Yay for Spring! After the long winter, most of us are so thankful that we can get outside and
move around without slipping on the ice or sinking in the snow. We now have the chance to
get outdoors and move our bodies, and we don’t have to do it pushing a snow shovel!
One of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy weight, keep your joints strong, and live
longer is also one of the simplest, no matter your age. The health benefits of walking are
endless and can improve your physical and mental health. The key is to strive for 30 minutes
per day. Walking can do everything from lowering your blood pressure and making your heart
happier, to reducing your risk of chronic diseases and making your brain sharper.
Benefits of walking include:
Improve your mood---Research shows that just 10 minutes of walking can lift your spirits.
Burn calories and maintain a healthy weight---Regular walking can reduce fat, and as a result,
improve your body’s response to insulin.
Reduce stress---Walking reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, which will help you feel less
Improve your sleep---Physical activity naturally boosts the effects of melatonin, the sleep
Boost your brain power---Walking increases blood flow to the brain, which helps it work
Alleviate joint pain---Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can help improve
your range of motion and mobility because of the increased blood flow to tense areas, and
walking also helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. In fact, walking for at least
10 minutes a day can stave off disability and arthritis pain in older adults.
Kickstart your immune system---Moderate to intense exercise ramps up your immune system.
It increases the number of immune cells that attack pathogens in the body.
Protect your bones---Walking helps keep your bones strong and healthy by slowing density
Live longer---Walking increases your life span by lowering the risk of death 18%-31%.
Walking is powerful medicine!


Mental health and physical health are a two-way street. As we get older, our physical health
can often decline. That could mean adjusting to new health problems, being less independent,
or even adapting to a new environment. This can affect the mental health of older adults.
Mental health in older adults often slips under the radar because it is often unidentified or
unnoticed. Some people might think that symptoms of depression are just a normal sign of
aging. Here are some key facts:
At least one in four older adults experiences some mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety,
or dementia.
Due to the aging population, the number of seniors with mental disorders is expected to double
by 2030.
Depression is the most common mental health problem in older people.
Two-thirds of seniors with mental health problems do not get the treatment they need.
Mental health problems may include isolation, affective and anxiety disorders, dementia, and
psychosis among others. Many seniors also suffer from sleep and behavioral disorders.
Research suggests that seniors benefit from supportive social connections and close personal
If you’re concerned about the mental health of a loved one, watch for these signs:
Change in sleep patterns, high stress or constant worrying, suicidal thoughts, trouble feeling
positive, dependence on drugs or alcohol, feeling hopeless, anger and irritability.
Things you can do to help a friend or loved one:
Treat sleeping problems---ask for your doctor’s help.
Promote a sense of purpose.
Encourage social interaction.
Help them be physically active.
Make sure they eat healthy meals.
Entrust them with a chore.
Show them they are loved.
Seek professional help.

Making Sense of all the Hype on Medicare Benefits

Anyone who has turned 65 years old, or who may soon turn 65 years old, knows that the amount of mail they receive and advertisements they see concerning senior benefits can be overwhelming. How do you make sense of it all and how do you know if the benefits advertised are available to you? Perhaps some of the information below can help:
Grocery Credit
Seniors are deluged with information on social media, television, and radio about a grocery credit, usually in the amount of $900 or even as large as $3500, to be used for various senior needs, that is available to them. In truth, this is a solicitation for insurance. Some Medicare advantage plans will offer a grocery credit to new enrollees. If you click on a link to see if you qualify for this credit, you will find that the link doesn’t lead anywhere, or you will be asked some questions to see if you qualify for a Medicare Advantage plan. Advertising for this can be very misleading.
Seniors who need financial assistance with food can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. You can apply for this program through the Department of Health and Welfare by calling 877.456.1233, or by filling out the application online. Your local SHIBA representative can help you with this and also check to see if you might qualify for other financial assistance.
Misleading, Miscellaneous Mailings
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, no doubt you have received a card or letter in the mail about the availability of advantage plans in our area. Humana did authorize agents to sell advantage plans in our area, but they are not contracted with our hospital or our family physicians. While the premium for an advantage plan can be lower than a medigap policy, out of pocket costs are usually much higher.
You may also have received something or heard something on the television about dental, vision, or hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer some coverage on these services, but often it is a minimal amount of coverage. There is nothing in this area that completely covers dental, vision, and hearing.
If you have questions about information you have received concerning your Medicare benefits, please contact your local *SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisor) for clarification.
*Kim Hulme at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital 208-847-0949

What Can I Do to Keep My Kidneys Healthy? 

March is National Kidney month so it’s a good time to evaluate how we are treating our kidneys. You can protect your kidneys by preventing or managing health conditions that cause kidney damage, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.   The steps described below will help keep your whole body healthy, including your kidneys. 

Make healthy food choices 

Choose foods that are healthy for your heart and body. These foods include fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.  Cut back on salt and added sugars.  Aim for less than 2300 milligrams of sodium each day.  Try to have less than 10 percent of your daily calories come from added sugars.  Read food labels and choose food low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Also, consider cooking with a mix of spices instead of salt. 

Get enough sleep and make physical activity part of your routine 

Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Be active for 30 minutes or more on most days.  If you are not active now, consult with your doctor about what types and amounts of physical activity are right for you.   

Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake 

 Smoking can damage your kidneys. Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and add extra calories, leading to weight gain.  Limit yourself to one drink per day.  One drink is: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of liquor. 

Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease 

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, the best way to protect your kidneys from damage is to: 

Keep blood glucose numbers close to your goal. 

Control your blood pressure 

Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor.  

Maintain a healthy weight.   

Be careful about the daily use of over-the-counter-pain medications.  Regular use of these medications can damage your kidneys.


New Year’s resolutions can vary greatly, but they are all about achieving something that will
have a positive impact in your life. Here are the top ten New Year’s resolutions:
Exercise more Save more/spend less
Lose weight Quit smoking
Get organized Spend more time with family/friends
Learn a new skill or hobby Travel more
Live life to the fullest Read more
Whatever your goal, the important thing is that you are on the right path to achieve it. Here
are some tips to maximize your chances of success with your new resolutions:
Start with small goals
Start slowly and don’t commit yourself to unreasonable resolutions. Begin gradually and build
from there. Even a little progress shows you are moving in the right direction.
Make it measurable
For your goal to be attainable, it’s important that you make it specific and measurable. For
instance, if you want to exercise more, set a specific time limit. Again, be reasonable.
Be realistic
Set your goal according to your lifestyle and what you can reasonably achieve. Setting your
sights too high can lead to early discouragement.
Make a plan
After you have determined what, make sure you also determine how, when, where, and why.
Stay positive
It can be difficult to make changes in your life but focusing on the negative is a sure-fire way to
fail. Believe in yourself, expect setbacks, but focus on ANY progress made. If you made a goal
to lose 30 lbs. but lost only 5, it’s progress! Readjust your thinking and just keep taking those
little steps. One step at time will lead to success.

Living A Purposeful Life After Retirement 

If you are like most people, you derive much of your sense of purpose from your job.  After years of hard work and accomplishments, you may feel lost without your career identity.  31% of retirees report struggling with a lack of purpose.  The reality is that modern retirement is not all about living a life solely of leisure.  There is so much more potential that is being untapped for specifically older adults. If you are nearing retirement age or are already retired, living a purposeful life is more important than ever and can be enriching and rewarding.  

A growing body of research is proving that having a purpose is a significant asset in life. Researchers examined how purpose in the lives of older adults impacts health.  They found that those with higher “purpose”  scores had:  

24% lower likelihood of becoming physically inactive 

33% lower chance of developing sleep problems 

22% lower likelihood of developing unhealthy body mass index 

But the benefits do not stop there.  Leading a purposeful life leads to: 

Lower feelings of loneliness 

More engagement in healthy behaviors 

Better outcomes when it comes to diabetes and stroke recovery 

Stronger physical functions, like more grip strength and walking abilities 

Protection against cognitive decline 

Longevity and happiness 

We humans are designed to grow, change, and develop at any life stage---retirement is no different.  In fact, it is more critical during retirement because of the statistics mentioned above, and you no longer have the career and family life structure. 

Retirement is less about finding some monumental new thing to do with your life, and more about recognizing and sharing with others the unique gifts you have been blessed with. If you aren’t sure what those are, broaden your perspective by asking friends and family members for input about your strengths and passions.  No matter how you go about it, don’t be afraid to embrace your uniqueness and share it with the world. It could be the key to finding renewed purpose in life after retirement. 

BLMH Announces New CEO/Administrator

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Board of Directors is excited to announce that Arel Hunt has been selected as the Administrator/CEO effective July 19, 2022.  

Arel Hunt grew up in Afton, Wyoming and graduated from Star Valley High School.  He joined the National Guard between his Junior and Senior year of High School.  After high school he went to basic training in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Upon returning from basic training, he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Moscow South Russia.  He was called off of his mission to deploy with the Wyoming Army National Guard (WYARNG) to Camp Spiker, Iraq for a 16-monthdeployment.  Between his mission and deployment to Iraq, Arel got married to Marcie (Suloff) and they have been married for the last 16 years. In his spare time, Arel enjoys spending time with his family golfing, hunting, motor biking, boating, and snowboarding.  He has three boys, Arel Jay (AJ) (13), Trelynn (11), and Markus (8).

Prior to coming to Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Arel served the WYARNG as an Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) Soldier and still serves as a traditional guardsmantoday. For the last five years, Arel has served as the Commander and Officer in Charge of the WYARNG Medical unit.  In this role, he has been overseeing and managing the clinical operations that ensure the overall medical health and assessments of the Soldiers of the WYARNG. In his tenure as the commander, he has also provided resources and coordination in training the country of Tunisia (which is a state partner to Wyoming).  Arel has served as the Medical Readiness Officer, Human Resource Officer, Logistics Officer, and State Training Officer for the WYARNG. Arel’s hobby job (as he calls it) in the National Guard is flying the UH-60 Blackhawk.  He attended Army Flight school in 2011 in Ft Rucker, Alabama.

Arel joined the Bear Lake Memorial Hospital team as the Director of Human Resources in June 2021. Due to changes in the hospital, Arel has also been filling in as the Clinic Manager since January 2022.  He has been focused on enhancing our policies, value-based care, and helping build leadership internally to BLMH. He is excited to serve all of you in this new capacity, and look for ways that the team can improve and progress in serving our community. Arel and Marcie find great value in rural communities and the environments they create for raising children.

Arel has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration with an emphasis in Finance. He has a Lean Six Sigma (green) certificate, as well as Fundamentals of Global Health Engagement (FOGHE).

Skin Cancer

Spending time outdoors can improve overall health and wellness. It also provides opportunities for physical activity, may promote mental health, stress reduction, and increase vitamin D production. While spending time enjoying the outdoors, people can decrease skin cancer risk from too much UV exposure by using sun protection with SPF 15 or higher. In addition, staying in the shade, and wearing protective clothing, including a wide brimmed hat also help reduce skin cancer risk. Wearing sunglasses helps protect against eye damage. 

Skin Cancer Facts 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and includes distinct types.  

At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. 

More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. 

Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. 

Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.           

 Even if it is cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. 

Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk. 

The most common signs of skin cancer are changes on your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that does not heal, or a change in a mole. 

Those that have a higher risk for skin cancer include those with: 

A lighter skin color 

Freckled skin 

Blue or green eyes, and blond or red hair 

Certain types and a large number of moles 

Family history of skin cancer or a personal history of skin cancer 

Older age 

Making sun protection an everyday habit will help you to enjoy the outdoors safely and help lower your skin cancer risk.  

Best Exercises for Seniors 

No matter what your age is, the best exercise for you is the one you enjoy doing the most.  After all, if you don’t like your workout, how long are you going to stick with it? 

For older adults, it’s important to keep in mind exactly what you want and need to get out of your workout. The top priority must be maintaining your quality of life outside the gym. In order to do that, you need to focus on workouts designed to help you build strength, stay mobile and improve balance.  Below, experts share the best exercises for older adults.  As always, it’s smart to check with your doctor before beginning a new fitness program, especially if you have a chronic condition.  

Swimming -There’s a reason swimming is sometimes called the world’s perfect exercise.  Getting in the pool is a great way to increase your cardiovascular fitness while also strengthening your muscles. It does all this while putting minimal stress on your bones and joints, which is a major plus for men and women who have arthritis or osteoporosis.   A 2012 study in the Journal of Aging Research suggests that swimming can help older adults keep their minds as sharp as their bodies. 

Yoga - Yoga helps build muscle strength, aerobic fitness, core stability, and total-body mobility, all of which are important to older adults. Yoga is low-impact and gentle on your body’s joints, but still weight-bearing. That is vital to strengthening your muscles and your bones.  

Bodyweight Training - Simple bodyweight exercises such as chair squats, single leg stands, wall pushups, and stair climbing will do an excellent job at keeping your body strong and ready to tackle everyday activities. 

Resistance Band Workouts - Bands can challenge your muscles in ways you might not be able to with equipment-free training. For instance, when it comes to strengthening your back and improving your posture, pulling motions are vital and resistance bands can provide that motion. 

Walking - Even if you cannot find the time to perform a structured workout, you can usually find time to put one foot in front of the other. Research shows that people who increased their activity level to 10,000 steps per day were 46 percent less likely to die in the following 10 years compared to those who stayed sedentary.  

Cycling - Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise and is ideal for those who want to increase their leg strength but can’t run or engage in other high-impact sports due to osteoporosis or joint issues. Cycling also improves cardiovascular health. 

The Aging Mouth – How to Keep it Younger 

From Harvard Health 

You may have noticed that your once-sparkling smile has dimmed over the years.   Aging isn’t always pretty, and your mouth is no exception.  A century ago, the need for dentures in later life was almost a foregone conclusion.  Today, three-quarters of people over 65 retain at least some of their natural teeth, but older people still suffer higher rates of gum disease, dental decay, oral cancer, mouth infections, and tooth loss.   

Teeth are amazingly strong, but a lifetime of crunching, gnawing, and grinding wears away the outer layer of enamel and flattens the biting edges.  While there is not much you can do to stem the natural attrition of the tooth surface, the pillars of cavity prevention, brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings at the dentist’s office, remain the same at any age. 

Age brings more health problems, and that often means multiple medications, many of which can have a detrimental effect on your oral health.  For example, calcium-channel blockers for heart disease and antiseizure drugs can cause the proliferation of puffy gum tissue, particularly around the lower front teeth. Good oral hygiene can combat this problem.  

Hundreds of medications list dry mouth as a side effect.  Whether caused by medication, or other contributing factors, lack of saliva is more than just uncomfortable.  It makes eating and swallowing difficult, causes bad breath, and leads to irritation and infection of oral tissues.  It also raises your risk for gum disease and tooth decay.  You can moisten a dry mouth by chewing sugarless gums or sucking on sugarless candies.  Simply drinking more water can help; try holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before you swallow.  Alcohol and caffeinated beverages dry out the mouth, so use them in moderation.   

The well-being of your aging mouth is tied to the health of the rest of your body.  There’s mounting evidence of an association between gum inflammation and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems, all of which are more prevalent in later life.  Scientists postulate that bacteria from gum infections travel through the bloodstream to trigger inflammation in organs and tissues at distant sites. 

For diabetes, a disease that afflicts nearly a quarter of Americans over age 60, the cause and effect may go both directions.  Over the years, uncontrolled blood sugar damages the blood vessels that supply the gums, so they become susceptible to infection, which accelerates periodontal disease.  High blood sugar also translated into increased sugar in oral fluids for bacteria to feed on.  Conversely, inflammation from oral infection may increase the body’s resistance to insulin, leading to greater difficulty in keeping blood sugar under control.  

Regular dental check-ups are the best assurance for a healthy mouth and save money in the long run.