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A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

January 2020 VOL. 45 • NO. 1

ENOA 4780 South 131st Street Omaha, NE 68137-1822


en oa. org

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New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19


Happy New Year

A graduate of Omaha Burke High School and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Carrie Murphy serves as deputy chief of staff/communications for Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. Before joining the mayor’s office, Murphy spent 34 years in local television as a reporter, producer, and manager. In June 2019, Carrie was inducted into the Omaha Press Club’s Hall of Fame. Nick Schinker’s profile of Murphy begins on page 8.

Grandpa Jerome Jerome Thomas, who volunteers with ENOA’s Foster Grandparent Program, was recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Child Saving Institute in Omaha. See page 16.

What’s inside Spring gardening will soon be here .............2 Making driving safer for older adults ...........3 Psychiatrist has advice for caregivers .........4 North Bend fundraiser on Jan. 26 ...............5 Nancy Hemesath’s ‘Conscious Aging’ ........7 Study looks at statins’ benefits, risks........11 The powers of a positive attitude ..............12 UNO gerontology grads joining ENOA ......13 Twins celebrate their 95th birthday ...........14 Outdoor ice skating at UNMC ...................14

Dora Bingel Senior Center

It’s not too early to think about your spring garden

You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • Jan. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, & 31: Ceramics class @ 9 a.m. • Jan. 6, 13, 20, & 27: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. • Jan. 8, 15, 22, & 29: Tai Chi @ 11 a.m. • Jan. 8: Music by Paul Siebert sponsored by the Merrymakers @11:30 a.m. Lunch is $3. • Jan. 9: Book Club meets at 10 a.m. • Jan. 29: Birthday party luncheon @ noon. Eat free if you have a January birthday. Lunch is served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A $1 donation is suggested for the meals, other than $3 for Merrymakers day. Round-trip transportation is available for $3. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for all meals. Other activities offered at the facility include Tuesday: Devotions @ 10 a.m., matinee @ 12:30 p.m., quilting @ 1 p.m. Wednesday: Devotions at 10:30 a.m. Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. Friday: Bible study @ 10:30 a.m. Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. For more information, please call 402-898-5854.

Please support NH advertisers

Fontenelle Tours

Omaha/Council Bluffs


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 25 – 31, 2020. Our sixth annual trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. A very rewarding weeklong event for blind and physically challenged persons to participate in skiing and/or other outdoor activities. If you know of 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.

Laughlin Laughlin in January. January 27 - 31. $329. Five days – Four nights. Includes non-stop, round-trip airfare to Laughlin, Nevada, four nights lodging at the Riverside Resort and Casino on the banks of the Colorado River, and shuttle transportation to and from the airport. Entertainment at the Riverside Resort during your stay is musician Ty Herndon. Laughlin in March. March 13 - 16. $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 at the Riverside Resort during your stay is The Fitzgerald’s Irish Celebration, celebrating all things Irish.

Holy Land Pilgrimage Holy Land Pilgrimage. January 20 – 31, 2020. $2,995 plus airfare. 12 days – 11 nights. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus at many of the most important and well-known biblical locations in the Holy Land, including daily Mass. Discover the sites with an expert local guide, enjoy sightseeing including a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Holy Hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, travel to Cana, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and more. Contact 952-388-2736 at Magi Travel to register.

In Partnership with Collette Vacations We started working with Collette in 2009 when we were looking for a way to offer international trips to our travelers. We wanted to find a company that shared our core values of providing quality tours, well hosted at a reasonable price. We were not looking for a low-cost alternative. Our first personal experience was when we took about 24 people on the "Shades of Ireland" tour. It was an incredibly positive experience! Since then we have helped others to experience Collette Tours on: Historic Trains of California; New York City; Canada’s Atlantic Coast with Nova Scotia; Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes; Austrian Delight - Oberammergau (coming up again in 2020); Pasadena Rose Parade; Islands of New England; Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park; Islands of New England; Reflections of Italy; Canadian Rockies by Train; Tropical Costa Rica; Alaska Discovery Land & Cruise and others. Please call if you have one of Collette’s many destinations on your bucket list. We can help make it happen! Watch New Horizons and our website for our trip schedule. 2708 Franklin Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

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New Horizons

By Melinda Myers


hen winter fades into spring, gardeners can’t wait to get busy in the garden. Pruning, cutting back perennials and ornamental grasses, and preparing the garden for spring planting are just a few of the tasks. Keep yourself and the pollinators in your garden safe when you start the cleanup process. Always prune with a purpose. Start by removing any damaged and diseased stems from shrubs and roses. Watch for insects like swallowtail butterflies that overwinter in protective cocoons and the egg masses of some like the hairstreak butterflies. Prevent problems by destroying overwintering nonnative pests like the gypsy moth. Search the internet and insect books for help identifying the good and bad guys you may find in your landscape. Additional pruning may be needed to manage the size and shape or encourage better flowering and bark color. Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs like lilacs and forsythia if you want maximum flowering. Prune these shrubs right after flowering before they set their floral buds for next spring. Keep yourself safe by wearing safety glasses and gloves. It’s too easy to focus on the task and end up with a stick in the eye. Heavy duty gloves protect and support your hands, allowing you to garden longer with less stress, scratches, and bruises. Consider synthetic leather gauntlet style gloves like Foxgloves’ extra protection gloves ( which protect hands and forearms from harm yet are supple enough to allow you to work efficiently. The breathable fabric is durable, machine washable, and puncture resistant. Lightly rake any debris off the lawn and add it to the compost pile. Check for damage and lightly tamp any disturbed areas back into place. Reseed bare spots so grass,

not weeds, fill in these spots. Brush leaves off the crowns of perennials but leave the rest in place for insects that spend winter or summer in the leaf litter. Plus, the leaves help preserve moisture, suppress weeds, and improve the soil as they break down.

Pull mulch away from tree trunks and shrub crowns that may have shifted over the winter. Keeping mulch off the stems reduces the risk of future problems that can lead to the decline or even death of the plants. Leave perennials and grasses standing as long as possible since many are homes for beneficial insects. Bundle grasses for easy cutting and removal. Once cut, loosely stack or stand perennial stems and grasses at the edge of the garden or natural spaces. This allows any insects still present to safely emerge when it’s time to move to their summer homes. Plus, birds will appreciate the easy access to nesting material. Enjoy the changing of the seasons and the beauty of nature hidden among the plants in your garden. Protect yourself when preparing the garden for spring so you won’t lose time recovering from injuries. And keeping the pollinators and other beneficial insects safe will improve your garden’s health and productivity throughout the growing seasons. (Myers has written numerous gardening books.)

Study examined nearly 14,000 older adults

Does a poor handgrip signal a poor memory? For older Americans, a poor handgrip may be a sign of impaired cognition and memory, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Michigan (UM) and North Dakota State University followed nearly 14,000 participants from the 2006 Health and Retirement Study age 50 and older for eight years. They found that every five-kg reduction in handgrip strength was associated with 10% greater odds for any cognitive impairment and 18% greater odds for severe cognitive impairment.  They assessed handgrip with a hand-held dynamometer and cognitive function with a modified MiniMental State Examination, a widely used test among older adults that includes exams of orientation, attention, memory, language, and visual-spatial skills. Study co-author Sheria

January 2020

Robinson-Lane, assistant professor at the U-M School of Nursing, said the results are important for providers and individuals seeking ways to retain physical and mental function. The findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, contribute to mounting evidence that providers should include grip strength – not currently used – in routine health assessments for older adults, according to first author Ryan McGrath, assistant professor at North Dakota State University. More importantly, the researchers interpreted the findings to mean a reduction in grip strength is associated with neural degeneration, which underscores the importance of muscle-building exercise.   “These findings suggest this is another instance where you’re seeing that staying physically active affects your overall health and your cognitive health,” Robinson-Lane said.  


The 211 network

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, physical and mental health resources, support for older Americans and persons with a disability, volunteer opportunities, and donations. The 211 network is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The information is also available online at

Addressing the safety of older drivers


inter is a great time to bring up an older adult’s driving safety. Waiting until an accident happens can leave the driver feeling as if they need to defend themselves. Planning ahead is the most successful way to safely maintain lifelong community mobility and independence. “The thought of completely giving up the keys can trigger anxiety about dependence, loneliness, and isolation, so it’s important for older drivers and their families to understand the many steps between noticing an issue and giving up driving completely,” says Elin Schold Davis, OTR/L, CDRS, FAOTA, Project Coordinator of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA’s) Older Driver Safety Initiative. “Planning ahead can prevent awkward conversations following an incident or accident and can be empowering. When families and older adults plan ahead for community mobility, they have the most choices and the most power.” AOTA offers tips for families to begin a conversation with an older adult about driving: • Approach the conversation before an issue arises. To reduce stress and feelings of dread, begin a conversation while an older adult is still a competent driver. This will keep the focus on preparing for future needs, just as one makes financial and housing plans. Discuss the reasons for your loved one’s driving and how minor adjustments can be made when necessary such as safer routes to destinations, not driving at night, and avoiding rush hour, without worrying about having to stop driving immediately. • Use everyday activities (occupations) as a catalyst. A discussion about getting groceries into the home is less threatening than a conversation about driving. In this example, a careful look at options such as grocery delivery or moving to a place where the older adult can safely walk to the grocery store provides more options rather than focusing on taking independence away. • Discuss a current event. Use a news story in your community to begin the conversation. Discuss how an accident could have been prevented and how your loved one feels about their own safety behind the

wheel. • Focus on specific behaviors. Instead of raising general concerns and saying, “I don’t like the idea of you still driving,” focus on a specific fact. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t look when backing up,” is a less threating approach. Shifting the focus to a specific behavior will be received more as support to assist the driver. • Explore interventions and adjustments. A discussion intended to support an older driver in continuing to drive safely may include suggestions about routines (avoid making left-hand turns or refrain from driving at night) or gadgets (a knob on the steering wheel to make grasping easier or a seat cushion to make the seat fit better and improve the line of sight). Sharing options to make driving easier will help loved ones consider safe alternatives before stopping driving. • Consult with a professional. Car-Fit is a free opportunity to have a professional evaluation of how the driver “fits” in the vehicle. Find an event in your community by visiting Occupational therapy practitioners offer drivers an individualized evaluation to explore the range of solutions to stay on the road safely and confidently. • Stay positive about offering support. If a loved one is no longer able to drive safely on their own, making supportive comments about the prospect of transporting them somewhere, such as “It’s going to be nice to spend time with you” or “I’m glad you let me drive today,” can help them feel like less of a burden and promote an engaged and active life without driving. • Practice driving alternatives together. If driving is no longer a safe option, explore transportation options as a family. If your loved one is nervous about the prospect of public transit or ride sharing, practice it with them. Accompany them on their next outing as a practice run. Let them know you’re in this together. As baby boomers enter the over 65 age bracket at an alarming rate (10,000 each day), the concern for older drivers’ safety and independence is greater now than at any time in our history. Adults age 65 and older make up more than 16% of all licensed drivers nationwide. And the numbers are growing as baby boomers age. By 2040, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will be 70 or older.

Call 402-444-6536 for more information

ENOA is recruiting older adults to become Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions


en and women age 55 and older who want to earn a taxfree 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.


CP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes

references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 10 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.

January 2020

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: 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 ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, vice-chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, secretary; David Saalfeld, Dodge County, & Jim Warren, 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.

New Horizons

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Camelot Friendship Center

Psychiatrist offers his tips for caregivers

You’re invited to visit the Camelot Friendship Center inside the Camelot Community Center, 9270 Cady Ave., this month for the following: • Jan. 2: Lap-a-thon through Jan. 31 begins. Walk laps and earn chances to win prizes. • Jan. 9: Book club @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 10: Balance testing @ 11:45 a.m. • Jan. 10: Council meeting @ 12:15 p.m. • Jan. 14 & 17: Tai Chi on Tuesdays and Fridays. • Jan. 16: VNA presentation on the Holiday Blues @11:45 a.m. • Jan. 17: Music by Billy Troy sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:45 a.m. • Jan. 21: Craft day @ 12:30 p.m. • Jan. 23: Presentation on brain health @ 11:35 a.m. • Jan. 28: Questions and answers on genealogy with Gloria Waters @ 11:45 a.m. • Jan. 31: Lap-a-thon winner announced @ 12:15 p.m. followed by Trivia Friday. The facility will be closed on New Year’s Day and on Jan. 20 for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance. The center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. Regular center activities include chair yoga Monday & Friday @ 10:30 a.m., chair volleyball Wednesday @ 10:30 a.m. For meals reservations or more information, please call 402-444-3091.

Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • Jan. 22: The Merrymakers present music by Billy Troy @ 11 a.m. • Mondays & Fridays: Tai Chi @ 10 a.m. The center will be closed on New Year’s Day and on Jan. 20 for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance. Other activities include craft and social hour Wednesday @ 10:30 a.m., bingo Monday and Thursday @ 1 p.m., ceramics class Wednesday @ 1 p.m., Happy Hands crochet group Tuesday @ 10 a.m. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $4 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 402-731-7210.

A Caring Community Called HOME! Independent & Assisted Living

• No Entrance Fee • Medicaid Waiver Approved • All Utilities & Housekeeping Included • Spacious 1 & 2 Bedroom Apartments

49th & Q Street • 402-731-2118

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New Horizons


inay Saranga M.D., a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry, offers these 10 tips to make caring for an older loved one a bit easier. • Always act and speak with compassion. Diminishing independence is often a rough transitional time for many older adults. The impact can take a toll on both their physical and mental well-being so it’s best to always lead with compassion. At times, this may not be easy. Some older men and women may protest things like in-home care or handing over the car keys. Even when you have to make tough decisions, be compassionate. • Be encouraging yet delicate. Aging is difficult enough on its own and is even more challenging when a mental illness is present. Know when to give your older one a slight push or words of encouragement to try new things and get out of the house. At the same time, know when to keep your mouth shut and let them do their own thing. • Don’t get frustrated when they forget things. Many illnesses with older adults bring about both short and long-term memory problems. Even if you’ve told them something 10 times, don’t get upset, angry, or frustrated when they forget things whether it’s important or personal dates like birthdays and anniversaries or less meaningful but still important items like paying a bill or missing an appointment. • Plan out difficult conversations ahead of time. You might have to discuss taking away driving privileges or moving them to a nursing home. These types of major life changes can dramatically impact the wellbeing of an older person. Loss of independence and routine can trigger emotions like anger, frustration, and depression. Carefully plan out your approach and key points to emphasize ahead of time. • Find alternatives. Alternatives can help those with diminishing independence develop a positive outlook. Come up with a ride schedule if a loved one had to stop driving. Work to find a compassionate caregiver who can help keep them healthy, happy, and comfortable if in-home care is a necessity. Do whatever it takes to give them as much freedom as possible. • Give yourself a break. Don’t neglect

yourself when caring for a loved one. Caregiver burnout is common because people devote every moment to the person in need and forget to take care of themselves. Eat right. Exercise. Take time to relax and unwind. • Don’t miss or skip doctor appointments. If an older adult is being treated by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other mental health professional and starts to show improvement, don’t think they’re cured and cancel their appointments. Mental illness can come and go at times. Patients can make significant progress and also have setbacks. Older patients need to be monitored very closely especially if they’re taking medications for other conditions. • Don’t assume you know what to look for. As the caregiver for an older person, you need to know the less talked about symptoms to look for that can indicate a psychiatric condition such as unexplained fatigue, change in appetite, no longer enjoying things that used to bring them pleasure, difficulty sleeping, confusion, nervousness, avoidance behavior, weight loss or gain, and the inability to make simple decisions. • Depression among older adults isn’t normal. As the caregiver for an older man or woman, you may have been led to believe depression tends to set in as we age. It’s just not true. Older adults should be able to live every day to the fullest and enjoy each stage of life. Being upset once in a while is normal. Constantly living in a depressed state isn’t normal regardless of age. • Double check they are taking medication properly. As a caregiver for an older adult taking multiple medications, don’t assume they’re taking their meds correctly. The reality is many medications look alike or have similar names. A good idea is to get a pill organizer that separates medication by days of the week. You may want to write out specific instructions and even watch your older loved one take their meds when you can.

Ralston Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Ralston Senior Center, 7301 Q St., this month for the following: • Jan. 8: Board meeting @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 8: The Merrymakers present music by Billy Troy @ noon. • Jan. 9 & 23: Line dancing @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 9 & 23: Bingo @ 1 p.m. • Jan. 14: Bus trip to WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa. The bus leaves @ 7:30 a.m. and returns around 4 p.m. The cost is $5. Call Dorothy @ 402-553-4874 for reservations. The facility will be closed on Jan. 1. Other activities include exercise on Tuesday and Friday @ 10 a.m. Lunch is catered in on Wednesdays. A $4.50 contribution is requested. Reservations are due by noon the Tuesday before the meal you wish to enjoy. Call Diane @ 402-8858895 for reservations. Remember to renew or obtain an annual Ralston Senior Center membership for $10. The handicapped-accessible facility can be used for weddings, memorial services, reunions, etc. on weekends. The center will be closed on any day the Ralston Public Schools are closed due to the weather. For more information, call Diane West @ 402-339-4926.

January 2020

Omaha Fire Department


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.

Fremont Friendship Center

Fundraiser on Jan. 26 at North Bend Senior Center


andy Blackman, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s RSVP coordinator, recently visited the North Bend Senior Center, 240 E. 10th St. She invites everyone to attend the facility’s annual soup fundraiser on Jan. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The all you can eat soup meal will also feature a gluten-free option. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. For more information on the soup dinner, please call Sherry Raymond at 402652-8661. Sponsored locally by ENOA, RSVP is funded by the Corporation for National Service. RSVP volunteers – who must be at least age 55 – serve as resources at public and non-profit organizations, health institutions,

food pantries, senior centers, and recycling facilities in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties. Helping out at the North Bend Senior Center is one

example of the RSVP volunteer opportunities available through ENOA. For more information on RSVP, please call Sandy Blackman at 402-444-6536, ext. 1024.

Among the recent visitors at the North Bend Senior Center were (standing left to right): Doris Mahaffey, manager Sherry Raymond, RSVP Coordinator Sandy Blackman, Leona Soukup, and Lois Coufal. Seated (left to right): Virginia Bosco, Linda Giddings, and Cici Winningham.

lives. It’s enriching for you and for them. • Pay close attention to changes in an older adult’s appearance or mood and express your concerns if these changes become noticeable. Sometimes older men and women aren’t sure where to turn for help. If the suspected elder abuse victim lives in a care facility, express your concerns to the facility’s administrator. It’s his or her job to monitor these kinds of reports and to conduct a thorough investigation. Encourage your loved one to open up about any concerns they have so you can help make sure they’re safe and well cared for. There are services provided by Adult Protective Services that can help determine if elder abuse is occurring. The Nebraska statewide toll-free hotline number for Adult Protective Services is 1-800-652-1999. (Czechut is with Midwest Geriatrics, Inc. in Omaha.)

Volunteers needed


Be aware of the signs of elder abuse


lder adults are sometimes the most vulnerable people in our society. There are many things you can do to prevent the older men and women in your life from being abused, harmed, or neglected. You should know what to look for to help older adults stay safe and healthy. There are several steps you can take to prevent elder abuse including: • Make sure the older men and women in your life aren’t isolated. Isolation causes depression, sadness, and loneliness which could make them more vulnerable. • Stay in touch. Family members are often the first line of defense against an abusive situation. Older adults always enjoy a visit or a phone call. • Keep older men and women active. This helps keep them healthy, mentally and physically. • Encourage older adults to attend religious services and community activities. Find out what they like and offer to escort them or help them find transportation. • Don’t allow older men and women to live with someone who is known to be abusive or violent. • Be wary of caregivers or friends needing financial help, or those who have substance abuse issues. Those people in tough financial positions may think older adults are an easy target. • Stay involved in their

Millard Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • Jan. 3: Treat Day. • Jan. 8: Board meeting @ 9:45 a.m. • Jan. 10: Bring your favorite vacation pictures to share with the group. • Jan. 14: Blood pressure checks @ 9:30 a.m. • Jan. 14: Let’s go to the movies (weather permitting). Movie & time to be announced. The cost is $2. • Jan. 15: P.A.W.S. meeting for mentors and students @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 31: Celebrate summer in January. Wear your beach hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Bring in summer items. Sign up for a banana split and join us @ 10:30 a.m. The center will be closed on New Year’s Day and on Jan. 20 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $4 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, dominoes, quilting, needlework, chair volleyball, and bingo. For reservations or more information, please call 402546-1270.

Call Adult Protective Services at 800-652-1999 By Ginny Czechut

You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • Jan. 8: Music by The Links @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 15: Music and a PowerPoint presentation by Teresa Orr @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 16: Program on seasonal depression @ 10 a.m. • Jan. 22: Music by John Worhsam @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 29: Music by Pam Kragt @ 10:30 a.m. • Jan. 30: Program by a Kubat Pharmacy representative about vaccinations, medications, and vitamins @ 10 a.m. The center will be closed on New Year’s Day and Jan. 20 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Walking in the main arena Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is encouraged. The Fremont Friendship Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $4 contribution is suggested for lunch. Reservations must be made by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations and more information, please call Laurie at 402-727-2815.

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.

Wills • Trusts • Probate

Ask A Lawyer: Q — What is “accidental disinheritance”? A — Accidental disinheritance occurs when an expected heir is cut out of an estate because of lack of planning, rather than intention. It can occur in a blended family, where “planning” consists of holding property in both names. For example, Husband and Wife each have children from a prior marriage. They hold all of their property jointly. Husband is the first to die, and Wife inherits everything. Later, Wife dies without proper planning. Result? Wife’s children receive all the family property. Husband’s children are “accidentally disinherited.” Have a question about estate planning? Give us a call! AARP Legal Service Network • No Charge For Initial Consultation

7602 Pacific Street, Ste 200 • (402) 391-2400

January 2020

New Horizons

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Ombudsman program training scheduled for March 3,5


he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for men and women age 21 and older to join its Long-term Care Ombudsman Program which is co-sponsored by the Nebraska State Ombudsman Program. ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsmen volunteer in local long-term care facilities and assisted living communities to protect the residents’ rights, well-being, and quality of life. Long-term Care Ombudsmen must complete 20 hours of initial classroom training and 12 hours of additional training every two years. The next training class is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 5. During the training, the volunteers learn about the residents’ rights, aging issues, Medicare, Medicaid, communication skills, how to investigate the residents’ complaints, the importance of confidentiality, and about the federal and state rules, regulations, and laws regarding Nebraska’s long-term care facilities and assisted living communities.

Before being assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community, new volunteers will make four visits to a site with an experienced Ombudsman Advocate to learn more about what the program entails. After a threemonth probationary period, the new volunteers are certified as Ombudsman Advocates. Certified Ombudsman Advocates will be assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community where they’ll visit for two hours a week to meet with administrators, residents, and the residents’ family members to address concerns. For more information about ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, please call Beth Nodes at 402-4446536.




THEOS THEOS, 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. For more information, please call Dorothy at 402399-0759 or Mary at 402393-3052.

Balance classes The Visiting Nurse Association’s Healing Motion Physical Therapy clinic is offering free Tai Chi for Balance classes. Tai Chi is a great way for older adults to improve their balance and strength, while decreasing their chance of falling. Physical therapist Kris Lausterer –a certified Tai Chi for Balance instructor for two years – will teach the ongoing classes which are open to everyone regardless of their experience with Tai Chi. The classes are held on Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. at the Visiting Nurse Association building, 12565 W. Center Rd.  Registration will occur immediately before the class. For more information, please contact Lausterer at 402-346-7772 or

Community centers Men and women age 75 and older are encouraged to use the City of Omaha’s community centers at no cost for open gym, weight areas, open and lap swimming, aquacise, and ice skating. Tai Chi classes are offered at the following locations and times:

Plus a FREE grab bar*!

• Adams Park 3230 John Creighton Blvd. Mondays & Wednesdays 9:15 a.m.


• Camelot 9270 Cady Ave Tuesdays & Fridays 10:30 a.m.


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• Florence 2920 Bondesson Ave. Mondays & Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. • Montclair 2304 S. 135th Ave. Thursdays 8:30 a.m.

For more information, please call 402-444-4228.

Notre Dame Housing/ Seven Oaks Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center, 3439 State St. for the following: • Second, third, & fourth Friday: Food pantry @ 1 p.m. • Third Wednesday: Food pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Jan. 6: Bring you walker or wheelchair in for a tuneup of the brakes, etc. @ 1:30 p.m. • Jan. 13: Lunch & Learn program on Aging Well/Aging Health Part II with Lisa Dempsey from Prime Home Care/ Compassionate Care Hospice @ 12:30 p.m. • Jan. 13: Presentation on hearing instruments @ 1:30 p.m. • Jan. 16: Program by the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing @ 12:30 p.m. • Jan. 27: Program on Hearing New Solutions @ 1:30 p.m. • Jan. 29: Program on volunteering and the Nebraska Humane Society @ 1:30 p.m. • Jan. 31: January birthday party featuring music by Tim Jovorsky sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 1:30 p.m. The center will be closed on New Year’s Day and on Jan. 20 for the Martin Luther King Day observance. The following programs will available this month: • Jan. 9: Mobile diabetes clinic from 1 to 3 p.m. • Jan. 15: Fair housing counselor from 10 a.m. to noon. Medicare/Medicaid Assistance from 10 a.m. to noon. Health clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 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 $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11 a.m. the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. For meals reservations and more information, please call Brenda at 402-451-4477, ext. 126.

Making peace with your past

The start of the new decade is a great time to do a life review


new year. A new decade. Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that we were worrying about Y2K and the collapse of our computer systems? That was 20 years ago. For those of us who have experienced many decades, time seems to speed up. With that there’s a greater tendency to look back and reflect on all that has happened through the years. Remember when you decided to get married? Remember when the kids were little? Remember when you couldn’t afford to go out to eat? Remember when you lost your job? The list of good and bad events is endless. It’s a useful exercise to review our lives, to draw on what we’ve learned, and reflect. One practice I recommend as a means of Intercultural Senior Center organizing our reflections You’re invited to visit the Intercultural Senior Center is called a life review. If we (ISC), 5545 Center St., this month for the following: divide our lives into incre• Mondays: Tai Chi class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Classic ments of seven years startfilms @ 9:30 a.m. ing at birth, we can align the • Tuesdays: Tai Chi class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. periods with the months of • Wednesdays: Zumba class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Basics the year. to technology class @ 10:30 a.m. For example, January • Thursdays: Salsa class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Spark Your equals years one to seven, Mind (trivia, word games, etc.) @ 10:30 a.m. February equals years eight • Fridays: Exercise w/weights @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Let’s to 15, etc. That means years Learn Spanish class @10:30 a.m. 70 to 77 are November and • Jan. 31: The Merrymakers present music by John Wor- 78+ are December. Some sham @ 12:30 p.m. people enjoy a long DecemPresentations: Jan. 15: Handwashing demonstration @ ber. 12:30 p.m. Jan. 22: Presentation on Glaucoma/Eye Health In spending time reflect@ 12:30 p.m. ing on each period of time, The facility will be closed New Year’s Day and on Jan. you might journal about 20 for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day what occurred during that observance. time. Where did you live? The Intercultural Senior Center is Who were the significant open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. persons in your life? What Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. brought you joy or sadness? through 1:30 p.m. The center is open for How did you grow? What community groups from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. were the key events, trauA light breakfast is served from 8 to 10 mas, or changes that come a.m. Lunch is served daily @ 11:30am. to mind? A voluntary contribution is suggested for As we work our way lunch. Reservations are due by 9:30 a.m. the day the lunch through each time period, is served. Please call 402-444-6529 for reservations. memories both good and Round-trip transportation can be requested through a bad, will emerge. It’s likely member of the ISC’s Social Services department. For more information, please call 402-444-6529.

we’ll recognize some old baggage that has never been reconciled. By seeing this, we’re given the opportunity to resolve unfinished business. We may decide to forgive someone for an old hurt that has weighed us down. We may decide it’s time to reframe a memory and see what hidden gifts or lessons it provided for our life journey. The purpose of this practice is to make peace with our past so we can move ahead freely, living out of the wisdom we’ve gained.

Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath


nother approach to life review is to record the key moments of our lives: transitions, traumas, major decisions, or life-changing learnings. By reviewing and recording these milestones, we reflect on how they shaped us. What changed? What did we gain or lose? Again, it’s a chance to recognize opportunities to resolve unfinished business in order to move forward with peace. The practice of life review requires some extended time. While writing is essential, it need not be in formal paragraphs. Short notes are fine. While this practice is for you alone, it may lead you to decide to share memories with your loved ones. As we work our way through the life review, it’s a wonderful practice to choose stories we want to share. It’s another way of passing on our legacy. I recently reflected on months January and February; ages 0 through 14. I spent time thinking of what Christmas was like in those years. After narrating these memories on paper, I made copies and sent them to my nieces and nephews with their Christmas cards. This is one small way of sharing myself with them and keeping family memories alive. I hope they’ll do the same for their children. (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching in Omaha. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of Life. Contact her at

Call 402-444-6536, ext. 1024

RSVP looking for an ambassador to help increase community awarness


n RSVP volunteer is needed to help increase community awareness of the program by attending community events like service club meetings, wellness fairs, and volunteer orientations with RSVP Coordinator Sandy Blackman. This RSVP Ambassador opportunity – whose hours and dates are flexible – can be done in conjunction with your current RSVP volunteer role. For more information, please contact Blackman at 402-444-6536, ext. 1024.

Charles E. Dorwart Massih Law, LLC 38 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • Medicaid Planning • In-home consultations • Free Initial consultation 226 N. 114th Street • Omaha, NE 68154 Office: (402) 558-1404 or (402) 933-2111

January 2020

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Murphy’s award-winning TV career leads to the Omaha mayor’s office

Murphy (center) at the 2019 Omaha Press Club Hall of Fame induction ceremonies with former KMTV sportscaster Travis Justice and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. Murphy has served on the OPC’s board of directors.

Murphy (back row, third from left) with KMTV staffers (front row, from left): Chuck Roberts, Ninette Beaver, Bev Chapman, and Dave Hamer. Back row, from left: Arlo Grafton, Dan Livingston, Roseann Shannon, Mele Mason, and John Prescott.

By Nick Schinker

for a Saturday. “I was worried that he was probably going to tell me that since I was no longer a student, I couldn’t be an intern anymore,” Mursk Carrie Murphy what a typical day is phy recalls. “Instead of telling me it was time to like as the deputy chief of staff/commugo, he was there to offer me a fulltime job. That nications for Omaha Mayor Jean Stowas a very good day.” thert, and she laughs. Hired as associate producer, Murphy again did “My typical day is all about change,” says a little bit of everything, from writing news copy Murphy, who has been on the mayor’s staff since and answering the phone to assisting the newsStothert was inaugurated in June 2013. “I have cast producer. She liked the work so much, she to be responsive to reporters’ calls and questions. stayed on for 34 years. Some days I’ll get one call; some I’ll get six. If “I was offered other jobs in other cities at something happens on the City Council, that may other stations,” she says. “Norfolk, Va.; Detroit; change my day. (and) Minneapolis. But I love Omaha. I always “I go with the mayor to 95 percent of her felt I was fortunate to do this job in my homeevents, especially if she is speaking,” Murphy town.” says. “Any day, something can come up and change everything.” n time, Murphy held nearly every newsroom Fortunately, Murphy is accustomed to thinkposition at KMTV. She says her favorite was ing fast. In the 34 years she worked in the news newscast producer. “You’re in control, and I department at Omaha’s KMTV (Channel 3), like being in control. On a good day, you knew seldom were two days similar. you had done a good job.” “Being on the mayor’s staff is not an 8 to 4:30 Carrie’s news career tapped her skills at job, but neither was news,” Murphy says. “My organization and creative thinking, being able background at KMTV has really helped me here. to write news copy in a compelling manner, and I understand deadlines, and I work well with to work with reporters, encouraging them to be deadlines. thorough and accurate. “No day is like yesterday,” she says. “I like She witnessed many changes over three dethat.” cades, as news gathering evolved from hand-held Bell and Howell silent film cameras to videotape, urphy was born in Omaha and has satellite trucks, and live reports, to today’s digital worked here her entire career – and she technologies. likes that, too. “As an intern, one of my jobs was to process Her father, Ray Schultz, was vice president of film,” she recalls. “They gave me one rule: never sales for Tip Top Products, an Omaha hair curler and accessories manufacturing company founded by Carl Renstrom. “He had a great job for having five daughters,” Murphy says. “We always had a lot of hair care products in the house.” Schultz died at age 60. Murphy’s mother, Donna, 88, is a retired grade school teacher who still lives in Omaha. After graduating from Burke High School, Murphy studied journalism at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she received her bachelor’s degree in December 1978. Her senior year, she interviewed for and accepted a paid internship with KMTV news. It was “a lot of hands-on work” that gave Murphy more than a glimpse of the hectic and exciting environment of broadcast news. “I was still an intern when I graduated from UNO,” she recalls. “I graduated in the morning Carrie Murphy has served as Omaha and I had to be at work at 1:30 that afternoon.” Mayor Jean Stothert’s deputy chief of KMTV’s news director, Mark Gautier, was in staff/communications since 2013. the newsroom that day, which Murphy found odd Contributing Writer




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damage the Nebraska football film.” She remembers many “good casts,” she says. “The ones you remember the most are the most difficult to talk about.” Like the mass shooting at Von Maur at the Westroads in December 2007. President George W. Bush was in Omaha that day to attend several private events. Murphy arrived at work at 5 a.m. to also serve as pool coordinator of the Bush visit for other local and national broadcast affiliates. As if the day wasn’t busy enough, Murphy was also scheduled for training on the station’s new digital system. “Ken Dudzik was the news director that day. I went into the studio and the training had barely started when I heard him yell my name in a tone I had never heard before.” Murphy immediately diverted all the station’s news equipment to the Westroads. “We went live right away,” she recalls, “and we stayed on the air until midnight.” There were other tragedies; other long days. “Those are the instances you walked out after work and felt we had done a good job in a terrible situation.” Election nights rank among her favorite newscasts, Murphy says. “If we went live at the right campaign and at the right moment, that was beautiful,” she says. “Those were important times to be accurate and be first.”


er work has earned many local, state, and national awards for news, documentary, and public affairs reporting, including two Iris awards presented by the National Association of Television Program Executives for outstanding local television programming. In 2019, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Omaha Press Club, where she has served on the board of directors. Murphy has served on several other community boards and committees including Omaha Community Partnership, Omaha Neighborhood Courage, the UNO Publications Board, and the Omaha Public Schools Career Center Television and Radio Advisory Board. She and her husband, John, have been married 33 years. He is the founder of J. Michael Murphy & Associates, a promotional product company situated in Omaha. The Murphys have three daughters: Kaleen, 29; Kelsey, 26; and Kara, 24. Murphy says her job at KMTV meant she couldn’t always be at every soccer game or school play when her daughters were growing up. “They still try to bring that up sometimes, ‘You missed such-and-such, Mom,” Murphy --Please turn to page 9.

Carrie handles reporters’ calls, accompanies Stothert to events

Carrie (third from left) ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Scheels in the Village Pointe shopping center during the holiday season with (from left): Marty Bilek, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s chief of staff; Omaha Police Department Deputy Chief Scott Gray; Dr. Joe Stothert; Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert; Natie, Sullivan, and Bella Olsen. --Continued from page 8 says. “And I tell them, ‘But you learned from me what commitment is.’” She left the newsroom in 2013 after Marty Bilek, who became Mayor Stothert’s chief of staff following a 38-year career with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, asked if Murphy would be interested in the communications post with the mayor. “I had known Marty for decades and I respected him tremendously,” she says. “I thought about it a lot. I called him back the next week and said, ‘Yeah, why not me?’ So, I went in for my first job interview since the internship in college.” As the mayor’s deputy chief of staff/communications, Murphy develops and delivers information including news media releases and

interviews, social media content, event-planning, speech writing, and citizen communications through the Mayor’s Hotline. She also assists the Community Relations Team with special events and neighborhood and community meetings. She does miss the television newsroom, “but only on two occasions,” she says, “during severe weather and on election nights.” Carrie still works long days, but the start of each day is the time she sets aside for herself. “I usually get up around 5, sit with our dog, and have coffee,” she says, smiling. “He’s a Brittany spaniel named Jack Daniels. “I read highlights off Twitter feed and anything else I am interested in or need to know, because once my workday starts, it just keeps going.” Typical Carrie Murphy.

Murphy says once her work day starts, it just keeps going.

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AARP’s Nebraska Information Center AARP’s monthly programs, held at its Nebraska Information Center, Suite 220 in the Center Mall – 42nd and Center streets – are moving from Tuesday afternoons to Thursday afternoons in 2020. The year’s first program is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 9 at 1:30 p.m. when registered dietitian Cindy Bryson from the University of Nebraska Extension Office will discuss Getting Organized for the New Year. Both AARP members and nonAARP members are welcome to attend. For more information, please call 402-398-9568. Volunteers are needed at AARP’s Nebraska Information Center to answer phones, provide information, register people for AARP-sponsored events, and help office visitors. Training and orientation will be provided. Assistance is needed weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 402-398-9568 or 402393-2066.

American Cancer Society


he American Cancer Society needs volunteers to help out at its office located at 9850 Nicholas St. Men and women are needed to answer phones, provide customer service to office visitors, connect volunteers with appropriate staff members, open and sort mail, prepare bulk mailings, fold brochures, cut paper, collate materials, assemble packages, fold and sort t-shirts. Training will be provided for these men and women who are needed weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers normally help out a few hours at a time Widowed Persons Group and can be scheduled based he Widowed Persons Restaurant, 11732 W. Dodge on their availability. Group of Omaha Rd. For more information, hosts a luncheon the For more information, contact Sherry Welton at third Monday of each month please call 402-278-1731 or or at 11:30 a.m. at Jerico’s 402-493-0452. 402-393-5801, ext. 70760.


Installing a stairlift may make your life easier, your home safer By David Kohll, Pharm. D.


any health issues can make getting up and down stairs unsafe or nearly impossible. Nursing homes may encourage rehabbing residents to not leave their facility until they can get into their home safely. The most common scenario is trying to access your living area from the garage. Often the garage leads to the basement which then requires you to climb 10 to 14 steps to reach the living area. Difficulty going up and down stairs may also prevent you from getting to your basement or your second level from the main level. A common solution is installing a stairlift in your home. Stairlifts are composed of a rail that goes along the stairs. A chair, connected to the rail, operates electronically, and goes up and down the stairs. The rails can be straight, with one curve, or many curves depending on the house’s construction or what levels you’d like to reach. Some stairlifts are weather guarded and able to be used outside. The longest stairlifts I’ve seen went up nearly 50 steps. Stairlifts – which usually take two to four hours to install – are mounted into the steps’ floor. If the steps are carpeted, you can’t tell a stairlift had been there after being removed. If not carpeted, the few screw holes made in the steps can easily be filled. Made to accommodate a wheelchair, stairlifts can also be used by people who have to stand all the way up the stairs because they can’t bend their knees, overweight individuals requiring a wider seat, or tall persons who need a raised seat.


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lugged into a regular 120-volt outlet, stairlifts come with many safety features such as seatbelts, arm rests, swivel seats, a braking system, foot rest sensors, battery back-ups, and controls that allow you to call or send the chair to the other end of the stairs. Stairlifts are an affordable option to solve a frustrating problem for thousands of people unable to get up and down their steps easily. Here are a few testimonials: “My mother-in-law travels to Omaha for a month during the holidays every year and stays at my house. Three years ago, she fell down the steps and almost broke her neck. She said she wouldn’t come back again until a stairlift was installed. To keep peace with my wife, I installed the stairlift. My mother-in-law now feels safe and has been back the last two years. I saved my marriage.” Until having a stairlift installed in her home, a Shenandoah, Iowa lady hadn’t been in her basement where her sewing machine and crafts are located for eight years. A woman in Red Oak, Iowa who lived above her hair salon, felt unsafe going up and down the steps getting to and from her business. She was feeling depressed but got a new lease on life after the stairlift was installed. Stairlifts prices – which range from $1,800 to more than $10,000 – average $2,400 to $2,500. They can be a relatively inexpensive alternative to moving into a long-term care facility or buying a new house. When necessary, some companies will rent, move, and buy back stairlifts. Installing a stairlift may be a great way to help keep you living in your home for as long as possible. (Kohll is with Kohll’s Rx in Omaha.)

