SunPorch News

SunPorch of Dodge City Elders Get Pumped Up for Senior Olympics

August 2019 • Contact: Gina Salmans or Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

Several elders at SunPorch of Dodge City have started their training-camp regimen for the upcoming Senior Olympics.

         The annual event is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20 at the Cimarron 4-H Building. The opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

         Volunteers and donations are still needed.

         “The SunPorch team is eager to compete with their peers in this great event,” said Gina Salmans, activities director. “We recently started training for a variety of the games.

         “However, the Senior Olympics is not just for the participants; we also encourage our elders to be spectators. It is a fun afternoon that affords the opportunity for socialization and team spirit.”

         Salmans noted that Sen. John Doll will again serve as emcee for the event and “we are honored to have him join us. Sen. Doll’s participation demonstrates that he cares about elders and we are grateful to him.”

         SunPorch is a member of District 6 of the AD/SSD family. The acronym stands for activities directors/social services designees. These are the people who keep elders engaged in activities at home and in the community.

Joyce Rand, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, keeps her eye on the ball during bowling practice for the upcoming Senior Olympics.
Joyce Rand, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, celebrates a strike during her bowling practice for the upcoming Senior Olympics.

         The Senior Olympics is open to any entity that is a member of District 6. Nearly 30 members have signed up to participate.

         Specific games include: basketball toss; Hula Hoop football toss; bowling; soccer kick; tennis target; corn-hole toss; pie-building contest; Rockette kick; and spelling bee.

         Two levels of participation are offered to allow more opportunities to join in the games.

         “During these weeks leading up to the event, we are seeking financial donations, as well as volunteers willing to share their time,” Salmans said. “The Senior Olympics is a labor of love for the SunPorch committee but we also rely on the community’s support.”

         Committee members recruit other volunteers, order medals, compile the agenda, donate snacks and take care of the paperwork.

         Financial donations help pay for medals and meals, while some volunteers help elders to and from their chosen games.

         “Donors of money and time can be assured their generosity is appreciated,” Salmans commented. “When elders are engaged in activities they benefit physically and emotionally.”

         Donations may be sent to: Amy Berry, c/o The Shepherd Center, 101 Cedar Ridge Drive, Cimarron, Ks. 67835.

         For more information or to volunteer, contact Salmans by calling 620-227-7512.

SunPorch Elders Enjoy Dodge City Rodeo

August 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

SunPorch of Dodge City elders enjoy the recent Dodge City Days Rodeo.

From left to right in the cowboy-themed hats are Danny McDowell, John Yochum and Glenn Selby. Standing behind them is Jaymi Davenport, SunPorch physical therapy assistant.

Gina Salmans, activities director, not pictured, helped arrange the outing.

Elders Attend Recent Driver Appreciation Night at Raceway Park in Dodge City

August 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

SunPorch of Dodge City elders attend the recent Driver Appreciation Night at Raceway Park in Dodge City.

From left to right are: John Yochum, Elizabeth Krueger and Daniel McDowell.

Debbie Allen, marketing and community liaison, said SunPorch arranges outings whenever possible because socialization is so important to elders.

Aegis Therapies Brings Care, Treatment to SunPorch of Dodge City

July 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

Patsy Burnett, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, participates in therapy with Jaymi Davenport, physical therapy assistant, at her side.

The new therapy company at SunPorch of Dodge City is bringing 18 years of experience and new equipment to the short- and long-term-care residence for the in-house treatment of elders.

         Aegis Therapies now offers physical, occupational and speech therapies at SunPorch, 501 W. Beeson. Its specialized program is designed for elders.

         SunPorch will host a Dodge City Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 10 to welcome Aegis and the five therapists to the SunPorch team.

         “Aegis has a long history of being the best in the business,” said Debbie Allen, SunPorch marketing and community liaison. “The company provides excellent specialized education and training to its therapists, giving them the tools to offer high-quality services to elders.”

Physical and/or occupational therapy may be necessary after surgeries, including joint replacements. In other cases, therapy is recommended to rebuild strength and balance because of a prolonged illness.

“Cardiac and stroke patients benefit from a therapy regimen until they can get safely back to activities of daily living,” Allen said.

         Speech therapy enhances an elder’s ability to speak more clearly. It also can alleviate swallowing difficulties, be part of recovery after a stroke or brain injury, and help people with dementia enhance their quality of life.

         Therapy is available to full-time SunPorch elders, as well as those who live there for the short-term to recover from illness or injury.

Julie Winkel, director of rehab, said Aegis uses its Freedom Through Functionality strength-building program to support SunPorch patients.

         “Using Nautilus equipment, this program is specifically designed to meet elders’ needs,” Winkel said. “Seniors can regain strength, confidence and independence. No matter the elder’s age or physical condition, we help the person exercise safely and to their potential.”

         The Nautilus equipment, which is modified for elders, features enclosed weights; controlled range of motion; and comfortable seats and pads.

         “Our therapists teach the patient to perform exercises correctly under supervision,” said Winkel, a certified physical therapy assistant. “Exercise affects the way a patient feels physically, mentally and emotionally.

         “We know it is difficult to rely on another person to perform activities of daily living,” she continued. “Our therapy helps patients gain strength, which means they become more confident and independent in daily life.”

         Freedom Through Functionality builds muscle and strength, and reduces the likelihood of falling.

         “People will sit and stand taller and be able to move their arms, legs and trunk more freely,” Winkel explained. “They also can walk faster and rise from bed and chairs more easily.

         “Increased muscle mass increases the metabolism, helping to keep weight and blood sugar in check,” she noted. “This is important because obesity and diabetes are major health concerns for older adults.”

         Additionally, Winkel commented, clinical studies suggest that increasing strength may help prevent osteoporosis and alleviate joint pain and discomfort caused by arthritis.

         “We are excited to bring these therapies and equipment to SunPorch,” Winkel said. “The staff here takes pride in providing comprehensive nursing services, while caring for the whole person.

         “Our therapists also take pride in providing comprehensive rehabilitation therapy that meets individual needs. We, too, care for the whole person, including their passions and goals.”

         Ryan Salinas, SunPorch administrator, said he is “pleased to have Aegis join our team. The therapists’ patient-centered goals align nicely with what we are doing here at SunPorch.”

Relay for Life Walk

June 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

This SunPorch of Dodge City team participated in the recent Relay for Life Walk at the DC3 Activity Center. Team members sold luminaries, donated items to the silent auction and sponsored a Premier Jewelry Party to raise funds for Relay for Life. The SunPorch team’s name is Brightening Lives, which was reflected in members’ brightly colored and glow-in-the-dark shirts.

Bike-Run Fundraiser Scheduled

Danny McDowell, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, helped start an aluminum-can recycling project. Proceeds go to the Better Bus Fund.
Danny McDowell, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, helped start an aluminum-can recycling project. Proceeds go to the Better Bus Fund.

May 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

Some proceeds from the Summer Kick-off Bike Run will be dedicated to the SunPorch of Dodge City Better Bus Fund; the remainder will go to Dodge City Special Olympics.

         The bike run, set for Saturday, June 22, is hosted by the U & I (Unity & Individuality) Riders of Dodge City. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at HD’s Sports Bar, 2600 Central; blessing of the bikes is at 8:45 a.m.

         Participants will head out at 9:15 a.m. and return to HD’s at 1:30 p.m. Stops on the route are Rustler’s at Kinsley; The Crazy Mule at Greensburg; Old Gas Station at Minneola; Meade City Park at Meade; and The Trading Post at Cimarron.

         All types of vehicles are welcome.

         Costs are $20 for a driver and $10 for a passenger. Hamburgers and hot dogs are on the menu at HD’s from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. An auction and raffle are on the agenda from 1:30 to 2 p.m. and a photo booth is available all day.

         Debbie Allen, SunPorch marketing and community liaison, said she is “extremely grateful to the U & I Riders for helping make this happen. SunPorch strives to be involved in our community so that our elders feel connected to their neighbors and contribute to society.

         “The U & I Riders gave us this bike-run opportunity to raise money for our bus. They should be commended for their community spirit.”

Jennifer McCabe, of U & I, noted participation is “really about giving back to the community and having fun while we support one another. It’s all about friendship, fellowship and giving back.”

         McCabe noted the bike run includes games that “get the riders involved in a little friendly competition. We have raffles, auctions and our free-will donation lunch. Those who can’t join us for the bike run are invited to the other events.

          “We are open to having anyone join us. We unite as a team to do as much as we can for those who could use our help.”

SunPorch of Dodge City Recycles for Bus

Danny McDowell, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, helped start an aluminum-can recycling project. Proceeds go to the Better Bus Fund.
Danny McDowell, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, helped start an aluminum-can recycling project. Proceeds go to the Better Bus Fund.

May 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

The staff and elders at SunPorch of Dodge City are combining forces to raise funds for a much-needed bus that can accommodate more transportation needs, said Gina Salmans, activity director.

         The short- and long-term-care residence recently began collecting aluminum cans for recycling, with proceeds earmarked for the Better Bus Fund.

         “Cans are being collected now and we are looking into other recyclables such as cardboard, plastic and glass,” Salmans said. “Yes, we need money for a bus but this project also benefits the environment today and in generations to come.”

         While SunPorch representatives are “excited to do our part, we also seek the community’s help,” Salmans commented.

         Financial gifts may be donated to the SunPorch of Dodge City Better Bus Fund, 501 W. Beeson, Dodge City, Ks. 67801. Donors may send a check by mail or stop by the office. Since SunPorch is a 501c3 non-profit organization, donations are tax deductible.

         The family of Loreen Pruett, who was a long-time SunPorch resident, established a memorial to the Better Bus Fund.

         “That memorial fund in Loreen’s honor enabled us to make our first move forward,” said Debbie Allen, marketing and community liaison. “We greatly appreciate her family’s generosity.”

         Even though SunPorch hasn’t been able to buy the bus yet, it recently purchased a 2002 Dodge 3500 van with a wheelchair lift at a greatly reduced cost, Allen said, noting minor repairs were made and the van will be painted.

         “We are happy to have this van but it has limited use,” Allen said. “It is only for in-town medical appointments and small group outings. But we still desperately need a large bus for longer trips and large group outings. There is a possibility we can buy a city bus that will retire from service soon.”

         For more information, contact Allen or SunPorch Administrator Ryan Salinas by calling 620-227-7512.

Mindra Perez, certified occupational therapist, teaches Patsy Burnett how to put on her socks with a sock aide. Burnett is a SunPorch of Dodge City elder who receives occupational therapy at the short- and long-term-care residence, 501 W. Beeson.

Perez Shares Information During Occupational Therapy Month

Mindra Perez, certified occupational therapist, teaches Patsy Burnett how to put on her socks with a sock aide. Burnett is a SunPorch of Dodge City elder who receives occupational therapy at the short- and long-term-care residence, 501 W. Beeson.
Mindra Perez, certified occupational therapist, teaches Patsy Burnett how to put on her socks with a sock aide. Burnett is a SunPorch of Dodge City elder who receives occupational therapy at the short- and long-term-care residence, 501 W. Beeson.

April 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

Since Mindra Perez sees first-hand how rehabilitation can lead to a better quality of life for elders at SunPorch of Dodge City, she wanted to share information with the community during April, Occupational Therapy Month.

         Perez is a certified occupational therapist at the short- and long-term-care residence.

         “It is great that SunPorch elders have easy access to occupational therapy (OT) right here onsite,” Perez said. “OT gives our elders the chance to reach their highest potential and maintain as much independence as possible.

         “They enjoy an enhanced quality of life when they can do more activities on their own.”

         OT focuses on activities of daily living, which include eating, dressing, personal hygiene, and getting in and out of bed.

         “We evaluate elders’ needs and then customize our OT sessions to help them reach their individual goals,” Perez explained. “But the overall goals are always to increase independence and improve quality of life.”

         Any person, of any age, who has difficulty performing daily tasks is a good candidate for OT, Perez said, noting there are different goals for OT and physical therapy.

         For example, a physical-therapy patient may have a goal to walk 100 feet to enhance strength and balance. But in OT, a patient may want to walk a certain distance to perform activities such as getting to the SunPorch dining room or reaching the bathroom.

         Perez has been offering therapy to SunPorch elders for just a couple of months but she already calls it “a great experience. The therapists, nurses and nurse’s aides provide exceptional care. It is obvious they really care about the people here.

         “And just as an aside, the food here is great. This is a major factor in our elders’ quality of life.”

         For Perez, the environment at SunPorch and the personal care elders receive combine to give her a rewarding job.

         “I always wanted a job that gave me a reason to get up in the morning,” she said. “It is quite an amazing feeling to know that elders are now able to feed themselves or go to the bathroom on their own because of OT. You can just see how much happier they are.”

SunPorch Offers Information About Advanced Directives for Healthcare

April 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

In her role as marketing and community liaison at SunPorch of Dodge City, Debbie Allen knows the importance of advanced directives for healthcare. Therefore, she wants to take advantage of Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, which is a local and national effort to spread the word.

“Since I have started helping with admissions here at SunPorch, I am often reminded of the need for public knowledge about advanced directives for healthcare,” Allen said. “So, in observance of this special day in April, SunPorch will offer free advanced-directive forms here at the long-term-care residence.”

These forms are for Do Not Resuscitate orders; durable powers of attorney; and living wills.

In addition, a Kansas Legal Services representative will be available on April 16 at SunPorch, 501 W. Beeson.

“Questions often come into play when someone is already hospitalized, perhaps in a coma, or otherwise incapacitated physically or mentally,” Allen said. “This is when the family asks ‘what should we do’? A living will helps answer those questions.

