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Join local historians and history buffs for Prince William County-Manassas 3rd annual History Symposium

On March 24, Prince William County and the City of Manassas will host their annual History Symposium at the Old Manassas Courthouse.

This year’s theme is “Growing Roots” and topics will cover the diverse 300-year history of Prince William County and Manassas.

This year’s speakers and topics include:

  • “Prince William County: Early Settlement, Founding, and Leadership” by local historian James Bish
  • “Gen. George Custer at the Battle of Buckland Mills” by historian and author Daniel Davis
  • “We Are All In This War; Those Who Fight and Those Who Stay Home” by local historian Charlotte Cain
  • “Prince William Forest – Before the Park” by Nation Park Service Interpretive Ranger Cecilia Lynch
  • “The Original Beer Baron: Robert Portner” by historian and author Michael Gaines
  • “Developing Prince William After Completion of the Shirley Highway” by local historian and conservationist Charlie Grymes

New this year will be a partnership with local students participating in National History Day. Selected students will present their History Day projects in between speakers. Their projects will be on display during the Symposium and later at the Manassas Museum.

Finally, there will be a reception at the Manassas Museum following the Symposium from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Attendees will get a rare chance to visit with the City curator and handle a few objects from the Museum’s collection.

The Symposium will take place on March 24th from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Old Manassas Courthouse at 9250 Lee Avenue in downtown Manassas. The reception afterward at the Manassas Museum is included in the ticket. You must register in advance by calling 703-792-4754.

Cost is only $10 a person.



Stafford Hospital turns 9 today

Stafford Hospital is excited to announce it is celebrating its ninth birthday on Tuesday, February 27.

Since its grand opening, Stafford Hospital has been committed to providing quality healthcare and services to our patients. In nine years, we have delivered over 6,000 babies and cared for over 290,000 people in our Emergency Department as well as 50,000 inpatients.

We are proud to provide great benefits to our patients by offering the latest technology, including new Philips Ingenuity CT scanners, being one of ten Virginia hospitals designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology (COEMIG) by the Surgical Review Corporation, and helping to establish Stafford County as a PulsePoint connected community. 

We are honored to be entrusted with the care of the community that has helped us become who we are today. We look forward to many more years of supporting health and wellness.

Four 15-minute activities to do with the senior in your life

If you are a caregiver, this might sound familiar. You want to do meaningful activities with the senior in your life, but things get in the way. You get tired, or you don’t know if the senior in your care will like your suggestions. But seniors, like anyone else, sometimes need ideas or encouragement to take part in activities. The key is to get to know your senior and then simplify the process. You can opt for short activities that are meaningful but also support your senior’s cognitive and physical health. Here are some options for 15-minute activities designed to enhance quality of life.

Conversation – This might sound overly simplistic, but a directed conversation goes a long way towards increasing quality of life. Start by choosing a topic that you think would interest the senior in your care. Consider how you relate to that topic and start a conversation by relaying your experiences. Then ask open-ended questions (as opposed to questions that can be answered with yes or no). For example, if your senior enjoys history of their generation, talk about a show you saw on a particular event. Encourage your senior to explain more about it and get them to describe what it was like to experience that time period. Be curious and ask for details and clarification. It might be slow going, especially if the senior in your care is quiet, but take your time, listen closely and exhibit genuine interest. If it goes off track, no worries. In fifteen minutes, you have strengthened your senior’s communication, verbal and memory skills, as well as provided an opportunity for them to feel valued and respected.

Sketching – You don’t have to be an artist to sketch with the senior in your life. Grab two pencils and two pieces of paper. Play a game. Look at the same object and sketch it. Then have fun comparing the sketches. Or use a photo as inspiration. Not artistically inclined? Do some doodling. It’s a great way to enhance small motor skills and muscles without getting too sore. If arthritis is an issue, there may be ways to adapt this activity. Opt for large, simple objects to draw, bigger pieces of paper and easy-to-hold tools.

Reciting – Song lyrics, poems, stories…these are all great things to recite. As we get older, word recall is especially difficult. For some people, it becomes so difficult and such an embarrassment, they stop talking. Reciting brings words back into everyday vocabulary and serves as an easy mechanism to help seniors remember phrases and ideas that can later be worked into conversation. Don’t worry if your senior can’t remember all the words. Start with something easy. Help them fill in the blanks when needed.

Singing – Not only does song sooth the soul, it’s a great way to exercise the vocal cords, bring back memories of a different time, practice word recall and create a bond. Even if you don’t know all the words, hum along. Or ask the senior in your life to teach you the song. Out of tune? No worries. This is not a concert. It’s fifteen minutes of fun.

These are just some of the activities you can do with the senior in your life to turn your time together into memorable, meaningful experiences. Not everything will appeal to everyone, and not everyone will be able to do everything. The key is to learn about the senior in your life – their likes and dislikes – and introduce things to do that you might not normally. See what works, and enjoy the process together.

