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Leadership Academy 3

Gray Matters

Free Senior Info Guide 4 Fraud and Fitness 4 Volunteer Opportunities 6

A quarterly publication of Area 1 Agency on Aging

said. “You need to expect to pay a deductible or co-payments if your doctor needs to do further tests or procedures to treat a problem found during a preventive screening.” The USPSTF recommends three screening options for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 and continuing to age 75: an annual high sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT); sigmoidoscopy every 

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Reduced Work Labor Force Exit Hours










Reduced Work Labor Force Exit Hours


Men $185,049


Reduced Work Hours



CAREGIVING COSTS TO WORKING CAREGIVERS Average Male or Female Age �� + Caring for a Parent




tive screenings is devoted to cancer screenings not recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. “Even though the group’s guidelines are considered the gold standard for medical care, its detailed recommendations are largely ignored,” the pair wrote. “It is up to patients and their doctors to proceed wisely considering age, costs, benefits, risks and individual needs,” Johnson said. “But no co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles for preventive services is a big change for Medicare, and a welcome change for seniors who recognize that preventing illness is the key to living well and living longer.” Colonoscopy is an example of a preventive screening procedure that can easily become diagnostic and is not recom-



edicare has eliminated out-of-pocket costs for most preventive screening services, but the manager of the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program warns patients to proceed carefully. “There’s been some confusion where people get a charge they weren’t expecting because something they considered preventive becomes diagnostic,” said Martha Johnson, HICAP’s manager. “The bottom line: there could be co-payment required.” An Oct. 7, 2011 story posted by iWatch News by The Center of Public Integrity underscored the need for patient involvement for another reason. According to the report by Rochelle Sharp and Elizabeth Lucas, 40 percent of Medicare’s spending on common preven-


Preventive Screenings: Free . . . but not of Risk

mended by the USPSTF in people age 75 and older. Even so, the iWatch probe discovered Medicare processed 10 million colon cancer screening claims for people in that age group — and that was in a five-year period before Medicare introduced free preventive screenings in 2011. “The colonoscopy is free, but once they are in there and discover a polyp or two, they are going to remove them. That makes it diagnostic,” Johnson


Labor Force Exit


Graph does not include lost revenue from private pensions Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute, The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers, 2011



Preventive Screenings continued from previous page

Cloney’s Pharmacies • • • •

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Cloney’s Red Cross Pharmacy 525 5th Street, Eureka (707) 443-1614

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5 years combined with FOBT every three; or colonoscopy every 10 years. The annual FOBT costs around $10, takes 10 minutes at home with a stool sample card, and can be mailed for testing. It looks for invisible blood in the stool, which can be a sign of a growth, polyp or cancer in the colon or rectum. If blood is found, a colonoscopy is scheduled for follow up. A colonoscopy is an invasive procedure that costs $1,500 to $3,000 before insurance, involves a day of prep time, sedation and some risk. For colonoscopy, the USPSTF puts the risk of a bowel tear at 3.8 per 10,000 and serious complications at 25 per 10,000. The risk of serious complications is 3.4 per 10,000 in flexible sigmoidoscopy, which costs $500 to $750 before insurance. Evidence about the harm of FOBT is inadequate, but the task force of medical experts assesses them to be “no greater than small.” All three screenings are free with Medicare, which leaves the choice to provider and patient. But a survey of the local patient population by the Humboldt Del Norte Indepen-

dent Practice Association found that in 2009, only 52 percent of patients were screened for colorectal cancer and colonoscopy was the screening choice 85 percent of the time. An FOBT was the choice 12 percent of the time and flexible sigmoidoscopy came in at 3 percent. “Our apparent community standard suggests that only colonoscopy is worthwhile to pursue, and the nearly half of the patients who decline to be scoped for either financial reasons or simple dread of the procedure perhaps are not being offered the far less costly or invasive FOBT alternative,” wrote Dr. Alan Glaseroff in a three-page report available online at “The general public (and apparently the medical community as well) views colonoscopy as synonymous with colon cancer screening in much the same way Xerox is synonymous with copier.” “Our intent is to get information out about all the screening tests available,” said Jessica Osborne-Stafsnes, project manager for patient engagement for Aligning Forces Humboldt with the California Center for Rural Policy. “Providers want you to get the best care possible and they

