eo g in g •
• E a st e
A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
January 2018 VOL. 43 • NO. 1
ENOA 4780 South 131st Street Omaha, NE 68137-1822
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
en oa. org
New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19
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Happy New Year
As president and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment Convention Authority (MECA) since 2000, Roger Dixon (inset) is responsible for managing the operations of the CenturyLink Center Omaha and TD Ameritrade Park Omaha (background). Nick Schinker’s profile of Dixon begins on page 10.
Cool donation Madie Ecker (middle) is the bookkeeper for Premier Plastics, an Omaha company that donated more than 400 coolers to ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program during 2017. Accepting the most recent cooler donation from Premier Plastics were ENOA’s Executive Director Dennis Loose (left) and Jay Schuoler, the operations supervisor for ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program. See page 3.
HomeAdvisor’s ‘Aging in Place Report’ results HomeAdvisor has recently released the results of its third annual Aging in Place Report, and results show while aging is a fact of life, aging uncomfortably, unsafely, or unhappily in your home doesn’t have to be the case. As one survey respondent in the 55 to 75 age group noted: “It’s hard to anticipate the modifications homeowners may need to make because of aging, so some modifications like grab bars or widened door frames may need to be implemented as the need arises.” Other home improvements like self-cleaning gutters, accessible storage, plumbing, as well as walkway and roof repairs, not only offer greater ease of living in the short term, they also stabilize the working order of a home for the long term. This provides the best foundation for aging in place as well as future aging in place improvements. Some of the key findings of the survey include: • While only about half the survey respondents are familiar with the concept of “aging in place” by name, most are completing projects such as installing smart thermostats
or replacing appliances to improve ease of living in their homes. • Nearly half of homeowners age 75 and older report renovating their homes in anticipation of getting older. Correspondingly, less than 30 percent report struggling to get around the house as they’ve aged. • Watching a loved one struggle impacts how homeowners view aging in place. Roughly three in five homeowners age 55 to 75 report seeing a loved one (a parent, sibling, partner, etc.) struggle to get around their home as they got older. Reporting this experience has changed their feelings about how they’ll age in place personally. • More than one-third of homeowners age 75 and older report being unable to access certain parts of their homes, having to rely on the assistance of others to complete daily activities, and taking longer to complete simple tasks in the home due to barriers like steps, high cabinets, and narrow doors. (HomeAdvisor supplied this information.)
Elder Access Line
egal Aid of Nebraska operates a free telephone access line for Nebraskans age 60 and older. Information is offered to help the state’s older men and women with questions on topics like bankruptcy, homestead exemptions, collections, powers of attorney, Medicare, Medicaid, grandparent rights, and Section 8 housing. The telephone number for the Elder Access Line is 402-827-5656 in Omaha and 1-800-527-7249 statewide. This service is available to Nebraskans age 60 and older regardless of income, race, or ethnicity. For more information, log on the Internet to http:// www.legalaidofnebraska. com/EAL.
Did you know? Here are some facts about older Americans: • There are 46 million Americans age 65 and older. They account for 15 percent of the nation’s population. By 2030, those numbers are expected to increase to 74 million and 21 percent. • Of the American population age 65 and older, 22 percent said they have at least one limitation (vision, hearing, mobility, communication, cognition, or self-care). • About 1.2 million Americans age 65 and older live in nursing homes. • Although spouses represented 21 percent of informal caregivers, they provide more than 31 percent of the total hours of informal care. A slightly higher proportion of females (52 percent) than males provide that care. • The median net worth of households headed by people age 65 and older rose from $116,500 to $210,500 between 1983 and 2013. • Approximately 4.3 million American veterans age 65 and older were enrolled with the Veterans Administration. Of those enrollees, 35 percent had been disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated by military service. • The number of Americans age 65 and older living in counties with poor air quality decreased from 66 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2014. (These statistics were released by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging.)
More than 400 coolers provided in 2017
Premier Plastics donates coolers to ENOA Premier Plastics, an and the men and women who receive home-delivered meals Omaha company since through the agency, I’d like to thank Mr. Bartlett and Pre1983, donated more than mier Plastics for the generous donations,” Smidt said. 400 Styrofoam coolers to the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels Program during 2017. The coolers are used by the agency’s home-delivered meals drivers to keep the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold during the weekday meals delivery, according to Arlis Smidt, who coordinates the Meals on Wheels Program for ENOA. “The cooler donation saved the agency nearly $3,000 last year,” she said. Madie Ecker, the bookkeeper for Premier Plastics, said Greg Bartlett, the company’s president, has a long history of “giving back to the community.” In 2017, Bartlett and Premier Plastics also donated coolers and food to the Nebraska Humane Society ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program staff includes and to hurricane victims in (from left): Program Coordinator Arlis Smidt, Texas and Puerto Rico. Operations Supervisor Jay Schuoler, “On behalf of the Eastern and driver Garry Knittel. Nebraska Office on Aging
Vets facing unique Alzheimer’s risk factors
new UsAgainstAlzheimer’s report, Veterans and Alzheimer’s: Meeting the Crisis Head On shows Alzheimer’s disease is both an urgent health care challenge among older veterans and a long-term threat to younger veterans. Each of these groups faces unique Alzheimer’s risk factors tied directly to their service, including post-traumatic stress, depression, traumatic brain injury, successive concussion syndrome, and blastinduced neurotrauma. This creates a clear and compelling obligation for increased research and greater access to high quality care to meet the needs of veterans with Alzheimer’s and their families. To answer this charge, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is launching VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s, a national network of veterans and their families, military leaders, veterans service organizations, researchers, and clinicians focused on raising awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on veterans and of the need for research and access to quality care. “This is very personal to me. Love of country and support for our military is in my blood, and more than
likely, so is Alzheimer’s,” said Shawn Taylor, founder and president of VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s. As outlined in the report, age is the top known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and that risk increases greatly after age 65. Nearly 50 percent of veterans are age 65 or older and are therefore at a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s, compared to just 15 percent of the general population. Studies show older veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are 60 percent more likely to develop dementia. An estimated 22 percent of all combat wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq were brain injuries, nearly double the rate seen during Vietnam – increasing these younger veterans’ lifetime Alzheimer’s risk. In addition: • The large population of older veterans elevates Alzheimer’s as a primary health care challenge. There are 13 million veterans over age 55, representing two-thirds of the entire veteran population, with the largest cohort from the Baby Boomers who served during the Vietnam War. • The number of veterans with Alzheimer’s has surged in recent years. Approximately 420,000 veterans will have developed new cases of Alzheimer’s between 2010 and 2020. Among Veteran’s Affairs enrollees, the number with Alzheimer’s grew 166 percent from roughly 145,000 in 2004 to 385,000 in 2014. • Many of these new cases of Alzheimer’s are directly attributable to military service. Approximately one-third of new cases of Alzheimer’s are a direct result of servicerelated injuries, conditions, and other factors. “The VFW knows that this is a major issue for veterans – especially when data indicates the risks associated with military service make veterans more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” said the Executive Director for Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Bob Wallace. Veterans face barriers to effective Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care, including a complex Veteran’s Administration health system and a lack of understanding about available benefits.
New Horizons New Horizons is the official publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The paper is distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Washington, and Cass counties. Those living outside the 5-county region may subscribe for $5 annually. Address all correspondence to: Jeff Reinhardt, Editor, 4780 S. 131st Street, Omaha, NE 68137-1822. Phone 402-444-6654. FAX 402-444-3076. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertisements appearing in New Horizons do not imply endorsement of the advertiser by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. However, complaints about advertisers will be reviewed and, if warranted, their advertising discontinued. Display and insert advertising rates available on request. Open rates are commissionable, with discounts for extended runs. Circulation is 20,000 through direct mail and freehand distribution.
Editor....................................................Jeff Reinhardt Ad Mgr................Mitch Laudenback, 402-444-4148 Contributing Writers......Nick Schinker, Leo Biga, & Lois Friedman ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, vice-chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, secretary; David Saalfed, Dodge County, & Brian Zuger, Sarpy County. The New Horizons and the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging provide services without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, or age.
Use eco-friendly methods, products to prepare your lawn for winter By Katie Marie We need to tuck our lawns in for their long winter’s nap so they’ll wake
up lush and healthy in the spring. While we’re doing that, we can also do right by our planet by employing eco-friendly methods and
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products. The following tips ensure our lawns bounce back with the least possible damage to the environment. Here are some winter lawn tips: • Clear up the lawn: Rake up the leaves and add them to your compost pile. If left on the grass, they prevent sunlight from reaching the grass and allow patches of mold to settle in. The dead leaves also adversely affect water quality. The phosphorus and nitrogen run off, feed algae that kill fish, and contaminate our water. For the same reasons, it’s not OK to let leaves go down storm drains. Those nutrients go right to the nearest body of water. You might as well dump a chemical fertilizer directly into the river. • Dethatch and aerate: Thatch is that layer of shoots, stems, and roots on the surface of the soil. It prevents the grass roots from getting the water and nutrients they need for the
winter. You may be able to rake the thatch up with a garden rake. If it’s especially thick, use a thatch rake or a vertical mower. The good part of thatch is it makes for more material for your compost pile. Aerate a lawn that had too much traffic in the summer, is now compacted and, like the thatch, is creating a barrier between nutrients and grass roots. Punch plugs of soil from your lawn with a tined garden rake or a rented self-powered aerator. • Weed: Dig up invasive weeds completely, or else they’ll sprout again in the spring. Don’t add them to the compost pile like they are or they’ll grow and spread. You first have to “cook” them to death, or practice hot composting. Seal the weeds in a black plastic bag and put the bag in a sunny spot off by itself. In a couple of months, you’ll see the weeds are mere vestiges of their former selves, and you can toss them into your compost
pile. Note: Most chemical herbicides are toxic to animals and the environment in general. • Overseed: In the cooler regions, overseeding prevents weeds from attacking. Thin lawns are open invitations to invaders such as crabgrass and dandelions. • Tend to your compost: Material composted over the summer should be ready. Use that “black gold” that’s brimming with nutrients to amend deficient soils or improve the fertility of your lawn. The compost gives your lawn a jump-start for the springtime. For new compost, add a layer of straw or leaves. It needs to be alive and active even in winter, and the additional layer keeps up the internal temperature. Do not put any diseased or insectinfected plants into your compost pile, or else you’ll be returning the diseases and pests to the soil in the spring. Destroy the plants instead.
Adapting your skin to winter conditions By Karin Hermoni, Ph.D.
s the weather changes, our skin faces different challenges. We may suffer from dry skin as humidity levels drop. The emotional component is also important as winter may influence our mood, which in turn is reflected in the cellular level. Wellness and beauty are two sides of the same coin. To achieve healthy and glowing skin, we need to take care of ourselves by keeping a healthy and active lifestyle during winter and by doing things that are good for the soul. Our physical and emotional well-being reflect the way you look. While keeping that active lifestyle, we also need to remember to keep our skin and body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water complemented by using topical moisturizer daily. Another key factor influencing our skin is nutrition. While many people are aware an unhealthy diet is reflected in the skin, not everyone understands the direct link between a healthy diverse diet and the benefits to our skin. Natural phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables can actively support skin health and beauty. They provide the first line of defense against different challenges our skin copes with routinely. For example, plant pigments called carotenoids are strong antioxidants and antiinflammatory compounds. They’ve been shown to control inflammation in the entire body including the control of local inflammation in the skin, and reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory mediators. Inflammatory processes are involved in many skin
related aspects including natural skin aging, the skin’s wound healing ability, as well as inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, acne, etc. Moreover, phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables can support a healthy glow based on their absorption spectra, a color that has been found to be perceived as healthier and more attractive than the color achieved by a sun tan. If you want to maintain a healthy and attractive glow, consider nutritional changes over tanning salons. One important group is the antioxidants from the carotenoid family. Carotenoids are plant pigments, prevalent in fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is the red pigment giving a tomato its vibrant color. It’s also found in watermelon, papaya, and red grapefruit and has been proven in several scientific studies to protect skin from UV damage. Other carotenoids also present in the tomato that have been shown to provide a protective effect include phytoene and phytofluene which are colorless carotenoids, as well as beta carotene which is prevalent in carrots and green vegetables.
nother important group of skin-wellness promoting antioxidants are polyphenols. These can be obtained from fruits like grapes seeds and pomegranate, spices (like rosemary), and even from green tea. Interestingly, a combination of different natural phytonutrients from fruits, vegetables, and spices can work synergistically to provide better benefits. A salad will indulge your skin far better than if you stick to one type of fruit or vegetable. In general, the Mediterranean diet – rich in variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, etc. – was shown to possess benefits to overall wellness and skin wellness. Some key components of the Mediterranean diet are tomatoes and olive oil. Combining them allows better absorption of the active components from tomatoes which are oil soluble. In a recent study performed by Lycored, it has been found tomato carotenoids synergize with polyphenols from rosemary in their ability to control local skin inflammation. Nourishing our skin with a combination of healthy, dietary antioxidants is vital for skin longevity. If you feel you’re not getting enough nourishment to your skin via your diet, consider supplementation with ingestible skin care products. Such compounds also help our skin cope with UV damage, the primary cause of skin aging. It’s important not to underestimate the damage that can be caused by winter sun. Maintain your sun smart lifestyle year-round to support skin health and appearance. Combining topical sun screens with inside out nutritional protection (achieved by dietary antioxidants) will provide the most comprehensive approach and allow 24/7 whole body support. (Dr. Hermoni is the category manager at Lycored.)
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Quoted prices are per person, double occupancy. For more information about our tours, please call Ward or Kathy Kinney at Fontenelle Tours at the number listed above.
Motorcoach Black Hills “Ski for Light”. January 20 – 26, 2018. Fourth annual trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. A very rewarding week-long event for blind and physically challenged persons to participate in skiing and/or other outdoor activities. If you know someone who might want to participate, call us. Volunteers are also needed to provide various types of assistance at the event. Financial assistance also needed to make this event more affordable for participants. Motorcoach will pick up at various points across Nebraska. Contact us at 712-366-9596 for more details. Morel Mushrooms and Wind (with a side of Mustard and Matchsticks). May 17 - 20. $739. ($779 after 1/17/18). Come along to a Morel Mushroom Festival and enjoy fried morels and mushroom brats, tour a wind generator farm to find out how those huge wind turbines work, tour the National Mustard Museum (some call it the “Condimental Divide”), “marvel” at the detailed scale matchstick models created by an Iowa artist, see the “House on the Rock”, and have lunch in the “Sistine Chapel”. Duluth and the North Shore. June 17 - 23. (Call for pricing). Explore the western edge of Lake Superior (called the “north shore”) from Duluth up to Grand Portage at the Canadian border, with many stops along the way. Enjoy a dinner cruise on Lake Superior, Canal Park, smoked fish shop, Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum, mountain tram ride, art galleries and shopping, ferry ride to Isle Royale National Park, an optional charter fishing trip, and many more highlights. “Mamma Mia!” at the New Theater. July 28. $135. ($145 after 5/28/18). On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past to the door of the church. Featuring the #1 hits of the legendary Group ABBA including “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me-Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, and many more. October Colors in Niagara Falls, Boston, and Cape Cod. October 9 - 20. $2,689. ($2,809 after 1/5/18). Dust off your passport and enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery as we travel across the Midwest to Niagara Falls, Boston, and Cape Cod,with several highlights including a cruise to the base of Niagara Falls, “ice wine” tasting, dinner atop the Skylon Tower,Strawberry Fields experience, Vermont Maple Museum, Plymouth, Salem, Cape Cod Resort, Sandwich Glass Museum,Hershey’s Chocolate World, and Amish Acres. Branson Christmas 2018. Dates and pricing TBD. Kansas City Christmas 2018. Dates and pricing TBD.
Laughlin Laughlin in February. February 16 - 19. $329. Four days – three nights. Includes non-stop, round-trip airfare to Laughlin, Nevada, three nights lodging at the Riverside Resort and Casino on the banks of the Colorado River, and shuttle transportation to and from the airport. Entertainment during this trip includes country singer Crystal Gayle at the Riverside Resort.
In Partnership with Collette Vacations Quoted prices are per person, double occupancy, and do include airfare. More destinations available! Discover Panama. February 22 – Mar 2, 2018. Details to follow. Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park. Mid July, 2018. Details to follow. Spotlight London Holiday. December 2018. Details to follow. Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights. Early March 2019. Details to follow. Watch New Horizons and our website www.fontenelletours.com for our trip schedule.
11808 Mason Plaza Omaha, NE 68154
Program operates in Blair, Fremont
Drivers needed for ENOA’s Car-Go Program
he Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is recruiting volunteers age 55 and older to provide free transportation services for older adults in Fremont and Blair. “We’re especially interested in providing transportation services for military veterans,” said Pat Tanner, who coordinates the RSVP for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Sponsored locally by ENOA, RSVP is a national program of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. RSVP staff members who serve in Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties realize many older men and women live alone, are on fixed incomes, are no longer able to operate their own vehicle, and don’t
have family members available to drive them to their various appointments. In response, RSVP’s Car-Go Project offers free transportation for men and women age 55 and older in Blair and Fremont through volunteers age 55 and older who use their own vehicles.
Read it & eat By Lois Friedman email@example.com
Try these healthy recipes in 2018 Is your 2018 off to a healthy start? These cookbooks will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Join an exercise group and cook. You are what you eat. Have a happy, healthy New Year. Healing the Vegan Way By Mark Reinfeld (DaCapo, $22.99) Toss out processed food and incorporate nutritious powerhouse food on your plate. Meal plans and 200 recipes with template ideas. Uncover the pharmacy in your kitchen.
Free rides can be given to medical appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, beauty parlors, barbershops, banks, and other personal business locations. Rides for persons who use wheelchairs (must be able to transfer themselves) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Car-Go Project – which isn’t available to nursing home residents – operates in Fremont and Blair Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on becoming a volunteer driver or to make a reservation (24 hours notice is required) for a ride, please call RSVP’s Fremont office at 402-721-7780.
Dr. Vlassara’s A.G.E.less Diet By H.Valssara, S. Woodruff, & G. Striker (Square One, $16.95) Advanced Glycation End products or AGEs: Part One explains AGEs and how to reduce the harmful effects through selection and cooking techniques. Part Two offers more than 100 recipes from researchers at Rockefeller University. Eat the AGEless way for a healthier lifestyle. Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore By Anna Thomas (W.W.Norton, $35) Part One: Holidays and Celebrations including the best New Year’s ever. A big, shiny over the top party. Part Two is everything from appetizers to desserts from this awardwinning author. Welcome and honor everyone at your table. The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook By Amanda Haas (Chronicle, $27.95) A holistic approach to inflammation. Think well-being and incorporating food that’s the best for an anti-inflammation kitchen. Ideas from this Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen director. The Blossom Cookbook By R. Seri & P. Elizabeth (Avery, $30) Learn the secrets of this New York City restaurant. Eighty healthy, plant-based vegan recipes for every meal of the day. Vegan Calamari using trumpet mushrooms, Buffalo Risotto Croquettes, Pistachio-Crusted Tofu, and this veggie combo side dish:
Sauteed Kale and Butternut Squash (Serves 4)
1/2 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch 2 pinches of black pepper 2 bunches kale, torn into small pieces Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the squash, two tablespoons of the olive oil, one tablespoon of the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Then toss gently to coat the squash cubes. Spread over a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 15 minutes or until soft. In a large skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Add the kale and saute for one minute. Add the butternut squash and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about two minutes.
The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Page 6
Why are you feeling sluggish? It’s time to catch up on those ZZZ’s you missed recently. If you’re yawning nonstop and struggling to keep your eyes open – even after your third cup of coffee – it might have nothing to do with how much sleep you got the night before. Here are six not-so-obvious reasons you’re feeling sluggish: • You’re not moving enough: If you spend most of your day sitting, you may want to get moving. Working out and moving throughout the day gives you more lasting, all-day energy. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65 percent less tired during the day. • You don’t drink enough fluids: Tiredness, irritability, and poor concentration are signs you may not be getting enough fluids. You should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. • You’re not getting enough nutrients: Your lack of energy could be due to a lack of key nutrients. Deficiencies such as an iron deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, weak, and unable to focus. Don’t skimp on your fruits and veggies. The more colorful your meal, the better. • You skip breakfast: You’ve heard it time and time again – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Passing up breakfast is akin to running on empty – there is no fuel in your system to keep your energy levels up. • You’re stressing too much: According to the Mayo Clinic, stress is the top cause of insomnia. Stress causes your glucose levels to spike, which inherently leads to crashes afterwards. Take some time to destress throughout the day. Meditation and exercise are great ways to calm your mind. • You’re surrounded by toxic people: Complaining and whining people can make you tired. People that complain often can drain your energy, so get rid of those energy vampires and surround yourself with people who are positive and happy.
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Study shows older cancer patients more likely to be hospitalized than observed, released home
new study finds patients with cancer, especially those age 75 or older, are more likely to be admitted to the hospital – and less likely to be observed and released home – than patients without cancer. That’s despite the fact inpatient admission isn’t always the best treatment option available. Observation status is often preferable because it minimizes patients’ exposure to the inconvenience and risk of a hospital admission, while also reserving hospital resources for those who need it most.
“We need to think broadly about the best location to provide medical care for this population.” The research was led by Allison LipitzSnyderman, PhD, Assistant Attending Outcomes Research Scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, along with Adam Klotz, MD; Renee L. Gennarelli, MS; and Jeffrey Groeger, MD. “Observation status allows for additional time to be certain a patient’s clinical status is stabilized and the correct diagnosis has been made, providing the treating staff, patient, and caregiver with a greater feeling of security upon discharge,” Dr. Groeger said. “Not all acutely ill patients in the emergency department will ultimately require inpatient admission prior to safe discharge. Patients in observation status should be suitable for rapid discharge once symptoms resolve or diagnoses are confirmed.”
After adjusting for patient characteristics, the researchers determined there were only 43 observation status visits per 1,000 inpatient admissions among patients with cancer, versus 69 per 1,000 among the cancerfree group. Cancer-free patients with prior inpatient admission were more likely to be placed on observation status than those with cancer but without prior hospitalizations. The research focused on Medicare beneficiaries age 66 and older. Dr. LipitzSnyderman and her team analyzed 151,193 patients with breast, colon, lung, or prostate cancer between 2006 and 2008. She recommended more research to determine where there are opportunities to develop standards for emergency department staff to treat older patients with cancer the most best way. “By implementing a set of standards and treatment protocols for addressing specific clinical conditions, we can increase the systematic use of observation status for patients with cancer,” Dr. Groeger said. “Some examples include the management of pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, cellulitis, hypercalcemia, and steroid related hyperglycemia.” “This study raises important questions about how to provide medical care for older adults with cancer who present to the emergency department,” said Dr. Louise C. Walter, MD, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Geriatrics at the University of California San Francisco’s Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center. “As a geriatrician, I would go beyond advocating for developing standards for emergency department staff to manage more patients with cancer in observation status. We need to think broadly about the best location to provide medical care for this population.”
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Volunteers needed The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for volunteer drivers for its Meals on Wheels Program. Flexible weekday schedule delivering midday meals to homebound older adults in the greater Omaha area. Call Arlis at 402-444-6766 for more information.
Notre Dame Housing/ Seven Oaks Senior Center
UNMC adding genetic counselors to its staff
You’re invited to visit Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center, 3439 State St. for the following: All activities and events will be held in the senior center. Please use the north entrance. • Monday & Wednesday: Tai Chi @ 4 p.m. • Second, third, and fourth Friday: Perishable Community Food Pantry from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. • Third Wednesday: Perishable Community Food Pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food pantry participants should call Brenda at 402-4514477, ext. 126 for eligibility guidelines. • Jan. 23: Celebrate the January birthdays with music by John Worshman sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 2:30 p.m. • Jan. 25: Expand Your Horizon program on Refugee/ Immigration: Temporary Protected Status @ 7 p.m. Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11a.m. the business day prior to the lunch. Notre Dame Housing will be closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and on Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King Day. For meal reservations and more information, please call Brenda at 402-451-4477, ext. 126.
AARP offering driving course AARP is offering a new four-hour, research-based Smart Driver Course for older adults. By completing the course, participants will learn research-based driving safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having an accident; understand the links between the driver, the vehicle, and the road environment, and how this awareness encourages safer driving; learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and health-related issues affect driving ability and ways to allow for these changes; increase confidence; know how to share the road safely with other drivers, and learn the newest safety and advance features in vehicles. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonAARP members. No tests or examinations are involved, course completion certificates are provided, and auto insurance discounts may apply. Here’s this month’s schedule: Jan. 13 @ noon AARP Information Center 1941 S. 42nd Street #220 Call 402-398-9568
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49th & Q Street • 402-731-2118 www.southviewheightsomaha.com
It wasn’t too long ago that people meeting Beth Conover thought she was a “generic counselor”. Conover is actually a member of the Munroe-Meyer Institute’s (MMI) team of genetic counselors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After hiring three new team members this fall, MMI will have 10 genetic counselors on staff. Two other genetic counselors are employed in other UNMC departments. With the new additions, UNMC will employ 75 percent of the total number of genetic counselors in Nebraska. Genetic counselors are professionals whose training in genetics and psychosocial sciences allows them to understand how patients make decisions, to look at the stress patients face, and to understand how to explain the genetic test results in laymanfriendly terms. The recent growth at UNMC mirrors national growth in the field. It’s estimated the number of genetic counselors in the U.S. will increase 29 percent by 2024; in part because of the major advances in genetic testing over the past decade. Also, UNMC soon will be offering a genetic counseling graduate degree. According to MMI professionals, the expansion has been fueled by the health care industry’s recognition of the value of genetic counseling, a profession in which trained scientists work with individuals and families not only to explain the results and ramifications of genetic test results, but to help people decide whether they want certain tests done at all. When Terri Blase started her career as a genetic counselor 12 years ago, genetic counselors were primarily used in prenatal and pediatric care, and sometimes in specialties such as oncology and neurology. “But within a matter of years, it seemed every clinic wanted a genetic counselor as part of its multidisciplinary approach, and that’s really where things have changed,”
said Blase, a genetic counselor at MMI. Omar Rahman, M.D., director of the MMI Department of Genetic Medicine, said the role genetics plays in health care has become clearer over time. He said the explosion of direct-to-consumer testing has led to more interest among the public and cited 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company in California, as a key reason for the growth. “Specialists are beginning to realize that knowing the genetic cause of a condition or disease can impact how it is going to progress, the kind of treatment needed, and who else in the family might need to be screened,” Dr. Rahman said. “We handle emotion-laden, complicated topics and make them understandable,” Conover said. “We make it easier for patients and families to take in the information, process it, and come up with a decision they can live with. That’s the great art of genetic counseling.” Counselors also can help providers optimize genetic testing, as providers are increasingly recognizing genetic testing is a key component of precision medicine, which will likely improve the delivery of care and eventually be used to prevent disease down the road, Dr. Rahman said. This is leading to the increase in demand for genetic counselors and is one reason why other community health organizations, such as Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, are supporting the creation of a master’s degree program in genetic counseling at UNMC, he said. MMI’s longstanding relationships with providers across the state has increased awareness about the importance of genetic counselors and led providers across Nebraska to request these services from MMI, Dr. Rahman continued. “Genetics affects the entire lifespan, from prenatal to pediatric, adult, and cancer. So, there’s a role for genetics in almost every discipline.”
Book written by scientist, composer examines daily life at the South Pole
magine spending one year at the bottom of the world in 100 below zero temperatures. One couple chose to not only imagine it, but to also live it, and they’ve written a riveting account of their unforgettable experiences. In One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole, scientist John Bird and writer and composer Jennifer McCallum take readers along on a journey like no other, as they fly to the middle of Antarctica and live under the dome for a year with 50 other researchers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The book’s title is a nod to the six-month-long “day” of 24-hour sunlight and the six-month-long “night” of perpetual darkness. The non-fiction narrative provides a candid, first-hand account of the challenges the couple faced as they tried to adapt – physically and emotionally – to a year of isolation in the unforgiving environment. One Day, One Night also immerses readers in the station’s incredible microcosm of scientific discovery, where researchers study not only the mysteries of climate change that lie frozen beneath them but also the astrophysics of the heavens above through the famous South Pole Telescopes. One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole was awarded Honorable Mention from the New York Book Festival and was a finalist in the New Generation Indie Book Awards. The book is available at Amazon.com.
he 211 telephone network has been established in parts of Nebraska to give consumers a single source for information about community and human services. By dialing 211, consumers can access information about: • Human needs resources like food banks, shelters, rent and utility assistance, etc. • Physical and mental health resources. • Employment support. • Support for older Americans and persons with a disability. • Support for children and families. • Volunteer opportunities and donations. The 211 network is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The information is also available online at www.ne211.org.
Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • Jan. 2: Welcome 2018 party. Celebrate the New Year with all your Corrigan friends. Music by Tim Javorsky @ 11 a.m. Enjoy a hot chicken dinner or a deli choice. • Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, & 31: Crafts and Social @ 10:30 a.m. We’ll make a fun, easy craft each week or you can enjoy another activity. • Jan. 5, 12, 19, & 26: Watch movies and eat popcorn in our TV lounge. • Jan. 8: Play What’s in Your Bag? @ 11 a.m. Try your luck with our popular game of chance. Prizes for the most correct answers. Stay for a noon lunch and bingo. • Jan. 9, 16, 23, & 30: Poetry, Journaling, Storytelling, and Social @ 1 p.m. Bring in some poetry and short stories or write your own. If you prefer journaling, bring in a notebook. Stay for a noon lunch. • Jan. 16: Spa Day & free blood pressure checks from 10 a.m. to noon. Foot care clinic for $10. Call 402-7317210 for more information or to make an appointment. • Jan. 18: Chicken dinner followed by bingo. The reservation deadline is 11 a.m. on Jan. 11. • Jan. 23: Presentation on Common Birds We Know and Love by Fontenelle Forest’s Traveling SUN Program @ 11:30 a.m. Learn about the behavior of these and other birds. Listen to their songs and see a real Meadowlark specimen. • Jan. 29: Birthday party & music by The Links sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11 a.m. Make your reservations today. The center will be closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and on Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Everyone, including new players, is welcome to play chair volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday @ 11 a.m. A noon lunch will follow. Join us for Tai Chi – a relaxing and fun activity that’s proven to improve your balance – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in our spacious gym. Bingo, ceramics, exercise, woodcarving, and loads of fun are also available. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is normally suggested for the meal. Reservations are normally due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations or more information, please call Lynnette at 402-731-7210.
Subjects needed for Alzheimer’s study
he University of Nebraska Medical Center will be launching an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research study this fall and will be recruiting subjects for the trial. The study, which is headed by Daniel Murman, M.D., a professor in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences and director of the Memory Disorders & Behavioral Neurology Program, is called The Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) Generation Study. Dr. Murman explains, “Previous trials suggest we must treat Alzheimer’s disease very early to be successful in slowing down the disease process. The Generation Study is looking for normal adults between the ages of 60 and 75, who are at increased risk of developing symptoms of AD because of a genetic subtype. The trial involves medication designed to decrease a protein called beta amyloid in the brain, which is thought to be an important
cause of AD.” Dr. Murman also has been involved in Alzheimer’s research efforts through other nationally funded clinical trial efforts in the past, including the Expedition 3 trial for patients with mild AD, and the Nobel Study for patients with mild to moderate AD, and continues to be involved in the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic AD (A4) study. Dr. Murman recognized the Alzheimer’s Association for its efforts in raising both awareness and opportunities for engagement in Alzheimer’s research. “This is so critical to reducing the devastating consequences of this disease on Nebraska families – a disease with no prevention or treatment options and no cure,” he said. In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter, Dr. Murman and his team has extended quality disease education and information to those facing a dementia diagnosis and their extended care networks. Services provided by the Alzheimer’s Association including care consultations with master’s level social workers, community education seminars, support groups, online portals for peer engagement, and safety service enrollments enable families to be informed and empowered as they face a new chapter of life. “Families facing a dementia diagnosis must have the opportunity to ask questions and seek innovative solutions regarding concerns they now have,” said Sharon Jensen, executive director for the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter. “Legal and financial guidance, alongside education that provides strategies for appropriate disease management are available to help reduce disease burden. “When a family reaches out for help, they showcase their commitment to fight this disease with dignity. The Alzheimer’s Association is ready and available to help.” For information, please call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
RSVP RSVP is recruiting men and women age 55 and older for a variety of opportunities. For more information in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties, please call 402-444-6536, ext. 1024. In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402721-7780. • The Corrigan Senior Center is looking for volunteers. • The Boys Town Hall of History needs volunteers. • Together Inc. wants volunteers for its food pantry. • The VA Hospital is looking for volunteers. • The YWCA’s Reach
and Rise Mentoring Program wants volunteers to work with children 8 to 15. • The Heartland Hope Mission needs volunteers for its food pantry. • The Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is looking for volunteers for a variety of assignments. • The Low-Income Ministry wants volunteers for its food pantry. • The Blair and Fremont Car-Go Program needs volunteers to drive older adults to their appointments once or twice a week. • ENOA’s senior centers want volunteers for a variety of assignments.
