Aging Well October 12th

Fall is the time when evenings get longer, leaves start turning and folks start asking questions about their Medicare coverage. “How do I know my prescription drug plan is still the best one for me?” “The rates for my Medicare supplement plan have gone up – can I change plans?” Or you may be one of the 400 plus folks in Wasco County whose Medicare Advantage plan will be leaving the area after December 31st and are asking, “What do I do now?”

Don’t panic. The Center has scheduled two informational sessions to help you through the jungle of Medicare questions. The first is the “A, B, C and D’s of Medicare” on Wednesday October 20th from 1:00- 3:00 in the basement of the Center. Carol Barnard from Oregon’s SHIBA program (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) will explain the Medicare basics and answer any of your questions about the changes that are taking place. And on November 16th, as one of the Tuesday lectures, Jeff Eagan, who helped clarify the Medicare changes last year, will return and explain what your “Medicare Options” are this year.

But it is important to realize each year the Medicare private insurance plans change – what they cost and what they cover – or whether they are even available. And since the general open enrollment period – when you can change your prescription drug coverage – is between November 15 and December 31st, now is a good time to evaluate your Medicare coverage. For more information contact your insurance carrier (Regence, Clear One and Sterling Health plans have scheduled meetings at the Center for their members), attend one of the information sessions at the Center, or call Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging 541-298-4101.

If you are interested in issues affecting older adults (except the really important issues: how to stay awake after lunch (or stay asleep at night), how to avoid the middle of the night stroll – or run, or how to remember your best friend what’s-his-name’s name) there is a Town Hall meeting starting at 6:00 PM this coming Thursday, the 14th, at the Civic Auditorium. On hand to discuss senior issues will be State Representative John Huffman, State of Oregon Senior and Peoples with Disabilities Assistant Director James Toews, The Area Agency on Aging Interim Director Bill Larsen and Medicare specialist extraordinaire Jean Hockman. These are some heavy hitters. Don’t miss this chance to talk directly to folks who can make a difference improving the lives of older adults.

This Saturday the 17th breakfast will be served at the Center from from 8:00 – 9:30. For only $5.00, this month’s menu includes hotcakes with a special fruit topping, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit plus the regular beverages – all sponsored by our friends at Columbia Bank. But I have one request. There must be someone out there who can tell me the truth about the class of “63. They show up for every Saturday breakfast, and talk as if they were the “baddest” TDHS class of the 60’s! And if you know them, that is hard to believe. So is there anyone out there – from the class of “62 or “64 – who has the guts to give me the real scoop? I want to talk.
It is time to turn off the TV and bring your dancing (or toe-tapping) shoes to the Center for night of music and dancing. Tonight it’s the Dufur Boys and next Tuesday on the 19th it is the Sugar Daddies playing the standbys and original compositions. You won’t need to bring an IOU, it is all free – but Betty and Janice appreciate any donations. The music starts at 7:00 and don’t be late – it is all over by 9:00.

Creating jobs is a prime focus of this year’s election and one organization in the Gorge that is working with the entrepreneurial community to foster business growth and employment opportunities the Gorge chapter of the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network. You can learn more about this organization from Robin Cope coordinator of the Gorge chapter at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on the 19th at 11:00.

The cultural icon of the 60’s was Bob Dylan who at the age of 69 is still touring. And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Jess Birge. This week’s “Remember When” question is from the category “Not So Current Events”. At the bill-signing for Medicare, who did President Johnson enroll as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the front page of the November 3rd 1948 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

That’s another day – trying to figure out why there are more questions than answers. Until we meet again, during this political season let us all take a deep breath – before we exhale what we think we know.

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak.” Jay Leno

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