Senior Connections Senior Connections Dec. 2018 - Page 6

Cokato Manor resident donates to Locks of Love They made the arrangements and completed the pa- perwork. Then came the day of the haircut. Mentuis estimates they cut off about 13 inches, which leaves him with a blunt cut nearly down to his shoulders. The fi nal length to be sent will be less than that, as there were “some straggles” that had to be trimmed. The change confused his grandson, who visits every weekend. But, now that he understands, he is proud of his grandfather. Mentuis feels happy to have found a path of giving to others and making a difference. He defi nitely plans to re-grow his hair until it’s long enough to donate again. Marschel and Gigley have found Steve to be an in- spiration, and hope others will, too. DEB COX-JOHNSON Correspondent For residents of Cokato Manor, it is not always easy to come up with ways to “give back” to support others, but Steve Mentuis did not let that stand in his way. Mentuis lost a lot after having a stroke 10 years ago. Prior to the stroke, he was a busy, active, and hardworking roofer. He lived in Litchfi eld with his wife and their two children. After the stroke, loss of mobility due to paralysis on his right side took that active lifestyle away from him. But, it didn’t take everything. Mentuis has an in- fectious smile, more mischievous expressions than can be counted, appreciation for his caregivers, and deep love and devotion for his wife, Becky. He just knew he could fi nd a way to give some- thing to others. After thinking about it, he decided that perhaps he could donate his hair, which he had always worn long. He asked for, and received help from staff at the Cokato Manor, where he has lived for some years. Joy Marschel has been the recreation therapy di- rector for the past 20 years and loves her job. Debi Gigley opened her salon there in 1984, and before that, she came on weekends to cut residents’ hair. Together, they researched the subject of donating Joy Marschel, recreation therapy director at Cokato Manor, congratulates Steve Mentuis on his donation. PHOTO BY DEB COX-JOHNSON hair on the internet. Several organizations accept donated hair, which is then made into wigs for people who need them. Often, the fi nal product goes to someone who has lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Ultimately, Marschel and Gigley selected Locks of Love, which accepts gray hair, as Mentuis has some gray growing in. Driving at a discount Dale Kovar HJ GENERAL MANAGER When you turn 16, it’s exciting because you are fi nally eligible to get a driver’s license. When you turn 55, it’s – (fi ll in emotion of your choice) – because you’re now eligible to enroll in a driving safety course. There are a number of names for it: defensive driving course, mature driver improvement course, smart driver course, etc. I just call it “old people’s driving class.” There is on the table a standing offer of a 10 percent discount on auto insurance, which elevates it from a good idea to an action item. Although it’s hard to argue against safety, the insurance discount is the clincher that makes it worth pursuing. The fi rst time around it’s a full eight-hour course. After that, you only need a four-hour refresher ev- ery three years. There are a number of approved providers of 6 Senior these courses including AARP and AAA, as well as some more local organizations. In this day of many choices, you can do it either in a classroom setting or, of course, online. I did my fi rst round over two evenings in Wa- conia; then opted for renewals online in my paja- mas. If you haven’t taken this class yet, it guides you through virtually every aspect of driving from traf- fi c laws to vehicle maintenance to physical health issues to dealing with weather to driving etiquette to accident statistics, etc. Both the classroom and online versions do a good job of mixing up the presentation format to keep your attention. It might be a stretch to call it entertaining, but at least it isn’t drudgery. There are quizzes along the way, but it’s low- stress. You don’t have to actually pass the course, just complete the course – which means if you put in the time, you’ll absorb enough of the informa- tion anyway to be valuable. Which is why the government and insurance companies want you to do it. I’ll admit I was there strictly for the discount, but then found myself reciting tidbits later in vari- ous driving situations. One of my biggest take-aways was how to prop- erly set the rear-view mirrors. I’m sure this was Connections December 2018 Do you know a senior that should be in the spotlight? Please send your information to us by calling 320.485.2535 or by emailing taught in high school driver’s training but it really opened my eyes to re-learn that if the mirror is in the correct position, you can see so much more of what is behind you. The other big point I learned was about airbags. Fortunately, I’ve never been in a situation where an airbag deployed, so I’m glad to take the instructor’s word for it. Although an airbag can do a tremendous job to prevent you from going through the windshield or smacking into metal parts, you can take a pretty stiff hit from the airbag itself. Thus, it’s advisable to try to position yourself as far away from the steering wheel and airbag as you comfortably can. Each inch farther away works in your favor should an accident occur. I found this interesting since I tend to sit pretty far back anyway. I’m just a little under average height, but I guess I really like my space because almost every time I drive a different vehicle, the fi rst thing I do is move seat back, usually as far as it can go. That’s just how I like it. Now I can blame it on the airbags. All in all, brushing up on what we should know to drive safely is good for all of us. Enjoy the course – and make sure you get your discount! Senior Connections HJ.COM