Monday, January 26, 2009

$1 Million for Home Repairs

Senior Citizen Services (SCS) continues to touch the lives of many older adults in Atlanta. I am excited to share with everyone that SCS is the recipient of $1 million from the competitive grant process of Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB). This funding will allow SCS to perform major home repairs for seniors living in Fulton County; 90 project home sites will benefit from this award, all being low- or very low-income seniors.

The beautiful thing about this funding from FHLB is that it will allow seniors to stay in their own homes, living independently. As one ages, it becomes more difficult to keep up with home maintenance. When proper home maintenance is not performed, it leads more major repairs. SCS’ home repair team will work with the seniors to educated them and assist with maintenance plans.

It’s not just about coming in and performing home repairs, but ensuring that the senior can continue to live independently. The home repair team will assess each senior to see if they may need other services, such as Meals On Wheels Atlanta, or the may want to join in the fun at a senior center.

Touching the lives of seniors is not just about providing one service, but listening to them to see what other needs they may have. I’m proud that we, as a team, work to ensure everyone we touch has a good experience, and to refer them to other internal programs or external agencies when appropriate.

-- by Patrick O'Kane
Director of Operations

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Renewable Energy: Giving from the Heart!

Much is made these days about “renewable energy” sources. Essentially, energy which passes from one form to another, igniting motion again and again. I recently experienced the “renewable energy” of good feelings that can pass from one person to another, and back again.

A college fraternity brother and I organized a home repair project with some volunteer friends prior to the holidays. The home was owned by a wonderful senior woman who was grateful beyond words. Volunteers brought their youngsters who delighted in scraping, spackling, and painting. I asked one young man if he was having fun, and he said the best thing about the day was that “the lady who lived there gives great hugs… and as many as you want!” And the energy was passed back again.

Sure enough, I also experienced a warm, crushing, hug from the senior citizen whose inner energy of love and gratitude ignited a volunteer team. The experience remains one of the best gifts I received during the holiday season, and one which will keep on giving well into 2009 and beyond.

Happy New Year from the folks at SCS!

-- by Brad Catherman
Vice President, Gift Planning

Monday, January 12, 2009

9 Ways to Help in '09

January brings an opportunity to set New Year’s Resolutions for the New Year. What are some common things we can all do to ensure that Senior Citizen Services remains the safety net for seniors that so many depend on?

1. Invest Time
Many people do not respond to the word “volunteer.” So, I invite you to make an investment of time—whatever that means to you—in the mission of Senior Citizen Services. This can mean delivering meals during your lunch hour once per month, giving a ride to a CareShare senior from time to time, or even organizing a group to complete a half-day HOMES home repair project once per year. There are opportunities for every age, every schedule, and every interest.

2. Share Resources
A donation of $35 helps SCS support a senior attending our Adult Day Center for Alzheimer’s/dementia. A donation of $142 supports a senior for an entire month of Meals On Wheels Atlanta nutrition. Donations of all amounts directly and tangibly translate into services that keep seniors in their homes and communities.

3. Advocate
Local government and the United Way are both constantly seeking feedback in terms of limited human services dollars. A letter or phone call can make all the difference—or better yet, join us at the State Capitol this winter to advocate for funding for seniors!

4. In-Kind really is Kind
Our organization benefits from a wealth of in-kind support. Donating your car for Meals On Wheels Atlanta, donating computer equipment, sewing equipment, copy machines, craft supplies, or even office supplies allow our organization to cut back on operating costs and maximize donations to direct services. Canned food is a growing need for SCS’ new Community Cupboard initiative. “Santa for Seniors” is also a creative way to provide small specific gifts that seniors need.

5. Talk to your Workplace and Worship-place
Workplace matching gifts, corporate giving programs, group volunteerism and workplace food drives are a few ways to engage your workplace in our mission. Places of worship can also make a dramatic impact in volunteerism, special offerings and food drives.

6. Will you?
Including SCS in your Will can ensure that SCS is supported for years to come—especially as Baby Boomers age and require more services than ever.

7. It takes a Committee
A Meal to Remember, SCS’ signature black-tie event, as well as our Golf Tournament, new GeneRACEtion 5K Run/Walk, SWEEP Home Repair event, and Senior Centers Open Houses all require committees of dedicated and resourceful individuals to make them happen.

8. Speak Up
Involving our organization in a speaking event at your favorite club, association, networking group or social group OR volunteering to speak on SCS’ behalf at one of these venues allows SCS to raise its visibility and engage more Atlantans in our mission.

9. E-help
Use GoodSearch when you go to your Internet browser, use Benevolink when you shop online, make sure SCS has your email address to communicate (cutting back on mailing costs) and forward our emails to your family and friends—easy ways to help out!

What did I miss? Surely you can add a few more creative ideas to the list—just email me at Thank you for entertaining these 9 simple resolutions that will build a better Atlanta for seniors in need.

-- by Jeff Smythe
Executive Director

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for Seniors -- and the rest of us!

Each year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions or set goals for the new year. I recently read an article with suggestions for seniors, but it sounds like many of the suggestions could apply to almost anyone.

What did the article suggest?

Visit a senior center. Senior centers are spread through out the Atlanta metro area. SCS manages eight of them. Visit our website for locations at Senior centers are not “just a bunch of old people.” The senior centers are alive with all sorts of activities including games, crafts, lectures, exercise classes, educational courses, special interest clubs, entertainment, travel, parties and dances and hot lunches. Involved seniors are alive and vibrant and in reasonably good health.

Plan to eat healthy meals. Make is a goal to eat at least one nutritious, healthy meal each day. Drive on by the drive through window. Avoid fast food. Invite a friend to eat a healthy meal with you.

Increase your social contacts. You can do this at a senior center, through volunteer activities, at a social club, church, synagogue or mosque.

Clean house. Go through and donate unused or unwanted items. Arrange to give them to family, friends or charity. Find someone who would like that item you have been saving for 50 years in case you ever need it again. Bite the bullet and get rid of it.

Get some exercise. Plan on a daily walk. Walk with a friend or engage a companion to walk with you. Senior centers offer exercise classes. If you don’t want to go out and can afford a treadmill, purchase one for your residence and set it up in front of a TV.

Engage your mind. Enroll in an adult education class. Many are short term and offer opportunities for a wide variety of interests. It is important to keep both body and mind fit. Regular mental stimulation will help you stay sharp, reduce memory loss, and some say, prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. Start a new hobby (senior center can help); teach your hobby to another, perhaps a grandchild, join a book club or books-on-tape club.

These are all great ideas for seniors – and for all of us. Have a safe and happy new year!

-- by Steve Hargrove
Director of Events and Marketing