Friday, April 27

Health Screenings: The Overlooked Life Saver

by Eunice Trotter

Health screenings are an important tool in detecting treatable diseases in older adults. When regular screenings occur, older adults can live stronger, longer and healthier lives.

But only one in three adults actually take the effort to receive such recommended screenings. 

Some basic screenings are recommended for all older adults. However, checking with your physician will assure you receive the screenings you need.

Some examples of recommended screenings include:
  • High blood pressure screening - This can help detect the risk for heart disease and stroke, both of which are chronic, common conditions among older adults. 
  • Glucose level screening - These screenings help determine if the person’s glucose is higher than normal. Catching this condition early and making lifestyle changes could prevent the onset of diabetes. 
  • Low bone mass screening - More than 34 million older adults have low bone mass. If diagnosed early, treatment is available to strengthen bones before there are life-threatening fractures.

This Saturday, Apr. 28, the Spring Senior and Family Health Fair (9 am - 1 pm at Community Hospital East, 1500 N. Ritter Ave) offers free screenings to older adults. The health fair is sponsored by AmericanSenior Communities, WTHR, Touchpoint Healthy Life Transitions and CommunityHealth Network.

Along with free screenings, Dr. Robert Goulet and his team will offer a free special session on breast care at 9:15 am, followed by and a free session on how to treat joint pain at 11 am by Dr. Edward Todderud and Dr. Victor Egwu. 

Limited appointments are also available for heart scans (cost is $49); to schedule, please call 800-777-7775.

For more information about the Senior and Family Spring Health Fair, please visit American Senior Communities at

Remember: Health screenings can help add years to your life. Don't miss out on free opportunities like this one!
Guest blogger Eunice Trotter is the communications specialist for American Senior Communities.

Tuesday, April 24

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Applies to Food Waste, Too

by Katherine Matutes, PhD
According to the EPA, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated in the U.S. in 2010 alone - more than any other material category (with the exception of paper). 
That's an astounding figure, especially when considered alongside the fact that 925 million people in the world do not have enough to eat (per the United Nations World Food Program). 
While 98% of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, the U.S. is not immune to the problem. USDA estimates that 17.2 million households were food insecure in 2010, the highest number ever recorded in this country.
This situation of some with too much and many more with not enough is not an easy problem to solve globally. Food waste in the U.S. typically can't be used to support the hungry elsewhere. As a result, food waste is the single largest contributor to solid waste in the U.S. and a significant source of the potent greenhouse gas methane. As food waste rots, it releases methane - which possesses 21 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. 
Luckily, there are some solutions that can help improve both problems - including understanding your own personal impact. 
My 8-year-old daughter said to me last week, “But I’m only one person – what can I do?” 
I know she's not the only one who feels this way. It's important to realize that small steps taken by many can add up to make a big difference. Here are some easy, positive things you can do to help improve the situation:
Take stock of the types of foods you frequently throw away. 
Keep a list for a week or two of what you discard to help you see what you're purchasing in excess. Then, reduce the amount of those items or establish that you need to use leftovers more frequently. 

An added bonus: You'll help reduce your grocery budget. 

Save leftover vegetable and fruit scraps for composting. 
While it seems threatening to some, composting really isn’t hard - and you don’t have to have a big pile in your yard. Start with a small composting tub, add bacteria to speed the process and voila: dirt. 

Don't have a garden? Donate your compost to a local community garden

Still apprehensive? Check out the Bokashi composting kit for an easy way to get started. 

Donate your unwanted pantry items. 
Organizations like Second Helpings, an Indianapolis non-profit that helps feed our local food-insecure population, uses excess food inventory from local restaurants and donors while simultaneously training those in need a new vocational skill. Visit their website for donation information.

If everyone were to take part in just one of these suggestions, we'd no longer have to ask, "What impact can I have as just one person?" Together, we can find solutions to even the most difficult of problems.

More about Katherine Matutes, PhD

Friday, April 20

Earth Day 2012: Join the Movement

by the JCC staff

The movement known as Earth Day began in 1970, during a time when mainstream America was, for lack of a better term, oblivious to environmental concerns.

Or, as says, “’Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.” 

But on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans started the fight for a healthy, sustainable environment.

Earth Day 1970 aligned people of all political, social and cultural backgrounds and led to the creation of the EPA and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. 

