I know, from personal experience and from the inquiries received at the Senior Center, that finding capable and reliable workers for home repair and home modification projects can be a challenge. The tried and true, low tech, word of mouth remains one of the best ways to find help. When that approach comes up short a new designation and directory, with a focus on aging in place, may be of help. The directory is found on the National Association for Home Builder’s website (nahb.org). You can connect to the directory via the Consumer page of nahb.org. There providers can be found by state, zip code, town, etc. A tip sheet titled “Don’t Get Scammed: Find a Qualified Contractor is also available on the nahb.org website. The tip sheet contains advice and precautions about entering
into work agreements. Another resource for people who want to age in place is Homefit Guide a booklet published by AARP. A copy of the booklet, updated in 2015, is available in the Senior Center resource area. Homefit Guide provides practical advice on universal design concepts that help to make homes safe and functional for all ages and ability levels. A copy of Homefit Guide can be ordered from the AARP website by going to the Livable Communities section.
Please note that on February 11, 2016 at 1:00 PM, Sell Mom’s House, a business that deals with all manner of downsizing and related real estate transactions, will be presenting at the Northborough Senior
Center. This presentation as well as the resources mentioned above may be useful for planning and preparing future living arrangements that maximize independence. Jocelyn Ehrhardt, MSW, Outreach Coordinator
eCAN I STILL CHANGE MY MEDICARE PLAN?
The annual Medicare Open Enrollment period ended on December 7, but you may still be able to change plans during 2016. Newly Available: Medicare’s 5-Star Special Enrollment Period You have an opportunity to enroll in a top-rated (5-Star) plan, once during the year. This can be done at any time through November 30, with the enrollment effective the first of the following month. The Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO plans have achieved the 5-Star rating for 2016. You can enroll in one of these
plans, as long as you meet the plan’s eligibility requirements. If you are currently in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, this new enrollment will automatically disenroll you from your previous plan. For those with a Medicare Advantage Plan (HMO or PPO): Between January 1 and February 14 each year, anyone with a Medicare
Advantage plan may drop it and switch to Original Medicare. If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan during this period, you will be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage.
Your Original Medicare coverage and your prescription drug coverage will begin the first day of the month after your enrollment. You may also add a supplement (Medigap) at this time. For those with Prescription Advantage or getting “Extra Help” paying for prescription drugs: You can change your Medicare Advantage plan or drug plan anytime during the year. Those with Prescription Advantage can do this only once each year. Those with “Extra Help” can change every month. Trained SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone…on Medicare) volunteers can help you! They offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance to anyone on Medicare. To schedule a SHINE appointment, call your local Senior Center. For other SHINE related matters, call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 3. Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave your name and number. A volunteer will call you back, as soon as possible.
Counselors: Pauline O’Bray and Wayne Wirtanen
SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) appointments are available with our SHINE Counselors. Continuing this month, we have added Tuesday evening appointments at 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00pm. Please call the Senior Center at 508-393-5035 to schedule your appointment.