Rona Barrett Foundation: We don’t stop laughing because we grow old

Rona Barrett Foundation: We don’t stop laughing because we grow old

….we grow old because we stop laughing.

Welcome to spring, a time for birth and mirth. Or, as Robin Williams said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”

That’s why I thought now would be a good time to share this gray-tinted collection of quips, quotes, one-liners and a few examples of capital PUN-ishment.

Some are my own, others virtually fell into my lap … top.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes, come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?

The grandkids text me “plz” which is shorter than “please.” I text back “no” which is shorter than “yes.”

Then there are the grandparents who always offer sound advice — 99 percent sound, and one percent advice.

I don’t trip over things; I do random gravity checks!

Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can — and the friends to post my bail when I finally snap!

I don’t have white hair; I have “wisdom highlights.”

If God wanted me to touch my toes, she would’ve put them on my knees.

I’m going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I’ll do that second week.

Of course I talk to myself, but only when I need expert advice.

At my age “getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

Some seniors are no good at counting calories – and they have the figures to prove it.

An elderly man and an elderly woman each drive their cars toward the other in a narrow alley.  Neither can pass.  The older man shouts, “I don’t back up for a stupid idiot!” The older woman shouts, “Well, I do!” as she shifts into reverse.

Men of Pause: A difficult time in an aging man’s life, when you’re too tired to work and too broke to quit.

At our age a synonym is a word you use when you forget how to spell the other one.

Forget CALLER ID, when are they going to come up with CALLER IQ?

Talk about getting the last laugh: An obituary described 83-year old Norma Brewer dying while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with her pets. The obit continued:  There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia after her dog ate Mrs Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks.

In fact, Mrs. Brewer was wheelchair bound and died from a stroke. Seems the fun-loving grandma always enjoyed a good laugh and decided to fabricate her own whopper of an obituary. Her son, Raymond Brewer, told a newspaper it had more to do with the way she viewed the world: While life is serious, it shouldn’t be taken all that serious. It was her way of having the last laugh.

Knowing when to laugh and when to be serious is the key. Tune in to my next column when we resume the serious subject of senior caretakers and PTSD.

Until the next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

Rona Barrett: Family Caregivers Serve as Unsung Heroes on the Homefront

Rona Barrett: Family Caregivers Serve as Unsung Heroes on the Homefront


gray matters

 By Rona Barrett | Published on 05.05.2015 1:35 p.m.

“The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Let’s offer a hearty salute to the Wounded Warrior Project for using this call to action as a catalyst in its 12-year battle to bring out from the shadows a disorder suffered by 15 percent of returning veterans — post-traumatic stress disorder, or PSTD.

It’s because of their efforts that we now know people in high-stress positions, including first responders, law enforcement personnel and those exposed to trauma as a victim or eyewitness, can also suffer from PTSD.

But what many of us don’t realize is there is another group of wounded — about 10 percent out of 60 million — who are, or are at risk from, suffering from PTSD. They are our “silent soldiers” — our unsung heroes — our family caregivers.

Fighting their own day-to-day battle on the homefront with the same mettle and valor as our soldiers and first responders, family caregivers — many of them seniors — must often take on their new roles with little warning or no training. They are often unequipped with the emotional tools or support resources to cope with the stress of ongoing care of their ailing loved one.

Consequently, our silent soldiers, like their wounded warrior brethren, must battle the symptoms of PTSD: fear and anxiety, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, irritability, sadness, feelings of isolation, guilt, changes in sleep or eating, crying spells, emotional numbness, nightmares, shock, increased heart rate, muscle tension, rapid breathing, and inability to stop replaying traumatic events.

Take it from this veteran of the caregiver wars, all of this adds up to battle fatigue. How can you not feel helpless, overwhelmed by responsibilities, caught up in the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the disease or illness your loved one is enduring?

The debilitating effect of PTSD on caregivers under the gun is just beginning to be realized. There are some resources and support. And those who need it, those caring for shut-ins, have in some form become the same: emotional and physical shut-ins. So getting the information to those who need it is the challenge.

The Wounded Warrior Project’s first attack on PTSD was to raise awareness. It worked because President Barack Obama proclaimed to veterans, “We got your back.”

Their second attack is continuing to help veterans realize these symptoms are not a sign of failure or mental fragility. There is treatment for the mind, body and spirit.

Their third attack is providing support, resources, treatment and relief to ensure veterans of all ages are marching on the path to living productive lives.

And what about our silent soldiers? As seniors become the largest population on the planet, the number of family caregivers will grow exponentially.

Last year, November was proclaimed “National Family Caregivers Month.” Let’s not wait until then to offer our appreciation and support to our silent soldiers. Let’s tell them, “I got your back.” Because whether selfless soldiers are fighting the good at the battlefield, on the homefront or in their own home, “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at[email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


Rona Barrett Foundation: Golden Inn & Village Breaks Ground in Santa Ynez Valley

Rona Barrett Foundation: Golden Inn & Village Breaks Ground in Santa Ynez Valley



042815-Golden-Inn-630From left, Mickey Flacks, commissioner for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara; Robert Havlicek Jr., executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara; Doreen Farr, Third District supervisor; Rona Barrett, founder and president of the Rona Barrett Foundation; Lois Capps, Congresswoman for the 24th District; Alfred Holzheu, president of Surf Development; and Jessica Mackenzie of Union Bank. (Rona Barrett Foundation photo)

By Amy Bernstein for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 04.28.2015 2:14 p.m.

The Rona Barrett Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services for low-income seniors, broke ground at the site of the new Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez Valley this past Friday.

The Rona Barrett Foundation in partnership with Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara and Surf Development were joined by local representatives and dignitaries, including Rep. Lois Capps and Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, in celebrating the construction of the GIV at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Between planning, fundraising and filing deadlines, the GIV has passed through many hurdles on its journey to completion. In 2014, the property was completely paid off and the Santa Barbara Planning Commission gave its unanimous approval for the GIV, followed by approval from the county Board of Supervisors.

So far in 2015, the RBF raised $800,000, which then paved the way for a $23 million tax credit that will allow construction to begin on the site. The GIV received $23 million in tax credits allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee of the state Treasurer’s Office and are a function of the low-income housing tax credits program, which provides equity funding for affordable housing construction.

After its GIVhope campaign, the Rona Barrett Foundation successfully raised funds in time to meet the low-income housing tax deadline and will be able to begin construction on the Golden Inn & Village.

The next major milestones on the GIV’s path include the acceptance of resident applications in April 2016, followed by its grand opening in August 2016. While the GIV has moved closer and closer to becoming a reality in the Santa Ynez Valley and a solution to the lack of affordable housing for low-income seniors, significant funding needs remain for start up costs and program funding.

The Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization, seeks to provide a solution to affordable housing and supportive services for seniors in need with the development of the Golden Inn & Village, where seniors may access a variety of care that meets their needs as they age in place.

To make a donation or to learn more about the Golden Inn & Village, please visit theRona Barrett Foundation website by clicking here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.

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