Making communities friendlier for those with dementia

Making Communities Friendlier for Those With Dementia

That’s the goal for the ambitious Dementia Friendly America initiative

By Beth Baker for Next Avenue


Credit: Courtesy of Paynesville (MN) ACT on Alzheimer’s Caption: Volunteers pass out laminated bookmarks with the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s at the local supermarket

Can a strong community network help ease the challenges faced by people with dementia and their families? That’s the hope of a national volunteer-driven initiative known as Dementia Friendly America (DFA), announced at the White House Conference on Aging in July.

“Our goals are to foster dementia-friendly communities that will enable people who are living with dementia and their care partners to thrive and to be independent as long as possible,” says Olivia Mastry, who’s guiding the effort. “The side benefit is that it’s beginning to normalize [Alzheimer’s], to reduce the stigma. It’s created an environment that’s allowed people to talk about this disease.”

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A cure for senior loneliness is within our reach

We can solve the problem of social isolation by thinking differently about senior housing

By Tim Carpenter for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

(Next Avenue invited all our 2016 Influencers in Aging to write essays about the one thing they would like to change about aging in America. This is one of the essays.)

The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 required that packages of cigarettes display the warning “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” I wish the Surgeon General would issue this warning: “Caution: Loneliness and Social Isolation May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Yes, just like smoking, loneliness and social isolation are deadly. And just like smoking in the 1960s, our society is just beginning to understand the perils of loneliness and social isolation today. A 2015 study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The New York Times recently ran a story with the headline “Social Isolation Is Killing Us.”

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Make every day Valentine’s Day

How to survive the holiday and keep romance alive 365 days a year — however long you’ve been together

By Terri Orbuch, Ph.D. for Next Avenue


I always look forward to February and especially Valentine’s Day, but I’m well aware that not everyone does. I love seeing all the red hearts in the stores and enjoy the romantic commercials on TV for diamonds, perfume and lingerie.

It’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed by the media barrage to buy cards, flowers and presents.

There’s another way to look at it, however. Valentine’s Day can serve as a useful reminder to practice simple acts of kindness and to show appreciation for the special people in our lives.

While it’s easy to say that every day should be as romantic as Valentine’s Day, we often wind up distracted by all the things we have to do and don’t make time for what I call “relationship upkeep.” Work, routines, kids and other obligations take precedence, and our attention gets deflected everywhere but toward our one and only.

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Want to age better? Join a choir

A groundbreaking study examines the health benefits of making music as we age

By Deborah Quilter for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

Twenty years ago, when academic researcher Julene Johnson wanted to study how music might help the aging process, she couldn’t get funding. Johnson, a professor at the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, suspected that music might improve memory, mood and even physical function.

And, she thought, what could be more perfect than choral music? Your instrument is already in your body, and you are bathed in beautiful sound by fellow musicmakers. Singing in a group is fun, so there’s plenty of reason to come back week after week: You get to see your friends and exercise your vocal cords and brain all at once.

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Fighting ageism and unfair treatment in health care

Among the problems: doctors who view depression and anxiety in older adults as ‘normal’

By Terry Fulmer for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

(Next Avenue invited all our 2016 Influencers in Aging to write essays about the one thing they would like to change about aging in America. This is one of the essays.)

Everyone deserves equal treatment — in the broader society and in our health care system. Today, older people are often not treated fairly and do not get the care they deserve, simply because of their age. While one of our great success stories in the 20th century was the stunning gain in human longevity, recent research from The Frameworks Institute, funded by my group, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and others, has found that the majority of us still don’t recognize ageism or its deleterious effects. They call it a “cognitive hole,” a mental blind spot.

As 10,000 of us turn 65 each day, it is critical that we shine a bright light on this insidious prejudice. It is a matter of simple fairness and justice. It is a way to honor the priceless and irreplaceable contributions that older adults make every day to enrich our society and culture. And for those of us at The John A. Hartford Foundation, it is critical to the broader effort to improve care for older people.

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Learning to swim at 80

Tackling a lifelong to-do can be really enjoyable

By Louise Jackson for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Every Thursday night, I drive to the gym, wriggle into a swimsuit that does nothing to hide my bulging belly or my wrinkled, sagging underarms, put on swim goggles that make me look a bit like someone from outer space, grab my cane to help keep my balance while walking from the dressing room into the pool area and slowly ease down the steps into water smelling of chlorine.

I’m 80 years old and taking a swim class for the first time in my life.

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How to become a Boomer tech genius

Humorous and helpful ideas to get savvy about electronics and apps

By Barbara Crowley for Next Avenue


(Editor’s Note: This article is a reader-submitted essay.)

I believe my generation, the boomers, will change the way the world views aging.

I think we’ll do this by railing against getting old, whereas the generations before us just sat back and accepted it.

Suppliers of cosmetics, plastic surgery, pharmaceuticals and vitamin supplements have voluntarily joined our cause. Actually, these businesses don’t see it so much as a cause, but as a potentially lucrative demographic  — now tagged the “grey market.”

For most of these businesses, the focus is “anti-aging.”

I take issue with that term. The dictionary definition of “anti” is “opposed to.” Can you really be opposed to aging? Like you have an option and can cast your vote?

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How do we love Presbyterian Manor? Let us count the ways


It’s February — the month of love! What better time to reflect on the things we love about our community?

We absolutely love the positive atmosphere at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. We love our wonderful residents who make our community truly feel like home. And of course, we love our hard-working and dedicated staff. With great food, fantastic neighbors, a five-star rating from the government agency that sets nursing home standards, and a truly dedicated leadership team, the list of things to love goes on.

Just ask our residents!

Norma Nickel tells us that she loves the people who help her, such as Kathy Sprecker, who does a wonderful job in keeping her apartment clean. Norma said she is thankful that she was able to come to here and get the help she needed, and still be as independent as she wants to be.
Susan Chamberlain, an independent living resident, said simply: “I love y’all.” Susan said our staff is wonderful and she is so appreciative of them. After losing her husband, she said, life was hard, but since moving here Susan has been able to start living again. We have very much enjoyed watching her blossom and get involved in our community!

At Emporia Presbyterian Manor, we are dedicated to ensuring that each and every resident feels free to make their own choices – to live “the way you want to live.” Our residents choose to be here because they know they can have a dynamic retirement with their favorite pastimes, plus new friends and new experiences. We love seeing residents like Norma, Susan, and many more flourish in retirement, by their own design. Thank you for choosing us!

Program showcases local talent year-round

"Elita & Gypsy”, Mixed media; ink, pastel & water color by Emeline Fuller.

“Elita & Gypsy”, Mixed media; ink, pastel & water color by Emeline Fuller.

The Art is Ageless competition and exhibit is a spring tradition here at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. But we celebrate artists in our region all year long.

Every month, our Featured Artist program gives one local artist a showcase for his or her work on our campus. The art remains on display all month. During that time, we also host a reception with the featured artist so that our residents and the local community can visit with them about their work. We also get to enjoy wonderful refreshments from our own dining services department!

“With so many talented individuals in the community, it’s truly an honor to showcase these artists’ talents,” said Marketing Director Crystal Stock. “It allows well-known artists who find their passion during various stages of life to proudly showcase their artwork in our gallery. And they enjoy collaborating with other talented individuals and meeting people who enjoy and appreciate their hard work.”

Crystal accepts referrals for the Featured Artist program and also seeks out well-known and established artists in the Emporia area, then arranges the exhibit. She is also starting to prepare for the annual Art is Ageless exhibit and competition in April.

The Art is Ageless exhibit will feature works from local artists who are 65 and older. This program has been encouraging creativity in seniors for more than 35 years, and is sponsored by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (PMMA).

Last year, 18 artists entered here at the local level. Emporia resident Paul Johnston, a regular Art is Ageless participant, went on to win at the masterpiece level. That’s where winners from competitions at 18 PMMA communities in Kansas and Missouri vie for inclusion in the Art is Ageless calendar and notecards. The previous year, four artists from the Emporia competition won masterpiece honors.

“The Art is Ageless program has been a huge success in the Emporia community,” Crystal said.

The deadline for entries is April 6. The exhibit will be April 11-6 in our Atrium Room, with an artists reception on April 19. For more information, contact Crystal Stock at 620-343-2613, ext. 2423, or

Employee of the year named

Employee of the Year Amanda Aniles, right, celebrates her honor with her husband, Edgar, and Deb Thornton, health services director.

Employee of the Year Amanda Aniles, right, celebrates her honor with her husband, Edgar, and Deb Thornton, health services director.

Congratulations to Amanda Aniles, who was named the 2016 Employee of the Year at Emporia Presbyterian Manor!

Amanda works in our Health Services Department, and she has been a CNA since 2010. Day after day, Amanda comes to work with a smile on her face and does a tremendous job in caring for our residents, being a valuable team member, and being a leader in our community. The honor was announced at the Presbyterian Manor Christmas party, where Amanda was surprised with an award, flowers and a special visit from her husband in front of her co-workers and all of our community members.

Thank you, Amanda, from all of the staff and the leadership team here at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. You are truly deserving of this honor!