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Avoiding The 'Geriatric Tsunami'

Nationally known elder care doctor educates seniors, hosts talent contest
Elk Grove Citizen

Community members gathered outside the Emeritus at Laguna Creek Senior Living Center to enjoy the “Bring Your Talent” senior talent contest on May 8.

The non-profit group 3in4 Association and its spokesperson, Dr. Marion Somers has partnered with Emeritus to launch the nationwide competition to find America’s most talented seniors and caregivers.

The first prizewinner will receive a year of free rent from any Emeritus facility of their choice; 11 runners-up will win free rent for a week.

Somers is a nationally recognized doctor who has over 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager, caregiver, author, speaker, and teacher of all things senior care.

She is traveling across the United States in a 1967 Greyhound bus that has been converted into a film studio - the back of the bus is a film studio; the front of it is where she “lives” during the expedition.

The 12-week 3in4 campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of planning senior long-term healthcare.

Prior to hosting the contest, which included 11 competitors who presented a variety of talents to the audience, Somers was presented with a plaque of honor on behalf of the city of Elk Grove by Council Members Steve Detrick and Sophia Scherman. 

After the recognition she gave an hour-long presentation that delved into the importance of pre-planning long-term elder care.

“This trip around the United States is basically to let people know that there is a geriatric tsunami headed our way,” Somers said. “If we don’t take care of our needs now – especially the younger people – we’re going to be swamped.”

The doctor recited a few stories that showed how everyone’s life is eventually touched by care giving in some way.

She discussed, “elder care A-Z” which showed an organized way that can help people get through the process in a non-stressful way.

Topics such as being bold and accepting the reality of the situation, getting financial and legal matters in order, delegating duties when possible, and making sure to make time for your own family, job, and social life were discussed.

Somers also spoke about the importance of focusing on long-term care insurance early on.

“Many people don’t know that younger people can look into long-term care for themselves and their families now,” she said.  “I know many grandchildren who have jobs that are already looking into it for their parents or their grandparents…they know that if something happens it will be their pockets that might be emptied.”

After Somers’ discussion, the senior talent contest kicked off with a bang beginning with three “Senior Mrs. America’s” from Gilroy and Stockton who sang songs and recited monologues.

The afternoon continued on with performances by various residents of Emeritus Laguna Creek, several caregivers, and seniors from outside of the community.

Each performer was asked to give their name and why they’d like to win the competition before performing.

Among the 11 performers was Phillip Goehring, a 98-year-old harmonica player who performed an upbeat tune on his harp.

Eighty-eight-year-old Robert Yardley recited “The Toy,” a short story about the importance of his favorite toy and passing it on to his son.

Gloria Boheman told the “Joke of the Day” that had the whole audience laughing.

Alison Weatherhead performed, “Gabriel’s Solo” on her oboe from the movie The Mission, which she dedicated to her mother who lives at Emeritus.

“I’d like to win so I can pay my mom back for all the lessons she gave me,” she said.

Theda Jackson is a songwriter, storyteller, poet, and songwriter who sang a flawless rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s “By, Bye Blackbird.”

Longtime Sacramento singer and saxophonist, Nat Brown gave a stunning performance of “Evening in Vermont.”

When asked why he wanted to win the contest, the noted artist replied, “I don’t want to win…I travel so much I won’t have time to sit still.”

If he were to win, Brown said that he would donate his prize to an Emeritus resident.

The afternoon of talent ended with a swing music performance by the Frank Oddo Band, which is the house band for many socials at the Elk Grove Senior Center.

“This event helps seniors, adult children, and even younger children receive the education they need to plan for the future…long-term care really needs planning ahead of time,” said Laura Clark, representative for Emeritus Laguna Creek.

Competitors of the competition will all have their two-minute videos posted on the contest’s YouTube channel; winners will be chosen via viewer’s votes.

For more information on the contest, visit www.Emeritus.com.

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