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It feels good to share our story and the stories of others

We have enjoyed some positive attention in the last few weeks and we'd like to tell you about it because we love sharing our story.

We made the news!

On Dec. 6, 2022, the Ventura County Star published a story on the front page of the newspaper about the District's "Adventures in VR" classes. If you missed it, you can read the online version here and watch their video.

In addition, Spectrum News aired a story on Dec. 7, 2022, focused on one of our VR participants, Anne-Marie Widick, as she explored Antarctica virtually during our last class of 2022.

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We are excited to announce several new VR classes have been added to our line-up in 2023, including three different introductory classes for first-time VR users, as well as intermediate level and "Independent Adventures" for pro level. People who take one or two of our intro classes are elevated to intermediate level, which means they can experience virtual travel. Pro level will get you access to all of our VR applications, from meditation and virtual travel to cooking in a virtual kitchen and more.

If you aren't sure what VR is or how to use it, our intro classes teach participants how to use the equipment to navigate the virtual world. We use three different applications, "Nature Treks," "Ocean Rift" and "Guided Tai Chi VR," and our staff are on hand to help as they walk around the room to troubleshoot and offer assistance.

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As fun as it is, virtual reality is also being widely used in some uncommon ways.  For example, VR has proven to help improve quality of life and a sense of well-being by reducing loneliness, addressing depression, and reducing barriers to socialization through common experiences. According to the study “Impact of Virtual Reality Experience on Older Adults’ Well Being” published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Design and Management and MIT AgeLab, "VR is believed to be beneficial to older adults due to its immersive interaction capabilities.

"Participants who used the VR system reported being less socially isolated, being less likely to show signs of depression, experiencing positive affects more frequently, and feeling better about their overall well-being.”

We are happy to report that 97 percent of our participants would recommend the program to others. More results from our post-VR survey are featured in our January/February/March edition of Healthy Attitudes, which you can read here or when it arrives by mail in the next few weeks.

You can learn more about our classes, including dates and times, on our website. Registration is required by calling 805-388-1952, ext. 100.

Check out this video of the District's health promotion coordinator, Mariana Gutierrez, talking about our virtual travel classes and the benefits of VR.

Dementia Friendly Business Legacy Award

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In November, the District was presented with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging’s 2022 Dementia Friendly Business Legacy Award.

The VCAAA LEGACY Awards are designed to recognize businesses that excel in improving the lives of older adults, individuals with disabilities and caregivers. Recipients of the award exemplify the Dementia-Friendly Ventura County movement by “making strides to better the customer service experience for individuals with dementia and their caregivers….provid(ing) services for individuals 60 and older, individuals with disabilities, or caregivers”. 

Our gratitude to VCAAA for this recognition!

Two new episodes released of our 'Stories from the Heart' podcast

We have two new episodes of our podcast, “Stories from the Heart: Inspiring Tales of Life, Learning and Love,” which you can listen to on our website.

Joanna Wullschleger of Camarillo shares a story about perseverance, motherhood, caregiving and her journey through grief.

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The mother of twins and an adopted daughter, Joanna has outlived all her children and two husbands. She was a caregiver through her son’s battle with cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease, and she helped her daughter and first husband through their cancer battles. Her ability to stay positive despite the hand she has been delt is astonishing, and her story about living in the present is truly worth listening to.

In another episode, Susan Seats of Oak Park talks about recording her dad’s life stories and holding a living memorial to help him find meaning in his life before his passing.

At 74, her dad was active and adventurous, attending space camp and participating in a simulated flight to the moon. But 10 years later, his health had declined, and he seemed to have lost his enthusiasm for life. Susan was determined to help him see all that he had accomplished, so she connected him with Camarillo Hospice’s life storytelling program and held a living memorial, where loved ones shared touching tributes.

Her story about honoring the living and helping her dad transition peacefully by reflecting on a life well lived is both heartfelt and inspirational.

Touring the District's campus

We had the honor of hosting members of the California Legislative Staff Education Institute on Dec. 1. CLSEI organizes in-depth policy discussions and connects legislative staff with a diverse cross-section of public, private and nonprofit stakeholders.

The District's CEO, Kara Ralston, was asked to talk to the group about our classes, programs and services. The cohort also toured a few Community Based Adult Service Centers while visiting Ventura County, but we were their only opportunity to learn about the role of a health care district.

Health care districts are a type of special district/public entity that provide health and wellness services for the communities they serve. They respond to the needs in their community by providing a range of services, which may include medical, clinical, or social setting programs and services, and education,  wellness, resource and advocacy. Each of California’s Healthcare Districts is governed by a locally elected Board of Trustees who are directly accountable to the communities they serve.

You can learn more on our website.

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