December 2010/January 2011 Reinventing Ourselves at Any Age BY PAMELA B. SMITH DIRECTOR, AGING & INDEPENDENCE SERVICES A husband whose life has been all strict routine, suddenly loses his wife and ends up flying to Japan to self. There are many unexpected things in the movie, as in life itself,” she says. “As you age, the future gets visit places she had longed to see. His shorter so there’s not as much to look world changes. This is a brief descrip- forward to as when you were young, tion of “Cherry Blossoms,” the third but if you allow yourself to live in the of six films featured next year as part moment and be open to new possi- of Coming of Age: San Diego’s First bilities, there’s always room for joy.” International Film Festival. Lonnie, 68, doesn’t believe in be- On the second Thursday of each ing “over the hill.” When she turned month (January through June) one fes- 60, she started to feel “invisible” and tival film will be shown free at 6 p.m. decided she wanted to write about at the Museum of Photographic Arts it. She has been reinventing herself at in Balboa Park. Each of the six films various points throughout her life; no will explore issues of special impor- reason to act differently now. She has tance to older adults, but would be an excellent role model in her 92- valuable for all ages to see. The festi- year-old mother, Mickey Burstein, val will present a positive image of the who she says is “still a pistol,” and diverse lives of older adults. was one of the writers/performers in “Everyone’s experience is a little LONNIE HEWITT ON HER 65TH BIRTHDAY. “Tales from the Far Side of Fifty.” different,” says Lonnie Hewitt, a lo- (PHOTO TAKEN BY HER HUSBAND, MAURICE.) Born in Brooklyn, Lonnie worked cal writer who from 2005 to 2009 in New York as a lyricist/playwright, produced “Tales from the Far Side of Fifty,” a popular tour- collaborating with Jerry Blatt, musical director for Bette ing show that spotlighted some of the unique experiences Midler, on Sesame Street songs and musicals. She moved of local woman between the ages of 55 and 90. She was to San Diego in 1978 nearer to her mother who was living invited to be on the committee developing the festival and in La Jolla, and she met her husband, Maurice. Lonnie to select a film that resonated with her; she picked “Cherry adapted her writing skills to magazine articles and books, Blossoms,” a 2008 film by German director Doris Dorrie. including “Walking San Diego” and “The Little Red Writing “You must be able to adapt as you get older. Things Book: A Practical Guide to Writing Your Own Life Story.” change. That is what the ‘Cherry Blossoms’ is about, un- expected changes and the possibility of reinventing your- (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE) (CONTINUED FROM PAGE ONE) March 10 -- “Cherry Blossoms” (2008): German di- The second book came from her experiences teaching a rector Doris Dorrie’s film is a story of aging and rebirth. life-story writing class for the San Diego Community Col- April 14 -- “Innocence” (2001): Re-ignited love be- lege District. She had written her mother’s life story to share tween a couple who were lovers in Belgium as teenagers with their family. “I did this not as a writer, but as a daughter. and who discover each other in their late 60’s in Australia. I sat and listened to her for hours. When I was finished, I May 12 -- “Harry and Tonto” (1973): An elderly man said everyone should be doing this, sharing their stories. It (Art Carney), evicted from his apartment in New York City, prevents you from leaving the planet without anyone ever moves in with his son and family on Long Island, and then knowing who you really were.” escapes to the road with his orange cat, Tonto. Teaching life-story classes helped Lonnie confront her own June 9 -- “UP” (2010): Animated. By tying thousands of prejudices about older adults, she says. “A small white-haired balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out woman gets up and you think you know who she is, but then to fulfill his dream to see the wilds of South America. she reads her story and it’s pretty wild!” To reserve a free ticket, visit sdcomingofage.com. While doing the classes, she envisioned a stage perfor- mance using the voices of older adults, but it wasn’t until she AGING SUMMIT VIDEO ON WEB SITE ran into a former student who revealed she had been home- less, that Lonnie pushed ahead with this project. She invited a number of women she knew, including several former writ- ing students, to her home for a special workshop. Together T he video from this year’s Aging Summit on Technology is available on the Network of Care Web site. The video from the June event includes Dr. Gary Small, UCLA Center they wrote about and shared important elements of their lives, on Aging, talking about the effects of technology on our out of which Lonnie created “Tales from the Far Side of brains. Visit www.sandiego.networkofcare.org/aging, click Fifty,” a blend of stories and songs. on “Announcements & Special Reports” to find the link. “There were different pieces, some very funny and some not funny at all,” she says. “The women revealed some things that even their friends didn’t know about, things that had NATIONAL CALL CENTER UPDATED been completely suppressed. And what the show expressed was that no matter what happens in your life, you can change and can adapt and survive.” T he Eldercare Locator, a free nationwide call center for older adults and caregivers seeking access to resources in their community, has geared up for the boom of aging The show ran at different sold-out venues around the county. “It was an amazing experience for the women in it Americans. This service from the federal Administration on and the audiences,” she says. “And maybe we’ll do another Aging is a toll-free number where you can find the local Area version some day.” Agency on Aging (such as AIS) and other resources in each Lonnie continues with new writing projects and is always ZIP code. The Eldercare Locator is particularly useful for on the lookout for adventures. Above the desk in her office family members who live away from their relatives. An infor- is a sign that reads: “Some things get better with age.” mation specialist can connect them to a local agency in their Coming of Age: San Diego’s First International Film selected area. These specialists also answer a variety of re- Festival will be held free at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday source questions. Information is available in different lan- of each month from January through June at the Museum of guages. There’s also a newly designed Web site, Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. The festival is being spon- www.eldercare.gov. To access the Eldercare Locator, call sored by the SDSU Gerontology Student Association and (800) 677-1116 (from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Mon-Fri). Alvarado Hospital. Here are the films: Jan. 13 -- “The World’s Fastest Indian” (2005): A FUNDRAISER FOR EDGEMOOR ARTS New Zealand man dreams of taking his 1920 Indian motor- cycle to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see how fast it will go. When heart disease threatens his life, he mortgages his house, takes a ship to Los Angeles and heads for Utah. He goes on A special art therapy program -- Healing Hearts at Edgemoor -- will benefit from a fun-for-all fundraiser, called “Arts and Hearts,” set for for 11 a.m. to break six world speed records. True story. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Edgemoor, 655 Park Feb. 10 -- “A Song For Martin” (2001): Martin, a con- Center Dr., Santee 92071. Please join us for food, en- ductor, and Barbara, a violinist, meet and marry in middle- tertainment and more! Create your own art. Grab a brush. age, but soon after, they find out that Martin has Alzheimer’s Get inspired. For additional information, visit: disease. This moving story is considered one of the most www.edgemoorevents.moonfruit.com. realistic depictions of caregiving on film. H ONORING RSVP: LEAD WITH EXPERIENCE VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH to remain active and fit throughout the year. Older adults also have the opportunity to compete in multiple Olympic Trudi Lang, nominated style sporting events. by Laurie Switzer from The primary event for SDSGA is the San Diego Senior the volunteer office at the Olympic Games, held annually in September. At the 2010 USS Midway Museum, is games, more than 1,400 athletes took part in 26 different our RSVP Volunteer of the events. Since 1995, competitors in the San Diego Senior Month. Trudi is a valuable Olympic Games have gone on to compete in the National member of the museum’s Senior Games Championships. Track and field competitors Safety Department. Her over the age of 70 set two world records at the 2010 San demeanor and experience Diego Senior Olympic Games. in safety training make a SDSGA is branching out to host the North County Senior perfect fit for her role as Games. This event is co-sponsored by the City of Oceanside Safety Training Officer and and will take place next May. The regular Senior Olympics Safety Lead. She has been will continue in September in San Diego. certified as a CPR/First To continue providing these great opportunities for se- Aid instructor for Midway TRUDI LANG niors, SDSGA needs volunteers to help with grant writing, staff and volunteers. Her letter writing, multimedia press releases, making calls, serv- flight attendant background, with training in emergencies and ing on a committee or being on the board of directors. crowd control, was excellent preparation for her current as- To learn more about San Diego Senior Games signment. “Since her first day on the Midway, Trudi has es- Association’s volunteer opportunities, contact RSVP at (858) tablished a reputation for professionalism with personality, 505-6399. which is echoed by her peers, her manager and her students,” says Switzer. Trudi also devotes time to Special Olympics VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES and Jane Lane’s Kids, plus a retired United Airlines flight attendant’s charity, providing free temporary housing to fami- Public, nonprofit and health agencies seek volunteers in lies of children who come to San Diego for special medical their communities. Potential volunteers can call RSVP at (858) procedures. Congratulations, Trudi. Your dedication to vol- 505-6399 for information on the following opportunities: unteering is making a difference in San Diego County. Oceanside Police Department needs senior volunteer patrol participants. SPOTLIGHT: SENIOR OLYMPICS Veterans Museum & Memorial Center needs docents and receptionists. San Diego Senior Games Association (SDSGA) was Habitat for Humanity seeks administrative assistants, founded in 1988 and helped organize the California State construction volunteers, cashiers, greeters, donation pick- Senior Games Association in 1991. SDSGA is a nonprofit, up drivers, and at-home phone workers. community based organization whose mission is to encour- County of San Diego Department of Parks and Rec- age older adults to carry on vigorous lives by developing reation needs community center volunteers, park docent/ and maintaining high levels of physical and mental fitness naturalists, park patrol volunteers, and recreational services through regular participation in sports, fitness and health edu- volunteers. cation activities. SDSGA offers monthly healthy lifestyle lun- American Cancer Society needs drivers and cancer in- cheons to educate and motivate Senior Olympic participants formation volunteers. attend a four-day training Jan. 20, 21, 27 and 28. Once trained and approved, peer educators will be assigned to lead Healthier Living workshops at community sites around the county. This is a great opportunity for adults age 50+ to be involved with a state-of-the-art wellness program. Peer educators will receive modest financial compensation. If you are interested in applying to be a peer educator, contact Charlotte Tenney at (858) 495-5230 or firstname.lastname@example.org. BALANCE CLASS AT CHALLENGE CENTER T he Challenge Center is now offering balance and condi- tioning classes every Thursday with the help of physical therapist Tiffany Piquilloud. Cost is $5 each week. There will be a supervised routine including stretching, aerobic and circuit exercises on the center’s universally accessible equip- ment. An evaluation may be needed for those who have never been to the Challenge Center, 5540 Lake Park Way, La THE IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS) PUBLIC Mesa 91942. To register or for more information, call (619) AUTHORITY RECENTLY HOSTED ITS ANNUAL INDIVIDUAL 667-8644 and ask for Rebecca or Karen. PROVIDER RECOGNITION EVENT. HUNDREDS OF CARE PRO- VIDERS ATTENDED AND WERE RECOGNIZED WITH PRIZES, 2011 ELDERCARE DIRECTORY AVAILABLE LUNCH, RAFFLES, CERTIFICATES AND MORE. SENIOR COMPANIONS NEEDED T he 2011 San Diego Eldercare Directory has been pub- lished and is available in local libraries, senior centers and other locations. This directory has tips for caregivers, as well as a listing of resources. The publication is produced T he Senior Companion program, coordinated by Lutheran Social Services, is seeking participants particularly in the communities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Mira by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego. For more information about getting a copy of the direc- tory, call Robert Kitson at (619) 293-1554. Expect a $10 Mesa, Oceanside, Poway, Santee and Vista. Senior Com- charge for those who are not San Diego Union-Tribune panions are older adults (55+) who receive a small stipend subscribers. ($2.65/hour) to visit with less mobile or homebound seniors for at least 15 hours per week. Monthly training is provided LOW-COST AUTO INSURANCE PROGRAM and required. For more information, contact Rock Roades at email@example.com or call (858) 483-4007. PEER EDUCATORS FOR SPECIAL PROGRAM C alifornia law requires that all vehicle drivers be insured. The State Department of Insurance offers a low-cost automobile insurance program for income-eligible adults who also meet the following criteria: have a good driving record, J oin with AIS and be part of a national effort to offer the “Healthier Living” program, an award-winning project (also called the “Chronic Disease Self-Management Pro- are 19 or older, have been continuously licensed to drive for at least three years, own a vehicle valued at $20,000 or less and meet the income eligibility requirements. gram”) that has been scientifically shown to improve The income requirements are a total household income of wellness. Designed by Stanford University and taught by $27,075 or less for one person; $36,425 for two people; older adults, the program is for people with diabetes, arthri- $45,775 for three people; or $55,125 for four people. The tis, depression, heart disease, or any other ongoing health annual premium per car in San Diego County with this policy condition. Classes meet once a week for six weeks, and is $264. have two peer educators teaching 15 to 20 participants. For additional information about the California Low Cost We are recruiting older adults who have chronic health Auto Insurance policy and to see if you qualify, visit conditions to lead the workshops. Accepted applicants will insurance.ca.gov/lowcost or call (866) 602-8861. JAN. 5, WEDNESDAY with the “Senior Expo: Protect Your- DEC./JAN. ISSUE self & Your Wallet” event at the Serra This issue of Aging & Indepen- 10 A.M. Mesa/Kearny Mesa Branch Library, dence is for December and January. A free four-week computer class for 9005 Aero Dr., San Diego 92123. The next bulletin will be published in beginners will be offered at Bayside Registration required; call (800) 510- February. The calendar welcomes Community Center, 2202 Comstock 2020 and press “4” twice. Leave your your contributions. Just send items St., San Diego 92111. To register, con- name, phone number and say you want by the10th of each month preced- tact Connie Curran at (858) 278-0771. to attend “Jan. 21.” ing the issue date to: Denise G. Nelesen, editor, Aging & Indepen- JAN. 5, WEDNESDAY dence Services, 9335 Hazard Way, JAN. 25, TUESDAY San Diego, CA 92123-1222. Or fax 2 TO 5 P.M. 1 TO 2:30 P.M. to: (858) 495-5080. Or email to “Taking Care of Business: Money and HICAP, the Health Insurance Counsel- firstname.lastname@example.org. Legal Matters” will be presented at the ing and Advocacy Program, will be Lawrence Family Jewish Community offering a presentation on Medicare and Center, 4126 Executive Dr., La Jolla various health plans, including Part D 92037. Learn what documents to have prescription drug plans, at Belden Vil- DEC. 8, WEDNESDAY in place and what happens when your lage, 7777 Belden St., San Diego 10 A.M. TO NOON papers are not in order. Reservations 92117. For more information, call An orientation for care partners and required. Call (858) 637-3223 or reg- HICAP at (800) 434-0222. family members of persons newly di- ister online at www.jfssd.org/aging. agnosed with Alzheimer’s disease will be held at the Carlsbad Senior Center, JAN. 13, THURSDAY FEB. 5, SATURDAY 799 Pine Ave., Carlsbad 92008. To 11 A.M. TO 3 P.M. register, call (858) 492-4400. 6 P.M. “Arts and Hearts,” a day of art, enter- The movie, “The World’s Fastest In- tainment and food for the whole family, dian,” will be the first in a series of will be held in front of Edgemoor, 655 DEC. 14, TUESDAY international films on aging to be pre- Park Center Dr., Santee 92071. There 10 TO 11 A.M. sented on the second Thursday of each will be several Valentine’s Day gifts for “Healing through the Holidays” will be month at the Museum of Photographic sale. This event is a fundraiser for presented at the Sharp memorial Out- Arts in Balboa Park. To reserve a seat, Edgemoor’s “Healing Hearts” art patient Pavilion, Classroom B, 3075 visit www.sdcomingofage.com. therapy program. For information, visit Health Center Dr., San Diego 92123. www.edgemoorevents.moonfruit.org. Learn how to cope with the loss of a JAN. 21, FRIDAY loved one during the holiday season. Registration required; call (800) 827- 11 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M. 4277 or visit www.sharp.com. Learn physical and financial self-defense ADVISORY COUNCIL The AIS Advisory Council will meet at noon Monday, Dec. 13 and THANKS FOR MAKING MOM MEAL DELIVERY SPECIAL Jan.10, at the new AIS office, 5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310, San Di- ego 92123. W e want to thank the following nutrition sites for making this year’s Thanks- giving MOM event so successful, serving to more than 1,000 homebound seniors: Senior Community Centers, Carlsbad Senior Center, Peninsula Shep- CA SENIOR LEGISLATURE herd Center, Borrego Springs Senior Center, Fallbrook Senior Center, George The San Diego CSL meets at 10 Waters Nutrition Center and the Alpine Community Center. We also applaud the a.m. on the second Monday of the many elementary school students who created placemats! And thanks to the month at AIS. Sheriff’s Department, East Mesa Division, for help with the food.