2 02 0 E D I T I ON
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AGING IN PLACE
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B aby boomers are retiring healthier and more active than people ever have before. And as WVU alumni and local retirees- to-be consider where to spend their golden years, they’re finding Morgantown has a lot to offer. The cul- turally rich lifestyle we have here, with plenty of outdoor recreation, is just the thing for healthy aging. Read on to see the events and activities we enjoy here every day in a new light and maybe learn about a few new ones. From a senior’s perspec- tive, there are also things we could improve. Most of our neighborhoods don’t have sidewalks—still. Our hous- ing is on the expensive side, and we lack the one-level patio homes that are con-
setting up computers. We’re about halfway through the baby boomer retirement wave, time-wise—boomers turn 65 from roughly 2011 through 2029—but numer- ically, it doesn’t crest for a few more years. If Morgan- town made it a priority to boost its age-friendliness, these would be some worth- while additions. You won’t find mention of COVID-19 in these pages. Several vaccines are just around the corner as we go to print, and no one knows yet what the local distribu- tion plan will be. We decid- ed in this issue to evoke the COVID-free Morgantown to come, where all of us, and especially our seniors, can safely enjoy everything our university city has to offer. Looking forward to rubbing shoulders with you in 2021—
venient for seniors who want to age in place. We also don’t have the kind of cooperative village member- ship organization that lets seniors “age in community” by taking care of challenges like furniture moving and MORGANTOWN SENIOR RESOURCES Greater Morgantown PAM KASEY, Editor
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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WVU (OLLI) olliatwvu.org West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services wvseniorservices.gov West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care wvendoflife.org
Convention and Visitors Bureau visitmountaineercountry. com Senior Monongalians seniormons.org AARP of West Virginia states.aarp.org/west-virginia
Exotic Jungle Pet Superstore Winner last six years “Best Local Pet Store” 1716 Mileground Road | 304.296.8552 | Mon-Sat 10–6 Sun 10–5 curb-side pickup available | full line supplies | pets too
2 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
volume 10 • issue 2
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In This Issue 5 A Great Place to Retire Morgantown has a lot of what seniors want and need. 6 Aging Well in Morgantown
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26 Hear This
Coming in 2022: Heritage Place.
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27 Eat This
Healthy eating changes as we age.
There are plenty of ways to stay mentally, physically, and socially active here.
28 Know This
State-of-the-art care at WVU Medicine’s new Memory Care Clinic.
MORGANTOWN is published by New South Media, Inc. Frequency of publication is subject to change without notice. Double issues may be published, which count as two issues. We reserve the right to substitute gifts of equal or greater value. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the publisher. © 2020 NEW SOUTH MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
18 Love This
Free legal help for seniors.
20 Eat This No Morgantown senior need ever go hungry. 22 Try This Live at home longer with a little planning. 24 Do This Don’t put the hard conversations off.
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4 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
A GREAT PLACE TO RETIRE Morgantown has a lot of what seniors want and need.
THE GOOD STUFF Compared with other small Eastern university cities in MarketWatch ’s clever online “Where's the best place for me to retire?” tool, Morgantown has a lot going for it: LOWER COST of living than State College, Pennsylvania MORE INTIMATE SIZE than Lexington, Kentucky MORE COMFORTABLE summers than Athens, Georgia It compares most closely with Blacksburg, Virginia—a Forbes 2016 Best Place to Retire. Source: marketwatch. com/graphics/ best-place-to- retire/#division
sons to retire in a college town,” MarketWatch wrote in 2019. Theater, dance, art, concerts, and lectures are among the appeals cited—and of course, in Morgantown, that in- cludes Mountaineer sports. College towns are diverse, the publication observed; a delightfully international dining scene is just one way we benefit from that. And world-class whitewater, climbing, and other recre- ation are right nearby. A reasonable cost of living No one knows how long their nest egg needs to last. So while many people look forward to a sunny climate or daily walks on the beach in retirement, when they price it out, Morgantown’s affordability is appealing. The cost of living in the Morgantown metro area is 10 percent below the national average, according to online calculators. College towns in places with warm
Excellent healthcare As you age, you want trusted medical support close to home, and that’s one of Morgantown’s best attributes. And Mon Health Medical Center practices deeply patient- centered community hospital care. WVU’s medical center, which Newsweek ranked among the world’s top couple hundred in 2019, offers a wide range of specialties and subspecialties, advanced treatment options, and access to clinical trials. Witt retired from WVU’s College of Business and Economics in 2012 and continues consulting today. He and his wife enjoy an active social life in Mor- gantown, and they find the proximity to airports in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., convenient for frequent international travel. He thinks Morgantown offers seniors a satisfying way of life. “It has all of those elements that a prospective retiree would be looking at in terms of relocation.”
➼ WHEN IT COMES TIME to decide where to retire, a few things are really important. Highest among them, for many, is nearness to friends and family. Seeing one’s children navigate middle life, being part of the grandchildren’s childhoods, and spending time with old friends are some of the greatest joys of life. They’re also important for mental and emotional health—happiness, studies have shown, is a key to longevity, and social ties are an important part of it. Beyond that, what mat- ters? A variety of cultural and recreational activities, says TomWitt, who serves on the board of the Mor- gantown Area Partnership economic development organization. A reasonable cost of living. And excellent healthcare. Those are ex- actly the elements that most retirement experts focus on and, as it turns out, Mor- gantown has them all. A great lifestyle A uni- versity spins off activities that are interesting for all ages, and retirees have taken notice. “There are actually tons of great rea-
winters—Gainesville or Tampa, Florida, for example, or Las Vegas, Nevada—have costs of
living closer to the national average. Most, like Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz, California, are well above it.
written by PAM KASEY
AGING WELL IN MORGANTOWN Whether you’re aging in place or enjoying your senior years in a group living situation, Morgantown is a great place to retire. WRITTEN BY PAM KASEY
6 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
B everly Kerr’s adult children live in Charleston, West Virginia, and Asheville, North Carolina. She herself is originally from Parkersburg. But when it came time in 2017 for her to retire, at 70, from her work as a lawyer for WVU, she chose to stay in Morgantown. “My friends are here, my interests are here,” Kerr says. “And being in a university town is great for retirees— there are so many things you can take advantage of that cost little to nothing.” And take advantage she does. She’s a regular at aerobics and water aerobics classes. She volunteers, packing food for needy families and serving on the board of West Virginia Senior Legal Aid. She participates in activities at the Osher Lifelong Institute at WVU, also becoming its board president. And she loves WVU football and basketball games. “I have been accused of bleeding blue and gold,” she laughs. The best way to stay mentally and physically nimble, they say, is to be social, feed your mind, and move your body. Kerr has found in retirement that Morgantown is a great place for all of that.
With a full calendar of classes, activities, and trips, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WVU is just one place Morgantown seniors stay socially, physically, and mentally active.
It’s easy to plug in in Morgantown. Staying connected is a fun and important part of healthy living. Whatever your interests, you can find ways to be part of the scene in Morgantown. Get involved in civic life One of the advantages of life in a small city is that anyone can make a real difference. The city’s neighborhood organizations set up social activities and represent residents’ interests before City Council—they’re a great way to meet neighbors and make a difference in your corner of town. At the citywide level, city boards and commissions, which take part in everything from the library to the history museum and pedestrian and bicycle issues to urban landscaping, are resident-staffed and welcome participation. Rotary clubs give members entree to circles of civic-minded business leaders and involve them in meaningful ways; seniors who have business or professional ties will find several in town. And our university city has strong connections to the global community—broaden your horizons by serving as a Council of International Programs host.
Make, learn, play Makers thrive in Morgantown. Shops representing fiber arts of all kinds—sewing, knitting and crocheting, and quilting—serve as hubs where people learn and share their expertise. Local artisans regularly offer workshops in everything from pottery to mosaics to home decor. The Board of Parks and Recreation, BOPARC, maintains a community art space at Studio 287 in the Wiles Hill Community Center and hosts occasional workshops. And Morgantown Art Association members enjoy access to classes, opportunities to show, and a place in an enthusiastic community of artists in many media. Community theater is alive and well here. M.T. Pockets Theatre and the West Virginia Public Theatre hold frequent auditions. Both, and the children’s community Morgantown Theatre Company, can use off-stage talent, too. Vintage Theatre Company in Clarksburg unites an irrepressible regional fraternity of performers.
8 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
Discover The Shoppes at Seneca!
Located at 709 Beechurst Avenue MORGANTOWN The Little Studio The Soap Opera The Tea Shoppe Valerie Stansberry, Therapeutic Services Wamsley Cycles Whippoorwill Woods and Waters *Retail space available Rustic by Design - Fireplace & Patio Rustic by Design Olive Oil Company Sunnyside Up Tammy Scudiere - The Cutting Edge The Cutting Room Boutique A&J Sewing Studio ATF of Upper Ohio Valley Country Roads Quilt Shop District Office of Congressman David McKinley Effleurage Massage Therapy and Spa Hill & Hollow Victuals & Libations John De Angelis & Co. Latch Boutique Morgantown Running Neer Psychological Services Old Morgantown Glass Collectors Guild (display)
If your interests run eclectic, join the community of lifelong learners at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI (see page 11)—you can even teach there. For lighter social activities, Senior Monongalians’ activity calendars have included dominoes, mahjong, and lap dulcimer, or try the Westover Senior Center for WVU sports watch parties, card games, and group trips. Offer your time and expertise Opportunities to volunteer are everywhere. Those with interests in the natural environment can find volunteer homes with Coopers Rock Foundation, Friends of Deckers Creek, or the Mon River Trails Conservancy. And our network of social services organizations is always looking for able-bodied volunteers. Feed people through Empty Bowls Monongalia or Pantry Plus More. Support homeless services at Bartlett Housing Solutions. Or help meet a wide range of other needs at Christian Help, Morgantown Health Right, Ronald McDonald House, and United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties.
