Nurses lend their gifts at Senior Center

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 13, 2002

The Senior Citizen Center fills up quickly Monday and Thursday mornings with people getting in line to have their blood pressure taken for free.

Local volunteer nurses take the blood pressure readings. Thursday morning usually finds retired nurses Katharine Borgesen and Marge Cummins on duty taking blood pressures. The two have known each other for years having done nursing out of Rochester. They used to carpool to work together and they both retired from nursing in 1994. Even though they are retired, they keep their nursing licenses up to date.

On an average Thursday, the two take blood pressures of around 86 people from 9 to 11 a.m.

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"It is a busy morning. We are glad we are busy, if we weren't busy, we wouldn't be needed," said Borgesen.

Taking blood pressures for free fulfills a need in the Austin community.

Not only senior citizens take advantage of this service but also people who may have just started a medication might be advised by their doctors to have their blood pressure taken. This is done to regulate how the medication they are on is working.

Borgesen said, "We ask each person if they are taking any medication and this helps us understand the blood pressure reading. Doctors often refer people to come here. Depending on a person's blood pressure we might tell

them to get to the doctor if it is too high or too low."

Borgesen and Cummins became volunteers by the inspiration of the late Clare Fladland. They both said what a wonderful volunteer Fladland was

"Taking blood pressures is preventive medicine. Some of the people have had bypasses because they have discovered they had high blood pressure as a result of the free blood pressures," said Borgesen.

When a person's blood pressure is taken the results are written down on a card and this can be shown to the patient's doctor.

Borgesen said," We know just about everyone we see. We find out what is going on in their lives. We try and take the time to visit with all of them."