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Lamorinda Village has launched a Chair Yoga program with longtime yogi Barbara Papini. She has graciously offered her time and experience to our members and we'd like to invite our Village friends to join in the fun. We are able to offer classes twice per month through June, taking July off and resuming again in August. Please join us for yoga and a little social time with tea and cookies. Check the calendar for more information and to register. 
Kudos for Barbara
Barbara is a delightful person and a caring instructor. She enabled me to do the downward dog position using the wall for support; I had always found it too difficult. I look forward to future classes.

--Helen Gough

May-June 2016

This summer I am excited to introduce a new ten-week healthy brain program Anne Ornelas open to members and friends of Lamorinda Village. Developed by Linda Sasser, who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, BE! Brain Enrichment is an interactive educational experience for adults with normal age-related memory changes. Research shows that continued participation in mentally stimulating activities throughout the lifespan can help slow cognitive decline and has the potential to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
In ten one-hour interactive sessions participants will:
  • Learn about the brain's processes of attention, working memory, long-term memory, reasoning, and problem-solving.
  • Participate in mental exercises to engage and stimulate the brain.
  • Learn about lifestyle practices for maintaining brain health.
  • Practice strategies for improving thinking and memory. 
For members of Lamorinda Village, the course is free. For friends of the Village, the cost is $35. We are still working on the dates for the program; however, we are pleased to have the support of Eldercare Services, Inc. in Walnut Creek, who will host the series and provide a facilitator for the program. If you are interested in this program, please contact us at to be put on our priority list.

As you know, Alzheimer's Disease is a devastating illness. A combination of physical activity, nutrition, and mentally challenging activities, such as the BE! Brain Enrichment program, may have short- and long-term benefits for your brain. To that end, Lamorinda Village will have a team to walk in support of the 5th Annual Walk to End Alzheimer's. Please consider signing up to walk with us and help us reach our fundraising goal of $2,000 to support the good work of our friends at the Alzheimer's Association. 

Best regards,
Clearing Out: A Challenge to Meet Now or Later
Last month Lamorinda Village, Walnut Creek Village, and Clayton Valley Village co-sponsored a sold-out workshop on a topic of major interest to members - getting rid of "stuff." Sooner or later, most of us will face this challenge, whether we are downsizing, moving to a residential senior facility, or helping a family member do one of these.
Jean Goldman declutter workshop One approach is to clear out the clutter before we have to, on the theory that it won't get any easier as we get older. Others put it off, figuring that someday someone else will just have to do it when we're no longer able.
As Village membership provides a bridge to help us postpone the time when we must leave our homes, many are looking for advice on how to let go of possessions we no longer need or use. The de-cluttering workshop, led by two Ashby Village volunteers who are experts in helping with this task, offered some simple ways to tackle the project without feeling overwhelmed.
Jean Goldman, who led the discussion, encouraged audience members to identify their biggest challenge in de-cluttering. Answers ranged from "the garage" to "the kitchen drawers" to "clothing in three different sizes." Jean's point was that we should begin with one critical project and achieve a sense of accomplishment, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the whole house full of problems.
Once the top priority has been identified, Goldman's method is based on selecting the items we really, really want to keep, choosing the best way to get rid of those we don't, and making a plan, including a timeline, that works for our own situations.
Those who attended the workshop left with renewed determination and a set of handouts listing tips and resources to help. Maybe we should follow up in six months to see how they did!

Mind map of decluttering
How the De-Cluttering Process Might Look to Your Brain 
Member Profile: Andy and Carole Amstutz
As one of several Lamorinda Village founding couples, Andy and Carole Amstutz are Carole and Andy community builders who are enthusiastic about their involvement as social members of the Village.
Among Carole's special contributions is her passion for the piano; she loves to play for Village members. Carole plays over the phone, or at a member's house, or - as she did at the Village celebration in December - plays for a crowd. She often calls their friends on their birthdays to play them a piece of music. "Every day is a birthday and every day is a possibility for new life and a celebration," she said. "Music brings joy."
Andy and Carole met at UCLA and were married in 1962. Then Andy joined the Navy and entered officer training in Pensacola, Florida, where Carole found a 6 th grade teaching position. Again in Washington, D.C., Carole taught school while Andy completed special intelligence training. Their next assignment was Hawaii, where Andy developed Navy computer systems and Carole earned a Master's Degree in Creative Dramatics at the University of Hawaii. When his Navy service ended, Andy was offered a job with IBM in Hawaii, and later asked for placement in San Francisco. The Amstutz family moved to Orinda in 1968.
Later, Andy found a new IBM assignment in Hong Kong. They wanted to expose their three children to diversity and moving to Hong Kong was a great decision. During the next three years, the whole family would decide where to travel on IBM's home leave, resulting in trips to Egypt, Indonesia, USSR, and many other countries.
Their kids loved these experiences and they continue to be internationally involved. Their oldest daughter worked for IBM China in Beijing, their son led Wilderness Travel adventures to Timbuktu and Mount Everest, and their youngest daughter spent two years with the Peace Corps in Benin, Africa. Clearly their exposure to a diverse world was effective.
They returned to their home in Orinda, and later Andy graduated from IBM to start a computer services company. He then became a computer systems consultant. Carole is well known for establishing the MGM gifted program at Orinda's Sleepy Hollow School and she also taught the music programs at several Lafayette and Orinda schools. As a piano teacher, Carole now has students who are the children of her earlier students. She is passionate about using music as a means to build a joyful and creative approach to life.
Andy and Carole are both elders and active members of Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, and are leaders of inclusive programs for spirituality and interfaith dialog. Andy serves on the Village Board of Directors and chairs the Outreach committee. They are committed to the continuing growth of Lamorinda Village, because as we age, we all need a little help from our friends.

-- Alex Lauderdale
Questions and Answers About the Village
Q: My parents aren't quite sure about joining the Village. Can I sponsor them or make a gift of the membership fee?

A: Absolutely. Across the U.S., many adult children have provided this benefit to their parents. It's a good way for you and your parents to test the concept and experience the benefits of the Village. Membership for your parents also gives you reassurance that the Village will be there to help them when you are not available.
And by the way, you can also donate to help someone who is not your relative through the Village Supported Membership program, which supports lower-income residents who cannot afford the membership fee. Lamorinda Village currently has funding to support residents of Orinda, and we are actively seeking support for those who live in Lafayette and Moraga.
Health and Fitness
Understanding Medicare and Health Care Coverage
Medicare pays for a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services, including many Medicare Card preventive services, for older adults and people living with disabilities. However, some components of health care are excluded from Medicare coverage, specifically certain dental, vision, and hearing services.
The National Council on Aging has put together a helpful tip sheet that outlines the coverage and offers suggestions for finding help to cover the costs of services excluded from Medicare coverage.
For example, while Medicare does not cover routine dental care such as cleaning, it may cover dental services related to a medical condition that is normally covered. And while Medicare does not cover standard eye exams, it may cover certain care related to macular degeneration.
You can find the NCOA tip sheet at

Another helpful resource with information about Medicare and home health care is available from the National Institutes of Health at

Middle-Age Heart Fitness Tied to Later Brain Health
human brain Poorer heart health in middle age was tied to worse outcomes for the brain 20 years later, an observational study of Framingham Offspring participants has shown. While the findings are not enough to demonstrate causality, the researchers suggest that improving exercise capacity in mid-life should be evaluated to prevent cognitive decline in the future.

Poor cardiovascular fitness and greater diastolic blood pressure and heart rate response to exercise were associated with a smaller total cerebral brain volume almost two decades later, Nicole L. Spartano, PhD, from the the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University, and colleagues reported on line in Neurology.

"This study adds to the growing evidence that mid-life healthy lifestyle habits have an effect on brain aging decades later," said Serge Gauthier, MD, of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging and the Douglas Mental Health Research Institute in Montreal, who was not involved in the study.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association.

Good News About Retirement and Aging
People aged 65 to 79 happiest of all, study suggests
Sixty-five to 79 is the happiest age group for adults, according to British Office for National Statistics research that was recently reported by the BBC. The survey of more than 300,000 adults across the United Kingdom found life satisfaction, happiness, and feeling life was worthwhile all peaked in that age bracket.
The survey asked people to rate out of 10 how happy and how anxious they had felt the day before, how satisfied they were with their life generally, and how much they felt what they did in life was worthwhile.  
Good news for family caregivers
California is among 18 states to pass laws over the past two years that will improve Holding hands communication and coordination when a family member is discharged from a hospital. The new law mandates that hospitals must give patients an opportunity to identify a caregiver, notify that caregiver when the patient is to be discharged, and provide information and instruction on the patient's needs and medications following the hospitalization. (Hospitals must still follow privacy laws and aren't required to release information if the patient doesn't give consent.)

Find out more about the new requirements at and check the
Resources page on our website for links to a variety of caregiving resources.

Share your thoughts about retirement
Are you retired, or thinking about it? Getting close? Take a few minutes to read this article from NextAvenue about the joys of retirement, including the freedom to forget what day it is.

Retirees: What are you enjoying Retirement Sign about this new stage in life? Time to sit and read? Opportunities to help others by volunteering? Freedom to travel? Let us know by sending a brief email to and we'll publish some of your stories on our website to inspire your friends and neighbors.

Lamorinda Village | |
P.O. Box 57
Lafayette, CA 94549