Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 4, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 4, 2013 




Dear Savvy Senior:

What types of new home technologies can you recommend 
to help me keep tabs on my elderly mother? She 
lives alone, about an hour’s drive from me, and I worry 
about her safety. Concerned Daughter

Dear Concerned:

Helping an aging parent remain independent and living 
in their own home has become a little easier in recent years, thanks to a host of new and improved 
assistive technology products. Here are some top rated options you should know about. 

Medical Alerts

If you’re worrying about your mom falling and needing help, one of the most frequently used products 
over the years for seniors living alone is a medical alert device – also known as a personal emergency 
response system, or PERS. 

These devices provide a wearable “SOS” button – typically in the form of a necklace pendent or bracelet 
– and a base station that connects to the home phone line. 

At the press of a button, your mom could call and talk to a trained operator through the system’s base 
station receiver which works like a powerful speaker phone. The operator will find out what’s wrong, 
and will notify family members, a neighbor, friend or emergency services as needed. 

If you’re interested in this, there are dozens of services to choose from including the Philips Lifeline 
(, 800-380-3111) which is the most widely used medical alert service in the U.S. and 
costs around $35 per month. Phillips also offers a new Auto Alert option (for $48 per month) that 
has fall detection sensors in the SOS button that can automatically summon help without your mom 
ever having to press a button. This is helpful because many seniors after a fall become confused or 
disoriented and forget to press the button. 

If you’re interested in a more budget-friendly option, consider an unmonitored medical alert like 
the new VTech CareLine Home Safety Telephone System for $120 (, which doesn’t 
require professional monitoring services, therefore has no monthly monitoring fees. 

Or, to deal with falls or health emergencies that happen outside the home, there are mobile-alert GPS 
products now available that work anywhere. To find these, see, 

Monitoring Systems

Another more sophisticated technology for keeping tabs on your mom is with a home monitoring 
system. These systems will let you know whether she is waking up and going to bed on time, eating 
properly, showering and taking her medicine.

They work through small wireless sensors (not cameras) placed in key locations throughout the 
home. The sensors will track her movements, learning her daily activity patterns and routines, and 
will notify you or other family members via text message, email or phone if something out of the 
ordinary is happening. For instance, if she went to the bathroom and didn’t leave it could indicate a 
fall or other emergency. 

You can also check up on her patterns anytime you want through the system’s password-protected 
website. And for additional protection, most services offer SOS call buttons as well that can be placed 
around the house, or worn.

Some good companies that offer these services are BeClose (, 866-574-1784), which runs 
$399 or $499 for the sensors, plus a $69 monthly service fee if paid a year in advance. And GrandCare 
Systems (, 262-338-6147), which adds a fantastic social component – through a 
senior-friendly computer – to go along with the activity monitoring. GrandCare leases for $150 to 
$300 per month. 

Medication Management

If you want to make sure your mom is keeping up with her medications, there are medication management 
devices you can now rent, that will dispense her medicine on schedule, provide constant 
reminders, and even notify you if her medicine is not taken. Two products that offer this are MedMinder 
(, 888-633-6463), which rents for $40 per month, and the Philips Medication 
Dispensing Service (, 888-632-3261) that costs $75/month. 

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


 From the FBI and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector 
General (HUD-OIG) urge consumers, especially senior citizens, to be vigilant when seeking reverse 
mortgage products. Reverse mortgages, also known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), 
have increased more than 1,300 percent between 1999 and 2008, creating significant opportunities 
for fraud perpetrators. Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a 
multitude of real estate, financial services and related companies, to steal the equity from the property 
of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing 
equity from a flipped property. They are often offered investment opportunities or refinancing 
assistance. Seniors are frequently targeted through local churches and investment seminars, as well 
as television,radio, billboard and mailer advertisements. A legitimate HECM loan product is insured 
by the Federal Housing Authority. It enables eligible homeowners to access the equity in their homes 
by providing funds without incurring a monthly payment. Eligible buyers must be 62 years old or 
over, who occupy their property as their primary residence and who own their property or have a 
small mortgage balance.

 See the FBI/HUD Intelligence Bulletin for specific details on HECMs as well as other foreclosure 
rescue and investment schemes. If you feel you are a victim of this type of fraud and want to file a 
complaint, call HUD’s hotline at 1-800-347-3735 or your local office of the FBI. 

HELPFUL HINT: For a fast fix for drive-you-crazy faucet drips. Tie a piece of string to 
the faucet nozzle, resting the other end in the drain. The water will slowly flow down the absorbent 
string, silencing the maddening drip and saving your sanity until you can get it fixed. 



 A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word to each other. An earlier 
discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they 
passed a barnyard full of mules, goats and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?” 
“Yep,” the wife replied, “in-laws.”

 ~ ~ ~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … May Birthdays


JoAnn Serrato-Chi, Harriett Lyle, Jean Coleman, Birgitta Gerlinger, Donna Mathisen, 
Dorothy Murphy, Linda Wochnik, Marian Woodford, Debbie Sheridan, Joanne Anthony, 
Carole Axline, Kika Downey, Shirley Hall, Annie Scalzo, Janet Ten Eyck and Jayne Thomas. 
Note from the Editor: Belated Happy Birthday to Lori Cooper who turned 95 on March 20th!

* 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: 

 Age and treachery will triumph over youth and skill! ~Author Unknown~


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

Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month 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: After four years and approximately 200 classes, Teryl Willis said in an e-mail to 
me… “It’s time.” She wanted me to tell you this… “What a great group of people came to the classes-so 
interesting and good at living! I do miss them already…Good luck to you, Teryl! 

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 Birdsall at 626.355.7290.

Lunch & Learn: Wednesday, May 27, 12:15 to 1:00 PM

“Brain Building Activities are Fun!”- This seminar takes a brief look at the causes of memory loss 
and then explores the array of activities that bolster mental acuity. The discussion will include why 
crosswords, dancing, learning languages and playing board games (among other fun activities) 
are so good for individuals. Facilitated by Jackie Stahl, Community liaison for Comforcare Senior 
Services in Pasadena. For lunch reservations please call the Intervale Senior Café at (626) 355-0256 
at least 24hours in advance, or bring your own lunch to enjoy.


California Science Center Los Angeles, Ca. 

Date: Friday, May 17, 2013 Time: 9:30 am- 3:30 pm

Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

Cost: $16.00 (Does not include lunch)

Join us on a visit to the California Science Center, the west coast’s largest hands-on science center! 
The trip will include a tour of the Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit, which showcases images and 
artifacts that relate to the shuttle program in California where the orbiters were built. After the 
tour enjoy the IMAX presentation “The Blue Planet,” which features footage taken by crews during 
five space shuttle missions. In between the tour and IMAX presentation participants will have the 
chance to lunch as well as an opportunity to visit the rest of the Science Center. Participants may 
bring their own lunch or purchase lunch at the Science Center Café. 

Save the Dates!

Friday, June 28, 2013- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Friday, July 12, 2013- Pageant of the Masters (evening excursion)

*Registering for Excursions can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center and the 
Community Recreation Center or online at Cash, checks, and credit 
cards are accepted. Make checks payable “City of Sierra Madre”. Payment must be made at the time 
of reservation.


Senior Movie Program: FREE movies are chosen by the seniors themselves and shown on the 
1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., Sierra Madre. ~ Start time is 1:00pm ~

May 15- Life of Pi (2012) 

Based on the novel by Yann Martel and directed by Ang Lee.A young man survives a disaster at 
sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While a castaway, he forms an 
unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengel Tiger, portrayed by a Bengal Tiger 
(typecasting), named Richard Parker. Rated PG (run time is 123 minutes)

May 29- Secretariat (2009)

A biological sport’s drama produced and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 

It chronicles the life of thoroughbred race horse Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973. 
Starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich Rated PG, (run time is 123 minutes)


 April is over, but it’s never too late to share an April Fools story! My friend, 
Shannon, teaches third grade at a public elementary school (which will remain 
nameless). As the years have passed, the school’s lost several colorful teachers to retirement. One 
of the most flamboyant teachers, Dr. Jane Marston (not her real name), retired after 30-plus years of 
teaching junior high. However, Dr. Marston refused to go gently into that good night of retirement, 
and periodically returns to sub and generally raise Cain.

 It just so happened that Jane came in to sub for a teacher who called in sick on April 1. In 
retrospect, Jane most likely asked the teacher to take the day off so Jane could come and torture the 
principal. That might sound mean, but the principal is a worthy adversary. She and Jane can’t be 
together long before they’re cracking each other up (and whoever is near them) with their playful 
“trashing” of each other.

 Jane started out the morning by sending well-behaved, 
scholarly students to the principal with bogus referrals of 
talking disruptively, cussing, cheating on quizzes, and beating 
up their classmates. Sure, a few of these A-list fourth graders 
might’ve experienced a little trauma at being wrongly accused 
and suffering a moment of unwarranted scorn. But kids are 
resilient --or so they say.

 Jane probably thought that she pulled a good one over 
on the principal, but she couldn’t have anticipated the 
principal’s resourcefulness when it comes to getting even. 
In the late afternoon, a team of upper grade students hand 
delivered memos to every classroom (except Jane’s). “There 
will be a practice emergency drill this afternoon. DO 
NOT EVACUATE!! This is only a drill. Again, DO NOT 

 Disruptions and changed plans are as unavoidable to public 
school teachers as acne is to teenagers. Any rigid, inflexible 
teacher is sure to be broken before her first year in the 
classroom is over. Shannon and her fellow teachers received 
the memo and ignored the emergency bell as instructed.

 But the principal was careful to make sure her messengers did not deliver the memo to Jane. 
Therefore, when the emergency bells rang, Jane marched her fourth graders out onto the field to wait 
for the rest of the evacuating classes. Except these classes never arrived. Instead, the principal let 
Jane and her students stand dumbfounded on the field for a few minutes before laughing into her 
megaphone, “What are you doing all alone out there, Dr. Marston? April Fools!”

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