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Barbara Summers has been working as a home services aide for the TREHAB Center in Montrose for some 20 years – almost as long as TREHAB has offered these services to elderly and disabled residents of Susquehanna County. During this time she has seen many of her clients (called “consumers” in the official lingo of the program funding sources) come and go, but she remembers them all and has some great stories to tell. She’s also a true believer in her calling as an aide, helping allow disabled/elderly persons to remain at home instead of being warehoused in a nursing home.
Among TREHAB’s Personal Care Aide staff (l-r) are: standing, – Linda Boraski, Virginia Daire, Stacy Gana, Bonnie Forthman, Theresa Maino, Lisa Wojtkowski, Barbara Summers; seated, – Doreen Moat, Margaret Morales, Carrie Lurie. Absent when photo was taken were personal care aides Kathleen Connor, Helen Perkins, Helene Spoor.
Referrals come through the Susquehanna County Area Agency on Aging. TREHAB’s program director, Cindy Shepherd, RN, assigns one of her aides to the new consumer. Then begins a relationship between the aide, the client and the family members involved in the care of their loved ones. The aide plays a vital role not only in the physical, but also the emotional well being of the consumer.
The home services aides must have training in all aspects of care and use of the equipment often needed by non-mobile clients, and they work with their director, Cindy Shepherd as well as with the Area Agecy on Aging case manager assigned to each consumer. Besides this more technical expertise, the aides may be assigned other duties, similar to what a family caregiver would provide: light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, bathing and grooming.
As a provider of home services to Susquehanna County, TREHAB has a long history, and the continuity of employment of personal care aides indicates the level of their personal involvement with and dedication to their consumers. As Barbara Summers says, “They (the clients) are waiting for us to come. They depend on us.”
According to Home Services Program Director Cindy Shepherd, the quality and compassionate care provided by the TREHAB Personal Care Aides allows elderly and disabled consumers to stay in their homes where they are comfortable, avoiding placement in a skilled nursing facility or a personal care home.
She adds, “Many consumers live alone and sometimes have no family members in the area, so the personal care aide might be the only person they see for weeks at a time. They build a trusting relationship with the personal care aide and are grateful to have someone help them on a regular, long-term basis. I feel blessed to be part of an agency that helps our elderly population with services that are truly needed and appreciated.”
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight; many people quit working to lose weight because they cannot seem to make it happen. Some people are just way too busy to go to the gym or make a well balanced, low-fat, calorie conscious dinner when they come home exhausted from a long day’s work.
Fortunately, eating low fat dairy products may help you lose weight. There has been an ongoing study of dairy products playing an important role in the loss of some unwanted weight. How, some of you may ask. A study was done with overweight adults; they were put on a low-calorie diet with an increased intake of low-fat milk. These adults had wonderful outcomes. Increasing your intake of dairy products helps weight loss, helps reduce obesity and risk of osteoporosis, and minimizes the loss of lean body tissue. Plus, don't forget milk and other dairy products contain calcium for strong bones and teeth. Some simple adjustments in your eating habits, such as substituting a soda for a low fat smoothie, a refreshing glass of low fat milk, or having a piece of reduced fat cheese with a cracker or two instead of a cookie would be some helpful steps towards increasing your intake of dairy. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are three nutrient rich foods, so remember to get your 3-A-Day by enjoying dairy products.
The Rev. and Mrs. Carl Batzel, Susquehanna, PA, announce the engagement of their daughter, Hanni Marie Batzel, to Joseph Brian Stoklosa. The future bridegroom is the son of James and Cynthia Stoklosa, Williamsville, NY.
Hanni Marie and Joseph Brian
Having met at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, Hanni’s pathway of education began in Susquehanna Community School District, continued at the University of Pennsylvania, and now, after two years of medical school, finds her on a leave of absence to staff a one-year leadership position on communicable diseases in Global Health’s offices in Washington, D.C.
On a different track, Joey’s educational pathway began in the Buffalo area, led through the University of Rochester, and this spring, he graduates from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and is eagerly anticipating his residency program.
An April 14 wedding is planned in Pittsburgh at St. Catherine’s of Sweden.
The PA Northeast No-till Conference in Harford, PA on February 7 was a success. Farmers and agency representatives attended from several counties. The Conference was very informative, having several knowledgeable speakers, various agency displays, and a panel of no-till farming experts who answered questions and shared their experiences with no-till crop raising techniques.
The no-till system seeks to minimize soil erosion and increase harvest by planting directly into soil without tillage, and by growing a crop to cover the field and stabilize the soil after harvest. The organic matter left on the field shields the soil from erosion as mulch and provides food for beneficial soil organisms, especially earthworms.
After an introduction by Chesapeake Bay Technician, Charlie Miller, NRCS District Conservationist, Bruce Baessler, announced the Susquehanna Conservation District’s cost-share program for planting no-till fall cover crops using one of the District’s No-till Seeders. With Chesapeake Bay Program funding, the District will pay $10 per acre out of the $12.50 per acre cost of renting one of the no-till seeders to plant fall cover crops on at least 8 acres of land. With this kind of incentive, the value of no-till is multiplied yet again.
The first speaker was USDA-NRCS Soil Scientist, Randy Raper, who conducts agricultural soil research for the USDA at the Auburn University Soil Research facility in Alabama. Randy spoke about soil compaction, how it occurs, how to avoid it, and ways to undo soil compaction to some extent. The wetter a field is the more susceptible it becomes to compaction. By not tilling, the soil structure becomes less compactable, allowing earlier access to farm equipment in the spring with less risk of creating a hardpan layer that restricts the growth of plant roots. The deeper a soil is tilled, the more carbon content is lost to gasification. With the no-till system, carbon levels remain high, promoting healthy soil ecology, which saves money by increasing natural fertility and crop disease resistance.
Joel Myers, former USDA-NRCS State Agronomist, spoke about the no-till system and incorporating manure into the soil. Various types of farm equipment is available to improve the efficiency of manure fertilization, including equipment used for injecting manure into the soil to help prevent loss of nitrogen into the air or in surface runoff and the use of a drag hose to minimize compaction.
According to Jeff McClellan, Coordinator for the PA No-till Alliance, the no-till system promotes the health of the soil, resulting in better crop yields. As decomposers break down the organic matter in soil, plant nutrients are released in forms ready for uptake. Tillage upsets the balance of fungi to bacteria. Bacteria thrive for a short period of time after tillage, using available carbon to grow and converting organic matter into plant nutrients rapidly. Much of this fertility is lost to the air and water. Beneficial fungi thrive under the no-till system since tillage breaks up the fungal network in the soil. In a soil ecosystem where the fungal network is allowed to thrive, plants will also thrive. The beneficial fungi provide sustained soil fertility, bring water and phosphorous to plant roots, and strengthen disease resistance in crops.
Contact your local County Conservation District to find out about specialized no-till planting and seeding equipment available for rent at low cost to assist anyone interested in transitioning to the no-till system.
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