Page 14 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - February 2016 - 23-02
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Page 14
Senior Times - February 2016
Aging and Disability Resource Line: 1-800-626-6719 General Agency Telephone: (269) 966-2450
200 West Michigan Avenue Suite 102, Battle Creek, MI 49017
My Medicare Matters
By Karen Manney, Regional Coordinator, MMAP
Part A and Part B General Enrollment Period: January 1 – March 31.
If you didn’t sign up for Part A and/or Part B (for which
you must pay premiums) when you were first eligible, and you aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you can
sign up during the General Enrollment Period. Your cover- age will start July 1. You may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment in Part A and/or a higher premium for late enrollment in Part B.
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period: January 1 – February 14.
During this period, if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare with a Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Other limitations apply.
MMAP can help with General Enrollment or with Advantage Plan Disenrollment. Contact your local MMAP office at 1-800-803-7174 for an appointment.
SMP News:
Our local MMAP Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers have once again won the statewide award for educating the most clients about Medicare fraud and abuse counseling for the September 2015-November 2015 period! The traveling tro- phy, “McBearlock,” (pictured below) will be arriving back
at the Battle Creek MMAP office soon! McBearlock, a Sherlock-Holmes themed teddy bear, is a visual reminder to take an active role in your own health care expenses and save your Medicare dollars. Protect, Detect, and Report if you sus- pect Medicare fraud!
Baby, It’s Cold Outside . . .
By: Karla Fales, CEO Region 3B Area Agency on Aging
Kinship Korner
Calhoun county Kinship Care Services advocates for and provides supportive services to families rais- ing related children. If you are raising a related child (ages 0-18), you are eligible for Kinship Care Services through the Family Enrichment Center. Support groups, helpful workshops and trainings are available as well as inter-generational family activities. Please call (269) 660-0448 for more information.
Upcoming Events
• Join us monthly on the first
Tuesday of each month from 12:30-2:30pm for the Battle Creek Kinship Support Group. We meet in the All Purpose room at the Westlake Presbyterian Church. Support groups nurture relation- ships, decrease isolation and pro- vide a safe place to vent. Support groups build on collective energy, creativity, and the talents of all group members. The next meeting is on February 2. Consider visiting a support group. You won’t regret it!
• On Monday, February, from 6:30- 8:30pm, PARC NIGHT - Sibling Issues Support Group. Learn tech- niques to help the children in your home get along. Also learn how to nurture positive relationship with siblings who are not in the home.
• On Monday, February 15, Jane Wolf will discuss “Parenting the High Needs Child” at the Family Enrichment Center from 6:30- 8:30pm.
• The next “Saturday Parenting Series” training is scheduled for February 20, from 9am-12pm.
The topic is “Managing Behavior Issues.” Please call (269) 660-0448 to register. Free child care is avail- able on a limited basis for train- ings only. Advanced registration is required.
• We are interested in hearing your opinion on how we can better serve the Kinship community. Please give Beckie a call or e-mail her
at Your input will be appreciated.
We have the means to help provide necessities and enrichment activities for the children in your care. We also have the experience and knowledge to advocate for you and give advice on how to navigate through issues as they develop. Spread the word.
Family Enrichment Center
415 S. 28th Street Battle Creek, MI 49015
Ph: (269) 660-0448
Fx: (269) 963-0160
Okay, I will confess it – I resent having been born in
a cold state.
In fact, the resentment is growing deeper
as I get older. I remember the days of snowball fights, making snow angels, and sliding down hills at blazing speeds. The thought of any of these now sends a shiver through my spine. As it seems the winter’s chills are here to stay despite my attempts to wish Ole Man Winter away, it’s
a good time to consider how cold weather can affect us.
Research confirms as we age changes in our skin affect our body’s ability to tolerate extremes in temperature. This is caused by a decline in sweat gland activity, a decrease in the ability to maintain a normal body temperature due to poorer circulation, and a thinning of the skin. These changes in our body’s defenses put older adults at particular risk for hypothermia.
According to Dr. Richard Grant of Albert Einstein Medical Center, “Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced through muscle contractions, the body’s metabolism and even shivering. If this heat loss is not reversed, the person can quickly lose consciousness and even die.” Those at greatest risk, according to the Administration on Aging, are seniors who live alone in poorly heated or insulated homes. Low-income older adults with fixed incomes are especially at risk as they may turn down their heat to conserve their resources.
Living alone is a key risk factor for hypothermia. Many older adults who live alone have no one to check on them and
may lack resources to seek help
if a medical condition were to occur. Those in poor physical health are also vulnerable lacking the physical stamina to recover from even mild hypothermia. In fact, there are medical conditions that make hypothermia a greater risk such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, memory disorders, stroke, or dementia. Those with conditions that make it difficult to move, limit circulation, or affect the body’s ability to distinguish changes in sensory input, such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease, also have greater risk. Some medications may cause the body’s
temperature regulation system to not work properly.
It is important for all of us to keep in mind the symptoms of hypothermia, as the condition requires immediate medical attention. Early symptoms include:
• Severe shivering
• Cold, pale or blue-gray skin • Lack of interest or concern • Poor or slow judgment/
decision making, confusion • Unsteadiness in walking or
poor balance
• Slurred speech
• Numb hands or difficulty
performing tasks
Remember the four “umbles” – stumbles, mumbles, fumbles and grumbles. These words describe how a person’s mental alertness and physical conditions worsen – this can be a sign hypothermia is setting in.
One of the best ways to help your relatives or neighbors during the winter is to check in on
them regularly. Are their homes heated adequately? Are they using appropriate heat sources?
If you have concerns, there are some things you can do, such as helping pay their heating bills in advance, if you are able to. Let the senior know you have done this so they will be less likely
to turn the heat down to a level that is unsafe. If you aren’t able to help financially, assist them
in contacting one of the local programs set up for this purpose. There are also local programs that can help with weatherizing the homes of older residents. Information on these programs
is available by calling one of
our Information & Resource Specialists at (269) 441-0973.
One more word of caution – beware of inappropriate heating devices. Space heaters can be effective when used properly. However, they can also pose
a great risk for home fires, especially if left unattended. If you know of someone who is in a high-risk situation, talk with them about their needs and watch for signs of exposure to adverse temperatures.
With a little watchfulness and planning, we’ll make it through this winter and soon I’ll be able to complain about the sweltering heat. What’s that saying about Michigan – If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change?

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