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News Briefs: April 2013

Spring into learning with the Senior Studies Institute

Laughter, lively discussion and lots of learning — it's all at the Senior Studies Institute of Portland Community College, where spring term includes 30 classes and 60 Current Events sessions at eight venues in the metropolitan area, all for $30 a year.

Spring new term begins April 1 with a rousing session of Poetry Fun. Other classes, each only two hours long, include Early Oregon History; Jazz and Classical Piano Concert; History of the Rose Festival; The QE2 — The Fifties and Sixties; Lewis and Clark Expedition; Digging Champoeg; Ancient Southeast Asian Kingdoms; Leonard Cohen; Weekly Play Reading; A Culinary Discovery of America; Cruising the Danube; andHow are Artists Inspired?

SSI offers an opportunity to connect with others and expand your horizons, engage in discussion, exchange knowledge and share ideas in a respectful, civil setting.

For more information, see the website at pcc.edu/ssi or call Tony or Kathy at 503-228-2488.

Join a VIEWS Conversation on Aging

The Portland-area nonprofit organization VIEWS (Volunteers Involved for the Emotional Well-Being of Seniors) offers the following free Conversations on Aging in April. Older adults are invited to participate, talk about some of their concerns, receive resources and ideas, and see how helpful a discussion with peers can be.

n “Bridging Life Transitions” — Wednesday, April 3, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Pioneer Center, 615 Fifth St., Oregon City. Everyone’s life includes transitions. As older adults, we want to manage these transitions effectively while remaining as independent as possible. Explore ways to cope using a lifetime of strengths and learned skills.  Talk about some of your concerns. Come see how helpful discussion with peers can be. Call Pioneer Center at 503-657-8287 for free registration.

n “Aging in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community” — Wednesday, April 10, 12:30-2 p.m. at Metropolitan Community Church, 2400 N.E. Broadway, Portland. Alongside some of the challenges that aging brings, we have gifts and wisdom. Be part of a discussion about finding joy and meaning. Call Friendly House, 503-224-2640, and talk with Lauren for free registration.

Volunteer as a VIEWS senior peer counselor

Looking for a satisfying volunteer experience? Look no farther — apply to become a senior peer counselor with VIEWS (Volunteers Involved for the Emotional Well-Being of Seniors).

The nonprofit agency is looking for people 55 and older who have an interest in aging — their own and others — who have an appreciation of life, and who find personal enjoyment in talking and listening with others. VIEWS takes volunteers from all employment and educational backgrounds, and provides extensive training in basic counseling skills and issues common to aging. Volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment after training.

For more information, call Peter Walsh at 503-261-6181 or Melissa Mead at 503-261-6175. Information and application forms also are available online at http://viewsoregon.org.

Property tax deferral program called a lifeline for seniors

Oregon's Property Tax Deferral Program is key to helping longtime, low-income homeowners remain in their homes, researchers from Oregon State University recently told the Oregon House Revenue Committee during a hearing to consider expanding the tax relief program.

The report — “Oregon Property Tax Deferral Program for Senior and Disabled Citizens: 2012 Survey Results” — grew out of a survey of more than 7,000 homeowners enrolled in the program in 2012. The Oregon Legislature called for the survey last year after more than 60 percent of participating homeowners were suddenly disqualified in 2011 because of fears the program might not be self-sufficient due to the deepening economic and housing crises the state was experiencing.

The uproar following the termination of so many seniors and other low-income homeowners prompted lawmakers to call for the study so they could better understand the socio-economic characteristics of people participating in the tax relief program. Among the survey's findings, OSU researchers reported that more than half of the families in the program live on less than $15,000 a year, and 85 percent had incomes of less than $25,000 in 2011.

David Raphael, a spokesman for the Alliance of Vulnerable Homeowners, said the income figures were startling, confirming that the tax deferral program likely was serving the lowest income recipients of any human service program in the state.

The study team from OSU's Rural Studies Program also found that enrollment in the program began to skyrocket in 2006-07, reaching a peak of 12,000 in 2010.

Newly renovated Rose Linn Care Center reopens

Rose Linn Care Center in West Linn has transformed into a state-of-the-art senior facility in a makeover undertaken by its new ownership group. This renovation encompasses new carpet, vinyl flooring, paint, furniture, remodeled entities and social spaces and the addition of state-of-the art technology.

The facility offers three levels of care: memory care, which provides 24-hour staff for supervision, monitoring and assistance to residents experiencing Alzheimer's and memory loss; extended care, which provides nursing staff and certified caregivers along with assistance with meals, daily activities and medication management; and residential living, offering independent living in studio or one-bedroom apartments as well as personalized support services.

Rose Linn Care Center is at 2330 Debok Road in West Linn. For more information, visit the website at www.roselinncaercenter.com.