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: 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Free Tax Help available!

The Internal Revenue Service has many tax breaks for families, homeowners, and other groups. In this economy citizens need all the help they can get. The IRS has a series of videos describing the tax breaks available. You can view these on YouTube or on Pasco County's e-government tools page.  Click on "E-Government Videos." Check these and other e-government videos brought to you by Pasco County Libraries.

The United Way of Pasco can help individuals and families file their income tax returns for free. It is as easy as dialing 211. Pasco United Way partnered with the IRS and has trained volunteers working at various locations in Pasco County to prepare taxes for citizens. Call 211 and the information referral specialist will arrange an appointment for you to have your taxes prepared at a location closest to your home.

If you really want to do those taxes yourself, remember you can file your return electronically (e-file). To e-file you log on to the IRS website, click on e-file and you will be directed to various websites which you can use to file your taxes. Read through the descriptions and pick the best agency that fits your circumstances. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Senior Victim Advocate Service

Any victim of crime age 60 and over is entitled to receive FREE services from the Victim Advocate of the Area Agency on Aging. Victim Assistance Services include:
  • Information and Referrals to Community Resources
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Transportation and Accompaniment to Court Related Activities
  • Assistance with Property Return
  • Criminal Justice Support
Anyone in need in Pasco or Pinellas County, Florida may contact:
Kathy Cornwell
Area Agency on Aging

For more information about this program, click here.

If you live in another county in Florida, you can click here to access the Victim Advocate Directory for Florida.