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As the weather turns cold and wet, you may be spending more time indoors. Make the most of it -- watch videos from the National Institute on Aging. Topics include fitness, balance, nutrition, Alzheimer's and more.

Like our newsletter?  Look for a reader survey coming in January.  You'll have a chance to tell us what you like to read about and what you wish we would include. 

December 2015
Suddenly, it's December! Where have the past seven Anne Ornelas months gone? It's been quite a whirlwind of activity as we've developed this start-up, Lamorinda Village.

As with any new idea, it takes time to catch on. The Village concept has grown slowly since Beacon Village was founded more than a decade ago, yet in the last couple of years our movement has grown more rapidly than ever. There are now 190 active villages with another 185 in development, including several here in the East Bay. These numbers continue to grow as more and more communities find their way to help older residents stay at home, near longtime friends and family.

When I think of all our members, volunteers, and donors who jumped in with both feet to support this new endeavor, the words that come to mind are trailblazer, early adopter, innovator, and explorer. You are all part of something new, something you are helping to shape. As you request services or provide them, or participate in programs, you are responsible for making Lamorinda Village the community we hoped it would be. From the Board of Directors, to the committees and volunteer teams, to the office volunteers and the service providers, you are all taking part in making this organization great.

It is my pleasure to be here serving this community. Look what we have accomplished in just seven months: provided 104 volunteer services, made 24 referrals for professional services, and held more than three dozen events. The concept has come to life and it is working. In order for it to continue to flourish, however, we need you to stay involved. How do you do that? Attend an event or program, or better yet, help us host something you're interested in doing.

Another way to stay connected is to contribute financially. Our members contribute by paying annual dues, but we also depend on individual donations as we continue on our path of development. If you are able to make an end-of-year, tax-deductible donation, it will be matched by two generous donors. They have agreed to contribute up to $10,000. But we need your help to reach this goal; please donate today on line or by mail.
If you are a Village member, don't hesitate to use your services. Call us to help you with that nagging honey-do list or clearing out that spare bedroom. We have 60 screened professionals on our list for the bigger tasks. Or maybe you just need a friendly check-in or visitor, whatever it is, we can help you remain independent.

We're here, and we're ready to start 2016 with new programs, new services, and new members.

Best regards,
Members and friends gather for end-of-life discussions
Lamorinda Village recently offered a three-part series attended by 70 Village members Being Mortal and guests, built on the recent book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This best-selling book about the quality of life at the end of life sparked a Frontline PBS segment, narrated by the physician-author, that started our series. Following the film, volunteers from the California Medical Association's Conversation Project led a structured discussion.

Our second session, led by Lamorinda Village board member Kathryn Schofield, an Elder Law Attorney, focused on writing your legal documents, taking into consideration all the comfort measures and values of the individual. Attendees were able to ask specific questions about writing their wishes in a legally binding manner.

Our third session was led by Lamorinda Village task force member Linda Fodrini-Johnson, a professional care manager and family therapist from Eldercare Services, called "The Elephant in the Room: Difficult Conversations We All Need to Have". This presentation gave those in attendance tools and ideas on how to structure their wishes and desires for a good end of life and how to have those difficult conversations with family members. The presentation highlighted the importance of having an advocate to help ensure that you will have the life you want, based on your values.

We are hoping to repeat this series next year if there is continued interest in this most important topic.
Village Board of Directors welcomes new members
P Cabiness In November our Board of Directors approved the appointment of new members and a change that helps ensure continuity as we grow.

Three new directors were appointed: Peggy Cabaniss, James Carlson, and Joyce Hawkins, all volunteers who have been supporting the Village J Carlson with their talents, experience, and energy.

In addition, Jane Tiemann, a volunteer since 2013 and Board member since 2014, was appointed President-Elect. She will take over as President when Ruth McCahan steps down from that position in 2016. Diane Barbera has resigned from the Board, although she continues to support the Village through her service as a volunteer.
J Hawkins
Lamorinda Village Board members are your neighbors; they reside in our three communities and have supported those communities in many ways. For details, including brief biographies, please check the Staff and Board of Directors page on our website. 

Protecting yourself from scam artists
Experts estimate that people over 60 are fleeced out of $2.9 billion annually! That is a lot of money flying out of retirement accounts and into the pockets of scam artists. How do you protect yourself? Here are some tips from our recent workshop on this topic.


1. Knowledge: Familiarize yourself with common scams and the methods of execution. Common phone scams are: you owe money to the IRS or a "grandchild" is traveling and needs money because he or she has been injured or arrested. Common email scams are: you've won the lottery or a friend is traveling abroad and needs money. In the lottery scam, usually the money is in a foreign country and you are required to send money to claim your winnings. In the friend traveling scam, the email appears to come from a friend or family member. Often the language is not grammatically correct. The most common mail scam is a sweepstakes letter, which is very much like the lottery scam. The letter appears to be legitimate; some even come with a barcode. The letter advises you to send money so you can collect your jackpot.


2. Initiate and confirm: Often scam artists use high pressure techniques to spur you to action. If you receive a threatening phone call from the "IRS", be aware that the IRS will only contact you through the mail. If you receive a phone call from a grandchild, tell the caller you will contact his or her parents for help. If you receive a phone call indicating that there is suspicious activity on your credit card or bank account, hang up and call your credit card company or bank. The same is true of an email advising you of fraudulent activity on your credit card or bank account. Do not respond to the email. Call your bank or credit card company. If you receive a suspicious email from a friend or family member who claims to be traveling and in need of money, do not respond to the email. Call that person and let them know their email account may have been hacked.  


email photo Finally, if you receive lottery emails, delete them, and if you receive sweepstakes letters, recycle them. Assume they are a scam. Scam artists are savvy. A new online scam is an offer of a free credit report that appears to come from a bank or credit reporting agency because of the official-looking logos, but it is a phishing expedition for your personal information. Contact the bank or credit reporting agency to confirm they offer such a service. Be wary of giving personal information, especially your Social Security number, to anyone you have not contacted.


3. Stay connected: People are less likely to be scammed if they are active and involved in their community. Talk to your friends and family if you receive a suspicious communication. You could also report it to the local police department and alert Lamorinda Village. The only way we learn of new scams is if people speak up and alert us. In the case of scams, forewarned is forearmed.


Kristen R. Southworth,
Southworth Chavez & Day-Seiter LLP

Health and Fitness: A healthy brain for a better life
The Administration for Community Living has launched a campaign to provide information about how the brain changes over time and steps you can take to help brain keep your brain sharp. The What is Brain Health? campaign also offers tips for talking with loved ones and health care practitioners about symptoms if they arise.
In a recent Roper survey, 71% of adults said they worry most about not being alert and experiencing memory loss as they get older.
"We all need to think about brain health the way we think about our hearts and joints. This means learning more and, ultimately, taking action--including talking to a health care provider with any questions or concerns," says Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living.
The campaign is anchored by the website, which has tips and tools for promoting brain health, educational videos, links to social media, testimonials from real people, and an interactive feature that shows how the brain changes with age. Academy-award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden has taped a series of radio and television public service announcements, which you can watch any time at .   
In Memoriam
This year Lamorinda Village has lost two valued members of our community:
Michael Emmons (November 27, 2015) and Cynthia Landy (July 13, 2015). Our condolences go to the families, friends, and neighbors who have lost their loved ones.
Lamorinda Village | |
P.O. Box 57
Lafayette, CA 94549