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Senior Life Atlanta

The Facts About Flu Shots page 18

january 2018 • Vol. 3 No. 1| AtlantaSeniorLIFE.com

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THE ARTS

making a difference

retirees return to their instruments

volunteers dig in the dirt and into history

pAge 8

page 20

Claytime

Story on page 4

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Contents

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January 2018

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COVER STORY: Claytime

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THE ARTS: Still with the Band

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PROFILE: Making Seniors Stronger

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FITNESS: Swim Through the Winter

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PET PICK: Athena

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HEALTH: Flu Shot Facts

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Among the Leaves

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PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE: Robins Nest: Cast Iron Skillet

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PERSONAL FINANCE: Ask Rusty: Social Security Credit for Military Pay

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24 8 Atlanta Senior Life focuses on the interests, accomplishments and lifestyles of the active senior population in metro Atlanta. It aims to inspire readers to embrace a more rewarding life by informing them of opportunities to expand their horizons, express their talents and engage in their community.

OUT & ABOUT

CONTACT US ON THE COVER Center, Jeanne Walsh prepares to throw a pot at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Bottom left, a beautifully finished vase done by Walsh. Left, Ingrid Hogan finds pottery reflective of life. Top left, one of Hogan’s works of art. Right, Janet & Clarke Weeks have different and distinctive styles in their ceramics work. Top right, sample of Janet’s work; bottom right, one of Clarke’s creations. ALL PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON

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Editorial Kathy Dean Contributing Editor kathydean@atlantaseniorlife.com Joe Earle Editor-at-Large JoeEarle@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Julie E. Bloemeke, Robin Conte, Russell Gloor, Judi Kanne, Isadora Pennington, Donna Williams Lewis Advertising For information call (404) 917-2200 ext 130. Sales Executives Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer Janet Porter, Jim Speakman, Jan Tassitano

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COVER STORY

PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON

Claytime By Isadora Pennington “Whatever you can think of, you can do,” ceramist Clarke Weeks said about the seemingly endless choices and variety of working with clay. “You’re only limited by your imagination.” Ceramists work with clay— either as handbuilders, who assemble slabs of clay, or potters, who throws clay vessels on potters’ wheels. There are many different types of clay bodies, a variety of glazes, finishes and paints, and several different firing methods to choose from. Some artisans create functional pieces, such as vases and dinnerware, while others make pieces that are artistic, abstract or fantastical. Clarke, a handbuilder, and his wife Janet take art classes at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, a DeKalb mansion-turned-art-

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Above, Ceramics students Janet and Clarke Weeks hold ceramics pieces they made at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Right, a few of Clarke’s finished artworks. Below, one of Janet’s figures that was inspired by her family experiences.

center. Janet found out about the courses in 2003 and started taking watercolor, photography and pottery classes. “And I haven’t stopped since then,” Janet said. She convinced Clarke to join in three years later. Her watercolor style is botanical illustration, usually based on insects, plants and animals in the garden or front yard of her Candler Park home. “I taught English for 32 years, and I love working with my hands,” she continued. “I crochet, I knit, I do watercolor, but working with your hands with clay is fabulous. It’s so relaxing.” Janet’s creations are often anthropomorphized animals,

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

including one series of nontraditional familyinspired figures that depict animals carrying babies of other species. Inspired by the adoption of their children, Janet incorporated the concepts she faced in her life into cute animal forms. “With handbuilding, you almost never make the same thing twice. I made those two rabbits,” she said, indicating two blue porcelain rabbits. “I couldn’t replicate the first one exactly. I got close.” Indeed, many things can — and often do — go wrong in the process, so artists must be ready to adapt. “It’s an incredible medium,” said Clarke. “There’s a real physical pleasure in it, and it

clarke & janet weeks doesn’t always work. It’s not as easy as you think, and yet it’s something that anybody can conquer if you work at it.” In stark comparison to the playful animals and figures made by his wife, Clarke’s style is distinctly architectural. In his day job, he works as a real estate broker and remodels houses, and his affinity for creating spaces translates into his artistic work as well. Tiny clusters of castles connected by twisting stairwells reminiscent of Dr. Seuss illustrations, miniature mockups of buildings and houses, along with a handful of practical cups and vases are examples of Clarke’s handiwork. “He’s constantly thinking about building things,” added Janet.

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PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON

Jeanne Walsh Some older adults use ceramics as a form of therapy as well as artistic expression. “I have the art side and I have the analytical side,” mused fellow Callanwolde student Jeanne Walsh. “Sometimes I wonder about myself. This has been my therapy, my relaxation and an outlet.” Walsh has taken classes in handbuilding and wheel throwing at Callanwolde since 1982. It was an escape from her high stress, problem-solving work as a Management and Program Analyst at the Center for Disease Control. Though she had always wanted to be an artist, as a young woman she pursued another interest as a political science major, and devoted herself to working in the government. Her collection of pieces includes a number of uniquely decorated practical items — bowls, plates, mugs, lidded jars, pitchers, sponge holders, chip and dip bowls, piggy banks and more. Walsh’s advice to newcomers is to simply give it a try by taking classes, and to be prepared for frustration. “Sometimes the pottery

gods are not with us, and we’re gonna flop a pot,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’s going to be daunting, challenging, and — once the light bulb goes on — exhilarating. It’s something you can get lost in, and when something comes out of the glaze kiln and you have this beautiful piece of pottery, you get tremendous satisfaction.”

Allowing the pieces to evolve in your hands isn’t always easy, but seems to be uniquely freeing. “It’s kind of a reflection of life,” said Callanwolde ceramics student Ingrid Hogan. “Life is not predictable, you have really limited control over life.” Hogan, now retired, was a German professor at Agnes Scott College where she first found a love for clay in classes at the school. Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, she relocated to the U.S. and immediately began teaching German. What brought her to the U.S.? Her answer is simple: “Curiosity.” She wanted to see for herself what America was all about. In the 40 years that followed, Hogan raised her children and cultivated a garden at her Stone Mountain lakeside home. Since her children have grown into adults, she has built a large collection of ceramic works.

ingrid hogan

In her ceramics, Hogan incorporates elements from her garden along with techniques or art forms that she finds inspirational, such as printmaking and Japanese brushwork. “I love texture and I love to experiment, so some things work out and some things don’t,” she said. “You can find just about every weed that grows in my garden in my pots, and that’s because I love printmaking.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS FINK

thomas fink Across town, students at MudFire Pottery Studio in Decatur churn out new ceramics works. “Life-changing would be the best description of my time at MudFire,” said artist Thomas Fink. “I’ve been a member for many years, but several years ago I became an investor, which gave me 24/7 access to the studio. A month later, I got laid off from my corporate job and I’ve been a full-time potter ever since.” Fink began working with clay when he took courses at a local university in 1973. At the time, he was teaching primary school at Media Friends School. He thought it was important for him, as a teacher of young children, to learn a new skill. “As adults, even young adults, we forget how difficult it is to learn a new skill,” he said. “By

learning PHOTO BY something new, I KAITLYN CHIPPS could better relate to my students.” While Fink may not have initially imagined himself working as an artist, it’s clear that the medium has become a central part of his life. “Creativity always adds value to one’s life,” he explained. “Making a vase, bowl, mug or et cetera, and starting with just a lump of clay is very satisfying.” Fink’s advises new ceramists to “make pots, make more pots, then make even more pots.” By experimenting and sticking with it, he believes anyone can improve their ceramic skills. The camaraderie and opportunities to learn at MudFire are important to him. “It’s an amazing community of ceramic artists of all ages and experience levels,” Fink said. Continued on page 6

PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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Continued from page 5

adrina richard Another artisan who calls MudFire home is Adrina Richard, a renowned artist who has participated in many shows. One of her pieces, a basket, was purchased by the Georgia Council of the Arts and given to local writer Janisse Ray by Gov. Nathan Deal during the 2017 Arts and Humanities Award Ceremony. Richard’s love for ceramics was sparked in 2004 when MudFire was located in Brookhaven. “I think art is very important to everyone at every age, but I’d like to encourage seniors to explore new horizons,” she explained. “I didn’t have any art

background and didn’t think I could ‘do’ art, but I’m now showing in the American Craft Council shows and other juried shows throughout the Southeast, and I’m in some galleries as well. We’re never too old to learn, enjoy and appreciate art.” Richard’s pieces are handbuilt and stamped, and she prefers to utilize stains rather than glazes to bring out the nuances in her designs. She artfully merges function with form, tradition with modernism, and minimalism with ornate patterns. Her designs are a mix of functional and aesthetic pieces. She incorporates patterns from lace pieces that have been passed down to her by her family. A firstgeneration ArmenianAmerican, Richard says that it’s

through her ceramic pieces that she continues the legacy of her heritage. “Pottery links the shaper, users and admirers together, forming a community that’s intrinsically human,” said Richard.

Ginger Birdsey, a fellow handbuilder, has focused on developing her work at MudFire for the past seven years. Prior to retiring, Birdsey was an educator at Callanwolde for 10 years and an art teacher at the Paideia School for 23 years before that. All told, she has been working with ceramics for the last 30 years or so. During her teaching, she felt that clay was the most fun material to use with her students. It

sparked an interest in her that has grown in the years since. For me there are no challenges, per se,” Birdsey said of her creative process. “I channel the young kids I taught and work totally spontaneously. I have more ideas than time.” While Birdsey has been getting her hands dirty with clay for several decades, she invites anyone who wants to try ceramics to do so. “Just do it,” she suggested. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GINGER BIRDSEY

Ginger birdsey

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ADRINA RICHARD

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THE ARTS

Still with the band

Older adults return to music with New Horizons Band

Cobb New Horizons Symphonic Band, Christmas 2017

COURTESY OF COBB NEW HORIZONS BAND

By Joe Earle

with it “until they take me out in a box.” Other New Horizons Band members echo McKeown’s Boyd McKeown recalls when a TV interviewer once enthusiasm. “Everybody is doing something we love, which asked him why he and other members of the New is making music,” said Sandra Detjen, a clarinetist with the Horizons Band looked so happy when they played Roswell New Horizons Band. together. Unlike McKeown, Detjen only recently returned to “It had never occurred to me before that the performing music after giving it up decades ago. She’s 60 stereotypical idea of old people was walking around with a and said that until about three years ago, she hadn’t touched SPECIAL frown and looking at life like ‘When is this going to be over?’” her clarinet since high school. “I didn’t play anymore,” she said. Boyd McKeown he said. “I have to say participating in music has a lot to do Then, 39 years later, she had retired and “just wanted something of the Cobb New with our happy look.” social and something to do.” Horizons Band At 93, McKeown still wears that happy look. Once a week, She thought playing music would be fun, so signed up for he breaks out his trombone and makes music with other members refresher lessons at a local music shop. About six months later, she of the Cobb New Horizons Band, one of three New Horizons bands in joined the Roswell band. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “You just become metro Atlanta. “I just like playing,” he said. “All of us do.” friends with these people because you’re playing music together every McKeown’s been with one band or another for 79 years. He played week.” in high school, college and military bands, directed the Marietta Mitzi O’Connell, who’s played with the Atlanta New Horizons Band High School band for 14 years (the high school band room now is since 2003, first picked up her flute in fifth grade. She packed it away named for him) and then served as coordinator of instrumental when she was in college and left it on the shelf for decades, while she music in Cobb County’s schools. reared her children and tended to family life. She started back about After he retired, he heard from some of his former students about age 50. “There wasn’t anything exactly that got me back in,” she said. “I the Roswell New Horizons Band, part of a national band program designed for players 50 years old and older. He signed up. “Music was my career,” he said. “Now, it’s still part of my life. … It’s a privilege to be able to do it at this age.” New Horizons bands date to the early 1990s, when a professor at the Eastman School of Music in upstate New York decided to organize a community band of older players. “The goal of New Horizons groups is to create an entry point to group music-making for adult beginners and a comfortable re-entry point for adults who played music in school and would like to resume after long years of building careers and raising children,” program founder Roy Ernst says in an article published on New Horizons International Music Association’s webpage. He was right. He formed that first band in 1991 and spinoffs soon followed. Now the association’s webpage lists more than 100 member groups in the United States as well as ones in Canada, New Zealand, England, the Netherlands and other countries. McKeown joined the Roswell band in 2002, he said, and then about a decade ago, after settling in Marietta, switched to the one that had started in Cobb. Now, he said, he looks forward to the band’s weekly PHOTO BY JOE EARLE Atlanta New Horizons Band members, left to right, Bill Snellings, Ron rehearsals and regular performances so much that he intends to stay Gilmore and Ken Lidick perform together during a concert in December.

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picked it up and started playing music.” The three Atlanta bands differ in size. The Cobb band now claims about 75 regular players. The Roswell band has about 50 members and the Atlanta band includes about 30, according to members and directors. The groups also feature smaller ensembles, such as jazz bands, that perform during concerts or separately. Members must be able to read music, but can play at any level from beginner to polished pro, band members say. Members pay about $15 a month in dues, which is used for band expenses and to pay the directors. Atlanta New Horizons Band Director Fritz Siler said the bands pull people together by giving them a chance to create music as a group. “Band and music is a funny thing,” Siler said. “It’s a large family, but it’s a close family,” the 71-year-old said. “It offers the sheer enjoyment of being around other people who make something out of nothing, and they work hard at it.” Trumpeter Bill Snellings, who’s 66 and president of the Atlanta New Horizons band, said “the instruments we play need to be played in an ensemble. You can play trumpet by yourself, but to play concert band music you want a director. … The skill levels here are really all over. We’ve got some very good musicians and some very bad ones. We do not turn anybody away who wants to be in the band.” Snellings said he played with a marching band in high school and still plays “the same horn my dad bought for me in 1964.” But he never really enjoyed the marching. “I hated it. I hated marching. I hated playing in the cold. I loved playing, but I didn’t need to be walking around to do it.” Now he sits comfortably as part of the concert band. One recent afternoon, O’Connell and Snellings were among 22 members of the Atlanta New Horizons Band who performed for residents at Lenbrook, a high-rise condo for seniors in Buckhead. Band members, dressed in white shirts and dark slacks, played a mix of familiar music, from the folk song “Shenandoah” to medleys of Gershwin, Sinatra and Henry Mancini tunes to a rousing march. Afterwards, Lenbrook resident Mary House thought their performance was “wonderful.” “My hands were clapping,” she said.

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Jump on the Bandwagon New Horizons Bands invite musicians aged 50 or older to join them. The bands perform for community events around north metro Atlanta, often for senior citizens in independent living facilities. Participants play at various levels, from beginner to experienced band member, but should be able to read music. If you’d like to check out one of the groups, visit: ► Atlanta New Horizons Band AtlantaNewHorizonsBand.org, or call 770-978-1287. The band rehearses on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 550 Mount Paran Rd., Atlanta 30327. ► Cobb New Horizons Band cobbnewhorizonsband.com, or contact Don Walden at 770941-7812 or dlwalden77@yahoo.com. The band rehearses at 11 a.m. on Mondays at the Maple Avenue United Methodist Church, 63 Maple Ave. Marietta 30064. ► Roswell New Horizons Concert Band roswellnewhorizonsband.com, or call Art Geist at 404-2477549. The band rehearses on Thursdays at Roswell Adult Recreation Center, 830 Grimes Bridge Rd., Roswell, 30075. More information is available on the New Horizons International Music Association website, newhorizonsmusic.org.

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Susan Longley leads an aquatic exercise class at the Family Life Center in Atlanta.

By Julie E. Bloemeke It all began with a broken arm in her mid-sixties. Susan Longley found that because of her injury, she was gaining weight, not having time to exercise and without full use of her arm. She told herself, “OK, this is the end. I am not going to do this anymore. This is not going to be my life.” At 65 she joined a gym, bought a year-long pass of appointments with a personal trainer and began taking water aerobics. “I thought, I love this class, I love teaching and I could do this.” So now, at 68, she’s a personal coach, fitness trainer and Aquatic Exercise Association-certified water aerobics instructor. After writing for an educational website and spending 50-plus hours a week in front of a computer, Longley found that she not only had a talent for teaching, but a calling and a passion for

working with seniors. “The seniors who exercise are a fantastic group of people,” she said. “The people I work with are just fun. They have a lot of energy, they have a love of life and they understand that they have to keep moving to be able to do other stuff, so it’s really energizing for me; it keeps me going.” In addition to individual personal training sessions, Longley teaches three other classes at the Family Life Center at SecondPonce De Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. She began teaching Water Aerobics and has added Aquatic Gentle Joints and Water Strength. Aquatic Gentle Joints is focused around posture and increasing heart rate with a consistent set of movements often involving props such as balls and pool noodles. The class is free and open to all members of SilverSneakers, a national premier fitness program, as is her other class, Water Aerobics.

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Water Strength is designed for personal training students and is limited to three participants per session. It involves resistance and strength training by incorporating ankle weights, resistance bands and giving special attention to squats and lunges. After doing personal training for two years and water aerobics for three, Longley noticed that she had an additional interest in working with seniors with arthritis. Her inspiration came partly from her personal training students. “People were coming to me wanting personal training, but

once they got on the machine, it was causing pain; it wasn’t working,” she said. So Longley decided to pursue certification for the subspecialty of arthritis and water aerobics. Longley’s gentle and knowledgeable manner of instruction was a huge draw for JoAnn Pope, 72. “This lady right here is fabulous,” Pope said, gesturing toward Longley. A member of Longley’s water aerobics class and a personal training client, Pope sought out Longley after sustaining a ligament and ball-and-socket

injury in May. “She is so understanding of old folks and as a personal trainer,” Pope said. “This injury put me in a very bad way, but she keeps me motivated. She doesn’t make me feel bad if I can’t do all the reps. She understands it takes time to get back into shape.” Mary Dill, 76, another member of Longley’s water aerobics class, was impressed by Longley’s compassion and Continued on page 12

Lisa Jobe uses a pool noodle in her workout.

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PROFILE Continued from page 11

thoughtfulness when it came to working with students who had auditory struggles. Since hearing aids can’t be used in the water, trying to listen to an instructor in the pool proves to be a challenge. “We have ladies here that can’t hear,” Dill said, “and Susan chooses to teach the class standing outside of the pool so that students in the water can hear better.” This also helps students to see the poses visually. Dill, a long-time member of the class and its self-proclaimed social director, is enthusiastic about a number of aspects of the class. “You don’t have to get your hair wet. You don’t have to be embarrassed in a bathing suit because it’s not like being at a gym with 22-year-olds in spandex.” One of the highlights for her and the other participants is Longley’s consistency in routine. As if to echo this sentiment, Longley’s students chuckle or smile knowingly to one another when she mentions the names

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of certain movements. Today’s class, Aquatic Gentle Joints, relies on such sequences as “Cross Country Ski,” “Rocking Horse” and “Frog Jumps.” When Longley says, “This is our NFL drill,” the students respond with laughter and nods as they begin to work their knees under the water’s surface. As Longley described it, “The sequence mimics running through a row of tires like football players do to develop agility…the students lift their knees and ankles high and visualize putting their feet through an imaginary tire.” Longley finds it imperative to keep her workout routines familiar and consistent. “I use the same routines every class, just varying a few exercises each time. Most participants are regulars, so they know how to do the routines correctly and well. I don’t want to spend class time learning new exercises, but would rather do ones we know well and keep moving.”

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

Many of the students are also drawn to the camaraderie and sense of community present at Longley’s classes. And just as Longley proclaims the students energize her, she does the same for them. Take Rose Fenner, 82, who started Longley’s class three months ago and rides a shuttle from Class members line up along the edge of the pool for stretches. Campbell Stone to attend she has struggled with mobility. each week. After suffering a “I cannot walk without a walker near-fatal car accident in 1989, on land, but when I get into the

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some Perspectives for a Healthier & Happier Life Julie E. Bloemeke Susan Longley is not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but working with seniors in fitness has given her some insights that should prove helpful to anyone turning over a new leaf in 2018. ■ Don’t make a list of resolutions you can’t keep. “I like to encourage people not to make any resolutions, but to rethink. Choose a new life for yourself and figure out what you would have to do to make that life happen, then those can be your daily goals.” Left to right, Sharon Forrester, Alice Enright, Lisa Jobe and Linda LeTard enjoy getting fit.

water I can do so much more,” Fenner said. “I couldn’t function without Susan’s classes. She’s wonderful and very motivating.” Dill comments on Fenner’s progress and how she continues to challenge herself as the result of Longley’s instruction. “Rose was so weak in the beginning,” Dill said, “but now she works the sequences harder.” Not surprisingly, Longley has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. “I hate the idea of retirement. I can’t imagine retiring,” she said. “I’ll have my own business; I’ll have my own work until I can’t do it anymore. I think sometimes conversation around retirement has people accepting the idea that “I’m no longer useful.” This is a concept Longley hopes to change. “I want to encourage the conversation about doing something more purposeful. That’s why fitness is part of my mission. Fitness is so much the foundation of it. If you’re not fit, you’re not going to feel like doing anything else.” What else is in the works? Longley teaches meditation as a volunteer and practices herself. She’s also working on launching a podcast website called “Finish with a

Flourish,” where she’ll interview seniors “who are doing something different with their retirement.” “This, too, is part of my mission,” she said, “to have seniors talk to each other, inspire each other” and “to change the conversation about what aging and retirement really mean.” For more information, visit susanlongley.com.

