Pagosa Springs Senior Center Caregiver Support Group to meet again Feb. 22

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    By Ana Sancho Sama, Ph.D., licensed psychologist
    If you are a caregiver of a friend or a family member, please join us for a support and respite group.
    Learn practical self-care information, talk through challenges and ways of coping, learn about community resources and support.
    Adults 18 and older are eligible to participate. The group size is limited to 12; call to make your reservation.
    A support group can have significant positive effects on caregivers’ overall wellbeing. It is a chance to speak with other caregivers who have common experiences with caregiving, learn about resources available in the community and nationally, learn how to keep yourself healthy so you can better deliver the care, and a chance for respite.
    The next meeting convenes on Friday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
    To make your reservation, call 264-2167.
    The meetings are facilitated by Ana Sancho Sama, Ph.D., licensed psychologist.
    San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging: Dr. Cummings’ ‘A’s of Dementia’
    By Kay Kaylor
    As the part-time long-term care ombudsman for Archuleta County, I advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. Federal and state laws protect residents to promote quality of care and quality of life.
    The care required for a person living with middle to late stages of dementia understandably leads to family or friends seeking outside help, whether it is in-home caregiving, assisted living or a nursing home. To help others understand what to expect as dementia symptoms progress, gerontologist and author Dr. Tam Cummings created The Dementia Behavioral Assessment Tool, which details characteristics of six stages of dementia.
    In a tele-learning session on Feb. 5 titled “The A’s of Dementia,” hosted by Caregiver Teleconnection, Cummings named the eight most common dementias, described the functions of the brain’s lobes and gave symptoms due to brain damage. For example, impairment of a frontal lobe might lead to “loss of simple movement abilities of various body parts” and “diminished abstract reasoning,” among other symptoms. Associated “A’s” are amnesia (also hippocampus), apathy, anger, attention and anxiety.
    Damage to a temporal lobe leads to aphasia, or difficulty using and understanding language. Behaviors might include aggressiveness, persistent talking and seizures. Occipital lobe loss usually leads to agnosia, or inability to recognize objects or people. Symptoms of damage to other parts of the brain include tremors, lack of muscle coordination and problems with all the senses.
    These examples describe only a small portion of the material about dementia available on the Internet from Cummings.
    For further information, you may call me at 403-2164 or send an email toombudsman2@sjbaaa.org.
    VITA tax preparation
    VITA will be returning to prepare federal and state income tax returns at no charge as part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
    The planned dates are Feb. 23 and March 16, by appointment only. The gross income limit this tax season is $54,000.
    Please call 264-2167 for more information or to make an appointment.
    Health and wellness
    The Senior Center has a pilot program expanding health and wellness services to Archuleta County seniors. The program includes wellness and blood pressure monitoring, or allows individual area seniors to discuss two subjects of their choice.
    There is no charge for Medicare enrollees. Participant IDs will include Medicare card, photo ID and, if necessary, any supplemental insurances. No Medicaid is accepted at this time. Participants are encouraged to bring a list of their current medications.
    Clinical assessment will be provided by Tabitha Zappone, FNP-C.
    The goal of the outreach clinic is to provide care to those who are not able to travel.
    The next health and wellness date is Feb. 20.
    Medical alert system
    Medical alert monitoring systems are available for seniors. We can help you get set up with a system and assist with the monthly service charges or, if you already have a system in place, we can help supplement the monthly service fees.
    Menu
    Everyone is welcome to join us for lunch. If you are a senior (60 years and older), for only a $4 suggested donation, you are eligible for a hot meal, drink and a salad prepared by our kitchen staff.
    The guest fee for those 59 and under is $10 and children 10 years and under can eat for $8.50 each. Access to the salad bar is only $6 for those under 60.
    Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Thursday, Feb. 14 — Chicken piccata with orzo, eggplant gratin, broccoli with garlic and butter, milk, salad bar and chocolate raspberry cake.
    Friday, Feb. 15 — Beef meatloaf, cauliflower mashed, gravy, corn, dinner roll with butter, milk and salad bar.
    Monday, Feb. 18 — New England clam chowder, spinach with mushrooms, cornbread with butter, milk, salad bar and cherry pie.
    Tuesday, Feb. 19 — Chicken with pistachio pesto and linguine, green peas, Irish carrots, milk, salad bar and lemon cream pie.
    Wednesday, Feb. 20 — Pork carnitas, Brazilian black beans, zucchini medley, multi-grain tortilla, milk, salad bar and flan.
    Thursday, Feb. 21 — Beef with broccoli and rice, snap pea medley, milk, salad bar and snickerdoodle cookies.
    Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine in the Community Cafe at the Senior Center.