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July/August 2016 Newsletter

Village Network of Petaluma

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.


July/August 2016 Village Network Newsletter

Table of Contents
- JulyProgram List
-A Member and Volunteer'sReflections
- Residents of Blue Zones Live Longer, Healthier Lives
- Using Combination Smoke and CO Alarms?
-Diet Affects Important Region of the Brain
- Effective Treatment Relieves Depression
- MedPals Can Help Avoid Medical Errors
- Volunteer Job Opportunities
- Village Wish List
- Village Donors are Appreciated!
Save the Date...
Weekly Village Programs
- Tuesdays, 8:30 - 9:30 am - Walking Group
- Tuesdays, 10:15 - 11:45 am - Our Life Stories &Legacy
- Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:30 am - QiGong Class
- Wednesdays, 11:00 - 12:00 noon - Gentle Yoga for Balance, Flexibility,&Increased Energy
- Friday, July 15, 4:00 - 6:00 pm - Village Game Night
- Friday, July 15, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, New Poetry Group
- Monday, July 18, 8:45 - 2:00 pm - Gardening Group field trip to SF Botanical Gardens
- Wednesday, July 20, 4:00 - 5:00 pm - Bocce Ball
- Friday, July 22, 1:30 - 3:00 pm - Book Group
- Wednesday, July 27, 12:45 - 2:45 pm, - Village Tech Workshop
- Thursday, July 28, 3:00 - 4:30 pm - Village Singing Group
- Sunday, July 31, 5:00 - 7:00 pm - Potluck Gathering for Members &Volunteers
July Programs
Newcomers are welcome to all our programs
Welcome to the Village
Saturday, July 16, 11:00 – 12 noon
Thursday, August 18, 11:00 – 12 noon
Village Network Office, 402 Petaluma Blvd. North (at Oak St.)
An information meeting for adults 50+ andtheir 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. Formore 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.
"Village Volunteer 101" Training
Monday, July 11, 9:30 - 12:30 pm, Village office.
All volunteers who are interested in working with members need to complete this training. RSVP to Stephanie required,atinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.orgor 776-6055.
"I am awed by the talent and dedication reflected in the Village volunteer corps -
andthe scope and spectrum of the support providedas we
all come together, neighbor helping neighbor."

- Village volunteer
Gentle Yoga for Balance, Flexibility, and Increased Energy
Wednesday, July 13 and 27, 11:00 – 12 noon, Village office.
(Gentle Yoga is now being held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.)
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.

Village Game Night
Friday, July 15, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, in a member’s home. Newcomers welcome.
We will have potluck finger food and games. Join us, and bring a favorite game if you wish, or just bring yourself and have fun. RSVP for address to Stephanie
New Poetry Group
Friday, July 15, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, in a member’s home (Meets 3rd Friday of the month.)
All poets are invited to join us to share our poetry with each other. For more information and the location of the meeting, please contact Sam Doctors; 530-414-4032.

Gardening Group
Monday, July 18, 8:45 am – 2:00 pm (Meets 3rd Monday of the month.)
To keep us out of the hot sun in July, we decided to go to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens where Jane will give us a tour and we can eat our brown-bag lunches in the shade. We plan to meet at 8:45 am at Suzanne’s home, where there is ample free parking. From there, we will carpool. If you would like to join us, please email Jane Merrymanjane@sonic.netto reserve your space and let her know if you can drive.RSVP to Suzanne Clarke for address, atsjclarke232@gmail.comor to Jane Merryman.
Bocce Ball
Wednesday, July 20,4:00 – 5:00 pm, Leghorn Park.
(Meets 3rd Wednesday of the month.)
RSVP to George Beeler No experience necessary. Lots of fun!
Book Group
Friday, July 22, 1:30 - 3:00 pm, at the home of a member.
Join us for a discussion ofOur Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf. It is available at the public library and at Contact Village member Jane Merryman for the address
Village Tech Workshop
Wednesday July 27, 12:45 – 2:45 pm, Village office.
  • Want to be more comfortable using your computer, tablet, or smartphone?
  • Having problems with your cell phone or computer?
Members at all experience levels welcome in this new workshop, which will assist you 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. 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.

