Thursday, February 22, 2018
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A SPECIAL SECTION OF
2 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
The Times - Delivering Your Community
Brain-healthy habits seniors can embrace Metro Creative Services Cognitive decline is a condition that often is associated with aging, but even middleaged people can experience memory loss or cognition issues. The Alzheimer’s Association says that more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. By 2050, that number could rise to as high as 16 million people. More than 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or another Metro Creative Graphics dementia, says the Canadian Alzheimer’s By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise and balanced eating, Association. seniors can reduce the risk of dementia and other neurological issues. Although there is no definitive way to prevent dementia, cognitive decline. Smoking can may help in the storage of living a long, vibrant impair blood flow to the brain dopamine, which can reduce life may be possible by encourand cause small strokes that feelings of depression and aging some healthy habits for anxiety. In addition, compounds the brain. It is never too late or may damage blood vessels. in cocoa and coffee beans may too early to begin health and Eat healthy foods improve vascular health and lifestyle changes. Foods that are good for the help repair cellular damage due Exercise heart and blood vessels also are to high antioxidant levels. good for the brain. These inBecoming more active can Work the brain clude fresh fruits and vegetaimprove brain volume, reduce bles, whole grains, fish-based Engaging in mentally stimurisk for dementia and improve proteins, unsaturated fats, and lating activities can create new thinking and memory skills. foods containing omega-3 fatty brain connections and more The journal Neurology found acids. Neurologists state that, backup circuits, states Dr. that older people who vigorwhile research on diet and cog- Joel Salinas, a neurologist at ously exercise performed nitive function is limited, diets, Harvard-affiliated Massachubetter on cognitive tests than setts General Hospital. Workothers of the same age, placing such as Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary ing the brain through puzzles, them at the equivalent of 10 reading and participating in years younger. Increased blood Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to a social situations can stimulate flow that occurs with physical the release of brain-derived activity may help generate new lower risk of cognitive issues. neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurons in the hippocampus, Consume caffeine molecule essential for repairan area of the brain involved Caffeine may help boost ing brain cells and creating with learning and memory. The Harvard Medical School memory performance and brain connections between them. A good way to combine these says aerobic exercise may help health. A Journal of Nutrition study found people ages 70 lifestyle factors is to take an improve brain tissue by imand older who consumed more exercise class with friends, proving blood flow and reducmixing the social, stimulation ing the chances of injury to the caffeine scored better on tests and exercise recommendations brain from cholesterol buildup of mental function than those who consumed less caffeine. together. in blood vessels. Caffeine may help improve Cognitive decline can come Quit smoking attention span, cognitive funcwith aging, but through healthy habits, people can reThe Alzheimer’s Association tion and feelings of well-being. Information from Psychology duce their risk of memory loss indicates that evidence shows Today also indicates caffeine and dementia. smoking increases the risk of
Metro Creative Graphics
The national organization CarFit helps seniors adjust their driving habits.
CarFit events help senior drivers find the best fit Rick Popely Chicago Tribune (TNS)
organization called CarFit offers free events aimed at helping older drivers find If you buy a new suit, you a better driving position, would probably have a tailor position mirrors properly custom fit it to your body. If and make other adjustments you’re a golfer, a lot of into be more comfortable and structors advise that you get safer behind the wheel. clubs that fit your physique “One of the key things and swing. we look at is reducing It stands to reason, then, blind spots by changing the that you should have the right ways seniors use their side fit behind the wheel of your mirrors and their (inside) car. After all, driving isn’t mirror,” said Beth Mosher, a just about appearances or certified CarFit technician. comfort, it’s also about safety. That is why a national See CARFIT, page 3
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The Times - Delivering Your Community
CarFit From page 2 “Mirror position is the biggest change for most people who come through the program.” CarFit, which started in 2005, is sponsored by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Technicians go through a checklist of about 20 items with drivers in about 20 to 25 minutes. Among the items on the list are if the seat position allows them to adequately reach the pedal, if the driver is at least 10 inches from the steering wheel, if they can fasten the seatbelt without needing assistance, how easily they get in and out of the car, and how mirrors are adjusted. Technicians also make sure the horn, exterior lights, mirrors and hazard lights are working and that the driver knows how to operate them. Though older drivers are among the safest as a group, they are most likely to have physical limitations that affect their driving. “What we find is that seniors ... might have trouble making the movement to look over their shoulder to check their blind spot, maybe because they have neck issues,” Mosher said as an example. Occupational therapists are on hand to recommend adaptive equipment, such as grab handles that make it easier to get in and out or pedal extenders, for drivers who need more than simple adjustments. Though the program is aimed at senior citizens, Mosher said, “We are never going to turn people away. “I am not a senior citizen, and I have been through the program as a driver. Everyone benefits from it,” she said. “When I went through the program, one of the things that was most helpful for me was that I reduced my blind spots significantly. I always say, you’re going to leave a safer driver having been through the CarFit program.” More information is available on the organization’s website, car-fit.org.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 3
Questions to ask yourself as you plan for retirement Nicole Tiggemann Tribune News Service (TNS)
Security account. Get yours today at socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount. Deciding when to start reWill I have other income to ceiving your retirement bensupplement my Social Security efits from Social Security is benefits? a decision that only you can Secure your financial make, and you should make future with a retirement portthat decision with as much folio that includes savings, information as possible. investments, and possibly a There are a lot of important pension plan. If you’re willquestions to answer. ing and able, you may choose Should you claim benefits to increase your income by earlier and get a smaller monthly working past retirement age. payment for more years? Or Social Security replaces should you wait and get a bigger a percentage of a worker’s monthly amount over a shorter pre-retirement income based period? on your lifetime earnings. There are no right or wrong The amount of your average answers, but we encourage wages that Social Security you to consider these four im- retirement benefits replaces portant questions as you plan varies depending on your for your financially secure earnings and when you retirement: choose to start benefits. How much money will I need to If you start benefits at age live comfortably in retirement? 67, this percentage ranges Anticipate what your from as much as 75 percent expenses will be in retirefor very low earners, to ment, including things like about 40 percent for medium mortgage payments or rent, earners, to about 27 percent utilities, health care insurfor high earners. If you ance and related costs, food, start benefits after age 67, personal care, car payments these percentages would be and maintenance, entertainhigher. If you start benefits ment, hobbies, travel, and earlier, these percentages credit card or other debt. would be lower. Also, consider whether Most financial advisers you’ll need to provide for say you will need about 70 your spouse, children, or percent of pre-retirement grandchildren. income to live comfortably What will my monthly Social in retirement, including Security retirement benefit be? your Social Security benThe average monthly Social efits, investments, and other Security benefit for a retired savings. worker in 2018 is $1,404 (up How long do I expect my from $1,377 in 2017). The aver- retirement to last? age monthly Social Security Anticipate the length of benefit for a disabled worker your retirement, keeping in 2018 is $1,197 (up from in mind that many Ameri$1,173 in 2017). can workers will live much As a reminder, eligibility longer than the “average” for retirement benefits still retiree. requires 40 credits (usually Consider your health, about 10 years of work). family longevity, and lifeThe Social Security Act de- style. Your Social Security tails how the annual Cost of retirement benefits will proLiving Adjustment (COLA) is vide continuous income for calculated. You can read more as long as you live, protectabout the COLA at socialseing you even if your other curity.gov/cola. sources of income run out. The best way to get an Discover your life expecestimate of your retirement tancy with our online calcubenefit is with a my Social lator at socialsecurity.gov/
OACT/population/longevity. No one can predict the future perfectly, but careful planning and preparation will help you to make a well-informed decision about when to start receiving your Social Security benefits. If you’ve contributed enough to the Social Security system through FICA payroll taxes, you can receive your full retirement benefit at age 66 or 67 depending on when you were born. You may also claim it sooner, starting at age 62, at a permanently reduced rate. Or you may wait until after your
full retirement age, increasing your benefit amount by up to 8 percent per full year to age 70. Social Security is with you through life’s journey, and we’re here to help you prepare for a financially secure future for you and your family. We invite you to use our online retirement planners at socialsecurity.gov/planners/ retire/. To learn more about all of our programs, please join us at socialsecurity.gov. NICOLE TIGGEMANN is a spokesperson for the Social Security Administration.
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4 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
The Times - Delivering Your Community
Today, book clubs are having a ‘senior’ moment Allie Shah Minneapolis Star Tribune (TNS) Armed with books and an intellectual appetite, about a dozen residents of Summit Place Senior Campus in Eden Prairie, Minn., arrived in the great room on a recent evening, eager to feed their hungry minds. For the next hour, they snacked on brownies and sipped pink lemonade and coffee while chewing over their latest book club selection, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. Hennepin County associate librarian Julia Sjoberg kept the conversation going, prompting the women with questions such as: What makes a book a classic? And, is this particular children’s book worthy of the distinction? “To me, it is a classic,” Ruth Fingerson, 78, volunteered. “Because in 1962 and in 2017, girls need to get the message that they can be agents in their own lives.” The others nodded solemnly in agreement. As they continued comparing notes about the book’s characters, themes and plot, the women also told stories about their own lives. Fingerson, a retired elementary school teacher, talked of her experience first reading “A Wrinkle in Time” years ago. Others shared anecdotes about their children and grandchildren. “This does give them a chance to get to know their neighbors,” said Susan Woodwick, service manager for outreach for Hennepin County Library. The county library system is helping to launch book clubs like the one at Summit Place in an effort to foster more social interaction among older adults and to help keep their minds active. The senior book clubs have emerged as a way to get books and other library materials to people who have trouble getting to the libraries. So far, there are nine retirement communities, senior centers and libraries with clubs. “This can really be transformative in these settings, where sometimes it can be a tough setting to break into socially,” Woodwick said. “Sometimes the
most active reader may not be out there socially.” Older adults are especially vulnerable to social isolation, studies have shown. Prolonged social isolation has been linked to depression, high blood pressure and dementia, among other conditions. Health risks of social isolation are akin to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to the AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect program. Meanwhile, research shows that learning new things and connecting socially may help to keep the mind sharp. In fact, joining a book club is one of the activities recommended by the Global Council for Brain Health to help strengthen the aging brain. Doing an activity with others
makes it more likely that you’ll continue to do it, according to the council. That evidence resonated with Woodwick, who said that the seniors who participated in the county libraries’ book clubs reported that they are now reading more. The libraries offer book club kits, including large-print books, and discussion questions, as well as a professional librarian who can lead the discussions. “We wanted to make them more friendly,” Woodwick said, noting that the conversations were not meant to be stuffy. “We’re mindful that this is not English Literature 101. That’s not the purpose of these discussions.” People living in senior residences can become isolated easily. The clubs give them an
opportunity to socialize and to exercise their minds, through reading and through listening to others’ perspectives. A recent survey of participants in the Hennepin County Library senior book clubs revealed that 19 percent reported that they changed their opinion about something after the discussion. “That’s a reminder that people are continuing to think about what’s going on in the world,” Woodwick said. It’s not only the senior residents who are getting something out of the book clubs. “The librarians say it’s the most rewarding part of their job,” Woodwick said. Having friends or a community of colleagues is a strong defense against depression and
anxiety, particularly as we age, said Alison Romstad, a geriatric nurse practitioner for Fairview Health Services. Maintaining strong social connections also can lower hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), which is often the precursor to heart disease, she said. Making the transition from living in one’s own home with known neighbors to senior housing with new people can be difficult. “Just the whole concept of meeting new friends can be tough,” Romstad said. “It’s tough for us in kindergarten, and that same struggle continues for us when we’re in our 80s and 90s.”
