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April 12, 2018 - 5:08pm

From the Genesee County Health Department:

Spring is here, and although many of us are anticipating the arrival of the warm weather, home renovations will soon begin. A fresh coat of paint can spruce up and room and give it new life.

Many folks are anxious to begin their renovations, but it is crucial to keep in mind the age of your home. If your home was built before 1978, you must consider that the paint in your home could contain lead, and you will have to plan any home renovation, repair, and painting activity with that in mind.

Lead is a metal that can harm children and adults when it gets into their bodies. Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in sources of lead. The most common source of lead poisoning comes from lead dust which is created from chipping, peeling, or deteriorated lead based paint. The smallest particles of lead dust cannot be seen but they can easily enter and harm the body.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains why renovating older homes could turn problematic if not completed properly.

“The greatest risk with renovating older homes is that many people are unaware that their home contains lead based paint because they have completed renovations since the 1970s," she said. "Even if the lead based paint has been covered with new paint or another covering, cracked or chipped painted surfaces can expose the lead based paint, creating a lead hazard.

"If proper precautions are not taken to renovate lead based paint correctly, the health and well-being of the folks residing in the home will be compromised.”

The damaging health effects of lead poisoning are particularly concerning to young children and pregnant women. When lead gets into their bodies, it is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties, further explains the complications associated with lead poisoning.

“Children who ingest lead are at risk for developing learning disabilities, behavioral issues, developmental delays, extreme lethargy, and chronic medical complications," he said. "Pregnant women who are exposed to lead can transfer the lead to their fetus.

"Some of the effects lead can have on their unborn child include delayed growth and development, premature delivery, low birth weight, and chronic medical complications. Adults who are exposed to high lead levels can also develop high blood pressure, headaches, digestive problems, memory and concentration problems, kidney damage, mood changes, nerve disorders, sleep disturbances, and muscle or joint pain.”

Although the negative health consequences of lead poisoning are scary, lead poisoning is 100-percent preventable! Renovating older homes require more work and safeguards to ensure the work being completed is done safely.

For larger projects, this may require hiring a lead-certified contractor. For smaller projects, you can manage the work yourself with proper precautions. Below are some tips on how to renovate right:

  • Remove all furnishings, rugs, etc. before beginning your project. The work area should be sealed with plastic and taped down to keep the lead dust in. Cover air vents and turn off heaters and air-conditioning systems during renovation and remodeling.
  • When beginning the renovation it is important to have the proper protective equipment on hand. It is best to wear a properly fitted respirator with special lead HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, as well as coveralls, goggles and gloves.
  • Consider using special paints called encapsulants that seal the lead paint to the surface so it will not chip off.
  • Use low dust practices by spraying water on surfaces before sanding or scraping. Vacuum any lead dust with a HEPA vacuum. Floors should be wet mopped with a removable mop head and then HEPA vacuumed. When finished, the mop head should be disposed or washed separately.
  • Keep all non-workers, especially children, pregnant women, and pets outside of the work area until cleanup is completed.
  • After the project site has been completely cleaned, throw away your protective gear or wash it separately.

For more information on how to renovate right, please visit this government website.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

April 9, 2018 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in flu, health, news, notify.

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As County Health Director Paul Pettit anticipated, there are a few more cases of flu reported locally after a sharp decline from the peak of the season in February.

It's too soon to tell, Petit said, how strong this second wave of cases will be.

"Until we get the next report, we're not sure if it's going to go back down or back up," Petit said.

For the week ending March 31, there were 23 reported flu cases in Genesee County, up from just 13 the week before.

Statewide, the trend is also toward a second wave of flu cases.

"It’s very typical in most seasons, have a peak and then numbers will tail off but then usually there is a second wave," Petit said. "It's usually not expected to be as prevalent."

In total for Genesee County, there have been 683 flu cases reported this season. Petit said typically we would have from 150 to 200 flu cases.

"It's never too late to get a (flu) shot," Petit said; however, he urged people who start to have flu-like symptoms to try and avoid contact with other people and if they take an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, that will help.

March 26, 2018 - 1:26pm

Press release:

In April, the premier consumer-run disability service organization serving Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), is resuming The Wellness Hour” -- a series of four FREE classes to help the whole community to live healthier.

