Inside the Sandwich: Easter Baskets to Camp Tee Shirts By Amelia Blades Steward

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I never have transitioned from one season to the next on time. My friends laugh about the year the Christmas tree stayed up until Valentine’s Day (it was real, not artificial) and they had to practically do an intervention to get me to take it down. This year, I didn’t even get my Easter decorations out. The snowman on the sideboard got taken down in early April and replaced by two Beatrix Potter figurines and a small basket of Easter eggs that I got for my birthday in March.

It is how I have approached the “things” in my life too. Not always being ready to part with the memories attached to the items I have collected over the years. This week, however, that sentimental streak paid off when I found an old camp tee shirt and jacket that I wore at age 14 while attending Wye Institute, a camp held at Aspen institute in Queenstown, MD in the 1970s and 80s. I looked for the camp clothing because Aspen is doing a documentary on Arthur Houghton and Wye Institute and had called me about being interviewed as a camper. Houghton, the president of Steuben Glass in New York, had founded the Wye Institute camp for gifted and talented adolescents from rural areas to expand their intellectual and creative minds. I viewed it as perfect timing, as did Aspen, when I brought the tee shirt and jacket to the documentary taping.

The green and white striped camp-issued cotton tee shirt brought me back to a time and place in my life when the ground shifted and something changed in me, something that changed my view of the world. It was the summer of 1974 when I attended the month-long camp at Wye Institute with other 8th graders from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and New York’s Finger Lakes region. We would be attending high school in the fall. We all wore the same camp uniforms. The only time we didn’t wear our camp clothes were when we went to bed each night and could wear our own pajamas. My bunk-mates and I talked late into the night about world peace, women’s lib and what we were going to do with our lives.

As campers we studied and discussed classic literature, film and theater, learning about how these things have shaped our country’s foundation. We explored art, music, creative writing, and the environment – learning how to sail on the Wye River and attending our first theater production of the play “Godspell” in Washington, DC. We even participated in social experiments. One experiment had half the group paint their faces in wild colors and shop in nearby Centreville, while the other half of the group without the painted faces shopped in the same shops. I was in the group with the painted faces and we were run out of the shops we went in.

At Wye Institute I realized that I wanted to be a writer. For the first time, I participated in a creative writing class and learned the power of the pen. The camp showed me that I could illicit a reaction from the words that I wrote. My peers responded to the words and that was powerful. It was a summer when we all learned we had opinions and that our voices could be heard.

We had debates and studied rhetoric. We even put on the musical, “The Fantasticks,” for our parents when they came to visit us mid-month. It was the first time many of us had been away from home and from our parents for this length of time. After leaving camp that summer, I remember how different I felt when I got home. I had been transformed somehow and knew that I would approach high school in a new anticipatory way.

Now, as I think about summer approaching, I wonder if my own college-aged son will one day remember working as a camp counselor, experiencing wet sleeping bags from summer thunderstorms, chiggers and poison ivy, lost bathing suits, glorious camp productions, and the tears of campers saying good-bye to new friends. While memories like these linger for all of us, we are forced to move ahead to the next chapter of our lives. Ready or not, the season is changing. I just need to find where I put that box of Easter decorations before Memorial Day arrives.

 

Senior Nation: Coping with Stress by Kim Huff

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The body deals with stress by using the flight or fight response. When the body senses something stressful, hormones are released that initiate physiological responses known as the stress response. Long term activation of the stress response decreases the efficiency of the immune system and increases the risk of physical and cognitive diseases.

Lifestyle changes associated with age can create stressful challenges such as:

    • Coping with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, chronic pain, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease
    • Physical and cognitive changes associated with aging that limit functional mobility and intellectual processes respectively
    • Retirement is a time of relaxation, however changes in lifestyle and financial status can initiate stress that can carry over into long term stress.
    • Becoming a caretaker for a friend, neighbor, or loved one or losing a friend or loved one

Signs of short term or chronic stress include:

      • Worry, anxiety, or panic attacks
      • Sadness or depression
      • Feeling pressured, hurried, helpless or overwhelmed
      • Irritability and moodiness
      • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
      • Stomach problems, headaches, chest pain, asthma, skin rashes
      • Problems sleeping
      • Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, or misusing drugs
        Changes in eating habits

The following are suggestions for managing stress:

        • Give back to the community by volunteering to enhance self-esteem and reduce stress.
        • Participate in regular exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight.
        • Refer to problems as “challenges” that can be overcome instead of adopting a feeling helplessness
        • Spend time with friends and family. Social relations help with adjusting to changes such as retiring, moving, and losing loved ones.
        • Learn and use relaxation techniques and meditation.
        • Make use of support and education groups, as well as respite care, which provides time off for caregivers.

