|Profile of Village Member Alice Mammini
I was born and raised in Napa, and when I got married, my husband and I bought a farm in San Martin, where we raised our two daughters,” Alice Mammini said in a recent conversation with Village board president, Anne Greenblatt. “We had an apricot orchard and also grew strawberries, tomatoes, and garlic. I always loved to cook, so I did that in the Garlic Festival every year, which was such fun!
“I’m blessed to have a lot of family in Sonoma and Napa, so when my daughters were grown and I was living on my own, I ‘came home’ to the North Bay, where I was raised. My two daughters own and run the Republic of Thrift in Sonoma. The store has won awards as the best of its kind in Sonoma, and gives all its proceeds to the Valley schools. I’m very proud of them.
“When the opportunity arose to move to PEP Housing nine years ago, I was delighted to live in such a lovely, light-filled apartment overlooking trees full of birds and an adjoining pasture with sheep. At first, I still worked administrative jobs and pursued my creative interests in knitting and crocheting. I started a knitting group in the Senior Center and, as it grew, we knitted hundreds of hats and blankets. We sent them to hospitals, places where people needed them. I gradually retired from work, and even though I used computers a lot in my career, now I’m glad to do other things! Although I do love my new iPad, especially because it connects me to my family.”
What attracted you to the Village Network?
“Several people I know belonged to the Village, and were so enthusiastic about all the volunteer services, potlucks, this kind of thing. They also happened to be nice people, so when I heard that the Village was offering subsidized memberships to PEP residents, I made it a point to come to the meeting. And filled out my application right away!”
How has the Village made a difference in your life?
“Since I no longer drive, the driving volunteers have been wonderful – we have such interesting conversations. I’ve also started donating the greeting cards I create to the Village for them to send to members who are sick. Recently, I proposed arranging a greeting card-making workshop in the PEP Community Room here, and it looks like it’s going to happen. I am very excited.”
What aspects of your engagement with the Village have been most satisfying?
“Before I joined, I was discouraged by several medical issues. Now I feel like my life is easier, and I’m also contributing to other people. I love the Village; belonging to it has made me feel whole again!”
- Anne Greenblatt
Thriving at Home: Pay It Forward to Yourself
Learning to adapt our homes to support us in thriving independently as we age can make a big difference in the quality of our future lives. Each year, thousands of Americans fall at home; many are seriously injured or even disabled. Falls are often due to hazards that are easily overlooked but easily fixed.
Village member Robert Gallup and volunteer Nora Tallent, retired occupational therapists with decades of experience, have developed a new Home Safety Check program available for Village members who are interested in reviewing how well our homes might support our well-being and independence as we age. This is a free benefit for Village members. Their program has three parts:
- First, you can start thinking about how your home can better support your comfort and confidence now and in the future by printing and completingCheck for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults, available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website athttps://www.cdc.gov/. If you don’t have a computer and printer, you can call the Village office at 707-776-6055 and ask us to mail you a copy.
- Then, if you’re interested in having a home visit from Robert or Nora, you can contact the Village office to set it up. This is a no-pressure walk through your home to evaluate with you how you might improve livability, prevent falls, and continue thriving in your home. You will be sent a written report summarizing results of your home safety check. Nora and Robert’s goal is to support people in learning principles which you can apply when you need to adjust your home environment to changing abilities and interests.
- Nora will present workshops on fall prevention for Village volunteers on Monday, August 28, 11:00 – 12:30, and one for members later this fall. RSVP to Joanne for volunteer workshop, atinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.org.
How You Think About Aging Can Affect How You Age
The perceptions an adult has about aging have been found to influence the way that person will experience his or her own aging process. Buying into the belief that aging is always accompanied by a decline in mental and physical capacities makes one more likely to adopt a self-image consistent with that view. The more the stereotypes of old age are assimilated into a person’s psyche, the more likely that person is to experience ill health, depression, and other negative life changes.
On the other hand, an older adult who expects the latter part of life to present opportunities for continued growth, learning, and fulfillment may enjoy the benefits of those perceptions. A glass-half-full attitude means that illness and physical limitations will be faced with a determination to overcome them and persevere rather than a resignation to inevitable decline.
Changing unfavorable attitudes about aging requires improving both individuals’ and society’s awareness of the effects of negative perceptions of older people and the value of more positive images. Greater visibility of older adults in the media and eliminating the common stereotypes about them would go a long way to changing the general public’s perspective. Creating more opportunities for interaction among generations and a greater effort to educate people of all ages about the realities of aging are also critical to correcting misconceptions and promoting positive views of aging.
Research supports the premise that older adults who report a positive self-image live longer (an average of 7.5 years in one study), enjoy better functional health with fewer limitations on activities of daily living, show fewer risk factors for dementia, engage in more positive behaviors such as exercise and healthy diet, and experience lower rates of depression than their peers with more negative perceptions of aging. Given these statistics, it’s clear that we can benefit from an honest evaluation of our own attitudes, with the goal of adopting a positive, optimistic, and hopeful outlook on the remaining – and possibly the best – years of our lives.
- Kathy Lawrence
Caregivers Need to Care for Themselves
Members of the so-called “sandwich generation”– those who care for aging parents while still dealing with their own children, their careers, their financial obligations, and perhaps a spouse’s health issues – often experience a decline in their own physical and emotional wellbeing. Because caregiving for others can produce dangerous levels of stress, financial hardships, and diminished quality of life, the first step toward becoming effective in that role is recognizing the importance of self-care.
Setting boundaries is key to ensuring that there will be enough time and money to fulfill the caregiver’s own needs. Learning to say “no” can be hard, but it’s often essential. Honest discussions about finances may also be discomfiting, but everyone in the family needs to know the costs imposed by illness and long-term care and to assume an equitable share of the responsibility. If circumstances do not allow a family member to contribute financially, perhaps assistance with chores, driving, meal preparation, or other relief for the primary caregiver can be provided instead.
In addition to asking for help from family, friends, and neighbors, caregivers can tap the resources of various community, religious, and civic organizations. One local source of aid to caregivers is the Jewish Family and Children’s Services, which serves San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. The JFCS (https://seniorsathome.jfcs.org/contact/or 415-449-3777)supports the sandwich generation with programs, counseling, and guidance in managing care for an aging family member. For a more general overview, the AARP provides a comprehensive look at the challenges involved in balancing caregiving with the rest of life and also offers specific information about finding solutions and obtaining help (AARP.org).
Maintaining that delicate balance between the needs of the caregiver and those of the person cared for will never be easy, but help is available and the rewards can be profound.
- Kathy Lawrence
Travel SMART Throughout the Bay Area
Now that the SMART train is going you can payonlyby using aClipper Card. This is a piece of plastic the size of a credit card and can be used to ride all public transportation systems in the Bay Area from Santa Rosa to San Jose. You won't have to open your wallet and look for the correct bills and change. Just slap the card down on the special card reader on buses, ferries, and trains when you enter and when you exit. The machine calculates the length of your trip and deducts the correct amount from the funds you have loaded onto the card. Where can you get your Clipper Card? All SMART stations will have a machine that will issue a card, but if you want aSenior Clipper Card —with a 50% discount — you will need to stop by the Petaluma Transit Company office at 555 North McDowell. Save time and money!
- Jane Merryman
Age-Friendly Petaluma Update
Three Village volunteers attended a Listening Session held in August by the Age-Friendly Communities project. We joined a discussion led by Dave Alden and Dorothy Guajardo, two of the Petaluma volunteers on the Age-Friendly Sonoma County Community Conversations and Needs Assessment.
A study phase is underway, to learn about existing conditions in our county, looking at each area’s age-friendliness and livability. We covered nine topic areas for the Petaluma perspective including community connectedness, respect and social inclusion, transportation, housing options, and outdoor spaces.
We quickly identified difficulties our peer group experience trying to drive across town, navigate buckled sidewalks and cross No. McDowell on foot, lack of benches, walking on isolated paths and more. We voiced the many opportunities to engage in lifelong learning, volunteering and social connection, yet there’s fragmented and under-promoted information and referral sources.
When the assessment process is complete, an action plan will be developed and submitted to AARP which acts on behalf of the World Health Organization for age friendly/livable communities in the U.S. Upon approval, the implementation phase will begin.
This collaborative effort began in 2016 when our County was accepted into the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities (GNAFC), one of 175 communities in the growing Age-Friendly Network in the U.S.
“An Age-Friendly community is a livable community for all ages. It’s a great place to grow up and a great place to grow old,” said Renee Tolliver, community coordinator at Council on Aging.
if you’re age 50 or better, you can take a survey about your experience living and aging in Sonoma County to have your voice heard:http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Age-Friendly-Sonoma-County-Englishor contact Renee Tolliver at 707 525-0143 ext. 124 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|“I love belonging to the Village – it’s made me feel whole again!”
- Village Membership Partners Program member