Under Dixon, MECA has built a new arena, convention center, ballpark
Since joining MECA as its president and CEO, Dixon has become a loyal cheerleader for Omaha touting the city and its residents. By Nick Schinker Contributing Writer
hen Roger Dixon sees things that aren’t there, he is not hallucinating. He sees the
future. As president and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA), Dixon has the unique ability to look at an empty piece of ground and see a convention center, an arena and, just across the street, a baseball stadium. He sees gleaming structures filled with people – and the city of Omaha and the state of Nebraska are billions of times grateful for his vision. Since coming to the city and MECA in the fall of 2000, Dixon has been Omaha’s most loyal cheerleader, touting the place and its residents as the ideal venue for touring entertainers, the perfect home for the NCAA Men’s College World Series, and a welcoming locale for national meetings and conventions. Not bad for a man who had only been to Omaha once before his job interview. A veteran at managing sports, entertainment, and convention facilities from St. Louis to Philadelphia, Dixon was a consultant when the opportunity in Omaha was brought
to his attention. “Consulting was lucrative, but I didn’t like the traveling,” he recalls. “Someone called and said, ‘You need to check out this website and this job.’ I did, and I sent in my resume. “I had spent one night in Omaha in 1975 because we had friends here,” Dixon says. “I didn’t see Omaha in the light until 2000, when I came for that first interview.” He was told Omaha was a city with a vision and goals, one of which was to build an impressive convention center and arena along the west bank of the Missouri River. He had been a member of the management team that supervised construction of the $140 million Kiel Center (now Scottrade Center) in St. Louis in 1994. “After building the Kiel Center in St. Louis, I thought, never again,” Dixon says. “But I missed it.” He moved his family to Omaha in the fall of 2000 and immediately got to work, supervising the design and construction of Qwest Center Omaha (now the CenturyLink Center Omaha), which opened its doors three years later – on time and meeting its $291 million budget. As the days passed, he fell in love with the city, the state, and the people here. “I had heard good things about
Omaha,” Dixon says. “My parents had friends here. They’re the ones who said, ‘If Roger doesn’t like Omaha, there’s something wrong with him.’ “Well, I liked Omaha.”
ixon is the son of Jim and Jan Dixon in Mount Vernon, a city of about 15,000 people in southern Illinois. He had two older brothers and a sister who served as his ally. His fourth sibling was born when Roger was 18 years old. His father, who began as a salesman with Purina, later owned a grain elevator before getting into the poultry business, where he eventually operated two production plants with about two million laying hens. “It was a time and place where you’d pick up the phone and the operator would say, ‘Number, please?’” Dixon recalls. “We lived in a great neighborhood with a lot of kids, and we played games together. We just had to be home when the streetlights came on.” Dixon played baseball with his friends and “a little football” his freshman year in high school. He and his father, started hunting together when Roger was about 12, a sport he still enjoys today. “It was just my dad and I. We’d
go up to central Illinois to hunt pheasant because there really weren’t any in our area. We’d hunt rabbit, squirrel, and dove. Later on, my friends and I would walk the railroad tracks, or we’d find a farmer who would let us hunt on his property.” Dixon attended Southern Illinois University, where in 1976 he earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial recreation. “It was all about managing places like tennis centers and golf courses,” he says. “There were very few, if any, sports administration programs back then, and I didn’t really know at the time I wanted to be in this business.” His introduction to what would become a career was as an intern his senior year, at the SIU arena on the Carbondale campus. “I started as an intern in group sales and finished as supervisor of the ushers,” he says. “I liked the work. There was always something different going on.” Mount Vernon is also where he met his wife, Robin. “We met in March, I proposed in June, and we got married in November,” he says. “We just celebrated 41 years together.” The Dixons have two sons: Tyler, and Chase; and two daughters: Chandlar, and Chelsea Dixon --Please turn to page 11.
Roger’s resume includes stints in St. Louis, Miami, Philadelphia
TD Ameritrade Park, which has a seating capacity of 24,000, has been the home of the College World Series since 2011. --Continued from page 10. Stutsman, who with her husband, Dave, has three sons. After college, Dixon worked as a clothing store manager in Mount Vernon for several months until an opportunity arose as an event coordinator at the multi-purpose Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. It was the start of a path that would eventually lead him to Omaha. During his five years in Louisville, Dixon helped recruit a number of notable conventions, including the national NAACP convention and the annual meeting of the National Governors Association. After being promoted to assistant director of the convention center in Louisville in 1978, Dixon rose to the title of vice president and executive director in 1981.
He and Robin moved from Louisville to Miami, where Dixon spent two years in management at the James L. Knight Center. From there, they moved to St. Louis and the management at the former “Checkerdome.” “It was my first experience in professional sports with the St. Louis Blues (of the National Hockey League),” Dixon says. “It was a major arena in a top 20 market.” Dixon left St. Louis and served as senior vice president and general manager of The Spectrum in Philadelphia for three years before returning to St. Louis in 1993. He was a key member of the team that supervised construction of the Kiel Center, which opened in 1994. It was also the site of what Dixon describes as the biggest event in his career, the 1999 visit of Pope John Paul II.
The CenturyLink Center Omaha features an 18,975-seat arena and a 194,000 square-foot exhibition hall. “It was a youth event, and we started letting the kids in at 4:30 a.m.” he recalls. “The pope was not to arrive until about 4 p.m., so we had 18,000-plus kids there for more than 12 hours. We had to schedule entertainment throughout the day to keep everyone busy and happy.” Beyond the monumental logistics, the event was also an incredible personal experience. “I got blessed by the pope backstage,” says Dixon, who has a photograph of the meeting on his office wall. “I’m not even Catholic, and I got chills.” The Kiel Center was renamed Savvis Center in 2000. Dixon was the senior vice president and general manager there when he heard about the MECA job in Omaha. “When I came here, if I had to guess that I would still be here in 2017, I’d have said no,” Dixon says. “But I’m not disappointed.”
A 1976 graduate of Southern Illinois University (SIU), Roger Dixon began his career in event management as a student intern at the SIU arena on the Salukis’ Carbondale campus.
ore than the price of concert tickets has changed in Dixon’s four decades in event management. “Everything is electronic now,” he says. “When I started, we had a huge book where we had everything written down. No cell phones. No email. No texting. “Back then, it was all phone calls. If we were dealing with someone on the East Coast, you got into the office early. If it was the West Coast, you’d stay in the office late. The challenges have evolved because my position has evolved.” Competition is one of those challenges. “When we (Qwest Center Omaha) first opened, our competition was the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. Prior to us, there was no dedicated convention center here, other than maybe the Holiday Inn out on 72nd Street. Kemper Arena in Kansas City wasn’t really a factor, but when they built the Sprint Center, it became a factor. Des Moines became a factor with Wells Fargo Arena. Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln became a factor. “We’ve dealt with a number of growing competitors. And, with every new facility, there’s a honeymoon period. We knew Pinnacle would be the shiny new toy and that all the artists would want to play there. But that has settled down. Today, we coexist.” Garth Brooks, for example, played six shows in Omaha in 2016. The following year, he played four shows at Pinnacle. “From the beginning, our goals have been to make this place a success, and to pay a fair wage with good benefits,” Dixon says. “I think we’ve accomplished that.” There have been a few artists who have turned Omaha down, but that is all part of the business, he says. “Every time you don’t get an event, it’s an event you wanted,” he says. “We didn’t get Madonna, but we’ve gotten pretty much everyone else. I’m OK with that.” What superstar performer will Dixon surprise Omaha with next? “If I told you,” he says, cracking a rare smile, “it wouldn’t be a surprise. But we’re always working on something.” It’s one aspect of the future only he can see.
Bring your green thumb indoors this winter
Alzheimer’s support groups The Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter offers several caregiver support groups and specialty support groups in Cass, Douglas, Washington, Dodge, and Sarpy counties. These support groups offer valuable space and educational opportunities for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia to engage and learn. For more information about any of the groups listed below, please call 800-272-3900. CASS COUNTY • PLATTSMOUTH Second Tuesday @ 6 p.m. First Lutheran Church (chapel) 1025 Ave. D DODGE COUNTY • FREMONT Second Tuesday @ 5:30 p.m. The Heritage at Shalimar Gardens 749 E. 29th St. DOUGLAS COUNTY • OMAHA Second Thursday @ 10 a.m. Second Thursday @ 5:30 p.m. Country House Residences 5030 S. 155th St. Call Christina @ 402-980-4995 for free adult day services. Every other Monday @ 7 p.m. Brighton Gardens 9220 Western Ave. First & third Monday @ 1:30 p.m. New Cassel’s Franciscan Centre 900 N. 90th St. Call Melanie @ 402-393-2113 for free adult day services. Third Tuesday @ 5 p.m. Immanuel Fontenelle First floor classroom 6809 N 68th Plz.
Spanish Language Support Group Second Tuesday @ 4 p.m. Intercultural Community Center 3010 R St. First Thursday @ 6:45 p.m. King of Kings Lutheran Church CORE Conference Room 11615 I St. Call Karen @ 402-584-9088 to arrange for adult day services. Third Tuesday @ 6 p.m. Temple Israel 13111 Sterling Ridge Dr. SARPY COUNTY • BELLEVUE Third Monday @ 7 p.m. Bellevue Senior Center 109 W. 22nd Ave. First Wednesday @ 1 p.m. Eastern Nebraska Vets Home (Vets and non-vets welcome) 12505 S. 40th St. • PAPILLION Fourth Thursday @ 6 p.m. Hillcrest Grand Lodge 6021 Grand Lodge Ave. WASHINGTON COUNTY
Second Tuesday @ 6:45 p.m. For caregivers of individuals with an intellectual disabilty/dementia. Barbara Weitz Center 6001 Dodge St. (UNO campus)
• BLAIR Third Wednesday @ 6 p.m. Memorial Community Hospital Howard Conference Room 810 N. 22nd St.