■ Look at the bigger questions. “Value yourself, value your friends, value your fitness and your contributions. See yourself as an elder, rather than an old person. Understand that the younger people in society really need you.” Longley observes that younger people tend to react more, whereas seniors value response over reaction. ■ Feed off the energy of what you want to accomplish. “Know that if you want to try something bad enough, exercise can be a part of it,” Longley said. Maybe that involves travel, a golf game, volunteer work or spending time with grandkids. ■ Learn how to meditate and practice honing that skill consistently. Visualize what you want to happen then take action to make it happen. ■ Be patient with yourself. “If you’re building your fitness from ground zero, which a lot of older people are, recognize that it takes time to learn how to do it.” ■ Find people and friends who value what you value. “If your friends aren’t doing the kind of things that you would like to do, find a new group of friends—not to ditch the old ones—but find a new group of people who are more interested in what you want to do. You might find more people in a volunteer situation, working on something that you value,” Longley suggested. “Become friends with those people so they can encourage you.” ■ Remember that what you eat is part of your fitness. “You know what’s good for you; find a way to eat what’s good for you. Redo your recipe box. If you have a favorite recipe, go online and see how other people prepare it in a way that’s healthier.”

Susan Longley

■ Shift your focus. “Once you start moving toward your daily goals, a lot of support comes in. When you meet new people, things will happen that will support you. You may find an article in a magazine about cooking that you’d have skimmed over before—you wouldn’t have even paid attention to it— but once you shift your focus to ‘I want to be more fit, I want to have more purpose,’ then things start popping up in your awareness. I’d love to get that message across.”

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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FITNESS

Swim Through the Winter

Indoor aquatic centers allow residents to swim year-round

DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS

Water volleyball players at the Lou Walker Senior Center include, from left, Renita Stultz, Charles King, Bettye Young and Frances Savoy, who also teaches beginning swimming at the center. Lou Walker’s volleyball team routinely takes first-place standings in area Senior Olympics competitions.

By Donna Williams Lewis Ray Ruffin developed a fear of water early in life but said he has always wanted to learn to swim. Last spring, the south DeKalb County insurance industry retiree took the plunge. Now, at 71, he’s a regular in the pool at his community’s Lou Walker Senior Center. “It’s given me some confidence and resilience, and I’m inspired by others who I see progressing,” Ruffin said. “My goal is to be able to save my life, if necessary, and to be able to save a grandchild.” Indoor pools are attracting older adults across metro Atlanta with aquatic programs that don’t take winter breaks. Seniors are signing up and showing up for year-round classes such as Arthritis Foundation Aquatics, water fitness and water volleyball. Warren St. James, aquatics director at the Lou Walker Center, said swimming is “one of the best exercises in the world.” “As we age, we start to feel these aches and pains. Seniors are starting to realize the many

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benefits of water resistance on their joints … in a safe, warm, inviting environment where they can network,” St. James said. Aquatic fitness programs provide whole body workouts; improve cardiovascular conditioning; increase muscle strength, endurance, posture, balance and flexibility; and can help with weight loss, he said. “All of these things help you feel younger and more alive,” St. James said. Stonecrest resident Frances Savoy, 66, says swimming has changed her life. “I’m a water addict!” she said. Savoy had just taken early retirement from the U.S. Postal Service and was limping when she started at Lou Walker. “My body was breaking down after so many years of dealing with heavy stuff and a lot of walking. … My back hurt. My knees hurt, and I had developed a heel spur,” Savoy said. “But within three months of being in the water four days a week, every ache and pain I had was gone.” Several years ago, St. James talked her into getting certified

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

to become an instructor. So now she teaches beginning swimming while also playing on the center’s water volleyball team, a group that routinely snags first-place standings at area Senior Olympics events. Swimming at Lou Walker is open to facility members and to members of SilverSneakers, a nationwide fitness program for adults 65 and up with qualifying health plans. SilverSneakers members also are welcome to join members of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in aquatics

programs which include “deep water therapy” with weighted balls. Classes are offered at the center’s Zaban campus in Dunwoody. Mark Cohen, 66, of Sandy Springs, and a founding partner of Pull-A-Part LLC, an auto parts company, does open lap swimming daily at MJCCA with his son, Bart, 37, of Toco Hills. They are occasionally accompanied by Bart’s son, Yahav, 4, who recently joined the Zaban Sharks swim team. “God bless him, Bart got me into doing this,” Cohen said.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MJCCA

From left, father and son Bart and Mark Cohen power up their lunch breaks with lap swims at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody.

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“For us, it’s been a wonderful family generational thing.” It all began about nine months ago when the father and son, who work together at Pull-A-Part, decided to add some exercise to their lunch breaks. They eat at MJCCA’s Healthy Touch cafe, wait a bit and then head for the pool. “I actually hated it at first,” Cohen said, of their lap swims. But now, he’s hooked and has even started listening to music while he swims. “It’s refreshing. It gives me some interaction time with my son. It helps me with life and stress and gives me a way to maintain muscle mass and some aerobic conditioning,” Cohen said. “I’m not out there trying to break any records. I’m just trying to get 20 laps in. Bart does 35 in about the same time. I count my progress by how many times he laps me.” Cohen’s not taking swimming classes. But people who do take them, find they can

be modified to meet students’ individual needs. Deanna Bustillos, an MJCCA water aerobics instructor, said one of her students who has knee issues brings a foam water belt to add buoyancy to her body if the class includes a lot of jumping. Bustillos said she always ends her classes with a fun activity such as partner exercises or partner races using foam “noodles.” “They leave with a big smile on their faces,” she said of her students, “and they can’t wait till next week to come back.” At the Lou Walker Center, retired teacher Allegra Burnette, 74, was all smiles as she talked about her progress since she started swimming 11 years ago. “I have learned to do something at my older age that I have always wanted to learn,” she said. The South DeKalb County resident was a complete novice and was worried she wouldn’t be enrolled because one of her legs

had just been amputated due to a resident for moving on up. medical condition. She found that “We’re so proud of her. When not only was there a mechanical we grow up we want to be just like lift to help her into the pool, but her,” said Joann Wingo, whose one of her classmates was also 61st birthday was celebrated that an amputee, and helped Burnette day with a class potluck. become able to laugh about their Kobrin, who is retired from limitations as they learned to a retail career, became afraid of swim past them. water after a traumatic incident These days, Burnette treads Continued on page 16 water, swims freestyle and does the backstroke and breaststroke in Lou Walker’s intermediate class. Linda Kobrin, 68, will join the intermediate crowd in January. On a recent December day at the pool, her beginner DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS classmates Warren St. James, aquatics director at the Lou Walker Senior congratulated Center, talks with Allegra Burnette about the chair lift she uses in her intermediate swimming class at the center’s pool. the Conley

Move? I’d rather have a root canal. Then I saw The Solana East Cobb.

