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.
Opportunity Drawing…Sharon Levine
The opportunity prize winner for November was Jane Seeds: $25 Target gift card.
The prize for December is a $10 Starbucks gift card courtesy of Ken & Margaret Schieck.
Campbell Toy Program…Marilyn Clough
Here’s an opportunity to help brighten Christmas for Campbell area children, especially necessary for young families this difficult year. Collection boxes will be available until Saturday, December 12, for toys, games, books, school supplies, art/craft supplies, balls, etc. Most of our local shopping areas will have them. Check https://campbelltoyprogram.com/ for details before you go shopping (carefully, of course!).
Community Service…Leona Fails
Before the end of the year, please mail your volunteer hours to Leona Fails; contact information available in the distributed Dispatch.
Legislative News…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott
In early 2020, the CDC realized the most vulnerable Covid-19 population was senior citizens. Despite advances in protocols, there are still two ways for seniors in nursing homes to get Covid: staff and visitors.
—Testing nursing home visitors is important. Current guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) restrict the number of visitors and focus on temperature checks and screening questionnaires, as well as observing for signs or symptoms of illness.
This may have been reasonable early on in the pandemic when any sort of a screen was better than no screen, but it’s insufficient now. We have had point-of-care testing for months now, and more recently, rapid antigen tests that require no special lab equipment and no specialized storage.
—Stronger mitigation measures for nursing home staff. It is likely that infected staff are driving the rise in cases, as visitations are relatively restricted. An AP report shows a proportionate increase in the number of staff cases and resident cases. This is naturally difficult to control because the staff live in the community and work in the nursing homes. Their job is vital.
The latest CMS guidance on staff testing frequency are intended to test often enough to detect cases early enough to stop transmissions from staff to residents. Clearly that hasn’t been enough. We need more targeted testing to detect early cases, and that has to be done every time someone leaves and reenters the nursing home. No effort should be spared in procuring what is needed to test everyone going into a nursing home, whether visitor or staff.
Key to making this work: the FDA should lift restrictions requiring all tests be reviewed at a lab, so rapid tests that don’t need lab equipment can truly live up to their promise.
We need to make sure that our members of Congress understand our determination to keep everyone healthy in those facilities, we mean business, and we need them to pay immediate attention.
On another note, prescription drug prices in the U.S. are sky high and rising. The Federal Government is beginning to work on securing lower drug prices and trying to ensure that America will no longer pay more than our peer nations for expensive prescription drugs. We must let the Administration and Congress know that this is a top-tier priority for all seniors and that they must work together to address this critical need.
Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and 2021!
Great Plates Delivered…MaryAnn Scrivano
Were you aware of the California State program set up by Governor Newsom this past April, 2020, to provide lunch and dinner meals free of cost? First responders, doctors, nurses, and Seniors qualify. The program is called “Great Plates Delivered.” It is sponsored by Silicon Valley Strong and Sourcewise. They connect older adults at high risk from COVID-19. You can learn more about the program at https://covid19.ca.gov/restaurants-deliver-home-meals-for-seniors/.
It is very easy to sign up (yourself or a relative). Call Sourcewise at +1 408-350-3230 (option 1) or go to their website at https://www.mysourcewise.com/. I signed up my mother, who qualifies, and can report the food is good and plentiful.
Office Christmas Party…Marilyn Clough
What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day. – Phyllis Diller
The Birth Reimagined…Angie Jaggars
Three wise WOMEN
Would have asked for directions
Arrived on time
Cleaned the stable
Helped deliver the baby
Brought a casserole
And there would have been peace on earth.