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

Study examining if statins can help prevent dementia, other conditions The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has funded a major study to examine the overall benefits and risks of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins in adults age 75 or older without cardiovascular disease. The trial will help determine whether a statin can help prevent dementia and disability in this age group, as well as heart attacks and other cardiovascular-related deaths, while not increasing the risks of adverse health outcomes. Funding for the trial, called Pragmatic Evaluation of Events and Benefits of Lipid-Lowering in Older Adults (PREVENTABLE), is expected to total $90 million over the next seven years. “There has been considerable uncertainty about the benefits and risks of statin use in persons over age 75 without known cardiovascular disease,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “This large trial with older adults in realworld clinical settings will provide the opportunity to further our knowledge and better inform treatment decisions for older adults.” To date, no large prospective studies have examined whether statin therapy could prevent cardiovascular events specifically in adults older than age 75 who don’t have clinical cardiovascular disease. In addition, previous studies enrolled small numbers of people at risk for cognitive impairment so the potential effect of statins on dementia – either preventing or worsening it – couldn’t be established. The investigators will enroll 20,000 participants without signs of heart disease but who may be frail, take multiple medications, and have mild cognitive impairment. Each participant will be randomly assigned to take either the statin atorvastatin or a placebo daily for up to five years.  “Because of the large size of this study, we may be able to identify subgroups of older adults most likely to benefit from taking statins to prevent dementia, disability, or cardiovascular disease,” said Susan Zieman, M.D., Ph.D., medical officer in NIA’s Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology. “The large, diverse study population will also enable us to better evaluate unwanted effects of statins that may put some at risk or reduce their quality of life,” she said.  (The National Institute on Aging provided this information.)

Elder Access Line

Healthy adults, caregivers are needed for UNO, UNMC study

Legal Aid of Nebraska operates a free telephone access line for Nebraskans age 60 and older.

esearchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are looking for healthy adults and caregivers for an older adult with a chronic disease (e.g., dementia, cancer, or cardiovascular disease) to participate in a research study. The study involves two visits of 3.5 hours each. Compensation for study participation is available. The experiment involves completing questionnaires and computer tasks, taking samples of saliva for hormone analyses, and undergoing brain imaging. To be eligible for the study, participants must be 19 to 75 years of age, have comprehension of written and spoken English, the mobility to travel to the UNO campus, and have completed a minimum of two years of high school or higher. You’re not eligible for the study if you have a diagnosis of a neurological or psychiatric disease (e.g., stroke, schizophrenia), vision, hearing or motor difficulties, or if you are pregnant, have metal implanted in your body, or are taking an antidepressant medication or glucocorticoid-based oral medication or cream (e.g., cortisone). For more information, please contact Janelle Beadle, Ph.D. at 402-554-5961 or

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. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1 to 3 p.m. Friday. For more information, log on the Internet to


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January 2020

New Horizons

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A positive outlook is vital to good health “Mind over matter” may seem a bit cliché when it comes to health and science, but a positive attitude plays an undeniable role in reaching and maintaining optimal health – regardless of age. Paul Gardner, administrator of community rehab at Nebraska-based Hillcrest Rehab Services, has witnessed numerous success stories from clients overcoming chronic pain issues to those achieving a full range of motion following surgery. For each of these successes exists a single, underlying factor affecting the patient’s final outcome: a positive attitude. “The people who achieve the most success in physical therapy and rehab are those who have a positive attitude, who are focused on their goals, and who are looking into the future with a positive mindset,” Gardner said. “They put in the work and they visualize success. Keeping a positive mindset goes a long way toward achieving positive results.” This isn’t just Gardner’s opinion. This is science. According to several recent health science studies, a positive attitude can put you on the path toward a longer, healthier, and more stress-free life. For example: • A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests a positive attitude can

reverse health risks in older adults which leads to a better quality of life. • Another study at the Duke University Medical Center, linked positive emotions to better heart health. • According to the Mayo Clinic – and in support of dozens of other studies on the topic of positivity – a positive attitude can be linked to an increased lifespan, a stronger immune system, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, less stress, and overall mental and physical well-being. These are studies physical therapists have taken to heart, mindfully applying the power of positivity throughout every aspect of their practice, from environment to the personalities of their physical therapists, to the way they motivate their patients. Such an emphasis can lead to better outcomes for their patients. “The power of positivity applies to everything, no matter your challenges, goals, and obstacles,” Gardner said. “As studies have shown, attitude affects how people recover from injury and achieve greater health and longevity. But it goes much further than that. “Having a positive attitude helps as you work toward any goal, whether that goal be in physical therapy, in education, advancing your career, (or) whatever it may be.”

Programs in January, April

Educating caregivers for loved ones with intellectual, developmental disabilities By Janet Miller Caring or advocating for an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) can be both joyous and challenging. If you’re the parent/guardian caring for your loved one, you may have questions about services and supports available in the community. Maybe you feel alone in this caregiving role and would like to meet other caregivers in similar situations. If you’re a sibling and have taken over the caregiving role for your brother or sister, you may be unfamiliar with community supports, acronyms used by service providers, or what’s involved with participating in yearly planning meetings. I’m working with other friends and colleagues to reach out and find families/guardians of adults with IDD who are interested in learning more about adult services and supports, as well as having the opportunity to talk to other caregivers. One way we’re reaching out is offering evening informational/educational events held approximately every other month in collaboration with the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands. You don’t have to be caring for someone with Down syndrome to attend. These events are held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Community Engagement Center, located between the UNO library and the Performing Arts building from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Parking is available in the lot by the UNO clock tower on the Dodge Street side of the campus. The dates and topics of the next two events are: • January 28 Housing Options for Adults • April 7, 2020 Planning for Adult Care In addition, a caregiver Facebook page has been established for those that might be interested in communicating with other caregivers. This Facebook site is open to all Nebraskans caring for adults with IDD. The site is Nebraska Caregivers of Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Persons caring for an adult with Down syndrome who have questions or concerns about noted changes in behaviors or a decrease in skills, can contact me directly. I have some excellent resources I can share with you. Contact me at You may also use this email for any questions on the informational/educational events or other issues.

Please see the ad on page 3

New Horizons Club membership roll rises $50 Donald Kluge $40 Alice Jones $25 Dr. David Szymanski $20 Kim Zagurski Tom Calabro, Jr. $5 Evelyn Van Horn Kathleen Koons Linda McLendon Patricia Drvol List reflects donations through 12/20/19.

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UNO’s gerontology graduates finding careers at ENOA


n 1972, the Department of Gerontology was established at the University of Nebraska at Omaha as part of the college’s School of Public Affairs and Community Service (today known as CPACS). UNO’s Department of Gerontology has a statewide mandate to offer courses on the University of Nebraska’s Omaha and Lincoln campuses, as well as online.

Gerontology is the study of the physical, psychological, and social aspects of aging. Since 1972, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Department of Gerontology has graduated approximately 1,500 minor, certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. students. Many of these graduates have been hired by local businesses and government agencies including several by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. “We want to thank the employers who have had the courage to care and hire our students,” said Dr. Julie Masters, chair of the UNO Department of Gerontology. “The field of aging is multidisciplinary. It integrates with many different areas of study which leads to extensive and varied career opportunities,” she said. Employment opportunities in aging include careers in administrative roles, financial and legal services, fitness and wellness, housing and home modification, healthcare, public policy and education, as well as social and community service.

Since 1972, UNO’s Department of Gerontology has bestowed degrees upon approximately 1,500 graduates. Several of them have been hired by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. “I’m pleased ENOA has been able to hire so many graduates of UNO’s Department of Gerontology,” said the agency’s Executive Director Dennis Loose. “UNO and ENOA have formed a strong connection over the years and I look forward to continuing our partnership in the future.”


hris Gillette and Peggy Root are two ENOA employees who graduated from UNO. “I gained valuable experience

Call 402-350-7427 to learn more

Vols ages 60 to 70 needed for Nebraska Space Grant study


niversity of Nebraska Medical Center researchers are looking for volunteers age 60 to 70 for a research study. The study’s purpose is to investigate how the sensation of vibration on the bottom of the feet can potentially improve older adults’ ability to maneuver around obstacles without losing their balance. This study is funded by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant. Information gained could also be used to support the bodily awareness of astronauts in environments of partial weightlessness. Participants – who will be compensated with a gift card – will be asked to complete a 10-minute screening for balance and cognitive ability when they arrive at UNMC. They will also be asked to walk down a 10-foot walkway and step over two obstacles approximately one to two inches tall while wearing inserts in their shoes that vibrate slightly against the soles of the feet. The study will last less than two hours. If you’re interested in participating, or would like more information, please call 402-350-7427 or send an email to


as an UNO gerontology practicum student at ENOA which led to my full-time job offer from the agency in 1979,” said Gillette, who today – in her 40th year with ENOA – serves as its director of community service. “ENOA varied my practicum experience to give me a well-rounded idea of the opportunities in store for me should I work there.” Root, who received her Master’s of Art in Social Gerontology degree from UNO in 2017, was hired to work in ENOA’s Information and

Assistance division later that year. “Having a gerontology degree means I have an understanding of every aspect of the aging process and a good insight into what older men and women are experiencing as they age,” she said. “ENOA is a great place to utilize my gerontology education. It has prepared me for the many aspects of older adults’ lives.” For more information, go online to or call 402-554-2272.

Papillion Singing Seniors

he Papillion Singing Seniors are looking for additional members who can carry a tune, who have a sunny outlook, their Tuesdays free, and who love to have fun. For more information, please contact Rajaena at or 402-650-8770.

Omaha Computer Users Group meets Saturdays at Swanson Library branch


ou’re invited to join the Omaha Computer Users Group, an organization dedicated to helping men and women age 50 and older learn about their computers regardless of their

skill level. OCUG meets the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Swanson Branch Library, 9101 W. Dodge Rd. Participants will have access to a projector connected to a computer with Microsoft Windows 10 to show users how to solve their computer problems. For more information, please call Phill Sherbon at 402-333-6529.

January 2020

Parkinson’s disease research at UNO Volunteers are invited to participate in a study at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Biomechanics Research building. The study is investigating the effects of handrails on stability in persons affected by Parkinson’s disease. People with or without Parkinson’s disease are needed. The volunteers must be over age 60, have no orthopedic, vascular, cardiac, or other neurological disease or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and able to walk continuously for 15 minutes. Participants will be asked to answer questions about their health and daily activities, perform a series of balance tests, and walk on a treadmill. For more information, contact Meghan Prusia at or 402-290-2983.

New Horizons

Page 13

An at home prostate cancer test


simple test under development for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home, according to new research from the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the United Kingdom. Scientists pioneered the test which diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods. The latest study shows how the ‘PUR’ test (Prostate Urine Risk) could be performed on samples collected at home so men don’t have to come into the clinic to provide a urine sample or have to undergo an uncomfortable rectal examination. This is an important step forward, because the first urination of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent. The research team hopes the introduction of the “At Home Collection Kit” could revolutionize diagnosis of the disease. “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It usually develops slowly, and the majority of cancers will not require treatment in a man’s lifetime,” said lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School. However, doctors struggle to predict which tumors will become aggressive, making it hard to decide on treatment for many men. “The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer include blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), an MRI scan, or a biopsy,” Clark said. “We developed the PUR test, which looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or low risk. Because the prostate is constantly secreting, the collection of urine from men’s first urination of the day means the biomarker levels from the prostate are much higher and more consistent, so this is a great improvement.” Clark said being able to provide a urine sample at home and post a sample off for analysis could really revolutionize diagno-

sis. “It means men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.” The research team provided 14 participants with an “At Home Collection Kit” and instructions. They compared the results of their home urine samples, taken first thing in the morning, with samples collected after a digital rectal examination. “We found the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination. And feedback from the participants showed the at home test was preferable,” Clark said. “Using our At Home test could in future revolutionize how those on ‘active surveillance’ are monitored for disease progression, with men only having to visit the clinic for a positive urine result. This is in contrast to the current situation where men are recalled to the clinic every six to 12 months for painful and expensive biopsies. “Because the PUR test accurately predicts aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods – it means a negative test could enable men to only be retested every two to three years, relieving stress to the patient and reducing hospital workload.” “This is a very exciting development as this test gives us the possibility of differentiating those who do from those who do not have prostate cancer avoiding putting a lot of men through unnecessary investigations,” said Robert Mills, a consultant surgeon in urology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. “When we diagnose prostate cancer, the urine test has the potential to differentiate those who need to have treatment from those who do not need treatment, which would be invaluable. “These patients go on to an active surveillance program following the diagnosis which may involve repeat biopsies and MRI scans which is quite intrusive. This urine test has the potential to tell us whether we needed to intervene with these patients.”

Jack Arkfeld, Judy Arkfeld Knott

Twins celebrate 95th birthday by dining, dancing


n 1924, Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States, J. Edgar Hoover was named head of the FBI, two U.S. Army planes completed the first around-the-world flight (in 175 days), and Jack and Judy Arkfeld were born on Nov. 20. Fast forward to 2019, and Jack and his twin sister, Judy (Knott) celebrated their 95th birthday together with lunch at Gorat’s Restaurant in Omaha followed by dinner and dancing in Council Bluffs. Jack has been a member of the Knights of Columbus at Omaha’s St. Margaret Mary’s parish for 76 years. Judy – a Harlan, Iowa resident – has been active with

Page 14

the Catholic Daughters since 1943. Knott, who retired as a registered nurse at age 80, was a long-time volunteer at a Harlan retirement home. St. Margaret Mary’s parishioners know Jack as an usher, money counter, and funeral server. Happy birthday Jack and Judy from your friends at the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.

UNMC’s ice skating rink is open through Sunday, Feb. 2


he University of Nebraska Medical Center’s outdoor ice skating rink is open to the public through Sunday, Feb. 2. 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. Admission – which includes skates – is $5. Cash or credit cards only. No checks or debit cards will be accepted. Free parking is available in Lot 15 (surface lot on 40th Street between Dewey Avenue and Emile Street) located on the north and east sides of the UNMC Center for Healthy Living.


illiam Lawlor, UNMC’s assistant vice chancellor for business and finance, said the public admission rate has been lowered by $2 this year. Open skating hours will be Tuesday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The rink is closed all day on Mondays and evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for UNMC’s intramural broomball and curling leagues. Lawlor said the ice rink will only close when the air temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.  For more information, please call 402-559-0697.

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. 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. Second Tuesday @ 6:45 p.m. For caregivers of individuals with an intellectual disabilty/dementia. Barbara Weitz Center 6001 Dodge St. (UNO campus)

Jack Arkfeld and his sister, Judy Arkfeld Knott.

New Horizons

January 2020

Third Monday @ 9 a.m. Intercultural Senior Center 5545 Center St. Offered in English and Spanish

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 • BLAIR Third Wednesday @ 6 p.m. Memorial Community Hospital Howard Conference Room 810 N. 22nd St.

