Category Archives: Community

Healthy Aging into 2016: A COA Staff List


As we move into 2016, people across the globe are making their New Year’s Resolutions. This is a time-honored tradition across millennia, and though there are debates on where and when the tradition of resolutions began, it has carried through to current day. There are countless studies, articles, and opinions on how to make and keep your resolutions. So, instead of giving you a bunch of quotes from folks we don’t know, here’s a list of suggestions from some of our wonderful staff.

If at all possible, always park a little farther away from your destination spot to get in those few extra steps.” ~ Caron C.

Live everyday like you are still 21 years old. Always be curious; allow yourself to wonder.” ~ Maria H.

“Give out those smiles and hugs in abundance. Kindness makes the world go round.” ~ Wendy Lou

“Just get moving.” ~ Betsy K.

“It cost nothing to be a decent person.” ~ Trina S. 

“Don’t wait till tomorrow to be happy.” ~ Carole K.

Try to avoid processed foods and fast food whenever possible.  Get cooking, eat fresh, be happy.” ~ Harry W. 

“Snuggle up on the couch and watch a funny movie or TV show.  Laughter lifts the spirit and is good exercise for your internal organs.” ~ Lisa G.

“You have to keep laughing!” ~ Michele L.

“70% of aging is lifestyle. Be active and eat healthy foods!” ~ Suzanne S.

“Bloom where you’re planted!” ~ Lynne G.

“Sing in the sunshine and laugh every day. Yeah, I know it’s from a John Denver song, but it’s a good one.” ~ Phillip R.

“Tell a joke every day.” Megan M.

“Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s ok to fumble every once in awhile.” ~ Alexis W.

“Take a walk. Read a book. Take a nap. Take care of you!” ~ Annette B. 

Bounty of Bethlehem Urgent Needs

For those of you unfamiliar with Bounty of Bethlehem, it is a Henderson County tradition since 1983. Hundreds of volunteers devote their Christmas Day to joyfully prepare and serve a delicious homemade meal to local residents. They are in desperate need of volunteers and donations leading up to the holiday. If you can fill any of the needs below, please call JoAnne at (828) 768-5473. All preparation is taking place at Immaculata Catholic School. 711 Buncombe St, Hendersonville, NC. 

Urgent Food Needs:  10 additional turkeys and 35 bone-In hams

Toy Needs 

0 – 2 Years Girls: 30 gifts
0 – 2 Years, Boys: 30 gifts
2 – 4 years, Boys: 30 gifts


Turkey Prep (10 people)
1PM – 4PM
Yam Prep (2 people)
2PM – 5PM
Kitchen Helpers (general) (2 people)
3PM – 6PM
Heavy lifting and loading
12PM – 2PM, 2PM – 4PM, 4PM – 6PM (2 people)


Volunteer Signup Table
8AM – 10AM, 10AM – 12PM, 12PM-2PM, 2PM – 4PM, 4PM – 6PM (1 person per shift)
Chopping and prep work (10 people needed) 
8AM – 12PM
Turkey Prep (10 people)
1PM – 4PM
11AM – 2PM, 2PM – 5PM
Smoker operators
8AM – 9AM,
Hand wash / sink station
8AM – 10AM, 10AM – 12PM, 12PM-2PM, 2PM – 4PM, 4PM – 6PM
Cook’s helpers
3PM – 6PM, 1PM – 3PM
Cranberry Prep
1PM-2, 2-3, 3-4
Towel Washers & Dryers
12PM – 2PM, 2PM – 4PM, 4PM – 6PM
Ham Slicing
4PM – 6:30PM

**Wednesday – Friday: All Day** Food Truck Manager. Fast paced, must be organized. Will be in a refrigerated truck.


General Kitchen
8AM – 6PM, 11AM – 5PM


Cleaning Crew

Financial Need

If you can help out financially, they are $15k short of their fundraising goal for this year.

Ways you can donate. 

  • Drop a check in the mail.
    PO Box 883, Hendersonville, 28793
    Make checks payable to Bounty of Bethlehem
  • Donate Online
  • Drop off a check at Immaculata Catholic School between now and Friday.

Recording Our History: The Great Thanksgiving Listen

Oral history is a human tradition. StoryCorps is a nonprofit committed to archiving real-life stories of our time. Anyone can participate. In fact, they want everyone to participate. This Thanksgiving, StoryCorps is featuring “The Great Thanksgiving Listen” where contributors interview elders in their families and communities. You could finally ask your Uncle Steve about that time he saved a man’s life at the State Fair or ask Grandma to tell you about what Thanksgiving was like when she was a kid!

Each story submitted will be archived in the Library of Congress. That’s right! Your stories will be archived in our nation’s national library! We’d like to encourage you to participate. If you submit a story you’d like us to share from the holiday, please email us at [email protected]

Do they have an app you ask? Why, yes, yes they do. Whether you’re on an iPhone or an Android, you can use their smartphone apps which can be found here:

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Aging Around the World: Germany

by Patti Digh, Council on Aging for Henderson County Board Member

Are Nursing Homes Inevitable?

