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Young at Heart

February 2021

A friend in need

Five informative websites for seniors

Dogs can help seniors when life is difficult

Senior Spotlight: Fitchburg Singers



2 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group

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4 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group

Evolving along with an unsettled world Inside Young at Heart BY JIM FEROLIE


e are proud to bring to you the second quarterly issue of our recently redesigned magazine, Young At Heart.

of an emphasis on parents of young children.

Those of you who have read our suburban weekly publications for years will no doubt recognize elements of Your Family magazine, which won many awards and was popular in many of the places where we distributed. However, things change, and never have things changed as suddenly or as harshly as they did 11 months ago, when the quirky scientific acronym COVID-19 became part of our everyday lingo. As I transitioned from editor to general manager in August, I saw that our old format was losing steam and needed a jolt of fresh energy. And while our advertising was heavy on the senior set, our product put more

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic had obliterated our wonderful event calendar that we put so much effort into, and many of the places we had distributed it to – hospitals, day cares, schools, various waiting areas – no longer were entertaining visitors. That has remained the case much longer than we thought even then, so we, like everyone else over the past year, have adapted. And just as Your Family evolved over its 12-year run, Young At Heart will, as well. We’ve continued some of the most appreciated elements – submitted columns, recipes, our “five things” list, Wisconsin Books and our spotlight – and we’ve added some games and puzzles this issue. Over the next several months, we

plan to add more features to appeal to seniors, many of whom likely will remain severely isolated from family and friends and hopefully will like a free pick-me-up. We hope you’ll enjoy this month’s cover story, about how pets can help with that isolation, and if you do, please watch for each new issue, in February, May, August and November. Young at Heart will continue to be available in all of our weekly publications – the Oregon Observer, Stoughton Courier Hub and Verona Press – as well as in many senior apartment complexes, and, if we’re lucky, maybe in a waiting room near you.  Jim Ferolie is the general manager of Unified Newspaper Group, which publishes Young at Heart magazine.

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Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 5



is published by



133 Enterprise Drive, P.O. Box 930427 Verona, WI 53593 (608) 845-9559

David Neuhaus, 74, and his wife Mary, 71, adopted Snickers from Madison-based Underdog Pet Rescue last September when the COVID-19 pandemic meant less traveling and less visits with their kids.




Photo by Justin Loewen

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Scott De Laruelle




Bryann Bozeman, Molly Gullickson, Emilie Heidemann, Mackenzie Krumme, Mark Nesbitt, Neal Patten, Angie Roberts, Catherine Stang and Kimberly Wethal ...................................


Send all questions or submissions to youngatheart@wcinet.com ...................................


is printed four times a year by Wingra Printing Group, Madison, WI. If you would like to have a copy of Young at Heart delivered to your home, please call (608) 845-9559 for more information.

6 8

My Blood Type is Coffee: My pandemic story is still being written


To Your Health: Boost your mood with better food

10 16

Great Gift Ideas: For Valentine’s Day

Senior Living: Be proactive to keep elders safe, independent

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Publishers of the Oregon Observer, Stoughton Courier Hub, Verona Press, Great Dane Shopping News and Fitchburg Star

Five Things: Informative websites for seniors

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Puzzles and games: Word search and crossword Wisconsin Books: Eight-Five . . . Still Alive Estate Planning: Take care when leaving assets to grandchildren Senior Spotlight: Fitchburg Singers Recipes: Bruschetta, Fish and Sweet Potato Soup, Crab Salad Stuffed Tomatoes and Tiramisu

6 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group

Five Things

Plugging in:

Five informative websites for seniors STORY BY SCOTT DE LARUELLE PHOTOS SUBMITTED


attling the winter blahs is bad enough, but during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, this winter could be even more difficult for seniors, particularly for those who are isolated. While we all might not be interacting much this winter, there’s still plenty of things to do indoors, thanks to a growing number of websites dedicated to seniors. From sites on finances, health, technology and socialization, there are plenty of options for people to get online to enhance and enrich their lives.

Suddenly Senior Suddenlysenior.com Chock full of product reviews and guides on everything from dog breeds to estate planning, Suddenly Senior is a clearinghouse for information on a wide variety of senior interests. The light-hearted site touts itself as “America’s most trusted senior citizen website” and features more than a dozen categories of topics to choose from, with articles such as “Instead of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, at Our Age How About Just Five?” There’s also nostalgia, trivia, a senior forum and other areas for those that have “become senior before their time.”

The Senior’s Guide to Computers Seniorsguidetocomputers.com Keeping things simple and easy to follow is the main feature of the Senior’s Guide to Computers website. “Geek is not spoken here,” the website states, with a pledge instead to show people the basic ins and outs of personal computers using simplified terms, examples, pictures and videos. The site walks people through everything computer and web related with an easy-to-navigate “Learning Center” to figure out things like web security, backing up data, and keeping up with the latest technology.

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Love to Know Seniors Seniors.lovetoknow.com Love to Know Seniors is a fun, lifestyle-based website that has a little bit of everything for seniors. It has dozens of topics to choose from, including interviews with experts, fashion and beauty tips, arts and crafts, antiques, fine dining, and advice on retirement and travel. Photo galleries feature various hairstyles for seniors and even gag gifts for retirement parties.

Senior Chatroom Senior-chatroom.com This free web community features both audio and video chat rooms for seniors around the world seeking friendship or romance. “(It’s) a great place for senior citizens to interact with each other, and talk about religion, sports, life, relationships, family, romance, friendship, politics, retirement plans, health, insurance and about anything in a mature way,” according to the website.

National Institutes of Health Senior Health nia.nih.gov Health is on the mind of many people these days, particularly seniors, and this website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has answers, facts and resources to help them make good health choices. The site features access to health professionals and the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and other health news and issues related to aging.

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My pandemic story is still being written My Blood Type is Coffee BY RHONDA MOSSNER


would venture to guess that I am not the only one who is glad that 2020 is behind us. It has been quite the adventure, from a raging virus to political unrest that continues into 2021. We all will have stories to tell future generations about our pandemic experiences. If you are not aware, the Wisconsin Historical Society invited Wisconsinites to document their thoughts, feelings and experiences during the pandemic and submit their work to be sealed for 100 years from now. It’s called the COVID-19 Journal Project. I believe it was early March of 2020 when I thought the pandemic might be worth documenting for future generations, and I soon afterward decided to sign up online for the project. I was asked to write a complete 30 day, 60 day or 90 day journal, and I started mine May 11. I assumed I’d do the 90 day option and be done with it. I thought it would be a huge personal accomplishment and something interesting to add to my limited daily routine. To my surprise, I’m still writing it. It seemed easy to start. We were in the middle of the big lockdown. I wrote about what I did to pass the time like gardening, reading and etc. I wrote about news of the day around the nation. As you might recall, New York City was really being hit at the time with COVID-19, and its numbers kept climbing. I started listening to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing from Albany to get the facts I needed for my journal. I will admit there were some very grim days. I wrote about going out and worrying about contracting the virus. I wrote

about the fear I had after my neighbor stopped by without a mask and how before she left, she suddenly reached out and hugged me without warning. For a whole week I was terrified. I wrote about how I didn’t even know where to go for a test if I started having symptoms. What if I went to get tested at a clinic and then picked it up while I was there? I kept asking when it would end. It was only supposed to last just a few weeks! I was one of those people who wiped down the groceries with bleach water. Yes, I did. I also wiped down the outside handles of my vehicle, the steering wheel, radio knobs and gear shift and inside door handles and window controls with sanitizer after each outing. Augh! It was exhausting, but I did it. Soon, I had the George Floyd story and the Black Lives Matter to write about. I started asking myself where I stood on issues and why I felt as I did. I thought about which influencers in my life encouraged me to think as I did. All that went into the journal. Soon, my daily entries become an exercise in self- discovery I had never experienced before as a writer. I found myself asking for answers to questions that simply needed answers.

I don’t suppose that was ever the intent of the journal project, but I wonder how many others found that to be true. The common thread throughout was the tumultuous political scene. There were many times when I simply could have left out that element, but it played a leading role in my tale of what some might call woe. However, in each day there is some good. Sometimes I had to look for it, but it was there. It just wouldn’t have been the story of 2020 without the politics. There was a lot going on during that first 90 days of writing. When it was over, on Aug. 11, I received an email asking me to submit my contribution. I immediately emailed back and said I simply had more to say. I suggested I write through Election Day. On Nov. 4, I would wrap it up. The president would either be reelected or a new president would be taking office in January. It seemed like the perfect place to end my story. Inauguration Day was my next deadline. We will just have to see how it goes after that.  In addition to her blog, theDanglingThread. blogspot.com, Rhonda Mossner is a professional speaker, quilter and chef.

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Boost your mood with better food To Your Health BY KARA HOERR


fish-lovers, use flaxseed, chia seeds or walnuts to contribute to your omega-3 fat needs. Sprinkle these onto salads or oatmeal or include them in smoothies or baked goods for a nutritional boost.

he holiday lights are down, the gifts are unwrapped and put away and our Christmas tree is on the curb waiting to be taken away. After the excitement of the holiday season, I always find myself feeling a little blue when everything returns back to normal – whatever that is this year.

B vitamins aren’t in the spotlight as often as other nutrients we hear about, but they play a key role in regulating our mood. Collectively, these vitamins can help increase levels of hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

In Wisconsin, we’re used to long, cold winters, but this year, especially, I’m noticing a sense of cabin fever and isolation more than ever. My mood just doesn’t seem to match what it was during the holiday season. The short days can make it easy to want to find comfort in foods like chips, ice cream or rich and savory foods when we’re cooped up inside. And, yes, while these foods may help distract us in the short term, over time, they can leave us feeling lethargic and dissatisfied. We have much better options that can actually improve our mood. Don’t get me wrong, I love the comfort of hot chocolate or a warm cup of creamy soup after being outside in the cold, but some foods have been shown to do a better job at boosting our moods than others. With plenty more winter ahead of us, I think we could all benefit from more mood-enhancing foods as we enter the New Year. These include probiotics and foods containing fiber, omega-3 fats or B vitamins – along with good habits like eating, sleeping and exercising on a regular schedule. Probiotics include yogurt, fresh sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir and help us build a healthier gut microbiome. If our gut is happy, we’re more likely to be happy, too. Our microbiome plays a significant role

in our mood and mental health. Our gut and brain are in close communication with one another – so close that our gut is sometimes known as our “second brain.” Since most of the neurotransmitters that regulate our mood, like dopamine or serotonin, are produced by the microbes in our gut, it makes sense that feeding our gut with the right foods can improve our mood. If probiotics aren’t your thing, including more fiber from whole grains, fruit and vegetables will help your good bacteria in your gut thrive. Omega-3 fats, which are found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, are crucial for our brain’s development and normal functioning. Omega-3 fats are essential for us since we can’t produce these fats on our own. They’ve been shown to help lower levels of depression, and without them, our mental health might start to suffer. If fish isn’t on your weekly menu right now, try adding canned tuna or salmon to salads, create a tuna melt or add it into casseroles. For those who aren’t

