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Senior Citizen News

logo 200Capital Health Plan is proud to present the Savvy Senior program for July 2011.  Join us Monday, July 25 at 10:30am at the Wakulla County Senior Citizen center for our program featuring "Improving Your Mental Health".

Mary-Goble-headshotJoin us Monday, April 25, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. for Capital Health Plan's April Savvy Senior program, featuring "Urinary Incontinence:  The Common Issue No One Wants to Discuss", presented by Mary Goble, MSN, RN and hosted by Anna Johnson Riedel.

Learn and Play Contact Bridge at Wakulla County Senior Center

bridge_card_game_250x251.jpg{sidebar id=3}An eight-session class of beginning bridge will be held at the Wakulla County Senior Center starting on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.  Each session will be held weekly on Wednesday for two hours starting at 10am.   There will be no charges for persons 60 and older, others will be asked for a $2.00 donation to the Senior Center.   All course material will be furnished and all you will need to do is be ready to have some fun playing and learning a great card game.

Weekly lectures and play roughly one hour each with breaks: 

1.    Point Count Bidding
2.    Opening Bids
3.    Responding to Opening Suit Bids
4.    Responding to Opening No Trump Bids
5.    Rebids by Openers and Responders
6.    Overcalls and Interference
7.    Duplicate System Format
8.    Play of the Hands

For any questions or information please contact Calvin White 850-421-2492.

This information originally published on October 30, 2009.

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Senior Center Pickin' and Grinnin' Jam Sessions Open to Local Musicians

pickin and grinnin band pic 250.gifThe Pickin’ n Grinnin’ Jam Sessions at the Wakulla Senior Citizens Center, located at 33 Michael Drive in Crawfordville, are in full swing every Tuesday and Friday mornings from 10am – 12pm.  Lively musicians playing guitars, mandolins, banjos, harmonicas and drums are among the regulars who provide entertainment for the listening, dancing and line dancing pleasure of those in attendance.

Anyone who would like to join the Jam Session is encouraged to bring his or her instrument and join in the fun. There is no charge and all skill levels are encouraged to participate. The Pickin’ n Grinnin’ band is simply just a group of musicians who love to play, entertain and have a good time. They welcome all newcomers at all skill levels.

This announcement originally published on March 26, 2009.

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Magic of Aging

January 2009

by R. H. Carter

Happy 2009 from the Wakulla County Senior Citizen's Center

newyear 125.gifThe Wakulla County Senior Center Board and Staff wish all of Wakulla County a wonderful 2009.  We at the Senior Center are doing all we can to enhance life for our older population.  The seniors had a great 2008 and especially enjoyed the holiday season including Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Senior Center Board and Staff provided a free Thanksgiving dinner for all of Wakulla County.  Approximately 490 dinners were served.  Support for this event was outstanding.  Funding was provided by Wakulla Bank, Ameris Bank, Humana, Inc., VFW Post 4538, Ms. Anita Townsend, Brent Thurmond and some Senior Center employees that wanted to remain anonymous.

Christmas gifts for seniors were so numerous that we can’t list them.  Churches, clubs, businesses and local citizens opened their hearts and really provided a wonderful Christmas for so many.  Many needy children that our Transportation Program serves climbed out of bed Christmas morning to find excitement, happiness and joy resting under their Christmas tree.  It is such a pleasure to be a part of all these wonderful activities.

It’s often reported that these services are provided because of the support of the Wakulla County Senior Citizens, Board of Directors.  But there is much more that our Board does for our programs that are rarely reported.  The Board of Directors consists of Peggy Mackin - Chair, Anita Townsend – Vice Chair, Sherida Crum – Secretary/Treasurer, Ruby Allen, Linda Boles, Beulah King, Larry Massa, Cheryll Olah, Susan Payne-Turner, James Taylor, Queen Webster and Ruth Williams.

During the last ten years, I have been so thankful for a Board that understands the difference between their job and the role of the executive director.  They come from different backgrounds and are open in sharing their ideas with me and other Board members.  When they meet they are familiar with the board packet and have already read the minutes of the last meeting.  They freely share their financial resources to support our efforts.  They are interested in the welfare of our organization and not personal interest.  These are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances.  These individuals are smart and dedicated caring people committed to working together.  I’m grateful for every one of them.

The Board of Directors serve as volunteers and provide reassurance that our future senior services will continue through these hard times.  I have noticed that individuals and organizations are keeping financial contributions at a stable level.  We are receiving more and more small contributions from them.  Our citizens know that we are not protected from hard times and we find that they are concerned and willing to help.

I’m so proud of our county and must remind you that Wakulla County is the place to be.

This article originally published January 1, 2009.

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Gifts from the Heart of the Community

by Joan Smith

If we peek inside the gifts, we'll see some of the Christmas bags are filled with fresh fruit - while other gift-bags contain personal items; nonetheless, these gifts are filled with love from the heart of the community.

Most givers choose to remain silent and in the background.  But one thing is for sure – each contributor helps to make life just a little easier for a whole lot of senior citizens. 

{sidebar id=1}Sherri Hood, 4-H Extension Agent, reports this is the fifth year for the Wakulla 4-H Holiday Community Service Project.  The week before Christmas, club members gathered at the Extension Office Arena to fill their selected Christmas bags with fruit.

“The kids look forward to this event every year,” said Wanda Murray, 4-H volunteer for 6 years.  This year the Mid-Florida Citrus Foundation provided fresh citrus.  Local participants donated items, and funds made available through the Chevron Corporation, 4-H Community Pride Grant, helped the the club to purchase apples from local vendors.  The Christmas bags prepared by the  club members were a welcome treat, delivered into the homes of our senior community.

It is a true joy to make these home visits and to hear the different stories.  One of the major goals of the senior center is to offer community services to help adults remain independent and at home.  We find these services are especially needed by those who may be experiencing visual challenges which limit their ability to do small tasks.

While visiting Lennie Widman in his home, he frequently shared words of humor intermixed with words of encouragement.  During the light humorous conversations with Lennie, it showed how he enjoys his independence and being near his friends and neighbors.  Lennie moved into the Wakulla area about thirty years ago from Rhode Island, New York.  Through the years, Lennie learned to adjust to his surroundings and to concentrate on doing the tasks that he can do.  He appreciates the senior center's homemaker services because they take care of those other tasks.  The senior services helps to release Lennie so he can utilize his favorite past time – which is communicating with friends through his skills as a certified ham radio operator.

Another remarkable story comes from Mrs. Bennie Mae Miller and her daughters and caregivers, Lillian Miller and Betty Miller.  Lillian said she cried the morning she received the call from Dee Bastian, Lead Case Manager for senior homebound services.  The call came while she was sitting in her mother’s living room.  Earlier that morning, Lillian was so tired she could hardly move.  Even though she alternated every two weeks with her sister, she found the moment by moment demands plus the demands of her personal life had left her feeling exhausted.  Lillian explained that this was one of those days; she was simply at wits end, then Dee (from the Senior Center) called with the good news that her mother was approved for sitter services. Lillian said she could not hold back the tears of joy.  The sitter services help to provide caregivers an opportunity to relax, and a few hours to take care of personal things.  According to the Miller household - receiving senior services definitely came at the right time for them.

Lennie Widman and Mrs. Bennie Mae Miller opened their homes, and they graciously shared a small portion of their story.  The interviewer became the receiver.  The occupants of each home warmly offered their deep inner spiritual faith and displayed how this faith binds their families and friends together with love.  Perhaps that's why love is the best gift received from the heart of the community.

This article originally published on December 14, 2008.

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Thank You Wakulla County

img_0755 volunteers serving community thanksgiving dinner 275.gifThe Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center serves our older population at a cost that greatly exceeds our grants.  These added costs for our seniors are supported by donations from our community, United Way, fund raising activities and County Commission.  Our economy at the local and national level has been in a free-fall for some time and the end of this down turn is not in sight.  This makes our board and administrators very insecure.  However, our income has not lost ground.  Many of our larger contributors have reduced the amount of their contributions but several friends and neighbors are mailing us more small checks than in the past.  It appears that individuals in our community are aware of our potential loss of funding and are concerned enough to begin sending contributions to us.  You are invited to join their effort to be a part of this solution.  This supports everything I’ve said in the past about how wonderful it is to live in Wakulla County where people care so much for their neighbors.

img_0774 sr christmas gift packages 150.gifA free Thanksgiving dinner was provided to the citizens of Wakulla County.  There were 490 free turkey dinners served in the senior center on that Tuesday, November 25th.  The funding for this event was provided by Wakulla Bank, Ameris Bank, Humana, VFW Post 4538, Anita Townsend, Brent Thurmond and some senior center employees that choose to remain anonymous.  Volunteers were in great supply.  There were so many wanting to help.  Tina Reason from Second Harvest Food Bank came to help and brought over 300 loaves of bread from the food bank and three cases of fruit that she personally purchased. It was such a pleasure to provide this dinner and observe all those that volunteer and donate the resources necessary for this event.

This article is being written about two weeks before Christmas.  We have already received almost 200 gift packages from Ray and Terry Smith for our home-bound seniors.  Ray told me that their home and all their belongings burned a few years ago.  Friends and neighbors gave them so much that he had to ask them to stop.  Since that time, Ray and Terri have given so much to so many that their generosity cannot be measured.  They just keep giving. 

img_0763 christmas music with the p&g band 250.gifThe churches, Christmas Connection , 4-H club, our board and staff, Home Instead’s “Be a Santa” program, Area Agency’s “Adopt a Senior” program, and several individuals have already scheduled to bring in gifts for all seniors that are served by our center.  Seniors will be entertained by various groups such as the P&G Band, Wakulla Middle School Band, Reba Mason with her Silver Belles and Santa Clause.  They will be served a brunch Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

This is a special time of the year.  Gifts are great.  The greatest gift you can give is your time, especially to your family.  2009 will be here and gone before you complete all your plans.  The Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and senior citizens wish you a wonderful year in 2009.  If you live in Wakulla County you are already strides ahead of the rest of the world for a special year.

This article originally published on December 14, 2008.

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Magic of Aging

November 2008

by R. H. Carter

Enjoy Thanksgiving Every Day

One morning, I was involved in a serious issue that demanded my thoughts.  As I walked through the dining room, one of the senior ladies, Ms Jerylene Howard, stopped me and said that I looked stressed.  She asked that I sit with her while she sang to me.  She began singing, “you don’t know just how blessed you are….you have eyes to see, a mind to think and feet to walk, blessed you are….blessed you are.”  I said, “Thanks, I needed that.”  Her melodious voice brought a kind feeling that would reduce stress in anyone.  As she talked her laugh became so contagious that everyone at the table began to laugh.  It was obvious that she was a perfect subject for Thanksgiving.

img_0706 jerylene howard 150.gifJerylene Odessa Andrews (pictured) was born two days before Christmas in 1925.  Her mother died six months later.  They lived near Wakulla in a community called Caseys.  She was raised by her mother’s sister, her aunt, Agnes Triplett.  Agnes was married to Walter Triplett.  Jerylene grew up in Hyde Park.  Her Aunt Agnes was an institution in our county’s history.  She taught in Medart, Crawfordville, Hyde Park and Shadeville.  Jerylene attended school in Hyde Park and finished in 1942.  She then married Columbus Howard.  He joined the army that same year and never returned to live with her.

During her school years life was hard.  Before school she picked clover for the hogs and did many chores.  She never had new clothes and was sometimes teased about her clothes and a pair of shoes that she had repaired with wire.  She worked in restaurants in St. Marks for 35 years and drove a school bus for one year.  During this period she raised four children:  Barbara, Sandra, Voncilla and Michael.

Jerylene began attending the senior center six months before we moved to our current senior center.  Several times during our conversation she talked about how much she loved our staff and other seniors.  Staff and seniors would always call when she was absent.  She only talked about what people did for her.  I don’t think she really understands what she does for others.  She could not understand why I would want to write about someone with such a meager life.

{sidebar id=1}This person yields such a beautiful story.  Jerylene Odessa (Andrews) Howard has lived a very ordinary life.  Financial resources were almost nonexistent in her life.  She is probably the only person anywhere that lives in a home constructed for her family and given to them by Seminole Asphalt.  The only time in her life to travel out of state was a trip to Thomasville, Georgia. 

With this background she loves everybody.  Everyone that visits with her for more than three minutes will fall in love with her.  She brings smiles and kind feelings to everyone.  She is an ambassador for God, the beauty of life and our Senior Center.  She experiences Thanksgiving every day of her life and expects nothing in return.  The happiness and peace that she enjoys every day  is a goal that many seek for a lifetime and never find.

This Thanksgiving is a beautiful opportunity to give thanks for all you have and not worry about all those other things.  It’s a perfect time to join your family and friends and discuss all that we enjoy.

This article originally published on November 15, 2008.

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We Need to be Aware and Prepared for Alzheimer's Disease

by E. Douglas Beach, Secretary, Dept. of Elderly Affairs

secretarybeach_60.jpgTo mark November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, researchers, advocates and public officials across Florida will come together for a variety of recognition activities. These events are important reminders of the devastating effects this disease has on hundreds of thousands of Floridians and countless caregivers and loved ones.

As meaningful as this special month is, it seems clear that seniors and their loved ones fully recognize Alzheimer’s debilitating effects. As advocates for elders and their caregivers, we must make November more than a recognition month – it should also be a month of action.

As many as a half-million Floridians are currently afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Most Floridians enjoy planning for their future in the Sunshine State, but those affected by Alzheimer’s have to prepare themselves for the next memory lapse, the next bout of uncertainly or confusion. That is their reality each day, and it’s why it is so important that we take action to prevent and slow this disease in older Floridians.

{sidebar id=1}Studies have shown that a healthy and active lifestyle can protect bodies from many diseases. The mind is also able to defend itself by engaging in frequent social and intellectual stimulation. Dr. David Snowdon, one of the world’s leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease, was able to show that an active intellectual life may actually protect individuals from this disease and other forms of dementia.

To determine a clearer picture of how Alzheimer’s affects individuals, Dr. Snowdon studied almost 700 Catholic nuns and examined several time periods in each sister’s life. The results led the researchers to conclude that individuals who engaged in regular intellectual activity, even in their youth, were less likely to show the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. The need for social, intellectual and physical activity will become even more pronounced over the next few years as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age.

Although prevention is essential in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, we cannot overlook the seniors and their caregivers who are already struggling with it. Family caregivers for elders who have dementia often have additional concerns and stress about their loved one’s deteriorating status. Each caregiver’s brave and selfless actions increase the quality of life for the senior under his or her care. However, these caregivers also need respite so that they can continue to provide the highest quality of care.

This recognition month comes at the start of the holiday season, reminding us that now is the time to cherish the precious memories we have, even as we make new ones. On behalf of everyone here at the Department of Elder Affairs, I wish you a healthy and happy holiday season.

This article originally published on November 15, 2008.

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Veteran's Honored at Wakulla County Senior Center 

img_0705 veterans at wcsc.gif On Thursday, November 6, the Wakulla Senior Citizens Center hosted an event to honor those with a military background.  Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to share their story before an open microphone.

Many shared words of courage, hope, joy, and thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, others chose to share an emotional experience, which brought tears to the listeners' eyes.  At times it was tears of laughter, and then other times it was tears of remembrance.  A few received comforting words as they embraced neighbors with a big brotherly or sisterly hug.

{sidebar id=3}After hearing the stories, you could hardly look into the individuals' eyes without seeing the courageous fully uniformed solder.  Although not in  uniform, the unseen image clearly revealed this was a group of soldiers proudly wearing their decorated uniforms with honor.

