January 2021
Aging Better. Together.

You might have noticed this new tagline throughout communications this past year, and 2020 showed us just how important this message truly is.

Check out this video from Village Movement California and spy many familiar Ashby Village faces! Together, we are reinventing aging and re-imagining what’s next. We support each other as we age well and embrace change.

Please share this page with friends and family who might be interested in getting to know more about what a Village is.
Upcoming Events
See what's happening this month.
Submit an Article
Would you like your event or notice to appear in the next Village Voices Newsletter? Use this simple form to submit your material. Please submit by the 15th of the previous month. Late submissions are not guaranteed placement in the next newsletter.
Meet Ashby Village’s DEI Guide

If you haven’t already met Rita Shimmin, you’ve probably heard about her. Rita is the consultant engaged to support and help guide the Village’s Leadership team, and the whole community, through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative journey...  


Rita says she is excited about what Ashby Village and the community are taking on with the DEI Initiative. “Nothing is wrong with you. You have a strong, effective organization, you just want some things to be different. The first step in change is interruption of the status quo. This interruption can sometimes feel intense like disruption. What the community wants to learn is how to move effectively together into, and through uncertainty,” she says. You will be hearing more about Rita and the DEI Initiative on our new website and possibly “in person” on Zoom as we ramp up in 2021!
More Upcoming Events
January Social Hour: Getting to Know You

When: Friday, January 8, 4:00-5:00pm
We all know what 2020 was like. Join us for our next Social Hour to discuss the year we left behind, how we will celebrate 2021, and how each of us will welcome the new year.
Arts & Culture Series: A Conversation with Daniel Mason

When: Sunday, January 10, 2:00-4:00pm
Where: Via Zoom Webinar, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83908237472

Daniel Mason is the author of The Piano Tuner (2002), A Far Country (2007) and The Winter Soldier (2018). His newest book A Registry Of My Passage Upon the Earth (2020) has been awarded the Simpson Library Project Joyce Carol Oates Prize and the Northern California Book Award for fiction. Daniel will be in conversation with Diane Del Signore, Executive Director of the Simpson Literary Project. Read more about Daniel and Diane here.
Science and Ideas Group: What's In A Name?

When: Wednesday, January 13, 3:00-4:30pm

Ashby Village member Roger Newman will lead this participatory session on names and what they signify. Our country is filled with people from all over the world whose ancestors came here to reinvent themselves. Often their names are the tip of an iceberg of a fascinating story.

Do you have an interesting story about a name, either your own or someone else's? If you have such a story we would like to hear it. Please plan to participate and share it with our group. And if you have time Roger would appreciate a heads-up so that he can plan when to include it. We can't promise to include all the stories, but will include as many as we can in the session. Please contact Roger at rogercnew@gmail.com or by phone at 510-548-0530. Read more here.
Clarewood Documentary Film Group

When: Sunday, January 17, 2:00 - 3:00pm
Where: via Zoom, RSVP for link

“The Talk: Race in America,” a two-hour documentary which premiered on PBS, is ostensibly about the difficult conversations between black and Latino parents and their children about interacting with police. . . . But “The Talk” is also about other vital conversations taking place across the country — between law enforcement and the communities they serve, between activists and their allies, between grieving parents and a justice system often indifferent to their pain.” - LOS ANGELES TIMES. Read more here.
Virtual Living Room Chat

When: Sunday, January 17, 2:00 - 3:00pm

In the last ten months has someone you know:
  • Needed groceries delivered or medications picked up?
  • Wished you had more virtual get-togethers or access to online exercise classes?
  • Needed a ride to a doctor's appointment but didn't feel comfortable taking a Lyft or Uber?
  • Needed tech support to get you up and running onto Zoom?

Invite a friend to join our Virtual Living Room Chat! They'll have the opportunity to hear how Ashby Village is continuing to offer support to our community during the uncertainties of shelter-in-place.
Nature Walk - Redwood Regional Park, East Ridge (Easy, More Challenging Options) *Registration Required*

When: Tuesday, January 19, 10:30am - 12:30pm

Easy to moderately challenging, depending on your speed and the trails selected. Redwood park is a great park with lots of beautiful trails. The East Ridge Trail is a wide dirt road which gently undulates through tall Monterey pines, oak and madrone woodlands, chaparral, and eucalyptus (on the longer option). You can see Mt. Diablo to the east at breaks in the trees. More details here.
Member Support Presents:
Hearing Loss and its Effect on the Brain, Cognitive Function and Social Relationships

When: Tuesday, January 26, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Where: via Zoom Webinar, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86280528638

Are you the one saying “What” lately?
 
