Thinking Safety First!

A community event with kids in mind…

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Family Friendly Food… Fun… Resources… and it’s all free!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Community Potluck Supper 6:00 — 7:00*

Eddie Eagle Program  7:15 — 7:45 p.m.

*please bring a dish to share with  your friends and neighbors.

We’re assembling family safety resources and plan to have a variety of people and material available during and after the potluck supper… Examples of what we’re looking for include fire safety, bicycle safety, what to do when lightning strikes…  the program is built around the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, but we have room for people and material on a wide variety of topics. If you are interested in participating as a safety resource or have handout material we can use, call Mary Annis at 564-0820 or Walter Boomsma at 343-1842 or email grange@boomsmaonline.com.


Would your child know what to do if he or she found a gun?

Picture1“Mr. Boomsma” will be facilitating the NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe® Program as part of this family safety program. Free workbooks will be distributed to kids from pre-school age to grade four, but all ages are welcome! The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program is a gun accident prevention program developed by National Rifle Association firearm safety and education experts designed to teach children four simple, easy to remember steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun. In a brand new video, Eddie and his friends remind children that if they see a gun, they need to stop, don’t touch, run away and tell a grown-up. The program makes no value judgments about firearms, no firearms are ever used, and it covers an important topic that needs to be addressed with kids. With recent changes in gun legislation and firearms found in about half of all American households, it’s a program that makes sense.

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Health Beat – September 2014

HeartDr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Not everyone sees that retirement party the same way.  For some, retirement is a well-earned time for rest, for others it can represent a loss of purpose and can cause stress and depression.  Preparing for the next stage in life where your job is not what defines how you spend your time or who you are is important.

Most advice about retirement planning focuses on financial planning.  This is essential if the aging years are to be stress free, and is best started early in life.  Women, who generally earn less in their lifetime than men and live longer, are particularly vulnerable to financial problems as they age.  There are many excellent resources on financial planning, including columns in newspapers and books.

Retirement planning is about more than economics, however.  Many people feel a sense of loss of purpose, loneliness and depression after they stop work.  Since there are often more than twenty years of living left to do after stopping work, it is essential to reframe this phase of your life as an opportunity for continued growth, activity and development in new directions.   The following are tips to help you age well, remain vibrant, healthy and happy after the job years are over.

  1. Set a schedule. Avoid the temptation to sleep in or just see what comes to you as the day goes on.
  2. Identify new hobbies or interests: painting, learning an instrument or new language, reading, gardening.
  3. Consider taking a class to learn new skills or just to learn. This keeps the mind engaged.
  4. Exercise regularly. Try different things: yoga, dancing, swimming.  Mix it up, but do it daily if you can.
  5. Meet people. Maintain a social life.  Find new friends.  Join a club, a church.  Have coffee or go out to eat with people.  It’s important for mind and spirit.
  6. Travel to new places. Try travel and learn programs, or programs where you can travel and give back to a community by building a school or other community service.
  7. Volunteer your time. This not only is great for the community but it gives you a sense of value and purpose.
  8. Don’t feel you need to spend every minute with your spouse (or kids). They will thank you for it.
  9. Don’t count on your body working forever. Find activities that you will enjoy even if the body parts wear out.
  10. Turn off the TV! Monitor your habit of TV watching.  It can be addicting and contributes to boredom and depression.

Health Beat — August 2014

HeartDr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

This month’s column was a guest column written by Walter Boomsma for the June 2014 Senior Matters and as a follow up to least month’s “It’s time to live it up” Health beat.

Borrowing Kids Helps Hearts

Several years ago the Mrs. and I accidentally started what has become an annual tradition when we decided to go to the circus. Since it just didn’t feel right going by ourselves, we borrowed the children of some friends to take with us. We had a ball. The kids kept thanking us for months.

Fearing they will eventually decide they are “too old,” we still keep asking every year only to discover they’ve been anxiously waiting for our invitation. We don’t spend much money—they bring their own but are careful spenders. It’s become one of our favorite days of the year.

Educator Rita Pierson says, “Every kid deserves and needs a champion.” She’s right, of course, but what’s great about borrowing kids is that every adult deserves and needs at least one kid. In fact, the older we get, the more important it becomes to spend time with kids. Whether you take your own grandchildren or borrow some, everybody wins.

Studies have documented the benefits of mixing seniors and kids, but the statistics aren’t half as exciting as the experience itself. During our last foray, we learned (rather humorously) the disadvantage of being the youngest in the family. We also watched two young ladies make some very intelligent decisions that left us believing there is hope for the future.

Of course we acknowledge that borrowing kids is an awesome responsibility, but we’ve learned not to make things too complicated. The kids actually don’t expect much. It’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about respecting and being interested in them as little people.

There are plenty of free and low-cost opportunities to share with a kid. Talk to them; listen to them. Appreciate their energy and wonder. Your heart will feel younger.

Health Beat — July 2014

HeartDr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

It’s summer time and it is time for people of all ages to Live It Up.  There are wonderful ways to start the month and to get out.  We recommend for maximum health benefit, seniors should do it with a kid.   What can be better for the spirit than fishing?  Teaching a “young-un” to fish.

This is a special opportunity for seniors who want to spend some “quality time” with grandchildren (your own or someone else’s!) and share your wisdom, patience and love of the outdoors.  It is also a time for children to remind us of how it was when everything was new and wonderful, to remind us how to really experience life as if it were the first time.   Sharing such moments with children gives meaning to our lives and allows us to pass on our dreams, skills and passions to the next generation.  It sometimes stretches us to answer questions we forgot kids ask, and reminds us to keep open to the joy of discovery which young children always have.  Our young children need the mentorship of older people to grow into healthy, responsible adults.  It is an opportunity for them to learn simple life skills from someone with time to spare who isn’t “measuring” their success.   Their parents may also thank you for spending the time with their child.

If fishing is not for you, or you are looking for more “entertainment,” invite a child to go to a fair or any on the many summer events in your area.  Whatever you do, call up a kid and grab an opportunity to “live it up”.

Whatever you are planning with young children, a few tips to make the trip easier:   pack a few easy, healthful snacks like granola bars, fruit, raisins.  Plan for short outings.  An hour or two may be enough for a vey young child.  Don’t plan on driving a long way to the destination-the child will get bored and may get cranky before you get there.  Most of all, have fun!

Health Beat – May 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Gardening for Seniors

How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total well being affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com

Health Beat – April 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Home Safety for Seniors

Aging in place requires a safe, comfortable environment that is adaptable to changing needs as people age.  Since aging is often accompanied by physical changes such as decline in vision, balance, hearing, reflexes, and strength, accommodations must be made to the home to allow a person to function safely.  Below are the top suggestions of experts that will help prevent injury.  The first several address the most frequent cause of injury:  falls.  In other articles we will explore more specific recommendations for fall risk prevention.

  •  Place frequently used items within reach. Never stand on chairs or stools to reach upper shelves.
  • Remove potential tripping hazards: electric cords, low-lying furniture (coffee     tables), area rugs, loose carpet.
  • Even out differences in floor heights from room to room by installing beveled thresholds
  • Footwear worn at home should have non-skid soles and be in good condition.
  • Check stairways for safety: treads that are secure, carpeting that is not loose or worn, even heights of risers, take care of any protruding nails, get rid of clutter stored on steps, install secure handrails on both sides of stairs, etc.
  • Install night lights in halls, bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Don’t use chairs with rollers on the legs.
  • Replace handles on doors, cabinets, and furniture that makes grasping them easier.  Bar-shaped door handles are often easier with arthritis.
  • Use non-skid mats in showers and tubs.  Install sturdy rails in showers and a bench if balance is a problem.
  • Inspect walkways and driveways and repair any problem areas.
  • Light entryways, pathways and yards.
  • Install or inspect smoke alarms to assure proper functioning.
  • Check that small appliances are working properly and are in good condition, e.g., toasters, space heaters, blenders, coffee makers, microwaves, etc.  Use of such appliances can be dangerous if near flammable materials.  This is particularly risky in the elderly.
  • Post all emergency numbers in large print near the phone or on the refrigerator, i.e. emergency contacts, doctors, poison control. Program the phone with all emergency numbers and important contacts.
  • Store all medicines safely.   A further Senior Matters article will cover medication safety.
  • Install ramps outside and inside the home where necessary for wheelchairs.

 

Health Beat – March 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.


How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total wellbeing affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com

Health Beat – February 2014

Heart

Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

I often hear people joking about middle age “senior moments,” as though this is something to be expected as we age.  Behind these jokes is a natural worry:  am I developing dementia?  While it is true that our memory declines as we age, experts in aging have discovered that there are straightforward ways to delay this process and improve quality of life.

Since aging of the brain is closely related to cardiovascular health, the most important strategies involve maintaining heart health.  This means controlling blood pressure, exercising regularly, and controlling weight and cholesterol.  Preventive practices focused on these areas not only prevent heart attacks and stroke, but also are likely to reduce risk of developing cognitive (thinking and memory) decline substantially.

Other important brain health tools include eating a “heart healthy” diet, often also called a “Mediterranean diet”.  This means eating mostly plant-based food: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and legumes and seasoned with spices and herbs instead of salt.  Fats should be limited to olive or canola oil.  Fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice a week, and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt should be eaten in moderate portions occasionally.  Meat and sweets should be eaten not more than a few times a month.  An optional glass of red wine once a day (not more) may also protect.   Following such a diet has been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s disease by 40% as well as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Other important factors in maintaining brain health include getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and “exercising the brain” by increasing social interactions, especially conversation.

We will be exploring some of these factors in more detail in future columns.  Next column we will address the health benefits of growing and eating fresh vegetables and local resources.

October 2013 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share! This month’s column is written by Walter Boomsma as Karen is very busy with her work!

October is Farm to School Month!

FTS LogoFarm to school is broadly defined as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Farm to school programs exist in all 50 states, but since farm to school is a grassroots movement, programs are as diverse as the communities that build them. In fact, the collaboration “GrowME” might qualify as we attempt to create agricultural literacy with classroom activities.

I’m willing to bet it’s not a coincidence that this is the month when many families make trips to pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Fall is a great time to think about the role farming plays in our health and in our communities. In the broadest sense, the harvest season starts with county fairs and may not end until spring when we open the last jar of veggies canned from our garden.

Chances are there are some activities taking place in your child’s school that fall under the “farm to school” heading. But it’s also a good time of year to consider the concept of “farm to family.” An outing to select pumpkins for the traditional jack-o-lanterns can be a healthy family event because it includes fresh air, sunshine, and an opportunity for the family to simply “be together.” These opportunities become increasingly important as the societal trends pull us in different directions or have us sitting silently together while we stare at our cell phones and tablets.

Visit a farm market–not only for the fresh produce but also for a chance to talk with the people who have grown what you’re purchasing. Most of these folks are happy to share information–some are very entertaining–and you’ll often get recipes and suggestions for preparation.

Most dictionaries define harvesting as the gathering of crops and, with a little creative thinking, we can find much to harvest. When we rake the leaves in our yards, we might be harvesting–as long as we are putting those leaves to some good use–perhaps as compost. (Personally I think a big pile for jumping in would qualify.) Rainwater collection systems allow us to “harvest” rainwater–not something we’d traditionally think of as a crop, certainly.

What can you harvest this fall to improve yours and your family’s health? Henry David Thoreau found much to harvest. ““The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.

Some resources:

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

National Farm to School Month Information

National Farm to School Network

Eat Maine Foods Coalition

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

 

 

 

 

Eat and Learn with Extension

Saturday, September 7 Valley Grange hosts the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County Annual Supper and Meeting and it looks like there’s going to be something for everyone!

logo-piscataquis-santaAnother yummy supper is prepared by Penquis Volunteers and all proceeds will benefit Piscataquis Santa, served from 5 PM until 7 PM by donation to benefit Piscataquis Santa. The meal deal includes baked stuffed chicken, Angus beef tips, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, glazed carrots and string beans, dinner rolls, fruit pie and vanilla ice cream, coffee, tea, and lemonade! Suggested donation is $8 for adults, $4 for kids 3-12, under 3 eat free! 100% of the proceeds benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund! (There will only be 109 days until Christmas from this event!)

A LOGOThe program parts include lots of exciting things! Prior to and during supper there will be Extension exhibits and demonstrations including a working bee hive and opportunity for the kids to make “bee hummers,” information on gardening, farming and nutrition. Bring your gardening, farming, nutrition, 4-H questions! There will also be lots of material available… The annual meeting starting at 7 PM will feature highlights of local programming and a feature presentation by Dr. Lois Stack, UMaine Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, “Native Plants in the Home Landscape.” All exhibits, demonstrations, and the program are free!

This is collaboration and cooperation at its best! You can come to one thing or you can come to everything!