Author: Lara Stauning

AOASCC: February Newsletter is Now Available!

 
 Independence   February 2022   AOASCC News & Notes  
  Spotlight on Volunteers: A Volunteer at heart – The Doris Blackmon Story  
Harris & Tucker School Day Care has been a Foster Grandparent site for over 30 years and this is where you will find Ms. Blackmon.   Doris Blackmon, was born in1931 in Greensville, SC. She is a lover of music and has played the piano for years at her home church, The Mount Zion SDA Church, in Hamden. She is a graduate from Hillhouse High School and after retiring from the Seamless Rubber Company, she later worked as the cook for 20 years at the Harris and Tucker School.   Twenty-five years ago, Ms. Blackmon enrolled with us as a volunteer. She is one of the oldest active, consistent and committed volunteers presently with the agency. Harris & Tucker School Day Care has been a Foster Grandparent site for over 30 years and this is where you will find Ms. Blackmon. Even during the pandemic, Ms. Blackmon has continued to work as a volunteer comforting the toddlers during nap time with a story or a song.   We are glad to still have Ms. Blackmon actively involved as a Foster Grandparent volunteer where she serves as the door keeper at the center and can always be relied on to actively participate in the monthly in-service trainings. At age 91, Ms. Blackmon states she will continue working with the children and being a volunteer Foster Grandparent through AOASCC. We are proud of her commitment to serve God and her community of children.  
Volunteer On Ms. Blackmon!   Find out more about the Foster Grandparent Program.    

Caregiver Corner  

Are you caring for someone with cancer? The caregiver has a key role in the patient’s care. Good, reliable caregiver support is crucial to the physical and emotional well-being of people with cancer.  

Today, most cancer treatment is given in outpatient treatment centers – not in hospitals. This means someone is needed to be part of the day-to-day care of the person with cancer and that sicker people are being cared for at home. As a result, caregivers perform many tasks usually associated with healthcare professionals. These roles change as the patient’s needs change and expand during and after cancer treatment.  

It’s hard to plan for a major health problem like cancer. Suddenly you’ve been asked to care for the person with cancer, and you’re also needed to help make decisions about medical care and treatment. You may not have expertise in any of the things you’re asked to do. None of this is easy. There will be times when you know you’ve done well, and times when you just want to give up. This is normal.  

There are many causes of stress and distress in cancer caregivers. Dealing with the crisis of cancer in someone you love, the uncertain future, financial worries, difficult decisions, and unexpected and unwanted lifestyle changes are just a few of them. You need people around you who can provide accurate information and help you make decisions when needed.   Talk with a nurse or social worker at your treatment center or talk with other cancer caregivers. Contact your local American Cancer Society to learn about services in your area. Talking with other caregivers can help you feel less alone. If you can’t visit a group in person, the American Cancer Society has the Cancer Survivors Network (CSN), an online community of people whose lives have been touched by cancer. Other organizations have internet-based groups and even online counseling, too. Through online or in person support groups, people can share their stories, offer practical advice, and support each other through shared experiences.    

Community News  

Alzheimer’s Association to host annual New England Family Conference   The Alzheimer’s Association will host a free virtual educational conference for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families. The New England Family Conference will take place March 4-5, 2022 and is open to individuals living with Alzheimer’s, family caregivers and the general public. More information alzfamilyconference.org    

CHOICES  

If you’ve ever called the Agency on Aging of South Central CT to ask a question, chances are you spoke to a certified CHOICES team member. Team members are volunteers and staff of the agency who have been trained to respond to your questions. “CHOICES is a partnership between the state’s 5 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. It is administered by the Department of Aging and Disability Services.   Free and unbiased services are provided to Medicare-eligible individuals, families, and caregivers of all ages and income levels,…with particular attention to reaching individuals with disabilities, individuals who have low incomes, individuals who live in rural areas, and individuals whose primary language is not English.”   Many services are available through CHOICES and although, due to the current pandemic, most services are provided by phone or virtual meetings, team members are still here to assist you.   Find out more    



Frauds & Scams   Medicare Advantage Plans Open Enrollment period runs January 1 to March 31. Beware of any potential Medicare marketing violations. Check out this video & read more information on tips to identify scams.    




Did You Know?   Many older Americans do not have dental insurance because they lost their benefits upon retirement and the federal Medicare program does not cover routine dental care.   Oral health problems in older adults include the following: Untreated tooth decay. 1 in 5 older adults have untreated tooth decay.Gum disease. About 2 in 3 (68%) adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease.Tooth loss. Nearly 1 in 5 of adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth. Having missing teeth or wearing dentures can affect nutrition.Oral cancer. Cancers of the mouth (oral and pharyngeal cancers) are primarily diagnosed in older adults; median age at diagnosis is 62 years.Chronic disease. People with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be more likely to develop gum (periodontal) disease, but they are less likely to get dental care than adults without these chronic conditions.Most older Americans take both prescription and over-the-counter drugs; many of these medications can cause dry mouth. Reduced saliva flow increases the risk of cavities.   Center for Disease Control

 

Need dental care but do not have insurance? There are some options from free dental clinics to providers that offer sliding scales. Call our Resource Center at 203-785-8533 (option 4) and we will let you know of any available services.

   

Is this You?   Less than half of eligible older adults; approximately three out of five seniors who qualify to receive SNAP are missing out on benefits—an estimated 5 million people in all.   Are you on of them? Visit our website for more information & to find out how SNAP can make your grocery dollars go further!     www.aoascc.org  

-Justice in Aging: CMS Announces Medicare At-Home Test Coverage is Coming

Justice in Aging logo From DC logo
Here’s what we’re watching in Washington: C

MS Announces Medicare At-Home Test Coverage is Coming

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare will cover free at-home COVID-19 tests beginning in “early spring.” Once the coverage begins, Medicare enrollees would be eligible for up to 8 over-the-counter (OTC) tests per month with no cost sharing through eligible pharmacies and other participating entities. The coverage would apply to all people with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage. See these Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Last month, Justice in Aging and Medicare Rights Center led a letter from more than 70 advocacy organizations urging Medicare coverage of OTC tests and other COVID Services. We look forward to working with CMS to ensure this coverage is implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible. And we will continue to advocate for the Administration to provide additional immediate COVID services and resources to people with Medicare and Medicaid, especially those in marginalized communities. 

Nursing Facility Must Provide Rapid COVID Tests if Requiring Visitors Be Tested

This week, CMS revised its Nursing Home Visitation Frequently Asked Questions guidance to strengthen visiting rights. At the end of the guidance, FAQ #16 states that a visitor can be required to take a COVID test only if the facility can provide a rapid antigen test. In other words, if a facility can’t provide a rapid antigen test, the visit must be allowed (as long as the visitor does not report COVID symptoms or meet quarantine criteria). 

In addition, FAQ #12 states that a visitor cannot be turned away based on the visitor’s COVID vaccination status, unless the visitor has COVID symptoms or meets quarantine criteria.

New Guidance for Health Care Providers on Civil Rights Protections for People with Disabilities

On Friday, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights issued new guidance to health care providers on civil rights protections for people with disabilities during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. The guidance clarifies in FAQs that when resources are scarce, individuals with disabilities must not be prevented from receiving needed health care as this violates federal civil rights laws. The FAQs remind health care providers of their obligations under federal law and provide examples of applicability, including to state Crisis Standard of Care plans, procedures, and related standards for triaging scarce resources that hospitals are required to follow. The guidance specifically states that civil rights laws prohibit entities from using long-term life expectancy as eligibility criteria.

Read the FAQs for Healthcare Providers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Federal Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with Disabilities under Section 504 and Section 1557. J

Looking for a Way to Connect Socially? For All Ages hosts “Tea @ 3 Community”

Join our Tea @ 3 Intergenerational Friendship Community this spring!
adjoa and carissa 2
Our popular intergenerational friendship program will include 3 free Community-wide Zoom events and 3 small-group gatherings this spring:

Discover the Power of Your Story with Terry Wolfish Cole. Listen to Terry tell a story about her recent appearance as a Jeopardy contestant!
Journaling for resilience. Together, we’ll customize our bullet journals (free for each Community member) and learn how journaling can help us organize, simplify, and practice mindfulness.
End of session Par-Tea and Tea @ 3 bingo.

NEW this session: 3 optional small-group Zoom gatherings. Meet a few of your fellow Community members during a small-group get-together.

Join the Tea @ 3 Community, make a new friend, and feel a sense of belonging and community. Enjoy a weekly phone call with a Tea-Mate of another age who is matched with you based on interests. And if coffee – or hot cocoa – is your choice of an afternoon pick-me-up, that’s fine with us.

This Community is available to CT residents age 18+ and students attending a CT university or Amherst College.
Join our spring 2022 Tea @ 3 Community

Governor Lamont Activates Severe Cold Weather Protocol From Saturday to Sunday

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that as temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits on Saturday night, he is directing the State of Connecticut’s severe cold weather protocol to be activated beginning at noon on Saturday, February 5, 2022, and remaining in effect through noon on Sunday, February 6, 2022.

The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the severe cold conditions, which could be life-threatening if exposed to the elements for extended periods of time. While enacted, a system is set up for state agencies and municipalities to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to make sure that anyone in need can receive shelter from the outdoors, including transportation to shelters.

Anyone in need is urged to call 2-1-1 to get connected to these services. Safety measures have been enacted at shelters and warming centers throughout Connecticut to adhere to the needs of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“When temperatures drop this low, it can be incredibly dangerous to be outdoors for extended periods of time,” Governor Lamont said. “Shelters and warming centers are available across Connecticut. Anyone in need can call 2-1-1 to get connected to a nearby location, and they can even provide transportation if necessary.”

The following actions are implemented while the protocol is enacted:

  • The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, which is an internet-based system that enables local, regional, and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
  • The Connecticut Department of Social Services, Connecticut Department of Housing, and Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.

For emergency management news and resources, visit the state’s CTPrepares website at ct.gov/ctprepares or download the CTPrepares app to mobile devices at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

-National Consumer Voice: Updated CMS and CDC Visitation Guidance

Updates from CMS and CDC:
Further Clarification of Visitation Guidance;
Addition to Definitions of Vaccination Status;
and More
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made updates to their COVID-19 guidance.

On February 2, 2022, CMS updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which clarify their November 2021 revised Nursing Home Visitation Guidance.  They continue to emphasize that visitation must be permitted at all times, in accordance with residents’ rights, with very limited and rare exceptions.   

Important updates include: States may require visitors to be tested prior to entering a facility;  the facility must provide the rapid test to the visitor.  Visitors are not responsible for obtaining a test, and if the facility does not provide a rapid test, visitors cannot be required to test before entering.  Visitors must be allowed to enter if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or meet the criteria for quarantine (e.g., a positive COVID-19 test result).   CMS suggests best practices for improving air quality during visitation.  Facilities can employ multiple strategies to manage airflow, and funding is available to facilities for environmental changes to reduce COVID-19 transmission.  Facilities can request up to $3000 of Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment funds to purchase portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters and portable fans to increase and improve air quality.    Read the full FAQs.

Additionally, while the CDC describes fully vaccinated as having completed the first series of COVID-19 vaccines, it has added a definition for being “up to date” with  COVID-19 vaccines.  A person is “up to date” with their vaccinations when they have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any boosters for which they are eligible.

This new definition impacts who is required to quarantine in healthcare settings, according to the CDC.  Quarantine is now recommended for patients who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 if they are not “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccine doses – unless they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Learn more on the CDC’s website.
 
Updated CDC guidance also emphasizes that older adults in congregate settings are at high risk of illnesses such as COVID-19 and that it is critical to have a strong infection prevention and control program to protect residents and health care workers.  As nursing homes resume normal activities, they must continue with their infection prevention and control practices in order to prevent spread and protect residents and health care workers from severe infection, hospitalization, and death.  For more information, visit the CDC’s website.

-CEJC April “Lunch & Learn” for Professional Conservators, Medicare Coverage for SNF Care, 4/21 @ 12 PM

The Coalition for Elder Justice in CT, the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Office of the Probate Court Administrator collaborated to continue the free “Lunch & Learn” webinar series for professional conservators in 2022. Below is the information and registration for the April webinar: Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Facility Care that will be presented on April 21, 2022, by Attorney Kathleen Holt, Assistant Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. CLE and CEC approval is pending.

