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Senior Living April 2019 A Special Supplement to The Tipton Conservative, Sun-News and West Branch Times


Senior Living

Page 2• April 3 & 4, 2019

Positive Attitude, No Regrets For 91 Year Old Erma Lyle By Kit Phelps People of all ages enjoy being around Erma Lyle who is now 91 years old and living at Elmer Estates, a condo behind Cedar Manor in Tipton. She moved to Tipton in 1954 with her husband Jim and three daughters who later graduated in 1967, 1968 and 1970. She worked downtown at Tipton State Bank for many years, retiring in 1984. Pam Fisher, an employee of Senior Dining where Erma usually eats lunch said, “I love Erma. You can just tell when she enters a room. She’s a ray of sunshine.” Alisha Hubler, administrator of Cedar Manor where Erma has stayed for skilled care said, “Erma is a miracle. She is always cheerful and she makes everyone feel special.” Erma’s life has not been heartache free. She lost her husband Jim in a two-vehicle accident in 1985. Her oldest daughter Sherry was killed in a car accident in 2005. Her daughter Sally died over a year ago with scleroderma. She has also lost a host of close friends. Plus she has several medical issues with her heart and lungs and is a cancer survivor. Question: Do you have a life philosophy or motto? Erma: I guess it’s “It is what it is.” So you either adjust or you’re miserable fighting it. You accept it and go on. I’m not a complainer. The way I look at most everything is I can’t change it, so there’s no use in fighting. That takes too much energy and I don’t have it. Also, you’ve got to like yourself. That makes a difference in how you think about everything. Q: How do you make everyone feel special? Erma: I don’t do anything deliberate; it just happens. I don’t believe in putting anyone in a box, because if you think that’s the way a person is before you even talk with them, then how you treat them is a reflection of that. Also I don’t let anyone intimidate me. I just consider everyone my friend. I’m an open book. You don’t have to wonder what I’m thinking. I’ll tell ya. Q: I heard your sister has a similar attitude. Do you attribute that to your upbringing? Erma: I don’t know, but my brother’s like that, too. Letha will be 100 years old and lives in a nursing home in Washington (Iowa) and my brother Marion is 96 and lives at the other end of Washington in the Presbyterian Home. He moved back to Washington probably five years ago and

he talks to everyone and probably knows more people than those who’ve lived in Washington all their lives. I can’t remember ever having a bad spat with any of my siblings. We have fun and get along. We lived on a farm until my dad died when I was 10, then we moved to town [Washington]. There were six of us, but my two older sisters had graduated from high school. My mom worked in a cleaners and we all had jobs growing up. I babysat and then worked in a restaurant. I loved meeting the people. After I graduated I worked in a bank and that’s where I met Jim. Q: What advice do you have for someone who loses a family member? Erma: Everyone handles that differently. It’s a pain you’ll never forget. After I lost Jim, some friends said I should get medicated. I didn’t do it. I wanted to know what’s going on. I couldn’t do it without the Lord. I never questioned why, because it is what it is and I trust God. If you rely on him, it works out. If you try to do it yourself, it’s harder. I thank Him everyday because He’s always there for me through the thick and the thin. When Sally died, I asked God, “Why am I still here?” And then I knew why. Sue needed me. Q: How do you keep going? Erma: The best thing I did for my health was move here [Elmer Estates]. I lived at my house until 2005. I feel blessed to live in a place like this and to keep going. As long as I can do that, I’m all set. One of the best things I can do for myself is to go down to the Senior Center and eat every day. I get a balanced meal and I have people to eat with. Q: Is there anything in life you struggle with? Erma: Not really. I lived my life and if I have something hard to face, I strongly believe you go through it and not around it and when you go out the other side, you’ll be stronger. That’s what I taught my girls. I’ve used oxygen at night for five years and after my last trip [to the hospital], I have to use it all the time. I thought that would restrict me, but I have a small tank that I can carry like a purse. I can take it right into the grocery store with me. Q: Is there something you wish you had done differently, or regret doing? Erma: I can’t really answer that. It should be on the tip of my tongue if it was important. I love music and always wished I could sing. I never shut up, do you have that in there?

