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  • Older Americans Month 2017: Age Out Loud

    Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to. For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits you best.

    Take Barbara Hillary, for example. A nurse for 55 years who dreamed of travel, at age 75 Hillary became the first African American woman to set foot on the North Pole. In 2011, at age 79, she set another first when she stepped onto the South Pole. Former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. Actress Betty White, now 95 years old, became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live in 2010, coincidentally during May—the same month recognized as Older Americans Month (OAM).

    Since 1963, OAM has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support, and recognize our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.

    Aging Matters in Brevard will use OAM 2017 to focus on how older adults in our community are redefining aging—through work or family interests, by taking charge of their health and staying independent for as long as possible, and through their community and advocacy efforts. We can also use this opportunity to learn how we can best support and learn from our community’s older members.

    Throughout the month, Aging Matters in Brevard will conduct activities and share information designed to highlight our programs and services for seniors. We encourage you to get involved by reaching out to volunteer for Meals on Wheels, the Sunflower House, Senior TranServe or Vets Driving Vets.

    Join us and ACL as we speak up for #OAM17 and #AgeOutLoud this May!


    Visit the Official OAM Website

    Follow ACL on Twitter and Facebook

    Connect with Aging Matters in Brevard at (321) 639-8770 or via email at info@AgingMattersBrevard.org.

    Passport to Wines Around the World Welcomes New Host

    We are thrilled to announce that B.W. “Bernie” and LaVonn Simpkins will be this year’s hosts of the 10th Annual Passport to Wines Around the World.

    Proceeds from this signature fundraising event support the Meals on Wheels Program, Seniors at Lunch, In-home Personal Care, the Sunflower House, Caregiver Support and Respite Care, Transportation for Seniors and Veterans, and Volunteer Recruitment; all services that help seniors remain living in their own homes and avoiding long-term care placement.

    B.W. “Bernie” and LaVonn Simpkins and Aging Matters in Brevard invite you to help serve seniors in Brevard County by supporting our signature fundraiser on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The event will be held from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Space Coast Convention Center (Holiday Inn, 520 & I-95), 301 Tucker Lane, Cocoa, FL 32926.

    The evening promises to be filled with tempting hors d’oeuvres, distinctive wines, enjoyable entertainment, balloon pops, a live auction, and much more! The event will feature a live auction with auctioneer Sheriff Wayne Ivey, culinary creations by The Kitchen, special guest chefs and wine curated by Florida Wine and Spirits. Your support will help our Brevard aging community for years to come.

    Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm for helping Brevard seniors.

    Live Auction Highlights click here

    At this time registration is closed. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors!

    If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call Jeanne at (321) 806-3767.


    RSVP Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service with Canned Food Drive

    Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) Hosts  Canned Food Drive, January 16-20, 2017

    The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, a service of Aging Matters in Brevard, volunteers will collect canned foods from January 16-20, 2017 to benefit Central and South Brevard Sharing Centers as well as the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center in Merritt Island to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. Brevard County residents will be joined by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country on this national day of service.

    Donation Sites:

    • Martin Andersen Senior Center, Cocoa
    • Greater Palm Bay Senior Center, Palm Bay
    • Brevard Veterans Memorial Center, Merritt Island
    • Aging Matters in Brevard, Cocoa (Closed Monday, January 16)
    • Sunflower House, a service of Aging Matters in Brevard,  Merritt Island
    • Wickham Park Senior Center, Melbourne
    • Hospice of St Francis, Titusville
    • Suntree YMCA, Melbourne

    Most needed items: Peanut Butter, Chili, Soups, Low-sugar Cereals, Canned Tuna, Beans, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Pasta, and Rice

    Can Drive



    Hurricane Preparedness

    Aging Matters in Brevard has resumed all normal services with the following exception:

    • Seniors At Lunch Site at
      • Captain’s House – Palm Bay relocated to Coast Guard Auxiliary Building until further notice(1455 Main St, Palm Bay)
      • Port St John (Scheduled to reopen Monday, October 17, 2016)

    Seniors who are able to attend an alternate dining site (must provide own transportation) are encouraged to call (321) 639-8770.

    Updated 10/13/16 10:06 am



    Aging Matters Awarded CHAP Accreditation

    Cocoa, FL — May 12, 2015 — Community Health Accreditation Partner, Inc., (CHAP) announced today that Aging Matters in Brevard has been awarded CHAP Accreditation under the CHAP Private Duty Standards of Excellence. CHAP Accreditation demonstrates that Aging Matters in Brevard meets the industry’s highest nationally recognized standards. The rigorous evaluation by CHAP focuses on structure and function, quality of services and products, human and financial resources and long term viability. Simply stated, adherence to CHAP’s standards leads to better quality care.

    “By achieving CHAP Accreditation, Aging Matters in Brevard has shown a commitment to excellence,” said Karen Collishaw, CHAP President & CEO. “We are excited to begin our partnership with Aging Matters in Brevard by offering support in its commitment to providing quality care and continuous improvement.”

    Aging Matters in Brevard provides a variety of non-medical home health services to patients and their families in Brevard County. Established in 1965, Aging Matters in Brevard is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and maintain independence and maximize quality of life for the citizens of Brevard County, particularly the elderly and disabled. Aging Matters in Brevard is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization recognized by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agency on Aging as the Lead Agency for senior services in Brevard County. Aging Matters in Brevard services are funded by federal, state, and local grants (Eligibility requirements may apply). Private pay services are also available. Aging Matters in Brevard offers a wide variety of services to enable seniors to live safely and independently in their own homes. 

    CHAP is an independent, not-for-profit, accrediting body for community-based health care organizations. Created in 1965, CHAP was the first to recognize the need and value for accreditation in community-based care. CHAP is the oldest national, community-based accrediting body with more than 9,000 agencies currently accredited nationwide. Through “deeming authority” granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CHAP has the regulatory authority to survey agencies providing home health, hospice and home medical equipment services, to determine if they meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation and CMS Quality Standards. CHAP’s purpose is to define and advance the highest standards of community-based care.

    For more information about the CHAP accreditation process, please visit the CHAP website at www.chapinc.org. For additional information on CHAP, please contact Nathan Constable, Senior Manager, Communications and Industry Affairs, at 202.467.1716, or nconstable@chapinc.org.


    Brevard seniors grateful for gifts

    By Cindy Flachmeier


    A recent FLORIDA TODAY headline read, “A small gift can make a big difference.”

    From personal experience, I know that’s an understatement.

    For the past two Christmas seasons, I have seen the deep personal impact that small gifts made on lonely seniors in Brevard. The gifts were purchased with generous contributions from people like you to the Reaching Out Holiday Fund. Through a partnership between FLORIDA TODAY and Aging Matters of Brevard, your donations were used to buy handpicked gifts that the recipients had on their wish list.

    These seniors are your nextdoor neighbor, your elementary school teacher, or maybe the man next to you at church. They are parents, grandparents and great-grands. The commonality is that many seniors are alone, isolated due to poor health and have outlived many or all of their friends and family. Who better to touch with a loving gift?

    My involvement in senior gifting began in 2011 with a phone call from a FLORIDA TODAY editor, inquiring about whether Aging Matters in Brevard would be interested in partnering with the newspaper for the Reaching Out project if it were expanded to include seniors as well as thousands of children.

    With a quick “Yes, we are in­terested,” and after a year of planning, the 2013 distribution of nearly 2,000 gifts went off without a hitch. Gifts were distributed from Mims to Micco to seniors at home and at play. This second year, we upped the ante to 2,200 gifts.

    The gifts have been distributed for the past few weeks to individual homes, at the Sunflower House and at 11 Seniors at Lunch sites throughout the county.

    At the Martin Andersen Senior Center in Rockledge, this past week, a group of seniors attended a Seniors at Lunch program to enjoy good food, visit with friends and celebrate at the annual holiday party.

    I had the privilege of attending the party and watching 25 seniors eat a delicious meal and impatiently wait for everyone to finish eating so they could open their gifts. As their gifts were distributed, I quickly found out that seniors shake boxes, pull off wrapping paper, toss out bows and open their gifts with the gusto of their youth. They opened boxes and gift bags hiding slippers, cuddly throws, stamps, pajamas and darling Christmas stockings with gifts inside. The mood was festive and everyone loved their gifts.

    I find the most heartwarming aspect of this project is receiving thank-you notes after the gift delivery. I want to share these notes and stories so you can meet the folks benefiting from your donations.

    “Thank you so much for my wonderful Christmas gifts, the pink sweat shirt is so great. Just what I wanted. So warm and soft. The hand lotion is so much appreciated and needed. Thank you.”

    A 90-year-old husband and his 85-year-old wife who receive Meals on Wheels both completed Reaching Out wish lists. Unbeknownst to each other, instead of asking for a gift for themselves, they each had the perfect gift for the other.

    Often a request is made for a small gift for their pet: “The ‘kids’ loved their treats — another unexpected surprise to have the ‘kids’ get gifts since they are my family! The holidays are more pleasant when you are remembered. Thank you.” This note was accompanied with a photo of the “kids,” two cute Pomeranians.

    “Before things went from bad to worse in these past couple years, I was the one always willing to help wherever and whenever I could. There was no better joy in my life, than to give of myself. To do for those who could not go it alone. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been on the other end of the stick. I am so grateful for the gifts you gave me. For you and your families, I wish you all the best in the coming New Year.”

    “Thank you for the beautiful robe, it will keep me warm in the cold months to come. Your gift was such a surprise, the first Christmas gift I have received in 20 years. Thank you for remembering me.”

    I always feel a twinge of sadness and happiness when I read these notes. They remind me of how precious our lives are and how we must remember to care for one another.

    As we put away our holiday wrappings, I would be remiss if I neglected to say thank you to the people who made this project possible.

    To our volunteer project leaders, a giant hug and thank you to Kim Rodriguez and Merrell Shye. I want to give a special thank you to the elves from McGladrey, FLORIDA TODAY and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for hours of gift wrapping.

    Thank you to the Aging Matters staff who coordinated home deliveries. And there would have been no deliveries without our tireless 600-plus volunteers, whose only complaint was that we did not give them enough work.

    No matter what age we are, there is always magic in the air during the holiday season. Thank you to each and every one who played a part in this holiday magic.

    Thank you, FLORIDA TODAY, for caring about our precious children and older adults. Thank you to the Brevard community who have generously donated to the Reaching Out Holiday Fund. And for those of you who want to donate, there is still time!

    Volunteers and FLORIDA TODAY employees wrap packages for seniors at the Aging Matters in Brevard offices in Cocoa.


    McGladrey’s Annual Volunteer Day Helps Seniors throughout Brevard County

    At McGladrey, they take a special approach to giving back to the communities where they work and live.  It’s what they call “McGladrey Social Responsibility.” Established in 2010, McGladrey Volunteer Day represents their commitment to the communities where they work and live. On Thursday, November 6, McGladrey employees across the nation stepped out to help non-profits.

    In Brevard County that meant, about 30 volunteers helped prepare meals at the Brevard Community Kitchen, wrapped holiday presents, delivered meals to homebound seniors, or visited with a senior at a Seniors At Lunch site. The seniors loved seeing this group of enthusiastic volunteers, all wearing bright green McGladrey t-shirts, coming down their walkways to deliver a meal or into their Seniors At Lunch sites for a visit.

    Aging Matters in Brevard would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to the employees of McGladrey for their day of service!

    McGladrey ElvesMcGladrey team wrapping gifts


    Riverview Pilot Club Donates $10,000 to Aging Matters

    Thank you to the Riverview Pilot Club of Titusville who recently held a “Roast, Boast ‘n’ Toast Brevard County Commissioner Robin Fisher” to benefit Aging Matters in Brevard. Cindy Flachmeier  was presented a check for $10,000 from Riverview Pilot Club president Marcia Newell on Thursday, November 6.

    Florida Today Employees “Make a Difference Day”

    Making a difference in Brevard County

    More than 60 FLORIDA TODAY employees, friends and families fanned out across Brevard County Saturday, October 25, 2014 in conjunction with Aging Matters in Brevard, to deliver meals to about 270 clients as part of Make a Difference Day.


    Click here to read Momsense: Giving back a welcome gut check by Sara Paulson, October 30, 2014

    Florida Today employees load coolers full of lunch into their cars.

    FLORIDA TODAY employees load coolers full of lunch into their cars.

    Florida Today Change someone’s day or life by reaching out

    by Britt Kennerly, October 29, 2014

    One woman introduced me to her tiny dog, Jojo, who kissed me on the nose.

    My husband fixed the blinds on the back of a door at one house in Cocoa, while at another home, a bubbly lady gave me a fresh serving of her sweet potato pie.

    It was Make a Difference Day. I hope that in some small way we did, as Doug and I joined other FLORIDA TODAY employees and families in support of Meals on Wheels. Employees had overwhelmingly voted to deliver meals to homebound seniors in conjunction with United Way and Aging Matters of Brevard.

    It was a first-time volunteer experience for many, especially children. Eye-opening for adults, those who seldom see homes of those outside their worlds or how some seniors struggle to maintain their independence.

    Best, 275 people who don’t normally get meals on a Saturday — and might not have a visitor besides their Meals on Wheels delivery person during the week — got not only food, but affirmation that they matter.

    “Based on my experience, and the feedback I’ve received from our staff, seeing firsthand the appreciation from the seniors receiving the meals made the day extremely rewarding,” said Jeff Kiel, FLORIDA TODAY publisher.

    It served as a reminder that you can make a difference every day. Thousands of Brevard residents do just that in every aspect of life — at schools. Hospitals. Community centers, libraries and so many other places.

    If you’re up for a worthwhile challenge:

    • Volunteer. 2-1-1 Brevard can help you match your skills to an opportunity. Or contact United Way for opportunities to pitch in.

    • Donate to one of United Way’s partner agencies, whose services range from advocacy for children to housing for the homeless.

    • Speak up. Let elected officials know if you’re unhappy with the direction they take.

    Last year, federal budget cuts sliced $122,000 from the Aging Matters budget. The agency had to shutter two Seniors at Lunch sites, part of the program that feeds locals older than 60. And for a brief time, no new clients could sign up for Meals on Wheels, through which volunteers deliver between 700 and 800 meals five days a week. What kind of message does that send about priorities? The wrong one.

    • Reach out if you’re in need yourself: Friends and relatives can learn from your example.

    For example, getting a hot lunch through Meals on Wheels, or at one of Brevard’s 11 Seniors at Lunch sites, is not a handout. Too often, seniors won’t ask for help, especially those who are fiercely independent and view any assistance as welfare.

    • Reach out through social media and spread the word about how we live here on the Space Coast. If you haven’t started using Facebook or Twitter and can do it, consider it. Share messages about what’s important to you. Be persistent.

    Most importantly? If you want to reach out, reach within first.

    Take a good look at where you are in life. Make a few phone calls. Discover how your skills and passions can change someone else’s life: They can.

    You’ll find any day is the right day to start.

    Copyright © 2017 Aging Matters In Brevard. All rights reserved. · 321-639-8770 · info@agingmattersbrevard.org