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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Q5: Partnering for health

  • The Council on Aging and Heartland Dental Group have partnered to provide dental screenings for 22 people needing dental work.
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  • The Council on Aging and Heartland Dental Group have partnered to provide dental screenings for 22 people needing dental work.
    They will provide this screening to include X-rays at no cost to participants. Registration and completion of medical history must occur prior to the screening.
    Participants must be over the age of 60, have no dental insurance, must need extensive (comprehensive dental treatment) and have no other means of obtaining needed dental care and complete the medical history form. Once the screening is complete Heartland Dental will be able to provide lists of resources for receiving reduced rates for dental care elsewhere. In this Q5, Patty Willmeth, program coordinator at Council on Aging, tells us why good oral hygiene is so vital to overall well being and can prevent many health issues later in life.
    1. Patty, why did the Council on Aging and Heartland Dental Group decide to partner to provide dental screening for people needing dental work?
    This idea grew out of a discussion I had with Mike Keohane. He is  a Certified Diabetic Educator and one of our group of nurses that provide information each month through our Health Series. We were discussing the need for dental care for people as they age and the lack of available services for those without dental insurance and the means to pay for it.
    Mike took this need and helped the idea come to fruition. He had already arranged for a dentist from Heartland Dental to be a speaker for us in our August Health Series and this dentist agreed to provide this screening along with one other dentist at Heartland Dental. Linda Hunter  of Heartland Dental was instrumental in getting this idea off the ground and in the planning and scheduling phase for us.
    3. What requirements are in place for those who are seeking dental work and who is eligible?
    The requirements and eligibility are as follows: The individual must be over the age of 60, have no dental insurance, must need extensive (comprehensive dental treatment) and have no other means of obtaining needed dental care. They must also complete a medical history form and schedule an appointment through our agency prior to being seen.
    3. Why is good oral hygiene so important for good health and why is this event particularly important for seniors whose teeth and gums may be in need of care but fixed incomes may be preventing them from seeking help?
    Most all seniors are on a fixed income and with rising costs of utilities, medicines, food, etc. priorities have to be set in their budget. Many times dental care is the last thing on their list . If a person has lost weight, or their gums have shrunk, their dentures may no longer fit properly.
    Page 2 of 2 - Some have issues with gum recession or gum disease along with teeth that need to be pulled which can cause great pain and infection. All of these dental problems affect their overall health and well being. Gum disease can cause heart problems, not being able to chew properly can affect the ability to eat and results in poor nutrition. A person’s well being is affected by having no teeth or teeth that need to be pulled.
    4. Is the Council planning any other health-related events?
    Each month with the exception of November and December we have a Health Series. We meet on the fourth Thursday of each month from 1-2:30 p.m. with a different topic each month. We are so fortunate to have three nurses and a geriatric physician who bring very valuable information for anyone over the age of 50 who would like to participate. 
    In addition, monthly we have an “Ask a Nurse” program on the second Monday of each month at 10:15 a.m. This is on a walk-in basis and gives a time for one-on-one questions with an R.N. We also have a hearing screening on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. also on a walk–in basis. A hearing-aid specialist volunteers to screen for hearing issues and clean hearing aids. The third Thursday of the month from 2-3 p.m., we have a Diabetic Support Group. All services are offered free of charge.
    5. How can people register for the screening and when is the deadline for completed paperwork?
    If interested, a person can register by calling our office at 684-0777. They will need to ask for me and plan to come in and fill out the health summary provided by Heartland Dental. The deadline to register and complete paperwork is July 29. We are hoping this will be a huge success, reaching many needing dental screenings.
    In the future it would be wonderful to have other dentists in the area also want to participate. Many thanks go out to Heartland Dental for their willingness to be the first to offer this screening.
    — Rimsie McConiga

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