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Georgia

Generations The Many Faces of

Grandparenting

Published quarterly by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging

Summer 2002

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Area Agencies on Aging – Gateways to Community Resources 1

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were established under the Older Americans Act in 1973 to respond to the needs of older adults aged 60 and over in every community. To read more about each of Georgia’s AAAs and the services available, turn to a statewide map and news from each agency, beginning on page 9.

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Georgia is divided into 12 AAAs, each serving a different part of the state. They are:

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1 Northwest Georgia 2 Legacy Link 3 Atlanta Regional Commission 4 Southern Crescent 5 Northeast Georgia 6 West Central Georgia 7 Middle Georgia 8 Central Savannah River 9 Heart of Georgia Altamaha 10 Southwest Georgia 11 Southeast Georgia 12 Coastal Georgia

Georgia

Generations SUMMER 2002 Published quarterly

through a cooperative effort of Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging. For information contact: Atlanta Regional Commission Aging Services Division 40 Courtland St., NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-463-3239 jkauffman@atlantaregional.com

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Editorial Project Development: JAM Communications, Atlanta, GA Design and Production: Wells-Smith Partners, Lilburn, GA

On the Cover: The faces of grandparents today are as varied as the roles they play in their grandchildren’s lives. New trends in our society make the grandparent/grandchild bond more important than ever.

Correction: We apologize for the following error in the Elderlaw story on page 5 in the Spring 2002 issue of Georgia Generations. Under the section entitled Social Security, the copy should read that “until age 65, there is a limit as to how much you can earn and still draw full Social Security benefits. After age 65, you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn at a job.”

Summer 2002, Volume 1, #4 © 2002 by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, the Atlanta Regional Commission and JAM Communications make no warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission. All rights reserved.

Georgia Generations


Purchasing Power A group purchasing program has been organized for caregivers who buy nutrition, bathing, mobility, incontinence and other products. The Caregivers Marketplace provides a wide range of discounts, rebates, education and resources. Viewers can browse the Marketplace Web site, searching product lists by category, brand or company. A Savings Catalog shows companies offering discounts for caregivers using a special Savings Card. The education/resources link provides a detailed list of new products being offered, including photos, descriptions and prices. There is no cost for enrolling. For information, call 866-327-8340 or visit www.caregiversmarketplace.com

CAREGIVING NEWS&NOTES Support for Spouses Well Spouse Foundation is a national, not-for-profit membership organization that gives support to wives, husbands and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. Well Spouse support groups meet monthly. Members can share their thoughts and feelings openly with others facing similar circumstances in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. Members do more than

Surfing the Net

Vacationing With Aged Parents

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re you going on a family vacation this summer? Are you planning to bring along one or both of your parents? If your parents have special needs due to declining abilities brought on by age or health problems, you’ll find that taking a vacation requires some unique foresight. Taking your parents out of their familiar, safe and comfortable living environment presents special concerns; however, it can be a memorable experience for all. If you are flying, make every effort to book a direct flight for your parents. Notify the airline in advance, if special arrangements, such as a wheelchair, are needed. If traveling by car, allow plenty of time for extra rest stops and have drinks, snacks, medications and other supplies Summer 2002

meet to share feelings, however. For example, one member wanted to travel to see family, but was nervous about her husband’s nursing home care. Members of her group arranged to take turns dropping in daily to check on her husband. For more information, call 800-838-0879, or visit www.wellspouse.org.

readily accessible. If medications were forgotten, contact the physician immediately upon your arrival to request that prescriptions be called in to a local pharmacy. If your parent requires heavy or bulky equipment, such as a wheelchair, tub seat or backup oxygen tank, look into renting these items at local suppliers. Search online for company listings in your vacation area. If you have a private caregiver available and the space to accommodate them, by all means bring them. Many families, however, do not have this luxury. If that is your case, you can easily search for home care agency listings and contact information in your vacation location. To set this up, call in advance by a month or two.

Each issue of Georgia Generations offers several Web sites devoted to caregiving information and resources: www.nfcacares.org is the site for the National Family Caregivers Association, which offers free membership, a quarterly publication, support line and prescription discount program. www.elderweb.com gives news, views and information on a variety of topics, including Medicare, housing, finances, law and upcoming events. Surfers can register for an online newsletter. www.healthycaregiver.com addresses diverse social, physical, economic and, often, sensitive issues that emanate from the caregiving relationship. Information is aimed at contemporary adults caring for aging parents.

Mayors’ Walk for Seniors

Rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Atlanta area seniors who turned out for the 16th Annual PROMINA Mayors’ Walk for Seniors in Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin greeted over 2,000 participants.

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Babysitting granddaughter Monica is a weekly treat for Sandy and Ellen Schwartz of Atlanta.

The Many Faces of

GRANDPARENTING BY MARTHA NOLAN MCKENZIE

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he small boy pushes open the classroom door and lets out a happy shout. “Gamma!” He sprints through the throng of mothers waiting to pick up his preschool classmates and throws himself into outstretched arms. “Look, Gamma, look!” he cries, proudly thrusting a crudely colored page in her beaming face. Indeed, there is no scene as heartwarming as the worshipful exchange between a grandparent and grandchild. There, on public display, is pure love. “The grandparent/grandchild bond is a unique human bond,” said Arthur Kornhaber, MD, founder and president of the Foundation for Grandparenting. “It doesn’t have the emotional baggage that the parent/child relationship has, and it has a magic ingredient called unconditional love.” That special link has withstood seismic changes in the American family, probably because grandparenting, of necessity, has changed along with the times. On one hand, grand-

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parents are healthier and wealthier than ever before. They are active and “with it,” staying in touch via e-mail and Web cams and taking trips or going to special camps with the grandkids. “The boomer grandparent is a more vital type of grandparent than has ever before roamed the Earth,” said Kornhaber. On the other hand, the increasing divorce rate and the rise in single parenthood and drug abuse has led to a surge in grandparents raising grandchildren. Many grandparents provide day care so their children can continue to work. Still others find themselves helping their grandchildren through their parents’ divorce and then adapting to a step-grandparenting role. “Grandparents are dealing with a lot of complex family issues, just like everyone else today,” said Amy Goyer, coordinator of the Grandparent Information Center at AARP. “There is no one model for grandparenting. But we do know that grandparents today have much more than just a surface relationship with their grandchildren. They talk about significant and serious things. A recent survey showed 65 percent of the Georgia Generations


grandparents talk to their grandchildren about religion and spirituality, 78 percent discuss morals and values, 55 percent talk about college and career plans and 45 percent talk about illegal drugs. Many times children find it easier to talk to their grandparents than their parents about these topics.” Here’s a look at some of these trends: Grandparents raising grandchildren About 4 million children live in grandparents’ homes, up from just over 3 million in 1990, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Georgia, one of every 13 children is living with a grandparent. In many cases, the parent is absent – on drugs, in jail, dead or just disappeared. When Eva Mae Bell’s daughter passed away six years ago, Bell became the parent for her grandson, Khalid, now age 7. It’s not how the 49-year-old Gainesville woman imagined being a grandmother would be. “I thought I’d be sitting back, going to their basketball games,” she said. Instead she is working two jobs during the day and checking homework at night. And instead of spoiling her grandchild — typically the happy prerogative of the grandparent — Bell is the disciplinarian. “I’m strict with him,” she said. “I have to teach him responsibility — that there are things you just have to do. I have to teach him that you have to earn your way.” Still, Bell has no regrets. “I’m enjoying Khalid’s childhood more than I did my own children,” said Bell. “We have something going on every day, and he tells me everything.” Bell offers this advice for other grandparents raising their grandchildren: “You have to make sure you give them a lot of love and a lot of attention. And you have to make some time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour. Khalid goes to an after-school program so I have one hour every day to myself, and that really helps me.” Grandparents providing day care More and more, grandparents are stepping in to keep their grandchildren during the work day. Indeed, a recent AARP study found that 15 percent of grandparents provide child care so the parents can work, up from 8 percent in 1998. That doesn’t surprise Gail Medwed. The Atlanta grandmother left her full-time job to work parttime so she could keep her grandson two days a week. The boy’s maternal grandmother keeps him the other three days. “My son and daughter-in-law both have to work, and I didn’t like the idea of my grandson being raised by strangers,” said Medwed, 54. Running after Noah, age 2, is tiring, Medwed admits. Especially since she has just started keeping his three-month-old baby brother, Eli, as well. But she Summer 2002

is happy she is able to keep Noah and Eli out of day care. “I have a really special relationship with Noah that I don’t think I would have if I just saw him every now and then,” said Medwed.” I love being with him.” Divorce and step-grandparenting When parents divorce, the link between grandchildren and grandparents can be strained. Yet, this is a time when grandchildren can really benefit from the steady, loving relationship with a grandparent. To help grandchildren adjust, experts suggest that grandparents should refrain from taking sides. Children need a safe, neutral ground during this tumultuous time. And they should consider legal action to gain access to grandchildren only as a last resort. “Georgia is the only state where it’s virtually impossible for a grandparent to successfully sue for visitation rights,” said Jeanney Kutner, a family law attorney in Atlanta. “In Georgia, you have to prove that it would be harmful to not see the grandparent, and that’s pretty much impossible to do. My advice to grandparents is to walk on eggshells and keep a good relationship with everyone.” Divorce is often followed by remarriage, which brings its own challenges. Now the grandparent may have grandchildren as well as step-grandchildren. Indeed, a survey by the Foundation for Grandparenting found that one-third of respondents had at least one step-grandchild. To a large extent, the relationship forged between step-grand-

Grandchildren with special needs Gail McCormick knows all about the changes in grandparenting. The 58-yearold Thomasville woman has 3 grandchildren ranging in age from 20 to 11, the youngest of whom she is raising in her home. She also has a 6-month-old great-grandchild and a 6-year-old stepgrandchild. Gregory, McCormick’s live-in grandson, needs more than the usual love. He has a form of autism, which McCormick blames on his mother’s use of drugs and alcohol while she was carrying him. After he was born, McCormick and one of her sons went to court and were given joint custody. Caregiving for Gregory, however, is clearly on McCormick’s shoulders. “It feels like I’m starting all over again, but I’m not alone,” s aid McCormick. “There are a lot of grandparents raising their grandkids out there. And Gregory has been a godsend for me.”

