Baltimore County Now
Sherry Kolbe, Manager
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Baltimore County Department of Aging
Is your Medicare Part D plan the best fit for you in 2015? Each year, Part D plans are permitted to change. These changes may involve the drug formularies, tier structures, premiums and/or contracts with pharmacies.
Granted, the plans sent Notification of Change letters at the end of September for 2015, but how many of us actually read them? Even if you read them, you are not able to compare your plan with others unless you go onto the Medicare Plan Finder on www.Medicare.gov.
Too overwhelming? Help is here in Baltimore County
If all of these steps seem a bit overwhelming for you or a loved one, there is help for you through Baltimore County’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program’s (SHIP) team of volunteers. Dates have been set for the SHIP team to go to twelve of the twenty senior centers. Just call SHIP, 410-887-2059, to schedule an appointment to have a one-on-one conversation with a volunteer counselor. Once a member of the team enters your drugs into the Medicare Plan Finder, you will be able to review your options to either enroll in a new plan or stay in your current plan. You will be able to leave this meeting with a sense of satisfaction knowing you are in the best plan for your current drug list for 2015.
Do you qualify for financial assistance?
Counselors will also assess if you eligible for financial assistance to help pay for your Part D premium and or drug co-pays. Too many Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for assistance and may never have heard of the programs or think they are over-scale. Let the SHIP team share with you the details of programs that may help to save you money
Ethel Rasmussen, Manager, Office of Communications, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Over the last 27 years, Baby Boomer/Senior Expo has developed into a resource-filled, life-impacting, toe-tapping, two-day event to benefit boomers, persons with disabilities, veterans, older adults, caregivers, professionals and more. We, at the Baltimore County Department of Aging, strive each year to incorporate all of the guest suggestions, community needs and latest trends in the market into a fresh new show for our guests each year.
When our advertisement states “Discover the Power of Age at Baby Boomer/Senior Expo,” it truly means that regardless of your path in life, Expo holds features that will empower, engage and entertain you. Who couldn’t use a little of those three things in their life?
Okay, EMPOWER is a strong word. How can coming to Expo for a few hours do that? Easy. Expo brings a multitude of resources to a one-stop shop. There is no travel time. Just pay the low admission of $2 or two canned food items and use your program book to chart your course through the show to find the vendors of interest. From housing to leisure to assistance, it is all in one building at the Timonium Fairgrounds.
Further, you can meet individually with many companies and agencies to EMPOWER yourself. For instance, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will meet with you one-on-one to advise you on the best Medicare Part D Plan for your medication needs (appointments required, call 410-887-2059.) BGE, Verizon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will talk with you on new opportunities available to you in the fields of energy, technology and money. Also, there will be a special Veteran Muster area to provide information on resources to seasoned and newly returned veterans and their families.
Lastly and probably the most important, Expo EMPOWERs you through free health screenings. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and many other vendors will allow you to have health screening done and give you the results to share with your physician. Preventative health is the key to catching a condition or illness early before you go the doctor with symptoms. What could be better! Free! Plus Maxim and the Department of Aging are partnering to offer flu and pneumonia shots free of charge to those with Medicare Part B.
ENGAGEment is key to life satisfaction and joy. Baby Boomer/Senior Expo is all about it! During the two-day show, you can find a variety of means to connect with the community. No where is this connection stronger than within the County’s senior center exhibits. We have a Power of Age Art Show that features local artists that are the champions from our 20 senior centers in seven different art categories ranging from woodwork to painting. Come vote for the Best In Show. Next energize your life by stepping into one of the fitness classes taking place on site and try a new exercise for free. If you like it, you can join a class in your community senior center.
Further, you can ENGAGE yourself by traveling through the Volunteer Fair and the Employment Fair. People of all ages are looking for means to supplement their income. The Employment Fair will bring local companies that are hiring as well as some region resources to help polish your employment search. If you are looking for a way to keep active and don’t want a job, then the Volunteer Fair is just the thing. Here you can find rewarding ways to give back to your community and make a difference for generations to come!
Let Expo ENTERTAIN you! From the moment is opens to the time it closes, Expo features a wide array of music to you. Do you like barbershop quartets, oldies, big bands? Then plan your day around the ENTERTAINment schedule. The not-to-miss favorite, who is back by popular demand, is the Original Drifters who will perform on Wednesday, October 22 from 4-6p.m. Who couldn’t groove to “Under the Boardwalk”, “This Magic Moment” and “Some Kind of Wonderful?”
Next, we have a Living Life to the Fullest Silent Auction that promises to offer many great baskets full of items to ENTERTAIN you. From a weekend getaway in Washington DC or Ocean City to snowboarding lessons at Whitetail, the auction is a definite stop on your travels around Expo.
Also, you could win great prizes from the many vendor raffles that are ongoing in addition to the free gift that you get with paid admission. GBMC and BGE have sponsored a travel/medical document holder as our free gift this year.
EMPOWER, ENGAGE & ENTERTAIN
Are you ready for the experience? Baby Boomer/Senior Expo takes place on Wednesday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Timonium Fairgrounds. For more details, visit www.seniorexpoonline.com.
Joanne Williams, Baltimore County Director of Aging
· According to the best available estimates, between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection.
· Data on elder abuse in domestic settings suggest that only 1 in 14 incidents, excluding incidents of self-neglect, come to the attention of authorities.
· Current estimates put the overall reporting of financial exploitation at only 1 in 25 cases, suggesting that there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year.
· It is estimated that for every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to authorities, about five more go unreported.
These facts from the National Center on Elder Abuse are quite startling. Many of us think it could not happen to us or someone we love. But elder abuse happens all too frequently, in private homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Often the abusers are family members or trusted caregivers. Studies show that one in ten older adults experience abuse; the number is higher for financial exploitation. Many seniors are reluctant to report abuse due to fear of retaliation, inability to report, or desire to protect the abuser.
Public Forum to Make a Difference and Raise Awareness
In observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), Baltimore County Restoring Elder Safety Today (BC-REST), our area’s elder abuse prevention coalition, is hosting a public forum to educate concerned citizens, professionals and older adults about elder abuse. Learn how we all can make a difference in keeping seniors safe! Featured speakers include experts from AARP and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) who will discuss their roles in fighting elder abuse and how older adults can protect themselves. The CFBP’s motto is “An informed consumer is the first line of defense against abusive practices.”
All are invited to attend this free forum at the Owings Mills Library on June 13 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. Hear from the experts, visit exhibitors, enjoy refreshments and network with local aging professionals. No registration is required. Social workers can earn two Category II CEU’s for attending.
Come and make a difference in stamping out elder abuse!
For more details, please contact the Baltimore County Department of Aging at 410-887-4200 or go online to http://www.bcpl.info/stopelderabuse.