want you to be healthy, but in order for that to happen, you have to be an active participant, an informed consumer.” Osborne-Stafsnes and Johnson advise patients go to medical appointments armed with information and ready to talk with their provider about the risks and benefits of screening. Between 2003 and 2008 -- Medicare spent $1.9 billion on common cancer screenings for people who were older than the government recommended age limits. That $1.9 billion “represents about 40 percent of everything Medicare spent on breast, colon, prostate and cervical cancer screenings in that time period,” the report states, and $31 million of it was spent on screening people in their 90s. The USPSTF does not recommend mammograms and colon or prostate cancer screenings for people at or over age 75, but does allow for considerations that support such screening in individual patients. For more information about health insurance and Medicare benefits, contact HICAP at 444-3000 in Humboldt County or 464-7876 in Del Norte County. For more information about screenings, go to http:// or 

Medicare’s Preventive Services Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Bone Mass Measurement Cardiovascular Screenings Colorectal Cancer Screenings Diabetes Screening Diabetes Self-Management Training Flu Shot Glaucoma Tests Hepatitis B Shots HIV Screening Pap Test, Pelvic and Breast Exams Welcome to Medicare Visit Yearly Wellness Visit Pneumococcal Shot Prostate Cancer Screenings Screening Mammogram Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling

New in 2012:

Depression Screening Obesity Screening Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Visit Alcohol Misuse Screening Visit publications to view or print “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services” or call HICAP at 444-3000.

Thirty Locals to Attend Senior Leadership Academy


hirty North Coast residents committed to senior advocacy are expected to take part in the May 1-2 Senior Leadership Academy offered at Humboldt Area Foundation. “We are at the end of an era in which people retired with good income and good benefits. That is over,” said Redway’s Mary Ella Anderson, the local representative to the 80-seat California Senior Assembly and a member of the North Coast’s Senior Action Coalition. “Now we’re looking at a grimmer time ahead for older people and this is why we can’t have the luxury of being out of the social civic life. We have to be out there advocating for ourselves and for the people coming after us. Everybody, if they live long enough, will get older.” The Senior Leadership Academy runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and is conducted by CARA – the California Alliance for Retired Americans. CARA is a statewide, grass roots nonprofit organization with a combined membership of 800,000 people. It works toward the advancement and achievement of just and equitable living conditions for seniors. The Oakland-based coalition includes more than 200 groups, among them senior centers, tenant associations, and retiree organizations. “The purpose of the training is to refresh the skills of those who have done some advocacy and to help those who are passionate about the issues learn new skills,” said Jodi Reid, execu-

tive director of CARA. “Whether the issues are statewide or in their community, the goal is to improve the capacity of people to become more effective advocates on the issues they care about.” Reid will be the lead trainer for the Academy, which has taught social media, leadership styles, issue presentation and public speaking to about 400 people since it began in 2005. “We’ll bring people together to see what they want to work on,” Reid said. “We teach skills simply and easily, and then we practice. We do a lot of role-playing. We limit it to 30, because if it’s any bigger, people don’t have the chance to practice and build their confidence.” “I’m hoping to have at least 20 people from our Senior Action Coalition,” said Yvonne Doble, co-program coordinator of the local Project for Senior Action and liaison between Area 1 Agency on Aging and the Senior Action Coalition. “If enough people get involved, we can start changing attitudes toward how we run our economy and make things good again,” Anderson said. The Senior Action Coalition meets every other Wednesday at the Community Wellness Center at 908 Seventh St. in Eureka. The next meeting is 2 to 3:30 p.m. on April 11 followed by a 10 a.m. to noon meeting on April 25 and 2-4 p.m. May 9. Doble and Anderson hope new faces join the 30 who turned out for the first meeting March 22. Asked what she thought a local senior lobby might influence, Anderson ticked off two issues: a General Plan that supported complete streets and inclusionary 

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Senior Leadership Academy continued from previous page

zone housing policies and expanding the local meals on wheels trial frozen food program while making use of a local vendor. “In my perfect world, those meals wouldn’t be coming all the way from Iowa,” she said. “And we’d have more multi-family and mixed neighborhood housing so you don’t wind up with everybody there being a single age. There would be more interaction between generations, and neighborhoods would be safe to walk and wheelchair friendly, scooter friendly. That is what most of us will need when we are older.” Participants in the Senior Action Coalition and CARA members have first crack at the Senior Leadership Academy. Doble said scholarships are available and sponsorships in the works to eliminate the usual $25 fee. “What really resonates with people is the opportunity to have their voices heard about issues that affect them and others,” Doble said. “Some of the folks who have come to the coalition have volunteered before. When they volunteer, especially around seniors, they see the

needs and challenges others are facing. Volunteers often want to see the world a better place, and they are willing to use their time and voice in the strength of a group to make changes.” CARA president Nan Brasmer and legislative director Hene Kelly may also instruct at the Academy. “They see themselves in the attendees: People who learned the skills to advocate and get better and better each time they use those skills,” Reid said. “I am sure there will be plenty of rich information that will be helpful,” Anderson said. “I want to find out what is going on there and make connection with the people who are there.” Doble said the Senior Action Coalition will determine its own local goal to pursue, and then use academy training and Reid’s ongoing support to influence the process. For more information on the Senior Action Coalition and the academy, contact Doble at 442-3763, go a1aa. org and click on Project for Senior Action, or attend the April 25 Senior Action Coalition meeting. 

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Get fit, prevent fraud in May


raud, fitness and filling in for parents are the themes as Area 1 Agency on Aging celebrates Older Americans Month in May.

Fraud Forum

A three-hour forum, “Senior Scam and Fraud Prevention,” is set for Wed., May 9 from 1-4 p.m. at the Humboldt County Library, 3113 Third Street in Eureka. “Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about someone scamming a senior,” said Martha Johnson,, program manager for HICAP, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. After an overview from each of the assembled experts, the panel will take questions from attend-

It’s Here! Free Senior Guide Now Available

The full color and completely redesigned Senior Information Guide for Humboldt and Del Norte counties is now available. Thirty-five area businesses teamed up with Area 1 Agency on Aging to produce the 2012-2013 Guide. SIG 2012-13 directs people age 60 and older, the disabled and their families to an array of services that

ees. The experts: Johnson for Medicare fraud, John Moore of the Senior Finance Center for reverse mortgages, Susan Owsley and Jocelyn Haske of Eureka Police Department for law enforcement and limitations, and attorney Margaret Draper for financial fraud. “Don’t feel pressured, don’t show anyone your Medicare card, never give your card number to anyone over the phone, and don’t sign your name to anything – even if it’s for a free gift, because then they have your signature,” Johnson said.

Free Fitness

Medline Plus calls exercise the fountain of youth, but some older Americans don’t know where to begin and others need convincing. That’s why Area 1 Agency on Agsupport an active, independent and healthy lifestyle for residents of the North Coast. “It’s the go-to guide for low- or nocost services and it’s looking better than ever,” said A1AA Director of Programs Todd Metcalf. “We hope the community feels as we do: that getting it right was worth the wait.” The guide has been distributed to various drop-off points. Phone A1AA at 707-442-3763 to find the nearest drop-off point or go by the office at 434 Seventh Street in Eureka to pick up a free copy.

ing partners with local fitness experts and clubs during Older Americans Month in May. HealthSport locations throughout the county are opening their doors free of charge to people age 55 and older and a number of other clubs and experts are extending free use offers for one or two weeks. More detailed information will be available later this month. “If you’ve wanted to try weight training, balance, Pilates or cycling, May is the chance to do it with professional guidance,” said Todd Metcalf, Director of Programs at Area 1 Agency on Aging.

Filling in for Parents

Arcata’s Barbara Davis, Eureka’s Kelly Remington, and Fortuna’s Carl Young are among the one in 12 grandparents stepping in as parents when their children are unable or unwilling to care for their grandIt will soon be available online at With the support of Western Web and the North Coast Journal, A1AA printed 15,000 copies of the 76-page guide. It is color-coded, organized alphabetically, and printed in an eye-friendly print and size. Categories include: active mind, active body; advocacy; caregiving; counseling and mental health; end of life; financial and legal; housing; medical, dental and equipment; nutrition; and transportation. A1AA’s Information & Assistance staff updated the listings so the guide would be current as of the end of January. Metcalf

children. The isolation, lack of resources and challenges they face are spotlighted in “Skipping Generations: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” a joint production of KEET-TV and Area 1 Agency on Aging that debuted on KEET-TV in November. The 30-minute documentary, which also features the Fortuna Grandparent Support Group and local resources for help, will air on two local network television affiliates on successive Sundays in May. On May 6, KIEM-TV Channel 3 will show the piece at 9 a.m. It will air again at 9:30 a.m. on May 13 on KVIQ-TV Channel 6. The documentary can also be seen at different times this month and through the summer on Access Humboldt. For more information about Older Americans Month events, call A1AA at 707-442-3763.  credited Jennifer Jones, Lynn Lowman, Vicki Okey, Laura Rhinehart and Maren Rose for the fact-checking and background research that started late last summer for SIG 2012-13. “We can’t guarantee the information or services listed, but we’ve made every effort to compile a useful guide that is much more userfriendly than in the past,” he said. “And we are committed to continually improving it in the years ahead.” 



Volunteer Opprtunities 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 1765 Northcrest Dr. in Crescent City, 95531. Phone 464-7876, fax 464-7877 or e-mail In Humboldt County, find us at 434 Seventh St. in Eureka, 95501. Phone 442-3711, fax 442-3714 or e-mail

DEL NORTE COUNTY  CASA VOLUNTEER Make a difference in a child’s life and reap personal rewards in the process by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer. What: Spend time with and be an advocate for a child When: Days/hours to be determined Where: Del Norte County Special Considerations: Must be 21 years of age or older and complete CASA training Who: Contact Christine Slette—707-954-7726 or e-mail to Website:

Who: Contact Paul Schaeffer—707-464-6265 or e-mail to

OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM (See listing under Humboldt County) 

HUMBOLDT COUNTY  GODWIT DAYS SPRING MIGRATION BIRD FESTIVAL What: Needs help with registration and merchandise sales. Volunteers asked to work a minimum 4 hour shift and receive a free basic registration ($45 value). When: Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 at the Arcata Community Center. We also are looking for a volunteer to help  CASA OFFICE WORKER answer phones and register people for events in our Arcata office Volunteer your time helping to keep the CASA Office running smoothly. April 16-19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. before the festival begins. What: Answer phones, interact with volunteers, and assist with Where: Arcata Community Center Who: Amy @ 826-7050 or email record keeping at CASA Office When: Days/hours to be determined  NATIONAL MS SOCIETY Where:579 Hwy 101 South, Crescent City, CA What: Walk MS is a simple, powerful way to share in the hope Special Considerations: Must be 21 years of age for the future. Walk MS is our rallying point, a time and a place Who: Contact Christine Slette—707-954-7726 or e-mail to to stand together and be together — and to help raise critical funds that support cutting edge research, drive change through Website: advocacy, facilitate professional education and provide programs and services to help people with MS move their lives forward.  NORTHCOAST MARINE MAMMAL CENTER Where: Eureka Put your creative and interpersonal skills to work and enjoy the When: Saturday, April 21, 2012 gorgeous ocean view while volunteering at the Northcoast MaWho: Call Sarah Irvine or email rine Mammal Center gift shop. What: Meet and greet customers, share information on the  EARLY LITERACY SCHOOLS OF HOPE PROGRAM beautiful areas of Del Norte County, run the register, and arDECADE OF DIFFERENCE 2020 INITIATIVE range displays in the gift shop. What: Early Literacy Schools of Hope Program offers early litWhen: Days/hours to be determined eracy support to students who are currently not reading at grade Where: 424 Howe Drive, Crescent City, CA level from kindergarten through first grade. This is an opportuSpecial Considerations: None


National Volunteer Week is April 15-21 nity for volunteers to tutor children K-1. Each volunteer commits to two hours per week, reading one-on-one with three students in 20 minute increments, twice a week during school hours. Where: Next training will be in the fall. Call for more information and to get regular correspondence about upcoming training dates. Who: Jenny Bowen at 441-4552 or

FERNDALE MUSEUM What: Four to six people for general dusting and light cleaning in the museum annex. When: Work days Wednesday through Sunday. Where: Ferndale Who: Please call 786-4466 

rights, assist those who are unable to speak for themselves, and educate the community about the rights of the frail elderly. When: Volunteers commit to visiting their assigned facilities a minimum of twice per month for the skilled nursing facilities and minimally once per month for the assisted living facilities. The schedule is set by the volunteer. There is mandated a 36hour classroom/home study training along with an additional 10 hours working in the facility with a senior volunteer. Where: Varies Who: If you are interested in helping these special seniors please call: Suzi Fregeau or Val Lovelace at 707-269-1330

HUMBOLDT BOTANICAL GARDENS FOUNDATION What: Volunteers needed in the garden or as a docent. Training is provided.  OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM When: Work days are on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No need What: Ombudsmen are state-certified volunteers trained to ob- to RSVP - just show up! jectively investigate complaints and solve problems for residents Where: Humboldt Botanical Gardens at north end of College of the Redwoods of skilled nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The Ombudsman Who: Call 707-442-5139 or e-mail makes regular visits to the long term care facilities to monitor  AREA 1 AGENCY ON AGING: VOLUNTEER DRIVERS the quality of care provided to these residents. When necessary, ombudsmen work closely with regulatory agencies and local law What: Drive seniors and the disabled residing within a 50-mile radius of Eureka to and from medical appointments. enforcement agencies. When: Hours and days vary Why: The mandate and mission is to advocate for dignity, qualVaries Where: ity of life, and quality of care for all residents in long-term care Who: Julie Symons at facilities. You can change a life with just a few hours each month.  Ombudsmen empower those who are able to protect their own

Volunteers honored Shirley Fullmer topped the list of honorees at the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods & RSVP recognition luncheon on March 22 at the Elks Club. “I’d lost track,” the 87-yearold Fullmer said after receiv-

ing the 25-year-pin and certificate. After retiring from Eureka City Schools in 1984, she’s volunteered as a clerical assistant at RSVP and the American Heart Association and a docent at Clarke

Historical Museum. She also sandwiched stints with Evergreen Lodge and two nursing homes in between caregiving for two in-laws, her mother and her husband. “It’s been rewarding and it’s been my pleasure,” she said of volunteering. “You get out and see people, do things, and still have time for your-

self. There are so many needs to fill.” Juliette Camilli, Virginia Reddard, June Knott, Katie Rhoades and Ethel Seaman received 20-year pins. RSVP counts 500,000 people in its age 55 and older work force, 789 of them on the North Coast. 



Legislative Watch The Advisory Council of the Area 1 Agency on Aging recommended support of all of the bills listed below. Local State Senator Noreen Evans and the Assemblymember Wes Chesbro voted for passage and the governor signed them last fall. In addition, more than 80 individuals from the Project for Senior Action database called or wrote public officials seeking to stop last fall’s proposed cut to adult day health services. “The issue was resolved via a court case, but we feel the pressure placed through such contacts encouraged the California Administration to support a settlement,” said Yvonne Doble, coprogram manager for the PSA. “You can be heard.” For help in sending your suggestions, ideas or comments to legislators, office

holders and decision makers, call the A1AA Project for Senior Action at 707-442-3763 or e-mail PSA@a1aa. org. Last year’s successes:

AB 507 (introduced by Hayashi): Revises Pain Patient Bill of Rights Removes or amends existing legal language that led to confusion around pain treatment and pain practice. AB 574 (Lowenthal): Increases the

number of PACE programs from 10 to 15 Paves the way for Humboldt Senior Resource Center’s application for a PACE program, which is a comprehensive managed care system for


nursing home eligible seniors age 55 and over. SB33 (Simitian): Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Deleted the repeal date of established procedures for reporting suspected financial abuse of elders and continues to make failure to comply subject to civil penalty. SB 930 (Evans): Deletes fingerprint requirements of In-Home Support Services recipients Repealed previous requirement that images be provided by recipients at the time of assessment or reassessment, by recipients and providers on standardized timesheets, and deletes prohibitions against use of a P.O. box by IHSS provider. 

Gray Matters is a quarterly publication of the Area I Agency on Aging Todd Metcalf Director of Programs Carol Harrison Editor AIAA is located at 434 Seventh Street in Eureka, 95501. Phone: 707-442-3763 Gray Matters is designed by graphic artist Lynn Jones of the NCJ and is posted on the NCJ website at The next edition of Gray Matters is tentatively scheduled for July 5, 2012.

Gray Matters Spring 2012