The Mediterranean Diet: A heart healthy and Parkinson’s recommended eating plan based on the typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean style cooking
Part II of a series by Don Carr, Vice President, based on excerpts from the Mayo Clinic Staff brochure 4/4/2007
The Mediterranean Diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. For instance, grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats; and bread is actually an important part of the diet. However, did you know that breads in the supermarket labeled “multigrain or healthy grains, etc” are usually not 100% whole wheat? Look for it to say 100% whole wheat bread. It costs a little more but it’s essential to this diet. Normally bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil, not eaten with butter or margarine which contains saturated or trans fats.
Nuts are another staple of this diet. Nuts are high in fat but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts, generally more than a handful a day. However, try to avoid candied or honey roasted nuts and heavily salted nuts.
NON-MOTOR SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S
I recently watched a live webinar presented by the nonprofit organization Parkinson’s & Movement Disorder Alliance (PMDA) about non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. The list of non-motor symptoms addressed was quite long; and I decided to show the recording on the big screen TV since it was too late to secure another speaker.
Besides listing the common symptoms, the speaker told us about new treatments and research into nonmotor problems; for instance, mental health issues (memory and thinking, anxiety, dementia, depression, hallucinations and delusions) can be triggered by stress, and can also be triggered by physical changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s Other nonmotor symptoms are pain, fatigue, low blood pressure, restless legs, bladder and bowel problems, skin and sweating, sleep, eating, swallowing, saliva control, speech and communication, eye problems, foot care, and dental health.
Links to this and many other Parkinson’s webinars can be found on the website, www.pmdalliance.org. I hope many of you will take advantage of the wealth of information available there.
—Caren Phillips, President
The Mediterranean Diet: A heart healthy and Parkinson’s recommended eating plan based on the typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean style cooking
A series by Don Carr, Vice President, based on excerpts from the Mayo Clinic Staff brochure 4/4/2007
If you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan and one that specifically is recommended for Parkinson’s patients, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. It incorporates the basics of healthy eating plus a splash of flavorful olive oil, and even an optional glass of red wine among other components that characterize the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The Dietary Guidelines are an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease, which can also be good for your whole family.
The key components of the Mediterranean diet emphasize:
1. Eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
2. Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil
3. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
4. Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
5. Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
6. Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
This diet also recognizes the importance of physical exercise as well as enjoying meals with family and friends.
Last month’s newsletter had several articles on the importance of exercise in the lives of Parkinson’s Disease patients and their caregivers. HOWEVER, did you know exercise also helps the AGING BRAIN?
The Waco Tribune printed an article August 4 written by AP Reporter Lauran Neergaard that really caught my eye. After all, our brains are certainly aging, some of us faster than others. The longest test of whether exercise makes a difference was part of a recent government-funded study.
About 300 sedentary older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were divided into two groups for study. One group was assigned aerobic exercises and the second group stretching and balance moves, which only modestly raised their heart rate. Both groups, however, were given plenty of attention from physical therapists and trainers.
After a year, cognitive testing showed neither group had worsened nor did brain scans show the shrinkage that accompanies worsening memory problems. By comparison, similar MCI patients in another long-term study of brain health, but WITHOUT exercise, experienced significant cognitive decline over a year.
Most of us don’t really like to exercise alone, but HOTPACS provides an opportunity to exercise with a group two days a week. The social aspect of getting together as a group for exercise and social activities is important to PD patients as well as caregivers. And now we have another reason to keep it going — your brain needs it!
COME EXERCISE WITH US!
Ida McBride, Treasurer
You may already know that several HOTPACS members participated in Baylor University’s cognition research study. Dr. Park is the principal researcher, and he will present results of Phase I of the study at our meeting on Thursday, September 8.
The study is ongoing, and YOU can help advance this research in Phase II by volunteering. Both people with PD and people who do not have PD are needed. People with PD ages 40 – 85, and people without PD ages 18 – 85, qualify for this study.
Volunteers will get FREE PARKING and spend 1.5 to 2 hours at Baylor in Dr. Park’s lab for a fun and enjoyable cognition interview.
Why I Volunteer – by Don Carr, VP Programs
Volunteering with HOTPACS really makes my day when we exercise or have a speaker. I became involved with HOTPACS in an unusual way. I don’t have Parkinson’s and actually had no reason to become aware of this group. However at one time I needed extra income and started working for Home Instead, a home care service provider. I was assigned to work for Ida and Mickey McBride in the evening twice a week, and the rest is history.
Mickey was an amazing man. He had worked all over the world, and we enjoyed talking about both of our experiences working in different countries. We also went to HOTPACS exercise meetings, which is where I got hooked on everything HOTPACS. We went to the gym and other activities and often with Ida. Soon I realized that the exercises really helped me too. Being older with my own health concerns of scoliosis and sciatica, I found the exercises were great for me. I also enjoyed the different speakers because many of the subjects they talked about applied to everyone.
So Mickey and I attended meetings regularly until he passed away. Then I realized that continuing to attend and to help the group move tables and chairs to make room for exercise would benefit me as much as the members; so I kept coming. When the volunteer leading exercise on Thursdays moved out of town and the group needed a replacement, I thought maybe I could do that. So I studied the exercise manual and found new and different exercises on the internet from physical therapists Bob and Brad and others who would often say they were excellent for Parkinson’s. I tried it and liked it; and as I said before, the rest is history.