Taking place from 10 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday in April in the front lobby of the ILGR office, 113 Main St. at Center Street, Suite 5, Batavia; the series of Informational talks is designed to expand participants’ awareness of tools that can promote wellness.

  • April 3rd—Jill Smith, Healthy Living in Batavia: 
    On screenings for cancer, such as breast and prostate cancers
  • April 10th—Nicole Cummings, personal trainer:
    Be as fit as you can be
  • April 17th—Laura Koepp, naturopathic doctor: 
    Using noninvasive procedures and natural remedies to promote self-healing; she is the author of "Broken: a Mother's Story," about her family's struggles after her daughter survives an auto accident
  • April 24th—Chris Saraceni, M&T Bank:
    All about reverse mortgages 

ILGR stresses that the information shared is not intended to replace a doctor’s instructions. You should always consult with your physician or health care provider before beginning any new treatment.

While reservations are not required, so that we can plan, we would appreciate participants calling Bridget Mosman to RSVP at 585-815-8501, ext. 400.

All WNY Independent Living, Inc. services are accessible to persons with disabilities, including sign language interpreters and materials in alternative formats. To request a specific reasonable accommodation, please contact (716) 836-0822, ext. 126.

February 7, 2018 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, news, notify.

There have been another 100 flu cases reported in Genesee County in the past two weeks, bringing the season total to 250.

At this point in the season last year, said Public Health Director Paul Pettit, there were 53 confirmed cases.

The flu season started Sept. 1.

The local increase in flu cases is consistent with reports of more flu cases all over the country.

Pettit encourages everybody who has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. There are reports that this year's vaccine is less effective against the most common strain of flu this season, but it does work on other strains and health officials say the vaccination will lessen the severity of symptoms.

January 29, 2018 - 1:28pm
Event Date and Time: 
February 3, 2018 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

 

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January 24, 2018 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in flu, health, news, notify.

Genesee County is not immune from one of the worst outbreaks of flu in New York on record.

Health Department Director Paul Pettit said there have been 149 confirmed cases of flu in Genesee County so far this season, compared to just 38 at this point last year.

"This type of increase has been seen across the state and country," Pettit said.

Across the state, there were 6,083 flu cases reported according to the state's Department of Health. There were 1,606 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the flu in New York. That's the highest number recorded since the state started tracking flu cases in 2004.

There have been no flu-related deaths reported in Genesee County, Pettit said.

Across the nation, 30 children have died as a result of the flu, and the majority of those children were probably not vaccinated, the CDC reports. Adult flu-related deaths are generally not reported and tracked.

Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he's concerned that early reports that the current vaccine is only 10 percent effective may have misled people into thinking they shouldn't bother with the vaccine. 

Even if the vaccine doesn't prevent a person from contracting a specific flu strain, it does lessen the severity of the symptoms and can help avoid hospitalization. The current vaccine does protect against multiple strains of flu. Flu shots also helps prevent the spread of the flu, especially to vulnerable people such as children and the elderly.

Pettit encouraged local residents to get vaccinated soon.

"The season typically peaks by the end of February, so we are still strongly encouraging folks to get the flu shot," Pettit said. "It remains the best protection for yourself and others and getting the shot often helps reduce the severity and duration of the flu if you do get it."

January 16, 2018 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, alexander, health, wellness.

The Alexander United Teachers Union will be hosting a Community Health and Wellness Fair, open to the public, on Thursday, Jan. 25.

It will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Alexander Central School’s High School Cafeteria, located at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander.

There will be sensory tables, gross motor challenges, food samples, face painting, balloon animals, bounce houses, giveaways and more. All ages are welcomed and there is no admission fee.  

This is the third biannual Health and Wellness Fair hosted by the Teacher’s Union.

There will be representatives from:

  • Balanced Fitness
  • Body Sense
  • GCASA
  • RRH UMMC
  • Pampered Chef
  • Cross roads
  • Independent Living
  • Rainbow Preschool
  • YWCA
  • GLOW
  • Young Living
  • Paige’s Bounce Houses
  • Sheriff’s Department
  • Genesee County Health Department
  • Mental Health
  • Fidelis Care
  • Gateway Home
  • Alexander Volunteer Fire Department
  • Batavia Cross Training
  • Pure Haven Essentials
  • NYS Troopers
  • Genesee County Parks and Forest
  • Sweet-n-Fit
  • Wegmans
  • Tops
  • Uncle Bud
  • The Spa at Artemis
  • Pembroke Family Medicine
  • UNITS
  • PTA
  • Refuse 2 Lose Martial Arts
  • Alexander teachers

Meghan Ripstein, AUT vice president

January 16, 2018 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, wellness, alexander, Announcements.

On Jan. 25 from 6-8 p.m. the Alexander United Teachers Union will be hosting a Community Health and Wellness Fair, open to the public, at the Alexander Central School’s High School Cafeteria.

It is located at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander.

There will be sensory tables, gross motor challenges, food samples, face painting, balloon animals, bounce houses, giveaways and more. All ages are welcomed and there is no admission fee.  

This is the third biannual Health and Wellness Fair hosted by the Teacher’s Union.

There will be representatives from:

  • Balanced Fitness
  • Body Sense
  • GCASA
  • RRH UMMC
  • Pampered Chef
  • Cross roads
  • Independent Living
  • Rainbow Preschool
  • YWCA
  • GLOW
  • Young Living
  • Paige’s Bounce Houses
  • Sheriff’s Department
  • Genesee County Health Department
  • Mental Health
  • Fidelis Care
  • Gateway Home
  • Alexander Volunteer Fire Department
  • Batavia Cross Training
  • Pure Haven Essentials
  • NYS Troopers
  • Genesee County Parks and Forest
  • Sweet-n-Fit
  • Wegmans
  • Tops
  • Uncle Bud
  • The Spa at Artemis
  • Pembroke Family Medicine
  • UNITS
  • PTA
  • Refuse 2 Lose Martial Arts
  • Alexander teachers

Meghan Ripstein, AUT vice president

585.770.4863

January 9, 2018 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in county health department, fitness, health, news.

Press release:

What is your new year’s resolution? The idea to eat healthier and become more physically active sounds appealing, but in reality, it’s much easier said than done.

Between work time and family commitments, there doesn’t seem to be much time left at the end of the day to think about preparing a healthy meal or visiting the local fitness facility. Life seems to get in the way of achieving that new year’s resolution.

“Life” (and other factors) has played a huge role in the obesity epidemic in our County. According to Department of Health’s Obesity Statistics for Genesee County, the percentage of adults who are overweight or obese is 63.5  percent and that for children is 15.2 percent. These rates are slightly higher compared to the New York State rates, which are 59.3 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively.

Being obese and overweight doesn’t just end there. It increases a person's risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and other medical issues. Along with the risks for life-shortening chronic diseases, being overweight contributes to poor mental health associated with shame, self-blame, low self-esteem, and depression.

To battle this problem locally, the Healthy Children and Families Coalition in Genesee County offers an eight-week family-based program called "Get Fit!"

This program makes exercising and eating right fun and realistic. Throughout the program, families will bond together through exercising, making healthy food choices, discovering simple and time-saving recipes that taste great, as well as learning how to eat right on a budget. 

Begin the New Year on a positive note by enrolling your family today. A new eight-week session begins on Wednesday, Jan. 17th through March 7th. Classes are held every Wednesday at 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the YMCA on East Main Street in Batavia.

If your family attends six of the eight classes your family will be entered to win a family pass to the YMCA.

It is a great time to start taking the steps to live a healthier life and doing so will make a positive difference in your life.

The Genesee County YMCA, Rochester Regional Health United Memorial Medical Center, Rotary Club of Batavia, Batavia City School District, Genesee County Health Department, City of Batavia Youth Bureau, Oakfield Family Medical Care, Insight Grants Development, and Fidelis Care are challenging all families to show commitment in becoming healthy in 2018!

For details, and to enroll, contact The Healthy Children and Families Coalition at 585-344-5420 or register online here.

January 5, 2018 - 5:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in cornell extension, health, news, batavia.

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee County will host a program titled “Overfed and Undernourished” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the Extension Center at 420 E. Main St., Batavia. This workshop for adults is free to attend, but space is limited.

The program will be presented by Ian Cramer (MS, ATC), who has been living a plant-based lifestyle for eight years and earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell in 2016. He is an educator, podcaster and endurance cyclist living in Rochester.

Come and discover information on weight loss, cravings, common nutrition myths, and ways to live a healthy, disease-free lifestyle. For more information about Cramer, visit https://www.plant-basedcyclist.com/

We will also discuss chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and how they start, progress, and can be prevented or even reversed using diet and lifestyle changes.

Please register for the workshop by contacting Samantha at 585-343-3040, ext. 123.

January 2, 2018 - 2:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, UMMC, flu, health, batavia.

Press release:

To help reduce further transmission of influenza and/or other infectious diseases, Rochester Regional Health is instituting the following restrictions for hospital visitors as of Jan. 3:

  • Visitors will be limited to no more than two people per patient at a time;
  • All visitors must be at least 14 years old;
  • Please do not visit a patient if you feel you are ill, including sore throat, fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, or other flu-like symptoms -- even if you have been vaccinated against the flu.

Status as of Jan. 3 (tomorrow):

  • Rochester General Hospital (Rochester) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Unity Hospital (Greece) –  Visitor restrictions in place
  • United Memorial Hospital (Batavia) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital (Newark) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic (Clifton Springs) – Visitor restrictions in place

###

Rochester Regional Health is an integrated health services organization serving the people of Western New York, the Finger Lakes and beyond. The system includes five hospitals; primary and specialty practices, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory campuses and immediate care facilities; innovative senior services, facilities and independent housing; a wide range of behavioral health services; and Rochester Regional Health Laboratories and ACM Global Laboratories, a global leader in patient and clinical trials. Rochester Regional Health is the region’s second largest employer. Learn more atRochesterRegional.org.

December 6, 2017 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YMCA, health, batavia, news.

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The YMCA received a new electric "stim" bike for people with limited mobility to use to get some exercise.

The bike allows a person in a wheelchair to roll up to the bike, put their feet on the pedals and pedal just like any other stationary bike.

The units cost $13,500 and the new unit at the Y was paid for through funds from the Ricky Palermo Foundation and an anonymous donor.

The Y already had one similar bike in its wellness center, but CEO Rob Walker said the demand for use during peak hours has been greater than the availability. The new bike will help solve this problem.

Batavia is the first Y in the nation to get this particular model.

"The feedback I got yesterday is that there are four benefits," Walker said. "It helps vascular health, which we all know is important. It reduces muscle spasms, which helps them sleeps. It helps with joint flexibility and it helps with muscle tone.

"The indirect benefit, to be honest, is getting them out," Walker said. "Watching them use it, for lack of a better word, it helps with their state of mind."

Photos submitted by Rob Walker.

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November 29, 2017 - 4:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in public health column, news, Announcements, health, radon.

Press release -- Public Health Column:

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if you smoke and live in a home with high radon levels, your risk for developing lung cancer significantly increases. Testing your home for radon is the only effective way to determine if you and your loved ones are exposed to toxic levels of this poisonous gas.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. It has no smell, taste, or color.  Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and circulates into the air you breathe. When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can penetrate through cracks in the foundation, leading to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas.

Sarah Balduf, environmental health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, further explains how radon can seep into your home.

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirt floors, opening of sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes," she said. "Any home can have high radon levels, whether it is old or new, has a basement or is built on a slab.”

Test Your Home

Testing your home with a short term radon test kit is the quickest way to determine if your home is at risk. The Genesee County Health Department has an allotment of short term test kits that are free of charge for Genesee County residents. These test kits are easy to use and contain basic instructions on how to receive the most accurate results when testing your home for radon.

The EPA recommends placing the test kit in the first livable floor of your home. If you do not spend time in your basement, place the test kit in the first level of your home. Avoid testing in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The humidity created in these rooms may interfere with the radon test results.

Once you have located where you will unseal the test kit, place it at least 20 inches off the ground. Be mindful to place the test kit in an area where pets or children will not disturb it. All windows and doors must remain closed (except for normal entry and exit) throughout the duration of the test. This will allow for the greatest concentration of radon to build up within your home.

Mail Test Kit in Timely Manner

Once the test kit is complete, reseal the test kit canister and mail it to the lab in a timely manner. A self-addressed envelope will be provided with the kit. f the test is not received by the lab within 7 days, the test results will be inconclusive.

