A Loving Touch - Elderly couple embraces

Photo Contest Showcases Moments of Joy, Dignity for Seniors

By | Featured News

Beauty is often found in the quietest moments.

The National Council on Aging held a photo contest for its Age + Action Virtual Conference. The contest encouraged photographers from all over the country to submit photos depicting people enjoying their advanced years and awarded prizes to some of the most impactful submissions.

The photos showcased seniors in moments of joy, companionship and quiet dignity.

The winning photo was titled A Loving Touch, and featured a black and white image of an elderly interracial couple sharing a tender moment.

“The judges chose this photo because of its artistry, poignancy, sensitivity, and dignity,” said Ken Bracht, NCOA chief marketing and business development officer.

The second-place photo, titled Grandma Quality Time, showed a toddler and her grandmother sharing a chocolate milkshake. Other honorees included On the Bench, a photo of several older men sharing a laugh in the park, and One Day Like the Next, which depicted a man watching television in a cozy, cluttered living room.

You can see the NCOA’s entire gallery here.

Photo Credit: Allan Mestel

See More

Click this box to see the National Council on Aging’s full gallery.

A worker loads fans into a client's car

With Cooling Centers Closed, Fan Campaign Offers Refuge from Heat

By | Fan Campaign, Featured News, Uncategorized

The city of Columbus has decided to keep its community centers and public libraries closed amid coronavirus concerns. In a normal summer, these spaces are designated as “cooling centers,” where people without air-conditioned homes can wait out the hottest hours of the day.

People who in the past relied on cooling centers will need to find new ways to stay safe during summer heat waves.

For the past two decades, LifeCare Alliance has been committed to keeping central Ohioans cool with its “Beat the Heat” Fan Campaign, a service which provides unused box fans to people in need of assistance cooling their homes. Drive-through fan distributions are held at 670 Harmon Ave. Call the LifeCare Alliance Fan Hotline (614-437-2870) to learn when the next fan distribution is scheduled.

Fan donations can be made at any Franklin County fire station or at 670 Harmon Ave, Columbus, OH 43223.

Here are 10 tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from extreme heat:

  1. Check on neighbors and loved ones you know don’t have air conditioning, especially those who spend most of their time at home.
  2. Drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages.
  3. Close blinds on windows facing the sun.
  4. Never leave people or animals in enclosed vehicles.
  5. Spend time on the lowest level of your home. Basements can be a great place to wait out extreme heat.
  6. Avoid large, protein rich meals which can increase metabolic heat, eat smaller meals more often.
  7. Avoid strenuous outdoor exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  8. Keep buckets or basins filled with cool water to soak your feet in, take cold showers and baths and use towels soaked in cold water to keep cool.
  9. Avoid sunburn, as it makes it more difficult for your body to dissipate heat.
  10. Make sure pets have adequate access to water and shade. Before giving your pet exercise on a paved surface, check with your palm to see if the pavement is too hot for their sensitive paws.
Woman walking dogs

Healthy Habits Can Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s

By | Featured News

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging identified five healthy habits which together can drastically reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. The study done on 3,000 aging Americans found that people who practice at least four of these five habits are 60 percent less likely to contract Alzheimer’s than people who practice one habit or less.

Researchers looked for these healthy lifestyle factors among subjects of the study:

  • Exercising 150 minutes a week: Among the benefits of staying active are improved disease management, mood, and strength. Exercising is even known to help with balance, helping to prevent falls and fractures.
  • Light-to-moderate alcohol use: Alcoholism can be particularly dangerous for elderly people. In addition to increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s, heavy alcohol use makes older people vulnerable to liver problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
  • Being a non-smoker: Alzheimer’s has been linked to vascular issues which can be caused by tobacco use. Smoking can also cause oxidative stress linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
  • Eating a high-quality diet: The NIA recommends the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. The MIND diet is built on foods which decrease the loss of brain function caused by aging. Staples of the MIND Diet include berries, leafy greens and fish.
  • Doing intellectually engaging activities: Reading books, playing games and making crafts are a few examples of activities that can decrease older people’s risk of Alzheimer’s.

“This population-based study helps paint the picture of how multiple factors are likely playing parts in Alzheimer’s disease risk,” said Dallas Anderson, Ph.D., program director in the Division of Neuroscience at NIA. “It’s not a clear cause-and-effect result, but a strong finding because of the dual data sets and combination of modifiable lifestyle factors that appear to lead to risk reduction.”

The NIA is funding over 230 clinical trials on Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, including 111 non-pharmaceutical trials focused on finding dementia interventions related to sleep, exercise, diet and more. Those interested in participating in an NIA funded study can find more information here.

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Attitude of Gratitude

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

I have had this article on my mind for a while, and I just never put myself in front of the computer to write it. Then I got to see virtual Camp Hamwi in action, and I felt like the timing couldn’t be better.

So, let’s talk about how we practice gratitude!

Gratitude plays a huge part in my life. I have a gratitude journal that I have kept for close to two years, and I practice it daily. No matter how big or small, there will always be something to be grateful for every day.

When you have a child who is managing diabetes, it can be difficult sometimes to see those grateful moments. It is challenging to watch them get poked and prodded. It is heartbreaking to hear them say they wish they weren’t diabetic anymore. It is a test as a parent to have to tell them to come sit down and get their sugar up, instead of playing with their friends.

But what you see, expands. So, when you focus on the moments of gratitude, it just invites more moments to be grateful for!

I like to exercise my gratitude journal on our porch, where I can drink my coffee in the morning and start my days in a mindset thinking of good things to come! One weekend, Logan asked if he could join me. Of course, I said yes, because, MELT MY HEART, a quiet time to spend with my son sharing what we are grateful for…I’m all in!

On that Saturday morning, I shared my gratitude journal with him. I asked him to list three things he was grateful for. His list: family, friends, video games. Do you know how excited I was that video games were THIRD on the list?! That is a miracle! Then we sat for a few minutes enjoying the peace and quiet of the morning before he was done, and we moved on with the day. I LOVED THAT MORNING <3

Now I see SO much more to be grateful for with virtual camp! This has been an amazing two weeks for me as a parent to get a glimpse of how these children interact when they have the stigma of being “the kids with diabetes” pushed aside. I have learned so much. And I have such a list of people I am grateful for:

I am grateful for counselors who have the patience of saints! Logan talks a lot, and about randomly weird things. His counselors have been so patient and respectful of what is on his mind and the randomness that are his thoughts.

I am grateful for directors and CODA staffers who have worked COUNTLESS hours putting this camp together in very short time! They have put their hearts and souls into these two weeks, and it shows.

I am grateful for YOU, the other diabetes families who have adjusted your schedules and lives for two weeks for camp to be able to have your camper participate! I see so much engagement and fun being had! I t could not be done without some changes and sacrifices from families.

In the end, no day is perfect. But that doesn’t mean it is all a loss. How will you find gratitude and joy in your day each day and share that with your child?


Son's gratitude list of family, friends, and video games.

This blog post is PART SEVEN of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

A caregiver comforts her patient.

Pandemic Deals Additional Challenges to Caregivers

By | Featured News, Help-at-Home, Meals-on-Wheels

Taking care of aging loved ones can be challenging enough on its own, but taking care of them during a global pandemic? The past few months have left many volunteer caregivers looking for answers.

Here are a few tips to help you safely take care of your loved ones in the age of COVID-19:

Stay Informed

Follow the most recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health organizations like Columbus Public Health.

Minimize Risk of Exposure

People over the age of 65 make up eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths, so when caring for elderly loved ones it’s imperative that you take every precaution to keep yourself free from exposure. This can include limiting trips into the community, frequent handwashing, wearing masks, face coverings and gloves when necessary, and cleaning and disinfecting your home.

Manage Supplies

Acquire extra necessary medications and be sure to stock up on over-the-counter medications as well as common supplies like tissues and cough syrup. Keep your household well stocked with food to limit unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Monitor needed medical supplies related to your loved one’s condition or treatments.

Make Telehealth Appointments

If a wellness appointment for you or a loved one can be completed over the phone, telehealth appointments are your safest option. You can make telehealth appointments with LifeCare Alliance Wellness Center staff by calling 614-437-2878.