Chronic hearing impairment becomes very common as one ages. The National Institute on Aging reports that one in three adults aged 65-74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those 75+ have difficulty hearing, but it is often under-recognized and inadequately addressed.
 
Hearing loss can negatively affect your brain’s auditory cortex. Cognitive abilities (memory and thinking) may decline faster in people with hearing loss. It is easier and better for the brain if you try to correct hearing loss sooner rather than later.
 
Learn about the many ways hearing loss can be corrected through hearing aids, other amplification options, and better communication techniques.
 
Join us to hear Professor Meg Wallhagen, PhD of UCSF to learn about hearing loss, its effect on the brain, cognitive functioning, and social relationships.
Volunteers
Ashby Village Community "out and about" with their new Ashby Village masks on.
HOORAY for Masks, HOORAY for Our Volunteers!

Our masks help to keep our community safe, and you'll be able to identify your Ashby Village friends from afar!


Each mask is $10 and all proceeds will go to our Volunteer Appreciation Fund to help support our Annual Volunteer Party later this year (fingers crossed!).
In lieu of our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party, we will continue to highlight and appreciate several of our volunteers, some working behind the scenes that you may not ever meet.

If you'd like to nominate a volunteer or would like to contribute an appreciation, please let us know! Contact pat.c@ashbyvillage.org
The Right Talent at the Right Time: Flo Raskin and Arlene Reiff
By Karin Evans

Whenever Ashby Village’s staff needs help, for almost any task, one thing is certain: The experience and talent available among volunteers is nothing short of amazing.

“I feel like we have been handed these pieces of gold,” says Executive Director Andy Gaines, “and then we have the opportunity to notice what their interests and skill sets are and how to best use them.”

Read about Flo Raskin and Arlene Reiff HERE
Volunteer Appreciations
Submitted by Ashby Village Members
Charlie Schad: Charlie has a level head and a playful nature. Nice combination! Among other major contributions, he and his team put together a list of things that conscientious older folks should do to get their papers in order. It is a long and comprehensive list, and very helpful for those of us who are not so well organized. Submitted by Audre Newman.

Posthumous: Liz Raymer: Liz passed away in 2017, but the fruits of her organizational ability, her love of people, and her vision are visible in the interest groups she fostered. She was instrumental in the formation of the Welcome and Orientation Team, and she also hosted the Low Vision and 80's Support Groups. She was tireless in her efforts to help Ashby Village develop as an organization sensitive to its members and volunteers. Submitted by Audre Newman.
Healthier Aging
Don't Miss Our Winter Embracing Change Event!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hearing Loss: Why It Matters and What Can Be Done About It"
 
When: Tuesday, January 26, 2:00 - 4:00pm

Join us to hear Professor Meg Wallhagen, PhD of UCSF to learn about hearing loss, its effect on the brain, cognitive functioning, and social relationships. More information can be found here.
Some Important Changes To Our Healthier Aging Programs:
1. Due to recent “shelter in place” regulations, all Ashby Village hikes and strolls are now on pause

We remain hopeful that the Covid restrictions will be relaxed by January 4th and if so, please do join us on the following walks in January and February…

Nature Walks for January and February
 
Nature Walks are going ahead with plans for January and February, with high hopes that the Covid restrictions will loosen by then.
 
Walks in the Regional Parks: led by Audre and Roger Newman, 1st Mondays and 3rd Tuesdays. In January, we are planning two easy to moderate walks of 2-4 miles: Jan. 4, the Nimitz trail, starting from Inspiration Point in Tilden Park; on Jan 19, the East Ridge Trail of Redwood Park, starting from the Skyline Gate. 
On February 1, we will take the Quarry Trail to Big Springs, returning via the Lower Big Springs Trail, an easy trail but a bit rocky and uneven in places. On Feb 15, we will do the Graham-Dunn-Baccharis-W. Ridge loop, Redwood Park : a moderate hike, 3.5 miles long with significant elevation gain.
 
Walks near the Bay shore: On 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Monday mornings at 10am, led by Celeste Burrows and Shirley Jowell. These Monday morning walks will be 1-2 mi, and last about an hour. Difficulty levels will include easy and extra-easy, for the less confident or new walker, and in most cases permit faster walkers to walk ahead or add on a hill or extra mile** after the walk. Locations will vary but will be nearby, easily accessed, usually near transit, and frequently along the shoreline when weather permits.
 
Look for details on all of these trails as they are posted on the Ashby Village Calendar.
2. Farewell and Thank You to Ada Lusardi, Our Senior Yoga Teacher
 
We are so grateful to Ada, our loved and esteemed yoga teacher for many years, and are sending her our warmest wishes in her new endeavors.

We were all saddened to hear that she would not be available to teach the senior yoga class after the end of the year, and are so sorry to lose her.

We will be planning a way to honor her for all she has given to our Village in the not too distant future.
 
If you have been attending this class regularly or are planning to do so in the future, please send your name and email address to Erik Whitaker erik@ashbyvillage.org, so that we can keep you up to date on when the new class will be starting.
More Important than Ever to Keep “On the Move”
 
The Coronavirus, the colder weather, and “Shelter in Place “directives have made it more likely that we are sitting longer, and less likely that we are engaging in physical activities. The stress from feeling endangered by the virus, and the restrictions on our social interactions, may contribute to overeating and/or poorer dietary habits, and sleep difficulties.
 
Do check out the following articles for information on the importance of staying physically active and eating well:

Announcements
Show Your Support for Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) for All

Did you know that less than five percent of Californians have long-term care insurance? Too many of us are spending all our savings to pay for Long-term Services and Supports. That is why the CA Master Plan for Aging must prioritize universal Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) so that we can all live and age with dignity.

Our ELDER ACTION LTSS for All Task Force has been working with the Care Council for more than a year advocating for a universal LTSS benefit for the state of California.

Learn more about LTSS For All through a short advocacy video here, and call for a CA Master Plan for Aging that ensures we can all live and age with dignity by adding your name here.
*Reminder* You Can Support Ashby Village While You Shop!

We are registered at AmazonSmile as a non-profit, and when anyone orders through AmazonSmile we can receive a donation!

What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. Learn more about using AmazonSmile here.
Tech Tips
Berkeley library offers one-on-one tech help
 
The Berkeley library is offering one-on-one tech assistance! Berkeley residents can request 20 minutes of technology help via an online Zoom session. Librarians can help with eResources, basic computer or device usage, and learning how to use select software. Click here for information.
 
Other area libraries have offered in-person tech assistance in the past. When sheltering ends (it will happen!), we’ll post information on those services.
Support for Zoom Hosts and Co-Hosts
 
Our volunteer “Zoom team” has been conducting support sessions for Village members who host or cohost Zoom events. Coordinated by Hilary Naylor, with support from Bill Graham, Celie Placzek, Craig Griffith, and Maryl Gearhart, the team has covered Zoom hosting skills such as audio and video settings, screensharing, and breakout rooms.
Thank you, Zoom team!!
Resources on Technology Topics

A reminder that resources on a wide range of technology topics are posted on the Village TECH TIPS & RESOURCES page.
Would you like personal assistance from Technology & Electronics Volunteers?

Tech Volunteers are here for you!* With assistance by phone or Zoom, we can help you with priority needs such as:

  • using communication apps
  • ordering groceries online
  • communicating with health providers
  • streaming entertainment

Email info@ashbyvillage.org or call 510-204-9200 to request assistance. When you put in your request, let us know if you're familiar with online tools such as Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime, or similar. If you're not familiar, a volunteer will arrange a training session.
*At this time, Ashby Village is not able to provide "in-home" tech support.
Reflection on Past Events
World Class Concert Still Available
Written by Julie Freestone
If you missed Ashby Village’s “Once Around the World” – a ground breaking concert in November, you can still see the whole event through this link: https://youtu.be/IaSBQq-0TPU, or by clicking the video still above. Cellist Rebecca Rust and Bassoonist Friedrich Edelmann were live from a small town in Southern Germany and before each pre-recorded piece was played, they provided commentary. Kudos to the Ashby Village staff member Erik Whitaker and the Events Committee for continuing high quality offerings during these challenging times. If you have a suggestion for an event contact Erik at erik@ashbyvillage.org.
What We Are Reading
Curated by volunteer Patricia Hom

by Ken Moji, make it, 05/22/2019

by Susan Saunders and Annabel Streets, The Guardian, 05/26/2019

by Judith Viorst, Glamour, 05/28/2019

National Council on Aging

by Morey Stettner, Market Watchers, 08/04/2019

by Robin Seaton Jefferson, Forbes, 08/26/2019

"What is Death" - shared by Executive Director, Andy Gaines
by BJ Miller, 12/18/2020
Member Spotlight - Judith Coates
Written by Ruby Long

Judith Coates, a founding mother of North Oakland Village (NOV), has brought her talents to Ashby Village (AV). She is supporting the NOV Membership and Program committees as they finalize joining forces with AV’s, and now serves on AV’s Program Leadership Team (PLT) and Events Team. Clearly a woman with a lot of energy.
 
Early meetings of NOV were held in Judith’s kitchen and she continues to play an active role there, the kitchen that is. Every year she celebrates New Year’s Day by having the whole neighborhood and her wide circle of friends in and providing black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread, good luck foods reflecting her early years in Louisiana and Texas. Guests bring salads, bread and desserts. This year will look a bit different of course, as she hasn’t figured out how to share black-eyed peas virtually yet.
 
When Judith’s children, a boy and a girl, were small, they’d sometimes be afraid when walking after dark. Judith would take one of their hands in each of hers and tell them to sing and make the fear go away. She loves to sing and has been a part of NOV’s “Singing With Sara” since it began.
 
In 1979 she rented a house in Oakland which she later bought, and raised her children there. Forty years later, she and several others who’ve been there even longer are the mainstays of Echo Avenue and the ones to go to if you want to know the history of the area.
 
After the children were grown but while she was still employed full time, Judith began a spiritual search and ended up at Matthew Fox’s University of Creation Spirituality, and then the Chaplaincy Institute, where she earned credentials to be an Interfaith Minister and then Chaplain. She worked as a hospice chaplain, comforting the families of the dying and helping them find meaning in their lives, before retiring at 70.
 
It was through this work that she became aware of so many people’s need for real community. Around the same time, she heard about Beacon Hill Village in Boston and thought there might be a place for something similar in Oakland. The result was North Oakland Village.
 
From its inception, Judith has been a leading figure, providing experience, wisdom and energy to an organization that has given so much to so many. Thank you, Judith.
Bulletin Board
Two Exciting Ashby Village Member Publications

A huge congratulations to Linda Blachman and Daniel Altman, both of whom have recently had their work published!
Linda's poem, Sarah Unbound is in an anthology from Ashland Poetry Press, 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium. From Linda, "It’s an incredible honor to have my work included alongside poems by Ellen Bass, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Ilya Kaminsky, Alicia Ostriker and many other esteemed poets." It is available here as well as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other vendors.

Daniel Altman's book Book of Books is "a collection of short and honest book reviews written by an average person – an avid reader and artist. Each book is accompanied by colorful, illustrated portraits of each author, for you to reference. This book was made for people, like [him], who love to read". You can purchase it here.

If you are a member or volunteer and have similar accomplishments to share please send them to us at info@ashbyvillage.org, we would love to highlight them!
Be Aware of Covid Vaccine Scams

A message from Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), California's Medicare fraud watchdog: "With the vaccine rolling into California this week, fraudsters are always looking for ways to prey on Medicare beneficiaries."

View their flyer here in English and Spanish.
Low-cost or Free Home Improvements from Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley

On a fixed income and wondering how to afford home upgrades? Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley help! Habitat has grants up to $10k for Berkeley homeowners and renters in need of repairs or accessibility modifications. For Alameda County homeowners, 1% interest loans with no payments up to $150k are available through Renew Alameda County. No payments are due as long as you live in the home. Learn more at https://www.habitatebsv.org/services/home-repair/berkeley or on the Habitat Home Repair Hotline at (510) 803-3388. Review their Home Repair Program flyer here.
In Loving Memory
Robert Hilden
October, 1933 - November, 2020
"Dear ones,

I am writing on my Mom’s behalf to tell you the unfortunate news that Bob Hilden has died. He died peacefully on Nov 23 after being in hospice for 10 days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we plan to hold a memorial service via Zoom at 3:00 pm on Saturday January 9.  We would welcome your attendance. The Zoom invitation and link are below.

