Dutchess County Office for the Aging’s AGING NEWS For the week of May 29th

Dutchess County Office for the Aging’s


For the week of May 29th

Note: the Office for the Aging and all OFA Friendship Centers will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29th. Clients of the OFA Home Delivered Meals program should use the shelf-stable meals provided in advance of the holiday.


(Part 1 of 2)

American taxpayers lose over $60 billion a year to fraud, errors, and abuse within Medicare, according to an estimate from Senior Medicare Patrol (smpresource.org). That’s a loss of about $180 a year for every American. The exact amount lost due to fraud is uncountable, because of the nature of fraud. It’s not like criminals can be surveyed to find out how much they’re stealing.

Put yourself in the criminal’s shoes for a moment. For a criminal, the ideal crime is one that can be committed repeatedly without detection – and that’s what Medicare fraudsters do. They don’t go for one big score; that would draw attention. Instead, they file fake claims that blend in because they look like everybody else’s real claims.

The same vulnerability can apply for a variety of insurers including Medicaid and private insurers, plus any benefits program that relies on an automated claims-paying process. The New York State comptroller’s office has estimated that $11 billion was lost to COVID unemployment insurance fraud, to name just one.

Waiting for the simplest federal fraud prevention action can be frustrating; after all, it took Congress 50 years to require that your Medicare ID be something other than your Social Security number.


Scammers have been basing their latest schemes on the recent expiration of Medicare coverage for at-home COVID-19 test kits. Investigators have recently noticed sudden growth in complaints involving large quantities of test kits delivered to homes that didn’t order them. It’s a sign that a scammer may be using a stolen Medicare ID to file fraudulent claims. The kits themselves may be fake or past their best-by date, so don’t use them. Instead, report the suspicious shipments to Medicare.

If you really need a test kit, the Office for the Aging has a limited number of free kits available for Dutchess County residents over age 60. Each of the eight OFA Friendship Centers has a limited supply. Call ahead before stopping by. You can find Friendship Center contact information and operating hours at www.dutchessny.gov/OFAnutrition or by calling 845-486-2555.

For a criminal, stolen insurance credentials such as a Medicare ID are a license to print money, because the credential can be repeatedly used to file fraudulent claims, and the person whose credentials are being used might not ever notice unless they’re carefully reading the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) that Medicare periodically mails out. You can also read your MSN online by setting up an account at medicare.gov.

The MSNs may read “This is not a bill,” but that doesn’t mean you’re home free. Take a closer look at the MSN, to be sure that the claims listed match up with the services and prescriptions you received. Scammers are constantly probing Medicare and Medicaid for vulnerabilities, but you can thwart their attempts at theft.

More tips next week!


Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, 114 Delafield St., Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, telephone 845-486-2555, email: ofa@dutchessny.gov website: www.dutchessny.gov/aging


(The print version of the Aging News that’s distributed to homebound Dutchess County older adults with limited internet access includes a message from County Executive William F.X. O’Neil. This week’s message covers the summer phase of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and how qualifying Dutchess County older adults can benefit from it. It’s reprinted below.)

The weather forecast for the coming week says it’s going to feel like summer, with high temperatures well into the 80s. By the time you read this, we may even have reached 90.

For older adults with conditions that are worsened by heat, who may not be as able to adapt to heat and humidity as the young, it’s time to find out whether they qualify for the cooling benefit provided under the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

HEAP is most commonly known for providing heating assistance during the winter, but its hot-weather programs are just as valuable. Air conditioning units can be provided to income-qualified older adults throughout Dutchess County, with fans also available for those whose homes aren’t suitable for air conditioning installation.

OFA has been accepting HEAP cooling applications throughout May and will continue to accept applications for as long as the program’s New York State funding remains available this summer.

If you think you could qualify, especially if you already qualify for other benefit programs, don’t wait for the thermometer to hit 90 or more. Reach out to OFA’s HEAP division at 845-486-2553 or zserrano@dutchessny.gov.

Stay healthy! – William F.X. O’Neil, County Executive


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.

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.

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; and
  • Reduce your chances of receiving a traffic violation or getting into an accident.


Register today for an upcoming OFA Friendly Calls Volunteer Orientation session. It’s a great opportunity to help our older adults avoid loneliness and social isolation, with the convenience of volunteering from home if you so choose. Each orientation session lasts 40-50 minutes. Our next orientation sessions will be held at OFA’s City of Poughkeepsie headquarters:

Thursday, June 1st – 3:30 pm

Monday, June 5th – 10:00 am

Monday, June 12th – 3:30 pm

We’re also holding Friendly Calls information sessions, for those who want to learn more about the program before committing to volunteering. The next one takes place Thursday, June 8th, 10:00 am, at Beekman Library (11 Town Center Blvd., Beekman).

