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Happiness – Key to Fountain of Youth

Billions of dollars coupled with our world’s most brilliant minds have worked tirelessly for hundreds maybe even thousands of years to find the fountain of youth. The concept of the fountain of youth is heavily sought after as it promises to eliminate common aging maladies (loss of friends and family, higher incidence of disease, a decline in physical/cognitive ability, loss of independence and of course vanity issues) that we all fear of. Over the past century, remarkable medical breakthroughs have been made to expand life expectancy as well as mask the above mentioned aging maladies. However, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal perhaps the most effective way to find the fountain of youth is to simply be happy.

The study indicates that the key to healthy aging is to enjoy life. People that enjoy life tend to be healthier and fitter than unhappy individuals. “The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” states Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London. The study has particularly gained credibility as researchers were able to take into account one’s current health at the time of the study. “This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset, since even when we take these factors into account, the relationship persists.” So, now that we know happiness is the key to slow aging, how can we improve our chances of being happy?

Going to a bookstore or searching on Amazon, you will no doubt find thousands of copies of books on happiness. While, I have not read them all, I was particularly moved by a documentary movie I watched recently called, Happy. The movie shows people from all over the world with varying socio-economic backgrounds. From this, I assumed that the wealthier and more educated people in the film would be happiest and those with the least resources and education would be the least happy. According to the movie, I was thinking in terms of extrinsic goals. The extrinsic goals of money, image and status are NOT what make us happy. Our intrinsic goals or values are what matter most in achieving happiness. For example the movie preaches us to focus on: personal growth, relationships and your ability/desire to help are what truly make us all happy.

Understanding that happiness is linked to healthier aging, it is critical that we build initiatives to help seniors achieve their intrinsic goals. Our society will benefit in unprecedented ways by helping those achieve the fountain of youth in a more organic way. Whether you are a client, spouse, child or friend Seacrest at Home hopes that our Home Care Associates can help you focus your time and energy on the things in life that make you happy.

For more information on the study, please click the link below.

10 Tips on How to Age with Independence

Dr. Bruce Chernof, President and CEO of SCAN Foundation, has released 10 helpful tips on aging with dignity and independence. At Seacrest at Home, our primary goal is to assist in providing care and resources to our community. Our aim is to take the 10 tips Dr. Chernof offers and implement them in our Seacrest at Home training. Below is the link of Dr. Chernof’s 10 short videos. If you don’t have time to watch all 10 videos, please refer to my outline.

1. What’s your plan for Aging?

With a plethora of senior care options out on the market, it is critical that people have open conversations with their family and friends about personal preferences.

2. Is your Doctor up to date?

Tracking medications is vital. Keep your doctor up to date with your medications. This will help prevent overdose, unnecessary treatment or a dangerous drug interaction.

3. Make your home comfortable and safe

Take a walk through each room as well as outside your home. Take a list of potential risks, including rugs, stairs and high reaching kitchen appliances. By modifying one’s home to make it more safe and more that individual is increasing their chance of remaining happy and healthy at home.

4. Where do you find help with everyday tasks?

Knowledge is power. This is a vast array of senior care options in San Diego County. Seacrest at Home has their own list of referrals that we have vetted and trust. Also, San Diego County has their own Aging and Independence Services department. Their number is: 800-510-2020.

5. Staying active makes a big difference.

No matter what one’s age is; it is critical to remain physically, socially and emotionally active. Often our Home Care Associates make it possible for one to remain active. Whether it is a ride to visit a friend or providing companionship, Seacrest at Home recognizes the importance of helping those remain active.

6. Who’s on your team?

Doctors, family, friends, caregivers, social workers, neighbors all constitute as a team. It is important to be sure you have their contact information readily available if there is a need.

7. Knowing when to ask for help is key.

It is never easy to ask for help, however people that age well often ask for help with transportation, bathing or meal preparation. This help can allow for seniors to age in place and remain independent for much longer.

8. 70% of people over 65 need an average of three years of long term care.

With the rise in people 65+ expected to increase dramatically over the coming years, we at Seacrest at Home hope to be able to help provide care to individuals that need long or short term care.

9. Find out what resources are available.

Life as we get older often becomes more expensive. The higher level of care that is needed, comes with a higher expense. Many organizations in San Diego County are not for profit and can help with your aging needs. Seacrest at Home, Seacrest Village, ElderHelp and Jewish Family Services of San Diego are just to name a few.

10. What can you do without spending a lot of money?

Spending money is not essential to have a good time. Local senior centers, the JCC and Jewish Family Services often have free events for seniors. There are so many ways to be involved and remain active, without spending a lot of money!

Home Care – Could We All Benefit?

Recently, I attended a panel discussion on the current and future state of aging in California. Unfortunately, the experts in this discussion painted a somewhat gloomy picture for the future. The major reason for their concern was the demographic shift that is already occurring today. By the year 2030, California will be home to over 4 million more residents 65+. This means that by 2030, 20% or 1 in every 5 people will be 65 and older. The implications of these statistics have many consequences: lack of affordable senior housing, fewer workers paying into Social Security/Medicare as well as more of our limited resources devoted toward aging and health care costs.

After these experts were finished telling us bad news, they offered a few solutions. One of their top solutions was in-home care-giving. They advocated for more and better quality in-home care options. In-home care is so critically important for many reasons. The type of care Seacrest at Home Care Associates are providing might prevent a fall, support healthy eating, inhibit loneliness and aid in the recovery of illness. All of the benefits that our Associates provide will very likely help the client avoid going to a nursing home and or hospital. Not only are the nursing home and hospital, less desired and comfortable for that person but they are also significantly more expensive for our State. By providing compassionate care to our clients, our Home Care Associates are doing far more than just helping make a meal, assisting with a shower or supplying companionship. They truly are helping secure more resources for us all, today and into the future.

The need for caring individuals like, Seacrest at Home Care Associates, will only continue to grow. I am so proud and fortunate to be a part of a wonderful group that is doing critically important work. Getting the chance to see and hear about the work our care staff is doing for our client’s and their family leaves me wanting to write those expert panelists and tell them, “not to fear, Seacrest at Home is here.”


Seacrest at Home has been serving our clients for over a year now.   To date, we have logged over 40,000 hours of care as well as over 120 different clients.  Clearly, we are pleased with these numbers and see continued growth for the future.   As the Community Liaison, I spend a majority of my time marketing and promoting to educate our community on WHAT we do at Seacrest at Home.   I go down a checklist of the activities of daily living that our Home Care Associates can assist with.   I talk about how our staff goes through an interview, training and screening process unlike any other home care agency out there.   I talk about our wonderful affiliation with the Jewish retirement home, Seacrest Village.  I brag about our non-profit status and our charitable care capabilities. While all of these messages are important, perhaps the best and most effective way of describing Seacrest at Home can be through the stories, relationships and special moments between Home Care Associate, client or family member.  These warm stories and relationships are WHY Seacrest at Home exists.   I will place greater emphasis on this point as to communicate our message throughout the community.

In order for us to capture and recognize more of these special moments, we have created a “Kudos” board.  This board will recognize individuals that we hear have done something above and beyond.  At the end of each month, a special drawing will take place for all those who made it on the “Kudos” board.  If you are a client, family member or Home Care Associate, please share we greatly appreciate hearing all about WHY Seacrest at Home exists.  Stay tuned for pictures of our decorated “Kudos” board.

Care Like It’s Your Mom

Last month, my mom was rushed to the hospital with a high fever and severe abdominal pain. After many days of being at the hospital and a multitude of tests, doctors confirmed that my mom had a malignant tumor blocking her bile duct. We were told that the tumor would have to be removed though a complex and extensive surgery. Luckily, we were able to find a brilliant surgeon who was able to successfully remove the cancerous mass. However, full recovery from this surgery will take many months.

This scary and terribly difficult experience for my entire family has helped me personally gain even greater perspective on the importance of care giving. While I have worked for many years in the field of providing care for seniors, I myself have never personally been a hands-on caregiver until this recent situation with my mom. Just like how I have leaned on my mom during the years from life’s pains, illness and sadness; I wanted to be there for her so she could lean on me. The transition for me from being “just” her son to now her son and one of her care takers has been an instinctual process. Many of her sentences now start out, “Can you help me with…?” Truly though, I want to help her with anything. She is my mom and it is more of a stress and burden on me when I can’t help her with a need. However, it is impossible for me to be there at all times. During my mom’s hospital stay, she had a team of nurses that were truly incredible. There was one nurse though that gave me a message that I will not forget.

The night this nurse was in, my mom had spiked a high fever and was in a considerable pain from her surgery. She was still in critical care and needed to be rotated often to prevent bed sores. This amazing nurse looked and my dad and I and knew that we both were in terrible need of sleep. She told us to relax, close our eyes, and lay on the cot the hospital had provided us. She comforted me by saying, “I know she is not my mom, but during my shift tonight, I will act as though she is.” I sat down on the cot, watched with one eye open, to see how attentive and gentle she was to my mom throughout the night. My dad and I were finally able to sleep and most importantly, my mom benefited from this nurse’s genuine compassion and touch that night. I am still so amazed at how healing this particular nurse was to our entire family.

No matter our age, it is inevitable that at some point we will need help. While I settle back into work at Seacrest at Home, I believe I am more aware of how special our Home Care Associates truly are. To have the compassion for a family member comes naturally. However, to have the ability to care for an individual as though they are a parent is truly something so special.

In honor of Mother’s day, I wanted thank all of the amazing mom’s out there that have passed down the morals and values of compassion to their child, because this compassion makes the world a better place.

Above and Beyond Care

For this week’s blog, I would like to share a quick story.  San Diego made national news as multiple wild fires swept across different parts of the County.  With the unseasonably warm and windy weather, the fires were able to breed and multiply quickly, making it very challenging for fire fighters to keep the flames at bay.  While the situation is starting to improve, these fires impacted thousands of acres; inflicted millions of dollars in damages as well as many homes have been lost. Communities were forced to evacuate their homes as the fires became too close to their neighborhood. Several people were displaced from their normal routines as these fires made life a little more complicated.

One such individual that was recently displaced due to these San Diego fires was one of our clients.  Our client was with a, Seacrest at Home Care Associate, for a medical appointment at the time evacuations became mandatory.  After the appointment, the Home Care Associate and client tried to drive back to the home.  Unfortunately, all roads were blocked off and they got redirected to a nearby evacuation center.  Not knowing how long the mandatory evacuation would last, our Home Care Associate contacted the client’s family as well as Seacrest at Home to inform them of the situation.  She assured us that she would stay for as long as needed.  She was aware all streets were blocked from many directions, making it very difficult for another Home Care Associate to relieve her.

The evacuation was finally lifted after nearly 24 hours.  This incredible Home Care Associate stayed with her client, awake, the entire time.  I am so amazed at your compassion and dedication for caring in such a selfless way.  I could write so many above and beyond stories I hear about our other Home care Associates on a weekly basis, but this week we want to thank you, Faduma, for being such a wonderful addition to Seacrest at Home.


When Older People Walk Now, They Stay Indepedent Later

Successful aging is the new craze. Our society is experiencing a massive influx of seniors. These individuals and our culture want to know how to age well. A critical component of successful aging is the freedom from physical disability. With that being said, earlier this week, the journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published a report stating that those in their 70’s and 80’s, who dedicate about 20 minutes a day to walking, were less likely to become disabled later on in life compared to a group that focused their attention on successful aging classes.

Unfortunately, many older adults are unable to get their needed daily walk. Some of the barriers preventing older adults to get out and walk might be:

  • Preexisting physical injury
  • Lack of confidence to walk alone without risk of fall
  • Unsafe walking paths within one’s community
  • Lack of motivation to exercise

Our goal at Seacrest at Home is to help assist our clients feel comfortable and to age well. Often, our Home Care Associates go on walks with our clients, to promote exercise and provide the security that a companion is there to supervise. More and more research is continually coming out on the importance of walking. Please share and encourage your friends and family to get out and walk. And, if they need a little help or motivation to do so, call Seacrest at Home!

Record Marathon…at 91

Last Sunday, a woman set an official international record marathon time at the Rock N’ Roll Marathon, right here in San Diego! No, this woman did not win the race. Perhaps though, the record she set was more impressive than the actual winner. Harriet Thompson, a 91 year old, shattered the women’s record for those aged 90 and up by over two hours! Mrs. Thompson finished the race in just over 7 hours. For anyone to finish a grueling 26.2 mile challenge is incredible. However, to be 91 and battling cancer is so just inspiring.

I’m certain Harriet’s record time will be broken in the very near future by some other super senior out in the world.  Records are meant to be broken and that is why I love this story. No matter the challenge; physical, emotional or mental, senior’s today are pushing the bar and achieving milestones never thought to be possible years ago. We are in the beginning stages of seeing an entire generation of seniors and even centenarians carrying out their lives as though they were young. Because of this mindset, the contributions our elderly will bring to the world will be invaluable. Harriet’s record time goes well beyond just an impressive race medal. She raised money for cancer and inspired the world that anything is possible, no matter one’s age.

For more on Harriet Thompson’s story, please see the link below.

Seacrest Village-Yom HaShoah

​​​​​​​I was born in the right place. I grew up in a wonderful neighborhood with an abundance of safety and tolerance. My parents were never afraid to hang up our Mezuzah. I was proud and unafraid to tell my classmates that I am Jewish. I had many of my non-Jewish friends attend my Bar Mitzvah. In my adult life, I truly cannot remember a time that I have felt uneasy or a lack of opportunity because I am Jewish. My story is unfortunately not the norm for our Jewish people. In fact, the persecution that my ancestors faced, in late 1800’s during the Russian pogroms, initiated their immigration to America. Their immigration ultimately helped pave the way for me to be born in this “right place.”

These thoughts came about during the moving service we had at Seacrest Village on the Day of Holocaust Remembrance, Yom HaShoah. Warren Odenheimer, the keynote speaker of the service, started his story by telling the audience, “I was born in the wrong place.” Born in Germany shortly before Nazi rule, Warren and his family began to feel significant oppression and anti-Semitism. Fortunately, Warren and his family were able to leave Germany shortly after Kristallnacht. As a young man, Warren and his family were uprooted from their home in Germany. The Odenheimers migrated through Russia and then spent time in the Orient.

With only $8 dollars to their name, the family was granted visas to come to America, where they settled in San Francisco. In 1941, he enlisted in service and is a WWII Veteran. He has spoken to other groups about his story to help us ensure that we will not forget.

A moment at the Seacrest Village Yom HaShoah service, that I hope to never forget, occurred when Rabbi Patti asked all of our Holocaust survivors to stand up and light a candle. The candles symbolize and honor the 6 million Jews that were murdered. I was overwhelmed to see 22 survivors, our residents, proudly light these candles. (We have an additional 5 survivors at Seacrest Village Rancho Bernardo) As time goes on, the ability to see the faces and hear the stories of people who lived through this horrific time in history will become more and more of a rarity. Once these survivors are gone, how will we carry on their memory, legacy and message? How will we ensure that future generations grow up in the “right place” like I did?

We still have an incredible resource of people living and articulating their story and message. It is our responsibility to listen and never forget, so we can pass their teachings down to future generations to ensure that this will never happen again. It is an honor to work with and live amongst a group of people that inspire us to make the world a more tolerant and loving place.
Jon Schwartz

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