“It provides the opportunity to express yourself in writing when you can’t express yourself verbally, taking the burden off your family,” she explained. “A living will can be a gift to those faced with difficult decisions.”

It is extremely important for family members to talk with one another before tragedy strikes, Allen emphasized.

“If we don’t have these conversations, there can be devastating results,” she said. “One sibling might want to do everything possible, while another doesn’t think prolonging the inevitable is the right thing to do.

“With advanced directives, family members know their loved one’s wishes, which takes the guilt and anxiety off the family.”

Allen noted that her position at SunPorch has opened her eyes about medical issues that may require feeding tubes, intubation and other measures that are extraordinarily personal.
“After discussing these possibilities with our Director of Nursing Denice Cragg, I discovered most people don’t want to prolong their lives in these ways,” Allen said. “But it is certainly an individual’s decision.

“This is why you designate someone you trust with your medical power of attorney. You can spell out what you want and what you don’t want.”

Medical powers of attorney (POA) apply when patients are receiving or needing medical care but cannot speak for themselves. “If decisions must be made, the person you choose to act on your behalf will be consulted,” Allen explained.

A living will is not the same as a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate order. For example, a DNR applies at the “end stage of a disease and you don’t want to be revived if you go into cardiac arrest.

“Some thoughts to consider are: what quality of life will your loved one have after being resuscitated; and would it be the kind of life this person would want?”

A power of attorney is valid when it is signed. However, if it is sitting in a desk drawer and no one knows about it, it is of no use, Allen said. It needs to be accessible.

“It is highly recommended that copies be delivered to the person you have chosen to act for you, your doctors’ offices and the medical facility you use,” she advised. “It is not expensive to have an attorney handle it and it is worth the peace of mind.”

Another option is making an appointment with Kansas Legal Services at a senior center. Services are free to those 65 and older.

 “We hope people note that a living will makes your wishes known via a written statement, but by itself does not appoint a person to act on your behalf and make those decisions,” Allen noted. “A healthcare POA does do this. Like a living will, a healthcare POA does not distribute your property after death.”


• A living will is a written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding their medical treatment when they are no longer able to express informed consent.

• A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document through which you name someone to have the authority to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact. The person you name does not have to be an attorney.

• Durable power of attorney, DPOA, is a legal document providing that this power extends to your agent in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. A DPOA generally remains in effect until the principal revokes the power or dies. It also can be terminated if a court finds the document invalid or revokes the agent’s authority, or if the principal gets divorced and the spouse was the agent.

• Financial power of attorney is a way to allow someone else to manage your finances if you are unable to make decisions. The power is granted in a document, and is not only useful for you; it can help your family in times of crisis. It grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues.

• Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is a legal order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in case the heart stops or breathing stops.

SunPorch of Dodge City Starts Vehicle Fundraising Campaign

Mary Lou Young, SunPorch of Dodge City elder, receives a helping hand into the 2005 Ford from Tonya Helin. SunPorch is kicking off a fundraising campaign to replace the vehicle.

February 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

No one really knows how many miles have accumulated on the odometer. But everyone at SunPorch of Dodge City knows the long-term-care residence needs better transportation.

This is why SunPorch, 501 W. Beeson, will kick off a fundraising campaign with a Gumbo Lunch at noon Saturday, March 2, in the residents’ dining room. The cost is $5 per person; reservations are appreciated but not required.

“It is so important to have reliable transportation for our elders,” said Debbie Allen, marketing and community liaison. “Since weather is often a factor, travel is prohibited during very hot and very cold weather. The safety of our elders is our number-one priority.”

The vehicle that must be replaced at the non-profit entity is a 2005 OS Ford E 350. It is not reliable for long-distance trips to Wichita for medical appointments with specialists; in addition, it is not economical for one-person trips to doctors’ offices in town, Allen outlined.

SunPorch actually needs two vehicles, Allen noted. One would replace the Ford that is used for various outings.

“We also would like to have a minivan with a lift,” Allen said. ”A van is easier to maneuver and the gas savings would really add up.”
Allen anticipates a used minivan in good condition with low miles might cost about $25,000.

Cash donations are always welcome, as are in-kind gifts for a silent-auction fundraiser. Future fundraising events will be announced later.

“We also are researching state grants,” Allen said. “However, there is a lot of competition for these funds, which would replace the old bus. And they often require at least a 20 percent match, which is where in-kind contributions can help.”

Donations are tax deductible because SunPorch is a 501c3 organization.

“We trust the community will support us in this campaign,” Allen commented. “Local and area residents understand the importance of quality long-term care for our elders, and reliable transportation plays a huge role.

“Better transportation options will enhance safety and comfort. Our elders deserve no less.”

For more information, contact Allen by calling 620-227-7512.