A Word From Our New Executive Director
Meet Our New Director, Heather Bauer
Greetings! I am Heather Bauer, the Council on Aging of Buncombe County’s new Executive Director, effective January 15, 2020. It has been an honor to begin work with the Council after nearly a decade of service to older adults and their families in western North Carolina. In my first few weeks, I have already met many staff, donors, grantors, volunteers, interns and community stakeholders that are such an important part of our Vision: A community where everyone has the opportunity to age successfully.

The team here is hard at work ensuring high quality services for our clients, renewing grant cycles for these programs and grant-funded positions, developing projects for the future of aging in community, and maintaining the excellent relationships we have built in Buncombe County, and beyond. We are excited to serve our community through our Mission to: Promote the independence, dignity, and well-being of adults through service, education, and advocacy.

In addition to my professional background, I grew up as the oldest grandchild in a large family, now consisting of more than 40 cousins, if I combine both sides of my family! Originally from NJ, I moved to Buncombe County as a child, and, after having attended UNCW and living on the coast for eight years, I returned to western North Carolina in 2010. My first job in senior care was as a professional caregiver. As a daughter, mother, sister, and friend I cherish my relationships and my calling to listen to the needs of others, meet people where they are, and seek solutions to challenges we face throughout our lives. I enjoy any time spent with family and friends, Yoga, conscious movement, hiking and camping, music, creative expression, reading, food and adventure! It brings me great joy to lead a life of service, one where my next step is always guided by a vision to live well at any age, with growth and authenticity being paramount to wholeness.

If you would like to know more about me, I would be pleased to meet you. You may see me at Home Visits or by appointment, resource fairs, and at our upcoming events: the Derby Party in May, our Professional Summit and Successful Aging Conference in June. You may find more information about my background in our formal press release, here .
The Senior Dining Program is more than just a meal. In addition to our nutritionally balanced meals, each of COA’s four senior dining sites offer exercise, nutrition education, activities, and perhaps, most importantly, a way to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Did you know that isolation and loneliness in older adults is equal to smoking 14 cigarettes a day ?! Or that isolation and loneliness can increase one’s risk of premature death? Good news! The Senior Dining Program can help!!

Recently, I have had the pleasure of learning a card game, Skip Bo, from a group of meal participants at the Lakeview Community Center in Black Mountain. The meal participants are Michael Ewing, Marvin Kleiner, Joyce Miles, Mabel Shelton, Elizabeth Swann, Lynn Swann, and Virginia Williams. Friendships have been made over Skip Bo. The group plays several times a week and keeps track of all the games won by each participant. At the end of the year whoever has won the most games gets a trophy.  

On December 31, 2019, the 2018 winner, Joyce Miles, handed the trophy to the 2019 winner, Mabel Shelton.  Joyce lost the trophy by just 3 games! The competition is fierce, but friendly. I will be interested to see if Mabel keeps the trophy at the end of this year.

Shown are: Michael Ewing, Marvin Kleiner, Virginia Williams, Elizabeth Swann, Joyce Miles, Mabel Shelton, and Lynn Swann
Shown: 2019 Skip Bo Winner: Mabel Shelton
Shown: Joyce Miles handing the trophy to Mabel Shelton
For more information on our dining sites and availiablity click here.
The COAbc's Resource Coordination staff provides client directed information and referrals, assisting individuals with understanding and navigating appropriate services to better meet their needs. Individualized support is provided through phone calls and in-person meetings within Buncombe County.

Being a Services Navigator for much of Buncombe County has its challenges, but is also very rewarding. I recently received a call from a client that had gone without water for a number of years. In order to provide the highest quality of service, a home visit was scheduled to sort out the details, assist with troubleshooting, and to determine if any additional resources were available. After meeting with the client, we decided that contacting the water company for an assessment would be the appropriate first step. Lucky for us, it was the solution to the problem. The water company replaced the meter and water was restored to the home!! In addition to restoring water to the home, an application for food and nutrition services (SNAP) was completed and the client is now receiving SNAP benefits. Those benefits make a huge difference in an individual’s monthly budget.

The ability to perform home visits allows COAbc staff to bring a wealth of knowledge about community resources to address each individual situation and further enhance a person’s quality of life. 
Holiday Giving Success
The 2019 Holiday Season was a cornucopia of community collaboration!
A big "thank you" to Amcor Packaging for putting together gift boxes to be given to our clients. These holiday boxes are filled with essentials to get through these cold winter days.  
Many thanks to Genova Diagnostics for participating in the Senior Wish Tree. These gifts went to older adults in our community that otherwise would not have received a gift this past holiday season.
These trees were donated by the WNC Bridge Foundation and decorated by the Irene Wortham Center. They went to those who needed a little extra holiday cheer this season. We are lucky to have such talented community partners! 
Client Poem
Enjoy this inspiring poem, written by Barbara Barnes, a COAbc client.

Isn't it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common people like you and me
Are builders of eternity

Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass, the book of rules
And each must build 'ere life has flown
A stumbling block or a stepping stone

Now the stepping stones you'll hear about
Will help you grow inside
They'll pave your way to happiness
And help you build your pride

Will you be my stepping stone
And help me on my way
Past stumbling blocks I come upon
Each and every day

And if you do, I will become
Your helpful stepping stone
We'll build the bridges, cross the voids
And never be alone
What Clients Are Saying
"Tim was very helpful - knowledgeable and able to answer questions specific to my needs. Thank you."
-Medicare Client

"Deborah was so kind and intent to listen to our needs. We appreciated her kindness and the way she represented your agency."
-Resource Coordination Client

"Thanks for helping with installation of the shower grab bars. David was excellent!"
-Minor Home Repair Client
Ways to Give
Donate to the Council on Aging through continuous, monthly, or one time giving.
If you would like to give continuously, you can do so through your PayPal account.
 
If you do not have a PayPal account please call us at (828)277-8288 for assistance setting up a continuous donation.
Material In-Kind donations are greatly appreciated and needed to better serve our clients. Below are products we accept:
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Nutritional drinks (Ensure, Glucerna, Orgain, etc.)
  • Incontinence supplies (Depends and Pull-ups)
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cellphones
Every time you purchase an item through Amazon, you could be helping older adults in Buncombe County through COAbc.
 
This is one of the easiest ways to donate. Simply bookmark this  link  and support us every time you shop!
Volunteer Super Stars
Charles Dickens
This issue's volunteer superstar goes to our most experienced Medicare counselor, Charles Dickens! Charles has been counseling for COAbc for over 23 years. One of his areas of expertise is counseling on Federal retiree benefits. We are very fortunate to have him to assist Medicare beneficiaries who need assistance navigating their Medicare options with regards to their Federal retiree benefits.

After all this time Charles says that he continues to volunteer because, "I know how valuable the services provided by the Council on Aging are and was honored to be a member of the Board of Directors from 2000 to 2006. I have seen over and over the value of the service SHIIP (Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program) counselors provide. We provide professional, confidential assistance to the Medicare-eligible population, many of whom find matters related to health insurance to be very complex and challenging to understand. When you see the light of understanding brighten the face of a client, we SHIIP counselors are rewarded with the satisfaction of a job well done. The knowledge that I can make a positive difference in the lives of older adults and their families as a SHIIP counselor is a tremendous incentive for me to continue to serve."
Sarra Mossof
This issue's Resource Coordination volunteer superstar is Sarra Mossof! Sarra is a volunteer for our Homebound Food Delivery. She helps to delivery monthly shelf-stable items to clients that are homebound and has helped to delivery gifts during the holiday season.

Sarra continues to volunteer for COAbc because, "I love the programs COAbc offers - they all seem to meet a real need in the community. I especially love the Homebound Food Delivery program that I've been volunteering for since 2016, as for the last several years I've been focusing my community volunteer efforts on food and hunger issues. We live in the richest country in the world and yet so many of us experience food scarcity. I fully support the efforts of COAbc and other organizations to address this issue in our community. The home bound seniors participating in this program are definitely in need and are so grateful to receive the groceries I deliver each month. Many of them also appreciate having a visitor, and staying to chat for a bit has allowed me to get to know them and enjoy their stories. I feel like I get so much out of the few hours I spend each month volunteering for this program. It is really a privilege and a joy!" We appreciate the work and time of our volunteers to help meet the need in our community.
Save the Dates
SAVE THE DATE

When: Saturday, May 2nd from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where:The Venue, 21 N Market St, Asheville, NC 28801

SAVE THE DATE

When: Wednesdays, March 4th - April 22 from 9:30 am - 11:30am

Where: First Baptist Church, 63 N Main St, Weaverville, NC 28787

SAVE THE DATE

When: April 14 - May 15

Registration: February 3 - March 9

SAVE THE DATE

When: Wednesday, June 10th

Where: A-B Tech Conference Center

SAVE THE DATE

When: Thursday, June 11th

Where: A-B Tech Conference Center

We Want to Hear From You
What would you like to see more of in 2020 newsletters?
Client Stories
Program Updates
Educational Articles
Health Insurance Information