Senior Women Hold First Power of 10 Meeting

It’s amazing how much you can learn in 90 minutes.

Wednesday afternoon, the first Women’s Fund Power of 10 group got underway. Nine senior women (10 were expected, one forgot) met to talk about issues senior women face. In the next month, the group will decide how to give away $10,000 to help senior women in Winnebago County.

The group is part of the ‘count ME in’ project, in honor of the Women’s Fund 10th anniversary. Groups like this will give away $100,000 to change the community.

Meet these Senior Women
While the women are all seniors, their life experiences are different. They range in age from 61 to 73. Some are widowed, others divorced. Others are married. Many have children and grandchildren. A few have great-grandchildren. Most are retired, but a few still work full-time.

In the course of the conversation, they shared stories of survival over breast cancer, domestic violence and poverty.

“The problem is that women in our generation were raised to look out for everyone else before you take care of yourself,” one woman said.

Issues
When facilitator Terry Matousek opened the discussion to issues senior women face, the women could hardly contain themselves. Among the issues that they discussed:

  • Transportation
  • Home maintenance help
  • Hunger/food
  • Heating/utilities
  • Prescription drug/hearing aid/eyeglasses costs
  • Navigating the health care system
  • Access to exercise equipment (costs)
  • Adult abuse
  • Loneliness/mental health issues/depression for those living alone or without family in the area
  • Education
  • Self-concept (What happens when you can’t afford a perm? Make-up? Hair color? A dress for your grand-daughters’ wedding?)
  • Counseling on when to move out of your home
  • Hoarding/pets

After discussing these and many other issues, the women agreed to discuss three issues in-depth at their next meeting on July 1st:

  1. Food/hunger issues facing senior women
  2. Health issues/health insurance gap (between retirement + Medicare)
  3. Legal issues facing senior women

Women’s Fund Board and Committee members and donors will bring in information about resources available in the community on these issues.

Share Your Ideas
Have you seen one of these issues affect senior women? What was the issue? How did you address it? Or, were you unable to find help? If so, please share your story by submitting a comment below.

Submitted by: Brenda Haines, Women’s Fund Board of Directors

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