YMCA Opens Shelton Branch

What started out over 20 years ago as the vision of volunteers and community members to create positive youth and family activities in Shelton is now a reality.  On March 1, 2021, the Shelton Family YMCA opened its doors.

Creating a “Place for all to Belong” for the Shelton community during a pandemic was not ideal, but the local team persevered and overcame.  Local autonomy within a massive organization like the YMCA allowed them to set goals and plan the design for the new YMCA facility located on North Shelton Springs Road.

According to Jake Grater, Executive Director of Branch Operations, “Our design goals were simple.  Build something that brings the entire community together and creates a sense of belonging.”   Layer that on top of the local and national organization’s goals of diversity and inclusion, and the team created a space that is welcoming and engaging.

“We were fortunate to have the experience of 2,700 other YMCA’s across the country.  We created a space that is an open concept, yet an intimate space,” said Grater.  The design utilizes lots of imagery to make people feel like the space was built for them.

Since it was founded in 1844, the Y has constantly evolved to meet the unique needs in each of the communities it serves.  “This commitment to serving all people is core to who we are and our mission,” added Grater.

The new Shelton YMCA is an efficient building designed to minimize operating expenses.  This approach allows the team to deploy resources towards mission work instead of maintenance work.  For example, there is no carpeting in the building, which allows for better hygiene, easier cleaning, and no long-term replacement expense.

As the first YMCA in the area, the Shelton Family YMCA joins three other Y branches within the South Sound Association, which includes the Plum Street Y, the Briggs Community Y, and the Youth & Community Development Branch, which is affectionately referred to as ‘the Y without walls.’

Everyone is invited to come visit the new Shelton Family YMCA.  For more information about the new facility and its vast amenities, visit southsoundymca.org. By Lynn Castle

Auburn Medical Center: 100 Years of Caring

This week, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center is celebrating 100 years of providing care to the community in South King County!

“In 1921, two physicians recognized a need for health care in Auburn and partnered to build a progressive health care system that has provided care to our community for generations,” said Mark Smith, president of MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and MultiCare Covington Medical Center. “We are grateful that the people across South King County view us as a trusted choice for their care and know that we will continue to offer innovative medical care.”

When the hospital first opened its doors in 1921, it had 46 beds and the area’s first emergency ambulance. The hospital was called Taylor-Lacey Hospital after its founders, doctors Owen Taylor and Martin Lacey. Throughout the past century, hospital owners have invested in growth and improved technologies to provide the best care available.

Today, Auburn Medical Center offers a multitude of services and specialties, and features 195 beds, eight operating rooms and 24/7 emergency services. Last year, Auburn Medical Center opened its state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab, the only one of its kind in the West Coast.

“We strive every day to uphold the founding ideals of this hospital through the care and services we now provide to the people of Auburn and the surrounding communities,” said Bill Robertson, president and CEO of MultiCare Health System. “All of us at MultiCare are grateful to Drs. Taylor and Lacey for their vision; the caregivers who came before us during the hospital’s century of service; and for the privilege of being part of this community’s storied history.”

Quick facts about Auburn Medical Center:

  • The original hospital building cost $50,000 to construct in 1921. Auburn’s population then was just over 3,000 people and the 2021 population is now 80,814.
  • In 1945, the hospital was called Auburn General and had 13 doctors on staff. The hospital was the only building in Auburn with an elevator at the time.
  • LifeCenter Northwest, an organization that facilitates organ, eye and tissue donations across the Northwest and Alaska, awarded Auburn Medical Center the Collaboration Achievement Award, which recognizes hospital collaboration on conversations about organ donation with families.

The Auburn community can celebrate this centennial all year long by visiting multicare.org/100-years-of-caring to view special virtual displays about the hospital’s founding, read stories from employees throughout the years, and submit baby photos to a virtual Auburn Medical Center baby album.

Simple Ways For Seniors To Stay Fit at Home

Staying home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 means that we’re not able to engage in our normal physical activities like going to a gym, participating in group classes, or playing sports. Being more sedentary can take its toll on our health, especially for older adults, but there are ways to stay fit and active while staying home.

Start by looking for ways to incorporate strength training or cardio workouts into your everyday activities. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests using your own body weight to your advantage by combining household tasks with extra movement, such as:

  • Doing heel raises in front of the sink when washing the dishes
  • Before putting your groceries away, using the full bags to add resistance to biceps curls or front shoulder raises
  • Taking advantage of commercial breaks when watching TV to complete a cardio circuit in your home, including chair sit-stands, a lap around the house (with stairs if available), and chair or wall push-ups
  • During your favorite streaming show, try seated knee lifts, kicks, foot slides, punches or arm circles

If you prefer more structure for your exercise routine, it’s easy to find a live or on-demand online class for nearly every interest—from Zumba to Silver Sneakers to yoga.

If you have a membership with a local health and fitness organization, like the YMCA, many are offering online classes as a member benefit. In addition, numerous free class options can be found on YouTube through a simple search or on popular websites, such as AARP.com.

Movement is an important tool for reducing stress and improving overall health, which helps us to cope with the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic. Take advantage of opportunities to be active throughout your day and you’ll soon find that a few minutes here and there can add up to better well-being.

One reminder about getting creative with your at-home exercise: don’t get hurt. Pay attention to how your body is feeling as you work out and don’t overdo it.

BY MARTINA PRESTON

Yoga and meditation in your workday

Right now, working and studying from home and managing through a pandemic is stressful. It’s more important now than ever to take care of your mental and physical health in these trying times. Yoga is growing in popularity as people experience the benefits of the practice, meditation and breathwork. Benefits include:

• Managing stress and promoting clarity and improved focus and attention span. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your task list, sometimes a time-out is just what the mind needs to regroup and get back on track.

• Promoting an awareness around the important mind/body relationship so you can pay closer attention to the signals your body is giving you. For example, are your shoulders up by your ears as you are talking to your boss? Try to relax by softening your shoulders and jaw, and take 3 to 5 slow deep breaths.

• Yoga creates strength and flexibility while fostering relaxation to reduce injury and improve well-being. Tension in the body can lead to tension in the mind.

• Yoga improves balance, energy, vitality and circulation. Feeling sluggish? Get up for a few minutes and move and stretch your body. Your mind and body will thank you!

Here are some tips to get you started:

• Start small. Studies show that just 5 to 10 minutes of quiet conscious breathing can help reduce your stress response.

• Go easy on the java! Our morning cup of joe can help get us started, but overdoing it can actually cause a stress response in the body and get our mind going too fast. Some warm lemon water or tea is a great substitute.

• Get some movement in and keep your blood flowing. Make sure to stretch your neck, shoulders, and chest for suppleness.

• Silence your phone for 5 or 10 minutes and enjoy the quiet whisper of your own breath.

For Additional Information
Tuladhara Yoga
tuladharayoga.com/classes/mobile-yoga
info@tuladharayoga.com

Code Lavender: Caring for our Caregivers

Caring for the community during a pandemic can take a toll on frontline and other essential health care heroes.

“There were days when you just wanted to cry, because these patients that you work so hard on to get them better, they weren’t going to get better,” Heidi Strub, RT, at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, shares.

“It was not difficult just emotionally, it was draining physically,” Max Ceban, RT, at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, adds. “It’s a dark memory in my life.”

It is because of this very reason that MultiCare has created the Code Lavender program to provide mental health and emotional support for health care workers.

Code Lavender is a donor-powered program that began in 2016 to provide peer-to-peer incident stress management following a traumatic event. Led by a team of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and mental health counselors, Code Lavender offers debriefings, educational presentations, reflection rounds and spiritual care to help employees reduce stress and avoid burnout.

“People will share their heart for a minute, and then they go back to being brave, back into that role of being a hero,” MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital Chaplain, Jim Cornwell, says. Code Lavender is important for “sitting beside and being there in the little windows when they just need to process something.”

Today, Code Lavender has grown to include a 24/7 employee support hotline and twice-weekly virtual leadership roundtables to talk through challenges and strategize for success.

Gifts through the MultiCare Health Foundation help Code Lavender expand even further. Donations will help broaden educational, psychological and spiritual resources and extend the program’s geographical reach to MultiCare employees serving in the Inland Northwest.

For Additional Information
MultiCare Health System
multicare.org

BY SHELBY TAYLOR

Heart Disease Linked to Food Insecurity

People with atherosclerosis, particularly those who earn a low income and have other socioeconomic disadvantages, are more likely to experience food insecurity than those without the condition, according to new research.

In 2018, nearly 11% – 14.3 million – U.S. households were food insecure, a term the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as “limited or uncertain access to adequate food due to lack of money” at least some time during the year.

The new findings were presented last month at the American Heart Association’s virtual Scientific Sessions. They are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Those who listed themselves as “poor/low income” were nearly five times more likely to experience food insecurity. Among people with five or more “high-risk characteristics,” 44.1% reported food insecurity and had 23 times higher odds of being food insecure compared to those with one or no characteristics.

Leaving atherosclerosis unchecked could be dangerous. The fatty plaque may partially or totally block blood flow through large or medium-sized arteries in the heart and brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Treatments for the condition can include medication to prevent clot formation and to control risk factors, surgery, or lifestyle changes such as heart-healthy eating, weight management, exercise and quitting smoking.

Experts say it’s essential for people to be able to afford medications and still be able to eat a balanced diet. Federal nutrition programs, sometimes called “food stamps,” are critical for people with food insecurity, the study said. A previous study commissioned by the USDA found the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduced the likelihood of being food insecure by about 30%.

Finding a long-term solution is trickier, but research shows high-quality education is the key. “It’s remarkable to look at the disparity in education among people who end up being food insecure and those who don’t,” he said.

“The solutions need to start early in life with education intervention, from age two onwards. It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but you have to make sure people get a better education so they have better jobs, a higher income and better health.”

For Additional Information
American Heart Association
heart.org

CONTENT PROVIDED BY THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION

Workplace Yoga: A Time to Destress

In today’s workplace, whether that be at home or an in-person environment, things can easily get stressful and overwhelming. This is why employers have been getting more creative with finding ways to keep employees engaged and stress free!

Among many employee benefits, workplace yoga, both at the office and online at the home office, is gaining huge popularity. It is primarily offered at larger corporations such as Apple and Google, but smaller organizations are quickly adopting it as well. Workplace yoga has been shown to offer a cost effective solution with a big impact for employees and employers. 

Why are so many companies turning to workplace yoga to engage employees?

In addition to improving overall fitness and flexibility, yoga has been known to be one of the most effective exercises in reducing chronic stress. Studies by the American Heart Association and others have found that those who do yoga regularly are calmer than those who don’t. Yoga reduces levels of cortisol— our stress hormone— and it can help to improve productivity, efficiency, concentration, and creativity.

Most yoga practices not only focus on the body, but also the breath. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. According to the National Institute of Health, breath work helps lower blood pressure through relaxing the body, improves the ability to concentrate, and helps create an overall feeling of wellbeing by triggering the release of endorphins. 

For the employers, offering activities such as workplace yoga to employees can increase job satisfaction, mindfulness, and overall wellbeing of employees. It can be a big help in reducing employee turnover, healthcare costs, all while improving employee engagement. Yoga at work is a win-win for companies, bosses and their employees and an essential addition to any company’s wellness program!

For more information, visit the American Heart Association’s website.

Is It Safe for Seniors to Return to the Gym?

In recent years there has been a lot of research highlighting the importance of exercise for seniors. For example, we have learned that, contrary to popular belief, weakness and poor balance are linked to inactivity rather than age.

As the COVID-19/novel coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, we are also acutely aware of the increased risk that the virus poses to individuals over the age of 60. According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older.

Gyms are beginning to reopen as a growing number of communities ease the stay-at-home mandates put in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many seniors are now facing a dilemma about the risks of exposure to COVID-19 and the risks of prolonged periods of inactivity, which can include loss of bone density, muscle mass and cardio strength. 

Fortunately, there are several options for those looking to stay home and stay fit. There are several resources that offer at home fitness programs designed for the 50+ crowd.  For example, AARP.org offers links to several video-based exercise routines and many local retirement communities have taken their activity and fitness programs online with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, which can be a great way to meet other people (virtually).  See what type of programming is available at communities that you may be interested in learning more about for yourself or a loved one.  You can also contact your local YMCA and, of course, your own physician for recommendations about effective movements and activity that you can do safely at home.

If you do make the choice to head back to the gym, the following guidelines are recommended by the CDC.

Wash hands often

  • Everyone should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds at the beginning and end of the visit and whenever you think your hands may have become contaminated.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, such as with outdoor activities, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Remind guests to wash or sanitize their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so visitors do not share towels. Have a no-touch trash can available for guests to use.
  • Always speak with your physician before beginning any type of exercise routine.

Put the right foot forward

Yearning to get outdoors for a short hike? Slip on the flip-flops and head out, right?

Wrong, says Dr. Thomas Burghardt, who is an expert in foot and ankle care. He recommends “proper shoes for the environment you’re in.” 

In May, Dr. Burghardt came to Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates (FASA) at 1901 South Union Avenue from almost two decades at the Tumwater clinic. He is a board-certified physician and surgeon specializing in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery and diabetic foot care.

Common foot problems include bunions, plantar fasciitis, peripheral artery disease and foot-related complications from diabetes. In addition, nice weather invites sprained ankles from sports activities such as basketball and hiking.

“For hiking trips, wear proper boots with support, pack moleskin and bandages and consider taking an extra pair of boots,” Dr. Burghardt said. “For casual wear, sandals are fine, but be sure they have an arch support.”

Another tip for foot care is proper hygiene, he said. Toenails should be cut straight across. The clinic does a lot of diabetic foot care, he added.

“Those with diabetes who have bad circulation don’t have good feeling in their feet and can injure themselves caring for their feet,” Dr. Burghardt said. “We treat patients for sores and wound care.”

Another area of concern is peripheral artery disease, which is caused by narrowed and hardened arteries that can reduce blood flow to the foot and ankle, he explained. People who smoke, are diabetic, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol may be at higher risk and need professional care.

Other patients need help for plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and causes pain near the heel. 

“A lot of foot pain comes from tight Achilles tendons,” Dr. Burghardt said. He cautioned ‘weekend warriors’ to be sure to stretch before they run and to start slowly with low mileage workouts and low impact running. 

Dr. Burghardt, a resident of Tacoma, says he is excited about a shorter commute and a chance to “meet new patients, work with a new team of colleagues and serve the Tacoma area.”

by:  EMILY HAPPY

fasafw.com

Olympia OB/GYN Heroes

Babies are born when they are ready, not when a pandemic says so. Dedicated medical personnel tackle coronavirus challenges to deliver them safely. That’s true of the team at Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology (OOG) as they work with patients at the office and welcome babies at the Family Birth Center at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

“We love moms and babies,” said Dr. Darrel Bell. “The virus hasn’t changed how special each delivery has been. I thank all those who protect mothers and babies by wearing masks and practice social distancing.” Providence welcomes moms and an essential support person in the delivery room which, for many patients, creates an intimate experience. These individuals are screened upon entry; moms are also tested. Masking goes without saying…

Expecting a newborn during the COVID-19 pandemic adds stress to an already challenging time in a family’s life. As they care for moms and their babies, OOG and Family Birth Center staff work together to maintain the highest standards of care and safety for their patients and families. The goal is to keep newborns with their mothers in their rooms, as a basic tenet of infant and family-centered care.

Occasionally, separation is necessary because infant care cannot take place safely in the mom’s room. This is rare. An average of 100 babies a month are delivered by OOG’s medical staff with positive patient feedback.

OOG is using technology in positive ways to keep everyone safe. Carie Bussey, certified nurse midwife with the clinic, said, “We’ve discovered a lot of silver linings. Health care workers have been forced to hop on the telemedicine effort. We’ve been able to quickly adopt what works for us and patients enjoy some benefits while remaining safely distanced. OOG utilizes a telehealth system that ties the visit to the patient’s electronic health record. Patients receive a link via email or text and can access us through their mobile phones, iPads and desktops.”

Deb Cannon, practice manager at the clinic, said, “We are a big family, and maybe none of us really understood what it means to be an ‘essential worker’ until now. We have been proud to have maintained a safe environment for everyone; that includes the babies.” OOG anticipates continuation of masking and social distancing until we have fast, accurate testing and a widely accepted and utilized vaccine.

Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology
olyobgyn.com

BY EMILY HAPPY