Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuolumne County Commission on Aging Post "Eight Million Stories" / Senior Expo And Calendar 2011

Welcome to the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging blog: it’s our ongoing effort that we hope will be the first of many aimed to bring information to help and inform seniors in our county.

The commissioners, with their extensive and varied experience and expertise, are all volunteers and without exception are primarily concerned with doing whatever they can to improve the lives of our county’s seniors in and around the Motherlode.

Eight Million Stories

All of us come from varied backgrounds.  I'm reminded of the old TV show and its slogan: “There are eight million stories in The NAKED CITY!”...

I myself happen to be a “hearing child of deaf parents”.  Deaf as in Deaf-State School educated deaf adults.  Deaf as in Deaf Culture deaf.  Deaf as in sign language deaf.  My parents were, neither one, deaf from birth, but deafened as very young children.  Thus I am not deaf.  My dad had an accident on his family’s farm in southwestern Arkansas at nine months of age, and my mother’s deafness at two years old was caused by a common side effect, in those days, of scarlet fever.  Both were educated at the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock, which is where they came to know each other and where they married after graduation.  Growing up, my house was both one of loud TVs (Mother being hard-of-hearing) and silent sign language, and of parties of deaf people gesturing in signs and laughing, but with no audible words.  (How strange – and at the same time how wonderful - my friends and neighbors found my parents’ parties!) 

Their problems as deaf adults were typical of those of their deaf friends, more problematic of course than those of “hearing people”, but as seniors these problems were exacerbated by my mother’s early onset schizophrenia and my father’s Alzheimer's.  I've always considered that my mother’s schizophrenia was at least partly caused by having a foot in both worlds, but firmly rooted in neither.  How confusing she thought the world she lived in.  So much so that when having a difficult conversation with hearing folks, she might resort to much nodding and agreeing with everything rather than trying to make herself understood or understanding them.  

Growing up, my role was always as interpreter (I started answering the telephone at age four).  Through the years, I  took her to many doctor appointments, and other such errands, both before and after the schizophrenia, all mostly filled with difficult communication sessions of one kind or another.  My dad? He always had his own business (a dry cleaners, wherever we lived).  He said it was to avoid communication problems with any possibly disagreeable hearing boss.  But I knew it was also because he was stubborn as all get-out, not inclined to take orders.  And later on? Oh my, how hard is it to deal with the confusion and wanderings of a stubborn, opinionated, elderly man with whom the authorities or passers-by on the streets could not effectively communicate? And how terribly frightening and confusing was his world at that point?

I admired my parents for their intelligence, as both went on from the State Deaf School in Arkansas to attend Gallaudet, the only college for the Deaf in the US.  And I marveled at their various talents, all their triumphs over adversities;  I marveled that they were so successful in life in spite of their deafness.  My father was a successful businessman, and my mother, despite being afflicted with polio in her early thirties, albeit a mild case, learned the game of golf as therapy (walking was prescribed), and went on at that late age to become a near-scratch golfer. She never heard the sound the golf ball makes, dropping into the cup.

I just cannot imagine the difficulty level of my parents’ travails (can YOU?), even after seeing them all my life.  But as it was said before, there are all kinds of stories in this world.  What stories have YOU run into with your parents, grandparents, or seniors you know, and would like to share?  
Email me at  Roberta

More news affecting seniors:  Sierra HouseCalls announces they are accepting new patients!  If you are homebound, over 60 years of age, and unable to drive or if you have family members or friends who are homebound, over 60, and can't drive anymore, call Tina at Sierra HouseCalls 209-532-4287 for more information, or if you have questions. 

From their website -
Sierra HouseCalls Medical Group is dedicated to caring for the needs of our greatest resource-the senior members of our communities. We are committed to working as a team with other organizations to help patients remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Sierra HouseCalls strongly believes that all patients have the right to compassionate and sensitive health care that considers the needs and desires of each individual.

Sonora physician Matt Personius started Sierra HouseCalls Medical Group in February 2003 with the goal of helping elderly and disabled individuals remain independent. Dr. Personius moved to Tuolumne County in 1997. He relocated to the area to take a position at a local hospital, where he recognized the growing need for home health care in the area.

Most seniors remember the days when physicians commonly made “house calls” and were able to observe the patient in their home environment. This relationship allowed physicians to better understand the social dynamics that impacted the overall health of their patients. Sierra HouseCalls Medical Group innovative medical practice combines “old fashioned” house calls, one-on-one doctor consultations and the newest technology all in the comfort of your home.

ANNOUNCING 2011 Senior Expo

The 2011 Senior Expo will be held May 25, 2011 from 9am to 2pm at the MOTHERLODE FAIRGROUNDS, John Muir Building.  The Expo features the opportunity for blood draws, a very popular Senior Idol contest, and many various for-profit and non-profit groups will present their senior-oriented services and wares.  In addition, many booths will be informational. This is a FREE event open to anyone, particularly seniors, family, caregivers, but also any and all interested parties. For more information, to become a sponsor, or to reserve your own booth (the deadline is April 30th!), please call the Senior Expo Coordinator: 209-532-1607 or go to the website:

Features and typical booths:
*      Senior Idol contest! DO YOU SING OR DANCE?
*      Finance/Insurance
*      Medical such as blood draw (nominal fee)
*      Caregivers information / options
*      FOOD - will be available 
Reminder: Stay updated on the latest info at:

Commission on Aging Events Calendar 2011
1)  Commission on Aging Executive Board meetings 1:00PM, 1st Monday each month, at the Senior Center
2)  Commission on Aging Public Relations committee meetings, 12:00PM, 1st Wednesday each month, at Interfaith
3)  Commission on Aging general meetings 1:30PM, 2nd Monday each month, at Area 12 Agency on Aging, Standard Rd., Conf. Room C
NOTE: the June 13th meeting will be in Groveland at The Little House.
All meetings start at 1:30PM.  All our meetings are open to the public. 
4)  May 25 – Senior Expo, Motherlode Fairgrounds, John Muir Building 9AM-2PM
5)  June 22 - Senior Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony 11AM at Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors' Chambers, 4th Floor, 2 Green St.  Sonora
6)  October 19 - Centenarian Awards Ceremony 11AM Senior Center Sonora

All COA meetings are open to the public. Please come and give us your ideas, concerns, and information regarding senior issues!

In future, we will be blogging with more information on matters of interest to county seniors so stay tuned!  And please feel free to let us know YOUR ideas for events or forums that you want to see! We actively solicit your comments.  Contact Tuolumne County Commission on Aging by email

To go to Friends and Neighbors website go here: 

Blog Editor: Roberta Goodwin

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