Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 4, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain View News Saturday, April 4, 2020 


Dear Savvy Senior:

I’ve heard that the Social Security Administration 
has closed all their offices because of the coronavirus pandemic. How are they accommodating 
people while they’re closed down?

Recently Retired

Dear Recently:

Yes, that’s correct. The Social Security Administration has closed its 1,200 field offices throughout 
the country to protect benefit recipients and workers from the coronavirus pandemic. Their 
offices have been closed since March 17. How long they will be closed is unclear. It will depend 
on the course of the pandemic.

In the meantime, services will continue to be available online at the website, 
and over the phone. You can also rest assured that monthly payments to the more than 69 million 
Social Security beneficiaries will not be affected in any way.

Here’s a rundown of how you can get help and get answers to your Social Security questions, 
while their offices are shut down.

Online Help

For any Social Security business you need to conduct, go to There you 
can view your latest statement and earnings history, apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare 
benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social 
Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere 
and from any of your devices.

Their website also has a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions 
without having to speak with a representative. For answers to your Social Security questions see 
their frequently asked questions page at

Phone Assistance

If you can’t conduct your Social Security business online, check the SSA online field office locator 
(see for specific information about how to directly contact your local 
office. Your local office will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, 
answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.

Or, you can also call the Social Security national toll-free number at 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-
325-0778). This number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to 
speak with a telephone representative.

If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, Social Security will call you to handle 
your appointment over the phone instead. The call may come from a private number and not 
from a federal line.

Beware of Scams

Be aware that Social Security telephone impersonation scams are growing. These scammers 
may falsely tell you that there is a problem with your account, that your Social Security number 
has been suspended because of suspected illegal activity, that you’re owed a cost-of-living 
benefit increase, or that your monthly benefits will stop because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The caller may also threaten your benefits, suggest you’ll face legal action if you don’t provide 
information, or pressure you to send money via wire transfers, cash or gift cards. They may even 
“spoof” your caller ID to make it look like Social Security is actually calling.

If you receive one of these calls, hang up. Social Security rarely contacts anyone by phone unless 
you have ongoing business with them, and they never threaten you or ask for any form of 

For more information on how to get help with Social Security during the coronavirus shutdown, 

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.



Howard Rubin, Anita Hardy, Hattie Harris, Wendy Senou, Mary Harley, Bette 
White, Dorothy White, Doris Behrens, Freda Bernard, Beth Copti, Terri Cummings, 
Marilyn Diaz, Virginia Elliott, Elma Flores, Betty Jo Gregg, Barbara Lampman, 
Betty Mackie, Elizabeth Rassmusen, Maria Reyes, Marian DeMars, Anne Schryver, 
Chrisine Bachwansky, Colleen McKernan, Sandy Swanson, Hank Landsberg, Ken 
Anhalt, Shannon Vandevelde * To add your name to this distinguished list, please 
call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required 

Seniors Communications Plan

The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures 
to provide current communication in light 
of COVID-19 and keep the Senior Community 
and families informed of essential information and 
resources. City staff are monitoring email communication 
daily, and although employees are minimizing 
direct engagement and practicing social 
distancing in the community, please note that voice 
messages, emails, and social media responses are 
being addressed in the most efficient and timely 

If at any moment additional information is needed, 
please contact City Hall Administrative Services at 
(626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 
5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing 
the appropriate person.

For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please 
note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily 
at the Community Services Department, (626) 355-
5278 x702.

1. Community Services Department will continue 
email communication with Senior residents and 
aging community members.

If you know of family members or neighbors who 
may benefit from accessing information electronically, 
and to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter 
via email but may not otherwise have been 
included on an email group list, please send your 
request with email address to the following team 

Lawren Heinz and

Clarissa Lowe

2. Community Services Department will continue 
Electronic Seniors Newsletter on a weekly-basis 

3. Community Services Department will continue 
with mail drop-off of newsletters at the Sierra Madre 
U.S. Post Office Box (unless otherwise advised).

4. City Social Media will continue via Facebook as 
well as Instagram, and information sharing will include 
updates as details becomes available.

5. Mater Dolorosa - Sierra Madre Meal Pick-Up 
Program provides seal-packaged frozen meals, 
5-per person every Thursday, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 
at Hart Park House Senior Center 222 W. Sierra 
Madre Blvd. Donations are accepted. Call (626) 
355-5278; x702 or 704. 6. YWCA Intervale Meal 
Program - Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020

YWCA has transitioned their distribution of take 
home meals at the Sierra Madre Hart Park House 
Senior Center to a home-delivery meal program.

Rev 4/1/2020

Participants previously reserved for meal pick-up 
as of Wednesday, 3/25/20 were informed that they 
would begin to have their meals delivered to their 
homes, beginning next Wednesday, April 1, 2020 
until further notice.