Village Singing Group
Thursday, July 28, 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, July 31, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, in a member’s home.
A time to get to know each other better, share good food, enjoy our “conversation café,” and have fun. For members and volunteers. Space is limited, RSVP to Stephanie Wilkinson,, for the address.

Coming in September...

Learn About the End of Life Option Act
This California bill became law on June 9. It allows dying Californians to make the end of life healthcare decisions that are right for them in the final stages of their illness. It is similar to the laws in Oregon and Washington that you might have heard about.

We have invited a panel of retired doctors and nurses to talk to us in September about this new law. Learn who is, and who is not, eligible under the law. Bring your questions and concerns to this important and informative program.

- Jane Merryman,

Reflections from a Village Member and Volunteer...

I’m feeling a need to express my sense of gratitude to, yes, the Village Network of Petaluma, but more to the people who have brought it to life. I’m told the Village concept started about 15 years ago back in Boston, and then moved across the country quickly to fill a widespread need for our aging and sometimes nomadic population. So many of us find ourselves without family nearby in our later years, by choice or by accident, that it’s a real blessing to be presented with this combination service-volunteer opportunity-social connection.

In our town of Petaluma,there were already many more service organizations than I’d expect for a town of about 60,000 – Committee on the Shelterless, Rebuilding Together, Petaluma People Services, PEP Housing, the Senior Center, etc.

Village Network adds to and completes the circle, coordinating volunteers – mostly friendly visitors and drivers to take members for grocery shopping, doctor appointments, haircuts, social events, whatever is needed. I especially like the social connections through activities like a singing group, walkers, legacy writers, yoga, game night, and discussion gatherings, as well as one-time lectures and programs, and a well-stocked book exchange.

Sharing our lives gives us such a richinterchange of ideas, sympathy, and stimulation. It can be confusing and a little scary moving into this new,more solitary territory in life. How lucky to be able to do it with like-minded and like-hearted others.

- Sue Miller (far left)

Residents of “Blue Zones” Live Longer, Healthier Lives

In a recent presentation at Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner discussed five areas around the world – the so-called Blue Zones – where people routinely live to 100 and beyond. Not only do a higher percentage of people in these regions live longer than average, but they generally enjoy healthy, full, and active lives for a much longer time than their contemporaries in other parts of the world.
After identifying the blue zones as Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Icaria, Greece; and the Seventh Day Adventists community in Loma Linda, CA, Buettner examined the common characteristics of life in these five areas that contribute to their high rates of longevity:

1. Regular physical exercise is integrated into normal daily activities.
2. People have a clear purpose in life; e.g., elders help care for younger generations.
3. Stress is minimal and/or managed effectively.
4. Caloric intake is moderate, often via a plant-based diet.
5. Alcohol, particularly wine, is part of the diet, but always in moderation.
6. Spiritual and/or religious engagement is common.
7. Participation in family life exists at all ages.
8. Engagement in the social life of the community, with a supportive network of friends, continues into old age.

More information about the Blue Zones and the healthy, vigorous people who live there can be found in Buettner’s book,The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest. It’s worth keeping in mind that the common thread of social engagement and community participation is a basic principle of the Village movement, so with your involvement in the Village, you’re already on the path to 100+!

- Kathy Lawrence

I’m really glad [my wife and I] joined the Village. I’ve learned a lot, it’s a nice social experience, and it provides a kind of insurance for our future. It’s wonderful to be able to give while I’m healthy; I’m picturing a kind of electrical current of giving and receiving that keeps us all moving forward.

