Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sierra Seniors Radio Show January 29th, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 29th, 2011, sharing information for the well-being of seniors in and around the Motherlode.

 1450 KVML AM - 9:05am-9:30am
Written by: Roberta Goodwin
Host: Cathie Peacock

Today’s Guest: Ira Uslander  SENIORITY LIFECARE AT HOME

Topic:  Getting help when you're aging and need it. 

CATHIE: Ira, for our listeners, tell us a little about yourself, what do you do, also what you like to do - when you're not working - for fun etc.
IRA:  I was originally trained as an engineer, and worked at that for a number of years.  After my “first retirement”, I became a university professor, teaching engineering.  When one of our sons came out here to California, and had a “late baby” my wife and I followed.  I got involved here in senior issues when I saw the overwhelming needs seniors have in this area, and became involved with the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging.  I'm the director of the for-profit Seniority Lifecare and also involved with the non-profit Sierra LifeNet
CATHIE:   But how about outside of work?
IRA:  Well, not much actually.  My wife is very supportive of my work.  We are mostly concerned with seniors’ safety.  What is most disturbing to me is that people are not planning for their future needs.  Y'know, people come to me and they're not in a position to afford private pay care.  We counsel people what to do and not many people are covered by long-term care insurance.  They wait to get it, thinking “I will get it when I need it” but then pre-existing conditions mean they're ineligible when they’ve waited.
CATHIE: Yes, this idea of “wait till I need it” – they think they can just take care of it later.  I know I've had that thought myself. 
IRA:  It is just a form of denial.   And it is the worst thing that can happen.  In my era, the idea of making a will was bad luck, that you'd die the next day. 
CATHIE:  People still think that. In my more thoughtful moments at home, reading maybe, the thought of getting older and needing help comes to me, and I push it away, it’s really hard to think about it. 
IRA:  It’s very difficult to accept that you're aging.  I've learned so much in my two years here.  I'm very willing to spend time helping people understand their options.
CATHIE:  My problem as a single parent, I just can't seem to save any money toward retirement or long-term care, but my work with Interfaith, the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging and the Red Cross helps me to see what's out there.  So if I need something, who do I call, how does it work, do I come to you or you come to me? 
IRA:  I've gone anywhere and I'm also happy to speak to groups.  We have many opportunities out there.  You run Interfaith – and how many people know what you do?  When I mention Area 12 (ed. note: "Area 12 Agency on Aging"), people don't know about it, what they do. 
CATHIE:  I noticed more people came to Interfaith in January explaining how frightened they are and how they're not sure they can make it.  They ask me: “What can I do?”  We had some pet planning people on this show once and we had more calls for their pets than I have ever gotten for them. 
IRA:  A lot of people I talk to these days are panicked, don't know what to do.  They say “I'm in trouble”.  Nobody is ready and the end result can be part of the reason this area has one of the highest suicide rates, if not the highest, in the state. 
CATHIE: I live in the high country.  I longed for the isolation when I was younger, as many people do when they retire here, or move here, and that was fine when I was 35, but 85?  I think: How will I manage it when I get older.  Car, snow all that stuff.  You know, will an ambulance be able to get to my house? 
IRA:  Yes, with a ski chalet, it is great for a 35 year-old, but when you're 85, not so much.  When you call me, I listen to what people need, and explain options such as to how they can go to a retirement community, or perhaps stay in their home with some modifications.  In this new age, it’s possible to modify your home into one you can grow old in.  Your pets too.  There are all different family dynamics too.   A lot of family abuse, or maybe the family is not available for care....
CATHIE: That’s heartbreaking....
IRA: Yes, or the family might foist care on the elder person against their will, and there’s the question of whether some elders will ACCEPT care, especially in the case of dementia, and the family has to know how to DO it.  It can be stressful, and they might need respite.  AT Seniority Lifecare we do a lot of respite work. 
CATHIE:  How can someone reach you to ask questions?
IRA:  They can call me at 532-4500 and we can make arrangements to talk.  I will spend as much time as someone needs; this is more a passion of mine than a business.  I truly believe if you do good things, good things will come. 
CATHIE:  Also, the dilemma for one person means the person’s partner is involved in it too, and has to learn to deal as well.  Our time’s almost up, so I want to thank you so much, Ira, for your time, and I want to thank Mark Truppner of KVML too.  Ira, I want to give you the last comment.
IRA:  Seniority Lifecare focuses on client safety and independence.  Our caregivers are well-trained, licensed, and bonded.  But call me at 532-4500 even if your situation wouldn’t involve us.  I'd be happy to help. 

