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A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

May 2021 Vol. 46 No. 5

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389

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New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19

Jeff Davis began his public service career with Sarpy County at age 18 as a dispatcher with the 911 Operations Center. Today, a member of the Nebraska Sheriff’s Association Hall of Fame, Davis was sworn in as the Sarpy County Sheriff in 2005. Nick Schinker tells Sheriff Davis’ story beginning on page 8.

Support

ENOA

Learn more about ENOA’s efforts to help keep older Nebraskans living at home with independence and dignity for as long as possible. Pages 9 to 12.

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Produce donation A donation from the William & Ruth Scott Foundation and CARES Act funds allowed ENOA to purchase and distribute bags of fresh produce recently. Page 20.

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Broadband Benefit Program to help pay Internet expenses for eligible households

Visit the library of your memories

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help households struggling to pay for Internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a onetime discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, a desktop computer, or a tablet from participating providers by contributing $10 to $50 towards the purchase price. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. A household is eligible if one member of the householdqualifies for the Lifeline program, receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision or did so in the 2019-2020 school year, received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year, experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers, or meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program. The program has been authorized by the FCC, but the start date hasn’t been established. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible. Please continue to check fcc.gov for updates.

n my first postvaccination road trip, I had a most enjoyable weekend visiting my siblings. It felt especially good to see each other after a full year of no in-person visits. As always, we did a fair amount of remembering and telling stories from the past. Stories about our parents and other relatives are told and retold whenever we get together. I’ve been reading and reflecting lately about the powerful importance of memories. As we age, the library of our memories grows ever larger. Memories are an aspect of the soul that shape our personhood. To have total amnesia would be to lose our very identity. To draw on our memories and reflect on their meaning is to know ourselves more deeply. Shared memories root us in our communal

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history and culture. Aging provides a time for visiting the library of our memories and integrating them into ourselves. This integration process is a source of peace and at-homeness with who we have become. This includes remembering the joyous times and the difficulties of our lives. To bring up memories of the happy times, such as weddings, births, vacations, successes, or anything that makes us smile, is a way of reigniting the joy within us. As St. Paul said, “Whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is worthy of praise, think on these things.” By integrating these past blessings into our daily thinking, we continue to reap their benefits. The painful memories of hurts, losses, failures, and difficulties also require integration. None of us escapes the need for healing from the low points in our past. In some cases,

Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath

therapy may be required. More often, we can rely on our soul’s natural healing process. By attending to regrets in a gentle, compassionate way, we can find it in our hearts to forgive others, and more importantly to forgive ourselves. Instead of blaming others or ourselves for mistakes, we accept the frailty of humanity with the eyes of compassion. When we forgive, inner wounds begin to heal. Peace and light can then flow into the open spaces resulting in a life that’s sweeter and fuller. Our memories also serve us as teachers. T.S. Eliot said, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.” Every human being seeks meaning. It’s essential to seek the meaning of our experiences in order to learn the lessons we then integrate into our thinking. I find it’s helpful to share the stories with others in order to make sense of them, allowing them to help me see their meaning. A useful question is, “Why did this memory stick with me all these years?” This is an opportunity to harvest the meaning. We know there’s much about aging that’s challenging. Our bodies weaken, forcing us to let go of so much. My family certainly discusses our health challenges. But more importantly we share our common history. As we integrate our shared memories, we continue to ripen into our best selves. (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of Life. Contact her at nhemesath@cox.net.)

Moments like these are precious. Don’t let them fade away. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people age 55+. Early detection is the key to saving your sight. Protect your vision from fading away. Call the Foundation Fighting Blindness for a free information packet about preventing and managing AMD.

A cure is in sight 800-610-4558 • Fightblindness.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 chuck@massihlaw.com www.dorwartlaw.com

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New Horizons

May 2021


Return homestead exemption applications by June 30

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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.

Household income table Over age 65 married income

Over age 65 single income

Exemption %

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

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: jeff.reinhardt@enoa.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 9,000 through direct mail .

Editor....................................................Jeff Reinhardt Ad Mgr................Mitch Laudenback, 402-444-4148 Contributing Writers.........Nick Schinker & Leo Biga ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, vice-chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, secretary; 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.

May 2021

New Horizons

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We’re here to help you stay healthy!

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The differences between hospice, palliative care

The men and women of Midwest Geriatrics are dedicated to keeping you happy, healthy, and living life to the fullest. Call 402-827-6000 to learn more about : • Florence Home Healthcare • Royale Oaks Assisted Living • House of Hope Assisted Living • House of Hope Memory Care • Gerimed & Unimed Pharmacies

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.

ospice and palliative care are two different types of healthcare treatments that are often confused. Both provide pain and symptom relief for people with a serious illness, but there are important differences between the two. Hospice is a compassionate form of healthcare that provides non-curative treatment and comfort to people with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less as certified by their physician. It’s focused on the quality of life through medical, emotional, and spiritual care. Hospice can include physician services, nursing care, home health aides, social worker services, spiritual support, physical, occupational, and speech therapy; medications, medical equipment, supplies related to the hospice diagnosis, respite care, bereavement counseling and other family support, and short-term general

inpatient care. Palliative care provides relief from symptoms and treats side effects for persons with a serious illness. Services include goals of care discussions, advanced care planning, family meetings, education, support and resources, and visits by a nurse practitioner. Hospice begins in the later stages of illness, when a person is expected to live about six months. Palliative care can start at any stage of an illness – when the person is diagnosed, when they’re receiving treatment to cure their illness, or when they’re nearing the end of their life. When a patient chooses hospice, the goals of care shift from curing illness to focusing on comfort and quality of life. Patients can receive palliative care at the same time they’re trying to cure their illness. Their goal is to recover while staying as comfortable as possible. Hospice costs are 100% covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans for qualifying patients. Palliative care costs are usually paid for by insurance or out of pocket by the patient. Some costs may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, depending on the patient’s plan. Hospice care is delivered wherever the patient calls home including private homes as well as facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice centers. Palliative care also can be offered in a variety of settings such as private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals. (AseraCare Hospice provided this information.)

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New Horizons

May 2021


Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

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uring 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 (SFMNP) certified Nebraska’s Farmers’ Market stands. The coupon distribution dates may be subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SFMNP – administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ State Unit on 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 $23,828 for a single person or less than $32,227 for a two-person household. Recipients will be given 16 coupons worth $3 each (total value $48) that can be used through Oct. 31, 2021 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 are scheduled to be distributed at specific dates and times in June at ENOA’s senior centers. Most distributions will occur during the first two weeks of June, therefore, it’s important to contact the senior center at the end of May or the beginning of June for more information. A complete list of ENOA’s senior centers can be found online at enoa.org by clicking on “Programs” and then on the “Senior Centers” link.

Bilingual information Bilingual information about hospice care, palliative care, helping loved ones with grief and loss, and caregiving is available through the Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership. The number for the Cuidando con Carino Compassionate Care HelpLine is (toll free) 1-877-658-8896.

Examining how being homebound impacts older adults Researchers with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City have described what they learned about the newly homebound in a paper titled, The Dynamics of Being Homebound Over Time: A Prospective Study of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2012 to 2018. The study found the experience of being homebound for older adults is highly dynamic, with many at least temporarily recovering, but with a high rate of death over time. One year after becoming newly homebound, a third of older adults were still homebound, 47% had at least partially recovered, 2% were in a nursing home, and 18% died. However, over the next five years, 65% died. Study author Claire Ankuda, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says she wanted to learn more about the path of the homebound, an area that has received little inquiry. “It is well known that homebound older adults have a high risk of morbidity, mortality, and unmet support needs.

