According to Wisconsin’s division of AARP there are 16 counties that are a part of a food bank program. In Wisconsin, there are over 220,000 people over the age of 65 that are eligible for Food Share, which is called Wisconsin’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), yet there are only about 40,000 enrolled in the program. The lack of knowledge, guideline eligibility, stigma, and confusion on application has kept many eligible seniors from participating in this program. The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, which has a long standing relationship with AARP, is piloting a senior outreach effort to address any issues that may hinder enrollment.

From Wisconsin’s AARP single effort of contacting members in these 16 counties, they have had more than 900 calls requesting information on SNAP and assisted more than 575 households to connect with benefits.

Here are a few members who are now enjoying the benefits of the SNAP program.

* A 60 year old man out of work.

* A 55 year old woman, working a job for $8.50 an hour qualified for at least $100.00 a month in Foodshare benefits.

* An 81 year old woman living only on her social security, with $565.00 a month medical bills.

* And the list goes on for those who have heard of the program.

If you or someone you know would like information or to apply for FoodShare benefits call

800 362-3002 or you can check it out on Second Harvest Food Bank Website.



Sauk City, Wisconsin (September 15, 2013) – Maplewood of Sauk Prairie is offering advanced negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) to promote and enhance the healing of different types of wounds. The treatment uses a special vacuum dressing, which is carefully applied on patients by a skilled team composed of the Maplewood Sauk Prairie physical therapy department, nurses, and physicians, among others.

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One of the many things that we may acquire as a result of growing older is foot care problems.  When you think of all the years of wearing poorly designed or ill-fitting shoes, natural foot “wear and tear”, poor circulation and improperly trimmed toenails, there is no doubt our feet have noticed the abuse.  To prevent problems we need to practice good foot hygiene and if there is a problem, have it treated by a family member or physician.  Sometime we may need a specialist for more serious or complicated problems such as a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon.

By keeping good circulation and blood flow to the feet, you can help prevent problems.  Sitting, standing, pressure from shoes, smoking and extreme cold temperatures are all things that reduce blood flow to the feet.  Standing, stretching, walking and other exercise will promote good circulation as well as a foot and leg massage and the inclusion of a warm foot baths.  As we age, our feet may get wider, so it is good to have your feet measured so you can wear comfortable fitting shoes.  The upper part of the shoes should be made of soft flexible material and the soles should give you solid footing and not be slippery.  Thick soles give your feet less pressure on the sole surface, – as does low heeled shoes.  They are more comfortable, safer and less damaging than high heels.

Some common foot problems are the result of a fungal or bacterial condition such as athletes’ foot, which occurs from feet being enclosed in a dark, damp environment.   These infections can cause redness, blisters, peeling and itching.  If foot infections aren’t treated properly, they may become chronic and hard to cure.  By keeping your feet and toe area clean & dry plus exposed to air when possible, it will help prevent these conditions.  If you are prone to fungal infections, you may want to dust your feet with fungicidal powder.

Watch out for moisturizers which contain petroleum jelly or lanolin (which is found in many brands).  The constant pressure or friction, when the bony areas of your feet rub against your shoes have been known to cause corns or calluses.

If you have foot problems, a podiatrist or physician may determine the cause and suggest a treatment.  There are many over-the-counter medicines.  Some may reduce the need for surgery; however, others may destroy the tissue, but not the treat the cause.  If you are diabetic or have poor circulation, self-treatment can be dangerous.

Viruses can cause skin growths and warts, which may be painful or spread if untreated.  A doctor may apply medicines, burn, freeze or remove the wart surgically.

Bunions may develop when the big toe joints are out of line, becoming swollen and tender.  Poor fitting shoes or inherited weakness with the foot may cause bunions.  In severe bunion cases, the shoe may be cut away and protective pads used to cushion the painful area.  Bunions can be treated by application or injections of certain drugs, whirlpool baths and sometimes surgery.

Ingrown toenails can be a very painful foot problem and are caused by improper trimming.  Usually the large or great toe is the one to get an ingrown nail.  A doctor or podiatrist will cut away the part of the nail causing the problem.  They suggest you cut the nail straight across the top of the toe.

A hammertoe is caused by tendons that control toe movement which are shortened.  it causes the toe knuckle to enlarge and stiffen as it rubs against the shoes.  This may affect your balance.  Treatment is to wear shoes and socks with plenty of toe room.  In more advanced cases you  may need surgery.

Bone spurs are a calcium growth that develops on the bones of the feet.  They are caused from muscle strain, standing long periods of time, wearing bad fitting shoes or by being over-weight.  At times they may be painless, but other times the pain may be severe.  Physician or Podiatrist prescribed foot support, heel pads or cups may be necessary, thought you may want to try an over-the-counter support first.