- a Village social member

Combination Smoke and
Carbon MonoxideAlarms
Do Not Provide
Full Protection

Every home needs a smoke alarm, and any home with appliances that burn fuel, such as a furnace, range, or water heater, should have a carbon dioxide alarm. But the combination devices that purport to monitor for both smoke and CO2 are not effective, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

Some alarms use ionization and photoelectric technologies to detect both types of fire -- smoldering and flaming -- but they don't detect CO. And those that combine COand smoke detection are effective for one type of fire, but not both. The only way to ensure complete protection for your home and family is to install both types of alarms. For detailed information about the various alarms that are available and to determine which ones would best suit your needs, see
Diet Affects Important Region of the Brain
Researchers at the Australian National University have found a connection between unhealthy or “Western” dietary patterns and a smaller hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain used for learning, memory, and mental health. The group looked at MRI scans from 255 participants aged 60 to 64. Even taking into account all pertinent factors other than diet, they found thatstudy participants who ate more nutrient-rich foods had a larger hippocampus than those who ate more unhealthful foods. Nutrient-rich foods in the study included fruits, vegetables, salads, and fish. Unhealthful foods included sugary drinks, sausages, processed meats, and chips.

“To our knowledge this is the first human study to demonstrate a connection between diet and hippocampus volume concordant with data previously obtained in animal models,” the research team wrote in their conclusion. Their study was published in the journalBMC Medicinein September 2015.

- Joan Morrow, MPH

Effective Treatment
Relieves Depression

Although depression is a common problem for older adults, it is not a part of normal aging. If symptoms of depression are present (see the list of common symptoms in the last issue of this newsletter, available atVillage May/June newsletter, the first step is to rule out underlying medical conditions. A doctor can complete a physical exam and run lab tests. The doctor may refer the depressed person to a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or marriage and family therapist.

While depression is a serious illness, the good news is that a range of effective treatments is available, including medications (antidepressants), psychotherapy/counseling, or a combination of both. It is important for persons receiving any typeoftreatment for depression to stick with it. Additionally, they may find it helpful to spend time with others and avoid isolation, to break tasks into

small chunks rather than trying to do too much at one time, and to postpone big decisions until they are feeling better.

Family members and friends can do a lot help a depressed person, including the following:
  • Offer support, understanding, and patience.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Remind the person that depression will get better with time and treatment.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide and report these concerns to helping professionals.
In a crisis, call 911 or a doctor, go to the nearest ER, or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline of Sonoma County (1-855-587-6373).

Above all, remember that depression is treatable, and with the correct therapy and support, patients can enjoy healthy, active, and fulfilling lives at any age.
- George Young, Clinical Psychologist (retired)

Resources: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

MedPals Can Help Avoid Medical Errors
Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently reported that approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year due to errors made in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. They attribute these errors to incorrect diagnosis, fragmented care, and preventable complications. With medical errors constituting what the research team calls the third leading cause of death in the U.S., it is critical that patients remain alert to the possibility of these errors impacting their care.

According to Dr. Martin Makary, lead author of the Johns Hopkins study, one way patients can protect themselves is by bringing a companion to doctor visits. Not only does a companion serve as a second pair of eyes and ears, perhaps absorbing more of the physician’s comments than a nervous or sick patient might, but he or she can also ask pertinent questions and take notes to ensure that the patient has complete and correct information. If surgery or other treatment is prescribed, Makary recommends seeking a second opinion and, again, bringing someone along to the hospital on the day of the procedure to help coordinate after-care.

Given the worrisome statistics on medical errors and the recommendations for avoiding them, the Village’s MedPal program offers a crucial service to members. After undergoing in-depth training to qualify as members of the MedPal team, volunteers are well-equipped to act as a support system during and after doctor visits and to serve as a valuable liaison with medical providers. Members who are interested in availing themselves of this important service can contact Stephanie at 707-776-6055 orinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.orgfor more information.

Village VolunteerOpportunities

We are seeking a Social Events Coordinator to work withmembers or volunteers interested in hosting monthly potlucks and game nights.


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

- distributing brochuresaround Petaluma and Penngrove

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


The Community Outreach Team
- is seeking a person to join the newsletter team, to design and format the newsletter (we will train if needed)
- is seeking a person interested incoordinatingoutreach tocommunities of faith.


The Wellness Support Team
- is seeking volunteers interested in developing a "Hospital to Home" training program for volunteers.

