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Meet Your Doctor Physician David Kaye talks about differences between adult and child psychiatry and explains why the shortage of child psychiatrists is not so bad in Buffalo


AUGUST 2018 • ISSUE 46

Smart Phone Addiction

Experts say overuse of mobile devices can be called an addiction and can be harmful. Are you a smartphone addict? See our test on page 13

Trendy Seniors Ebeth, 81, and John, 82, are just not ready to live together. They are part of a national trend of growing number of senior couples living apart

Alzheimer’s Vs. Dementia

What’s the difference between the two? INSIDE: SPECIAL ‘GOLDEN YEARS’ ISSUE Getting Ready for back to school. What to consider

New Apps Pay You to Walk

Forget about bitcoins. The new thing now is ‘Sweatcoins’ — the more you walk, the more you earn

Cherry Tomatoes Like all tomatoes, cherry tomatoes often make superfood lists. Find out why you should eat more of them

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Bike Accidents 25 U.S. kids treated in ERs every hour for bike injuries Page 7

SUPPLEMENTS More Evidence That it Won’t Help Your Heart


here’s another study suggesting that the vitamin and mineral supplements bought by millions of Americans do nothing to stave off heart disease. This time, the finding stems from an analysis of 18 studies conducted between 1970 and 2016. Each one looked at how vitamins and mineral supplements — which are not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for either safety or effectiveness — affect heart health. After tracking more than 2 million participants for an average of 12 years, the studies came up with a clear conclusion: they don’t. Still, “people tend to prefer a quick and easy solution, such as taking a pill, rather than the more effortful method to prevent cardiovascular disease,” said study author, physician Joonseok Kim. “Simply put, multivitamins and mineral supplements do not improve cardiovascular health outcomes, so [they] should not be taken for that purpose”, added Kim. He’s an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birminghams division of cardiovascular disease. The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association represent-

ing supplement makers, stressed that the products are meant as nutritional aids only, not as a means of preventing or treating illness. “CRN stresses that multivitamins fill nutrient gaps in our less-than-perfect diets and support a host of other physiological functions,” senior vice president Duffy MacKay said in a statement. “They are not intended to serve as magic bullets for the prevention of serious diseases.” In the study, Kim and his colleagues reported that after accounting for both smoking histories and physical activity habits, they saw no evidence that taking a multivitamin or mineral supplements lowers the risk for dying from heart disease, experiencing a stroke, or dying from a stroke. The lack of any apparent heart health benefit was seen across the board, regardless of age or gender. Physician Gregg Fonarow helps direct the UCLA Preventive Cardiology Program in Los Angeles. He noted that upwards of 100 million American men and women take vitamins or supplements “frequently based on the misguided belief that doing so can improve their heart and vascular health.”

The largely unregulated supplement industry is doing a booming business, with a projected value of $278 billion by 2024, Kim’s team noted. This, despite the fact that prior studies have “consistently demonstrated no benefit” from supplements when it comes to heart health, Fonarow said. In fact, both Kim and Fonarow believe supplements may actually do harm. How? According to Kim, placing one’s faith in supplements “could deviate the public from following measures that are proven to be beneficial for cardiovascular health.” By way of example, he pointed out that while 50 percent of the American public consumes dietary supplements, just 13 percent meet federal recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption.

“We know that fruit and vegetable intake improves cardiovascular health,” Kim said. Fonarow concurred, adding that “the false belief that these supplements are providing some level of protection distracts from adopting approaches that actually lower cardiovascular risk.” “The evidence-based, guideline-recommended approaches to reduce the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease include maintaining a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body weight, not smoking, and engaging in daily physical activity,” Fonarow added. “There are also widely available and inexpensive once daily cardiovascular protective medications such as statins that, in eligible individuals, can safely and effectively lower risk,” he said.

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New to Medicare? Let WellCare help you live healthier. Jason Hollister, Sales Manager 1-716-846-7900 | Always talk with your doctor(s) about the care that is right for you. This material does not replace your doctor’s advice. Sources:,, and WellCare (HMO) is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in WellCare (HMO) depends on contract renewal. A sales person will be present with information and applications. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call 1-877-MY-WELLCARE (TTY 711). There is no obligation to enroll. Please contact WellCare for details. WellCare complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATTENTION: If you speak a language other than English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711) ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-877-374-4056(TTY:711)。

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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New Nonprofit, Liftoff, to Help Meet Early Childhood Needs Group of 25 local funders announce creation of alliance to promote early childhood

3 of 4 Black

Americans Have High Blood Pressure by 55


startling 75 percent of black people in the United States develop high blood pressure by the age of 55, a new study finds. That’s a far higher rate than seen among either white men (55 percent) or white women (40 percent), the researchers said. “We started to see differences between blacks and whites by age 30,” said lead researcher S. Justin Thomas. “We need to start focusing on preventing hypertension [high blood pressure], particularly in blacks, at an early age,” he added. Thomas is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s department of psychiatry. It isn’t known why black Americans are more prone to high blood pressure at an earlier age than white Americans, Thomas said. But he speculated that a combination of lifestyle and genetics may explain why. Thomas said preventing high blood pressure needs to start with getting kids to develop healthy habits. “I don’t think you can start too early,” he said. “It should start at elementary school. If kids are told frequently that this is important, they will adopt it.” High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems over time, the researchers noted. For the study, Thomas and his colleagues collected data on nearly 3,900 young adults who were part of a heart disease risk study. The participants were enrolled in the study when they were 18 to 30 years old, and they didn’t have high blood pressure at the time. Excess weight was the biggest risk factor for developing high blood pressure, regardless of sex or race, the researchers found. Blacks and whites who kept to a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet were able to lower their risk for high blood pressure, the study findings showed. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts, and low in red meat and salt. The report was published online July 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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group of 25 early childhood funders from across Western New York have joined forces to form Liftoff, a strategic alliance that works to ensure children aged 5 year old and younger are meeting critical milestones and are ready to achieve their fullest potential by the time they start elementary school. The group, which will work through existing community organizations and networks to achieve its goals, compiled a comprehensive review of the region’s early childhood systems, titled “Looking Toward the Future.” As the first regional assessment of its kind, the document informs, examines and prioritizes a wide range of issues, challenges and opportunities for early childhood development across Western New York. “Research shows that what happens in a child’s first years, both positive and negative, can have a lifelong impact on an individual’s growth and success. Western New York is home to more than 100,000 children under the age of 6 — all of whom represent the future of our region. In order to meet the early childhood needs of these kids, we as a community need to better understand where the opportunities and gaps are,” said Maureen Millane, PhD, project director, Liftoff. “We believe the creation of the Liftoff alliance, and the unveiling of today’s report, will help to inspire and inform short and longterm community strategies.” The Liftoff Report incorporates input from over 300 residents, including early childhood experts,

Maureen Millane, project director of Liftoff, wants to address issues related to early childhood in WCNY. The region is home to more than 100,000 children under the age of 6, she say. providers, government officials, nonprofit executives and staff, members of the philanthropic community and parents. Input was received via interviews, focus groups and an electronic survey. Participants shared feedback on what they think is working well, what could be better and where there are opportunities to improve the early childhood system. “Our vision is that by the time our region’s children enter kindergarten, they are meeting their physical, social, emotional and cognitive

development milestones. There are three major factors impacting early childhood development, and those are: lack of awareness, lack of availability of high-quality and affordable opportunities and lack of access. Understanding these factors gives us the opportunity to understand the problems, so we can make improvements and also begin to mobilize stakeholders around these issues,” continued Millane. Liftoff has identified five high-level opportunities to improve Western New York’s early childhood system: 1. Increase parental and caregiver knowledge of early childhood screenings that measure developmental milestones at various ages, such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time and waving.   2. Engage the business community in support of the report’s priority areas. 3. Develop a community-wide strategic plan that can serve as a roadmap guiding efforts toward meeting early childhood goals. 4. Work with elected officials to become educated about and involved in public policy work that supports awareness, availability and access. 5. Support strong advocacy work and increase the number of WNY leaders taking an active role in statewide forums to support regional approaches for system changes related to kindergarten readiness, quality, costs and accessibility to early childhood education and development.

30 Million Steps Reached in Local Walking Initiative


n the pursuit of improved health, longevity and positive economic benefit for Erie County and the WNY community, the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo and its partners recently announced they have logged more than 30 million steps toward the 100+ million steps goal for 2018. This is the Wellness Institute’s fifth annual Walking to Wellness initiative, which was recognized by the NYS Department of Health as a community “best practice.” This year’s goal is to reach 100+ million steps with the help of local organizations, and events. To date participants include the Downtown Buffalo walks (with the Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center), participants in the Fourth Annual Workplace Walk for WellNYS Challenge

(contributing millions of steps), Buffalo City Hall Wellness walks, participants in Refresh Magazine’s National Walk at Lunch Day, Second Saturday Walks and Talks from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Sunday morning reflective walks held at Hoyt Lake. The Wellness Institute is collaborating with other local nonprofits including the Population Health Collaborative of WNY Steps campaign and the Explore Buffalo educational walks to help foster more physical activity and strategic actions toward improving health in our community. Additionally, the Wellness Institute is teaming up with America Walks Foundation to help bring the America Walks 2019 Walk-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

ing Summit to Buffalo in fall 2019. Phil Haberstro, Wellness Institute executive director, has branded walking as the grand slam of physical activity for its positive social, economic, environmental, and health impact. The American Heart Association notes that walking briskly can lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke among other health benefits. Organizations interested in participating in this annual community-wide year-round initiative or those who would like to offer support in bringing the 2019 America Walks Walking Summit to Buffalo, should contact the Wellness Institute by phone 716-851-4052 or email  

Readers Feedback Here are some comments we have received in the last few months from new readers of In Good Health — Buffalo’s Healthcare Newspaper. “It brings great tips to stay in good shape.” “The article on what to do if a loved one dies is -Mary Sue Todd, Lancaster wonderful and very important to me. The article on Social Security was very informative. I love the paper “Wonderful and useful information about medical and will probably order it. ” -Louis Gagola, Cheektowaga issues.” -Sue Sauers, Lancaster “I love In Good Health so much that I am doing things I read in the paper to make my life better, to live better. ” “Love the information and value the artickes showing -Anthony Bryant, Buffalo ways to stay healthy.” -Cindy Mroz, Lancaster “Knowledgeable articles, easy to read. Great topics for “Diversity of articles.” life styles. Thank for the great publication. ” -Pat Gordon, Amherst -Jennifer Allen, Buffalo “Current info on health issues and events in the area.” “Very informative! ” -Maryann Gullo, Grand Island

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“I love the updates on health diet and fitness, “Very good articles that feature local healthcare especially the ones for us, baby boomers!” professionals.” -Sandy Swiercznski, Elma -Jillian Marks, Orchard Park “Good articles, good reading. Very informative. ” “Variety of articles is very good. ” -Ron Yormick, Hamburg -Tomas McNulty, Orchard Park “Meaningful informative articles.” “Variety of articles/health news. ” -Jennifer Feher, Kenmore -The Smith Family, Amherst “Good, concise and interesting reads on important and “Great information on health issues.” -Albert Paul Hujer, Grand Island relevant topics.” -Ed Zielinski, Buffalo “Love everything about In Good Health. Everything.” -Tom Hartzell, Angola “Articles on good eating habits, nutrition, health issues and staying healthy.” -R. Davis, Kenmore “Interesting health tips, recipes, “This is a renewal for me but community events.” y r S ummer nta enjoy the paper immensely. -Linda Marfleet, pleme C Is Comine For You? a re ic Med The information regarding Lewiston medical issues is awesome.” Sun’s Out, Fun’s -Pat Ziolkowski, Lancaster Out r! LESS



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• Swim Safely: One-fifth of those who drown are children aged 14 and younger. Find out what you can do to push the statisti • Sunscreen: Under cs down standing all the lingo • Mosquito Bites: Natural ways to keep mosquitos from biting you

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WNY offers plenti ful outdoor activities. Find out what some of the options are Page 11

Is this new diet for you? Local experts weigh in

Sitting: the New ‘Smoking’

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The statistics are startling: 26 percent of adults aged 30 to 70 have sleep apnea. But more affected than are women men?

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Thank You August 2018 •

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Catholic Health, Trinity Medical Cardiology Involved in Study to Reduce Risk of Early Recurring Cardiac Events in Heart Attack Survivors


cross the globe, heart disease remains the leading cause of death, higher than all cancer-related deaths combined. In the U.S. alone, more than 750,000 heart attacks occur each year. For patients who survive a heart attack, one in five will experience another adverse cardiovascular event (secondary heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular death) within one year, most during the first few months and often with more serious consequences.  The Catholic Health Heart Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Trinity Medical Cardiology are participating in a Phase 3 clinical trial of a new intravenous therapy — CLS112 — designed to rapidly remove cholesterol from the body to prevent recurring cardiac events in high-risk heart patients. AEGIS-II (ApoA-I Event reducinG in Ischemic Syndromes), sponsored by CSL Behring, is a groundbreaking study involving 17,000 patients from 1,000 hospitals in 40 countries around the world. Patients enrolled in the study will receive either CSL112 or a placebo, administered through IV infusion, once a week for four consecutive weeks. CSL112 or APO-1 is human purified protein derived from HDL cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol.” APO-1 is the component in HDL that removes bad cholesterol from the body. By rapidly removing cholesterol from plaque in the arteries immediately following a heart attack, CSL112 may help to stabilize dangerous lesions that could rupture and cause another critical cardiovascular event. This study is being conducted by Trinity Medical cardiologists Joseph Gelormini; Robert Gianfagna; Ali Masud; and Alan Meholick; with clinical and administrative coordination by registered Theresa Giambra, clinical research director for Trinity Medical Cardiology. Patients diagnosed with a heart attack will be evaluated by the Trinity Medical Research team for study eligibility. Despite advances in cardiovascular care to lower cholesterol and reduce the workload on the heart, there is no current therapy that offers the immediate impact CSL112 has shown to reduce the risk of a recurring cardiovascular event during the first 90 days following a heart attack. Conducted under the academic leadership of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, the AEGIS-II trial is expected to be completed within four years. 

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Your Doctor

By Chris Motola

David Kaye, M.D. Shortage of child psychiatrists? Still a shortage but much better and not the way it used to be in Buffalo, says doctor who played key role in creating a child psychiatry residency program here Q: What are some of the differences between child and adult psychiatry? A: We oftentimes think of child psychiatry as lifespan psychiatry. Child psychiatrists do three or four years of mostly adult psychiatry and then do two years of childhood and adolescent psychiatry. So you have to complete your training in general psychiatry as well. Both see many of the same kinds of problems, for example, depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors, and eating disorders but child and adolescent psychiatrists more often evaluate and treat ADHD, autism, school and learning problems and typically work with the families closely. Q: What’s unique about the child psychiatry training? A: Well, when you finish your general psychiatry training, you could technically see children. In many communities, due to lack of specialists, they’ll look to general psychiatrists to provide treatments to kids in their area. I think what child psychiatrists are bringing to the table is a developmental perspective on patients. It used to be most child psychiatrists also saw adults. More recently there’s been more of a specialization along the lines of pediatrics and internal medicine. Most pediatricians will see kids up until they’re 21. I’d say that’s now mostly true of child psychiatrists as well. And even though general psychiatrists are capable of seeing kids, many don’t feel like they’ve had all the training they need to do it and they typically don’t see any youth under 18. Q: Is that common in the Buffalo region? Do adult psychiatrists see children? A: In the Buffalo area there are only a handful of general psychiatrists who will see older adolescents. Out in the rural areas, many of the kids

are being seen by general psychiatrists though. Q: I understand you had a lot to do with helping Buffalo develop a better number of child psychiatry specialists. A: I’ve been at the University at Buffalo for 30-some-odd years. Throughout that time, I’ve been involved in child psychiatry training. I was the residency training director for about 25 years. In the last few years, I’ve had a different role. I still am involved with training medical students, just not as much as I used to be. But one of the things I feel very good about is that I was a key person in starting the child psychiatry residency program here in Buffalo. When I came to Buffalo, there were three other child psychiatrists. Within a year, one of them left the field. The only real solution is to have a residency program in your city. Syracuse did not have a program for many years and had similar problems to us, but Rochester has had a residency program for 50 years and had 40 or 50 child psychiatrists to our three. In 1991, we put together a residency program here in Buffalo and it’s been flourishing since then. Q: How many are there today? A: We have 40 child psychiatrists in the Buffalo area today. So when I think about my career, that’s one of the things I feel very good about. Q: What were some of the challenges in getting that program up and running? A: I think the challenges are largely having leadership at the top that thinks it’s important and also putting in the legwork to put the pieces together for funding and training. Like any residency program, there are many requirements for accreditation. Those include experience in inpatient and outpatient settings. You have to put all those pieces together. You have to recruit enough faculty. And that gets trickier as funding for teaching has lessened over the years.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

Q: How has the increase in autism diagnoses affected child psychiatry? And for that matter, is autism actually on the rise? A: That’s a very big topic. Autism is a bread-and-butter clinical problem for child psychiatrists. What brings a lot of kids in to see us has to deal with oppositional-defiant behaviors or physical aggression that many children with autism struggle with. That gets them in the door, then we try to figure out what’s driving the behavior, whether it’s autism, depression, ADHD, etc. With respect to autism, autism was first described in 1943. For many years after that, it was thought to be a pretty rare condition. Over the years, as people have studied it more, we’ve come to appreciate that there’s a range of difficulties and deficits that runs from very mild to severe. What was originally described back in the 1940s would today be considered on the severe end of the spectrum. In the DSM-5, which came out in 2013, they changed the name of the disorder to autism spectrum disorder to capture this range of difficulties. At the most extreme end, you have kids who have no eye contact, no language and repetitive motor behaviors that almost everyone would recognize. But now we’ve come to appreciate that many more kids have more subtle difficulties in processing emotional and social cues. And those kids are also considered to have autism spectrum disorder. As that happened, the numbers of cases have increased and prevalence of autism went from 4-5:10,000 in the 1970s to the most current figures of 1:59. And that’s mostly because we’ve become better at looking for and appreciating the subtleties and including these milder cases. Q: So there hasn’t been a rise, overall, in autism then? A: There’s still some question as to whether there’s been an absolute increase in the prevalence of autism. A lot of people think there has been, but it’s been very difficult to establish for sure. And we have not identified a reason for an increase although there has been much speculation about that. Many people have looked high and low for factors that could have caused an increase. Nothing’s really been identified. It’s possible in 10 or 20 years, we may identify something in the environment that has produced a real increase, but by and large we know most of the increase is due to better recognition and broader criteria.


Name: David L. Kaye, M.D. Position: Professor of psychiatry and vice-chairman of academic affairs, Department of Psychiatry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo and a physician with UBMD Psychiatry Hometown: Chicago Education: Medical degree from University of Vermont (1977); residency in psychiatry, University of Wisconsin (1980); residency, child and adolescent psychiatry, University of Wisconsin (1982) Affiliations: Erie County Medical Center Organizations: American Psychiatric Association; American College of Psychiatrists; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Family: Two daughters Hobbies: Playing music

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25 U.S. Kids Treated in ERs Every Hour for Bike Injuries


ore than 2.2 million American children a year — or about 25 an hour — were treated in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries over a 10year period, a new study finds. “The good news is that the rate of injury declined over the course of the study. Still, far too many children are being seriously hurt on their bikes,” said lead author Lara McKenzie. She’s principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “The best place to start is with a well-fitted helmet. The study found that children who were not wearing a helmet when they were injured were more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries and to be hospitalized,” McKenzie said in a hospital news release. Parents should look for a helmet with a sticker showing it is certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. McKenzie said it’s a good idea to let children help with the shopping so they can pick a hel-

met they like and will want to wear. Proper fit is important. The helmet straps should form a “V” around the ears. The chin strap should be snug, but children should be able to fully open their mouths. A space about the width of two fingers between the eyebrows and the edge of the helmet will ensure it’s protecting the front of the head but not blocking their view, McKenzie said. “Once they have a fitted helmet, parents should also make sure their kids have the proper education before they pedal away, especially if they are going to be riding in the street,” McKenzie advised. She noted that injuries involving motor vehicles more than doubled the odds of a traumatic brain injury and more than quadrupled the odds of hospitalization. Children should use bike paths where available. But experts say local officials need to make roads safer for cyclists through “Share the Road” initiatives, dedicated bike lanes and bicycle education programs.

Serving Western New York A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. Distribution: 32,500 copies throughout more than 1,500 high traffic locations in the region In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2018 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. 3380 Sheridan Dr., # 251 • P.O. Box 550, Amherst NY 14226 Phone: 716-332-0640 • Fax: 716-332-0779 • Email:

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7/19/18 12:37 PM

Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

‘Tis the Travel Season: Be it Near or Far — Go It Alone


t’s that time of year — the travel season — and I’m already contemplating an August adventure with just “me, myself and I.” It might be a weekend away for a change of pace or a slightly longer excursion to clear my head and broaden my horizons. I look forward to my solo summer retreats, and always return home feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on what’s next. If you’ve never traveled alone, I highly recommend it. Time with yourself on the road is ripe with opportunities for self-discovery and growth. And it can be great fun! Here are a few good reasons to pack your bags and head out on your own: nYou call the shots. When you travel alone, you are free to see and do whatever tickles your fancy. Your decisions and itinerary are your own. And when that’s the case, you are reminded of who you are, what you enjoy doing the most and what you

like least. When you travel with others, their interests may not always align with yours, and precious time can be consumed with the inevitable negotiations that come with trying to satisfy everyone’s needs and desires. Travel alone, and you’ll discover the joy of listening to and following your own heart. n You meet new people more easily. I’ve discovered this time and time again. On my own, I’m more inclined to strike up a conversation with other travelers and “locals.” As a result, I’ve met so many nice, interesting and helpful people. And I often come away with great ideas and tips on new things to do, places to visit and restaurants to try. When traveling with friends and family, we have a natural tendency to stay focused on each other and may, therefore, lose the chance to meet people we might otherwise have met and enjoyed.

n You can release your adventurous spirit. On your own (with no one watching), you may be willing to try some things outside your comfort zone — take a balloon ride, soar on a zip line, join a “for singles only” biking tour or swim with dolphins. While not exactly a thrill seeker, I have sampled some pretty exotic food, wrestled Old Paint into submission on a horse trail in Costa Rica, repelled down a Colorado cliff, and white-knuckled it in a white-water raft. n Likewise, you can find some heavenly time to yourself. As a solo traveler, the opportunity for a tranquil, soul-soothing retreat is within your grasp. This is a little more up my alley, and I welcome the chance to spend as much quiet time — “me time” — as I wish. Solo trips afford this guilt-free opportunity. Want to sleep in until noon, sip tea with a good book all afternoon in a Paris cafe, enjoy a spa day or take a peaceful hike by yourself ? Go for it, because you can. n You learn a new language faster. Je peux en témoigner! (I can vouch for that!). When traveling alone in France, I was forced to make sense of the language. It was either that or go hungry. Without a traveling companion to help with translation, I was on my own. While I am far from fluent in French, I can now express simple greetings, ask for directions, and order a croque-monsieur — a popular French hot ham and cheese sandwich. Want to learn a language more

quickly? Travel alone. Here’s a tip: Download a language translation app or tool. There are many excellent (and free) options available. Check ‘em out! n You build your confidence and sense of independence. Even a small jaunt can boost your self-confidence. All the decisions are yours, including your budget. You decide how to get where you’re going, where to stay, and how much to spend on transportation, food, accommodations, and things to do. In no time, you’ll discover your own resourcefulness, ability to solve problems, and capacity to spend some time alone. The experience will challenge your limits, creativity, and coping ability — all of which will help you become a stronger person and grow as a traveler. So, I hope you’ll consider a little solo travel this month. Set out on an adventure with a spring in your step and anticipation for all the hidden treasures you’ll discover. Be it near or far . . . go it alone!

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon. To purchase her new book “Alone and Content” visit For information about her upcoming workshops or to invite her to speak, visit, call 585-624-7887, or email gvoelckers@

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Families enjoy the Urban Family Practice Health Fair on Niagara Street July 21.

UFP Health Fair Reflects Revitalization of Niagara Street


rban Family Practice (UFP) recently closed Niagara Street between Jersey Street and Pennsylvania Avenue for the 2018 Urban Family Practice Health Fair. The event, held July 21, celebrated the community and the role UFP has played on the west side of Buffalo for over 20 years. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and state Sen. Tim Kennedy both spoke at the fair. United Healthcare Community Plan sponsored the festival. The area is experiencing a resurgence and has blossomed in the past year since UFP and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) opened

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

their new facility at 564 Niagara St., bringing growth and opportunity to the community. More than 50,000 patients walk through the doors of the facility each year. “Urban Family Practice connects residents to vital primary care services that enable them to improve their quality of life,” said physician Raul Vazquez, Urban Family Practice chief executive officer. “Once a community is healthy, it starts to thrive, and that is what we’re seeing here. Bringing in the patients also creates a need for various types of commerce, and we are watching businesses come to the lower west side creating jobs and opportunities.”

U.S. News Ranks Best Children’s Hospitals


or the fifth year in a row, Boston Children’s Hospital is the No. 1 children’s hospital in the U.S., according to latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Ten hospitals earned a place on the magazine’s 2018-2019 honor roll of children’s hospitals, with a few changes from last year. Taking the No. 2 spot this year is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, up from No. 3 in last year’s ranking, while Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia drops to No. 3 this year, down from No. 2 last year. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, remains in the No. 4 spot. Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, made the biggest jump, going from No. 9 to No. 5 on the honor roll. Children’s Hospital of Colorado is a newcomer to the top 10 this year, taking the No. 9 spot from Children’s

Aurora 10 – Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, which dropped out of the top 10 this year. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago dropped from No. 7 to No. 10. Here is the complete list:

1 – Boston Children’s Hospital 2 – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Medical Center 3 – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 4 – Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston 5 – Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC 6 – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles 7 – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH 8 – Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore 9 – Children’s Hospital Colorado,

Each year, U.S. News & World Report ranks the top 10 children’s hospitals for each of 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. The top children’s hospitals in the 10 specialties are as follows: n Cancer: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center n Cardiology & heart surgery: Texas Children’s Hospital n Diabetes & endocrinology: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia n Gastroenterology & GI surgery: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center n Neonatology: Children’s National Medical Center n Nephrology: Boston Children’s Hospital n Neurology & neurosurgery: Boston Children’s Hospital n Orthopedics: Boston Children’s

Hospital n Pulmonology: Texas Children’s Hospital n Urology: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia “Having a child who is born with or develops a serious illness is one of the most difficult situations a parent can face,” Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News & World Report, says in a news release. “Our best children’s hospitals rankings are designed with parents and young patients in mind. By having access to the most comprehensive data available to supplement guidance from their pediatrician, families are able to make better-informed decisions about where to seek high quality care for their children,” Harder says. For this year’s rankings, U.S. News & World Report analyzed data from 189 pediatric centers, of which 86 were ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty. RTI International, a research and consulting firm based in North Carolina, collected the data and analyzed the results with assistance from more than 100 medical directors, pediatric specialists, and other experts.

Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

Oops! The Doctor Is Out-ofNetwork. You Pay the Bill Now


here are the bills you receive unexpectedly from “out-of-network” providers. The best example is when you go to your participating “in-network” hospital emergency room only to find that the physicians working in the ER are, unbeknownst to you, out of network. So you must pay the difference between their charge and what your insurance company typically pays for in network physicians. This can also happen with anesthesia bills. The trusting consumer logically believes if their hospital is “in-network,” so would

be the physicians who work there. The Harvard Global Institute thinks this is absurd and let a Senate committee know it, arguing it’s unethical if not illegal. It’s asking Congress to do something about it. Way back in 2011, a NYS study revealed patients paid an average $3,800 to out-of-network emergency room physicians. This would not be a problem in the first place if hospital CEOs either refused to do business with out-of-network physicians or at least paid for the difference since the patient is rarely informed in advance. 

ACA 2018 Thanks to market uncertainty and the end of the individual mandate to have insurance, enrollment is going down. No one is surprised. A total of 11.8 million people signed up for coverage to begin 2018, but 1.1 million decided not to pay the premium. That left 10.7 million participants as of February 2018. Industry experts believe the number will drop further throughout the year as the current federal administration continues to undermine/ sabotage the law, wanting to end the federal exchanges by 2020. Since the feds have yet to come up with a viable alternative for people seeking adequate health insurance coverage, many states will take on the charge. 

by 9 percent. This is already the second time this year Pfizer has raised prices. Industry experts say this is another example of a drug manufacturer protecting profits from being negatively impacted by potential government intervention and the increasing bargaining power of pharmacy benefit managers that purchase drugs on behalf of huge health plans with millions of members. While PBMs “brag” they negotiated a 25 percent discount, that is only after drug manufactures raised their prices by double digits. No one really knows what the actual price of any drug is anymore. While the White House has basically paid lip service to controlling the exorbitant prices of drugs in the US, the American Association of Insurance Plans (AHIP) is taking matters into its own hands. They have promoted Matt Eyles to be their CEO. Before joining the AHIP three years ago as an analyst, Eyles worked as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical

Big Pharma Pfizer recently raised the price of 40 drugs, (including cancer pills, blood pressure pills and pain pills),

industry. He now sits on the other side of the fence. He wants to make drug pricing a primary focus as drugs account for almost 30 percent of what an insurance plan pays out in claims. Over the years, out-of-pocket costs for consumers for drugs have increased substantially.    Lobbyists Control Washington… …and even when it comes to mother’s milk. At the recent convocation of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, US representatives, caving to pressure from baby formula manufacturers, refused to endorse a simple resolution promoting a mother’s natural milk as the healthiest choice for babies. The US threatened to sanction or withdraw military protection from any country that attempted to introduce the resolution.   OB-GYN Shortage According to a recent study by Doximity, a social network for physicians, the predicted shortage of OB-GYNs has already hit several large metropolitan areas, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando. These cities also tend to have higher-than-average numbers of women in child bearing years. The shortage is being exacerbated by over worked physicians retiring earlier from the delivery component of their practices to focus on more schedulefriendly gynecology. Certified nurse midwives could be a partial solution but physicians and hospitals still typically oppose that solution. CNMs are more prevalent in other countries. Currently, 60 percent of OB-GYNs are women and the percentage of male OB-GYNs drops every year.    Cost of Care in the US. We outspend every developed country in the world… by far. All agree it costs way too much and something needs to be done before healthcare bankrupts the US. It is

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now 20 percent of our GDP. With so many vested interests (Big Pharma, insurance companies, hospitals, device manufacturers and even baby formula producers), experts don’t have many solutions. On average, our utilization of healthcare is on par with other developed countries. We just spend two to three times more for services than they do. Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, resignedly said, “There is nobody I know that has all the answers, and what we need is a lot more experimentation.” Other countries have shown they can provide similar quality for far less. Until we address lobbying in Congress, real change in our costs will not be brought about by continued “experimentation” which unfortunately ignores the elephant in the room. Googled health problems. Here are the most “googled” health problems by selected states. (Draw your own conclusions.) New York: breast cancer. Minnesota: hemorrhoids. Missouri: ADHD. Nebraska: anorexia. South Dakota: insomnia. Utah: Hashimoto’s disease (basically inflamed thyroid). Vermont: opioid addiction. West Virginia: porn addiction. Yes, porn addiction. Connecticut: “quarter” (not mid) life crisis. Iowa: binge drinking. And finally….California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania: syphilis.

George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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The skinny on healthy eating

Why Cherry Tomatoes Are So Good for You


herry tomatoes, like all tomatoes, often make superfood lists, a designation that cheers my heart, my eyes, my skin and my constant worry about cancer. Since my husband and I eat a lot of cherry tomatoes, it’s great to know that this portable superfood can do more than just help us meet our nutritional needs — it can also help us achieve better health, prevent chronic disease, keep aging at bay and improve the way we feel. Cherry tomatoes are antioxidant superstars, boasting impressive amounts of the particular vitamins (A and C) and phytochemicals (lycopene) that protect us from cancer and other debilitating diseases by preventing the growth of harmful free radicals. Although free radicals are produced naturally in the body, lifestyle factors — such as exposure to pesticides, smoking, alcohol and fried foods — can accelerate their production. Many experts agree that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can make a healthy

difference. These little globes of goodness are also a decent source of potassium, providing nearly as much potassium as a medium banana. Eating more potassium-rich foods lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of stroke, reduces the formation of kidney stones, and supports bone and muscle strength. What’s more, cherry tomatoes are really good for eyes, thanks to their unique mix of nutrients — from vitamin A that retinas depend on to function to the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin that protect eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. One study showed that people who ate foods rich in zeaxanthin may be half as likely to get cataracts, while another study showed that increased consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin may slow the progression of macular degeneration. Remarkably low in calories for such a nutrient-dense food, waistlinefriendly cherry tomatoes are also low in sodium, fat and cholesterol.

Helpful tips

Choose cherry tomatoes with firm, bright skins and a fresh tomato-y scent. Store them at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for best flavor and to avoid the mealy texture that can result from refrigeration. If, however, your tomatoes are ripe and you won’t be eating them in the next few days, you might want to store in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling quickly. Before eating refrigerated tomatoes, put them out at room temperature for at least an hour.

Cherry Tomato and Avocado Salad 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 2 avocados, diced 1 medium carrot, shredded ½ red onion, diced (optional) 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional) 1 lime, juiced 1 clove garlic, minced 1½ tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or cilantro ½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Place tomatoes, avocados, carrot, onion, and jalapeno into a medium salad bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper until blended; stir in herbs. Pour over tomato mixture and gently toss. Top with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

nist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at

Pharmacy Technician: Promising Career in Healthcare Career accepts high school graduates with no experience. The annual mean wage in the Buffalo area is $29,891 By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


he outlook for the career of pharmacy technician is bright for the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS forecasts job growth for pharmacy technicians at about 12 percent between 2012 and 2026, which is faster than average for all other job titles. The pay is good, considering that it’s a career that accepts high school graduates with no experience and offers on-the-job training. The annual mean wage in the Buffalo area is $29,891. The BLS also states that in the Buffalo area, 1,370 people work as pharmacy technicians. The growth in the pharmacy tech career is partly because of the growing population of aging Baby Boomers and their increasing need for medication. “Here in Buffalo, there is a dramatic need for pharmacy technicians,” said Wendy Arndt Hunt, project director for the pharmacy technician program at Erie Community College. “I have hospital Page 10

and retail managers calling me frequently asking for part-time and full-time pharmacy technicians and I cannot graduate enough people to meet that need.” Their work locations vary much more widely than the white-coated professional behind your local drugstore counter. They can work in general and surgical hospital settings, independent doctor’s offices, industrial settings, drug stores and general food store locations. The latter two categories may involve more personal contact with patients. Pharmacy techs working in industrial settings and hospitals tend to make more money, but may require education and/or experience. Pharmacy technicians work in ways they hadn’t previously, according to Hunt. “They can be in hospitals preparing IVs, working at medical marijuana sites, or at distribution sites like McKesson,” Hunt said. As a recipient of a federal Health

Profession Opportunity Grant, Erie Community College works in affiliation with University at Buffalo to offer the classes free to financially eligible and qualified applicants. The school offers an 11-week, 302-hour course after which students can begin working at up to $17 per hour. “A while back, the federal government realized there was a need for health care workers, with pharmacy technicians being one of them,” Hunt said. She said that compared with some four-year degrees that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition and result in little guarantee of work or work paying enough to conquer that debt the pharmacy technician program is pretty good. The program also provides a low-risk means of learning if the medical field is the right fit and provide goodpaying employment while pursuing

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

further education. Good math skills, attention to detail, coursework and passing the pharmacy technician board exam are helpful to becoming a pharmacy technician. The classes and exam aren’t a state requirement some employers don’t require it but they help. Instead of formal classes, wouldbe pharmacy techs can also study textbooks on the subject and then take the exam, but it’s not easy. Pharmacy techs can look forward to several career opportunities by cross training to become supervisors or work in a variety of ways as specialists. “One of the very nice thing about this program is when someone comes through the program and works six months, they can come back for more training,” Hunt said.

New Apps Pay You to Walk

Forget about bitcoins. The new thing now is ‘Sweatcoins’ — the more you walk, the more you earn By Julie Halm


ouldn’t it be nice if someone would pay you just to take a stroll? It turns out the notion is not, in fact, far-fetched at all. There are several apps on the market that claim to do this and as a mom of a young boy with whom I go on walks every day, I thought I’d give one of them a try. Why not make a little cash for something I’m already doing? My initial download was Bitwalking. What attracted me about this particular app was that it claimed to have a global outlook and aimed to “reset the balance of global wealth.” Essentially, users all over the world could generate this cryptocurrency by moving and they would be paid the same no matter where they are. You could also send your currency to other users who perhaps need the funds more. In addition, the program claims that it does not sell your data and doesn’t have advertisements. It seemed like a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, I had trouble downloading the app and getting the access code to my account. Once I was in, I couldn’t find a clear answer as to how to redeem my cryptocurrency for anything and a Google search didn’t turn up any useful answers either. Frustrated, I quickly deleted it from my phone. I went on the hunt for another app to download and came across Sweatcoin. The Pros Sweatcoin does not pay you in dollars and cents. Instead, you accrue cryptocurrency by the same name as the app. According to the fine print of the program, 1,000 steps will get you one Sweatcoin, minus a 5 percent commission. I found that while I had my phone in my pocket, the tracked steps were nearly identical to what my Garmin Vivofit was counting.

Once it converted, however, I found that I sometimes lost some of my steps. Different settings on your phone can affect this conversion and only outdoor steps count toward your Sweatcoin bank, but we’ll come back to those topics in a moment. On the basic account, you can earn up to five Sweatcoins per day. For a fee of 20 Sweatcoins a month, you can upgrade your account to earn as much as 20 Sweatcoins per day. When I joined, each membership offered a trial run of a month, but recently it downgraded to seven days per trial. The prizes are cool, no doubt about it. Gift cards to Forever 21, Nike and Xbox as well as Delta Airways credits, audiobooks, temporary membership to a coffee club, an iPhone 8 and even $1,000 PayPal cash have come across the store dashboard since I joined last month. This app also certainly provided me motivation as well. Although I was already up off the couch on a regular basis, my walks with my little guy became a bit longer and an extra evening stroll became a more regular part of our routine. The Cons I have a fairly new phone with a relatively good battery life, but Sweatcoin gives it a run for its money. In order to properly track steps, the program must always be running in the background. This can be a real downside for someone who doesn’t have a place to recharge midday or has a battery that already struggles to make it through. The app doesn’t currently count steps taken indoors, so those fitness classes and treks on the treadmill won’t generate any cryptocash. In a climate such as ours, that might make the app seem a little superfluous during the long winter months when strolls outside are not exactly pleasant.

How Apps Pay Most apps don’t pay out cash directly. Several of them pay what is known as cryptocurrency. The definition of cryptocurrency is “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.” What this means for you as a user is that it is essentially a foreign currency that can only be used in a practical sense in particular venues, typically, the app’s store. Some apps let you accrue points which can then be cashed in for prizes, deals, or in rare cases, cash. Achievement is the exception to the rule, paying directly through PayPal, however the sum of money users receive will be reduced by a fee when the cash is transferred. I did find that while my walks with my son got longer, I found myself pulling out my phone all too frequently to check how my steps were doing. It was a distraction from our usual bonding time — and for me, that was certainly a drawback. While the potential rewards are great, some are obtainable while some are nearly impossible to earn. The box of different coffees that I thought might make a great present for my mom was a mere five Sweatcoins plus shipping which was less than $4. What had caught my eye initially, thought, was $1,000 through PayPal. That reward, however, is a whopping $20,000. Even with the highest membership, the cash would take nearly three years to earn. That

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would also necessitate walking more than 20,000 steps outdoors each day, which is roughly 10 miles, depending on your stride length. So if you’re in it for the big ticket items, you might have to rethink your strategy. During the course of roughly a month, I have earned about 80 Sweatcoin and traded five of them in for a two-month subscribtion to the digital book platform called Scribd. The Gray Area In an interview with the New York Times at the beginning of the year, the founders of the app said that they do not and will not sell users’ data to third parties. The app reportedly generates revenue by marketing the products of third party vendors to its users. One must be conscious that their data is being collected however and such a promise shouldn’t be taken as a guarantee. The Alternatives There are dozens of apps on the market that claim to pay or reward users for their physical actvities. If you are looking for something philanthropic, Charity Miles allows you to earn money and then donate it to any one of more than two dozen charities. Bounts claims to give rewards for all kinds of activities and the plus is that it can be linked to other fitness trackers, so you need not have your phone on you at all times. The store looks as though it doesn’t offer much, however. The app called Achievement pays out actual cash via PayPal, unlike many other apps. The drawback seems to be that it takes quite some time to earn a fairly minimal bit of money. You can earn up to 80 points a day and you need a whopping 10,000 points to earn $10.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Back to School

Easing Back in to Back-to-School Mode By Nancy Cardillo


eems like just yesterday you were cleaning out the backpacks, replacing the school clothes with shorts and T-shirts and trying to figure out how to keep the kids busy over the summer months. And now, in just a few short weeks, the new school year will be starting. Back-to-school sales are in full swing and while the kids are still

enjoying those final few weeks of summer fun, smart parents are already thinking about the new school year. The start of every school year can be hectic and anxiety-ridden for the whole family, but with a little advance planning, you can enjoy a smooth transition from bikes to books. Here are a few tips to help you:

Ease back into school bedtimes

the going-to-bed time you want to achieve. About two weeks before the first day of school, move bedtimes up by 20 minutes every three days or so. At the same time, have your child start waking up each day at the time he or she will need to arise on school days. Making this transition slowly will be much easier — for everyone. (Assume, too, your child will be a bit too anxious or excited the night before school starts to get to bed at the appointed hour, and that’s OK. Don’t add to the pressure just go with it).

Chances are, your kids have been staying up later and sleeping in more often this summer. Those irregular hours can make adjusting back into “school sleep mode” more difficult — unless you start early. Here’s how: figure out what time your child needs to get out of bed on school mornings to get to school (or the bus) on time. Be sure to factor in some extra time for lost homework, slow eaters, etc. Then, count back eight or nine hours and that’s Shop for school supplies together Those back-to-school sales are already happening, so there’s no excuse for waiting until the last minute to stock up on folders, paper and clothing. Get hold of your child’s classroom supply list (if there is one) and shop together Discuss your child’s feelings That first day of school, whether you’re at a new school or the same school, can be scary. Talk to your child to find out whether anything is making him anxious. Assure your child everyone is

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for needed items. Involve your child in the decision-making process by allowing him to, say, choose the color of the folders or a favorite character themed composition book. Go through closets and drawers ahead of time to determine what new clothes will be needed (you’ll be surprised how all that summer air, exercise and fun food can fuel growth) and donate or toss any clothes they’ve outgrown. Take your child with you when you shop so he or she can participate in the selections. (This is also a good opportunity to teach your kids about money, shopping for bargains and good values). nervous the first few days, even the teachers. Let him know what his schedule will be, what time he has to catch the bus, what time school starts and ends, who will pick him up (if applicable) and where he will go after school (if not home). If possible, visit the school to familiarize your child with the building, the route to his classroom and/or locker and to meet his teacher. Find a neighborhood buddy with whom your child can walk to school or the bus. The more information you arm your child with, the smoother the start to the school year.

Reset eating habits and times Summer is full of delicious snacks and treats — such as ice cream, watermelon, hot dogs and hamburgers — and mealtimes can often be hurried, at odd times or poolside. Start getting the entire family back in to school mode by creating set meal times, at least for dinner. Ease out of all-day snacking, fast food meals and binge eating and get back to those well-rounded healthier meals for everyone.

Set up a homework station OK, it might be the dining room table or the kitchen island. As long as it’s quiet, there’s good lighting and few distractions, having a set place to go each day to do homework will help your child develop good study habits and maintain routine (and, hopefully, good grades).

Schedule your child’s annual checkup Make sure your child is up to date on immunizations and that you are fully aware of any allergies. Renew any prescriptions your child takes and alert the school nurse of any medical information or special dietary needs for your child. Don’t forget to visit the dentist for a cleaning and exam, too! Let’s celebrate! Before everyone heads back to school and the days become filled with homework, piano lessons, soccer games and recitals, schedule a family day of fun. Everyone can vote on what he or she would like to do and the family can decide as whole what the adventure will be. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, the movies or an amusement park — or just a

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

simple family picnic in the park (with everyone’s favorite foods, of course!) — doesn’t matter, as long as the family is together and having fun. And remember: even though summer is over and school has begun, your kids can still stay connected to nature. Make sure they get some outside time after school. Schedule some one-on-one time with your kids when you can, so they can also stay connected to you!

Happy new school year!

Addiction or Harmless Pastime? How bad is the excessive use of smartphones? A therapist plans to start a group for people addicted to digital device use By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Remember when car phones were a novelty business tool? Now it seems like everyone over 5 totes a smartphone or tablet everywhere and uses it constantly. That impression isn’t far from the truth. eMarketer, a market research company based in New York City, released a study in 2016 stating that mobile device users spend more than four hours a day on their devices — tablets and smartphones. The study did not distinguish between leisure use and business use; however, four hours a day is a lot of time regardless of why.

“Yes, it is an addiction,” said Timothy William Logsdon, licensed mental health counselor and owner of Inner Quest Counseling in Amherst. Like other addictive behaviors, such as gambling, using mobile devices provides positive reinforcement to reward their use. It differs from an obsession, which is fixating on something that’s irrational. “Brain studies show that the same circuits that are altered with drug and alcohol addiction are also altered with process addiction, things like gambling, food, video games,

internet and smartphones,” said Logsdon. What makes it difficult to understand is that plenty of people use devices for extended periods of time without becoming addicted. The difference lies in the reasons for and the consequences of their use. Logsdon said that the issue has become so widespread that he plans to start a group in Amherst for people addicted to digital device use. He said that he has talked with a school counselor about working with children, but was told that both the parents and students remain in denial about the extent of their use.

“They’re at a game and the kids are on the phone until the ball drops and the parents are on their phones the whole game,” Logsdon said. Mobile devices have progressed from novelty to necessity, displacing the need for other means of entertainment, communication, information, and accomplishing an ever-widening array of tasks. Since devices can do more, people become more reliant upon them. Logsdon recommends that people who recognize they may be addicted to try to exercise “digital hygiene” to reduce use. For example, turning off alerts and ringers during meals, family time and overnight. “If you scale back and fail and try again, that is a sign of an addiction,” Logsdon said. “You may need a professional, self-help group or someone who’s been through the same thing.” Telling the difference between harmless smartphone use and addictive behavior may have to do with the effect of use on others. “Does a behavior that have multiple negative consequences in different areas of their lives?” said physician Michael Cummings, assistant professor and vice chairman, department of psychiatry, University at Buffalo, and associate medical director, Erie County Medical Center. He also added that the amount of time spent is another factor in determining addictive behavior, as well as how important that time becomes to users. “When Farmville came out, it was a cute little pastime,” Cummings said. “I remember at one point driving home thinking, ‘If I don’t get home in time, I won’t be able to plant my crops.’” When he realized that he was adjusting his schedule to play a game, Cummings scaled back. For people who continue to struggle with their use of this type of technology, therapeutic interventions may become available. “If we develop treatments, I think it will be similar to that for gambling,” Cummings said.

You Are A Smartphone Addict When…

P offers the following self-assessment for smartphone addiction. This self-assessment is not meant to officially diagnose you with cell phone addiction. If you are concerned about your problematic behaviors, speak to your doctor or mental health professional about possible treatment. 1 Do you find yourself spending more time on your smartphone than you realize? 2 Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis by staring at your smartphone even though there might be better or more productive things to do? 3 Do you seem to lose track of time when on your cell phone? 4 Do you find yourself spending more time texting, tweeting or emailing as opposed to talking to real-time people? 5 Has the amount of time you spend on your cell phone been increasing? 6 Do you secretly wish you could be a little less wired or connected to your cell phone?

7 Do you sleep with your smartphone on or under your pillow or next to your bed regularly? 8 Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets, and emails at all hours of the day and night, even when it means interrupting other things you are doing? 9 Do you text, email, tweet, or surf the internet while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration? 10 Do you feel your use of your cell phone actually decreases your productivity at times? 11 Do you feel reluctant to be without your smartphone, even for a short time? 12 When you leave the house, you ALWAYS have your smartphone with you and you feel ill-at-ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your smartphone in the car or at home, or you have no service, or it is broken? 13 When you eat meals, is your cell phone always part of the table

place setting? 14 When your phone rings, beeps, buzzes, do you feel an intense urge to check for texts, tweets, or emails, updates, etc.?

August 2018 •

15 Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your phone many times a day even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see?

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

Golden Years

Trend: Living-Apart-Together Couples Ebeth,81, and John, 82, are just not ready to live together By Deborah J. Sergeant


lizabeth “Ebeth” Merkle and John Denninger of Rochester go dancing weekly, eat out often and attend festivals and other events together. Though the sweethearts have assigned each other pet names and swoon at “their” song, the couple has no plans to marry. Merkle, 81, and Denninger, 82, offer an example of what demographers call a “living apart together” (LAT) couple: romantic partners who date but never wed or cohabitate. Research presented in April 2018 by Huijing Wu, a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, stated that of the 50-plus-aged people surveyed who were coupled, 39 percent were in LAT relationships, 31 percent were dating and 30 percent lived together outside of marriage. With older adults remaining healthier longer, and with more opportunities to socialize such as various senior groups and meetups, it’s not surprising more find someone special. That’s how Merkle and Denninger met nearly two years ago while eating at the cafe at the Lily Cafe at the Maplewood Family YMCA in a Rochester suburb. “He asked if anyone had any coupons to take his daughter out to dinner,” Merkle recalled. “I had scads of them. I took them in for him and he used them. He asked if he could take me out to thank me.” She said that Denninger had been a widower of 21 years at that point and craved socializing. As a widow of five years, she felt the same way. They had enjoyed spending time at Lifespan and going to the YMCA, but together, the couple really sparked. They established a ritual of dancing at Johnny Matt’s in Webster Fridays. “We need sociability, companionship, understanding and the feeling that somebody cares,” Merkle said. “The people who enjoy being alone are different type of people. Everyone is gregarious in their own ways, but we can’t believe the fun and laughter we have. We just click. John says, ‘If you’re over 80, there’s still a chance for life and love.’” Merkle said that she’s heard many people her age saying they’re finding a second chance at love, but they’re not interested in marriage, either. LAT works for them as well. “When you’re 80 and the government steps in, they take so much out of your Social Security if you’re a family unit,” Merkle said. She and Denninger also prize their independence and living arrangements. Unlike couples just starting out, they both have entire households full of furnishings. Combining this aspect of their lives would likely involve paring down their belongings. LAT makes life easier. She owns a dog and cat; he has Page 14

Trendy couple: Elizabeth “Ebeth” Merkle and John Denninger are part of a growing number of older couple who are “couple” but never wed or cohabitate. five dogs. She likes to play cards and attend Red Hat Society meetings. He likes working out at the YMCA. But getting together for dates and outings suits them fine. “I didn’t look for this; believe me,” Merkle said. “We both had very happy relationships, each raising three children.” The couple has enjoyed their time together so much that they hosted a commitment ceremony at the Lily Cafe on — what else? — Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2018, but

they’re not married. Merkle said they’re happy without marriage. “Even thinking about the times we spend together, I just glow,” Merkle said. “We have nicknames. We have ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as our theme song. He asked, ‘How did you get with a beast like me?’ and calls me ‘Beauty.’” It may seem like couples this age would partner more traditionally. But with marriage comes more responsibility. “This isn’t the 50s anymore,” said

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

Rachel McCarley, licensed clinical social worker and owner of Rachel’s Experience, Inc. in Buffalo. “People are experiencing different things in their relationships.” Keeping up some boundaries can prevent complicating their lives at a time when many want more simplicity. Robert S. Stall, geriatrician and owner of Stall Senior Medical in Amherst, said that a LAT relationship benefits health. “I try to foster whatever’s going to maximize that person’s personal happiness,” Stall said. “As people get older, their circle of human contacts shrinks. To have someone to maintain and expand that, it helps make life worth living. You have someone you enjoy spending time with.” Maintaining strong social relationships correlates with many facets of good health for older adults, from reduced stress to better eating habits. Despite their departure from the traditional relationship patterns LAT couples may have experienced in the past, “a lot of people are very happy with that kind of relationship,” Stall said. “When you live alone, you can do what you want to do when you want to do it. You don’t have to accommodate the other person’s quirks and habits that might be annoying.” LAT couples also don’t have to change or share their financial arrangements and resources. While this level of autonomy is good in this area, it may not work in all areas of life. Should a health emergency arise, a LAT partner won’t have legal power to help make any health decisions. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) even prohibits providers from sharing medical information without a legal sign-off from the patient. Merkle said that in her case, both their families approve of their relationship and would let the other know if a medical emergency arises. For LAT couples where this isn’t the case, signing paperwork at their doctor’s office and within their health system can help their significant other gain access to their health information. The health care proxy is a different legal instrument that designates the person who makes health care decisions. Oftentimes, people designate an adult child to fill that role. For now, Merkle and Denninger take life one day at a time. “It’s just magic how every day is another great day,” Merkle said. “You should be able to get up and enjoy every day. We’re spontaneous and it’s fun. Nothing has to be planned and promised.”

Golden Years

Some seniors don’t have a normal thirst mechanism and don’t recognize when they’re dehydrated, according to physician Daniel Ari Mendelson of U of R. That’s why they need to make sure they drink enough water.

Excessive Heat Poses Risks for Older Adults By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


or most people, extremely hot weather is a bit of a nuisance and fodder for light conversation. For elderly people, hot weather can be deadly. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “since 1999, people aged 65-plus have been several times more likely to die from heat-related cardiovascular disease than the general population.” Heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, pale and clammy skin, body temperature between 100 and 104 degrees, and dizziness, can progress into heat

stroke, a life-threatening state in which patients manifest flushed, hot skin; less sweating because of dehydration; disorientation or fainting; rapid respiration; and high or low blood pressure. So why are older adults more prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke? “As people age, they lose their ability to perspire and regulate their body temperature,” said physician Gale R. Burstein, Erie County Department of Health Commissioner. “They lose their sensation of heat or cold. It’s difficult to self-regulate. Their heart rates don’t speed up or

Alzheimer’s Vs. Dementia: What’s the Difference? By Jim Miller


any people use the words “Alzheimer’s disease” and “dementia” interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. In fact, you can have a form of dementia that is completely unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s what you should know.

Dementia versus Alzheimer’s Dementia is a general term for a set of symptoms that includes memory loss, impaired communication skills, a decline in reasoning and changes in behavior. It most commonly strikes elderly people and

slow down. Their skin is thinner and not as good a protector.” Burstein said that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are at risk of heat related illness because it’s difficult for them to perceive and communicate feelings of hot and cold. They may take maintenance drugs that compromise their body’s Burstein ability to stay cool. They may not drink enough fluids so they won’t have to take so many trips to the bathroom; however, that can lead to dehydration. Sensitivity for heat worsens the more dehydrated the person becomes; that’s why sufficient hydration represents the first step in combating heatstroke. Small quantities of dark urine can indicate serious dehydration. Burstein said that waiting until feeling thirsty is too long; that’s the signal for dehydration. Drinking caffeinated beverages like cola, tea or coffee or drinking alcohol tend to further dehydrate people since they are diuretics. Water hydrates best. For people who don’t like the taste of water, adding slices of lemon or cucumber can flavor it. Some older adults take diuretic medication and should discuss with their doctors about adjusting the dose during hot weather. Temperatures peak between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during very hot days. Robert S. Stall, geriatrician and owner of Stall Senior Medical in Amherst, advises older adults to avoid going outdoors during periods

with heat and humidity warning. For example, garden very early in the morning or closer to sunset or consider hiring temporary help for weeding, pruning and mowing. Exercise in an air conditioned environment or go swimming. Many communities open their school pools for free recreational use. Libraries, churches, senior centers and shopping malls are also usually air conditioned places where older adults can spend the hottest hours of the day. Although air conditioners can make hot weather more comfortable, Stall said fans can help. Also, apply cool washcloths on the body periodically or take showers. Physician Anjeet K. Saini, assistant professor of medicine at UBMD Internal Medicine, division of geriatrics and palliative medicine, advises older adults to stay out of direct sunlight and to wear lighter, thinner clothing. “Never leave anyone in a parked car,” she said. It may take a little longer to walk an elderly passenger into the store, but staying out of the heat can be lifesaving. Parked cars can quickly become too hot inside, even with the windows down.

used to be referred to as senility. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific illness that is the most common cause of dementia. Though many diseases can cause dementia, Alzheimer’s — which affects 5.7 million Americans today — accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases, which is why you often hear the terms used interchangeably. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia like vascular dementia, which is the second most common cause, accounting for about 10 percent of dementia cases. Vascular dementia is caused by a stroke or poor blood flow to the brain. Other degenerative disorders that can cause dementia include Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Huntington’s disease and Korsakoff syndrome. Some patients may also have more than one form of dementia known as mixed dementia. Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells, but the symptoms can vary depending on the cause. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, protein fragments or plaques that accumulate in the space between nerve cells and twisted tangles of another protein that build up inside cells cause the damage. In Alzheimer’s disease, dementia

gets progressively worse to the point where patients cannot carry out daily activities and cannot speak, respond to their environment, swallow or walk. Although some treatments may temporarily ease symptoms, the downward progression of disease continues and it is not curable. But some forms of dementia are reversible, which is why it’s important to be evaluated by a physician early on. Vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, brain tumors, depression, excessive alcohol use, medication side effects and certain infectious diseases can cause reversible forms of dementia. Another treatable form of dementia is a condition known as normal pressure hydrocephalus, which is caused by a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain that can be relieved by surgically implanting a shunt to drain off excess fluid. This type of dementia is often preceded or accompanied by difficulty walking and incontinence. To learn more about the different types of dementia, including the symptoms, risks, causes and treatments visit the Alzheimer’s Association at

August 2018 •

Help Buying an AC People who need an air conditioner but cannot afford one may be eligible to receive up to $800 in help purchasing and installing a unit through the HEAP Cooling Assistance benefit through Aug. 31 or until funding runs out. Visit programs/heap/contacts to find your county’s contacts.

Jim Miller is the author of Savvy Senior, a column published every issue in this newspaper.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

Golden Years Hidden Problem:

Mental Health Problems Among Seniors Mental issues affecting senior population is largely overlooked By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ore than 15 percent of adults aged 60 and older experience mental health disorders, according to the World Health Organization. Many of those don’t receive proper treatment for conditions such as depression and anxiety. “Depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary care settings,” the World Health Organization states on its website. “Symptoms are often overlooked and untreated because they co-occur with other problems encountered by older adults.” Physician Anjeet K. Saini would agree. Saini is assistant professor of medicine at UBMD Internal Medicine, division of geriatrics and palliative medicine. “It’s unrecognized, or treated as ‘Oh they’re having a hard time coping with aging,’” Saini said. While Saini quipped that

“growing old isn’t for wimps” and most people do experience some struggles acclimating to the limitations of older age, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are not normal part of aging. Mental health issues are different from temporary adjustment to aging. For example, the American Psychiatric Association states that depression’s symptoms last two weeks or longer. An occasional feeling of sadness or grief from loss is different. “People like to blame old age, but mental illness is pathological,” Saini said. Young people experience depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, yet their age isn’t blamed for their conditions. But older adults may be more prone to mental health issues because of their life stage and the life changes that often come at that stage.

