West Side Senior News & Notes
Peninsula Library hosting Medicare class
PENINSULA — Northeast Ohio colleges and libraries are offering classes to help prepare the first wave of baby boomers for Medicare enrollment.
On April 8, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Peninsula Library, 6105 Riverview Road, will offer the class, “Everything you need to know to get started with Medicare.” This class offers people approaching retirement or going on Medicare for the first time a chance to gain a basic understanding of how Medicare works, according to library officials.
Presented by Laura Mutsko, a Medicare supplement accredited adviser and a certified senior adviser through the Society of Senior Advisors, the class offers fundamental information about what Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover. Information also will be provided on the difference between the Original Medicare Plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan, according to library officials.
“The transition to Medicare can be a daunting process,” Mutsko said. “It requires people to make important decisions affecting their retirement health care coverage. People who attend one of these two-hour classes are more comfortable when the time comes to enroll in Medicare because they have taken time to understand their choices.”
Preregistration is required and can be made by contacting the Peninsula Library at 330-657-2291. For additional class locations, dates and times, visit www.mutskoinsurance.com/seminars.
HandyPro offers services to seniors
BATH — After spending the last 10 years volunteering at Bath Manor nursing home, Kevin Krakora has opened a HandyPro location in Bath to help seniors live out their lives comfortably and independently, according to Krakora.
HandyPro specializes in senior modifications. Krakora’s HandyPro business serves the people of Summit, Medina and Cuyahoga counties.
For additional information, call 800-942-6394 or visit handypro.com/OH03__Akron.html.
HandyPro has 27 locations in 16 states, having added 14 locations in 2012, according to company officials.
In 2008, owners Keith and Debra Paul reshaped HandyPro’s focus in order to market directly toward senior citizens and the disabled as a way to change the awareness and perception of how those segments are serviced, according to company officials.
State-local partnership linking older volunteers with mentoring program
COLUMBUS — State officials announced last month a new state-local initiative to connect two established Ohio programs — Project MORE (Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence) and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
The announcement was made by Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) Director Bonnie Kantor-Burman, Dick Ross, director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, and project partners, according to ODA officials. The initiative will work to improve childhood literacy, support Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee and engage elders to support community needs, according to ODA officials.
“Studies show that students are up to four times more likely to drop out of school if they cannot read at grade level by the end of the third grade. In response to this trend, Gov. [John] Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly strengthened the Third Grade Reading Guarantee,” said Kantor-Burman. “Ohio’s elders are one of the state’s most valuable resources, and this initiative allows us to leverage their considerable talents to improve communities and the lives of young people.”
Project MORE is a volunteer reading mentoring project for students with disabilities or at risk for reading failure, according to ODA officials. In the spring, Ohio will implement a pilot initiative to link the evidence-based Project MORE curriculum with RSVP volunteers in four Ohio RSVP programs to match volunteers with schools and classrooms interested in implementing or expanding Project MORE.
“RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for people age 55 and older, and Ohio has 23 local RSVP programs that engage nearly 13,000 volunteers across the state in activities designed to meet critical community needs,” said Tina Dunphy, Ohio state program director, Corporation for National and Community Service. “One of the best aspects of RSVP is that it’s a ‘win — win proposition’; RSVP volunteers don’t just help others — they’re also helping themselves and improving the quality of their own lives. Volunteering leads to new discoveries, like learning new skills and meeting new people. Also, studies show that volunteering helps people live longer and promotes a positive outlook on life.”
The ODA, Project MORE and curriculum developers will collaborate on materials for teachers, mentors and students that offer a positive view of healthy aging by demonstrating how important health choices today will impact individuals for a lifetime, according to ODA officials.
“Aging is everybody’s business, and when individuals make informed and thoughtful decisions throughout their lives, they help ensure a high quality of life and living as they age,” said Director Kantor-Burman. “Through this unique partnership, we will be able to impart to young people how important the choices they make today will be for them later on.”
According to ODA officials, RSVP partner organizations participating in the pilot are: Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging Inc., Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio Inc. and RSVP of Lake County. These pilot sites will serve as models for expanding Project MORE to other RSVP programs, schools and classrooms in the 2013-14 school year. For more information about RSVP, contact Dunphy at 614-493-2755.
ODI announces it saved Ohioans $5.5 million
COLUMBUS — Ohio Lt. Gov. and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor announced the department’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) helped 38,276 Ohioans with Medicare save a record $5.5 million during fall open enrollment, the period to select coverage for 2013.
OSHIIP is the state’s Medicare educational and enrollment assistance program.
“One of my top priorities is protecting Ohio consumers and providing high-level customer service,” Taylor said. “The savings realized by Ohioans last year demonstrate the importance of our work at the department.”
Taylor said those on Medicare saw savings due to OSHIIP helping them enroll in financial assistance programs if they were deemed eligible.
In addition, OSHIIP assisted 159,000 Ohioans through nearly 2,000 statewide public events, its toll-free hotline and face-to-face counseling in 2012, according to Taylor.
We Honor Veterans seeking volunteers
WEST AKRON — The We Honor Veterans program through Senior Independence Hospice is seeking service veterans and military service personnel to provide companionship and recognition to older veterans who are facing life-limiting illnesses.
According to Senior Independence Hospice officials, volunteers support veterans who are in their final journeys of life by participating in pinning ceremonies, in-home Veterans Day celebrations and veteran-to-veteran companionship visits.
We Honor Veterans is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs that focuses on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgment, according to hospice officials.
Volunteer opportunities are flexible, and training is provided by Senior Independence Hospice, according to hospice officials. Many of the We Honor Veterans program activities are held in the patients’ homes and can be done during the day or evening and on weekdays or weekends.
“The We Honor Veterans program of Senior Independence Hospice is all about uniting with our community to provide those that served our nation with special recognition for their sacrifice,” said hospice nurse and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Nancy Miller.
For details, call David Wilson, Senior Independence Hospice volunteer coordinator, at 330-873-3468 or visit www.seniorindependence.org.
Kathleen Collins and Ariel Hakim contributed to these reports.
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