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Reflections by people 55 and over SEPTEMBER 2021

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Looking to retire early? $VN \RXUVHOI WKHVH IRXU TXHVWLRQV ĆUVW The pandemic has changed our lives in numerous ways. As a result of all the upheaval, many people are reassessing their priorities and thinking about early retirement. According to Pew Research, 28 million baby boomers retired in 2020 and a recent study found 39% plan to retire by 65, while 18% said they plan to retire by age 59. Before taking that step, here are four questions to ask yourself. 1. Can I afford to stop working? Look at your retirement savings, your life expectancy, your projected income and annual expenditures in retirement. You’ll want to consider unforeseen circumstances down the line that could be costly, such as the need to reside in a nursing home. Use the free retirement calculator and resources available at to

help you make a realistic determination as to whether you can afford to retire now, or whether you need to keep earning your full-time salary for a few more years. 2. Do I need life insurance after retirement? There is no one-size-fitsall answer here. However, those carrying debt into retirement, such as mortgages and personal loans, should consider a life insurance plan. Today, many baby boomers are financially supporting children and grandchildren and have significant debt. According to the National Council on Aging, the median consumer debt for households headed by someone aged 65 or older is 4.5 times higher now than in 1989.

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According to Pew Research, 28 million baby boomers retired in 2020 and a recent study found 39% plan to retire by 65, while 18% said they plan to retire by age 59.





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for Multiple Positions We have numerous volunteer opportunities such as: reading to residents, visiting, playing games or cards, assisting with bingo, giving rides, peeling potatoes with residents, sitting in on bible study, helping at picnics, special events, tending to gardens, helping with crafts or decorating, playing instruments. As a volunteer to our residents, you are counted on as one of their friends. The rewards are endless! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Kris Nelson-Jensen, Activity Director at 320-847-7217.

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God and Jeopardy! in the time of COVID BY KARI STADEM This spring, a once-in-a-lifetime experience — competing on Jeopardy! — reminded me once again that my life is not under my control. Two years ago, I took the Jeopardy online test for the first time (along with about 200,000 other people) after talking about it for years. I was invited to Milwaukee for an audition, which happens to about 4,000 people per year, of whom about 400 get on the show, and then told I could be called any time in the next 18 months. After a year, I told the Lord, “I’m not getting any better at this as I age, and every year is another year of pop culture that I know nothing about. So please let me get on the show this time, because I’m not going to try out again.” I got the call in January — in the middle of COVID. Perhaps some potential contestants said “No” — I said “Yes!” (I’d had coronavirus by then.) Los Angeles was in the middle of a surge at that time, and I would be allowed to fly into LAX with a negative test 72 hours beforehand, only because I was considered an “essential worker” on a TV show. My husband Pete and I ended up flying to Phoenix to visit my

Contributed Kari Stadem

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left, was the guest host during Kari Stadem’s appearance on Jeopardy! parents instead, and driving to California, staying with a cousin in Anaheim. I’m so grateful Pete drove through the six-to-eight lanes of traffic with construction. We were very puzzled to see people fully masked outside on the beach with no one within

About this section:

Generations, formerly Prime Time, sections are published a few times throughout the year as a special section within the West Central Tribune. People age 55 and older are invited to write stories and submit pictures or other artwork for publication in these sections. We recognize that senior citizens have much knowledge and experience. What better way to share that with the community than by writing an article for publication? We invite all interested senior citizens to contribute articles. They may deal with

100 yards, or jogging alone in a park. We also couldn’t find a restroom to use, at gas stations or restaurants. We found out later that LA had an outdoor mask mandate, a ban on indoor dining including restrooms, and a rule that gas stations could only have a

serious issues, or tell human interest stories. Photos or other graphics may be included with the submission of your article to help illustrate the piece. If you need a photo returned, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Try to keep articles to within 500 words. Articles may be sent to: Generations, West Central Tribune, Box 839, Willmar, MN 56201; or emailed to news@wctrib. com with Generations in the subject line. For additional information, email

restroom open if they had two employees on duty. I realized my lack of control of everything. My mandatory COVID test might be positive; I might be only an alternate; COVID could shut the whole taping down. I reminded myself, “God is a good

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Father. If He can say yes to my request to be on Jeopardy, He will.” I really did want to win at least one game, but again, “Thy will be done” was my prayer. “Just please let me not look like an idiot,” I asked.


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JEOPARDY! From Page D3

None of us ever came within six feet of another human that entire day. Staff members drilled us: “stand here,” “walk there,” “eat the snacks you brought, while staying in the circle painted on the floor which is six feet from the next circle.” They did feed us a delicious pre-packaged lunch as we sat on either end of 8-foot white tables. We had a routine to get up to the podiums: march six feet apart, get in line with the podiums, pivot and walk up to the podium, take the hand sanitizer out of the little black bags they gave us, use it, take our N-95 masks off,

Contributed Kari Stadem

Kari Stadem, shown here during her time competing on Jeopardy!, got the call that she’d been selected in January 2021, right in the middle of COVID. Despite all the challenges going on a game show in the middle of a pandemic presented, Stadem enjoyed the experience. put everything away and place the bags down beside us, pick up the buzzers. There were mic tests and buzzer tests and lighting

RETIRE From Page D2

Paying off a mortgage is one of the most common reasons to purchase a life insurance policy. Doing so can help ensure your family is able to enjoy the home they love without the burden of outstanding payments. “You would do anything to ensure your family has a bright future and having insurance is a simple and affordable way to protect them,” says Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president of Erie Family Life. “Life insurance can help loved ones maintain the standard of living they are accustomed to.” So, how much would you need to leave behind? Calculate your needs with the life insurance calculator available at or contact an independent Erie Insurance agent to discuss options. 3. How will I get health insurance? The current Medicare eligibility age for most people is 65, so if you plan to retire

tests and then guest host (Green Bay Packers quarterback) Aaron Rodgers came out to greet us. I told him, “I’m a

before then, you’ll need to find another way to get health insurance. Even after you’re covered by Medicare, health care expenses can add up, especially if you’re on a fixed retirement income. Some insurance companies, including Erie Insurance, offer Medicare supplemental insurance to help pay the portion of expenses not covered by Medicare. 4. How will I spend my time? Retirement can come with ample newfound free time you may not be accustomed to. While that can sound amazing to those working full-time, the transition can be jarring. Whether it’s volunteering, taking up new creative hobbies or traveling, planning now for how you will spend your time is a good idea to stave off boredom. As you consider when to stop working, first ask yourself these four questions so you can take the appropriate steps to help ensure your retirement reality matches your retirement dreams. StatePoint

lifelong Vikings fan,” and he replied, “Well, nobody’s perfect” and chuckled. We wrote our names on the glass and got ready. I

wasn’t very nervous, just excited and wondering how it would all go. The categories, the other contestants and the buzzer are the main factors in whether someone wins a Jeopardy! game. “Bible Based Literature” was right up my alley in the first round, and I was tied for the lead at the end of it. In Double Jeopardy, the second round, I just couldn’t buzz in at the right time. Some people don’t realize that the host has to finish reading the clue in its entirety before our buzzers go live. If you push your buzzer early, you’re locked out for 5 seconds (a lifetime). Like most contestants, I knew most of the answers, but lost the game on the

buzzer to my two younger rivals. I answered Final Jeopardy incorrectly and ended up in second place. I was disappointed but upbeat; I hadn’t looked like an idiot! Thank you, Lord! Back at home, my local family and friends and I were unable to watch the show at the usual time on April 14 because it was pre-empted for the Brooklyn Center mayor’s press conference after their police shooting. Most were able to record it at 1 a.m. or watch it on YouTube, but it was frustrating at the time. Once more I had to say, “My times are in Your hands, O Lord.” (Psalm 31:15) And that’s what I learned about God from competing on Jeopardy! during the time of COVID.

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Hobbies for seniors residing in assisted living communities METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Assisted living facilities are a vital resource for aging individuals. Data from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living indicates that more than 811,000 people reside in assisted living facilities across the United States. Assisted living facilities have changed dramatically over the years, making them ideal options for adults who may need varying degrees of help with daily activities. Such facilities can help with activities like bathing and preparing meals, but they also can help residents find and explore new or existing hobbies. As individuals adjust to life in assisted

living facilities, finding new hobbies or rediscovering old passions can be a great way to connect with fellow residents. Ź Reading: Reading is a rewarding activity that can greatly benefit seniors and provide an engaging pastime for those with limited mobility. Many assisted living facilities offer activities that are designed to foster communication between residents and a book club can do just that. What’s more, reading every day may be especially valuable for people age 65 and older. A 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that dementia risk was considerably lower among men and women 65 and older who participated

Metro Creative Connection

As individuals adjust to life in assisted living facilities, ĆQGLQJ QHZ KREELHV RU UHGLVFRYHULQJ ROG SDVVLRQV FDQ EH D JUHDW ZD\ WR FRQQHFW ZLWK IHOORZ UHVLGHQWV in intellectual activities like reading than it was among seniors who did not engage in such pursuits. Ź Gardening: AARP notes that gardening provides a host of health

benefits that go beyond ensuring fresh fruits and vegetables will be on the dinner table. For example, vitamin D is vital to bone health, which is important for aging men and women

who are vulnerable to osteoporosis. A 2014 study from researchers in Italy found that exposure to sunlight can help older adults get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Signing up for a gardening club can be a great way for seniors to get some exercise, enjoy time outside the assisted living facility and promote strong bones. Ź Art therapy: According to the Chicago Methodist Senior Services, art therapy is a creative form of therapy designed to help older adults with memory loss or those experiencing mental or physical stress. The Harvard Medical School notes that recent research has indicated that engaging in creative activities may be more effective at delaying

cognitive decline than merely appreciating creative works. A 2014 study from researchers in Germany found that retirees who painted and sculpted had greater improvements in spatial reasoning and emotional resilience than a similar group who attended art appreciation classes. Many assisted living facilities offer art therapy or similar programs to residents, and enrolling in such programs can promote social interaction and provide numerous benefits to men and women over 65. Assisted living facilities offer an array of programs designed to help residents develop rewarding hobbies that can benefit their longterm health.

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Back in the Sixties BY MARY LOU PEDERSON Back in the day when, if you were cool, you had a set of spongy dice hanging on your car mirror and you cruised up and down Main Street looking for chicks — and you weren’t cool until you had one of those chicks snuggling right up against you, smooching away — I recall a humorous incident. Well, my brother, Mel, which he thought was cooler than Melvin, had just gotten his driver’s license. My mother needed something from the grocery store, so she slipped into the car on the passenger’s side. I hailed them down before they left. I wanted to go downtown

for a Tab with a friend. Now Tab was probably the first diet soda that came out. It was really cool to have a diet soda with your doughnut. Mother scooched over into the center and I hopped in on the passenger’s side. Mel dropped me off at the local café downtown and the rest of the story was told to me by my mother. Mother had failed to move back over to the passenger side and they were cruising down Main Street. My brother didn’t seem to notice for a ways down Main Street that he had his mother closely sitting next to him. When he finally realized it, he said to mother, almost in

shock by now, “Move over, Ma! I don’t want anyone to see me cruising down Main Street with my mother sitting next to me!” Oh ya, that would have made him the laughing stock of the whole town. Can’t get a girl, Mel? My mother hadn’t thought about moving over until he blurted that command out and she got a big kick out of it. I thought it was hilarious that neither of them realized that they were within such close proximity to each other and it was Friday night, the night for cruising for chicks! Well, I don’t know if he ended up with one or not, but the story is worth retelling.


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HEART TO SERVE A caregiver’s dedication


called to serve, there is a real dedication in knowing that the work they are doing is meaningful and has a huge impact on those individuals they care for. Linda is a natural caregiver having grown up on a farm near Lake Lillian and having cared for a sister as well as her husband. She puts the “compassionate” in Compassionate Care. For those who have experience caring for a loved one, you know how taxing it can be. It is critical to have time away from the stress of 24/7 oversight and services that provide this much needed respite are a godsend. Linda has allowed me to get away and work on my passions of photography and now stained glass. In a sense, these weekly sessions have become my “therapy” and have allowed me a balance in my own life. Not long after Linda started working with my mother Colleen, she asked me if she might bring her little dog Vaeda to work as her neighbor wasn’t able to let the dog out one day during her regularly scheduled shift. Of course, we would be happy to have your puppy accompany you as my mother loves dogs. This was the start of a love affair of sorts — Puppy Love that is. Mom immediately lit up with a smile and was so happy to have a four-legged companion. Needless to say, we now welcome Vaeda to our home twice a week which is a win, win, win. There is ample research and documentation showing how animals provide comfort and therapy, especially to those who suffer from dementia. Although I cannot know exactly what my mother is experiencing, her smile, her demeanor immediately changes the moment Vaeda trots into the room. In a way both Linda and Vaeda have become family to us and we are so grateful for them both. In addition to the comfort Vaeda provides, she’s also taken on the role of “Guard Dog” and has become very protective of Mom any time a stranger comes Contributed John Kellen calling. It’s pretty funny to watch as Vaeda John Kellen’s mother, Colleen, has is all of about 15 pounds, yet she believes dementia. Here, she plays with she is ferocious in protecting her ward. caregiver Linda Schemmel’s dog, Vaeda. Linda consistently goes above and beyond

Every once in a while you meet a very extraordinary person, one that makes a huge impact on you and those you love. One such person is Linda Schemmel. I first met Linda three years ago at a memory care support group after moving back to Willmar to care for my aging parents. Linda had just lost her husband, Jim, to Parkinson’s Disease after a heroic battle. At the time I had no idea just how debilitating dementia could be, nor what caring for a loved one might entail. Fast forward one year and who should show up on our doorstep for a shift to care for my mother, Colleen? None other than the aforementioned Linda Schemmel. Linda had agreed to parttime work with Compassionate Care after a grieving period and fate brought her to us. Little did I understand just how momentous this initial meeting would be, yet over time “Tia Linda” as she is now affectionately known has become an honorary member of the Blake/Kellen clan. Caregiving isn’t for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart. For those

Contributed John Kellen

John Kellen’s mother, Colleen, left, has dementia. Caregiver Linda Schemmel has been working with the family for two years through the Compassionate Care service. in her caregiving duties — whether it be buying puzzles for mom or bringing her signature yummy baked goods we always look forward to her beautiful smile and kind demeanor. I can leave for eight hours at a time and

be totally confident that mom is in good hands. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without this dynamic caregiving duo. So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts Tia Linda. You make the world a better place!

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Letters from a lifetime ago offer

a window to the past

BY MONA LACKORE I have been going through the letters my great-grandparents kept over the m yyears, typing them up so other relatives ccould enjoy them as well (the handwriting sometimes takes a long time to w decipher!) The letters show a slice of life d ffrom a different time. I have attached portions of two of those letters below. p These particular letters were written by my grandmother to her parents. b My grandmother, Velma McCrery Lackore (whose nickname was Pink), was at this time living in Leland, Iowa, with her husband (my grandfather) Norman and her two children: Leonard (my father, born in 1933) and Peggy (my aunt, born in 1938). Norman ran the farmers’ elevator in town. The first letter below was written during Prohibition, before either of the children was born. The letter describes a raid on their neighbor’s house. The second letter was written on Nov. 13, 1940, describing Velma’s experience of what became known as the Armistice Day Blizzard. I have typed the letters as they were written, with Velma’s spelling, punctuation and grammar.

April 28, 1930 A Dearest Folks, We had so much excitement yesterday that I feel the reaction to-day. Did I tell you about our neighbors to the back of us who were said to be boot lleggers? They moved in while we were back in Illinois. They have been next to b running an open saloon there for the llast two weeks. A big Catalac with an Illinois license goes and comes – stays about two days and then goes again. They have been keeping the neighbors awake at night – so they said. Norman’s and my slumbers were seldom broken – of course we are sound sleepers. Yesterday morning we slept late. Norman helped me get breakfast. We

This photo of Velma McCrery, provided by Mona Lackore, is believed to have been her college graduation photo from 1924.

him, and came back at such a quick pace I fell on the stairs & skinned both knees. We opened our kitchen door – and listened in on the excitement. One of the women (I don’t think she is as old as I am) was shouting that they had no right to come into a man’s house with out a warrent. The sheriff was apparently paying no attention to her however. Shortly before the sheriff’s arrival five men had just driven up and gone in. The sheriff & his deputy drove up & stopped their car down on the other side of Chizell’s garage one had come from the back, the other from the front – and entered the front and back doors at approximately the same time. The women screamed. The men apparently offered little resistance. After a while the Deputy came out – ran down to Chizell’s garage – got his car – drove up to the house – and they carried out two large paste board boxes – and a large Gunny Sack. The latter we immagined contained empty bottles. After that they marched out the man of the house and one customer. We supposed that the latter had been caught in the act of drinking. He is a regular boarder down at the jail any way. The deputy took them away in the car – but the sheriff stayed a while, borrowed a flash light from Carroll Senday – made further investigations in the house – and all-so dug around in the garden for a while. Then he left – after that the woman of the house & her sister came out, locked up the house and went “down to Mammas.” They have one child a girl, about six years old – but she was not here at the time, was probably down at her grandmothers. The Cadalac car with it’s man & wife were not here at the time. I’m sorry they missed them. They are here this morning.

did dishes, put on dinner and went to church. We came home and as it looked rainey & our car was clean, we thought we would stay home for the day. I called up Dows & asked if they were going to be home – as I wanted to see Mrs. Dow about some missionary work. While we were poking around with the work – I was doing dishes & Norman was down stairs singing lustily away on some church song. When all of a sudden there was a pounding on our front door & it was thrown open all at once & Mrs. Orville Anderson (our neighbor east) called – “The’re having a raid. The’re having a raid – the sheriff walked right up and broke right in.” I dashed back to the kitchen to yell down the stairs to Norman. He was thick headed & couldn’t understand it at first so I started in down stairs to tell LETTERS: Page D9


LETTERS From Page D8

Oh yes when the deputy came back the second time he showed the girl the warrant and they seemed to quiet down. With in about an hour after they left five people came – as Mrs. Anderson said they had a good trade. This house is on the same lot as ours. We do not know who swore out the warrant, but rather think it was the Andersons. We thought at first it was probably the Chizells. (They are allways looking for a good fight anyhow) But when Norman said something to Andersons about it Mrs. looked at Mr. laughed & said, “I suppose someone would have to swore out a warrant wouldn’t they Orve?” So may-be they did it. Well – any way – they are gone & I hope they move out. Lots of Love & take & Write. Velma

grew darker – it seemed I was groping around in the middle of the day – I started dinner, turned on more oil – Shut off the east part of the house and built a fire in the kitchen. The wind started howling – I looked out the South windows and saw a woman walking from the school house – a child following – it was Leonard – his rain coat flopping every which way – she left him at the cornor & he pushed across the street and up on the poorch. I opened the door & brought him in. Norman came home – no one can prepare to combat the elements like he – and like Dad’s old hogs - he seems to have an uncanny

GENERATIONS instinct at knowing when we’re going to have “a bad one.” He rounded up an oil man & ordered oil put in the tank – had the gas lantern filled & bought a new mantle for it. He asked Len if they were going to have school & he said they were. So N. took Len back (walked with him) – told him under no circumstances to start home unless a grown up brot him. That he would be over after him at 3:30. Told some of the authorities that if he was running that school he’d start that bus out right now – while the driver could see. N. came back home – and it was surprizing how many things like carrying in coal & kindling – filling the gas

Nov. 13 - 1940 Dearest Folks – Art & Juva were down for waffles Sab. evening and Monday. I laid off to wash up the evening before’s dishes. Just enjoy my-self and write a letter home. But as I have so often heard my mother say, “We never know what a day will bring forth. Sat it rained. Sab it was balmy. Sab. night it rained hard. Mon. A.M. it was raining misting and the mist turning to rain – in the middle of the forenoon – the electric current went off. I didn’t think any thing This photo, provided by Mona Lackore, shows Velma of that – it is often off McCrery and Norman Lackore on their wedding day, for an hour at a time – it June 6, 1928.


lantern etc – he could find to do. It was Armistice day and there was little going on at the elevator – any way none of the motors would run on account of the electricity being off. Some of the parents from the country came in for their children – ahead of the usual hour for school to be out. N. was just starting for Len - when he came home – with Herb Idde. Herb had gone for Ronald & brought Len on the way. We turned on the oil as far as it would go – had ½ house closed off. We were careful of the coal fire on account of the wind - & I felt for all the world like my mother - when I went up stairs to put more blankets on the beds before it got completely dark.


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LETTERS From Page D9

The school buss started out – got as far as Eddie Ambrosons – the driver couldn’t see a rod ahead of him - so he turned around and brought them all back to the school. The snow slithered thru the air & it got darker and darker. Peggy fussed because she couldn’t find her way around in the gloom. I sat back of the stove with my knee caps feeling like they were burning, chills chasing up & down my back – and goose pimples standing out on my arms. I fixed my one candle - & set it to one side – to use when I just had to have it. Norm went over to the store and bought up a supply of groceries - & sent word over to the School that we could keep some children over night. Then he came back - & we all just sat & stood huddled around the fire. The thermeter was plunging from spring like weather to below zero – latter we read in the paper that Winter zoomed into Iowa on a 50 mile an hour gale. Well – we knew it was doing something. N. pranced from one foot to another – wondered if he should go over to the school house him-self—then said - “There’s somebody out here now. He went to the door - and above the howling of the wind we heard a scrambling of feet on the poorch. N. threw open the door - & a lad of sixteen shouted “did you say you could take some?” Well we wern’t long getting them in – the big boy - and his 2 little half brothers both from Leonards room. Three other brothers from the same family had gone else where in town. Well I made oyster soup - by the light of the candle - & the boys played domino by the light of the gas lantern in the dining room — & how those kids could eat. I asked the middle one how many bowls of oyster soup he ate at home & he replied quite simply “we don’t have it.” We had plenty of beds & cots – but not enough bed clothing. We moved the studio couch right out beside the stove – used the usual throw for it – (light weight Indian blanket – and I took the extra wool blanket I had laid out for Margaret & put it on the studio couch. Then I put my fur coat over Peggy. She looked so cute peeking out from under it. And since no one could keep their front

This photo of Leonard and Margaret Lackore, provided by Mona Lackore, was taken in 1939, not long before the Armistice Day blizzard. side warm with out their back side burning – or visa-versa – we got our family off to bed at 7:30. They were glad to go too – the big boy (Frank) wondered how his Dad was getting along milking the 15 cows all alone. Due to the lack of electricity – our stool wouldn’t work - nor we didn’t have any water - Norman brot it from the neighbors in pails & jars & we had those things sitting all over the work table We all went to bed early – only Peg saw fit to get up between 12 & 2. I slept in my clothes and an old woolen coat dress it felt good. And the wind roared all night long. I couldn’t sleep well. I felt like it was after me. The next morning was clear. The snow fall had not been heavy but the wind had done a good job of piling what there was of it. It was impossible to have school on

account of no water to run the heating plant – on account of no electricity. But the kids that stayed with us couldn’t get home on account of a big drift about ½ mile from their home. So I had them for breakfast & dinner too. Toward evening the weather had moderated some what & N. took them out to the drift and they walked the rest of the way. And that night - we again worked by the candle & gas lantern – dressed 3 pheasants - & I did the same thing again tonight. The electricity came on shortly after I finished. And so that’s the storm – as it was in Leland – I suppose there have been other things happening – but I believe I don’t seem to remember much else but the weather. Lots of Love Pink




CAREGIVERS need love, too

BY KELLY FOSSO RODENBERG The art of caregiving is most certainly an art. Opportunities surface for a multitude of reasons: a pandemic, an aging family member, a disability, a disease, a mental illness. Some have years of prep for this space in time; for others it literally happens overnight. Caregivers who are thrust into this unpaid position typically find themselves deprived of training. Should you be one of the lucky ones, there’s room for advancement — you are granted more time to hone your skills. Just don’t expect to be properly compensated for it. While some patients and caregivers live under the same roof, others have numerous miles and

states between them. Both scenarios come with a host of pros and cons, I’m sure. Only a handful of caregivers are fortunate enough to be able to place life on hold, take a leave of absence, an early retirement or have the financial stability to exit their job. The vast majority of caregivers must now endure two full-time positions. As a caregiver turned patient, I don’t believe either position is necessarily any easier than the other. For this self-sufficient farm girl, asking for help has never been easy. Total toss-up if I’d choose to ask for help or require help. Given the fact I can’t open my own pill bottle, choices are limited. Every single day, my dear husband positions his empathy hat.

He takes three times the number of steps he normally would. Not by choice, but by necessity. While patience may not have been my strong suit growing up, it certainly is now. A few caregiving tips from one who has experienced both sides of the coin: Ź Fatigue is not your friend. Caregivers need a good night’s rest too. Ź Put on your own air mask first. It’s imperative you help yourself, so you can adequately help your patient. Ź Make a list. In general, people want to help, but claim not to know how. Puzzling, I know. Arm yourself with rapid fire. Ź Know you are not alone.

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The art of caregiving is most certainly an art. For some, it is a planned-for event. For others, it can happen overnight. No matter how it happens, it’s important for caregivers to receive support from those around them. Seek help when necessary. Talk to your patient’s doctor, phone a friend, sign onto caregiver sites. Don’t be shy – request a stand in when you need a day off. Ź Realize it’s okay that not all friends stay. It says far more about them than it does you. Ź Whether the role is that of a patient or caregiver, frustrations

will surface and tears will fall. Caregivers: remember the person inside. Patients: remember this unsolicited role impacts life every day. Ź Attitude is everything! A good one serves you — and those around you — far better than a negative one. Keep spreading the light and love!

