Saturday, February 24, 2018

Joni Schaff

Seniors remember friends – Bea Miller and Sonny Mehling

Senior Center News
Two of our friends passed away recently.
Bea Miller, wife of Jerry, was a sweet lady who enjoyed being around people. She and Jerry would come to the Hardin Senior Center for dinners. Jerry was a devoted husband. Condolences are sent to her family from the senior center.
Lifelong Big Horn County resident Sonny Mehling passed away last week, too. Sonny was at a farewell party for his brother-in-law Don Seader and wife Marge this summer in Custer. I’m sure glad I spent time with Sonny visiting that day. 
As a young girl, I knew Sonny from the gymkhanas at his brother Bob’s arena north of Hardin. Sonny enjoyed children. He and Bob did chariot sled racing in the winter. This was a high-speed sport, only for the most daring of cowboys. 
Sonny sat a horse really well. Born a natural cowboy, his roping abilities were appreciated. I believe he attended Community School. A guy he went to school with, the late Ernie Adler, said the teacher had quite a time with those farm boys. Sonny and the others just didn’t want to be confined to the schoolroom, and would jump out of the window whenever they got the chance. 
Sonny and wife Darlene’s children Johnny Lee, Mark, Jolene and Kelly lived and enjoyed the ranch life their parents provided for them. Sympathy is sent to the Mehling family from me and his long acquaintances.
This week’s topic is on compassionate communication for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s as compiled by the Alzheimer’s Association.
People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have more difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions; they also have trouble understanding others. Here are some ways to more effectively interact with the person with Alzheimer’s.
Be patient and supportive. Let the person know you’re listening and trying to understand. Show the person that you care about what he or she is saying and be careful not to interrupt.
Offer comfort and reassurance. If he or she is having trouble communicating, let the person know it’s okay. Encourage the person to continue to explain his or her thoughts.
Avoid criticizing or correcting. Don’t tell the person what he or she is saying is incorrect. Instead, listen and try to find the meaning in what is being said. Repeat what was said if it helps to clarify the thought.
Avoid arguing. If the person says something you don’t agree with, let it be. Arguing usually only makes things worse, often heightening the level of agitation for the person with dementia.
Offer a guess. If the person uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing the right one. If you understand what the person means, you may not need to give the correct word. Be careful not to cause unnecessary frustration.
Encourage unspoken communication. If you don’t understand what is being said, ask the person to point or gesture.
Limit distractions. Find a place that’s quiet. The surroundings should support the person’s ability to focus on his or her thoughts.
Focus on feelings, not facts. Sometimes, the emotions being expressed are more important that what is being said. Look for the feeling behind the words. Tone of voice and other actions provide clues.
Be prepared for the changes Alzheimer’s brings. Sign up for an e-newsletter and receive tips to help you cope with these changes. Phone 800-272-3900 or
Next week’s activities include the Seniors Association meeting on Sept. 8 at 11 a.m., a Patriot Day Remembrance on Patriot Day, Sept. 11, Bingo on Sept. 12 and Sept. 14 and a movie in the afternoon of  Sept. 13.
Hardin Senior Center menu:
Thursday, Sept. 7 – barbecue ribs, baked beans, vegetables, salad, dessert
Friday, Sept. 8 – burger on a bun, chips, dip, cottage cheese, dessert
Monday, Sept. 11 – hamburger gravy with mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad, dessert
Tuesday, Sept. 12 – ham and bean soup, sandwich, dessert
Wednesday, Sept. 13 – chicken, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, dessert
Thursday, Sept. 14 – Mexican rice, salad, dessert
Lodge Grass Senior Center menu - not available at press time