Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brain Boosters to Improve Memory

Recently I was pursuing through and found “7 Brain Boosters to Improve Memory” ( These ‘boosters’ are what we already know we need to do plus a few new ones.

(1) Physical Exercise such as walking can have great benefits and in a recent study, those who had a simple exercise routine out performed those who were couch potatoes.

(2) What We Eat also, diet is important with a ‘rainbow’ or fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants.

(3) Exercising the Mind, just like the body, is important too. No ‘magic’ mind exercise has been found but researchers suggest it can be accomplished by working crosswords, word finds, computer challenge games, and the like. Even playing cards can help exercise the mine. In fact, in another article I read recently that focused on Bridge, and how memory loss was less with those who played a couple of times a week.

(4) Sleep… seven hours a night is the standard. Sleep is important for lowering stress levels and archiving memories.

(5) Red Wine, in moderation, in studies has been associated with the reduction of dementia. Researchers suggest one glass a day.

(6) No More Multitasking as it prevents the brain from encoding memories properly.

(7) New Memory Tricks can help you remember names and other details. Just like the long stand practice we’ve been taught, to associate the memory to something else, is still relevant.

As the author points out, it’s normal to have slight memory loss as we age. It is one thing to forget where we parked the car; yet a totally different problem if we forget that we own a car. So don’t panic when you catch yourself fighting for that memory – have a laugh and continue on enjoying life.

-- by Patrick O’Kane, Director of Operations

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Wants to Be Mayor?

This week, I listened to four of the Atlanta Mayoral candidates as they spoke to the Atlanta chapter of the Association of Professional Fundraisers. The participants were Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed, and Jesse Spikes.

They each bring a wealth of experience with them: work in the corporate world, the not-for-profit arena, politics on the state and local level, and a passion to make the City of Atlanta better. As they were speaking about the many challenges facing our city, I wondered why anyone would want the job of Mayor?

Because they were talking to a group who are mostly employed by nonprofits, the candidates spent a lot of time talking about how important nonprofits are to Atlanta. Georgia is home to more than 8000 nonprofits and Atlanta hosts the national headquarters of several national and international charities: Care, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and many more.

The most glaring omission on the part of the panel was direct human services. For more than 40 years, Senior Citizen Services has been the safety net for older citizens “enabling seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity.” We do that by providing home-delivered meals to frail seniors through our Meals On Wheels Atlanta program. We keep seniors in their own homes through our Home Repair Services program and through our Adult Day Care program. We give seniors an outlet for socialization through our eight Neighborhood Senior Centers. We provide transportation to shopping and medical appointments through our CareShare program.

The City can’t be all things for all people; nor can Senior Citizen Services. However, we know that each day we are helping many of our “seasoned saints” live fuller, richer, and safer lives in their own homes in Atlanta.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scams on the Elderly: Beware!

Promises of instant wealth can be appealing to anyone of any age, but perhaps particularly so among the elderly. Individuals living on fixed incomes in an era of constantly rising cost of living can be particularly vulnerable. In 2002, the National Fraud Information Center estimated that the elderly were bilked by unscrupulous telemarketers for $40 billion for schemes such as prizes/sweepstakes, lottery clubs, and magazine sales. The Federal Trade Commission has uncovered and successfully prosecuted fraudulent companies’ claims of products marketed as treatments or cures for disease.

If you, or someone you know, may be wary of high-pressure tactics, or service claims that are “too good to be true,” please contact local authorities and professionals to verify these claims. Don’t be a victim, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you or someone you know has fallen prey to a scam.

-- By Brad Catherman
Vice President, Gift Planning
Senior Citizen Services

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Responding to the Senior Boom

How do we respond to the growing senior boom in metro Atlanta? We respond through innovation, collaboration and engagement.

First, innovation is not often a word we use as much in aging services. But “doing things the way we’ve always done it” is unacceptable given the rising tide of the aging boom. I am proud of our team for providing innovative solutions this year to inadequate resources in Meals On Wheels Atlanta, for instance. The MOWA team increased its focus on volunteerism and has seen an increase in retention rates as a result. They also launched the Meals-In-Motion Pantry which provides donated canned foods to seniors who are appropriate for a grocery program instead of home delivered meals.

Collaboration is a buzz word we all love to use in nonprofit circles. I am proud, however, that SCS continues to work on collaborations, no matter how challenging the relationship. Our wellness collaboration with Visiting Nurse Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Emory’s Fuqua Center for Late Life Depression, and a number of other organizations has produced tangible health outcomes in the lives of our seniors. As the host agency for the Atlanta Home Repair Network, we are constantly working to ensure that senior homeowners who need repairs performed on their houses receive services from us or from other nonprofit providers that help in other parts of the City or in specific ways that we cannot.

Engagement is like collaboration, but in this sense I am more focused on the community at large. More and more individual donors are engaging in the mission of Senior Citizen Services because they appreciate the direct effect that their donations make on lives of seniors in need. Volunteers appreciate being utilized in an efficient and meaningful manner. Community organization, Universities and schools, churches and synagogues, neighborhood associations and civic clubs are welcomed partners because of SCS’ approach that is inclusive and honoring of the experiences of various neighborhoods and traditions.

So you can see that innovation, collaboration and engagement have been a key to our success and will continue to be vital as we seek to meet the needs of a dramatically growing population. We look forward to the challenge and invite each Atlantan to join in the mission!

-- by Jeff Smythe, Executive Director