AuthorMandi Voegele

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ARE YOU A CAREGIVER? AgeSmart can help.

Caring for an older adult family member or friend can be a daunting task.  So many times, the caregiver can exhaust themselves.  You do not have to go it alone.  AgeSmart can help with services and resources to help you make this very important role of a caregiver easier.

Caregiver Resource Specialist

AgeSmart’s Caregiver Resource Specialists can link you to services to help you meet the needs of the person you are caring for.  Each and every situation is different, and they can help you customize a plan for the person you are caring for.  Using a comprehensive resource data base, they can give you guidance and options for your loved one’s care. 

National ElderCare Locator

The National ElderCare Locator is also available for you if you are caring an individual in another state.  Access the ElderCare locator at https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx   or call 1-800-677-1116. You can find the local Area Agency on Aging in that person’s community. 

Respite Care

Sometimes a simple break from your caregiving role can help you, the caregiver, get a needed break.  AgeSmart offers a Respite program which pays the caregiver a monthly stipend that they can use to purchase care allowing them to get out of the house. 

Caregiver Counseling

Short-term counseling is available for St. Clair, Madison and Bond County residents, related to topics of aging, illness, grief, life events, caregiving and community resources.  The counselors are available by appointment for in the home of homebound individuals.

Savvy Caregiver

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease Savvy Caregiver teaches the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to handle the challenges of caring for someone with the disease.  Savvy Caregiver training program will help you reduce your distress effectively so you can focus on the task of being a caregiver.

Stress Busting for Caregivers

The Impact of stress on your health and its relationship to your caregiving is significant.  Stress busting helps you deal with stress through relaxation techniques and problem solving.  It also teaches you how to care for yourself while providing better care for your loved one. Participants in the program are given everything needed including a session handbook and online access to a meditation exercise and relaxation strategy videos. Caregivers who have completed this program feel significantly lower stress, depression, and anxiety and are able to enjoy a better quality of life. They have also experienced improvement in their ability to relax, manage stress and feel better about themselves.

Memory Cafes

If you are living with a person with dementia is sometimes difficult to get out and do simple things with your loved one like going to dinner.  You may be concerned about your loved one’s behavior or abilities and therefore just stay home.  Cafés provide a comfortable environment where can meet with other caregivers and their loved ones and participate in activities. 

Legal Services

Having your legal documents in order is very important.  AgeSmart provides funding to Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation to assist with legal issues caregivers face. 

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

In Illinois, more than 200,000 children are being raised in grandparent-headed homes.  If you are one of these grandparents help is available for you.  Assistance can range from financial assistance, guardianship, legal and Information and assistance.

Advice from caregivers to caregivers:

  • Ask for help.  Do not try to do it all yourself.
  • Never make promises you can’t keep.
  • Trust your instincts, most of the time they will lead you in the right direction. 
  • Educate yourself on your loved one’s condition.  This will help you communicate with doctors. 
  • Breath!

Services provided by AgeSmart are available to everyone 60 and older for only a suggested contribution.  For more information call AgeSmart at 618-222-2561.

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People Over 60 Most at Risk From Scams

Adapted from AARP Bulletin, December 2019

Older Americans were much more likely than younger adults to be victimized by several common scams last year, a report by the Federal Trade Commission shows. And when they were hit, the oldest victims lost more money.

Those 60-plus were nearly five times more likely than those ages 20 to 59 to fall victim to tech-support fraud. Also, they were three times more likely to be conned by impostors posing as friends or relatives and more than twice as likely to fall for a sweepstakes or lottery scam.

The troubling trends were documented in the FTC’s annual “Protecting Older Consumers report. “Unfortunately, older adults have been targeted or disproportionately affected by fraud,” the report states.

In 2018, people 60-plus filed more than 256,000 fraud reports with losses of nearly $400 million.

“When older consumers are victims of scams, they tend to lose a lot more money than younger victims-often their entire life savings,” says Kathy Stokes, director of the AARP Fraud Watch Network. The median loss for people in their 70s was $769 in 2018, while losses for those over 80 reached a whopping $1,700. The median loss for adults under 40 was about $400, compared with $600 for those in their 60s.

For the latest fraud news, go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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Community comes together to help a Veteran

Recently AgeSmart Community Resources had the opportunity to assist a Veteran who had previously been enrolled in our Veterans Directed Care Program through the Veteran’s Administration.  This veteran had no support from family and friends, and no pre-arranged burial plans.

The veteran was ill and the home aide arrived just in time to find out that the veteran was being taken to the local hospital.  The home aide followed up at the hospital and provided some information about the veteran.  A hospital social worker contacted the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center who then reached out to AgeSmart to see if we had any other personal contacts for this Veteran.  This veteran had grave health issues and did not recover.  AgeSmart worked with the local hospital social worker and were able to find a family member willing to go to hospital and act on the veteran’s behalf.

AgeSmart Community Resources was concerned about proper funeral arrangements for this Veteran who served our country, and reached out to Wolfersberger Funeral Home in O’Fallon, IL to ask for guidance and counsel. By the end of the phone call, Wolfersberger Funeral Home agreed to partner with AgeSmart and the Madison County Veteran’s Assistance Commission to provide a proper funeral for this veteran.   

On November 15, 2019, the veteran was buried in Jerseyville, next to family with an Honor Guard detail.  All staff of the AgeSmart Veterans Directed Program were in attendance to pay their respects, along with a childhood friend who had seen the funeral notice in the paper.

Thanks to Wolfersberger Funeral Home and the Madison County Veteran’s Assistance Commission for working together to provide a proper burial for this veteran.

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Medicare’s open enrollment is October 15 – December 7.

Why open enrollment for Medicare is important to you.

Let AgeSmart Community Resources help you find your way through the ever-changing world of Medicare Open Enrollment. Beginning on October 15 all people with Medicare may change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. Information for next year’s Medicare plans will be available in early October.

AgeSmart’s trained Senior Health Insurance Counselors can help you make an educated decision about your coverage. Our goal is to help simplify the process and make sure you have the insurance and prescription plan to suit your needs. We will meet with you one-on-one, review your current plan, and based on the information you provide, share options that may better serve your individual situation. To schedule an appointment at our O’Fallon, IL office, or find a location convenient to you, please call AgeSmart Community Resources at 618-222-2561. This service is free of charge.

AgeSmart Community Resources, your local Area Agency on Aging, serves Madison, St. Clair, Bond,  Clinton, Monroe, Randolph and Washington counties. Our mission is to give older adults the opportunity to help them maintain their health and independence and to live well.  For more information about AgeSmart Community Resources visit www.AgeSmart.org.

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Veterans Spotlight

Chad Buder – Coast Guard Veteran, Paralyzed Veteran’s of America Board Member, AgeSmart Client

Meet Chad Buder. Chad was born and raised in Madison County. He graduated from Edwardsville High School, joined the Coast Guard in 1998, and became an Electronics Technician. 

Chad was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2001 while serving on the USCG Mohawk in Key West, Florida.

Chad was introduced to AgeSmart Community Resources in 2015 when he enrolled in the Veteran Directed Care program with the St. Louis Veterans Association. AgeSmart monitors the veterans enrolled in this program in our seven-county service area in Illinois and St. Louis City.

Currently, Chad is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Board of Directors, assisting them with their annual golf tournament and their first 5k race in Tower Park last month.

He is an avid sports fan, loves movies, and has a dog named Kelly.

Chad, thank you for your service and Happy Veteran’s Day!

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HIP HOP AND HAPPENING SENIOR – November 2019

Hip Hop and Happening Senior is a new segment that allows us to celebrate a senior in our service area that is living his or her best life.

Merle Boswell, 91 years old, of Lebanon, Illinois is our first Hip Hop and Happening senior.

Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Merle and her husband, now deceased, moved to Lebanon more than 20 years ago.

Merle enjoys fishing, working in her garden, attending church at the First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, reading, and visiting with her daughter who lives in O’Fallon and her two granddaughters, who live in Texas and New York.

Daily exercise is important to Merle. She enjoys riding her indoor recumbent bike, and walking. Her exercise mantra is “I do what I feel like”.

AgeSmart Community Resources was fortunate to meet Merle when she stopped by the office to meet with one of our counselors and learn about senior insurance options.

Merle’s advice for a happy and healthy life is “Live a good, clean life, and marry a wonderful man”.

If you know a Hip Hop and Happening senior, let us know!   We would love to share their story!

Email us at lbauer@agesmart.org.  

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Healthy Senior Day

The Gateway Region YMCA is celebrating its annual Healthy Senior Day on Thursday, October 24, 2019. 

This community event, free and open to all, is designed to provide Active Older Adults age 55 and up with opportunities and resources that can help them live with greater health and happiness. At the YMCA, we believe in building overall healthy lifestyles in spirit, mind and body. The event will include:

  • Fitness Classes
  • Social Opportunities
  • Flu Shots provided by a local pharmacy* (Covered by most insurance plans or can be purchased)
  • Community Agencies and Partners
  • Screenings
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Food & Beverages
  • Giveaways & Prizes

*Bring your insurance card and photo ID. 

Clinton County YMCA – 10:00 am – NOON

Collinsville, Maryville, Troy YMCA – 9:00 am – NOON

Downtown Belleville YMCA – 11:00 am, – 1:00 pm

East Belleville YMCA – 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Monroe County YMCA – 10:00 am – NOON

O’Fallon YMCA – 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Randolph County YMCA– 10:00 am – NOON

Tri-City  YMCA – 10:00 am – NOON

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