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USDA Study On Cleaning Poultry Reveals Bad Habits, Easy Fixes By Shannon Hicks WASHINGTON, DC — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. A recent study, “Food Safety Consumer Research Project: Meal Preparation Experiment Related to Poultry Washing,” by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that folks who primarily cook at home are among the primary culprits putting themselves and those who consume their food at risk of illness when they wash or rinse raw poultry. The study, conducted in eight test kitchen facilities, with individuals who self-reported washing or rinsing raw poultry when cooking at home, used microbiological tracking to identify where cross-contamination took bacteria around the kitchen. The insights included the following: *When participants in the research washed chicken, 60 percent contaminated the inner sink with the tracer bacteria that was used. *Immediately following chicken washing, 76 percent of participants in the research did not even try to clean and sanitize the sink. *According to the study, more than one in four (26 percent) of the side salads participants prepared were contaminated with the tracer bacteria, meaning consumers would be putting bacteria directly into their mouths. *The handwashing habits of participants was “horrible,” said Lynn Pereira, an intern on the Food Safety Education Staff in the USDA Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education. “We observed 1,145 times when hand washing was required to prevent cross-con-

Dropping in for a surprise inspection, Newtown Health District Food Service Inspector Suzette LeBlanc meets with Lee DeLucia, who prepares food for members in the Senior Center’s commercial kitchen. tamination. Of these, handwashing was not attempted 75 percent of the time — and successful handwashing did not occur a disturbing 99 percent of the time according to CDC’s handwashing recommendations,” she stated. Suzette LeBlanc, a food service inspector with the Town of Newtown, says she defines “sanitize” using the following methods from the FDA 2017 Food Code: *Immersion in 160 degree Fahrenheit water for at least 30 seconds (not practical for surface cleaning) OR *Chemical sanitizing using Chlorine (EPA registered, nonfragranced, non-concentrated bleach) using a dilution ratio of 1.5 teaspoon bleach: 1 gallon water with a contact time no less than one minute. In addition, “the sanitizing agent needs to dry on the con-

Newtown Health District Food Service Inspector Suzette LeBlanc, left, visited the Newtown Community Center October 1 and had the opportunity to chat with Better Day Cafe workers Noel Loveland, Jackie Magoon, and Sallie Barlow about safe poultry preparation. —Bee Photos, Voket

tact surface to be effective,” she pointed out, also referencing the 2017 guidelines. “Do not wipe off ” the sanitizing agent, she added. Food Prep Safety Tips Ms LeBlanc also encourages home cooks follow safety tips issued by The Connecticut Department of Public Health. These should be followed regardless of what food is being prepared. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and dry hands with a paper towel following restroom use, before preparing foods, after handling raw meat, and before eating. Clean hands will help prevent the spread of illness-causing bacteria. Clean cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Bacteria can spread over and get into these items.

Wash and sanitize foodcontact surfaces often. Many home dishwashers now come with a sanitizing cycle option. If not, utensils, cutting boards and other items that come in contact with food for at least one minute can be cleaned in a solution made of one teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of water. Wash fruits and vegetables with water before preparing. Thaw properly. Proper methods for thawing a turkey include thawing in a refrigerator with a temperature of 41° F or less (allow 3-4 days for thawing; placing under cool running water at a temperature of 75° F or less; or thawing in a microwave and cooking the turkey immediately. Ms LeBlanc offers a word of caution about the second option, however. “Although this is an approved method of defrosting,” she said,

“current studies indicate that this may increase the risk of cross contaminating the sink and adjacent surfaces.” Finally, the CT DPH reminds cooks to regularly check temperatures while cooking. Cook a turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until its internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That same temperature is the CT DPH standard for game meats and poultry, whether intact, ground, or comminuted. While the results of the USDA study are not completely surprising — poor handling of food will always create health risks — the reminders for proper storage, thawing and prep are not new. Food is meant to be nourishing and enjoyable. Taking care while working with food will always result in dishes that are not only tastier, but safer for everyone.


Key Findings From USDA Poultry Washing Experiment The key findings from the Meal Preparation Experiment Related to Poultry Washing are summarized below. These findings were included in the Executive Summary, released in August 2019. The references to e-mails concern three notes that were mailed to treatment group participants from the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education. One message focused on not washing poultry before cooking to avoid cross-contamination and included a link to a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) YouTube video; one recommended using separate cutting boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods; and one featured an FSIS “Clean” infographic with information on not washing poultry and the messages to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water and to wash kitchen surfaces and equipment (utensils). Control group participants did not include the intervention e-mails. Poultry Washing *The food safety messages in the e-mails effectively encouraged participants not to wash raw chicken thighs before cooking: 93 percent of treatment group participants did not wash the chicken compared with 39 percent for the control group. *When washing the chicken, most participants rinsed it in the sink rather than submerging it in the sink or container. Participants who wash chicken when preparing it at home reported that they did so to remove blood/slime (30 percent) or because that is how a family member does it (19 percent). *In the post-observation interviews, 66 percent of participants stated that reading the e-mail messages influenced their cooking behavior in the kitchen. Of these participants, 40 percent reported that their actions were influenced by learning new information about preparing poultry. Handwashing Proper handwashing was addressed in one of the e-mail messages but did not influence participants’ handwashing practices. Among all handwashing events required before or during meal preparation, only two percent included all steps necessary to be considered an adequate handwashing event (defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended steps). There were no significant differences in terms of handwashing events attempted and successful and unsuccessful hand-

