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Celebrating life and learning at Senior Center

Posted: August 31, 2008 4:33 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Long before I began working at the SCV Senior Center in July, I knew that it was a "magical" place, truly "Support and Friendship Central" for hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley seniors. Then I learned they had some really interesting job openings - and I was immediately hooked.

It turned out that Jackie Reibsamen, the longtime supervisor for the Center's Adult Day Care was retiring after 18 years. The Respite Day Care provides care, socialization, and stimulating activities in a safe and nurturing environment to clients with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsons, post-stroke, etc., while their caregivers can get some much-needed time off for themselves.

One of Jackie's duties was the Center's Health & Wellness Coordinator. Ultimately I took that position, as well as becoming community liaison for the Adult Day Care Center, and working on various projects for our director, Brad Berens.

As Health & Wellness Coordinator, I plan the weekly lectures, which are held at the Center each Wednesday from 1 to 2 p.m. (and are funded in part by the City of Santa Clarita). They're free, open to the public, very interesting, and filled with applicable information. They are also an excellent means for learning something new from medical and business experts throughout our community.

The topics include: head-to-toe medical subjects, consumer and personal safety, financial planning, housing market changes, and so much more.

These lectures also provide greatly needed awareness for attendees.

"Our health and wellness lectures enable our patrons to stay on top of the latest developments in many areas of concern that affects their lives," said Berens. "I credit our elder abuse prevention lectures with the Santa Clarita Valley having the lowest incidence of senior fiduciary abuse cases in Los Angeles, according to our research."

Our September Health & Wellness lineup includes:

Sept. 3: "Holistic Integrative Medicine," presented by Dr. Wool-Smith, a Herbologist with a Masters in Chinese Medicine, and Patricia Ramirez, R.N. (Berens excitedly hails this lecture as another great example of life-long learning. It deals with Ayuvedic systems of medicine practiced for over 20 centuries which is just now streaming into Western consciousness.)

Sept. 10: "Reverse Mortgages," presented by Lisa Glogow of Wells Fargo Bank.

Sept. 17: "Protecting Your Assets through Long-term Care," presented by Violet Guzman and Will Rodriguez of Banker's Life.

Sept. 24: "Colds, Flu, and Pneumonia, and You," presented by Dr. Amy Goff, of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

Two Wednesdays out of each month, we alternatively feature physician speakers from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial and Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. They are so effective at communicating information with our seniors, and will often stay on to answer personal questions and make sure everyone goes away happy, or at least on a better path with their health challenges.

On other Wednesdays, speakers come in from a variety of backgrounds and expertise groups.
I'm currently in the process of booking some topics that are a little more "out of the box," and I believe we'll have a big response. They include:

n How to "open up" and better communicate with people, including your own ADULT children. It's never too late to say what's in our hearts and even mend broken fences!

n The vital need for companionship and intimacy throughout the life cycle, including the senior years.
Research has shown that people in close, loving relationships tend to live longer and stay healthier.

n Aromatherapy, how it can positively modify brain chemistry and improve one's mood Did you know that the scent of hot apple pie can make you wistfully think of "home" and thereby calm the senses?

As Jackie strived throughout her Senior Center years, I too want our talks to be compelling, and something people look forward to attending.

Diana Sevanian, R.N., is a syndicated columnist. Her column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of the The Signal.

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