If you speak a language in addition to English, you’d be a fantastic addition to our Friendly Calls volunteer team. Other commonly spoken languages in Dutchess other than English and Spanish include Chinese (any dialects), Arabic, German, 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 ofa@dutchessny.gov. We plan to schedule additional orientations throughout the summer.


OFA Senior Picnic season begins this week! We have volunteering opportunities available at all Summer Picnics, which are held on most Wednesdays from May 31st to August 30th. For volunteers under age 18, a signed parental waiver is required.

We’ll need help on picnic days getting tables and chairs set up, guiding drivers to parking spaces, bringing food and drinks to senior guests, and more. For a picnic schedule, see www.dutchessny.gov/ofapicnics.

This coming week, we’ll be at the first summer picnic, at Thomas Boyce Park in the hamlet of Wingdale (6420 NY 55), on Wednesday, May 31st. Many thanks to the Town of Dover for making the park available for this year’s picnic, and for helping with picnic planning and logistics.

For information on other OFA volunteering opportunities, visit www.dutchessny.gov/ofavolunteer or email bjones@dutchessny.gov.


The always-popular OFA Summer Picnic season is once again a big hit, with several of the season’s earlier picnics already at capacity.

If you’ve made your reservation for your community’s picnic but it turns out you can’t make it that day, please contact OFA at 845-486-2555, to cancel your reservation so that space can be freed up for another Dutchess County older adult.

We mail picnic reminder cards to tens of thousands of older-adult households in the county, but you don’t need to have received a card to be able to make a reservation for your community’s picnic. You need only be a Dutchess County resident over age 60, and call us during business hours at 845-486-2555 to make your reservation.

The full picnic schedule is available at www.dutchessny.gov/OFApicnics.

Parking is at a premium for picnics, so we strongly recommend carpooling on your picnic day.



Learn about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss, along with Office for the Aging services, in a community-focused listening session aimed specifically at rural older adults and caregivers:

Thursday, June 1st, 1:00 – 2:30 pm – at Sun River Health, 3360 NY 343 in Amenia. (Masks are required at all Sun River Health facilities and will be available there.)

Registration is required, via the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.

We’ll review the basics of Alzheimer’s and related dementias and hear from participants how OFA and the Alzheimer’s Association can expand the reach of local programs and services, especially as applicable to rural older adults and their caregivers. Bilingual (English/Spanish) OFA staff are scheduled to be available at the event.


Town of Wappinger older adults and caregivers are invited to the “2023 Senior Living in Wappinger Expo” on Wednesday, May 31st from 10am to 4 pm at Wappinger Town Hall (20 Middlebush Rd., Wappingers Falls).

OFA will be represented along with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Central Hudson, Rebuilding Together Dutchess County, Habitat for Humanity, Grinnell Library and other local businesses and professionals. For more information, call 845-297-3670.


We mentioned earlier that OFA and our Friendship Centers will be closed on Monday, May 29th in observance of Memorial Day, the holiday which honors American servicemembers who died defending their country.

Here are the other federally and locally observed holidays coming up over the summer:

Monday, June 19th – Juneteenth – commemorating the 1865 emancipation of enslaved African Americans

Tuesday, July 4th – Independence Day – commemorating the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence

Monday, September 4th – Labor Day – A celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.

OFA offices and Friendship Centers will be closed for each of the above holidays, and clients of OFA’s Home Delivered Meals program should use the shelf-stable meals provided in advance of the holidays.

Other news:

How do older adults view healthy aging?

Feeling a bit hungry may help slow the aging process. Waiting an extra five minutes for a slice of pie might not be enough, though.

This week’s birthdays:

5/27: World’s oldest living man Juan Vicente Pérez (114)

5/28: Singer-songwriter Gladys Knight (79)

5/29: New York Knicks star Richie Guerin (91)

5/30: Mathematician Joan Birman (96)

5/31: Actor/director/producer Clint Eastwood (93)

6/1: Singer/actor Pat Boone (89)

6/2: Actor Jerry Mathers (75)

And our Bad Joke!

There was a big sale on paddles the other day at the boating supply store. What an oar deal.

Author: Harlem Valley News