Category Archives: Uncategorized

by Melissa Thomas

Published Friday, August 28, 2015

A caregiver is a family member or a paid helper who regularly looks after a child or sick, elderly or disabled person. Being a caregiver is a time consuming, rewarding, fast paced, and emotional journey. That is why it is so important for the caregiver to know how to take care of themselves. Thankfully, there are conferences like the Family Caregiver Conference to provide guidance and useful information on how to care for the caregiver.

Thursday August 27th found Roxanne Pals, a registered nurse and a certified change management practitioner, directing the Family Caregiver Conference at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City. Approximately 75 people attended the afternoon session which ran from 2:00-4:00 pm, and 45 attended the evening session which ran from 5:30-7:30.

One tool used to measure a person’s resilience abilities focused on four areas; body, emotions, mind and spirit. If three or less boxes were checked next to the questions asked, one’s resilience was excellent. 10 or more boxes checked showed signs of significant resilience deficit.

Roxanne recommended practicing relaxation techniques, as being a caregiver to a loved one can be very stressful. Using breathing and meditation techniques can help to calm a person down and help to reframe thinking.

Shirley Stevens, Chronic Disease Prevention nurse felt the program was well worth attending. “Roxanne is an excellent speaker with many useful tips.” Ginger Hood, Caregiver Group Support Facilitator seconded Shirley’s sentiments. “I especially enjoyed how she explained compassion fatigue, which means short of burnout. I see that many times within our support groups.”

Another good technique to practice is writing down three good things that happen each day for a week. As yourself, “Why did this good thing happen?” “What does this mean to me?” and “How can I have more of this good thing in the future?” Journaling is also a way to privately express and record your feelings. Let go and explore your very deepest emotions and thoughts. Releasing feeling and emotions through writing is a way to convey our thoughts and learn to let them go.

Medicare Turns 50 July 30, 2015

Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Did you know Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 this week? The landscape of health care in America changed forever on July 30, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act, giving life to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Medicare and Medicaid save lives. They help people live longer and provide the peace of mind that comes with affordable health care that’s there when you need it.

It’s easy to forget that before 1966, roughly half of all seniors were uninsured and many disabled people, families with children, pregnant women and low-income working Americans were unable to afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive.

Today, Medicare and Medicaid cover nearly 1 out of every 3 Americans—that’s well over 100 million people. It’s highly likely that you, someone in your family or someone you know has Medicare, Medicaid or both. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of these lifesaving programs lets us reflect on how they transformed the delivery of health care in the United States.

More than 55 million Americans depend on Medicare to cover hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies like wheelchairs, as well as prescription drugs. Medicare also covers 23 types of preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings. Some of these services are free, and for others you only have a small copayment or pay the deductible.Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage to more than 70 million eligible children, pregnant women, low-income adults and people living with disabilities. It covers essential services like annual check-ups, care for new and expecting mothers, and dental care for kids from low-income families

Elderbridge seeking input on how many and who has reached the 100 year mark

Published Monday, July 27, 2015

In an effort to recognize Iowans who are celebrating 100 years or more of life, Governor Terry Branstad and the Iowa Department on Aging are launching a call for centenarians and are planning a number of regional Centenarian Recognition events throughout the state. For the purposes of this program, a centenarian is any older adult who will be 100 or older by Dec. 31, 2015, and whose primary residence is Iowa.

"We are so fortunate to have such a large number of centenarians in Iowa," said Iowa Department on Aging Director Donna Harvey. "They have lived through things many of us have only read about in books or seen in movies; their collective wisdom and experience is an inspiration to us all. We can learn so much from these men and women who have helped make Iowa the great state that it is."To assist the State of Iowa in recognizing centenarians, the public is encouraged to inform a centenarian, or the person’s family or caregiver, about this call for centenarians and where to access and submit an application.

The application is posted on the Iowa Department on Aging’s website at or may be requested by calling 800.532.3213 or emailing Each centenarian will receive a signed certificate from Governor Branstad that is suitable for framing and will be invited to attend a Centenarian Recognition event hosted by the Governor and sponsored by the Iowa Department on Aging and Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging later this fall. Elderbridge Agency on Aging will host that recognition ceremony on September 16th in Fort Dodge at a location and time that will be announced soon. The deadline for submitting biographical forms to the Iowa Department on Aging is Monday, Aug. 31.
The Iowa Department on Aging (IDA) is an executive branch agency dedicated to making Iowa the premier state in which to live and retire. To meet that goal, the IDA works closely with the Iowa Commission on Aging and Iowa’s six Area Agencies on Aging to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of long-term living and community support services that helps individuals maintain health and independence in their homes and communities. More information is available at

Elderbridge Honors Nine Area Centenarians

Governor Branstad and the Iowa Department on Aging go state-wide to recognize our oldest citizens

Published Thursday, September 17, 2015
Governor Branstad and the Iowa Department on Aging go state-wide to recognize our oldest citizens

Governor Branstad and the Iowa Department on Aging go state-wide to recognize our oldest citizens

Who had the bigger thrill Wednesday, September 16th in Fort Dodge?

The nine area Centenarians who were greeted and recognized for their longevity by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad?

Or the Governor himself who got to meet nine of Iowa’s most treasured citizens of 100 years or more?

Although the excitement of meeting our long time governor was evident on the faces of the seniors, my bet would still be on Governor Branstad getting the bigger thrill and enjoyment of spending a special moment with these unique and valued Iowans.

The Tompkins Celebration Center at Friendship Haven was the scene for a Centenarian Recognition Ceremony to honor all people who are 100 years old and older living in the 29 counties served by Elderbridge Agency on Aging.

Niney-two people over 100 years old or who will be 100 by the end of this year were recognized with certificates. These nine centenarians along with their families and friends choose to attend the event at Friendship Haven in person with Governor Branstad:

  • Alice Bonnell of Spirit Lake, age 101
  • Evelyn Burleson of Fort Dodge, age 102
  • Melvin Coil of Manson, age 102
  • D. Evelyn Greiman of Garner, age 100
  • Charlotte Bernece Hersom of Emmetsburg, age 104
  • Maybert Matsen of Fort Dodge, age 103
  • Helen Ruebel of Fort Dodge, age 101
  • Pauline Sorenson of Storm Lake, age 100
  • Hulda Wirtz of West Bend, age 103

Other local dignitaries on hand to congratulate the centenarians included Iowa Department on Aging Director Donna Harvey, Elderbridge Co-Executive Director Shelly Sindt and Steven Ehrhardt of Friendship Haven. Ehrhardt is also the Board of Directors President for Elderbridge and served as the event's host and Master of Ceremonies.

The ceremony at Friendship Haven was the first of six throughout the state that will be hosted by the Area Agencies on Aging in Iowa.  Here are the dates for the other Centenarian Recognition Events:

  • Des Moines, September 22nd
  • Cedar Rapids, September 28th
  • Dubuque, October 7th
  • Council Bluffs/ Sioux City, October 22nd
  • Ottumwa, November 5th

Elderbridge staff all said they felt honored to be chosen to host this event and to meet these incredible centenarians and their loving families and friends.

Video produced by Elderbridge Marketing Assistant Jennifer Brown.

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