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Ringel lecturer offers advice on 'what's in your medicine cabinet'

On June 7, Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley held its annual Phyllis Ringel Memorial Lecture on a topic promoting family values, as it does each spring. The only difference was that this year, it was held via Zoom.

The talk, entitled “What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?”, featured speaker Don Bastian, a registered pharmacist who specializes in geriatric medicine, presenting on safe medicine use for older adults. He explained how once a person reaches age 65 and over, their bodies can metabolize medicines differently. They are also prone to comorbidities
that can lead them to several prescriptions from several different medical care providers. These have the potential to interact in dangerous ways if not monitored carefully.

“I am asked to privately consult older patients and their families about are they taking the right drugs and are they taking them in the right dosages. The geriatric pharmacist basically has a mission to promote safe and effective medication use and, most importantly, the best quality of life in older adults,” said Bastian. 

He went through the most common groups of drugs to be prescribed to older adults and gave examples of issues that may arise with each one. He also answered questions from the audience on topics such as how to address concerns for loved ones living in assisted living facilities.

Although the lecture is usually given to an in-person audience, due to the social distancing restrictions of COVID-19, the event was held virtually. The silver lining to this, however, was that more of the extended Ringel family could attend, and Joseph Ringel, the son of Dr. Phyllis Ringel, z”l, long-time executive director of JFS in whose memory the lecture series was established, was able to address the audience.

“She helped guide the institution in ways that enabled JFS to thrive as a community institution,” said Ringel, speaking of his mother. “She was involved in a wide variety of activities that served young and old, men and women, Jews and non-Jews. … It was at JFS that she truly felt that she was truly able to contribute her skills to society at large.”

That legacy lives on in the support that JFS is able to provide to the local community, such as through webinars like the one Bastian presented.

To view a replay of the entire webinar, visit