the shoppes at SENECA CENTER
Drawing people of all ages and cultures, Morgantown is a city of ideas. FEED YOUR MIND
Live music in town spans everything from garage bands to Appalachian master fiddlers and symphony orchestra performances. The beloved nightclub 123 Pleasant Street hosts everything from local string bands to national acts to precocious students from the PopShop school of rock. The WVU Creative Arts Center presents college ensembles, touring musical theater productions, and occasional recordings of Mountain Stage. Local musicians perform in city parks and at Chestnut Ridge Park through the summer. And, with recent upgrades to the Hazel Ruby McQuain amphitheater on the Mon River, the city is planning a busy calendar of outdoor shows starting in 2021. The global character of life in Morgantown makes everything more interesting. Most obvious is the diversity of our dining scene—we can eat authentic Egyptian, Jamaican, Vietnamese, or any of a dozen other ethnicities. But more interestingly, it’s the people. Students enroll at WVU from more than 100 countries, and international professionals move here, too: Families of students at North Elementary school speak more than two dozen languages. Language conversation tables, opportunities to host visitors from other countries, and an annual international cultural festival are just a few of the ways seniors can take advantage of retiring in such a diverse community.
Nothing challenges the mind like art, and Morgantown’s art scene has blossomed in recent years. In the warm seasons, downtown turns to a popular open-air gallery for monthly Arts Walks, and handcrafted markets draw makers from across the region. All through the year, exhibits rotate often at the Monongalia Arts Center and Arts Monongahela galleries. Enjoy thought-provoking exhibits at the Art Museum of WVU, or drop in there for the occasional Lunchtime Looks talks. Public art has a growing presence in town, too—look for murals across downtown and sculptures on the grounds of WVU’s Art Museum and Creative Arts Center. Morgantown loves live theater . For community productions in an intimate setting, catch a show at M.T. Pockets Theatre—or enjoy the talents of future stars in Morgantown Theatre Company productions at the restored 1924 Metropolitan Theatre. West Virginia Public Theatre puts on three Broadway- quality productions a year at WVU’s Creative Arts Center, featuring talent from all across North America. And other programming at the CAC—which offers venues ranging from small black box and thrust theaters to the 1,440-seat Lyell B. Clay Theatre—includes touring international and Broadway productions.
10 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
LEARNING FOR THE FUN OF IT Learning is a way of life in a university community. And it doesn’t stop when the degree is granted— at OLLI at WVU, learning goes on lifelong. The Osher LIfelong Learning Institute at WVU, one of 124 OLLIs at colleges and universities across the country, fosters community for people over 50 centered on noncredit courses and social and volunteer opportunities. “It’s learning for the fun of it,” says Director Jascenna Haislet. OLLI at WVU offers dozens of classes taught by members of the community. Play the Irish tin whistle, discuss stories in The New Yorker , take a virtual tour of West Virginia—these are just a few recent courses. Activities go well beyond classes. The organization hosts meetings of interest groups like yarn arts and tai chi. Cooking classes are popular, and OLLI organizes in-house concerts and group attendance at theater performances and baseball games. Field trips visit sites like Pearl Buck’s birthplace in Pocahontas County. OLLI offers courses in four terms each year—a $30 membership fee gives access to all of it. olliatwvu.org
Whether you’re finally trying whitewater or just looking to stay flexible, Morgantown has options. MOVE YOUR BODY
Do it together An objective of the original Hash House Harriers, set out in 1950, was to “persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel.” Run, drink, and feel young: Find
On the move Located at a trails, Morgantown makes walking and biking any distance easy. Wooded hikes are all over, too, and longer hikes at the nearby Monongahela National Forest. Find running information and partners at WE Run! Morgantown on Facebook. Swim at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, skate at the Morgantown Ice Arena, or, for hundreds of miles of little- traveled pavement and great scenery, bike north on W.V. Route 100 into Pennsylvania. On the water In a town that lies between dammed rivers, flat water paddling is a natural pastime. Downtown, slip your canoe or kayak into the Mon River at the bottom of Walnut Street, or head to Edith confluence of rail- Barill Riverfront Park or Van Voorhis Landing north of town. Adventurous paddlers can “lock through” for longer river trips or hit Cheat Lake for bigger water. To paddle socially, visit Morgantown Area Paddlers on Facebook. Fitness centers Independent fitness centers across town offer niche experiences—everything from spin classes at Cycle Fusion to anti- gravity workouts at Soar Fitness Studio and rock climbing at Gritstone Climbing + Fitness. Full-service gyms provide the range of equipment and classes. Silver- Sneakers membership, available through many health insurance providers, gives seniors 65+ free access to the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, HealthWorks Rehab and Fitness, the WVU Student Rec Center, and more.
Charlie’s Angels Hash House Harriers or Mountain Momma Hash House Harriers on Facebook. For dance, visit Morgantown Social Dance and
Morgantown Friends of Old Time Music and Dance on Facebook. Or pursue jiu jitsu, judo, krav maga, and other martial arts at studios across town. Work it Maintain strength, balance, and flexibility through yoga at classes of all styles. Find an Iyengar-centered practice at Inner Life Yoga Studio ( iyogaposes.com ), or try Power Vinyasa Flow at Cycle Fusion ( cyclefusionwv.com ) and at Morgantown Power Yoga downtown ( morgantown- poweryoga.com ). The communities of yoga teachers at Bliss Bliss Bliss ( thebliss- blissbliss.com ) and Empower Yoga & Fitness ( empoweryogafit.com ) offer a variety of styles.
Compete If you haven’t tried pickleball, you’re missing the best of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and some good-natured paddle-sport fun.
This hybrid sport has an enthusiastic following here, and courts have sprung up around town ( morgantownpickleball. com ). Closer to the ground, covered
bocce courts in Westover City Park have in the past served as home to a bocce team, and a friendly annual competition an hour away in Shinnston keeps the pressure on ( westsideseniorcenter.com ).
12 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
time, join Senior Monongalians for activities that in the past have included walking and line dancing ( seniormons.org ). In Westover, the Westside Senior Center offers a fitness room with new cardio machines and Nautilus weights ( @westsideseniorcenter on Facebook ). Light group exercise
Group activities are sure to return when COVID-19 is behind us. At that
Remind anyone—near or far—of Almost Heaven. This box will feature the best of West Virginia with old and new favorites like Oliverio’s Peppers, Ray’s Rub, Mister Bee Potato Chips, J.Q. Dickinson salt, local jams and honey, kitchen items, and much more.
And the Wiles Hill Community Center offers treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes, and more ( boparc.org ). Extreme recreation The first to brave whitewater for the sheer
fun of it, West Virginians love their extreme sports. Just outside Morgan- town, the Cheat River roils up class
III to V rapids that thrill even the most experienced paddler. Beyond the Cheat, outfitters get rafters out on the Gauley, New, Potomac, Shenandoah, and Youghiogheny rivers. You can also find caving, rappelling, ziplin- ing, and much more. Snow much fun Morgantown enjoys a mild winter a short drive from the best of mid- Atlantic skiing. It’s just two hours’ drive to the slopes at Canaan Valley Resort ( canaanresort.com ) and Timberline Mountain ( timberlinemountain.com ) and less than three to Snowshoe Mountain ( snowshoemtn.com )—or explore the 40 miles of cross country trails at White Grass Ski Touring Center ( whitegrass.com ). You can also find sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more.
Seneca Village offers affordable housing for seniors 55+. A location on SO MANY LIVING OPTIONS From independent living to skilled nursing, seniors in Morgantown have more options than ever. 1 6
Evergreen provides compassionate assisted living in a home-like
atmosphere. Meals are taken care of, and nurses provide personal care and medication. 3705 Collins Ferry Road, evergreenassisted.com
the paved Caperton rail-trail makes for easy pedestrian and bicycle access to downtown. 709 Beechurst Avenue, 304.610.0776, 304.598.5680
Stonerise Morgantown (formerly Mapleshire Skilled Nursing Center)
Friendship Manor provides affordable independent living for
offers short- and long-term care stays, therapy, home health, and hospice services. 30 Mon General Drive, stonerise.com Madison Center provides services ranging from short stay care that bridges the gap between hospital and home to hospice care. 8
62+ near public transportation, shopping, and restaurants with one hot meal each day. 501 Van Voorhis Road, friendshipmanorwv.com
Planned for a fall 2022 opening, Heritage Place will offer seniors 55+
gracious independent living and elective access to the activities and services at The Village at Heritage Point.
161 Bakers Ridge Road, genesishcc.com/madisonwv
Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care in a facility that is secluded, yet near the hospitals. 1379 Van Voorhis Road, savaseniorcare.com Look to Sundale Rehabilitation and Long Term Care for skilled nursing; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; dementia care; and more. 800 J.D. Anderson Drive, sundalecare.com 10 9
Seniors 62+ enjoy independent living at The Village at Heritage
Point . Residents receive priority access to The Suites , a licensed residential care community. One Heritage Point, heritage-point.com Harmony Senior Services covers the spectrum. Independent living residents enjoy a full calendar; as need increases, assisted living and memory care are available. 50 Harmony Drive, harmonyseniorservices.com 5
14 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
COMING IN FALL 2022
THE SUITES AT HERITAGE POINT IS NOW OFFERING ASSISTED LIVING IN MORGANTOWN
Even during COVID-19 safety restrictions, residents have a wide array of social, recreational, and physical activities in which to participate. Outdoor live concerts, guest lecturers, and Bible study classes on video as well as many opportunities to volunteer are ways the well-trained, tenured, and warm staff helps residents lead a healthy, fulfilled, and vibrant lifestyle. “As a result of the pandemic, our staff has added more services to help keep all of our residents safe,” Sternthal said. “We have expanded our personal shopping services, so residents do not have to leave the community to grocery shop, and have assisted residents in alternative ways to communicate with their loved ones, such as email, Facebook, FaceTime, and Zoom.” The Village at Heritage Point, a not- for-profit life plan community, offers both independent living apartments (in The Village) and assisted living apartments (in The Suites) on a single campus. The beautifully landscaped grounds include a pond with abundant wildlife, paved walking paths, and gazebos for residents to enjoy. Indoor amenities include two elegant and spacious dining rooms, a beauty salon/barber shop, a spacious arts and crafts studio, a newly equipped fitness room, two libraries, a computer lab, a café, several gathering rooms, and much more. For more information about The Village and The Suites at Heritage Point, visit www.Heritage-Point.com.
“Continuing to offer expanded services and care to our residents is a key part of the mission of Mon Health System,” said David Goldberg, president and CEO of Mon Health System. The senior living residences have been part of Mon Health System since 1999. The Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC) of West Virginia has granted Assisted Living licensure to The Suites at Heritage Point. Previously licensed as residential care, The Suites at Heritage Point has a 21-year reputation for providing exceptional care and services to older adults in the Morgantown area. “I am excited to be able to offer assisted living services to our residents,” said Sternthal. “Our past licensure status required our residents to be able to safely and in- dependently remove themselves from the building in case of an emergency. As we age, some assistance may be needed to get up out of a chair or to walk, and now we are able to continue care for residents with these needs.”
➼ THE STATE HAS APPROVED a license for The Suites at Heritage Point to offer comprehensive assisted living services, which means residents experiencing limited daily living skills are able to remain in their homes. “This freedom to remain at home and know extended care and assis- tance is available to them is a blessing for our residents,” said Wilma Stern- thal, executive director of The Village and The Suites at Heritage Point. The assisted living services include ✚ medication administration ✚ 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing ✚ three chef-prepared meals served daily ✚ housekeeping and personal laundry services
✚ scheduled transportation ✚ personal grocery shopping ✚ emergency pendant with fall alert system
✚ and highly skilled nurses who can assist with telehealth appointments.
16 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
FREE LEGAL HELP FOR SENIORS Aging presents specific challenges that can be tough on families. There are legal steps seniors can take now to help. LOVE THIS
family had never discussed the “What ifs,” and Amy could never know if what she chose for her mother— peace—was what her mother would have wanted. It’s a scenario countless families throughout West Virginia face on a daily basis, and one that can largely be avoided with pre-planning. Driven by her family’s
story, Funk heads up the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care. The center is committed to helping all West Virginians through advanced care planning with education and free resources—as well as a comprehensive registry of end-of-life legal
information in a safe place where medical providers can easily access it. Combined with free legal services provided by West Virginia Senior Legal Aid, all of the hard decisions families might have to make about their loved one’s care can be spelled out well in advance and at no cost to them.
➼ WHEN DANIELLE FUNK’S MOTHER, Amy, was 18 years old, her mother died from cancer. She was on life support in her final days, and Amy’s father was so upset by the circumstances that he couldn’t make the call to let her go. Amy stepped in and made one of the hardest decisions of her life. Her
documents for anyone who wants to keep the
18 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
Legal Services Seniors Can Use Ninety percent of seniors receive Social Security , and filing for and receiving benefits from the program doesn’t come without its challenges. Free help is available from West Virginia Senior Legal Aid for seniors having any issues collecting their benefits. About 96 percent of Americans over age 65 depend on Medicaid for health insurance coverage. The insurance program can be confusing, and seniors who need help navigating it or addressing coverage problems can get free help from West Virginia Senior Legal Aid. A Will , or Estate Planning , is important to consider well before anything happens to you. The team at West Virginia Senior Legal Aid can help you to establish a legal will that will designate what happens to your property upon your death. A Living Will is a legal document that spells out your preferred care if you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill and can no longer make these decisions. Anyone can complete a living will, and the signed and witnessed document can be uploaded to the West Virginia E-directive Directory and kept in a safe place. A Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that stipulates who can make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. A Combined Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that covers your preferred care if you’re permanently unconscious or terminally ill and stipulates someone else who can make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot. A Do Not Resuscitate order is a legal document that directs a medical provider to refrain from cardiopulmonary resuscitation of a patient whose heart stops beating or whose breathing stops. This type of order is not for general use—it’s most often used by terminally ill patients.
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AGING BY THE NUMBERS
The number of seniors thriving in communities
across the country continues to grow, as does a shift toward looking at aging in a more positive light. 78.6 years The average life expectancy has increased to almost 79 years, up from 68 in 1950. 23% By 2060, 65+ will represent nearly a quarter of U.S. population. 82% The majority of seniors ages 65–74 currently feel good about their overall health. Sources: Population Reference Bureau, The Washington Post
FOOD FOR ALL No senior in the Morgantown community need ever go hungry. Here are a few of the organizations working to make sure of that. written by HOLLY LELEUX-THUBRON
Morgantown Area Meals on Wheels offers delivered meals at a nominal cost, determined during the application process by a sliding scale. Meals are delivered on weekdays, and shelf-stable meals that require very little preparation are available for weekends, too. Senior Monogalians offers two ways for seniors 60+ to access nutritious food: a meal delivery program and a grab-and- go program—both at no cost, although donations are appreciated. Participants get four hot meals and three frozen meals delivered each week. Grab-and-go lunches ordered ahead are available for pick-up at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays.
At least a dozen food pantries operating in the Morgantown area are helping to make sure no senior suffers from food insecurity. Some provide food on a weekly basis and others on a monthly basis. For a comprehensive list of meal programs and food pantries in the area, visit ebmon.org . BOPARC Senior Center at Wiles Hill is a great resource for seniors looking for a meal and companionship. Wednesday lunches are open to any area senior 55 or older, with an annual membership that costs $15. Morgantown Community Kitchen offers lunches weekdays in the fellowship hall of Trinity Episcopal Church.
20 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
“Different Look Same Delicious Food
Order online through DoorDash or pick-up curbside 132 Pleasant St., Downtown Morgantown • 304.29-MTOWN (296.8696) 3119 University Ave., Suncrest, Morgantown • 304.777.4867 • blackbearburritos.com
ADVERTISE IN OUR SPECIAL RESTAURANT SECTION CALL 304.413.0104 OR EMAIL email@example.com FOR MORE INFORMATION CHINA ONE 1004 North Point Plaza • 304.284.0626 OPEN HOURS Monday–Thursday 10:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday 10:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Sunday 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. chinaonemorgantown.com
4 TIPS FOR AGING IN PLACE With thoughtful planning, seniors are enjoying their own homes longer than ever. written by HOLLY LELEUX-THUBRON
PLACES THAT PAY FOR HOME HEALTH Home health care is a necessity for many seniors. Luckily, there are many programs that help pay for it. Home health care services can mean the difference between maintaining autonomy and becoming dependent, but the costs can add up quickly. Medicare, the health insurance pro- gram of choice for more than 90 per- cent of older Americans, doesn’t help much. But there is help out there. • Reasonably priced private home health care is available through Senior Monongalians . 304.296.9812, seniormons.org • Seniors eligible for Medicaid can expect help in paying for home health services, but seniors whose incomes make them ineligible for Medicaid can get help from the Lighthouse Program , which provides 60 hours of help each month on a sliding scale. wvseniorservices.gov; click on “Help at Home” • For those who served their country, Skilled Home Health Care is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to benefit any veteran who requires skilled nursing assistance. va.gov; search “skilled home health care”
Decide where It’s important to think long and hard about where you’ll spend your advancing years. Isolation can be hardest on seniors, and maintaining social connections should drive decisions on where to live.
Adjust and adapt Prepare your home for positive aging. Install a walk-in shower, lower counters, add automatic lighting and fall-preven- tive flooring. National Association of Home Builders–certified aging- in-place specialists can help.
