West Side Senior News & Notes
Akron Zoo hosts a special day for seniors
|The Akron Zoo’s annual Senior Safari will be held Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
|Photo courtesy of the Akron Zoo|
Adults 62 and older will be admitted to the zoo for a discounted price of $3 per person, which is more than 65 percent off the regular senior admission, according to zoo officials. Senior caregivers also will be admitted at a discounted price of $5 per person. Senior citizens can enjoy the entire zoo, as well as informational booths highlighting senior services, live entertainment and activities.
According to zoo officials, more than 30 vendors will be on hand to offer information regarding services for active seniors. The band Keyed-Up Quartet will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also, seniors will have the chance for up-close encounters with the animals, according to zoo officials.
Senior Safari is sponsored by SummaCare and Summa Health System, according to zoo officials. The Akron Zoo is compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility requirements and provides wheelchairs free of charge and electric scooters for $25 per day. All rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and regular admission is $10 for adults and discounted to $8.50 for senior citizens, $7 for children ages 2-14 and free for children younger than 2. Parking costs $2. For more information, visit www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550.
Medina court offering refunds on traffic fines for older drivers
MEDINA — The Medina Municipal Court will offer drivers older than 60 access to a program this fall that will both educate them and save them some money, according to Medina Municipal Court Judge Dale Chase.
Designed to help older drivers and their families deal with the issues and challenges they face, the Keeping Us Safe program is a joint effort with the court and the Medina County HANDS Foundation, supported by funding through the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission. The program will be run by Matt Gurwell, a former lieutenant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“The purpose of this program is to educate people and save lives,” said Chase.
Keeping Us Safe will be available to drivers older than 60 who are cited for minor misdemeanor traffic offenses involving a crash. These include violations such as speeding, improper backing, assured clear distance and failing to stop for a red light or stop sign. When the court receives the traffic ticket, it will send a letter to the offender with information about the program.
For drivers older than 60 who are found guilty of any minor misdemeanor involving a crash, once the offender has paid the fine and court costs, if the driver chooses to complete the program, the court will send the driver a check for a refund of their fine. There is no cost to the drivers or their families for attending the program.
“We are glad to be able to offer this option to drivers over 60,” said Chase. “Whether a crash is caused by a moment of inattention or whether it is a sign of diminishing driving skills, the program will give these drivers a look at the changes we all face as we age.”
The court will begin referrals for offenses occurring from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, and the first session of Keeping Us Safe will take place in early December. Drivers may attend the program alone or with family members. More program information will be available soon at the Keeping Us Safe website, keepingussafe.org, or by calling Keeping Us Safe at 877-907-8841.
Department of Insurance to hold free Medicare Checkup events
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Insurance’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) is holding free Medicare Checkup events in every county to coincide with Medicare’s Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 annual enrollment period, Ohio Lt. Gov. and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor recently announced.
The sessions are intended to help people review changes to Medicare and determine their best coverage option for 2013, with new coverage beginning Jan. 1.
In Medina County, on Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a checkup event will take place at the Wadsworth Center for Older Adults, located at 138 High St. in Wadsworth, with counseling and enrollments available.
In Summit County, a checkup event will be held Nov. 28 starting at 10 a.m. with a presentation at Twinsburg Senior Center, 10260 Ravenna Road in Twinsburg. Counseling appointments will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Those interested can call 330-963-8722 to make an appointment.
“Determining the appropriate Medicare coverage should be done with the help of a family member or a knowledgeable and trusted adviser, such as a representative from our OSHIIP program,” Taylor said. “This should be a careful, deliberate process so you secure a plan that best meets your health care needs and budget.”
At the events, beneficiaries can learn about recent changes to Medicare, such as the new Medicare deductibles, co-pay and coinsurance amounts; Medicare Advantage and Part D plan options for 2013; and financial assistance programs. Attendees should bring their prescription drugs list with dosages and preferred pharmacy, as well as information on retirement coverage, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or other medical care benefits they receive, according to Taylor.
Taylor recommends Ohioans watch for predatory sales practices during the annual enrollment period. Insurance agents are prohibited from using high-pressure sales tactics, conducting door-to-door sales for Medicare Advantage plans and representing themselves as being from Medicare. People who pose to be agents can use similar tactics. If you feel victimized, get as much information as possible and call the department’s fraud and enforcement hotline at 800-686-1527, said Taylor.
Those with Medicare questions and in need of enrollment assistance, including financial assistance, can call OSHIIP at 800-686-1578 Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information also is at www.insurance.ohio.gov and www.medicare.gov.
Ariel Hakim contributed to these reports.
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