Senior Connections

Fitness for the Fun of It

The Nevada Senior Games, 2016 version, is now in the history books. All results are recorded and are available, along with pictures, on our web site: nevadaseniorgames.com. This was a qualifying year for the 2017 national competition to be held next June in Birmingham, Alabama. To qualify, a competitor must have finished in 1st place (golf), 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in tennis, or in the top four in most of the other events. Competitors in golf, archery, swimming and track and field could qualify also by meeting a specified minimum standard of performance. The Nevada Games qualified approximately 1100 athletes in 15 events. (Not all Nevada events are also National events, such as Basketball Skills, Dance, Pistol Shoot, Trap Shooting, Weight Lifting/Fitness and Walk-a-Thon.) Of the 1100, approximately 400 are members of teams such as Basketball, Softball and Volleyball.

I recently met with Gene Hardlicka, one of the original founders of the Nevada Senior Games (Senior Olympics at the time.) He gave me a treasure trove of information and stories of those initial games. Gene was one of the originators of the Games in 1979 at Paradise Park, along with fellow UNLV staff member Pat Dillingham, former Olympic figure skater. There were 17 competitors in 6 different events: 50-yd dash, 100-yd dash, broad jump, softball throw, basketball free throw and horseshoes. Ribbons were awarded to the winners. The following year activities were moved to the UNLV campus. That year, 1980, there were 70 participants with several events being added. Entry fees were $2 for 5 events, $1 for each additional event. By 1983 there were 140 entries in 23 events, several being “fun” events such as Frisbee golf, 8-ball pool, darts, jarts (field darts,) and cribbage. Progress continued with 140 entries in 1984, with age groupings changed to 5-year increments, and over 200 in 1985.

That year, 1985, Gene represented the state of Nevada at the first organizational meeting of the National Senior Games in Orlando, Florida. During the 3-day seminar, with representatives from 40 states, frequency of National competition, qualification methods and standards, rules, insurance issues, fees, events to be held, and age brackets were all discussed and decided upon. The first National Senior Sports Classic was to be held in 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. Bob Hope was the Master of Ceremonies at that event’s closing ceremonies. 1985 is also the year that NSG officially became chartered as Nevada Senior Games, Inc. The 2nd Games were held in St. Louis also, then Syracuse in 1991, Baton Rouge in 1993, San Antonio in 1995. The Games continued to grow. Over 10,000 athletes competed in Tucson in 1997. Nevadans numbered 122 of those, bringing home 32 medals. And the rest, as they say, is history.

One athlete of note is Jack Largent, who won the running broad jump and placed second in the softball throw in the 1985 Nevada Games in the 50-54 age group. He has competed almost every year since, mostly in tennis, and has won countless medals, just this year winning gold in men’s dbls and mxd dbls in the 80-85 division. He has also frequently placed in National tennis competitions. Gene Hrdlicka is now 90 years old and still active, playing some pickleball, among other pursuits. He was, and is, an ardent advocate of the NSG motto “Fitness for the Fun of It.”

Glaucoma Awareness Focus of Worldwide Campaign

For many of us, our first encounter with an eye care professional came when we – or someone near to us – noticed we were having trouble reading. Those blurry letters were a symptom of a problem and the doctor had a solution – glasses, contact lenses, maybe even laser surgery.

But as we age, vision problems become more complex.

For those of us who have passed 50, glaucoma is among the greatest threats to our vision. And glaucoma has no symptoms until the disease has already done extensive damage. The only way to detect glaucoma is to visit your eye care professional regularly for a check-up that includes a simple, painless test for glaucoma.

Glaucoma has been labeled the Silent Thief of Sight. And the medical community is so concerned by low awareness of glaucoma that it is mounting the 7th World Glaucoma Week observance March 8-14, 2015. The World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA) are launching a ‘BIG – Beat Invisible Glaucoma’ campaign.

Glaucoma is a broad term that covers several conditions involving the drainage of fluid within the eye and the build-up of internal pressure that can damage the optic nerve. That’s the nerve that delivers the visual image to the brain.

In its early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms – no pain, no headaches, no blurring of vision. In some cases, the first hint is a gradual reduction of peripheral vision – the ability to see objects at the extreme side of our field of vision. Left untreated, glaucoma can continue to shrink the field of vision until vision is limited to what’s straight ahead – tunnel vision. Blindness can be the ultimate result.

Depending on what stage the condition is detected, medical intervention can range from prescription eye drops to laser surgery to conventional surgery. The condition is not reversible but treatment can slow or even stop its progression and limit damage.

Why is glaucoma Awareness so important? Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, stealing sight from about 9 million people around the world. Yet it is estimated that 90 percent of those people could have been helped with early intervention. Because of the silent progression of the disease – at least in its early stages – up to 50 percent of affected persons in Las Vegas are not aware of having glaucoma and are receiving no treatment. If it has been some time since you have had an eye exam, this could be you!

The causes of glaucoma are unclear but research has identified some population groups at increased risk:

  • African Americans are six to eight times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians;
  • Those over age 60 are six times more likely to develop glaucoma;
  • Steroid users, including those using an asthma inhaler, have elevated risk;
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma have a higher risk.

The key to preventing vision loss from glaucoma is early detection. Everyone over age 65 and younger people with increased risk factors should have a thorough exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist each year.

Your eye doctor will check for glaucoma in the course of a comprehensive dilated eye exam that includes:

  • A visual acuity test that measures how well you see at various distances;
  • Dilated eye exam, in which drops are placed in your eyes to dilate the pupils so your eye care professional can examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of nerve damage and other eye problems;
  • Tonometry, a test which measures the pressure inside the eye, an important factor in a diagnosis of glaucoma;
  • And pachymetry, the measurement of the thickness of your cornea with an ultrasonic instrument.

Please support the goal of the world glaucoma association, glaucoma awareness, by sharing this message with your family, friends, and neighbors. If it has been some time since your last eye exam, consider calling your eye doctor for an appointment, there’s no reason to delay. Don’t let glaucoma steal your precious vision.

Dr. Peter DeBry, M.D., has been treating glaucoma in Las Vegas for more than 10 years. He is one of the few fellowship-trained glaucoma specialists in the area. New patient consultations and cataract seminars are available at his new practice, NV Eye Surgery, with offices in Henderson and Summerlin. Please call for more information 702-825-2085.

Senior Solutions For Missing Teeth

Your oral health can directly impact your overall physical health. For seniors, maintaining good oral health becomes important. This is because as you grow older, you become more susceptible to diseases. In fact, nearly 25% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have periodontal disease associated with constant health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and stroke. About 30% of older adults lose their teeth because, as you age, our mouth changes. The nerves in your mouth get smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or gum problems. That’s why seeing a dental professional is essential to get the right treatment plan for you.

According to Dr. Thomas Gonzales, D.D.S., “I treat a lot of seniors with missing teeth caused by dry mouth from medications, inadequate nutrition and poor oral hygiene. They come in to the office looking for some help because embarrassed to smile.” One solution is the revolutionary Hybrid 4 procedure. The technique replaces an entire arch of teeth with four implants with no bone grafting while the patient is sedated.

Dr. Gonzales has successfully placed thousands of dental implants in patients for over 30 years at Sedation and Implant Dentistry Las Vegas. Whether you have failing teeth, periodontal disease, bone loss, large partials, or even existing dentures; you are a candidate for this revolutionary procedure. Healing time is cut in half compared to traditional implant techniques too. Your new teeth will function like natural teeth and you will be able eat your favorite foods again. Your smile is yours again; no more embarrassments, or fears of a mishap.

Dr. Thomas R. Gonzales explains, “I can’t tell you how satisfying and rewarding it is when people come in with really bad teeth and leave with a brand new smile in the same day. I’ve been moved to tears when I see their tears. Getting new teeth that work and look natural means everything to them and me.”

Long time patient Greg Dewitt said, “I never liked a dentist and stayed away from the dentist so the time I met Tom, he had a lot of work to do. Tom told me about these dental implants and I was sick. Nobody wants to lose their teeth. But with the trust I have in Tom I knew it was the right thing to do. I got the All-On- 4® (now called Hybrid 4). They’re bolted in and they’re not going anywhere. I could not have been happier. I’ve been missing teeth for 25 years. I’m 62 years old and I had to learn how to chew again. Everybody when they look in the mirror wants to look good and when I look in the mirror I know I look good because of what Tom’s done. Now people come up to me and say wow what a beautiful smile you have. My wife was so happy that she came in to get work done as well.”

Dr. Gonzales said, “When Greg came he was embarrassed to smile. His teeth were failing and could not be salvaged. We discussed the Hybrid 4 (also known as All-On-4®) procedure and Gregg has been happy ever since.”

Starting the path to your new smile begins with making a consultation with Dr. Thomas Gonzales at Sedation and Implant Dentistry Las Vegas. He will complete a thorough examination and actively listening to each patient to determine the right treatment options for your smile.

When you decided to proceed, it’s as simple as selecting your new smile and making an appointment to make it yours.

Even if you have been told that you do not have enough bone in the past, that you would require expensive bone grafts or sinus lifts, the Hybrid 4 technique can work for you! We have provided healthy new smiles in Las Vegas for over 25 years!

If you, or someone you know, would like more information about personalized treatment with Dr. Gonzales, call (702) 798-6684 for a free consultation including a free CT scan.

There Really is No Place Like Nevada

After more than 30 years serving Nevada in Washington, my time in office is coming to an end. Representing the Silver State in the United States Congress has been the honor of a lifetime. I am forever humbled and full of gratitude for the chance I was given to serve Nevadans all these years.

There really is no place like Nevada. Tenacious and beautiful, our home state is defined our beautiful landscapes and the diverse communities and cultures who call the Silver State home. Visitors are awed by our state, from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the raw preserved beauty of Great Basin National Park, to the glamour of Las Vegas. Newcomers to our state are struck by our people, all from different walks of life, but united in spirit.

I can still remember my first day in Congress. It was January 1987 and I walked in ready to serve and excited about the possibilities. Every day since then, we’ve fought to create good-paying jobs, to improve our education system and to foster a competitive workforce to strengthen Nevada’s competitiveness in the global economy. We have led the way in making Nevada a national clean energy leader – bringing more than $6 billion in clean energy investments to the state. We have fought tooth and nail against tax breaks for the super wealthy and any effort to outsource Nevada jobs.

We worked tirelessly to expand health care to 20 million people under the Affordable Care Act. We protected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We fought to provide brave veterans with the support and services they deserve – including the implementation of a program to reunite Filipino veterans in Nevada and throughout the country with their loved ones after facing decades of injustice and separation.

During my time in Congress, we worked hard together to grow Nevada and build on the tremendous progress we made.

Through all the tough times we have had, we have always come back stronger than ever before. I’m comforted by the fact that Nevada is a state full of fighters. I know that as I step out of the ring, Catherine Cortez Masto will be a leader for Nevada in the Senate, that Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen will be fighting for us in Congress and the new majority in the Nevada Legislature will make a real difference in the lives of middle class Nevadans. This new generation of Nevada leaders will stand up for all Americans, no matter what, and I could not be more proud to see them take our state into the future.

I know what is possible in America. That a poor kid from Searchlight would grow up to be where I am today is a miracle. But that is what America is all about. Growing up, we didn’t have a high school, we didn’t have a grocery store. I went to primary school in a one room school house. But Searchlight is where I learned Nevada values like hard work, opportunity and independence – and I used those values to deliver meaningful results for everyone. I got to do this work because of the faith Nevadans put in me all these years. I will miss being the senior senator for the Silver State. But I will always be in Nevada’s corner. 

This Holiday Season

America is in a time of transition. Our country, as well as Nevada, will open another chapter of our American democracy. Especially, in light of these changes, I would like to remind my fellow Nevadans of the importance of the holiday season. This season is a special time of year, bringing opportunity for friends and family to come together. It is a time to break away from our busy lives, give to the less fortunate, and appreciate the generosity we have personally received. I encourage everyone across the Silver State to engage in their local holiday activities to help spread this festive holiday spirit.

In northern Nevada, communities surrounding Carson City, Reno, and Lake Tahoe will come together to enjoy a variety of events. Citizens will have an opportunity to visit the Santa Train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, enjoy the Nevada Christmas Dancing Lights decorating a home in Carson Valley, and view various tree lighting ceremonies. The southern portions of Nevada are also home to many unique holiday opportunities as well. Friends and families will come together to ride the train through Opportunity Village Forest, experience the holiday music at the Bellagio fountains, or visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. 

As for my role as your U.S. Senator, I am excited to get Washington back on track and focus its attention on our nation’s citizens. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I look forward to addressing important issues that affect many Nevadans. We can now focus on creating jobs and ensuring economic growth by simplifying the tax code through tax reform so American families keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.  

As we approach 2017 and the 115th Congress, I believe Nevadans need this special time to reflect and unify in order to better our communities. As I remain optimistic for America’s future, I am also eager to represent Nevada as its senior Senator and advocate for initiatives that will best serve our great state. During this special time, I wish all my fellow Nevadans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 

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