Escape to a Healthier You Conference

The month of January prompts many to prioritize their health and Bear Lake Memorial Hospital has put together an event to help promote just that. Escape to a Healthier You is designed to educated attendees on relevant health concerns and help break up the long winter’s in Bear Lake. The event will be held at Bear Lake Middle School Auditorium at 1 pm – 5 pm. Tickets for the event are sold out. But if there is anyone unable to attend please find someone to use them or call Julie Nelson at 208-847-0963 so they can be given to those on a waiting list.  There is no assigned seating and saving of seats is not permitted they will be available on a first come, first serve basis. There will be a limited amount of book signing vouchers (two books per voucher) handed out as attendees arrive, so plan accordingly. Doors will be open to the public at 12:30 pm. Parking will be in the tabernacle lot unless needing wheelchair accessibility, then use the auditorium entrance from 6th Street.  The 7th Street parking is designated for presenters and volunteers of the event.   The Keynote speaker is Elizabeth Smart who will be addressing the audience at 4:00 pm. Many are familiar with her story but here’s an excerpt from her website, “The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Elizabeth was abducted on June 5, 2002, and her captors controlled her by threatening to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Fortunately, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12, 2003, after being held a prisoner for 9 grueling months. Through this traumatic experience, Elizabeth has become an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and National legislation. Elizabeth triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about the very private nightmare she suffered during her abduction, which led to conviction.” Other presenters are from the Bear Lake Memorial Hospital staff and they include: Dr. Nicholas Packer discussing Women’s Health Concerns, Dr. Trevor Jacobson talking on Mindfulness, Dr. Clay Campbell presents on Patient’s Responsibilities, and before the Keynote Speaker Shaun Tobler MSW, LCSW will talk on Coping with Life’s Challenges. Attendees will receive a tote, a presentation booklet, and many free give away items, as well as snacks and water. Several drawings will be held throughout the day including giving away several of Elizabeth’s book “My Story”, chocolates, potted plants, and the final prize of the day will be a $200 Amazon Gift Card. Members of the committee for the Healthier You Conference are excited for this sold out event and hope those in attendance will find the information invaluable.

Bear Lake Memorial’s Weight Loss Program

Many struggle with carrying excess weight. It can affect everything in one’s life. . .  from sleeping, to mobility, preventing quality time with family and more. The daily stresses one faces can take you down a path of bad habits, hopelessness, and giving up on ourselves. Bear Lake Memorial Hospital recently added a weight loss program to assist community members with reaching their weight loss goals. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention over 2/3 of Americans are considered overweight or obese. Obesity can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and/or Stroke, gallbladder disease, joint issues, sleep apnea and breathing problems, and even mental illness (clinical depression, anxiety, etc.)   The weight loss program is designed to support individuals in the creating a lifestyle of health through consults with physical therapy, counseling services, and dietician support. There are also surgical options that greatly increase the chance of long-term weight loss. With a 70% success rate the Gastric Sleeve surgery, performed by Board Certified Surgeon Joseph Podany, is available through most insurances but can be paid privately if needed.  The national cost for Gastric Sleeve surgery is around $12,600. The Sleeve is a permanent alteration to the stomach, which means part of it is removed completely. With that removal the hormones that produce the feeling of hunger are reduced as well. To get started on the process, attending a free FREE Weight Loss Seminar to introduce you to the process and answer any preliminary question. The next seminar will be held on January 15th.but additional seminars are held bi-monthly. Register by calling 208-847-1110. Then there is a FREE follow up consult appointment where the patient’s health history will be reviewed and assess their eligibility for surgery. A membership to Absolute Fitness Center will be available for six months during the program. They will also go through a goal-setting session with the program coordinator. Every surgeon and facility has a slightly different approach to the weight loss surgery process but the end result speaks volumes to the impact and increased quality of the patient’s health and life.   The lifestyle consults and program coordinator is with the patient every step of the way. Success is possible and Bear Lake Memorial Hospital hopes to be there for you and your weight loss needs.

Fall Prevention

Falls are a common danger facing people as they age, and for seniors, a fall can be really bad news.  A new study shows the importance of avoiding that first fall. The findings, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, showed that more than half the seniors who went to the emergency room because of a fall either had additional falls, had to be hospitalized, or died within 6 months. According to the National Council on Aging, every 11 seconds an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury.  However, by becoming educated and taking a few precautions, many falls are preventable. The National Council on Aging gives 6 basic tips for preventing falls:  
  1. Find a good balance and exercise program
Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility.  Find a program you like through a local agency or through the internet, and enlist a friend.  
  1. Talk to your health care provider
As for an assessment of your risk of falling.  Share your history of recent falls.  
  1. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist
Make sure that one of the side effects of your medication isn’t an increased risk of falling.  Take medications only as prescribed.  
  1. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses
Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.  
  1. Keep your home safe
Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.  It goes without saying that avoiding icy walkways, and wearing the right footwear is essential to preventing falls in the winter.  
  1. Talk to family members
Enlist their support in taking simple steps and keeping your home safe. Falls are not just a Senior issue.

Flu Season in Full Swing

National Flu Awareness Week Flu
  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
  • People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu.
  • Influenza can cause illness & sometimes severe disease in persons of any age.
  • Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of t1ospita1lzatlons and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States.
  • Although a majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.
  • Over 100 pediatric deaths from influenza were reported to CDC last season.
  Flu Vaccinations
  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease.
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. - Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick. - Getting vaccinated yourself protects people around you, including those    who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
  • Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:
- You need the 2017-2018 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu this season because: o Flu viruses are constantly changing, and this season's vaccines have been updated to protect against the viruses that surveillance data indicate will be most common this flu season o  A person's immune protection from vaccine declines over time so annual flu vaccination is needed for the best protection
  • It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protects against influenza virus infection.
  • While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it's not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later.
  • With flu activity increasing & family & friends planning gatherings for the holidays, now is the time to get a flu vaccine if you haven't been vaccinated yet this season. A flu vaccine can protect you & your loved ones from the flu.

#GivingTuesday M-R-I for Y-O-U

Many may think an MRI machine is just a piece of equipment, but it’s so much more. It can be a LIFESAVER. An MRI scan can help diagnose cancer, strokes, aneurysms, spinal issues and other injuries. “A patient came in for an MRI on her shoulder due to severe pain,” recalls an MRI technician. “I noticed an abnormal area in her lung and brought this to the radiologist’s attention. The patient was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was told by the radiologist I saved her life because we caught the cancer early.” At Bear Lake Memorial Hospital we have access to a mobile MRI machine, however, it is a shared resource between several hospitals and is only here 1 to 2 times per week. There are often waiting lists to receive an MRI with our current setup, which forces urgent out of the area trips to get an MRI scan. This limited access makes it difficult for our community to receive the best care. Purchasing an MRI is an investment in us.  It is an investment in our community. It is an investment that we cannot delay.  This is an M-R-I for Y-O-U. Your generous contribution to purchase an MRI machine can be made as a one-time investment or it can be structured as a periodic, recurring donation that you can modify at any time. Because Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, your gifts are tax deductible. Please use the enclosed donation card and return envelope to send in your gift or go online to and click “Donate Now”

Brake for Breakfast Success

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their annual Brake for Breakfast event on Wednesday, October 4th. Car after car proceeded through the nursing home driveway to receive their goodies. Brake for Breakfast is a regional event co-sponsored with The Hospital Cooperative in Pocatello.  With the help of hospital auxiliary volunteers, 1200 bags were given out containing information about mammograms and breast cancer along with a light breakfast. Some informational items were generously donated by the Susan G. Komen Affiliate of Idaho/Montana. Another success to celebrate includes Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary purchasing a new bus for the Nursing Home and Assisted Living residents. An open house for the public will be held October 19th from 5– 6:30 pm to view the new bus and see the recently built employee/patient patio on the south end of the hospital. Donors will be recognized that evening. Bear Lake Memorial wants to remind the people of Bear Lake Valley that prevention is the best protection and to get your mammogram. An appointment can be made by calling 208-847-1630.

Caregiver Stress

Caregiver Stress Caring for an older person can be rewarding, but also demanding, difficult, and very stressful.  The caregiver may need to be available around the clock to fix meals, provide nursing care, take care of laundry and cleaning, drive to doctor’s appointments, and pay bills.  Oftentimes, caregivers must give up their own employment to take care of these responsibilities or squeeze them in between employment and other family obligations. It can be difficult to keep a positive outlook when there’s little hope of the older person’s physical and mental condition improving.  Over time, the demands and stress of caregiving can take their toll.  Anger, resentment, and spiraling emotions can be the result of caregiver stress. If you are a caregiver, make sure you have time to rest and take care of your needs.  You can ask a family member or friend to help out for a weekend, or even for a few hours, so that you can take some time for yourself.  Some community service organizations provide caregivers a break, called respite care.  In other communities, such as our own, the assisted living center will do daycare for the elderly. Steps can be taken to help relieve caregiver stress such as: getting outdoors, getting enough sleep, taking time or yourself, reading, meditating, and asking for help. Resources for caregivers:      (Alzheimer’s Association)  (the government site for caregivers)  (provides support for spousal caregivers) Visit your local SHIP (SHIBA in Idaho) counselor for one-on-one insurance counseling and Medicare information:  Kim Hulme 208.847.0949    

Preparing for a Disaster

When a major disaster occurs, a person’s life can change in an instant.  Here are some precautions to take to prepare your family, including elderly loved ones, for a disaster. Learn About Potential Threats Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur in your area.  These can include those that affect only your family, to those affecting the entire community. Plan Escape Routes Identify two ways to escape from every room.  Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Establish a Communication Plan Make a plan for how you will contact family members if they are not present. Make copies of important documents Items to consider are: passport, drivers license, social security and insurance cards, wills, deeds, financial statements, etc.  Als, have emergency contact cards for you and your family. Plan for Pets Don’t forget to include food and water for animals Make an Emergency Kit    Basic items to consider: 3 day supply of non-perishable food and water Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries Flashlight and extra batteries First-Aid Kit Sanitation and hygiene items Manual can opener Matches in a waterproof container Extra clothing and blankets Photocopies of credit and identification cards Cash and coins Whistle Extra set of house and car keys Medication, contact lens solutions, etc.   Consider your own special needs. Maintain your kit and store in a cool dry place. Update as needed. For more information about disaster preparedness visit:            

What is Speech Therapy for Adults?

By Saunja Carlson, MS, CF-SLP Speech therapists, or Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs), are highly trained professionals with Masters or Doctorate Degrees. They specialize in helping both children and adults with communication disorders. Many people are familiar with speech therapy for children. Some children may go to an SLP because they have difficulty producing some sounds correctly (for example, saying “wabbit” for “rabbit”, “appo” for “apple”, or “jips” for “chips”), or if they stutter. But did you know that SLPs also work with adults? So, how exactly can a speech therapist help adults? Often when adults suffer a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, they need help reorganizing their thoughts, orientation, and memory. Sometimes they need help retraining their swallowing function, in order to keep them safe and prevent food and liquid from going down into their lungs. Perhaps someone’s Grandma has dementia, with difficulty remembering people, events, and things most dear to them. These are some examples of when a speech therapist, or SLP, can help an adult. SLPs evaluate and provide therapy for communication disorders for adults, including speech, language, swallowing, cognitive communication, social communication, pragmatics, auditory processing, fluency (stuttering), voice disorders, and training for use of alternative/augmentative communication (AAC) devices. Let’s talk about each of these areas more.
  • Speech is the way we produce our sounds, or clarity.
  • Language includes expressive language (how we express our ideas and thoughts) and receptive language (understanding others).
  • Cognitive communication includes memory, orientation, problem solving, organization, attention.
  • Social communication involves conversational dynamics, such as taking turns in conversation or altering our language to suit different situations.
  • Dysphagia (swallowing) includes determining risk for aspiration, swallow integrity, recommendations for safest and least restrictive food/liquid consistencies, safe swallowing techniques, compensatory strategies, exercises to strengthen oral pharyngeal musculature.
  • Fluency includes stuttering, and how it affects a person’s social communication.
  • Voice involves pitch, volume, quality, modifying accent, breathing exercises, resonance, excessive throat clearing.
  • AAC devices are alternative methods for communication when a person is nonverbal (such as using an iPad to communicate).
So, what are some things we should watch out for? When should an adult go to see an SLP? Watch your loved ones for difficulty swallowing, coughing, choking, clearing throat while eating or drinking, drooling, or having a “gurgly” voice after eating. Also watch for difficulties with memory, attention, organization, problem-solving, or finding the right word to say. An SLP could help your loved one with these difficulties.