Are you getting enough protein? Too much?

How obsessing over protein could be harmful to your health

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

If you’re like me, you often find yourself confused by how many health headlines contradict one another. Lately, I’ve found this to be true where protein is concerned, particularly the protein needs of adults aged 50 and over.

In one study, published Jan. 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology’s Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists split 20 adults aged 52 to 75 into one group that consumed the U.S. RDA recommended level of protein, and another group that consumed double that amount, measuring levels of whole body protein at the beginning and end of the trial. While both groups maintained a positive protein balance (their bodies synthesized more protein than they broke down), the higher protein group ended up with a higher overall protein balance than the lower protein group. The news media jumped all over this, proclaiming that older adults should double their protein intake if they want to live long, healthy lives.

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Tea cart connects resident to President Lincoln

006-3If it weren’t for a young girl in New York, Abraham Lincoln may have never grown his iconic beard. What you may not know is that the girl, Grace Bedell, moved to Kansas when she grew up.

Today, Westerly resident Betty Curtis is the proud owner of an antique tea cart that once belonged to Grace. They both lived in the small town of Delphos, Kan., north of Salina. The cart was a gift from Grace’s son to Betty’s father.

Just how did Grace get Honest Abe to grow his beard? In October 1860, the precocious 11-year-old in Westfield, N.Y. liked Mr. Lincoln, and her father was voting for him. But she thought he needed an advantage:

“I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you — you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”

“She was kind of a quixotic little girl,” Betty said.

Clearly charmed by her letter, Lincoln wrote back within the week. A month later, he was elected, and in February he traveled by train from Illinois to Washington, D.C. The journey took Lincoln through Westfield. At a stop there, he called into the crowd for Grace. The girl made her way forward to find the president with a full beard. Lincoln kissed her and spoke with her for several minutes. According to the New York World of Feb. 19, 1861: “The young girl’s peachy cheek must have been tickled with a stiff whisker, for the growth of which she was herself responsible.”

003-4-2About eight years later, Grace met George Billings. They married, and George set out to homestead on the frontier. Eventually Grace joined him at Abilene, and they traveled overland to Delphos. The Billingses founded one of the town’s two banks. They had three sons – one of whom, Harlow, took over the bank. Grace died in 1936; four years later, young Betty moved to town when her father, a pastor, was appointed to a church there.

At the time, Harlow was still in possession of the letter from Abraham Lincoln to his mother. “I was in the bank one day with my dad when I was 12, and he said, ‘Would you like to see that?'” Betty said. She agreed but admits she didn’t fully grasp the significance of the historical artifact in her hands. “I remember holding it. It had creases in it. But it was just a letter that my friend’s mother had gotten; it was old,” she laughed.

Betty recalls the night Harlow and his wife invited her parents over for dinner – because she and her sister weren’t invited. Her father later came home with Grace’s tea cart. “My dad was a fixer upper. If he wasn’t fixing up people’s lives, he was fixing up people’s stuff,” she said. Later she realized Harlow was “downsizing” as he grew older.

Coincidentally, Betty later married a man with such a striking resemblance to Lincoln that he was regularly called on to portray the president in re-enactments and photos. Charles Curtis was 6 foot 8 inches tall and had a deep, booming voice – perfect for reciting Lincoln’s famous addresses.
There is a small monument to Grace Bedell Billings in Delphos, but the little town is fading. To Betty, the tea cart is a lasting symbol of both American and personal history.

“Something old is just something old until you have a story,” she said. “And then it’s an antique.”

Meet our social workers

March is Social Work Month — “an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society,” according to the National Association of Social Workers. We are fortunate to have two excellent professionals on the social services staff at Wichita Presbyterian Manor. This month, we’d like to introduce you to these women who serve our residents with compassion and dedication.

Glynice -2Glynice Webb-Guzman
Glynice serves the residents of our skilled nursing neighborhood. She says the best part of her job is helping residents achieve the highest quality of living when lifestyle changes occur. She loves to hear that they are happy and content.

Glynice was led to Presbyterian Manor after graduating from Wichita State University in 2008. She saw a job opening in our activities and social services department. Before she even got home from the interview, she received a call with a job offer.

A lifelong Wichitan, Glynice enjoys reading, going to movies, crafts, Women’s Ministry and occasionally singing in the community choir. She has two adult children: a son, Darann; a daughter, RaShawn. Glynice also has four grandchildren, ages 10 to 17.

McKenzie-2McKenzie Smith 
McKenzie has worked at Wichita Presbyterian Manor since November 2015. She was looking for a change after eight years with her previous employer. When she saw Presbyterian Manor was hiring, she got excited. “Presbyterian Manor has a great reputation, and I love their mission,” she said.

What McKenzie loves best about her job is that she gets to meet people from so many different backgrounds. She loves to hear residents’ stories and to walk with them through the process of their next steps, whether they return home or need help adjusting to life in a retirement community. McKenzie said she also appreciates working with a team of people who keep her motivated.

McKenzie grew up in Protection, a town in western Kansas. She’s still very close to her two older sisters. When she’s not at work, McKenzie is busy with her two children, ages 2 and 5. Her son plays basketball at the YMCA, so she attends all the games and practices. They also like to go to the park, play board games, read books and have dance parties.

We appreciate everything Glynice and McKenzie do for our residents. Thank you!

Art Is Ageless® call for entries

Basic RGBWichita Presbyterian Manor is accepting entries for the 2017 Art is Ageless competition and exhibit through March 10. Artwork will be on display from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 13-31 in our Commons area. Winners will be announced during a reception with the artists from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31.  For more information, contact Amy Watson, 316-942-7456, or

How to prevent a real life nightmare at life’s end

A Next Avenue Influencer in Aging urges conversations around death

By Barbara Coombs Lee for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. 

To my everlasting shame, this boomer spent many of her formative years as an ICU nurse, thoughtlessly pushing tubes down the noses and pounding on chests of dying patients, torturing them with electric shocks, instead of allowing death to come peacefully.

The tragic reality is people who do not communicate their values and priorities for end-of-life care often pay dearly for this failure, by enduring futile, agonizing tests and treatments that only prolong the dying process. It is equally important for people to empower a loved one in writing to be their decision-maker if they are unable to speak for themselves.

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