Greetings of the season! We hope 2018 has been an enjoyable and memorable year for you and yours, that your holiday season is filled with peace and joy, and that the coming year brings you and your loved ones health and prosperity!  

The year has been a busy one for us! Our leadership team is working to advance our mission through partnerships with community members, leaders, and organizations, and through enhanced communication – like our newsletter. We are pleased to announce that our website is now both updated and expanded, and offered through a separate address that is linked to the College of Nursing, yet independent:

This change offers new opportunities for users to easily find the Center and its resources. In turn, we hope to expand the number and type of collaborators and partners that share our mission to advance innovative, evidence-based practices and products that maximize optimal aging and adaptive function.  We invite you to join us as we explore opportunities to elevate quality of life and living for older people through collaborative, interdisciplinary research, education, and practice.
The holidays are a whirlwind of parties and feasts; but most importantly time spent with family. Eating healthy during the holidays can be a challenge, especially for seniors with chronic health conditions (specifically congestive heart failure and diabetes) that can be impacted by diet. With the abundance of rich foods, it can be difficult to adhere to a particular diet.

While seniors can still indulge a little over the holidays, they should always keep nutrition and wellness in mind. 

Did you know?  One tablespoon of salt per day is equivalent to the high limit of recommended salt intake for those with congestive heart failure.
Enjoy: vegetables and fruits
Avoid: pastries, processed/aged meats and cheeses

Green and leafy – try making your own dressing!

Enjoy: lean fish, poultry, meat
Avoid: processed meats – ham is a BIG offender
Hint: limit gravy as it can contain lots of salt!

Indulge in: brown rice, brightly colored vegetables, sweet potatoes (be careful adding butter and sugar), mashed cauliflower (instead of potatoes!)
Small portions: mashed potatoes – don’t add extra butter or salt
Enjoy: fresh fruits, pies/cakes made with sugar substitutes/whole grain flours/butter substitute
Hint: while pecan pie may be a holiday stable – one slice has 31 grams of sugar!
If you or other family members are preparing a holiday feast that will include an elder family member or guest – take a few minutes to consult with the dietician at your local grocery store for helpful hints in preparing meals for elders with chronic health conditions that can be impacted by diet. 
The Center is excited to announce a newly developed training series on staff-family partnerships called Partnerships to Improve Care and Quality of Life for Persons with Dementia . The 12-part series includes short, online programs, handouts, videos of caregivers offering ideas from their experiences, and an Instructors Manual that guides use in practice settings.

The series is based on findings from a research study conducted by Drs. Meridean Maas, Kathleen “Kitty” Buckwalter, Janet Specht, Liz Swanson and others. Strong study findings led to the Family Involvement in Care (FIC) for Persons with Dementia Evidence-Based Guideline© which is published by the Csomay Center. Training recommended in the guideline is now easy to use and access. In turn, we hope more providers will adopt practices that engage family members as partners in dementia care and provide person-centered care.

The training series was developed in collaboration with staff caregivers and generously funded by the Jo Hoyt Freeman Dementia Education and Outreach Fund .  The project provided free copies of the book Jo’s Story, which can also be accessed at our website. A complimentary training program focused on family members, Family Involvement in Care , further supports the ideas and practices in Partnerships to Improve Car e. Please visit both sites to access the training materials:

The newly developed training series, Partnerships to Improve Care and Quality of Life for Persons with Dementia , relied on the assistance of many staff caregivers in nursing homes, assisted and independent living settings, memory care services, and home health care. These staff generous offered their feedback and ideas about training topics, content, and format over a year-long development period. These staff volunteers also agreed to offer advice for supportive video clips, AND evaluated the completed training in a small pilot project. The pilot project educated both staff and family caregivers, implemented the Family Involvement in Care intervention using a Partnership Agreement care conference, and gathered staff and family perceptions before and after the training. We cannot name the many staff who helped us over the two year process, but celebrate each of them AND the organizations in which they work. Please join us in applauding the staff and leaders of:

  • Bickford Cottage, Iowa City
  • Colonial Manor, Amana Retirement Community, Amana
  • Crestview Specialty Care, Care Initiatives, West Branch
  • Keystone Cedars Assisted Living, Keystone Cedars, Cedar Rapids
  • Lake View Lodge, Friendship Village, Waterloo
  • Legacy Senior Living, Iowa City
  • Meth-Wick Communities, Cedar Rapids, including The Woodlands and Arbor Place**
  • Pioneer Place Assisted Living, Pioneer Place, Lone Tree
  • Simpson Memorial Home, West Liberty**
  • Solon Retirement Community, Solon
  • Stonehill Franciscan Services, Dubuque
  • Sunrise Terrace, Winfield
  • Townsend Family Care Center, Wilton**
  • Western Home Communities, Cedar Falls, including the Martin Center 1, Martin Center 2, Theusen Cottage, Nation Cottage, and members of the home health team**

**These organizations participated in both developmental work and the pilot study.
The holidays can be a time of family togetherness and great joy, but can also be a time of stress and challenge for many older persons who struggle with chronic pain. As providers, it is important to understand the impact of comorbidities, such as depression, anxiety and grief, that are common during the holiday season and their impact on the experience of pain. Recognizing and monitoring for changes in pain and associated symptoms is an important aspect of quality proactive health care impacting health outcomes and quality of life. 
Family members of older persons with chronic pain problems can be frustrated and uncertain of how they can help their loved one. Advising caregivers on ways to recognize pain, how to evaluate and communicate pain and related behaviors to their provider, and sharing specific strategies to manage pain using nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches can be valuable. is a best practice web resource for not only clinicians, but also patients and caregivers. A new Section for Patients and Caregivers, funded by the Marilynn H. Bowers Dementia Education and Outreach Fund, provides tools and resources that can be shared with patients and families. In addition, links to other quality information sources related to pain in older persons, are available. Visit to prepare the older adult and their family/caregiver for managing pain and promoting quality of life, particularly during the holiday season.
We are pleased to announce recent accomplishments of our leaders, colleagues and partners. Join us in celebrating their progress in elevating older adult research, education, and practice! 

  • Dr. Keela Herr, Co-Director of the Csomay Center, was awarded the Kelting Professorship in the College of Nursing in October 2018. In announcing the award, Dean Julie Zerwic framed the selection with the following: “Keela has been a valued member of the faculty in the CON for 30 years and is highly recognized for her work in pain assessment and management in older adults. She has demonstrated outstanding research, publications, mentoring, administration and service, nationally and internationally and is most deserving of this Kelting Professorship”.

  • Drs. Howard Butcher, Kaitlin Cannava, and Lisa Segre, were awarded an Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Interdisciplinary Research Grant for their project, “Improving Listening Skills in Dementia Care: Equipping the Listeners of People with Dementia with Effective Communication Strategy.” This award provides teams time to focus intensely on a project for two weeks during the summer and often to develop a grant proposal for a future study. 

  • Dr. Kim Bergen-Jackson, Administrator at Oaknoll Retirement Residence, was awarded the Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing Award from the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence in September 2018. This award recognizes her experience as an educator and leader in the field of gerontological nursing.  

  • Dr. Shalome Tonelli, April Prunty, and Dr. Nicole Peterson, faculty from the College of Nursing, were awarded $14,472 by the Academic Technologies Advisory Council for their project, "Engaging Nursing Students in Gerontology Utilizing Virtual Reality in the Classroom."
As an effort to become a more recognizable Csomay Center resource, the evidence-based practice (EBP) guidelines are now available at (formerly Check back here in January for the newest publication of Assessing Heart Failure in Long-Term Care Facilities by Dr. Candace Harrington!

Additionally, the evidence-based practice team has partnered with Oaknoll Retirement Community and the Institute for Public Health Practice to develop an informational video of the EBP Guidelines. This will be available on our website, , soon after the Holidays!
Leadership Team:
Marianne Smith , PhD, RN, FAAN, Director -
Keela Herr , PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF, Co-Director -
Howard Butcher , PhD, RN, College of Nursing -
Nicola Jane Stickney , DNP, ARNP, NP-C, College of Nursing Faculty Practice -
Linda Seydel , MA, LNHA, Iowa Geriatric Education Center -
Ryleigh Maas , BS, Innovation Coordinator -
Eiko Oka , MPH, Center Coordinator -