Health and Wellness

Lee awarded 'Everyday Hero' award for work with senior safety

LACONIA — Melissa Lee, Community Health Improvement Specialist with LRGHealthcare, was awarded the NH-VT American Red Cross Everyday Hero Award on March 1. Nominated by Franklin Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle, Melissa was recognized for her dedication and efforts to coordinate the annual Senior Safety Day program, a partnership between LRGHealthcare and several area fire departments. Melissa has worked to expand participation across the LRGHealthcare service area and engage area residents in home fire safety education.

Senior Safety Day is an annual program that occurs in October where senior residents in participating communities can receive a free visit from their local fire department. Fire department personnel check the smoke alarms to make sure they are working and also will provide a change of batteries free of charge. If a home is not properly equipped with working smoke detectors, they will also be installed free of charge.

This program could not take place without the financial support, coordination, education, and outreach in our communities. LRGHealthcare is proud to share Melissa's recognition with the communities we serve.

For details, call LRGHealthcare Education Services at 527-7120.


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Melissa Lee of LRGHealthcare accepts the NH-VT American Red Cross Everyday Hero Award for her work organizing the Senior Safety Day program. (Courtesy photo)

Plymouth Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine to become a Speare medical practice

PLYMOUTH — Speare Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock have jointly agreed to transition Plymouth Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine from D-H to Speare in April 2017.
"Speare has been working with Dartmouth-Hitchcock for several months to ensure the greater Plymouth community continues to have access to high quality, comprehensive care for our newborns, children and adolescents," said Michelle McEwen, president and CEO of Speare.
The discussions were spurred by recent retirements and changes in the medical providers at the practice, which potentially impacted D-H's ability to continue to provide inpatient newborn care at Speare.
"Speare has a highly regarded obstetrics program that would have been put in jeopardy without the support of local pediatricians," said McEwen. "We are committed to serving the many young families who want to deliver their babies at Speare and have local care thereafter. We have already assembled a great team of pediatric providers to continue serving our communities' children, from infancy to adulthood."
The transition to Speare offers a number of opportunities, such as enhanced communications, care coordination and collaboration. One of the early benefits will be the transition to the same electronic health record as Speare, providing the medical practitioners at Plymouth Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine with the entire clinical view of their patients. D-H will continue to provide specialty pediatric services offered by Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) as needed.
"Our community has been well served by the Plymouth Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine practice for the past 35 years under Dartmouth-Hitchcock's leadership," says McEwen. "The leadership at Speare is committed to continuing their legacy of delivering high quality and accessible patient-centered care."
Medical providers at Plymouth Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine will include: Drs. Eric Shamansky, Nancy Crocker, David Cunis, Kermit Brunelle and Wilma Hyde, APRN, Gabrielle Gray, APRN. Dr. Oliver Salmon and Ashley Francis, APRN will join the practice in the upcoming months.

Lakes Region has a very active adaptive ski program

GILFORD — The Lakes Region is proud to be home to New England's premier adaptive snow-sports program. This year, 65 volunteer instructors and 10 junior volunteer instructors at Lakes Region Disabled Sports at Gunstock Mountain will have delivered more than 450 ski and snowboard lessons by the end of the season. LRDS provides its lessons every day to children and adults with disabilities, including veterans, with disabilities ranging from autism and cerebral palsy to traumatic brain injury, amputation, and blindness.
A significant part of the LRDS program involves the Barrington school SNAPS program, students from local school outreach programs, and the Monarch School of New England in Rochester. Monarch's students range in age from 5 – 21 and have significant physical, medical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional disabilities. Four days a week, LRDS gets different groups of students from Monarch and other schools out on the snow. Few things in life are more rewarding than seeing these children smiling and laughing as they learn to ski.
LRDS also hosts the annual Boston VA Winter Adaptive Sports Program. With some help from the wider community, this year's three-day veteran's event was a great success. LRDS hosted 16 disabled veterans from around New England and New York. Gunstock Mountain donated the lift tickets for the first day, and the instructors at the Alpine Ski School at Gunstock donated lift passes for the second day. Marriott gave LRDS a group veterans discount on two nights of lodging.

On the first day, the Wolfeboro Rotary Club provided lunch, and Bintliff's Ogunquit Restaurant of Ogunquit, Maine, provided dinner. On the second day, the Knights of Columbus of Wells, Maine, provided lunch, and Rolling Thunder of New Hampshire provided dinner at Fratello's Italian Grille, which also gave a veterans discount. Sal's Pizza provided lunch on the third day. LRDS, which funded the rest of the costs, thanks these businesses for their generous donations.
LRDS is a 501 c3 non-profit funded solely by donation. Gunstock Mountain generously provides discounts on lift tickets and rentals, and local businesses underwrite some events, but the bulk of the funding for this program comes through donations from the members of the Lakes Region community and beyond. 100% of all donations go directly to running the program.
On Saturday, March 18, LRDS holds its major annual fundraiser: Party on the Snow. This all-day event at the LRDS adaptive building at Gunstock Mountain Resort includes lift ticket, breakfast, BBQ lunch, t-shirt, costume contest and prize raffles. Come make a team of 4 and commit to fundraising a minimum of $500.
People can also support this worthy cause by visiting and clicking on the "Give" button, or by sending a check to Lakes Region Disabled Sports at Gunstock, Inc., PO Box 1307, Laconia, NH 03247. Lakes Region Disabled Sports at Gunstock Inc. is a 501 (C)(3) charitable non-profit organization, so the donation is tax-deductible.


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Lakes Region Disabled Sports at Gunstock Mountain will have delivered more than 450 ski and snowboard lessons by the end of the season. (Courtesy photo)

Daniela Bayer - Alternative health therapies are back


Did you know that complementary and alternative health therapies are moving into the mainstream – again?
Greek physician Hippocrates is a historical figure of great importance. Born 2600 years ago, his philosophical and practical contribution to science and medicine is eternal, and earned Hippocrates the designation of the father of modern medicine. Many wise words and profound statements have been attributed to Hippocrates, and perhaps the most famous among them are...
• "Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm."
Medical doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, which requires them to honor and abide by the same ethical standards that Hippocrates originally formulated for his medical school and practice in ancient Greece. Hippocrates authored medical books and introduced a new concept for medicine that involved diagnosing and treating human disease by linking scientific knowledge with compassion and prayer. He developed a medical regimen that combined drug therapy, diet schedules, physical and mental exercise, and "God's help". This method goes well beyond the traditional biological and physiological views on human health and disease and may be seen today as holistic or complementary and alternative to conventional medicine. This holistic approach addresses health and well-being as an integrated system of the individual, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual domains.
"It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has."
Health is so much more than absence of disease. The World Health Organization defined health as 'a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being', underscoring the role of a complex system of personal, behavioral, psychological, social, and environmental variables – above and beyond the physical and biological characteristics of a patient. This whole-system approach is built upon a customized and individualized multidisciplinary orientation and care.
"Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease."
People search for methods that heal the body and the soul. This is not because they are dissatisfied or distrusting of traditional medicine, in fact 95 percent of us choose the holistic or complementary and alternative therapies in addition to or as a complement to the conventional medical approach. Some would argue that complementary and alternative methods are unproven or untested, while others point to the emerging body of scientific evidence base that underscores the contribution of a holistic approach to medicine and concerns of health and well-being.
"The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day."
Approximately 40 percent of adults and 12 percent of children in the United States say they use some form of holistic or complementary and alternative medicine. They are willing to assume personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing and tailor the choice to specific needs and circumstances. They have great trust in their own ability to discern whether a treatment works for them, and have the interest, time, and money to explore and choose the type of care that suits their objectives and preferences.
"Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity."
In the United States, many different modalities are legally practiced. The Center for Disease Control monitors our population's interest and use of acupuncture, Ayurveda, biofeedback, chelation therapy, chiropractic care, energy healing therapy, special diets (including vegetarian and vegan, macrobiotic, Atkins, Pritikin and Ornish), folk medicine or traditional healers, guided imagery, homeopathic treatment, hypnosis, naturopathy, nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements, massage, meditation, progressive relaxation, qi gong, tai chi, and yoga.
"Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity."
There are approaches that go beyond the treatment of illness. They help remove obstacles to positive well-being and promote contentment and experience of true health. According to the Mayo Clinic, complementary and alternative medicine is now moving into the mainstream. Hippocrates must be smiling.
Be well!

