Week of Seniors – April 16

Caregiving series

Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Health Plan sponsors Inspiring New Solutions and Providing Individualized Resources and Education at Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Classes are free. To register, call 412-864-2092.

Seniors meet

Adult Interest Center at Southminster Presbyterian Church meets at 11 a.m. Fridays. Lunch is served at noon for $6. During Lent, meatless meals are available.

For details, call 412-343-8900.

Week of SilverSneakers turns 10

Week of Seniors – April 9

Retired Men meet

RSVP by April 10 for the Retired Men’s Luncheon Group of Pleasant Hills April 17 meeting, which will begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church (corner of Old Clairton Road and Audrey Drive).

Author Stephen Mulligan will speak about venues that are no longer here – the Civic Arena/Mellon Arena, Three Rivers Stadium, Forbes Field and Exhibition Park.

Cost for lunch is $7.

Call the church office at 412-655-2000 to be included in the lunch order.

Hilltoppers trips

The Hilltoppers of Scott Township will offer the following trips in 2014:

• Full payment due by April 9 for a trip to Wildwood, N.J. The trip takes place June 8-12 and includes bus transportation, four breakfasts and dinners, entertainment, a day in Atlantic City and more. Tips included. Cost is $415 per person (double occupancy); $120 (single supplement). A $25 deposit is required upon registering.

• Full payment due by April 16 for the trip “Doo-Wopping Into Spring,” set for May 29. Bus transportation, a tour of the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, dinner at Carrie Cerino’s Ballroom in North Royalton, a Doo-Wop show, a stop for frozen yogurt and all tips are included.

For information, call 412-279-0406.

Seniors meet

Adult Interest Center at Southminster Presbyterian Church meets at 11 a.m. Fridays. Lunch is served at noon for $6. During Lent, meatless meals are available.

• Bunny Bingo is planned on April 11. Prizes will have a spring theme.

For details, call 412-343-8900.

Caregiving series

Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Health Plan will sponsor Inspiring New Solutions and Providing Individualized Resources and Education beginning April 14 at Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Classes are free. To register, call 412-864-2092.

Week of Living well: all about active aging

Living well as an older adult is not about opulence or income, it’s about maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle around moving, thinking and feeling. Creating a balance in these three areas will help a person to live well at any age.

Get Moving

It’s been well documented that staying physically active helps older adults stay independent longer. Mobility helps to prevent loss of strength related to aging and can help to reduce the risk of falls.

Physical activity that includes strength training is recommended for all older adults. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a small percentage of Americans have regular physical activity:

• 45-64 year olds – 30 percent

• 65-74 year olds – 25 percent

• 85 and older – 11 percent

Many individuals believe that if they’ve never exercised, or have not exercised for many years, it may not be worth it to begin now. Exercise is beneficial at any age. The level of activity and type of exercise will vary based on an individual’s ability, but it’s never too late to begin an exercise program.

Talk with your doctor to find out what type of physical activity is right for you. Joining an exercise class or program for seniors is strongly recommended. Exercise classes geared toward seniors are great for meeting new friends, feeling accomplished and avoiding any intimidation from younger individuals in other classes.

An Active Mind

Memory loss or cognitive impairment is not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, research has shown that staying physically active and socializing with friends and family can help to prevent a cognitive decline. Regular exercise encourages the growth of new brain cells and helps to manage stress and alleviate depression and anxiety – all of these lead to a healthier brain.

Age-related memory changes aren’t the same thing as dementia. It can be frustrating to have just laid down your keys, but not remember where. Or to have just seen a movie but not recall who starred in it. But most of the time, it’s not a reason to be concerned.

A good, nutritional diet helps your body in many ways. Interested in good brain food? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink green tea. These all contain antioxidants that help to keep your brain cells healthy. Also, foods that are rich in omega-3 fats (tuna, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed) are good for your brain and memory. Eat in moderation and avoid saturated and trans fats that can increase your cholesterol levels and your risk of stroke.

Friends & Family

Socialization is important throughout life, but especially as an older adult. It’s important to stay connected to friends and family to avoid feeling isolated and depressed. In fact, socialization is just as important as exercise and diet when it comes to living a long and happy life.

There are so many ways to stay active with friends and family. Here are just a few:

• Get together with a church group

• Participate in a card or book club

• Join an exercise group for seniors

• Attend free lectures at places like the library, a bookstore or museum

• Plan a once-a-month lunch date with friends or family

If you can’t physically get together with friends and family, visit with them on the phone. You can catch up on news and activities or create your own activities together like working together to solve a crossword puzzle in your newspaper or Sudoku puzzle.

Living Well at Asbury

At Asbury Heights, a senior living community, we are focused on making sure that older adults living on our campus are living life at their best. Through our new initiative, Living Well at Asbury, we concentrate on providing more function and fewer limitations for you.

We want you to live life as fully and as actively as possible. Our 104 years of experience with older adults provides us with unparalleled knowledge of what works and what doesn’t so that we can provide the best, personalized recommendations for you to live as independently as possible for as long as you are able.

By aging well, you will live well. And that’s our goal.

To learn more about Asbury Heights or to schedule a tour, call 1-888-424-8404, or visit

Marjorie Wilson, MSW, is the director, independent resident services at Asbury Heights.

Week of Financial resources available for seniors considering moving to a personal care or memory care community

Fortunately, there are many choices for seniors in the South Hills who are considering a move to a senior living community. As a general rule, licensed personal care communities do not fall under the reimbursement process for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) in the state of Pennsylvania.

When families or potential residents are researching personal care options in our area, it is important to consider the private pay monthly cost for room and board, assistance with “activities of daily living” and ancillary items, such as phone, cable television, medical supplies and laundry. Understanding the total budget amount you have to spend will help narrow down your search. You may realize that once you are no longer paying for food, utilities, cable, internet, snow removal and lawn care, a personal care community is actually within your budget.

There may be additional sources of funding we are able to recommend, such as the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Long term care insurance and life insurance policies can be researched to provide additional sources of monthly funds. Smaller suites and shared suites may be available within a personal care community and help to stretch out finances.

Harbour Senior Living offers connections to professionals in the area for veterans and insurance services, as well as reputable realtors, attorneys and financial planners, all who specialize in senior services. At Harbour Senior Living of South Hills, we strive to provide you with a clear understanding of our all-inclusive monthly rates. Many local residents have called our grand mansion on Greentree Road “home” for many years.

It is always our goal to provide a long-term solution to your personal care needs. Finding the right personal care community involves a combination of factors. Environment, location, care level, amenities and affordability all play a role in finding the next step in senior living. At Harbour of South Hills, we welcome the opportunity to provide resource information to families and potential residents to help them find the perfect fit. Feel free to contact us at 412-571-1300 or stop by 1320 Greentree Road, Green Tree.

Dana Wright, LPN, is the executive director of Harbour Senior Living of South Hills.

Week of Avoiding readmissions after rehabilitation

These days, hospital stays are short. Following an elective surgery or a medical event, your doctor may recommend a period of rehabilitation. That may include physical, occupational, respiratory and other therapies provided as outpatient services or at a nursing or rehabilitation center. Though it may feel great to finally get back home, your recuperation process is still not over. Getting back to your pre-event lifestyle will take time. Baptist Homes Society’s rehabilitation and wellness staff offers its recommendations to help you ensure a successful recovery:

“Discuss your discharge instructions with your therapist, discharge planner or other medical professional. To support your continued recovery, you should have a full understanding of what will be expected of you in the next few weeks. Read the materials carefully and follow all directions. Know your limits and restrictions on what you can do. For example, you might not be able to drive, take a bath, lift heavy things or walk up or down stairs,” said Dana Belles, PTA, Providence Point.

“Falling, unfortunately, is a real problem for folks returning home. To prevent falls, make sure your home is free from clutter and tripping hazards. Add safety equipment like grab bars in the bathroom and railings on stairs. Get electrical cords out of the way, and secure throw rugs to the floor. Also, don’t try to make your way around in the dark. You may think you know your way around your home blindfolded, but good lighting is essential, especially near stairs and in bathrooms,” said Susan Polka, PTA, Baptist Homes.

“Prescribed medicines can sometimes make you light-headed. Let your doctor know if this is the case. If you are not sure how a medication will affect you, plan your dosage so that you can be safe in case you experience side effects. Creating a ‘recovery center’ in your home is also a good idea. Medications, a jug of water and a glass, your favorite reading materials, the TV remote, tissues and your cane, walker or crutches can be placed conveniently next to your favorite chair,” said Lindsey Lepley, SLP, Providence Point.

“Slow and steady. After surgery, your center of balance and your strength may take some time to fully recover. Slow, steady movements will help you regain muscle control and keep you safe. Turn the whole body before trying to lift or reach. Avoid rushing to do things like answering the phone or door,” said Marty Witt, PTA, Baptist Homes.

“Eat well, drink plenty of fluids and sleep soundly. Good nutrition will help you heal more quickly. Staying hydrated and getting your sleep will also speed your recovery. In fact, these are three important tips to follow throughout your life,” said Fabiana Cheistwer, wellness director, Baptist Homes Society.

“Managing medications is a vital part of your recovery. Making sure that they are stored properly, that they are refilled, what each drug is for, when you should take it, and with or without food. It can be overwhelming. Keep a checklist handy, ask your pharmacist for an organizer or multi-day dispenser and review your medications each time you see your doctor,” said Maria Pfaff, OT, Baptist Homes.

“Follow up with your doctor as recommended and be sure to ask questions. At home, keep a pen and paper handy and note any questions that pop into your head. Bring your notes with you. Are there any symptoms that you must report right away, such as fever, intense pain or shortness of breath? If you notice these symptoms, who do you call and what should you do?” said Beverly Fitzwilliam, OTA, Baptist Homes.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Make sure you have phone numbers for people on the hospital team, as well as any others involved in your care. Also, keep a listing of community services you may need. If you are going to be home alone, it might be wise to invest in a medical alert pendant or other personal emergency alert system until you are fully recovered.

The last thing you want to do is return to the hospital in need of more care and more recovery. Ask your family, friends and neighbors for assistance if needed in helping you implement these simple tips that can help prevent that situation.

For more information on the Baptist Homes Society, visit

Marilyn Walsh is the director of marketing and public relations for the Baptist Homes Society.

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