As you look at the smiling faces in the photograph, you, too, may find someone in the group with the likeness of your neighbor, brother, dad, or granddad, or the sole female may appear to have the likeness of your mother, sister, or friend.  Even though they occupy those roles, they also wear another, such as courageously holding the role of serving amongst the five military branches of the United States of America.

To all those serving our country (past, present, future) THANK YOU!

Seated – Left to Right:  Fernal Cobon, L.T. King, Ellie Charbneau, Jimmy Strickland, Richard Hartman, Robert Blankenship.
Standing – Left to Right:  Dick Bickford, Frank Newman, Buddy Smith, Bob Thomas, Gene, Woods, Jimmie Reed, Leo Plaisance, Charles Smith, Walter Donaldson, Archie Mills, Ted Lehmann.

- Joan Smith, Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center

This article originally published on November 15, 2008.

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Caregivers and Sitters

by Joan Smith of the Wakulla County Senior Center

When faced with the challenging role of assisting and being the sole caregiver for a parent or spouse, that person may question:  Am I strong enough?  Am I doing enough? Should I hire someone?

Caregivers, you are not alone.  The Wakulla County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. extends a heartfelt concern for you and your family. The center offers numerous networking opportunities.

{sidebar id=1}One possibility open to caregivers is to join a local support group.  Lots of brainstorming goes on in these meetings.  If you desire to attend a support group in our area please call Pat Ashley at (850) 984-5277.  Pat joins with other members and they facilitate the Wakulla Alzheimer and Dementia Support Group monthly meetings.  One of the support group members shares her story.

Denise Folh, team-member of the Wakulla News office, said although she did attend the support group meetings at the senior center, now due to her work schedule she attends the ones at the library or the meetings held at Ameris Bank.  Denise's story is filled with love, hope, and blessings; it reflects back to an event that caused a tremendous impact in her life.

After both parents lost their independence, Denise desired to provide for their needs, so she moved them to Crawfordville. Of course, this eventually restricted her independence, too.

Like other caregivers, Denise discovered relief and private time for herself only came on those days her parents participated with the activities at the senior center.  Denise believes the safe and positive environment at the center definitely had some health benefits for her parents.

She explained, “I have come to realize that after a while, our seniors need the contact with other people other than their own family members.  When my mom reached the point of “no return” (this was during the time when her parents were unable to attend activities at the center) I noticed my dad seemed to be bored and edgy at times.  One day I asked him what could I possibly do to make his life a little happier?  And he said, 'Go back to the senior center.'  But, he didn't want to go without my mom, so he stood by her until the end.”

After reflecting on these things, she added, “This confirms my theory that the senior center provides a place to meet others and it provides a pleasant place for seniors to go and have fun.”

img_0702 desi folh and freeman lowell.gif Now on Tuesday's and Friday's it's not unusual to see Denise's daddy, Desiderio “Desi” Folh, walk into the Senior Center with the assistance of his friend Freeman Lowell.  Complications from a traumatic stroke caused Desi's visual impairment, says Denise, but he receives excellent care as a resident at Eden Springs in Medart.

During one of Desi's visits to the center he was asked about his family.  He smiled and spoke fondly of his daughter, Denise, and his son who lives in the Miami area.  When asked if he likes to dance, he responded with a solemn countenance, "Who, me?  No! No professional dancing, not for me.”  Later his answer changed after he understood – dancing for fun.  “Yes, maybe for fun.  Yes, for fun.”

{sidebar id=1}Desi occasionally allowed his native language, Spanish, to shadow his second language, English.  This happened when he pronounced the letter “J”.  It rolled off his tongue with an 'ha' sound.  After the interview, I'm proud to say, his gentle smile grasped my heartstrings and captured my friendship.  It is a true joy to see Desi walk into the room.

The Folh family desired to leave us with the following words of thanks and appreciation.  In the words of Denise Folh, "We must not forget about the sitters at the senior center.  Like Janette and others who are extraordinarily patient and loving and always willing to make everyone around them feel right at home.  Anne and Mercy W. who provided me with help during a time when I needed it most.  Hoss, I appreciate having the help and transportation for my father while I'm at work.  I will never forget these things.  I miss everyone at the center.  It's like Bill (the musician) said once, 'This place is a little slice of heaven'."

For those interested, the senior center freely provides a public sitters list which can be received by email or fax.  Although the center provides the list,  it is up to each family to conduct interviews and background checks of the potential sitter.  It is advised that before you hire any individual, you follow three steps:  (1) check former employers, (2) do a background check with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and (3) check the Children and Family Abuse Registry.

Remember, the Wakulla Senior Center offers various services and networking opportunities for families.  If we can be of service to you please call (850) 926-7145.

Pictured:  Desi Folh and Freeman Lowell.

This article originally published on November 15, 2008.

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Wakulla County Senior Citizens Enjoy Day in St. Marks 

A group of Wakulla County Senior’s recently enjoyed a beautiful autumn day visiting local sites.  First stop, walking amongst the butterflies at the St. Marks Light House; then picnicking and touring the sites at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park.

monarch butterflies 1.gif
100_0330 seniors enjoying day at the lighthouse viewing butterflies.gif

This information originally published on October 28, 2008.

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rh carter 125

Magic of Aging

October 2008

by R. H. Carter

njrotc 200.gifThe senior citizens of Wakulla County receive so much support from our community.

As I visit with you each month, it is difficult to decide which topics I should include in our article. I selected two different services that we make available. I had just began writing when one of our staff members came in and reminded me that it’s time to walk through the pines to the Sheriff’s Office. It was September 11th, and they were conducting a Memorial Service in memory of 9/11 2001. The service began with a moment of silence. During that short period, I reflected on being glued to the television in disbelief as the plane crashed into the second tower and the most painful moment was when the second tower collapsed. At that moment I groaned very loudly. Thousands of people existing in terror believed they had been spared from the plane crash. Firemen, policemen, first responders and many others were entering the building to help save the lives of others. As the building collapsed, thousands perished while I watched. I could do nothing to help and that added to my agony. This scene remains very vivid in my mind and I will carry it to my grave.

bobbie jo 100.gifThis moment of pause was followed by the song “ Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning”. David Miller and Laura Hudson sang this song. It was the first time I had heard it. The words were written in so much detail that all who hear it will identify with them. Jerry Evans played the keyboard while Bobbie Jo Crouch sang “Amazing Grace”, “Star Spangled Banner” and “America”.

servicemen 200.gifSheriff Harvey introduced those present that had been on tour in Iraq. He then introduced Veterans of other wars. As he concluded, a tall slender gentleman stepped up that was not on the Sheriff’s list. I recognized him immediately. He was Bob Robertson. I had written about him in the October 2007 issue of the Wakulla Times. He told me that he fought in WWII, Korean War and would go fight in Iraq right now if they would let him. Wakulla High ROTC raised the flag and David Miller played TAPPS. Billy Berry’s prayer was so appropriate and to the point.

After the service, several of us stood around talking about the events of 9/11 and the importance of having memorial services to remind us of the horror on that day. The conversation evolved into a discussion of how we sometimes take our freedom for granted. We also discussed all the conveniences we enjoy and how much more comfortable life is as compared to just one generation ago. Our senior citizens have afforded us a lifestyle far beyond anything they enjoyed. We are so indebted to them. During this discussion, I decided to save the two services for future publication and write about the heart-felt experience of September 11, 2008.

This article originally published on September 17, 2008.

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rh carter 125

Magic of Aging

September 2008

by R. H. Carter

Labor Day is here, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, Christmas will then fly by faster than we can imagine and then it’s “Happy New Year”.  We will be looking back on 2008 and wondering where did it go.  The article included in last months issue reported on a large series of health screenings and education that can lead older citizens toward a healthier life style.

{sidebar id=1}This year has brought more happiness and special events than I can list.  Our “Christmas in July” fundraising luncheon was a huge success.  Our friends and neighbors continue to support our efforts.  Times are difficult, but our seniors remain engaged in our community and our citizens recognize this.

Many years ago Ronnie Kilgore began bringing his staff and friends to a fry fish for our seniors and his initiative has continued.  Donnie Sparkman, our Property Appraiser, Doc Mathers, Jerrell Metcalf and several others were here on August 15 to fry mullet for all to enjoy.  This was a very special time for the seniors.  They are always grateful when our community expresses their love and support toward them.  Jerrell Metcalf continues to be the “Hush Puppy Champion” of Wakulla County.  I’ve tried but I can’t come close to cooking a hush puppy like his.

The senior citizens Board of Directors has taken action to provide a FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER on November 25 from 4pm til 7pm for our Wakulla County citizens.  Last year we served 345 dinners.  This year, we are planning for 500.  I think Wakulla County knows that we recognize and are  thankful for our community support but we enjoy expressing our “Thank You Wakulla County” as often as we possibly can.

In 2007 the cost of food was immediately donated by two individuals.  The food cost was $1,100.  There were several that wanted to contribute.  We declined any more donations after we had met our costs.

The Board decided that this year we should accept donations from all that desire to participate in this event.  If the donations exceed the cost of food, the extra will be used for Christmas baskets for needy families.  We never have enough Christmas baskets to meet the needs that we see.  Our staff regularly pays from their own pockets to provide needed gifts, but there are always more.  We will tell you more about that in a later issue.

Remember to share some magic.

This article originally published on August 22, 2008.

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rh carter 125

Fraud Targeting Senior Citizens

by R. H. Carter

Swindlers that attempt to defraud the public target senior citizens with their scams.  Recently, there has been an increase in these scams.

MUTUAL GRANTS, INC. from Kitchener, Ontario mailed a letter dated May 28, 2008 to one of our clients advising them of a $50,000 grant that had been awarded to them.  Enclosed with the letter was a check for $1,856.67.  The senior called them as advised in the letter and was asked to send them a check for the $1,856.67 so they could receive a certified check for $45,000.  She brought the correspondence to us and learned that it was a scam.

{sidebar id=1}NORTH AMERICAN GRANT, INC. from Sudbury, Ontario mailed a letter to this same individual dated June 5, 2008 that was the same as the first and had an attached check for $2,995.67.  Both letters had identical signatures on them.  The husband of the lady that received these letters was so convinced that they were legitimate and became so upset that he had to increase his anti-anxiety medication.

Another senior client received a call from Grant Writers Research Network from Raleigh, North Carolina advising him that they would obtain a grant to provide 30k-50k dollars for home repairs if he would authorize payment of $995 by phone on his credit card.  He did make the payment and soon received a packet of papers that ask for everything about him including his social security number for the grant.  After that, they advised him that they now want $265 per page for them to prepare thousands of grants for him.  He has lost $995.

Another senior paid $200 to receive winnings of $2,000,000 from another country.  Later she was informed that she must pay $1,500 to get her winnings across the border.  After other requests she determined that this was a scam but still believed the lady on the phone was so sweet and nice.  Her husband wants to send more money because he believes it for real.

Those of us that grew up during the war or shortly thereafter have an inclination to believe in people.  However, there are people that will take advantage of our older population.  If you receive any phone call or letters that promise you financial gain and you have not worked for that benefit then you must question it, even if it appears legitimate.  Have it reviewed by law enforcement, senior center staff, an attorney, someone you know at a bank or anyone else that you know and trust before you pay a dime.  There are so many people that are trying to defraud you of your money and that number is growing.

This article originally published on June 23, 2008.

rh carter 125

Magic of Aging

July 2008

by R. H. Carter

The Wakulla County Senior Citizens must continue to conduct fundraising events to generate enough funds to continue our level of service and address needs as they confront us.  “Christmas In July” is scheduled on July 23, 2008.  This is a $50 per plate luncheon accompanied by a silent auction of gift baskets and art by local artists.  Tickets for this event are available at the senior center.  They may also be purchased from Board, Staff and Volunteers.

{sidebar id=1}We are so pleased to announce that Charlie Barnes has agreed to serve as our guest speaker for this event.  This will add to the excitement of this event.  Charlie Barnes is the executive director and senior vice president of Seminole Boosters, Florida State University’s fundraising arm for athletics.  He graduated from FSU with a degree in Government; his wife Connie is also an FSU alumnus.  Charlie is a popular speaker and cheerleader for Florida State Seminole athletics.  He is the columnist for Unconquered, the quarterly magazine of Seminole Boosters, and a principal columnist for the University Alumni publication, The Florida State Times.  Charlie is also in demand as a master of ceremonies for many University and community events.

We encourage you to support this fundraiser.  We know that your support is needed and believe that you will sincerely enjoy this event.

Its always fun to write about an individual that participates in the center activities and enjoys life in a grand way.  Recently I had a lengthy discussion with Ms. Mary Randolph about her life and her experiences in the senior center.  Mary has lived her life in the Bethel Community of Wakulla County.  Her parents were Ellis Gavin and Ida (Smith) Gavin.  They raised four children and Mary was the second child born on Christmas Day, 1930.  She married Larry Randolph, Sr. in 1948.  They had seven children.  There were four girls, Hattie Mae, Helen, Ann and Kathy.  The three boys were Wilbur, Larry Jr. and Rueben.  Hattie Mae married Sam McGrew from Mayo.  Their son, Sam McGrew was a well-known football player at Wakulla High and later became a football star as a line backer at Florida State.

Mary’s discussion was all about family and work.  Her husband drove trucks and worked in timber and pulpwood.  She has driven buses for tobacco fields in Havana, the Senior Citizens Center and the Wakulla County Schools.  She also provided in-home services for the senior center.  She worked in the Wakulla Springs restaurant and in the fields picking peas and hoeing peanuts and corn.  She explained how hard she worked and never sat down.  She retired from driving a school bus.

Mary is well known as the political kingpin of the Bethel Community.  While she was working to raise her family, she was busy working for candidates that she believed would best serve her county.  She is now retired and enjoys relaxing and taking time to sit and talk with others.  Her visits to the senior center brings her in contact with new people and keeps her mind sharp with a new level of social interaction. 

She is now enjoying a slower pace in her life but she still pays close attention to the management of Wakulla County and maintains a keen interest in our political environment.  We have been close friends for many years and I have enjoyed our discussions and friendship.  I will always be deeply indebted to her for the wisdom and advice that she has shared with me.

This article originally published on June 16, 2008.

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Magic of Aging

June 2008

by R. H. Carter

Many articles are written about activities in the senior center and the most highly valued social interaction that allows the seniors to share their lives. This month, I have chosen to talk about activities that are provided by an educator that is not on our payroll.

It seems odd that I would begin an article by mentioning the Exxon oil spill in Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. But I think it renders a great story. After that oil spill, a Non-Profit organization was established, named “Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council”. Its purpose was to plan and monitor safe transportation of oil throughout the waters of Alaska. Tamara Byrnes was an administrator with that organization and was well known for art and yoga instruction in Valdez.

{sidebar id=1}Tamara Byrnes recently moved to Wakulla County and was employed by the Wakulla County School System. Her position is funded by a grant that provides adult education to our older population. She is assigned to Eden Springs one day each week and she instructs in the senior center the other four days. She enjoys teaching original crafts that are out of the ordinary. Teaching crafts has included jewelry, hummingbird feeders, ceramic glazing on clay pots, landscape quilting, topiary trees, beading, corsages, piñatas and many other creations. She began her art classes here with beginning drawing then introduced them to the use of watercolors to paint still life inside the center. She then moved outdoors and began landscape painting. You may ride by the center and find them under a large umbrella and very quietly painting a landscape that includes the trees or our butterfly garden. Each senior develops their own style and they create many different views from one scene. Her greatest satisfaction comes from the looks on the faces of the seniors after they have created something. She has not yet introduced gyotaku.  This is a Japanese form of art that is created by painting an actual fish. That is followed by doing a rubbing of the fish with rice paper. I’m eager to find out how that will look.

Tamara also teaches yoga which is an exercise of the mind and body. This low impact exercise stretches and tones the muscles. It also promotes flexibility and balance and improves ones ability to perform their daily living activities. As I ended this conversation with Tamara, we walked into the lobby where one of her yoga students was waiting for her. I ask how she had enjoyed yoga classes. She blinked a couple of times. Then I could see tears beginning to accumulate in her eyes. With a very serious expression on her face she began. She explained that last year she was diagnosed with cancer. She was too weak to exercise so she sat home getting weaker and more depressed day by day. Finally, she decided to try yoga. This exercise required very little energy but her muscles grew stronger and her attitude began to improve and she can now face her health problems with positive thoughts and enjoy the gift of life. Her family and friends are enjoying a revived person that is participating in life again. As I thought of another question, I could feel myself becoming emotional so I changed the subject to Tamera and her instruction.

David Miller, School Superintendent has authorized and enabled Dr. Tom Askins, Administrator of Adult Education to pursue grants that provide life long learning to our older residents. This service is providing so much pleasure for the seniors as they experience new thoughts and recognize hidden talents within themselves. Learning new concepts and experiencing personal success has always been recognized as a necessity for student learning. We now recognize the benefits to all of us for this to continue for a lifetime.

This article originally published on May 22, 2008.

Senior Living in Wakulla County

(by R. H. Carter)

It has been a wonderful learning experience during my tenure, working with the senior citizens of Wakulla County.  First and foremost, their most pressing need is social interaction.  I have learned so much about the negative influences of isolation and loneliness.  Our senior center continues to provide more and more services.  But providing them with their place to meet and share life with each other is the most valuable service we provide.

{sidebar id=1}In our recent celebration of Cinco de Mayo, their response to the Mariachi Band surprised all of us.  It was a new learning experience that brightened their lives.  Our Mothers Day celebration brought out the kind, friendly feelings that touch everyone’s heart.  Wal-Mart donated a large supply of orchids that enabled the seniors to make corsages for all mothers.

The City of St. Marks has begun an initiative to plan and design their community in order to meet their needs and desires.  As a Community Redevelopment Agency, they will determine the kinds of businesses that will come in and how they will be constructed.  They are embracing the concepts of building green.  I’ve had the opportunity to discuss “communities for a lifetime” with some of their planning committee and they are very interested in making their community senior friendly.  I seek opportunities to promote senior friendly communities.  All actions that enhance this concept bring improved lifestyles to the entire community.

The Wakulla News has helped us tremendously by publishing information on senior living in Wakulla County.  Our county continues to improve our living environment for our older population.  We are indebted to everyone that helps promote this cause.

This article originally published on May 13, 2008.

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Magic of Aging

May 2008

by R. H. Carter

The Wakulla County Senior Citizens Board and staff are proud of their efforts to help build a happier, more secure and healthier lifestyle for the senior citizens of Wakulla County.  We applaud businesses, churches, civic organizations and individuals that support and enhance these efforts.

{sidebar id=1}A new organization, Volunteer WAKULLA, is being created to identify needs for volunteer workers and bring those who wish to volunteer together that will improve services in our county.  On May 10, they have scheduled a “Make a Difference Day”.  Volunteer activities will begin at 9am at the Animal Shelter, Azalea Park, Hickory Park, Camp Indian Springs, Library, St. Marks Park, Wakulla Welcome Center and Hudson Park.  You can choose the location that is best for you.  Lunch will be served at noon in Hudson Park.  This new organization will benefit all of Wakulla County.  Come on out and enjoy the day.  If you want more information, call Jo Barksdale at 922-6290.

Another service new in our county is the Eden Springs Rehabilitation Center.  The residents of Wakulla County have always been referred to a Rehab Center in Tallahassee when needed following a hospital stay.  This addition to Eden Springs long-term care facility has personnel on staff to provide occupational, speech and physical therapy sessions.  This service in our county will reduce the problems of travel to receive services and visiting friends and family residing there.  These problems associated with travel become much larger as one grows older.  Senior citizens find security in having their family closer to home.

Prior to the publication of this article we will hold our annual “Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon”.  We have asked Dr. Mary Wolfgang from the Tallahassee Community College Wakulla Center to be our guest speaker.  I have asked her to discuss Volunteer WAKULLA and promote “Make a Difference Day”.  We will recognize approximately 120 volunteers at this luncheon.  Many of them will not be there because they will be out delivering meals-on-wheels.  Our board and staff are deeply indebted to our many volunteers.  So many of our senior services depend on volunteer workers.

{sidebar id=1}Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the defeat of French troops at the Battle of Pueblo in 1862 will be celebrated in the senior center on May 5th at 12:30pm.  The seniors love any occasion that makes a day special.  We will serve taco salad and the seniors will wear a sombrero.  Our speaker will deliver their message in Spanish.  Our own Wakulla Wigglers will perform their line dancing.  The seniors will make piñatas for the occasion and there will be door prizes.  The seniors will have the opportunity to have pictures taken of their face in a fiesta couple photo banner.  There will be a group here to perform Mexican music.  This will be a fun day.

On May 16th the seniors will meet at 7 in the evening to enjoy finger foods prepared by our own Chef Mary and music with dancing.  All seniors age 60 or older are invited to come and enjoy this activity.  All of our previous dances have had great attendance.  You can enjoy the evening with no charges and you can be out of there by 9pm.

Linda Boles, board member, has invited the other board members and our staff to dinner on May 17th.  Linda and her husband, Ray Boles, are huge supporters of the senior programs.  Ray and Linda support our community in so many ways.  We may fish or visit their animals and later enjoy dinner.  The board and staff really appreciate their generosity.  I know this will be a great evening.  It’s always impressive and you are greeted with a warm welcome every time you are invited to their home.

The senior center brings much health and happiness to the seniors of our community.  However, we recognize and are proud of those that also enhance the lives of Wakulla’s seniors.  These joint efforts make Wakulla County a great place to live and grow old.

This article originally published on April 23, 2008.

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Magic of Aging

March 2008

by R. H. Carter

The City of Sopchoppy has once again taken action to help the senior citizens of Wakulla County.  Commissioner Richard Harden presented the idea to the City Commission to paint, repair and spruce up the Senior Citizens Thrift Shop at 33 Rose Street in the middle of Sopchoppy.  The entire Commission was eager to support the measure.  Leonard Tartt supervised prison labor and coordinated the entire project.  The thrift shop looks like a new place.

The residents of Sopchoppy have always been committed to the health and beauty of their community.  I attended Sopchoppy School in grades 1-12 and at that young age, I could see the community support held by its citizens.  I often write about how the residents love and support the senior citizens of our county.  The unified support of an entire City in Wakulla County is something to cheer about.  I commend Commissioner Harden and the entire City of Sopchoppy for their love and compassion for our older population.

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This follow-up story from last month gives more details on the Sheriff David Harvey / Wakulla Senior Citizens Golf Tournament scheduled on March 28, 2008.  Last year Wakulla Bank was Title Sponsor of the tournament and has offered their support as Title Sponsor of our 2008 Tournament.  Last year the tournament sponsors included:

Alice Veasman    Home Instead
Ruby Snyder
James Moore & Company
Ameris Bank
  Johnson Insurance Agency
Childers Construction Company
  Kidd Group
CSG Systems, Inc.
  Lewis & Thompson Electrical Contractors
  Wakulla Title Company
ESG-Wakulla   Wal-Mart
Florida Concept, Inc.
  Winn-Dixie Stores
Hammond Design Group

Many of these sponsors have agreed to sponsor the senior citizens golf tournament again in 2008.

hazel imperiale.gifThis year Ms. Hazel Imperiale has been selected as the Senior Celebrity of the Sheriff David Harvey / Wakulla Senior Citizens Golf Tournament.  At age 84, Hazel Imperiale maintains a close relationship with her friends at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.  She attends church when able and regularly attends the Senior Citizens Center Monday through Thursday.  She especially enjoys the lunches prepared by Chef Mary.

Born November 29, 1923, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she grew up and married her Jerry.  They were able to be together in California, New Jersey and Oklahoma before he was sent to Okinawa as a member of the Signal Corps during World War II.  Their marriage produced three daughters:  Mary Ann Imperiale Mooney, Geraldine (Jill) Harvey and Nancy Imperial Wellons.  Mary Ann is a decorator.  Mary Ann and Nancy, who is a writer, graduated from Florida State University.  Geraldine (Jill) is an RN, having graduated from the M.B. Johnson School of Nursing in Elyria, Ohio, and is currently working at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

Hazel was a former Girl Scout Leader in Westchester, Illinois.  She also served as a Neighborhood Chairman as well as the District Chairman of the Lone Tree Area Council of Girl Scouts.  Hazel is artistic, having painted and donated paintings to the Christmas in July event at the Senior Center, to her church for Octoberfest, as well as the Knights of Columbus and Habitat for Humanity.  In each case, one of her paintings was raffled to raise funds.

Hazel worked as an Administrative Assistant III at the Public Employees Relations Commission until she retired at age 77.  Without the Senior Center to attend daily, she believes eventually she would become bored and perhaps depressed.  She is very grateful for the caring staff and the many friends she has made there.

The senior citizens of Wakulla County are deeply indebted to Walter Dodson and Wakulla Bank for their support and generosity.  They have added so much to the quality of the programs offered by the senior center.

The AARP will continue to prepare tax returns in our senior center every Wednesday from 1 to 4 pm through April 9th.

glamour shot 125.gifEarly in February, Mary Katherine Westmark of and JoAnne Strickland of Ameris Bank provided make-up and styled our seniors for glamour shots.  They took glamour photos of more that 60 seniors.  They all had a happy fun-filled day.  The pictures were framed and given to them on Valentines Day.  These pictures did add much joy to the lives of those that participated.

We have many activities regularly scheduled in the center.  I mentioned the last two items since they were one-time events and demonstrate the diversity of senior activities.

This article originally pubished on February 26, 2008.

Art Classes Offered at Wakulla County Senior Center 

brush and palette 100.jpg{sidebar id=3}The Wakulla County Senior Center will offer water color classes on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. beginning on March 6, 2008.  Prep classes will be held on February 14th & 21st during the same time period.

To sign up for classes, or if you have any questions, please call Diane Lanter at the Senior Center at 926-7145.

This announcement originally published on February 13, 2008.

Watercolor Class will be Offered at Wakulla Senior Citizens Center

{sidebar id=3}The Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center will begin to offer a watercolor class on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  If you are interested in this class or need more information, please call Diane Lanter at 926-7145.

This announcement originally published on January 28, 2008.

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