Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Retirement Destinations has ranked the attractiveness of 157 retirement destinations.  Criteria for rating these destinations included: 
  • the percentage of residents age 65 or older
  • the median age of residents
  • the number of seniors born out of state
  • the percentage of seniors who moved to this area in the last 12 months
This data was taken from the 2009 American Community survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The top three retirement destinations were: Bradenton-Sarasota; Prescott, Arizona; and Lake Havasu City, Ariz.  Other Florida areas on the list included: Cape Coral-Fort Myers (4th), Naples (5th), Palm Bay Melbourne (6th), Homosassa Springs (7th), Ocala (8th), Punta Gorda (9th), Port St. Lucie (10th), and Tampa (11th).  The full list can be found here.

Here are some statistics about the Bradenton-Sarasota area:

  • the median age is 48.1
  • 27% of residents are are 65 or older
  • 95% of the seniors in this region moved here from out of state
For more information, you can read the entire article here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NIH Senior Health Website adds information about Anxiety Disorders

The National Institute of Health provides an excellent health resource for Older Adults called NIHSeniorHealth.  This website provides easy to understand health and aging information.  It is very accessible because it offers adjustable text size, text color, and the ability to have the text read aloud.  This website is a good place to start to find health information about a particular condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease.  The latest addition to the website is a section about Anxiety Disorders, which is located hereAnxiety disorders "... are characterized by persistent, excessive and disabling fear and worry and get progressively worse if left untreated.  It is estimated that anxiety disorders affect between 3 and 14 percent of older adults in a given year" (National Institute on Aging press release).  More in-depth information about anxiety disorders can be found on the following web pages:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Senior Holiday Social at Hugh Embry Library

Seniors, enjoy a festive sing-a-long, games, prizes and holiday refreshments, followed by your favorite card games!  Bring a friend or two! Thanks to Friends of Hugh Embry Library for their generous support of all our programming.

                  Note our new time: 2 PM!
Who: Adults
What: Senior Holiday Social & Cards
When: Friday, December 17, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Where: Hugh Embry Branch Library 
              14215 Fourth St., Dade City, FL 33523

Questions? Call 352-567-3576

Sunday, December 12, 2010

National Influenza Vaccination Week

This past week was designated the "National Influenza Vaccination Week" and Thursday was "Older Adults Vaccination Day". The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are urging people 65 years and older to get vaccinated.  Vaccination is important because this age group is at the greatest risk of serious flu-related complications (such as pneumonia). For example, each year about 9 out of 10 seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 6 out of 10 seasonal flu-related hospital stays in the United States occur in older adults (press release). For more information about the flu, visit for Seniors.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Senior Fun Fest and Jamboree in Plant City

The Senior Connections and Mature Lifestyles magazines will be sponsoring a "Senior Fun Fest" on Wednesday, December 15th, from 9:00am - 2:00pm. Admission and parking are free and the event will feature:
  • Square Dancing
  • Live Entertainment
  • Free Health Screenings
  • Games
  • Free Coffee and Muffins
  • Prizes and Giveaways

    Strawberry Festival Grounds
    2202 W. Reynolds St.
    Plant City, FL

    For more information about the Senior Fun Fest, please call 813-653-1988.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Veterans History Project

    The Library of Congress began the Veterans History Project in 2000. The purpose of this collection is to collect first hand accounts of American war veterans and the civilians who supported them. This project includes accounts from World War 1, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam war, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan conflict, and the Iraq conflict to the present. The stories are collected as audio files, videos, or as typewritten accounts. You can find out how to participate in this project by clicking here. You can search the collection and listen to the accounts by clicking here.

    (found via the All Things Aging blog)

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Senior Cards and Social at New River Library

    Come join us for cards, board games, Wii bowling,

    and refreshments 

    Friday, December 3rd at 1:00 pm

    New River Library
    34043 State Road 54
    Zephyrhills, FL 

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Plan Ahead for "Aging in Place"

    The MetLife Mature Market Institute has published a report called "Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge".  "Aging in Place" means using care services to stay in your own home as you age, rather than using institutional care. This report provides a model which "... promises to use integrated home design, tools, equipment, services, and technologies to house and care for more people less expensively, more efficiently, and with more dignity" (p.4).  Aspects of the model include:
    • technology (devices and sensors to connect the older adult with the outside world) - such as emergency response systems and tele-health.
    • community resources - social support such as Senior Centers and Adult Day Care Centers.
    • transportation for older people who can no longer drive
    • modifying the home so that it is safer and more senior-friendly.
    The report then describes specific home modifications which can help people to "Age in Place".  It also gives a range of expected costs for these modifications.  It is a very  useful primer on how to prepare your home and how much it may cost.  Please click here for the full report.

