Local health briefs: Sept. 17

September 17, 2013 

SARASOTA -- JFCS of Manatee and Sarasotais looking for volunteers for its respite care program. The volunteershelp caregivers get outof the house for a few hours by staying withtheir loved ones whohave Alzheimer's orother conditions that require round-the-clock care.

"The volunteers give caregivers a break so they can do things like go grocery shopping or have lunch or dinner with a friend," said Nicole Ziemba, program coordinator at JFCS.

"What volunteers do is unique to each family. They do things like talking, sharing stories, looking at family pictures, playing cards or puzzles," she said.

People of all backgrounds are welcome to volunteer. Having extra knowledge of seniors, such as from having been a caregiver, is a plus, said Ziemba.

A weekly time commitment is required buthours are flexible. Volunteers attend pre-service and monthly training sessions and must pass background checks. They receive small stipends, said Ziemba.

For information, call Ziemba at 941-366-2224, ext. 108, or email nziemba@jfcs-cares.org.

Health fair focuseson falls prevention

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County Falls Prevention Coalition is holding its annual Falls Prevention Health Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21. The free event will be held at Health Park East, 6020 53rd Ave. E.

"We know that falls are a huge problem. As the population ages, this gets to be a bigger and bigger problem," said Jody Baden, vice president of Health How To in Bradenton and a member of the Falls Prevention Coalition.

Statistics from the Falls Prevention Coalition tell the story: In 2010, more than half of the 2,387 non-fatal injuries in Manatee County that put people in the hospital were fall-related. And nearly all of the patients were between ages 55 and 85. Also that year 241 people in the county died from a fall-related injury.

According to the coalition, a huge risk factor for the elderly is their medications. Eighty percent of falls by older adults involve drug interactions from multiple medications or improper use of prescribed and over-the-counter drugs.

The health fair will include free medication consultations with a pharmacist about the type of drugs, prescription or over-the-counter, being taken.

Other free screenings include balance assessments and posture analysis, spinal screenings, and vision and hearing screenings.

There also will be presentations on how to achieve better balance, prevent tripping and how to know when to call 911, plus demonstrations of tai chi, an exercise discipline known for improving balance. Raffle prizes and refreshments also will be part of the event.

For more information, call Susan Brzostowski at 941-747-9922 or email susan@alifeathomehhc.com.

Movie will showthe power of yoga

SARASOTA -- A movie about the transformational power of yoga will be shown at the Center of Building Hope, a resource center for people affected by cancer, starting at 2 p.m. Sept. 20.

"Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey" is the true story of a woman who lost her 52-year-old mother to

cancer, said Linda Lee, a yoga instructor who teaches classes at the center.

"Through the practice of yoga, she was able to work through her grief," said Lee. "I thought the movie will help cancer patients feel empowered."

Yoga is generally regarded as a fitness practice but it can be much more than that, said Lee, a yoga practitioner since 1970. In the film, the main character practices yoga for exercise but then discovers it can be much deeper and richer as well as spiritual.

Lee will lead a discussion after the movie.

The Center for Building Hope is at 5481 Communications Parkway. Attendance is free. RSVP by calling 941-921-5539.

Cancer Society seeking volunteers for study

Originally, the American Cancer Society had hoped that at least 400 people in the Manatee County area would volunteer to participate in an upcoming national cancer prevention study known as CPS-3.

That benchmark was reached last week and the cancer society expanded its goal by asking more phlebotomists to be available at three hospitals where volunteers will give small blood samples between Sept. 24 and 26.

"We have the capacity to enroll up to 773 people so we're thrilled," said Cynthia Dunlap, area executive director of the American Cancer Society, Florida Division.

CPS-3 is the latest version of a national study that began in the 1950s to discover how to prevent cancer by finding links between lifestyle behaviors and cancer. Volunteers are followed for 20 to 30 years.

Findings have included the link between smoking and lung cancer; hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer; and how obesity and low physical activity are cancer risk factors.

Up to 300,000 people will be enrolled in 35 states for the CPS-3 study.

To participate, volunteers must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and never been diagnosed with cancer other than non-melanoma skin cancer. They will give small blood samples and periodically be sent follow-up surveys over the next 20 years.

In Sarasota and Manatee, volunteers who join the study can make appointments to give blood samples at the following dates and locations. Register either online at www.cancer.org/cps3florida or call 1-888-604-5888.

• 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at Doctors Hospital, 5731 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota

• Sept. 25, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sept. 25 at Blake Medical Center, 2020 59th St. W., Bradenton

• 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at Manatee Memorial Hospital, 206 Second St. E., Bradenton

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at shemmingway@hotmail.com.

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