Health News


Shots in the Dark
What could be more adventurous than playing mixed doubles tennis under the stars? How about twosomes playing nighttime golf with flashlights and glow-in-the-dark balls. It's all part of Ochsner Clinic Foundation's annual A Double Shot in the Dark tennis and golf competition to benefit Ochsner for Children.

The competitions begin at twilight at the Colonial Golf and Country Club (42 Colonial Club Drive, Harahan), along with other festivities that include a silent auction, food and drink from local restaurants and a moonlight serenade by the Blue Meanies band. Tickets are $35 for the party and $75 for the party and a spot on one of the sports teams. Call 842-7113 for tickets and information.

The Rite Stuff
Senior citizens in the New Orleans area can get help with their prescription medication costs through a new program sponsored by the Rite Aid Foundation, the United Way and the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans.

Under the program, low-income, uninsured seniors can apply for a Rite Aid Prescription CareCard worth $100 of prescriptions at any area Rite Aid pharmacy. Additionally, those who use up the first card may request another.

"There's a particular need in the community, and Rite Aid chose us as one of the pilot cities for its program," says Casandra Wiltz of the United Way. There is $180,000 worth of the special CareCards available, and program administrators say they plan to distribute all the cards.

"They're going to give them out until they're all gone," Wiltz says. "There's $180,000, so that's potentially 180,000 people."

To receive a card, seniors can sign up today (Sept. 3) at the Rite Aid at 4115 Jefferson Hwy. in Jefferson or on Sept. 10 at the store at 4535 Westbank Expwy. in Marrero. Two other sign up sessions were conducted in New Orleans last month.

The Rite Aid Foundation is initiating the program in eight cities across the country this year after discovering that an estimated 15 million people 65 and older don't quality for drug coverage under Medicaid because their incomes are too high but often lack the financial resources to cover the medication bills themselves.

Teen Savers
Even involved parents can miss cues that indicate their teenager is in distress, but their friends often see the signs without realizing the danger. Reaching those friends and teaching them how to deal with the warning signs of suicide is the goal behind a volunteer program that teaches teens how to help.

Jewish Family Services is now interviewing volunteers for a two-day training session Sept. 5 and 13 in which they'll learn how to teach teen suicide awareness to high school students. Call Ellie Wainer at 831-8475 to set up an interview.

After completing the training, volunteers will go into local high schools and help students recognize suicidal tendencies in their friends as well as how to get help for them. Each program entails visiting the schools for three consecutive days.

"Last year, we saw over 7,000 students and referred over 700 kids to the counselors for support or help," Wainer says. "That doesn't mean that 700 kids are suicidal ... it means these kids need help and they haven't figured out where to get it. We're their bridge to help."

Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and able to commit 16 hours a year to teaching the program. Continuing education credits are available.

The program is available to public, private and parochial schools in the area and seeks to make teenagers aware that help is out there for them or friends of theirs who talk about suicide.

"A lot of times these kids don't take their friends seriously (when they say they'd rather be dead)," Wainer says. "You'd be surprised how many kids have attempted suicide and their parents never know. If their idea is 'I want to kill myself and I'm going to take three Tylenol and hope it works,' that's a suicide attempt. A lot of the parents don't have a clue. But who does have a clue is their friends."

For Seniors Only
Methodist Hospital's Wellspring program is offering a couple of programs this month aimed at helping seniors improve their health and happiness.

Nurses from Methodist Hospital will be available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sept. 6 and Sept. 20 to conduct health assessments for seniors and provide appropriate information on conditions and wellness programs. The Sept. 6 program will be held at Peace Lake Towers (9025 Chef Menteur Hwy.) and will be available again at that location on Oct. 4. The Sept. 20 session, which will be repeated Oct. 18, will be held at Forest Towers (10101 Lake Forest Blvd.) This program is free and no reservations are required.

Wellspring also is hosting 55 Alive/Mature Drivers Improvement Program, presented by the AARP, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 in the large conference room on the first floor of Methodist Hospital (5620 Read Blvd.). The eight-hour program is intended as a refresher course for drivers 55 and older, and those who complete the course are eligible for a 10 percent discount on automobile insurance.

Cost for the 55 Alive program is $10 and should be paid in advance. Call Lou Rehm at 887-9566 for reservations.

Families in Crisis
The YWCA is now accepting applications for volunteers to help with services vital to victims of domestic violence. Volunteers are needed to answer crisis telephone lines, work with children of battered women, and serve as community educators and legal advocates.

Training for volunteers is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 at the YMCA (601 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy.). Call Barbara Blunt at 482-9922 for a volunteer application and information.

Love Lost
Women who give up their babies for adoption often are doing what is best for the child, but the decision can be devastating for the mother. To help these women cope, Volunteers of America offers free monthly support groups -- Healing Hearts -- where the mothers can discuss their feelings with other women who have gone through the process as well as trained professionals.

Healing Hearts I, for women who have undergone a closed adoption in which they no longer have contact or information with the adopted child, meets from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. Healing Hearts II, which focuses on women who have undergone an open adoption in which they have an ongoing relationship with the child they gave up, meets from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

Both groups are free and meet at 3939 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203, Metairie. Call 836-8705 for information.

For the Kids
It's time to break out the running shoes and take a walk in the park to raise money to fulfill the wishes of children who are ill.

The New Orleans Dental Hygienists' Association is sponsoring Molarthon '02, a 5K and one-mile fun run, on Oct. 20 to raise funds to benefit A Child's Wish of Greater New Orleans. The footwork begins at 8 a.m. at the Magazine Street entrance to Audubon Park.

For registration and information, call Southern Runners at 891-9999.

Play mixed-doubles tennis or a round of golf or walk a mile to help a child during fundraisers this month to benefit Ochsner's for Children and A Child's Wish of Greater New Orleans.
  • Play mixed-doubles tennis or a round of golf or walk a mile to help a child during fundraisers this month to benefit Ochsner's for Children and A Child's Wish of Greater New Orleans.

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