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.
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.
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.
For most, it has become increasingly common to hear a relative or friend mention they need to reach their daily step goal. Most of us may have heard that we need at least 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health and a long life.
According to Allison Aubrey, author of 10,000 Steps a Day? How Many You Really Need to Boost Longevity states,
“While walking can benefit one’s health, there really is nothing special when it comes to the number 10,000.”
While the number has no significant meaning, this does not mean we should not set a daily steps goal for ourselves. Setting a step goal for yourself would boost your overall morale. In a recent study, I-Min Lee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that the benefits of walking max out at 7,500 steps for those over the age of 72.
If 10,000 steps have been feeling out of reach for you, Aubrey says,
“It may be time to rethink your step goal. Instead, try to hit at least 4,400 a day, along with daily activities that you enjoy. And stick to it.”
Walking may be the best form of physical exercise for seniors. It can be performed at low or moderate intensity and it is easy on the joints.
Make walking part of your daily routine with these tips:
Start with light walking for short distances
Build walking into a different activity, like trips to a nearby park for fresh air
Take walks indoor at the local mall when the weather is too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter
Contact a Sourcewise Community Resource Specialist for more information about self-care resources: (408) 350-3200, option 1.
Socialization is a determinant of health and quality of life for people of all ages but it is especially important for older adults.
Many people spend a majority of their lives interacting with others – at school, in the workplace, at home with family, or in their communities. As people age, they may experience life events that can affect how often the opportunities for socialization happens. This might include children moving out of the house, friends moving far away, or adults retiring from work.
If you are looking for a casual setting and the ability to interact with people who have similar interests, there are a wide range of possibilities you can find through the programs for active adults. These activities are affiliated with the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services with the City of San Jose. According to the California Commission on Aging (www.ccoa.ca.gov), there are over 30 senior centers accessible in Santa Clara County that offers an array of activities. You can learn how to play new card games or learn new dance skills while enjoying the company of those around you.
In a 2016 study published in Psychology and Aging, they noted,
“Our results indicate that living a socially active life and prioritizing social goals are associated with higher late-life satisfaction and less severe declines toward the end of life.”
For many older adults, continued socialization does not happen on its own. If transportation is a barrier to get to a senior center, there are options available to help get you to your destination. The best ways to create a healthy social life depends on you and your unique situation.
Find classes, programs, and events near you. Contact a Community Resource Specialist of Sourcewise: (408) 350-3200, option 1.
Sourcewise To Host Community Education Series Focused On Medicare & Drug Plan Updates For 2020
San Jose, October 1, 2019: On October 16, 2019, the Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) launches its 2019 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Educational Series. HICAP provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education, and assistance to individuals and their families on Medicare, Long Term Care insurance, other health insurance related issues, and planning ahead for Long Term care needs.
The HICAP program helps Santa Clara County Medicare enrollees identify any changes to their plans, the options available, and how to execute their Medicare and supplement choices.
This October 16 to December 7 - the 2019 Annual Enrollment Period beneficiaries should be aware of:
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan costs and formulary changes for 2020
Medicare Advantage Plan costs and benefits for 2020
Enrollment timing and rights to change plans, including the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment from January through March each year
“Your Medicare choices can be stressful. Plans, benefits, and costs change yearly.” explains Marcelo Espiritu, Director of Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program. “There are many changes to the Medicare.gov PlanFinder in this enrollment period. We encourage individuals to sign up for a free MyMedicare.gov account. This online account will allow our counselors to analyze our enrollees drug plan options quickly.”
Learn about Medicare Options for 2020 at convenient locations in Santa Clara County:
Through personalized counseling sessions and community education, Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program counselors help consumers make informed decisions about their health benefits. HICAP counselors are available year around to assist with comparison charts, insurance plan benefits, claim or benefit denials, and other health insurance related billing questions.
Sourcewise Announces Historic Community Representation Position
San Jose, August 26, 2019: In an effort to provide comprehensive insight and advocacy for a highly diverse senior population in Santa Clara County, the Sourcewise Advisory Council announces an historic addition of the LGBT senior community position.