See book clubs, page 5
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The Times - Delivering Your Community
Jeff Wheeler | Minneapolis Star Tribune | TNS
Ruth Fingerson demonstrates a time travel concept by folding a piece of paper during the discussion of “A Wrinkle in Time” during a book club gathering at The Summit in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Book clubs: A stress reliever for some From page 4 While reading is a solitary activity, it’s one that challenges the mind — another key to aging well. Taking part in group discussions, in which participants are listening to other people’s thoughts and ideas, also sharpens the mind. “It’s that stretching of the brain that keeps it young,” Romstad said. The senior book clubs have featured all kinds of books, including a few, such as “A Wrinkle in Time,” that were once widely banned. The most popular book titles have included: “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. And while the libraries offer fiction and nonfiction books to the clubs, they have noticed a clear preference from the group members. “We continually hear from our readers that they want more nonfiction,” Woodwick said. More than 200 people have been served by the senior book clubs since 2015, when a grant from the Friends of Hennepin County Library and Allianz Life made it possible for the library to buy the book club kits. Back at Summit Place, Sjoberg asked the women about time travel — a concept explored in “A Wrinkle in Time.” “If you had the opportunity to time-travel, would you?”
she asked. “If you have to go through the airports, then no,” said Bev Folkestad, 83, whose answer elicited laughter from around the room. Connie Magoffin was up for it. “I definitely would time-travel,” she said, “but I don’t know which time period I’d visit ... maybe the future?” Members of the Summit Place book club said participating in the every-other-month discussions gives them something enjoyable to do, and something to look forward to. “The kinds of people who would want to join a book club are my kind of people,” said Fingerson, for whom this is the first time belonging to a formal book club, although she’s been an avid reader all her life. “I like to be challenged, to have new things to think about and new books to read.” She stays active in other ways, doing swimming pool exercises a couple of times a week and attending the communal dinners. But the book club offers rigorous intellectual stimulation. “You never know what ideas are going to come popping out of the minds of these people — they are all smart people,” she said. The club provides another benefit for Fingerson, who is a caregiver for her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease. “It gets me thinking about other things. It’s a stress reliever.”
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 5
6 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
The Times - Delivering Your Community
New technology attends to seniors’ health, quality of life Nancy Dahlberg Miami Herald (TNS) Who hasn’t worried about elderly family members and wished it was easier to keep up with them from afar? Now there’s technology that offers better care for the seniors and peace of mind for the family caregivers, employing advances in artificial intelligence, big data and voice technologies. One company has a solution that tracks and analyzes a senior loved one’s activity and routines and will alert caregivers when something is out of the ordinary. Another startup supplies “grandkids on demand” to help with transportation, chores and companionship. Still other companies have rethought the daily phone call, supplied elder-friendly multilingual hospital discharge instructions and matched up the elderly with others who have room in their homes. Yet another enhanced alerts for when your elder falls and can’t get up. It’s a large and growing market. More than 50 million Americans are over 65, and 10,000 more reach that age every day. While that age group is now about 13 percent of America’s population, it will jump to 19 percent by 2030 — about 72 million people — according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. About $1.2 trillion is spent on health care for American seniors each year, according to government estimates. Perhaps most important, this technology can keep seniors safe and independent, allowing them to live in their homes — their overwhelming preference, according to surveys. Some of the technology could also prevent life-changing injuries caused by falls. The big vision is to empower the elderly to live more safely on their own while easing the worries of their loved ones. Through its mobile app, website or 800 number, Miami startup Papa provides assistance and socialization to seniors through young and enthusiastic team members
Emily Michot | Miami Herald | TNS
LEFT: Ninety-two-year-old Olga DeMartino looks over a family photo album in the living room of her Coral Springs, Fla., home with Valeria Sosa, 26. Sosa is a Papa Pal, a member of a startup company that provides “grandkids on demand,” college students who are hired by the hour or the task to help elderly customers by taking them to appointments or to get groceries, or to do a little cleanup or cooking at home.
called Papa Pals. It’s like grandkids on demand, said CEO Andrew Parker. Parker came up with his startup idea from a personal need. Andrew Parker’s grandfather had been diagnosed with early onset of dementia that progressed into Alzheimer’s disease. As a family, the Parkers had a lot of difficulty managing his daily needs and supporting his primary family caregiver, Andrew’s grandmother. Papa started as a simple concept, said Parker, who previously worked at telemedicine provider MDLIVE, which was founded by his father. “Our grandfather and grandmother need support; others must as well. There is a huge senior population that continues to grow on a daily basis. There are also a lot of amazing college students who want to become future nurses, doctors and other leaders. Let’s connect these inter-generational groups and I bet something amazing happens.” So Parker gathered a small team and started Papa to support his grandfather, whom he called “Papa,” and other seniors. The service now has about 150 Papa Pals on board. Most are college students earning extra money. Recently, Papa Pal Valeria Sosa, a Broward College student, took Olga DeMartino, 92, to her weekly hair appointment. After Sosa walked with her to the car and buckled her in, they chatted and joked about each other’s families.
Regina DeMartino, Olga’s daughter-in-law, said before they found Papa on social media, family members took turns taking time off work to take her to her appointments. “She loves them — she finds them all really interesting and loves being with younger people,” Regina said of the Papa Pals. They walk her out of her appointment and always have an umbrella so her hair won’t get wet, she said. “If she needs help around the house, they do that too.” On Valentine’s Day last year, a Papa Pal brought Olga a rose. “How sweet is that?” Regina DeMartino said. Like Papa, Room2Care also leverages the sharing economy but in a different way. The Miami startup is creating a network of vetted private caregiver homes, which provide less expensive and more personalized care than assisted living, said Richard Ashenoff, who founded the company with Dr. Todd Florin. Room2Care is licensed and doing business in five states –– Florida, West Virginia, Texas, Arizona and California –– and has over 5,000 users and is growing daily, Ashenoff said. While Room2Care and Papa use tech to connect seniors with humans for companionship, assistance and caregiving, technology steps in to help at other times, too. CarePredict, an elder-care platform powered by artificial intelligence, makes bracelets that help track an elderly resident’s every activity. Current-
ly it is available only to large group senior-living facilities and home care agencies, but the company hopes to offer the device directly to consumers in the future. In an office space above a Boston Market in Plantation, Fla., more than a dozen engineers and data scientists are working on computers in an office adorned with large portraits of senior citizens. In the next room, another worker
is carefully assembling the devices. Founder and CEO Satish Movva keeps a portrait of his parents near his office as a reminder of his mission. His parents, who are now 90 and 80, live just 10 miles away. Still, despite frequent calls and visits, he couldn’t trust the answers he was getting from them about their health.
See technology, page 7
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The Times - Delivering Your Community
Technology: Can help detect problems From page 6
text message or phone. “Our mission is to help millions “No matter how many of people take better care of times I would call them durtheir families for a fraction ing the week, when I showed of the cost of anything else up on Saturday I’d find new out there,” Shlagman said. things I didn’t know about. A basic version Care Angel It was frustrating,” Movva is available free for AARP said. “I wanted a wearable members and through other device that would answer all partners such as health inthe questions I have about surers. A premium version them every day.” will be available next year for Changes in activity and about $9.95 a month. behavior patterns show up In a recently finalized well before the underlying study with a Humana Mediissues manifest into medicare Advantage population, cal conditions, said Movva, Care Angel received high who has been an innovator in marks from recipients and healthcare technology for 23 also had a substantial effect years. on clinical and financial He wanted a system to oboutcomes. serve his parents continuousResults showed engagely but privately, so he could ment of about 83 percent, a be alerted to changes early reduction of 63 percent in enough to intervene. After hospital readmissions and finding the existing technolo- $496,000 in savings, Shlaggies inadequate, he set out to man said. develop CarePredict in 2013. MobileHelp, founded in The idea is to monitor 2006 and headquartered in daily activities like eating, Boca Raton, took the “I’ve drinking, walking, bathing, fallen and I can’t get up” cooking, sleeping, Movva personal emergency response said. “We couple that with system idea pioneered by contextual cues to surface Life Alert and turbocharged insights like self-neglect, it. for example, due to depresHelp can be summoned sion.” The data can also at the touch of a button help predict falls or suggest worn around the neck or on malnutrition, dehydration or the wrist; unlike the firstinfections before the senior generation systems designed or another person reports for use only in the home, them. MobileHelp’s products can Angel, an artificial intelbe used on the go since they ligence- and voice-powered don’t require landline phone virtual nurse assistant, connections. can play a similar role. She The device also detects reaches out via low tech but falls so help can be sumclinically intelligent phone moned without a button conversations, said Wolf being pressed. Its app also Shlagman, founder and CEO provides verbal medication of Care Angel. notifications and a tracker “You look at the aging that monitors activity levels market and 90 percent or for reports that go to caregivso choose to age at home ers. … managing themselves SpeechMED is designed to the best they can,” he said. demystify medical instruc“Angel is meant to be an astions. It was started by Susan sistant that will help family Perry after her mother-incaregivers by being able to law died because she could simply call mom just as a not understand post-surgery nurse would, asking a series instructions given by the of questions.” hospital. Angel asks a series of quesThe application operates tions such as “how did you in 16 languages, offering sleep last night?” “did you patients and their caregivers take your medication today?” the instructions in the spoand “what was your glucose ken word and in text in the reading today?” If it detects language they understand. cause for concern, Care AnThere’s an accompanying gel alerts caregivers via app, caregiver app, too.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 7
At age 103, Gertrude Johannessen is ‘content’ with her life Denise Crosby Chicago Tribune (TNS) OSWEGO — Perchance the makers of Ponds cold cream read this column, I’d like to offer a suggestion: Get a production crew out to Bickford of Oswego ASAP and shoot a commercial around one of the residents at this assisted living facility. That’s because Gertrude Johannessen, a longtime user of your vintage lotion turned 103 last week, but with her nearly flawless complexion, she could easily pass for someone at least a generation younger. Now, I don’t know if credit for Gertrude’s incredibly wrinkle-resistant skin goes to the hundreds — thousands? — of jars of Ponds she’s used throughout her long life. Or that she’s got darned good DNA working in her favor. After all, brother Eric died when he was 100 and her brother Eddie lived to be 96. “Mom’s incredible looks,” suggested youngest son Tom Johannessen, could also be attributed to the fact she hung out in greenhouses for most of her life, taking advantage of the healthy oxygen plants give off. Gertrude’s father Frank Schaefer founded Schaefer Greenhouses in 1926, and Gert, the middle child in his brood of eight, worked in this family-owned and operated business from the time she was a kid to well into her 80s. Both Tom and his mom aren’t quite sure of when it was she first tried to retire ... somewhere around age 78, they both agree.
Denise Crosby | Chicago Tribune | TNS
Gertrude Johannessen’s son Tom attributes his 103-year-old mother’s youthful looks to her decades spent working at Schaefer Greenhouses in Montgomery, which her father founded when she was a child. “But then I’d get a phone call because they needed someone to come in and help,” Gert added with a smile. “So I guess I really didn’t stop working until about 84.” OK, so then maybe the secret to her age-defying looks and longevity is plain old hard work? Gertrude nods in agreement. But she also puts “faith and family” up there, as well.
See gertrude, page 9
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8 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
The Times - Delivering Your Community
For seniors, accidental falls can be serious
All of us have taken falls facilities. The injuries can the home, such as throw rugs, bars. Bechtel advises being may also cause stumbles. during our lifetimes, with also affect their ability to live may also help, as will installing careful when walking on lawns See FALLS, page 10 most of them resulting in independently.” stair rails and bathroom grab and paths, as uneven surfaces nothing more than a bruised There are several ways to knee or ego. But falls can reduce the chance of falling, cause serious injuries, as well, according to Bechtel. One in people of all ages. is to make sure leg and core The segment of the populamuscles are in good shape tion that perhaps suffers most since strength and balance are from falls is older adults. The important in preventing falls. Centers for Disease Control Seniors should also have reguand Prevention reports that lar eye exams to make sure one out of three older adults their sight is acute and glasses falls every year. are the correct strength. According to Ryan Bechtel, Getting rid of floor clutter lead physical therapist at and other tripping hazards in Morris Hospital & (non-IRA certificate only) (non-IRA certificate only) Healthcare Centers, falls can have an enormous impact on quality of life. “Falls are a huge threat to the health *APY=Annual Percentage Yield. All rates are subject to change of our senior populawithout notice. Yield assumes all dividends remain on deposit. $500.00 minimum deposit; no maximum. Federally insured by tion,” Bechtel says. the NCUA. Withdrawals prior to the maturity date may result in “They are the leadan early withdrawal penalty. Not eligible for IRA Certificates. The step-up Certificate allows one rate increase (at the member’s ing cause of injudiscretion) during the initial 18 month or 24 Month term. The ries and deaths for new rate will equal the current, offered interest rate for the 18 month or 24 Month step-up Certificate at the time you choose to seniors and can lead exercise your rate increase option. This new rate will only apply Contributed to lengthy hospitalfor the remaining term of the CD until maturity. NMLS #421974 izations or time spent Individuals at risk for falling may benefit 815-673-5577 www.socu.org from physical therapy. in long-term care
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Gertrude From page 7 “I’ve been blessed,” Gertrude, who celebrated a quiet birthday, told me during our visit in her small but cozy room at Bickford, where she moved four years ago after deciding — reluctantly — she could no longer live alone in her North Aurora home. “It was hard ... very hard,” she said of having to give up that independence she’d closely guarded for nearly a century. Gertrude already had stopped driving a few years earlier because of failing eyesight. But on that one unforgettable day, at age 98, she was trying to get a roasting pan from the oven to the counter and almost dropped it. “That’s when I decided, I can’t do this anymore.” And so she applied the brakes to a life that had been going non-stop. Gertrude quit school after her sophomore year at West Aurora High School when her dad gave her the option of coming to work full time as a bookkeeper at the greenhouse. While regretting that decision to end her formal education, she became proficient in every department of the family’s thriving business, and especially enjoyed creating the terrariums, cactus and dish gardens that helped make this greenhouse, which moved from its original Aurora location to Montgomery in 1931, one of most successful in the Fox Valley. I asked about memories that stick out from those days long ago, and she immediately brings up the day before she was to marry railroad man Art Johannessen when she was 23 years old. That’s when a fire broke out in the Schaefer family home about a block from the Montgomery greenhouse. Despite the chaos, the young bride ended up borrowing a wedding dress from a friend and the ceremony was held as planned. She and Art had four children and when Tom, the youngest, was old enough for school, Gertrude returned to the family business. “I had a very busy life,” she says of those long days as a working mom. “By the time I got home and cleaned up and got dinner on the table, it would be time to put the kids to bed.” Gert and her husband never made it to their 50th anniversary. Art, a smoker, died from emphysema at age 70 and she’s been on her own since then, gradually and painfully losing all her siblings and close friends “one after the other until they were all gone,” she told me. “And that’s not any fun.” In spite of a lifetime of eating what she wanted, including plenty of sweets, enjoying her cocktails and “probably doing things I shouldn’t have done,” Gertrude has been relatively healthy except for a minor heart attack at age 88 that didn’t seem to slow her down all that much. Tom shows me a bottle containing her daily medication: There are three pills at the bottom, two of which, he informs me, are vitamins. All that being said, more than a century of living is going to take a toll. Worsening arthritis and knees that are now “bone on bone” meant replacing Gertrude’s walker with a wheelchair. As her eyesight and hearing continue to fade, she’s had to forgo television, even reading. And her memory, once sharp enough to take on all contenders during those memory games during the center’s activity times, has started to slip. But Gertrude is grateful for her family — her four children, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 11 great-greats — many of whom try to visit as often as possible. “Things change ... Everything is more difficult now,” she said. “But I have to be content with my life. And I am. “I was able to do what I wanted for so long, so how can I complain?”
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 9
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Seniors, even those as young as 55, can save Debbie Carlson Chicago Tribune (TNS) Senior citizens can make their golden years shine even more by taking advantage of the many discounts offered by retailers. For years, it was mainly restaurants that offered seniors discounts, whether early-bird dinner specials or a free beverage with a purchase, and many continue to give seniors some sort of costsavings, said Jeanette Pavini, savings expert at Coupons. com. Now, though, other establishments are making it easier for seniors to save money, and many eateries offer older people discounts on food that don’t require eating so early that it feels like a late lunch rather than dinnertime. Age is just a number. Kyle James, founder of Rather-BeShopping.com, said people don’t have to be 65 to get cut rates. Some places are offering discounts for people as young as 55, while others start at 60 or 62. Although these discounts aren’t hidden, they’re also not automatic. “A lot of seniors don’t realize that if you don’t ask for them, they’re not going to get them. They’re (the retailer) not going to say, ‘Oh, you’re over 55. We have a discount,’ ” James said. Pavini said asking is important, as a retailer or a restaurant may offer discounts on your current purchases or have special days earmarked for seniors. Pavini and James said some establishments give seniors discounts if they show an ID, but other places tie the discount to having a card from AARP, a special-interest group for people 50 years and older that requires a paid membership. Some establishments also ask seniors to sign up for free loyalty programs. By doing so, they get access to special promotions and other discounts. Those may or may
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Many retailers, even grocery stores, offer discounts for seniors. not be used in conjunction with senior specials. “I think a lot of it is goodwill. Many retailers realize seniors are living on a fixed income. And a lot of them, if they get a discount at a certain store, they’ll tell their friends and family members, so it’s great word of mouth advertising. The discounts aren’t huge, so it makes sense for retailers to offer them,” James said. Search the web. There are plenty of shopping websites that list senior discounts, so it’s worth it for anyone 55 and older to investigate what’s available. James said he’s found at least 60 types of specials geared to seniors in various retailer categories. Some places offer senior discounts, and the establishment’s websites may offer printable coupons, making it possible to stack discounts. Most restaurants have steered away from earlybird dining to offering price reductions throughout the day. For example, Pavini and James said Applebee’s gives people 55 and older who ask for discounts 5 to 15 percent off their bill. James notes on his website that seniors can stack discounts at Boston Market, which has 10 percent off a meal for people over 65, plus print-
able coupons on its website. Denny’s offers 20 percent off to AARP members, but will still give seniors 10 percent off if they aren’t members, James said. A lot of retailers have discount days for seniors, James and Pavini said.
See DISCOUNTS, page 11
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Groups For Seniors
Falls From page 8
SUPPORT GROUPS ALZHEIMER’S CARE CLUB, 4 to 6 p.m. last Tuesday each month, refreshments, Parker Nursing and Rehab Center, 516 W. Frech St., Streator, 815-672-2600. ALZHEIMER’S CAREGIVERS, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. third Tuesday each month, meeting room 4 at OSF St. Elizabeth, 815-433-6090. ALZHEIMER’S CARING FRIENDS, for caregivers, family and friends, 6 p.m. third Monday each month, lower level Peru Public Library, 1409 11th St. Sponsored by Illinois Valley Alzheimer’s Group, 815-3396465, 815-223-1885. CHILDREN OF AGING PARENTS, 6 to 7 p.m. third Tuesday each month, Evergreen Place Supportive Living, 1529 E. Main St., Streator, 815-672-0903. GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN, 5 to 6 p.m. third Tuesday, Bridges Senior Center, 815-431-8034. PARKINSON’S RECOVERY, 4:30 p.m. second Friday each month, EnergyPsi, 190 W. Main St., Grand Ridge, 815-349-5706. PARKINSON’S, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. first Monday each month, St. Margaret’s Hospital first-floor presentation room, 600 E. First St., Spring Valley, 815-664-5311. STROKE & APHASIA, Morris Hospital, 815-705-7440. STROKE CLUB, first Friday each month, OSF St. Elizabeth. Designed for survivors of stroke and their family members, 815-4315316.
“Be sure to tell your medical provider if you have had a recent fall or if you feel you might not have good balance,” says Bechtel.
The role of physical therapy Individuals at risk for falling may benefit from physical therapy, which helps strengthen muscles to avoid falls. Physical therapy typically begins with a variety of assessments designed to catch weaknesses that could lead to a fall. “Through physical therapy, we develop a tailored program to help improve any balance deficits,” Bechtel says. Through one-on-one physical therapy, Morris Hospital also provides treatment for individuals who have experienced injuries due to a fall. Treatments range from deep tissue massage, ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation, flexibility stretches and joint mobilizations. For more information on Morris Hospital’s physical therapy services, call 815-3648919, ext. 7826.
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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 11
For seniors, ER trips often are a tipping point Judith Graham Kaiser Health News (TNS) Twice a day, the 86-year-old man went for long walks and visited with neighbors along the way. Then, one afternoon he fell while mowing his lawn. In the emergency room, doctors diagnosed a break in his upper arm and put him in a sling. Back at home, this former World War II Navy pilot found it hard to manage on his own but stubbornly declined help. Soon overwhelmed, he didn’t go out often, his congestive heart failure worsened, and he ended up in a nursing home a year later, where he eventually passed away. “Just because someone in their 70s or 80s isn’t admitted to a hospital doesn’t mean that everything is fine,” said Dr. Timothy Platt-Mills, co-director of geriatric emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who recounted the story of his former neighbor in Chapel Hill. Quite the contrary: An older person’s trip to the ER often signals a serious health challenge and should serve as a wake-up call for caregivers and relatives. Research published last year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine underscores the risks. Six months after visiting the ER, seniors were 14 percent more likely to have acquired a disability — an inability to independently bathe, dress, climb down
Discounts From page 10 On Wednesdays, people over 60 can save 15 percent at Kohl’s, and Ross earmarks Tuesday for seniors to get an extra 10 percent off. More entertainment places are offering senior discounts, such as museums, zoos, parks and recreation centers. Movie theater chains AMC and Regal have 30 percent off tickets for people over 55. A number of hotels offer anywhere from 10 to 15 percent. Again, some require an AARP membership, but for others its proof of age.
