Resources for Seniors in Riverside County, CA

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. Our list begins with the Riverside County Office on Aging.

Precious Elder Ministry of St. Hugh's

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. The resources listed are within driving distance of Idyllwild and our Mountain Communities.

View or Download our Resouce List updated 1 September 2017

HURRICANE HARVEY 2017: WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

For those of us observing [Hurricane Harvey and every disaster] and praying from afar, it’s important to remember that [our response] is a marathon and not a sprint. In addition, the tricky part is responding in a way that is timely and appropriate. Understanding the phases of a disaster can be useful in determining how you can help.

Flooded home after Hurricane Harvey

This originally appeared as an ERD blog post by Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development, August 2017.

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Starting on Sunday, as the scope and devastation of Hurricane Harvey became apparent, my email box began to fill with some version of: “What can I do to help?” I praise God for these emails.

When we see images of people suffering, we want to do something. That’s understandable. As Christians, we are called to seek and serve Christ in all people and never more so than in times of crisis.

For those still in the midst of the disaster, please follow the advice of your local authorities. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Otherwise, you won’t be able to help anyone else later on.

For those of us observing and praying from afar, it’s important to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. In addition, the tricky part is responding in a way that is timely and appropriate. Understanding the phases of a disaster can be useful in determining how you can help.

Most disasters have three distinct, if sometimes overlapping phases: Rescue, Relief and Recovery.

Phase 1 – Rescue

The Rescue phase is focused on saving lives and securing property, and is most acute in those parts of a region that are directly flooded. Police, fire departments and other government agencies are best able to do this work. They have equipment that can clear roads and debris and find people. The Rescue phase can take one to two weeks, sometimes longer.

In the case of Harvey, the disaster hasn’t yet stopped and so the Rescue phase is taking place in the midst of the crisis. It can be heartbreaking to watch, I know. However, I urge all of us to be patient. Please pray for those who are suffering as a result of this tragedy and for the professionals who are risking their lives to save others.

Phase 2 – Relief

The next is the Relief phase. We and our partners began preparing for this phase as soon as it was clear how massive Harvey was going to be. During this phase, the local church will be one of the first places people go to seek assistance and shelter. Because they are prepared and experienced in disaster response, we know that our partners in Texas and elsewhere will be active in the Relief phase. This is where Episcopal Relief & Development is focusing its resources right now.

Phase 3 – Recovery

Eventually, we get to the third and final phase: Recovery. During this period, the emphasis shifts to restoring services, repairing houses and buildings, returning individuals to self-sufficiency and rebuilding communities. The challenge of the Recovery phase is that most of the television cameras have moved on, but the human suffering has grown. It is a chronic state, not a crisis. However, it is the phase that the Church excels in, because we are part of the communities that have been impacted and can best identify needs and work with the community to address them efficiently.

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So, in light of the above, let me offer the following advice about how you can help:

Financial Support

Now is the time to offer financial support. Contributing to Episcopal Relief & Development will ensure that we have enough resources to support the work of our church partners as they serve the most vulnerable in their communities.  They are best positioned to assess needs and timing for response efforts.

One of the immediate ways Episcopal Relief & Development and our partners help individuals is by handing out gift cards to local stores so that people can choose what they need the most. It not only affords people dignity it also helps stimulate the local economy, which needs to recover post-disaster. Learn about the other ways we assist during the three R’s of disaster here.

Volunteering

The best approach is to wait until those affected have indicated what kind of support is most needed and whether they are ready to house and utilize volunteers. Inserting ourselves at the appropriate time alleviates additional stress and complications that can actually make things worse. If you think you would like to volunteer please register with Episcopal Relief & Development’s Ready to Serve database. This list of volunteers will be shared with the impacted dioceses once they are ready to use and support volunteers. They will contact you if and when they need help.

Donating Goods

My firm recommendation is DON’T DO IT. I can’t tell you how many piles of discarded clothing I saw in parking lots throughout the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. After major disasters, diocesan staff have limited capacity to receive, store or distribute donated goods. Here’s a great article about the challenges of communities receiving donated goods: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/09/168946170/thanks-but-no-thanks-when-post-disaster-donations-overwhelm

An effective response requires us to discern what is most helpful and appropriate at any given time. Let’s continue to hold those directly impacted in our hearts and prayers throughout their recovery, long after the media images fade.


Donate to our Hurricane Harvey Response FundYour generous support will supply critical necessities for communities immediately and for the long-term as they recover and rebuild.

