Category Archives: Senior Living

Annual Wearin’ o’ the Green to benefit CAREGIVERS

Play will be followed by a traditional Irish feast.

The 25th Annual McGrath Family Wearin’ o’ the Green returns on March 17  to benefit CAREGIVERS: Volunteers Assisting the Elderly.

At the centerpiece of this annual event, which is being presented by Danny’s Deli & Grill with Jack & Wendy Collings, is the Norm Weitzel Open.  The tournament, one of the original fundraising events established to benefit CAREGIVERS, dates back to 1992 when Ventura locals Jack Collings and Norm Weitzel raised the first $1,546.  Following Weitzel’s death in 2014, the tournament was renamed–in perpetuity–The Norm Weitzel Open.

In 2015, The McGrath Family stepped up by adopting the St. Patrick’s Day tradition as their way of showing their commitment to CAREGIVERS and Ventura County seniors.

Last year, in Ventura County, CAREGIVERS served more than 800 frail seniors thanks to dedicated student and adult volunteers.  This included 65,587 hours of volunteer time–all at no cost thanks to the Ventura County community and donor support.

Sponsors for the 2017 program include The McGrath Family, Danny’s Deli & Grill with Jack & Wendy Collings, The Weitzel Family, Collings & Associates, Former Ventura Mayor Jack Tingstrom, Gallery & Workshop, Bill & Elise Kearney; Ginny & Bob Camarillo, Gold Coast Health Plan, Hishmeh Enterprises, MediTech Health Services, Law Offices of John D. L. McBride; Vitas Healthcare; Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Centers; Coast to Coast Computer Products; and TransAmerica Financial Advisors.  Leprechaun sponsors include Signarama; Roadrunner Shuttle and SMART (Senior Marketing Alliance Round Table). Cash and Hole-In-One Contests are sponsored by DCH Toyota of Oxnard, William L. Morris Chevrolet, Kirby Auto Group and The Bunker Indoor Golf.

Individual player spots start at $150.  Shotgun start is 9 a.m. at Buenaventura Golf Course, followed by a traditional Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage.  Auction and raffle prizes are generously donated by the business community.

For information about CAREGIVERS and the 25th Annual McGrath Family Wearin’ o’ the Green presented by Danny’s Deli & Grill with Jack & Wendy Collings, call  658-8530 or visit .




Vol. 10, No. 11 – March 1 – March 14, 2017 – Livingston Memorial

Free community education classes and events

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association supports the total well-being of our community.  As part of their services, they host free monthly education classes throughout the county which include the following in Ventura and Ojai:

Social Services/Bereavement Groups

Ojai: Caregiver Support Group  Mondays,  March 6th and 20th from 10:00 am – 11:30 am at Continuous Care Center, Fireside Room, 1306 Maricopa Hwy.  Find encouragement and hope during your time as a caregiver.  Share, listen and explore thoughts and feelings about the struggles, losses and successes of caring for your loved one. For more information call 633-9056.

Ojai: Adult Bereavement Support Group March 14th and 28th (2nd & 4th Tuesdays) 10:30 am-noon at Help of Ojai, West Campus 370 Baldwin Rd. These groups are open to individuals who have experienced loss and are free of charge. Call 642-0239 for more information or email

Ventura: Adult Bereavement Support Group Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 6:30-8:00 pm at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association office, 1996 Eastman Ave., Suite 109.    These groups are open to individuals who have experienced loss and are free of charge. Call 642-0239 for more information or email

Ventura: Newly Bereaved Support Group Thursday, March 9th from 6-7:30 pm at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association office.  This monthly group is designed for adults who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one and is free. Call 642-0239 for more information or email  These groups meet every 2nd Thursday of each month.

Diabetes Class Ventura: Tuesday, March 7th from 1-2:30pm at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association.  These meetings are held on 1st Tuesday of each month.  General information is provided about Type 2 Diabetes including prediabetes, with emphasis on meal planning, medication, exercise, blood sugar monitoring, and new developments in diabetes.  Call 642-0239 for more information.

Joint Replacement Classes Ventura: Thursday, March 2nd from 1:00-2:00pm at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association office. You will learn what to expect before, during and after knee or hip replacement surgery and how to be an active participant in your care. These meetings are 1st Thursday of each month.  For information or to RSVP call Dinah Davis at (805) 642-0239 ext. 739.

Ventura: Monday, March 13th for both English and Spanish speaking.  English 4:00-5:00 pm and Spanish 5:30-6:30 pm at Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association. You will learn what to expect before, during and after knee or hip replacement surgery and how to be an active participant in your care.  For information or to RSVP call Dinah Davis at  642-0239 ext. 739.

Finding a good nursing home

“Well darling  this looked much nicer in the brochure.”

by Greg Dill Greg Dill- Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories.

One recent Sunday morning, I woke up to a text message from a coworker saying she’d been up all night with her mother in the emergency room.

Her mom had fallen, broken her hip, and was getting admitted to the hospital for surgery. As you can imagine, my colleague was exhausted, worried, and facing some important decisions. Even as her mom was being prepped for surgery, the hospital’s care coordinator was asking which rehabilitation facility she should be sent to afterwards.

As a fellow official of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), my associate has a better-than-average understanding of the healthcare system. But she’d never had to find a rehabilitation facility for a loved one. So she turned to an online tool CMS developed to help people find a suitable nursing home when they need one.

The tool is called Nursing Home Compare and you can find it on our website. Just click on the button that says “Find nursing homes.” Enter your zip code or city and you can begin your search.

Nursing Home Compare assigns from one to five stars to every nursing facility that participates in Medicare or Medicaid, with five stars being the highest rating. These star ratings give you and your family an easy-to-understand summary of three important dimensions of nursing home quality: health inspection results, staffing information, and quality-of-care.

Nursing facilities receive an overall star rating based on three types of performance indicators, each of which has its own star rating:

  • Health inspections: Nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid undergo unannounced, comprehensive inspections about once a year.
  • Staffing levels: CMS bases staffing ratings on two components: 1) Registered nurse hours per resident day; and 2) total staffing hours (registered nurse plus licensed practical nurse plus nurse aide hours) per resident day..
  • Quality measures: These ratings are based on how a nursing home performs on 16 of the 24 quality-of-care measures currently posted on Nursing Home Compare. The measures reflect whether residents got flu shots, are in pain, or are losing weight.

A facility’s overall star rating is a composite of the ratings on the measures above. The core of the overall rating is the health inspection rating, which is adjusted up if the facility receives high staffing or quality-of-care ratings, or down if those ratings are low.

You can compare multiple facilities on Nursing Home Compare, as my colleague did when looking for the best spot for her mother. But keep in mind that star ratings are intended to be combined with other sources of information (such as a doctor’s recommendation) and shouldn’t substitute for visiting the nursing home in person. Indeed, after my coworker identified two possible facilities, she visited the one that had an available room and was pleased to learn it had high ratings for food service, something very important to her mother.

At, you’ll also find “compare” websites for hospitals, home health services, dialysis facilities, medical equipment suppliers, and Medicare-approved health and prescription drug plans.

You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Medicare questions answered

by Margie Johnson Ware, Aging and Health Specialist and Bonnie Burns, Medicare Specialist

How does having a disability affect my Medicare options?

This is one of the most common questions future beneficiaries ask. Although many boomers are familiar with the eligibility age for Medicare, many others do not realize that you can be enrolled automatically (earlier than age 65) if you’re approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit payments.

After drawing SSDI for 24 months (2 years), you will be automatically enrolled into both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B (also known as “Original Medicare”) starting the 25th month, and you will receive a Medicare card in the mail. In some cases, you can receive Medicare in less than two years if Social Security determines that your disability started before your disability application date, or if you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or  End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

What if I don’t want to be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare? Can I disenroll?

Part A is free for most people, but Part B involves paying a monthly premium. You cannot decline Part A unless you’re willing to pay back all the SSDI benefits you received, so you’ll likely need to keep it even if you are covered by your spouse’s employer insurance.

However, if you have employer coverage, you have the freedom to disenroll from Part B. It is important to check with the employer’s human resources office to find out how their plan works with Medicare Part B. Make sure the company has 100 employees or more—that means the employer insurance will be primary (i.e. that insurance is billed first, and most likely covers more of your care than Medicare Part B). If the employer has less than 100 employees, then your Medicare insurance will be primary—and you’ll therefore need to join Part B.

If you do decide you don’t need Part B, look on the back of your Medicare card for a box you can check to be removed from Part B. Then send the updated card back to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Or call SSA for help with disenrolling in Part B.

Will there be any copays and deductibles (out-of-pocket costs) if I am disabled?

Yes, although if you have employer insurance that is primary to Medicare, you may have fewer out-of-pocket expenses. If you don’t have employer insurance and you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you may want additional coverage.

For most beneficiaries (regardless of their disability status), the choice comes down to deciding between two main options:

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) combined with an optional Part D plan (prescription drug coverage) and/or an optional supplemental coverage plan to cover the cost gaps in Original Medicare known as Medigap (enrollment is limited for persons under age 65 in many states).

A Medicare Advantage plan (a private managed health plan that usually covers all of these services).

If you are low-income you may also be eligible for Medicaid as a supplement to pay out-of-pocket costs, depending on what the rules are in your state.

Have more questions about choosing the best coverage for your needs? We recommend you try taking the free Medicare Questionnaire tool for access to free professional Medicare advice from a licensed benefits advisor. You can also check out your local SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) for further assistance, or reach out to your local Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Diabetes is a serious disease.

“Perhaps losing weight can prevent or delay me getting diabetes”

People get diabetes when their blood glucose level, sometimes called blood sugar, is too high. Diabetes can lead to dangerous health problems, such as having a heart attack or stroke. The good news is that there are things you can do to take control of diabetes and prevent its problems.

Our bodies change the food we eat into glucose. Insulin helps glucose get into our cells where it can be used to make energy. If you have diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin, may not use insulin in the right way, or both. That may cause too much glucose in the blood. Your family doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in taking care of people with diabetes, called an endocrinologist.

There are two kinds of diabetes that can happen at any age. In type 1 diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin. This type of diabetes develops most often in children and young adults.

In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin, but doesn’t use it the right way. It is the most common kind of diabetes. You may have heard it called adult-onset diabetes. Your chance of getting type 2 diabetes is higher if you are overweight, inactive, or have a family history of diabetes.

Diabetes can affect many parts of your body. It’s important to keep type 2 diabetes under control. Over time it can cause problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and circulation problems that may lead to amputation. People with type 2 diabetes have a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people have “pre-diabetes.” This means their glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a serious problem because people with pre-diabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. But, there are things you can do to prevent or delay actually getting type 2 diabetes. Losing weight may help. Healthy eating and being physically active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week is a small change that can make a big difference.

Some people with type 2 diabetes may not know they have it. But, they may feel tired, hungry, or thirsty. They may lose weight without trying, urinate often, or have trouble with blurred vision. They may also get skin infections or heal slowly from cuts and bruises. There are several blood tests doctors can use to help diagnosis of diabetes:

Once you’ve been told you have type 2 diabetes, the doctor may prescribe diabetes medicines to help control blood glucose levels. There are many kinds of medication available. Your doctor will choose the best treatment based on the type of diabetes you have, your everyday routine, and other health problems.

Medicare will pay to help you learn how to care for your diabetes. It will also help pay for diabetes tests, supplies, special shoes, foot exams, eye tests, and meal planning. Be sure to check your Medicare plan to find more information.

Studies have shown that most people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within a few years, unless they change their lifestyle. Most people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor can test your blood to find out if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal.

Losing weight—at least 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight—can prevent or delay diabetes or even reverse prediabetes.

Medicine can help control the amount of glucose in your blood. Ask your doctor if medicine to control glucose is right for you.

Social Security’s gift to children is security

by Essie L. Landry, Public Affairs Specialist Social Security Administration Sierra West Area

Social Security definitely know a thing or two about helping children. Often overlooked in the paperwork that prospective parents fill out in preparation for a child’s birth is an application for a Social Security number and card.  Typically, the hospital will ask if you want to apply for a Social Security number for your newborn as part of the birth registration process. This is the easiest and fastest way to apply.  The Social Security card typically arrives about a week to ten days after that little bundle of joy! You can learn about Social Security numbers for children by reading our publication, Social Security Numbers for Children, available at

At, we have a variety of services available to you, all from the comfort of your home. You can apply for disability benefits or appeal a disability decision. You can also file for retirement benefits, spousal benefits, or Medicare-only benefits while enjoying leftover pumpkin pie. Our secure, easy-to-navigate website is sure to add plenty of comfort and joy to the festivities.

For the first site of Social Security, we give to you: our home page, It’s the place to go for all things Social Security. Everything you could want — from online services and benefit screening tools to publications and frequently asked questions — you can find all these and more on this site. On the twelfth site of Social Security (and we saved the best for last): open your own personal my Social Security account, which will enable you to verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, obtain benefit verification letters, update your Social Security information, and more at You have to read to column to see what you can find on sites two to eleven.

With the New Year Comes New Changes: Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will see a slight increase in 2017.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Share the gift of security give your loved ones some peace of mind by introducing them to Social Security’s many programs.



Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

What can I do to prepare for my partner’s care if he/she suddenly becomes ill beyond my ability to care for by myself; how do I protect my partner’s wishes and our assets? What are the benefits of planning for the unexpected and “final care” now, what are the options in our area?

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group will host Debra Mansfield, Owner of The Lynd Group at their meeting Wednesday, March 8 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at The Lexington Assisted Living, 5440 Ralston St. Public welcome, no admission fee.

The best time to talk and plan for long term and final care is before you need it. Over 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will need care beyond what family can provide and the average stay in a care facility is 3 years; will Medicare cover that cost and if not, what can one do to protect one’s finances?

Come find some answers about care giving choices, and alternatives at this meeting. Debra has recent personal experience with “the assisted living care system” and has the most recent developments in long term care to share with us. She and The Lynd Group have been helping the community plan for their financial futures since 2009. Debra also has a personal connection to Parkinson’s disease.

Please check in at the front desk for directions and sign-in. Extra parking is graciously available across the street from the Lexington in the Baptist Church parking lot. Call 766-6070 for further information. Reservations are not required.

