President’s Message … Margaret Schieck

Here we are in March and it is another busy month!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all, as well as Happy First Day of Spring, Happy Passover, and Happy Easter (in early April)!  It is also Women’s History month. (For a virtual Women’s History exhibit, go to:  losaltoshistory.org/rise-up.)

Wow! There are a lot of items to cover this month.

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead 1 hour for Daylight Savings Time on March 14th.  Don’t forget to read Angie’s article on “Have a Heart for Sacred Heart” food drive contributions in this newsletter. 

Also, the 11th Annual Benefit Concert “For Love” supporting Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence will take place virtually this year on March 20th at 7:30 p.m.  The concert is free this year, but donations are strongly encouraged.  For access to the concert, please send an e-mail request to:  2021forlove@gmail.com.  As many of you know, several of our AARP members sing with the Orchard City Community Chorus, which is one of the 10 choruses contributing voices to this virtual event.

I would also like to encourage our members to remember Mama Mia’s restaurant when they are thinking of ordering meals.  We may or may not be able to have our annual luncheon this year, but Frank has been very supportive of our group in keeping costs reasonable for us at the luncheon.  He could use our support now.  In addition, remember Sorelle’s as well.  They have accommodated after-meeting lunches and our need for separate checks.

I hope everyone has a Happy Spring and I’m looking forward to seeing you all on-line on March 16th and, hopefully, in person soon.

Santa Clara County Announces “No Wrong Door” for COVID Vaccinations

On February 4 Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s Health Officer, announced anyone 65 and older can get their vaccine from anywhere in the county. 

The county’s new “no wrong door” policy makes it possible for seniors to get vaccinated regardless of who their normal medical provider is.  “A Kaiser patient can go to the county, a Stanford patient can go to Kaiser, a county patient can go to Stanford (to get vaccinated),” said Dr. Cody. “It doesn’t matter where you go, we want you to get vaccinated.” 

County officials said that the change would become effective immediately within the county hospital system, while it might take a few days for all of the South Bay’s vaccine providers to make the transition.

Blood Donations Are Critically Needed!

Blood Donations Are Critically Needed!  Both Stanford and the Red Cross are in critical need of blood donations.

Stanford’s Blood Center has a site at 295 E. Hamilton Avenue and their web site is: https://stanfordbloodcenter.org/

The Red Cross main location is at 2731 North First Street, San Jose.  Their web site is:  https://www.redcross.org/local/california/northern-california-coastal/about-us/locations/silicon-valley.html

AARP March Meeting…Paul Levine and Nancy Tepperman

Our speaker for our March 16 meeting will be Joe Deviney.  He will present an overview of the departments and divisions within the Santa Clara County Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) – an interesting agency with 17 divisions.

Joe was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences by California State University at Hayward.  He started his agricultural career with Contra Costa County as a pest detection/noxious weed specialist.  Previously, he was an Agricultural Biologist and worked in all programs of the Commissioner’s office including pest prevention, invasive species eradication projects, and plant pest quarantines.  During this time, Joe spent five years in Brentwood, CA, the agricultural core of Contra Costa County where he gained experience and knowledge in the field of pesticide regulation and production agriculture.  He has been the Agricultural Commissioner & Sealer of Weights and Measures for Santa Clara County since 2012.

Legislative News…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

AARP is fighting to improve paid sick leave policies for California workers who are impacted by COVID-19; especially those family caregivers who are helping to keep their older loved ones out of hospitals and nursing homes.  Sufficient paid sick leave of up to 10 days must be available to all California workers:

•  SUPPORTING CAREGIVERS:  Family caregivers are the front line of defense to keep their loved ones out of hospitals or nursing homes. Across California, more than 4.7 million family caregivers provide critical assistance to their older parents, spouses, and other loved ones–most while also juggling full- or part-time jobs.  Family Caregivers contribute more than 4 billion hours of unpaid care each year, valued at approximately $63 Billion.

•  STAYING HOME when you or a loved one is sick should not mean losing your pay or even your job; especially during a public health emergency like COVID-19.

•  EXTRAORDINARY TIMES call for California leaders to do more. Utilize every tool available to make sure California workers, including family caregivers, have access to up to 10 days of paid sick leave per year during the COVID-19 emergency.

•  AARP IS ASKING us to contact our State Senator and our State Assembly Member and ask them to support the implementation of emergency paid leave through the state budget process.

AARP is also fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death. Ninety-five percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have occurred among people who were 50 or older.  Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in people 65 and older, according to the latest demographic data available from the CDC.  Part of the reason risk increases with age is that people are more likely to have other health issues later in life, and underlying health conditions are a huge driver of complications that arise from COVID-19.  A June report from the CDC found that hospitalizations for people with COVID-19 were six times as high for patients with chronic health conditions, compared to otherwise healthy individuals; deaths among this population were 12 times as high.  We are being asked to contact our state representatives to enact legislation to get those covid vaccines to us sooner.

We need to let our Federal Representatives know that we want them to continue fighting for the ACCESS Act:  AARP is pleased to endorse the Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors Act (ACCESS Act).  We appreciate the bipartisan leadership and commitment to improve access to virtual visitation for nursing home residents and their families during the coronavirus public health emergency.  During this frightening time, the health, safety, and well-being of people living in nursing homes, assisted living, and other residential care facilities is paramount, which is why it is so critical that they have the ability to virtually visit and communicate with their loved ones, including but not limited to if in-person visitation is restricted.  Expanding access to telehealth in nursing homes can also help ensure more efficient and effective access to care.  The ACCESS Act would provide $50 million to the Telehealth Resource Center Program to help facilitate the development of telehealth technologies for nursing homes.

Importantly, the legislation provides grants to nursing homes to support virtual visits and requires these facilities to ensure residents can access these visits and get the help they need to do so.  It is important to enable more residents and families to stay connected, including via video, both to help combat social isolation and to allow families to ensure their loved ones are being well cared for.

 Please stay informed and have a happy St Patrick’s Day!

President’s Message…Ken Schieck

This will be my last letter as your chapter president.  It has been an interesting and challenging four years.  Even before the pandemic broke, the board and I had to deal with losing our vice-president and taking care of matters related to the Treasury.  Fortunately, we took care of both issues.

I would like to express my deep gratitude for many of the board and committee chairs who, like myself, stayed on beyond the normal two-year period. Hopefully, there will be more new members willing to take their places when the time comes.

Two lessons I learned this year:  (1) be conversant with the latest technology and  (2) understand the importance of personal bonding.  Many of us had to learn to use Zoom as a platform to conduct and attend board and general meetings; this type of technology will continue to be part of our communication program for the indefinite future.  Our organization is held together, in large part, through the publication of the monthly Dispatch and the telephone committee’s calls to members each week.

I have found through conversations with other chapter leaders that it is not common for AARP chapters to issue a monthly multi-page newsletter.  So special thanks to Harry Kiesler and Jeanne Ulrich for keeping the Dispatch going and to Thelma Bridges for organizing the weekly calls to members. These calls have been gratefully received.

I would also extend thanks to our vice-president, Paul Levine, for providing monthly speakers during these challenging times.

Thank you for your support and encouragement during the last four years. Please continue to provide it for Margaret.    

Happy Holidays!

AARP December Meeting…Paul Levine

The entertainer for our December 15, 2020, meeting will be Mark Wallace, a talented singer, guitarist, and songwriter.  Mark was born in 1949 in 29 Palms, CA, and lived in the Bay Area for many years where he worked as a professional handyman (Jack-of-All-Trades and Master-of-Many.)  He was a long-time member of the San Jose Peace Chorale and entertained at many area weddings as well as at the Unity Temple, Moraga Concert Hall (Santa Cruz), and the Great Hall at Betty Peck’s (Saratoga).  He recently moved to Colorado to be with his childhood sweetheart, Tori Palmer, a retired veterinarian.

For our program, Mark will be singing favorite and obscure seasonal songs of Joy and Praise that people can sing along with (as long as they are muted).

Email invitations will be sent on December 13-14 for members to Zoom or call-in on the 15th.