McCormick offers this advice for grandparents raising grandchildren who have special needs: ■ Learn all you can about the disability by reading about it and talking to the child’s doctors. The more you can understand, the better equipped you’ll be to meet your grandchild’s needs and handle challenging behaviors. ■ Find others in the same situation. McCormick discovered a support group in the Thomasville area for parents of children with autism. ■ Be realistic and patient. “You have to know the child, his strengths and his limitations,” said McCormick. “I avoid situations that I know could trigger him, and I just take each day as it comes.” ■ Take care of yourself. If you let yourself get rundown and dispirited, your grandchild will suffer as well.

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children and step-grandparents depends on the age of the children, where they live, whether they live with the grandparent’s adult child or are weekend visitors and the children’s relationship with their biological grandparents. If the conditions are right, and if the step-grandparent doesn’t push too hard or too quickly, a special relationship can develop. Twink Monahan’s daughter is planning to marry a man who already has a 4-year-old son from a previous marriage. Though the marriage is still five months off, the boy already calls Monahan “grandma.” “He’s just too sweet,” said Monahan, who is 53 and lives in Boston, GA. “He’s just like one of my own grandchildren.” Long-distance grandparenting For grandparents whose grandchildren live in far-flung states, the computer has been a godsend. E-mail and

personal home pages allow grandparents and grandchildren to have daily contact. In addition, commercial Web sites abound to help keep the connection strong. At igrandparents.com, for example, grandparents can create their own home pages, download riddles, jokes and coloring pages to send to their grandchildren and plan get-aways together. At grandtrvl.com, grandparents can plan vacations to take with their grandchildren. “The object is for grandparents and grandchildren to share the experience together, to have fun together and create lasting memories,” said Helena Koenig, president and founder of Grandtravel. “I have one grandmother who goes on two trips a year, taking a different grandchild each time.” The grandparenting page at the AARP site — aarp.org/grandparents/ — offers tips on creating a family

Project Healthy Grandparents T he last two decades have seen a surge in the number of grandparents raising grandchildren, often due to increasing rates of AIDS, drug abuse and divorce. These grandparents face a huge financial responsibility at a time when they are nearing or are in retirement. They are often isolated from their peers by the demands of raising children. And they bear the emotional distress relating to their own child’s problems. In response to the needs of such grandparents, programs have

appeared all over the state to offer support. One of the most comprehensive is Project Healthy Grandparents (PHG), which is sponsored in part by Georgia State University in Atlanta. Since 1995, it has provided health care services, social work case management services, parenting classes, grandparent support meetings, legal service referrals and tutoring to more than 240 families. One unique aspect of the program is that it works with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society to pro-

genealogy, ideas for meals with grandchildren and tips for long-distance grandparenting. Lilllian McNair stays in constant contact with her 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren through email. The 84-year-old Atlanta woman turned to the Internet after her husband passed away as a way to stay in touch with her large and far-flung family. “I would feel lost if I didn’t know what my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were doing,” said McNair. “I feel like my family is around me when I can go to the e-mail and hear all the latest news.” Dr. Sandy Schwartz doesn’t let the fact that two of his three grandchildren live in Mexico stand in the way of staying close to them. The 62-year-old Atlanta physician uses a videocam attached to his home PC to talk to the girls. “It’s very nice — we can see them as well as hear them,” he said. “It’s just fun.”

vide adoption services for grandparents. “People don’t think they need a formal relationship,” said Judy Perdue, project manager for PHG. “They figure they are the grandmother, why would anyone question that? But the parent could take the child at any time, and the grandparent would have no legal recourse.” In addition, grandparents may be eligible for financial benefits if they have a formal legal relationship with their grandchild. And they need the authority to make medical decisions for their ward. PHG provides myriad other services as well. Registered nurses visit the homes to check the health of the grandparents as well as the grandchildren. Social workers provide parenting information, counseling and referrals to community services. Grandchildren can attend

the Saturday Youth Academy. “We bring the children to Georgia State for breakfast,” said Perdue. “They break into groups for a kind of group therapy, and then they have lunch. In the afternoon, they do something in the community, like go to a puppet show. It gives the grandparents a break and allows the children to be around other kids in the same situation.” The PHG services are provided for free for one year. “Our goal is to hook people up with support networks and make them more self-sufficient,” said Perdue. PHG has proved so successful that the Georgia Department of Human Resources has funded three replication sites. They are at the University of Georgia in Athens, Valdosta State University in Valdosta and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. For more information, visit the PHG Web site at www.gsu.edu/hgrandpar or call (404) 651-0341. Georgia Generations


Grandparenting Know-How Special Tips ■ Give your grandchildren pictures of their parents when they were as close to the grandchildren’s age as possible. Repeat this every few years. ■ Give your grandchild a tape of yourself reading stories or singing songs, so he can hear your voice even when he can’t be with you. ■ Pay attention to the names of your grandchild’s friends. Ask about them often in conversations. If you live close by, invite them to lunch and dinner every now and then. ■ Start a make-believe story and encourage your grandchildren to add to it or finish it. ■ Arrange with the parent to make telephone calls solely to your grandchild. Hang up immediately after the conversation, then call at a different time to speak to his or her parents. ■ Request a private performance of your grandchild’s public appearance before or after a show or concert, or ask for a videotape of the performance. ■ Subscribe your grandchild to a child’s magazine. During visits, spend time with the child enjoying it. ■ Make a special place in your home for your grandchild’s art work or pictures. ■ Remember holidays and birthdays with cards addressed to your grandchildren. Keep a list of other dates, such as school programs, dances, sporting events, etc., and send notes before or after them. ■ Plant a tree upon the birth of each grand child; then take a picture of it each year to mark your grandchild’s birthday. ■ Find out what your grandchild is reading and read the same books. Then you can talk about the stories with them.

Schwartz is committed to building a solid relationship with all his grandchildren. “Kids need so much,” he said. “Parents provide the basics, but there are always gaps, and grandparents can fill in some of those gaps. I think a grandparent can give a child a sense of security, a sense of history and a sense of humor.” Grandparenting the older child Grandparenting doesn’t stop when the grandchild enters middle school, or even adulthood. Grandparents can continue to play vital roles in the lives of their older grandchildren. Summer 2002

Web Sites AARP Grandparent Information Center www.aarp.org/grandparents (202) 434-2218 The Foundation for Grandparenting www.grandparenting.org (805) 640-0512 iGrandparents.com www.igrandparents.com (610) 225-0277 GrandparentWorld www.grandparentworld.com (513) 385-3658 Grandtravel www. grandtrvl.com (800) 247-7651 Generations United www.gu.org (202) 638-1263

Books “101 Ways to Spoil Your Grandchild” by Vicki Lansky (Contemporary Books). “Grandparent Power!” by Arthur Kornhaber, M.D. (Crown Publishers). “How to Build the Grandma Connection” by Susan V. Bosak, MA (The Communication Project). “Raising Our Children’s Children” by Deborah Doucette-Dudman (Fairview Press). Sources: The Foundation for Grandparenting; College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University, AARP Web site.

Grandparents can be especially important during the tumultuous teenage years. Grandma and Grandpa are often neutral ground during the emotional warfare between teens and their parents. In seeking their own identity, teens also become more interested in family history and in philosophical discussions about life, religion, love and death — all subjects grandparents are uniquely suited to pass on. To make the most of this relationship, The Foundation for Grandparenting recommends that grandparents educate themselves about the lives of

teenagers — visit their grandchild’s school, listen to their music, watch their favorite TV shows, take them clothes shopping. And above all, grandparents need to be patient, understanding and flexible. Wilson Mitcham is devoted to all of his six grandchildren and six step-grandchildren. He talks to the oldest — a 22-year-old senior at University of Georgia — about his love life, his classes and his career plans. He gets down on the floor and plays games with the two- to six-year olds. But he makes it a special point to spend extra time with his 12-year-old step-grandson. “He’s having a hard time,” said the 72-year-old Atlantan. “He’s not doing well in school and he’s got a big chip on his shoulder. It’s taken a while, but I’ve gotten him to warm up to me, and I think he listens to my advice.” That advice centers around instilling the moral code and sense of responsibility with which Mitcham was raised. “He’s got the potential to be a good kid, but he needs a lot of guidance. I think I can give him some of that.” The ways of the tribe No matter where they live or what role they play, grandparents offer grandchildren a unique gift. Says Kornhaber, “When grandparents are involved in the lives of their grandchildren, the children’s lives are truly enhanced. They feel secure, have a sense of family, feel connected to the past and have a sense of accountability — not in a negative way, but in a ‘I can’t do that. How would it look to Grandma?’ way. “All through history, it was the grandparents who taught the children the ways of the tribe. So children have a hunger for that, and grandparents have a hunger to transmit it. It’s a relationship like no other.” ■

To read about several grandparenting programs and resources around the state, turn to “A Look at AAAs Around Georgia,” starting on page 9.

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GUEST CLOSE-UP

Share Card Provides Low-Cost Health Information and Medicines T

here’s heartening news for Americans trying to manage their health. A new Pfizer program offers significant benefits, especially for low-income seniors. The program, called the Pfizer for Living Share Card Program, offers the following: ■ The Share Card, which allows program participants to buy up to a 30-day supply of any Pfizer prescription medicine for a flat fee of $15 per prescription; ■ A help line, with live operators, to request enrollment materials and learn about other health services and benefits that may be available to them; ■ Easy-to-read health information on medical conditions they choose to learn about. To qualify for the Share Card Program, an individual must be enrolled in Medicare with an individual annual gross income at or below $18,000 ($24,000 for couples who file joint tax returns), and have no other prescription coverage. Individuals who don’t qualify for the card are still welcome to register to receive information on managing their health. The card can be used at pharmacies across the country — including all CVS and Wal-Mart stores — to obtain Pfizer medicines, including therapies for many diseases that are chronic and often untreated among the elderly, such as high

Seniors discuss the benefits of Pfizer’s Share Card Program. than 1.4 million low-income patients received Pfizer medication with a wholesale value of $320 million. “In communities across America, there are simply too many older Americans who are facing serious illnesses without the resources and help they need and deserve,” said Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer Hank McKinnell. “Until the Administration, Congress and the states design an appropriate, high quality, long-term solution for America’s seniors, we are bridging the gap for those most in need, building on our work over the last 20 years.” The program has been praised by leaders such as Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and organizations such as the Alliance for Aging Research have called it “a bold, wise and humane response.” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said that with this program, “Pfizer is showing outstanding leadership and providing critical help to some of our seniors who need it most.” For more information, call 1-800-717-65005 or visit www.pfizerforliving.com ■

There are simply too many older Americans who are facing serious illness without the resources and help they need and deserve. blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. For 20 years, programs such as Pfizer’s Patient Assistance Program and the Sharing the Care Initiative have helped to provide needed medicines to low-income Americans who cannot afford them. Last year alone, more

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Georgia Generations


A Look at Area Agencies on Aging Around Georgia In communities across the country, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) serve as gateways to local resources, planning efforts and services that help older adults remain independent. On the following pages are the programs and services offered by Georgia’s AAAs. Our special “Spotlight” highlights a different AAA in each issue of

Middle Georgia

SPOTLIGHT ON

Covers an 11-county area surrounding Macon, Warner Robins, Milledgeville

Macon senior and granddaughters ‘caregive’ for each other – with lots of love

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renda Daniels of Macon has always cared for children. In her job, she cared for other people’s children in their homes. Her bedroom walls display the families that she has cared for in the past. In her family life, she cares for her two granddaughters — Britney, age 13, and Briana, age 11. The walls and tabletops throughout her apartment display pictures of her beautiful granddaughters. Britney and Briana have always lived with their grandmother and mean the world to her. She has worked hard to teach the girls to have high standards and a solid value system. Britney and Briana are sweet girls with quick, dimpled smiles and polite manners. They both love math and excel in their Summer 2002

schoolwork. Britney wants to become a lawyer one day while her younger sister Briana plans to be a doctor or a nurse because she likes to help people.

Both of the girls have experience in helping, because Brenda Daniels became homebound due to chronic illness several years ago. She suffers from painful disc problems, arthritis and heart problems that impair her breathing. Brenda Daniels has been essentially homebound since 1998, and she began receiving home-delivered meals that same year. Last year, she also began to receive homemaker services as well from Mealson-Wheels of Macon and Bibb County, Inc.You cannot talk with Brenda Daniels without seeing Brenda Daniels with Britney and Briana.

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the deep love and affection that she feels for her granddaughters. Briana and Britney both adore their grandmother and value the life lessons that she shares with them. Just one look at the goals they have set for themselves shows the lessons that are being taught and learned in this home. Caregivers come in all genders and ages: Here is a grandmother giving valued care to her granddaughters, and here are two young women giving loving care to their grandmother. The girls assist their grandmother with grocery shopping, personal care, housekeeping and laundry. In return, their grandmother provides the girls with a safe, stable and loving environment. Meals-on-Wheels of Macon and Bibb County, Inc. works closely with the Middle Georgia Regional Development Center/ Area Agency on Aging to close the gaps for aging neighbors in Middle Georgia. Meals-on-Wheels provides approximately

530 hot nutritious meals to homebound elderly and disabled in Macon and Bibb County each day. These meals are delivered each weekday, and the meals repre-

Care or Home and Community Based Services that allow this family to live independently with some needed help. While the situation may not be ideal, Ms. Daniels’

You cannot talk with Brenda Daniels without seeing the deep love and affection that she feels for her granddaughters. sent the client’s main source of nourishment. Homemaker services that represent basic house cleaning chores are also available to serve approximately 45 clients who are no longer able to maintain a clean, healthy living environment. Winnie Hinton, Executive Director of Meals-onWheels stated, “We are fortunate to live in Georgia where support is available through programs such as Community

love for the girls and their love for her makes it all worth it.” For further information, contact: Middle Georgia RDC, 175-C Emery Highway, Macon, GA 31217; 478-751-6466 or toll-free 1-888-548-1456. MIDDLE GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Twiggs, Wilkinson

Northwest Georgia Covers a 15-county area surrounding Rome, Dallas, Dalton, Cartersville

Support groups help ‘second-time-arounders’

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randparents are special. Especially grandparents who wake up one day surprised to find themselves raising their grandchildren. Rick and Pam Thomason of Rome are raising their three-year-old granddaughter, Savannah, as well as their own two teenagers (the youngest of their four children). Although Savannah’s parents are not married and her mother (Thomason’s daughter) lives elsewhere, the father is very involved in Savannah’s life and visits her often. Along with custody and legal issues, grandparents raising grandchildren face financial difficulties, lack of energy to keep up with young ones, a different culture than the one in which they raised their children, and pressure to “do the

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Irma Rose Garcia, LSW, Caregiver Support Coordinator, assists Bernice McKnight and granddaughter Lamyricle. right thing, to raise a happy, healthy child who feels loved,” explains Thomason. Marie Gordon is raising 14- and 11year-old grandsons, and Bernice McKnight is raising her 15-month-old granddaughter, Lamyricle Moreland. These women all participate in the bimonthly “Grands Who

Care” support group at Mercy Senior Care in Rome. A new program in conjunction with the AAA, the grandparent support group is led by Irma Garcia Rose, LSW, and Elizabeth Molina, RN. The support groups offer programs that deal with subjects as varied as reading to your children and identifying common street drugs. Meetings are held in a safe, confidential environment. For more information on the program, call 706-802-5506 or 1-800-759-2963. For information, contact: AAA of Northwest Georgia, P.O. Box 1793, Rome, GA 301621793; 706-295-6485 or toll-free 1-800-759-2963. NORTHWEST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker, Whitfield

