Archive for May 2016

NESCO and Warner Park Community Recreation Center are Dementia Friendly!

In Wisconsin alone, there are over 110,000 senior citizens living with Alzheimer’s disease and many more seniors who suffer from other types of dementia. In Dane County, the Alzheimer’s population is projected to grow to 21,600 people by the year 2050, compared to the 6,000 reported in the year 2000. (According to a report issued by the Task Force on the Aging of Dane County). Statewide, the number of people with dementia is expected to grow from the current 115,000 to 242,000, including 61,000 Medicaid ( In order to address this growing issue and to more effectively respond to individuals with dementia, The North/Eastside Senior Coalition (NESCO), Warner Park Community Recreation Center Staff and MSCR Staff at Warner Park partnered in April receiving training and became part Dane County’s Dementia Friendly business community.

“So often when people are diagnosed with a dementia-type disease the tendency is to isolate, which is the exact opposite of what you should do,” said Joy Schmidt, Dementia Care Specialist, Dane County Human Services. “… we hope to encourage people to remain active despite the diagnosis. Studies indicate that those who remain physically, mentally and socially active can slow the progression of the disease.” According to Schmidt, the goal of a dementia friendly community is to raise awareness of dementia, recognize the needs of people with this disease and their care partners and find ways to make a community more accessible for people living with memory challenges. This is a concept that originated in Europe and has begun to spread through Wisconsin and Minnesota.

NESCO’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all senior adults by providing programs, advocacy, and resources to assist them to remain independent, active and influential in the community. Ruth Hellenbrand, Programs Manager for NESCO, is overseeing the project.  “I was watching our volunteers and the work they were doing and looking at our programs and I realized, going through this training process was a natural step for us. To be able to partner with Warner Park Community Recreation Center and MSCR on this project has been a bonus! We work in the same building and interact with the same people. It’s good training and knowledge for all of us to have. I look forward to reaching out to our other partners and working with them to also become Dementia Friendly.”


Essay Contest Winners!

The Madison Senior Coalitions and the Madison Senior Center sponsor a city-wide essay contest each year to honor Older Americans Month in May. This year 725 students participated, and each winner from eight local schools read their essay aloud at an ice cream social held May 4 at the Madison Senior Center.  One overall winner and two honorary mentions were awarded gift certificates and all 8 finalists received keepsake plaques. State Representative, Melissa Sargent, presented all 8 finalists with a special commendation as well. North/Eastside Senior Coalition is proud to congratulate the overall essay winner Rose Cooper, from Sherman Middle School and Holly Johnson, Black Hawk Middle School as one of the 8 finalists.  Below are their essays.

First Place Winner, Rose Cooper, Sherman Middle School    My Grandma


(Rose is Pictured with her Grandparents, Parents, Teacher Mr,. Heintz and State Rep. Melissa Sargent)

My grandma is always willing to help with homework, give advice or just assist in any way me or my sisters need, while juggling her busy schedule, and hanging out with us.  She’s also a wonderful companion, and super role model.  She is able to make all her own clothes, cook the best food you’ve ever tasted, sew, knit, crochet, play the piano beautifully, meditate, lead my Girl Scout troop, and be a ton of fun and an easy going person at the same time, for which I not only admire, but I hope to resemble in my future.

One of my favorite memories with my grandma is from when I was eight years old. My sister went to a camp called A and A, which stood for arts and athletics, while I went to a camp called “Camp You Gotta Wanna” which I didn’t like. So, on some days, instead of going to camp, my grandma would pick me up and we would go to her house for “sewing and cooking club” which she had made up instead of “Camp You Gotta Wanna”. There, we would make an elaborate lunch, while we went upstairs to the sewing room, to work on a project of my choice. One day while we were up there, I asked if we could make a dress for our American Girl Dolls, which I was obsessed with at the time. So, we started on the dress. I picked out a fabric with a print of fairies on the skirt, and a purple top of the dress. We finished before the end of the day, so we made pillows and blankets for them as well. Then, later she asked me to come upstairs because she had a surprise. I did and walked into the sewing room. There I saw an exact replica of the doll dress we’d made, but my size! She’d been working on a matching dress for me all that week without me knowing it. I was so happy and excited that I wore that dress with my doll until it didn’t fit me anymore.

Through and through my grandma is a caring , kind, artistic and talented person and I feel so incredibly lucky to have her as my grandma. I hope that we keep spending tons of time together and I know that she’ll continue to inspire me with her passion and love of what she does as I get older.

Finalist, Holly Johnson, Black Hawk Middle School    My Great Grandma Johnson


(Holly is pictured with her Parents, Teacher Ms.Kirner and State Rep. Melissa Sargent)

My Great grandmother was an amazing woman. My grandma and I had a great bond and in her older age, I would visit her daily. She lived in a house that holds many of my special childhood memories. My great grandma was a very stubborn woman, which was irritating bar also hilarious! Grandma also loved to cook and bake great food. My great grandma Johnson was such a joyous woman and my family and I miss her greatly. The funny thing is, I am a lot like her.

My grandma lived alone in a beautiful house on Monona Lake. I spent lots of my time at her house, in her older age because my mom helped to take care of her. My family and I love to boat, so we would enjoy taking Grandma Johnson out boating with us and she sure loved it! Grandma Johnson was a very energetic woman so she could keep boating al lday with the family even after I would get tired.

Aside to all of my grandma’s good characteristics, she was slo very, very stubborn. If she didn’t want to go out grocery shopping, we wouldn’t go out grocery shopping and she always got her way. My grandma had a hobby of collecting things which was okay but instead of collecting a couple of things, she collected everything. Worst of all, since she was stubborn, she refused to give away any of it! This made everyone frustrated and irritated at her, but we also thought it was hilarious how a woman as aged as she was could have such a bold attitude! And now that I look back at it, even though I don’t want to admit it, I’m a bit stubborn too.

My grandmother also loved to bake and cook. She cooked and baked cookies, cake, brownies, spaghetti, pizza, soup and much more but what I lobed was when she cooked her famous Fettuccine Alfredo. It was so dreamy! She would make it for me on special occasions like my birthday or holiday. Because I am no as good as a cooker than I am a baker, I used to love to bake brownies and cookies and cakes with her. Granma is the one who taught me to cook and bake simple meals.

To conclude, my grandma was a very wonderful woman. She lived in a very special house, she was very stubborn and she was a very wonderful woman. My grandma was such a pleasant person to be around. I enjoyed cooking, boating, and so much more. My grandma is a lot like me and I am proud of that. Yes, I am stubborn and …I collect. I also cook and there is so much more we have in common. My family and I love my grandma and we miss her very much.


Thank you to all the students at Black Hawk Middle School and Sherman Middle School that participated in this year’s Essay Contest!