Goose Creek Transit Update

There is a lot going on at Goose Creek Transit this fall. Formerly known as the Sheridan Mini-Bus, we have recently changed our name and our look. You may have noticed our new image on our buses rolling around town. They are pretty hard to miss with their green and blue color scheme with the big goose on the side taking flight. These buses are actually wrapped in big sheets of vinyl that are printed off a large color printer. Eight out of our twelve buses have received the new look and the other four will be finished before Winter.

We are also getting a well needed addition to our bus storage facility. We are adding vehicle storage space so we can get all of our equipment inside without having to squeeze the buses so tightly together.

Included with this addition will be a maintenance bay for minor repairs and a wash bay that will improve our ability to keep our buses clean. The construction has been interesting to watch and the disruption from noise and power outages have been minimal. The contractor and his crew have done a great job so far. One of the most exciting additions with the new construction will be a backup generator. We’ve never had one and when the power shuts off, we really have to scramble to stay in touch with our drivers and riders.

We at Goose Creek Transit want everyone to know that we will still be providing the same transportation service the Sheridan Mini-Bus was known for. The same friendly drivers will continue to help get you to your destination. And our service is available to everyone. We are truly “public transportation”. The price for a ride will remain the same at $2.50 per ride for people 60 years of age and older and $4.00 per ride for people under 60. We still ask that you call to reserve your ride a day in advance and before 3:00 pm. That will allow us to serve our riders in the most efficient way possible.

We also still provide trips to Billings on Wednesdays for medical appointments. And the roundtrip price of $35 is also unchanged. So if you have a medical appointment in Billings and want to leave the driving to us, give us a call as soon as you have made your appointment. It’s very helpful if those appointments fall between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. We typically have two or three people going so if the appointments can all fall in the middle of the day, then it shortens the trip for everyone.

And we have a new phone number. You can now call 675-RIDE (7433) to get in touch with us. Our old number will still work for a few more months but eventually will be dis-connected. So remember our number and think of us the next time you need a ride.

First Day of Fall is Also National Fall Prevention Day

When we think of falls, we naturally think of fractures, and when we think of fractures we think of loss of our ability to be fully functional. Among older adults, according to the National Council on Aging, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury related deaths. More than one in three people age 65 or older will have a fall this year, resulting in more than one million fall injuries treated in emergency departments yearly including 650,000 hospitalizations and more than 20,000 deaths. With statistics like that the fear of falling can be paralyzing, resulting in seniors decreasing their activities of daily living, not taking that daily walk, not being as social as they were when younger, even avoiding leaving the house. This fear is understandable but the fear itself can be debilitating. Instead of letting this fear of falling direct our lives, let us focus on what we can do to prevent falls and promote life. We need to prevent falls and promote independence but not with a fear based approach.

How do we do this? We can start by exercising our independence. Martina Navratilova states that our fitness should be driven by the functionality that we want in our bodies and the independence we want in our lives. In her video she states that our exercise needs to improve balance, enhance posture, boost stamina and strengthen our core. Preventing falls comes down to bones, balance and behaviors.

So how do we improve our bone health? We need to eat a balanced diet that ensures we get enough Calcium and Vitamin D which are crucial for building and maintaining strong bones. We need to do weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, mix up your routines, dance, hike, or take a brisk walk. We need to develop and keep healthy lifestyle habits, avoid smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol and salty foods. We need to talk to our primary care provider to develop a plan to protect and manage your bone health as you age.     Balance?, excellent balance as well as optimizing your vision dramatically reduces your fall risk. Hearing and vision both increase our awareness of our surroundings and can reduce our risk, have your vision and hearing checked regularly. For Balance we all need to increase our balance training exercises, Tai Chi or Yoga are excellent exercises that help balance and flexibility.

We have covered bone health and balance but possibly the hardest part is to change our behaviors. We need to embrace these positive changes in our daily routine, it is never too late to form healthy habits to protect ourselves from falls and thereby protecting our bones. Instead of using a negative motivator that focuses on the injury such as “I don’t want to have a fall and end up in a nursing home” set a positive goal such as “I want to be able to walk 2 miles a day” or “I want to go hiking in the mountains” or “I want to be able to walk the new puppy with my grand-daughter”.

The Senior Center has many programs for seniors including many that will improve our overall functioning and stability, come over to our place and see how we can help you maintain your independence.

The 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD) was observed on September 22, 2016—the first day of fall. The event raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. The theme of this year's event is Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016.

Guest columnist Dave Schwaiger is the registered nurse at the Sheridan Senior Center.

“Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community.  It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.”

How is the Senior Center doing with State Budget Cuts?

A number of Sheridanites have asked me how the Sheridan Senior Center is doing? Surely we must be okay because there is so much is activity at the Center; it seems so busy and we are all still smiling! In addition we completed a very successful fundraising campaign a year ago so we must be set for a while, right? 

Yes – there is a lot happening. As you know we are open every day of the year and we are truly serving older adults and families of multiple generations. The demand for our services is growing and there are many opportunities for development of existing and new services.

Yes – we have had tremendous support from the community throughout our Celebrating Generations and Building Community Campaign. The $9.5M raised came from federal and state grants and an amazing array of generous Sheridan individual donors and foundations. We are grateful for every gift from $1 - $1M. These funds have been raised and pledged over a five year period.

 Yes - we too have been negatively affected by the state budget cuts. Grant awards from State and local sources are 4% or $130,000 less than what we were awarded this year. This will be challenging. We operate on a very narrow margin. There is not much we can cut on the expenses side of things without cutting back on services.

How do we increase our income and continue to serve those most in need? Our grants and funding sources are such that we only get what we spend and there is little opportunity for growth. Our customers make payments and contributions to the cost of their services however many are on a fixed and limited income. How can Sheridan continue to support the Center as the vibrant hub of service for older people and their families?

1.        If you are already eating with us, don’t let our new construction October 2016 through August 2017 stop you and if you are over 60 and want to start eating with us, please come down. This will help us maintain revenues as usual. For example the funds we receive for our meals is based on the how many meals we serve. If we serve less meals, we receive less dollars.

2.        Continue to give. Your contributions of dollars (from $1-1M) really do make a difference. Our Celebrating Generations and Building Community Campaign is over however we depend annually on gifts throughout the year from individuals and foundations through specific grants, memorials, and the holiday spirit and operation independence campaigns. These dollars truly set us apart from so many other centers.

3.        Shop and Drop at Green Boomerang Thrift Store on Main Street. Donations of gently used and re-sellable items are greatly appreciated. We have been able to keep our expenses at the store minimal due to our fabulous volunteers who work in the store and the wonderful donated space we occupy. The dollars earned from sales at the store are used to serve people in need.

4.        Volunteer your time. We have a staff of 93 full and part time employees. If did not have the volunteer force we have, there is no way possible we could serve the 2,500 people we do currently. Over 600 volunteers help us in so many ways and this something we will need more of this year and in the future to provide services to a growing number of people growing older in our communities. Help us serve.  Share your skills, talents, and time.

Yes – despite all the good things happening and the positive can do attitude we still need your support! Thank you Sheridan!

Life Link Technology Available for Your Safe Being

Life Link of Sheridan County is our local provider providing personal emergency response service for individuals living at home.  This service allows individuals to call for help by pressing a button when they cannot reach their telephone. This technology allows people to live in their homes regardless of age, infirmities, or illness.

And for active adults, Life Link technology would help add an additional measure of security. For example, what if you were out walking the dog and had your cell phone? But what if you went down and couldn’t dial out?  A Life Link pendant could automatically signal the response center to send help. Global positioning system – GPS – technology would send your location to the emergency response team to get to you. There are also wristbands available but only with standard capabilities.

But not every community has Life Link services. It takes dedicated volunteers who want to bring this service to their community. Sheridan is lucky in this.

All of this is provided by a local volunteer board in Sheridan. This board is responsible for providing a technician manager who installs the equipment. Many of you may know Terry Yentzer in town who has done this for years. After a system is installed in someone’s home, Terry is available and on call should the equipment need attention.

The volunteer board maintains an inventory of monitors and call buttons that allows us immediate service to a client. What’s nice about Life Link is if equipment needs help, Terry gets a report that says something like “John Smith’s machine needs a new battery.”

Upgrades are done on a rotation that keeps us current with the new innovations. Our latest upgrade included 25 wireless monitors that cost $15,100. These wireless monitors are perfect for people who no longer have telephone landlines.

We also have the Phillips medication dispensers. This is a programmable machine for those who need assistance with taking medication. These dispensers are filled with prescription medication by a family caregiver then they signal by sound, screen and light when it’s time to take medication.

There are differing monthly service fees for different levels of service. There is financial assistance based on income.

The local Life Link volunteer team is responsible for raising money to purchase the equipment that goes in homes. Life Link is a nonprofit organization that has maintained its budget to buy equipment through donations from communities, organizations, grants, and individuals. The monthly fee only pays for the service of being connected to the personal emergency alert system and not equipment.

