Media Archive

Keep Our Community Safe: Follow the Precautionary Measures Implemented at the Local and State Levels

There has been a lot of information in the media recently regarding the Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 and as such, there lies fear and uncertainty about what to do. The situation in the U.S. and more importantly in Santa Clara County is and will continue to evolve as new information is learned. Your best source for up-to-date information about the virus itself and the precautionary measures being implemented is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Santa Clara County Public Health (SCCPH). The CDC provides an overall picture nationwide, while the SCCPH provides local information. The CDC updates their website each day at noon, Monday through Friday, and SCCPH updates the site when warranted.

Those who are identified as in the higher risk category should take extra precautions. Individuals with a higher risk include those over 50, and regardless of age, individuals with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Universal precautions should be followed to prevent further spreading of the virus.

You and your loved ones should:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, especially on planes and cruises.
  • Avoid crowds or large gatherings, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

If you become ill, contact your doctor first before going in and let them know your symptoms; they will let you know how to proceed.

To learn more about how you can help prevent the spread of the virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Santa Clara County Public Health websites.

Community Volunteer Opportunities at Sourcewise

Finding time to volunteer, at any age creates a great sense of community and provides a sense of purpose and worth. Sourcewise recognizes our success would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of the network of volunteers who serve Santa Clara County’s older adults, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities.

To become a Sourcewise volunteer, interested individuals must complete a general application, background and criminal records check, and an interview session.

Want to be a Volunteer Health Insurance Counselor?

Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) volunteer counselors have an ethical calling to provide unbiased and objective health insurance information to Medicare eligible clients, their family, or caregivers. Medicare beneficiaries often need help understanding the myriad of options available to them, which is often confusing and overwhelming.

To become a registered HICAP volunteer counselor, the California Department of Aging requires: over 25 hours of Medicare training, a final certification exam, and 10 hours of internship and observation. HICAP counselors commit to 40 counseling hours each year to remain registered as a HICAP counselor with the state.

In an effort to assist larger numbers of Medicare-eligible seniors, HICAP is currently seeking interested volunteers, especially those who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, or Russian fluently.

If you are interested in a rewarding volunteer service position, visit: mysourcewise.com/medicare-volunteer or contact Angelina Vallejos: (408) 350-3245.

Want to become a Sourcewise Volunteer?

A few hours of your time can make a huge difference in the lives of the largest growing segment of the population – seniors. Whether you are making a wellness call or helping to link a family member to an organization for low-income housing, you can be a vital lifeline and make a positive impact for an elder in need.

We welcome volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including high school or college students looking to complete community service hours.

If you are interested in volunteering at Sourcewise, contact a Community Resource Specialist to receive an application: (408) 350-3200, option 1 or email community@mysourcewise.com.

1040-SR Form Created Just for You

This tax season, American taxpayers age 65 and older may benefit from using a new form created specifically to assist the senior population with filing and paying their taxes. The newly designed form 1040-SR U.S Tax Return for Seniors is available for use by seniors filing their 2019 taxes.

The creation and publication of the 1040-SR form is a result of a Congressional mandate to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The mandate from Congress was enacted by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which stated the IRS must allow seniors the ability to easily file their taxes without the benefit from an accountant.

During the 2020 tax season, the 1040-SR is estimated to prove beneficial to at least 10% of 150 million American taxpayers. To be eligible to use this form, seniors must be age 65 or above prior to January 2, 2020 and those who do not plan on itemizing taxes due to state and local taxes or charitable donations.

This form was specifically designed with older American taxpayers in mind as it incorporates updates based on the feedback shared by senior taxpayers, and it features the following improvements:

  • Seniors may receive much of their annual income from capital gains
  • Seniors file taxes by themselves without benefit from an accountant
  • A simpler way to configure and pay taxes, including the option to file by paper rather than electronically
  • Fillable lines for specific retirement income streams, such as Social Security benefits, Individual Retirement Account (IRA) distributions, pensions, and annuities
  • Large print for reading and comprehension
  • A cleaner space around text boxes that brightens the form, as the shading in the previous form made it difficult to use
  • Inclusion of the Standard Deductions Chart for easy reference
  • Seniors can claim a child tax credit if they care for a dependent child or grandchild

Learn more about taxpayer resources. Contact a Sourcewise Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

Staying Warm this Winter Season

The winter season is here, and the change of weather is clear. During the winter months in Santa Clara County (SCC), temperatures can range from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop, it’s vital for older adults to keep warm both indoors and outdoors.

According to SCC’s Office of Emergency Management,

“Older adults often make less body heat because of slower metabolism and less physical activity”.

Hypothermia happens when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, and the symptoms can range from feeling sleepy, confused, and clumsy.

SCC’s Office of Emergency Management advises people 65 years of age or older to check the temperature in their home to ensure it’s not below 40 degrees. If it’s difficult to keep your home warm, if possible, make arrangements to stay someplace warm like a family or friend’s home. Other alternative options to keeping warm in your home is to use a sleeping bag, drink warm beverages, or wear a hat and scarf.

Stay warm and safe this winter:

  • When leaving your home, dress in layered clothing like thermal shirts, mittens, and jackets.
  • When conditions are wet, wear waterproof or insulated boots to avoid hypothermia or frostbite when walking outside.
  • Stay hydrated and avoid consuming alcohol if you will be staying outside.
  • If you cannot keep your home warm or cannot stay with a relative or friend, find a local warming center.
  • Find a partner who can check in with you regularly when temperatures are low.
  • When heating up the home, make sure to carefully follow the manufactures’ instructions for using a space heater, kitchen stove, or fireplace.

Learn more about local warming centers and winter safety tips. Contact a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

Family Caregivers Working Effectively with Home Care Agencies

As a family caregiver, you may be helping a loved one from time to time with chores, or you may be the primary caregiver taking on full responsibility to provide care for them.

At times, you may need extra help at home to provide care for your loved one. When you have decided to bring in hired help, it may be a stressful and uncomfortable situation. It may be uncomfortable when bringing in a total stranger to take care of your loved one, as you may not always be there to keep a watchful eye over them to ensure they are receiving the proper care.

Gary Barg, Editor-in-chief, offers some peace of mind with his article, “Top 10 Things Home Care Professionals Need from Family Caregivers.” A few pointers from the article to consider, when working with home care services:

  • Modify all your words, actions, deeds, demeanor and tone of voice when speaking with professional caregiver.
  • Appreciate the opinions regarding the health condition of your loved one.
  • Be considerate for the agency’s schedule; no one can work around the clock at peak performance.
  • Knowledge that when the professional is in the home, they are there to directly serve your loved one only.
  • Understanding that they are, above all, committed to the health and well-being of your loved one.

Along with the tips mentioned above, there are additional tips mentioned in the article, “Working Successfully with Home Care Services” by the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). FCA states, “Some of your stress may be related to not having a plan set up for supervision or checking in. Both you and the home care worker will probably benefit from regularly scheduled meetings or telephone conversations.”

For more caregiver resources, contact a Sourcewise Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

Spreading Kindness with Flowers

Random Acts of Flowers is a national nonprofit that recycles flowers into free bouquets for individuals in health care facilities. When the only Bay Area site shut down in 2018, Victoria Rasmussen created Flowers of Comfort one month later.

Victoria started her endeavor as a life-long lover of flowers and to carry on the mission of Random Acts of Flowers. Victoria had volunteered for Random Acts of Flowers and wanted to carry on their mission, so she offered up her garage, her time, and her expertise as a florist to continue making beautiful bouquets for those experiencing difficult times.

When Flowers of Comfort started, Victoria had three volunteers who helped assemble the arrangements every Monday in her garage. When she posted to her Nextdoor social network about a need for more vases, Victoria received vases and more volunteers.

As the proud owner of Flowers of Comfort, Victoria says,

“We now have about 30 volunteers, where some of them help on a weekly basis and others come on a bimonthly basis.”

Flowers of Comfort is a group of San Jose area volunteers who are recycling flowers for a good cause. They take donated flowers and create arrangements each week to be delivered to patients under the care of Hospice of the Valley, numerous care homes, and nursing facilities. Flowers of Comfort receives small donations from stores when flowers can no longer be sold, though they have a week left or so of life.

Victoria and her dedicated and caring volunteers hope to grow their mission to supply arrangements to more facilities.

For more information on how you can be involved or are interested in looking into other volunteer opportunities, contact a Community Resource Specialist of Sourcewise: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

Sourcewise Has Moved

                                                                                                         

 

Our office has moved! As of November 4, the Sourcewise office is located at:
3100 De La Cruz Blvd, Suite 310
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Changes to Medicare’s “Plan Finder”

For the first time in 10 years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its Medicare Plan Finder Tool (MPF). The updated Medicare Plan Finder is designed to be more intuitive and mobile/tablet friendly.

