Dutchess County Office for the Aging’s
For the week of May 1st
COVID-19 COVERAGE CHANGES COMING IN MAY
The emergency phase of the nation’s response to COVID-19 is set to end on Thursday, May 11th. The Dutchess County Office for the Aging and Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) have been preparing to meet the needs of Dutchess County older adults beyond that date, so we all can anticipate the expected changes.
OFA will continue its offer of free vaccinations and boosters for COVID-19 and influenza to homebound older Dutchess County residents for the next several months. If you or someone for whom you care has been unable to travel to a traditional provider, OFA can arrange for trained providers to come to the residence of the homebound individual. Contact OFA at 845-486-2555 or email@example.com to find out more.
DBCH commissioner Livia Santiago-Rosado, MD FACEP offers the following guidance to all Dutchess County residents, regardless of age or vaccination status:
“Although the COVID-19 state of emergency is coming to an end in May, the CDC recommends that anyone who has not yet had their updated shot get one. This bivalent vaccine induces antibodies against both the original virus and the Omicron variants, especially important among people who may be older or immunocompromised. We urge those more vulnerable populations to consider their risk, as they have been approved to receive another dose of the updated shot, even if they have already had one in those last few months.”
What else changes after May 11th? A full accounting of the changes would take up a good-sized book, so we’ll cover the changes that’ll affect the most of us.
For one, COVID-19 vaccines and antivirals such as Paxlovid will remain free to everyone regardless of insurance status until the current federal stockpile runs out. Additionally, expanded telehealth covered by Medicare will also remain in place through December 2024 under federal spending legislation passed in December. After 2024, congressional action to extend telehealth coverage would be needed.
In New York State, flexibilities that have applied to physicians’ assistants during the COVID emergency are scheduled to expire on May 11th, barring any changes made as part of state budget talks that were ongoing as of this writing. The 2022-23 state budget permanently granted full practice authority to nurse practitioners. NPs in New York can diagnose, evaluate, test, manage treatments and prescribe medicines, without a previously required contract with a physician.
Meanwhile, New York’s continuous Medicaid enrollment policy enacted during the pandemic expired on March 31st. Since then, the state has been notifying Medicaid consumers about potential changes to coverage. For older adults covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid who are concerned about what the future holds, OFA is hosting a Medicare Savings Plan (MSP) Enrollment Forum on Friday, May 5th, 10 am to 2 pm, at OFA offices at 114 Delafield St. in Poughkeepsie.
Space is limited; contact OFA during business hours at 845-486-2555 to save a spot to talk with a trained, non-sales-oriented OFA counselor.
Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, 114 Delafield St., Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, telephone 845-486-2555, email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.dutchessny.gov/aging
VOLUNTEER HOME DELIVERED MEALS DRIVERS WANTED – WAPPINGERS AND EAST FISHKILL
There is an immediate need for OFA Home Delivered Meals volunteer drivers in the Wappingers/East Fishkill area. Volunteers who can help on any or all weekdays, contact OFA at 845-486-2555 or email email@example.com. Mileage reimbursement is available for drivers who use their own vehicles.
NEXT OFA FRIENDLY CALLS ORIENTATIONS – TUESDAY 5/2
Register today for an upcoming OFA Friendly Calls Volunteer Orientation session. Each session lasts 30-40 minutes. Pick any one of the following sessions:
Tuesday, May 2nd – 10:30 am or 4:00 pm
Thursday, May 11th – 10:00 am
If you speak a language in addition to English, you’d be a fantastic addition to our Friendly Calls volunteer team. We have several Friendly Calls volunteers that are fluent in Spanish, and can always use more; one volunteer who speaks the Malayalam language common to southern India, and…how’s your French? We have at least one older adult who’s hoping to hear from a French-speaking Friendly Calls volunteer. Contact OFA, s’il vous plait.
Other commonly spoken languages in Dutchess other than English and Spanish include Chinese (any dialects), Arabic, Italian, Korean and Polish…but speakers of all Earth languages are welcome!
To register for orientation at OFA, or to request a group orientation at your place of business or meeting venue, call 845-486-2555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan to schedule additional orientations throughout May.
CLERICAL VOLUNTEERS WANTED – Wed-Thu May 3rd and/or 4th
We’re moving into OFA’s busiest time of year for clerical needs, and are seeking volunteers with clerical skills on the following days, to assemble goodie bags for the May 10th Caregiver Conference (see story below):
Wednesday, May 3rd – 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday, May 4th (if necessary) – 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
To arrange an orientation appointment, email email@example.com or call 845-486-2555 during business hours.
As OFA Picnic season gets closer, we’ll also need volunteers to assemble the 250-500 goodie bags needed for each week of picnics. Read each week’s Aging News newsletter to find out more and contact OFA with any volunteering questions.
FREE MEDICARE SAVINGS PROGRAM ENROLLMENT CLINIC (Friday, May 5th)
If you’re covered by Medicare, there’s a new eligibility change that could mean considerable savings for you.
Starting this year, eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) in New York State expanded to single individuals with Medicare who have a gross income up to $2,280 per month and couples with monthly gross incomes up to $3,077. New York State does NOT look at your assets for this program.
In New York State, MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on low incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums ($164.90 each month) and enrolling them in Extra Help, the federal prescription drug subsidy program that the Social Security Administration estimates is worth about $5,100 per year. This program lowers prescription costs and gets rid of the deductible and the “donut hole”, or gap coverage. The financial assistance can be a lifeline, allowing enrollees to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities, like food and rent.
If this is the first you’re learning of this, you can find out more about your potential savings. The Office for the Aging is hosting a Medicare Savings Program Enrollment Clinic for Dutchess County resident older adults. Please call ahead to reserve a time to meet with a trained counselor.
- Friday, May 5th at the Office for the Aging, 114 Delafield St. in Poughkeepsie. To reserve a spot at this event, call OFA during business hours at 845-486-2555.
Be sure to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
- Proof of income;
- Your Medicare card;
- If you pay for dental insurance or Medicare Supplement, bring a bill;
- Proof of address, like a current utility bill.
For older adults who are homebound or whose schedules conflict with MSP enrollment clinics, call OFA during business hours at 845-486-2555 and we’ll connect you with the resources you need.
FREE CAREGIVER CONFERENCE (Wed 5/10) – Registration open
Limited space remains available to reserve your seat at the free 17th Annual Conference on Caregiving, Wednesday, May 10th at the Grandview, 176 Rinaldi Blvd. in Poughkeepsie.
This year’s theme is “Caregivers: Our Unsung Heroes.” The event begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.
To make a reservation, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900. It’ll be an outdoor event under a tent, so dress accordingly.
There will be plenty of time for your questions and concerns, and dozens of experts and vendors will be on hand with answers and solutions.
The conference is organized by the Office for the Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter; Hudson Valley Hospice; Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley; and community members Cathy Regan and FaLisia Cotton-Swain.
IN-PERSON AARP SMART DRIVER CLASS AT OFA – Friday 6/23
The AARP Smart Driver course is the nation’s first refresher course specifically designed for older drivers. In many states, including New York, drivers may benefit from a discount on their auto insurance premium upon completing the course. And you will learn something new along the way. One evaluation of the course found that 97% of participants changed at least one driving habit because of what they learned.
The Dutchess County Office for the Aging is hosting an in-person AARP Smart Driver Course on Friday, June 23rd, 9 am – 4 pm, at the OFA Poughkeepsie Friendship Center, 114 Delafield St. in Poughkeepsie. It’s open to all licensed drivers from Dutchess County over age 60. Lunch from OFA can be provided, or you can bring your own.
Advance registration for this class is required and can be made by calling OFA during business hours at 845-486-2555. Class capacity is limited by space.
There’s a $30 fee for the course, payable on the day of the course by check, money order or cash. The fee for AARP members is $25.
The Smart Driver course can help you:
- Receive a multi-year discount on your auto insurance. Consult your insurance agent for details.
- Refresh your driving skills and your knowledge of the rules — and hazards — of the road.
- Reduce your chances of receiving a traffic violation or getting into an accident.
Not free on June 23rd? A listing of local AARP Smart Driver courses is available at www.aarp.org/driving36. Online classes are also offered by AARP.
A suspected scammer accused of preying on older adults was arrested recently in Westchester – but remember, skillful scammers and identity thieves aren’t so easily detected and caught.
Are midday naps good for you? Depends on their length, according to one study.
Scientists may have discovered why hair turns gray.
You’ve heard of OFA’s Friendly Calls program, but did you know that the friendly calls concept also works with parrots?
This week’s birthdays:
4/29: Singer/songwriter/guitarist/actor Willie Nelson (90)
4/30: Science-fiction author Larry Niven (85)
5/1: Singer/songwriter Judy Collins (84)
5/2: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Larry Gatlin (75)
5/3: Singer/actor Frankie Valli (89)
5/4: Journalist/commentator George Will (82)
5/5: Actor/comedian Michael Palin (80)
And it’s a Bad Joke!
What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?
One is very heavy and the other is a little lighter.