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

Healthfinder.gov 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 FloridaHealthFinder.gov 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.