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JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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Continued from page 15

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in her youth. “That did it for me,” she said. “I never went back until I was 67 years old.” Now, she’s in the pool so much that her husband tells callers “the fish is at her swimming lesson” when she’s away. She has her sights set on swimming in the Senior Olympics someday. “I have more confidence in

myself and I’m meeting some really nice people,” Kobrin said. Swimming also gives her peace, she said, and her children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren are impressed with her ability. Savoy, the retired postal worker, said children can benefit from watching their elders in action. “You’re teaching them something important about life,” Savoy said. “That you’re never too old for anything.”

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Aquatics Centers Enjoy water year-round at these and many other aquatics centers in metro Atlanta.

Cobb County • Central Aquatic Center 520 S. Fairground St., Marietta 30060 770-528-8465, cobbcounty.org/parks • Mountain View Aquatic Center 2650 Gordy Pkwy., Marietta 30066 770-509-4925, cobbcounty.org/parks • South Cobb Aquatic Center 875 Riverside Pkwy., (formerly Six Flags Dr.), Austell 30168 770-739-3180, cobbcounty.org/parks

The right care at the right time At Addington Place and Manor on the Square, we make it easy when you need assisted living and memory care Our Oasis Neighborhoods are the ideal solution for seniors who value their independence, yet need some assistance with daily living. You’ll enjoy a greater sense of security and community, while we provide the services you need in a comfortable place to call home. For families caring for loved ones struggling with memory loss, we offer Moments® Memory Care. Our cozy environment is designed exclusively to accommodate the unique needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory impairments.

Call today for your personal visit!

DeKalb County Addington Place of Alpharetta 762 North Main Street Alpharetta, GA 30009

678-992-4695 Addington Place of Johns Creek

• Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody 30338 678-812-4060, atlantajcc.org

Fulton County

5050 Kimball Bridge Rd Johns Creek, GA 30005

• Adamsville Natatorium 3201 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Atlanta 30311 404-505-3189, atlantaga.gov

Manor on the Square

• Roswell Adult Aquatics Center Groveway Community Park, 200 Dobbs Dr., Roswell 30075 770-641-3982, roswellgov.com

770-212-3794 550 Barrington Drive Roswell, GA 30075

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• Lou Walker Senior Center 2538 Panola Rd., Lithonia 30058 770-322 2900, louwalkercenter.com

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

Gwinnett County • Mountain Park Aquatic Center 1063 Rockbridge Rd., Stone Mountain 30087 678-277-0870, gwinnettcounty.com

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PETS

Pet Pick Athena wants to be the goddess of your home! This beautiful 4-year-old terrier mix came to the Atlanta Humane Society as a hurricane Irma refugee, so she has been waiting to meet her forever family for over two months. She is playful and fun, but she is also an expert at keeping your spot warm on the couch and napping for hours on end. Athena’s manners are amazing! She is finishing up heartworm treatment, which will be completed at no cost to her adopter. Meet Athena at the Atlanta Humane Society Mansell Campus located at 1565 Mansell Rd., Alpharetta 30009. Call 404875-5331 or visit atlantahumane. org to find more adoptable pets and learn about becoming a volunteer.

SENIOR RESIDENCES AT MERCY PARK Senior Residences at Mercy Park is a brand new development located in Chamblee, GA at 5124 Peachtree Road. The community will offer 79 one and two bedroom apartments for seniors 62 and older. 6 apartments are designated for individuals with special needs and 8 apartments are for veterans. The property is now accepting applications at our temporary leasing location. Applications will be accepted and added to the waiting list in the order they are received. Temporary Office Location: Chamblee Senior Residences 3381 Chamblee Drive Chamblee, GA 30341 Income limits apply and applicants must pass credit, criminal and landlord reference checks. For additional information, please contact 678.266.6116 (TTY: 711) or visit our webpage at www.mercyhousing.org/MercyPark.

CUSTOMIZED, COMPASSIONATE CARE

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4:29 PM JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com12/18/17 17


HEALTH

Flu Shot Facts

Debunking three myths about flu vaccines Are you worried about contracting the flu this year? If not, maybe you should be. In late 2017, the world’s experts looked toward the southern hemisphere’s winter to see what might be in store for the U.S. this year. According to the NEJM Perspective, it doesn’t look good. That may be because vaccine mismatches can—and do—occur. Influenza futures cannot be 100 percent Judith L. Kanne, predictable. But amid the confusion for the RN, BSN, BA consumers, the NEJM article states: “However is a registered nurse and imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines freelance writer who lives remain a valuable public health tool, and it is in Atlanta. always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated.” The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers serve as bleak reminders that influenza kills. In recent years, between 71 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people older than 65, according CDC’s public health experts. And U.S. hospitalization data show more than half the seasonal flu-related admissions occur among people who are older than 65. If you happen to be in that age range, then you’re also at greater risk of serious complications from the flu. Unless you’re looking for a serious time-out this winter, the flu

vaccine offers the best protection available for most older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC. In fact, this performs genome sequencing to compare the genetic year’s flu shot sequences of vaccine viruses with those of circulating viruses. This is one way to assess how closely related could save your the circulating influenza viruses are to the viruses the life—and although influenza vaccine is formulated to protect against. it’s January, it’s still not too late. Prevention is one reason to learn the difference between influenza myths and flu facts, say public health professionals.

Myth #1: The Flu Shot Makes You Sick “The most common myth that we all hear almost all the time is people feel they got sick from the vaccine,” said Dalia Eid, registered pharmacist and pharmacy manager at a Kennesaw Walgreens. “They’re sure it was the flu vaccine that made them ill.” She explained that it can’t actually happen like that. “Remember that the injection takes about two weeks to become effective,” Eid reminded. “The flu shot does not contain live viruses, so ‘getting the flu’ from the injection is virtually impossible.”

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It’s likely people who got sick after getting a flu shot received the injection after they’d already been exposed to the virus, she said. Common side effects of the flu shot are apt to be soreness, redness, tenderness or perhaps swelling in the area where the injection was received. Only in some cases will low-grade fever or possible muscle aches occur, according to public health experts.

The “Do Good” Side of Prevention

Myth #2: Flu Shots Don’t Work Another myth is that flu shots are ineffective. That’s not true. The influenza vaccine greatly reduces your chance of getting the flu. It can also mean a milder case of the flu, if you should happen to get ill, according to the world’s experts at the National Institutes of Health (specifically, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases). The CDC estimates that influenza vaccination averted 40,000 deaths in the United States between the 2005–2006 and 2013–2014 seasons. Yet, we can do better, suggest several physicians, including Anthony Fauci, in a “Perspective” for the New England Journal of Medicine published Nov. 29, 2017.

Myth #3: It’s Too Late for a Flu Shot Each year from October to mid-May, Georgia’s Department of Public Health tracks flu activity throughout the state and reports the findings in the Georgia Weekly Influenza Report, available on their website, dph.georgia.gov. Getting the injection is important even if it’s winter, physicians, pharmacists and nurses say. That’s because there can be a late onset of the virus. The CDC suggests that in past years the flu virus constantly changes, and it’s difficult to define when a flu season ends from one year to the next. Eid agrees and says people will say, “There’s no point in getting a flu shot later in the flu season.” But, that too, is a myth. “It’s never too late,” said Eid. “There can be a delay in the onset of the virus in different parts of the country. Some parts may have elevated flu activity, while other parts may be moderate. But, it doesn’t mean that our area won’t get to that higher level.”

A Higher Dose for Seniors The higher dose vaccine for people over 65 was developed to help trigger the body’s immune response to produce more influenza antibodies, as compared to the standard vaccine. Antibodies are what are needed for the body to respond and protect against infections. There are several types and brands, including the wellknown Fluzone high dose and FLUAD vaccines. These socalled “senior booster” shots are an immunity booster and a bit more potent than the normal flu vaccine. These are recommended for seniors who are 65 and older. “The main difference between them is FLUAD looks like a little milky white substance compared to Fluzone,” said Walgreens pharmacist Dalia Eid. She added that healthcare professionals need to know if a senior has a latex allergy, “because it does contain a minute amount of latex.” According to the FLUAD manufacturer, the tip cap of the prefilled syringe contains latex, which may cause an allergic reaction in persons who are sensitive to it.

GEORGINA GOODWIN/UNF

For every vaccination administered at a Walgreens pharmacy, Walgreens will donate the value of a lifesaving vaccine to people in developing countries as part of their Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign with the UN Foundation, which has provided more than 20 million polio and measles vaccines.

Helping others while you help yourself is a popular theme for encouraging patients to get their flu vaccines. Little Clinics, located inside select Kroger grocery stores, offer flu shots that provide food for people in need. Through Kroger’s One Shot One Meal program, money is donated to Feeding America food banks for every flu shot. Last year, Kroger donated 330 million meals through the program. “Kroger is committed to helping people live healthier lives and we’re excited to continue this initiative for the second year,” says Colleen Lindholz, Kroger’s president of pharmacy and The Little Clinic, in a press release. Walgreens and the United Nations Foundation launched the third year of “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” Walgreens customers have helped to provide more than 20 million polio and measles vaccines to people in developing countries through the successful program. “We’re really proud of the campaign,” said Eid. —Judi Kanne

—Judi Kanne

JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

ISADORA PENNINGTON

Paula White, Cyndy Franklin, James Bemberg and Memri Lerch voluntter at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

By Isadora Pennington For anyone with an interest in history, architecture and research, the Atlanta History Center is a wonderful place to spend time. And for people drawn to nature, flowers and wildlife, the Atlanta Botanical Garden may be the perfect volunteer opportunity. “I’ve always found value in research,” said Dr. Teresa Styles, docent at the Atlanta History Center. In her professional career, Styles worked for CBS News in New York, and later taught journalism and mass communications at North Carolina A&T State University before retiring in 2014. As a young woman, Styles worked for Public Broadcast Atlanta in film production. “We were always at the History Center filming all types of great things that happened,” she explained. “I remembered it as a swell place to be.” Styles earned her BA in English from Spelman College, later her MA in Film from Northwestern University, and also her doctorate in Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her career as an investigative journalist includes SPECIAL Teresa Styles in the reading room many stories, awards, travels and an

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international resume of published works. Today, she does volunteer work and teaches as an adjunct professor at Morehouse. It keeps her busy, but she admits that it’s her own doing. Her love for work simply can’t be quelled by retirement. Upon retiring from academia in North Carolina, Styles found herself missing Atlanta and moved back. “I just wanted to come home,” she said. Shortly thereafter, she began volunteering in the archives. “A lot of people want to do research on their families and history here,” explained Styles. At the Atlanta History Center archives, visitors can peruse primary source materials such as papers, magazines, newspapers and microfiches, and Styles is there to help guide them to the proper collections. Another docent, Linda Bitley, refers to the archives reading room as something like a library. “People come in and they’re looking for all sorts of information,” she said. A guest might request materials or records or need help navigating through the digital collections. “I’m there to sort of take care of some of the details in between,” explained Bitley, who has been a volunteer for about four years, and worked as the ISADORA PENNINGTON Collections Manager before retiring. One of Linda Bitley’s many jobs is She handles accessing account to help people find information. information, registering new members, managing the catalogues and compiling documents or information that go with physical pieces of history, making them eligible for exhibitions. There’s a special joy that Bitley gains from compiling various types of information into one easily accessible file, and learning about the items as she does. “When you’re dealing with historical objects, some of them have stories that goes with them,” she said. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Bitley has been living in the South for around 30 years. As a young woman in high school and college, she helped with collections at libraries, and went on to become an art teacher. When her husband became a professor at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., Bitley worked on the newsletter and then in the collections at the museum on campus. These days, Bitley is active at the Atlanta History Center, assisting with administrative tasks, research assistance and family programs. “There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, and I can do more than one, which is really nice. I have the time to do it, and it keeps me involved with people who have similar interests and skills,” she explained. At the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown Atlanta, there’s a different kind of digging going on. Volunteers perform a variety of maintenance and educational tasks around the 30-acre property, from clean-up to leading tours. The Garden Essential Maintenance volunteers, affectionately referred to as GEMs, are in charge of weeding, watering, pruning, mulching and more hands-on work, under the supervision of experienced horticulturists. “It’s a nice way of saying you pull weeds,” said Paula White with a laugh. A career federal employee, White worked as Director of Cooperative and State Programs at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for many years. She managed voluntary, educational and state programs from her office in Washington, D.C. “It was a pretty serious job, but it was wonderful,” she said. White is a long-time dedicated gardener. Once, when moving, she rented and filled a moving truck with potted plants, peat moss and soil because the movers didn’t want to ship them with the rest of their

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When living alone is no longer an option...

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JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a perfect fit for Paula White, an avid gardener. Continued from page 21

belongings. When she grew tired of unpacking boxes, she visited a garden center and met someone who suggested she volunteer at the Botanical Garden. That was in 2009, and she’s been a volunteer ever since. “I think we all feel some ownership in this place,” she said. During her tenure at the Garden, White has gotten involved with the Garden Associates, a group that runs events to fundraise for the property, and was nominated as President of Garden Associates in 2016. “I’ve been fortunate enough to do a huge number of things,” she said, adding that she was about to become a greeter. “I spend most of my life here.” The atmosphere among the volunteers is one of camaraderie and continual learning. “We’re so appreciated here,” said Cyndy Franklin, a volunteer tour guide at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “You know, we don’t do this to get praise or earn money or whatever, but they’re always thanking us.” When Franklin was in a garden club, a friend encouraged her to do both the children’s and adult docent training. It was an instant fit, and she enjoys the company of her fellow volunteers. “Some women buy shoes, we buy plants,” she said with a shrug. Franklin grew up near Boston in Lincoln, Mass., and attended college at Boston University and later Cornell University. It was when she met her husband, a fellow student who was a native Southerner, that she first considered moving to the South. “I’m a Yankee but I married a Southerner,” she said. They’d lived in Washington, D.C., before moving to Atlanta, and they’ve now lived here for 42 years. After retiring from a career of teaching and a role as Director of Franchise Operation for a kitchen supply store, Franklin found the lack of work to be boring. “I love to read, but you can only read so much,” she said. While leading tours and manning the visitor center at the garden, Franklin has met people from all over the world, and says the experience of being outside among nature has been a joy in itself. The docents go on monthly field trips, visiting private gardens and other outdoor spaces, which has taught her quite a bit about Atlanta. “Once I start, it’s like everything else just melts away. It has been a Cyndy Franklin has met people from great experience.” all over the world at the garden.

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Volunteering at the garden has brought Navy veteran James John Bemberg joy, not only through his work with children, but also among the community of docents. Once a month, the garden hosts a docent luncheon. “It’s amazing how people at that luncheon love each other so much. We hug each other, we tell each other stories since the last time we saw them,” he said. While in college, Bemberg worked at the botanical garden James in St. Louis for two years, and Bemberg that sparked his interest in enjoys the this type of work. His parents community and grandparents were also spirit among the gardeners, so his love for plants garden’s seems to be hereditary. docents. For some retirees, volunteering at the Atlanta Botanical Garden feels more like an extension of their careers. “I think that was one way that I got into gardening, because my job was to nurture people, to take care of people and to try to make them feel better,” said Memri Lerch, a GEM volunteer at the Garden. “That’s kind of what my job is here, except with plants instead of human beings.” Lerch worked at the Center for the Visually Impaired as a family counselor for the infant and preschool program, working with kids who had severe visual impairment, for more than 20 years. While working there, she received a grant to build a playground for the children. She suggested a sensory playground, and the organization liked the idea so much that they put her in charge. It was during that project that she met someone from the Botanical Garden, and her interest was piqued by the volunteering program there. “When I saw what it did for our kids and their parents, I was hooked,” she said. She admitted that her garden at home is often neglected in favor of working at the Botanical Garden, and said that she has found true solace in the work. “Whatever garden I’m in, it’s my church,” Lerch said. “If I have my hands in the soil or on the plants, that’s where I feel Mimri Lerch has gone from nurturing closer to God.” people to nurturing plants.

Learn more about the Atlanta Botanical Garden docent program online at atlantabg.org; click on Support, Volunteer, then Docents. You can also call 404-876-5859 or visit at 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta 30309. For information on volunteering at the Atlanta History Center, visit atlantahistorycenter.com, click on Support, then Volunteer. You can also call 404-814-4000 or stop in at 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta 30305.

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PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

Cast Iron Skillet I’ve decided that the Macarena, shortI’ve lived in the South lived and unfortunate). long enough to own The recipe was for a skillet. And by cherry upside-down “skillet,” I mean the cake, made with corn honest-to-goodnessmeal, almond meal cast-iron variety, and fresh cherries. the likes of which It took two hours Sipsey used on the to make, and it was Bad Guy in Fried delicious. Green Tomatoes at But then I lost the the Whistle Stop Cafe skillet. And before you and Rapunzel chose Robin’s Nest ask how it is possible Robin Conte is a writer to lose something as as her key weapon in and mother of four. Her imposing as a cast-iron Tangled. Robin’s Nest is a multi- skillet, I will explain Once I got it and ple award-winning col- that the problem is in felt the heft of it, I umn. She can be contacted the storage of it. It’s like understood: you really at robinjm@earthlink.net. can kill somebody figuring out where to with that thing. store an anvil. I learned This is actually the second that it’s not supposed to be stacked skillet I bought. I lost the first or covered, because that messes one. I had purchased it in order with its “seasoning,” and that the to cook a rather enticing recipe oven is a good place to store it. I discovered on a blog that I Of course, the problem of followed during my blogging what to do with it when you’re phase (a phase which was, like actually using the oven still

JIM HEAPHY

exists; it needs to be stashed someplace where it won’t fall on your foot. So I moved it to a corner beside the dining room table, then under the guest room bed, then in the storage room in the basement, moving deeper, ever deeper, into the recesses of our home until it lodged (heh heh) comfortably somewhere, never to be found again, unless, perhaps, by a future homeowner or an archeologist on a dig. But our society is going retro on its road to wellness, and, thumbing my nose at Teflon, I jumped back on that train and bought another skillet. A cast-iron skillet, however, is way more retro than Fiestaware; in fact, I don’t know how far back you have to go before you’ve passed “retro” and landed on the prairie over an open campfire, but there I was, faced with a new skillet that was primed and ready for the seasoning, and even for something as iconic as a frying pan, I must admit that I found it a bit intimidating. Seasoning is the process that makes the skillet somewhat cling-free. I honestly think that I never seasoned my lost skillet

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JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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properly, so I decided to study up on it. I learned that there are as many opinions on the proper way to season a skillet as there are opinions on the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Everyone, from Martha Stewart to Emeril Lagasse to the guy whose wife is videotaping him in their kitchen, has an opinion. First, you wash it—but maybe with soap or maybe you should never use soap. Then you rub it with oil—but maybe using a paper towel, or maybe you should never use a paper towel. And your oil is maybe lard, or maybe something that has never been hydrogenated, or maybe

something that comes out of a tube that is specially marked “skillet seasoning oil,” or maybe the absolute best seasoning oil is something like flaxseed oil and you’ll have to go to a health food store to buy it and it will cost $16.99 a bottle. Then you bake it in the oven, upside down on a foil lined pan, or not...for 30 minutes or an hour or an hour and a half...at a setting of 325⁰or 350⁰ or 375⁰, and you leave it in there to cool for a long, long, long time because now the anvil is a burning hot piece of iron that could brand you. Or maybe you forget the oven and do the whole thing on

the stove. And you go through this once or twice or three times, depending on the time of year and what your zodiac sign is and, most likely, how bored you are. So I chose eclectically and added my own personal twist. I used a “dedicated rag” and coconut oil (because it burns

belly fat and would make my house smell like Tahiti) and I put the pan upside down in the oven and repeated the process three times, all the while proclaiming to my family that I would not be able to cook dinner that day because I was busy seasoning my skillet. The next day, however, we would dine on fried green tomatoes and coconut flavored cornbread.

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ask rusty: Social Security Credit for Military Pay by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Dear Rusty:

I served in the U.S. Navy from March 5, 1951 until December 2, 1954, with an Honorable Discharge for medical reasons. Looking at my Social Security earnings statement, I never received credit for my earnings while serving in the U.S. Navy in 1952, 1953, and 1954, and for 1951, I only received earnings credit for $120. In the Veterans Administration booklet “Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors” the following paragraph is on page 135: “non-contributory Social Security earnings of $160 a month may be credited to Veterans who served after Sept.15, 1940 and before 1957, including attendance at service academies.” Can you check and see whether I should get credit from my military earnings, and if my Social Security check should be $160 more than it is?

Signed: Navy Veteran Dear Navy Veteran:

First of all, thank you for your service to our country. Although military pay is now considered taxable Social Security income, military earnings were not included as Social NS OM MO Security earnings EDIA C WIKIM prior to 1957. This is the reason that your earnings while in the Navy from 1951 to 1954 aren’t reflected in your Social Security earnings record, and thus may not have been included in computing your Social Security benefit amount. You can find out more about this in the Social Security publication “Military Service and Social Security” at: ssa.gov/pubs/ EN-05-10017.pdf. I suspect that your $120 of earnings for 1951 was for part time employment prior to you joining the Navy in March of

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The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, enlivant.com LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.org.

