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October 9, 1998     Cape Gazette
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October 9, 1998

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86 - CAPE GAZE'I'rE, Friday October 9 - October 15, 1998 HEALTH FITNESS /: Peach Tree. 00,cres set for 1999 expansion plan By Kerry Kester Gov. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner acknowledged National Brain Injury Awareness Month with a proclamation on Friday, Oct. 2. "Brain Injury Awareness Month is about awareness," said Sy Lon- doner, president of Brain Injury Association of Delaware. "We've made the Legislature aware." Last summer, the Legislature al- lotted $600,000 in a matching grant for the Peach Tree Acres ex- pansion project. Peach Tree Acres Inc., an assist- ed living facility for brain injury survivors, is located on a five-acre parcel of land on Route 9, near Harbeson. The facility is now at capacity with three residents. The first phas[ of the expansion project calls building a 20-unit building, with construction slated to begin in 1999, at an estimated cost of $500,000. The Longwood Foundation has been instrumental in providing funding for the first phase of the project. Brain Injury Association of Delaware will also seek grant support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop- ment. "We've come a .long way," said Eve Tolley, vice president of Brain Injury Association of Delaware. "You handed us the very first check," she said to Carp- er. "It began with yon; it began with Celia Green, who gave us the original five acres." The existing facility operates under the direction of Kathy Schlitter, director of Beebe Med- ical Center's Gull House, an adult day-care center. Minner was moved as she pre- pared to sign the proclamation. She made note of a woman who works in her office who has sus- tained brain injuries on three oc- casions. "It must be such a pleasure to see your dreams come true," said Minner. "It will help so many people in the state." Minner noted that a scholarship in her name gave two awards this year: one to a 19-year-old girl who is main- taining a 98 percent average in school, and another to a 31-year- old mother of three who is main- taining an 89 percent average. Both women have overcome obstacles and challenging situa- tions to try to meet their goals of becoming better educated. "All of us struggle and have the capabilities of achieving," said Minner. The struggle for those with brain injuries is even tougher than it is for most people, she said. With Peach Tree, she said, "we've achieved what we wanted to achieve." Carper, who was still somewhat shaken from the Vietnam War Memorial Wall dedication he made just moments before he made the Brain Injury Awareness Month proclamation, compared the feelings of being part of a group that didn't seem to be high on society's list for embracing. After World War II, he said, soldiers returned to the United States amid ticker-tape parades and cheers. Vietnam veterans, he said, returned home to nearly no acknowledgment of their sacri- fices and in some cases, were scorned. "It seemed like nobody cared," said Carper. Lots of people fighting for bet- ter services for those suffering from brain injuries probably often thought that nobody cared, he said. "But somebody does care. Somebody does care a lot," said Carper. The proclamation notes the fol- lowing: every 15 seconds, someone in the United States will suffer a traumatic brain injury; an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people die each year from traumatic brain injuries; the average survivor of a brain injury is between 15 and 25 years old and half are under age 35. The Christiana Care trauma reg- istry estimates that the number of Delawareans needing assistance because of brain injuries is more than 5,000; that number is rising annually. For more information about the Brain Injury Association of Delaware, write to PO Box 9876, Newark, DE 19714. Kerry Kester photos Gov. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, center, sign a proclamation for National Brain Injury Awareness Month to the delight of Eve Tolley, vice president of the Brain Injury Association of Delaware. The state's leaders honor Bobby Hartley, whose June Jam proceeds have helped the association fund Peach Tree Acres, an assited living facility for brain injury survivors. Shown are (l-r), Minner, Hartley, June Jam Ltd. president and founder; Brenda Carter, June Jam treasurer; Larry Couch, June Jam vice president; Carper; and Matt Boiler, June Jam vice president. Good nutrition important for treating Alzheimer's What is Alzheimer's disease? Alzheimer's. disease usually be- gins in people over age 65, but can strike as early as age 40. The disease affects the brain and pro- gressively worsens over time. Those affected by Alzheimer's disease gradually lose their mem- ory, ability to think, language functions and often can no longer take care of themselves. Alzheimer's disease is devastat- ing for the person who suffers from the disease, as well as for family and friends. The cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown; however, extensive research to find its cause is underway. Nutrition care begins with un- derstanding. Proper nutrition, reg- ular physical and social activities, and good health care are impor- tant to the treatment of the dis- ease. A calm, well-structured liv- ing situation can help your loved one maintain as much comfort as possible. Those with Alzheimer's disease often suffer from a number of problems that affect their ability to eat. A registered dietitian can TOPICS Beth Jernigan is a consult- ing registered dietician at CHEER, Sussex County Se- nior Services, Inc. in George- town. help you identify eating problems and use creative solutions so you can offer foods, mealtime tech- niques and nutritional supple- ments as appropriate for the stage of the disease. Alzheimer's patients need to maintain their weight. It may be difficult for patients to maintain their weight for a number of rea- sons: they may lose the ability to recognize foods, handle eating utensils, and chew or swallow cer- tain foods. All of these may lead to inadequate intake. Some Alzheimer's patients may pace or wander, so they may be burning more calories than they consume. Weight loss can occur as a result. A registered dietitian can help you plan a menu to ensure that your loved one maintains an adequate food intake. Enough calories for an active loved one: Caregivers need to be certain to provide enough calories through meals and snacks to com- pensate for the additional calories needed. If efforts to maintain weight are unsuccessful, you should ask your doctor and regis- tered dietitian about easy-to-eat food and nutritional supplements. Practical tips to provide a vari- ety of foods: Your loved one may have a shortened attention span and may lose interest in food and meals quickly, even after just a few bites. He or she may become disoriented about the time or the day of the week, so typical meal- times may be confusing. Try to offer smaller portions of nutrient rich foods throughout the day to be certain your loved one con- sumes enough calories and re- ceives a variety of foods. In many cases, offering food every two hours is helpful to encourage ade- quate food intake. People with Alzheimer's dis- ease often do not have much ap- petite. Continue to offer favorite foods, such as nutritious cold drinks, milk and milkshakes, and creamy puddings, or familiar warm liquids, like soups, coffee or cocoa. These foods are also available as nutritional supple- ments. The loss of muscle coordina- tion, thought processes and mem- ory that Alzheimer's disease cans- es may affect the handling of eat- ing utensils and even remember- ing how to eat. With patience and encourage- ment, your loved one can learn to feed himself or herself with or without eating utensils. Try offer- ing a warm soup that can be sipped from an easy-to-hold cup or a chewy bar, cookie or sand- wich that can be eaten as a finger food. A high-calorie beverage in a sport bottle with a straw may also be easier to handle. A registered dietitian can suggest" nutritional supplements, such as cold bever- ages, chewy bars, puddings, and shakes that may also be beneficial to your loved one. For more nutritional informa- tion, contact the American Dietet- ic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics for. food and nutrition information or for a referral to a registered dietitian in your area, call the Consumer Nu- trition Hotline at 800-366-1655. For more information on Alzheimer's disease, contact the Alzheimer's Association for a na- tionwide information and referral line that provides, general infor- mation and links families who need assistance with nearby chap- ters at 800-272-3900. For product and nutritional in- formation about oral supplements, call Nestle Clinical Nutrition ln- foLink at 800-422-ASK2 (2752).