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     MARCH 15, 2018                                      A Love for Music


     Theon Heiserer’s grandfather came to the Unites States from Germany.  He is the sole survivor of 10 children, all born and raised in Oran, MO where his parents owned two farms. He and his brother worked the farms with his father. He had to quit high school in 1941 when his brother was drafted to serve in the war, then worked the farm for 1.5 years until he too was drafted. Theon recalls his 3 long months in basic training then found himself stationed in Hawaii.  A young man, never away from home, soon after found himself in the South Pacific. New Guinnea was a fearful place for a young soldier so far from his Missouri farm. He was discharged at the young age of 18. Theon’s brother came home soon after. There really was not enough farm work for both boys at home, so Theon moved on to work as a cook on a river boat for the Mississippi Corps of Engineers. The dredge boat of 80 men worked to keep the channel open.

     Theon, who will be turning 94 this year, lived this river boat life for six years until he met his bride at a dance. Theon says his fondest memory was his 1952 wedding day, regardless of the 110-degree temperature that day (without air conditioning). They remained happily married for fifty years, blessed with two children – a daughter, Debbie and a son, Jim. Theon soon found himself providing for a young family and took a job keeping him closer to home, working at Cupples Products aluminum factory in St. Louis. He recalls the company supplied metal for buildings all over the world, including the World Trade Center. The young family lived 63 years in a home they purchased in 1952. For 32 years, Theon provided for his young family by working two jobs, Cupples Products and Bettendorf-Rapp food chain, leaving early for work in the morning at 5:00 a.m. and not returning home again until at least 10:00 p.m. every night.

     Theon has had a love for music for as long as he can remember. His father played harmonica and accordion, and his mother had a player piano from which he believes he first found his affinity for music. He learned to play guitar when he was away in the military and after he came back home, enjoyed entertaining folks in local taverns on the weekends. Theon still enjoys entertaining with his music. I found him with his instruments the day we met. He lives and entertains his neighbors at the Affton Senior Center. Theon still plays music with a few buddies four or five days each week at surrounding senior centers.  Theon’s grandson has a recording studio and has produced a CD of Theon’s musical renditions. Theon says, “Music keeps the mind going. You have to think of every piece of every song”. And he has a musically talented family: his son and grandson both also play guitar. Although transportation is an issue at times, Theon has enjoyed playing with the Gateway Harmonica Club for ten years. The types of music he most enjoys playing are Waltz, Polka and Country. He still enjoys going dancing a few times each week, dancing both ballroom and swing. He even has a steel guitar he bought from a catalog when he was 18 years old. A year ago, he was given a 6-string banjo from his grandson. One of his most enjoyable memories was playing a small-town country festival in Illinois. He was amazed to see his picture appear in the newspaper a year later. Many residents and friends at the Affton Senior Center come to enjoy his music during lunch. Ruth Coleman is one of those residents. She told me, “Theon makes a lot of people happy. He is quite enjoyable”. 

     Edna Halbert, another resident of Affton Senior Center, just turned 93 years old on her most recent birthday in February. She has enjoyed living at the senior center for the past two years. She is from Steeleville, MO. She worked in retail and used to play piano for her local church. She has survived three strokes and speaks proudly of her five children - four boys and one girl.

Another friend is Otis Breshears, a proud owner of a 20-family St. Louis apartment building that sold in 2004. He is 91 years old. He too was raised on a farm. He once lived in Australia where he owned a TV repair factory. He feels he lived a full and interesting life. He enjoys his time at the Affton Senior Center and enjoys watching television.

Glenda Johnson is yet another friend that has lived at the Affton Senior Center for six years. She feels fortunate to be 91 years old and feels the most significant events in her life was the birth of her two sons. She was quite the seamstress and proudly made all her own clothes. She enjoys reading fiction and faith-based novels, one of which her niece recently published.  She was happily married for 60 years to a wonderful man and feels content she lived a good life. Glenda believes and wishes to pass along, “It would be nice if everyone loved their neighbor. We should all be kind to one another as we certainly cannot live alone in this world”.


By Janet Dalton / St. Louis Times


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Health & Wellness


House Fit

September 25 – 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

HouseFit is excited to offer a Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention program. Join us at this free preview event on September 25 at 12:30 p.m. to learn how Tai Chi is beneficial for older adults and specifically for those with arthritis and balance concerns. You'll also have the opportunity to try some of the Tai Chi moved that are done during a typical class! Where: HouseFit at 3809 Lemay Ferry Rd, Saint Louis MO 63125 Space is limited, call to reserve your spot at 314-339-7430.

Hannah Brandt,, HouseFit, 314-339-7430,



BJC Hospice and Palliative Care

October 8 thru December 10

Free monthly caregiver class available to the community.  These classes are offered by Heather Bell, BJC Palliative Care Social Worker.  Classes cover a variety of topics meant to provide useful information and caregiver support.

Class meets on the second Tuesday of the month. From 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Auditorium 1, 3015 N. Ballas Rd, St. Louis, MO  63131.  For additional information, please contact Heather Bell, 314-575-9305.  These classes are free to attend.  To register, please call 314-996-5433.

October 8 - Home Care Choices & How to find assistance at home

Learn about the difference between insurance-approved skilled home care and other home care choices, including private duty, home medical equipment, supplies, and other resources to help in the care of your loved one.

November 12 - Legal Matters & Goals of Care

An attorney will present information on important legal matters to address with your loved ones.  A palliative social worker will share ways to discuss goals of care and long-term planning.  Advance Directives will be discussed.

December 10 - Alternate Therapies

There are many ways to cope with stress and different therapies will be discussed, such as music therapy, massage therapy, pet therapy, and more.  This will be an experiential class, with enough room for personal questions and needs.

Heather Bell, Social Worker, BJC Hospice and Palliative Home Care,1935 Belt Way Dr., St. Louis, MO  63114, 314-872-5050



The Villages of St. Peters

October 24 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Villages of St. Peters is offering a Flu Shot Day. Schnucks Pharmacy will be at our community on October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. No cost flu shots with most insurance plans. 5400 Executive Centre Pkwy., St. Peters, MO 63376 Call with questions - Lori Guilliams, 314-471-3757

Lori Guilliams,, The Villages of St. Peters, 636-922-7600,



The Villages of St. Peters

October 24 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Villages is partnering with Schnucks and offering free flu shots (bill your insurance). Traditional, preservative-free and senior flu vaccines will be available. The Villages of St. Peters 5400 Executive Centre Pkwy. St. Peters, MO 63376 314-471-3757 All are welcome. Stop in, have a cup of coffee and get your flu shot.

Lori Guilliams,, The Villages of St. Peters, 314-471-3757,



St. Elizabeth Hospital

Staying Cool in a Heat Wave and Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses. With the excessive heat warning for the region, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital wants the community to stay safe by providing tips for staying cool and how to know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke, which requires medical attention. St. Elizabeth’s CMO Dr. Vinay Bhooma said, “Strenuous activity in hot weather or prolonged exposure to a hot environment are often the causes of heat stroke. Both lead to a rise in core body temperature which becomes dangerous at 103F or higher.” Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency. If a person exhibits symptoms of a heat stroke, call 911 right away. Symptoms include: Hot, red, dry or damp skin, Fast, strong pulse, Headache, Dizziness, Nausea, Confusion, Losing consciousness.  In the event this occurs, move the person to a cooler place after calling 911. You can also help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath. It is not recommended that the person is given anything to drink. “Heat exhaustion is also common during a heat wave. Symptoms include heavy sweating, fast but weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, headache and passing out,” added St. Elizabeth’s emergency department physician Dr. Nicholas Rathert.

Kelly Barbeau,, HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital, 618-234-2102,



Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex

The Pickleball courts are open every day from dawn to dusk at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. Paddles and balls are available in the Park’s Office during regular hours of operation. All that is needed to use the equipment is a valid driver’s license.

Chesterfield Valley Complex,, Chesterfield Parks, Recreation, and Arts, 636-812-9500,



Washington University School of Medicine

Brain Health Research Study seeks older adults, ages 60-85, do you have high blood pressure and memory concerns? Washington University’s Division of Geriatrics is seeking research participants for a dementia prevention study aimed at people with high blood pressure. You may qualify if you are 60 to 85 years old, have high blood pressure, and do not exercise vigorously. This 2-year study includes strategies such as aerobic exercise, medication management of blood pressure, or a combination. Call Adriana 314-273-1355.

Adriana Martin,, Washington University School of Medicine,




Lutheran Senior Services

Insurance information is not needed. Measure your blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels, and pulse. This free service is offered at Lutheran Senior Services, The Village at Mackenzie Place. Located at 8520 Mackenzie Road, Affton, MO 63123, Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 314-884-7909 for times and more information.

Selma Vereget,, Lutheran Senior Services, 314-884-7910,



Womens’ Fitness and Designed Workouts

For women forty and older, please call to set up your free fitness consultation. Christine will sit down with you and listen to what you would like to do to feel and look better. Please don't let knee or back issues keep you from activity you enjoy as a part of your life. Please call Christine at 314-541-3556.  It will only take 30 minutes. Located in Fenton.

Christine Bond,, Womens’ Fitness and designed workouts,




Lutheran Senior Services – The Village at Mackenzie Place

Wednesdays – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Insurance information is not needed. Measure your blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels, and pulse. This free service is offered at Lutheran Senior Services, The Village at Mackenzie Place, 8520 Mackenzie Road, Affton, MO 63123 on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 314-884-7909 for times and more information.

Selma Vereget,, Lutheran Senior Services, 314-884-7910,



Lutheran Senior Services

Mondays – 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Insurance information is not needed. Measure your blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels, and pulse. This free service is offered at Lutheran Senior Services, Dunn Road Manor. Located at 3399 Dunn Road- Florissant, MO 63033, Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Call 314-830-0919 for times and more information. Leigh Anne Hoormann,, 314-830-0919

Leigh Anne Hoormann,, Lutheran Senior Services


Lectures & Continuing Education


St. Louis Economic Development Partnership – Helix Center

September 18 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

SBIR/STTR: Business basics video presentation 9/18/2019, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Total Hours: 2:00. This video seminar describes the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs, including definitions, eligibility, solicitations, proposal process, benefits, and assistance available from the SBTDC. All SLEDP Incubator clients attend free, all others $50.00 admission.  Please register at: . Hosted at St. Louis Economic Development Partnership-Helix Center 1100 Corporate Square, Creve Coeur, MO 63123.  For details contact Lynette Oliver at 314-405-8400.

Lynette Oliver,, MO SBDC, 314-405-8400,



St. Louis City Public Library

September 18 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Finding the Like Button: Online Marketing 101. September 18, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This event will provide current and future business owners a framework for creating a comprehensive online marketing strategy. Participants will learn what information is needed to successfully choose online marketing tools for their brand and use them to create conversions or engagements. Register at:  For details contact 314-241-2288.  There is no cost for this event to be held at St. Louis City Public Library, 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.

Lynette Oliver,, St. Louis City Public Library, 314-241-2288,



St. Louis Bridge

September 20 – 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

First of three Phillip Adler bridge workshops. Topic: Come and Help Your Partners Defense Sign up at $40.00 1270 North Price Road in Olivette Call 314-569-1430 for additional information.

RICHARD LAZAROFF,, St. Louis Bridge Center,




St. Louis City Public Library

September 25 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Small Business Financials: Show Me My Money. September 25, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This event will assist entrepreneurs with understanding and analyzing the major financial statements. Participants will learn how to calculate basic financial ratios and identify areas of financial opportunity within their businesses. Register at:  For details contact 314-241-2288.  There is no cost for this event to be held at St. Louis City Public Library,1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.

Lynette Oliver,, St. Louis City Public Library, 314-241-2288,



Cordell Planning Partners – Chesterfield

September 26 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Cordell Planning Partners, an elder care law firm dedicated to providing smart solutions for seniors, is hosting a complimentary workshop in Chesterfield to highlight the legal complexities facing seniors as they age. The workshop will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursday, September 26, 2019, at the Cordell Planning Partners office in Chesterfield. (600 Kellwood Parkway, Chesterfield, MO 63017). Registration for the free workshop is available online at Planning and protecting estates and valuable belongings can be a complicated process. It is critical to understand all the available options and identify if a current plan meets any goals seniors may have. Unfortunately, most people don’t prepare for long-term care because of the cost or the financial consequences that ultimately cannot be avoided. These free workshops will walk attendees through "Planning As You Age: Legal Complexities Facing Senior Citizens.”

Cordell Planning Partners, Matt Allen, 314-587-3610,



SBA/Urban League Small Business Empowerment Alliance

October 8 – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Understanding Financial Statements: Where is Your money going? October 8, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Manage Your financials - Don't let Them Manage You is designed for business owners, managers, accountants, bankers and consultants who need to know how to turn financial statements into useful management tools. During this course, you will learn to identify key business information that is captured on the income statement and balance sheet. You will learn to calculate several ratios and understand what those ratios mean in terms of business productivity and success. You will leave this session with a greater understanding of how to read and interpret financial documents and how to use that information to drive business decisions. Register at: There is no cost for this event to be held at SBA/Urban League Small Business Empowerment Alliance 9420 W. Florissant Avenue, Ferguson, MO 63136.

Lynette Oliver,, MO SBDC, 314-405-8400,



SBA/Urban League Small Business Empowerment Alliance

October 22 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Are you ready to make the Government your next customer?  October 22, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Have you ever wondered what it takes to do business with the federal government? Join the SBA, Procurement Technical Assistance Center(PTAC) and the Small Business Development Center and learn how government contracting works, how specialized federal certifications can boost your business and also get acquainted with the assistance available to you to help you as you navigate through this process. Register at   This event is free to attend, at SBA/Urban League Small Business Empowerment Alliance, 9420 W. Florissant Avenue, Ferguson, MO 63136/For details contact-Lynette Oliver 314-405-8400.

