Monday, 27 July 2015

7 Steps To Avoid Predators

FAST Bookmark

Friday, 12 June 2015

Aging as Art Photography Show Display 2014 & 2015

Aging As Art Photography Show 2014



Aging As Art Photography Show 2015 Amateur Category 


Aging As Art Photography Show 2015 Professional Category 


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Knowledge and Protection to Avoid Financial Abuse


iStock_000019807895MediumWe are happy to announce that Kelli Jean Morris, JD, LLM has joined the Council on Aging as the Director of the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST). The purpose of FAST  is to develop, strengthen, and conduct programs for the prevention, detection, assessment and treatment of elder abuse. Financial Elder Abuse is one of the nation’s fastest growing crimes against older adults and one of the most under reported.  FAST involves representatives from agencies and organizations across Orange County who collaborate to protect and educate our older adult population. The FAST is committed to working as a team to reduce and prevent physical and fiduciary abuse against the elderly. Our goal, in conjunction with the Adult Protective Services Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), is to promote community awareness, early recognition, prevention and timely, effective intervention. Do You Suspect Financial Abuse?

Contact Adult Protective Services if you suspect you or someone you know is             being financial abused: 1-800-451-5155

Contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen if the person being abused resides in        facility: 714-479-0232

Alert your local police department- the police may intervene if there is good              evidence that a crime is being committed.

Notify bank personnel and other financial agencies or creditors


For more information on the FAST program or for educational seminars, contact Kelli Jean Morris, JD, LLM at 714-479-0107 ext. 226

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Council on Aging- Orange County celebrated Cinco de Mayo with an intellectual bang!

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Council on Aging- Orange County celebrated Cinco de Mayo with an intellectual bang! At COAOC’s annual Engage in Life luncheon, Life Preservers, community partners and COAOC supporters all engaged in a conversation with leading HOAG neurologist, Dr. William R. Shankle.  Facilitated by Linda Hughes, of Hughes and Associates, Hughes and Dr. Shankle discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy brain and the need to “Work your body… Work your mind.” During the program Dr. Shankle shared with us what we can all do to care for our brains and stay engaged in life, like learning a new hobby, exercising and socializing.

The program included the incredible story of In Soo Lee, a senior served by COAOC. She exemplifies the Engage in Life philosophy through her perseverance, humility and love for life. If you missed her story, you can view it here.

CEO and President, Lisa Wright Jenkins discussed COAOC’s achievements over the past year and the amazing work of COAOC Staff and Volunteers.

With 88% of each dollar spent directly to support vital COAOC programs, every dollar donated in the room that day was a step closer to assisting COAOC in helping the 398,000+ seniors in Orange County.

During the event our Life Preservers, who are individuals and corporations who have committed to a multi-year donation, were recognized and delivered a gift sponsored by Sovereign Lending Group, Inc.

Thank You to our Sponsors and Underwriters. Special thanks to our Platinum Presenting Sponsors Hoag and FaxStar. To see a complete list of our Sponsors and Underwriters please click on the link: 2015 Engage Sponsors.

COAOC would like to thank our Event Support, which included staff, COAOC Volunteers and community volunteer partners helped to make a seamless event.










To see more pictures from the event, please visit our album by clicking on the link: Engage in Life 2015 Photo Album 

If you missed our event this year and would like to receive reminders and information about upcoming events please email your information to Rim Hussin at

If you would like to become a Life Preserver or give a donation to help impact the lives of seniors in our community please contact Director of Development, Charlotte Finklea at

Monday, 2 March 2015

Help us get up to $2M in Free OC Register Advertising!


Help us get up to $2M in Free OC Register Advertising!

All you have to do is vote!


We need your help. The Orange County Register is giving nonprofit organizations throughout OC up to $2 million of free advertising. This advertising can help us create awareness and let people know of the great things we are doing.

You can help us get our share of free advertising. Follow the link below and vote for us every day in the month of March. The more votes we receive, the more free advertising we get!

 Thank you for helping us get the message out!




Thursday, 6 November 2014


Giving tuesday facebook

giving tuesday7




Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Funds Raised to Bring Smiles

SmileMaker Logo crop

“There is little success where there is little laughter.” ~Andrew Carnegie

With lots of laughs came lots of success at this year’s, An Evening of Comedy. On Saturday, September 6th, at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim the SmileMakers Guild and the Council on Aging – Orange County came together to have the 11th annual, An Evening of Comedy.

The drinks were flowing, the room was buzzing with energy and the laughter was contagious. Nationally-wide celebrated comedians, Frances Dilorinzo and Kivi Rogers had the entire audience laughing the night away. With over 100 items to bid on or win, such as a private Newport Beach Boat Parade viewing, Disneyland Tickets, Anaheim Ducks signed memorabilia, Duffy boat rentals and golf packages; An Evening of Comedy was a night not to miss! See pictures from the night.

70% of all proceeds from the evening goes towards the SmileMakers Holiday Project and other senior services provided by the Council on Aging – Orange Count.  Helen Lynn, event chair and SmileMaker Guild President announced the goal this year to bring gifts and smiles to more than 3,500 seniors this holiday season.

The SmileMakers Guild provides an opportunity to bring smiles and holiday cheer to some of the most venerable and vulnerable members of our community.

During the evening, the guests were inspired by our video depicting the impact of the SmileMakers Guild Holiday Project.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ombudsman on Front Page in the Orange County Register!

O.C. woman listens to the elderly when others turn away

Lahoma Snyder, an ombudsman, advocates for residents of assisted living homes who may not have anyone else on their side.

Paulina Kosareff, left, tells Lahoma Snyder that she “loves” living at the Robin's Nest, an Anaheim board-and-care home.BY THERESA WALKER / STAFF WRITER  Published: July 27, 2014

Lahoma Snyder heads to the second floor of La Palma Royale, an assisted living residence in Anaheim, when she passes an aged man inching down a hallway, stooped over his walker.“You need help?” she asks.“No,” he says. “Thank you.”The conversation is part of Snyder’s job. As a residential care ombudsman, Snyder’s profession is to look out for the interests of people like the man with the walker.About 28,000 Orange County residents live in long-term care, and at least half don’t have friends or family to advocate for them.That’s where the Orange County Council on Aging’s Ombudsman Program steps in, with men and women like Snyder who pay attention to individual needs.

Ombudsmen don’t regulate the facilities, but state law says they must be allowed access and the opportunity to meet privately with residents.

Snyder is 80, almost certainly the oldest ombudsman in Orange County. At an age when her contemporaries might be seeking to move into an assisted living home, she works nearly full time keeping such places accountable.

Two knee surgeries have slowed her down, and during a recent visit Snyder jokes with the operators of the Robin’s Nest, an Anaheim board-and-care home on her rounds, to save a room for her.

But Snyder, who makes herself available 24/7, has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

“I hope I can make it a few more years, till I can’t walk and I can’t talk,” says Snyder, who keeps her blond hair long and her nails well-manicured.

“I can’t imagine not being able to go out there and look out for the welfare of these people who have no one. I just couldn’t sleep at night.”

Nothing escapes her eyes, her ears, her nose.

Or her heart.

Inside the elevator at La Palma Royale, she recognizes another older man.

“You still smelling smoke?” she asks him.

A while back, the man had been staying in a room where he was bothered by secondhand cigarette smoke. Snyder spoke to management and got his room changed.

“It’s a dream come true,” the man tells Snyder.

“Thanks to you.”

Lahoma Snyder examines a scratch on Barbara Johnson's head during a visit to the Robin's Nest.


Snyder is one of 16 paid ombudsmen who routinely check on the welfare of residents in the county’s 1,100 licensed long-term care facilities. They also respond to complaints about unlicensed facilities.

Another 70 people volunteer as ombudsmen for the nonprofit program, which started in 1976 and operates under both state and federal mandates.

Snyder’s compassion for the elderly stems from her childhood in Wichita, Kan. An 11-year-old Lahoma – it’s an Indian name meaning “peace and tranquility” – spent afternoons after school helping an elderly neighbor with arthritis. She was paid $1 a week.

She and her husband raised four children in Stanton. Her husband died two years ago. She still lives in the home they bought in 1963.

Years spent working part time providing in-home services to shut-ins, and time spent taking care of her husband’s elderly mother, father, aunt, uncle and grandmother, gave Snyder insight into the needs of the elderly. She also learned about the limitations of what families can or will provide.

She started with the ombudsman program in 1992, attracted by an ad in the PennySaver.

There were so few volunteers back then that she made the rounds of 106 facilities.

Now Snyder is assigned to 14 residences, all in Anaheim, ranging from converted houses with six beds to 200-bed complexes.

Most residents in long-term care are seniors. Many don’t have much income, relying on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.

And they often are reluctant to speak to management or other authorities if something – or someone – is bothering them.

Unannounced inspections are rare from the state agencies charged with overseeing the county’s network of small board-and-care homes, large assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing homes.

While the state isn’t often around, ombudsmen like Snyder are.

“Without us, there would be nobody looking out for these people,” says Kathleen Weidner, who became director of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program five years ago

An ombudsman’s role can range from something as simple as Snyder’s “You need help?” to contacting police when there is suspicion of abuse, or filing complaints with state authorities.

Most often, they try to work with facility owners and staff, educating and negotiating to address the concerns of residents or their family members.

In 2008, state budget cuts nearly wiped out the ombudsman program, cutting 15 of 18 paid staff. All but one continued working as volunteers.

Late last year, the program got a boost, with a $675,000 Pacific Foundation grant, spread over three years. Money also comes from the federal government and other private donations.

Snyder, who survived the budget cuts, is paid for 30 hours a week through a federal block grant awarded by the Anaheim City Council.

But she’s no clock watcher.

“If I get on something, I stick with it until it’s finished.”

 Ombudsman Lahoma Snyder, left, shares a laugh with Suzanne Hawley, 68, who resides at La Palma Royale, an assisted living facility in Anaheim.


Technically, an ombudsman is not supposed to get personally involved.

“I’m probably the worst ombudsman at this,” Snyder says about keeping a professional distance. “I just can’t help it.”

Weidner recalls working with Snyder during one of her first days as program director. They went to visit a woman who complained that her one pair of shoes had been stolen.

“I guess she had told Lahoma that before, because Lahoma digs into her purse and pulls out a pair of shoes. I go, ‘What?’I’m thinking, ‘God, I love this woman.’”

Snyder had paid for the shoes herself. After that, the program created a “dignity fund” to help pay for basic items that cost $100 or less.

Snyder likes to drop in at mealtimes to see what the residents are fed and chat as they eat. At one place, she stayed for several meals because, she says, “I couldn’t figure out what the food was.”

She suggested the home begin serving meat, potatoes and vegetables.

During her recent afternoon visit to La Palma Royale, Snyder spends time discussing medication needs and favorite authors with resident Suzanne Hawley, a writer who likes Joyce Carol Oates and Jeffrey Eugenides.

“If I come across any of their books, I’ll know to get them for you,” Snyder says.

Anthony Bertolet is president of the La Palma Royale residents’ council. He credits Snyder for the voice she lends to the concerns of the elderly in long-term care facilities where social workers are lacking.

“We’d be in trouble. We need Lahoma,” says Bertolet, who has spent 12 years in assisted living. “She does all the stuff we need to get done, that we can’t do ourselves.”

Snyder says she feels fortunate to be able to provide some dignity and protection.

“I’ve enriched my life more than I’ve probably enriched someone else’s.”

Snyder listens to Anthony Bertolet, president of the residents' council at La Palma Royale in Anaheim. As an ombudsman with the Council on Aging, Snyder is an advocate for people in long-term care.