Whole grains, beans, lentils and leafy greens are all ways to increase your vitamin B intake. Thankfully, these sources are excellent added into comforting, warm soups. Nobody likes someone who is hangry, which shows first-hand how the lack of food can also affect our mood. Make it a priority to get enough food consistently throughout the day to keep your blood sugars stable, which will help prevent irritability. Choose whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole grain bread, to start your morning. The high amounts of fiber in these foods slows down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar levels maintained at a happy and stable level. Of course, food is a small piece of the big puzzle. Don’t forget to get plenty of sleep, finding healthy ways to reduce your stress, staying active and seeking help when needed as we put on more layers and anticipate what 2021 holds for us.  Kara Hoerr, MS, RDN, CD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Kara Hoerr Nutrition. To learn more, visit karahoerrnutrition.com, email Kara at kara@ karahoerrnutrition.com, or call 608-6204461. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 11


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Take a step back in time for a Valentine’s tradition Greeting cards are popular ways to express love and affection on Valentine’s Day. However, those looking to say “I love you” and much more in a creative way may want to harken back to a tradition that is several centuries old. Purse puzzles were once an innovative way to send notes and illustrations and express other sentiments. Purse puzzles became popular around 1720 and remained so until roughly 1840. The puzzles consisted of a sheet of paper folded into smaller parts. When unfolded, the purse puzzle would reveal several messages and hand-drawn art. In the 19th century, purse puzzles were a clever way for lovers to send love notes on Valentine’s Day or other times of the year. Purse puzzles were a form of paper art, similar to origami. Valentine’s celebrants can rekindle the magic of purse puzzles to add creative flair to this year’s celebrations. They can be made easily with tutorials found on websites such as Snapguide.com (https://snapguide.com/guides/makepuzzle-purses/). The finished puzzle will take a square shape and open up like a pinwheel until the full sheet of paper is revealed. adno=202491

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Trenton, a Maltese/shih tzu, helped CarolAnn McArdell of Verona get out of the house and socialize when she moved there alone following a divorce and lost job.

Building bonds during tough times Dogs proving to be more than pets for aging adults, offering solace through isolation, job loss, health concerns Story by Neal Patten - Photos submitted


seniors described their dogs to Young at Heart magazine. Several of them said their dogs are not just pets, but rather friends.

These are all ways some Dane County

Research demonstrates the most serious disease older individuals face isn’t cancer or heart disease – it’s

mpathetic, funny, smart, inquisitive, lovable, loyal, willing to please, great cuddlers – many of these traits are what people look for in companions – including the fourlegged variety.

loneliness. Dogs can help combat loneliness, providing seniors with love and affection, reducing depression and easing the pain of the loss of friends and loved ones. They also provide physical benefits and social

opportunities for seniors. Interacting with a dog has even been shown to lower blood pressure. Owning a dog also offers seniors a renewed sense of purpose, as they have something to focus on other than themselves. Depending on the senior, dogs can fill the void of the loss of a loved one or provide connection in isolation. For others, dogs provide energy and joy at home that are welcome distractions from job loss, divorce or other problems, including the frustrations of the COVID-19 pandemic. Above all, dogs can be a source of therapy for folks in their golden years. Many seniors have discovered the physical and mental health benefits of dog ownership, as their companions have helped them through personal struggles. When Fey Ferrington recently moved to a new condo in Madison, she adopted a little Chihuahua and Jack Russell terrier mix to help provide some companionship as she adapted to her new surroundings during the pandemic. “It’s been shown experimentally that petting a dog is almost akin to a meditative exercise. It’s shown to reduce people’s blood pressure,” she said. “With what’s going on in our day and age, we need something warm and responsive.” For David and Mary Neuhaus of Madison, 74 and 71 years old respectively, their traveling retirement lifestyle took a hit when the pandemic hit home last March. They hadn’t owned a pet in years, but they found that during the quarantine, they missed that relationship, so they adopted a Yorkshire terrier that’s helped give them a more active lifestyle. CarolAnn McArdell had to put down her beloved Maltese/ shih-tzu last year. After the two formed strong bonds when she moved to Verona to start a new

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Seeing the benefits firsthand time come alive and speak, moving and reaching out to pet the visiting pooches. “What absolutely blows my mind is it seems to bring people back to their long-term memory and feelings of comfort and love,” Knudson said.

When Angela Corell of Oregon was a nursing assistant at Oregon Manor, it would often host visits with dogs and puppies before the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents’ moods would inevitably change for the better right away, she said. “Everyone would get an instant smile on their face when they would see a dog come their way, and they would talk about it for days,” Correll said. “They would tell me that it made their day. “Even the rather grumpy residents would do a complete 180 and would be grinning from ear to ear when we would have dogs there.” She and several others Young at Heart magazine spoke with have seen firsthand how visits from pets, especially for those in assisted living facilities, can be rejuvenating experiences for both mind and body. Jessica Pence of Stoughton saw “amazing things” happen when she used to take her dog to nursing homes to interact with residents. “People whose fingers were so bound up due to arthritis (were) able to spread them out to gently touch the pup,” she said. “Dogs and any humans, but especially the seniors, do amazing things together.” Sometimes, those amazing things happen in the minds of seniors dealing with the effects of aging. Colleen Knudson, director of activities at Attic Angel senior living community in Middleton, has found animals to be one of the greatest ways to connect with people with dementia. She said she’s seen people who typically don’t talk or who haven’t talked in a long period of

