Never Too Late May/June 2024

Publication of Pima Council on Aging, Helping Pima County Age Well Since 1967

Never Too Late Older Americans Month, Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness, Healthy Vision Para información en Español ver páginas 25 – 28.

May/June 2024 What’s News • Aging in Our Community • Dementia Capable SoAZ • Healthy Minds for Life • Medicare & SMP Updates • Rights & Benefits • Caregiving • Community Lunch Program • Healthy Living: Classes Happening Now! • Ending Life Well • PCOA Puzzle • Visibility Matters • Advocacy • Neighbors Care Alliance • CareGiver Training Institute • PimaCare at Home


Independence. Vitality. Respect.

Inside • Aging in Our Community 3 • Philanthropy 4 • A Measure of Gratitude 5 • Community Lunch Program 6 • Dementia Capable Southern Arizona Classes 7-8 • Healthy Minds for Life 9 • Medicare & Senior Medicare Patrol 10-11 • Rights & Benefits 12-14 • Caregiving 15-17 • Healthy Living 18-20

• MedManage 21 • Ending Life Well 22 • PCOA Puzzle 23-24 • Nunca Es Demasiado Tarde 25-28 • Visibility Matters 29-30 • Advocacy 31 • Neighbors Care Alliance 32-33 • Featured Artist 34 • CareGiver Training Institute 35 • PimaCare at Home 36

PCOA Helpline: (520) 790-7262 Administration: (520) 790-0504 Donate: E-mail: Website: Mail: 8467 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85710 Never Too Late is published by Pima Council on Aging, the Area Agency on Aging, Region II. Material from Never Too Late may be reprinted when permission is given and attribution is used along with ©PCOA 2024. Editor Adina Wingate, (520) 790-7573 ext. 5067 Editorial Assistant Jan Slonaker, (520) 790-7573 ext. 5076 Advertising Adina Wingate, (520) 790-7573 ext. 5067 Design Consultant Lori Lieber, Lori Lieber Graphic Design Editorial and Advertising Deadline for Next Bi-Monthly Issue MAY 31 2024 Please include a contact person name and phone number with all submitted material. All articles are subject to editing in accordance with technical and policy guidelines but will not be altered in content without permission of the author. Publication of submissions is not guaranteed. Ads are not to be considered as PCOA endorsements of products, services, or individuals.

On the Cover: Detail from Abundance, 4 , 10x10 in., watercolor on previously painted abstract by Amber Stene, The Drawing Studio. (Story, full image on inside back cover) Connect With Us The best way to access our services is by calling our Helpline between 8:30 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday at (520) 790-7262 or emailing • Our 8467 E. Broadway Blvd. building is open for those requiring in-person assistance. • Our 600 S. Country Club Rd. building is open for those requiring in-person assistance.




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Pima Council on Aging

Aging in Our Community A Message from W. Mark Clark, President and CEO

Dear Readers, Every year, as we gather to celebrate Older Americans Month in May, let us take a moment to recognize the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being. The theme for 2024 is “Powered by Connection.” In many ways and every single day, we explore the vital role that connectedness plays in supporting independence and aging in place by combatting isolation, loneliness, and other key issues, in our work at PCOA. Older Americans Month is a time for recognition of the invaluable contributions and inherent dignity of older adults. It is a month when our society acknowledges the wisdom and experience that older individuals bring to our communities, and the importance of ensuring that all of us are supported and valued as we age. At PCOA, we are proud to be part of this annual observance that celebrates the legacy of service and advocacy for older adults. For over five decades, we have worked tirelessly to provide essential support and resources to older adults in Pima County. Our commitment to serving older adults is deeply rooted in our understanding of history. We recognize that the struggles and triumphs of previous generations have paved the way for the progress we have made today. From the challenges of the Great Depression to the victories of the civil rights movement, and more recently victories related to LGBTQI+ rights and marriage equality, older Americans have played a pivotal role in shaping our society, and it is our

responsibility to ensure that everyone's contributions are honored and respected. At PCOA, we offer a wide range of programs and resources designed to meet the diverse needs of older adults in our community. From nutrition assistance and caregiver support to wellness initiatives and social activities, our programs aim to promote independence, dignity, and well-being. Additionally, our advocacy efforts seek to address systemic issues and ensure that access to the services and support for thriving is available. As we celebrate Older Americans Month and reflect on the history of our organization and our community, let us all recommit ourselves to the principles of compassion, empathy, and service. Let us honor the legacy of those who came before us by continuing to advocate for the needs of older adults and ensuring that each of us can live our lives with dignity and respect. In the coming months and years, we will continue to build on the foundation laid by the Older Americans Act enacted in 1965, working tirelessly to create a future where all of us are celebrated, supported, and empowered to live our best lives as we age. Thank you for your continued support. Warm Regards,

Powered by OLDER AMERICANS MONTH POWERED BY CONNECTION : MAY 2024 Power by Co #OlderAmericansMonth Connection #OlderAmericansMonth

"This legislation [Older American’s Act] represents one of the most far-reaching measures for

human welfare in the history of our Nation."

- Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

W. Mark Clark President & CEO

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Pima Council on Aging

Philanthropy Cultivating Community: Your Support Nurtures Meaningful Connections

In celebration of Older Americans Month's 2024 theme, "Powered by Connection," we're proud to recognize the crucial role your support plays in fostering meaningful connections for older adults in our community. At PCOA, we're dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among older adults, addressing social isolation through our innovative programs. Your generosity enables us to provide essential resources and services that bring older adults together, creating opportunities for social interaction, support, and friendship. From Memory Cafe gatherings to the delivery of warm meals through Pima Meals on Wheels, from our Caregiver Support groups to the camaraderie found in our Community Lunch program, your support nurtures the bonds that sustain our community. Together, we're nurturing a vibrant and connected community where all of us can thrive as we age. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to enabling meaningful connections and enriching the lives of older adults in our community.

Memory Cafes Memory Cafes are warm, welcoming environments for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as their caregivers.

Community Lunches Community Lunches are held at 13 sites across Pima County and provide both nourishment and opportunities for older adults to connect, share stories, and build friendships.

See page 8 for more information

See page 5 for more information

Meet our New Development Director!

Your Support Matters!

Please consider making a donation today to help us continue our mission of fostering meaningful connections and supporting healthy aging in our community. Online: Mail: 8467 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85710 Call: (520) 790-7573, x5076

With her extensive experience in fundraising and passion for our mission, Sara Mathis is eager to work on behalf of supporting older adults. Please join us in welcoming Sara to the team! Questions or ideas for Sara? Reach out to her at

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Pima Council on Aging


A Measure of Gratitude

Dear Friends, I am honored to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have generously supported our ongoing Pima Meals on Wheels campaign. Your kindness and generosity are making a meaningful difference in the lives of countless homebound older individuals in our community. The outpouring of support we've received underscores the compassion and generosity that define our community. Your response to our plea for help was heartwarming and continues to inspire us as we strive to meet the needs of those who rely on us. I would like to take a moment to reflect on the importance of the Pima Meals on Wheels program itself. Its significance cannot be overstated, especially in these challenging times. Many older individuals rely on Pima Meals on Wheels not only for nourishment but also for the companionship and connection it provides.

A Pima Meals on Wheels client enjoys a chat with a delivery driver.

To those who have already contributed, I offer my heartfelt thanks. Your support means the world to us. For those considering donating, I humbly ask for your support. Together, we can ensure that no individual goes hungry or feels forgotten. Here at PCOA, your dollars and advocacy support help us work towards systemic change for those of us who find ourselves homebound and in need of nutritional support as we age. Thank you for your compassion and generosity.

W. Mark Clark President & CEO

Please consider making a donation to help support a homebound, older neighbor. Visit to make your donation today and to read more about Pima Meals on Wheels.

A Pima Meals on Wheels driver, delivers a fresh, nutritious meal with a smile to a client.

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Pima Council on Aging

PCOA Community Lunch Program

Have Lunch and Make a Friend

• Our community lunch program provides an opportunity to make new friends. Let’s face it, eating with others is just more fun! • The lunch sites are typically open from Monday – Friday (except as noted and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 1:00 p.m.) • There are fun activities available during these hours. Depending on the site, activities include games, movies, crafts, and even field trips. • A transportation subsidy may be available. Transportation is provided via Sun Van to individuals with disabilities with a current ADA Eligibility Card issued by the City of Tucson. • Lunch programs are open to all individuals 60 and older and their spouse regardless of age. Once you register at a meal site, you will be required to reserve your meals each week. That way, we know you’re coming and your lunch will be waiting for you. A suggested donation of $2 to $3 is requested. Community Center Lunches are a program of the Pima Council on Aging in collaboration with sub-contracted agencies: Catholic Community Services, Chicanos Por La Causa, and the City of Tucson Parks & Recreation Department.

Check it out here: This Month’s Menu


Ajo Community

290 W. Fifth St., Ajo 85321

(520) 387-5040 (520) 791-4353 (520) 791-4070 (602) 831-1643 (520) 889-0928 (520) 837-8210 (520) 887-9786 (520) 791-4969 (520) 791-3247 (520) 791-2509 (520) 485-7413 (520) 791-5787

Archer Neighborhood - Temporary Closure May 1 – May 27 1665 S. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson 85713

Armory Park Senior *

220 S. 5th Ave., Tucson 85701 250 N. Silverbell Rd, Tucson 85745 101 W. Irvington Rd., Tucson 85714 1390 W. Speedway Blvd., Tucson 85705 1660 W. Ruthrauff Rd., Tucson 85705 5000 E. 29th St., Tucson 85711 2160 N. 6th Ave., Tucson 85705

Casa De Encanto

El Pueblo Neighborhood Center El Rio Neighborhood Center

Ellie Towne/Flowing Wells Community Center **

Freedom Recreation Center

Donna Liggins Center

Posada Life Community Center Quincie Douglas Senior Center

780 S. Park Centre Ave., Green Valley 85614 (520) 393-6814

1575 E. 36th St., Tucson 85713

Saguaro Christian Church William Clements Center

8302 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson 85710 8155 E. Poinciana Dr., Tucson 85730

Please call in advance to reserve a meal and for days and hours of operation. Funded by: Federal Older Americans Act through AZ DES/DAAS, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, City of Tucson, and Individual Contributions * Dinner meal only ** Open Mon., Wed., Fri.

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Pima Council on Aging

Dementia Capable Southern Arizona

Dementia Care Partner Support Group – An ongoing program partnership between Alzheimer’s Association and Dementia Capable Southern Arizona This group can help provide social connection, encourage development of coping methods and maintenance of personal, physical, and emotional health as well as optimal care for the person living with dementia. 4th Tuesday of each month

Vision and Dementia What does vision have to do with dementia? Turns out, it may be more than we think! Many areas of our physical health impact our brain health, and vision is no exception. Studies have found that there was an increased risk of dementia for people experiencing impaired vision. Unresolved vision problems often cause people to engage less in social interaction, physical activity, and activities that stimulate the mind. Sensory impairments in general may affect how we experience and interact with the world around us. Identifying, treating, and correcting vision problems can help. Receive regular vision checks every 1-2 years, use glasses or contact lenses with the correct prescription as needed. Also, talk with your doctor to discuss medications and surgery recommendations to manage or correct issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration. Taking care of your eyes also helps take care of your brain!

Memory concerns?

DCSA now is offering walk-in hours at both PCOA offices. We can provide free memory screenings, information, resources, and more! Walk-in hours: The Katie Dusenberry Healthy Aging Center 600 S. Country Club Rd. Mondays 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. The Marian Lupu Building 8467 E. Broadway Blvd. Thursdays 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment outside of these hours, visit dcsa. or call (520) 790-7262.

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 600 S. Country Club Rd. Tucson, AZ 85716

Registration is not required. For information or questions, please contact Nicole Thomas at (520) 790-7573 x1739 or

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Pima Council on Aging

Dementia Capable Southern Arizona

Training Online (Zoom) Dementia Capable Southern Arizona Classes - May & June Are you or a loved one experiencing Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss? Join us at a Memory Café and experience shared connection and understanding. Inclusive environments offering unique experiences with a variety of activities – guest artists, live music, poets, games, and more. Memory Cafés are free of charge and open to all! We are excited to announce a new Memory Café launching May 21st! Café at The Lupu which will run the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. at 8467 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85710. For more information and to find a Memory Café near you visit or scan the QR code! Memory Cafés in Pima County

In Person Katie Dusenberry Healthy Aging Center (600 S. Country Club)

Thursday, June 13 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 23 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Dementia Friends Information Session (English) Gain a general understanding of dementia with a focus on adopting a mindset of creating a dementia-friendly community. Dementia Friends with special emphasis on the African- American population (English) Dementia Friends with special emphasis on the IDD population (English) Memory Loss: Progressions, Behaviors, and Interventions Part 1 Dive into the progression of dementia, the brain changes that occur and behavior and care tips. Memory Loss: Progressions, Behaviors, and Interventions Part 2 Take a deeper dive looking at caregiver strategies, common challenges, how to approach them, and non-pharmacological approaches to caring for someone with dementia.

Monday, June 17th 3:00 p.m. -4:30 p.m. Monday, July 22nd 3:00 p.m. -4:30 p.m. Monday, July 15 9:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m.



Thursday, May 9 10:00 a.m. –11:30 a.m.

Thursday, May 16 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Monday, July 22 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Register today through Eventbrite at For more information or to register, contact Nicole Thomas at (520) 790-7573 x1739 or

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Pima Council on Aging

Healthy Minds for Life A Message from Lee Ryan, Professor and Head of the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona The Ever-Adapting Brain

As we age, we lose thousands of brain cells every day which cannot be replaced. At least, that was the prevailing view of science for more than 40 years. The idea came from several influential research studies published in the early 1950s that demonstrated significant cell death in the brains of aging humans and animals alike. According to these researchers, older adults lose up to 50% of neurons throughout the brain, including the hippocampus, the brain region that is critically important for learning and memory. Thankfully, the scientists were wrong. It took another 40 years for new and more accurate methods to be developed for counting cells in brain tissue. Once these methods were applied to studies of the aging brain in the early 1990s, the picture changed quite dramatically. These studies led to the somewhat surprising conclusion that neurons – those important brain cells that code and store information -- simply do not decline in large numbers as we get older. Instead, we now understand that the typical human loses no more than 10% of neurons across their entire lifespan – even into their 80s and beyond! Equally surprising, it appears that neuron cell loss occurs even less within the hippocampus. I should be clear that we’re talking about older adults without Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s occurs in about 1 out of 9 adults over the age of 65, and results in extensive loss of neurons, beginning in the hippocampus and spreading throughout the brain. Their loss is due to a disease process that deposits abnormal proteins in and around brain cells resulting first in their dysfunction, and ultimately their death.

But let’s get back to normal aging! Most older adults, more than 85%, will not develop Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime. However, about a third of those individuals will experience memory changes that range from mild annoying slips of memory, to memory problems that are sufficiently severe that they interfere with quality of life and, potentially, independence. Now we have a mystery. On the one hand, I just told you that brain cells – neurons – don’t die off in the aging brain, especially in the hippocampus. On the other hand, we know that most older adults experience some degree of memory problem as they age. So, if it’s not loss of brain cells, then what accounts for age-related memory problems? Let me introduce Dr. Carol Barnes, a world-renowned neuroscientist who has studied the aging brain for more than 30 years. She is a Regent’s Professor at the University of Arizona and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her pioneering research has provided insights into what is really happening in the brain that can account for age-related memory changes. I’ll just highlight two of her important discoveries. First, like other researchers studying aged rats, while the number of neurons are not changing much in the brains of aged animals, the number of connections between neurons – allowing one neuron to pass information on to another – are decreasing in number. Not fewer neurons, but smaller neurons with fewer branches connecting to surrounding neurons. Importantly, however, using highly sophisticated electrophysiological methods, Barnes found that the ability

of those neurons to pass on information doesn’t decrease. In other words, although there are fewer connections in the aged brain, the remaining connections are more powerful. Aged neurons are adapting and becoming more efficient, offsetting the loss of connections between them. Second, Barnes also found that maintaining connections between neurons over long periods of time changes as we age. For example, every time a young rat moves through a familiar environment, the same neurons signal one another in a similar way, telling the animal that they’ve been there before. In aged rats, however, the connections between neurons are unstable. Put an older rat back in a familiar environment, and a new set of neurons may begin to signal one another. It’s as if the aged animal has never been in that place before. Barnes suggests that this instability in our neural connections over time is a major reason for memory problems in both older rats, and likely, older humans. It’s a myth that we lose massive amounts of brain cells as we age. Instead, we’ve learned that the aging brain has an incredible ability to adapt to changes in brain structure, becoming more efficient and stronger, even as the number of connections decrease. It appears that the brain changes leading to memory problems are very subtle. This kind of detailed understanding of the aging brain is critically important, because it can lead to meaningful interventions that can prevent or treat age-related memory problems.

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Pima Council on Aging

Medicare Corner

2024 Medicare Presentations  Understand the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.  Learn about Medigap and Prescription Drug Plans.  Questions to ask before you enroll.  How and when to enroll.  Learn about Medicare Savings Programs which may help with paying Part B premiums and/or Part D drug costs for those who qualify.  How to find plans that offer the lowest costs for the prescriptions you take. Pick up plan comparison spreadsheets for Pima County Medicare beneficiaries!

Date 2nd and 4th Wednesdays


Registration Links


May 8 & June 12

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Katie Dusenberry Healthy Aging Center 600 S. Country Club Rd.

Tucson, AZ 85716 Virtual via Zoom

May 8 & June 12 (virtual) May 22 & June 26

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Murphy-Wilmot Library 530 N. Wilmot Rd. Tucson, AZ 85711

PCOA is the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Pima County. Contact us at (520) 546-2011 for more Medicare information.

This project was supported in part by grant number 90MPPG0022, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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Pima Council on Aging

Medicare Corner

Part D Coverage Phases 1. What are the Part D coverage phases? The cost of your Medicare Part D-covered drugs may change throughout the year. If you notice that prices have changed, it may be because you are in a different phase of Part D coverage. There are four different phases—or periods—of Part D coverage: • Deductible period • Initial coverage period • Coverage gap • Catastrophic coverage 2. What is the deductible period? The deductible period is when you pay the full negotiated price for your covered prescription drugs until you meet your Part D deductible. Once you have met your deductible, the plan will begin to cover the cost of your drugs. Deductibles can vary from plan to plan. A plan’s deductible can be no higher than $545 in 2024, and some plans do not have deductible. 3. What is the initial coverage period? After you meet your deductible, your plan will help pay for your covered prescription drugs and you pay a copayment or coinsurance. This is your initial coverage period. How long you stay in the initial coverage period depends on your drug

costs and your plan’s benefit structure. For most plans in 2024, the initial coverage period ends after you have accumulated $5,030 in total drug costs. 4. What is the coverage gap? The Medicare Part D donut hole or coverage gap is the phase of Part D coverage after your initial coverage period. You enter the donut hole when your total drug costs—including what you and your plan have paid for your drugs— reaches a certain limit. In 2024, that limit is $5,030. In all Part D plans in 2024, you leave the coverage gap after you reach $8,000 in out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs. 5. What is catastrophic coverage? In all Part D plans in 2024, you enter catastrophic coverage after you reach $8,000 in out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs. During this period, as of 2024, you owe no cost-sharing for the cost of your covered drugs for the remainder of the year. This is new for 2024, and it changes the catastrophic “phase” of coverage. 6. Will these coverage gaps work in the same way in 2025? In 2025, the structure of Medicare Part D will change. There will be only three coverage phases – the deductible, initial coverage period, and a zero-cost phase

after an out-of-pocket cap is reached. Your out-of-pocket costs will be limited to $2,000 in deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Also starting in 2025, you have the choice to spread out-of-pocket Part D costs over the year. This will not reduce the total amount owed over the year, but can allow you, for example, to spread the cost of your deductible over 12 months. Whether this type of payment plan will be beneficial will depend on your circumstances and preferences. Remember that these changes are not in effect until 2025. For more information, contact PCOA Medicare at (520) 546-2011. “Medicare is not a piece of paper. It is a human bond—a bond between those who have lived and those who will someday live in the hope and the belief that our own lives will be extended, enriched, and ennobled by the sharing of them with others.” - Lyndon B. Johnson

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Pima Council on Aging

Rights & Benefits Information

ALTCS Workshops Learn about the Arizona Long Term Care System, including what it is, what it takes to be eligible for the program, and what kinds of services are available once a person becomes eligible. This workshop is a great place to start when you are considering ALTCS for yourself or for a loved one.

June 15, 2024

WHY WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY IS IMPORTANT 1. Older Americans may be unable to advocate for themselves. Many older adults are not in a place to stand up for themselves. Whether they're physically frail or scared of speaking up and fear repercussions, it’s crucial for all of us to be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse, and to speak up if something seems wrong. 2. Older adults deserve our respect and our attention. In so many cultures, elders are revered —and rightfully so. Their experiences, memories, and perspective on life are valued for the lessons that younger folks can learn. If older people aren’t encouraged to pass along the skills and wisdom they have accumulated during their lives, then the culture as a whole suffers. We owe it to older generations to ensure that their so-called Golden Years are not tarnished by neglect. 3. It reminds us to look out for each other. It's easy to see bad things and not say anything—such as older adult abuse or a mugging on the street. But this awareness day reminds us just how important it is to look after, and look out for, our fellow humans. It reminds us to exercise compassion on a daily basis, and care about others rather than just ourselves.

Registration is required for both the in person workshop and online webinar. To register , go to: , or call Donna DeLeon at (520) 305-3450. Please join us on Zoom from your computer, tablet, or phone Date: June 26th Fourth Wednesday of each month 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Location may be subject to change. Eventbrite registration will reflect the most up-to- date location information. The webinar is available by telephone or via Zoom on a computer or smart device. Please join us in person Date: May 22nd Location: The Katie | 600 S Country Club Rd

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Pima Council on Aging

Rights & Benefits Information

Social Security Eliminates Overpayment Burden for Social Security Beneficiaries Automatic Overpayment Recovery Rate Reduced to 10 Percent By Mark Hinkle , Press Officer

previous procedure. There will be limited exceptions to this change, such as when an overpayment resulted from fraud. There will be a short transition period where people will continue to experience the older policy. People placed in 100 percent withholding during this transition period should call Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to lower their withholding rate. The change applies to new overpayments. If beneficiaries already have an overpayment with a withholding rate greater than ten percent and would like a lower recovery rate, they too should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or their local Social Security office to speak with a representative. If a beneficiary requests a rate lower than ten percent, a representative will approve the request if it allows recovery of the overpayment within 60 months – a recent increase to improve how the agency serves its customers from the previous policy of only 36 months. If the beneficiary’s proposed rate would extend recovery of the overpayment beyond 60 months, the Social Security representative will gather income, resource, and expense information from the beneficiary to make a determination. Social Security launched a comprehensive review in October 2023 of agency overpayment policies and procedures to address payment accuracy systematically (See Learn about Overpayments and Our Process | SSA and Press Release | Press Office | SSA). This procedure change is a direct result of the ongoing

The Social Security Administration announced it will decrease the default overpayment withholding rate for Social Security beneficiaries to ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) from 100 percent, significantly reducing financial hardship on people with overpayments. “Social Security is taking a critically important step towards our goal of ensuring our overpayment policies are fair, equitable, and do not unduly harm anyone,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security. “It’s unconscionable that someone would find themselves facing homelessness or unable to pay bills, because Social Security withheld their entire payment for recovery of an overpayment.” The agency works to pay the right people the right amounts at the right time, and Social Security issues correct payments in most cases. However, there is room to improve, as people count on the agency to prevent overpayments from happening and make it easier to navigate the recovery and waiver processes when they occur. When a person has been overpaid, the law requires the agency to seek repayment, which can create financial difficulties for beneficiaries. As of March 25, 2024, the agency will collect ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) of the total monthly Social Security benefit to recover an overpayment, rather than collecting 100 percent as was

review. This change and the adjustment to 60-month repayment are part of four recently announced key updates to address improper payments (See Press Release | Press Office | SSA for more information). The agency also is working to reduce wage-related improper payments by establishing information exchanges with payroll data providers that will significantly reduce the number of improper payments, once implemented (See Press Release | Press Office | SSA for more information). The agency will continue examining programmatic policy and making regulatory and sub-regulatory changes to improve the overpayment process. Additionally, people have the right to appeal the overpayment decision or the amount. They can ask Social Security to waive collection of the overpayment, if they believe it was not their fault and can’t afford to pay it back. The agency does not pursue recoveries while an initial appeal or waiver is pending. Even if people do not want to appeal or request a waiver, they should contact the agency if the planned withholding would cause hardship. Social Security has flexible repayment options, including repayment of as low as $10 per month. Each person’s situation is unique, and the agency handles overpayments on a case-by-case basis. To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.

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Pima Council on Aging

Rights & Benefits Information

Social Security to Remove Barriers to Accessing SSI Payments By Mark Hinkle , Press Officer

for SSI eligibility due to an applicant’s or recipient’s receipt of informal food assistance from friends, family, and community networks of support. The new policy further helps in several important ways: the change is easier to understand and use by applicants, recipients, and agency employees; applicants and recipients have less information to report about food assistance received from family and friends, removing a significant source of burden; reducing month-to-month variability in payment amounts will improve payment accuracy; and the agency will see administrative savings because less time will be spent administering food ISM. The agency continuously examines programmatic policy and makes regulatory and sub-regulatory changes as appropriate. Look for more SSI announcements in the coming weeks. For more information on the SSI program, including who is eligible and how to apply, visit Supplemental Security Income (SSI) | SSA. To read the final rule “Omitting Food from In-Kind Support and Maintenance Calculations,” visit Federal Register: Omitting Food From In-Kind Support and Maintenance Calculations. To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.

Today, the Social Security Administration published a final rule, “Omitting Food from In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) Calculations.” The final rule announces the first of several updates to the agency’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regulations that will help people receiving and applying for SSI. “A vital part of our mission is helping people access crucial benefits, including SSI,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security. “Simplifying our policies is a common-sense solution that reduces the burden on the public and agency staff and helps promote equity by removing barriers to accessing payments.” SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness, and to adults aged 65 and older, who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits help pay for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and medicine. People applying for and receiving SSI must meet eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits. Under our old rules, ISM includes food, shelter, or both a person receives - the agency counts ISM as unearned income, which may affect a person’s eligibility or reduce their payment amount. Under the final rule, beginning September 30, 2024, the agency will no longer include food in ISM calculations. The new policy removes a critical barrier

Speak Up AZ! | It's Our Responsibility.

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Pima Council on Aging


Caregiving Essentials: First Steps Training Schedule Free training for informal, nonpaid family caregivers

Tues., May 14 Wed., June 5 Tues., July 9

Wed., Aug. 7 Thurs., Sept. 12 Wed., Oct. 16 Fri., Nov. 15

600 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson, AZ If staying for both, bring your own lunch. Coffee and water available.

• Stress Management & Grief • Communication • Dementia Behaviors & Issues • Finances & Legal Resources • Lifelines for Support: Respite & Support Groups • Phone and Technology Use • Grief & End of Life Resources Workshop 1: Steps to Resilience (9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) Check in at 8:45 a.m.

Workshop 2: Physical Care and Safety (1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

• Proper Body Mechanics • Home Environment Safety & Fall Prevention • Planning for an Emergency • Understanding Assistive Devices • Proper Walking /Transferring Techniques

• Re-positioning with Reassessment • Activity Planning, Outings and Car Etiquette • Infection Control and Providing Personal Care

This training does not provide certification or CEU’s for employment.

For any questions or possible respite ideas, call Kelley Hansen (520) 790-7573 ext. 3413;

Register and/or cancellations on Eventbrite: or call Donna Deleon at (520) 790-7573 ext. 1750;

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Pima Council on Aging



Held in-person or virtually with Zoom

Participation in the groups can be in person, by telephone, computer/tablet/ or smartphone with video. Support groups are a way to connect with others who are walking the journey of caregiving like you are. You get to SEE (if you use the video option) that you are not alone. You get to hear other’s challenges and successes, learn about helpful resources, know that your story matters and that you have been heard. Support groups are facilitated by a professional and are a safe place for you to express your concerns, frustrations, etc. and learn that others feel this way too.

To protect the confidentiality of the group sessions, access information will only be given to registered participants. Emails are sent out on Fridays with updated schedules and additional information. If you participated in the groups before COVID, and have not been receiving the emails, please check your junk or spam folder. To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact: Tonetta Clay, Support Group Facilitator (520) 305-3405,

“[Participation in the group] aids in navigating the shift from life before my partner’s diagnosis and alleviates the weight of guilt and fear for both of us.” -Support Group Attendee


5/2 & 6/6, 1st Thursday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Virtual ON ZOOM 5/6 & 6/3, 1st Monday , 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (East) In-Person

6/13, 2nd Thursday , 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (East) In-Person

5/21 & 6/18, 3rd Tuesday , 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (North) In-Person 6/24, 4th Monday , 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Virtual ON ZOOM 5/28 & 6/25, 4th Tuesday , 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (Southwest) In-Person 5/29, 5th Monday , 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Virtual ON ZOOM

5/15 3rd Wednesday , 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (East) In-Person 5/16 & 6/20, 3rd Thursday , 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Virtual ON ZOOM 5/20 & 6/17, 3rd Monday , 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Midtown) In-Person

5/7 & 6/4, 1st Tuesday , 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Oro Valley) In-Person 5/13 & 6/10, 2nd Monday , 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Green Valley) In-Person 5/14 & 6/11, 2nd Tuesday , 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Virtual ON ZOOM

*NOTE: There will be no meetings on days where holidays are observed PLEASE RSVP for all groups. At all in-person meetings we continue to social distance and mask wearing is optional. To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact: Tonetta Clay, Support Group Facilitator (520) 305-3405,

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Pima Council on Aging


Enhancing the Caregiving Experience By Alex Trevino , Caregiving and End of Life Specialist

It is well known that caring for someone, at any level of involvement, may increase a person’s anxiety levels, stress, and other negative feelings. In turn, this may result in the caregiver becoming overwhelmed, and mentally and physically exhausted. Having said this, is there a way to improve the caregiving experience? And the answer is, yes. Having a healthy network of social connections may offer multiple benefits that can generate a positive impact. This has the potential to transform an arduous caregiving journey into a more manageable and fulfilling experience. One of the benefits of having a healthy network of social connections is possessing a steady source of emotional support. Caregiving can be emotionally draining over time. However, having strong social connections can surround caregivers with the empathy and understanding needed to continue their journey. These beneficial connections may come in different shapes and forms. It can be in the form of a friend lending a listening ear or maybe a group like the PCOA Caregiver Support Groups that offer a safe space for caregivers. Regardless, these social connections help caregivers manage their emotions, create coping skills, generate a healthy feeling of support, and boost morale. Social connections may also reduce a caregiver’s feelings of isolation. Some people find themselves dedicating the majority of their time to their care recipient. This action, while noble, may eventually lead to social withdrawal. Strengthening connections with friends, family members, support groups, service providers, and even online communities,

need reminders to take breaks, engage in activities they enjoy, and seek professional help when needed. Efficiently communicating with social networks can also lead to better coordination of care and a deeper understanding of the caregiver's own needs and challenges. In conclusion, social connections hold great potential for improving the caregiving experience in numerous ways. Some of which do not stop with the caregiver. By empowering them, caregivers are more capable, more prepared, and have a greater chance of providing a better quality of life to their care recipients. Similarly, as part of a support network, caregivers may help other caregivers succeed in their own journeys to create a better caregiver experience. For more information on PCOA’s Caregiver Support Groups, Caregiving Essentials training, or caregiving guidance in general, call our PCOA Helpline at (520) 790-7262 .

can help caregivers counter feelings of loneliness and help them maintain a sense of belonging in their communities. Maintaining strong social connections may also translate into having a network of support that can relieve the caregiver from the heavy weight of tasks and responsibilities. Caregivers may be able to share responsibilities, and even gain access to information and resources. Whether it is seeking advice, getting assistance navigating the application process for something like ALTCS, or receiving help in the form of respite, social connections lighten the load and prevent the caregiver from becoming overwhelmed. Good communication and availability of friends, family members, and other social supports may also help increase the caregiver’s well-being. Others can serve as a sort of wellness gauge and provide gentle reminders to practice self-care. Caregivers may sometimes

May/June 2024, Never Too Late | Page 17

Pima Council on Aging

Healthy Living

Healthy Living Workshops We offer six-week self-management workshops for those with ongoing health conditions, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, as well as chronic pain. If you’re interested in any of these workshops, please call our Healthy Living Department at (520) 305-3410 to add your name and contact information to our workshop interest lists.

Practice with purpose Are you looking for ways to live and age well?



Our current schedule for EnhanceFitness® classes (1 hour class) is:

Katie Dusenberry Healthy Aging Center (Fitness Rm), 600 S. Country Club Rd. Mon., Wed., Fri. In-Person | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Remote | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Tucson Estates (TENHN) , 5900 W Western Way Circle Mon., Wed., Fri. 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays Randolph Recreation Center , 200 S. Alvernon Way, Bldg. 1 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. El Rio Recreation Center , 1390 W. Speedway Blvd. | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Udall Park, Carol West Senior Center , 7200 E. Tanque Verde Rd. | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Clements Regional Center, Fitness Ctr. , 8155 E. Poinciana Dr. | 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

A Matter of Balance®

Healthy Living with Chronic Pain®

Mondays – Recreation Hall, Wednesdays and Fridays – Multi-Purpose Hall

The Healthy Living suite of classes covers things like the cause of falls and how to prevent them, strategies to bolster physical fitness and balance, as well as other ways to empower older adults to keep themselves safe and healthy.

Pre-registration is required through Eventbrite (located on the PCOA homepage), Class size is limited. For assistance, call us at (520) 305-3410. Contribution: $36 per person/per month

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation Sites Mon., Wed., Fri. – registration via county registration site

(520) 305-3410 Small steps. Positive changes. Healthier living.

Ellie Towne/Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W Ruthrauff Rd | 10 – 11 am Drexel Heights Community Center , 5220 South San Joaquin Ave. | 10 – 11am Picture Rocks Community Center , 5615 North Sanders Rd. | 9 – 10 am

Register Now! and look for Community Center Programs. Choose the center of your choice from the list and go to their class listing and look for Senior Fitness for information on EnhanceFitness. If you need help with registration, call the individual centers.

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Healthy Living

A Matter of Balance® Offered in person – Community Workshop

A Matter of Balance® is a workshop designed to reduce the fear of falling and help participants learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity and make changes to reduce fall risks at home. It includes 8 two-hour sessions for 10-15 participants and is led by trained coaches.

Far Horizons East 7570 E. Speedway Blvd. May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Katie Dusenberry Healthy Aging Center (Fitness Room) 600 S. Country Club Rd. June 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Contribution: $30.00 (covers your book and supplies)

A Matter of Balance® Chances are you know someone who has fallen or has a fear of falling. A Matter of Balance ® is a proven program designed to help people manage concerns about falls and increase physical activity. PCOA is looking for volunteers to help offer this program. Training is provided.

“Excellent class! Makes you feel you are not alone. We all have fallen and can do better, be smarter, and more aware of our surroundings.” — MOB participant

For more information and to register, contact Jennie at (520) 305-3410.

Learn Practical Skills • Gain Self-confidence • Manage Fall Risks • Positive Changes & Healthier Living

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Pima Council on Aging

Healthy Living

Taking Steps to Prevent Falls

• Manage underlying chronic conditions: The better your overall health, the lower your risk of falls. Chronic conditions like diabetes, depression, osteoarthritis, obesity and high blood pressure can increase your risk. Managing those conditions by seeing your health care provider regularly, taking medication as prescribed, eating a healthy diet and choosing appropriate exercise can help prevent falls. • Review medications: Side effects from and interactions with some medications can cause dizziness that can increase the risk of falling. Types of medicine associated with an increased risk include sedatives and diuretics as well as those used to treat high blood pressure and anxiety. Talk to your doctor about all prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. • Get your eyes checked: Vision changes as you age, so it is important to get your eyes checked once a year to make sure your prescription is up to date and screen for any eye- related diseases like cataracts and glaucoma, which are usually treatable when caught at an early stage. • Assess your home: Look around your home for potential hazards. Consider enlisting the help of a family member or neighbor who may be more likely to notice things you don’t.

When you’re young, an injury from a fall may sideline you for a few days or weeks, but a full recovery is usually quick. As you get older, the consequences of falls can become more serious, setting up a sequence of events that can have longstanding implications on independence and health. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Although falls typically become more common and can be more serious as you age, falls are not a natural part of getting older. In fact, most falls are preventable. Knowing the factors that put you at greater risk of falling and taking proper steps can help prevent falls. Risk factors for falls in older people include overall health (chronic diseases and physical conditions), environment (hazards and situations at home) and behaviors, such as rushing around or standing on a chair to reach something. These steps from the experts at the National Council on Aging can help prevent falls: • Stay active: Exercise helps increase or maintain coordination and muscle tone that can keep you steady on your feet and your reactions sharp. Walking, gardening or taking an exercise class are just a few ways to keep your heart healthy and your muscles toned.

Install grab bars in your bathrooms, get rid of slippery throw rugs (or add a rubber backing) and keep passageways inside and outside your home well-lit and free from clutter and debris. For more tips and information, visit https:// "Preventing falls is not just about avoiding injury; it's about preserving our ability to live life fully and independently. Let's take the necessary steps to keep ourselves safe and thriving." - Kathleen Cameron, Director, National Council on Aging

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