Publication of Pima Council on Aging, Helping Pima County Age Well Since 1967
Never Too Late Para información en Español ver páginas 27 – 29
Happy New Year/American Heart Month
January/February 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 • Senior Companion Program • Neighbors Care Alliance • CareGiver Training Institute • PimaCare at Home
PUBLICATION OF PIMA COUNCIL ON AGING, HELPING PIMA COUNTY AGE WELL SINCE 1967
Independence. Vitality. Respect.
Inside • Aging in Our Community 3 • Philanthropy 4 • Dementia Capable Southern Arizona 6 & 7 • Healthy Minds for Life 8 • Medicare & Senior Medicare Patrol 9 - 12 • Rights & Benefits 12 & 14 • Caregiving 15 - 17 • Community Lunch Program 18 • Healthy Living 19 - 21
• Ending Life Well 23 • PCOA Puzzle 25 & 26 • Nunca Es Demasiado Tarde 27 - 29 • Visibility Matters 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: givepcoa.org E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: pcoa.org 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 email@example.com Editorial Assistant Jan Slonaker, (520) 790-7573 ext. 5076 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Adina Wingate, (520) 790-7573 ext. 5067 email@example.com Design Consultant Lori Lieber, Lori Lieber Graphic Design firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial and Advertising Deadline for Next Bi-Monthly Issue FEBRUARY 2 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 Beautiful Mnasidice , 30” x 40”, oil on corrugated board by Lorr, 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 email@example.com • 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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Read Never Too Late online at nevertoolate.pcoa.org
Page 2 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
Aging in Our Community A Message from W. Mark Clark, President and CEO
Spread Love this Valentine's Day!
You'll be hearing more in the coming months about our initiatives aimed at tackling these issues. We are committed to finding sustainable solutions to support our aging population and alleviate the burdens caused by the escalating living costs. Your continued support has been key to our ability to serve older adults. We'll share updates and seek community engagement as we strive to create a more nourished and supportive environment for our older neighbors in Pima County. I express sincere gratitude for your support and invite you to stay connected with PCOA to learn more about our efforts in the coming months. One great place to hear news as it happens is our Facebook page. Please follow us on this platform for updates and essential resources for anyone 60 or older. Finally, 2024 is going to be an especially crucial year in both Congress and the Arizona Legislature. I want to encourage you to keep up to date on important developments in this area by visiting advocate.pcoa.org. It is a great way to stay informed and take action. Thank you again for your unwavering commitment to our cause and for making our community a better place for all. And best wishes for a safe and healthy New Year.
As we step into the promise of a new year, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the unwavering support our community has shown PCOA throughout 2023. Your dedication has been instrumental in our mission to champion the well-being of older adults in our community - through your donations, volunteerism, advocacy, and more. I extend heartfelt appreciation to every individual, organization, and business who has generously contributed resources and time to further our cause. Your donations have been the cornerstone of our ability to make a tangible difference in the lives of older adults within our community. Throughout the past year, your support has driven several impactful PCOA programs, ensuring nutritious meals through Meals on Wheels, combating loneliness among older adults via our support for the Neighbors Care Alliance programs, educating future caregivers with our CareGiver Training Institute and PimaCare at Home, and answering the call of more than 33,000 older adults in the community who have reached out to our HelpLine often in desperate need of resources and help. Your donations have directly fueled these essential services, touching countless lives in immeasurable ways. Thank you. In the coming year, PCOA will focus even more on addressing the pressing issue of food and housing insecurity among older adults in our community. The rising costs of living, particularly the soaring 40% increase in rental prices in Arizona since the pandemic, have significantly impacted older adults on fixed incomes, compounding the challenges they face.
Join us in making hearts soar by granting items from our Amazon Wishlist for low- income clients. Your item donation, big or small, brings warmth and care to those in need. Celebrate the season of love by gifting essentials that we take for granted but would be a great kindness to someone else. Items start at less than $5 and every contribution, no matter the size, is a ray of compassion. Share the love this Valentine's - visit our Amazon Wishlist and make a difference. Together, let's create a brighter, more loving world for those who need it most.
Click here https://bit.ly/ pcoawishlist or use the QR code.