“I am excited to see the inclusion of an LGBT representative on the advisory council. This is an important step in strengthening the outreach and support of LGBT older adults,” states Sherrill Wayland, Director of National Education Initiatives for Sage— the national organization offering supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers since 1978.
Sourcewise is a pioneer in better serving the LGBT community. In 2018 and in partnership with Sage, Sourcewise began the work to gather important needs assessment data of Santa Clara County older adults and caregivers. Sourcewise invested in SageCare to provided training for its staff and grantees to better understand the needs of LGBT community and to communicate with compassion and dignity.
In 2018, Sourcewise achieved Bronze Level LBGT Cultural Competency Training for its investment in 25% of all staff receiving training.
Older adults who identify as LGBT are more likely to face poverty and homelessness and to have poor health due to stigmas and discrimination.
In fact, 40 percent of LGBTQ people in their 60s and 70s state that their health care providers do not know their sexual orientation, according to the County of Santa Clara’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Affairs.
Every four years, the Sourcewise Area Plan takes into consideration the health and wellbeing of special populations of older adults. The data captured from the LGBT community is vital to the funding plan for the county.
Sourcewise Advisory Council members provide input into the Area Plan on Aging during its development, under the direction of Sourcewise.
The community representative position for the Advisory Council is voluntary with a term of three years. Eligibility for the position includes: Santa Clara County residents; 60 years or older (preferred); a representative of the LGBT community; and a dedicated advocate of supportive services for the aging population. The council meets the first Monday of select months, 10 times throughout the year.
Sourcewise is the designated Area Agency on Aging of Santa Clara County and is one of thirty-three Area Agencies on Aging in California. As an independent non-profit organization, Sourcewise educates, prepares, and provides direct support services and resources to older adults, caregivers and individuals with disabilities in Santa Clara County.
Learn more about the Sourcewise Advisory Council and services offered by Sourcewise in support of the Santa Clara County community at mysourcewise.com/advisory.
The Sourcewise Board of Directors announced on July 30, 2019 that Aneliza Del Pinal is the new Chief Executive Officer for Sourcewise. Ms. Del Pinal is the second CEO in the organization’s history.
Aneliza Del Pinal has successfully proven her skills in executive decision making and collaborative leadership with the Board, and through that action, we appoint her as our new CEO.
In her new role, Aneliza Del Pinal will be responsible for driving Sourcewise to the next level, building on the solid foundation and momentum achieved by the Sourcewise team under her leadership.
Aneliza is an accomplished leader, with a track record of working with media, community-based organizations, and the community at large to benefit seniors and persons with disabilities in Santa Clara County. She brings a great mix of leadership, inspiration, operational experience, technical breadth, and passion for customer care. This perfect set of skills makes her the right person at the right time to lead this agency.
“Aneliza has vast experience establishing new efforts in collaboration through strategic communication and has done a great job with bridging the transition from interim CEO and preparing the organization for growth,” stated Jeff Tepper, Board Vice President. The Board recognizes the significant contributions Ms. Del Pinal has made in setting the right tone, energy, and structure at Sourcewise during this important transition.
The Sourcewise Board of Directors welcomes Aneliza as she takes the helm as CEO of Sourcewise. She will be responsible to continue building upon the premier Sourcewise services and will seek new avenues to serve our consumers.
“Aneliza brings new energy to Sourcewise, a fantastic outlook for community collaboration and a dedication to provide the best service possible for Seniors of Santa Clara County. We are both excited and fortunate to have her in this seat,” said Altamirano.
Michal Mendoza is the President for the Sourcewise Board of Directors.
Your voice counts: Area Plan Needs Assessment Survey for Santa Clara County
Sourcewise has commissioned the Research Center of California State University, Fullerton to survey Santa Clara County (SCC) older adults 60+ via phone, respectfully asking for your participation during August and September, 2019.
Your participation is crucial for the future of SCC services for older adults. Information from this survey helps Sourcewise obtain critical information to invest in needed education and support services for seniors, their families, and caregivers throughout Santa Clara County.
Answers and participation are completely confidential.