2nd Annual Better with Age

Last year we tried something new by harnessing the power of a lot of somethings old.  The event was calledBetter with Age:  An Antique Appraisal and Fund Raising Event”.  It was such a hit that we’re bringing back Better with Age for a second, we think even better, year — Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Charlottesville’s Omni Hotel.

Ticket holders will have the opportunity to have family heirlooms or treasured finds appraised by recognized experts. (We have a pretty exciting line up of appraisers. You’ll meet them in a later post.) And there will be local wine to sample  and light jazz to groove to, all moderated by Z95.1’s Les Sinclair!

And, all proceeds will go towards health care and nutritional meals for at-risk older adults in Central Virginia

Advance Tickets are only $25 per person and include wine tasting, light refreshments, live acoustic jazz, and free parking at the Omni, based on availability.

Tickets go on sale starting April 15, 2013. We’ll have details on that and more, too. In the meantime, start looking around your home for that special item that may be getting “Better with Age.”

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Healthy Rewards of Volunteering

“Research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health,” reports The Corporation for National and Community Service. “… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” Perhaps these benefits stem from increased social interaction, or it may be that remaining active is the key. Many volunteers site the satisfaction of making a difference in their communities as fundamental to their feelings of personal wellbeing.

To this list of benefits Volunteers in Central Virginia can add the happy lift that comes from saving money. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers a $25 tuition discount on a class for anyone volunteering 30 hours through JABA. The discount is good towards any OLLI class, including history, astronomy, politics, art and more – even health. (Word of caution, OLLI’s courses are addictive.) For a complete list visit OLLI at www.olliuva.org.

JABA’s Volunteer Services Department can assist you in finding a meaningful opportunity near you. Help seniors stay in their homes, tutor children in public schools, pack food bags, volunteer on a board, or address other community needs. For details, contact Martha Williams at mwilliams@jabacares.org or (434) 817-5245.

Then start volunteering and you’ll soon have enough hours for a discount on OLLI’s spring 2013 classes!

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Peanut Butter and Empty Shelves

Once each month,volunteers with JABA’s Food Bag Program deliver shelf-stable food to local seniors in need.

We’ve all heard it enough times to know that hunger in America is very real – including right here in Central Virginia. Barely a week goes by without a plea to help fill the food banks. But the sad fact is, our food banks have a desperate ongoing need for contributions, especially sources of protein-rich food items, such as peanut butter, (Yes! imagine not being able to afford a jar of peanut butter) beans, and canned tuna or chicken. 

To help, AARP is sponsoring a food drive this week, September 9 and 15. There are more than 250 food collection sites across the state. For the site nearest to you, check out AARP Community Food Drive.

Here’s a tip. If you live or work off 29 North — our local TRIAD chapter is assisting AARP with the food drive, by hosting a donation site at Kroger’s at Route 29 and Hydraulic on Saturday, September 15. Charlottesville Sheriff James Brown is the organizer for the event.

And, if you miss this drive, JABA is always taking donations for our monthly Food Bag program. This Stephanie’s Heroes segment from the Newsplex can give you the details. Donations are always gratefully accepted at 674 Hillsdale Drive, Charlottesville 22901, http://www.jabacares.org.

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The Healing Art of Painting

On Monday, September 17, JABA’s Nelson Senior Community Center will host an Open House Art Show. This is the second year for the show, which will feature paintings created by members of the Nelson Center and JABA’s Mary Williams Center in Charlottesville as part of a program of VSA, (the International Organization on Arts and Disability,) in conjunction with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation.

The exhibit and the method behind the paintings are the work of Art Therapist Cathy L. Kiehl, M.S. She explained the process behind the artwork in the essay below from 2011.

I have been working with Mary Williams Senior Center for approximately six years and Nelson County Senior Center for four years or so. I found when working with adults and the creative process that the biggest challenges for them, particularly when painting, is #1. What to paint, and #2.Getting an image onto the canvas. It was stressful for them and would keep them from participating. So, I gave them a choice of images. These images could be from magazines, old art technique books, old birthday cards, newspaper images, etc. They could also bring in their own images or just paint freehand. 

Sometimes they would choose more than one image to be combined.  We would then talk about why they chose the image(s) and how they envisioned it on their canvas. That took care of first issue. I solved the second issue by drawing the main part of the chosen image onto the canvas for them. Then they took it from there to paint. I was available to answers questions or occasionally to help straighten a line or do shading (if they told me what they felt their paintings needed some adjusting in order for them to be happy with their work). Some had problems with shaky hands or vision and asked for help, but they directed me.

I found that by taking away the stress involved with painting, more folks wanted to participate and this was their favorite activity. I’m not trained in art instruction but I had to take 18 hours of studio art before applying to Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Art Therapy Program. I do not consider myself a professional artist or instructor, but as an Art Therapist, my goal is to give the participants a task whereby they can relax, learn something new (we all know that doing something different creates new neural pathways), boost their confidence and self-esteem. 

As we age, we sometimes have a sense of loss of control and lose our problem-solving abilities. The creative process allows the participants to have control with their choice of image, color, technique. No one is going to tell them they are wrong. In our groups, the “art police” are not there.  Making those choices also helps in the problem-solving area and hopefully transfers to dealing with problems in their home life.  At the end we talk about the paintings and, using their imagination, the participants come up with a story that is based on their chosen image. My mantra for this activity is “there are many things in life we cannot change but painting is not one of them. You can always paint over it, if you don’t like it”.

Most in both groups are dealing with medical problems of some kind. Some are physical, cognitive or even loss of independence or family members. This activity has given them some way to forget about their problems even if for an hour or so each session. They have worked on these paintings for six sessions and stuck with it. 

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Getting Started in Medicare

Some days there’s no escaping the fact that I’m getting older. That’s been especially true since I turned 64. Just as blood in the water attracts sharks, my 64th birthday has set certain insurance companies into a direct mail feeding frenzy. I’ve come to expect a very official looking notification almost daily, each urging me to contact a company (in one case unnamed) about my Medicare insurance options before it’s “too late!”

Mind you, there are deadlines for registering for Medicare and I will need to make some decisions. Now I could gather information from all of these various providers; then attempt to sort out who is legit and what are the best plans for my needs. Instead, I think I’ll simply sign up for the next session of our free workshop — Getting Started in Medicare.

 JABA’s health insurance counseling program, VICAP, has been hosting these workshops several times per year for quite a while now. This service is part of the statewide Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) administered by the Virginia Division for the Aging (VDA). All JABA VICAP specialists and volunteers receive regular training. They’re experts at helping people sort through confusing info, and, here’s the clincher, they are not licensed to sell insurance. In fact, VICAP is not affiliated with any insurance companies and does not sell insurance. (For more on VICAP visit http://www.vda.virginia.gov/vicap2.asp.)

The next Getting Started in Medicare workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, September 25, from 2:00 to 3:00 PMand October 9, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM. Both sessions will all be held at the Northside Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, in the Albemarle Square Shopping Center, Route 29 North Charlottesville, VA 22901.

Did I mention these programs are free? Sometimes VICAP even serves refreshments. Those are free, too. The best part, however, is that unlike the “free” info the direct mailers offer, VICAP’s free programs don’t include a sales pitch.

If you would like to know more about Getting Started in Medicare or VICAP’s services, contact 434-817-5222 (817-JABA), jabacares@gmail.com, www.jabacares.org


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Hands-On Healers

My father became increasingly delicate during the last weeks of his life. On his 50th birthday he had walked the length of the backyard on his hands, but at 89, lung cancer was chewing away at the last of his strength. My clumsy attempts to bath or shave him were agony for him. Each session left him more uncomfortable and me worn out. Then hospice sent a red-haired angel of mercy. Actually, she was a nursing assistant. She would chat and joke with my dad, while getting him cleaned up, changed and comfortable in his favorite recliner. Her touch, unlike mine, never once made him grimace. When she was done, his dignity was intact and the light back in his eyes.   

Nursing assistants provide 80 to 90 percent of the hands-on care needed by patients like my dad, whether they’re in long-term care facilities or hospitals, or receiving home health care.

Despite being such a vital part of the health care team, they are rarely recognized for their efforts. Which is why, 15 years ago a group of local organizations and health providers created the Nursing Assistant of the Year awards.

That modest original event has grown and tonight more than 200 nursing assistants and their supporters will gather to honor nominees for awards in five categories:

  • Hospital
  • Nursing Home
  • Assisted Living
  • Home Health/Community Care
  • Companion/Sitter  

As in the past two years, Holiday Inn University Area will be the scene of the festivities. The hotel’s continued generosity has helped make this extra special for all involved.

I’ll be taking photos to post on Facebook and send out to the winners’ hometown papers, and thinking about my father and the nursing assistant who helped him and me so much.



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Medicare? Medicaid?

The past few weeks have been filled almost completely with work on JABA’s new Resource Guide, “Generations”. Along with information on just about ever service for those of us over 65 available here in Central Virginia we wanted to include some articles explaining some of the more confusing aspects of aging. One of the biggies is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.  A lot of people confuse the two. 

While working on this piece I discovered some misconceptions of my own on the subject, which is why I asked the head of our Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP,) Phyllis Payne, to help explain the two. Here’s her guest post:


Medicare and Medicaid are two government programs that sound very much alike but serve very different purposes.  Medicare is primarily a health insurance program while Medicaid is primarily a financial assistance program.

 Medicare covers beneficiaries who are age 65 or older, or who are younger than 65 and have been receiving social security disability for at least 2 years.  Coverage is provided to eligible individuals regardless of income or resources.

There are four major parts to Medicare.  These are parts A,B,C and D.  Part A is hospitalization insurance.  It covers beneficiaries when they are hospitalized.

Part A is generally provided at no cost.  Part B is medical insurance.  It covers doctors visits, diagnostic tests, x-ray and laboratory tests, outpatient services and durable medical equipment (such as oxygen and wheelchairs). For most covered individuals in 2012, Part B will cost $99.90 a month and will automatically be deducted from social security.  Parts A and B together are known as Original Medicare.  Eligible individuals can sign up for Parts A and B through Social Security.  Part D is Medicare’s prescription drug program.  Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage Plans.  These plans replace Original Medicare by combining Parts A, B and usually D into a single privately insured plan.   Costs for Part C and D vary by plan. All Medicare benefits are also subject to deductibles, co-insurance and/or copays.

Medicaid is a program that provides financial assistance to eligible participants. Eligibility is based on income and resources.  Benefits are available to individuals of all ages.  Medicaid may provide medical assistance to eligible individuals who are not eligible for Medicare. It may also assist Medicare eligible beneficiaries with their premiums, deductibles and copays under Medicare. Medicaid may also provide other benefits such as transportation and Long Term Care.

Whether it is Medicare or Medicaid that you need, the VICAP office at JABA can help. Call (434) 817-5222 and ask to speak with an Insurance Counselor.

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I’ll Fly Away

Some of the members of our Hillsdale Adult Care Center, along with kids from our Shining Star Pre-School, are downstairs in the lobby. They’ve just gotten back from a field trip to our local airport and they looked a little dreamy to me.

I imagine that’s because there is something magical about watching planes take off and land. First off, you have to believe that we really can fly, if we just put our minds to it. Happily, the Charlottesville-Ablemarle Airport (commonly known as CHO) is still small enough to allow both very young and very old believers to enjoy the spectacle. The fact that the generations get to enjoy the sight together just makes it sweeter. 

Then there’s the ephemeral quality of flight. Like youth or life itself, taking to the air can only last a short while. Being able to ignore the realities of gravity and life if only for a field trip is, as folks are fond of saying around here, a blessing. How fortunate that our preschoolers and older adults were able to share that small escape today.   

Some glad morning … I’ll fly away.

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Extra Help with Rx Costs

Prescription drug costs are rising at an alarming rate and many people are finding it increasingly difficult and even impossible to purchase their medications. Medicare beneficiaries with lower incomes may be eligible for a number of assistance programs including Low Income Subsidy (also known as Extra Help) for prescription drugs, Medicare savings programs or Medicaid.

Often, however, those most in need of assistance also have the most difficulty seeking it out. How does one find these programs and what must one do to apply? The process can be daunting for individuals of limited mobility and for their families busy just trying to make ends meet. The VICAP office at JABA will be hosting a series of open houses designed to screen for eligibility for these programs and to assist individuals or their family members in making the applications.

Medicare beneficiaries with monthly incomes no more than $1,397 for a single person or $1,901 for a couple will be welcome to come and have a trained Medicare counselor assist them in making the application. If the qualifying individual is unable to attend, a family member will be able to represent him or her. Certain documentation is required including a Medicare card, income statements, bank statements and asset information. The home that you live in and one vehicle do not count as assets and will not prevent you from qualifying.

The open houses will begin this July with the first two scheduled for Tuesday July 19 and Monday July 30 at JABA’s Hillsdale Drive offices in Charlottesville. If you have questions, please call JABA at (434) 817-5222 and ask for the insurance counseling office.

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Scottsville Revue

This rendition of “Lipstick on Your Collar” was only one of the show stoppers at the 2009 Revue.

Have you heard — the Scottsville Revue is back. It’s this Sunday, June 3, from 3 to 6PM at the  historic Victory Theater in Scottsville, VA.

The last time the members of JABA’s Scottsville Center put on this show it was 2009. They packed the house. I had the joy of attending that show and I’m still smiling.

Part fashion show, part talent show, the revue is all fun. While some of the outfits the models sport are downright beautiful, (many of the ladies are expert seamstresses!) these grown ups have no qualms about acting like kids in order to get a laugh.

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon then a pleasant drive to beautiful Scottsville, lunch along the river and then fun with the Scottsville Revue.

Some of the costumes are worth the modest price of admission alone — like this scene stealer.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, and kids under 12 get in for free. Have questions? Call JABA’s Scottsville Center at 434-286-6890 or JABA on Hillsdale Drive  in Charlottesville at 434-817-5222.

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