The ABCs of Health
All year long in this Living Well column we bring you expert voices on pertinent topics throughout the health care field. This month we recap with the ABC’s of Health, brought to you by our panel of local experts.
rtist in Residence
For the person with dementia, the multi-sensory experience of expressive art unleashes a creative process that can energize, stimulate memory, and free emotions. The Artist in Residence program at Artisan Assisted Living and Memory Care offers residents an opportunity to rekindle memories from the past by making art. “A growing body of evidence shows through careful choice of media, art making can restore memory and profoundly improve a sense of well-being,” says Cindy Senke. “Individuals with dementia face loss of independence and verbal skills. Through expressive art, they can draw upon remaining strengths and communicate their unique stories.”
At Wisconsin Fertility Institute, sixty- to ninety-minute new patient consultations supplemented by extensive pre-visit online evaluations ensure your care plan is perfectly tailored to you, whether you’re seeking fertility options or you suffer from conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, chronic pelvic pain, or abnormalities of the vagina, cervix and uterus. “Our goal is not to maximize our statistics, but to treat each of our patients to the best of our ability,” say Drs. David Olive and Elizabeth Pritts, who specialize in Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology. “Even some gynecologists aren’t aware there are corrective measures for some of these conditions.”
ommunity for Seniors
Every day more than fifty thousand Wisconsin seniors wake up in assisted living communities and have an active, engaging day in a safe, caring and life-enriching environment. “For many seniors who can no longer reside at home, an assisted living community is the absolute best, safest and most satisfying option,” says Senke. “At Artisan Memory Care, we find that many families choose assisted living to ensure loved ones enjoy nutritious meals, new friends, activities and individualized personal care. That’s why ninety-three percent of residents nationwide say they’re satisfied with the assisted living community in which they live.”
onor Egg Program
Donor egg programs have been in existence around the country for more than twenty-five years. “At Wisconsin Fertility Institute, we have offered egg donation as a service since we opened,” says Pritts. “Two staff members, our donor coordinator and a nurse practitioner are solely dedicated to working directly with egg donors and intended parents to provide high quality care, compassion, and instructions as donors and intended parents undergo the process.”
orging A Dental Team
It takes a village to provide excellent dental care, and that’s what Dental Health Associates has believed since 1969. “The concept of dentists joining together provides many benefits for both patients and practitioners,” says Dr. Chad Schwitters. “The model affords peer review, shared consultation and a comprehensive approach to care.” Now DHA offers periodontics, orthodontics and pedodontics in addition to general dentistry, with more than twenty-five dentists and auxiliary staffing of more than two hundred employees across six locations in and around Madison.
o! Get Out
Physicians Plus founded the GO! Get Out Campaign in 2005 as a way to encourage families and children to lead more healthy and active lifestyles. The campaign provides families with fun, health-focused events and gives incentives to combat the increasing rate of childhood obesity. “During the winter months, kids tend to be less active. Our Polar Dash event gives kids a chance to have fun outside while exercising at the same time,” says Dr. Larry Kay. “Our GO! Get Out events are fun for the entire family and a great way to start getting kids to be more active.”
eart Health For Women
Four out of five women ages forty to sixty have at least one risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women. Many risk factors contribute to heart disease including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and family history. “That’s why at Meriter Women’s HeartCare, we do a full assessment to determine your risk and work together on the next steps,” says Dr. Melissa Grimm. “It’s a team approach, including a physician, dietitian, exercise physiologist and health psychologist. We’ll be there every step of the way to help you make lasting changes in diet, exercise and overall lifestyle, to help you take care of your heart and yourself.”
nsurance Reform For Women
Health care reform means big changes in women’s health, especially when it comes to preventive care. Yearly well-woman visits, gestational diabetes screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, breast feeding supplies and abuse counseling are now all covered by health insurance, making it much more affordable for women to take care of themselves than in the past. “At Physicians Plus we go beyond these,” says Linda Hoff. “We offer wellness programs like CSA memberships, stress management, and smoking cessation to help our members be proactive with their health.”
oining With Kids
YMCA of Dane County serves eighteen thousand kids across twenty-four communities with dozens of youth programs, including Let’s Get Moving, Healthy Kids Cooking, and Ready, Set Go! Marathon (run twenty-six miles, read twenty-six books, perform twenty-six acts of service.) The Y5210 program reminds kids daily to implement five servings of fruits and veggies, two hours or less screen time, one hour physical activity and zero consumption of sugar or sweetened drinks. “We want people of all ages to come into the Y feeling like they’re a part of something,” says Sharon Baldwin. “Not just to join a gym, but feel a part of a community.”
ife Story Book Storytelling
Sharing treasured memories through storytelling preserves advice, wisdom, wit and humor for generations to come. It’s not merely a recollection of the past—it’s an essential part of the future and a critical component to healthy living. That’s why Artisan Assisted Living and Memory Care created Life Story Book for its residents. “For the person with dementia, creating a Life Story Book with significant photos and mementos becomes not only a bridge to the past, but a connection to the present,” says Senke. “The journey of Alzheimer’s brings periods of anxiety and confusion. Reminiscing with visual stimulation can be life-affirming and therapeutic.”
All women will need a mammogram at some point; it’s the most effective way to find breast cancer when it is early and most treatable, long before noticeable with a self-exam. Seek a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age forty—earlier if you have a strong family history or other high-risk factors. “Even though the idea of a new test can make some women anxious, it’s a very easy exam,” says Grimm, who offers screening mammography at Meriter Monona clinic. “It only takes about thirty minutes, and a technologist will be there the whole time to answer any questions and make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.”
ot Just A Gym
Being healthy means more than simply being physically active; it’s also about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body. Likewise, the YMCA is more than a gym; it’s a cause—dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
“From exercise to education, from volleyball to volunteerism, from preschool to preventive health, the Y doesn’t just strengthen our bodies. It strengthens our community,” says Baldwin. “It’s not about the activity you choose as much as it is about the benefits of living healthier on the inside as well as the outside.”
Plagued by “Tyrannosaurus Rex Syndrome” from hunching long-necked over your computer all day? There’s a class for that, and more. Office Stretching, Nail Art Extravaganza and Acne! What You Can Do to Prevent and Treat It are three classes in Kneaded Relief’s new Wellness Series for 2013. “We have a dedicated wellness classroom and wanted to add classes to complement our spa services and fitness roster,” says Nichol Harvey. “We want our guests to not only come to us for help, but to teach them so they can go home and help themselves as well.”
Palliative (pal-lee-uh-tiv) care is supportive physical and emotional care for people with serious illnesses. It addresses discomfort, symptoms and stress so they can feel better and cope better. “Agrace’s in-home palliative care consultations identify the medical, emotional and social issues that need to be addressed to improve the patient’s quality of life,” says Patricia Lohr. Palliative care can help manage patients’ troubling symptoms, as well as side effects related to treatments.
uestions On Fertility
Each month, the specialists at Wisconsin Fertility Institute hold evening seminars about conception, infertility treatment, pregnancy and more. The doctors take turns presenting information and options, and answering questions in an informal and supportive setting on topics such as “So, You Want to Have a Baby” and “Infertility 101.” Free and open to the public, each seminar offers a wealth of information about specific aspects of infertility treatment and options. Visit their website at wisconsinfertility.com for a list of scheduled seminars and topics.
There’s a big difference between therapeutic massage and relaxing massage; while Kneaded Relief Day Spa provides both, it has always specialized in therapeutic massage. “It’s obviously very different from those long, relaxing strokes, and it’s deep tissue, not deep pressure,” says Harvey. “We work deep into the muscular tissue to get rid of adhesions and work out lactic-acid buildup in knots. It’s really spot-specific trigger-point work, and it can make a world of difference.”
“Living with a serious illness can be a stressful challenge,” says Lohr. “You may struggle to stay comfortable, even with multiple treatments and medications.” After thirty-five years as the Dane County community’s nonprofit hospice, Agrace’s new palliative care services make it possible to improve patients’ quality of life at any point in a serious illness, not only in their final months. With Agrace’s Care Navigation program, those with chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, dementia or MS get help with coordinating medical appointments, communicating with doctors and twenty-four-hour nurse phone support.
Personal training may have become a big industry over the past decade, but Duke Harvey has been at it for thirty years. A state-ranked competitive bodybuilder for several years in a row, Harvey stopped competing when he opened Kneaded Relief Day Spa and Wellness Center with now-wife Nichol in 1997. “Duke not only has all of this professional experience, he has the background in massage as well, making him a very well-rounded trainer,” says Nichol. “He really knows the muscles, how they work and what triggers them. He’s also very tuned in to the mind-body connection when it comes to personal training.”
nderstanding Dental Insurance Options
Momentum Insurance offers individual and group plans for dental insurance, but many employers are unaware that a third, cost-effective option exists for providing coverage to employees. “We’re really seeing a lot of interest from employers in our voluntary plan, where the employer doesn’t contribute to the cost but rather takes deductions directly from pay, often on a pre-tax basis,” says Kathleen Bobholz-Rewey. “This gives the employee access to a better plan than they’d be able to get on their own.”
Recent studies show a strong correlation between volunteering and health, claiming those who volunteer have lower depression and mortality rates. More than one thousand people currently find volunteering opportunities at Agrace, a rewarding challenge that makes a powerful impact in the lives of patients with serious illnesses and their families. Opportunities to help include providing cherished companionship to patients, as well as engaging in activities like tending Agrace’s gardens or baking pies in the Doc Rock Café. Agrace’s volunteer coordinators work with each prospective volunteer to a find role that fits their goals and talents and leaves them with a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
orking Out While Pregnant
Working out may not be appealing when pregnant, but its benefits include relief from swelling, leg cramps, back pain, insomnia or fatigue, and less weight gain. “Low-impact, gentle exercises are safest. Yoga, with its emphasis on stretching, breathing and slower movements is a good choice,” says Dr. Kristen Sharp. “Walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing and other moderate exercises are also safe for most pregnant women.” But not every exercise is fit for two. Stay away from sit-ups and other on-your-back activities, which can reduce blood flow to baby.
X-rays are a critical component to dental health care, with benefits such as detecting cavities, gum disease and bone loss, so that treatment can begin right away. The Dental Health Associates team utilizes the latest in digital technology when X-raying your teeth. “This results in a more environmentally friendly option without the use of harmful chemicals to develop film,” says Schwitters. “It’s also a less time-consuming experience for patients with our instant computer viewing and reduced exposure to radiation via digital images.”
So much more than physical activity, yoga relieves stress, builds strength, improves flexibility, posture and alignment, and incorporates the mind, body and spirit through poses, breathing and relaxation. YMCA of Dane County offers its members a wide range of yoga options, including Yoga Flow, Power Yoga, Yogalates, Yoga for Bigger Bodies and Restorative Yoga. “The YMCA really listens to what the community wants and needs, and then we respond by providing programs like these,” says Baldwin. “Not just yoga, for example, but all different kinds of yoga to suit all of the different members of our community.”
one In On Insurance Options
Biannual dental check-ups are critical to maintaining health, and Momentum Insurance offers competitive rates with many dentists. The American Dental Association recommends a minimum of two dental checkups each year, so that patients receive professional cleaning and management of any developing conditions. Adhering to this recommendation can help your dentist stop dental disease in its earliest stages, protecting your smile and limiting your expense. “Flexible plan options leave you with a lot to consider,” says Bobholz-Rewey. “Momentum makes it easy to navigate your choices to select the plan that is right for you.”
Panel of Local Experts
Artisan Assisted Living and Memory Care
Dr. David Olive And
Dr. Elizabeth Pritts
Wisconsin Fertility Institute
Dr. Chad Schwitters
Dental Health Associates of Madison
Dr. Larry Kay
Chief Medical Officer for Physicians Plus
Dr. Melissa Grimm
President & CEO,
Physicians Plus Insurance Corp
Senior Director of Marketing &
Healthy Living, YMCA of Dane County, Inc.
Owner, Kneaded Relief Day Spa & Wellness
Nurse Practitioner, Agrace
Dr. Kristen Sharp
Momentum Insurance Plans, Inc.