Report All COVID Symptoms

If you or your loved one are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, call your primary healthcare provider. If you don’t have a primary healthcare provider, call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-427-5634. In addition to other physical symptoms, people with dementia who contract COVID-19 can see increased confusion, increased agitation and sudden bouts of sadness.

Fight Boredom and Care for Yourself

Self-isolation can be a very difficult time for both you and the person you’re caring for. To fight boredom, try and schedule regular phone and video calls with other family members. Take breaks from reading, watching and listening to the news and make sure you each find time to do things you enjoy. You can also seek out a local caregiver support group like the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging to help you work through any feelings of stress or frustration.

Get Help if You Need It

If taking care of an aging or disabled loved one is too much at this time, LifeCare Alliance’s Help-at-Home program provides affordable, quality in-home care for people in Franklin and Madison counties. For more information call (614) 278-3130.

10tv News: Community Donates Fans to Help People Without AC Keep Cool

By | LifeCare Alliance in the News

Thanks to community donationsLifeCare Alliance has given away nearly 1500 fans this summerThese fans go to central Ohioans who don’t have access to adequate air conditioning. Fan recipients are often at extreme risk during heat waves because of advanced age, chronic medical conditions, or poverty 

LifeCare Alliance delivers fans directly through Meals-on-Wheels as well as weekly public drive-through fan distributions.  

Click here to read the full story. 

We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You: A Sincere Thank You to Our Emergency Funders

By | Featured News, Meals-on-Wheels
Note from a Meals on WHeels client

A note from a Meals-on-Wheels client illustrates the impact of LifeCare Alliance’s services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past four months since COVID-19 has taken hold, LifeCare Alliance has had to significantly alter its services to meet the changing needs within the community.

During the week of March 1-7, the Agency’s Meals-on-Wheels program served 15,439 meals through our Meals-on-Wheels program. In contrast, during the week of June 21-27, the Agency served 24,537 meals. LifeCare Alliance has experienced as much as a 65 percent increase in meals served, resulting from heightened client demand in all of the five counties we serve: Franklin, Madison, Champaign, Logan, and Marion. At the height of the pandemic, the Agency added as many as 500 new clients a day!

Most meal service starts within 24 hours of receiving the contact or referral. LifeCare Alliance continues to receive numerous requests for services daily, and the Agency accepts all those who qualify.

LifeCare Alliance didn’t meet this demand on our own, however; we have been incredibly fortunate to receive emergency-response funding from a number of generous corporate and community partners.

We would like to sincerely thank the following funders who have so generously partnered with us to keep our doors open during this unprecedented time of COVID-19:

  • American Electric Power Foundation
  • Battelle
  • Big Lots Foundation
  • City of Columbus
  • City of Columbus Recreation & Parks CARES Fund
  • Columbia Gas/NiSource
  • The Columbus Foundation
  • Columbus Jewish Foundation
  • Crane Group
  • CVS Health Foundation
  • Delta Dental Foundation
  • Fishel Foundation
  • Franklin County Emergency Food and Shelter Program & CARES Funding
  • Logan County Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • Madison County Emergency Food and Shelter Program & CARES Funding
  • First Merchants Bank
  • Franklin County Commissioners
  • Grange Insurance
  • Honda of America Foundation
  • Huntington Foundation
  • George J. Igel & Co. Inc.
  • IGS Foundation
  • Kokosing
  • The Legacy Fund
  • MAC AIDS Viva Glam Fund
  • Marion Rotary Foundation
  • Meals on Wheels America
  • Nationwide Foundation
  • Osteopathic Heritage Foundation
  • Quantum Health
  • United Way of Central Ohio
  • United Way of Logan County
  • United Way of North Central Ohio

And this is not even to mention the number of clients who contributed under difficult circumstances. LifeCare Alliance thanks all who helped continue the vision of the Agency’s founder, to “take care of those no one else pays any attention to.”

These funders have allowed the Agency to continue to serve the most vulnerable among us in a variety of ways. In addition to access to nourishing food, clients receive health and nutrition education and linkages to community resources and other LifeCare Alliance programs. Examples include the Senior PetCare program, which delivers pet food to the homes of clients, and the Beat the Heat Fan Campaign, which provides box fans during the hot summer months. The Agency advocates for client needs in the community and through relationships with local elected officials, promotes services through marketing and community outreach, and enriches community engagement by increasing and strengthening volunteer engagement.

With the emergency funds received, LifeCare Alliance also has been able to resume essential services that were initially closed as the pandemic ramped up.

  • The annual Beat the Heat Fan Campaign is underway, and the Agency is accepting fans to distribute weekly to clients in need.
  • The Central Ohio Diabetes Association will host summer camps virtually this year, from July 12-26.
  • The Columbus Cancer Clinic restarted regular mammograms as of May 18 and continues to be fully scheduled. The Groceries-to-Go Food Pantry, which serves CCC clients and their families, experienced a 53 percent increase in service numbers.
  • LA Catering has developed several “take out” options and new methods of delivering safe catering. Catering staff is taking reservations and can help with reopening needs.
  • Meals-for-Kids, a social enterprise, is now serving 22 daycare sites, representing more than 500 meals served per day. If all goes well, the Agency hopes to return to 60+ sites and more than 2,100 meals per day in the fall.
  • Project OpenHand-Columbus serves clients who are fighting HIV/AIDS. Many clients are self-isolating during this pandemic — some losing work because of it. COVID-19 has caused the emergency meal service to be needed at an increased rate. The number of clients served has doubled.
  • Senior PetCare continues to distribute food to almost 1,000 clients and provide veterinary care to pets in need.
  • Wellness has restarted several services, including staffing by registered nurses and registered dietitians at  community wellness centers across Franklin County.

In light of the increased client demand, the most remarkable achievement the Agency has accomplished is continuing to accept all clients in need, without a waiting list. This contrasts with a recent survey by Meals on Wheels America, which reports that 55 percent of programs nationally have increased their wait lists, with average increases of 26 percent. About 22 percent of programs’ wait lists have doubled, or more.

LifeCare Alliance is proud to be in this position, in large part because of the support of the partners mentioned above. LifeCare Alliance has received tremendous community support for emergency funding, but the Agency has not seen meal number increases slowing down. Clients will be the last group able to leave their homes as the pandemic subsides, so LifeCare Alliance anticipates this need will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Agency sincerely thanks the emergency funders for Nourishing the Human Spirit by going above and beyond to support LifeCare Alliance during this challenging time!

— By Crystal Kurzen, LifeCare Alliance

Box fans

NBC 4: LifeCare Alliance Fan Campaign Cools off Columbus

By | LifeCare Alliance in the News

LifeCare Alliance’s summer fan campaign supplies fans to central Ohioans in desperate need of in-home coolingMeals-on-Wheels drivers deliver fans to home bound people in addition to public drive-through fan distributions.  

During an early July heat wave, fans can be a valuable tool for keeping senior citizens and other venerable people safe and comfortable.  

Read more here.

Teenagers Provide Comfort To Seniors In Isolation With Joy4All Project

By | Featured News

When COVID-19 sent the world into isolation, a group of high school students from Calgary, Canada, developed a service to help brighten the lives of lonely seniors.

The Joy4All Project is a youth-led project that allows people to call a hotline (1-877-JOY-4ALL) to hear pre-recorded messages of positivity. Callers have the choice of listening to stories, jokes, poetry, and other kind messages from the voices of children and young people. Project coordinator Katie Mahon told CNN in April that the hotline received more than 1,800 calls before it had finished its first week.

“Our goal is to keep everyone engaged and happy during these tough times, especially the people who are helping the cause by self-isolating,” reads the organization’s website. “We thank them for making this sacrifice for us, and want to help them get through this time by giving them happiness and a sense of belonging.”

The Joy4All Project crowd-sources its messages and encourages creativity and supportive language in its submissions.  The project also manages Twitter and Instagram accounts that post positive messages, jokes and content from other Calgary social programs.

LifeCare Alliance understands how isolated some members of our community can be. Even before the pandemic, senior isolation has been a public health issue. For many LifeCare Alliance clients, the Meals-on-Wheels driver may be the only face-to-face interaction they have with a person on a typical day. Volunteers are essential for combatting senior isolation because the smile and kind words they provide are valued and appreciated.

July 11, 2020, is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. For anyone in need, the Joy4All Project may offer a spark of happiness.