While filling a need, Senior Companions get as much as they give
PHOTO: Lucila Oblena, 91 (left), and her companion Dorothy Jones, 71, take walks together when the weather is nice enough.
Even though they both live in North Dallas, just a few miles apart, it’s not likely that Dorothy Jones and Lucila Oblena would’ve ever crossed paths. But the two women found each other by way of Senior Companions, and by all accounts, life is better for both.
Oblena, 91, lives with her daughter, Mari Davis, and is in good health. But she’s unable to drive and a bit unsteady on her feet at times. And Davis’ job takes her on the road often, sometimes for weeks at a time.
So Jones, 71, a retired nurse, helps fill the gap. Mondays through Fridays, she drives to Oblena’s apartment and spends the day there, taking Oblena to doctor’s appointments, the mall, the grocery store or to church. When the weather’s nice, the two women walk together to a nearby park with Oblena’s Jack Russell terrier, Sara.
Mostly, they enjoy each other’s companionship. Jones loves to hear Oblena talk about her life in the Philippines, where she was a school principal before retiring.
“Why would I want to sit at home with just me?” Jones says. “I get enjoyment out of this. We’re talking and having fun. It’s a win/win.”
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Heart health: Should you be taking statins? How to talk to your doctor about whether to take cholesterol-lowering statins.
By MARY JACOBS
One group of British researchers went so far as to propose that fast food restaurants hand out packets of statin, along with ketchup and mustard, to offset the heart health risks of a cheeseburger and fries. (In Great Britain, you can already buy the cholesterol-lowering medication over the counter in low doses.)
Many doctors prescribe statins readily and enthusiastically, because the medication is effective — it clearly lowers LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and reduces the risk of heart attack among people with heart disease. Plus, most statins are relatively safe and inexpensive.
Arrhythmias range from harmless to fatal Whether they’re called “palpitations” or “skipped beats,” occasional, brief bouts of arrhythmia are fairly common. Should you worry?
By MARY JACOBS
It’s that time of year, when love is in the air, and the heart flutters every time special someone draws near.
But sometimes the diagnosis isn’t love. A fluttering heart — the medical term is “arrhythmia” — can signal something more serious than lovesickness.
Whether they’re called “palpitations” or “skipped beats,” occasional, brief bouts of arrhythmia are fairly common. Many are relatively benign, but some types can be fatal or signal an increased risk of stroke.
By MARY JACOBS
Joint replacement was once the surgery of last resort for elderly folks who’d otherwise end up bedridden.
For Diane Hitchcock, 56, of Noank, Conn., knee replacement surgery meant she could go rock climbing again, just six months after the surgery.
Richard Rosebrock, 56, of Sanger, expects that hip replacement surgery will allow him to return to his job as a Carrollton firefighter — lugging up to 60 lbs. of gear.
“It’s not unusual for a 50-year-old to get joint replacement surgery these days,” says Dr. Clinton Bell, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Methodist Health System in Dallas. “Fifteen years ago, that was not the norm at all.”
“Patients have more options and are choosing to have the surgery sooner, rather than later,” says Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, Hitchcock’s orthopedic surgeon and director of joint replacement research at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
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