QUESTION:  I need to place a family member in a care facility.  Do you have any suggestions on how I should start my search?

  ANSWER:  Finding the appropriate facility takes time and effort.  But spending this time early in the process makes the transition to a care facility much easier for the entire family.

  First, determine how many facilities are in your area.  This can be achieved in a number of ways. A list of facilities in Ventura County is available from the Long Term Care Ombudsman (805) 656-1986.  You can also learn of appropriate facilities through hospital discharge planners, social workers, physicians who serve the elderly and volunteer organizations that work with the elderly of chronically ill.  The Senior Advocate’s office is also a good resource center.

  Next, narrow that list by eliminating those facilities which do not meet your specific requirements.  If you will be depending on MediCal for financial assistance, make certain the facility accepts that type of payment.  If you expect an HMO to cover the costs, check to see if the facility has a contract with your particular HMO.

  Does your family have specific religious or cultural preferences?  If yes, check with the facility to determine if they provide the type of environment required.  Are there special medical conditions or dementia?  If so make sure the facility is capable of meeting these special circumstances.

  Location is an important factor.  If you have a choice, select a facility that can be easily visited.  Frequent visits are the best way to make sure your loved one does well.  Transition to this new environment is made easier for all concerned when visits can be made easily and frequently.

  After you have narrowed your list you are ready to start visiting the facilities.  Always call and schedule a visit to ensure that a staff person who can answer questions will be available.  Good luck in your search.



  QUESTION:  I am caring for a family member with dementia and am looking for a support group.  Do you know of a support group in the City of Ventura?

  ANSWER:  Yes, I do.  Cypress Place Senior Living in collaboration with New Hope Senior Service offers an Alzheimer’s Dementia Caregiver Support Group.

  The group is facilitated by Norma Featherston, R.N., M.S.,, Gerontology.  Ms. Featherston is a geriatric care consultant with New Hope Senior Service.

  The support group meetings are held from 9:30 to 11:00 am on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at Cypress Place Senior Living located at 1200 Cypress Point Lane in Ventura.  The group is free and open to the public.

  Seating is limited and reservations are suggested and can be made by calling (805) 650-8000.





  WEDNESDAY – February 7 – 1:00 pm – Presentation – Dr. Gregory Fontana, Cardiac Surgeon from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center will present tips on how to keep a healthy heart – at Thousand Oaks Council on Aging Meeting at Civic Arts Plaza Board Room, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks.


  THURSDAY – February 8 – 10:00  to 11:30 am – Seminar – “Is It Time for Specialized Residential Care?” – at Agoura Hills Recreation & Event Center, 29900 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills.  For reservations call (818) 597-7361.


  FRIDAY – February 9 – AARP Driver Safety Class – 8:30 am to 1:00 pm – “Refresher Smart Drivers Course” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.  Cost is $15 for AARP Members; $20 for non-members.  Reservations can be made at (805) 381-2744.


  SATURDAY – February 10 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – “Memory Café” – a social gathering for those with memory loss and their family caregivers – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.  Reservations are required and can be made at (805) 497-0189.


  SATURDAY – February 10 – 5:00 pm – “Mardi Gras Masquerade dinner dance” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  Tickets are $9.00 and available at Goebel’s front desk.


  WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY – February 21 & 22 – 1:00 to 5:00 pm – Class – “AARP Smart Driver Course – at Pleasant Valley Senior Center, 1605 Burnley Streeet, Camarillo.  Registration is required and must be made by February 14 to reserve a seat.  Cost is $15 for AARP members; $20 non-members. For more information call (805) 482-4881


  Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns.  The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (Please include your telephone number.)  You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.


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