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Need to Know

Georgia Caregivers Act signed into law

Georgia joined 40 other states when HB 1304 became law on May 4. The new law requires hospitals to provide patients with the opportunity to identify lay caregivers to provide aftercare once they are discharged. These lay caregivers must be educated by hospital staff on how to properly care for their loved one. Right then and there, the caregiver can decide if they can handle the aftercare or if other arrangements need to be made.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, around 39 million individuals (over 16% of Americans) serve as a caregiver or care partner for an adult. More and more, they are expected to perform increasingly complex medical and nursing tasks for which they sometimes feel ill prepared to do. This new law now provides specific guidance for ensuring that family caregivers are guaranteed a proactive role, along with hospital staff, in providing the best home care for their loved ones.

Millions designated for senior programs in new budget

Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) for seniors will receive $4 million in funding for non-Medicaid services such as senior centers, home delivered meals, wellness education, fitness classes, home modification and repair services, friendly visiting, telephone reassurance, personal care assistance, counseling support groups, respite care and more.

In addition, the FY23 state budget allots $7.1 million for Alzheimer’s services and $1.25 million for a dementia care specialist. Over 140,000 Georgians have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Good to Know

New senior living design office is open

Celebration Village Athens, a 62-acre senior development scheduled to open in late 2023, has recently opened its Design Center at 2180 Oconee Connector, across from Home Depot. Renderings, floor plans, and samples of interior options for flooring, paint, hardware, etc. will be on display. Information on Early-bird perks and discounts will be available. When complete, the Village will include 398 residential units in six distinctive neighborhoods, as well as a social club and a full-service spa and wellness center. For more information, call Ronnie Hudak at 706-765-4756 or email Ronnie@TheASCGroup.com.   

Court Navigation Assistance

For those who want to use the civil litigation forms found at accgov.com/8086/self-help-forms, there is now free assistance in filling them out and filing them on the first and third Mondays of the month in the library of the Athens-Clarke County Superior Court, 325 E. Washington St., 3rd floor, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. No legal advice is provided.

Volunteer opportunities at ACCA

The Athens Community Council on Aging has several volunteer opportunities, including:

  • ACCA Fix-It Shop. If you have a knack for installing grab bars or know how to unclog a J-bend like a pro, this group is for you. It’s a volunteer-run team of handy people who use their skills to make small DIY improvements to clients’ homes.
  • State Health Insurance Program. The SHIP program is recruiting volunteers to serve as benefits counselors who can provide free and unbiased information on Medicare. Volunteers receive in-depth and ongoing training.
  • Like to get out and drive?  ACCA needs regular and substitute drivers for Meals on Wheels to ensure that your neighbors continue receiving nutritious meals and friendly visits over the summer. There are also opportunities with Take-Out Tuesday, which provides groceries to older adults and their families who are unable to shop for themselves. Volunteers may arrive any time between 12 and 2 pm. to pick up their bags and route sheets. Routes run from 45 to 90 minutes.

Rabbit Box offers storytelling training

The local nonprofit Rabbit Box will offer a free storytelling workshop on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. at the East Athens Development Corporation offices at 410 McKinley Dr. in Athens.

If you have ever considered telling a story about your life at a Rabbit Box show, this workshop will help you feel to more confident about your storytelling skills. The session will explore what makes a compelling story and cover finding a strong opening and ending, scene setting, choosing the right details, and using a microphone. Rabbit Box board members Stevie King and Pat Priest will lead the workshop.

This year Rabbit Box celebrated its 10th anniversary. More than 700 stories — stirring, enlightening, sometimes tragic or amusing — have been shared over the years by local people. After a summer hiatus, its monthly shows, held on the fourth Tuesdays at the VFW on Sunset Drive, will resume in September. Storytellers have eight minutes to tell a true story without notes from the stage. Stories should broadly fit each month’s theme: Wallflower (September 27), Undone (October 25) and Last Call (November 22.). For more information, email ccrawley@uga.edu.

Healthy Brain, Healthy Body

Dr. Lisa Renzi-Hammond, co-director of The Cognitive Aging Research and Education Center of UGA, will speak on the The Science of Aging Well, at ACCA on Thursday, July 21, at 6 p.m. Register at tinyurl.com/AthensALZ.

Fun to Do

UGA Presents announces new season line-up

The UGA Performing Arts Center recently announced their 2022-23 UGA Presents season, which includes one of the greatest living violinists and a seminal American ballet. Itzhak Perlman and the Martha Graham Dance Company are just a few of the 35 soloists, ensembles and theatrical companies appearing this season. Other highlights include the Yonder Mountain String Band, Ira Glass’s one-man show, and the farewell tour of the Emerson String Quartet. For a complete list of UGA Presents performances, visit pac.uga.edu/organizer/uga-presents.

Broadway at The Classic Center

The 25th anniversary season of the Broadway series at the Classic Center will kick off with Tootsie on Oct. 4, followed by Anastasia, Million Dollar Quartet Christmas, Legally Blond, and Chicago. Additional productions include Blue Man Group on Tour and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. New season ticket packages go on sale in July. For more information, go to ClassicCenter.com.

The Folk Festival is back!

The 37th annual North Georgia Folk is scheduled for Sept. 24 at Sandy Creek Park. Check out the line-up of musicians on their Facebook page later in the summer.

BioPics at the Library

The Reflecting, Sharing, Learning program at the Athens Library has scheduled several Biopics during July. Bohemian Rhapsody is first up on Wednesday, July 13 at 6:30 in Appleton Auditorium, followed by A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on July 20 at 6:30. Free admission.

What is that?

Nature lovers who enjoy regular outdoor strolls might often wonder what bird is tweeting above or what flower is blooming amongst the weeds. Rather than schlep bulky plant and bird field guides, consider downloading apps to your phone that allow quick identification of species that make walking through the wilderness easier and more enjoyable.

Several apps downloadable to your phone allow you to record bird songs, or take a photo of the bird or plant, for immediate identification. Birds and Blooms Magazine (https://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/birding-basics/5-birding-apps/) recommends the top birding apps Audubon Bird Guide: North America, eBird, Song Sleuth, Merlin Bird ID and Raptor ID.

The robust Merlin Bird ID app, provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is particularly easy for identifying more than 8,500 bird species worldwide by either birdcall or photo. It can distinguish several bird calls at once, highlighting in real time which bird is calling. Merlin Bird ID app users can also record bird calls and photos in their personal library and mark their location to enter the Cornell Lab of Ornithology database of bird tracking.

Local garden expert Walter Reeves (https://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/general-garden-info/apps-to-identify-plants-and-weeds/) recommends several apps for identifying plants, including PlantNet, PlantSnap, IWSearch-Pro, PictureThis and Google Lens. PictureThis is particularly easy for identifying plants, insects and birds. PictureThis provides the scientific classification as well as a description and other information about the plant, including toxicity to humans and pets.

A word of caution, the apps are only as good as the quality of your phone, particularly with low resolution cameras and distant shots. No matter which app you choose, having answers at your fingertips for bird and plant identification has never been easier or more fun! Tracy Coley

20th Annual Pottery Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) 20th Annual Pottery Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational will feature the work of 50 top Georgia artists. The exhibition and sale will be at the OCAF building at 34 School Street in Watkinsville, August 27 through September 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

More than 4,000 pieces of pottery created by some of the most gifted ceramics artists in Georgia will be for sale. Pieces by figurative sculptor Krista Grecco, who works in porcelain, will be on view in the Hall Gallery. Well-known potter Laura Rust will conduct a hands-on workshop entitled “Pushing the Surface of Clay.”

OCAF will host a Preview Party for the Perspectives event on Friday, August 26, from 5 until 8 p.m. The cost is $20 per person at the door. During this event, shoppers will have the first opportunity to make their purchases before the sale is open to the public.

Go to https://ocaf.com or call 706-769-4565 for more information on Perspectives.

Jerry Chappelle, one of five original founding members of OCAF, credits Vinnie Williams (now deceased), then owner of the Oconee Enterprise newspaper, for first promoting the idea of an organization to support arts in Oconee County and the surrounding area.

“She just loved the arts and the craft movement,” he recalls. “She helped artists in the area and suggested that we would benefit from putting together an organization.” OCAF was founded in 1994. Randy Gaddo

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