Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 22, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 22, 2012 



Dear Savvy Senior: My husband and I are both in our 60’s and are interested in making some modest 
changes to our home to make it more practical and senior-friendly, but aren’t sure what to do. What 
resources can you recommend to help us figure this 
out? Homebodies

Dear Homebodies:

Most seniors, like you and your husband, want to 
stay living in their own home. But being able to 
do so often depends on how easy it will be to get 
around the house if you develop physical limitations. 
Here are some helpful resources you can 
turn to, to get an idea of what types of improvements you should make that will make your home 
safer and more convenient as you grow older.

Get Informed

A good first step in making your house senior-friendly is to do a home assessment. Go through your 
house, room by room as if you’ve never set foot in it before, looking for problem areas like potential 
tripping or slipping hazards, and areas that are hard to access. To help you with this, there are various 
organizations that offer published lists of questions to ask, and things to look for to identify problems. 

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (see, for example, offers a number of online 
checklists including one called “How Well Does Your Home Meet Your Needs?” that you can 
access directly at Or, download and print off the National Caregivers Library 
“Home Modification Checklist” at – click on “Checklists & Forms,” then 
on “Housing” to get there. 

AARP also has an excellent resource called “The AARP Home Fit Guide” that provides a checklist and 
tips to keep your home safe and livable as you age. You can access it at, or if you’re 
an AARP member, call 888-687-2277 and ask them to mail you a free copy. 

Personalized Advice

If you want more personalized help, consider getting a professional in-home assessment with an occupational 

An occupational therapist, or OT can evaluate the challenges and shortcomings of your home, make 
modification recommendations and refer you to products and services to help you make improvements. 
Ask your doctor for a referral to an OT in your area. Your local Area Agency on Aging (call the 
Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for contact information) can also help you find nearby therapists.

Many health insurance providers, including Medicare, will pay for a home assessment by an OT if 
prescribed by your doctor. However, they will not cover the physical upgrades to the home.

Another good option is to contact a builder who’s a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. He or she can 
suggest ways to modify your home that will fit your needs and budget. To find one, go to the National 
Association of Home Builders website at where you can search by state and zip 

Home Modifications Ideas

There are dozens of small, simple things you can do to make your home more user-friendly as you 
age, such as securing throw rugs with double-sided tape to avoid tripping, installing brighter full-
spectrum bulbs in existing light fixtures to improve visibility, and adding grab bars to the bathroom 
for support. There are also a number of bigger more extensive projects like installing a stair-lift or 
elevator for multi-floor access, and replacing the tub with a walk-in shower for easier entry and exit.

To get a list of more senior-friendly home improvement ideas and illustrations, see the National Aging 
in Place Council website at – click on “Practical Advice” then on “Making Your 
Home Senior Friendly.” 

Another good resource that’s loaded with tips and universal design ideas is the “AARP Guide to Revitalizing 
Your Home.” It’s available in book stores nationwide as well as online at sites like amazon.
com for around $16.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 By Pat Birdsall


 As we all know, on December 14, a gunman entered an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, 
and killed 20 first graders and 6 adults. The seniors in our community and elsewhere are deeply 
moved as is everyone by this horrendous loss. They have raised their own children, seeing them 
grow into adults and become parents themselves. Then hopefully, the cycle would start again and 
grandchildren and great-grandchildren would follow. The poor families in Connecticut are denied 
any of that. One mother, when she was interviewed, expressed her grief with a positive attitude and a 
wide smile on her face, recalling how her daughter had already made a difference in her short life due 
to her outstanding outlook of the world. That same phrase was said to me shortly after this tragedy by 
a good friend who lost her son when he was just a young man. She said, “I want to talk about him, not 
pretend it didn’t happen because, he made a difference.”

 As I write this on Friday, December 21, some people believe that the 5,125 year old Mayan calendar is 
correct and the world as we know it will end. The world as we know it is just not acceptable anymore…
Only if we learn from this travesty and do something tangible to change many aspects of our society, 
beginning with our laws and our attitudes, will the world change. It has to…This can’t happen again, 

There are many spaces left for new plaques at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall. If you or a 
friend, family member or neighbor served in any of the United States military branches 
the criteria for inclusion is simple: You must have lived in Sierra Madre for at least one 
year sometime in your life and have a picture of yourself in uniform. Please call Dave 
Loera, Commander of VFW Post 3208, to be included and for more information: 
(626) 355-3382. We’d be proud to have you!

You can help: This week the Veteran’s group is: Fisher House Foundation. They provide comfortable 
and pleasant temporary housing to families of wounded soldiers while they receive treatment and 
rehabilitation at military medical centers. Visit them at: 


HELPFUL HINT: ~ The electricity goes out so often in Sierra Madre, candles are a must… 
here’s a hint for removing the wax from wood. Soften the wax with a hair dryer, then remove it with a 
paper towel and wash with a solution of vinegar and water.



 Do you know what would have happened if it had been Three Wise Women instead of Three 
Wise Men? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned 
the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … December Birthdays…

Pat Karamitros, Joan Hufnagel, Marie Pedersen, Mary Alice Cervera, Carole Horejsi, Shirley 
Anhalt, Mignon Grijalva, Helen Reese, Levon Yapoujian, Toni Buckner, Bonnie Garner, Lottie 
Bugl, Pat McGuire, Sheila Woehler, Arlie Hahn, Nan Murphy, Eleanor Hensel, Sylvia Curl, 
Elizabeth Levie and Gayle Licher. *To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the 
paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required.


Quote of the Week: Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be 
happier. ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House (Senior

 Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256


The Intervale Lunch Cafe will be

closed for the holidays on the

following days:

Monday, December 24th

Tuesday, December 25th

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse 
from Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 am-11:45 am Volunteer Teryl Willis offers 
this class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of the 
month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours. * Conflicting court schedules 
can occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-
kind chess table is anxious for players.


Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. 
Weights are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to 
socialize with your peers. (Gossip included)

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday-at the Hart Park House (Senior Center) Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat at 626.355.7290

NEW! On the Move Physical Therapy- Join local physical therapist, Shannon 
Vandevelde, at the Senior Center on Monday, December 17th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 
PM for a free consultation. Shannon will be volunteering her time once a month to 
help seniors identify any possible physical therapy needs as well as providing basic tips. 
To make an appointment call the senior services desk at (626) 355-7394. 


 Senior Movie Program: Free Movies are shown on the 2nd and 
4thWednesdays of the month. The films, one contemporary and 
one vintage, are chosen by the seniors themselves. This month’s 
selections are:

December 26- Mamma Mia (2008) a musical/romantic comedy 
film adapted from the 1999 Broadway musical of the same name; 
based on the songs of pop group ABBA. Meryl Streep heads 
the cast, playing the role of single mother Donna Sheridan. 
Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard play the three 
possible fathers to Donna’s daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). 
Start time: 1:00 PM in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 
232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.


 Merry Christmas! If you’re reading this, it means we didn’t get annihilated in a 
world wide apocalypse. Woo hoo! What better way to celebrate another day of life 
than to decorate your tree, yard, and car with Christmas motifs and other symbols 
of merriment?

 This week’s topic came from my friend at the Bottle Shop (you know who you are, and thank 
you!) He asked, “Where is the line between enough decorations and too much?” When does tactful 
spill over to tacky? If you live in some uptight city, they probably have detailed rules concerning the 
number and wattage of lights you can put up. But if you’re privileged to dwell in the land of the free 
and the home of the bravely festive, your Christmas decor is limited only by your budget and your 
energy for decorating your roof with a portly Santa and a full 
team of reindeer.

 To maintain neighborly harmony, a good rule of thumb 
is that, as long as your neighbors aren’t complaining to 
you or the cops, your decorations are all right. Not having 
conducted a full search of all the Christmas decorations in 
Sierra Madre, I can’t confirm that there are no gaudy displays 
among us. Over the years I’ve come to view my ride to work 
through Alhambra and East L.A. as the hometowns of tacky 
Christmas decorations.

 Some of these properties are so festooned with inflatable 
displays that the the few unadulterated houses grab your 
attention more than those covered with snowmen, elves, and 
candy canes. After Christmas, large patches of dead grass 
and squashed plants show where the large contraptions 
rested for a month or more. For these families, it’s a never-
ending cycle between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, 
New Years, and the other, lesser holidays. Some St. Patty’s displays boast giant pots of gold and 
leprechauns creepy enough to induce childhood phobias. Which brings up another point --have you 
noticed how people seem to decorate more for Halloween than for any other holiday? I’m not a big 
fan of Halloween because of its occult connotations. It’s fine to pass out candy to the kiddos, but that’s 
where my Halloween interests begin and end. So, why does it seem houses are more decked out for 
Halloween than Christmas (or any other holiday, for that matter)? My uneducated guess is that, for 
Halloween, people KNOW they’ll have guests, whereas for Christmas, it’s a toss up.

 Another probable reason behind Halloween’s decorative “edge” is the amount of daylight and 
general warmth in October versus December. I can imagine tacking up a neon spider and sticking a 
few zombie heads in the lawn when the weather’s a comfortable 70 degrees. But let me tell you, when 
it starts getting dark at 4:30 P.M. and my fingers immobilize due to the cold, I could care less whether 
my house looks like something worthy of a Christmas village.

 There’s also so much stress around Christmas that it’s hard to find energy to do more than the 
bare minimum. Shopping, wrapping, and all the gatherings of family and friends leave me pooped. 
Others might get a rush of adrenaline from battling crowds at the mall, attending two parties a day, 
and hosting others. But I’m happy to just sleep in on Christmas Eve and appreciate God’s willingness 
to leave heaven and share in our humanity. I may not have a nativity set up in my living room, but it’s 
in my heart. And I don’t think God minds that I didn’t put up any lights. Merry Christmas!