by Ethel M. Austin
The purpose of this column is to keep you (and your caregivers)
informed of events, political moves for all of us in The Third
Age and any benefits we can use to make our money go further
than it does now. Many of these items will not apply to you at
this point in your life, but try to remember that you read them
at one time or another and call me at 543-8405 ext. 168. If you
really want an answer, don't call before l0 am or after 4 pm
or any Friday because I am not there. If you do leave a message
on the phone machine be sure to tell me when you will be home
to get my call Because it can be days before I can reach you.
In fact, here is a tip whenever you leave a message for someone
to call back, say what time you'll be available as it is time
consuming to have to keep calling with no answer. It is called
"phone tag" and those who play this game don't think
it is fun.
Sometimes I need you to tell me I am not l00% right and I welcome
such information because either I interpret something wrong,
or I have been given the wrong information. You know the old
saying "Nobody's PURfect."
There is something that bothers me greatly. I repeat it when
I can because I need to keep as many persons aware of the insidious
problems that can arise when income and outgo do not match. There
is no real reason for us not to seek help when prices are rising
and the money we get does not cover the necessities of life such
as rent and mortgage, all utilities, health insurance, food,
and still leave a little for you to have some fun, buy clothes
and make repairs on any equipment you have. Incomes below $10,000
annually are not able to support a $500 per month rent and gas,
electric and heating oil bills. Nor does a single person need
to live in a five or six room flat just because they have lived
there for 30 or more years and have a ton of big bulky furniture.
If your spouse has drummed into your mind all these years that
the house you are living in (which also may have taxes and a
half dozen more "care" bills than apartment living)
will be your solution to housing for the rest of your life, remember,
that spouse did not live to the present, when the problems are
arising . Remember, too, that when they were living you had more
income and that many of the things you may be having trouble
with today are everyday chores that your spouse did that you
never thought about. It takes real courage and a pencil and paper
to sit down and face the problem.
The most difficult part of solving this problem is making up
your mind to make a change. We need to understand that we are
living longer than the rest of our family; that we are unlikely
to have more income; that it is not wrong for us to be truthful
with our children or if no children, with those who can help
us solve the individual aspects of our life. However, if you
don't admit you are having problems there is no way we can offer
help. It is amazing the number of people who will not get the
correct papers together to get a Rental Tax Rebate or who are
having trouble paying for oil, but won't ask about Energy Assistance
that is available in the fall of each year.
Many of the best ways to lower food costs are simple.
Make a list of your needs and don't roam the aisles randomly
picking up items. Shop after a meal. Don't shop with your children
if they nag for this and that. Make snacks and cookies at home.
They are much cheaper and better tasting than bought ones. Cut
out and use coupons and triples even when you are on State Food
Assistance. Read the stores ad sheet at home, or if you don't
get it at home, get it at the store and spend time looking for
the bargains in what you need.
Remember that all prepared foods are more expensive. Get fresh
fruits and vegetables and cut your own chops from Sunday's roast.
If you are Irish and you love the sound of those irresistible
tunes, drop into the Sheraton and hear them played by a fiddler
from the "auld country" along with pictures of Ireland
taken by and commented on by Mike McGarry, with plenty of time
to sing along with Peter Harvey. The entertainment is free and
the food and drink prices are at a modest level as always. At
the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday Nights.
Coming up for us in The Third Age is the Third Annual Blue and
Gray Picnic with delicious food, fun, nonsense, and prizes. The
Hartford Police, in their blue uniforms and all of us gray heads
will have a gay old time with lots of surprises and attention
for the day. I'm telling you about this now as there is a limit
to the number of people we can accommodate so when you read this
call in and make your reservation. It will also give you time
to think up some absurd costume so you can compete in the costume
contest. There is no limitation to this contest - dress up any
way you want.
Talk with you next issue.
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