REAL CONNECTIONS Magazine INDEPENDENCE | DIGNITY | STRENGTH
For Informed Adults
COVID-19 The Year That Changed in 2020, How Services Were Delivered
2021 Publication Sponsored by FDC Graphic Films, Inc.
REAL CONNECTIONS For Informed Adults 2021
Table Of Contents
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A Year of Change, Super Powers, Partnerships and Deep Gratitude – While Looking Ahead ...4 55 Reasons to be Grateful!...................................6 REAL Services Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic ...................................7 55 Years – Historical Infographic ........................13 Stress Busters for Seniors ...................................14 5 Tips for Meal Planning .....................................16 Honoring Unsung Heroes – Age of Excellence Awards Luncheon ..............18 The REAL “Big” Raffle Event ...............................19 Pain, Pain, Go Away: Dealing with Chronic Pain............................................20 What is Arthritis: How to Know When Joint Pain Requires Attention .........................22 COVID – One Year Later......................................24 Getting to Know REAL Services...........................26 Sources/Resources for Retirement Planning......31
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REAL Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation, which serves the elderly and individuals of all income levels in the counties of St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Fulton, Marshall and Kosciusko. The objective of REAL Services is to assist those we serve in maintaining their independence to the maximum degree possible and find meaning and satisfaction throughout their lives. Please contact us at 574-284-2644, 1-800-552-2916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
REAL Services | 2021
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A Year of Change, Super Powers, and Deep Gratitude – While Lo
would venture to say that any year could be described as one of change, facing new challenges, and feeling deep gratitude – but 2020 was just a little different. Among other things, 2020 brought me two new maxims that I tapped over and over during the course of the year- “new plan” because we were learning about COVID-19 by the minute and “he/she deserves a cape for that” because super-human effort is worthy of a superhuman cape. On a personal note, I heard on the news about this new coronavirus. In February of 2020, the Mister and I took our hand sanitizer on our trip to California to meet our new grandson – baby “J”. At the same time I pulled up the REAL Services Emergency Manual to update it. Wouldn’t you know that we had not yet developed a section regarding “How to work during a pandemic?” An online search of the CDC and other web sites made for a quick yet frightening study of safety protocols. Upon my return from California, I sent a memo out to all REAL Services staff members to convey our goals for managing COVID-19. The REAL Services leadership team met to discuss who, 4
where, what and how we would operate should this virus make its way to northern Indiana, up to and including how each person would obtain the mail. It did not take long to realize that COVID-19 had in fact found its way to our region. New Plan. By March of 2020, 90% of our 220 employees were working remotely. Our Systems Administrator deserves a cape and a “super” title as she arranged for each and every employee to work from home. It was also in March when our concern turned to older adults in the community who were NOT receiving formal services from REAL Services. How would these folks secure food when they cannot leave their homes? What about older adults who are low income? New Plan. At that very time, Rose Meissner, President of the
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St. Joseph Community Foundation reached out and we discussed a project to deliver shelfstable food to senior apartments. More capes are deserved for superhuman efforts as the Community Foundation, REAL Services Volunteer Services Manager, our Weatherization team, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Indiana Beverage, and other volunteers packaged and delivered thousands upon thousands of meal boxes – over 1,000 delivered EACH WEEK! The Transportation Department of REAL Services proactively called everyone over 60 years of age who had received help from our Energy Assistance Program (over 4,000 people) to check in, to talk about safety, and to see if they were in need of food. The Nutrition Program then arranged to have frozen meals shipped to another 500 people in our region (more capes deserved). The stories that came back from these older adults were unbelievably touching. “No one checks on me.” we heard from many more people than I had anticipated. The number of employees who stepped up to help in any way needed is a true
testament to the mission of this agency. The number of volunteers who offered assistance was overwhelming. And the donors- we are blessed to have so many who reached out to offer financial support – most of which were modest gifts that made a huge difference. The experience was inspiring and so humbling. I need a truck load of capes to show our gratitude. While our super employees worked to keep every program and department operating to serve those we were privileged to serve, we had the opportunity to serve our community in new ways through rental assistance, fiscal support to the State, on-line support groups and training, telephone reassurance, virtual events, expedited eligibility, national caregiver partnerships, vaccine phone calls and outreach – and much more. Our elected officials checked in and visited REAL Services to offer support. Our Board of Directors, each with their own superpower, remained steady and supportive as we moved into new service models and new programs. 2021 brings with it hope and excitement.
Partnerships oking Ahead REAL Services will celebrate an important milestone this year- our 55th Anniversary. REAL Services started 55 years ago with an effort to support older workers who lost their jobs when the Studebaker plant closed. They didn’t have a manual back then either, but they got the job done, and did it well. We have grown and changed since then because the needs of our communities have grown and changed. We have been shaped and molded by each challenge and each corresponding solution. We look forward to the next 55 years as we plan for innovative approaches to help those we serve live
as independently as possible- and we will have a section in our Emergency Manual entitled “How to work in a pandemic. “ Thank you for taking a few minutes to read REAL Services’ 2021 Edition of REAL Connections. This year our magazine will offer perspectives related to COVID-19 and the pandemic’s impact on the provision of services and care.
Rebecca Zaseck, President/CEO REAL Services
REAL Services, Inc. 2021 Board of Directors John Abernethy Edward Baer Ryan Brennan Jo Ann Burke Margaret Cuggino Thomas Ehlers Tim Emerick Steven Goldberg Janet Horvath Laura Hennings
Debra Jenkins Tom Lee Rafael Morton Peter Mullen Karen Nevorski John Pendarvis Mary Jane Stanley Michelle Stesiak Steven Watts Colette Wolfson
Area 2 Agency on Aging 2021 Advisory Council Cary Kelsey Celesta Vaughan Donna Horner Hassan Dabagia Honey Kuhn Joan Hunt Marguerite Taylor Mary Ann Richards Pam Utterback
Pam Gunterman Pam Murphy Patricia Hollar Patricia McQuade Richard Mah Shirley Gidley Tara Morris William Gilroy
Thanks To Our Advertisers This magazine is made possible due to the support of our advertisers. As consumers, when you support them – you support us. Please let them know when you contact them that you saw their ad in this magazine. A listing of all organizations advertised in this issue is located at the back of this publication.
On behalf of all our REAL Services staff, thank you!!
55 Reasons to be Grateful! 2020 was challenging for everyone. It is more important than ever for each of us to focus on gratitude. Gratitude was important during the pandemic and just as important moving forward into the future. Gratitude is the practice of noticing and being thankful for what is valuable and meaningful to each of us. It’s good for our mental and physical health, it can help us relax and its effects can help us stay well through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. We thought it would be interesting to ask REAL Services staff for 55 reasons to be grateful during the pandemic and moving forward.
What or who are you thankful for during the pandemic? 1. I am thankful that I can still help our aging and disabled individuals - even remotely! Allison Keiser, Team Leader 2. I found myself feeling even more grateful for my family. Melonie Szymkowiak 3. Grateful for the remarkable compassion our staff had for those who needed assistance during the pandemic. Anonymous 4. I am grateful that I had my job at REAL Services and that I could spend so much quality time with my family, especially my grandchildren. Kelly Wilson 5. I am thankful that REAL Services found a way to keep all employees working, we were still able to offer services to the community even when it took on a new face at times! Tikkri Knarr/Transportation Coordinator 6. Thankful for the things in life previously taken for granted that now take on a unique/special meaning. Anonymous 7. I am thankful for Becky Zaseck, for her leadership as we were planning before the State declared an emergency. Plans were made and then implemented step by step to keep all of the employees safe. Her leadership made a large difference. George Hawthorne 8. I am grateful I was still able to work in a time when so many others lost their jobs. Kylie Kuehl 9. I am thankful for the opportunity to work from the peace and quiet of my home. Stephanie Carlson 10. I am thankful for my supervisor who is always supportive and willing to provide advice on issues with home modifications and special medical equipment. Laura Lehner, Home Modification Specialist 6
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11. My mother is 83 years of age and in poor health; I am thankful for the amazing medical professionals in our area that are treating my mother and doing everything they can to extend her life and quality of life. Julie Sparazynski 12. I am thankful for technology that kept me connected to my family. Anonymous 13. I am grateful to REAL Services that I have worked the entire pandemic successfully. And I am grateful that I have had good health during the entire pandemic. Melanie Brewer 14. I am thankful for the leadership of my Coordinators (Tikkri and Crystal) and how they kept their staff informed and calm and made the adjustments to keep all clients and staff safe. My staff again as they made the transition to a new normal. George Hawthorne 15. I am grateful for my church family and that we have been able to continue to gather via online services. Sue Ann Sellers 16. I am thankful for not being pressured into public outings for an entire year, I have been able to work on myself and accomplish some fantastic things—alone. Claire Vermeulen 17. I was grateful for the opportunity to manage an emergency food program through REAL Services that supplied 196,000 meals to shut in seniors during the pandemic. Allen Holt, Mission Advancement 18. I am thankful for Ronda who made it possible for us to work remotely from home so we could continue working and serving others. Anonymous 19. I am very grateful for the priceless memories of my dear family and friends that have passed on due to this pandemic. Each of them has been a huge part of my life, and contributed to the woman I am today. Their memory will forever live on in my heart. Dawn M. Edwards, Support Specialist 20. Thankful for our volunteers who said they would help no matter what. They are so important to us I cannot explain here. George Hawthorne 21. I am thankful for the Weatherization Staff who packed boxes of food at the food bank and helped with deliveries to senior living facilities. Allen Holt 22. I am thankful for an employer that has prioritized staff safety and health, allowing us to continue working through the pandemic remotely or distanced in the office. Alyssa Rodriguez (Continued on page 8)
REAL Services Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic for Northern Indiana’s Population of Older Adults in 2020 By Allen Holt
Shelves in grocery stores were depleted of food and REAL Services everyday necessities realized quickly that throughout northern COVID-19 presented Indiana. Can you imagine an unprecedented the challenges faced by risk for those the low-income seniors with agency served and health issues, unreliable would place a strain transportation, and no on our community financial ability to stock up and its resources. A for a stay-at-home order? flood of information REAL Services jumped in ALLEN HOLT from all sources with help from the warned that the virus Community Foundation of was affecting older adults— St. Joseph County, Community especially those with chronic Foundation of Elkhart Coundy and conditions—and they were Crossroads United Way to experiencing some of the most purchase shelf sustainable food severe cases of the virus, and, from the Northern Indiana Food sadly, the highest mortality rates. Bank. REAL Services delivered The agency quickly developed a 14,000 boxes to low-income response plan to serve older adults seniors in St. Joseph and Elkhart and other vulnerable citizens in the Counties. region. For 55 years, REAL Services REAL Services has focused on building Weatherization staff, communities—assisting those who volunteers, and the National are fighting to be as independent Guard packed boxes. United as possible. This crisis amplified Beverage Co. in South Bend the need and alerted the Board of volunteered to deliver the Directors and REAL Services staff skids of boxes to senior that more must be done, and it apartments where staff and needed to be done now. volunteers, including Elkhart The Board of Directors, County’s Acts of Service, volunteers and staff focused on helped unload and carry each meeting essential needs of food, box inside. shelter, health, safety, and It was a meaningful project connectedness. as seniors sitting on the sidelines stood up and gave Making Sure Seniors Have Food the volunteers a standing The coronavirus crisis affected all ovation with clapping of ages, even those who are healthy. hands and smiles.
In March 2020, REAL Services’ Meals on Wheels prepared thousands of frozen meals in anticipation of a possible shut down that would affect our vital meal delivery. Each recipient of Meals on Wheels and the 30 Nutrition congregate sites were given a supply of meals to store in their freezers. In addition, REAL Services arranged to have frozen meals shipped as we identified 1,000 new seniors who needed food. We were providing 10,000 meals per week. One recipient of the new meals wrote, “Thank you to everyone at REAL Services for all the frozen meals for me and everyone else, we wouldn’t have had food otherwise. We are blessed.” (Continued on page 9)
55 Reasons (Continued from page 6)
23. I am thankful for my blind Welsh daughter-in-law; she bravely (by herself) traveled half way around the world to immigrate to the US to be with my son and his boys and she has been such a gift of love, happiness, stability and grace. Julie Sparazynski 24. My children who take care of everything I need if I can't. Jean Borders 25. I am thankful for the local trails that allowed me to hike and bike in the fresh air during the times of isolation. Anonymous 26. Grateful for Penny Bigger, roommate. Many life challenges in 2020 but I didn't go through them alone. Brooke Hummer, Payroll Technician/HR Assistant 27. I am thankful for our Development Department who kept on Fund Raising for the programs. George Hawthorne 28. With my family cancelling the holidays because of the pandemic I was able to still celebrate them with her and another friend who lives alone. Holidays in 2020 were not so bad. Brooke Hummer, Payroll Technician/HR Assistant 29. I am grateful that my husband and I are able to
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welcome our first child together in April, 2021. Holly Jaggers I’m grateful we were able to continue serving the community without missing a beat! Julie OlsonTobias, Director of ADRC I’m grateful for the arrangements made to allow our team to work safely and effectively from home! Julie Olson-Tobias, Director of ADRC I’m grateful for grocery delivery services! Julie Olson-Tobias, Director of ADRC I'm thankful for a vaccine, to help with Covid-19 so quickly. Michelle Nycum I am thankful for all my staff. We started out with my staff who in the beginning hung in there with us to take care of the clients. They could have gotten sick themselves but they continued to work while we made plans for their safety. George Hawthorne During this pandemic, I am grateful to work for a company that has allowed us to work safely from home while still providing support, accommodations and most importantly gratitude and acknowledgment of their employees. Bethany A reason that I have to be grateful this year is that my family and I, particularly my grandparents, are all healthy and safe after all having contracted Covid-19 during 2020. Karissa Kennedy, Development Associate I am thankful for the kind gifts from our board members. Delicious surprises that arrived at our front doors. Anonymous I am thankful for being alive, having a job, a meal on the table, a roof over my head and a wonderful group of human beings as part of my support system. Maria Casadio I am thankful for our clients who understood what we were doing to make sure they continued to receive services and they took the adjustments without a lot of hassle. George Hawthorne I am thankful for the great effort and work of healthcare workers, essential workers, teachers, scientists working on the vaccine, to people who are doing their part by following the 3 W's (wear a mask, watch distance, wash hands). Maria Casadio I am thankful for the ability and resources to be able to shelter in place and remain healthy. LaTonia N. I am thankful that REAL Services found a way to keep all of us employed during the pandemic. Anonymous (Continued on page 10)
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REAL Services Responds (Continued from page 7)
Give Me Shelter Amidst all the information flowing in and out of the agency, an unmet need emerged: rental assistance. COVID-19 was taking a frightening toll as many in our community had lost their jobs. The State of Indiana and others were looking for an agency to administer CARES Act funding earmarked for this purpose. Although REAL Services has not provided rental assistance in the past, REAL Services responded quickly and was willing to help. The Community Services Division in the agency hired three additional employees and the department focused on receiving applications from the State and other sources. 350 individuals and families in our area who were negatively affected by COVID-19 received rental assistance through REAL Services. More applications are moving through the process. The Energy Assistance Program received CARES Act dollars to assist clients in need of energy assistance that were affected by COVID-19. To date, 81 clients have been assisted. Helping the Community Stay Safe As a way of supporting the overall community, REAL Services Community Services distributed mask packets to 46 agencies in our region in conjunction with #MaskUpMichiana. REAL Services Community Services staff conducted three public PPE distributions from our main building in South Bend. The packets included paper and cloth masks and plastic gloves. In this effort, 170 packets were distributed in June, 305 in July, and 317 in August. The Area Agency on Aging provided funds to seven agencies to purchase PPE for their staff, clients and volunteers. The types of items funded included