 


 

8dad5a6b477e9c5fd2364df163af6559  Rob Radtke is the President of Episcopal Relief & Development.

Feature Image: Home submerged in floods. Photo by Tara Quick in the original blog post.

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Giving thanks for the smallest blessings

Here is the August 29th letter from Bishop Katharine inviting our response to those in need after Hurricane Harvey and flooding …

Logo for the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

August 29, 2017

My sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, A wise person once noted that the most significant prayers are “Help!” and “Thank you!” The people of Texas and Louisiana are praying for help amid the deluge, and giving thanks for the smallest blessings – even a pair of dry socks. We can answer those prayers, both by remembering their plight in our prayers, and by donating to Episcopal Relief & Development, which is poised to steer funds to the dioceses in the region right away. In coming weeks and months there will be abundant opportunity to assist in cleanup and rebuilding. Remember Katrina (and Wilma and Rita, which added to the disaster)? The aftermath of Harvey will be a similarly extended season of opportunity to demonstrate our love for neighbors.

Pray without ceasing, give what you can, and start thinking about how we in this diocese might offer our labor for healing and restoration.

Shalom,
+Katharine
The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Assisting Bishop

Click here to contribute to the efforts of ERD to respond to and help with recovery and rebuilding in the areas most affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say

A report in the Guardian about research, on heart health and anti-inflammatory treatment, conducted over the last 4 years in the US.

US researchers find heart attack survivors given anti-inflammatory injections have fewer future episodes and lower cancer risk

Source: New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say | Science | The Guardian

Thyroid Cancer is the Fastest-Growing Cancer in America

In seeking to keep older Americans healthy and well, the AARP regularly posts information and suggestions for each of us to consider. Here is a recent article about Thyroid Cancer.

 

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Originally posted by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, on AARP, July 5, 2017.

As with all articles expressing facts and/or opinions about health and wellness: nothing in the sharing of this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider as you monitor and/or research your own health needs.

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Nearly three out of four cases of thyroid cancer are found in women.

Although the death rate from cancer in America is down 25 percent since 1991, there is one type of cancer rapidly increasing in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has tripled over the last three decades, making it the fastest-growing cancer.The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck, shaped like a butterfly. It produces hormones that enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism, heart, brain, muscles and liver, and keep the body functioning properly and effectively.The estimates for cases of thyroid cancer in America for 2017 have increased, and rates are higher in women than men, according to these figures published on cancer.org.

  • In 2017, there will be an estimated 56,870 new cases of thyroid cancer  — 42,470 in women and 14,400 in men.
  • An estimated 2,010 deaths will result from thyroid cancer  — 1,090 in women and 920 in men.

Women account for nearly three-quarters of thyroid cancer cases. The exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Research has concluded that better imaging technology has increased the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed. “Much of this rise appears to be the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past,” the American Cancer Society says.What are the signs or symptoms related to thyroid cancer? The American Cancer Society lists the following on cancer.org:

  • lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Talk with your doctor immediately if you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with thyroid cancer. Noncancerous conditions or even other cancers can also cause many of the symptoms.How can you protect yourself?Experts say most people found to have thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, and so emphasize that most cases can not be prevented. Professionals suggest regular self-exams to catch thyroid changes in the earliest stages as one of the best means of protection.Here are five steps to performing a self-exam from thyroidawareness.com:

  1. Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones and below the voice box (larynx).
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located farther down the neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

Health professionals estimate that 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems. The good news is that the survival rate of thyroid cancer patients is higher than for most other cancers. Early detection of thyroid cancer can open up more treatment options. You can also ask your doctor to check your thyroid health with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, a blood test that can determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

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Even more information

SHERIFF’S OFFICIALS WARN OF SPIKE IN “VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING” SCAMS

This scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

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Originally posted on Riverside County News Source August 19, 2017

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After a recent spike of incidents in Riverside County involving phone-based, kidnapping scams, Riverside County sheriff’s officials are reminding citizens to be wary of and to immediately report any phone calls or texts from an unknown person claiming a family member or loved one has been kidnapped or is being held for ransom.

The scams, which law enforcement officials and federal investigators first began to see in 2013 and have dubbed “virtual kidnappings,” have become more common and have been gaining popularity among criminals looking for a quick and too often very easy payout.

The scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

One 2015 task force uncovers over 80 victims of virtual kidnappings

In 2015, the FBI began a task force, dubbed “Operation Hotel Tango,” with Los Angeles-area law enforcement agencies. The multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency task force located more than 80 victims throughout California, Texas, Idaho and Minnesota. With average losses around $1,000 per family, the victim’s losses totaled $74,000.

Although many of the cases involved suspects looking for a quick, if not substantial, payout, some of the cases have been known to yield tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In many of the known cases, the victims were contacted over the phone by unknown suspects who claimed that their loved ones had been kidnapped. The suspects often said the kidnapped person had witnessed a crime, owed a debt or been smuggled across the border into Mexico and that they would be tortured and killed if a ransom was not paid immediately.

In some cases, victims reported they could hear the agonized screams of a person they were manipulated to believe was their family member. This was done to cause fear and panic in order to quickly extort ransom payments from the victims.

By the time the victims learned their family members had not been kidnapped and had never been in danger, the “ransom payments” had already been sent off to the scammers and were unrecoverable.

The callers have also often been known to keep the person on the phone throughout the process of obtaining and wiring the money, to ensure the terrified victim does not have an opportunity to contact law enforcement officials, friends or other family members.

One parent shares her two-hour long, nightmare ordeal

In one such incident reported to law enforcement officials in March of this year, the mother of a California Baptist University student was contacted by a unknown number with a Mexico prefix.

When the victim, 60-year-old, Laura Bontrager, answered the phone the first thing she heard was the screaming of a young woman, followed by an unknown man who got onto the phone and said he had kidnapped the woman’s college-aged daughter. The man told the victim he was holding a gun to her daughter’s stomach.

The man told Bontrager that her daughter had witnessed a crime involving a child and the only way she would ever get to see her daughter alive again was to wire him a ransom in Mexico. The man then ordered the victim to go to a bank and pull out as much money as she could.

Over the next two hours, the suspect kept the terrified victim on the phone, using the mother’s fear for her daughter to control her actions in trying to accomplish what he wanted.

After Bontrager went to an ATM and pulled out $1,000, her bank’s limit, and prepared to wire the money to the “kidnapper” her husband managed to get in touch with the daughter who had allegedly been kidnapped.

To the parent’s relief, their daughter was safe and at one of her classes at the college.

FBI warns of sharp increase of virtual kidnapping incidents

At a July 2017, press conference in Los Angeles, the FBI warned Southern Californians about the scam, saying that countless Southern California residents were known to have been targeted by scammers claiming to have kidnapped the victims’ loved ones. Although officials have identified many victims, they believe the true number of victims is much higher, but that many of the victims choose not to report the crimes.

During the press conference, one victim, a Westside LAPD traffic sergeant, shared his experience when he was targeted – unsuccessfully – during a similar virtual kidnapping scam.

The sergeant, explained he had been driving on the 405 Freeway when he received a phone call from a number he did not recognize. When he answered the phone, he could hear a person screaming, “Daddy, daddy, help me!”

“I didn’t recognize the voice,” the sergeant said, “so I tried to explain to her that she needed to call 911.”

At that point another person’s voice came onto the line and told the sergeant that his daughter had been kidnapped and he had to transfer money to the suspect in order to get his daughter back safely.

“They specifically threatened to put a bullet in the back of my child’s head,” the sergeant said.

As the phone call continued – for over one hour – the terrified sergeant spotted some Torrance police officers, who were able to determine that the intended victim’s daughter was safe at her school.

How to avoid being scammed by virtual kidnap schemes

According to many law enforcement agencies across the nation that have been hit by these types of scams, some common indicators you might be falling victim to a virtual kidnap scam include if:

— Incoming calls come from an outside area code or from these specific area codes: 787, 939 and 856.

— Calls come from an unknown number rather than from the alleged kidnap victim’s phone.

— Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone while demanding you obtain ransom money.

— Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer, which allows the money to be picked up anywhere in the world, or by specific means such as a “Green Dot” card.

Law enforcement agencies have also suggested potential victims try to slow the situation down. Call recipients should request to speak to the victim directly or ask for other forms of “proof of life” from the alleged kidnappers. If the kidnappers refuse to allow you speak with the victim, ask them to describe the victim, the vehicle they drive, or to answer some questions that only the real victim would know.

If the callers can not answer your questions or refuse to provide proof that your loved one is alive and uninjured, chances are you are being targeted by scammers looking for a quick buck.

Anyone with information regarding this type of fraudulent activity is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency. Those who live within jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department can also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Even more information