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Whistlestop MAY 2011

E press The Leading Information Resource for Marin's Active Aging Movement

Are You Ready for Disaster? Red Cross Offers Tips


o you know what to do in an earthquake? How will you reconnect with your family following a major disaster? Do you have the right items in your disaster kit? In the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, we all need to be able to answer YES to all of these questions. Every person in the Bay Area needs to ensure they are personally prepared for disaster. Only in this way will all of us in the community be able to ensure the safety of our families and assist our neighbors.   The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter offers free, non-certificate courses in a variety of formats to ensure your family, community, school and workplace are prepared for all types of disasters.   Be Red Cross Ready Online Course: You can take an online training course to learn more about how you can get your family prepared for disaster. The training will walk you through the three most important steps you can take

Rocky Packard page 4

Alejandro Mendoza-Castillo with American Red Cross disaster kits at Whistlestop. Alejandro is manager, Latino Community Preparedness, Bay Area Chapter. The kits are available for $39 at now to get you prepared. What will you do if you can’t return to your home after a fire or flood? Do you know what to do to protect yourself in an earthquake? Try This Check List: Find out how you measure up

The Bird's Side of Marin page 11

with the American Red Cross "Readiness Richter Scale" by taking this short quiz to assess your level of preparedness. Give yourself one point for each step you have taken toward getting prepared.

continued on page 3 Grand Mom Older Adults and Creativity page 14

Table of

CONTENTS 4 5 6 7 8/9 10 11 13 14 15

From Rocky's Pantry Rocky Packard Japan Disaster Benefits Still Time for Randall Golf Tourney Pet Disaster Tips At Whistlestop Whistlestop Activities The Bird's Side of Marin Richard Pavek Financial Nuggets Jeff Stoffer Grand Mom Audrey Mettel Fixmer WordSearch Puzzle


PERSPECTIVE by john bowman Herb Rosen: Whistlestop was there when I needed them

Herb and Maggie Rosen in 1978 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 Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Stoffer Secretary, Michael Hingson Karen Arnold • Claudia Fromm • Jane Lott Debbie Mills • Michael Rice • Bill Saul 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 Information & Referral Office 415-459-6700 • Whistlestop Express Editorial, Art Direction & Sales John & Val Bowman Editors 916-751-9189 • Missy Reynolds Art Director 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 Subscriptions mailed to your home are $10/year.


Whistlestop Express May 2011


erbert Rosen of Mill Valley says he will never forget Whistlestop because during a critical period of his life, “They were there when I needed them.” Rosen, 88, is speaking about the two years prior to his wife Maggie’s death in June 2010. He was unable to drive but, “Every other day for two years, I was able to travel from our home in Mill Valley to the nursing home in Novato to visit her. I could not have done it without Whistlestop Wheels.” He still uses the buses occasionally, but neighbors take him to most appointments these days. He tears up as he talks about his beloved Maggie and he will be forever grateful to Whistlestop drivers and staff. “Because I rode the buses so often,” Rosen said, “I was able to observe the empathy, patience and kindness those drivers show to people. As a former

social worker for 50 years, I have a special appreciation for the kind of organization Whistlestop is – a personal service organization.” Rosen said he feels he is a Whistlestop Poster Boy. “It’s a lifeline to thousands of people. Where would I be without them? Where would all of those people be? It’s very moving. All those years I was a social worker, I never dreamed that I would one day be in need of such services, but when my time came, there they were. I am very grateful. “I always encourage people to contribute to Whistlestop and I continue to do so myself. It’s a place where your contribution is going to go far.” Rosen shares the story about a ride on Whistlestop Wheels that transformed his outlook. He said he was getting impatient because the bus was running behind schedule and it was evident that he would not get home as soon as he had hoped. “Then, we stopped at a dialysis center and the driver very patiently helped the person board. I thought to myself, ‘What am I complaining about? ’ It gave me perspective.” F

