Choose to Share the Love with Vulnerable Seniors
Exciting news! For the ninth year running, the Meals on Wheels network is participating in the Subaru Share the Love Event. Over for the past eight years, Subaru has donated nearly $10 million to Meals on Wheels—that's the equivalent of more than 1.4 million meals to seniors across the country!
Why does Subaru support Meals on Wheels? Too many seniors are struggling to stay independent and healthy. One in four seniors lives alone in isolation and one in six seniors might not know from where their next meal is coming. This is simply unacceptable, which is why Mobile Meals provides the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to the seniors of Knoxville and Knox County. This vital support keeps seniors in their own homes, where they want to be.
We're incredibly grateful to Subaru and its retailers for supporting our organization and the seniors we serve. With that in mind, we thought you might want to learn a little bit more about the Share the Love Event.
Here's How It Works
This November 17, 2016, through January 3, 2017, for every new Subaru vehicle leased or sold, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer's choice of participating charities. Meals on Wheels America is one of four national participating charities, and has been since the inception of the event. And through this campaign, as a Member of Meals on Wheels America, Mobile Meals will receive a share of the revenue earned in Tennessee.
You might not be in the market to purchase a new car, but if you are please look into the Share the Love Event to learn more. If you're not shopping for a new vehicle, you can still help by spreading the word to your family and friends. A few quick and easy ways to do that:
And remember, this holiday season, you can ensure our senior neighbors are not forgotten when you buy or lease a new Subaru and select Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice.
Hidden Gems for You Right Here in Knox County
You may not have heard of them or even be aware they exist. They have a lot to offer you. So, let's help you to get to know about them.
What are we talking about? The senior centers here in Knoxville and Knox County.
Years ago, our local government realized that after giving so much to their workplaces and the community during their work lives, retired people frequently had quite a bit of time on their hands. There wasn't much for them to do or to occupy their time.
So the local officials decided to open senior centers in the city and county. Each center would be a place where seniors could go and meet other seniors. The centers would have a variety of activities for them. They could get involved in those that interested them. In the process, they could relax and enjoy themselves.
Right now, there are eight senior centers in the Knoxville and Knox County. Residents age 50+ can take advantage of what these centers have to offer.
Knoxville-Knox County Senior Centers
Carter Senior Center
Corryton Senior Center
Halls Senior Center
John T. O'Connor Senior Center
Karns Senior Center
Larry Cox Senior Center
South Knox Senior Center
Strang Senior Center
Each center is run by professionals and has a wide range of programs specifically geared to what may interest you. These cover many different areas, such as
- Lifetime Learning Programs
- Art Classes
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Social Activities
The centers also offer health education and screenings. Some have book clubs, movies, special programs, and speakers. The O'Connor Center offers noontime meals for attendees and a cooperative gift shop. There may even be programs where you may have the opportunity to help out as a volunteer.
Some of the programs are free; some have a minimal charge.
If this is the first time you have heard of these centers, drop by the one closest to you. See what it offers. You will have the opportunity to meet new people and may even get involved in an activity you hadn't even thought about. It's fine to visit more than one center. Each offers different programs and services; all are open to residents of Knoxville and Knox County.
If you haven't been to a center for some time, stop by and see what's going on—it may have changed since you last visited.
There is no reason to stay at home alone all day and watch the same shows on TV every day. Get out, meet new people, have fun, and maybe even learn something. Enjoy yourself!
Valuable Information on Social Security Benefits
You may be wondering about your Social Security options. Hopefully, this will give you a clearer picture.
When Can I Start to Receive Social Security?
You can choose to start receiving those benefits at different ages depending on your circumstances. The only difference will be the amount of the monthly benefit you will receive.
Originally a person had to be 65 to get their full retirement benefit. They could have received a reduced benefit starting at age 62. In 1983 Congress passed a law changing that. The age for the full benefit has increased.
Those born between 1943 and 1954 cannot receive the full benefit until they're 66. It increases several months each year for those born between 1955 and 1959. People born in 1960 and later have to be 67.
Your benefit is reduced if you start it before your full retirement age. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your retirement benefit at age 62, will only be 75% of your full benefit.
There is a bonus if you decide to delay receiving benefits until after you are 66. Each year you delay, your retirement benefit increases 8% a year until you reach 70. If you decide to postpone getting Social Security till you're 70, your benefit will be roughly 32% higher than what you would have received at age 66.
Let's Look at Some Numbers
The monthly benefit you are entitled to is based on the money you earned during you working career.
As of February of 2016, the average full monthly retirement benefit was $1,344.70. A person who decides to take the reduced benefit at age 62 would get $1,008.50. A person who waits to receive their benefits until they're 70 would get $1,775 monthly.
Again, these estimates are based on the average monthly benefit of $1,344.70. You may get more or less. You can call Social Security to get a better idea of how much you will receive. Their toll free phone numbers are 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). There is a tool on their website called the Retirement Earnings Test Calculator that can help you with your own personal information.
When Should You Start to Receive Benefits?
That decision is based on your own circumstances. Here are certain things you'll want to consider.
First: Your Health. If you are healthy, it may be to your advantage to delay starting until you're older. If your health is poor, it may be better to start receiving benefits earlier.
Second: Your Financial Situation. Will you need your Social Security benefit to cover your living expenses? If you do, you should start to receive it earlier.
Are you going to receive a monthly pension from your employer? Do you have a substantial amount in a 401k or an IRA? Do you have money set aside in savings to cover your monthly expenses? If you have any of these, it may be to your advantage to delay as long as possible before you start receiving benefits.
Third: Are You Married? Did Your Spouse Earn Substantially Less Than You? If your spouse's earnings were far less and they are going to outlive you, it would be better to delay starting your benefit as long as possible. That way, the monthly amount will be higher.
Fourth: Do You Love Your Job? If you do, can you continue to work at it as long as possible?
As you can see, making the correct decision is important. If you are married, you need to discuss this with your spouse.
The Social Security Administration has quite a bit of helpful information about retirement benefits on their website, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/index.html.
The people at Social Security also are quite helpful. They can estimate for you what your monthly retirement benefit will be at different ages. Call and make an appointment. Go to their office and discuss this with them. The toll-free phone numbers, again, are 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
You Can Even Work After Retiring
What a great time to be a retiree!
If you're 65 today and in pretty good health, you can expect to live till you're 85. Continue to be in good health as you age and you will probably live longer.
You have the opportunity to do many different things during your retirement. Things you couldn't do while you were working. You can even go back to work. The best thing is you can do something entirely new—not the work you did in the past.
Work? Why Would I Want to Go Back to Work?
There are different reasons. Some are:
- Personal Fulfillment
- Supplemental income
- Social activity
- Financial support for other family members
- Keep your mind active
There is no mandatory retirement age in most professions. So there are many options open to you.
Again, you don't have to go back to your old job. You don't even have to do the same type of work you were doing. You have your base retirement income to fall back on. So you can be more selective. You can look for work that satisfies you emotionally rather than work that just provides you an income.
You can also arrange your work schedule to fit in with your retirement. You can work in addition to traveling, doing fun things, and taking part in social activities. You may even want to take some courses and classes to expand your knowledge.
While some retirees work full time, you don't have to. You can look for a part-time job. Many employers have part-time jobs available for retirees.
You may not need additional income. So you may decide to volunteer at a hospital, church, charity, or nonprofit agency.
Two Services Available through the Office on Aging
The Knox County CAC Office on Aging has set up two services to help seniors find work. These are open to residents of Knox County. There is no charge for them.
The first is the Senior Employment Service. Here, they provide job-search assistance, individualized job counseling, semiannual job fairs and workshops for seniors seeking employment.
Most of the employers they work with currently have low- to mid-level full- or part-time work available. These employers like hiring seniors because seniors typically are available to work more flexible schedules than their regular full-time employees.
The second is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). This is a federal job training program for unemployed low-income seniors age 55 or older who face barriers to employment.
SCSEP places these people in part-time paid community service assignments where they receive on-the-job training. The goal of this program is to give them job-search skills and work experience. This training prepares them to get similar work in the private sector.
To be eligible for this federal program an individual has to have a total family income no greater than 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Each participant works 20 hours each week. The pay is $7.25 an hour.
If you would like more information about either of these programs, please call Kayleen Weaver or Frankie Slay at the Office on Aging, (865) 524-2786, to schedule an appointment.
A Job Fair is Coming Up on Oct. 12
The Senior Employment Service is having its next job fair on October 12, 2016. It will be held from 9:00 a.m.to noon at the O'Connor Center, 611 Winona Street.
There will be representatives from 40-plus companies and organizations there to whom you can talk. Some of the employers attending will be from the banking, retail, food service, transportation, security and health-care fields. Typically, these companies are looking for people to work 25 to 32 hours a week. Most pay more than the minimum wage.
If you are interested in attending this job fair, all you have to do is go to the O'Connor Center on October 12. Advance registration is not required. You also do not have to be a resident of Knox County, but you should be a "mature worker."
Now I'm Retired. What Do I Do?
Last Friday you retired. Now you're wondering what to do. You have 40 hours or more every week on your hands. How do you fill that? At work, perhaps you were a boss. Now the only one you give orders to is you.
Your only plan was to relax, take naps, and maybe even get away on a trip. Well – that doesn't last long. What do you do then? Imagine what you can accomplish for the rest of your life. What will you achieve next? It is your time, your schedule, your passion.
You may have thought you would spend more time with your spouse. Frequently men have a harder time here. They fail to realize that their wives did very well without them throughout their marriages. That won't change when they retire.
Some husbands try to change what their wives do around the home. They observe and feel they see a better way of doing things. Disagreements occur.
To restore sanity, one has to get away from the other. They get out of the home during the day. Since the husband has no place to go, the wife frequently looks for places to spend time. She may increase her involvement with church groups or local civic organizations.
In a very short period of time the retiree is bored and feels lonely. They never believed it would be this way.
How Can You Prevent Boredom from Setting In?
Take some time to figure out what your purpose is. Then start to do things in line with your purpose -- things that you are passionate about. Your world is full of possibilities, new passions to pursue, part-time or volunteer work that is rewarding, people to connect with, and living a healthier life.
You may want to give back and help others. Look at volunteering at churches or with nonprofit organizations. You may also want to consult with small- to medium-sized businesses. One way is to call RSVP, a national resource for senior and retired volunteers. One call (in Knoxville, Tennessee, to 865-524-2786) can connect you to a variety of fulfilling volunteer opportunities that include driving older adults to errands in a provided vehicle, Mobile Meals (known as Meals on Wheels elsewhere), Feed A Pet (pet food delivered to homebound seniors who have pets), O'Connor Senior Center, working with adults on Medicare enrollment issues, minor home repairs and yard work with Project LIVE, fundraising efforts, and much more.
You may have a desire to learn something that you've never done before. Enroll in a class and do it.
You may also be able to teach. For a start, look for opportunities with local literacy groups, mentoring programs, and school reading programs. For more ideas, go to AARP's Life Reimagined site or check out Seniors for Creative Learning at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (meets at the O'Connor Center).
Take time to visit your family more frequently. Before you retired you probably never could visit them during the day. Now you can. If you have younger grandchildren, consider babysitting for them.
If you always wanted to travel, make sure to take trips and see those places you always wanted to see.
While working, you may never have had time to develop friendships. Now, be deliberate about doing that. Look for people in your age group you like and spend time on a regular basis with them. You can meet at a fast food restaurant, a coffee shop, a bakery, or a local diner—any place that suits your fancy.
Get healthier: Wellness classes, exercise, cooking classes, meditation, tai chi, and yoga are all popular ways to get and stay healthy. Classes are also a great way to meet new people or an activity to do with friends. If nothing else, just put on a comfortable pair of shoes and go for a walk in your neighborhood or find a nearby greenway. Get out! Breathe! Move! You'll be glad you did.
A person in relatively good health today can expect to live another 25 to 30 years. You have to make sure your finances will last that long. So you need to plan accordingly.
If finances are an issue, you may have to make adjustments in your lifestyle. You may even find it necessary to get a part-time job. That may have never crossed your mind but may be the only way to make ends meet. Get a job that you are passionate about – one where you're making a difference.
Realize that the older you get the less likely it will be for you to find work. So try to get that job pretty soon after you retire. You may even want to talk to a financial planner to help you make a savings plan with the income from your second career.
We Can Help
The Office on Aging can help retirees get the most out of retirement. We have many programs in which you can get involved. For those who want to volunteer, we offer a wide variety of opportunities. We also work with a broad spectrum of community organizations that you might be interested in. If you want to know more about what we do, please browse this website or call 865-524-2786.
The Graying of Tennessee
Look around you. Have you noticed seeing more gray than several years ago? You actually have.
Forget Senior Citizens. We're Mature Adults
The fastest growing segment of the population here in Tennessee and more particularly, in Knox County is those over 65 years of age. When we were younger, we referred to them as Senior citizens. Now as many of us enter that age group we prefer to be called mature adults.
By 2030, one out of every four people in this area will be in this age group. Did you ever think that would happen?
Three factors are leading to this growing segment of our population.
- First, the Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964. The first of these people turned 65 in 2011. From then until 2029 10,000 Baby Boomers have turned or will turn 65 every day.
- Second, people are living longer. Advances in Medicine have really increased longevity. People are living to a much older age.
- Third, Tennessee and especially Knox County are very desirable places to live. More retirees are moving here to take advantage of the quality of life we offer.
What are These Mature Adults Like? What do They Want From Life?
Age 65 and beyond doesn't mean it's time to sit back in an easy chair and watch others do things. Baby Boomers have a desire to stay active.
- Some have no intention of retiring and will continue to work as long as they can.
- Some will expand their knowledge and take classes to learn things that interest them.
- Others will get involved doing things they like and will volunteer to serve.
- Many look forward to spending more time with their grandkids. They will move closer to them so they can see them more frequently.
- Still others have a desire to travel and will take trips more frequently.
This group is feisty. Fiercely independent, they prefer to do things their way. One great desire is to live by themselves as long as possible.
Quality of life and health are important to them. They have seen how health problems affected others and have no desire for this to happen to them. So they exercise regularly. They eat healthier foods. They have regular health check-ups and follow their doctor's advice more closely.
Avoid Loneliness at All Costs
One objective of theirs is to avoid loneliness. They have seen too many instances where parents seem to have been forgotten by their families. At the same time, they saw their parents and extended family members lose friends as they age. The older those closest to them got it seemed less people spent time with them. Loneliness grew. Any time someone said hello, they would welcome the opportunity talk with them as long as possible. Their goal is to not let this happen to them.
In the back of their minds they realize at some point they may no longer be able to care for themselves and live independently. At that point they may have to move into a retirement center, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Their hope is to delay this as long as possible and to minimize their length of stay.
The Office on Aging salutes these mature adults. We were created to help them. We have many different programs. We also work with many different community organizations who also help. If you want to know more about what we offer, please check out our website at knoxseniors.org or call 865-524-2786.
Elder News & Views
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Click here to view the O'Connor Senior Center's July and August schedule and calendars.