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SENIORcare Medicare Annual Election Period Making the Right Decisions Healing Power of Pets for Seniors Seniors & Exercise Food for Thought


s Do dishe Mow lawn age r a g n a e Cl r a c n i l i o test r e e g n c n a h a c C ctal e r o l o c Schedule

Move your hea lt to the top of h your to-do list.

Schedule your colorectal cancer test. When found early, treatment for colorectal cancer is more effective. So you can live a longer life and be there for the ones you love. Many residents are eligible for a colorectal cancer test at no cost through the Michigan Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Program. Learn more at Michigan.gov/cancer or call 844-446-8727.

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(StatePoint) Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are increasingly popular, offering robust benefits including vision, health, dental, drug coverage and more. For the more than 22 million people with an MA plan, the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), running from Oct. 15-Dec. 7, is the only time each year when they can shop for alternate plans. “Health care is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make,” says Brian Evanko, who heads Medicare for Cigna, which serves more than 3 million Medicare customers nationwide through its various plans. “For those unsatisfied with their MA plan, the AEP provides a valuable opportunity to shop for a new one that better meets their specific needs.” Weighing your options this AEP? Consider the following tips from Cigna: • Review changes. In late September, health plans send their current MA customers a document known as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) with information about plan changes for the upcoming year, including costs, benefits, available doctors and facilities. Don’t overlook this important document in the mail. It can help you determine if you need to change plans. • Weigh extras. When comparing plans, pay attention to extra benefits not available in Original Medicare and consider whether you’re likely to use them. Some of the most popular are dental, vision, hearing and no-cost access to fitness programs. Others might include over-thecounter drug coverage and no-cost transportation to doctors and pharmacies. • Consider other factors. Beyond cost, consider the doctors and facilities included in any given plan, making sure it includes your favorite physician. Check drug coverage, prices on your regular maintenance medications and whether it’s easy to see specialists. Also pay attention to copays (how much you’re required to pay out-of-pocket for doctor visits) and the deductible. Are they affordable? • Know yourself. Learn as much as you can about the different plan types and choose one that best suits your budget, lifestyle and health status. Of course, priorities change, which could prompt a need for a plan change. • Don’t forget prevention. Many MA plans cover health screenings beyond those covered by Original Medicare. Talk to your doctor about which screenings are important for you given your age and health status. Some MA plans may even provide rewards, such as gift cards, for completing certain screenings. • Get assistance. Plan Finder, found at medicare.gov/find-a-plan, is an online tool available through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that helps you compare premiums, costs of medications and more. You can see how plans are rated from one to five stars based on different quality measures. Additionally, many insurance plans offer seminars at no cost and with no obligation to sign up. You can also check health plans’ websites or call their customer service for more information. Local and state agencies on aging also connect older adults and caregivers with resources. “Medicare is a great program, but it can be complicated, especially for those who are new to it,” Evanko advises. “Seek out third-party resources and talk to friends and family who have been through the process, asking questions until you understand your options.”

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By Curtrise Garner Retirement day is the first day of many lasts: The last day of punching the clock, running out of the house, fighting rush hour traffic and laughing at your manager’s corny jokes. The first day of retirement also is the last day that your private health insurance coverage may be in effect. So, before one starts lounging in the bed and making check marks on the bucket list, you’ll want to select a Medicare plan that best suits you and your lifestyle. Doing so ensures a seamless continuation of healthcare coverage, which is very important and should go hand-in-hand with growing older. The choices for Medicare coverage run the gamut with some Medicare plans offering basic care, where you pay for your doctor visits, while other include prescription drug coverage and a range of deductibles. With all of those options, it’s easy to get confused. So, here’s a basic breakdown of Medicare plans and what they offer: We spoke with Rick Notter, Vice President – Individual Business Unit, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), and to paraphrase Denzel Washington in the movie “Philadelphia,” we asked him to “explain [Medicare} to me like I’m a 10 year old.” Here goes:

Rick Notter

MC: There are a lot of questions around Medicare, can we start with eligibility? BCBSM: Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, who have retired from their jobs. Retirees are eligible if they have worked at least 10 years total (long enough to receive social security) and have paid into the Medicare system. Generally, Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). Medicare Parts A and B are called Original Medicare and provide coverage for hospitalizations, doctor visits and some preventive services.