In addition to what we are preparing for the service, we would love to receive any quotes, poems, memories or photos that you would like to share. Please email them to me at lyla.a.may@hotmail.com and we will try to include as many as possible.

Whether or not you will be able to join us on Jan 9, please RSVP.
We look forward to “seeing” you then.

Love,
Lyla May

Topic: Robert Edward Hilden Memorial Service
Time: Jan 9, 2021 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 744 3737 3095
Passcode: 7CU7mJ"
Rosie Rosenthal
February, 1945 - November, 2020
Following are excerpts from an email we received from Rosie's cousin on November 30th:

"Dear Ones, Friends of Rosie, Colleagues of Rosie,

Rosie Nidra Rosenthal passed away on Friday, November 13, at Rose Arbor Senior Residence, where she had been living since January of this year.

Due to Covid, a very small gathering at graveside, with a rabbi officiating, took place. At a later time, on the other side of covid (when it's no longer a factor), I hope to host a memorial event, in Berkeley, to honor her memory.

Rosie was our children's quirky aunt -- I remember saying no when Nidra said yes. She took my adolescent son clothes shopping, made jewelry with our kids at our dining room table. Our younger daughter remembered a fun seder at Rosie's home and my older daughter appreciated her for her HUGE heart and absolute genuineness.

If you wish to do something to honor her memory, knit a scarf and give it to someone, wear some earrings, wear something homemade, enjoy a cup of coffee and some dark chocolate, read a book to a child, donate to a nonprofit of your choice."

Her obituary is available on Berkeleyside here.
Julie Forsmith
September, 1934 - December, 2020
Julie will be greatly missed by many in the Ashby Village community. Following are memorials from her North Berkeley Neighborhood Group, Sigrid Duesberg - with whom she worked closely to support our monthly in-person Social Hours, and finally her obituary and message from her son Alan.

***

"Julie Forsmith was a kind person, warm and generous. There was a disarming nature in Julie’s personality. A smart and funny comment would pop up all of a sudden followed by a casual return to normal.
 
Coping with mobility issues, she knew how to solicit the support she needed with good humor and she was genuinely appreciative when it arrived.
 
The months-long battle with the DMV to renew her driver’s license reveals much of Julie’s persona. Met, at first, with rude and unyielding treatment, she regrouped, strategized and sought support to enhance her chances. In the end, she received her license and regained her capacity to get from one place to the next on her own.
 
Julie was an integral part of the North Berkeley Neighborhood Group – engaging, open and loyal. She is already missed."

- The North Berkeley Neighborhood Group

***
The message of Julie's passing made me very sad. Julie was one of the cornerstones of our monthly Social Hour. Not only was she in charge of checking in guests, she also came early to help with the prep work in the kitchen. I don't think she ever missed a Social Hour! When short on volunteers, I always knew I could rely on Julie to show up and help where needed. We often talked when she cut the cake or prepared the cheese platters (her specialty!) and I got to know her quite well over the years. She was kind and thoughtful and it is in no small part due to her that the Social Hour has become so popular. The entire Social Hour crew, but me in particular, will miss her very, very much!

- Sigrid Duesberg, Volunteer - Events Coordinator

***

"I know that my mother's connection with the Ashby Village community was important to her. Please ask people to not send flowers. If anyone feels the need to express their condolences in that way, a donation to the Berkeley Food Network would be wonderful. I have attached an obituary that you are free pass on."

- Alan North [alansnorth@gmail.com]
Editor's Note: At the beginning of each calendar year, new editorial policies will be noted in the January Village Voices newsletter. Our new protocol for identifying subjects in stories is: Generally, the subject's full name is used initially. For subjects not part of the Ashby Village community, after this first mention, the last name is used, sometimes with an honorific. For all else, the more informal first name will be used. Whenever possible, subjects will be asked which approach they would prefer.
Thank you to the Ashby Village volunteers who contributed to this issue of the Village Voices newsletter.