"Rebuilding Together National Workday" Improves Elder Group Home

On May 6th, the Elder Group Home in Springfield was the beneficiary of the "Rebuilding Together National Workday" initiative. ACCA (Annandale Christian Community for Action) team members worked side-by-side with our executive director, Sean McGinnis, on critical improvements to the property. Those improvements included: installation of posts to repair the stockade fence, installed new and repaired sections of the split rail fence, installed pavers under the pergola, repaired the garage door and shed, painted trim, installed a pole light and trimmed branches and brush around the property.

These vital improvements are greatly appreciated and thank you to the ACCA members for their hard work.

The 20th Annual Hartwood Open is Thursday, June 29th

We are excited to celebrate our 20th Annual Hartwood Open Golf Tournament on Thursday, June 29th at 2 pm at Westfields Golf Course. We are expecting many Washington Redskins alumni as well current Commanders to attend, plus a couple other local celebrities. Steve Buckhantz returns as our emcee and our live and silent auction items are the best in the area. Want to promote your company/organization in our auctions? We accept all donations and will kindly mention your generosity!

Want to support us in this magnificent, fun event? Sponsorship opportunities are still available and we would love to partner with your organization in our event. Please contact AJ Oskuie at 703-981-4911 or via email at ajoskuie@hartwoodfoundation.com for more details.

Booking of players and foursomes is being finalized. Limited space is available for players. If you are a single or a twosome, we can fit you into our fun. So, please reach out and let us know if you would like to play in our event....

Many thanks for your continued support of the Hartwood Open Golf Tournament; proudly celebrating it's 20th year!

People With Down Syndrome Are Living Longer, But The Health System Still Treats Many As Kids

MONTROSE, Mo. — It took Samantha Lesmeister’s family four months to find a medical professional who could see that she was struggling with something more than her Down syndrome.

The young woman, known as Sammee, had become unusually sad and lethargic after falling in the shower and hitting her head. She lost her limited ability to speak, stopped laughing and no longer wanted to leave the house.

General-practice doctors and a neurologist said such mental deterioration was typical for a person with Down syndrome entering adulthood, recalled her mother, Marilyn Lesmeister. They said nothing could be done.

The family didn’t buy it.

Marilyn researched online and learned the University of Kansas Health System has a special medical clinic for adults with Down syndrome. Most other Down syndrome programs nationwide focus on children, even though many people with the condition now live into middle age and often develop health problems typically associated with seniors. And most of the clinics that focus on adults are in urban areas, making access difficult for many rural patients.

The clinic Marilyn found is in Kansas City, Kan., 80 miles northwest of the family’s cattle farm in central Missouri. She made an appointment for her daughter and drove up.

The program’s leader, nurse practitioner Moya Peterson, carefully examined Sammee Lesmeister and ordered more tests.

“She reassured me that, ‘Mom, you’re right. Something’s wrong with your daughter,'” Marilyn Lesmeister said.

With the help of a second neurologist, Peterson determined Sammee Lesmeister had suffered a traumatic brain injury when she hit her head. Since that diagnosis about nine years ago, she has regained much of her strength and spirit with the help of therapy and steady support.

Sammee, now 27, can again speak a few words, including “hi,” “bye,” and “love you.” She smiles and laughs. She likes to go out into her rural community, where she helps choose meals at restaurants, attends horse-riding sessions at a stable, and folds linens at a nursing home.

Without Peterson’s insight and encouragement, the family likely would have given up on Sammee’s recovery. “She probably would have continued to wither within herself,” her mother said. “I think she would have been a stay-at-home person and a recluse.”

The median life expectancy for a baby born in the U.S. with Down syndrome jumped from about four years in 1950 to 58 years in the 2010s, according to a recent report from Skotko and other researchers. In 1950, fewer than 50,000 Americans were living with Down syndrome. By 2017, that number topped 217,000, including tens of thousands of people in middle age or beyond.

To help those who can’t, an online service has been created, Down Syndrome Clinic to You, which helps families and medical practitioners understand the complications and possible treatments.

(This article was produced in KFF Health News by Tony Leys on May 23, 2023.)

As always, we greatly appreciate any support that our subscribers can provide as these donations directly impact our residents every day!

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