What ombudsmen do

Here are some numbers from a report detailing the activity of the Council on Aging’s ombudsmen from July 2012-June 2013:

5,444 unannounced visits to long-term care facilities

1,499 complaints received and responded to

713 resident council meetings attended

293 advanced healthcare directives witnessed

389 abuse allegations received

Source: Kathleen Weidner, director of Orange County Council on Aging Ombudsman Program

 Ombudsmen Lahoma Snyder, foreground left, asks Irma Erickson, a resident at Anaheim Residential Care, how she's feeling. Snyder makes sure there are no medications lying around the bathroom counter, that knives and other dangerous items are out of reach, the first aid closet is locked and more.

Find out more

Issues that the Council on Aging’s residential care advocates deal with include: physical mistreatment of residents; lost or stolen personal items: infection control; timely and correct dispensing of medications; cleanliness and maintenance; food and activities.

Call 714-479-0107 or 800-300-6222 to find out more about the ombudsman program.

Volunteers are asked to commit to at least 12 hours a month. There is a particular need for more volunteers who speak Vietnamese or Korean.

More information is available by clicking on “Advocacy & Protection” at

Contact the writer: 714-796-7793 or

Monday, 14 July 2014

Make Your Voice Heard!

The Council on Aging – Orange County is a part of the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative, a group of non-profit organizations and government agencies serving seniors and their families in Orange County. To help us better understand YOUR needs and wants as a resident of Orange County, please fill out this survey online:



To learn more about the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative, visit:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Inaugural Aging as Art, A Juried Photography Show, Encore Viewing

“It’s amazing how photography can capture just a split second of something exquisite” –Kiera Cass

How do you perceive aging today? Is it the thriving lifestyle of seniors taking on new careers, volunteering or being physically active? Or, is it the traditional notion of the harsher realities of aging?

Many years ago Julie Schoen, Program Director and General Counsel at COAOC became discouraged by the array of anti-aging advertisements and negative aging articles that were pervasive in all types of media.  In response, she envisioned a photography competition and show that celebrated the diversity, dignity, and beauty of the aging experience, affirming the wisdom and character of a live well lived. We are proud to bring Julie’s vision to life with our Inaugural Aging as Art Juried Photography Show.


This past winter, 279 photographs from amateur and professional photographers were submitted     and anonymously judged by our distinguished panel of jurors. The panel consisted of 6 accomplished and recognized professional artists including Michele Cardon, Director of Photography for the Orange County Register, Jacques Garnier, President of The Legacy Project,  Laurie Mirman, Founder and President of Site Services, Rita Swanson, graphic designer and illustrator, and decorated photographers, Laurel Hungerford and Barbara White.

Of the 279 photographs submitted, 50 were selected to be displayed, including a first place, second place, third place and two honorable mentions. The pictures were first displayed in March at the prestigious Bowers Museum. Due to its overwhelmingly positive response, the pictures have an encore showing at the Newport Beach Central Library from now until July 17th for free to the public.

To launch each exhibit the COAOC hosted a reception at the Bowers Museum and the Newport Beach Civic Center inviting the winning photographers, community partners, elected officials and Photography enthusiasts to the start of this anti-anti-aging movement through art. See pictures from the Bowers Museum Reception and the Newport Beach Reception.


We invite you to bring your family, friends and neighbors to experience this spectacular exhibit now on display at the Newport Beach Central Library, 1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92660. COAOC’s Aging as Art Juried Photography Show aims to bring awareness that there has never been a better time to be aging in our world than today.  Society should embrace change, growth, and the wisdom that comes from a life well lived.

The Council on Aging-Orange County Aging as Art Juried Photography Show is grateful to our partners and sponsors:  Behr, Independence Bank, Aaron Brothers, Country Garden Caterers, Bowers Museum, Newport Beach Public Library and the Council on Aging Board of Directors.

We hope you enjoy the inaugural display of Aging as Art.

Keep checking back for our 2015 Aging as Art Contest.

Want more information on the Council on Aging Orange County? Contact us here.

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