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Gray Matters

Prescription Drug Help 2 Caregiver Training 3 Senior Coalition 4 Volunteer Opportunities 6

A quarterly publication of Area 1 Agency on Aging


50 or older. “They are people who need help and I am an old man who needs the company,” Hughes other. For the last six months, Hughes said. “It matters.” It makes a difference for Eurehas been one of the more than ka’s Garrison. She is nearly blind, 20 volunteer drivers in an Area uses a walker to get around and 1 Agency on Aging program never expected to be living into dedicated to getting senior and disabled residents in Eureka and her tenth decade. “I should go out and celebrate the Eel River Valley to medical my 30th anniversary in retireappointments. ment, but I’m not able to do On Tuesdays and Thursdays, very much,” the 90-year-old said, the 73-year-old Kneeland her words tinged more with acresident and former taxi driver shuttles Garrison and other pro- ceptance than sadness. “A lot of issues go along with aging.” gram participants to and from “Many of our community’s hospitals, pharmacies and other elder citizens do not have family appointments with health care providers. Since the program be- or friends to take them to medical appointments and public gan in January 2011, more than transportation isn’t an option 1200 rides have been given to Humboldt County residents who for everyone,” said Maureen are living independently and age McGarry, project director of ee Garrison and Gaylord Hughes aren’t friends, but each fills a need for the


residents with disabilities

Volunteer Drivers Needed for Medical Appointments

RSVP & Volunteer Center of the Redwoods. “That causes stress and worry, both of which are compounded when missed appointments get charged to the client.” The program cannot always guarantee a driver. “It depends on who is available – but if they can’t tell you for sure, they ask if you can stand

FALL 2012

by,” Garrison said. “I wait to see if I get a call, and usually I do. It’s such a wonderful program, but we need more drivers.” “These are the people who want rides,” Volunteer Specialist Valorie Lovelace said as she pointed at a binder three inches thick. She then picked up another about a quarter of the size. 

continued on page 8

Percent of Population With Disability Humboldt County* 15%







0 total number of Humboldt County residents

Age 0+ 132,493

Under 18 27,068

Age 18-64 88,464

Age 65+ 16,961

*For non-institutionalized population Source: American Community Survey, 2008-2010 Estimates



Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period Kicks Off October 15; Check Plan and Save Money


The Past Exalted Ruler’s Association of Eureka Elks Lodge #652 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the USA

Proud to be an Active Organization in our Community We support youth activities including: Hoop Shoot Soccer Adoption of Pine Hill School Scholarships for high school students We also support various senior and veteran programs, including: North Coast Honor Flight Meals on Wheels Gray Matters

Elks Fact: Nationally, the Elks are the second biggest contributor of scholarships, trailing only the U.S. government.


oing once. Going twice. In-person appointments for free counseling during the annual Medicare enrollment period are gone in Fortuna and McKinleyville and filling up fast at other North Coast locations. “Soon it will be time to pay attention to your choices for 2013,” said Martha Johnson, manager for the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program, HICAP for short. Enrollment in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Part C Medicare Advantage Plan runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Free counseling appointments are also available in Garberville, Eureka, Arcata, Willow Creek and Crescent City. “We can’t help everyone in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but last year during annual enrollment we helped more than 3,000 people save $1.2 million by comparing plans and getting people into new ones when warranted.” HICAP’s paid and volunteer staff of 14 trained and unbiased counselors gears up in September for the seasonal rush that begins when Medicare releases its 2013 plan information on Oct. 1 at www. medicare.gov. “Prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans change their

benefits and costs every year,” Johnson said. “They change premiums, deductible, co-pays and which drugs are covered. They may even withdraw their coverage in our region.” The message: check current coverage and needs against the new plans and then decide who to go with, or stay with, in 2013. Johnson said people enrolled in insurance such as retiree health plans or employer group health plans do not need to do anything if they are happy with their current coverage. “Enrolling in a Medicare Prescription or Advantage Plan could cause them to lose their other coverage,” she said. “The best thing to do is check with the benefits administrator of their plan for details.” To make an in-person HICAP appointment, call 707-444-3000 in Humboldt County and 707-4647876 in Del Norte County. Calls can also be made to Medicare 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-633-4227. “It’s best to call Medicare during evenings or weekends for shorter wait times,” Johnson said. A third option: call the HICAP office to request a worksheet. Fill out the worksheet and return it to HICAP, which will assess options and mail comparisons of the top three plans best suited to the drug  continued on page 7

Caregiver Training: Eureka Class is Next to Try to Boost Numbers


he government reports unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the nation, but too few county residents are aware that a free 42-hour training course offered locally can better equip them to care for a loved one. It can also open the door to a spot on the caregiver registry and a job as a private caregiver. “Family caregivers and unpaid nonfamily caregivers get a registration fee waiver,” said Jeanie Ren, program manager for Caregiver Services and Information & Assistance. “Everyone else pays only $20, and that doesn’t even cover the photocopies and materials we hand out.” Ren coordinates six training sessions a year for Area 1 Agency on Aging. The next one is slated to begin in Eureka on Oct. 16. The class runs Tuesday and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Nov. 13 and requires 27 hours in a classroom and 15 hours of homework. The same class concluded last week in McKinleyville and will run again in Fortuna Feb. 19 through March 19. In addition to cooking meals, cleaning houses and shopping for groceries, caregivers assist with medications and bathe, dress, lift and transport those who need help. “Most caregivers are spouses or children and the rest are paid em-

ployees who can be awfully hard to find,” Ren said. “These classes are the key to providing quality care and to meeting what has proven to be a growing need in our community.” More than 1,800 people have completed the training since the classes started in 2000, with an all-time high of 237 finishing in 2010. But the number fell to 82 in 2011. “The county was unable to continue our contract to provide training in the aftermath of state budget cuts to In-Home Support Services,” Ren said. The county manages IHSS, a cadre of caregivers who serve the community’s most frail and needy residents, yet make $8 an hour compared to the $10 to $16 Ren said private caregivers command and the $21 to $26 rate paid through a caregiving agency. By supporting training to the tune of $144,000, the county improved the skills of its IHSS workforce at the same time it expanded the pool of caregivers. “We encourage people in our training to take on an IHSS client because they are usually the people with the greatest need,” Ren said. “IHSS clients find it really hard to find caregivers at $8 an hour.” “It’s another of the challenges our community faces: how to afford to  continued on page 7 SPECIAL INSERT TO THE NORTH COAST JOURNAL • THURSDAY, SEP. 27, 2012


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Senior Action Coalition Already Gaining Access


ix months after starting up, the Senior Action Coalition is already getting a seat at the table. In May, it was the first of what will be regular sit-downs with Assemblyman Wes Chesbro. On August 14, it was a presentation to the Board of Supervisors that led to a meeting with the director of the Department of Health and Human Services to talk about wages for In-Home Support Services. In between, KIEM-TV’s Live at 5 news featured the coalition in a three-minute spot. “It’s been a fantastic success so far,” said Doug Durham, who paraphrased the group’s introductory statement of purpose to the supervisors during the general comment period. “To have them say, that sounds like an idea and to set something up as a result of the general comments -- I’m not sure that happens very often.” Maybe not, but elected officials in Humboldt have never had access to a local coalition of seniors defined less by political label than a general interest in adequate preparation for the graying of the county, state and country. “Thirty-five percent of the county’s population is 50 and older, and that number is only go-

ing to go up,” coalition member Sylvia Ryan said. “It’s better to be pro-active in addressing senior issues now rather than reactive down the road when they become urgent and serious.” With a grant from The SCAN Foundation, Area 1 Agency on Aging’s Project for Senior Action formed the group in March. Fifty regulars and an ever-expanding contact list receive updates and are ready to mobilize if needed. The group has a reach into every election district and no fewer than 50 local organizations and nonprofit groups. “We didn’t have much argument about direction,” Durham said. “We’re not about attacking and threatening. We want people to appreciate that we are a resource that they can use to solve problems.” The coalition ranked health care as the primary area of concern and focus for the coming year, said Eva Laevastu, one of five members on the steering committee. “The challenge is not in finding an issue or a problem,” she said. “The challenge is which issue and how we can make a difference.” In-Home Support Services and improving health care access are the coalition’s focus.

“As seniors, we are acutely aware of how quickly we can join others in need of personal care and how hard it is to find good caregivers,” steering committee member Bonnie MacGregor said. “It’s hard and vital work, and it’s reached a point where the community needs to step in and think outside the box to help the county find a way to provide a livable wage.” IHSS workers are not county employees, but the county controls their wages. The IHSS action group has flexible meeting dates. The health care access group meets the first Thursday of every month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at A1AA on 434 Seventh Street, Eureka. New members are always welcome to join or share information about other issues at the general coalition meeting on the third Wednesday of every month, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Eureka Veterans Hall at the corner of 10th and H streets. For more information or to add your name to the contact list, e-mail psa@ a1aa.org or call 707-4423763. 

The Ask Nonprofits Need to Make By Maggie Kraft, A1AA Executive Director


ive now. Give later. Or give and get back. It’s easier than you may think to support the work you believe in, which is what Nyle Henderson did two years ago when he remembered Area 1 Agency on Aging with an unrestricted gift in his will. “When I got on the board and became aware of all the good work they do and the funding problems they have, I got to thinking,” Henderson said. “We’ve taken good care of our kids and will continue to do so, but when we pass there’s quite a bit of residue in everyone’s estate. You can give to the things you care about. With good planning, the kids don’t even feel it.” Henderson moved to Eureka in 1950 as a 10-year-old and never left. As the owner of Charter Bus and Trucking, a two-time past president of Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka, and an exalted ruler of the Elks Club, he’s spent his adult life making a difference in his community. By embracing the notion of planned giving, he’s assured of making a difference after he’s gone. More people need to think and act like Nyle and Diane Henderson. Charitable giving has yet to return to pre-recession levels.

Adjusted for inflation, giving in 2011 was up less than 1 percent from 2010 and down 11 percent from 2007, reports the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, said in July that “charitable giving has experienced its second slowest recovery following any recession since 1971.” Unfortunately, when people think of planned giving, they often remember only the universities that educated them and built a relationship with them. Why? Maybe it’s because they were the only ones to ask them. I’m asking now. I’m asking for the seniors and the disabled who have been my life’s work, first as an ombudsman for long-term care, then as an adult day health program leader and advocate for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and now as executive director of

Area 1 Agency on Aging. And I’m asking for the many nonprofits decimated by shrinking budgets. Few nonprofits have a fundraising specialist who can outline all the vehicles associated with planned giving, but Humboldt Area Foundation fills that role. A1AA is one of many nonprofits working with HAF experts. They know how to leverage funding, manage endowments or trusts, and package gifts of any size for maximum local benefit. They provide expertise for gifts of stock, IRAs, life insurance or cash, and they help with the ins and outs of charitable trusts as people look to supplement income, reduce tax liability and leave a lasting legacy. “Everybody ought to think about what their contribution to the things they care about can and should be at the end of life,” Henderson said. 



Volunteer Opportunities 2012


he Volunteer Center of the Redwoods & RSVP works with more than 200 organizations actively seeking help – your help. Following is a small sampling of current volunteer opportunities available in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. If you have time, clerical skills or an interest in working with the public, the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods & RSVP has a place that needs your help. Screening, training and commitment vary by organization.

In Del Norte County, find us at the senior center at 1765 Northcrest Dr. in Crescent City, 95531. Phone 464-7876, fax 464-7877 or e-mail dnrsvp@a1aa.org. In Humboldt County, find us across the street from the Eureka Inn in the A1AA office at 434 Seventh St. in Eureka, 95501. Phone 442-3711, fax 442-3714 or e-mail volunteervcor@ a1aa.org. HUMBOLDT WILDLIFE CARE CENTER What: Care of injured or displaced wild animals Where: Bayside Who: info@humwild.org, 822-8839 

VOLUNTEER DRIVER PROGRAM What: Transport seniors to medical appointments Where: Eel River Valley, Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville Who: A1AA, 442-3711 ext. 306, vlovelace@a1aa.org 

FRIENDS OF THE DUNES What: Dune restoration and education projects Where: Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, Manila Who: 444-1397, carol@friendsofthedunes.org 


FOOD FOR PEOPLE What: Assist with various tasks at Hum. Co. Food Bank Where: 307 W. 14th Street, Eureka Who: Randy, 445-3166 ext 310 

LONG TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN What: Advocate for residents in long term care facilities Where: A1AA Who: Suzi Fregeau, 269-1339, sfregeau@a1aa.org 

SEQUOIA HUMANE SOCIETY What: Dog walkers, cat companions, office helpers Where: 6073 Loma Ave., Eureka Who: volunteer@sequoiahumane.org 

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY What: Assist with fundraising and community awareness efforts Where: 2942 F Street, Eureka Who: Linda Mowrey, 443-2241 

Oct. 27 is Make a Difference Day CASA OF HUMBOLDT What: Advocate for a child’s voice in court Where: 2356 Myrtle Ave., Eureka Who: 443-3197 

FORTUNA SENIOR SERVICES What: Assist with various senior activities Where: 922 N Street, Fortuna Who: Naomi Johnson, 726-9203 

HUMBOLDT SENIOR RESOURCE CENTER What: Assist with wide variety of senior programs Where: 1910 California Street, Eureka Who: 443-9747, hsrc@humsenior.org 

HUMBOLDT COMMUNITY BREAST HEALTH PROJECT What: Assist and support breast cancer survivors Where: 987 8th Street, Arcata Who: 825-8345 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY BLOOD BANK What: Assist with services of community blood bank. 

Where: 2524 Harrison Ave., Eureka Who: 443-8004 ARCATA MARSH AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY What: Staff and assist with information and interpretation Where: Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center Who: Denise Homer, 825-2160 

READING SERVICE OF THE REDWOODS What: Read for visually impaired listeners Where: 920 Samoa Blvd., Suite 214, Arcata Who: rs1@sbcglobal.net 

HOSPICE OF HUMBOLDT What: Care to patients with incurable diseases Where: 2010 Myrtle Ave., Eureka Who: 445-8443 

FERNDALE SENIOR RESOURCE AGENCY What: Assist with senior programs Where: End of Main Street, Ferndale Who: 786-4141 


continued from page 2

list described on the worksheet. “Then all you have to do is call Medicare to enroll,” Johnson said. Do-it-yourselfers can go online to access their account and make comparisons. To learn more, drop by Area 1 Agency on Aging at 434 Seventh Street in Eureka from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27. HICAP is conducting a free workshop, “How to Use the Medicare Plan Finder Online.” No reservation is required. 


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continued from page 3 train and support the caregivers we need now and down the road,” said Maggie Kraft, executive director of A1AA. A settlement from a lawsuit around nursing home care has provided $20,000 annually for the next two years to make the training more available again. “That funding was given to improve training and support caregivers so we can keep seniors and the disabled from premature nursing home placement,” Kraft said. “But it doesn’t come close to replacing the county funding or the staff who trained and supported these caregivers.” 

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Volunteer Drivers Needed continued from page 1 “This is the one for drivers.” Lovelace and McGarry interview passengers and drivers, screen, keep records and coordinate rides. Transportation has been a concern in every area plan A1AA has put together over 30 years, so A1AA linked with RSVP, Volunteer Center of the Redwoods and the Safety Net Funding Partnership to bring the volunteer driver program to the Eel River Valley 20 months ago. Last fall, it expanded to Eureka. “We are expanding into McKinleyville and Arcata, but we need more drivers,” McGarry said.

Key requirements for applicants include: a satisfactory Department of Motor Vehicles Report; a mechanically sound car equipped with seatbelts; car liability insurance that includes $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 per bodily injury; and a fingerprint and sex offender registry check. “We need people who enjoy being with others, who want to help others access life sustaining activities, and who are prompt and reliable,” McGarry said. She’d also welcome those willing to go the extra mile, so to speak. Drivers run from Monday

through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but she fields requests for transport at other times. “The volunteer sets the limits of when and where,” McGarry said. One rider needed to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. for eye surgery. “I put it in the calendar. And Hughes said, ‘Give me his number.’” “I had to set my clock at 4 a.m. one day,” Hughes said. “But I wanted to help. It’s not that hard to adjust, and I kill two birds with one stone. I’ve got one guy who goes to a hyperbaric chamber for a three-and-a-half hour ordeal. I go for a walk by the

ocean to wait.” Federal funding and a grant from a legal settlement related to nursing home care set mileage reimbursement at 44 cents a mile, but McGarry said some refuse to take it. “They just want to serve and not be bothered with paperwork,” she said. “People talk about themselves and I try to lighten their day,” Hughes said. “If you could put it in one sentence: it makes you relevant.” To volunteer, call 707-4423711 or e-mail volunteervcor@a1aa.org. 

Nursery and Garden Center Shop and Power Equipment Landscape Contractors 1828 Central Ave. • McKinleyville • millerfarmsnursery.com Gray Matters is a quarterly publication of the Area I Agency on Aging. Maggie Kraft, Executive Director • mkraft@a1aa.org Carol Harrison, Editor • cah5@humboldt.edu AIAA is located at 434 Seventh Street in Eureka, 95501, across the street from Eureka Inn. Phone: 707-442-3763 Gray Matters is designed by graphic artist Lynn Jones of the NCJ and is posted on the NCJ website at www.northcoastjournal.com The next edition of Gray Matters is January 3, 2013.


Profile for North Coast Journal

Gray Matters Fall 2012  

A quarterly publication of Area 1 Agency on Aging

Gray Matters Fall 2012  

A quarterly publication of Area 1 Agency on Aging

Profile for ncjournal

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