Dr. Daniela Bayer, PhD is a consulting psychologist, behavioral coach, and a contributing writer for Laconia Daily Sun. Have a question or need additional information? Call Dr. Bayer toll-free at 1 (888) DrBAYER, or 1 (888) 372-2937.

Comfort Keepers - What routine eye exams can reveal about your health (950)

By Martha Swats, Owner/Administrator, Comfort Keepers

Regular eye exams are even more important as you reach your senior years. After turning 60, several eye diseases may develop that can permanently affect your vision. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) is necessary to find eye diseases early, when treatment to prevent vision loss proves most effective.

There are warning signs for age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss, but many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may develop painlessly, and you may not notice changes to your vision until the condition has already progressed. Of course, see your eye specialist immediately if you notice changes in your vision. Here are some vision disorders all seniors should know about:

• Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects the macula (the center of the light-
sensitive retina at the back of the eye) and causes central vision loss, while peripheral (side) vision remains
unaffected. The macula allows us to see fine detail and colors. Activities like reading, driving, watching TV, and recognizing faces all require good central vision.
• Cataracts are cloudy or opaque areas in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon their size and location, they can interfere with normal vision. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, decreased contrast sensitivity, dulling of colors, and increased sensitivity to glare.
• Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in people with diabetes. It is the result of progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. These damaged blood vessels leak blood and other fluids that cause retinal tissue to swell and cloud vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. At its most severe, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
• Dry eye is a condition in which a person produces too few or poor-quality tears. Tears maintain the health of the front surface of the eye and provide clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in seniors.
• Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. People with a family history of glaucoma and older adults have a higher risk. Glaucoma can be painless, with no symptoms. It can take away peripheral (side) vision.
• Retinal detachment is a tearing or separation of the retina from the underlying tissue, and most often occurs spontaneously due to changes to the gel-like vitreous fluid that fills the back of the eye. Other causes include trauma to the eye or head, health problems like advanced diabetes, and inflammatory eye disorders. If not treated promptly, it can cause permanent vision loss.

Other conditions eye exams can reveal about your health
During your eye exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye specialist can see inside your eyes. In addition to eye health, he or she may spot other health conditions, too.

1. Diabetes: Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the eye's retina. These blood vessels may leak blood
or a yellowish fluid, which may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye specialist notices this, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
2. Hypertension: Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks, or tears, which may indicate high
blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other illnesses, including blindness.
3. Autoimmune disorders: If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another disorder.
4. High cholesterol: The cornea may have a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around it which can
be a sign of high cholesterol. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina, which could indicate elevated cholesterol.
5. Thyroid disease: One of the signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
6. Cancer: Just like you can get freckles and melanoma on your skin, you can also get skin cancer of the
eye. If you see a speck in your eye, ask your eye specialist to examine it. He or she will also check your eye color and pattern to make sure everything looks normal.
7. Tumors: You will be checked for blurry vision, improper pupil dilation (one eye dilating more than the other or remaining fixed), and optic nerve color. If something seems irregular, you may be referred to a neurologist.
8. Mental Health: People with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder usually have different eye tracking patterns. Eye specialists can now map those movements through technology.
9. Aneurysm: Tell your eye specialist if you're experiencing blurry vision, eye pain, headaches, or loss of vision. You will also be checked for drooping eyelids (a sign that a blood vessel may have ruptured or is leaking), increased pressure in your eye, bleeding in the retina, and swelling of your optic nerve. Crossed eyes can be a sign of bleeding in the brain, possibly from an aneurysm, or even a stroke.
10. Multiple Sclerosis: Most eye tics are benign, but can also be an early indicator of neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's. Your eye specialist can help with early diagnoses by checking for anomalies in your retina and optic nerve.
11. Vitamin A Deficiency: If you're not getting enough fruits and veggies (from foods like sweet potatoes, greens, cantaloupe, and carrots), you may develop night blindness and vision loss. Your eye specialist will check the surface of your eye for damage. Mention if you're having trouble seeing at night.