April 07, 2020

Health news

Annual Memory Walk

BANGOR – The Maine Alzheimer’s Association will hold its annual Memory Walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at Bangor Raceway, Bass Park, to help raise awareness and funds to support local programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Preregistration is encouraged.

The statewide fundraising goal is $320,000.

To register for the Memory Walk, to make a donation or to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.mainealz.org or call 942-7336 to request a brochure.

Working with seniors and people with disabilities

BREWER – The Disability and Aging Services Network will sponsor a conference, “Building Customer Service: Working with Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Jeff’s Catering.

The conference will focus on the tools and methods for helping seniors and individuals with a disability in the workplace or waiting room, out in the community, at a store, in a doctor’s office, in the grocery store or at work.

Targeted to professionals and lay people who would like to learn more about serving seniors and those with disabilities, the conference will highlight tips for the retail, service and social service industries.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Elizabeth DePoy and Dr. Stephen Gilson, educators in the disability field. Lesa Andreasen, a consultant and trainer experienced in state disability and aging policy and programs, also will speak at the conference.

Afternoon panel presentations will address issues faced by seniors, those with cognitive disabilities, and those with physical disabilities.

Registration is $25 a person or $100 for five individuals from the same organization.

The Disability and Aging Services Helpline is a collaborative pilot project funded by the Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve awareness of and access to long-term supports for older adults, adults with disabilities, and caregivers.

Members include Eastern Agency on Aging, United Way of Eastern Maine, 211 Maine Inc., Acadia Hospital, Alpha One, Amicus, Brain Injury Association of Maine, Bangor Health and Welfare, Community Health and Counseling Services, DHHS Adult Protective Services, DHHS Office of Integrated Access and Support, DHHS Office of Elder Services, DHHS Region III, Eastern Maine AIDS Network, Kindred Healthcare, Maine Alzheimer’s Association, Muskie School, New England Home Health Care, Penobscot Community Health Center, Penquis CAP, Regional Medical Center of Lubec, Rosscare-Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems’ Center for Healthy Aging, RSVP-University of Maine Center on Aging, UM Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program, Senior Sense Program-UM Center on Aging, Spruce Run, UM Center on Aging, and Warren Center for Communication and Learning.

For information on the DASH Network or the conference, call Jamie Comstock at United Way of Eastern Maine, 941-2800, or e-mail jamiec@unitedwayem.org.

Bone marrow donors

ORONO – Nathan Cunningham, 31, an electrical engineering student at the University of Maine who works at the Veterans Affairs Office there, is in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Several months ago he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease that affects the production of blood cells. The good news is that Cunningham has found two bone marrow donor matches that will enable him to go forward with the transplant.

A co-worker, Tammy Light, and other staff in the student records office asked how they could help Cunningham, and he asked them to organize a bone marrow registration drive to help others needing bone marrow transplants.

Testing for registration costs $52, but Light and her co-workers have received funding from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to allow any student with a MaineCard to register without paying the fee. Light also is raising funds so that those who can’t afford the fee may be tested and become enrolled in the registry.

Those age 18-60 may qualify for the registry. The test is simple – a swab of the inside of the cheek. For details about testing and more information, visit www.dfci.org/how.donatebone/eligibility-requirements.asp.

Those who wish to make a financial contribution should mail donations to: The Nathan Cunningham Bone Marrow Registration Drive, c/o Tammy Light, University of Maine, Office of Student Records, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono 04469.

Gift shop volunteers

BANGOR – The St. Joseph Hospital Auxiliary is seeking volunteers to work at Helen’s Gift Shop, located in the hospital’s Broadway lobby.

The gift shop is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers work two-hour shifts based on their availability. For information, contact Bertha Mahon, gift shop volunteer coordinator, at 941-2404.

The auxiliary holds several fundraising activities throughout the year and oversees the operation of Helen’s Gift Shop. Proceeds from the gift shop and the group’s many fundraisers benefit St. Joseph Healthcare.

Reducing restraints

BANGOR – The Acadia Hospital was notified recently that a paper titled “Reducing Mechanical Restraints in Acute Psychiatric Care Settings Using Rapid Response Teams” will be featured in the BriefReport section of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.

“The paper focused on how we reduced one of the most risky procedures in behavioral health – restraining someone to prevent them from hurting themselves or someone else,” said the main author of the paper, Dr. David Prescott, the hospital’s administrator of psychology services.

Other staffers who contributed to the authorship of the paper are Marilyn Dennis, Dr. Paul Tisher, Carrie Wingate, Dan Johnson, Marcia Bean, Wayne Steller, Rick Redmond, Dr. Eric Kuntz, Bill Wypyski, Dottie Hill and Lynn Madden.

Rx coverage grant

BANGOR – Penquis CAP is one of 10 organizations statewide that was awarded a grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation to make prescription medications more accessible and affordable.

The $178,000 grant will fund a three-year initiative to help people in the Bangor area overcome barriers to receiving necessary medications, and help patients, particularly those who are uninsured or medically under-served, better understand and manage their medication.

The Bangor Medication Assistance Program is a collaboration of Penquis CAP, Eastern Maine Healthcare, the Bangor Health and Welfare Department, Community Health and Counseling Services, the Eastern Agency on Aging, and Penobscot Community Health Center.

Using a database software tool, coalition members will help uninsured and medically underserved residents of the Bangor area complete and submit applications for free or reduced-cost prescription medications, monitor the status of applications, and track refills and renewals.

“Individuals are often faced with making tough decisions about which medications to take based on what they can afford, and which basic needs will be neglected in order to pay for prescriptions,” said Cheri Snow, deputy department director for Penquis CAP.

“Individuals who don’t qualify for MaineCare or Medicare Part D prescription plans are particularly affected,” she said. “Even those who qualify for Medicare Part D are faced with the ‘doughnut hole’ issue,” a lack of coverage for medication spending that occurs between $2,250 and $5,100, Snow said.

Those expected to benefit most from the Bangor Medication Assistance Program are seniors, low-income residents, those with severe and prolonged mental illness, families, caregivers and those who cannot afford prescribed treatment due to lack of or limited prescription drug coverage, such as underinsured employees of local businesses.

To learn more, call Cheri Snow at Penquis CAP at 973-3571 or (800) 215-4942.

Depression screening

BANGOR – Licensed therapists Martha Williams and Rori Knott will offer free screenings for depression 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, and 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at 18 State St. For information, call 942-6363.

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