That’s a lot to come out of just one day. But that wasn’t the end of it:
  • In 1990, Earth Day went global. 200 million people in 141 countries gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide.
  • Earth Day 2000 included participation from 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people and demanding action from world leaders on clean energy. 
  • And for its 40th anniversary, Earth Day 2010 accumulated 40 million environmental service actions; launched a global 1-million tree planting initiative with director James Cameron; and tripled its online base to over 900,000 members.
So what will come of Earth Day 2012? 

We're hoping for even bigger results - but you better believe we won't be sitting back, just waiting for the report.

And we hope you won't, either.

Become part of the solution by joining your community’s Earth Day celebration this weekend – like our celebration at JCC Indianapolis.

Join us Sunday, Apr. 22 at the Arthur M. Glick JCC (6701 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis) to build your own mini greenhouse, create a bird feeder from recycled materials, plant a tree, make paper and other crafts from found objects, and start a garden from scratch, among other activities. The event is free and open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; tree planting with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful begins at 10 am. The event also includes an exhibit with Purdue Solar Racing team’s award-winning, street-legal solar car; live music; and food for sale from a variety of Indy’s favorite food trucks.

Visit our website for more information about the JCC Indianapolis’ inaugural Earth Day event. And whatever you do, make sure you're part of those awe-inspiring statistics this Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 17

The Possibilities of Renewable Energy

by Matt Miller

Our lives affect the environment around us in many ways - and one of the biggest impacts we have on nature is how we get our energy. We continually require more and more electricity to power our lifestyles, and generating that electricity becomes an important consideration. One way to lessen our impact on our planet is through solar energy.

So just imagine the positive impact we could have if we could power our vehicles with it.

Enter the Purdue Solar Racing team.
Purdue Solar Racing is committed to two philosophies: 
  • Building and racing a competitive solar-powered vehicle, and
  • Educating the public about the possibilities of renewable energy. 
This Sunday, Apr. 22, Purdue Solar Racing will showcase its award-winning, street legal solar car at the JCC's Earth Day celebration. Participants in the celebration will also have the opportunity to test their ability to generate energy while learning important ways they can lessen their impact on Earth's resources.

Purdue Solar Racing allows students to grow and apply what they learn in the classroom to an actual large-scale project. We hope when we visit the JCC on Earth Day with our latest car that we will be able to share our knowledge of solar technology and show people that renewable energy is a practical and cleaner way to power our world.

We hope to see you there!

Matt Miller is a junior at Purdue University, majoring in mechanical engineering. He is also the outreach director of Purdue Solar Racing. For more information, visit

Friday, April 13

One More Month of “Fab at 40”... and Then What?

by Kelly Young
...that’s the question I keep pondering. I made a big deal about being “Fab at 40,” and now I’m wondering...what’s next? 
I turn 41 in May, but I guess that doesn’t mean I still can’t be fabulous, does it? In fact, I’m thinking about changing my mantra to “Fab in my 40s” - that way I can work to accomplish some of the goals I didn’t achieve at 40 and still create new ones.
I have a confession to make, though: I’m not quite sure I was all that “Fab at 40” - or at least as "fab" as I'd planned to be. But since I just bought myself some time (a.k.a. nine more years), let’s see how fabulous I can be.
I wanted to train for and complete a few triathlons last year, but a broken arm just two weeks before my 40th birthday sidelined me for the season. Not this year, though! I’m already signed up for the Muncie Olympic Tri on June 9 and the Rev3 Half Ironman in Sandusky, Ohio, on Sept. 9. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I beat my time from several years ago?
Even more fabulous-ness would come from my 9-year-old crossing the finish line and having fun at the June 24 Kids Triathlon at the JCC. A mother-daughter combination of fabulous!
Weight loss
I wanted to lose about 8-10 pounds during my year at 40, but I’ve seesawed between losing and then gaining back 3-4 pounds. I guess the “fabulous” thing is that I didn’t gain 8-10 pounds. So, I’m back to focusing on eating healthier and moving more to help me with this goal.
Arts and culture
In my last post, I blogged about the arts and culture experiences happening around the city. I’ve taken advantage of some, but there’s so much more to enjoy and indulge in. I think this will forever be on my “fab” list. Maybe this year I'll finally get around to taking the belly dancing class at the JCC! Any tips out there for a novice like me? Maybe I’ll take the class on my birthday – followed by a massage. Now that sounds pretty “fab” to me!
Note to readers: Even if you aren't in your 40s, you can still be fabulous. How will you be fabulous this year?
More about Kelly Young

Tuesday, April 10

Earth Day at the JCC: Continuing John Muir's spirit

by Bruce Sklare

The following is a true story of Indianapolis’ connection to one of the great champions of the natural environment.

In the 19th century, many political and religious leaders believed the natural world was a boundless garden of abundance created solely for the enjoyment and exploitation of mankind. The policies and actions of those leaders reflected that belief.

At that same time, a young man was growing up in Scotland. His family migrated to America as the father sought to improve his position in life. The young man worked hard on the family farm and spent 2 ½ years at the University of Wisconsin. At the same time he began to question the prevailing beliefs concerning our environment. His perspective recognized that nature was infinitely beautiful and held answers to many of mankind’s problems. Nature needed to be studied and conserved, not exploited with abandon.

In 1866, the subject of our story found his way to Indianapolis. At that time, our city was a major railway center and was surrounded by hardwood forests. While working for a carriage company, he poked his eye with a tool, lost his eyesight and feared he would never again lay eyes on the natural world. While blinded, he decided that if he did regain his eyesight, he would commit the rest of his life to his true passion: the study of nature.

Consequently, this young man’s decision – made here in Indianapolis – has a profound effect on the world and our relationship with nature.

That young man was John Muir, a name that is now synonymous with nature conservation. Muir was a prolific writer about and advocate for the study and preservation of our environment. He was a founder of the Sierra Club and the National Park System, both of which continue to be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people today. There are dozens of places throughout the country named after John Muir, a testimony to his impact on the world.

Muir’s commitment launched a major initiative to learn about and conserve the natural world. His life’s work awakened an awareness of the effects our exploitation of natural resources have on the world now and for future generations.

The national celebration of Earth Day continues Muir’s spirit. We hope you will join us for the JCC’s inaugural Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 22, 11:30 am-2:30 pm. It will be a day of activities, education and celebration of the magnificent world of nature around us.

Learn more about Earth Day at the JCC here.

More about Bruce Sklare

Thursday, April 5

Learning from the Early Spring

by Richard S. Kordesh
Like the raspberries that will grow in front of our garage, this very early spring brought forth a sweet, yet somewhat tart, flavor. The warmest March on record reminded us of climate change, but also freed gardeners to turn their beds early. It is inspiring to see the young apple tree next to our front steps flowering. The same goes for our pear trees and the cherries: Their buds blossomed into graceful white petals in mid-March!
Now that the unseasonably warm weather has invited all of this blooming, it had better hold! We will grow a variety of fruits on our 40-ft. x 175-ft. lot, including three kinds of apples from dwarf trees, two types of pears, two kinds of cherries, blueberries, strawberries, the aforementioned raspberries, and we hope, kiwis.
As the saying goes, “Children learn what they live.” Our kids assumed that food grew right outside the door. This season, we have the honor of sharing this bounty with our young Chinese guest, LeRong Deng, and her mother, Mo Ju.
Mother and daughter have already planted flower seeds in a pot on our deck. Once again, my wife Maureen and I can walk the garden with an eager child in hand. The earlier season affords these teaching opportunities, even as the earth instructs us about her fragile health in the small spaces of our yard.
What teaching opportunities do you have for kids in your home or community?
Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years.
More about Richard S. Kordesh

Tuesday, April 3

My Journey from 200lbs Back to 150lbs: March

by Craig Ervin
Another month down and 31 days closer to achieving my ultimate goal!
Last month I talked about using your goals to motivate. In June, I’ll be participating in an extremely physical event: my first Tough Mudder run. Knowing this has certainly helped push me along in my efforts!
However, after my latest weigh in, I’m beginning to question if I’ll meet the weight goal that I set for myself.
At the end of February, I reported that I had an additional 28 pounds to lose to reach my goal of 50 pounds lost by June. In the month of March, I lost 5.5 pounds. This brings me to a total weight loss of 27.5 pounds lost! But this leaves me 22.5 pounds left to go. 
Doing the quick math, it would seem that the odds are against me. My hope was to have lost the 50 pounds by the end of June. Last month, the screech of the brakes on my weight loss confused me, but after seeing some results this past month, I believe I understand what’s going on: I’ve concentrated so much on weight training in prep of my June event that I believe my muscle gain has offset my weight loss.
Trust me – I’m certainly not complaining!
As with any journey, time has the potential to reshape our original vision and intent. I am still going to work towards my ultimate goal of losing 50 pounds, but I’m allowing myself the possibility that I’ve approached this journey a bit different than my last strut down weight-loss lane, which will result in accomplishments that I had not originally focused on.
Do you notice your goals sometimes reshape themselves? How so?
More about Craig Ervin