Welcome to the February 2005 Seniors Digest!
Welcome to the February 2005 edition of Seniors Digest! In honor of Black History Month, we highlight the African American Elders Program, which for more than a decade has addressed the needs of Seattle's older African American adults. We also examine the impact of Alzheimer's disease on African Americans, and look at a support group that meets monthly to help those dealing with the challenges of caregiving.
February is also American Heart Month, and we invite you to take a quick quiz on heart health, and to download this month's "Heart Health" wordfind. We also examine some of the notable changes in the newly released USDA dietary guidelines.
When you look online for information on healthy aging and other topics of interest to older adults, does it seem that search engines turn up an overwhelming list of sites? If so, be sure to check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website. The Seniors Digest Resource Center includes a "library" of quality links, and is a great place to begin your search!
For more information....
"Links You Can Use" will lead you to further information about the topics of the month, as well as to contact information for accessing resources in the area, and a few fun links, as well.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Timmie Faghin, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* Thelma Pegues was one of the first African Americans to graduate from the University of Washington Nursing School. Says Thelma, "I was actually the fifth back then, they counted us!" African American students in those days faced the challenges of prejudice; for example, grades sometimes had more to do with the color of a student's skin than with how well she performed, or how hard she worked.
Thelma subsequently received a graduate degree in nursing. She is an active member of the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Association, which was established in honor of Mary Mahoney, the first African-American professional nurse in the United States. The purpose of the organization is to foster an academic environment that will enhance the recruitment and retention of African American students into school and into the nursing profession.
In November of this year, UW Nursing School's Dean Nancy Wood (who was, coincidentally, one of Thelma's nursing school classmates) held a gathering with the Mary Mahoney members to offer a formal apology on behalf of the school of nursing for the inequities and injustices black students endured in the past. Says Thelma, "It can't undo the past, but it does mean a lot. Hopefully it will make things better for others."
The term "retired nurse" can be used only loosely with Thelma! Today she serves in various volunteer positions, including acting as a volunteer "coach" for recent nursing school graduates who need assistance passing their state boards. No student has ever failed after working with Thelma! She has also served on the ADS Advisory Council for the past year. Her biggest impact on the Council has been in outreach, sharing information about services and programs with the elders in her community, neighborhood and church. She has seen the positive impact of these programs, and is eager to spread the word.
Says Thelma, "I feel blessed with good health and good friends. Making friends helps keep me going!"