Healthy living with chronic diseases

Healthier living Colorado is a chronic disease self-management program developed at Stanford University. This program is designed to help with the challenges that face anyone living with an ongoing health condition such as a heart condition, lung condition, diabetes or arthritis.

Chronic conditions include many aliments and diseases that cannot be cured or never completely go away. Participants in classes have ranged in age from 40 to 89 and grappled with issues such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, heart problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and back pain. Other examples of chronic illnesses include Lupus, Crohn’s disease, long-term depression, obesity and phobias.

This course series will teach you skills that can help you cope with fatigue, frustration, pain and stress. A key component of the class is setting goals and following through with those goals with an action plan. This series is also encouraged for family, friends or caregivers. The series can help open lines of communication for understanding what is wrong with the person living with the disease and also understanding that the person who is trying to make it OK for you is having difficulties too.

Everyday presents new challenges for people with chronic illnesses and their caregivers. Sometimes you don’t think the person trying to make things OK for you is having difficulties too. This series can also help caregivers have the opportunity to share with others in their position about ways to cope with their own chronic health issues, which likely are present if not as severe as their partners. Some days are better than others, but having the tools to proactively manage one’s health is a good start to living better.

This six-week series will start March 13-April 17 on Fridays from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. The registration fee is $20 which is refundable upon completion of the course. You may register at The Silver Foxes Den or call 264-2167 for more information. The class limit is 12 so hurry and sign up today. Last day to sign up is March 11.

Tai Chi for arthritis

Tai Chi from the Arthritis Foundation is a high-value program designed to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis. The classes can be done sitting in a chair if that is best for the individual. The classes will improve flexibility, increase muscle strength, and cardio respiratory fitness and stamina. As pain decreases, relaxation improves, resulting in uplifted mood.

Studies show the effects of Tai Chi also improve balance and help prevent falls. Each class will begin with very gentle warm up and cool down Sun style Tai Chi exercises. The class will be led by Kay Wilson, Tai Chi instructor certified by Dr. Paul Lam Program which is supported by the Arthritis Foundation.

The eight-week series begins Friday, March 6, and continues on Fridays through April 24 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Class size is limited so sign up early. Pre-registration required. Last day to sign up is March 4.

Medicare open enrollment

Are you baffled by the many decisions you are faced with regarding your Medicare these days? The decisions you need to make as you approach your 65th birthday can be overwhelming. Keeping up with the information you need regarding Part A (hospitalization), Part B (physicians visits), Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), Part D (prescription drugs) can be a full time job! Did you know lower income individuals may be entitled to lower premiums and lower cost prescriptions? There’s a lot to consider!

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program through the State of Colorado Division of Insurance, or SHIPS, helps beneficiaries identify and understand programs and plans, including Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental insurance policies, Medicare Savings programs, long-term care insurance and financing, and other public and private health insurance coverage options. SHIPs also assist eligible participants in enrolling in these programs and plans, all services are provided free charge at the Silver Foxes Den- a cultural center for older adults.

Medicare Health Plans-Part C

These plans are approved by Medicare and run by private companies. When you join one of these plans, you are still in Medicare. Some of these plans require referrals to see specialists. They provide all of your Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) coverage. They generally offer extra benefits, and many include prescription drug coverage. These plans often have networks which mean you may have to see a doctor who belongs to the plan or go to certain hospitals to get covered services. In many cases, your costs for services can be lower than in the Original Medicare Plan, but it is important to check with the plan because the costs for services will vary. To learn more about these plans visit and click on Medicare Health Plans-2009 Data or schedule an appointment at The Den.

Open enrollment for Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) is through March 31. Appointments fill quickly; call 264-2167 for information or an appointment.

Special events

Eating to prevent diabetes. It is important to be aware of personal health issues and know the risk factors for these diseases to maximize a personal health and wellness strategy. Mikel Love from Peak Wellness will be here to teach us about eating to prevent diabetes on Friday, Feb. 27 at 12:15 p.m.

Power of positive thinking. Did you know having negative thoughts can affect your health? There are things that you can do to achieve better health. One key is a positive mental attitude. Richard Reed of Richwiser Club wants to help you develop and maintain a positive mental attitude. Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3 and 4 at 12:30 p.m. as Richard trains us on techniques of positive thinking.

Internet mapping system demo. Join us Friday, March 6, at 12:30 p.m. with Steve Kirk of the Archuleta County Department of Information Systems and see a demo of the county’s Internet mapping system (IMS) and recorders search Web application. This is basic information about what the site is, the intent and information it has available. You’ll learn how to access it via the Internet, how to navigate around the site using its mapping and records search tools.

Weekly activities

Friday, Feb. 27 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Gym walk, 11:15 a.m., Book club, 10:30 a.m.; Birthday celebration, noon; eating to prevent diabetes, Mikel Love, 12:15 p.m.

Monday, March 2 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; positive thinking and what it can do for you, 12:30 p.m.; Meditation for healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 4 — Dance for health, 10: a.m.; part 2, positive thinking, 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 5 — Meal served in Arboles.

Friday, March 6 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Internet mapping system (IMS) demonstration, 12:30 p.m.; last day to sign up for Eddie’s Uptown Grille luncheon.

Medical expense assistance

 The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses.  Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care.  Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI.  Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

Books and movies

Discover the books and movies The Den has to offer. These are available for you to check out or you can sit back, relax and watch a movie in our cozy lounge.

Monthly calendar

Alzheimer’s Support Group. Elaine Stumpo, regional director for SW Alzheimer’s Association, hosts this monthly gathering for individuals who are supporting loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s. Learn how to be supportive of someone with memory loss. The meeting takes place in the Silver Foxes Den the last Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m.

ASI board meeting. Archuleta Seniors, Inc. meets the second Friday of every month at 1 p.m. This board also serves as the Local Council on Aging and supports many of the activities at The Den. In addition to their support of The Den, they are also a non-profit organization providing support to seniors who may need additional financial support in areas such as medical needs. Please see their membership packet available at The Den for further information.

Silver Foxes Book Club. Do you love to read? Do you have a desire to discuss what you read in a group setting of inquiring minds? If so, then we have just the thing for you. Kathy Hamilton from the Sisson Library hosts the Silver Foxes Book Club on the fourth Friday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in the Den. Kathy can also obtain books on CD, cassette, and in large print. Stop by the Silver Foxes Den to sign up or call 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Time to renew or buy your 2009 ASI Membership? During the month of February, you may purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Folks 55 and older will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa. All 2008 memberships expired Dec. 31.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is now offering frozen meals for once-a-week delivery to reach those who are more rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information, call 264-2167.


Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Feb. 27 — Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, lima beans, pineapple, birthday celebration.

Monday, March 2 — Hamburger with lettuce and tomato, baked beans, french fries, fruit.

Tuesday, March 3 — Chicken piccata, spaghetti noodles, broccoli and cauliflower, mixed fruit, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, March 4 — Ginger roast pork, baked potato with sour cream, seasoned spinach, seasonal fruit, whole grain bread.

Thursday, March 5 — Arboles.

Friday, March 6 — Swiss steak, mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw, grapes, dinner roll.