Opportunities Abound

LivingPower September/October 2023

By Mike Taylor

Attendees at Durham Fall Conference

One line from our website says it all. “If you are a member, get involved here.” Membership in NCRGEA offers each of you a variety of opportunities to do just that, get involved. From a Zoom briefing in the comfort of your home to local district gatherings to regional conferences, your association is making it easy to get involved and engage.

One of the pleasures I take from serving as President of NCRGEA is to attend our regional conferences. Since last fall, I have attended conferences in Concord, Shelby, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, here in my home county of Carteret at Morehead City, and Hendersonville. And later this month, we have conferences scheduled for Statesville (September 13), Durham (September 19), and Greenville (September 26). This job is certainly offering me a crash course in NC geography.
You should have already received an invitation to attend one of the September conferences, and if one is close to you, I especially encourage you to do so. As our Executive Director Tim O’Connell says of these conferences, “The goal is to bring retirees together.” The conferences offer a chance to find out the latest information about a multitude of issues that impact our lives as retired public servants. Topics for the conferences include health insurance, Social Security, updates from the NC State Treasurer’s office, General Assembly happenings, and much more. Over a dozen of our sponsors and state agencies have tables to distribute information, talk with retirees about specific issues, and even offer freebies to take home.

At the spring conference in Hendersonville, Humana offered hand fans to attendees. I had to have one of those and told the gathering, in my opening welcome, after seeing the fans I had a flashback to that rural church I attended in my youth where similar fans provided our air conditioning. Of course, those fans were all provided by the local funeral home!

But NCRGEA provides so many more opportunities for you to get involved in your association. NCRGEA has nine regional districts that stretch from the mountains to the coast. Those nine districts come in all shapes and sizes. In the northeastern portion of our state, District 5 is made up of 25 counties, while District 8 includes just one county, Wake. Given the location of the state government, that should be easy to understand.

But no matter the geographic size of our districts or the number of retirees that live there, all NCRGEA members have the same opportunities through a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that is established in each district. These CABs, which meet at least twice a year, help connect NCRGEA with its membership at the local level. Join the CAB in your district. You can find out more information on a CAB near you by visiting the NCRGEA website.

Dr. Deryl Davis Fulmer, a retiree from the NC community college system, who also worked in higher education in Wisconsin, serves as our Community Liaison, connecting members with activities like our monthly Lunch and Learn webinars and other Zoom programs. These active engagement programs cover the spectrum of topics, from “Aging Un-Lonely,” steering clear of internet fraud, health insurance, and how to organize your documents for the inevitable (no explanation needed). We are quickly discovering that providing educational content programming is a value-added feature of your membership. Participation has been strong, with virtual attendance totaling over 1,400 since January 1, 2023. Dr. Fulmer adds, “It’s exciting to know how many members we are reaching.”

NCRGEA believes strongly in getting you, the membership, involved, and your participation is proving that if offered a good program, NCRGEA members will zoom in!

There are numerous opportunities for you to get involved in your association. Another line from our
website sums it up best: “NCRGEA is for those who want to be more active and engaged in retirement.”

District Community Connections

LivingPower September/October 2023

By Deryl Davis Fulmer

Members attending the September NCRGEA Fall Conference in Greenville

Dear Fellow Retirees,
Can you believe it? Fall is already here! The year has flown by; before we know it, it will be Christmas.
Please make sure you send us your holiday recipes, desserts, or drinks that you have enjoyed over the
years and want to share. We will publish our first NCRGEA Digital Holiday Recipe Book on November
3rd, just in time to enjoy it during the holidays. Be a part of this exciting and new activity and show off your culinary skills! Here’s the link: www.ncrgea.com/submit-a-recipe.

In June, we launched our first Virtual Lunch and Learn webinars, developed to share important topics that will help you to navigate retirement, understand aging concerns, and have information at your fingertips to improve your quality of life. It was held via Zoom on Wednesday, June 28th, from 12:30-
1:30 pm. It was entitled: Aging Un-Lonely: Staying Connected for your Health. Over 330 members
registered, and over 90 attended. Dr. Megan Smith, UNC-Charlotte; Dr. Cheryl Greenberg, AARP/The Age Coach; and Ms. Rebecca Freeman, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS/DHHS) gave the audience useful tools to help with isolation and loneliness. They encouraged participants to reach out to them if they had questions and/or needed resources. It was a great event and start to our Lunch
and Learn series.

On July 18th, AMBA representative, Jon Green, talked about the benefits of AMBA and the Passport Discount that is part of the NCRGEA membership packet. Members really enjoyed learning about these benefits and immediately began to access them. On August 16th, our third Lunch and Learn was about Aetna’s upcoming role as the third-party administrator for the state’s Health Care Plan. More than 370 members signed up for this informative session, and they asked a lot of questions. Our members are requesting more of these educational presentations, so the Lunch and Learns are currently scheduled as a monthly event on Wednesdays from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Please watch for the logo and be sure to register to attend. NCRGEA sends information and registration instructions to your email, so it is important that we have your email address. We encourage you to invite friends (members and non-members) to join these events. If you need to provide or update your email address, please send that information to info@ ncrgea.com or call our office at 919-834-4652.

In early July, I had the opportunity to attend the CenterWell Primary Care service launch for Medicare patients who live in Durham and surrounding areas. CenterWell is the largest of such services in the US and has locations in other parts of NC as well. Tiffany Roberts, the new market president, stated, “We are truly delighted to bring CenterWell Senior Primary Care to the Raleigh/ Durham community. Seniors live at the heart of CenterWell’s mission, to deliver personalized care that isn’t rushed, with a dedicated care team that is accessible and focuses on the unique physical, emotional, and social wellness needs of seniors.” For more information about CenterWell Senior Primary Care or to schedule a tour, visit seniorfocusednc.com.

We’ve heard from many of you, and you are interested in securing part-time employment. The Governor’s “Hometown Strong Initiative: Empowering Rural North Carolina” (featured in the July/August edition) may be what you are seeking. Please visit their website: hometownstrong.nc.gov, for more information. Be sure to check it out.
If you are interested in volunteering, please remember the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program and Meals on Wheels programs in your area. These organizations are always in need of volunteers across the state!
If you are in Wake County, please consider volunteering for the Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Your help is needed!

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at deryl@ncrgea.com. Please let me know if you want to join your district’s Community Advisory Board (CAB). And finally, if you are a new retiree, please consider joining NCRGEA and become active with us!
Happy Fall, everyone!