AARP Smart Driver course to be offered March 15

The AARP Smart Driver course, offered by AARP Driver Safety, is the nation’s first and largest refresher course designed specifically for drivers age 50 and older.
For more than 35 years, the course has taught 16 million drivers proven safety strategies so they can continue driving safely for as long as possible.
Why take the course?
Over nine in 10 course participants report changing at least one key driving behavior for the better as a result what they learned in the course, and over eight in 10 participants felt that information they learned in the course has prevented them from being in a crash. Plus, you may be eligible to receive an insurance discount upon completing the course, so consult your insurance agent for details.
AARP membership is not required to take the course.
The classroom course costs only $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers.
To register, please call 462-9613.
Due to popular demand, the Pagosa Springs Senior Center is hosting a fourth class on Friday, March 15, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Senior Center Caregiver Support Group
Learn practical self-care information, talk through challenges and ways of coping. Learn about community resources and support.
The next meeting is Friday, March 8, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd. or call 264-2167.
If you are a caregiver of a friend or a family member, please join us for a support and respite group. Adults 18 and older are eligible to participate.
A support group can have significant positive effects on caregivers’ overall well-being. It is a chance to speak with other caregivers who have common experiences with caregiving, learn about resources available in the community and nationally, learn how to keep yourself healthy so you can better deliver the care, and a chance for respite.
San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging:
New MFP bills
By Kay Kaylor
I advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence, as the part-time long-term care ombudsman for Archuleta County. Federal and state laws protect residents to promote quality of care and quality of life.
Continuing with news about the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program, two new bills have been introduced to extend the program for five years. The Empower Care Act includes Senate bill S. 548 and House bill H.R. 1342, with the goal of improving the program through 2023. Currently, with H.R. 259 passed in January, the funding would end in September or sooner.
As noted here Feb. 7 and earlier, MFP provides the means for qualified people to transition from Medicaid-funded homes to the community. In Pine Ridge, for example, three residents are participating in an MFP program titled Transition Coordination, and a former resident moved back into the community through the program in 2016. The Transition Coordinator operates from the Southwest Center for Independence in Durango, but the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging starts the process for Archuleta County.
One of the bill’s improvements would reduce one eligibility requirement for the program from 90 to 60 days of residence in a nursing home. As the National Consumer Voice notes, MFP allows individuals with disabilities and seniors to live independently and improve their quality of life. It also helps states such as Colorado “improve access to home and community-based long-term services and supports and save money.”
For further information, you may call me at 403-2164 or send an email to ombudsman2@sjbaaa.org.
VITA tax preparation
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 Saturday, March 16, and April 13, 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.
Health and wellness
The Senior Center has a pilot program expanding health and wellness services to Archuleta County seniors. The program includes wellness and blood pressure monitoring, or allows individual area seniors to discuss two subjects of their choice.
There is no charge for Medicare enrollees. Participant IDs will include Medicare card, photo ID and, if necessary, any supplemental insurances. No Medicaid is accepted at this time. Participants are encouraged to bring a list of their current medications.
Clinical assessment will be provided by Tabitha Zappone, FNP-C.
The goal of the outreach clinic is to provide care to those who are not able to travel.
The next health and wellness date is March 20.
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.
Memberships
2019 Senior Discount Club Memberships are now offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Menu
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, March 7 — Turkey potpie with puff pastry, bacon green beans, milk, salad bar and carrot cake.
Friday, March 8 — Pork baked ziti, broccoli/cheese soup, Italian spinach with mushrooms, focaccia bread with butter, milk and salad bar.
Monday, March 11 — Chicken, broccoli and rice casserole, yellow squash medley, milk, salad bar and blueberry sour cream pie.
Tuesday, March 12 — Beef meatball sandwich, cream of zucchini soup, sweet potato fries, milk, salad bar and orange dessert.
Wednesday, March 13 — Turkey a la king with buttered egg noodles, green beans with almonds, spaghetti squash with Parmesan cheese, milk, salad bar and pumpkin muffin.
Thursday, March 14 — Tuna melt, roasted cauliflower soup, roasted red potatoes, milk, salad bar and Rice Krispie treat.
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 March 9, 2019.