Senior Moments Wants to Know…


How is Your Hearing?

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aid Technology, & Effective Communication Strategies with Hard of Hearing People

Presented by Senior Moments

November’s Guest Speaker:
Dr. Mimi Salamat, Ph.D.
Clinical Audiologist & Tinnitus Specialist

Dr. Mimi will be explaining basic anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, different types of hearing loss, signs of hearing loss, side effects of hearing loss, brain deprivation & hearing loss, ototoxic medications (medications that effect hearing and balance systems) hearing aid models & latest technology and communication strategies for people who are hard of hearing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

San Leandro Marina Inn
68 Monarch Bay Dr.
San Leandro, CA 94577

Complimentary Breakfast.

There will be time for questions and answers.

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Senior Moments Salute To Partner Luncheon


After 8 years in existence without outside funding Senior Moments,an all volunteer program, is delighted to host its first fundraiser and luncheon! While we are proud we did not required funding to operate for this length of time, our current growth warrants the need for resources to help sustain the elders we serve.

This year Senior Moments will honor:
The San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, Robbin Beebe owner of Divine Home Care, Tony Santos former Mayor of San Leandro, and Chanette Perry of Horizon Home Health Care.

We will also recognize Mr. Andrew Frank Hatch for inspiring the formation of Senior Moments and for living on this planet for 115 years!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2013 1:00 – 3:00 PM


Must RSVP to attend
Questions regarding sponsorship?
Please Call: 510-692-9239.

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This Week in Poverty: The Older Americans Act and US Seniors

Elderly man wheelchairSource: The Nation, Greg Kaufmann June 21, 2013

Honoring our grandparents, our elders—in these divisive times, at least we hold this value in common, right?

As children, we dutifully sat through long visits or lectures from older relatives, teachers, neighbors or family friends; and then wised up to learn that some of these relationships would prove to be our most enduring.

It’s enough to make you think that maybe—just maybe—this shared experience would lead to a steadfast commitment from policymakers to ensure that those who cared for us, fought for us, and raised us, are able to meet their basic needs.

But if you attended Senator Bernie Sanders’s hearing on reducing senior poverty and hunger through the Older Americans Act (OAA) on Wednesday, you were in for a rude awakening.

Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 at the same time as Medicare and Medicaid, the OAA provides federal funding for essential senior services like job training, caregiver support, transportation, preventative healthcare, meals and protection from abuse and financial exploitation. Funding for the legislation has failed to keep pace with inflation and population growth for decades. Under sequestration, an additional $40 million will be cut from senior meal programs alone, which means that as many as 19 million fewer meals will be available to seniors who need them.

Sanders, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, noted in his opening remarks that OAA “programs not only work to ease isolation, hunger and suffering, they also save taxpayers substantial sums of money.”

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out,” said Sanders, with characteristic bluntness. “If you’re malnourished, you’re going to get sick more often. You may end up in the emergency room at great expense to Medicaid…If you’re weak and you fall and break your hip, you end up in the hospital, at an expense of tens and tens of thousands of dollars…We can feed a senior for an entire year for the cost of one day in a hospital.”

It emerged as the central theme of the hearing—that shortchanging OAA programs isn’t simply a failure on moral grounds, it’s bad economic policy.

Ellie Hollander is president and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, a nonprofit organization representing local senior nutrition programs in all fifty states. She noted a recent study by the Center for Effective Government, which found that for every $1 in federal spending on Meals on Wheels, there is as much as a $50 return in Medicaid savings alone.

“There is an unrecognized but substantial return on investment,” said Hollander. “[OAA] programs enable seniors to continue living at home, averting far more costly healthcare alternatives such as hospitals and nursing homes. This reduces Medicare and Medicaid expenses, potentially saving billions of dollars.”

But these meals—delivered directly to an individual’s home or to groups at places such as senior centers—currently reach only 2.5 million of the 8.3 million elderly who struggle with hunger.

“The resources fall substantially short,” said Hollander, noting that demand is increasing and that the senior population will double to more than 70 million people by 2030. She said that real funding levels (adjusted for inflation) for OAA nutrition programs have decreased 18 percent since 1992, while the population of those age 60 and older has increased 34 percent over that same period.

Howard Bedlin, vice president of public policy at the National Council of Aging—a nonprofit service and advocacy organization focusing on economically disadvantaged seniors—testified that there are now more than 23 million economically insecure Americans over 60. They struggle with rising energy and healthcare bills, diminished savings and job loss. The recession caused median wealth for people between ages 55 and 74 to decline by approximately 15 percent, and for those over 65—many of whom now need to continue working or go back to work just to stay afloat—unemployment is at its highest rate since the Great Depression.

The OAA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program is “the nation’s only workforce program designed exclusively [for] vulnerable seniors,” said Bedlin. Nearly 90 percent of participants live in poverty (on less than $11,000 annually), and one-third of them are homeless or at risk of homelessness. While these seniors receive job training that in some cases prevents homelessness, they also perform millions of hours of community service for local organizations struggling with their own budget cuts—“with a value to states and communities estimated at over $1 billion.” Due to a lack of resources, the number of seniors served by the program has declined by 34 percent since FY 2010, and the program now has waiting lists in many cities.

Bedlin also addressed the fact that nursing home costs are now $84,000 annually so “it doesn’t take long to essentially go bankrupt” due to long-term care. But the OAA’s Home and Community-Based Supportive Services help people avoid this situation and remain in their homes, by providing for needs such as transportation, case management, adult daycare and chore assistance.

Bedlin also singled out OAA’s cost-saving role in funding evidence-based “fall prevention programs.” One in three seniors falls every year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people ages 65 and older. The resulting injuries are projected to cost the nation $60 billion in 2020.  Research has shown that several local, OAA-supported programs have reduced falls by 30 to 55 percent—which saves money and lives.

Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed to the Pension Counseling and Information Program—which helps seniors recover lost pensions—as one that could be reaching many more seniors with a modest investment. As companies merge, move or change names, people are sometimes unable to obtain the benefits that they worked for, and can’t afford legal assistance to help them recover what they’ve earned. This OAA program funds six regional counseling projects that help individuals in 29 states.

Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, testified that the counseling program has recovered more than $175 million in pension benefits for 50,000 clients since 1993—a return of $8 dollars for every federal dollar spent on the program. The current federal cost is $1.6 million, and those monies are used to leverage private and foundation resources, as they are with all OAA programs.

Altman said that some of the states not covered by the six regional projects have a high senior population, such as Florida. If all fifty states were served, Altman believes pension benefits recovered for seniors would likely double.

For Warren, the need to support OAA programs is clear.

“What is our measurement of who we are as a people other than how we treat those who are more vulnerable?” she said. “This is a place where good economics merges with the decisions that are right for us as a country.”

Sanders and seventeen cosponsors have introduced a bill to reauthorize the OAA with a funding increase of 12 percent over FY2010 levels, the amount required to begin to catch up with population growth and inflation over the past decade. (The funding that year was approximately $2.3 billion, accounting for just 0.06 percent of the federal budget; with the proposed increase it would be about 0.07 percent.) He said that “level funding just continues the downward spiral.”

“I happen to believe that if 100 million people were watching this panel today, there would be overwhelming support for this program and significantly increasing funding,” said Sanders. “So I urge and ask people all over this country to stand up for seniors right now, stand up for cost-effective government.”

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For Alzheimer’s Caregivers, a Much-Needed Break

Adult Day CenterStudy confirms adult day care provides beneficial time off

By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) — Day care centers for people with Alzheimer’s disease can give their spouses and other family caregivers a much needed source of stress relief, a new study suggests.

Such centers offer people with dementia a chance to socialize and take part in activities that stimulate their minds. The programs can also give spouses, children and other caregivers a break.

Intuitively, that should ease some of caregivers’ daily stress. But there hasn’t been much research to prove it.

In the new study, published recently in the journal Gerontologist, researchers measured stress levels of 173 family caregivers in four U.S. states who used care centers for their relative with dementia.

