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Dealing with age-related Macular Degeneration

While poking around in my computer to finish up this week’s column, I stumbled across the article from the same time frame last year.

Yep, the budget is due again, Picnic in the Park just took place, as well as the pie eating contest. Ah, great memories.

This year’s pie eating contest had six brave souls competing. A special thank you to No. 6 — you got me out of the nostril packing of pudding this year.

Congratulations to Herman Westfall. He gobbled up that lil’ pie with ease, no muss, no fuss.

Thank you to my awesome staff for another successful summer of Picnic in the Park.


Warm congratulations to Rob and Melissa on the birth of their darling son, Tieren, born Aug. 17.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an age-related reduction in one’s central vision, which can make it difficult to work, drive, etc. You will not go blind from AMD, but you must learn to adapt to the loss of your central vision through a number of changes in your lifestyle.

Below we will discuss some of the changes that can make for a positive outcome, rather than allowing AMD to be a total negative experience.

As with many challenges in our lives, a positive and open attitude can be the most important change you can make. Knowing that others have learned to live with AMD may allow you to adapt more readily to the effects of AMD, but some specific changes can go a long way in helping adjust to the loss of your central vision.

For example:

• Increase the amount of contrast in your home (i.e., white plates on dark tablecloth, paint door steps white, use contrasting canisters from your countertop color, etc.).

• As reading becomes more difficult, use aids ( large faced print books/mags, watches that talk, magnifiers to enhance what you are looking at, etc.).

• Reduce glare in your home (cover shiny hardwood floors with rugs, utilize sheer curtains rather than having no coverings over windows, find positions in rooms that reduce glare from any light source, etc.).

• Increase indoor lighting sources to compensate for the reduced vision due to AMD.

• Use contrast labels on important items (such as medications to make them more readable).

• Keep hallways and walkways open and uncluttered to reduce the potential for falling.

• Consider placing handrails in areas that would normally not have them (for example, along hallways).

• Use computer systems that either allow you to use voice recognition systems or enlarged screen images.

• Increase use of corrective prescription lenses.

• Arrange household furniture so it does not interfere with flow of traffic.

• Seek counseling to learn how to best cope with this condition.

• Seek occupational therapy to learn more about adaptive equipment that will reduce the challenges of AMD.

• Seek out support groups to avoid feeling all alone in living with AMD.

People live with AMD every day and they live very full lives. It takes a great deal of understanding, adaptation and support to make the transition from full vision to partial vision, yet, people all over the world are successful in meeting this particular challenge.

Source: and

Medicare 101

Are you new to Medicare and lost or confused by all the literature you have received?

Do you know which portions you need to enroll in A, B, C, D?

What the heck are all those letters anyway?

Did you know you are entitled to certain free services? Well, we have answers for you in Medicare 101.

Join us for a very informative session on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a.m., and come with an empty head ’cause we are gonna fill it up! Registration is required, seating is limited. Call 264-2167.

New card game

Learn to play Hand and Foot, a card game that is fun and challenging.

Any number of people can play as individuals or play as partners.

We’re starting a new class on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 1 p.m. Rita Werner and Cathy Van Liere will help get you started. Hope to see you there for an afternoon of cards and conversation.

Dental assistance

The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA) has grant funds from the Administration on Aging (AoA) for up to $300 per person. To ensure the continuation of grant funding, you will get a letter from the SJBAAA suggesting a minimum contribution of 10 percent ($30).

Please observe the following program guidelines:

1. Title III Older Americans Act grant funds will assist seniors, ages 60-plus, in the following areas only:

• Fluoride varnishing.

• Fillings for cavities.

• Tooth extractions.

• Cleaning and overall preventive care for maximum oral health.

There is a high priority to serve low- and very low-income individuals, age 60 years and older.

For further information, visit or call 264-0501.

More assistance

A San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, Title III B & E Services Grant is being administered for 2012 by the Visiting Angels Home Care Agency in Pagosa Springs. To apply, you must be over 60 years old and not on Medicaid. Special consideration is being given to veterans who are waiting for their Aid and Assistance Benefit to come through. This will provide some funds, but is limited to $500 with a small copay, to assist the elderly with homemaking, to include fixing meals, planning menus, doing light housekeeping, laundry or changing beds. Also, personal care needs are covered — dressing and bathing assistance, general personal care and supervision to prevent falls, medications reminders and companionship. Other chores around the house like yard work, light home maintenance or installing grab bars or wheelchair ramps could be done. Contact Chris Smith at Visiting Angels, 264-5991, to apply.

Reservations, please

You now need to make reservations to dine at Cafe Fox. I received notification from the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging requiring a reservation system be in place in an effort to avoid waste.

We have set out about a week’s worth of reservation lists, enabling you to sign up in advance. If you are already at Cafe Fox, see Rob at the front desk and he’ll help you with your reservation, or call by 9 a.m. of the morning you would like to join us. If we are unable to make it to the phone, dial extension 27 and leave a message. For you computer-savvy folks, we have added a link to our website. Visit, select County Departments and then Senior Services, you’ll see the Meal Reservation link. Make your reservation today at 264-2167, Ext. 27.


Get out in the community and let us do the driving. Door-to-door bus service is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, for seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Come hang out with us and enjoy our company. Call for details at 264-2167.

Special delivery

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Cafe Fox meals, delivered to your door. Our hot meal, home-delivery program is available four days per week to those living close to town, with frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $4 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly activities

Friday, Aug. 31 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m.; Brain Injury support group 10:30; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Sept. 3 — Closed, holiday.

Tuesday, Sept. 4 — 12:30 p.m. What’s Happening at the Library; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Sept. 5 — No scheduled events.

Thursday, Sept. 6 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 7 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Reservations required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $4, guests $6, kids 12 and under $3. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $10.50. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m. 264-2167 for reservations.

Friday, Aug. 31 — Teriyaki chicken, couscous with dried cranberries and almonds, peas, tomato/cucumber salad, half banana, pineapple upside cake.

Monday, Sept. 3 — Closed, holiday.

Tuesday, Sept. 4 — Swedish meatballs, egg noodles, greens with red peppers, parslied carrots, whole wheat roll and tropical fruit salad.

Wednesday, Sept. 5 — Roast turkey with gravy, garlic whipped potatoes, broccoli, salad with sunflower seeds, magic cookie bars.

Thursday, Sept. 6 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 7 — Crunchy baked fish, tartar sauce, whipped sweet potatoes, creamy coleslaw, whole wheat roll, banana.

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