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Erma Lyle enjoys eating at senior dining every day.

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Senior Living

Page 3• April 3 & 4, 2019

West Branch Senior Citizens ‘Retire’, But Continue to Stay Busy By Gregory Norfleet When Jan Cretin retired from education, she chose to slow down, but not stop. She found herself compelled to “keep contributing to the community.” While many seniors consider this question, common answers include traveling, spending time with family, finishing home projects … and volunteering. Cretin quickly narrowed down her choices for spending her free time: church and school. “I wanted to give back to the two places that had given me so much,” the West Branch resident said. “That was the obvious choice for me.” Dick Hinkhouse did not retire all at once. A farmer whose son returned to the family business, he started “phasing into” retirement several years ago. “I was doing little less, and a little less, but I’m still available to help if he needs something,” Hinkhouse said. Already part of the West Branch Lions Club for nearly 20 years, he began giving more and more time to the group. He also continues to help, when he can, working concession stands at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena to support the West Branch AllSports Booster Club. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 25.1% of Americans aged 55 to 64 years, and some 23.5% of those 65 and over, donate their time to informal or formal volunteer endeavors. Formal volunteering includes working for things like churches or schools, while informal volunteering refers to helping neighbors of family members. A joint study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that Americans in 2014 donated about eight billion volunteer hours and donated $358 billion to charity. Of that, the study found that retirees account for 45%, or 3.6 billion hours, of that time, and about 42%, or more than $150 billion, of charitable giving. Columnist Tom Sightings, in a November 2015 article titled “Seven Reasons to Volunteer in Retirement,” cited the Merrill Lynch study and found that 70% of retirees say being generous -- with time or money -- “provides a significant source of happiness” and 85% report that volunteering time leads to new friendships. He also notes that while seniors make up 45% of the volunteer hours, they only account for less than a third of the U.S. population. “When you retire, you have to find your niche,” Cretin said. Cretin taught Title I reading at West Branch Community Schools and continues to help children with their reading skills. While she has a teaching degree, she emphasizes to others that is not necessary for volunteers wanting to help with the elementary school’s Rock-N-Read program. “A lot of volunteers are not educators,” she said, noting that the program either has them reading to children, or children practicing reading aloud to them. “It’s a simple way (to volunteer) that doesn’t require a certain amount of hours. You decide how many hours and when to do it.” Further, all those who she knows who help with Rock-N-Read “all say they love it.” Cretin said she wanted her teaching career to make an impact on children. “And when it was over, I wanted to continue to make an impact on the community,” she said. Cretin also spends much of her time with the West Branch Food Pantry; the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program Food Truck, which visits West Branch once a month; and the school district’s Backpack Program, a donation-driven program, which provides weekend meals to lowincome pupils in middle and high schools. “If you have an issue you feel strongly about -- I’m not a person who’s political at all -- but issues that impact children are important to me, like food insufficien-

cies,” she said. “I started with that before I retired, and there’s always a need there … and a lot of opportunities to help.” Hinkhouse joined the West Branch Lions Club because an uncle, Bill Hinkhouse, had been active in the club. Dick said he waited until his children were grown before joining, but had been involved in the Booster Club while his children attended school. “I try to stay active,” he said, which includes riding in the Register’s Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), and walking and golfing for his health, joking, “After you turn 60 you’re old enough to play golf.” Hinkhouse said he and his wife, Anji, do travel, going away for weekends or overseas, seeing family and friends. He said he likes helping with the Lions Club’s Flags over West Branch program, which puts flags in yards of subscribers on patriotic holidays, because he gets to know where people live on his route. These types of activities appeal more to him, he said, as a way to “give something back to the community.” “I don’t want to be on the City Council or even the Planning and Zoning Committee,” he said. “I’ve been asked to consider it, but I don’t know enough.” The Lions Club puts on an annual pancake supper fundraiser, which Hinkhouse particularly enjoys. “It’s not hard, physical work, … but there’s fellowship with the other members and it’s a great place to see a lot of people from the community you don’t get to see on a regular basis and kind of catch up and visit, to see what they’re up to,” he said. AgingInPlace.org, in an article titled, “How To Volunteer As A Senior,” listed six primary reasons retirees and the elderly ought to volunteer: 1. Social benefits: “The AARP estimates that up to 17% of Americans 55 and older could be isolated from society,” reads the article. It also cites a study by Forbes showing that the isolated face a greater likelihood of developing an illness, higher medical bills and a lower age of death. 2. Mental cognition benefits: AgingInPlace.org writes that seniors face an increased chance of memory loss. “One thing that can help slow the advancements of these diseases is staying active and using your brain,” reads the article. Volunteering likely involves conversations, which stimulate brain activity, and the article cited a study showing that 70% of seniors showing five or more signs of depression saw a decrease in those symptoms while still in their first year of volunteering. Hinkhouse believes, from his experience, that socializing is “fun and good for your brain.” He said his mother remained involved in her church, talked a lot on the phone with friends and family, welcomed friends to her home frequently and kept that up until her health would not allow it. She lived to age 95. Hinkhouse, himself 72, said friendships are important for seniors, too, and simply asking someone “How are you doing -- you getting along?” can remind someone that others care about their welfare. Recently, he said, a member of his informal coffee klatch did not show for three days, so a few of them went to check on him. Unfortunately, the friend had passed away at home. “That’s how they found him,” he said. “You need those connections. It’s just a kind of welfare, a kind of extended family. It gets more extreme if you’ve been married and you lose a spouse and then you’re alone and nobody checks on you. But it’s already established if you’re out and active and communicate with other people. It’s sad if you’re home alone and not getting out.” 3. Giving back: AgingInPlace.org encourages the elderly to share their experiences and knowledge to the benefit of

West Branch resident Dick Hinkhouse places bread dipped in an egg mixture onto a skillet March 7 during the West Branch Lions Club Pancake Supper, while fellow Lion Dale Vincent holds the pan. Hinkhouse, a retired farmer, gives more of his free time to the Lions Club and the West Branch high school All-Sports Booster Club. Gregory R. Norfleet/West Branch Times

West Branch resident and retired educator Jan Cretin pulls food from shelves inside an office at West Branch middle school on Feb. 28, packing items for low-income pupils to take home over the weekend. Cretin said she chose to volunteer in retirement at her school and church, which means the most to her. Gregory R. Norfleet/West Branch Times

those running non-profits or mentoring youth and “teaching them about life.” 4. Physical engagement: “Physical activity is vital for an elderly person,” reads the article. AgingInPlace.org cites a University of Southern California study by the School of Gerontology showing that fewer than a third of people from 65 to 74 are physically active, and that number drop by half for those 75 and up. Inactivity, the group writes, can lead to more heart problems, bone loss, joint pain, fat, and many other health deficiencies. 5. Continued learning: Volunteering can lead to new skills “that your previous decades of work wouldn’t allow,” reads the article. That goes back to cognitive health benefits. 6. Filling up the day: Some seniors struggle to keep themselves active all day, AgingInPlace.org writes, yet volunteering keeps one busy, keeps them engaging others and “gives you something to look forward to.” Cretin said that her church activities -- she attends St. Bernadette’s in West Branch -- also include helping with funerals and dinners and serving as a Eucharist minister at Crestview Nursing and Rehab for those who cannot attend Catholic Mass at a church. She said volunteering does help fill the hours, but “that’s not why I did it.” She remembers giving a lot of thought to retirement in her final year of teaching and remembers discussing it with colleagues, many of whom did not know what they would do with their time. She said a schedule creates a “rhythm” to her day even though she, too, travels and takes part in many social activities. “This is what works for me,” Cretin said of transitioning from the 8-to-4 day. For those considering, “What the next chapter is going to look like,” Cretin recommends thinking first about “what’s important to them.” “It’s an individual thing,” she said. “People still want to be viable and contributing to the earth. They want to keep going in

another direction, and ‘keep going’ is the operative term.” For her, she would be “devastated” if she could not visit Hoover Elementary in West Branch once or twice a week. “It makes my week, it really does,” she said of volunteering for her former workplace. “I consider myself pretty fortunate.” Cretin said she once tried volunteering at an Iowa City hospital, but “it was not for me.” “It wasn’t a good fit,” she said. Hinkhouse said that though his children are grown, he still enjoys attending high school sporting events because it also allows him to connect with friends. His grandchildren are involved in youth soccer, so that give him more reasons to attend more sporting events for social engagement. “I’m at that stage where a lot of older people do not go to school events because they don’t know people,” he said. “But you know the grandparents. And there’s a sense of community. … There’s some truth to ‘it takes a village’ to raise a kid. But it takes more work to keep connected because you don’t know these young people. … It’s nice to have a sense of community and to be involved.” Cretin said she has yet to hear of a nonprofit group that turns away volunteers. “There are opportunities out there in West Branch and Iowa City,” she said. “And there are a wealth of opportunities here in West Branch to give back to this community.” Hinkhouse said he plans to stay active and engaged as long as he can. When he’s not volunteering, he likes walking, even snowshoeing recently around the prairie at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. Someone pointed out that, “You know, you’re pretty much alone out here,” and asked what would happen if he had a heart attack. His response was twofold: 1. It’s not a bad place to go, and 2. He quoted a French philosopher: “If life gets boring, risk it.”


Page 4• April 3 & 4, 2019

Senior Living

At 85 Shirley Geadelmann Is Barely Slowing Down By Kit Phelps “I’m not afraid to speak up,’” said Shirley Geadelmann. Well known in Clarence, Cedar county and beyond for her hard work and dedication in volunteering for numerous organizations, she has probably received every award available. “I’ll be 85 years old this year and I say that I’m slowing down,” she said, “But I haven’t stopped doing much.” Courage to stand up for what she believes may be one characteristic of a dedicated volunteer, but Shirley has more. She said that even when she was a high school student in Bennett, she wanted to do the right thing and that was connected to her faith. Also at that age she was a good student, but was very aware of those who struggled with schoolwork and felt empathy for them. Add motivation, faith and empathy to her list. Knowing how to work hard is another trait. When she married Merlin she entered a dairy operation and worked with chores and milking and at her full-time job at a bank in Clarence. She started her day at 3 a.m. and didn’t necessarily go to bed early. “People would say, ‘You’re going to die young because you don’t get sleep.’ I would say, ‘Well, I’m going to be awake while I’m alive.’” She also likes to do new things and that includes more places to volunteer. “If I start, I like to do it a long time.” Example of her longevity and perseverance would be over 60 years of work with Farm Bureau and over 30 years of service on Heritage Area Agency on Aging. Shirley has persevered and shown for-

titude through the many trials she has experienced. Those trials have also increased her empathy for others. In 1984, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that flared up the next year after her son Kevin was killed in a fire. The 1980’s were also very difficult years financially on the farm. Then in 2008 Merlin died and their much-loved Brown Swiss cowherd was sold. She said, “You know, God has helped me through everything.” She sees her cancer as a good thing because it made her visit the doctor regularly. According to Shirley a benefit of volunteering is the good feeling she gets from helping others. For instance, the organization Concerned Women of America assigned her to send uplifting messages to a member of the state legislature and a member of county government. “I get joy from it myself and it’s been fun to do,” she said. One piece of advice Shirley offers is, “You have to be careful when volunteering to be helping and not enabling. However, if I’m going to err, I’d rather give too much.” Another piece of advice is to “try to put yourself in someone else’s place and understand how they think.” When not attending meetings or helping others, Shirley likes working in her yard. She enjoys her flowers and the baskets of ferns she hangs on her front porch and gazebo and she still mows her own yard with a push mower. Inside her home, she has an ongoing project of getting rid of “stuff.” So where is Shirley slowing down? She said she has cut down her trips to Cedar Rapids. She was on the St. Luke’s Hospi-