Benefits of eating well

“I only eat an occasional cheeseburger.”

Eating well is vital for everyone at all ages. Whatever your age, your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health and in how you look and feel.

Eating a well-planned, balanced mix of foods every day has many health benefits. For instance, eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them. Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage diabetes.

Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water.

Eating well helps keep up your energy level, too. By consuming enough calories — a way to measure the energy you get from food –you give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day. The number of calories needed depends on how old you are, whether you’re a man or woman, your height and weight, and how active you are.

Consuming the right number of calories for your level of physical activity helps you control your weight, too. Extra weight is a concern for older adults because it can increase the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease and can increase joint problems. Eating more calories than your body needs for your activity level will lead to extra pounds.

If you become less physically active as you age, you will probably need fewer calories to stay at the same weight. Choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods — foods which have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories — can give you the nutrients you need while keeping down calorie intake.

Your food choices also affect your digestion. For instance, not getting enough fiber or fluids may cause constipation. Eating more whole-grain foods with fiber, fruits and vegetables or drinking more water may help with constipation.

Make One Change at a Time

Eating well isn’t just a “diet” or “program” that’s here today and gone tomorrow. It is part of a healthy lifestyle that you can adopt now and stay with in the years to come.

To eat healthier, you can begin by taking small steps, making one change at a time. For instance, you might take the salt shaker off your table. Decreasing your salt intake slowly will allow you to adjust.

switch to whole-grain bread, seafood, or more vegetables and fruits when you shop.

These changes may be easier than you think. They’re possible even if you need help with shopping or cooking, or if you have a limited budget.

Whatever your age, you can start making positive lifestyle changes today. Eating well can help you stay healthy and independent — and look and feel good — in the years to come.

Can pelvic floor exercises make your bladder stronger?

My bladder feels better all ready”

Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help both men and women who leak urine by making the muscles that hold urine in the bladder stronger.

How To Do Pelvic Floor Muscle (Kegel) Exercises.

  • Tighten the pelvic muscles that you use to prevent gas from escaping.
  • Continue tightening the muscles going to the front of the pelvic area.
  • Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before releasing. (If 5 seconds is too long, hold for as long as you can. Over time, try to hold longer until you reach 5 seconds.)
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t do 5 sets, start with 1 or 2. Over time, try to increase to 5.)
  • Also practice contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles quickly for 10 seconds. (If 10 seconds is too long, start with less time.) Do this 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t make it to 5 sets, start with fewer sets.)

Try to do the exercises three times a day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. If you can’t fit in the exercises three times each day, do as much as you can. Any amount of pelvic floor muscle exercises is better than none.

You can check to see if you are doing the pelvic floor muscle exercise correctly. When you are on the toilet, see if you can tighten the pelvic floor muscles to stop the flow of urine.

For people who have trouble doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, biofeedback may help. Biofeedback uses sensors to take information about something going on in your body and share it with you in a way you can see, hear, or understand. For example, biofeedback can tell you when you flex your pelvic floor muscles. Since you cannot see your pelvic floor muscles, many people find that biofeedback helps them learn how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Aging. As you get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less stretchy bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken. Weak bladder wall muscles may make it hard to empty the bladder fully. Weak pelvic floor muscles may make it hard to hold urine in the bladder, which may cause urine to leak.

Some medicines may make it more likely for your bladder to leak urine. For example, medicines that calm your nerves so you can sleep or relax may dull the nerves in the bladder. If the nerves are dulled, they may not be able to tell the brain when the bladder is full and you may not feel the urge to go to the bathroom. Without this urge, you may not empty the bladder when needed and the bladder may overflow.

Caffeine can bother the bladder and change how your bladder tells you when you need to urinate.Some people with bladder problems find that some foods and drinks make the problem worse. People who have bladder problems may feel better when they don’t eat these foods and drinks. It may be helpful for people with bladder problems to try cutting out the following foods and drinks for a little while, to see if it makes the problem better.

  • sodas
  • artificial sweeteners
  • spicy foods
  • citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges and grapefruits
  • tomato-based foods

Are you crafty?

The Senior Craft Shoppe of Ventura is now accepting new Crafters age 50 and up!  If you make crafts, knit, crochet, paint, quilt, make jewelry or any other items and would like more exposure to sell your items, This is the place! The Senior Craft Shoppe, located at 429 E. Main St, has been in operation for nearly 40 years and is a non-profit organization. All items are made by members. For more information call 643-3059 or come into the store and talk with them.

They have beautiful handmade gifts for any occasion! Quilts, beautiful baby blankets and other items for the new bundle of joy! New items come in every day and special orders are always welcome.

Hours 10 am-5 pm Tuesday -Thursday, 11am-7pm Friday-Sunday.