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May Programs and News from the Village Network of Petaluma

Village Network of Petaluma
May programs and news for the Village Network of Petaluma
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Community - Support - Peace of Mind

As part of a national movement, the Village Network of Petaluma is a nonprofit membership organization empowering adults 50+ to continue living active,
vibrant and connected lives in our own homes as we age.

May/June 2016 Village Network Newsletter

Table of Contents
- VillagePrograms for May
-Caregiving with Grace Workshop: Creating a Path For Dignity for Loved Ones
Sunday May 1, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Presented by the Fabulous Women
-10 Commandments for Staying in Your Home
-Test the Soothing Waters at Cavanagh Pool
-Planning a Trip to the Doctor?
-Need a Memory Boost?
-Older Adults and Depression
-Friendly Visiting Team News
-Village Volunteer Job Opportunities
-Book revew:Our Souls at Night
-Stay Connected with Village Members
-Gathering of 23 Bay Area Villages in Petaluma
-Our Donors are Appreciated
Newcomers are welcome to all our programs
Welcome to the Village
Saturday, May 14, 10:30 – 11:30 am
Wednesday, June 8, 10:30 – 11:30 am
Village Network Office, 402 Petaluma Blvd. North (at Oak St.)
An information meeting for adults 50+ and their familymembers who want to learn more about the innovativeVillage concept of “friends helping friends” to continue living vibrant, active, and connected lives in our own homes as we age. Learn how membership offers social engagement, transportation, home assistance, connection, and fun! Bring a friend or loved one, get your questions answered, and meet Village members and volunteers.

Weekly Walking Group
Tuesdays,8:30 - 9:30 am. Meet at Walnut Park on 4th St.
We have fun, great conversations, and exercise while exploring neighborhoods and gardens, or walking across the river.
Everyone welcome. Email Sue Miller atrmiller875@comcast.netfor info on whether rain will cancel that day.
Our Life Stories and Legacy
Tuesdays,10:15 – 11:45 am. Village office. Newcomers welcome.
Our life stories and legacy are unique and important both individually and as a community. We explore ways to preserve, celebrate, and honor our experiences. Tell your story using writing and creative projects. We work together to create a setting which can inspire participants to celebrate their life stories and remember long-forgotten details. For
more info Members free, non-members $5.
Qi Gong Class
Thursdays,9:30 – 10:30 am. Village office. Newcomers welcome.
Qi Gong is a gentle standing form of meditation and exercise that was developed in China thousands of years ago. Its benefits are strengthened nervous system, deep relaxation, and overall health and well-being. There are no restrictions on who may come - if you cannot stand, the poses can be done easily in a chair with benefit. It is preferable, but not necessary, to attend all classes. Members free, non-members $5.
Elad Levinson has studied Qi Gong for many years and is currently in teacher training level one of Qigong Dharma with teacher Teja Bell. He has also been practicing meditation since 1975.
How the SMART Train Can Work for You
Monday, May 9, 10:00 – 11:30 am, Village office
You have been hearing a lot about the SMART Train (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit), but just how "smart" is it? Matt Stevens of SMART's Community Education and Outreach will give us a run-down on this new way of getting around Sonoma and Marin counties. We will now have more options to get to work, shopping, and recreation without a car.Safety is a key issue and Matt will answer your concerns about that. He will also discuss stations, fares, and the new Clipper Card. Seating is limited at the Village office, so to reserve your place at this informative presentation, emailinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.orgor call 707-776-6055.

Gardening Group
Monday, May 16,12 – 2:00 pm(Meets 3rdMondayof the month.)
Brown bag lunch at Sonoma Mission Gardens, a nursery on Arnold Drive in Sonoma. Meet at the Petaluma Fairgrounds by the library and we will leave promptly atnoon. For more information contact Suzanne Clarke atsjclarke232@gmail.comor Jane Merryman
Village Game Night
Friday, May 13, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, Village office. Newcomers welcome.
We will have potluck finger food and games. Join us, and bring a favorite game if you wish. For members. RSVP to Stephanie

Bocce Ball
Wednesday, May 18, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Leghorn Park. (Meets 3rdWednesdayof the month – rain cancels.)
RSVP to George Beeler No experience necessary. Lots of fun!
Gentle Yoga for Balance, Flexibility, and Increased Energy
Thursday, May 19, 11:00 – 12:00 noon, Village office. (StartingJune 22, Gentle Yoga will be held every two weeks.)
Practice gentle yoga and breathing techniques, and improve posture, balance, flexibility, and energy. Can be done seated or standing - beneficial for all health levels. In addition, we’ll be investigating simple ancient hand gestures, or mudras, with accompanying meditations to support stress reduction and resilience. Come early, as we’ll start on time. Members free, non-members $5/class. Bring a large towel.
Pat Martin, CMT, EEMPC, CYT, has worked with hundreds of clients for over 20 years in her Petaluma practice. She focuses on optimizing health and managing stress, with tools including yoga, massage therapy, and Eden Energy Medicine. Pat teaches yoga at P.O.S.T. Wellness by Design.

Bird Group
Monday, May 23, 10:30 am,
Field Trip to Heron and Egret Rookery in Santa Rosa
We will meet at the Village office parking lot and at10:30sharp leave for the West 9th Street Rookery in Santa Rosa. Use this link to find out about the unique heron and egret breeding trees in the middle of a residential area: (Or just google 9th Street rookery Santa Rosa.) Very little walking required. Bring a brown bag lunch and binoculars if you have them (we will have extras).
Please RSVP by May 17 to Jane atjane@sonic.netor 762-1023 so we know how many cars are needed.
Aging Gracefully: A Discussion Group
Monday, May 23, 1:30 - 3:00 pm
A discussion group for men and women, will explore the challenges and advantages of aging and coming to terms with our changing selves. Widows, widowers, and those who live alone are especially encouraged to attend, although this will not be a grief group.If there is enough interest, the group will continue on a weekly basis for five additional weeks. This group, for Village members only, is limited to 7 people and will be held in the facilitator’s home. RSVP to Stephanie, or 776-6055 by May 18 for the location.
The discussion facilitator, Selma Ehrlich, M.S., is a Village volunteer. She has been an educator and crisis hotline volunteer, as well as a participant in a long-standing hospice group following the death of her husband. Selma has also been trained in active listening skills and role playing.
TED Talks Discussion Group
Wednesday, May 25, 10:30 - noon, Village office
TED Talks are about Technology, Education, and Design – and everything in between. We view one or two 20-minute videos which generate interesting discussions. Attendance is limited to 10, so RSVP to Stephanie, or 776-6055.
Village Tech Workshop
Wednesday May 25, 12:45 – 2:00, Village office
Want to be more comfortable using your computer, tablet, or smartphone?Having problems with your cell phone or computer?

A new workshop for members will assist with computer or cell phone issues. Maybe your computer is running slow or has a virus, or maybe you want to send photos on your cell phone. Learn new ways to get things done and make your life easier. Members at all experience levels welcome. We will explore continuing as an ongoing group if there is enough interest. Led by Village volunteers Tom Horst and Paul Greenblatt. RSVP

Reminder: If you are a member and need someone to come to your home to help with a computer problem, you can also schedule an appointment with a Village tech volunteer.
Book Group
Friday, May 27, 1:30 - 3:00 pm, at the home of a member
Join us for a discussion of "Euphoria," by Lily King. Contact Village member Jane Merryman for the address
“Books tell us who we’ve been, who we are, and who we will be, too.”

Village Singing Group
Thursday, May 26, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, at a member’s home. (Meets last Thursday of the month.)
No prior experience or talent necessary, just a love of making music. We try many kinds of music – and have a lot of fun! RSVP to Sue Miller atrmiller875@comcast.netfor location.
Potluck Gathering for Village Members and Volunteers
Sunday, May 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, in a member’s home (note new time as days lengthen)
A time to get to know each other better, share good food, enjoy our “conversation café,” and have fun. For members and volunteers only. Space is limited, so RSVP early to Stephanie Wilkinson atinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.orgfor the address.
Coming in June…

Earthquake Preparedness Workshop
Monday, June 6, 10:30 - 12:00 noon, Village office
Learn to prepare for an earthquake in this introductory workshop led by engineer John Harrison and architect George Beeler. Both have decades of experience helping people prepare for this inevitable event in Petaluma. Learn the approximate vulnerability of your home, based on its construction and vintage, along with ways to improve its safety to protect you, your family, and your investment. Free and open to the public.
Independence Day:
Options for Our Post-Driving Years Are Expanding

Monday, June 13, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Village office
We all dread the time when we won't be able to drive and may lose our independence. But that doesn't have to happen. Petaluma, Sonoma County, and the Bay Area have plenty of options for getting around. Our transportation panel will present the choices you have in Petaluma and beyond. Find out the many ways you can get to a doctor's appointment, the grocery store, outdoor activities, museums, and shopping. Panelists will represent Petaluma Transit, Paratransit, iRide, and the Village Network Transportation Team. Will also include an overview of using Uber in our community. Ample time for Q & A. RSVP, or 776-6055.

What You Can Learn by Traveling
Wednesday, June 15, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Village office
There is a difference between traveling as a vacation versus traveling as a sacred journey. This workshop will show you how to turn anything that happens on a trip into important learning. We will discuss the importance of setting aside strong preferences and appreciating what occurs. Learn to see with mindful eyes, which means taking a dip into deeper insight while looking at people, scenes or the journey itself.
Presenter Elad Levinson, LCSW, is a QiGong teacher at the Village and a psychotherapist in private practice.

Village Network of Petaluma will participate in this informative event. You’re most welcome to attend:

The Fabulous Women of Sonoma County present:
Care-Giving with Grace:

Creating a Path for Dignity for Aging Loved Ones

Sunday, May 1,1:00 – 4:00 pm
Rooster Run Golf Club and Event Center, 2301 E. Washington Street, Petaluma

Did you know that as you enter your 40s and up, you are likely to be called to support an older adult with caregiving?Eventually, we will all take a turn and provide care-giving for someone we love. If you are already in a care-giving role, this will be very beneficial to you. AND you might attend because you are curious about what kind of personal care options are available in our community.This event, featuring speakers and local resources, will strike a chord in your heart and you will be thankful to put tools in place for yourself and those you love.

Open to the community at no fee. However, a suggested $20 donation is requested to benefit PEP Housing. Please RSVP: call 707-799-2153 or

“We will all be there one day. Let’s not be afraid to address such a meaningful
topic that has countless possibilities for grace, love and amazing life lessons.”

"Just a quick note to say THANKS SO MUCH. My volunteer took
very good care of getting me to/from Kaiser.
He is a wonderful and interesting volunteer and I’m fortunate
to have met him.Many thanks Village Network!"

- a Village member

Ten Commandments forStaying in Your Home

Bob Vila, the popular host and producer of home improvement TV shows, provided these commandments in the publicationRenew, which is distributed by UnitedHealthcare. They include some common-sense ideas for older adults who want to stay – and stay safe -in their homes.

1. Limit the steps.If possible, make the entry to your home step-free.
2. Go low maintenance.Opt for vinyl siding, metal roofing, and composite decking.
3. Choose furniture, appliances, and cabinetry that are easy to use,andrequire little or no bending.
4. Choose smart appliances; for example, stoves that beep when they go on and off.
5. Bathe safely.Install a higher toilet and bars to hold on to when getting in and out of the bath.
6. Go hands-free.Touch-free faucets in the sink allow for ease of use.
7. Ditch the throw rugs- they are a tripping hazard.
8. If you have stairs, cover them with a slip-resistant material. Consider adding a second bannister.
9. Improve the lighting.Install fixtures or lamps in the darker spots of your home. Re-install light switches at a more comfortable height.
10. Consider a first floor bedroom, reducing the need to navigate stairs.

Test the Soothing Waters at Cavanagh Pool

The only sheltered outdoor swimming pool in Petaluma, Cavanagh Pool is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood on 8th and G Streets, next to Cavanagh Center. It is open year-round and the water is always a warm 86 degrees.

Water exercise is frequently prescribed for people living with chronic pain and discomfort, recovering from surgery and other injuries, or having difficulty with weight-bearing and land-based exercise. If you think you might benefit from exercise supported by the buoyancy of water in a therapeutically warm pool, you’re invited to check out Cavanagh Pool -- gratis!

Village members who already enjoy the benefits of water exercise as well as the camaraderie found at Cavanagh Pool have arranged for fellow members and volunteers to enjoy a free visit. You can participate in self-guided exercise, or try an aqua therapy and fitness class. Just tell the pool staff “the Village sent me,” and add “VNP” next to your name on the sign-in sheet.

Self-guided exercise includes individual regimens ranging from water walking in the shallow end of the pool to aerobic exercise in the deep end.The pool is available for this type of exercise
Monday,Wednesday,Friday, andSaturdaymornings andTuesdayandThursdayevenings.Thursdaymornings andMondayevenings will be added beginningJune 6. For exact times, see

Instructor-led aqua therapy and fitness classes are designed to increase core strength, flexibility, balance, and range of motion, while protecting joints. Classes are givenMondaythroughFriday.Again, the schedule is available on the City of Petaluma website or at the Village office.

Adult programs at Cavanagh Pool also include the popular Aqua Zumba classes.Youth programs, which allow for spending time with the young people in our lives, include Aqua Babies, Beginning Swim Lessons, Toddler Time, and Recreational Swim. Join the Village members who swim regularly at Cavanagh and enjoy the relaxing and health-promoting benefits of water exercise.

The buoyancy of water supports bodies while the camaraderie of pool pals lifts spirits.

- Darcy Levy

Planning a Trip to the Doctor?
Many of us have come home from the doctor and realized that we aren’t sure of some part of the information we received. The Village Network provides an innovative and free service to its members called Med-Pals, staffed by trained volunteers. These volunteers accompany Village members to medical appointments as requested, serving as an extra set of ears and note-taker, as well as facilitating questions when clarification is necessary.

This program is designed to minimize doubt and confusion that can set in when you’re by yourself in the doctor’s office.
Additionally, a person who can listen and take notes without any emotional involvement can be a valuable ally in sifting through the complexities of diagnoses, instructions, and suggestions made by the doctor.

Village Med-Pal volunteers are trained in what to look and listen for, and areavailable to prepare for the appointment ahead of time and answer the member’s questions afterwards.

Members can request a Med-Pal for your next doctor visit by calling the office at 776-6055.

Need a Memory Boost? Try Caffeine

Caffeine has been credited with increasing wakefulness and boosting energy. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University report that caffeine also enhances long-term memory. In a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (2014:17;201-203), they found that among a group of 100 participants who consumed 200 mg ofcaffeine (the equivalent of an average size cup of coffee), memory retrieval improved for up to 24 hours. Thestudy suggests that caffeine enhances the brain’s memory programming storage and consolidation process so that information can be remembered more accurately and for a longer period of time. Caffeine is associated with healthy longevity and may have positive effects both asa cognitive enhancer and in preventingcognitive decline. Coffee, tea, and cocoaare the main sources of caffeine in the American diet.

- Joan Morrow, MPH

"I just want to tell you how delightful and accommodating my
volunteer was today! What a wonderful experience. She is
such a nice person and what a fine caliber of volunteer!
Many thanks to her and to the Village Network."

- a Village member

Older Adults and Depression

What is depression? Everyone feels sad or “down” sometimes, but these feelings typically go away after a few days. Depression, on the other hand, can interfere with daily life for weeks at a time. It is a serious illness. Some people who are depressed can become suicidal if not treated. Depression is a common problem for older adults, but it is not a part of normal aging. Often, sadness or low mood is not the primary symptom of depression in older people, so physicians may not recognize that their patient is depressed. Also, many people may be reluctant to talk about their feelings and prefer to try to solve problems on their own.

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, irritable, pessimistic, or restless
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Trouble remembering, concentrating, or decision-making
  • Overeating or poor appetite(weight gain or loss)
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps, digestive problems
The types of depression include:
  • Major depression – severe symptoms that interfere with daily life for most of the day , every day, for at least two weeks
  • Dysthymia – depressive symptoms that last a long time (two years or more), but are less severe that major depressive symptoms
  • Minor depression – similar to major depression and dysthymia, but less severe and may not last as long

Depression may be caused by a combination of factors. A person with blood relatives who have experienced depression may be predisposed to depressive symptoms. The brain chemistry of depressed persons may differ from that of people without depression. Older adults may develop depressive symptoms for the first time due to changes in their body that occur with aging. For example, blood flow to the brain may decrease, resulting in what is called vascular depression. Additionally, depression can accompany other medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. These conditions may make depression worse and vice versa. Medications taken for certain conditions may also have side effects that exacerbate depression. Stress and/or loss can trigger depression as well.

A number of effective treatments are available to treat depression in older adults. They will be described, along with practical suggestions for dealing with a depressed friend or relative, in the next issue of the newsletter.

- George Young, Clinical Psychologist (retired)

Resources: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

News From the Friendly Visiting Team

We have many volunteers on the Friendly Visiting Team who are interested in being matched with a memberfor weekly visits or check-in calls. We do our bestto pair members withvisiting volunteers who have similar interests.If you would like to explore having afriendlyvisitor or check-in calls, talk to Stephanie for more information at

Village Volunteer Job Opportunities

We are seeking aSocial Events Coordinatorto contact members or volunteers interested in hosting monthly potlucks and game nights, and to work with a team to produce the events: arranging for tables/chairs to be delivered from the office if needed, recruiting greeters and others.


