By Betty Berry, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Q: A few weeks ago, you wrote about the Thousand Oaks Council on Aging’s Senior of the Year program and indicated the award ceremony would be held June 2. Do you have the details as to where, etc.?

A: Yes, I now have all the details on the upcoming celebration. Thanks for asking.

People have no idea of the many ways that our seniors give back to our city. Almost every aspect of our lives is affected by volunteer services, and many of those volunteer hours are provided by seniors.

You will find our seniors at local museums and theaters. If you have taken a tour at the Stagecoach Inn or theRonald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, it was probably led by a senior. When you were ushered to your seat at one of the Civic Arts Plaza theaters, it was probably by a senior.

These dedicated volunteers can also be found in the schools as mentors to children, volunteering in policing to free up peace officers for more demanding assignments and in every nonprofit organization.

During the past months, the Council on Aging has been soliciting nominations for this honor. This year’s nominees are Joanne Chang, Leonard Chapman, Lois Friss, Sally Garcia, Ron Gellenbeck, George Jones, Susan Keene and Toni Ranslem.

The naming of the Senior of the Year will take place at 5:30 p.m. June 2 at the Goebel Senior Adult Center. The evening will start with a barbecue chicken dinner catered by Stone Fire Grill and end with entertainment by the Aristicats — so bring your dancing shoes. The awards ceremony will be taped by Time Warner.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Goebel Senior Adult Center for $6. For more information, call 449-2743 or email

Q: I’ve been hearing a lot lately about medication errors and am concerned about my dad and his prescriptions. What might I do to help avoid a problem?

A: I did some checking with those who work with prescriptions and was told that about half of patient safety issues are related to medication. To ensure safety, patients or caregivers must take an active role in educating themselves about the illnesses and associated medications. There are basic questions to answer about each medication prescribed:

What is the name of medication prescribed and is it a brand name or generic drug? What is the purpose of the medication? How and when should the medication be taken and for what period of time? What side effects can be expected, and if they occur, what action should be taken? Is it safe to take this particular medication with other medications (prescribed and over-the-counter) or dietary supplements currently being taken, and what, if any, food, drink or activities should be avoided while taking the medication?

In addition, keep a list that includes the name, strength and frequency of each medication taken, and update the list every time medicines change.

Ask the pharmacist to print the name and purpose of the drug on the container label.

Discard old prescriptions so they won’t be confused with those currently being taken.

I hope this helps some.


Today 1:30-3 p.m.: Seminar “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, facilitated by Senior Concerns advocate. For details, call 583-6363.

June 5: Senior Concerns Love Run — 5K, 10K and 1K run/walk; 7 a.m.; 2815 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village. For details, call Susan at 497-0189 or email


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