Business Address: 11 S. Washington St., Ste. 200
Sonora, CA 95370

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 22nd, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 22nd, 2011

1450 KVML AM - 9:05am-9:30am

Written by: Roberta Goodwin
Host: Cathie Peacock
Guest:  Sandi Romena
Topic: The Tuolumne County Commission on Aging’s Senior Expo

Cathie: Today we have Sandi Romena, sharing information on an upcoming event.  Sandi, what is your role in this event and tell us more about yourself, what do you like to do, etc.?   And please go on to describe this event that’s great fun for our seniors and for all of us too.

Sandi: Well, I was born and raised in Tuolumne County and come from a family of a few generations in this area.  I'm married 31 years, and with 2 grandchildren.  I actually run a small consulting business and love to volunteer and help out our community when I can.  I was invited by the Commission to help out with the Senior Expo last year, and it was so successful we’re doing it again this year.  I like to help the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging in running this informational fair so that our seniors know what's going on.  It’s going to be held this year on May 25th, and in a bigger building, the John Muir Building, because last year we sort of outgrew ourselves.  Last year we had 57 booths and about 400 people attended.  This year we’re inviting all non-profits as we did last year, and any business that caters to seniors, their families, and their care-givers, too.  We’re charging a small fee, 'cause that helps us support the event, and again, we will be offering a blood draw and other attractions.  Even though we target seniors, anyone can come.  Please attend, because you can talk one-on-one with the different agencies and get your questions answered, whether it’s elder abuse or any other topic. 

C: You're inviting the care-giving community, and others in the business community, and family members as well, or anyone thinking ahead in their own future... Along that line we also have quite a few attorneys who come to give out estate planning info.  What a great way to pick an estate planning attorney, to come talk to them face-to-face, much better than out of a phone book. 

S: Exactly.  For example, a local plumbing company had a booth last year and they featured their walk-in tubs.  What a good way to come see this product and touch it, and ask questions, either for yourself or a family member. 

C: Can people or businesses call you if they're interested on participating?

S: Oh yes, my number is 532-1607 and I'd love for them to call, as this event is FOR them. Last year’s event “grew out” of our space which just shows the need for an event like this. 

C: I remember last year when people came by the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging’s booth and said how amazed they were at how useful and informative the event was, especially to have all these providers in one area. 
S: If people call me, I will be happy to send them an application, it is first-come, first-serve with a cut-off date.  You can fax the application back to the same phone number 532-1607 and my email address will be on the form and on the flyer and we will start advertising more soon  The Expo will be May 25th rain or shine, from 9AM to 2PM and of course it is an inside venue so no weather worries.  Also, our new venue will accommodate walkers and wheelchairs and some wheelchairs will be available should someone need them especially later in the day when some folks might get tired.  The same food provider will come back, and the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration will come back again too.  We plan to have the same “Senior Idol” contest, last year’s was such a hit!  There’s a lot of senior talent in this county.  So if you have a talent, call me! Also please call me if you're a provider or know of one who might like to have a booth. 

Oh, and we also have some service organizations, such as the VA and others. We do run this thing with all volunteers; it’s so heart-warming and gratifying. 

C: Remember, the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging does not endorse any one product or provider, we’re just making them available for informational purposes. 

S: Yes, don't bring money, there’s nothing for sale. 

C:  How many vendors can you accommodate?

S: Approximately 75 and I've received 8-9 applications already. 

C: What I personally like about this event is that these kinds of people all support each other.  And wrapping up, call Sandi at 532-1607 to volunteer as well as to ask for your booth application, or to suggest someone for a booth.   

Have a great weekend, see you right here next week on Sierra Seniors.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 15th, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 15th, 2011

1450 KVML AM - 9:05am-9:30am

Written by: Roberta Goodwin
Host: Cathie Peacock
Topic:  What is The Tuolumne County Commission on Aging?  Cathie explained...

The Commission:
* is comprised of 20 volunteers (19 currently) who applied to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) upon recommendation by the existing commission
* meets at Area 12 Agency on Aging, Standard Road, Standard CA Conference Room C, on the second Mondays of each month, 130pm
* complies with the Brown Act requirements
* has representatives from each Supervisorial district
* includes a liaison from the BOS and the County
* consults on all matters in the county affecting county seniors, who comprise 32% of our county’s population
* posts their upcoming agenda one week before the meeting at the county's library on Greenley Road and other location(s)
* starts their meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance
* has periodic guest speakers. For example last week’s speaker was Dr. Lynn Martin, a newly-elected trustee for the Yosemite Community College District
* has various committees that meet once a month and whose topics range from education, transportation, public relations (Sierra Seniors radio show is one activity), legislation, and of course the Executive Committee

The general population of our county (not just seniors) is encouraged to contact us or attend our meetings – for questions or more information, please call our chair Ira Uslander at 770-4805.  We are most interested in hearing your concerns regarding our aging as we can refer you to someone who can help, or bring them to the attention of the county BOS for resolution.  Please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to pay attention to the seniors in the county that you encounter, and be kind, and above all, patient, as all of us will one day get there too.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 8th, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 8th, 2011

1450 KVML AM - 9:05am-9:30am

Written by: Roberta Goodwin
Host: Cathie Peacock
Guests:  Kathrina McRee and Lauralee Markus, both of the Community Relations Department, Skyline Place, a Senior Living Facility in Sonora CA

Cathie asked the guests to describe their respective backgrounds. The "new kid on the block" Lauralee talked about her "crooked path" that brought her back to the Motherlode, where she had grown up in Tuolumne City.  She is the new Community Relations Director at Skyline Place. Her background varies from public policy in healthcare in the bay area including senior care, and Marketing.  She went on to say, “I live with my husband and dog in Twain Harte.”  Kathrina described herself by saying she is originally from Oxfordshire in the southeast of England.  She and her husband came to Tuolumne County to care for his elderly parents, and subsequently retired here.  She works part-time at Skyline in Community Relations, and describes herself as being “blessed to be here in the Motherlode with my husband and our three girls.”  Both ladies provide callers and visitors with important info in planning for family members.

Cathie: “What do you say to people who call in?”
Kathrina: “We have three distinct levels of care.  Independent Living, Assisted Living (including Memory Care), and Enhanced Care Living.  Enhanced Care is for those people who need to recover, for example, from an operation, and who will most likely be going home after their stay.”

She went on to describe several typical scenarios that describe the kinds of questions they get from families struggling with care issues for their senior family member(s).   The average age, she said, of their clients is 86.7 years.  Our job, she went on to say, is to change the perceptions typical of that generation about living “outside of the home” and in their community especially regarding the perceived loss of independence. “I challenge them to understand they will be more independent in our community, not less: Our busiest time is after the holidays because contact during the holidays often helps family to understand things with a senior family member are not as good as it used to be.”

Questions, Kathrina said, are typically a. What do we get for our money?  b. What are the apartments like?  “People are surprised to find out that we oftentimes have space comparable to what they are currently living in.  We have two bedroom apartments, one bedroom apartments and studios that include all the amenities. The great thing we offer is that you only pay for the services you receive. We allow people to bring their favorite furniture if they can, and even their dogs. Our ultimate goal is to have family come in and to meet their needs. The Grand Opening of our new Independent Living facility will be January 13, from 4-7 PM.  We will offer champagne, and other refreshment and entertainment.  We invite everyone to stop by, and see our new facility.” 

Lauralee:  “For more information, call 209-532-0373 and ask for either one of us.”

Toll free phone: 877-800-7031 and website: