March 20th – an early start at WVRC

CLAWSON BLEAK started us off with the Pledge, noting that this was a time for it to be particularly meaningful. Next up was the duo of JACK HARRIS and LENNY FRIEDMAN, who combined to lead us in The Battle Hymn of the Republic. PP RON LYSTER gave the Invocation, noting that he at one time could recite it from memory, but would now read it – the 23rd Psalm, and always appropriate.

HENRY TSENG had a Special Guest, Philip Starr, an attorney. YOE also had a Special Guest, although this guest refuses to allow the Club to pick up his tab – he is Dr Harold Goodman, a former neighbor, and I told him we never turn down money…The District Breakfast is next Tuesday, the 25th, and KEN LEVER is the contact. KEN, sometimes now known as “Lightnin Ken” also reported briefly on the forthcoming District Conference at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula. Those presently signed up were asked to raise their hands – and speaking editorially, as I’ve been known to do upon occasion, it didn’t look to me like we had very many troops going. While it may not be as chock-a-block full of events as the San Diego gathering, ramrodded by our own PP RON LYSTER, it will be fun – and we should support Prexy TED at this one, also.

RAY ZICKFELD came forward to announce that his granddaughter, Allison Zickfeld, has signed up for the Japanese Youth Exchange this summer.  Allison is now in the 10th grade at Windward School, where she plays volleyball and is quite active. , She follows her older sister, Lauren, who participated in the Exchange in 2001. Allison will be the 3rd Zickfeld family member to visit Japan, since her dad, Roger, was a member about 30 years ago. In that regard, my own daughter, Andrea also participated over FORTY years ago, and Jennifer Bennett, my stepdaughter, enjoyed the experience almost ten years ago. I mention this to indicate that the program has always been well received by our Westwood kids, and I encourage our members to consider it for their own children or grandchildren. PP YOSH SETOGUCHI has been associated for many years – call him with questions.  It’s a real winner.

LEO TSENG introduced another good program, this one on the Southern California Presbyterian Homes. Our first speaker was Gerald W.Dingivan, President and CEO. Jerry is a UCLA graduate – and occasionally lamented that many of his co-workers with from the other school across town. He gave us an overview of their many programs, in which they currently serve over 3,000 senior citizens.

Their overall program comes under what could be called the Continuous Care Retirement Community. which includes a major affordable housing capacity under HUD. This past year they have brought in donations and gifts totaling eighty million dollars – a major increase which has occurred over the 27 years that Jerry has been with SCPH. Their various operations employ about 1500 professionals, including therapists, nurses and other highly trained practitioners. Specifically, their operations include Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Home and Community Based Services, Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Residence/Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, and some fourteen Affordable Housing Communities. They are headquartered in Glendale, and can be reached at (818) 247-0420.

Their Spokesperson is Stephanie Edwards, who has covered the Rose Parade for many years on Channel 5. Stephanie, who has spent most of her 34-year career interviewing people, was asked to be their Spokesperson over a year ago, and this coincided with their search for housing for her husband’s mother. An important lesson, which she has learned, and emphasized to us, was that it is important to plan for this need BEFORE it becomes urgent.  The face of Retirement Communities are changing – rapidly – and the more you can learn in advance of actual need, the better final choice you are likely to make.

She related her family’s moves, from Santa Monica, briefly to Bel Air, and then to the Valley. She noted that our ‘digs’ at the Bel Air Hotel are cushy – but allowed as how you can be comfortable for less, providing you are realistic in what you can afford. When they moved to the Valley, someone asked her if they were north or south of Ventura Blvd, and she simply didn’t recall. Once the questioner learned they were north, their comment was, I’m sorry… She concluded her remarks by reminding us that we should use what we have learned to do best – good advice, certainly.

Their third speaker was Wanda James, Director of Marketing. She pointed out that she certainly hoped to be as energetic and presentable as Stephanie, who admits to being 59 years old. Wanda served in the Navy, and is pleased that there are now many more women in the service, serving as pilots, radio operators – billets that were not available to women just a few years ago. There is a place for everyone who wants to retire – and again, she, too, emphasized how helpful advance planning could be. By 2025, 60% of our population will be age 55 or older, so this is a situation that cannot be ignored. Remember, retirement is when you enjoy your life.

In the brief Q&A, we learned that the first property that SCPH acquired was a beachfront hotel in La Jolla, which is still one of their Retirement Communities. Prexy TED leaped to his feet, noting that was what HE wanted to retire to, and then passed our Myron Taylor’s Four Way Test book to each of our speakers, asking them to put in a good word for him when he applies. TED, some of us may get their before you do – but seriously, this trio of speakers did give us a good overview of what is available in their important field. You can call them for advice – and they will tell you what is available in the area of your choice, including programs that are not their own. The number, again, is (818)247-0420.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe