Season's greetings to you and yours!
A Word from the Director, Jen Teague
The Season of Giving
The holiday season is upon us. For many this is a time spent with family and friends, enjoying great meals, and experiencing the beauty of gift-giving. 

This holiday season the Council on Aging is thankful for those in our community that support us in providing much needed services for older adults. We appreciate the support of businesses, churches, and individuals that have given us food and household items for our clients. We are also thankful for those who have given gifts through the Senior Wish Tree. During this time, we are reminded of the value of giving over receiving. 

This holiday season we ask you to consider a gift of any amount to the Council on Aging. Some of our clients are without the support of family and friends this holiday season. Your donation will help ensure our continued ability to provide all of our clients with much needed assistance and services. Donations can be made through our website , by clicking the donate button below, or by mailing a check to:
The Council on Aging
46 Sheffield Circle
Asheville, NC 28803. 

We appreciate your donations and continued support. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season! 
Staff Articles
Welcome to Open Enrollment
by Susan Wilson
Open enrollment is not just for Medicare. It is also for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as the Marketplace or Obamacare. You can only sign up for ACA insurance plans for 2020 between November 1st and December 15th. 

While there have been a lot of news stories about changes to the ACA, much of the ACA remains unchanged. The ACA is still the law of the land. Only the individual mandate that required individuals to have insurance has been repealed. The rest of the legislation remains in effect. Pre-existing conditions are always covered - you cannot lose your insurance because of any serious diagnosis. The Marketplace provided subsidies for 87% of the people who enrolled in ACA insurance to help pay their premium. An additional 52% got insurance with lower deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and doctor costs. 

The Council on Aging has staff and volunteers to help you navigate the Marketplace to get the best plan that fits your needs and your budget. Call 1-855-733-3711 to set up an appointment. Remember to bring to your appointment your estimated 2020 income, and if you already have a Marketplace account, your login information. 
Watch Out for Holiday Scams!
By Niki Duff
Before we begin, I would like to take a second and introduce myself. My name is Niki Duff, and I am the Elder Justice Navigator for the Council on Aging. It is my job to help Buncombe County residents, who have experienced a form of elder abuse, get connected with the appropriate resources in our community.

I am passionate about assisting those who have experienced abuse and exploitation. I am also passionate about the holidays: turkey dinners, gift-giving, and dressing up my dog in holiday sweaters; I love it all! Unfortunately, not everyone is filled with the same holiday spirit, and scammers actively target older adults during this time of year. I have put together a list of scams for you and your family to be aware of so you can spend more time making memories and less time worrying about potential scams and fraud. Make sure you check it twice!

  1. Scammers will pose as fake charities hoping those who give to their “organization” do not realize they are fraudulent. For lesser known charities, always check that the organization you are giving to is reputable by going to
  2. If someone is asking you to pay for a gift in wire transfers, gift cards, or in third party payments, stop the transaction and find your gift elsewhere. 
  3. When ordering online, most companies will provide you with a tracking number for you to track your order from shipping point (like the North Pole) to its destination. Remember, you should never have to pay to receive a package, and you should never have to give out personal information to USPS or FedEx for them to deliver your packages.

Check out this website for more tips and tricks to stay safe during the holiday: AARP Fraud Resource Center

If something seems suspicious, ask questions and do some research. If you find you have further questions, give me a call and I’d be happy to help. Here's wishing you a scam-free, happy holiday!
Edna Mae, Niki's dog, in her favorite holiday sweater.
A Person Belongs Wherever They Find Themselves
By Vance Goodman
Barbara Roth has been told on numerous occasions, “You don’t look like you belong here.” She becomes tearful as she explains, “People who say that… don’t know my story.”
Barbara moved to Western North Carolina in 2007 and, shortly after her arrival, she experienced domestic violence that “forever changed [her] life.” The abuse imposed on Barbara’s life took away her freedom and financial stability, resulting in medical issues, hospitalization, and homelessness. Unable to survive independently, Barbara humbly reached out to area community resources and faith congregations. Barbara describes this period in her life as a time of hardship and spiritual growth; she believes that the resources and people who came to her aid served as angels for her.

Now, almost 13 years later, Barbara resides in the Vanderbilt Apartments, a housing development in downtown Asheville that offers government subsidized low-income housing to seniors and those with disabilities. Barbara has made the choice to give back to the community that saved her life. She currently spends her time assisting fellow residents with housekeeping, cleaning, laundry, and companionship through the Senior Companion Program. The Senior Companion Program is a federally funded volunteer program sponsored locally by the Land of Sky Regional Council. Active in community programs and engaged with the Services Coordinator from the Council on Aging, Barbara contributes to the well being of her neighbors at the Vanderbilt and Battery Park housing complexes. Barbara concluded by saying, “I want to help others like I was helped."  
Clients Express Gratitude Through Art
By Arlyn Villafuerte
Here at the Council on Aging we are thankful for the opportunity to be a helping hand for older adults in our community. Simon and Jill Gurdal have been clients’ of COA for the past few years and we have been able to help them through our various programs: navigating their medicare options, assisting with housing, and providing the right referrals. 

Simon is an amateur photographer and he wanted to donate one of his photos to COA in recognition of all the help we have offered him and his wife throughout the years. Simon’s love for photography grew when his father gave him a camera at a young age. He loves taking pictures of places that he visits and loves. The photograph he gave us is of Cane Creek in Fairview. This beautiful photo is now displayed in our hallway for clients to see when they come in to our office.

Simon and Jill said what they love most about the Council on Aging is that, “You can call anytime. If [they] can’t help us then they tell us where to go for other services. [They] always have the answer.”

The Council on Aging is grateful to continue to provide a variety of services to the Gurdals and to other older adults in our community
What Clients Are Saying
"Juanita is fantastic. An excellent resource, [she] took the weight of the world off our minds. Thank you."
-- Caregiver Services Client

" Niki, we were all impressed by your level of commitment and passion to the protection of the elderly. The work you are doing is extremely important and the education of the public is the first line of defense."
-- Elder Justice Client

"Bob was wonderful! We are appreciative to have these services for my parents ."
-- Medicare Client
Agency Announcements
Take A Look at our Annual Appeal
Donate through Give!Local November 1 - December 31. Give through Give!Local for a chance to win from a number of prizes.
  • Donate $100 to be entered to win a camping trip with a Jeep for 3 days & 2 nights.
  • First $1,000 will be matched.
  • Donate $200 or more to have your name put on our donor tree.
  • Click here for more details
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, Gluecerna, Orgain, etc.)
  • Incontinence Supplies (Depends and Pull-ups)
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cellphones
GivingTuesday is December 3rd.

Join this global movement of generosity. GivingTuesday is a day that inspires millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Your donation to the COA will help provide over 10,000 services each year to older adults.
Win a 3 day and 2 night camping trip on this Jeep Renegade by donating through GIVE!Local . Camping gear is included!
Ways to Shop while Giving Back
Shop through Amazon Smile this holiday season. You can give back to COA while checking items off your list.

Every time you purchase an item through Amazon smile, a portion of your purchase will be donated back.

This is one of the easiest ways to donate. Simple bookmark this link and support us every time you shop!
Find the perfect handmade gift for that special person at Ten Thousand Villages. Your purchase will help make a difference locally and globally. Treat yourself while you are there!

Shop November 26th -December 7th and 15% of your purchase will be donated back to the COA.

Make sure to say, "Council on Aging," when you are checking out!
Volunteer Superstars
Robyn Torres
Robyn Torres is a Seniors Health Insurance Information Program Medicare counselor, and she is this edition's volunteer superstar from our Medicare program!

Robyn has volunteered with us for 2 years and continues to volunteer because, "Counseling at COA is my  dream  volunteer opportunity. I worked in the Medicare space for most of my career. I look forward every week to my morning counseling sessions. My goal is to give the client a bit of knowledge that confirms they have made the Medicare decision that best fits their healthcare needs. 99.9% of the time I feel that my clients and I meet that goal. Why wouldn't I continue to be a COA volunteer?"

Our clients are always very pleased when they see Robyn and she is one of our top requested counselors!
Nikki Marmo
Nikki Marmo is the resource coordination volunteer superstar! Nikki is a volunteer for the Call A Ride program. She helps to transport our clients to doctor's appointments, grocery stores, and other destinations within Buncombe County.

N ikki has been a volunteer for us for almost 4 years. Nikki said, "I love driving because I get to know such interesting, courageous people who are able to manage their lives despite not being able to drive. I learn so much from them about aging gracefully in place." Nikki has made a great impact in the lives of our clients by providing this service. Transportation is a challenge many older adults face and together with our volunteers we are helping to meet that need.

We appreciate the time that Nikki spends in providing excellent service to our clients.
Upcoming Events
Festival of Wreaths
What: Join us for this wonderful holiday event! Bid on on beautifully decorated wreaths and gift baskets. Raffle prizes will be available.

When: Thursday, December 5th from 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Where: The Lodge at Mills River, 5593 Old Haywood Rd, Mills River, NC 28759

Derby Party

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

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

Preparing Aging Service Providers for the Future

When: Wednesday, June 10th

Where: A-B Tech Conference Center

Successful Aging

When: Thursday, June 11th

Where: A-B Tech Conference Center

Thank you for your support...
As we approach the end of the year, it is always good to reflect on accomplishments and give thanks for all we have been able to achieve. I am particularly thankful for the many donors who support the Council on Aging and their gifts that make the many services we offer possible. The donors need to know that it is their gifts that are changing the lives of older adults in Buncombe county. The only thing I regret is we don’t have a way to truly share the gratitude the clients express to us for the assistance that was provided to solve their problems and make their lives a little better. To all of our wonderful donors, close your eyes and know you are making a difference –THANK YOU.  


John Wingerter

We want to hear from you!
What is your favorite Asheville Holiday activity?
Holiday Parade
Christmas at the Biltmore
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
The National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn

Council on Aging of Buncombe County || (828) 277-8288