Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Santa for Seniors Collects Gifts for the Holidays

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but in a small way, all believe in the spirit of Santa. On Tuessday, December 7, Santa for Seniors will hold its annual Holiday Luncheon at 103 West. The luncheon is hosted by Jill Sherman, Dottie Smith, and Jade Sykes. Attendees will bring unwrapped, new gifts that will be used by Meals On Wheels Atlanta on Christmas Eve for its clients.

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, throws, 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,” Jill Sherman explained. “A little bitty gift makes them smile like the days when they were young and Santa Clause came to see them.”

Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, through its Santa for Seniors program is collecting 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. If you would like more information, please contact Steve Hargrove at or 404-605-8450 or visit

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweaters for Seniors

In one metro Atlanta county, there’s a socially minded school responsible for educating the next generation. Also, in that same county (Fulton) is Senior Citizen Services of Metro Atlanta that cares for the needs of seniors.

Representatives from both organizations met for the first time in a hallway at the Galloway School on behalf of “Sweaters For Seniors.”

It was a really happy day, but not just for the warm sunlight that beamed through the school’s big windows. Or because of the melange of yellow and red trees just outside those windows as you overlooked Chastain Park. What made this morning special was like-minded people in various careers assembling on behalf of a common cause – to help keep Atlanta’s seniors warm this coming winter.

In attendance were Missy Hirsh, Assistant to the College Counselor for Galloway, Lexi Fields, Galloway Economics Teacher and Service Fair Director, Steven Hargrove, Director of Special Events for SCS and myself, Sharna Fulton, Director of Marketing of Sweaters for Seniors and AHCS.

So why were three different organizations involved in the collection of 174 pounds of sweaters you may ask? (Missy Hirsh weighed the many green bags of beautiful sweaters made with heavy wool, cashmere, fleece and dry cleaned just for Sweaters for Seniors.)

The answer is that we at AHCS, sought for the first time this year, to make “Sweaters For Seniors” truly a community endeavor. Why?

#1: Schools were the best resource for collecting sweaters for seniors the past 2 years. We realized it was students were the most enthusiastic and truly what made the program special.

#2: We thought it would be a good way to connect Atlanta’s youth to Atlanta’s seniors. (After all, young or old, we are all one!)

#3: We wanted to put the spotlight on the senior service agencies and what they do for Atlanta’s elder population. We felt that by connecting schools with their same county senior agencies, we could make school communities aware of the seniors’ needs in their own neighborhood. What’s more, with blog and Facebook posts like these, we could further illuminate the existence of and what agencies like Senior Citizen Services of Metro Atlanta does to help seniors.

In conclusion, I’m really pleased with the outcome of this partnership for 2010. Galloway’s Missy Hirsh puts it best. “I want our students to learn about thinking outside of their own box. Sometimes, there’s a stigma attached to not having ‘things.’ By collecting sweaters for seniors, our students were able to know there are people with needs and that it’s okay to understand that and to help them.

Thanks to the outstanding organizational skills of Steven Hargrove and his staff the sweaters will have value too! When I approached Hargrove last summer as to whether SCS could find use for “sweater donations,” he responded “yes.” Within a few days, he had the perfect idea for the sweaters — to deliver them to SCS’s 300 clients along with their Thanksgiving Meals On Wheels.

As we button-up collections for Fulton County’s seniors this year, we look forward to more schools joining us in the “4th Annual Sweaters for Seniors” coming next fall!
-- by Sharna Fulton, Alternative Home Care for Seniors

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Meal to Remember: Sold Out!!

This year marks the 23rd anniversary of “A Meal to Remember” when it returns to Atlanta this fall to raise money for Meals On Wheels Atlanta, a program of Senior Citizen Services, that has been delivering daily meals to homebound seniors in the metro area since 1970. Tony Conway will be honored this year for his commitment to Senior Citizen Services and Meals On Wheels Atlanta.

This year’s elegant black-tie reception is being chaired by Su Longman, Debbie Dean, and Eileen Rosencrants. This year’s theme will be “Siente el sabor Latino” exploring the tastes and sensations of Latin America. The event will be held at the St. Regis Atlanta on Friday, November 5. Guest chefs are Chef Aar√≥n Sanchez (Paladar and Centrico, New York), Chef Carmen Gonzalez (chef consultant, New York), and Chef Douglas Rodriguez (D. Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor Hotel in Miami Beach), and Chef David Ramirez (Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando). The dinner will be coordinated by Jonathan Jerusalmy, Executive Chef at the St. Regis Atlanta. Wines will be paired and chosen by Michael Venezia of United Distributors.

A live and silent auction featuring food and wine, trips, fine art, and more will be held in conjunction with the dinner. The event organizers hope to raise more than $400,000 which will provide more than 61,500 nutritious meals for homebound seniors.

Proceeds generated by “A Meal to Remember” benefit Meals On Wheels Atlanta, a program of Senior Citizen Services. To allocate every dollar possible to direct meal provision, organizers of the event require every expense associated with the dinner, reception and pre-event festivities be donated or underwritten by sponsorships or auction proceeds. Since the first “A Meal to Remember” in 1988, more than $4 million has been raised to support Meals On Wheels Atlanta.

You may be placed on the wait list for seats by phoning 404-605-8450.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Give to Seniors?

Every charity is a worthy cause. So why should you choose older adults as the beneficiaries of your holiday giving? Because your grandmother would tell you to donate to the babies, or donate for the puppies.

Our grandparents, whatever their age, grew up in a different world than we did. They worked hard and raised their children to have greater horizons than they did, and many raise their grandchildren as well. My grandparents were the first generation of our family to be born in the United States. My grandmother is the mother of three, grandmother of five, and great-grandmother of five. She has always considered it her duty to take care of all of us, from combing a newborn’s hair to worrying about my mother’s health over her own.

Studies show that the next generation of seniors will be even more hesitant to ask for help. As Baby Boomers edge into their senior years, many are sandwiched between their parents and their children, taking care of one and still supporting the other. More than any other generation, they want to be independent.

I am lucky to be the daughter of a straight-shooter. My mother knows what she needs, when she needs it, and how to get it. I worry about when the day will come that she is no longer able to be so clear about these things, when I need to be the one taking care of her and giving her confidence that things will be all right. Watching her care for my grandmother has given me a good example, but I know it won’t be enough.

I support Senior Citizen Services because I know my mother will always worry more about me than herself.

-- by Jaclyn Barbarow
Grants & Gifts Manager

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Going for Gold

You're only as old as you feel. As a testament to the notion that you can be physically fit--and even athletically competitive--at any age, the 2010 Georgia Golden Olympics will be held Sept. 22-25 in Warner Robins, GA. The competition serves as a qualifying event for the 2011 National Competition scheduled for June, 2011, in Houston.

