FYI: Need to Know, Good to Know, Fun to Do

Need to Know

CO-AGE issues for 2022 legislative session

The perennial issue of increasing funds for Home and Community-Based Services is still one of the top budget priorities for the advocacy arm of the Georgia Council on Aging. These services provide support for older Georgians to remain in their homes as long as possible. Legislative priorities for 2022 include allowing Medicaid in assisted living communities and establishing a study committee to consider possible changes to the certificate of need requirements for skilled nursing facilities with the goal of encouraging innovative models of person-centered care.

Medigap Plan G most popular choice for those turning

With the elimination of Plan F as the most popular supplemental coverage, Plan G now replaces it for over half of those turning 65 in 2020, according to a study by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Plan N, which has lower premiums, was selected by nearly a third of buyers. For a national online directory listing local Medicare insurance agents, go to Medicaresupp.org.

Good to Know

Don’t let simple mistakes derail your VA pension claim

If you’re thinking of applying for VA Pension Aid & Attendance benefits for yourself or someone you love, you need to know that it can be a long, hard slog. While you can’t control the VA bureaucracy, try these five tips to get the best possible results.

1. Find out in advance whether your veteran or a surviving spouse is eligible. A veteran must meet strict service requirements. You can find the eligibility criteria online at VA.gov.

2. Disclose all the necessary information up front. Read the application to find out what information you need to provide.

3. Assemble supporting documentation. Be prepared to gather a lot of paperwork, including discharge papers and documents that prove the need for benefits.

4. Make sure you’re completing the right forms. Read the directions and fill everything out. Don’t forget to sign the forms.

5. Don’t assume you don’t qualify. Just because someone you know tried and failed to qualify doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to you. Knowledgeable experts can help you determine whether your veteran might be eligible. —Kimbrough Law

Bereavement support group resumes

St. Mary’s Hospital is resuming Life After Loss, a free bereavement and grief support group. The meeting, led by Rev. Jessica Chicken, meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 5:45-6:45 p.m. at St. Mary’s in the Lobby Conference Room at 1230 Baxter St. People can attend as many sessions as they wish, and no registration is required. For information, call Rev. Chicken at 706-389-3426.

Alzheimer’s support group

The Alzheimer’s Association is starting up a Family Caregiver Support Group the first Wednesday of every month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke Library on Baxter Street. For more information, call or email Mary Jo Johnson at 706-206-6163 or maryjojohnson18@gmail.com.

Caregivers sought for study

The Rural Caregiver Project is a research study that is evaluating an online workshop to help caregivers of people with memory loss from rural communities reduce their stress and learn new skills. The interactive six-week online workshop, accessible anytime, is conducted by the University of California, San Francisco. All caregivers will receive up to $80 in cash for completing four surveys. For more information, go to caregiverproject.ucsf.edu.

Fun to Do

OLLI still going strong!

Late Fall Classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) run from Oct. 11-Dec. 17 and feature a variety of topics, from Wines of Bordeaux to Great Books to Japanese Maples. In-person options are available for many of the classes, so please check the catalog carefully and register for the appropriate section, either in-person or Zoom. The Special Interest Groups are also continuing to meet, with several opting for in-person gatherings. Masks are encouraged for in-person. For more information about OLLI, go to olli.uga.edu.

Historic Athens Porchfest and Boo-Le-Bark Parade

Over 100 porches across Athens’ beautiful historic neighborhoods including Pulaski Heights, Newtown, Boulevard, Cobbham, Normaltown, and Buena Vista, will be the setting for a variety of musicians on Sunday, Oct. 10 from 1-7 p.m. And this year, the annual Boo-Le-Bark Halloween Parade will be part of the activities. For more details, go to HistoricAthens.com or Barkonboulevard.com.

The best game you never heard of

The Classic City Pétanque Club (CCPC) invites you to play Pétanque, also known as boules. Pétanque is a fun and competitive, learn-as-you-play game. It requires concentration and strategy, in which teams of two-on-two or three-on-three compete. Beginner and seasoned players of any skill level ages 12 and up are welcome to attend introductory classes and demonstrations or participate in tournaments and competitions. Boules and all equipment a new player needs are provided at no cost at the only public Pétanque courts in Georgia, located at Lay Park and Community Center, 297 Hoyt St. The club plays year-round on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday (check our website for seasonal times). To learn more, email: info@athenspetanque.org or visit: www.athenspetanque.org or www.facebook.com/boulesathens.

AAHS new facility ribbon cutting

The Athens Area Humane Society celebrated their brand new 15,000-square-foot facility in early September with an official Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony. The AAHS was established in 1899 as community members called for the human treatment of carriage horses. In its 122-year history, the AAHS has helped tens of thousands homeless, abandoned and abused animals in the greater Athens area as a completely independent organization that relies solely on community contributions for its expansive operations and is not affiliated with the national organization. The new facility, located at 1030 Mitchell Bridge Road, was designed by veterinarians and is three times the size of their former facility in Watkinsville and is made possible by a three-year $4.25 capital campaign with seed funding from the estate of dog-lover Susan McConnell West.

The shelter features a multi-veterinarian spay/neuter and pet wellness clinic that will support UGA and Athens Technical College veterinary teaching partnerships, indoor/outdoor dog runs and playground, community education places, and four free-roaming cat habitats in an adoption center that focuses on the physical, emotional and physiological well-being of all pets. Three examination rooms, diagnostic imaging room, and dental suite allow the AAHS to offer affordable comprehensive pet care services to community members and municipal shelter partners. And a community pantry provides no-cost pet food for homebound and food insecure community members through a meals-on-wheels program. See more photos and information on the shelter in the full story online.

The public is invited to a free Family- and Dog-Friendly Community Celebration Event on Sat., Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Rabbit Box is back!

The popular storytelling performances are back after a year-and-a-half pandemic suspension. Rabbit Box returns to a new location, the VFW at 840 Sunset Dr. near Bishop Park, on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. See the full details here!

One actor portrays three historic leaders at The Athens Chautauqua

Retired attorney Bruce Collier of Florida will bring his one-man show “Three Palaces at Yalta: Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt,” to Athens on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6:45 p.m. at the 440 Foundry Pavilion at The Classic Center. Free to the public, the play, was researched and written by Collier during the 2020 pandemic year. It portrays each of the three leaders, who are housed in former imperial Russian palaces in Crimea, on a February night in 1945 before their historic meeting to decide the fate of post-war Germany and Europe.
Collier has each character justifying what he wants. Stalin, motivated by fear, wants to protect Russia from Germany ever invading again; Churchill, motivated by honor, wants to protect the European balance of power, and FDR, represents the hope of peace through the United Nations.

Set and costume changes take 15 minutes between acts, with the production running about two hours. Each man holds his favorite drink: Stalin’s vodka, Churchill’s brandy, and Roosevelt’s martini.

The next afternoon, Oct. 15, Collier will portray the British leader in “Winston Churchill: Through the Storm,” as part of a fundraising event at Trumps Catering on S. Milledge Ave. from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. Details at www.athenschq.org.

Willow Oak Tree Exhibit

There’s a most unusual exhibit now on display at the Lyndon House Arts Center, “The Willow Oak Tree Exhibit.” A gigantic, beautifully shaped, century-old oak tree stood outside the Lyndon House until 2016 when it had to be removed for safety reasons. In 2018, local woodworker and studio furniture maker Abraham Tesser was asked to curate a show using left-over logs to honor the heritage tree. But challenges forced Tesser to develop a somewhat unconventional show. See the full story here!

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