Category Archives: Senior Living

Vol. 17, No. 21 – July 10 – July 23, 2024 – Local Legends: Stories of Service and Impact

We’re excited to announce a new, regular feature: “Local Legends: Stories of Service and Impact.” This section will spotlight local seniors who have contributed their time, skills, or talents to the betterment of our community. Local Legends don’t have to have been born here nor be life-long residents – our aim is simply to share the inspiring stories of senior Venturans who have made a positive impact on our city. These individuals may have been or continue to be local environmental activists, medical professionals, volunteers, artists, business owners, first responders, veterans, or anyone who has dedicated themselves to making Ventura a better place. Through this feature, we hope to honor their achievements and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Local Legends: Stories of Service and Impact

Our very first Local Legend is a familiar face to Breeze readers: Sheldon Brown, publisher emeritus of the Ventura Breeze. Earlier this year, the city of San Buenaventura honored Sheldon with a city proclamation recognizing his outstanding contributions and remarkable achievements as founder and publisher  of the Ventura Breeze newspaper. The proclamation also designated May 14 as “Sheldon Brown Day” in recognition of his exemplary service, outstanding leadership, and enduring legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Sheldon previously lived and worked in Southern California. He attended USC’s School of Architecture and ran a successful practice for 30 years. He also taught architecture at the college level. After moving to Ventura in 1998, he continued to work as an architect for several years, eventually designing and building a Craftsman-style home in the historic downtown district with the interior design expertise of Diane Brown, his multi-talented wife of 30 years. Disturbed by the absence of a local, community-based newspaper to inform residents about events and news, Sheldon launched the Ventura Breeze in October 2007. He continued to publish the paper for 17 years until his retirement in May 2024.

A staunch advocate for mental health services, Sheldon was appointed to the Citizens Advisory Council overseeing the California Department of Mental Health by Governor Jerry Brown (no relation). In the Ventura Breeze newspaper, he frequently included commentary of local and statewide initiatives on mental health and homelessness, lamenting the lack of proper funding and calling on the legislature to provide enhanced mental health services. He and Diane are currently enjoying a well-earned retirement at Portside Ventura Harbor. Sheldon continues to contribute to the Ventura Breeze, enjoys playing tennis, and regularly participates in local events and activities.

Want to nominate a Local Legend? Email a brief, 400-word description along with a high-resolution photograph to [email protected] and use “Local Legend” in the subject line. Please note: Due to the high volume of submissions, we will not be able to publish every nomination received.

Ventura County HomeShare

The Ventura County HomeShare program is an alternative way of meeting housing needs that benefits renters and homeowners alike. There are many reasons why people choose to live in shared accommodations, including a need for companionship, help with chores and light housekeeping, or financial assistance with covering taxes, utilities, and maintenance. Ventura County HomeShare pre-screens participants and identifies potential matches based on rent, desired location, and other criteria. Home providers may be living in a house too large due to life changes (empty nest or loss of a spouse), or they may be a one-parent family finding it difficult to cope with maintaining a household alone.

Home seekers may be seniors, college students, newly single persons, professionals recently moved to the area or traveling, or anyone in need of lower-cost housing who enjoys living with others. Simply put, HomeSharing is an arrangement where two or more unrelated people share a dwelling, each having their own private space and sharing certain common areas. Homesharers may arrange a regular rental payment or exchange services to offset a portion or all of the rent. No two HomeSharing situations are alike; each is tailored to the needs and desires of the individual people involved.

Different Types of HomeShare

In a rental arrangement, the home provider will rent out a spare bedroom for extra income. In a service exchange arrangement, the home provider may offer a rent-free room in exchange for services such as transportation, cooking, housekeeping, laundry, running errands, yard work, handyperson tasks, companionship, or pet care. In a mixed arrangement, the home provider will offer a reduced rent to be offset by services.

Ventura County HomeShare is not a home care agency and does not provide a private duty registry of licensed caregivers. HomeShare is not meant to be a home health service, and home seekers are not expected to provide personal care services, such as bathing or assistance with bathing, dressing, bathroom assistance, turning or lifting, or any service which brings the housemate in contact with bodily fluids.

Limited Facilitation Services

The staff of Ventura County HomeShare acts only as a facilitator, providing the opportunity for parties involved to come together and work out their own housing arrangements. HomeShare makes no promises, guarantees, warranties, or claims regarding seekers or providers of housing. Background checks are limited in nature and only provide information on federal arrests or criminal records within the last five to seven years. HomeShare does not perform credit checks, verify income or ability to pay, and does not verify physical and mental health status. It is the responsibility of the participants to determine whether referred individuals are compatible. HomeShare recommends that any housing arrangements should be set forth in a written agreement and makes samples and templates available for participants to use.

Is HomeShare the Right Program for Me?

Successful homesharers must have a degree of emotional stability, which allows them to be interested in and involved in the welfare of others. This program is not appropriate for someone who may have problems that would create additional stress in a home living arrangement. Participants should be able to advocate for themselves and assume full responsibility for every step of the HomeShare application process. HomeShare does not provide home health care. If an applicant needs a great deal of personal care or cannot be left unattended, this program is not appropriate. Homesharers can provide companionship and household help, but it should be expected that seekers will have activities of their own, independent of the home provider. HomeShare cannot provide emergency housing. The process of matching is a careful and somewhat time-consuming one and is not a “quick fix.” It can take time to find suitable matches and for applicants to make careful decisions. People in need of short-term housing may apply, but many providers prefer a longer-term commitment and referral opportunities may be limited. Persons with convictions for felony or misdemeanor crimes involving bodily injury, assault, elder abuse, sexual offense, possession or distribution of an illegal substance, or theft or damage of personal property are not eligible for the program.

To learn more, visit www.vcaaa.org/our-services/housing, call (805) 477-7300, or email [email protected].

McCartneys Afternoon Tea Fundraiser – with Ivor Davis

The Museum of Ventura County is hosting an extraordinary fundraising afternoon with Ruth and Angie McCartney (Paul’s stepsister and stepmom), on Saturday, July 13th from 3 – 5 pm who will be interviewed by renowned Beatles author Ivor Davis. Enjoy authentic English tea service as we explore enchanting stories from Paul McCartney’s early years. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain an intimate glimpse into the life of Paul McCartney through the eyes of his family. Whether you’re a die-hard Beatles fan or simply love a good story over a cup of tea, this event promises an afternoon of joy, nostalgia, and connection.

The tea will feature a captivating Q&A session, allowing guests to connect directly with the Museum’s special guests. Take advantage of this unique blend of British charm and rock ‘n’ roll history!

Davis, the only British journalist to travel with the Beatles on the entire 1964 tour, has his 60th Anniversary Edition of The Beatles and Me on Tour, which details his hectic and crazy times spent with “The Boys.” Davis flew on their airplanes, stayed with them at their hotels, rode to and from concerts in their limos, and attended all of the parties and club outings. He was also on the 1965 tour and the only journalist who went with The Beatles when they visited with Elvis Presley.

The cost is $80 per person. Tickets at https://venturamuseum.org/event/mccartney-afternoon-tea-with-ivor-davis/ or on Eventbrite under Museum of Ventura County

Summer Fitness Fun

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Summertime is an excellent time to set goals and instill new routines. If you feel like you’ve been hibernating indoors, now is a great time to get outside, exercise, and enjoy a little sunshine. Exercise is key to improving your fitness. Taking in some sun will boost your vitamin D production, which is critical for good health. Exercising outdoors can put you in a happy mood and is essential for a healthy lifestyle, especially for seniors.

Whether you’re a golfer, swimmer, hiker, runner, tennis player, or pickleball player, you need to take precautions to prepare for the heat and elements that come with this time of year. Here are a few healthy tips for summertime workouts:

  • Stay hydrated. You should have a bottle of water on hand, especially as temperatures rise this summer. Drink before, during, and after you exercise. Over 70 percent of our body is made up of water. Not allowing yourself to get dehydrated is key. Fruits and other foods that contain water can also be a good choice to keep you hydrated.
  • Prepare for the heat and sun. Always apply sunscreen and try to exercise earlier in the day or in the evening when temperatures are not as intense. Dress in lightweight clothing and wear proper footwear. Visors and hats are also a good idea.
  • Include all the elements of fitness. Your workouts should include aerobics, stretching, and strengthening exercises. Warm-up and cool-down movements are important to prepare and calm your muscles. Pace yourself and do not get overheated.

As you age, it is natural for your body processes to slow down a little. For instance, your body will take a little longer to adjust to changes in temperature. You’ll also want to try to mix up your workouts and activities to take advantage of the good weather.

  • Try taking a different route on your usual walk or hike. Go to the beach, a trail, or somewhere new in your community or neighborhood. This can be even more fun with family and friends.
  • Do an aqua swim class or just swim laps in a pool. Even wading in water and moving your arms and legs is good exercise.
  • Take a day trip to a nearby hiking spot or scenic area with beautiful views and environment. Soak in the sun and positive vibes of nature.
  • Join a group dance or fitness class. Find one that works your whole body and fits your needs. Try out different class types and stick with the one you enjoy most.
  • Spend time with family, friends, and grandkids. Try to do activities that make you all feel good and energized.
  • Join an athletic club, senior community center, or organization that promotes physical fitness and has a variety of classes, equipment, and a positive environment.
  • Take on new hobbies or activities that you have always wanted to try. You’re never too old to start something new or continue with something that you truly love and enjoy.

This summer, make it your goal to get fit and active! Be sure to take the necessary precautions to stay hydrated and safe in the warm weather. Variety is the spice of life, and hopefully, you are ready to get outside and take advantage of all that this season has to offer!

About the Author

Leslie Sokol is the creator and founder of the adult dance and fitness program For the Young at Heart. She has been teaching adults and children for forty-five years. You can watch For the Young at Heart by visiting her YouTube Channel or on TVSB. She also teaches in retirement communities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. For more information contact Leslie at [email protected] 805-312-8089 or visit the website: www.LeslieSokolsDance.com.

The Balance of Life

by Lesie Sokol

Image by Freepik

Life is about balance. The word balance has two definitions and both are important to consider as you age. Balance can refer to distributing your energy among different things in the right proportion, for example, we sometimes talk about trying to find the perfect balance between work and play. Creating balance between your obligations and interests creates a stable foundation that equips you to embody your best self, cope with unexpected obstacles, and manage stress. Balance also means an even distribution of weight to hold something upright and steady, such as your physical body. Both types of balance are important in order to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Physical Balance

As we get older, it’s important to take a proactive approach to our health and build awareness around our sense of balance. Good balance requires the coordination of several parts of the body: the central nervous system, inner ear, eyes, muscles, bones, and joints. Problems with any one of these can affect how you stand or move without falling or recover if you trip. Aging leads to a natural loss of muscle strength and flexibility, making it challenging to maintain balance and stability. Here are some simple activities that improve balance by increasing your strength and flexibility:

  • Standing exercises (holding on to something or free standing). Balance on one foot, do toe raises, tuck ups, leg extensions, leg kicks, leg swings, and/or step touches.
  • Walk a fictitious balance beam, one foot in front of the other.
  • Standing or walking lunges.
  • Seated chair exercises: sitting and standing squats, leg lifts, tuck ups, and bending side to side with your arms moving.
  • Walking, hiking, or jogging.
  • Ballet dancing, ballroom or jazz dance.
  • Practicing yoga or tai chi.

Mental Balance

Poor mental health can make physical issues worse, and poor physical health can exacerbate mental health challenges. It’s important, therefore, to strike a balance that allows you to look after yourself both physically and mentally. Your attitude and how you approach and handle situations can make or break the balance in your life. If you are having difficulties living a well and balanced life, then you may need to reevaluate and set different priorities. A good work-life balance is essential because it helps reduce stress and prevents burnout in both your professional and personal life.

Here are some simple ways to improve your mental health:

  • Eat a healthy diet. A nutrient-rich diet helps limit mood swings and improves your ability to focus.
  • Adopt or foster a pet. Having a furry companion can help reduce feelings of stress and lower levels of depression (for both you and your four-legged friend!)
  • Volunteer or give back. Volunteering helps you feel a sense of purpose and allows you to socialize with others.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activities can release endorphins, reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Learn something new. Challenging your brain is both fun and beneficial and helps keep your mind sharp.
  • Stay social. Staying connected to other people lowers feelings of loneliness and depression.

The Benefits of a Balanced Life

Maintaining balance in every part of your life is an important way to experience better health, feel happier, reduce stress, and be more productive. Balance, love and joy are the fruits of a successful life! Recognizing your abilities and finding ways to serve others by using them is a treasured gift. Enjoy a balanced life and have fun!

About the Author

Leslie Sokol is the creator and founder of the adult dance and fitness program For the Young at Heart. She has been teaching adults and children for forty-five years. You can watch For the Young at Heart by visiting her YouTube Channel or on TVSB. She also teaches in retirement communities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

For more information contact Leslie at [email protected] 805-312-8089
or visit the website: www.LeslieSokolsDance.com

 

Community Memorial’s Outreach Lab Program within Ventura County

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by Carol Leish, MA

“The Community Memorial Outreach Lab Program provides convenient mobile lab service to various skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout Ventura County,” said Megan O’Neil, Business Development Manager at Community Memorial Healthcare.  “This program is more than 10 years old, and we are the only health system in Ventura County to offer this service.  The community-based program enhances the continuum of care as patients discharge from the hospital to assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.”

According to O’Neil, lab results are securely shared with the ordering physician and the facility where the patient resides.  “STAT lab services are also available and results are provided within 4 hours from the time of the lab draw.  This is helpful when a patient is very sick and the physician needs to determine the next step in medical care,” said O’Neil.  “ Complete lab results for patient review are also available through Community Memorial Healthcare’s patient portal.”

Community Memorial currently partners with the following skilled nursing facilities to provide mobile lab services:

  • Glenwood Care Center
  • Camarillo Healthcare Center
  • Victoria Care Center
  • Ventura Post Acute
  • Coastalview Healthcare Center
  • Maywood Health Care Center
  • Camarillo Senior Living
  • Shoreline Care Center
  • Oxnard Manor Healthcare Center
  • Santa Paula Post-Acute
  • Greenfield Care Center of Fillmore.

Assisted living facilities benefiting from the program include:

  • The Ventura Townhouse
  • Aegis Assisted Living
  • Cypress Place Senior Living
  • The Palms of Bonaventure
  • AlmaVia of Camarillo
  • California Veterans Home of Ventura.

In addition to the Outreach Laboratory Program, Community Memorial has three outpatient lab draw stations:

  1. Community Memorial Hospital-Ventura, at  147 North Brent Street, Ventura.  805-948-3138.
  2. Community Memorial Hospital-Ojai at 1306 Maricopa Highway, Ojai.  805-948-2245.
  3. Community Memorial Health Center, at 422 Arneill Road, Camarillo.  805-948-4523.

For current hours, online scheduling, and additional information, please visit:  mycmh.org/lab.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The Senior Community Services Employment Training Program (SCSEP) provides limited employment training and wages for low-income persons aged 55 and older. This program helps older adults seeking employment to gain the skills needed in today’s job market. SCSEP is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and focuses on the needs of mature workers, the community, and employers.

Discover what SCSEP can offer you:
• Services tailored to each individual
• Second career training opportunities
• Training at community-based organizations
• Training with flexible schedules
• Receive on-the-job training
• Receive a paid stipend while participating

What are the eligibility requirements?
• 55 years or older
• Be unemployed & need further training to perform jobs available in the area
• Be a resident of the county where the program is managed by VCAAA
• Authorized to work in the U.S.
• Meet family income requirements (limit of 125% of Poverty Guidelines)

Learn more about the Senior Community Service Employment Program: Visit www.vcaaa.org/work or call (805) 477-7300.

Ventura County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) 

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The Ventura County ADRC provides a coordinated point of entry to ensure older adults and people with disabilities have access to the services and support needed to remain independent in the community. The ADRC is a partnership between the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) and the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC). Core services provided include: Enhanced Information & Referral, Options Counseling, Short-Term Service Coordination, and Transition Services. 

ADRC Transition Advocates will facilitate transitions for individuals from a hospital, nursing facility, intermediate care facility, or any other institutional settings back into the home. Living in the community is significantly more cost effective compared to institutional living, but more importantly it increases quality of life and improves overall health outcomes. 

For more information on Ventura County’s ADRC, visit www.vcaaa.org or call (805) 477-7300.

Growing Together: How Community Gardens Enrich Senior Lives

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For many, transitioning to retirement often means downsizing. Moving from a house with a garden to a smaller accommodation with a patio or balcony can make life easier and more affordable. However, for gardening enthusiasts, giving up a garden can be challenging. Studies suggest that gardening is key to maintaining physical and mental health as we age.

A 2020 Australian study examined the relationships between home and community gardening and the self-reported psychosocial and physical well-being of older adults. Researchers Theresa L. Scott, Barbara M. Masser, and Nancy A. Pachana published their findings in the National Library of Medicine under the title “Positive aging benefits of home and community gardening activities: Older adults report enhanced self-esteem, productive endeavors, social engagement and exercise.” Their study of 331 Australian gardeners aged 60-95 reported numerous benefits from leisure gardening. According to the study, “Restoration and Physical benefits were the strongest explanatory variables of participants’ positive aging self-perceptions. Members of gardening groups reported significantly more social and physical benefits than non-members.”

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Psychological Benefits
The study supports promoting positive aging through gardening. Whether gardening or simply being in a garden, contact with nature is crucial for attaining therapeutic benefits. Exposure to nature through gardens can enhance psychological well-being by regulating emotions and relieving stress. Early research shows that viewing nature through windows or pictures can positively affect stress recovery, lowering blood pressure and slowing heart rate. Because natural environments require less effortful attention and can distract from daily hassles, especially for frail older adults, simply being in a garden or viewing garden elements may provide relaxation and restoration.

Gardening allows older adults to connect with nature, nurture the environment, and care for plants. It also offers creative opportunities in planning and designing gardens. For those driven to learn about new plants or plan new projects, gardening stimulates mental activity. Cognitive benefits are also present in gardening societies or groups focused on learning about plants, gardening history, or Latin plant names.

Physical Benefits
Gardening requires regular care, offering older adults increased physical activity. This can prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart disease, which are significant health risks and contributors to healthcare costs. A UK study found that moderate to heavy gardening activity of four or more hours per week significantly reduced morbidity and mortality rates in middle-aged and older men with cardiovascular disease.

Social Benefits of Gardening: Community Gardens and Gardening Clubs
Gardening groups offer individuals a way to connect with nature and each other, providing social benefits. Group membership can be especially important for older adults during changes like retirement. Connecting with gardening group members allows people to receive social support and contribute positively to others’ lives, protecting against isolation and loneliness.

Ventura’s Community Gardens
Locals have several options for community gardening. For more information, call the City of Ventura Garden Hotline at 805-658-4754 or visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1715/Community-Gardens.

Cornucopia Community Garden
Cornucopia Community Garden is Ventura’s largest community garden, with approximately 150 plots available for rent. Managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, the garden attracts community members from all walks of life who come together to cultivate the land and enjoy the outdoors.

Kellogg Community Garden
Kellogg Park Community Garden is Ventura’s newest community garden with 47 plots available for rent. Managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, the garden attracts community members who come together to garden, enjoy time with neighbors, and celebrate their harvest.

Westpark Community Garden
Westpark Community Garden has 22 plots available to rent. Managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, the garden attracts community members who live near Westpark, enjoy cultivating the land, and celebrating their harvest.

Correction

In our last issue, we featured an article about a “Dream Flight” adventure experienced by some of the residents of The Palms at Bonaventure, however, we did not attribute the photographs correctly. All photographs were by Brandy McCauley, LVN. Back Row – Left to Right: Andrea Maclean, Don Renner (87), David Hanson (85), Les McCormick (81), and Bill Hughes (93). Front Row – Left to Right: Clint Cawley, John White, Brandy McCauley, Merilyn Chaffee.