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Raising Awareness

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A.W.A.R.E. (As We Age Resources Exist) is a local group out of St. Stephen Catholic Community, Oviedo, that helps seniors and their families find the resources they need.

The A.W.A.R.E. (As We Age Resources Exist) group was started back in 2011 as an outgrowth of the personal experience of the group’s coordinator, Pat Grossman. An Oviedo resident, Pat had just gone through the devastating process of tending to the decline and eventual passing of her elderly parents, who lived in Ohio. During the process, Pat learned there were many resources in Ohio and locally that could help ease the many challenges we all face as age advances. But they were difficult to learn about and access. 

As a member of St. Stephen Catholic Community, Pat proposed that the church add a ministry to help the elderly and their caregivers learn about local resources that would help make their lives easier. 
“It was developed for men and women of a certain age,” Pat says, “primarily those who are over 50, seniors, retirees, and those thinking about retiring.”

The A.W.A.R.E. group was founded and focuses on holding open discussions about senior issues in a relaxed setting. Over the last seven years, the group has hosted volunteer speakers from local organizations who lead discussions about relevant life issues and the resources available. Topics have included:

Senior living options
Disaster preparedness
Legal issues/elder law (estate planning, wills, power of attorney)
Healthy living and eating
Downsizing and decluttering
Computer scams/elder fraud
Medication interactions
Keeping up with technology
Local resources like fire, police, and EMT
Medicare/Medicaid
Financial planning
Medical information/resources
Relationships and communications

Meetings are hosted in the St. Stephen Catholic Community Church Conference Center on the third Thursday of the month, September through May, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. About 20 to 25 people participate, with attendance as high as 40 for some topics. One need not be a member of the church to attend.
St. Stephen Catholic Community itself provides several programs for seniors such as its Parish Nurse and Senior Connection programs as well as a veterans ministry. The church also collaborates with outside resources for the elderly like the Winter Springs Senior Center. As she develops content for the A.W.A.R.E. group, Pat works to remain true to A.W.A.R.E.’s objectives to provide practical, educational information.

To learn more about A.W.A.R.E. and other local resources for seniors, call Pat at 407-721-5197.

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