August 12 - 19, 1998

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Senior Scene

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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