Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Not just for librarians!] Healthy Aging at Your Library: Connecting Older Adults to Health Information

My volunteer position at the NW Ohio Area Office on Aging brings me in contact with many older Americans with health issues.
The past few months I’ve been making follow up phone calls to screen folks for eligibility for the Extra Help Medicare Prescription Drug program **through the Social Security Office.   Quite a few screenings went beyond the rote answering of  about 15 questions related to income, resources and current prescription drug coverage. At times I got quite an earful of their present medical conditions, financial conditions, and inability to fully take care of themselves and others.  Was usually able to refer folks to in-house and area resources.

This morning I came across a training class for librarians on how to assist older Americans on how to locate health information.
While information doesn’t cure or assist on it’s own, it does empower people.  At the Area Office on Aging, we do not advise, but present information so they can make their own best possible decisions.

The class material is online and free. I’ll be going through the materials on my own. Partly so I can be a better volunteer.
Also, I’ll be adding some of the material to my Google site, Health Resources for All.

Some interesting factoids from the online class, Healthy Aging at Your Library, specifically the Power Point presentation

  • The number of Americans aged 65 years or older during the next 25 years will double to about 72 million.
  •  By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population.
  • 2 out of 3 older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66% of the country’s health care budget ***
  • Heart Disease – #1 cause of death adults over age 65
  • Cancer – #2 cause of death adults over age 65
  • Patients with low literacy skills were observed to have a 50% increased risk of hospitalization
  • Only 3% of older adults surveyed had proficient health literacy skills

**Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia.

To see if you qualify, and apply… do one of the following

  • Go to  the Extra Help screening tool/application page
  • Call the US Social Security Office 1-800-772-1213 (somtimes one can bypass menu options by saying “Customer Service”_
  • Contact your nearest Area Office on Aging, United Way, or similar agency

*** Right now at the Area Office, I am doing Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D (Prescription Drug) plan comparisons. Part of the comparison includes entering all prescription drugs used. This can get quite lengthy. Averages around 8 drugs, the record for me was 27 prescription drugs entered for one person.

I encourage folks to compare Medicare Advantage Plans/Part D plans every year. Even if one is happy with one’s plan, it does not hurt to look at others.
Medicare.gov (the official government site) has a tool where one can compare plans for free. The results are in an easy to read chart, which includes prices, coverage, co-pays, and more.

Need assistance in doing the online comparisons? Contact your local Area Office on Aging, United Way, or other related social service agency.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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