instance — than older adults of the same age, with a similar illness, who didn’t end up in the ER. These older adults weren’t admitted to the hospital from the ER; they returned home after their visits, as do about two-thirds of seniors who go to ERs, nationally. The takeaway: Illnesses or injuries that lead to ER visits can initiate “a fairly vulnerable period of time for older persons” and “we should consider new initiatives to address patients’ care needs and challenges after such visits,” said one of the study’s Metro Creative Graphics co-authors, Dr. Family members can help older adults during Thomas Gill, a and after a visit to the ER. “My biggest piece professor of mediof advice is get there and stay by their side cine (geriatrics), throughout the experience, because things epidemiology happen very quickly in emergency rooms,” and investigative medicine at Yale said Dr. Kathleen Unroe, associate professor University. of medicine at Indiana University School of Research by Dr. Medicine. Cynthia Brown, a professor and division director of a flight of stairs, shop, manage gerontology, geriatrics and palfinances or carry a package, for
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liative care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, confirms this vulnerability. In a 2016 report, she found sharp declines in older adults’ “life-space mobility” (the extent to which they get up and about and out of the house) after an emergency room visit, which lasted for at least a year without full recovery. “We know that when people have a decline of this sort, it’s associated with a lot of bad outcomes — a poorer quality of life, nursing home placement and mortality,” Brown said. Other research suggests that seniors who are struggling with self-care (bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring from the bed to a chair) or with activities such as cooking, cleaning and managing medications are especially vulnerable to the aftereffects of an ER visit. Why would seeking help in an ER often become a sentinel event, with potential adverse consequences for older adults? Experts offer various suggestions: Seniors who were previously coping adequately may be tipped into an “I can’t handle this any longer” state by an injury or the exacerbation of a chronic illness, such as diabetes or heart failure. They now
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may need more help at home than what’s available, and their health may spiral downward. Other possibilities: Seniors who fall and injure themselves — a leading cause of ER visits — may become afraid of falling again and limit their activities, leading to deterioration. Or, underlying vulnerabilities that led to an ER visit — for instance, depression, dementia or delirium (a state of acute, sudden onset confusion and disorientation) — may go undetected and unaddressed by emergency room staff, leaving older adults susceptible to the ongoing impact of these conditions. In response to concerns about the care older adults are receiving, the field of emergency medicine has endorsed guidelines designed to make ERs more senior-friendly. With the rapid expansion of the aging population, which accounts for more than 20 million ER visits each year, “our traditional model of emergency medicine has to shift its paradigm,” said Dr. Christopher Carpenter, associate professor of emergency medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
See ER, page 12
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12 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
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ER: Stay informed, stay present and stay calm when helping a senior family member through the ER process From page 11
Also, changes to the ER environment such as nonslip The guidelines call for floors and enhanced lighting educating medical staff in will be required, along with the principles and practice amenities such as hearing deof geriatric care; assessing vices, thicker mattresses and seniors to determine their warm blankets. degree of risk; screening Family members can also older adults deemed at risk help older adults during and for cognitive concerns, falls after a visit to the ER. and functional limitations; “My biggest piece of advice performing a comprehensive is get there and stay by their medication review; makside throughout the experiing referrals to community ence, because things happen resources such as Meals on very quickly in emergency Wheels; and supplying an rooms, and these are difficult easily understood discharge environments to navigate plan. under the best of circumStarting in February, the stances,” said Dr. Kathleen American College of EmerUnroe, associate professor of gency Physicians (ACEP) medicine at Indiana Univeris launching an accreditasity School of Medicine. tion program for emergency Dr. Kevin Biese, chair of rooms, certifying at least a the board of governors for minimal level of geriatric ACEP’s geriatric ER accredicompetence — another effort tation initiative, offers these to improve care and outrecommendations: comes for older adults. u Escape the crowd. “Ask Three levels of accreditafor a room, instead of letting tion — basic, intermediate your loved one stay out in and advanced — will be ofthe hallway — a horrible fered. place for seniors at risk of For each of these levels, delirium. Tell staff, who may ERs will be required to prohave put Mom in the hallway vide walkers, canes, food and because she’s a fall risk and drink, and reading glasses to they want to keep an eye older patients. For intermeon her, ‘I’ll watch Mom and diate and advanced accredita- make sure she doesn’t get out tion, physicians will have to of bed.’” oversee improvement initiau Supply a full list of tives, such as limiting the medications. “And ask the use of urinary catheters in doctor or nurse to make sure older patients. that your list is the same
as what’s in (the hospital’s) computer. If not, have them update the computer list. Don’t leave without knowing which medications have been stopped or changed, if any, and why.” u Focus on comfort. “Bring eyeglasses and any hearing-assist devices that can help keep your loved one oriented. If you think Mom is in pain, encourage her pain to be treated.” u Educate yourself. “Know what happened in the ER. What tests were done? What diagnoses did the staff arrive at? What treatments were given? What kind of
follow-up is being recommended?” u Communicate effectively. “Utilize teach-back. When the nurse or doctor says, ‘OK, you’re supposed to do this when you get back home,’ say, ‘Let me see if I understand. I hear you say take this medication on this schedule. Did I get that right?’ ” u Follow through. “Ask ‘How is Mom’s regular doctor going to know what happened here? Who’s responsible for telling him — do you make that call or do I? And how soon should we try to get in for a follow-up appointment?’”
u Keep tabs on your loved one. Finally, “you need to see the few days after a visit to the ER as a time of critical importance, when increased vigilance is required. Arrange for some extra help if you can’t be around, even if only for a few days. Check in frequently on Mom and make sure her needs are being met, her pain is being adequately controlled and she’s not getting delirious. Does the plan of care that she left the ER with seem to be working?”
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How to stay flexible as you age Metro Creative Services Men and women may begin to feel less flexible as they get older. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, that loss of flexibility is because muscles lose both strength and elasticity as the body ages. A lack of flexibility can make men and women more vulnerable to certain types of injuries, including muscle strains and tears. While people might not be able to maintain the flexibility they enjoyed in their twenties, there are ways for them to combat age-related loss of flexibility. u Stretch frequently. Stretching is a great way to combat age-related loss of flexibility. Stretch major muscle groups, such as hamstrings and shoulder muscles, several times per week. When practicing static stretching, the goal is to gradually elongate the muscle being stretched before holding the elongated position, and ultimately allowing the muscle to return to resting position. As flexibility improves,
Metro Creative Graphics
Swimming is an activity that can help aging men and women improve their flexibility.
elongated stretches can be held for 30 seconds. Avoid stretching muscles that are sore or injured, and discontinue a stretch if you feel pain or discomfort. u Include yoga in your exercise regimen. Practitioners of yoga typically love how this unique discipline that exercises the body while relaxing the mind improves their flexibility.
See FLEXIBLE, page 14
14 Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
Flexible From page 13 Many yoga poses are designed to improve the strength and flexibility of muscles, and some physicians may even recommend yoga to aging patients. Yoga DVDs or streaming sessions can be great, but beginners may want to visit yoga studios or sign up for classes at their gyms so instructors can personally ensure they are doing each pose correctly. As their flexibility improves, men and women can try more difficult poses and classes if they so desire. u Get in the pool. Swimming is another activity that can help aging men and women improve their flexibility. Strength-training exercises are an important component of a well-balanced exercise regimen, but such workouts tend to focus on one or two muscle groups at a time. That means other muscle groups may be inactive and tighten up as a result. Swimming works the entire body, which helps all muscle groups stay loose and flexible. One or two swimming sessions per week can contribute to great gains in overall flexibility, especially for men and women who remember to stretch when they get out of the pool. Flexibility may decrease as men and women age, but there are various ways to combat the natural loss of flexibility.
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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 15
Heritage Health and Evergreen Place Senior Campus: Senior Care You Can Count On
Streator’s Heritage of 110 Medicare/ Health Therapy & Senior Medicaid dualCare and Evergreen Place certified beds Supportive Living Senior in addition to Campus offer wonderful 20 Medicareopportunities for aging in only short stay place as well as addressing rehabilitation a person’s post-surgical/ beds. We focus on illness rehabilitative patient-centered needs. care, clinical We are proud of our innovations, and continued Heritage of improving all asCare commitment in pects of daily livStreator and the surrounding. Patients and ing areas. Our goal is to residents here promote a healthy senior receive a full, Contributed comprehensive lifestyle, no matter what Heritage Health, Streator, consists of 110 Medicare/ strategy to health level of care is needed as Medicaid dual-certified beds in addition to 20 this allows our seniors to and well-being via Medicare-only short stay rehabilitation beds. feel empowered in their an interdisciplindaily choices and comary approach. It is important to receive the fortable to call us home. It is managed appropriate care at the approWe are a leading health and by the professional and highly priate time. We are blessed to senior care provider in experienced team of Adminserve seniors in these capaciLa Salle County. We are the istrator Bonnie Bradley; ties. Quality of life is our top care you can count on. Director of Nursing Glenda We invite you to stop out and priority. Our patients and resi- Spaulding, RN; Assistant dents are filled with life stories Director of Nursing; Allison see us in person at Heritage and rich history. They deserve Maubach, RN; Community Reor Evergreen anytime or give the best care possible. Truth us a call to schedule your own lations Director Amy Spears; be told, seniors often thrive and Business Office Manager Jupersonal tour and stay for a become more vibrant in our complimentary lunch. We can lie Harcharik; Social Services settings. share with you the meticulous Director Kris Phillis; BillHeritage Health, our five-star ing/Medicaid Specialist Pat coordination of our various Quality Measures CMS-rated service lines to meet all your Clayton; PT-Restore Therapy skilled nursing center, consists Program Manager Ian Alix; needs. Maintenance Director Kevin Porter; Dietary Manager Mary Hall; Environmental Services Director Amy Gass; and Activity Director Kathy Conner. Evergreen Place is an affordable assisted lifestyle senior apartment community. There are 53 units in the beautiful two-story building. Evergreen residents can live independently with assistive services and have the option of participating in a wide array of fun, engaging adventures and opportunities. Walking Club, Contributed shopping, and traveling in and around La Tenants of Evergreen Place Supportive Living in Streator often enjoy a myrSalle County are just iad of recreational opportunities on a daily basis. Planned trips, shopping, some of the perks to educational presentations, fitness programs and musical entertainment are life here. Many also just a few things our seniors can choose from. Shown is a group photo with enjoy playing cards, One Man Band musical performer Tommy Edwards. Scrabble, listening to
music and testing their trivia knowledge. The creative and conscientious leadership at Evergreen Place consists of Director Kristie Finney; Administrative Services Coordinator Linda Dawson; Building Services Coordinator Greg Schmitt; Wellness Coordinator Chrystal Middleton-RN; Wellness Supervisor Linda Sullivan-RN; Life Enrichment Coordinator Laura Nimke; Community Relations Coordinator Kaitlan VanHemme; Culinary Services Coordinator Sabine Lantz; and Receptionist Kourtney Brewer. Both locations work with VA assistance, most long term care insurances, and Medicaid sup-
port to meet the financial needs of our prospective residents and patients. So whether you need us now for short-term rehab and return home, or you’re researching senior living options in the area, look no further than Heritage Health: Therapy & Senior Care and Evergreen Senior Living. We are your one-stop shop for senior care at its best. Call Heritage at 815-672-4516 or Evergreen Place at 815-6720903, or visit our websites today for virtual tours and more information at HeritageOfCare. com/Streator and EvergreenSLC.com/Streator It’s always an honor and a privilege to serve you.
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