Category Archives: Events

Wine Around the World 2016: South Africa

This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on issues of aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on October 6, 2016. There are a limited number of tickets left. Don’t miss this unforgettable event! Purchase online or stop by our office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC.

SOUTH AFRICA’S ELDERLY POPULATION TO DOUBLE BY 2050

waw-southafrica

by Patti Digh

South Africa’s elderly population is projected to double by 2050, according to a report released recently. Presently, the number of South Africans 60 years or older is around 4.209 million people. In 2050, this figure will rise to 10.06 million people. In the whole of the African continent, by 2050, the number of people over 60 will increase from just under 50 million to just under 200 million.

More than half of elderly people in South Africa live in extended households, but that’s changing with an upward trend in the prevalence of elderly single-member households (a huge increase from 16.3% in 1996 to 26.7% in 2011) and urbanization.

In fact, South Africa has a number of unique circumstances that affect the structure and situation of families. They include its history of apartheid, and particularly the migrant labor system. Poverty also greatly affects family life, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has profoundly affected the health and well-being of family members, consequently placing an added burden on children and the elderly.

In South Africa in 2008, there were 859,000 “double orphans” (children both of whose parents have died), 2,468,000 paternal orphans, and 624,000 maternal orphans. A total of 3.95 million children had lost one or both parents by 2008, an increase of about a third since 2002. The number of double orphans increased by 144%. Although the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa has stabilised, and the infection rate is now starting to decline, the number of orphans will continue to grow or at least remain high for years, reflecting a time lag between HIV infection and death.

What does this have to do with aging? The contribution of the elderly is especially important in countries with a high HIV/AIDS prevalence, such as South Africa, where many older people head what are called skip-generation households because the middle generation has died or become very sick from HIV/AIDS. Around 30 percent of older women in Sub-Saharan Africa head skip-generation households, according to the WHO. In some countries, the figures are even higher. In African countries outside South Africa, this is also true: more than four out of ten orphans are cared for by their grandmothers in Tanzania, and in Zimbabwe it is around six in ten.

In rural KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the country in the region with both the highest proportion of old people and one of the severest AIDS epidemics. almost one in three older people are either now caring for sick adults living in the household or are raising grandchildren whose own parents are either dead or away in the cities on a long-term basis, seeking work.

One project in KwaZulu-Natal works with over 25,000 older people who are nursing their infected children and raise their grandchildren. Through information and training they learn about infection risks and the best care. They are enabled to help other affected people and overcome their own isolation. The elderly people are also supported materially: They receive sufficient food supplies, clothing and items that they need to take care of their sick relatives. The grandchildren get books, school uniforms, and other items the need for their education.

Another project supports these silent heroes: “Kwa Wazee” grants pensions to 1,000 grandmothers with 600 grandchildren. The project also advocates the formation of discussion groups that enable old people to help one another psychosocially and financially. The pensions increase the quality of life for elderly women and their grandchildren immensely, enabling them to buy food, clothes and other needed items. The nutritional situation stabilizes, the children can go to school again, and the grandmothers develop a greater feeling of self-esteem. The project also contributes to a national debate about improved old age security.

 

Wine Around the World 2016: Slovenia

This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on issues of aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on October 6, 2016. There are a limited number of tickets left. Don’t miss this unforgettable event! Purchase online or stop by our office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC.

SLOVENIA’S RAPIDLY AGING POPULATION IS DRIVING INTERGENERATIONAL INNOVATION

waw-slovenia

by Patti Digh

In Slovenia, aging-related expenses as a share of GDP will increase from 24.7% in 2013 to 31.5% in 2060. Out of 100 working age people in Slovenia, 27 were over 65 at the start of 2013, a number that will double to 58 in 2060, according to a recent report. The proportion of the population over 85 is also projected to surge from 2% at the moment to 7% in 2060.

In addition to the systemic reforms obviously needed to finance this rapidly aging population, Slovenia is looking at innovative ways to unite old and young people, using institutions familiar with the needs and abilities of both groups. They aim to tackle the stereotypes young and old people tend to have about each other.

The “Fruits of Society” house is the first example of an intergenerational centre in Slovenia, bringing together young and old in the Pomurje region. The project’s aim is to ensure additional help for the elderly by young people and, at the same time, help youth acquire new knowledge. Activities mainly revolve around socializing, joint projects, and promotion of a healthy lifestyle and voluntary work. The idea is to create a forum where ideas can be exchanged on how to deepen and extend intergenerational voluntary cooperation to other activities.

Traditionally, the elderly in Slovenia have been taken care of by their family members. Those who did not have any relatives were partially taken care of by a local community. However, a recent Slovenian study showed that three quarters of people would choose to go to a nursing home and less than one fifth (17%) would choose to live with one of their children because they don’t want to be a burden. Even so, the willingness of family to care for their elders is very high. Almost two-fifths of Slovenes see the solution as family care and co-living with disabled and elderly family members. Half of the respondents said that for them personally, caring for old people is one of the main tasks of the family. The biggest problem is not the willingness to care but rather the ability to care. Family care is less available due to the lack of support services rather than unwillingness to care.

The first need they have is common to all Slovenian family caregivers – the need for “respite care services” (47.1%) that are very scarce (almost nonexistent) in Slovenia. Two fifths of family caregivers wish to have “more frequent visits from a district nurse” and “larger accessibility of home help services.” The fourth and fifth most expressed things they miss are the “support from their relatives” and “the life they lived before taking over the caring responsibilities.” The needs of family carers reflect the real situation regarding family care of older people in Slovenia.

Currently there are only a few services intended for family caregivers and they are not provided on a national level. For example, there is no place that provides information, practical training in caregiving, and other support to family caregivers on the national level. Family caregivers urgently need broader community support and professional assistance in the form of home care and support, institutional day care, respite care services, needs assessment, counseling and advice, self-support groups, practical training in caring and protecting their own physical and mental health, weekend breaks, integrated planning of care for elderly and families, and so on.

Through one national program, family members are trained via short courses for better understanding and communicating with older family members, or about quality aging after retirement, in which the elderly are taught how to recognize and accept old age, practice active aging, and have quality relations with the younger generations.

Family members who have an elder in an institution learn to communicate well during their visits and to collaborate well with the residential care provider. Relatives’ clubs are being established inside nursing homes. The underlying principle is that one hour weekly of quality personal contact with an old person is an excellent opportunity for personal growth, and a good way to learn about intergenerational communication and prepare for one’s own old age.

Wine Around the World 2016: Portugal

This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on issues of aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on October 6, 2016. There are a limited number of tickets left. Don’t miss this unforgettable event! Purchase online or stop by our office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC.

PORTUGAL’S PERFECT STORM

waw-portugal

by Patti Digh

Between 1960 and 2012, the young population of Portugal greatly decreased and the number of elderly citizens greatly increased, changing significantly the population dynamics in that European nation. Why? Because of sharp fertility rate declines (they have the lowest fertility rate in Europe), the increase of life expectancy, and increased emigration in recent years, caused by unemployment and the economic crisis there. Over one-third of people under 25 in Portugal are unemployed and cannot find jobs in their own country, so they are leaving and Portugal is fast-becoming a nation of one-child families.

Under the current poor economic conditions in Portugal, the Portuguese population is going to continue to decrease, and the aging of the population that remains will likely result in the unsustainability of the country. For the elderly living in small families without children or a spouse, greater support from the community and local health services will be required, a situation that becomes even more acute in periods of economic depression. It is a perfect storm.

As reported in The Guardian, the recent fall in births across Portugal – to 89,841 babies in 2012, a 14% drop since 2008 and a 56% drop since 1960 – has been so acute that the government is closing a number of maternity wards nationwide. In an increasingly childless country, 239 schools are closing this year and sales of everything from diapers to children’s shampoos are plummeting. At the same time, in the fast-greying interior, petrol stations and motels are being converted into nursing homes.

Portugal is at the forefront of Europe’s latest baby bust, facing greatly increased social costs in some of the world’s most rapidly aging societies. By 2030 the retired population in Portugal will surge by 27.4%, with those older than 65 then predicted to make up nearly one in every four residents. With fewer and fewer future workers and taxpayers being born, the Portuguese are confronting what could be a real financial difficulty in providing for their aging population.

Experts predict that the population loss ahead for Portugal could be beyond even the worst-case predictions of nearly 1 million fewer inhabitants – or almost 10% of the current population of 10.56 million – by 2030. It has many bemoaning the “disappearance” of a nation, leaving them to ask: Who will be left to support a dying country of old men and women?

“This is one of the biggest problems we face as a nation,” said Jose Tavares, political economics professor at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon. “If we don’t find a way to fix this, we will be facing a disaster.”

The burdens ahead are also clear in communities across Portugal, where elder care is the largest single public expenditure. Recent national cuts have meant a reduction in the number of seniors towns are able to aid in their main adult day-care facilities.

To breathe new life into some areas, officials have sought to lure young people back, offering cash subsidies for new homebuyers in an attempt to stem years of losses of working-age residents to inland cities and more prosperous countries. Some towns are providing preschool for next to nothing, with children being minded in nursing homes, which thrills the residents. One clothing maker in central Portugal has started paying its workers a bonus for having babies, and towns are following suit.

Wine Around the World 2016: Chile

This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on issues of aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on October 6, 2016. There are a limited number of tickets left. Don’t miss this unforgettable event! Purchase online or stop by our office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC.

Aging isn’t just a biological process; it is also a cultural one. Frequently the average life expectancy bears on what age counts as “old.” For example, in the United States, where the average life expectancy is over 78 years, people are not considered “old” until they are in their sixties or seventies. However, in Chad the average life expectancy is less than 49 years. People in their thirties or forties are therefore already middle­ aged or “old.”

Over the next two weeks, leading up to our Wine Around the World event at The Cedars, let’s grab our passports and go on this amazing journey into aging in many cultures.

CHILE’S RAPID DEVELOPMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON AGINGchile

by Patti Digh

Chile is a developing country with a rapidly expanding economy. In fact, it is expected to become a “developed country” within 10 years, one of the first in Latin America to obtain that designation. This rapid economic growth has brought significant changes in social organization. For example, an increasing number of older adults are now living alone versus in an extended family, and Chile has one of the largest proportions of older adults in Latin America.

In fact, the number of elderly in Latin America will triple as a share of the population by 2050. By 2050, there will be one Latin American elder for every child. The result will be a dramatic slowdown in population growth and an equally dramatic aging of the population. Latin America’s median age will climb by 14 years, from 26 to 40.

This coming age wave poses two fundamental challenges for Latin America. The first is to create national retirement systems capable of providing an adequate level of support for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young. The second is to boost living standards while populations are still young and growing. While the United States, Europe, and Japan all became affluent societies before they became aging societies, Latin America may grow old before it grows rich.

In particular, Chile is in what is referred to as an advanced demographic transition stage. The population over 60 years of age represents 13% of the total population. It’s anticipated that the aging population in Chile will continue to increase to represent 20.8% of the population by 2044. Thus, in the near future, Chile will experience “super-aging.”

And because of the gender gap in life expectancy in Chile, more women will be living alone, a new phenomenon in Chile, and may experience increasing isolation. Additionally, more women may face reduced economic status in their later years as most did not participate in the labor force and were dependent upon their husband’s salaries and pensions.

It’s important to note that life expectancy in Chile also varies by geographic location and is up to 10 years less among certain indigenous populations there (e.g., Aymara), attesting to pockets of underdevelopment and poverty particularly among Indigenous populations and in rural areas.

To promote healthy aging, the government of Chile has been providing a nutritional supplement to older adults since 1998, distributing micronutrient fortified foods to adults 70 years or over who are registered for the program through their Primary Health Centers.

In 2002, a national effort to focus on health issues related to aging was initiated in Chile, focused on improving living conditions and health programs specific to the needs of older adults, developing and implementing elder abuse laws, and enhancing access to public spaces so that older adults can participate in tourism or use public transportation at reduced rates. The importance of specialized health care for the elderly such as comprehensive geriatric assessments is becoming an increasing focus of attention, as the prevalence of risk of falls and chronic diseases increases.

Access to participation in meaningful activities can be challenging for older adults in Chile. In Santiago, the city is divided into provinces with each responsible for organizing events for older adults. Provinces with more resources offer enhanced activities including travel opportunities, free exercise facilities, and opportunities for social engagement. A rising concern, however, is the lack of meaningful opportunities to remain socially and economically integrated as one enters old age in Chile. Not surprisingly, there has been a rise of mental health issues and in particular, depression. In Chile, it has been reported that clinical depression in older adults has reached 47%, which is a much higher percentage compared to estimate of 16% and 19% for adolescents and young adults.

To answer these needs, Chile has developed “The Integral Policy for Positive Aging” with three general objectives: protect the functional health of older people, improve their integration into the different areas of society, and increase their levels of subjective well-being.

Sprout’s Fairy Garden Looking to Relocate

Our Etowah Thrift Store has a fairy tenant looking to relocate. There’s a silent auction going on at their store which will close next Wednesday, June 29th. Bids are already rolling in. Check out Sprout’s story below.

Meet Sprout, a friendly fairy who tends his lovely garden with a lot of hard work and a sprinkle of magic. He is looking for the perfect spot to settle down, preferably with a sunny site, at least 4-6 hours of sun a day. A spot on a sunny porch would be ideal, although gentle rains won’t hurt him or his house. Help him care for his garden by watering it every 1-2 days and pinching back the plants as needed to keep them from becoming a jungle. His garden includes sweet potato vine, polka dot plant, purslane, succulents, sedums, caladiums, million bells, and mosses. He amended the soil with extended release fertilizer so hold off on adding any extra for a few months. This is a summer garden and will need to be brought indoors for winter, or replanted in the spring.

Etowah Thrift Store for the Council on Aging
97 Etowah Center Drive
Etowah, NC 28729
828-891-4442

Hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 10AM – 4PM
Saturday: 10AM – 1PM

Thank You Henderson County!

holidaythankyou2015Our volunteers and community go above and beyond at the holidays. From fulfilling client Christmas wishes through our Angel Tag program, to shoe boxes, and food donation and delivery, you help us brighten the lives of at-risk elders in Henderson County. Many of you wished to remain anonymous, and simply gave in the spirit of the season—this thank you is for you as well!

Holiday ornaments for our Meals on Wheels clients. 

From time to time, we have groups drop off little goodies for our Meals on Wheels routes. This season, the Boy Scouts of Henderson County and East Hendersonville High School Life Skills students both dropped off beautiful ornaments to help spread holiday cheer!

Angel Tag Gifts

Starting in October, we send out surveys and make calls to clients  asking what their Christmas wishes are. Many say they want nothing at all, and some are as humbling as a warm coat or toiletries. Anonymous donors, Immaculate Conception Parishioners, Retired Teachers Association of Henderson County, and First Baptist Sunday School Class helped fulfill the wishes of 169 elders!

Christmas Day Food Boxes

The Elks Lodge #1616 has a long running program that delivers food boxes complete with turkeys and other holiday food items. They’ve been delivering boxes to many of our clients on Christmas day for over a decade.

Shoe Box Gifts

Shoe Box gifts are a long running tradition for Christmas. The idea is that you take a shoe box and fill it with gifts for someone in need. This year the Times News collected over 600 shoe boxes for our clients and others in need.  Henderson County Crafters, Park Ridge Medical Association Billing Department, and Hendersonville Women’s Club also donated shoe boxes at our office.

Meals on Wheels Christmas Dinner Delivery

The American Legion Post #77 delivers Christmas dinner the Sunday before the holiday with a turkey or ham and all the trimmings needed to make a yummy Christmas dinner.

Meal Deliveries and Christmas Day Community Dinner

Bounty of Bethlehem is a community effort that began in 1983 and is run completely by volunteers who donate their time before and on Christmas day to provide meals for the community, including our Meals on Wheels clients!

Thank you all for everything you do!

 

 

Healthy Aging into 2016: A COA Staff List

NewYears2016

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

TUESDAY

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)


WEDNESDAY

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
Muscle 
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.


THURSDAY

General Kitchen
8AM – 6PM, 11AM – 5PM


SATURDAY

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
    http://www.thebountyofbethlehem.org/
  • 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: https://storycorps.me

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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.