So far in 2017, Capital City Village has offered four programs with local physicians with different specialties. We’ve had a lesson on back health, another on heart health, one on aging in general, and, finally, mental health. In summary, the doctors’ advice, across topics, has been consistently, “Walk, keep walking, do some resistance training, and stay socially engaged.”
Walking, they’ve said, means more than strolling along the sidewalk. One way or another, all the doctors have said, “You need to get your heart rate up.” Whew! After the June 15th session on mental health, I added a pulse meter application to my iPhone and tested its efficacy on a fast walk along Bull Creek. Pulse stayed above 135.
I’m writing this blog bit to encourage CCVillagers to attend as many of these sessions as they can, and to applaud the Program Committee for creative planning.
On June 15, Doctor Mark Carlson, founder of Be Well MD, spoke to CCV a second time. He’d previously participated in a talk with Austin UP about creating an age-friendly community. Both times, by the way, he said CCV is “doing the right thing for seniors.” A geriatric specialist, he was joined by neurologist Ron Devere, president of Texas’ Alzheimer’s Association. Their subject was maintaining mental health as we age. They illustrated their major points from simple images on a slide illustrating how to keep our brains healthy. The steps are: “Look after your heart, be physically active, follow a healthy diet, challenge your brain, and enjoy social activity.”
Dr. Carlson opened the discussion by defining dementia as “an umbrella term for many types of disease. Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s is dementia,” he said. The greatest risk factor for dementia, he explained, is age. Next are genes and gender, but bad health, lack of exercise, and obesity are also risk factors.
He turned the program over to Dr. Devere, who began by saying, “It’s lonely to be in the memory loss practice, for nobody shows up.” After the laughter settled, he told the audience at the Atria senior living community that the science of dementia is new. When he studied medicine, there were two forms of dementia – senility and Alzheimer’s. Only after years of studying the donated brains of people who’d died with dementia did medical researchers start to understand the physical aspects of brain deterioration.
In addition to the general admonition of keep moving and socially engaged, Dr. Devere said that it’s necessary to challenge our brains as we age. One of the members of the audience asked about doing puzzles to ward off dementia. He gave a concise answer: “I have Alzheimer’s patients who do crossword puzzles. They have learned how to do one kind of puzzle.” It’s more effective, he said, “to vary cognitive capabilities.” A person will plateau with any one skill, he explained.
Playing a musical instrument, learning a new skill, staying fit by incorporating physical exertion into normal daily activities, and getting the heart rate up are all helpful.
Questions revolved around how much exercise is the right amount. “How many steps a day, how many minutes a week, what is the optimum?” “There are no rules,” answered Dr. Carlson. He noted that people who have trouble walking can get good heart strengthening work by swimming, letting the water support their bodies.
Keep walking. It will make life better.
~Submitted by Tom Knutsen, CCV Treasurer
Capital City Village members and friends were supposed to hear surgeon, professor, and author Atal Gawande on Monday, February
13, talk about his book Being Mortal. The occasion was a celebration of the 15 th anniversary of
the founding of the Village movement. The intended venue for the webinar broadcast was
Boston’s public library, but owing to a heavy snow storm, it was closed.
Word that the webinar was cancelled came early Monday, but Capital City Village and the
Jewish Community Center carried on because the room at the JCC was ready and Whole Foods
had donated refreshments. On with the show!
Thirty-four Villagers and guests showed up. After a brief socializing time, Executive Director
Tommi Ferguson called the gathering to order, and we took seats around several tables in the
meeting area. She asked founding member Mart Hoffman to tell a little of the history of the
Village idea. He recounted that it started with seniors in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of
Boston, and after the New York Times ran a story about it in 2006, his wife, Sue, visited the
Beacon Hill Village on a business trip. That trip planted the seed for Capital City Village.
“One call does it all,” said Mart. One call to the CCV office suffices for referrals, assistance, or
information. He told the group we offer educational programs, transportation to members who
don’t drive, and social activities.
“The secret sauce of the Village is social engagement,” he said. “Even as we age, we are making
new friends,” he added.
When he finished, Tommi asked the table groups to discuss the obstacles that people face as they
age. She asked that after about half an hour, each table would designate a spokesperson to
summarize what the group had discussed.
One after the other, our table scribes listed their group’s findings, and all placed transportation as
the number one challenge in the event a person can no longer drive. Stemming from that was
another observation, that those who have physical disabilities can face social isolation. Other
aging problems included managing a household, having fresh and interesting meals, fear of new
doctors, and the attachment to a long-time home for those considering down-sizing or moving to
a retirement community.
So, yes, we had a good time, covered important topics, and made some new friends.
Presented by Capital City Village and Co-Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Adult Programs Office, AustinUP, and Book People
“The Value of Community and Choice as We Grow Older”
The live webcast conversation and Q&A with Dr. Atul Gawande will be moderated by Robin Young, host of NPR’s Here & Now, and feature a discussion on aging, living life with purpose, and how we can transform the possibilities for the later chapters of everyone’s lives. The event will be simulcast live from Boston to more than 150 nonprofit village organizations across the country, including Capital City Village here in Austin. The event will be hosted by JCC in the Community Hall, 7300 Hart Ln., Austin 78731
Attendance limited. Register in advance: email@example.com or 512-524-2709
Copies of Being Mortal available for purchase courtesy of Book People
Aging in Local Realtors Step Up in a Big Way to Support Our Village!
~ By Bonnie Gilson, Capital City Village Volunteer Director and Rockport Liaison
or click the icon below to sign-up online now
Join Capital City Village Thursday, Oct. 27, 11 am – 1 pm for our annual Keep Aging Weird Luncheon!
Featured Speaker: Dr. Mark Hernandez
Emcee: Jim Spencer (KXAN)
Location: Sterling Events Center, 6134 US-Hwy 290 Frontage Rd., Austin (at La Calma Dr.)
Ticket information will be available soon so please check back about seat and table reservations. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss table and sponsorship opportunities.
Tickets available for purchase at www.keepagingweird.net
For sponsorship inquiries please contact Capital City Village: firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-524-2709
Dr. Mark Hernandez, Chief Medical Officer for the Community Care Collaborative, a public/private partnership between Central Health and the Seton Healthcare Family.
Dr. Hernandez appears on each podcast to discuss patient stories, programs that help patients, and the impact that improved access to healthcare has in Travis County.
Dr. Hernandez began his career in health care not as a physician, but as a registered nurse, working for 10 years in the intensive care department of Houston’s Ben Taub General Hospital. He graduated from the Baylor College of Medicine in 2003, performed his residency in internal medicine at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, and became the medical director for the UMC Brackenridge hospitalist group in 2011. He assumed his current position in 2012. In addition, he holds academic appointments with the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and is an adjunct faculty member with the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.
As Chief Medical Officer for the Community Care Collaborative, Dr. Hernandez works with multiple clinicians and service organizations throughout Travis County to fulfill the goals of the Collaborative, which include transforming the delivery of care into an integrated system.
Aging in Good Health
~ By Dr. Mark Carlson
I love living in modern times. The technology and conveniences available to us are extraordinary and one can’t help but be amazed by what’s possible.
However, as a physician, those feelings are tempered by the negative effects of these modern conveniences. We enjoy them at potentially significant risks. The world we live in allows us to lead sedentary lives filled with delicious foods, entertainment at our fingertips and goods and services delivered to our doors. This risk comes in where these pleasures contribute to unhealthy eating, isolation and apathy. Modern medicine has become very good at putting bandages on the consequences of our modern lifestyle. That was very apparent to me during my nearly 20 years in medical oncology.
Medicine has become very good at “fixing” problems. There is significantly less value placed on prevention and lifestyle modification, but this is also where the dramatic steps forward in the world of medicine can be found. We need to change our approach and get more active in the transition from sick care to wellness.
National Geographic’s blue zones project has resonated with me both as a physician and as a patient. I have come to recognize that the more simple lifestyle of the centenarians living in the “blue zones” is the key to a long and well-lived life. It also can be a significant component to fixing our national health crisis.