I have always loved volunteering wherever I could help other people. I spent three years in the Peace Corps teaching at an African secondary school in Kenya, East Africa. Ever since then I love to look for more opportunities to volunteer, especially in educational and group activities in the community.
To this day I try to improve and learn new exercises and have also become the HOTPACS Vice President Programs, who is responsible for securing speakers. I love doing that too because it gives me purpose in life and keeps me busy in my old age. I am so thankful for this opportunity to participate in HOTPACS. Thanks everyone
SAVE THE DATE! On Thursday, June 23 the Georgetown Area Parkinson Support group (GAPS) and Parkinson & Movement Disorder Alliance (PMDA) are sponsoring a FREE symposium called RENEW! RETREAT® Georgetown Texas. Anyone impacted by a movement disorder is welcome at this FREE event. See the calendar for location and schedule.
There will be a vendor fair from 10 am to 1 pm, and the vendor spaces are also FREE. However, each vendor will be giving away a door prize at the event.
From 12 pm to 1 pm, registered participants will receive a FREE BOX LUNCH.
The afternoon program from 1 pm to 5 pm provides a two-track, in-person, FUN program that meets each person’s unique needs: care partners and adult children deep-dive into connection and knowledge in one room, while people with movement disorders learn in an uplifting environment in a separate “clubhouse” room.
This is your chance to interact with experts about your experience, ask your most pressing questions in a safe space, and connect with peers in a lively playful gathering.
Speakers are Corrine Jones, PhD, CCC-SLP; Allan Cole, Ph.D; Michael Soileau, MD; and Dr. Tiffany Weiser, PT, DPT, C/NDT. Movement break leaders are Chase Gielda and Skip Neal, M.Ed.
Having attended two symposiums, one in Waco at McLane Stadium, and one in Belton at the Bell County Expo Center, I promise you will be inspired.
RSVP by Thursday, June 16 to Caren Phillips at 281-723-1123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you are interested in traveling as a group in a van or church bus
Greetings! The month of May is so special to me, I’m taking the liberty of repeating much of last year’s message here. Did you know there are 138 U.S. holidays in May according to nationaltoday.com? The first holidays I thought of are Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. However, my favorite day this month is May 28, the day Tom and I married in 1999. We have lived a lifetime in 23 years.
I am so grateful that we traveled frequently—in cars and trucks pulling flatbed trailers and campers, on trains, planes, sailing boats, and power boats. We even honeymooned on the Delta Queen, a steam-powered paddlewheel Mississippi Riverboat. At the time, the Delta Queen was the only mobile registered U.S. historic site. We studied the hydrogeology of the Four Corners of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado in a USGS field course. In Yellowstone National Park, we earned one-hour college lab credits in a microbiology field course taught by a woman scientist who had traveled to the bottom of the Black Sea in a submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
I am eternally grateful that our many adventures were captured in photographs. As memory fades with neuro-degenerative conditions, photos and videos are powerful tools that enable us to enjoy the forgotten past. Speaking of photos, go to our website hotpacs.com, and see if you can find yourselves in photos from some of our social events. Thanks to Baylor student volunteer Kate Firch for adding pictures and for updating and improving our website design!
Music especially takes me back to concerts Tom and I attended and the hours he played the guitar for as long as our young grandkids wanted to dance and sing. Even though he no longer plays guitar and alto saxophone, Tom still plays the piano; and we sing with recordings he made years ago. Frequently I can even get him to dance with me! —Caren Phillips, President
We are happy to welcome Mary Carmichael to the Board of Directors and announce her appointment to the Office of Secretary. Thank you Mary for accepting this invitation!
In 1817, James Parkinson published “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy,” the first such recognition of a disease that eventually would be known by his name. World Parkinson’s Day is April 11 and the 267th anniversary of James Parkinson’s birth. Throughout the month, the Parkinson’s community will raise awareness about the disease.
Let’s all help to raise awareness in Central Texas
· The new HOTPACS brochure is ready for distribution! Give one to your doctor, therapist, or church pastor. Ask them to make additional copies to share with anyone they know who may benefit from our group.
· When you receive the newsletter in email, forward it to your medical providers, relatives, friends and neighbors.
· When you receive the printed newsletter, give your medical and therapy providers a copy to display with their office literature; and ask them to refer other patients to HOTPACS.
Keep moving until we see you again!
Caren, Don, Ida, Mary
March 2022 is here and soon it will be Spring! After the blustery cold winter we’ve had, I am ready for a change of weather. Hopefully, with milder weather, more people will be able to gather for exercise, education, and inspiration on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The second Thursday each month we have refreshments and speakers who are experts on topics ranging from medical and physical therapy research and treatment to caregiving, senior law, assisted living, and memory care.
Physical therapist Kirk Stokes and volunteer Don Carr make exercise fun as they lead us through muscle warm-ups, stretching, and even cardio chair exercises, as well as standing movement options. Ida shares her speech therapy workout, and Caren teaches dance steps to get us ready for our 5th Thursday social on March 31. Instead of exercise at 3 p.m., we plan to meet at the Sul Ross Senior Center for the Boot Scootin’ Dance Club and live Country Western Music from 7-9 p.m.
