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‘Issues in Aging’ series scheduled

Posted: October 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.

With the baby boomer generation hitting its senior stride, addressing issues such as finances, legal affairs and medical directives becomes of paramount importance.

Such concerns are the topic of Valencia’s College of the Canyons Community Education’s “Issues in Aging,” a six-week series starting Nov. 8. Each workshop will take place on a Tuesday afternoon, from 4-5:30 p.m. While geared toward seniors, the series is open to participants of any age and costs $15 per family to attend.

“What I wanted to do as a service to the community is to provide, at a very low cost, information that seniors will find valuable,” said Kevin G. Kistler, dean of instruction support at the college. “Often, we will postpone making critical decisions until they are forced upon us. While it’s human nature to try to avoid these issues, addressing them actually brings peace of mind.”

Extending one’s quality of life is another vital area of interest during the series, according to Kistler.

“Some workshops are on how to live better, about exercise for relaxation, how to increase range of motion and to stay active,” he said. “Health is the cornerstone of happiness. When we have our health, we can do anything else. It’s when we start to lose our physical and mental abilities that quality of life starts to deteriorate. We’d like to postpone that as long as possible.”

“Issues in Aging” workshops will be taught by Santa Clarita Valley experts who are donating their time as guest lecturers.

“These are national issues, but we chose local people so if anyone participating in the series wants more help or advice, whether it’s with a lawyer or a physician, they can make a local appointment,” Kistler said.

Participants are welcome to attend the whole series or to pick and choose individual workshops, which break down as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 8 — Workshop 1: Financial Options addresses financial decisions such as increasing income through a reverse mortgage, outliving your pension, reducing income taxes, and whether to buy long-term care coverage. Workshop leaders are James V. Hecker, certified mortgage planning specialist and Candy M. Stone Watson, reverse-mortgage consultant.

Tuesday, Nov. 15 — Workshop 2: Legal Affairs addresses legal issues such as advanced directives, guardians and conservators, power of attorney, wills versus trusts, and other issues in elder care. Workshop leader is Robert. M. Mansour, J.D., attorney at law.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 — Workshop 3: Transitions addresses transitions in senior living, including ways to maintain your independence through simple home modifications, choices in senior communities and residential care, and reducing stress during transitions. Workshop leaders are Joel Green, certified senior adviser; Mary Dembkowski, Summerhill Villa; Brandon Fried, handyman; and Michelle Kampenga, notary public.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 — Workshop 4: Wellness addresses techniques to maintain good hearing, vision, and health. Participants will also learn about exercises for relaxation, flexibility, range of motion and balance. This workshop will also be focusing on memory and ways nutrition contributes to our overall wellness. Workshop leaders are Patrice Rifkind, Au.D, director of audiology; Dr. Greg J. Helm, MD; Jill Brink, Ph.D, geriatric and dementia care specialist; and Chuck Branda, certified senior trainer

Tuesday, Dec. 6 — Workshop 5: Refuse to be a Victim addresses a variety of fraudulent schemes that are targeted to swindling unsuspecting seniors and how you can refuse to be a victim. Specific scams include online, door-to-door sales, carjacking, foreclosure frauds, home repair scams, stalking, and dangers at the ATM. Refuse to be a victim, protect yourself, your family and your assets. Workshop leader is Jim Woolford, certified national “Refuse to be a Victim” instructor; Woolford has represented the California Department of Corporations in briefings on scams to seniors.

Tuesday, Dec. 13 — Workshop 6: End of Life Planning addresses topics that are uncomfortable for many to discuss. Speakers will present some of the misconceptions and fears many people have when facing end-of-life issues. By planning and understanding available options in the final months or years of life, however, people can gain a sense of comfort and security. Workshop leaders are Bruce Bednar, MAG, gerontologist/hospice and palliative care educator and Larry Small, community service counselor.

For more information or to sign up for the “Issues in Aging” workshop series, visit or call (661) 362-3300.


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