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Fall Prevention Tips

September is Fall Prevention Month

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls are costly—in dollars and in quality of life. However, falling is not an inevitable part of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be reduced substantially.

1. Find a good balance and exercise program
Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find a program you like and take a friend.

2. Talk to your health care provider
Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.

3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist
Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.

4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses
Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.

5. Keep your home safe
Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.

6. Talk to your family members
nlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.

To learn more, visit

New Medicare Cards

New Medicare ID cards are coming, and people with Medicare in Pennsylvania will be among the first to receive them! The new cards will begin to be mailed in April 2018 and will have one major difference – a new Medicare ID number, which is not based on your Social Security number. To curtail identity theft and Medicare fraud, Social Security numbers will be replaced by a random, 11-digit number that is unique to you. The new cards will be automatically sent to you in the mail by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). If you have moved, make sure to update your address with Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or online with Social Security at

Tips to Remember:

• In Pennsylvania, the new Medicare cards will be mailed starting in April 2018. Mailing everyone a new card will take some time so you may not receive your new card at the same time as your friends’ and neighbors’.

• You do not need to do anything! This change will be automatic. If someone calls you and says they need to confirm your identity, or your Medicare number, or that they need to “register” you for a new card, it’s a SCAM. Medicare and Social Security will not call you. Do not give out your personal information. If you get a call from someone and you’re just not sure, hang up and call Medicare.

• Your benefits will stay the same. The new Medicare cards will not change your coverage, and may be used upon receipt. When you receive your new card, please shred the old one.

• There is no charge for the new card. The card is free. No one should tell you there is a one-time fee, or that you will lose benefits if you don’t pay a fee or answer their questions.

If you have questions, or suspect Medicare fraud, please contact the Pennsylvania Senior Medicare Patrol (PA-SMP) at the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) at 1-800-356-3606 or visit CARIE’s services are always free and confidential. For more information about the new Medicare cards, please visit:


Berks Encore 2018 Senior Expo

Don't miss Reading and Berks County's largest senior and health fair!

The 2018 Berks Encore Senior Expo will be held on October 30, 2018 from 9 am to 3 pm at the DoubleTree Hotel By Hilton in Reading.
The DoubleTree Hotel provides a streamlined, convention-style space, boasting a state of the art amphitheater and breakout rooms, hotel restaurant with full menu, easy-access loading dock and ample vendor parking, and complimentary WiFi and electrical outlet access.

There is free parking available at the Reading Fightin Phils lot, FirstEnergy Stadium, 1900 Centre Ave, Reading, PA 19601. Shuttle buses will run continuously throughout the day. Parking will not be available at the DoubleTree, except for handicap and vendor placards. The event anticipates 140 vendors and approximately 3,500 people in attendance.

Get Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment

When’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7.


What’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.


What is a Geriatric Care Manager and How Can I Find One?

A geriatric care manager, usually a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in geriatrics, is a sort of "professional relative" who can help you and your family to identify needs and find ways to meet your needs.

These specially trained professionals can help find resources to make your daily life easier. They will work with you to form a long-term care plan and find the services you need.

Geriatric care managers can be especially helpful when family members live far apart. If asked, they will check in with you from time to time to make sure your needs haven't changed.

What Do Geriatric Care Managers Do?Geriatric care managers:

  • Discuss difficult topics and complex issues
  • Make home visits and suggest needed services
  • Address emotional concerns
  • Make short- and long-term plans
  • Evaluate in-home care needs
  • Select care personnel
  • Coordinate medical services
  • Evaluate other living arrangements
  • Provide caregiver stress relief

The cost of an initial evaluation varies and may be expensive, but depending on your family circumstances, geriatric care managers might offer a useful service to help family members stay in touch. Geriatric care managers charge by the hour. Most insurance plans don't cover these costs, and Medicare does not pay for this service. You will probably have to pay for this service.


Watch What You Heat: 5 Kitchen Safety Tips

Watch What You Heat: 5 Kitchen Safety Tips

Cooking equipment is the top cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) people over the age of 65 have a 2.5 times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire than the general population. Cooking is one of the leading causes of fire in the home, FEMA says, accounting for thousands of injuries and deaths each year.


4 Fears Surrounding End of Life Care and How to Overcome Them

about-a-dog-and-a-man-1376105Conversations about elder and end of life care can be difficult to approach. Often, they come up unintentionally, when attending a funeral, driving past a nursing home, or even watching a movie regarding the subject. Your loved one may drop a hint or two about his or her wishes for end of life care. It is important to start a conversation about this serious topic and encourage your loved one to put in writing what he or she envisions for end of life care.

Fears are common about this subject, but the earlier you start planning, the less daunting the prospect seems. If you haven’t yet had this conversation with your parents, keep the 40-70 Rule in mind: have an intentional conversation surrounding end of life care by the time you are 40 or your parent is 70. Even if the conversation seems frightening, it will bring you peace to know you are planning ahead. Below are some of the common concerns surrounding end of life care.

1.      Having feeding tubes and ventilators keeping him or her alive

Encourage your loved one to develop a living will, in which he or she can detail the type of treatment desired in the case that he or she is unable to make these decisions later. Consider involving a lawyer, as living will requirements vary from state to state.

2.      Spending the end of his or her life in a nursing home, hospital, or other institution

Talk about home care options with your loved one, and make sure he or she understands all the choices for end of life care. Take time to consider everyone’s wishes, budget, and comfort levels to be prepared for when the time comes.

3.      Mental impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s will affect their decision making

Have your parents designate a person who is trustworthy and who will look out for their best interests with Power of Attorney (POA). This person will act on their behalf in the case that they can no longer make decisions for themselves. Make sure this is a person that your parents trust to carry out their wishes regardless of their mental state.