Through phone interviews over one week, they found caregivers were less stressed and had fewer bouts of anger on day care days than other days. And when stressors did crop up — such as problems at work — they took less of an emotional toll.

“I think this reinforces the fact that caregivers can’t do this all on their own,” said Carol Steinberg, president of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “People need relief.”

Study author Steven Zarit agreed. “There’s a famous book [on caregiving] called ‘The 36-Hour Day,’ and I think that perfectly describes it,” he said. “Caregivers need help. When they get a break, it’s a way to restore.”

Allan Vann, whose wife, Clare, has Alzheimer’s, said he initially thought he could care for her on his own. A retired principal from Commack, N.Y., Vann said he was used to daily stress, and figured he had the “broad shoulders” that could bear the work of caring for his wife.

Clare Vann was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 at age 63 — which is considered early-onset Alzheimer’s. It took three years to get that diagnosis, however. Her husband had begun noticing symptoms three years earlier, when she was talking about their two grandchildren — even though they had four — and about a trip to France, even though they’d never been there.

These days, Clare needs help with everyday basics, such as hygiene and dressing. And she also attends adult care services most days of the week.

“I don’t think I could live without that respite,” Allan said.

It gives him time to take care of daily errands and chores — and for some personal pleasures, such as  reading and writing, he said. Journal writing, in particular, has offered a way to “vent.”

Many caregivers don’t know about adult day care because doctors don’t tell them, said Zarit, who is head of human development and family studies at Penn State University. “We need to do a better job of getting the message out so that people can benefit,” he said.

Also, adult care centers are not available in all areas — especially rural areas, Steinberg noted — and families typically have to foot the bill. In the United States, adult care centers charge about $70 a day, on average.

There are other types of “respite services,” such as home health aides, but finances are still an obstacle. Home-based help is even more expensive, Zarit said. Caregivers may also be able to find local groups that send a volunteer to their home to give them a needed break — though that typically amounts to a few hours of help a week, or every other week.

Vann has also found help through a caregiver support group designed specifically for spouses, offered by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation. “My advice is, get yourself into a good support group,” he said. It’s helpful not only because the other group members know what you’re going through, Vann noted, but because they can also share practical advice.

As for finances, Vann has been relatively lucky in that he and his wife had taken out long-term care insurance, which helps cover the costs of services such as home care, respite care and nursing homes. Medicare, the government-funded health insurance program for older Americans, does not usually cover long-term care.

And that’s a huge problem for families, said Steinberg. “We’re really pressing for financial relief for them,” she said.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and experts predict that with the aging Baby Boomer generation, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s could triple by 2050, to nearly 14 million.

That would substantially add to an already hefty economic toll of the disease. A recent study found that in 2010, the average cost of caring for a dementia patient was as high as $56,000. Most of that money went to long-term care, and families bore a large share of the burden.


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Assistive Technologies That Help Elderly Seniors Stay at Home

Source- Jim T. Miller, NBC Today contributor May 14, 2013group of seniors

Helping an aging parent remain independent and living in their own home has become a little easier in recent years, thanks to a host of new and improved assistive technology products. Here are some top-rated options you should know about. Medical Alerts If you’re worrying about your mom falling and needing help, one of the most frequently used products over the years for seniors living alone is a medical alert device — also known as a personal emergency response system, or PERS. These devices provide a wearable “SOS” button — typically in the form of a necklace pendent or bracelet — and a base station that connects to the home phone line. At the press of a button, your mom could call and talk to a trained operator through the system’s base station receiver, which works like a powerful speaker phone. The operator will find out what’s wrong, and will notify family members, a neighbor, friend or emergency services as needed. If you’re interested in this, there are dozens of services to choose from including the Philips Lifeline which is the most widely used medical alert service in the U.S. and costs around $35 per month. Phillips also offers a new Auto Alert option (for $48 per month) that has fall detection sensors in the SOS button that can automatically summon help without your mom ever having to press a button. This is helpful because many seniors after a fall become confused or disoriented and forget to press the button. If you’re interested in a more budget-friendly option, consider an unmonitored medical alert, like the new VTech CareLine Home Safety Telephone System for $120, which doesn’t require professional monitoring services, therefore has no monthly monitoring fees. Or, to deal with falls Ambien or health emergencies that happen outside the home, there are mobile-alert GPS products now available that work anywhere. To find these, see, and Monitoring Systems Another more sophisticated technology for keeping tabs on your mom is with a home monitoring system. These systems will let you know whether she is waking up and going to bed on time, eating properly, showering and taking her medicine. They work through small wireless sensors (not cameras) placed in key locations throughout the home. The sensors will track her movements, learning her daily activity patterns and routines, and will notify you or other family members via text message, email or phone if something out of the ordinary is happening. For instance, if she went to the bathroom and didn’t leave, it could indicate a fall or other emergency. You can also check up on her patterns anytime you want through the system’s password-protected website. And for additional protection, most services offer SOS call buttons as well that can be placed around the house, or worn. Some good companies that offer these services are BeClose, which runs $399 or $499 for the sensors, plus a $69 monthly service fee if paid a year in advance. And GrandCare Systems, which adds a fantastic social component — through a senior-friendly computer — to go along with the activity monitoring. GrandCare leases for $150 to $300 per month. Medication Management If you want to make sure your mom is keeping up with her medications, there are medication management devices you can now rent, that will dispense her medicine on schedule, provide constant reminders and even notify you if her medicine is not taken. Two products that offer this are MedMinder which rents for $40 per month, and the Philips Medication Dispensing Service that costs $75/month.

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Are Family Members Ripping Off Aging Parents?

Senior Family Fraud One Elderly Woman







Source: Carolyn Rosenblatt, Contributor April 22, 2013

Carrie got concerned when her brothers suddenly began to exclude her from their Mom’s financial affairs. It didn’t feel right, but she wasn’t sure she could do anything about it. When she called, I got that “slow burn” feeling that comes over me when I hear about financial elder abuse. As a consultant for folks with aging parents, it’s not the first time I’ve heard this kind of story. Carrie and her brothers were supposed to all share authority on the Durable Power of Attorney for Mom. Mom and her lawyer had set it up that way, at Mom’s request. It’s nice in theory, this idea of being democratic. It’s just not practical. Unwittingly, the lawyer had put the 3 siblings into a trap. One could say “no” to any decision and none of them could move forward. They didn’t all trust each other and clearly, there was a deliberate attempt to exclude Carrie from the money decisions. Mom has dementia, Carrie reports. This makes her vulnerable, even if she is functioning fairly well in caring for herself at this time. Carrie’s brothers are starting down the path of making themselves suspects of the crime of elder abuse. Besides shutting Carrie out of the decisions, they’ve taken her car, and are using her credit cards for personal things. This is a brewing crisis. Identity theft pic

Here are 7 warning signs everyone needs to know about if this is happening in your family. These are, by themselves, not necessarily dangerous, but any combination of them should raise suspicion and trigger action from those who worry about abuse.

1. A family member becomes secretive about the parent’s finances In this case, a long standing pattern of making Mom’s books available to all 3 siblings was altered. Carrie knew what Mom’s regular expenses were and what she spent every month. Mom is 87. When Carrie got excluded from online access to Mom’s accounts, it raised a red flag.

2. A family member lives with the parent and depends on the parent for financial support. Carrie’s brother Jack lives with Mom. He has a job, but Mom pays all his bills. This has gone on for some time. Now, he’s using Mom’s credit card and he apparently doesn’t want Carrie to see what he’s spending. Sometimes this situation is a recipe for abuse because it’s just too easy to rip off the aging parent, who is vulnerable to manipulation.

3. A family member begins to isolate the aging parent from others. When there is anyone blocking visits, restricting access of other family members to the elder, it’s another red flag. The potential abuser doesn’t want anyone looking too closely at what is going on and the method to avoid scrutiny is to keep the elder away from the other family members.

4. An adult child insists on being present when anyone else is with the aging parent. This can be a sign that an adult child is threatening the aging parent if he/she talks about the financial manipulation that the elder knows is going on. If the elder has concerns, the abuser doesn’t want the aging parent to reveal this to anyone and may have frightened the elder into silence.

5. A family member has a substance abuse problem and has influence over an aging parent with memory problems. Drug and alcohol dependency can make a liar out of just about anyone who has this issue. Memory impaired aging parents are “easy pickings” for money to support the dependency habit. The adult child or other relative uses the relationship with the elder to manipulate “loans” out of the elder and the elder forgets what happened or can’t make sense of it but says yes.

6. Sudden change in estate planning documents, particularly Durable Power of Attorney, Trustee or signatory on a bank or brokerage account. Cognitive impairment begins subtly at first, but the elder is vulnerable to manipulation even in the earliest stages of dementia. When names on legal documents suddenly get added or removed, it is a suspicious sign, particularly if there is no obvious need to make such changes.

7. Kidnapping and moving the elder to an adult child’s home without notice to anyone or discussion with anyone else. This is a tricky problem. If adult protective services asks the elder if he/she wants to be with the adult child and the elder says “yes” there is nothing APS is going to do at that point. More evidence of elder abuse will be needed to get law enforcement involved. If you are suspicious, start poking into the situation as soon as you see the first red flag. After the elder is removed to another location, you can lose control of efforts to help. If you suspect abuse, and want to protect your aging parent, contact Adult Protective Services in your area. Collect the specific information that made you suspicious ahead of time. Yes, you must name names, give dates of suspicious activity and provide facts the authorities can check out. It is possible in some states to freeze the elder’s bank accounts pending an investigation. Our financial elder abuse problem in this country costs elders $2.9 billion dollars per year.If family members get past the discomfort and report abuse, it may do something to reduce this crime.

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Study Finds Social Isolation Increases Risk of Early Death

Source- Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2013 by Geoffrey Mohan

People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, regardless of their underlying health issues, according to a study of the elderly British population.

The findings, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that when mental and physical health conditions were factored out, the lack of social contact continued to lead to early death among 6,500 men and women tracked over a seven-year period.

“They’re dying of the usual causes, but isolation has a strong influence,” said study author Andrew Steptoe, an epidemiologist at University College London.

The study also appeared to diminish the role that subjective feelings of “loneliness,” as opposed to the lack of social contact, may have on a person’s life span. Both lead to higher mortality risks, the study noted, but the effect of feeling lonely diminishes once demographic and health factors are taken into account.

Regardless of the distinction, the study reinforces the need to increase social support for the elderly, even as it adds to debate over the intertwined effects of social contact and feelings of loneliness in old age. A similar look at retired Americans in 2012 reinforced multiple studies that link loneliness to numerous illnesses, including heart trouble and high blood pressure.

Both studies come as British and U.S. populations have become more solitary. People living alone compose more than a quarter of U.S households, and the proportion of Americans who said they had no one to talk to about important matters grew from 10% in 1985 to 25% in 2004, according to authors of the British study. A 2010 European survey revealed that more than a quarter of Europeans aged 50 and over reported that they met friends, colleagues or family less than once a month.

Separating the effects of loneliness from those of isolation, however, has not been easy for those who study rates of illness and death. While isolation can be measured directly — by how many friends you have or how often you have contact with family — loneliness is more subjective, measured through survey questions about whether social needs and expectations are being met.

Anyone familiar with Henry David Thoreau knows that isolation does not necessarily lead to loneliness, while the story of Marilyn Monroe shows that a strong social life can still leave you lonely.

A 1992 study of 2,000 heart patients suggested that having a confidant was more important than social links alone. It showed that relative mortality nearly tripled among those who had neither a partner nor a confidant, compared with those who had confidants (whether they were married or unmarried), according to the author of that study, Redford Williams, director of the behavioral medical research center at Duke University.

“There is something about not having social support — that is not acting through loneliness, nor through other health problems — that is contributing to mortality,” Williams said.

Confusing the picture are studies that show loneliness leading to poor health, including higher blood pressure, heightened reaction to stress and altered immune responses, all of which can lead to higher mortality risk.

“Unfortunately in our study, we can’t tell which comes first,” Steptoe said. “We did know that lonely people did have more illnesses.”

Last year’s report on loneliness, based on the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, showed that loneliness appeared to increase mortality risk over a six-year period, an association that could not be attributed to social relationships or health behaviors, such as smoking and drinking.

Isolation may encourage poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, inactivity and unhealthy diets, which factor into mortality rates, said John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, an author of the 2012 study. He suggested that the British tradition of a “stiff upper lip” may mean Britons who live alone “are less likely to admit to feeling lonely than are residents of the U.S.”

Nonetheless, Cacioppo said, “Whether or not loneliness predicts mortality in the UK, it most certainly does predict lower well-being, increased depressive symptomatology, and decreased cognitive functioning in older adults in the UK as well as in the U.S. This makes it important to address in the UK whether or not it predicts mortality.”

Richard Suzman, director of the National Institute on Aging’s division of behavioral and social research, said: “It may be that loneliness and ill health are much more entangled. The question is, does loneliness lead to ill health or is it that when you get ill you get more lonely — you don’t get out, or people don’t visit as much.”

The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, funded both the British study and last year’s report on U.S. retirees.

Loneliness and isolation “should get lots of attention because they may be as important, as joint factors, as smoking,” Suzman said.

Studies that involve interventions would help separate the different effects of loneliness and isolation, he added. “Isolation wins out this time, but I’d want an experiment to verify that.”

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The Changing Landscape of Aging Services

Driven by the Coordinated Care Initiative and health care reform, the familiar landscape of Long Term Services and Supports that we’ve known for years is about to change, requiring consumers, healthcare providers and community based organizations to adapt. How can stakeholders shape new policies and service delivery models? How will providers of health and supportive services interact in this new landscape? How can community based organizations engage to become the change? These questions, and others, might best be answered through an exploration of possibilities and recentdevelopments.
As part of the Senior Services Coalition’s January 31, 2013 Policy Forum, we invited speakers with various perspectives on the above questions to participate on a panel discussion on “The Changing Landscape of Aging Services.” Anna Rich, Senior Staff Attorney with National Senior Citizens Law Center, opened the discussion with an overview of the Coordinated Care Initiative that will be driving the transition of LTSS into managed care. The panelists that followed brought perspectives from managed care and from organizations and models of care that are working to adapt to the changing landscape.
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Alert Postal Carrier Saves Elderly Woman’s Life

Tracey Herron- Photo by Jim Knowles

Source- San Leandro Times, March 7, 2013 by Jim Knowles

SAN LEANDRO- Letter carrier  Tracey Herron knows the neighborhood where she delivers mail every day.

One day last month, Herron noticed that an elderly lady on Cleveland Street hadn’t picked up her mail for a few days. That was unusual, Herron thought, since the woman is always home.

“Some people you pay attention to because they’re old,” Herron said. “When she wasn’t picking up the mail I thought there might be something wrong.”

So Herron began looking around for a neighbor.

“I started knocking on doors,” she said.

She found a nearby neighbor at home and they decided to call the police to go inside and check on the woman’s welfare.

It’s a good thing Herron did that. The woman had suffered a stroke and she was on the floor. A pot was on the stove, completely melted.

The woman is still in the hospital, but she’s alive due to the observant letter carrier.

“We’re proud of our letter carriers,” said Postmaster Dina Flotte. “They do more than deliver the mail.”


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Diabetes Education Fair


Join Carlton Plaza for the 9th Annual Diabetes Education Fair! Get the latest developments, and learn healthier, easier ways to live with diabetes. This free health fair will feature keynote speakers, health screenings, cooking demos, exercise, vendors and a free raffle! You won’t want to miss this event if you are diabetic, borderline diabetic or caring for someone with diabetes. Thursday, March 28th from 11am to 1pm at Carlton Plaza 1000 E. 14th Street, San Leandro- For more info or to RSVP call (510) 636-0660

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