- is seeking a volunteer to co-lead another 8-week “Boost Your Brain” series later this fall.


The Fund Development Teamwould like a few more members to begin building our "Membership PartnersProgram" to provide subsidized fees for members with limited income.

Village Wish List

- An air conditioner for the summer!

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 & Gabriella Ambrosi
Sequoia Senior Solutions
In-home care service provider
George & Ellen Beeler
Anne & Paul Greenblatt
Gary & Lyn Imm
Dr. David Strange

Sustaining Donors: $500 to $999
Gene Anderson
Steve Ayala
Lolly Burns
Barbara Carlson
Suzanne Clarke
Harriet and James Coyne
Ann and Mel Fox
Linda Fox and Floyd Dickman
Paul and Sherry Eckloff
Ron and Marsha Harris
Robert Gallup
Marilyn Hartley
Vasi Jayaswal
Tom and Marcia Joynt
Janice Kearns
Darcy Levy
Maryann Marks & Elad Levinson
Sue Miller
Diane Olberg
Nancy Porter
Joann Pozzi
Donald Revere
Jim Stern
Janny Van Alderen & David Quist
Naomi Weinstein

Supporting Donors: $100 - $499
Colene Abramson
David Adams, Quality Printing
Joellen Aymond
Lilia Bizal
B’nai Israel Jewish Center
Lyndi Brown & Anthony Tusler
Pat Burns
Sue & Christopher Castellucci
Bill and Maggie Fishman
Rev. Mary Foran
Steve Gavriloff, Westgate Real Estate
Majida Gibson
Camille Jordan
Brian Lemesh, D.C., Petaluma Family Chiropractic
Tiaga Liner
Sid & Gerry Lipton
Bill and Catherine Luther
Barbara & Jake Mackenzie
Jane Merryman
Mary Munat
Nadia Navid, D.D.S.
Len and Charlotte Nelson
Petaluma Elks Lodge #901
Paul Praetzel
Richard Quinn
Robert and Maureen Reed
Susan and Richard Rodkin
Vreni Schnirman
Ernest and Eileen Simard
Janine and Ray Slaughter
St. James Altar Fund

Donors: up to $100
Bridie Acton
Carmina Angka
Virginia Anderson
Gregory Bard
Bonnie & Pod Boatright
Carol Crabill
Lynn Camhi
Gail Cardaropoli
Charles Collum & Nancy Blanchard
Jan Crosby
Julie Donohue
Terri Dugar
Joni Gardner
Robert Girolo
Wayne Guptill
Kay Hardy
Tina Hittenberger
Kathleen Kestelyn
Scotti Kluess
Nancy Jean Kull
Susan Lampert
Andree Langlois
Kathleen Lawrence
Louise Leff
Michael and Kathy Lerner
Darcy and Harvey Levy
Nita Liles
Ellen MacDonald
Kathy MacDonald
Robert and Nancy McFarland
Kendra Mon
Martha Murphy
Bente Niles
Alice Jean Rebizzo
Starr Rohrman
Phyllis Sharrow
Jerry Spremich
Pam Torliatt
Corlene Van Sluizer & Julian Blair

Your Donations Help Build a Sustainable Village

Once firmly established, 75% or more of our funds will come from member fees. However, donations are vitally important in building a stable and sustainable Village that will be here for all of us as we age. All donations are tax deductible, as we are a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, in San Francisco, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Make checks payable to:
Community Initiatives/VNP,
and mail to Village Network of Petaluma, P.O. Box 442, Petaluma, CA94953

Or you can visitour web page and click on "Donate,"at

We want to express our continuing appreciation toour talented
newsletter writer/editor
Kathleen Lawrence.

We thank our MailChimp expert Katherine Frank, as she moves on to a new chapter of her life. Her dedication and creativity have been so important in helping build the Village!

402 Petaluma Blvd. North (at Oak St.)

Office hours Monday - Thursday 10:00 - 1:00, or by appointment.
Mailing Address:PO Box 442, Petaluma, CA 94953

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"Aging should never be a solo game."
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Our mailing address is:
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P.O. Box 442

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