2010 News

December 31, 2010

Alzheimer’s Plan Meeting to be rescheduled

The September 14, 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group meeting previously announced in the State Register has been cancelled, and the rescheduled date will be announced here and in the State Register by October 10, 2010.

Senator Franken's Staff To Meet With Seniors Across Minnesota

The Older Americans Act is set to be reauthorized in 2011. Because Senator Franken serves on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging as well as the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), he will be actively involved in the reauthorization.

Beginning July 12, Senator Franken’s staff will be meeting with seniors across Minnesota to seek input for the upcoming debate on the Older Americans Act.  His staff will hold meetings in 17 cities across Minnesota between July 12 and July 23.  The locations and dates are listed below for people who might be interested in attending.                                                                                                          
Moorhead Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Monday, July 12
Eventide Senior Living Communities
1405 7th St. S, Moorhead

East Grand Forks Meeting
1:30 p.m. CST, Monday, July 12
Good Samaritan Heritage Grove
2122 River Rd. NW, East Grand Forks

Roseau Meeting
10:30 a.m. CST, Tuesday, July 13
Four Seasons Senior Center
114 West Center St., Roseau

Warroad Meeting
1:30 p.m. CST, Tuesday, July 13
Warroad Senior Living Center
1401 Lake St. NW, Warroad

Bemidji Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Wednesday, July 14
Bemidji Public Library
509 America Ave. Bemidji

St. Cloud Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Thursday, July 15
Whitney Senior Center, Olson Room
1527 Northway Dr., St. Cloud

Willmar Meeting
2:00 p.m. CST, Thursday, July 15
Willmar Community Center, Sunshine Room
624 Hwy. 71 NE, Willmar

Alexandria Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Friday, July 16
Nelson Gables, Governor's Room
1220 Nokomis St., Alexandria

Brainerd Meeting
2:00 p.m. CST, Friday, July 16
Lakes Area Senior Center
803 Kingwood St., Brainerd

Winona Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Monday, July 19
Winona City Hall
207 Lafayette St., Winona

Austin Meeting
2:30 p.m. CST, Monday, July 19
Mower County Senior Center
403 3rd Ave. NE, Austin

Worthington Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Tuesday, July 20
Nobles County Government Center
315 10th St., Worthington

Marshall Meeting
2:00 p.m. CST, Tuesday, July 20
Marshall City Hall
344 West Main St., Marshall

Duluth Meeting
10:00 a.m. CST, Thursday, July 22
St. Ann's Senior Living
300 East Third St., Duluth

Grand Rapids Meeting
1:30 p.m. CST, Thursday, July 22
Bruce Bauer Senior Center
400 River Rd., Grand Rapids

Two Harbors Meeting
9:30 a.m. CST, Friday, July 23
Two Harbors City Hall, Meeting Room
522 1st Ave., Two Harbors

North Branch Meeting
1:00 p.m. CST, Friday, July 23
Chisago County Senior Center
38790 6th Ave., North Branch

Governor Appoints New MBA Board Members

Governor Pawlenty appointed Leonard Axelrod, Norby Blake, Sylvia C. Garcia, Larry K. Houk, and Jeanne Lukas to the board of the Minnesota Board on Aging. The governor also announced the reappointment of Susan E. Humphers-Ginther, Ph.D., Michael R. Klatt, and Mary Jane Thompson.

Read the governor's press release

May is Older Americans Month

For 47 years, our nation has set aside the month of May to honor older Americans and acknowledge their continued contributions to our nation. The theme for this year is "Age Strong! Live Long!" which recognizes the diversity and vitality of today's older Americans and highlights the importance of staying healthy throughout our lives. They have lived through wars and hard times, as well as periods of unprecedented prosperity. They pioneered new technologies in medicine, communications, and industry while spearheading a cultural revolution that won equal rights for minorities, women, and disabled Americans.

These remarkable achievements demonstrate the strength and character of older Americans, and underscore the debt of gratitude we owe to the generations that have given our society so much. But the contributions of older Americans are not only in the past.

Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. And with the aging of the baby boomer generation—the largest in our nation’s history—America’s senior population is expected to number 71.5 million by 2030.

While keeping the growing population of older Americans healthy and active will increase the demand for senior services, what is remarkable is the extent to which older Americans themselves are supporting each other. As the new generations of seniors become better educated and more financially secure than their predecessors, they are spending more time making significant contributions in their communities through civic and volunteer opportunities.

In fact, older Americans are a core component of service delivery to seniors—embodying and modeling the drive to Age Strong! Live Long! They volunteer at group meal sites and deliver food to homebound seniors; they act as escorts and provide transportation for older adults who cannot drive; they help seniors with home repair, shopping and errands; and they provide vital counseling, information and referral services. Their energy and commitment reminds all Americans—not just senior citizens and their caregivers—to do their part to enhance the quality of life for older generations.

The annual commemoration of Older Americans Month is our opportunity to recognize the contributions of older citizens and join them in providing services and support that empower the elderly. Americans of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer with programs that improve health literacy, increase access to quality health services, offer food and nutrition services, provide financial and housing counseling, sponsor social activities and community engagement, and more. Contact the Senior LinkAge Line®, 1-800-333-2433, to find out what you can do to strengthen services for older Americans, this month and all year round.

Read Governor Pawlenty's proclamation (pdf)
Read President Obama's proclamation

Senior LinkAge Line® Volunteer Larry Rivers Receives National Honor

Larry Rivers of Apple Valley may be retired, but he still keeps a daily calendar.

He golfs, plays tennis, enjoys the grandkids and travels with his wife. He's president of his condominium association. He works with people who want to start up their own small businesses. One of his most rewarding experiences has been helping Minnesota senior citizens unravel the complexities of the Medicare drug program.

"I like to solve people's problems," Rivers said. "I can help them by building a little strategy."

Rivers, 67, was honored in Washington, D.C., on May 7 for his volunteer work through the Senior LinkAge Line®.  Rivers is among 26 people older than 50 who received MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America awards.

When Rivers retired in 2004, he knew he wanted to give back and help others. In 2005, he read about a volunteer opening with the Senior LinkAge Line® at the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging in Minnesota. The Senior LinkAge Line® is the federally designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for Minnesota. Volunteers trained by the Senior LinkAge Line® provide objective, comprehensive health insurance counseling statewide. The posting for a "health insurance counselor" in the Twin Cities area to provide SHIP and SMP assistance, seemed a good match for Rivers, who had worked in information technology in the health care industry.

"It all fit," Rivers said. "It was fortuitous."

Rivers applied for the position, was accepted and received three days of training. He learned the basics but knew the agency had other knowledgeable staff — "real experts" — that could back him up.

Rivers began working with clients at senior centers in Burnsville, Prior Lake and Lakeville. He later began training new volunteers and giving presentations on Medicare. He also works with low-income clients. In a typical month, Rivers volunteers 15 to 20 hours with Senior LinkAge Line®.

"I enjoy it all," Rivers said. "When people come in, they seem very confused and frustrated. I tell them it's not tough, but they just have to get down to the two or three choices that fit them."

Joy Vliem, volunteer coordinator for the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, said Rivers' warmth and approachability helped him excel as a volunteer.

"He comes across as without judgment," Vliem said. "He's open and receptive. People feel very comfortable working with him."

"Every client has a little different need with Medicare," Rivers said.

When Rivers first retired, he figured he'd find activities with two- to three-year time frames and then move on to his next project. He said he enjoys health care counseling so much that he's stuck with it beyond his self-imposed deadline.

"If you come up with a solution ... that's a good feeling," he said. "Which lets me continue on."  

The award winners in the eighth year of the Metlife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Award are recognized in one of three categories:

Community Champion, which honors those who use their time and talent to make their community a better place to live;

Mentor, which recognizes older volunteers who are devoted to working with young people and their families; and

Team Spirit, which pays tribute to older volunteers who assist older adults.

More on the award from n4a (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging)

For more information about becoming a Senior LinkAge Line® volunteer, call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. Volunteers are needed in all 87 counties of Minnesota.

More Broadcasts of Love of Car: Transportation As We Age

The tpt (Twin Cities Public Television) production about the driving issue of older adults and families. The documentary focuses on solutions including:

How to determine if you are a safe driver

Strategies for driving safer longer

Finding and using alternate transportation

Demonstrations of solutions, expert interviews, and stories of urban and rural seniors are included in the show.

Initial show times:

Friday, March 26, 8:00pm, tpt-MN

Friday, April 2, 8:00pm, tpt-MN

Friday, April 9, 8:00pm, tpt-MN

Friday, April 16, 8:00pm, tpt-MN

Search tpt schedule for more dates/times

Respite Care Summit is March 12

A Minnesota Lifespan Respite Care Summit will be held on Friday, March 12, 2010, at the Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul. The day-long workshop will be held to explore possibilities for enhancing respite care services in Minnesota, learn about the Federal Lifespan Respite Care Act and develop a plan to prepare Minnesota to apply for federal funding.

Workshop participants will include home and community-based service providers, those who are caregivers and those who provide respite to caregivers.  Special guest at the workshop will be Jill Kagan, chair, ARCH National Respite Network and Resources Center, Washington, D.C.

The workshop is cosponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota Department of Human Services – Transform 2010, National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Minnesota Chapter, and AARP.  For more information, contact Diane Mangan at 651-431-2590 or diane.mangan@state.mn.us.

Minnesota Board on Aging Releasing Its First Annual Health Care Choices for Minnesota

The Minnesota Board on Aging is releasing its first annual Health Care Choices for Minnesota. The Board stepped forward to continue publishing this guide, which was initiated by the Minnesota Senior Federation. The Federation ended its operations last summer and approached the Board to continue its publishing.

In its effort, the Board has significantly expanded the information and is now including quick tips and suggestions for readers on various options that will allow people to remain independent and in their homes by aging well and living well in the community.

Questions and comments about the publication should be forwarded to the Senior LinkAge Line® by calling 1-800-333-2433.

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