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									                                  C O NT R A C O S TA C O U NT Y A R E A A G E N C Y O N A G I N G

                                                                                                                  FALL 2008

                                                                                        A    F O R U M          O N

From computers to companions                                                     ADDICTIONS & PERILS to
BY JACKIE JOHNSTON, Employment & Human Services Public Information Office        OLDER ADULTS: Substance
                                                                                 Abuse & Problem Gambling
                                                                                 Co-sponsored by Area Agency on Aging
                                                                                  October 22, 2008 • 9 a.m.–12 Noon
                                                                                     Board of Supervisors Chambers
                                                                                        651 Pine Street, Martinez
                                                                                 In conjunction with Contra Costa for
                                                                                 Every Generation and the In-Home
                                                                                 Supportive Services Public Authority
                                                                                 Advisory Committee, this forum will
                                                                                 raise awareness of the seriousness and
                                                                                 potential consequences particular to
                                                                                 older adults, provide information on
                                                                                 recognizing where there may be
                                                                                 problems relating to addiction, and
                                                                                 offer tools for intervention.
                                                                                 Confirmed presenters include: Patrick
                                                                                 Arbore, Founder and Director of San
                                                                                 Francisco’s Institute on Aging’s Center for
                                                                                 Elderly Suicide Prevention & Grief
                                                                                 Related Services, who is a faculty member
                                                                                 of the American Society on Aging with a
When Tom Bowie retired from being the Sports Information Director for            specialty on Substance Abuse and
Laney College in 1998, he was still using a typewriter to write his stories.     Problem Gambling issues; and Linda
He says, “I was a dinosaur with my portable typewriter. I even took it to        Schaefer, Program Director of Contra
games, when everyone else there had laptops!” About two weeks into               Costa County’s Senior Peer Counseling
retirement, he said to himself, “God, how boring!” He needed something           Program. She holds Master’s degrees in
to do, and decided to take a computer class.                                     Public Administration and in Clinical
                                                                                 Counseling, and is licensed by the State of
After Connie Acton retired from Martinez Adult School, she also found            California as a Marriage and Family
that retirement didn’t suit her. She explains, “I’ve had a few careers. I’ve     Therapist (MFT). She is on the faculty of
gotten into administrative positions several times, but I don’t think I’m        the American Society on Aging with a
good at it. At one point, I vowed I’d never be in administration again!”         specialty on Substance Abuse and
Connie began her official retirement by immediately returning to                 Problem Gambling issues.
teaching, at Serra Adult School in Richmond. “I found that teaching
                                                                                 All are welcome to attend this pivotal
computers opened a lot of doors for me,” she says. “All kinds of things
                                                                                 forum. We hope to see you there!
                                                          continued on page 19
      A    D    V    I   S    O    R    Y       C    O    U     N     C    I   L       O      N         A      G   I   N   G

Stepping Up and Speaking Out
The Advisory Council on Aging facilitates countywide planning and
coordination for senior services. It provides leadership, advocacy and                     KITTY BARNES
                                                                                           Consultant to the
a voice for older adults. When it comes to critical needs, it steps up and                 Advisory Council
speaks out passionately. Three recent activities offer good examples of this.                      on Aging

                                                                    In response to the critical need for advocacy to address
                                                                    these and other problems, the Council has created a new
                                                                    work group, the Mental Health Community Task Force.
                                                                    This impressive group, with over 20 members (and
                                                                    counting), consists of representatives from hospitals,
                                                                    health services, consumers, Advisory Council members,
                                                                    the Area Agency on Aging, case management services,
                                                                    Adult Protective Services, Prop 63 (Mental Health Services
                                                                    Act) stakeholders, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Health
                                                                    Department’s Mental Health Division, Veterans,
                                                                    community-based organizations, Contra Costa for Every
                                                                    Generation, homeless services, Native Americans, the
                                                                    Ombudsman, Emergency Services, and others.
                                                                    At the first meeting of the Task Force, members agreed
                                                                    upon our mission: to create an integrated mental health
                                                                    system of care for all older adults in Contra Costa County.
                                                                    They set the following goals:
Mental Health Community Task Force                                     Find out “what’s out there,”—what services
As reported in my last column, the Mental Health                       currently exist.
Community Forum we held in January highlighted                         Develop a model of “what should be.”
complex obstacles to mental health treatment for many
older adults, program and funding limitations, and the                 Create policy changes to address roadblocks.
frustrations that go with increased needs and shrinking                Raise awareness about all areas: issues, stumbling
services. Most importantly, participants promoted key                  blocks, good models and the need for good mental
areas where our advocacy is required. A few of the many                health care for older adults.
problems are as follows:
                                                                    This great task force is up for the challenge of overcoming
   “Dementia” isn’t considered a primary mental health              numerous roadblocks!
   diagnosis. Therefore, the large population of older
   adults exhibiting mental health problems due to                  Some Good News: Although Prop. 63 funds are limited to
   dementia is not served by most mental health services.           those eligible for Medi-Cal, those clients will benefit from
   Clients with dementia or other mental illness who have           two new programs. The Impact Program will focus on
   private insurance still find it difficult to access mental       depression in patients with certain chronic illnesses.
   health services, since there aren’t enough geriatricians         Mental Health clinicians will be co-located with physicians
   and gero-psychiatrists and many are unwilling to take            in ambulatory care/primary care clinics in the three
   new patients.                                                    regions of the county. Another program will consist of
                                                                    teams for outreach and treatment in each region of the
   Most older adults with mental health needs are seen by           county. Teams will consist of a psychiatrist, a psychiatric
   only their primary care physician, who may not be fully          nurse, a mental health clinician and a peer support
   aware of how to recognize and treat those needs. Many            worker. They will serve seniors in homes, board and care
   clients’ mental health issues aren’t addressed until             facilities and other community sites, such as churches and
   there is a crisis.                                               senior centers. Both of these programs will be operated by
                                                                    the County Mental Health Division.

                                                                   Our legislators and aides were mostly very gracious, and
                                                                   often completely agreed with us. When we asked what else
                                                                   we could be doing besides writing letters, speaking out and
                                                                   coming to Sacramento, many said to keep doing exactly
                                                                   what we are doing. One legislator gave us the following
                                                                   suggestion in regard to addressing the budget impasse
                                                                   resulting from the pledge of no new taxes: because
                                                                   legislators are most affected by the opinions of their own
                                                                   constituents, use the strategy of community organizing
                                                                   and advocacy in the districts those legislators represent.
                                                                   Encourage those residents to tell their legislator not to
                                                                   balance the budget on the backs of the poor!
                                                                   We moved forward with this suggestion, first contacting
                                                                   members of other state Advisory Councils on Aging, and
                                                                   asking them to step up and speak out!

                                                                   Best Practice Development Guidelines
                                                                   for Senior Housing Projects
                                                                   One of the most effective means of assisting seniors is to
                                                                   enable them to “age in place.” When housing is provided
                                                                   that can meet their needs, as those needs change over
                                                                   time, seniors are protected from premature placement in
                                                                   nursing homes and have a higher quality of life. In
                                                                   addition, costs go down for all concerned.
                                                                   In its role of providing coordination, leadership and
                                                                   advocacy, the Advisory Council on Aging wanted to develop
Advisory Council on Aging                                          guidelines for the design and building of senior housing
Advocacy Visit to Sacramento                                       that support aging-in-place, and to promote the use of
Council members spoke out at press conferences and                 those guidelines to city and county planners, community
forums, wrote numerous letters and otherwise did                   groups, local universities, architects, and developers of
everything they could to head off the drastic cuts proposed        both private and non-profit senior housing.
in this year’s State budget. On June 11th,
six Council members, other senior advocates and                    To accomplish this, the Council convened the Best
some staff boarded a train in Martinez with a powerful             Practices Housing Subcommittee, consisting of our
mission: to meet face-to-face with State legislators               Housing work group, the Contra Costa for Every
and their aides, carrying the crucial message that the             Generation Housing Initiative, transportation advocates
budget crisis shouldn’t be resolved at the expense of our          and staff from County Community Development and the
most poor and vulnerable. Members presented the issues             Area Agency on Aging and developed a document entitled,
very articulately and passionately, using specific examples.       “Best Practice Development Guidelines for Multi-Family,
They also clearly spelled out the domino effect of these           Senior Housing Projects,” officially approved by the
cuts, which put a very real and personal                           Council in January. These guidelines represent preferred
face on their impacts. Finally, advocates presented their          standards for senior housing design, features, safety,
own ideas on how to address raising revenue to offset the          security, and operational considerations. The Advisory
most drastic cuts.                                                 Council on Aging, Contra Costa for Every Generation and
                                                                   other agencies intend to use this document to help guide
Our advocacy focused mostly on four key areas: Adult               senior housing development and to determine which
Protective Services, Medi-Cal programs (including In               housing projects are most aging-friendly. For a copy of
Home Supportive Services), Nutrition programs and                  the guidelines, please contact the Advisory Council
Transportation services.                                           on Aging (925) 335-8750.

                    H     I    C     A    P          C     O        U    N     S     E    L     I    N     G

Everything you ever wanted to know
about Medicare but were afraid to ask!
                                                                                          LENNIS LYON
                                                                                         HICAP Manager
Question: I have a Medicare Supplement Insurance                    company. Each year we have an opportunity to change
Policy (a Medigap Plan) and a Medicare prescription drug            plans, but they are becoming more complex. How can we
plan. I’m concerned that my drug plan may not cover my              get help understanding our options?
prescription drugs next year. What can I do?
                                                                    ANSWER: HICAP is happy to compare the options
ANSWER: Each year Medicare prescription drug plans                  available to retirees. HICAP will also offer information on
change their lists of covered drugs, their monthly                  alternatives to retiree plans. However, leaving a retiree
premiums, deductibles and drug co-payments. Plans have              health plan is a serious decision, because a person
until October 31 to notify enrollees of the changes for             generally does not have the choice of rejoining a retiree
2009. Medicare beneficiaries then have an annual election           plan at a later date.
period from November 15 to December 31, 2008 to change
plans. Any changes will be effective January 1, 2009. It is a       Question: I would like to be able to use the services of
daunting task to compare the benefits of the more than 50           doctors outside of my Medicare HMO. How can I do this?
plans that are expected to offer drug coverage next year.           ANSWER: Most Medicare HMOs will not pay for care
The Medicare website,, compares drug               outside of the HMO, except in the case of an emergency or
plans. Medicare beneficiaries can list their current                urgent care need. These HMOs are called Medicare
prescription drugs, the dosages, and the frequencies and            Advantage Plans. If a member uses providers outside of the
generate a list of plans ranked by most comprehensive               network without a referral from the HMO, neither the
drug coverage for the least cost. Similarly, people can call        HMO nor Medicare will pay. The member will be
1-800-Medicare for this information.                                responsible for the entire bill. However, Medicare
Question: Each year my Medicare HMO increases my                    beneficiaries may terminate HMO membership or change
co-pays for doctor’s visits, prescription drugs and other           health plans during the annual election period from
services. How can I reduce my costs?                                November 15 to December 31. There is another
                                                                    opportunity to change Medicare Advantage Plans or return
ANSWER: Your Medicare HMO has until October 31 to                   to original Medicare from January 1 to March 31 each year.
notify you of the changes in benefits and costs for 2009.
You can compare your plan with other HMOs and other                 Question: I am a member of a Medicare HMO, and I have
health care plans offered by Medicare (all known as                 Medi-Cal. My friend also has Medi-Cal and this same
Medicare Advantage Plans). Comparison information                   HMO, I think, but she has no monthly premiums and pays
available at or call 1-800-Medicare.               nothing to her doctors. I have to pay these extra costs.
Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for financial assistance.        How does she avoid these charges?
The Low-Income Subsidy to help pay for prescription                 ANSWER: Most of the Medicare HMOs in Contra Costa
drugs is available from the Social Security Administration          County also offer a special HMO for people who have
(SSA). For an individual to qualify, the person’s income            Medicare and Medi-Cal with full coverage. These HMOs,
must be below $1,300 a month with countable assets                  called Special Needs Plans, generally have no monthly
below $11,990. For a couple, monthly income must be                 premiums or co-payments, with the exception of
below $1,720 with assets below $23,970. For an                      prescription drugs. Contact HICAP to compare the
application, contact SSA at 1 (800) 772-1213 or at its              various kinds of HMOs available in our county.
website, Medi-Cal also helps pay
for health care costs. To qualify for Medi-Cal, an                  For Free Medicare Counseling: The County’s Health
individual’s countable assets must generally be below               Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program
$2,000, and a couple’s assets must be below $3,000.                 (HICAP) provides free information and assistance
Contact the County’s Medi-Cal office at 1 (800) 709-8348            on Medicare issues, including comparisons between
for more information.                                               plans. Call 1 (800) 510-2020, TTY (925) 335-8730,
                                                                    for information on making an appointment with a
Question: I retired from a large company two years ago.             HICAP Counselor.
My wife and I are covered by health insurance from my
Watch your Cholesterol:
Why you should keep your blood level in check
You’ve heard that you should lower your cholesterol,
but do you know why? Sometimes we tend to ignore
advice when we don’t understand the reasons. That’s
why it’s important to learn what cholesterol is, what it
does in your body and why you need to make sure too
much isn’t flowing in your blood.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body
needs to function normally. It’s used in the cell
membranes that surround cells throughout your body.
You also use cholesterol to make important chemicals,
including hormones, vitamin D and the acids that help
you digest fat.
“Cholesterol has a variety of uses in the body that are
very important,” says Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator
of NIH’s National Cholesterol Education Program, “but
the body makes all it needs and we don’t need to get
any more from our food.”
In fact, when the level of cholesterol in the blood gets
too high, it can start to cause trouble. The landmark
Framingham Heart Study, funded by NIH, first showed
that the higher the cholesterol level in your blood, the
greater your risk for heart disease—the number one
killer of Americans, both men and women.
What’s the connection? Well, there are two forms of
cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. When there’s
too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, the
cholesterol from LDL can build up in the walls of your
arteries. Along with fats like triglycerides and other
things in your bloodstream, it forms a growing
“plaque” that bulges out of the artery wall and can              That’s why a high LDL cholesterol level increases your
begin to block blood flow—a process called                       risk for heart disease. Like any muscles, the heart’s own
atherosclerosis. Problems get worse if a plaque                  muscle needs a constant supply of oxygen and
bursts and a blood clot forms on top, which can                  nutrients, delivered by the blood in the coronary
block an artery.                                                 arteries. When these arteries become narrowed or
“Where LDL cholesterol does its most harm,” Cleeman              clogged by plaque, the result is coronary artery disease.
says, “is in the walls of the arteries going to the heart—       If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is
the coronary arteries.”                                          completely cut off, the result is a heart attack.

HDL cholesterol seems to have the opposite effect of             blood cholesterol levels, but its effect is not as strong
LDL; higher HDL levels are associated with a lower               as these fats. Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol
risk for heart disease. Some factors affecting your              are all listed on food labels so that you can choose
cholesterol level are out of your control. As you get            foods with lower amounts to help lower your LDL
older, for example, your cholesterol level naturally             cholesterol level.
rises. Before menopause, women have lower total
cholesterol levels than men of the same age, but after           Foods with soluble fiber—such as whole grain cereals,
menopause women’s LDL levels tend to rise. High                  fruits and beans—help lower your cholesterol, too. And
blood cholesterol can also run in families. Your genes           some products, such as specially labeled margarines,
affect how fast you make cholesterol and remove it               orange juices and yogurts, contain the LDL-lowering
from the blood.                                                  compounds “stanols” and “sterols.”

However, there are things you can control. “The                  Excess weight can increase your LDL cholesterol level.
clinical trial data are absolutely conclusive that               “Fat tissue is not inert,” Cleeman says. “It’s chemically
lowering cholesterol reduces your risk for heart                 active and produces all kinds of changes.” One is
disease,” Cleeman says. “This is true both for those             raising LDL blood cholesterol levels. Losing weight
with high cholesterol levels and for those with                  can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels,
average cholesterol levels.”                                     as well as raise your HDL and lower your triglycerides.

How do you know whether your cholesterol levels                  Regular physical activity can help you control your
are where they should be? In general, the higher                 weight, lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels.
your risk for heart disease, the lower your LDL level            You should try to be physically active at least 30
should be. Cleeman says, “Your goal is individualized            minutes each day.
to your risk for a heart attack. The number depends              If these lifestyle changes don’t lower your LDL
on your own risk factors.” NIH has a heart disease               cholesterol enough, medication can help. “Medication
risk calculator inline at:                                       should be added to lifestyle changes,” Cleeman advises,,                “not substituted for them.” Lifestyle changes can bring
but you should also talk to your doctor about your               benefits medications can’t. While both can lower LDL,
risk factors and what your cholesterol levels should be.         lifestyle improvements can lower blood pressure and
“A person who has a cholesterol level higher than their          other risk factors as well.
goal LDL should follow the TLC program,” Cleeman                 NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
recommends. TLC stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle                 recommends that everyone older than 20 have their
Changes. It involves three things: changing what                 blood cholesterol measured at least once every five
you eat, doing more physical activity and controlling            years. Learn your numbers. Then talk to your doctor
your weight.                                                     about whether you need to take steps to alter your diet,
First, diet. Saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol           lose weight or get more physically active to lower your
level more than anything else in your diet. It’s found           blood cholesterol and stay healthy.
mostly in meats and full-fat dairy products like whole           From the National Institutes of Health NIH News in Health.
milk, cheese and butter. Another type of fat called trans             For more health information from NIH, visit:
fat raises cholesterol similarly, but makes up far less of            
the American diet. Cholesterol in foods can also raise

The Senior Information Newsletter is published
by the Contra Costa County Area Agency On Aging,
2530 Arnold Drive, Suite 300, Martinez, CA
                                                                     Aging seems to be the only available
John Cottrell, Director
                                                                                   way to live a long life.
Contributing Writers: Kitty Barnes, LaVerne Gordon,                                             Daniel-François-Esprit Auber999
Jackie Johnston, and Lennis Lyon

Cuide su colesterol:
¿Por qué debe cuidar su nivel de sangre?
Ha oído que debería reducir su colesterol, pero, ¿sabe
por qué? A veces tendemos a ignorar consejos cuando
no entendemos las razones. Por eso es importante
aprender lo que es el colesterol, lo que hace en su
cuerpo y por qué necesita asegurarse de que no esté
fluyendo demasiado en su sangre.
El colesterol es una sustancia cerosa, como grasa que
su cuerpo necesita para funcionar normalmente. Es
usado en las membranas celulares que rodean células
por todo su cuerpo. Usted también usa colesterol para
hacer químicos importantes, incluyendo hormonas,
vitamina D y los ácidos que le ayudan a digerir grasa.
“Colesterol tiene una variedad de usos en el cuerpo que
son muy importantes,” dice el Dr. James Cleeman,
coordinador del Programa de Educación Nacional del
Colesterol de la NIH, “pero el cuerpo hace todo lo que
necesita y no necesitamos obtener más de nuestra
De hecho, cuando el nivel de colesterol en la sangre
sube demasiado, puede empezar a causar problemas. El
marcado Estudio del Corazón de Framingham, proveído
por la NIH, primero demostró que entre más alto el
nivel de colesterol en su sangre, mayor es el riesgo de
enfermedad cardiaca—la causa de mortalidad número
1 estadounidense, de ambos hombres y mujeres.                 “Donde el colesterol LDL causa el mayor daño,” dice
                                                              Cleeman, “es en las paredes de las arterias yendo hacia
¿Cuál es la conexión? Bueno, hay 2 tipos de colesterol
                                                              el corazón—las arterias coronarias.”
en su sangre: LDL y HDL. Cuando hay demasiado
colesterol en su flujo sanguíneo, el colesterol del LDL       Por eso es que un alto nivel de colesterol LDL
se puede acumular en las paredes de las arterias. Junto       incrementa su riesgo de enfermedad cardiaca. Como
con grasas como triglicéridos y otras cosas en su flujo       cualquier músculo, el mismo músculo del corazón
sanguíneo, forma una “placa” creciente que se hincha          necesita una constante provisión de oxígeno y
afuera de la pared de la arteria y puede empezar a            nutrientes, distribuidas por la sangre en las arterias
bloquear el flujo sanguíneo—un proceso llamado                coronarias. Cuando estas arterias se hacen más
aterosclerosis. Los problemas empeoran si una placa se        angostas o se atascan con placa, el resultado es la
rompe y un coágulo de sangre se forma encima, que             enfermedad de arteria coronaria. Si la provisión de
puede bloquear a la arteria.                                  sangre a una porción del corazón es completamente
                                                              cortada, el resultado es un paro cardiaco.

El colesterol HDL parece tener el efecto opuesto al de           de sangre, pero su efecto no es tan grave como estas
LDL; niveles más altos de HDL están asociados con un             grasas. Grasas saturadas, transgrasas y colesterol todos
riesgo más bajo de enfermedad cardiaca. Algunos                  están en una lista en etiquetas de productos
factores afectando su nivel de colesterol están fuera de         comestibles para que pueda escoger alimentos con
su control. A la vez que envejece, por ejemplo, su nivel         cantidades más bajas para ayudarle a bajar el nivel de
de colesterol sube naturalmente. Antes de la                     colesterol LDL.
menopausia, mujeres tienen en total niveles más bajos
de colesterol que hombres de la misma edad, pero                 Alimentos con fibras solubles—como cereales de grano
después de la menopausia los niveles de LDL tienden a            integral, frutas y frijoles—ayudan a bajar su colesterol
subir. El alto colesterol de sangre también puede                también. Y otros productos, tales como margarinas
transmitirse en las familias. Sus genes afectan qué tan          especialmente etiquetadas, jugos de naranja y yogurts,
rápido produce colesterol y lo remueve de la sangre.             contienen los “stanols” y “sterols”, compuestos
                                                                 reductores de LDL.
Por otra parte, hay cosas que puede controlar. “Los
datos de la prueba clínica son absolutamente                     El peso excesivo puede elevar su nivel de colesterol
conclusivos que reduciendo el colesterol reduce su               LDL. “El tejido graso no es inerte,” dice Cleeman. “Es
riesgo de enfermedad cardiaca,” dice Cleeman. “Esto es           químicamente activo y produce todo tipo de cambios.”
verdad en ambos casos para aquellos con altos niveles            Uno está elevando niveles de colesterol de sangre.
de colesterol y para aquellos con niveles promedio de            Perdiendo peso puede ayudar a perder su LDL y nivel
colesterol.”                                                     de colesterol total, como también elevar su HDL y bajar
                                                                 sus triglicéridos.
¿Cómo sabe si los niveles de colesterol están donde
deberían estar? En general, entre más es su riesgo de            Actividad física regular puede ayudarle a controlar su
enfermedad cardiaca, debería ser menos su nivel de               peso, bajar su nivel de LDL y elevar el de su HDL.
LDL. Cleeman dice, “Su meta es individualizada de                Deberá intentar estar físicamente activo por lo menos
acuerdo a su riesgo para un ataque cardiaco. El                  30 minutos al día.
número depende de sus propios factores de riesgo.”               Si estos cambios de calidad de vida no reducen su
La NIH tiene una calculadora de riesgo de enfermedad             colesterol LDL lo suficiente, puede ayudar la
cardiaca en la red en:                                           medicación. “La medicación deberá añadírsele a los, pero           cambios de la calidad de vida,” aconseja Cleeman, “no
también deberá hablar con su doctor sobre sus factores           substituirla por ellos.” Los cambios de calidad de vida
de riesgo y cuales deberían ser sus niveles de colesterol.       pueden traer beneficios, las medicaciones no. Mientras
“Una persona que tiene un nivel de colesterol mayor              ambos pueden reducir el LDL, mejoras de la calidad de
que el de su meta de LDL debería seguir el programa              vida pueden bajar la presión de la sangre y otros
TLC,” recomienda Cleeman. TLC significa Cambios                  factores de riesgo también.
Terapéuticos de Calidad de Vida. Involucra 3 cosas:              El Instituto Nacional del Corazón, Pulmón y Sangre de
cambiando lo que come, haciendo más actividad física y           la NIH recomienda que todos los mayores de 20
controlando su peso.                                             procuren examinar su colesterol de sangre por lo
Primero, la dieta. Grasas saturadas elevan su colesterol         menos una vez cada 5 años. Apréndanse sus números.
LDL más que cualquier otra cosa en su dieta. Se                  Luego hable con su doctor para ver si necesita tomar
encuentra más que nada en carnes y productos lácteos             pasos para alterar su dieta, perder peso o volverse más
con 100% de grasa como leche entera, queso y                     activo físicamente para reducir su colesterol de sangre
mantequilla. Otro tipo de grasa llamada transgrasa               y mantenerse sano.
eleva el colesterol similarmente, pero se encuentra                Del Instituto Nacional de Salud NIH Noticias en Salud.
mucho menos en la dieta estadounidense. El colesterol                      Para más información de la NIH, visite:
en la comida también puede elevar niveles de colesterol                   

                                It is not how old you are, but how you are old.
                                                                                       ~ Marie Dressler

                      T    A   X    -   A    I   D      E       P    R    O     G    R    A     M

Seniors helping seniors through
the AARP Tax-Aide Program
                                                                                LAVERNE GORDON
                                                                              Volunteer Coordinator

Do you like working with people?                                Homeowner & Renter Assistance
Are you good with numbers?                                      in Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County Tax-Aide volunteers help                    Have you filed your 2008 homeowner or renter claim
taxpayers of all ages, focusing on those who are age            form showing your income in 2007? If you haven’t
60 and older. They are members of a team providing              and need help, call (925) 335-8749. LaVerne Gordon
free tax preparation and e-filing of tax returns. The           will help you. If you don’t know about the program,
volunteers are IRS Certified tax                                                             call LaVerne, and she’ll
counselors, supervisors, training                                                            tell you all about it.
coordinators, instructors, technology                                                        Depending upon your age
coordinators, appointment schedulers,                                                        and the amount of your
and greeters. Positions for such                                                             income in 2007, you may
volunteer talent are open in West,                                                           be qualified to receive a
Central, and East Contra Costa County.                                                       check, non-taxable, from
Most volunteers need tax knowledge                                                           the State of California.
and computer skills. Appointment                                                             Don’t delay—the sooner
schedulers and greeters do not.                                                              you file the claim the
If you have prepared your own tax                                                            sooner you will receive the
returns, and also have computer skills,                                                      free, much needed money,
you can be a Tax Counselor.                                                                  you deserve. It’s a gift
                                                                                             from the State.
Contact LaVerne Gordon, District
Coordinator, at (925) 335-8749                                                        To qualify, you must
for information and to apply as a                                                     be age 62 or older, or
volunteer. Orientation for new                                                        disabled or blind and
volunteers is in November 2008                                                        have no more than
and training classes for counselors                                                   $44,096 total
are in January 2009. Tax-Aide                                                         household income
Program is an AARP Foundation                                                         in 2007—the amount
of volunteers providing free service                                                  of the check depends
to all. Membership in AARP is not required to                   on the amount of claimant’s income.
be a volunteer or to receive the free Tax-Aide

     Important news about the IRS Stimulus Payment!
     There’s a deadline of October 15, 2008 to file the form.
     If you received Social Security in 2007 and didn’t file an income tax return, call LaVerne Gordon at
     (925) 335-8749 to help you file the proper form to receive your 2008 IRS Stimulus Package payment.

The Mature Driver
Myth-Buster Aging Quiz
Myths about older drivers                                        Older drivers are less likely than younger drivers to
                                                                 strike a vehicle, resulting in a fatality. In 2001, in
The rapid growth of the older adult population has been          fatal two-vehicle crashes involving an older and a
widely documented. By 2030, less than 25 years from              younger driver, the older driver’s vehicle was three
now, approximately 70 million adults will be over the            times as likely to have been struck.
age of 65; an increase of 100% from 2000. We will see a
dramatic increase of older drivers in the years ahead            Older drivers are the least likely to kill other drivers.
since some older adults continue to drive for most of            Older people are less likely than drivers ages 16 to 34
their lives. To better understand issues of driving as we        to be involved in crashes that kill other people.
age, let’s look at some of the myths of older drivers.           However, if older
                                                                 people are in
Myth #1 Aging is associated with inevitable                      a car crash,
diminished physical and mental abilities that make               they are more
all older adults high-risk drivers.                              vulnerable to
                                                                 injury and death.
Fact: While specific abilities needed to drive safely            Older adults drive
—such as vision, memory, physical strength, reaction
                                                                 much less and
time, and flexibility—may decline as we age, the rate of
                                                                 maintain much
change varies greatly across the older-adult population.
                                                                 lower fatal crash
If older drivers practice safe driving habits in their           rates than
middle years, they usually continue those habits as              younger drivers.
they age.
                                                               Myth #3 All older drivers know when to restrict or
   Older drivers can be helped to drive safely longer          cease driving.
   by improving their functioning and by teaching
   compensatory strategies to those who have                   Fact: Some drivers know when to stop and some
   experienced some loss of physical and                       don’t. Some problems, such as declining central vision,
   mental abilities.                                           may be quite obvious to drivers. Changes in mental
                                                               abilities—memory and judgment—are more subtle,
   Providing education about alternative ways to get
                                                               however; their onset reduces the driver’s ability to detect
   around, communities can also help older adults make
                                                               loss of function. Whether because of dementia or normal
   smoother transitions from driving full-time to cutting
                                                               age-related cognitive slowing, some older adults have
   back and/or stopping altogether.
                                                               difficulty in judging their own abilities to drive safely.
Myth #2 Public safety will be significantly improved           Objective assessment is needed.
by getting older drivers off the road just because they
are old.
                                                               Myth #4 Elders who stop driving do so because
                                                               they know it is unsafe for themselves or others.
Fact:    Although it is essential to do a better job of
                                                               Fact: Some elders who are physically and cognitively
detecting older drivers whose age-related functional
                                                               capable of safe driving may simply lose the confidence to
impairments place them at risk for crashes, most older
                                                               drive, or no longer feel comfortable or secure traveling
drivers are safe drivers.
                                                               at certain times or under certain conditions. In
   Older drivers are much less likely to drink and drive.      particular, older women who drive infrequently may
   Older drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2001 had the     lose confidence or key driving skills only through
   lowest proportion of intoxication of all adult drivers.     neglect. When undergoing a driving assessment, they
                                                               often demonstrate competence.
                                                                                                   continued on page 18

Drive safely…longer                                                      Resources Available to the Mature Driver
Contra Costa County, like the entire nation, faces the impact
of the aging of the huge “Baby Boomer” generation on personal            Online DVD/Video: “Taking Charge”—How
mobility. Many seniors who have been driving a car all their             Seniors Plan to Get Around. 15 Minutes. The
adult lives may no longer be able to drive safely, due to age-           video can be viewed on line at the below website:
based disabilities. Recent statistics from the California      
Department of Motor Vehicles show that in Contra Costa
                                                                         Online Class: Driver Safety Online Course
County, 11% of those aged 65–74 do not have drivers’ licenses,
                                                                         offered by AARP. Website: and select
followed by 29% of those age 75–84, and 63% of those age
                                                                         Family, then select Driver Safety Program, lastly
85 and higher.
                                                                         select Online Course. (A fee is required.) The AARP
For many seniors, transitioning to a non-driving lifestyle               Driver Safety Online Course is the nation’s first and
represents surrendering the freedom and independence that                largest driver refresher course. With AARP’s online
driving one’s own car provides. For some, there is a reluctance          course you can complete the course at your own pace,
to face the fact that perhaps they shouldn’t be driving. This is         whenever it is convenient for you, using state-of-the-
very difficult on the families of these seniors, who fear for the        art technology. Upon completion you may qualify
safety of their loved one and the other people who might be              for an automobile insurance discount given by your
injured in an accident. Yet the role of families in helping older        insurance company. In some states separate rules
drivers transition to a non-driving lifestyle is very important.         may apply to online driver improvement courses.
Often a family member will notice that their relative’s driving          For applicability in your particular situation, please
skills have declined. In today’s fast-paced world, family                consult your insurance agent.
members are likely to have been too busy to think about the
possibility of dealing with a possibly unsafe driver in their            CD-ROM: Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help
family until it stares them in face.                                     Seniors Drive Safely Longer. This easy-to-use
                                                                         computer program was designed by health and driving
The Contra Costa Senior Mobility Action Council (SMAC) has               experts. You will be guided through a series of
taken on “older driver issue” as one of its main efforts to              exercises that will show you how your visual, mental
improve safety and mobility for Contra Costa’s seniors. The              and physical condition affects your driving. Your self-
SMAC, which is the combined transportation workgroup of the              evaluation is based on both the accuracy and speed of
Advisory Council on Aging and the Transportation Initiative of           your responses. At the end of the program, you will
Contra Costa for Every Generation, has formed an Older Driver            receive feedback on each area, together with
Team to focus on this issue. The Older Driver Team determined            suggestions to keep you driving safely longer. Check
that it wanted to concentrate on finding ways to help safe               your local library or senior center to check out a copy.
drivers keep driving safely longer, while assisting those who
should no longer be driving to transition to a non-driving               DMV Ombudsman Program The primary function
lifestyle.                                                               of this program is to represent the interests of public
                                                                         safety in California with an emphasis on senior issues.
Beginning in the Spring of 2008, the Older Driver Team has               The ombudsman can assist as a “go between” to ensure
held a number of meetings and workshops designed to bring                that senior drivers are treated fairly, consistent with
together those agencies, professionals and other stakeholders            laws and regulations, and with the dignity and respect
who have been dealing with various parts of the issue.                   they deserve. Senior Ombudsmen are available to
Representatives of senior centers, law enforcement, the DMV,             assist throughout the state. In Contra Costa you may
the medical community, transportation providers, the Area                contact Julio Lacayo, Sr. Ombudsman, DMV Program,
Agency on Aging, elected officials, and community agencies               at (510) 563-8998 if you need assistance.
have joined together to learn about each others’ resources and
experiences with the older driver issue and to explore ways to           For more information: Families concerned
work together.                                                           about the safety of an older driver should
                                                                         contact the Area Agency on Aging’s Information
For more information on the SMAC Older Driver Team,
                                                                         & Assistance Program at (800) 510-2020 from
contact Paul Branson, Transportation Manager for
                                                                         landlines within Contra Costa County. From cell
the Contra Costa County Area Agency on Aging,
                                                                         phones or from outside of Contra Costa:
(925) 313-1702, or email:
                                                                         (925) 229-8434.

                      C A L E N D A R                                     O F                 E V E N T S
Thursdays, September 11, October 9, November 13,                              Saturday, September 13 or October 11, 12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
December 11, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.                                            Bay Mountain Martial Arts Studio, 785 Oak Grove Road, Concord
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette.                   Self Defense Class for Seniors
Positive Living Forum                                                         This class is specifically designed to teach seniors how to protect
Open Lecture and Discussion Series moderated by Dr. Bob Nozik,                themselves. Pre-registration is required. Offering two different
MD, Prof. Emeritus UCSF and Author of “Happy 4 Life: Here’s                   Saturday sessions. Sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Senior Center.
How to Do It.”                                                                Fee: $10 Members/ $15 Non-members.
Positive Living Forum presents speakers and a range of topics that
will stimulate and guide participants toward a more positive life             Fridays, September 19, October 3, 17 & 31,
experience. Drop-ins are welcome.                                             November 14, December 5 & 19
                                                                              Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
                                                                              Luk Tung Kwen and Yuan Ji Wu Classes
                                                                              The Luk Tung Kwen exercise program continues with the
                                                                              inauguration of the Yuan Ji Wu Dance exercise program on an
                                                                              every other Friday afternoon basis. Yuanji dance is a mixture of
                                                                              martial art, physical therapy dance and chi exercises.
                                                                              Luk Tung Kwen—Fridays 1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m.
                                                                              Yuan Ji Wu—Fridays 2:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m.

                                                                              Friday, September 19, 2008, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
                                                                              Eldercare Services, 1808 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek.
                                                                              Families Dealing with Dementia
                                                                              Overview of the dementias. Sponsored by Eldercare Services. Free.
                                                                              Please RSVP by September 15 to (925) 937-2018.

                                                                              Fridays, September 19, October 24,
                                                                              November 21, December 12, 12:30 p.m.
Thursdays, September 11, & October 9, 10:00 a.m.                              Pleasant Hill Senior Center: Bldg. 2, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Pleasant Hill Senior Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
                                                                              Friday Flicks
Just Know It                                                                  Free movies on a large screen. Arrive early (11:30 a.m.) for lunch.
A free educational series. Registration required, call (925) 798-8788.        September 19: “No Reservations”
Taking place on the second Thursday of each month.                            October 24: “Enchanted”
Sept. 11: Earthquake Preparedness                                             November 21: “Memoirs of a Geisha”
Oct. 9: Tips to Traveling Smart                                               December 12: “All I Want For Christmas”

Friday and Saturday, September 12–13, 8:00 p.m.;                              Mondays, September 22, October 6 & 20, November 3 & 17,
Sunday, September 14, 2:00 p.m.                                               December 1 & 15 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Nick Rodriguez Community Theatre, 213 F Street, Antioch                       Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Road, Lafayette
“Cocktails with Mimi,” performed by The Vagabond Players                      Bi-Monthly Caregiver Support Group
Tickets: $10. For reservations, call (925) 689-3368.                          Geriatric care manager Carol Shenson, M.A., CMC, offers a bi-
                                                                              monthly support group for family members who are considering or
Friday, September 12, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.                                     currently involved with the direct care of an older relative. Call
and Friday, November 14, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.                                  (925) 284-5050 to sign up. Drop-ins welcome.
Open House Senior Center, 6500 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito.
Stockton Avenue Art Stroll                                                    Tuesday, September 23, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Meet local artists and authors at their galleries. Creative Writing           Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
readings and poetry, local authors book signing and visual arts.              Maximizing Your Memory
Call (510) 559-7677 for information.                                          A presenter from the Alzheimer’s Association will talk about the
                                                                              difference between normal memory loss and dementia and will
                                                                              cover tips and strategies for improving memory.
                                                                              Call (925) 284-5050 to sign up.
                      C A L E N D A R                                   O F                E V E N T S
Wednesday, September 24 and every Wednesday,                                Wednesdays, October 1, 8, & 29; November 5, 12, 19, & 26;
(except Wednesday October 29), 12:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.                         December 3, 10, & 17, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Lafayette Senior Services,                                                  John Muir Outpatient Center, 1220 Rossmoor Pkwy., Walnut Creek
500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette, Live Oak Room                              Conference Room
Tea Dancing                                                                 Osteoporosis Movement and Exercise Class
Afternoon Tea Dancing and light refreshments every Wednesday.               with Jeannie Peterson, R.P.T.
$2 covers refreshments.                                                     Participants learn exercise techniques and fall precautions.
                                                                            Call (925) 941-7900. Fee: $5/class.
Friday, September 26, all day
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo                                           Thursday, October 2, 10:30 a.m.
Men’s Prostate Screening                                                    The ABC’s of Hearing: “I Just Can’t Hear You”
Free screening. Screening is particularly important among African           Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
American men between 40–60. Call for an appointment                         Jeanna Eggers, audiologist from Newport Audiology Centers,
(510) 970-5236.                                                             will present tips on managing life as hearing diminishes. The
                                                                            latest about hearing aid
Friday, September 26, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.                                 technologies will also
Lafayette Senior Services,                                                  be discussed. Call
500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette, Sequoia Room                               (925) 284-5050
                                                                            to sign up.
Abatable Arthritis, Anne Randolph, RPT
Muscle control is responsible for 80% of the support of your joints.
Come learn exercises to control pain, improve function, and protect
your joints.
Free Blood Pressure Screening
John Muir Senior Services
Following the workshop at 12:30 p.m. No appointments are                    Thursday, October 2, 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
required.                                                                   John Muir Medical Center, 2540 East St., Concord
Free Memory Screening                                                       Aging Gracefully with Alan Brast, PhD
Caring Solutions                                                            It is possible to age gracefully without becoming angry or feeling
By appointment following the workshop.                                      increasingly less vital and important. Learn how to enjoy the
Appointments at 12:30 p.m., 12:50 p.m., and 1:10 p.m.                       benefits life’s experience can provide. Call (925) 947-3300 for more
Often memory loss can be improved through medical treatment.                information.
Early diagnosis and intervention provide the best outcome.
Call (925) 284-5050 for an appointment.                                     Tuesday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
                                                                            John Muir Outpatient Center, 1220 Rossmoor Pkwy.,
Tuesdays and Thursdays, September. 30–November 20,                          Conference Room, Walnut Creek
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.                                                       Thursday, November 20, 6:45 p.m.–8:15 p.m.
Ellinwood Recreation Room: 400 Longbrook Way, Pleasant Hill                 Women’s Health Center, 1656 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek.
Bridge 101                                                                  Seven Steps to Wellness with Kathy Napoli, R.D.
This class is for beginners. Registration is required, call                 Explore ways to optimize your digestion and immune system while
(925) 798-8788. Fee: $10 Members/$15 Non-members of                         boosting your energy and metabolism. Call (925) 941-7900 for
Pleasant Hill Senior Center.                                                reservations.

Wednesdays, October 1, 8, & 29; November 5, 12, 19, & 26;                   Wednesdays, October 8, November 12,
December 3, 10, & 17, 8:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m.                                   December 10, 7:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
John Muir Senior Services, Women’s Health Center,                           John Muir Medical Center, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek
1656 N. California Blvd.,Walnut Creek                                       Welcome to Medicare
Osteoporosis Movement and Exercise Class                                    For those new to Medicare or soon to enroll. Provides information
with Jeannie Peterson, R.P.T.                                               about benefits, prescription drug coverage and how to supplement
Participants learn exercise techniques and fall precautions.                Medicare benefits. Call (925) 947-3300 for more information.
Call (925) 941-7900. Fee: $5/class.

                      C A L E N D A R                                       O F                 E V E N T S
Friday, October 10, 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.                                         Saturday, October 18, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette                      Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord
Piano Jazz Café at the Community Center                                         Bone and Joint Expo
Concert by Contra Costa Performing Arts Society jazz piano                      Free event featuring talks by orthopedic surgeons and physicians
musicians featuring show tunes and jazz standards to original                   on treatment of bunions, rotator cuff injuries and back pain.
compositions. Call Lafayette Senior Services at (925) 284-5050 in               Interactive booths and screenings on topics ranging from golf
advance.                                                                        fitness and balance assessments to joint replacements. Sponsored
                                                                                by John Muir Health and Northern California Arthritis Foundation.
Fridays, October 10 and December 12, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.                        For schedule and presentation sign-ups, call (925) 941-5050 or visit
Pleasant Hill Senior Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill          
Taste of the Vine
Taste a variety of red and white wines. Light hors d’oeuvres will be            Monday, October 20, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
served. Non-alcoholic beverages available. Tickets: $5 for 2/$3 each            Lafayette Senior Services,
additional/$2 for non-alcoholic ticket.                                         500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette, Sequoia Room
                                                                                From the Gold Rush to the California Railroads
Tuesday, October 14, 6:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.                                        Barbara G. Smith, former docent at the Oakland Museum of
Eldercare Services, 1808 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.                       California and Mountain View Cemetery, will examine California
                                                                                from the discovery of gold in 1848 to 1869, when the
Dementia—The Middle of the Road                                                 transcontinental railroad was completed. Some of the major
This workshop is designed for family members trying to manage                   players of that period now reside in Oakland’s Mountain View
with a loved one in the middle stages of a dementia. Participants               Cemetery. A tour of the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland will
will feel prepared, validated and free to find balance in their lives.          be arranged on a date convenient to participants.
Free. Please RSVP by Oct. 8 to (925) 937-2018.
                                                                                Tuesday, October 21, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 16, 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.                                       El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
                                                                                Annual Flu Shot Clinic
Helping Mom and Dad Give Up the Car Keys                                        Call (510) 559-7000 for information.
Julio Lacayo, Senior Ombudsman, California Dept. of Motor
Vehicles, will introduce ideas on how do we might talk with our
older parents about safe driving, when not to drive anymore, and                Wednesday, October 22, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
the DMV’s re-examination and hearing process.                                   6500 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito
                                                                                Open House Senior Center 30th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, October 17, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.                                         Enjoy an afternoon of nostalgia, music, presentation and
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette                      refreshments. RSVP at (510) 559-7677 by October 8th.
Tea and Crisp
Character actor Richard Louis James performs his one-man show                   Friday, October 24, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
portraying Quentin Crisp. In the mid-20th Century London, there                 Civic Park Community Center 1375 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek
was no LGBT community but Crisp, an effeminate homosexual,                      Halloween Bingo
chose to be very visible both as a writer and performer. In 1966,               Anyone wearing Halloween attire will receive two additional bingo
Crisp’s autobiography “The Naked Civil Servant” became a best                   cards free. Advance ticket purchase is required. Cost: $7.
seller. Cost: $13 Emeritus Club (Diablo Valley College) Members/$15             Call (925) 943-5851 for more information.

         County Offices will be closed on the following holidays in 2008:
         January 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Year’s Day          September 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Labor Day
         January 21 . . . Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Day                         November 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Veterans’ Day
         February 18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Presidents’ Day             November 27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanksgiving
         May 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Memorial Day         November 28 . . . . . . Day After Thanksgiving
         July 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Independence Day             December 25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christmas

                     C A L E N D A R                                   O F                 E V E N T S
Friday, October 24, 11:30 a.m –12:30 p.m.                                  Monday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Lafayette Senior Services,                                                 John Muir Senior Services, Women’s Health Center,
500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette, Sequoia room                              1656 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek
Opposing Osteoporosis, Anne Randolph, RPT                                  Regaining Bladder Control with Mary Russell, R.P.T.
Learn how to maintain or possibly increase your bone mass. Get             More than 30 million people in the United States experience
tips on how you can take control and keep your bones in the best           uncontrollable loss of urine, called incontinence. Women are twice
shape possible.                                                            as likely as men to have the condition; pregnancy, childbirth and
Free Blood Pressure Screening                                              menopause play a big role. Incontinence is treatable and often
                                                                           curable. Call 941-7900 for more information.
John Muir Senior Services
Following the workshop at 12:30 p.m.
No appointments are required                                               Thursday, November 6, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
                                                                           Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
Free Memory Screening
Caring Solutions                                                           The Italian Dolomites
By appointment following the workshop.                                     Lucia Falcone, Author and Italian Epicure, will discuss the Italian
Appointments at 12:30 p.m., 12:50 p.m., and 1:10 p.m.                      Dolomite Mountains and its quaint villages and teach about local
                                                                           customs and the delicious regional food.
Often memory loss can be improved through medical treatment.
Early diagnosis and intervention provide the best outcome. Call            Cost: $13 Emeritus Club (Diablo Valley College)
(925) 284-5050 for an appointment.                                         Members/$15 Non-members.

Saturday, October 25, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.                                  Friday, November 7, 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
John Muir Medical Center,                                                  Lafayette Senior Services,
1601 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Ball Auditorium, Walnut Creek                     500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette, Live Oak Room
Pulmonary Fair                                                             The Cemetery Club, performed by the Vagabond Players
John Muir Cancer Institute and John Muir Lung Services provide             This hilarious play is by Ivan Menchell. Sweet Ida, feisty Lucille, and
free pulmonary health information including physician lectures on          priggish Doris have been meeting monthly for tea before visiting
pulmonary issues. Free pulmonary associated screenings will be             their husbands’ graves but single fellow Sam the butcher has ideas.
conducted. After Oct. 1 call 925-947-3033 for information.                 Free, but donations are appreciated.

Sunday, October 26, 2:00 p.m.                                              Friday, November 14, Saturday, November 15,
Pleasant Hill Senior Center, Bldg. 2, 233 Gregory Lane                     10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
                                                                           Civic Park Community Center 1375 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek
The Cemetery Club, A Vagabond Players Presentation
The Vagabond Players perform this hilarious play by Ivan                   Annual Holiday Boutique
Menchell. Sweet Ida, feisty Lucille, and priggish Doris have been          The Walnut Creek Seniors Club will host their annual Holiday
meeting monthly for tea before visiting their husbands’ graves but         Boutique. Proceeds go to the Walnut Creek Seniors Club. Free
single fellow Sam the butcher has ideas. Tickets: $4 presale/$6 at         admission.
the door. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
                                                                           Friday, November 14, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 29, 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.                                 Eldercare Services, 1808 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek.
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette                 Caring for an Aging Family Member
Flu, Pneumonia, Tetanus/Diphtheria Shots                                   One day fortifying class to cover finances, family challenges, legal
Flu shot costs $15, Pneumonia shot is $40 and Tetanus/Diphtheria is        issues, fears and anxieties. Free. Please RSVP by Nov. 10 to
$15 . *No one will be turned away for inability to pay.                    (925) 937-2018.

Saturday, November 1, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.                                 Saturday, November 15, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Senior Adult Activity Center, First Presbyterian Church,                   Pleasant Hill Senior Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
3415 Barrett Ave., Richmond                                                Holiday Boutique
enter on 34th St. through the parking lot                                  Choose from a huge selection of handmade items. Proceeds go
Annual Holiday Bazaar                                                      towards the CC Café. Free admission.
Proceeds help support their senior lunch program.
Call (510) 234-0954 Tuesday mornings or (510) 262-0445 for more
                     C A L E N D A R                                     O F                E V E N T S
Thursday, November 20, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.                                   Thursday, December 18, 9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette                   John Muir Outpatient Center Conference Room,
Exploring Your Sensual Self After the Age of 50                              1220 Rossmoor Pkwy., Walnut Creek
Geriatric care manager, Eileen Zagelow, will explore facts and               Maximizing Memory
myths of the aging process, our physical and psychological selves,           If you’re concerned about memory lapses, you’re not alone.
how our life experiences affect our sensual natures, and how we              A dementia expert from the Alzheimer’s Association will discuss
can overcome societal barriers to gain the confidence to be more             how to tell the difference between normal memory loss and
expressive sensually.                                                        dementia plus give tips and strategies for improving memory.
                                                                             Call (925) 947-3300 for reservations.
Friday, November 28, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Eldercare Services, 1808 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.                    Friday, December 19, 9:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Hands on Care for Family Caregivers                                          Eldercare Services, 1808 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek
Family members will learn about safe transfers and providing                 Dementia—In the Thick of it
dignified care, medication safety, special diets and swallowing              Strategies for approaching challenging behaviors, placement
techniques. Free. Please RSVP by Nov. 24 to (925) 937-2018.                  options, home care. Free. Please RSVP by Dec. 15 to (925) 937-2018.

Thursday, December 4, 6:45 p.m.–8:15 p.m.                                        We rely on readers to let us know about upcoming events in
John Muir Women’s Health Center,                                                 Contra Costa County. To submit information about an event,
1656 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek                                           email it to Ruth Atkin at, or mail
                                                                                 submissions to 2530 Arnold Dr., Suite 300, Martinez, CA 94553,
Age-Proof Your Skin with Nutrition with Kathy Napoli, R.D.                       Attn: Senior Information Newsletter. Events are published for
Your skin’s appearance is linked to your health and diet. Identify               free, as space permits. Calendar events for Winter should be
foods and nutrients that benefit skin and fight premature aging.                 received in our office no later than October 10, 2008.
Call (925) 941-7900 for reservations.

Saturday, December 6, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Mt. Diablo Adult Education, Pleasant Hill Education Center,
One Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill
Mt. Diablo Adult Education’s Annual
Open House and Craft Sale!
Crafts sale features many handcrafted items created in courses
offered at Mt. Diablo Adult Education. Attendees can shop as well
as enroll in the winter session classes, designed for adults age 55+.
For information, call Judith Sosnowski at (925) 682-8000, ext. 3911.
Friday, December 12, 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette
Lafayette Senior Services Annual Holiday Music Concert
and Fund Raiser                                                                       The University of California at Davis
Performance by Jennifer Carne, Violist, and Guests                                    Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Martinez is
The music featured by seasoned violist, fiddler, and guitarist                        conducting a nationwide research study to
Jennifer Carne and her musical partners will range from Bach to                       evaluate home-based assessment methods
Blue Grass to Folk. Proceeds will support the Lamorinda Spirit Van                    for memory protection research in people
program. Call (925) 284-5050 in advance. Fundraiser admission fee                     over 75 years old.
$5, group discounts available.
                                                                                      Participants should be essentially healthy
Tuesday, December 16, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m                                             with normal mental function for their
Open House Senior Center, 6500 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito                            age. If interested in participating in this
                                                                                      study, please call Katharine Vieira at
Open House Holiday Party                                                              (925) 372-2485 for more information.
Holiday music, refreshments, excerpts of the Nutcracker from the
El Cerrito Ballet Co. Call (510) 559-7677 for lunch reservations.

                                                                         on to
                                                       THE DREAM
      Presented by Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services
    Weekly Foreclosure Prevention Workshops
                             FREE TO TH E PUBLIC
               VARIOUS LOCATIONS: Mondays • 5:45 p.m.–7:15 p.m.
   Pre-Registration is required, Call (510) 237-6459 or visit:
    Phone: (510) 237-6459 • Fax: (510) 237-6482 • E-mail:

“Making final wishes come true”
  An Elderly Wish Foundation works to enrich the lives of the terminally ill elderly in
  Contra Costa County by making a special wish come true.
    To qualify for a wish to be granted by An Elderly Wish Foundation, a potential recipient:
    Must be over 60 years of age
    Must be a resident of Contra Costa County
    Must have a terminal diagnosis or life-threatening disease, certified by a physician

  Wish referrals can be made by anyone. If you know of a senior in Contra Costa
  County who has a terminal diagnosis or life-threatening disease, please contact
  An Elderly Wish Foundation for more information or to get a wish application
  (for yourself or someone you know) by calling: (925) 978-1883 or go to You may also email them at:

Help feed the hungry?
The mission of Loaves and Fishes is to feed the hungry of
Contra Costa Country by providing free meals at dining
facilities in local communities where there is need. Loaves
and Fishes is dependent upon donations of services, food
products, and financial support. We are grateful to the
individuals and more than 60 congregations and service
organizations which support us. Reductions in state and
federal assistance to the needy have increased the need for
local fundraising. We seek new financial contributions as
well as volunteers to continue our mission.
Loaves and Fishes has dining rooms in Antioch,
Martinez, Oakley and Pittsburg, as well as meal
deliveries to residences in Concord. For more
information or to learn how can you can
contribute, please visit our website at or contact us at
(925) 837-8758.

   PROTECTION                                          Myths about older drivers

    for seniors                                        continued from cover

                                                       Myth #5 If an older person has a significant problem that
 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission           could compromise his or her driving safely, it will be caught
 and the Federal Citizen Information Center            when he or she goes in for license renewal and the DMV will
 have teamed up to put together, Fraud                 take care of it.
 Protection for Seniors, a free packet of
 information designed to help seniors make             Fact: In-person renewal of driver’s licenses is required in
 wise investments with their money. The                California for every one over 70. Even with in-person renewal, DMV
 publications are designed to assist seniors           staff is frequently not trained to recognize signs of risk. Road tests
 with broker-related problems, protect                 are given rarely, and they are not designed to identify the common
 themselves from scams, identify tactics               safety problems of older drivers.
 commonly used by fraudsters, and protect              Even after separating the myths from the realities, in-depth
 retirement income and savings.                        strategies addressing the mobility needs of older adults remain an
                                                       important factor. Both myth and reality demonstrate our society’s
 Order this free information package by calling        tendency to isolate older adults as a population.
 toll-free: 1 (888) 878-3256, weekdays 8:00 a.m.
                                                       The issues surrounding older driver safety and the inability of some
 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and ask for Fraud
                                                       adults to continue driving as they grow older will increase the
 Protection for Seniors. Or send your name
 and address to: Fraud Protection for Seniors,         demand for alternative senior transportation services.
 Pueblo, CO 81009; or visit          American Society on Aging, Myths About Older Drivers
                                                       National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2001.

From computers to companions
continued from cover

happened to me after I retired. I published a beginning                Connie and Tom agree that
computer book for seniors, and started teaching computers              living together didn’t work
at senior centers, too.”                                               for them, but their current
                                                                       arrangement does. “We meet at
Tom says, “I signed up for computer lessons, which were                Pinole Senior Center every day
supposed to last about a month. I figured I’d just take the            for lunch. On Sundays we go to
eight lessons and be done with it, but I surprised myself.             breakfast together. We’ve been to Reno a couple times and
I ended up really liking it!” Then, smiling at Connie, he              we took a trip to Maui too.” Tom grins and tells on
continues, “That first day in Connie’s class, I was a two-             himself, “I got in trouble in Hawaii because I went for a
fingered typist, poking at the keys.”                                  walk one day and went to an internet café without her. To
“Yes, it’s true. In all the years I’ve taught,” Connie replies,        get even with me, she made me take her back to it!”
“I’ve found that men never learned how to type!”                       They both teach classes at the Pinole Senior Center these
Tom defends himself, pointing out, “I don’t recommend                  days. Connie explains, “A lot of people learn the computer
it, but I could do 40 words a minute with my two fingers.              because of their children. They want to be able to send
I was fast!”                                                           emails on the internet and see pictures of their family.”
                                                                       Connie teaches one-day classes that cover topics like
The two became friends in class, and Connie asked Tom                  using the mouse, basic typing, and how to buy a computer.
and another student to be her teaching assistants.                     “The single most important thing in regards to buying a
Although nothing more became of their friendship for a                 computer is memory,” Connie says, and she recommends
few years, Tom says that being Connie’s teaching assistant             a minimum of two gigabytes.
helped him learn more than he ever thought. “The best
way to learn is to be a T.A. and answer other people’s                 In 2006, Connie and Tom were briefly in the spotlight on
questions. You get to see what problems come up, and                   ABC’s Nightline, when word got out that they were
figure out how to help,” he explains.                                  teaching a class together on senior internet dating. The
                                                                       experience of being on television didn’t go to their heads
Connie also advises, “One of the best techniques for                   though. Tom says, “The show talked a lot about sex, and
learning to use a mouse is to play solitaire. I have found             people were kidding us that we were the sex experts!”
though that foreign born people have never played the                  Connie says too, “They made us walk over a bridge
game, so they have to learn it first.”                                 together time and time again while they filmed us. I don’t
                                                                       know how many times we walked over that bridge!”
Tom and Connie say it took them “a while down the road”
to realize their feelings for each other. Tom says, “I really          Although neither Tom nor Connie is teaching a class
liked her, and I just decided one day to tell her how I felt. I        specifically on senior dating at the moment, they still have
really surprised her.” Connie agrees with a smile, “Yes, you           some recommendations to get out there (on the internet)
did surprise me. We’ve had a rocky relationship, but                   and meet people! Connie likes and
everything’s better now.”                                    
“Oh yeah,” Tom concurs, “It’s been rocky! We moved in                  Tom’s classes at Pinole Senior Center cover topics like
together for a while. We tried it—But we were really                   introduction to computers, word processing and basic
getting on each other’s nerves. We drove each other crazy.             internet surfing. He says he’s heard all the excuses why
You know, everyone gets set in their ways… So, we broke                you can’t learn it—because he used them all himself! He
up. But I still cared for her and told her I’d always be there         also isn’t against teaching a class on senior dating again,
for her.”                                                              and says, “Our senior center director Janet Bilbas is really
                                                                       supportive of anything we want to do here. If people
In 2004, when Connie experienced a small stroke, Tom was               wanted it, we would teach it again.”
true to his word. He says, “We weren’t really speaking at
the time, but she called me from Kaiser and asked if I                 But Tom and Connie aren’t looking. Connie says, “We’ve
would go to her apartment and get three things: her                    worked through the rough patches and everything is good
laptop, her purse and her childrens’ addresses.” Tom did               now. I still really enjoy doing my own stuff, but we have
as he was asked and brought Connie her things at the                   our time together, too. She shows me a jade ring, a gift
hospital. They’ve been together ever since.                            from Tom, and says, “We picked this ring out together. It’s
                                                                       the only jewelry I wear.”
Connie adds, “He really was wonderful. It was only a slight
stroke, but he supported me physically and psychologically             Tom agrees, “We kid a lot and we laugh a lot. We’re lucky.
after it.”                                                             We’re together. We’ve accepted that this works for us.”

  Coming Very Soon:
                                                                                      Concord One City,
  500 Ellinwood Way                                                                   One Book
                                                                                      The City of Concord, in partnership with the
  All IHSS and Public Authority staff for Central Contra                              Todos Santos Business Association and the Concord
  Costa County will be moving to 500 Ellinwood Way in                                 Community Library, is sponsoring One City One
  Pleasant Hill in late September and early October. We                               Book, which encourages all citizens to come
  hope to have IHSS Payroll relocated to Ellinwood Way                                together around reading and discussing a single
  effective September 22, 2008. The IHSS social workers                               book during the month of October.
  and Medi-Cal workers should be moved in to Ellinwood
  by mid-October.                                                                     Our chosen book is the famous detective novel The
                                                                                      Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammitt. There will be
  If you use the County Connection, our new Ellinwood                                 a series of One City One Book events, including: a
  offices are served by Bus Route #109, and we are                                    book discussion at the Concord Community Library
  adjacent to the JFK University Bus Stop.                                            on Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. and
                                                                                      Saturday, October 25, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
  We’re looking forward to being in this new location,
  which is more convenient and accessible for many of                                 A Maltese Falcon statue will also float from
  our central county clients.                                                         business to business in Concord. Anyone who
                                                                                      spots it will get a discount at that business and
  For a bus route map go to
                                                                                      a chance to win a grand prize!

                                                      (925) PHONES OR FROM
Call Information & Assistance: (800) 510-2020 OUTSIDECELL229-8434
                                FROM LANDLINES WITHIN
                                 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
                                                           CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

                  Contra Costa County                                                                                             PRSRT
     Area Agency on Aging                                                                                                      U. S. Postage
            2530 Arnold Drive • Suite 300                                                                                       Permit #89
              Martinez, CA 94553-4359                                                                                         San Ramon, CA

You are never too
old to set another
 goal or to dream
    a new dream.
             ~ Les Brown

     This newsletter is printed on recycled paper using eco-friendly soy-based ink.

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