masks, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, Plexiglas/vinyl barriers, and foggers with disinfectant. The funding was provided to home delivered meals, transportation, and adult day service providers. COVID-19 Social Isolation and Loneliness Responses: Low- and High-Tech Connectedness Public officials asked that we all socially distance ourselves to prevent COVID-19's spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that those aged 60 and older avoid crowds, and that those in the community stay home as much as possible. In March of 2020 REAL Services identified older adults who were suffering from social isolation and loneliness, and responded to the need by creating a new phone call program. REAL Services staff kept seniors connected to the community by making 11,405 individual phone calls between April and November of 2020. 43% of those seniors reported feeling lonely and 27% reported feeling isolated from others. Regular social contact has been proven to combat feelings of anxiety, depression, and generalized loss of function. While speaking with these older adults, we were able to identify their needs as well as screen for physical and other mental health issues. The number of seniors who said “no one checked on me” was alarming. Seeing that this need could continue, REAL Services is creating a volunteer program named “REAL Friends.” In this program, a senior will be paired with a volunteer who will provide them with dependable, scheduled contact on a regular basis. Our goals are to start with
basic wellness checks and then build a lasting connection with each subsequent phone call. REAL Services also piloted the use of GrandPad that provided a high tech approach to combating social isolation. Ten low-income clients were introduced to their GrandPad and were provided with training on using it. The GrandPad is a pre-programed iPad that allows older adults to have virtual visits with family members and doctors. One of our elderly participants cried when she described the joy of seeing her son's face. In addition, the Ombudsman Program offered suggestions and support to family members who were trying to connect with their loved ones in nursing homes. While REAL Services shifted to address immediate needs in the community brought on by COVID19, existing programs needed to continue. Service delivery models changed while the number of people assisted grew. Safety First REAL Services knew instinctively that its programs and services must continue. In order to safely do so— for our employees, volunteers and participants—the manner in which services were provided needed to look differently. Institute for Excellence in Memory Care 2020 The Institute for Excellence in Memory Care (IEMC) provides professional and community (Continued on page 11)
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REAL Services | 2021
55 Reasons (Continued from page 8)
43. I am thankful for working with an organization that was able to make a difference in the lives of so many by providing essential services such as food, housing and energy assistance. Judy Jankowski, Director of Development 44. I may not have listed everyone but there are so many to be thankful for. The entire VILLAGE who stood together to keep our clients safe, fed, transported, warm and more. George Hawthorne 45. I am grateful for technology that kept everyone connected during times when we could not have meetings in person. Anonymous 46. Thankful for my health and that I haven't had asthmatic bronchitis like I use to get at least 2 times a year, so I am grateful. Linda Gladys 47. I am thankful that within the chaos in which our country and world has seen over the past year, I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with a team of coworkers and volunteers that remain front and center, implementing programs that serve so many in our community. Lisa Bourdon, Manager of Volunteer Services 48. I am very grateful for family and friends who took the COVID-19 virus very seriously, and took all precautions to keep everyone safe, make sure material needs were met and kept touching base with my household so we knew we were thought of. I'm also very grateful that EAP offered me a position while providing all kinds of safety nets. Nancy Boger 49. I am thankful for technology. Virtual board games with family members, movie nights with friends and family in multiple states and the ability to feel connected despite our physical distance. Jessica 50. I am grateful for our volunteers and our guardianship team! Crystal Bower 51. Encouraging notes/messages from my children. Virginia Sheffer 52. I am thankful for God’s Presence in my life and the health and strength to be in a position to help others. Pam Harris 53. I am thankful to work with a team of people who are willing to charge forward even in the midst of challenges. Anonymous 54. I am thankful for all those who have been on the frontlines of this battle. Anonymous 55. Thankful for laughter and family. Anonymous
REAL Services Responds (Continued from page 9)
dementia education. IEMC professional education is specific for professionals and meets Indiana State Department of Health or CMS guidelines. IEMC offered remote opportunities through COVID-19 from March of 2020 through November of 2020. The total number of professionals and community members educated through IEMC in a virtual platform totaled 976. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services Support Groups Meet Community Needs During COVID-19 Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana is dedicated to family support, education, advocacy, and raising community awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia. The onset of restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic changed the day-to-day operations at Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services. The structure that is so desperately needed by the community was severely disrupted but Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services modified and changed its practices to better serve those with needs. Most of the programming was easily transitioned into a virtual model. Online support groups were initiated with the help of dedicated volunteer facilitators across the area. In total, over 1000 caregivers were assisted through the call center, virtual education, and outreach. Over 670 religious facilities were contacted with information about programming options and support groups to share with their congregations. Aging and Disability Resource Center Overcomes Challenges During COVID-19 REAL Services Call Center, the Aging and Disability Resource
Center (ADRC), changed its service model due to COVID-19. All inperson meetings were moved to virtual meetings and Medicare Counseling (SHIP) was moved to a virtual consultation. Fewer staff members worked in the office while others worked remotely from home and were able to serve in this new platform of service. The ADRC was also tasked with keeping up with the most current COVID-19 resources, who later identified an increase in client needs related to the virus and the economic effects during the pandemic. The ADRC provided COVID-19 resources to all those that contacted us. From March through November, the ADRC responded to 22,342 phone calls. Area Agency on Aging Staff Work Remotely During COVID-19 REAL Services coordinates and funds services to help older and disabled adults remain at home. Care Managers quickly adapted to serving remotely and made sure that each one of our frail and elderly clients received the inhome care needed to remain safely
in the community. Between April and November of 2020, almost 2,500 frail and elderly clients in the region continued to live at home because of the work and advocacy of our Care Managers. And most of us want to live at home, don’t we? REAL Services Guardianship Program Responds to COVID-19 REAL Services’ Adult Guardianship Services Program provides support and advocacy to those who are unable to care for themselves and who have no one to make decisions on their behalf. Pre-COVID-19, REAL Services staff and Guardianship Volunteer Advocates (GVAs) visited each of these clients and provided them with hope and friendship. Visitation was shut down in long-term nursing facilities nationwide to help protect the residents from the rapid spread of the virus. To help defeat loneliness and isolation, REAL Services staff and GVA’s respond by making phone calls and dropping off flowers and other items to help cheer them up. Many (Continued on page 12)
TRUST & WEAL LTH MANA NAGEMENT
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REAL Services Responds (Continued from page 11)
Guardianship clients are in end-of-life stage, and when a client passed away REAL Services Guardianship Advisory Council members stepped up to provide virtual services to honor the client. Meal Programs Resume The REAL Services kitchen was shut down for six weeks while employees called clients. In the meantime, Plexiglass was installed and kitchen employees are now working two shifts (beginning at 3:00 am) to ensure social distancing while preparing meals for those in need. With the help of awesome volunteers, Meals on Wheels participants and over 1,000 people at 30 nutrition sites fitted with Plexiglass started to receive regular meal delivery. Transportation Back on the Road After a three-month break, the transportation program began to take clients to the doctor again. With the support of local foundations, vans were fitted with Plexiglass to keep the participants and drivers safe. Office Protocols Promote Safety While many employees were able to work effectively and efficiently remotely, central office staff
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members were required to work to support each program and employees. Plexiglas, auto-read temperature readers, facemasks, and working in sociallyl distanced pods were a part of the new work environment. Looking Ahead While Focusing on Current Needs REAL Services focused on serving vulnerable citizens in our region while addressing the challenges of COVID-19. At the same time, the agency made great progress in other areas— progress that would make any organization proud even without a pandemic: • The Agency Care Management Program was accredited by NCQA • The Vivian Group, owner of Dementia Village in the Netherlands, endorsed the IEMC • The State of Indiana was approved for a pilot program for Dementia and REAL Services is a partner in that effort • Fundraising events, including Walks and the Annual Age of Excellence, were held virtually and successfully • The State of Indiana requested that REAL Services act as a Fiscal Agency for paying other agencies across the state • The State of Indiana requested that the agency pilot an Expedited Eligibility Program • Lance Robertson, Administrator and US Assistant Secretary for aging, visited REAL Services Meals on Wheels, the ADRC, and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services on August 6, 2020 • Our elected officials, Senator Todd Young and Representative Jackie Walorski, visited to support our efforts during COVID-19 • Team members from nearly every department in the agency and dedicated volunteers reached out to over 3,000 elderly clients to assist them in signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine There is no doubt that our agency, our community, and the country will feel a lasting effect from COVID19. What truly stands out when considering all that has transpired is the strength, resiliency, and true sense of humanity toward all others. Kindness and compassion was, and is, clearly visible in every neighborhood, in every town. REAL Services remains strong. In the midst of a pandemic we served people who were in need more than ever before. We will forever be grateful to our supporters, board members, volunteers, and team of unshakable staff members—all of whom instinctively jumped in and said “we’ve got this”.
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Stress Busters for Seniors By Kathy Gibson, MSW, LCSW, CEAP
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults have experienced disproportionately increased risk of more severe illness, higher mortality rates, disruptions to daily routines and access to care, challenges in maneuvering technologies like telemedicine, social media communication and web-based meeting platforms, and concerns that isolation would worsen existing mental health conditions. All these stressors have been very real. However, interestingly, several studies published in the second half of 2020 have found that older adults (ages 65 and up) have actually been experiencing lower rates of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder in the past year since the COVID19 pandemic began than have all other adult age groups (between 18 and 64). In August 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published survey results indicating that of respondents age 65 and older, only 6.2% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 5.8% reported experiencing symptoms of depression. In contrast, of participants in the youngest age group (18-24), 49.1% reported depressive symptoms and 52.3% reported anxiety symptoms. This was also supported in the other younger age groups: 35.3% for anxiety and 32.5% for depression in ages 25- 44; 16.1% for anxiety and 14.4% for depression in ages 45-64. Earlier studies (pre-COVID19) have also supported the finding that older adults, in general, do tend to experience lower stress reactivity and better emotional regulation and well-being than younger adults. Counter to expectation, early data seems to 14
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be indicating that older adults – taken as a group - may be more resilient and less impacted by negative mental health outcomes than younger age groups. This is definitely good news. Yet, despite these reassuring research findings, feelings of stress, worry and loneliness are normal – even when we’re not dealing with a global pandemic. At times, these emotions can feel overwhelming. But there are steps you can take to help keep those negative feelings at bay. Here are some proven tools and techniques that can help you strengthen resiliency, increase positive mood and propel you on your path towards healthier wellbeing. Stay Positive: Do you see the glass as half empty, rather than half full? Do you assume the worst outcome in a situation? Often, its these negative thoughts that cause us to feel negative. With practice, you can resist worrisome thoughts and even transform your internal critic into a more positive mood. How do you do this? Catch yourself thinking negatively! At the end of the day, think back to what events/situations/interactions throughout the day led you to feel negative. What was your internal often automatic and often negative - assumption about that event/situation/interaction? Brainstorm a more positive, rational, reality-based thought that could replace the negative. Write it down. Repeat. After a couple of weeks, you’ll have a good list of positive, affirming thoughts. Soon enough you’ll catch yourself thinking negatively when its happening in the moment. When you do, consciously tell yourself “Stop!” and think back to your list for a substitute. Replace that negative thought with one from your list that is more positive and
affirming. With a little practice, this ‘swap out the negative and replace with the positive’ strategy will become a natural part of your day, helping you to feel happier. Be Mindful: Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. It is the quality of being truly present in one’s momentary experience. It means accepting the moment as it is, rather than doing what we usually do, which is getting caught up in our thoughts and feelings. Take a minute to give it a try before you continue reading: Sit comfortably with feet flat on the floor and close your eyes. Inhale slowly through your nose. Slowly. Notice and pay attention to the physical act of inhaling. Exhale, blowing the air out through your mouth. Very slowly. Again, notice and pay attention to the physical act of exhaling. Repeat three times. If you notice your mind wandering, refocus back on your act of breathing. You can do this any time you feel tension or stress. Practicing mindfulness empowers you to feel more in control, relaxed and decreases perceptions of stress. Get Physically Active, Eat Well and Create Better Sleep: Getting physically active every day is great for our bodies and minds. It can improve mental well-being and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness – engage in it at least 3 times a week, for 30 minutes each time. Fill your diet with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts; and avoid foods high in saturated & trans fats, cholesterol, and added ➤
With a BA in Psychology and English from Indiana University – Bloomington, and an MSW with a concentration in Mental Health and specialization in Family Therapy from Washington University in St Louis, Kathy has been working in the behavioral health field KATHY GIBSON, MSW, LCSW, CEAP since 1991. Kathy has spent the past 26 years specifically in the Employee Assistance field - impacting workplace organizations around areas of effectiveness, optimal performance and wellness. She accomplishes this through interactive training, strategic consultation/coaching with managers/ supervisors and human resource leadership, salt/sugars. Set aside 7- 9 hours for sleep each night. Create Joy and Satisfaction: Happy moments can boost your ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight disease. Carve out time on a regular basis (monthly, weekly and, yes, even daily) to have some fun: reconnect with your inner-child by giving yourself permission to engage in an activity that you loved as a kid but haven’t done in decades; push yourself to do something you’ve always secretly wanted to do; pursue a creative interest; share your joyful moments with others. Connect With Others: Humans are social animals: We crave feeling supported, valued and connected. Due to safety precautions, the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on our connections with others. Its time to re-connect. Do you have a few friends or family members who make you feel valued, help you solve problems, take your concerns seriously? If not, put yourself in situations where you can connect with new friends: take a class, join a special-interest group, volunteer. The Challenge: Are you ready to create some new healthy habits towards improved personal well-being?
marketing outreach, and providing interventions and support, such as mediation, team-building, critical incident debriefing, and reduction in force support. Currently, Kathy is the Coordinator of EAP Corporate Services at New Avenues. New Avenues is a behavioral health management company that, for over 40 years, has been dedicated to developing innovations that empower organizations – and the people within them – with dynamic, integrated solutions for optimizing healthier productivity and personal well-being. If you are interested in learning more about how New Avenues can help improve the positive spirit, resiliency and well-being of your workplace, give them a call at 574- 232-2131.
Did you know that approximately 21 repetitions of a behavior can turn it into a habit? Pick one of the techniques mentioned that you think might be helpful for you towards taking better care of yourself. Write it down and post somewhere visible – on your fridge, your bedroom door, your bathroom mirror, or on your mobile device screen saver. Commit to yourself that over the next three weeks you will practice this behavior every day. With enough repetitions, you’ll soon find
yourself having established a new healthy habit resulting in positive coping, nurturing self-care and improved mood. SOURCES Vahia IV, Jeste DV, Reynolds CF. Older Adults and the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19. JAMA. 2020;324(22):2253–2254. Patrick Klaiber, MSc, Jin H Wen, BA, Anita DeLongis, PhD, Nancy L Sin, PhD, The Ups and Downs of Daily Life During COVID-19: Age Differences in Affect, Stress, and Positive Events. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. Volume 76, Issue 2; February 2021: e30–e37.
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Ask Your Martin’s Super Market Dietitian:
5 Tips for Meal Planning Meal planning can help you save money, save time and eat an overall healthier diet. It can also reduce stress, as you avoid lastminute decisions about what to make for dinner. Use these tips to make meal planning easier.
at home, start off small by aiming to create enough dinners for two or three nights per week. Build up from there. Save new recipes for days that you have a bit more time. On your busiest day, plan to have leftovers or a slow cooker meal.
1. Choose the meals you want to make, prior to shopping. Make a note of the ingredients you currently have on hand and use these items in the upcoming week’s meal. For example, a ½ of bag of spinach can be used in our Walnut, Quinoa & Spinach Stuffed Peppers below. You can find new ideas for healthy and low-cost meals on the blog on our website or within our free in-store magazine. Pick up your copy of the Eat Smart Be Well magazine during your next shopping trip.
4. Turn to Martin’s Groceries to Go. We recognize our community needs help with everyday errands, like shopping for groceries. Use our Martin’s Groceries to Go website and app to shop for your groceries. Add your items to the cart, select a pick-up or delivery date and time, submit your order. If you select pick-up, arrive to the store at your designated time and park in one of our Groceries to Go spots. Call the Groceries to Go number to let them know you have arrived and one of our employees will be out with groceries and load them into your car for you. If you select delivery, they will be delivered right to your door. Service fees vary from pick-up to delivery. The first two pick-up shopping trips free of service fees. *At the time this article was written (2/9/21) there is an ongoing Special Offer for Seniors: Use code SENIORS at checkout to waive shopping fees when placing order.
2. Organize your list. Make a list of all the ingredients you need to make the recipes you selected. Make your shopping trip easy by organizing into the different sections of the supermarket: produce, deli, meat, grocery, frozen, dairy. It can also be helpful to keep an ongoing grocery list to add staple items as your run out of them: milk, bananas, etc. 3. Plan your meals. Use your weekly calendar to plan your meals for each night of the week. If you aren’t used to cooking
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5. Cook in bulk Cooking in bulk or batches can make it easier to have homemade meals during the week. When you’re making a recipe, make extra portions for another day or two meals, or to freeze for a different week. Your Martin’s Eat Smart Be Well program is here to help you achieve your wellness goals. Please turn to us as your community’s resource
and support system in getting healthy meals on your table.
Walnut, Quinoa & Spinach Stuffed Peppers Prep: 10 minutes Cook/Bake: 13 minutes • Serves: 4 1. Bell Peppers: Preheat oven to 450°. Slice 1/2-inch from the top of 4 red bell peppers; reserve tops. Remove seeds and inner membranes from peppers; place cut side up on a microwave-safe plate. Cook in microwave oven on high for 3 minutes or until slightly tender; place cut side up in 9-inch square baking dish. 2. Quinoa: Cook 1/2 cup in 1 cup water as label directs; transfer to a medium bowl. 3. Chopped Walnuts: Stir 2 packages (2.25 ounces each) chopped walnuts into the quinoa. 4. Spinach: Stir 2 cups chopped spinach into quinoa mixture; divide into the peppers. 5. Tomato Basil Feta Cheese: Sprinkle 1/4 cup crumbled tomato basil feta cheese over peppers; cover with the pepper tops. Bake for 10 minutes or until peppers are tender and slightly charred. Be Well, Kristin St. Clair, RDN CD Martin’s Super Markets Health and Wellness Advisor
Honoring our Unsung Heroes There’s no question that 2020 was full of surprises. Despite REAL Services’ Age of Excellence Luncheon going virtual last year, we knew that the show must go on! Last year, more than ever, was an essential year to honor the unsung heroes of the community – our caregivers and businesses who selflessly dedicate their time to serve others. The COVID-19 pandemic brought on even more challenges for caregivers as they attempted to balance their regular duties all while keeping their loved one safe and healthy from the coronavirus. As always, and even more so now, REAL Services is proud of all of the nominees and award recipients who were recognized at the virtual Age of Excellence Award Luncheon. The following community heroes received awards last year: Family Caregiver of the Year: Jodi Spataro
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Professional of the Year: John Bruinsma Business of the Year: The Salvation Army Kroc Center Change Agent of the Year: Carol Urban Agency/Program Serving Lowincome Populations of the Year: Pit Road Wyatt Mick Volunteer of the Year: Dorothy Carswell Stg. Shriver Lifetime Award: Cheryl Ashe Les Fox Hoosier Lifetime Award: Cindi Streich We are thankful for all of the award recipients and their selfless services to those in greatest need. 2021 marks two important milestones for REAL Services! We are honored to celebrate our unsung heroes at the 25th annual Age of Excellence Luncheon during our 55th anniversary as an organization. We have many exciting plans to involve the community and we can’t wait to have you celebrate with us! The 25th annual Age of Excellence Luncheon will be held at Century Center in South Bend from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5. We are excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be football legend and Vietnam War veteran, Rocky Bleier. We know his story of resilience that led him to success will inspire all attendees. It wouldn’t be a true celebration without you! To register for Age of Excellence, call 574.284.7104, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.realservices.org. Please continue to check our website for the latest information about how you can get involved. Cheers to 25 years!
(574) 533-0626 1501 South Main St., Goshen GoshenHomeMedical.com 18
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Another Reason to Celebrate:
The REAL “Big” Raffle Event Launching in May 2021! Everyone’s favorite time of year is here! It’s time for the REAL BIG Raffle to benefit REAL Services Meals on Wheels program – what a great way to celebrate our 55th anniversary! This year, we will have 50 incredible prizes, many of which were donated by local businesses throughout the community. We are thankful for the support of our local businesses. Last but not least, the prize we look forward to every year: a $25,000 Room Makeover thanks to Peacock Construction or $15,000 in cash! When you buy one or more raffle tickets, you will ensure that seniors, many of whom are low-income, food insecure and homebound, will have a warm and nutritious meal delivered to them by our Meals on Wheels volunteers. For many of these seniors, the only person they may have visit them all day is a volunteer and this may be the only meal they have for the day. Your support is vital to assisting the most vulnerable in our community.
The REAL BIG Room Makeover will kick off with the first early bird drawing in May and the second early bird drawing in June. Everyone entered in the May and June early bird drawing will also be entered into the GRAND PRIZE drawing held on Wednesday, July 28. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold, so be sure to purchase yours early! For more information about the REAL BIG Raffle and how to purchase tickets, call the REAL Services Info Line at 574.233.8218, visit www.realservices.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Together, we can continue providing independence, dignity, and strength for local seniors in need.
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Pain, Pain, Go Away: Dealing with Chronic Pain By Christopher Annis, MD
As lifestyles have changed to include more time in front of video conferencing equipment instead of exercise equipment, pain has become an unwelcomed side effect. Single instances of “overdoing it” or obvious injuries often resolve with time and conservative care, but what happens when the pain persists? When it becomes a part of your daily life? Learning to live with and treat it becomes slightly more complicated than the time-honored “take
CHRISTOPHER ANNIS, MD
two of these and call me in the morning.” What is Chronic Pain? The medical definition of chronic pain is easy to understand. Pain that
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lasts for several weeks or months, even extending into years, is considered chronic. Like acute pain that usually goes away once the body heals, chronic pain can often be caused by injury. Chronic pain occurs when your nerves continue to signal to your brain that there is injury even after the body has healed. As a result, your body regularly feels sensations that can include aches, stiffness, throbbing, burning, or stinging. “In its simplest form, the feeling of pain comes from a series of messages that zip through your nervous system to your brain, sending the message that you hurt. With chronic pain, the pain signals continue long term, or the cause of those signals will not resolve,” notes Dr. Christopher Annis, an anesthesiologist and interventional pain management physician at the Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center of Northern Indiana. But not all chronic pain is the result of injury. There are also several serious medical conditions that can trigger it. When people think of conditions that cause chronic pain, they often think of arthritis, fibromyalgia, or recurring migraines. But other conditions and infections,
such as diabetes, cancer, or shingles, can also cause it. Therefore, it is important to discuss any lingering pain with your doctor to ensure that there are no underlying health issues that are responsible for it. Whether your pain is caused by an old injury or some other medical diagnosis, chronic pain can greatly affect you in ways besides physical discomfort. “Pain can also be defined as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage,” says Dr. Annis. People with chronic pain often find it interferes with their daily lives and activities by limiting their mobility or preventing them from sleeping well. The stress that results can then cause a loss of selfesteem and a rise in feelings of anger and depression. However, with a proper treatment plan developed with your doctor, many people who experience chronic pain find ways to reduce their symptoms, manage the pain, and live fulfilling lives in spite of any flareups they might have. Who Diagnoses Chronic Pain? For many individuals, a diagnosis for any kind of pain begins with their ➤
primary care physician. He or she will assess your condition and history, often order diagnostic scans such as an X-ray or MRI and determine if you need a referral to a specialist. Depending on the nature and duration of your pain, your physician might recommend that you visit a pain management specialist, a physician who is specially trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a variety of types and causes of pain. These doctors have often completed a fellowship in Pain Management, which involves additional training that is completed after medical school, internships, residencies, and Board certification in a primary specialty. They often work closely with primary care physicians and other specialists, such as oncologists, neurologists, or orthopedic surgeons, to
ensure that a patient receives the type of care most appropriate for their condition. What Treatments Can Help Chronic Pain? Your physician can help determine what types of treatment will likely be the most effective for you, depending on the cause and nature of your pain. If your pain is caused by an old injury or it causes you to feel stiff, physical therapy or mild exercise can often relieve the pain and help your body move more fluidly. Exercise can also help improve your sleep, which can help reduce stress levels that result from the pain. If your pain is caused by other medical conditions, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or adjusting your diet can help reduce inflammation and pain flare-ups. Others suffering from chronic pain have found
help through activities such as yoga or acupuncture. These practices can also aid in relaxation and help reduce the level of stress that often accompanies chronic pain. When conservative and non-invasive treatments fail, Pain Management physicians have interventions that include injections or minor surgical procedures. If your pain has lasted for an extended length of time and has begun to affect your moods and emotional well-being, there is no shame in seeking mental health assistance. Doctors will often prescribe antidepressants to assist patients who are dealing with chronic pain, but psychologists and
licensed counselors can also provide support as you learn to adjust to the changes to your life and lifestyle that learning to manage chronic pain can bring. Whatever the cause, though, it is important to remember that you do not have to suffer with chronic pain. There are treatments and steps you and your doctor can take that can help you reduce the pain and successfully manage your symptoms. Dr. Christopher M. Annis, Anesthesiologist & Pain Management Physician Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Northern Indiana, Inc. “OSMC” 2310 California Road, Elkhart, Indiana 46514 osmc.com
Pain management specialist Christopher Annis, MD, joined the OSMC team in 2011. He graduated summa cum laude from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, with a degree in pre-med and biology. He earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his residency in anesthesiology was performed at The Ohio State University. He completed his fellowship in pain medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Annis is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. He is board certified in anesthesiology as well as pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Additionally, he has been a frequent presenter and lecturer at medical conferences focused on advanced pain management and anesthesiology techniques and has contributed to several research projects, journal articles, and texts. He sees patients for care at OSMC in the Elkhart, Goshen and Middlebury, Indiana locations. www.realservices.org
What Is Arthritis: How to Know When Joint Pain Requires Attention By Jeffery Sonntag, DO
If you’re in or nearing middle age, there’s an excellent chance you’ve noticed that your body doesn’t move the same as it did when you were younger. You might feel stiff in the morning when you get out of bed. You might find aches and pains occur more easily and more often after routine chores. Or you might even feel like your grandfather, who always knew it would rain because his knee started to hurt! Almost everyone experiences joint pain at one time or another, especially if they’ve had some type of fall or other injury. But not all pain is the same. If your pain comes and goes, or is confined to one specific joint, it could very well be just an occasional flare-up due to an old injury. But if you find that the pain is becoming a regular part of your life, or if you experience it in more parts of your body, it could be time for a medical evaluation to determine if you have arthritis. What is Arthritis? Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe joint pain, but there are more than 100 different types of conditions that fall under this category. 22
JEFFERY SONNTAG, DO
Two of the most commonly occurring – and likely to be the ones you’ve heard about the most – are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones wears away, and the bones begin to rub together, while rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the patient’s own immune system attacks the joints and causes inflammation that can affect the joints as well as other organs. Dr. Jeffrey Sonntag is an orthopedic surgeon with expertise in shoulders and elbows at the Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center of Northern Indiana (OSMC). He notes, “arthritis is a medical term which means joint inflammation or pain. As an orthopedic surgeon we generally treat arthritis surgically when
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conservative treatments fail, and your arthritis is causing you to have more bad days than good days. When this occurs, it is time to start a discussion with your surgeon. Joint replacement is not a decision to make overnight. I recommend going over your personal goals with your surgeon so he or she can set the correct expectations. With any type of joint replacement expectations are key to a good outcome for both the patient and the surgeon.” When It’s Normal Aches and Pains If you’re experiencing a new injury or simply overdid the yardwork on the weekend, simple at home remedies including rest, over-the-counter medication, or heat and cold therapies such as ice packs or heating pads can help. If your pain persists, it’s best to seek medical attention and engage in some longerterm treatments. Depending on the nature of the injury, you might find relief through therapies such as: • Physical therapy • Massage • Corticosteroid shots • A weight-loss plan • Dietary supplements or changes to the foods you eat
When It’s More Than Aging Because stiffness and pain are so commonly a part of aging, and because almost everyone has experienced some sort of injury that can continue to cause discomfort for years after the fact, it’s easy for people to simply dismiss their joint pain as a natural – and inevitable – part of getting older. There are some signs, though, that you should pay attention to and be sure to discuss with your doctor because they might be signs of a form of arthritis. If you experience stiffness, especially if it lasts well into the morning, it can be a sign that you’re experiencing pain associated with an arthritic condition. Other signs can include: • Experiencing a limited range of motion in a joint due to pain • Hearing crunching sounds when you move, especially in joints like the knee, which can be a signal that bones are starting to rub together as cartilage has deteriorated • Experiencing muscle weakness or joints locking up, causing you to lose your ➤ balance
Orthopedic specialist Jeffrey Sonntag, DO, has special knowledge in the diagnosis and management of shoulder and elbow conditions, injuries and complications and provides orthopedic care from nonsurgical treatments to the latest surgical procedures. He joined the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Northern, Indiana, Inc. (OSMC) of Elkhart in 2018. Dr. Sonntag attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in physiology. He earned his medical degree from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. His orthopedic residency training was performed at McLaren Macomb Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan, with further fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. He is board certified by the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics. He sees patients for general, shoulder and elbow orthopedic care at OSMC in the Elkhart and Middlebury, Indiana locations. If you experience any of these symptoms, an orthopedic specialist can evaluate you and order an imaging test, such as X-rays or an MRI to determine the nature and extent of any injuries or deterioration that is occurring. If you are experiencing osteoarthritis, your treatment plan might initially include the common forms of pain relief described earlier, but it can also include mild exercise or, at more advanced stages, complete joint replacement. Additional symptoms to be aware of can include: • Pain that wakes you at night or stiffness that doesn’t wear off for several hours after getting up • Swelling, redness, or
warmth on a spot, which can suggest inflammation • Pain that won’t go away, especially if accompanied by other new symptoms that seem to have coincidentally developed at the same time, such as fevers, sores, or rashes If your joint pain includes any of these symptoms, it is especially critical to speak to a doctor and get a treatment plan. These symptoms can be signs of a form of arthritis that causes inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which can affect other body parts such as internal organs or eyes. The bottom line is, no matter how old you are, chronic pain is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging. Pain
symptoms that occur regularly should always be discussed with your doctor because there are often many treatment options that can help reduce your pain and keep it from interfering with your life.
Dr. Jeffrey Sonntag, Orthopedic Surgeon Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Northern Indiana, Inc. “OSMC” 2310 California Road, Elkhart, Indiana 46514 osmc.com
Don’t get lost a of o q ques stions stions. ti s. in a sea questions. L SHIP Let SH help help. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is here to offer you free and impartial counseling about your Medicare choices. During the Annual Election Period ("open enrollment"), Oct. 15-Dec. 7, you can change your drug and health plans. Be prepared by knowing your plan options.
C ll SHIP with your Medicare questions or to out where there is a SHIP site near you!
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www.medicare.in.gov (800) 452-4800 (866) 846-0139 TDD www.realservices.org
COVID – One Year Later By Jeff Rea, President & CEO, South Bend Regional Chamber
testing sites and how do we get like many communities saw in the them there? What if we exceed Influenza Pandemic of 1918, a hospital capacity? What guidance second wave could be just as We have just should we give to devastating, if not more. By passed the one-year Schools? To Business? Thanksgiving, our second wave anniversary of To Churches? To was upon us and many of the early COVID-19 in the gatherings in General? spring concerns had returned. United States. But How do we balance October and November proved to this anniversary will health crisis and be the deadliest months of the not warrant any kind economic crisis that year. of celebration. could follow? What As January came around, two Instead, many of us about mental health vaccines were cleared for use, and will look back on the needs? essential workers began to get the year with some In the early days, protection they needed. As disbelief about how JEFF REA, President & hospitalizations February and March have followed, this virus we had CEO, South Bend increased. ICU beds additional doses have become Regional Chamber never heard of and ventilators were at available and now 16% of the US completely disrupted our lives, in in short supply. Emergency population has at least a first dose, so many ways. planning was underway for a 9% has had a second dose. Now As we pass the one-year mark, MASH like hospital in three vaccines are there is a sense of hope and case hospitals available and optimism that the worst of the exceeded capacity. anyone over 50 in The shrinking case load, days are behind us and that life is Cases were growing Indiana is eligible the decrease in the need very slowly getting back to normal. at an alarming rate for a shot. I just got for hospital beds and I have had a unique view of the and there were a lot my first one! COVID-19 crisis, working closely of unknows. In Indiana prioritized ventilators, and the rollwith the Cities, County, Health response, family plans its most vulnerable out of the vaccine have Department, Health Systems, and were canceled. population, focuseveryone encouraged. the business community assisting Businesses and ing first on those in with the community response. schools were shut long-term care facilWhat I quickly saw was that there down. Mask orders ities and our senis no “play-book” for how to were put in place. Social distancing iors. In Indiana, our elderly popularespond to a global pandemic. was encouraged. All gatherings tion has been hit hardest. 93% of Instead, smart people had to make were limited. all COVID deaths have occurred quick decisions that they think Some people agreed with those with people over the age of 60; were in the best interest of decisions, some did not. Many 78% of all COVID deaths have protecting the health and welfare listened to the recommendations, occurred with people over the age of the community. We are lucky, most took precautions to protect of 70. By comparison, only 22% of we’ve had a great team leading themselves, their loved ones, and all COVID cases have occurred with our charge in this region! those they met. Others cried foul people over the age of 60. From the beginning, the and said it was a hoax. For many, it As of this writing, there are more question seemed endless? What was very real, as loved ones were than 100,000 confirmed cases in do we do at Long-Term Care hospitalized or died, and as health our nine-county region (6 Indiana, facilities? Where do we need care workers saw firsthand 3 Michigan). That is about 10% of the devasting impacts the the region’s total population. In the virus could have on patients. region, 1,781 have died from Concern peaked in April of COVID, in Indiana about 12,700, and in the United States 525,000. 2020 but improved and The shrinking case load, the business began to return to decrease in the need for hospital some normalcy as we beds and ventilators, and the reached the 4th of July. But ➤ 24
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roll-out of the vaccine have everyone encouraged. There are still a lot of questions out there, just different. Making sure vaccines reach all the population being the most critical issue. Vaccine sites are spread throughout the region. To find one near you, you can call 211 or visit www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine. Though there is great optimism, it critical we remain cautious, and patient! The virus and new variants
are a real concern. But if we follow the advice from our Healthcare professionals, we’ll all contribute to making sure we don’t have a third wave. The advice is simple, please wear your mask, social distance, and wash your hands! About the Author Jeff Rea is the current president and CEO of the South Bend (IN) Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Niles (MI)
Chamber of Commerce. In those roles, Rea represents the interests of more than 1300 member businesses who employ more than 70,000 people in this two-state, three-county region. Rea is a frequent speaker, trainer, facilitator, and commentator. He is the host of WNIT (PBS) Television’s Economic Outlook show, a weekly program that explores the stories, companies and people helping drive the regional economy.
Getting to Know ADULT GUARDIANSHIP SERVICES AND GUARDIAN PARTNER (574) 284-2644 Provides legal guardianship for persons 60+, who are mentally incapacitated, live in Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall or St. Joseph counties, and have no family or friends who are able, appropriate, and/or willing to serve as their health and financial representative; works in a similar capacity with trust officers and attorneys in a private pay environment. AGING & DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER (ADRC) (574) 284-2644 ADRC is a single, coordinated system of information and access for all persons seeking long-term support and social services and serves residents regardless of income or state of health. Resources are available to anyone seeking information on a wide range of topics to assist with longterm planning and other aging issues.
American’s Act and related programs in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, and Marshall counties. The AAA plans and implements programs to meet the needs of elders. COMMUNITY SERVICES BLOCK GRANT (574) 284-7130 Indiana has designated REAL Services as the Community Action Agency which makes it possible to provide a range of services that have an impact on causes of poverty. The elimination of the causes of poverty, not the symptoms, is the goal of this grant. The agency serves St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, Fulton, and Marshall counties. DEMENTIA FRIENDS (574) 232-4121 Provides education and awareness of dementia to reduce the stigma associated with the disease, and create community environments that are welcoming and conducive for those living with dementia.
ALZHEIMER’S & DEMENTIA SERVICES OF NORTHERN INDIANA (574) 232-4121 Provides families with support, information, education, and referral services in the communities where they live and works to educate the public and health care professionals about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) (574) 232-6501 Helps income eligible households with their heating expenses during the winter months; serves five counties that include Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph, and may provide some assistance in emergency situations.
AGENCY ON AGING (AAA) (574) 284-2644 Indiana has designated REAL Services as the AAA for implementation of the Older
FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM (574) 284-2644 Provides individualized assistance, respite care, information, and resources to help you care for
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older family members. Caregiving training opportunities are scheduled regularly. FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS (574) 284-2060 Assists low-income families with individualized support and services that enable families to achieve financial self-sufficiency. FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM (574) 233-8205 Provides an opportunity for lowincome persons, aged 55+, to give 1 to 1 support to at-risk, special and exceptional needs children. HEALTH EDUCATION (574) 284-2644 Healthy living practices, chronic disease management, fall prevention, fitness, and nutrition awareness are just a few of the topics presented in communities throughout our area. HOME WEATHERIZATION (574) 233-8205 Helps income eligible households reduce fuel consumption and expenses by providing weatherization measures for homes, at no cost to those served. IN-HOME CARE (574) 284-2644 Assists clients by helping to manage their home care services; in some cases, may authorize funding to pay for those services under the Older American’s Act, State CHOICE program, Social (Continued on page 28)
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&Žƌ Ăůů ƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ͕ ƉůĞĂƐĞ ƉŚŽŶĞ͗ ϱϳϰ͘Ϯϴϰ͘Ϯϲϰϰ Žƌ ϭ͘ϴϬϬ͘ϱϱϮ͘Ϯϵϭϲ www.realservices.org
Getting to Know (Continued from page 26)
Services Block Grant, or Medicaid Waiver. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT (IDA) (574) 284-2060 A matched-savings program that helps income eligible participants save money to buy a home, pursue higher education, or capitalize a small business, while encouraging regular savings patterns; also provides financial literacy and asset specific education. INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE IN MEMORY CARE (IEMC) (574) 318-4635 Provides professional dementia care consultation for healthcare directors and certification training for healthcare professionals who want to offer superior memory care and create a true personcentered care model. MEALS ON WHEELS (574) 256-1649 Provides nutritious noon and evening meals, weekends available, to homebound persons who can no longer prepare adequate meals for themselves. Meals are delivered by dedicated volunteers. NURSING HOME OMBUDSMAN (574) 284-2644 Provides a trained individual to advocate for quality care of nursing home residents; provides training to nursing home staff and counseling to families of residents regarding family member’s rights; 28
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attempts to facilitate resolution of residents' concerns. NUTRITION PROGRAM (574) 284-2644 Provides low-cost nutritious meals, with recreational activities and informational programs, in centers located in Elkhart, Kosciusko, La Porte, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties; promotes better health among older adults through improved nutrition and the pleasure derived from group participation. SENIOR FARMERS MARKET Assists low-income persons age 60+, to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at our Local Farmer’s Markets from July through October each year. SENIOR SOLUTIONS (574) 284-7103 A private-pay geriatric care manager who provides expert consultation for home and community based services. Provides comfort and stress relief for local families and those who live far. SIMPLY CATERING TO YOU (574) 284-2025 Specializes in convenience, sophistication and style from traditional favorites to culinary classics. Utilizes finest and freshest ingredients. TEAM HEAT (574) 284-2060 Assist eligible families by paying a matching $50.00 on their heating bill and provides
counseling and self-sufficiency classes from November 1 through March 31. THE REAL GRILLE (574) 284-2025 A food truck specializing in company parties, food truck festivals, sporting events, celebrations, etc., and in which it’s proceeds are used to support the REAL Services’ Meals-onWheels program. TRANSPORTATION (574) 284-7164 Provides transportation services for older adults to doctors, grocery stores, banks, and other necessary appointments. VOLUNTEER SERVICES (574) 284-7138 Volunteers are vital and work directly with the elderly and/or disabled, and/or assist with administrative functions. Volunteer training is provided.
219/574 Area Code Change in 2021 Effective Apr. 24, 2021, you should start using 10 digits whenever you place a local phone call from the 219 or 574 area code. If you forget, your call will still go through until October 24, 2021. Starting on Oct. 24, 2021, you must use 10-digit dialing for all local phone calls. After this date, if you do not use 10 digits, your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.
REAL Services Volunteer Opportunities SIGN ME UP! ❑ Individual ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑
Alzheimer’s Support Group Leaders Elves for Elders Meals on Wheels Guardian Advocate Transportation and Delivery Seasonal Projects House Cleaning Handyman Office Volunteer Grocery Shopper Health Education Program
Name Address City
Daytime Phone E-mail
CONTACT US TODAY! Volunteer Department: 1151 S. Michigan Street, P.O. Box 1835, South Bend, IN 46634 / (574) 284-2644 or (800) 552-2916 / www.realservices.org
HELP PREVENT MEDICARE FRAUD.
Medicare will never call or visit unsolicited. They send information via U.S. mail. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 800.986.3505 OR VISIT WWW.IAAAA.ORG/SMP
Advertiser Index Area 2 Agency on Aging/REAL Services . . . . . . 17 Alzheimer's & Dementia Services . . . . . . . . 19 Autumn Trace Senior Community . . . . 8, 16, 18, 23, 24 FDC Graphic Films, Inc. . . . . . . . 3
REALServices, Services, Inc. REAL Inc. OfficeLocations Numbers Office Elkhart County (574) 322-4185 Marshall County (574) 936-3175 LaPorte County (219) 324-4199 877-324-4199
St. Joseph County (574) 284-2644 800-552-7928 (IN only) Kosciusko County (574) 269-1173
First State Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Goshen Home Medical . . . . . . 18
Heritage Point Assisted Living & Memory Care . . . . . . . . . . 10 REAL Grille . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover
REAL Services Regional Kitchen for Independent Living
Silver Birch of Mishawaka . . . . 15
Nutrition Program Meals for 31 Nutrition Sites (574) 233-8205
Simply Catering to You . . . . . . 25
Meals on Wheels (574) 256-1649
SMP-Indiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Simply Catering to You (574) 284-2025 R
OSMC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) . . 23
Tuesley-Hall-Konopa, LLP Attorneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern Indiana (574) 232-4121 and (888) 303-0180
Turning Point Senior Care Solutions. . . . . . 19 The Village at Arborwood . . . . 12 REAL Services, Inc, is a not-for-profit corporation, which serves elderly and individuals of all income levels in the counties of St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, Fulton, and Kosciusko. The objective of REAL Services is to assist those we serve in maintaining their independence to the maximum degree possible and find meaning and satisfaction throughout their lives.
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REAL Connections is published by REAL Services, Inc. Unauthorized reproduction in any manner is strictly prohibited. REAL Connections is published for older adults in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and LaPorte counties. This publication is supported by the advertisers — our thanks for their support. REAL Services, believing in the dignity of all people, will provide services to eligible persons without regard to race, creed, gender, military or veteran status, national origin, or ability to donate. This publication is in cooperation with the Family and Social Services Administration.
Sources/Resources for Retirement Planning AARP Phone: 1-888-OUR-AARP www.aarp.org
Social Security Administration
Indiana Legal Services, Inc. 1-574-234-8121
REAL Services Aging and Disability Resource Center
1-800-772-1213 South Bend Office, 1-877-274-5415 www.socialsecurity.gov
Listing of elder law attorneys 1-800-552-2916 www.realservices.org
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indiana Department of Veterans' Affairs
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid 1-800-633-4227 www.medicare.gov
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration 1-866-444-3272 www.askebsa.dol.gov
The Actuarial Foundation 1-847-706-3535 www.actuarialfoundation.org Securities and Exchange Commission www.sec.gov
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standard Website lets you look up a certified financial planner near you. The organization distributes free “Financial Planning Resource Kit.” 1-800-487-1497 www.LetsMakeAPlan.org
American Bar Association Lists of legal information available to the public On their web site: www.americanbar.org
Consumer Federation of America Offers a free Savings brochure and consumer fact sheets 1-202-387-6121 Consumerfed.org
National Senior Citizens Law Center 1-202-289-6976 www.nsclc.org www.aarp.org/retirementcalculator www.kiplinger.com/fronts/archive/tool/index.html www.choosetosave.org/calculators www.wiserwomen.org
Retirement Savings Calculators:
Insurance Information Institute of America Insurance, what it does, how it works www.III.org
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Information on how to contact your state insurance regulator www.insureuonline.org
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
PAID Milford, IN Permit No. 2
P.O. Box 1835 1151 S. Michigan Street South Bend, IN 46634
The 2021 REAL Connections Magazine is sponsored by FDC Graphic Films, Inc.