Tuesday, July 31, 2012

End Senior Hunger in Georgia

By Deborah Britt and Jeffrey Smythe

For the second time, Georgia has been ranked among the top 10 states for senior hunger — a dubious distinction for a state that typically considers a top 10 ranking a good thing.

This disturbing news comes from “Senior Hunger in America 2010: An Annual Report,” a research study prepared by respected economists Dr. James P. Ziliak and Dr. Craig Gundersen and issued in May by The Meals On Wheels Research Foundation.

As of 2010 (the latest year for which data is available), more than 17 percent of Georgia’s seniors faced the threat of hunger — an increase from 14.8 percent in 2007 and well above the current national average of 14.85 percent. That put Georgia seventh among the Top 10.

Nationally, 8.3 million seniors were threatened by hunger, an increase of 78 percent from 2001 to 2010. Notably, six of the Top 10 are in the South: Mississippi (No. 1), Tennessee (No. 5), Alabama (No. 6), Georgia (No. 7), South Carolina (No. 8), and Florida (No. 9) — a shocking reality that the entire region needs to recognize.

Georgia’s ranking reflects the increased demand that we are experiencing for services such as Meals On Wheels.

In Atlanta, we’re seeing the largest waiting list we’ve ever experienced, while south of the city, Fayette County is home to one of the fastest-growing senior populations in Atlanta.

There’s no question that we can do better, and we must. Part of the challenge is a refusal to acknowledge that there is a problem.

As a society, we do not like to think about the fact that our parents and grandparents, the very people who raised us, might be going without a meal — much less many meals. But it happens every day, and if programs such as Meals On Wheels were not there to provide seniors with nutritious meals, many of them simply would not eat.

It’s often assumed that hunger is a problem limited to the poor — but that is not the case. This latest research shows that the majority of seniors facing the threat of hunger have incomes one to two times the poverty level. Too many of them are forced to make the choice between buying medications or a meal.

Our own senior nutrition programs are struggling to keep pace with demand, and costs are rising. Food prices have risen 6 percent nationally in the past year, and rising gas prices are an added burden — especially for Meals On Wheels programs that depend on volunteers to deliver the meals.

Given this stark reality, one might reasonably ask how a solution can be found.

Fortunately, the cure for senior hunger exists. In the richest nation on the planet we have an abundance of food. We have an abundance of ingenuity, generosity and compassion. We also have an existing infrastructure for delivering that food.

What we need now is to recognize that the problem is growing and take action.

Georgia owes it to its senior citizens to end senior hunger for good.

Deborah Britt is president and CEO for Fayette Senior Services. Jeffrey Smythe is executive director for Meals On Wheels Atlanta.
This editorial originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 27, 2012.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tips for Keeping Senior Loved Ones Safe in the Heat

Heat kills more Americans in a typical year than any other weather disaster - more than hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or any other – according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, we have already seen at least 30 people die in the heat wave that has gripped much of the U.S. to kick off Summer 2012. As in most years, senior adults make up most of those deaths, a fact driving Senior Care Corner to offer tips for keeping senior loved ones safe in hot weather.
Seniors are most often hit hardest by hot weather because their systems often don’t adjust as well to extreme changes in temperature as do those of people who are younger. On top of that, many are taking medications or have medical conditions that affect their ability to cope with temperature changes, which is compounded because they often don’t recognize thirst and can quickly become dehydrated in the heat, compounding their illness. This makes it most important to plan ahead to protect older adults who are aging in place during periods of very hot weather for their location, especially for family caregivers who live at a distance.
“The most important part of planning is assuring senior loved ones ride out extreme heat in air conditioning” says Barry Birkett of Senior Care Corner. “If their home is not air conditioned we need to arrange to get them to the home of someone who is or a location such as a mall where they can relax out of the heat.”
Planning Ahead to Protect Seniors from Severe Heat

If their home has air conditioning, make sure it’s in good working order with regular inspections to minimize the risk it will quit on the hottest day.

Make sure senior loved ones use the air conditioning when they have it. Financial strains have driven many to cut back, but keeping the A/C off on the hottest days can be deadly.

For those living in homes without air conditioning, agree on plans for them to go to a location that has it, including arranging in advance for transportation when needed.

Stress upon them the need to drink a lot of cool, nonalcoholic beverages –especially water - in the heat, even if not thirsty.

Check in on senior loved ones who are aging in place at least twice a day in extreme heat, even if they have air conditioning. Talking on the phone may not be sufficient to determine if they are suffering from the heat, so those living at a distance may want to arrange in advance for Skype video calls.
Taking these precautions won’t guarantee senior loved ones stay safe from heat-related illness or worse, but they will improve the chances they won’t become one of the summer statistics.
About Senior Care Corner

Senior Care Corner (on the web at SeniorCareCorner.com) provides solutions, information and tools to family caregivers and others who care for and about senior adults to help them improve the lives of the seniors in their lives. Their blog, biweekly podcast and bookstore address a wide variety of topics family caregivers can use to better understand the wants and needs of their senior loved ones.

Originally posted at http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/7/prweb9679810.htm.

Friday, June 15, 2012

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

What is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?

Each year, hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic, and can happen to anyone- a family member, a neighbor, even you. Yet it is estimated that only about one in five of those crimes are ever discovered.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

How Can I Be Involved?

Each year on or around June 15th, communities and municipalities around the world plan activities and programs to recognize WEAAD. We encourage you to join others around the nation and world in observing WEAAD by carrying out activities such as:

•Developing an educational program or press conference;
•Volunteering to call or visit an isolated senior; or
•Submitting an editorial or press release to your local newspaper to create awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity to share information about abuse, neglect, and exploitation in later life. However, raising awareness of mistreatment of older persons is an ongoing effort, not limited to one day. There are many ways to become involved, from the simple yet meaningful, to planning events that require a little more commitment and time. Visit the “Join Us in the Fight Against Elder Abuse” section of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) website for more information and activity ideas for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Whether the effort is great or small, once a year or throughout, all of these efforts empower us to make long-lasting differences in the lives of vulnerable elders.

More info can be found at:  http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/EA_Prevention/weaad.aspx

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vote for Meals On Wheels Atlanta to Win a Car!

Facebook users -- please log into your Facebook account and "like" Nalley Driven for a Cause.

Vote Here!

Please vote between June 13 and June 30, 2012, for Meals On Wheels Atlanta.

We will use the new vehicle to deliver nutritious meals to more than 300 homebound seniors each day in Atlanta.  We currently have more than 150 people on our waitlist in need of meals.  Georgia ranks seventh in the nation for senior food insecurity.  More than 8,300,000 seniors go hungry in the U.S. each day.

Vote early and vote often.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Santa for Seniors Collects Gifts at Christmas in July

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but in a small way, all believe in the spirit of Santa. On Wednesday, July 25, Santa for Seniors will hold its annual “Christmas in July” cocktail party at TEW Galleries. Party organizers are Jill Sherman, Dottie Smith (Executive Director), and Jade Sykes Slover.

Santa for Seniors exemplifies the spirit of Santa by providing volunteers the opportunity to purchase inexpensive “senior friendly” items such as magnifying glasses, neck pillows, blankets, and many other gifts that can be given to lonely and homebound seniors on special occasions and especially during the holidays.

“Senior citizens are probably our loneliest and least considered group,” Chairperson Jill Sherman explained. “A little bitty gift makes them smile like the days when they were young and Santa Clause came to see them.”

Meals On Wheels Atlanta, through its Santa for Seniors program collects new, unwrapped “senior friendly” items such as big print books, bath or personal hygiene products, small blankets, slip-resistant slippers, personal fans, flashlights, or stationery. Items can be dropped off at SCS, 1705 Commerce Drive NW between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. For ticket information about the Christmas in July party, please contact Steve Hargrove at shargrove@scsatl.org or 404-605-8450.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Meals On Wheels Atlanta Kicks Off A Meal to Remember 2012

The Host Committee and Past Chairs gathered at the St. Regis Hotel Tuesday to kick off planning for this year’s Silver Anniversary of A Meal to Remember.

This year marks the 25th celebration of A Meal to Remember when it returns to Atlanta on Friday, November 2, 2012, at the St. Regis (Presenting Sponsor) to raise money for Meals On Wheels Atlanta (MOWA). MOWA has been delivering daily, nutritious meals to homebound seniors in the metro area since 1970.

This year’s elegant, black-tie, gourmet dinner is being chaired by Cindy Voyles, Harrison Rohr, and Jack Sawyer. In celebration of the Silver Anniversary, the Past Chairs will be the honorees for this year’s event. Past Chairs in attendance at the luncheon included Jeanne Berry (1991), Aida Flamm (1995), Sally Dorsey (1997 & 2001), Sandra Baldwin (2002), Tony Conway (2002), Jane Dean (2003), Dudley Stevens (2005, 2006) Marilyn Krone (2007), Charlene Crusoe-Ingram (2009), Eileen Rosencrants (2010), Harrison Rohr (2011), and Jack Sawyer (2011).

The November gala guest chefs will include Chef Gerry Klaskala from Aria, Pano Karatassos, Jr. from Kyma, and Chef Joe Trevino, Executive Chef at the St. Regis Atlanta. Wine pairings will be selected by Michael Venezia of United Distributors. The event organizers hope to raise more than $500,000 which will provide nearly 77,000 nutritious meals for homebound seniors.

Proceeds generated by “A Meal to Remember” benefit Meals On Wheels Atlanta.

For more information or tickets, please contact Steve Hargrove at shargrove@scsatl.org or 404-604-8450. Tickets begin at $1500 per couple if purchased before September 14.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Local Chefs Prepare Intimate Dinners in Private Homes

Meals On Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) will hold a series of Sunday Suppers this spring to raise money to help feed homebound seniors. Currently, more than 100 people are on the waitlist in need of daily nutrition that Meals On Wheels Atlanta provides.

Intimate dinners prepared by the finest Atlanta chefs will be held throughout the city in April and May. Chefs include Joe Truex (Watershed), Paul Albrecht (Paul’s), Liz Cipro (A Legendary Event), Gerry Klaskala (Aria), Todd Ginsberg (Bocado), Olivier Gaupin (Eleven at Loews Atlanta), Bennett Hollberg (Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse), Shaun Doty (Yeah! Burger) and more. Hosts include Joanne and Charles Ackerman, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Cindy and Bill Fowler, Elizabeth and Carleton Allen, Jack Sawyer and Bill Torres, Sharon Umphenour, Judy Zaban, Paul Hagedorn, Su and Al Longman, Leslie and David Wierman, and others.

Meals On Wheels Atlanta delivers more than 100,000 meals a year to Atlanta seniors who, for a variety of reasons, may be unable to meet their own nutritional needs. From short-term to long-term assistance, the difference MOWA and its volunteers makes to these seniors is undeniable. In addition to the nutrition aspect, the daily visits made by staff and volunteers to individuals whose lives are mobility-limited, make such a difference to these seniors’ lives. More than 6,000,000 seniors go hungry in the U.S. each day and Georgia ranks sixth for senior food insecurity.

Dates for the dinners are April 29, May 6, and May 20. Tickets are $300 per person and may be purchased by phoning 404-604-8450.

About Meals On Wheels Atlanta / Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. (SCS), a nonprofit, community-based organization, has been providing services since 1965 and supports senior independence through meals, shelter, education and community. Their programs include Meals On Wheels Atlanta, Home Repair Services, Vivian T. Minor Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and Fulton County Neighborhood Senior Centers. For more information on programs, please visit www.scsatl.org.