Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 12, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain View News Saturday, December 12, 2020 



Dear Savvy Senior:

I recently read an article about robotic pets being a great 
substitute for pet-loving seniors who can’t have or take 
care of a pet any longer. What do you think of this? My 
mother, who has some dementia, is living in an assisted 
living facility that doesn’t allow pets. And because of COVID, 
we haven’t been allowed inside the facility to visit her since March. I’ve been thinking about getting 
her a robot pet to help cheer her up but would like to know if they are worth buying, and if so, where can 
I go to find one. Locked Out Daughter

Dear Locked Out:

There have actually been several studies on this topic that has shown that robotic pets – which are 
lifelike interactive pets – can have a positive impact on many lonely, socially isolated seniors, especially 
those who have dementia. This is particularly important now as the pandemic has caused 
millions of high-risk, vulnerable seniors to isolate as a means to protect themselves from the coronavirus. 
Here’s what you should know. 

Robotic Pet Studies

In 2018, the New York State Office for the Aging was the first state in the U.S. to test the robotic pets 
with isolated seniors and results showed that using pets to lower social isolation was highly successful, 
with 70 percent of pilot participants reporting a decrease in isolation after one year. Subsequent 
programs done in aging agencies in Alabama, Florida and Pennsylvania have also shown positive 

Other clinical studies conducted by AARP, UnitedHealthcare, and other clinicians and have also 
found that robotic pets can help to enhance the well-being and quality of life of lonely or isolated 
individuals and those living with dementia and other forms of cognitive decline, by providing a level 
of interaction and comfort from a lifelike companion.

Where to Look

If you’re interested in getting your mom a robotic pet, a top option is Ageless Innovation’s Joy for All 
Companion Pets – see

They offer cats, a kitten and a pup that look, feel and sound like the real thing – minus the feeding, 
watering, litter box or backyard cleanup, and the vet bills. With prices ranging between $65 and $130, 
these soft, plush animals have built-in sensors, “vibrapurr” or “barkback” technology, and brushable 
fur, making them surprisingly realistic.

Insert four batteries, and the cats, which come in four different shades to mimic real breeds, can open 
and close their eyes, lift their paws, and move their head and body. If you pet them in the right spot 
–like on their belly or back side – they’ll let out a purr.

If your mom is more of a dog person, you can also buy a stuffed golden puppy, accessorized with a 
red bandana, that will bark if he’s feeling happy, sad, or needy. At only four pounds, the stuffed pup 
is easy to play with and won’t weigh down even the most fragile frame.

Some other robotic pet options you should look into include Tombot’s Jennie ($399;, a 
lapdog that barks on command and has realistic facial features; AIBO ($2,900; by Sony, 
which is a plastic puppy that has lifelike expressions and a dynamic array of movements; and Paro 
the Seal ($6,120;, which is marketed as a “carebot,” designed specifically for people 
with dementia.

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” 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …December Birthdays*

Maria Decker, Nancy Dorn, Prudence Levine Pat Karamitros, Joan Hufnagel, 
Mary Alice Cervera, Carol Horejsi, Shirley Anhalt, Helen Reese, Levon Yapoujian, 
Toni Buckner, Lottie Bugl, Pat McGuire, Sheila Wohler, Nan Murphy, Eleanor 
Hensel, Sylvia Curl, Elizabeth Levie, Gayle Licher, Cindy Barran, and Melissa 
Stute, Prudence Levin, Sheila Woehler. * To add your name to this distinguished 
list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required


CHAIR YOGA Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 am Chair yoga with Paul is coming back! Class will 
begin on Monday, August 10th and will be held in the Covered Pavilion in Memorial Park in front of the Senior 
Center. Please join us for some gentle stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall relaxa-tion. Class size is limited 
so please call 264-8923 to reserve your spot. 

HAWAIIAN AND POLYNESIAN DANCE CLASS Every Friday, 10-10:45 am Class will also meet in the Cov-
ered Pavilion in Memorial Park in front of the Senior Center. Join the class with instructor Barbara as she leads 
you through the art of Hula. Please call 264-8923 with any questions. 

Classes will maintain a distance of 6 ft between participants. ALL participants must be wearing masks for the 
duration of the class. All equipment used will be sanitized after each use before it is stored. Each participant is 
responsible for providing their own water, masks and needed equipment or sup-plies for each class. Please call the 
Community Services Department at 355-5278 with any questions or concerns.


Wednesday, October 21, 11:00 am. Please join me as we try our hands at making Wooden Owl Orna-ments. This 
will be a new type of program as we create our masterpieces via Zoom to ensure all of our safety. I will have all the 
supplies individually packaged and ready for pickup on Monday, October 19th pickup will be between 10:00 am-
2:00 pm. I will have enough supplies for 10 participants. Reservations are required so please call 355-5278 x 704 
to secure your spot. Please note that this is an ONLINE class that will be held via Zoom. We will not be meeting 
in the Hart Park House Senior Center.


 Do you have any ideas for programming? Is there a class or club you would like to see in our Senior Community? 
Please call or email Lawren Heinz with ideas or questions. 626-355-5278 x 704

 City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement 
and interfacing less with the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses are 
being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner. If at any time 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 per-son. 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.


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 manner.

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.

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

 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 members: Lawren Heinz Lheinz@ and Clarissa Lowe

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

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. 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. 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 Wednesday, April 1, 2020 until further notice.




A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

Since you’ll be discussing topics like death, incapacity, and other frightening 
life events, hiring an estate planning lawyer may feel intimidating 
or even morbid. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Instead, it can be the most empowering decision you ever make for 
yourself and your loved ones. The key to transforming the experience 
of hiring a lawyer from one that you dread into one that empowers you is to educate yourself first. 
This is the person who is going to be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to really 
understand who the lawyer is as a human, not just an attorney. Of course, you’ll also want to find out 
the kind of services your potential lawyer offers and how they run their business. 

To this end, here are five questions to ask to ensure you don’t end up paying for legal services that you 
don’t need, expect, or want. Once you know exactly what you should be looking for when choosing a 
planning professional, you’ll be much better positioned to hire an attorney who will provide the kind 
of love, attention, care, and trust your family deserves.

1.How do you bill for your services?

There’s no reason you should be afraid to ask a lawyer how he or she bills for the work they do on
your behalf. In fact, questions about billing and payment should be thoroughly discussed before you
engage any lawyer to represent you. No one wants surprises, especially when it comes to legal fees.

Find an estate planning lawyer who bills for their services on a flat-fee, no surprises, basis—and not 
on an hourly basis—unless it’s required for limited purposes. And ideally, you want a lawyer who will 
guide you through a process of discovery in which they learn about your family dynamics, your assets, 
and they educate you about what would happen for your family and to your assets if and when 
something happens to you, and then support you in choosing the right plan for you that meets your 
budget and your desired outcomes.

2.How will you respond to my needs on an ongoing basis?

One of the biggest complaints people have about working with lawyers is that they are notoriously
unresponsive. Indeed, I’ve heard of cases in which clients went weeks without getting a call back from
their lawyer. This is all too common, but totally unacceptable, especially when you’re paying them big

That said, in most cases, these lawyers aren’t blowing you off—they simply don’t have enough support 
or the systems in place to be able to be responsive. Far too many lawyers believe they can take care of 
everything themselves. From paperwork and client meetings to scheduling and returning phone calls 
to connecting their clients with other advisors, there are just too many responsibilities for one person 
to manage all on their own. 

Ask them how quickly calls are typically returned in their office, ask them if there will be someone 
on-hand to answer quick questions, and ask them how they will support you to keep your plan up to 
date on an ongoing basis and be there for your loved one’s when you can’t be.

A great way to test this is to call your prospective lawyer’s office and ask for him or her. If you get put 
through right away—or even worse, your call gets sent to a full voicemail—think twice about hiring 
this lawyer. This means they don’t have effective systems in place for managing and responding to calls 
or answering quick questions. 

Instead, what you want is for the person who answers the phone—or another team member—to offer 
to help you. And if that individual cannot help you, then he or she should schedule a call for you 
to talk with your lawyer at a future date and time. Ideally, all calls with your lawyer should be pre-
scheduled with a clear agenda, so you both can be ready to focus on your specific needs.

Next week in part two, we’ll talk more about the ways in which your attorney should communicate 
with you and list the remaining three questions to ask before hiring your estate planning lawyer.

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 yourfamily by calling 626.355.4000 or visit 
for more information.


I have been trying lately to remember 
my first Christmas. 
I know my memory isn't perfect, 
but I thought maybe I 
could bring up some old memories of my first 

Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a thing about 
that first Christmas of mine. Of course, it might 
be that I was only five months old at the time. 
Still, I tried to remember some of those old 
Christ-mases in the past.

Down through the years, I have celebrated more 
Christmases than I want to let on. It's not that I'm 
old; I just haven't died yet.

The thing about Christmas was all the stuff I was 
getting. The first Christmas I remember, I got a 
bunch of presents under the tree. None of my siblings 
had shown up at the time, so I was the focus 
of several Christmases. That was the essence of 
real joy.

I thought Christmas was all about me and all I 
wanted for Christmas and all that would make 
me happy.

I remember my parents taking me downtown 
to sit on Santa's lap and tell what I wanted for 
Christmas. That's what I thought Christmas was 
all about.

I was a little disturbed when my siblings came on 
the scene, and Christmas was no longer all about 
"me." For some reason, they thought they were 
part of Christmas. Being the terrific broth-er that 
I am, I allowed them to have some of the Christmas 
time around the tree.

Then I was introduced to the fact that not only 
was I not the focus of Christmas but now I needed 
to purchase Christmas presents for my siblings. 
That was a hard thing to get over. What did 
they ever do to deserve my Christmas presents?

I finally processed that and discovered giving can 
also be fun.

Things went along nicely, and then another thing 
changed everything in my Christmas activity.

Going to a Bible school up in New York, I happened 
to meet a young lady. Before I could pro-
cess everything, I found myself married. How 
that happens, men have no idea. I had to remind 
myself that weddings are for wives and not husbands. 
The husband that allows the wife to plan 
the wedding is a happy dude in the end.

When we got married, I did not realize how everything 
in my life was going to change.

Then came the first Christmas as a married man, 
for which I wasn't prepared.

That Christmas we spent with my wife's family. 
At first, I thought the whole neighborhood had 
come to celebrate Christmas with us. Then, much 
to my chagrin, I realized these were siblings to 
my wife. I don't remember how many there were; 
I couldn't count them; they were running around 
too fast.

I never experienced such a Christmas in all my 
life. The thing about it was we had to purchase 
gifts for all of the family. I was able to empty Wal-
Mart with all of my purchases.

Opening up those gifts, I couldn't remember 
what I got and who I got it for. But it was the begin-
ning of a different kind of Christmas season 
than I experienced up to this time.

Then other things began to happen. One by one, 
children came into our family. Fortunately, we 
only had three children, unlike my wife's parents, 
who had somewhere near 100, at least by 
my calculation.

I eventually discovered that Christmas was not 
about me at all. There was a major adjustment 
for me thinking about the Christmas season. Not 
being a qualified shopper, I had to rely upon my 
wife to do all the shopping, for which she is an 

It wasn't long before I realized that a Christmas 
song with the word “jingle” in it meant that I was 
supposed to spend a lot of my coin for Christmas.

Now, Christmas was not about me, or was it? It 
was about me paying for Christmas, and the re-
cipients seem to be growing without stop.

I had my parents and my siblings to buy Christmas 
presents. I had my wife's parents and her siblings 
to buy Christmas presents. Then, I had my 
children to buy Christmas presents.

Why, oh, why is it all about "me?"

It took a while for me to come to the right conclusion 
that Christmas is more than "jingle, jingle." I 
came to that conclusion when one Christmas we 
were celebrating at our home, and our children 
and grandchildren were all around the Christmas 
tree opening up presents.

I sat back and just watched. Sure, I got a couple of 
Christmas presents. But that wasn't what Christmas 
was for me. I saw my family around that tree 
and realized that that's what Christmas was all 
about. Family coming together and enjoying one 

The "jingle, jingle" was just the door that opens 
up the family celebration. Thinking about it, I 
have concluded that all the "jingle, jingle" in the 
world is worth every moment around that tree.

Then I thought about what the Bible said. "And 
so it was, that, while they were there, the days 
were accomplished that she should be delivered. 
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him 
in a manger; because there was no room for them 
in the inn" (Luke 2:6-7).

Christmas is all about family. God's family comes 
into the family through the Lord Jesus Christ.

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