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MC: What is the difference between Part A and B?

MC: What if I want more coverage than Original Medicare provides?

BCBSM: Part A is available without premiums if you are receiving retirement benefits BCBSM: That is definitely an option. There are other Medicare plans, called Part C (or are eligible) from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board. You also are plans, that also are known as Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are offered eligible if you or your spouse had Medicare-covered employment. through private companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Parts A and B cover, as well Part B does have a monthly premium, which is based on your income and the taxes as provide extra benefits that may include dental, visions, hearing and even fitness that you paid into the Medicare system. The monthly premium can be deducted from memberships. Many of these plans include Part D drug coverage, so you don’t’ need your Social Security or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these to add on a separate drug plan. Medicare Advantage plans also limit what you pay payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months. out of pocket each year for covered services, something Original Medicare doesn’t Part B helps cover medical services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, and other do. Medicare Advantage also is a great option for “snowbirds” who travel to another medical services. Part B also covers some preventive services like exams, lab tests, state in the winter. Even while traveling, they will still have great choices for hospitals and screening shots to help prevent, find, or manage a medical problem. With both and healthcare while living elsewhere.

Parts A and B, you may have to pay coinsurance on some services, since Medicare BCBSM: It’s important that people evaluate their Medicare options when they turn typically covers about 80% of care. 65 as many people keep the same plan for the rest of their lives. However, members People often remain with Original Medicare when they have benefits in place through get a chance to review their coverage each year during the Annual Enrollment Period, Veterans Affairs or if they are very healthy and don’t need to add on extra coverage. which is October 15 – December 7. During this time, members can change their Medicare Advantage or Part D plan if their health or budget needs have changed. BCBSM MC: Does either Part A or Part B offer prescription coverage? Some medicines are has a toll-free number that people can call to discuss their options and determine expensive, especially after retirement? what’s best for them. Our number is (888) 563-3307 (TTY users call 711) Monday BCBSM: Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. You can through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with weekend hours October 1 through March 31. add on prescription coverage by purchasing a Medicare Part D plan. You can pair Information is also available online at bcbsm.com/medicare. this plan with Medicare Parts A and B to give you the coverage you need.

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L

et’s face it. Getting older can be very lonely. Loved ones and friends move or pass away, and it becomes increasingly difficult to leave the house and participate in once-loved activities. But there is once source of comfort and companionship that benefits seniors in countless ways: pets. Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social interaction and physical activity. Pets provide other intangibles, too. “Dogs and cats live very much in the present,” says Dr. Jay P. Granat, a New Jersey-based psychotherapist. “They don’t worry about tomorrow, which can be a very scary concept for an older person. An animal embodies that sense of here and now, and it tends to rub off on people.” Pets can also have an astounding effect on symptoms of depression and feelings of loneliness. “Older pet owners have often told us how incredibly barren and lonely their lives were without their pets’ companionship, even when there were some downsides to owning an active pet,” says Linda Anderson, who founded the Angel Animals Network in Minneapolis with her husband, Allen, to spread awareness of the benefits of pet ownership.

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Marjorie and Richard Douse couldn’t agree more. Soon after the Douses retired, they adopted Bonnie, a golden retriever puppy who quickly became an indispensable member of the family. “We never felt alone when Bonnie was in the house. As we aged and tended to go out less, she provided us with loving companionship,” say her owners. Bonnie’s outgoing personality enhanced the lives of other seniors as well. The Douses took her to visit aging relatives in a nearby nursing home, and she was a hit with the residents and staff alike. Psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld, who brings her own golden retriever mix, Sandee, to her New York City office, has even witnessed animals’ ability to prompt better memory recall in their elderly owners. “I’ve seen those with memory loss interact with an animal and regain access to memories from long ago,” she explains. “Having a pet helps the senior focus on something other than their physical problems and negative preoccupations about loss or aging. Animals benefit from adoption, too, particularly when seniors adopt older pets. “These lucky animals go from the pound to paradise. Retired adopters tend to have lots of time to devote to a previously unwanted pet, forming a lasting bond,” says

Chicago veterinarian Dr. Tony Kremer, who operates Help Save Pets, a nonprofit rescue organization, with his wife Meg. While the advantages of pet ownership are undeniable, there are some drawbacks and consequences to be aware of before going out to adopt a furry friend for an aging loved one. “If change isn’t your loved one’s cup of tea, then they may not be a good candidate,” say the Andersons. Adopting an animal usually affects a person’s whole daily routine. Amy Sherman, licensed therapist and author of Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life, thinks it’s best if the elderly person is an experienced owner. However, if they are open to a new and rewarding commitment, then first-timers can still make great owners. Pets are a significant long-term financial commitment. A small puppy can rack up more than $810 for food, medical care, toys and grooming just in its first year. A low-maintenance animal like a fish is less expensive, coming in at about $235, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Be sure to carefully consider a senior’s current budget before taking home any animal.


HAP IS HERE

MEDICARE SOLUTIONS

Giving you $0* PPO and HMO plans you’ll love the sound of Choosing HAP means choosing from thousands of doctors, in addition to Michigan’s leading hospitals. But, that’s not all. Our Medicare members also enjoy PPO and HMO options as low as $0/month, plus benefits and services beyond what they’ve come to expect. For more information about our $0 Medicare Advantage plans, call (833) 923-1716 (TTY:711) or visit hap.org/zero-plans. *You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Health Alliance Plan (HAP) has HMO, HMO-POS, PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment depends on contract renewal. Y0076_ALL 2020 Choosing NWP_M CMS Accepted 10/04/2019 SENIORcare • 2019 7


Coordinating the right care, focusing on new collaboration By Ronald S. Taylor Approximately 150,000 residents age 60+ live in our service area, and most will admit that situations change as we get older. Some may meet new people as they stay active and engage in more learning. Others may be struggling because of health or financial challenges. Some never imagined adult children would still need their support. Others never imagined living alone. All of them, along with their caregivers, need to know the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) better. We are called The Senior Solution for a reason. We serve community meals at 23 different sites at lunchtime. These daily gatherings counter social isolation, and participants find out about our educational programs, including those on elder abuse prevention. We direct individuals to supports for caregiving, transportation, kinship or adult day services, em em-ployment training, legal assistance, and services for those who are hearing and vision impaired. We coordinate long-term care services that allow thousands of individuals to maintain their independence. And yes, we provide home delivered meals. We accomplish this with a diverse team of individuals who are committed to service and maintaining the health and wellness of seniors and adults living with disabilities. Our team also includes volunteers who present proven health and wellness programs at numerous community settings to help people prevent falls, reduce the pain of arthritis, manage chronic conditions, find the right exercises, and learn strategies to reduce caregiver stress. The Detroit Area Agency on Aging has never forsaken the underserved nor ignored the most active, and we do not work alone in this community. Numerous organizations are also committed to the mental and physical health of our residents. A growing number of individuals and organizations are training and supporting caregivers, fostering economic security for older adults, and presenting activities that engage people of all ability levels. Missing is a community-wide approach to focus on all of the generations all of the time. As individuals, we must own our futures and adopt lifestyle changes to increase our longevity. We need to teach generations of young people what it means to grow older and better. And we need more education and advocacy on these issues. The Detroit Area Agency on Aging especially looks forward to more collaboration with the faith community, the service sector, and organizations that touch the lives of older adults. We are interconnected with common goals, and perhaps this edition of Senior Care will get us in motion, together. Ronald S. Taylor is the President and CEO, Detroit Area Agency on Aging – serving Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and the five Grosse Pointes. For more information, call 313/446-4444 or visit www.detroitseniorsolution.org. 8 SENIORcare • 2019


Detroit Area Agency on Aging A non-profit organization offering solutions to seniors, caregivers and adults with disabilities for living in their own home with dignity and independence. Known as “The Senior Solution,” a single call to the agency provides information, services and options for the help you need.

Programs & Services ■ Adult Day Care ■ Advocacy/Outreach/Volunteers ■ Care Management (In Home Services) ■ Caregiver Support, Education & Training ■ Community Wellness Service Centers ■ Elder Abuse Education & Prevention ■ Health & Wellness Classes ■ Home Delivered Meals/Congregate Meal Sites ■ Housing Resources ■ Kinship Care for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Serving seniors and adults with disabilities living in: Detroit, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park And the five Grosse Pointes For Information & Assistance, contact: Detroit Area Agency on Aging

313/446-4444 Monday – Friday

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Suite 200, Detroit, MI 48207-4544 www.detroitseniorsolution.org

■ LGBTQ Resources ■ Medicare-Medicare Assistance Program ■ Nursing Facility Transition Services ■ Senior Community Service Employment Program ■ Transportation Resources SENIORcare • 2019 9


Exercise is an important part of nearly everyone’s everyday health. This is true for older adults, too. Experts say seniors should aim to be as active as possible. If you are an older adult, exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life. There are many benefits of exercising when you’re a senior, including: • It improves your strength. This helps you stay independent. • It improves your balance. This prevents falls. • It gives you more energy. • It prevents or delays diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis. • It can improve your mood and fight off depression. • It may improve cognitive function (how your brain works) It is safe for most adults older than 65 years of age to exercise. Even patients who have chronic illnesses can exercise safely. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. In fact, many of these conditions are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor. Seniors age 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such 10 SENIORcare • 2019

as brisk walking) every week. That averages out to about 30 minutes on most days of the week. Or you should get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as jogging) each week. You should also do strength training at least 2 days a week. You can work on balance and flexibility every day.

• Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. • Parking farther away from your destination. • Walking or biking places instead of driving. • Walking your dog. • Working in the yard. In addition, you should incorporate physical • Doing light exercises while watching TV. activity into your daily routine. Examples of working more activity into your day include: Warm up for 5 minutes before you exercise.

Walking slowly and then stretching are good warm-up activities. You should also cool down with more stretching for 5 minutes when you finish exercising. Cool down longer in warmer weather. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock. Make sure the shoes are made for the type of physical activity you’ll be using them for. Shoes are specially designed for walking, running, tennis, or dancing, for example. If you are not already active, begin slowly. Start with exercises that you are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent soreness. Exercise is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until you feel better if you have a cold, the flu or another illness. If you miss exercise for more than 2 weeks, be sure to start slowly again. If your muscles or joints are sore the day after exercising, you may have done too much. Next time, exercise at a lower intensity. If the pain or discomfort persists, talk to your doctor.


Brain Think about it: The foods you eat have a huge impact on your body, from your energy level to your heart health and beyond. Your brain is no exception, and research shows that things like the MIND (Mediterranean — Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which focuses on specific brain-beneficial food groups, is linked with better brain health as well as dementia prevention.

While all fruits pack some nutritional benefit, only berries seem to wield power when it comes to improving brain health. Women age 70 and older who ate one or two half-cup servings of blueberries and strawberries per week had brains that performed as much as two-and-a-half years younger than women who hardly ate any berries, according to a study published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

When it comes to eating for brain health, it’s okay to go a little nuts. Researchers recommend that you eat five or more servings of nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios per week. Women age 70 or older who ate five or more servings of nuts per week, for instance, scored higher on cognitive tests compared with women who didn’t eat nuts at all, according to a Harvard University study. The researchers say this may be due to the high concentration of nutrients in nuts; previous research has linked them with reduced inflammation, decreased insulin resistance and improved levels of fats in the blood, which can all contribute to brain health.

Researchers say the flavonoid compounds in berries, especially the anthocyanidin pigments that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and give berries their beautiful hues, may be responsible. Consistent with this research, the MIND diet researchers suggest eating berries two Preventing cognitive decline can be as easy as adding an herb or spice to your food. Cocoa beans are a top source of Here are what experts say are the foods you should be eating or more times per week. Eating seafood as little as once per week can protect against flavonoid antioxidants, which have long been found to have for brain health. heart health benefits. Newer research is finding that the flavoOf all of the foods included in the MIND diet, which was de- cognitive decline, according to a 2016 study published in the noids found in cocoa can also accumulate in the brain, particveloped by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in journal Neurology. When researchers tracked more than 900 ularly the regions involved with learning Chicago, leafy green vegetables stand out as an especially men and women in their 70s and 80s for around five years, and memory, and can prevent they found that those who ate more fish saw fewer declines in important category. memory and other measures of brain health compared with damage and protect brain People between the ages of 58 to 99 who ate a heaping half- people who rarely ate seafood. One reason, say scientists — health over the long term. cup of cooked leafy greens, or a heaping cup of uncooked the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, which previous research Another spice to include: turmeric, a potent source of the greens like lettuce each day, had less cognitive decline — the has found can protect the brain in a number of ways. easily absorbed compound equivalent of 11 years less — than those who hardly ate any leafy greens, say researchers in one study published in the Omega-3s aren’t the only brain-healthy fats, though. Research- curcumin, which may reduce journal Neurology. MIND diet researchers recommend get- ers have found that extra virgin olive oil, for instance, contains inflammation in the brain. compounds that help clean up tiny tangles and plaques in the ting at least six such servings per week. brain, slowing disease progression. Research also shows that the same benefits can’t be obtained from consuming the same nutrients through supplements. While the reasons for this aren’t completely understood, experts believe they may lie in how pills and foods metabolize in different ways in our bodies.

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Medical marijuana is not the drug you can buy in the street, which may be improperly grown, infused with another drug, or not even authentic marijuana. Medical marijuana stems from pure, uncut cannabis indica plant. Certain medically beneficial chemicals—the “mind-altering” ones that make you feel a buzz or high—are then taken from these planets and used to help treat patients for various medical issues. Sometimes the plants as a whole— and not just the certain chemicals inside it—are used to help with certain medical conditions.

yet, mainly because there have not been enough clinical trials done on a wide enough scale to prove the plant’s medical benefits. Just because a large government agency hasn’t approved medical marijuana as a proper medical treatment does not mean that the plant itself doesn’t have medical benefits, especially for seniors. Cannabis has actually been used as a medical treatment for thousands of years

Now that we know what medical marijuana is, we can look at the symptoms and illnesses the chemicals inside of the marijuana plants can help qualm or make easier to While there are more than 100 chemicals live with. (these are called cannabinoids) in mari- Cancer juana, the two main chemicals in medical One of the primary uses of medical marimarijuana used for medical purposes are juana is to help cancer patients, especialdelta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol more com- ly when they are going through rounds of monly known as THC and cannabidiol chemotherapy. Some studies have shown (CBD). These chemicals have been known that smoking marijuana can help with nauto treat a slew of diseases and medical con- sea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. ditions. When dealing with palliative care, especially Medical mar- for patients with cancer, a study points out ijuana has that most patients (more than 60 percent) not been ap- experience both of these symptoms rather proved by than one or the other, so medical marijuathe Federal na can help relieve two symptoms (and poDrug Admin- tentially many more) at once. Studies have i s t r a t i o n also shown smoked or vaporized marijuana can help with the pain suffered through neurological damage and can help patients get their eating habits back on schedule.

Alzheimer’s Disease Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease have sometimes turned to medical marijuana to help with their treatment to assist with symptoms of depression and loss of appetite that may come along with the degenerative brain disease, which affects more than four million Americans’ cognition and memory every year. About 10 percent of seniors have the disease.

medical marijuana instead of glaucoma drops include cost effectiveness and personal preference. The trend among seniors using medical marijuana is on the up-and-up. From 2006 to 2013, cannabis use among seniors increased by 250 percent. Anxiety/Mental Health Disorders

