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A1. IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
It is Seniorresource.com's wish that you have a joyful holiday and a bountiful new year! As we welcome in this season of the year, our minds and hearts turn to giving (and getting). Here is a personal story about how volunteerism helps both the giver and receiver.
Downsizing and Freecycle by Monique Theriault
Veronica had just moved from a house to an apartment. Due to lack of space, she found herself having to rent a storage unit for her overflow. Not wanting to have to pay for storage for the rest of her life, Veronica had to decide how to dispose of her stuff, a hard decision to make - some of it had been costly and some of it had many memories attached to it. She considered eBay so she would feel better about the money aspect of it but, in the end, opted for Freecycle gifting. More to come below about her decision-making process. But first let me tell you a little about this movement that she opted for.
The Freecycle network is now the largest Web environmental community in the world making a huge difference in the status of our landfills, with over 5.7 million members in more than 85 countries! This nonprofit gifting movement enables individuals to gift items in their local communities rather than to throw them away, thus keeping over 600 tons out of landfills daily. In 2007 Freecycle was ranked by Yahoo as the third most searched environmental term on the planet, following only "global warming" and "recycling."
This huge grassroots movement started in Tucson, Arizona, when Deron Beale had a bed he wanted to give away but could not accepted at the local thrift shop. So he started a recycling group where members would give each other the things that they no longer needed. Everything was free, even membership. What started as a group of 30 of Deron's online friends has evolved into 4,610 groups worldwide with over 10,000 volunteer moderators. Freecycle empowers people, on a grassroots and local level, to take charge and make the world a better place both by keeping stuff out of landfills and by giving stuff to those who need it. It's that personal touch that swayed Veronica in her decision-making.
In a recent query, several members of Freecycle Huntington Beach, expressed their views on consumerism and the gifting of items. Veronica was one of those who replied to our query. We chose to highlight parts of her answer in this article because she has a clear idea of how hard it is for most of us to let go of our stuff and how Freecycle can be a real help. Veronica stated that she is not Christian, but bases her viewpoint on her spirituality.
Veronica's reply may be helpful to some of you who are struggling with
too much stuff. If it is and you'd like more information about Freecycle,
please go to: http://www.freecycle.org/
for more information or to sign up with a Freecycle group in your area.
Find gifts to make this a happy season for your senior at our Senior
A2. SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 5.8 PERCENT BENEFIT INCREASE FOR 2009
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 55 million Americans will increase 5.8 percent in 2009, the Social Security Administration announced today. The 5.8 percent increase is the largest since 1982.
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year based on the rise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding period of the current year. This year's increase in the CPI-W was 5.8 percent.
The 5.8 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that over 50 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2009. Increased payments to more than seven million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will begin on December 31.
Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $106,800 from $102,000. Of the estimated 164 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2009, about 11 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2009 can be found at: http://www.medicare.gov
Additional insurance information for seniors can be found at:
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Simple Energy-Saving Ideas
Some of these things are straightforward. They include replacing an old upright freezer for a chest model, and unplugging TV's and electronic gadget chargers when they aren't needed. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute of Snowmass, CO, water heating accounts for approximately 19 percent of total home energy use and costs an average household over $300 a year. Many things you can do to cut your water heating costs, include using hot water more efficiently, switching to water-efficient shower and faucet fixtures, and making a few simple adjustments to your existing heater.
Learn more at: http://www.rmi.org/
2. Pentagon Memorial Opens
With the dedication on September 11, the Pentagon Memorial is now open
to the public. The memorial is designed so that the nation may remember
and reflect on the events that occurred on that day in 2001. The memorial
honors the 184 people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks Admission
to the memorial is free and open to the public seven days a week. Groups
and individuals are welcome in the memorial each day but guided tours
are not offered; the memorial is meant to be experienced on a more personal
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
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D. SPECIAL OCCASIONS THIS MONTH
1. National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month
Each of us can play an important role by educating family members and friends about the devastating consequences of impaired driving and by insisting that they have a designated driver. Businesses, community organizations, and faith-based groups can promote substance abuse prevention and encourage alternative sources of transportation. By encouraging our fellow citizens to make responsible choices, we can help save lives.
Let's make it a happy and safe holiday season.
2. International Volunteer Day (IVD) - 5 December
During the holiday season, many people turn their attention to giving to charities or volunteering within their own communities--at homeless shelters, food pantries and even nursing homes. Let's work to extend this spirit of volunteerism throughout the year!
You and your friends or group can do something nice for the people in your community NOW, at the start of the new year, by offering to volunteer a few times a month at a local venue. For example, you could spend time with young students by reading some of their favorite books to them! Not only will your students improve their reading skills, but you will also be helping to give back to the whole community as well.
E. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. Home Health Care Data
Also learn more at http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm
2. Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO)
Organization members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations
are dedicated to:
F. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. More Things to Ponder
2. ID Your Computer Fix
Joe (not the plumber) was having trouble with his computer. So he called Richard, the 11 year old next door whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over. Richard clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.
As he was walking away, Joe called after him, "So, what was wrong?"
Richard replied, "It was an ID ten T error."
Joe didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, "An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again." Richard grinned. "Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?"
"No," Joe replied.
"Write it down," Richard said, "and I think you'll figure it out."
So Joe wrote down: I D 1 0 T
And Joe used to like the kid!
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at: http://www.seniorresource.com/jokes.htm
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Aging in Place