Tammy Williams, LPN and director of nursing at Ash Street Assisted Living Center and owner Joe Chappell provide services for the elderly with their independence in mind.

NewView Oklahoma has been awarded $20,000 from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Services for the Elderly iFund Grant Program. This grant will be used to support NewView’s Safe and Healthy Meals Program.
The overarching goal of the Safe and Healthy Meals Program is to keep unsupported seniors in their homes longer by helping them reach their full potential for independent meal preparation – from fixing a sandwich or a bowl of cereal, to heating food in a microwave, to using a stove or oven, to prepare a hot meal. Less dependent on others and more confident and safe in the kitchen, participants receiving this training will be able to live healthier lives with greater independence in their own home.
“We’re delighted to be awarded this grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation,” said Lauren Branch, NewView’s President and CEO. “These funds will enable us to expand the Safe and Healthy Meals Program to our elderly clients and allow them to develop the skills needed to remain active and independent in their own homes.”
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. The Services for the Elderly iFund grant represents a compilation of donations made by donors to benefit an organization offering direct services to individuals to help them continue to live independently. Two additional iFund grant programs provide support for organizations providing access to health care and providing opportunities for children. For more information on these grants, please visit
To learn more about NewView Oklahoma’s programs, or clinical services operated by the organization, please visit

5 places to see before they disappear

There are some places on Earth that will be around for future generations to see, others won’t last another 50 years. With this in mind, members of travel website have put together a list of 5 Places to See Before They Disappear.
Dead Sea, Jordan
The Dead Sea is “dead” because its extreme salinity means nothing lives in it. But it will very soon be even more “dead” because it is evaporating at a rate of around a meter (three feet) a year. Why such a steady and frightening decrease? It is very simple. Not enough water is entering the sea from the River Jordan. The river is used by Israel and, to a lesser extent, Jordan to provide water for irrigation purposes and so the flow is much reduced. If things do not change, this entirely unique area will be destroyed. Even if it does mean that the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah (which, according to local legend, lie under the Dead Sea waters) become visible, it is not enough. If nothing is done, there will be no Dead Sea at all by 2050.
Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Civita di Bagnoregio is a 2,500-year-old Etruscan town that was founded along an ancient Italian trading route. A violent earthquake in 1695 cut the town off from the neighboring town of Bagnoregio. Since that time, the town has continued to have its limestone cliffs fall into the canyon below and, to make matters worse, this jewel walled city atop a hill is only accessible via a long pedestrian bridge, which is, unfortunately, crumbling. At the present rate of decay, it is uncertain how long the beautiful town will last.
The Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Not only is the Omo Valley the area where some of the earliest human ancestral remains were found (“Lucy”), it is also home to a number of nomadic tribes that are under extreme pressure from the modern world. The Mursi tribe and their lip plates are disappearing as the younger generations no longer do “lip cutting”. The Karo, Hamar and Daasanach tribes are equally fascinating and equally at risk as they are kicked off their traditional lands by government actions in support of large-scale agribusiness. These people could be gone in a few years. Already, they no longer have access to traditional materials like animal skins that they used for clothing just a decade or two ago.
Tribal Areas of Aruanchal Pradesh, India
One does not typically think of India as a tribal country, but the extreme northeastern part of the country has more tribes than any other place in the world. The most well-known might be the Apitani Tribe of the Hiro Valley. Here the older women, in their 50s and 60s, still have the facial tattoos and nose plugs that were part of their culture. This custom is no longer practiced, so when these women pass, this cultural relic will be gone.
Wildlife on Borneo, Malaysia
Palm oil plantation proliferation threatens two significant species in Borneo, the orangutan and Borneo pigmy elephant, which are seeing their habitat eroded. While protective laws exist, enforcement is weak and their environment keeps shrinking. Mammals of this size require large areas to find sufficient food and forest area for survival. It is estimated that only 1,500 exist today.
(c) 2015, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The Mursi tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia.
The Mursi tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia.
Apitani tribe of the Hiro Valley.
Apitani tribe of the Hiro Valley.

