Friday, May 22, 2015

May is National Foster Care Month! 


All children — including the 27 children and youth in foster care and 46 children in relative or “Kinship” placements currently in Columbia County — deserve a safe, happy life. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.


Each May, we salute the compassionate people who make a difference by serving as foster parents and relative caregivers. Thanks to these unsung heroes, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens will safely reunite with their parents, be cared for by relatives, or be adopted by loving families.

In Wisconsin, more than 5,100 families are currently licensed foster care providers.

On average, 7,000 children in the state of Wisconsin will be placed with these foster families. On a typical day, approximately 8,000 children are living with foster families. The amount of time a child stays in foster care can vary from as little as a few days to a number of years. Most children in foster care will return home in less than three months, however some children are still in foster care after two years.


Columbia County Health and Human Services is actively seeking foster parents interested in providing a structured, stable, and loving home for children of all ages both long and short-term. Columbia County adolescents (ages 10-18 years) are in the greatest need of individuals/families to care for them.


Training is provided for families committed to becoming licensed as a foster home. Foster parents are compensated through a monthly payment that is based on the needs of each particular child.


You CAN make a difference in the life of a child!!


Please contact Kelsi Bishop at (608) 742-9245 for more information and to apply.



Thursday, April 30, 2015




May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Dine at Culver’s on 5/11 to Support Prevent Suicide Columbia County


Date:      April 28, 2015

From:     Susan Lorenz, R.N., M.S., Health Officer

Phone:    608-742-9265


May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Millions of Americans live with a mental health condition.  According to the Surgeon General, one in every five Americans experiences a mental disorder in any given year and half of all Americans have such disorders at some time in their lives. These illnesses of the brain affect all people, regardless of age, gender, economic status or ethnicity.  In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and brought the issue of mental health to the forefront of our nation’s thoughts.

Locally, Prevent Suicide Columbia County will celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month in partnership with Culver’s of Portage.  Dine at Culver’s (2733 New Pinery Rd. in Portage) on Monday, May 11 from 5-8pm, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Prevent Suicide Columbia County and its local suicide prevention initiatives, which include QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Suicide Prevention training, public service announcements via billboard and video, an annual Dinner for Hope (Saturday, May 2, 2015) and annual Walk for Hope (September, 2015). 


“We appreciate all the local support,” says Sara Jesse, facilitator of Prevent Suicide Columbia County.  “Our donation night at Culver’s not only helps raise funds for local suicide prevention activities, but also raises awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all.” 


For more information, please visit or contact Sara Jesse at or (608) 432-3042.





Wednesday, April 1, 2015



There are a lot of people who work here at the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).  Some of the people who work here are called Information and Assistance Specialists. 

What does an Information and Assistance Specialist do?

Information and Assistance Specialists can help to connect you with services and can refer you for assistance.  We welcome contact with individuals, their families, friends and caregivers.

What is Information and Assistance?

Information and Assistance Specialists in the ADRC can provide you with information about services, resources and programs in areas such as disability and long-term care, living arrangements, health and wellness, nutrition and publicly funded programs.  Information and Assistance Specialists can help to connect you with services and can refer you for assistance with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Share, and Medicaid as needed.  Information and Assistance Specialists can cover a wide range of topics from home care to hospice services, from Alzheimer’s care to education.

Information and Assistance Specialists offer information and can help evaluate options that are available to meet your long-term care needs.  An Information and Assistance Specialist discusses factors to consider when making long-term care decisions.  ADRC’s provide this service to the general public and to all individuals with long-term care needs.   Information, options counseling and/or referrals are free of charge.

A Great Opportunity for you…

Information and Assistance Specialists are now available at the Columbus Senior Center the first Wednesday of every month. 



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Does What I Eat Affect How I Feel?
By William Hutter, PsyD, Southern Region Coordinator for the Collaborative Crisis Intervention Services to Youth 
How does the food you put into your body impact your cognitive functioning, mental alertness/fitness, and mental health? Hopefully this brief article, recognizing March as National Nutrition Month here in the US, will shed some light on the importance of our nutrition not only regarding our physical health ,but also our mental health.
You might be wondering, ‘What exactly is mental fitness?’ Mental Fitness includes how we think and feel, as well as our mood and our capacity for learning. Thus, one could say that when we have good mental fitness we are absent of illness, stress, or mental illness; such as depression and anxiety.
Most of us have heard our entire life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Unfortunately, myself included, many of us don’t make time for this meal.  So, what happens when we don’t eat breakfast? Without getting too scientific, when we skip meals or fast, our cognitive abilities decrease.  Why does this happen, you might ask?  Well, our blood glucose (sugar) level decreases, forcing our liver to maintain this lost glucose; when overall availability of glucose is decreased, our brain functioning can limitedly impair our cognitive functioning. When we feel off physically it is not uncommon that our mood shifts; making us more irritable, more susceptible to stress, possibly turning to unhealthy coping skills instead of practicing good self-care.
We have access to a great deal of research that indicates how nutrition (mostly bad nutrition) impacts our well-being.  For example, if we think about depression, a common symptom/sign for depression is loss of appetite OR over-eating.  We all know people who when they are upset just don’t feel like eating, or other people who turn to food to try and make them feel better.  As we read earlier, fasting, or skipping meals, impairs our mood, brain functioning, and a host of other things to our body.  And when we over-eat, this too can wreck havoc on us.  For many this pattern of over-eating or not-eating can lead someone to feel trapped and hopeless, causing them to feel even more depressed.
However, there is hope! Some things can be done to bring a balance to all this. When experiencing a negative emotion many of us turn to food, and it is usually food high in sugar (sweets, cakes, etc.) or high in carbohydrates.  Both of these options lead to a very temporary increase in serotonin in our brain, which can briefly elevate our mood. A better choice would be to find alternative, healthier ways to self sooth. Reaching out to someone and talking with them about how you are feeling is a wonderful option; not only can we better solve whatever the issue is that is upsetting us, but we are distracting ourselves from thinking about and turning to food. Another possible option might be to do some sort of physical activity; going for a walk, playing with your child, or pet, even listening to some of your favorite music and dancing (or swaying back and forth, tapping your foot to the beat) can increase your body’s movement, thus increasing your blood flow and providing you and your body a better chance of feeling better. And though easier said than done, making healthier food choices available to you is one of the more important options.  Avoid buying pre- prepared food, which is high in preservatives and additives, but keep healthier food and snack options available to limit your chances of turning to unhealthy food. Lastly, when you are about to turn to food, stop and ask yourself if you are really hungry or is something else motivating you to grab those three scoops of ice cream.  Being more mindful of what we put into our body is a sure way to improve our mood and live longer, healthier lives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Man to Man: Heart to Heart

Roosevelt a long-time smoker, had a heart attack at age 45. He endured six surgeries, including heart bypass surgery to fix the damage to his heart caused by smoking. Now smoke-free, Roosevelt encourages others to quit smoking as a way to reduce their risk of heart disease.

"A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart," he said. "It's like the worst Charley horse you can imagine—in your heart."

About 1 in 5 African American adults smokes cigarettes.5 CDC's Tips from Former Smokers campaign recently shined a spotlight on this statistic and the links between smoking and heart disease among African American men.

"If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time," Roosevelt said.

This approach can work not only for people who want to quit smoking, but for those who are trying to eat better, exercise, and control their high blood pressure—all ways to help reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke. A strong support system[649 KB] also helps.

African American Men: Take Note

While heart disease doesn't discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.3 A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country.4 Many of these states have a large African American population.

Resources to Help You and Your Loved Ones Make Control the Goal

More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC's High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Make Control Your Goal

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control[1.16 MB]:Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.

  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don't smoke, don't start. You can find tips and resources at CDC's Smoking and Tobacco website.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.
    Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    CDC 24/7:Saving Lives, Protecting People

Monday, February 23, 2015

February is Heart Month
Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal
This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it's high, to make control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.2
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It's easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor's office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
CDC 24/7:  Saving Lives, Protecting People