Disability Help Center - San Diego - December 2019



December 2019


MEDICARE HELP USA • 855-872-4550

Medicare Help USA’s goal is to help hundreds of people find coverage that fits their exact need by breaking down Medicare into understandable bite-size pieces. We want people to receive the care they need and deserve without the frustration that usually accompanies the process. As we close in on the end of another year, that means it’s time to start planning for the new open enrollment period for Medicare. Open enrollment begins Jan. 1, 2020 and remains open until March 31, 2020. It’s important to make sure you know how to enroll, or reenroll, and also make sure you understand the plans that are offered. Those who are eligible for Medicare, meaning anyone over the age of 65, or selected people under 65 who have a long-term disability, have their choice between two types of plans. Here’s a basic look at what each of them are and what they consist of:

insurance plans offered by private companies, which help pay some out-of-pocket costs, or the Medicare Part D plan, also offered by private companies to help pay for prescriptions. Under any original Medicare plan, you’ll receive a specifically colored card to show your provider when you seek care, and most doctors in the country will take your insurance. Also known as Medicare Private Health, or Part C and Part D, Advantage has a wider range of plan options, including HMOs, PPOs, and PFFS. This plan combines all the benefits of both Part A and Part B of original Medicare, plus additional benefits. For example, your plan will also help pay for prescriptions, cover routine vision and hearing exams, and limit your annual out-of- pocket costs. Instead of receiving a specifically colored card, you’ll use a membership card based on the exact plan you choose, which you’ll then present when you receive coverage. It’s easy to see the additional benefits of enrolling in Medicare Advantage. Its wider range of services has consistently provided higher member satisfaction: 90% of seniors say they’re satisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan, and 87% say they’re satisfied specifically with the preventive care they’ve received through the plan. When compared to original Medicare users, Medicare Advantage users had 31% fewer hospitalizations, 19% shorter length of hospital stays, and 25% less money spent on health care overall. But regardless of reviews and statistics, you should always choose the plan that makes the most sense for the type of care you need and for the circumstances of MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

Medicare Help USA 855-872-4550

your finances. You can reach out to us at Medicare Help USA directly not to only see which types you’re eligible for but to get our expert opinion on which plan best fits your unique needs. We’ll even walk you through the application process! Take advantage of open enrollment starting Jan. 1, 2020, by visiting MedicareHelpUSA.com or calling us at 1-855-872-4550 . Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss this important enrollment window!


This plan offers Part A or Part B. You can choose to sign up for one or the other and add supplemental insurance as needed. Part A helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care. Part B helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care. With either plan, you can supplement its coverage by way of either Medicare supplement

–Robert Merrigan

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Of the many seasonal traditions that sweep our nation, few are as creative, delicious, and satisfying as building your very own gingerbread house. Whether you’re looking to create a simple table decoration or bake a tasty treat to nibble on, everyone can enjoy this holiday activity! THE ORIGINS OF GINGERBREAD Ginger was first cultivated in ancient China, then traded into medieval Europe. There, Europeans incorporated it into culinary traditions and used it to bake cookies into elaborate shapes and works of art, including figures of animals and people. The gingerbread house first appeared in the early 19th century in Germany. Although historians don’t know an exact date, it’s speculated that it gained popularity around the same time that “Hansel and Gretel,” the popular fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, was published. THE LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE In 2013, the world record for the largest gingerbread house in the world was broken. The house, topping out

at 21 feet and covering 2,520 square feet, was built by Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to raise money for a local Level II trauma center. To construct the house, builders created a recipe that required 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, 1,080 ounces of ground ginger, and a few additional ingredients. BUILD YOUR OWN! While you don’t have to challenge yourself to beat the Guinness World Record, you can still have fun creating your very own gingerbread village. Starting your gingerbread house from scratch can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Give the kids a chance to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and set out plenty of candies and frostings to use, and remember to have fun! If you’re looking for unique gingerbread house ideas, take a look at 20 gingerbread house ideas at TasteofHome. com/collection/gingerbread-houses.


We love the holidays because they’re about spending time with family and indulging in traditions that make the season meaningful. Here are some great ideas for making the holidays unique through unusual traditions the whole family will look forward to.

could decorate their own “tree” by picking a random object in the house to deck out. Anything from a potted plant in the living room to a backyard bird feeder is fair game! Or, after all the presents have been opened, any clothes received must

be worn during Christmas dinner. It doesn’t matter if someone got five sweaters or three hats — they’ve got to don them all. Your family photos will be hilarious!



On the night you decorate your Christmas tree, have the entire family (parents included) “camp out” next to the tree. Snuggle into sleeping bags and fall asleep under the gentle glow of the lights with a crackling fire in the background and empty mugs of hot chocolate on the coffee table. This once- a-year family slumber party will be a delight for the kids, who will love sleeping side by side with their parents and siblings after an evening full of holiday-themed festivities.

The end of the year is a great time to look back on how your family has grown and reminisce about noteworthy events. Sit your family down in front of your computer or camera, hit record, and have each person talk about what they loved most about the last year or what their favorite memory is. Once you start this tradition, you can supplement it each year by also watching the previous year’s recording and reminiscing all over again.


Pick a zany activity that every member of the family must take part in. It could be using shaving cream to see who can give themselves the best Santa beard (without mirrors, of course). Or each person

No matter your traditions, celebrate them with love and

appreciation during this wonderful time of year.


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Dozens of facilities and organizations in San Diego are dedicated to providing services to those in need. Many of them operate year-round, but if you or someone you know might need a little extra help this holiday season, here are some wonderful places to consider. HOLIDAY RESOURCES Many organizations like Heaven’s Windows, Linda Vista Recreation Center, and The Salvation Army centers across San Diego provide support for residents in need of hunger relief, advocacy, community resources, and more. Many provide basic food and services year-round, but during the holiday season, they open their doors to those who specifically need assistance with traditional holiday amenities, like free Christmas meals, small gifts, toys, and clothing for low- income families. Visit HeavensWindows.org or SanDiego.gov/park-and-recreation/ centers/recctr/lindavista for more information. HOMELESS SHELTERS Shelters like Father Joe’s Villages and Alpha Project Bridge Shelter regularly host homeless neighbors every night, but during the holiday season, they often offer even more warm beds. They also provide amenities like nutritious meals, hot showers, and basic health services to those in need. These are places where people who have nowhere else to turn during the holiday season can feel the warmth and compassion that everyone deserves, especially during this time of year. Visit My.Neighbor.org or AlphaProject.org to learn more.

FOR THE KIDS For families with low incomes who may not have the means to create the Christmas they’ve always wanted, San Diego has some great options. For free festive activities, check out events like Santa by the Sea in Del Mar for a tree lighting, free pictures with Santa, and a lot of treats and games. Balboa Park hosts December Nights during the first weekend of December. Free entry features festive light displays, inspiring choirs and music, food, and other attractions. Visit VisitDelMarVillage. com/santa-by-the-sea and SanDiego.gov/december-nights for more details. If you know someone who could use a helping hand this holiday season, start by sharing these fantastic resources with them, and remember to always open your own heart to those in need.



INGREDIENTS • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters • 2 large eggs • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour • 2 tsp kosher salt • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp black pepper • Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying DIRECTIONS

1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, use a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.




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Disability Help Center 1833 Fourth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 888-418-8860 DisabilityHelpCenter.org


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2020 Medicare Open Enrollment

Building Your Own Gingerbread House Fun Family Holiday Tradition Ideas Local Resources for a Holiday Helping Hand Potato Latkes



The History Behind Christmas Lights

WHY DO WE HANG CHRISTMAS LIGHTS? LIGHT UP THE NIGHT The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started? The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.” Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the 1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December.

Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most

impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!


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