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7 Ways to Maintain Bone Health

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Stand Up To Falling Down- A Fall Prevention & Awareness Event


Sun Health wants to keep you standing tall. Each year, 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. However, fall-related injuries are preventable. Join Sun Health for our 8th Annual Stand Up to Falling Down fall prevention event.

Attend in-person or virtually through Zoom. Participate in a way that works for you!

The event will feature educational presentations from Banner Health professionals, fall prevention resources, as well as fall risk assessments. drawing will be held after each presentation for a fall risk assessment using VirtuSense™, the number one fall prevention solution in the world!

Thursday, September 22
9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
The Colonnade,
a Sun Health Community
19116 N. Colonnade Way
Surprise, AZ 85374

Presentations & Speakers:

9:00 a.m. Vendor Walk

9:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks
Sun Health Team

9:35 a.m. Banner Health Injury Prevention Program:
Fall Prevention Home Safety Tips
Melissa Luxton, MSN, RN, Banner Health
Tracey Fejt, RN, Banner Health
This interactive program is designed for community dwelling adults over the age of 65. The program uses evidence-based education, utilizing the STEADICompendium developed by the CDC, as well Safety Town’s adult safety house, providing interactive and engaging education for the senior community.

10:05 a.m. Improving Bone Health: Strategies
and Current Medical Trends
Dr. Christina Khoury, Orthopedic Surgeon, Abrazo Health
The strength of your bones is an important determinant of your quality of life, especially in your golden years. Dr. Khoury will discuss how to monitor, maintain and strength your bones.

10:35 a.m. Vendor Walk

10:45 a.m. Balance Assessments Demonstration with VirtuSense™
Megan Motsko, Program Manager
Jonathan Schwinger, PTA
Kelly Roggatz, Rehab Technician

10:55 a.m. Don’t Fall For It!
Rhonda Zonoozi, ACSM-EP, Cardiac Rehab
Exercise Physiologist, Banner Health
Our chance of falling is impacted by our choices and what is around us. Learn how to reduce the risk of falling and increase your balance and mobility, wellbeing and physical safety.

11:25 a.m. Closing Remarks

11:30 a.m. Fall Risk Assessments by appointment only


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

 What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes memory dysfunction and a decline in intellectual abilities, which are significant enough to disrupt daily living. It could be a decline in judgment, reasoning, problem-solving or more. There are more then 70 different types of dementia with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. In fact, it accounts for approximately 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Dementia is more than just memory loss. As we age, it may take us longer to retrieve information we have stored in our memory. With dementia, this happens frequently enough to impact daily tasks such as the ability to keep appointments, manage bills or bank accounts, or to take medication correctly. A person with dementia may have personality changes and become more withdrawn or less social than they used to be.

If you notice these changes and disruptions in your cognitive ability or those of a loved one, consult with your physician to determine the cause and whether a treatment can delay or prevent the progression of dementia.

Help While Healing

Help While Healing image

Sun Health Care Transitions Program focuses on supporting patients after hospitalization

When Surprise resident Don Grover had open-heart surgery in January he and his wife Joyce realized they had questions they didn’t think to ask before leaving the hospital.
The care Don received at Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City, during a nearly weeklong stay was excellent, but continuing his recovery at home came with uncertainty and anxiety.
That is when nurse Krysta Roseberry and the team from Sun Health Care Transitions stepped to support the Grovers.
“We feel like home is the best place to help the patients heal,” Krysta says. “We don’t want them in the hospital any longer than they need to be. We provide education and emotional support, answer questions and are there for them as they need us.”
Sun Health Care Transitions is an evidence-based program that focuses on helping patients to self-manage their health conditions and break the cycle of readmissions by assisting them during the critical period after they are discharged from the hospital.
As part of this program, Care Transition team members will review patients’ medication regimens, educate them on their conditions, connect them with community resources and ensure timely physician follow-up care.
The program has served thousands of patients to date, especially those with chronic conditions such as heart failure,  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, which increases their risk for readmission.
At first, Don and Joyce were apprehensive about the at-home visit with Krysta.
“Our first question was, ‘Who is going to pay for this?’” Don says.
Krysta quickly eased their minds and assured them that there were no out-of-pocket costs, as the expenses of the program were covered through a Medicare demonstration program and the generosity of donors to Sun Health Foundation.
This was the first of many important topics Krysta discussed with the Grovers.
“When Krysta came over, the anxiety in the room dropped about 3,000 percent,” Don says. “She answered all of our questions, was very caring and spent more time with us than I know she had. That was appreciated.”
For the couple, married 53 years, Krysta and other care transitions nurses were a saving grace. Joyce says that as soon as the team stepped in, things didn’t seem so scary and they knew they could count on support.
“I felt so much less anxiety” Joyce says. “Even when I called over to speak with Krysta and she wasn’t available, the other nurses were great to work with. Then, she came to our home the next day just to check on us. She is quite a gal.”
Sun Health Care Transitions has served more than 11,000 patients since November 2011. The program has a hospital readmission rate of 7.81 percent, compared to the national Medicare average of 17.8 percent. Since the program began, Sun Health Care Transitions has saved $12.7 million in avoided costs due to decreased readmissions. Additionally, the Sun Health program’s success was featured  at a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Quality Conference in December 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Keep Stress at Bay


 Keep Stress at Bay

Exercise can help reduce the stress that ails you

Stress carries a lot of baggage.  Frayed nerves.  Upset stomach. Rapid heartbeat.  Sleeplessness.  The list goes on.

Unless you’re a Buddhist monk in deep meditation, chances are that stress is a frequent, and sometimes unwelcome, companion in your life, no matter what your age.  But adults age 55 and older may experience stress differently, according to Rhonda Zonoozi, exercise physiologist and certified health and wellness coach at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing.

“The body’s natural defenses against stress tend to slow down with age,” Zonoozi says.

Worries over retirement, dwindling finances, loss of independence, declining health – our own health or a loved one’s health – are common worries faced by seniors.  Zonoozi primarily helps older adults and sees the downside of too much stress.

“As we age, our brains lose some of their ability to regulate hormone levels,” she says.  “Older adults who feel stressed tend to produce larger amounts of stress hormones, and over time that can lead to health problems.”

But don’t worry.  Be happy because there are many ways to de-stress, including one of Zonoozi’s favorites: a thing called exercise.

We’ve heard a million times that regular exercise is important for our overall health, but it’s also a proven way to keep the stress demons from your door.  Research backs it up: A 2013 Princeton University study found that mice who exercised frequently were less anxious in stressful situations than their more sedentary neighbors.

Other studies have shown that exercise can boost one’s mood by stimulating production of “feel-good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine and endorphins.

“These neurotransmitters are like natural antidepressants,” Zonoozi says.  “Antidepressant medications can take several weeks to kick in, but you can experience the relaxing effects of a 30-minute walk almost immediately.”

Exercise also helps distract us from our stressors by providing something else to focus on.  Exercise may reduce muscle tension and the secretion of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.”  Regular exercisers tend to react and recover more effectively in highly stressful situations.

“This acute stress response pumps up the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, which prepares us to fight or flee,” Zonoozi says.

One more thing to know: exercisers tend to sleep better.  You snooze.  You lose your stress.

From yoga, to walking, to water aerobics, there are several physical activities that can help reduce our stress.  Other techniques may include deep breathing, meditation and journaling.

“It’s much better to work out, than to stress out,” Zonoozi says.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Don’t Let Your Age Weight You Down

 Don’t Let Your Age Weight You Down

Is it harder to lose weight the older you are?

Although it’s possible to lose weight at any age, several factors make it harder to drop the pounds as we add years.

First, research shows that we begin losing muscle mass in our 30s. Muscles burn more calories than fat (about three times more), so less muscle translates to a slower metabolism, the means by which our bodies convert food into energy. When metabolism slows, it’s harder to burn calories. Compounding these effects are declining levels of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone in women and men as we age. If we don’t cut back on calories, we start gaining body fat, especially in the mid-section.

Second, the older we are the more sedentary we become. The aches and pains common with aging can make it more challenging to stay physically active.

Fight back by eating healthier. Aim to trim about 100 calories a day from your food plan. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Replace creamy, high-calorie salad dressings with some balsamic vinegar. Choose low-fat or fat-free creamer in your coffee or tea. Switch from junk food to foods rich in fiber and protein. And, get physical. Activity can increase your metabolism and help burn more calories.

As fitness guru Richard Simmons once said, “Love yourself. Move your body. Watch your portions.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Sweat is a Gift

 Sweat is a Gift

Exercise Physiologist & Health Coach

(As seen in the Sun City Independent and Surprise Today)

I’ve started dozens of exercise programs in my life and I’ve ended up quitting all of them. Do you have any advice on how to stick to it?

I’m going to answer your question with a question. Why are you exercising? Are you getting physical because your doctor told you so, or because you “should” lose weight or to prevent a chronic disease later in life?

In her book, “No Sweat,” researcher Michelle Segar, Ph.D., identifies these “whys” as abstract, clinical, future-oriented and guilt-fueled. This isn’t to say they are inherently wrong, but rather that they tend to turn exercise into a chore. The wrong “whys” may get us up and moving, but our motivation eventually fades, often leading us to quit and label ourselves as a failure. If we start exercising again but still have the wrong whys, we are destined to fail.

Replacing the wrong with the right whys makes all the difference. Try viewing exercise as a gift, something that’s meaningful and relevant now. Say, “I get to, I want to, I choose to exercise.”

Replacing a future reward (weight loss, improved health number) with a more immediate positive (feeling of accomplishment, being refreshed, more energetic) converts the chore into a gift. When we enjoy how we feel during physical activity, we want to repeat it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Second Chance At Life

 New Life image

West Valley woman overcomes traumatic past, loses 130 pounds and inspires others 

As we celebrate the third anniversary of the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, we wanted to share with you one of our many success stories. Our comprehensive suite of health and wellness services aims to promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of members of our community. From nutrition consultations with dietitians to massage and acupuncture, we offer a variety of services to meet your needs. Learn more at sunhealthwellbeing.org or call 623-832-WELL (9355).
When the scale tipped 330 pounds in May 2015, Sharon Brubaker decided to seek help one final time for her ongoing struggle with weight. Doctors advised the then 45-year-old Surprise resident to undergo weight-loss surgery, but Sharon realized self-medicating with food was an issue that needed to be fixed in her head, not in her stomach. After years of trauma and abuse, Brubaker joined Mending the Soul, a faith-based group, to learn proper coping mechanisms and also connected with Tracy Garrett, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, who she ultimately credits for saving her life.

Rearrange your plate

At her heaviest, Sharon would often visit fast food restaurants and order two meals at a time. She was accustomed to eating large portions so it came as a surprise during a private consultation with Tracy, that she learned she didn’t have to reduce the amount of food she ate.
“She told me I simply needed to replace what’s on my plate with healthier options,” Sharon says. “That’s what changed my life.”
Following Tracy’s advice, Sharon began eating fruit and vegetables and incorporating healthy food into her diet.
“I was more concerned with the quality of food she was consuming than I was with the total calories,” says Tracy. “Sharon started to add in whole foods, developed a habit for healthy grocery shopping and was open to trying new things.”
Sharon became more aware of the ingredients in the food she chose and started preparing meals at home. Before dining out, she would review a restaurant’s menu online and decide what to order in advance to avoid temptation.

Maintain a food journal

Registered dietitian nutritionists often suggest clients write down their daily food intake to increase motivation and maintain accountability.

Sharon weighed 330 lbs in May 2015

“The first day we met, Sharon handed me her food log and was brutally honest in her recordings, knowing her eating habits needed work,” Tracy says.
Sharon began using “MyFitnessPal,” a free online calorie counter, which helps her stay on track.

Incorporate exercise

Because she walked with a cane and couldn’t stand on her own for more than five minutes, Sharon went to physical therapy before eventually hiring a personal trainer at a local gym. Today, she works out five days a week and incorporates walking and bike riding into her busy schedule.
Tracy helped Sharon learn about the appropriate timing and composition of meals to aid in weight loss. They also discussed sleep habits, stress management, behavior modifications and the use of food for fuel.
“She taught me that it’s beneficial for my body to eat protein within 30 minutes of completing a workout,” Sharon says.

Celebrate success

In less than two years, Sharon has lost 130 pounds. While she hasn’t yet reached her goal weight, she is well on her way.
“Sharon’s successes are due to her persistence and because she reached out to a team of professionals to help her on this journey,” Tracy says. “She changed the course of her life, and in the process, has positively impacted others, including me.”
When she isn’t working as a computer programmer, Sharon spends her time volunteering as a mentor to young girls at StreetLightUSA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood rape and sexual abuse.
She is eager to move on to the next chapter of her life.
“It took me 47 years to transition from victim to survivor,” she said. “Now there is light.”