Geriatric Syndromes Require Special Care As we age, we become more likely to develop several co-occurring health problems that feed each other. These are called ‘geriatric syndromes’ By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ach individual’s health differs; however, “geriatric syndromes” describe a group of health concerns experienced by many older adults that often have multiple causes and involve different bodily parts and systems. These can include continence, sleep issues, cognitive issues, falls, osteoporosis and weight loss/frailty. For an older adult, incontinence could contribute to sleep issues and falls. Or weight loss and frailty from poor eating is often linked to osteoporosis, which would worsen the effect of a fall and lead to further frailty after a hip fracture. Geriatrician Robert E. Stall, owner of Stall Senior Medical in Amherst, said that a general practitioner or internist may not connect the syndromes as causal or even relational, but view them as separate conditions. “Geriatrician training is geared Page 16

toward complex medical conditions, multiple medication use and multiple medical problems,” Stall said. “Geriatrics takes a holistic look at a patient. As far as a syndrome, it’s a constellation of symptoms that can often be caused by many different things. It’s important to tease out what the symptoms are and what the patient’s usual baseline is and go through what might be potential cases of that syndrome.” Treating them as not related may reduce the overall effectiveness of the care provided to the patient. It can also contribute to secondary issues as more medications bring more side effects, according to Stall. Unfortunately, not every senior can see a fellowship-trained geriatrician like Stall. He said that internists and family medicine doctors with added geriatric qualifications can be next in line. With more providers looking

Many older adults possess fewer resources that support good mental health, such as a network of nearby loved ones, the ability to exercise vigorously, overall good physical health, and purposeful, engaging activity. Life changes such as retirement, loss of peers to death and relocation, encroaching physical limitations, and age-related physical issues all affect mental health. “Mental health issues are largely overlooked and under-diagnosed in older adults,” said Rachel McCarley, licensed clinical social worker, owns Rachel’s Experience, Inc. in Buffalo. She said that many people stereotypically think older adults simply experience mental health issues as a part of older age. “It’s not normal for an elderly person to develop depression, anxiety and things of that nature,” McCarley said. She views these as signs a person is deprived of an emotional, physical, or spiritual need. “When you lack these things, it opens the door for disease, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and cognitive issues as well.” Robert S. Stall, geriatrician and owner of Stall Senior Medical in Amherst, said that depression and anxiety “can ‘kill’ a patient without them being dead.” He said that more general practitioners need to screen for mental health issues, especially in older adults. “As a geriatrician and doctor, it’s my responsibility to identify mental health issues and help people with that as well as physical health,” Stall

said. Some physicians don’t readily identify mental health issues in older adults. That’s in part because some of the health concerns that older adults tend to experience — and the medicines that treat them — may mask mental health issues, according to Louis Francis Ciola, certified hypnotist and owner of Amherst Hypnosis, specializes in addressing pain management, habit control and stress, among other conditions. “A lot of physical nuances are overlooked in older adults,” Ciola said. “My surgeon said older adults are way over medicated for physical and mental health. They can’t metabolize the drugs as quickly.” Sluggishness and lack of interest and motivation caused by over medicating can look like depression in some patients. Ciola said that some primary care doctors tend to treat symptoms rather than patients. He added that some would prescribe a medication for depression without asking more questions, such as other issues going on in their lives, what supplements they take, and how their diet looks. “Maybe they need to get out of the house more, begin exercising, and start making more friends,” Ciola said. “You may get resistance from the clients but that’s the way it is.” Some older adults may resist visiting a mental health professional, but would consider a physical, which could lead to mental health screening if a caregiver comes along and asks about issues the patient experiences.

for measurable symptoms like falls and osteoporosis, non-geriatricians can help patients prevent more complicated medical issues and, as needed, refer patients to geriatricians for more complex cases, where conservative measures seem less effective. Stall offered the symptom of confusion as an example. He said he has treated numerous older patients who have experienced it along with anxiety or sudden significant decline in physical ability and energy level, all from a medication issue. “Different people react differently to different medication,” Stall said. “I look at when did the symptoms start? Is there a correlation?” Even over-the-counter pain medication with a sleep enhancer, such as Tylenol PM, can contribute to issues such as poor balance, constipation and urinary retention. “If the change is in a short time frame, it’s almost certain something has happened,” Stall said. “Falls are multi-faceted issues as well.” The factors can include cataracts, muscle weakness and slower reaction time. He added that the outcome of falls can also relate to many other health concerns, such as broken bones because of osteoporosis, bedsores and further frailty. This can involve many aspects of care, too, such as reducing environmental hazards, balance improvement programs, eye exams, and bone density testing. “Younger people have a much bigger buffer between being well

and sick,” Stall said. “It’s rare that a 20-year-old with pneumonia will be confused. The older person takes less of an insult to cause cognitive changes and fatigue than a younger person.” While some of these issues may be part of the normal aging process, geriatric syndromes aren’t, according physician Anjeet K. Saini, assistant professor of medicine at UBMD Internal Medicine, division of geriatrics and palliative medicine. While doctors can’t manage and mitigate every aspect of a patient health — especially if the patient manifests complex, inter-related health issues — Saini wants more providers to improve quality of patient life in general. “When we get older, we’re at greater risk for disability that interfere with activities of daily living,” she said. “In geriatrics, activities of daily living are the core principles we need to survive. Once ADLs are decreased, we have more disabilities.” Someone with little ability to perform ADLs tends to have less independence. Saini said that maintaining core functions improve quality of life, but most general practitioners don’t receive enough geriatric training to recognize signs of reduced ADLs. “It’s always worth having a geriatrician evaluate people,” Saini said. “They treat the medical issues but also the big picture like economic, social, and the whole patient.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

“Adult Living at its Finest!” SE N By Jim Miller

Simple Gadgets That Can Help Older Drivers Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any specific auto gadgets you can recommend that can help senior drivers? Both of my parents are in their 80s and still pretty good drivers, but due to arthritis and age they’re very stiff, which causes them some driving problems.

Researching Daughter Dear Researching, To help keep senior drivers safe and prolong their driving years, there’s a plethora of inexpensive, aftermarket vehicle adaptions you can purchase that can easily be added to your parent’s vehicles to help with many different needs. Here are some good options. Entry and Exit Aids To help arthritic/mobility challenged seniors with getting into and out of their vehicle, there are a variety of portable support handles you can buy, like the “Emson Car Cane Portable Handle” ($12), which inserts into the U-shaped striker plate on the doorframe. And the “Standers CarCaddie” ($13) nylon support handle that hooks around the top of the door window frame. Another useful product is the “DMI Deluxe Swivel Seat Cushion” ($22), which is a round portable cushion that turns 360 degrees to help drivers and passengers rotate their body into and out of their vehicle. Enhanced Rear Vision To help seniors with limited upper body range of motion, which makes looking over their shoulder to back-up or merge into traffic difficult, there are special mirrors you can add as well as back-up cameras. For starters, to widen rear visibility, eliminate blind spots and even help with parallel parking, get an oversized rear view mirror like the “Allview Rearview Mirror” ($50) that clips on to the existing mirror. You should also purchase some “Ampper Blind Spot Mirrors” ($7.50), which are 2-inch adjustable convex mirrors that stick to the corner of the side view mirrors. Another helpful device is the “Auto-vox M1W Wireless Backup Camera Kit” ($110). This comes with a night vision camera that attaches

to the rear license plate, and a small monitor that mounts to the dash or windshield. When the vehicle is in reverse, it sends live images wirelessly to the monitor so you can see what’s behind you.

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To make buckling up a little easier, there are a variety of seat belt extension products offered by Seat Belt Extender Pros like the “Seat Belt Grabber Handle” ($8), which is a rubber extension handle that attaches to the seat belt strap to make it easier to reach. And the “7-inch Rigid Seat Belt Extender” ($20) that fits into the seat belt buckle receiver to add a few inches of length, making them easier to fasten. Gripping Devices If your parents have hand arthritis that makes gripping the steering wheel, turning the ignition key or twisting open the gas cap difficult or painful, consider these products. The “SEG Direct Steering Wheel Cover” ($15) that fits over the steering wheel to make it larger and easier to grip. The “Ableware Hole-In-One Key Holder” ($9), which is a small plastic handle that attaches to the car key to provide additional leverage to turn the key in the ignition or door. And for help at the pump, the “Gas Cap & Oil Cap Opener by Gascapoff” ($12) is a long handled device that works like a wrench to loosen and tighten the gas cap. All of these products can be found online at Just type the product name in the search bar to find them.

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Safety and Security To help ensure your parents safety, and provide you and them peace of mind, they should also consider an in-car medical alert system like “splitsecnd.” Offered through Bay Alarm Medical (BayAlarmMedical. com, $30/month), his small device plugs into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter to provide 24/7 roadside and emergency assistance at the push of a button, automatic crash detection and response, and GPS vehicle location and monitoring capabilities. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. August 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

Ask The Social

Security Office

From the Social Security District Office

Working While Disabled: Social Security Can Help


hile it may be best known for retirement, Social Security is also here to help you get back to work if you are disabled. For millions of people, work isn’t just a source of income, it’s a vital part of who they are — it gives them purpose and pride — it’s a connection to community. If you’re getting Social Security disability benefits, we have good news for you. Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs can help you if you’re interested in working. Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments. The Ticket to Work program may help you if you’d like to work. You can receive: • Free vocational rehabilitation; • Training; • Job referrals; and • Other employment support. You can read more about working while collecting disability bene-