What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

The best decision I ever made was to become a mother because that allowed me to become a grandmother and that’s the best job in the whole world.” Diana Schaeffer, RN

To give my life to God. Sherry Pack

I would have to say to give my life to the Lord. Nancy Karum

The best decision I ever made was to marry my husband, Steve. Nycke White

The Heartland Memorial Tree Grove, located on the grounds of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry, was planted in 1995 in memory of the USDA employees who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. The grove was recently rededicated in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) recently held a renewal dedication for its Heartland Memorial Tree Grove, which was originally planted in May 1995 in memory of the seven US Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees who perished in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Governor Fallin was on hand to help dedicate the new generation of redbud trees that were planted to replace the original ones.
The grove, located on the ODAFF grounds, is built in the shape of a heart, surrounded by native stones from all 77 Oklahoma counties which symbolize strength through unity. Seven redbud trees represent the USDA employees who perished, a whitebud tree represents lost innocence and a bur oak tree symbolizes the tenacity of the Oklahoma spirit. A granite marker lists the names of everyone who died in the bombing, including the seven USDA employees: Olen Bloomer, Jim Boles, Peggy Clark, Dick Cummins, Adele Higginbottom, Carole Khalil and Rheta Long.
“As the daughter of a USDA employee who lost her life in the bombing, it is very special to me that our Agriculture employees and community have continued to remember the tragic events of April 19, 1995,” said Blayne Arthur, Deputy Commissioner, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry. “The Heartland Grove is truly a living memorial to those that were lost that day.”
Others who spoke at the grove dedication included Jim Reese, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture; Blayne Arthur, Deputy Commissioner, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator, Oklahoma Forestry Services; Ray Vaughn, Oklahoma County Commissioner and Susan Winchester, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation.
Participants included family members of the USDA employees who lost their lives in the bombing, Arbor Day Kickoff Celebration attendees, member of the Oklahoma Urban & Community Forestry Council and ODAFF employees. The event was officially recognized by the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

Connie Flowers, Director of Marketing and Admissions and Yvonne Gutierrez, Life Enrichment Coordinator for the Memory Impaired and Progressive Care Unit at Sommerset introduce The Virtual Dementia Tour, giving the caregiver and the resident’s family members a better understanding of what it is like to have dementia.

by Vickie Jenkins
Sommerset Assisted Living and Memory Care Senior Community is a place you are sure to feel welcome. Recently, I talked with Yvonne Gutierrez, Life Enrichment Coordinator for the Memory Impaired and Progressive Care units. It’s easy to see why the residents love it here. Yvonne is very energetic, enthusiastic and enjoys spending time with the residents of Sommerset. She has been the Life Enrichment Coordinator for the last 3 years.
Yvonne enjoys spending time with the residents as they meet to share conversations, discussing the latest news, reading, playing dominoes and working puzzles. “There is a time and a place where the women like to get pampered, getting their hair done and getting the perfect manicure. They look forward to that,” Yvonne says. “It makes each one of them feel very special,” she adds. The Memory Care and Progressive Care residents enjoy a family day on the second Saturday of every month.
Asking Yvonne what her favorite thing is about being the activity director, she replies, “I love seeing the residents having fun and enjoying their time together. I look forward to the many activities that we have and I enjoy talking to all of the residents. We really get to know each other. Most of all, I like the hugs. Something so small but it goes so far. I love my hugs.” “If you were describing yourself in 3 words, what would they be?” I ask Yvonne. “I am definitely outgoing, very vocal, and I am always ready to help someone.”
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 65. Estimates vary but experts suggest that as many as 5 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning; thinking, remembering, reasoning and behavior abilities to such an extent that interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia is severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
P.K. Beville, a geriatric psychologist and founder of the nonprofit senior citizen advocacy group Second Wind Dreams created the Virtual Dementia Tour, an experiential kit used to simulate the symptoms of age-related Alzheimer’s and dementia to help caregivers better identify and cope with their resident’s behavior and needs.
In the last few months, Yvonne Gutierrez and Connie Flowers, Director of Marketing and Admissions have been working on setting up the Virtual Dementia Tour at Sommerset. A walk-through exercise is given where 5 tasks are to be completed. The latest results show that out of the 5 tasks assigned, the average person accomplished 2. The most common comments were: angry, confused, powerless, embarrassed, scared and rethinking what their loved ones go through.
I also spoke with Dave Gooshaw, Clinical Special Education Coordinator of EMSA. He was very pleased with the Virtual Dementia Tour. He suggests that all caregivers go through this exercise program. “It was very interesting and it let me know what it is like for anyone that has Alzheimer’s is going through. I’ll have to admit, when I finished, I was frustrated by not completing all of the tasks, but it also made me aware of how a person with Alzheimer’s must feel. I am thankful that Sommerset has this program available. Overall, I consider the Virtual Dementia Tour fascinating.”
Sommerset is one of the few healthcare facilities in Oklahoma that has the Virtual Dementia Tour. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, and this is impacting your family, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in this exercise. You may feel lost, scared and frustrated, but you will feel closer to your loved one and better prepared to help them.
If you or someone you know would like to experience the Virtual Dementia Tour, please contact Yvonne or Connie at 405-691-9221 to schedule an appointment.

