A Summer to Remember
Word from our Director
Happy New (Fiscal) Year!
The Council on Aging's Board of Directors, executive leadership, staff, and volunteers have been busy bees during our transition from 2020-2021 into the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July 1-June 30). We have adopted a rolling budget in light of all the COVID changes and timelines, but anticipate our 2022 organizational budget to be approximately $2M (which will be contingent upon outstanding requests) - nearly double that of FY20 - and elevating the extra support/momentum of the temporary COVID relief from FY21. We have increased and enhanced service delivery to the population that was impacted most greatly with these temporary sources of funding and with the amazing philanthropy of COA supporters, but we know we need to keep this going as our population continues to age rapidly amidst the ripples of the acute stages of the pandemic.
In addition to sustaining Resource Coordination programming, Senior Dining & Wellness (Congregate Nutrition), and Insurance Services (SHIIP and ACA), we have developed new and enhanced programs, increased our outreach, and are working on our new strategic plan for 2022-2025.
Media: Perhaps you saw ads on WLOS during Boost Your Budget week or when Affordable Care Act enrollment period extensions were made, read about us in your local paper, or heard announcements on Blue Ridge Public Radio. There are many ways we are reaching new individuals and families. We are proud how word of mouth drives initial contacts to COA. Thanks to Jessica Wakeman, you can learn more about the ACA program in MountainX.
Board: We helped Juanita Igo, former Caregiver Specialist, retire, and she has graciously accepted the role of Board volunteer for Strategic Planning. We are in transition from the past Board Chair, Brian Lawler, to our newest Board Chair, Jackie Dula. We have reinitiated our Development, Finance, and Strategic Planning committees after a hiatus due to COVID. Thank you to Julie Dikos, Matthew Donohue, and Todd Puhl for completing two terms with us! You will be missed. We are recruiting new Board members! Are you interested in serving the aging population and have a dedication to integrity, diversity, education and advocacy? Contact Heather.
Programming: We have added a Supportive Services Volunteer Program that will be focused on creating a diverse volunteer workforce for COA, as well as connecting older adults to volunteer opportunities and civic engagement in the community. Welcome, Kristina Israel to our leadership team as the Volunteer Services Specialist. Learn more about Kristina in this newsletter.
Aide services now include In Home Aide and Consumer Directed Services (see below). The Care Management Caregiver Support programming has added an Institutional Respite option for eligible caregivers (see below), and we are expanding our service territory for the Benefits Enrollment Center.
Home Care Independence (Consumer Directed Services): Home Care Independence is a program designed to empower adults who need in-home care to identify and employ a Personal Assistant with the support of a Council on Aging Care Advisor. Individuals will be in charge of their home care services and will be assigned a Financial Management Service, at no cost to them. Clients will receive companionship and personal care services to help them maintain their independence, dignity and well-being. Contact: Robert Barclay, MSW
Institutional Respite: Council on Aging caregiver specialists assist family care partners in planning and arranging for time away from their loved one in adult day and facility settings. Funds go toward these options to reduce cost burden on families and ensure the level of care required to support the care recipient. This short-term respite option is ideal for families who are unable to keep their loved one in the home while the care partner takes a break. Contact Jennie Pressley, Caregiver Specialist.
Partners: In addition to Premier Home Health and AllWays Caring, we have added Home Instead Senior Care to the list of In Home Aide subcontractors. We continue to work with Asheville City Parks & Recreation, Black Mountain Parks & Recreation, and Weaverville First Baptist Church partners for essential nutrition services - reaching participants through curbside pick-up, congregate options based on site availability and limited curbside options for hot meals from Moose Cafe, fresh produce and shelf stable items. Read more about the reopening schedule.
With the support of the WNC Bridge Foundation and other project sponsors, we are working to complete the updated Senior Service Directory to go to print in September, with an online version also available.

Over the last two years, supported by the Women for Women fund, we assisted more than 500 individuals with concerns related to elder abuse with an Elder Justice Navigator. We are seeking new funding opportunities to continue this work and to expand our social justice services as part of our Resource Coordination team.
Works in progress include: the FY21 Annual report, new database software for our Older American's Act programs and Supportive Services, funding proposals to meet ongoing recovery needs, as well as working on our fall appeal and Give!Local campaign. We have several grant requests out to funders to integrate service navigation and care management with community education with a focus on elder abuse, people living with Dementia, and those hardest hit by COVID 19.
We continue to co-lead the Buncombe Aging Service Alliance, assist with Age Friendly Buncombe initiatives, and work on multiple Age Friendly advisory boards. Read more about the Active Aging Center's progress in the most recent Age Friendly Buncombe blog.
We look forward to sharing updates with you in our upcoming Annual Report (read last year's here) as well as in upcoming newsletters, mailings, and on social media.
Thank you for your support!!
Yours in living well,

Heather Bauer
Executive Director
Agency News and Updates
Affordable Care Act Benefits Have Increased
In February, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan. That plan created a special enrollment period for anyone that wanted to get insurance through the Marketplace or that wanted to change the insurance plan that they had previously chosen. It also limited insurance premiums in the Marketplace to 8.5% of the taxable income of an individual or family with incomes from 100% of the Federal Poverty Limit and above.

Beginning the first of July, there are new benefits for anyone who was approved for unemployment benefits after January 1, 2021. Anyone who has qualified for such benefits can enroll or newly enroll in a Marketplace plan that will have little to no premium, lower costs to see a doctor, and lower deductibles and out of pocket maximums.

August 15, 2021 is the last day of the special enrollment period under the American Rescue Plan. If you are under 65 and need insurance or are enrolled in Marketplace plan, now is the time to make an appointment and talk with one of our Navigators. You can sign up online at ncnavigator.net or call 855-733-3711. You can also call our office, 828-277-8288.
Get to Know Our New Caregiver Services Specialist, Jennie Pressley
"I recently transitioned from the CARES Liaison to the Family Caregiver Specialist position after Juanita Igo retired. The family caregiver specialist covers both Buncombe and Madison Counties, providing access to respite grant funding and other caregiver resources. While I was the CARES Liaison I was able to work with families in Madison County where I live, so I am excited to be able to continue to do that work and expand into Buncombe County more fully. Caregiver respite grants are a wonderful way for families to access help for their loved one and have a much needed break, even for just a couple of hours a few times a week. Sometimes applying for a grant is a family's first step to learning about the Council on Aging and other support systems in the area, and I really enjoy sharing information about helpful resources." 

The CAPES Caregiver support group is currently a monthly Zoom meeting that I continue to facilitate for any type of family caregiver, near or far. We are exploring in-person options in both Buncombe and Madison Counties in addition to the Zoom meeting. I welcome any input from the community on which day of the week and time of day is most convenient for caregivers. In the meantime, please feel free to join us every third Tuesday at 5:00 pm on Zoom. 
Meet Our Volunteer Services Specialist, Kristina Israel, CAVNC
Kristina started with the Council on Aging in 2021.

"Having spent the past six years working with volunteers at Four Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, I am excited to take on this new challenge of developing and promoting all of the volunteer opportunities here at the Council on Aging. 

As the Volunteer Services Specialist, my job will be to support each of the Council on Aging’s programs in their utilization of volunteers, as well as connecting older adults to volunteer opportunities in the broader community. This is a tremendous time of growth for the organization and I intend to support our mission in every way possible through excellence in our volunteer program. My strengths in communication and program development will come in handy as we work to increase opportunities for volunteer engagement!

In addition to my experience in volunteer management, I am also on the board of the statewide association of volunteer administration, or NCAVA. As this year’s President, I have the chance to work with volunteer program leaders from across the state to offer training and educational opportunities for professional development in our field. I am also on the steering committee for our western region affiliate, LOSAVA. 

I grew up in Henderson county but have lived all over the US, from California to Kentucky to snowy New England. In 2015, my husband and I decided it was time to come back home so our son could grow up closer to his grandparents and extended family. On the weekends, I like to hike in the mornings and play in my garden the rest of the day. Although I love to travel, there is something in these mountains that always calls me back home."
Corporate Sponsor Highlights
Roberts & Stevens
Roberts & Stevens, Attorneys at Law, is honored to provide financial support for the Council on Aging of Buncombe County toward its vision of giving everyone in the community the opportunity to age successfully. The firm is proud to assist the Council as it helps older adults and their families navigate a complicated network of programs and benefits, from Medicare counseling to food delivery.

With a long-standing commitment to civic service in the local community, the attorneys at Roberts & Stevens are proud to support the Western North Carolina region through many different avenues — from providing pro bono legal services to serving on local government committees, as well as on the boards of a wide range of nonprofit organizations.

Roberts & Stevens is one of the largest and most trusted law firms in Western North Carolina, serving clients across 30 areas of practice and in many different industries. Focused on providing the highest quality legal services to the community, the firm represents a diverse clientele of individuals, businesses and local government agencies — and always puts the needs of its clients first.

Roberts & Stevens’ talented Estates and Trusts team can help individuals and families create custom estate plans, no matter the size or complexity of the estate. The team offers individualized advice to each client on planning choices and assists with implementing those plans and preparing the appropriate legal documents — including wills, different types of trust agreements, powers of attorney, and other planning documents — while also offering fiduciary advice to executors and trustees to ensure estates and trusts are properly administered.

Considering the future of your estate poses unique challenges, and Roberts & Stevens is here to help. For more information or to request a consultation, visit roberts-stevens.com or call
(828) 252-6600.
Bank of America
Bank of America is committed to supporting its communities, clients and teammates. Now as always, their commitment to help strengthen the communities they serve is unwavering. They are partnering with local leaders and organizations to address critical needs, and to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.

In Western North Carolina, Bank of America has 150 local associates committed to delivering services to our local clients and region to help people successfully navigate their financial journeys. Bank of America is grateful that they can support a diverse client base, which represents clients of all ages and types of banking relationships; from those who are a first time account holder to homeowners, a small business entrepreneur and those clients who are nearing or enjoying their retirement years.

They are proud of the fact that they can trace their roots back almost 100 years ago to the original Bank of Asheville, through mergers and acquisitions over the years with North Carolina National Bank and Nations Bank, eventually in 1998 becoming Bank of America.

Their goal is to be the chosen financial institution within this region by providing their company’s full spectrum of financial services and products, with a local approach and feel, to all members of the community. They believe in the importance of being corporate stewards by providing philanthropic and sponsorship support throughout the community. Bank of America teammates are also community members who serve on non-profit boards, lead volunteer efforts, promote financial literacy in the community, and are committed to contributing to an inclusive community culture through the support of charities, with the opportunity of company donation matches, such as Council on Aging and similar community organizations.

Recognizing the ever growing population in Western North Carolina inclusive of the retiree age range, their local strategic plan aligns with Council on Aging of Buncombe County’s vision to be supportive of an inclusive community where everyone is recognized and appreciated for who they are, with the opportunity to age successfully.

For more information visit their website: https://about.bankofamerica.com/en
Happy Retirement, Juanita Igo!
8 years of dedicated caregiver support with COA
COA wishes you all the best and a happy retirement!
Juanita joined Council on Aging of Buncombe County in 2013. During this time she has held many different jobs across several programs. She has been a Services Navigator, Care Manager for a variety of programs, SHIIP Counselor, and even an Affordable Care Act Navigator. The part that stayed consistent throughout her tenure is that her clients and caregivers felt heard by a very competent and compassionate person.

Juanita has worked diligently to make a difference in the lives of individuals and our community as a whole. We have been very fortunate to have Juanita as part of our team and hate to see her leave. However, we also want to wish her nothing but the best for her well-deserved retirement!!
More from the Retirement Celebration
Volunteer Shout Out
Monroe Keyserling
Medicare SHIIP Counselor
This edition's Medicare Volunteer Super Star is Monroe Keyserling. Monroe has been volunteering for COA as a SHIIP / Medicare counselor for three years.

Monroe says that he chose to volunteer as a Medicare counselor for COA because, "When I was nearing retirement, I attended two seminars on Medicare. One was presented by my employer's HR Department, the other was presented by the Council on Aging. I didn't expect Medicare to be so complicated and realized how important it is to have good information when making Medicare decisions. Volunteering at COA provides an enjoyable opportunity to give back to the community."

Many COA clients have expressed their appreciation for the knowledge and assistance that Monroe has provided them. We greatly appreciate all that Monroe does for COA and also for the entire community!
What Clients Are Saying
"Deborah was very helpful. Great person to talk to, really enjoyed her. Thank you so much for her."

-Resource Coordination Client

This gives us seniors a place to enjoy our retirement and to socialize. Backup for us. Being more health aware.

-Senior Dining Client

"Just wanted you to know how grateful I am for Mary James' help in researching and explaining the medical plan options available to my wife who is in a nursing/rehab place and on long term care Medicaid. She did a remarkable job tracking down her eligibility for drug coverage under Medicare and Medicaid, taking much more of her time and energy to do so than one would normally expect. She was unusually helpful and very easy to work with. I'm somewhat hard of hearing and had to ask her to talk a bit more slowly than usual, which she did. I could understand her very well.
You have an excellent volunteer worker in Mary James, which I believe you must already know."

-Medicare Client
Upcoming Events
Free "Introduction to Medicare" Webinar
The Council on Aging of Buncombe County is presenting virtual classes on Medicare!

We explain how Medicare works,
the enrollment process, how to avoid penalties,
and ways to save money.

Pre-registration is required and you must provide an email address. A Zoom link will be sent to you prior to the class with further instructions.

"I can't thank you enough for this program. Before this presentation I found the subject overwhelming and didn't know where to turn. The presenter was knowledgeable, clear and very helpful. The material was clear, succinct and useful. I am grateful to your entire organization for providing this and the other services you offer.
A sincere thanks."
- Medicare Webinar Participant

Upcoming Classes:

August 12, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

August 25, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

September 9, 2:00PM - 3:30PM

September 22, 2:00PM - 3:30PM
Not All Heroes Wear CAPES
Caring for Aging People Education & Support
CAPES has gone virtual!

3rd Tuesday of every month,
5-6:30pm via Zoom.

ZOOM Meeting http://bitly.ws/fmvE

Whether you are a long-distance caregiver, a working family caregiver, living with or nearby your loved one, we recognize that you need support, education, and
information that can help you navigate this journey.

Due to the pandemic, our monthly meetings have gone virtual. While we look forward to the time where we can meet again in person, please join us!

Speaker 5-5:30 pm; Support Group 5:30-6:30 pm

August 17th: What to Expect During a Needs Assessment, Laura Baker-Seseika

Start the conversation by contacting Jennie Pressley.
(828) 277-8288, ext. 1308
Blue Ridge Public Radio
Catch us on Blue Ridge Public Radio as part of their Day Sponsorship for the Council on Aging of Buncombe County.  

Future dates that we will be airing on Blue Ridge Public Radio are:

  • Friday, August 27, 2021
  • Sunday, September 26, 2021
Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors
Council on Aging of Buncombe County, 46 Sheffield Cir, Asheville, NC 28803,
828-277-8288, www.coabc.org