Tax help, legal document preparation to be offered in 2019

VITA will be returning to prepare federal and state income tax returns at no charge as part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
The planned dates are Feb. 23, 2019, and March 16, 2019, by appointment only. The gross income limit this tax season is $54,000. Please call 264-2167 for more information or to make an appointment.
Free legal document preparation
The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging will provide legal services for seniors through the program attorney, Daniel Fiedler. Fiedler will be spending the day at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center on Jan. 25, 2019.
Following are the legal services Fiedler can assist with:
• Public benefits and utilities shut off.
• Landlord-tenant problems, such as persons being evicted.
• Simple wills, power of attorneys, medical durable power of attorney and living wills.
• Consumer issues such as advocating for persons harassed by debt collectors.
• Emergency limited long-term care guardianship and domestic problems, such as abuse.
Please come by or call the Senior Center office (inside the Ross Aragon Community Center) located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. or call 264-2167 to schedule an appointment.
San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging:
News from CMS
By Kay Kaylor
As the part-time long-term care ombudsman for Archuleta County, I advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. Federal and state laws protect residents to promote quality of care and quality of life.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the oversight agency for hospitals and nursing homes, for example, offers a newsletter titled “Medicare Learning Network Connects.” Although it mostly contains technical information and training for providers, here are a couple relevant items.
Dec. 2-8 was National Handwashing Awareness Week. As the flu season peaks between December and February, it is important for staff and visitors at long-term care homes to remember that “practicing hand hygiene is a simple and effective way to prevent infections.” Residents are vulnerable to debilitating illness and cleaning your hands can even prevent the spread of germs resistant to antibiotics.
CMS announced on Nov. 30 new efforts to ensure adequate staffing to protect residents. “For example, facilities with higher nurse staffing levels tend to have fewer resident hospitalizations.”
To help address staffing issues, CMS will use frequently updated payroll-based data to identify and then provide state survey (inspection) agencies with a list of nursing homes that have a significant drop in staffing levels on weekends or that have several days in a quarter without a registered nurse on site.
The agencies then will be required to conduct surveys on some weekends based on this list. If surveyors identify insufficient nurse staffing levels, the facility will be cited for noncompliance and required to implement a plan of correction.
Enjoy the holiday season. For further information, you may call me at 403-2164 or send an email
Medical alert system
Medical alert monitoring systems are available for seniors. We can help you get set up with a system and assist with the monthly service charges or, if you already have a system in place, we can help supplement the monthly service fees.
Everyone is welcome to join us for lunch. If you are a senior (60 years and older), for only a $4 suggested donation, you are eligible for a hot meal, drink and a salad prepared by our kitchen staff.
The guest fee for those 59 and under is $10 and children 10 years and under can eat for $8.50 each. Access to the salad bar is only $6 for those under 60.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 20 — Braised beef with gravy, cream of broccoli soup, potato salad, milk, salad bar and cherry cobbler.
Friday, Dec. 21 — Grilled chicken, linguini with basil and pistachio pesto, Irish carrots, spinach with tomatoes, milk, salad bar and lemon cream pie.
Monday, Dec. 24 — Closed for the holidays.
Tuesday, Dec. 25 — Closed for the holidays.
Wednesday, Dec. 26 — Closed for the holidays.
Thursday, Dec. 27 — Closed for the holidays.
Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine in the Community Cafe at the Senior Center.
For your convenience, you can make your reservations in advance or have a standing reservation on days you know you will always attend. Please cancel if you cannot attend on your standing reservation days.

This story was posted on December 22, 2018.