A special mass and blessing celebrated the newly renovated St. Anthony Hospital Chapel.
Tom and Judy Love made a generous donation to St. Anthony Foundation to renovate the 42 year-old chapel in honor of Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius J. Beltran. The renovation included many updates, including the addition of a stained glass window, almost a century old, of Saint Anthony. The beautiful stained glass window was added to thechapel entry visible from the hospital lobby.
Built in 1973, with over 27,000 visitors a year, the chapel has brought hope and comfort to many over the years. “The chapel is a place of refuge and worship for patients, family members, staff and physicians,” said Karen Green, Director of Pastoral Services. “The very spirit of the chapel brings consolation and strength to people of all faiths,” she added.
“We are truly appreciative of the generous donation made by the Love family. With their kind gift we were able to enhance the St. Anthony chapel resulting in a lovely place of worship, where our patients, guests, and staff can find peace and comfort,” said Tammy Powell, President of St. Anthony Hospital.

It’s hard to be a journalist these days. I’m sure if you asked the parent of a college student studying journalism, they would probably tell him or her that it is next to impossible to sustain yourself at it. And that would not be far from the truth. As the dissemination of the written word is changing, the field for journalism is too. In the near future, printed books, movies in theaters and newspapers and magazines, as we know them today, may cease to exist, but, unfortunately, the evolution of the printed word doesn’t seem to be the only colossal battle facing reporters of this generation, or the next.
Today even if you asked the roommate or friend of the kid dreaming of journalism school, their peers might also tell the writer who dreams of telling news from around the world, to consider something else. Why? Because journalists have become the story themselves and it’s not a good one. The storytellers on the front lines have become targets of violence, hunted down, killed, in an effort to stop the news. This is particularly strange as news today so often comes in single sentences, often in a press release created by a publicist, not a newsperson, via text, Twitter, daily blasts and onscreen pop-ups, pretty much as it happens.
This makes much of today’s “news” little more than a voyeuristic opinion told from inside an office or, in many cases, inside someone’s bedroom, churned out by people without any reasoned viewpoint or expertise, people who spew often ill-informed, baseless comments on other peoples carefully planted statements, giving real reporters and the profession they’ve trained for, a bad name.
What will become of news if it is reduced to little more than catty sound bites from stay-at-home bloggers? I imagine it would be a little like listening to sportscasters deconstruct the big game a day after it’s been played — without ever seeing the game itself.
That’s not to say that some commentary doesn’t still have gravitas. Presidential speechwriters give the president a tone and a flare while reporting on the state of the union. There’s Vice News, which places writers right in the center of the action, allowing them to comment in long form in personal documentaries, and then there are political cartoonists, who satirize the day’s events, tilting at windmills and popping the inflated egos of the world’s powerful, ruffling the feathers of the unhinged and the fanatical.
Safety and security are never on the list of reasons why a journalist begins his or her life’s work, but having safety and security taken away — by either evolution or force — might just marginalize the field so much that we will be left with nothing but the Monday-morning quarterbacks.
Personally, I consider writing an art form. But I have children of my own now who are, thankfully, nowhere near old enough to begin picking college majors. When it’s time, will it be wise to push them toward the reporter’s path, mighty as it may be?
Time and evolution will tell.

Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know of any financial assistance programs or other resources that can help seniors with home improvement projects? I would like to help my 86-year-old father make a few modifications to his house so he can live there as long as possible, but money is very tight. Inquiring Daughter

Dear Inquiring,
There are actually a number of programs available that can help seniors with home repairs and improvement projects for aging-in-place, but what’s available to your dad will depend on his financial situation and where he lives. Here are some different options to explore.
Medicaid waivers: If your dad is low-income and eligible for Medicaid, most states have Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers that provide financial assistance to help seniors avoid nursing homes and remain living at home. Many of the waivers pay for home modifications to increase a person’s ability to live independently. Each state has different waivers with different eligibility requirements and benefits. Contact your Medicaid office (see for more information.
State and local programs: Some states and local governments have financial assistance programs, often called “nursing home diversion programs” or “deferred payment loans” that are not funded by Medicaid. These programs, which may include grants or loans or a combination, helps pay for modifications that enable low to moderate income elderly and disabled to remain living at home. Modifications covered typically include accessibility improvements like wheelchair ramps, handrails and grab bars. And some may be used for home improvements like roofing, heating and cooling, insulation, weather-stripping and storm windows.
To find out if there’s a program in your dad’s area, contact the city or county housing authority, the local Area Aging Agency (call 800-677-1116 for contact information) or the state housing finance agency – see
Federal programs: The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers HUD Home Improvement Loans, which are HUD insured loans made by private lenders for home improvement and building projects. Contact a HUD approved counseling agency in your area (call 800-569-4287) to learn more.
And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a Rural Development program that provides grants and loans to low-income, elderly or disabled, rural homeowners for home repairs and improvements. Your local USDA service center (see can give you more for information.
Veteran benefits: If your dad is a veteran with a disability, the VA provides grants like the SAH, SHA and HISA grants that will pay for home modifications. See for details and eligibility requirements.
Another possibility that’s available to veterans enrolled in the Medical Benefits Package is Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services. This program provides veterans who need help with daily living activities with financial assistance to help them remain living in their homes, and provides them with a certain amount of discretion to use those funds. To learn more see, or call 800-827-1000.
Non-profit organizations: Depending on where your dad lives, he may also be able to get home repair and modification services through the national, non-profit organization Rebuilding Together (, 800-473-4229). They provide services to low-income seniors, veterans and military families, families with children, people living with disabilities and victims of disaster.
You should also check with the Area Aging Agency to see if any other local organizations that offer volunteer home modification help to low-income seniors.
Reverse mortgages: Available to seniors 62 and older who own their own home, or owe only a small balance, and are currently living there, a reverse mortgage (see will let your dad convert part of the equity in his home into cash – which can be used for home improvements – that doesn’t have to be paid back as long as he lives there. But, reverse mortgages are expensive loans, so this should be a last resort.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Contracts Often Limit Where Physicians Can Work If They Change Employers
By Dennis Hursh
Patients may just shrug when they learn their doctor plans to move to a new office.
After all, they can just follow, right?
Maybe not. Or at least, not easily.
Physician contracts often contain restrictive covenants that limit where doctors can work if they leave their current practices. The idea is to keep them from competing with their old employer.
For example, the contract could require the doctor’s new office to be 15 or more miles away. The doctor also might have to give up privileges at the local hospital.
“These contract provisions hold numerous traps for the unwary,” says Dennis Hursh, an attorney who has provided legal services to physicians for more than three decades and is the author of “The Final Hurdle: A Physician’s Guide to Negotiating a Fair Employment Agreement.” (
Patients can be left scrambling to find a new physician.
The situation can be even worse for the doctor, who essentially might have to start his or her career over again, building a new patient base.
Hursh says it’s not unusual for him to answer desperate phone calls from doctors who paid little attention when they agreed to their contracts, but now wonder whether their soon-to-be-former employers can enforce the restrictions.
“Unfortunately, they probably can,” he says.
Doctors need to be diligent and negotiate favorable terms before they sign an employment contract, he says. Hursh says there are several ways to deal with restrictive covenants so that doctors are not facing career-damaging situations.
• Keep the distance reasonable. Although geographic restrictions are common, in most cases the agreement should not require the doctor’s new office to be more than five miles from the old one. In rural areas, a somewhat larger area may be reasonable, Hursh says.
Also, when employers have multiple offices, the distance rule should apply only to the office where the doctor spent most of his or her working time.
• The general practice of medicine should not be restricted. “It’s one thing to agree that patients will have to drive five miles from your old office if they want to continue seeing you,” Hursh says. “It’s another thing to agree you won’t see patients in hospitals, nursing homes or ambulatory surgical centers that are within the prohibited area.”
• Continuing the doctor-patient relationship. Patients often become attached to a particular doctor and want to stick with him or her. But when a doctor moves to a new practice that can get tricky.
Contracts usually prohibit doctors from directly asking their patients to follow them to the new practice, Hursh says. Barring such solicitation, whether it’s in the office or by phone call or letter, is reasonable, he says. But advertisements by the doctor’s new employer should not be considered direct solicitation.
• Sometimes restrictions should not apply. If an employer fires a doctor without cause, then the restrictive covenant should not go into effect, Hursh says. That’s also true if the employer breaches its agreement with the doctor, although that can be difficult to negotiate, he says.
“An employer could worry the physician will claim some far-fetched theory of an alleged breach to get out of the restriction,” he says. “One way to deal with that might be to list specific grounds for a breach in the contract.”
Hursh says one of the most extreme cases he ever experienced involved a doctor whose non-compete clause prohibited the practice of medicine within 65 miles.
A hospital 62 miles away wanted to hire him.
It was while negotiating a contract with the hospital that Hursh and the hospital’s attorney discovered the restriction.
“The restriction was so ludicrous that we both agreed that the former employer would almost certainly lose if they tried to sue,” Hursh says.
But the hospital figured: why take chances.
The offer to hire the doctor was withdrawn.
Dennis Hursh has been providing health-care legal services for more than three decades. Since 1992, he has been managing partner of Hursh & Hursh, P.C.,, a Pennsylvania law firm that serves the needs of physicians and medical practices. He is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, where he is involved in the Physician Organizations Practice Group.

A new law requested by Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak aims to protect Oklahoma storm victims. Senate Bill 439, signed by Gov. Mary Fallin Monday, ensures transparency and accountability in the insurance adjusting process.
“I am proud that Gov. Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature saw the importance of this bill,” said Doak. “After a natural disaster, storm survivors are vulnerable. This new law will protect Oklahomans by making sure all public adjusters follow the same rules.”
Public adjusters are licensed insurance claims adjusters who appraise and negotiate an insurance claim on behalf of the policyholder. Unlike an insurance company adjuster, public adjusters advocate for the claimant.
Senate Bill 439, written by Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, and Rep. Randy Grau, R-Oklahoma City, specifies certain required and prohibited actions of public adjusters. It also sets requirements for contracts used by public adjusters. Some of the new rules include:
Cannot charge more than 10 percent of the total claim on a non-commercial claim after a disaster.
Must hold any insurance proceeds on behalf of the policyholder in a non-interest bearing account in a FDIC-insured bank.
Claim records must be kept for at least five years and are subject to inspection by the Insurance Commissioner.
The new law also states that unauthorized adjusting practices in the state of Oklahoma will be considered a misdemeanor.
“In light of the recent devastating storms in our communities, this legislation is as important as ever and will serve to protect our citizens when they are most vulnerable,” Grau said. “This bill is the result of the hard work and collaboration of numerous individuals including Commissioner Doak, two national public adjusting organizations, local public adjusters and consumers.”
“This common sense reform is a huge step toward protecting Oklahomans when they need it most,” Quinn said. “I’m grateful to the Insurance Commissioner and his staff for working to pass this legislation and grateful to Gov. Fallin for signing the bill.”
The law goes into effect November 1.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.