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Pleased to be armed with their American Red Cross disaster kits at Whistlestop are, from left: Oscar Valdiviezo, Susana Narvaez, Lastenia Reales, Mercedes Cari, Marino Carlos, Elvia Quesada. The Readiness Richter Scale m I have made a disaster plan. m My loved ones and I have identified two meeting places after a disaster. m My loved ones and I have identified an outof-area phone contact. m My loved ones and I have identified escape routes out of our home and neighborhood. m I have built a disaster supplies kit. m I have a supply of food, water and personal items for all members of my household (a minimum of three days and up to two weeks recommended). m I have a flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries. m I have a well-stocked first aid kit. m I have been informed about disaster risks and responses. m I have learned what disasters may occur in my area and how they might affect my loved ones and me. m I have learned how to stay informed during a disaster by tuning into my battery-powered radio or, when available, watching TV, logging on to the Internet or listening for local emergency warning systems. m I have learned how to drop, cover and hold on in case of an earthquake, to shelter-in-place if needed and to evacuate safely or signal for help if I am unable to exit in case of a fire. m I am currently certified in first aid and CPR. Scoring 9.0-10.0 = Master of Disaster 8.0 = Ready for Almost Anything 7.0 = A Solid Foundation F

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From Rocky's




Jackson Café Creamed Spinach


his is an excellent side dish for just about everything and it’s quick and easy. By serving this dish with a piece of grilled salmon over the top of the spinach, you have a very respectable entrée. It can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator to be served up to 24 hours in advance. Servings: 4

415 4572256

Join the Fun at Marin Human Race May 7th


he annual Marin Human Race is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, and you can register to run or walk in the race on that morning. The MHR benefits Whis- Whistlestop Team in 2010 tlestop and other nonprofits Marin Human Race in Marin County. Whistlestop has a team scheduled to compete in the race and has a goal to raise $6,000. To support Whistlestop’s effort, contact Rebecca Lack, Communications Assistant, at Same day registration begins at 7 am and continues until 10 am on May 7. The 5K Race starts at 8:30 am and the kids race at 9:30 am. Also, ask about the wheelchair divisions. The fee to enter is $25. All proceeds go to the fundraiser for the various organizations. Other highlights: a pancake breakfast; several bands providing live music; various booths; refreshments and prizes to winners. F 4

Whistlestop Express May 2011

2 tbsp. 1/2 2 1/2 pint 1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp. Pinch 1 lb.

butter yellow onion, medium, diced scallions, thinly diced heavy cream salt black pepper nutmeg frozen spinach, defrosted and thoroughly drained (squeeze out all of the water)

Melt butter in sauté pan. Sauté the onions and scallions until they start to caramelize. Then add the cream, spices and the prepared spinach. Bring up to a simmer and serve. Per Serving: 256 Calories; 28g Fat; 19 Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 97mg Cholesterol; 347mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5 1/2 Fat. F

Marin Academy Steps Up for Victims of Japan Disaster


hen students in Hideko Akashi’s Japanese Four class at Marin Academy (MA) heard about the disaster in Japan, they immediately thought about their friends in Tokyo. The MA students had visited Japan two years ago and established a sister school relationship with a school there. Akashi said that when news of the earthquake and tsunami reached her students, they began contacting some of their friends in Tokyo by email and on Facebook. “They were quite concerned,” she said, “and they quickly responded.” As it turned out, the Tokyo school and students were not affected by the disaster as the earthquake and tsunami occurred far away from Tokyo. None of Hideko’s family members who live in Japan were directly affected. The MA students were eager to reach out to those suffering in the affected areas, so they and Akashi organized a benefit concert that attracted about 200 people and raised $5,000 in one night. Performing at the concert were professional Taiko drummers and the

MA acoustic band. “The student band was great,” Akashi said. “You wouldn’t believe these were 17- and 18-year-olds.” The money raised came from ticket sales, a raffle and generous donations from parents and students. The Taiko drummers were from the class of San Francisco Taiko Dojo Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka. Hideko has trained with the group for 12 years and drummed at the MA benefit. She also teaches 15 boys and girls Taiko drumming at MA. Proceeds from the concert went to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Hideko said that the MA Senate also donated nearly $400 to the cause and the MA Rock Band another $300. F

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omforts Café of San Anselmo donated 2% of its gross sales from March 28th to April 1st to the American Red Cross for the emergency support and relief fund to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims. Erin Miwa said her parents, Glenn and Laura Miwa, owners of the café and take-out deli, wanted to reach out to the people of Japan because the disaster has been so heartbreaking. The idea was Glenn’s, a third-generation Japanese-American. The Miwas have family still living in Japan but no one was affected by the disaster. Erin said, “People were so supportive. Many people heard about what we were doing and came to the café expressly for that reason. In fact, many of them stocked up with extra items just to help with the cause.”

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Whistlestop Express May 2011

ou can still sign up for the 5th Annual Jerry Randall Golf Tournament scheduled for June 11 at the StoneTree Golf Club in Novato. Proceeds from the tournament will go to support Whistlestop services. The Randall family, including Jerry’s widow Kathy Randall, see the tournament as a way to honor the qualities that they love most about him. “I never could have imagined that this small gathering would have evolved into such a wonderful event,” Kathy said. “The people who come have such a good time and Jerry would be so pleased that this good time benefits Whistlestop as well.” After retiring from his job at Sears, Jerry was a Whistlestop Wheels bus driver for four years. His daughter, Kate Bailey, when asked, “What does the tournament mean to you?” replied, “Simpublication: Directory ply put, our dad enjoyed having a good time and x 5”h more size: than3.875”w anything, he cherished time spent with family and friends. Whether at family gatherings, playing sports or at work, he thrived on other people’s fun and enjoyment. He started playing golf after he retired, around the time he began working for Whistlestop. He loved the pace, challenge and camaraderie golf provides. Through this tournament, we are able to honor the qualities we loved most about him – his love of sport and competition, and his delight in time spent with loved ones, all while supporting an organization of which he was proud to be a part.” Mike Randall, Jerry’s son, added, “For me, this tournament is a chance to reflect on my dad and what he meant to me and how he loved being around family and friends. If he were here, he would not have enjoyed all of the attention brought upon him. He was a very humble man. However, he truly would have been happy to be part of an event that helps others, which he was great at.” Kate agrees: “Our dad was a humble and selfless man and likely would have been overwhelmed by the generosity expressed by present and past participation in the event.” It’s not too late to play in this tournament. Call now to get registered: 415-686-2311. Or go to This is a great way to play golf with friends while helping a worthy cause. F

Post Sign Saying How Many Pets You Have for Benefit of Emergency Rescue Workers


he Marin Humane Society (MHS) has organized a countywide animal disaster plan in the event of a disaster or emergency. Following are some tips: Before Disaster Strikes Identify Your Pet: Keep your pet’s license current and make sure that a collar with identification tag is worn at all times. Consider getting a safe, permanent microchip for your pet. Crate Train Your Pet: Train your cat or dog to enter a carrier on command. Do this by putting your pet’s favorite treat in the carrier and sounding a bell at the same time. Repeat this process daily, until your pet comes running at the sound of the bell. This training will be helpful in locating frightened pets and transporting them quickly to safety. Secure Birdcages and Fish Tanks: Because these items may move and/or break during a disaster, securing them on low stands or tables will be helpful. Also, tighten the latch on your birdcage so that the door cannot be shaken open easily. Develop a Neighborhood Plan: Get to know your neighbors and their pets. Keep an updated list of their home, work and mobile phone numbers and select a neighborhood coordinator who will be ready to assist should a disaster occur when you are not home. It is best that this person spends a lot of time at home or works within walking distance of the neighborhood. Select one or two back-up coordinators. Prepare a First Aid Kit. Check the Marin Humane Society website for items to include. www. After a Disaster In Case of Evacuation: Red Cross shelters do

not accept pets. So, prepare a list of back-up arrangements, such as homes of friends and family, hotels that allow pets, boarding facilities, veterinary hospitals, and/or animal shelters. It is generally not recommended that you leave your pet behind when evacuating, but if you must, follow these guidelines to help ensure your pet’s safety: • Post a highly visible sign in a window to let rescue workers know how many pets were left behind. • Leave plenty of water in a large, open container which cannot be tipped over. • Leave food in timed feeders (check local pet stores). These will prevent your pet from eating a week’s worth of food in one day. • Do not tie or cage your pet, as the chances for survival are greater if your pet can escape easily. If Your Pet Becomes Lost: Immediately call or visit the nearest animal shelter to report your missing pet. • When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute “Lost Animal” posters, which should include your name, home address and phone number (posters available at MHS or online). • Call neighbors or service workers, such as mail carriers, police, firefighters and/or utility workers, for leads. F

In March, the Corazon Latino Social Club was so thrilled when Juan Antonio Canon came by to entertain them with his guitar. These ladies got the dancing started and soon the room was filled with people dancing, clapping, and having such a wonderful time! Rumor has it he may come again soon. 7

Keep Learning at


Beginning Computer/Picture Class 1st & 2nd Fridays 2 to 4pm Computer Room | Fee: $15 Instructor: Gene Dyer Prerequisite: Basic Computer Skills Registration Required: call 415-459-6700 Learn to transfer your digital photos from a camera, CD or flash drive onto your computer and how to send and receive them with your friends and family by attaching them to emails. Bring camera and cable. Advanced Computer/Picture Class 3rd Friday • 2 to 4pm Computer Room Fee: $15 Instructor: Gene Dyer Prerequisite: Beginning Pictures Class Registration required: call 459-6700 Learn how to tell a picture story on computer monitors and TVs in slide shows, using Word, PDF, Power Point Presentations and movie formats. Whistlestop Art Projects Group Enter the Marin County Fair Friday, May 6 • Noon to 1:30pm Caboose | Instructor: Celeste Parcell Register: call 456-9062 Join the fun and create an art project to submit to the Marin County Fair! This year’s theme is the Golden Gate. Last year, several Whistlestop members won ribbons in various categories. One of the categories is pennant making, so we will have blank ones here for you to decorate. Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) 4th Tuesday • 1:30 to 3:30pm Box Car | Free Schedule appointment: call 1-800-434-0222 Need help to understand Medicare, Medicare 8

Whistlestop Express May 2011

Advantage (HMO), Medi-gap, long term care insurance, and billing and claims issues? Free counseling available at Whistlestop. Marin County District Attorney's Victim-Witness Program 1st & 4th Thursdays • 9 to Noon Lounge If you or someone you know have either been a victim of a crime or have witnessed a crime, Yolanda Johnson, Advocate from the District Attorney's office will be available to meet with you to answer questions, provide information and connect you to resources. Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Presentation Wednesday, May 4 Spanish: 11 to Noon • instructor: Alejandro Castillo English: 1 to 2pm • instructor: Nora Lee Cornett Caboose | Free Information: call 456-9062 Learn about key actions to prepare you and your loved ones for all types of disasters, such as earthquakes and fires. Course emphasizes immediate disaster safety and personal preparedness topics such as disaster plans and essential supplies. Includes health and mobility considerations and the need for personal support networks. Course can be presented in participatory discussion format or as “R-E-A-D-Y” bingo game in which the squares on the bingo cards include disaster preparedness tips. Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Thursday, May 5 • Noon to 1:30pm Jackson Café | Fee: $6 for older adults, $9 under 60 Reservations required: call 415-456-9062 Menu: turkey mole, aromatic spiced grain rice, corn pudding, guacamole, natillas custard with fresh fruit and biscochitos. Please join us for a delicious meal and live entertainment by the Latino Group from Terra Linda High School! Marin Caregivers Forum Thursday, May 5 • 5 to 7pm Jackson Café | Sponsors: Seniors At Home, Whistlestop, and IHSS Public Authority of Marin Reservations: call 499-1024 x10 or email What every caregiver needs to know about care and compassion at the end of life.

Restore & Improve Your Balance Training Class Tuesday & Thursday • May 10 –June 2 • 2 to 3pm Jackson Café | Fee: $75 for 8 classes Instructor: Thomas Attardi, BS, MA, NMT Registration Required: call 456-9062 In the Balance Class, you will learn how balance works, why your balance may be deteriorating, and how you can safely implement very simple exercises to train your balance. We will learn the best exercises for stronger legs to prevent falls and safe guard our risks of injury. We will also cover what to do if we fall. Dollars & Sense: Money Management and Budgeting Strategies for Every Phase of Life It is never too late to improve your financial health. Thursday, May 12 • 2 to 4pm Jackson Café | Presenter: Seniors Resource Forum Reservations: call 456-9062 or 459-0413 Includes: budgeting your way to financial security, what you don’t know about credit cards can hurt you, 10 simple savings strategies and planning ahead strategies! After the presentation, get your questions answered concerning affordable housing, family legal issues, geriatric care management, geriatric psychological issues, home care, long-term care and Medicare Insurance, professional fiduciary assistance. Whistlestop and Cedars of Marin Present the Spring 2011 Art Show Friday, May 20 • 11:30 to 12:30pm Lounge Featuring original artwork by individuals with disabilities who attend Cedars of Marin Victory Center. Meet the artists who created works of art that include painting, jewelry, cards, and “Out of Sight” knitting. Wellness Talk and Trigger Point Massage Sessions Friday, May 27 • 2 to 4pm Jackson Café | Free | Reservations: call 456-9062 Presenter: Dr. Paul Podwojski, Chiropractor Learn timeless principles of healing to enable you to live a healthier life, naturally. B�tt�r��� ��ll Ph�n� �xt�n����h�r F��d

This wellness talk teaches you what to expect when you make the choice to actively change the way you are taking part in your health care. Topics include: stress, headaches, healthy living to 100, and nutrition/weight loss/eating for maximum performance. Volunteer Opportunities • Licensed Chiropractor to volunteer two hours a month • Work with older adults in the Information & Referral Office. Must be able to commit to one day a week for three hours. Computer experience required. • Jackson Café volunteer servers • Lounge Hostess Information: email Debbie at or call 456-9062.

Transportation Numbers Scheduling Rides: 454-0964 Cancelling Rides: 457-4630 Eligibility Coordinator, Janet Van Rijsbergen 456-9062, ext. 160


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fridays thursdays wednesdays tuesdays



This Month at Whistlestop CLASS

10:00–11:00 AM AM Monday 10:30–NOON Persian Group 11:00–NOON Computer Literacy 11:00–12:30 PM German Group 11:10–NOON Movement & Music 2:00–4:00 PM ESL 4:00–5:30 PM Citizenship




Caboose 2 Lounge Computer Lab TBD Caboose Caboose/Café Caboose

457-0586 for info 472-6020 for info Open Open March 28-May 16 Jan 24th-May 18th 454-0998 for info

Free Free Free Free Free Free Free

9:15–10:30 AM 10:00–2:00 PM 10:45–11:45 AM 11:00–12:30 1:00–3:00 PM 2:00–3:30 PM

Whistlesizers Asian Group Cardio Exercise German Group Spanish Class English Conversation

Caboose Caboose Caboose TBD Caboose Board Room

Open 454-1552 for info Open Open Open 454-0998 for info

$2 Free Free Free Free Free

9:00–10:30 AM 10:00–11:30 AM 10:00–NOON 10:30–NOON 11:00–NOON 2:00–4:00 PM

Tai Chi Qigong Seniors' Circle Computer Lab Persian Group Corazón Latino ESL

Caboose Board Room Computer Lab Lounge Caboose Caboose/Café

Suggested Donation Open Open 472-6020 for info Open Jan 24th-May 18th

$10 Free Free Free Free Free

9:15–10:30 AM 10:00–2:00 PM 10:30–NOON 2:00-3:30 PM 2:00–4:00 PM

Whistlesizers Asian Group Watercolors with Hilda English Conversation Remembrance Writing

Caboose Caboose Lounge Caboose Board Room

Open 454-1552 for info Open 454-0998 for info Open

$2 Free Free Free $5

11:00–1:00 PM 1:30–3:30 PM 1:30–3:30 PM 2:00–4:00 PM 2:00–4:00 PM

Loom Knitting ACASA Spanish Club Friday Movie Arts & Crafts w/Vicky

Caboose Board Room Caboose Jackson Café Caboose

1st Fri. Arts & Crafts Peer Counseling Open Free Snacks/Drinks 457-0586 for info

Free Free Free Free $2-$3

The Caboose, Computer Lab, Board Room and Jackson Café are all located at Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center – 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael.