I have devoted the second half of my medical career to changing the way we offer medical care. Promoting the lessons learned from the blue zones is a key component to my medical practice and to the recommendations I make to members of Be Well MD.
Learn more about the Blue Zone project in this medical news clip.
Dr. Mark Carlson will give a presentation about Blue Zones and the Traits for Longevity, Sunday, March 20 @ 3:00PM at Atria at the Arboretum (Ballroom), 9306 Great Hills Trail, Austin 78759. The program is free and open to the public. Contact Atria at 512-459-4218 or Capital City Village at 512-524-2709 to register.
For more information about Dr. Carlson and his work, please visit the Be Well MD website.
Capital City Village Salutes Volunteers at Recognition Event
Eighteen Capital City Volunteers and staff gathered at the home of Kay and Tom McHorse the last Sunday in February to celebrate, well, Volunteering! Booked as “Volunteer Recognition,” the lively group turned the gathering into a CCV party. That happens, pretty regularly when Villagers congregate.
Along with a great array of hors d’oeuvres and beverages, however, there was business. Executive Director Bonnie Gilson concisely summarized the Village’s volunteer efforts for 2015:
For her efforts, Kay was awarded the Sue Hoffman Making a Difference Volunteer of the Year Award, an annual recognition of volunteer hours and effectiveness.
Now for a casual anecdote about volunteer commitment and skill. Member Neil Crump (husband of President-Elect Sally Van Sickle) installed a doorbell for a member. Asked about that electrical work, Neil, a licensed master electrician, explained that he’d offered to help with assumption that the bell system was in place but the button or a connection had failed, as they do.
On arriving at the site, he saw there was no doorbell. None at all. Remember that he’s a master electrician? Undaunted, he wired in a full doorbell system: exterior button, interior alarm, and the low-voltage line THROUGH the ATTIC to connect them.
Now, that is serious volunteering!
Thanks to all for all you do. And a reminder, volunteering usually is fun and almost always rewarding. So, reach out to join in next year’s celebration.
~ By Tom Knutsen
Seven new members of Capital City Village gathered at the home of Sue and Mart Hoffman for lunch on Thursday, January 28. It was the most recent of CCV’s “New Member Luncheons” for greeting new Villagers and helping them get to know one another.
Originally planned for a location in South Austin, the party was moved with about two days’ notice owing to an unplanned medical event. The Membership Committee shifted focus to ensure that everyone invited was able to learn of the change and have transportation.
Hostess Sue Hoffman (pictured) served up mimosas, lasagna, hot bread, salad, and brownies for Susan Gelber, Antone and Jacqueline Jacobson, George and Betty Madding, and Meason and Marty Terry. Along with committee members, they filled two tables and took turns introducing themselves to the CCV group.
As with any CCV program, member volunteers pitched in to help, led by Frances Allen, salad preparer; Joanne O’Neill, able table setter, and water boy Tom Knutsen.
(Just a note: Starting last fall, the Membership Committee shifted the new member meal from dinners to lunch so attendees would not have to contend with Austin’s impenetrable rush hour traffic.)
Toward the end of the meal, Executive Director Bonnie Gilson handed out bags of Crackerjack, announcing that “Crackerjack” is the theme for the CCV Member Business Meeting. She encouraged the group to mug with their Crackerjacks for the event’s promotion photo.
By Tom Knutsen
Despite the lure of NFL Wild Card playoffs, 26 Capital City Villagers crowded into the home of Emy Lou and Drew Sawyer on Sunday, January 10, for an afternoon of song, wine, and canapes. Drawing the audience were singers Paulette McDougal and Sue Bilich (pictured), with piano accompaniment by Greta Gutman. For a little more than an hour, they performed old favorites, including an audience-participation refrain for “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” from the Marx Brothers’ film “At the Circus.”
Once again, we enjoyed good, local musicians in the casual and welcoming setting of CCV members’ home.
And, we thank the event’s sponsors, Luther King Capital Management and Craig and Felicia Hester.