The Georgia Golden Olympics is for adults 50 years of age or older, and provides an opportunity for seniors to participate in an amateur sports competition, learn new leisure skills, discover that physical activity is for all ages, meet new friends, and share good times. It is an opportunity to have fun!

A variety of activities are held to make it possible for participation regardless of an individual's age or physical ability. Different age divisions and several levels of ability spread the competition out, so there is something for everyone. Athletic competitions range from the traditional, such as swimming and track and field, to those commonly associated with the over-50 set including golf, horseshoe toss, and shuffleboard. There are several dozen events in all including competitions in checkers, Frisbee throwing, racquetball and badminton. And to accommodate those confined to a wheelchair, several of the events allow participants who cannot stand the option of sitting.

Medals will be awarded for first, second, and third place in each event and age category, and participants will receive lunch, dinner, a certificate and a Golden Olympics t-shirt.

For more information, visit

Thursday, August 19, 2010

National Senior Citizens Day

This Saturday, August 21, is National Senior Citizens Day which honors the contributions our senior population has made to our nation and honors the accomplishments throughout their life. On this day, we are encouraged to recognize and show appreciation for the value and contribution of elderly people to home, family and society.

In his Presidential Proclamation (August 19, 1988), President Ronald Reagan said "For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older."

Older people are living longer and staying active, so make sure you're nurturing your community to be the best place for people to grow older. Volunteer to help an elderly person clean up their yard or take out the trash. Host a senior citizens game night in your area, several times a year. Go to a nearby retirement home and put on a show. Be supportive of their hobbies and interest. Sit and listen to all the stories they may have to tell. And more importantly, just be courteous. Don't hesitate to ask for their help in return - retirees make great volunteers!

On National Senior Citizens Day, we should:
  • Spend some time with senior citizens
  • Show our appreciation for senior citizens
  • Do volunteer work in support of the elderly

If you are a senior citizen, enjoy your day any way you desire. After all, this is your day! Make sure to take advantage of senior citizens specials and discounts. There's bound to be plenty offers today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10th Annual Meals On Wheels Golf Tournament

You are invited to participate in Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta’s 10th Annual Meals On Wheels Atlanta Golf Tournament on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at the historic Capital City Club at Crabapple. Last year’s tournament proceeds directly translated into nearly 17,000 meals for homebound and frail seniors in Atlanta. Your support via a foursome or through your company as a corporate sponsor will be invaluable in our efforts to raise funds for vital nutrition and services.

The return on your charitable investment will be three-fold. First, you will be directly impacting the lives of hundreds of seniors who are no longer able to shop or cook for themselves. You will also be featured as a key supporter or corporate sponsor through event signage, website and newsletter recognition, and pre- and post-event publicity. Finally, any gift of $4,000 or greater will receive hole signage and special mention at the reception.

Once again, this year’s tournament will feature the world-renowned Capital City Crabapple Golf Course, the oldest club in the city, tracing its origins back to 1883. The Crabapple golf course is a Tom Fazio design located on the county line between Cherokee and Fulton Counties. The 7,137-yard, par-72 layout has been the site of many tournaments including the American Express World Championship in which Tiger Woods was the eventual champion.
Thank you, again, for your support of Meals On Wheels Atlanta and SCS. You may register by
contacting Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing at SCS: 404-605-8450 or We look forward to “putting” and “driving” together for Atlanta’s seniors.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I picked up my son from an incoming flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport last week, and witnessed a remarkable display of spontaneous patriotism. As each uniformed U.S. Armed Services man or woman came up the elevator to the baggage claim area, the fifty or so people waiting to meet their respective air passenger broke into spontaneous applause, regardless if they were waiting for a soldier or not! The service personnel and their families were humbled by the applause for their homecoming.

Volunteerism is at the heart of America, or some might say that volunteerism is the heart of America. The 2008-2009 SCS Annual Report celebrated our volunteers who donated more than 44,000 hours of service to our seniors in need. This annual report can be found on the SCS web site, as well as numerous opportunities for volunteerism – whether hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. Please join us as we celebrate the lives of our senior citizen clients – and we’ll save our applause for you!

Brad Catherman
Vice President of Gift Planning

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SCS in the News

Recently, Senior Citizen Services was featured in several news stories regarding the current heat wave. SCS provided air conditioners and fans to seniors.

Check out Erin Coleman’s report on WSB-TV Channel 2:

Corinna Allen of CBS 46 profiled the work of Georgia Natural Gas and SCS:

WABE’s Rose Scott interviewed Jeff Smythe on July 7:

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Old Do You Feel?

What is the answer to this question: How old do you feel?

Well, that depends for many people. I find it amazing when I talk to someone in their 80s and they say they feel like they did when they were in their 20s, less some additional aches and pains. And as I age, I realize that what they are saying is true! My mind sometimes tells me that I am in my 20s again.

We are only as old as we want to be and only as old as we feel. Those individuals who are older yet feel younger usually are active in some capacity. Many use their retirement years to give back to the community via volunteer opportunities, and others simply make plans to keep themselves active and busy with friends and family.

This harkens back to when my grandmother was still with us. She was a fun, energetic lady who stayed busy with her church. She always had projects to complete, lessons to review for Sunday School, and to prepare for an event/dinner at the church. She used to complain that it wasn’t fair that in her mind she felt young yet her body was ‘dragging along’. To this day, I believe she lived her life ensuring others were served. This gave her a purpose, something to do and accomplish.

So, do you want to feel younger? Then we invite you to volunteer to stay young in mind, active, and healthy.

-- by Patrick O’Kane, Director of Operations

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Money Saving Tips

AARP has compiled a list of smart money-saving tips for consumers of any age. Here are a few… more can be accessed at

1. Use up to 60% less energy by boiling water in a microwave rather than on an electric stove.
2. Lower your thermostat in the winter; to feel more comfortable at lower temperatures, place pans of water near heating outlets because water-filled air retains heat better.
3. Save water on a flush by putting a plastic bottle full of water, weighted by pebbles, in your tank.
4. Get a rain barrel to collect water for your lawn and garden.
5. Free treatment and medication may be available if you qualify for a medical study; find studies at

--by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Seniors and Heat-related Illness

As we near records for high temperatures and poor air quality, we want to make sure you have the information you need to stay safe and healthy. Senior citizens are at high risk of heat-related illnesses; this risk is increased by some medications and health conditions. Stay cool, stay informed, and please check on your elderly neighbors.

Here is some information provided by the CDC:

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

  • Warning signs may include:
  • extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
    red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • rapid, strong pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • unconsciousness

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

  • Warning signs may include:
  • heavy sweating
  • paleness
  • muscle cramps
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • cool, moist skin
  • fast, weak pulse
  • fast, shallow breathing

Preventing and Managing Heat

Take a cool shower or bath.
Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level.
Check with your physician if your fluid intake is generally limited or if you take water pills.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses, and put on sun screen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
If you must be outside, drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids and try to rest often in shady areas.
If your home is not air conditioned, spend time in a public library, shopping mall, or senior center. A list of senior centers and public libraries in Fulton County are at the bottom of this post.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink
Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar - these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Don’t stay outside in the hottest part of the day, if you can help it.
NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Fulton County Senior Centers

Auburn Neighborhood Senior Center 300 Edgewood Avenue Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: 404-224-3140

Bethlehem Neighborhood Senior Center 87 Thayer Street Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: 404-577-6017

Camp Truitt Neighborhood Senior Center 4320 Hershel Road College Park GA 30337 Phone: 404-762-4802

Crabapple Senior Center Crabapple Government Center 12624 Broadwell Rd. Alpharetta, GA. 30004 Phone: 770-751-9397

Dogwood Neighborhood Senior Center 1953 Bankhead Highway Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-792-4964

Fairburn Neighborhood Senior Center 109 Milo Fisher Street Fairburn, GA 30213 Phone: 770-306-1555

Hapeville Neighborhood Senior Center 527 Kings Arnold Street Hapeville GA 30354 Phone: 404-762-3696

New Horizons Neighborhood Senior Center 745 Orr Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30314 Phone: 404-730-7100

Northside Shepherd Neighborhood Senior Center 1705 Commerce Drive Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-875-0509

Palmetto Neighborhood Senior Center 510 Turner Street Palmetto, GA 30268 Phone: 770-463-4990

Roswell Neighborhood Senior Center 1250 Warsaw Road Roswell, GA 30075 Phone: 770-640-1583

Sandy Springs Neighborhood Senior Center 6500 Vernon Woods Dr. Atlanta, GA 30328 Phone: 404-705-4901

St. Paul Neighborhood Senior Center 501 Grant Street Atlanta, GA 30315 Phone: 404-688-7501

Southeast Neighborhood Senior Center 1650 New Town Circle Atlanta, GA 30324 Phone: 404-624-0641

Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility 6500 Vernon Woods Drive Atlanta, GA 30328 Phone: 404-705-4900

Harriett G. Darnell Senior Multipurpose Facility 677 Fairburn Rd. NW Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-699-8580

Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility 515 John Wesley Dobbs Dr. Atlanta, GA 30312 Phone: 404-523-3353

H.J.C. Bowden Senior Multipurpose Facility 2885 Church Street East Point, GA 30344 Phone: 404-762-4821

Atlanta-Fulton Public Libraries
Adams Park Branch 2231 Campbellton Road SW, Atlanta GA 30311

Adamsville-Collier Heights Branch 3424 Martin Luther King Jr., Dr., Atlanta GA 30331

Alpharetta Branch 238 Canton Street, Alpharetta GA 30004

Auburn Avenue Research Library 101 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta GA 30303

Bowen/Bankhead Branch2685 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy, NW Atlanta, GA 30318

Buckhead Branch 269 Buckhead Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305

Carver Homes Branch 215 Lakewood Way, Suite 104, Atlanta, GA 30315

Central Library & Library System Headquarters One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-730-1700

Cleveland Avenue Branch 47 Cleveland Avenue SW, Atlanta GA 30315

College Park Branch 3647 Main Street, College Park, Georgia 30337

Dogwood Branch 1838 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy NW (formerly Bankhead Ave), Atlanta GA 30318 404-792-4961

East Atlanta Branch 400 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

East Point Branch 2757 Main Street, East Point GA 30344

Fairburn Branch 60 Valley View Drive, Fairburn, GA 30213

Georgia Hill Branch 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312

Hapeville Branch 525 King Arnold Street, Hapeville, GA 30354

Kirkwood Branch 11 Kirkwood Road SE, Atlanta GA 30317

Martin Luther King Jr., Branch 409 John Wesley Dobbs Ave, Atlanta GA 30312

Mechanicsville Branch 400 Formwalt St SW, Atlanta GA 30312

Northeast/Spruill Oaks Branch9560 Spruill Road, Johns Creek GA 30022

Northside Branch 3295 Northside Parkway NW, Atlanta GA 30327

Ocee Branch5090 Abbotts Bridge Rd.,Johns Creek GA 30005-4601

Peachtree Branch 1315 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Perry Homes Branch 2121 Hollywood Rd NW, Atlanta GA 30318

Ponce de Leon Branch 980 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta GA 30306

Roswell Branch 115 Norcross St, Roswell GA 30075

Sandy Springs Branch 395 Mount Vernon Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30328

South Fulton Branch 4055 Flat Shoals Road, Union City, GA 30291-1590

Southwest Branch3665 Cascade Road SW, Atlanta, GA 30331

Stewart-Lakewood Branch 2893 Lakewood Ave. SW, Atlanta GA 30315

Thomasville Heights Branch 1700 Thomasville Dr SE, Atlanta GA 30315

Washington Park Branch 1116 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., Atlanta GA 30314

West End Branch 525 Peeples St SW, Atlanta GA 30310

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

GLBT Seniors Advocacy of Georgia

GLBT Seniors Advocacy of Georgia hosts a forum Saturday, July 10, focused on "Planning for Successful Aging." Dubbed GSAGA for short, the group is a coalition made up of the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative, The Rainbow Center, Aging Services of Georgia, and other advocates.

The forum will include discussions of social networking, legal protections, health and wellness, and housing and financing.

GLBT Seniors Advocacy of Georgia

Planning for Successful Aging
Saturday, July 10, 2010
2-4 pm at the Philip Rush Center
1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Retirees Needed to Volunteer

What do retired Boomers want in terms of volunteer opportunities? Do they want an office-type job for four hours a day for an ongoing period? Or, something with less commitment of time and brainpower?

The National Council on Aging recently released the preliminary study results from a two-year pilot program. In a nutshell, they had 22 nonprofits, big and small from all over the country participate in Leadership-Level Volunteerism. This pilot program gave specific duties to the retired professionals and core job responsibilities. The overall end result was that this cohort did in fact like to volunteer as long as it was a meaningful experience, knowing they were assisting with the good of the community. They were satisfied that they were able to use their skills, knowledge and talent acquired over the years into these new ‘job’ positions.

SCS would like to hear from you. If you are a retired Boomer and looking for something more meaningful as it relates to volunteer opportunities, call me at 404-605-8445 to discuss. Maybe you are a retire Human Resource professional or a public relations expert or maybe you want to volunteer at the board of directors level… all and much more are good! You’ve got talent – shall we put it to good use?

-- by Patrick O’Kane
Director of Operations

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heat Stroke Can Occur Indoors

Staying inside is no guarantee of avoiding heat-related dangers. That's especially true if the house is overheated. Many seniors try to cut electric bills by not using air conditioning, but that's not a good idea. Trapped hot air can cause the body to overheat, just like working or exercising outdoors.

At the very least, install a few battery-operated fans in separate rooms and utilize the one in the room that's occupied at any one time. Consider closing drapes and blinds to keep out the sun and rooms cool. Also see if local Department of Aging has options for energy payment or assistance programs for older adults on tight budgets.

Anyone who has older loved ones who mostly stay indoors should check in on them frequently during the summer, even if it's just a phone call. That's especially true for caregivers who knows their loved one tends to keep their air conditioning off.

Defining Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Heat exhaustion is the stage in which the body puts out symptoms that it's getting overheated. Unfortunately, many of these signals are rather mild, and therefore most people find them easy to ignore. Among heat exhaustion's symptoms:

Dry mouth and thirst
Feeling nauseous, sometimes even vomiting
Muscle cramps
Fatigue, perhaps feeling dizzy

Heat stroke is more serious. Among the symptoms of heat stroke:

Deep breathing and fast pulse
Hot, red, skin, but no sweating
Confusion, perhaps even hallucinations

Read more at Suite101: Senior Safety – Avoiding Heat Stroke: Advice Specific to Seniors During Hot Weather

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grannies Play Soccer in South Africa

Soccer is everywhere you turn these days, but did you hear about the seniors playing soccer in South Africa?

The 35 women, aged from 50 to 84, play for a team called Vakhegula Vakhegula or Grannies, Grannies in the Xitsonga language of northern South Africa. The team hails from a rural township near Tzaneen, 600 km (373 miles) north of Johannesburg.

The team was founded five years ago to help the older women keep fit and flexible, but the project has been so successful they have set their sights on a trip to the Veterans Cup competition in Lancaster, Michigan.

The team has been invited to play in America from July 13-18 for the Veterans Cup, where seniors come together and play soccer.

Whatever happens, however, the grannies have no regrets, saying playing football, often in their aprons after domestic work, has changed their lives.

Check out more about the Grannies at

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caring for Caregivers

If you or someone you know is caring for an aging parent or a friend who is chronically ill, you are one of 22 million people doing so – according to sources. Caregivers provide 80% of all in-home care, yet are unpaid for their volunteer activities. Here are some tips for caregivers to take care of themselves and others:

Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for professional help from nurses, etc.
Discuss long-term solutions, such as transportation, with a parent before the need arises.
Take care of yourself, mentally and physically, so you can be the best possible caregiver.
Stay informed about medications and treatments.

The web site also provides information about personal finances, Medicare, nutrition, travel, recreation, and other valuable resources for independent living.

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is recognized by communities throughout the world as a time to increase our efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. There are many ways you can become involved in the fight against elder abuse and to help spread awareness. Here are some suggestions that National Council on Elder Abuse offers:

- Make it a priority to visit an older friend or relative, especially someone you haven’t seen in a while.

- Wear purple in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. Purple is the color that has been designated for elder abuse awareness by the International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

- Start an elder abuse awareness group on a social networking site like “Facebook,” and encourage friends to join the group. Provide links to information and advocacy resources.

- Reach out to elders who may be isolated. Commit to visiting an older friend, family member or neighbor who lives alone or invite them to a family activity. Ask an older acquaintance to share their talents by teaching you a new skill, such as knitting or how to bake a favorite recipe.

- Volunteer for a program that serves elders. Consider becoming a nursing home ombudsman, health insurance advisor, Money Management Program volunteer, home-delivered meals driver, medical escort or friendly visitor.

You’ll find more suggestions like these on NCEA’s web site at

Anyone who suspects elder abuse should report it to their local elder services protection agency. Protective Services are designed to eliminate or alleviate the alleged abuse of an elder. Caseworkers work in conjunction with community agencies providing health, mental health and social services.

If you need assistance after hours, call the 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Senior Hungry; No Senior Isolated

We recently invited Michael Kumer, Executive Director and Faculty for the Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Duquesne University to work with our Board of Trustees and staff with regard to strategic planning. I had the opportunity to work with Michael when I attended Meals On Wheels of America’s Leadership Training in Ohio last year and I was in awe! How did he get our group to be so productive in such a short amount of time?

Michael reminded us that as nonprofit community benefit organizations we are not here to plan for the sustainability of our own organizations. Rather, we exist to make an impact in the community we serve. “How is SCS making an impact on the lives of metro Atlanta seniors?” Michael asked me. I responded with how many lives we affect with life-sustaining services that truly help seniors remain independent.

Michael probed further. “How are you measuring it—and not just in outputs, but in outcomes?” Proudly, I knew where he was going—nonprofits are more than just the meals they deliver and home repairs they complete—they are about change for the communities they serve. What I did not realize until he framed things the way he did, was that even though we pride ourselves at being as client-driven as possible, we were still focusing our planning efforts on how to grow the organization (with the end result of impacting more seniors) as opposed to how to truly resolve a perplexing issue for our seniors.

If we want to envision an Atlanta that is free of senior hunger and isolation, which is what we as an organization have envisioned since our first year in 1965, we need to fully grasp the need and think big about bold solutions. This means that we may need to partner with or invest in studies that help us understand our local need. For the most part we’ve relied on census data and internal waitlists to comprehend the need. This will not suffice going forward.

This also means that we will have to think more broadly about solutions. We need to think more about advocacy and how public policy may more quickly affect the change we need than just service delivery. We certainly have some recent experiences with our seniors advocating on behalf of SCS, but something even more substantial will be necessary.

Finally, this means that SCS will need to think more about collaborations and may need to extend its reach beyond our current service delivery area. We may need to think about other factors that affect our vision and form more strategic partnerships. We may need to invest more in awareness, marketing and education.

You can see that our time with Michael was a wise investment for the organization and a break-through for me. Though sustainability for SCS is vital in serving our seniors, it is the means, not the end. We remain dedicated to an Atlanta where no senior is hungry and no senior is isolated. Will you jump in with me?

-- by Jeffrey M. Smythe, Executive Director

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Go Out and Play!

Now that spring is here, and summer is approaching quickly, it’s a glorious time to be active. Many renew their commitment to an exercise program during this time. Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits, and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise and physical activity, indoors or outdoors, can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging. SCS provides exercise opportunities at its senior centers that are listed on our web site.

The National Institutes of Health have created a special senior health and exercise web site that is informative and motivational. You and others whom you know may be interested in learning more:

Enjoy the summer months by being active – go out and play!

