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Happy New Year!
Jan. 2021 Vol. 46 No. 1
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
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New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19
from the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
Phil Rooney Phil Rooney – a public information officer with the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) since 2007 – has worked with the DCHD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska Medicine, and the local media to educate and inform the general public about COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Nick Schinker’s profile of Rooney begins on page 8.
Cass County destination Bess Streeter Aldrich, one of Nebraska’s most beloved authors and her family lived in a prairie mansion style home in Elmwood, Neb. from 1922 to 1946. The house and the nearby Bess Streeter Aldrich Museum are open for public tours. See pages 5 and 6.
UNMC working to combat infections following joint replacement surgeries
magine having hip or knee replacement surgery then needing to have it redone due to an infection that sets in. Infections can result in additional surgery and hospitalization, considerable disability, prolonged recovery, and added cost. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a leading cause of prosthetic joint infection that’s characterized by biofilm formation – groups of bacteria that are held together by molecules that help them attach to surfaces such as the orthopaedic hardware used for hip and knee replacements. Hip and knee infections occur in about 1 to 2% of orthopaedic surgeries, with S. aureus being one of the most common causes. Infection after hip or knee replacement has a significant impact on patients as well as the healthcare system, with a projected economic burden in excess of $1.62 billion annually. University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers are working toward another way to treat S. aureus infections in joint replacement surgery besides using antibiotics, which when used alone usually aren’t effective, said Tammy Kielian, Ph.D., Choudari Kommineni, DVM., PhD professor of pathology, UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology. Dr. Kielian and collaborators have published a study that appeared in a recent issue of Nature Microbiology. She said this work is the first to show that a bacterial metabolite is capable of changing the way immune cells respond to S. aureus biofilm. Findings suggest it might be possible to target the molecule in bacteria to prevent immune suppression, as well as help the immune system to clear an established infection. “Our study identified a molecule that is produced by S. aureus that promotes the anti-inflammatory activity of immune cells in prosthetic joint infections,” Dr. Kielian said. “We demonstrated this using our mouse model of S. aureus prosthetic joint infection, and also in samples from patients suffering from these infections, demonstrating the potential of our findings to impact human disease. “Eradication of established S. aureus biofilm typically requires surgery because antibiotics alone are not usually effective at clearing infection. This is because many of the bacteria in the biofilm are not actively dividing, which is one of the main features used by antibiotics to kill bacteria.” Dr. Kielian, who is senior author of the paper, said in addition, the study was the only paper in the issue of Nature Microbiology that was selected for a News and Views highlight, an honor reserved only for top papers considered to have a high impact. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Happy New Year! From the Midwest Geriatrics, Inc. family to yours, “A promise to support you and your loved ones by providing the best around the clock care possible in 2021 and beyond.” Call 402-827-6000 to learn more about : • Florence Home Healthcare • Royale Oaks Assisted Living • House of Hope Assisted Living • House of Hope Memory Care • Gerimed & Unimed Pharmacies
DCHD, CDC offering coronavirus information
he Douglas County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to educate Nebraskans about COVID-19 (the coronavirus). The DCHD, working with colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine, has created a COVID-19 information line at 402-444-3400. The information line will be open seven days a week (until further notice) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Callers will be able to have their questions answered in Spanish and English. “Our website and social media platforms will continue to provide the best and most current information,” said Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour. Dr. Pour said the best advice to avoid
the COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene like you would with the seasonal flu. Good hygiene includes: • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a second option. • Don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, especially with unwashed hands. • Avoid contact with people who are sick. • Stay home while you’re sick. • Wear a mask when around other people. • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. • Frequently clean and disinfect your home, car, and workplace A COVID-19 vaccine isn’t widely available yet. Most people have recovered by drinking lots of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medication. If symptoms worsen, medical care might be needed.
Do you have COVID-19, flu, or maybe strep throat? By Kokou Kanley, Pharm.D & David Kohll, Pharm.D.
f you or a loved one start showing symptoms this flu season, f you or your loved one start experiencing symptoms it’s vital to figure out of an illness, it could send your mind wandering in the cause in order to take many directions. There’s an even higher level of anxi- the appropriate actions. In ety since the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic such a case, you have three in 2020. options. The first option is making an appointment at your doctor’s office. It could be a couple of days before you see the healthcare provider and during the time lag, you could be spreading the disease to others, especially with COVID-19. The second option, which may be more convenient but more expensive, is going to an urgent care clinic. You It’s essential to know which illness you have in order can be seen quickly and get to take the appropriate precautions. In this article, we’ll the appropriate treatment. briefly discuss the similarities and differences between CO- It’s also great for controlling VID-19, influenza, and strep throat in terms of symptoms. the spread of the disease, We’ll look at Point of Care (POC) tests focusing on how especially in the case of they work, and conclude with ways to navigate through the COVID-19 since you can healthcare system in 2021. get results quickly and begin Influenza (the flu), COVID-19, and strep throat are all isolating yourself. contagious respiratory illnesses, but they’re each caused by A trip to the urgent care different microorganisms. clinic can cost $200 to $300. COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a new coro The third option is gonavirus (called SARS-CoV-2). The flu is the result of an ing online and making an infection with influenza viruses. Strep throat is caused by appointment with a pharmathe streptococcus bacterium. All three illnesses have many cist. symptoms in common including fever and cough. Many pharmacies offer Because some of the symptoms of these diseases are all three POC tests: COsimilar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them. VID-19, flu, and strep throat Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. A key and may offer same-day difference, however, is that COVID-19 can lead to a short- appointments. ness of breath and the loss of the ability to smell or taste. If you test positive for the Those manifestations are often not seen with the flu or strep flu or strep throat, a pharmathroat. Additionally, strep throat is more common in chilcist may be able to dispense dren and often presents as a mild disease. the appropriate medications Check out the table above for a comparison between the during the visit. three illnesses. In conclusion, this flu Let’s look at the various tests. POC tests are convenient season promises to be chaland can be administered to an individual to determine lenging. However, there which illness he or she has. The goal is an instant availabil- are many options available ity of the results in order to make immediate and informed to help you and your loved decisions about patient care. ones navigate through the The tests are quick and can return results in as little as healthcare system. 10 to 15 minutes. They work similarly to a pregnancy test. For more information on POC tests are coated with antibodies, which are proteins seasonal illnesses and ideas that bind to a part of the virus or bacterium. There is also on how to best deal with a control which consists of antibodies already bound to a them, check out the Centers virus or bacterium often indicated by a red line. for Disease Control and Pre If a person tests positive, there would be two lines on the vention’s website (cdc.gov). test, one for the control and the other for the test result. A (Kanley and Kohll are negative test would only have the control line. with Kohll’s Rx in Omaha.)
NCOA praises Joe Biden’s plan for making older adults a priority during the pandemic
he National Council on Aging (NCOA), a national leader working to ensure every person can age well, commends Presidentelect Joe Biden for making older Americans a priority in his plan to combat the pandemic. The NCOA is calling for bipartisan action in Biden’s first 100 days to address the urgent health and financial needs of older Americans. “Older Americans – especially women and people of color – have been the hardest hit during this pandemic, yet they have remained largely invisible,” said NCOA President and CEO Ramsey Alwin. “COVID-19 has laid bare our nation’s long-standing inequities based on age, race, gender, and income. It has created an even greater urgency to enact solutions now that enable every American to age with health, security, and dignity.” NCOA supports Biden’s call for a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force to address these disparities, as well as a Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check for local transmission. “These are important
steps in the right direction, but much more is needed to keep our older family, friends, and neighbors healthy and safe,” Alwin said. NCOA is urging incoming leaders to act on three priorities: • Ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine: Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been people aged 65+, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Older adults, especially people of color and those with lower incomes, must be prioritized to get the vaccine safely as soon as it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration. NCOA will advocate for widespread education about the vaccine. • Expand job training and unemployment insurance: Unemployment rates for workers age 55 and older have remained higher than those of mid-career workers throughout the pandemic. This is the first time since 1973 this has happened for more than six months, according to The New School Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. Older adults must have wider access to job training and placement programs to enable them to reenter the workforce quickly. NCOA will advocate for expanded funding for programs such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program, as well as continued unemployment insurance for workers of all ages. • Strengthen the social safety net for all Americans: Even before the pandemic, more than 25 million Americans age 60+ were economically insecure, living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The economic impact of COVID-19 has deepened this crisis, especially among women and people of color. NCOA will advocate for protecting and strengthening critical programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and others that provide the support older adults deserve to stay healthy and financially secure in their own homes, not institutions. “There is no time to waste because lives are at risk,” Alwin said. “We know there are solutions, and we look forward to working with the new administration and Congress to make them a reality.” (NCOA provided this information.)
Ideas for supporting grieving persons when you can’t be there face to face
wo of the nation’s leading resources for sympathy and mourning for consumers – eCondolence.com and shiva.com – are providing suggestions for safe ways for persons who can’t be there in person to support someone grieving for a deceased loved one. “Typically, when an individual passes away, a mourning family receives emotional and physical support from their extended family, network of friends, and the community during the funeral service, internment, wakes, viewings, shivas, and beyond,” says Michael Schimmel, CEO of eCondolence.com and shiva.com. “It is important to realize there is a new grief felt with an absence of the physical interaction most commonly experienced,” he said. There are many ways to show support and to help friends and family during a time of loss. Although paying respects is most commonly accomplished when getting together in person, there remain many ways to offer thoughts and express condolences despite gathering restrictions. Schimmel recommends the following: • Attend virtual gatherings. When there is a private burial, funeral, or gathering, and mourners are isolated due to extreme circumstances such as COVID-19, expressing condolences and remaining in touch through technology is effective and useful in advancing the grieving process. • Send a meal or gift. When something special is delivered, it certainly lets someone know you’re thinking about them. Studies show receiving a gift brings joy to the recipient. Sending a thoughtful, delicious meal will help fill their sense of loss and loneliness. If you don’t want to send a whole meal, a special sympathy or gift basket can help brighten the mood.
• Call the person, send a text, and/or schedule a virtual get together. If you can’t be together, schedule a virtual call or virtual meal so you can see one another and offer face-toface support. Send a meal to yourself and your loved one and dine together. It’s also acceptable to send text messages to let the person know you’re thinking about them. • Personal notes and messages. Writing a sympathy note, message, or condolence card sharing thoughts and offering personal expressions are well received. Given restrictions, closures, and limited resources, an email containing sentiments is also acceptable. • Plant a tree. Planting a tree in memory of a loved one remains an appropriate way to express condolences. This is a time-honored tradition for all life cycle events. Visit Condolence.com or shiva.com for more information.
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: email@example.com 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 9,000 through direct mail .
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; Janet McCartney, Cass County, vice-chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, secretary; David Saalfeld, Dodge County, & Angi Burmeister, 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.
Call 1-844-268-5627 Disaster Relief Hotline is offering legal advice during the pandemic
ebraskans who have questions or who are experiencing legal problems due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 public health emergency can get legal advice and help through the free COVID-19 Disaster Relief Hotline. Hosted by Legal Aid of Nebraska, working closely with the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), this hotline aims to make key legal assistance easy and accessible. If you’re a Nebraskan facing legal issues related to the virus, or the owner of a small, locally-owned business (less than 50 employees, and not a franchise) that’s closed, in risk of permanent closure due to the virus, and where the payment of fees would significantly deplete your resources, the hotline may be reached at 1-844-268-5627. Callers will be connected to the hotline’s voicemail. Callers should leave their name, phone number, brief details of the problem and the assistance needed, and in what county they’re located. Callers will receive a call back from an experienced Legal Aid staff member. Individuals and businesses that don’t qualify for Legal Aid’s free services will be directly referred to the VLP. The VLP will work to place cases with Nebraska volunteer lawyers who will provide free legal assistance. The types of legal issues associated with COVID-19, and focused on by the hotline include: • Tenants with rent issues, including those facing eviction. • Debt problems, including debtors with garnishments or who are ordered to appear at a debtor’s exam. • Mortgage foreclosures, including advising on options for delinquent payments. • Unemployment insurance denials. • Employee rights, including sick leave and wage payments. • Government benefits available to low-income persons such as ADC, SNAP, AABD, and SSI. • Medicaid and medical insurance claims. • Drafting wills, health care power of attorney, and transfer on death deeds. • Domestic abuse and safety issues. • Elder abuse and exploitation. • Access to education. • Helping small, locally-owned businesses with business and employment related matters, including human relations issues, unemployment benefits, and contracts. More information on these legal issues, including ways you can directly help yourself, are available online at legalaidofnebraska.org.
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Access to telehealth technology is made available for older adults through NGWEP
Dr. Jane Potter
he University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) – working in conjunction with a coalition of local community partners – has developed the Nebraska Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (NGWEP). NGWEP is designed to improve the healthcare and healthcare outcomes of Nebraska’s older population by educating primary care providers, patients, their families, and caregivers in Omaha and 13 rural counties in the state. NGWEP – one of 48 national recipients of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding for GWEP – will use technology to train health professional students and clinicians who practice in the nation’s rural and underserved areas. UNMC’s NGWEP partners are Nebraska Medicine at Fontenelle, Nebraska Medicine at Midtown, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Nebraska chapter, OneWorld Community Health Centers, and Ponca Health Services. Funding for the program comes from a $90,625 grant from the HRSA using CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act money.
To educate the public and healthcare professionals about the project, printed educational materials were created. Small group educational sessions showing older adults how to access telehealth technology using their own telephones, computers, and tablets were also designed. Kits which include COVID-19 and wellness information, sanitary wipes, tissues, disposable masks, and a digital thermometer will be distributed.
“The telehealth visits – which are normally covered by Medicare and Medicaid – limit the amount of in-person contact which is vital during the pandemic.”
“Telehealth has been one of the most important ways healthcare professionals have continued to care for their patients during the pandemic,” Miller said. “Ensuring everyone has access to telehealth is key to providing the best care possible to our communities. This is especially true for older adults who use more healthcare services and are affected more by the pandemic. s part of the effort, ENOA has “Emily and I have worked together to helped develop a program pro- create easy to understand curriculum that moting the use of telehealth can be used by other students or health technology which allows older professionals to educate older adults,” she adults to stay connected to added. healthcare providers for screening, testing, “During COVID it’s important we all case management, and outpatient care with- socially distance, but it’s also important out leaving home. to remain healthy and to see our doctors,” “Older Nebraskans will be able to conJezewski said. “Telehealth allows us to nect with their doctor over the phone or do both at the same time. It’s important through video chats to receive care for we teach people how to use telehealth and concerns like sore throats, backaches, high when it can be used.” blood pressure, diabetes, and mental health NGWEP also offers unique opportuniissues,” said Mary Ann Eusebio, director of ties for health professional students to work ENOA’s Information and Assistance diviclosely with older men and women. sion. “Because older adults are ‘frequent flyers’ “The telehealth visits – which are norall medical and other health professional mally covered by Medicare and Medicaid – students will inevitably work with older limit the amount of in-person contact which adults in their careers,” Miller said. “Unis vital during the pandemic,” she added. fortunately, few students have experience Other ENOA employees who helped working with older adults before beginning create the telehealth technology program in- their training. It’s through programs such clude the agency’s Executive Director Trish as NGWEP that we can give students an Bergman, Janelle Cox, director of ENOA’s opportunity to work with older adults early CHOICES division, and Mary Parker, on.” director of the agency’s Volunteer Services Jezewski said medical students will division. frequently work with older adults in their Since May 2020, ENOA has worked clinical practices. closely with Dr. Jane Potter, program direc“By allowing medical students to work tor for NGWEP, UNMC medical students with older adults outside of medicine, they Abigale Miller and Emily Jezewski, and can learn how to better communicate with UNMC’s Center for Reducing Health Disolder men and women and gain experiencparities Community Health Program Manthat will benefit them and their patients in ager Kenya Love to develop the telehealth the future,” she said. technology component of NGWEP. --Please turn to page 9.
Literary history comes alive at Aldrich House, Museum
A mural of Aldrich is painted on the side of a building in downtown Elmwood.
Bess Streeter Aldrich wrote many of her 12 books and more than 160 short stories seated at this oak desk in her Elmwood, Neb. house. By Jeff Reinhardt New Horizons Editor
rectangular oak desk sits in the study of the Cass County residence. Visitors entering the room don’t have to work too hard to imagine the home’s one-time owner-occupant composing parts of her latest literary piece while seated at the typewriter’s keyboard. The 3,400 square-feet home, named The Elms by its original owners, is better known as the Bess Streeter Aldrich House, 204 East F St. in Elmwood, Neb. Aldrich – the home’s matriarch – was one of Nebraska’s most beloved authors, penning 12 books, nine of which are still in print, and 160 short stories during a writing career which spanned more than four decades. Today, the four-bedroom, two-story, prairie mansion style house – which sits across the street from the Bess Streeter Aldrich Park – is a popular tourist destination, hosting 1,300 guests from across the United States and around the world in 2019.
ess Streeter was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1881, the last of James and Mary Streeter’s eight children. After graduating from Iowa State Normal School (today known as the University of Northern Iowa), Bess taught school for four years before becoming an administrator at her alma mater.
In 1907, Streeter married Charles Aldrich, a captain in the Spanish-American War who later used his law degree to serve as a United States Commissioner in Alaska. Two years later, Bess, Charles, and in-laws Clara and John Cobb purchased the American Exchange Bank in Elmwood. After moving to Nebraska, Bess and Charles raised four children in four different homes during the next 13 years. The Elms was built in 1922 for $7,000, according to Kurk Shrader, executive director of the Bess Streeter Aldrich House and Museum Foundation. Shrader, a retired business teacher at Elmwood-Murdock High School, has overseen operations at the Cass County landmarks for four years.
The dining room in the Cass County home the Aldrich family named The Elms. In 1924, Aldrich’s first book, Mother Mason, was published. Shrader said Bess enjoyed writing in her home’s study. “From there, she could see her children playing in the sunroom, smell what was cooking in the kitchen, know when her husband came home, and view the rim of the nearby prairie from which she drew her inspiration.” In 1925, Charles died from a cerebral hemorrhage after teaching a Sunday school class at the Methodist church in Elmwood. Writing, which Aldrich had previously thought of as a hobby, now became her occupation and the primary income source for the family and its quartet of children ages 4 to 16. Her short stories appeared in several magazines including The American, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and McCall’s. From 1925 to 1949, Aldrich wrote 11 more books including A Lantern in Her Hand (1928) and Miss Bishop (1933). Over the years, movie and television producers were drawn to Bess’ work. Miss Bishop was made into a Hollywood movie Cheers for Miss Bishop starring Martha Scott and William Gargan. The film premiered at the Stuart Theater in Lincoln in 1941. Aldrich’s short story, The Silent Stars Go By became the made-for-television movie The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story starring Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, and Polly --Please turn to page 6.
Benefit from the lessons learned in 2020
Have a very Happy New Year in 2021
appy New Year. Each year we all carry hope the coming year will be better than the last. The year 2021 stirs these hopes more than usual. In the midst of this dark winter of the pandemic, we now have hope vaccines will gradually tame the beast. We elders may qualify to get our vaccinations sooner rather than later. If we just continue to isolate and use our masks, we may be able to return to a more normal life with family and friends. This thought engenders optimism 2021 will be a good year.
Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath
We also have passed through the contentious election season and look forward to less combative rhetoric. Maybe we can all calm down and focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us. By turning down the heat, we may find ways of loving our neighbors, looking at their hearts instead of their politics. We might even learn to listen to one another’s stories rather than demanding attention for our own point of view. Would that not make the coming year much brighter? For us elders, the new year also reminds us we aren’t getting any younger. We recognize our physical capabilities aren’t what they once were. We tire more easily and have more aches and pains. We see wrinkles where they never appeared before. We cannot escape the fact our bodies will continue to show wear and tear. Does this fact suggest hopelessness is inevitable? I think not. We’re more than our bodies. We’re made up of body, mind, and spirit. The mind and spirit constitute our interior 9
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We want to hear from you. • Do you have questions about the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, its programs, or services? • Do you have a comment about the agency and how it serves older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties?
email@example.com We appreciate your interest in ENOA and the New Horizons.
s we reflect on the many decades we’ve lived with all their challenges and blessings, we recognize we’ve gained wisdom that wasn’t part of our lives in our 20s and 30s. We notice patience and calmness where there was once fear and insecurity. For example, I spent my younger years trying to live up to the expectations of others, whether real or imagined. I was my own worst critic, often feeling inadequate and unsure of myself. Somewhere along the line, ever so gradually, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. I spend less energy trying to please others and follow my own intuition about what’s good for me. It’s nice when others appreciate me but it’s not my focus. Now my greatest hope at this phase of life is that I never stop growing. I mean there’s an increasing richness to my inner life as I read and reflect. I discover deeper understanding about what’s most important which allows me the freedom to let go of externals. I notice more peace and contentment. This year of pandemic with all the quiet time has provided space for more reflection and internal journeying. It has shown me a lot about what’s essential in my life. Now I am curious about what I’ll be learning in 2021. Let us all hope a growthfull new year. (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching in Omaha. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of Life. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Kurk Shrader, executive director of the Bess Streeter Aldrich House and Museum Foundation, sits at an 1870s-era Grand piano in the Aldrich House in Cass County.
--Continued from page 5. Holliday in 1983. A 1995 television movie A Mother’s Gift – based on A Lantern in Her Hand – starred Nancy McKeon.
ess moved to Lincoln in 1946 to live near a daughter and her family. Aldrich died at age 73 and was buried next to her husband in the Elmwood Cemetery in 1954. Upon moving to Lincoln, she sold The Elms to friends Guy and Marie Clements for the same $7,000 price Bess and Charles had paid building the house 24 years earlier. The Clements passed the home down to their son, Dwight, and his wife, Marge, who lived there until 1992 when they donated the house to the Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation. Shrader said tours of the residence began shortly thereafter. Although the pandemic reduced the number of visitors in 2020, the Bess Streeter Aldrich House has remained a much-loved tourist destination for more than a quarter century. Shrader said the site’s popularity can be attributed to Aldrich’s books, which he said were “historically accurate” and primarily about families, homesteading, romance, and life on the Great Plains. “Everyone who read her could connect with the characters,” he added. Visitors touring the Aldrich House will learn about the author, her work, and the home’s history. Its décor features several pieces of original furniture and some of Bess’ personal memorabilia. Displays at the Aldrich Museum – 124 West D St. in Elmwood – include letters written by the author, souvenirs from the movie Cheers for Miss Bishop, and the original A Lantern in Her Hand manuscript. For more information about touring the Bess Streeter Aldrich House and Museum, please call Shrader at 402867-4233.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on older adults, the AARP Information Center, located at the Center Mall, will remain closed through at least July. AARP and its volunteers continue to be engaged in legislative issues, voter campaigns, educational lessons, community events, nursing home reforms, home healthcare, Medicare, and Social Security. AARP encourages its members to stay well and stay connected.
