Saturday, August 16, 2014

The July/August Issue of the Elder Update is available

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs publishes a bimonthly newsletter, the "Elder Update", for Florida Seniors. The current issue includes articles about:
  • New "Living Healthy in Florida" wellness campaign.
  •  Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE), which helps senior homeowners with reverse mortgage difficulties.
  •  Outsmarting scammers.
  •  State Park improvements to increase assessibility. 
  • Aging in place.
You can download the current issue here. Alternatively, you can sign up for a print subscription here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cares Senior Centers

CARES, Inc is a non-profit organization that provides senior centers, home health care, adult day care, and respite care for older adults in Pasco County.  On June 13th, CARES was named the Out-standing Non - Profit 501c3 by the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce.  CARES Senior Centers in Hudson and New Port Richey offer may activities for seniors, including:
  • aerobics and exercise
  • Arts and Crafts,
  • Computer Learning
  • Dances
  • Recreation 
  • Support Groups
  • Travel Club
You can read more about Cares here. You can check the Hudson calendar of events here and the New Port Richey calendar here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Aging on the Suncoast

Did you know that the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has been producing and hosting a community access television program, "Aging on the Suncoast", since 1988? This program  provides information of interest to elders, their families and caregivers. Past topics include:
  • Financial Resources
  • SHINE Medicare/Healthcare Counseling
  •  Medication Management
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Management of Chronic Diseases
  • Prevention of Consumer Fraud and Elder Abuse
You can  watch this program via Pasco County Government Access on:
BRIGHT HOUSE Channel 622  or VERIZON Channel 42
You can find the current TV schedule here.

Here are two of the most recent programs:

July 2014: Disaster Preparedness for Seniors:

June 2014: Domestic Violence in Later Life:

Monday, July 14, 2014

U.S. Census Report: 65+ in the United States: 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau has recently published an update of the 65+ in the United States: 2010 report. This report uses information from the 2010 Census; nationally representative surveys such as the Current Population Survey, the American Community Survey, and National Health Interview Survey; the national vital statistics system; and recent population projections for the United States and other countries. This report covers population statistics, health and long-term care, economic characteristics, geographic distribution, and social trends in the 65+ population.
Here are some highlights from the report:
  • excessive alcohol consumption and rates of smoking have decreased in the 65+ age group
  • the percentage of people overweight or obese has increased in this age group
  • Alzheimer’s disease was the fifth leading cause of death among the older population in 2010
  • The average cost of a private room in a nursing home was $83,585 per year in 2010
  • In 2006, Medicaid paid for 43 percent of long-term care. 
 Here are some bar charts from the study:

You can download the entire report here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Free Computer and Tablet Tutoring Available

Do you have a family member or friend who is 50+ and would like to learn how to use computers or tablets? Most Pasco County Libraries offer free beginning computer classes in the fall and winter. However, if they would like to start right away, the New River Library Branch has a program which can help them. We have trained teen volunteers to teach beginning computer skills - like mousercise, email, and Facebook. This one-on-one tutoring provides a fun, stress-free learning experience.  These tutoring sessions are free and you can call to schedule an appointment at (813)788-6375.
New River Library
34043 State Road 54
Zephyrhills, Fl

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Resources for Consumer Protection

If you have been a victim of consumer fraud, there are state and local agencies which may be able to help you. In Florida, there is the Florida Attorney General's Senior's vs. Crime Project. You can request help from them by filling out an online form here. You may also seek help from the Division of Consumer Services, which is a part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This department  is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, information and protection. You can find their consumer complaint forms here. For more information, you can call: 
1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352),
 1-(850) 410-3800  - if you are calling from outside of Florida, or 
1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en EspaƱol.

Our closest regional consumer help offices are:

Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency   1-(813)-903-3430 

Pinellas County Office of Consumer Services   1-(727)-464-6200

Another great consumer resource is the 2014 Consumer Action Handbook, published by the federal government. This guide includes a sample complaint letter and useful advice about how to resolve a complaint with a seller. You can pick up a print copy of this handbook at your local Pasco County Library branch.

Here is a video describing the Consumer Action Handbook:


If you live in another state, you can find an index of state consumer agencies here.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Physicians United Plan" Medicare Medical Insurance Plan is Ending Soon

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will mutually terminate its contract with the Physicians United Plan (PUP) on July 1st, 2014. This means that Medicare beneficiaries that were using this insurance company will have to enroll in a new healthcare plan by August 31st.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have stated the new Medicare Advantage/Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug Plans (MA/MAPD) will coordinate with Physicians United Plan to share information on the beneficiary out-of-pocket costs so that will not start over for beneficiaries. There are several options for beneficiaries during the SEP to include; keeping Original Medicare and the assigned Part D plan, purchase a Medicare Supplement policy (Medigap) to supplement Original Medicare, or select a new Medicare Advantage plan and/or change the Part D prescription drug plan assigned by CMS. The effective coverage date will be the first of the month following enrollment into the plan.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the state’s eleven Area Agencies on Aging are providing plan comparison and enrollment assistance through the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program. SHINE is a free and unbiased Medicare counseling program that can help beneficiaries whose coverage has changed to choose a new prescription drug plan or enroll in a state or federal Medicare cost-saving program.

SHINE can educate you about the choices that are available. Affected Floridians are encouraged to call the Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337) or visit the SHINE website, Information is available in Spanish and other languages, as well as for the hearing impaired (TDD: 850-414-2001).