Embrace technology Today’s tech- nology can keep seniors safe while they live independently where they want to. Consider voice-activated tools like Google Home and easy- to-use tablets for staying connected with friends and loved ones.
Bring in help That can include assistance with anything from chores and transportation to med- ication reminders, bathing, and more. Service providers like Home Instead ( homeinstead.com ) can make all the difference.
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Don’t Put These Conversations Off Driving The point at which it’s no longer safe Estate planning Wills, advance directives, and funeral arrangements Long-term care Moving in with family, assisted living, nursing homes Medical issues New diagnoses and worrisome prognoses Mental health Including de- pression, loneliness, and fear Finances How much there is and how long will it last
TOUGH TALKS When roles reverse and children become their parents’ caretakers, tough conversations are inevitable. written by HOLLY LELEUX-THUBRON DO THIS
“We can tell when a patient doesn’t have good awareness about the issues that might impact the things they should and shouldn’t do,” Haut says. “In most cases, we’re happy to talk to patients and families about various
scenarios. We can offer support. And we can even make the decision for families, if it’s something they’re struggling with.” Having important conversations early on will always lead to better out- comes down the road.
➼ GOOD PARENTS TAKE great pride in caring for their children. And when the golden years arrive, good children take great pride in caring for their parents. Along the way, children will have to broach tough topics with their parents. It’s best to do so directly, with tremendous support and compassion, says Marc Haut, vice chair and director of clinical research at WVU
Medicine’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.
“No longer driving is a ma- jor marker for a loss of inde- pendence. It’s a big transition,” Haut says of just one example. “When you have these kinds of conversations, it’s best to acknowledge that it’s a big deal. When you show that you understand what people are struggling with, they get that you get what they’re going through. It makes it easier for them to listen to the things you have to say.” Lay out the challenges that impending changes will present, Haut suggests, but also lay out the real risks of keeping things as they are. Medical professionals who deal with geriatric patients can be a helpful resource.
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Conveniently located on the Greenbag Road.
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STYLE AND MORE Heritage Place, independent living soon to come, will fill an empty niche in the senior living options in town. HEAR THIS
they’re spending time outside even in January and February.” Alongside great location and design, flexible access to services rounds out the package. Developed in partnership with Mon Health System, Heritage Place will offer elective access to ser- vices at Mon Health’s adjacent inde- pendent and assisted living facility. “The Village at Heritage Point has been a beacon for senior living in the community for more than 20 years,” says Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg. But there’s a waiting list for its independent living units, he says. And independent living outside of formal senior group settings in town offers little in the way of services. Heritage Place fills that niche with stylish living and the level of support residents want as they age. “People will be able to choose a la carte access to programs at The Village at Heritage Point: meals in the dining room, trips, programs, and a medical director on-site.” The location also puts residents close to both Mon Health Medical Center and the WVU Medicine campus. “I couldn’t be more pleased for Mon Health System to partner with two people doing what’s right for the community,” Goldberg says. “This makes sense for those people who want independence but also access to quality healthcare. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
➼ CHOOSING A SENIOR LIVING RESIDENCE can mean trade-offs: good location but uninspired design, great design but remote location—or if location and design are right, too few or too many services. But Heritage Place, set to begin construction in the spring, ticks all of those boxes. “Our goal is to fill a particular need in the community for maintenance-free homes for people who have had enough of caring for their homes as they age,” says co-owner and -developer Ron Lytle. The location can’t be beat. Offering apartment-style independent living for seniors 55 and up, Heritage Place will sit on J.D. Anderson Drive, central to shopping and dining in Suncrest and cultural and sporting events on WVU’s Evansdale campus. Design is top-of-mind, too, for Lytle and business partner Jim Collins. “The majority of the structure will be done with concrete-filled foam blocks—very noise-proof from both the neighbor- ing apartments and the exterior, and also energy-efficient,” Lytle says. On the interior, apartments—about 75 one- and two-bedroom units—will be custom- izable. Several patio-style homes on the grounds will also be customizable. The design of Heritage Place includes gracious common spaces to support an active, social lifestyle: landscaped grounds, a spacious lobby, a library, and rooms for meetings, group exercise, and other activities. The showpiece, Lytle says, is a grand atrium. “This will be heated and lit so people can feel like
written by PAM KASEY
26 MORGANTOWN DECEMBER/JANUARY 2021
ALL FOOD IS GOOD FOOD One local expert offers sage advice for maintaining a healthy diet during your senior years.
PASTA WITH CHICKEN 1 pound of your favorite pasta (penne, shell, rotini) 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced 2 cloves of garlic, minced
intake of vegetables instead. Meal size and frequency also can diminish, and listening to your body for hunger cues to guide the timing of meals and snacks is important. Healthy snacking might become more important than ever during the senior years, and McCarty suggests keeping plenty of fresh fruit, roasted nuts, and low-fat yogurt on hand. When preparing food, you may like to use more seasoning for flavor, McCarty recommends— sodium-free if sodium consumption is a concern— and should opt for cooking methods that don’t require adding significant fats, like sauteing, grilling, roasting, and boiling. You can also prepare larger meals ahead of time, like the delicious pasta recipe provided here by Nader Tehrani, the chef at The Village at Heritage Point. Portion these larger meals out—roughly two cups of the pasta—and store in the refrigerator or freezer to ensure you have easy, healthy meals every day. written by HOLLY LELEUX-THUBRON
➼ FORGET EVERYTHING a lifetime of dieting has taught you. All foods are good and belong on your plate—just some more moderately present than others. Mon Health System Diabetes Education Coordinator Andrea McCarty explains that, even in the senior population, the notion that foods should be labeled good or bad is pervasive. “Healthy eating can include all foods,” she says. “There should be no foods off-limits, with the exception of adhering to food allergy limitations or foods that should be avoided because of chronic medical conditions.” Happy, healthy plates are built using fractions, she explains. Half of the plate should be non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate should be lean protein, and the remaining ¼ full of whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Some people lose their appetite for proteins as they age, McCarty says, and it’s perfectly acceptable in those situations to amp up your
1 onion, chopped 1 zucchini, diced 1 yellow squash, diced Salt and pepper
1½ cups chicken stock or white wine 1 pound red-ripe plum Roma tomatoes, sliced in half 2 or more tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon fresh basil 1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a brisk boil; cook pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve. 2 Heat skillet over medium heat. In olive oil, brown chicken pieces on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, onions, zucchini, and squash; salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze pan with stock or wine. 3 Once chicken is fully cooked, add tomatoes and reserved pasta. Toss together to heat. 4 Pour onto a nice platter, top with cheese, and sprinkle fresh basil on top.
Morgantown is a great place to live for patients suffering with the many forms of dementia. written by HOLLY LELEUX-THUBRON ➼ THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION estimates that more than 38,000 West Virginians are living with Alzheimer’s. Patients in the Morgantown area have access to incredible resources as they learn to cope with this and other forms of dementia. When people consider where to live in retirement, communities associated with academic medical centers like WVU Medicine offer the highest quality care specialized for the geriatric population, says Mark Haut, vice chair and director of clinical research at WVU Medicine’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. The hospital complex in Morgantown offers the most robust multidisciplinary care available in the state. KNOW THIS ADVANCES IN MEMORY CARE
WVU Medicine’s Memory Care Clinic There are many causes of dementia— simply defined as a decline in mental ability—and WVU Medicine’s new Memory Care Clinic treats them all. The clinic is situated to provide early clinical diagnosis of disease, identify and treat any underlying conditions, develop a comprehensive treatment plan, and address the needs not only of patients but of their caregivers, too. Perhaps one of the greatest advan- tages of the clinic’s care is access to groundbreaking clinical trials and research, Haut says. Current trials open for enrollment use ultrasound, magnetic stimulation, virtual reality, and even wearable technologies to treat problems with memory function. The multidisciplinary panel of profes- sionals serving each patient is a great asset, too.
Advances in Treatment and Testing Testing for Alzheimers and other forms of dementia continues to advance, Haut says. A formal clinical diagnosis currently requires a medical and neurological examination, includ- ing cognitive testing, imaging, and other forms of medical measurements. A new blood test to aid in diagnosis made headlines in December and could be another tool in the clinical toolbelt. The simple blood draw would measure the biomarker P-tau, which researchers have found to be elevated in dementia patients. Haut suggests patience as researchers further study this type of testing. If an easy blood test does find its way to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Memory Care Clinic will be on the leading edge of delivering diagnostic advancements.
Caring for the Caretakers Caring for patients is central to the mission of any medical facility. Caring for the caretakers is quickly catching on as equally important. The Memory Care Clinic focuses on the entire fam- ily impacted by a dementia diagnosis. “You have to take care of the caretaker dealing with any chronic medical con- dition,” Haut says. “Caretakers need to set aside time to care for themselves physically and mentally.” There’s help with that elsewhere, too. FAIR—Family Alzheimer’s In- Home Respite—provides, for Monon- galia County families with diagnoses of Alzheimer’s, up to 16 hours each week of time to run errands or even to just take a nap. Alzheimer’s families in Morgantown can contact the Memory Care Clinic or Senior Monogalians for help signing up for the program.
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