soft Gold Dog Park Bring your own dog bowls and water to this simple, one-acre dog park off of North College near Jax Mercantile. Where - 520 Hickory Street, Fort Collins, 80524 When - 7 days a week, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Amenities - one-acre off-leash park Call - (970) 221-6618 Web -

Fossil Creek Dog Park At the entrance to Fossil Creek Community Park sits this acre-sized off-leash park, a perfect pit stop before hitting the nearby hiking trails. Where - 5821 South Lemay Avenue, Fort Collins, 80525 When - 7 days a week, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Amenities - small and shy dog area, water fountain Call - (970) 221-6618 Web -

Front Range Village Dog Park Front Range Village offers serious one-stop shopping with its onsite dog park just across from the Council Tree Library. Dogs can’t be left unattended while you shop, but now they can come along for the trip. Where - 2720 Council Tree Avenue, Fort Collins, 80525 When - Mon-Sat. 10a.m. - 9p.m.; Sun: 12p.m. - 6p.m. Amenities - one-acre off-leash park Call - (970) 226-9050 Web -

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013


pet products

Organic Kelp Supplement Organic Ocean Kelp, from Animal Essentials Supplements, is made with the highest quality kelp – a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals with essential trace elements for balanced growth and health. Plus, your pet will love the taste. For cats and dogs. Available at EarthWise Pet Supply Fort Collins 2608 S. Timberline Rd., #106, Fort Collins (970) 223-5681

Chuckit! Can’t beat a classic. Chuckit! fetch toys are always a canine favorite and they are made of durable materials to survive hours of play with your pooch. Available at Poudre Pet and Feed Supply, three locations in Fort Collins. Visit

K-9 Cart Chomo lost full use of her rear legs, but she is still young enough to enjoy romping with her K-9 Cart. The K-9 Cart, manufactured by K-9 Carts West, is custom built based on your pet’s precise measurements. Available at The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management, 415 Main St., Windsor. (970) 674-0434

Walk-e-Woo Take Fido out in style with Walk-e-Woo’s dot collar collection. Bright, fun colors available in all sizes for your pet. Available at D.O.G.S. (Dog Owner’s General Store), The Promenade Shops at Centerra, 5971 Skypond Dr., C-100, Loveland. (970) 667-4660.

Thundershirt The Thundershirt can aid any feline who has anxiety, fear or phobia conditions. Thundershirt fits like a tight t-shirt, applying evenly distributed pressure across the major surface of the torso, releasing endorphins (“feel good” hormones) and lowering anxiety. Available at Windsor Veterinary Clinic, 415 Main St., Windsor. (970) 686-9664

Virbac Animal Health Virbac is founded on meeting the needs of veterinarians as they care for dogs and cats. They offer a wide variety of premium oral care pet products including: C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Chews Large for the reduction of plaque and healthy gums; C.E.T. VeggieDent Small/Petite to control tartar, clean teeth and help keep your pet’s breath fresh; C.E.T AquaDent to help freshen your pet’s breath and prevent plaque accumulation; C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Rinse, a home dental care kit that guards against plaque without brushing; and CET Enzymatic Toothpaste, specially formulated for companion animal use. Available at Moore Animal Hospital 2550 Stover St. Bldg. H, Fort Collins. (970) 416-9101


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GREELEY HIKING •••• Hit the 21 miles worth of paved trails along the Cache la Poudre River from Greeley to Windsor. Greeley also has a new corridor that connects these trails to the dog-friendly Sheep Draw Trail. DOG PARKS ••••

Rover Run This 3-acre park is adjacent to the Poudre River Trail. Bring your own water and waste bags. Where - 5207 F Street, Greeley, CO 80631 When - daylight hours Amenities - benches, restroom, receptacles Call - (970) 336-4044 Web -

Waggin Tail Greeley’s newer dog park, Waggin Tail spans three acres just north of Discovery Bay. Bring your own water. Where - 2214 Balsam Avenue, Greeley, CO 80631 When - daylight hours Amenities - shy and small dog area Call - (970) 350-9390 Web -

LOVELAND HIKING •••• The Loveland Recreation Trail, approximately 20 miles of paved urban trail, repeatedly wins the “Best Place to Walk a Dog” award in the Loveland Herald Newspaper’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards. The Round Mountain National Trail is another popular dog hike, with almost five miles of trail that runs through the ArapahoRoosevelt National Forest. DOG PARKS ••••

Fairgrounds Park This grassy field spans about two acres at the south end of Fairgrounds Park. Where - 700 S. Railroad Avenue, Loveland, CO 80537 When - daylight hours Amenities - small and shy dog area, water fountain, waste bags and trash cans Call - (970) 962-2727 Web - Please note: Fairgrounds Park is temporarily closed due to September’s flooding.

