Category Archives: Senior Living

Howard Boroughs revisited

Former biochemist, Howard Boroughs, came to Ventura in 1979 with his beloved wife Evelyn and their canine companion, Daisy. Thanks to their generosity, we have The Evelyn and Howard Boroughs Library at Ventura College and the dog park at Camino Real Park that allows canines and their human companions to romp unleashed.

Behind the Museum of Ventura County is the Evelyn and Howard Boroughs Children’s Garden with a 4 foot bronze turtle for the children to play on that Howard commissioned.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Howard Boroughs was the second Venturan painted by Johanna Spinks as part of the two year project “The Face Of Ventura” featured in the Ventura Breeze.

Johanna decided that he was so important to her that she would paint him again at the Ventura Townehouse where he is now living.

Regarding painting Howard one more time Johanna stated “ I was lucky enough to paint Howard for The Face of Ventura portrait project in the Ventura  Breeze. Howard was in fact my second sitter of 58. We became friends and kept in touch. His conversation is always stimulating and he is a very kind man. We had talked over the last few years of doing a larger portrait. When I saw Howard at the unveiling of his garden at the Museum of Ventura County (the inset photo), in his 102nd year, I knew it was time to paint the larger portrait. So that is what we did. It was painted in five life sittings of about 90 minutes each, via palette knife, at Howard’s home. A lovely time indeed. Thank you Howard.”

Senior News Line

By Matilda Charles

Why do we retire when we do? The answer isn’t as simple as “I’ll be 65 on a certain date” or “That’s when I’ll have enough savings.” The answer to why we pick a time to retire is fairly complicated.

The Stanford Center on Longevity teamed up with Fidelity Investments to debunk some of the myths about how we decide when to stop working. They based their research on responses from 12,000 participants age 55 and older, so it was no small study. Here are some of the results:

Myth 1 — We don’t retire until we have enough money. That makes sense, but half the participants said their retirement is tied to a specific date, not to the amount of money they’d saved. If necessary they would adjust their lifestyle to what money they did have.

Myth 2 — We want to spend time with our spouse. This might be true for men wanting to spend time with wives, but women would rather spend time with grandchildren.

Myth 3 — We’re struggling financially and regret having to be frugal. Again, not necessarily so. A whopping 82 percent are happy they retired when they did, and 85 percent consider it rewarding. Almost as many said that adapting to having less money is easier than they thought. One-third wished they’d started saving earlier.

Myth 4 — We have to keep working to survive. Over half of the participants said they liked working and felt valued.

Myth 5 — We’re taking advantage of retirement to travel and enjoy hobbies. For one-quarter of respondents, that’s true. The rest replied that they enjoy the free time to do whatever they want — even if it was nothing.

There’s something to be said for doing absolutely nothing, even if it’s on a retirement budget.

Brain games and puzzles can keep our brain cells firing, but now, for the first time, researchers have discovered that if we go back to college, we’ll increase our cognitive capacity — the amount of information the brain is capable of retaining at any one moment. The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project recruited seniors who agreed to take cognitive tests before they enrolled in college, and then assessed them each year for three years.

The results were strongly positive: More than 90 percent of those who studied for a year, either full or part time, had a “significant increase in cognitive capacity.” Researchers plan to follow those students to see if continuing to study could delay or reduce dementia. It didn’t seem to matter what classes the participants took, or whether they were in person or online. Age, well-being, social connections and gender didn’t change the results.

If we’re lucky enough to have a college nearby and the ability to pay for a class, it’s a matter of calling for a course catalog and an application.  If you prefer free or reduced-cost education, go online to find a FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You’ll learn which grant programs give money to seniors. Another place to start is online at The site is a guide to colleges that offer reduced or free tuition for seniors. Even if a listing says information about tuition waivers from a certain college couldn’t be found, the contact information is there.  So where does that leave us if we don’t have access to a nearby college? Call the local library and ask about “lunch and learn” meetings. Or, for a real thrill, search for “open courseware” on the Internet, and you’ll find thousands of free online classes from top universities.

(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

Vol. 9, No. 6 – December 23, 2015 – January 5, 2016 – A Tender Touch Senior Placement

“Caring for yourself during the holidays while caring for others”
By Connie De La Rosa

Many who celebrate the holidays, have a common understanding of “I’m behind my gift shopping”, or “I have a loved one in the hospital and have not yet started one decoration, etc for the holidays”.  We often say to one another “Take care of yourself” which is easier said than done.  If your household situation has changed during the holiday season (such as a loved one home from the hospital and requires care, or other reasons that may set you back from the preparations) it may be time to think about changing what has been your yearly holiday traditions if only for a season.  It may help with some of the most pressing preparations, trying something new and most of all, helping you feel less stress along with enjoying your family to the fullest.

Here are a few ideas that some families have done when their household situation has changed but the holiday spirit still lives:

  • Make sure your list, this year, includes time for you to relax in whatever you enjoy.  Most lists do not include YOU time only things that have to be done . You need to bring back your energy during the holiday rush.
  • Teenagers are always seeking ways to make money so pay one of your neighbors teenagers to help with the Christmas list such as candies, socks, Perfumes, colognes, and some food  items that are not too difficult to find.
  • No time for a big fancy Christmas dinner, its o.k. when a situation has a temporary change to have a pizza party, sub sandwiches with salad, peanuts with M & M’s and cookies etc.

Being together with simplicity and some help can bring more joy and relaxation to you during unexpected changes.






Suitcases for kids a success for kids and seniors alike

”I love the color of this suitcase it goes with my clothes.” Photo by Michael Gordon
”I love the color of this suitcase it goes with my clothes.” Photo by Michael Gordon

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.  At least that’s what the residents and staff at Cypress Place Senior Living in Ventura were hoping when they launched their Suitcases For Kids fundraiser in mid-September of this year.

Through the program, the senior community began collecting suitcases for children in the Ventura County Foster Care Program.  “When a child enters foster care for the first time, it is usually in a time of crisis and confusion.  Often the child’s possessions are hurriedly stuffed into a garbage bag or box,” said Patti Hunt, past president of the Ventura County Foster Parent Association.

The child then shows up at the doorstep of a foster home, frightened and scared, holding this trash bag or box according to Hunt.

“All of us here at Cypress Place Senior Living feel a child’s life is worth more than a trash bag or box,” said Mike Macke, one of the marketing directors at the senior community.  “That is why we began collecting the suitcases to give to these children.”

And collect them they did.  From September 16th until October 16th, 2015, the senior community collected over 300 suitcases from a variety of donors throughout Ventura County.   “The amount of donations was absolutely amazing.  We can’t thank everyone enough,” said Macke.

Foster children were then invited to the senior community on December 8 to pick out a suitcase of their own choosing, visit with Santa Claus, create their very own decorative luggage tag, and enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and holiday cheer by Cypress Place residents, who couldn’t wait to welcome the kids.

“Our hearts go out to these kids, and we just want to show them as much love and affection as we can,” said Ginny Gordy, one of the residents at Cypress Place who volunteered her time for the fundraiser.  “It brightens our day to see their beautiful, smiling faces.  I think it’s as beneficial to us as it is to the kids,” added Evelyn Clifford, another Cypress Place resident who volunteered to help.

According to Hunt, whose parents also reside at Cypress Place, and who were instrumental in the suitcase giveaway as well, a suitcase not only benefits the child, but also the foster family because it is one less expense for the family.   “I was a foster parent to over 170 children,” said Hunt.  “This suitcase collection means a lot, and I know my parents love being part of it as well.”

For more information about Cypress Place Senior Living of Ventura please call 805-650-8000 or visit their web site at


Many studies find fitness equals better mental ability

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

A new study released today declares that older adults who take more steps than most by walking or jogging performed better on memory tasks. Really, how could this be news? It is just another way of looking at physical fitness and how it enhances memory and cognitive ability. But, this one does find a new twist.

As the editor of for 16 years I have reported on dozens of studies that have come up with the same result – physical fitness, which can be obtained in many ways, helps people stay mentally fit as they age.

I’m not complaining but I am declaring this is an established reality – exercise equals better mental performance as people age.

This research started with the question, “Could staying physically active improve quality of life by delaying cognitive decline and prolonging an independent lifestyle?”

“Absolutely,” is the answer I could have provided before their study. It has been proven in dozens of studies – maybe hundreds – that primarily have varied only by the technique used to gain the physical fitness – running, walking, swimming, weight-lifting, dancing, hula hoop, etc.

The differences in this study is it looked at groups of both young and old adults. Which leads them to look at long-term versus short-term memory.

The report appears online in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The study included 29 young adults (ages 18-31) and 31 older adults (ages 55-82) who wore a small device called an ActiGraph, which recorded information including how many steps each took, how vigorous the steps were and how much time it involved. These are used in many, many studies of physical exercise.

Participants also completed neuropsychological testing to assess their memory, planning and problem-solving abilities.

In addition to standardized neuropsychological tasks of executive function (planning and organization abilities) and long-term memory, participants engaged in a laboratory task in which they had to learn face-name associations.

The researchers found that older adults who took more steps per day had better memory performance.

And, what will appeal to many elderly, the association between the number of steps taken was strongest with a task that required recalling which name went with a person’s face – the same type of everyday task that older adults often have difficulty with.

In young adults, the number of steps taken was not associated with memory performance.

It is long-term memory that is improved by activity

This lead them to the conclusion that the effects of physical activity extend to long-term memory – the same type of memory that is negatively impacted by aging and neurodegenerative dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.

”Our findings that physical activity is positively associated with memory is appealing for a variety of reasons. Everyone knows that physical activity is a critical component to ward off obesity and cardiovascular-related disease. Knowing that a lack of physical activity may negatively impact one’s memory abilities will be an additional piece of information to motivate folks to stay more active,” explained corresponding author Scott Hayes, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and the Associate Director of the Neuroimaging Research for Veterans Center at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

This work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation Research & Development Service and Clinical Science Research & Development Service [MV]. Assistance with participant recruitment was provided by the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P50-AG005134) and Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (P30-AG13846).


Parkinson’s Support Group

The Ventura Parkinson’s Support Group will host Wayne Pickerell, Vice President and Clinical Research Manager of Neurosearch, Inc. at their meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at The Lexington Assisted Living at 5440 Ralston St.

Wayne Pickerell has been involved in Parkinson’s Disease for over 15 years and managed Clinical Research for Neurosearch for over a decade. Thanks in large part to the leadership role of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, research is advancing rapidly and there is promising work being done to improve treatments for PD.  Wayne will discuss new treatments that are being studied and progress in the search for a cure 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.

Ventura Council for Seniors meets East and West

VCS will now also meet at Silvercrest Senior Residence.
VCS will now also meet at Silvercrest Senior Residence.

“East Side, West Side, all around the town” may be an old song, but it’s a great new tune for the Ventura Council for Seniors (VCS) reaching out to the people who need its vital services anywhere within the city.

Starting in January, the VCS will alternate its meetings between the two borders of Ventura, starting with the West Side (Ventura Avenue Adult Center (VAAC), 550 N. Ventura Ave.), then alternating each month to the East Side (Silvercrest Senior Residence at 750 S. Petit Ave.). The meetings are between 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. the third Wednesdays of the month.

“This will help us serve the huge population growth of seniors, many of whom live on the East side and are underserved,” said VCS Chair Suz Montgomery. Alternating meetings should get more adults involved in the critical issues facing seniors, she added.

The VCS is now more than ever focused on solving problems, and all ages are encouraged to get on the mailing list and attend the meetings where your voice can be heard and acted upon. While seniors are the focus, the VCS welcomes anyone who has useful services, family members, care-givers and adults who are nearing retirement age.

Issues include transportation, education, recreation, medical and more.

To find out more, obtain agendas or get involved go to:

The schedule is announced in the Silver Tsunami newsletter published by the city; get it by calling 648-3035.