For more information on the stress response and coping with stress go to the American Psychological Association’s website apa.org or consult a medical professional.

Kimberly Huff is the fitness director at Heron Point of Chestertown

Senior Nation: Why Chestertown with Bill and Beth Mohan

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If there is just one question that the Chestertown Spy never stops asking in almost every profile we’ve done over the last eight years, it is, “How did you get here?” While some of our interviewees have the simple response that they were born here, for the vast majority it is an endlessly different tale of circumstances and fate.

But it is hard to think of a more intentional decision than when it comes to selecting Chestertown as a retirement community. For these decisions are not made because of career advancement, or the need for higher education, but for the pure pleasure of wanting to live here.

So there should be no surprise that the Spy focused on the motives of Bill and Beth Mohan, who recently gave up almost four decades living in Bethesda to establish residence at Heron Point. And like so many, there is always a backstory that we felt our readers would enjoy.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Heron Point please go here

Senior Nation: Springtime is the Perfect Time to Eat Right by Kimberly Huff

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The National Institute on Aging recommends older adults follow the USDA Dietary Guidelines which emphasizes a variety fruits and vegetables, focusing on dark green, red and orange vegetables, whole grains, seafood and fat free dairy products.

Unfortunately, older adults are often faced with many barriers to heathy eating. Age-related changes result in diminished sense of smell and taste, difficulties with chewing and swallowing, digestive disorders and other chronic conditions which can influence eating habits. One of the most concerning change is the loss of appetite which results in decreased hunger and increased satiety (feeling full). This if often referred to as “anorexia of aging”.

Medications may also represent a barrier to healthy eating. Medications can alter taste perception which decreases interest in eating. Medications may also have interactions with foods, have diet altering side effects, impair digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Lifestyle factors such as changes in physical activity, changes in cognitive function, economic status and social isolation can also have a negative impact on dietary choices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides the following recommendations to help older adults overcome barriers to
healthy eating:

• Shopping on a budget: buy foods on sale – buy store brands – use coupons
• Options for people with difficulties with chewing, swallowing or digestion: fruit juices, soft canned fruits, vegetable juices, creamed or mashed cooked vegetables, ground meat, eggs, milk, yogurt, cooked cereals and rice
• Unable to shop – requesting assistance from family members or friends or use a delivery service
• Unable to cook: buy low sodium, pre-package meals
• Limitations with taste or smell: use herbs and spices to flavor food
• Decrease interest in eating: sharing meals with family and friends
• Check with Health Care Professional to see if medications may be affecting eating habits

Kimberly Huff is the Fitness Director of Heron Point in Chestertown MD.

Senior Nation: The Art of the Scam by Memo Diriker

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Imagine this scenario: It is early evening; dinner time. The phone rings and a very kind, soothing voice asks for Mrs. Smith, the 78 year old resident. The caller is from Medicare, informing Mrs. Smith of a reimbursement issue but not to worry, it is an easy fix. The caller gathers some basic information from Mrs. Smith and promises that everything will be fine within 24 hours. A financial fraud has just been committed.

Various scams targeting seniors have become shockingly prevalent because, in the words of a convicted scammer, “They (seniors) have a lot of money and a lot of trust.” Unfortunately, a significant number of these crimes are committed by the victim’s own family members.

Whether the culprits are strangers or relatives, these types of fraud frequently go unreported or can be difficult to prosecute. The victims lose a lot and frequently are unable to recoup their losses or recover from the consequences. The variety of scams and fraudulent schemes is surprisingly wide. Some of the more common ones are:

· Medicare/health insurance scams
· Counterfeit prescription drugs
· Funeral & cemetery scams
· Fraudulent anti-aging products
· A wide range of telemarketing/phone scams
· Fake charity scams
· Fake accident ploys
· Internet and email fraud (including phishing)
· Fake or sub-par investment schemes
· Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams
· Sweepstakes & lottery scams

So, how can seniors protect themselves against such crimes? The National Crime Prevention Council has the following tips:

· It’s shrewd, not rude to hang up on a suspicious telemarketer
· Don’t give personal information to people you don’t know unless you initiated the contact
· Don’t let yourself get pressured into a verbal agreement or signing a contract
· Be skeptical of online charitable solicitations and other online offers
· Always ask to receive information in the mail and check to be sure the company is legitimate
· Never agree to pay for products or services in advance
· Get estimates and ask for references on home repair offers and other products or services
· If you suspect fraud, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately

If you have already been victimized, don’t be ashamed. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Keep handy the phone numbers of your bank, the local police, the nearest office of Adult Protective Services, etc.

Speak out so this kind of crime can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Dr. Memo Diriker is the Founding Director of the Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON). BEACON is the premier business and economic research and consulting unit of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University. BEACON is home to the award winning Community Visioning, ShoreTRENDS, GraySHORE, ShoreENERGY, GNAppWorks, and Bienvenidos a Delmarva initiatives and a proud partner of the GeoDASH initiative.

Some links to some additional resources:

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/seniors
http://www.ncpc.org/topics/crime-against-seniors
http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/income/elderwatch/report-fraud/
http://www.caregiverstress.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1_Seniors_Fraud_Protection_Kit_US.pdf
http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/senior-fraud-prevention
https://www.agingcare.com/frauds-scams

Senior Nation: Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit

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Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit: Five Washington Post staffers reported, in a recent tabloid section, how they embarked on a 30-day diet by cutting back on their late nighttime eating habits.

They found that timing itself is a major issue. Our bodies metabolize foods differently at different times of the day. Eating more calories at night, as opposed to earlier in the day, is linked t obesity, increased inflammation and great risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The good news is that the Post staffers also found that the late night eating is a habit one has the power to change.

Here are some strategies they used to reset their eating patterns:

Eat Regular Meals: Not eating enough throughout the day sets the stage for nighttime binging. Give yourself a fighting chance for success after sundown by eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Also planning and even preparing them ahead helps so that you are not caught scrambling when you are busy. You don’t have to go with three square meals. It can be two or three meals and a couple of snacks or several small meals. The idea is to find a pattern that works for you and fits into your schedule.

Pick a Cutoff Time: Draw a line in the sand, picking a cutoff time to stop eating in the evening. About 8 or 9 p.m. seems to work for most people, but you can choose what works best for you. Ideally, it should be about three hours before your bedtime, giving enough time to digest your dinner, but not so long that you are likely to get hungry again before going to sleep.

Wait and Reevaluate: If you are craving food at night, instead of impulsively raiding the refrigerator take a 15-minute break. Check in with how you are feeling and ask yourself whether you are really hungry or whether, perhaps there is another way to find satisfaction. Perhaps a relaxing bath, brisk walk or a cup of tea might do the trick if it’s stress that is driving you to eat. In that 5-minute window, the craving might just pass, you might find yourself happily distracted by another activity or you might ultimately decide to eat something after all. Regardless, waiting a bit and reevaluating how you feel will allow for a mindful decision.

Planning an Evening Snack: If you tend to eat dinner early or your evening meal is on the light side and you regularly find yourself hungry at night, plan a small, healthy snack to eat between dinner and bedtime – some fruit and yogurt, a cup of soup or avocado toast, for example. The idea is to strategically snack to manage your hungry rather than let your appetite leave you vulnerable to random munching.

Set Some Ground Rules: It’s practically a national pastime – eating out of a bag or carton while sitting on the sofa watching TV — but it’s scene that creates a perfect storm for mindless overeating. To break that unhealthy habit, set some new ground rules. When you choose to eat something, any time of day but especially at night, put a portion into a bowl or onto a plate and put the rest away. Sit at a table away from the television and fully enjoy your food. When you are done, you can return to your regularly scheduled programming, better off than before.

Talbot Hospice Presents Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders

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Constantine LyketsosOn March 8, 2017, Talbot Hospice will hold its 2nd annual community outreach event Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders: State of the Art 2017. The featured speaker is Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., Interim Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and world renowned expert in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The event is open to the public at no cost and will be held at the Easton High School auditorium beginning at 6 p.m. Providers will be available in the lobby for the first half hour to distribute materials and answers questions. The main presentation begins at 6:30, and afterwards a panel will field questions from the audience. Registration can be made online at TalbotHospice.org/events or by calling 410-822-6681. Presenting sponsors are Avon Dixon and Shore United Bank.

“A component of our mission at Talbot Hospice is education and outreach, and we are pleased to be able to bring Dr. Lyketsos’ to Talbot County,” said Executive Director Vivian Dodge. “We have chosen this topic because Alzheimer’s and the other dementias affect a vast portion of our aging population, and we believe that the information will be very helpful to both caregivers and providers in our community. Because of the present regulations governing hospice qualification, Talbot Hospice can only assist in the care of these patients when it has been determined that they have a less than six month life expectancy from whatever cause.”

Head 1An active clinician, teacher, and researcher on the Johns Hopkins faculty since 1993, Dr. Lyketsos’ primary areas of interest are neuropsychiatry and memory disorders. Many of his clinical and research interests are integrated in the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Center which he founded as a collaborative partnership between the departments of psychiatry, neurology, and geriatric medicine to offer patients comprehensive evaluation and innovative treatment for a range of conditions that affect cognition and memory, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, traumatic brain injury, and brain vascular disease. Dr. Lyketsos has carried out pioneering work on the epidemiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric features of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. His interest in traumatic brain injury has led him to leadership roles in military and veteran’s health and collaborations with the NFL Players Association.

Dr. Lyketsos has authored or co-authored over 350 scientific articles, chapters, commentaries, as well as five books. He is the recipient of the 2016 Jack Weinberg Award in Geriatric Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, the 2012 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the 2006 William S. Proxmire Award for “extraordinary leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s” from the Copper Ridge Institute. Castle-Connolly has named Dr. Lyketsos as one of America’s Top Doctors every year since 2001.

A native of Athens, Greece, Dr. Lyketsos graduated from Northwestern University and Washington University Medical School in St. Louis (1988). He completed residency and chief residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins (1988-92), followed by a fellowship in clinical epidemiology.

Senior Nation: The Art of Falling with Kim Huff

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If one had to summarize Heron Point of Chestertown fitness director Kim Hoff’s philosophy regarding those of a certain age falling, it might very well be “Enjoy the ride.” And given Kim’s training and self-confessed addiction to physical fitness research, that should be taken as sound advice.

In turns out that a good bit of Kim’s work with her clients relates focuses on actually preventing falling, including balancing and strength training, but when it does happen – and it does – she wants people to be prepared since the consequences of not falling the right way be catastrophic for older adults.

The Spy spoke to Kim last week about her approach to physical fitness as one move beyond the age of 60.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Heron Point please go here.

Senior Nation Moments: Broken Bones by Bernie Starken

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Today while having lunch with Peara, we were discussing his fractured foot. He says,“You have had firsthand knowledge with broken bones, you should write an article for the Heron’s Beak.” Here goes.

I have broken sixteen bones in my 82 years of living. The first seven breaks happened when I was a senior in high school in 1951. While my boyfriend and I were dating, he would pick me up in his red convertible. On this bright November Sunday afternoon, we were going to go road hunting for pheasants. As we were driving on the country roads, the noise of the car and the gravel would startle the pheasants hiding in the tall grasses. The convertible was traveling about 10 miles an hour as we watched the ditches. Just as we crossed into an intersection, a car came over the rise traveling very fast. As I spoke to tell my friend “to speed up, there is a car coming on our right,” he looked to the left and the incoming car T-boned the convertible, leaving an impression of his headlight on our front fender and the second head-light on the passenger door where I was sitting.

The convertible flew in the air and landed upside down in the ditch across the road. As the car turned over in the air, my friend fell out the driver’s door, landed in the field, and had a minor cut on his head. I was trapped under the dash-board in an upside-down convertible which was dripping battery acid.

In 1951, there were no emergency services or cell phones. A farm house sat on the corner of the intersection, and they alerted the hospital. Help came in the form of a hearse as that was the only type of automobile that could carry a person in a lying position. I was placed on the platform where the caskets were transported. I recall as we traveled to the hospital, the swaying tassels that hung over the windows.

I spent seven weeks in the hospital healing the fractured skull, the imbedded glass in my face, floating bone chips in my neck, broken clavicle and the four fractures in my pelvis. Due to my youth and a good physician, I healed rapidly. In January 1952, I rejoined my senior class and in 1953 married the boyfriend.

Bernie Starken is a resident of Heron Point in Chestertown