Emily Hutto is a freelance writer based in Fort Collins

Northern Colorado Medical & Wellness 2013



Coping With Loss

Jody Donovan and her puppy Chloe.




hen a person we love dies, our expressions of sorrow and grief are part of a natural process as we mourn that loss. And the people close to us rally around to offer support and consolation. Often, though, it is not the same when a beloved pet is lost to natural aging, illness or injury. “It’s just a pet,” is a frequent response, without a full understanding that pet loss is just as traumatic as losing a human.

didn’t allow them to get a dog immediately and it wasn’t until 16 years later that Jody and Mia found each other, and Mia became an important member of the Donovan family. “We would run together,” Jody reminisces. After suffering a head injury from a sledding accident, Jody was laid up for a 10-month-long recuperation and Mia was at her side the entire time. Mia was Jody’s constant companion while she worked on writing her dissertation for her PhD.

For Jody Donovan of Fort Collins, three years after losing her Boxer Mia to leptospirosis (lepto), her voice still catches in her throat when she talks about her companion. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that attacks an animal’s liver and kidneys and, as in Mia’s case, can cause organ failure. “She was my little girl,” says Jody, who had wanted a dog from the time she and her husband, Nate, first got married. But circumstances

Then one day, happy-go-lucky, rambunctious, 4-and-a-half year old Mia lost the use of her legs. The Donovan’s rushed her to their vet, who diagnosed lepto and sent them immediately to Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) where Mia was quarantined and Jody and her family watched her fail rapidly in just 24 hours. “The people at the VTH talked at length with


They were snuggle buddies.

us about Mia’s quality of life and how happy she was when she was well and how much pain she was in at the time. They explained that she would never get back to where she was before she got sick and to prolong her life would only prolong her pain,” says Jody. The VHT gave the Donovan’s other options as well, including flying Mia to California for dialysis, which wasn’t feasible for them. Making the ultimate decision to euthanize Mia, though heart wrenching, was the right thing to do: “It was what was best for her, not me,” Jody says. At some point, experiencing a pet’s death is inevitable. More often than not, it’s due to age-related illnesses – cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and liver disease are common culprits. So are automobile-related injuries, which kill more pets than illnesses. (Reminder: keep your pets safely secured in a fenced-in yard or always on a leash.) What steps can a pet owner take to ensure humane treatment while making practical decisions? Dr. Robin Downing, of The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management in Windsor, utilizes a Quality-of-Life assessment developed by Alice Villalobos, DVM, and offers pet owners a 1-to10 scale to objectively assess their pet on seven measures – hurt, hunger, hydration, hygiene, happiness, mobility and “more good days than bad” – with the lowest number being the worst. “When we have patients who score higher on the scale but nonetheless are experiencing some problems, we look at palliative care,” says Dr. Robin. “Basically, what that means is providing effective pain management and comfort care. We give pets acupuncture treatments or massages, which help tremendously. We’ve taught our patients’ owners how to do massage so they can treat their pets at home.” Effective and affordable pain treatments for animals are available. Medications like ibuprofen can be used to help alleviate pain. For animals with mobility issues, wheelchairs can keep an animal active and happy, or structural alterations such as ramps can be added to homes to help pets navigate different levels. “We’ve seen pets go on to live for several more years when we employ palliative care,” Dr. Robin states. “And these animals are living high-quality lives. They’re happy and so are their owners. I’ve seen more dogs running joyfully in their wheelchairs than I can count.” Forever Home is a Loveland-based veterinary practice that specializes in end of life and hospice care. Dr. Gina Singleton and her team make house calls to patients who simply cannot travel to their offices. Hospice includes help with pain management, wound care and fluid administration. It can be very stressful and painful for elderly or sick patients to travel to a veterinary clinic. Stress is reduced for the pet and its owner when the veterinarian and an assistant can visit the patient at home. When treatment is no longer a viable option, Dr. Singleton provides euthanasia consultation as well as performing the procedure at the patient’s home. “That’s where they are most comfortable,” she explains. “For them – both the pets and the owners – it’s a dignified goodbye.”

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Established in 1989 Cremation & Burials Caskets • Markers • Urns 5815 E. Hwy. 14 • Ft. Collins, CO 80524

(970) 482-7557

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What happens after the goodbye is just as important as what happens leading up to it. Pets occupy a large place in the hearts and homes of their owners, and when they die they leave behind a huge void. Allowing yourself to grieve is important, Dr. Singleton says. It’s natural to feel sad and lonely after suffering a big loss. Validating that grief is even more important. Pet owners often experience guilt, especially when a pet has gone undiagnosed for a period of time. Too often, friends and families don’t understand the depth of the loss and the associated guilt and unintentionally minimize it. If they cannot provide solace, talk to your veterinarian. More and more they receive grief training and can help you move through the process. Look for support groups in your area. Journaling is helpful in articulating thoughts and feelings.

When the time is right, consider getting a new pet.

For Jody Donovan, getting another dog soon after Mia’s death helped her heal, though she admits she still misses Mia and still grieves. “I missed her so much and cried all the time,” she says about the weeks immediately after losing Mia. “I was looking at pictures of Boxer puppies online. Finally Nate said, ‘You need another dog.’ It was too difficult for him to

see me this sad.” So little Chloe came home to live with Jody, Nate and their two sons. “I made a conscious choice to get a puppy that didn’t look like Mia. I wasn’t trying to replace her. Chloe is sweet and wonderful in her own way and that’s how it should be.” Though Chloe will never fill Mia’s footprints, she occupies a new space in Jody’s heart and is right next to her on Jody’s morning runs. Just like Mia did.

We in Northern Colorado are very fortunate to have an abundance of resources locally available to help guide us through end of life decisions for our pets. Here are a few of them: The Argus Institute at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has a team of clinical counselors who offer support to people who are facing difficult decisions regarding their pet’s health to help them manage the challenges of caring for a sick animal. They can be reached via the VTH’s website or by calling (970) 297-1273. World By The Tail is a Fort Collins-based company that manufactures ClayPaws Kits which allow pet owners to cast their pets footprint into a modeling compound for a permanent memorial keepsake. They even have a free


r. Gina Singleton was a Certified Veterinary Technician for 19 years before going back to vet school. During that time, she helped many pet owners through the process of saying goodbye to their pets. When she started her practice, Forever Home, it was with the mission of helping navigate through every phase of their pet’s end of life care in the comfort of their own homes.


Forever Home recognizes that dying is a normal process and considers hospice care as an opportunity for growth for pet owners. The belief behind hospice is that patients in the last phases of life deserve special and loving care so that they might live as fully and comfortably as possible. It provides support and care for patients in the last phases of incurable disease, or at the natural end of life. Hospice definitely incorporates all of palliative care; and is defined as a philosophy, a specialized program of care, and in some instances, an actual place for the dying. “By far, the most common thing we see are elderly pets that have possible multiple issues such as arthritis, maybe cancer. Things that we are no longer able to take care of or the pet is just not enjoying their quality of life anymore” says Dr. Singleton. “And that’s when the question of euthanasia comes up.” That’s where Forever Home steps in. Not only

book that can be downloaded from their web site to help you navigate through the aftermath of losing your pet. The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management is located right on Main Street in Windsor. Dr. Robin and her team specialize in helping pets with chronic illnesses that often cause chronic pain and can help mitigate discomfort and pain with palliative care. Their number is (970) 686-9664. Forever Home provides in-home end of life care and hospice care for pets. Their special and unique practice offers privacy, dignity and stress-free care for pets and their owners. Dr. Gina Singleton can be reached at (970) 663HOME (4663).

does this unique practice provide in-home care for the pet, they work closely with the owners who, understandably, struggle with these heartbreaking decisions. Ultimately it comes down to quality of life not quantity of life. “A pet is an important family member,” states Dr. Singleton. “They are bundles of unconditional love and when we see them failing, it’s very sad. We know how difficult the last days or weeks can be, and it’s our purpose to not only guide the pet owner to the right decision — and that might be providing palliative care for a while, or it might be euthanasia — but to walk them through the grieving process as well.” Grief comes before and after a pet’s death. Because it’s so difficult to tell if a pet is uncomfortable, owner’s often feel tremendous guilt that they didn’t recognize the seriousness of the pet’s illness. “We give pet owners permission to grieve,” says Dr. Singleton. “The grief we feel after losing a pet is not all that different from the grief we feel after losing a person who held a special place in our lives. And when someone says, ‘It was just a pet,’ we sometimes bottle up our grief and go through it alone. But the important thing to remember is that this is not just a pet. This is your pet.”

Michelle Venus is a freelance writer based in Fort Collins.

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OCTOBER NORTHERN COLORADO MEDICAL & WELLNESS MEN'S HEALTH A regionally focused issue featuring health, healing, health maintenance and preve...

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