If you want to keep up with the latest in Parkinson’s research and treatment, I hope you will subscribe to the free publication Brain & Life. It’s available in print and by email. Another valuable source of information is the website PMDAlliance.org which sponsors Zoom seminars given by medical, therapeutic, and sociology experts. The Zooms are moderated and viewers can type questions that will be answered during and at the end of the speaker’s presentation.
We hope to see you soon!
Volunteer Desperately Needed!
At our Board Meeting last Thursday, the most urgent matter we discussed was finding someone to fill the empty spot on our Board of Directors, which is the office of Secretary. Since Jane Walker resigned to care for her husband Michael full-time at home in Clifton, we are looking for a volunteer to take notes at board meetings.
The duties of secretary are:
· Attend and take notes at four quarterly board meetings per year and at the annual membership business meeting in August. Regular quarterly meetings are held in September, December, March, and June, unless postponed.
· Distribute copies of minutes from the previous board meeting for review and comments at each quarterly board meeting.
Soon we will have a new HOTPACS brochure printed for members to distribute to their doctors’ offices, churches, neighborhoods, families, and friends.
—Caren Phillips, Presiden
Happy New Year!
We had a wonderful Christmas party in December, and the food received 5-star ratings! Baylor student volunteers Kate and Madison served plates brimming with roast turkey and trimmings catered by Jeff & Aliona, plus BBQ brisket and sausage from Slovacek’s. Baylor student Gavin arrived after his class just in time for cleanup and to take home a very large doggie bag. Thanks to all of you who brought the desserts ‒ the pièce de résistance!
I do hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. However, news on the Covid front has certainly not been good. I personally know four families whose lives have recently been touched by Covid. Fortunately, most reported to me that cases have been mild for those who have been vaccinated. I hope our HOTPACS family all came through the holidays without being affected. I also hope you are all fully vaccinated and “boosted.” That’s our best defense against this scourge.
Now, we begin our New Year, and we should all be in the mood for resolutions. Please add regular exercise to your list and resolve to be with us as much as possible every Tuesday and Thursday. That goes for our Parkies as well as our Caregivers. We should all resolve to take all precautions necessary to stay well.
For those who had black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day, I’m sure you will all have a prosperous 2022. Regardless, the Board of Directors wish you all a blessed year!
Holidays: Around the world, there are over 90 holidays celebrated in December. Two holidays that I believe represent our HOTPACS members and their families, are International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd, and International Volunteer Day on the 5th.
Pearl Harbor Day the 7th not only commemorates the infamous surprise attack on the US Navy base in Hawaii but also honors all the American military personnel and civilians involved in the Pacific War during WWII. Probably three of the most well-known holidays are Christmas the 25th, (removed extra line & tab) Kwanzaa the 27th, & Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish festival of lights that began November 28 and ends December 6th this year.
Christmas Lunch: Thank you everyone for your reservations to attend our lunch on Thursday, December 9. We expect 39 of us to enjoy good food, fellowship, and entertainment. Kirk’s husband Gary will play guitar, and Baylor students Gavin, Kate, and Madison will lead us in holiday sing-alongs. Thanks to Janice Conner the decorations will also be door prizes.
T-Shirts: Ida has only 13 “Incurably Optimistic” t-shirts remaining for $10 each: 3 Medium (1 green, 2 gold) and 10 Large (5 green, 5 gold). She plans to order more green XX Tall sizes; so let her know soon if you want a larger size.
Directories: We are beginning to prepare the 2022 Directory for distribution in January. So if you have any changes to your information in the 2021 Directory, contact Ida (254-716-4402) or Caren (281-723-1123) as soon as possible.
Research Participants Needed at Baylor: As you can see, we have an extra page inserted into this newsletter. Dr. Park Jungjun needs both Parkinson’s patients and healthy adults without Parkinson’s for a one-time visit. What a great opportunity to contribute to research right here in Waco at no cost to you, plus you get free parking and a $20 gift card for participating.
The following are excerpts from a message that was first published in the November 2019 newsletter and written by our President Mike Rose.
HOTPACS invites you, your family, and caregivers to join us this November for stretching exercises, special programs, fellowship, and much more.
Kirk continues to lead us in stretching and exercising each Tuesday, and Don leads us on Thursdays. Thank you both for your faithfulness to our membership. Keep looking to your newsletter for details of upcoming Guest Speakers and Group Discussions.
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the 25th. Also very important, on November 11 please thank a veteran for serving in the US Military.
Join us during this celebratory season as we make pledges not to allow Parkinson’s to rob us of our thankfulness. Let’s count our blessings and make our words reflect our appreciation for love and life. In doing so we’re sure to find greater measures of strength and joy. Let us express our gratitude to those who help us and show generosity by being kind and encouraging others.
There is something for everyone at our meetings, so we encourage you to join us often. Remember, keep on living, loving, laughing, and encouraging one another. We hope to see you soon
On September 21 we met for the 1st quarterly board meeting of the new fiscal year, which started September 1, 2021 and ends August 31, 2022. As a result of our discussions we are happy to announce the following:
· Printed newsletters will be mailed – and emailed – to all members listed in the directory. We agreed that it’s faster to find calendar information on a paper print than it is to find it in email.
· Ida is ordering new HOTPACS T-shirts. More information on cost, color and sizes will be announced soon.