Studies have shown that cannabinol (CBD), one of the two main chemicals in marijuana Pain Management Almost all seniors have experienced some used for medical purposes, can help treat sort of pain in their later years, and medical anxiety and other mental health issues, inmarijuana can help with that. What’s inter- cluding: esting is that you often don’t need to ingest •Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) the marijuana to reap the medical benefits •Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of the plant. There are rubs, creams, and •Panic attacks lotions infused with THC that can seep •Moderate depression through your skin and attack a small, sin•General anxiety gular area of pain. Despite taking up less than 15 percent of the population, seniors are prescribed more than one-third of all prescription drugs in America, and the drugs are often used to treat pain. Medical marijuana is a convenient and healthier alternative and strays away from the addictive tendencies of opioids. Glaucoma Glaucoma is an issue with your eyes that occurs when a buildup of fluid damages the nerves in your eyeball. It is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. This disease causes increasing pressure in your eyes because of the amount of fluid, which affects your eyesight. For years, doctors have prescribed glaucoma eye drops that help relieve the pressure in your eyes, but it has also been proven that marijuana can help relieve pressure for hours at a time.

Eating Disorders Eating disorders are far more common among seniors than you think. Nearly deaths that occur due to anorexia occur among the elderly. As seniors age, they may lose the desire to eat. This can happen because they’re making a personal decision about their body image or because of other psychological reasons beyond their control. Poor eating, amidst other issues like bone loss and heart problems, can prove chronic. But in any instance, medical marijuana may help seniors eat more and exit dangerous weight zones.

Studies have found that the body’s marijuana-like neurological system called the endocannabinoid system is underutilized or impaired amongst patients with anorexia and bulimia, essentially making the brain look at food as undesirable. Medical marijuana can help stimulate this system and According to a website dedicated help the brain treat food as a reward again. to Oregon eye doctors (where med- The trend among seniors using medical ical marijuana is legal), you need to re- marijuana is on the up-and-up. From 2006 lieve pressure in your eyes throughout the to 2013, cannabis use among seniors inentire day to help combat glaucoma, which creased by 250 percent. Talk with your is why eye drops can sometimes be more doctor to see if Medical Marijuana or CBD effective. Other factors that play into using products may be an option for you.

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HAP is Here Helping You Navigate Medicare: 4 Shopping Tips to Consider If you’re 65 or older, you’re eligible for Medicare. If you’re younger than 65 but have certain disabilities or end-stage renal disease, you might also be eligible. If you’re not sure what makes the most sense for you, HAP can help. Here’s how to make the most of your Medicare shopping experience.

1. Enroll Early

Did you know you can sign up for Medicare three months before your birthday month? If you’re currently receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B when you turn 65. If you aren’t, you can sign up when you’re 64 years and 9 months old. It ensures you have coverage the day you’re eligible and that you don’t get a lifetime of late enrollment fees. You can also sign up during your birthday month and three months after.

Medicare Open October 15, 2019 to Enrollment December 7, 2019 I represent several major insurance carriers in Michigan. Want more information on insurance carriers and their plans? Contact me today or visit my website to submit a request for an appointment. James K. Ralph Jr. LUTCF, AAI, CAWC

Assisting clients make wise insurance decisions for over 30 years.

James Ralph Agency, Inc.

jralph@jamesralphagency.com jamesralphagency.com

248-559-9079

2. Think about your network needs

Some people prefer a PPO over an HMO because they want the flexibility to go “out of network” if they want to. You can sometimes pay extra in monthly premiums for this flexibility. If all of your doctors and hospitals are in the HMO network, why should you pay more? HAP is accepted by thousands of doctors and most Michigan hospitals. Our Medicare Advantage plans have been designed with primary care doctors for better access to care. We have visitor/travel benefits which extend coverage to Arizona, Florida, Texas or Michigan (out of area) for up to six months (select HMO plans only).

3. Look for extras

Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental, vision or hearing. However, you can find Medicare Advantage plans that do, like our plans at HAP. As you’re evaluating the options, consider what kind of care you might need in the upcoming year. And don’t forget to also explore the benefits built into each plan. HAP has additional benefits like telehealth services, $0 gym memberships and up to $400/year for overthe-counter items and medications.

4. Don’t miss the enrollment deadline

Sometimes, people still have health insurance through their employer (or their spouse’s employer) at age 65. If that’s the case, you can delay your Medicare enrollment. The only catch: you need to sign up within eight months of losing that coverage. If you don’t, you’ll face a permanent late enrollment penalty, and you might even have to wait until the next enrollment period. For more than 25 years, HAP has been making Medicare as convenient as we can. When you have a question. When you have a problem. When you just need advice, we’re here for you. Because as a Michigan-based company, we’re not just near you … we know you. Every day, we’re collaborating with doctors, hospitals and the community. And as one of the leading integrated health plans in the region, we’re constantly finding new ways to coordinate your care and cut your costs. To learn about HAP’s Medicare options, call one of our Medicare experts at (800) 868-3153 (TTY: 711). Y0076_ALL 2020 Mich Chron Ad v2_M CMS Accepted 10/07/2019

Fun Facts About Fall Foods By: Grace Derocha, registered dietitian, certified 5. Celery: Celery is a nutrient powerhouse with chemical compounds that help lower blood pressure diabetes educator and certified health coach at and cholesterol levels. Get the most from each stalk Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan by pairing it with carrots as an awesome soup base. Michigan is home to nearly 50,000 agricultural farms. 6. Grapes: In Michigan, there are more than 140 Together, they yield more than 300 products includ- commercial wineries, where the Riesling grape ing blueberries, grapes, pumpkins and potatoes. Ev- reigns supreme. Grab a cluster and invigorate your ery year, the fall harvest provides key ingredients for taste buds by mixing with vegetables and curry. various holiday dishes and popular comfort foods. Here are 10 fun facts about the season’s top-selling 7. Onions: Despite the tearful side effects, the average American consumes about 19 pounds of produce: onions per year. The bulb vegetable can add a surge 1. Apples: There are over 11 million apple trees in of flavor to any dish. Michigan, producing more than 900 million pounds 8. Potatoes: Potato chips are not the best food of apples per year. They’re an American staple that option. Yet, 70 percent of Michigan’s potatoes are can also be used in healthy, fall-inspired desserts. used to make the addictive snack. For a healthier 2. Brussel Sprouts: When overcooked, Brussel spin on spuds, create homemade mashed potatoes sprouts release a Sulphur-based compound, causing with cauliflower instead. a bitter taste and displeasing smell. One can avoid this by roasting or sautéing the vegetable instead of 9. Pumpkins: In North America, the pumpkin’s roots run deep. In fact, it’s been successfully grown boiling. in the region for more than 5,000 years. It’s a fall 3. Cabbage: An average head of cabbage is about favorite that’s also a Halloween and Thanksgiving 90 percent water. Yet, it’s still high in vitamins C and staple. K as well as folate and potassium. Take advantage 10. Squash: The word squash originates from the of its health benefits by incorporating it into your Native American term “askutasquash,” which means favorite soup. “eaten raw.” However, most people prefer it cooked 4. Carrots: One carrot has more than twice the rec- and as part of a larger meal. ommended daily intake of vitamin A, a key component for healthy vision and a strong immune system. SENIORcare • 2019 13


Free Community Health & Wellness Programs at Five Locations

Discover Free and Tested Programs Available for Adults Age 60+ All are designed to improve your strength, confidence, and ability to live well. It’s all about simple lifestyle changes. And that includes joining others on the same journey…and having fun!

EVIDENCE BASED. So You Know It Works! The Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) supports and designated the following five organizations as Community Wellness Service Centers. Each present one or more of the programs listed on this page. For sessions near you, call DAAA at: 313-446-4444.

LASED Senior Center 7150 Vernor Hwy. Detroit, MI 48209 313/841-8840

NSO Northwest Wellness Center 18100 Meyers Rd. Detroit, MI 48235 313/864-7828

People’s Community Services Adult Wellness Center 8625 Joseph Campau St. Hamtramck, MI 48212 313/875-1750

St. Patrick Senior Center 58 Parsons St. Detroit, MI 48201 313/833-7080

The Helm at the Boll Life Center 158 Ridge Road Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236 313/882-9600

A Matter of Balance (Falls Prevention): A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program that can help reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falling. Program is led by two trained facilitators and consists of 8 2-hour sessions over four weeks. Program participants must be able to walk.

Caregiver Support Programs

Creating Confident Caregivers: A six-week workshop for caregivers of any age, caring for a person with dementia still living at home. The workshop provides participants with information, skills and attitudes to manage stress and increase effective caregiving skills, and to deal with difficult behaviors. EnhanceFitness: A fitness program designed for older The workshop meets once a week for six weeks at different adults that combines strength training, flexibility and car- locations. diovascular conditioning. EnhanceFitness classes are led by trained instructors on an ongoing basis at several Powerful Tools for Caregivers: This workshop gives you the skills to take care of yourself while caring for someone locations. else. The workshop meets once a week for six weeks at difDiabetes PATH (Diabetes Self-Management Program): ferent locations. Two trained facilitators lead a six-week workshop to help Aging Mastery Program for Caregivers: This 12-part people with diabetes learn techniques to manage their di- class educates caregivers about the impacts of caregiving abetes. The workshop meets once a week for six weeks and also provides them with the tools they need to stay at different locations healthier and happier in the caregiving journey. Universal Dementia Caregivers Bootcamp: This workPATH (Chronic Disease Self-Management Program): Two shop focuses on dementia symptoms, issues of each disease trained facilitators lead a six-week workshop that gives stage, care strategies that focus on connection and commuparticipants the skills and strategies needed to better nication as well as self-care to address caregiver burnout. manage chronic health conditions. The workshop meets once a week for six weeks at different locations. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP): This year-long program incorporates lifestyle changes that can help prevent or delay Type 2 Diabetes. Participants learn to eat healthy meals, increase physical activity, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy habits. For the first six months, participants meet weekly for a total of 16 sessions. During the second 6 months, participants meet monthly. Walk With Ease: No matter if you need relief from arthritis pain or just want to be active, the Arthritis Foundation’s six week Walk With Ease program can teach you how to safely make physical activity part of your everyday life. The workshop meets once a week for six weeks at different locations.

Other Health & Wellness Programs

Senior Project FRESH: Distribution of coupon vouchers to eligible older adults to get Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and honey from farmers markets and roadside stands. Eligibility criteria: persons must be 60 years of age and older, income must be at 185% of poverty or below, and they must live in one of the communities served by Detroit Area Agency on Aging. Distribution of coupon vouchers begins in June and goes through August. For more information contact: Community Health & Wellness (313) 446-4444 ext. 5348 HealthyAging@daaa1a.org

Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention: A fitness program that incorporates Tai Chi principles for improving health and wellness as well as proven effective for fall prevention. Classes are led by a trained instructor on an ongoing basis.

Some 23 senior centers, senior apartment buildings and places of worship also have classes and community meals. Contact the Detroit Area Agency on Aging at 313-446-4444 or www.DetroitSeniorSolution.org for more information. 14 SENIORcare • 2019


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Monthly Premiums, Deductibles, Copays

Go with a Medicare plan that gives you confidence. All-in-one coverage that offers: • Lower Rx drug costs and coverage for overthe-counter products. • Enhanced dental, vision and hearing coverage. • Access to our largest network of doctors and hospitals in the country.

To speak to a Blue Cross health plan advisor about Medicare Advantage plans, call 855-436-0209 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week, Oct. 1–March 31. TTY users, call 711. To receive more information about your Medicare options, visit www.GoConfidently.com/Michigan.

Join the over 500,000 people who already trust Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for their Medicare coverage.

Annual Enrollment Period Ends: December 7 Medicare Plus BlueSM and BCN AdvantageSM are PPO, HMO and HMO-POS plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue and BCN Advantage depends on contract renewal. Free guide with no obligation to enroll. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-888-563-3307 (TTY: 711). Y0074_20AEPNwspprAd_M CMS Accepted 10012019

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