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Generations Personal Histories Spring 2003



Also in This Issue: ■ Taking Health to Heart ■ A Look at Georgia’s AAAs Published quarterly by Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging

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.




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


4 7 6

9 12



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


Generations SPRING 2003 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


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

On the Cover: Old photos tell stories — and capture memories — of our past. They can play an important part in creating a personal history to pass on to family members. (See story, page 4.)

Spring 2003, Volume 2, #3 © 2003 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


Do You Need a Hearing Aid? n estimated 27-million Americans — some 10 percent of the population — have hearing loss that requires the use of a hearing aid. Yet many older adults who could benefit from wearing the device live their lives without one.


A hearing aid can help you hear and communicate better. A recent study by the National Council on

Aging found that hearing aid users have greater independence, improved mental health and better relationships with their families. And new models are not only more effective, but also smaller and more comfortable. Here are the basic types: ■ Behind-the-ear (BTE) is the traditional “chunky” style. This type is now

Older Americans Month “WHAT WE DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE” is the theme of Older Americans

Month in May 2003. This designation honors seniors and their caregivers; in addition, it celebrates our families and communities as the foundation of our society. Traditionally, this is a time to acknowledge the contributions — both past and current — of older citizens. Watch for information on local events and activities.

Surfing the Net If you’re working on a personal history of a senior relative (see feature story, page 4), these Web sites will offer additional help: provides good questions and tips. has a guide for interviewing family members with a list of questions. offers online genealogy courses, plus helpful tips and questions. has a “coaching corner” and a list historians by state. Look for more helpful Web sites in the next issue of Georgia Generations.

Spring 2003

available in smaller sizes that match a variety of skin tones. ■ In-the-ear (ITE) fits within the outer ear, rather than behind the ear lobe. ■ In-the-canal (ITC) is only slightly visible in the part of the outer ear that leads to the ear canal. ■ Complete-in-canal (CIC) comes close to being invisible.

Styles also range from low-tech (analog) to stateof-the-art technology using a computer chip (digital). There are pro’s and con’s to each choice, as well as huge price differences. Start by visiting a doctor to determine your hearing loss. Then locate a good audiologist, who will walk you through the various options.

Spotlight on


Did you know…. 80 percent of individuals with osteoporosis are women? A recent survey shows that three out of four women have never spoken to their physicians about the disease. Even though the most serious consequence of the disease is a hip fracture, as many as 50,000 people die each year as a result of complications from surgery or from being confined to bed and unable to move. Talk to your doctor…exercise…eat more calcium. One way to get more calcium in your diet is to eat calcium-rich foods. Lowfat milk, cheese and broccoli are excellent sources. Information supplied by West Central Georgia AAA.

Protect Medicare and Medicaid Benefits Report suspected fraud and errors. Call your Senior Medicare Patrol Project for details and to request a presentation. Metro Atlanta: 404-463-0763 Outside Metro Atlanta: GeorgiaCares 1-800-669-8387 3

Personal Histori P R E S E RV E CHERISHED M E M O R I E S

By Martha Nolan McKenzie


yron Harris Jr. grew up listening to his father’s stories. He loved to hear about how his father was playing baseball in a park in Avondale on VJ Day, when the announcement of victory over Japan turned the game into a jubilant festival. And how his uncle wrapped the family car around a tree during World War II, when no replacement parts were available, so the family had to do without a car for five years. And how his grandfather met his school marm grandmother and married her six months later. Byron Harris Sr. passed away two and a half years ago, but his tales live on. He had recorded his memories on a videotape with the help of a personal historian hired by his son. “My dad’s health started failing, and I realized he was the repository of our family history,” said Harris, 38. “I’m so glad we did this. The tape has meant a lot to all of my family.” Harris is at the forefront of a growing trend. With baby boomers entering the bifocal years and their parents facing old age, interest in personal histories is surging. These histories can be as casual as jotted notes from coffees with Aunt Mary or as involved as a TV-quality documentary produced by a professional. But whatever form they take, personal histories spring from the same motivation. Stories are how we pass on family values and traditions. They teach us about who we are, where we came from and help us see where we are going. They give life and texture to the names and dates of the family tree. “Oral history is part of our culture in the South,” said Kathryn Fowler, executive director of the Athens Community Council on Aging. “I was fortunate to grow up sitting on the


front porch at night with my relatives, listening to their stories. It grounds you so in family and community and time. But with young people glued to the TV and moving all over the country, they are losing that. And the older relatives lose the joy and sense of accomplishment they get from sharing their stories and lessons. A written or taped personal history can give back a little of the front porch time.” Seniors interested in recording their reminiscences can get some help from various programs around the state. In Atlanta, Piedmont Hospital’s Sixty Plus program offers a Living Stories Writing Project. The free eight-week class helps seniors share and document their life experiences. To help stimulate their memory, seniors are assigned topics about which to write, such as milestones, family relationships, spirituality and career accomplishments. They record their stories in a notebook. “At the end of the class, they’ve got at least seven different stories that they can pass on to their children, keep to themselves or use as a springboard to keep writing more,” said Amy Kelly, a geriatric social worker and coordinator of the project.

Georgia Generations

A ‘Snapshot of Yesteryear’ s a boy of 17, Leslie (Buddy) Clanton was eager to enlist in the Navy to defend his country during World War II. He felt it was his duty. Now a man of 76, Clanton thinks it’s his duty to leave a record of his life and times for younger generations. So Clanton answered with an enthusiastic “yes” when the curator of the Thronateeska Heritage Center in Albany asked him to participate in a WWII exhibit. Clanton’s videotaped interview was combined with those of other area WWII vets to produce a 20-minute show, “GI Theater.” “The tape brings a lot of flavor to the exhibit,” said Lisa Lofton, the museum’s curator, who opened the exhibit in May, 2002. “It personalizes the war in a way mementos can’t.” Clanton never actually saw combat. So in his segment of the tape, he recounts his battles with the ration board before he joined the Navy. “There were ration stamps for everything,” he recalled. “Sugar, shoes, tires, gasoline. It was no bed of roses, but everyone was making the same sacrifices.” Even before Clanton was interviewed for the exhibit, he had decided to record memories of his life on tapes. “I just thought that’s what I needed to do for my children and grandchildren, so they would know something about their father and grandfather.” He began by going to the house in which he lived when he was five years old and videotaping it and taking still photos. He shot subsequent homes, the first apartment he shared with his wife, his elementary school, junior high and high schools. At each stop, he talked about his memories there and what life was like then. “I talk about delivering the newspaper — the Atlanta Constitution — when I was 11 years old, seven days a week for $2.50 a week,” said Clanton. “I talk about leaving town when I was 15 to take a job in Brunswick. Fifteen years old! Can you imagine?”


ries In Athens, the Council on Aging has spearheaded several oral history projects. Most recently, it paired University of Georgia students with seniors at an adult day care and a senior center. The students interviewed the seniors, transcribed the tapes and gave the seniors the transcripts. A few years ago, the Council worked with an educator to help seniors create memory books. “They took pictures and went through magazines to illustrate their stories,” said Fowler. “The families of the seniors were just thrilled to have something like this.” Several oral history projects around the state gather individuals’ stories to compile into a larger historical collection. The Thronateeska Heritage Center in Albany, for example, interviewed local veterans of World War II for a videotape that was part of an exhibit on the war. The museum is also promoting the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, which is aimed at collecting the stories of WWII vets. (For more information, visit www. The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta is compiling the oral histories of Jewish Georgians from every walk of life. Dorothy Hamburger, 84, was interviewed for the project. “We talked a lot about my volunteer work and about my Temple,” said Hamburger. “I felt that being interviewed and having something that would be available for my family and for others was rather an honor.” The increased interest in preserving oral histories has given rise to a new profession — personal historians. Membership in the Association of Personal Historians now numbers more than 300. The members, who often have a background in journalism, interview their clients and transform their life stories into hard-bound books or videos that can rival an episode of “Biography.”

Spring 2003

Clanton and fa


When he finishes the project, it will be a gift for his two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. “I want them to understand where they came from,” said Clanton. “I want them to be proud of their heritage and the blood that flows through their veins.”


Tips for interviewing family members Ask the family member to do this as a special gift to you. Seniors often are reluctant to tell their story because they feel their life has been uninteresting or that the family has heard it all before. ■ Tell family member you want to tape record conversations rather than interviews, since most people are intimidated by the idea of an interview. ■ Schedule conversations at a time of day when the storyteller’s energy level is highest. ■ Go to the storyteller — do not ask them to come to you. If your family member lives far away, buy a simple device for about $20 that allows you to tape record phone conversations. Even if you call once a week for just 15 minutes and say, “Tell me the story about… ,” you’ll end up with a wonderful collection of stories. ■ Limit conversations to a maximum of two hours at a time. Some people may want to talk for hours, but the stories tend to lose their freshness after a certain period of time. ■ Interview one person at a time — alone. Despite promises to be quiet, other family members present cannot resist interruptions such as, “No, that’s not the way it happened,” or “Tell the one about…” ■ Make a simple timeline divided into life stages — childhood, adolescence, college, marriage, work, children, middle age, later years. Note at appropriate spots important historical events such as the world wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, etc. ■ Use photographs to refresh memories and draw out stories. ■ Ask open-ended questions (what, how, why) rather than questions that can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no. ■ Encourage the storyteller with words like, “Tell me more,” or “That’s really interesting,” or “That must have taken a lot of courage,” or “I’m so glad you told me that.” ■ Be quiet! Keep interruptions to a minimum, but don’t hesitate to interrupt for clarification. “Wait, are you talking about your mother or grandmother here?” ■ Do not rush through every silence. The best comments often follow a brief pause. People often need time to find the courage to say what they want to say. ■ Be careful not to make the storyteller feel uncomfortable or anxious about memory lapses or confusion. It’s better to say, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure that out later,” and move on. Courtesy: Association of Personal Historians ■


Audrey Galex, who worked at CNN before she started producing personal histories, said it is the adult children who typically contact her about producing a video of their parent. “Many times, the older person is reluctant,” said Galex. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, I don’t have any stories to tell. I’ve led an ordinary life.’ But even an ordinary life is filled with love and joy and sadness and drama. Once you jog their memories, the stories really begin to flow.” If you’re not a professional journalist like Galex, interviewing a relative and recording his life history can be a daunting project. Galex and other personal historians offer these suggestions for recording your own or a loved one’s stories: ■ Decide on the medium — audio tapes, videotapes or written. Videotapes are popular with the generation raised on TV, but consider that the shelf life of audio and videotapes is about 10 years before they begin to deteriorate. Many oral historians prefer the timelessness of the written word. ■ Break the project up into manageable bites. Consider grouping questions among the following categories: family history, childhood, young adulthood, middle age, old age, narrator as parent, grandchildren and historical events. ■ Be sure to go beyond the dates and names. “Don’t ignore the anecdotes and funny stories,” said Galex. “Ask ‘What pranks did you pull?’ Also, ask about firsts — first kiss, first car, first job, first time you saw a TV. And don’t shy away from the tough stuff.” ■ Use memory joggers to get your subject talking. “I always start with food,” said Ernestine Thompson, professor emeritus of sociology at Augusta State University. “I get them to tell me about their favorite childhood food, and that almost always brings up a flood of childhood stories.” ■ Just do it! “It seems like such an enormous project that people just don’t know where to start, so they don’t,” said Lettice Stuart, president of the Association of Personal Historians. “Just start! Write down vignettes, quick memories, anything. You can organize everything later. But if you wait, your loved one may pass away and those stories will be lost forever.” For children and grandchildren, the recorded memories of a parent’s or grandparent’s lifetime can be an invaluable treasure. Harris, the Atlanta man who hired a professional to videotape his father’s life stories before he died, views the tape as a gift for his 4-year-old son. “We try to tell Ben about his grandfather and how much he really loved him,” said Harris. “There will come a day when we’ll show him those tapes, and this sketchy, phantom figure will come to life for him.” The greatest gift of a recorded personal history, however, may be for the storyteller. “In the last years of your life, sitting down and putting together your life in a complete form is so rewarding and validating,” said Stuart. “There almost always comes a point in the telling when the person realizes that their life is something greater than just the days that they lived.” Thompson agrees. She interviewed a woman in her 80s once who had worked in a textile mill from the time she was Georgia Generations

12 until she was 70. She did the same job the entire time — twisting yarn. She also raised five children. “When I was getting ready to leave,” Thompson recalled, “she stopped me and said, ‘I guess you could say I didn’t amount to anything. I just twisted yarn my whole life. But I raised five children. They all finished high school and two finished college. They are all married. I guess I really did make a difference.’ “And that,” said Thompson, “is the whole point.” GG

LaVerne Batchelder

Writing Down Favorite Memories Showcases Senior’s Accomplishments hen LaVerne Batchelder heard about Piedmont Hospital’s Living Stories Writing Project, she signed right up. “It looked interesting and I thought it would be a challenge,” said Batchelder, 84. “It’s very hard for me to sit down and write anything, so I thought I needed the push to do something like that.” Batchelder and her classmates were given topics about which to write each week. For her first assignment, she wrote about the role reading has played in her life. “I have a vision problem, so it was a long time before I could become a good reader,” she said. “But I came from a family of readers. My mother read Uncle Remus to me. My sister and I would walk to the library, which was quite a long walk, to borrow books. We would rest and read a bit on the way home. I later became a children’s librarian in the DeKalb Library System.


“I had never thought about reading as being a link that has connected most of my life,” she continued. “Through reading I’ve maintained a better balance in my life than I would have otherwise.” Another assignment focused on one’s career or life work. “Mine has been working with children,” said Batchelder. “I raised two sons, who are now in their 50s. I taught school, worked with children in the library system, and now I tutor children through a program at my church.” Batchelder is glad she made the effort to write down her memories. “I really treasured doing it,” she said. “It reminded me of all the wonderful people who played a part in my life. It helped me see the common threads running through my life and helped me put more value on what I’ve accomplished.” Batchelder hasn’t shown the notebook to her sons yet. “I want to add more to it. I want to add some experiences that were funny and some that were embarrassing. I’d like to put some of these down, and then I’ll just leave it and let them find it after I’m gone.”

Oral History Project: A Chance to Reminisce ary Thrasher had never thought about writing down the memories of her life. But when a worker at the Athens — Clarke County Senior Center where she spends her mornings asked if she wanted to participate in an oral history project, she was happy to comply. In late 2002, University of Georgia students who were studying gerontology met with Thrasher and other seniors at the center once a week. The students interviewed the seniors in one to two-hour sessions, transcribed the interviews and gave the transcripts to the seniors to keep. “I don’t remember all the things we talked about,” said Thrasher, 72. “But it was very pleasant. It’s always nice to reminisce.” Thrasher, who was one of 16 children, does remember helping with the myriad chores on her family’s farm. “Lord, I did everything, honey,” she said. “I milked the cow, slopped the pig, drove the wagon and plowed. We had to pick cotton to earn money to buy our school clothes.” Most of the roads in Athens were dirt when Thrasher was growing up, which made getting to school in those new clothes difficult at times. “There were times when a lot of us had to get out and help push the bus up the


hill because it couldn’t make it up that dirt road,” said Thrasher. Though she considers her life ordinary, Thrasher sees the value in passing down her memories to the next generation. While Thrasher and her husband never had children of their own, they reared five — three nieces, a nephew and a younger sister. She’s happy to have a written record to pass on to those now grown children and to their children. “It’s nice for the younger children to learn about how we grew up,” said Thrasher. “I think it helps pass on our values and our strengths.” Mary Thrasher

Spring 2002

7 Spring 2003



Fulton Seniors Take

Health toHeart F

ulton County Office of Aging, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Pfizer, Inc. and area health professionals are teaming up in a program to help older adults manage cholesterol. “Taking Health to Heart” is a comprehensive cholesterol management program beginning in May at Fulton County’s multi-purpose senior centers. The program will begin with cholesterol screening. However, unlike many traditional screening programs that simply refer individuals with high cholesterol for treatment, interested seniors will enroll in a two-year, multi-pronged cholesterol management program. During the two years, they will receive by mail “Close to the Heart,” a monthly series of educational materials that contains tips for diet, cooking and exercise that can improve cholesterol levels. In addition, they can take advantage of activities at Fulton County’s multi-purpose centers that will include speakers, exercise and wellness programs. Periodically, participants will be retested to see how their cholesterol levels have changed. The four centers will host the screenings at health fairs that will include prizes, entertainment, demonstrations, speakers, fun and food! The centers are: HARRIETT DARNELL MULTIPURPOSE SENIOR CENTER 677 Fairburn Road, SW, Atlanta, GA 30318. Phone: 404-699-8582. H.J.C. BOWDEN MULTIPURPOSE SENIOR CENTER 2885 Church Street, East Point, GA 30344. Phone 404-762-4825. HELENE S. MILLS MULTIPURPOSE SENIOR CENTER 515 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Phone 404-523-2866. DOROTHY C. BENSON MULTIPURPOSE SENIOR CENTER 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Atlanta, GA 30328. Phone 404-705-4911.


Screenings will begin in early May, which is Older Americans Month. The exact schedule will be announced in April and will be available by calling the wellness coordinators at the centers. Jill Williams, regional account manager for Pfizer, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how education and disease management can lead to a healthier Georgia senior population. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative!” Commenting on the initiative, Melinda Davis, Executive Director

Unlike traditional screening programs, seniors will enroll in a two-year, multi-pronged cholesterol management program. of Fulton County’s Aging program, said, “Many of the seniors we target for services have difficulty accessing services. Programs like ‘Taking Health to Heart’ allow seniors to access health screening services at facilities we have throughout the county. We applaud Pfizer for choosing to ’give back’ and for joining our mission to build a healthier aging community in Fulton County.” Mary Byrd, health and wellness coordinator for ARC, added, “This partnership will benefit everyone, particularly the older adults who participate.” For more information, call Mary Byrd at 404-463-3289. GG

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

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

Gateway to Community Services provides information for seniors

assistance, finding a sitter, elder abuse protection, fraud prevention, food and many other resources. There are over 1,600 listings in Northwest Georgia alone. With all this information at their fingertips, Ms. Baldwin and the seven screeners can immediately pull up a list of sources by location or by type. For information, contact AAA of Northwest Georgia, P.O. Box 1793, Rome, GA 301621793; 706-295-6485 or toll-free 1-800-759-2963.


he Information and Referral (I&R) program is the foundation for the Area Agency on Aging Gateway to Community Services for seniors. Information is available on many kinds of services for the elderly. Donna Baldwin, a certified I&R specialist, coordinates the data that is entered and updated at the state level on a regular schedule. Ms. Baldwin, Randy Gayler and screening supervisor Carolyn Harden are nationally certified I&R specialists. This information is used by all the screeners when they take calls from individuals seeking resources on where to Spring 2003

Donna Baldwin, resource specialist, keeps records, updates, and accesses 1,600+ resources for Northwest Georgia clients.

get help for senior citizens. The information may be about financial assistance with utilities, in-home care, local prescription

NORTHWEST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker, Whitfield


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

55+ and need to work? Help is available!


o, is it “back into the (labor) pool” for you or someone you know over the age of 55? It’s happening more and more these days — and with some difficulty for mature workers. Not every human resources director or supervisor believes a mature person might be able to do the job required in a particular business. Or perhaps that HR director doesn’t believe a younger boss will want to supervise an older employee. Not all mature job-seekers believe they are capable of entering the workforce

again, after having been retired for a few years. But now, due to the loss of retirement income and rising costs of EVERYTHING, there are many retirees who need to go back to work. What do you do to get back into the workforce? For some people, a simple “dusting off”

Staff will discuss work history, possible need for training and other factors. of a resume with an updated look and wording will be all that’s needed to start a sucessful job hunt. But for many older persons needing employment, it will take much more effort to land a job. Legacy Link, Inc. in Gainesville operates

the Senior Community Service & Employment Program, funded by the NCOA. The program helps mature job-seekers find employment. Staff will discuss work history, possible need for training and other factors. Legacy can make training placements in public, private nonprofit and profit-making businesses to allow the mature person to gain training on-the-job. The goal is a JOB! Help is available. Give us a call. For further information, contact Legacy Link, P.O. Box 2534, Gainesville, GA 30503-2534; 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 Link — Americorps, which utilizes a registered nurse supervisor and certified nursing assistants to perform this much needed hands-on service. In just five ith additional Federal funding from months, the program has been a huge sucthe Older Americess in the cans Act, the Southern three counties Crescent Area Agency on presently being Aging has begun a pilot served. program to expand perAs required sonal care services in by federal and Carroll, Coweta and Troup state regulacounties. Personal care tions, the services provide personal SCAAA must assistance to homebound bid this service, seniors who might have as well as other difficulties eating, dressMs. Eula Bolton, of Coweta County, benefits from services that Personal Care Services. ing, bathing, walking, the AAA toileting or transferring administers, independently. using federal and state procurement proceThe SCAAA has contracted with Care dures. This procurement process is well

Pilot program expands personal care services



underway, with six agencies requesting the proposal package. On December 18, 2002, the SCAAA conducted a bidders’ conference to answer any questions the potential providers had concerning personal care services. The SCAAA is excited about expanding this vital service area-wide via federal, state and local funding. This service helps many seniors remain in their homes, often preventing premature institutionalization. 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

Atlanta Regional Commission Covers a 10-county area surrounding Atlanta

Two prominent events will benefit Thanks Mom & Dad Fund®


he Thanks Mom & Dad Fund ® will benefit from two prominent events held in 2003 — the annual THANKS MOM & DAD dinner celebration scheduled for May 8, 2003, and the Annual Mayors’ Walk, scheduled for April 22, 2003. Both events are expected to bring record attendance. Sponsors get a bonus with double exposure at both the celebration and at the annual Mayors’ Walk! The annual fund-raising event benefiting the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund® will be a grand celebration of Jocelyn Dorsey’s 30 years with WSB-TV, Channel 2. Ms. Dorsey will honor her parents, Robert and Helena Dorsey, for their inspiration, and Channel 2 Action News Anchors, Monica Kaufman and John Pruitt, will emcee the event. Ms. Dorsey’s enthusiasm for the event

Sponsorships and individual registrations are being accepted. The host mayor for the 2003 Mayors’ Walk is Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the mistress of ceremonies is Monica Kaufman. The walk generally attracts mayors from Atlanta’s 64 municipalities,

grew out of her interest in the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund ® and her appreciation for the inspirational role her parents have played in her life. Ms. Dorsey credits her parents and eloquently states, “So many times during different stages of my life, I have been aware of how truly blessed I am to have these two people Channel 2 Action News Anchors, Monica Kaufman and John Pruitt, will emcee the Thanks Mom & Dad celebration. on my side.They are my biggest 2500 walkers and several hundred cheerleaders, my closest friends and my volunteers. examples of integrity, wisdom and love.” The money raised at both events will The celebration is expected to fill the benefit the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund,® ballroom at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel to which supports aging programs and servits 500-seat capacity. Many VIPs will be on ices such as Meals On Wheels, adult day hand to add to the festivities. There are care, respite care and information and many surprises in store at the celebration. access services. The Thanks Mom & Dad Fund® was created by the Atlanta Regional Commission, in cooperation with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Regional Commission Atlanta, to establish a fund to raise money 404-463-3333 for aging programs and eventually have a national presence. Even though it is a fairly If you need caregiving information, contact: new fund, the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund® expects to make its first round of grants Cherokee County Cherokee County Fayette County Fayette Senior Services, Senior Services; 770-345-5312 770-461-0813 during 2003. If you would like more information Clayton County Clayton County Aging Fulton County Fulton County Aging Program; 770-603-4050 Program, 404-730-6000 about attending or sponsoring these excitCobb County Cobb Senior Services, Gwinnett County Gwinnett County ing events, please call 404-463-3222. 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, Henry, Rockdale

Spring 2003


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

New senior center draws active baby boomers


arrow County has a wonderful new senior center, which was showcased at a ribbon cutting held on December 30, 2002. The center is highlighted with many activity rooms for exercise, card playing, computer use, billiards (one of the most popular rooms), and a sitting/quiet area. Liz Moore, the senior center director since 1988, was an integral part of the design and ultimate success of the new center. One question asked nationwide is: What do the new young retirees, or “baby boomers,” want? Barrow County has found part of the answer. With the opening of the new center, young retirees in Barrow County have found a place to be active and socialize with one

another. Thirty-six additional persons have become members in the last few months and have brought lots of youthful energy to the center. Barrow County Chairman, Eddie Elder, recently informed an audience that he was “amazed by the Seniors enjoy line dancing to the music of the Get Togethers at the high level of activities being new Barrow County Senior Center. offered to the senior center participants.” One of the most popuFor further information, contact Northeast lar days of the month is music day. Moore Georgia RDC, 305 Research Drive, Athens, GA and a group of musicians, called the “Get 30610-2795; 706-583-2547 or toll-free Togethers,” provide the participants with 1-800-474-7540. opportunities to dance and enjoy music. NORTHEAST GEORGIA For more information or to tour the ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: center, call Liz Moore at 770-307-3025. The Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, citizens of Barrow County are very proud Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Walton of the wonderful facility.

West Central Georgia Covers a 16-county area surrounding Columbus, Americus, Butler, Montezuma, Cuthbert

On the road…for osteoporosis prevention


he Lower Chattahoochee Regional Development West Central Georgia AAA has been on the road again visiting the 12 senior sites and other community locations in its 16-county region. The focus: osteoporosis awareness — how to prevent and treat this disease. Osteoporosis is called a silent disease because you cannot see the loss of bone occurring. It is a major public health threat for over 44 million Americans. Ten million individuals have the disease now, and 34 million have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk. West Central’s osteoporosis program was partially funded through a grant received from the Georgia Osteoporosis


Herschel Evans from the Harris County Senior Center “walks for health.”

Initiative and was co-sponsored with the West Central Georgia Health District, which provided the technology for the forearm screenings. The free screenings included a written risk appraisal and printout of results as well as a formal presentation, one-on-one counseling, educational

materials including nutritional aspects and medication interactions. A walking club was formed in conjunction with the osteoporosis presentation as a pilot program in four counties that have senior sites. Pedometers were given out and set for seniors as an incentive to walk. Within the next six months, West Central will go “on the road again” to monitor and re-assess the osteoporosis screens and the walking club participants. For further information, contact West Central Georgia AAA, P.O. Box 1908, Columbus, GA 31902-1908; 706-256-2900 or toll-free 1-800-615-4379. WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Harris, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Webster

Georgia Generations

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

Volunteers are trained to assist Middle Georgia seniors

insurance. From August through December 2002, volunteers saved seniors in the Middle Georgia 11-county area over $600,000.


he Middle Georgia Area Agency on Aging GeorgiaCares program trains volunteers to assist seniors with health insurance counseling and other information and referral for the elderly. One of the most pressing problems for seniors today is the high cost of prescription drugs. Volunteers educate and help seniors apply for available low-cost prescription drug assistance programs. Volunteers also help Medicare beneficiaries sort through the complexities of Medicare and related health insurance concerns. They can offer assistance in finding health insurance, Medigap (Medical Supplemental Insurance), and long-term care

Glenwood Hill (left) and Bud Fletcher participate in Middle Georgia’s volunteer assistance program.

When asked about his volunteer experience, Bud Fletcher of Macon said, “Service to others is the rent we pay for our

space on earth. It is really very simple. All that I am and all that I have is a gift. Caring for others is the way I say, ‘Thank you.’ ” The Middle Georgia Area Agency on Aging is in need of retired professionals to volunteer to assist seniors in the rural counties of Middle Georgia. If you would like to become a GeorgiaCares volunteer or need this type of assistance, please call Julie Hall at 478-751-6489 (Macon calling area) or call the toll-free number listed below, if you live out of the Macon calling area. 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

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

Operation Independence shows that people care

emergency ramp for Mrs.Williams in record time. More volunteer groups are needed to build ramps throughout the area. “It is a blessing that I could get somebody to understand what I’m going through,” Mrs.Williams said of her case manager and Area Agency on Aging advocates. “I’m the last one living of 14 children,” she paused, “the last one left. And it feels like everyone is gone. That’s why it means so much to know that people care.” For further information, contact Central Savannah River AAA, 3023 River Watch Pkwy., Suite A, Augusta, GA 30907-2800; 706-210-2018 or toll-free 1-888-922-4464.


arjorie Williams faced possible amputation before she contacted the Central Savannah River Area Agency on Aging last winter. The 84-year-old retired seamstress needed several doctor’s visits to treat dangerous deep vein thrombosis, but she was practically trapped in her home — unable to get her motorized wheelchair out of the house and too frail to use the steps. The Area Agency on Aging and Walton Options for Independent Living came to Mrs. Williams’ rescue with Operation Independence, a partnership that helps people with disabilities achieve greater self-sufficiency. The team rushed to mobilize skilled carpenters and volunteers, who built an Spring 2003

(Left to right): Antonia Ansley (CCSP aide), Marjorie Williams and Joyce Tutt-Cherry (AAA community resource specialist) try out Mrs. Williams’s new emergency ramp.

CENTRAL SAVANNAH RIVER ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, Wilkes


Heart of Georgia Altamaha Covers a 17-county area surrounding Baxley, Dublin, Vidalia, Jesup, Swainsboro

GeorgiaCares holds open enrollment


he GeorgiaCares Program recently “rolled out” in the Heart of Georgia Altamaha region. This is a program through which volunteers will assist seniors in completing applications for low-cost prescription assistance programs. The Heart of Georgia Altamaha and Coastal regions were the first in the state to offer this new service. The low-cost prescription drug program held open enrollment in Laurens County in October 2002. More than 100 Medicare beneficiaries applied for low-cost prescription cards from Pfizer, Lily and Together RX. Medicare beneficiaries were screened for the Medicare dual eligible programs, like Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries, Specified

Evelyn Gay (standing in red jacket) and GeorgiaCares volunteers review details of the program at open enrollment in Laurens County.

Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries, etc. Fifteen GeorgiaCares volunteers were available to complete the applications for Medicare beneficiaries. One of our partners, Pfizer, provided the medical van and performed glucose and cholesterol screenings, as well as blood pressure checks. Evelyn Gay, Elder Rights Project Director of

Georgia Legal Services, coordinated the event. GeorgiaCares is funded by the Heart of Georgia Altamaha AAA through the Georgia Division of Aging Services. Georgia Legal Services — Savannah office is the provider for this service. For further information, contact Heart of Georgia Altamaha RDC; 331 West Parker Street, Baxley, GA 31513; 912-367-3648 or toll-free 1-888-367-9913.

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 mother who requires both hands-on care and supervision due to a combination of illness including dementia, suffers a fall.The caregiver breaks her arm and sprains her hat is a “contingency plan”? ankle rendering her unable to care for herWhy would you need to have one? self, much less provide her mother’s care. Consider this scenario: What will happen now? Who will do all A caregiver, who looks after her those things the caregiver normally does? Often the caregiver is so focused on the present needs of the care receiver that he or she doesn’t stop to plan for the unexpected events that could interrupt and derail the usual routine. But accidents and illness do occur, and it is important to be ready. A contingency plan is a (Left) Nancy Harper, family caregiver coordinator, discusses prepared plan to enable contingency plans with Mrs. Barbara Caldwell, caregiver for others to step in and pick her mother Mrs. Jennie Davis.

Do you have a contingency plan?



up for caregivers if they are unable to do their usual care. It should include a written list of information: Social Security and Medicare numbers, doctors’ names and phone numbers, power of attorney, insurance information, financial information, etc. Make sure to designate someone to possess the contingency plan and be ready to implement it, if needed. And don’t forget to call the Area Agency on Aging to ask for additional help! For further information, contact Southwest Georgia COA, 1105 Palmyra Road, Albany, GA 31701-2508; 229-432-1124 or toll-free 1-800-282-6612. SOUTHWEST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Worth, Mitchell

Georgia Generations

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

Site manager training benefits seniors


enior center site managers are on the front lines when it comes to daily contact with area seniors. Therefore, it is imperative that they receive adequate training to meet the needs of the elderly. Recognizing this, the Southeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging (SEGa AAA) frequently provides training sessions for its site managers. Recently, two training workshops for site managers were held at the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Center in Waycross. During the fitness and nutrition workshop, the site managers received pointers on how to incorporate physical activity and nutrition information into their everyday center program. In addition, they

Site managers learn the correct techniques for administering CPR through “handson” instruction.

learned how to conduct an exercise program suited for seniors as well as how to evaluate the intensity level of the seniors’ workout. Dr. Elaine Cress and Allison McCamey from the University of Georgia conducted the fitness and nutrition workshop. A second workshop recently hosted by

the SEGa AAA was a CPR/first aid training session taught by Joyce Sharpe of the American Red Cross. In this training, the site managers earned certification in basic CPR, first aid and preventing disease transmission. In order to obtain this certification, each site manager learned how to recognize and care for life-threatening emergencies in adults, such as respiratory difficulties, choking or cardiac problems. For further information, contact Southeast Georgia RDC, 1725 South Georgia Parkway West, Waycross, GA, 31503; 912-285-6097 or toll-free 1-888-732-4464.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES THESE COUNTIES: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner, Ware

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

From the heart: a caregivers conference


ver 200 Coastal caregivers attended a conference February 13, 2002, in Savannah. The conference was sponsored by the Coastal Georgia Area Agency on Aging and was made possible by a grant from the Georgia Caregiver’s Resource Center and the generous support of local and regional sponsors. The conference provided a very meaningful educational and worthwhile experience for area caregivers. Attendees met with social service, medical practitioners, legal experts and equipment vendors to share practical, real world information that will help them in their critical roles as caregivers. Gary Barg, one of our most respected Spring 2003

citizens working of family caretoward improvgivers, and I can ing society’s think of no place understanding I would rather and support of be than in a room full of family caregivers, gave caregivers.” It was obvious by the keynote the response he received, the address. Mr. Barg caregivers in attendance were is founder and glad to have been in the room CEO/Editor-Inwith him, too. Gary Barg, editor-in-chief, Today’s Chief of Today’s For further information on Caregiver Magazine, spoke at Coastal Caregiver caregiver resources, contact region conference. Magazine and Coastal Georgia RDC; P.O. Box, as 1917, Brunswick, GA 31521; well as author of the book, The Fearless 912-264-7363 or toll-free 1-800-590-6860. Caregiver. In a recent edition of Today’s Caregiver Magazine, Mr. Barg said, “When I returned COASTAL GEORGIA ENCOMPASSES to Miami to help my mom care for my THESE COUNTIES: Bryan, Bulloch, grandparents, her selfless commitment to Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, their care opened my eyes to the heroism Liberty, Long, McIntosh


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


Georgia Council on Aging


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

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

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.

Georgia Nursing Home Association

Sixty Plus, Piedmont Hospital

Bridgebuilders, Inc. Personal care in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Customized services delivered with compassion, integrity and professionalism. 600 S. Central Ave., Hapeville 30354; 404-765-4300.

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.

GNHA is committed to continuously improving the quality of life of all persons requiring long term health care. “Serving Georgia’s elderly since 1953.” Call 678-289-6555 for more information or visit

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.

Southern Home Care Services Grady Gold 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.

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network An hour invested in long-term care planning today can make thinking about tomorrow much more comfortable. Contact 770-612-4687 or

Nursing and personal care services tailored to your needs, Southern Home Care Services serves all ages with compassion, skill and respect. Licensed and accredited. Home. There’s no place like it.

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.

Many people ask...

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,® please call 1-800-676-2433.


Georgia Generations

GaGen 2003 Spring  

P R E S E R V E C H E R I S H E D M E M O R I E S Georgia Also in This Issue: s Taking Health to Heart s A Look at Georgia’s AAAs Published...