AOASCC News & Notes


February 2018

VolunteerSpotlight on Volunteering -  250,000 Hours & Counting

Angel Marrero is 89 years old and has been committed to serving his peers through the Senior Companions Program for 26 years. He has served longer than any other Senior Companion, giving over 25,000 hours to helping older residents at Casa Otonal.

Angel still remembers his first client Don Julio. He tells us that, at first, his intention was to simply keep himself busy. Over time he learned to socialize more, becoming more patient with other seniors and treating them more compassionately. Angel goes for walks with his clients, plays dominoes or bingo, or escorts them outside to the benches to just talk, sharing stories about their lives. Sometimes he eats a meal with them or runs errands. His supervisor remarked that his clients are always complimenting him, stating that they feel he has become a part of their family.

Angel says that he enjoys the benefits of his volunteering, as it provides him with opportunities to feel useful, to remain active and, most importantly, it helps him feel less lonely. He plans to volunteer until he feels that God says 'stop'. "I want to thank the Agency on Aging for being so good to me. I love the Senior Companions program and I can really say it has forever changed my life since I started back in 1991."

There are current openings for Senior Companions.  This program has income restrictions & pays a small stipend.   
Women face greater economic challenges in retirement. First, women often have lower lifetime earnings than men and women may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men. Social Security benefits are based on how long you've worked, how much you've earned, and when you start receiving benefits. It only replaces about 40 percent of pre-retirement earnings. To have a comfortable retirement, you need to have other income from things like pensions, savings, and investments.

Although most households today are two-earner families, women frequently have interruptions in their paid work life to assume responsibilities for child care and other family caregiving situations. As a result, women pay less into Social Security and therefore qualify for less when they retire.

When women work, they pay taxes into the Social Security system, providing for their own benefits. Most people need 10 years of work (40 credits) to qualify for benefits. Benefit amounts are based on earnings averaged over most of their working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If you have some years of no earnings or low earnings, your benefit amount will be lower. In addition, their spouses' earnings can give them Social Security coverage as well. Women who don't work are often covered through their spouses' work. When their spouses retire, become disabled, or die, women can receive benefits.

Because women traditionally have lower earnings Social Security allows a widow or divorcee to apply for benefits through their husband's benefits. These women are eligible to receive 50% of the husband's benefit. For some women this is greater than the amount they would receive if they applied through their own benefit.

If you've never asked Social Security about receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse's work, you should. Many women get a higher benefit based on their ex-spouse's work, especially if that spouse is deceased.

Lastly, women may have several name changes over their lifetime. It is essential that you check with Social Security to ensure that all the credits you've earned over your lifetime are correctly attributed to you. For many women, credits they earned prior to marriage or after a second marriage are lost because Social Security wasn't informed about the name change.
There is nothing easy about being a caregiver, but there is much that is rewarding. Ensuring your experience is as rewarding as possible requires learning from the experience of others. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the most important things caregivers have offered as advice to new caregivers. Read on if you are a new caregiver or if you are an experienced caregiver who wants to compare experiences.
  1. Begin the caregiving conversation as early as possible. If you wait too long your loved one may not be able to express his/her ideas. You need their input to make certain that your efforts are achieving the desired effect.
  2. Take a course on caregiving. It will help you to feel more confident. Agencies on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association offer courses throughout the year.
  3. Get support. Caregiving can be difficult, lonely and frustrating. The sooner you realize this the easier it will be to accept help.
  4. Get help early. You can "do it all" yourself for a long time but eventually you'll wear out and need help. Accept the fact that we all need help at times and seek it out before you collapse.
  5. Explore all the caregiving options such as homecare programs, respite programs, adult day centers, assisted living.
  6. Make legal preparations. There are many legal issues you will confront as a long term caregiver. Don't wait for a crisis. Seek out legal assistance to ensure you have adequate access to health care information, banking services and decision making.
  7. Organize all documents including birth certificates, Medicare and other insurance cards, wills, power of attorney, advance directives, medications lists, bank account information, tax filings.
  8. Establish your presence with healthcare providers. They need to know who you are and see you as a part of the caregiving team before a crisis arises.
  9. Set priorities. You can't do it all. What is really important?
  10. Live in the moment. You don't get extra time. Are you doing those things you value?
KnowDid You Know?  


About the "Sandwich Generation" - Pew Research

  • Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). 
  • Among all adults with at least one parent age 65 or older, 30% say their parent or parents need help to handle their affairs or care for themselves.
  • About one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.
  • 38% of survey respondents say both their grown children and their parents rely on them for emotional support.
There's plenty to love about SNAP,
the nutrition assistance program that gave single seniors an average of $106 in 2016. Find out if you're qualified for this important program. It costs nothing to apply! If you've applied before, you can always try again, especially if your circumstances have changed.   Learn more about SNAP:   Visit  or  visit  our website .
HelpNeed help finding support at home? Care Network Link is a wonderful resource to find trusted providers: Homemaking, Personal Care Assistance, Live-In Caregivers, Wheelchair Ramps, Fall Alert Systems, Hair Stylists that come to your home.  

Give us a call at 203-495-1655 or sign up for membership at  Membership is FREE and will earn you discounts from the providers you hire.  Care Network Link credentials all the providers before allowing them on the network to make sure they are trustworthy businesses to have in your home.