Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Internet: What is in it for me? - An Internet Program for Seniors at Pasco County Libraries

The Internet opens doors to all types of information and modes of communication. E-government (electronic government) is a perfect example of this. The amount of information and services provided via the Internet is growing exponentially. Families who live miles apart can communicate daily via Skype, email, Facebook, and MySpace. Videos and pictures of new babies, weddings and anniversaries can be shared almost instantaneously. Join us at your local library as we explore: why you would want to know how to navigate the Internet, places you can go to learn how to use a computer, and the many of the wonderful services and programs that will be at the end of your fingertips once you learn to use a computer to navigate the Internet.

Wednesday, Jan 13th @ 2:00 pm
Centennial Park Library, 5740 Moog Road, Holiday

Thursday, January 14th @ 2:00 p.m.
Land O’Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’Lakes 

Thursday, January 28th @ 2:00 p.m. 
Hugh Embry Library,14215 Fourth Street, Dade City

Wednesday, February 3 @ 2:00 p.m.
Hudson Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson

Tuesday, February 9 @ 2:00 p.m.
New River Library, 34043 S. R. 54, Zephyrhills

Tuesday, February 16 @ 2:00 p.m.
Regency Park Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey

Thursday, February 25 @ 2:00 p.m.
South Holiday Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday

For more information call your local branch or the E-Government Services Manager at 727-861-3040

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

MetLife Foundation funded a national caregiving study conducted for the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP. This study was published in November 2009 and was composed of three parts:
The study of caregivers of adults 50+ was based on telephone interviews with 1,397 caregivers who are 18 years or older and who care for someone 50 years or older. Key findings of this study include:
  • they estimated that 43.5 million caregivers provide unpaid care for a family member or friend who is age 50 or over. This means that 19% of all adults in the U.S. are caregivers.
  • approximately 67% of caregivers are female.
  • the average age of caregivers is 50 years old
  • caregivers provide care for an average of four years
  • caregivers provide on average 19 hours of care per week
  • 55% of caregivers are employed while caregiving and 64% of these caregivers report having to make workplace accomodations (such as coming in late to work) as a result of their caregiving role.
  • 15% report their care recipient requires help due to aging
  • 15% report their care recipient requires help due to Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or forgetfulness.
For more information, you can click here for the full study.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Statistics on Internet Use by Older Adults

The Neilsen Company has recently published a report that shows that internet use by Seniors has increased 55% in the last five years.  This is an increase of over 6 million Seniors!  According to this study, the top five online activities for people 65 and older were:
  • Personal email  88.6%
  • Viewed or printed maps online  68.6%
  • Checked weather online  60.1%
  • Paid/viewed  bills online   51.2%
  • Viewed/posted photos online  50.1%
The top 5 online destinations for people 65 and older were:
  • Google Search
  • Windows Media Player
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Amazon
Facebook showed the biggest increase in use by older adults - it ranked 45th last year and is now ranked 3rd.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Mobility Website

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has created a new website that provides information for Seniors and their families about mobility devices. Several publications are available on their website:
Assistive devices (also called assistive technology) include more than just mobility devices - they are items that can help you to see, communicate, pick up items, etc. For more information about assistive devices, please see these webpages:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Website for Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Information

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently created a website describing the symptoms of hearing loss and the three types of hearing loss. Another web page describes the types of hearing aids.  In addition, the FDA provides this checklist, if you are considering getting a hearing aid:
  •  Get a checkup from an "ear, nose, and throat" physician to get a medical exam first
  • Consider going to an audiologist to determine the type and degree of your hearing loss
  • buy your hearing aid from a licensed hearing healthcare professional
  • be careful to choose a hearing aid that meets you needs
  • learn how to care for your hearing aid
  • ask about a trial/adjustment period
  • check out the warranty
Other good websites for hearing loss and hearing aid information include:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Positive Portrayals of Aging

It is nice to see positive portrayals of aging in the media. Old age can be positively portrayed by showing older adults enjoying life, contributing to their community, and living it up. One example of breaking the stereotype of old age is this boy scout commercial (found via the All things Aging blog):

Another example of a video which tries to change people's perception about aging is a documentary by Stephen Walker called Young@Heart. This documentary is about a chorus which is made up of people aged 73 and above. They sing all types of rock - classic rock, hip hop, and punk. The video below is the Young@Heart chorus singing the Nirvana song, "Come As You Are" :

For more information about this chorus, please click here for their homepage and here for a New York Times review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

National Family Caregivers Month

President Obama proclaimed November as National Family Caregiver's Month. The National Family Caregivers Association defines family caregiving as "... the act of assisting someone you care about who is chronically ill or disabled and who is no longer able to care for themselves."   President Obama stated that:
"Currently, a variety of programs and services offer help and encouragement to family caregivers. The National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Lifespan Respite Care Act include important resources for caregivers of children and adults, with opportunities to receive much-needed assistance and take part in support programs with other families."
 Here is a list of excellent websites that provide caregiving information:
These websites help you to search for residential care facilities or respite help:

  These websites help you to find government benefits:
The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas is a local agency which provides:
  • a caregiver handbook
  • respite care
  • caregiver counseling
  • chore services
  • medical supplies, such as nutritional supplements
  • a senior helpline (1-800-963-5337 for local calls or 1-727-217-8111 for out of area)   

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tampa Bay Senior Expo

The Tampa Bay Senior Expo will be held November 17th from 9 am to 4 pm at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. This expo is presented by the St. Petersburg Times and the Senior Living Guide. 
  The expo will offer:
  • free health screenings
  • educational seminars
  • retirement information
  • fitness information
  • travel information
  • over 100 exhibits
  • free giveaways
The expo will be held in the Sweetbay Entertainment Hall on the Florida State Fairgrounds. Visitors should enter through the U.S. Hwy. 301 entrance gate.  Parking and admission are free. For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you Veterans!

The U.S. Census Bureau has published the following Veterans Day facts:
  • There were 23.2 million military vets in the U.S. in 2008
  • 9.2 million were age 65 or older
  • 2.6 million served in World War II
  • 7.8 million served in the Vietnam War
  • 2.8 million served in the Korean War
  • 5.2 million in the Gulf War
  • 6.0 million served in peacetime
  • States with the most veterans: California, Florida, and Texas
  • $36,779 was the average income for veterans
  • 2.9 million received benefits for service-connected disabilities

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. The Alzheimer's Association provides facts and figures about this disease:
  • Approximately 5.3 million people have Alzheimer's disease in the United States.
  • Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia triple healthcare costs for Americans age 65 and older.
Here are two good websites about Alzheimers disease:
 The Alzheimer's Foundation of America sponsors the "National Memory Screening Day" each year and this year's date is November 17th, 2009.  On this date, qualified healthcare professionals offer free, confidential memory screenings. You can click here to search for local screening sites. 

Do you care for an individual who has Alzheimer's disease? The National Institute on Aging provides a free 146 page publication called "Caring for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease: Your Easy-to-Use guide from the National Institute on Aging":

Hudson Regional Library will be hosting two programs about Alzheimer's disease this month:
  • an "Alzheimer's Disease Overview" presented by a representative of the Alzheimer's Association on Wednesday, November 4th at 11:00am.
  • The "Long way home: a journey through Alzheimers" presented by Marian Ritchie on Tuesday, November 17th, at 6:30pm.
Hudson Regional Library
8012 Library Road
Hudson, FL 34667
phone: (727)861-3040

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flu Information for Seniors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all individuals 65 years and older get the "seasonal" flu shot. The CDC recommends this vaccination because older adults have a much higher risk of complications from the seasonal flu than do other age groups. According to the website, approximately 36,000 people die each year from flu complications and 90% of these people were 65 or older. The Florida Department of Health has a web page to help you locate a flu shot in your area.

However, older adults are not in the initial target group for the "Swine Flu" (H1N1) shot, because this age group is the least likely to get this version of the flu. If you are interested in finding out more about the seasonal flu and the swine flu, the CDC has partnered with WebMD to provide a blog called "Focus on Flu".

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Senior Information Fair

Florida's Long-term Care Ombudsman Program will be sponsoring a "Senior Information Day" on Tuesday, October 27th from 2:30pm - 5:30pm at the New River Library.  
                  Exhibitors include:

        *  Area Agency on Aging
        *  Bay Area Legal Services
        *  Caregiver program
        *  CARES (Community Aging 
            and Retirement Services)
        *  Department of Children & Families
        *  Department of Health
        *  Senior Helpline
        *  Senior Legal Helpline
        *  Senior Medicare Patrol Program
        *  SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance 
            Needs of Elders)
        *  Social Security Administration
        *  Veteran's Services
        *  Victims Advocate Program

         Free gift bags will be available.

New River Library
34043 State Road 54
Zephyrhills, FL 33543
Phone: (813)788-6375

Free Online Lectures and Courses

Do you need new skills to recareer? Or would you like to listen to course lectures from some of the best universities in the world? There are now many opportunities for free learning online. There are no class credits for these classes, but you can't beat the convenience and the cost. One of the best sites for basic computer classes - everything from internet safety to Facebook - is This site is funded by the Goodwill Community Foundation and also provides tutorials for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and Publisher.  If you would like to listen to lectures or access course materials for university courses, here is a list of good websites:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America's Best Nursing Homes

     Last year, one of our blog posts described Medicare's Nursing Home Compare website.  This website ranks nursing homes by a 5 star system and only includes nursing homes that are certified to participate in Medicare. 
     Recently, the U.S. News & World Report has created its own searching tool for finding nursing homes - "America's Best Nursing Homes". It uses the data from the Medicare database, but adds features to make searching easier. For example, you can search for nursing homes with a four star rating, which are within 25 miles of a particular city, and which are owned by a nonprofit organization. It will also allow you to search for a particular nursing home, even if you only know part of the name of the home.  In addition, the U.S. News and World Report has published their honor roll of the top 34 nursing homes in the United States, which are listed here. More information about this nursing home search tool can be found here

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

International Day of Older Persons

The United Nations celebrated the "International Day of Older Persons" on October 1st, 2009.  This year's theme was  "Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of  the International Year of Older Persons: Towards a Society for All Ages".

The United Nations has developed "Principles For Older Persons" to "address the independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment, and dignity of older persons". To learn more about the United Nations Programme on Aging, please click here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recent Grandparents Survey

The MetLife Mature Market Institute recently published a survey about grandparents. Highlights of this report include:
  •  63% of grandparents provided financial support for their grandchildren in the last five years.
  • Only 32% of grandparents gave their children financial advice (such as start saving early in life).
  • 26% of grandparents provided money for their grandchildren's education.
  • 25% reported that they increased their financial support of grandchildren due to the poor economy.
  • 22% believed that providing this money had a negative effect on their own financial situation.
This survey polled 1,077 U. S. adults aged 45+.  More information about this survey can be found here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Medicare Diabetes Screening

The American Diabetes Organization and more than twenty other organizations have created a national drive to promote diabetes testing in older adults. Diabetes testing is important because 1 in 3 older adults aged 65 and over have diabetes, but nearly 50% do not know that they have this disease.  In addition, another 40% have pre-diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are at risk for serious health problems such as blindness, poor circulation, and kidney damage. You can learn to manage your diabetes, but not until you are aware that you have this condition.  For more information about diabetes, click here.
  Medicare covers the cost of diabetes screening for most older adults aged 65 and older. You can qualify for the free blood glucose test if you are 65 and older, enrolled in Medicare, and have one of the following conditions:
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • are overweight
  • have a family history of diabetes
  • a history of gestational diabetes
You can read more about how to qualify on this webpage.

If you want to enroll in Medicare, please click here. If you would like to find a health care provider that accepts Medicare, please click here

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

PBS Series about the Boomer Generation

Life (Part 2) is an interesting PBS series about the Boomer generation and how they are redefining middle age. The series will have "... a combination of roundtable discussions, on-location field pieces, one on one interviews, and provocative video essays..." 
Episode topics will include:
  • Boomer Marriage
  • Generation Gaps
  • Caregiving
  • Dancing with Doctors
  • Fighting Ageism
  • Encore Careers
  • Boomer Grandparenting
The first episode will be available on the PBS website on 9/16/09. The full episode can be watched here.

Here is a clip from the Generation Gaps episode:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day is the first Sunday after Labor Day, which is September 13th this year. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed this celebration in 1978. Marion H. McQuade first championed the idea for this celebration and her descendants created a nonprofit organization, the National Grandparents Day Council. The organization website states:
"Our goals are to honor grandparents and to strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Additionally, we strive to draw compassionate attention to the eldest of society's elderly--those in nursing homes.

Martha Barbis is the 2009 National Grandparent of the Year

Come join us at New River Library this Saturday, September 12th, from 2:00pm -4:00pm. We will be celebrating National Grandparent's Day by hosting an ice cream social. There will be Wii video games, craft activities for children and their grandparents, and you can make your own ice cream sundaes!

New River Library
34043 State Road 54
Zephyrhills, Fl.33543
Phone: (813)788-6375

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Healthy Aging Seminar @ New River Library

A representative from the Visiting Nurse Association of Florida will be presenting a health program at the New River Library on Friday, September 4th, at 1:00pm. The program is called "Healthy Aging through Safety Awareness and Fall Prevention". Falls are not just the result of getting older. Come learn how you can prevent falls, so you can remain safe and independent. Refreshments will be provided.

New River Library
34043 S. R. 54
Zephyrhills, FL 33543
Phone: (813)788-6375

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Growing Old in America: Expectations versus Reality

The Pew Research Center recently published the results of a phone survey of 2,969 adults. This survey investigated people's perceptions about aging. Four age groups were studied: 18-29; 30-49; 50-64; and 65+. This study found that older adults experienced fewer of the negative benchmarks of old age (illness, memory loss, depression) than younger adults reported that they expect to happen as they grow old. However, older adults also reported having fewer of the expected benefits of old age, such as having more time for hobbies or traveling more.

Other highlights of the study include:
  • 60% of adults 65 and older say they feel younger than their age.
  • 45% of adults 75 and older report that their life has turned out better than they expected, while only 5% stated that it turned out worse than they expected.
  • 70% of older adults 65 and older say that they have more time with their family.
  • 80% of adults aged 65 and older reported reading a book, magazine, or newspaper daily.
  • men and women have similar expectations about growing older.
The full study can be accessed online here.

There were also regional differences in how older adults view aging. Older adults from the western part of the United States reported feeling younger and healthier than older adults in other parts of the United State. However, 63% of older adults in the northeast and the south reported that they get more respect as they age, compared to only 44% in the west. For more information on regional differences, please see this Pew Research report.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elderlaw Seminar at Hudson Library

A member of the Florida Bar will be presenting an informational program about wills, trusts, and estates at the Hudson Regional Library this Wednesday, August 19th, at 2:00pm. Please call (727)861-3040 to register for this program.

Hudson Regional Library
8012 Library Road
Hudson, Fl 34677
phone: (727)861-3040

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The 2009 Summer National Senior Games

The National Senior Games Association was originally formed in 1985 and was called the National Senior Olympics Organization. Over 12,000 seniors are expected to be competing in the 2009 Summer National Senior Games in Palo Alto California August 1st -15th. This event is held every two years and includes 18 medal sports. Medal sports include archery, badminton, basketball, bowling, race walk, triathlon, softball, swimming, and track and field. The rules and qualifying procedures can be found here. The "All Things Aging" blog from the University of Indianapolis has a nice article about the games here.
Below are two videos about the games:

National Senior Games Association Video

The Face of Senior Games Aug 1 Video

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Recent Caregiving Books

Do you care for an elderly relative or friend? Do you need information to help you with your caregiving? Pasco County Public Library System has the following recently published books for caregivers:

(Click on the pictures above to go to the library catalog page for each book.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TV Converter Box Coupon Application Deadline is July 31st

The deadline for applying for a digital TV converter box coupon is July 31, 2009 at midnight. This is also the deadline for appealing a denied coupon application. Applications can be submitted online here; by mail (P. O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000); by phone (1-888-388-2009, available 24 hours); or by fax (1-877-388-4632).

Mail applications can be downloaded here and must be postmarked no later than midnight, July 31st. It takes approximately nine days to process and mail the coupons out. You can check to see the status of your request online here. If you have received a coupon, it is good until its expiration date.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Medicare Information for Older Adults and Caregivers

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for adults 65 and older, and for people under 65, who have disabilities. Medicare helps to pay medical and prescription drug costs. There is now a "Medicare Basics for Caregivers" web page hosted by the National Institutes of Health on its Senior Health website. MedlinePlus also has Medicare resources here.

In addition, Medicare has launched a website specifically for caregiver information called "Ask Medicare". This website has resources not only about how to navigate the Medicare system, but also resources for financial support, local geriatric care, and legal support for caregivers. also provides a list of search tools for finding a doctor, comparing hospitals, comparing health plans, and finding medical equipment suppliers in your area.

In addition, you can sign up for the "Ask Medicare" email newsletter or you can view the newsletter online on this page.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free Eye Care Exam Program

The American Academy of Ophthalmology created a public service foundation called EyeCare America in 1985 to raise awareness about eye disease and to reduce avoidable blindness. EyeCare America has several programs which help people to afford eye care, including a Seniors EyeCare program.

The Seniors EyeCare Program has the following requirements:
  • must be age 65 or older
  • are US citizens or legal residents
  • have not seen an ophthalmologist for at least three years
  • do not belong to the VA or an HMO
You can call 1-800-222-3937 to determine if you qualify for this program or qualify for other eye care programs which they administer. The benefits of this program are "... a comprehensive, medical eye exam and up to one year of care - at no out of pocket cost - for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam." However, eyeglasses, prescription drugs, etc. are not included in this program.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Approximately 10% of the children in Florida are being raised by a relative, such as a grandparent. These full-time caregivers are called "kinship caregivers".The Florida Kinship Center, located on the University of South Florida campus, has many resources to support these caregivers. First of all, the Florida Kinship Center provides a phone information service for the entire state of Florida, which is called the Warmline. The Warmline number is 1-800-640-6444 and this service provides information about support groups, where to find legal help, and information about how to obtain financial help from various agencies, such as Medicaid.

The Florida Kinship Center also provides an online message board, chat, and mailing lists to discuss issues and find online support. In addition, the Florida Kinship Center has an online legal guide - the Kinship Care Legal Handbook - which can help caregivers to learn about legal issues, such as how to obtain custody. Other information available online from Florida Kinship Center includes:

The Area Agency of Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has a Grandparent Caregiver Program which offers legal assistance and a chore service. This agency has contracted with the Family Resources non-profit organization to provide grandparent caregiver support groups. You can call (727)550-4250 for information about these support groups and there is also a web page here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Take Precautions in the Summer Heat!

Recently we have had many "Heat Advisories" due to high heat and humidity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that older adults (aged 65 and over) are more vulnerable to heat stress than younger adults because:
  • Elderly people are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that interferes with the body's response to heat.
  • They may be taking prescriptions which limit perspiration or limit the body's ability to regulate heat.
  • They do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature.
High heat can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. For more information about heat exhaustion and heat stroke, please click here.

What can you do to prevent heat-related illness?
  • stay indoors during the hot part of the day.
  • stay hydrated by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
  • do not do strenuous activities.
  • stay in air conditioning as much as possible (consider visiting a public library or mall if you do not have air conditioning).
You can help elderly relatives and neighbors by checking on them at least twice a day, by taking them to air conditioned places if they do not have air conditioning, and by making sure that they have an electric fan.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AARP Recareering Study

AARP recently published a report called "Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life". Research has shown that many older Americans do not transition from full employment to retirement all at once. Instead, many people take "bridge" jobs before full retirement. This report used data from the Health and Retirement Study and focused on a group of workers (aged 51-55) from 1992 through 2006. Highlights of the study include:
  • More than 8 out of 10 workers left their employer by 2006 and 43% of these workers had started a new job by 2006.
  • One in four full-time workers lost their jobs due to business closings or were laid off.
  • Workers who retired and then started new jobs were nearly twice as likely to change careers as those workers who had been laid off.
  • Nearly two-thirds of workers who changed jobs also changed occupations.
  • New jobs were usually less stressful and offered flexible work schedules.
  • Hourly wages were lower for the new jobs.
  • Nearly a quarter of the workers who changed jobs lost their health insurance.
The full study can be found here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Library of Congress YouTube Channel

The Library of Congress has started to find ways to share their collections online. Previously, they started sharing pictures from their collection on (see previous blog post). Now they are sharing videos using the site. The Library of congress plans to continue adding to this collection. Currently, the categories of videos include:
Here is a curator presentation on "Rosie the Riveter" from World War II:

The Library of Congress has even more videos on their own site. Their "American Memory Collection" has many different movies available - from videos of San Francisco before and after the earthquake and fire of 1906, to 61 motion pictures showing vaudeville performances, to films of the Spanish American War.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preparing For Hurricane Season

Hurricane season began on June 1st. To prepare for hurricane season, you should review your insurance policies and find out about flood insurance - some facts and myths about flood insurance are in a post of the PCLS Resident Information Center Blog and more information can be found at

Some emergency preparation guidelines from the "Emergency Readiness for Older Adults and Caregivers" publication include:
  • Know the basics: know your evacuation route; know where your shut-off valves are for your household utilities; have a designated contact person who lives away from your local area; get to know your neighbors.
  • Have your emergency supplies ready - have a personal evacuation bag packed and have items necessary to shelter in place.
  • Make a personal plan - What special needs do you have? Do you have limited mobility or receive health care assistance in your home? How will you get this assistance in an emergency?
Detailed checklists for preparing for emergencies can be found in the Emergency Readiness publication mentioned above and the FEMA Are You Ready? guide. Links to more resources for emergency preparedness can be found here.

Pasco County provides emergency shelters for people with special needs, but you need to register ahead of time for these shelters. The registration form can be downloaded here. The completed form must be faxed or mailed to the Pasco County Office of Emergency Management.

You will also need to plan ahead if you have a pet. Pasco County has one shelter that allows pets, but you must meet certain qualifications and pre-register your pet. More information about this program is at this website. The pet registration form can be found here.

After a hurricane or disaster:
Seniors can find help through their local Area Agency on Aging helpline. Within Pasco County, FL the number is 1-800-963-5337 (if you have a local phone) and the number is 1-727-217-8111 (if you have a cell phone from outside the county). For other states, you can locate eldercare services through this search website. To apply for disaster assistance, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website (FEMA) here. According to a FEMA press release, "Disaster assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, and food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Want to get paid while job training?

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a national work based training program for older adults at least 55 years of age, who have a family income of no more than 25% over the federal poverty limit. It is being administered in Pasco County by Experience Works, which is part of Career Central. Career Central has offices in Spring Hill, Zephyrhills, and New Port Richey. The office addresses and hours of operation can be found here. The jobs pay minimum wage and involve about 20 hours of work per week. Participants are placed in local nonprofit organizations or in public agencies which are operated by the government.

According to Experience Works, "Thirty-eight percent of Experience Work's SCSEP participants found permanent jobs, notably as teachers aides, emergency dispatchers, care providers, and clerical assistants." The Pasco Library System will offer work sites for this program.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Low Cost Prescriptions

There are several pharmacies that offer free or low cost prescriptions:

Publix offers a 14 day supply of many common oral antibiotics for free. These antibiotics include: Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Ciprofloxacin, and Erythromycin Stearate. The full list can be found here. One only needs to bring in their doctor's prescription to one of the Publix pharmacies to get these antibiotics for free.

Walmart offers many generic prescriptions for $4 for a 30 day supply and $10 for a 90 day supply. The full list of generic medicines included in this program is located here. Walmart is also starting a pilot program in Michigan to offer free mail delivery of the 90 day prescriptions.

In addition, there is a nonprofit organization called NeedyMeds, which helps people who cannot afford medicine or health care costs. You can search for low cost medication programs on their website by the name of the drug or by the name of manufacturer of the drug you need. The website gives information about how to apply for the different programs. In addition, it lists low cost clinics, disease-based assistance, and government programs that can help with health care costs.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Planning Ahead for Travel

When you plan for your next trip, you might want to prepare for any health problems that could arise on the trip. If you become ill on your trip, you can use your Medicare coverage within the United States. However, not all doctors will take Medicare. So before your trip, you should search for a doctor in that area who accepts Medicare. You can search this webpage on the Medicare website to find a doctor

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Free Lunch" Sales Seminars

Many financial services firms are marketing to senior investors, who are a growing segment of investors. These firms have a sales technique - they offer free lunches to seniors, if they are willing to listen to their seminar information. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is concerned with unscrupulous and abusive sales practices of financial advisers who market to older adults. The Securities and Exchange Commission published a report in 2007 called "Protecting Senior Investors: Report of Examinations of Securities Firms providing "Free Lunch" Sales Seminars".

This report found that:
  • Free Lunch Seminars are advertised as "educational", but they are really geared to sell investments.
  • Attendees are not informed that the seminar is presented by a company that has a financial interest in selling these investments.
  • 23% of the seminars had financial advisers who recommended investments which were not suitable for particular customers.
  • 57% of the investigated seminars gave exaggerated or misleading claims about the investments.
  • 13% of the investigated seminars were selling fraudulent investments.
The AARP has a "Free Lunch" Monitor program where volunteers attend many of the free lunch style seminars and report their experiences back to AARP. There is an AARP online discussion group which provides a place to exchange stories about these free lunch seminars, which is located here.

The AARP has a good article about spotting financial scams. This article stated the the following phrases are warning signs of a financial scam:
  • "There's no risk".
  • "Your profit is guaranteed."
  • "The offer is only available today."
The AARP recommends that you take your time investigating an investment before committing to it. For more advice on what questions to ask at a free lunch seminar, please see the AARP article "Free Lunch Seminars: Questions to ask a Financial Professional."

How to find out more about a particular investment opportunity:
  • You can find out whether the investment is registered by using the EDGAR database.
  • You can find information about an investment firm or a broker by using the FINRA BrokerCheck.
  • You can investigate investment adviser firms on the SEC website here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Arthritis Information Program

The Hudson Regional Library will host an arthritis program next week:
  • Arthritis Q and A - Tuesday, May 19th, at 1:00pm at Hudson Regional Library.
[Hudson Regional Library is located at 8012 Library Road, Hudson, FL and the phone number is (727)861-3040.]

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis affects 1 in every 5 Americans. It is the most common form of disability in the United States. The Arthritis Foundation website provides information about the disease, publishes research updates, and provides message boards for support.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Older Americans Month - Census Information

The U.S. Census bureau has published their fact sheet for Older Americans Month 2009. Here are some highlights:
  • 37.9 million Americans were 65 or older in 2007, which is 13% of the total population.
  • $28,305 is the median income in 2007 for households headed by individuals 65 and older.
  • 65% of Americans 65 and older live with relatives.
  • 74% of people 65 and older have at least a high school diploma.
  • 17% of Florida's population were 65 or older in 2007.
  • Nine counties in Florida have at least 25% of their population age 65 or older.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Older American's Month 2009

May is the month to celebrate older adults. This observance was originally called "Senior Citizen's Month" when it was created in 1963, but it was renamed "Older Americans Month" by President Carter in 1980. The Administration on Aging has announced the theme for this year - Living Today for a Better Tomorrow. According to an article from Administration on Aging, "Nearly 40% of deaths in America can be attributed to poor health habits such as lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits and smoking. Older Americans can prevent or control chronic disease by adopting healthy habits such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet and ceasing tobacco use." The Administration on Aging provided the logo above and the poster below. These files can be downloaded and printed.

The following websites have helpful and accurate information about healthy aging:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Medicare and Medicaid Counseling

The State of Florida has a program called SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) that provides free counseling to Seniors about Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care planning, and prescription assistance. The program is administered at the county level through the local "Area Agency on Aging" (other states also have this program - either in their Department of Aging or in their Department of Insurance).

This program trains volunteers to help older adults to get the information that they need to make informed decisions on health insurance issues. They provide information to elders, their caregivers, and their families.

To receive Medicare counseling in Pasco County, you can call 1-800-963-5337 (if your phone's area code is from Pasco County). If you are calling from out of state or if your cell phone is from out of state, you can call 727-217-8111 for the Senior Helpline of the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco - Pinellas.

If you are interested in becoming a SHINE volunteer in Pasco County, please contact Sue Samson at 727-570-9696, ext 234.

The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco - Pinellas also provides many other services for seniors and caregivers. You can click on the picture below to access their website:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free Health Care for the Unemployed and Uninsured

Walgreens has started a program which provides free health care from their in-store Take Care clinics. This program will continue throughout 2009. This program is for people who have lost their jobs and their health insurance. The clinic will provide routine care and tests for minor health problems, but it does not include free checkups or vaccinations. Quest Diagnostics will be contributing to the program by offering some free tests, including strep throat tests. However, the prescriptions will not be free. More information can be found in this news article.

The free care will be available only from 11am until 3pm, Monday through Friday, at the Walgreens Clinics. The patient will need to show proof of job loss - such as an unemployment check stub and also fill out paperwork stating that they do not have any health insurance. The children and spouse of the unemployed person can also be eligible for free care. To find out more details about this program, you can call the main number for the "Take Care Clinics": 1-866-825-3227.

There are several Walgreens Take Care Clinics in Pasco County, FL. These clinics are in 35 markets throughout the country. You can search for your local Take Care Clinics on this search page.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Online Health and Wellness Information is a great government website created by the "Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion" and the "National Health Information Center". This website gives quick access to health information from over 1,600 government and non-profit organizations. It also provides interactive tools to give personal health advice, based on the age and sex of the individual.

Some of the features of this website include:
There is also a "GoLocal" link to find local health care services. However, not all states are participating in GoLocal. For example, Florida is not a part of this service currently. However, there is a website which has a Seniors page with local resources for Seniors.

You can also send electronic greeting cards (e-cards) to encourage friends and family members to stay healthy. In addition, there is a link to find support groups for health conditions. Another useful feature is a link to a quiz to determine if you are ready to be a caregiver.

HealthFinder is also available in Spanish - here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

State Archives of Florida Photos

An earlier blog post mentioned that Flickr had partnered with the Library of Congress to provide free access to their historical photographs. Now Flickr has added public photo collections from libraries and museums around the world. These collections include the Smithsonian Institution, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Maritime Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board.

The folks at Flickr are asking people to describe these photos by "tagging" the photos and commenting on them. "Tags" are the text keywords or terms that people use to describe a particular item, such as a photograph. For example, someone could add the following tags to a picture of a seagull - bird; seabird; gull. This Flickr collection is called the "Commons". The State Archives of Florida have just added their own photographs to the Commons.
Here are some of the photos from the State Archives of Florida:
(You can click on the photos to get more information.)

The Florida State Archives collection is called "Florida Memory" can be found here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Florida Caregiving Survey

The AARP partnered with the "Hospice of the Florida Suncoast" and "Florida Hospice and Palliative Care" to survey AARP members living in Florida. The survey investigated caregiving and end of life issues.

