Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight

By Judy Goddess

February 2020

Feeling Left out of Technology? Want a free computer?

The Sunset branch of the public library and the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center are offering a free, 12-week, 12-hour computer course for seniors. Students will learn how to send and receive email, about social networking apps, sharing photos and videos, online health resources, and how to take advantage of online resources at the SF Public Library. The course will also address internet safety. Students who attend all 12 hours of instruction will receive a free, new Lenovo tablet.

The Sunset Branch Library is the only library in SFPL hosting this program. This is the second year both the Sunset Branch and the Beacon Center have chosen to host this program.

If you are interested in participating, visit the Sunset Branch Library or the Beacon Center to complete a program application. Applications, which are due by Feb. 14, are available in English, Chinese, and Russian. The Community Technology Network, sponsors of the training, will select the individuals to attend the classes.  CTN staff Sabrina Tam explained that “for sure, a class will be offered in Cantonese. We may also be offering Mandarin, English and/or Russian, if there is a need.

The Sunset Branch of the Public Library is located on 18thAvenue at Irving Street. The Sunset Neighborhood Beacon is located on Noriega Street at 46thAvenue.

NEMS Pharmacy Delivers!

Sam Hu is not your ordinary delivery man: he doesn’t leave your package in front of your garage or under the doormat, hoping that it’s found before the end of the day or doesn’t require refrigeration. Hu, a pharmacy tech with North East Medical Services (NEMS), offers a more personal service for specialty medications.

Sr. Spotlight 2-20 Sam.Hu.Pharmacy

Sam Hu, pharmacy tech with North East Medical Services (NEMS). Courtesy photo.

“I hand the prescription to the patient; I make them sign for it. I put it in the refrigerator if it belongs there. Then I talk with them a bit. Sometimes we talk about what they’ve seen on Netflix or food, anything really.” The topic is less important than the connection. “They’re lonely. I can see that our talking makes them feel a lot better. They’re happy to see me.”

Most providers use mail service to send specialty medications to people’s homes. While some providers offer a phone line for patients to call if they have questions about their medication, they may not have a pharmacist on staff who speaks a language they can understand. NEMS, on the other hand, provides a home delivery service for specialty medications patients, and they also have providers who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Toishan, and many other languages.

Hu makes more than 100 home visits a month. This is his third year making home visits.

Some of the clients Hu visits are bed-ridden, others cannot leave the house. The majority don’t speak English.

Jessica Ho, Government Affairs and Community Affairs Liaison, explained that NEMS had to specially fund the specialty pharmacy service.

“Patients who have cancer or rheumatoid arthritis need specialty medications. We wanted to develop a personal relationship with our most vulnerable clients – especially those who are limited English proficient – so that they would receive the appropriate counseling for medications in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner,” Ho said.

Hu and another pharmacy tech spend one or two days a week travelling to patients’ homes. “We are proud to offer this service to our patients.”

NEMS is a non-profit community health center serving the medically underserved populations of the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 45 years of experience, NEMS is one of the largest health centers serving Asians in the United States. Based in San Francisco, the non-profit community health center offers comprehensive health care services to a variety of patients, a majority of whom are uninsured or low-income.

Ongoing Free Programs for Seniors in the Sunset

Senior Power!, Thursday, Feb. 13, 10-11:30 a.m. at the community room of the Taraval Police Station, 2345 24thAve.

Guest speaker: Steven Lopez, Program Manager with the Hearing & Speech Center will lead you through Hearing Loss 101: what it is, how to minimize the loss and the variety of devices that can help. Special Valentine Treat: Christine and her magic massage chair! Followed by Qigong exercises, neighborhood announcements and light refreshments.

Translation services (English-Cantonese) will be provided for the lecture.

Contact M. Graf at opoygan1@yahoo.comor (415) 652-4751;

City College Classes. City College’s Older Adults Program offers a Mind-Body Health class every Thursday afternoon from 12:10-2 p.m. at Wah Mei School. The class blends Tai Chi Chih, voice and breath, accessible yoga and balance and alignment. The class is free and continues through May. Contact Alan Wong, Supervisor Gordon Mar’s aide, for more information. Alan.wong2@sfgov.orgor (415) 554-7481.

The Inner Sunset Senior Community Connectorsprogram meets Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. for exercise, and 2:30-3:30 p.m. for tea snacks, and classes. The Always Active exercise program is offered Mondays and Thursdays; Dance for Strength and Chair Yoga are available alternate Tuesdays. The program meets in the community hall of St. Anne of the Sunset, entrance on Funston Avenue between Irving and Judah streets. The program does not meet on holidays.

Contact Marina Lazzara at marina@sfcommunityliving.orgor (415) 524-3922;

Both the West Portal Senior Center, temporarily located at 280 Claremont Blvd., and the South Sunset Senior Centerat 2601 40thAve., are open five days a week, from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Both Centers offer lunch and a full schedule of programs. The programs are free; a $2 donation is requested for lunch. Call West Portal Program Manager Kelly Wong for information: (415) 601-2899 or visit the Center. Contact the South Sunset Center at (415) 566-2845, or visit.

The two Centers are projects of Self-Help for the Elderly.

Judy Goddess is a reporter with SF Senior Beat. For more information, please visit or contact Judy at (415) 759-1994 or by email at is sponsored in part by:

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