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Friday, May 7, 2010

geneRACEtion Run Raises Funds for Seniors and Kids

On Saturday, May 22, two generations will come together to host the annual geneRACEtion 10K Run and 2K Fun Run in Grant Park. We will raise money while running or walking through one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods. Proceeds raised from geneRACEtion will benefit two worthy organizations:

Kate’s Club is a non-profit organization that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. By creating friendships with kids and young adults that share the experience, Kate’s Club guides children through their grief journey in a comfortable, safe, and uplifting setting. For more information, please visit

Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. (SCS), a nonprofit, community-based organization, has been providing services since 1965 and is designed to enable seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity. Their programs include Meals On Wheels Atlanta, Home Repair Services, Vivian T. Minor Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, eight Neighborhood Senior Centers, and CareShare. For more information on programs, please visit

Bernie Goldstein, age 73, will be running the 10K. “I don’t do marathons any more at my age, but I still enjoy an occasional 10K race,” said Mr. Goldstein.

To register for the 10K or 2K, please visit On-line registrations will be accepted until May 19. Registration fee is $25.

Kaiser Permanente Donates $70,000 to SCS

Kaiser Permanente announced today a $70,000 donation to Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta (SCS), with the goal of providing meals and nutrition supplements to seniors needing extra support.

The funds will be applied to SCS’ Extra Helping Initiative for its Meals On Wheels Atlanta program. Through these two programs, at least 21 fragile seniors will be provided with nutrition in a way that meets their specific needs. For many, this may be the difference between managing chronic disease and succumbing to it.

“As other corporations cut back on community donations, Kaiser Permanente has increased its commitment to the safety net SCS provides for our community,” stated Jeffrey Smythe, Executive Director for SCS.

Adequate nutrition is paramount for the frailest seniors, who are unable to stomach as many calories as they need to get out of bed in the morning and live independently. SCS’ Extra Helping Initiative will enable seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve. The grant to SCS to provide Atlanta’s vulnerable seniors the nutrition they need to survive and thrive is a demonstration of that commitment,” said Evonne Yancey, Director of Community Benefit and Community Relations at Kaiser Permanente.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greater Impact for Atlanta Seniors: Unchanging Support in these Changing Times

Last year we decided to provide more communications to you via email than via mail in an effort to reduce costs. We have done the same belt tightening that nearly every other business and household has had to do in our society. But I don’t want to utilize this column to bemoan the various challenges that our organization has endured by the difficult economy. Instead, I want you to know how grateful we are to you, our supporters and volunteers, for your unchanging support in these rapidly changing times.

You were there for our seniors last fall when our home repair storage unit was broken into at nearly the same time as rains and flooding wreaked havoc in so many seniors’ homes. Donations and fundraising from Knight Strikers and Iron Bred Motorcycle Club and St. Mark United Methodist Church enabled our Home Repair Services team to restore services almost immediately, replacing the stolen equipment and allowing seniors in desperate need of help to receive it.

You were there for our seniors when our signature black-tie event, A Meal To Remember, saw record-low corporate sponsorships. Under the leadership of Chairs Charlene Crusoe-Ingram and Marlene Alexander and Auction Chair Su So-Longman, corporate sponsorships were replaced by individual donations and auction participation. The loss of revenues by corporate sponsors was replaced by passionate individuals who could not bear to see seniors go hungry. Rather than maintaining keep even more seniors on waiting lists for meals, an increased number of seniors were able to receive the critical nutrition provided by Meals On Wheels Atlanta this year.

You were there for our seniors when volunteerism appeared to also be affected by the economy. With two more months of reporting left in the fiscal year, we have received more than 1,600 hours of additional volunteer support than last year’s 12 months! You are delivering meals, repairing homes, and helping seniors in our centers and in their homes in amazingly meaningful ways.

So I salute you and say a very heartfelt thank you to each of you SCS champions. You have told the world that seniors matter…period. You agree that it is unacceptable to leave seniors hungry, to leave seniors in cold or flooded homes, to leave seniors without the support they need to enjoy a high quality of life. We pledge to continue to make the most of every penny you contribute, of every minute you volunteer. And, we pledge not to rest until every senior in our great city is offered the same support and care that they offered to prior generations.

--by Jeff Smythe, Executive Director

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Volunteer for SWEEP! Keep a Senior in Her Home!

Mrs. Nash moved into her home in 1988 with her husband, two boys, and two girls. They were attracted to the northwest Atlanta neighborhood because it was mostly older people. She has lived in Atlanta for 42 years after moving from Griffin, GA. Elizabeth worked as a maid for the Georgia Building Authority until she retired in 1997.

She enjoys going to her church’s senior program and was formerly a client at Dogwood Neighborhood Senior Center.

Mrs. Nash is one of ten older home owners who will receive needed home repairs on Saturday, May 1st. Senior Citizen Services will hold its annual SWEEP! Day for their HOMES Program (Home Owner Maintenance and Enhancement for Seniors). The event will take place from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. SWEEP! is a focused, high-impact event celebrating Older Americans Month. On the morning of May 1st, a volunteer team will “sweep” through each sponsored home and perform improvements inside and out. Improvements will include painting (inside and out), yard maintenance, gutter cleaning, and minor carpentry. SWEEP! will target ten homes in this event and will host an after-party for volunteers, homeowners, their guests, and donors.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeling Older?

What does it mean to you to age? If you are 30 years old, you’ll have a different answer than someone who is 70. However, one truth remains for many individuals as they age, and that is: “I feel the same at 60 as I did at 20.”

I find this mindset interesting, because at my age, 43, I ‘feel the same’ as I did at 23; will it last? Yes, I have a few more aches when I over do it and I cannot stay up all night like I used to, but in my mind, I see myself and the world pretty much the same. And even though I’ve learned some (many) life lessons, I still seem to view myself in my mind’s-eye the same now as 20 years ago.

Before my grandmothers passed away, both stated similar statements – the mind thinks the same and the brain still ‘feels’ young, but the body sometimes doesn’t cooperate. One of my grandmothers was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was slow to progress. She complained when her leg started to drag (decrease of motor functionality) that all she wanted was for the mind to control her leg but ‘that darn leg won’t do what I want it to do’. Yet, until the tumor grew large enough to affect her thought patterns, she still stated she, in her mind, felt youthful.

On the other hand, there are individuals who state that they do in fact ‘feel old’. Is that a true thought or is that something they are feeling due to how their physical body is moving or feeling? Could this be a mind-over-matter issue? Do positive thoughts and outlooks help with this feeling-younger idea?

I don’t have the answers but I do know this from working with older adults – those who possess a positive outlook on life and are joyful tend to have, as they define it, happier lives. I think of Ms. B – she had so many physical ailments and one leg amputated, but she was the happiest person I knew. She greeted the world and everyone with a big smile and a hug. She would tell you a great story if you let her, filled with colorful characters. She is the type of ‘older person’ I want to be… happy with where I am regardless of what life has delivered. But, if I truly want to be like her, I will have to work hard on my storytelling.

-- by Patrick O'Kane, Director of Operations

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Volunteer to Help a Senior Stay in Her Home!

Alice moved into her home on October 7, 1965 in the Harwell Heights community of northwest Atlanta. She was a divorced, single mother who raised her daughter and cared for her elderly mother until her mother passed away at age 90. Alice is 78 years old and was born in Atlanta. After living in Chicago as a youngster, her family returned to Atlanta when she was 19. Alice is a retired nurse from the Dept. of the Army.

She worked at Fort McPherson until she retired in 1992. She enjoys working with her church and doing jail ministry at the Fulton County Jail with women. She also volunteers with a nursing home and attends a regular Bible study.

Alice needs assistance with yard work, gutter cleaning and repair, and fence repair.

Join us for Senior Citizen Services’ annual SWEEP! Day 2010. SWEEP! is a focused, high-impact event where hundreds of volunteers perform home maintenance and enhancement projects for seniors. Get out your paint brush and yard gloves for a special day of service in Atlanta. Great activity for groups! Lunch will be provided!

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Older Americans Month 2010 - Age Strong! Live Long!

May is Older Americans Month—a tradition dating back to 1963 to honor the legacies and ongoing contributions of older Americans and support them as they enter the next stage in life. Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta (SCS) is joining communities nationwide in celebrating this month with special activities and events.

Sunday, April 25, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Friends & Family Day at Neighborhood Senior Centers

Saturday, May 1, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
SWEEP! Day, Home Repairs for ten Atlanta seniors
Volunteer Here!

Saturday, May 22, 8:15 am, Grant Park
geneRACEtion 10K and 2K Fun Run benefitting SCS and Kate’s Club
Register to participate here!

This year’s Older Americans Month theme—Age Strong! Live Long!—recognizes the diversity and vitality of today’s older Americans who span three generations. They have lived through wars and hard times, as well as periods of unprecedented prosperity. They pioneered new technologies in medicine, communications, and industry while spearheading a cultural revolution that won equal rights for minorities, women, and disabled Americans.

These remarkable achievements demonstrate the strength and character of older Americans, and underscore the debt of gratitude we owe to the generations that have given our society so much. But the contributions of older Americans are not only in the past.

Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. And with the aging of the baby boomer generation—the largest in our nation’s history—America’s senior population is expected to number 71.5 million by 2030.

While keeping the growing population of older Americans healthy and active will increase the demand for senior services, what is remarkable is the extent to which older Americans themselves are supporting each other. As the new generations of seniors become better educated and more financially secure than their predecessors, they are spending more time making significant contributions in their communities through civic and volunteer opportunities.

In fact, older Americans are a core component of service delivery to seniors—embodying and modeling the drive to Age Strong! Live Long! They volunteer at group meal sites and deliver food to homebound seniors; they act as escorts and provide transportation for older adults who cannot drive; they help seniors with home repair, shopping and errands; and they provide vital counseling, information and referral services. Their energy and commitment reminds all Americans—not just senior citizens and their caregivers—to do their part to enhance the quality of life for older generations.

The annual commemoration of Older Americans Month is our opportunity to recognize the contributions of older citizens and join them in providing services and support that empower the elderly. Americans of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer with programs that improve health literacy, increase access to quality health services, offer food and nutrition services, provide financial and housing counseling, sponsor social activities and community engagement, and more. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting or calling 1-800-677-1116 to find out what you can do to strengthen services for older Americans, this month and all year round.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

AAA – your road to successful living!

SCS provides many referrals a year to our collaborative partners in metro-Atlanta. Likewise, these agency partners share our name with seniors and their families when we can provide service. You are probably familiar with the roadside assistance company called AAA – well, here’s another AAA that is often a senior’s road to successful living:

Area Agency on Aging (AAA) - Created by the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) over three decades ago, AAA is often the county or regional department on aging. Some serve a whole state, others just one city, county or county area. The AAA addresses the concerns of older Americans age 60+ and their family caregivers at the local level. These agencies identify community and social service needs for older adults and administer the Family Caregiver Support Program, which provides respite assistance, support groups and other services for caregivers. To access your local AAA, contact the Eldercare Locator at: or (800) 677-1116.

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Volunteer for SWEEP! Day 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010
8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Senior Citizen Services helps seniors repair and maintain their home when they can't do it for themselves. Senior Citizen Services handles maintenance and repairs on the homes of our senior clients that allow the individual to remain independently in their own homes.

Eloise moved into her home 42 years ago with her husband and three sons. They lived in an apartment until the opportunity became available to purchase a home in the English Avenue neighborhood. They loved the quiet neighborhood with lots of seniors when they moved in before all the apartments started going up around them in the 1970’s. Her husband passed away in 1991.

Eloise was born in Alabama and moved to Atlanta when she was 14 years old. She is now 79 years old and worked as a domestic worker her entire life until she retired in the 1970’s.

Join us for Senior Citizen Services’ annual SWEEP! Day 2010. SWEEP! is a focused, high-impact event where hundreds of volunteers perform home maintenance and enhancement projects for seniors. Get out your paint brush and yard gloves for a special day of service in Atlanta. Great activity for groups! Lunch will be provided!

To register, please visit and click on the “SWEEP” link.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Creative Exercise for Older Adults

We all hear that we need to exercise; however, if you are not into going to the gym, there are alternatives.

While visiting my parents recently, I was shocked when my dad announced he was going out for his walk. At 70 years of age, I’ve never really seen him exercise. But since he has had knee surgery, he has had to ‘work’ his knee. So, off he went to the backyard.

Living on and acre and a quarter with a fenced backyard, he measured the distance between the fence posts and calculated every lap around the yard would equal part of a mile. He created a counter to know how many times he made it around the yard and is keeping track of his walking success on a notepad.

After he explained this to me, I asked why he had to large cans of yams next to his chair in the living room. “Those are my weights,” he explained. He uses them as ‘barbells’ to exercise his arms while watching Judge Judy (he loves that show). Accomplishing two things at once!

My encouragement to you is to find a creative way to exercise. There are many different ways that you may accomplish this – from walking around your yard or neighborhood, to using something that comfortably fits in your hand as a weight (try to find something that is five to ten pounds). Maybe it’s gardening or any other chore that gets you moving. But most importantly, document your exercise sessions to see how you can increase your workout. Start of slow and then increase your routine as the days and weeks go by.

Happy ‘creative’ exercising!

-- by Patrick O'Kane, Director of Operations

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Volunteer for SWEEP! today!

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, more than 300 volunteers will "sweep" through the neighborhood and perform repairs and maintenance on seniors homes. Get out your paint brush and yard gloves for a special day of service in Atlanta! Lunch will be provided.

Mrs. Duncon moved into her home 42 years ago with her husband and three sons. They lived in an apartment until the opportunity became available to purchase her home in the English Avenue neighborhood. They loved the quiet neighborhood with lots of seniors when they moved in before all the apartments started going up around them in the 1970’s. Her husband passed away in 1991.

Mrs. Duncon was born in Alabama and moved to Atlanta when she was 14 years old. She is now 79 years old and worked as a domestic worker her entire life until she retired in the 1970’s.

Mrs. Duncon is no longer able to keep up with the repairs that are needed on her home. Please volunteer today and make a difference in a senior's life.

Volunteer here!

by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Listening and Learning

What a privilege it is to take a month or two to stand back and listen. That’s what we’ve been doing this winter…listening. A key part, if not the most important part, of our strategic planning process is to listen and “discover” what our stakeholders think about Senior Citizen Services both today and tomorrow. It has been reassuring to learn what a tremendous impact we are making for our seniors and their caregivers, but frustrating that we cannot do more. I have been struck by the broad support we have from so many wonderful people and entities, from individual donors, family foundations, governmental entities, nonprofit umbrella groups, and many more. Our supporters think we are continuing to improve and make a greater impact as well!

Cathy Brink of Brink*Matheney Consulting has been facilitating our process (by the way she is completely donating her time and won’t even let us pay for her lunch!). Cathy asked us to summarize our “learnings” to date last week and I thought I’d share some of them:
· Needs: SCS seniors are satisfied with our services and grateful for the various programs that help them. There is a greater need to help seniors awaiting services (home repairs and meals). There is greater need to help seniors and their caregivers access and coordinate overall services. There is a greater to help seniors with transportation.
· Relationships: Key stakeholders regard SCS highly. Key stakeholders seem to be pleased with SCS’ progress, with our dedication and services to our seniors, and with our impact. More emphasis should be placed on SCS leadership cultivating additional donors, funders and leaders. A number of key stakeholders (especially corporate) did not respond to requests for strategic planning input, revealing a potential relationship deficit as well.
· Clarity: Many of our stakeholders are not clear on what SCS does, our mission, our programs, our impact, etc. There is a general recognition that progress has been made with regard to marketing, but there appears to be a lot more to do. It is also important to note that most interviewees did not necessarily want more mail or email, but perhaps more clear messaging.
· Meals On Wheels Atlanta: Private donors, corporate donors and foundations are most interested in meals on wheels. There is generally positive support for SCS expanding its meals on wheels program outside of its current geographic focus, especially if additional resources followed.
· Other services: There is a general recognition that the other services SCS provides are important and should be continued (home repairs, Alzheimer’s day care, senior centers/wellness, etc.). There does not seem to be widespread private donor support for these programs, but stakeholders still find them worthy and seem to point toward governmental support. Fee-based revenue may also provide opportunities, but there was not overwhelming interest or direction in that regard.
· Collaboration and Competition: Most stakeholders recognize that SCS does a good deal of collaboration, but perhaps need to highlight these collaborations better.

What do you think? Please share your opinion with me at We hope to launch our new plan in June, so please let me “listen” to your insights today!

-- by Jeff Smythe, Executive Director

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Register for the geneRACEtion 10K!

Plans are well underway for the annual geneRACEtion Run that will be held in Grant Park on Saturday, May 22. Details can be found at This year the run will consist of a 10K Peachtree qualifier or a 2K fun run.

Senior Citizen Services is combining efforts with Kate's Club -- a charity that provides grief support for children who have lost a loved one. We hope to have 600 runners/walkers come out and help us raise money for two great non-profits.

Sign up today and help us start raising funds! It's fun and simple. Go to to register.

by Steve Hargrove
Director of Events and Marketing

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Positive Aging!

Two members of the staff at Senior Citizen Services are also Board members of the nonprofit agency Center for Positive Aging (CPA). This organization may be found at Since its founding in 1982, CPA has been the trusted source of information for seniors and their families. The easy-to-use website directs viewers of all levels of income to product and service providers in the areas of housing, meals, nurse care, and many others. SCS and other quality providers are listed in the Directory only after adhering to the highest standards established in the senior care industry. It’s totally free to access the site and information, and can be a valuable aid in the planning of retirement and elder care.

-- By Brad Catherman
Vice President of Gift Planning

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowy, Icy Meals On Wheels Deliveries

With the recent snow storm, Senior Citizen Services was unable to deliver meals last Saturday, the 13th. The volunteers were scheduled, staff was ready, but with heeded warnings from Georgia Dept. of Transportation, we reluctantly canceled meal deliveries at 8:00 a.m. However, the good thing is that the Meals On Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) staff had already implemented the Emergency Plan.

The Emergency Plan calls for providing shelf-stable meals to clients in case we are not able to deliver their regular meals due to weather or any other ‘disaster’ reason. These meals are able to be eaten without the need for natural gas or electricity to heat them. The MOWA staff will deliver a new, shelf-stable meal to clients to replace the one they consumed Saturday later this week and early next week.

It’s always hard to make the call to not deliver meals; we know many clients depend on SCS and MOWA for their nutrition. With the emergency plan in place, it makes the decision of not delivering meals a little easier. And, with the roads icy and snowy as they were on Saturday, keeping staff and volunteers safe is also a factor that weighs heavily into the decision.

MOWA and Volunteer Services appreciate the dedicated volunteers who agreed to meet the day and elements, but we also appreciate their understanding of us wanting them to be in a safe environment when driving through the streets in the neighborhoods.

-- by Patrick O'Kane, Director of Operations

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black History Month at Neighborhood Senior Centers

In February, we celebrate Black History Month at our Neighborhood Senior Centers. The senior participants plan and perform in their programs throughout the month. If you are interested in attending one or more of these programs, please see the schedule below.

February 16 12:45 pm —1:45 pmAfrican American Trivia followed by African Spirituals
Northside Shepherd’s Center, 1705 Commerce Dr. NW

February 18 11 am
Black History Month Program
New Horizon Neighborhood Senior Center, 745 Orr St. NW

February 23 11 am — 12 noon
The Faces of Auburn Art Exhibit
Auburn Neighborhood Senior Center, 300 Edgewood Avenue NE

February 25 11:00 am
“A Journey to the Past” highlighted with the play “A Letter from the Birmingham Jail”
Dogwood Neighborhood Senior Center, 1953 Donald L. Hollowell Pkwy

February 26 9 am — 12 noon
The Poetry Club of Carver High School
Bethlehem Neighborhood Center, 87 Thayer Ave. SE

February 26 10:30 am—12 noon
Black History Program
Southeast Neighborhood Senior Center, 1650 New Town Circle SE

by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Federal Benefits Info Help

We get asked from time to time by our senior clients for basic information about federal benefits and services. Here is a helpful federal government telephone information number to be shared with your loved ones or your fellow senior friends:

1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636)

Operators speaking English and Spanish are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, and cover a wide range of topics from Social Security to Medicare to renewing passports. One may also find information online at

Happy New Year and a happy new you for 2010!

Brad Catherman
Vice President of Gift Planning

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year's Resolutions and New Habits

What’s the first thing that comes to mind in January? A New Year’s Resolution! But I don’t “do” resolutions for the New Year… never have. One reason is because as statics show, most are not kept. However, what I do in replacement is to develop a new habit each year. I usually do this in December or late January. This allows me to not call it a New Year’s Resolution but rather “my new thing”.

One of “my new things” is to set a goal for charitable donations. I have always given but not on a planned basis. More like if there is extra money at the end of the month that extra money then goes to a charity or two. Mind you, not huge gifts, but remember it’s the small gifts that really count and add up tremendously. Think about all those $10 donations via text for the Red Cross to do good work in Haiti – they added up to tens of millions! My plan is to continue to support Senior Citizen Services as I always have but on a more planned basis. (I hope you do “your new thing” and join me in this supportive manner.)

I try to keep on hand a little extra money to support emergencies – again, thinking of Haiti. Or, when I read an article some time ago about the Georgia SPCA needing assistance, I was able to raid the small bucket to offer my support.

As an employee and donor of Senior Citizen Services, I value the fact that I know my donations really count, no matter the size. When employees give to the nonprofit for which they are employed that should tell the public a lot! The employees believe in the mission and work so much that they give back, and Senior Citizen Services’ employees really do give back.

If you have made a resolution, I hope it’s going well. If not, maybe think of it as now is the time to revisit it and make it your new “my new thing”. Good luck!

-- by Patrick O’Kane
Director of Operations

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monthly Support of Meals On Wheels Atlanta

This year, make a resolution to support Atlanta's seniors year-round!

Through our online donation system, you can make a recurring gift that will be automatically drawn from your credit card or bank account on the same day every month. A monthly donation of $142 will fund an entire month of nutritious, home-delivered meals for one older adult. Can you find 7 friends, family members, or coworkers who can spare $20 a month? Or 14 who can spare $10? Everyone can make a difference.
Monthly giving is:
▪ Easy - Fill out the online form once and you've supported hundreds of meals!
▪ Sustainable - You provide a continuous source of funding for those hit hardest by the difficult economy.
▪ Personal - A commitment to those less fortunate becomes a part of your daily life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THe Funding Roller Coaster

I will admit it. We took a ride. Our organization took a ride on the funding roller coaster in 2009. We were elated in December 2008 to learn that we were selected to provide major home repairs for low-income seniors as a part of Federal Home Loan Bank’s Community Investment Program. An unprecedented $1 million dollar grant was initiated in May and has been steadily helping seniors who were previously hard for our organization to serve due to the deteriorated condition of their homes. New roofs installed; systems completely replaced; lives changed. It has been an exciting program to say the least.

Now we have learned that funds for this program have been redirected in 2010 toward the home foreclosure crisis. Rehabilitating seniors’ homes is now lower on FHLB’s funding list of priorities than supporting transitioning foreclosed homes into affordable housing units. Ouch! We are all aware of the foreclosure crisis—millions of homes being left for vacant because the house payments cannot be made. But most of our seniors own their homes and actually have them paid for. Our seniors are not necessarily as at risk for foreclosure as others may be. But they are at risk for losing their independence because their homes have deteriorated to the point that they are not livable.

Obviously we have our work cut out for us on the advocacy front to help funding entities like FHLB understand the devastating effects of their priority shifts on our senior population and their communities. Why does it seem that to help with an emerging economic issue that often our senior population is placed on the back burner?

The question that I ask myself is “should we have gotten on this roller coaster to begin with?” Expanding is so much easier than contracting, isn’t it? Do we gain more than we lose by entering into these grant situations that we know may only last one year?

YES! I believe that we have a responsibility to help our seniors in need, even if it means only a limited number of seniors can receive such assistance for a short period of time—in this case one year. Yes, it hurts to see our seniors’ needs go unmet and we will do everything we can to ensure that staff members affected by this loss of funding are not left in the unemployment line when all is said and done. But to never attempt to perform these services because of the potential risk that funding will go away in subsequent years would be foolish. If our organization avoided funding that wasn’t promised for more than one year, we would have only a handful of funders and help a small fraction of the seniors we currently support.

I also believe that this may not be the end of this relationship. Our mandate to advocate for these seniors will force us to remain in conversation with FHLB and other funding entities until our seniors’ voices are heard. Because a relationship of trust and high performance has been established, future doors may open (and I am convinced that they will).

So for now I invite you on the roller coaster with me. Know that our staff and board leadership take these decisions very seriously and that many meetings and painstaking conversations took place before entering into this situation and will take place before entering into similar situations. But I am proud to tell you that we made a tremendous impact for the seniors we could serve and we will continue to fight for those who are still in need. I welcome your feedback and dialog about this roller coaster.

Yours in service,
Jeffrey M. Smythe
Executive Director

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Be safer, warmer, and dryer in 2010!

The motto of the SCS Home Owner Maintenance and Enhancement for Seniors (HOMES) program is to keep our clients “safer, warmer, and dryer.” Speaking of dryers, information by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there about 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 310 injuries and $84 million in property damage. While today’s dryers are designed to be safer, people are not checking their lint traps or vent systems as often as they should. Give your home its annual appliance check-up, and don’t forget air heaters, extension cords, fire extinguishers, fryers, etc., that also need maintenance. Have a safe and wonderful 2010 from your friends at SCS!

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Now that the holidays are over, we all look to the New Year. People around the world make new resolutions, yet studies show that only a small percentage are successful in their resolve. However, by truly thinking about a resolution carefully, one can come up with some good ‘life improvements’ that are simple and easily obtainable.

Most people think of diets, exercise, quitting smoking as the staple resolutions. Yet there are many other simply resolutions that can be made… and kept! These simple resolutions can be anything from being on time to work or changing one’s attitude toward life or a certain person. Another simple one is to volunteer your time to do good. We all have a couple of hours every week or month that we could give to support others in need. It’s simple… you do good… and you complete your volunteerism with a warm heart.

So this year, instead of the same old resolution that never comes to fruition, try a more simple and doable resolution – resolve to get involved. Contact SCS’ volunteer department to delivering meals to homebound seniors, assist with home repairs, or many of the other volunteer opportunities that are available to you.

-- by Patrick O'Kane, Director of Operations