Join us to learn about or refresh your knowledge about Medicare coverage for Nursing Facility Care. Attorney Kathleen Holt from the Center for Medicare Advocacy will provide an overview of Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility care, tips for advocating for continued Medicare coverage, and advice on how to request an appeal for Medicare coverage.

REGISTER HERE

Register now for the March “Lunch & Learn” for Professional Conservators

The Coalition for Elder Justice in CT, the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Office of the Probate Court Administrator collaborated to continue the free “Lunch & Learn” webinar series for professional conservators in 2022. Below is the information and registration for the March webinar: Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators that will be presented on March 25, 2022, by Judge Jeannine Lewis and Attorney Sandra Sherlock White. CLE and CEC approval is pending.

As a Conservator, you serve an important role in the lives of some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. Judge Jeannine Lewis and Attorney Sandra Sherlock-White will present the history behind the creation of the Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators, published in 2018 by the Office of the Probate Court Administrator. Learn why this initiative is vitally important to enhancing outcomes for conserved individuals. Learn practical tips for complying with the Standards, guidance on best practices for serving as conservator or advising a conservator, advice on avoidance of common pitfalls, and insight from a probate judge and an elder law practitioner to assist conservators in navigating the practical realities of a very dynamic and human area of the law.

Please register for Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators on Mar 25, 2022 12:00 PM EDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5416373919216585996

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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UCONN: “Fighting for Dignity” Understanding and Preventing Harmful Interactions Between Residents with Dementia, screening and discussion with Dr. Eilon Caspi, 2/22 @ 3 PM

Please join us for a conversation about Eilon Caspi’s new book and screen the documentary film, “Fighting for Dignity.”

February 22, 2022

3:00 – 4:00

Register here:

https://events.zoom.us/ev/ACyiqzQ49hOnU2–C3HBZvGawua9124QEFsYPSYY3_KLgYdqxVG2QeurErjUgRjfXXJhXP8?lmt=1643642582000

About this event

This event is sponsored by InCHIP’s Aging Research Interest Group, with support from the Human Rights Institute. The phenomenon of resident-to-resident incidents in nursing homes is prevalent and harmful but it remains underrecognized, untracked, understudied, and largely unaddressed. During this session, Dr. Caspi will give an overview of this phenomenon in the specific context of individuals with dementia including its common causes and consequences. He will describe high-level organizational strategies and persisting barriers for reducing these incidents and keeping vulnerable residents safe (such as the longstanding dangerous normalization of this phenomenon and why our society would not remain indifferent to it in childcare settings). We will start the session with screening and discussion of the 20-minutes documentary film Fighting for Dignity (Terra Nova Films) which focuses on the emotional trauma experienced by families of elders seriously harmed during these episodes. We will conclude the session with a brief overview of my new book on the prevention of these incidents (Health Professions Press). Book: Understanding and Preventing Harmful Interactions Between Residents with Dementia (Health Professions Press, 2022): https://www.healthpropress.com/product/understanding-and-preventing-harmful-interactions-between-residents-with-dementia/ Documentary Film Fighting for Dignity (Terra Nova Films, 2020): https://terranova.org/film-catalog/fighting-for-dignity-a-film-on-injurious-and-fatal-resident-to-resident-incidents-in-long-term-care-homes/ Eilon Caspi is an Assistant Research Professor at the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy at University of Connecticut. His applied research and data-driven advocacy focus on improving understanding and the prevention of various forms of elder mistreatment (such as neglect, abuse, financial exploitation, theft of opioid pain medications, and resident-to-resident incidents) in nursing homes and assisted living residences.

AARP CT “Webinar Wednesdays” in February”

Energy Bills


Have your electric bill ready to view during the session to understand its complicated components, learn about your choices when it comes to suppliers, how to make informed decisions, and where to find the most reliable data on suppliers.

Know Your Electric Choices

Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location:
Virtual REGISTER


AARP FWN Con Artist Playbook
Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location:
Virtual
REGISTER
Explore the psychology behind ID theft, fraud, and scams through actual footage of scammers, insights and advice. Walk away armed with tools to spot and stop the criminals, and the value of sharing your experience to help others from being victimized.