Maplewood partners with Aggeus Healthcare and has a podiatrist come in to assist residents with foot care needs.

There is an increase of baby boomers coming of the age where they are experiencing challenges in both their physical and mental capacity.

Physcial Challenges

Driving can be a challenge for any of us; especially in one’s advanced years.  Those who have looked forward to retirement and being able to do things they have not had the time to do when they were working or raising children can make their dreams become a reality.  Yet, with the ability to do these things, there are new challenges such as a decline in vision, slower reflexes and decrease in depth perception.  Medications can also affect driving skills.  To aid senior mobility consider: driving during off-peak hours, taking a senior driving education course or using alternative transportation such as a taxi, bus or subway.

Other physical challenges include: medical complications, confinement to a bed or wheelchair and the need for assistance or requiring 24-hour care.  Finding a support system is important to reduce or eliminate depression or the general feeling of being a burden.  It is important to find a way to keep one’s life enriched so there is a sense of purpose.  A support system may come from family members or it can come from a group that corresponds with a specific disability.

Mental Challenges

Depression and dementia are prevelant in seniors 65 years old or greater.  These conditions may be a result of a disease, illness or a life change such as a loss of a  friend or family member.  Without medication and counseling, suicide is not uncommon in senior citizens.  They are often reluctant to talk to their doctor about how they are feeling, yet need to.

Maplewood of Sauk Prairie is a skilled center located in Sauk City, WI that offers rehabilitation, long-term care and memory care.  Skill professionals are readily available to help with both physical and mental challenges.  85% of those utilizing Maplewood of Sauk Prairie’s services for the purpose of rehabilitation are able to go home after treatment.

With the changes in governmental programs and the health care  system the need for more care  given by non-professional care givers will be a reality.  Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being.  Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.

Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:

  • tired all the time
  • overwhelmed and irritable
  • either sleeping too much or not enough
  • losing or gaining weight
  • loss of interest in activities

There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.  If someone is willing to help, accept the offer.  If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help.  It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.

As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things.  Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of.  No one is perfect.  If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out.  There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments.    These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.

You will want to make time for yourself.   Get out and socialize with friends and family members.  It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver.  It’s also important  to stay healthy.  Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.

Utilize respite care.  Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker.  Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming.  The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks.   It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.

Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver.  It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.

Maplewood has served the Sauk Prairie and surrounding communities for 42 years and this past year has had a lot of changes. Rooms have been updated with deluxe mattresses, tvs and chairs, more rehabilitation services are offered, and a new administrator was gained. There is a lot to celebrate and Nursing Home Week, May 12-17 was the perfect venue to do just that. The theme for the week was “Team Care”. Each day the residents and staff participated in a different activity.

nursing week in sauk city wiEvery mother loves to have her children close. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Maplewood treated participants to an entertaining morning of music and a danish. The day was electric and the halls were brimming with smiles, flowers and families. On Monday, it was game day. The highlight was looking at 7 sets of pictures and finding the differences in each picture. Tuesday brought a pizza party in the park, complete with old fashion games. Wednesday many employees and family members made the day special. Together, their offerings created a pet parade with an array of animals including well-behaved dogs, a horse, guinea pig, love bird, Macaw and turtle. Thursday was a day filled with team work as the employees played team building games. It was quite a show for the residents to enjoy and it brought an already close group of employees even closer. Friday was another well enjoyed day. The game played was Family Feud and the answers to the questions related to Maplewood’s current residents. It was another bonding experience as caretaker and resident talked about life “back in the day”, reminiscing about their first car and favorite hobby.

The activity department offers a lot of things for the residents to do on a daily basis. Celebrating during National Nursing Home week was an added bonus. The next celebration to note is on June 20th as residents and family members enjoy a summer picnic.

Many of us look forward to this time of year when we can be out in the fresh spring air, enjoying the birds and plants that are growing in our gardens. Working in the garden is great exercise and rewarding in many ways. As with any exercise, gardening can put stress on our bodies. With proper techniques, you can reduce chances of pain and injury.

You should treat gardening as a sport and warm up before you start. Stretch the most used muscles in your upper and lower body; this will help you become more flexible and able to handle the tasks ahead. Light stretching when you are done helps prevent stiffness later.

As we get older, it becomes more difficult to do as much at one time as we once could. Most injuries occur from doing too much too quickly, so spread out your activities throughout the week.

Keep good body mechanics in mind. Remember to lift heavy bags of dirt or mulch by keeping your back straight and bending your knees. Keep the bag close to your body and lift with the strength of your legs.

When shoveling, dig and lift, turning your whole body before you empty the contents. Avoid lifting, twisting and throwing, especially heavy or wet materials. Avoid bending forward for long periods of time; this can cause problems by putting pressure on your back and knees.