Lunch Menu

Jackson Café


Monday-Friday 11:30am-1:30pm Located in Whistlestop Active Aging Center

60+ Prices/ Under 60 Prices Main Entrée $4.00/$6.75 Turkey Sandwich $3.00/$4.00 Soup $1.75/$2.00 Hamburger $4.25/$5.25 Pizza $4.00/$5.00 Salads $2.50/$4.00

Whistlestop Express May 2011

Other Items Tuna Salad Side Fresh Fruit Cup Desserts Beverages

$1.25 $1.00 $1.50 $1.00

The Bird's Side


b y R I C H A R D PAV E K

Top: Black-collared, Juvenile Far Left: Roadside Hawk Left: Great Black Hawk

One Black Feather


ou might notice a single jet-black flight feather on the right wing of this juvenile Black-collared Hawk and wonder why one, why not one on each wing? Because this is a late-stage juvenile just beginning to molt, casting off its worn, ragged feathers one at a time in order to grow new ones. Obviously, a bird can’t cast off all its feathers at once or it wouldn’t be able to fly. But one at a time only diminishes

flight capability a very small amount – you often see ospreys and hawks flying with several gaps in their wings. They can’t lift as large a prey as when fully feathered but they can still hunt and feed themselves. This feather is black because it is the first of the new ones to grow in and the adult flight feathers of this hawk are jet-black, not brownish like the juveniles. I photographed this hawk on a recent trip to Belize where there is a wealth of bird life and where, fortunately for me, the “native” language is

English. (My Spanish is muy puny.) They speak English because the country was formerly British Honduras. The other two hawks are also from Belize, a Roadside Hawk who spent several minutes screaming at the sky for no apparent reason and a magnificent Great Black Hawk. (If you subscribed to my weekly bird email list – it’s free, you just have to ask – the Great Black Hawk would have been in your in-box Saturday March 19th.) F Till next time, Richard, 11

Give the gift of health‌

Therapeutic Yoga For Older Adults

YOGa Yoga toTO YouYOu

Give the gift of health‌ Š Therapeutic Yoga For Older Adults

Stand Up for Your Health: How You Can Help Prevent Falling


s you get older, it’s natural to have slower reflexes and reaction time. You may also experience changes in your balance. All these factors Yog a t o Yo u seeks to share the ancient wisdom found in yoga, YOGa TO YOu seeks to share the ancient wisdom now widely embraced by integrated medicine that underscore can contribute to found yoga, now widely integratedand an increased risk of the healthinbenefits of yoga. We embraced take Yo ga by to individuals groups in their homes,the or in assisted living medicine thatprivate underscore health benefi ts centers, of yoga. nursing homes, independent living sites, and other residential falling. We take Yoga to individuals and groups in their care facilities for older adults. “Falls contribute to potential fractures and Call for a Freeor demonstration private homes, in assistedtoday! living centers, hospital stays—and increased dependency,â€? says Dr. independent Melanie Hahn nursing homes, living sites, and other Sue Edelstein, a Kaiser Permanente physical • residential care facilities for older adults. therapist who teaches a Fall Prevention class. (O) 415.927.8123 Š 415.215.9722 Call for a Free demonstration today! “There are lots of simple and common-sense steps you can take to prevent falls.â€? Dr. Melanie Hahn )NFO YOGA TO YOUCOMsHTTPYOGA TO YOUCOM Start with these five tips: s 1. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help your balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination. For example, a Tai Chi class can improve your balance. Walking, dancing, or bicycling can build your strength. Š


At Kisco Senior Living we’re about nurturing the mind, body and spirit, continuing the process of personal growth and having a newfound sense of connection to others. We call it SM The Art of Living Well.

(415) 491-1935 Lic # 216801028 275 Los Ranchitos Road San Rafael, CA 94903 WWW.KISCOSENIORLIVING.COM FOLLOW US ONLINE


Whistlestop Express May 2011

2. Get your vision checked regularly. Poor vision makes it difficult to find your way around. 3. Review your medications with your doctor. Some drugs, or drug combinations, can cause dizziness or drowsiness. 4. Make your home safe. About one-half of all falls happen in or around the home. Remove clutter from the floor, make sure rugs and mats are skidproof, wear shoes with low heels, put in handrails along stairways, and install grab bars next to your toilet and in the shower or tub. 5. Make time for regular health checkups. You should also get your hearing and blood pressure checked. High blood pressure and poor hearing can both contribute to falls. When it comes to falls, an ounce of prevention can prevent a pound of pain. Also check our Whistlestop's Balance Class on page 9. F


Nuggets by Jeff Stoffer, cFa, cfpÂŽ

Estate Planning Tips that Don’t Require a Lawyer


state planning attorney Jessica Garrett of Larkspur shares some useful information designed to address problems we face when passing our property on to loved ones. These tips are especially helpful because they don’t require a lawyer to implement. But please understand, this is general advice. Make sure it applies to your specific situation before taking action. I can personally recommend this first tip, having had experience with it. Make sure your vehicle is registered jointly under both your and your spouse’s (or other loved one’s) names. Otherwise, following the death of the sole registered owner, you would have to go to the DMV to transfer the title and then register the vehicle in your name. If you are already on the title, the ownership of the car is clear; you simply have to remove the other person’s name, alleviating stress at a difficult time. Jessica’s second tip is to check the beneficiaries on your IRA, annuity and life insurance policies. Designating your heirs allows these accounts to pass directly to them, avoiding probate. If you own a life insurance policy and you are the insured, make certain the beneficiary is not your estate. This could cause the policy to go into probate, adding expense and becoming part of the public record – complications for your family. You can also avoid probate for checking, savings and brokerage accounts by establishing what are known as Pay on Death and Transfer on Death accounts. To set up a Pay on Death account, simply go to your bank and supply the legal name of the beneficiary. You are assured that your loved one inherits the account and avoids probate. Another way to ensure the seamless transfer of a bank account or property to a family member upon your death is to hold it in joint tenancy. You will need to become fully knowledgeable about this choice. It only makes sense if you do not have a trust. A joint tenancy ac-

count would be appropriate for a single person, a widow or widower, who has a child or other relative helping to care for him or her (not a paid caregiver). This arrangement gives the relative joint ownership and immediate access to the account. Consider consulting an attorney on this suggestion. We want to make sure our treasures pass to the people we treasure. These tips will help ensure our wishes survive us. F Jeff Stoffer is on the Whistlestop Board.


(415) 332-3300



CA LIC. #550001360

Sonoma Serenity Home




CA. Lic#496800094 13


MOM by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

Creating: Sharing God’s Magic


t’s common knowledge that a key to growing old gracefully is keeping active mentally and physically. I would like to add another dimension to that formula: creativity. Growing creatively has been happening from the time we picked up our first crayon or used dolls or trucks to act out our fantasy -- to that moment, years later, when we were awestruck at the sight of our first offspring. In the years that followed, we were still in awe observing our children growing and creating their own personalities. As parents we were continually learning new skills of parenting, budgeting, homemaking, teaching, making a living. And later, we have grandparenting and gardening, where we again partner with God in creation. For the first 20 years of my retirement from full-time teaching, I found a creative outlet in teaching a class at the local college called Writing Your Life Story. For three hours a week my students (mostly other retirees) learned a few things from me, and more from each other, as they read their stories aloud. We laughed and cried together through all of those treasured experiences, and formed lifelong friendships. We still meet monthly at a public library to share our stories. I am thrilled to see that many of my students have published books of their stories along with photos for their own offspring. One woman visits nursing homes and writes “life stories” for people who can no longer write their own. She also crochets lap robes for sick or elderly friends (includ-

WELCOME HOME TO TAM HOUSE! Comfortable, Community Living for Independent Seniors 63+ from $700/month Roomsow! Open N Call: 457-5633 14

Whistlestop Express May 2011

ing me.) One younger student decided to write her father’s amazing life story. When she asked why she had never heard these stories before, he replied, “I didn’t think anyone would care.” Meanwhile, I am happy doing creative knitting for my offspring. I finished a Green Bay Packer sweater for my great-grandson, Gavin, on the eve of their stunning Super Bowl victory, and I am now happily creating a cozy cardigan for my daughter, Elizabeth. With a family the size of mine, I won’t run out of projects for many years to come. Creating stories, creating homes and gardens, creating families, creating art: It is all part of sharing in God’s magic, and who knows? One of our descendants may end up finding us on the TV show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Audrey lives and creates in Wisconsin. Her column also appears in a Catholic Diocesan paper there. F

Marin Prostate Cancer Support Group


he Marin Prostate Cancer Support Group, which has been in existence since 1989, meets every Tuesday evening in the Marin General Hospital Medical Library from 7 to 8:30 pm. The group has 550 active members. There is no fee to participate. “Though we are lay people, we have a deep knowledge base and a wealth of personal experiences involving the disease,” says group member Tom Palmer of San Rafael. “We welcome men who have been diagnosed and are undergoing or have undergone treatment to tell their stories. We also welcome spouses, partners, and friends.” Some important facts: Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men. More than 2 million American men are currently living with prostate cancer, according to estimates. One new case of prostate cancer occurs every 2.4 minutes. A non-smoking man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop colon, bladder, melanoma, lymphoma, and kidney cancers combined. Tom Palmer can be contacted at 415-499-7601. For more information about prostate cancer, log onto

Easy Ways to Give to

WHISTLESTOP (And to Do Something Good for an Older Adult) Good Search – simply go to and when you search the Internet using their search engine, Whistlestop gets a donation! GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It’s a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it’s powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend a dime.

eScrip – has created a system that rewards customer loyalty by contributing a percentage of purchases made at participating stores to nonprofits. Go to, register, and pick Whistlestop as your charity, and then shop at the many participating stores. eScrip Recycling – simply drop off your used laser/ toner and inkjet cartridges, used cell phones, digital cameras, iPods, GPS devices and laptops at Whistlestop’s front office and we will recycle them and get a small donation. Car and Vehicle Donation – Car Donation Services: 1-888-686-4483.

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80-Year-Old Among Marin Advocates for Children Honorees



��r� Bl�n��t teachers, community leaders, health and safety B�tt�r��� Bl���h – anyone who B���� has had staff, and business owners ��ll Ph�n� �l�th�� ���n� �xt�n����h�r F���l� a positive impact in the lifeD�����nt� of a child.F�n�n���l P�p�r� F��d ����� ��rb��� B��� For more information about MAC, contact �nf�nt F�r��l� �n��r�n�� P�l����� J����t Dr�pp�r ��d���n�� ���� ��t� Mollie ��d���n� Squires at 415-507-9016 or email her at P�p�r Pl�t�� P�p�r T���l� P�n P�n��l Pl��t�� T��� P�zzl�� R�d�� F ��r� Bl�n��t ��t�r ��t�r f�r P�t�

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Assisted Living | Memory Care Assisted Living | Care AssistedDrive, LivingSan | Memory Memory Care 515 Northgate Rafael, CA 94903

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AlmaVia of San Rafael, an Elder Care Alliance community is cosponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the AmericasofWest Community & Alliance the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran AlmaVia San Midwest Rafael, an Elder Care community is cosponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the AlmaVia San Rafael, anLic Elder Care Alliance community is cosponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Church inofWest America. RCFE # 216801868. Americas Midwest Community & the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Americas West Midwest Community & the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. RCFE Lic # 216801868. Church in America. RCFE Lic # 216801868.


Whistlestop Express May 2011

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Whistlestop Express May 2011  

The leading information resource for Marin's active aging movement