Q: My daughter just joined a nonprofit charity and is helping victims of natural disasters. She gets a salary. We were wondering if she has to pay Social Security tax. A: Yes, people who work for nonprofits and who receive a salary must pay Social Security tax just like everyone else. It is commendable that she is helping people in need. But the fact is that she is also a wage-earner. Those wages and the Social Security tax she pays on them will offer her financial relief in the future, when it comes time to apply for Social Security. So she is really helping herself, too. For more information, visit our electronic publication, How You Earn Credits at pubs. Q: A few years ago, I lost my Social Security card. Now my credit report shows that someone might be using my Social Security number. I’m afraid they might ruin my credit. What should I do? A: Identity theft and fraud are serious problems, not just for you, but for the financial integrity of our agency. It also puts our national security at risk if someone dangerous is using your number to obtain other forms of identification. It’s against the law to use someone else’s Social Security number, give false information when applying for a number or alter, buy or sell Social Security cards. Keep in mind, you should never carry your Social Security card with you. Page 18

fits at Work incentives include: • Continued cash benefits for a time while you work; • Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and • Help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work. If you’re receiving Social Security disability benefits or SSI, let us know right away when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits. If you returned to work, but you can’t continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again — you may not have to file a new application. You can read more about the Ticket to Work program in the publication titled “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help” at Part of securing today and tomorrow is giving you the tools to create a fulfilling life. Getting back to work might be part of that. We’re here with a ticket to a secure tomorrow. If you think someone is using your Social Security number fraudulently, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) right away. You can report it at www.idtheft. gov or you can call FTC’s hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4261) TTY: (1-866-653-4261). Q: I served in the military, and I’ll receive a military pension when I retire. Will that affect my Social Security benefits? A: You can get both Social Security retirement benefits and military retirement at the same time. Generally, we don’t reduce your Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, go to applyonline. This is the fastest and easiest way to apply. For your convenience, you can always save your progress during your application and complete it later. And thank you for your military service! Q: I’ve decided I want to retire. Now what do I do? A: The fastest and easiest way to apply for retirement benefits is to go to Use our online application to apply for Social Security retirement or spouses benefits. To do so, you must: • Be at least 61 years and 9 months old; • Want to start your benefits in the next four months; and • Live in the United States or one of its commonwealths or territories.

H ealth News ECMC Corp. announces new board members Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation recently announced that five community people have joined the institution’s board of directors. “Each of these individuals possess great experience, knowledge and insight, which will greatly benefit ECMC’s continuing strong performance and operations,” said ECMC President & CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. • Jack Quinn — he currently serves as BarclayDamon’s senior adviser for public and community relations. Prior to joining BarclayDamon, Quinn had more than 40 years of experience in higher education, advising on Quinn public policy and in government, including serving the community of Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs for over 12 years as a United States Congressman for the 27th Congressional District. Most recently Quinn was president of Erie Community College, where he presided over three campuses of approximately 16,000 students and 2,000 employees. He was also recently a member of the Catholic Health board for a four-year term. • Jennifer C. Persico — she is a lawyer and a partner with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP. As litigation and dispute resolution practice group co-leader, she concentrates her practice in commercial litigation, including Persico contract claims on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. Persico also handles premises liability claims, corporate law, municipal law, foreclosures and land use and development matters. She has had extensive experience in resolving complex disputes on behalf of her clients using both litigation and non-litigation methods. • Scott A. Bylewski — a lawyer, he is the deputy budget director for Erie County, assisting in the preparation, execution and control of the county budget, and the examination and review of the county’s administrative organization Bylewski

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

and methods. He previously served as town of Clarence supervisor (2008-2011) and councilman (20022007), where he received numerous awards for his accomplishments and service, including the Trailblazer Award from the U.S. District Court (WDNY) and the Award of Merit from the Bar Association of Erie County, which was received for “exhibiting courage, compassion and composure in the face of disaster” following the crash of Continental Flight 3407. He has a lengthy experience in governing the town of over 30,000 residents and managing its budget of over $21 million. • Christopher J. O’Brien — he is a trial lawyer with the firm of O’Brien & Ford. He has spent the last 30 years advocating for the rights of injured people. O’Brien also teaches trial skills and case analysis to lawyers internationally and nationally, O’Brien having previously taught and co-directed the Trial Advocacy Program at SUNY Buffalo Law School. He currently serves as the co-chairman of the National College of Advocacy in Washington, D.C. and as a board member of the Irish Classical Theatre Company in Buffalo. • Eugenio Russi is the executive director of Hispanos Unidos De Buffalo (HUB), a nonprofit community organization serving the residents of Buffalo and surrounding counties. He received a bachelor’s degree in Russi management from D’Youville College and formerly served as a regional director for the NYS Division of Parole until his retirement in 2012. ECMC’s board of directors is comprised of 15 voting directors, drawn from various sectors across Western New York. Of these directors, eight are appointed by the Governor of New York (via the recommendations of the county executive, county legislature, and temporary president of the state senate) and seven are appointed by the county executive. The board also includes four non-voting directors.

Consumer’s Beverages raises $17K for fight against PD Consumer’s Beverages has presented the Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York a check for $17,000. The company

H ealth News raised the money through involvement in the foundation’s logo cutout program. All seventeen Consumer’s Beverages locations collected donations for each logo, and thousands of cutouts were then displayed in store windows. Every spring, the foundation’s local chapter sponsors its logo cutout program. The program helps raise funding to benefit the local Parkinson’s community in their fight against the disease. It also raises awareness about the increasing prevalence of Parkinson’s disease. Many businesses, schools, offices and other locales take part in the program. Consumer’s Beverages brought in $16,101.00. “The Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York does incredible work in our community, and we’re proud to help support their cause,” said Tim Shisler, marketing manager for Consumer’s Beverage. “A big credit goes to our entire staff for the great job they did selling cutouts as well as all of our generous customers who donated. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.” Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York Chapter President Vicky Glamuzina applauded Consumer’s for its efforts. “They have done an amazing job, and they have helped our Parkinson’s community tremendously.”

Donna Jones appointed ECMC chief quality officer Donna Jones has joined ECMC Corporation as chief quality officer. In her role she will oversee the patient safety and quality assessment/performance improvement (QAPI) program at ECMC. Jones will also direct staff involved in process improvement activities that will support ECMC’s mission and the Jones prevention of adverse outcomes. In collaboration with hospital leadership and medical staff, the chief quality officer’s role will be to direct and coordinate quality improvement and patient safety initiatives to ensure regulatory compliance and to exceed the care expectations of the community. This will be accomplished by promoting a culture of quality and safety while providing evidence-based care practices and delivering care with compassion and respect. Jones most recently served as the director of clinical practice, education and quality in perioperative services at Stanford Health Care, in Stanford, Calif. She has held other leadership positions, including director of quality at Dignity Health St. Mary’s in San Francisco, and accreditation,

From left, Andrew L. Davis, chief operating officer, ECMC Corp.; Mayor Byron W. Brown, city of Buffalo; Satoria Donovan, summer youth program director, ECMC Foundation; and Otis T. Barker Sr., commissioner, Community Services and Recreational Programming, city of Buffalo.

ECMC Announces 11th Annual Summer Youth Intern Program The Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation recently launched the 11th Annual Summer Youth Intern Program with an orientation event held for 125 high school students who will participate in a four-week comprehensive healthcare self-development program administered by the ECMC Foundation. Fifty percent of the participating students come from Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s Summer Youth Employment and Internship Program.  Sponsored by ECMC Foundation, the City of Buffaregulatory and licensure roles at Stanford Health Care and Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. In addition, Jones recently served as a board member of the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto YMCA. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and psychology from Michigan State University, and a dual Master of Science in Nursing and in Healthcare Administration from California State University, Long Beach. Jones is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). In addition, she is a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ) with the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ).

CEO Quatroche appointed to national healthcare board ECMC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, has been appointed to the board of directors of America’s Essential Hospitals (AEH) through a vote of the directors. AEH is one of the largest national organizations representing 325 member health care institutions. For 37 years, AEH (formerly known as the National Association of Public Hospitals) has been a leading advocate on federal

lo and Mayor Brown, and the First Niagara Foundation, the program offers summer interns a hospital-based career exploration to stimulate interest in employment in healthcare services and to help meet the future need for qualified personnel in this field. The interns are required to work two six-hour days for a total of 12 hours per week, which includes a hospital-based career exploration program, a heart health education program, an accident prevention course, and a CPR certification course.  

public policy issues that affect public safety net hospitals across the United States. Some of these hospitals include UMASS Memorial Health Care, Grady Memorial Hospital, Henry Ford Health System, and Quatroche Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “ECMC is being recognized nationally for its innovation and patient care. We look forward to joining other national class, innovative healthcare organizations across the country to find ways to provide better care for our patients and advocate for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Quatroche Jr. AEH board officers consists of chairwoman Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and CEO at UTMB Health System, The University of Texas Medical Branch; chairman-elect Joseph Scott, president and CEO, Jersey City Medical Center, RWJBarnabas

Health; secretary Wright Lassiter III, president, Henry Ford Health System; treasurer Sharon O’Keefe, president, University of Chicago Medicine; past chairman John Haupert, president and CEO, Grady Memorial Hospital. Board members are: Akram Boutros, president and CEO, The MetroHealth System; Patrick Cawley, executive director and CEO, MUSC Medical University of South Carolina; Eric Dickson, president and CEO, UMASS Memorial Health Care; Susan Ehrlich, CEO, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital; Howard Federoff, UC Irvine Medical Center; Barry Freedman, CEO, Einstein Healthcare Network; Danielle Laraque-Arena, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Carlos Migoya, president and CEO, Jackson Health System; Steve Purves, CEO, Maricopa Integrated Health System; Sam Ross, CEO, Bon Secours Baltimore Health System; Charlie Shields, president and CEO, Truman Medical Centers; Kevin Spiegel, president and CEO, Erlanger Health System; and Pamela Sutton-Wallace, CEO, University of Virginia Health System.

Any newsworthy item about your business or organization? Send it to editor at

August 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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By acting today, we can heal tomorrow’s traumas.

Nicholas Ball Trauma Patient

Karen Beckman-Pilcher, RN, MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist of Emergency Services

Amy Terpening Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

Michael A. Manka Jr., MD Chief of Emergency Medicine

Donna Oddo, RN, BSN Nursing Care Coordinator Emergency Department

As Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, the future of healthcare at ECMC is clear. With a steady rise in patient volume, we know that more of our neighbors will depend on our lifesaving trauma and emergency care more than ever before. And with your support, they’ll receive it in a new facility with state-of-the-art technology, more space and privacy, and designed for better experiences and outcomes for patients and their families.

The difference between healthcare and true care


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©2018 ECMC

Learn how you can give to save lives in the most critical situations at

IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • August 2018

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Profile for WNY Health News

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