· We will register HOTPACS with the Amazon Smile program that automatically donates a percentage of purchases to a nonprofit of the buyer’s choice.
· Baylor students Kate Firch, Gavin Karame, Madison Lyde, and Abby Huang with Clasped Hands In Service (CHIS) are already helping with our web site, inventory organization, voice exercises, and soon preparing newsletter mailings. Be sure to thank them whenever they come to meetings.
· 4th Thursday Choices: (1) Parkinson discussion group, (2) CarePartner discussion group, and
(3) Exercise led by Don Carr.
REMINDER: Please send your membership dues for the coming year to HOTPACS, 1257 Drake Ct., Waco, TX 76710. The amount is $15 for a single membership, and $20 for a Parkinson plus one. Membership fees and tax-deductible donations received throughout the year help cover costs to print the monthly newsletter and annual membership directory; also brochures distributed to doctors’ offices; meeting space; computer maintenance; and program speaker travel expenses, when necessary.
September 1 marks the start of our new HOTPACS year. And you know what that means, don’t you?
Please send your membership dues for the coming year to HOTPACS, 1257 Drake Ct., Waco, TX 76710. The amount is $15 for a single member, and $20 for a Parkinson’s member plus one. Fees and tax-deductible donations received throughout the year cover our costs to print monthly newsletters and the annual membership directory, as well as brochures for doctors’ offices; meeting space; computer maintenance; and program speaker travel expenses, if necessary. To help us all stay in touch, we want to include all our exercisers in the membership directory. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
There is no charge for twice-weekly exercise classes, separate monthly discussion groups of “Parkys” and Care Partners, or speaker programs given by experts. Program topics are about medical research and treatments, Medicare and other insurance, patient care management, elder law and estate planning, and more.
If you’ve been around HOTPACS for very long, you know how important exercise is to those who are living with PD, as well as those of us who are simply getting older (I’ve just had a monstrous birthday). Research has shown exercise can help keep your mind sharp, improve balance and mobility, and prolong your ability to perform daily activities. It may even help slow the progression of the disease and the decline in your quality of life.
Come and exercise with our Physical Therapist Kirk Stokes every Tuesday at 3 p.m. Whatever stage of PD you are now in, she gives instrucion for sitting and/or standing; and you exercise at your own level and pace. The earlier you start a regular exercise program the better your body will respond. We also meet on Thursdays with exercise, speakers, or group discussions. By attending HOTPACS you are surrounded by a sympathetic army of friends ready to provide moral support and other benefits of social interaction.
See y’all soon, Ida
Taking Care of Business
Yes, HOTPACS is a business, a nonprofit business, and volunteers keep us from going out of business. What if nobody ever volunteered or accepted a request to volunteer? There would be no exercise classes, no discussion groups, no speakers, and no social events – Perish the tought! We owe everyone who has ever volunteered a huge thank you!
As a nonprofit, we must abide by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3). Some of our specific objectives and purposes are:
· To provide education related to Parkinson’s to patients, caregivers, and the public;
· To provide education regarding care and well-being of patients’ caregivers;
· To provide social activities for patients and caregivers;
· To provide education, awareness, and activities through regular meetings, private and public lectures and seminars, and our newsletter.
Thursday, September 30, 2021 will be our annual business meeting of members. Three agenda items are:
1. To determine the amount of membership dues;
2. To elect directors if any three-year terms are expiring.
3. To transact any other business as may be presented from the membership.
Thanks to Sally Brown, Mike McMains, and Norman Krell, The Nomination Committee’s slate for election follows:
Nominations for Directors/Officers and Committees in Fiscal Year 2022:
September 1, 2021 through August 31, 2022
Officers/Board of Directors
President: Caren Phillips
Vice President/Programs: Don Carr
Secretary: NEED VOLUNTEER (records minutes of 4 quarterly board meetings per year.)
Treasurer: Ida McBride
Auditor: NEED VOLUNTEER (examines financial reports and annual tax return; could be a paid position.)
Committee Chairs & Assistants
Directory: Ida McBride, Martha Black
Greeters: Louise Woodall, Floyce Morris
Hospitality/Socials: Anne Patrick
Newsletter Editor: Martha Black
Newsletter Mail/Email: Caren Phillips
Publicity: Sally Brown
Room Setup: Don Carr, Bill Steinhauser
Sunshine: Majorie Hanlin
Telephone: Susie Tatum, Barbara Wilson, Cynthia Howington, Mary Carmichael, Mary Johnson, Bobby Childress
I am extremely proud to know every member of HOTPCAS that Tom and I have met since joining such a caring support group. Everyone is willing to pitch in when and where help is needed, not just officers and committees. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
Caren & Tom Phillips
Greetings everyone! I’m feeling somewhat liberated now that some of the COVID restrictions have been lifted! But is anyone else a little confused abaout what activities you can or can’t do now. I was until I recently researched the CDC Guidelines. Here’s what I learned in a nutshell, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
· You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or 2 weeks after a single-dose, such as Johnson & Johnson vaccine. [If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are not considered fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions (wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from others, wash your hands often.) Stay Safe! Protect yourself and others.]
· Fully vaccinated people can resume activities that you did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, or local laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
· Here are some examples of outdoor activities for fully vaccinated people:
o Walk, run, wheelchair roll, or bike outdoors with members of your household.
o Attend a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends.
o Dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households.
o Attend a crowded outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event.
· Here are examples of indoor activities for fully vaccinated people:
o Visit a barber or hair salon.
o Go to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum.
o Attend a small indoor gathering of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households.
o Go to an indoor movie theater
o Attend a full-capacity worship service
o Sing in an indoor chorus
o Eat at an indoor restaurant or bar
o Participate in an indoor, high intensity exercise class (Th-Th-That’s us, folks!)
· Here are some travel recommendations for fully vaccinated people:
o Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the US and while indoors at US transportation hubs such as airports and stations. (You are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of conveyance like a ferry or top deck of a bus.)
o After travel, self-monitor for COVID-19, isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
o Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
You already know my penchant for travel. Hey, Mike, let’s gas up the car! Where shall we go first? Here’s to you all for a safe, healthy, wonderful summer.
Starting Tuesday, June 8, we will return to Holy Spirit Episcopal Church Parish Hall for meetings every Tuesday and Thursday, 3-4 p.m. The front door will be unlocked at 2:30 p.m.
· Address: 1624 Wooded Acres Dr., Waco 76710 (Phone 254-772-1982)
· Parking entry on Lake Haven Dr. across from Baskin Robbins & Target.
· There will be a sanitizing station in or at the door of the parish hall.
· Masking: waived during exercise period only for vaccinated members.
· Must be masked at all times other than exercising.
· Restroom: instructions for sanitizing will be posted on the restroom doors.
· Chair setup and take down required: chairs will be made available for use.
Baylor student Abby Huang contacted me to offer volunteer help from the service group of college women that she directs. Clasped Hands In Service (CHIS) is a group of about 20, and one of the oldest service groups on the Baylor campus (HOTPACS member Anne Patrick shared that her sister was a CHIS member in the late 1960s). The group volunteers 2-3 hours on Saturdays, and individuals may be available on weekdays. Abby and I discussed possible projects, including organizing equipment and literature, fundraising/awareness walks/bike rides, and potluck lunches.
When they return to school in the fall, the students will be ready to help in any way needed. Please send me your ideas for CHIS/HOTPACS projects.
—Caren Phillips, President.
Greetings HOTPACS family. Did you know there are 138 U.S. holidays in May according to nationaltoday.com?
I sure didn’t. The first ones that I thought of are Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. However, my favorite day this month is May 28, the day Tom and I married in 1999. We have lived a lifetime in 22 years.
I am so grateful that we traveled frequently—in cars (and trucks pulling flatbed trailers or campers), trains, planes, sailing and power boats. We even honeymooned on the Delta Queen, a steam-powered paddlewheel, Mississippi River boat. At the time, the Delta Queen was the only mobile registered U.S. historic site.
I am eternally grateful that our many adventures were captured in photographs. As memory fades with neuro-degenerative diagnoses, photos and videos are powerful tools that enable us to relive the forgotten past. Speaking of photos, go to our website hotpacs.com, and see if you can find yourselves in photos from one of our potluck lunches. Thanks go to Kate Firch, our Baylor student volunteer for adding those pictures!
Hopefully there is something that revives happy memories for you. Music especially takes me and Tom back to concerts we’ve attended and hours of his playing the guitar for as long as our young grandkids wanted to dance and sing. Even though he no longer plays alto saxophone and guitar, Tom now plays the piano with his right hand while we both sing along with recordings he made years ago. Frequently I can even get him to dance with me!
—Caren Phillips, President
Greetings Fellow Earthlings:
Yes, I was born in Roswell, NM about the time aliens crash-landed in Roswell in the desert. Unfortunately, they have not come for me yet, so I urge you to remain vigilant. Just because many people, including me, have been vaccinated, we cannot assume the pandemic is over. Unfortunately, people are still getting Covid 19. Even people who had it once, are getting sick again and dying from it. Now there are variants everywhere. So, I urge you to continue wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing. And, of course, please get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe. I had one, and they do give some protection against the variants. Even if you do get coronavirus, experts say vaccines usually keep you from being hospitalized or dying. The CDC still strongly recommends following its guidelines.
So, until this is over – and frankly it will probably always be around – we must continue to find ways to survive and thrive, entertain ourselves, and be the best we can be while we are blessed to be alive. I do hope and pray all of you are well and taking care of yourselves, and finding ways to stay busy, besides the routine things we must all do.
Speaking of that, there are exercises that you can do. I admit I have neglected exercising, and I have gained some weight like many people. What is there to do but stay home and eat, right? NOT!! Get up and exercise or sit in your chair and exercise. I have recommitted myself today to walk and to exercise. We have examples of exercises we did in class, and you can still do those. If you have handheld weights, use those or cans of food. Here are some of the web sites that have good exercises for Parkinson’s patients, and indeed all seniors:
There are good videos online for exercising. Visit Go4Life at go4life.nia.nih.gov, growyoungfitness.com, or bobandbrad.com; or on Facebook and YouTube. Bob and Brad are Physical therapists and they specifically say that their exercises are good for Parkinson’s patients. Scott and White also has exercises online.
This is also Spring and I want to point out that gardening and growing things is an excellent way to keep entertained and stay active and get your mind off the news and bad stuff going on in the pandemic. When I do my gardening, it takes my mind off things and relaxes me, and I get a little exercise. Even if you are not real mobile, you can still do some things. Do you have a potting bench to use outside? That will keep you from having to bend over or strain yourself. I wear a back brace that helps me too. Home Depot and Lowes have potting benches if you don’t have one. Hey, grow flowers, wildflowers, vegetables, vines, etc. All the stores have seeds also if you want to try your hand at that. I have a raised bed in my backyard and every year I clean it up and add garden soil and even compost to it. Do you have a compost bin or pit? You could start one. It doesn’t have to be big. Save those nutrient rich veggie clippings for your compost. And did you know your roses love banana peels?
Here are some reasons to grow your own food or flowers in small amounts or more, depending on how much effort and time you want to put into it. You can make hanging tomato planters for your porch or balcony. Save your food containers and punch holes in them and grow your own salad greens. Hey, while you’re at it, why not dig up your front yard and plant potatoes and okra? You won’t have to mow any more. Well, maybe not that one.
1. You would know where your food comes from and be confident it is not soaked in chemicals or worse, e-coli. You can also buy almost all kinds of starter plants from the nursery or Home Depot, etc.
2. Feel more secure in knowing you have control of some of your own food supply.
3. You can save money on groceries. I grow tomatoes, peppers, and greens in pots on my patio and you know how much tomatoes cost now. I got tons of tomatoes from a couple of plants last year. Buy the patio type or the small cherry type if you like. Remember to use tomato cages too. There is even hydroponic gardening if you don’t want to mess with the soil.
4. As I said, gardening creates an adventure, and a learning experience for us all, as well as giving us an excuse to get outside or just be active. Try it, you might like it. You don’t have to be an expert. But here’s a tip – use larger 12” – 18” pots for tomatoes and peppers and smaller ones for herbs and salad greens like mesclun.
5. It’s fun and relaxing and gets you away from TV.
Don Carr, Vice President
Greetings from your Treasurer, Ida. My goodness, 2021 really started out with a bang.
Many of us have been trying to get on the Covid vaccine list. Go to covidwaco.com and click on the red button on the left side of the screen for the waitlist registration. It is really easy and lots of the Moderna and other vaccines are coming to McLennan county. Covid deaths among nursing home residents are plummeting because of the availability of the vaccine. It is safe for people with Parkinson’s disease, but definitely follow your phyician’s guidance in this matter.
And then came the Polar Express. I received my first shot on Saturday just before the clinic at the Convention Center was shut down because of the weather. What followed was a nightmare for us all. Many of our members were without electricity and some were without water as well. Mike and Debe; and Caren and Tom did not lose power, nor did Bobby Childress and Anne Patrick, two of my Mall walking buddies. But I had no power and spent 3 nights with my son and 8 others in Robinson.
Even if you had power and water, driving was unsafe for at least a week, and besides, there was no milk, meat, or fresh veggies in any of the stores. Trucks couldn’t make deliveries over frozen highways. In spite of it all, we seem to have survived with only minor injuries and a greater appreciation for things we’ve always taken for granted.
As more of our members are able to be vaccinated against the Covid virus, we can begin thinking about getting together again as a group. In the meantime, tune in on Thursdays for Caren and Tom’s zoom exercise class at 3:00 p.m. We have a happy foursome walking the Richland Mall every Tuesday as well. Please join us. One thing we must do is keep up our regular exercises, AND don’t forget to hydrate. We need to drink lots of water in the winter months to keep our systems lubricated.
Many thanks to Jan Wohlschlag for her generous donation in memory of her beloved husband, and our friend, Bill.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! I’m Jane Walker, addressing you as this year’s secretary of the HOTPACS Board. I hope you have all planned something special for Valentine’s Day—do something that makes a lasting memory.
Speaking of memories, Mike and I have spent many hours this past year recalling all of the road trips we’ve taken over the past several years. We like to get off the highways and go to unique places we’ve read about in travel journals or magazines or seen on television, most of which weren’t jaw-dropping attractions like the Grand Canyon, the Great Sand Dunes, or Yellowstone, but were heart-warming and memorable just the same. I thought you might like to hear about some of the attractions that were the most unforgettable.
- We drove to Pie Town in New Mexico and, yes, we ate pie in the Pie-o-neer Cafe. The café was started by a woman whose dream was “to put the pie back in Pie Town.” It had turned into an attraction that we heard about in a CBS Sunday Morning television broadcast a few years ago. Since we love pie, it was a have-to-go-to!
- We’ve driven down the Alien Highway in Nevada and driven past Area 51. We stayed overnight at the A’Le’Inn that was mobile homes converted into a motel.
- We drove to Carhenge, which is an authentic dimensional replica of Stonehenge in England, but is made from cars rather than stones, and is located in Western Nebraska near the city of Alliance. Also on this trip we visited an archeology site and saw mushroom-shaped rock formations at Mushroom State Park in Kansas.
There was a period of time that we loved to find out-of-the-way hot springs and indulge in that pleasure. One we loved and visited fairly often was Valley View Hot Springs in Viaa Grove, Colorado. We also like Jamez Springs in New Mexico, which has a hot springs bath house and massages run by the city. Close by is the small town of Paradise where you will find the Ponderosa Winery. We like to indulge in that pleasure too.
