Reimagine Aging News: March 2015

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In The News

CEO Deb Taylor’s monthly column, which is published in many Minnesota newspapers, focuses on how we can Reimagine Aging to better serve seniors and their caregivers. The most recent newspaper column is available here.

If you know of a caregiver or older adult who would benefit from Senior Community Services' many supportive programs and services, please encourage them to contact us. They can stay connected with us by doing three things: 'LIKE' us on FACEBOOK, 'FOLLOW' us on TWITTER, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.

 

Retiring? Then what?


Looking forward to retirement? Are you daydreaming about saying sayanara to the daily grind, the rush hour commutes?
 
Most of us spend 40 years or more in the workplace developing skills, supporting our families, and helping others. And then, it ends. Freedom. But a scary freedom.
 
Often, much of our identity is tied up in what we did during our career. Once that ends, what do we have? Opportunity.
 
Retirees benefit from the luxury of leisure time, complemented by a diverse set of skills learned and honed over decades of dedicated application in a variety of settings. You can repurpose this work life in a new way.
 
Rather than retiring, think of it as refiring - getting excited and passionate again in new ways.
 
Let's face it. How much time will you really spend sleeping in, golfing or pursuing another hobby? Today's retirees can expect to live another 20 years or longer, so we want to maintain a good balance of activities for a productive and positive lifestyle. 
  

Friendly Advice About Medicare
In my work with seniors, I've unfortunately seen many older adults whose primary avocation is watching television, four, six or eight hours a day. The TV is always on. This kind of idleness is corrosive to the mind, body and soul. A study conducted by a California State University psychologist discovered that people who continue working or maintain involvement in volunteering, for example, were less prone to health problems and enjoyed better mental health.
 
So consider volunteerism as a great way to refire and repurpose your talents to help others. At my nonprofit organization, Senior Community Services, volunteers are key participants in several programs and they love it. They're using their skills and loving the experience knowing they're making a difference in many lives.

Several months before you retire, be sure to do your homework on Medicare. We recommend the acclaimed Medicare Counseling program (1-888-541-5488) which routinely helps Minnesota clients save amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars annually on health insurance costs. I remember one woman who brought to our offices several boxes of health information she'd received from insurance carriers. She was exasperated, "I'm overwhelmed, lighten my burden." We were able to really help her.
 
There are so many health insurance options facing retirees, the consumer can be left confused and bewildered by the many available choices. Medicare counseling enables you to quickly cut through the marketing materials and sales pitches to select a plan that's right for you.
 
Counselors help seniors weigh costs and identify the very best Medicare plan and Part D drug plan for you. We also have staff that can help resolve outstanding health insurance claims that pose a financial burden for many seniors.
 
Medicare counseling is available by phone for any Minnesota resident, and at 20 sites in Hennepin and Wright counties. Navigating Medicare community education classes also are held at public and corporate venues. Private counseling sessions can be arranged by scheduling.
 
With a little thoughtful planning, retirement can be the gateway to an amazing period of your life. With the luxury of time, and a lifetime of accumulated talents, you can be helpful and productive in a myriad of meaningful ways.
What a wonderful, satisfying way to help Reimagine Aging, as Minnesota increasingly become a graying culture.

Sincerely,

Deb Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
 



"Your services simply make life better for
Mom and I.  Thank you so much." 

 
~ Jane, a South Minneapolis caregiver

Donors who support our mission can be very heartened by a letter we received from Jane, a south metro resident. She was so complimentary of Senior Community Services' efforts to help seniors and caregivers maintain independence.
 
Jane is very grateful that we are able to regularly help her mother, Dorothy, with household maintenance chores.  "She cannot do the more physical chores such as window-washing and snow shoveling," Jane explains. "Thanks to your House & Outside Maintenance for Elderly (HOME) program, she can continue to live in her home and enjoy a good quality of life."
 
Jane was so impressed with Senior Community Services, she participated in Caregiver Coaching with one of our social workers, Deb Hoger, and attended caregiver meetings at the Edina Community Center. "The coaching was so helpful to me as a caregiver, a role that's often exhausting and overwhelming. Your services simply make life better for Mom and I. Thank you so much."

WHY I GIVE

"I feel good about supporting Senior Community Services. It's a great organization with needed programs.  I have a lot of respect for them."

~Marv Cofer
After 36 years with 3M, Eden Prairie resident Marv Cofer became more involved with community organizations. As he volunteered for Eden Prairie city commissions, he learned through the local senior center about Senior Community Services. Later, he realized that a close friend was very involved an a volunteer. "Through her I developed a great respect for the organization. I recognize the importance of its essential services, especially as the baby boomers are retiring in large numbers."
 
When Marv learned about the HOME (Household and Outside Maintenance for Elderly) program, it "struck a chord," he says. "This was something I could really support, helping one person. There's a great need among people who are living alone and lacking in financial resources, and I have the means to help someone."
 
Marv donated a charitable gift to provide chore services for an older adult in his own community, and the senior was very grateful. "I like that!" Marv exclaims. "It's a very personal way to help, one person helping another. I enjoy doing my little part. I have great respect for Senior Community Services, a great organization with needed programs. I appreciate and enjoy supporting the vital services they provide."
 
Chore services may be purchased through Senior Community Services' HOME store.
Honor a friend or loved one with a tax-deductible gift to Senior Community Services.  Your gift of $35, $60, $150 or an amount of your choosing will make life better for low-income seniors who need help maintaining independence. 
 
You may give securely online at www.seniorcommunity.org and click on Support.
 
Checks may be mailed to: 
Senior Community Services
Attn: Development 
10201 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 335
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of seniors.

Senior Community Services Honored with Award
 
We're grateful to receive the 2015 John Yoakam Award for Service to LGBT Elders from Training to Serve.  Senior Community Services staff received training in 2009 and 2014 on serving the LGBT community. In addition, CEO Deb Taylor participated in a television public service announcement on the importance of serving all seniors, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.  Taylor will receive the award May 7 at the Training to Serve Benefit dinner.  
 
Longtime Staff Retire
We bid a heartfelt good-bye to two staff members who have traded their years of dedicated service for well-earned retirement. Sue Gallus (left) worked for 28 years with Senior Community Services, most recently managing the Household and Outside Maintenance for Elderly (HOME) program; and Sara Mittelstaedt who retired after 22 years of service, most recently as Plymouth Creek Senior Services Director. They are missed, but we're grateful they can relax more, enjoy their families, and repurpose their lives for another season.

Stay Connected With CareNextion


Are you caring for an aging loved one? Stay connected to caregiving from anywhere with www.carenextion.org. This free and secure online tool strengthens support networks through centralized coordination of care, task assignment and journaling.

You can also access helpful resources. Visit www.carenextion.org for more information or to speak with a staff person call 612-770-7005.

The Reimagine Aging Institute is the public awareness arm of Senior Community Services as we reach out to the community via the news media.  Through the Institute, we illuminate aging issues of broad relevance for seniors, their families, and Minnesota communities.

Visit the Institute's web page here.  And be sure to watch for media stories of interest to families with older loved ones and friends.

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