washing attempts. The most documented reason for not successfully washing hands was failing to rub hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Cleaning & Sanitizing Surfaces & Equipment The intervention did not appear to affect whether participants attempted cleaning and sanitizing when required or whether it was successful for the kitchen counter, the sink among poultry washers, and knives or cutting boards used to prepare chicken. There was not a significant difference in successful cleaning and sanitizing events between the control and treatment groups. The use of the same cutting board for preparing the chicken and the salad was lower among treatment group participants compared with the control group, suggesting an intervention effect — one of the e-mail messages advised using separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry and ready-toeat foods. Cross-Contamination & Microbiological Analysis *The lettuce from the prepared salad was found to be contaminated at a frequency of 26 percent and 20 percent for poultry washers and non-washers, respectively. Handfacilitated cross-contamination is suspected to be an important factor in explaining this level of cross-contamination. *High levels of the tracer E. coli strain DH-5 alpha detected in the sink and on the salad lettuce suggest that microbes harbored in the sink from chicken, packaging, or contaminated hands are a larger cause for concern than splashing contaminated chicken fluids onto the counter. *There was no impact on cleaning and sanitizing or handwashing behaviors when comparing the control and treatment groups, but for non-poultry washers, participants in the control group were more likely to contaminate the salad than those in the treatment group, suggesting an intervention effect. Thermometer Use *47 percent of all participants used a food thermometer on at least one chicken thigh. There were no significant differences between the control and treatment groups. *34 percent of participants in the control group used a thermometer on at least one turkey patty, while 44 percent of the control group used a thermometer on at least one chicken thigh.


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By Eliza Hallabeck Local fitness studio owners and instructors recently weighed in on different types of trends in the exercise field, from clothes to classes and accessories. The Newtown Yoga Center Founder and Director Aline Marie said women’s workout pants have more pockets these days, and many shirts have open backs and/or are more “flowy” in general. “Athleisure” outfits are continuing to be popular. Ms Marie said people are wearing clothes that cross-over from their day-to-day events to the yoga studio. This is conve-

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nient, and many no longer have to change clothes after a workout — because their clothes are transitional for casual-wear. “I’ve also noticed the fabrics are getting a little softer, which is nice,” Ms Marie said. She sees more “fun prints on pants” these days and more graphics and designs. She is also noticing the cut of women’s shirts are more complementary. Ms Marie said she has been practicing yoga for 20 years, and at first it was all “T-shirts and sweatpants” or “T-shirts and bike shorts.” “The industry has come a long way,” said Ms Marie, adding that sweat-resistant, sweatwicking, and compression options are now available. Material options have also expanded for props. There are more sizes and more awareness has been taken to contouring for gear. The individualized gear meets peoples’ needs, she said. “I think it is great, and I think it gives people a lot of flexibility,” Ms Marie commented. Yoga mat options have expanded too: They can now be anti-slip, anti-bacterial, sweat absorbing, travel-sized, “you name it!” Ms Marie has been painting yoga mats and selling them for the last 16 years. She estimates she has sold more than 600 mats. More information about her yoga mats is available on her website, alinemarie.com. Shaking It Up Lathrop School Of Dance of Newtown Zumba instructor Megan Sajovic reflected that types of classes are also changing too. People, she shared, want short, quick “but effective workouts.” “For example, my STRONG30 class on Saturday mornings at the [Lathrop School of Dance] studio usually grabs attention because it is a HIIT [high intensity interval training] workout synced to the music, but its done in 30 minutes,” she said. “An hour-long class can seem intimidating to somebody who is brand-new to the HIIT or boot-camp format, but 30 minutes seems doable for them,” Ms Sajovic said. “People aren’t wanting to spend hours at the gym anymore. They want something that’s going to complete the same fitness objective they have that day but in a shorter amount of time so they can get in, get out, and move on with the rest of their day.” While class formats do not seem to have changed, Ms Sajovic said target markets are changing. Classes that once catered to senior citizens now draw beginners to Zumba and

Lathrop School Of Dance Zumba instructor Megan Sajovic, far left, leads a recent Zumba class.

Joanne’s Fitness Studio patrons wear shirts sold at the studio. others too. “You also see a lot of people using social media as a platform such as Facebook, Instagram, etc posting about more of their workouts, fitness tips, and ‘how to’s,’” Ms Sajovic said. This is seen especially with online coaches and personal trainers who host workout groups and those who advertise

supplements for performance or weight loss so they can reach more patrons. “We are a very ‘post it or it didn’t happen’ and ‘going live’ society now, so as people are posting pictures and videos of what supplements they use and what they’re doing on the machines in the gym, they’re getting the word out about

their product or themselves,” Ms Sajovic said. Fashionable Transitions Clothing, Ms Sajovic shared, is being made and marketed differently. “Before, a typical gym outfit would consist of maybe an old T-shirt you don’t mind sweating in and some shorts,” she said.

“Today, we’re seeing the style change a bit to be more fashionable, and in some cases more functional/serving as more than just an outfit for working out.” For women, Ms Sajovic said a “go to” has been basic black leggings — like those from Old Navy, Fabletics, or Lululemon, “if you have the money to spend,” she added. “I’m also seeing in gyms a lot of graphic tees and [racer back tank tops] with inspirational sayings, some related to working out or related to a specific workout too,” she shared. Ms Sajovic recommended that anyone who is looking to start working out should “pick a date and just start.” Packing a bag with clothes, gear, and water the night before can help fit a workout into a schedule. “Going to a class at a studio or a class at the gym is a great way to keep you accountable for your workout, especially since with group exercise classes, you are meeting new people and expanding your social circle,” Ms Sajovic said. “Or even simpler, go with a close friend and make it a challenge or competition to try a certain amount of classes a month.” A Non-Trend Comfort Trend Personal trainer and Joanne’s Fitness Studio of Newtown Owner Joanne Lockwood said at her studio “there are no ‘fashion trends’ in regard to what my clients wear.” That is because “years ago” Ms Lockwood said she was gathering information to put together a website and asked her clients what she should write as a “kind of testimonial regarding their feelings on the studio.” “One of my clients wrote this, ‘Joanne’s Studio is a gift I give myself twice a week — A great workout for my body, plus time with classmates to listen, laugh, and celebrate life... and no one cares what I wear,” she shared. Ms Lockwood said she wants her clients to feel comfortable and wear whatever makes them feel comfortable. Joanne’s Fitness Studio shirts are sold and worn by many of her clients, she noted. And some of the male patrons wear their pajamas over their workout clothes. More information about The Newtown Yoga Center is available online at thenewtownyogacenter.com, more information about Lathrop School of Dance is available online at lathropschoolofdance.com, and more information about Joanne’s Fitness Studio is available at joannesfitnessstudio.com.

Nuvance, NCC Partnership Promoting Health, Wellness Programs By Kendra Bobowick Nuvance Health, formerly the Western Connecticut Health Network and Danbury Hospital, is now partnering with the Newtown Community Center to bring wellness initiatives to members and the community. Programs are already in place thanks to the three-year, $30,000 partnership, according to center Director Matt Ariniello. Grants have supported water aerobics, fitness programs, health education, and more. The funds cover instruction, supplies, and training. “The partnership is designed to expand health education from Nuvance to the community center, said Mr Ariniello. Nuvance Health CEO Dr John Murphy, who resides in Newtown, said each hospital in the Nuvance system was built by an engaged community for the community. “And so we are very pleased to make that same commitment by supporting the Newtown Community Center,” he said. “In addition to promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles, you have created this wonderful gathering place, providing a real opportunity to strengthen the sense of community for Greater Newtown and the region.” Mr Ariniello said he is very appreciative of the partnership with Nuvance for its support of the center. “I look forward to continuing to bring health and wellness initiatives to the center,” he said. Health and wellness “is one of our key focus areas, and partnering with the hospital was a natural fit for the center,” he added. “I think the community will find the upcoming workshops both insightful and helpful as we look to explore a wide range of topics to serve many differ-

Connecticut Health Network have formed Nuvance Health. According to nuvancehealth. org, “We’ve come together to deliver more convenient and accessible care throughout New York’s mid-Hudson Valley and western Connecticut. And in joining forces, we’re pushing the expected, working together to make the impossible, possible.” Learn more at nuvancehealth.org

Newtown Community Center instructor Susie Cammet leads a water aerobics class in the center’s pool. The program is among the first of a series of planned cooperative health initiatives being offered through a partnership with Nuvance Health. —Photo courtesy Newtown Community Center ent demographics”. He said he appreciates the additional programming, which “expands our core mission of health and wellness and how we can better serve our community members.” The water aerobics programs started when the center first opened during the summer, Mr Ariniello said. The sessions “had to expand due to high enrollment.” The evening and morning classes are available to members. The center also offers Hinges and Twinges, based around needs for those with arthritis and osteoporosis, Mr Ariniello said.

The program is open to center members. The classes run two to three times a week for the duration of the partnership. Contact the center at 203-270-4349 for more information. Wellness Wednesday seminars — open to the public — are scheduled for October 16 and November 20. No pre-registration is necessary, and there is no fee. This speaker series “will cover a variety of topics on health and wellness,” one flyer states. Through the partnership, it will be facilitated by medical professionals. Contact Jennifer Cebry at 203-270-

4349, or e-mail jennifer.cebry@ newtown-ct.gov. A September 25 topic was Eat Well, Live Well. On Wednesday, October 16, from 6 to 7 pm, the community center is offering Early Detection and Treatment of Breast Cancer. A program on men’s health is set for Wednesday, November 20, also from 6 to 7 pm at the center. Part of Mr Ariniello’s work at the center includes identifying grant opportunities, he said. He is also “looking for avenues to create partnerships and continue to strengthen the community.” Health Quest and Western

The Community Center The new 45,860-square-foot facility at Fairfield Hills includes a separate but adjoined community center and senior center. The community center’s facilities, totaling approximately 35,210 square feet, offer an arts and crafts room; six multipurpose activity rooms to accommodate activities ranging from music to group gatherings; a commercial kitchen; an approximately 5,000-square-foot banquet room; a six-lane, 25-yard pool; a zero-entry activity pool; and outdoor connections to the surrounding area of the Fairfield Hills campus. The 9,450-square-foot senior center caters to seniors, providing programs and activities and aiming to enhance and expand the current offerings. Project funding comes in part from a 2013 gift from GE of $15 million for the development, construction, and operation of a community center. The company designated $10 million to design and build, and another $5 million to underwrite at least five years of operating expenses. The town is bonding an additional $5 million to supplement the $10 million capital gift. Another $3 million in bonding has been issued to underwrite the completion of the senior center.



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An architect’s computer rendering of a porte cochere or portico that is planned for the east end of Church Hill Village.

Church Hill Village Opening Soon With Innovative Memory Care Support By Andrew Gorosko People traveling along Church Hill Road have watched with interest during recent months as Church Hill Village has been taking shape on the busy corner of Church Hill Road and The Boulevard. The 3.97-acre plot of vacant former farmland had stood silent along the thoroughfare for decades, the overgrown site fringed with the remnants of a decaying stone wall, symbolic of its agricultural past. But after necessary approvals in October 2017, the site is being developed into a facility to provide clients with luxury-grade assisted living apartments and memory care for people with dementia. Plans for the 12-building complex of interconnected structures were submitted to the BZC by Teton Capital Company LLC of Old Greenwich. In keeping with the land’s farming past, the buildings’ exteriors bear an agricultural motif, and the stone wall has been rebuilt. The site, which formerly had the address 37 Church Hill Road, now is known as 2 The Boulevard. Church Hill Village, scheduled to open this November, is the first assisted living/memory care complex to be built in the Borough of Newtown. Senior Lifestyle, a Chicago-based corporation in the elderly housing industry, will operate the facility. Church Hill Village is designed for residents who are generally over age 75 and who require assistance with the activities of daily living, including some nursing care. When completed, the complex will have buildings that enclose approximately 66,960 square feet of space. Residential Environment Laura Pulsifer, the executive director at Church Hill Village; Sandi Werner, corporate sales specialist; and Nancy Cutter, vice president of development for Senior Lifestyle, spoke recently about the presence of a such a facility locally. The complex will offer bus transportation for its residents for shopping trips and doctors’ appointments. It is expected that the families and friends of residents will frequently visit them

at Church Hill Village because they will not live very far away, Ms Pulsifer said. Also, it is expected that the 71-bed facility will have many more female than male residents, when considering that women generally live longer than men. Forty-nine residents would receive assisted living services, with the 22 others receiving memory care. Ms Pulsifer expects that it will take at least several months for Church Hill Village to reach its resident capacity after it opens. The different features of the several different residential units, which are known as “neighborhoods,” will provide a variety of activities that meet various people’s needs, she said. Ms Pulsifer noted that the presence of Church Hill Village has created much interest among Newtown and Sandy Hook residents who want to work at the complex. Ms Werner commented that residents at Church Hill Village will be allowed to have pets, and the rental apartments in which residents live will be furnished with residents’ furniture. The minimum age for residents is 62. To make the complex a bright, cheerful place to live, it contains many windows and skylights, she said. Entertainment will be provided on a regular basis. Family members will be encouraged to visit and dine with their elderly relatives. A varied menu will be offered by a chef who prepares three meals daily, she added. Senior Lifestyle is a large firm with 180 senior living facilities located in 28 states, Ms Werner said. Church Hill Village will be a civic-minded facility, she commented, adding, that it will be involved in many community activities. “We want to offer lots of options” for the residents of Church Hill Village, she said. “We offer top quality care.” “This is really a very social environment...We’re a community,” Ms Werner said. Ms Cutter, who is an architect specializing in senior hosing facilities, said a goal of Church Hill Village is to place residents in a “homelike” environment during their stay there. As vice president of development, Ms

Three executives with Senior Lifestyle, from left, Sandi Werner, corporate sales specialist; Laura Pulsifer, executive director; and Nancy Cutter, vice president of development, stand outdoors in a courtyard at Church Hill Village, a senior lifestyle and memory care facility — the first in the Borough of Newtown. —Bee Photo, Gorosko Cutter oversees a range of technical consultants who work for Senior Lifestyle in creating residential complexes for senior citizens. Memory Care Church Hill Village will be somewhat unique in its offering of various memory care programs and support for residents with dementia. Embrace is Senior Lifestyle’s supportive approach to providing memory care. Developed through the use of best practices, the latest research, and strategic partnerships with dementia care leaders. Embrace is rooted in the understanding that when memories fade, it is moments that matter. The Embrace program is comprised of several components designed to support residents, families, and the facility’s team through the day-to-day journey of memory loss:

*Embrace Wellness is a sensory stimulation program based on aromatherapy principles and is designed to support residents with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The latest research has shown that aromatherapy has reduced anxiety and depression and has improved mood, according to the firm. “Scent memories” awaken feelings of comfort and happiness. Scent memories become pathways to the past, which can start conversations and reminiscence. *Embrace Enrichment through Thymeless, a daily garden-totable program in which residents grow and prepare healthy, fresh, and delicious food to enjoy. Participants work in the gardening area identifying plants that need watering, weeding, or harvesting. Following their time in the gar-

fun sampling an assortment of wellness activities, including breathing, stretching, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi Easy, qi gong, martial arts, reiki, reflexology, Chakradance, and more. Tai Chi Easy Five Form Series — A five-class course on Thursdays starting October 17, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, $99. Look and feel like a tai chi expert. Master five forms combining breath with meditative gentle movement. Tai chi practice is great for improving balance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and sleep quality. Research has proven tai chi practice to help relieve pain, heal disease, reduce stress, and support PTSD and drug and alcohol recovery. Medicare VS Medicaid, What, When, Where, And How, Selection and Enrollment — A one-class course on Wednesday, November 20, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, $29. For those who feel overwhelmed by the Medicare insurance hype and jargon, this course will help students understand their current and future benefits and whether they will need Medicaid down the road. This class is designed for people approaching age 65 or family members who have questions and concerns related to medical, dental, vision, silver sneakers, and long-term care insurance. It will put into perspective the television and media advertising, home mailers, etc. that talk about Medicare Part A, B, D & D, supplements, Medigap, and advantage plans. This class will provide answers, estimates, and direction along with samples and examples.

Tai Chi Easy — The Ten Phases Of Cultivating And Mastering Qi — A four-class course on Thursdays, starting November 21, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, $79. Qi stands for the energy in everything. Learn the ancient secrets of qi cultivation accessible to all. Explore and experience personal power to discover, gather, circulate, purify, direct, conserve, store, transform, dissolve, and transmit qi — mastering a tai chi continuous movement routine encompassing all the phases. Live Long And Prosper, Age Well And Thrive — A one-class course on Wednesday, December 18, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, $29. Our worlds have become complex, intricate jumbles of happenings — all competing for time in our daily schedules. With smart phones, tablets, on-the-go families and an aging family population, the concept of just-in-time decision-making is becoming the new norm. Prioritizing time to “age well” with physical exercise, arts and crafts, hobbies, and brain fitness or mental enrichment are essential and can even be fun. Stimulate the mind and body and get the endorphins flowing. The class will discuss real life tools and techniques to help attendees formulate their own unique approach to living longer and aging well, having fun, and possibly even prospering in new endeavors and careers. For information and registration, contact Newtown Continuing Education at 203-426-1787, 9 am to 1 pm, Monday through Friday, or visit newtowncontinuinged.org.

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Newtown Continuing Education Slates Health, Safety Classes Want to relax while building strength and balance with Tai Chi, learn life-saving first aid techniques, or get some information on Medicare or Medicaid? Newtown Continuing Education has limited openings available for anyone interested in the following health-related classes and activities: Adult Child CPR/AED — A one-class course on Tuesday, October 15, 6 pm to 8:30 pm, $89. Want to learn what to do during emergencies? Do you know that you have the power to save someone’s life in cardiac, breathing, and medical situations? Positively Shocking LLC can teach the skills and provide a two-year American Red Cross certification in CPR in an easy and fun environment. The course is designed so that lay persons will react with confidence in an emergency situation. In addition to the one-night CPR/ AED class, students can also register for a one-night First Aid Class First Aid — A one-class course on Thursday, October 17, 6 pm to 9 pm, $89. Want to learn what to do during emergencies? Do you know that you have the power to save someone’s life in medical situations? Positively Shocking LLC can teach the skills and provide you with a two-year American Red Cross certification in first aid in an easy and fun environment. This course is designed so that lay persons will react with confidence in an emergency situation. Wellness Sampler — A fiveclass course on Thursdays starting October 17, 6:45 pm to 7:45 pm, $129. Relax, let go, and have

den, participants are involved in food preparation by preparing a snack and later enjoying it with friends. The ongoing use and development of preserved habits, skills, and passions in the garden or through food preparation can help residents feel productive, successful, and accomplished, according to Senior Lifestyle. *Embrace Challenge promotes engagement, cognitive stimulation, and making connections. In support of lifelong learners, residents are encouraged to participate in challenging activities. Challenges can be fun and can provide opportunity for personal and relational growth, according to the firm. The program encourages physical activity, better nutrition, restful sleep, relaxation, social interaction, and mental stimulation. *Embrace Connection — Senior Lifestyle believes that an integral part of supporting residents with dementia is supporting the emotional wellness of both the resident and their loved ones. The Embrace program provides opportunities for continued connection between residents and their loved ones through specially designed programs, support, and education, according to the firm. * Embrace Creativity is a reading program for older adults with dementia. The program supports residents with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the exploration of the written word. There are monthly meetings, which last 30 minutes or more. The program allows participants to maintain reading enjoyment. During monthly meetings, participants socialize in a small group setting and develop friendships, Senior Lifestyle explains. According to Senior Lifestyle, “It’s our mission to help (residents) feel worthy, loved. and purposeful. Memory loss is devastating, but it’s not the end of a person’s journey; it’s the start of a new path.” The firm wants that path to be filled with loving relationships, compassionate care, purpose, and joy.

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employ computer technology for seniors, focusing on ease of use and enhanced visual displays. Touch-screen computers are programmed for activities, games, therapy, reminiscing, music, and virtual travel. The technology provides an opportunity for residents to connect with the world around them, particularly with their family and friends. Also, electronic memory boxes will be available to people with memory loss, according to the firm. When a senior who has Alzheimer’s opens a memory box, it can stir thoughts of happy moments in life and give that person something to talk about. Fond memories of a senior’s history, personal interests, and youth can be explored. Also, memory boxes can be used by residents to stimulate conversations with caregivers, children, or grandchildren. Learn more at seniorlifestyle. com/property/church-hill-village, or check out the facility’s site on Facebook, facebook.com/churchhillvillage.

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Christine DePalma lays on her back as chronic pain specialist Janet Schroeder gently stretches Ms DePalma’s right leg over the course of two minutes to release the tension in her hamstring. —Bee Photos, Silber

To alleviate Gail Diminico’s back and shoulder soreness, Janet Schroeder has her lay on her stomach with rolled towels placed strategically under her hips and shoulders to create height. From there, Ms Schroeder performs a positional release method, where she applies slight pressure onto her back for two minutes.

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By Alissa Silber Nearly two dozen people experiencing different degrees of pain gathered in the C.H. Booth Library’s Meeting Room on September 12 to learn techniques they can use to help alleviate their body’s constant soreness and discomfort. Janet Schroeder, a chronic pain specialist with more than 25 years of experience, led the program that demonstrated simple and safe methods people can try at home, even if they are by themselves. At her practice, Integrated Pain & Stress Relief in Bethel, she offers a holistic approach to wellness by using a combination of therapies, including stretching, positional release, trigger point therapy, and CranioSacral Therapy (CST). “These are techniques that anybody can do. There’s no downside, no risk,” Ms Schroeder prefaced before calling up her first volunteer. Stretching Walking to the front of the room, where the portable massage table was set up, volunteer Christine DePalma explained to Ms Schroeder that she has a tightness in her hamstrings, especially on the right side. Ms Schroeder had Ms DePalma lay with her back flat on the table while raising her right leg up in the air. Holding Ms DePalma’s right foot, she slowly stretched the leg up more, making sure to do so gently so as to not exacerbate the muscle. “When you go slow and steady, you get a much better stretch,” Ms Schroeder said. A person should never push themselves to the point where they are contorting their face in pain when stretching, because that it is a sign they are doing it incorrectly, she added. The time that the stretch is held for is also crucial, because a 30-second stretch will not give the same benefits

to the back for two minutes, Ms Diminico said she could barely feel the pain anymore. Similarly, positional release worked for Patricia Campbell, who has pain in her right shoulder blade. She was instructed to lay on her stomach with towels under her shoulders while Ms Schroeder applied pressure to her upper back. “For positional release, you probably have to do a few times a day,” she explained. Even though it has a great success rate, the pain can be alleviated for anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours.

