Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Safety Tips

As I am writing this, we are getting the first snow of the season locally and much of the nation is under weather warnings or advisories. So, I offer some winter safety tips for people of all ages. Avoid Slipping on Ice: Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. Replace a worn cane tip to make walking easier. Take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because often snow and ice attach to the soles and, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside. Dress for Warmth: Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Going outside? Wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. Cover all exposed skill in very cold temperatures. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs. Check the Car: Get your car serviced before wintertime hits, or ask a family member to bring it to the garage for you. Checking oil, tires, brakes, battery and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads. Make sure wiper fluid is filled and there is a proper mixture of antifreeze in the cooling system. Also, make sure your road emergency membership is up to date. Parking Lot Safety: When walking in a parking lot, stay to the sides of the aisle and watch for cars. Make eye contact with an approaching driver; stop walking if you don’t think the driver has seen you. Use all your senses and do not talk on the phone or use headphones while walking in a parking lot. Snow can muffle sound of an approaching vehicle. Before you exit a parking space, adjust seat, mirrors, etc. and do not cut across parking space lines or park near drifts. Prepare for Power Outages: Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and battery powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Keep moving to raise your body temperature. Fight Wintertime Depression: To help avoid depression having less contact with others during cold months, arrange a check-in system with family members or neighbors and friends (or The Dale Association’s Telephone Reassurance Program). Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if you need to. Walk like a penguin on slippery surfaces: Here is a fun little poem to help you be safe and remember to walk like a penguin when walking on slippery surfaces. When things get cold and icy, and your path looks kind of dicey – waddle On. Keep your toes all pointed out-y, keep your knees all loosey-goosey – waddle on. Keep your hands outside your pockets, take short steps so you won’t rocket – waddle on. Take it slowly, holy-moly, so you don’t fall down and roll-y – waddle on. Walking like a penguin with short steps is the way to walk safely on slippery surfaces. I hope you find these winter safety tips helpful.

A Year End Thank You

As the year ends and we celebrate the holidays – I wish each of you a joyous and healthy holiday and a happy new year. And, on behalf of The Dale Association and all charitable organizations in our community thank you for your kindness and seemingly endless generosity this past year. The end of the year is a good time to look back and reflect on those things we are thankful for. I’d like to say thank you to all of the people who have donated time, money, and/or items that support our fundraising efforts – those fundraising efforts help pay for the things we do, and therefore help us fulfill our mission in this community. Our mission statement… “To provide comprehensive services and coordinate connections for Adults in Niagara and neighboring counties with enhance their health and Wellness and empower them to strengthen bridges to their communities.” … it serves as a reminder of the reason The Dale Association exists in this community. And therefore, the reason we do the things we do – it may be supporting older individuals with our senior services… it may be assisting seriously and persistently mentally ill adults achieve mental wellness and to stabilize their emotions… it may be enriching the lives of people through our educational classes and volunteering programs… or it may be supporting caregivers by providing resources that help them be better caregivers …or it may be assisting older adults with vision and/or hearing impairments maintain their independence. Whatever the service, all focus on believing each person has value and we hope to enhance their potential to live their life to the fullest. Regardless what your charity of choice is, it is probably their mission and what they do that you believe in. Almost certainly, I can speak for all charitable organizations when I say that we are so grateful for the generosity of this community, our community, when it comes to delivering each of our missions. All fundraising activities support programs of charities and as I said above, it is what is accomplished with the money and donation of time that really defines each of our purposes. The purpose of fundraising is more than about the money – it’s about the results accomplished by our use of the money. It is through our donors and volunteer supporters and what they give that enables us to make a difference. Fundraising is at its best when we can match our need for donations with your desire to support organizations that have made a difference in your life or the lives of family and friends. Many non-profit charitable organizations all across the nation rely more and more on fundraising as a means to support their mission and the Dale Association is no different. You may be astonished to know that we need to raise over $300,000 to continue to serve the adults of this community. This past year, many of you have supported Dale Association fundraising efforts by making a gift to the Annual Giving Campaign, by pledging at our Dale Hearts and Caring People fund, through general donations, by attending events, by becoming a sponsor, or by making a charitable gift through you estate planning. The money raised helps us sustain our mission in this community. To all of you – THANK YOU! And thank you on behalf of all the charities you support all year long.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tribute to Veterans

Later this week is Veteran’s day and with privilege I dedicate this column to three veterans near and dear to me – Len, Billie, and my Dad. I thank god for them and all veterans like them without whom we wouldn’t have freedoms we’ve grown accustomed to. Freedoms we as Americans take for granted. As citizens of the United States, we have many freedoms people of other countries do not have. We have luxuries, both materialistic and untouchable, making our lives and our children's lives so very much better. We have the power to choose, to state our thoughts and ideas and to move freely within our own country. We have the right to protest, vote and purchase our own homes. We can protect our families and ourselves. However, these luxuries did not come without a price. Many U.S. Military men and women encountered some of the most gruesome battles, triumphing over some of the biggest nations to maintain the very freedoms we have today. As U.S. Soldiers, they left the soil of their own country to save the solid ground we walk on today, forever changing their lives and that of their families. Sadly, many soldiers paid for our freedom with their own lives. As U.S. Citizens, we all owe much gratitude to those who have fought for us and our country, because we treasure the peace and freedom we have. Slightly less than half of all Americans who ever served during wartime in our country’s history are alive today and nearly 80% of all of today’s veterans served during a war. The largest group of veterans fought in World War II. You might (or might not) be surprised to know that there are approximately 28,000 veterans in Niagara County according to the census. To commemorate Veteran’s Day, Lewiston Genealogy Librarian an author Michelle Kratts will present a special program on Friday, November 11th from 10:30 – 11:30am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport about Niagara County during World War II. Stories and photos will depict the home-front, rationing, and the contributions people in our county made to the war. Michelle’s recently published book will also be available.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Value of a Memory Screening

Are you concerned about memory problems? Most people with dementia remain undiagnosed by their primary care providers, and families often fail to recognize the significance of early cognitive symptoms. In response, there has been a growing interest in screenings for memory problems. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) annual National Memory Screening Day is scheduled for Thursday, November 17th, from 1:00 – 3:30pm. The Dale Association is honored to be selected as a site for the National Memory Screening Day, along with many other community organizations across the country. Community members are invited to be proactive about their memory health and check up on their memory. National Memory Screening Day is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), in collaboration with more than 2,000 community sites across the nation that promotes early detection of memory problems as well as Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and encourages appropriate intervention. As part of National Memory Screening Day, free, confidential memory screenings are offered as well as follow up resources and information about dementia and successful aging. These screenings are not a diagnosis, but can suggest whether a medical evaluation would be beneficial. Extensive study has indicated that these screenings are of value to individuals who participate in them. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says the continuing growth of National Memory Screening Day reinforces the need for this service. Currently, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is rising in line with the swell of baby boomers. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond age 65. Unfortunately, with an issue as sensitive as Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, there is often misinformation. AFA has provided us with some facts to address some of the more common misconceptions about memory screening and National Memory Screening Day. AFA believes that all individuals should be empowered to make informed decisions to better manage their own health, not discouraged from screening based on misinformation and urges anyone concerned about memory changes, at risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to family history or who wants to check their memory now and for future comparison to get screened. Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other medical conditions. The memory screening tests made available to participating sites (including The Dale Association) are validated for effectiveness. It is important to keep in mind that NO medical test, whether for screening or for diagnosis, is 100% accurate and any test can produce “false positive” or “false negative” results. However, the memory screening test that AFA provides for National Memory Screening Day demonstrates 80 – 90% or higher probability of true positives and probability of true negatives in reviewed studies – similar to other established screening tests such as a mammography and Pap smear. The face-to-face screening takes place in a private setting. The person who administers the screening reviews the results with the person who is screened, and suggests that those with abnormal scores and those with normal scores but who still have concerns follow up with a physician or other healthcare professional. The person who is screened receives the screening results to bring to his or her healthcare professional, as well as materials with information about memory issues and questions to ask healthcare professionals. Information about successful aging, including the benefits of proper diet, physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and stress management will also be available. Please help us spread the word about National Memory Screening Day on November 17, 2016. Appointments are now being accepted for a free memory screening; please call 433-1886 to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Your Sense of Hearing - Free Screenings Offered

Every day, we take for granted our sight and ability to hear. Vision impairment can range from low vision to legal blindness to complete blindness. Sight accounts for 90 – 95 percent of all sensory perceptions. Sensory changes can cause less effective functioning in society and in carrying out of personal activities. And, did you know that hearing loss affects nearly 28 million Americans? It can begin gradually – with a buzzing in the ears or the sense that others are mumbling – or it may come suddenly after an illness or accident. Hearing loss can range from very mild, when only faint, high-pitched sounds or voices are not heard, to so severe that even explosive noises can go unnoticed. Unfortunately, most Americans wait 5 to 7 years before solving their hearing problems. Early detection will lead to an easier acceptance of the hearing loss and the possibility of taking advantage of adaptive devices and/or resources to make living with the loss easier. The general public is invited to participate in free hearing screening Wednesday, November 9th from 1:15 pm to 3:15pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. Screenings are free of charge and offered by appointment. The audiologist will conduct a one on one screening and consultation with each individual to help them determine if further assistance is needed. It is an opportunity for people 60 and older to sit with an audiologist to discuss general hearing concerns. Appointments fill up quickly, so it is recommended that you call 433-1886 to schedule your appointment. The Dale Association offers free programs for the visually and hearing impaired. This multi-faceted program is designed to enrich the lives of people 60 and older living with visual and /or hearing impairment by providing: educational seminars, referral information, screenings, in-home assessments, assistive device resource center, on-going support and an on-site desktop electronic magnifier. Nancy Smith, program coordinator can link you or your family to community services and answer your questions about hearing and vision – all in an effort to help provide an improved quality of life. The Dale Association offers screenings and educational presentations several times per year. Please take advantage of the free services. Even if you cannot attend one of the above sessions, learn more by calling Nancy Smith anytime at 433-1886.

What do you want? Choice, Control, Connections, Convenience

Choice, control, connections, and convenience – not surprisingly, these are the top desires of older adults, based on a recent survey. Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging derived 10 top senior living trends after surveying 600 senior living organizations, representing more than 1,000 communities from 15 states. This survey indicates that catering to the personal needs and interests of people by offering options beyond the basics and including more comprehensive provision for in-home care is a trend that is advised for the future. Trends are identified to allow developers and providers to address opportunities and create innovations to help shape the future of senior living relative to services, programs, amenities, and design. The ultimate goal is to create environments and lifestyles where people want to live, not where they need to live. Based on survey results, following are the top 10 emerging senior living trends. 1. Senior living residents are choosing to “age in place.” Residents will seek services and programs that will support “aging well” in place. These include home care and home health services, onsite health clinics, and geriatric assessment programs. 2. Health and wellness programs and services are top priorities. According to the survey, the percentage of senior living communities offering wellness programs for residents and staff will nearly double (from 40% to 78%) in the next five years. Fitness programs, wellness coaches, spa services, aquatics, saunas, and steam showers will be important features for the next generations of residents. A significant percentage of respondents are also interested in developing partnerships with health systems and fitness centers to meet the growing demands for health and wellness services. 3. Technology will be key to promoting and sustaining independent lifestyles among senior living residents. Senior living providers are developing residences equipped with advanced “smart home” technology to provide safe environments where residents may maintain a high level of self-sufficiency as they age well. Additionally, residents will expect easy access to wireless Internet throughout the community and more providers are anticipating the need to provide computer training for future residents. 4. Resident programs must focus on meaningful activities and intellectual stimulation. Resident participation in lifelong learning opportunities will continue to grow. Survey results found that three out of 10 respondents are currently in some form of partnership with colleges or universities. Within the next five years, it is projected that eight of 10 respondents will partner with academic institutions. Additionally, senior living providers are planning to significantly expand Web-based educational offerings to residents. 5. Senior living providers will provide services “beyond” their four walls. Senior living providers are going to be expanding “beyond” their four walls and offer services and programs to older adults living in their own homes. The majority of older adults live in their own homes and the trend is expected to continue as boomers age. To that end, providers are planning to expand services to community-dwelling older adults, including adult day programs, services to the home-bound, and in-home care services. Social connections are just as important to one’s health, and thus programs to prevent social isolation are important for community-dwelling older adults. 6. Long-term care is transforming to support person-directed care and meaningful relationships. For senior living communities that provide the full continuum of living options, supporting the needs and preferences of residents who require long-term care is a high priority 7. Residents are demanding “customized services,” driving the need for senior living providers to offer a customer-driven portfolio of services and programs. This trend indicates that senior living providers will need to focus efforts on offering “specialty” programs such as memory care, palliative or hospice programs, and rehabilitation or restorative services. Additionally, residents will expect more value for fees they pay for services, programs, and amenities. As educated consumers, residents will expect senior living communities to effectively manage expenses such as adopting energy-efficient environments. 8. Language, perceptions, and attitudes of care providers must be updated to reflect changing older adults’ needs and expectations. A senior living community could have “life coach” rather than an “activity director.” The old model of an “activity director” is not going to have the right mind-set to understand and know how to treat customers with higher, more self-actualizing expectations. 9. Senior living industry may become a hotbed for job creation. With a shortage of professionals trained in gerontology and geriatrics, recruiting and retaining qualified workers will be essential. At the same time, there is potential for new service businesses and growth in areas such as home care workers and transportation. 10. Above all, consumers want choices and value. If there is a single phrase that sums up the future of senior living, it is “resident choice.” The model of senior living has come a long way from the “we know best” view. There is no one-size-fits-all community or program. Older adults are demanding more choices, control, a redefinition of what community means, and convenience within and outside of the community. These choices include financing options and customized portfolios of services that take into account individual expectations, services, and programs considered to be “added value,” access to “on demand” services, and purposeful engagement in activities.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nutrition - Critical for Good Health and Healthy Aging

Adequate nutrition is crucial for healthy aging. Older adulthood often brings many social and health changes that can make it difficult to sustain a healthy diet. A recent study identified strategies used by community-dwelling older adults who maintain healthy nutrition in the face of dietary challenges. There are many changes associated with aging that can lead to poor nutrition, such as physiological changes in appetite, new limitations to mobility that can make acquiring food more challenging, and reduced social networks, particularly widowhood. There is a good deal of research highlighting the health risks of reduced food intake, but little is known about factors that can contribute to good dietary habits among older adults. The authors of this study propose the concept of ‘dietary resilience’ in order to encourage a better understanding of how to encourage healthy eating throughout the life course. Some of the participants in the study were classified as “resilient eaters,” and maintained or improved the quality of their diet over a three-year study period, while some showed “diet vulnerability,” or were unable to maintain a nutritious diet. The participants ranged in age from 68 to 86. The study identifies four core themes that were articulated by resilient eaters. Prioritizing eating well and doing whatever it takes to keep eating well were motivations expressed by resilient eaters who consciously made efforts to maintain a good diet. Some focused on the pleasure of good eating, while others stated that they were driven more by health goals. Being able to do it yourself or getting help when you need it were two themes relating to the resources needed to maintain dietary resilience. As the authors of the study note, being able to eat well depends on having certain resources, particularly a combination of knowledge, skills, health, mobility, and adequate finances. Individuals without these resources need to rely on either formal services, such as commercial or government agencies, or informal support that friends and family may provide. For many, there is a stigma attached to needing outside assistance. Throughout one’s life, good nutrition is important. Good nutrition in the later years can help lessen the effects of diseases prevalent among older Americans or improve the quality of life in people who have such diseases. They include osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gastrointestinal problems, and chronic under-nutrition. Studies show that a good diet in later years helps both in reducing the risk of these diseases and in managing the diseases’ signs and symptoms. This contributes to a higher quality of life, enabling older people to maintain their independence by continuing to perform basic activities, such as bathing, dressing and eating. Poor nutrition, on the other hand can prolong recovery from illnesses, increase the costs and incidence of institutionalization, and lead to a poorer quality of life.

Medicare Open Enrollment Time!

Medicare's annual open enrollment period begins October 15th and ends December 7th. This is the time of year when everyone with Medicare can join or change their health and prescription drug plans for 2017. This includes anyone using traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage. Depending on our needs, you can switch coverage from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. You can also switch your Part D plan, which pays for medications. Any changes you make will take effect January 1st, as long as the plan gets your enrollment request by December 7th. Medicare beneficiaries will receive their Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers. People should review plan changes as soon as they receive information from their providers. Changes could include costs such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, as well as changes to covered procedures, tests and other provisions. Take time to review the information you received and look at all of your Medicare options; you may find more affordable coverage through a different combination of plans. Keep in mind that you may see a lot of ads for Medicare plans, but there could be a plan that's perfect for you that isn't getting a lot of attention with ads and mailers. This is an important opportunity to make sure you are getting the most from your Medicare benefits. Every year, Medicare plans change and so do your needs. It’s worth the time to shop around to see if the coverage is still the best for your situation. Medicare Health Insurance Community meetings will take place throughout the annual enrollment period to help you make this important decision for 2017. Get updates and learn about the changes to Medicare, the Medicare Health Plans, Medicare Part D, NYS EPIC and “Extra Help” Low Income Subsidy Program. Information will be presented by representatives of the Niagara County Office for the Aging, NY Connects, NYS EPIC Program, and Medicare Advantage Plans Sales Representatives. The following locations and dates are scheduled for your convenience across the county: DATE LOCATION TIME October 24, 2016 North Tonawanda Senior Center 9:30am 110 Goundry St., North Tonawanda October 26, 2016 The Dale Association 9:30am 33 Ontario St., Lockport November 2, 2016 Lewiston Senior Center 9:30am 4361 Lower River Rd., Lewiston November 15, 2016 John Duke Senior Center 9:30am 1201 Hyde Park Blvd., Niagara Falls

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Brain Study - "SuperAgers"

They’re age 80 and older, yet they have the memory and brain power of people in their 50s. So what’s their secret? That’s what researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are trying to figure out. A new study found that this elite group of elderly — or SuperAgers, as researchers call them — have brains that appear as young as people in the prime of middle-age. In fact, one brain region of this SuperAger group was even bigger and healthier than a person’s in midlife. The senior study author wanted to know what was different about the brains of people in their 80s who were super-sharp cognitively. For the study, participants in their 80s and older were screened. Only 10 percent of those who considered themselves to have “outstanding memories,” made the cut. Eventually, 12 SuperAgers, plus a control group of 10 normally aging adults with an average age of 83, were chosen, as well as 14 middle-aged participants, average age 58. Looking at three-dimensional MRI scans, researchers were surprised by the remarkable appearance of the SuperAgers’ cortex – that is the portion of the brain responsible for memory, attention and other thinking abilities. While the cortex had begun to thin among normally aging people in their 80s, the SuperAger group had a thick, healthy cortex similar to adults 20 or 30 years younger. Plus, in another brain region important for memory, the SuperAgers’ was actually thicker than those age 50 to 65. Researchers’ ultimate goal is to unlock the secret behind why some people are protected against the deterioration of memory and diminished brain cells that typically accompanies aging. She hopes her discoveries can help protect others from memory loss or even Alzheimer’s disease. Many scientists study what’s wrong with the brain, but maybe we can ultimately help Alzheimer’s patients by figuring out what goes right in the brains of SuperAgers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Drugs: Risks, Benefits, Alternatives

People age 60 and over make up 15% of the United States population, but take 30% of all prescription drugs and 40% of all sleeping pills. Older adults account for 30% of all hospitalizations and 51% of all deaths due to drug side effects. Because unlike younger people (who are bombarded with drug information from an early age) older people are often overlooked when it comes to information on chemical abuse. In recent years, a good deal of interest has focused on the use of drugs by older adults. Older adults are America’s largest group of drug users. Over 600 million prescriptions a year are written for people over 60. That’s an average of 15 prescriptions per person per year. In fact, 37% of older Americans use five or more prescriptions at the same time. Nineteen percent use seven or more. And these figures don’t include over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, laxatives, and sleeping pills. One result according to experts is over medication and risks to health. The risks become even clearer when they’re considered alongside aging-related changes that affect the way drugs work in the body. From about the age of 30 on, our bodies begin a process of change that fundamentally alters the internal environment in which drugs and alcohol act and produce their effects. We accumulate more body fat; as a result fat-soluble drugs stay in the body longer, often at higher concentrations than in younger people. Organs that eliminate drugs also become less efficient. For example, the heart becomes less efficient and pumps less blood to brain, kidneys, and liver. In the kidneys, cell loss lowers efficiency in filtering blood and eliminating waster. And in the liver, less blood flow reduces metabolism, ability to eliminate toxins. Additionally, some drugs may hit the older individuals harder than they do younger people; alcohol, caffeine, penicillin, and Valium (among others) trigger stronger effects. Anesthetics and hormones don’t hit as hard. There are many solutions worth considering: Be aware that every drug carries risks and benefits, and the risks change as our bodies change. Don’t assume that there’s a pill for every problem and a fast fix for every sleepless night. Become an informed, active participant in your own health care. Remember that no one is better suited to the task of keeping us well than we are ourselves. Sometimes the best solution to a health or emotional problem is activity – not a pill. The combination use of drugs is another source of problems for many older people. In fact, according to a recent study one in five Americans over 60 has had an adverse reaction to prescription drugs, and many are the product of interactions between different drugs. Most involve people who would never consciously overuse drugs. That does not make the problem any less real when it happens. The simplest way to reduce risk is to avoid mixing drugs – including over the counter cold pills, allergy drugs, and sleeping pills. And it’s a really good idea to stay away from alcohol if you are taking anything. Also, be aware of the risk of an accidental overdose if you see more than one doctor for more than one condition. A good way to avoid problems is to remember to tell your doctor or doctors about all the drugs you are using. Or conduct a “brown bag” inventory and let your doctor sort things out. Simply put all the drugs you’ve taken in the past month in a paper bag and review them with your doctor during your next appointment. This is particularly a good idea if you see more than one doctor. If drugs are a problem for you – do something about it. Talk it over with a friend or get professional help if you need it. If drugs aren’t a problem – do something anyway. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll push potential problems that much further away.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer's

Do you know someone dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Feeling stretched caring for an older adult? It is well known that caring for a family member with a chronic illness such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, or other diseases is stressful and takes an enormous physical and emotional toll on caregivers. Caregivers often completely change their lifestyle to take care of those they love. Caregivers include senior citizens caring for relatives under the age of eighteen, as well as spouses, adult children, and/or friends. Did you know that 85% of all care to the frail and disabled is being provided by family and friends? Are you one of them? The Dale Association has received training to conduct a six part training program to enable caregivers to better care for themselves by improving their own self-confidence and problem solving skills. Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational series designed to provide you with the tools you need to take care of yourself. This program will help family caregivers: reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate your feelings, balance your life, increase ability to make tough decision and locate helpful resources. Current research is finding that taking care of tired caregivers could be as important as providing care for their care-recipients. The class is being offered on Tuesdays beginning August 2nd and running through September 6th from 9:30am to 12:00 noon at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 621 10th St, Auditorium B, Niagara Falls, NY 14031. Two experienced class leaders will conduct each session. Interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming will help you take the “tools” you choose and put them into action for your life. The cost for the six-week program is $25 and includes a copy of The Caregiver Help book, but is covered in full for members of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of WNY and Independent Health. Pre-Registration is required - Call Erie County Senior Services at (716) 858-2177 or email for more information and to register. Additional classes are also being scheduled; additional classes can be found at Powerful Tools for Caregivers supported by a grant from Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York and is co-sponsored by The University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Erie County Caregiver Coalition. Cannot make the six week class? A one day informational presentation is being held on Thursday, August 11th from 1:00 – 2:00pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport titled “Navigating Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia: Considering Decision Making from a Human Service Perspective”. This program will give an easy to understand description of the diseases, risk factors, warning signs, and what to expect if you or a loved one are facing a diagnosis. Learn about normal and abnormal changes, along with how they can affect decision making and independence. The information will be presented by Julia Szprygada, LMSW Director of Education and Training Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter. It is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, call 1-800-272-3900 or 433-1886.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Health and Aging

A new study may shift how we define health and aging. Instead of focusing on diseases, researchers looked at 54 health measures to see which factors or clusters of factors had the greatest association with mortality or incapacity. These factors fell into six major health categories: diseases, health behaviors, psychological health, sensory function, immunity, and frailty. Six clusters of conditions emerged from this analysis: The first cluster was, surprisingly, the “robust obese group”. None of these individuals had a normal BMI, but they had the fewest diseases or vulnerabilities. This group had the lowest prevalence of dying or incapacity 5 years later! The second cluster was “one minor condition group”, comprised of individuals of normal weight with a low prevalence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As the group’s name suggests, these individuals tended to have one minor condition or disease. While still classified as robust, their prevalence of death five years later was significantly higher than the robust obese group, suggesting their “minor” conditions could be early warnings of vulnerability. Individuals in these two clusters had stronger social lives than the general population. The two intermediate clusters are “broken bones group” and “poor mental health group”. Those in the first group had broken a bone past 45 years old—but this group was average or above average in mobility. However, they were five times more likely to be incapacitated by frailty or accidents five years later. And the poor mental health group, characterized primarily by depression, was the only group more likely than average to be incapacitated by alcohol, drug abuse, or suicide attempts. The most vulnerable clusters were characterized by multiple comorbid diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and immobility. Most vulnerable was a group with extensive comorbidity and frailty, which had a high prevalence of 47 of the 54 measures, with an average of 17 vulnerable health measures. Forty-four percent passed away five years later. The outcomes from this study are mostly consistent with many other articles about healthy aging. Many factor combine to affect the health of individuals and communities. Moreover, there is a growing recognition that a broad range of social, economic, and environmental factors shape individuals’ opportunities and barriers to engage in healthy behavior. You may be surprised to learn the impact of different factors on the health and wellness of individuals. An individual’s risk of premature death are most greatly affected by: individual behaviors (such as smoking) having the greatest impact at 40%; Genetics is at 30%; social and environmental factors is 20% and health care is at 10%. This information may help us re-conceptualize health and aging. One main finding is that “Health status in older adults does not correspond to chronological age.” And as the authors conclude, “a shift of attention is needed from disease-focused management… to overall health,” so that risks can be more accurately identified and addressed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bridge: A Fun and Social Game

The card game of bridge is fun and a great way to build a social network of friends. But bridge, a partnership card game that originated in the Middle East in the 19th century, has even more going for it: It can sharpen your wits, help ward off Alzheimer's, and even make you physically healthier. Bridge works its magic through sheer complexity. Players must remember each player's cards, which builds memory skills. They must plan ahead, strategize, and use logic, all of which challenge and stimulate the brain. Plus bridge is played in groups. According to a study of adults 50 and older published in the Journal of Gerontology, social interaction markedly decreased intellectual decline. In a study published in New England Journal of Medicine, researchers followed the leisure activities of 469 senior citizens for five years. Those who regularly played cards showed a greatly reduced incidence of dementia, while those who exercised exhibited little change from the normal population. Daryl Fisher, who taught English, speech, and debate at a New Orleans private school, could have told you that from his own experience. "When I taught bridge to retired adults," he says, "you could see their interest in life perk up as they made friends and got hooked on the game." A more bridge-specific University of California, Berkeley study shows that playing bridge increases the number of immune cells. Participants in the study included a group of 12 female bridge players. The women, in their 70s and 80s, were divided into three groups; two groups played bridge for 90 minutes, the third didn't. Blood samples were taken before and after play. The two bridge-playing groups showed a significant increase in CD-4 positive T cells, which seek out and destroy foreign bodies in the body. The third group displayed only a modest increase. The study suggests that brain activity might be able to stimulate the immune system. Bridge is casual and funny and serious all at the same time, and you make lifelong friends. It is a great game for adults of all ages. If you are interested in playing bridge, opportunities abound. If you’d like to play bridge on Tuesdays at 1:00pm, call Gretchen at 433-1886; you can play regularly or be a substitute. Duplicate Bridge is played every Tuesday at 7:00pm and Saturdays at 1:00pm; please call Dian at 688-1226 or 238-2230. Again, you can play regularly or be a substitute. Or, there is a Friendly Duplicate Bridge Group that plans Fridays at 1:00pm for fun and good times (no master points). For more information or to join the Friday group, please call Gerry at 791-4075 or Karen at 751-6646. All these bridge sessions are played at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. If you are looking for fun, friendship and bridge – I hope you will call.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tribute to Fathers

Sunday, June 19th is Father’s Day. Father’s Day began in the United States, but no one is quite sure of its exact origin. The first occurrence dates back to 1908 in West Virginia. However, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington is credited with being the driving force behind the holiday. In 1909 Mrs. Dodd campaigned for a Father’s Day celebration in honor of her dad who had served as both father and mother to six children for 21 years after her mother passed away. A statewide celebration was proclaimed in 1910. Eventually, annual celebrations were held throughout the United States. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge publicly supported plans for a national holiday. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation of official holiday and in 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a permanent law declaring the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. As a result the holiday was officially recognized by the US Congress. So dad has his own day! With the hustle and bustle of today’s hectic lifestyle, when was the last time you took the time to stop and say thank you to your dad or other significant men in your life? It may be your father, grandfather, uncle, big brother, mentor or friend. As you are planning your Father’s Day celebration there is no substitute for spending quality time with them. Is your father more like the character Jim Anderson played by Robert Young in Father Knows Best, Heathcliff Huxtable played by Bill Cosby, Home Improvement’s Tim Taylor played by Tim Allen or a dad with characteristics from all of them? However you describe your father, think about what his favorite past times are – you can spend the day with him and make it a special day. You probably remember your dad with a gift or card; presents are nice, but not a substitute for time with dad.


A new study found that 31% of older adults are dehydrated. Sufficient fluid consumption among older adults is associated with fewer falls, less constipation, less laxative use, improved rehabilitation in orthopedic patients, and a reduction in bladder cancer (among men). Dehydration is partly due to natural aging. Your body is a temple for water. In fact, most of your body is made up of water. Newborns have the most water at 78 percent of total body mass, dropping to 65 percent by age one. On average, bodies of adult men are 60 percent water. Women contain about 55 percent. When you don't get enough water, dehydration can occur and can be serious. The key is to know the early warning signs of dehydration - such as thirst, dry mouth or sticky saliva, or reduced output of urine. People who are moderately dehydrated may have extreme thirst, a mouth very dry in appearance, decreased urination (three times or less daily and dark brown in color), and lightheadedness. The symptoms of severe dehydration include: *Severe anxiety and confusion * Inability to remain awake * Weak, rapid pulse * Skin that is cold and clammy or hot and dry * Little or no urination * Loss of consciousness Older adults have an increased risk of dehydration, but often for different reasons. Seniors may have: * Less of an urge to drink; * Kidneys that don't function efficiently; * Difficulty communicating; * A disease that makes using the bathroom painful; * An incontinence problem that causes them to limit fluid intake; and * Physical problems like arthritis and pain that interfere with their ability to drink. Older adults should be monitored for early signs of shock - including lightheadedness, signs of fear or confusion, thirst, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, and rapid, weak breathing. To learn more about dehydration, contact your physician.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Walk For Improved Health, Independence and Fun!

Walking may be the single best — and easiest — exercise you can do to improve your health. Not only will going for a daily walk help you feel better now, it will help you maintain your independence and ability to do daily tasks as you age, according to a health professionals. Research also has shown that walking regularly can help protect the aging brain against memory loss, dementia, help cut the risk of heart disease, reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults by a whopping 60 percent. And we're not talking marathon walking. The peak benefits come from 30 minutes of exercise several times a week, say experts. Most of us do need to move more: Only 30 percent of people ages 45 to 64 say they engage in regular leisure-time physical activity, and that drops to 25 percent for those 65 to 74, according to the National Institute on Aging. The public is invited to join “Pace Makers Walking Club” on Mondays and Wednesdays starting May 9th at 9:00am for 12 weeks. Starting locations and destinations will vary. Equipment and investment are minimal – bring your comfortable walking shoes and a water bottle! The cost to participate is free. Walking club coordinator, Sherry Livergood says, “A brisk half hour walk two or more days a week can reduce the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and some cancers. And, she says you can make some new friends and have fun while doing something good for yourself.” Since walking is also considered an “entry level” form of exercise, people who develop daily waling routines are likely to eventually practice yoga, go biking, or join in other athletic pursuits. So, as the weather warms up, put on your walking shoes and join the walking club! For more information, please contact Sherry Livergood at 433-1886 extension 109 or via email at

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Caregiving, an Attitude of Gratitude

Current research is finding that taking care of tired caregivers could be as important as providing care for their care-recipients. Simply listing what you, as a spousal caregiver, are grateful for can provide you with the much-needed "tender loving care" that you are providing for your spouse -- and that you are typically not receiving from any other source. So the question that I have for you is: "How is your 'attitude of gratitude'?" As we all know, we are often stressed out by the various caregiving activities we perform for our spouses. The lead professor associated with the study theorized that something as simple as writing about gratitude will help relieve that stress. Specifically, in order to show the link between gratitude and health, researchers are analyzing just how gratefulness impacts the lives of men and women who care for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease. "Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease is a prime example of unlimited love. There is a lot of sacrifice involved, a lot of cost, and no reward" the lead researcher said. While her research is focused on Alzheimer's caregivers, the results of that research can be extrapolated to all caregivers - especially spousal caregivers. In order to better understand how to help caregivers, half of the research group fill out "gratitude journals" in which the participants listed what they were grateful for each day. The other half of the research group filled out "hardship journals" in which the participants listed the hardships incurred each day. Both groups wrote in their journals for two weeks. Researchers theorizes that those who completed the gratitude journals will have increases in their respective psychological well-being, general health, and life satisfaction. Previous research with college students found that gratitude had improved their physical and cognitive health. Since caregivers are dealing with much more serious issues, an emphasis on gratitude could conceivably help them cope with their daily problems more effectively. The research is being modeled after other studies regarding gratitude and well-being that were conducted by University of California at Davis, and University of Miami in Florida. Both found that people who kept weekly gratitude journals felt much better about their lives as a whole and were much more optimistic about the upcoming week than people who recorded life's hassles or various neutral life events. According to the study, "gratitude journals increased (people's) awareness of gratitude-provoking circumstances in their lives." Additionally, there may be a correlation between gratitude and religion. "The different world religions tell people that they should be grateful, or religious people have more practice being grateful," according to the study. Therefore, the concept of gratitude journals may help religious caregivers to better provide care for their loved ones. The Davis campus at the University of California is also conducting a series of experiments that suggest that "counting your blessings leads to improved physical and mental functioning." According to this study, "When people consciously practice grateful living, their happiness will go up and their ability to withstand negative events will improve as does their immunity to anger, envy, resentment, and depression." I have a GREAT "attitude of gratitude" -- how about you? It really does help get through challenging days as a caregiver

Monday, March 28, 2016

Volunteering Creates a Win-Win-Win!

People volunteer for various reasons; some of which are more obvious than others. The tradition has long been that volunteering is a form of charity and the best volunteering does involve the desire to help others. It is okay, though, to want to benefit yourself from volunteering, too. Studies show that giving back can have numerous health benefits. The Corporation for National and Community Service released a report on the health benefits of volunteering, which showed that, "States with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease." Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness can result in significant mental and physical health benefits. Helping can bring on a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, often called a "helper's high" that releases the body's natural painkiller, endorphins, thus reversing feelings of depression, hostility and stress. Reducing stress can have such health benefits as reducing obesity, sleeplessness, acid stomach, backache, headache and more, according to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Since retiring 17 years ago, Barb has been volunteering for the better part of those 17 years. She knows first-hand about the benefits of volunteering. Barb says, “I enjoy working with people and volunteering is a good way to stay active in the community.” She goes on to say, “The Dale is a super place in our community and I’m happy to help in any way possible.” Over the years, Barb has volunteered in many different capacities. From the Random Act of Kindness Foundation, here are a few more “happy” statistics about volunteerism: * The greater the frequency of volunteering, the greater the health benefits. * Personal contact with the people being helped is important. *“Helper's high” results most from helping people we don't know. * Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income. After retiring from nursing nine years ago, Dottie was also looking for the opportunity to volunteer. Dottie says, “Volunteering is a good way to feel good about yourself, helps keep you young, helps keep you active, and helps keep you involved.” Dottie’s various volunteer roles include calling homebound elders, helping with special events, and working with youth through intergenerational programs. Trends in volunteering show: nationally, 109 million people volunteer; corporate volunteering is up – 81% of companies surveyed connect volunteering to their overall business strategies, and 28 million senior volunteers gave approximately 5 billion hours of time annually, which is a value of $71.2 billion to non-profit organizations and causes in the United States. In a recent volunteerism survey, 44% of American adults volunteered their time in some way with an organization. Traditionally, women are more likely to volunteer than men. Today’s volunteers are aware of the value of their contributions and they are selective about where they invest their time and energy. Volunteers come from all walks of life. Joyce worked for 35 years and has been volunteering for the past 13 years. According to Joyce, she likes a challenge and seeks volunteer opportunities that challenge her. “It makes me feel young!” according to Joyce. Nancy, who has been volunteering for the past 10 years, since retiring likes to volunteer because she likes people and likes to get out of the house. Nancy says, “I admit I’m a ‘couch potato’ and volunteering helps get me out of the recliner. I get to meet more people now that I volunteer. I encourage others to look into volunteering – it’s a great experience.” Nancy is contributing her time and talent by helping at Memory Minders early memory loss program, Bingo, front desk and various events/activities. To find the right opportunity for you, select an organization that supports issues that matter to you. What type of things are you good at and like to do? What time do you have available? Volunteer opportunities are available whether you have one day to donate or are looking for ongoing regularly scheduled assignments. Choose situations to work with a group of people if that is what you are comfortable with. Opportunities are also available if you prefer to work independently. It is important to volunteer with an organization which can match what you are looking for from your volunteer experience. If you are looking for a “helper’s high” or to just want to help – make time to volunteer. To everyone who has given so generously of his or her time volunteering this past year, THANK YOU! Keep up the good work, you are so needed. For those of you who are starting to get “cabin fever” and think they would like to give volunteering a try – it is a good way to overcome the feeling that winter has lasted too long! The Dale Association’s annual volunteer appreciation event is coming up on April 7th beginning at 11:00am. All current volunteers are welcome; please RSVP by calling 433-1886. Lunch will be catered by Shamus Restaurant and decorations created by Hahn’s Florist. Volunteer awards will be unveiled. The event will take place at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport, NY. Volunteer Coordinator, Sherry Livergood says, “Volunteers are the heart of our agency. They have so much to offer; I continually learn and grow from their personal experiences and the knowledge they are willing to share. I love our volunteers!” Anybody who is interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Sherry at 433-1886 extension 109 or via email at She is excitedly awaiting your call. Many various opportunities are available; Sherry will work with you to find just the right fit for the time you have available, your talents and your needs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Veterans Workshop Planned

As citizens of the United States, we have many freedoms people of other countries do not have. We have luxuries, both materialistic and untouchable, making our lives and our children's lives so very much better. We have the power to choose, to state our thoughts and ideas and to move freely within our own country. We have the right to protest, vote and purchase our own homes. We can protect our families and ourselves. However, these luxuries did not come without a price. Many U.S. Military men and women encountered some of the most gruesome battles, triumphing over some of the biggest nations to maintain the very freedoms we have today. As U.S. Soldiers, they left the soil of their own country to save the solid ground we walk on today, forever changing their lives and that of their families. Sadly, many soldiers paid for our freedom with their own lives. As U.S. Citizens, we all owe much gratitude to those who have fought for us and our country, because we treasure the peace and freedom we have. Slightly less than half of all Americans who ever served during wartime in our country’s history are alive today and nearly 80% of all of today’s veterans served during a war. The largest group of veterans fought in World War II. You might (or might not) be surprised to know that there are approximately 28,000 veterans in Niagara County according to the census. The wellbeing of our Niagara County veterans is a priority. The public is invited to: “Veterans’ Forum 2016” being offered for our veterans and their family members on May 19, 2016 by Senator Robert Ortt, Niagara County Office for the Aging, and The Dale Association. There will be a panel discussion about Understanding Veterans’ Benefits, from 1:00 – 3:00pm featuring Senator Robert Ortt; Nina Cabrera and Al Thompson from Niagara County Veterans Service Agency; Joe Jastrzemski, Niagara County Clerk; and Susan Engel, VA Healthcare. Topics include benefits, VA Healthcare, Thank a Vet Program, pension, dementia care and burial. There will also be a Veterans’ Resource Fair featuring vendors and service agencies with resources for veterans and their families from 12:30 – 1:00pm and 3:00 – 3:30pm. You will have an opportunity to meet one on one with representatives from each of these agencies to answer your questions and fulfill any needs you may have. The Veterans’ Forum will take place at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St, Lockport. Veterans of all ages and their family members are encouraged to attend this informative, free community event. For more information or to RSVP, please call 433-1886 or visit What better way to honor the vet in your life, than by attending the workshop that may prove beneficial for them. Many thanks to our generous sponsors: Senator Robert G. Ortt; Niagara County Office for the Aging; Evans Bank; Dana R. Dee –Long Term Care Insurance Specialist; BAASE Family Chiropractic; ClearCaptions; and Brookdale Senior Living Solutions

Brain Food, Brain Fitness

A new poll asked people ages 42 and older about their brain health concerns. What they learned from the poll was surprising and encouraging. The data challenges us to consider how we as a nation should approach brain fitness going forward and what each of us might do, starting today, to take good care of our own cognitive capacities. It is exciting that discoveries in the science of brain health could hold great promise for improving the quality of life among older adults while enhancing the prospect that later years can be an era for continued personal growth, productivity and satisfaction. Do Americans think brain health can be improved? Do we use what we know to stay mentally fit? Is there more we can do to keep our brains in the best possible condition? These were the questions that the survey set out to answer in regard to brain health. The results may change how you think about brain health, too. As a starting point, it helps to know what is meant by brain fitness. For the majority, it is defined in terms of functional abilities — what we can do with our brains. For nearly two-thirds of respondents, good brain fitness is defined by abilities such as: Just over one-third (34%) of people interviewed think in terms of the presence or absence of disease as the defining characteristic of brain health. For example, the most frequently mentioned health aspect was not suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (9%). What does “brain fitness” mean? 18% Being alert/sharp 18% Keeping your brain active/Exercising the brain 16% Good mental health/Not senile 14% Good memory/Ability to remember 14% Ability to function normally 11% Ability to think/think clearly 9% Not suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease An overview of the National Brain Health Poll findings follow: 1. We are optimistic about brain health. Nearly nine out of ten people think that it is possible to improve brain fitness. • 53% believe it can improve a lot • 35% believe it can improve a little AND: An overwhelming majority says that thinking abilities should be checked routinely, just like a physical checkup. • 59% say it is very important to get a checkup • 32% say a checkup is somewhat important BUT: Brain health is a low priority compared to other health issues. • Only 3% rate it the most important health subject for people their age • Another 7% consider it the second most important topic 2. Our memory is good today, but we have doubts about tomorrow. We give ourselves high scores on our current brain fitness, regardless of age. • 34% rate their current memory as excellent • 62% rate their current memory as good BUT: The younger we are, the sooner we anticipate that most people will begin to worry about their memory. • People age 42-49 perceive that worries begin at age 52 • People age 50+ identify age 59 as the time when worries typically begin 3. We know about activities that are good for brain health. Most people recognize that many activities are very useful for improving mental fitness. • At least 60% say to avoid tobacco, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, do puzzles, reduce stress, limit alcoholic drinks, spend time with family and friends, and see the doctor regularly AND: Eighty-four percent report that they spend time, usually daily, in activities that are good for brain health. • 68% choose some kind of art or creative project, including 48% who spend time reading • 44% keep physically active • 35% play games and do puzzles • 25% work • 22% spend time with others 4. Doctors are our preferred source for information about brain fitness. More than 70% think that most people their age would go to a medical professional to find out about the brain and how to keep it fit. • 76% of women and 68% of men identify doctors as the best resource for information • People in their 40s and 50s are more likely than those 65+ to choose the Internet for brain health news AND: We encourage others who are concerned about their memory to see a doctor. • More than 74% would advise close friends or family to talk to a doctor BUT: We do not do what we think is best. • Only 58% say they have talked about their memory or brain fitness with anyone • 47% talk with family and 42% turn to friends • Just 37% speak with a medical professional: 13% with a nurse and only 24% with a doctor Most Americans rely on their cars to take them where they need to go each day. We expect that there will be some wear and tear with steady use—and we also expect to get years of good service from our cars. We know it will not happen unless we take care of them. That’s why we schedule regular tune-ups and rotate the tires as needed. It is the same with our brains. We depend on them, and we have to take care of them. Today, brain science has moved light years beyond outdated concepts such as mental decline is inevitable once our brains reach maturity or we are just passive containers for a complex organ. Tremendous advances in laboratory research and demonstration studies point the way to a revolution in what we know about staying mentally fit at every age. What we know and do about brain health varies widely. Most of us have ongoing brain fitness routines. Many seek out the newest information about staying mentally fit. Some of us talk with those we trust about our concerns, and a few worry in private. All of us, however, hope our brains will last as long as our bodies. Locally, the public is invited to learn about foods for brain support to supplementation and exercises you can do to keep your mind strong. The presentation will be conducted by Kelly Cardomone, Registered Dietician, Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY on March 21st at 10:30am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. This is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY ongoing health and wellness programming offered free of charge to the community. Please RSVP by calling 433-1886. Other free health events that are open to the public include: Free hearing screening: by Audiology on Demand, March 8th and April 12th from 1:30 – 3:30pom. Screening will be provided by Pamela Fleming, Audiologist. Please call 433-1886 to make your free appointment. Hearing screenings will take place at The Dale Association’s Centre, 33 Ontario St, Lockport. Free Bone Screenings: An osteoporosis screening uses an ultrasound device called a bone densitometer. The device measures the bone mineral density of your heel. The heel is measured because its bones are similar to the bones found in the hip, where fractures most often occur. The Dale Association is pleased to host healthcare professionals from Catholic Health on March 23rd from 10:00 am – 2:00pm for this free, easy and painless procedure. Space is limited, please register by calling 433-1886. Free Bone Screening will also take place at 33 Ontario St, Lockport.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bingo Volunteering

If you are one of the loyal bingo players who visit your favorite bingo center regularly, we have some great news for you! Scientific studies are revealing that bingo can have some not-so-obvious benefits. Winning is a great joy, but most seniors don’t only play to win. They actually enjoy the excitement and social atmosphere! Recent research has shown that playing bingo stimulates the following health benefits: • Cognitive strength: in a recent study, tests measured mental speed, memory and capacity to absorb specific kinds of information. The results concluded that bingo players are quicker and more accurate than non-bingo players. Research also found that older players outperformed younger players, so if you think our brains go into a steady decline as we age, think again. • Social well-being: Bingo gives seniors a fun and safe environment to connect with new and old friends while enjoying a game they all love to play. It brings seniors together while providing them a sense of belonging in the community. • Physical health: If you have ever attended a bingo event at one of our seniors clubs you may have experienced the laughter and excitement. Simply relaxing while playing a game with friends helps reduce stress and depression amongst seniors improving their physical health. In another separate but similar study, a survey of over 13,000 people and their bingo habits show the main reasons people are involved in Bingo include: chance to win, entertainment, like playing, socializing with friends, and support worthy causes. If you are looking for the opportunity to socialize and be with friends, have you considered playing bingo? Or perhaps you’d like to combine your desire to volunteer with Bingo. The Dale Association operates Bingo every Friday and is looking for volunteers. Volunteer as many or as few Fridays as you want. There are many different aspects of volunteering at Bingo – but all have the benefits of volunteering and being with others. For more information, contact Sherry Livergood at 433-1886 ext 109 or email her at

Eye and Vision Health

January is “Eye Health Month”. If a family member or friend is experiencing vision loss, you are in a position to provide much needed support. But, you may need support as well. You, too, may feel overwhelmed by questions, concerns and emotions that arise as a result. It can be hard to know where to begin, or how to get information and resources. Vision loss is not a normal part of aging, but the majority of Americans has limited knowledge about vision loss and aging and assumes – mistakenly – that older people become visually impaired as part of the normal aging process. The likelihood of vision impairment, however, does increase with age and will affect more and more families in the future. Among Americans age 65 and older, one in five reports some form of vision impairment, even when wearing eyeglasses. By age 75, this statistic jumps to one in four. In addition, most middle-aged and older Americans fear blindness more than other physical impairments. But, most people with impaired vision do not become totally blind. Armed with the right information, you can help identify serious vision problems, encourage your relative to seek professional care and be better prepared to help during the adjustment process. As we age, some vision changes are normal and some are due to eye disease. Normal changes usually can be corrected with a new eyeglass prescription or better lighting. But vision problems resulting from age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract or diabetic retinopathy, can cause permanent impairment or “low vision”. Low vision, however, does not mean “no vision”. And, although vision loss may be permanent, much can be done to maximize remaining vision and improve quality of life. Everyone – and most especially, older adults – should have regular eye exams to maintain eye health and for the early detection of conditions that cause low vision. People who become visually impaired later in life experience a range of feelings, including sadness, anger, worry, frustration, and fear. These feelings are common and understandable – and should not be ignored. Research has shown that family members can ease the adjustment to vision loss by listening to their relatives’ feelings and offering help when it’s needed. It’s often hard for family members to know when or how much to help. Take time to talk with your relative or friend about the things he/she can and cannot do, and ask what kind of help is needed.


Ann Morrow Lindbergh in her "In Hour of Gold, Hour of Head" said, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, then all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. For those who cannot grieve or mourn, depression often is the end result. The depression assists the person by acting as a defense. The defense system includes denial of loss, separation from other activities that demand openness and vulnerability. In depression nothing is working to assist the person to grow through their grief and mourning. Those who use depression as a defense increase their risk of losing potential support of their social network. This risk is particularly true for the older widow. Widows tend to experience painful social relationships when her life is strongly tied to multi dimensions of her husband’s life. The more involvement the more his death will effect her life. The big question is what can a widow do to assist herself through her grief while being supported by a social network. What does it take to be open and vulnerable? Who is her support network? Children and lifelong friends can provide support, but they may become impatient with the time needed to mourn. Often it is only others who are newly widowed themselves that can understand the depth and breadth of pain caused by the death. So it is important not to push into the fast lane by well-meaning family and friends. By expressing feelings a widow is being open and vulnerable to those feelings. For the moment the feeling hurts, but they will not become depression. Eventually, the widow can live with her memories and undertake new activities, which are rewarding. Friend making, network building, finding new purpose are part of the way to mourn. This type of mourning is far healthier than using depression as a defense. The Dale Association’ Senior Centre can be reached at 433-1886. Other communities offer senior activities.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Happy" New Year?

Happy New Year! For reasons that are not always apparent, you may sometimes feel a little down or fatigued. The cause, or combination of causes, may be anything from a recent emotional upset or a major change in your life to a stressful period of time in your life. Sometimes, a mixture of emotions may sneak up on you when you least expect it. Even enjoyable activities can be stressful and demanding. Research indicates that maintaining good health throughout stressful times is directly linked to a positive attitude. To keep a positive flow of energy in your life, try these simple strategies. Improving your mood need not be time consuming or expensive – learn to appreciate simple pleasures, such as a matinee movie or a long chat with a friend can do wonders to brighten your day. Make sure you are well rested. According to the National Institute on Aging, an estimated 30 percent of middle aged Americans don’t get enough sleep. Factors that can help you get a good night’s sleep are sticking to a regular bedtime, sleeping in a cool and dark room and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine after mid-afternoon. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Moderate exercise is an activity that leaves you feeling warm, but still able to talk. And don’t forget routine activities like mopping the floor and raking leaves are considered moderate exercise. Music has the ability to alter your mood. If you want to relax, listen to slow, soothing classical music. To energize yourself, pick something that is faster such as jazz or pop. Or consider making your own music by playing a musical instrument. Taking up a new hobby provides you with feelings, which can improve your sense of well being. Bringing a little creativity into your life can mean something as simple as trying a new recipe or a more involved project like woodworking or landscaping. The important thing is to develop a new interest. By making a difference in the lives of others and becoming active, you generate positive feelings in your own life. Volunteering will fill your heart and let goodness shine in your life. Studies show that people who volunteer as little as two hours per week improve their own health. Worries drift away when you focus on others. Try one of these strategies to distract your attention from the hectic pace of life around you and restore the energy you need to live a full life. If the new year is a time for you to reflect and want to make a change in your life – it is as good a time as any to try something new!

New Year, New Resolve

New Years means resolutions! The top 10 New Years resolutions are: o Lose weight o Getting organized o Spend less, save more o Enjoy life to the fullest o Staying fit and healthy o Learn something exciting o Quit smoking o Help others in their dreams o Fall in love o Spend more time with family If you want help tackling number one above – let’s think about making simple changes to what you eat and your level of activity. I also offer the following healthy eating tips for people age 65 and older: Drink plenty of liquids: With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice may also help you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugar or salt. Make eating a social event: Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck. Join our senior center or your place of worship for a meal with others. There are many ways to make mealtime pleasing. Plan healthy meals: Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat foods you need. National Institute on Aging has advice on what to eat, how much to eat, which foods to choose based on the dietary guidelines. Know how much to eat: Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later. One restaurant portion is often enough for two meals or more. Vary your vegetables: Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber. Eat for your teeth and gums: Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it difficult to chew firm fruits and vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients. Eating softer foods can help. Use herbs and spices: foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook! Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavors to your meals with herbs and spices. Keep food safe: Don’t take a chance with your health. A food related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy. Other foods may be harmful when they are raw or under-cooked, such as eggs, fish, shellfish or poultry. Read the Nutrition label: Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know fats, sodium, and other items on the label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients you might need to limit.