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The Council on Aging offers a variety of heath-related programs including;



H1N1 CLINC SCHEDULED FOR NORWELL SENIORS
The Norwell Board of Health and Council on Aging, in conjunction with the Norwell VNA and Hospice will offer a H1N1 vaccine clinic on Thurs, Jan  14 at 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  This clinic is open to all Norwell residents age 60 and older and will be held  at the senior center, located at 293 Pine St.   Please contact the COA office at 781-659-7878 to register or with any questions.

A NOTICE ABOUT 2009  H1N1 VACCINE

Why aren't people 65 and older recommended to get early doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine?
People age 65 and older are least likely to get sick with this virus, and, There will be limited amounts of vaccine available at first, so the first doses are recommended to go to those who are most likely to get infected and become very ill.

There has been very little 2009 H1N1 illness in people 65 and older since the 2009 H1N1 virus emerged.  Studies show that people 65 and older are the least likely to get sick with this virus.

Because there has been so little 2009 H1N1 illness in people 65 and older, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that CDC and immunization programs focus on getting the first doses of 2009 H1N1 to include all children and young adults (6 months through 24 years old), pregnant women, and adults 25 through 64 years of age who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from flu.

In addition, the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is prioritized for people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, and health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact. 

Will people age 65 years and older be able to get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine this season?
Yes. The U.S. government has purchased 250 million doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, so anyone who wants to get the vaccine will have the opportunity to do so. While people 65 and older are not included in the groups recommended to get the earliest doses of vaccine, they can get the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine as soon as the high risk groups have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.  Some communities will offer the 2009 H1N1 vaccine to people 65 and over sooner than others, depending on how quickly they meet the needs of the initial prioritized populations.

Note: The Norwell Board of Health has ordered vaccines for all residents, however, clinics will be based on actual availability. 
What should people age 65 and older do if they feel like they have the flu?
If you develop flu symptoms seek medical advice quickly to see whether further treatment is required. 

Why are people 65 and older prioritized for antiviral treatment if they get sick with the flu, but they are not in one of the early groups prioritized to get 2009 H1N1 vaccine?
People 65 and older are the least likely to be infected with 2009 H1N1 flu, but, if they become infected, they are more likely than people in some other groups to develop serious complications from their illness. That is why people 65 years and older are prioritized for treatment with antiviral drugs this season if they do become sick.

Source: Center for Disease Control

WINTER TIPS FOR ELDERS
(Tips for Staying Warm and Safe)

Winter is once again upon us in New England and forecasters are promising a cold and snowy season. It is particularly important that elders, among the most vulnerable to inclement weather, are prepared for cold winter temperatures and take measures to stay well.  The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has prepared “Winter Well-Being Tips for Massachusetts Elders” as an aid for seniors and their caregivers to have a healthy and safe winter.

Stay Warm this Winter

How Cold Is It?  The first line of protection is to be aware of weather forecasts and prepared for days when you are unable to go shopping, keep medical appointments and get to personal and social appointments. Find out how cold it will be by listening to, reading or watching the weather forecast, and remaining indoors during very cold weather.  Make sure to pay attention to the Wind Chill, which is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold.  
What do I wear to stay warm? When it’s very cold, make sure to dress in warm, dry clothes.  You should wear a hat, layers of loose-fitting clothing, a scarf, mittens, thick pants, heavy socks, and closed-in shoes or boots.
How Do I Keep My Home Warm? Heating your home is expensive, but important to staying healthy in the winter.  Make sure that you have insulated your home and sealed any air leaks.  Be very careful of space heaters, which can pose a burn and fire risk.  If you are having trouble paying your home heating bill, contact:
  • LIHEAP Fuel Assistance Program: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • ("LIHEAP") provides payments to energy providers to defer some of the costs of monthly heating bills for those eligible. Call (800) 632-8175 or visit www.winterheating.co for more information.
  • Salvation Army Good Neighbor Fund: To apply or learn about eligibility, call (800) 262-1320, (617) 542-5420 or visit www.magoodneighbor.org.
  • Oil Co-ops: They are buying groups formed to help consumers purchase energy at lower costs. A list of oil co-ops in the state is available at www.mass.gov/doer as part of the fuel assistance tip sheet or you may contact DOER at (800) 351-0077.
  • Shop Around: The Massachusetts Oil Heat Association offers a statewide list of member home heating oil dealers at www.massoilheat.org.
  • Gas/Electricity Discount Rates: Income eligible applicants may take advantage of discounted rates and protection against service termination. Look into arranging winter payment plans with gas and electric utilities.
Stay Safe in the Snow and Ice
Avoid over exerting yourself.  Shoveling is very strenuous exercise and can quickly take a toll on your body.  Ask someone to shovel for you if you are at high risk of a heart attack or other injury.  If you must shovel, always go slowly, take breaks, drink a lot of water, dress warmly, lift carefully and stop if you have any pain or exhaustion.

Try to stay indoors when the weather is very bad.  If you need to leave your home, try to use public transportation.  If you must drive, make sure that you are well stocked with:
  • A full tank of gas;
  • An emergency winter storm kit (flashlight, flares, candle, first-aid kit, tow line or rope, paper towels);
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction;
  • A windshield scraper and de-icer;
  • Cell phone and/or an emergency radio; and,
  • Blanket, gloves, socks, hat and boots.
Stock Up For Snowy Days
Big snow storms can stop us in our tracks and keep us indoors.  Elders should always be prepared to remain inside their homes for a few days.  Make sure you have these items in your home to be best prepared for a big storm:

  • Emergency phone numbers and contact information (doctor, family, friends, neighbors, police, fire, board of health, your local Council on Aging);
  • Extra medications: prescription and over the counter;
  • First-Aid Supplies (bandages, tape, gauze, anti-bacterial ointment, alcohol, cold pack);
  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable foods and drinks (1 gallon of water per person and extra for pets, ready-to-eat canned meat, fruit, vegetables, snack bars, cereal, juice, powdered milk);
  • Battery operated flash lights, radio, manual can opener, candles, matches/lighter, cash;
  • Hand sanitizer, paper products and garbage bags; and,
  • Clean, warm clothes and footwear and blankets/sleeping bags.
Stay Healthy During Flu Season
It is not too late to get vaccinated. February is when the flu season is at its height.  Contact your health care provider about getting a flu shot and a pneumococcal (pneumonia) shot. For additional information on the flu, pneumonia, and where to obtain shots visit the Department of Public Health’s website: www.mass.gov/dph/flu or call the DPH information line at 866-627-7968.

Ask Yourself: Who Is Looking Out For Me?
  • In bad weather, tell a friend, family member, or neighbor where they will be able to find you.  Ask them to call you regularly to check on your well-being.  Tell them where an extra key is located so that they can get into your home in the event of an emergency.
  • If you have special health needs such as oxygen, contact your police station and let them know you may need assistance if the power fails.
For additional information, visit the websites listed in this release.  
Courtesy of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs

LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
What It Is, How It Works
This is the first in a three-part series by Hans Hug, owner of The LTC Insurance Group.  Hug is an independent broker representing all major LTC Insurers. He can be reached at 888-758-8949 for any questions.

Long term care is a major issue of growing importance as the average lifespan of people in the U.S. continues to lengthen. Advances in medicine and technology are major drivers of this fact. A long term care event will have an enormous impact on the person needing care as well as friends and family.

Although many Americans are coming to understand that having a plan of some kind in place to address a long term care need is essential, I still encounter many people who harbor serious misconceptions about what long term care actually entails today and, how to effectively pay for it. For example, I still meet people who believe that long term care means moving to a Nursing Home. Many years ago this was often the case, but today this is simply not true.

Let’s begin by defining long term care so we’re all on the same page. The Health Insurance Association of America offers this:

Long Term Care goes beyond medical care and nursing home care to include all the assistance you could need if you ever have a chronic illness or disability that leaves you unable to care for yourself for an extended period of time. You can receive Long Term Care in a nursing home or in your own home, in the form of help with such activities as bathing or dressing. Long Term Care can be of help to a young or middle-aged person who has been in an accident or suffering a debilitating illness. But most Long Term Care services are used by older people”.

Long Term Care can be broken down into two arenas:
  • Home/Community based care (Home Health Care/Homemaker services/Adult Day Care etc.) and
  • Facility care (Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or perhaps a specialized facility, such as one for Alzheimer’s patients)
    
To break care down further, there are two kinds that you could receive: 
  • Skilled Care (also called Professional Care) and                                                                       
  • Custodial Care (also called Maintenance Care)
 
One way to think about Skilled Care/Professional Care is to ask yourself-does that person have a license to do what they do? If the answer is yes, it’s highly likely they render Skilled/Professional care. Custodial Care can include help you need with your Activities of Daily Living or “ADLs”, among many other things.

It’s very important to note that a long term care need will pivot around the word “chronic”. It is generally accepted that if a need for help is expected to last more than 90 days, it is deemed to be a chronic need, as opposed to an “acute” need. And how your care needs are defined will determine who-if anyone aside from you-will pay for your care.

For example, many folks believe that Medicare (the federal entitlement program) will pay for their long term care needs. No, Medicare will not, because Medicare is fundamentally a health insurance benefit designed to pay for acute care needs not chronic care needs. This is clearly demonstrated by the Medicare benefit for Nursing Home care being limited to no more than 100 days, plus meeting other requirements in order to receive even that coverage.

There are similar problems with health insurance people still in the workforce generally participate in through their Employer. For a quick idea of what a private-sector Health Insurer would pay for services that resemble long term care, flip to the back of the Policy or Certificate and look up “Exclusions & Limitations”. As a rule you will find that such services are provided from 30 days to perhaps 60-75 days, after which they stop. Again, this is because Health Insurance addresses acute not chronic needs.

There are four dominant methods to pay for long term care is the U.S. today, each with its own positives and negatives.  In my experience consumers don’t rely on just one method, but ultimately tap some or all of them:
1.  Medicare, the federal entitlement program
2.  Medicaid, the federal welfare program (called MassHealth in Mass.)
3.  Private-sector Long Term Care Insurance
4.  Self-insuring with your own cash and assets

While there are other potential sources of funds such as LTC Riders attached to a Life Insurance policy or perhaps executing a Reverse Mortgage, the four above represent the reality of the situation as it generally exists today.

No State or Federal program can compete with private sector Long Term Care Insurance (“LTCI”) as it relates to coverage-not even close. Any decent LTCI policy will pay for care covering a full range of services available today. This includes:
  • Care in the community delivered at an Adult Day Care Center;
  • Care at home;
  • Care in an Assisted Living Facility (“ALF”);
  • Care in a Nursing Home;
  • Care for those with dementia;

BLOOD PRESSURE CLINICS
The Council on Aging, in conjunction with the Norwell Visiting Nurse Association (NVNA), offers blood pressure clinics twice a month.  Clinics are held on the following days, times and location:

The second Thursday of each month
11:00 A.M - 12:30 P.M.
Council on Aging
293 Pine St.

The third Wednesday of each month
11:00 A.M  - 12:00 P.M.
Norwell Gardens Community Room
399 Washington St.

For more information, call the Council on Aging office at 781-659-7878.


GLUCOSE SCREENING
The Council on Aging, in conjunction with the Norwell VNA, will hold a glucose screening program at the Norwell Council on Aging once a month.  For more information about this program please call the COA office at 781-659-7878.

The second Thursday of each month
10:00 A.M - 11:00 P.M.
Council on Aging
293 Pine St.



UPCOMING NORWELL VNA PROGRAMS