Category Archives: Senior Living

Then the mic was opened; tributes and tears flowed

Community members came together to honor Neal Andrews. Photos by Bernie Goldstein

by Jill Forman

“Pay Tribute to This Wonderful Man” that is how Kathy Powell, the chair of Lift up Your Voice, worded a reminder for a celebration of the career of Neal Andrews. Andrews has served on the Ventura City Council since 2001, and is currently mayor. This is his last term.

Community members came together on Tuesday evening October 30 to honor Andrews for his tireless activism in the area of homeless services and celebrate what he has meant to those who often felt they were alone in their mission to help the less fortunate.

Attendees included local clergy, friends and neighbors, members of several congregations, city officials, social service workers, and homeless individuals.

The event, jointly sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church and Lift Up Your Voice, the church’s homeless advocacy group, was an outpouring of appreciation and gratitude. Reverend Dana Worsnop of the UU Church, said, “Neal gas been such a great partner working on issues of homelessness for this community and the city council. The church is thrilled to be able to host this party.”

Purple star-shaped balloons decorated the UU community room, ad a banner that said “Thank You Neal.” About 50 celebrants shared appetizers and talked about their experiences with Neal and the long road it has been to have a permanent homeless shelter in the city. As Andrews’ political career is ending, after 25 years of struggle, that shelter is on track to open within the next year, an event that would never have happened without his unflagging support.

“Neal has been our friend and our advocate for the city with his focus on the vulnerable,” said Kate Mills, a nurse who started and ran the One-Stop Drop-In Center when she worked for Public Health.

“It is rare,” said Sue Brinkmeyer, the chair of the Homeless Prevention Fund, “That somebody gets to hear first-hand how much he is loved and admired by so many.”

After a welcome by Rev. Worsnop who emphasized what a “strong, wonderful partner” he had been, Andrews was presented with a memory book: friends, colleagues and admirers had emailed tributes to Powell and they were mounted in a book by Kappy Paulsen, a UU member and scrap booker. Powell stated that the book is really a tribute to everyone attending, all of who had worked along with Neal to help those who need assistance.

Then the mike was opened; tributes and tears flowed. Andrews was praised for his insight and dedication, a champion who has modeled how to serve the community. An honest man, with wisdom and gravitas, who stands up for what is right even when he was the only one. “We love you…thank you…you make me want to be a better person.”

Of course, there were laughs too; someone remembered how Andrews stayed until 4 a.m. at a council meeting. “Never again,” he joked. It was mentioned that community activism is a 7-day-a-week commitment.

Karol Shulkin, who worked for Homeless Services, recounted a task force meeting with the members desperately trying to figure out how Ventura was ever going to get a shelter. Andrews said, “We need a champion.” And that’s what he became.

Mills read a list of jobs and accomplishments Andrews had held over his long career of service. And then Andrews spoke, with his voice breaking and interrupted by cheers. He made an impassioned speech that the attendees need to remain involved in public life. If something is wrong, speak up against it. If something needs doing, do it. And don’t give up. Two standing ovations followed.

It has been said that Andrews has “The soul of a Quaker and the heart of a lion.” This is one lion whose roar has shaken people up and made a difference.

Thank you Neal.

Are you one in over 40 Million? November is National Family Caregivers Month!

by Patty Jenkins

The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group and the Camarillo Health Care District welcome all Caregivers and their Care-Partners to join us in observance of National Family Caregivers month on Wednesday, November 14h from 1 to 3pm at the Lexington Assisted living; 5440 Ralston, Ventura. We hope to help raise awareness of the challenges family caregivers face, help find solutions, support, and celebrate the efforts of all “family caregiver superheroes”!

Blair Craddock MPH, Care Services Director of the District and Mary Wiggins, Health Promotion Coach of the Case Management Department, will be sharing information to help “Supercharge your Caregiving” – the 2018 theme for National Family Caregivers Month, Caregiver Action Network (CAN).

In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. Imagine how much those figures have increased since then! Family caregivers are an essential part of the social, health, and economic fabric of the U.S. long-term care

infrastructure. But family caregiving often comes at substantial costs to the caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society. Without family-provided help, the economic cost to the U.S. health and long-term services and supports systems would skyrocket. The value of services the family caregivers provide for “free” when caring for older adults is estimated to be as high as $470 billion a year. That is over twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined! (Stats from National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009 & AARP 2015).

All area Parkinson’s Support Group members and their Care-Partners/Caregivers and those who are in the Caregiving field who would like to add their information to our ‘resource table’ of handouts, are welcome to join the Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group.

There is a drop-off/loading and unloading driveway in the front of their building. Extra parking is graciously available across the street from the Lexington in the Baptist Church parking lot. Please check in at the front desk for directions to the 3rd floor and sign-in at the meeting. Thanks to the generosity of the Lexington Assisted, we are able to have our meetings every second Wednesday of the month (we take December off). We are an independent and volunteer-organized group, not affiliated with or a part of any other organization or group. For more information, call Patty at 805-766-6070.

Large NIH-funded study examined outcomes in United States and Australia

Study finds aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living.

In a large clinical trial to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability). Risk of dying from a range of causes, including cancer and heart disease, varied and will require further analysis and additional follow-up of study participants. These initial findings from the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial, partially supported by the National Institutes of Health, were published online on September 16, 2018 in three papers in The New England Journal of Medicine.

ASPREE is an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 19,114 older people (16,703 in Australia and 2,411 in the United States). The study began in 2010 and enrolled participants aged 70 and older; 65 was the minimum age of entry for African-American and Hispanic individuals in the United States because of their higher risk for dementia and cardiovascular disease. At study enrollment, ASPREE participants could not have dementia or a physical disability and had to be free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. They were followed for an average of 4.7 years to determine outcomes.

“Clinical guidelines note the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes in persons with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “The concern has been uncertainty about whether aspirin is beneficial for otherwise healthy older people without those conditions. This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research, so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin’s benefits and risks among healthy older persons.”

In the total study population, treatment with 100 mg of low-dose aspirin per day did not affect survival free of dementia or disability. Among the people randomly assigned to take aspirin, 90.3 percent remained alive at the end of the treatment without persistent physical disability or dementia, compared with 90.5 percent of those taking a placebo.

The group taking aspirin had an increased risk of death compared to the placebo group: 5.9 percent of participants taking aspirin and 5.2 percent taking placebo died during the study. This effect of aspirin has not been noted in previous studies; and caution is needed in interpreting this finding.

Significant bleeding—a known risk of regular aspirin use—was also measured. The investigators noted that aspirin was associated with a significantly increased risk of bleeding, primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and brain.

As would be expected in an older adult population, cancer was a common cause of death, and 50 % of the people who died in the trial had some type of cancer. Heart disease and stroke accounted for 19 % of the deaths and major bleeding for 5 %.

In addition, the study did not address aspirin’s effects in people younger than age 65. Also, since only 11 percent of participants had regularly taken low-dose aspirin prior to entering the study, the implications of ASPREE’s findings need further investigation to determine whether healthy older people who have been regularly using aspirin for disease prevention should continue or discontinue use.

The National Institute on Aging leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to the NIA website.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI): NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s efforts to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology. For more information about cancer, visit the NCI website or call NCI’s Contact Center (formerly known as the Cancer Information Service) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit the NIH website.

Aegis Living to Receive Award for Community Impact Program

The California Assisted Living Association (CALA) announced today that Aegis Living will receive its prestigious Elevate Award at the Fall Conference & Trade Show in Palm Springs. The Elevate Award recognizes assisted living, memory care, and CCRC providers who create and implement programs that elevate residents’ and staff members’ quality of life and engage the community. Aegis Living has 14 senior living communities in California, including Aegis of Ventura. Angie Snyder, Chief Marketing Officer for Aegis Living, will accept the award on November 5, 2018.

Aegis Living is receiving this award for their Transform a Life program. Transform a Life enables Aegis Living employees to impact the lives of others in the greater community. Eric Medor, General Manager of Aegis of Dana Point says, “A big part of our job is ‘giving’ every day, but this is a great opportunity to reflect on the larger purpose of our lives, and the power that we have when we come together as a company.”

Last year, Transform a Life teams lent support to San Diego-based Kitchens for Good, to a family who lost their home and all their possessions in the 2017 Napa fires, and to establishing a college fund for a family who lost their mother to cancer, just to name a few.

One team gave their support to a former foster child through the organization Just in Time. The recipient says, “Thanks to this grant I am doing better, constantly working on creating better opportunities and moving forward. I signed up for school and I start on Monday. This grant has helped me obtain school supplies and be prepared to take on that challenge.”

Teams comprised of executive directors and corporate representatives receive a starting budget of $500. They are tasked to identify an organization, family or individual to which they will lend their support. Eight weeks later, teams provide an update on their initiatives at Aegis’s annual EPIC (Empowering People, Inspiring Consciousness) conference.

Currently, nearly 180,000 Californians are residents in Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities and the need continues to grow. These communities provide residents with the care they need to perform activities of daily living, medication management, social activities, housekeeping, meals, and transportation; some communities also offer dementia care programs and health-related services.

With more than 625 provider members, CALA is the only association solely representing the state’s Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, which encompass Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. CALA is dedicated to providing leadership to providers and other stakeholders in these residential settings, education to support high-quality programs and services, and advocacy to protect the interests of providers and the people the

Procrastinating: The cost to your retirement

by Jayson Cohen American Legacy Solutions

If you are like many other hardworking adults, you may find yourself periodically dreaming about what life will be like after you leave the workforce and enter retirement. Regardless of whether you plan to simply kick back and relax close to home or you have grand dreams of traveling frequently in retirement, you will need to have enough cash on hand to live on. Unfortunately, a report released by Financial Engines indicates that almost one in seven adults who are at least 55 years old have stated that they procrastinated on saving for retirement.

You may think that the primary reason why individuals would not save money regularly for their golden years is because of a lack of funds, but this is not the case. In the same report, two out of five procrastinators said they got a late start because they had other priorities for their money. Half indicated that stress played a role in retirement planning and saving. Some of the other more common reasons for procrastination include the belief that it is too difficult, the thought that they may get taken advantage of or a lack of knowledge about retirement planning and saving.

Many adults who procrastinate in this important area have the intention of playing catch-up later in life. However, this may be more challenging than it may seem at first glance. When you procrastinate, you give up your regular contributions. You also give up employer-matching contributions and compounded growth, and these two factors can have a huge impact on the size of your nest egg. Delaying your retirement planning and saving effort essentially means that you must come up with a tremendous amount of additional money to catch up to a balance that you would have had if you started saving regularly in your 20s.

Regardless of the reasons or age, now is the time to make a bold change. By continuing to procrastinate, you simply dig an even larger hole that is more difficult for you to get out of. Saving may be as easy as foregoing that fancy vacation that you take every year or downsizing the scope of your vacation. It may mean not redecorating your home as frequently or scaling down your holiday gift-giving efforts. There are many ways that you may be able to simply cut back without detracting from your quality of life, and these steps can have a huge impact on your financial status in your retirement years. Of course, making regular monthly contributions is also advisable. Saving at least some money now is better than not saving any.

There are various types of retirement accounts that you may have access to depending on your circumstances. A good starting point is to maximize an employer-sponsored retirement account if your employer offers matching contributions. These contributions could essentially double your total account contributions and help you to get back on track more quickly and easily. If this is not an option, carefully review the pros and cons of various retirement accounts. Once you decide which type of account you want to open, schedule automated transfers. By automating this aspect of your finances, your balance will grow without additional effort required.

Some people prefer to hire a financial advisor to assist with retirement planning and account management. If you are confused about or intimidated by any aspect of retirement planning, it is best to seek professional guidance rather than to take chances.  Remember, you see a doctor when you have concerns with your health, why not talk to a financial professional when you have concerns about your finances?   We are here to help.

Seniors Craft Shoppe celebrates 40 years in Ventura

This non-profit stands out as a place for seniors to design and make products. Photos by Richard Lieberman

by Richard Lieberman

The Seniors Craft Shoppe recently celebrated its anniversary. Located in downtown Ventura at the Zander Alley shopping area, at 4333 E. Main, the shop has been operating for the past 40 years.

Seniors Craft Shoppe specializes in handcrafted items, gifts and seasonal décor. Special ornaments for the Christmas tree, table decorations and more. The shop also specializes in holiday giftware. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween are all covered by great handmade items.

This non-profit stands out as a place for seniors to design and make products like soft toys, doll clothes and stocking stuffers. All their products are handmade by Ventura County seniors. The store is staffed by seniors as well and they are always happy to help you with selections, suggestions and warm greetings.

The stores motto is “if you can’t find what you need, we will make it for you.” Inventory is always changing, and you can always find wood carvings, crocheted coasters other ornaments among the stock. Many of the available craft ware are one-of-a-kind, and always hand-crafted by seniors. There is so much available it is impossible to list all here, but some additional items are tote bags, dog sweaters, aprons, wallets, hats, scarves and still much much more. Latest project for the shop is making “green” items from recycled materials like plastic bags turned into hats and bottle carriers and paintings on salvaged wood.

For their 40th tables were decked out with finger foods, sandwiches, sweets and drinks available to all who visited on Saturday October 27th .

Congratulations to the Seniors Craft Shoppe for 40 years of serving the Ventura community and for making seniors lives meaningful and fulfilling. We at the Breeze wish you the best and at least another 40 years in downtown.

What you need to know this Medicare enrollment season

“Does Medicare include coverage for my prescription drugs?”

by Rick Beavin, California Market President Humana

It’s that time of year when people with Medicare review their health insurance choices and enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plan for the coming year.

People typically have a lot of questions as they research their Medicare options, which primarily include Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, before finding the plan that best fits their needs.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions Humana licensed health insurance agents get from consumers during the Medicare Annual Election Period:

When is the annual enrollment period to choose a Medicare plan for 2019?

The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period takes place from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2018, for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Do I have to re-enroll in Medicare every year?

You don’t need to sign up for Original Medicare each year. However, you should review your Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan coverage annually, since Medicare plans and personal circumstances can change every year. If you take no action during the annual enrollment period, you’ll typically automatically be re-enrolled in your same medical or prescription plan for 2019.

Does Medicare include coverage for my prescription drugs?

Original Medicare does not cover most prescription drugs. Many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, or you can sign up for a Part D Prescription Drug Plan separately. A licensed agent can look up your medications and tell you what the cost of each drug would be on a plan.


How are health insurers like Humana able to offer Medicare Advantage plans with no monthly premium?

Private insurers keep premiums low through programs like disease and chronic care management, which help people better manage health conditions and, in turn, reduce health care costs. Keep in mind that you still need to pay your Medicare Part B premium, which covers medical services and preventive care. You might want to use the additional premium dollars you save for out-of-pocket medical costs, such as co-pays.

How do I find out if my doctors, hospitals and specialists are in my Medicare Advantage provider network?

Most Medicare Advantage plans offer easy-to-use online tools to help you find doctors and hospitals that are in the plan’s network. A licensed agent can also help you look up hospitals and doctors to see if they’re accepting a plan and taking new patients.

If I select a Medicare plan for the coming year, and then find I don’t like it, can I drop it and choose another plan?

The plan you select by Dec. 7 will be your Medicare plan for all of 2019, with few exceptions, so it’s wise to research your options carefully. If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019, and then find it’s not the right fit, between Jan. 1 and March 31, there will be an Open Enrollment Period during which you can switch from a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage, or choose Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan. Full information on 2019 Medicare health and prescription drug plans is available on, and for Humana plans at You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (or TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call Humana at 1-877-877-0714 (TTY use 711) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time seven days a week.

Large NIH-funded study examined outcomes in United States and Australia

In a large clinical trial to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability). Risk of dying from a range of causes, including cancer and heart disease, varied and will require further analysis and additional follow-up of study participants. These initial findings from the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial, partially supported by the National Institutes of Health, were published online on September 16, 2018 in three papers in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Several Ventura County residents recently participated in table tennis tournaments

Alan Hammerand and Chuck Jaseph won a bronze metal.

Several members of the Camarillo Senior Table Tennis Club recently competed in table tennis tournaments in Nevada and Utah.

On October 5th and 6th, Alan Hammerand (from Ventura) and Chuck Jaseph (Camarillo) competed in the Nevada Senior Games. They won a bronze medal competing in the men’s doubles competition.

On October 8th through 11th, Alan Hammerand, Amy Akashi (Camarillo) and Gary Whiddon (Thousand Oaks) competed in the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George , Utah. The Huntsman Games is the largest senior athletic competition in the world with 11,000  athletes from over 30 countries competing in a wide variety of sporting events.

Amy Akashi won a bronze medal in rated singles (800-999).

Alan Hammerand won a gold medal in rated singles (1,000-1,199) and a bronze medal in men’s doubles (partner: Brent Sturman of Pocatello, Idaho).

Gary Whiddon won a gold medal in rated singles (1,600-1,799) and a silver medal in men’s doubles (partner: Juan Gomez).

Ventura Townehouse hosts “Bling” Bingo Scholarship Fund Raiser

The Ventura Townehouse hosted a “Bling” Bingo Scholarship Fund Raiser event for Philanthropic Education Organization (P.E.O.) to benefit Ventura’s graduating senior high school girls. They packed the “House” with residents and was open to the public showering them with gifts, baskets, cash and a grand prize for most bling. This fun event raised over $2,000.00 for a Ventura area high school student.