Lynette Oliver,, MO SBDC, 314-405-8400,



St. Louis County Library

November 2 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Starting and Managing a Small Business on November 2, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Are you thinking about starting and managing a small business in Missouri? Designed for individuals who are considering starting a business, have made the decision to start or who have been in business for less than two years, this program will discuss the basics of business ownership, planning for success, organizational forms of business, legal and regulatory environment, record keeping and information management, marketing, financing and resources. Program is offered in partnership with the Small Business and Technology Development Center. For more details on registration or call 314-984-7777.  This is a free event at St. Louis County Library-1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131

Lynette Oliver,, St. Louis County Library, 314-994-3300,



St. Louis Community College

November 5 thru December 3 – 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

Business Plan Writing Workshop November 5 thru December 3, 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. An intensive, four-session, individually customized course designed to provide new and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to create a solid business plan. Experienced business facilitators/ coaches will guide group sessions and share practical experiences to enhance your business. participants learn with and from their peers, creating a powerful network that continues well after the program is complete. These sessions are enriched with guest speakers from various disciplines including the legal profession, marketing, human resources and financing. In addition, each participant will begin by taking the Growth Wheel assessment and receive customized tools based on this assessment to assist as you build your plan. Weekly homework assignments are given, and participation is required to be successful in the class. Continued counseling from a business counselor and certified life coach is available after the completion of the class. Please bring a laptop or electronic device to class for working on your business plan. For more details on registration or call 314-984-7777.

Lynette Oliver,, St. Louis Community College, 314-984-7777,




November 8 – 9:00 a.m.

Evidence-based Assessment and Interventions with Older Adults workshop presented by Dr. Marla Berg-Weger and Dr. Susan Tebb will provide an overview of contemporary gerontological practice issues with specific focus on the need for early short assessment by health & mental health care providers and inventions shown to be viable. Examples of assessment and intervention strategies will be highlighted. Interactive applications will provide participants with the opportunity to discuss, practice and reflect on strategies for assessing and intervening with older adults, particularly related to common geriatric syndromes. 3 CEHs $30 for SLU Alumni and current field instructors; $50 for all others and at the door Pre-register by November 1, 2019 All programs are held at Il Monastero 3050 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63103 Free parking is available in front of the building You may pre-register online at If you need special accommodations, or have questions or concerns, please email or call Karen Bolinger at 314-977-2724.

Karen Bolinger,, Saint Louis University, 314-977-2724,  



St. Louis County Library

December 6 – 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Small Business/Non-profit Expo, December 6, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Total Hours: 4:00. The library's biggest business event of the year, packed with outstanding are agencies devoted to helping aspiring entrepreneurs, current business owners and nonprofits. You'll discover the help you need from our workshops and free legal assistance clinic, all while you build your network of fellow entrepreneurs. For registration details contact 314-994-3300 or  At St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131.

Lynette Oliver,, St. Louis County Library, 314-994-3300,


Arts & Entertainment


Glen Echo Country Club

September 23

Please join Mother of Good Counsel Home on Monday, September 23 for our annual golf tournament at Glen Echo Country Club. Sponsorships are available and we welcome golfers. Please contact Marsha Heine at 314-383-4765 or  for more information.

Marsha Heine,,  Mother of Good Counsel Home, 314-383-4765,  



Elks Club

September 26 – 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Elks Club on September 26, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the St. Louis Banjo Club will provide a free evening of live music played on "America's fun instrument-the four-string banjo". Sing along and listen to 15 banjo players playing the songs you know. The Elks Club is located at 6330 Heege Road (at Mackenzie), St. Louis, MO 63123. For more information, call 314-842-3185 or visit our website: Table seating and cash bar. Food available for purchase from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Includes Hamburgers, Wings, Shrimp, Ravioli and Fries or bring your own snacks. Did we mention the music is free with room to dance?

Don Dempsey,, St. Louis Banjo Club, 314-842-3185,



Ballpark Village

October 1 – 6:00 p.m.

Grant Fuhr and his former teammates provide a never-before-seen look into his NHL Hall of Fame career through his years on the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and other professional & junior teams. Teammates and all-time rivals including Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, Chris Pronger, Martin Brodeur, Al MacInnis, Kelly Chas, Theo Fleury, Jarome Ignila and more discuss what it was like playing with, and against the goaltending legend. Catch this historic film on the the 40ft big screen inside Ballpark Village with a Q&A session with Grant Fuhr and two of his former St. Louis teammates, Kelly Chase and Darren Pang.

Jhod Cardinal,, Score G Production Films, 778-233-5463



Chamber Project, St. Louis

October 3 – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Concert on October 11

Be a part of a working rehearsal with Chamber Project St. Louis. Learn about the process of making music in this casual, interactive musical experience. Ask questions about the music, the instruments, the musicians - whatever comes to mind. A moderator will facilitate engagement between the audience and the musicians, who will be preparing a piece for the upcoming concert on October 11. A truly unique opportunity to learn about the process of making music come alive.

Dana Hotel,, Chamber Project St. Louis, 314-401-0450,



Central West End

October 11 - 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Often, the lens we use to hear music changes with the passage of time. Despite early popularity, Mendelssohn was met with anti-semitism and denigration of his work. Though he was not regarded as a success during his lifetime, his work is now treasured for its creative originality. Growing up in the American South, Florence Price fought hard for her success in a country divided by race and deeply ingrained gender roles. Nearly 20 years after the heartbreaking tragedy of 9/11, Cindy McTees’ (wife of Leonard Slatkin) Adagio provides us with a chance to respond, contemplate, and heal. This is their first performance in an exciting new space, projects plus gallery in the Central West End. Cindy McTee*, Adagio Florence Price, Five Folk Songs Felix Mendelssohn, String Quintet No 2.

Dana Hotel,, Chamber Project St. Louis, 314-401-0450,



Afton, St. Louis Parks and Recreation

October 12 – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

December 14 – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Affton Community Center Flea Market 9801 Mackenzie Road, St. Louis, MO 63123. Here is your opportunity to clean out the clutter for vendors or collect a rare treasure or bargain as a buyer. Free Admission 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. or $20 per table for vendors Call 314-615-8822 to reserve your spot.

Caitlin Reuter,, St. Louis County Parks, 314-615-8820,



Delmar Loop Gallery Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design

Now thru October 27 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez: Little Cuttings, thru October 27 Opening reception: (beginning Friday, August 30) 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Delmar Loop Gallery Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design. 6640 Delmar Blvd St. Louis, MO 63130. Fidencio Fifield-Perez faces scrutiny and political debate every day in the United States. Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, his family migrated to North Carolina for a better life and more opportunities. Fifield-Perez was raised in North Carolina and attended Memphis College of Art for a BFA. Upon graduating, he applied for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which allowed him to attend The University of Iowa for an MA and MFA. His work explores his personal experiences with immigration and the ever-evolving concept of “home.” Weaving together traditional craft techniques and family traditions, Fifield-Perez creates his own visual language. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with Innovations in Textiles 2019, a regional collaborative event celebrating fiber art. Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design, 314-725-1177,

Michael Powell,



Union Avenue Opera

October 10

Union Avenue Opera announces 25th Anniversary Gala, October 10. St. Louis, MO,

The 25th Anniversary Season will culminate with a Gala on Thursday, October 10 at the Barnett on Washington. Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a masterfully crafted gourmet meal with a special musical performance by three notable UAO alum: Kenneth Overton (Stephen Kumalo, Lost in the Stars), Elise Quagliata (Sister James, Doubt), and Marsha Thompson (Abigaille, Nabucco). The evening will be hosted by Kathy Lawton Brown of Classic 107.3, The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis.

Join us as we celebrate Union Avenue Opera’s 25th Anniversary in the festive ambiance of The Barnett on Washington. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a masterfully crafted gourmet meal with a musical performance by Kenneth Overton (Stephen Kumalo, Lost in the Stars), Elise Quagliata (Sister James, Doubt), Marsha Thompson (Abigaille, Nabucco) and hosted by Kathy Lawton Brown, Classic 107. 3. Tickets are on sale now. Call 314-361-2881 or visit for more information.  Union Avenue Opera was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, original-language opera to St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising young singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Missouri. In 2018 UAO became an OPERA American Professional Company Member. OPERA America is the national membership organization for artists, administrators and audiences, dedicated to support the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.



Afton Community Center

December 1 – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Santa Comes to Affton Community Center 9801 Mackenzie Road, St. Louis, MO 63123 Watch Santa Claus ride to the Affton Community Center on a fire truck from the Affton Fire Protection District! Santa will light the holiday tree and pass out treats to children. Enjoy a dance recital by Footnotes and don’t forget your camera for a great photo opportunity. Call 314-615-8822 for more information. All Ages Sunday 12/1 Free 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Caitlin Reuter,, St. Louis County Parks, 314-615-8820,




Two outrageously funny teams duel it out for points and your laughs. You choose the winners… the teams provide the funny. This show is suitable for everybody. We host shows every Saturday night and on the third Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. It's 100 percent clean comedy and always a blast. Tickets are available at the door or online at

Mike Mcguire,, ComedySportz St. Louis, 314-707-4780,



Fairwinds River’s Edge

Fridays – 3:00 p.m.

Fridays at Fairwinds River's Edge, please join us for happy hour with live entertainment Fridays at 3:00 p.m. RSVP required: 636-754-2317.

Stacy Welker,, Fairwinds River's Edge, 636-754-2311,




April 17

Debra K. Schuster & Associates
Debra K. Schuster & Associates will be providing free assistance and notary services on Monday, April 17th for any senior service organization interested in participating in National Health Care Decisions Day so attendees can complete a Health Care Directive. We will provide free forms for completion and gladly provide guidance to complete the document, so attendees will leave with a completed Health Care Directive. Please contact Jennifer at 314-991-2602 if you would like us to come to your gathering.

Debra Schuster,, Debra K. Schuster & Associates, 314-991-2602,



April 19 – 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Bethesda Hawthorne Place
Please plan to join us at the Grand Opening of Bethesda Hawthorne Place, Bethesda's newest Assisted Living and Memory Support community, located at 1111 South Berry Road. The celebration is taking place 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Guided tours of the Bethesda Hawthorne Place will be available, and refreshments will be served. Parking is limited; valet is available, as is shuttle service from the front entrance of the Bethesda Dilworth skilled nursing community, 9645 Big Bend Blvd. Please RSVP online at: Looking forward to seeing you at the Grand Opening of Bethesda Hawthorne Place.

Lea Ann Coates,, Bethesda Hawthorne Place, 314-853-2551,



April 22, - 5:30 p.m.

JFK Community Center
The Mother of Good Counsel Home Auxiliary is hosting their Hawaiian trivia night on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the JFK Community Center, 315 Howdershell Road. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. Tables of 8 are $200.00. We are accepting less than a full table but we reserve the right to place others at your table. Please contact Dave Barnhart at for more information. 

Marsha Heine,, Mother of Good Counsel Home, 314-383-4765,



April 29

Double Tree Hotel in Westport
St. Louis Celebrity Seniors, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to function as ambassadors of goodwill. We are a group of volunteers formed exclusively to raise funds and provide volunteer manpower for selected nonprofit community organizations in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Programs are designed for individuals 50 years and older who want to stay informed, involved, and in action. Each year St. Louis Celebrity Seniors, Inc. applauds the efforts of three individuals, organizations and/or initiatives that have made significant humanitarian contributions to our community. The 2017 Humanitarian Service awards will be Saturday, April 29 at Double Tree Hotel in Westport. This celebration will highlight outstanding success stories from our community. Thank you for your help to identify candidates for this coveted award.  You may submit your nominations by mail to: St. Louis Celebrity Seniors, Inc. Healthy Life Choices, 9810 Halls Ferry Rd., PO Box 4113, St. Louis, MO 63136 or email to Please visit our website for details on how to make a nomination.  Nomination deadline is Wednesday, March 15, 2017.  Contact Wilzetta Bell 314-517-8973 with any questions.

Jo Ann Brown,, St. Louis Celebrity Seniors, Inc., 314-496-6625,



May 3 – 5:30 p.m.

631 Veterans Place Drive
The City of Chesterfield is pleased to announce the Veterans Honor Park Dedication Ceremony will be on Wednesday, May 3. The ceremony begins with a social at 5:30 p.m., commenced by the flag raising at 6:00 p.m., followed by a reception. Mayor Bob Nation and City Administrator Mike Geisel will deliver the opening statements for the keynote speaker, Admiral Phil Davidson, the commanding officer of the United States Fleet Forces Command. The park is located adjacent to the Chesterfield Amphitheater at 631 Veterans Place Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63017. The Veterans Honor Park offers a variety of donation opportunities including title sponsors, benches, and donor strips, as well as engraved pressed-concrete pavers. Details on all of the donation opportunities are available on the website, Renderings of the park are also available on or on the Veterans Honor Park Facebook page. For more details, please contact Lisa Bobrzynski at  

Lisa Bobrzynski,, Chesterfield Parks, Recreation and Arts, 636-537-4727,



Memory Care Home Solutions

May 18 – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
MCHS takes trip down memory lane for “Swing into Spring”.  Memory Care Home Solutions is preparing for its 6th annual “Swing into Spring” event Thursday, May 18th. This year MCHS is excited to see how their venue change is received. The MCHS advancement team has decided to shake things up by hosting this year’s event at the Hall of Fame Club & Museum at Cardinals Nation Restaurant. Even though MCHS is staying faithful to the Cardinals this will be a big scenery change for the non-profit. “After five years the event has grown a great deal. I think this subtle change will continue the growth of this event,” said Erin Kelly MCHS Director of Advancement. The event will be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $35 until April 21, and will be $45 after. Tickets for guests under 21 are $25. Tickets can be purchased via phone at 314-645-6247, via web at under the “News and Events” tab, or at the door. All proceeds go to program operations. 

Nick Clark,, Memory Care Home Solutions, 314-645-6247,


Trout Lodge is located only 90 minutes south of St. Louis, YMCA Trout Lodge is a country-style resort and conference center located on 5200 acres with a 360-acre lake. Trout Lodge has many fun & educational adults-only programs for those who like to travel and meet other lifelong learners, with something for every activity level. Whether in a group, as a couple or yourself, you will have an amazing time exploring new adventures and making new friends. April's programs include a trip to Elephant Rocks State park, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, zip line and much more. There will also be plenty of time to kick back and relax along the banks of the lake. Rates include lodging, meals and all scheduled activities. To receive a complete list of 2017 activities, go to, click on "Stay", click on "Adult Programs" and click on the 2017 Adult Program Guide. Or you can simply call 888-FUN-YMCA and ask for a booklet be mailed to you. Happy exploring.

Dillon Charleville,, YMCA Trout Lodge, 314-241-9622,



Scheduled to open May 2017
Evelyn’s House, providing care in peaceful and comfortable surroundings provides a holistic approach to the emotional, spiritual and physical care of terminally ill patients of all ages.  Offering therapies for complex symptoms or respite in a home-like setting. Located adjacent to Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Evelyn’s House, scheduled to open May 2017, is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to the community. Features include: 16 private suites for adults, teens and children with walkout patio off every suite, family gathering spaces with overnight accommodations, kids and teen activity room and natural, comfortable surroundings with dedicated music and expressive therapy rooms, family kitchen and café, meditation room and garden.  In addition, there is an ability playhouse for special needs children.  Visiting hours are 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Leading edge communication and safety are a priority. We offer specialized on-site staff; hospice specialized care team, medical director, nurse practitioner, registered nurses, aides, a social worker, spiritual counselor, music therapist, expressive therapist and many volunteers. 

Cara Lotspeich,, BJC Hospice, 314-273-0759,



MERS Goodwill
Spring is right around the corner, which means it is time to declutter and donate! According to an American Cleaning Institute (ACI) survey, 72% of households spring clean every year. MERS Goodwill is encouraging everyone to follow these four fun, simple tricks to help your spring cleaning get underway: 1. only holding on to items for sentimental reasons? Take a photo then donate it. 2. Turn all hanging clothes backwards. Reverse an item to the correct direction once it is worn. After six months, donate any clothing still backwards; if you haven’t worn it by then, you probably never will. 3. Create a one-month calendar with different areas of your house that need to be decluttered. One day at a time, you will collect items that you no longer need. 4. Host a spring cleaning party! Invite friends over to swap unwanted items and donate any extras to MERS Goodwill. Someone in your community will benefit and bring new life to your donation, and MERS Goodwill is always looking for stuff.

Nikki Abernathy,, Black Twig Communications, 314-536-8905


The Pull-Out Shelf Co offers made-to-fit pullout shelving expertly installed in your "existing" cabinets. These shelves are easy to fully extend outward with a simple finger pull, so there is no more getting on your hands and knees to find that pot or pan. Perfect for mobility challenged folks who want to simplify their lives. Call 314-403-2282 for your free in-home estimate today.

Tim Cechin,, The Pull-Out Shelf Co, 314-403-2282,
Honors & Recognition


Assistance Home Care

Fortune Magazine Names The 50 Best Places to Work in Aging Services for 2019! #3 in Best Workplaces for Aging Services™ 2019 Congratulations to Assistance Home Care on being named to the Best Workplace lists for 2019! Caregivers and patients often form bonds that resemble familial connections. The most exemplary of organizations that facilitate caregiving extend this feeling to interpersonal relationships among colleagues, too. To tally the second annual Best Workplaces in Aging Services list, Fortune research partner Great Place to Work analyzed survey results from more than 223,000 employees working in the at-home care and senior housing sectors of the aging services industry.

Allen Serfas,, Assistance Home Care, 314-795-6773,



National Association of Realtors Awards Seniors Real Estate Specialist to Wendy Huffmaster, with Realty Executives of St. Louis. Wendy joins an elite group of just 15,000 real estate professionals who have earned the SRES Designation. "Working with Seniors to meet their housing needs requires expert understanding of their lifestyle, family and personal needs, and financial resources. Buying or selling, seniors can be confident that a Realtor with the SRES Designation is equipped to help them every step of the way," said Wendy. You can contact Wendy at 314-221-4864 or

Wendy Huffmaster,, Realty Executives of St. Louis, 314-221-4864, 

Support & Counseling


Missouri Baptist Medical Center

October 8 thru December 10

BJC Home Care Services provides a caregiver class on a variety of topics that are meant to provide useful information and support for caregivers, patients and families. Dates: Second Tuesday of the month, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Auditorium 1 on October 8, November 12, and December 10.

Heather Bell,, BJC Home Care, 314-575-9305



St. Charles, St. Louis, Jefferson Counties

Visit-A-Bit Program is a weekly volunteer program and offers visit tasks, by which volunteers can connect with homebound seniors in their communities - at home or living in facilities that is designed to directly address senior loneliness in St. Louis City and County, St. Charles and Jefferson Counties. We’re seeking volunteers that would like to be part of bringing happiness, joy, and purpose back to our aging community. Also, welcoming senior adults that would benefit from a weekly volunteer and offering weekly Tele-Bingo games. If you are interested and would like more information please contact Lisa, the Visit-A-Bit Coordinator at 314-918-7171 ext. 1255 or email

Michele Prevedel, Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis-Visit-A-Bit. (314) 918-7171,


In Search Of ...


American Red Cross

September 19 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Join us and learn how little time it takes to have an enormous impact on your local community. We can help you find a volunteer opportunity which works with your schedule and desire to help. We guarantee you will learn something you didn't realize the Red Cross does in your community to help others. Bring comfort, resources and hope to those affected by a local disaster, including house fires, floods, and tornados. Deliver life-saving blood to local hospitals. Welcome blood donors at local blood drives. Assist military members and their families, VA patients and veterans Hear directly from volunteers about why they are so passionate about what they do. Any questions or to schedule a presentation to your community organization, student group or religious organization, contact: Kristin Pendleton. Call/Text: 314-281-7968. |

Kristin Pendleton,, American Red Cross, 314-281-7968,



The Missouri Poison Center

The Missouri Poison Center would like your help in finding audiences for a new program targeted at seniors ages 65 years and older who are independent in taking their medications. We are looking to speak to groups up to about 15 adults in a conversational/interactive program to teach about avoiding medication mishaps. We will address such topics as: being an active assertive participant in your own health care, keeping an up-to-date medication list, and safe storage and administration of medications. This program will take approximately 60 minutes. If we can provide this program to your senior group or you have interest in medication safety please contact Amanda Ruback, at the Missouri Poison Center.

Amanda Ruback,, Missouri Poison Center, 314-612-5719,



Aging Ahead Star Program

The Aging Ahead STAR Program utilizes volunteers to take eligible riders to many of their medical appointments. Rides are available to appointments in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, but eligible riders must reside within St. Charles County. All rides are based on the availability of a volunteer and due to scheduling and demand, we do ask for two-week notice, if at all possible. Volunteers are offered mileage reimbursed to cover gas and wear & tear on their vehicle, but they are volunteering their time. This is a flexible volunteer opportunity, perfect for those who are retired or someone with non-traditional work hours. To reach the STAR Coordinator to learn more about becoming a volunteer with STAR, please call 636-978-3306.

Stephanie Patrick,, Aging Ahead,636-207-0847,



Preferred Hospice

Are you looking for an opportunity to help in your community? Preferred Hospice is seeking caring individuals to provide friendly visits and companionship to hospice patients. Training is provided. Please contact Terri or Tracy at 636-527-9330 or

Terri Bapst,, Preferred Hospice of MO NE, 636-527-9330



LifeWise STL

The Senior Companion Program is seeking new volunteers. Volunteers receive hourly tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, annual recognition party and gift, and the opportunity to make a difference. Call Today, 314-627-1243, Samantha Knight.

Samantha Knight,, LifeWise StL (formerly Kingdom House), 314-627-1243,



Aging Ahead – Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol

Volunteers Needed - The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is looking for volunteers in our area to help seniors protect their Medicare benefits. Key to the program’s success is a network of volunteers, who staff outreach events and conduct presentations in senior centers and other venues. The SMP needs more volunteers for its team. The primary focus of a Senior Medicare Patrol team member is to educate Medicare beneficiaries through one-on-one discussions, distributing literature, attending senior fairs, or by making presentations at appropriate locations. Volunteers undergo a comprehensive training course and receive extensive support from SMP. The next training is scheduled in St. Louis at Aging Ahead, Aug. 20 and 21.  Call the SMP

888-515-6565 as soon as possible to fill out an application.

Stephanie Patrick,, Aging Ahead, 636-207-0847,



Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics (NIB) is recruiting for an upcoming issue called "Living with Alzheimer Disease: Stories from People Providing Care.” We are seeking stories from people who are currently or have cared for family members or another close person with Alzheimer Disease. NIB is a journal based in St. Louis, publishing personal stories from patients and healthcare providers on topics related to current bioethical issues. The first step is to submit a 300-word proposal, describing the story the author would tell. Proposals can be sent to Priority will be given to submissions received by July 15, 2019. To learn more about the journal and the story call, visit

Mary Click,, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, 404-683-9331,



Anodyne Podiatry

Anodyne Podiatry provides specialized foot care in your home.  Our clinicians are health professionals, providing preventative care to improve comfort and mobility.  A medically trained clinician provides care assistance, nail care, assessments in areas of concern, and with your physician develops an individualized treatment plan.  Anodyne Podiatry home foot care provides in-home nail care, preventative care, and follow-up care of the feet.

Megan Hollandsworth,, Anodyne Podiatry, 314-412-7518



St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program

Non-profit St. Louis HELP loans reconditioned wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, crutches, scooters, shower chairs, tub benches, grab bars, pediatric equipment and other medical equipment to anyone absolutely free. Call St. Louis HELP at

314-567-4700, or see the website The Overland Farmers Market is at 2512 Woodson Road. See website

Jeff Dunlap,, St. Louis HELP Warehouse, 314-409-5203,


Cognitive Improvement

Reading for Life: How What You Read Impacts Longevity

     Using longitudinal survey data that asked about book and newspaper/magazine reading separately, researchers recently looked at the association of reading with participants’ longevity, as well as which type of reading material had the strongest association with longevity.

     The researchers found that those participants who read books had a 23-month survival advantage over those who did not read books. The impact of book reading was actually the strongest among participants who had reported four or more comorbidities. Other demographic differences including income and education level showed little to no differences on the strength of book reading’s association with longevity. Magazine and newspaper reading showed a survival advantage as well, but the effect was not as strong and was only significant for periodical readers who read more than seven hours per week.

     The authors suggest two potential ways that reading books might bring about greater health benefits. The first is that books promote “deep reading”, which is more cognitively engaging and demanding. Analysis of the cognitive testing of survey participants did prove enlightening here. Statistically controlling for cognitive scores at baseline showed that the subsequent protective effect of book reading persisted regardless of initial cognitive differences. However, in addition to longevity, book reading had a positive impact on cognitive scores in later surveys. This impact on cognition appears to be responsible for the majority of the improvement in lifespan. The second way the authors suggested that books might provide benefit is by promoting empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, but this hypothesis remains untested.

     The authors conclude that “reading books provides a survival advantage due to the immersive nature that helps maintain cognitive status” and that “older individuals, regardless of gender, health, wealth or education, showed the survival advantage of reading books.” So regardless of the population of older adults being served, greater book reading should be encouraged. The authors note that individuals 65 and better spend an average of 4.4 hours per day watching television, and that study participants spent significantly more time reading periodicals than books. So one fruitful strategy would be to replace some TV and magazine/newspaper time with a good book.


By Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, Becca R. Levy

6 Foods to Eat (and Avoid) for Longevity

     The foods you choose - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish - can help you fend off life-shortening diseases and conditions.

     We aim to eat right for optimal health and to ward off debilitating, chronic diseases that can shorten our lifespan. Indeed, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are among the leading causes of death in the U.S., and diet can play a central role in promoting or preventing these diseases.


Eat your fruits and vegetables

     Given the recent press highlighting the science-based benefits of vegetarian and Mediterranean diets, including decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers, it should come as no surprise that eating patterns abundant in plant foods, like fruits and vegetables, offer the best dietary defense against chronic disease and premature death. This is not to say that animal foods need to be excluded; rather they ought to take up less space on our plates and be chosen wisely.


Beyond produce: other dietary disease fighters

     While there's little doubt fruits and vegetables promote health, there are other dietary disease fighters to put on the longevity plate as well: Whole grains, nuts, legumes and fatty fish have earned their place at the table, and here's why.

     Whole grains: "Eating more whole grains has been associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and some types of cancer," says Kate Marsh, Adv.A.P.D., C.D.E., Ph.D., nutrition expert at Northside Nutrition and Dietetics in Sydney, Australia, and author of a 2012 review on the health implications of vegetarian diets, published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

     How much to eat? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for making at least half of your grain foods whole grains. Six ounces of grain foods are recommended for a 2,000 calorie diet (the average calorie requirement for adults), thus at least three servings should come from whole grains.

     Nuts: "Regular nut consumption is linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, CVD and metabolic syndrome (a clustering of risk factors that raise the risk of CVD and diabetes)," Marsh tells EN. How much to eat? A 2005 review in the Journal of Nutrition concluded 50 - 100 grams (about 2 - 3.5 ounces) of nuts eaten most days of the week significantly reduced total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, which can help fend off life-shortening heart disease.

     Legumes: Marsh points to studies showing that bean eaters have a lower risk of developing CVD, diabetes and cancer. A 2004 analysis in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that bean consumption was a strong predictor of longevity in the elderly, and a 2013 review in the Journal of Medicinal Food supported a role for legumes in the prevention of cardiometabolic risk. How much to eat? A cup-and-a-half of cooked legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) per week is suggested for a 2,000 calorie diet by the USDA.


     Fatty fish: A wealth of research has found that regularly consuming fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon and trout high in omega-3 fatty acids, decreases the risk of heart disease death. Even better news, a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine this year reported that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with lower risk of death from all causes. How much to eat? The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of fish per week.


Foods that inhibit longevity

     While a plant-based diet has been shown to be protective, following a Western style diet can up your chances of chronic disease and premature death. The American Journal of Medicine revealed such findings in May, demonstrating that a steady intake of fried foods, sweets, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy does not bode well for longevity and quality of life in advanced age. With this in mind, EN takes a closer look at two aspects of the Western diet that have grabbed headlines recently due to their link to increased mortality.

     Red and processed meat: Both are linked to total cause mortality, but processed meats, such as salami, sausages, bacon, packaged lunch meats, and hotdogs - even in small amounts - carry a higher risk. Research published in the journal BMC Medicine in March 2013 found the risk started to be significantly increased among those who consumed more than 40 grams (about an ounce-and-a-half) a day, according to study author Sabine Rohrmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., head of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich. "Processed meats are higher in sodium than fresh meats and high sodium intake is a factor related to CVD," explains Rohrmann. Furthermore, the heme iron and nitrites in red and processed meats may form compounds that promote cancer.

     Sodium: This mineral stands out because of its connection to high blood pressure (hypertension), which elevates the risk for stroke and heart attack.

     Excessive salt intake is also linked to stomach and esophageal cancer. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, much of it from processed foods. This is well above the Dietary Guidelines recommendation of no more than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon of salt) for healthy adults 50 and under. Earlier this year, a report in the journal Hypertension estimated that a gradual sodium reduction over a 10-year period down to an average of 2,200 milligrams a day in the American diet would prevent up to half a million deaths.

     What's the bottom line on how to eat for a long, full life? Fill your plate with whole plant foods, eat fish at least twice a week, cut down on sodium, minimize red meat and avoid processed meats as much as possible.


By Andrea N. Giancoli

Regular Exercise—Along With Standing—Is the Key to Longevity

     Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Last year, 611,105 American men and women died from cardiovascular diseases. The annual financial price tag of coronary heart disease in the U.S. is $108.9 billion. Obviously, the emotional and psychological toll of cardiovascular disease cannot be measured in dollars and cents. 

     In recent decades, a wide range of studies have found that regular physical activity dramatically reduces a person's risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, only about half of U.S. adults meet the federally recommended guidelines of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous, high-intensity exercise. If you are someone who doesn't meet these guidelines, hopefully this blog post will inspire you to exercise more, sit less, and help you stay alive longer.


Regular Exercise Is Critical for Heart Health and Longevity

     A new report by the American College of Cardiology Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council (ECC) analyzed recent research and concluded that physical activity is an effective method of preventing heart disease. The January 2016 analysis was published in the The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

     According to the council, small amounts of physical activity—including standing—are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The ECC also found that larger doses of exercise can lead to an even greater reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular disease in a dose-dependent manner, up to a certain point.

     For this report, the researchers analyzed the volume and intensity of aerobic exercise required for favorable cardiovascular health. They also addressed the question of whether or not there is an amount of endurance aerobic exercise that might backfire and actually increase someone's risk of cardiovascular disease.

     The council concluded that moderate and vigorous intensity exercise in amounts lower than the 2008 Physical Activity Guideline recommendations can lower mortality risk in the broad population. In a press release, JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., said,

     "The evidence with regard to exercise continues to unfold and educate the cardiovascular clinical community. The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity, while the danger is twofold: to not exercise at all or to exercise intensely, without due preparation."


When It Comes to Exercise, More Is Not Necessarily Better

     The researchers found that increasing your amount of moderate intensity exercise reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, the cardiovascular mortality benefits from vigorous intensity exercise level off at a certain point. 

     The council concluded, “There is no evidence for an upper limit to exercise-induced health benefits and all amounts of both moderate and vigorous intensity exercise result in a reduction of both all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality compared to physical inactivity.”

     Based on my personal experience as a former ultra-endurance athlete, I can attest to the fact that more isn’t always better when it comes to endurance training or competitions. Although I managed to break a Guinness World Record by running 153.76 miles non-stop on a treadmill when I was 38, I retired after that event because it almost killed me. Exercising for 30-60 minutes, most days of the week, is great for your psychological and physical well-being, running non-stop for 24 hours is not.

     My personal experience of the potential backlash of too much intense exercise was corroborated by a recent New York Times article, “His Strength Sapped, Top Marathoner Ryan Hall Decides to Stop.” The author of this article, Lindsay Crouse, wrote:

     “Hall, 33, who was one of the last remaining hopes for an American front-runner in this summer’s Olympic marathon, is succumbing to chronically low testosterone levels and fatigue so extreme, he says, that he can barely log 12 easy miles a week.

     “Up to this point, I always believed my best races were still ahead of me,” said Hall, who has faced a series of physical setbacks since the 2012 London Olympics. “I’ve explored every issue to get back to the level I’ve been at, and my body is not responding. I realized that it was time to stop striving, to finally be satisfied and decide, ‘Mission accomplished.’”

     That said, the researchers still say that high volumes of aerobic exercise aren't nearly as bad for cardiovascular outcomes as no exercise at all. According to the council, "the possibility that too much exercise training could be harmful is worthy of investigation, but research results show that even for the very active, lifelong endurance athletes, the benefits of exercise training outweigh the risks."

     In a press release, Michael Scott Emery, M.D., co-chair of the ACC Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council, said, "The public media has embraced the idea that exercise may harm the heart and disseminated this message, thereby diverting attention away from the benefits of exercise as a potent intervention for the primary and secondary prevention of heart disease."


Standing Improves Your Heart Health

     One of the most interesting findings of the new report is that standing can also help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. How many hours a day would you estimate that you spend sitting? If you spend the majority of your day sitting, you are not alone.

     Sedentary behavior and a chronic lack of physical activity—also known as "sedentarism"—have become a national epidemic. The statistics on sedentarism are alarming. The average American sits for 11 hours a day. Sedentary lifestyles are related to $24 billion in direct medical spending. 20% of all deaths for people over age 35 are linked to physical inactivity and sedentarism.

     "Sitting is the new smoking," according to Dr. James Levine, of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative. Levine is the author of, Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, and the inventor of the treadmill desk. Levine believes that excessive sitting is a more serious public health problem than cigarette smoking. Luckily, the detriments of sedentarism can easily be remedied by standing up and becoming more active.


Conclusion: Sitting Less and Exercising More Reduces Heart Disease Risk

     I’ve dedicated my life to trying to find ways to motivate people from all walks of life to be more physically active. If you are currently sedentary or inactive, hopefully these findings will inspire you to be more active. My father died prematurely of a heart attack. Like the majority of Americans, my dad didn’t make exercise a priority and was sedentary during the final years of his life. I believe that too much sitting and not enough exercise was the leading cause of his death.

     I'm a 50-year-old parent of an 8-year-old daughter. My prime driving force and source of motivation to exercise regularly, and to sit less, is my daughter. I don't want to die young and leave her fatherless . . . like my father inadvertently abandoned me and my sisters. Regardless of whether or not you're a parent, staying alive for your family and loved ones can be a strong source of motivation to sit less and exercise more for anybody.

     From a healthcare provider standpoint, Emery concluded, "The available evidence should prompt clinicians to recommend strongly low and moderate exercise training for the majority of our patients. Equally important are initiatives to promote population health at large through physical activity across the lifespan, as it modulates behavior from childhood into adult life."


By Christopher Bergland
Social Engagement

Work Colleagues Drive Your Longevity

     One of my executive clients once told me that “if it wasn’t for the people, work would be easy”. He may be right, but it would also rob him of great rewards. In fact, it might even stunt his longevity!

     Several observations from the social and biological sciences inform our understanding of longevity. First, we know that a sense of purpose both prolongs life, and increases health and happiness. Next, we know that marriage, and social engagement with friends and family drive health and happiness, and increase longevity. But what about work? Do the many hours we spend slaving away help us to live longer?

     For the most part, people with a job, or who work for themselves, have a purpose, even a mission. This is good. But there is more to this answer. In 2011, researchers published the results of a study that followed the lives of almost 1000 workers over 20 years. They evaluated several work-related psycho-social factors for their impact on longevity. Of all the possible influences they explored, only peer social support had a positive impact. Those workers who reported greater peer support had significantly lower mortality rates. They lived longer.

     Based on this, and other science, my own choice is clear.

          1. I will work for as long as I can.

          2. I will give as much kindness and support as I am able to those around me at work. Not

              only is this good for me, but this research proves its good for them too.

          3. I will (try very hard to) be open to the kindness and support of my peers and

              colleagues. For many of us, particularly for givers, this one is difficult. We’re raised to

              prize independence, and often view reliance on others as a weakness. Not so, says the

              science! On the contrary. Mother Nature has designed us to benefit from their support.

              I will try harder!

     I hope that these insights help you to unlock a long, healthy, happy and productive future!


By Roddy Carter
Spirituality / Religion
Religion, Spirituality and Health
     Some of my most satisfying moments with patients have been our conversations about religion and spirituality, often beginning with questions like- How important would you say religion is in your life- very important, fairly important or not very important?
     This question was part of a 2012 Gallup poll which showed approximately 70% of Americans consider themselves moderately or very religious. An increasing number also describe themselves as believers unaffiliated with a particular denomination or religion (often described as “spiritual but not religious”).
     The religious and spiritual beliefs of doctors and patients can affect medical care and healthcare decision-making. Spiritual sensitivity is an important component of cultural sensitivity, which is an increasingly appreciated attribute of compassionate patient-centered care. Doctors are advised to include spiritual assessments in their history-taking and patient management. But when doctors and patients differ widely on religion and spirituality there can be undesirable consequences. Recent research shows that, compared to doctors who consider themselves deeply religious, atheist or agnostic doctors are almost twice as willing to make decisions they believe will hasten the end of a very sick patient’s life. Women seeking certain birth control or abortion options may find their views at odds with the religious beliefs of their physicians.
     Some studies show that religiosity and spirituality (R/S) have no impact on health, while others even show a negative impact. Yet the vast majority of research on R/S shows a beneficial impact on health. This inconsistency has been the source of considerable debate. Over time, the quality of research has improved and the importance of the topic has been widely acknowledged by patients, their physicians, the broader healthcare system and health professional education.
     Harold Koenig MD directs the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center. The Center is devoted to a rigorous examination of religion and spirituality as factors in health. Koenig and the Center reviewed the published literature on R/S through 2010. Their findings provide an important and impartial assessment of the state of the science on a subject that is both vital to the lives of many patients and doctors and fraught with conflicting personal views and beliefs.
     The majority of studies on the “positive” aspects of mental health showed a benefit for those who considered themselves at least moderately R/S. Hope, optimism, sense of well-being, meaning, purpose, self-esteem and sense of personal control all tended to be greater in those who self-described as moderately or highly R/S. The majority of studies on the ‘negative’ aspects of mental health found moderate or high levels of R/S were related to lower levels of depression, attempted or completed suicide and less alcohol and drug use or abuse.
     The majority of the research on social health found that greater R/S predicted less anti-social behavior, crime, delinquency, divorce, marital separation and spousal abuse. They also showed greater R/S was associated with more altruism (volunteering, donating to the needy), gratefulness, marital satisfaction, commitment, relationship cohesion, sexual fidelity, couples’ problem solving, forgiveness, community involvement, trust, membership in civic, political and social justice groups and school performance (GPA, graduation rates).
     Research on physical health tended to show that moderate to high levels of R/S were associated with healthier diet and exercise patterns, less smoking and coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure, less risky sexual behavior and lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Nevertheless, some studies showed higher blood pressure, including clinical hypertension.  Some studies showed healthier weights and some showed unhealthier weights. There were conflicting results from a small number of studies regarding the impact of R/S on strokes, carotid artery disease, dementia and cognitive impairment.
     Cancer and overall longevity are two topics of increasing concern to our aging population. Moderate to high R/S tends to be associated with greater longevity and a reduced incidence of cancer, its progression over time and long-term cancer survival. However, some studies show reduced longevity and a higher rate of cancer in the moderately to highly R/S.
     One of the most interesting areas of research involves the use of spirituality interventions (such as prayer, meditation, yoga and mindfulness) as non-drug complements to conventional treatment. There is some evidence that such interventions can lead to better cardiac surgery outcomes, better blood pressure control, healthier cardiovascular stress-related reactivity, better immune function and lower levels of stress hormones. There is also evidence that regular practice of techniques that evoke empathy and compassion can actually increase the size of brain areas involved in these activities.
     The Duke Center and Koenig’s review of several thousand studies performed through 2010 shows a definite tendency for a positive association between religion, spirituality and health. Some of the best of these studies have followed patients for up to 50 years. Hundreds of studies have studied large numbers of people from different population groups, giving these findings more scientific legitimacy. Studies including people from many religious backgrounds from most of the world’s countries have shown mostly positive associations. Critics of these studies point to poor study design, many studies with small numbers of patients and claims often made by researchers that are not supported by the data.
     It seems clear that religion and spirituality will receive increasing attention as we seek to create a health care system that is more humane and compassionate for patients, their families and health care providers.
     Let your doctor know if religion and spirituality are important to you or your family. It might make a tremendous difference in your relationship with your physician and in your experience of health and illness.

By John A. Patterson MD MSPH FAAFP

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