How to prevent slips and falls in the bathroom METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION in serious cases. Bathrooms can be made illuminates all areas. Bathrooms can serve as sanctuaries, providing a warm tub to soak in after a long, weary day or a private place to retire for a few minutes of peace and quiet. Bathrooms also can be dangerous places, as various groups warn that most slip and fall accidents that occur at home will happen in the bathroom. The combination of hard surfaces and moisture from sinks and showers can create dangerous conditions. Furthermore, bathrooms tend to be small spaces, so should a fall occur, it’s more likely a person will hit various surfaces on the way down. The risk of falling in a bathroom increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors over age 65 have a 25% chance of falling in the bathroom. Seniors generally have less flexibility and balance than younger people, meaning falls can be life-threatening. Bones easily can become fractured and internal bleeding may occur

more safe in a few simple ways. Ź Keep the bathtub clean. Soap residue or other grime can contribute to slippery conditions in the shower and tub. Cleaning these surfaces frequently can improve traction. Ź Declutter the space. Remove extraneous items from the bathroom that can pose as tripping hazards. Ź Choose the right bath mat. Bath mats can contribute to slips and falls. For those who cannot live without them, choose a mat with slip-resistant backings and add double-faced tape for added security. Ź Limit moisture. Use a weighted shower curtain or install shower doors to prevent water from getting on the floor. Mop up any water or additional condensation to help dry the bathroom. Install an exhaust fan to help vent moisture that can condense and accumulate on the floor and fixtures. Ź Improve bathroom lighting. Make sure lighting in the bathroom

Ź Wear non-slip shoes. Wearing nonslip shoes when in the bathroom can reduce the chances of slipping on wet floors. Ź Install a walk-in shower or bathtub. These lipless fixtures can assist those who have difficulty entering a standard tub or shower. Grab bars also can help with maneuvering in and out of the shower area.

Ź Use a raised toilet seat. A raised toilet, or one with a special seat that reduces the distance one has to go to reach a seated position, may help prevent falls. Any individual with a health condition that causes vision disturbances or difficulties with balance should work with a doctor to find a resolution. These conditions may contribute to falls.

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Older adults shouldn’t delay preventive health care Many older adults have been delaying preventive health care during the pandemic because of fear of visiting the doctor’s office. As more people get vaccinated for COVID-19, now may be a good time to make up for gaps in care, according to Dr. Gina Conflitti, chief medical officer for Medicare Advantage at Cigna. “Delaying preventive care can catch up with us, especially as we get older,” says Dr. Conflitti. “As people age, preventive care becomes increasingly important in helping prevent or manage chronic conditions. Doctors’ offices have nationally accepted, evidence-based COVID-19 safety protocols in place and many preventive services are covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage at no extra cost when visiting a participating or in-network provider.” Each person’s doctor should determine the right services based on age, gender, medical history and health status. Among those to consider are: Ź Annual wellness visit. Covered by Medicare, this is a great way to develop a personalized annual care plan. Among other things, the doctor will ask the patient to fill out a health risk assessment to help determine the services likely needed in the year ahead. The doctor will assess how the patient is feeling physically and emotionally, since mental health often impacts physical health. It’s important for the patient to be open about their feelings, current condition, and medical history. Ź Mammogram. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every woman is at risk, but risk increases with age. Fortunately, breast cancer is often treated successfully when found early. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women 50 to 74 at average risk get a mammogram every two years. Ź Colorectal screening. Like breast cancer, colorectal cancer risk increases with age. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps early so they can be

removed before they turn into cancer. The USPSTF recommends screening for adults age 45 to 75. Medicare covers the cost of a screening colonoscopy once every two years for those at high risk or once every 10 years for those at lower risk. Though colonoscopy is the most comprehensive test, providers can help determine the best option for individuals. Ź Bone density scan. USPSTF recommends women aged 65 and older be routinely screened for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become weak and brittle. According to the agency, routine screening should begin at 60 for women at increased risk. Screening may facilitate treatment that helps prevent fractures. Ź Eye exam. A routine eye exam is important to identify early signs of eye disease that are more likely as people age. People with diabetes are particuGlobalStock / iStock via Getty Images Plus larly prone to retinopathy, which leads As more people get vaccinated for COVID-19, now may be a good time to make to vision loss, and it’s recommend- up for gaps in care that have been delayed due to the pandemic. ed they have annual retinal screening exams. Ź Vaccinations. While the COVID19 vaccine is certainly a top priority, especially for older adults, there are other important vaccines, including flu, pneumonia and shingles. Patients should ask their doctors about current recommendations as autumn approaches and risk potentially increases. “Even in the best of times, health screenings and vaccinations are often a missed opportunity and the pandemic has only made matters worse,” says Dr. Conflitti. “But with these services, individuals can take control of their health in partnership with their doctors. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The information contained in this artiSend in your favorite recipe for a chance to win cle is not intended to be a substitute for a valuable gift certificate from an area merchant. professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Send to: Reminder Recipes • P.O. Box 839 • Willmar, MN 56201 physician or other qualified health care or email to provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. StatePoint





Effective exercises for seniors Signs and symptoms of dementia METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Losing interest in an exercise regimen is a situation many fitness enthusiasts have confronted at one point or another. Overcoming a stale workout routine can be simple for young athletes, whose bodies can typically handle a wide range of physical activities. That flexibility allows younger athletes the chance to pursue any number of physical activities when their existing fitness regimens grow stale. But what about seniors who have grown tired of their workouts? Even seniors who have lived active lifestyles since they were youngsters are likely to encounter certain physical limitations associated with aging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the likelihood of dealing with one or more physical limitations increases with age. CDC data indicates that 8% of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 have three or more physical limitations. That figure rises to 27% among adults age 80 and over. Physical limitations may be a part of aging for many people, but such obstacles need not limit seniors looking to banish boredom from their workout routines. In fact, many seniors can successfully engage in a variety of exercises that benefit their bodies and are unlikely to grow stale. Ź Water aerobics: Sometimes referred to as “aqua aerobics,” water aerobics may involve jogging in the water, leg lifts, arm


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Seniors can successfully engage in a variety of H[HUFLVHV WKDW EHQHĆW WKHLU ERGLHV DQG DUH XQOLNHO\ WR grow stale. curls, and other activities that can safely be performed in a pool. The YMCA notes that water aerobics exercises are low impact, which can make them ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues like arthritis. Ź Resistance band workouts: Resistance band workouts can be especially useful for seniors who spend a lot of time at home. Resistance bands are inexpensive and don’t take up a lot of space, making them ideal for people who like to exercise at home but don’t have much space. Resistance bands can be used to strengthen muscles in various parts of the body, including the legs, arms and back. Resistance bands can be pulled or pushed in any direction, which allows for more versatility in a workout than weight machines and dumbbells. That versatility allows seniors to spice up their workout regimens when things get a little stale. Ź Pilates: Pilates is another low-impact exercise that can be ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues. According to SilverSneakers®, a community

fitness program for seniors that promotes living through physical and social engagement, Pilates can help seniors build overall strength, stability and coordination. SilverSneakers® even notes that seniors can experience improvements in strength and stability by committing to as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily Pilates exercises. Ź Strength training: Seniors on the lookout for something more challenging than a daily walk around the neighborhood should not overlook the benefits of strength training. The CDC notes that seniors who participate in strength training can stimulate the growth of muscle and bone, thereby reducing their risk for osteoporosis and frailty. In fact, the CDC notes that people with health concerns like arthritis or heart disease often benefit the most from exercise regimens that include lifting weights a few times each week. Physical limitations are a part of aging. But seniors need not let such limitations relegate them to repetitive, boring workouts.

Dementia is a global issue that affects people’s daily lives in myriad ways. According to the World Health Organization, dementia is a syndrome marked by deterioration in memory, thinking and behavior. That deterioration affects dementia patients’ ability to perform everyday activities, potentially robbing them of their independence. The WHO reports that approximately 50 million people across the globe have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases diagnosed each year. Though the hallmarks of dementia, such as memory loss, might be the same, the WHO notes that dementia affects each person differently. That’s due to certain factors, including a patient’s personality prior to becoming ill. Though people will experience dementia differently, the signs and symptoms of the disease are typically categorized as being in one of three stages: early stage, middle stage and late stage.

Are Alzheimer’s disease and dementia the same thing? There are many different forms of dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease is one of them. In fact, the WHO notes that Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, potentially contributing to as many as 70% of dementia cases. But people diagnosed with dementia do not necessarily have Alzheimer’s.

Early stage Signs and symptoms that mark the early stage of dementia are often chalked up as side effects of aging. But the WHO notes that dementia is not a normal part of aging, so its signs and symptoms, even if they are not yet severe or significant, should not be written off as a byproduct of growing old. Common symptoms in the early stage of dementia include forgetfulness, losing track of the time and becoming lost in familiar places.


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7LSV WR ĆQG WKH ULJKW VNLOOHG QXUVLQJ IDFLOLW\ METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Humans’ desire to live independently begins in adolescence and continues into older adulthood. Though many seniors can handle the tasks of daily life on their own, others may need varying degrees of assistance. Seniors have various options at their disposal in regard to finding help to get through daily life. Those who need round-theclock help typically look to skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, which are staffed with licensed nurses and therapists who are capable of providing a more advanced level of medical care than home health aides or assisted living facilities can offer. Seniors who want to plan ahead can shop around for SNFs and make their preferences known

in their estate planning. When looking for an SNF, seniors and their loved ones can utilize these tips to find the right facility. Ź Speak with your health care team. Seniors’ health care teams, including their general practitioners as well as any doctors who may have treated them for specific diseases or conditions, can be great resources. For example, an oncology team may recommend a local SNF that has a strong track record in working with cancer survivors. Many people who stay in SNFs do so as part of a rehabilitation program, and a health care team can provide valuable insight into which facilities may match up well with individual patients’ needs. Ź Give location ample consideration. When looking for an SNF, location should not be

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Skilled nursing facilities are an option for seniors who require advanced medical care. Finding the right facility requires careful consideration of a host of factors. overlooked. The quality of care a facility can provide should be the utmost priority, but the value of choosing a facility that’s close to loved ones cannot be understated, especially for seniors who will

be moving in for a lengthy period of time. Routine visits from loved ones can lift the spirits of SNF residents. In addition, AARP® notes that regular visitors can scrutinize care and serve as residents’



Middle stage Life becomes more difficult during the middle stage of dementia, when signs and symptoms become more apparent. The forgetfulness present in the early stage now becomes forgetfulness of recent events and people’s names. People in the middle stage also may become lost in their own homes and experience a growing difficulty with communication. People in this stage may need help caring for themselves, and some experience behavioral changes such as wandering and repeated questioning.

advocates if they feel their concerns are not being satisfactorily addressed by staff members. Ź Visit facilities in person. Online ratings can provide some insight into a facility, but nothing can replace the value of an in-person visit. The American Health Care Association urges families to observe a facility in person so they can gauge its overall environment and whether or not it seems like a peaceful or chaotic place. Pay close attention to residents and try to determine if they’re well-groomed. These are things that can only be noticed in person, which underscores the importance of in person visits. Skilled nursing facilities are an option for seniors who require advanced medical care. Finding the right facility requires careful consideration of a host of factors.

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The signs and symptoms of dementia are typically categorized as being in one of three stages: early stage, middle stage and late stage.

of dementia, when people are almost entirely dependent on others. People in late stage dementia may have difficulty recognizing relatives and friends and be unaware of the time and place. Many people in this stage need assistance with self-care and Late stage they may have difficulty Memory disturbances are walking. Behavioral changsignificant in the late stage es may escalate, and some

people in this stage become aggressive, even toward their loved ones. Dementia affects tens of millions of people across the globe. Though there currently is no cure for dementia, the WHO emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis, which starts with learning the stages of dementia and the hallmarks of each stage.

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of skilled nursing facilities METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Many aging adults reach a point in their lives when they can no longer care for themselves without some help. Some may just need a little help around the house, while others with more extensive needs may choose to relocate to skilled nursing facilities. Some aging adults may be able to choose living facilities on their own, and many may even dictate their choices as part of their estate planning. In other instances, such as when seniors suddenly become ill and are incapable of caring for themselves, the decision may need to be made by relatives. Families have a variety of options when looking for living facilities for aging men and women, and there are a host of benefits to skilled nursing facilities. Ź Professional care: Many facilities offer skilled nursing care.

Skilled nursing care is administered by licensed nurses and therapists. Skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, are designed to tend to the needs of residents who require a level of medical care that goes beyond what assisted living facilities can provide. Ź Peace of mind: Medical attention at SNFs is available around the clock. That often provides residents’ relatives substantial peace of mind, as they know licensed professionals will be on hand to address their loved ones’ needs at all hours of the day and night. Ź Criteria: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will only certify facilities that meet strict criteria. When shopping for an SNF, individuals and families should inquire about certification. CMS-certified facilities are subject to periodic inspections to make sure residents are receiving the highest quality care. That’s another factor


that should give families some peace of mind. Ź Proximity: According to Commonwealth Medicine, there are more than 15,000 SNFs in the United States. These facilities care for nearly 1.5 million people. With so many facilities across the country, families can surely find one for a family member in need that’s close to home. Routine visits from friends and family can help seniors make a smooth transition to an SNF and reassure relatives that they won’t have to travel far and wide each time they want to see their loved ones. Skilled nursing facilities can help aging adults navigate daily life when they can no longer take care of themselves.

Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes are often mistaken as the same thing, but that’s not necessarily accurate. According to AARP Medicare Plans, the difference between a skilled nursing facility and a nursing home comes down to the type of care each provides. Care at skilled nursing facilities is provided by trained registered nurses in a medical setting under the supervision of a doctor. AARP Medicare Plans describes this level of care as on par with the level of care patients would receive in a hospital. Nursing home care is provided largely by licensed practical nurses and nurse aids under the supervision of a registered nurse. Nursing home care tends to focus on custodial care, which emphasizes helping residents perform daily tasks like dressing, bathing and eating. Some facilities may offer both skilled nursing care as well as nursing home care. They may separate patients who need such types of care by designating certain floors or sections of the facility for patients with different needs. — Metro Creative Connection

Please join the Good Neighbor Club for our upcoming activities and have some fun!

Good Neighbor Club ENJOYING LIFE AFTER 50! Dreaming of Travel - It’s time ... and when you are ready, I’m here waiting for you! Let’s get back to creating lifelong memories!!! We have several day trips planned and some exciting extended trips on our schedule. SEPTEMBER 9 Touring Stillwater with lunch at the Lowell Inn SEPTEMBER 15 Mystic Lake Casino SEPTEMBER 21 Lunch and Learn with Attorney Kristal R. Dahlager reservations required OCTOBER 20 Music Man-Chanhassen Dinner Theatre OCTOBER 27 Mystic Lake Casino OCTOBER 28 The Play that goes wrong -The Old Log Theatre NOVEMBER 17 Mystic Lake Casino DECEMBER 10 Christmas Open House DECEMBER 28 Texas Tenors - Paramount Theatre - St. Cloud, MN

JANUARY 15 Come From Away- Orpheum Theatre EXTENDED TRIPS: OCTOBER 4-6 Duluth, MN OCTOBER 10-16 New England Autumn Splendor currently full NOVEMBER 28-December 1st Nashville, TN currently full

JANUARY 17-28 Palm Springs Getaway FEBRUARY 20-27 Treasure Island, Florida New trip!!! APRIL-Spring in Branson JUNE 4-10 Yellowstone and The Tetons AUGUST Great lakes River Cruise currently full OCTOBER 18-NOVEMBER 1 Greek IslandsCroatia and Italy

Activities That Enrich Your Lifestyle | Banking That Saves You Money Metro Creative Connection

Families have a variety of options when looking for living facilities for aging men DQG ZRPHQ DQG WKHUH DUH D KRVW RI EHQHĆWV WR VNLOOHG QXUVLQJ IDFLOLWLHV

Need more information? Call Betty Marthaler





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