Clarence Senior Living offers different levels of care to meet the needs of Clarence and the surrounding communities, including: independent living apartments, assisted living, skilled nursing, and long term care. The facility is conveniently connected to the local doctor’s office. Department Heads have a combined total of 169 years of experience. To schedule a tour or inquire about services, please call (563) 452-3262.

402 2nd Ave., Clarence

Shirley prepared refreshments for the Clarence UCC Lend-a-Hand organization—an appropriate group for Shirley because she is always lending a hand to others.

tal’s Patient and Family Advisory Board for eight years and is no longer doing that. However, she did help with the Go Red Fundraiser at St. Luke’s this past year. There is one thing she fears—being told she can’t drive anymore and depending on

others for rides. “It’s hard when you’re the one used to doing things and you have to ask for help.” With her positive attitude she adds, “But I have to remember that I’ll be making someone else feel good about helping.”


Senior Living

Page 5• April 3 & 4, 2019

How One Volunteer is Helping Addressing Chronic Pain Amidst a End a Family Cycle of Alzheimer’s National Opioid Crisis (StatePoint) Jacqueline Patterson, 66, knew from a young age what Alzheimer’s looked like, but didn’t call it by its name until she started caring for her mother, Ruby, in 2008. “When I took on caregiving responsibilities for my mom, the only thing I knew was that this is just something that everyone in my family gets – we accepted it,” Patterson recalls. “But once I saw my mom die from the disease, I made it my mission to learn as much as I can and educate as many people as I can, especially African Americans who are disproportionately impacted by the disease. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.” Patterson has a long family history of Alzheimer’s disease. Her grandfather had the disease, and of her mother’s nine sisters, six passed away with Alzheimer’s or dementia and three are currently living with the disease. Patterson’s father, Matthew, also passed away from the disease. “At that time, it didn’t occur to any of us that this was a disease,” Patterson says. “Once I began to look more closely, I realized there was more to it. It really hit home once my mother developed the disease.” According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Disproportionately impacting African Americans, older African Americans are twice as likely as older white Americans to develop the disease. By the time Patterson realized her mother was showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, she was already in the late stages. “Her doctor said that it was just normal aging, but I knew there was more going on -something was obviously very wrong.” Patterson, a high school biology teacher, retired early to be a full-time caregiver for

her mother. Frustrated with the lack of information and support services available, she reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association where she was able to learn about the disease and access needed resources like respite care. After Patterson’s mother passed away, she made it her mission to educate others about the disease and end the cycle within her family. She started volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association’s, meeting with physicians serving rural and minority populations, sharing information about the importance of early detection and diagnosis and making resources available to those living with the disease. Since her mother’s diagnosis, she has earned a Master’s degree in Public Health and is working towards a Doctorate of Public Health. Currently, Patterson is enrolled in a clinical trial. She aims to overcome the stigma related to such research within the African-American community. African Americans and other ethnic minorities are vastly underrepresented in these trials, limiting what researchers can learn. “There is still a fear of participating in studies, which is understandable when you think about the history with terrible, unethical trials like Tuskegee,” Patterson says. “But I wanted to be the one to say look – I’m doing this, and it’s okay.” Patterson says she’s come a long way from “accepting” the disease as her family’s destiny and is encouraging other African Americans to do the same. “We need to raise awareness about African Americans’ increased risk for Alzheimer’s and encourage participation in research that can help us understand the reasons behind it. I now look at Alzheimer’s as a disease that can be cured,” says Patterson.

Jacqueline Patterson, speaking at an Alzheimer’s Association event.

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Page 6• April 3 & 4, 2019

Senior Living

Make Better Brain Health a Top Priority

(StatePoint) Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to impact nearly 14 million Americans by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, however, science suggests you can lower your risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. Research has shown lifestyle changes like improving diet and exercising regularly have helped drive down death rates from cancer, heart disease and other major diseases. These same lifestyle changes may also reduce or slow your risk of cognitive decline, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Discovering risk factors and preventive strategies for cognitive decline that can cause problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment is a hot topic in Alzheimer’s research, as are multi-faceted lifestyle interventions to slow or prevent dementia. The good news? Many such interventions are things you might already be doing or thinking about doing, such as eating well, staying physically active and getting good sleep, just to name a few. “There is increasing evidence to suggest that what is good for the heart is good for our brains,” says Keith Fargo, Ph.D., director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Keeping our brains healthy is not something we should worry about only as we get older. It should be a lifelong effort.” One easy way to encourage brain health at any age is to stimulate your mind with problem-solving challenges. Working on a jigsaw puzzle, learning a new language and

playing strategy games are a few ways to strengthen your memory -- as long as they are new and challenging tasks. Research has also found correlations between higher levels of formal education and a better cognitive reserve -- so sign up for a class! Another way to promote brain health is taking care of your mental health. Managing stress and anxiety is not only important for overall health and wellbeing, but studies have found a link between depression and increased risk of cognitive decline. Take care of yourself and seek medical treatment if you have symptoms. Being social may also support brain health. That’s right. Add “hang out with friends” and “have fun” to your list of healthy habits. Better yet, take on several of these lifestyle changes for maximum impact. For example, enroll in a dance class with a friend. Alzheimer’s researchers are now looking into whether a “cocktail” of these interventions can protect cognitive function. The Alzheimer’s Association’s U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is a two-year clinical trial that hopes to answer this question, and is the first such study to be conducted of a large group of Americans nationwide. While there’s currently no certain way to prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementias, there is much to be gained by living a healthy lifestyle and adopting brain health habits that you enjoy, so that you stick with them for the long haul.

Seniors: How Healthy Feet Can Reduce Your Risk of Falling

(StatePoint) Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only are seniors more at risk for falls, when they do so, it poses a greater risk for injuries, hospitalization and complications. For a ground-up approach to fall prevention, seniors should start by examining the health of their feet. “Painful foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis, corns, bunions, hammertoes and diabetes complications, can make it difficult for seniors to maintain balance and coordination when walking or standing,” says Michael Ambroziak, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ACFAS). “Compounding the issue is that the very exercises intended to correct risk factors for falls, such as lowerbody weakness, as well as gait and balance problems, are made difficult to perform when one is suffering

301 Cedar St Tipton, IA 52772

from painful foot and ankle conditions.” While the factors causing falls are numerous, experts say that seniors, and everybody for that matter, can take steps to reduce their risk by minimizing or even eliminating foot pain. Doing so will improve balance, coordination and stability when walking or standing. Foot and ankle surgeons recommend the following ways to help keep feet and ankles healthy: • Don’t ignore pain: Foot pain is not just a normal consequence of growing older, so don’t resign yourself to aching and suffering. You likely have a treatable condition. For a proper diagnosis and intervention, be sure to pay attention to your feet and see a foot and ankle surgeon if and when you experience pain. • Examine your feet: You are the gatekeeper of your own health, making regular at-home foot examinations critical. At the sign of bumps, lumps or other changes in your feet, make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon. • Exercise: Simple stretching exercises can help you maintain strength and mobility in your feet

and ankles, as well as provide pain relief. Talk to your physician about appropriate exercises for you. • Protect: Use padding, insoles or whatever special footwear you are prescribed. Be sure to wear these, along with comfortable, sensible shoes, every day. • Be flexible: Know that at times, surgery is the most appropriate treatment for a given condition. Fortunately, many simple surgical techniques allow foot surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis. For more ways for to keep feet and ankles healthy, prevent falls or to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit FootHealthFacts.org, the patient education website for ACFAS. Foot and ankle surgeons are experts in providing both conservative care as well as surgical approaches to foot and ankle healthcare. Remember, just one fall can permanently rob seniors of their independence and dramatically reduce their quality of life. Taking good care of feet and ankles however can reduce the risk of a life-altering slip, trip or fall.


Senior Living

Page 7• April 3 & 4, 2019

Medical Devices Help Improve Lives of Patients With Parkinson’s (StatePoint) Ken Girlardo knew something was wrong when his hand started shaking uncontrollably to the point he couldn’t pour his morning coffee. In July 2010, Girlardo was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is the second most common progressive, neurodegenerative condition, affecting more than one million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While PD can’t be cured, people with the condition are typically treated with medications to manage their symptoms. Unfortunately, the frequent use of some drugs can be associated with side effects such as involuntary movements and motor fluctuations, and over time the medications become less effective. After Girlardo’s diagnosis, he started taking medications and increased his dosage as the disease progressed. “At one point, I was taking as many as eight pills a day to manage my PD,” says Girlardo. “I don’t want to say I was discouraged, because I don’t let anything discourage me, but it was a pain to be disabled.” Taking the drugs took a toll on his lifestyle as he could no longer do the things he loved, like play golf and fish with his grandchildren, or the things he needed to do, like change the oil in his car. He needed his wife’s help for everything from getting dressed to walking through the grocery store. “We thought there wasn’t really anything you could do about it,” says Barb, Girlardo’s wife. Girlardo became hopeful once his doctor told him he was a candidate for deep brain stimulation (DBS), a technology helping some people manage the symp-

toms of PD when medication alone is no longer effective. DBS uses a small medical device that is implanted in the body and connected to leads that stimulate a portion of the brain to control the motor functions affected by movement disorders, including tremors, slowness and rigidity. While this treatment option has been available for some time, until recently, physicians have had to rely on older DBS technology. In December 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Boston Scientific Vercise DBS System, which is designed to be more easily adapted to a patient’s specific needs and is engineered to allow for targeted stimulation therapy delivery. “Since being implanted with my DBS System, I feel like I got my life back. Now, I’m not taking any medications for PD. I can dress myself, chop vegetables, tie knots and drive without worry,” says Girlardo, who received the Vercise DBS System in March. “It was like hitting the lottery with the results.” To learn more, visit DBSandMe.com, a resource developed by Boston Scientific. If you have PD, talk to your doctor about the most appropriate treatment, and if a DBS system could be an option for you.

What to Know Now About COPD

(StatePoint) It claims a life every three to four minutes, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The culprit: COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nationwide, more than 16 million people have been diagnosed with this debilitating lung disease, also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. But millions of others likely have COPD and don’t know it, as symptoms develop slowly and worsen over time. Shortness of breath, chronic coughing, wheezing and excess mucus—all can make even the most mundane tasks difficult, yet many people think these are just normal symptoms of aging or being out of shape. So, what are the chances you have COPD? Smoking, research has long shown, is the main risk factor for the disease. Some 75 percent of people who have COPD smoke or once smoked. But long-term exposure to lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dust—from both the environment and workplace—can be a risk factor, too. In some cases, genetics can play a role. The good news is COPD is highly treatable and manageable. The bad news is, due to the slow progression of the disease, Americans often delay seeking help until the problem is severe, which can lead to serious, long-term disability.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), together with federal and nonfederal partners, has developed the COPD National Action Plan, the firstever blueprint for collective action to reduce the burden of the disease. With the action plan as a guide, NHLBI is working across the country to encourage earlier recognition of the disease. But it is giving particular attention to rural areas, where the disease is especially prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COPD is almost twice as likely to affect people living in rural communities than in urban ones. Because of this disparity, NHLBI is taking special steps to help rural residents get the advice it wants everyone to follow: learn the signs and symptoms of COPD, and if breathing issues are impacting even the most basic daily everyday tasks, see a health care professional, such as a primary care provider, nurse practitioner or other specialist. With a diagnosis and the proper treatment, people with COPD can learn to ably manage their condition. For more information about COPD and resources, visit NHLBI’s COPD Learn More Breathe Better program at COPD. nhlbi.nih.gov. Talk to a health care professional as soon as breathing problems occur.

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Senior Living

Page 8 • April 3 & 4, 2019

Prairie Hills Is ‘Rolling Out the Red Carpet for You’ By Kit Phelps “Rolling out the red carpet for you” is the motto Prairie Hills Assisted Living adopted last year when Senior Housing Management in Cedar Rapids assumed their management. “That means our residents first and then the guests and staff,” said Shari Slater Prairie Hills Community Relations Coordinator. The community is always welcome in their facility and the first one to greet a visitor is often Kaiser, their resident dog who has lived there for three years. He welcomes many guests on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when Prairie Hills conducts the Live 2B Fit exercise classes, open to the community. Senior Housing Management implemented the exercise program and encourages the pubic to be invited. Often over 30 people participate in the classes and they even have two regulars from Lowden. Andrea Williams, the Life Enrichment Coordinator and the certified Live 2B Fit Trainer said, “Anyone can benefit depending on the effort put in.” Every exercise can be made easier or harder depending on the participants’ level. All exercisers are tested at least twice a year to monitor their endurance and strength. “We know it works, because we see the difference in our residents,” Shari said. Andrea added, “As we age our strength declines, so even if they test the same as last time, they are actually doing well.” The red carpet is also rolled out to the community to join them for the pie and ice

cream social that is held at 3 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month. Also once a month they host a special meal that is open to the public. All that is required is a reservation made at least a week before. For their residents and community, Prairie Hills saw the need to increase the size of their memory care unit called Gardens. Last year the facility was reconfigured to add eight apartments to the 12 they already had for memory care. The west end of the building is now a secure area for the Garden residents. They have a TV lounge area where the Game Network is popular, a dining area and smaller sitting areas on each end with activities. In summer, they have a large enclosed courtyard for walking and sitting. Garden Coordinator Crystal Jacobus plans activities and she or another person in management is always there to help the resident assistants and to help with activities. The Garden residents are also encouraged to attend the activities with other Prairie Hills residents, such as bingo, music programs and bus trips to town. Shari also takes trips to Tipton and the surrounding communities in her role as Community Relations Coordinator. She is known as the “cookie lady” as she takes treats to area doctors, chiropractors and others. During Social Work Month in March she visited many social workers and brought crescents from Tiffini’s Tipton Bakery. “We try to go into the community and have the community come to us,” she said. Kaiser, resident dog at Prairie Hills, is surrounded by the Prairie Hills management staff. They are, kneeling, l-r, Crystal Jacobus-Memory Care Coordinator, Neal Slaton-Maintenance Coordinator and Shari Slaton-Community Relations Coordinator. Standing, Andrea Williams-Life Enrichment Coordinator and Amy McAtee-Manager. Contributed photo.

Prairie Hills residents and community members participate in weekly exercises led by Andrea Williams, Trainer for Live 2B Fit.

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Senior Living April 2019  

Senior Living 2019. Senior Living is a special section we do once each year that is geared toward our local Senior Citizens. We publish this...

Senior Living April 2019  

Senior Living 2019. Senior Living is a special section we do once each year that is geared toward our local Senior Citizens. We publish this...