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.