A volunteer board has managed Life Link services in Sheridan since 1988. Life Link was started by Dorothy Enzi, Rev. Ray Clark and Billie Sollars.

I serve as president of the 12 member volunteer board. Terry is our manager and installation technician. He and a bookkeeper are our only paid staff.

Members of the board will be available at the 2016 Resource Expo at the Third Thursday Downtown on September 15.  There you can view our display and visit about Life Link equipment and services.

If you would like information if Life Link is something for your family, call Terry at 751-9348.

Guest columnist Linda Johnson is the president of the all volunteer board of Life Link of Sheridan County.

The Wonders of Water

Water is the largest component of the body and makes up 50 to 70% of our total body weight. Water is also a primary component of many important physiological functions that take place inside the human body each day. Our bodies rely on the presence of water for processes such as regulating body temp, protecting vital organs, providing assistance with vitamin/nutrient absorption, and blood volume maintenance – not to mention it provides consistent hydration necessary for athletic performance and exercise.

When tackling this topic in my classrooms, the questions and comments that arise are:

  • Do I really need 64 ounces of water each day?
  • How much is too much?
  • What do I need to sustain my workouts and how do I know if I’m hydrated “enough”?
  • Water is “boring” – what are some alternatives?
  • Can you get water from food?

As all things in health and fitness, a one-size fits all approach is not effective; therefore, the answers to these questions are not black and white. However, some basic principles apply that can help you determine what your individual needs are.

  • First, when it comes to personal hydration needs, let thirst be the guide. 
  • Second, the amount of water each person needs depends on several factors including the types of foods and beverages consumed throughout the day, sweat rate, waste excretion, metabolic processes and respiration. Further, when providing water intake guidelines, we have to keep in mind that a person’s size, weight, activity level, and environment influence water loss.
  • Third, when it comes to exercise, aim for a 1:1 fluid replacement to fluid loss ratio with the goal of avoiding a total weight loss of greater than 2% during exercise (this is most likely in serious athletes and/or those who live and train in very hot temps).
  • Fourth, everyone sweats at different rates; consider drinking about 8-16 ounces of water each hour (on the higher end if it’s hot and humid). For prolonged exercise (greater than 90 minutes) try taking in a fluid with some sodium (Gatorade, for example). This will help balance electrolytes lost through sweating.  A caveat, 30 minutes on an elliptical does not necessitate the use of Gatorade or other sports drinks! The human body will not become dehydrated or electrolyte deficient in 30 minutes to an hour.

So, how can you improve or support “euhydration” on a daily basis?

  • Keep water with you at your desk or near you during the day
  • Replace one caffeinated beverage a day with water
  •  Infuse water with fruit if plain water isn’t palatable
  • Drink water throughout the day – no need to down 8 glasses at once

For more information and the ability to ask one-on-one questions about your personal needs, join me at the Sheridan Senior Center on Tuesday, September 6th at 6p.m. for light snacks, refreshments and a down-to-Earth conversation about the importance of water, signs of dehydration and methods for preventing dehydration and, finally, edible sources of water. Yes, water consumption isn’t limited to a glass of pure water. Many foods are high in water content, so don’t just drink your water – eat it. 


Erin is a health and human performance educator, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, and ACE Health Coach & Fitness Nutrition Specialist. To contact Erin please email

First Blog!

Welcome to our Blog! As we began to create our new website we were certain that we wanted to create an opportunity for people to share thoughts, ideas, and resources. The website needed to be interactive because we believe getting older is a contact “sport”.

There is so much to learn about becoming older. There are some very cool and exciting things that get downplayed. More than any other age group, “people of age” are more resilient, adaptable, wise, and of course experienced. Each one of these characteristics has significant merit on its own, but to me when you put them all together they equal “superhero”! These are heavy duty traits that our community and our world needs more of these days. Let’s celebrate the value older people have in our society, both as individuals and as a group.

Did you also know that research has shown, time after time, that older people are happier and more satisfied with their lives than others? Maybe it is because of their superhero characteristics? Let’s find out. We want to share this information and hear from people who are living or witnessing these things.

There are also some very real challenges and obstacles as one gets older. There are many that don’t think about these things in advance and have a “go with the flow” attitude. I plead guilty to this in some areas!  

Although we never know what life has in store for us it is so much better when people think ahead and do some planning. This blog will provide a space to share the latest and greatest information to help you be proactive and also help you navigate when faced with challenges. We want you to share your experiences and any important information you may have that will help others when times are tough.

The older I get the more I know that we are more alike than different and when we come together and share our lives with each other, we are stronger.

I can’t wait to see all the good things to come…