From “Free vehicle safety checkup for senior drivers” — Senior citizens in the Madison area have the chance to make their vehicles more safe on the road.

A team of automotive technicians and health professionals have organized the CarFit program. The event is geared to help seniors feel more comfortable and safe in their vehicles.

Darcie Olson is an instructor for the Madison College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. She says drivers’ vision, flexibility, strength and other physical conditions may change as they age. Volunteers at the event will help drivers clear off blind spots, adjust headroom space, examine their foot positioning, and check safety belts.

The CarFit program will be held Monday May 6th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Madison College West Campus. Anyone who is interested can make an appointment by calling (608)-258-2313.




From “What I Do: Becky Rogers is Coventry Village’s director of fun” — I’ve been dubbed director of fun because I plan a variety of outings and events for residents of the 40 condominiums, 120 independent apartment homes and the assisted care facility at Coventry Village.

I like to include arts and sports, educational offerings, dining, crafts and many other options to help keep the residents active and interested in life. The residents often give me ideas of places they would like to visit.

I plan a different outing/tour to places of interest in the Madison area each month. This month, a group of 14 is going to the Chazen Museum of Art. We’ve visited Epic Systems Corp., the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and other places. After the tours, we stop for lunch. I plan events on-site including singers, pianists, bands, UW-Extension classes or woodworking projects. I plan computer and tai chi classes, movie and popcorn on Saturday evenings and many other offerings.

I conduct orientations for new residents. I get to know them and the kinds of things they are interested in doing. I also get to know their family members, which is a delight and often provides volunteer sources for events. For instance, a family member might mention they play the piano, so I invite them to play for the residents, or they might know a special speaker who would be of interest to the residents.

I have a degree from Madison Area Technical College in occupational therapy. I received my bachelor’s degree from Upper Iowa University in business. I attend regular continuing education to keep up with the newest trends. Prior to coming to work here, I worked at the Alzheimer’s Alliance conducting staff training.

My mother, Marge Salter, always taught me to be kind and understanding with all people. Because she has passed away, I smile in her memory as I work with the residents. It’s rewarding to see how much the residents appreciate what I do. Watching them in their community, taking care of each other, is very gratifying for me. Because this is an aging population, some of the folks leave us before I really get to know them. It’s difficult to say goodbye to someone who has lived here for several years.

Skills needed to perform my job include understanding the needs of older adults, being an excellent communicator and listener, and always having a smile on my face. The tools that I use to do my job are creativity, flexibility, patience and compassion.

From “FVTC relieving women’s worries” — At 24, Cassie Behrend of Oshkosh is the single mother of a 5-year-old son. Nineteen weeks into a high-risk pregnancy she lost her job as a certified nursing assistant.

“I can’t lift, push or pull,” Behrend said.

Unfortunately, the duties of a CNA include plenty of lifting, pushing and pulling.

And now, her employer is telling her she may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

She has stress to spare.

Behrend has faced numerous hardships in her life, including a brutal rape back when she first started college. It led her to the brink of suicide, she said.

She had not learned good coping skills as a child. Back then, her way of coping with stress was to not talk about it.

Today, she is older and wiser.

She doesn’t worry about false modesty when seeking help from food pantries, thrift stores and other social agencies to help her make her way and to provide for her child. She has looked for and found ways to fill her physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

“God never gives me something I can’t handle,” Behrend said.

She has worked since the age of 15. If she finds a source to help her over a rough spot, she will accept it.

One recent gem Behrend stumbled upon came from Fox Valley Technical College, where she is enrolled studying to become an occupational therapy assistant with hopes of one day working with disabled children.


%d bloggers like this: