Monday, April 30, 2012

Isabella Participates in the new “Together on Diabetes” Program

Isabella is pleased to be working with the United Hospital Fund on a major new effort to combat Diabetes in Washington Heights and Inwood.    “Together on Diabetes” is a partnership of community based organizations, businesses, health care providers, the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the New York City Department for the Aging.  This public-private initiative is funded for a period of three years with major support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

Twenty –six million people in the United States suffer with diabetes and more than 1 in 4 seniors in Northern Manhattan must cope with the disease every day.   Diabetes is responsible for more than 1 in 5 hospitalizations every year and is a major cause of amputations, blindness and kidney failure.  While diabetes is serious, with the right mix of self-care, medical care and community support, anyone afflicted with the disease can lead a healthy and normal life.

“Together on Diabetes” is a central resource for seniors with diabetes.   A Diabetes Support Team, staffed by knowledgeable professionals, meets with each individual to conduct assessments, determine the right kind of care and provide individual follow-up.  As part of “Together on Diabetes” individuals have access to Education and Support Groups, Nutrition and Cooking Classes, Self-management Programs, Coaching, Exercise and Care Coordination. 

On Friday, January 29th, 2012, Isabella sponsored an initial education workshop as part of its programming for the Institute for Older Adults.  Representatives from the United Hospital Fund, the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Neighborhood Diabetic Supply, City Harvest and other community groups presented information on the care and treatment of diabetes.  Attended by many community residents, this workshop helped seniors understand symptoms, warning signs and remedies that may enable them to cope with diabetes.

For more information about how the “Together on Diabetes” can be of help to you, call 1-855-585-5888.

By: Betty Lehmann

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Healing Power of Wellness Activities

Residents of Isabella are enjoying a new Wellness session designed especially for them by Ray Centeno, Isabella’s Assistant Controller who is also a Reiki Master Candidate and a Certified Meditation Instructor.

During the weekly session, Ray employs a variety of customized modalities which are aimed at engaging the senses so that the whole person – body, mind and spirit- experiences relaxation and peace.

As participants gather in a semi-circle, the room is filled with soothing ambient music.  The first activity is Hara Breathing.  Ray guides the group into following their breath down the center of the body to the tummy. This technique, also called “Belly Breathing”, can effectively lower blood pressure.

Physical relaxation movements follow. Ray guides the group in slow movements of the neck, chin, shoulders, arms and legs from side to side. The objective is to produce comfortable muscular stretches.

During the Mantra-intonations segment, residents easily repeat the vowel sounds Kay-eee, Om, Er and many others.  Ray explains the awakening effect these sounds have on the thymus and pituitary glands. The enlivened glands, in turn, generate relaxation and wellness throughout the body.

With eyes closed participants are invited to use their imaginations during meditation. “ Imagine the word PEACE floating in the air before you.  Imagine PEACE traveling to all parts of your body.  Become the word PEACE.”

During a segment of Chi-gong (an ancient Chinese system of body movement and relaxation), in an exercise called the Swimming Dragon, participants are asked to visualize that they are swimming in the sea while they serenely extend  arm strokes into the imagined peaceful waters.

Rebecca Hernandez, Finance Cashier and also a Reiki Master Candidate, sometimes assists Ray. She offers the residents Reiki energy healing movements.

The session concludes with Ray and Rebecca inviting participants to join them as they perform gentle choreography designed to stimulate wellness movements.

One resident’s response reflects the smiling group. “I feel very good, very relaxed.”

Why does Ray Centeno conduct meditation for Isabella residents?

“I recognize that the Creator has given me certain abilities. It is clear to me I must share these abilities with humanity. During sessions, I am often moved to tears when I see the residents smiling and attempting to emulate our movements; they are joyful and happy.  Life doesn’t get any better than this.”

By: Angela Menghraj

Monday, April 2, 2012

Choose Longevity

Remember the last time you and a friend had a conversation about growing old?  Did it go something like this, “I really don’t want to live to be 100 frail, sick and suffering from dementia.”  Would you re-consider  if at 100 your mind, body and spirit were all sound?  If you had no trouble getting on a bus or shopping  for groceries or holding a conversation?
 There are places in the world where people live to be over  100 and lead vibrant, active lives and in good health,  too!  These places are called “Blue Zones”, a term originated with Dr. Dan Buettner, author of  “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”. Where they live contributes to their longevity, but it’s not so much the climate, although these are likely to be moderate to warm.  It has more to do with the culture, the way these folks live their lives.What characterizes these healthy elders?  Involvement with families, social activities and being a part of their community, a diet consisting mainly of plant food and legumes, and lastly and not least  important, they are physically active.  It sounds simple enough.   Here are some ideas for creating a regimen for people living in New York City and who want optimum health to increase their longevity.

 1) Family lives far away?   Make that weekly phone call;  spend some time listening rather than talking.  Tired of always being the one to call?  Don’t stand on ceremony.  Call anyway.Send birthday cards with little personal notes.
 2)  Buy produce at Fresh Food Markets.  Is a bunch of Swiss chard too large?  Share it with a    neighbor.  She probably will be happy to share her kale.  Select one or two meatless days a week.  Substitute beans and a tasty cream or tomato sauce with whole wheat pasta.
3) Be active with people.  Join a local chorus.  The leisure club at your house of worship welcomes new comers.  Visit the neighborhood senior center with a friend.  Visit your neighbor who is now living in a Nursing Home.
4)  Keep  your  body moving.  Join a local gym (a number are covered by insurance plans). Tune into “ Sit and Be Fit” on cable TV for chair exercises.    Watch TV marching in place behind a chair, or work out with weights while sitting.  Finally, walk, walk, walk.  Start with 20 minutes a day and gradually work up to half an hour.
The next time someone asks if you want to live to 100 years.  Consider  the possibility and what it would take to make it happen.