Attic Angel has also hosted cats, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, baby goats and even a zebra, and she said not being able to let animals in during the pandemic has been challenging. Still, she’s been thinking virtually, hosting video calls with animals and residents. “People love animals, and it provides this mental wellbeing needed now more than ever,” Knudson said. “They’re still talking about the animals later in the day or the next day – which is amazing. They usually don’t retain memories that long.” Artie Berning helps train pet owners to bring their furry friends into nursing homes and assisted living facilities across South Central Wisconsin. The president of Dogs On Call, Inc. and 17-year member, she has not only employed her dogs as a way to cheer others up, but also as physical support in her home. “I’d be lost without a dog,” she said. The soon-to-be octogenarian has had both hips replaced, and said being able to lean on her big dogs over the years – a Newfoundland and a golden retriever – helped with her recovery. “It still amazes me how just petting my dog can make someone feel so much better -- you can literally see the blood pressure go down on a machine,” Berning said. ““Many, many times, you hear, ‘You just made my day, when are you coming back?’” And despite its name, Dogs on Call volunteers also bring cats, pigs and mini horses to meet-and-greets, though in recent months, window visits have had to suffice for lonely seniors in assisted living facilities, she said. “Do we change people’s lives? No,” Berning said. “Do I see how it makes people’s lives better for a little while? Absolutely.”

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BUILDING BONDS from page 13 life after a divorce, she said she never expected to become so attached to a pet. Oregon’s Gwen Maitzen found out how much her pets -- particularly her Chihuahua/dachshund mix named Rosie -- helped her during her recovery from cancer in the past few years. The furry friends kept her in a positive mood, even during her darkest days. And over her 88 years, Madison’s Ethel Dunn has owned dogs, rabbits, a horse, guinea pigs, raccoons and a snake. But before breaking bones for the first time in her life, she’d never had a therapist in an animal. Now, “Baxter” -- her sixth poodle -- is helping her recover physically and mentally. “This poodle has been my best friend as I get older,” she said.

Pandemic canine companions Married for 50 years, David and Mary Neuhaus adopted a Yorkshire Terrier named Snickers from Underdog Pet Rescue in Madison in September. He’s their fourth dog, but their first in 11 years – a realization that surprised them. Around the time their last dog Freckles died, they retired and began to travel across Europe. But last spring, as the COVID-19 shutdown started changing lifestyles, they felt the timing was right for another canine companion. “With the pandemic not going away fast, we just thought we needed something else in the house,” Mary said. “Being closed in, not being able to travel or see the kids – Zoom only goes so far – we wanted to expand our horizon.” David said he’s now waking up at 6:40 a.m. to feed and take Snickers for a walk. Snickers loves to play, David said, which has gotten him exercise he otherwise wouldn’t have been getting, walking around the block twice a day and going to dog parks. “I look forward to it, and he looks forward to it,” David said. “He’s made a tremendous difference in our lives, it’s great to be invested in something. He brightens up so much of our life.” Ferrington, 83, said there’s been a lot of change and instability in her life over the past year including moving homes and her previous dog dying. So, she adopted Luz, a Chihuahua and Jack

Snickers, a Yorkshire terrier, has proven to be a spirited addition to the home of septuagenarians David and Mary Neuhaus of Madison, who adopted him during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russell terrier mix, from a shelter in Sauk County to help provide some companionship during the pandemic. “What she has meant to me is something to focus on other than me,” Ferrington said. “Especially with the virus going on, we’re forced to isolate ourselves more than one might ordinarily.” While she has a lot of friends, she said she’s not been able to see them lately except on video calls. But animals are great cuddlers, she said, and for those in isolation, they’re always there – providing continuity, closeness and mutual caring. “If you love them, they love you,” she said. Luz’s presence serves as a vital function for Ferrington’s wellbeing, she said, noting that Luz is Spanish for light. Ferrington calls her canine companion

the light in her daily life “When you have a creature dependent upon you, it calls forth strength in you – to meet your responsibility to another creature,” she said. “They keep you engaged with the world and resisting the temptation to become increasingly involved with what you feel and what you’ve lost. “You can’t just slouch around and feel sorry for yourself.”

Improving social lives At the end of last year, McArdell had to put down her faithful companion of over a decade – Trenton, a Maltese/shih-tzu. McArdell, 69, had moved to Verona in 2012, on the heels of both a divorce and job loss in 2011, and formed a strong bond with her pet during that time. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact

he had made on my life,” she said. “You kind of grow into that. Never in my life did I expect to be so attached to an animal as I have become. The older I get, it’s been a very interesting, awakening experience.” McArdell said as an introvert, it was easier meeting new people after moving because of Trenton. She said Trenton got her out of her apartment for more walks and meeting people through his companionship.

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 15

in her spine, and she couldn’t bend over. As such, she couldn’t take care of Sammy, her 18-year-old Shih Tzu, and had to give him up. And just before she was diagnosed, her beloved dog Ivan – a Keeshond – got cancer and died, which was heartbreaking, she said. That wasn’t all she lost that year.

Her husband divorced her and she had to rehome her pet goats, as she had lost the strength to lift the hay bales to feed them. Her outlook on life wasn’t all that great, she said, but in early 2018, she had a stem cell transplant, and in recovery, decided to adopt a dog from Fetch Rescue of Verona. That’s when she got Rosie, who was

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When she’d teach art classes at the Verona Senior Center, he’d stop by every door to meet everyone – jumping up on their laps and looking up at them with his big, brown eyes.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact he had made on my life. “You kind of grow into that. Never in my life did I expect to be so attached to an animal as I have become. The older I get, it’s been a very interesting, awakening experience.” CarolAnn McArdell “It was more than just filling loneliness and time,” she said. “He was instrumental in getting me socialized in this community.” She had gone two years without owning a dog before Trenton, but after she lost her job and went through a divorce, she said it was just the right fit. “They cuddle up even more when you’re going through tough times,” she said. “It’s uncanny the way pets do those things.”

Support for survivors For Maitzen, 64, her Chihuahua/ dachshund mix (Chiweenie), Rosie, has been an important part in her recovery from cancer, as have a Pomeranian named Petey and a cat named Dirk. In 2017, Maitzen was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. It led to two fractured vertebrae and a compressed vertebra

Visits from the pets and handlers of the Dogs on Call organization can bring smiles and lasting memories to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Seen here, Samantha, a golden retriever, is visiting Jayne at the Old Middleton Center in 2019.

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Be proactive to keep elders safe, independent Senior Living BY STEPHEN RUDOLPH


y friend Bob admits he should have spoken with his mother long ago about home care. They just never found the right time, and now, because his mom’s health is in such decline, Bob and his siblings have to make many hard decisions on her behalf without knowing what their mother really wants. Bob had spoken with me many times while his mom was slipping in her ability to maintain the household. First, she couldn’t go up and down the stairs to do laundry because the washer and dryer were in the basement. She also couldn’t keep the house clean, especially the bathroom. She had difficulty in ambulating and preparing meals and taking her prescription drugs. My suggestion to Bob was, “Don’t delay in getting her help. Be proactive.” But he wasn’t. He procrastinated until it was too late. As a result of a recent fall, she might not be able to remain in her own home much longer. At some time in theirs lives, your elderly parents or another loved one will become unable to care for themselves completely. At that point, you will probably want to hire an in-home caregiver to do things like administer medication, cook some meals and provide your parent or parents with companionship.

to stay there. If you want to help loved ones stay in their home longer, it is useful to start with less intrusive services and increase or decrease the level of help as you gain more knowledge of their habits.

hospitalized are falls, medication errors and nutrition. Find a home safety checklist online and go through it with your loved ones. You can find one at cdc.org.

This might take multiple conversations, as your loved ones might be resistant at first.

Simple fixes include making sure all floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cords and rugs, adding grab bars in the bathroom and stair railings throughout. Also consider updating lights so all rooms are bright and switches are easily accessible, ensuring all appliances work well and are within easy reach and minimizing the need to use step-stools or to bend down low.

You will be told that they are fine and can manage on their own. But we know that all it takes is a slight mishap, a slip, trip or fall or a stovetop fire or missed medications to put them into a downward spiral.

Another thing that will keep your loved ones safe is the ability to easily call for help and keep in touch with family and friends. Isolation and loneliness have a serious negative effect on overall health.

The sooner you make sure they receive services, the longer they will be able to stay in their home.

Their phones should be easy to use and easily accessible, perhaps with large numbers. Consider a medical alert device, if they are open to the idea.

Try to get them to agree to accepting help by focusing on one or two critical needs. After that, slowly add on or lessen services until they’re getting all the help they truly need.

If you want to plan for your parents’ or other loved ones’ care, it is important to involve them and not do it behind their backs or try to trick them. Their involvement helps them see you more as a trusted partner rather than someone who’s swooping in to make changes. It’s a good strategy to estimate future costs so you’ll be prepared. You might want to consult an elder law attorney or financial planner to help.

Some people wait until the very last minute to hire a caregiver for their loved one, but if you can manage to hire one sooner, that is undoubtedly the better option.

Most home care agencies do not charge for an in-home assessment, which provides you the opportunity to have your loved ones begin the process.

Elders overwhelmingly prefer to remain in their home as they get older. They tend to be loath to lose their independence. The sooner they receive services at home, the longer they tend

The top three reasons elders are

Preventing falls and other accidents will go a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible, so consider safety hazards in the house.

If you hire people who can help earlier, that person will get to know your loved one or loved ones when they are still able-bodied. This will allow them to more easily spot issues that arise as their health declines. The longer a caregiver has been with their patient, the better care they are often able to offer. Have that all-important conversation with your parents or other loved ones sooner, rather than putting it off. Because while they might still live at home, their quality of life is important. You want to keep that quality for as long as possible.  Stephen Rudolph is a consultant for Comfort Keepers of South Central Wisconsin, a home care agency that provides skilled nursing and personal care services for aging adults, those with disabilities and others needing assistance.

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 17

Benefits from leisure activities Leisure activities may be widely viewed as fun ways to fill up free time, but the benefits of leisure activities extend beyond beating boredom. A 2011 analysis published in the journal BBA Molecular Basis of Disease found that leisure activities have a positive impact on cognitive function and dementia. The analysis, conducted by researchers with the Aging Research Center in Stockholm who examined various studies regarding the relationship between certain activities and cognitive function, defined leisure activity as the

voluntary use of free time for activities outside the home.

note that multi-domain cognitive training has the potential to improve cognitive After retirement, leisure time constitutes function in healthy older adults and slow decline in affected individuals. A multia large part of many retirees’ lives, domain approach to cognitive training and finding ways to fill that time is involves memory, reasoning, problemmore beneficial than merely avoiding solving, and map reading, among other boredom. activities. Aging adults who embrace The researchers behind the study activities that require the use of such concluded that the existing research is skills may find that they’re not only insufficient to draw any firm conclusions finding stimulating ways to fill their free regarding the effects of certain types of time, but increasing their chances of leisure activities on the risk for dementia long-term cognitive health as well. and cognitive decline, though they did mcg.metrocreativeconnection.com

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Answers on page 20

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BUILDING BONDS from page 15 recovering from heartworms. So while Maitzen was recovering, she was dedicated to helping Rosie get well, too. “It’s really nice to be caring for other things other than yourself,” she said. “It keeps me active and not always thinking about myself.” Maitzen said it’s easy to fall into depression with her cancer, but her pets help keep her in a “much better place.” Even during her recovery when she couldn’t walk, they still stuck near her. “They keep me positive, keep me active and doing new things,” she said. “With all the trials and tribulations I have been through, they’re a part of my recovery and still help me out so much. If it wasn’t for my animals, I don’t know where I’d be right now. “They’re not just my pets, they’re my friends, and I love them.”

Tailed therapists Dunn started caring for poodles in the 1960s and has never had another breed since, prizing their intelligence and independence. Three years ago, she fell, breaking some bones for the first time in her life, and found out just how helpful her four-legged friends could be. “This dog was my therapist,” she said of her poodle Baxter. “He is almost 13, and he has never done anything other than be helpful. As I got better, I could tell he was recognizing he could be more relaxed in taking care of me.” Dunn said she’s lived a scientific life. She worked in a laboratory for 22 years. Her first husband was a neurophysiologist and her second a chemist and mathematician. But there’s something she feels strongly about – pets can be more than just animals. “This dog is human,” she said. “I’m sure I’m not the first person in the world to say that about their dog. This dog and I have a long history, he’s empathetic. I can see in his eyes. I’m not anthropomorphizing.” And as such, she said she has never talked to her pets in high-pitched voices. “That dog is so attached to me and I am so attached to him that sometimes I think to myself, ‘my God, you’re talking to him not like he’s a canine but like he’s a homo sapien,’” she said. And just as Baxter helped Dunn recover from her fall three years ago, she’s caring for him through the pain of his arthritis. “He is a senior citizen as I am, I’m noticing he’s getting older,” she said. “I can see in his eyes when he hurts. I’m taking care of him and he’s taking care of me now.” 

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 21

Resources for seniors with pets Pet food at pantries

Pets for Life

Dane County Humane Society partners with the Community Action Coalition for South Central WI, Inc. to supply pet food and cat litter to participating Dane County food pantries.

If you live in the 53713 zip code or Allied Drive neighborhood and are looking for pet food or medical treatment for your animal, Dane County Humane Society’s Pets for Life program provides free services and supplies to everyone in that area – and is looking to expand wider in the future. Fifty percent of its client base are considered senior citizens.

A list of participating pantries is available at giveshelter.org/ resources/pet-food-pantry.

WisCARES Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services is an outreach extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison that provides low-cost veterinary medical care including routine care, chronic care, surgery and dental work to Dane County pet owners who are low income, are currently experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, and those who are unable to pay for veterinary medical services needed for access to housing. Many seniors also qualify such as those on social security or fixed incomes.

Free services include spaying/ neutering, microchips, some medications and veterinary care including eyes, ears, skin and urinary tract infections. Free supplies include toys, beds, collars and leashes. The pet food and supplies are delivered to your door.

For more information, visit wiscares.wisc.edu. To schedule an appointment, call 608-5617387.

For information, call or text Abbi Middleton at 608-513-4262, or visit giveshelter.org/ourservices/pets-for-life.

Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs

Paws and Claws Mobile Veterinary Services

WAGS teaches dogs the skills and commands to help people do things they can’t do for themselves, training the dog to go everywhere the person goes from church to grocery stores. The dogs typically go to the homes of individuals with disabilities or in wheelchairs. For seniors, dogs through the Home Help Me program provide services at home such as pressing panic buttons in an emergency, helping with cooking, and the dogs can even let themselves out of the house.

A mobile vet clinic housed inside of a 26-foot-long truck, owner Carrie Bunger has a goal to provide services for seniors, to help allow them to keep their pets at home and not have to give them up to shelters when aging makes travel to clinics difficult. She provides medical services and physical examinations with a house call fee, coming directly to your doorstep.

For information, visit wags.net or call 608-250-9247.

Residents of this area also receive discounted adoption rates at the Dane County Humane Society and transportation for their pets to get to veterinary appointments at the humane society or at WisCARES.

For appointments, emailing paws.claws.dvm@gmail.com is preferred, or else call 608441-8579. For information, visit pawsnclawsvet.com.

22 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group


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Read On... and On and ON


When a sequel focuses on a different set of characters Eight-Five . . . Still Alive Arian Knops Publishers ExpressPress ISBN 193592068-5



book demands a sequel when that sequel focuses on a different set of characters. That’s what happens in “Eight-Five” and “Eight-Five ... Still Alive,” by Bruce, Wisconsin, writer Arian Knops. In this duology, Knops traces the crimes of serial killer Avarde Kolt, alias Michael Barrett, who is relentlessly pursued by Minneapolis homicide investigator Dan Costello. “Eight-Five” focuses on Costello as he begins to unravel the mystery of a serial killer who attaches cattle tags with the numbers eight-five to the ears of his victims. The killer also sends taunting clues to Costello, who makes it his life’s mission to find the killer.

Costello enlists the help of police throughout the country, including Bill Thorp, a sheriff’s deputy in Rusk County, Wisconsin. Barrett, however, who serves as a county supervisor, outmaneuvers his pursuers, leaving them with much suspicion but no proof. What compels Barrett in his homicidal spree becomes clearer at the end of the first novel and the beginning of the second. Abused by a cold and heartless father, taunted in high school and early in his Navy career, Barrett undergoes a transformation from enlisted man to Navy pilot, surviving harrowing incidents in Vietnam to pursue his victims through a lifetime of cold-blooded murders. However, we start to see a hidden humanity within Barrett, who has claimed the lives of over 100 victims, when he finds his beloved cat Sparky dead in a laundry basket. “His wonderful pal Sparky was dead. Michael felt tears creep into his eyes. He had never really cried when a human

died, but the loss of the cat was touching the soul he doubted he had.” Barrett starts to change when he decides not to kill Greg Gregory, a target he finds in Wann, Okla. Gregory welcomes Barrett into his home with a warmth Barrett had never felt in his own home when growing up. When Barrett reunites with Rhonda Warshski, a girl he had known in his youth, he is again transformed as he regains the lost humanity of his youth. And then ... Knops convincingly tells his story from the point of view of law enforcement. Even more convincing is how he explores the mind of serial killer Barrett. Just as we think we see where his story is going, Knops veers into unknown directions that are vivid and convincing. These are great mysteries and a great read.  Michael Tidemann writes from Estherville, Iowa. His author page is amazon.com/author/michaeltidemann.

24 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group

Take care when leaving assets to grandchildren Estate Planning BY DERA L. JOHNSEN-TRACY


ften, grandparents wish to set aside a certain amount or a certain percentage of their estate specifically for their grandchildren. There are several options available to accomplish this objective, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Those include 529 college savings plans, direct beneficiaries and trusts, either within your will or within a living trust. Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to make sure that all the pieces to your estate planning puzzle, including ownership and beneficiary designations for each of your assets, fit together to ensure a smooth transition upon your death.

529 plans A 529 college savings plan can be beneficial from an income tax standpoint. You can remain the owner of the plan during your lifetime while designating a specific grandchild as the beneficiary of each account. Keep in mind, however, that the funds are only available (without penalty) for approved educational expenses and might not include tuition for nontraditional educational institutions, such as cosmetology colleges. If you choose this option, be sure to designate a successor owner on the account upon your death.

Direct beneficiary If you name a grandchild as the direct beneficiary of a life insurance policy or deposit account, this option will provide him or her with an outright distribution of cash upon your death (assuming your grandchild is over 18). This option will not allow you to determine how your grandchild can use the cash. If your grandchild is a minor, this

option is not a good solution because naming minors as direct beneficiaries will create the need for a guardianship proceeding in court upon your death.

Trust within a will Within your will, you can create testamentary trusts for your grandchildren in which you designate the trustee of each trust, at what age your grandchild can receive an outright distribution and what the assets can and cannot be used for in the meantime. If you are relying on a will to transfer your assets upon your death, your estate likely will be subject to a probate proceeding in court. Only those assets that are titled solely in your name, with no designated beneficiaries, will be part of your probate estate. Assets with co-owners or designating direct beneficiaries will be distributed outside of your will and

not to any trust established within your will.

Trusts within a living trust Within a fully-funded Living Trust, you can create trusts for your grandchildren and ensure these trusts are funded upon your death immediately, privately, and without the need for a costly and lengthy probate proceeding. Through a comprehensive estate plan, you can even create incentives for your grandchildren. For example, you can direct that the assets in your grandchild’s trust are only available for his or her post-high school education until the age of 30 or until he or she obtains a bachelor’s degree, whichever event occurs first.  Attorney Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy is a shareholder and co-founder of Horn & Johnsen SC, a Madison law firm dedicated to estate planning, business law, and real estate.

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 25

How seniors can approach exercise E

working with resistance bands, heavy gardening, and even some forms of yoga qualify as muscle-strengthening activities.

xercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. By making exercise part of their day-to-day routines, people of all ages, including men and women over the age of 65, can greatly improve their overall health.

Exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as sit-ups and push-ups, also can help build strength. Always speak with a physician before beginning a muscle-strengthening exercise regimen and, if possible, work with a personal trainer, especially if you’re a novice.

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that seniors should aspire to be as active as possible. Exercise is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and has been linked to reduced risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Though adults with chronic illnesses may be hesitant to exercise, the AAFP notes that it’s possible for men and women who have been diagnosed with such conditions to exercise safely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging.

Frequency of exercise Seniors, particularly those who have not exercised much in the past, may not know how much exercise they need to reap the full rewards of physical activity. Though it’s best to discuss exercise with a physician prior


to beginning a new regimen, various public health agencies advise seniors to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week.

It’s imperative that seniors recognize when to stop working out. Exercising more than is recommended by your doctor can increase the risk of illness or injury. In addition, stop exercising if any of the following symptoms appear:

Brisk walking is one example of moderate aerobic exercise. Seniors who want to sweat a little more when exercising can replace moderate aerobic exercise with one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as jogging, each week.

      

Is strength training safe for seniors?

Exercise can help seniors stay healthy and feel more energetic throughout the day. Before beginning a new regimen, seniors should discuss physical activity with their physicians. 

The CDC advises seniors to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into their weekly fitness routines twice per week. Lifting waits,

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Senior Spotlight

‘More than a chorus’

Fitchburg Singers look forward to performing around the area again Story by Mackenzie Krumme - Photos by Kimberly Wethal For someone who claims to have “no musical talent,” Doris Koster sure has made a name for herself in her second “career” directing the Fitchburg Singers. Although the group of singing seniors hasn’t been able to physically meet since last March, the energy of the members still resonates during the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the modest Koster, a retired English teacher now in her 21st year leading the Fitchburg Singers, the group is more than a chorus. It’s a place to have fun, and make connections. If you’ve ever watched the singers perform, you can see their joy interacting with the audience. “This is music they like,” Koster said.