Nebraska Medicine, UNMC unveil plans for future campus facilities


eaders at Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center recently unveiled plans to propel the UNMC campus and the state of Nebraska to the highest levels of clinical care and research with the construction of new, state-of-the-art facilities scheduled to take shape over the next decade. This public/private partnership will have goals of improving the quality of life for all Nebraskans, laying the groundwork for the state’s 21st century economy, and creating a new future of health care, research, and education for the region, nation, and the world. As the project is still in its infancy, specific costs will be established as it takes shape. Early estimates project costs could be in the $1 billion to $2 billion range depending on its scope, a figure that’s in line with other prominent academic medical center projects nationally. The project, which doesn’t have an official name, could consist of several new buildings to be constructed on the northwest corner of the medical center campus. Buildings in the complex could include one or more new towers for research and inpatient care which would consolidate treatment in one location and replace older facilities, some of which are more than 70 years old. Strategic investments would also allow this facility to be a hub for expanding clinical trials and enrollment, new educational technologies, and to become a magnet for medical tourists. “We want the medical center to continue to be a prime mover in propelling Nebraska’s economy to new heights,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, chancellor of UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “This project will do just that. It will strengthen our position as a leading generator of new economic growth. We will train even more health professionals from around the world and recruit faculty and staff who will then attract more federal funding, corporate investment, and patients from around the globe. “Building on the success of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and numerous other successful projects, it is projected these new facilities will expand educational workforce development in the health professions, be the home for more cutting edge high impact research, and continue our long tradition of serious medicine and extraordinary care,” Dr. Gold added.


he public-private partnership between the medical center, the public sector, and the private sector may lead to new opportunities to collaborate with the federal government which could expand UNMC/Nebraska Medicine’s reputation in treating highly infectious diseases. This type of collaboration could also develop space which could also be available to treat military and civilian federal employees in times of national or global need. “Since the west Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Nebraska Medicine has led the world in bio preparedness efforts,” said James Linder, MD, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “This new facility would be a quantum leap forward in that regard. So, we’re not only advancing training, education, research, and patient care, we are also surging forward in the emerging fields of bio preparedness. “This type of public private investment is proven to work,” Dr. Linder continued. “This project will support new patient care delivery models that are not only more cost effective but will enable statewide partnerships. This positions Nebraska as a hub of activity for knowledgebased companies and entrepreneurs. It will serve as a forerunner of future investments in Nebraska for decades to come.” (UNMC and Nebraska Medicine provided this information.)


Lifespan Respite Network

Tax-Aide Program needs vols

Did you know there are more than 219,000 identified family caregivers in Nebraska? Family Caregivers need an occasional break and the Nebraska Lifespan Respite Network can assist with respite funding or finding a respite provider. Please contact your local respite coordinator at 1-866-RESPITE (1-866-737-7483) or go online to for more information.


olunteers are needed at nine Omaha-area sites for AARP’s TaxAide Program. Tax-Aide provides free tax-preparation services with a focus on older adults with low to moderate income. AARP membership is not required.  Tax-Aide volunteers receive materials from AARP and the IRS for reference and self-study, attend training sessions in NARFE meeting January, and then prepare tax returns a few The National Active and Retired Federal hours a week during the tax season alongEmployees’ Aksarben Chapter 1370 meets side experienced volunteers.  the second Wednesday of each month at Greeters, administrative, and technical 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, support volunteers who are not directly 13955 S Plz. involved with the tax preparation are also For more information, call 402-342-4351. needed. More information is available at or by calling AARP The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging at 402-398-9568. Please leave your name, has been providing programs and services phone number, and email address. Your infor older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, formation will be passed to the local superCass, and Washington counties since 1975. visor who will contact you. 


Cartagena Painting Service

Commercial/Residential Interior/Exterior/Insured Free estimates/BBB member 402-714-6063


Best & honest prices paid for: Vintage, Sterling, Turquoise, & Costume jewelry, old watches, old quilts, vintage toys, old postcards, advertising items, military items, pottery, and antique buttons. Also buying estates & partial estates. Call Bev at 402-339-2856


Big jobs or small, I’ll do them all! [Bonded & insured]


Senior Citizens (62+) Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.

Please call 402-444-4148 or 402- 444-6654 to place your ad Lamplighter II

Some of the nicest, newer 1 & 2 bedroom apartments. Elevator, w & d, heated parking garage. Small complex. By bus & shopping. No pets or smoking. 93rd & Maple • 402-397-6921

OLD STUFF WANTED (before 1975)

Military, political, toys, jewelry, fountain pens, pottery, kitchen ware, postcards, photos, books, and other old paper, old clothes, garden stuff, tools, old household, etc. Call anytime 402-397-0254 or 402-250-9389

deFreese Manor

Bellewood Courts

1002 Bellewood Court Bellevue (402) 292-3300

Monarch Villas

201 Cedar Dale Road Papillion (402) 331-6882

Managed by Kimball Management, Inc. PO Box 460967 Papillion, NE 68046 We do business in accordance with the Fair Housing Law.

Buying or selling? Use the New Horizons CLASSIFIEDS. Call 402-444-4148 or 402-444-6654 today to place your ad.

Subsidized housing for those age 62 and over with incomes under $28,600 (1 person) or $32,650 (two persons) 2669 Dodge Omaha, NE 402-345-0622

GET RID OF IT! Haul away, garage, basement, rental clean out…

Johansen Brothers Call Frank


Metro Women’s Club

omedian Aunt Sadie will be the featured speaker at the Metro Women’s Club’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The 11:30 a.m. gathering will be held at Valentino’s Restaurant, 10190 Maple St. The cost is $15 per person. Reservations – which are required – can be made by calling 214-535-5483.

ENOA January 2020

New Horizons

Page 15

Foster Grandparent Thomas is a role model for kids at CSI ration 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. FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 10 or more hours per week, Foster Grandparents 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. homas retired in 2013 after working several years for the City of Omaha. Following a year off to rest, he joined his brother, Marvin Thomas, in the FGP. “I don’t like sitting around all day,” Jerome said during a recent interview at CSI. Monday through Friday, Thomas – who hails originally from Evansville, Ind. – volunteers at CSI from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. “I help (teacher) Miss Debbie (Rivera) by reading to the kids, feeding the kids, and playing with the kids,” Thomas said as a youngster takes a place on his lap. “I try to make sure the kids do the right thing,” added Jerome, who has three children and seven grandkids of his own. He’s a role model for the kids at CSI both as a male and as an older adult, according to Rivera. “The kids see ‘Grandpa’ every day and he’s someone they can talk to and lean on,” she said. “He’s become part of their family.” In November, CSI honored Thomas as its Volunteer of the Year for 2019. The award was established to recognize a program or volunteer who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution for the betterment of children, youth, and families. “We really value his role here,” Rivera said. Jerome was pleased by the recognition. “The award means a lot. It lets me know they appreciate what I do.” “Our program would not survive without volunteers like Grandpa Jerome,” said Abby Wayman, who coordinates the FGP for ENOA. “Every day, Grandpa goes and changes kids’ lives, just by being there. Our grandparents are able to provide kids and students the attention they want and need while still allowing teachers and staff to do their job. Grandpa Jerome is a very dedicated volunteer. He donates his time and gives his love not expecting anything in return.” Thomas encouraged other older adults to join the FGP. “Working with kids is fun. I really love them, and I think they enjoy being around me.” For more information on becoming a Foster Grandparent, please call 402-444-6536.

T Teacher Debbie Rivera and Foster Grandparent Jerome Thomas with three youngsters ages 3 to 5 at Omaha’s Child Saving Institute.


erome Thomas – styling a New York Knicks hat – takes a seat at the table. The 65-year-old examines a board game that rests on the table, then eyes the three opponents he’ll take on during the contest that’s about to begin. The opposition – each between the ages of 3 and 5 – giggle as another round of Candy Land gets underway. Thomas smiles, then shares in the boys’ joyful laughter. Another day is underway at the Child Saving Institute, 4545 Dodge St. CSI pro-

vides a safe haven and healing for innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect, and trauma. Its mission is to respond to the cries of children while working to offer safe, happy childhoods for the youngsters it serves. Thomas – who graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1973 – has volunteered at CSI with the Foster Grandparent Program since 2014. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the FGP is a national program of the Corpo-

FREE & EASY “New Home” Living Specialized Design: *Step-less access at Garage Entry *One Floor Living *Wider Doors *Wider Hallways *Low Threshold *Showers *Grab-bar Backing *Elevated Stools *LED Lighting




New Home Features:

*New home Low Maintenance & Warranties *Energy Efficient *Cambria Quartz Countertops *Hardie-Plank Cement Siding *Lawn & Snow Services Available

Locations available in all parts of the Omaha area For NW/Elkhorn Living: 402-916-9883 For SW Living: 402-895-1100 or 402-896-9200 For Bellevue Living: 402-614-6088 For Papillion Living: 531-466-8444

Foster Grandparent Jerome Thomas is someone the children at CSI can talk to and lean on.

* This is Universal Design; not ADA Standards.

Page 16

New Horizons

January 2020

Profile for Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

New Horizons January 2020  

New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...

New Horizons January 2020  

New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...