A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
July 2017 VOL. 42 • NO. 7
ENOA 4780 South 131st Street Omaha, NE 68137-1822
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
New Horizons ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Your care team
ENOA’s care managers work with more than 1,100 clients in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties to coordinate an array of programs and services that allow these older adults to live independently and with dignity in their own home for as long as possible. The care team is Row 1: Laura Shillito, DeLinda Long, & Stephanie Schlautman. Row 2: Diane Stanton, Jana Halloran, & Jared Luebbert. Row 3: Montanna Westling, Karla Assmann, & Terri Brooks. Row 4: Emma Aschenbrenner, Deb Herman, & Jo Thiem. Row 5: Melva Nichols, Athena Walker, and Janelle Cox. See page 20.
Community leader A former state senator, school board and city council member, Brenda Council is now with the Women’s Fund of Omaha. Leo Adam Biga tells her story. See page 10.
Visiting veterans Warren Malloy (left) and Garry Knittel are Vietnam War vets and ENOA employees who recently visited Washington, D.C. as part of the 2017 Heartland Honor Flight. See page 15.
Drivers needed for program in Fremont, Blair
Book examines the benefits of stretching
he Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is recruiting volunteers age 55 and older to provide free transportation services for older adults in Fremont and Blair. “We’re especially interested in providing transportation services for military veterans,” said Pat Tanner, who coordinates the RSVP for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Sponsored locally by ENOA, RSVP is a national program of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. RSVP staff members who serve in Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties realize many older men and women live alone, are on fixed incomes, are no longer able to operate their own vehicle, and don’t have family members available to drive them to their various appointments. In response, RSVP’s Car-Go Project offers free transportation for men and women age 55 and older in Blair and Fremont through volunteers age 55 and older who use their
Low impact stretching is one of the most effective methods of maintaining a high quality of life, yet there are few resources to help people age 50 and older increase their flexibility. Fitness expert Dr. Karl Knopf has written and Ulysses Press has recently published a new edition of Stretching for 50+. The 144-page trade paperback book offers a customized program for increasing flexibility, avoiding injury, and enjoying an active lifestyle. The book examines props like resistance bands, balance balls, and foam rollers to help readers get the most from their workouts. Stretches are grouped by parts of the body including wrists and ankles, by conditions like fibromyalgia, and by activities such as bowling and tennis. With Dr. Knopf’s guidance, readers will be empowered to pursue their fitness goals with safe, simple, and effective stretches. Stretching for 50+ is available for $15.95 from area bookstores and online booksellers.
own vehicles. Free rides can be given to medical appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, beauty parlors, barbershops, banks, and other personal business locations. Rides for persons who use wheelchairs (must be able to transfer themselves) will be considered on a caseby-case basis. The Car-Go Project – which isn’t available to nursing home residents – operates in Fremont and Blair Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on becoming a volunteer driver or to make a reservation (24 hours notice is required) for a ride, please call RSVP’s Fremont office at 402-7217780.
Florence AARP Chapter 2269 AARP’s Florence Chapter 2269 meets monthly at Mount View Presbyterian Church, 5308 Hartman Ave. The meetings feature a noon lunch for $8 followed by a program at 12:45 p.m. The meetings are open to both AARP members and non-members. Transportation is available by calling Ruth Kruse at 402-453-4825 or Marge Willard at 402-455-8401. Here’s the schedule for the rest of 2017: • July 17 Simon Lobo Pakistan • August 15 Pastor Ner Clay Karen refugees from Myanmar (Burma) • September 18 Picnic • October 16 Environmental specialist Tim Fickenscher Elders for the Earth • November 20 Omaha historian Lowen Kruse Omaha Blossoms • December 12 Christmas music
Omaha’s Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is nation’s most fully integrated cancer facility The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which opened to patients in June, is the largest project ever for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine. The project is located at Dewey Avenue and 45th Street (Durham Research Plaza). Unique in its design, the Buffett Cancer Center is the most fully integrated cancer center in the world, said Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The 615,000-squarefoot center, with hallways as long as football fields, puts clinical providers near their research colleagues with the goal of more efficiently translating research to patient care. Providers are focused on breast cancer and other women’s cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer, as well as the cancers diagnosed in childhood. As the only National Cancer Institutedesignated cancer center in Nebraska, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center offers treatment options and clinical trials not found elsewhere. The cancer center includes: • The Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower, a 10-story, 98-laboratory research tower. • The C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital, an eight-story, 108-bed inpatient treatment center. • A outpatient center which includes clinics, radiation oncology, surgery, radiology, a 24/7 treatment center, a lab, and collaborative treatment/diagnostics. The Buffett Cancer Center also includes specialty operating rooms, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit, a resource and wellness center, a 24/7 treatment center, in-site
clinical lab service, and patient amenities including the use of high-technology tablets so inpatients can see who their caregivers are, ask questions, see their labs and what tests are coming, all to help alleviate the anxiety typically associated with a hospital stay. In addition to breakthrough “precision medicine” that targets the disease itself, the center also takes a holistic approach to health care with a healing arts program and features 200 pieces of original artwork throughout the building. The key art features include: • The Chihuly Sanctuary (given by Suzanne and Walter Scott) created by Seattlebased artist Dale Chihuly. • Leslie’s Healing Garden, an outdoor, all-season garden created with support from Marshall and Mona Faith. • An outdoor 82-foot-tall “Search” tower by Jun Kaneko of Omaha. The Healing Arts Program also will offer therapeutic programs for patients, family, and staff.
New Horizons New Horizons is the official publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The paper is distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Washington, and Cass counties. Those living outside the 5-county region may subscribe for $5 annually. Address all correspondence to: Jeff Reinhardt, Editor, 4780 S. 131st Street, Omaha, NE 68137-1822. Phone 402-444-6654. FAX 402-444-3076. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertisements appearing in New Horizons do not imply endorsement of the advertiser by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. However, complaints about advertisers will be reviewed and, if warranted, their advertising discontinued. Display and insert advertising rates available on request. Open rates are commissionable, with discounts for extended runs. Circulation is 20,000 through direct mail and freehand distribution.
Editor....................................................Jeff Reinhardt Ad Mgr................Mitch Laudenback, 402-444-4148 Contributing Writers......Nick Schinker, Leo Biga, & Lois Friedman ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, vice-chairperson; Gary Osborn, Dodge County, secretary; Brian Zuger, Sarpy County; & Janet McCartney, Cass 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.
Fremont Friendship Center
Brumm’s excited about the future of eye care
You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • July 3: Movie Monday presents The Shack @ 9:15 a.m. • July 5: Hints with Home Instead @ 10 a.m. • July 5: Christine Coulson’s patriotic show @ 10:30 a.m. • July 6: Learn about volunteering for a hospice program @ 10 a.m. • July 19: Music by the Link Duo @ 10 a.m. • July 26: Music by Billy Troy @ 10:30 a.m. • July 26: Free caption amplified phone information @ 9:45 a.m. Walking in the main arena Tusesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keep track of your miles in our walking book. The facility is closed July 4 for Independence Day and July 10 to 14 for the 4-H Fair. You’re encouraged to participate in ENOA’s Walk-aThon on Aug. 11. See page 16 for more information. 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 $3.50 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.
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 “Let’s Visit Kansas City”. August 11 - 12. $319. Join us on a Friday/Saturday trip to Kansas City to see a live performance of “The Million Dollar Quartet” at the New Theater Restaurant, the Arabian Steamboat Museum, Historic City Market, Crown Center, Union Station, National World War I Museum and Memorial, and the option to see the musical “Body Guard” at the outdoor Starlight Theater. Nebraska State Parks and Solar Eclipse. August 20 - 25. $909. Come along to help celebrate Nebraska’s 150th Anniversary of Statehood. Begin the trip with the Total Solar Eclipse in Kearney, which is in the direct path of totality. Experience the beauty of Nebraska nature in several state parks, historical parks, recreation areas, and monuments, including a cookout, guided tours, cabin stays, and special highlights as we make a giant loop around the state. Branson Christmas. November 6 - 9. $699 before 8/6. ($739 after 8/6.) Enjoy Daniel O’Donnell at the Welk Theater, Pierce Arrow, The Brett Family, Neal McCoy, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hits in “New Jersey Nights”, and either “The Miracle of Christmas” at the Sight and Sound Theater or the SIX Show, and Grand Village shopping. Kansas City Christmas. December 12 – 13. TBD. Have some Christmas fun including “Funny Money” at the New Theater Restaurant, and much more. We’re trying to contact Santa to see if he’ll come back for a Christmas party. Details will follow.
Laughlin Laughlin in July. July 10 – 14. $299. 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.
In Partnership with Collette Vacations Quoted prices are per person, double occupancy, and do include airfare. More destinations available! America’s Music Cities. October 1 - 8. $3149. New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville by air. Some highlights include a French Quarter tour and jazz revue, swamp cruise, Gaylord Opryland Hotel stay, Graceland, Country Music Hall of Fame, reserved seats at the Grand Ole Opry, whisky distillery tour, Belle Meade Plantation tour, and a Louisiana cooking demo. Discover Panama. February 22 – March 2, 2018. Details to follow. Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park. Mid July 2018. Details to follow. Spotlight London Holiday. December 2018. Details to follow. Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights. Early March 2019. Details to follow. Watch New Horizons and our website www.fontenelletours.com for our trip schedule. 11808 Mason Plaza Omaha, NE 68154
Bruce Brumm, M.D. has been an Omaha ophthalmologist since 1979. Today, 75 percent of his patients are age 60 and older.
he key to minimizing vision problems is living a healthy lifestyle, according to Bruce Brumm, M.D., an Omaha ophthalmologist since 1979. Dr. Brumm, who has performed more than 25,000 ocular surgeries during his 38-year career, said a healthy lifestyle includes eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, not smoking tobacco products, consuming alcohol in moderation, and wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim when going outdoors in sunny weather. Brumm, who grew up in Grand Island and Lincoln, graduated with honors from the University of NebraskaLincoln. He earned his medical degree and completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. There have been many changes in ophthalmology over the last 38 years, according to Brumm. “There’s very little I do that’s the same as I did in 1979, especially surgically,” he said. Cataract surgery has been reduced from a 45 to 50-minute procedure that required a general anesthet-
ic, 10 stiches, and a weeklong recovery period to an eight-minute process that uses eye drops, no stitches, and can be done on an outpatient basis. “You can drive the next day,” Brumm said. While routine eye exams haven’t changed as dramatically as eye surgery, Brumm said computer technology has allowed ophthalmologists to get more accurate readings and measurements during traditional office visits.
he Brumm Eye Centers – located at 6751 N. 72nd St. and 17001 Lakeside Hills Plz. – are unique ophthalmology facilities in many ways, most notably in the way they’re staffed. “Instead of just hiring people with technological skills we hire men and women with people skills knowing we can teach them the technology,” Brumm said. The medical staff includes Dr. Gregory Bruening, O.D., Dr. Robert Cleaver, Jr., O.D., Dr. Adam Walter, O.D., as well as Dr. Matthew Brumm, M.D. and Dr. Kristen Brumm, O.D.,
Dr. Bruce Brumm’s son and daughter, respectively. Dr. Brumm said working with his children is very rewarding. “We get along really well. We share patients, ideas, and problems.” Matthew Brumm, M.D., graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University before beginning his medical studies at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed an internship in internal medicine at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center followed by an ophthalmology residency and a fellowship in corneal surgery at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Kristen Brumm, O.D, has a B.S. degree in biological sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she was a four-year Regents Scholar before graduating with high distinction. She then graduated with honors from the Indiana University School of Optometry.
r. Bruce Brumm said about 75 percent of his patients are age 60 and older; roughly 60 percent of which are wom--Please turn to page 5.
Son, daughter part of Brumm’s staff --Continued from page 4. en. “Women live longer so they have more age-related eye problems.” He said everyone age 50 and older should have an annual eye exam. The most common vision problems facing older adults are cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, poor blood circulation around the eye, and dry eyes. “By age 60, around 60 percent of people will have a cataract,” Dr. Brumm said. “If you live to age 90, there’s almost a 100 percent chance of getting a cataract.” Today’s technology, however, allows ophthalmologists to have a 98 percent rate of success with cataract surgery, he added.
r. Brumm is excited about the future of eye care. Advances will be made that should allow ophthalmologists to cor-
rect conditions like near sightedness, far sightedness, and astigmatisms so no one will need to wear reading glasses. “There’s technology coming down the pike we can’t imagine,” he said. “We (ophthalmologists) are excellent now, but we’re going to be almost perfect in 50 years.”
Bruce Brumm, M.D. and his son, Matthew Brumm, M.D. have been in practice together for five years.
Mizzou study looks at preventing osteo complications According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer osteoporosisrelated fractures each year. Although comprehensive care for fragility fractures is available to patients, their understanding of risk factors, treatment adherence, and the use of preventive screening remains low. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine reviewed recent osteoporosis treatment and management options with the goal of preventing complications from the disease. “A fracture is the only true symptom of osteoporosis, and typically, that’s how the disease is diagnosed,” said Brett Crist, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the MU School of Medicine and senior author of the review. “Knowing risk factors – age, gender, and family history – allows us to screen for osteoporosis and prevent complications. However, in our review, we found preventable complications such as secondary fractures, are more common than they should be. The reality is that death and disability associated with osteoporosis affect more people than most cancers. Previous research shows the mortality rate for the elderly is 30 percent up to one year following a hip fracture.” Crist, who also serves as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon at MU Health Care, said that several factors can lead to preventable secondary fractures. “The use of preventive screening for osteoporosis is low,” Crist said. “The risk of decreased bone density starts at age 50, so it’s appropriate to start screening patients then to maximize the benefit and cost-effectiveness of fracture prevention. However, less than 27 percent of patients ages 65 to 79 are screened for the disease. Screening rates are even lower for both younger and older patient populations. Screening methods should include questionnaires and available tests for measuring bone density such as a DEXA scan.”
Medication cost is another factor that can inhibit osteoporosis care. Although newer medications that require fewer doses and have fewer side effects are available, their use is relatively low because of their cost. “Getting patients to follow their care plan sometimes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to prescribed medications,” Crist said. “Cost is definitely a factor. For example, a newer medication called Teriparatide increases bone density in patients with osteoporosis. However, a month’s supply of this medication without insurance costs about $3,000. The more cost-effective drugs often carry greater side effects and a more difficult dosing regimen.” Calcium and Vitamin D are commonly prescribed for the treatment and management of osteoporosis. However, recent studies have called into question their effectiveness. “These supplements are relatively inexpensive over-the-counter treatment options,” Crist said. “For those reasons, patients tend to take them as suggested by their physician. However, some studies question the benefits of calcium supplements and suggest they may have unwanted side effects in some patients. More research is definitely needed in the area of calcium supplementation as a treatment option.” Ultimately, Crist said physicians need to have conversations with their patients about recent advances in osteoporosis treatment and management. “Patients sometimes view osteoporosis as part of the normal aging process,” Crist said. “However, they take a significant risk if they don’t fully understand the consequences of their diagnosis. The development of an interdisciplinary care plan that meets the expectations and needs of the patient is the goal.” (The University of Missouri provided this information.)
Keep your summer cookouts safe
ummer cookouts are meant to gather people around the grill and dinner table to share food and fellowship. Putting the family in a minivan for a trip to the emergency room because of a foodborne illness isn’t supposed to be part of the
plan. Foodborne illness is a major public health concern. Not every case involves a cookout, but annually about 48 million Americans will suffer a foodborne illness. In recent years, more than half of the illnesses often associated with outdoor grilling have been diagnosed from May through September.
Most of the rules for safe grilling also apply to your daily cooking. Here are some guidelines to make sure your cookout is successful and healthy. • Clean your grill between each use. • Use a meat thermometer to ensure you thoroughly cook meat and poultry. • Beef and pork should be “rested” for three minutes to allow the heat to spread and kill more contaminants. • Make sure you keep the cold foods cold, 41 degrees or below, and the hot foods hot, above 135 degrees. The internal temperature of cooked meats should be: • Beef, pork, steaks, roasts, and chops: 145 degrees. • Hamburger and other ground meats: 160 degrees. • Poultry: 165 degrees. • If you’re reheating any precooked foods, they should be warmed to 165 degrees. Remember, you can’t tell by looking at meat if it’s safe to eat. The only way to be certain is to use a food thermometer to determine if the meat has reached a high enough temperature to destroy pathogens of public health concern. • Promptly refrigerate any leftovers. • Grilled meat needs special attention. By putting cooked meat on a clean platter and not reusing a plate that was used for raw meat, you can avoid cross-contamination. • If you used a sauce to marinate meat, don’t reuse that same sauce on cooked food. Also, wash your hands, utensils, and cutting boards if they’ve been in contact with raw meat or poultry. (The Douglas County Health Department provides this information.)
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Notre Dame Housing You’re invited to visit the Notre Dame Housing, 3439 State St. for the following: • Wednesdays: Veggie truck @ 9:30 a.m. Farmers’ Market vouchers accepted. • Second Tuesday: Blood pressure clinic from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the wellness center. Use the north entrance. • Second & fourth Tuesday: Get banking help as American National Bank representative visits @ 10 a.m. • Second, third, and fourth Friday: Saving Grace from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Use the east entrance. • Tuesday & Thursday: Tai Chi @ 10:30 a.m. Use the north entrance. • Third Thursday: The Center for Holistic Development will provide confidential one-on-one counseling from 3 to 5 p.m. Use the east entrance. • Third Wednesday: Food pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please bring a picture ID and a piece of mail from last 30 days showing proof of address. Use the east entrance. • July 20: Presentation by Legal Aid of Nebraska @ 1:30 p.m. Use the north entrance. • July 26: Celebrating July birthdays with music by Paul Siebert from the Merrymakers at 1:30 p.m. Use the north entrance. Notre Dame Housing is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11 a.m. the business day prior to the lunch you wish to attend. Notre Dame Housing needs volunteers. For meal reservations and more information, please call Brenda at 402-451-4477, ext. 126.
Heartland Generations Center You’re invited to visit the Heartland Generations Center – 4318 Fort St. – for the following: • July 6: Birthday party with music by Kim Eames from the Merrymakers @ 11:30 a.m. • July 13: Trip to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum @ 10 a.m. • July 19: Hearing loss education seminar @ 12:30 p.m. • July 20: Presentation on the 10 early detection signs of Alzheimer’s @ 10:45 a.m. The center will be closed on July 4. Other center events include bingo Wednesday @ 10: 30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. and Friday @ 10:30 a.m. Quilting Friday @ 10:15 a.m. The Heartland Generations Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is normally served at noon. A $3.50 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to attend. Bus transportation is available within select neighborhoods for 50 cents each way. For meal reservations and more information, please call 402-553-5300.
We want to hear from
• Do you have questions about the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, its programs or services?
Most older adults drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol
ccording to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 40 percent of adults age 65 and older drink some form of alcohol. Moderate alcohol intake is a single serving for women per day, and no more than two daily servings for men, according to the National Institute of Health. The NIH is a government research-based program that assesses clinical and research data from across the nation to make recommendations for alcohol use in older adults. Most older adults, however, consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol within a given year. According to the Centers for Disease Control document entitled, Health Behaviors of Adults: United States, 2008-2010, about one in three adult Americans had five or more drinks in a day at least once in the past year, with men being much more likely than women to do this more than 12 times in the past year. Caucasian adults were more likely to be heavy drinkers when compared to any other ethnicity. Adults who had earned a GED were more likely to be heavier drinkers than adults who had graduated from high school. But after high school, the higher education status adult Americans reach, the more likely they are to consume alcohol as well, with around 77 percent of individuals with a graduate degree being a drinker. In older adults ages 65 to 74, 60 percent were likely to use alcohol. For the age group 75 years and older, that number drops a little— with 48 percent of them using alcohol. If you’re taking certain medications that make you drowsy or sleepy, you’ll
want to avoid alcohol use completely. Medications such as narcotics used to relieve pain (like codeine and morphine) can make you drowsy, and you shouldn’t use alcohol with these types of medications. Certain antianxiety medications (like diazepam, lorazepam, and alprazolam) can also make you somewhat drowsy, and it’s recommended avoiding alcohol use in older adults when taking antianxiety medications. Other drugs that shouldn’t be combined with alcohol use in older adults include antidepressants such as amitriptyline and fluvoxamine. Certain health issues such as liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, and kidney disease require the absolute restriction of alcohol use, especially in older adults. Medications that are used to treat diseases like type 2 diabetes such as metformin, are also not recommended when used with alcohol by older adults. The effect alcohol can have on us as we age changes with our lifestyle and health status. The amount of food, body size, and hydration levels all affect how our body responds to alcohol. Age plays a role as well, with the health of the liver being the primary reason it’s important to monitor alcohol use in older adults.
etabolism can slow in older adults, which means the breakdown of alcohol will be slower, and remain in the system longer. When alcohol remains in the body for longer periods, it has a greater potential to cause damage to vital organs such as the brain, kidneys, and liver. Most of the time, the amount of body water that older adults have is lower than a younger person. This means even though an individual might consume the same amount of alcohol as someone else, the effect will be greater because they’ll have a higher percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of liver disease and cancer, especially in women. Moderate intake, or one drink daily for women and no more than two drinks daily for men, is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events. This is likely because alcohol can help reduce blood pressure due to the sedative effect, and alcohol can also help thin the blood—helping to reduce the risk of a stroke or blocked blood vessel. According to the CDC, a single drink can take many forms, depending upon the type of alcohol you choose. In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. The following drinks contain approximately the same amount of alcohol: • Twelve ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol content). • Eight ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol content). • Five ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol content). • One and a half ounces of 80-proof (40 percent alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (such as gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
Florence Home Rehabilitation
Rehab, renew, return home
• Do you have a comment about the agency and how it serves older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties?
More than 375 individuals have safely transitioned to their home.
• Maybe you have a story idea for the New Horizons?
Send your questions,comments, story ideas, etc. to
DHHS.ENOA@nebraska.gov We appreciate your interest in ENOA and the New Horizons.
New book examines heart disease, the leading cause of death for women
The benefits of using fennel
“Silence is one of the deadliest aspects of women’s heart disease,” says Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, a board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist. Having devoted her life’s work to saving women from this deadly disease, Dr. Eubany encourages and educates women to become proactive about their own health so they never become a statistic of heart disease. Her new book, Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story, is an easy-to-read, comprehensive book that doesn’t require a medical background to understand it, and is a must-read for all women – young and old! Heart disease remains the number one killer of women in the United States, killing more women than breast and lung cancer combined. Since the mid l980s, more women than men have died from heart disease yet more men survive a heart attack than women, and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen. Since prevention is key, Dr. Eubany’s book is filled with great advice on everything a woman needs to know to avoid becoming a heart disease statistic. Things like changing lifestyles: diet, exercise, drinking alcohol, and smoking, to recommendations on modern diet plans that can help lower weight and prevent hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The book discusses aspirin therapy, hormone replacement therapy, and so much more. In her book, Dr. Eubany cites examples of actual cases from her private practice in Orange County, Calif. One story that stands out involves Angie, a divorced mother of two school-aged children, who was feeling off-color one morning but pushed herself to get to work. She disregarded her coworker’s advice to go to the doctor because, as the sole financial provider, she couldn’t afford to miss time from work. Days later Angie made it to the emergency room but sadly, because she had ignored her symptoms for so long, her heart was permanently damaged. For more information on the book Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story, please go online to visit www.womenandheartdiseasebook.com
ennel, an anise-flavored herb used for cooking, has long been known for its health benefits for a variety of issues including digestion and premenstrual symptoms. A new study confirms it’s also effective in the management of post-menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, and anxiety without serious side effects. The study outcomes were published online recently in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The use of complementary and alternative medicine for the management of menopause symptoms has surged in recent years as women have attempted to identify alternatives to hormone therapy. Although HT is the most effective treatment for managing most menopause symptoms, some women have turned to herbal medicine because they’re either not candidates for HT or are concerned about the negative publicity surrounding potential side effects. Fennel, an herb containing essential oils, has phytoestrogenic properties. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like chemicals in plants
that have been used to effectively treat a wide array of menopause symptoms. In this small trial of 79 Iranian women ages 45 to 60 years, soft capsules containing 100 mg. of fennel were administered twice daily for eight weeks. Improvements were compared between the intervention and placebo groups at four, eight, and 10 weeks, with a significant statistical difference documented. In the end, fennel was concluded to be a safe and effective treatment to reduce menopause symptoms without serious side effects. The study was completed in Tehran, Iran, where the average age of women at menopause is younger than in the United States: 48.2 years versus 51 years, respectively. “This small pilot study found that, based on a menopause-rating scale, twice-daily consumption of fennel as a phytoestrogen improved menopause symptoms compared with an unusual minimal effect of placebo,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS. “A larger, longer, randomized study is still needed to help determine its long-term benefits and side effect profile.”
Bilingual resource information
ilingual 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.
he 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.
A Caring Community Called HOME! Independent & Assisted Living
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Device can help reduce blood contamination
Read it & eat By Lois Friedman email@example.com
Try these recipes this summer Summertime is funtime. Try some new ideas and savor these yummy new recipes from this variety of cookbooks. Craft Salt By Mark Bitterman (Andrews McMeel, $19.99) Everything about the wonderful world of salt including the story, anatomy, and a field guide of salt. In seven chapters discover 60 recipes recommending a specific salt to use and Salt Box tips from this award-winning author. Shake, Stir, Sip By Kara Newman (Chronicle, $16.95) Fifty cocktail recipes to drink for many occasions. Using two, three, four, and five equal parts for just the right balance, many can be scaled up for crowds. Mixology 101. Fresh Made Simple By Lauren Stein (Storey, $18) Cooking for all ages. A whimsical, colorfully illustrated, fun format with 75 full-page recipes. The steps and ingredients are integrated into the drawings for cooks of every level. Surprise flavor combinations. From Gibbs-Smith: 101 Things To Do With Bacon By Eliza Cross ($9.99) This spiral bound little book is packed with recipes for breakfasts, appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, side dishes, dinner, and desserts. There are cupcakes, cookies, toffee brownies, and pudding recipes made with bacon. Straight-forward recipes with clear instructions. Big Dips By James Bradford ($14.99) Cheese, Salsa, Pesto, Hummus, and Sour Cream chapters. One recipe and one terrific color photograph to a page format from this chef who loves to cook. Crowd-pleasing, fun, tasty, quick recipes with variations. Tangy Balsamic Dip, Shrimp Dip, and this summertime pleaser:
(Makes about 2 cups)
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osts associated with blood culture contamination per patient case ranged from $1,000 in 1998 to $8,700 in 2009. A more recent study in the United States observed excess charges of $8,720 per contamination event. “If the low rate of contamination that we observed in the study, 0.22 percent, was applied to all blood cultures throughout the country, billions of dollars of excess costs could be avoided.” A culture of blood is performed in patients with a serious infection and a reasonable likelihood there is bacteria in the bloodstream. If the blood culture is positive (microorganisms are detected) the clinician is notified. But a contaminated blood culture with a false positive can mislead a clinician into thinking the patient has bacteria in the blood. That may result in the patient’s being put on antibiotics unnecessarily, or being switched to an antibiotic that may not cover the actual infection. “What is important about this device is it can greatly limit the blood culture from being contaminated, so physicians are rarely fooled by false-positive results. It gives clinicians confidence that results are accurate,” Dr. Rupp said. (UNMC provided this information.)
Older adults are needed to volunteer as Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well with a large spoon. Variation: Add 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese if you like your BLT with cheese.
contaminated blood cultures are prescribed antibiotics unnecessarily. This contributes to antibiotic resistance and undermines nationwide efforts to improve antimicrobial stewardship. Many patients get another unnecessary blood draw which can lead to risks including an extended hospital stay and potential side effects of antibiotics. “A lot of people think this is a minor problem,” said Dr. Rupp. “However, contaminated blood cultures are a big deal. Physicians can be led astray and patients may be harmed by additional tests and unnecessary antimicrobial therapy.” Blood culture contamination was significantly reduced through use of an Initial Specimen Diversion Device. Dr. Rupp said results showed an approximately 88 percent improvement (decrease) in false positives with the ISDD compared to standard phlebotomy procedures. The results are published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. “We were able to decrease the false positive rate significantly through use of this device,” Dr. Rupp said. “We should strive to decrease adverse events to the lowest possible level because of the impact to the patient and the burden to our healthcare system. We quite clearly showed the rate of contamination was significantly reduced, and that decrease has a very big impact.”
Call 402-444-6536 to learn more
1 cup sour cream 1/4 cup mayonnaise 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup crispy-cooked bacon pieces 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
University of Nebraska Medical Center study found a novel device called an Initial Specimen Diversion Device (ISDD) can significantly reduce contamination of blood cultures, potentially reducing risky overtreatment and unnecessary use of antibiotics for many patients. This approach could also substantially reduce healthcare costs, according to the study. Every day, thousands of American patients get their blood drawn for blood cultures to diagnose serious infections such as sepsis, which can be deadly. A small but significant percentage of these blood cultures are contaminated, due in part to skin fragments containing bacteria that are dislodged during a blood draw. This leads to false results that can mislead clinicians into thinking a patient has a potentially serious bloodstream infection. The consequences are costly and put patients at risk. The lead author of the study was Mark Rupp, M.D., professor and chief of the UNMC Division of Infectious Diseases and medical director of the Department of Infection Control & Epidemiology at Nebraska Medicine, UNMC’s hospital partner. With traditional blood draws, about 30 to 40 percent of patients with
RSVP is recruiting men and women age 55 and older for a variety of opporMen and women age 55 and older who want to earn a tunities. For more informatax-free stipend while making an impact in their community are encouraged to join the Senior Companion Program tion in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties, please call and the Foster Grandparent Program. 402-444-6536, ext. 224. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the SCP and FGP are national programs of the Cor- In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402poration for National and Community Service through the 721-7780. Senior Service Corps. • The Corrigan Senior Senior Companions help other older adults maintain their independence by visiting them at home to discuss the news, Center is looking for volunteers. read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. • The Lutheran Thrift Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, health- Store needs volunteers. • The Douglas County care, and social development in schools, Head Start proHealth Center is looking grams, and child development centers. for volunteers for a variety SCP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines of assignments. and complete an enrollment process that includes refer• Crestview Village ences and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 15 hours or more per week, wants volunteers to teach ESL and GED classes. Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a • The Low Income Min$2.65 an hour tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, istry wants volunteers for an annual physical examination, supplemental accident its food pantry. insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual • The Blair and Fremont recognition luncheon. The stipend does not interfere with rent, disability, Med- Car-Go Program needs volunteers to drive older icaid, or other benefits. adults to their appments For more information on the FGP and SCP, please call once or twice a week. 402-444-6536. July 2017
Keep cool this summer Summer’s here and while we enjoy the warm weather, it’s important to take precautions in case extreme heat strikes. By evaluating your needs, you can plan for any heat related situation. The following steps will prepare you to handle periods of extreme heat and the associated risks: • Consider how potential power outages during periods of extreme heat might affect you. Plan to be temporarily self-sufficient if the electricity goes out. It’s possible you’ll not have access to a medical facility or a pharmacy. • Identify the resources you use daily and what you can do if they’re limited or not available. Make provisions for medications that require refrigeration, and plan arrangements to get to a cooling center, if needed. • Think about what you need to maintain your health, safety, and independence. Build a kit that includes any specialized items such as extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, and medication. Also include non-perishable food and water, items for service animals and pets, a cooler, and anything else you might need. • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially those who spend much of their time alone, or are more likely to be affected by extreme heat. • Be watchful for signs of heat stroke and dehydration. These include shallow breathing, a lack of perspiration, dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches. For more information about extreme heat preparedness and tools, go online to ready.gov/heat and cdc/gov.
River City Theatre Organ Society
n Sunday, Aug. 17, the River City Theatre Organ Society will present an entertaining afternoon with world-renowned theatre organist Dave Wickerham playing the mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ at Omaha’s Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. The 3 p.m. concert will feature Wickerham accompanying the showing of a silent Laurel & Hardy film comedy. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 by mail. Group rates are available. To order your tickets by mail, please send your check to: River City Theatre Organ Society, 8825 Executive Woods Drive, Villa #85, Lincoln, Neb. 68512. For more information, please call 402421-1356 or log on the Internet to email@example.com.
Alzheimer’s support groups
Please see the ad on page 3
NH Club gains members $25 Reba Benschoter $10 Frances Lueders $5 Marguerite Salter Reflects donations received through 6/23/17.
VAS’ financial abuse workshop on July 13
he National Center on Elder Abuse estimates there are roughly five million cases of elder financial abuse each year in the United States. Often, perpetrators of these crimes are trusted family members or caregivers, and as such, elder financial abuse isn’t easy to detect. Volunteers Assisting Seniors will host a workshop on Elder Financial Abuse on Thursday, July 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the VAS office, 1941 S. 42nd St. (Center Mall), Suite 312. During the one-hour workshop speakers from First National Bank will provide information to help consumers recognize some common scams that occur at financial institutions, what red flags to look for, and how to protect yourself from being victimized. The workshop is free, but due to limited space, advanced registration is required. Call VAS at 402-444-6617 to reserve a seat for the workshop.
The Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter offers several caregiver support groups and specialty support groups each month in Cass, Dodge, Douglas, 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 (toll free) 800-272-3900. CASS COUNTY • PLATTSMOUTH Second Tuesday @ 6 p.m. First Lutheran Church (chapel) 1025 Ave. D DODGE COUNTY • FREMONT Second Tuesday @ 5:30 p.m. Shalimar Gardens (second floor community room) 749 E. 29th St. DOUGLAS COUNTY • OMAHA Second Thursday @ 10 a.m. Country House Residences 5030 S. 155th St. FREE on site adult day services are provided. 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. FREE on-site adult day services are provided.
Third Tuesday @ 6 p.m. Temple Israel (media room) 13111 Sterling Ridge Dr. Caring for Your Parents Second or third Saturday @ 11 a.m. Call Teri @ 402-393-0434 for locations Spanish Language Support Group Second Tuesday @ 4 p.m. Intercultural Community Center 3010 R St. 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.
Third Tuesday @ 5 p.m. Immanuel Fontenelle 6809 N 68th Plz.
Council has never forgotten she’s a ‘North Omaha girl’ binge gambling as “I’m not hurting anybody, it’s my money. I discovered that what I thought at the time was an outlet, an enjoyment, not harming anybody, was an insidious, compulsive addiction that I denied.” Brenda took heart that even after coming clean, the people that meant the most to her still had her back. “They understood and appreciated gambling wasn’t who I was, it’s something that happened. I am so blessed with an incredible family and close friends who have stood there steadfast supporting (and) encouraging.” Her husband, Otha Kenneth Council, stood by her through it all. They celebrate 32 years of marriage this fall.
he ties that bind are so tight with Brenda that despite extensive travels and offers to take jobs elsewhere, she considers herself “a North Omaha kid.” Except for undergraduate studies at A 1971 Omaha Central High School graduate, Brenda earned her teaching degree at the University the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and working for the National of Nebraska-Lincoln before graduating from Creighton University’s Law School. Labor Relations Board in Kansas By Leo Adam Biga Her actions made headlines and City, Kan., Omaha has remained question of trust is paramount and Contributing Writer resulted in misdemeanor charges for legitimate.” home. Even when in K.C., she made misuse of funds. She plead guilty frequent visits home. ommunity. Service. Family. and paid a fine. Brenda’s opponent “Practically every weekend I bout two years after that Home. All recurrent themes for the Legislature – Ernie Chamwas driving back to Omaha. I had “embarrassment”, Brenda for Brenda (Warren) Counbers – openly disparaged her. Counjoined the Women’s Fund of I-29 memorized. I never missed one cil, a familiar Nebraska civic figure cil lost the election, and in 2014, Omaha as coordinator of its Adoles- of my brother Tommy’s football with various firsts to her name. plead guilty to felony wire fraud cent Health Project aimed at reduc- games.” • First African-American female charges. She received three years of ing teen pregnancies and sexually Since moving back to Omaha in senior counsel with the Union Pacourt-supervised probation and the 1980, Council’s lived within a few transmitted diseases. The project cific Railroad. Nebraska Supreme Court disbarred addresses issues of deep concern to blocks of where she grew up near • First female football official in her. 24th and Pinkney streets. Council, who’s long advocated for Nebraska. She’s never denied what she did. comprehensive sex education in the She came up in a strict home • First four-time president of the Council’s back serving her comwhere both parents, Evelyn and schools. Omaha Public School Board. munity again leading a Women’s Willis Warren Sr., worked. Brenda’s As important as Council con• First African-American female Fund of Omaha project. She’s in mother retired after 25 years at the siders that kind of work to be for Omaha City Council member. a good place now, but things got VA hospital. Her father caught the women and families, she regards it In addition, Tanya Cook and tough at times. No. 7 crosstown bus to work at the as her own lifesaver. Brenda were the first African“I watched what I had built Swift packing company in South “It’s provided an opportunity for American women to serve in the through work, passion, and commit- me to move forward with my life Omaha for 40 years. Her father Nebraska Legislature. ment threatened by what I did,” she and to show I’m still the public ser- especially expected Brenda and her Featured multiple times in Ebony said. “I can’t think of anything more vant. I’m still Brenda, and I’m gosiblings to study hard and get good Magazine, the lifelong Democrat terrifying. There were times I was ing to be out there working hard for grades. garnered broad support for two mad. I asked, ‘God, how did you “In addition to education, service the community serving in whatever Omaha mayoral bids. The second, let this happen to me?’ I’m really a was also something my father in capacity I can.” in 1997, came within 800 votes of good person, I’ve never hurt anyparticular placed a heavy emphaFor Council, the work’s more victory. Had Council won, she’d body in my life.’ sis on. He was a firm believer that than a job, it’s affirmation. have been the city’s first female “Then I got into GA (Gamblers to whom much is given, much is “I really enjoy the folks I work mayor. In 2008, Brenda succeeded Anonymous). As a 12-stepper, expected. We were raised to respect with, and I’m so pleased with the living legend Ernie Chambers in the you’ve got to connect to your High- progress we’ve made. But I know and assist our elders.” state senate seat he held since 1970 er Power. I’ve always been a spiriCouncil’s family lived in a twoI owe it all to the fact people who until term-limited out of office. tual person. I’ve been a member of story house in an era when redlining know me know who I am and they Those who know Council call the same church for 52 years. But practices and restrictive housing know I’m not a deceitful, distrusther dynamic, high achieving, hard as a result, I realized although I had ful, or dishonest person. covenants prevented African-Amerworking, caring, committed, and been attending church, I had disconicans from living outside the area. “I’m so blessed that through the community focused. nected from my Higher Power.” work I’ve done and the relationships She attended mostly black Lothrop She had a thriving legal career Council is glad to have found Elementary School and Horace I’ve built, people are supportive.” (after U.P. she worked for Kutak support for her addiction. Mann Junior High. Addiction, Council’s come to Rock and had her own law firm), a “I’m a committed, devoted, serHer coming of age coincided with realize, compels people to act out of strong track record of public servant of Gamblers Anonymous, and 1960s’ racial unrest, the civil rights character. vice, and a sterling reputation. I’m so grateful.” movement, the Black Power move“What I was doing was totally Then, a casino gambling addicBrenda wants to set the record ment, the Black Panthers, Malcolm contrary to the way I was raised. tion caught up with her in 2012 straight about what she did and X, Martin Luther King, Vietnam, My daddy valued a dollar. I was a as she sought re-election to the didn’t do that got her into trouble. tightwad. I saved. I (still) had some and rock ‘n’ roll. Unicameral. Unusual activity on “I never went out and solicited In North Omaha Council expeof the first money I ever made. It her campaign account triggered an money to feed my campaign acrienced a tight-knit, insular comwasn’t until it was starkly put in investigation that found Council count so that I could access it. I munity where almost any service front of me – the compulsive pathad repeatedly borrowed funds. The make no bones about it. What I did or product could be found. The live terns of my behavior – I realized, law permits candidates to borrow was to enable me to gamble, but I black music venues then prevalent ‘Damn, that’s what I’ve been doand repay campaign account mondidn’t take anybody’s money.” on North 24th Street beckoned her. ing.’” ies (she repaid them in part) if they Council understands what she As an underage fan, she snuck into Before that rude awakening, --Please turn to page 11. report it, which she didn’t. did was improper. “I see where the Council said she “rationalized” her
Before law, politics, Brenda on a path to a teaching career --Continued from page 10. Allen’s Showcase, McGill’s Blue Room, the Offbeat Lounge, and the Carnation Ballroom to see her idols. She got to know the late Buddy Miles that way. “Incredible entertainment came through (Omaha). Those were the days,” she said. Music impresario Paul Allen appreciated Brenda’s spunk in catching shows. “He always called me ‘little girl.’ He often joked about the times he caught me sneaking into the Showcase. They had some great musicians.” Years later Council operated her own live music venue there – BJ’s Showcase. She now resides in the former home of Omaha nightclub impresario Shirley Jordan. The columned, cream stucco, hacienda-style abode was built as a party place and includes a sunken living room. In addition to music, sports are another passion for Brenda. Council was a fireplug point guard for Forrest Roper-coached Hawkettes AAU teams. She admired the late Roper. “He had a tremendous impact on me and other young women. He, like my parents, stressed the importance of education and refraining from engaging in negative activity. For many of the members of the team, their first travel outside of Omaha was when Forrest took us to play in tournaments.” Council didn’t get to play high school basketball in those pre-Title IX days. But she stayed close to the game as a recreational player and coach and later as an official. She and Otha refereed many high school hoops games together. Brenda’s contributions to athletics got her elected to the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame. She also bore witness to trying times for her community. She was at Horace Mann Junior High when students filed out in protest of a young black man who was shot to death by police. The peaceful protest turned heated before Ernie Chambers helped quell the agitated crowd. She saw the looting and fires when North 24th Street burned in the 1969 riot following the police shooting death of Vivian Strong. Council was at the Bryant Center when the riot broke out. “I actually drove through
the rioting on 24th Street on my way to pick my mother up from work. I will never forget how I headed west on Hamilton Street to be met by a police barricade at 30th (Street). The police approached my car and shined their flashlights in the faces of my friends who were riding with me. They were not going to let me past until I pleaded with them to allow me pick up my mother.”’ Council graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1971 during tense times at the racially diverse school. She watched the once bustling North 24th Street business district left in shambles and struggling to recover. Railroad and packing house jobs vanished. The North Freeway severed the community. Generational poverty set in. Gangs brought unprecedented violence. Incarceration rates for African-American males soared along with black teen pregnancies and STDs. Single-parent households became the norm. Educational achievement lagged. Council dealt with many of these issues as an elected official. She sees progress in Northeast Omaha but questions where it goes from here. “I’m definitely encouraged by the development that has occurred. However, the overwhelming majority of the development, particularly along 24th Street, is the result of not-for-profit investment. If we are to revive the Near North Side we must have private, for-profit investment with a focus on African-American entrepreneurship.”
herever life’s taken her, North Omaha has always been Council’s sanctuary. “She absolutely loves North Omaha,” her brother Thomas Warren said. “Her purpose has been service and she’s always put North Omaha first.” Warren, the former Omaha police chief and current president-CEO of the Urban League of Nebraska, said his sister’s path serving the community inspired his own career. Council’s husband, Otha, echoed many when he said, “She’s never forgotten about where she came from. She’s committed to serving North Omaha and making sure people here have a better place to live.” While attending the Uni-
Council in the front yard of her North Omaha residence. The house is the former home of nightclub impresario Shirley Jordan. versity of Nebraska in the 1970s, Brenda though her career path would be as an educator, not an attorney or public office holder. “I made a career decision when I was in the third grade to be a school teacher. I had some genetic predisposition for that. My mother’s two oldest sisters and a younger brother were educators. My mother’s oldest sister, Geraldine Gilliam, was the first black teacher
to integrate the staffs of the Topeka Public Schools after Brown vs. Board of Education. “She was really a proponent of education and educators, and I wanted to be like her. So much so that when my younger siblings, Thomas and Debbie, and I would come home from school, I would make them play school with me before they could go outside. I’d use old teachers’ manuals
and flash cards my aunts sent me. “The game was they’d start at the top of the steps and if they answered correctly they moved down the steps. When they got to the bottom they could go outside. They used to hate me that I’d make them do that, but I always teased them as we got older at how prepared they were academically. Both did well.” --Please turn to page 12.
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Council’s list of mentors includes Charles Washington --Continued from page 11. Thomas Warren was Omaha’s first black police chief. Debbie (Warren) White is a retired medical professional. An older sibling, Willis Warren Jr., is deceased. Brenda earned her teaching degree from UN-L. She also got turned on to the prospect of studying the law and using it as a tool to improve conditions for blacks. “My perspective was education, education, education. I firmly believed in it as the path upwards.” Council said she gained an appreciation for how “the law has an impact on everything you do in life and if you can affect changes in the law, you can create new opportunity and address problems.” Brenda did her due diligence and applied to the Creighton University Law School. She got accepted, applied for, and received an affirmative action scholarship. “I graduated from Nebraska (UNL) on Aug. 17, 1974 and I started Creighton Law School Aug. 23. I really fell in love with the law. I went to law school with every intention of being a social justice lawyer, so that passion with constitutional law meshed. If you’re addressing the issues defined as social justice issues, constitutional questions are more than likely involved.” Brenda thought she’d change the world. “You go in there with this idealistic perspective and then you start facing reality.” One reality check involved two career choices straight out of law school. Council applied for a national fellowship to work in a legal aid office. She wanted to work in Omaha but only Dayton, Ohio was open. Meanwhile, she was offered a job with the National Labor Relations Board in Kansas City. The fellowship eventually came through for the Omaha legal aid office, but she’d already accepted the K.C. job. “I’m a person of my word and my commitment, and so I went to Kansas City.” Council thanked her elders for helping her make some tough calls in her life. “I was blessed to come at a time that I had a tremendous number of mentors – people I could go to for advice and counsel. They’d talk you through these decisions. One of my major mentors was the late (activistjournalist) Charles B. Washington.” Others were Mary Dean Harvey, Beverly Blackburn, and Rowena Moore. Though she didn’t have much interaction with her, Council also admired Omaha Star newspaper publisher Mildred Brown. But it was Washington, for whom a North Omaha library branch is named, who opened Council’s horizons. “This guy introduced me and so many other young people in North Omaha to some of the most influential African-Americans of our time. Through Charlie, I had sit-downs with the late (former Chicago mayor) Harold Washington, the
late Barbara Jordan (member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas), the late Mary Frances Berry (former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights), (social historian) Lerone Bennett Jr., and (journalist) Tony Brown. “He made a point of exposing us to many critical minds and civil rights, (and) social justice advocates. Because of the relationships and the introductions he made for me, I was featured the first time in Ebony Magazine.” Council, and two of her friends, Kathy J. Trotter and Terri Goodwin,
time, I had three years doing labor law. He knew the personnel director at U.P. He sent in my resume and I got an interview.” U.P.’s then-general counsel, Valerie Scott, hired Council. The two women became close colleagues and friends.
onfidantes prodded Council to seek public office for the first time in 1982 when she made her initial bid for the Omaha School Board. “Ruth Thomas, who had served on the board and knew of my pas-
The Councils will celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary this fall. were so often seen in the company of Charles Washington they were called “Charlie’s Angels”. Though Council reluctantly went to work in K.C. after law school, it ultimately was a good experience. “It certainly aided in my maturation, (and) my independence.” Her return to Omaha to work at the UPRR, was a Charles Washington-influenced opportunity, Brenda said. “In 1979, my dad died and then in 1980 my mother’s mother died. I was in Kansas City and my oldest brother returned from Vietnam not in a good place, so he couldn’t really provide our mother much support. I was waffling about staying in Kansas City. I called Charlie (Washington) and said, ‘I need to look at getting back to Omaha.’ By this
said, ‘Between now and November, you’ve got to go to every house in this district and let them know who you are and what you’ll do.’” Council pounded the pavement, knocked on doors, and when the general election rolled around, she closed an incredible gap to win at age 28. Otha Council, whom Brenda was just friends with at the time, showed up unexpectedly at her place on election night. He was a co-owner of an Arby’s franchise. “Election night, my campaign manager Sonny Foster, my dear friend and law school classmate Fred Conley, and a couple of other folks were at my house awaiting the results. Out of nowhere, a knock on the door, and there’s Otha with a six-foot Arby’s submarine sandwich. He said, ‘I thought you might need something to eat.’ He took a seat and just sat there for the rest of the evening. “The results came in and were favorable. People trickled out. The only ones left were me, Sonny, and Otha.” The two men made quite a contrast: the gregarious Sonny and the quiet Otha. “I discovered later Otha thought Sonny and I had a thing. That was the furthest thing from the truth.” Otha’s persistent wooing finally won Brenda over when among other things, he drove her to the airport in the dead of winter. He held the car door open, handled the bags, and even had a cup of hot chocolate for her. “He was such a Boy Scout,” Council said. From then on, she said, “he became my ‘hot chocolate’ and we began to spend more time together.” Officiating (sports) together definitely strengthened their bond. Otha encouraged me to become an official because I grasped the rules so quickly when he was taking the exams while we were dating. Believe me, officiating can really test your patience and understanding.” The couple have two children from his first marriage and five grandchildren. He has a landscaping-snow removal business and he owns-manages rental properties. He was by her side for all her subsequent political runs. They also share a passion for service, community, and family. They met when she volunteered with the Boy Scouts while he was this area’s district commissioner. “Family has always been incredibly important,” Council said. “I was fortunate to marry into a family that equally values family. We just got back from my husband’s 41st annual family reunion in Marianna, Ark. He’s one of 13 children, so it’s a huge family.”
sion for education was among those who approached me about it. I didn’t know anything about running for public office, but I had the benefit of having met and become friends with one of the greatest political minds of his time, the late Sonny Foster. He was a political genius. He volunteered to help me with my school board campaign.” Council wanted to redress the board’s decision to eliminate summer school as part of its budget cuts. “That disturbed me because it disproportionately hurt youth in my district who needed remedial studooking back at her life in ies and enhancement opportunities. public service, Council said Their parents couldn’t afford to send her baptism-by-fire on the them to special science or math school board was crucial. camps. So, I ran, and in the pri“I had some really up moments mary got thumped. Sonny (Foster) --Please turn to page 13.
Brenda’s proud of her accomplishments in the Unicameral --Continued from page 12. and I had some really down moments. A down moment was being the lone dissenting vote on closing Tech High. I presented diplomas to the last graduating class.” A budget shortfall and concurrent need to consolidate district offices led to Tech’s closure and its reuse as district headquarters. “One of the things I was most proud of was advocating for the adoption of a sex education curriculum in 1985. Thirty years later, here I am back pushing OPS to adopt an updated sex ed curriculum (through a Women’s Fund of Omaha initiative). It’s kind of Deja vu.”
“You improve educational outcomes when everybody’s got a stake in it and you have to involve business, parents, (and the) faith community.” Another thing Brenda took pride in was the naming of Omaha’s Skinner Elementary School after Eugene Skinner, her grade school and junior high principal. “He had an incredible impact on me. Gene Skinner was a giant.” Yet another of the community stalwarts in her life. “I was impacted by so many of them,” she said. Council displayed her own leadership abilities in office. She not only became president of the Omaha School Board but president of the National Association of Black School Board Members. “I got the knowledge of what was effective in other school districts and brought it back.” She and former Omaha Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Don Benning got the district to begin its nationally recognized Adopta-School program. “We knew you improve educational outcomes when everybody’s got a stake in it and you have to involve business, parents, (and the) faith community. The program was a vehicle to get people who were otherwise not connected to schools involved in the schools. It’s still doing that.” One of the pivotal moments in Brenda’s life occurred in 1993 when she agonized over running for the City Council. “My passion is education and I believe I was making a difference. I was in my fourth term as school board president. We were moving on some things. I was torn. When Fred Conley announced he was not going to seek reelection (for the Omaha City Council), I honestly looked at who was going to be running and thought our district deserved better. That’s why I ran. I didn’t want a political career. I’ve
never seen myself as a politician. I’m a public servant.” A confluence of events led her to run for mayor in 1994, just one year into her only Omaha City Council term. Then-mayor P.J. Morgan unexpectedly resigned with three years left in his term. The city charter then allowed for the City Council to choose someone among its ranks to finish the term, but Brenda opposed this approach. “I had to convince three other people we needed to pursue a special election to change the charter because it’s not fair to the citizens that essentially an entire term is decided by seven people. I was able to convince the requisite number of City Council members to go for a special election. The results were what I predicted Omahans wanted. The charter was changed. I achieved my objective.” Brenda didn’t plan to run for mayor in 1994 until Hal Daub announced his candidacy. “I was like, ‘Whoa, there’s too much happening in this city to put it in the hands of someone who hadn’t lived in Omaha in years. The next mayor should be somebody who knows what’s been going on and been working on it.’ I just didn’t think it was fair, right, and just for someone who in my opinion was a career politician to take an opportunity to come back (to Omaha). So, I said, ‘I’m going to run, too.’” It was a special election in December 1994. “What made it problematic was there were mid-term elections a month before,” Brenda said. “I struggled to find a campaign staff and a team for my first citywide race.” Brenda got soundly defeated but came a lot closer than people expected. She was perfectly content to serve on the City Council with no future mayoral bid in mind until politicos shared data suggesting a near majority of Omahans would vote for her in a new election. “I was pleasingly surprised,” Council recalled. Confident she could muster enough support to unseat Daub, she took him on in the 1997 election only to suffer an historically narrow loss. “That election night was one of the most painful nights of my life,” she said, “not for me personally but for all the people who invested so much of their being into supporting an individual they entrusted to address the issues that were critical to them.”
worked in this district, been in touch on a daily basis with the issues that affect residents, and has the skills, knowledge, and experience to make a difference. “Again, no disrespect, I knew some of the people who were going to run and I was like, that’s not going to get it. Call it arrogance or whatever, but I feel that passionate about the people in this district and what they deserve.” She knew her expertise was a good match for the legislative process and its interconnectedness with the law. She also saw an opportunity to address some things that may not have been on the front burner. Council won a seat at the table in the mostly white male Unicameral alongside fellow African-American Tanya Cook, who was communications manager for one of Council’s earlier elective office runs. “I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish in the one term I served in the legislature. I was focused and driven by what I could get done to move this community forward.” She found satisfaction getting a New Markets Tax Credit program approved. She was frustrated when she got several pieces of legislation passed on the floor only to have then-Gov. Dave Heineman veto them. One would have required a lead poisoning test for children entering school. Another would have aided expansion of community gardens and incentivized health food stores to help address a variety of issues. “I was most proud of my Youth Conservation program legislation. Approximately 150 youth were employed in state parks across Nebraska during the summer of 2012 with a significant percentage of the youth being from north Omaha.”
ven after the revelations of her gambling addiction became public, Council said there was still a tremendous amount of support for her to continue serving in the legislature. Ending her political life was not nearly as hard as losing her license to practice law. She said being disbarred really hurt. Council doesn’t plan to seek reinstatement of her law license. Brenda acknowledges when the gambling news came out, she wanted to stay in the shadows. She wondered if anybody was going to give her a chance. She’s found redemption at the Women’s Fund of Omaha, whose Adolescent Health Project fits right into her wheelhouse. Council feels reducing unintended pregnancies is critical if we’re ever going to have any meaningful, sustainable impact on reducing poverty in a community where single mother-headed households predominate. Come what may, North Omaha is where Brenda Council’s heart will always be. (Read more of Biga’s work at leoadambiga.com)
leven years elapsed before Council sought public office again. During the hiatus, she was a judge on the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations. In 2008, she entered the race for Nebraska legislative District 11. “The same thing that motivated me to run for mayor is what motivated me to run for the legislature,” she said. “It should be somebody representing this district who’s
At the Women’s Fund of Omaha, Council is working to reduce sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies.
Consider planting some elephant ears
By Kathleen Kauth
By Melinda Myers
Eldercare mediation is a tool for older adults and their families to use when discussions about end of life issues are necessary. Adult children may experience significant disagreements on decisions relating to their parents. Family structures have changed dramatically over the years. Families are smaller, spread further apart, and with fewer members able to take time off to care for older family members. Families need to come together to address the issues that arise with aging. Eldercare mediation is a way to find the best possible answers to these important quality-of-life questions. Mediation is time limited and goal focused. The mediation process provides a safe place for respectful, civilized conversation. A skilled mediator reduces the emotion involved to help families make appropriate decisions. Mediation often develops communication skills and teaches men and women to work collaboratively. Some topics appropriate for mediation can be living arrangements, relationships, finances, legal issues, and health and personal care. An eldercare mediator: • Is an objective third party who helps the family process their emotions as they work through difficult decisions. • Lays the groundwork for future communication among family members. • Provides for future modifications of written agreements as the need arises. • Involves the parents in the process. • Helps the family members develop multiple options. The eldercare mediator doesn’t make or influence any decision for the family, provide therapy, or practice law while serving as a mediator, although many mediators are also attorneys. The family members make decisions with and for their relatives while the older adult maintains their dignity and autonomy by being involved as much as possible. Children unable to attend the mediation process due to distance can still take part by telephone or other electronic means. Family members are encouraged to discuss any decisions made by an eldercare mediator with their legal counsel. The sooner families begin having discussions about how the older adult wants to handle the aging process, the better. Once a family is in crisis, discussions and decisions become infinitely more complex. Because there may be age-related issues when dealing with this type of mediation, you should look for help from individuals who have specific training with eldercare mediation and experience or education with older adults such as a degree in gerontology or social work with a focus on gerontology. (Kauth is an Omaha area business consultant specializing in eldercare mediation.)
dd an exciting new look to your home with elephant ears. These easy tropical plants have tall stems and giant leaves that measure up to two feet across. You can use them to create an instant focal point in the garden, screen an unwanted view, or extend a bold welcome at the front door. Elephant ears can be grown in containers as well as the garden, so if space is an issue, try some of the more compact varieties like Hawaiian Punch. You’ll appreciate the impact this three-foot tall plant makes. Or go big with six-foot tall Black Stem. Its smooth blue-green leaves are displayed atop striking purpleblack stems. Variegated varieties are another option. The unusual foliage of Mojito is decorated with blueblack dashes and splashes. No two leaves are alike on this beauty. For even more color and drama, don’t miss Black Magic. Its dark, blueblack leaves measure two feet across and can grow up to five feet tall. These are just a few of the many varieties that are well suited to home gardens. In warm areas elephant ears can be grown outdoors year-
Volunteers needed The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for volunteer drivers for its Meals on Wheels Program. Flexible weekday schedule delivering midday meals to homebound older adults in the greater Omaha area. Call Arlis at 402-444-6766 for more information.
round. In cooler areas the plants are grown as annuals or can be brought indoors for the winter. Give these bold beauties a space of their own or combine them with other interesting foliage plants such as caladiums, coleus, larger begonias, trailing sweet potato vines, and other annuals. lephant ears are tropical plants that need warm soil and plenty of moisture all season long. They are happy to grow in sun or shade, though in hot climates the leaves need to be protected from midday sun. Fertilizing every two to three weeks will help your plants reach their full potential. Elephant ears are available as spring-planted bulbs or as potted plants. The baseball-sized tubers can be planted outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the soil by adding compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the tuber and plant it pointy side up. The top of the tuber should be about an inch below the soil surface. If you live in a cold climate and want to get an early start on the season, plant the tubers in containers filled with well-drained potting mix and grow them in a warm, sunny window for four to six weeks. Move the plants outdoors when the soil is warm and the danger of frost has passed. Visit Longfield-Gardens.com for more information on elephant ear varieties, planting tips, and lots of inspiration. Your tropical paradise awaits. Choose a few containers or locate some spots in the garden where you can include these bold-leafed beauties. Before you know it, you’ll be sipping your favorite beverage in your very own tropical garden. (Myers is an author, television and radio host.)
Garry, Warren among Nebraska vets to tour D.C. memorials
Garry Knittel By Jeff Reinhardt New Horizons Editor
n a cool May morning, 653 Vietnam War veterans from Nebraska boarded four planes at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. Nebraska’s United States Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer accompanied the retired servicemen as they headed to Washington, D.C. around 4:30 a.m. to view the capital city’s war memorials and other destinations. The Heartland Honor Flight was sponsored by Patriotic Productions and funded by private donations. The 2017 trek – the largest contingent of Vietnam vets from one state to take the tour – included stops at the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. Among the 653 heroes to make the journey were Garry Knittel and Warren Malloy, drivers for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program for four and five years, respectively. Omaha Benson High School graduates in 1966, Knittel and Malloy were
Warren Malloy members of the Army Reserves’ 172nd Transportation Company stationed in Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam near the South China Sea from October 1968 through September 1969. Meals on Wheels driver Bob Cole also served in the 172nd Transportation Company alongside Knittel and Malloy during the war that took more than 58,000 American lives. “Bob kept us out of trouble,” Warren said. During their 12 months in ‘Nam, Knittel and Malloy hauled supplies including ammunition, building supplies, asphalt, jet fuel, napalm, food, beer, and soda pop to American and Korean troops at fire bases near the Cambodian border.
n Sept. 30, 1969, the Vietnam deployment ended for Knittel and Malloy, who then headed home to Omaha. Like many ‘Nam vets, Garry and Warren felt less than welcome back in the United States. “People treated us differently,” Garry said. “There were all these stories about us being ‘baby killers’. We were outcasts. “One day I was in Viet-
A group of 653 Vietnam War veterans from Nebraska visited Washington, D.C. on May 1. The trip was sponsored by Patriotic Productions. nam and the next day I was in the United States like nothing happened,” he continued. “It did happen.” “You couldn’t understand the war unless you’d been there,” Warren said. Knittel said in many cases, the public blamed the soldiers for the war and not the politicians. Warren and Garry said the public’s negative perception of the Vietnam War began to dissipate after the Gulf War ended in 1991. By then, many of the protestors from the 1960s and ’70s had faded away and the nation’s veterans had united.
n 2008, Omahans Evonne and Bill Williams started Patriotic Productions which honors veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War through a series of Honor Flights to Washington, D.C. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created to salute American veterans for their sacrifices by transporting
them to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at the war memorials. In addition to Knittel and Malloy, the May 1, 2017 tour included 10 other members of the 172nd Transportation Company. The stop at the Vietnam Wall was particularly poignant for Knittel and Malloy. A variety of memories and emotions quickly surfaced as they scanned the site which opened in 1982. “A lot of people are gone,” Warren said. “Old people start wars but young people fight them,” Garry added. round 8:30 p.m. on May 1, four planes carrying the Nebraskans home landed at the Lincoln Airport. Thousands of flagwaiving patriots were on hand for the homecoming. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts shook hands with each of the returning veterans. “Everything was first class” said Malloy, who spent 44 years as a fork-
lift operator for the Lozier Corp. Warren and Karen, his wife for 47 years, have one son. “The whole trip was so well organized,” said Knittel, who worked in sales for DEX. Gary and Gayle, married for 34 years, have five children and eight grandkids.
The Vietnam Wall Memorial While the 2017 Honor Flight was a once in a lifetime experience, both Knittel and Malloy plan to return to Washington, D.C. to see the war memorials. “Next time, I’m going to take my kids and grandkids,” Garry said.
Garry Knittel (left) and Warren Malloy (center) in Washington, D.C. with fellow veteran Bob Baker.
Thousands of patriotic flag-waiving Nebraskans met the Vietnam War veterans upon their return to the Lincoln Airport in May.
The benefits of dancing
Dora Bingel Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • July 3, 10, 17, & 24: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. • July 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, & 28: Ceramics @ 9 a.m. • July 5: Holy Communion served @10 a.m. • July 10: Book Club @ 10 a.m. • July 19: Foot care clinic from 9 a.m. to noon for $10. Call 402-392-1818 to make an appointment. • July 26: Birthday party luncheon @ noon. Eat for free if you have a July birthday. • July 28: Hard of hearing support group @ 10:30 a.m. A nutritious 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: Matinee @ 12:30 and quilting @1 p.m. Wednesday: Devotions @ 10:30, Tai Chi at 11 a.m., Bingo @ 12:30 p.m., and Bible Study at 12:30 p.m. Friday: Joy Club Devotions at 9:30 a.m. and Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. For more information, please call 402-898-5854.
Camelot Friendship Center You’re invited to visit the Camelot Friendship Center inside the Camelot Community Center, 9270 Cady Ave., for the following: • July 12: Birthday Bash. • July 13: Book Club @ 10:15 a.m. • July 17: Chair volleyball @ 10:30 a.m. • July 20: Jackpot Bingo @12:15 p.m. • July 21: Music by Pam Kraft from the Merrymakers @ 11:45 a.m. The facility will be closed on July 4 for Independence Day. Other activities include Tai Chi (Friday @ 10:15 a.m.), Bingo, pinochle, card games, other games, crafts, candy making, and scrapbooking. The Camelot Friendship Center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. For reservations or more information, please call Amy at 402-444-3091.
WHITMORE LAW OFFICE
A new study led by a Colorado State University researcher shows kicking up your heels can actually be good for your brain. The research team demonstrated for the first time that decline in the brain’s “white matter” can be detected over a period of only six months in healthy aging adults — faster than most studies have shown. On the bright side, a group of test subjects who participated in dance classes during that time actually saw improved white matter integrity in an area of the brain related to memory and processing speed. “Older adults often ask how they can keep their brain healthy,” said lead researcher Aga Burzynska. “Dance may end up being one way to do that for the white matter.” A paper on the findings was published recently in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Everyone’s heard of “gray matter,” the tissue of the brain containing neurons. White matter can be thought of as the brain’s wiring – similar to cables connecting discs in a computer. In this analogy, as people age, the quality of the brain’s wiring deteriorates, causing disruptions in transmission of electrical messages in
the brain. Those electrical signals are how our brain cells communicate, and this communication is critical for any brain function from controlling movements to emotions and complex reasoning tasks. Burzynska, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and her fellow researchers found that dance training – perhaps because it incorporates exercise, social interaction, and learning – appeared to have a positive effect on the fornix, a white matter tract in the middle of the brain that is a bundle of those “wires.” The fornix connects the hippocampus to other areas of the brain and seems to play an important role in memory. Changes in the fornix have been linked to progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. Burzynska’s team found integrity of the fornix increased in the dance group despite the fact that integrity declined in half of the studied tracts, regardless of the intervention. The randomized clinical trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, took four years to complete. The findings were identified in a group of 174 healthy adults
Fundraiser for ENOA’s senior centers
Step Out for Seniors Walkathon set for Aug. 11 at Benson Park The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Nutrition Division and the City of Omaha’s Parks and Recreation Department are sponsoring the third annual Step Out for Seniors Walkathon on Friday, Aug. 11 at Benson Park, 7028 Military Ave.
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The walkathon is a fundraiser to help ENOA update programming and services at its 26 senior centers in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties. All ages are encouraged to participate. Sign-in begins on Aug. 11 at 8:30 a.m. The walk follows at 9 a.m. The festivities will also feature a Lifestyles Exposition showcasing a variety of products and services. Food, drink, and health information will be available that morning at Benson Park. Registration is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Groups of seven or more will receive a $10 per person discount. Participants can obtain a registration form at any ENOA senior center or online at stepoutforseniors.weebly.com.
between the ages of 60 and 79 who met three times a week for six months in a gym at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The subjects were randomly assigned into four groups: one participated in aerobic walking, one did the same aerobic walking and took a daily nutritional supplement, one attended stretching and balance classes (as an active control group), and one took the dance classes. The dance classes were taught by experienced dance instructors and involved choreographed and social group dances that challenged participants’ cognitive and motor-learning abilities. Each participant’s white matter microstructure was measured using non-invasive, diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging at the beginning and end of the six-month intervention. The researchers also tracked participants’ actual physical activity before the intervention using accelerometers, and predictably found that those who sat more – or exercised less – on a daily basis saw steeper levels of brain integrity decline during the six months. Since participants in the exercise-only group didn’t exhibit the same benefits to the fornix, Burzynska says activities like dance that simultaneously provide cognitive and social stimulation in addition to physical activity may be one key takeaway of the findings. “I think it’s amazing,” said Yuqin Jiao, Burzynska’s CSU graduate student who worked on the study’s findings. “It shows that when it comes to the effects of aging, it’s never too late to change. I think that’s important information to deliver.” Burzynska agrees. “Our brain does age, maybe faster than we previously thought, but it seems there are things we do that can modulate it,” she said. “The lifestyle that people choose can predict the decline.” Burzynska, who acknowledges she had “an episode of modern dance training in high school,” said one goal of the study was to identify a health-promoting activity that individuals can stick with. “Dance is more enjoyable than just walking in a gym,” she said. “We are looking for things that people find enjoyable and captivating, and will continue doing.”
Hearing loss group to meet July 11
Grandparent Resource Center hosts summer picnic
The Omaha Area Hearing Loss Association of America, a support group for hard of hearing adults, will next meet on Tuesday, July 11 at Dundee Presbyterian Church, 5312 Underwood Ave. Participants are asked to enter the church on the Happy Hollow Blvd. (east) side. The 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. meeting will feature social time and a speaker. The Omaha Area Hearing Loss Association of America meets the second Tuesday of the month from September through December and from March through August. You’re encouraged to like the Omaha Area Hearing Loss Association of America on Facebook. For more information, please contact Beth Ellsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or Verla Hamilton at 402558-6449.
Survey: Most Americans are optimistic about their aging
ost Americans appear hopeful and optimistic about aging according to a new, national study from Parker, one of America’s leading aging services organizations. Key findings from Parker’s Aging in America Survey – which examines the nation’s changing attitudes and opinions about growing older in the U.S. – include: • A clear majority of Americans (71 percent) don’t fear or worry about aging very much or at all. • More than half of those surveyed (62 percent) believe age 80 isn’t too old to serve in government, run a marathon, be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, teach a class, or practice yoga. • Those surveyed were evenly split (49 percent each) in describing the experience of growing older in America today with positive words (hopeful, relevant, and vibrant) vs. negative words (scary, depressing, or lonely). • Nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of Americans feel not enough technology innovation focuses on the lifestyles of older people. • While 38 percent of Americans feel the most positive thing about getting older is gaining more experience and wisdom, only 1 percent believes it’s acquiring greater wealth and material goods. This survey underscores how American society’s views on aging are changing for the better, especially as the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age and beyond,” says Roberto Muñiz, President and CEO of Parker. “Seniors are staying more vibrant, active, and connected well into their 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond, and society is beginning to embrace that fact.”
The balloon toss was popular at the June 15 GRC picnic at Elmwood Park.
n a hot, late-spring day, the Grandparent Resource Center (GRC) held its annual picnic at Elmwood Park on June 15. In addition to a fried chicken lunch supplemented by dishes brought by the participants, the festivities included kickball, hopscotch, water balloons, and visits by two Omaha Police Department officers and Stripes the Clown.
he GRC is designed to help men and women age 55 and older who are raising their grandchildren. A variety of programs are available including support groups and access to other ENOA programs. For more information about the Grandparent Resource Center, please contact Heidi Demuth at 402-444-6536 or online at email@example.com.
Millard Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • July 7: Big Canvas Improv Comedy Troup @ 10 a.m. • July 7: Treat Day. Bring a treat to share. • July 10: Find the Flag @ 11:15 a.m. • July 11: Westwood Camp Kids talent show @ 9:30 a.m. • July 13: International Puzzle Day. • July 17: Foot care clinic from noon to 2 p.m. for $10. Registration is required. • July 18: VNA Lunch and Learn presentation. • July 25: Canasta @ 1:30 p.m. • July 31: Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day. The facility will be closed on July 4. On Sept. 20, the center will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The festivities start @ 9:30 a.m. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal the participant wishes to enjoy. Other center activities include walking, card games, Tai Chi, dominoes, quilting, needlework, chair volleyball, and bingo. For reservations or more information, call 402-546-1270.
The CDC analyzes Alzheimer’s An analysis released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Alzheimer’s deaths have increased by 55 percent from 1999 to 2014, a disturbing progression of a disease that has no cure. The findings accentuate the critical need for actions that improve rates of early diagnosis, enhance support for caregivers, address growing racial disparities, and increase funding for research at the National Institutes of Health. While the new data reinforces the urgency that’s required to address this growing public health crisis, the CDC numbers underrepresent the incidence of Alzheimer’s deaths. According to recent independent studies, Alzheimer’s is underreported on death certificates by approximately six times, because the cause of death is often attributed to a more immediate cause like pneumonia or other infections, rather than due to the insidious and deteriorating effects of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. In addition, just one in four people with Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed. The lack of early detection of Alzheimer’s, also a factor in the CDC’s underreporting of the disease, prevents many people with Alzheimer’s from developing a care plan and enrolling in potentially game-changing clinical trials. “The CDC findings raise needed public awareness of how fast this disease is growing and destroying families, and how we must stand firm against any action that reduces the nation’s ability to innovate and speed cures,” said George Vradenburg, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s co-founder and chairman. “Alzheimer’s disease is a global scourge that is projected to triple in the coming decades. It is dramatic that minorities will
be the majority of Americans with dementia by 2030 due to the disparate impact of disease.” The analysis featured alarming statistics on the significant increase in Alzheimer’s deaths among women and within communities of color. According to the data, women are nearly 2.5 as likely as men to die from Alzheimer’s. African Americans, who are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, saw a 99 percent increase in Alzheimer’s deaths. Hispanics, who are 1.5 times more likely than whites to get Alzheimer’s, saw a 107 percent spike. Asian/ Pacific Islander communities were found to have the greatest jump in Alzheimer’s deaths (151 percent). The CDC findings also found an increasing number (14 percent to 25 percent) of people dying at home rather than in nursing homes or medical facilities. This information illuminates the growing emotional and physical burden on the nation’s 15 million caregivers – most likely to be women – who provide more than 18 billion unpaid hours of support for loved ones annually. “Alzheimer’s is a more complex disease than the CDC data suggests; it enacts an excruciating toll on families and particularly on women and in communities of color, where signs and symptoms more often go undetected,” said Jill Lesser, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s chief strategy officer and president of its Women’s Network. “We must continue to demand health benefits for families to relieve them of the potentially harmful effects of caregiver burden. And we must educate all communities about the disease and the value of participating in medical research, which will ultimately yield a cure,” she added.
Vols needed for AARP’s Tax-Aide Program
olunteers are needed for AARP’s TaxAide program which provides free tax-preparation services to the community with a focus on older adults with low to moderate
income. AARP membership isn’t required. Men and women are needed at the nine sites in the Omaha area that provide tax preparation services. No experience is needed other
than knowing how to operate a computer and having done your own income tax returns.
Volunteers – who’ll work with experienced volunteers – will receive materials from AARP and the IRS for reference and self-study, attend training sessions in December and January, and then prepare tax returns a few hours a week during the tax season. AARP also needs greeters, administrative help, and technical support personnel who aren’t directly involved in the tax preparation. For more information, log on to nebraskataxaide.org or call 402-398-9568 with your name, phone number, and email address. Your information will be passed to the local supervisor who will contact you.
Elder Access Line 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. For more information, log on the Internet to http:// www.legalaidofnebraska. com/EAL.
Omaha Computer Users Group
ou’re invited to join the Omaha Computer Users Group (OCUG), an organization dedicated to helping men and women age 50 and older learn more about their computers. Anyone can join OCUG regardless of his or her computer skills. The organization meets the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Abrahams Library, 5011 N. 90th St. Annual dues to OCUG are $25. Bring your questions concerning your computer problems to the meetings for answers. For more information, please call OCUG’s president Phill Sherbon at 402333-6529.
Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • July 3: Independence Day Lunch and bingo. Proudly wear your red, white, and blue. Enjoy a meatball sub for lunch @ noon followed by bingo. • July 5, 12, 19, & 26: Crafts and social @ 10:30 a.m. Create a beautiful fabric hanger, sporty decorated flip-flops, and stone hot pads in July. Lunch and ceramics class will follow. • July 6: Celebrate America’s birthday with an 11 a.m. sing-along performance by Heartland Ensemble. Noon roast pork or chicken salad on croissant lunch. Bingo follows lunch. • July 10: Healing Touch sessions with DeEtta from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required. Join us for a tasty noon lunch following the sessions. • July 13: Clear caption phone presentation @ 11 a.m. and a cheeseburger lunch @ noon. Learn about a new device that removes obstacles for individuals who are having difficulty hearing on their phone. • July 13: Tour the South Omaha Museum & Brown Park @ 1 p.m. We’ll carpool from Corrigan after noon lunch. • July 17: VNA talk @ 11 a.m. followed by a turkey or seafood macaroni salad lunch @ noon. • July 20: Annual indoor picnic featuring the Red Raven Polka Band @ 11 a.m. The noon lunch from Lil’ Willy’s Catering features delicious fried chicken with sides of potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, a dinner roll, and ice cream. After lunch, stay for $1 bingo. The cost is $7. The reservation deadline is 11a.m. on Friday, July 14. • July 24: Birthday party with singer Joe Taylor sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11 a.m. A delicious cheesy chicken & rice casserole or a deli chef salad will be served for lunch. The center will be closed on July 4. Everyone, including new players, is welcome to play chair volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday @ 11 a.m. A noon lunch will follow. Join us for Tai Chi – a relaxing and fun activity that’s proven to improve your balance – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in our spacious gym. Bingo, ceramics, exercise, woodcarving, and loads of fun are also available. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is normally suggested for the meal. Reservations are normally due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations or more information, please call Lynnette at 402-731-7210.
Fed employee groups meet at Omaha eatery
he National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Chapter 144 meets the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-292-1156.
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Aksarben Chapter 1370 meets the second Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-342-4351.
THEOS THEOS, a social organization for singles age 60 and older, meets from 1 to 4 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 402-393-3052.
New lifting chair is now available
battery operated mobile lifting chair which helps a fallen person up to an almost standing position with a few minutes is now available through Kohll’s Pharmacy and Homecare. The Razier lifting chair, which is lightweight and easily assembled, is on display at Kohll’s 12741 Q St. location.
AARP offering driving course AARP is offering a new four-hour, research-based Smart Driver Course for older adults. By completing the course, participants will learn research-based driving safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having an accident; understand the links between the driver, the vehicle, and the road environment, and how this awareness encourages safer driving; learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and health-related issues affect driving ability and ways to allow for these changes; increase confidence; know how to share the road safely with other drivers, and learn the newest safety and advance features in vehicles. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonAARP members. No tests or examinations are involved, course completion certificates are provided, and auto insurance discounts may apply. Here’s this month’s schedule: July 7 @ 10 a.m. Rolling Hills Ranch 4324 N. 132nd St. To register, call 402-391-1055
July 11 @ 10 a.m. Metro Community College 7205 Dodge St. (Do Space) AUAV 004N-73 Call 531-622-2620
July 8 @ 9 a.m. The Premier Group 11605 Miracle Hills Dr. #205 To register, call 402-557-6730
July 18 @ 10 a.m. Sunridge Retirement Comm. 13410 Blondo St. To register, call 402-496-0116
July 8 @ noon AARP Information Center 1941 S. 42nd St. #220 To register, call 402-398-9568
July 21 @ 9 a.m. Metro Comm. College 9110 Giles Rd. AUAV 004N-70 Call 531-622-2620
July 31 @ noon Rose Blumkin Home 323 S. 132nd St. To register, call 402-330-4272
Wings of Freedom coming to Omaha July 21-23
The Wings of Freedom tour includes a B-25 Mitchell (left) and P-51 Mustang.
ou’re invited to experience WWII flying history as the 2017 Wings of Freedom Tour comes to TAC Air at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield this month. The exhibit is open 2 to 5 p.m. on July 21 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 22 and 23.
Guests will be able to tour restored aircrafts including the B-25 Mitchell, the P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-24 Liberator. Walk-through tours are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger.
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Stick time on the Mustang and flights on board the bombers will also be available. The Wings of Freedom is sponsored by the Collings Foundation. For more information, please call 800-568-8924 or log on to www.cfdn.org.
TOP CASH PAID Best & honest prices paid for: Nice old vintage and costume jewelry, old watches, vintage toys, Fenton glassware, old postcards, advertising items, military items, pottery, and antique buttons. Also buying estates & partial estates. Call Bev at 402-339-2856
Senior Citizens (62+) Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.
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ENOA care managers working to keep clients in their homes
Duane Wilcox and Laura Shillito during a recent in-home visit.
uane Wilcox has lived in his Kennard, Neb. house since 1968. “It’s not much,” he said modestly, “but it’s home and I want to stay right here.” Wilcox retired in 1999 after a 45-year career at Holmquist Grain and Lumber in Blair. He spent 30 years on the Kennard Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, served on the Kennard Village Board for eight years, was a Washington County supervisor from 1990 to 2010, and a member of the Eastern Nebraska Human Services Agency’s governing board for 12 years. These days he has the usual aches and pains but generally feels well at age 82. A neighbor cleans Duane’s house each week, and since 2016, Wilcox – a member of the congregation at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Blair since 1957 – has had an Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging care manager to coordinate an in-home care plan for him. Part of that care plan is a personal emergency response system that’s connected to his telephone land line, according to Laura Shillito, Wilcox’s ENOA care manager. Duane wears a pendant around his neck featuring a button he can push to summon help if needed.
oyce Noyes has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As a result, the 72-year-old – who retired as a regional director of marketing with the Marriott Hotel Reservation Center – is on oxygen 24 hours a day. Since 2012, Noyes has been receiving in-home services through ENOA, according to her care manager Jared Luebbert. Joyce has a homemaker to load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, vacuum the carpet, and dust the furniture in her Bellevue apartment. “My homemaker does the things I don’t have the stamina to do,” Noyes said. A bath aide helps during the bathing process and helps Joyce get into and out of her shower. ENOA has also provided a toilet seat riser for Noyes who said staying at home is important to her.
“I’m more relaxed at home and I don’t want people waiting on me all the time.” ilcox and Noyes are among the more than 1,100 older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties who receive in-home services through ENOA’s Care Management program. The programs are designed to promote independence and dignity and keep these men and women living in their own home for as long as possible. “The expression ‘your home is where your heart is’ rings true as we age,” said ENOA’s Care Management Coordinator Diane Stanton. “It’s where our memories are made and where we’re most comfortable. Your home also signifies independence.” She said at some point, however, assistance to remain independent and living in your own home may be necessary, and that’s where ENOA can help. The agency’s care managers receive referrals from several sources including prospective clients, family members, healthcare professionals, clergymen, and social workers from area hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The referral process begins when the prospective client or their representative calls ENOA’s Information and Assistance division at 402-4446536 to request an in-home assessment. An ENOA care manager will complete the intake by contacting the referral source to determine if the prospective client meets the eligibility guidelines and to arrange for an in-home visit. To receive in-home services through ENOA, a client must be age 60 or older and need assistance with at least three activities of daily living (bathing, housekeeping, toileting, mobility, meal preparation, etc.) or independent activities of daily living (money management, laundry, transportation, meal preparation, shopping, etc.). The need for this assistance must last 90 days or longer. One of ENOA’s 11 care managers will be assigned to work with
ENOA care manager Jared Luebbert with client Joyce Noyes. the prospective client to complete a comprehensive in-home assessment. The visit is designed to determine the client’s strengths, cognitive, physical, emotional, and social levels, and to view the home environment. Following the assessment, the care manager works with the client and their loved ones to create an individualized care plan that may include a variety of programs and services from ENOA and other community resources. These services may include but are not limited to Meals on Wheels, a bath aide, homemaker (assistance with cooking, cleaning, and laundry), and durable medical equipment (grab bars, shower chairs, etc.). The care managers work closely with the clients and their healthcare professionals, social service providers, family members, and volunteers to coordinate the care plan and give these older men and women the highest quality of life possible. The older adult receives an annual in-home recertification through their care manager who also contacts the client by telephone or in person at least once every three months to monitor the services, ensure client satisfaction, and determine if additional help is needed. During these quarterly assessments, the care manager and client discuss health issues, medication usage, personal care services like dressing, grooming, toileting, nutrition, and meal preparation, as well as skin integrity and driving. The suggested monthly contribution for ENOA’s in-home programs and services including care management, is set on a sliding fee scale based on the older adult’s income. Nobody age 60 or older will be denied services due to an inability to pay. For more information, please call 402-444-6536 or log on the Internet to enoa. org. Click on PROGRAMS and then on CARE MANAGEMENT.
Staff members from ENOA’s Care Management program.
Published on Jun 30, 2017
New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...