In most of the developed world, birth rates have been falling. Population decline results in economic and social strains and can even threaten national security. Germany is a particularly severe example of this trend. Germany has had an extremely low birth rate for decades. Its resident population is in absolute decline; its family policies have failed to restore birth rates to a replacement level. Now what?

Aging in Place in Germany

WAW-germany-blogpostApproximately every fourth person in Germany is over 60 years old. Because of low birth rates and increasing life expectancy, German society has the third ­largest proportion of elderly people worldwide after Japan and Italy.

The vast majority of elderly people in Germany lead independent lives, are socially active, in contact with their children and relatives, and for the most part are in a position to determine their own lives and actively decide how to make use of their time.

Financially speaking the elder generation is for the most part taken care of: The 1957 pension reform gradually gave pensioners a full share in the nation’s wealth. Poverty in old age has not been done away with entirely, but the risk of being poor in old age is lower than that of other age groups.

A Federal project seeks to strengthen and secure cross-generational ties. Almost every district and each municipality in Germany now boasts a multi­generational house. The 500 subsidized buildings, to which 15,000 people are committed nationwide, form a point of contact, network and hub for family advice, health support, crisis intervention and care planning.

People of all ages live in these buildings together.

“We haven’t built a nursing home in 10 years and we don’t plan on building any,” says Alexander Künzel, chief executive of the Bremer Heimstiftung, a foundation providing long­term care services. Instead, the foundation offers multigenerational residential buildings where seniors can rent one of 85 apartments with round-­the-­clock assistance and a nursery school next door.

This can be summarized in just a few words: As part of a growing trend in Germany, what really matters is that elderly citizens stay out of institutionalized care.

This is a strongly held belief at the Council on Aging for Henderson County. With the help of so many other agencies in our community, we provide and coordinate services to help our clients live independently for as long as possible.

Prep on Wheels, Emergency Preparedness Kits

The Henderson County Department of Public Health and Council on Aging partner on “Prep on Wheels” Emergency Preparedness Kits for High-Risk Homebound Seniors


Terri Arrington, Henderson County Public Health Preparedness Coordinator and Sierra Arant, a Hendersonville High Senior & Health Education Intern drop off more bags at the Council on Aging in preparation for Hurricane Joaquin.

 Hendersonville, NC, October 1, 2015 – The Henderson County Department of Public Health was selected as a Bright Ideas $10,000 grant recipient from the NC Public Health Preparedness Branch. With the funding, the health department partnered with the Council on Aging for Henderson County to provide 175 senior emergency kits for the highest risk homebound clients. For the Prep on Wheels project, a backpack with emergency supplies was assembled and is being distributed by the Meals On Wheels volunteers. Supplies include flashlight, AM/FM radio, fleece blanket, emergency water and food, first aid kit, hand/foot warmers and sanitation items. Seniors are encouraged to add personal items like medications, phone numbers, and important papers.

“We wanted the kits to be senior friendly, by choosing items that they were familiar with and easy to use,” said Terri Arrington, preparedness coordinator. “For example, the radio is battery operated with only a few functions. Newer emergency radios are hand cranked and can be difficult to work for those with limited physical abilities.”

Prep on Wheels, Emergency Preparedness Kit. Flashlight, AM/FM Radio, Whistle w/ Lanyard, Dust Mask, First Aid Kit, Hand Sanitizer, Pill Box am/pm, 12hr Lightstick, Water Pouches (9), Food Bar (2400 cal), Fleece Sleeping Bag, Hand Warmers, Emergency Info Magnet, Preparedness Booklet

Prep on Wheels, Emergency Preparedness Kit. Flashlight, AM/FM Radio, Whistle w/ Lanyard, Dust Mask, First Aid Kit, Hand Sanitizer, Pill Box am/pm, 12hr Lightstick, Water Pouches (9), Food Bar (2400 cal), Fleece Sleeping Bag, Hand Warmers, Emergency Info Magnet, Preparedness Booklet

In anticipation of Hurricane Joaquin and forecasted flooding and power outages, Council on Aging Meals on Wheels volunteers began distributing the kits to high-risk clients on their routes this morning. Shortly after routes began the Council received a call from client Johnny Sams who said “I’m 70 years old and this is more than anyone has ever given me and I really appreciate everything in the bag.”

“During inclement weather we worry a great deal about the safety of our clients. These kits will provide reassurance to many seniors who endure these types of storms all alone.” said Trina Stokes, Executive Director at the Council on Aging. “We rest easier knowing they have a working flashlight, an AM/FM radio to keep them updated on changing conditions, and spare food and water if they were to run out.”

Annette Buckner, Nutrition Director at the Council on Aging said “Distribution will continue through tomorrow and the remainder of the season in preparation for winter storms as well.”

For more information about Prep on Wheels and emergency preparedness, visit and click on Public Health Preparedness.


Council on Aging Welcomes New Board Members

We would like to officially welcome the new additions to our Board of Directors! Here's what they have to say about joining our team.

Leanne Christensen

Leanne Christensen

Leanne Christensen

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work as a board member for the Council on Aging. My previous 19 years of experience as a school and community volunteer in the Seattle area, have given me a deep appreciation and a heartfelt awareness to the importance of serving others. As a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, I am deeply inspired by the dedication of the COA employees and volunteers; working together in support of our seniors through this compassionate, significant program. “

Patti Digh

Patti Digh

Patti Digh

“I served on the National Diversity Committee of the American Council on Aging for several years. Aging is both a privilege and a period of difficult transition, as we all know. The Council on Aging’s dedication to the individual human dignity and independence of older adults is something I feel strongly about—I want to support them in achieving their goals."

Erica Erickson

Erica Erickson

Erica Erickson

“As an elder law and estate planning attorney, I enjoy advocating for seniors, helping seniors understand the various legal documents available to them to help them achieve their estate planning goals, and helping to connect seniors and their families to resources in the community that assist them in living safely at home for as long as possible. Prior to becoming an attorney, I spent 13 years working in non-profit organizations that served individuals with mental and physical disabilities. I am excited to serve on the Board of the Council on Aging for Henderson County in order to promote independent living and quality of life for seniors in the community.”

Lisa Kauffman

Lisa Kauffman

Lisa Kauffman

“As a Geriatric Care Manager, my practice for the past 15 years has focused on the wellbeing of seniors, assisting families with planning for their love one’s ongoing care needs. As a new Board member with COA and a long-time volunteer at the Sammy Williams Center, I would like to continue to be an advocate for seniors in Henderson County. “

Help Us Help Others Beat the Heat!

For many years we have participated in a heat relief program through grants from Duke Energy Progress & Duke Energy Foundation. These grants allow our agency to purchase and distribute fans to eligible residents of Henderson County in need of relief from the heat. This year the need for fans has been greater than years before and we have run out of fans to distribute. With August and September often being the hottest months, we expect the need to increase.

Thomas who suffers from COPD received a much needed fan to beat the summer heat!

Thomas who suffers from COPD received a much needed fan to beat the summer heat!

Please consider your neighbors and help us help our community! We are now asking for donations of new, unused fans. Cash & check donations are also welcome, or you can donate online here: All donations can be dropped off at our main office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC 28792. If you have questions, feel free to call us at (828) 692-4203.

Navigating Medicare

Photo provided by  Peter Kaminski  through Creative Commons.

Photo provided by Peter Kaminski through Creative Commons.

Does sorting through Medicare lingo make you want to give up and go back to bed? You’re not the only one. Most of us need help navigating the system. John Wingerter of the Council on Aging of Buncombe County in conjunction with Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) announces the Medicare class schedule for Medicare Choices Made Easy. The information session explains how Medicare works, the enrollment process, how to avoid penalties and ways that beneficiaries can save money.

The information sessions are free and open to the public. People new to Medicare, caregivers, people leaving employer health insurance for Medicare and others who help Medicare beneficiaries with their insurance should consider attending this informative class. The information presented is unbiased as no products are sold, recommended or endorsed.

Classes are listed below. To reserve your place, register online at or call the Council on Aging at 828-277-8288. For the Pardee classes you may register by calling the Pardee Signature Care Center 828-692-4600.

June 16 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Leicester Library
1561 Alexander Road, Leicester, NC 28748

June 17 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Fairview Library
1 Taylor Road, Fairview, NC 28730

June 18 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Pardee Signature Care Center
1800 Four Seasons Blvd, Hendersonville (Blue Ridge Mall)

June 23 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Skyland/South Buncombe Library
260 Overlook Road, Asheville, NC 28803

July 23 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Pardee Signature Care Center
1800 Four Seasons Blvd, Hendersonville (Blue Ridge Mall)

July 24 2:00 – 4:00 PM
OLLI/Reuter Center – UNCA
One University Heights, Asheville, 28804

July 31 2:00 – 4:00 PM
1616 Patton Ave, Asheville 28806

August 20 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Pardee Signature Care Center
1800 Four Seasons Blvd, Hendersonville (Blue Ridge Mall)

Contact John Wingerter with the Council on Aging of Buncombe County for more information. 828-277-8288  [email protected]

The Power of Giving

A couple of weeks ago, an anonymous donor from the community walked in with a cash donation specifically for widows. When asked if this was something she was familiar with personally, she said no. She had been reading scripture that referenced caring for widows and felt compelled to reach out to our agency.  She didn’t want a receipt. She didn’t want recognition. She just wanted to give.

“People often underestimate the power of giving” says Executive Director Trina Stokes “but the support we get from our donors impacts so many lives in our community. It’s always touching when we have someone reach out because they see a need and want to contribute what they can to help fill that need.”

Our case managers have begun identifying widows in our program and reaching out to identify needs. One of our clients recently passed and left behind his wife Evelyn. Furman Bennison was a vet and a loving husband and his wife wanted a way to remember him. When Caseworker Lisa Greene reached out and started talking with Evelyn, she learned they’d been married for 62 years. They decided on a rose bush as a way to honor her time with her husband, Furman. Through the gift of our anonymous donor, Furman will continue to give Evelyn roses every year.

People are inspired to give for many reasons. Know that when you give, you touch many lives in your community.