TMC Brain Week: Join us to learn ways to keep your brain healthy

BrainWeek_Gear2017Join Tucson Medical Center next week for a week-long series of discussions and activities designed to provide a better understanding of how the brain works and how best to protect it.

How does exercise affect the brain? What are the differences between normal aging and signs of dementia? What are treatment options for movement disorders or mild cognitive impairment?

All events are held at the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road.

The following classes still have availability; please call 324-1960 to reserve a seat:

  • Monday, April 17, 10 a.m.; Golden Years, Golden Brain: Memory for Life. The golden years don’t have to mean the beginning of a slow decline of memory. Many things can help. Join Jill Jones as she shares some of the tips and techniques to use to keep your memory strong.
  • Monday, April 17, 2 p.m.; The Normal Brain vs. Dementia. Have you wondered if a “senior moment” could signal the beginning of cognitive or memory issues? Don’t worry needlessly; these could be just normal age-related issues. Join Heather Pederson, PhD, neuropsychologist with the Center for Neurosciences as she explains the normal memory issues we all face as we age vs. the telltale signs of dementia.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 10 a.m.; Mild Cognitive Impairment. Mild cognitive impairment can be an early sign of dementia, but some people never get worse, and a few even get better. Join Morgen Hartford, MSW, regional director for Alzheimer’s Southern Arizona, as he shares more information about this less-emphasized cognitive condition.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2 p.m.; The Brain-Exercise Connection. Did you know that regular physical activity benefits the brain? Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Join Gene Alexander, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Department of Psychology Brain Imaging, Behavior and Aging Laboratory as he shares the latest research on this.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 10 a.m.; Brain Plasticity: The Key to Learning and Recovery. Research has shown that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life – allowing the brain to adjust for an injury and change with new situations. Existing areas of the brain can take over functions for damaged areas. Nadia Fike, M.D., PhD, neurologist and researcher with Center for Neurosciences explains how this happens and what it means for aging brains.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2 p.m.; Surgical Intervention for Movement Disorders. Not all movement disorders are life-threatening, but they may impair the ability to function independently. Surgical interventions are used when medications and rehab strategies no longer manage symptoms. Join Thomas Norton, M.D., neurosurgeon with the Center for Neurosciences as he shares information on how this is done and how effective it can be.
  • Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m.; Traumatic Brain Injury. There are many ways to suffer a traumatic brain injury with the risk of brain damage increasing each time we hit our head – in a fall, with whiplash, etc. It can affect memory, organizational skills, emotions, behavior and more. Join Sarah Burger, PhD, neuropsychologist with the Center for Neurosciences to learn some of the non-physical issues to look for after a TBI and what can be done to help.
  • Thursday April 20; 2 p.m.; Tips to Keep Your Brain Healthy. Do you want to enjoy lifelong brain health? Research has shown that there are some specific things that will help keep your brain healthy. Adam Reynolds, M.D., neurologist with the Center for Neurosciences will explain what these are and how they can help.

Find more information at or check out the TMC for Seniors calendar of events.

Positively Sexy: Healthy Aging and Sexuality event this Friday

TMC Senior Services will host its 6th annual Healthy Aging and Sexuality Event: Positively Sexy this Friday, Feb. 15, from 2 – 5 p.m. at TMC’s Marshall Conference Center.

The workshop will provide a comfortable setting for older adults to come together and learn about sexuality, sensuality and the clinical aspects of aging.  “This event will be an opportunity for people to learn about how our bodies change as we age, and how that may affect our sexual well-being,” explains L’Don Sawyer, TMC Senior Services Director.

“We will address the questions many people may not be comfortable discussing with their health care provider.  Is it okay to have sex after a heart attack?  What medications may affect my sex life?  What can I do about erectile dysfunction?  This is a chance for people to get their questions answered,” says Sawyer.

Dr. Pal Evans is a retired OB/GYN, the current chairman of the Pima Council on Aging, and works with TMC’s Senior Services programs.  In the video below, he tells us why he thinks seniors’ sexuality is such a taboo topic in our society, and why it’s such a difficult conversation for health care professionals to have with their patients.  Also, find out what he thinks is the biggest misconception people have about this topic!

For information about the event, including how to RSVP, please click here.

Healthy Legs, Healthy Life lecture at Healthy Living Connections is another success

This morning, Healthy Living Connections packed the house once again during their Healthy Legs, Healthy Life lecture at TMC’s El Dorado Health Campus.

During the lecture, Dr. Luis Leon discussed risk factors related to venous disease, signs and symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Superficial Phlebitis, Varicose Veins, and Post Phlebitis Syndrome to nearly 60 attendees.

Dr. Matthew Namanny followed with a discussion of  signs and symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of Arterial Vascular Disease.

One attendee that comes to many of the lectures held at the campus says that she comes for the general learning. “These lectures are always fabulous and the fact that they are offered at no cost is a phenomenal community service,” she says. “My husband and I have been coming for years.”

During the talk, nursing staff from TMC Vascular services offered attendees free blood pressure screenings, as well as passing out coupons for future PAD screenings.

The lecture, one of many that occur at the campus on a regular basis, is a part of the  Healthy Living Connections  program– a place for older adults to access community resources for key health and wellness issues.

In addition to the lectures by physicians that cover a wide range of health topics, programming includes a health information center, health screenings, consultations by trained volunteer health coaches, community agency satellite offices such as the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

For more information about future events, check out the current calendar of events here or contact TMC Senior Services at (520) 324-1960

New to Memory Loss? TMC Senior Services Can Help

Make a mental note that the Alzheimer’s Association designates Sept. 21 as World Alzheimer’s Day.  In fact, all of September is officially World Alzheimer’s Month, with a  purple “END ALZ” theme to push for solutions to the problem.

Programs offered year-round by Tucson Medical Center’s Senior Services help those dealing with dementia-related challenges, including an active Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Project.

A special introductory session – “New to Memory Loss” – is offered periodically for those dealing with new memory-related diagnoses in themselves or their loved ones.  This talk is open to the public and, for those who are eligible, the session leads into a six-week Self Management Course on Memory Loss.

“Thank you so much for having a class on memory loss,” wrote one woman whose husband had been struggling with memory issues. “During the class he kept saying, ‘That’s me, I do that, I say that.’  My husband right away said he would like to take the workshop.  He went through two interviews and was accepted.

“It has helped him tremendously.  He is a different person.  He says he has learned what is happening to him and what is in the future.  I have my old husband back.  He still has memory loss, but he understands.”

The one-hour introductory session on memory loss, open to the public, is Thursday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m. at the TMC Senior Services Classroom, El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot.  Then, for those who are eligible, a six-week Self Management Course on Memory Loss starts Thursday, Sept 27.  The full course, with limited enrollment, requires a pre-registration interview and diagnosis of memory impairment.

For more information and registration on this session or other future offerings, contact TMC Senior Services, 324-1960.

Honoring services to seniors

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TMC Senior Services hosted its annual holiday party today to recognize the vital work of its volunteers. More than 60 people attended a luncheon at Tucson Country Club to honor those who help with a variety of programs including:

  • Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Project
  • Community Outreach
  • End-of-Life Decisions
  • Healthy Living Connections Resource Center
  • Medicare Counseling
  • Seniors Helping Seniors
  • Pet Therapy

Senior Services director L’Don Sawyer recognized some 75 volunteers,  paying special tribute the those who’ve reached milestones of five and 10 years, including:

10 years
Paula Lind
Sue Saaco

5 years
Susan Crigler
Karl Elers
Sharon Peterson
Bev Ross
Frank Sedlar

TMC President Emeritus Donald Shropshire greeted the group and TMC Vice President of Community Benefit Julia Strange acknowledged the group’s dedication to helping others and making Tucson a better place. And the Tucson Barbershop eXperience delighted the audience with a number of holiday tunes.

Read more about Senior Services online, and click 2012 Winter Calendar for a list of upcoming programs.

Maxine Hale helped those impacted by Alzheimer’s maintain as much independence as possible

TMC Senior Services mourns the recent death of long-time volunteer Maxine Hale who died Aug. 10. L’Don Sawyer, our director of Senior Services, touched base with Jessie Pergrin, RN, PhD, with our Alzheimer’s & Related Dementia Project, and shared her thoughts on this talented and dedicated woman.

Maxine’s commitment to people was exemplified in her work on behalf of those coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Jessie first met Maxine in the mid-90s at a local Alzheimer’s Association support group. Her husband, John, would die of the disease within four years, and Maxine then spent the rest of her life helping others impacted by disease.

For seven years, she greeted callers and visitors at the Alzheimer’s Association, and worked to bring art to people with Alzheimer’s. Maxine then migrated over to TMC Senior Services, where she helped in the Alzheimer’s & Related Dementias Project.

Maxine spent 25 years in banking and retired as vice president from Home Federal Savings & Loan, where she was Southern Arizona’s first woman to serve in such a high-level role. This background contributed to her strong feelings about helping people maintain as much independence as possible. She had great expertise in reverse mortgages and was passionate about end-of-life wishes and advance directives. She led Getting Your Affairs in Order each month at Healthy Living Connections.

Maxine also volunteered with her church, and always was involved in the community, such as her work on the City of Tucson Block Grant Committee. To top it off, she was a wonderful painter. Below is an example of her work, a painting given to TMC Senior Services’ Anne Ciampa at her retirement party. 

Maxine was very smart, but often underestimated because of her small size and quiet nature. Behind the scenes, she had a quick wit and loved laughing. She will be missed by many, many people!

Maxine, on the right, with Anne Ciampa and L’Don Sawyer.

Anne Ciampa shows off the painting Maxine Hale gave her at her retirement party.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461