Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

It’s Never Too Late

Through intensive group counseling for individuals over age 65, Senior Life Solutions provides assistance to people who are dealing with emotional or behavioral issues often related to aging.
“Sometimes the journey of life can be difficult,” said Debra Robertson, RN, CCM, local director for the program. “Our team includes Becky Hunter, LISW, who is the full-time therapist, and Grace Warin the Office Patient Coordinator. Together, we’re focused on doing all we can to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve, encouraging them to be more independent in their own lives.”

Independent again
A woman in her mid 70s came to Senior Life Solutions with a myriad of health issues. Along with her physical problems, she was severely depressed, and because she lived more than 30 miles from town, she felt isolated as well. Debra explained that she had a hard time walking and her loss of independence contributed to her low sense of self-esteem. Through group and individual therapy, her mental health improved significantly. In addition, Debra worked with her insurance and primary care physician to connect her to the preventative care resources she needed. After eight months in the Senior Life Solutions program, her quality of life had improved drastically and she

Ongoing support
A man in his early 70s came into the program with severe anxiety and depression. He’d been caring for his wife who was quite ill. He found himself giving up everything. He quit socializing and stopped participating in activities he enjoyed. He had to give up working to be the caregiver for his wife. His doctor referred him to Senior Life Solutions. After nine months, he was on the road to recovery, but had to step away when his wife took a turn for the worse. Several months later, she passed away and he returned and graduated from the program after four months. But like many people, he struggled emotionally during the holiday season, and came back to the program again. After the excellent support he received from his group, he’s now back on his feet with a restored quality of life.

Joining the program
Debra explained that anyone can refer a person to Senior Life Solutions. Although many people come as a result of a meeting with their physicians, referrals also come from concerned adult children, friends, and relatives. Insurance considers the program an out-patient medical service, and if potential patients have questions regarding insurance, they may contact the program directly. “Even if their insurance doesn’t cover our program, we’ll steer them in the direction to help them get the services they need,” said Debra. Though most
participants are 65 and older, people in their late 50s and early 60s can benefit as well. Typically, people attend group sessions three days a week for about four hours plus individual sessions twice a month. Once they’re feeling better, they move to fewer group sessions and then graduation.

For a confidential session on the benefits of Senior Life Solutions, contact Debra Robertson, 641-464-4468.

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Senior Life Solutions Earns Two Awards

Grace Warin (left), Debra Robertson (center), and
Becky Hunter celebrate their awards.

Senior Life Solutions staff was honored with two awards last month by their parent company Psychiatric Medical Care. Grace Warin, OPC, received Office Patient Coordinator of the year 2016. Grace was selected from 42 programs across the United States. A second award, Program of the Year 2016 Finalist, was presented to the Senior Life Solutions team, which includes Program Director Debra Robertson, RN, CCM; Therapist Becky Hunter, LSW; and Office Patient Coordinator Grace Warin.

The Senior Life Solutions clinic is located at the Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr. Its vision is to redefine the treatments available to the elderly population with mental health issues. The goal is to provide a program that results in patients not only living longer, but enjoying the quality of life that comes with aging. “We are honored to receive such outstanding awards,” said Debra Robertson. “Our success wouldn’t be possible without the support and partnership of Ringgold County Hospital and its staff.”

Seniors and their caregivers are invited to learn more about the program and how it can be beneficial during the next “Food for Thought” on Tuesday, May 9 at 5:00 in the hospital cafeteria. The program is free, but reservations are requested. Call 641-464-4401.

Recommended Early Childhood Immunizations

Some vaccines may be given as part of a combination vaccine so that a child gets fewer shots. Talk with your medical provider at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic about which vaccines your children should receive.

Hepatitis B vaccine

2 months
HepB, DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), IPV (Inactivated poliovirus), PCV (Pneumococcal conjugate), RV (Rotavirus)

4 months

6 months

6 months and annually
Influenza (Flu): The flu vaccine is recommended every year for children 6 months and older (two doses needed first year only)

12 months
HepA, Hib, MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella), PCV, Varicella (chickenpox)

18 months
DTaP, HepA

4–6 years
DTaP, MMR, IPV, Varicella

Maximizing Family Care

Brad, Abby, and Alice Elliott are
pleased with the care they receive
at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic

Starting a family is just the beginning. First there are the lullabies and the adorable pictures and the doting grandparents. Then, there are the real-life concerns about weight gain and immunizations and childhood diseases. Scheduling well-child visits can help keep your family healthy and ease new-parent stress. A newborn check-up is recommended 2-3 days after mom and baby leave the hospital.

Abby and Brad Elliott and their daughter, 15-month old Alice, are all Mt. Ayr residents. Both Brad and Abby grew up in Ringgold County. They connected at Northwest Missouri State where she got her master’s degree in history and he got his degree in graphic design. Brad started his own firm in Mt. Ayr 10 years ago while Abby was studying at Purdue University. She moved back in 2012 and they were married in 2014.

A little over a year ago, Alice was born. “We wanted her to have the same doctors, whether she was healthy or sick,” explained Abby. “Many of our friends take their children to Des Moines to see their pediatricians. We wanted our daughter to be seen by people who know her, so we started immediately at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. Her first visit was when she was three days old.”

“I had made an appointment with Dr. Nicole Wilson while I was still pregnant,” continued Abby. “I wanted to meet her ahead of time and I was really impressed. So when I was having some issues after Alice’s birth it made sense to go directly to Dr. Wilson.” While they were at the Clinic, they discovered that Brad wasn’t up to date on all of his immunizations – particularly those that might affect Alice. “It was great that the Clinic could see us as a family, and treat all of us at once.”

Abby and Brad have been taking Alice to the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic since she
was born. They really appreciate the team approach to Alice’s care. The physicians, the nurse practitioner, and the physician’s assistant are all involved. Abby likes knowing that whether Alice is there on a well-baby visit or has an illness, the team knows who she is and is familiar with her family. “At Alice’s 15-month check-up, Dr. Brad Wilson looked at her chart and questioned her weight gain. She had lost a little when she was sick around her first birthday, and he picked right up on it.” Abby is pleased to know that if Alice ever needs emergency care the medical staff at the Clinic will not only be able to care for her, they’ll know her. “It’s ideal for Alice. It’s ideal for us.”

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Back in the Saddle

Dwayne Cason, heart attack survivor

When you talk to Dwayne Cason, you know right away that he’s been through a lot. The 71-year-old Viet Nam veteran has had his share of injuries, but perhaps none as life threatening as the heart attack that forced him to have open heart surgery last June. “I was taking care of 37 acres and walking five miles a day,” he said, “and I still had a heart attack!”

Luckily for Dwayne, he knew where to find the best cardiac rehabilitation in Southern Iowa– with Jennifer England at Ringgold County Hospital. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Jennifer a 12!” He’d worked with her in 2010 after having a stent put in, so he knew how she worked and that she would help him after his surgery. “Jennifer’s the best. I told her ‘I want you to push me. Push me hard.’ And she really pushed me.”

Dwayne explained that each session began with warm ups like leg lifts, squats, and stretching his muscles. Then they’d lift weights. “I started lifting at three pounds. She got me up to eight. And Jennifer does every one of them with you. She always had two pounds more than me.”

For many cardiac patients, time on a treadmill is part of their rehab. Not so for Dwayne. “You can walk forever,” said Jennifer. So instead he spent time on a bike. “We bumped up the resistance and I’d ride for 30 minutes.” According to Dwayne, his doctors told him he won’t feel 100% better until a year after his surgery. But he’s working hard to beat that prediction. With the great start he received from RCH cardiac rehab, he’s well on his way.

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