Making Martha's Vineyard an Aging-Friendly Island
Dear Healthy Aging Readers:
Our major focus this month - and actually going through December - is HOUSING. Island elders - like so many other islanders of all ages - need either smaller houses or modifications to the houses they're already in. In the Healthy Aging Senior Survey, conducted in fall 2015, most island elders said they want to continue to live on island, and also want to age in their own homes. At the same time, they know they need to modify their houses - with better handholds for stairs and grab bars for bathrooms, better lighting inside and out, etc. Below you will find information about some of the current efforts, and future editions will bring more detailed information about projects we hope you will support.
Don't forget to participate in the Housing Production Plan meetings to be held in mid-November and early December in each town.
for the complete schedule and information.
Tell the Planners about the needs of elders, and also the needs of all the young and middles who help us elders, who also need more housing, and who help make this island a vibrant intergenerational community.
Happy Indian Summer Days!
Paddy Moore, Chair, Healthy Aging Martha's Vineyard
Senior Housing Needs - HAMV's involvement
You hear a lot about the Island's need for affordable housing so we don't lose more families and important members of our community (e.g. teachers, EMT's, librarians). The Island also needs more year round rentals (so people don't have to do the Vineyard shuffle) and housing for seasonal workers who are critical to our economy.
You don't hear much about the serious housing needs of Island elders many of whom are on reduced or fixed incomes and living in homes that are bigger and more expensive than they need: 49% of elder households on Island spend more than 30% of their income on housing and 24% spend more than 50% of their income on housing, leaving little to spend on other necessities. The Island doesn't have the type of downsizing options available to elders elsewhere like condos, townhouses, apartments and senior communities. The waiting list for affordable apartments at Island Elderly Housing are years long and we have no low income assisted living facilities.
HAMV is working to create more affordable housing options for elders and make their existing housing safer.
We've worked with several towns to create accessory (in-law or granny) apartment bylaws for use by families, or a caregiver, and we plan to develop a service to help elders (especially low income) make necessary safety modifications to their homes (e.g. ramps, grab bars etc.)
HAMV is also working with the All Island Planning Board which is coordinating an Island wide effort to address the Island's housing crisis by producing Housing Production Plans (HPPs). The plans are being developed for each town through a series of three meetings this fall which will determine the housing and zoning policies they'll use to create housing options people can afford. HAMV is advocating for the housing needs of Island elders at these meetings but we can use your help.
How you can help:
- Tell the All island Planning Board about your housing needs and your priorities and concerns about housing issues by taking their brief survey:
- Attend the remaining HPP meetings in your town and make your needs and concerns known Link to schedule
Housing Resources for Seniors
gives information and tips for a comfortable, safe and livable home. Feel free to download it.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging also has a Guide called
This guide can help answer some of these questions:
WHAT ARE HOME MODIFICATIONS?
WHY DO SENIORS NEED HOME MODIFICATIONS?
WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?
HOW CAN I TELL WHAT HOME MODIFICATIONS ARE RIGHT FOR ME?
HOW CAN I PAY FOR HOME MODIFICATIONS?
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT HOME MODIFICATIONS?
The 70 Project - Time to get Photographed
CALLING ALL "NEW ELDERS" TURNING 70 IN 2016
THE 70 PROJECT
HAVE YOU TURNED 70 THIS YEAR, OR ARE YOU ABOUT TO?
THE MV TIMES WANTS TO CELEBRATE WITH YOU.
If you will turn 70 this year of 2016, the MV Times wants to photograph you at THEIR office In Vineyard Haven.
They will include your portrait in a story they are doing about the first wave of baby boomers here on Martha's Vineyard.
Open studio hours include Thursday, Dec. 17, from 1 pm to 4 pm; Saturday, Dec. 18, from 10 am to 2 pm, and Monday, Dec. 21, from 10 am to 1 pm.
Portraits and quick information gathering should take no more than five minutes; coffee and snacks will be provided, and your name will be entered in a raffle for a $100 gift certificate for Bunch of Grapes. Dress however you'd like.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, putting "The 70 Project" in the subject line.
Want to avoid the flu? Get vaccinated!
Results of a recent survey show that many seniors underestimate the seriousness of the flu and are largely unaware of their vaccine options.
Fact #1: The flu hits older adults the hardest. People age 65 and older have a greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu because immune systems weaken as we age.
Fact #2: Seniors can get a special "high dose" vaccine made specifically for people with weakened immune systems. And, your flu shot is covered by Medicare.
Learn more about seniors and the flu.
Social Security Benefits will increase in 2017
|Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.Please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola for more details.
New Dentist Service Available
Vineyard Smiles offers free oral health screening, cleaning and oral hygiene instruction at monthly clinics for seniors and disabled adults. With support from the Town Boards of Health via their health promotion service, the hygiene services are provided by Polished LLC.
The next clinic is Nov. 18 at the Hillside Village Community Room.
Call the Vineyard Health Care Access Program at 508-696-0020 x14 for appointments.
All times are 9 am - 3 pm.
9/20/16 Aquinnah Town Hall
10/7/16 Howes House, West Tisbury
10/21/16 Council on Aging, Oak Bluffs
10/21/16 The Anchors, Edgartown
11/18/16 Hillside Village, Vineyard Haven
WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT THIS DENTAL PROGRAM WILL BE REPEATED NEXT YEAR. STAY TUNED.
Give your coverage a 'check-up' during Medicare open enrollment
You have lots of choices when it comes to selecting a Medicare plan. No one plan works for everyone - coverage levels and options vary from plan to plan, and plans may update their coverage levels each year. That's why it's important to give your Medicare coverage an annual "check up." Now is the time, during Medicare's open enrollment period, October 15 - December 7, 2016.
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your options:
Does the plan cover the services you need?
Make sure you understand what services and benefits you're likely to use in the coming year and find coverage that meets your needs. If you have other types of health or prescription drug coverage, make sure you understand
how that coverage works with Medicare
No matter what plan you pick, you'll get these benefits:
What's the cost?
The lowest-cost health plan option might not be the best choice for you-consider things like the cost of premiums and deductibles, how much you pay for hospital stays and doctor visits, and whether it's important for you to have expenses balanced throughout the year.
How about convenience?
Your time is valuable. Ask yourself these questions: Where are the doctors' offices? What are their hours? Which pharmacies can you use? Can you get prescriptions by mail? Do the doctors use
electronic health records
Quality is important!
October 15 - December 7 is also a good time to ask yourself whether you're truly satisfied with your medical care.
Remember, even if you're happy with your current plan, these answers might change from year to year, so it's important to take the time to compare.
Medicare Plan Finder
makes it easy to compare plans based on all of these factors, so you can pick a plan that meets your needs.
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