The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.
By Melinda Myers It’s time to break out the seeds and potting mix to start your garden plants indoors. It’s a great way to keep your green thumb in shape over the winter. Plus, you’ll save money, increase your variety of plants, and jump start the growing season when you start seeds under LED grow lights. Indoor growing conditions often offer limited light and that can mean tall, leggy transplants with weak stems. You can greatly increase your success by investing in quality grow lights. Adding artificial light to your seed starting regime results in stout transplants with strong stems and deep green leaves. Invest wisely when shopping for indoor plant lights. Fluorescent tubes used to be the standard because they provided a wide spectrum of light needed for plant growth and flowering, were relatively inexpensive, and were readily available. Unfortunately, they used significant amounts of electricity and needed to be replaced every few years. Then many gardeners shifted to full spectrum fluorescent grow lights. Many last longer than the older and larger fluorescent tubes, but new LED grow lights (gardeners.com) provide even better light intensity with much less energy. If you’ve looked at LED lights in the past, you may have suffered sticker shock. Fortunately, the prices have dropped. If you consider LED plant lights typically use half the energy of fluorescent tubes, provide consistent light quality, and last up to five times longer, the long-term savings
outweighs the initial investment. Plus, they’re mercury-free and won’t add contaminates to landfills. When replacing fluorescent tubes with LED grow lights, look for compatibility. Some of the newer LED grow lights are compatible with existing T-5 light setups. You just replace the bulb, not your whole lighting system. You’ll get the most out of your investment and grow better transplants with proper use. Move seedlings under lights as soon as they start breaking through the soil surface. Keep the lights about six inches above the top of seedlings. This means you’ll need to raise the lights or lower the plants as the seedlings grow. Make your own light stand using adjustable supports to raise and lower lights as needed. Use a reflector above grow light tubes to direct the light downward toward the plants. Bounce light back onto seedlings by using reflective surfaces under and around the plants. Even easier, invest in a quality grow light stand like the SunLite® Garden. Set the lights on a timer. Seedlings need about 14 to 16 hours of daily light. Plants do need a dark period, so running the lights longer wastes electricity and isn’t good for the plants. If you’re using grow lights to supplement natural daylight, you may only need to run the lights a few hours a day. Monitor plant growth and increase the duration if plants appear leggy or pale. Increased light along with proper watering, fertilizer, and growing temperatures will ensure you have a bumper crop of transplants for your gardens and containers. (Myers has written more than 20 gardening books.)
UNMC’s ice rink open through Feb. 4 The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s outdoor ice skating rink will remain open through Sunday, Feb. 4. The rink is located just east of 42nd Street, midway between Emile Street and Dewey Avenue on the north side of the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education building. Admission is $7, which includes skates (cash or credit card only-no checks or debit cards). Hours of operation are Wednesday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon
to 8 p.m. The rink is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for UNMC student broomball and curling leagues. The rink will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Free parking is available in Lot 15 (surface lot on 40th Street between Dewey & Emile streets) located on the north and east sides of the Student Life Center. For more information about the rink, go to https:// www.unmc.edu/cfhl/activitiesevents/skating.html. Notice of the ice rink closing for private events or due to inclement weather (wind-chill of zero degrees or below) can be found by calling 402.559.0697 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theiceattheunmc.
Older musicians have been entertaining Papillion, LaVista audiences for 15 years
Please see the ad on page 3
New Horizons Club gains new members $100 Mel Balaban $25 Eleanor Thorson $20 Ruth Stover Ruth Tucker $15 Jacqueline Douglas Reflects donations received through 12/22/17.
Millard Senior Center
he first Sunday afternoon of the month for the last 15 years, older musicians have entertained older adults in Papillion and LaVista with a variety of toe-tapping Old Country, Bluegrass, and Gospel music. The concerts have featured artists from Nebraska and Iowa playing their guitars, harmonicas, keyboards, steel guitars, and accordions. In addition, these musicians participate in a variety of festivals throughout the area, provide back up for Nashville acts, and perform each summer at Papillion’s Sumtur Amphitheater.
ecently, the artists were honored for their 15 years of service at an event held at the LaVista Recreation Center, 8116 Parkview Blvd. Among the honored guests were John Cox, Bob Ashby, Pam Hillhouse, Ken Melhus, Rick Anderson, Harriett Anderson, Kathy Dovel, Barbra Ashby, Sue Cox, and Millie Anderson.
New Alzheimer’s support group meets on UNO campus The Alzheimer’s Association has a new support group in Omaha dedicated to families and friends of persons with intellectual disabilities and dementia. The group is designed for individuals concerned about changes they may be witnessing in the person with the disability such as
behavior, a lack of interest in things they previously loved, and signs of declining self-help skills. It’s also for those who have received a dementia diagnosis and want to be with other persons going through the same experiences. The group meets from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. on the sec-
ond Tuesday of each month in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the main campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6400 Dodge St. (near the clock tower). For more information, contact Janet Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-639-8037.
You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • Jan. 2: Foot care clinic. Call Tamara Womack @ 402546-1270 for an appointment. • Jan. 3: African dress making @ 9 a.m. • Jan. 5: Treat Day. Bring a treat or a snack to share. • Jan. 9 & 30: Horse in the gym @ 9 a.m. • Jan. 17: P.A.W.S. class @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 22: Western Bowl @ 9 a.m. • Jan. 23: VNA presentation on swallowing problems @ 10:45 a.m. • Jan. 25: Pianist Jesse Bickel @ 11 a.m. • Jan. 27: Flower show at St. Cecilia’s @10:30 a.m. Call Tamara Womack @ 402-546-1270 to reserve a spot. • Jan. 30: Blood pressure checks @ 9:30 a.m. We’re looking for bridge players. Call Tamara Womack at 402-546-1270 for more information. The facility will be closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and on Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal the participant wishes to enjoy. Other center activities include walking, card games, Tai Chi, dominoes, quilting, needlework, chair volleyball, and bingo. For reservations or more information, please call 402546-1270.
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Dora Bingel Senior Center
Folding laundry, washing dishes
Simple activities may help prolong your life
You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • Jan. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, & 31: Ceramics class @ 9 a.m. • Jan. 3: Holy Communion served @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, & 31: Tai Chi @ 11 a.m. • Jan. 5: Music by John Worsham sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:30 a.m. Lunch is $3. • Jan. 8: Book Club @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 8, 15, 22, & 29: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. • Jan. 17: Foot care clinic from 9 a.m. to noon for $10. • Jan. 26: Hard of Hearing Support Group @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 31: Birthday party luncheon @ noon. Eat free if you have a January birthday. A nutritious lunch is served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A $1 donation is suggested for the meals, other than $3 for Merrymakers. Round-trip transportation is available for $3. Meals reservations are required 24 hours in advance. Other activities offered at the facility include: Tuesday: Joy Club Devotions @ 9:30 a.m., matinee @ 12:30 p.m., and quilting @1 p.m. Wednesday: Devotions @ 10:30, bingo @ 12:30 p.m., and Bible study at 12:30 p.m. Friday: Joy Club Devotions @ 9:30 a.m. Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. For more information, please call 402-898-5854.
olding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. Simple activities like those, however, may help prolong your life, according to a new University at Buffalo study about older women. In the study of more than 6,000 white, African-American, and Hispanic women ages 63 to 99, researchers reported a significantly lower risk of death in women who were active at levels only slightly above what defines being sedentary. Women who engaged in 30 minutes per day of light physical activity – as measured by an accelerometer instead of a questionnaire – had a 12 percent lower risk of death. Women able to do a half hour each day of moderate to vigorous activity had a 39 percent lower mortality risk, according to the study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. For this study, light physical activities included regular chores such as folding clothes, sweeping the floor, or washing the windows. Activities like these account for more than 55 percent of a typical older adult’s daily activity. Moderate to vigorous activities would include brisk walking or bicycling at a leisurely pace. The bottom line? “Doing something is better than doing nothing, even when at lower-than-guideline recommended levels of physical activity,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael LaMonte, a research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show this.” Dr. LaMonte said this is remarkable because public health guidelines require physical activity to be at least moderate or higher intensity to confer health benefits. “Our study shows for the first time in older women, health is benefited even at physical activity levels below the guideline recommendations.” “The mortality benefit of light intensity activity extended to all the subgroups we examined,” said the study’s principal investigator, Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D., a professor and chief of epidemiology at the University of California-San Diego. The mortality benefit was similar for women younger than age 80 compared to women over age 80. It was similar across racial/ethnic backgrounds, and among obese and non-obese women. “Perhaps
ENOA is recruiting older adults to become Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions
en and women age 55 and older who want to earn a tax-free stipend while making an impact in their community are encouraged to join the Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the SCP and FGP are national programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. Senior Companions help other older adults maintain their independence by visiting them at home to discuss the news, read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers. SCP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 15 hours or more per week, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $2.65 an hour tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, an annual physical examination, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual recognition luncheon. The stipend does not interfere with rent, disability, Medicaid, or other benefits. For more information, please call 402-444-6536.
