April/May 2017, Vol. XVII, No 5

Finding Balance: Easier Said Than Done
Not everything we hear and read over and over again is worthy of our attention. But we can definitely make a case for giving regular and thoughtful attention to the need for finding balance in our lives. Yes, there are weeks, days and moments when this is not possible, but for the majority of us, it is something attainable.
 
Balance covers a lot of ground. And with no pun intended, having challenges with balance often finds us on the ground! With this in mind, it is important that all of us, no matter our age, take seriously our physical balance and what we can do to maintain and/or improve it. Weight-bearing and strength-training exercise, monitoring our medications, using handrails, canes, and the gracious arms of others, and staying on top of vision changes are all key. And as a friendly reminder, your Council installs grab bars in the bathrooms of Greene County seniors.
 
Balance is also needed when it comes to what and how much we eat. You have to choose for yourself what type of diet is best, but there is still general consensus that a diet balanced with vegetables, fruits, protein and grains is the way to go when possible. Check out www.choosemyplate.gov .
Another area needing balance is, of course, finances. Developing and keeping to a budget, paying attention to and steering clear of financial scams, and, for those still working, saving for retirement. The Council’s newsletter includes the It’s Your Money article, this time in the insert, and you can always call for budgeting and other related help.
 
The area we see needing the most attention is finding balance in doing everything and asking for help. There is this notion that we should be able to do everything for ourselves or, as caregivers, for our loved ones. Most of us will acknowledge that it is just fine to have people be of help and that it feels good to be helpful. When we are the one in need, however, asking for/accepting help is now a bad thing. It is so important to embrace that we are inter-dependent people and our lives are even more fulfilling when we both offer and receive help.
 
We may never find true balance, but it is something we should be working toward every day. If your Council can be of help and support with your journey, please don’t hesitate to ask. There are no magic answers, but having someone to turn to in any number of ways may be the balancing boost you need!
It's Your Money: Don't Let the Government Keep It
In case you missed a big headline in the news earlier this month, the IRS has a pot of money that belongs to over 1 million US taxpayers, and they want to give it back. Unfortunately, if you don’t take action to claim what belongs to you by the April 18, 2017, it will be too late for this particular pot of money, and any unclaimed funds will be forfeited to the US Treasury. Now that I have your attention, let me explain how this happens and just who it might apply to.
 
During the tax filing season one of the most common questions I get from senior citizens is “do I have to file a tax return this year?” The IRS requirement to file is based on your income, and it is a relatively easy exercise to add up all of your income from jobs, pensions, social security, interest, and dividends to determine whether someone has to file a tax return in any given year. If you fall under the income threshold established by the IRS, you are not ‘required’ to file a tax return. Unfortunately, total income is only half of the story. The other half of the story is federal withholding of taxes on any end-of-year income statement (W-2, 1099-R, Social Security statement, etc). Over 1 million taxpayers did NOT file a tax return in 2013 even though they had taxes withheld on one of these income statements. There is not a ‘requirement’ to file if you are under the income threshold, but if you have taxes withheld, you MUST file if you want to get a refund of the taxes you had withheld on one of your income statements. So, what about the April 18, 2017 deadline mentioned above? The IRS has a 3 year deadline to file and claim a refund on a tax return. Tax returns for 2013 were due in April 2014, so the deadline for claiming the refunds is 3 years from the April 2014 tax due date, which falls on April 18 this year.
 
How can you know if you are affected by this potential windfall? The most likely sign that you might be a refund candidate is if you had a job in 2013. If you did, your employer probably withheld federal and/or state taxes on your W-2 earnings statement. Additionally, some people have taxes withheld from their pensions. If you think you might be affected by this potential windfall, the first thing to do is find your 2013 tax paperwork: a W-2 or 1099-Misc is you had a job, or a 1099-R from a pension. Look in block number 4 on the W-2, 1099-Misc, or 1099-R. Some people even have federal tax withheld from their Social Security pension benefits. Just to make things interesting, the government uses box 6 on the end of year Social Security tax statement to show any federal tax withholdings. If you have any tax withholdings on any of your tax statements, and you did NOT file a tax return, you very possibly are due a refund. The only way to find out is to get with a tax preparer and have them fill out your 2013 tax return. Remember, you must complete this process and submit the return to the IRS by April 18, 2017.
 
You might be wondering if there is something special about 2013 taxes that is spurring this discussion. No, there is not. The same rules and process applies every tax year. In other words, if you think you had taxes withheld on some of your 2014, 2015, or 2016 tax statements, then you should have filed tax returns in 2014, 2015 and/or 2016 to request a refund. If you did not file in 2014 or 2015, but should have, you have until April 15, 2018 to file for your 2014 taxes, and until April 15, 2019 to file for your 2015 taxes. Your 2016 taxes are due on April 18, 2017, and you will have until April 15, 2020 to file a late return.
 
If you have questions about your current year tax return or any of these past year returns, you can speak with one of the VITA tax specialists at the Xenia or Beavercreek libraries, or at your local senior center.
Brain Health: Creativity and Music
Brain health continues to be the focus of much of your Council’s programming. We had a terrific Music and the Brain program in March and planning for the September 20th Music and the Brain event is in the works. Our thanks to all who came out, including our fabulous leaders ~ Michele Borns, Felita LaRock, Jill Becker and Bill Felker.
 
We also have two Creativity Expos on the 2017 schedule: Fridays, June 30th and November 10th. Both run from 10am to 2pm at the Xenia Community Center and include new and interesting projects to try.
 
For the Music and Creativity focused programs, your requests and suggestions are always appreciated. We have been fortunate to have many community members offer their time and talents to assist the creative Council team. Our greatest challenge continues to be selecting sessions/projects from a plentiful list! There is no question that each program, session and project engage and stretch our brains by getting us to try something new and different while having a great time with great people!
Congratulations to Our Artisans

Thank you to those who came out to the Senior Artisan Show and to the 29 artisans who shared their creations. The show included 52 pieces. We asked guests to choose their favorite pieces, and the top three were Baseball Player by Wayne Baise, Tree for the Forest by Dotty Crowley, and Last Snow of 2016 by Sharon Benedict. Our thanks to our friends at the Fairborn Art Association and we look forward to another beautiful show in 2018!
We Are In This Together! 
Words cannot express how much our volunteers mean to the Council team and to all those who are affected by their contributions. These individuals share their time and talents in numerous ways during 2016, and we are humbled by every one of the 130+ individuals.  Our heartfelt and sincere appreciation to all.    
Upcoming Programs & Meetings
Medicare 101 (offered every other month)
Thursday, April 6th ~ 5:30pm—7:00pm
GCCOA Office ~ 1195 W. Second Street, Xenia
 
GCCOA Membership Meeting
Tuesday, April 18th ~ 2:30pm
Beavercreek Senior Center ~ 3868 Dayton-Xenia Road, Beavercreek
 
Senior Recognition Luncheon ~ Greene County Fairgrounds
Wednesday, April 26th ~ 11:00am—1:00pm
Assembly Building, Greene County Fairgrounds
 
SeniorPalooza ~  A Fun Festival for the 50+ Crowd
Tuesday, May 16th ~ 8:30am—3:00pm
Assembly Building, Greene County Fairgrounds, Xenia
Brochures available for both events at the senior centers, online, and can be mailed by calling the Council
 
Memory Loss, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease (offered every other month)
Wednesday, May 10th ~ 6:30pm—8:30pm
Council’s Beavercreek Space, Beaver View Health Center
3095 Dayton-Xenia Rd/Dark Brown Building
 

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Greene County Council on Aging
937-376-5486
Committed to Seniors and Caregivers
Our mission: To promote independence and quality of life for Greene County senior citizens and caregivers by facilitating and supporting the development, implementation and continual improvement of a comprehensive and coordinated system of contact and care.