Carrying on with life Group finds common cause, community after loss

Photos courtesy of Ed Irvin
Ed Irvin and Susan Schumann, below, found a decade of outings and festive events with each other and a larger community, above, in the Mid-Peninsula Widows and Widowers Association.

A steady stream of silver-haired people make their way into Los Altos Lutheran Church on Tuesday nights, in trios, pairs and solo. Their easy social mien reveals an outcome rather than a starting point – the gathering of 60 or more local residents each week assembles people adjusting through grief and toward a new phase of life.

Ed and SusanThe Mid-Peninsula Widows and Widowers Association gathers for its formal meetings at the church each week at 7:30 p.m., but its activities stretch across the calendar. The 200 or so members, who range in age from mid-50s to over 100, find the group when they are looking for comfort, and role models for starting over when life and partnership take a change of direction. The only qualification to join is shared experience – anyone who has lost a spouse through death is welcome. The group, founded initially as a self-help support circle at El Camino Hospital in 1976, morphed into something greater as participants found that caring and encouragement grew to include new opportunities for personal growth, friendships and vision for future activity.

El Camino Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 60th anniversary as volunteer organization

Mary Larsen/Town Crier
Longtime Auxiliary volunteer Judy Van Dyck, above left, and Carol Carey, Auxiliary board president, display signs touting the group’s 60th anniversary and 5.9 million volunteer hours logged.

The El Camino Hospital Auxiliary vision reads: “Render volunteer service to the Hospital, its patients, and the community; to grant scholarships in support of health professions; and to provide financial support for approved projects.”

Resources for treating and maintaining mental health abound

Depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses often carry a deeply rooted stigma, forcing people with mental health challenges to suffer in silence.

A 2014 study by the National Institute of Health found significant differences in the stigma of seeking help for mental conditions experienced by those in isolated rural areas compared with urban dwellers. Older rural residents with a mental illness associate seeking help with a sign of weakness or an inability to be self-reliant.

At risk for hepatitis? Medicare can help

Viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, causes more than 1 million deaths per year worldwide. That’s approximately the same number of deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined.

Fortunately, Medicare can help protect you from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States.

A tip of the hat: Poem honors neighbor's birthday

Phil was having a birthday. He was our neighbor, back in the day, and we knew well his idiosyncrasy in sporting a wide variety of hats. Just before he cut the cake, I struck. Even his wife, Sue, said later that she didn’t mind, really.

Mad Hatter

Phil is the town’s Mad Hatter.

Senior Center Briefs: September 2018

The Los Altos Senior Program is located at Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

The Grant Park Senior Program is located at 1575 Holt Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

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