Georgia Generations


Atlanta Regional Commission Covers a 10-county area surrounding Atlanta ■ “How do I register my grandchild for being expanded to include new resources school?” specific to childrearing responsibilities and ■ “Am I (or my grandchild) eligible for other sources of information and support any financial assistance?” for grandparent caregivers. For example, ■ “How do I access health care and referrals could be provided for legal servmental health services for my ore than 37,000 grandparents residing grandchild?” in the Atlanta metropolitan statistical ARC is curarea have responsibility for raising one or rently updating more grandchildren (U.S. Census Supplethis resource in mentary Survey, 2000). Many of these collaboration with grandparents are unprepared to meet the Georgia State numerous challenges that come with this University’s (GSU) role, and struggle to identify information Project Healthy and resources to assist them with legal, Grandparents financial, educational, child care, health care program. Once and other critical matters. printed, copies Several years ago, the Atlanta Regional will be made availCommission (ARC), the Area Agency on able to grandparAging for the Atlanta region, recognized ents through the the importance of helping grandparent GSU program as caregivers address this complex range of well as to those issues, and developed a community who call ARC’s resource book entitled, Grandparents RaisGrandparents are taking an increasingly active role in the lives of their “Aging Connecing Grandchildren. The resource book congrandchildren. tion” information tains contact numbers for key agencies and ices, free child dental care or a caregiver and assistance service at 404-463-3333. service organizations, and is designed to support group for grandparents. “Aging Connection” callers will also be assist grandparents in answering questions In addition, ARC is participating as a given referrals to requested services from such as: ■ “What are my legal rights as a grandan expanded listing of resources contained member of a “Grandparents Raising in ARC’s electronic database. This state-ofGrandchildren” steering committee conparent caring for my grandchild?” ■ “Can I adopt my grandchild?” the-art aging and long-term care database is vened by the regional Administration on Aging. This coalition of professionals representing aging and child services agencies, educational institutions and other commuAtlanta Regional Commission nity organizations in the Atlanta area is 404-463-3333 examining the needs of grandparent caregivers and planning strategies to address identified issues. Possible approaches If you need caregiving information, contact: include a series of town hall meetings and Cherokee County Cherokee County Fayette County Fayette Senior Services, educational forums for grandparents and Senior Services; 770-345-5312 770-461-0813 professionals. Clayton County Clayton County Aging Fulton County Fulton County Aging For further information, contact ARC’s Aging Program; 770-603-4050 Program, 404-730-6000 Connection at 404-463-3333. Cobb County Cobb Senior Services, Gwinnett County Gwinnett County 770-528-5364 Senior Services, 770-822-8850 DeKalb County Senior Connections, Henry County Henry County Senior ATLANTA REGIONAL COMMISSION 770-455-7602 Services, 770-898-7670 ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Douglas County Douglas Senior Services, Rockdale County Rockdale County Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, 770-489-3100 Senior Services, 770-922-4633 Douglas, Fayette, Gwinnett, Fulton,

ARC provides options for grandparents raising grandchildren

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Henry, Rockdale

Summer 2002

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Legacy Link Covers a 13-county area surrounding Gainesville, Cumming, Clarkesville, Toccoa, Hiawassee

Certification program for senior-friendly businesses

tomer service and other important facets of the business. They evaluate the site, products, and services.Tips and information are then given back to management concerning the results of multiple visits and

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usinesses and organizations who want to target products and services to older customers have a place to go in the Gainesville area to learn how to better serve the mature market. Legacy Link, Inc. has an innovative program called “Elder Friendly,” which certifies businesses and organizations as good places for This bright decal identifies businesses and organizations that successfully complete the evaluation process. older persons to do business. Legacy Link has well-trained volunteers who are mystery shoppers in surveys conducted by volunteers. the area, and upon request of a business, When a business successfully completes they telephone and visit to check out custhe certification process, a bright decal is

issued for use on the front of the business. The management also has the right to use the “Elder Friendly” logo in advertisements. The Legacy Link is helping promote these certified businesses to let the public know those locations that want to successfully target the mature market. It’s a “win-win” situation for the business and the public. Businesses and organizations may call Legacy at 770-538-2650 about fees charged for this service to the business community. For further information, contact: Legacy Link, P.O. Box 2534, Gainesville, GA 305032534; 770-538-2650 or toll-free 1-800-845-LINK. LEGACY LINK ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, White

Southern Crescent Covers a 10-county area surrounding Franklin, Newnan, LaGrange, Griffin, Carrollton

Foster grandparents enrich children’s lives

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hrough the National Senior Service Corps, as part of the West Georgia Health System, The Foster Grandparent Program of Troup County is funded feder-

ally and through the help of the United Way. The Foster Grandparent Program is a service initiative through which seniors provide one-on-one contact to special needs children, by going into schools, nonprofit daycare centers, and Head Start centers. By offering this intergenerational interaction, foster grandparents greatly improve the lives of the children they serve, as well as enriching their own lives. Presently, in the Southern Crescent AAA service area, this program is only offered in Troup County, and there is no cost for services. Volunteers must meet eligibility requirements and be at least 60 years of age. Volunteer benefits

include a stipend and training. For further information contact the Program Director, Ms.Vicki Gornto, at the West Georgia Medical Center, at 706-845-3220.

Foster grandparents greatly improve the lives of the children they serve.

Foster grandmother Patsy Bailey with James Givins and Mary Margaret Rogers.

For further information, contact: Southern Crescent AAA, P.O. Box 1600, Franklin, GA 30217-1600; 706-675-6721, 770-854-6026, or toll-free 1-866-854-5652. SOUTHERN CRESCENT ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup, Upson

Georgia Generations


Northeast Georgia Covers a 12-county area surrounding Athens, Winder, Monroe, Covington, Madison

Here we grow!

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he Athens Community Council on Aging, using funds from the Georgia Division of Aging Services and the Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging, operates five Adult Day Care facilities within the Northeast area. The Adult Day Care program serves both caregivers and care recipients. Program participants benefit from medical monitoring, referral and support services, personal care, nutritious meals and snacks, and therapeutic activities. Adult Day Care provides opportunities for participants to enjoy companionship and socialization outside the family unit. Additionally, caregivers benefit from the excellent respite service that allows them to work, relax, or run errands with the knowledge that their loved ones are in a safe, supervised setting. Recently, Adult Day Care Ser-

Michele Sims, program assistant for the Athens Community Council on Aging Adult Day Care Program, assists day care client Sally Roach. vices were extended to two new counties. Four years ago, a partnership was formed with Senior Centers in Greensboro and Elberton to open a Mobile Adult Day Care Program in each community. The success in these counties, coupled with increased funding, allowed the program to

expand to Newton County. The Barrow County Adult Day Care site, which opened in June of 2000, provided service four days a week.Through additional funding received from United Way of Northeast Georgia, a fifth day of service has been added. Adult Day Care is being noticed and recognized by families of Northeast Georgia as a valuable resource that allows care recipients to remain within the home and community setting. For information, contact: Northeast Georgia RDC, 305 Research Drive, Athens, GA 306102795; 706-583-2547 or toll-free 1-800-474-7540. NORTHEAST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Walton

Central Savannah River Covers a 14-county area surrounding Augusta, Thomson, Martinez/Evans, Waynesboro, Sandersville

Seniors learn about law enforcement

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eniors as law-enforcement partners? Think beyond Neighborhood Watch. Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle views seniors as powerful allies for change. In 1998, Sheriff Whittle launched a growing partnership with county seniors that combines law-enforcement education with innovative volunteer advocacy programs. Sheriff Whittle’s educational initiative — the Columbia County Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy — provides seniors and others with nine weeks of lively behind-the-scenes introductions to the Sheriff’s department. Some seniors deepen their commitment by joining the Columbia County S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Together) Council, which Summer 2002

Year for 1998. battles agingResponding to the related health honor, Sheriff Whittle and safety challenges. said, “I am not often The Council without words, but this has successtime I am speechless. I fully promoted am very humbled.” free senior For further informapicture-identition, contact: Central fication, Savannah River RDC, Columbia County S.A.L.T. Council members share computer3023 Riverwatch Pkwy., refreshments at a recent meeting. supported Suite A, Augusta, GA telephone reassurance, and the AARP File of 30907-2800; 706-210-2018 or toll-free Life initiative that helps seniors maintain 1-888-922-4464. home medical files for rescue teams. In recognition of his commitment to CENTRAL SAVANNAH RIVER the safety and welfare of Columbia ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, County’s senior citizens,The CSRA CoaliJefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, tion of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, selected Sheriff Whittle as Official of the Warren, Washington, Wilkes

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Heart of Georgia Altamaha Covers a 17-county area surrounding Baxley, Dublin, Vidalia, Jesup, Swainsboro addition to their Handyman Service. “We have offered our Handyman Service in Wayne County for the past year with very good success. This award allows us to expand this service to other counties and at the same time reach out to those who need us the most — seniors who want to remain independent and live in their own homes. We are grateful for the confidence the staff at the AAA has in our service.” For further information, contact: Heart of Georgia Altamaha RDC; P.O. Drawer 1260, Baxley, GA 31515; 912-367-3648 or toll-free 1-888-367-9913.

Home modification is goal of new funding

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eart of Georgia Altamaha AAA recently awarded Experience Works, formerly Green Thumb, Inc., of Jesup, with a grant, funding home modification and repair. These funds, part of the new National Family Caregiver Support Program, build ramps and equip bathrooms with grab bars and railings. Care receivers must be 60 years of age or older and have a caregiver in order to receive this service. According to Billy Wooten, Experience Works’ Director, the award is a welcome

Conrad Wilson uses wheelchair ramp built at his home by Experience Works.

HEART OF GEORGIA ALTAMAHA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Appling, Bleckley, Candler, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, Wheeler, Wilcox

Southwest Georgia Covers a 14-county area surrounding Albany, Bainbridge, Moultrie, Thomasville

Interfaith conference explores caregiving

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he SOWEGA Council on Aging partnering with the Greater Georgia Chapter/Albany Office of the Alzheimer’s Association presented an interfaith caregiver conference for family caregivers, professional caregivers and those interested in caregiving issues. Dr. Harold Koenig, the internationally known and respected researcher, writer and teacher from Duke University Medical School, provided the keynote address, which dealt with religion/ spirituality, health and caregiving. The conference theme was explored by focusing on: 1. Providing information on Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, empowering family caregivers with information on

