Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tuolumne County Commission on Aging: Latest News / Calendar 2012

Welcome to the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging blog: it’s our ongoing effort that we hope will 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.

“Old age is no place for sissies.” ~ Bette Davis, American actress, 1908-1989
Jots & Thoughts
By Roberta R Goodwin...
Save the dates!!!! All events Presented by the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging  ...

2012 Senior Expo!!! The 3rd Annual Senior Expo is scheduled for June 13, 9AM – 2PM, in the John Muir Building at Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Don’t miss this information packed day!!!

2012 Senior Volunteer of the Year Awards!!! The Senior Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony is scheduled for May 2, 11AM – 12PM, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Don’t miss this opportunity to honor or community’s senior volunteers!

2012 Centenarian Awards!!! The 2012 Centenarian Awards ceremony is scheduled for October 3, 11AM – 12PM, Tuolumne County Senior Center. Don’t miss this opportunity to honor our community’s Centenarian Society members and and meet the County's newest residents reaching the 100 years young milestone!

WE RECENTLY LOST ONE OF OUR OWN: Nestor (Nick) Cretan, February 25. 1935-2012. Nick was a member of the commission - as well as past chair - for many years.  He provided a steady hand, recruiting several key members as well.  His background as a leader of various organizations, both in his business life – most notably the Port of New York and the San Francisco Marine Exchange – together with other volunteer positions, such as the Tuolumne County Film Commission, enabled him to coordinate the talents of his many colleagues to good effect. He will be missed.

CVS’ MOTORIZED SCOOTER:  I had occasion to fill an urgently needed prescription at CVS. I used to routinely use their electric-power scooter to get to the pharmacy at the back of the store.  In the past year when I went in, the thing frequently seemed to be out of order or in use by another patron, so I switched to Rite-Aid which has a drive-up window. This time, however, my provider insisted I had to use CVS to get this particular medication.  Going into the store this time, I found the scooter to be out of order.  So, I left and came back in a couple of days, a hardship.  But on this day, it was still out of order.  I had the nearest clerk call for the manager to ask if s/he would go to the pharmacy and fill the prescription for me, given the situation.  The assistant manager came, a young man, and he initially refused.  I explained the urgency of the medication and demonstrated the out of order machine.  He was unsure, but finally ran the errand.  I asked him what the ETA was on the machine’s repair.  He didn’t know.  I called Mitch, the store manager, a couple days later.  He explained he has been trying to get the machine repaired, to no avail.  And yes, he'd had numerous complaints.  I suggested that Sonora store was probably losing a good deal of money from the disabled seniors in this area.  And that the store would certainly benefit from another machine to boot.  He agreed and suggested I could help immensely by writing a letter to the district manager in Modesto.  I did.  A week later, I got a call back from CVS District Manager Daniel Becker who explained he had called “Corporate” to have the machine fixed and he also sent a request to the Regional office to have an additional machine sent to this local store.  So: They're trying.  Will it happen? Stay tuned.

Computer training classes: are available locally for seniors and are provided by various local agencies, locations, trainers.  Check your copy of the Union Democrat for details. Keep in mind that the opportunities provided by using a computer and the internet are numerous: A senior can pay bills online, saving postage and trips to the post office; using email and Facebook can help with isolation and loneliness; learning and using a computer’s various programs “exercises” the mind, and affords other advantages. As far as cost goes, computers cost far less than just a few years ago, and donated computers are available from certain local agencies.  One would be well-advised to call around and ask.  As well, keep in mind that when a family member or friend upgrades their computer, they might be willing to part with their old one, frequently still in running order.

When does a Senior stop driving?

To read the entire article go here:

Suzy Hopkins’s latest (Winter 2011-2012) issue of her senior magazine Friends and Neighbors (FAN) features a timely and interesting article entitled “Stop Signs” on this very topic, by Chris Bateman. To read it, go to your home-delivered issue or find it in one of the many locations around the area. It includes a list called “Time to quit? Top 10 signs.” I've listed them below:
ü      Do you feel uncomfortable or anxious behind the wheel?
ü      Have you found unexplained dents or scrapes on your car?
ü      Do you drift across lane markers or into other lanes?
ü      Do other drivers frequently honk at you?
ü      Do you get lost in familiar places?
ü      Do you find it hard to turn your head to check over your shoulder?
ü      Are friends and relatives reluctant to ride with you?
ü      Do you often forget where you parked your car or forget to buckle up?
ü      Is it hard to see pedestrians or other cars at night?

ü      Have you received two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past 24 months, been in two or more accidents, or had two or more “close calls” over the same period?

Announcing a new section of our blog….
“Legal Matters”

Here are some of the matters affecting seniors that the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging is currently following and concerned with (but NOT endorsing, necessarily – see our disclaimer at the bottom of our blog)

1.       Silver Alert SB 38: proposed by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose) – was recently passed… Almost 600,000 individuals in California have Alzheimer’s Disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, that number will grow to more than 1.1 million by 2030, and 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer’s will wander away from their homes or care facilities at some point. People with Alzheimer’s often lose their cognitive ability to remember when to eat and drink or protect themselves from extreme weather. Silver Alert would be similar to the successful Amber Alert program for children.  More on it from A Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons - especially seniors with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other mental disabilities - in order to aid in their return. Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets—such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable TV—to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors.
2.       SB 810: as per -
As of Tuesday Jan 31, 2012 “Today SB 810, “Medicare for All” single payer legislation, was killed on the California Senate Floor.
More about the bill from this website:
3.       AB 1525: Financial Elder Abuse: Money Transmitters sponsored by Assembly member Michael Allen)… This bill requires that money wire transfer services be included in the definition of mandatory reporters of suspected financial elder abuse.
4.       AB 2374: sponsored by Assembly member Roger Hernandez… Prohibits a consumer credit card reporting agency from charging a person who is 65 years old or older a fee when placing a security freeze on his or her credit report.
5.      AB 1648: Brownley: The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights,

Did YOU Know?
by editor Roberta Goodwin (comments? email me at:

For your better living…

1. The Tuolumne County Commission on Aging is working on a program for 2012 called Leadership Tuolumne Seniors which we intend to be a series of classes scheduled on Wednesdays - March 21 through May 18 - to help “Build a better community by providing Tuolumne County seniors education and opportunities for service and leadership.” Contact Carleton Penwell for applications and information. You may email Carleton at or call him at 209-532-8583.
2. From Roberta: Area 12 Agency on Aging This agency’s helpful staff provides services to more than 11,000 seniors in five counties: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne. Services include information and assistance, caregiver support, nutrition, fitness, Medicare counseling and much more. The agency is headquartered in Sonora, at 19074 Standard Rd. Contact Area 12 at (209) 532-6272 or (800) 510-2020,

3. PG&E’s low-income program: PG&E has a low-income program called “The Energy Savings Assistance Program” and they partner locally with Sears to bring new refrigerators to folks. According to an installer I talked to named “Mike” … he and his crew make about 10 stops a day in the county to bring free brand-new refrigerators. His clients run to – he estimates – about 70% seniors. As part of the program, the crew even picks up their old refrigerators (and refurbishes/recycles them). The service area extends from Mi-Wuk to Riverbank, more or less, as he explained. Other features of the program include what they term “Improvements to your house, apartment or mobile home including compact fluorescent lights, caulking, showerheads, minor home repair and more.” To find out more about the program and whether you're eligible, or if someone you KNOW is eligible, go to: call or call 800-989-9744.

4. Senior Services Directory
Pick up this handy 24-page guide to local senior services at the sheriff’s Community Service Unit office in The Junction Shopping Center. Published by the nonprofit Senior Resource Service (SRS), it includes contact information for everything from health care and housing to transportation and emergency services – “anything a senior might need,” says Judy Finley, SRS president. A complete version of the directory (61 pages) is available online at the Friends and Neighbors website,, under the home-page link titled “Resources.”

5. And this from Catherine Driver (via Suzy Hopkins of FAN Magazine): "REACH Plus" is a program provided by PG&E and Salvation Army to help folks with delinquent electricity bills. We are working with our local Salvation Army to provide help to elders in need of assistance with their PG&E bills. We will be helping those 62 and over while Salvation Army will work with those under 62. (We will help in the case of a participant in the OE program, regardless of age.) Our part, like the Salvation Army's, is to assist in filling out the needed paperwork and making sure all appropriate paperwork is included (i.e. PG&E bills, proof of age, etc.). We then call PG&E to make the "pledge" and then fax the paperwork to Salvation Army in San Francisco. We can be reached at 532-7632 and Salvation Army can be reached at 588-1986. Catherine Driver, Engagement Coordinator, Older Adult Outreach & Engagement Program."

6. Minor Home Repair: Area 12 Agency on Aging offers a program for eligible county seniors “designed to assist seniors over 60 who have home repair problems they cannot resolve which threaten health & safety.” To be eligible, you must: be 60 years of age or older; reside in Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa Counties; live in your own home. Typical repairs include... (among others) hard to turn faucets; leaky toilets; door knob repair; install grab bars; repair doors and windows; ramp repair Call Area 12 Today for more information on how you can arrange for needed home repairs 209-532-6272... or go to: Also, you can view their website at:

7. From Ira Uslander: “I was talking with Tom Teach at WM (Cal Sierra Waste Management) and he told me they have a disposal kiosk in front of their office on Camage for needles and other sharps. This is sometimes an issue for people with diabetes and other situations where they self medicate."

8. From Roberta Goodwin: I'm not a Comcast subscriber, but I ran across this item from Comcast. It’s a program intended to help low-income families with low cost laptops, discounted internet access and free internet training. I see that it’s “aimed” at families with kids, educators and civic leaders. But it seems to me we have quite a few senior grandparents in this county raising their grandchildren. Enough to justify making a big deal of this? I think so. So if you want more information, whether for yourself or someone else, go to this link for details: and then for more, click on the “how it works” button.

9. Waste Management "yard service" - The Waste Management "yard service" option means Cal Sierra handlers retrieve and return the garbage carts so the resident doesn't have to. The fee is currently in the neighborhood of $11.00 and will be waived upon the resident’s submission of a doctor's note stating a disability rendering the resident unable to move the new garbage carts to and from the curb. The Commission is gratified to learn that their lobbying effort in this regard has been fruitful.

The Tuolumne County Commission on Aging... encourages and welcomes visitors to our meetings and we have vacancies at the moment, so we welcome any interested parties to apply. Attendance at our meetings is recommended to find out if you want to participate. Please come to our meetings and see what we’re about! In future, we will be blogging with even 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. As always, you may contact the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging by email:

Commission on Aging Meeting & Events Calendar 2012
Please also go to Community Events Calendar to see our upcoming events:

The Commission appears on a regular basis before the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors in order to update them on Commission activities.

(Note re-meeting dates: Sometimes holidays and other events force us to change the day; emailing us at is always recommended.)
*Commission on Aging general meetings 1:30PM,
2nd Monday each month, at Area 12 Agency on Aging, Standard Rd., Conf. Room C
*Commission on Aging Executive Board meetings 1:00PM,
1st Monday each month, at the Senior Center
*Commission on Aging Public Relations committee meetings, 12:00PM,
1st Wednesday each month, at Interfaith
* Commission on Aging Education Committee meetings, 9:00AM,
3rd Thursday each month, Starbucks, Sonora Crossroads Shopping Center, in the Prudential 2nd Floor Conference Room

***2012 Speakers’ schedule***
(Speakers inform the commissioners on senior related issues.)
April 9 – TBD
May 14 – Sam Taylor, Senior Youth Partnership

Sept 10– John Gray (Groveland meeting)

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 blog with even 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. You may contact the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging by email at

To go to:
Area 12 Agency on Aging’s website, go here:
Little House website, go here:

Friends and Neighbors website go here:

THANK YOU for reading!  Editor Roberta Goodwin

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