Senior Gazette

Spring 2005
Carol Schmitkons, Amherst Township Senior Service (ATTSO) Director

2004 ATSSO YEAR-END REPORT

Meal Program: We delivered 2,947 meals to 24 participants during 2004. We averaged 11.73 meals per day, which is almost double the 6.4 meals/day average for 2003. Our meal drivers drove a total of 2,874 miles to take meals to our seniors this year, as compared to 3,915 miles in 2003. In 2004, we chose to get our meals from Golden Acres and also gave the drivers their own coolers. This allowed the drivers to pick up the meals at Golden Acres and then go home after finishing their route, rather than coming back to the Township Hall to drop off the coolers for the next driver, thus saving on mileage. Because of these changes, we were able to cut our loss per meal by $.27 this year. This program is run at a loss in order to ensure that those least able to afford the program have at least one hot, balanced meal per day.

Transportation: We made 16 trips with clients this year. We drove 437 miles to see that our clients arrived at their doctor appointments on time.

Support Services (one-on-one work with clients): We spent 69.3 hours helping clients with Medicare issues, arranging services for seniors who have had surgery, filling out forms, and helping clients get services that they needed by assisting them with phone calls to agencies or by going to appointments with them. The Medicare counseling program, administered by the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), took up 33.85 of those hours.

Referrals: We spent 13.05 hours referring 56 clients to various agencies and services around the community.

Grants: We applied for two grants in 2004 and received one grant from the Ohio Department of Aging for support services. This grant will help us better assess clients’ needs, aid them in filling out the paperwork necessary to obtain the needed assistance, and then follow up on their progress. This grant will be administered by the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging (WRAAA).

OFFICE HOURS:
8:00 A.M. – NOON (M-F)


Jennifer DeWitt (left), a licensed social worker, and Carol Schmitkons (right), Senior Service Director, are eager to assist area Seniors by providing them with support services.

MEDICARE UPDATES

This quarter’s Medicare update comes courtesy of Congressman Sherrod Brown’s winter 2004 newsletter. The following are excerpts from an article entitled, "Study Shows Varying Benefits from Changes to Medicare".

  • 2 out of 3 beneficiaries will receive some benefit from the new 2006 Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. The remaining beneficiaries will pay as much or more for their medication.
  • Low-income Americans stand to benefit the most-with an average reduction of 83%.
  • Those who enroll in the new drug benefit, but do not receive the low-income subsidies, are projected to pay on the average 28% less out of pocket.
  • More than a third of those who enroll will pay annual premiums expected to be around $420, and will realize no savings because they will spend little or no money on prescription medicines. Another 9% (2.4 million) could see significantly higher out-of-pocket costs because they are projected to lose more generous prescription drug coverage from their former employers.

It is important that all Medicare beneficiaries fully explore the options available to them as the new drug coverage is phased in. Those beneficiaries who elected to purchase a Medicare Discount Card have the option of changing or renewing that card after January 1, 2005.


"EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 101" – SENIOR EDITION

In light of all the heavy snows we’ve had this winter, area flooding, the upcoming tornado season, and our occasional heightened terrorist alerts, it is a good time to talk about how to prepare in advance for emergency situations. The following information comes from the American Red Cross booklet entitled, “Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors.”
  • Take responsibility: Plan ahead even if you have physical limitations. By planning ahead, you can avoid waiting in long lines for critical supplies, such as food, water, and medicine. Disaster can strike quickly and without warning! Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they can’t reach everyone right away. Keep in touch with your neighbors and look out for each other.
  • Notification: Obtain a battery-powered radio tuned to the local Emergency Alert Station, which is WEOL 930AM. You also might want to get a NOAA weather radio which provides the earliest warning if bad weather is approaching (available at local electronic stores). If the power is on, your local TV stations broadcast alerts. Local emergency officials occasionally may go door-to-door giving special warnings. Strictly follow their instructions. If you, or someone in your neighborhood, has special needs, please register them with the Amherst Twp. Senior Service Office so we can get help to you as soon as possible. The office phone number is 988-5822.
  • Use a family “Disaster Plan” checklist to get started:
    • Assemble enough medical and general disaster supplies to last for at least a three-day evacuation. Store in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack, duffle bag, or small suitcase, that also has an ID tag. Label any equipment that you would need, such as wheelchairs, canes, or walkers.
    • Arrange for someone to check on you.
    • Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home.
    • Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter.
    • Find the safe places in your home for each type of emergency.
    • Have a plan to signal the need for help.
    • Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
    • If you have home health care service, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures.
    • Teach those who may assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment. Be sure they are able to reach you.
  • Medical supplies to pack for evacuation:
    • First aid kit including aspirin, sterile bandages, sunscreen, soap, scissors, gauze, and tweezers.
    • 3-day supply of prescription medicines, list of medications (including dosages), and list of allergies.
    • Extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries.
    • Extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen.
    • List of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
    • Medical insurance and Medicare cards.
    • List of doctors and relative or friend who should be notified if you are injured.
  • General emergency supplies to pack for evacuation:
    • Battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries for each.
    • Change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
    • Blanket or sleeping bag.
    • Extra set of keys.
    • Cash, credit cards, and change for pay phone.
    • Personal hygiene supplies.
    • Phone numbers of local and non-local relatives or friends.
    • Insurance agent’s name and number.
  • Additional supplies to have on hand if you are ordered to stay in your home:
    • Water supply – three gallons per day, per person, stored in sealed, unbreakable containers.
    • Non-perishable food supply – including any special foods you may require. Choose foods that are easy to store and carry, nutritious, and ready-to-eat. Rotate this food regularly.
    • Manual can opener.
    • Non-perishable pet food.