Please send your questions, comments, and story ideas to:
life. This part of our being need not diminish as we age. In fact, the experience of my own life and of those around me tell me our interior lives just get richer with age if we live mindfully.
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Bess Streeter Aldrich...
Metro Women’s Club The Metro Women’s Club of Omaha’s motto is “Extending the hand of friendship.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all Metro Women’s Club of Omaha events are on hold until further notice. For more information, please go online to metrowomensclub.org.
Elder Access Line
ENOA needs Ombudsman Advocates The 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 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 three-month 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, please call Beth Nodes at 402-444-6536.
Legal Aid of Nebraska operates a free telephone access line for Nebraskans age 60 and older. Information is offered to help the state’s older men and women with questions on topics like bankruptcy, homestead exemptions, collections, powers of attorney, Medicare, Medicaid, grandparent rights, and Section 8 housing. The telephone number for the Elder Access Line is 402-827-5656 in Omaha and 1-800-527-7249 statewide. This service is available to Nebraskans age 60 and older regardless of income, race, or ethnicity. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. toBe noon simply confident and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, on the go and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday. For more information, log on the Internet to legalaidofnebraska.com/EAL.
Participants are wanted for UNMC bone loss study
he University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Allied Health Professions is conducting a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Spry Belt in preventing bone loss in post-menopausal women. The Spry Belt is worn for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and delivers energy that may help prevent bone loss. Laura Bilek, Ph.D., a professor and physical therapist in the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions is the principal investigator. Nancy Waltman, Ph.D., a professor and an advanced practice registered nurse in the UNMC College of Nursing, is a co-investigator on the project. Ten million Americans have severe bone loss or osteoporosis, and 34 million have low bone mass, known as osteopenia. Four of five patients with osteopenia and osteoporosis are women. “One in every two women will suffer an osteoporotic fracture during her lifetime,” said Dr. Bilek. “Despite the high prevalence of low bone mass, few treatment options exist.” Participants will be randomly assigned to wear an active Spry Belt or a placebo Spry Belt. After 12 months, outcomes measured will include lumbar bone strength and hip and spine bone mineral density. Women also will be asked to take study supplied calcium and vitamin D supplements. Women age 50 or older are being recruited for the study. Study information can be found by contacting Kara M. Smith at email@example.com or 402-559-6584.
Resource Specialist on call 24/7 since pandemic began By Nick Schinker Contributing Writer
hil Rooney doesn’t like to be the bearer of bad news. Last year simply gave him no choice. A veteran journalist and radio broadcaster, Rooney is the Resource Specialist (public information officer) for the Douglas County Health Department. He has done the job since 2007, but there has never been a year like 2020. The year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his job, Rooney is the messenger for the Douglas County Health Department and its Director Adi Pour, Ph.D. Rooney delivers information from the 120-person health department to the more than halfmillion people it serves. Rather than broadcast the news, he provides daily reports and answers questions for the radio, television, and print journalists who keep the public updated on every new fact and figure concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its impact locally. He has been very busy. “We always do long-term planning,” Rooney says, “and that includes the possibility of a pandemic. But none of us has ever lived through anything like this. For almost a year, I have been on call 24 hours a day.” While it has been demanding, Rooney says the experience of working with “such a committed team of caring professionals has been extremely rewarding.” Now that a vaccine is being distributed across the nation and in other parts of the world, you might think Rooney and that team can breathe a sigh of relief. “Not yet,” he says. “I’d like to think we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but in reality, we have no idea how long that tunnel is.”
hillip Rooney is a native of Harlan, Iowa, the son of Ardell Rooney and Jean (White). “I was an Irish-Catholic only child,” he says, “which is almost an oxymoron.” His father was a salesman for Nabisco. “In high school, I was the guy with all the Oreos,” he says. His mother was a bookkeeper and librarian. Rooney played basketball for Harlan High School. “We went (a combined) 37 and 4 my last two seasons,” he says. “Two of my teammates went on to play Division I ball.” His first job was as a carry-out boy at the Super Value in Harlan. He came to Omaha to study English and speech at Creighton University, but found himself drawn toward broadcast journalism, radio broadcasting in particular. “I had an uncle who taught English at the Loyola of Chicago (University) who I admired very much,” Rooney says. “Actually, we had a fairly long line of English teachers in our family.” Radio appealed to both his love for music and his affinity for words. “For me, it has always been about the words,” he says. Phil earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Creighton in 1975 and went to work at KQ98 and KRCB radio in Council Bluffs. In 1982 he moved to KOIL radio, where he also did some news and sportscasting, as analyst for Creighton basketball in the late ’80s, followed by a year of University of Nebraska at Omaha play-by-play, as an analyst on football broadcasts, and co-host of the (Mavericks’ coach) Sandy Buda TV show. After KOIL, he moved to KFAB News. He covered thousands of news stories, some he can’t remember, some he will never forget. Rooney was working at KOIL in the winter of 1983 when two young boys went missing, and he reported when the bodies of Danny Joe Eberle, 12, and Christopher Paul Walden, 13, were found. “The boys’ disappearance and murders, and
A 1975 Creighton University graduate, Rooney worked in radio, television, the print media, and for OHA before joining the Douglas County Health Department. the fact a serial killer was on the loose in Sarpy County, overcame almost anything else going on in our lives,” he recalls. “It was that way for everyone, not just for people with children. It was a horrific, frightening time.” He also reported when Air Force Airman and Eagle Scout John Joubert was arrested the following January and was charged and later convicted of the murders. Murder seemed to be a regular segment on radio news coverage, just as the weather and the sports. “If you worked in news back then, we averaged about 30 murders a year,” Rooney says. “In 10 years, that means I covered about 300 homicides. For some, I was at the scene, sometimes I saw the bodies, and sometimes I covered the cases through the courts. “When you are there, you don’t just witness the evidence of a crime; you witness the severe trauma on both sides. It changes you. The bad thing is, at some point, it almost numbs you to it.”
t KFAB, Rooney had the honor and pleasure of working with Walt Kavanagh, who served as his news director. An accomplished journalist and a stickler for details and facts, Kavanagh was a familiar voice to KFAB listeners for 40 years as a radio newscaster. Kavanagh became news director in 1959 and held the job until he retired in 1991 at age 68. “When I worked at KFAB, Walt always would ask if there were two sides to the story we were covering,” Rooney says. “Then he would ask, ‘Do we have the other side?’ He wanted us to pursue the facts, do everything we could to get the story right and balanced, then let the public decide.” Rooney also worked at the Omaha Housing Authority and served its director Bob Armstrong. “Besides my father and my uncle, Bob Armstrong was one of the three most important men I knew. It was one of the most valuable times of my life.” --Please turn to page 9.
When not working, Rooney enjoys community service, listening to music --Continued from page 8. The Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) contracts with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide low and moderate-income individuals with housing through rent subsidies. The majority of the OHA’s clients are minorities. “I was the communications coordinator, and I worked to develop communications tools. I admired the work they were doing to improve the lives of people living in public housing and make it safer for residents, provide opportunities, and do away with ‘the projects’ as they were known.” It was a time when Rooney learned a lot about inequity, and about him-
self. “As a white male, it was the first time I was the minority at my job. Bob Armstrong was a man with vision and principles, and social justice and civil rights are very important to me.” Rooney channels those principles into community work, having served as a board member of Girl’s Inc. Omaha and Love’s Jazz and Arts Center, and as a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rooney moved on to WOW radio in 1998 and served as news director for one year, when deregulation and the sale of the radio station prompted him to join the staff at the Associated Press news service in
Omaha. He later spent three years at the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil covering business and education. In June 2007, he went to work at the Douglas County Health Department and began to prepare for a pandemic.
ooney is extremely proud of his daughter, Maggie, an Air Force medic who is studying to become a nurse. His grandson, Isaiah, is 3-1/2 years old. Rooney recently spent eight days in South Dakota caring for Isaiah when Maggie tested positive for COVID-19. Although she did not have to be hospitalized, Rooney did for two days, suffering from stress --Please turn to page 13.
Phil says it’s challenging getting people to listen to the ongoing message about COVID-19.
STAY CONNECTED While you Stay Home
Talking to your doctors without having to see them in person. • Stay safe at home while staying connected to your doctor through telehealth. • Through telehealth you can connect with your doctor over the phone or over video chats. • Get care for: 4 Sore Throats 4 Backaches 4 Diabetes 4 High Blood Pressure 4 Mental Health Care 4 And Many More
It’s PRIVATE CONVENIENT SAFE
• Best of all, these visits are covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
se u y
--Continued from page 4. Older adults wishing to access telehealth technology services can begin the process by calling their physician and giving a brief description of why they need medical assistance. A representative at the office will schedule a telehealth appointment between the physician and patient. Participants can use a computer or laptop with a camera and download Zoom, FaceTime, or another similar app to see their healthcare provider face to face during the video call. Individuals who don’t have a computer, laptop, or a smart phone can use their landlines to connect to the healthcare provider during the telehealth visit. Privacy issues have been addressed. All telehealth visits are HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant, providers will never share patient information, and the communication methods use secure networks and phone lines. For more information about telehealth technology, please call your healthcare provider.
What is Telehealth
QUESTIONS ON TELEHEALTH COVERAGE? Call your healthcare provider. This publication was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $90,625 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U. S. Government.
Looking for the right people
he 211 telephone network has been established in parts of Nebraska to give consumers a single source for information about community and human ser-
vices. 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 ne211.org.
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 www.southviewheightsomaha.com
The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has been providing programs and services for older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties since 1974.
Americans living in a loneliness epidemic
oneliness is a large and complex issue. Despite there being so many convenient ways for people to connect with one another including texting, social media, and FaceTime, Americans are living in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. Sixty and Me – an online magazine – showed people don’t just want more people in their lives, they want the right people in their lives. They want intimacy, not just interaction. True connections, not just surface level contacts. The study was proof loneliness isn’t the same as social isolation. It’s clear from Sixty and Me’s 2020 survey results that little changed in the past year, and loneliness is still a big issue for older adults. What’s more, the pandemic has made it worse. The results show an increase from 75% of people feeling lonely in 2019 to 85% in 2020, with 78% of people surveyed saying COVID-19 has amplified their feelings of loneliness. It’s a topic we all need to do more about. By starting these conversations, Sixty and Me hopes people who feel lonely can see they’re not alone. In the meantime, it suggests reaching out to others. Here are some of the results of the 2020 Sixty and Me Dealing with Loneliness Survey of 1,750 respondents ages 60 to 69 from more than 50 countries: • 98% of the respondents were women.
• 87% of the respondents said they sometimes or often feel lonely. • 2% of the respondents said they never feel lonely. • 88% of the respondents rated their overall health as good or above relative to others their age. This a positive sign, given the implications loneliness can have on health. Studies have found chronic loneliness can drive up cortisol levels in the body, which over time can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase risk for vascular problems, inflammation, and heart disease.
Getting outside when you feel lonely is a great method to distract the mind from negative thinking and thoughts of loneliness. Despite 87% of people who completed the survey feeling lonely, only 15% had ever contacted a helpline or sought help about their loneliness. As part of the survey, respondents were asked which factors contributed most to their loneliness. The main responses focused around a lack of people in their lives. Not having a partner or spouse was the most common choice (52%), closely followed by living alone (48%), and not having many friends (48%). A lack of contact with family members was mentioned by 39% of the people. Of the survey respondents, 68% said they deal with loneliness by getting outside into nature and/or exercising. Research has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Getting outside when you feel lonely is a great method to distract the mind from negative thinking and thoughts of loneliness. Trying to be social (46%), meditating or praying (42%), starting a new hobby or activity (41%), journaling (22%), and giving back/volunteering (21%) were also popular responses for ways of reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. COVID-19 amplified loneliness for 78% of respondents. With in-person contact limited, 61% of those surveyed said they used video calls to stay in touch with friends and family members during the pandemic. Just under half used video calls for the first time. The survey, however, was not all doom and gloom. Many of the survey respondents spoke about the positive steps they’ve taken to help combat loneliness during these difficult times. One made phone calls to isolated people. Others volunteered at local food pantries. Interestingly, several people said they enjoyed the enforced solitude created by the pandemic which gave them time to enjoy their home, garden, and surrounding area. It’s clear feelings of loneliness are prevalent, and in these challenging times more and more people are experiencing them to some degree. The survey, however, indicates there’s a large number of people who are passionate and enthusiastic about finding solutions to this problem. (Sixty and Me provided this information.)
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New Horizons Club gains new members $15 Joan Preble $5 Kathleen Coons Cynthia Hamilton Reflects donations through 12/25/2020.
Flaherty Senior Consulting Caring for a loved one is hard, and the challenges are amplified as a result of the coronavirus. Caregivers may not be comfortable bringing new persons into their home during the pandemic. They can’t visit a loved one living in a facility, or their visits may be limited. “The most important thing to know is that you aren’t alone,” says Nancy Flaherty, MS, CDP, president of Flaherty Senior Consulting who is available to help navigate these unusual times. She said caregivers should focus on keeping their loved ones safe while paying attention to their own well-being. Flaherty offered the following tips to caregivers: • Maintain a calm environment. One of the most important things a caregiver can do is to remain calm. The Alzheimer’s Foundation advises caregivers to not raise the alarm about the virus to the person they care for. • Have a back-up plan. This is especially important if the loved one lives far away. Is there a trusted person available who could help if needed? Plan for sheltering in place by having activities like puzzles, photo albums, music, movies, and small tasks available. • Take care of the caregiver. Caregivers should take breaks from the news, take care of their bodies by eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Take time to unwind by doing activities they enjoy and connect with others. While Flaherty Senior Consulting’s normal workshops and Solutions groups for caregivers aren’t meeting because of the pandemic, she’s available to help in other creative ways. This includes phone calls and Zoom or Facetime meetings which are a great way to involve multiple family members. Now, more than ever, it’s important for caregivers to stay connected and to reach out to someone who can provide insight into stress, provide practical tips for navigating challenges, or offer a listening heart, Flaherty says. Flaherty Senior Consulting offers help with care plans, advice on caregiver challenges, answers to questions about dementia, tips to address behavior issues, guidance on longterm and day care placement options, and more. For more information, visit Flaherty Senior Consulting’s website at flahertyconsulting.net or call 402-312-9324.
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The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Receive a FREE copy of the New Horizons in your mailbox each month. To be added to our mailing list, please call 402-444-6654 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please provide your name and complete mailing address with zip code when ordering. January 2021
Maintaining your mental health during winter By Jen Beck
f you find yourself buried in snow, cold, and sadness this winter, you’re certainly not alone. Old Man Winter tends to drag on through the beginning of the year, and seasonal depression often shows its icy face in thousands of Americans. The most common months for feeling the “winter blues” are January and February, and after a year of staying home and withdrawing from social activities, the general population may see more and more signs of seasonal depression.
for walking, take a dip in the pool for water aerobics, or hit some weights to release exBe open about feelings tra endorphins to strike a balance between and thoughts related to winter. happy and sad moods. Choose a colorful diet of vegetables, If you don’t find your natural fruits, and low-fat foods for your physical remedies to suffice, and mental health. These foods can also checking with a mental provide additional vitamin D which can boost your mood tremendously. health provider or your Be open about feelings and thoughts physician can be helpful. related to winter. If you don’t find your natural remedies to suffice, checking with If you’re lucky enough to be a snowa mental health provider or your physician bird in the warmer climates, bring some can be helpful. Your physician can offer sunshine and warmth back to the rest of medications that might help get you through Nebraska. As for the rest of the Good Life, to sunshine and flip flops again. Mental digging out driveways, shoveling sidewalks, health providers can offer coping skills and and de-icing the steps will be the norm for a other ideas to help ease the strain of depresfew more weeks. Luckily, there are ways to sion and anxiety. navigate mental health concerns related to Sometimes the easiest way to relieve the the ups and downs of a four-season climate. stress of mental health concerns is to speak One of the reasons Midwesterners feel of it. Get it out of your mind. Write it down. more depressed in these months is the lack Discuss how you feel with loved ones who of sunshine and light. The days are shorter, can support you in your time of need. and daylight disappears as quickly as it arAfter the excitement of the holidays, it’s rives. Light therapy is one way to increase totally normal to feel low. Try new things your vitamin D. If you can’t intentionally to keep your spirits up and continue your step outside for fresh air and sunshine on routines to maintain normalcy. Show yourthe brighter days of the month, check into self some grace if you find seasonal changes artificial light. impact your daily life. Most importantly, Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps can be share your thoughts and feelings with your ordered online or in stores. Checking with loved ones and health providers. Collecyour family physician can help you detertively your circle will help you find joy in mine which lamp is right for brightening up front yard snowmen, the sparkle of falling your mornings. snowflakes, and another year embracing It goes without saying that healthy diets winter in Nebraska. and exercise will help you deal with depres(Beck is with Midwest Geriatrics, Inc. in sion tremendously. Find a gym with a track Omaha.)
Divorced men sought for study
AARP’s Tax Aide Program
ue to the pandemic, AARP is making some changes to its 2020 Tax Aide Program to keep its volunteers and participants safe. The changes include: • The tax returns will be processed virtually online or over the telephone instead of in person. • Some of the previous sites, including the Crossroads Mall, will be closed. • Each appointment will likely be limited to 15 minutes or less. Two appointments may be required to complete a return. One to start the process and scan the documents and another to review and sign the return before submitting it electronically. A limited number of appointments with a tax preparer – which will be set up with an AARP volunteer over the phone – will be available. Taxpayers will need to have all their documents organized before the tax return preparation can begin. The taxpayer and spouse (if it’s a joint return) will need to sign the completed tax return before it can be submitted electronically. More detailed information will be available soon. Check the New Horizons for more information.
Now is the time to determine your plans for long-term care
Researchers at the University of Missouri’s Love After 60 Lab want to collect stories about the divorce process and post-divorce life from older men whose divorce was legalized at age 55 or older. Interviews are confidential and will be conducted via video conferencing software (e.g., Zoom) or phone. Participants will receive $50 in compensation for doing the interview. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to LoveAfter60Lab@ missouri.edu or call 1-573882-4399. For more information, please contact Dr. Jacquelyn Benson online at email@example.com.
esearch suggests most Americans age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care as they grow older. The amount of care needed will depend on many variables including overall health, cognitive functioning, and home environment. Age is a strong predictor of the need for help, and because women live longer on average, they’re more likely than men to require long-term care. Regardless of gender, factors such as a disability, injury, or chronic illness also increase the chance longterm care will be needed. For some people, the need for long-term care may occur suddenly as the result of an illness or accident. For others, the need may grow slowly. Make your decisions about longterm care before they’re needed. These simple steps can help start your planning. • Know what to expect. Most people know they should save for retirement, but many don’t know exactly what expenses they’ll have when they require help with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, or eating. While most of this care is provided by family members and friends, sometimes older adults and their families get these services from providers like home health agencies or area agencies on aging like the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Understanding long-term care is the first step in creating a plan. Because long-term care is expensive and represents a major risk to your retirement savings, you may want to consider buying long-term care insurance which can help cover the cost of professional services provided in the home. Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care services or supports (with some minor exceptions) and neither does your employer-based health insurance or Medigap. Most people prefer to receive long-term care at home. Their odds of doing so may be improved by making home modifications to reduce the risk of falls. A person who lives alone is more likely to require longterm care than one who can rely on a spouse or a partner for help with daily tasks. Many Americans say they don’t want to rely on their children for care, but a lack of planning for paid care often leads to that result. • Make your preferences known. A choice to plan or not plan will likely have a big impact on family and friends who may also be informal caregivers. Statistics show most long-term care is provided by family members or other loved ones. Research has also shown caregivers can experience significant stress when they have caregiving responsibilities. Take the time to make clear your preferences for what kind of help you value most and where you want to receive that care. Family and friends will feel better knowing you’re thinking about your needs and theirs by planning for long-term care. • Get a plan in place. Be proactive. Staying at home is great, especially if the residence has been modified to help you avoid an injury and continue to care for yourself. However, it won’t happen without taking steps to ensure you can get the support you need. Start thinking about ways to maintain your independence and safety as long as possible within your home and community. For more information and resources to develop a care plan, visit longtermcare.gov. (The Administration for Community Living provided this information.)
Alzheimer’s webinars The Alzheimer’s Association is offering a variety of free educational webinars. Topics include the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia research, healthy living, legal and financial planning, early stage care partners, late stage caregivers, and understanding and responding to dementia-related behavior. To register or for more information, please call 800-2723900 or go to alz.org/crf.
Terrence and Dr. Eboni Green
Omaha couple starts business after husband atypically became primary caregiver for many family members
Dr. Eboni Green
By Karin Hopkins
hen the unthinkable happened to Omahan Terrence Green, he sacrificed his career to provide care for a family member who was suffering with a medical crisis. Then things began to snowball. Another relative became desperately ill and needed someone to be his guardian angel. Soon thereafter, Terrence was the guardian angel for several other loved ones.
Paid caregiver leave gives people time to plan instead of being forced to choose either work or caregiving. The first time was in 2014 when cancer debilitated Terrence’s stepfather. At that time, Terrence was working for a large company that had no compassion for his predicament. Instead of fighting his employer while also struggling with the emotional drain he was experiencing, Green resigned so he could provide his stepfather with the support he needed until the stepfather passed away in January 2015. That was just the beginning of Terrence’s caregiving journey. His biological father was terminally diagnosed in July 2015 and Green cared for him until his father died in January 2016. The same week Terrence’s father died, his mother was hit with the flu and pneumonia. Hospitalized in February 2016, she eventually recovered, but lost her kidney function, requiring caregiver support. Once again, Terrence took on the caregiver’s role. He received help from an unlikely partner, his mother’s 83-yearold mother (Terrence’s grandmother). They kept his mother comfortable for two years until she passed away in 2018. Green’s situation is atypical. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 75% of caregivers are female. There is also a gender disparity in how men perform caregiving duties. Often male support shows up on the sidelines through finances, hiring help, and shopping. Terrence, however, was hands on, a role he could play because his wife became the family’s breadwinner. Still, he says the role reversal is tough, “It came down to an ego thing. Getting over that hump was probably 80% of my challenge. What was important was me caring for my loved ones. My ego didn’t matter especially, since my wife was so supportive of what I had to do.” As a medical professional, Terrence’s wife, Dr. Eboni Green, was his life preserver. Together, they were better equipped to adapt. They founded Caregiver Support Services in the 1990s, which today is a thriving business. The Greens continue to jointly operate while also maintaining full-time jobs. Addressing the lack of empathy from his former employer, Terrence commends businesses and organizations that advocate for paid caregiver leave. “It’s revolutionary and long overdue,” he says, explaining the uninterrupted pay gives people time to plan instead of being forced to choose either work or caregiving. Their journey continues as Terrence cares for his elderly grandmother. The Greens are also bracing for the future as Eboni’s parents age.
Free estate planning services
tudents from the University of Nebraska College of Law will be available on Friday, April 2 to help persons age 60 and older prepare their wills, powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and living wills. The free service is cosponsored by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging and the Department of Health and Human Services, State Unit on Aging. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program may be conducted virtually. To register, please call the Nebraska Law Civil Clinic at 402-472-3271. Callers should press 0 when they hear the recording. The registration deadline is Thursday, March 4.
Phil Rooney... --Continued from page 9. and fatigue, even as he handled media relations and participated in meetings via his laptop. “I was taking calls from the media while I was in the ER,” he says. “After I was admitted, I actually got more rest those two days than I had in the past six or eight months.” The pandemic has been stressful for us all, but especially so for healthcare workers and others who deal directly with COVID-19 patients. The number of cases has gone from a few to too many, as have the number of deaths. Rooney reports those numbers for Douglas County every day and takes calls from reporters late into the night. His voice has been steady and reliable. The trouble, he says, has been getting people to listen. “We live in a sound bite culture,” he says. “People want solutions, and they want them right away. It’s difficult getting people to listen to a message that since February or March has not changed.” When he isn’t communicating, Rooney is likely to be found listening – to music. He owns “about 5,000” CDs and some vinyl albums and has played in a couple of local bands. If he ever gets two weeks off, he knows how he would spend his time. “Listening to music. Playing music. Playing my guitar. Soaking up as much live music as possible.” Until then, his job is to get the rest of us to listen. And if we don’t, he will repeat the message until the day comes when he doesn’t have to anymore. He hopes. “I am living a nightmare year,” he says, “in my dream job.”
UNMC honors Dr. Stanley Truhlsen on 100th birthday
ozens of University of Nebraska Medical Center leaders, employees, and students recently gave Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD a birthday he’ll never forget. They stood outside the UNMC Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute in Omaha for a “drive-by” birthday tribute for Dr. Truhlsen’s 100th birthday. Dr. Truhlsen, who grew up in Herman, Neb., is a retired, well-known Omaha ophthalmologist, philanthropist, and UNMC professor of ophthalmology, who has lived through the Great Depression, several wars, and many changes at UNMC through the years. Holding large “Happy Birthday” signs, employees and students waved as Truhlsen’s family drove him
Dr. Stanley Truhlsen recently turned age 100. by the well-wishers. The centenarian was also presented with a giant birthday card by Ron Krueger, MD, the director of the
Truhlsen Eye Institute, and UNMC Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold. (UNMC provided this information.)
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 home-
owners. 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.
Bilingual information about hospice care, palliative care, helping loved ones with grief and loss, and caregiving is available through the Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership. The number for the Cuidando con Carino Compassionate Care HelpLine is (toll free) 1-877-658-8896. The service is offered weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Programs for people with vision loss If you or a loved one with vision loss have found challenges in accessing critical services during the pandemic, Outlook Enrichment can help through its adaptive technology training program. For individuals who are blind or have low vision, assistive technology includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with vision loss/disabilities and also includes the process used in the evaluation and selection of adaptive technology. Outlook Enrichment offers computer and smartphone training remotely. This helps clients learn how to use smartphone apps and other technology tools that are increasingly important for working remotely, learning online, shopping, banking, and engaging with others. Outlook Enrichment also established a technology help line for people with visual impairment at 531-365-5334. The organization’s adaptive technology trainers respond to messages within 24 hours with technology solutions to help their blind neighbors stay connected and conduct business.
Outlook’s trainers can help consumers find adaptive techniques, software, or devices to overcome the barriers presented by vision loss. They’ll demonstrate options and give tips on using the devices that work best. Through this program, you or a family member with a vision condition can learn how to: • Visit with family via Zoom, Facebook, or other videoconferencing apps. • Order groceries, prescriptions, and other items to be delivered to your home through platforms like Amazon. • Enjoy home entertainment through movie streaming and audio books. • Read the mail, the newspaper, or recipe cards with digital magnifiers. As we’re all adapting to the new normal, technology is now more important than ever. Outlook Enrichment’s adaptive technology trainers are ready to help with your technology needs Call 531-365-5314 to schedule a phone appointment.
on your prescriptions with the
Douglas County Prescription Discount Card
FREE enrollment for Douglas County residents of all ages who are without prescription drug coverage.
AVERAGE SAVINGS OF 20%! • No age requirements. • No income requirements.
This program is offered in a joint effort of Douglas County and the National Association of Counties (NACo).
• Unlimited use for the whole family. • No claim forms to fill out and no annual fee to pay.
For more information call 1-877-321-2652 or visit
This plan is not insurance. Discounts are only available at participating pharmacies.
Intercultural Senior Center
ou’re invited to visit the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC), 5545 Center St., for the following: • Morning exercise classes. Mondays and Fridays: Tai Chi. Wednesdays: Zumba. Classes are held from 9 to 10. Bring water. Masks, which are available upon request, are required. ISC transportation isn’t available to transport participants for these classes. Due to CDC guidelines, the classes are open to 14 older adults only. The ISC is closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and on Jan. 18 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The ISC is open Tuesday and Thursday for nine people from 9 to 11:30 a.m. These men and women are encouraged to join exercise classes, do arts and crafts, play Bingo, and receive a Grab and Go meal they can take home. They are then driven home in an ISC van that has barriers between each row of seats to separate the passengers for safety during the pandemic. The ISC is offering online learning videos which are available at interculturalseniorcenter.org and on Facebook at ISC Class Connect. Volunteers are needed to deliver pantry items and hot meals to older adults’ homes one day a week. The ISC is also looking for home delivered meals volunteers on Wednesdays and Fridays @ 10:30 a.m. More information is available at interculturalseniorcenter.org. The ISC is a site for ENOA’s Grab-n-Go meals Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Reserve your meal before 10 a.m. the day prior. Recipients must be age 60 or older. A contribution is suggested. For more information, please call 402-444-6529. A monthly food pantry and hot meals are also available at the ISC for persons age 50 or older. Please call 402-4446529 to learn more. For more information, please call 402-444-6529.
Programs available to help older adults pay for the cost of licensing their pets
he Nebraska Humane Society has received a grant to help men and women over age 65 in Omaha, Gretna, and Ralston pay for the cost of licensing their pets. For more information, please call 402-905-3474 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Per city ordinances, men and women age 65 and older in Bellevue, La Vista, Papillion, Springfield, Unincorporated Sarpy County, and Waterloo may license their altered pets at no charge. For more information, please call 402-905-3474 or send an email to email@example.com. Pets must be licensed every year. For more information on older adults’ pet licensing options, log on to nehumanesociety.org. For consumer health and safety as well as the welfare of Humane Society staff, pet owners are asked to license their pets by mail, at participating vet clinics, or online at nehumanesociety.org. A mail slot will be available at the Nebraska Humane Society – 8929 Fort St. – for persons who want to drop off their pet license payments in person. Persons choosing this option, will receive a receipt by mail. Pet licenses are due by March 15 each year. The Nebraska Humane Society encourages pet owners to license their pets for 2021 as soon as possible.
Emerald ash borers in 35 states
Trees fighting back against invasive pests
n a growing number of U.S. states, residents have been dealing with a different kind of quarantine that began in the early 2000’s and continues today. This one involves wood, not people, and the perpetrator is a beetle, not a virus.
whether on purpose or by accident, with potentially catastrophic effects.
limate change is also a factor. Insects live in specific environments based on weather. Their ranges expand and breeding seasons increase as global temperatures rise. Mountain pine beetle numbers, for example, have grown rapidly in recent decades The problem started in 2002 when the Emerald ash borer, due to the warming climate. an exotic green beetle that probably hitched a ride to the Cold winters that usually U.S. with wood materials from Asia, began decimating ash drive beetles to hibernate, forests in Michigan. Since then, this little invader has killed protecting pine forests for a hundreds of millions of ash trees across 35 U.S. states spell, are growing shorter. including Nebraska and five Canadian provinces. Beetles can now Ecosystems where these ash trees play a pivotal role are complete two reproductive decimated, while forest product industries and property cycles in the expanded owners in these areas are also impacted. Wood coming out warm seasons, leading to of affected regions is being quarantined to make sure it increased tree mortality in isn’t harboring the invasive pest before being shipped out to affected regions. If warming other parts of the country or world. continues at the current rate, While the Emerald ash borer is found almost exclusively trees won’t be able to adapt on ash trees, several other invasive bugs are also plaguing fast enough to survive. other types of forests across the continent. Asian longThere’s not much horned beetles, Spotted lanternflies, Banded elm bark individuals can do to beetles, Brown spruce long-horned beetles, Common pine prevent the spread of shoot beetles, and European oak bark beetles are a few of invasive tree pests except the bugs preying on our native forests. buying wood products A new Asian gypsy moth strain is another emerging produced by local logging threat to U.S. coastal forests. The U.S. Department of operations or wood lots. Agriculture warns, “If established in the United States, Likewise, procure firewood Asian gypsy moths could cause serious, widespread from local sources, as many damage to our country’s landscape and natural resources.” pests hitchhike into new In May 2020, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an terrain on firewood in back emergency order in response to the infestation. These moths of the family station wagon. have wrought havoc before, and scientists have offset (EarthTalk® is produced infestations using a special kind of moss on different east for the 501(c)3 nonprofit coast strains. Hopefully similar measures can counteract EarthTalk.) impacts on the West coast. There are many factors driving the spread and growth FOR SALE of harmful species to trees in North America. Clothing 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 4 X 4. imported from China, wood brought from Canada, sugar Five-speed. New rebuilt motor. transported from Brazil, and much of what we consume 25K miles. Blue. $5K offer. here that comes from abroad bring the transport of species, 402-705-1969
Diner’s Choice program is now available at two Hy-Vee locations
he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has expanded its Diner’s Choice program to a second location. Along with having Diner’s Choice at the Hy-Vee Supermarket, 5150 Center St., ENOA is adding Diner’s Choice at the Hy-Vee Supermarket, 3410 N. 156th St. Diner’s Choice is designed to allow older men and women to enjoy a nutritious meal of their choice from an approved and specific menu. Any items not listed on the approved menu must be paid for by program participants. Meals – which are available any time the Hy-Vee kitchen is open – can be ordered from Hy-Vee’s breakfast menu, the Chinese and Italian stations, the Hickory House, and the Deli station. Diner’s Choice participants – who must be age 60 or older – are asked for a voluntary contribution of $4 per meal when ordering the monthly meals through ENOA. They’ll receive a card for each meal ordered with a 20 meals order limit each month. Only one card can be used per day. Because participants are asked to contribute towards the cost of the meals, no money will be collected by Hy-Vee. For more information, please call ENOA’s nutrition office at 402-444-6513.
1999 Mustang Cobra SVT convertible. Black on black. Clean title. 56,000 miles. Mint condition. $18,000 or best offer. 402-705-1969
Senior Citizens (62+) Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.
1002 Bellewood Court Bellevue (402) 292-3300 Bellewood@KimballMgmt.com
ocial distancing doesn’t have be a barrier to helping others and making a positive impact. The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s RSVP has developed safe volunteer opportunities to make it possible for you to lend your time to support your community. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, RSVP is a national program of AmeriCorps Seniors, formerly the Senior Service Corps.
City Light food pantry, located in midtown Omaha, has opportunities once a month to fill bags of shelf stable groceries. This is done in two-hour shifts typically on a Wednesday. There are also opportunities one Saturday per month for no contact delivery of the pantry food items to neighbors in need. While this volunteer opportunity is done in person, social distancing and personal protective equipment are required for the volunteers’ safety. Learning for All needs volunteers who have a computer, tablet, or smart phone. This is a virtual volunteering opportunity you can do at home tutoring persons for whom English is a second language. With easy step-by-step instructions, volunteers can use platforms such as Zoom and Facetime to make a difference in someone’s life. Learning for All will provide the information and lessons for volunteers to pave the way for adults to acquire the literacy and language skills necessary for them to thrive and achieve life goals such as English fluency and obtaining a GED. Senior Smiles is a new RSVP program where volunteers are given postage-paid stationery to send notes of encouragement to youths at Boys Town and young, single mothers at Carole’s House of Hope. This opportunity allows volunteers to complete the notes on their own schedule from home. Volunteers are provided with guidelines and ideas for these notes which are sure to brighten the recipient’s day. For more information on RSVP volunteer opportunities, please call Sandy Walker at 402-561-2224.
CLASSIFIEDS Please call 402-444-4148 or 402- 444-6654to place your ad Cartagena Painting Service
Commercial/Residential Interior/Exterior/Insured Free estimates 402-714-6063 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
201 Cedar Dale Road Papillion (402) 331-6882 Monarch@KimballMgmt.com
Managed by Kimball Management, Inc. PO Box 460967 Papillion, NE 68046 www.kimballmgmt.com
Subsidized housing for those age 62 and over with incomes under $30,450 (1 person) or $34,800 (two persons) 2669 Dodge Omaha, NE 402-345-0622
We do business in accordance with the Fair Housing Law.
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
GET RID OF IT! Haul away, garage, basement, rental clean out…
Johansen Brothers Call Frank
402-312-4000 TOP CASH PAID
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
ENOA recruiting older adults to become Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents
en and women age 55 and older who want to earn a tax-free stipend while making an impact in their community are encouraged to join the Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program.
The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.
Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the SCP and FGP are national programs of AmeriCorps Seniors, formerly the Senior Service Corps. Senior Companions help other older adults maintain their independence by visiting them at home to discuss the news, read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers. SCP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 10 hours or more per week, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $3 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 on the FGP and SCP, please call 402-444-6536.
How much alcohol usage is OK during the pandemic?
The Nebraska Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program wants you to know. COVID-19 has created additional stress for all of us, so it’s natural to seek comfort by drinking alcoholic beverages. It’s important to know how much alcohol consumption is safe. • Moderate alcohol consumption is up to one standard drink per day for women and up to two standard drinks per day for men. • Binge drinking means bringing your alcohol level to 0.08 g/dL or higher. This occurs after consuming four or more standard drinks in a day for women and five or more standard drinks for men. • Heavy alcohol usage means drinking eight or more standard drinks for women and 15 or more standard drinks for men on five or more days in a month. Both men and women age 65 and older are advised to have no more than one standard alcoholic drink per day. Having more than seven standard drinks a week or more than three standard drinks on any one occasion puts older adults at risk especially if they have chronic health problems, are taking certain medications, or who have memory or mood problems.
For more information, please call Nebraska Medicine Addiction Services at
For additional information, National Institute on Aging resources can be found at: nia/nih.gov/health/topics/alcohol-use-or-abuse This publication was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $90,625 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by HRSA, HHS, or the U. S. Government. For more information, go to hrsa.gov.
New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...
Published on Dec 31, 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...