I recently read a newspaper article about the current senior citizens census numbers in our country. And of course, I cannot find that article now to share with you, but I did go to the Regional Planning site on my computer to locate our place in Portage County. Well, we have done it! There are more of us over the age of 65 (18.3% of our population), than there are children under the age of 18 years (17.9%).
Stop a moment and think about those numbers. There is no question that our community needs to provide educational opportunities, and basic needs for our children, but what about us? If anything during the past 13 years, I have seen programs for seniors be diminished or completely eliminated. But come on, we are 18.3% of our population in Portage County.
As we are approaching a major election next year, we want to ask our local leaders what their plans are for us. Are they going to increase funding for socialization programs? Are they going to support lower prices on medications? Are they going to expand tax reductions for seniors who own their own property?
We are voters, we can still contribute services to our community, but at times we need to be on the other side of this — we need services, we may need financial assistance, we all need to know that there is someone “behind us” who has our back, and who we can depend on.
Even though the weather has become “wintery,” we still need to keep moving, still need to contribute to our community.
Contributing does not always mean donating financially, but just as importantly donating our time and skills by volunteering. There are a multitude of places in our community that need our help.
If you live in and around the Ravenna area, I know that the University Hospitals Portage Medical Center needs volunteers (330-297-2591). There are positions available that require you to sit for four hours and offer information services, there are positions available pushing wheelchairs throughout the building and shifts that require you to assist in the ER, or in the Endoscopy Center. And, of course, there are many more opportunities to share your time and skills. If you are interested in helping with fundraising projects, the Auxiliary of UH would sure welcome your involvement.
There are many more needs in our community, and if you are 55 years or older, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program staff have a long list of volunteer opportunities waiting for you. Chrystal Shanley, Director, can be reached at 330-298-2666.
RSVP is also affiliated with the Foster Grandparents and the Senior Companion programs which do have financial stipends available, if you qualify financially.
Volunteering is not only a way to stay active, and help our neighbors, but it also can help you with your perspective on life.
Another sure way to remind our local “government officials” that we are here, is to spend money at our local retail establishments. This does not mean that we have to bankrupt ourselves, and more importantly, we do not have to ignore senior discounts and perks.
Did you know that McDonald’s can offer you a 10% discount on your order, or a free small coffee. (Depends on which restaurant.)
Kohl’s offers a 15% discount to individuals over the age of 60 on Wednesdays. Check with Gabe’s because they also have one day a week when they discount senior purchases.
If you are at least 60 years of age, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic offer a 10% discount on orders any day of the week. KFC offers a free small soft drink with orders, if you are over 55 years of age.
Outback Steakhouse offers a 10% discount on food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases if you show them your AARP card.
The next time you go shopping, do not be afraid or embarrassed to request a senior discount; you deserve it.
Hope you all have a safe, fun holiday season. Remember: give your time and compassion to others — the best holiday gift of all.