Survey highlights include:
  • 13% of survey respondents provide unpaid care for a relative, spouse, friend, or partner.
  • 45% of caregivers have been providing care for 1-5 years.
  • 39% of caregivers spend 6-20 hours a week providing care.
  • 39% of caregivers spend over 20 hours a week providing care.
  • 40% would like information about available caregiving resources.
  • 90% have heard of hospice services.
  • 64% have talked with their spouse, partner, or family member about their wishes for end of life care.

The full report can be found here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Medication Management Program for Seniors

The National Council on Aging has partnered with CVS /Pharmacy to create "Pack Your Bag" outreach programs at senior centers. These programs ask seniors to bring their prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements to be reviewed by a pharmacist. The pharmacist checks for possible drug interactions, checks for expired medications, and also informs the senior about the availability of cheaper generic versions of their prescriptions. If a "Pack Your Bag" program is not being given in your neighborhood, you can arrange to have a personal consultation with a local CVS pharmacist.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tai Chi Program at New River Library March 28th at 10:30am

Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise that originated in China. It is composed of slow stretches and movements that blend together. According to the Mayo Clinic, this form of exercise has the following benefits:
  • it improves muscle tone
  • it improves flexibility
  • it increases energy
  • it reduces stress
More information about Tai Chi from the Mayo Clinic can be found here. New River Library will be hosting an introductory class on Tai Chi on March 28that 10:30am.

[The Pasco Library System strongly recommends consulting a physician before beginning any exercise program.]

New River Library
34043 S. R. 54
Zephyrhills, FL 33543

Monday, March 16, 2009

Scam Alert!

There is a new scam which targets grandparents. The scammer calls someone and pretends to be their grandchild. They may know the names of family members or they may trick the grandparent into saying the name of the grandchild. The scammer then pretends that he is on trouble. For example, he or she may say that their car broke down, they are stuck in a foreign country, or that they need bail money to get out of jail. Then, they ask their "grandparent" to wire them money, but not to tell their parents.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that if you get such a call, you should not act immediately and send the money. Instead, take the time to verify the caller's identity by asking them questions to which only family members know the answer. In addition, try to reach the parents of the grandchild to find out if this is a hoax. If you can't reach a family member to verify the story, the FTC recommends that you contact your local police on their non-emergency line and ask for their assistance. You can call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 to report possible fraud.

The FTC has more information about this scam here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are You interested in Preventing Identity Theft?

One type of identity theft is when someone uses your identity to apply for credit cards and loans. Then the thief maxes out the credit card or never pays back the loan. The victim is blamed for the credit card debt or for defaulting on a loan that they know nothing about. Identity fraud can ruin a person's credit rating.

You can learn techniques to keep your identity safe and to protect your credit rating at an Identity Theft Workshop on March 19th at 2:00pm at Land O'Lakes Library.

(No registration is required for this program.)

Land O'Lakes Branch Library
2818 Collier Parkway -Land O'Lakes, FL 34639
Phone number: (813)929-1214.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Social Security Facts 2008

The AARP has published "Quick Fact Sheets" about Social Security for each of the 50 states. Some Florida facts are:
  • 17% of Florida's population is 65 and above.
  • by 2030, 27% of Florida's population will be 65 and above.
  • one out of every five Florida residents receive Social Security.
  • Social Security supplies over 38 Billion dollars to Florida's economy.
More Social Security facts about Florida can be found here.

Social Security Quick Fact Sheets for other states can be found here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seniors Crime Program - March 4th at 1:00pm at the Hugh Embry Library

The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc. and its Senior Victim Advocacy Program will provide a free seminar at the Hugh Embry Library March 4th from 1:00pm - 3:00pm. This program will include the following topics:
  • a free fingerprinting I.D. program for seniors
  • information about the free services provided by the Area Agency on Aging
  • a demonstration of the free 911 cell phones
  • Scam information
  • information about the National Family Caregiver Support Program
For more information about this program, please call Kathy Cromwell at (727)861-5233 or CARES at (352)523-1500.

Hugh Embry Branch Library
14215 Fourth Street, Dade City, Fl. 33523

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Youtube is not just for teens!

Youtube is a website which hosts videos created by anyone. It is most known for humor and music videos that teens upload to the site. However, there are older adults who use Youtube to share their information with the world. For example, Olive Riley was known as the world's oldest blogger at 108 years old. She used videos for her "Life of Riley" blog. She passed away last July.

Here is one of Olive Riley's videos:

Clara Cannucciari is a video blogger is who is in her nineties. She has a series of videos on Youtube about Great Depression Cooking. In her videos, she not only shows how to cook frugal depression food, she also tells stories about what it was like to live through the great depression.

Here is one of Clara Cannucciari's videos: