Betty Rhodes, Senior Corner: Spring cleaning for the mind

Hi and welcome to our Corner.

We’ve been chatting about the wonderful practice of meditation. Doctors are even recommending it to help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s, due to the fact that it helps us to find a peaceful “center.”

I believe that this could really be true.

Therefore, I am so pleased to share the news that Dr. James Keolker will be returning for his popular meditation classes for seniors at Rianda House Senior Education Center.

Today, we will, also, be chatting about the brand new Radio Program, titled “Senior Moments” beginning March 6.

In past gatherings, you and I have discussed how difficult it can seem, in this busy world we live in, to “tune out,” relax and begin to meditate, but Dr. Keolker tells me that meditation only requires your breath. “If you can breathe, you can meditate. It’s just knowing how, and that’s what our senior classes are about, the whys and how’s to meditate.”

Dr. Keolker’s special series will begin with Spring Cleaning our Minds with Meditation on Friday at 9:30 a.m., March 8, and conclude with Spring Cleaning our Lives with Meditation on Friday, March 15, also at 9:30 am. These classes will begin Dr. Keolker’s fifth year of teaching meditation at Rianda house.

I asked James about the theme of the series, and he told me that spring cleaning is a very old tradition almost world-wide. “It’s a chance to clean out the winter doldrums and let the spring sunshine in. For our meditation class, it will be how to dust away our mental cobwebs and let our minds shine anew.

“We all get cluttered thinking after awhile, falling into old habits of negativity. However, meditation can be a way to sweep away old thoughts and polish new ways to feel good about yourself and your life.

“This is especially important for seniors who can often become impatient, angry, or disappointed, old emotions that meditation can help clear away.”

And science has proven time and again that negative emotions can often cause physical problems, endangering our health as seniors. Meditation on the other hand is a mental training that can be of great renewal and help.

There is no charge for Dr. Keolker’s classes; they are a gift from him and Rianda House to the community. They are open to those newly interested in meditation and those more experienced. Because of their popularity they do fill up fast, so early reservations are suggested by calling 707 963-8555.

The Rianda House Senior Education center is at 1475 Main Street, St. Helena

We will visit with Dr. Koehler again next week and learn more about the March 15 class as well as a little more interesting information on Dr. James Keolker. We seniors value the folks who go out of their way to help make our lives better, and we so appreciate Dr. Keolker.

Once more, I’d like to remind you of the inaugural broadcast of the weekly KVON radio program segment, “Senior Moments,” airing on Wednesday, March 6, at 7:30 a.m. Senior Moments will be a 30-minute live integration within KVON’s Wine Country Live morning show hosted by the talented Barry Martin. Each week the 7:30 a.m. show will be rebroadcast at noon.

As noted last week, this wonderful program will consist of interviews and discussions of selected topics relevant to California older adults. There will be programs covering advocacy, education, opportunities, networking, wellness, and disaster preparedness.

This is all thanks to the folks in a practicum groups of Leadership Napa Valley’s Class 32, who were initially concerned about our isolated senior’s safety during a disaster, as well as helping to make them feel more in touch with what’s going on in their communities. We will all, certainly, benefit from their carrying through with this remarkable new radio show. Pretty remarkable group, I would say.

It’s always our pleasure to honor the folks who go out of their way to be of service to our county seniors so let’s learn a bit about the six members of this Practicum group.

Bonnie MacMaster Andersen was most helpful in presenting the subject that her group had selected as their practicum project.

She and her husband, Mark moved to Napa in 1976 and have two adult sons, Arran and Sterling and two grandsons.

Bonnie has a bachelor of science degree in nursing as well as a degree as a master of nursing, with a major in maternal-child nursing. She has spent most of her career in teaching theory and practice in maternal-infant nursing at Pacific Lutheran University and Napa Valley College. She is now retired and thrilled to be a member of Leadership Napa Valley, and has learned so much about the Napa community. Thank you, Bonnie, for being so helpful in presenting your amazing program.

Tammy Manning is chief operation officer for Napa Valley Community Housing, and is responsible for a portfolio of low income and affordable homes including 12 garden style apartment communities, two transitional group homes, 15 single family homes, 14 modular homes, 1 neighborhood community center and a 4,000 square foot commercial building. She works with a team of 24 committed ladies and gentlemen in the field that manage and maintain their assets while providing superior customer service to the Napa Valley residents that they serve.

Tammy enjoys and takes pride in the hard work that she does every day, but also strives to balance work with an active and fun-loving personal life. Presently, she is learning about her community through Leadership Napa Valley. When her practicum group learned that our community has many valuable programs available to all of our community members but sometimes it can be challenging to know how to find the information that you may be looking for.

She said, “Although social media and technology makes it easier to get the word out not all Senior use that level of technology, however, most seniors can identify with and use a radio.”

Thank you, Tammy. And, thus was born the radio show, Senior Moments.

We are going to continue with the introductions of our four remaining members of the practicum group in next week’s column.

Joann Busenbark and I enjoyed meeting them with their energy, enthusiasm and commitment, and I wanted you to have a similar experience in learning a bit about them, as well.

Each of these members has worked very hard to make this radio program for isolated seniors a reality. All seniors in Napa County will be benefiting from the work that they have just completed, and we are grateful.

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Until next time, I always love hearing from you at: bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net