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rized by Dr. Ronda Talley, Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development, as she spoke about The RCI CareNet Model. For further information, contact: Southwest Georgia COA, 1105 A large crowd turned out for a luncheon at the interfaith caregiver Palmyra Road, Albany, conference. GA 31701-2508; resources, choices they can make and advo229-432-1124 or toll-free 1-800-282-6612. cacy for themselves and their loved ones. 2. Bringing the faith community, professional caregivers and family caregivers SOUTHWEST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: together to explore what other communiBaker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, ties are doing and how our region can Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, form partnerships to meet unmet caregivSeminole, Terrell, Thomas, Worth, Mitchell ing needs. The whole concept was summaGeorgia Generations


Southeast Georgia Covers an 18-county area surrounding Waycross, Valdosta, Tifton, Douglas, Folkston

Council plays role in providing services

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he Southeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging’s (SEGa AAA) Advisory Council is actively involved in the planning of aging services in the 18-county region. The diverse group, which meets on a quarterly basis, advises the staff of the SEGa AAA on how to best serve the elderly in the members’ respective counties as well as regionwide. Membership of the Advisory Council consists of elected officials, service providers and private citizens from throughout the region. The majority of the Council members are 60+ years of age. The body is currently chaired by Austin Hickox (Mayor, City of Homeland). During the Council’s February meet-

ing, the members discussed at length the development of the Area Plan. Important decisions were made by the Council about the provision of personal care, homemaker, and respite care services. In addition, the CounAdvisory Council, pictured at a recent meeting, discusses caregiving cil members comprograms. pleted a “Priority of Waycross, GA 31503-8958; 912-285-6097 or Services” survey for home and community-based services for the elderly. SEGa toll-free 1-888-732-4464. AAA staff utilized the data collected SOUTHEAST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSthrough this survey while writing the ES THESE COUNTIES: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Area Plan. Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, For further information, contact: Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Southeast Georgia RDC; 3395 Harris Road, Turner, Ware

Coastal Georgia Covers a 9-county area surrounding Brunswick and Savannah

‘Care-Net’ outlines goals for region

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he Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development (RCI) and the Coastal Georgia AAA are jointly participating in the creation of a collaborative network of representatives of professional and family caregiving agencies, educational institutions, and businesses as well as individuals and other relevant groups.This “Care-Net” will work to accomplish the following in the nine-county coastal region: 1. Link professional and family caregivers 2. Study community caregiving needs 3. Develop service and educational programs 4. Organize community based forums for public feedback on caregiving issues 5. Develop a resource capacity for

Summer 2002

Sharon Dickol, program coordinator. information on caregiving 6. Provide a source of support for caregivers 7. Foster relationships among community leaders 8. Educate the community about caregiving Sharon Dickol, the Coastal AAA staff member coordinating the project, is seek-

ing to identify individuals who can bring their knowledge and expertise to the development of the network. “Broad geographic and professional representation will strengthen the Care-Net,” she said. “Leaders in the fields of health care, education, business, law enforcement, community mental health, faith-based organizations, human services and government would certainly be welcomed.” To learn how you can become involved in the Coastal Care-Net Project, contact Sharon Dickol at 912-264-7363, ext. 231. For further information, contact: Coastal Georgia RDC; P.O. Box 1917, Brunswick, GA 31521; 912-264-7363 or toll-free 1-800-580-6860. COASTAL GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh

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Sponsors Thanks to these Georgia companies and organizations for their generous support

Sixty Plus, Piedmont Hospital A program to enhance the well-being of older adults and their families by providing services, education and support. 1968 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta 30309; 404-605-3867.

Georgia Alliance for Staffing Solutions An alliance that promotes quality long-term care for seniors and persons with disabilities by seeking innovative solutions to improve staffing and support caregivers. www.agingatlanta.com

Bridgebuilders, Inc.

Georgia Council on Aging

Personal Care in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Customized services delivered with compassion, integrity and professionalism. 600 S. Central Ave.,

The Georgia Council on Aging advocates on behalf of older Georgians and their families. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.gcoa.org

Hapeville 30354; 404-765-4300.

Grady Gold

Pfizer The “Health, Medicines & Lifestyles” icon on Pfizer’s Web site, will lead you to topics that include “Profile of Caregiving,” “Exploring Your Health On Line,” and many more. www.pfizer.com

Many people ask...

Grady Senior Services was created with the special care needs of older adults in mind! People over 60 can receive comprehensive evaluations and care for common problems seen in older adults. 404-616-0800.

AARP Assuming responsibility for the homecare of loved ones can involve assisting with daily activities, managing high-tech medical treatments, and dealing with issues around dying. AARP’s “Life Transitions” program can help you meet these critical responsibilities. Find out more at www.aarp.org/lifeguide

Georgia Generations is published and supported by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging. Additional circulation support is provided by the generous sponsors listed here. For more information on becoming a sponsor of Georgia Generations, please call 404-463-3222.

How can I help?

OLDER ADULTS AND CAREGIVERS across Georgia can now be recognized in a unique way. The Thanks Mom and Dad Fund® has been established to honor someone special in your life or to honor the memory of someone who was an inspiration to you. With each contribution, those honored receive a certificate recognizing the role they played in the donor’s life. Your contributions are tax-deductible and provide support for many of the programs described in this issue. If you would like more information about the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund,® you can call 1-800-676-2433.


GaGen 2002 Summer