The first time a user accesses the MPF, the user is required to create a MyMedicare.gov account. The account which has a list of your prescription drugs, a personalized Part D and C plan analysis, and can be completed in a timely fashion annually.

The previous MPF has been discontinued, along with drug lists saved under the random ID and date password. Although it will take time for people to adjust, Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) can help Medicare beneficiaries with the transition.

Start by creating a “MyMedicare.gov” account at www.medicare.gov and try it out. Once you are logged in, and after answering some questions, you will see a list of your recent prescriptions. You may select which drugs to include in your analysis to compare drug plans or Medicare Advantage plans for 2020. Later on, you can go back and edit your selection by logging in to your MyMedicare.gov account.

Medicare recipients who decide to not create an account may continue to use the MPF, but the analysis will not be saved or retrievable. This may be fine for those who only have a few prescriptions, but if you have multiple prescriptions you should consider creating an account. Either way, the updated MPF could show you the yearly premium and drug cost combined for Part C and D plans, making it easier to compare plans.

Tech- savvy Medicare beneficiaries will adapt, but Medicare advocates express concern for Medicare beneficiaries who may not be computer literate or those who lack access. HICAP can provide assistance to all Medicare beneficiaries.

Contact HICAP for a free, unbiased, one-on-one counseling session: (408) 350-3200, option 2.

National Employ Older Workers Week Awardees

During the last week of September, 2019, Sourcewise Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) celebrated the National Employ Older Workers Week. This annual celebration recognizes and honors host training agencies, through a strategic partnership with Sourcewise, that facilitate on-the-job training to SCSEP participants.

This year, Sourcewise awarded three host training agencies and two host training agency supervisors with appreciation certificates for their valuable contributions to both SCSEP and ultimately the senior participants.

Tammy Aguilera, Senior Operations Director of San Jose American’s Job Center of California accepted the award on behalf of Eckerd Connects. Glenda Cresap, Executive Director of Heart of the Valley Services for Seniors accepted the award for the agency. For over 20 years, Glenda has connected volunteers with seniors throughout Santa Clara County who were looking for assistance with daily activities. Sophia Juarez, Finance Director of Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, accepted the third host training agency award. Second Harvest recognized for providing on-the-job training, participant guidance, and offering several SCSEP participants with unsubsidized full-time positions for many years.

The agency supervisors awarded were chosen based on the recommendation of the SCSEP participants. Both supervisors from Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Tina Andrews and Ozzy Maldonado, were nominated and ultimately awarded in appreciation for their exceptional and helpful guidance. The participants noted these supervisors were instrumental in learning new and contemporary job skills that ultimately improved their confidence while searching for and finding unsubsidized employment.

Since 1973, SCSEP has assisted workers age 55 or older by providing on-the-job training to get back into the workforce. The goal of SCSEP is to teach participants quality and contemporary job skills, boost their confidence, and ultimately qualify them for unsubsidized employment opportunities.

To learn more about the Sourcewise Senior Employment Services, call: (408) 350-3200, option 5.

Caregiver Empowerment through Supportive Services

Providing care to a loved one can be a life-changing experience, especially when the extent of their needs increase. Overtime, a family caregiver may feel overwhelmed with the additional responsibilities of caring for their loved one and providing long hours of care.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance,

“Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care. Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spend 41 hours or more per week providing care.”

It is imperative that caregivers also make time for their individual needs and a supportive network to continue to provide care. Some may find it challenging to make time for self-care and researching supportive options in their community.

In Santa Clara County, there are a variety of supportive services available for family caregivers. Whether you are able to meet in-person or cannot; there are options available to your unique situation. Sourcewise offers the Family Caregiver Support Program to provide a period of respite services to family caregivers who need to make time for their needs. Respite services focus on providing support to the family caregiver to ensure that their loved one receives the assistance needed while their caregiver is not available.

There are educational opportunities for caregivers of loved ones with a specific diagnosis and offers the opportunity to connect with others with similar situations. Remote support groups, in-person support groups, respite care, information & assistance, and caregiver training are available for caregivers. There are many options that one can choose in order to fit the family caregiver’s social, physical, and mental health needs.

For more information about caregiver support groups and respite care options, contact a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

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