Free event focuses on eye care, shopping on a budget and more
Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton works with a patient in Gifford’s Diabetes Clinic at the Kingwood Health Center in Randolph. (File photo)
RANDOLPH – A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. But Gifford Medical Center is striving to make living with diabetes easier this March when it holds its eighth annual free Diabetes Education Expo.
Sharing everything from eating healthy and cooking on a budget to simple exercises one can do at home, the March 15 expo aims to provide a “Road Map to Managing Your Diabetes.”
Also covered will be eye care in a talk by Dr. Dean Barcelow of Bethel’s Eye Care for You and a discussion by behavioral health specialist Sam Medved on the steps and challenges of making lifestyle changes. A cooking demonstration will be provided and vendor booths will include the latest in diabetes products as well as help from Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team in overcoming obstacles to successful self-management.
According to 2011 data from the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes nationally. In Vermont, the disease affects more than 55,000 people, according to the Department of Health.
Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from the body not producing or improperly using insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily living.
To remain healthy, diabetics must have regular checks of eyes, feet, teeth and more and they must take an active role in managing their diabetes through diet, exercise, monitoring their blood glucose and taking medications, if required.
“A diabetes diagnosis and daily living can be overwhelming because it can mean lots of lifestyle or behavior changes,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton. “I often recommend gradual changes that are doable for the patient and don’t break the bank.
“This year’s Diabetes Education Expo is an extension on that. We’ll talk about how to buy healthy foods on a budget, we’ll demonstrate cooking healthy foods to make them delicious and enjoyable, and we’ll show you simple exercises that you can do at home, without a gym membership or high-tech equipment.”
In fact, there’s a lot a diabetic can do to manage their disease – even their eye health.
Diabetes can damage small blood vessels in the eye’s retina, the back part of the eye. Diabetes also increases one’s risk of having glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems.
Dr. Barcelow, an optometrist, will share what he’s looking for in the eye when it comes to signs of disease and talk about what patients can do prevent eye problems.
“I like to tell my patients that diabetes is kind of a lifestyle,” he says, listing taking medications as prescribed, diet and exercise as keys to a successful diabetic lifestyle.
To hear Dr. Barcelow, Stratton and the event’s other speakers map out diabetes self-management, sign-up for the expo by March 8. Seating is limited. Call Zach Bean at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6 to register.
The expo takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use the southern entrance of the hospital (before the Thrift Shop) on Route 12 in Randolph. Get directions and learn more online at www.giffordmed.org.
Diabetes Education Expo Agenda
9 a.m. – Registration, vendor/information booths open
10-10:45 a.m. – Eye Care for Diabetes, Dr. Dean Barcelow, Eye Care for You
10:45-11:15 a.m. – Exercise, Jane McConnell, Gifford pharmacist and exercise enthusiast
11:15 a.m. to noon – What’s Next, Making Changes, Samantha Medved, Gifford behavioral health specialist
Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch
1-1:30 p.m. – Eating Right When Money’s Tight, Jennifer Stratton and Stacy Pelletier, Gifford registered dietitians
1:30-2 p.m. – Cooking demonstration, Chef Steve Morgan, Gifford
2 p.m. – Raffle drawings
A new Chronic Pain Healthier Living Workshop series will be held Mondays, Feb. 11 through March 18 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.
Healthier Living Workshops are six-week classes offered through the Vermont Blueprint for Health for people with chronic conditions and their caregivers. They are offered for free throughout the year by Gifford Medical Center and led by trained facilitators.
This new class, being offered for only the second time at Gifford, has a special focus on chronic pain.
The workshop will cover coping with chronic illness and chronic pain; how to feel more in control of your pain and health; improving problem solving skills; how to work with health care providers to maximize your ability to manage your illness and pain; how to balance activity and rest; healthy eating; gentle movement exercises and more.
“Chronic pain … includes many types of conditions from a variety of causes. There is no one treatment or approach that is right for everybody. There are a number of things people with chronic pain can do to feel better … (to) better manage pain and help you become more active and more involved in life,” according to the literature from the Vermont Blueprint for Health.
Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing for the exercise portion and to sign up soon with Gifford Blueprint Patient Access Coordinator Zach Bean at 728-7100, ext. 6.
Gifford Medical Center is located at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) just south of Randolph village. The workshops are held in the Conference Center, which is marked with a green awning. For handicapped access, go in the main entrance and take the elevator to the first floor.
RANDOLPH – Nonprofit community organizations have an opportunity to apply for a $1,000 grant.
Gifford Medical Center is seeking applications for the annual Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award – a grant established in memory of the hospital’s late administrator.
Applications for the $1,000 grant are due to the hospital by Feb. 11.
The grant was established by Gifford’s Board of Trustees in 1994 in memory of Levesque, Gifford’s beloved president and chief executive officer from 1973-1994.
The award is given annually to an agency or organization involved in the arts, health, community development, education or the environment in Gifford’s service area in recognition of Levesque’s commitment to the White River Valley. Continue reading →
This photo shows one of Kari Meyer’s paintings now on display in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery. Called “Morning Meadow,” it is acrylic on canvas and painted on Beaver Meadow Road in Marshfield.
Montpelier painter Kari Meyer’s unique landscapes are in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery through Jan. 30.
Born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom, Meyer’s love of nature started at an early age. She spent much of her childhood playing in the woods and rivers near her rural home.
She attended high school at St. Johnsbury Academy. The school offered in-depth classes in art and Meyer says she fell in love with acrylic painting. She went on to earn an associate degree in multimedia and graphic design from Champlain College and then her bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Vermont.
Her knowledge of graphic design, she says, continues to be integrated into her artwork. Her studies at UVM also sparked an interest in sculpture. On close inspection, viewers of Meyer’s work can see her love of texture and three dimensions.
“As an artist I see art as a form of communication that has a power beyond that of words. Through imagery I attempt to portray ideas that words cannot, like the archetypal beauty that connects all things,” Meyer says. “I attempt to create a positive experience for the viewer, while also hoping to make a positive commentary on the world.”
Meyer works from photographs. She estimates a third of her time creating a painting is spent in the woods and walking the back roads of Vermont in search of the places that portray the magic and beauty of the landscape.
She works in digital photography, using a computer to alter colors, lighting and even composition of some of her images. By incorporating different textures and materials into her paintings, she creates an even more dynamic image that changes with lighting, casting its own shadows and creating a depth and mystery within each image.
Meyer says her imagery demonstrates an abstraction of nature, with her inspiration coming in part from the ideals of wabi-sabi, a prominent philosophy of Japanese aesthetics.
“For me wabi-sabi changes the worldview of Western civilization. Things we normally view as negative become beautiful. Loneliness, old age and death become beautiful because they are inevitable and represent the constant flux of the universe,” Meyer says. “I attempt to address this idea of the movement of eternity, of everything either coming from or returning to nothingness. My work urges the viewer to contemplate the relationship between oneself, nature and the universe.”
See Meyer’s work for yourself at Gifford. The show is free and open to the public. The gallery is just inside the main entrance of the medical center, located south of Randolph village. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org. Learn more about Meyer’s work online at www.karimeyer.com.
All ages invited to join local experts in talking about end-of-life care options,to improve quality of life now.
RANDOLPH – Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire, the Vermont Ethics Network and Gifford Medical Center’s Advanced Illness Care Team are joining to create a community discussion around end-of-life care planning.
Called “Start The Conversation,” the talk will be held on Nov. 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. in Gifford’s Conference Center at the main medical center in Randolph.
“Start The Conversation” is a public education initiative of Vermont’s Visiting Nurse and home health and hospice agencies in partnership with the Vermont Ethics Network. Collaborating with medical providers like Gifford, the talk is offered around the state. A Web site, starttheconversationvt.org, also focuses on the issue of end-of-life planning.
“In life we prepare for everything: college, marriage, children and retirement. Despite the conversations we have for these important milestones, rarely do we have conversations about how we want to be cared for at the end of our lives,” explains the site.
“Talking is the single most important thing that you can do to prepare for the death of someone you love. While difficult, the end of life can be amazingly rich. Talking about this time makes a rich ending more likely. Often such conversations are avoided out of an understandable desire to spare each other’s feelings. They need not be.”
An Advance Directive is one way to get the conversation started and experts leading this Nov. 29 talk in Randolph will talk about end-of-life options, medical decision making and how to put ones wishes in writing through an Advance Directive.
“Planning for end-of-life care before it becomes a worry is as important as all the other life plans you make. Having a plan in place makes it easier for you, your doctor and your loved ones if you are unable to tell them your health care choices because of an injury or serious illness,” explains Jared King, business development manager for Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire.
“Every moment is precious – especially at the end-of-life. Starting the conversation early can ensure that your choices are heard. It also means that when time becomes short, it can be spent doing what you most enjoy and not making last-minute decisions.”
As a psychologist and member of Gifford’s inpatient care management team, Cory Gould spends much of her day talking to patients about Advance Directives. “We spend a lot of the day holding discussions with family members about how to talk about death,” Gould says. “The beauty of bringing this discussion to the forefront is to improve the quality of all of our lives.”
If end-of-life wishes are known there is more opportunity to enjoy the present and erase the worry, Gould explains. Discussing how one wants to celebrate the end can also increase understanding about what matters most to that individual in life. “Thinking about death is a way of celebrating life,” Gould says.
For Gifford and its Advanced Illness Care Team, the talk will be the first in a series on death and dying. Titled “A ‘Good’ Death,” the series will look at what is a “good” death, family dynamics when death approaches, what happens when someone dies, grief and more. The series begins with “Start The Conversation.”
“Start The Conversation” is free and open to people of all ages. Registration is not required. The Gifford Conference Center is on the first floor of the medical center and marked by a green awning from the patient parking area. For handicap access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center.
To learn more about this talk or the upcoming series, call Gould at (802) 728-2608 .
‘Dietary wayseer’ reveals what’s in the foods we love
Chef Wendell Fowler
RANDOLPH – The Western world is caught in a nutritional minefield where Tony the Tiger acts as a nutritionist and pink slime is an accepted food additive, says chef Wendell Fowler, a speaker, author and television personality.
A “dietary wayseer” or “living-food evangelist,” if you will, Chef Wendell – as he is known – educates Americans on what’s in their favorite foods that “might be sabotaging your birthright to health, joy and happiness.”
“Are you obese, diabetic, in GI distress or experiencing chronic pain? Rejoice! It’s not necessarily your fault,” says Chef Wendell, who brings his humorous message of a good diet for good health to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph on Dec. 6.
The free talk on nutritional literacy is titled “Eat it, Beat it and Prevent it: Food as Medicine,” runs from 6-8 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
The Western diet is the foundation of heart disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, gastric disorders, ADD and ADHD, aggressive social behavior and a host of inflammatory conditions, he says. “Mankind is innocently digging their own graves and blunting careers with what’s on their forks.”
He points to foods filled with chemicals, bacteria, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup as the reasons why. It’s something he knows from personal experience.
Once 300 pounds and facing death, Chef Wendell lost more than 100 pounds by dropping the Krispie Kremes, cheeseburgers and cocktails for a mostly vegan diet.
He now tries to educate others on what’s in popular foods, why they should be avoided and how to be a label reader.
“We need to eat food that was designed for us that our cells will understand,” he says, pointing to fresh, local, “living” foods as better choices than processed “machine cuisine.”
He delivers this message in an award-winning, syndicated food column; books and cookbooks; a bi-weekly television segment in his home state of Indiana; and in talks.
A regular visitor to Randolph where his brother, Milt Fowler, is a popular local physician, his Gifford talk will include a presentation, questions and answers, and a book signing for his fourth and latest book, “Earth Suit Maintenance Manual: Transcending the American Diet.” The book features 60 of his popular columns and 60 recipes using fresh foods.
To hear his free talk at Gifford, sign-up by calling (802) 728-7100, ext. 6. Space is limited to the first 80 registrants.
Gifford Medical Center is south of Randolph’s downtown on Route 12 (44 S. Main St.). The talk is in the Conference Center located on the first floor of the hospital and marked with a green awning from the patient parking lot. For handicap access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center.
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center is launching a Caregiver Support Group this November.
Open to anyone caring for a family member or loved one, the group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 11 a.m. to noon in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.
The group is participant-driven with members deciding how the meetings will be designed, choosing a facilitator and picking discussion topics. Samantha Medved, a licensed social worker and behavioral health specialist at Gifford, will also work with the group, providing ongoing support.
“Caregivers invest so much of themselves – both physically and mentally – into caring for others. This group is an opportunity to have time away to deal with the normal range of emotions all caregivers experience, by gaining support from peers experiencing similar issues,” Medved said.
The group is offered as part of Gifford’s efforts through the Vermont Blueprint for Health. No registration is required. Medved and the Blueprint team can be reached at 728-7100, ext. 6, with any questions.
The Gifford Conference Center is in the main medical center at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. From patient parking, the Conference Center entrance is marked with a green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center.
Mark your calendars: Gifford Medical Center’s Annual Craft Fair in support of the hospital’s Adult Day Program is coming Nov. 16 and 17.
The Craft Fair – now in its 17th year – takes place in the hospital’s Conference Center, hallways, spacious visitors’ entrance and the adjoining Menig Extended Care Facility’s large living room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The fair is an opportunity to start your holiday shopping while also supporting a worthy cause: Gifford Adult Day Program activities.
Adult Day provides safe day care, personal hygiene help, medication administration, healthy meals, activities and socialization to the elderly and disabled below the Bethel Health Center on Route 107.
The fair also supports our local craftspeople.
Items for sale will include handcrafted jewelry, homemade baked goods and foods, woodcrafts, quilting, homemade pillows, hand painted Christmas ornaments, and more made by area crafters.
The fair is open to the public and all are welcome.
Vendor space is still available, although vendors signing up now must supply their own table. Call organizer Bonnie Pettit at 763-8828 to become a vendor or learn more.
Gifford is on Route 12 south of Randolph village at 44 S. Main St. The Conference Center entrance is just off from the patient parking area and is marked. The handicapped-accessible visitors’ entrance, where crafts are also expected to be on display, is on the southern end of the hospital. Signs will also help guide you.
RANDOLPH – Experts from Gifford Medical Center will lead a free breast cancer awareness talk on Oct. 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. in concert with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante and radiologist Dr. Scott Smith will discuss screening and prevention of breast cancer among women of all ages. Specific topics include breast exams, clinical breast exams, the importance and limitations of various methods of breast imaging, and genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
Time will be provided for one-on-one questions with these local experts.
Michele Packard, Health Connections specialist, will also be on hand to enroll qualifying women ages 21 and up in Ladies First as well as explore other insurance options.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and in Vermont. It’s also the nation’s leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, about 473 breast cancer cases are diagnosed among Vermont women each year. About 92 people each year die from the disease. Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes.
While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment.
“We hope to increase awareness of breast cancer risks, prevention, screening and insurance opportunities available to Vermont women,” Dr. Galante said. “Early diagnosis offers the best chance of surviving breast cancer, but if we don’t know about the disease, we can’t treat it.
“This is an opportunity for women of all ages, and whoever they want to bring with them, to learn more about breast health.”
The talk, titled “The Importance of Breast Cancer Screening,” will be held in the Gifford Conference Center at the medical center at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph.
The event is free and open to all. No registration is required.
Class focuses on Chronic Disease Self-Management and peer support
A new Chronic Disease Self-Management Healthier Living Workshop series begins Oct. 15 and continues Mondays through Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Gifford Medical Center.
Healthier Living Workshops are six-week classes for people with chronic conditions and their caregivers. They are offered for free – along with chronic pain workshops – throughout the year by Gifford as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health.
The workshops are led by trained facilitators and are designed to help improve strength, flexibility and endurance. They also provide tips for managing medications, eating healthier and improving communications with family and friends.
The goal is to help people better manage their health conditions and deal with the frustration, fatigue, and pain that can accompany a chronic disease.
Participants also benefit from meeting other people with chronic conditions, learning how they cope and enjoying the camaraderie of knowing that they are not alone in how they’re feeling, notes Gifford workshop coordinator Susan Delattre.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, past participants report increased energy, reduced stress, more self-confidence and fewer doctors’ visits as a result.
Gifford Healthier Living Workshop participants have called the series “very relaxed and you really felt free to express yourself” and said they most enjoyed “meeting people who understand what I am going through.”
To register or for more information, call Zach Bean at Gifford’s Blueprint office at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6.
The workshop will take place in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center at 44 S. Main St. From patient parking, the Conference Center is marked with a green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center.