Information for Seniors

TABLE OF CONTENTS




"Medicare & the Affordable Care Act" Feb. 6 in Manhasset

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Medicare & the Affordable Care Act

Some seniors are concerned about what impact the Affordable Care Act will have on their Medicare benefits. I am not a big fan of ACA and wish Congress had copied Canada's plan, or Germany's, or Britain's, or almost anyone else's but Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan, but these fears are based more on partisan fear mongering than on responsible criticism of an imperfect piece of legislation.

There is lots to dislike in the ACA, but as US News & World Report noted recently:

  • ACA is not replacing Medicare.
  • ACA will not force anyone who has Medicare to purchase additional insurance.
  • ACA will actually strengthen Medicare and make its trust fund more solvent.
  • Unless seniors have income above $85,000 a year in retirement, or $170,000 for a couple, they will pay less for prescription medications.
  • Medicare premiums are not rising due to ACA.

What is true is that the House of Representatives has passed a budget that would abolish Medicare completely, replacing it with vouchers for seniors to pay for some or all of the cost of replacing this coverage, but there is almost no chance that the Senatre will agree to this. This is yet more ideological posturing in which there is a lot less going on than meets the eye. . . . .

Now can someone explain to me how Congress managed to take RomneyCare, gut some of its good provisions, add some bad ones, and then call it ObamaCare?

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Alzheimer Research Study

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation at North Shore-LIJ (271-11 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park) is seeking participants for a new Alzheimer study:

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"Caring for the Caregiver" Support Groups

CARING FOR THE CAREGIVER is a support group for those responsible for others. These support groups now meet at locations across the Island, including one in Massapequa, led by trained facilitator, at Massapequa Reformed Church. The Massapequa group meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 2 p.m. at 302 Ocean Ave. at Merrick Road. Anyone who is a caregiver or who has been a caregiver is welcome at these meetings. For further information, please contact Deacon Florence Poeschke at 516-799-7832.

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Free Food for Seniors

Catholic Charities distributes free food to seniors, mothers in the second half of their postpartum year, and 5 and 6-year-old children whose income is less than $1174 a month for individuals or $1579 for couples through the Commodities Supplemental Food Program. They also are signing up homebound seniors to have pre-packed boxes of food delivered to them once a month. They would also be glad to hear from congregations or agencies who would like them to deliver food each month to seniors and mothers. Call Blair Jones at 516-623-4568 for more info about this.

While CSFP is at risk until Congress passes a new budget - as is the case with the Women, Infants & Children program as well as Meals on Wheels and other programs that aid the hungry - there appears to be enough money to continue the program through at least October.

Catholic Charities is distributing CSFP food at the LICC's Riverhead office (407 Osborne Avenue at Lincoln, 631-727-2210) on the fourth Thursday of each month from 10:00 to 11:30. They have several other new monthly distribution sites where seniors and young mothers can select food themselves. There may be a need for an additional site in the Moriches and perhaps also one more in Riverhead or Flanders. If you have a site to offer but suspect you cannot serve 20 or more eligible people on any given day of the week, they would be glad to deliver pre-boxed food throughout the month.

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Info for Seniors on Medicare, HICAP, SNAP & Energy Costs

Is your senior group interested in Medicare: enrollment periods, parts of Medicare, savings programs, resources and HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program)? Perhaps, they are under 65 or know some who needs health insurance coverage. Questions such as are you eligible for SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) will be answered. Is energy assistance needed; can they streamline their LIPA costs?

Kathleen Foster from Nassau DSS has put together a group of speakers who can provide free presentations on these topics, answer questions and assist with applications. To schedule a presentation for your senior group, contact her at kathleen.foster@hhsnassaucountyny.us or (516) 227-8915.

Or if you want a single program on

  • Medicare and HICAP, contact Amanda Watral, Consumer Health Advocate Coordinator at the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island: awatral@hwcli.com
  • SNAP, contact Eden Solomon, Nutrition Outreach & Education Program Coordinator at the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island: esolomon@hwcli.com
  • reducing energy costs, contact Michele Bontempi, Community Outreach Specialist for the LIPA Conservation Services Group Michele.Bontempi@csgrp.com

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Adult Day Health Care

Adult Day Health Care is community-based, long term, comprehensive health care for chronically-ill, frail seniors and for disabled adults. Those who are Medicaid-eligible, or have appropriate insurance coverage, or can pay privately may be able to receive the medical and social services they need to remain in their homes. Adult Day Health Care provides nursing, case management, clinical management, medical, social, rehab, recreational, and personal care services. Door to door transportation is provided, allowing those in wheelchairs and those who need personal assistance to leave the isolation of their homes and socialize with others in a group. These programs also give family members and caregivers time to work, run errands, and generally take care of yourself so that you can continue caring for those you love.

To find a program near you, visit www.adhcc.org and click on "ADHC Program Locator" or call 1-877-LTC-BOOK for a free guide to programs in New York State.

Those who live out-of-state can visit www.nadsa.org or call 1-877-745-1440.

One such program is offered by North Shore LIJ at their Orzac Center for Rehabilitation at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, one that offers continental breakfast, lunch, day trips and an impressive array of services. Veterans are also eligible for this program through North Shore LIJ's contract with the Veterans Administration. For more info on this program, call 516-256-6630.

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Know a Homebound Senior Who Needs a Computer?

SeniorNet, the Family Service League's wonderful program in Huntington which provides refurbished computers to qualifying organizations and individuals who can't afford their own - and helps them learn how to use them - has an almost-new touchscreen Telekin (http://telekin.com) computer for a homebound senior who needs an easy one to use. If you know anyone who could use this, please email Jim Burke, who runs computer donations for SeniorNet, at rebelkey@optonline.net

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The Senior Companion Program

East End Disability Associates is offering a program that matches adults with developmental disabilities with a senior-age partner, providing opportunities for individuals to better integrate into their communities, and to foster a lifelong friendship. The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities' Senior Companion Program is an outstanding program that partners New York State seniors with adults with developmental disabilities. Senior Companions aren't staff or program aides, but people who are willing to offer support and friendship to adults with developmental disabilities.

Is becoming a Senior Companion Right for You?
Senior Companions must:

  • Be at least 55 years old
  • Be able to volunteer 15-40 hours per week
  • Be income eligible
  • Love to help people
Senior Companions don't need medical or technical skills, only a willingness to share their time and talents. Along with the satisfaction of knowing you're making a difference, Senior Companions receive:
  • A tax-free stipend
  • Paid vacation, sick leave and other benefits
  • A daily meal allowance or a meal
  • Transportation or mileage reimbursement
  • Pre-service and on-going training
Click here for the brochure. Contact Gus Lagoumis at (631) 369-7345 ext. 111 if you are interested in participating.

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Do You Know About the Medicare Savings Plan?

Those who pay the $104.90 Medicare premium out of their Social Security benefits may be eligible to have the state pay this premium, putting $104.90 back into their Social Security checks. For more info on this, please call Amanda Watral at the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, 516-505-4439.

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Homes in Elmont for Those 55 & Older

Five homes are still available in the Senior Living Residence at Foster Meadow Lane in Elmont. These will be sold for less than $150,000, depending on location, orientation, and size, to those 55 and older. Income limits range from $60,200 for singles to $86,000 for a family of four. For an application or more info, call the LI Housing Partnership at 631-435-4710?or pick up an application in our Hempstead office.

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Affordable Homes for Displaced Homemakers in Islip

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program provides eligible homebuyers with assistance to purchase affordable single-family homes on scattered sites. The homes available have been previously foreclosed upon, renovated and are now ready for sale to eligible first-time homebuyers and those who have not owned a home for the past 3 years. In the Town of Islip, single parents and displaced homemakers also are eligible, regardless of whether they currently own or have recently owned a home. The sale price is based on income and location. The income limits range from $90,300 for singles to $170,300 for a family of eight or more. For additional information, please call Michelle DiBenedetto at the Long Island Housing Partnership: (631) 435-4710.

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Choices for Medicaid Recipients

Concepts of Independent Choices is a Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). This Medicaid program is an alternative to traditional home care services and can include full or total assistance with personal care, home health care, and some skilled nursing tasks. To qualify for the CDPAP, you must be Medicaid-eligible and have a disabling condition. This program gives more control over services because the consumer (client) or their surrogate (person willing to run the program if the consumer is unable) is able to recruit, hire, train, manage, and if necessary, dismiss the personal assistant of their choice. In some cases family members, except for parents and spouses, are eligible to be hired as personal assistants. For further information regarding the CDPAP or Concepts of Independent Choices, please call toll free: 866-666-4441 or contact Adele at: 917-710-1859.

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Eligible for Help?

The April AARP Bulletin recommends two Web sites that help seniors determine what sort of government programs they qualify for:

  • The National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp lists more than 2,000 public and private programs at benefitscheckup.org.
  • Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116 or eldercare.gov), a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, provides info about local agencies and organizations that support seniors, their families, and caregivers.
  • Both resources can be found at aarp.org/quicklink.
In addition, New York State has set up http://myBenefits.ny.gov, a Web site where people of all ages can find out if they are eligible for such programs as:
  • SNAP (food stamps)
  • school meals
  • Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Care Credit and other tax credits
  • Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Temporary Assistance
  • Healthy NY insurance, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicaid, or Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage.

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Good News About Reverse Mortgages

The fees charged to get a reverse mortgage have fallen considerably in recent years and interest rates remain low, but the financial institutions offering them have changed greatly. A reverse mortgage allows homeowners who are 62 or older to tap their home's equity without having to repay the loan until they move, die, or sell the home. Such mortgages are not right for everyone, though, and you should never take our a reverse mortgage without first getting counseling from a HUD-certified not-for-profit counselor - someone such as the Long Island Housing Partnership (631-435-4710) - who has no vested interest in whether or not you take out the loan. If you have little equity in your home, for example, or if you plan to move soon anyway, it may not be a good option for you. Reverse mortgages are great for some people, in other words, but a complicated way (and therefore expensive way) to borrow money if you are not someone they are designed to help.

The Long Island Counci of Churches would be glad to do a program on reverse mortgages for your congregation or community group. You can get further information or request a workshop by emailing tomggodhue@optonline.net or calling 516-565-020, ext. 206.

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Home Share

Have you heard about HomeShare/Long Island? It's a housing program that matches homeowners 60 or older with home seekers 18 or older who are in school or working. Common to each match is the opportunity of bringing people with compatible needs and interests together. Some homeowners require help with chores in exchange for reduced rent. HomeShare gives young adults an affordable place to live while giving their elders assistance, companionship, safety and security. Thorough background checks and interviews by a social worker are part of the HomeShare screening process, as well as ongoing support to assure the success of each match.

In Suffolk County, contact Doreen Davidson at the Family Service League, 631-427-3700, ext. 305.

In Nassau County, contact Dolores Tibbets at the Family & Children's Association, 516-292-1300 ext 2312 or 2237 to learn more.

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Affordable Rentals for Seniors
Catholic Charities' Senior Housing

NASSAU:
Mary's Manor
60 Doughty Blvd.
Inwood, Ny 11096
St. Agnes Village
1904 St. Agnes Road
Uniondale, Ny 11553
Bishop Kellenberg Gardens
2477 Long Beach Road
Oceanside, Ny 11572
St. Hedwig's Gardens
8 Linden Avenue
Floral Park, Ny 11001
Peternana Terrace
45 Wallace Street
Freeport, Ny 11520
Bishop Daly Gardens
525 Greengrove Avenue
Uniondale, Ny 11553

SUFFOLK:
St. Joseph's Village
2000 Boyle Road
Selden, Ny 11784
Bishop Ryan Village
10 Squiretown Road
Hampton Bays, Ny 11946
George Link, Jr. Apts.
1100 George Link Circle
Coram, Ny 11727
Msgr. Henry Reel Village
590 Christopher Court
Medford, Ny 11763
St. Paul's Gardens
702 St. Paul's Court
Brentwood, Ny 11717
St. Anne's Gardens
80100 2nd Avenue
Brentwood, Ny 11717
Bishop Mc Gann Village
200 Bishop Mc Gann Drive
Central Islip, Ny 11722
Thea Bowman Residence
100 Schleigel Court
Amityville, Ny 11701

For an application to any of the above listed complexes, please call Stanan Management at 516-486-1000. For further information, please call Catholic Charities' housing office at 516-733-7076.

Eligibility requirements for HUD financed Catholic Charities' senior housing:
Age - 62 or older
Income - for an individual income must be below $37,650 annually; for a couple, income must be below $43,000 annually.
Further questions? Please call Barbara McCaffrey at Catholic Charities' housing office - 516-733-7076.
For an application to any senior complex, please call Stanan Management at 516-486-1000.

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Funds Available to Make Homes More Accessible

The Long Island Housing Partnership's Rehabilitation Emergency Assistance Program provides funds for improvements to accessibility In disabled Long Islanders' homes. Up to $15,000 in deferred loans are available. These can be used for various improvements, including wheelchair ramps, widened hallways, accessible bathrooms and kitchens, chair lifts and visual and hearing impairment devices. Applicants must meet income limits set by the federal home loan bank, according to household size:

  • 1-2 persons: up to $97,728
  • 3+ persons: $114,016
To apply, please call 631-435-471, Monday to Friday 9 to 5, or visit the Housing Partnership at 180 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge, NY11788.

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New Discount Prescription Card

The LICC is now distributing free prescription discount cards at our locations at 407 Osborne Avenue at Lincoln in Riverhead (631-727-2210), at 450 North Main Street in Freeport (516-868-4989), and at our Hempstead office in Christ's First Presbyterian Church (516-565-0290) and at all LICC meetings. I'm attaching info about this program.

The cards can save up to 75% on drugs and can be used along with the Nassau & Suffolk discount cards that we have distributed for several years. You can ask at the pharmacy, "What is the price if I use the RxCut card? How about this County discount card?"

The RxCut card can be particularly helpful for seniors who have reached the "donut hole" in their Medicare Part D drug coverage.

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Help Paying for Food

Changes in the guidelines for SNAP (a.k.a. food stamps) have made many more people eligible for this assistance, including many more people who are 60 or older. Seniors who qualify receive on average $90 a month toward their food bills. The Health & Welfare Council of Long Island is helping seniors determine if SNAP can help them. Their Nutrition Outreach & Education Program provides:

  • free, confidential screening for food stamp eligibility,
  • help in completing and submitting an application, and
  • help translating and photocopying documents.
For more info call 516-483-1110, ext. 431.

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"Living Healthy" for Seniors

EAC is offering "Living Healthy," a free, self-management workshop series for seniors who are living with any chronic condition, such as diabetes or arthritis. Studies have shown that people who completed this program demonstrate significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability and social/activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital and had fewer outpatient visits and hospitalizations. Would you like to offer this program in your congregation? If you have a meeting space for a six-week program held once a week, two and a half hours each session, and can sign up 10-18 people, EAC will provide workshop leaders, marketing materials to help advertise this program, and all workshop materials. Each senior will receive a free companion book, an audio relaxation CD, and a Certificate of Achievement.

In Nassau County, please contact Angie Malone at angela.malone@eacinc.org or 516-539-0150 ext. 109. In Suffolk, please contact Maureen McCarthy at betterchoices@rsvpsuffolk.org or 631-979-9490 ext. 18. You can also find out more at http://patienteducation.stanford.edu/programs/cdsmp.html.

The LICC would be glad to help publicize your workshop series.

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Help with Utility Bills

National Grid customers who meet income limits may be able to receive $400 off back gas bills through the On-Track program (1-800-298-7715).

Those who qualify for LIPA's REAP program (1-800-263-6786) can save a considerable amount of money through energy conservation measures, which provides a free energy audit and anything from free light bulbs to a free refrigerator. Both homeowners and renters can apply - and they even come to your home to do this. You will need a LIPA bill at your current address. Income limits range from $50,820 a year to much higher for larger families, such as $72,520 for a family of four. Further info is available at http://www.lipower.org/residential/custserv/fa-reap.html

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HIV, Hepatitis & Substance Abuse Help for Those Over 50

LIAAC has been awarded a five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to the emerging and lesser known HIV and substance abuse epidemic among adults aged 50 and over. The "Seasoned Adults Project" will be used to address the need for outreach, prevention services, and testing in Long Island communities disproportionately affected by HIV, Hepatitis C, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and substance abuse, specifically targeting our region's at-risk, ethnic/racial minority populations age 50 and older. This grant will be used to deliver mobile HIV, Hepatitis C, and substance abuse prevention, education, and testing services directly to this very vulnerable population at locations such as retirement communities, senior centers, assisted living facilities, community libraries, low income senior housing and other community service providers who offer medical and social support.

If you would like to learn more about this new initiative or would be interested in participating in the programs offered through this new and innovative project, please feel call Patrice Levy at 1-877-865-4222.

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Help for Those Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

"Willing Hearts, Helpful Hands" is an innovative community program designed to meet the needs overburdened caregivers. These caregivers of elderly adults who have Alzheimer's disease or are medically frail are connected with trained volunteers who provide an array of respite services that include, but are not limited to:

  • friendly visiting
  • community outings
  • telephone reassurance
  • computer training
  • chore service
  • home maintenance
  • grocery shopping
  • transportation to medical appointments
  • reading assistance
  • pet care
  • assistance with paying bills
  • assistance getting to worship
For more info, or to volunteer, visit www.parkerinstitute.net/documents/whhh.php

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Day Program for Seniors with Dementia

Peninsula Counseling Center offers "The Club," a day program in Hewlett to provide respite for caregivers and support for both individuals and families affected by dementia. The program is open to Nassau residents over 60. Participants attend twice a week, 9:30 to 2:30: women on Mondays and Wednesdays; men on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Family members must provide transportation to The Club. For more info, call The Club at 516-374-9253 between 8:30 and 3:30.

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Help to Quit Smoking

One little-publicized result of the health care reform law of 2010 is that Medicare now pays for up to eight counseling sessions a year for senior and the disabled who want to quit smoking, as well as paying for prescription medications that help smokers quit. With the help of a physician, a counselor, or a support group, you are far more likely to succeed in kicking nicotine addiction.

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Help for Seniors is Just a Call Away

Residents of the Town of North Hempstead can get a wealth of information about programs and resources for senior citizens simply by dialing 311.

Those in New York City can get info on all sorts of social services by dialing 211. 2-1-1 provides callers and web visitors with detailed information on nearly 10,000 community resources for help and assistance - from basic daily needs such as food, heat and shelter to job training, financial services, child and/or elder care and more. The 2-1-1 Call Center operates 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week, and can be reached by calling 2-1-1 in New York City.

Those outside New York City or North Hempstead can call, toll-free, 1-888-774-7633 for information on social service agencies and programs. Multi-lingual and TTY services are a ailable. You can also visit www.211longisland.org on-line, which is updated daily by Middle Country Public Library.

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