as a 120-second stretch can. “There’s a part of your muscle called the muscle spindle that takes two minutes to reset to a longer length,” Ms Schroeder explained. By practicing the stretch for two minutes, it will help loosen the muscle and alleviate the pain from muscle tightness. Ms Schroeder noted that this method can also be modified if someone is alone by using a rope, or even a dog’s leash, to place around the sole of the foot whiling holding both ends of the rope, then slowly pulling to increase the stretch. After the demonstration, Ms Schroeder asked how Ms DePalma was feeling, to which she replied, “It doesn’t hurt as much as it did.” Positional Release “When we stretch a muscle, we pull the ends away from each other and, in a sense, you are creating more tension,” Ms Schroeder said while transitioning to the next technique. “With positional release, you bring the ends closer together, so it softens the muscle.” To show an example of a positional release method for hamstrings, Ms DePalma laid on her stomach with her chin over the table’s edge. Ms Schroeder felt the spot in the muscle that was tender and bent Ms DePalma’s leg up at a 90-degree angle for a two-minute hold. “It may not take the pain completely away, but it will usually minimize it,” Ms Schroeder said. Originally, Ms DePalma said her pain, on a scale of one to ten, the latter being the most intense, was at an eight, but after the positional release, she said it was reduced all the way to a two. Next, volunteer Jim Ferrara had his thigh pain diminished from a six to a two from a positional release method. Ms Schroeder had him lay on his

During the C.H. Booth Library’s Self-Care Techniques to Alleviate Pain program, Janet Schroeder places her hands on Patricia Campbell’s upper back for a positional release to help ease her right shoulder blade pain.

Trigger Point Therapy A trigger point may not be detectable on an MRI or x-ray, but everyone has them, and when you find it, you know undoubtedly you found it. “What they are, are highly sensitized points on your body,” Ms Schroeder said. During the class, she passed around a trigger point chart and showed everyone how to locate a spot on their forearm. She instructed everyone to extend their arm out with their palm down then feel along the inner elbow for their trigger point. With that method in mind, she helped volunteer Karen Nagy reduce the pain she experiences in her left elbow by doing a combination of trigger point therapy, positional release, then a stretch.

back with his legs up and bent over a chair as she focused on applying gentle pressure to his muscle for two minutes. For volunteer Gail Diminico’s back pain and shoulder soreness, Ms Schroeder placed rolled towels underneath her hips and shoulders to lift the points of the body. The height of the towels can be adjusted depending on how the body responds to the technique. After having slight pressure applied

CranialSacral Therapy Ms Nagy also benefited from CST, which is a self-care technique that releases the cerebral spinal fluid to eliminate pain. Ms Schroeder said she does this “profoundly relaxing” method on all her patients and has found it brings relief to even her most extreme cases. “What I find with anybody with any type of chronic pain, anyone who doesn’t sleep at night, anyone who is

stressed out, everyone with TMJ, everyone with ringing in the ears, everyone with sinus issues, when I look at their cranial bones, they don’t line up,” she said. “If the bones are slightly off and at an angle to each other,” she added, “it creates vectors of force, so there is a lot of compression, and all the nerves that are in there are being stimulated and excited, so there is very little ability to relax.” Before Ms Schroeder began the CranioSacral Therapy, she had a volunteer verify that there was a visible difference in the sides of Ms Nagy’s jaw and check bones, with one side higher than the other. While Ms Nagy laid on her back, Ms Schroeder strategically placed her hands on the back of Ms Nagy’s head for two minutes, feeling the pulsing and releasing of pressure during the hold. Afterward, Ms Nagy was more aligned, and when she moved her jaw, she said, “It feels much better… [and] it was very relaxing.” For those interested in trying CST at home, Ms Schroeder advises purchasing a tool called a “still point inducer” that can be place on the back of the head when laying down. While Ms Schroeder said she cannot promise that these different methods she taught today will be a complete cure, they have proven time and again to relieve people’s pain temporarily. “All of these [techniques] can be used in combination — maybe a stretch is better for your legs, but a positional release is better for your neck. You can combine them in any way shape or form with other traditional therapy… there’s virtually no downside,” she said. For more information about self-care techniques to alleviate pain, contact Janet Schroeder at 203-240-0378 or e-mail janet@integratedpainandstressrelief.com.

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What You Know Can Save Your Life — The Importance Of Health Literacy By Kristina Tabila MD — Guest Columnist Sam sat across from his cardiologist at his follow-up appointment, having been discharged one week ago for a congestive heart failure exacerbation. This marked his fourth time this year requiring treatment from the Emergency Department. Sam’s heart doctor looked at him somberly, broaching the subject of his health with him once again. Despite being told what he needed to do to avoid another medical intervention, Sam felt helpless. Unbeknownst to the cardiologist, Sam had tried multiple times to lower his salt intake and to adhere to taking his daily medications. Ultimately, however, he found himself unable to follow the medical advice his doctors gave him. The fact was, Sam’s financial situation and lifestyle choices were not coinciding with what his health demanded of him. On top of it all, Sam could not admit to his cardiologist that with all the medications he was taking, he did not know which drug was treating his respective ailments. The impossibility of his diet restrictions, compounded with the complexity of his drug regimen, made it impossible for Sam to achieve better health. Sam’s difficulty in processing and adhering to medical instruction is not an unfamiliar story. Millions of Americans across the country face numerous obstacles including social, personal, and societal barriers that prevent them from healthier living. In the public health field, this phenomenon is called health literacy. Health literacy is defined as a patient’s ability to read, process, and comprehend medical topics. In today’s climate, being literate with medical terminology has never been more imperative. Still, there are millions who face difficulties despite the advances in medical literature. A significant percentage of the population do not vocalize their impairments. Why Knowledge Matters The main drive to improve health literacy is due to the fact that it contributes to the financial burden on the American health system. According to the CDC, in 2016, the United States faced a total national health expenditure of $3.3 trillion. For this reason, a push for preventive techniques and treatment outside of the hospital network will be essential. With such astounding national debt, one might wonder how the lack of health literacy factored in. Simply put, medically illiterate patients may not understand disease processes, and are less likely to understand how their own actions are worsening their health. Consequently, the illiterate are more likely to seek emergent care at the hospital. This results in incurring spending that could have otherwise been avoided with proper outpatient management. Moreover, the future of medicine requires an emphasis to control chronic illnesses. Obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes are in part lifestyle-based choices. For this reason, a person’s ability to read and understanding information will play an enormous role in curbing unnecessary expenditures on the healthcare system. Health literacy is applicable in infinite public health situations. At any given moment, medical information is spewed to the public

and rice. This works in stark contrast to the rising obesity issue that plagues the American health landscape. If a doctor advises a patient to cut back on carbohydrates to lose weight, it can result in resistance. A patient is less likely to give up cuisine that is tied to their culture and their personal identity. What results is that dialogue about alternative foods needs to take place in order to have effective change. Health literacy can be accomplished by presenting medical information by using simpler language. Numerous patients have claimed difficulty understanding what their doctors educate them about. Patients’ unfamiliarity with diagnosis, tests, and results means that patients find it difficult to grasp the issues in their health. What occurs is a lack of clarity within the patient interaction. Additionally, patients have faced obstacles understanding how often to take medications and the importance of ingesting them at a certain time of day. Other patients have expressed difficulty repeating back the dosage and route of administration to their doctor. Some patients have even admitted to mixing their drugs based on the pills’ similar appearance. In short, there are a multitude of ways that instruction can be misconstrued, resulting in a negative healthcare experience. The American medical system is trillions of dollars in debt. The imperative will be how to make a community more health literate in order to prevent worsening of expenses.

with the intent of improving health. Despite the plethora of sources on the internet, the ability to handle the medical content is both individual and societal based. Promoting Understanding The challenge for the community is to not make assumptions that patients understand medical facts. Rather, the ability to understand medical facts and make appropriate health decisions is dependent on a complex interplay of Kristina Tabila, MD factors. First, one’s level of education contributes to their ability to make informed decisions. The CDC reports that those who live in lower income neighborhoods and those who have less education face hindrances to their health. Their illiteracy makes reading labels and prescription instructions incredibly difficult to adhere to. For this reason, a patient’s best health is not attainable. One’s own culture can stand as an obstacle against obtaining better health. For instance, some cultures have cuisine staples that are heavy in carbohydrate content including pastas, beans,

Improving Education Improving health literacy can be done in several different ways. Individually, a person can take more initiative as a patient. If being prescribed a new medication, repeat back instructions to the doctor regarding how to take it. If a new medication is not oral, ask how and where to administer it. If a course of medication is long, ask what the consequences of cutting it shorter in duration. Additionally, when talking about healthcare, make efforts to educate using simple language. When doing research at home, make sure to check the credibility of the website. Using government and public health department websites means a higher chance of accurate information being reported. Finally, encourage and utilize preventive methods of healthcare. Cancer screenings such as colonoscopies, mammograms, pap smears, and vaccinations ought to be up-to-date. Patients should vocalize any questions or concerns related to upcoming procedure. Health literacy may be an obstacle for millions of people. However, shining light onto its existence is an effective step in the right direction. The more dedicated efforts are to communicate, the more efficiently we can collectively improve the health of the American population. Newtown resident Kristina Tabila, MD, received Internal Medicine training at UCONN. Her passion is pursuing public health related initiatives. Her interests include healthcare education, medical writing, and participating in addressing issues related to underserved communities.


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Talisa Shanks, medical assistant; The Honorable Mark Boughton, Mayor of Danbury; Jim Shmerling, president and CEO of Connecticut Children’s; Jessica McNamera, parent of a five-year-old son being treated for Hemolytic Anemia; and Clifford Gerich, pulmonary function specialist, gathered for the ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of a Connecticut Children’s sub-specialty care system serving the region and greater Newtown area. —photo courtesy CT Children’s for the specialty hospital because more than 30 percent of the state’s children live in Fairfield County. In a conversation with hospital COO Gil Peri, he explained that Connecticut Children’s is committed to reinventing healthcare and making it easier than ever for parents to get the care they need for their children through things like telemedicine, online scheduling, and reimaging the patient family experience through partners like Disney and Dimensional Innovations. Mr Peri said the hospital is creating relationships with adult care institutions to manage in-patient services, surgical and neonatal care, and is expanding into the region offering almost exclusively sub-specialty care for the time being. “Our neonatal care will be provided at Danbury, Norwalk, and St Vincent’s Hospitals,” he said. Mr Peri said parents should know that Connecticut Children’s is the only state health

system “exclusively dedicated to children and their families — we’re the only ones who focus 100 percent just on kids.” “There are other providers who have children’s interests, but they are part of adult care systems,” he added. “And with this newest facility and our western Connecticut partnerships, we’re bringing this exclusive and expert pediatric children’s care closer to home for parents and kids in Newtown than ever before.” Mr Peri said Connecticut Children’s is also committed to caring for kids even when they are not receiving hands-on medical care, or are patients in the system. “We’re focusing on prevention as well with a whole group of folks who coordinate school partnerships, working with community centers like the YMCA Children’s Center in Bethel, doing health promotions and well-being work,” he said. “We think it’s important for moms and families to know that we care for kids and try to

keep them healthy all the time — not just when they come to us feeling sick.” Mr Peri said as children were getting ready to return to school, Connecticut Children’s brought in a range of experts to help parents and caregivers. “We also have a Healthy Homes initiative that identifies kids who are suffering with asthma, and when they present, we can help identify triggers and can set up remediation in those homes through a grant,” he said. “I believe we identified some homes in Newtown that are benefiting from that program.” Looking forward to the next few years as Connecticut Children’s integrates into western Connecticut, Mr Peri said the hospital will continue seeking and hiring some of the best pediatric specialists, not only from across the country, but from around the globe. “Increasingly, though, we’re focused on hiring specialists who work and live in Fairfield County,” he said. “In the next

three to six months, we’re planning to bring into the Danbury area an emergent care specialist and urgent care clinic with a nurse practitioner who will have real-time telehealth contact to all our experts in Hartford.” He said this will give patients the ability to have an initial consult close to home at that soon-to-be-announced Danbury location. In closing, Mr Peri said he is particularly happy that Connecticut Children’s is aligning with Nuvance, the former Western Connecticut Health Network, and is looking forward to opportunities to expand Connecticut Children’s networks and expertise into New York’s Hudson Valley and into the northwest corner through Sharon Hospital. “We are Nuvance’s formal pediatric partner of choice,” Mr Peri said. For more information, visit connecticutchildrens.org or call the Danbury center at 833-7337669.

Wellness Expert Shares Secrets For Senior Skin Care

Maria Sabla, of Maria Sabla Wellness Studio in Newtown, led a Skincare for Seniors program at the C.H. Booth Library on September 19 to educate residents about natural remedies to help aging skin. —Bee Photos, Silber

times of the year. For seniors interested in general at-home skin care for their face, she recommends using a sloughing cream called “bio peel” every other day or every day, depending on the skin’s needs. A bio peel can be applied to dry skin, massaged in, then gentle rubbed to peel off dead, dry skin. The bio peel is important, Ms Sabla says, for opening up the skin, softening it, and allowing the skin to absorb all the nutrients of a moisturizer applied afterwards. “Moisturization is very important,” she said. For a daily face routine, after using a bio peel, Ms Sabla recommends using a cleanser, applying a vitamin C serum to the face, then applying a 12-hour daytime moisturizer. The vitamin C serum will help stimulate collagen and slow aging. Ms Sabla also is a believer in treating adult acne with bee propolis, which is a sticky brown goo that bees produce when building their hives. Bee propolis, she says, are anti-bacterial and not only good for clearing acne, but also for healing cuts (the bee propolis should be applied around the cut, not in it). As for natural skin remedies that can be done at home with everyday produce, she says using crushed avocado can be used to calm skin; sliced, then squeezed, cucumbers can be applied to the skin under the eyes to remove dark circles; and lemon juice can be rubbed on to lighten melasma and other dark spots. Each of these options can be applied and left on for a few minutes before rinsing off. “There are lots of things you can do without spending a lot of money,” Ms Sabla added at the end of her program. Those interested in receiving a consultation and finding out what natural products would be best for their skin needs can e-mail to Maria Sabla at sablam61@aol.com or call/text at 203-512-2401.



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Pictured from left is Wellness Spa Therapist Maria Sabla showing Nicole Morris and Beryl Harrison a variety of moisturizing creams that help rejuvenate seniors’ skin.

Body Care Ms Sabla finds that foods that are ingestible and nourish a person’s body internally can also be used externally to nourish from the outside in. “The benefits of herbs are so incredible,” Ms Sabla said, while standing in front of a variety of jarred herbs she showcased at her Skincare for Seniors program at the C.H. Booth Library on September 19. Herbs, such as peppermint and spearmint, when found in tea and oil, can help produce collagen and to slow the aging process. Also, in her body and face creams she includes shea butter and cocoa butter because they have proven to be an important ingredient for replenishing moisture into aging skin. Face Care Ms Sabla does seasonal facials at her studio to cater to what people’s skin needs at different

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By Alissa Silber From head to toe, skin care is important, especially for seniors. Newtown resident Maria Sabla, of Maria Sabla Wellness Studio, specializes in diagnosing the needs of people’s skin and remedying it with treatments that focus on using natural products. What is natural, you might ask? For Ms Sabla, it is ingredients that can be found in nature, such as herbs, vegetables, fruits, and minerals, that undergo zero processing and are not genetically modified. For example, she explained that when a person does not eat nutritiously, the results can be seen in brittle and dry hair, nails, and skin. A great way to start caring for your skin is to be mindful about eating more natural foods. The direct relationship between diet and skin care is like “being best friends,” Ms Sabla explained. The two go hand-in-hand and complement one another.

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By John Voket DANBURY — Connecticut Children’s patient families, hospital leaders, politicians, and members of the media recently celebrated the medical center’s Danbury multi-specialty clinic opening with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. The brand new facility on Newtown Road offers expert pediatric care services in 12 specialties, including cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pediatric surgery, hematology-oncology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, rheumatology, urology, and imaging services like ultrasounds, x-ray, echo, and electrocardiograms. The Honorable Mark Boughton, Danbury’s mayor; Jim Shmerling, Connecticut Children’s President and CEO; and Jessica McNamara, whose fiveyear-old son, James, is a Connecticut Children’s patient diagnosed with hemolytic anemia, were honored speakers. Mr Shmerling emphasized Connecticut Children’s pride in its ability to bring expert, trustworthy medical care closer to families’ homes, thereby easing what can be a difficult day in the lives of many parents. Mayor Boughton echoed similar sentiments and excitement for a Connecticut Children’s clinic in Danbury. “At the end of the day, it’s what is in the best interest of the child,” he said. “This facility is really about kids and about giving them the best possible experience — when they aren’t already having the best day of their lives — and when they need the coaxing; coaching and mentoring; and the love, care, and guidance of a medical care professional.” In 2018, Connecticut Children’s began a new collaboration with Western Connecticut Health Network, now called Nuvance Health, in which our pediatric experts provide care for children who are patients at Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital. Since launching that partnership, Connecticut Children’s staffers heard feedback that this community needed access to more pediatric programs and services. With this in mind, the hospital launched its new facility where Connecticut Children’s is now offering appointments with experts in 12 pediatric specialties with plans to continue expanding in the area. This was an important move


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