AOASCC News & Notes
Save the Date - Thursday, May 16th.
Spotlight on Volunteering

On January 22 nd , the RSVP and Experience Corps programs held a volunteer appreciation luncheon at Eli Whitney High School’s “Owl Café” in Hamden. Over 65 volunteers attended this event and enjoyed food prepared and served by Eli Whitney culinary arts students.

Anne Ostberg, State Program Director for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), welcomed the volunteers and explained their role as part of CNCS’ Senior Corps. RSVP Manager Cherie Strucaly and Experience Corps Manager Sheila Greenstein thanked the volunteers and described the various ways that they help their community: as Friendly Visitors, as Money Managers, as Pen Pals to middle school students, as elementary school tutors, helping local senior centers and non-profits, and as Experience Corps volunteer reading tutors.

The highlight of the luncheon was the heartwarming and inspirational presentation by Marge Schneider who is an RSVP volunteer. Marge talked about her many years as a “complementary therapist” who uses realistic animal puppets to reach those who cannot or do not communicate with words. She described her interactions with three hospice patients and how the dog, kitten and turtle puppets broke through communication barriers to provide comfort that had eluded other staff and family members. 


Find out about volunteering through AOASCC - visit our website.
Caregiver Corner

Caregivers deal with many illness that include swallowing problems, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, cancer, ALS, myasthenia gravis, head injury, congestive heart failure, and COPD.

These conditions can result in difficulty chewing, poorly chewed food remaining in the throat causing coughing, extreme dry mouth, mouth sores making chewing and swallowing painful; difficulty swallowing liquids resulting in aspiration pneumonia.

Illnesses commonly associated with aging can cause difficulty eating and swallowing. Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are both associated with swallowing problems. Swallowing very slowly can cause food to get stuck in the throat, a common problem for people with Parkinson’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease frequently become distracted while eating and forget what to do with food once it’s in the mouth.

It’s important to watch out for dehydration because it can cause swallowing problems by reducing the supply of saliva. Food sticks to the throat so leftover material can get sucked into the lungs after swallowing. Pills can get stuck on the esophagus and burn its lining. Diuretic medications can cause dehydration. Many older people take diuretics to treat high blood pressure, so it’s important to be alert for possible dehydration signs in older adults.

If the person you care for seems to be having any of the signs describe above, gather together your observations, questions, and concerns and talk to your loved one’s primary medical provider. If things worsen at any time – increased difficulty swallowing, breathing, or progressive weakness, seek medical attention at once.
Did You Know?
  • 82% of 65- to 69-year-olds are internet users, and two-thirds say they have broadband internet connections at home. Overall, 67% of seniors use the internet.
  • Roughly three-quarters of older internet users go online at least daily.
  • Four-in-ten seniors own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013 and 76% of them use the internet several times a day or more.
  • 34% of those ages 65 and up use social networking sites. As with other forms of digital technology, younger seniors are more likely to use social media (45% of seniors under 75).
  • 70% of older adults who use Facebook indicate that they log in to the service on a daily basis.
  • Older adults who say they get news on social media engage with news on these platforms at similar rates as social media news consumers who are ages 18 to 29.
  • One-in-four adults ages 65 or older say they play online video games.
Get online!

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces a new app that displays what original Medicare covers. See below for details!

CMS has launched a new app that allows consumers to directly access some of the most-used content from Medicare.gov on their mobile devices. The "What's Covered" app lets people with Original Medicare, caregivers, and others quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service. 

CMS created the app to meet the needs of the growing population of people with Medicare. As of 2016, about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries indicate they use the Internet daily or almost daily (65 percent), and questions about what Medicare covers are some of the most frequent inquiries that CMS receives. Now beneficiaries will be able to get accurate, consistent Original Medicare coverage information in the doctor's office, the hospital, or anywhere else they use their mobile device. 

CHOICES - Medicare Fraud

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary or caring for someone who’s on Medicare, you may ask, “Who do I call to report a quality of care concern?” Generally, Medicare beneficiaries can use two procedures—one at the federal level and the other at the state level—to report quality of care concerns.

Under federal law, any health care practitioner or provider who receives Medicare or Medicaid funds must ensure that their services are “of a quality that meets professionally recognized standards of care.” As a Medicare beneficiary, you or your representative can call the Beneficiary & Family Care Center-Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) for your state to complain when services given by physicians, physician assistants, interns, nurses, physical therapists, durable medical equipment providers, and others don’t measure up to your expectations.

The CT State licensing board is not tied directly to Medicare and, unlike the BFCC-QIOs, can sanction providers by restricting or revoking their licenses to practice. They have the authority to discipline licensees for unprofessional conduct.

Failure to meet accepted standards of care is one example of misconduct that’s subject to disciplinary action by a board. Other examples of unprofessional conduct include: Alcohol and substance abuse; sexual misconduct; neglect of a patient; prescribing drugs in excess or without a legitimate reason.

CHOICES can help assess quality of care concerns and decide how to proceed. Sometimes it’s not clear if a concern should go to the BFCC-QIO, a licensing board, or to someone who can handle customer service and billing concerns. CHOICES can help you sort it out .

Call CHOICES at 1-800-994-9422 to speak with a counselor in your area.
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