Take frequent breaks and trying to alternate use of different muscle groups; this will help minimize repetitive stress on your spine and muscles. Take a break every 30-60 minutes to get a drink of water every 30-60 minutes.

Most injuries occur when you try to do one last thing, so stop before you become fatigued, stiff, sore or experience pain. If you have pain, ice the area for 15-20 minutes. If that does not help, contact your health care provider.

There are many ergonomic garden tools available to help make gardening experiences safe and products without injuries. Happy Gardening!

As experts tell us, the right diet can prevent certain disease such as heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. They are finding that eating certain foods may help our minds. At this time there aren’t any treatments proven to cure dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, yet they have found foods that have a positive effect in overall mind health.

A “Brain Healthy Diet”, which is low in fat and cholesterol, is effective in reducing heart disease and diabetes by supporting blood flow to the brain. As we get older, it is harder to learn new things because the aging process of our brain cells become inflamed making it harder for cells to communicate with each other.

    Foods recommended by Alzheimer’s Association that help to keep you at the top of your game:

Blackberries: They contain great antioxidants, called polyphenols. According to a 2009 Tufts University Study, these antioxidants improve your ability to retain new information.

Coffee: 1,400 people who were in their 40’s and 50’s, participated in a study where they drank between three to five cups of coffee a day. They reduced their odds by 65% of developing Alzheimer’s Disease over those who drank fewer than two cups a day.

Apples: Remember the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples (especially the skins) contain an antioxidant plant chemical called quercertin. They protect our brain cells by keeping the mental juices flowing. Cornell University did research on quercetin. They found quercetin defends our brain cells from free radicals that attack our outer lining of the brain which contains neurons. Loss of these neurons may lead to cognitive loss.

Chocolate: Researchers have found that eating as little as 1/3 ounce of chocolate (the size of 2 Hersey’s Kisses) a day helps protect age related memory loss. It helps lower blood pressure because the polyphenols in cocoa increases the blood flow to the brain.

Spinach: A 2006 Neurology study discovered by eating three servings of green, yellow and cruciferous vegetables a day, a person can slow cognitive decline by 40%. Spinach is packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin E and vitamin K that help prevent dementia.

Cinnamon: Research done at the University of California, Santa Barbara is still in the infant stage; however, the study found two compounds in cinnamon, proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde, are known to inactivate the tau proteins and beta-amyloid plaque which cause brain cells to die – a trademark of Alzheimer’s Disease. Put a sprinkle of cinnamon on your oatmeal or in yogurt.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, proteins and beta-amyloids attach to brain cells which prevent them from communicating with each other. Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains a compound rich in oleocanthal, which helps disable the beta-amyloids and proteins that cause memory loss.

Salmon: Found in salmon is a top source of DHA, the predominant omega-3 fat in your brain, believed to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. It is also a good source of Vitamin D. Researchers have found that people deficient in Vitamin D are 40% more likely to suffer from age-related memory loss.

Curry: Curry powder contains turmeric, a spice that is a cousin to ginger. Turmeric contains a compound rich in curcumin known to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. It also fights inflammation and lowers artery-clogging cholesterol that reduces blood flow to the brain.

Concord Grape Juice: Good for your heart and good for your brain is Concord grape juice. It contains polyphenols found in red wine and concord grape juice, that can give your brain a boost. In a research study done at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, volunteers that were given a daily drink of concord grape juice for three months, significantly improved their memory and verbal skills over the others who were just given a placebo.

With warmer weather temperatures coming, it’s time to be reminded of heat related injuries and illnesses.

Although staying hydrated is important all year long, it can become a medical emergency with hot, humid weather. Infants, the elderly, athletes and outdoor workers are at the greatest risk for heat stroke often referred to as Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body temperature is elevated dramatically with body temperatures of 104 degrees F (40C or higher). Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. Signs include: high body temperature, absence of sweating with hot, red or flushed skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behaviors, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation, seizure or coma.

Sometimes a person experiences heat exhaustion before progressing to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps, aches and dizziness.

Some people develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly without warning. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. It is important to notify emergency services immediately. Someone who may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved to a cool place. If they are conscious, offer sips of water while waiting for emergency medical personnel.

    Tips to reduce sun or heat exposure:

* Wear wide brimmed hats to keep head and face cool. This also protects from damaging sun exposure and protects the face, ears and neck.
* Wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeved tops – except when working around machinery.
* Have plenty of water available. Take drinks frequently (every 15 minutes).
* Take breaks in the shade or a cool environment during the hottest part of the day.
* Adjust gradually to working in the heat. It may take 10-20 days to acclimate.
* Wearing a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.