- In Santa Fe, New Mexico, we loved going to the Georgia O’Keefe museum. And on a trip to Taos, New Mexico, eating in the Taos diner, we saw the actor, Sam Shepard.
- In Texas, we’ve been to Lockhart and eaten at the Kreuz Market BKQ, one of the most memorable of the BBQ places in Lockhart. We also loved our trip to Marfa, Texas. We didn’t see any lights in the night sky, but had fun roaming the town’s art installations.
Mike and I can spend an afternoon or evening reminiscing about all of the places we’ve visited over the years. You can bet we are looking forward to gathering more memories in the future. In the meantime, Be Safe! Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get your vaccination. Until we meet again…make a memory. –Jane Walker, Secretary
With only a few days left in 2020, I pray that 2021 will be the year that Covid-19 is no longer a pandemic, and that HOTPACS can safely resume meetings in person. Eleven months ago as our growing membership required more space, we moved our meetings to Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. Little did we know in January, that by mid-March the pandemic would close not only Holy Spirit, but many other churches, businesses, and schools.
Spring and summer brought alarming numbers of Covid infections and heartbreaking loss of life to McLennan County and around the world. Thanks to HOTPACS volunteers Martha Black, Susie Tatum and her calling committee, the monthly newsletters and phone calls helped to keep us in touch with each other.
With partial re-openings in September, Crestview Church of Christ allowed us to meet there temporialy. Ida McBride coordinated RSVPs and I am inspired that she reported 10-12 exercisers in class. After Thanksgiving, when some of our members experienced exposure to reported Covid infections, the Board of Directors decided to suspend meetings in person until further notice.
Don Carr, Mike McMains, Norman Krell, Mike Rose, Ida McBride and Bobby Childress helped me practice Zoom exercise meetings on our computers and smartphones. We all agreed it was time well spent, both for exercise and time to socialize. Therefore, starting January 7, 2021, Tom and I will host weekly Zoom meetings on Thursdays, 3-4 p.m. We will view senior workout videos courtesy of our landlord, Emerald Cottages of Waco. The clubhouse here is closed for now, and residents are allowed to borrow the videos. Every Tuesday, I will email invitations with a link to Thursday’s Zoom meeting and include instructions on how to join.
Until we meet again in person, take care and stay well. —-Caren Phillips, President
Seasons Greetings! We still have much to be thankful for even in the midst of a severe coronavirus pandemic. We have the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays as well as New Year’s Day coming up soon. Please plan to celebrate wisely and follow guidelines for safe practice, such as wearing masks and social distancing as necessary.
I have seen first hand the physical and mental debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease and they can be devastating, not to mention deadly. Indeed, there are many common symptoms, but they do vary from patient to patient. I used to work for Home Instead as a caregiver, and I cared for patients with Parkinson’s and other various disabilities, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
I was a caregiver to my own mother, who lived to be 102. Unfortunately, she developed progressive dementia the last few years of her life and moved into a nursing home. It was very sad to watch. She was such an intelligent, well-educated outgoing woman.
One of the single most important and beneficial things you can do to maintain your health and quality of life as much as possible, aside from medication, of course, is deliberate and steady exercise. Exercise and physical activity will help keep and improve your strength so you can stay more independent, have more energy, improve your balance and prevent falls, improve your mood, and make you feel fitter, sleep better, reduce stress and anxiety, and even lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
I know coming to the HOTPACS exercises always makes me feel energized and relieves any anxiety and stress I may have. Whether you attend the exercises twice a week or not, you still need to get some regular exercise on most, or all, days of the week.
My doctor told me that your goal should be walking for 30 minutes three times a week, or doing exercises at least 30 minutes a day that make you breathe hard.
To keep using your muscles, walk and/or use strength exercises to build your muscles. When you have strong muscles, you can get up from a chair by yourself; lift your grandchildren, your dog or your cat; or walk through the park and go bicycle riding with Norman down by the river. Keeping your muscles strong and flexible can help with your balance and prevent falls and fall-related injuries. You are less likely to fall or loose your balance when your leg and hip muscles are strong. That’s why Kirk often concentrates on those areas when leading the exercises.
To see more information and videos online for exercising, visit Go4Life at “go4life.nia.nih.gov,” “growyoungfitness.com,” bobandbrad.com,” or look on Facebook and You Tube. Bob and Brad are physical therapists, and they specifically say that their exercises are good for Parkinson’s patients. Scott and White also has exercises on line. –Don Carr, Vice President.
November is a good month for Thanksgiving. I am writing today as your “Acting President,” and am thankful at this time to be addressing a wonderful group. I am especially grateful for our HOTPACS caregivers and all that you do. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease years after I had married and moved away from home. My mom became his caregiver and set the standard for what would one day be my future. My father died with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 84; my mom was 81 and cared for him at home until his last few days. I don’t honestly know how she did it except to say she was loving and caring until the end of his life. It takes courage to face the unknown. Parkinson’s progresses differently in each family, but we gain strength through encouragement we receive from each other. HOTPACS is a wonderful support group and we hope we can always be there for each other. Be sure and reach out and thank a caregiver, especially during November. Stay well, everyone. Wash your hands often, and always wear your mask if social distancing is not available.
—Acting President, Ida McBride
THANK YOU, MIKE ROSE, FOR LEADING & SERVING OUR SUPPORT GROUP!! In the September Newsletter, Mike told us that he is stepping down from the office of President after leading us for the past three years.
His leadership has revived HOTPACS, not only to grow our membership, but also to greatly increase regular attendance at meetings, exercise classes, programs, and discussion groups. Every time we met, Mike’s warm greetings made us feel welcome and glad we came.
His business experience, planning skill, and creative ideas have contributed to productive Board Meetings and group activities outside of regular meetings. We can thank Mike and Debe for arranging the bus trip to the Parkinson’s Symposium at the Bell County Exposition Center in Belton.
Mike also led the “Parkys” discussion Group with encouragement and acceptance, phone calls, and a sincere concern for each member. Beyond the official duties of his office, he worked behind the scenes: arriving early, setting up the room, and bringing water.
Thankfully, Mike and Debe will still be active members of HOTPACS, serving as needed. WE THANK YOU BOTH FOR GIVING SO GENEROUSLY OF YOUR TIME!!
SEPTEMBER 2020 – From the President
The Heart of HOTPACS is still beating, and exercise classes will resume September 8th from 3-4 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday at the Crestview Church of Christ. Look for more information within the newsletter and expect to receive an email with details from Caren. If you have opportunity, please thank Ms. Cheryl and Ms. Kerri, they are the volunteers who graciously made the church facility available to us. Don and Kirk will be leading the exercise classes just as before. This has been a long time coming and it’s an exciting breakthrough! Precautionary actions such as cleaning, disinfecting, and social distancing will apply in order to help insure your safety. So come on out and start moving again.
As you know, September starts a new fiscal year for HOTPACS. We are thankful for new beginnings, and it’s the perfect time for me to step down from the position of President, allowing for someone with a fresh new vision to lead our group. Debe and I have been honored and abundantly blessed to serve on the Board. We’ve learned a lot and plan to keep on serving, hopefully, just in other ways. Again, Thank You for giving us this opportunity.
HOTPACS Volunteers Have The Power of Extra Effort.*
“2 extra acts of kindness weekly plants 104 more seeds of generosity each year. 15 extra minutes a day creates over 90 hours each year for what’s most important to you. 1 extra contact daily sparks 180 more personal connections every 6 months. 1 extra risk each week leads to 52 more opportunities every year for excitement and possibility. At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. One extra degree makes all the difference.
We believe in living life to the fullest, celebrating together, laughing often, and loving always. We believe we were brought together to care for each other. We believe in each other in this support group. Mike & Debe
(*from the book “Smile & Move” by Sam Parker 2005)
AUGUST 2020 – From the President
This Heart of Texas Parkinson’s and Caregiver’s Group has weathered storms before and we’re still standing, because of the perseverance and character of its members, volunteers, and because of you. Your phone calls, emails, and texts, filled with words of encouragement for one another, holds us all together during these uncertain times. Please don’t stop! You’re making a difference in the world, to our group, and to our families.
We understand a number of pharmaceutical laboratory trials are showing promising results pointing to the possibility of a breakthrough in identifying a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Let’s keep believing and praying for positive results; it’s the very best thing we can do.
HOTPACS Volunteers Smile & Move
Wake up and Engage with care and attention. Be Thankful; the opportuity to serve is a gift. Be Approachable; we’re at each other’s service. Complain Less; being positive is more fun. Smile Really; it’s where pleasantness begins.
Start Early & Go Long; get lost in your service to others. Exceed Expectations; expect more from yourself. Have a Sense of Urgency; everyone’s time is valuable. Be Resourceful & Resilient; results are what we’re all after.” This attitude of Smile & Move may be the medication that serves as the “virus vaccination” until one comes out; and it just might be the right innoculation to help us keep smiling and moving, despite the prevailing circumstances of Parkinson’s Disease. We are determined to carry on regardless. Right?
We believe in living life to the fullest, celebrating together, laughing often, and loving always. We believe we were brought together to care for each other. We believe in each other in this support group.–Mike & Debe
JULY 2020 – From the President
This is the first HOTPACS newsletter produced for the month of July since we’ve been a part of the group. Normally we do not publish a newsletter in July or August. We find ourselves in the midst of this unprecedented time in our history when so many challenges are before us at once. There is a heartfelt call to define and implement Racial Equality for all, and to find a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19 to end the Pandemic. We also must deal with the Economic Impact we have all felt and restart our economy. The challenge before each of us is to understand that our new normal and, of course, Parkinson’s disease both have changed our way of life.
Perhaps we have reached a point where things will never be the same, defining our watershed moment. Things will not be the same because together we the people will emerge from this catastrophe smarter, stronger, and more powerful than ever before! Stay tuned for the Rebirth of America.
“O Beautiful for Spacious Skies, For Amber Waves Of Grain, For Purple Mountain Majesties Above The Fruited Plain. America, America, God Shed His Grace On Thee And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood From Sea To Shining Sea.”
Mary Gerecke is retiring after 20 years of volunteer service to HOTPACS. Most recently, Mary served as our Program Director. She will be greatly missed! Thank you Mary; we wish you abundant blessings and much success with your next endeavor.
We believe in living life to the fullest, celebrating together, laughing often, and loving always. We believe we were brought together to care for each other. We believe in each other in this support group.–Mike & Debe