Senior Lifestyles

Life on canvas: Longtime Los Altos artist Helene Barber continues to see art in everyday life

Ellie Van Houtte/
Town Crier Los Altos artist Helene Barber uses a variety of media in her work. The 60-year resident first became interested in art at the age of 4.

Los Altos artist Helene Barber fondly recalls the moment she caught the bug to create works of art.

A 4-year-old Barber found herself one day with a purple crayon in hand, drawing large scrolls on the freshly papered wall near the entryway of her parents’ home in Santa Rosa.


People person: Bob Adams still knocking on doors in retirement

Town Crier File Photo
Retirement hasn’t slowed Bob Adams down. Among his volunteer endeavors, he coached basketball at Alta Vista High.

Bob Adams retired as a veritable youth at the tender age of 61. The transition didn’t happen because he was ready to head out to pasture.

He’d watched the business world turn in the 1980s, when personal computers changed the landscape of technology. The educational equipment company he and wife Lois founded in 1976 grew with the market.


Sun-baked souvenirs: Oceanside retreat evokes memories

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Over our adult years, our weekends at the beach have been few and far between. We don’t happen to have a retreat at the shore, so our stays overlooking the waves have always been something of a group effort in a large, rented condo – you bring your gang, we’ll bring ours, we’ll split all the costs and rotate the role of dinner chef.

We tried to help each other limit the tanning to medium-well. You might call each oceanside adventure a controlled burn.


WWII veteran reflects on capturing history during wartime

Jack Geffner served as a photo lab commander in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Today, the 94-year-old veteran and his wife, Shirley, right, live at Moldaw Residences.

Jack Geffner, an active 94-year-old, knows very well the sacrifices that have been made and continue to be made by those who serve in the military.

Although he now enjoys life in retirement with his wife, Shirley, at Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto – their daughter Sharon Ziony lives in Los Altos and their daughter Bonnie Shipper in Mountain View – Geffner, a World War II veteran who served four years in the Pacific Theater, looks back on his service and considers himself lucky for being able to contribute in the role he did and for making it back home.


Downsizing the home: Suggestions for seniors and family caregivers

Civil War swords. First-edition books. Vintage jewelry. Truckstop plates from all 50 states. Grandpa’s farm tools. Grandma’s china set. Whether they are heirlooms or clutter depends on your point of view.

After meticulously protecting and displaying valued possessions for years, the thought of parting with family treasures is often a torturous proposal for seniors. Whether older adults face downsizing from their homes because of retirement, finances, health, death of a spouse or coaxing from family, letting go of longtime belongings can be a daunting roadblock. Seniors may resist while their families persist.


Seniors strike a chord, in musical miniature

Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Kevin McCabe walks Gwen Farey through ukulele chord notation at The Terraces at Los Altos.

When ukulele teacher Kevin McCabe led a class at The Terraces at Los Altos last week, his senior students hit a trend head-on: The tiny instrument once strummed by Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe has become something of a hipster sensation.

For the senior set, classes are, by nature, social enterprises. Last week at The Terraces three residents and one enlisted reporter divided up the chords of “Aloha ‘Oe” and, together, fleshed out a song as uke rookies. When Gwen Farey, Barbara Woods and Libby Stager struck a chord last week, they were building on a lifetime of musical experiences. Although I may have mastered a G chord, I found my ability to keep time sadly outshined.


Back for more: Local scout completes second effort to help seniors prepare for emergencies

Renny Glasner, far right, and a handful of Boy Scouts compile emergency kits for Los Altos seniors last month at Hillview Community Center. Hammerschmidt/ special to the Town Crier

A Los Altos teen with a penchant for helping seniors is at it again.

Eagle Scout Warren “Renny” Glasner, 17, teamed up last month with Los Altos Rotarian and Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Senior Commission Chairwoman Anabel Pelham to provide 100 backpacks containing a three-day supply of essential survival items for seniors in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. The duo, along with a handful of local scouts and two city of Los Altos staff members, assembled and distributed the emergency kits to registered Los Altos and Los Altos Hills seniors April 5 in the Hillview Community Center Multipurpose Room. The group distributed 80 backpacks at the event and delivered 20 more to nonmobile seniors in the community.


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