“Grandma, did you see the picture of me at the dance recital? Mom posted it on Facebook.” “Grandpa, did you see the video of me hitting that homerun? It’s on YouTube and it has over 100 views”.  More and more conversation between seniors and their grandchildren start like this. It’s a mixture of familiar ideas and what seems like a foreign language. Even conversations with adult children have become more difficult to understand. “Mom, I PDF’d that document to you last week. Have you looked in your Inbox?” “Dad, you know you can download that article directly to the cloud”. 

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
~Mother Theresa

Susan and Nancy grew up a few miles apart but never met until a common need brought them together. The need for purpose, meaning, and a reason to get up in the morning.

Both women worked long careers but found themselves floundering after retirement.

Questions and Answers about Food and Nutrition

Q.  Are there any resources for food that are just for people over 60?

A.  The Commodity Supplement Food Program (CSFP) is a program that provides a box of food every month for income-eligible individuals who are 60+ years of age.  Household income needs to be at or below 130% of federal poverty level and individuals must sign up with an authorized CSFP distribution site.  In Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties, these distribution sites range from area senior centers and churches to township halls and fixed-income apartment complexes.  Additionally, the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) distributes a box of food quarterly to any eligible individual or household, regardless of age.  To find out more about these programs, and locate a site near you, contact Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency at 269-925-9077.

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” Winston Churchill

A perk of working in the field of aging is learning from so many great people ahead of me on the journey. Sharing one’s talent has a lot to do with quality of life.

                Not only is volunteering a win-win on a personal level, when you target effort towards real social need, amazing things happen.  Passion and action is stirred toward betterment; life improves. The cost of change? Amazingly low.

The concept of personal freedom has been a mainstay of our nation from its inception. It’s used in political speeches, chants at rallies, songs and sermons, and patriotic pledges.

It can, however, mean different things to different Americans. Most of us see the Bill of Rights as our national testament to freedom. And on the eve of World War II, President Roosevelt gave our beliefs in freedom new dimension by proposing his Four Freedoms to a citizenry crushed by the Great Depression– Freedom of Speech and Worship, Freedom from Want and Fear.

For caregivers whose loved one lives in their home, it can be overwhelming in ways they never imagined. It doesn’t matter how good our intentions or how committed we are to doing the right thing, it is near impossible to be prepared for the caregiving role. ‘Normal’ has taken a turn, and we must adjust quickly.

You and your spouse now take turns going to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the gas station… You carefully synch your calendars to be sure one of you is always home.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

Nate Whitelow, or Grandpa Nate as neighborhood children know him, doesn’t let what he cannot do interfere with what he can do.

Grandpa Nate cannot change the fact that 50% of third graders in his community are not able to read at a third-grade level. But he can volunteer four days a week at the Discovery Center Preschool helping kids develop early learning skills so they’re prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed in school.

Nate also cannot alter the fact that 28% of students in Berrien and Cass counties do not graduate on time. But he can spend summers at the Boys and Girls Club building relationships with kids who need a positive role model and mentor.

A life-long Benton Harbor resident and retired Benton Harbor Schools classroom para-professional, 65-year-old Nate has a passion and commitment for the young people he mentors and their families.

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