• E a st e
A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
June 2021 Vol. 46 No. 6
en oa. org
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New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19
Leta During a career that has spanned seven decades and continues today, Leta Powell Drake has hosted and produced thousands of TV programs. She’s also performed in numerous theatrical productions, interviewed hundreds of celebrities, and flown with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. Leo Adam Biga chronicles Drake’s incredible life beginning on page 8.
The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has awarded its inaugural Spirit of Aging Awards to recipients in the Advocacy, Donor, Medical/Healthcare, and Volunteer categories. Pages 3 & 16.
Inside ENOA is recruiting SCP, FGP vols ............. 2 Homestead Exemption forms are due ...... 3 App assisting ophthalmologists ................ 4 Cardiologist offers heart health tips .......... 5 Meals drivers needed in Fremont .............. 5 Pandemic changing workforce habits ....... 6 Getting your garden ready......................... 6 COVID reducing healthcare spending ....... 7 Hemesath’s ‘Conscious Aging’ column .... 7 Travel rises as vaccinations increase ...... 15
Protection against COVID, Medicare scams
edicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you, so if anyone asks you to share your Medicare number or pay for access to the vaccine, you can bet it’s a scam. Here’s what you need to know: • Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for a fee. Con artists may try to get your Medicare number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone. Protect yourself from Medicare fraud. Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. Remember: • Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
• Medicare will never call you to sell anything. • You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare number. Don’t do it. • Medicare will never visit you at your home. • Medicare can’t enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
heck regularly for Medicare billing fraud. Review your Medicare claims and Medicare Summary Notices for any services Be simply confident on the go billed to your Medicare number you don’t recognize. Report anything suspicious to Medicare. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Enjoy healthier and happier feet.
Dr. Comfort diabetic shoes Insurance covers most patients (including Medicare and Medicaid).
Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions are needed
en and women age 55 and older who want to earn a taxfree stipend while making an impact in their community are encouraged to join the Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the SCP and FGP are national programs of AmeriCorps Seniors, formerly the Senior Service Corps. Senior Companions help other older adults maintain their independence by visiting them at home to discuss the news, read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers.
CP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 10 hours or more per week, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $3 an hour tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, an annual physical examination, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual recognition luncheon. The stipend does not interfere with rent, disability, Medicaid, or other benefits. For more information, please call 402-444-6536.
T 2915 Leavenworth, Omaha 5002 Dodge Street, Omaha 12741 Q Street, Millard 1413 S. Washington Street, Papillion 808 N. 27th Street, Lincoln 403 Main Street, Malvern, Iowa
he Alzheimer’s Association is offering a variety of free educational webinars. Topics include the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia research, healthy living, legal and financial planning, early stage care partners, late stage caregivers, and understanding and responding to dementiarelated behavior. To register or for more information, please call 800272-3900 or go online to alz.org/crf.
Celebrating Older Americans Month
‘Spirit of Aging Award’ winners announced
ay is Older Americans Month. The theme of the 2021 celebration – Communities of Strength – recognizes the contributions older adults make to help build strong communities across the country. In conjunction with Older Americans Month, this year the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has presented its inaugural Spirit of Aging Award to three individuals and a local church congregation. The nominations came from ENOA staff members. The winners were selected by a committee of ENOA employees. • Advocacy: Dr. Julie Masters holds the Terry Haney Chair as a professor in the Department of Gerontology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “Dr. Masters has made numerous contributions to ENOA over the years, first as an employee, and then
in her multi-faceted role at UNO,” said ENOA’s Executive Director Trish Bergman. “She’s passionate about helping people understand and embrace aging,” said an ENOA staff member who nominated Dr. Masters. • Medical/Healthcare: Dr. Jane Potter is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Dr. Potter is a valuable asset to ENOA both as a healthcare professional and as an advocate for older Nebraskans,” Bergman said. “Whenever possible, Dr. Potter promotes ENOA and the work we do in the community,” said an ENOA staff member who nominated Dr. Potter. Both Dr. Masters and Dr. Potter serve on ENOA’s Advisory Council, a group of local professionals who share their expertise to help guide the agency as it carries out its mission. • Donor: St. Gerald’s Catholic Church. “For more than 25 years, St. Gerald’s Angel Tree program has supported hundreds of ENOA clients by purchasing Christmas gifts for them,” Bergman said. “Members of the congregation have also sewn, quilted, and donated countless blankets, walker bags, and hats for our clients throughout the year.” • Volunteer: Diane Snider. “Diane volunteered and coordinated a group of employees from First Data Resources – now called FiServe – to deliver Meals on Wheels for more than a quarter century,” Bergman said. “Diane is a lifesaver and an amazing person,” said an ENOA staff member who nominated Snider. For more on the Spirit of Aging Awards, see page 16.
Return homestead exemption applications by June 30
pplicants whose names are on file in the assessor’s office in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties should have had a homestead exemption form mailed to them by early March. New applicants must contact their county assessor’s office to receive the application. The 2021 forms and a household income statement must be completed and returned to the county assessor’s office by June 30, 2021. A homestead exemption provides property tax relief by exempting all or part of the homestead’s valuation from taxation. The state of Nebraska reimburses the counties and other government subdivisions for the lost tax revenues. To qualify for a homestead exemption, a Nebraska homeowner must be age 65 by Jan. 1, 2021, the home’s owner/occupant through Aug. 15, 2021, and fall within the income guidelines shown below. Certain homeowners who have a disability, are developmentally disabled, are totally disabled war veterans, or the widow(er) of a totally disabled war veteran – including those who have remarried after age 57 – may also be eligible for this
annual tax break. When determining household income, applicants must include Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits plus any income for which they receive a Form 1099. The homestead exemption amount is based on the homeowner’s marital status and income level (see below). Maximum exemptions are based on the average assessed value for residential property in each Nebraska county. Here are the numbers for the local assessor’s offices: Douglas: 402-4447060, options #2; Sarpy: 402-593-2122; Dodge: 402-727-3911; Cass: 402-2969310; and Washington: 402-426-6800.
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 five-county region may subscribe for $5 annually. Address all correspondence to: Jeff Reinhardt, Editor, 4780 S. 131st Street, Omaha, NE 68137-1822. Phone 402-444-6654. FAX 402-444-3076. E-mail: email@example.com Advertisements appearing in New Horizons do not imply endorsement of the advertiser by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. However, complaints about advertisers will be reviewed and, if warranted, their advertising discontinued. Display and insert advertising rates available on request. Open rates are commissionable, with discounts for extended runs. Circulation is 9,000 through direct mail .
Household income table Over age 65 married income
Over age 65 single income
0 - $35,100.99 $35,101 - $36,900.99 $36,901 - $38,800.99 $38,801 - $40,700.99 $40,701 - $42,600.99 $42,601 - $44,500.99 $44,501 - $46,400.99 $46,401 - $48,300.99 $48,301 - $50,200.99 $50,201 - $52,000.99 $52,001 and over
0 to $29,800.99 $29,801 - $31,400.99 $31,401 - $32,900.99 $32,901 - $34,500.99 $34,501 - $36,100.99 $36,101 - $37,600.99 $37,601 - $39,200.99 $39,201 - $40,700.99 $40,701 - $42,300.99 $42,301 - $43,800.99 $43,801 and over
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Editor....................................................Jeff Reinhardt Ad Mgr................Mitch Laudenback, 402-444-4148 Contributing Writers.........Nick Schinker & Leo Biga ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, vice-chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, secretary; Pat Tawney, Dodge County, & Angi Burmeister, Sarpy County. The New Horizons and the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging provide services without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, or age.
