ASTER Speaker Series Continues Today

By Brandon HENSLEY

Today on the main floor of the Verdugo Hills Hospital, ASTER will continue its speaker series, this one designed to help seniors mentally, physically and emotionally.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., ASTER (Assisting Seniors Through Enhanced Resources) will have three guest speakers talk to seniors, and then there will be a Q-and-A forum.

The meeting will focus on how seniors can prepare to better deal with the aging process.

“Reaching for that cup [in the kitchen] is harder to do now, then you slip and fall,” said ASTER founder Robbyn Battles. “We wanted to touch on the physical aspect of things seniors need to be doing to accommodate for these new limitations they’re going to encounter.”

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Sydney Blake, Occupational Therapist Denise Miller and Chiropractor Dr. Mark Anthony will be speaking. They will be focusing on proper diet, as well as how seniors and their family members can look for warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other potential problems. After the panel discussion dinner will be served.

The ASTER program has been in existence for over a year. Past speaker events included talks about fire awareness in homes and information on fraud. Board member Steve Pierce said the organization is progressing.

“It’s really for the community,” Pierce said. “It’s not just for seniors. It can be for people at an age that are interested in hearing about how to handle situations as they do get older.”

ASTER meetings are held quarterly. They used to be held in the Community Room of the La Crescenta Library, but Pierce said parking problems caused them to move to the hospital. That’s okay with Battles, because she loves to see more people at each event.

“Every time we do an event, our numbers grow,” she said. “So we’re thinking we should have 150 to 175 seniors at this event. They love all the information.”

Battles said she would like a number of 300 people to eventually come. Because of past complaints about not being able to hear the speakers very well, Battles said today’s meeting will have a professional sound system.

The organization is also planning on having a retreat in August to find a way to help the community beyond a speaker series.

“We need to find something else that’s going to be easier and continuous that gives back to the seniors and helps them,” Battles said.

But so far, so good.

“The reaction we get from the seniors is great,” Pierce said. “It’s almost like, ‘Someone cares about us.’ The information we provide them is not only valuable but I think it gives them hope. It gives them a feeling that they’re as important as anyone in this community.”

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