Monthly Archives: June 2015

The unexpected benefits of volunteering in nature

VolunteerNatureWhen ‘citizen scientists’ help gather data, they don’t get paid, but the rewards are priceless

By Akiko Busch for Next Avenue

There’s something innately restorative to the human spirit about watching the flow of water in a stream, and this is especially true in spring. The frozen landscapes and frigid temperatures of the winter months can cast a stillness across one’s interior terrain as well, so to watch the current of a river in May is surely to come alive again.

That sense of renewal is even greater, though, when it extends from one’s own spirit to the larger environment. Which is just what happens when I go to watch for the herring in the annual spring monitoring program. read more

How to Recover Your Footing When Things Go Awry

RecoveringBalanceWhen life gets slippery, react like an ice skater

By Donna Sapolin for Next Avenue 

“A woman at 20 is like ice,” famed Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida once said. “At 30 she is warm and at 40 she is hot.”

So, by that logic, at 50 or 60 she must be red-hot. In fact, the only characteristic she may still have in common with ice is how solid she is — how she reveals her inner self and the degree to which she’s had to contend with people trying to walk all over her.

Yet the obvious depth and shimmering emotional intelligence that many mature women possess may not always be enough to let them keep their footing on thin ice. read more

How Sharing a Life Story Helps Dementia Caregivers


If you’re the primary caregiver of a person with dementia, you know your loved one’s likes and dislikes. You can read their moods. You know their routines and the people in their world. Nobody can care for them the same way you do. But the act of sharing your loved one’s life story empowers others to better understand his or her traits, to connect and to provide better dementia care. In turn, you receive peace of mind when you take time for yourself.

Conveying personal info lets others connect with your loved one

By Mike Good for Next Avenue

One day while I was volunteering at a local adult day care, we had a new visitor who was confused and very unhappy that her daughter had left her there with us. She was agitated and was trying to leave.

Luckily, when they first arrived, her daughter had handed us a one-page life story about her mother who had dementia. After reading it, I was able to more easily connect with the lady.

Sharing Your Knowledge

As we discussed her career as a teacher, her agitation slipped away and we ended up having a very nice conversation. Without that knowledge, things would have been more difficult for both of us. read more

Art is Ageless wins creativity award


Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s 2015 Art is Ageless® calendar won a platinum award from the Hermes Creative Awards competition.

The Hermes Creative Awards competition is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The awards recognize the outstanding work of creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media.

Of the 6,000 entries from 23 countries, about 15 percent receive a platinum award, the highest award given, according to contest organizers. A list of winners is available at read more

PMMA receives Healthcare Advertising awards

Calendar cover page 2015 O.LWICHITA, Kan. – Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s 2015 Art is Ageless® calendar won a gold award from the Healthcare Advertising Awards. The organization also won awards for its 65th Anniversary Art of Life campaign, a silver award for magazine advertising and a merit award for a television ad. The 32nd annual competition is administered by Healthcare Marketing Report.

Art is Ageless is a trademarked program of PMMA, a faith-based organization with 18 retirement communities in Kansas and Missouri. Each community holds a juried art competition exclusively for people age 65 and older. Winning art may be chosen to appear in a calendar or note cards. Periodic programs and classes are held throughout the year to encourage seniors to express their creativity. Started in 1981 when resident art was featured in a calendar, the competition is now open to all seniors in the area. Learn more about the program at read more

PMMA names regional operations director


Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America promoted Rhonda Parks to a regional director of operations position. Parks fills an opening created when Bill Taylor was named chief operating officer for the organization. Both positions are effective July 1. Parks currently is executive director for Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, and she will serve a dual role until a new executive director is named.

As a Regional Director of Operations, Parks will will supervise the operation of six Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America locations in the following locations: Kansas City, Lawrence, Newton, Salina, Sterling and Topeka. read more

What You Can Do to Curb Elder Financial Abuse


There’s no way to guarantee your aging parents won’t fall victim to elder financial abuse, but there is one thing you can do to help cut the odds: Be sure they’re discussing their finances with someone they (and you) can trust.

An Allianz study shows what separates the victims from the vigilant

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

There’s no way to guarantee your aging parents won’t fall victim to elder financial abuse, but there is one thing you can do to help cut the odds: Be sure they’re discussing their finances with someone they (and you) can trust.

That’s the upshot of the recent Allianz Life study, Safeguarding Our Seniors. When surveying 1,223 people who were 65 and older, Allianz found that only 8 percent of those who said they were victims of elder abuse also said they were “currently discussing their finances with another person.” read more

When should you push for a Geriatric Assessment?


A geriatric assessment can help you figure out the level of care your loved one needs.

Taking a team approach can net the best results for your parents

By Eileen Beal, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, for Next Avenue

Navigating the maze of eldercare options can be challenging. A geriatric assessment can help you figure out the level of care your loved one needs.

“The phrase geriatric assessment is a bit confusing,” says Norbert “Bert” Rahl, director of mental health services at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

Sometimes an assessment looks at just one issue that’s causing problems for a loved one. For instance:

  • If you are concerned about your mother’s physical status, the medications she is taking or how she is (or isn’t) managing a chronic condition, a physical assessment may be in order.
  • If your father has mobility issues and you’re worried about how well he is (or isn’t ) getting around on his own, he may need a functional assessment.
  • If you are worried about the psychological and emotional well-being of your loved one, a mental health assessment could be helpful.
  • If your aging relative is displaying issues with memory, decision making and financial management skills, a cognitive assessment should be scheduled.

Or, to get the whole-person “picture” of what’s going on, Rahl suggests a comprehensive assessment, which looks at all those things and how they are interacting and overlapping in your older loved one’s life. read more

One-third have metabolic syndrome, and the numbers will grow


Cutting back on eating out is one way to address metabolic syndrome.

Almost half of people over 60 and one-third of all adults have metabolic syndrome, a combination of health concerns that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, according to research released May 19. That is concerning, researchers say, because the country’s population is aging, so more disease is expected.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels and a large waist. Doctors are increasingly looking at these symptoms to determine heart disease risk, said Dr. Robert Wong with the University of California, San Francisco. The research appeared in the May 19 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. read more