“They tap their feet and they are happy.” Since Koster joined the group, which was established in the early 1980s, it’s doubled in size, performances and breadth. Since 1999, she’s never missed a performance, and only a handful of rehearsals. When the group started a Veterans Day program 15 years ago, few veterans knew it existed. Now, several dozen veterans gather each year to watch the powerful performances that recognize soldiers of all ages. Before COVID-19, the Singers rehearsed two days per month, logging between 15-20 performances a year. Koster and accompanist Carolyn White guided them in a variety of different programs.

Doris Koster has directed the Fitchburg Singers since 1999.

Q&A with Doris Koster You’ve said the group is as much about fun as it is about performances. Can you explain that? We laugh a lot. The audience sings with us, and sometimes I dance with audience members or we dance together. This is not a place if you want to learn about music -- this is a place you are going to have fun. It is good for you -- when someone who has Alzheimer’s can sing who hasn’t said 10 words in the last week. Music is something that can change your life. One woman who is no longer with us, when she couldn’t make it to practice she would call me and cry. She would say “Doris, this is the only place that I’m happy.” One man was 97 and had just lost his wife. He came to practice and had a beautiful voice. There is something about music that brings you back to a good place. It is a beautiful thing.

What do the Fitchburg Singers mean to you?

How much preparation does it take to prepare the programs?

I think I’m the most blessed person that you could ever meet because I’ve been able to do this. It is funny – I had no music talent, except I loved to dance and loved to sing. I married a man who was a concert violinist and I’m sure he’s up there saying, ‘You’re doing what?!’

We always have a beginning and an end in the programs. And each program has a theme, such as “Sun Moons and Stars,” “Seasons,” or “Colors and Nostalgia: The story of your life.” Everything has to be gone over 100 times. When Carol and I did it together, we’d both play about 800 hours each. I get all the music ready, and it isn’t just picking a song, you have to play it through and see what part you want to use, because sometimes you have to shorten it. Then you have to have parts for the singers. Everything has to be timed to the second. Then you have to play it together, and together and together to find out if it works together.

For years before a concert, I wouldn’t sleep at night. I’d toss and turn and say ‘God, why did you put me in this position? I can’t play the piano, I don’t know how to read music, so why do I have this job? Then a lady gave me a book, “7 Prayers that will change your life forever.” I read it twice. The third time I picked it up, I understood why. God doesn’t expect you to do anything you can’t do. And he doesn’t expect you to do anything you don’t have the talent to do. He says you use what talent you are given, and the talent that you have, Doris, is to put this music together, to be with people and to schedule. That blessing changed my life. I’m so glad I kept going.

Are you ready to get back to practicing? I’m hoping to meet soon. That is what I want. I’ve had people who have called me and really wanted to get back. It is hard.

To watch the Fitchburg Singers perform visit Fitchburg Access Community Television- FACTv.

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 27

In pre-pandemic days, The Fitchburg Singers practice, under the direction of Doris Koster.

The Fitchburg Singers perform songs from the time periods of World War I and II, Korea and Vietnam during the Veterans Day celebration in 2018.

28 Young at Heart February 2021 Unified Newspaper Group

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Fish and Sweet Potato Soup

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

6 ounces white fish fillet, skinned

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons finely chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 sweet potato, about 6 ounces, peeled and diced 1 small carrot, about 2 ounces, chopped 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

16 slices Italian bread Combine fresh tomatoes, basil, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour to blend flavors. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place bread on baking sheet. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons oil over one side of each bread slice. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until toasted. Top each bread slice with 1 tablespoon tomato mixture. Yield: 8 servings

51/2 cups fish stock 5 tablespoons light cream Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish Remove any bones from the fish and put it in a pot. Add the onion, sweet potato, carrot, oregano, cinnamon, and half of the stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Leave to cool, then pour into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the remaining fish stock, and gently bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Stir the cream into the soup, then gently heat it through without boiling. If the soup boils, the cream will curdle. Serve hot, garnished with the chopped parsley.


Crab Salad Stuffed Tomatoes 1/3 cup orzo 2 large tomatoes 1 cup crabmeat, picked over for pieces of shell 1/3 cup chopped black or green olives 2 tablespoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt if desired. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain again. Meanwhile, cut thin slice off tops of tomatoes; reserve tops. Using spoon, carefully scoop out seeds and pulp; reserve for another use. Gently toss together crabmeat, olives, feta, dill, vinegar, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Spoon crabmeat mixture evenly into tomato shells and cover with reserved tomato tops. Cook’s note: Scoop the seeds and pulp from the tomatoes into a storage container. Cover and freeze up to 4 months and toss them into a soup or stew. Serves 2

Serves 4

Tiramisu 6 egg yolks 1 cup sugar 11/4 cup mascarpone cheese 13/4 cup heavy whipping cream 2 12 oz packages Savoradi Lady Fingers 1/2 cup cold espresso or strong coffee 1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur (optional) 1 tablespoon cocoa for dusting Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.This is your sabayon. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks, and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone-sabayon mixture and set aside. Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor, and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet; do not soak them! Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 8 inch square baking dish (or 6X9). Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat the process with another layer. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa before serving. Yield: 9 servings

Unified Newspaper Group February 2021 Young at Heart 31

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2021 Winter February Young At Heart