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most importantly for this population, the mortality benefit was similar among women with high and low functional ability,” Dr. LaCroix said. While the study focused on older women, researchers said their findings show younger women and men the importance of developing healthy habits around physical activity while you’re young so you’re more likely to maintain them when you get older. Unlike most previous studies on this issue in which physical activity was measured using questionnaires, the UB researchers measured physical activity using accelerometers. These motion-sensing devices electronically document and store daily movement patterns and intensity on a 24-hour clock for as many days as the device is worn. Women in this study wore the devices for four to seven days. Researchers then downloaded and analyzed the information. To make their analysis of physical activity even more specific to older women, researchers also conducted a laboratory study in a subset of study participants which aligned the accelerometer information with completion of activity tasks germane to older women’s usual daily activity habits. “No other study as large as ours and specifically on older women has included this step to enhance interpretation of accelerometer data in a context relevant to the study participants,” LaMonte said. The findings could have implications for national public health guidelines for physical activity for older American women, especially when considering the projected growth of this population over the next several decades. By 2050, the population group age 65 and older will have doubled since 2000, reaching nearly 77 million, according to Dr. LaMonte. Women in this age group will outnumber men two to one at the expected growth pattern. “Our results suggest the health benefits of lighter activity could reach a large swath of women in an aging society,” he said. “These findings are especially relevant to aging well in an aging society. Some people, because of age, illness, or deconditioning, are not able to do more strenuous activity. Current guidelines do not specifically encourage light activity because the evidence base to support such a recommendation has been lacking.” (The University of Buffalo provided this information.)
HEOS, a social organization for singles age 60 and older, meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at New Cassel, 900 N. 90th St. Older men and women are encouraged to meet for a fun afternoon and to sign up for other activities throughout the month. On Jan. 8, yoga instructor Lisa Russell will discuss balance and strength techniques older adults can perform at home. For more information, please call Dorothy at 402-399-0759 or Mary at 402-393-3052.
The many benefits of pet ownership
Furry friends can play a significant role in pet owners’ lives. The old saying goes, “dogs are man’s best friend,” and research shows they may be more than that. In fact, they just might be the key to keeping older adults active. According to a study conducted by the University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University in collaboration with Mars Petcare Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, dog owners 65 and older were found to walk over 20 minutes more a day than older men and women who didn’t have canine companions at home. The study documented three key conclusions: • Dog owners walked further and for longer than non-dog owners. • Dog owners were more likely to reach recommended activity levels. • Dog owners had fewer periods of sitting down. “Older adult dog owners are more active than those without dogs and are also more likely to meet government recommendations for daily physical activity,” said Nancy Gee, a human animal
interaction researcher at Waltham. “We are learning more every day about the important roles pets play in our lives, so it’s no surprise pets are now in more than 84 million households. It’s great to recognize how pets can help improve seniors’ lives.” Walking with your pup can help both the pet and owner get in shape. Pets can keep older adults active and even help them meet the recommended public health guidelines for weekly physical activity. According to the study, on average, dog owners more often participated in 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity and achieved 2,760 additional steps. However, the benefits of pet ownership go beyond physical activity. It’s no secret that pets provide companionship. From reducing rates of stress, depression, and feelings of social isolation, pets can play a significant role in improving people’s lives, which ultimately can make pet owners happier and healthier. Not only do pets serve as companions in their own
Fremont Friendship Center
You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • Jan. 3: Hints with Home Instead @ 10 a.m. followed by pianist Wally. • Jan. 4: Presentation on healthy eating @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 8: Slide show by Rich Hirshman on WWII (part 2) @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 9: Tai Chi class. • Jan. 10: Music by Billy Troy @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 16: Presentation by ENOA’s Mary Parker on the Foster Grandparent Program @ 11 a.m. • Jan. 17: Music by Kim Eames @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 18: Presentation on ENOA’s Meals on Wheels program @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 24: Music by George and the Juniors @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 25: Presentation on the Nebraska Respite Network @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 31: Music by Pam Kragt @ 10:30 a.m. The facility will be closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and on Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King, right, studies have shown Jr. Day. dog owners can get to know Walking in the main arena Tusesday their neighbors through their through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 pets. Pets can even help p.m. is encouraged. Keep track of your facilitate the initial meetmiles in our walking book. ing and conversation, which The Fremont Friendship Center is may come as no surprise for open Monday through Thursday from many dog owners who have 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 chatted with others while a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 walking their dogs. For a.m. A $3.50 contribution is suggested older adults who live alone for lunch. Reservations must be made or in a group facility, having by noon the business day prior to the a pet is also a great way to meal you wish to enjoy. build relationships. For meal reservations and more information, please call It turns out living with a Laurie at 402-727-2815. pet can be a healthy choice for older adults in more Widowed Persons Group of Omaha ways than one. For more information on the benhe Widowed Persons Restaurant, 11732 W. Dodge efits of pet ownership, visit Group of Omaha Rd. bettercitiesforpets.com. hosts a luncheon the For more information, (Family Features provid- third Monday of each month please call 402-426-9690 or ed this information.) at 11:30 a.m. at Jericho’s 402-493-0452.
Safety Council is offering driving assessment class The National Safety Council of Nebraska is offering a comprehensive three-hour driving assessment class for older adults by appointment. The Senior Driving Program, which costs $300, is designed to keep older adults driving safely on Nebraska’s roads for as long as possible. Participants will be able to assess and improve their driving skills to reduce risk to themselves, their passengers, and to other drivers. The classes, held at the National Safety Council of Nebraska’s office, 11620 M Cir., offer a driving skills self-assessment, behind the wheel driving with state-certified instructors, driving tips, a driving evaluation, and recommendations. To learn more or to register for the Senior Driving Program, please call 402-898-7371 or go online to email@example.com.
Bilingual resource information
Conducted by Visiting Angels
Survey examines how grandchildren view their grandparents’ postings on Facebook
Bilingual information about hospice care, palliative care, helping loved ones with grief and loss, and caregiving is available through the Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership. The number for the Cuidando con Carino Compassionate Care HelpLine is (toll free) 1-877-658-8896. The service is offered weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
NARFE meetings The National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Chapter 144 meets the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-292-1156. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Aksarben Chapter 1370 meets the second Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-342-4351. Law Offices of Charles E. Dorwart, J.D. 36 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • In-home consultations • Free Initial consultation 10104 Essex Court • Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114 Office: (402) 558-1404 • Fax: (402) 779-7498 firstname.lastname@example.org
new survey by Visiting Angels – one of the nation’s largest in-home senior care companies – reveals grandkids enjoy having Grandma and Grandpa on Facebook, but some grandchildren secretly want to unfriend their grandparents because they post embarrassing stuff. The survey uncovers the top Facebook errors for grandparents: • One in four respondents say their grandparents post too much information about their love life, social life, or sex life. • More than one-third of respondents say Grandma or Grandpa post dirty laundry about family feuds or finances. • One in five grandchildren say Grandma goes “Emoji crazy” in comments or posts. • One in three respondents say they don’t like when grandparents get too politi-
cal or post too much about religion. • One in four respondents say it’s not cool when Grandma tries to friend their friends. • Thirty percent of grandkids say it’s embarrassing when their grandparents post personal comments in public places like their timeline. • Half of the respondents say they don’t want their grandparents commenting on their social life. • Almost one in four grandkids don’t want to hear about their own hair, weight, or clothes from their grandparents on Facebook. • Twenty-five percent of grandkids say they don’t like to see their grandparents post that they are lonely, unhappy, sick, or sad. • One in five respondents say they don’t like to see comments about their grandparent’s health issues or medical procedures. • One in four respondents say they feel guilty when Grandma posts: “Why don’t you visit or call more?” • Twenty-two percent of respondents say it’s not cool when Grandma or Grandpa tries to act cool. One respondent said he wants to hide when grandparents comment in ALL CAPS.