    MetLife has also published  a supplement to this report, called the "Aging in Place Workbook: Your Home as a Care Setting".  This workbook has worksheets to help individuals and/or their caregivers to plan every aspect of "aging in place".  This is an excellent planning tool and you can download it here.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Senior Safety Phone Project

    Old Cell Phones Can Be Lifeline for Seniors!

    Please donate your old cell phones to the Senior Safety Phone Project, which provides seniors in Pinellas and Pasco counties with free emergency cell phones. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco – Pinellas collects donated cell phones, tests and charges the phones, and then distributes them to seniors in the community. For a full list of the donation and distribution sites in Pasco and Pinellas counties, please call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-96ELDER (1-800-963-5337).

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Thank you, Veterans!

    Today is Veterans Day, when we honor all who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  The Veterans Day National Ceremony will be held at Arlington National Cemetery today at 11:00am.  Tampa Bay area Veteran's Day events are listed here.  Below is an inspirational video from the Department of Veteran's Affairs:

    Have you chosen the best Medicare plan for you?

    Medicare's next annual open enrollment is from November 15th to December 31st, 2010.  Get information and advice on how to pick the best Medicare plan and prescription plan to meet your needs.  Jan Rauer, a SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) volunteer, will give a talk on "How to pick a Medicare plan and prescription plan" at New River Library.

                  Friday, November 19th at 2:00pm

                         New River Library
                         34043 State Road 54
                         Zephyrhills, Fl

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Senior Social at New River Library

    Come join us for cards, board games, Wii bowling,

    and refreshments 

    Friday, November 12th at 2:00 pm

    New River Library
    34043 State Road 54
    Zephyrhills, FL 

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Senior Expo in Largo

    The Senior Connection and Mature Lifestyles magazines will be sponsoring a "Senior Friendly Extravaganza" on Thursday, November 18th, from 10:00am - 3:00pm. Admission is free and the event will feature:
    • Live Music
    • Free Health Screening
    • Senior-friendly sports area
    • "Grandkids are the Greatest" photo contest
    • Free Coffee and Goodies
    • Prizes and Giveaways
    • Senior Fun Walk at 9:30am

      Largo Cultural Center
      105 Central Park Drive
      Largo, FL

      For more information about this Senior Friendly Extravaganza, please call 888-670-0040.

      Wednesday, November 3, 2010

      Social Media Use by Older Adults

      The Pew Research Center has published a report called "Older Adults and Social Media".  This report was based on a phone survey of 1,756 adults.  Here are some highlights from this report:
      •  Social networking use by internet users age 50 and above, has nearly doubled in the last year - from 22% to 42%.
      • 47% of internet users age 50-64 use social networking sites
      • 26% for internet users age 65+ use social networking sites.
      • 11% of internet users age 50-64 post status updates on twitter or other sites.
      • 5% of internet users age 65+ post status updates on twitter or other sites.
      • 92% of internet users age 50-64 use email and 89% of internet users age 65+ use email.
      The Pew Report gave some suggestions for why older adults have begun social networking: 
      • to reconnect with past associates to network to find a new job or career.
      • to find support online if the older adult has a chronic disease.
      • to interact with grandchildren and other family members, who may live far away.  According to this report, "... social media bridges generational gaps."(p. 7).  It provides a place where people of all ages can interact and learn from one another.
      The full report can be found here.

      Wednesday, October 27, 2010

      Additional Medicare Benefits Programs

      The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has Medicare Benefits Consultants who can give local seniors and adult disabled residents one-on-one application assistance to apply for additional Medicare benefits.  A Medicare Benefits Consultant can explain more about these additional programs, including the Low-Income Subsidy (also known as the “Extra Help” program), and the Medicare Savings Programs.

      The Low-Income Subsidy, also known as the “Extra Help” program, is a financial assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration that helps cover the costs of prescription drugs.  For those who qualify, it may lower your monthly Medicare prescription drug plan premiums, yearly deductibles and co-payments for each prescription.  Many seniors enrolled in the Low-Income Subsidy have saved as much as $3,900 a year in prescription costs.  

      Medicare Savings Programs are a different set of benefits that pay for monthly Medicare premiums.  In some instances, they can also save beneficiaries money on other Medicare expenses, such as deductibles, and co-payments.  If a person qualifies for a Medicare Savings program, he or she automatically also qualify for the Low-Income Subsidy.  Eligible Medicare beneficiaries are able to save as much as almost $4,500 a year, not including any additional subsidy benefits.  

      If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits available for you, call the Florida Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337) and ask to speak with a Medicare Benefits Consultant.  For more information about the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, visit the agency website at

      Wednesday, October 20, 2010

      Social Security Disability Seminar

      "Abilities of Florida" (part of the ServiceSource Network) will be giving a seminar about how you can work and how it will effect your Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security income.  The seminar will cover:
      • the Ticket to Work Program
      • how earning wages will effect your Social Security Disability income.
      • how earning wages will impact other assistance (housing, food stamps, and medical). 
       Tuesday, Oct 26th
      10:30am - 11:30am

      Career Central West Pasco
      4440 Grand Boulevard  
      New Port Richey, FL 34652

      For more information, please call Sharon Willman, Community Work Incentives Coordinator, at: (352)200-3038, (866)831-4559, or via the Florida Relay at 711.

