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Health and Wellness

What to Do with Our Treasures?

On February 19ththe Care Committee presented a program on “What to Do with Our Treasures?” It was well attended with around 40 village members.    Many of us, probably most of us, have a large number of items in our home that we don’t love or need anymore and they just sit there taking up space.  We would like to sell, donate or trash them but we feel overwhelmed and conflicted about getting rid of anything.  What if my kids will want it?  What if at some time I need it?  So we do nothing and our piles increase.  Often we are forced to face this problem when we are moving or we need space for other more important items that we need.  This presentation provided us with a way to think about our “Treasures” and how to decide what to do with them. There were three speakers:

In addition there were short presentations by people who had moved from the village and downsized as well as personal experiences from people in the audience.

The main points are summarized below:

  • The main point is to keep what you love and what you use
  • When you get to the point of wanting to get rid of stuff or you have to because you move, start with a small area like a few kitchen draws.  Divide the stuff into five categories:
    • Donate
    • Trash
    • Keep
    • Give to Family and Friends
    • Sell

Get some easy to remove stickers with different colors for each category and label each item with one of these stickers.  Remember there maybe items like your kid’s pictures from when they were young that you want to keep.  But, you might have many of them.  Here is one idea;  take pictures of most of them, and just save a few.    In the category of give to family, don’t assume your kids, friends want it.  Take pictures and ask them in advance.  You will be surprised that items you think are wonderful just don’t cut it with your friends and family

  • After you have sorted through your items and have a good idea of what you want to give away, this is the time to get professional help.  The speakers as well as many other services will come into your home and help you evaluate what would be worth selling and what should be donated pr trashed.  They will review your initial choices.  You might be surprised.  Some items that you think are valuable are not worth much and others that you thought were valueless could be worth selling.  They will give you options.  They may offer you a buyout where they give you money for all your stuff and they will get rid of it, one way or another.  They may have an estate sale or give to a  consignment shop where you get a percentage of sales of your items. Some services, for a fee, will help you decide what to take with you, will pack everything up and after the move will actually come to your home and set it up. 
  • If you want to donate but not use  professional services, there are places like Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and Father Joe’s Village that either pick up your stuff or will receive your stuff as a donation.  You will receive a receipt for tax purposes.  Father Joe’s was especially recommended but may take time to schedule a pickup.  Also, each donation organization will not take specific items, so call in advance. 
  • Most people feel better and good about receiving extra money or donating their stuff as well as feeling lighter.  It is worth the time to do this.  Don’t leave it to your kids or loved ones!


Important Information Resulting from the Meeting on Medicare and Recent Changes
Care Committee Presentation, January 23, 2019

On January 23rd David Weil presented to about 40 village members information on his organization HICAP, Medicare/Medicare Advantage and recent changes to Medicare/Medicare  Advantage. This article summarizes the key points presented in that meeting.  I present the points that I found most relevant and supplemented the points presented with references from websites that I researched.

  1. The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program

    Villagers should know that if you have any questions about Medicare  (why you were denied coverage, why premiums went up, confusion about supplemental plans, understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs) you have a vital resource. This is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Programand it is located 5151 Murphy Canyon Rd #110, San Diego.  The phone number is 800-434-0222 and you can make an appointment and see a counselor at no charge.   The counselors are extremely well trained in healthcare insurance.  You need to call the above number for an appointment

  2. Some changes to Medicare and Medicare Advantagethat you should be aware of:  
  1. The donut hole is closing.  

     

    • Part D beneficiaries who have high prescription drug expenses currently have to pay more once the total cost of their medicines reaches a certain threshold. That’s due to a quirky aspect of Part D called the coverage gap, also known as the "doughnut hole."  It used to be that individuals would have to pay 100% of costs from the time they exceeded a fixed amount of costs until they reached and level of cost that was set as catastrophic coverage.  This is the “doughnut hole.”
    • The doughnut hole has been narrowing each year since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010. The doughnut hole will now close next year. Beginning in 2019, Part Denrollees will pay 25 percent of the cost of all their prescription drugs from the time they enter the gap until they reach catastrophic coverage. https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2018/part-d-donut-hole-closes-fd.html

    b.    There will be small increases in part B premiums and Part A and B deductibles.  However, there are increasing premiums for high income earners.  Part A is for hospital visits and B is for doctors

     c.  Medicare  Advantage Plans.  Medicare Advantage Plans offer extra coverage, like vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).  A very brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of Medicare Advantage Plans are on the follow website https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T039-C000-S002-pros-and-cons-of-private-medicare-advantage-plans.html

    • Starting in 2019, there’s a new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP). It goes from January 1 through March 31 every year. It replaces the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (January 1 – February 14).
    • The Medicare Advantage OEP is somewhat more limited than the Fall Open Enrollment Period. During the Medicare Advantage OEP, you generally have a one-time opportunity to do any of the following. 
      • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan
      • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan
      • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B
      • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part A Prescription Drug Plan, if you returned to Original Medicare.
  2. Switching from Medicare Advantage to Medicare and a Supplemental Insurance Plan has one potential significant drawback.   Once you’ve returned to Original Medicare, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan anytime you want – but your acceptance into a plan isn’t always guaranteed. For example, if you have health problems, the insurance company can base its decision on your healthhistory in a process known as medical underwriting.The company can decide not to sell you a plan, or to charge you more because of your health condition.  There are exception and read them on the website with following link https://medicare.com/medicare-supplement/can-i-switch-from-medicare-advantage-to-medicare-supplement-insurance/

 

 

d.  Switching Supplemental Providers.  In California you can switch from one supplemental insurance provider to another within 3 days and you will be guaranteed coverage regardless of health.  This is true in California and a few other states but most states do not allow this. 

 

3.  Avoid Scams

There are a lot of scams that try to get your health card information and social security number and then use them set up loans in your name and other ways they can scam you by using your fake identity.  Social Security or Medicare will never ask for this information over the phone.  Most doctors’ offices have this information and will not ask for it.  If you provide this information to anyone on the phone, know who that person is and don’t give that information out if you don’t trust that person.  Anyone asking for that information that you don’t know, hang up.  

 

Marc Narkus-Kramer – Care Committee Co-Chair

 

Caregiving

One of the ways some of us may stay in our homes is to obtain caregiving services or if a spouse or other family member needs caregiving, we may assume the role of caregiver.  For example, my wife is finding it difficult to walk, so there are some caregiving responsibilities that I have assumed that I did not have before.  This is not a major burden, but I have found that it can create some emotional issues and priority issues.  I do most of the cooking and cleanup, and all the driving. So I wanted to find out about the emotional stress of caregiving and share that information with our TSV community.

I found wonderful articles on caregiving provided by the Family Caregivers Alliance (https://www.caregiver.org/caregiving) and the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784)  and will summarize them here with some sentences taken directly from these articles.  But if you want  please click on the links to read the article yourself.  They are short and concise.

The emotional toll of being a caregiver

  • Most caregivers tend to be female, but all caregivers face the same issues and the emotional toll on caregivers can be significant:  high levels of stress, frustration, anxiety, exhaustion, anger, depression, increased use of alcohol or other substances, reduced immune response, poor physical health and more chronic conditions.
  •  Most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role and provide care with little or no support; yet more than one-third of caregivers continue to provide intense care to others while suffering from poor health themselves. An influential factor in a caregiver's decision to place an impaired relative in a long-term care facility is the family caregiver's own physical health.

    The strategies for addressing this problem

  • Accept help. 
  • Focus on what you are able to provide. 
  • Set realistic goals. 
  • Get connected. 
  • Join a support group. 
  • Seek social support. 
  • Set and implement personal health goals.

The Mayo clinic article provides more detail on each of these strategies.

My personal challenge is to find a balance between taking care of my needs and those of my wife.  If I completely ignore my needs, then I become angry and impatient and that does neither of us good.  I need to be clear when I have reached my limits without expressing anger or frustration in a negative way.  The problem of the caregiver is as much a problem for the caregiver as it is for the person receiving care.  If the caregiver doesn’t remain healthy and emotionally solid, the one receiving the care suffers.  I think this is true even if the caregiver is paid and comes to you from an agency.     I have also reached out to friends to discuss my situation and am the process of finding a support group.  If you have more to add to this subject please email me.

Marc Narkus-Kramer, Co-Chair of the Care Committee


Driver Safety


When it comes to driving, there is no set age at which a person becomes less safe when s/he is behind the wheel. Safety depends on a person's physical and mental health which, of course, differs from person to person.
The following issues can be warning signs that suggest it's time to get tested for driving safety:

          Getting lost in familiar areas
          Ignoring traffic signs or signals
          Becoming easily agitated or angered when driving
          Inability to concentrate while driving or appearing  
              inattentive

          Reacting too slowly to dangerous situations
          Ignoring:  
              basic driving basics like yielding right-of-way,  
              using mirrors, and turn signals or failing to check
             for blind spots  
          Having trouble judging distances

If you have any of these behaviors, see your healthcare provider for a checkup for some medication can make a person drowsy and less alert and have a professional evaluate your driving skills. It may be time to start a conversation about driving and safety.


For Women:
11 Tips for Good Health in Later Life



Older women are more likely than men to have chronic, or ongoing, health conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Women are also more likely to develop multiple health problems, according to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Older women are also more likely to have memory or other “cognitive” problems, and difficulty carrying out daily activities such as dressing, walking, or bathing without help.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to boost your chances of staying mentally and physically healthy as you age. Here’s what the experts with the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation recommend.

Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you should see your provider at least once a year for a checkup.

When you visit your provider, bring all of the pills you take, including medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements, even those you buy without a prescription. Your provider should check all of your pills to make sure they are safe for you to take.

Always check with your provider before taking any new pills. Take all medicines and other pills as directed, and tell your provider right away if a medication or other pill seems to be causing any problems or side effects.

Certain screening tests can help diagnose health problems early. Ask your healthcare provider which tests are right for you.

Check with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re getting:

A flu shot: every year in late summer or early fall, before flu season starts.
Two pneumonia vaccinations: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)13

and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV)23. Ask your healthcare provider about when to take the two vaccines

A tetanus shot: every 10 years
The shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine: once after age 60 or older

Get 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800-1000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Do weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, and aerobic dancing. If you’ve fallen in the past, ask your healthcare provider about local exercise programs that include strength training, balance and stretching exercises.


Aging skin is more susceptible to sun damage, which boosts the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen all year round and, for added protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat.


Tell your healthcare provider if you smoke.  He or she can help you stop. For additional help, call 1-800-QUITNOW. It’s never too late to quit.


In later life, you still need healthy foods, but fewer calories. Your healthcare provider and the USDA’s updated myPyramid for Older Adults, at
http://mypyramid.gov/, can help you make good choices. You can also get a personal nutrition plan at the USDA website.

Experts recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, but less than a third of older adults do this. Don’t miss out. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. Go for deep colors: dark green, bright yellow, and orange choices like spinach, collard greens, carrots, oranges, and cantaloupe are extra nutritious. Choose whole grain bread, rice, and pasta instead of the white stuff. Pick less fatty meat, like chicken, and low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Shoot for heart-healthy fish, like tuna or salmon, twice a week. To help keep your bones strong, include sources of calcium and vitamin D. Two daily servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese are a good bet in your diet. And use healthier fats, such as olive and canola oil instead of butter or lard.

Some women may benefit from one alcoholic drink a day. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure this is right for you. One drink = 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.


Regular exercise is important for good health at any age. Exercise tones up your heart and circulation, strengthens bones, boosts brain function, lifts your mood, and can help prevent and ease depression. Your healthcare provider can help you come up with an exercise program that’s right for you.

Sign up for a class at the local library, senior center, or community college (some offer free classes for older adults). 

Do word puzzles, number puzzles, jigsaw puzzles - whatever interests you.  Make sure you challenge your brain by trying new things, rather than just repeating the same exercises over and over again.

DISCLAIMER: this information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other healthcare provider. Always consult your healthcare provider about your medications, symptoms, and health problems. November 2015

©2015 Health in Aging Foundation. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modi ed,or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact info@ healthinaging. org.



Senior Transportation

 

Let’s start with the bad news…. Eventually we ALL will reach a point where we cannot drive ourselves where we need to go, and when we need to be there.  Being able to just get up and go is almost a basic freedom, and not being able to do so is one of the more dismaying aspects of becoming a “person of age”. 

But the good news is that if there was ever a time in history to be facing personal driving limitations, this is it!  There are now many safe, convenient and economical alternatives to owning and driving your own car.  Particularly in the area we live!   To see a summary of how Villagers can get where they need to be when they can’t drive or when help from friends and family is not available, TVSD Transportation Options

The even better news is we are likely to be the first generation that will be able to take advantage of the self-driving car revolution!  Owning your own car will no longer be a necessity.  It’s likely your garage can soon become a place to permanently store all those treasures you have accumulated over the past decades!


Healthy Recipes

As many of our Villagers have learned from the Empowering Body and Mind classes, good nutrition is a key component in the quest to stay happy, healthy and active.  
Kim Chartrand is offering some of the recipes for those of us seeking meals and snacks that promote a healthier lifestyle.
Her recipes can be found  Here

Healthier Living with Chronic Pain 
Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP)

An Evidence-Based self-management program originally developed at Stanford University, now managed by the Self-Management Resource Center for people experiencing chronic pain as well as their family members and caregivers. This program has been proven to achieve positive health outcomes and reduced health care expenditures. The program consists of a workshop that meets once a week for 2 ½ hours per week for six weeks, led by two trained peer educators, who may also have chronic pain or another chronic condition.

Topics include:

• Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep

• Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance

• Appropriate use of medications

• Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals

• Nutrition

• Pacing activity and rest

• How to evaluate new treatments

The Healthier Living with Chronic Pain workshops are available at sites throughout the County. Click here for current schedule.

For more information call 858-495-5500.

Positive Experiences with the Burn Institute
This month, Art and Bradlyn Mulvey share their positive experience with the Burn Institute. We were in the market to replace our fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensor and guess what? There was the article in the Vibes and on the website on how the Burn Institute was supplying alarms for seniors free of charge!!! We called the Institute to find out about this program. We were told the wait list was 3 months but we signed up--after all, free is free. Within the next week, however, the Institute called to schedule a time when the interns could come and install them free of charge! On the allotted day and time, an intern called to make sure we were home. A woman and a man--college interns-- came to the house, told us about where and why the alarms should be installed within our home, and then went about installing them. When they finished, they gave us a gift bag with a hot mitt, a Home Fire Escape Plan Graph, a pamphlet entitled, "Fire and Burn Prevention for Seniors" and directions on how to replace our new alarms in 10 years! Yes, these alarms are guaranteed for TEN Years and, if they fail before then, they will replace them free of charge. If they make the ten years, they told us to call the Burn Institute and they will replace them, free again!
What a great deal for alarms/sensors and the interns were very pleasant and filled with great information. Turns out, Art and I didn't really know where to appropriately put the alarms so it was great to have experts out to install fire alarms and to let us know about fire prevention.  Great experience and we'd recommend the service to our Villagers!

 



As many of our Villagers have learned from the Empowering Body and Mind classes, good nutrition is a key component in the quest to stay happy, healthy and active.  Kim Chartrand is offering some of the recipes for those of us seeking meals and snacks that promote a healthier lifestyle.
Her recipes can be found  Here
 

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