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Need to Know

Legislation affecting seniors

The Georgia Council on Aging plans to put five legislative and budget priorities on the agenda of the 2022 session, which begins Jan. 10. They are:

• Allow Medicaid in Assisted Living Communities (ALC) and reducing the requirement that ALCs have a minimum of 25 beds.

• Pass the CARE Act for Family Caregivers, which provides specific guidance for ensuring that family caregivers are seen and included in the care team by hospital staff.

• Increase funding for Home and Community Based Services. Currently 9,500 Georgians age 60+ are on the wait list for HCBS.

• Add funding to support a public awareness campaign for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. It’s a free oversight and advocacy program and is the right of all residents living in long-term care facilities.

• Form a study committee to address Certificate of Need requirements in order to facilitate new, innovative models of care.

Widespread staffing shortages at senior homes

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that nationally almost every nursing home and assisted living community is scrambling weekly to find enough staff. Georgia has the fourth-lowest staffing level nationally for aides and nurses, according to the AJC’s review of the federal government’s quality rating system. Experts see no easy answers. The pandemic has burnt out some workers and others are changing industries where the pay is higher and schedules more flexible.

Good to Know

The December issue of Georgia Trend Magazine reports that Athens’ two hospitals are in the 2021 top rankings of their size and mission. Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center is ranked No. 7 in the top large hospitals category (those with 250+ beds) and St. Mary’s Hospital is No. 11 in top medium-sized hospitals (100-249 beds).

Rankings are based on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Value Based Purchasing program. Four areas are considered: clinical outcomes, person and community engagement, safety, and efficiency and cost reduction.

Fun to Do

Athens Wine Weekend

Athens Wine Weekend returns to The Classic Center on Feb. 4-6. The event begins Friday with food samplings and wine pairings. Saturday will feature the Grand Tasting event and a wide variety of seminars from experts and sommeliers. Saturday night is a gourmet South African-inspired dinner and Sunday wraps up the weekend with a Sparkling Wine Brunch. For more information or tickets, visit or call 706.357.4444. Proceeds benefit The Classic Center Cultural Foundation.

Courtesy GMNH

EVENT CANCELLED Georgia Museum of Natural History fundraiser

The GMNH Friends have scheduled their annual fundraising event — Celebration 2022 — on Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Special Collections Building at 300 S. Hull St. The speaker will be Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The program will include cocktails, a silent auction and dinner. For ticket information, visit

EVENT CANCELLED Memoir reading at the library

The OLLI Special Interest Group for Memoir Writing will hold its annual reading on Sunday, Jan. 23, 3 p.m., at the Athens Library on Baxter St. This will be a special celebration of the group’s 10th year of publishing its anthology series.

EVENT CANCELLED OLLI Activity Fair is back

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will hold its first activity fair since the pandemic began. It will be Jan. 21, from 1-3 p.m. at the Rivers Crossing classroom building, 850 College Station Road. Adults 50+ can learn about various Special Interest Groups, the range of in-person and Zoom classes, Lunch & Learn programs, and membership benefits. You can also register for two free memberships.

Courtesy Georgia Museum of Art

Black artists lecture and tour

The Georgia Museum of Art will present a special tour celebrating African American artists for Black History Month on Wednesday, Feb. 2 from 2-3 p.m. The program will highlight works of art from the Thompson Collection, as well as other works by Black artists currently on view in the permanent collection wing.

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