Livingston’s Light Up a Life Celebration

Todd Tackett addresses the crowd along with daughters Taylin, Kaycie-Rae, and Rachelle at the Light Up a Life Celebration.

by Lori Harasta

Alan Thornhill, legendary guitar player, silver-throated singer, and award-winning songwriter from Ojai, along with April Davis, angelic soprano from Ventura, brought a little bit of heaven to the Pacific View Mall on an evening in December.  It was to celebrate the 31st annual “Light Up a Life” ceremony, one of two fundraisers Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association does each year so that all Ventura County citizens can receive home health or hospice services, regardless of their ability to pay.

More than 500 loved ones were honored this year, with over 200 attending the event.  Laura McAvoy, Livingston Board Chairwoman and Dr. Lanyard Dial, Livingston’s President/CEO, and Medical Director welcomed and offered opening remarks.

Among the many dignitaries, volunteers and staff that read names in memory and in honor of loved ones and friends, Katie Howell, Good Grief Facilitator, read names selected by participants in the Good Grief Support Groups, which serves school-age youths who have experienced the death of someone with whom they had an important relationship.  (The groups meet during school hours at selected schools in the Ventura/Oxnard area.  For more information, go to or call the School Program Bereavement Coordinator at  642-0239 x775.)

After the reading of the names, a montage of loved ones’ photos was displayed with a musical accompaniment from Mr. Thornhill and Ms. Davis.

Each year a family is selected for the honor of lighting the Memory tree at the ceremony.  This year it was the family of Leila Tackett.  After an arduous eight-year battle with cancer, she succumbed on October 3rd at age 45, leaving behind husband Todd Tackett,  22 year old son Easton, and daughters Rachelle, age 25, Kaycie-Rae, age 14 and Taylin, age 11.

As his girls stood with poise alongside him, a composed and courageous Todd Tackett spoke about coping with loss during the holidays.  “At this time of year, after a devastating loss and emotional turmoil, we need to rely on our faith and what Christmas is about.  Those of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one have a mission field before us, to come alongside those who are still going through it, to lift them up and give them comfort, just as we have been comforted.”

Leila and her family profoundly touched the lives of the hospice team that cared for her; particularly the volunteers who spent hours at her side providing comfort care.

Hospice volunteers are like earth’s angels, and will often say they receive more than they give.  A new training session begins January 27th. For more information, call Maddy Hazard at 640-0239 x775, or email her at





Wonderful dog day at Coastal view

Photo by Bernie Goldstein
Photo by Bernie Goldstein

Coastal View Healthcare Center resident Olive Fergerson enjoying a visiting dog who jumped on her lap to be petted and spread the love that only dogs can bring.  Just another wonderful dog day at Coastal view. Coastal View is located at 4904 Telegraph.

Vol. 9, No. 5 – December 9 – December 22, 2015 – A Tender Touch Senior Placement

“Ready, set , action”!
By Connie De La Rosa

A non-profit organization, ACTION (Area Christians Taking Initiative On Needs) that assists many individuals which includes elders, disabled, under resourced families, homeless and at risk youths in the County of Ventura  consists of over 100 churches involved, over 200 agencies and businesses and over 1,600 volunteers for Christmas Shoppe alone so in total over 4,000 volunteers for all of their programs combined.

ACTION is currently hard at work for the yearly Community Christmas Shoppe which serves Ventura County residents that are in need of gifts for their children.  “Once an invitation has been mailed to the family, they can come in on the scheduled day and time to pick a few of the brand new toys, clothes and other items for their children.  In addition, there will be child care available so parents can shop, entertainment and raffles for bikes and other giveaways” according to Jill Upson, Executive Director of ACTION.  The non-profit also has a “Medical closet” with durable medical equipment and another program of “Serve Every Day” to meet the daily needs of less fortunate individuals with moving, organizing, home repairs and other needs requested.

In 2015, they have already undergone about 500 projects at no cost to families in need and adopted a lower income senior apartment complex to closely monitor the seniors needs and help in any way they can.

To find out more information call Rachelle at 987-0300 or go to their website