Developed by UNO students
iPad app allows ophthalmologists to view what their patients see
he practice of medicine relating to sight has been around for more than 2,500 years. But for the first time, ophthalmologists are now able to see what their glaucoma patients see through an iPad tablet application. “This represents the first time we have been able to understand what glaucoma patients see. We’ve never really known. It’s startling,” said Deepta Ghate, MD, an associate professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Truhlsen Eye Institute. “This is critical to improve patient understanding of the disease and for future rehabilitative efforts.” Dr. Ghate collaborated with students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Information Science and Technology to develop the app, then studied it in 12 glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that causes loss of peripheral vision. No one was quite sure exactly what glaucoma patients saw in their “blind spots.” Dr Ghate decided to design an app so the patients could answer the question themselves. In the study, participants used the app on the iPad to modify “blur” or “dimness” to match their perception of a two-by-two-meter wall-mounted poster at one meter distance. They looked at various scenes and recorded what they saw. Patients could modify the scenes so ophthalmologists could see what the patient sees and compare and validate the patient’s vision. The experiment finished when the patient looked at the iPad re-creation and said, “This is exactly what I see.” One of the problems with glaucoma is patients don’t know they’re losing their vision. Their central vision is perfect, often 20/20, but the glaucoma is continuously causing a loss of peripheral vision so slowly that normally it isn’t noticeable. “This is preventable, and prevention is everything,” Dr. Ghate said. “Glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss and blindness if not diagnosed early. A lack of peripheral vision causes patients to bump into things, fall more, have more vehicle crashes, and affects their quality of life in a dramatic way.” The app can show patients they have lost vision even when they think their vision is fine. It also can reinforce the importance of taking their medications to slow the disease and prevent blindness, she said. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health funded Great Plains Institutional Development Award Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research. (UNMC provided this information.)
Salk offers new approach to Alzheimer’s research
espite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, there are still no treatments, in part because it has been challenging to study how the disease develops. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute in California have uncovered new insights into what goes awry during Alzheimer’s by growing neurons that resemble – more accurately than ever before – brain cells in older patients. Like the patients themselves, the afflicted neurons appear to lose their cellular identity. The findings showed these brain cells are characterized by markers of stress as well as changes in which the cells become less specialized. Interestingly, many of the alterations seen in these cells are similar to what’s been observed in cancer cells—another disease linked to aging. “We know the risk of Alzheimer’s increases exponentially with age, but due to an incomplete understanding of age-dependent pathogenesis, it’s been difficult to develop effective treatments,” says Professor and Salk President Rusty Gage, the paper’s senior author. “Better models of the disease are vital for getting at the underlying drivers of this relationship.” In an earlier study, the Gage lab had shown a new
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way that skin samples can be used to create brain cells. These induced neurons more accurately reflect the age of the person they came from (unlike neurons made from the more commonly used induced pluripotent stem cells). The new study builds on that finding and is the first to use skin cells from people with Alzheimer’s to create induced neurons that have the characteristics of neurons found in patients’ brains. “The vast majority of Alzheimer’s cases occur sporadically and have no known genetic cause,” says Jerome Mertens, an assistant adjunct professor at Salk and the first author of the paper, who was also involved in that earlier work. “Our goal here was to see if induced neurons we generated from Alzheimer’s patients could teach us anything new about the changes that take place in these cells when the disease develops.” In the recent research, the investigators collected skin cells from 13 patients with sporadic, age-related Alzheimer’s. They also used cells from three people who have the more rare, inherited form of the disease. As a control, they collected skin cells from 19 people who were matched for age but did not have Alzheimer’s. Using a specialized type of skin cells called fibroblasts, they generated induced neurons from each of the cell donors. They then compared the molecular differences in the cells among those who had Alzheimer’s to the cells of those who did not. The investigators found the induced neurons made from the cells of people with Alzheimer’s had distinct characteristics that were different from the healthy control subjects’ cells. For one thing, the Alzheimer’s cells had a lack of synaptic structures, which are important for sending signals to each other. They also had changes in their signaling pathways which control cell function, indicating the cells were stressed. Additionally, when the researchers analyzed the cells’ transcriptomes – a type of analysis that shows what proteins the cells are making – they found the induced Alzheimer’s neurons had very similar molecular signatures to immature nerve cells found in the developing brain. According to Mertens, the neurons seem to have lost their mature identity, and this de-differentiation, in which cells lose their specialized characteristics, has also been described in cancer cells. He suggests the finding opens up the door for new studies. (The Salk Institute provided this information.)
Fremont Meals on Wheels
From a Houston cardiologist
Tips to keep your heart healthy
he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program needs volunteers to deliver meals to these signs when they come with exertion. If you notice By Waqar Khan, MD, older adults in Fremont. these signs, consult your doctor immediately. On weekdays, volunteers will pick up coolers holding • Maintain a healthy weight: Eating right and keeping ot all signs of an eight to 10 meals at the Fremont Friendship Center (Chrisa check on your weight will help you lower heart disease impending heart tensen Field), 1730 W. 16th St., around 11 a.m. risk. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for attack are obviThe volunteers – asked to deliver meals one to three days ous and the subtle women and 40 inches in men is more likely to be associated a week – will place each meal in a plastic bag, knock on the with heart disease. Cutting out sugary sweet or high calorie door or ring the doorbell of the meal recipient, then place signs which go unnoticed drinks can save you many calories a day and help you lose can still result in a deadly the bag on the doorknob or a nearby table. weight. outcome, adding to the After the route – which should take around an hour – is • Watch your diet: Try to have a balanced diet. Add tragic statistic that makes completed, volunteers return the coolers to the Fremont more fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta, and coronary heart disease the Friendship Center. rice. Lower the amount of salt in your diet. Avoid fatty leading cause of death for For more information, please contact ENOA’s Volunteer men and women in America. foods particularly trans fats which are found in processed Services division at 402-444-6536 or foods. Avoid ingredient lists that have hydrogenated or par- firstname.lastname@example.org. The numbers don’t lie, tially hydrogenated fats. Start the day with some fruit and and they’re staggering: Eva serving of whole grains like oatmeal. Have a handful of ery 43 seconds, an Amerinuts a few times a week. Choose lean cuts and reduced fat can succumbs to coronary Please see the ad on page 3 options. Add whole plant-based foods. heart disease. That’s 2,000 lives a day. Some knew they • Lower your cholesterol levels: Higher levels of chohad unhealthy hearts. Some lesterol lead to fatty deposits in your heart and brain arteries that lead to heart attacks and stroke. You can lower your didn’t recognize the early cholesterol levels by exercising and eating right. Try to warning signs. Here are 10 tips to reduce avoid fatty foods. Reduce your cholesterol by limiting butter, red meat, bakery products, and fried foods. the risk of developing this • Lower your blood pressure levels: The higher the deadly disease: $50 blood pressure, the shorter the life expectancy. People • Know your risks for Curtis Becker with higher blood pressure run the risk of heart attacks and coronary heart disease: strokes. People should aim for a blood pressure of less than There are five major risk 130 mmHg systolic (top number) and less than 80 mmHg factors which lead to coro$40 diastolic pressure (bottom number). Remember 120/80 as a nary artery disease or heart target blood pressure. attacks. Those risk factors Abby Johnson include high blood pressure, • Stop smoking: Smoking is one of the strongest risk high cholesterol, high sugar factors for developing coronary heart disease. A smoker is levels or diabetes, smoking, twice as likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. $30 Talk to your doctor about the many ways to quit smoking. and family history of heart • Exercise more: Try to walk 10 to 15 minutes daily. It’s disease. Karolyn Duponcheel ideal to exercise 30 minutes four to five times a week. You Men over age 45 and Abby Johnson don’t have to over-exert yourself. Brisk walking or light women over age 55 are at a higher risk for heart disease. jogging is great for this purpose. • Stress less: Lower your stress levels. High stress leads • Recognize early signs $10 of coronary heart disease: to more smoking and drinking and increases your risk of heart attacks. Look into relaxation techniques such as deep Make sure you recognize Marcia Carlson breathing, yoga, gardening, etc. signs of heart disease such • Get a good night’s sleep: You need six to seven hours as shortness of breath, discomfort, and tightness in of sleep a night to give your body the break it needs to $5 function efficiently and to lower your risk of developing chest, neck, jaws, or back. Kathleen Koons heart disease and blood pressure. Make sure you take time Indigestion can sometimes to rest. be a sign of coronary heart (Dr. Khan, MD, MPH, is a board-certified interventional disease. Reflects donations through May 21, 2021. cardiologist in suburban Houston, Texas.) Be even more wary of
New Horizons Club gains new members
Know the facts about COVID vaccines
OVID-19 has changed how we live and how we feel. Vaccines are now widely available and getting vaccinated is the first step in a process that will get us back to doing what we miss most. GetVaccineAnswers.org offers five things you and your family should know about COVID-19 vaccines so you can make informed decisions about being vaccinated. • You won’t get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. Researchers began developing vaccines for COVID-19 in January 2020 based on decades of understanding immune response and how vaccines work. Thousands of volunteers participated in clinical trials that started that spring, making sure we can trust the vaccines to be safe and effective. • The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all Americans. Insurance providers will cover the vaccine’s cost and the government has set up a system
to cover the costs for those without insurance. No one can be denied a vaccine even if they’re unable to pay the administration fee. • Health providers shouldn’t discriminate against undocumented individuals from getting the COVID-19 vaccines. Some personal information – which will vary by site – might be requested. Although fear is a reality for members of the undocumented community when giving out personal information, it’s important to seek information from community allies. Speak with a local trusted source about how you can get a COVID-19 vaccine in your state and what personal information will be needed. • Researchers made sure the trials included adults of diverse backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and geographic areas. • Continue wearing masks, stay six feet apart from people you don’t live with, avoid crowds, and wash your hands frequently. For more information, go to getvaccineanswers.org.
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Survey examines COVID-19’s impact Advice to get your gardening season off to productive start on habits of the American workforce By Melinda Myers
ccording to a FlexJobs survey of more than 2,100 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 58% said they’d look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely in their current position. Of that total, 31% weren’t sure what they would do, 11% said not being able to continue working remotely was not a big deal to them, 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time postpandemic, 33% would like a combination of remote and in-office work, and 2% would prefer to return to the traditional office on a fulltime basis. While workers are most concerned about COVID-19 exposure/infection (49%), having less work flexibility (46%) and less work-life balance (43%) were other key apprehension points in returning to traditional workplaces. “I’m not surprised to see more than half of people working remotely during the pandemic, even under these strained and unusual circumstances, appreciate its benefits to such a strong degree they would leave their jobs in order to keep working from home,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “The landscape of remote work has permanently changed as a result of COVID-19 and its impact will be felt in the job market and the workplace well into the foreseeable future,” said Sutton. Here are some other survey findings to consider: • 38% of people working remotely estimate they save at least $5,000 a year from remote work (not eating outside the home, less gasoHorizonAD-2010:HorizonAD-08 line used, less dry cleaning,
etc.). One in five are saving more than $200/week. • Cost savings is listed as the second top benefit of working remotely (75%), second only to not having to commute (84%). • More than half of remote workers have a specific home office setup including 24% who have a home office and 34% who have created a dedicated home office space. • Nine out of 10 remote workers spent money on their home office in 2020, including 42% who spent between $100 to $500 and 12% who spent more than $1,000. • If they secured a permanent remote work arrangement, 37% would consider relocating and 31% said they might consider relocating. Top factors influencing this decision were better quality of life (58%), lower cost of living/housing (47%), and different/better climate (38%). • Most remote workers prefer not to hear from their supervisors more than a few times per week. • 14% said relationships with their bosses are harder to manage in a virtual environment. • 55% said their productivity increased while working remotely, 33% said it stayed the same, and 6% said their productivity decreased. •30% said their ability to collaborate has improved in a virtual environment compared to working in a traditional office, 33% said their ability to collaborate has suffered, and 33% said it has been unchanged. • 50% of remote workers said they like video meetings (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.), 14% don’t like them, 33% are neutral, and 3% didn’t use them. • Dealing with technical/software issues (screens freezing, poor audio, etc.) was the primary pain point with video meetings. Video fatigue (28%), reading non-verbal cues (28%), and background distractions (26%) followed. • Favorite elements of remote work included not having to travel/drive to meetings (75%), wearing comfortable clothing (58%), the ability to mute (55%), and more scheduling flexibility (51%). • The biggest challenges of remote work cited were overwork/unplugging (35%), dealing with non-work distractions (28%), troubleshooting technology problems (28%), and reliable Wi-Fi (26%). • 86% engaged in some kind of professional or skill development during the pandemic, most notably taking online courses (51%). Only 20% thought their professional skill set has suffered during the pandemic. • 70% don’t think working remotely during the pandemic has had an impact on their chances of promotion/advancement. • 56% said they have experienced burnout during the pandemic, while 39% said their mental health is worse today than it was pre-pandemic. 2/4/10 8:00 AMprovided Page 1 this information.) (FlexJobs
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ou created your wish list, ordered some or all of the seeds you’ll need, and those seeds are beginning to arrive. Make the most of your investment by doing some planning. Starting seeds at the proper time, indoors or directly in the garden, ensures a good start to the growing season. Check the back of the seed packet for planting times and directions. Consult your local Extension Service’s website for more details on the best time to plant. Organize your seeds by when they need to be started. You can create your own system or invest in one like Gardener’s Supply’s seed envelopes and dividers. This system allows you to organize seeds by type, planting season, color, garden location, and more. Use your storage system to keep leftover seeds organized for future plantings. It will also save you money on future seed orders. Be sure to place the seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enter planting dates on your calendar as well. Months pass quickly and it’s easy to miss important planting times. Creating a planting calendar will help you plant seeds at the proper time for the maximum benefit. Gather seed starting equipment and supplies if starting seeds indoors. You’ll need a quality seed starting or potting mix and clean containers. Use yogurt and other small food containers for starting seeds. Drill holes in the bottom and clean them before planting.
void disease problems by sanitizing old plant containers. Soak them in a one-part bleach and nine-parts water solution for 10 minutes. Then rinse in clear water before filling with planting
mix. Or try one of the new plastic-free, environmentally friendly seed starting options. Use a paper pot maker (gardeners.com) to convert newspaper into biodegradable plant pots. Consider cow pots made of composted manure that provide nutrients in a biodegradable pot. You can leave your seedlings in these containers when moving them into the garden. Create your own pot-free seed starter with Gardener’s Supply soil blocker. It presses moist potting mix into blocks that hold their shape. The blocks can be moved directly into the garden, reducing transplant shock. Follow the directions on the seed packets for depth and care. Most seeds prefer warm conditions but don’t need light to sprout. Keep the planting mix moist. Cover the containers with a sheet of plastic to conserve moisture and extend the time between watering. Once you see any green, it’s time to move the seedlings into bright light or under artificial lights. Keep the lights on for no more than 14 to 16 hours and four to six inches above the top of the plants for best results. Once your plants are actively growing, you can begin fertilizing if needed. Check the planting mix to see if a fertilizer has been added and how long it will be effective before adding more. Follow the label directions on the fertilizer you select. Share the fun and workload with friends and family. Perhaps you’ll start tomatoes for everyone, another person handles the peppers, and a third person the eggplants. Or just share extra seeds since each packet usually contains more than most gardeners have space to grow. Most importantly, have fun. (Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books.)
Effective listening is the key to a meaningful conversation “Be curious, not furious.” This is a slogan I picked up from an online class I’m taking on dialogue. I chose to sign up for this class because of the challenges I experience when trying to have meaningful conversations with people whose opinions are the opposite of mine. I find many other people struggle with the same difficulty, sometimes leading to broken relationships. The key principle offered by the instructors is that we all have opinions and biases based on our experiences. In other words, we have personal stories that shape our thinking. Until we hear the stories of others, we have little idea of where they’re coming from.
Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath
The most effective way of bridging the gap is to ask others what story has led them to form the opinion they carry. Then just listen to them. Effective listening is the hardest part. It’s our nature to want to correct or refute when we disagree. This will shut down the conversation immediately or turn it into an argument. If our goal is to build bridges, we must listen to discover our common ground. This behooves us to enter the conversation with a mindset that’s open to the other person, assuming this person is of good will and is sincere in his/her beliefs. For example, I recently had a conversation with a friend who has chosen not to be vaccinated for COVID 19. I prepared for this talk by reminding myself of all of her good qualities. She’s generous and kind, not at all like my stereotype of “anti-vaxxers.” I opened our conversation by affirming her and then expressed my curiosity. She seldom discusses her reasons but because I was open and curious, she willingly shared her experience and story of how she came to her position. She described the research she has done based on her preference for natural remedies to illness. Her skepticism seemed reasonable to me. Though I didn’t change my mind, I did come to understand how she arrived at her conclusion. So much for my anti-vaxxer stereotype of ignorance or stubbornness. We were able to make a connection when she asked me to explain why I decided to get the vaccine. Our common ground is that we both want to be healthy. We want what’s good for us and our families long term. This is one example of the benefits of meaningful dialogue. While it’s not easy, I hope to be able to develop skill in bridging understanding with others who are different from me. It may be especially useful in interracial discussions and political or religious conversations. The free class I’m taking. called White Ally Anti-Racism Dialogue, is sponsored by the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. It consists of three sessions via ZOOM. I encourage anyone who wants to learn these skills to contact the facilitators. Use email@example.com for the contact email or call Suzanne at 832-723-6630. Together, let’s learn to be curious. (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching in Omaha. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of Life. Contact her with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Charles E. Dorwart Massih Law, LLC 40 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • Medicaid Planning • In-home consultations • Free Initial consultation 226 N. 114th Street • Omaha, NE 68154 Office: (402) 558-1404 or (402) 933-2111 email@example.com www.dorwartlaw.com
Older adults spending less on healthcare during pandemic
lthough older Americans have been the most at risk of dying from COVID-19, the pandemic resulted in a rare drop in healthcare spending for this age group in 2020, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League. The nationwide survey of more than 1,098 participants found a large drop from 2019 to 2020 in the percentage of individuals reporting the highest level of healthcare spending and a significant increase in the number of those with the lower levels of spending. “This was most likely due to the large number of medical, dental, and other visits that were postponed or cancelled as our nation awaited vaccines,” says Mary Johnson, a Medicare policy analyst for TSCL.
Johnson, who is 69 and receives Medicare, cites her own experience. In 2019, her total healthcare costs, including premiums for Medicare Part B, a Medigap supplement, a prescription drug plan, and dental insurance, as well as out-of-pocket spending, totaled $9,500 for the year or about $791 per month. In 2020, however, her total healthcare spending fell 43% dropping to $5,397 for the year or $449 per month. “This was a temporary drop. Now that I’m vaccinated, I’m already making up postponed visits and getting routine care for this year. What is not so clear is the extent to which other older adults will make up postponed care or experience increased spending for newly diagnosed conditions or worsened health.” TSCL’s survey asked participants how much they spent per month on healthcare costs in 2020. Participants were instructed to include premiums for Medicare Part B, Medigap or Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage, and dental or vision insurance. The survey also asked participants to include spending on out-of-pocket costs and co-pays for doctor visits, labs, special procedures, diagnostics, and prescription drugs, as well as exams by dentists and optometrists. In addition, participants were told to include spending for glasses, hearing aid batteries, and special protective medical items for 2020 such as face masks needed during the pandemic.
on your prescriptions with the
Douglas County Prescription Discount Card
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Drake finds massive new following thanks to social media
Leta is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Press Women’s Hall of Fame. By Leo Adam Biga Contributing Writer
or Nebraskans of a certain age, Leta Powell Drake is a familiar figure. She’s been a media personality here since the 1960s. Even if you don’t know the name, you probably recognize her distinctive voice and appearance. Now, thanks to social media, her fame’s grown exponentially because celebrity interviews she conducted decades ago enjoy new life on Twitter and YouTube. Thus, the traits that made her a local star before are enchanting a whole new legion of worldwide fans today. She’s used her deep-timbered, well-articulated delivery, and classic blonde good looks to great effect as a stage actress, radio-television interviewer, pitchwoman, and spokesmodel. Her work as a host, producer, and programmer at KOLN-TV in Lincoln and Nebraska Educational Television (NET) earned her induction into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She’s also the capitol city’s First Lady of Theater for her legendary University of Nebraska theater and Lincoln Community Playhouse performances. Fellow Nebraska broadcast legend Ron Hull – who joined NET in 1955 – recalled when he first set eyes on her. “She was a stunningly beautiful young woman and a stunning actress. I’ve seen a lot of theater in my life and Leta Powell Drake was an extraordinary talent. She could use her body and voice as instruments in very subtle, wonderful ways in creating characters other than herself.” To many, Drake is known in-state as Kalamity Kate, the character she created for the now defunct children’s TV show Cartoon Corral on KOLN. Presence is something Drake has in ample supply and it’s on display when interviewing people which she still does today for Lincoln public access Channel 5 City Television’s Live and Learn. Decades ago, her bigger-than-life demeanor and bold, blunt, approach made Leta a local celebrity as host-producer of KOLN’s The Morning Show. A few times a year she and a crew flew to New York City or Los Angles to tape interviews with film-television stars on CBS press junkets. These 1970s-1980s sessions took place in fancy hotels. Some of the interviews she did then, in-
cluding pieces with Gregory Peck, Elliot Gould, Lee Remick, Tim Curry, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, and Tom Selleck have gone viral online. Eight million-plus views later, and Drake is far bigger now than ever. This late in life phenomenon, she said, leaves her absolutely delighted but puzzled how it all happened. “It was so strange, I was shocked.” In one sense, nothing prepared Leta for the deluge of notoriety and media inquiries that’s followed her rediscovery by a new generation. Then again, everything in the past prepared her for this are-you-ready-for-your-close-up moment. Indeed, Drake’s preened before cameras and audiences since her teens in Duluth, Minn., where she grew up the daughter of an ex-beauty queen mother and a diamond-cutter father. Her father, Thomas Evan Powell, gained a measure of fame in 1905 when as a young mine worker in South Africa he helped uncover the massive “Star of Africa” or Cullinan Diamond. His account of the discovery as told to Leta and her siblings is consistent with the historical record. “It just so happened the sun was setting in such a way there was a bright light shining on a wall of the mine shaft they were working in and the glint of a jewell caught my dad’s eye,” Drake said. “He ran to the supervisor to report what he saw, and they all went to the spot. My dad and the gang worked to bring out what was the largest diamond in the known world. He was paid extra for his find.” Leta’s glad her father’s role is documented. “I’m thrilled. For him to get some credit is marvelous because he never brought any attention to himself. He was kind of a quiet guy.” Drake’s parents divorced when she was young. After her mother remarried, the family relocated briefly to Louisiana before moving back north. She and her siblings all went on to be high achievers. Three earned Ph.Ds. Her brother, Tom Powell, founded the company Aerovent, a leading designer and manufacturer of industrial air moving equipment. “We’re ego-inspired to be the top of everything – all of us,” she said. Competitive and athletic by nature, Leta grew up playing sports with boys. “I liked the competition. I still am very competitive. I was really quite good at skiing, ice skating, and softball. I did everything. I wanted to show those guys I could do those things. They welcomed me because I was competitive. I could hit the ball and kick the ball as far as they could.” Drake’s competitiveness extended from athletics to academics. “I always wanted to be the top of the class. I studied hard and achieved that.” She earned a scholarship to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Later, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she completed the coursework for her doctorate but never did her dissertation. “I was so busy. I was doing plays, television shows, (and) I had a child to take care of. I just couldn’t handle any more.” It was in high school that Leta found the twin passions she organized her life around. “I’ve been in the theater and television my entire life. I’m outgoing, I like the attention, I love the stage. It’s fun to be recognized and having people cheer you on.” By the time she found herself interviewing stars, Drake was a seasoned pro of stage and screen and not about to be bland. “I’d listen to some of the other reporters and their questions were so ordinary, and I thought, how boring. I decided to be anything but boring. The key was I did my homework. We didn’t have the Internet then, so I went to the library to read about the guests. I tried to find out anything I could that was rather interesting. The idea was to challenge
Drake wearing a Czech costume to help promote a pledge drive for Nebraska Educational Television. them with that. Maybe a part of why these interviews resonate today is because they weren’t like any other interview.” Hull noted Leta betrayed no hint of being in awe of the famous faces sitting opposite her. Her stagecraft made it seem she was an intimate of guests even though they were meeting for the first time. “With her self-assurance, she could walk in a room and hold her own in any situation,” Hull said. “She didn’t pull any punches in the interviews either. It was very disarming for the guest.” Even though the interviews were recorded on bulky three-quarter inch broadcast quality videotape, Drake opted to store them. “I didn’t want to throw them away. I had a big shelving unit behind my desk, so I just started to put them there because I thought, well maybe I can do something with those down the road. Well, down the road came.” She donated a “truckload” of the tapes to the Nebraska History Museum, whose staff converted the tapes into digital files. “I wasn’t sure why I was saving them. I’m glad I did.” So how does it feel to have millions of new fans? “I’m very pleased, but where’s the money?” she quipped.” Media continue contacting Drake to comment on the experience, “I’ve given a lot of interviews. That’s a good thing. I enjoy that.” Leta’s penchant for putting herself out there has seen her tackle many things. “I never think there’s something I can’t do,” she said. “I flew in an all-women’s transcontinental air race with a friend of mine, and we twice finished in the Top 10. I piloted a single-engine aircraft across the U.S. four times.” She flew in an F-4 jet with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and when the pilot learned Drake was a licensed pilot, he allowed her to briefly take the controls. Becoming a pilot came on a sort of dare from Lincoln-based Duncan Aviation, which proposed a KOLN cameraman capture Leta’s flying lessons. “I thought, why not. It was a good deal because I’d learn to fly without paying a penny and --Continued on page 9.
Competitive drive has allowed Leta to succeed in a male-dominated industry -Continued from page 8. I’d get a series out of it for The Morning Show. Plus, I lived just across from the airport.” Her female instructor was nicknamed “Birdie”. During one of Drake’s early flight lessons, Birdie landed the plane, got out, and gave Leta the flight controls. In her typical go-go style, Leta brought the plane to altitude and promptly requested permission to land, as she had the kids’ TV program to do that afternoon. “I was terrified because landing is the hardest part. When I made it down without incident everyone in the tower applauded. Then I got into my car and rushed to the TV station. All of a sudden, I grabbed the wheel of the car and screamed, ‘I did it, I flew an airplane by myself.’” Flying gave her great satisfaction. “When you get up in the sky and you’re all by yourself with the clouds and you can see horizons all over, it’s so magnificent. It’s really inspiring.” Learning to fly was among the many perks that came with the job at KOLN. “I was so very fortunate because I was on television and so visible for so long that I got a lot of offers and opportunities to do things. I love things that are free.” The competitive Drake won canoe races on the Niobrara River and still plays a speed game of golf. “I like to go fast. I can do nine holes in 46 minutes.” She pitches horseshoes versus guys. She bowls Tuesday nights, recently rolling a 206 game with six straight strikes. “I’m not dead yet,” she proclaimed with dramatic emphasis. She also walks every day, weather permitting. Her doctor son, Aaron Drake, is a chip off the old block. “He’s very adventuresome and he’s very productive. I always told him there’s nothing you can’t do, kiddo.” Leta has two granddaughters.
mong Powell’s favorite things to do is travel. “I went to China a long time ago. I brought a woman friend along and we had the best time there. The people were so wonderful to us. My hair was quite blonde, and they didn’t see that very much, so I let them touch my hair. I’d smile, bow, and say, ‘Ni hao’ (hello.) I loved China. And the interesting thing is my son works in China now.” Her world travels, which included the Soviet Union, could fill a book. Many happened through the auspices of the Lincoln-based Friendship Force.
“I went on several trips around the world with them. They set it up, took care of all of the details. It made it easy.” Other trips took her to Japan, Hawaii, Canada, Europe, Africa, and South America. In many of these places, the group stayed in people’s homes making the experience more immersive, less touristy. Some folks she stayed with – including a Japanese family – completed the exchange by visiting her in Lincoln. Perhaps more impressive than Drake’s physical travels is the journey she made as a woman navigating the TV industry during the height of the Mad Men era. Drake was a real-life Mary Richards years before The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s fictionalized account of a woman in that highpressure, male-dominated, chauvinistic field. Leta got hooked on the medium in 1956 at KDALTV in Duluth when as a high school student, she won a VFW I Speak for Democracy essay contest and got to read her words live on the air. “I was kind of terrified but apparently it worked. I had such a good time. That’s the thing that got me started. I was thrilled. The big lights and cameras. It was really interesting.” That debut got noticed by
Leta interviewed George Burns when the legendary, cigar-smoking comedian was age 97.
a furrier who hired Drake to model his wares on the tube. The station then offered her a job at the front desk. She soon transitioned to a regular on-air talent giving out prizes as “The Bingo Girl” on a kids’ show. She soaked up everything about the new medium as it was invented. “I was learning during all this time. I became very comfortable with being on live TV.” Meanwhile, Drake’s other passion, theater, flourished. She was in high school plays and local community theater. “I liked getting up on stage and seeing what I could do.” Leta was studying prelaw her first year in col-
lege when she found out about auditions for a play. When told no freshman ever received a leading role, her competitiveness kicked in. “Well, that’s all I needed. I went over to the theater department, auditioned, and I got the part. That’s when I decided I’m not going to be a lawyer, I’m going to be an actor. I changed my classes to drama, lit, and communications. I was in all the school plays and did some more at the community playhouse.” When her favorite professor, William Morgan, accepted a position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she followed her muse --Continued on page 10.
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Drake’s Lincoln home features this impressive collection of trophies she’s won over the years.
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old • er 74 adul ts since 19
At KOLN, Drake starred as Kalamity Kate, morning news host
Leta and Johnny Carson at a fashion show and dinner in New York City.
--Continued from page 9. to UN-L in 1960 as a graduate student. “He became my best friend. I got to stay at his house with his family before I found my own place. I took all of his classes. He was wonderful. A great teacher. When he died suddenly it broke my heart. He made everything possible for me.” Along the way, Drake, who originally considered Nebraska a temporary stop before conquering Broadway or Hollywood, made this place her home. “I began to really love Nebraska. I got very involved in everything at the university. I was in every single play.” Helping plant Drake here was getting on at KLIN Radio and KOLN-TV, where despite the old boys’ network she found herself loving the work. “I didn’t get paid very much. The engineers and floor crew – who were all guys – got paid more than I did. The whole (TV) station was run by men. The camera crew, the people in the control room, everything was done by men. We had to do what they told us to do, and I didn’t like that.” Excluded from the newsroom, Powell went a different way. “The men on the news and sports side weren’t fun. They were serious. But I could have fun with the stuff I did.” Thus, she found her niche both in front of and behind the camera as KOLN’s program director for 28 years and The Morning Show host for 20 years.
rake briefly left Lincoln for Milwaukee, where her mother lived. Leta had gotten married, and the short-lived union resulted in her getting pregnant. She moved back to Lincoln to give birth to her only child. She did a variety of things in communications. She filed pieces for American Public Radio’s nationally syndicated Marketplace, facilitated interviews and locations for American Snapshots on The Family Channel, and wrote-producedfronted ad campaigns for clients. “I didn’t let anything grow under my toes. I just kept saying, ‘I can do that.’ All I need is a challenge. I love challenges. I am assertive.” “She is a strong woman and likes to have her way,” said Hull who worked with Drake at NET. If the men she worked with felt insecure or annoyed by her aggressive style, Leta said, they kept it to themselves. At the peak of her career, keeping up with all
Drake and her son, Aaron, rode on an elephant in a Lincoln parade.
A licensed pilot, Leta flew with the United States Navy’s Blue Angels.
her commitments took some doing. “Two live television shows a day, trying to go to college, doing theater at night, taking my boy to and from the babysitter. I ran all the time.” Leta’s appetite for action and an ambition to stand out led her to cover major fashion shows across the nation for KOLN. One led to an intersection with a Nebraska icon. “Johnny Carson was the speaker at a Hart Schaffner Marx dinner in New York City. I was always so impressed by Johnny. I knew that only the rich people would be there, and all of the women would be dressed to the nines. Johnny didn’t know me, so to stick out I wore my red and white striped bib overalls. When I walked into this big fancy dinner everybody looked at me kind of cross-eyed. “He got a kick out of this goofy gal wearing this outrageous costume at such a prestigious event. That was so much fun. I had a picture taken with Johnny.” Her career arc has gone from live broadcasts and filmed stories to video, digital, even Zoom. “Everything used to be live and that was tough,” she said. “It’s so much easier now because you can start and stop. If you screw up, you can go back and redo it.” Until becoming a social media darling recently, Kalamity Kate and Cartoon Corral were what most folks associated with Drake. “To this day everybody seems to remember Cartoon Corral and not The Morning Show, which always surprises me because I put much more effort into The Morning Show,” she said. “I had to produce an hour a day of interesting interviews, find the people, and get them in to the studio.” To parlay the nostalgia, she wrote a book about the kids’ show. The Calamities of Kalamity Kate: A History of Nebraska’s Children’s TV Shows released in 2014. “I had no idea how difficult it is writing a book, especially getting names and dates right when no records were kept. I got the help of Jim McKee, who produces books in Lincoln. It took me four years to write it. I called everybody I could think of who might have been on the show to ask what they remembered.” To her surprise, the labor of love project did very well.
she enjoyed doing them. “This was a wonderful opportunity for me. I did about 450 of them.” For her, the standout interviews were with stage-screen actor James Earl Jones, child actor Peter Billingsley, and comedy legend George Burns. Once her archive of interviews went viral on Twitter last fall, the ensuing flood of feedback overwhelmed Leta. “I can’t deal with it anymore. I don’t want to go through it again. But it’s been fun.” Hull said Drake has earned the recognition the interviews have provided.
roving far more popular across the globe are the celebrity interviews Drake did, which thanks to the Web are turning out to be her real legacy work. Though she never imagined the interviews being showcased years later,
espite the great content she created for KOLN, Leta’s career there didn’t end on her own terms when she and new management parted ways. “I just didn’t like the way in which I was being treated and being paid so little.” That’s when she set her sights on public television. NET embraced her. “I programmed the network. We took the things coming from afar and then we had our own local shows. The public side meant more to me than the commercial side because the quality is there. I can’t bear anything but public television.” She led the NET network’s on-air pledge drives with characteristic panache and aplomb, eliciting record funds. The pledge drives gave her a public forum to shine in. “It was a lot of work. We did it at night. It took a long time. You had to be prepared. I’d work all day, then I’d stay there, and go back out on the floor and start ‘begging for the bucks’ as I called it. But I really liked it. It was always a challenge for me to see how much money I could bring in.” Hull was impressed by Drake’s preparation, which added value to her content. “When she got in front of the camera, she knew what she was talking about. And there’s a big difference in what the viewer gets from a person like that.” After putting her indelible mark on NET, history repeated itself, when a new regime came in and replaced Drake and 10 others.“That broke my heart because I thought I would stay there forever,” she said. For a medium she’s given most of her life and made major contributions to, it hasn’t always reciprocated in kind. Not so with theater. “I was just in every play I thought there was a part for me,” and I just kept doing it.” --Please turn to page 11.
Leta Powell Drake...
--Continued from page 10. Drake did summer stock for three years at The Little Theatre in Winston-Salem, NC. With summer stock, actors might have the lead one time and a supporting part the next time. New York was to be her next stop. “I was thinking of going into the theater permanently, and then I got practical. Having a baby changed everything.” Instead of pursuing an acting career elsewhere, she poured her dramatic energy into Lincoln shows. She’s played many noted stage roles, including Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Leta’s stage work earned her several Best Actress awards at the university’s theater, now called the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. In 1968, she established a fund for cash prizes given to students chosen as best actor and actress each season. “I do that because I love the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. That’s where I did so many plays, I know that a gift of several hundred dollars is appreciated by students. “I love the university and what I’m doing with OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). It offers free classes for people age 50 and older so they can continue to learn. The classes are taught by professionals who volunteer their time. I create classes for it.”
Caregiver support programs held monthly through February
ngels Care Home Health is offering a series of monthly caregiver support programs for persons caring for a loved one with dementia. The sessions are held the third Monday of each month through February 2022 at 11:30 a.m. at Amelia Place, 57 W. Ferndale Dr. in Council Bluffs. Lunch will be provided. For more information, please call Amber at 402-616-2561.
An error was made in a cutline on page 11 in the May 2021 New Horizons. The name of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging client receiving the Meals on Wheels delivery in the photo from Leticia Rojas is actually Shirley Herzinger. I apologize for the error.
Jeff Reinhardt New Horizons Editor
The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has been providing programs and services for older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties since 1974.
hat first made Hull notice Drake 60-odd years ago is what he still admires about her today. “I really like people that have talent, and Leta’s really used her talent well. When she takes a job, she gives 100% of Leta Powell Drake. She doesn’t hold anything back. And she has lots of ideas about everything. There are some people who don’t always appreciate that, but if they would just listen, they would soon figure out that maybe she has a point, because she’s got a good mind.” Drake cultivates that mind by reading and staying active. “As I age, I can’t be as physically active as I would really like to be. And my brain is not functioning like it used to. I was pretty sharp, and now I’m struggling for words. It’s maddening. Aging ain’t for sissies.” But age isn’t making her any less irrepressible. In addition to her OLLI work, Leta’s still in TV as host-producer of Live and Learn. “Prior to the coronavirus, guests would come into the studio and I could sit there with them and talk. Now I do it on Zoom. I hate Zoom. It’s just not the same at all. I’m hoping it’s going to open up so that we can go back to doing it in-person.” Her methods remain the same. “I just do my own thing and see if it works. If it doesn’t work, I change it. I don’t sit back and wait. I say, ‘What about this?’ I’m noisy.” Hull said Drake’s enthusiasm and energy explain why she’s accomplished so much. “I very much admire her. She reminds me of other great ladies of Nebraska. Mari Sandoz often described the characters she created in her novels as ‘will-to-power individuals’ who no matter their background decide on a goal and do it. I knew Sandoz the last 10 years of her life and I saw that will-to-power in her. Willa Cather certainly had it. Leta has that, too.” Between her classes, shows, and recreational pursuits, Drake remains curious. “I’m always looking for interesting people to meet and interesting things to do. I always ask, ‘How did they do that?’ or say, ‘Let me try that.’” For Drake, all the world’s a stage. “Of course, everything I do is performance,” she said.
Flaherty Consulting is offering free Caregiver Solutions Group meetings
eing a family caregiver can be difficult. Challenges may include balancing work and family life with caring for a loved one, feeling isolated, navigating senior care and medical systems, caring for a loved one who isn’t the same person as before their disease arrived, and more. You don’t have to navigate this alone. Join a free Flaherty Consulting Caregiver Solutions Group. Group members discuss topics of their choice and receive input from the facilitator and individuals in the group. Participants learn how to deal with different caregiver issues, obtain skills and knowledge, and engage in great discussions with a special focus on caring for loved ones with dementia. While there’s no charge, registration is required to attend these sessions which meet approximately every other month. CDC guidelines will be followed. Masks are mandatory and social distancing will be observed.
Although no food is allowed, you can bring your own beverages. There are four active Flaherty Consulting Caregiver Solutions Group sites in Omaha: • The Servite Center of Compassion 72nd St. & Ames Cr. • St. Vincent de Paul Church 14330 Eagle Run Dr. • St. Timothy Lutheran Church 510 N. 93rd St. • Faith Westwood United Methodist Church 4814 Oaks Ln. Contact Nancy Flaherty at 402-312-9324 to register for a meeting or for more information. Flaherty is also is available for private consultations. Visit flahertyconsulting.net to learn more about available resources and programs.
Grandparents need to teach, share, give, listen, learn By Jen Beck
he past year has certainly made families and friends realize how important one is to the other. More importantly, as grandparents are reunited in person with children and grandchildren, people are delighted to have the companionship, conversation, and time with those they treasure most. It’s not just the grandparents who benefit from the time together. The kids can also benefit long term. If you have the opportunity to spend time with grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or a child with whom you have a developed relationship, make the most of the times you have together. Teach. Teach kids traditions from the past and share your stories. There are plenty of things kiddos will eventually Google, but they may never pick up a cross-stitched towel kit unless it was brought to their attention by a grandparent. Help them sew on a button. Head outside to do some gardening and soak up the sunshine. This is Nebraska, if they graduate without shucking some corn, society has certainly failed them. All jokes aside, grandparents make the best afternoon sandwiches after a day on the beach and smores around the campfire. Anyone can teach kids these skills, but the best memories come from a grandparent lesson. Give them gifts. In addition to teaching them life-
long skills and planting memories, provide kids with gifts of love and attention. Be the person to whom they frantically wave during their preschool graduation ceremony. Being present in their life has shown to improve cognitive performance for older adults, and the youngsters will very likely keep you up to date on technology or teach you the latest “cool” dance. If the “kids” in your life are heading off to college, send gifts of homemade snacks, desserts, or favorite dinners. No gift heals a heart heavy with finals or homesickness better than Grandma’s best pie.
Call 1-844-268-5627 Legal Aid’s Disaster Relief Hotline offers advice during the pandemic
ebraskans who have questions or who are experiencing legal problems due to the coronavirus/ COVID-19 public health emergency can get legal advice and help through the free COVID-19 Disaster Relief Hotline. Hosted by Legal Aid of Nebraska, working closely with the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), this hotline aims to make key legal assistance easy and accessible. If you’re a Nebraskan facing legal issues related to the virus, or the owner of a small, locally-owned business (less than 50 employees, and not a franchise) that’s closed, in risk of permanent closure due to the virus, and where the payment of fees would significantly deplete your resources, the hotline may be reached at 1-844-268-5627. Callers will be connected to the hotline’s voice mail. Callers should leave their name, phone number, brief details of the problem and the assistance needed, and in what county they’re located. Callers will receive a call back from an experienced Legal Aid staff member. Individuals and businesses that don’t qualify for Legal Aid’s free services will be directly referred to the VLP. The VLP will work to place cases with Nebraska volunteer lawyers who will provide free legal assistance. The types of legal issues associated with COVID-19, and focused on by the hotline include: • Tenants with rent issues, including those facing eviction. • Debt problems, including debtors with garnishments or who are ordered to appear at a debtor’s exam. • Mortgage foreclosures, including advising on options for delinquent payments. • Unemployment insurance denials. • Employee rights, including sick leave and wage payments. • Government benefits available to low-income persons such as ADC, SNAP, AABD, and SSI. • Medicaid and medical insurance claims. • Drafting wills, health care power of attorney, and transfer on death deeds. • Domestic abuse and safety issues. • Elder abuse and exploitation. • Access to education. • Helping small, locally-owned businesses with business and employment related matters, including human relations issues, unemployment benefits, and contracts. More information on these legal issues, including ways you can directly help yourself are available at legalaidofnebraska.org.
fter retirement, you’re awarded the gift of time, and paying that forward to grandchildren, great grandchildren, or otherwise will provide a satisfying and beneficial reward for both the young and the aging. Listen. Kids and aging adults face the same scenarios, just decades apart. Where do I fit in? What is my next step? Hearing their stories can help both parties. Laughing together about the day, telling jokes on the porch, and digging through a backpack of papers will lend itself to a homework story or tales of the playground madness. Chatter among the generations develops a stronger bond, trust, and a relationship destined for success for many years. Grandparents are just some of the most influential people Ralston in our personal world. The uniqueness of the relationship Senior Center between generations is one that lives on forever. Whether you’re teaching or learning, playing games, or canning peaches together, the time spent together is invaluable. You’re invited to visit the Ralston Senior Center, 7301 Q Years from now, your photos together will remain on the St., Suite 100 this month for the following: mantle, your stories will be told to generations to come, and • June 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, & 29: Tuesday and Friday your dirt cake recipe will be shared at first birthdays. Your exercise class from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Exercise at your own contributions to their lives are irreplaceable. pace/stand-up or sit in a chair. (Beck is with Midwest Geriatrics, Inc. in Omaha.) • Wednesdays, June 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30: Participants are presumed to have been vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus and will be required to sign in at the door. Millard Senior Center We prefer visitors wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times while in the center at least through the You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Mont- end of June. clair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: The center will be open for Bingo and cards from 1 to 4 • June 2: At 9 a.m. we’ll be making sun dresses that will p.m. There will be no coffee or meals provided. Bingo will be sent to Africa. be played on paper sheets. Bring your quarters and daubers. • June 9: Board meeting at 9:30 a.m. If you have any There will be a limited number of daubers available for $1. suggestions or concerns abiut the center, please contact Meals may be available in July. Tamara Womack or a board member. Remember to renew or obtain a Ralston Senior Center • June 17: At 9 a.m, Farmers Market produce vouchmembership. The cost for the remainder of 2021 will be $5. ers will be distribured to persons age 60 and older meeting The center may be used for various activities such as income guidelines. weddings, memorial services, anniversaries, family re • June 18: Bring in treats to celebrate Father’s Day. unions, birthdays, baby and wedding showers, etc. on • Tuesdays and Fridays: Bingo @ noon. weekends. • Thursdays: Volleyball @ 10 a.m. For more information, please call Diane West @ 402For more information, please call 402-546-1270. 339-4926.
Douglas County Health Department
he Douglas County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to educate Nebraskans about COVID-19 (coronavirus). The DCHD, working with colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine, has created a COVID-19 information line at 402-444-3400. The information line will be open seven days a week (until further notice) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Callers will be able to have their questions answered in Spanish and English. “Our website and social media platforms will continue to provide the best and most current information,” said Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour. Dr. Pour said the best advice to avoid the COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene like you would with the seasonal flu. Good hygiene includes: • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a second option. • Don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, especially with unwashed hands. • Avoid contact with people who are sick. • Stay home while you’re sick. • Wear a mask when around other people. • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. • Frequently clean and disinfect your home, car, and workplace Because the COVID-19 vaccine has only recently become widely available, many people have recovered by drinking lots of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medication. If symptoms worsen, medical care might be needed.
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Call 402-572-5750 to schedule a tour. www.keystonevillasliving.com | 7300 Graceland Drive | Omaha, NE 68134 Please support New Horizons advertisers
f you or a loved one with vision loss have found challenges in accessing critical services during the pandemic, Outlook Enrichment can help through its adaptive technology training program. For individuals who are blind or have low vision, assistive technology includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with vision loss/disabilities and also includes the process used in the evaluation and selection of adaptive technology. Outlook Enrichment offers computer and smartphone training remotely. This helps clients learn how to use smartphone apps and other technology tools that are increasingly important for working remotely, learning online, shopping, banking, and engaging with others. Outlook Enrichment also established a technology help line for people with visual impairment at 531-365-5334. The organization’s adaptive technology trainers respond to messages within 24 hours with technology solutions to help their blind neighbors stay connected and conduct business. Outlook’s trainers can help consumers find adaptive techniques, software, or devices to overcome the barriers presented by vision loss. They’ll demonstrate options and give tips on using the devices that work best. Through this program, you or a family member with a vision condition can learn how to: • Visit with family via Zoom, Facebook messenger, or other videoconferencing apps. • Order groceries, prescriptions, and other items to be delivered to your home through platforms like Instacart and Amazon. • Enjoy home entertainment through movie streaming and audio books. • Read the mail, the newspaper, or recipe cards with digital magnifiers. As we’re all spending more time at home and adapting to the new normal, technology is now more important than ever. Outlook Enrichment’s adaptive technology trainers are ready to help with your technology needs Call 531-365-5314 to schedule a phone appointment.
211 network The 211 telephone network has been established in parts of Nebraska to give consumers a single source for information about community and human services. By dialing 211, consumers can access information about human needs resources like food banks, shelters, rent and utility assistance, physical and mental health resources. The 211 network is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The information is also available online at ne211.org.
he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is excited to announce the Diner’s Choice program is expanding to all the Hy-Vee grocery store locations in Omaha and Papillion. The Diner’s Choice program is designed to provide a nutritious meal to persons over age 60 at a time that fits their daily schedule. Starting in June, ENOA will have registration sessions at two Hy-Vee locations and at the ENOA office on the dates listed below. Please call Christina Ochoa in ENOA’s Nutrition Department at 402-444-6513 for sign-up times and more information:
June 8, July 13, & August 10 Hy-Vee Shadow Lake Towne Center 11650 S 73rd St. Papillion June 16, June 24, July 21, July 29, August 18, & Augst 26 ENOA Office 4780 S 131st St. July 7 & August 4 Hy-Vee Linden Market 747 N 132nd St.
Volunteers Assisting Seniors
Long-term Care Ombudsman Program
he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for men and women age 21 and older to join its Long-term Care Ombudsman Program which is co-sponsored by the Nebraska State Ombudsman Program. ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsmen volunteer in local long-term care facilities and assisted living communities to protect the residents’ rights, well-being, and quality of life. Long-term Care Ombudsmen must complete 20 hours of initial classroom training and 12 hours of additional training every two years. The next training session is scheduled for Aug. 18 and 20. During the training, the volunteers learn about the residents’ rights, aging issues, Medicare, Medicaid, communication skills, how to investigate the residents’ complaints, the importance of confidentiality, and about the federal and state rules, regulations, and laws regarding Nebraska’s long-term care facilities and assisted living communities. Before being assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community, new volunteers will make four visits to a site with an experienced Ombudsman Advocate to learn more about what the program entails. After a three-month probationary period, the new volunteers are certified as Ombudsman Advocates. Certified Ombudsman Advocates will be assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community where they’ll visit for two hours a week to meet with administrators, residents, and the residents’ family members to address concerns. For more information about ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, please call Beth Nodes at 402-444-6536.
hanks to our network of dedicated volunteers, Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) has continued providing benefits counseling for older adults remotely through telephone assistance to ensure the health and safety of our clients and volunteers. While the VAS office is closed to the public, we’re taking phone calls during office hours at 402-444-6617. We’ll return to in-person assistance through a phased implementation when it’s safe to do so. Last year, during the pandemic, VAS helped 436 homeowners with their Homestead Exemption applications. Be sure to file your Homestead application by June 30. If you’d like VAS to help you with your application, call 402-4446617 to schedule a phone appointment with one of our trained volunteers. VAS provides Medicare counseling by phone, including access to important Medicare resources by mail, email, or online. If you’ll be turning age 65 or ending your employer insurance soon, please call VAS to speak with a certified SHIP counselor to help you understand your options. It’s important to review your Medicare Prescription Drug or Advantage plan every year during Medicare’s open enrollment period so you can have the best coverage at the lowest cost. Last year,VAS helped more than 1,200 people review their Medicare plans over the telephone. VAS will be helping with Medicare open enrollment again this fall, keeping our client’s health and safety as our primary concern. We’ll begin scheduling open enrollment appointments for Drug and Advantage plan reviews in late September. Please call VAS at 402-444-6617 to schedule an appointment for a plan review.
UPCOMING 2021 TOURS
Famous Nebraska Authors’ Tours Discover the hometowns and works of famous Nebraska Authors. • Wright Morris: July 28 • John Neihardt: Aug. 24 • Willa Cather: Oct. 15 • Bess Streeter Aldrich: Nov. 5
Midwest Fall Tours
• Rural Iowa Mystery Tour: Aug. 31 • Footsteps of Lincoln: Sept. 13 – 15 • Swedes & Sheep Dogs of Kansas: Oct. 5 – 7 • Branson Family Christmas Shows: Nov. 9 – 12 VIEW MORE TOURS ON OUR WEBSITE: Travelcattours.com
For reservations, call 531-777-2124 or register online at Travelcattours.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Survey: More vaccinated people leads to an increase in travelers
raveler confidence is growing as COVID-19 vaccinations become more readily available. A new AAA survey reveals 47% of Nebraskans are comfortable taking a trip. Nebraskans cite being less afraid about the dangers of the virus (39%) and more confident in increased safety measures (35%) as the top two reasons they feel comfortable traveling now. More than a quarter (31%) said they have received the vaccine. Even more (35%) base their confidence on masks and sanitization. “After a full year in a global pandemic, there is so much pent-up demand for travel that our AAA travel agents are seeing tremendous enthusiasm from Nebraskans who are eager to plan a trip,” said Nick Faustman, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While many want to wait until the summer, some have already received their vaccine and are motivated to travel now.” According to the survey: • 62% of Nebraskans expect to travel in 2021. • 62% of Nebraskans said they would be traveling more if there wasn’t a pandemic. • 48% of Nebraskans said they’ll feel more comfortable traveling when they’re fully vaccinated. Nebraskans appear to be more willing to fly and stay in a hotel or resort. According to the survey: • 57% of Nebraskans are comfortable staying in a hotel/ resort. • 38% are comfortable taking a flight. The most popular vacations for travelers are: • National/state parks (29%). • City/major metro destinations (29%). • Beach destinations (19%). “Spring and summertime travelers seem to value outdoor destinations like beaches and state parks now more than ever,” Faustman continued. “Trips like these allow people to satisfy their thirst for travel, while also remaining socially distant in an open-air environment.” A growing number of Nebraskans will also consider buying travel insurance due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Roughly a third of residents (34%) report being more likely to purchase travel insurance now than before the pandemic began. Since the pandemic began, many travel insurance providers have adjusted their policies to provide protection for travelers who become ill with COVID-19 either before or during their trip. Road trips to domestic destinations continue to be the preferred way for many to travel, but even these trips require additional planning and preparation.
The Clare House in Sioux City, Iowa is
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to be held across the USA on June 15
orld Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is scheduled for June 15 across the United States.
he 2021 theme is Building Strong Support for Elders, Lifting Up Voices. WEADD is designed to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and financial abuse. On June 15, purple lights will shine on the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln to recognize WEADD,
93rd & Maple • 402-397-6921
Cartagena Painting Service
Commercial/Residential Interior/Exterior/Insured Free estimates 402-714-6063 email@example.com
Big jobs or small, I’ll do them all. (Bonded & insured)
Please call 402-444-4148 or 402- 444-6654 to place your ad
Some of the nicest, newer 1 & 2 bedroom apartments. Elevator, w & d, heated parking garage. Small complex. By bus & shopping. No pets or smoking.
A+ Heartland Concrete Const.
Driveways, garage floors, sidewalks, retaining walls. patio specialists since 1985. Insured/references.
28-year BBB member
OLD STUFF WANTED
Military, political, toys, jewelry, fountain pens, pottery, kitchen ware, postcards, photos, books, and other old paper, old clothes, garden stuff, tools, old household, etc. Call anytime 402-397-0254 or 402-250-9389
GET RID OF IT! Haul away, garage, basement, rental clean out…
Subsidized housing for those age 62 and over with incomes under $30,750 (1 person) or $35,150 (two persons) 2669 Dodge Omaha, NE 402-345-0622
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Senior Citizens (62+)
he Clare House – a facility in Sioux City, Iowa designed to provide a stable and supportive environment for non-violent women on intensive parole – is looking to hire a salaried, live-in guest house director or guest house co-directors. Applicants should have a faith-based life orientation, personal maturity, the ability to work independently and as part of a team, planning and organizational skills, a bachelor’s degree or significant suitable experience, First Aid and CPR certification, a valid driver’s license, good health including physical mobility, and be able to pass a physical exam, drug screening, and background check. For more information, please contact Martha Burchard at 712-203-0205 or Sr. Grace Ann Witte at 712-255-1916 or 1918 Douglas St., Sioux City, Iowa 51104.
You’re invited to visit the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC), 5545 Center St. The facility – open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – offers programs and activities Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Persons attending the ISC are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and bring their vaccination card with them the first day they attend the facility. The ISC offers a light breakfast, lunch, fitness classes, and activities. Lunch reservations are due by 9 a.m. A voluntary contribution is suggested for the meal. Please call 402-444-6529 for reservations by 9 a.m. Monthly food pantries are available for adults age 50 or older. ISC’s SAVE bus can bring case management services to your doorstep. For meals reservations and more information, please call 402-444-6529.
looking to hire director, co-directors
CLASSIFIEDS. Call 402-444-4148 or 402-444-6654 TODAY to place your ad.
TOP CASH PAID
Best & honest prices paid for: Vintage, Sterling, Turquoise, & Costume jewelry, old watches, old quilts, vintage toys, old postcards, advertising items, military items, pottery, and antique buttons. Also buying estates & partial estates. Call Bev at 402-339-2856
Metro Women’s Club
he Metro Women’s Club is hosting a garage sale and picnic on June 8 at 11:30 a.m. at the Chalco Hills Recreation Shelter, 8901 S. 154 St.
Intercultural Senior Center
Please bring pre-pricedgarage sale items. A box lunch will be served for $13. Reservations, which are needed, are available by calling Ginny at 402-3191121.
Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.
1002 Bellewood Court Bellevue (402) 292-3300 Bellewood@KimballMgmt.com
201 Cedar Dale Road Papillion (402) 331-6882 Monarch@KimballMgmt.com
Managed by Kimball Management, Inc. PO Box 460967 Papillion, NE 68046 www.kimballmgmt.com
We do business in accordance with the Fair Housing Law.
2021 ENOA’s Spirit of Aging Awards
This year, as part of its celebration of Older Americans Month, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has presented its first annual Spirit of Aging Awards. Winners were selected in the Advocacy, Medical/Healthcare, Donor, and Volunteer categories.
Thanks to each of the winners from the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, its staff, and the men and women the agency serves in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties.
Professor of Gerontology University of Nebraska at Omaha
Professor of Internal Medicine University of Nebraska Medical Center
Dr. Julie Masters
our website here: Page 16
Dr. Jane Potter
St. Gerald Catholic Church
FiServe (First Data Resources)
e m o c Salem Village! Wel to
We are a 55+ community located in North Omaha; less than a mile from the North Freeway.
Our Residents Enjoy... • Underground parking garage • Secured entries • Elevator • Trash chutes on every floor • Community room where we host bingo, monthly get togethers
• Health awareness speakers,
and immunization assistance
• Resident council
Conveniently located on the North 33rd Street bus route, we also have a park and playground within walking distance.
Want to get involved? Join our resident council!
Call us at
402-614-0414 to schedule a tour!