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Are your tires ready for winter’s road conditions?
he same temperature you can begin to see your breath – 45 degrees Fahrenheit – is also when the all-season tires on your car can start to lose traction and grip. As temperatures drop, drivers should remember if you can see your breath, you should think about winter tires. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trek or simply driving around town, exposing your vehicle’s tires to colder weather could lead to potential trouble on the road. Snow and ice may be fun to play in, but they make for dangerous driving conditions. Winter tires are built for cold-weather conditions and deliver improved starting, stopping, and steering control in temperatures 45 degrees Fahrenheit and below. The difference is the tread compound of winter tires, which stays soft and pliable in colder temperatures for superior traction. Add the tread design of winter tires with thousands of extra gripping edges and you get as much as a 25 to 50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires. To help stay safe on the road this winter, the experts at Discount Tire recommend following these four tire safety tips: • Get ready now: It’s important to replace all four of your vehicle’s all-season tires with winter tires if you regularly drive in temperatures 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below, snow or no snow. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber that allows the tires to stay pliable and maintain better contact with the road. • Don’t forget the wheels: Having a set of wheels specifically for your winter tires can save you money in the long run. Pairing a separate set of wheels with your winter tires can eliminate certain changeover costs and save your everyday wheels from the wear and tear brought on by ice, slush, snow, and salt during the winter months. • Know your numbers: Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure tires are at the appropriate inflation level. Temperature changes affect tire pressure – for every 10 degrees of temperature change, tire air pressure changes one pound per square inch. Low tire pressure can lead to decreased steering and braking control, poor gas mileage, excessive tire wear, and the possibility of tire failure. Also don’t forget to check your spare tire. • Rotate, rotate, rotate: To help increase tread life and smooth out your ride, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or sooner if irregular or uneven wear develops. For more information, visit discounttire.com. (Family Features provided this information.)
The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has been providing programs and services for older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties since 1974.
Fire Department will install free smoke, carbon monoxide detectors
he Omaha Fire Department’s Public Education and Affairs Department will install free smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors inside the residences of area homeowners. To have a free smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector installed inside your home, send your name, address, and telephone number to: Omaha Fire Department Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Requests 1516 Jackson St. Omaha, Neb. 68102 For more information, please call 402-444-3560.
New Horizons readership survey Our staff and advertisers are working to make the New Horizons the best publication possible. To that end, we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to review and answer the questions below. Please mail your responses to New Horizons, 4780 S. 131st St., Omaha, Neb. 68137. If you have any questions, please call New Horizons Editor Jeff Reinhardt at 402-444-6654. Thanks for your time and assistance. • On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), please rate the New Horizons. • How many years have you been reading the New Horizons? • Do you read the New Horizons each month? • Do you receive the New Horizons through the mail or at one of our freehand distribution sites? • Would you be interested in receiving an electronic copy of the New Horizons on your computer or smart phone? • What types of New Horizons articles do you like best ( human interest, healthcare, available programs and services, other)?
• What types of New Horizons articles do you like least (human interest, healthcare, available programs and services, other)?
• Do you pass your copy of the New Horizons on to another reader? • Do you read the ads in the New Horizons? • Do you support the New Horizons advertisers? • Do you have any suggestions for improving the New Horizons?
Include these tips in your lip care routine
othing ruins gorgeous lips faster than dry flakes. If the cool winter air has you reaching for the lip balm every 30 minutes, try incorporating these fixes from Peter M. Elias, M.D., a professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of California San Francisco, into your lip care routine. “Lips are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to battling the elements because even normal lips produce too little of the lipids needed for an effective barrier,” says Dr. Elias. “The problem is exacerbated in winter by the reduced environmental humidity due to forced air heat, which increases water loss, making the barrier problem worse.” Here are his tips to keep lips soft and supple this season: • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to keep your body, skin, and lips hydrated. When your lips become dehydrated they dry out, crack, and peel, especially during the winter months. • Look for products that repair, not mask the problem: Using balms that are not designed to correct the barrier abnormality can make the problem worse. Recent studies show some moisturizing products are actually toxic to the skin barrier, potentially setting up a vicious circle, where you must repeatedly re-apply to get temporary relief. • Moisturize both day and night: The goal is to restore the lips to optimal health by replacing the missing, critical lipids that provide a protective barrier. Look for a replenishing balm which contain the three lipids needed to restore proper barrier function (free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides). They’re also free of steroids, parabens, and petrolatum, which can irritate sensitive, wintertime lips and enriched with aloe to help with healing on contact. • Avoid licking: When your lips are dry, it’s instinctively natural to want to lick them to restore them. This can actually have a negative effect. Saliva damages the protective barrier because it contains potentially damaging enzymes, and can extract the remaining lipids, which leads to dryness and chapping.
Genealogical Society offering free classes each month through June
he Greater Omaha Genealogical Society will host a series of six free genealogical classes at the Mormon Trail Center, 3215 State St. from 9:15 a.m. to noon (see dates below) and at the W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St. from 10 a.m. to noon (see dates below). Here are the dates, topics, and locations: • Jan. 20: Getting started or re-motivated. • Feb. 17: Vital records and substitutes for vital records. • March 17: Making sense of the census and online trees; fact or fiction. • April 21: Family search, family trees, and our favorite websites. • May 19: Hands on genealogical research in books and film (@ W. Dale Clark Library). • June 16: Hands-on computer searching techniques (@ W. Dale Clark Library computer lab). Participants are asked to register so there will be enough materials available at each class. To register and for more information, please contact Merrily at 402-706-1453 or email@example.com.
We want to hear from
• Do you have questions about the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, its programs or services? • Do you have a comment about the agency and how it serves older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties? • Maybe you have a story idea for the New Horizons?
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‘Grandma Rosetta’ honored for her volunteer service
osetta Herron, a 90-year-old great grandmother, sits in a small chair in the middle of a classroom at Omaha’s Druid Hill Elementary School, 4020 N. 30th St. Across the table from the nonagenarian sits a smiling 3-year-old boy who shifts his focus between Herron and a picture book on the table. The young man is a student in Druid Hill’s Head Start program. Herron has been a member of the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) for 21 years. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the FGP is a national program of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers. In exchange for volunteering 15 or more hours a week, Foster Grandparents receive a $2.65 an hour stipend, mileage reimbursement, an annual physical examination, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual recognition luncheon. Herron, who as a teenager worked for 45 cents an hour in Omaha’s packinghouses and later as a housekeeper at University Hospital, was looking for something to do when she retired in 1994, so she joined the FGP. She spent 14 years volunteering with kids at Boys Town National Research Hospital before coming to Druid Hill in 2011.
n a recent late fall morning, “Grandma Rosetta” as she’s known at Druid Hill, points at a group of pictures in a book held by a 3-year-old. “Show me something on the page that has four legs.”
Rosetta helps out with the Head Start students at Druid Hill Elementary School five days a week. The child points at an elephant. “What is that?” Herron asks. “An elephant,” the young man replies. “That’s right,” Rosetta says, sharing a smile with the child. Herron – a widow who has one daughter, four grandchildren, and four great grandkids – says she loves working with kids. “They speak their minds and they’re willing to learn.” Working with numbers and teaching the children to identify animals are two examples of what Grandma Rosetta does during a typical day at Druid Hill, according to Head Start program teacher Sonja Horton. As a teacher, Herron helps the 3,
4, and 5-year-olds learn a variety of lessons including instruction on the alphabet, sizes, and shapes. As a grandmother, she ties their shoes, gives them hugs, zips their coats, and shares her life experiences. “She helps me help the children,” Ms. Horton says. Druid Hill Principal Cherice Williams appreciates Herron and what she does for the school, its staff, and the Head Start students. “She’s always here bright and early with an eagerness to help all the children. She always says, ‘these kids help me stay young.’ “Grandma reminds us that we all can play a part in a young person’s life and that we need to listen
Herron has been a Foster Grandparent at Omaha’s Druid Hill Elementary School for seven years.
and respect one another,” Williams continues. “Grandma helps to keep us on our toes. She’s an inspiration to us. We at Druid Hill Elementary School love her. She is our Grandma.”
n November 2017, Herron received a Jefferson Award for Public Service. The Jefferson Awards are given at both the local and national levels to honor men and women who do extraordinary things without an expectation of recognition. “I’m very proud of the award,” says Grandma Rosetta who wears the large copper Jefferson Award medal each day. “It was a big surprise. I shed a few tears when I got it.” To learn more about the Foster Grandparent Program, please call 402-444-6536.
Grandma Rosetta wears her Jefferson Award every day.
New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...
Published on Dec 29, 2017
New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...