In Part II, we’ll talk about four more activities you can enjoy with the senior in your life. Stay tuned.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.


CENTERFUSE launches LaB: Insight on everything from bookkeeping to pitching a new business to prospective customers and investors

CENTERFUSE, the unique, shared coworking space located in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas at Center and Main Streets, has announced the first sessions in its Launch-A-Business (LAB) education and incubator seminar series for emerging small businesses. The LAB Program – a core tenet of CENTERFUSE’s business plan to empower entrepreneurs and startup small business ventures, will begin sessions on April 18, with two-hour seminars every other weekend for 8 weeks.

The first in an on-going series of LAB seminar sessions – will teach participating new business owners practical knowledge, best practice insights, and legal and logistical fundamentals for launching and operating a startup company.

Seminar topics will include subjects like funding and venture capital generation, human resources and financial management, tax and bookkeeping best practices, business plan preparation, marketing and pitching a new business to prospective customers and investors. Separate Special Topic Presentations on alternate days from the formal LAB sessions will also be available. The cost for participating in the eight core LAB Program sessions is $200 per person (which is tax-deductible as a new business startup expense).

“The CENTERFUSE LAB Program will give emerging new businesses a leg up as they enter the local and regional marketplace” said Debbie Haight, Executive Director of Historic Manassas, Inc., which is the Program Director of the conjoined effort.”

The LAB Program is open to any startup businesses, whether or not they are cowork spaceholders at CENTERFUSE. Registration is open now.

Interested entrepreneurs can learn more by phoning 844-324-WORK (9675).



Here are the 10 things seniors wished their caregivers knew

If you’ve spent time around seniors, you might have noticed some patterns in their basic needs. Many times, though, caregivers are inexperienced or they don’t know what to look for. And of course, caregivers tend to be younger than the seniors in their lives.

The challenge is that for most younger people, aging feels foreign, which make sense. They haven’t aged yet, so how can they know what it’s like to be a senior? If you are a caregiver especially, though, you need to understand seniors. And while every person is different, here are ten things most seniors wish their caregivers knew.

1.    I need to be with people, even if I don’t talk. Human beings are naturally social. But that doesn’t mean they always want to be verbal. Throw in feeling tired or introverted, and you come up with a quiet person. But silence doesn’t necessarily mean the senior in your life doesn’t want company. So long as nothing is wrong, being less vocal often means they just don’t feel like talking.


2.    I need you to know what I like. As we age, the things we used to enjoy may not be what we enjoy now. Food tastes different. Sensations feel different. Activities that used to be easy are now more difficult and might feel like work instead of play. While it’s okay to remind the senior in your life of things they used to enjoy, don’t push it. Pay attention to what they like right now and give them the opportunity to experience it.

3.    I need help keeping my balance. As we age, we tend to lose our balance more easily. There are many reasons for this. Muscle mass changes, weight changes, equilibrium changes…these all affect balance in seniors. Keep an eye on the senior in your life. Help them get to their walker if they use one. Lend an extra hand to help them feel more secure.

4.    I need you to go to the doctor’s office with me. If you’ve ever been confused by medical lingo, you can imagine what it might be like for a senior. Technology, terminology and procedures have changed, and it’s hard to keep up with those changes. Sometimes it can be difficult just getting through the office door, especially with medical or adaptive equipment and/or mobility challenges. You can help by accompanying the senior in your life to the doctor’s office. Be prepared to take notes, explain what is being said and lend a steadying hand.

5.    I need you to remind me to do certain things. This goes for seniors with and without dementia or Alzheimer’s. Seniors might need any number of reminders. From taking medicine to turning off the stove, the details in life can get overwhelming. If you see the senior in your life forgetting something, offer a gentle, kind reminder – never a reprimand.

6.    I need you to be patient. Seniors have lived longer lives. Their brains are filled with more details and experiences. Their bodies and their minds might move more slowly than we’re accustomed to, especially if we knew them earlier on in life. Expect that things will take more time. If you are on a schedule, leave enough time to account for their needs.

7.    I need you to treat me like an adult. The idea that you become a parent to your parent is somewhat of a myth. While it might feel that way sometimes, seniors are not children. They are older adults. They want respect, and they want to be as independent as possible. Being spoken to like they are children encourages dependence and is belittling, even if the speaker doesn’t mean it.  

8.    I need you to understand my fears. Between physical and psychological changes, as well as rapid changes in society and environments, the world can be a pretty scary place for many seniors. Fear of falling, fear of becoming a victim, fear of losing independence, fear of loneliness – all of these are common fears seniors experience. Help them understand the world around them and remind them of the support they have so they can feel more comfortable.

9.    I need you to understand why I get agitated. Whether it’s an uncomfortable sensation, fatigue, frustration with limitations or just pure aggravation, seniors can sometimes lose patience and lash out. Dementia and Alzheimer’s, along with personality traits, can add to that mix. Learn the warning signs. And if you need help understanding how to work with agitation, reach out to a professional.

10.    I need you to accept who I am. Caregivers have a tendency to want to fix things. But seniors don’t need to be fixed. They aren’t broken. They have lived a lifetime to become the person they are right now. They are who they are, and who they are is something special. Treat them that way.

Interestingly enough, most of these needs are shared by people of all ages. But for some reason, we look at seniors differently, as if being older means something separate from being a “normal” human. Remove that thought entirely. You’ll discover your relationship with the senior in your life will improve, and everyone’s lives will be enriched because of it.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care serving Prince William and Fauquier counties. 

Heart attack means new start for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center patient

Imagine helping a person after their darkest hour. That’s the reality for the Cardiac Rehabilitation team at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

Every day, team members work with patients who have suffered life-altering heart episodes. That’s why what they do is recognized during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, which runs from February 11th -17th.

For Nelly Morgan, those services were vital.

Less than a year ago, the mother of five suffered a heart attack. She was 49 years old at the time and didn’t realize what was happening.

“I just thought I was having acid reflux,” says Morgan, thinking back on that night last April.

She remembers that evening clearly. “Every Sunday, my daughter and I watch ‘The Walking Dead.’ We were all excited for the season finale,” she says.

Morgan says during the show, they were watching, jumping up and down and screaming at the television. She didn’t even realize something was going wrong until she tried to go to bed.

“I have GERD, so I just thought it was acid reflux and kept drinking water.”

But after several antacids and glasses of water, Morgan wasn’t so sure. “I didn’t want to wake my husband and have him take me to the hospital. I was feeling embarrassed. What if it was just heartburn?”

But after nearly two hours and no relief, her body gave some signs she just couldn’t ignore.

“My left arm was tingling and numb,” she says. “It went from my arm to my neck to my jaw, and all of sudden I felt this weight on my chest, like 20 people were sitting on it.”

Morgan’s husband rushed her to the Emergency Department at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge. When the team learned of her symptoms, she was immediately rushed back for care.

“They hooked me up to the machine and said, ‘Yes, you are having a heart attack.’ I just started crying. I thought, ‘Oh My God, I’m going to die.’”

The Prince William County resident didn’t die. Dr. Berenji, an Interventional Cardiologist with the Sentara Heart & Vascular Center, performed a Cardiac Catheterization procedure on her clogged artery. Morgan spent the next five days in the hospital before starting therapy and turning her life around with the help of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. 

At first glance, the rehab center looks like any other gym. There are treadmills, recumbent bikes, an elliptical and weights. But one thing you’ll get here that you won’t with a traditional gym is a trained team of nurses monitoring your every heartbeat and watching your every step.

“Our goal is getting those patients into a safe exercise program and returning them to their lives,” explains Pamela Rozmajzl, RN. “We have an actual program. There is a progression we go through for each patient. We assess where they are and build from there, increasing along the way.”

In addition to introducing more physical activity into a patient’s life, the rehab has an educational component to improve the quality of life with psychological, physical and educational support after a heart attack or heart procedure.

“We have various classes on everything from medications and their possible side effects to diet changes and stress management. We also educate them on how to safely progress with their exercises once they leave our 12-week program,” says Rozmajzl.

For Nelly Morgan, this was a period of mixed emotions. She reached a milestone by turning 50 but was scared of having another heart attack. She realized she had a number of risk factors, including stress and heredity.

“Heart disease runs on my father’s side of the family,” she says. “He died of a heart attack. His parents died of heart attacks. He had two older brothers and they died of heart attacks.”

Morgan thought because she was a woman she had less chance of following in the family footsteps than male relatives. But in addition to genetics, Morgan also realized her diet could have played a role in her condition.

“I used to buy frozen food. I never read the back of boxes. The sodium intake in those lunches I would eat all week…they’re small portions. You think, no big deal. But if you add up a whole week’s worth, you realize, ‘I just ate a whole box of salt!’”

Things have now changed. This full-time wife, mother and student watches her salt intake, gave up soda and has added more vegetables to her family’s life, while doing away with processed foods. As she approaches the one year anniversary of her heart attack, Nelly Morgan is a new woman. She bought a treadmill and walks in the morning and at night, and she tries to have more physical activities for the family. It’s all a part of her new heart-healthy lifestyle.

“I don’t want to miss important events in my family’s life,” she says. “I want to see my daughter graduate from high school and my twins get through kindergarten. It’s those events you want to be around for. So they (my family) play a big part in this transformation.”

And, Morgan says, she couldn’t have made this transformation without the help of the Cardiac Rehab team. “They gave me the tools to change my life and be healthier.”

To learn more about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center or find a cardiologist near you, call 1-800-SENTARA or go to Sentara.com.

 

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