For any additional participants calling in that are 
at a high risk and need meals delivered to, please 
provide us their name, date of birth (they must be 
60+), address and phone number and Community 
Services Department will forward this information 
to our County Contact.

7. Food Banks Support

Seniors & Families:

If someone is outside of our local area and in need 
of a food bank, they can find one nearest them by 
going to and typing in their 
zip code; or call from the list here:

1) First Church of the Nazarene-Pasadena

3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.


Wednesday 10:30 am-12 pm

2) Pasadena Senior Center

85 E. Holly St. Pasadena


April 3rd 8 am-10:30 am

3) Foothill Unity Center

415 W. Chestnut Ave. Monrovia


Monday 1 pm-3:30 pm, Wednesday & Friday 9 am-
11:30 am

4) Lifeline Community Services & Economic 

2556 N. Lake Ave Altadena


2nd and 4th Wednesday 12 pm-2 pm & 8:15 pm-9 

5) Morning Star Outreach Ministry

1416 N. Mentor Ave Pasadena


2nd & 4th Saturday 11 am-1 pm 

8. Questions About Volunteering, or Do You Need 
Help? Seniors (65+), Active Seniors (55+), Families 
and Neighbors in Sierra Madre that currently need 
help since they are confined to their homes, are at 
risk during this pandemic, or individuals offering 
to help please visit Sierra Madre Thrives, www. Community Services is 
serving as a city-partnered referral to community-
based organizations including Sierra Madre Thrives 
for volunteers and seniors who have reached out to 
our agency, while providing assistance on helpful 
resources according to your needs.

9. NIXLE Alerts which send messages through public 
safety agencies via cell phones and social media 
networks will be issued through the Sierra Madre 
Police Department. This enables local response 
agencies to get that information into the community 
as quickly as possible. VOICE TO TEXT messages 
from Police Department will further offer 
automatic pre-recorded voice messages that reach 
approximately 4,000 phones within our community. 
Social Media platforms will include direct phone 
numbers provided by PD to the pre-recorded messages 
for accessibility.

Anyone interested in receiving the NIXLE alerts 
may do so from their mobile phone:

hit 888-777 and follow the prompts. OR go to Nixle.
com and do the same. For non-emergency help or 
guidance on Nixle, please call 626-355-1414.

10. Sierra Madre Channel 3 will provide information 
and what the city is doing for the Senior Community, 
including transportation and food services.

Currently, Sierra Madre transit support has been 
operating in accordance with our regular schedule 
and will continue as such. Extra precautions are 
being taken with the sanitization and cleaning of 
buses due to the recent circumstances.

11. Pasadena Senior Center, a collaborator of the 
Sierra Madre Senior Community, has also provided 
a resource, Telephone Reassurance Program, which 
offers daily calls to home bound seniors to provide 
support and contact with others on a regular basis. 
If any senior, in this time of emergency, finds themselves 
home bound and needs to talk with someone, 
please refer them to (626) 685-6732 and they are 
available Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 



As you already know, the COVID-19 pandemic means there’s 
no more “business as usual”. So don’t just hope you can survive 
until things return to normal. Strategize, now, on how you 
can take what control is in your sphere of influence. Once you 
have attended to your (and your parents’) immediate needs, it 
will be time to consider more long-term plans.

In this time of stress and chaos, your parents may be resistant 
to talking about estate planning. It may feel too pessimistic 
to plan for the worst amid a scary situation. However, that’s 
exactly why it’s important right now to do so. Plus, since hopefully you are staying inside, you 
may have the time to dedicate to getting these tasks taken care of.

Here are actions you can, and should, take to ensure you and your family are fully protected 

Update Your Health Care Documents

Above all, you first need to ensure that both you and your parents have your health care 
documents in order. This will be an invaluable reference point for those who are assisting you, 
whether they be friends, family, or medical professionals. 

There are three important and distinct documents you should have in place: Your advanced 
directive, HIPAA waiver, and living will. They are separate documents but all work together. 
Think of them like the legs of a stool. If just one is missing or defective, the stool will fall – with 
you in it!

Your advanced directive identifies and gives legal authority to whom you would like to make your 
medical decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. Many people think spouses automatically 
have this legal authority and therefore don’t need this type of document for each other. That is 
a mistaken belief which can cost married couples substantial time, money, and anguish when a 
medical emergency arises.

A HIPAA waiver is important because even though your advanced directive gives authority to 
someone of your choosing to make medical decisions for you, privacy laws will prevent your 
doctor from sharing your medical information with that person. I see a lot of advanced directives 
which include a HIPAA section, but this is not legally sound and often fails. For starters, the 
privacy laws mandate the HIPAA waiver be written in a certain font style and size. Trust me on 
this. You want your HIPAA waiver to be a standalone document.

Your living will is different from your last will and testament. While a last will deals with the 
decisions to be made after death, a living will pertains to decisions which are to be made while 
you are still alive. This is where you will provide guidance on when you would want to be placed 
on life support, removed from life support, whether you want to donate your organs, etc. 

Even if you have already created your medical directives, I urge you to take out any existing 
documents now and review them. Have your circumstances changed? Do you have additions to 
make? Encourage your parents to do the same thing, and to communicate with you about what 
their documents say. If you are unsure whether your health care documents are in ship-shape, 
call us, and we’ll be happy to review them for you.

Ensure Your Estate Plan is Up to Date and In Order

Your healthcare documents are an important start, but you should also review (or create) powers 
of attorney, a last will, and perhaps even a living trust. Remember that it’s never an inappropriate 
time to plan. Getting this in order will provide you and your loved ones peace of mind. And we’re 
here to support you, virtually now, as well. We can take care of you, and your family, fully online. 
Call us, we’re here. 

 Dedicated to empowering your family, building your 
wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission to 
help parents protect what they love

most. His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra 
Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an

appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love and financial security for your

family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for more information.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


For the last several weeks, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself have been enjoying some 
quiet time in our parsonage. I cannot remember the last time we had such quiet time all to ourselves.

One of the blessings of this time is the fact that telemarketers are not calling. In a way, I miss them because 
I used to harass them as much as they were harassing me. But we will come back to that in a few weeks or 

I did not know what a wonderful time it was until yesterday as my wife and I was enjoying our supper together. 
Usually, throughout the week, we spend quite a bit of time at a restaurant because of our schedule. 
It is not often that we can spend a whole week having our meals together.

Enjoying home-cooked meals is one of the great pleasures of being married to someone who knows how 
to cook. If the cooking were left up to me, it would be a completely different story. The truth is, it is not up 
to me and I say a grateful, hallelujah!

Some family members think I am a little bit post-thin; at least that’s what they say. I respond by saying I'm 
not as fat as I could be, but I'm not as skinny as I once was. I do not know what that means; I just want to 
say something to take the attention off me.

If I am “post-thin,” I am not to blame. The blame goes squarely on the shoulders of the master cook in our 
domicile. If the meals were not as good as they are, I would not eat as much as I do.

Therefore, my condition is not my own doing. Do not ask my wife; she has a different perspective on this 

Experiencing this solitude has brought many blessings.

One blessing is the gas at the local gas station is $1.65 per gallon. It has been a long time since the gas has 
been that low.

Even though it's a blessing from a certain point of view, there is a negative aspect. Why is it that the gas is 
so cheap, but there is no place I can go? Why can it be that cheap when I have to take a trip somewhere?

So that blessing doesn't really turn out to be a bona fide blessing, in my opinion.

I know there are some bargains at local stores that are open, like Publix, but I am not a shopper, and at this 
time, I would stay as far away from that place as possible. That may be a blessing, but there is a downside 
to it.

As I was enjoying the home cook supper the other night, I began to appreciate what a wonderful cook my 
wife is. For the last several days, she has cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have eaten her breakfast, 
lunch, and dinner with a great deal of delight.

Although I understand the consequences of eating as much as I have been eating, the blessing of eating it 
at the time far outweighs the future. At least that’s what I’m saying now.

After supper that night, which was absolutely delicious, I had a very frightening thought. I am not sure I 
am over it yet.

The thought was that whenever we go out to eat at a local restaurant, I'm always the one who tips the 
waitress. I always make sure I am generous with my tip. My philosophy is simply this, the thing that stands 
between the kitchen and me is that waitress, and I better be able to trust her.

Now, the thought tumbling through my mind is, am I supposed to tip my wife for supper tonight?

It is not that I am not generous. It is that I do not know how to manage this tipping business at home.

And the reason is, I made a slip of the tongue right after supper that night when I said to my wife, “This is 
a $1 million meal for sure.”

How in the world do you tip a $1 million meal?

As I was ruminating this through my mind, my wife sat down in the living room with me and said, “Did 
you really mean it was a $1 million meal?”

Throughout life, I have learned one basic fact. If I don't say what I think I can't get into trouble. Am I in 
trouble now?

If I would sell all my assets, I know I could not come anywhere near the tip due for a $1 million meal.

Not knowing what to do, I said with the most gracious smile I could paint on my face, "Yes, my dear. It 
certainly was a $1 million meal, in my opinion."

“Well,” she said, “that complement is worth $1 million to me.”

I sighed a very deep sigh and realized I had actually tipped her more than I would tip the waitress at the 
restaurant. Life just can't get any better than that.

As we exchanged smiles, I couldn't help but think of something the apostle Paul said, "And let the peace of 
God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

I believe it’s true that you cannot put a price tag on a thankful spirit.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: