LEAP! is building a better brain

shutterstock_175274801In one way or another, we’ve all been impacted by the effects of Alzheimer’s, whether it be a friend, neighbor or loved one who’s had this devastating disease. But that doesn’t mean we’re completely powerless, as there are many ways one can optimize brain health.

Aberdeen Village residents recently discovered this as they took a LEAP! through a new Alzheimer’s prevention program beginning in August 2016.

The program originated in the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Kansas University Hospital. Dr. Jeff Burns, co-director of the center, created the program. LEAP! is an acronym for Lifestyle Enrichment for Alzheimer’s Prevention.

It is a 12-part series of workshops to improve senior lifestyles. It focuses on positive changes in diet, exercise, sleep, social interaction and other lifestyle changes.

Attendees learn about lifestyle changes that can boost brain health, based on the latest research. For information about the next session, contact Life Enrichment Coordinator Sandy Barnes.

Resident focuses on future

Beth-Riner-2Resident Beth Riner tries to see the good in every situation, and is known for her positive outlook and willingness to help others. What some may not know, however, is that Beth went through a difficult time when a health crisis threatened her very life. She not only lived, but thrived, and has taken full advantage of each and every day she was given thereafter. She shares her story with us:

“When I was 44 with a severe headache, I went for my annual eye checkup. On the eye chart I saw two E’s, and said, ‘The red one is at the right, above the black one.’ The doctor halted the exam, instructing me to go home and expect a phone call from a neurologist. Once I was hospitalized, a saintly doctor took me through a battery of tests and diagnosed me with a cerebral aneurysm. (CAT scans and MRIs were not yet in use.) The severe headaches did not subside. I didn’t eat.

“I had worked at church and in the Presbytery as a Christian educator. Visits and prayers were offered on my behalf. Marion, my husband, was given some leave from work to keep our two sons on schedule. Church members brought food to them. After three weeks, I was dismissed and will always remember the lighted Christmas tree when I was welcomed home. Marion spun a pile of carols and Chopin records while I tried to refocus my double vision with a painting above the sofa.

“As strength began to return, and the eye patch was removed, I entered a hospital-sponsored walking program, chalking 500 miles in our neighborhood and collecting rewards of T-shirts, fanny packs and a pedometer. I entered a ‘Y’ water exercise program.

“In time, I resumed volunteer teaching and delivering Meals on Wheels. My husband retired, and we began to travel. I had served on a Synod committee that encouraged the startup of two Presbyterian Manors and sold early “Art is Ageless” calendars. We set our sights on Aberdeen Village. Our daily mall walks often ended with a trip to the Aberdeen Village marketing office.

“When we came on board, the highlight for Marion was sitting on the balcony to observe the campus mowers. The food was tops! It was ‘Candy Land’ walking back to our apartment! Almost everyone had jelly beans or gum drops on the shelves outside their door, and we lived on ‘Long Haul!’

“You should know, as I wind down this epistle, that I got with the program! I put in a mile a day in the halls or on trails and signed up for water exercise classes. Flowers and mementos appeared on shelves. I discovered more food options, eating less starch and more fish and salads. We joined the Chorale. I taught English as a second language to a staff member.

“When Marion became ill, we felt supported by our community of neighbors. My present goal is listening to them now, wherever they might be in life and lifting them up with my blessing.”

Art is Ageless® Winners Announced

"Water, Water Everywhere" by Cheryl Reynolds.

“Water, Water Everywhere” by Cheryl Reynolds.

Three winning artists in Aberdeen Village’s annual Art is Ageless® juried competition will be featured in the 2017 Art is Ageless Calendar produced by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America.

"Longhorn Calf" by Dennis M. Broockerd.

“Longhorn Calf” by Dennis M. Broockerd.

“Water, Water Everywhere,” a drawing by Cheryl Reynolds, “Longhorn Calf,” a painting by Dennis M. Broockerd, and “California or Bust,” a drawing by Edward W. Duman will appear in the calendar when it is released this fall.

In addition, “A Different Time,” a drawing by Carol Rondinelli and “House in a Bubble,” a winner in the Christmas category by Joan Varner, will be featured on two of the Art is Ageless greeting cards.

Works by local winners are automatically entered into a masterpiece level competition

"California or Bust" by Edward W. Duman.

“California or Bust” by Edward W. Duman.

with winning art from 16 other PMMA communities. The winners are featured in the Art is Ageless calendar and notecards.

Art is Ageless, open exclusively to people age 65 and older, is a copyrighted program of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America. For the competition, works must have been completed in the past five years.

Senior bank accounts: Should you get one?

4 ways to size them up before you sign up

By Margarette Burnette for Next Avenue


It isn’t hard to figure out why some banks and credit unions offer special checking accounts for customers they call “seniors.” Once they establish banking relationships this way, they can try to entice the new accountholders with savings accounts, loans and retirement accounts.

But is a “senior” checking account (generally restricted to people over 60 or 65, though sometimes available to people 50 and up) a good deal for you? That depends.

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Common myths of hospice debunked

Five things you may think about hospice that aren’t true

By Jacob Edward for Next Avenue


In the past 40 years, attitudes towards death and dying in America and much of the rest of the world have slowly changed. The hospice movement has grown considerably and now constitutes its own segment of the health care system. Prior to hospice, people often died alone, in institutional settings like hospitals.

While some people still pass away without their loved ones around them, many are choosing to receive palliative care at home as a way to make the end of their lives as comfortable and rewarding as possible. But there are still many common misconceptions about hospice. Nobody likes to dwell on the subject of death, so people are naturally reluctant to study what hospice care is until they are in need of hospice services.

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A smart way to curb senior loneliness

In this program, old and young people connect with one another

By Rachel Adelson for Next Avenue


“Take two friendships and call me in the morning.”

That’s what Dr. Paul Tang, an internist and national expert on health care quality, would like to tell aging patients. He, and other doctors like him, view social engagement as a treatment for a very modern ill: loneliness.

Tang divides his time between Washington, D.C. (where he influences health care policy) and the David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation (he’s the director). Tang has developed a cross-generational program meant to get people of all ages helping and connecting with one another. Called linkAges, the centerpiece of the program is a community-based service exchange in the form of a volunteer time bank. The service is being tested in California, with hopes that it’ll soon expand elsewhere.

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How to craft your memoir

Be sure to include experiences and feelings that make your life story meaningful

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue


When I overheard my father reminiscing with his old Army buddy about how desperate they felt as kids having to do menial tasks to earn money that would help their families — even plucking chickens — I realized I hadn’t heard much about his emotional life growing up.

In fact, other than the few stories he told about his two brothers, he didn’t talk about his childhood. Over the years, I managed to collect facts and figures— where his mother and father were born, important dates and some highlights of his life. But I knew little of his family’s financial struggles during the Great Depression and almost nothing about his older brother’s death.

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Lighten up your favorite recipes of yesteryear

You don’t have to give up all the flavor if you use a “sliding scale of decadence”

By Joanna Pruess for Next Avenue


Do you long to eat favorite foods from your youth without a side order of guilt? With creative tweaking, chocolaty brownies, creamy scalloped potatoes, hearty meatloaf, green bean-mushroom casserole with fried onions and other comfort foods can return from the list of no-nos. The key is determining which diet-wrecking ingredients you’re willing to compromise on and how much you’re willing to cut back on them. But the choices aren’t black or white: I think of them as existing on a sliding scale of decadence.

Leaving a little indulgence in foods helps us to eat better because we end up feeling more satisfied. Think about it: If your revisions are super-healthy but tasteless, you’ll probably do something at least twice as unhealthy later, like diving into a bag of chips or having a date with Ben & Jerry.

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What to know about money and work by 50, 60, 70

Master these skills for your finances and career when turning each age

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue


Staying on track with your finances and career requires checking in every so often to be sure you’re meeting your goals and anticipating your needs at each life stage. Although you may have been saving for retirement and enjoying success at work for years, there are still some things to learn. You may have gaps in expertise you’d like to fill or may be ready to plunge into a new career.

Whatever your goals, here’s a checklist of basic money and career management knowledge it’s good to have by age 50, 60 and 70:

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Why your relationship needs forgiveness

Even for serious wrongs like infidelity, hanging on to anger hurts you, too

By Barb DePree, M.D. for Next Avenue


By the time we reach midlife, we’ve experienced all kinds of things in our relationships, some good, some bad. It’s great to think back on the positive experiences once in a while, maybe even re-live them from time to time.

For the negative experiences, that’s not such a good idea.

And the more serious the situation, the harder it is to not think about it. Maybe you’ve had to deal with an infidelity or some other kind of betrayal by your partner. If so, its lingering effects may very well be interfering with your ability to fully embrace your partner in a healthy — and even in a literal — way.

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