Whistlestop DECEMBER 2011
The Leading Information Resource for Marin's Active Aging Movement
Everyone Deserves to Age with Dignity, Independence and Grace by DENNIS THOMPSON, President, Board of Directors
f you stop by Whistlestop, you might see Lucille in a yoga class, the Mystery Book Club, or learning about financial planning. But most of the time you’ll find her in our computer lab practicing what she learned in our Facebook class by connecting with her grandchildren, friends and former students. When Lucille, a retired teacher, lost her husband a few years ago, her son, Sam, worried that her health would decline if she became lonely at home. Sam found Whistlestop and now Lucille comes to Jackson Café for meals, and is part of the vibrant community at the Active Aging Center. Together, you and I can support Marin’s growing population of older adults and people with disabilities by making a gift today. Every day, Whistlestop provides transportation, meals and classes to older adults and people with disabilities to
Rocky Packard's Edamame Succotash page 4
help them thrive and stay connected to one another. No other organization provides the comprehensive, integrated hub of vital services that they need. Yet we can’t do it alone. We share the responsibility to help our older relatives and neighbors live active, engaged lives for as long as possible. Today, Whistlestop’s services are more critical than ever. Marin County is the fastest aging county in California, with 1 in 4 residents over the age of 60. You may not realize that even in affluent Marin, an increasing number of older adults lack good nutrition and struggle to make ends meet. Here’s how your gift can help: We serve 17,000 weekday lunches a year and charge only $4.50 a meal to older adults. Your donation will make up the difference in food costs. Transportation is a big part
The Bird's Side of Marin page 11
Members chat during the Persian Social Group gathering at Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center. The generosity of Marin County donors contributes to this and countless other social activities at the center. of what we do, but government funding doesn’t cover our annual costs. Wouldn’t you like your grandmother, especially if she is frail, to have door to door service and a driver who will make sure she gets home safely? With your support, we can expand our personal ride service to more older adults who need us. Help us make Marin County a viable, supportive place for people to age with dignity and grace. ✦
San Rafael Ceramist page 12
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PERSPECTIVE by JOHN BOWMAN Volunteer Gives Out of Gratitude
From Rocky's Pantry Rocky Packard Gratitude Important Photo Contest Reception Tea Dance Photos Whistlestop Classes Activities Calendar The Bird's Side of Marin Richard Pavek Marin Ceramist Board Member Column Karen Arnold Grand Mom Audrey Mettel Fixmer WordSearch Puzzle Paul Gruner
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Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. 930 Tamalpais Avenue San Rafael, CA 94901 Chief Executive Officer, Joe O’Hehir Board of Directors President, Dennis Thompson Vice President, Terry Scussel Treasurer, Michael Rice Secretary, Michael Hingson Karen Arnold • Eleanor Delaney • Claudia Fromm Jane Lott • Debbie Mills • Lori Peterson • Bill Saul Bob Sonnenberg • Jeff Stoffer Whistlestop Express is a publication of the Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. A 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization The Mission of Whistlestop: To promote the independence and well-being of Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities to enhance their quality of life. Whistlestop Contact Information Main Number 415-456-9062 Whistlestop Fax 415-456-2858 www.whistlestop.org Information & Referral Office 415-459-6700 • email@example.com Whistlestop Express Editorial, Art Direction & Sales John & Val Bowman Editors 916-751-9189 • firstname.lastname@example.org Missy Reynolds Art Director email@example.com Advertising Linda Black • 415-485-6700, Ext. 306 Whistlestop Express is printed on recycled paper To be added to, or taken off, the email list for Whistlestop Express, please call 415-456-9062, ext. 141. Or send an email, with your request, your name and address to INFO@whistlestop.org. Subscriptions mailed to your home are $10/year.
Whistlestop Express DECEMBER 2011
e n e r o s i t y, ly that he needed to get the theme of out and meet other peothis month’s ple. This man was my Whistlestop Express, husband, Robie Nelson shows up in many Harrison. He started forms. For Jean Harcoming in every day for rison, 70, of Greenlunch, making friends brae, giving back is with everyone, singing the way she expresssongs, telling naughty es gratitude for all jokes, sweet -ta l k ing that the Active Agthe ladies. He contining Center has done for her and ued coming to Whistlestop unher late husband, Robie, who til 2008. He died in 2009 at the died in 2009, after 45 years of age of 90. His doctors firmly marriage. believed that Whistlestop had Folks who eat regularly at a lot to do with his making it the Jackson Café know Jean to that age. His disease had for her friendly smile and not progressed all that much voice and the smooth way she and the daily interactions, handles cashier duties at the movement/exercise and nutriJackson Café. She also sometious meals helped to extend times helps to set up tables his life. and serve lunches. She has “After Robie died, I realbeen volunteering at Whisized what a big part of his tlestop for nine years. She and my life Whistlestop says in her melodic voice, that had been. I am truly grateshe really appreciates Whisful that we found Whistlestop because, “For a lot of tlestop when we fi rst moved older people, the only interacto California. It has been, tion they get with others is and continues to be, a great when they come here.” The resource. I have been a volTexas twang comes from her unteer here for nine years 38 years in Houston, although because I believe in what the originally Jean organization is doing.” comes from Virginia. Besides working She recently talked ‘His doctors in the Café, Jean about her husband firmly also has helped with and what Whistlestop other activities, believed that such as decorating meant to him: “ T here was th is Whistlestop for special events ma n, in h is ea rly and luncheons. Her had a lot to 80s, who began comfavorite job is serving to Whistlestop do with his ing food and talkin 2002. He had just with people. “It making it to ing been diagnosed with makes me feel good Alzheimer’s and his that age.’ to interact with doctor told his famithem.” ✦
The most important guessing game you’ll ever play B y J A N I C E WA L L AC E, t h e E l d e r c a r e Co a c h
here’s been a lot of talk lately about how drugs are being used to cope with challenging behaviors in elders as the first resort. Instead of investigating the reasons for difficult behaviors and trying non-drug interventions first, a patient or resident is likely to receive some type of anti-psychotic medication. Elder patients are at risk for more serious side effects including death as a result of these drugs. As family members, discovering the reasons for a behavior change can be our most important guessing game. Here are some tips to guess with success: Start with the perspective that you will try multiple interventions outside of medication before going with a drug. If your family member is already receiving medications to address difficult behavior, still seek physical and environmental causes and interventions with the hope that the drugs can be removed or reduced. 1. If your family member works with outside caregivers, enlist their help or support. What has changed in your family member’s environment? Have they observed your family member grimacing or favoring a part of their body? Have they noticed that the bad behavior is related to a certain activity or time of day? 2. Check the physical basics. Does your family member have any wounds or sores that could be causing discomfort? Don’t forget to check or ask them about their teeth and mouth. 3. More physical basics: could they be constipated or having other digestive issues? 4. Has anything about their current prescriptions been changed recently? I attended an educational program recently and a doctor who was lecturing about prescription drugs and seniors said, “Assume any change is a side effect of a recently prescribed drug.” 5. When was the last time your family member went to the doctor? 6. What has changed in your family member’s environment? Is there a new caregiver? 7. What changes might you make to the environment or routine that might make a positive difference. ✦
GIVE THE GIFT OF HOPE We are seeking grants and donations to supplement the cost of HBOT for those who can’t afford it. HBOT has a proven track record of aiding people suffering from conditions that are extremely difﬁcult to treat by conventional methods alone. In the last year we have provided supplementation for HBOT treatment to eighteen individuals.
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