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 newsletter 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. 2 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. 3 H I C A P C O U N S E L I N G MEDICARE CHANGES 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, www.medicare.gov, 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 www.medicare.gov 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, www.socialsecurity.gov. 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 4 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. 5 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, http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp, “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 http://health.nih.gov 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 94553-4359 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 6 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 comida.” 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. 7 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 http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp, 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 http://health.nih.gov It is not how old you are, but how you are old. ~ Marie Dressler 8 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 service. 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. 9 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 10 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 http://www.chp.ca.gov/community/octs_v.html 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: www.aarp.org 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: email@example.com (925) 229-8434. 11 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. 12 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. 13 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 johnmuirhealth.com. 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. Non-members. 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 14 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 information. 15 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. RESEARCH Friday, December 12, 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. PARTICIPANTS Lafayette Senior Services, 500 Saint Mary’s Rd., Lafayette Lafayette Senior Services Annual Holiday Music Concert WANTED! 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. 16 HOLDING 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: www.richmondnhs.org Phone: (510) 237-6459 • Fax: (510) 237-6482 • E-mail: email@example.com “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 www.elderlywish.org. You may also email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org 17 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 www.LoavesFishesCC.org or contact us at (925) 837-8758. FRAUD 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 www.pueblo.gsa.gov/rc/n78fraudprotection.htm American Society on Aging, Myths About Older Drivers National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2001. 18 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 www.seniornet.org and everything’s better now.” www.SeniorFriendFinder.com. “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.” 19 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! www.cccta.org/routes/109.htm (925) PHONES OR FROM Call Information & Assistance: (800) 510-2020 OUTSIDECELL229-8434 FROM LANDLINES WITHIN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY FROM CONTRA COSTA COUNTY Contra Costa County PRSRT Standard Area Agency on Aging U. S. Postage PAID 2530 Arnold Drive • Suite 300 Permit #89 Martinez, CA 94553-4359 San Ramon, CA www.ehsd.org 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.