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GCOA's Senior Issues Newsletter

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Senior Issues Newsletter May 2024

Cover Story

Engage with CO-AGE 2024

It has been a successful season of Engage with CO-AGE. This is the time of the year when GCOA updates CO-AGE members on the advocacy work that was done during the Legislative Session, promotes the Call for Issues, and recruits new members. GCOA has enjoyed traveling and hearing about sessions at communities such as Southern Georgia Area Agency on Aging, Heart of Georgia Altamaha Area Agency on Aging, Athens Community Council on Aging, DeKalb Atlanta Senior Center, Sowega Council on Aging, and Barrow County Senior Center. We look forward to upcoming sessions at Clairmont Oaks and Legacy Link.

CO-AGE Announcements


Last Call to submit your issues to be considered as CO-AGE priorities for the 2025 Legislative Session! The deadline is May 3, 2024. Remember, you must be a voting member of CO-AGE in order to submit issues. Download the submission form HERE.

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​Anyone interested in advocating with or on behalf of older adults can join CO-AGE. Individual Membership is only $10! Paid members have the distinctive ability to submit and vote on the issues that GCOA and CO-AGE take to the Capitol and reduced rates for CO-AGE events. Join HERE!

If you are already a member, make sure that your list of CO-AGE organizational members is up-to-date. To report changes or updates to your membership, please contact

Share Your Personal Stories


Budget funding and legislation are greatly influenced by the personal experiences of older Georgians. Legislators want to hear about how you are affected by the budget and current laws of the state. GCOA can't succeed without YOU!! 


Click HERE to see a effective example of a personal story.


GA Department of Human Services Updates

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In April, the Georgia Department of Human Services was proud to observe Senior Hunger Awareness Month for the third year in a row. In Georgia, senior hunger is a large issue facing older Georgians. Spearheaded by Division of Aging Services Senior Hunger Nutrition Coordinator, Dr. Temitope Walker, community partners such as AARP Georgia, Atlanta Regional Commission, the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University, Legacy Link, and Open Hand came out to support the mission at the signing of the proclamation with Governor and Mrs. Kemp. Currently, more than 13% of older Georgians face food insecurity, which means that they do not know how they will afford their next meal and they may not have access to balanced, nutritious meals on a regular basis. DHS is deeply committed to fighting senior hunger, and that is reflected by our creation and implementation of the first state plan to address senior hunger. Read more HERE.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Cooling Assistance, administered by the Georgia Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Family & Children Services, is available April 1 through July 31, 2024, or until funds are exhausted. This federally funded program assists low-income, elderly, and disabled Georgians with cooling bills through direct payments to home energy suppliers. The application period for LIHEAP Cooling Assistance opened on April 1, 2024, to Georgians aged 65 years of age and older or those who are medically homebound. All other eligible residents can apply starting May 1, 2024. More information HERE.


GCOA in the Community

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GCOA Executive Director, Debra Stokes, was a speaker at AgeWell Atlanta's Senior Day at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. She facilitated a session on Advocacy 101. Throughout the day, attendees heard from a variety of engaging speakers, packaged goodies before delivering them to food pantries across Atlanta, participated in chair yoga and mindful meditation.

Council Member and Senior Week Chair, Sharise Byrd, recently appeared on a podcast sharing her expertise on family caregiving. Watch the insightful conversation HERE.

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GCOA's 2024 Distinguished Older Georgian and now Council Member, Mildred Schmelz, was interviewed and featured in a blog post highlighting Senior Week at the Capitol by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Read it HERE.

GCOA in the Com

Celebrating Older Americans Month


Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The 2024 theme is Powered by Connection, which recognizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being. We will explore the vital role that connectedness plays in supporting independence and aging in place by combatting isolation, loneliness, and other issues. Click HERE for more information.

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© 2024 Georgia Council on Aging

47 Trinity Ave. SW, 1st Floor, Atlanta, GA 30334

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