Test kits are also available through the New York State Department of Health, some County Health Departments and local hardware stores.

Balduf explains that “If your home does have an elevated level of radon (4 picocuries per liter of air [pCi/L] or greater), you should contact a certified radon mitigator to install a radon reduction system in your home. These systems should only be installed by a certified radon mitigator. Radon reduction systems can be a low cost and effective way to reduce the level of radon in your home.”

Home Buyers -- Know Results of Radon Test

When purchasing a new house, make sure the seller completes a radon test kit and has the results available. If you are building a new home, make sure to have radon-resistant construction features installed and tested prior to moving in.

The Genesee County Health Department Radon Program offers short-term radon test kits for residences in Genesee County. The program also offers educational materials and in-services programs on the danger of radon prevalence, and mitigation options for new or existing homes which are all available at no charge.

This holiday season; share the gift of good health by encouraging your friends and family to test their homes for radon. The only way to know if there is radon in your home is by completing a simple test kit that may save your life.

For More Information

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/radon2.html.

For information about services that your local health department provides visit:

September 22, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, health, lead, Announcements.

Press release:

Before you start your fall cleanup consider the age of your home and whether or not you may have a lead hazard.

“Lead poisoning can affect anyone, but is especially harmful to pregnant women, infants and small children who are growing rapidly,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans Counties.

Lead poisoning can cause miscarriages and stillbirths, high blood pressure (hypertension), nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain and in children it can lower IQ, cause growth problems, kidney damage, behavior problems, anemia and hearing loss.

If lead poisoning is not taken care of, it can also cause permanent damage to various organs in both children and adults. You may or may not experience any signs or symptoms of lead poisoning. State law requires all children be tested at age 1 and again at age 2. Contact your primary care doctor to be tested.

Federal law requires landlords and contractors who are hired for renovations, repair and painting in homes, childcare centers and schools built before 1978 that disturb painted surfaces, to be certified and follow specific practices to prevent lead contamination.

This law is the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RPR) Rule. Lead-based paint is especially problematic on surfaces that children can chew on such as windowsills, doors and doorframes, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. Lead can also be found in drinking water in homes that have plumbing with lead or lead solder.

“If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, here are some important things you can do to protect your family,” Pettit said.

  • Take advantage of the Free Lead Testing Pilot Program: A $1.5 million state program to test for lead in drinking water is available to New York State residents.  Provides residents who are served by either a private well or public water system with an opportunity to have their residential drinking water tested for free.  To sign-up visit, https://health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/lead/free_lead_testing_pilot_program.htm.
  • If you rent, call the landlord immediately to report peeling or chipping paint.
  • Damp mop and damp dust often. Clean up paint chips right away and clean all other surfaces with general all-purpose cleaner.
  • Let your cold water run for a minute before using it for making baby formula, drinking, brushing your teeth and cooking to flush lead picked up from pipes. Do NOT use warm tap water to make baby formula.
  • Wash children’s hands and toys often to wash off any lead dust. Keep them way from chipping paint and prevent destructive behaviors like chewing on painted surfaces.
  • Always hire certified contractors for work that will disrupt paint in housing or child occupied buildings before 1978 or get properly trained and certified yourself.  For a certified firm check this site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm.  

For more information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) visit the Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.

To learn about additional sources of lead visit, https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/sources.htm

For information about services that your local health department provides visit:

September 15, 2017 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, wellness, suicide prevention, YWCA, batavia, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County presents:

Passion for a purpose! "How to Fill Your Personal Bucket" with guest speaker Sherry Crumity, YWCA Domestic Violence Support Services coordinator.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the YWCA of Genesee County, located at 301 North St., Batavia.

Join us as we learn tips on how to identify what drains your bucket, and the tools necessary to fill it up again.

Sherry Crumity is a Masters Level Clinical Mental Health counselor with 10 years experience working in therapeutic settings and 12 years experience working in not-for-profit and public school settings.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:30, program begins at 6.

There is limited seating, please register by Sept. 22 by calling the Care and Crisis Helpline at (585) 344-4400 or email [email protected]

Ladies Night is provided free of charge through the support of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County, the YWCA of Genesee County and Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County.

September 11, 2017 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alzheimer's, Seniors, health, news, Announcements.

Submitted photos and press release:

Holly Eschberger, of Le Roy, has not only been participating by fundraising and walking in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, she has been an active member of the Batavia Walk planning committee for several years.

This year's event is Saturday, Sept. 23 and close to 850 people are expected to participate and their goal is to raise $76,000, which supports the free programs and services of the local Chapter, as well as vital research.

“I don't think people understand that you actually die from Alzheimer’s," Eschberger said. "It is not just part of aging. You lose your loved one emotionally/mentally long before you lose them physically and it is absolutely devastating.

"I got involved with the Walk as a way to honor my grandma who I lost to Alzheimer’s. I'm inspired by the coming together of friends and families that have this common thread of watching a loved one decline with Alzheimer’s. It is heart wrenching, but it's also comforting to be surrounded by so many people who understand.”

Eschberger named her walk team “Erma’s Army” after her beloved grandmother (inset photo, above right). Holly’s team and hundreds of others provide a vital source of financial support for the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, which offers free programs and resources for all those facing the challenge of dementia in the eight-county WNY region.

Participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is free, but fundraising is encouraged, with incentives awarded when various goals are met, such as an official purple walk T-shirt earned when individual fundraising reaches $100. A percentage of all funds raised are earmarked for research, to ensure that one day, there will be a first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease. A higher percentage of funds stays in WNY, to ensure continuing access to free education, consultations, support and social programs for all impacted by dementia.

The Batavia Walk takes place on the grounds of the Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at 278 Bank St. The site opens at 9 a.m. with snacks and refreshments, photo area, entertainment and access to basket and 50/50 raffles. A brief ceremony launches the walk at 10 a.m. and participants will head out on the approximately two-mile route at about 10:15 a.m. Additional entertainment, such as well-known cartoon characters and a "bubble brigade" will pop up along the way, with more food when walkers return to the main site.

Individuals and teams can register, join a team or donate on-line at alz.org/WNY/walk, by calling 1.800.272.3900 or in person the morning of the walk.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is made possible locally through the support of several WNY companies, including Batavia Health Care Center, The Manor House and United Healthcare.

Below are members of "Erma's Army."

September 11, 2017 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Seniors, health, news, Announcements.

Friday, Sept. 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year’s theme, "10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls in 2017," seeks to raise awareness about falls prevention and unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members to play their part in preventing falls.

The Genesee County Office for the Aging will be hosting a Falls Prevention Workshop from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on that day at the Senior Center at 2 Bank St., Batavia. We will have fall prevention tools and tips, balance testing, and blood-pressure screening.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury among older New Yorkers. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. Falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Through awareness, evidence-based interventions, clinical fall risk assessment and referral, home modifications, and community partnerships, we can reduce falls and fall injuries among older adults.

August 24, 2017 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in arthritis, genesee county, news, Announcements, health, batavia.

A new support network for adults living with all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases is launching in Batavia on Sept. 27.

The Arthritis Support Network in Western New York will hold its local debut event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Richmond Memorial Library, located at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

It aims to help and support those with arthritis through connection, education and empowerment.

To RSVP or to get more information, contact [email protected] or go online to arthritisintrospective.org/local

August 1, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in genesee county, crime, health, mental health, news, Announcements.

How do rural counties with limited resources combat an issue as multifaceted as heroin and opiate addiction?

Quite simply, they collaborate to find common-sense practices to beat the dragon.

In January, officials, doctors, healthcare providers, and community members from three counties -- Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming -- formed the GOW Opioid Task Force.

Its goal is to not only raise awareness of the growing epidemic but to also find and compile: a list of resources available to addicts and their families; data on the number of overdoses, deaths, and uses of naloxone within each county; and identifying roadblocks to treatment.

During the July meeting, a roadmap of sorts was laid out for the Task Force.

From the time an individual is born, they are, to some degree, rated on performing tasks independently. Doctors gauge a child’s progress: Sits independently. Walks independently. Teachers grade a student’s performance: Works independently. It’s a skill desirable to some employers: Must be able to work independently.

It is a mantra instilled in a person's mind from a very young age: Be an individual. Don’t follow the crowd. Learn to be independent. Yet, there are times, when being independent becomes counterproductive to the needs of a community.

Although each of the GOW counties are afflicted with the same problem – the increase in overdoses and deaths due to heroin and opiates – independently, there are gaps in services and help for both addicts and their families. However, collectively, the Task Force can help fill those gaps.

In an effort to find where each county is lacking and how to get funding for the resources it needs, the Task Force determined three areas to address: community education and action, data compilation and access to care.

Community education and action

Three goals were created to better educate the public:

    • Educate students, parents and community about the dangers of heroin and opioid use – Narcan training and education, sharps and medicine disposal sites, and develop materials for distribution;

    • Identify resources and local partnerships to help prevent use – pharmacies, law enforcement, recovery services, and mental health service; and

    • Develop recommendations for future goals and action steps to prevent use – encourage attendance and participation in Task Force meetings, recovery coaching, peer speakers, and more.

Data

Part of the requirements for applying for State funding is to have the data and statistics to back up the need. However, compiling those numbers becomes a collaborative effort between multiple agencies. Additionally, the task is further hindered by the fact that the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s (ME) Office handles cases from its own and the GOW counties. Subsequently, toxicology reports are often not received back for six months or more.

According to a recent report, the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office has performed 1,020 autopsies in 2016. In 2015 it was closer to 900. In 2008 approximately 975 were performed and in 2005 860. The years 2012 and 2013 both showed approximately 880.

The goals of this group are to develop a tool to track data, identify the data each county already has, and perform a gap analysis to identify missing data and create a plan to overcome any barrier.

Access to care

Again, a barrier addicts and family members face is access to care in relative proximity to where they live.

Officials say when an addict is ready to get the help they need to begin the recovery process, there is an immediacy to their need.

One of the goals of this group is to map out the access to care in the Western Region Naturally Occurring Care Network (NOCN).

The NOCNs include the Finger Lakes, Monroe, Southeastern, Southern, and Western regions of New York State.

In addition to finding a place to receive care, the group also identified eight groups of potential entry points for families and individuals in crisis. They include hospital emergency rooms, crisis hot line, primary care physicians, law enforcement, community-based organizations, healthcare homes, community-based groups, and schools and colleges.

Nationwide, every 17 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose. About two years ago, there were 100 deaths in Erie County. In 2015, it more than doubled. In 2016, that number could reach over 500. That’s about 10 per week. February alone recorded 23 overdose deaths in just one week.

In Wyoming County, between 2010 and 2014 the number of opioid-related emergency department admissions increased 47.6 percent – 42 and 62. The number of opioid-related inpatient hospital admissions rose from 61 to 91 respectively – a 49.2-percent increase. 

According to a recent article in The Batavian, there were five deaths in Genesee County that the Monroe County Medical Examiner attributed to the overuse of opiate-related drugs in 2013.

In 2016, 17 deaths with toxicology completed were attributed to drug mixtures that included opiates, with four toxicology reports for last year still pending.

To date in 2017, there are seven deaths where toxicology is still pending.

Of the 17 known OD-related deaths in 2016, only five were attributed to heroin mixed with other drugs, whether prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medications. (Note: the ME for 2016 was Erie County.)

There were nine deaths caused by a combination of prescription opiates mixed with other drugs.

There was one death caused by "acute and chronic substance abuse."

Of the 18 overdose deaths in 2015, 14 involved prescription opiates used in combination with other drugs and two were caused by heroin used in combination with other drugs.

In 2014, there were 12 drug-induced deaths. Nine of the 12 involved prescription opiates combined with other drugs. Heroin, used singularly or in combination with other drugs, contributed to three deaths. 

Between 2010 and 2014 those who were admitted for treatment for any opioid in Western New York was 7,679 in 2010. By 2014, the number of people seeking treatment rose by almost a third – 10,154 – a 32-percent increase.

Across the state, those in treatment for heroin use was 55,900 in 2010; in 2014, the number was 77,647. Deaths across the state due to heroin overdose increased 163 percent (215 in 2008, and 637 in 2013) and opioid overdoses increased 30 percent (763 to 952).

While nearby counties like Erie and Monroe have access to more mental health services and rehabilitation centers due to their populations, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties struggle to find those same services closer to home for their residents.

The next meeting date and time for GOW Opioid Task Force to be determined.

For more information, Kristine Voos at [email protected]

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