But we need to know more about the course that older adults follow after becoming homebound.” To learn more, she teamed up with colleagues to study 267 newly homebound (rarely/never leaving the house) adults over age 66, using Medicare data from 2012 to 2018. “Homebound older adults need to be identified in order to provide them more targeted services to address high symptom and illness burden. We found that being homebound is much more dynamic than we thought. “While few homebound eventually move into a nursing home, many actually recover, and the majority will die in the next five years. This means health services and support systems need to be flexible to the varied needs of older adults who may be homebound for just few months and Bea simply confident whose support needs may fluctuate over time. the adults go “Identifying the best way to supporton older who are homebound is even more critical given the social isolation and risk of disease to this population during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Ankuda.

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May 2021

New Horizons

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Communities are celebrating Older Americans Month

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n tough times, communities find strength in people— and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again in eastern Nebraska as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other. Older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they’ve built resilience that helps them face new challenges. When communities tap into this they become stronger. Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities. Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others – even virtually or by telling about the experience later – we help them build resilience.

Receive a FREE copy of the New Horizons in your mailbox each month. To be added to our mailing list, please call 402-444-6654 or send an email to jeff.reinhardt@enoa.org Please provide your name and complete mailing address with zip code when ordering.

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New Horizons

By Jen Beck

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other’s Day, celebrated this year on May 9, is a day to celebrate the women in your life who have served as maternal figures. It’s a day dedicated to appreciating all they have done and celebrate the significant contributions they have made to the abundant lives they have touched. Among the lives impacted, they have most likely cared for not only children, but spouses, parents, and loved ones along the way. Women of this generation are the backbone of caregiving and the foundation of support. As the cost of long-term care and rehabilitation is on the rise, many people are choosing caregiving at home, and women provide the majority of that care. AARP estimates two thirds of caregivers are women, and over half of those are over age 50. Informal care provided in the home is one of the reasons we should celebrate women this Mother’s Day. If the last 50+ years have been filled with being a mother, grandmother, soccer mom, etc., sometimes an easy progression is to care for a spouse or loved one. Whether long term or short term, providing care is no easy task, and caregiver burnout is very real. Luckily throughout our community, respite care exists through volunteers and programs like the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Caregiver Support Program. Sometimes insurance can provide resources to avoid caregiver burnout. On this day of celebration, say thanks to the women in your life, and support them as caregivers, mothers, and most importantly, as individuals. Take some time to remember the maternal influences who have passed and embrace the additional love if you’re a mother. Mothers are miraculous and deserve to be celebrated today and always. (Beck is with Midwest Geriatrics, Inc. in Omaha.)

New registrations put on hold

ENOA making changes to its Diner’s Choice Program

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he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is making some exciting changes to its Diner’s Choice Program. Diner’s Choice is designed to allow older men and women to enjoy nutritious meals of their choice from an approved and specific menu at some area grocery stores. Effective May 1, all new Diner’s Choice registrations were put on hold until further notice. Please see the June New Horizons for more information.

Be aware of potential COVID-19 vaccine scams

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his year, ENOA will celebrate OAM by encouraging community members to share their experiences. Together, we can find strength and create a stronger future. Here are some ways to share and connect: • Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you. • Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal. • Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually. • Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections. When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences through action, story, or service we help build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate throughout the year, with a particular focus in May, Older Americans Month.

Mother’s Day is a perfect time to thank the women in your life

Medicare 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: • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.  • You can’t pay to get early access to a vaccine.  • 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

May 2021

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. Check regularly for Medicare billing fraud. Review your Medicare claims and Medicare Summary Notices for any services billed to your Medicare Number you don’t recognize. Report anything suspicious to Medicare. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE.


Planning your vegetable garden By Melinda Myers lanning your first, second, or 10th vegetable garden can be overwhelming. There are so many tasty vegetables and never enough space and time to grow them all. Start with a plan. Locate your garden in a sunny location with moist, welldrained soil. Save those partially sunny areas for greens like lettuce, chard, and kale as well as root crops like radishes and beets. These prefer full sun but will tolerate more shade than tomatoes, peppers, squash, broccoli, and other plants we eat the flowers and fruit. Review your favorite recipes and make a list of family favorites and those vegetables most often used. Then check the list to see which vegetables are suited to your climate and growing conditions and those that make the most economic sense to include in your garden. Tomatoes and peppers produce lots of fruit from one plant and are common ingredients in many recipes. Sweet corn is fun to grow but needs lots of space for a relatively small harvest. If space is limited, consider buying your sweet corn at the farmers’ market and use that space to grow other edibles. Every gardener struggles with determining how many of each type of vegetable to grow. This depends upon the productivity of the variety selected, your family’s eating habits, and the impact of

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Aging with Pride Aging with Pride: IDEA (Innovations in Dementia Empowerment and Action) at the University of Washington is offering a free program for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. Either the person with memory loss or their caregiver must be LGBTQ to participate. The program includes nine sessions with a coach and focuses on problem solving, improving communication, and exercise. Compensation is provided for persons who complete the five virtual, video chatting phone interviews from their homes. For more information, go to ageidea.org, send an email to ageidea@uw.edu, or call 1-888-655-6646.

weather on the harvest. It’s always better to start small, build on your successes, and expand the garden in the future. Track your planting and harvesting results to help when planning future gardens. You’ll need to plant more if you plan to preserve or donate a portion of your harvest. Purchasing vegetables from your local farmers’ market is a way to ensure you have sufficient fresh produce when you’re ready to can, freeze, and ferment. Sound overwhelming? Consider enlisting help from Gardener’s Supply by using one of its vegetable garden plans (gardeners.com). You’ll find customized plans for those who like to cook, are growing ingredients for a garden-fresh salad, salsa, or cocktails, or are following a Mediterranean diet. Many come with seed packets for all the featured plants.

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aximize the available space by growing vertically. Train pole beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons up trellises. Growing vertically not only saves space, but also increases disease resistance by increasing light and airflow through the plants. Picking beans at waist height is much easier than harvesting from low-growing, bushy plants. Increase space with containers. Consider growing some of your frequently used herbs and vegetables in pots on the patio, balcony, or deck for convenience. You can quickly grab what you need when creating your favorite meal. Grow multiple plantings in each row. Start the season with cool season veggies like lettuce, peas, and radishes. Once the temperatures climb and these plants are harvested and enjoyed, replace them with warm weather vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, and melons.  Finish the season by filling any vacant rows with fall crops like greens, beets, and radishes. Take some time to plan a garden that will provide you and your family with fresh produce you can enjoy all season long. Involving everyone in the planning process might get them to show up and help you weed. (Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books.)

Call 1-844-268-5627

Disaster Relief Hotline can address legal questions during the pandemic

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ebraskans who have questions or who are experiencing legal problems due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 public health emergency can get legal advice and help through the free COVID-19 Disaster Relief Hotline. Hosted by Legal Aid of Nebraska, working closely with the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), this hotline aims to make key legal assistance easy and accessible. If you’re a Nebraskan facing legal issues related to the virus, or the owner of a small, locally-owned business (less than 50 employees, and not a franchise) that’s closed, in risk of permanent closure due to the virus, and where the payment of fees would significantly deplete your resources, the hotline may be reached at 1-844-268-5627. Callers will be connected to the hotline’s voicemail. Callers should leave their name, phone number, brief details of the problem and the assistance needed, and in what county they’re located. Callers will receive a call back from an experienced Legal Aid staff member. Individuals and businesses that don’t qualify for Legal Aid’s free services will be directly referred to the VLP. The VLP will work to place cases with Nebraska volunteer lawyers who will provide free legal assistance. The types of legal issues associated with COVID-19, and focused on by the hotline include: • Tenants with rent issues, including those facing eviction. • Debt problems, including debtors with garnishments or who are ordered to appear at a debtor’s exam. • Mortgage foreclosures, including advising on options for delinquent payments. • Unemployment insurance denials. • Employee rights, including sick leave and wage payments. • Government benefits available to low-income persons such as ADC, SNAP, AABD, and SSI. • Medicaid and medical insurance claims. • Drafting wills, health care power of attorney, and transfer on death deeds. • Domestic abuse and safety issues. • Elder abuse and exploitation. • Access to education. • Helping small, locally-owned businesses with business and employment related matters, including human relations issues, unemployment benefits, and contracts. More information on these legal issues, including ways you can directly help yourself, are available at legalaidofnebraska.org.

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May 2021

New Horizons

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Davis’ career built on caring for people, keeping them safe By Nick Schinker Contributing Writer

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eff Davis didn’t join the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department because he likes sirens and flashing lights, or shooting guns, or chasing bad people at 100 miles an hour. He did it because he cares. He cares about keeping people safe. He cares about crime victims and justice. He cares about taking criminals off the street and making certain they face the full consequences of their lawless acts. And, when it comes to considering his legacy after more than 47 years in law enforcement, he cares about continuing to make a difference. He says he gets that chance every day he goes to work as Sarpy County Sheriff. “No matter the day, the time, or where I am, I have to be ready to take that call,” Davis says. “You feel responsible far beyond the job description. Fortunately, I have great people here who make me look good. Far more than the people I work with and their lives and safety, it’s about the people we serve.” Good and bad, he cares about all of them.

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avis was one of four boys and one girl born to James and Irene (Nath) Davis of Bellevue. His father was a Navy veteran and former Seabee who served in the Korean War. He had a career as a U.S. postal carrier, and also owned a collection of kiddie amusement rides the family would take to church festivals and weekend carnivals. Davis and his siblings worked on those rides for many years. Davis attended St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School and Daniel J. Gross High School, graduating in 1972. He began his career with Sarpy County at age 18 as a dispatcher for the Sarpy County Emergency 911 Operations Center. He soon earned his law enforcement officer certification and became a deputy sheriff for Sarpy County in October 1973. He worked his way through the ranks, serving a number of different duties including road patrol, criminal investigations, the jail, and administration. Eventually promoted to chief deputy, Davis was sworn in as Sarpy County Sheriff in 2005 after longtime Sheriff Pat Thomas retired. Davis has also served in a number of charitable, civic, and fraternal positions, including the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 3, Knights of Columbus, National FBI Academy Graduate’s Association, and chairman of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Easter Seals Telethon. While serving as FOP president, he met Mary Ward, who was working in the office of Gary Troutman & Associates, a former Bellevue City Administrator. Today, Mary is the human resources director for Sarpy County, a position she for-

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During his tenure as Sarpy County Sheriff, Jeff Davis has implemented Project Lifesaver, a program which provides specialized tracking bracelets to people at high risk for wandering away from home or care facilities, such as autistic children or adults with Alzheimer’s disease. merly held in Pottawattamie County. Married 32 years, Jeff and Mary have three sons: Kevin, who works for FedEx; Jake, a police officer in Papillion; and Aaron, known as the “Takis Man” for the snack chips he delivers. Honored many times for his public service, Davis is a recipient of the Michael J. Elman Officer of the Year award and the Bellevue Kiwanis Officer of the Year award. While serving on the Bellevue City Council in 1996, he was presented the “Jewel of Bellevue” award by past Bellevue Mayor Inez Boyd. And, if giving his time isn’t enough, Davis is an American Red Cross Ten Gallon Blood Donor. He and his sons enjoy boating, hunting, and fishing, locally and in Minnesota. “We go deer hunting for a week in western Nebraska,” he says. But even when he is away from his office, Davis is never far from his job. As sheriff, Davis is at the top of a

New Horizons

chain of command of sworn officers and civilian staff including vehicle inspectors, court security entry officers, juvenile center staff, support staff, tow lot operators, evidence and property technicians, and technical support. He has many responsibilities and takes pride in each one. “Every four years, I have to be reelected by the people I serve,” he says. “My livelihood depends on whether or not I am doing my job.” His responsibilities have grown through the years, as has the county around him. “Sarpy County is the fastest growing in the state, but it’s basically 100 little SIDs (sanitary improvement districts),” he says. “It’s like having 100 little cities. “Our people drive every one of those streets. We talk to kids and to families. We attended block parties before the pandemic, and since then, we’ve done drive-by birthday parties for kids. When I started 40 some years ago, Pat Thomas had me walking a beat in Springfield and

May 2021

Gretna. You want to talk about community policing? We’ve been doing that since Day One.”

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f his many accomplishments, Davis is proud of his work on Project Lifesaver, which provides specialized tracking bracelets to people who are at a high risk for wandering away from home or care facilities, such as autistic children or adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Sheriff’s Office personnel and other area departments are trained how to utilize the information from the bracelets to find people quickly. Currently, nearly 70 people wear the bracelets. The cost is covered by donations. Davis’ efforts with Project Lifesaver were inspired in part by his late mother’s personal experiences. “Having a mother who had Alzheimer’s, I know the fear when you don’t know where they are, and the fear of them wandering off,” --Please turn to page 13.


SUPPORT

ENOA

A special New Horizons report

May is Older Americans Month

A message from the executive director of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them face new challenges. When communities tap into this, they also become stronger.

By Trish Bergman

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ach May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities. In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In our communities, older adults are a key source

ENOA’s staff has an unwavering dedication to our mission. Their devotion and compassion are a gift to literally thousands of individuals that ENOA helps each year. As part of ENOA’s Older Americans Month celebration we wanted to create a pullout section of the New Horizons that highlights some of our services and staff. There is no greater pleasure than being able to do a shoutout to all the great work that is done each and every day by the staff. ENOA’s staff has an unwavering dedication to our mission. Their devotion and compassion are a gift to literally thousands of individuals that ENOA helps each year. The daily acts of kindness – small and large – have brought hope and healing to our clients, volunteers, and their families and it’s a contribution that will have a lasting effect on those we serve. I so appreciate their efforts to work together so we as an agency can stay true to our mission. I can’t imagine a greater privilege than leading this organization. (Bergman has been the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s executive director since July 2020.)

ENOA’s Spirit of Aging awards honor its community partners

IGO’s Pops & Pie concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 2

ay is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength. As part of its celebration in 2021, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging will introduce the first annual Spirit of Aging Awards. ENOA staff members will nominate individuals, businesses, churches, and community organizations that make a significant contribution to the agency’s goal of keeping older adults living in their own homes with independence and dignity for as long as possible. The Spirit of Aging Awards will be presented in May in the following categories: • Advocacy: Honors professionals, lawmakers, and members of the general public who work on behalf of older Nebraskans. • Donor: Recognizes donations of money, services, or goods that benefit ENOA’s clients in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties. • Medical/Healthcare: Honors work that improves the health and welfare of older Nebraskans through advancements in medical or healthcare education. • Volunteer: Recognizes individuals or groups whose volunteer service has assisted ENOA and its clients. The award winners are scheduled to be announced in the June New Horizons.

reated by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging in 1985 and funded by a grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation, the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha blends the talents of volunteer musicians age 25 and younger with those age 50 and older.

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ENOA’s programs, services designed to keep older adults living at home

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ince 1974, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has been providing a comprehensive package of programs and services for older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties. One of the nation’s 622 Area Agencies on Aging, ENOA offers care management, nutrition programs, community services, and volunteer opportunities designed to help keep men and women age 60 and older living at home with independence and dignity for as long as possible. In many cases, the professional support offered by ENOA’s caring staff helps relieve the around the clock burden for caregivers. After reading this special four-page section, I hope you’ll have a better understanding of the important role ENOA plays in the lives of thousands of older Nebraskans and their families. Jeff Reinhardt New Horizons Editor

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Governing Board

lected officials from the agency’s five-county service area govern the Eastern Nebraska Office On Aging. The board normally meets the second Wednesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. at ENOA’s headquarters, 4780 S. 131st St. Here are the members of the 2021 ENOA Governing Board: Mary Ann Borgeson Douglas County Chair

Lisa Kramer Washington County Secretary

Janet McCartney Cass County Vice-Chair

Pat Tawney Dodge County

Angela Burmeister Sarpy County

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Advisory Council

our times a year, ENOA’s management team meets with the Advisory Council, a group of local professionals who share their expertise to help guide the agency as it carries out its mission. Members of the 2021 ENOA Advisory Council are: Douglas County Dr. Julie Masters (chair) Judge Jane Prochaska (vice-chair) Dr. Jane Potter Bridget Rolenc Sharon Stephens Margaret Schaefer Marilyn Wegehaupt

The IGO performs primarily for groups of retired older adults and at area nursing homes. The 36th annual Pops & Pie concert – a fundraiser for the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha – is scheduled for Sunday, May 2 at Christ Community Church, 404 S. 108th Ave. The guest artist will be vocalist Susie Thorne. The doors will open at 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. performance. Pie will be packaged in to-go containers for guests to take home. Tickets, which are $15 or free for persons under age 6, are available by calling Chris Gillette at 402-444-6536, ext. 1021.

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Dodge County Kate Casale Sarpy County Kelly Rupp Cass County Mel Luetchens Washington County Margaret Hanson

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C.H.O.I.C.E.S. offers a variety of options for ENOA clients

ENOA’s C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Division has 46 employees including (front row, from left): Thelma Byrd, Theresia Dixon, Stephanie Jacobs, and Michelle Dixon. (Back row, from left): Diana Larsen and Jared Luebbert.

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NOA’s Choosing Home or InCommunity Elder Services (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.) Division provides person-centered planning to assist older and disabled adults in making informed decisions about their needs for aging in place. Each C.H.O.I.C.E.S. program offers an array of services to support people in their homes and community. The C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Division consists of three programs: Care Management, Caregiver Support, and Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver. • Care Management: ENOA provides care management services based on a slid-

ing fee scale to older adults needing additional services and support to remain safely in their home as they age. The agency’s professional care managers work with older adults to help them navigate through a variety of community resources and services. Together the care manager and the older adult develop a person-centered plan that reflects the older adult’s preferences for services and providers. The care manager provides ongoing monitoring and consultation. Care Management participants must be age 60 or older, live in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, or Washington counties and

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ENOA’s trained Care Managers can help guide you in finding the services and resources you want and need to safely remain in your home as long as possible!

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May 2021

be willing to engage in a comprehensive assessment to develop an individualized plan that will remain in place for 90 days or longer. For more information, please call 402-444-6536. • Caregiver Support: For many older Nebraskans, informal care provided by a loved one or a friend is the primary means of support that allows them to remain living at home for as long as possible. ENOA understands the challenges and stress that can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed and isolated. Caregiver Support offers case management services to caregivers age 18 and older who provide daily care to an older adult age 60 or older or an adult diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar disorder. Together the case manager and the caregiver will discuss the importance respite services can play in maintaining the informal caregiver’s health and well-being. The caregiver will work with the case manager to develop a service plan that identifies what types of respite and support best meets the caregiver’s needs whether it be in-home or in the community For more information, please call 402-444-6536. • Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver: Offers options to adults who are Medicaid eligible and meet nursing facility level of care. If a participant-centered plan can be developed to safely meet the participant’s needs, the eligible person is offered the choice of receiving home and community-based services or entering a nursing home. This Medicaid Waiver allows Medicaid funds to be used to purchase non-medical services that are cost effective in comparison to nursing home costs. The program offers a wide variety of services including, but not limited to, home care/chore, heavy chore, home modifications/assistive technology, home-delivered meals, and personal emergency response systems. For more information, please call 402-546-1870.

I & A specialists, ADRC counselor can answer questions, make referrals

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he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Information and Assistance (I & A) Division plays a vital role in the agency’s five-county service area connecting people to a wide range of public and private support services that improve the quality of life and allow older adults to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The I & A telephone lines are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The knowledgeable and caring I & A specialists listen to callers’ questions and concerns and then provide information about community resources and service options that help callers make informed decisions. The I & A Division features a speaker’s bureau that provides information at health fairs, visits classrooms, senior centers, and churches to educate the I & A Specialist public about ENOA’s role Renee Lehnen. in the community. In addition, the I & A Division Director coordinates meetings with members of the Partnership in Aging Network to promote successful aging locally. The phone number to call is 402-444-6444. In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402-426-9614.

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unded by the state of Nebraska and overseen by its Health and Human Services Department’s Unit on Aging, the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) assists Nebraskans age 60 and older, persons with a disability, their family members, caregivers, advocates, and providers to locate and access information about local programs and services that can help them meet their longterm needs. For more information on the ADRC, please call 402-4446536 and ask to speak to the ADRC options counselor.


ENOA’s nutrition programs offer more than a meal Nutrition Division

ENOA senior centers offer delicious midday meals, as well as recreational and social activities.

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he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Nutrition Division operates a network of senior centers in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties. In addition to providing hot, nutritious midday meals for men and women age 60 and older that feature one-third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrients as required by the Older Americans Act, the facilities also serve as resource centers in neighborhoods and rural communities. These centers offer a variety of recreational and social activities, guest speakers, and volunteer opportunities, as well as nutrition and health programs to provide education and to help reduce social isolation. “The staffs work hard to ensure everyone who attends believes the centers are their home away from home,” said Susie Davern who directs the agency’s Nutrition Division. “Our office staff supports the center managers in every way they can,” she added. The Diner’s Choice Program provides meals for men and women age 60 and older from a menu at Hy-Vee stores in Omaha and Papillion that are available anytime the store is open. Each summer, ENOA’s Nutrition Division works with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to provide vouchers that allow older adults meeting income guidelines to purchase locally grown produce at Nebraska farmers markets (see page 5 for more information). The agency also offers an emergency meals program to ENOA clients with urgent nutritional needs. Three to four days of shelf stable food items are available. For more information, please call 402-444-6513.

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Meals on Wheels

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NOA’s Meals on Wheels program delivers hot, nutritious midday meals Monday through Friday to homebound older adults who have problems cooking for themselves, have nobody to assist them during mealtime, or who are unable to attend an ENOA senior center. The most frail recipients also receive a box lunch on Thursday and Friday to enjoy on Saturday and Sunday. Each meal has one-third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrients as required by the Older Americans Act. ENOA also offers Meals on Wheels for persons on a modified diet (diabetic, low sodium, etc.). “The agency has the capability of providing meals and face-to-face contact with around 700 clients,” said Arlis Smidt, who coordinated the program before retiring at the end of April after a 42-year career with ENOA. Recipients are certified for meals delivery by an ENOA case manager, the program’s intake specialist, or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human

Services. ENOA contracts with a caterer who prepares the meals which are delivered by paid drivers, volunteers, and staff members. During winter, recipients are given shelf meals they can use on days the drivers are unable to deliver due to

icy, snowy roads. “The backbone of the program is the dedicated drivers and volunteers who deliver meals and smiles no matter the weather conditions,” Smidt said. For more information on Meals on Wheels, please call 402-444-6536.

Meals on Wheels driver Leticia Rojas (standing) with meals recipient Beverly Malcom.

Public Affairs

n essence, the Public Affairs Division serves as ENOA’s in-house public relations firm. Its most visible outreach is the New Horizons newspaper, a monthly publication that offers a comprehensive package of information, entertainment, and advertising to its 9,000 subscribers. To receive a free copy in the mail each month, please call 402-444-6654. The Public Affairs Division is also responsible for producing ENOA’s brochures, newsletters, and flyers while maintaining the enoa.org website and the agency’s social media pages: Facebook (enoaaging) and Linkedin (ENOA). The Public Affairs Director serves as a liaison with local media outlets acting as the agency’s spokesperson and sending out releases publicizing ENOA activities.

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Community Services programs include Homemaker, Personal Care, Transportation

Program Coordinators Deidra Cleveland (left) and Yvonne Betts.

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NOA’s Community Services Division offers five programs and services designed to enhance independence allowing men and women in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties age 60 and older to remain living in their own homes with dignity for as long as possible. The agency’s care managers maintain lists that offer clients an opportunity to choose their own provider. These programs and services are: Homemaker, Personal Care, Personal Emergency Response System, Chore Services, and Rural Transportation. • Homemaker: To receive Homemaker Services, an older adult must be receiving care management services from ENOA. Light housekeeping (vacuuming, dusting, changing linens, laundry, dishwashing, etc.) for persons physically unable to perform these tasks is typically available for two hours every other week.

• Personal Care: Bathing, hair washing, and grooming services are provided by contracted home health agencies. • Personal Emergency Response Systems: Older adults wear a pendant around their neck or on their wrist featuring a button they can push to summon assistance if the client falls or has another type of emergency. To be eligible, the older man or woman has to be receiving ENOA’s Care Management Services, meet income guidelines, and have telephone service (landline or cell phone). • Chore Services: A private grant provides funds that allow ENOA to offer subsidized snow removal services to a limited number of clients. Money left over from the grant following winter will be used to provide lawn care for a limited number of ENOA clients. Volunteers from ENOA’s SeniorHelp Program also offer snow removal and lawn care. • Rural Transportation: Handicapped-accessible and non-handicapped accessible vans are available to provide affordable transportation weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for people of all ages in Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties and parts of Douglas County. Rides are offered for a variety of needs including medical and business appointments, grocery shopping, and to the airport. Recipients – who are asked to reserve a ride 48 hours in advance – are charged for the service based on the number of miles traveled. To schedule a ride, please call 1-888-210-1093.

ENOA collected and donated paper products and toiletries to Magdalene Omaha, an organization that works with survivors of sex trafficking/prostitution, trauma, and recovery.

ENOA’s volunteers are making an impact in their communities

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NOA’s Volunteer Services Division operates five programs in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties that provide more than 200,000 hours of service worth more than $5 million annually. The programs are Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents, Ombudsman Advocate, SeniorHelp, and RSVP. For more information, please call 402-444-6536. • Foster Grandparents/Senior Companions: Funded by AmeriCorps Seniors, Foster Grandparents are placed in schools, hospitals, Head Start programs, and child development centers to assist children needing special attention. Also funded by AmeriCorps Seniors, Senior Companions offer support and friendship to frail, sometimes isolated older adults in the clients’ homes. Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions must be age 55 or older, meet income guidelines, and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 10 or more hours a week, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $3 an hour tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, and supplemental accident insurance. The stipend doesn’t interfere with rent, disability, Medicaid, or other benefits. • Ombudsman Advocates: After receiving 20 hours of training before being placed, volunteers spend two hours each week in long-term care facilities and assisted-living communities to help residents enjoy the best quality of life possible by serving as a liaison between the residents and staff. The ombudsman advocates listen to the residents’ concerns, inform them about their legal rights, serve as trusted resource guides and problem solvers, and encourage the residents to speak out for themselves. • SeniorHelp: People of all ages provide volunteer assistance that helps older adults live at home with independence and dignity for as long as possible. SeniorHelp services include companionship, escort/transportation, handyman projects, delivery for ENOA projects including Meals on Wheels, lawn mowing, personal/household assistance, one-time clean-ups, painting, snow removal, telephone reassurance/visiting, and yard care. • RSVP: Volunteers age 55 and older work to enhance the community impact made by public and non-profit organizations, health facilities, food pantries, and senior centers.

ENOA’s Rural Transportation Program Driver Gordon Mix (left) and Program Coordinator Brian Hatfield. MAIN OFFICE 4780 S. 131st St. Omaha, NE 68137 402-444-6536 1-888-554-2711 SATELLITE OFFICE Dodge County 1730 W. 16th St. Fremont, NE 68025 402-721-8262

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SATELLITE OFFICE Washington County 1548 Front St. Blair, NE 68008 402-426-9614

New Horizons

Beth Nodes (left) and Sharon Greco from ENOA’s Ombudsman Advocate Program with some of the care bags given to area nursing home residents.

May 2021


Memorial to recognize 1983 murders, Sarpy’s commitment to justice

Davis and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department are working to improve the public’s perception of law enforcement officers.

A 1972 graduate of Daniel J. Gross High School, Davis and Mary, his wife for 32 years, have three sons. --Continued from page 8. Davis says. “With these bracelets, once a month a police officer shows up to change the batteries. It creates a relationship, and you really get to know that person.” He is also proud of his role in the effort to establish the Crime Victims’ Memorial for Danny Joe Eberle and Christopher Walden, two young Sarpy County boys who were murdered in 1983. Davis says the memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of their lives and represent Sarpy County’s commitment to seeking justice for crime victims and survivors. Davis remembers how fear gripped the community after the boys disappeared and when their bodies were found days later. “No matter where I was, I got the same question over and over, ‘Did you catch him yet?’” he says. “People wouldn’t let their kids go outside. Adults stayed home and off the streets. It was like a ghost town out there.” Davis kept in touch with both families long after the murderer was caught, convicted, and later executed by the state. “This memorial is important to me personally,” he says. “We want to use the boys’ names to remind people what happened to them, and to help shed light on the names and lives of all crime victims.” Decades since the horrible murders, Davis still cares about the boys, other crime victims, and their families. He believes he is like a vast majority of police officers and

deputies who are truly dedicated to doing a good job and working to protect the people they serve. He also knows there are some people who should not be in uniform, and he has worked to make certain those people are never hired in Sarpy County, and if they are, that they are weeded out quickly. “What we go through to hire someone takes so long,” he says. “We do background checks, inhome visits, (and) neighborhood visits. We check their social media and do a psychiatric background. We look for anything, any sign, to indicate they should not be hired. “Even with all of that, you can hire somebody who you shouldn’t. Maybe they were able to hide their true feelings; maybe they developed bad traits and habits on the job. But it happens.” In that case, Davis says, fellow officers and supervisors have to speak up when they witness something wrong. “In some of these horrible incidents you see and read about, there were signs beforehand, but nobody spoke up. We have to change that. We have to encourage every officer that if you see something on your shift, you have to report it.” As for the future of law enforcement, Davis says “buying in to a feeling of ownership is essential. A lot of times, community involvement off the job really helps. Being active in churches, coaching, and being a real part of the community will show people you are more than a uniform.”

Davis recognizes a growing public perception that a lot of law officers are bad. “They don’t see that 99 percent of us are there to help,” he says. “They don’t see the person who puts on a uniform every day to do a job most people wouldn’t want to have. We’ve done a poor job convincing people we’re not like

those few, and we have to change that message. “We have core values and number one is service,” he says. “We need officers who say, ‘I am here to take care of people.’” It’s something Sheriff Davis has said every day for more than 47 years.

Davis in the lobby of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department.

May 2021

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COVID vaccine to be tested at UNMC facility

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niversity of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, recently joined a ribbon-cutting ceremony and toured a $1.8 million renovation establishing a new state-of-the-art Global Center for Health Security Clinical Research Unit (CRU) near 40th and Dewey streets. The site is also the home of the Lions Eye Clinic, which will continue to occupy space on the building’s first floor.  The CRU, which boasts negative pressure exam rooms, a pharmacy, a lab, and separate “hot” and “cold” zones (more below), gives UNMC and Nebraska Medicine the infrastructure necessary to serve as a host site for a national clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine for adults. It also allows UNMC investigators to conduct crucial clinical research of a new disease in real time.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic drove home the need for clinical research

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facilities to safely work with participants infected with high-consequence pathogens but not requiring hospital admission or who are no longer admitted, said Dr. Matthew Lunning, medical director of UNMC’s Clinical Research Center and associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine.  Taking the CRU from an idea to reality in a short time in the midst of a pandemic is a triumph of teamwork and dedication. Leadership made it a priority, content experts worked together to ensure it matched needed specifications, and staff built a clinic and a trial from the ground up.   “It’s this kind of effort and trust that can lead to something great that wasn’t available just a few months ago,” Dr. Lunning said.   The CRU’s “hot zone,” which includes two negative pressure clinic rooms, safely keeps infections out of the “cold zone” in the manner of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Separate entrances/exits and a unidirectional flow space also prevent contamination.   The CRU facility and the vaccine study opened almost simultaneously at the end of 2020. Hundreds of people have been enrolled through a group effort between the UNMC Division of Infectious Diseases and CRU staff.  A handful of other clinical research projects also are being conducted thanks in part to the CRU, with more planned.   The renovated facility also includes permanent office and administrative space for the Global Center for Health Security (GCHS), the umbrella agency encompassing biopreparedness, infectious diseases, high-consequence infections research, education, and clinical care at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.  The renovation also includes offices for the Centers for the Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (CSTARS). The U.S. Air Force has designated UNMC/Nebraska Medicine as one of its four C-STARS sites and the only one dedicated to specialized training for Air Force medical teams managing highly infectious disease threats. 

New Horizons

May 2021

Good for people at any age

Cognitive exercises to keep your brain healthy, productive By Dr. Patrick Porter Like with any muscle in your body, your brain needs to be consistently exercised to keep it healthy, strong, and productive. Maintaining an active brain will help you fight off the harmful proteins in the brain that indicate potential Alzheimer’s, keeping your brain healthy. Here are some helpful brain-boosting tips that are both fun and effective for anyone. • Take a whiff of rosemary: According to a study done by a British university, students in a rosemary-scented room did 5% to 7% better on an exam than students in a room without the rosemary scent. • Prioritize good sleep: The brain has a process of cleansing and releasing toxins when we reach deep sleep. When we repeatedly lack a beneficial sleeping routine, our brain builds up toxins that can make us feel groggy, tired, and unable to concentrate throughout the day. This can ultimately cause more cognitive issues as we age. Try to keep your sleep routine consistent. Prioritize your sleep to help get the best quality rejuvenation for your brain. • Get your heart rate going: Studies have shown aerobic activity helps keep your memory sharp by increasing your heart rate which gets blood flowing to your brain. A 2006 study shows working out increases brain volume in regions associated with age-related decline. Find something you love and something you can do consistently to help get your blood flowing and your brain healthy. • Use linking and mnemonics: Techniques like linking and mnemonics are what memory experts like Dave Farrow – Guinness Record holder for greatest memory – use to win competitions. Farrow memorized the order of 59 decks of shuffled playing cards by turning each card into a visual image and linking the items together. Farrow’s method has been proven through a double-blind neuroscience study at McGill University in Montreal. Try creating stories and visualizing different memory games to help strengthen your brain’s ability to make connections and remember. • Use your non-dominant hand: Doing simple tasks like writing, drawing, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand has been shown to increase connections throughout the brain, while improving gross motor functions and stimulating brain growth. Plus, it’s a fun way to get your brain active and moving if you’re feeling in a slump. • Take a break from screens: How much of your day do you spend looking at a screen? Often, we go from looking at a little screen (our phones) to looking at a medium screen (our computers) to looking at a big screen (our televisions) to looking back at the little screen before bed. All these screens and harmful blue lights are depriving the brain of much needed downtime. According to a 2010 article in The New York Times, the brain must have periods of rest to solidify information and store memories, which cannot happen when the brain is constantly stimulated. • Strengthen your brain, strengthen your life: These brain-boosting tips can help anyone, regardless of their stage in life. It’s crucial to take care of our brain, strengthening it, nourishing it, and resting it like we do with the rest of our body. As you practice these exercises, you’ll recognize a difference in the way your brain functions and remembers throughout the day and in your life. (Porter is an award-winning author and speaker.)


Intercultural Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC), 5545 Center St. The facility – open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – offers programs and activities Mondays through Fridays from 9 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. Monthly food pantries are available for adults age 50 or older. ISC’s SAVE bus can bring case management services to your doorstep. The center will be closed on May 31 in observance of Memorial Day. For more information, please call 402- 444-6529.

New therapies for age-related disorders Neurons lack the ability to replicate their DNA, so they’re constantly working to repair damage to their genome (an organism’s genetic material). Neurons are the fundamental units of the brain and nervous system that are responsible for receiving sensory input from the external world and sending motor commands to our muscles. Now, a new study by Salk scientists finds these repairs aren’t random, but instead focus on protecting certain genetic “hot spots” that appear to play a critical role in neural identity and function. The findings give novel insights into the genetic structures involved in aging and could point to the development of potential new therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other age-related dementia disorders. “This research shows for the first time that there are sections of genome that neurons prioritize when it comes to repair,” says Professor and Salk President Rusty Gage, the paper’s co-corresponding author. “We’re excited about the potential of these findings to change the way we view many age-related diseases of the nervous system and potentially explore DNA repair as a therapeutic approach.” As they get older, the neurons’ ability to make these genetic repairs declines, which could explain why people develop age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. To investigate how neurons maintain genome health, the study authors developed a new technique they term Repair-seq to

May 2021

make repairs to DNA that was damaged by normal cellular processes. “What we saw was incredibly sharp, well-defined regions of repair; very focused areas that were substantially higher than background levels,” says study co-author Dylan Reid, a former Salk postdoctoral scholar and now a fellow at Vertex Pharmaceutics. “The proteins that sit on these ‘hot spots’ are also linked to aging.” The authors found approximately 65,000 hot spots that covered around 2% of the neuronal genome. They then detected what proteins were found at these hot spots. Previous research has focused on identifying the sections of DNA that suffer genetic damage, but this is the first time researchers have looked for where the genome is being heavily repaired. “We flipped the paradigm from looking for damage to looking for repair, and that’s why we were able to find these hot spots,” Reid says. “This is really new biology that might eventually change how we understand neurons in the nervous system. The more we understand that the more we can look to develop therapies addressing age-related diseases. “Understanding which areas within the genome are vulnerable to damage is a very exciting topic for our lab. We think Repairseq will be a powerful tool for research, and we continue to explore additional new methods to study genome integrity, particularly in relation to aging.”

New Horizons

Page 15


Call 402-444-3400 Bilingual answers to COVID questions available daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pet licensing

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The Douglas County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to educate Nebraskans about COVID-19 (the coronavirus). The DCHD, working with colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine, has created a COVID-19 information line at 402-444-3400. The information line will be open seven days a week (until further notice) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Callers will be able to have their questions answered in Spanish and English. “Our website and social media platforms will continue to provide the best and most current information,” said Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour. Dr. Pour said the best advice to avoid the COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene like you would with the seasonal flu. Good hygiene includes: • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a second option. • Don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, especially with unwashed hands. • Avoid contact with people who are sick. • Stay home while you’re sick. • Wear a mask when around other people. • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. • Frequently clean and disinfect your home, car, and workplace 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.

he Nebraska Humane Society has received a grant to help men and women over age 65 in Omaha, Gretna, and Ralston with the cost of licensing their pets. For more information, please call 402-905-3474 or send an email to cdoerr@nehumanesociety.org. Men and women age 65 and older in Bellevue, La Vista, Papillion, Springfield, Unincorporated Sarpy County, and Waterloo may license their altered pets at no charge. Pets must be licensed every year. Pet owners are asked to license their pets by mail, at participating vet clinics, or online at nehumanesociety.org. A mail slot also will be available at the Nebraska Humane Society – 8929 Fort St. – for persons who want to drop off their pet license payments in person. Persons choosing this option, will receive a receipt by mail. Pet licenses are due by March 15 each year.

Page 16

May 2021

New Horizons

Wearing compression garments can improve your quality of life, treat several medical conditions By Danikah Grobe, Pharm.D. Candidate, Jacob Rau, COF, and David Kohll, Pharm.D.

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ompression stockings are products that can drastically improve a person’s quality of life and can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Most often, compression garments are used to treat swelling (also known as edema) in the body’s lower extremities and aid in preventing blood clots. They’re also used to help reduce pain and improve the appearance of varicose veins. Compression stockings help these conditions by improving blood circulation. While most garment users have medical conditions, many people without a compelling indication can also benefit from wearing compression stockings. Individuals that travel may find compression stockings helpful. Remaining seated for long periods of time can increase the risk for developing a blood clot. Compression stockings can improve blood flow to help prevent blood clot formation. Long road trips and high altitudes can also lead to swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet, and compression stockings can help prevent these symptoms, too. Compression stockings come in a variety of sizes, compression strengths, and colors. In order for the stockings to work appropriately, you must be fitted by trained personnel. Different styles of stockings are available including knee-high, thigh-high, pantyhose, and maternity style stockings all of which are available in both closed and open-toed options. Each of these stylings will require different measurements, so it’s important to communicate with your fitter to select the right style for you. The most common garments people are measured for are knee-high stockings. For these, the fitter will measure the circumference of your ankle and your calf and measure the length from the floor to the back of your knee. Your intended purpose for wearing the garment will help the fitter appropriately identify the compression strength you need. With your measurements and the recommended compression strength, the expert will help you find the perfect fit. Even with a proper selection for size and strength, compression socks can be difficult to put on by yourself. Many options are available to help either you or an assistant don your compression stockings. Donning gloves help to grip your stockings to move the stocking to the proper place on your leg and avoid snags and tears when putting them on. They are also fantastic options for people with arthritis in their hands. If you have difficulties bending to put on socks, you may find a stocking donner helpful. By prepping the stocking onto the donner, you can step right into the garment using the handles to pull the stocking into place. A doff N’ donner cone helps to put on and take off the stocking, but it isn’t intended for people with arthritis. With a prescription, your compression socks may be covered by your insurance. Many insurance companies will allow patients to order two pairs of compression stockings every six months. Each insurance company holds a unique policy for their coverage of compression garments and because of this, it’s important the provider checks in advance to see if your stockings will be covered. Patients with Medicare must meet a series of requirements. Whether you wear compression stockings to help with swelling or to improve your blood flow, the benefit of wearing compression stockings shouldn’t be glanced over. Although compression stockings are an extremely versatile product, they cannot help every patient. For individuals who are bedridden, TED (thrombo-embolic deterrent) hose are an excellent alternative to compression stockings. TED hose work to prevent blood clots for post-operative conditions as well. Another alternative to compression stockings is compression wraps. Compression wraps work much better for patients who struggle to put on compression stockings and/ or are unable to use donning devices. Compression wraps also offer a much wider range of sizes than compression stockings. --Please turn to page 19.


The power of influencers By Rahel Marsie-Hazen

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s a technologyfocused company, Aura Frames’ partnership with older influencers (people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field) wasn’t the intuitive choice, but 2020 decidedly changed consumer perception and behavior. Aura Frames saw an opportunity to increase diversity and representation in its content and the consumer tech industry as a whole, particularly with people age 50 and older who have great spending power and remain underrepresented in the social media and influencer space. According to studies, Baby Boomers control 70% of all disposable income in the United States, spend 15 hours online every week, and largely believe social media improves their lives. Not only is this demographic spending time scrolling through their social feeds, it spends more money online than younger generations—about $7 billion annually. And yet, most marketers set aside just 10% of their budgets for Boomers while allocating 50% to millennials. There’s a misconception that older people aren’t interested in learning new technology and trends, which often means brands fail to properly market to them. But not only are older men and women becoming more tech-savvy, they’re using online platforms to build their personal brands and share their favorite products, making them perfect un-

tapped partners. This comes at a time when people are craving authenticity after years of perfectly curated content. The challenges posed by 2020 – an ongoing pandemic, economic instability, a tumultuous election, protests against police brutality, and a non-stop news cycle – have made traditional, flashy influencer content incongruous with the harsh realities many Americans are facing. Audiences are seeking out content that lifts up diverse voices and makes them feel good. And what’s more heartwarming than a grandmother enjoying a product she loves, or having fun with the newest TikTok challenge? As influencer marketing continues to grow, Baby Boomers and older members of Generation X are hopping on the bandwagon. They don’t see themselves as old, and just like any other demographic, they want to live an active life and have a wide range of interests from tech and travel to working out and dining, all while sharing their lifestyle on social media. “From Facebook to YouTube and TikTok, we’ve seen an increase in Boomers and Gen X influencers on social media platforms lately,” said Nicla Bartoli, co-founder of the Influencer Marketing Factory, who worked closely with Aura to source “granfluencers” during the 2020 holiday season. “Whether they’re selfmade influencers or creating content with the help of their grandkids, they’ve become an interesting alternative to the typical ads for older audiences.”

There’s a growing list of brands across industries that are including “granfluencers” in ads, social content, and more. Over the holidays Amazon teamed up with Pete Davidson and his “Poppy” for a nostalgic, sociallydistanced ad while Nike has tapped older influencers for increased representation on Instagram. Accurate and diverse representation is not only the right thing to do, it’s good business. By brands elevating the voices and experiences of this underrepresented demographic, it helps open new doors and break old stigmas around their lives and personas online. (Marsie-Hazen is the head of PR & content for Aura Frames.)

SPEND LESS

on your prescriptions with the

FREE

Douglas County Prescription Discount Card

FREE enrollment for Douglas County residents of all ages who are without prescription drug coverage.

Fremont Meals on Wheels Program

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he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program needs volunteers to deliver meals to older adults in Fremont. On weekdays, volunteers will pick up coolers holding eight to 10 meals at the Fremont Friendship Center (Christensen Field), 1730 W. 16th St., around 11 a.m. The volunteers – asked to deliver meals one to three days a week – will place each meal in a plastic bag, knock on the door or ring the doorbell of the meal recipient, then place the bag on the doorknob or a nearby table. After the route – which should take around an hour – is completed, volunteers return the coolers to the Fremont Friendship Center. For more information, please contact ENOA’s Volunteer Services division at 402-444-6536 or online at seniorhelp.program@enoa.org.

AVERAGE SAVINGS OF 20%! • No age requirements. • No income requirements.

This program is offered in a joint effort of Douglas County and the National Association of Counties (NACo).

• Unlimited use for the whole family. • No claim forms to fill out and no annual fee to pay.

For more information call 1-877-321-2652 or visit

nacorx.org

This plan is not insurance. Discounts are only available at participating pharmacies.

May 2021

New Horizons

Page 17


IRS can help you collect 2020 stimulus payments

Book has tips for caring for a spouse who has dementia

ast year, the IRS experienced a wide range of difficulties issuing COVID stimulus payments; both the initial $1,200 payments for adults and the accompanying $500 payment for minor children, as well as the more recent $600 payment for both adults and minor children. While the agency did attempt to reach all qualified taxpayers and ensure correct payments throughout 2020, many taxpayers, including several older adults, are still waiting to receive all or some of their payments.

Laura Wayman, a professional dementia care consultant, has recently written the third edition of a book titled, A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Connections While Caregiving. The book provides valuable information including a detailed explanation of coping with and caring for a spouse with dementia symptoms, and suggestions for dementia-aware activities that work for families, caregivers, and professional healthcare workers. The 186-page paperback, which sells for $19.95, is available at bookstores and from online booksellers.

L

You can find free-filing tools by visiting IRS.gov or calling the 211 Helpline. The IRS was required by law to issue the first payment by Dec. 31, 2020 and the second payment by Jan. 15, 2021. The timeframe for processing all direct payments, including direct deposits or paper checks, has ended.  This doesn’t mean the payments can no longer be claimed and received by qualified taxpayers, but that taxpayers will instead need to file a 2020 personal income tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040 SR. This Recovery Rebate credit covers all Economic Impact Payments not received, both the $1,200 and the $600 and can be done for free online. This also applies to older adults and retirees that normally don’t have to file personal income tax returns. You can find free filing tools by visiting IRS.gov. The other option is to call the 211 Helpline operated locally by the United Way of the Midlands and ask for tax preparation assistance to claim your COVID payment. While this also is a free service, it may involve a waiting period.  The IRS strongly encourages taxpayers to file electronically when possible, as this will avoid the congestion of the U.S. Postal Service that paper returns suffer from and also allow the payments to reach taxpayers much quicker. (This information was submitted from the office of U.S Representative Don Bacon.) 

Alzheimer’s webinars The Alzheimer’s Association is offering a variety of free educational webinars. Topics include the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia research, healthy living, legal and financial planning, early stage care partners, late stage caregivers, and understanding and responding to dementiarelated behavior. For more information, please call 800-272-3900 or go to alz.org/crf.

Appointments By Barbara Peckham

When we were young we’d go for weeks

And nary a doctor we’d see. But now that our senior years have arrived Seems hardly a moment is free. Appointments accumulate day after day It’s hard to keep them all straight. The dates and the times all mix in my head Is tomorrow my eyes or my weight?     My calendar says my dentist I’ll see ‘Twas Friday I’m sure that he said. But his office just called to tell me - oh no! I should be there this morning instead!   The heart doctor wants me on Tuesday PM, The same day I’m due for a scan. The neurologist gave me a change in my date To a day that I had other plans.   Although I’m aware that my age is advanced I’m still walking and feeling just fine. So why am I in this ridiculous state? Maybe your guess is better than mine! (Peckham is an Omaha poet.)

Making an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccine COVID-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. 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.

Page 18 •

New Horizons

May 2021


Call 531-365-5051 to sign up

Blind Golfer Clinic is scheduled for June 10

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ou don’t have to let vision loss prevent you from enjoying a round of golf. Camille learned this at a young age. Her visual impairment doesn’t stop Camille from loving sports and being active with her family and friends, but it sometimes comes with challenges. At age 8, Camille became one of the first participants in The Stanley Truhlsen, Jr. Memorial Blind Golfer Clinic. During this event, any challenges she faces don’t matter. Camille putts, chips, and practices on the driving range with others who cannot see well. She loves being out there with a golf club in her hand. Whether you golfed before your vision decreased or you’ve always wanted to try it out, you can hold a golf club and hit the driving range on June 10 during the blind golfer clinic. Outlook Enrichment partners with adaptive sports specialists and local golf pros to offer visually impaired participants of all ages a day of inclusion through golf instruction. Participants will learn a variety of golf skills including driving, chipping, and putting techniques. The group will then use those skills to compete for prizes and complete three holes, followed by lunch. The Stanley Truhlsen, Jr. Memorial Blind Golfer Clinic kicks off the Tee It Up Fore Sight golf tournament. The annual fundraiser supports the nonprofit’s programs which help people with vision conditions access adaptive technology training and stay active through a wide range of recreational and cultural activities. We hope to see you on the green June 10 during the clinic. Call 531-365-5051 or visit outlooken.org/golf to sign up. (Outlook Enrichment provided this information.)

Compression garments.... --Continued from page 16. Finally, there are some patients that have swelling that’s so severe, neither compression stockings nor compression wraps will be able to help. That’s where custom made garments come in. If you have knee-high stockings, you want them to stop about an inch below the fold of your knee. This will help the garment sit comfortably, preventing the stocking from being too tight and reducing circulation, the opposite of its intended purpose. Your heel should be in place (marked by the knitting patterns in the compression garment) and the stocking should lay flat without wrinkles. You should apply your stockings first thing in the morning before any swelling starts to form. For ease and comfort, you should start by wearing your stockings for a few hours a day. Gradually increase to wearing them the entire day and taking them off at bedtime. Your stockings will be most beneficial if you wear them all day. You can machine wash and dry most stockings in a garment bag, but you should review your information sheet for your stocking’s specific washing information. After a while, compression stockings begin to lose their elasticity and compression, thus becoming less effective. Most people should replace their stockings every three to six months. If you find your stockings are much easier to put on than when you first purchased them, it’s probably time to look into getting a new pair. You may find it advantageous to have more than one pair of stockings to rotate to account for washing your stockings and to prolong the garment’s lifetime. (Grobe, Rau, and Kohll are with Kohll’s Rx in Omaha.)

Nebraska Caregiver Coalition

A Caring Community Called HOME!

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he Nebraska Caregiver Coalition is offering a series of virtual workshops designed to provide training, education, support, and resources for family caregivers. Each session will run from noon to 1 p.m. Presentations include Self Care for the Caregiver on May 19, Pharmaceutical Focus of Caregiving on August 18, and Caregiving: My Heart Sees Your Heart; Discovering the Joys and Benefits of Respite on Nov. 17. For more information and to register, please visit https://go.unl.edu/caregivers. There is no cost to attend, however registration is required.

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Please support New Horizons advertisers. Senior Citizens (62+) Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.

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May 2021

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402-553-7287 •

New Horizons

Page 19


Donations allow ENOA to deliver bags of produce

SeniorHelp volunteer Taylor Deane and her mom, Kristin Deane, delivered a bag of produce to Flossie Cox (seated) recently.

T The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging has been providing programs and services for older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties since 1984.

here are many benefits to eating healthy food like fruits and vegetables. Author and journalist Michael Pollan put it this way: “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” As a way to promote healthy eating, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging recently delivered bags of fresh produce to several of its clients. Produce recipients were older adults in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Cass, and Washington counties who are receiving ENOA services and who have difficulty obtaining fruits and vegetables due to limited finances or social isolation. Money to purchase the fruits and vegetables from HyVee came from a donation from the William & Ruth Scott Foundation and funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Each bag contained baby carrots, grape tomatoes, microwave potatoes, either green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower, sliced apples and peanut butter, Halos or Cutie oranges, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and prunes. The bags of produce were delivered to the ENOA clients by staff members and volunteers from ENOA’s SeniorHelp Program. Through SeniorHelp, volunteers of all ages provide a wide range of assistance that help older adults live in their own homes with independence and dignity for as long as possible. “ENOA is pleased we could distribute bags of produce to some of our clients who otherwise might not be able to enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables,” said the agency’s Deputy Director Diane Stanton. “I want to thank the William & Ruth Scott Foundation for its donation and the staff members and volunteers who delivered the bags of fruits and vegetables.”

Among the ENOA staff members involved in the produce delivery program were from left: Katelyn York, Carol Gleason, Christina Ochoa, and Diane Stanton.

Page 20

New Horizons

May 2021

Profile for Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

New Horizons May 2021  

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

New Horizons May 2021  

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

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