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that year. The information you quote from the VA booklet is consistent with Social Security’s publication referenced above, namely, “earnings of $160 a month may be credited to Veterans who served after Sept. 15, 1940 and before 1957...” WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Note that in the referenced SS publication it also states that “In all cases, the additional earnings are credited to the earnings that we average over your working lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount.” What that means is that in your lifetime earnings record, Social Security will give you earnings credit equal to $160/month during the years that you served and that will be included in your lifetime earnings record when they compute your Social Security benefit amount. It doesn’t mean they will add $160 to your monthly Social Security benefit amount. For information, when Social Security computes your benefit amount, they use your 35 highest years of earnings (adjusted for inflation). So if those 35 years of higher earnings used to compute your benefit were after you left military service in 1954, your years of military service wouldn’t have been part of the benefit calculation formula. Once again, thank you for your service.

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►Out & about

Menopause the Musical

The Arts Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical Runs Jan. 11 to Jan. 28. Based on the life of Hollywood legend Rosemary Clooney, this show is the second musical of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s Silver Anniversary season. It’s a fresh and poignant picture of a talented woman who became a Hollywood legend. Songs include “Come on-a My House,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Hey There” and many more. Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell 30075. Get tickets and information at get.org.

Cecil Welch Saturday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m. Trumpeter Cecil Welch performs as part of the Evenings of Intimate Jazz series. Welch has been a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and principal trumpeter and soloist for film composer Henry Mancini. Individual tickets are $35. The Arts Council’s Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St., Gainesville 30501. Call 770534-2787 to purchase tickets. For tickets and more info, go to theartscouncil.net.

Runs Jan. 16-21. Four women at a lingerie sale share their experiences with ‘The Change.’ This hilarious musical parody is a celebration set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Tickets are $29-$49. The Earl & Rachel Smith Strand Theatre, 117 N. Park Square, Marietta 30060. Learn more and get tickets at earlsmithstrand.org.

Callanwolde Arts Festival Friday, Jan. 19-Sunday, Jan. 21. Friday, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. More than 80 artists — sculptors, painters, photographers and more — show their work at the two-day festival. Highlights include demonstrations, dance performances, live music and gourmet food trucks with healthy alternatives. Tickets are $5 per person on Saturday and Sunday; Friday Preview Party tickets are $20. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta, 30306. Visit callanwolde.org for tickets and additional info.

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In the Mood Friday, Jan. 26, 3 & 8 p.m. A 1940’s musical review that features a big band with choreographed dance routines. The singers and dancers appear in period costumes and deliver a show packed with memories and pizzazz. Tickets start at $32. Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta 30339. Find out more at inthemoodlive.com. Get tickets at the Cobb Energy box office, cobbenergycentre.com, or Ticketmaster.com.

Brad Taylor Book Talk & Signing

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Saturday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. Retired Special Forces Lt. Colonel Brad Taylor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 11 novels. His latest, “Operator Down,” follows Pike Logan’s search for a Mossad agent and ally that puts him on a collision course with a ruthless military coup in Africa. Free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Prototype Prime, Ste. 100, 147 Technology Pkwy., Peachtree Corners 30092. Go to gwinnettpl.org for more info on this and other events.

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2018 Progressive® Insurance Atlanta Boat Show® Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 18-21. Thursday & Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Browse among 500 boats, as well as fishing gear and accessories. The many activities include the Let’s Go Fishing Center’s Big Bass Tank for live fishing demonstrations, the sailing simulator, boating DIY workshops at Fred’s Shed and educational seminars. Tickets are $14 for adults aged 13 and older; youth 12 and under get in free with a paid adult. Online and active military discounts available. George World Congress Center, 280 Northside Dr., Atlanta 30314. For more information, visit AtlantaBoatShow.com.

Jeanne Robertson Thursday, Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. Southern familyfriendly humorist Jeanne Robertson is a former Miss North Carolina who specializes in comedy based on her life experiences. She performs live for thousands of people annually and is heard daily on Sirius and XM radio. Series tickets of $80 per person cover three performances: Jeanne Robertson (Jan. 18) The Young Islanders (Mar. 6) and 3 Redneck Tenors (Mar. 27); individual tickets for Jeanne Robertson’s show are $35. First Baptist Church Sanctuary, 751 Green Street, Gainesville 30501. Call 770534-2787 or visit TheArtsCouncil.net for more info and tickets.

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Continued from page 29

Jim Taylor’s Murder at the Wake Thursday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m. & Sunday Feb. 11, 6 p.m. Enjoy a murder mystery at one of Tucker’s favorite restaurants. Main Street Theatre joins with Shorty’s Neighborhood Eatery to bring Murder at the Wake. As you dine on a delectable three-course meal, you’ll be entertained with an evening of intrigue, comedy and suspense. $65 per person includes admission, meal, taxes and gratuity. Shorty’s Neighborhood Eatery, 3701 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker 30084. Purchase tickets and learn more at tuckertheatre.com.

Learn Something Free Decluttering Workshop Wednesday, Jan. 10, 11 a.m. Life can be in better balance when things are organized and findable. Professional organizer The Organized Chick will show how organization can be fun. Learn how to reduce clutter and straighten up your closets. Gwinnett County Public Library, Five Forks Branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Rd., Lawrenceville 30044. Visit gwinnettpl.org for details and info on more events.

New Year, New You Cooking Class Thursday, Jan. 11, 7-9 p.m. Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to continue eating healthy? A nutrition counselor and health coach offer new recipes to help you do just that. Open to the community. Cost is $55; $45 for Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta members. Advance registration requested. MJCCA Kuniansky Family Center, 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody 30338. Contact Harold Schreiber at 678812-3993 or howard.schreiber@atlantajcc.org for more information and to register.

Page from the Book Festival: Melissa Hartwig Monday, Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m. The Page from the Book Festival, presented by Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, features Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 program and author of “The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook,” a book with delicious, compliant, fast and easy recipes. Free with RSVP for MJCCA members and the community.

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MJCCA Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody 30338. To RSVP or get more info, visit atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.

Marist Evening Series Mondays, Jan. 22, Jan. 29 & Feb. 5, 7-9 p.m. Three evenings of captivating courses for adults, with topics that include: religion and spirituality; art history; photography; college planning; technology; history and culture; and self-discovery. Cost is $95 through Jan. 12, and $110 after that date. Onsite registration on Monday, Jan. 22, 6-7 p.m. in the Marist School Cafeteria. Marist School, 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta 30319. Detailed course catalog and online registration, available through Sunday, Jan. 21, at marist.com/ eveningseries.

Nutrition and Arthritis Control Tuesday, Jan. 30, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Although there’s no diet cure for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system. Kimberly Benford with Cobb County / UGA Cooperative Extension Services will discuss which types of dietary changes may help relieve arthritis symptoms. Free; registration required. Senior Wellness Center, 1150 Powder Springs St., Ste. 100, Marietta 30064. Register and get additional info by calling 770-528-5355 or visiting cobbcounty.org.

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January 2018, Atlanta Senior Life  
January 2018, Atlanta Senior Life