ka Offc e
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A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
May 2019 VOL. 44 • NO. 5
ENOA 4780 South 131st Street Omaha, NE 68137-1822
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
en oa. org
New Horizons Carolina old • er 74 adul ts since 19
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Carolina Padilla started the Intercultural Senior Center in 2009. The ISC, which serves older adults from 25 countries, recently opened a state-of-the-art 22,000-square foot facility at 5545 Center St. following a $6.2 million capital campaign. ISC visitors can enjoy meals provided by ENOA, a monthly food pantry, as well as a variety of classes, programs, and services. Nick Schinker chronicles Padilla and the ISC beginning on page 8.
Nonagenarian Phyllis Christensen, 91, has volunteered at the Tip Top Thrift Shop in Benson since 2011. See page 2.
New conductor Mark Benson was recently selected to lead ENOA’s Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha. See page 16.
Corrigan Senior Center
Phyllis plans to volunteer until she’s 100
You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • May 1: May Day celebration. • May 6: Cinco de Mayo celebration. • May 9: Performance by students from St. Peter & Paul School. • May 10: Mother’s Day Tea. • May 14: Dance Like a Chicken Party. • May 15: Toenail clinic. • May 16: Senior Prom with Aaron Shoemaker. • May 21: The Merrymakers present Paul Siebert. • May 24: Memorial Day Remembrance. • May 29: Travel series: Mexican Riviera. The facility will be closed on Memorial Day. Other activities include craft and social hour Wednesday @ 10:30 a.m., Tai Chi Monday & Friday @ 10 a.m.; bingo Monday and Thursday @ 1 p.m., ceramics class Wednesday @ 1 p.m., and Happy Hands crochet group Tuesday @ 10 a.m. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $4 contribution is normally suggested for the meal. Reservations are normally due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations or more information, please call 402-731-7210.
Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska
he Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska is sponsoring a five-K/ one-mile walk, run, or roll on Sunday, June 9 at Lake Zorinsky Park, 3808 S. 154th St. The five-K is from 7 to 9 a.m. while the one-mile event goes from 8 to 10 a.m.
Christensen, age 91, said volunteering is one reason for her good health.
The cost for Blazing Trails for Brain Injury is $35 in advance or $45 the day of the events. Donations support Nebraskans with brain injuries and their families. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Omaha Fire Department The Omaha Fire Department’s Public Education and Affairs Department will install free smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors inside the residences of area homeowners. To have a free smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector installed inside your home, send your name, address, and telephone number to: Omaha Fire Department Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Requests 1516 Jackson St. Omaha, Neb. 68102 For more information, please call 402-444-3560.
Immanuel Affordable Communities Immanuel Communities offer beautiful, affordable independent and assisted living apartment homes for seniors who are on a fixed income. Call today to schedule a personal visit.
Income guidelines apply.
Immanuel Courtyard 6757 Newport Avenue Omaha, NE 68152 402.829.2912
Assisted Living at Immanuel Courtyard 6759 Newport Avenue Omaha, NE 68152 402.829.2990
Trinity Courtyard 620 West Lincoln Street Papillion, NE 68046 402.614.1900
Affilated with the Nebraska Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
hyllis Christensen, who celebrated her 91st birthday on April Fools Day (really), is a valuable, highly-respected, and well-liked member of the staff at a Benson-area thrift store. In fact, you might say Christensen is a tip top volunteer at the Tip Top Thrift Shop, 5910 Maple St. “She’s a hard worker who’s very dedicated and dependable,” said Phyllis Wilmoth, who at age 88, is one of the store’s volunteer managers. “If we need her, she’s always available.” Proceeds from the sales of clothes and the huge variety of other donated items that fill the shelves at the Tip Top Thrift Shop go to Youth Emergency Services, an Omaha organization that serves local homeless and at-risk youths by providing critically needed resources which empower these youngsters to become selfsufficient. YES helps young men and women by meeting their immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing, and safety. Christensen, a widow (she and Arthur were married for 30 years before his death), has four children (another has passed away), and one granddaughter. A stay at home mom who attended Omaha’s Central Elementary School before graduating from Technical High School in 1945, Phyllis has a long history of volunteering at the American Red Cross, the Franciscan Adult Day Center, and Luther Memorial Lutheran Church. She was a frequent shopper at Tip Top, and at age 82
– believing in the store’s mission – decided to join its staff in 2011. These days, Phyllis volunteers four hours a day once or twice each week. Her duties include accepting items from donors, sorting and pricing the merchandise, and then placing it on the display floor for sale. She recently stepped down as the store’s treasurer after serving a six-year term. “The customers, the other volunteers, and the people who bring in the merchandise are all great,” Christensen said. Her favorite part of volunteering at the Tip Top Thrift Shop is seeing smiles on the faces of customers who find an item or two they’ve been seeking for a long time. “If you can’t find something here, just wait a week and we may get it,” Phyllis said, smiling as she perused the store’s massive inventory. Christensen, who still drives herself around Omaha, said her volunteer work is a major reason she feels so healthy. “I plan to continue volunteering until I turn 100.” The Tip Top Thrift Shop is always looking for new volunteers. For more information, please call 402-551-1302.
If a customer can’t find something at Tip Top, Phyllis said they may discover it there a week later.
The battle against urinary incontinence
t’s no mystery that as time passes, our bodies change. While statistically, the incidence of urinary incontinence may be more common as we grow older, Bellevue physical therapist Jennifer Johnson contends it doesn’t have to be normal part of aging. “One of the main things we do as physical therapists is work on function,” said Johnson, who specializes in women’s health at Hillcrest Physical Therapy in Bellevue. “It’s not really functional for a patient to have to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes, or not participate in an exercise class for fear of leaking, or to have to bring an extra pair of clothes because they are afraid to soak through.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of America’s older adults live with incontinence, with 25 percent reporting moderate to very severe urinary leakage. Due to the stigma, though, many don’t talk about the condition. That’s why Johnson teaches urinary incontinence is something that can change and should be addressed with a health professional. “It is a huge quality-of-life issue, and in physical therapy, that is the goal – to make quality of life stronger,” she said. Studies published by BMC Women’s Health show on average, women treated by a physical therapist see a 97 percent improvement and a cure rate of 73 percent with stress urinary incontinence. Women, it should be noted, generally experience urinary incontinence more often than men due to physical changes from pregnancy and menopause How does physical therapy help the condition while improving quality of life? According to Johnson: • It all begins with education: Much of what she covers with patients is infor-
mation regarding normal bladder habits, bladder functioning, and what should be experienced with urination. She shares information about the pelvic floor and the surrounding muscles and identifies whether the incontinence is stress incontinence (urinary leakage from an increase of pressure caused by laughing, sneezing, jumping, exercising, etc.) urge incontinence (urinary leakage with a strong desire to urinate), or a combination of both. Keeping a bladder diary may also be part of this first step. • Transforming information into results: One of the main ways to help urinary incontinence is to strengthen the pelvic floor and nearby muscles. Johnson assists patients in identifying and isolating the pelvic floor in order to learn and practice the appropriate exercises. Some patients may also work on bladder re-training and apply techniques that slowly increase the amount of time between voids. This can also decrease anxiety about always having to be near a bathroom. • Changing what we put into our bodies: Diet can also aid in supporting the improvement of urinary incontinence. Anything other than water can act as a bladder irritant, but the big culprits are beverages that contain caffeine and carbonation. Johnson teaches patients about proper fluid intake.
ith commitment to a care plan, patients can discover urinary incontinence isn’t something that’s inevitable. In addition to physical therapy, care plans may also be supported by medication, biofeedback, or electrical stimulation. “This is not a normal part of aging,” Johnson said. “By doing exercises, making sure you have good coordinated control of your pelvic floor, and going through guided therapy program, you can have a better quality of life.”
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 ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, vice-chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, secretary; David Saalfeld, Dodge County, & Jim Warren, Sarpy County. The New Horizons and the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging provide services without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, or age.
The impact of Alzheimer’s on the nation by the numbers The Alzheimer’s Association recently released its 2019 Alzheimer›s Disease Facts and Figures report. It provides an in-depth look at the latest statistics and information on Alzheimer’s prevalence, incidence, mortality, costs of care, and impact on caregivers across the country and in Nebraska. It also reveals an important health assessment older adults aren’t getting – one that’s critical for early detection of Alzheimer’s and other dementias – routine cognitive assessments. One of the report’s biggest takeaways is the Alzheimer’s burden in this country and state continues to grow. • More people are living with disease: An estimated 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in 2019, including 34,000 in Nebraska. • More family and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers: In Nebraska, 83,000 caregivers provide 94 million hours of unpaid care annually, valued at $1.19 billion. • Death rates from Alzheimer’s continue to climb: Deaths due to Alzheimer’s have increased an alarming
145 percent since 2000, while deaths for most other major diseases have decreased. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. • The costs are unsustainable: For the third consecutive year the cost of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s is surpassing a quarter of a trillion dollars. The costs to care for people with Alzheimer’s are expected to amount to $361 million in Nebraska in 2019 – and is only expected to grow by 12.6 percent over the next six years. Additionally, this year’s special report highlights an important disconnect: despite a strong belief among older adults that cognitive assessments are important, and that early detection is beneficial, only half are being assessed for cognitive decline, and just 16 percent receive regular assessments for memory or thinking issues during routine health checkups. That total compares to other common evaluations like cholesterol (83 percent), hearing or vision (73 percent), and diabetes (66 percent). (The Alzheimer’s Association’s Nebraska Chapter provided this information.)
Drivers needed The Disabled American Veterans need volunteers to drive veterans one day a week to and from the VA Medical Center, 4101 Woolworth Ave. in Omaha. While the volunteer drivers don’t need to be veterans, they do need a valid driver’s license, and be able to pass a drug screening and a Department of Transportation physical given at the VA Medical Center. Drivers will be given a lunch voucher on the day they volunteer for the DAV. For more information, please contact Command Sergeant Major (retired) Lance Fouquet at 402-5051482 or email@example.com.
Hearing loss group The Omaha Area Hearing Loss Association of America, a support group for hard of hearing adults, will meet next on Tuesday, April 9 at Dundee Presbyterian Church, 5312 Underwood Ave. Participants are asked to enter the church on the Happy Hollow (east) side. The 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. meetings feature social time and a speaker. The Omaha Area Hearing Loss Association of America meets the second Tuesday of each month from September through December and March through August. For more information, please contact Verla Hamilton at 402-558-6449 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 legalaidofnebraska.com/EAL.
Camelot Friendship Center
Fill your vases with blossoms
A variety of spring, summer flowers to consider By Melinda Myers
eep your flower vases filled all summer with beautiful blossoms picked from your own garden and containers. Growing seeds, plants, and tender bulbs that can double as cut flowers makes it easy to create casual, fresh-cut bouquets for your home. For early spring flowers, look to spring-blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils, and cool weather annuals like pansies and snapdragons. Clipping branches from trees and shrubs such as forsythia, quince, and daphne is another good way to bring spring into your home. Strike up a trade with a friend. Pick some of theirs in the spring and share some of yours in the summer. Gladiolas and dahlias add pizazz to summer and fall bouquets. These springplanted bulbs combine nicely with other summer flowers and they continue to bloom well after other flowers have faded in the heat of late summer.
ladiolas are available in a rainbow of colors that will inspire your creativity. These inexpensive bulbs are easy to plant and take up very little space. Pop them into containers, flowerbeds, or your vegetable garden. Start planting in mid spring and continue every two weeks until midsummer for months of colorful flower spikes. With dahlias, you can choose from dozens of different sizes, styles, and colors. For easy, eye-catching bouquets, plant a color-themed blend such as the Sugar Plum Mix from Longfield Gardens. Select colors that will harmonize with flowers already in your gardens such as phlox, sunflowers, asters, and lilies. Hybrid lilies are perennial garden favorites as well as fabulous cut flowers. Plant the bulbs of Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, and Oriental-trumpet lilies in spring, for color and fragrance that lasts all summer. Annuals play an essential role in any cut flower garden. Extend your budget by starting zinnias, sunflowers, larkspur, and cosmos from seed, and supplement with greenhouse-grown transplants of snapdragons, celosia, amaranth, and statice. Foliage can elevate an ordinary homegrown bouquet from good to great, and your garden can provide all sorts of interesting options. Incorporate the leaves of perennials such as hosta, baptisia, artemisia, and sage as well as flower farmer favorites such as bells of Ireland, bupleurum, and dusty miller. Shrubs such as ninebark, boxwood, viburnum, and holly are another source of attractive foliage and some offer colorful berries as well. Cutting and arranging flowers is a fun way to exercise your creativity and bring the beauty of your garden indoors. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and you’ll soon be sharing your flowers with friends, neighbors, family, coworkers, and everyone who stops by. (Myers has written numerous gardening books.)
Leaky capillaries sign of early Alzheimer’s onset Leaky capillaries in the brain portend the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease as they signal cognitive impairment before the hallmark toxic proteins amyloid and tau appear, new University of Southern California research shows. The findings at USC could help with earlier diagnosis and suggest new targets for drugs that could slow down or prevent the onset of the disease. There are five Alzheimer’s drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that temporarily help with memory and thinking problems, but none that treat the underlying cause of the disease or slow its progression. Researchers believe successful treatment will eventually involve a combination of drugs aimed at multiple targets. USC’s five-year study, which involved 161 older adults, showed people with the worst memory problems also had the most leakage in their brain’s blood vessels – regardless of whether the abnormal proteins amyloid and tau were present. “The fact we’re seeing the blood vessels leaking, independent of tau and independent of amyloid, when people have cognitive impairment on a mild level, suggests it could be a totally separate process or a very early process,” said senior author Berislav Zlokovic, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. In healthy brains, the cells that make up blood vessels fit together so tightly they form a barrier that keeps stray cells, pathogens, metals, and other unhealthy substances from reaching brain tissue. Scientists call this the blood-brain barrier. In some aging brains, the seams between cells loosen, and
the blood vessels become permeable. “If the blood-brain barrier is not working properly, then there is the potential for damage,” said co-author Arthur Toga, director of the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute at the Keck School of Medicine. “It suggests the vessels aren’t properly providing the nutrients and blood flow the neurons need. And you have the possibility of toxic proteins getting in.” Participants in the study had their memory and thinking ability assessed through a series of tasks and tests, resulting in measures of cognitive function and a “clinical dementia rating score.” Individuals diagnosed with disorders that might account for cognitive impairment were excluded. The researchers used neuroimaging and cerebral spinal fluid analysis to measure the permeability, or leakiness, of capillaries serving the brain’s hippocampus, and found a strong correlation between impairment and leakage. “The results were really kind of eyeopening,” said first author Daniel Nation, an assistant professor of psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. “It didn’t matter whether people had amyloid or tau pathology; they still had cognitive impairment.” The researchers cautioned their findings represent a snapshot in time. In future studies, they hope to get a better sense of how soon cognitive problems occur after blood vessel damage appears. Zlokovic said it’s unlikely scientists will soon abandon amyloid and tau as Alzheimer’s biomarkers, “but we should be adding some vascular biomarkers to our toolkit.”
You’re invited to visit the Camelot Friendship Center inside the Camelot Community Center, 9270 Cady Ave., this month for the following: • May 1: Annual Tea @ 11 a.m. • May 7: Music by Rich Patton sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:45 a.m. • May 9: Book Club @ 10:15 a.m. and RSVP program @ 11:15 a.m. • May 10: Council meeting @ 12:15 p.m. • May 13: Zoo trip (no cost). Bus leaves the center @ 9:30 a.m. and returns around 2 p.m. Please register with Barb by May 3 @ 402-444-3091. • May 15: Learn how to Swedish weave @ 1 p.m. • May 17: Beginner’s Mahjongg @ 1 p.m. • May 23: ENOA Q & A session @ 11 a.m. • May 30: Sit & Fit @ 10 a.m. The facility will be closed Memorial Day and May 31. The center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. Regular center activities include chair volleyball (Wednesday @ 10:15 a.m.), Tai Chi (Tuesday & Friday @ 10:15 for 50 cents/visit), bingo, art classes, and card games. For meals reservations or more information, please call 402-444-3091.
Ralston Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Ralston Senior Center, 7301 Q St., this month for the following: • May 2: Homestead Exemption assistance from 10 a.m. to noon. • May 6: Korean community activity from noon to 3 p.m. • May 8: Board meeting @ 10 a.m. • May 9 & 23: Line dancing @ 10 a.m. Bingo @ 1 p.m. • May 14: Bus trip to WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa. The bus leaves @ 7:30 a.m. and returns around 4 p.m. The cost is $5. Call Dorothy @ 402-553-4874 for reservations. • May 22: The Merrymakers present music by Paul Siebert @ noon. The center will be closed on Memorial Day. Other activities include exercise on Tuesday and Friday @ 10 a.m. Lunch is catered in on Wednesdays. A $4.50 contribution is requested. Reservations are due by noon the Tuesday before the meal you wish to enjoy. Call Diane @ 402-8858895 for reservations. The handicapped-accessible facility can be used for weddings, memorial services, reunions, etc. on weekends. For more information, pleasea call Diane West @ 402339-4926.
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Top level parking lot
AARP hosting paper shredding event on Saturday, May 11
he Nebraska AARP Information Center is sponsoring a paper shredding event on Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center Mall, 1941 nd S. 42 St. Members of the community are encouraged to drop off bags or small boxes of paper documents which volunteers can lift from the cars and place into the shredding truck. Participants – who should enter the mall’s top level 40th Street parking lot – are also asked to bring coffee, creamer, and sugar packs which will be donated to the Stephen Center. In September 2018, AARP served more than 1,000 vehicles during its four-hour paper shredding event. For more information, please call 402-398-9568.
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 Branson Christmas. November 4 – 7. $739 ($779 after 8/4/19). Enjoy The Duttons, Daniel O’Donnell, The Beach Boys California Dreamin’, Neal McCoy, the SIX Christmas Show, and your choice of either “Miracle of Christmas” at the Sight & Sound Theater or Christmas Wonderland. Laughlin Laughlin in June. June 28 – July 1. $319. Four days – three nights. Includes non-stop, roundtrip airfare to Laughlin, Nevada, three nights lodging at the Riverside Resort and Casino on the banks of the Colorado River, and shuttle transportation to and from the airport. Entertainment during this trip includes the 1970s classic rock group “America” at the Edgewater with hits including “Horse with No Name”, “Ventura Highway”, and “Lonely People,” to name a few. In Partnership with Collette Vacations We started working with Collette in 2009 when we were looking for a way to offer international trips to our travelers. We wanted to find a company that shared our core values of providing quality tours, well hosted, at a reasonable price. We were not looking for a low-cost alternative. Our first personal experience was when we took about 24 people on the "Shades of Ireland" tour. It was an incredibly positive experience! Since then we have helped others to experience Collette Tours on: Historic Trains of California; New York City; Canada’s Atlantic Coast with Nova Scotia; Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes; Austrian Delight - Oberammergau (coming up again in 2020); Pasadena Rose Parade; Islands of New England; Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park; Islands of New England; Reflections of Italy; Canadian Rockies by Train; Tropical Costa Rica; Alaska Discovery Land & Cruise and others. Please call if you have one of Collette’s many destinations on your bucket list. We can help make it happen! Watch New Horizons and our website www.fontenelletours.com for our trip schedule. 2708 Franklin Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
UNMC’s pancreatic cancer research
he University of Nebraska Medical Center has established itself as one of the leading research centers in the country for pancreatic cancer – perhaps the most-deadly form of cancer. Taking on pancreatic cancer is a monumental task. It’s estimated that 92 percent of people diagnosed with pancreas cancer will die within five years. Thankfully, incremental strides are being made. One of the recent breakthroughs was reported recently in Nature Medicine, and a UNMC research team under the direction of Pankaj Singh, Ph.D., professor, Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, played a key role in the discovery. The study, which was headed by Channing Der, Ph.D., of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, looked at how pan-
creatic tumors grow and tried to determine if this growth could be inhibited. A gene known as KRAS is found activated in about 97 percent of pancreatic tumors. KRAS does not respond to any drug treatment even though the National Cancer Institute has been targeting KRAS for several decades. Another key player in pancreatic cancer is a signaling modulator – known as ERK – which is activated by KRAS. “Pancreatic cancer cells must feed themselves to grow,” Dr. Singh said. “When these cells are under stress – to sustain themselves – they have to start eating parts of themselves. It’s a process called autophagy, and it’s common with lots of cancer types.” There are many ways cancer cells can feed themselves, but researchers knew they had to stop the autophagy process to stop the growth of cancer cells, Dr. Singh said. They did this by combining an ERK inhibitor with chloroquine, a drug used for treating malaria that’s known to be an autophagy inhibitor. Dr. Singh’s research team performed metabolomic analyses of pancreatic cancer cells that helped identify the role of autophagy in allowing cells to grow despite ERK inhibition. “We helped prove that autophagy allows the cancer cells to survive the therapy,” Dr. Singh said. “By targeting autophagy, we were able to eliminate the escape route that Back to June pancreatic cells utilize30to survive.” The bottom in 2020. line – the combination of pharmacologic inhibitors was able to mediate antitumor activity in the KRAS-driven pancreatic cancer cells. The inhibitors concurrently blocked both the ERK and autophagy processes and could potentially be an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. (UNMC provided this information.)
Return homestead exemption applications by July 1
pplicants whose names are on file in the assessor’s office in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties should have a homestead exemption form mailed to them by early March. New applicants must contact their county assessor’s office to receive the application. The 2019 forms and a household income statement must be completed and returned to the county assessor’s office by July 1, 2019. 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 revenue. To qualify for a homestead exemption, a Nebraska homeowner must be age 65 by Jan. 1, 2019, the home’s owner/occupant through Aug. 15, 2019, 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.
he Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds’ office (1819 Farnam St.) is sending volunteers into the community to help older adults complete the application form. The volunteers will be located at sites throughout the county. A list of these locations will be included with your application. Assistance is also available by calling Volunteers Assisting Seniors (see page 14) at 402-444-6617. Here are the numbers for the local assessor’s offices: Douglas: 402-444-7060, option #2; Sarpy: 402-593-2122; Dodge: 402-727-3911; Cass: 402-296-9310; and Washington: 402-426-6800.
Household income table Over age 65 married income
Over age 65 single income
0 - $34,400.99 $34,401 - $36,300.99 $36,301 - $38,100.99 $38,101 - $40,000.99 $40,001 - $41,900.99 $41,901 - $43,700.99 $43,701 - $45,600.99 $45,601 - $47,400.99 $47,401 - $49,300.99 $49,301 - $51,100.99 $51,101 and over
0 to $29,300.99 $29,301 - $30,800.99 $30,801 - $32,400.99 $32,401 - $33,900.99 $33,901 - $35,400.99 $35,401 - $36,900.99 $36,901 - $38,500.99 $38,501 - $40,000.99 $40,001 - $41,500.99 $41,501 - $43,100.99 $43,101 and over
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Dora Bingel Senior Center
NHP Foundation study shows
Quarter of households with older Americans believe they can’t afford housing, healthcare
You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • May 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, & 31: Ceramics @ 9 a.m. Half of Americans over age 55 who earn are cost-burdened and 41 percent of those • May 1: Holy Communion served @ 10 a.m. less than $60,000 per year – accounting for age 65+ have mortgages. Studies show • May 9: Book Club @ 10 a.m. 25 percent of households – feel they can’t housing provides the greatest determinant • May 9, 13, 20, & 27: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. afford to cover both housing and healthcare of social well-being and health, particularly • May 24: Merrymakers presents music by Tim Javorsky costs, according to a new survey conducted for low to middle income people living by The NHP Foundation, a not-for-profit with chronic conditions, such as many older @11:30 a.m. Lunch is $3. • May 26: Hard of Hearing Support Group @ 10:30 a.m. provider of affordable housing. adults. • May 29: Birthday party luncheon @ noon. Eat free if Where older adults are feeling the pinch: Joshua Bamberger, a physician workyou have a May birthday. • Of the older men and women surveyed, ing with homeless older men and women Lunch is served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 48 percent are concerned to extremely con- recently said his greatest hope for America A $1 donation is suggested for the meals, other than $3 for cerned one costly emergency room visit will was that no one over age 55 spend a night Merrymakers. have a devastating financial impact. The on the streets. A 55-year-old homeless Round-trip transportation is available for $3. phenomenon of high surprise ER charges person has the health status of a 70-year-old Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for all has prompted Senate-sponsored bills to housed person, He feels the housing and meals. curtail outrageous fees. healthcare industries can do a lot more to Other activities offered at the facility include: • Three-quarters of those surveyed have ensure low-income older Americans have Tuesday: Joy Club devotions @ 10 a.m., matinee @ 12:30 monthly prescription drug costs with 20 adequate housing and healthcare. percent footing bills more than $50 per President & CEO of the NHP Foundation p.m. Wednesday: Devotions at 10:30 a.m., bingo @ 12:30 month. Additionally, many in this income Dick Burns is proposing new strategies such p.m., and Bible study @ 12:30 p.m. Friday: Joy Club devotions @ 9:30 a.m., Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. and age bracket have trouble affording as a collaborative funding model of privaFor more information, please call 402-898-5854. medicines not entirely covered by private tized housing vouchers to cover the cost of health insurance or Medicare Part D. rent for those in need. • Half of the respondents have a chronic “Partnering with others in affordable Millard Senior Center health condition requiring regular checkups, housing as well as healthcare, investment, yet 25 percent put off recommended medipolicy, and social services, we can keep You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montcal procedures or appointments due to mon- people from having to choose between clair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: etary worries. Although Medicare typically housing and health,” he said. • May 1: African dressmaking @ 9 a.m. covers 80 percent of the costs – as do many The health industry is also heeding the • May 3: Cinco de Mayo celebration. Bring chips and private or Affordable Care Act (ACA) insur- call. Health insurance giant Kaiser Perman- dips to share. ance plans – 20 percent of the costs must ente recently pledged $200 million toward • May 8: Board meeting @ 9:45 a.m. still be paid, which can add up depending affordable housing that will particularly aid • May 8: Victory in Europe anniversary celebration. on the prescribed treatments. those for whom medical care and housing • May 10: Music by Billy Troy @ 10 a.m. • One-quarter of those surveyed consider costs are a serious burden. • May 13: Free trip to the zoo. We’ll leave the center @ their health insurance burden only someThe University of Illinois has seen suc9 a.m. Sign up by May 4. what or not manageable at all. The recent cessful outcomes arising from housing • May 15: P.A.W.S. @ 10 a.m. Texas court ruling that the ACA is unconmany at-risk older adults and others. • May 21: Presentation by VNA on healthy weight loss stitutional adds to the woes for older adults “When all the partners in the housing and @ 10:45 a.m. about affordable health care. health equation commit to resources and in• May 22: Wear Purple for Peace Day. What’s the best prescription for these vestment, older Americans will have fewer • May 31: Coffee and treats served, but no lunch on this older Americans? day. concerns about aging well,” Burns said. Half of the respondents ranked stable • May 31: Bingo @ 11 a.m. housing and steady income as the greatThe center will be closed on Memorial Day. AARP program on May 14 est factors to staying healthy. Yet the same On June 12, sign up for Nebraska Farmers Market propercentage is concerned to extremely conduce coupons. You’re invited to attend a program sponcerned about maintaining stable housing as sored by AARP on Tuesday, May 14 at the The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. they age. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $4 donation is suggested AARP Information Center on the second This information dovetails with Harvard for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day floor of the Center Mall, 1941 S. 42nd St. University’s Joint Center for Housing StudThe 1:30 p.m. program will feature music prior to the meal the participant wishes to enjoy. ies recent look at older adult households. A by the legendary Johnny Ray Gomez, cofFor reservations or more information, please call 4022018 Housing America’s Older Adults report fee, and treats. 546-1270. showed half of the older renter households To learn more, call 402-398-9568.
Healthy adults, caregivers needed for research study at UNO, UNMC
Program on disaster prevention, recovery
WHITMORE LAW OFFICE
Researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are looking for healthy adults and caregivers for an older adult with a chronic disease (e.g., dementia, cancer, or cardiovascular disease) to participate in a research study. The study involves two visits of 3.5 hours each. Compensation for study participation is available. The experiment involves completing questionnaires and computer tasks, taking samples of saliva for hormone analyses, and undergoing brain imaging. To be eligible for the study, participants must be 19 to 75 years of age, have comprehension of written and spoken English, the mobility to travel to the UNO campus, and have completed a minimum of two years of high school or higher. You’re not eligible for the study if you have a diagnosis of a neurological or psychiatric disease (e.g., stroke, schizophrenia), vision, hearing or motor difficulties, or if you are pregnant, have metal implanted in your body, or are taking an antidepressant medication or glucocorticoid-based oral medication or cream (e.g., cortisone). For more information, please contact Janelle Beadle, Ph.D. at 402-554-5961 or ABELabUNO@gmail.com.
AARP and the Better Business Bureau are presenting Weathering A Storm: Disaster Prevention and Recovery on Wednesday, May 15 at the Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. The free 6:30 to 8 p.m. program will discuss how older adults can prepare for and recover from a natural disaster, and how they can avoid scams following a tornado, flood, fire, severe hailstorm, or snowstorm. A sweet treat with a question and answer session will be included. To RSVP (which is required) by May 10, go to aarp.cvent.com/Disasters_ Omaha515 or call 1-877926-8300.
Wills • Trusts • Probate
Ask A Lawyer: Q — What is the difference between a Living Trust and a Living Will? A — A Living Trust is about your property and finances. It takes care of your assets, both while you’re alive and after your death, and makes sure your wishes are carried out. A trust can avoid the need for a court-appointed conservator if you are disabled and can help avoid probate if you die. A Living Will is a directive to healthcare providers about your medical wishes. It makes sure that if you are not capable of speaking for yourself, your wishes are known and will be carried out.
Have a question about estate planning? Give us a call! AARP Legal Service Network • No Charge For Initial Consultation
7602 Pacific Street, Ste 200 • (402) 391-2400 http://whitmorelaw.com
Center welcomes older adults from around the world
After working at the One World Community Health Centers and for Catholic Charities’ Latina Resource Center, Carolina Padilla started the Intercultural Senior Center in 2009 responding to a need for services for older Latinos in the Omaha area. By Nick Schinker Contributing Writer
he inspiration Carolina Padilla finds to work with older adults comes from both near and far. It is as near as every room at the Intercultural Senior Center, the diverse and inclusive organization she founded a decade ago, and where she continues to look forward to visiting each day as its executive director. Her inspiration also comes from far way, in her homeland of Guatemala, where her father, Carlos, continues at 89 years old to serve as a dentist at his clinic during the week, and on the weekends when he goes to visit the coffee farm he owns and oversees. Padilla says her father’s life and the way he continues to live is a vivid reminder that age should neither determine nor limit a person’s ability to accomplish great things. “After still working as a dentist, he drives a huge truck to his coffee farm on the weekend, and brings back 200 pounds of coffee,” Padilla says. “He works and works and works. I think I have a little bit of him in me.” She proves that every day at the Intercultural Senior Center, 5545 Center St., where older adults from around the world gather for a meal, to take classes, make crafts, and share in the generosity of a community of people who are welcome no matter where they are from. “There are a lot of older adults in our community who need help; who have no one, and I believe there is a lack of awareness of that,” she
says. “We serve so many in our area, every day. I want to raise that awareness in Omaha. “Little by little, we can make a difference.”
orn in Guatemala City, Caroline Padilla is the youngest of six children in her family. Her mother, Gregoria, was a homemaker who died when Carolina was 6 years old. “We lived in a small town, and the loss of my mom for the whole town was a big loss,” Padilla recalls. That, she believes, led to her being treated special. “I think I was very spoiled,” she says, smiling. “Because I was so young and my mom was so loved, doors were opened for me always.” Carolina attended middle school in Antigua, Guatemala. “I was very social. Because I had lost my mom, I grew up around my aunts. There was always a lot of family around, and I attended Catholic school. I was very close to the nuns there.” To enhance her bilingual skills, she traveled to California to live with the family of an uncle and to attend high school. She returned to Guatemala to attend college and graduated in 1981 with a degree in science communications. Carolina married Daniel Padilla, a banking and finance professional, and the couple have three children, Daniel M., Juan, and Daniela. In 1993, the family moved to America, to Omaha, where her husband had relatives. They believed the United States offered an opportunity to escape the escalating violence and deteriorating economy in Guatemala. An opportunity to improve their lives.
Now, she strives to offer that same hope to others. The reason Padilla came to America is clear. So are the reasons she stayed. “This community is very family oriented,” she says. “We moved into Papillion, and we still live in Papillion. It is a very welcoming community. “We thought it would be a place where we could be close to our kids; a place that would be better for them, where we could send them in the right direction, and they could have good friends.” Her first job was as an interpreter with One World Community Health Centers, where she also worked in the health, financial, human resources, and administration departments before becoming the dental department manager. “I enjoyed the one-on-one relationships I developed with the clients,” she recalls. “That is what I liked the most.” After 12 years at One World, she left to become the director of the Latina Resource Center, an arm of Catholic Charities, where her duties included developing social service programs for young adult women. It was there that she recognized another significant community need: that of Latino elders. It was the seed from which the Intercultural Senior Center would grow.
he Intercultural Senior Center sprouted from Padilla’s ability to recognize a need. “It all started as a small group for mothers who had no place to go,” she says. “There --Please turn to page 9.
Carolina Padilla striving to make ISC the best it can be --Continued from page 8. was, at the time, nothing available for them.” It began March 19, 2009, when five women gathered at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. Padilla named it, “Milagro de Amor.” The Miracle of Love. When the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging pledged its support once the group would become an official charitable organization, Padilla transformed the idea into a 501(c) (3) entity, the Intercultural Senior Center. “My vision back then was to work hard and expand our programs and services,” Padilla says. “I wanted to create a strong organization that would serve all seniors. Very diverse. Very inclusive. Unique.” The ISC serves older adults from 25 countries including Sudan, Somalia, Bhutan, Nepal, and Burma. The center started with services three days a week, then five. It moved three more times as leases ran out, buildings were sold, or space simply became too tight. “We have faced a lot of challenges,” Padilla says. “I have done everything we have here at one time or another. When we didn’t have transportation, I became the driver. I became the teacher for ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. I was the accountant. The director. I was even the cleaner.” Funding has been a challenge, as well as finding the right people to work at the center on such limited resources. “Through the years, we have built a great team of people,” she says proudly. “They bring all kinds of skills to the table, and I think they stay because they love this place. People are here because they really want to be here. They want to see it grow.” Just like she does.
“I wanted to create a strong organization that would serve all seniors. Very diverse. Very inclusive. Unique.”
adilla says Omaha is more than a welcoming community. It is also a giving community. Thanks to the generosity of several families, foundations, and individuals, the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC) has relocated to a 22,000-square-foot facility at 5545 Center St. Dedicated on March 19, 2019, precisely 10 years after the ISC was founded, the center has space for classrooms and crafts, administrative office space, a kitchen, a pantry where donated foods are packaged and dispensed, a cafeteria where lunches provided by ENOA are served to more than 60 older men and women every weekday, a garage for the center’s three transportation vans, and rooms large enough for dances and exercise classes. There is also room to grow. “I believe there is so much more we can do now,” Padilla says. “The support we can provide; the quality of services we can provide. I want us to improve what we do and add more services, more medical services, mental health support, care for well-being.” And, she says, almost with her father in mind, “there is a big need for senior dental care.” There are still financial needs. The $6.2 million capital campaign for the new center is still $800,000 short of its goal. There is also a need for volunteers, Padilla says. “Whether it is for two hours a week or two hours a month, we need more people to help us. They make the difference.” Padilla, 57, loves her life. It is as if she has two families. The one at home, her children who all live in Omaha, who gather at her house in Papillion every Sunday for dinner, who now include a brand-new granddaughter. And, her family at the Intercultural Senior Center, the people who make her job a labor of love. “To have one of our seniors come to my office just to say, ‘Thank you,’ or to bring me a flower. That is my reward. I never dreamed this would become as big as it is. And yet, seeing the need, hearing the gratitude, pushes me to become better, and for this to become the best place it can be.” Little by little, Carolina Padilla will continue doing all she can to serve the area’s older adults, no matter if they come from near, or far.
The new ISC, which opened on March 19, 2019, includes several classrooms.
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The importance of retaining our youth as we age
Notre Dame Housing/ Seven Oaks Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center, 3439 State St. for the following: • Second, third, and fourth Friday: Community food pantry @ 1 p.m. • Third Wednesday: Community food pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • May 3 & 10: Deep diabetes self-management workshops from 2:30 to 4 p.m. • May 6: Presentation by historian Ryan Roenfeld on the mid-Missouri River region development @ 1:30 p.m. • May 7: Fair housing counselor @ 10 a.m. • May 14: Program: Get Help for Depression and Anxiety @ 1:30 p.m. • May 15: Medicare/Medicaid Assistance @ 10 a.m. • May 15: Health clinic @ 10 a.m. • May 16: Talk on Magdalene Omaha by Deacon Teresa Houser from the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. • May 20: Lunch & Learn presentation from the Omaha Fire Department on fire safety @ 12:30 p.m. • May 22: May birthday party with music by Tim Javorsky sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 1:30 p.m. The center will be closed on Memorial Day. Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11 a.m. the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. For reservations, call Brenda at 402-451-4477, ext. 126.
After 55 years I reconnected recently with a woman who was influential to me in my youth. Marge was the mother of two boys for whom I babysat. In addition to that connection, we used to have long talks about life. She encouraged me and believed in me. Before I knew about mentors, Marge mentored me. Our lives went our separate ways and until recently ; our contact was minimal. Marge is 88, a widow, the proud mother of six boys, grandmother of 10, and great grandmother of three. Her first two chapters of life were full of experiences that have taught her life lessons, ripening her into wisdom and maturity. Now Marge is living a rich Third Chapter. I’ve been reflecting on what makes her the special person she is, one with whom I enjoyed conversing for hours.
In addition to being a wise woman, Marge retains a zest for life that hasn’t been squelched by health problems or heartaches from her past. There is a youthfulness about her. The Ageless Soul by Thomas Moore talks about the spirit of youth and the spirit of maturity as essential in the experience of aging. Youth and age work together to complete our lives. It’s important we not leave youth behind but retain the best qualities of youthfulness and carry these into our lives as older adults. When done well, we’re neither entrapped by childish behavior nor drift into a crotchety disposition.
Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath
I’ve written much about the wisdom of mature older men and women, but I’m now exploring the signs of youthfulness in older adults. A sense of humor about life is essential. Laughter when recalling memories of humorous incidents frequently emerges as we reminisce. Lighthearted responses to our own foibles and mishaps keeps us from getting discouraged. Laughing at ourselves is a great remedy for taking ourselves too seriously. Another wonderful quality of youth is flexibility and spontaneity. Routine is fine but if it’s too rigid, the opportunities for new and different experiences are lost to us. Being open to surprises makes us pleasant companions that others will seek out. If there is a chance we’ll say “yes,” we’ll receive more invitations to do new and different things rather than being left at home. Learning is another hallmark of youth. Lifelong learning is vital to a meaningful Third Chapter. This can take many forms such as educational television, reading books and magazines, travel to new places, in-depth conversations, or speakers on topics of interest. Stretching our minds is a way to keep our brains active, which can delay dementia. Interested people also tend to be interesting. Young people typically engage in play with enthusiasm. Whether it’s sports or other games, the competition, challenge, and goal orientation stimulate energy and enjoyment. As we age some games are no longer feasible for our bodies, but nothing prevents us from being enthusiastic spectators who cheer for our teams. How bleak life would be without a sense of play, whether it be a game of cards or watching the Huskers compete on the gridiron. My friend Marge demonstrates all of these youthful qualities. We enjoyed many laughs about shared memories and humorous incidents that occurred in the intervening years. Marge’s spontaneous nature was clear when she decided at the last minute to attend my workshop near her home and then have me over as a house guest. Always a learner, Marge continues reading novels, biographies, newspapers, and informational magazines. She keeps up with world affairs. With regard to play, Marge no longer golfs but she’s a competitor online at Words with Friends. She started playing me a few months ago and has improved her game so she now beats me. She loves sports and seldom misses a game played by her grandchildren. She says she’d be lost without watching sports on TV. These youthful qualities are evident and she exudes the maturity of one who has lived many decades. She’s unafraid of death but intends to live fully until her time. As the poet states: “(Marge) will not die an unlived life.” (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of life. Contact her at email@example.com.)
Alzheimer’s support groups
Lightning causes 47 deaths annually
n underrated killer, hotter than the surface of the sun. That’s how the National Weather Service (NWS) describes lightning, which, over the past 30 years, has been responsible for an average of 47 deaths per year in the USA. Nebraska sees an average of 773,000 lightning strikes per year. Preventing death and injury from lightning is a topic presented to farmers and ranchers by outreach specialist Ellen Duysen at the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health. “Because farmers work outside frequently, they are at greater risk for lightningcaused injury and death than the average population,” Duysen said. “Lightning also may cause fires in buildings, damage to electrical equipment, and electrocution of livestock.” The UNMC Ag Safety Center relies on experts such as NWS Lightning Safety Specialist John Jensenius to provide information on prevention measures and methods of promoting lightning safety. The NWS mantra, Jensenius said, is “When thunder roars, go indoors.” The science of lightning is complicated, but the safety aspect of lightning isn’t. Get inside a building or vehicle once thunder occurs or lightning strikes appear. The first step in lightning safety is staying aware of weather forecasts for your area. When thunderstorms are forecast, it’s recommended to curtail outdoor activities. At the very least, make sure you have access to a sturdy, fully-enclosed shelter such as a house or business. “Keep in mind if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning,” Jensenius said. “Seek shelter immediately. If a sturdy building isn’t available,
a hard-topped vehicle will provide protection. Make sure all the vehicle windows are rolled up.” When you see a thunderstorm developing, don’t wait to hear thunder before taking shelter, he said. Lightning can strike 10 miles or more in the area surrounding a thunderstorm. “One of the most common misperceptions about lightning is that metal attracts a strike,” Jensenius said. “That isn’t true. Lightning strikes begin as a step leader coming down from a storm cloud. As the lightning approaches the ground, it’s seeking a connection. Typically, that connection is the tallest object in the immediate area. It could be a tree, a fence, or the ground.” Nearly anything can be struck by lightning, including human beings. An average bolt of lightning, striking from cloud to ground, contains roughly 1 billion joules (unit of work or energy) – enough to power a 60-watt lightbulb for six months and cool a refrigerator with an open door for 24 hours. “Another misconception about lightning is the idea that rubber protects you from a lightning strike,” Jensenius said. “Rubber doesn’t have that much insulating power. You often hear of people being protected from lightning when it strikes a vehicle. That’s due to the metal shell of the vehicle. The lightning will follow the metal shell, going around a person and through or over tires.” Enclosed farm equipment would provide the same type of protection. Anyone inside a vehicle or farm equipment during a lightning storm should stay as far away as possible from windows and the vehicles metal shell. Heat lightning doesn’t actually exist, he said. When you see flashes of lightning, --Please turn to page 12.
Paint-A-Thon Need your
serving the community for 30 years
You could have your home painted at absolutely no cost, by volunteers from area businesses, congregations, and service clubs. If you live in Douglas and Sarpy counties or Council Bluffs, are 60 or over, or are permanently disabled at any age, and meet financial guidelines, you could qualify. Phone 211 for an application, or pick one up at any Wells Fargo Bank also at Connections Area Agency on Aging in Council Bluffs. For more information, call
Paint-A-Thon at 402-965-9169 Brush Up Nebraska is a privately funded program
The Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter offers several caregiver support groups and specialty support groups in Cass, Douglas, Washington, Dodge, and Sarpy counties. These support groups offer valuable space and educational opportunities for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia to engage and learn. For more information about any of the groups listed below, please call 800-272-3900. DODGE COUNTY • FREMONT Second Tuesday @ 5:30 p.m. The Heritage at Shalimar Gardens 749 E. 29th St. DOUGLAS COUNTY
First Thursday @ 6:45 p.m. King of Kings Lutheran Church CORE Conference Room 11615 I St. Call Karen @ 402-584-9088 to arrange for adult day services. Third Tuesday @ 6 p.m. Temple Israel 13111 Sterling Ridge Dr.
• OMAHA Second Thursday @ 10 a.m. Second Thursday @ 5:30 p.m. Country House Residences 5030 S. 155th St. Call Christina @ 402-980-4995 for free adult day services. Every other Monday @ 7 p.m. Brighton Gardens 9220 Western Ave. First & third Monday @ 1:30 p.m. New Cassel’s Franciscan Centre 900 N. 90th St. Call Melanie @ 402-393-2113 for free adult day services.
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.
Third Tuesday @ 5 p.m. Immanuel Fontenelle First floor classroom 6809 N 68th Plz. Second Tuesday @ 6:45 p.m. For caregivers of individuals with an intellectual disabilty/dementia. Barbara Weitz Center 6001 Dodge St. (UNO campus)
• PAPILLION Fourth Thursday @ 6 p.m. Hillcrest Grand Lodge 6021 Grand Lodge Ave. WASHINGTON COUNTY • BLAIR Third Wednesday @ 6 p.m. Memorial Community Hospital Howard Conference Room 810 N. 22nd St.
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. REHAB, RENEW AND
Florence Home Healthcare specializes in rehabilitation to help you recover from an illness or injury so you can safely transition back home.
Application Deadline May 30, 2019 May 2019
Call 402-827-6000 for more information!
Fremont Friendship Center
The impact of lightning storms...
You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • May 1: Hints with Home Instead @ 10 a.m. followed by pianist Wally. • May 2: Tips on decluttering your home @ 10 a.m. • May 7: Program on Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia @ 10 a.m. • May 8: Music by Billy Troy @ 10 a.m. • May 9: Name that Tune @ 10 a.m. • May 9: Have your walker and cane adjusted to the correct height. • May 15: Music by The Links @ 10 a.m. • May 16: Program on ENOA’s programs and services with Chris Casey @ 10 a.m. • May 22: Music by John Worsham @ 10:30 a.m. • May 29: Music by George & The Juniors @ 10:30 a.m. The facility will be closed on Memorial Day. On June 4, sign up for Farmers’ Market produce coupons @ 8:30 a.m. Walking in the main arena Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is encouraged. The Fremont Friendship Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $4 contribution is suggested for lunch. Reservations must be made by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations and more information, please call Laurie at 402-727-2815.
Omaha Festival of Music
Medical Reserve Corps
he Omaha Festival of Music, featuring the Nebraska Brass Band, pianist Dr. Denis Plutalov, the Liberty Middle School Choir, and the Omaha Community Adult Choir is scheduled for Sunday, May 5 at 4 p.m. The concert will be held at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, 15050 W. Maple Rd.
hile a freewill offering will be taken, free tickets are available at 402-704NEBB or online at nebraskabrassband.com.
Medical and non-medical professionals are needed to respond to emergencies and to support non-emergency community needs by joining the Medical Reserve Corps. Participants will receive a variety of free or lowcost training and education, opportunities for free or low-cost CEUs, as well as the opportunity to make their community healthier, more resilient, and better prepared. For more information on the Medical Reserve Corps, please call 402-717-2621, visit MRC.HHS.gov or MRCCoord@gmail.com.
--Continued from page 11. they’re coming from a distant thunderstorm, which is far enough away you can’t hear thunder. When lightning strikes, the power it contains radiates from the center of the strike to the surrounding area. That means lightning striking the ground could injure or kill a person who was close enough to be affected by the radiating energy. It also explains why a lightning strike can damage electrical appliances and electrical wiring. “A cloud-to-ground lightning bolt will follow routes like gas and water pipes, electric lines, phone lines, cable TV/Internet lines, gutters, downspouts, metal window frames – anything that conducts the electrical power,” Jensenius said. Water will conduct electricity, which is why lightning specialists like Jensenius advise staying out of the shower and bathroom in general during a lightning storm. “Stay away from windows and doors during the storm,” he advised. “It’s not safe to be on the porch when you hear thunder and see lightning.” In addition to causing bodily injury, lightning strikes can start a fire. Wood and other flammable materials can easily ignite due to a lightning strike. House roofs and attics are the most common sites of lightning induced fires. When lightning travels through electrical wires, it burns them up, posing the risk of fire anywhere along the electrical system. A power surge caused by lightning can damage electronics or generate a shock wave that fractures concrete, brick, cinderblock, and stone. Brick and stone chimneys are often damaged by lightning. The same shockwaves may be strong enough to blow holes in plaster walls, shatter glass, create a trench in the soil, and crack foundations. Shrapnel from demolished items also can cause damage to people and property. “Don’t shower, wash dishes, or use an electronic device during a thunderstorm,”
Florence AARP chapter The Florence AARP chapter meets monthly at Mountview Presbyterian Church, 5308 Hartman Ave. The programs begin each month with a noon lunch followed by a speaker. For reservations, please call Gerry Goldsborough at 402-571-0971. Rides to the meeting are available by calling Ruth Kruse at 402453-4825. Here’s are some of the 2019 programs: May 20 Brie Alsbury DO Space June 17 Larry Dwyer Standing Bear July 15 Shelby Janke Nebraska League of Conservation Voters
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August 19 Tri-Faith Initiative
Jensenius said. “Washing machines are especially dangerous because they involve both electricity and plumbing. Land line telephones are also hazardous, but cell phones and wireless phones are safe.” Direct contact with the ground should also be avoided since lightning current can move through soil and across wet/damp concrete. In a basement, garage, or patio, wearing shoes is advised during a thunderstorm. If a building is struck by lightning, call the fire department. Fire may not be immediately visible but could be smoldering somewhere in the structure. Watch for falling debris resulting from damaged shingles, chimneys, or walls. To protect sensitive electronics during a storm, unplug any item you wish to protect. Surge protectors and UPS units can’t provide direct-strike protection. Review property insurance to determine the level of lightning damage coverage it provides. Frequent off-site backups can help protect valuable computer data. If a person is struck by lightning, immediately call 911. Lightning victims don’t carry any electrical charge, so it’s safe to immediately tend to them. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are all common when people are struck by lightning. CPR may be necessary, but most people survive lightning strikes, even though they may always experience the strike’s effects. “Don’t stand outside and watch storms,” Jensenius said. “Listen to your local forecast and always plan ahead so there’s a safe place to go in the event of a storm. “And stay inside for 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder. That allows the storm to move on, and you won’t have to worry about lightning.” Additional lightning safety information is available at weather.gov/safety/lightning. (The University of Nebraska Medical Center provided this information.)
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.
Widowed persons The Widowed Persons Group of Omaha hosts a luncheon the third Monday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at Jericho’s Restaurant, 11732 W. Dodge Rd. For more information, please call 402-278-1731 or 402-493-0452.
Omaha community recreation centers Men and women age 75 and older are encouraged to use the City of Omaha’s community recreation centers at no cost for open gym, weight areas, open and lap swimming, aquacise, and ice skating. For more information, please call 402-444-4228. Tai Chi classes are offered at the following locations and times: • Adams Park 3230 John Creighton Blvd. Mondays & Wednesdays 9:15 a.m. • Camelot 9270 Cady Ave Tuesdays & Fridays 10:30 a.m. • Florence 2920 Bondesson Ave. Mondays & Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. • Montclair 2304 S. 135th Ave. Thursdays 8:30 a.m.
Everyone deals with grief differently By April Hauf
these emotions, know this is a normal part of grieving and it should pass over time. Grief can come from a There are ways to help death, physical loss, job others cope with loss, but it’s loss, divorce, the loss of a home, etc. It’s your body’s important to not offer your own ideas about how they response to this loss. A should feel or cope. It’s vital person’s ability to cope and grieve may be affected to accept and acknowledge all feelings and not to pass by their support system, judgement onto others. health, age, life experi People don’t stop grievences, and relationships. ing a day or two after a loss. Each person will grieve differently. There’s no right Offer support as long as it’s or wrong way to react after needed. Grief may last a short time for some, or a very long a loss. Life will not be the time; even years for others. same after the loss but allowing yourself to feel the There’s no magical number for when you’ll stop feeling emotions and cope with them may help you start to grief. If you offer help, it’s a good idea to be specific in enjoy your life again. your suggestions. You could You may ask, “What does it feel like to grieve?” offer to bring dinner on a cerAgain, the grieving process tain day or to come over on a weekend and clean the house may not be the same for or do the laundry. everyone. Some common Special events or holidays signs of grief are sadmay be an especially diffiness, crying, and feelings cult time after a loss, so you of numbness, changes in could extend an invitation to sleeping and eating pata family celebration or give a terns, depression, and simple reminder of your supchanges in overall mood or anger. If you experience port.
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In the end, it’s important to remember each person grieves differently, but there are universal signs and symptoms of the grieving process and steps to help get through difficult times. There are several grief or bereavement support groups available to the public in the Omaha area which are sponsored by some of the local mortuaries, hospitals, and hospice companies. HeafeyHeafey-Hoffman-DworakCutler Funeral Chapel offers multiple support groups. You can contact Sharon Zehnder at 402-391-3900 for more information. Nebraska Medicine also has a web page which lists adult grief support groups: nebraskamed.com/patients/ adult-grief-recovery Most important, make sure to ask if you feel you need help. Grief and loss are normal parts of life, and those who care about you stand ready to help. (Hauf is the director of social services for the Florence Home Healthcare Center in Omaha.)
RSVP RSVP is recruiting men and women age 55 and older for a variety of volunteer opportunities. For more information in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties, please call 402-4446536, ext. 1024. In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402-721-7780. • The VA Medical Center needs volunteers. • Partnership 4 Kids is looking for volunteers to mentor Pre-K through high school students. • Food Bank for the Heartland needs volunteers to help with the SNAP program. • The Fremont Low-Income Ministry wants volunteers for its food pantry. • The Blair and Fremont Car-Go Program needs volunteers to drive older adults to their appointments once or twice a week. • Care Corps Family Services is looking for volunteers Thursdays from 1:30 to 5 p.m. • Fremont’s Habitat for Humanity wants volunteers for a variety of duties. • Fremont Health needs volunteers. • Nye Legacy Health & Rehabilitation is looking for volunteers to help with its bingo games Tuesdays @ 2 p.m. • Premier Estates of Fremont wants volunteers to assist its activity director.
THEOS THEOS, a social organization for singles age 60 and older, meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at New Cassel, 900 N. 90th St. Older men and women are encouraged to meet for a fun afternoon and to sign up
for other activities throughout the month. On May 13, hear a presentation on the Saving Grace perishable food rescue program. For more information, please call 402-399-0759 or 402-393-3052.
During June, older Nebraskans meeting income and age guidelines are eligible to receive $48 in coupons that can be exchanged for fresh produce sold at Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program-certified Nebraska’s Farmers’ Market stands. The Nebraska SFMNP – administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ State Unit of Aging – provides fresh, nutritious, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The program also helps increase consumption of the state’s produce. To be eligible, coupon recipients must be age 60 or older and have an annual income less than $23,107 for a single person or less than $31,284 for a two-person household. Recipients will be given 16 coupons worth $3 each (total value of $48) that can be used through Oct. 31, 2019 at certified vendors for locally-grown produce. Only one set of coupons will be issued per household. The program’s appropriations are limited, therefore, not everyone requesting coupons may receive them. The produce coupons will be distributed on various days in June at ENOA’s senior centers. Each center will distribute the coupons on a specific date and time. Most distributions will occur during the first two weeks of June, therefore, it’s important to contact the senior center in late May or early June for information regarding the date and time that center has scheduled to distribute SFMNP coupons. More information is available at the ENOA senior centers. A complete list of these facilities can be found online at enoa.org by clicking on Programs and then the Senior Centers link.
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Report examines impact of adverse drug events
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Omaha Gives! set for May 22
ark your calendars for Wednesday, May 22, the 2019 date for Omaha Gives!, the seventh annual online charitable fundraising challenge sponsored by the Omaha Community Foundation. Among the Douglas and Sarpy County organizations eligible to receive donations through Omaha Gives! are the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the agency’s Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha (see page 16), and the Intercultural Senior Center (see page 8).
Omaha Gives! is designed to highlight the area’s spirit of giving, raise awareness about local nonprofits, and celebrate what makes the area a great place to live, work, and play. Since its beginning in 2013, Omaha Gives! has helped raise $42 million for local organizations. Donations, which begin at $10, can be made in advance May 1 to 21 by going online to OmahaGives.org. On May 22, online donations can be made midnight to midnight at OmahaGives.org.
VAS can help you file your 2019 homestead exemption application The Nebraska Homestead Exemption program can provide relief from property taxes for persons who qualify by exempting all or part of their home’s valuation from taxation (see page 6 for more information). Volunteers Assisting Seniors is available to help older Nebraskans file their 2019 homestead exemption application. See below for the sites and dates VAS representatives are available. All appointments will be scheduled between 10 a.m. and noon. Please call 402-444-6617 to schedule an appointment. Thursday, May 2 Ralston Senior Center 7301 Q St. #100
Friday, May 31 VAS 1941 S. 42nd St #312
Tuesday, May 7 DAV 4515 F St.
Tuesday, June 4 Elkhorn Eagles 20276 Wirt St.
Thursday, May 9 St. Andrews Church 15050 W. Maple Rd.
Saturday, June 8 Sheet Metal Workers Union 3333 S. 24th St.
Tuesday, May 14 St. Cecilia’s Cathedral 701 N. 40th St.
Tuesday, June 11 Douglas-Sarpy County Extension Office 8015 W Center Rd.
Friday, May 17 Benson Baptist Church 6319 Maple St. Tuesday, May 21 Goodwill Industries 4805 N. 72nd St.
Tuesday, June 18 VAS 1941 S. 42nd St #312
Tuesday, May 28 Northwest Hills Church 9334 Fort St.
Charles E. Dorwart Govier, Katskee, Suing, & Maxell, PC, LLO 37 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • Medicaid Planning • In-home consultations • Free Initial consultation 10404 Essex Court • Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114 Office: (402) 558-1404 or (402) 391-1697 email@example.com
n 2018, five million older Americans—one in 10—sought medical attention as a result of a serious reaction to medication. Over the past decade, the rate of emergency room visits for adverse drug events (ADEs) among older Americans nearly doubled. In response to this alarming trend, the Lown Institute is calling for a national plan of action to tackle overprescribing. “Medication overload is causing widespread yet unseen harm to our parents and our grandparents,” said Lown Institute Senior Vice President Shannon Brownlee at a press conference. “It is every bit as serious as the opioid crisis, yet the scope of medication overload remains invisible to the vast majority of families and patients, most policymakers, and even many health care professionals.” In a report released recently, Medication Overload: America’s Other Drug Problem, the Lown Institute documents a steep rise in the number of medications taken by older Americans, and a parallel rise in serious ADEs such as delirium, dizziness, and bleeding that can lead to loss of mobility, falls, hospitalization, and even death. Among the most telling statistics: • A 300% increase over two decades in the number of older adults taking five or more medications. Nearly half (42%) of older Americans take five or more medications, putting them at significant increased risk for an ADE. • In 2018, 10 million older adults (one in five) experienced an ADE, five million sought medical attention, and 280,000 hospitalizations resulted from ADEs. • The rate of emergency department visits for ADEs doubled between 2006 and 2014, from five to 10 per 1,000 older adults (194,000 to 450,000 ED visits). If nothing is done to address this growing crisis over the next decade, ADEs will result in 74 million outpatient visits, 4.6 million hospitalizations, and 150,000 premature deaths among older Americans, costing our health system $62 billion. This is a systemic problem, says Brownlee, that requires more than the piecemeal approach we’ve taken in the past. “While some clinicians and pharmacists are trying to reduce the burden of medications on their individual patients, no health care professional group, public organization, or government agency to date has formally assumed responsibility for addressing this national problem. That must change.” “The data in this report should serve as a clarion call for a national strategy to address medication overload,” said Dr. Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “We have identified appropriate prescribing and medication management as one of the four pillars for age-friendly health systems. It is crucial to the health and well-being of all older adults.” “It is often far easier to prescribe medications than it is to reduce dosages or de-prescribe (stop medications),” said Dr. James McCormack, a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia. “We want our patients to have the right medications, at the right dose, at the right time, but our health care system isn’t structured properly to achieve that goal.” In the report, the Lown Institute examines the way in
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which the culture of medicine and the fragmented health care system drive overprescribing. “Both clinicians and patients overestimate the benefits of medications and underestimate the harms. The prevailing attitude is ‘a pill for every ill,’” said Judith Garber, co-author of the report with Brownlee. Because this is a systemic problem, a comprehensive set of solutions is needed, including interventions in medical education and training, research, pharmaceutical marketing, and electronic medical records. Of critical importance is better care coordination for older Americans, including regular prescription checkups, in which a clinician and patient review all of the patient’s medications and make adjustments as needed. “Annual prescription checkups would be ideal,” said Dr. James Rudolph, a professor of medicine and health policy at Brown University and the director of the Center for Innovation in Geriatric Services at the Providence, R.I. Veterans Administration. “Patients are also acutely vulnerable during care transitions. At the very least, when patients enter or leave a hospital or long-term care setting, they should have a comprehensive prescription checkup.” “Seniors are aware that they are being prescribed too many medications,” said Johanna Trimble, a patient advocate who sits on the steering committee of the British Columbia Polypharmacy Risk Reduction Initiative. “Senior organizations are hearing from their constituents that they are increasingly experiencing serious side effects that affect their health and quality of their life.”
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Fine Art • Fine Craft • World Music Children’s Fair (Saturday & Sunday) Artist Demonstrations Food & Beverage
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New ways to fight colorectal cancer
ellMax Life, a diagnostics company with a proprietary technology to detect pre-cancer and cancer cells in blood, recently presented its new findings revealing significant advancement in the fight against colorectal cancer at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. The results from this study show CellMax Life’s blood test can detect pre-cancers (adenomas) with close to 90 percent accuracy. Results of the study show it’s possible to accurately differentiate between healthy patients and those with precancer. Further, an increase in cell count was significantly correlated with an increase in disease severity. “Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. with 150,000 new cases and $14 billion spent on treatment annually,” said Atul Sharan, co- founder and CEO of CellMax Life. “We’re working to change that. “Colorectal cancer is preventable when adenomas are detected and removed. In fact, adenoma removal reduces mortality rates from colorectal cancer by 53 percent. CellMax Life’s FirstSight test will increase compliance with colorectal cancer screenings and increase detection rates at the adenoma stage, saving lives.” The FirstSight test detects pre-cancer and cancer cells in blood. The study included 737 adults, 50 years of age or older; a population recommended for routine screening by most U.S. guidelines. Of those, 301 were found to be healthy, 111 were pre-cancerous (had adenoma), and 325 were confirmed to have cancer. Diseased patients were confirmed by a colonoscopy or tumor biopsy. The test results presented a high accuracy for detecting colorectal cancer, with a close to 90 percent accuracy for pre-cancer and 95 percent accuracy for cancer. “Colon cancer screening is essential to detect and remove pre-cancer polyps,” said Dr. Shai Friedland, chief of gastroenterology at the Stanford University Veterans Administration. “These results are very exciting, as for the first time my patients who are reluctant to undergo a colonoscopy may have a highly sensitive non-invasive testing option for precancer.” Colorectal cancer incidence is rising among younger adults. New guidelines from the American Cancer Society
Dancing Under the Lights
ou’re invited to attend an evening of music and dancing as the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department presents Dancing Under the Lights on Thursday, June 13 at the Elmwood Park Pavilion, 808 S. 60th St. The 6 to 8 p.m. dance will feature music from the Big Band era as well as tunes
from the 1940s through 1960s, and refreshments. Admission is $3 for singles or $5 for couples. Registration, which begins on May 1, is available at parks.cityofomaha.org, in person, or by calling Paula at 402-444-5216. For more information, please go online to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cass County Resource Fair
ay is Older Americans Month across the country. The theme of this year’s celebration is Connect, Create, Contribute. In conjunction with Older Americans Month, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is hosting a Senior Resource Fair on Monday, May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elmwood Senior Center, 144 N. 4th St. in Elmwood, Neb. Cass County residents can attend to learn about ENOA’s programs and services, the Aging and Disability Resource Center Nebraska, the Nebraska Attorney General Office’s Consumer Protection Division, the Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, AARP Nebraska, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department’s Active Aging Program, the Lifespan Respite Network, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ outreach specialist. For more information, please call ENOA’s Information and Assistance division at 402-444-6444.
recommend screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 45, down from age 50. This means 20 million people age 45 to 50 are newly eligible for testing. A shocking 33 million of the eligible 100 million in the 50+ age group have never been tested. Until now, colonoscopy has been the only screening method with the sensitivity to accurately detect adenomas. Unfortunately, due to its invasive nature only 38 percent of Americans seek this method of screening. Non-invasive options exist that are either stool or blood based; however, these tests miss a majority of precancers, eliminating their preventive role per gastroenterology guidelines.
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IGO passes its baton from Chuck Penington to Mark Benson
Mark Benson plays the saxophone, clarinet, and flute.
uditions for the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha’s 35th season are scheduled for Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. Both sessions will be held at the First Christian Church, 6630 Dodge St. The IGO, a special project of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, was founded in 1985 by Chris Gillette – who remains the ensemble’s project director – and former ENOA employee Cora Lee Bell, through a Peter Kiewit Foundation grant. The IGO, which features musicians under age 25 and age 50 and older, is funded by grants, donations, memberships, and fundrais-
ers, including the annual Pops & Pie concert each April. Its concert schedule includes seven shows from September through April for groups of older adults, retirees, and nursing home residents.
For more information on auditioning for the IGO, please contact the IGO’s Assistant Project Director Kristine Hendrickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
uring its first 34 seasons, the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha was conducted by Chuck Penington who died in November 2018. “Chuck was more than a conductor to all of us,” said Gillette, who is also ENOA’s director of community services. “He believed in the IGO and was so proud of the orchestra’s accomplishments during his tenure. “It doesn’t seem possible that Chuck was with the IGO for 34 years. I will miss him, and I cherish the time we worked together.” In March, Gillette and the IGO board selected Mark Benson, who has spent the last 29 years teaching music at Mission Junior High School in Bellevue, to lead the orchestra. “The board and I felt Mark was a good fit for the IGO. He not only has a long history of conducting but is also a composer. It was important for us to find someone who had both skills,” Gillette said. Benson, who is retiring from the Bellevue Public Schools at the end of the semester, is a member of the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra and the Lincoln Municipal Band, as well as a freelance musician. He plays the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. A Lincoln native, Mark has a BA degree in music education from the Benson’s first concert as the IGO’s conductor University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will be Sunday, Sept. 29 at Ridgemont Village, 702 Fort Crook Rd. South in Bellevue. a master’s degree in music performance from Northern Illinois University. Karen Benson, Mark’s wife since 1986, is a music teacher for the Millard Public Schools. The couple’s daughter, Katy, is a special education paraprofessional for the Millard Public Schools. Their son, John, is a drumline instructor at Bellevue East High School. Benson said he enjoys the way the IGO blends the talents of the older musicians who serve as mentors with the energy the younger members bring to the orchestra. He’s excited to lead the IGO. “It’s a nice group of talented people to be associated with.” Benson said he doesn’t plan to make any significant changes in the IGO initially. “It’s a good model, and it’s working.” Eventually, orchestra followers will notice Mark’s influence on the ensemble’s song selection and arrangements. “The experiences I bring are different than what Chuck brought,” he said. Benson looks forward to the opportunity to follow in Penington’s footsteps. “It will be a challenge to continue his level of excellence.” The IGO’s 2019-20 season begins Sunday, Sept. 29 at Ridgemont Village, 702 Fort Crook Rd. South in Bellevue. The 2 p.m. performance is open to the public. Music for the orchestra’s 35th season – The Best of Chuck Penington – will be chosen from the vast library Penington created during his time with the IGO. For more information, please contact Gillette at 402-444-6536, ext. 1021 or email@example.com.
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New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...
Published on Apr 30, 2019
New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...