7 steps to healthier barbecue

Here’s how to make the best Fourth of July cookout ever

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It may be the favorite way to cook on hot summer days, but experts say the high heat of grilling can produce cancer-causing compounds that are dangerous to your health.

But with the 4th of July nearing, don’t ditch the barbecue just yet. Grilling can still be one of the healthiest methods of cooking, as long as you use the right techniques and make healthy food choices.

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Why Social Security benefits won’t be cut

One of the presidential candidates is a key reason

By Chris Farrell for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

I love Social Security. Seriously. Social Security was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 and over time has evolved into America’s most successful pension and insurance program.  Social Security helps keep millions of America’s elderly out of poverty, too.

Those aren’t particularly controversial sentiments, except in bitterly polarized Washington, D.C. Conservatives have routinely called for cutting back on Social Security’s “unaffordable” benefits and “privatizing” the system. Social Security, they say, is “bankrupt” and a “Ponzi scheme.” Liberals have staved off Social Security benefits cuts in recent years largely through a defensive strategy of preserving the status quo established by the 1983 National Commission on Social Security Reform.

But things are changing — bigtime.

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Prepare for surgery with exercise and diet

‘Prehabilitation’ is slowly being recognized as valuable for success after a procedure

By Judith Graham for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

A dozen years ago, at the age of 50, Lillie Shockney decided to have breast reconstruction surgery after two bouts of cancer and two mastectomies. The procedure called for removing a flap of skin and fat from her abdomen, used to rebuild her breasts.

Shockney knew a lot about breast cancer and the trials of recovery: she was (and still is) director of the breast center at Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Characteristically, this dynamic nurse didn’t want to stay in the hospital for any longer than absolutely necessary.

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Opening our eyes to elder abuse

On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a call for better detection and action

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue


Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and Next Avenue joins in the effort to shine a light on this pervasive problem.

An estimated 5 million older Americans are abused, neglected or exploited every year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. That’s a conservative number, the organization says: for every one case that’s reported, as many as 23 are not.

“Elder mistreatment is a serious public health issue, and merits the same level of response as child abuse or domestic abuse,” says Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., president of  The John A. Hartford Foundation and a researcher and authority on elder mistreatment and abuse, in a statement last week.

She urged all of us to increase our vigilance.

“In particular, health care, emergency services, social service, and law enforcement professionals, who are on the front lines, should use every interaction with an older person to screen for possible mistreatment,” she says. “One simple yet powerful way to do this is by asking the question: ‘Are you safe at home?’

That’s especially important with older adults who may be cognitively impaired or rarely outside of the presence of a potential abuser, Fulmer says.

Manifestations of Abuse

Elder abuse comes in many forms, including physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse.

Last month, Next Avenue published a series on abuse in the guardianship and conservatorship systems, finding that, despite decades of efforts, pernicious patterns have endured.

As the boomer population ages, the numbers of people affected by guardianship and conservatorship will rise tremendously, experts predict. With the stroke of a judge’s pen, an older adult can see his or her most basic rights stripped away. A family member or even a stranger appointed by the court will decide where they will live, how their money will be spent, what health care they will get, when they will go out and whom they are allowed to see.

Educating Ourselves

We urge everyone to learn about elder abuse and know the signs that someone may be being abused.

We also urge the presidential candidates to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and offer their ideas on how to address the disturbing reality many older adults live with every day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is organized by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

© Twin Cities Public Television – 2016. All rights reserved.

Getting rid of possessions: It’s harder than you think

Since the process is partly psychological, here’s how to prepare

By Harriet Edleson for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

If you’re ready to move to a smaller space or think you might want to downsize in the not-too-distant future, take a deep breath and start planning.

It’s a much bigger task than you’ll ever imagine, partly because the process entails far more than just deciding which possessions to keep and which to toss.

Most people acquire things over a lifetime — one decade, year, month or day at a time. Through the years, possessions from clothes to decorative arts can accumulate: Flexible Flyer sleds tucked away in the basement crawl space; bridesmaid’s or flower girl dresses stored in closets; Valentines, birthday cards and other personal correspondence stashed in night table drawers.

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How to start painting at any age

3 tips from a pro on easy ways to pick up a brush and begin

By Heidi Raschke for Next Avenue


Untitled painting and collage by Megan Jackson

Megan Jackson is the kind of person people describe as an old soul. “It’s hard for me to really connect in my own age group, and that’s always been the case,” says the painter who created the untitled work that tops Next Avenue’s Artful Aging Special Report. “I’ve always had older friends.”

Before Jackson created this work of painting and collage, she wasn’t familiar with the terms “artful aging” or “creative aging” — which refer to the practice of engaging older adults in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery. But she knew many people who were living it. Like her friend Lori, who became what Jackson calls a “botanist photographer” in her 60s.

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Give elders and their caregivers the support they deserve

This Influencer In Aging says changes are vital as the nation gets older

By Ai-jen Poo for Next Avenue


Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. Here, Ai-jen Poo, one of the Influencers, discusses the importance of caring for our nation’s caregivers.

Every day, at least 10,000 Americans turn 65. When we imagine the future, most of us envision ourselves living life on our own terms, in our homes and communities, connected to the people we love, even as we become more frail. As Atul Gawande, Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencer of the Year, so eloquently put it, we want to continue to be “the authors of our own stories” as we age.

Yet, most of us don’t have a plan to make that happen, and we as a nation don’t have a plan, either. Our family caregivers are overstretched and our care workforce is underpaid; both are undervalued. Families are pushed into poverty to pay for care. What we have in place simply isn’t sufficient to meet the growing need for care and supportive services in our country.

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What banks are doing to curb elder financial abuse

Why some are proactive, but others are afraid to be

By Juliette Fairley for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

An increasing number of banks and credit unions are implementing fraud-prevention initiatives to prepare for the onslaught of aging Americans expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

They are training tellers “to flag potential suspicious behavior, such as coercion by family members, frequent withdrawals of large sums of money in a short period of time or transferring large sums of money,” said Ramsay Alwin, vice president of economic security at the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C.

This proactive work is likely to benefit older customers as well as the financial institutions. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is estimated to reach 7.1 million — a 40 percent increase from today’s 5.1 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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PATH Program gets Bob back to life

5-10-16 091When it came time to sell his home two years ago and find a new place to live with less maintenance, Bob (Robert) Andrews knew just where he wanted to go.

“My house was up for sale for about a year. It was getting to be too much for me. There comes a time when it’s necessary to make changes, and it’s one I knew would eventually be inevitable — and at that time I was 89,” said Bob.

“There were several reasons why I wanted to come live here at Presbyterian Manor. First, I had attended the Presbyterian Church here in town. And second, my house was two blocks down the street, and I passed by here every day. The Manor was my first choice. I knew there was an independent living unit out front available, so when I got the house sold, I immediately got down here and inquired. It was a great relief to find out it was open. This is such a nice place, and I especially like the food!”

It’s more than just the location and food that have kept Bob happy here. His recent stay in our PATH (Post Acute to Home) program quite literally helped him get his life back.

“This past winter, I got ill. I came down with pneumonia. I called over to the Manor, and they sent Michelle, the head nurse, to see me. She took one look at me and said we need to call an ambulance,” said Bob. “I was in the hospital for five days. When I was released, I wasn’t strong enough to go back and live on my own, so I came back to the manor and stayed in the rehab unit for five weeks.”

Bob was nursed back to health, and the physical therapy program he completed helped him build more strength than he had when he originally fell ill. He found camaraderie with a group of fellow patients, which made his stay even more enjoyable.

“ The people here are very helpful and easy to work with. The nurses upstairs are helpful, and the food was good. I had a nice table of people that ate with me, and we had a nice time. Some of the older residents here kept looking at us because we were laughing and carrying on. We were the party table!” said Bob.

Now that Bob has “graduated” from the PATH program, he’s back to enjoying life.

“I feel even stronger now than before I got sick. It was what I needed. I’ve even been going down to the hospital to exercise one or two times a week. And when the weather got good I planted some geraniums and other flowers there in my little planting area,” said Bob.

We’re grateful Bob is back to his old self, and we welcome you to learn more about our PATH program when you or a loved one are in need of rehabilitation after a hospital stay. Contact Sharla Hopper at 620-421-1450 or shopper@pmma.org.

Nurses make it possible

Front Row: Janna Baker, RN, Michelle Lever, RN, Shannon Brown, LPN, Amber Conrad, RN, Stephanie Rankuhi, RN. Back Row: Sharon Searles, RN, Allison King, RN, Mary Canada, LPN, Natasha Jones, LPN, Kaylee Kinsch, RN, Paula Stukey, RN, Judy Marsh, RN.

Front Row: Janna Baker, RN, Michelle Lever, RN, Shannon Brown, LPN, Amber Conrad, RN, Stephanie Rankuhi, RN.
Back Row: Sharon Searles, RN, Allison King, RN, Mary Canada, LPN, Natasha Jones, LPN, Kaylee Kinsch, RN, Paula Stukey, RN, Judy Marsh, RN.

While we celebrate and appreciate nurses and all they do throughout the year, we took some time in May during Nurses Week to honor the great nursing staff we have here at Parsons Presbyterian Manor.

Nurses Week begins every year on May 6 and ends on May 12 (Florence Nightingale’s birthday). To thank our nurses for all of their hard work and loving care of residents, we treated them to a different gift each day, including a survival kit, a name plaque with adjectives describing each of them, a luncheon, cake and punch, and more.

Health Services Director Michelle Lever said, “I believe our ultimate goal as nurses is to try to make every day the best it can be for our residents by doing whatever it takes. No matter how small something seems, it could be what made their day. In our profession, the residents may remember you or they may not. They do, however, remember how you made them feel.”