Want to see what your support helped us to accomplish? Check out our 2022/2023 Annual Report to see your
W. Mark Clark President & CEO
support at work! https:// online.flippingbook.com/ view/497815424/
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 3
Pima Council on Aging
Philanthropy Celebrating a Year of Support and Collaboration for Older Adults
As we embark on a new year at PCOA, we want to take a moment to share our gratitude for the support we have received from our community during the season of giving and beyond. The end of the year has brought an outpouring of generosity, with Giving Tuesday alone contributing over $12,000 in donations. Thank you! In addition to the incredible individual contributions, we have been fortunate recipients of several substantial grants over the past few months. These grants underscore the commitment of these organizations to the well-being of older adults. The Eliot Spalding Foundation has provided a $5,000 grant for our CareGiver Training Institute, furthering their commitment to quality caregiving, ensuring a brighter future for healthcare professionals and, ultimately, the older adults they serve. The Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has granted $25,000 a year for up to 3-years to our End of Life Initiatives, which helps inform and empower individuals as they navigate and advocate for their end-of-life choices, fostering a sense of control and dignity. United Way of Southern Arizona has provided $50,000 to continue the vital work of Dementia Capable Southern Arizona, which Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has also supported with a $45,000 award. DCSA’s programming provides free dementia screenings, Memory Cafes, and educational programming that serve as invaluable resources for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and those who care for them.
As we reflect on this year, we want to thank you for being part of this journey. The impact of your contributions will ripple through our community, ensuring that older adults receive the care, support, and empowerment they deserve. It’s not too late to make your gift! PCOA is a qualifying AZ Tax Credit Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO), which means that Arizona donors can receive a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement for gifts up to $421 (individuals) and $841 (couples). Also, AZ law allows QCO donations made from January 1, 2024 through April 15, 2024 to be claimed on the 2023 Arizona income tax return. “I can’t find words to tell you how much I appreciate the help and guidance you provided me with my dad. I was lost in a sea of confusion, and you threw me a raft.” —PCOA Client
Your Support in Action: Impact by the Numbers
home repairs 748
416K+ meals served
hours of in-home care
program participants 10K+
hours of volunteer service
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Pima Council on Aging
Healthcare | Retirement Living | Financial Leisure | Home Repair | Education Casinos | Tour & Travel and More...
Wednesday, January 10th 9am - 1pm Doubletree Tucson Reid Park 445 S. Alvernon Way | Tucson, AZ 85711
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Tour & Travel Retirement Living Leisure Health Care
Financial Home Repair Education
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January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 5
Pima Council on Aging
Dementia Capable Southern Arizo na
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 10:30 – 11:30am 600 S. Country Club Rd. Tucson, AZ 85716
Memory Cafés in Pima County
Esperanza Memory Café 2nd Thursday of each month | 2-3pm January 11, February 8, 2024 Location: United Methodist Church of Green Valley 300 W. Esperanza Blvd. Green Valley, AZ 85614 *Registration requested* To register call (520) 625-4712 Posada Life Memory Café 3rd Saturday of each month | 1pm-2pm January 20, February 17, 2024 Location: Posada Life Community Center 780 S. Park Centre Ave. Green Valley, AZ 85614 Point of contact – Ellen March at (520) 393-6840 or EMarch@casagv.org Registration is appreciated but not required.
AARP Memory Café Last Friday of each month | 10-11:30am January 26, February 23, 2024 6700 N. Oracle Rd., Suite 331 Tucson, AZ 85704 Point of contact – Aaron Wodka at (520) 730-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org To register , visit – https://bit.ly/46SuCcf Registration is appreciated but not required. Alzheimer’s Association Memory Café 2nd Wednesday of each month | 3-4pm January 10, February 14, 2024 Location: Coco’s Bakery & Restaurant 7250 N. Oracle Rd. Tucson, AZ 85704 Point of contact – Susie James at (928) 237-2926 or email@example.com Registration is appreciated but not required.
No registration required. For information or questions, please contact Nicole Thomas at (520) 790- 7573 x1739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Café at The Katie
2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month | 10-11am January 10 & 24, February 14 & 28, 2024 Location: The Katie 600 S. Country Club Rd. Tucson, AZ 85716 Point of contact – Nicole Thomas at (520) 790-7573 x1739 or email@example.com Registration is appreciated but not required. To register , visit https://cafeatthekatie.eventbrite.com Memory Cafés are provided in partnership between DCSA and AARP Arizona, United Methodist Church of Green Valley, Posada Life Community Services, and Southern Arizona Senior Pride.
Call the PCOA Helpline at (520) 790-7262 or visit our website to request a free memory screening! https://pcoa.org/dementiareferral/ Concerned about your memory or your loved ones?
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Pima Council on Aging
Dementia Capable Southern Arizo na
Training In Person - 600 S Country Club Online (Zoom) Dementia Capable Southern Arizona Classes - January & February Dementia Friends Information Session (English)
Tuesday, January 23 2–3pm Thursday, February 29 10–11am
Tuesday, January 30 2–3pm
Gain a general understanding of dementia with a focus on adopting a mindset of creating a dementia-friendly community.
Tuesday, February 20 3–4:30pm Jueves, 15 de febrero 10–11am
Dementia Friends w/ Special Emphasis on the African-American Population Sesión informative de Dementia Friends (Español) (Dementia Friends Information Session (Spanish) Es hora de cambiar la forma en que las personas piensan, actúan, y hablan sobre la demencia. 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.
Thursday, January 18 10–11:30am
Thursday, January 25 10–11:30am
Register today at through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/dcsa-1070149 For more information or to register, contact Nicole Thomas at (520) 790-7573 x1739 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know that heart healthy habits are also brain healthy habits? Heart related issues have been associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk for developing dementia. Many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and dementia significantly overlap. Here are some heart healthy tips that will also reduce your risk of dementia:
Maintain a healthy blood pressure: Both high and low blood pressure can affect blood flow to the brain and increase the risk of cognitive impairment. A recent study found that more intensive treatment for high blood pressure also resulted in positive changes in brain structures that clear toxins and metabolic byproducts. Quit smoking: Compared to non-smokers, current
vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein reduces overall cognitive decline. Get moving: Physical movement is important for both heart health and brain health, but you don’t have to spend hours in the gym pumping iron to reduce your risk of dementia. Getting in more daily steps and/or increasing the pace of walking can significantly lower your risk of developing dementia.
smokers have an increased risk of all types of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Reducing the amount and stopping smoking reduces the risk of developing dementia. Watch your diet: If more than 20% of your daily calorie intake is highly processed food, you may be raising your risk for cognitive decline. A diet high in unprocessed fruits,
Pima Council on Aging
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 7
Healthy Minds for Life A Message from Lee Ryan, Professor and Head of the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona Good for the Heart, Good for the Brain
sufficiently severe that they interfere with their ability to live independently. So, the answer seems pretty simple, right? Control your weight, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise. But of course it’s not simple at all. It’s not that people don’t want to be healthier, or that they’re not sincere about making change. But let’s face it, changing habits that we’ve acquired over a lifetime isn’t easy, especially in a society that is built on sedentary activities like sitting at a desk, driving a car, and watching TV, and a diet based on easy-to-prepare but highly processed foods that are high in fat and sugar and low in fiber and essential nutrients. But we have to start somewhere. So here are just a few tips that can help us get started towards a healthier lifestyle: One food at a time. To start building a healthier diet, change your eating habits one food at a time. You might decide to add blueberries to your breakfast every day, or switch from white to whole wheat bread, or prepare one vegetarian dinner each week. All these changes (and many others) will result in a healthier diet. You don’t have to do it all at once – make one change, make it part of your daily routine, and be proud of your accomplishment. That will give you the confidence to make the next change, and the next, and so on. Build on your daily activities. Too often, people set up exercise programs that are overly ambitious, like going to the gym five days a week. They ultimately give up, because it’s just too hard to maintain. An alternative is to build exercise into what
If there’s one thing I could say to sum up all the scientific advice on how to keep your brain healthy, it’s this: Good for the heart, good for the brain. One simple phrase, easy to understand, easy to remember, but, it turns out, incredibly hard to follow. We’ve all heard the best ways to keep your heart healthy: Maintain a healthy body weight, exercise for at least 20-30 minutes per day, and eat a balanced diet that is packed with fresh unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These healthy habits will result in lower levels of cholesterol, better control of blood pressure, and overall decreased risk for heart disease. A healthy heart will work more effectively and efficiently to pump oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients to every cell in the body, while also removing waste products and toxins that can damage the liver, kidney, and other organs. A healthy heart is also critically important for maintaining brain health as we get older. Hypertension and high cholesterol increase the risk for stroke, which is the leading cause of disability among older adults in the U.S. Sometimes these strokes are large with very obvious changes to motor function or cognition, or both. Other people experience multiple tiny strokes that result in a slow buildup of brain injury over time. Being overweight or obese also adds to the accumulation of damage to brain tissues as we age, interfering with the ability of brain cells to communicate with one another. Poor heart health can lead to significant problems with memory, thinking, and reasoning, which, in some individuals, may become
we already do every day. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of using the elevator, or take a 5-10 minute walk at lunch. It may seem like nothing, but studies show that these kinds of everyday activities over weeks, months, and years lead to major health benefits. Make change with others. Studies also show that we’re most successful in building healthy new habits when we have a buddy. Find a friend who is interested in trying new recipes, going for a walk with you, and sharing your challenges and successes. You don’t have to do this alone. Of course, there are many other medical conditions that impact our health, so it’s important to work closely with your doctor to address each of them. But don’t forget the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that’s good for your heart, and good for your brain. You can find more information about the Precision Aging Network at our website: https://precisionagingnetwork.org/. To hear about ways that you can participate in our research studies, email us at email@example.com. Lee Ryan is a Professor and Head of the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona. She is a researcher studying aging and Alzheimer’s disease, and is a member of the Precision Aging Network.
Page 8 | January/February 2024 Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
Pima Council on Aging 2024 Medicare Open Enrollment 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 premium and/or Part D drug costs for those who qualify. How to find plans that offer the lowest costs for prescriptions you take. Pick up Medicare Advantage plan comparison spreadsheets for Pima County Medicare beneficiaries.
Murphy-Wilmot Library 530 N. Wilmot Dr. Tucson, AZ 85711 https://MedicareAtWilmotLibrary.eventbrite.com PCOA The Katie 600 S. Country Club Rd. Tucson, AZ 85716 https://MedicareAtTheKatie.eventbrite.com Murphy-Wilmot Library 530 N. Wilmot Dr. Tucson, AZ 85711 https://MedicareWilmotLibrary.eventbrite.com
Wednesday 2 – 5pm
Wednesday 12 - 3pm
Virtual (Zoom) https://MedicareOnZoom.eventbrite.com
Wednesday 2pm – 5pm
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.
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 9
Pima Council on Aging
Uncle Sam Wants You to Help Stop Insurers’ Bogus Medicare Advantage Sales Tactics By Susan Jaff
After an unprecedented crackdown on misleading advertising claims by insurers selling private Medicare Advantage and drug plans, the Biden administration hopes to unleash a special weapon to make sure companies follow the new rules: you. Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are encouraging seniors and other members of the public to become fraud detectives by reporting misleading or deceptive sales tactics to 800-MEDICARE, the agency’s 24-hour information hotline. Suspects include postcards designed to look like they’re from the government and TV ads with celebrities promising benefits and low fees that are available only to some people in certain counties. The new rules, which took effect Sept. 30, close some loopholes in existing requirements by describing what insurers can say in ads and other promotional materials as well as during the enrollment process. Insurance companies’ advertising campaigns kick into high gear every fall, when older adults can buy policies that take effect Jan. 1. People with traditional government Medicare coverage can add or change a prescription drug plan or join a Medicare Advantage plan that combines drug and medical coverage. Although private Advantage plans offer extra benefits not available under the Medicare program, some services require
sort through their options for nearly two decades. “I don’t think Medicare beneficiaries should be the police,” she said. Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan can be daunting. In Ohio, for example, there are 224 Advantage and 21 drug plans to choose from that take effect next year. Eligibility and benefits vary among counties across the state. “CMS ought to be looking at how they can educate people, so that when they hear about benefits on television, they understand that this is a promotional advertisement and not necessarily a benefit that they can use,” Brooks said. “If you don’t realize that these ads may be fraudulent, then you won’t know to report them.”
prior authorization and beneficiaries are confined to a network of health care providers that can change anytime. Beneficiaries in traditional Medicare can see any provider. The open enrollment season ends Dec. 7. Catching Medicare Advantage plans that step out of line isn’t the only reason to keep an eye out for marketing scams. Accurate plan information can help avoid enrollment traps in the first place. Although insurers and advocates for older adults have generally welcomed the new truth-in-advertising rules, compliance is the big challenge. Expecting beneficiaries to monitor insurance company sales pitches is asking a lot, said Semanthie Brooks, a social worker and advocate for older adults in northeast Ohio. She’s been helping people with Medicare
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Pima Council on Aging
Uncle Sam Wants You to Help (continued from previous page)
reviewed 1,700 commercials from May 1 through Sept. 30 and nixed more than 300 deemed misleading, according to news reports. An additional 192 ads out of 250 from marketing companies were also rejected. The agency would not disclose the total number of TV commercials reviewed and rejected this year or whether ads from other media were scrutinized. The new restrictions also apply to salespeople, whether their pitch is in an ad, written material, or a one-on-one conversation. Under one important new rule, the salesperson must explain how the new plan is different from a person’s current health insurance before any changes can be made. That information could have helped an Indiana woman who lost coverage for her prescription drugs, which cost more than $2,000 a month, said Shawn Swindell, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program supervisor of volunteers for 12 counties in east-central Indiana. A plan representative enrolled the woman in a Medicare Advantage plan without telling her it didn’t include drug coverage because the plan is geared toward veterans who can get drug coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs instead of Medicare. The woman is not a veteran, Swindell said. In New York, the Medicare Rights Center received a complaint from a man who had wanted to sign up just for a prepaid debit card to purchase nonprescription
pharmacy items, said the group’s director of education, Emily Whicheloe. He didn’t know the salesperson would enroll him in a new Medicare Advantage plan that offered the card. Whicheloe undid the mistake by asking CMS to allow the man to return to his previous Advantage plan. Debit cards are among a dizzying array of extra nonmedical perks offered by Medicare Advantage plans, along with transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, and money for utilities, groceries, and even pet supplies. Last year, plans offered an average of 23 extra benefits, according to CMS. But some insurers have told the agency only a small percentage of patients use them, although actual usage is not reportable. This month, CMS proposed additional Advantage rules for 2025, including one that would require insurers to tell their members about available services they haven’t used yet. Reminders will “ensure the large federal investment of taxpayer dollars in these benefits is actually making its way to beneficiaries and are not primarily used as a marketing ploy,” officials said in a fact sheet. Medicare Advantage members are usually locked into their plans for the year, with rare exceptions, including if they move out of the service area or the plan goes out of business. But two years ago, CMS added an escape hatch: People can leave a plan they joined based on misleading or inaccurate information, or if they discovered promised benefits didn’t exist
The agency relies on beneficiaries to help improve services, Meena Seshamani, CMS’ Medicare director, told KFF Health News in a written statement. “The voices of the people we serve make our programs stronger,” she said. Beneficiary complaints prompted the government’s action. “That’s why, after hearing from our community, we took new critical steps to protect people with Medicare from confusing and potentially misleading marketing.” Although about 31 million of the 65 million people with Medicare are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, even that may not be enough people to monitor the tsunami of advertising on TV, radio, the internet, and paper delivered to actual mailboxes. Last year more than 9,500 ads aired daily during the nine-week marketing period that started two weeks before enrollment opened, according to an analysis by KFF. More than 94% of the TV commercials were sponsored by health insurers, brokers, and marketing companies, compared with only 3% from the federal government touting the original Medicare program. During just one hourlong Cleveland news program in December, researchers found, viewers were treated to nine Advantage ads. For the first time, CMS asked insurance and marketing companies this year to submit their Medicare Advantage television ads, to make sure they complied with the expanded rules. Officials
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January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 11
Pima Council on Aging
Rights & Benefits Information ALTCS Workshops
or they couldn’t see their providers. This exception also applies when unscrupulous plan representatives withhold information and enroll people in an Advantage policy without their consent. Another new rule that should prevent enrollments from going awry prohibits plans from touting benefits that are not available where the prospective member lives. Empty promises have become an increasing source of complaints from clients of Louisiana’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program, said its state director, Vicki Dufrene. “They were going to get all these bells and whistles, and when it comes down to it, they don’t get all the bells and whistles, but the salesperson went ahead and enrolled them in the plan.” So expect to see more disclaimers in advertisements and mailings like this unsolicited letter an Aetna Medicare Advantage plan sent to a New York City woman: “Plan features and availability may vary by service area,” reads one warning packed into a half-page of fine print. “The formulary and/or pharmacy network may change at any time,” it continues, referring to the list of covered drugs. “You will receive notice when necessary.” However, the rules still allow insurers to boast about their ratings from CMS — five stars is the top grade — even though the ratings do not reflect the performance of the specific plan mentioned in an ad or displayed on the government’s Medicare plan finder website. “There is no way for consumers to know how accurately the star rating reflects the specific plan design, specific provider network, or any other specifics of a particular plan in their county,” said Laura Skopec, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute who recently co-authored a study on the rating system. And because ratings data can be more than a year old and plans change annually, ratings published this year don’t apply to 2024 plans that haven’t even begun yet — despite claims to the contrary. Source: KFF and NPR, Nov 30 2023 This story also ran on NPR. (continued from previous page) Uncle Sam Wants You to Help
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.
Registration is required for both the in person workshop and online webinar. To register , go to: https://bit.ly/3KldFP2 , or call Donna DeLeon at (520) 305-3450. Please join us on Zoom from your computer, tablet, or phone Date: February 28 Fourth Wednesday of each month 2:30 – 4 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: January 24 Location: The Katie | 600 S Country Club Rd
Page 12 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
Rights & Benefits Information
Tax breaks for older adults 2024 There are three types of tax programs for which you may be eligible:
o $37,297 for household without dependent child(ren). o $44,745 for household with dependent minor child(ren) OR child(ren) over the age of 18 that are totally and permanently disabled who reside in the home (must be certified by a licensed
ASRValRelief@pima.gov OR www.asr.pima. gov
The Arizona Property Tax Refund Credit , also known as the 140PTC, may be filed if you meet the following criteria: • Arizona resident for the entire year of 2023. • Age 65 or older by 12/31/2023 or a recipient of SSI. • Limited household income (Social Security is not counted.) • You paid property taxes and/or rent in 2023. Call PCOA Central Intake at (520) 790- 7262 in Tucson for 140PTC forms, or to make an appointment for assistance in completing this form. THIS CREDIT IS PROVIDED BY THE ARIZONA STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. This program is open from January 2024 until the tax filing deadline in April 2024. PCOA will be providing Telephone and In-Person appointments for assistance beginning February 1, 2024. 1
The Senior Property Valuation Protection Option may be filed if you meet the following criteria:
• At least one of the owners must be 65 years of age by September 1 of the current application year. • The property must be the primary residence of the taxpayer (primary residence is defined as “that residence which is occupied by the taxpayer for an aggregate of nine months of the calendar year”). A taxpayer can only have one primary residence. Rentals, mixed use properties, and properties over 10 acres do not qualify. • The owner must have lived and owned the home for at least two (2) years prior to applying for the option. • An individual property owner’s total income from ALL sources , including non- taxable income, cannot exceed $44,264. The total income from ALL sources for two or more property owners cannot exceed $56,580 per the Arizona Department of Revenue. • The deadline for submitting the application is September 1, 2024. You will be notified by December 1, 2024 on the decision of your application. For further information, please contact the Pima County Assessor’s Office. Website at www.asr.pima.gov, or call (520) 724-7500.
Arizona medical authority as totally and permanently disabled).
* To include income from all occupants of the residence. i.e., applicant, spouse/ partner, and any child(ren) over the age of 18 who reside in the home. * The total Assessed Value limitation for all properties owned within Arizona cannot exceed $30,099 for each owner. Applicants must hold title to the subject property in the year you are filing for valuation relief and may only be eligible for a partial consideration. Assessor staff will be present at various public libraries during the initial filing period. Please contact the Pima County Assessor’s Office for the schedule & locations. The application period begins with the first business day in January through March 1st. Any applications submitted after March 1st must be accompanied by a waiver. Applications made after October 1, 2024, are only eligible for a reduction to the second half of 2024 property taxes. Applications can be submitted by mail, in person, or electronically. Contact the Pima County Assessor’s Office for further information. Pima County Assessor’s Office (520) 724-7500. Attn: Valuation Relief, 240 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
Qualifications for First-Time Valuation Relief applicants:
Applicants must be a permanent Arizona Resident and over the age of 17 and at least one of the following: • Widow/Widower. Must not have been separated or divorced at the time of death. If remarried, the applicant cannot claim an exemption. • 100% totally and permanently disabled. • Veterans who are partially disabled could receive the percentage of the exemption for which they are determined to be disabled by the VA.
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 13
Pima Council on Aging
Rights & Benefits Information
We Aren’t Dealing with Your Dad’s Scammers Anymore The problem is not going away because scamming is highly profitable. I saw how criminals who previously committed street level crimes have migrated into financial
By Brian Watson , Community Outreach Specialist with R.O.S.E. Resources/ Outreach to Safeguard the Elderly I want to take you back to the late 1990s. There were no smart phones or social media yet. Only 50% of Americans used email. Our biggest concern was Y2K and if our lights would still be working. I was a Special Agent with the IRS and I did presentations to warn the public about financial scams. Back then, it was all about dumpster divers going through your trash trying to steal your identity. Or poorly written emails from a fake Nigerian prince who wanted to share some money with you. Scams were easy to spot and not so prevalent. Fast forward 25 years and everything has changed. Scams are often perpetrated by criminal gangs based in foreign countries. They are ruthless financial predators reading from scripts that have proven to work. They are not happy with taking a few thousand dollars. They will take over all of your bank accounts and investments. Years of hard work and savings can be wiped out in minutes. I have interviewed a lot of victims in my career. It is heartbreaking to hear their stories. We are experiencing a perfect storm of technology combined with a generation of very trusting people who are used to answering the phone and being polite. Now you are expected to have a smart phone and internet access. All of our personal and financial information is in the palm of our hands. Scammers can use our phones and computers as portals to victimize us.
scams. Someone with a computer or phone can wreak havoc from anywhere in the world. They can make more money and do it from the safety of a house or apartment. How big is the problem? According to the FBI’s Elder Fraud Report, Americans 60 years and older lost more than three billion dollars in 2022. The Federal Trade Commission reports that less than 20% of Americans 70 and older report being the victim of a financial scam even though this age group has the highest median loss. There are the obvious reasons for not reporting: embarrassment, not realizing you have been victimized, or not bothering to do anything since the money is long gone. I have recently learned many people don’t report being victimized because they don’t want their family to find out about the loss because it might result in losing financial independence or even the ability to live on their own. You need a plan because the scammers will call and email you. My best advice is don’t even think about getting into the ring with financial scammers. It is not a fair fight. I used to think that most victims must have suffered from some sort of cognitive decline. In my short time in the non-profit world, the victims I have met are educated, intelligent, and financially independent. Often their only mistake was answering the phone and engaging with a scammer.
I don’t want anyone to live in fear. You control your own destiny. If you accidently answer one of these calls, hang up immediately. If you are not sure if something is legitimate, call a trusted friend or the police. Making that call will save you money, time, and stress. Every law enforcement agency would gladly spend time with you prior to being a victim than having to deal with the aftermath of a financial scam. If you take care of someone who might fall for a scam, have those conversations now instead of after the money is gone. Go to roseadvocacy.org for more information and to sign up to receive a monthly email on the latest scams targeting seniors. Brian Watson, Community Outreach Specialist with R.O.S.E. Resources/Outreach to Safeguard the Elderly
Page 14 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
Caregiving Essentials: First Steps Training Schedule Free training for informal, nonpaid family caregivers
Wed., April 3 Tues., May 14 Wed., June 5
Tues., January 30 Wed., February 21 Fri., March 15
600 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson, AZ If staying for both, bring your own lunch. Coffee and water available.
Register on Eventbrite: https://caregivingessentials24. eventbrite.com or call Pima Council on Aging, (520) 790- 7573 ext. 1750; firstname.lastname@example.org • 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 (9am – 12:30pm)
Workshop 2: Physical Care and Safety (1 – 3:30pm)
• 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 questions, call Kelley Hansen (520) 790-7573 ext. 3413; email@example.com
For possible respite during training, call Arizona Caregiver Coalition (888) 737-7494 or our Helpline (520) 790-7262.
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 15
Pima Council on Aging
PCOA CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUPS – JANUARY/FEBRUARY
Held in-person or virtually with Zoom
JANUARY/FEBRUARY professional and are a safe place for you to express your concerns, frustrations, etc. and learn that others feel this way too. 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 1/16 & 2/20, 3rd Tuesday , 10–11:30am (North) In-Person 1/18 & 2/15, 3rd Thursday , 1:30–3pm Virtual ON ZOOM 1/19 Friday , 1–2:30 pm (Midtown) In-Person (Resecheduled from MLK Holiday) 1/22 4th Monday , 11am–12:30pm Virtual Workshop with Elizabeth: Respite and When to Place
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 1/2 & 2/6, 1st Tuesday , 12–1:30pm (Oro Valley) In-Person 1/3 & 2/5 1st Monday , 1–2:30pm (East) In-Person 1/4 & 2/1, 1st Thursday, 1–2:30pm Virtual ON ZOOM 1/8 & 2/12, 2nd Monday , 1–2:30pm (Green Valley) In-Person 1/9, 2nd Tuesday , 5:30–7pm Virtual ON ZOOM 1/11, 2nd Thursday , 1–2:30pm (East) In-Person
1/23 & 2/27, 4th Tuesday , 9–10:30am (Southwest) In-Person 2/13, 2nd Tuesday , 5:30–7pm Virtual Workshop with Nicole: Communication and Memory Loss 2/14, 2nd Wednesday , 1–2:30pm (East) In-Person 2/22, 4th Thursday , 1–2:30 pm “We are all on the same journey and the support helps me recognize that others share the same insecurities and emotions that vary widely from day to day in the life of a caregiver.” -Support Group Attendee
(Midtown) In-Person 2/26, 4th Monday , 11am–12:30pm Virtual (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, email@example.com
Page 16 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
Caregiving Caregivers: Big Hearts and Learning to Take Heart By Deb Seng , Director of Caregiving and Community Initiatives
Caregivers are amazing people with huge, kind hearts! They serve, they sacrifice, and they honor the people they love through their acts of kindness. Sometimes they listen to their loved one’s story—even for the 106th time. They show compassion for their loved one’s struggles and heartaches. They assist their loved one with eating, bathing, or even toileting—without expecting recognition. Caregivers give of their hearts, their lives, and their strength, sometimes to their own detriment. Caregivers often take their role as a personal responsibility to be undertaken tirelessly and perfectly. So we asked “Be- Leaf in Yourself” attendees about lessons learned in their caregiving journeys. Here’s what the caregivers said: • Do your research • Ask for help • Remember that you’re not alone Our team would like to add, manage your expectations. It is okay to be tired, to make mistakes, and to take care of yourself! Taking time to experience and express your emotions, and to recharge your heart is an important part of being a caregiver. One caregiver shared that the best way to care for themselves was, “feeling free to cry when overwhelmed then breathe—it all gets better with a good attitude.” Perhaps you realize you are a caregiver and want to learn what is available to you. PCOA’s compassionate and competent staff is available to guide and support you in your caregiving journey. Reach out to our Helpline, (520) 790-7262 to speak to a specialist today. As one sage caregiver
In November, PCOA connected with dozens of older adults and caregivers at “Be-Leaf in Yourself,” an event to support, encourage, and appreciate our community’s family caregivers. One young woman sought knowledge about resources and services recognizing that her parents, aunts, and uncles are aging though still living independently. Another participant has been caring for his spouse for many years and needs a break. And others shared their heartfelt stories about caregiving challenges and victories. PCOA’s Aging and Caregiving Support team often works with individuals who do not consider themselves caregivers. But being a caregiver can mean simply checking in on a loved one regularly; preparing food, picking up or managing medications; assisting with bills, household tasks, or yardwork. Participants at the “Be-Leaf in Yourself” event wisely pointed out that providing care means listening, practicing patience, and showing empathy. Caregiving is “giving the unique, special love that you are to another special someone.”
offered, “As much as possible, enlist the village to help. Caregiving is best when done as a group.” In this new year, we encourage you— and all caregivers—to take heart! And to reflect on those things for which you are hopeful. Perhaps you hope for “time with family,” “the ability to make each day the best possible for my family member and others,” or that “someone will care for me, too.” Some of the compassionate PCOA staff and volunteers ready to support and assist (from left to right): Elizabeth Reeves, Alex Trevino, Sarah Lahiff, McKenna Reinhard, Donna DeLeon, Kelley Hansen, Ann Gile and Bry Acuna (kneeling), Tonetta Clay, Deb Seng, Rae Vermeal, Jen Caragan, Katrina B., Jennifer Cain, Lisa Walters, and Nicole Thomas.
Connect with the compassionate caregiver community today!
January/February 2024, Never Too Late | Page 17
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 alone, at home, is no fun. • The lunch sites are typically open from Monday – Friday (except as noted and holidays) from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 1pm. • 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 to get someone to these lunch programs. 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 is waiting for you. A suggested donation of $2–$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: https://bit.ly/PCOAmeals This Month’s Menu
COMMUNITY LUNCH CENTERS NEAR YOU
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 Armory Park Senior *
1665 S. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson 85713 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.
Page 18 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late
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