Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future

March 5, 2018 - Paul Downey

You and a guest are cordially invited to

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 • 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Reception at 5:30 p.m. • Program at 6:15 p.m.

Serving Seniors’ Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center
1525 Fourth Avenue • San Diego, CA 92101

Please join us for a special evening! Serving Seniors’ President & CEO, Paul Downey, will give an update on the organization’s accomplishments over the past year, a panel of experts will discuss the future of aging well and what that means for you, plus we’ll hear directly from one of our senior clients on how our services changed their life.

There is no cost to attend but seating is limited and reservations are required.
Please RSVP by Friday, March 16 to 619.487.0701 or kaia.hill@servingseniors.org

Age is Not a Barrier to Learning

February 23, 2018 - Paul Downey

This guest post is courtesy of Karen Weeks, elderwellness.net.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; well, it’s a good thing you don’t walk on all fours! And despite the preconceived notion that older adults can’t learn new skills, science says otherwise. So, if you’re over 65 and want to play the guitar, do the tango, or delve into the inner workings of technology, the only thing stopping you is… you.

From the Comfort of Home

When you want to learn something new, look no further than your PC, phone, or tablet. We’ve yet to find a skill that isn’t taught online. This means you can get down with modern dance from the privacy of your closed-curtain living room if that’s what you want. Or grab a group of your favorite folks and practice the downward dog right from your TV. Xfinity and many other major cable providers offer free or paid access to fitness classes On Demand.

Here are a few suggestions of the many different things you can learn from home:

Automobile History

Even if you’re already an enthusiast, this fascinating lecture collection from Stanford will give you a better understanding of how automobiles have shaped and been shaped by the last century.


Brought to you by Yale University, this YouTube course, which was first recorded in 2008 but continues to be a popular topic for students, will help you attain a deeper understanding of financial institutions and their role in civilized society.

Science and Food

You’ve probably never thought of your time in the kitchen as a science experiment but it is. This Harvard University video playlist will teach you what you need to know about the science behind everything from cheese to risotto to which culinary thickening agents are best for different cooking conditions.


The Open Learning Initiative, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, offers open courses in languages including Arabic, French, Chinese, and Spanish. At time of publication, Elementary French I offers a free sample class with the option to upgrade for $10 to a self-guided independent learner full course.


Equipboard, an online community centered on the tools and gear used by professional artists and industry influencers, notes that music education doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The best online guitar lessons, according to the site, range from free to just over $30 per month.

Computer Programming

If you want to know what all the fuss is about where technology is concerned, consider taking an entry-level web or app coding class. LinkedIn is a great resource for developer courses and offers a free month trial and unlimited access to more than 6,000 courses for $25 per month.

First Aid

Having the crucial skills to offer assistance in case of an emergency is important for people of all ages. The American Red Cross offers online first-aid classes that will help you help your friends and family until first responders arrived.


Maybe you’re already a knitter and want to learn how to dye your own yarn, or maybe you’ve never picked up a needle before. Either way, Craftsy.com has you covered with classes ranging from $10-$60. In the course of a day, you can learn to knit your own socks or create stunning designs to flatter any figure.

It doesn’t matter what you want to learn — there is a class for you just waiting on the World Wide Web. You don’t have to have extensive technical knowledge or a huge budget, but you do need a willingness to learn, the desire to better yourself, and occasionally, the patience to put up with a slow internet connection.

About Karen:

We’re never too old to learn a new skill. And I’m living proof of that! After I retired, I decided to learn how to design websites and created elderwellness.net. It’s certainly a work in progress, but it reminded me how fun and gratifying it can be to learn a new skill. Now, I’m hoping to spread the word. Winter, when it’s more difficult for many of us older folks to get out and about, is a great time to start learning a new skill, whether it’s online or with a group of friends.

Keep Your Lungs Healthy

November 3, 2017 - Paul Downey

This guest post is courtesy of E. Walsh, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

We want to help seniors in San Diego stay safe and healthy as cold and flu season approaches. Most people don’t think about their lungs until a problem develops, and by age 80 the average person has taken 672,768,000 breaths. All day every day your lungs work hard to keep your blood full of oxygen and your body healthy.

Here are some tips to help you and your lungs stay healthy this flu season:

Get a Flu Shot

It’s easy to underestimate the seriousness of the flu, but it’s also dangerous: 50% of people hospitalized with the flu are over age 65, and virtually all flu-related deaths occur among older individuals. This is unfortunate and preventable with an annual shot of the flu vaccine.

Flu shots are available in many places around San Diego. You can go to your pharmacy, make an appointment with your primary care provider, or visit a health clinic. Best of all, the flu shot is a benefit covered by Medicare, so there is no cost to you. Set up an appointment today and protect yourself against the flu.

Where to get a flu shot in San Diego.

Schedule a Medical Screening

Visiting a healthcare provider can be an anxiety-inducing experience — no one wants to receive bad news. You might also be worried about the cost, but we’re here to help.

Serving Seniors’ team at our Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center can connect you with a caring nurse who can help prepare you for what to expect during your appointment, and who can help you understand any results you receive after an exam. If you need assistance with Medicare or Medi-Cal we can connect you with a healthcare advocate.

We can also help you find low-cost or no-cost access to healthcare — it’s important to get regular access to the care you need to make sure your lungs are working properly. Tell your healthcare professional about any history of illness including asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, lung cancer or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Have a Clean, Safe Place to Live

Many respiratory illnesses start where you’re living. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can watch out for, to stay safe. Beware of what you’re breathing into your body, especially when it comes to dust, mold and asbestos.

Dust comes from a number of sources, including human and animal hair, pollen from plants, soil and other materials. Dust particles can be trapped in furniture, carpets, curtains, bedding and other surfaces. Regular cleaning and vacuuming helps reduce dust. You might also consider an air filter for your home.

Mold is another common hazard. It develops naturally in moist locations such as bathrooms, basements and any place where water collects. In some cases mold can make you very sick, especially if you have asthma or allergies. Regularly check your home and yard for standing water, leaks or drips and signs of mold growth. Fix leaks immediately and ensure that any water in your yard can quickly drain away from your home.

Asbestos is common in construction materials used in older buildings and homes, but is relatively safe when left alone and intact. However, when products containing the mineral are broken or damaged, asbestos fibers can become airborne, causing accidental exposure through inhalation. Over time, this can cause mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos can be found in a number of areas and construction materials, including basements, flooring, and walls. Never begin renovation without first having a professional assess the building materials of your home.

It’s extremely important to have a safe place to live. If you need more information about affordable housing options, please contact us.

Take Action

It can be easy to do nothing, but when it comes to flu prevention, medical screenings and a safe place to live, we can help. Take action and take care of yourself — you’ll gain peace of mind and be glad you did.

A Successful Senior Scam Stopper Seminar

October 20, 2017 - Paul Downey

Congressman Scott Peters and Senator Toni Atkins partnered with the California Contractors State License Board to present a Senior Scam Stopper Seminar at Serving Seniors’ Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center this week.

One in Five Seniors Has Been a Victim of Fraud

Seniors are frequently targeted and vulnerable when it comes to fraud and scams, especially those who live alone. Scammers often look for individuals with savings or who are receiving monthly Social Security checks, and often plan a scam to access those funds.

Criminals target seniors because of potential cognitive or other impairments, knowing that if the case ever makes it to a courtroom, the victim’s mental soundness and memory recall can be questioned. Unfortunately prosecuting financial fraud cases is difficult, and many financial crimes are not reported, making it even more difficult to catch scammers and shut down fraudulent operations.

Senior Scams and Fraud Prevention

Representatives from the Contractors State License Board, the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the State of California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse shared information, tips and real-life cautionary tales of fraud.

Seniors and staff learned about common scams and fraud techniques, as well as ways to protect themselves, including:

  • Investment, home improvement and mortgage scams
  • Telemarketing and tech support scams
  • Impostor scams (“Your grandson has been arrested in Mexico – send money for bail!”)
  • Sweepstakes, lottery and prizes scams
  • Debt or tax collection scams, including IRS impersonation fraud
  • Elder financial abuse, sometimes involving relatives, romantic interests and “friends”
  • Construction-related scams and contractor fraud + tips for choosing a contractor
  • Things to look for before donating to a charity, especially following a disaster or tragedy
  • How to prevent shoulder surfing
  • Identity protection tips
  • Questions to ask if you think you’re being targeted
  • What to do if you suspect or are a victim of a scam

Our Favorite Scam and Fraud Avoidance Tips from the Seminar

  1. Don’t put your real birthday on forms in order to get free food or desserts at restaurants – use a false one
  2. When picking up prescriptions, don’t say your birthday out loud – hand the pharmacist your ID for DOB verification
  3. When expecting packages via mail (especially during the holiday season) arrange to have them delivered to your workplace or left with a neighbor – don’t let them sit out all day and risk their being stolen by “porch pirates”

Additional Senior Scam and Fraud Resources


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If you have an educational or advocacy topic you’d like to present to our seniors, please email info@servingseniors.org.

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