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010

      The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of USF

       Looking for a fun way to learn - with no tests or grades?  The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of the University of South Florida is a member organization for older adults which provides low cost learning opportunities.   This organization provides academic courses, socials, and day trips.  These classes are taught in several locations in the Tampa area.  Membership includes:
      • registration privileges for over 200 liberal arts and computer study groups each year.
      • registration privileges for day trips and special programs
      • space-available registration for select classes at a reduced cost
      • borrowing privileges at the USF Tampa library
      • member socials
      • a newsletter
      For more information, please click here.

      Wednesday, October 6, 2010

      Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being

      The Federal Agency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics has published "Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being".   This extensive study lists 37 key indicators that measure aspects of the lives of older adults. 
      Some highlights of  this study include:
      •   The number of people age 65 and older has increased from 35 million in 2000 to 39 million in 2008. This population is expected to reach 72 million by 2030 (which is approximately 20% of the population of the U.S.
      • life expectancies have increased for both men and women: People who survive to age 65 can expect to live an average of 18.5 more years, about 4 years longer than people age 65 in 1960. However, life expectancy is lower here than in many other industrialized countries.
      • Women report higher levels of arthritis (55 percent versus 42 percent) than men. Men report higher levels of heart disease (38 percent versus 27 percent) and cancer (24 percent versus 21 percent).
      •  77% of the older population are high school graduates and 21% had a bachelors degree (a large increase from 1965 - which had 24% high school graduates and 5% college graduates, respectively).
      • After adjustment for inflation, health care costs increased significantly among older Americans from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006
      The full study can be downloaded here.
      [Note: some of the data in this report was collected in 2007 and 2008 and so it does not completely reflect the effects of the economic downturn.]

      Friday, October 1, 2010

      Senior Social at New River Library

      Come join us for cards, Wii bowling,

      and refreshments 

      Friday, October 8th at 2:00 pm

      New River Library
      34043 State Road 54
      Zephyrhills, FL 

      Wednesday, September 29, 2010

      New Guidebook for Older Job Seekers

       Employ Florida Silver has created a new guidebook to help older adults to find jobs. It provides tips for adapting to the modern workplace, information about assessing your skills and talents, job search strategies, resume tips, and interviewing tips. There is also a section with information about places to get training to help you qualify for jobs.

      Thursday, September 23, 2010

      National Falls Prevention Awareness Day 2010

      September 23, 2010 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.  It was created to promote public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults.  Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans age 65 and older.  In addition, the National Council on Aging reports that the United States spends about $19 billion a year on medical care related to falls.  However, many falls can be prevented.  "Learn Not to Fall" is a new website with a lot of fall prevention tips.
      In addition, here is a list of other good websites with fall prevention information:

      Wednesday, September 22, 2010

      Florida Senior Games approaching soon!

      The first Florida State Senior Games championships were held in 1992.  These games are for people age 50 and above.  Currently, the Florida Sports Foundation sanctions local games, which serve as qualifiers for the state championships.  The Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Department will be hosting the Tampa Bay local qualifier games this year from October 4th-15th.  The locations of the events, registration form, and brochure can be found here.  Sports offered include:  3-on-3 Basketball, Basketball Shooting, Billiards, Bowling, Golf, Horseshoes, Pickleball, Race Walk, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, and Track & Field. 
      The State Championships will be held Dec. 4th -12th in Lee County and the City of Cape Coral. These state championships are the qualifiers for the 2011 National Senior Games in Houston, Texas from June 16th - 30th, 2011. For more information on the National Senior Games Association, please click here.

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      Benefit Concert for Pasco Elderly Nutrition

      Artists for Humanity present
      "It's a Grand Night For Singing
      a benefit concert of Classical, Broadway, and 40s music

       September 24th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

      Bishop McLaughlin High School
      Performing Arts Center
      13651 Hays Road
      Spring Hill, Fl

      Tickets are $15 and include gourmet coffee and treats
      All proceeds benefit the Pasco County 
      Elderly Nutrition "Meals on Wheels" Program

      For more information, please contact Dolores Riego De Dios, Artists for Humanity coordinator: 352-588-4058 or 813-992-5738. 
      Tickets will also be available at the door.

      Friday, September 10, 2010 - Reliable Financial Information

      Twenty-one different government agencies have partnered to create  This website brings together unbiased and reliable information about financial topics, so that you can make smart financial decisions.  The website organizes information by "life events" such as "starting/buying a business" and "planning for retirement".  The "planning for retirement" section includes information on 401(k)s, long-term care information, step-by-step social security retirement benefits planner, and more.  In addition, there are tools, such as a savings calculator.  You can also request a free Personal Financial Toolkit by calling 1-888-mymoney.

      Friday, September 3, 2010

      New Resource for Finding Jobs in Florida

      The Employ Florida Marketplace Silver Edition website was created to help job seekers age 50+ to find jobs in older worker friendly businesses or organizations.  One can also search for volunteer opportunities in your area.  

      Other useful resources:

      Friday, August 27, 2010

      2010 Consumer Resource Guide

      The Florida Department of Elder Affairs has published the 2010 Consumer Resource Guide. This guide includes a telephone directory of important elder service organizations and general information for older Floridians.        Topics covered in this publication include:
      • Getting the Help You Need
      • Caregiver Support
      • Transportation 
      • Housing
      • Disease Prevention
      • Elder Rights
      • Safety and Emergency Services
      • Life Planning
      The full 366 page publication can be accessed here.

      Friday, August 20, 2010

      Encore Academy at Pasco-Hernando Community College

      Would you like to continue your education and take college courses? Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) offers workshops and courses for older adults, age 50 and above, as part of their "Encore Academy".  You can participate in workshops, take noncredit classes, and even take a three credit class.  Other benefits include PHCC library privileges and an open invitation to all free college events.  The membership fee is $125 per term for fall or spring term or $175 for the academic year.  Alternatively, you can sign up for one workshop for $40. 

          Fall 2010 Workshops include:
      • Getting to Know your Computer
      • Working with Windows
      • Ebay
      • Google, Twitter and Facebook
      • Gizmos and Gadgets
      • Calligraphy
      • Writing Short Stories
      • Artistic Design
      • Acting for Non-Acting Students
      For a full list of workshops, please click here.

      PHCC also offers a recommended program of study to help you improve your computer skills to prepare for a new career.  The program is called the "Encore Academy Plus 50 Workforce Program". 

      Friday, August 13, 2010

      Senior Card Games at Hugh Embry Library on August 20th

      Seniors, come as you are and enjoy playing card games and board games. Meet old friends and make new ones!

      When: Friday, August 20th, 2010
      Time:  1:00 PM
      Where: Hugh Embry Library
                      14215 Fourth Street
                       Dade City, FL
      Questions? Call 352-567-3576

      Friday, August 6, 2010

      New Federal Website: is a new federal website that brings together information from many separate websites (,, and hospital compare).  This website provides information about your insurance options, based on your age, family situation, and which state you live in.  The insurance information includes both the Medicare plans and the private insurance plans available in your state.  Another part of the website is devoted to preventative care - i.e. how to stay healthy.  In addition, another section of the website allows you to compare the quality of care in different hospitals.  There is a section specifically for Seniors, with information about the new Affordable Care Act and about how Medicare recipients can receive rebate checks when they reach the drug coverage gap (the "donut hole").
      Here is a video from the website describing the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Benefits:

      Friday, July 30, 2010

      July/August Elder Update

      The Florida Department of Elder Affairs publishes a bi-monthly publication called the "Elder Update". The July/August issue has articles about diabetes, a new Florida law affecting long-term care facilities, health and wellness, health insurance, and Veteran's Affairs. You can read this issue online here. You can access back issues of the Elder Update here. In addition, you can receive a free print subscription to this publication by filling out the online form here.

      Tuesday, July 27, 2010

      Public Hearing about Federal And State Funds for Senior Services

      The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has announced a public hearing to explain how federal and state funds will be allocated for Senior Services in 2011.  The hearing is free and open to all.  Those who attend will learn about local resources for Seniors and for caregivers and they can voice their concerns about what Seniors need in their community.  The guest speaker will be State Representative Will Weatherford.

      The Pasco County Hearing will be held at:

      Pasco County Dade City 
      Elderly Nutrition Dining Site
      13853 15th Street, Dade City, Fl 33525
      Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
      9:30am to 11:00am

      For more information about the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc., please click here.

      Friday, July 23, 2010

      Job Tips for Baby Boomers

      The MetLife Mature Market Institute has published a study about the new realities of the job market for aging baby boomers, called "Buddy Can You Spare a Job?".  The data for this study was based on a survey of 1,242 adults aged 55 - 70 and in-depth qualitative interviews with job coaches and employment agencies. This and accompanying research suggests that many baby boomers have decided to continue working until age 70 or later, at least in part because of the recent recession. Older adults face many obstacles in finding work. This study lists several faulty assumptions older adults make when looking for a job, including:
      • "I'll just do what I was doing before."
      • "My experience speaks for itself."
      • "I don't have time for this touchy-feely stuff about what work means to me."
      • "I know I'll become a consultant!"
      • "Of course I'm good with computers."
      The study then suggests several important success strategies, including:
      •  Reframe your experience to demonstrate future value.
      • Nurture your network.
      • Update your computer technology skills
      For more information, the entire study can be found here.

      Friday, July 16, 2010

      Senior Card Games at Hugh Embry Library on July 23rd

      Seniors, come as you are and enjoy playing card games of all kinds with friends new and old!

      When: Friday, July 23rd, 2010
      Time:  1:00 PM
      Where: Hugh Embry Library
                      14215 Fourth Street
                       Dade City, FL
      Questions? Call 352-567-3576

      Sunday, July 11, 2010

      Unemployment Statistics for Older Adults

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor has published an article about the high unemployment rate among older workers (age 55 and older). The jobless rate among older workers in February 2010 was 7.1%, which was just under the all time high of 7.2% in December 2009. This jobless rate is much lower than the jobless rate for those aged 16-24 (18.9%) and for those aged 25-54 (8.6%). 
      However, those older adults who are unemployed spend a longer period searching for a job. Older adults had a 35.5 week duration of joblessness, compared to 23.3 weeks for people aged 16 -24 and 30.3 weeks for people aged 25-54.  Another trend has been an increase in the number of older adults working, which has increased  through  mid 2009 and then stayed constant at about 40%.  For more information, please click here.

      Sunday, July 4, 2010

      Happy Fourth of July!

      We hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July.  In celebration of our country's founding, here are some interesting online historical exhibits:

      The U.S. National Archive "Documented Rights" Exhibit states that "Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our rights as citizens of the United States have been debated, contested, amended, and documented."  You can view this exhibit online here. Also, there are related photographs in the U. S. National Archives' Flickr photo collections.  Two of these photos are shown below:

      Photograph of Suffrage Parade 1913

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Civil Rights March -1963

      You can find other historical collections online at the U. S. National Archives here
      Other collections include:

      Wednesday, June 30, 2010

      Disaster Preparedness Guide for Elders

      The Florida Department of Elder Affairs has released the 2010 Disaster Preparedness Guide for Elders. This guide includes tips to prepare for:
      • hurricanes
      • floods
      • fires
      • tornadoes
      • severe thunderstorms
      • pandemic flu
      • extreme temperature
      In addition, there are sections about special needs, caring for your pet in emergencies, and disaster recovery. Click here to access this guide. In addition, local disaster preparedness information can be found at the Pasco County Emergency Management website - here.

      Wednesday, June 23, 2010

      Senior Fun Fest and Jamboree in Plant City

      The Senior Connections and Mature Lifestyles magazines will be sponsoring a "Senior Fun Fest" on Wednesday, June 30th, from 9:00am - 2:00pm. Admission is free and the event will feature:
      • Dancing
      • Live Music
      • Free Health Screenings
      • Games
      • Free Coffee and Goodies
      • Prizes and Giveaways

        Strawberry Festival Grounds
        2202 W. Reynolds St.
        Plant City, FL

        For more information about the Senior Fun Fest, please call 813-653-1988.

        Friday, June 18, 2010

        Senior Card Games at Hugh Embry

        Come out to the Hugh Embry Library to play cards with old friends, and make new friends! Board games will also be available. Light refreshments will be served.

        What:   Senior Games
        When:  Friday, June 25, 2010
        Time:   1:00 PM
        Where:  Hugh Embry Library
                      14215 Fourth St., Dade City, FL 33523

        Questions? Call 352-567-3576

        Friday, June 11, 2010

        Website to Compare Prescription Drug Prices in Florida

        Want to find the lowest price for your prescription drug at local pharmacies? The Florida Attorney General and the Agency for Health Care Administration have created a website to enable Florida residents to compare prescription drug prices at different pharmacies. This website,, provides information about the 100 most commonly used prescription drugs and the price information is updated monthly. The reported prices are retail prices for uninsured customers without any supplemental plan.  Note: prices may change within the month, so these are not guaranteed prices.

        Friday, June 4, 2010

        How Healthy is Your County?

        The University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released a set of reports which rank the health of every county in the United States. You can compare your county to other counties in your state. The rankings are based on how healthy people are and how long they live in each county. The rankings also take into account key factors that effect health, such as: air pollution levels, rates of violent crime, smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, and the number of children living in poverty. These County Health Rankings are online and can be searched here.

        Pasco County is ranked 37th out of 67 counties in Florida in Health Outcomes and 25th out of 67 counties in Health Factors. The Pasco County Summary for 2010 provided the following statistics:
        •   9,150 premature deaths (the target value is 6,978)
        • 17% of people reported poor or fair health
        • the average number of poor physical health days reported by people in the last 30 days: 4.7 days
        • 24% of adults do not have health insurance
        • motor vehicle crash death rate per 100,000 population: 24 (target is 16)
        The Florida summary report can be found here.

        Saturday, May 29, 2010

        Volunteer Opportunities in Pasco County

        Community Aging and Retirement Services, Inc. (CARES) is urgently looking for volunteers for the Elfers Center. They need people to help with the "Telephone Reassurance Program". Volunteers in this program make telephone calls to elderly people to monitor their safety and to provide social support. In addition, they need volunteers to work in the center's thrift shop. To find out more about volunteering for one of these positions, please call (727)847-1290. Click here for more volunteer opportunities at other CARES Senior Centers within Pasco County.

        Friday, May 21, 2010

        Make a Wish Programs for Seniors

        You have probably heard of the Make a Wish Foundation, which helps children with life threatening illnesses, but did you know there are similar organizations that help low income older adults? Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime Foundation grants lifelong wishes to Seniors who "have overcome tremendous challenges in their lives". This foundation was started by Olympic skier and former NFL player Jeremy Bloom and it now fulfills wishes for Seniors throughout the United States. The following video shows highlights from one wish: a trip for two dozen World War II and Korean War veterans from Ohio to see the World War II and Korean War Memorials in Washington, DC.

        For more information about applying for a wish or about supporting this Foundation, click here 

        The Twilight Wish Foundation is similar organization, which was founded in 2003. It has 13 chapters in 12 states (including Florida), which have fulfilled 1275 wishes in people in 35 states. One unique aspect of the Twilight Wish Foundation is their Inter-generational Caring Programs which bring students, clubs, and schools together to make wishes come true. For more information about this charity, please click here.

        The Forever Young Senior Wish Organization in Collierville, TN wants to "change the image of aging and redefine it with self-confidence, respect, and a fun-filled life." This organization has fulfilled wishes from celebrating a 100th birthday, to family reunions, to getting an electric wheelchair. For more information on this organization, please click here.

        Friday, May 14, 2010

        New Search Engine for Older Adults

        Sunmee Huh, a high school student has recently designed a user friendly search engine for older adults and people with low vision. This search engine is called Good50 and it has many useful features:
        • a large search box
        • on-screen zoom
        • fewer ads (only ads on the side, not the top of the page)
        • a high contrast version is available for people with low vision
        • safe search is on to prevent explicit content
        This search engine also raises money for charities - it donates 5 cents to a charity for every 50 visits to the site. Previous charities include Meals on Wheels and the American Red Cross. Ms. Huh designed the website to help her grandfather search the internet. For more information about Good50 and Sunmee Huh, please click here for a Washington Post article about the website.

        Here is a video introducing Good50 from Sunmee Huh:

        Saturday, May 8, 2010

        Hurricane Expo 2010

        Hurricane season starts June first - are you ready? The Pasco County Office of Emergency Management will be hosting "Hurricane Expo 2010".  This year's theme is "Weather you go or stay, prepare today". Public safety agencies at the expo will teach you how to protect your home from hurricanes and how to prepare a plan for possible evacuation.

        Saturday,  May  15
        9:00am - 2:00pm 

        New Port Richey Recreation Center
        6630 Van Buren Street, New Port Richey
        (between Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street)

        Free Parking and Free Admission

        Featuring Steve Jerve, Chief Meteorologist
        News Channel 8 Presenting at:
        12 Noon

        Additional Pasco County hurricane preparation information and online emergency preparedness guides:  

        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.

        The "Emergency Readiness for Older Adults and Caregivers" publication recommends that you:

        • 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.

        Friday, May 7, 2010

        Census Facts for "Older American's Month" 2010

        President Obama proclaimed May, 2010 as "Older Americans Month". This year's theme of "Older Americans Month" is "Age Strong! Live Long!".  Every Year the U.S. Census Bureau provides a fact sheet to celebrate this month. 
        Here are some highlights from this fact sheet:
        • 38.9 million people in the U.S.were 65 or older in 2008
        • $29,744 is the median income of householders 65 and older
        • 9.7% is the poverty rate for people 65 and older
        • 6.2 million people 65 or older were in the workforce in 2008 and this is projected to increase to 10.1 million by 2016
        • The state with the highest percentage of the population 65 or older is Florida with 17% age 65+
        • 70% of people age 65 or older reported voting in the 2008 presidential election
        • 56% of people 65 and older were married in 2009
        • 9.1 million veterans of the armed services are age 65 or older
        The full census report can be found here.

        Wednesday, May 5, 2010

        Senior Fun Fest at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

        The Senior Connections and Mature Lifestyles magazines will be sponsoring a "Senior Fun Fest" on Wednesday, May 12th, from 9:00am - 1:00pm. Admission is free and the event will feature:
        • Free admission to the aquarium and exhibits
        • Free Dolphin Show
        • Free Health Screenings
        • Live Music
        • Free Muffins and Coffee
        • Prizes and Giveaways

          Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located at:
          249 Windward Passage
          Clearwater, FL

          For more information about the Senior Fun Fest, please call 813-653-1988 or 1-888-670-0040. 
          For directions, please call 727-441-1790.

          Tuesday, May 4, 2010

          Friday, May 7th at 3:00pm - Senior Social

          New River Library will be hosting its first Senior Social this Friday at 3:00pm. There will be games, Wii bowling, and some light refreshments. Bring your friends and come as you are!

          Monday, April 26, 2010

          Senior Victim Advocate Program

          All of us deserve to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.  But sometimes this isn’t the case and physical, emotional or financial abuse occurs.  If you feel you’re a victim—or you know someone who is—the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas can help if you’re 60 or older.

          The Agency will provide information, referrals, and counseling.  Most importantly, if it comes to it, they will walk you through the judicial system.  Criminal court orientation, accompaniment to court, assistance with the return of property, help with forms, and emergency legal advocacy are all available free of charge from this agency. 

          Being a victim of a crime can be upsetting and confusing.  Call the AAAPP for free and professional advocacy, and a shoulder to lean on.

          Area Agency on Aging Senior Victim Advocate
          (727) 861-5233

          Monday, April 19, 2010

          Medicare's "Hospital Compare" Website

          The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services have partnered to provide the "Hospital Compare" website.  This tool can help you to choose the best hospital for your medical condition or surgical procedure.  In addition, this website provides information about a hospital's quality of care, as measured by patient surveys. You can search for hospitals by name, city, county, or distance from your zip code.  The website compares hospitals using several types of information.  

          First, there are the "Hospital Process of Care Measures". These measures "show how often hospitals give recommended treatments known to get the best results for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures". They have information about best practices for heart attack care, heart failure care, pneumonia care, asthma care, and surgical care.

          The next section is "Hospital Outcome of Care Measures". This information includes death rates and hospital readmission rates for each hospital. The ratings are fair, since the "calculations take into account how sick patients were when they went in for their initial hospitalization". Other measures include "Structural Measures", such as whether the hospital uses electronic health records.

          Another Medicare website, Nursing Home Compare, helps people to choose a good quality nursing home.

          Friday, April 16, 2010

          Senior Social at Hugh Embry on Friday, April 23rd at 1:00pm

          It's time for the April Senior Social at Hugh Embry Library. There will be a craft activity - making a gift bag from fabric, with no sewing involved! Also, there will be games, a sing-along,  and some light refreshments. Bring your friends and come as you are!

          What: Senior Social

          When: Friday, April 23, 2010

          Time: 1:00 PM

          Where:  Hugh Embry Library
                        14215 Fourth St., Dade City, FL 33523

          Questions? Call 352-567-3576

          Tuesday, April 13, 2010

          Bay Area Elder Consumer Protection Expo

          The Elder Consumer Protection Program of the Stetson University College of Law will be hosting the Bay Area Elder Consumer Protection Expo.  This Expo is part of the Financial Scam & Fraud Elder Awareness Project

          This Expo is free to the public and will feature:
          • A consumer panel with Jackie Callaway from ABC Action News and Ivan Penn from the St. Petersburg Times
          • Consumer protection materials
          • A consumer panel with Ivan Penn from the St. Petersburg Times
          • Free shredding services
          • Do-Not-Call kiosk
          • Credit report kiosk
          • Exhibits by federal, state, and local agencies
          • Free continental breakfast 
          • Door prizes
          Date:  Tuesday, April 20th from 9:00am - 2:00pm

          Location of Expo:
          Stetson University College of Law
          1401 - 61st Street South
          Gulfport, Fl 33707 

          For more information, please contact Slade V. Dukes at (727)562-7888 or

          Friday, April 9, 2010

          Senior Card Games at Hugh Embry on April 16th at 1:00pm

          Come out to the Hugh Embry Library to play cards with friends, and make new ones! It's time to relax, smell the roses, and play cards!

          What:   Senior Social
          When:  Friday, April 16, 2010
          Time:   1:00 PM
          Where:  Hugh Embry Library
                        14215 Fourth St., Dade City, FL 33523

          Questions? Call 352-567-3576

          Tuesday, April 6, 2010

          Veterans Benefit Resource Fair

          Are you a veteran?  Are you interested in finding out what benefits are available to you?  Then consider attending the Veterans Benefit Resource Fair!  Information will include Veterans Claims Service, Education Benefits, Employment Services, Housing, Social Services, Healthcare Enrollment, Medical/Dental Services, and more!

          Veterans Benefit Resource Fair
          Monday, April 12, 2010
          4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
          Charles S. Rushe Middle School
          18654 Mentmore Boulevard
          Land O' Lakes, FL 34638

          For more information, please contact the office of Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite at (352) 799-8354 or toll-free 1-866-492-4835.

          Older Americans Month Contest

           In 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated May as "Senior Citizen's Month". The name was changed to "Older Americans Month" in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter.  Older Americans Month is celebrated throughout the United States by fairs, events, and celebrations that honor the contributions of past and current older persons.  The Administration on Aging has declared that the theme for this year's Older American's Month will be "Age Strong! Live Long!"  The Administration on Aging states that this theme "recognizes the diversity and vitality of today's older Americans who span three generations."

          The Administration on Aging has created a contest called "My Recipe for Strength".  This contest asks older adults to share their own ideas about how to "Age Strong and Live Long". To enter this contest, simply submit a video, photograph, or poetry along with an entry form on their website by 11:59 pm EST on April 30th, 2010. For more information, please click here.  

          Here is a video describing the contest:

          Tuesday, March 30, 2010

          New Website to help Alzheimer's Caregivers

          Weill Cornell Medical College has created an interactive, multimedia website to help people who care for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia. This website is called "This Caring Home" and it has a virtual home tour that provides solutions for home safety and daily care issues.  Home safety issues include stove safety, bathroom safety, and lighting to prevent falls.  Daily care issues include wandering, advice about meals, suggestions about how to deal with agitated behavior, dementia-friendly activities, and memory aids.  In addition, they have information about home safety products, such as shower chairs, lift chairs, bed handles, safety burners, and wandering monitors.

          Here is one of the videos from the website:
          Oliver Sacks talks about Alzheimer's and the power of music

          Monday, March 22, 2010

          Health Reform Information for Seniors

          The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has just published a 2 page fact sheet about the health reform plan which has recently passed in the House of Representatives.  The fact sheet is called "Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform". This fact sheet describes how health reform will effect Medicare benefits and premiums, long-term care, and prescription drug costs. It states that:
          • The plan will not cut any traditional Medicare benefits.
          • The plan will help those who fall into the prescription drug "doughnut hole".
          • The plan will help you to afford long-term care at home.
          • The plan will help prevent and combat elder abuse.
          For more information, please access the fact sheet here.

          Friday, March 12, 2010

          Help with Medicare Copayments and Prescription Drug Costs

          If you have Medicare and want financial assistance with its costs and those of your prescription drugs, the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas may have some great news for you!  If you meet income and asset requirements, the Social Security Administration can provide help with your Medicare co-payments, prescription drug costs, and your deductible—up to $3900 a year. Additionally, if you are eligible, the Department of Children and Families may pay for the cost of your Medicare Part B premium--$96.40 a month!

          Applications can be done over the phone, by mail, or in person.  Call the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco Pinellas Senior Helpline and ask for a Medicare Beneficiary Outreach and Assistance (MBOA) consultant.  It might take 20 minutes—and it can save you up to thousands a year.  The service is free and unbiased.
          Call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-963-5337 for more information

          Monday, March 8, 2010

          New "Life after Cancer" Information

          The National Institutes of Health NIH SeniorHealth website has added a new section about "Life after Cancer".  According to the National Institutes on Health, approximately 12 million people in the United States have a history of cancer and 60% of these cancer survivors are 65 years of age or older.  This website helps older cancer survivors to learn what to expect after cancer treatment, including:

          Monday, March 1, 2010

          Volunteer Trends for Older Adults

          The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College recently published a fact sheet on volunteerism among older adults. Here are some of their findings:
          • Estimates of volunteerism in older adults vary from 28% to over 50%.
          • Over 40% of older adults expect to increase their time spent in volunteer work in the next five years.
          • Older adults are more likely to continue to work for organizations that offer managerial or professional opportunities.
          • Older adults tend to prefer flexible volunteer schedules.
          There are many ways you can help out in our community. Here is a list of volunteer opportunities in Pasco County:
          You can also search for more local volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch, which connects people to over 75,000 non-profit organizations throughout the United States who are looking for volunteers.

          Wednesday, February 24, 2010

          Medicare Advantage Plan Help

          Now is the time to review your current Medicare Advantage Health Plan. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has volunteers who can help you choose the best plan for you. The program is called "Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders" or SHINE.  You can talk to the counselors by phone at 1-800-963-5337 or schedule an in-person meeting. The SHINE volunteers provide information to elders, their caregivers, and their families.  This counseling is free and unbiased.

          The Area Agency on Aging suggests that you "bring a list of medications the individual takes, a list of providers he or she wants to use (e.g., doctor or pharmacy), and any notices from an existing plan (i.e., Annual Notice of Change), Social Security, or Medicare about changes to costs and coverage for next year". This will enable the volunteer to find the best plan to match the needs of the individual. You can find more information about the SHINE program here.

          If you would like to become a SHINE volunteer, please contact the Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.

          Wednesday, February 17, 2010

          The American Heart Association Start! Program

          Many studies have shown that exercise is beneficial for older adults. Here are some recent articles about the benefits of exercise:

          The American Heart Association (AMA) has created a new website called Start! to encourage people to start walking regularly for exercise. The AMA recommends that you work with your doctor to develop your exercise program, if you're a male over 40 or a female over 50. 
          This website has lots of tools to help you to develop a walking plan and a healthy lifestyle: