Simple Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Falling

Can you name the most common cause of injury among older Americans? It’s falling—which happens to one in four adults age 65 or older each year—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This tallies up annually to 29 million falls that result in 3 million emergency department visits, 850,000 hospitalizations, and 29,000 deaths. The good news is that the risk of falling can be reduced by taking a few simple steps.

Tell your healthcare provider. A fall can be caused by a health condition or medication you’re taking. If you have fallen or feel unsteady at times, it’s important to evaluate your risk with your healthcare provider and develop a plan for fall prevention. Be sure to have your provider check your feet annually too. Discuss proper footwear and whether you should see a podiatrist.

Get an eye exam annually. A visit to an eye doctor will diagnose conditions that may limit your vision, like glaucoma or cataracts. If your eyeglasses prescription has changed, be sure to update your lenses.

Improve your balance and strength. Adopt an exercise regimen to strengthen your core and leg muscles. Tai chi, a gentle and graceful form of exercise and stretching, has been shown to help reduce falls. As an extra bonus, a recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that tai chi also helped improve brain function.

Make home modifications. More than half of all falls take place at home. Remove hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Install grab bars and handrails. Add non-slip materials to tubs, showers, and stairs.

Be cautious when walking Fido. A study in JAMA Surgery found a dramatic rise in bone fractures attributed to canine companions. When walking your best buddy, stay aware of your environment and take extra precautions during inclement weather. Investing in a retractable leash and obedience training can also help.

Taking these steps will lower your fears of falling and help you continue enjoying the activities you love most.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information

National Council on Aging
ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention

Centers for Disease Control
cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls

The Names Family Foundation Gift of Wellness

The Names Family Foundation, which has supported health and wellness projects in the region for many years, has pledged a $3 million gift to support the new Fircrest Pool and Community Center, the largest gift in the city’s history.

The City of Fircrest is replacing the nearly 60-year-old pool and community center complex. The Fircrest-based Names Family Foundation’s gift is a huge boost to the city’s effort to raise $8.5 million in philanthropic gifts and public grants toward the $18 million project.

“I am excited for the young people who will get to make their own childhood memories in Fircrest,” said Rick Names, the Names Family Foundation’s Vice President.

The foundation was started in 1996 by Sis and Scott Names, who ran the successful Scott’s Athletic Equipment store in Lakewood for 42 years. Their family’s mission is to enrich the community by awarding grants to organizations that emphasize health, wellness, and physical education in the Pierce County area.

Five generations of the Names family have grown up in Fircrest and they have fond memories of participating in classes and sports at the community center, swimming at the pool, and enjoying their youth at Fircrest Park. “Fircrest will always have a special place in my heart, and I am truly excited to see what the future looks like for the city,” said Monica Names King, a granddaughter of the founders and secretary of the Foundation.

“The Names family has an incredible legacy of investing in gyms and recreational facilities throughout the region, and we’re honored that they are making such a historic pledge here in the city,” said Fircrest Mayor Hunter George. “Generations of residents of Fircrest and neighboring areas have grown up in our recreational facility. The Names Family Foundation is helping us ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to grow.”

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information

fircrestcommunitycenter.org

Wesley Homes Breaks Ground at Tehaleh

Wesley Homes exterior rendering

Wesley Homes celebrates 75 years with it’s newest addition to the inspiring, master planned community in Bonney Lake.  The community broke ground this fall and plans to bring a vibrant new choice in senior living options to the foothills of Mt. Rainier.

Wesley at Tehaleh will offer a holistic wellness approach to living. Join your best friend — human or canine — to hike Tehaleh’s numerous walking trails, take a bicycle ride through the expansive community or play in the daily Pickleball match. 

“We are so excited about all the amenities this location will have for the local community,” says Rachel Kirkman Marketing Director. Our Tehaleh location will have a wood shop, creativity center, community chapel, beauty and barber shop.  To learn more visit them on-line.

https://wesleychoice.org/communities/wesley-at-tehaleh/

(253) 466-2720

Eight Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

As you may know, 1 in 8 women are impacted by breast cancer in their lifetime, as it’s the most common cancer in American women. Knowing that this is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, treatment is most successful when breast cancer is detected early.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Dr. David White, MD, FACS from Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) offers his insight into common misconceptions, for men and women, regarding breast cancer risks, facts and signs. Additionally, he shared that PacMed follows the American Cancer Society guidelines for breast cancer. 

Dr. White is a surgeon at PacMed’s Canyon Park, First Hill and Northgate clinics and shares 8 tips regarding breast cancer prevention:  

  1. Women with a family history, particularly with a genetic component should see their primary care physician at least 10 years before the onset of the family member’s cancer to discuss and evaluate.
  2. Breast cancer in younger women is on the rise.
  3. Men can get breast cancer as well and approximately 1 percent of breast cancer patients are male. Symptoms for men include breast pain or mass, nipple changes, including discharge/blood and breast enlargement. Men who have a family member with a genetic form of breast cancer are at increased risk.
  4. Current treatments are focused on breast conservation when appropriate, which greatly reduces the physical and psychological challenges of surgery.
  5. See your physician if you have the following: breast masses or bloody/black nipple discharge. Changes in your own breasts should be taken seriously. 
  6. Breast cancer screening guidelines are variable, so patients must discuss a breast screening plan individualized for them.
  7. Currently, there are many genetic associated breast cancers to scan for.
  8. New mammographic techniques have improved the sensitivity of mammograms. 

Dr. David M. White, MD, FACS is a surgeon at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) practicing at Canyon Park, First Hill and Northgate clinics. Dr. White has been recognized for many years as one of Seattle’s Top Doctors and is passionate about reflux disease, colorectal cancer and breast disease. Additionally, Dr. White is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. In his spare time, you can find him bicycling, traveling and exploring surgical education.

Exercise Offers Health Benefits at Any Age

Most of us have heard the adage that it’s never too late to start exercising and reap the benefits of better health. Is that a myth or a fact? Two recently published investigational studies evaluated more than 315,000 Americans and 15,000 Britons. The studies confirmed the conclusion of past research: Adopting an exercise routine at any age improves your overall health and well-being.

In the American study, researchers were surprised by one of their findings. Participants who increased their physical activity in their 40s, 50s and into their early 60s enjoyed health benefits and a reduced risk of an early death as much as those who had maintained an exercise regimen throughout adulthood.

The British study found similar benefits for people into their late 70s. The researchers also concluded that substantial longevity benefits were gained by becoming more physically active regardless of past inactivity or health conditions, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or obesity.

Ready to get started exercising? The Cleveland Clinic recommends these steps:

See your doctor.

Get a physical exam to assess your current fitness level. Make sure you’re healthy enough to start picking up the pace.

Track your progress.

Use a pedometer or activity tracker to count your steps. Time your workouts with a stopwatch. Keep a journal to show how far you’ve come as you progress.

Start slow.

Begin all workouts with a warm-up and stretching.

Find the right fit.

Figure out what activities you enjoy. Create a balanced routine to include aerobics, strength training and balance exercises.

Self-assess.

Evaluate whether your workouts are too little or too much. Take note of your fatigue level and your ability to lift and to walk distances.

Hydrate and eat a balanced diet.

Drink plenty of water every day. Plan meals and snacks that are high in fiber and well-balanced with “good” calories to fuel your body.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

Find Relief from Back Pain Close to Home

Most adults can recall a time when they’ve felt back pain. It’s one of the most common medical complaints to physicians. Georgetown University’s Institute for Health Care Research and Policy reports that some 16 million adults have persistent or chronic back pain. That’s 8% of all adults. As a result they are limited in certain everyday activities. People with back pain may miss work, feel downhearted and be less involved in social activities.

“When your back pain is to the point that it’s impacting your quality of life and you’re ready to do something about it, it’s time to get evaluated,” says Dr. Zachary Abbott, D.O. He is one of the fellowship-trained spine physicians at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates’ Comprehensive Spine Center. The specialty center saves patients from running around town for multiple appointments. Instead, they can have quick and easy access, all under one roof, to tests and procedures that aid in a diagnosis. The center’s diagnostic tools include X-ray, ultrasound and MRI.

Abbott is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine, sports medicine, and pain medicine. “I see my role as an educator,” he explains. His goal is to assess what’s wrong and help the patient understand the issue. Then he presents all of the treatment options and helps the patient determine which one is the best fit.

One significant advantage of the Comprehensive Spine Center, according to Abbott, is that he and his colleagues are able to collaborate regularly about treatment plans for patients. This helps ensure that each individual receives the highest level of care.

For most patients, he says, nonsurgical treatments are the first step. When surgery is called for, patients can turn to the spine center’s orthopaedic and neurological surgeons, who are at the top of their fields. They specialize in back, neck and spine care using advanced techniques. These include minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgery.

“We’re committed to providing patients with excellent care that rivals that of larger cities,” says Abbott. As evidence of that commitment, a new stand-alone facility is being constructed next to Olympia Orthopaedic’s Westside Clinic for the Comprehensive Spine Center. Completion of the building is expected in 18 to 24 months.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information

Olympia Orthopaedic Associates

3901 Capital Mall Dr SW, Olympia

360.709.6230

olyortho.com

Wesley Opens Bradley Park location

Wesley is observing its 75th year with the grand opening of its third senior-living community, Wesley Bradley Park in Puyallup. The public is invited to enjoy music, hors d’oeuvres, giveaways and prize drawings at the celebration on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. 

“We are excited about the opportunities to develop relationships throughout the area,” says T.C. Fraser, campus administrator. “Our residents have been highly active in various community activities. This has really opened the door to many others who now call Wesley Bradley Park their home.” 

The 19-acre property on South Hill features a range of residential options. The Lodge, five stories high, includes 99 independent living residences. For assisted living–like services, there is The Commons, with 50 apartments. The Brownstone offers 32 condo-style homes. The memory care neighborhood, called The Arbor, will open with 17 apartments once state licensing has been approved. 

At the grand opening, guests are welcome to tour the community. They will see Wesley’s style of senior living, one that is full of choices. Wesley is known for its network of services. These include independent and assisted living, in-home care, skilled nursing, memory care and rehabilitative therapies. This means residents can live with as many or as few supportive services as they need. 

In addition to living and health services, Wesley Bradley Park residents have access to amenities that were developed with a wide range of interests in mind. These include a fully equipped health and wellness center, a learning center/theater, multiple dining venues, a creative arts center, a wood shop, a chapel/auditorium, a beauty salon, a club room and a library.

Fraser adds that the Wesley Bradley Park community will continue to grow and expand. An additional Brownstone apartment building is in the plan, as is a state-of-the-art post-acute rehabilitation center.

by leah grout

707 39th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98374

253.435.8100

wesleychoice.org/communities/bradley-park

K9 Security Program at MultiCare

MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital has launched a new K9 security program to provide an added level of safety for patients, visitors and staff. 

“Emotions can run high in hospital settings,” said Sharon Oxendale, President/COO of MultiCare Tacoma General/Allenmore Hospitals. “Having a K9 presence is sometimes all you need to diffuse emotional situations that sometimes occur in emergency rooms.”

At the center of the program is a three-year-old German Shepherd named Officer Ben and a K9 security officer named Brian Phillips. 

During a three-month pilot program, they helped reduce the number of assaults by 33 percent when compared to the same 90-day period in 2018.

“We interacted with hundreds of staff members, patients and visitors and I can’t remember a single person who had a negative reaction to Ben,” said Phillips. “A lot of people refer to him as a ‘rock star’ and are clearly happy to have him around.”

In addition to helping de-escalate more than 60 incidents during the pilot program, Ben also provided inspiration and comfort to some of the hospital’s patients, including young children that were facing stressful situations.

“It was really gratifying to see Ben interacting with some of the kids – and really a lot of adults too – who were facing tough situations and just wanted some down time to hang with Ben,” said MultiCare’s Regional Director of Security Services, Emergency Management and Business Continuity Radford Garrison. “Animals like Ben can have a calming effect and can help bring smiles to kids who might otherwise feel overly emotional.”

MultiCare is looking to add another dog to the canine unit by the end of this fall with patrols at both Auburn Medical Center and Covington Medical Center. Leah Grout

FoxFire Salon and Spa Celebrates 35 Years

Tenacity and perseverance are two traits that have helped FoxFire Salon and Spa reach an impressive milestone—35 years in business. “It was never my intention to be a business owner,” said Karin Walker, founder and owner. “I just wanted to work with my friends doing great hair and having fun in a really nice environment.”

“I was 26 years old and needed $25,000 for the build-out of my first location,” Walker recalled. “I kept getting turned down because the bankers didn’t think I knew what I was doing, and they were right!” Young and fearless, the aspiring salon owner kept applying. Eventually she found the right lender, who by happenstance was also her client. Walker’s parents offered their home as collateral.

The founder’s vision of a high-end salon was the catalyst for FoxFire. The business opened on Feb. 14, 1984, in leased space at the intersection of Center and Orchard Streets in Tacoma. Walker credits her six original employees with playing a huge role in the salon’s overall success. Two still work with her in a staff that now numbers close to 30.

Though Walker describes her start as unintentional, she has kept a keen eye to the future. In 2001 she moved the business to its Fircrest location. She built this salon from the ground up. In 2009 she heard a rumor that a prime location in the Proctor District might soon be available. She contacted the building owner to say she was interested. Just a few months later, she opened this second location.

“It’s been quite the journey, but I’ve enjoyed it,” said Walker. “I’m a people person and have enjoyed working with my team.” She is also proud of the many awards the salons have earned over the years. Most memorable was being recognized in 2013 by Salon Today, the top business publication for owners of salons and spas. FoxFire made its list of the top 200 salons in the country.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information

FoxFire Salon and Spa

1912 65th Ave W, Tacoma

2701 North Proctor St, Tacoma

253.565.7765

foxfiresalon.com

Body Condition Scoring for Dogs & Cats

Many dog and cat owners may not be familiar with body condition scoring. But Amanda Evans, manager at Mud Bay Pet Supply, uses it regularly to evaluate her own dog’s health. We talked to Evans about the concept and about evaluating your own dog or cat’s weight.

MB: As humans, we often use the scale to evaluate our weight. Why use the body condition score at Mud Bay?

AE: The body condition score is about the shape of your dog or cat. Healthy weight is about having a proportionate body. A Basset hound that weighs 60 pounds is going to look different from a Labrador that weighs the same. The body condition score is a more effective way to talk about weight.

Humans, too, consider height, and also body mass index. We look at where we’re carrying weight and if that weight is muscle or fat.

MB: Let’s say I want to evaluate my dog or cat’s body condition score. How do I figure out if she scores a healthy three?

AE: It all comes down to appearance and feel. Look at the top of the animal and look for a clear “waist” definition. An animal should have some curve when looking at the back. It should not have just a straight line from chest to hips. You also want to see an abdominal “tuck” from the side. The stomach should form a diagonal line from chest to the back legs and hips. Feel for the ribs. Dogs and cats have varying amounts of hair, but you should be able to feel the ribs as clearly as you can feel the bones in the back of your hand. If the ribs are really obvious, the animal is scored under a three. If you can barely feel the ribs, or can’t feel them at all, the animal is over a three.

MB: What if I don’t feel comfortable assessing body condition on my own?

AE: Take your animal to someone in animal health care that you feel comfortable talking to, whether in a store or at an animal hospital. Don’t be ashamed if your dog or cat gets a bit over a three or is a bit under. It is easy enough to fix. At Mud Bay, we care about weight because a healthy weight can dramatically increase an animal’s lifespan and its quality of life.

COURTESY OF MUD BAY

For Additional Information

blog.mudbay.com/quick-tips-for-figuring-out-your-dog-or-catsbody- condition-score