The Village Ambassadors Teamseeks members interested in working together to expand our outreach to the communitythrough:

- presentations at Village Info Meetings, living room chats, and to community groups

- tabling at the Senior Center, Farmers’ Markets, and other likely places

- distributing brochures and rack cards around Petaluma and Penngrove

Our team meets monthly to support one another in developing inspiring presentations and brainstorming creative ideas for outreach strategies.


The Community Outreach Team
- a person interested in contacting communities of faith to explore Village Info Meeting notices in bulletins, presentations to their groups, etc.
- would love a person with MailChimp experience (or willing to learn) to format our newsletter.


The Wellness Support Team
- is seeking volunteers interested in completing our MedPal Training Program, to help members prepare for medical appointments, accompany them, and take notes.

- is seeking three volunteers to co-lead another 8-week “Boost Your Brain” series later this spring or summer.


The Fund Development Teamwould like a few more members to expand itsfund development efforts with local businesses and foundations, and begin building our "Partnership Program" to provide subsidized fees for members with limited income.


The Tech Teamis seeking a few more people, especially if you are familiar with the Mac world, iPhones, iPads. While gurus are welcome, we also welcome regular users who can show members how to get more value from their devices.

Author’s Life Inspired His Last Book

Kent Haruf, author of several well-received novels about two aging brothers in a small Colorado town, set his last book in the same fictional town but created a different character as protagonist. Haruf wroteOur Souls at Nightas a last gift to his wife, Cathy, after he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. While the circumstances in the novel differ from those of Haruf’s late-in-life marriage to Cathy, the plot does concern an older couple who find love at the end of their lives. As with all his previous books, the author tells the story in quiet, understated, and simple prose that nonetheless moves the plot along quickly and engagingly.Addie and Louis are in their 70s, widowed, with grown children, who know each other only slightly when

the story begins. Both expect their remaining years to be quiet, austere, and lonely. But Addie conceives of a slightly outrageous idea, which she bravely presents to Louis. He is surprised but agreeable, andwith his consent to her plan, their lives change in unexpected and joyous ways.

Their romance does not proceed without challenges and criticism from outsiders, but their quiet bond anchors and supports them. Their story is both beautiful and sad, a reminder that mature love can encompass comfort, companionship, and understanding, but it also involves loss. Haruf’s last book is a testament to his belief that the greatest happiness can be found in the quiet, peaceful moments of life.

- Kathy Lawrence

Stay Connected withVillage Members

A friend of mine belongs to one for tapestry artists.Ever heard of a listserv? Sounds like computer-speak, doesn't it? But you might be involved in one and not realize it. A listserv is simply software that distributes electronic messages to subscribers on a mailing list for specific interests. For example, I belong to a listserv for school librarians and one for members of the Pacific Bulb Society.

VillageConnectionsis the listserv for members of the Village Network of Petaluma — a private automated mailing list to connect all Village members who wish to subscribe. It's a way for members tocommunicate with one another and easily to propose meeting up for a trip to a play, concert, movie, restaurant, museum, hike, andmore.

Emails sent toVillageConnectionsare received by all subscribing members. When you email to the list, individuals can reply directly to you or, by choosing "reply all," to the entire list.

New members with an email address are sent an invitation to join. If you haven't received that invitation, contact the Village office ( You will receive an email explaining how to join and use VillageConnections. Or call if you have questions at 776-6055.

A few weeks ago, three of us wanted to attend an evening lecture on the geology of Sonoma County, way out in Sebastopol. It took us a while to get connected, but it would have been a lot faster and easier with VillageConnections. The lesson from our experience: Sign up and take advantage of this convenient tool made available by the Village Network.

Jane Merryman

* * *

Gathering of Bay Area Villages in Petaluma in May

There are now 23Villages in the Bay Area already open or in development. Reps from each Villagemeet quarterly to share best practices and develop new ways of collaborating to support the success and sustainability of each Village. TheVillage Network of Petaluma will be hosting the May meeting, with a focus on housing options - a crisis affecting enormous numbers of older adults in the Bay Area. One of the panelists will be Amy Appleton, Director of Share Sonoma County, a successful new home-sharing program sponsored by Petaluma People Services Center.

For more infoon Share Sonoma County, see:

With deep appreciation the Village Network is proud to publicly thank those below who made it possible for us to exceed our fundraising goal!

Diamond Sponsors - $1,000 to $5,000
Stanton Lawson

Upcoming Events
Up next at the Village