Sixty Seconds Newsletter 
A Monthly Update from Senior Resources of West Michigan  
An Area Agency on Aging Serving Muskegon, Oceana & Ottawa Counties
In This Issue
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Senior Resources Holiday Hours
Senior Resources will be closed Dec. 23 and 26 for Christmas, and Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 for New Year's.
Family Caregiver Classes Offered
Free caregiver classes are offered Fridays from 1-2:30 p.m. at Tanglewood Park.

Classes will provide caregivers information on:
* managing demands of caregiving
* providing personal care
* home safety
* managing medications
* advance directives
* caring for someone on bed rest
* coping with dementia
* respite
* Alzheimer's Disease
* nutrition

For more information, call Virginia at 231-733-3531, or Robbi at 231-733-3567.


Speak up! Anytime day or night. Report abuse and neglect.

Senior Resources' Elder Care Specialists are available to assist with Options for Long Term Care
Call: 231-733-3585
or Toll Free:  1-800-442-0054
December 2016
Campaign focuses on social isolation
Gloria Wert lives by herself in a subsidized senior apartment. Her mind is sharp, but she has some physical limitations that make it challenging to get out a lot. Her two surviving children live out of state, but fortunately, she has grandchildren and neighbors who look in on her. She has an adult home health worker who visits regularly and she attends an adult day center weekly. And two siblings live in the area.
"We watch out for each other," Gloria says of her siblings. Her sons call her regularly, and her grandchildren "live close and take care of me." Neighbors check on each other regularly.
Gloria Wert is fortunate.  Social isolation is a serious issue in the United States, with an estimated 1 in 5 adults age 50 or older affected by isolation.  The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has made increasing awareness of social isolation the focus of its "Home for the Holidays" campaign. Senior Resources is embracing the campaign helping spread awareness of the growing issue.

Gloria says she rarely goes more than a day without seeing someone. But she knows others who don't have that same support system.
"Some of the ones that come to Daybreak (the adult day center) have no family," she says. "That's sad."
About 29% of people 65 or older live alone, and twice as many women live alone as men. Prolonged isolation can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to an AARP Foundation study.
Gloria's days at Daybreak  have made a difference for her, says Henriet Meyers, Gloria's nurse and supports coordinator for the Targeted Care Management program at Senior Resources. "She did well before, but she has blossomed. Some of my clients have no contact other than my monthly visit. Human contact is what we all need."
Gloria enjoys field trips at Daybreak; some of her favorite activities include trips to the art museum, arts and crafts, blueberry and apple picking and baking.
But what she enjoys most is the human contact. "I feel just like we're family," Gloria says. While she has mobility issues, others at Daybreak have other limitations, and they work together.  "I can help them in ways they can't do, and they help me in ways I can't do. It really brightens my day.
"I really appreciate everything Senior Resources has done for me."

DTE Energy Foundation sponsors holiday meal for older adults Dec. 15

Medicare, other health care changes may be coming with president-elect
Update on the Fiscal Year 2017 federal budget...federally-funded programs, like the Older Americans Act, are still in operation thanks to a Continuing Resolution (CR) that was due to expire on December 9.  Recently, House Republicans decided to pass another short-term Continuing Resolution in the lame duck session, authorizing funding through March 31.  President-elect Donald Trump asked for this four-month delay in final budget-making, so he can place some of his top priorities into this year's spending plan. 
It's common knowledge that repealing Obamacare is on the new President's to-do list, although after a meeting with President Obama, Trump said he may keep some parts of it.  In his "Contract with the American Voter," Trump talks about replacing Obamacare with Health Savings Accounts, ability to buy insurance in other states, giving states control of Medicaid, and cutting red tape at the Food and Drug Administration.  Obamacare includes several provisions affecting older Americans, such as -- closing the Part D donut hole, expanding Medicare coverage for preventive services, reducing the size of provider increases to extend Medicare solvency, and numerous innovation programs - and it remains to be seen if these elements will be kept.
One little-noticed June report has the eye of the fledgling Trump administration - the U.S. House Task Force on Health Care Reform.  The four-member group appointed by House Speaker Paul Ryan included Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and its 37-page report, chock-full of data and research citations, can be found at  Numerous changes in Medicare and Medicaid are described, along with many other modifications in the health care world.
The report points out that Medicare is unsustainable and uses outdated payment systems (fee-for-service) that encourage the overuse of services.  Medicare Advantage, Part D drug benefits and paying-for-value initiatives are three successful Republican-initiated reforms which need to be continued or expanded. 
Here are some of the Medicare changes:
  • Beginning 2020, gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age to match Social Security eligibility.
  • Beginning 2024, offer a new Premium Support Payment allowing beneficiaries to choose from private plans on a Medicare Exchange.  Payments would be adjusted for low-income and sick individuals.  Insurers on the Exchange must sell to all customers.  Those in or near retirement would be able to keep traditional Medicare (fee-for-service).
  • Invest in Medicare Advantage plans - repeal Obamacare's cuts in reimbursements.
  • Allow Medicare Advantage plans to provide personalized benefit packages to fit individual needs (known as value-based insurance design or VBID).
  • Put limits on Medigap insurance coverage of out-of-pocket costs.
  • Combine Parts A and B, create a combined deductible, and create an annual out-of-pocket cost cap.  Institute a 20% uniform cost-sharing requirement for all services.
  • Allow patients to obtain items and services outside of traditional Medicare with physician approval.
Medicaid is also unsustainable, says the House Task Force, suffers from significant waste, fraud and abuse, and offers poor access to physicians.  Medicaid's open-ended funding creates the wrong incentives and states have used creative mechanisms to maximize funding.  States' hands are tied by a myriad of federal requirements that prevent innovation and change.
*Published with permission of Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan.

Senior Resources of West Michigan Inc