Prepare to Care, planning guide for families

Today, 30 million households are providing care for an adult over the age of 50, and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years. If you have not yet begun to discuss a caregiving plan with your family, it’s not too late. It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation. What really matters is that every family has the opportunity to talk about and create a caregiving plan for their loved ones based on the needs and wishes of those who will be receiving the care.

The AARP Foundation’s Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families, Each of the following five steps available for download below in PDF format (requires free Adobe Reader), includes information on how to get started, questions to ask and where to find basic resources. It also includes forms that you and your caregiving team can fill out and keep on file, so that you will have all the pertinent information about your loved one and his/her financial affairs, health needs, household matters, and more in one place. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t answer every question or fill in every blank. The important thing is to start the conversation in a way that works for you and your family.

The comprehensive guide is divided into five steps:

Step 1: Prepare to Talk.

Step 2: Form Your Team.

Step 3: Assess Needs.

Step 4: Make a Plan.

Step 5: Take Action.

Help your family “Prepare to Care” by downloading the guide at http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/foundation/PreparetoCareMarch2008.pdf.

Medicare enrollment

Open enrollment for the Medicare Part D (prescription drug program) and Medicare Advantage plans (like HMO’s and PPO’s) began nationwide on Nov. 15. Here in Archuleta County our open enrollment appointment dates began Monday, Nov. 17. All interested parties should have their appointments scheduled by mid December.

Our counselors are trained through the State of Colorado Division Insurance SHIP program and are here to help you through the, at times, confusing process.

Part D low income assistance is available to qualifying individuals. If you are not sure if you qualify we can help you make that determination. Qualifying individuals may have a zero premium and prescription costs may be as low as $3.

Anyone already participating in the Part D program is strongly encouraged to schedule a reassessment appointment or go online at www.Medicare.gov to ensure that you are in the best program for you. Over the years we’ve had many individuals tell us they’d like to have their friend or neighbor’s program or enroll with a particular well-known company name. Folks need to understand that these programs are based on their individual medications and your friend’s plan may actually be worse for you. Programs also may change the drugs they cover from time to time or the amounts they charge for your premium and/or drugs.

If you have not yet enrolled in a plan, there are penalties involved and these penalties continue to increase the longer you wait. We’re here to help you through all the choices.

Don’t delay, call today for your appointment at 264-2167. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

LEAP program

Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), which provides financial assistance with utility bills, has announced a funding increase. This increase means that more money is available to assist hard working Coloradans with their heating bills this winter. LEAP began accepting applications on Nov. 1. 

 According to Todd Jorgensen, director of LEAP, the program has received additional Federal funding that will enable LEAP to increase its minimum benefit by 75 percent to approximately $350 per household from $200.  The maximum benefit will increase by approximately 25 percent to about $900 from $700.

 LEAP provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum monthly income of $3,269.00 per month before taxes for a household of four people.

 Those eligible for the LEAP may also qualify for the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP). The CIP operates year-round and provides assistance with a home’s primary heating source such as a furnace.

 To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs to either a utility company or a landlord as part of rent. Applicants must also be permanent legal residents of the United States and Colorado or have household members that are U.S. citizens.

 LEAP applications are accepted from Nov. 1 to April 30 of each year. Call (866) 432-8435 to order a mailed application.  

Applications are available at every county department of social/human services, Archuleta County Human Services, 264-2182.

For more information about LEAP, call (866) 432-8435) or visit www.cdhs.state.co.us/leap to view the most current program application requirements.

 Diabetes presentation

November is American Diabetes Month.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

Dr. Bricca will speak about diabetes at the Silver Foxes Den on Friday, Nov. 21, at 12:30 p.m.

Thanksgiving meal at The Den

We invite you to join the extended family of The Den on Wednesday, Nov. 26, for our warm and hearty Thanksgiving meal. We’ll serve up a huge helping of love and kindness with loads of turkey and all the Thanksgiving fixings. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon. The suggested donation for older adults age 60 plus is $3, guest fee is $5.

Programs

Birthday Celebration. Is November your birthday month? (By the way, it is the best month to celebrate a birthday.) Well, if so, we’ll help you celebrate on Friday, Nov. 21. For older adults age 60-plus, Archuleta Seniors Inc. has graciously contributed two dollars towards the cost of your meal, the suggested donation for your meal is just one dollar this day. The salad bar opens at 11 a.m. and lunch is served at noon, we’ll even have a yummy cake for dessert to top off your special day.

Movie Day. Laughter is good for the soul and that is just what this month’s movie will do for you. On Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m. we’ll show “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Two days before Thanksgiving, marketing consultant Neal Pace races to catch a plane home to Chicago only to find that his flight has been delayed. Hours later, he boards the plane and ends up next to obnoxious salesman, Del Griffith. When the flight is detoured to Wichita, the mismatched pair is forced to find their own way to Chicago by any means necessary. Just in case you still have the munchies after lunch, we’ll have popcorn available. This film is rated PG-13.

Holiday closure

The staff of The Silver Foxes Den wishes you a peaceful Thanksgiving Holiday. We will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 28. We hope to see you Monday, Dec. 1.

Meals on Wheels expansion

Archuleta County Senior Services is proud to announce the expansion of their Meals on Wheels Program. Beginning sometime in November frozen meals may be ordered for once a week delivery. Our goal is to reach those that are more rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information, call 264-2167.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus and kids 12 and under is $3, guests $5. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $6.00. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Nov. 21 — Spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, orange slices and garlic bread.

Monday, Nov. 24 — Scalloped potatoes and ham, spinach salad with hard boiled egg, succotash and apple slices.

Tuesday, Nov. 25 — Hamburger, baked beans, tater tots and fresh fruit.

Wednesday, Nov. 26 — Roast Turkey, cornbread stuffing, cauliflower and broccoli with cheese sauce, cranberry mold and pumpkin bar dessert.

Thursday, Nov. 27 — Closed.

Friday, Nov. 28 — Closed.