The Senior LinkAge Line® is a free service — offered by the State of Minnesota — which makes it easy for older adults and their families to find community services or plan for their future.
With a single call, you can:
- Talk with an aging expert
- Receive objective help
- Explore housing choices
- Learn about your options
- Get connected to services
- Decide what is right for you
How can we help?
Medicare can be confusing. Our experts can help answer your questions and explore plan options. Each year we can help beneficiaries review their current plan and discuss changes if needed during Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15th – December 7th). We can even help you switch your Medicare plan.
Are you struggling paying for your prescription drug costs?
There are programs to help you with these high costs. Our experts can help you find out if you are eligible and help with completing an application - no matter your age, income or insurance coverage.
Are you or a loved one looking to return home from a nursing home or other setting?
Our experts can help you transition back to the community and help you find resources and services to support your needs.
Do you have questions about housing?
We can explore your housing options and can connect you to community resources that can come into your home.
Do you need help planning for your long-term care needs?
Regardless of where you are in life our experts can help you start to plan now.
Our experts and volunteers can help you fill out the different type of applications and forms needed to apply for programs like: Elderly Waiver, Food Support or Medicaid.
Have you fallen victim to a recent scam or think you may have given some information out about yourself that you shouldn't have, like your Social Security or Medicare number?
If you have, our experts can help you report the possible fraud.
We have instant access to several State Agencies. If you have a question about your driver's license or tax questions, we can connect you.
If you are looking to refresh your resume or want to start volunteering in your community, we can help you connect to resources and organizations that can help.
Do you have another question that you don't see here?
Give us a call and we can get you the answers you need or to the right place to get you the help you need.
Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at:
800-333-2433 M–F, 8am-4:30pm
Calendar of Events — Call 800-333-2433 for more information
MinnesotaHelp Network Site
- 02/07/2018Managing Your Medications
- 12/29/2017Big Changes Coming for Minnesotans on Medicare
- 10/9/2017Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know
- 10/3/2017Return to Community Expansion Moving Ahead
- 07/28/2017Working Past Retirement
- 07/20/2017KARE 11 Sandwich Generation
- 07/04/2017Summer Fun for Seniors
- 07/04/2017Food Safety for Seniors
- 05/05/2017May Is Older Americans Month
- 04/06/2017Take Time to Unwind
- 03/17/2017Affordable Care Act
- 03/13/2017Keeping Active at Any Age
- 01/06/2017Lifeline Alert Scam
We've been hearing a lot lately, about how taking multiple medications can be risky. Many older adults take several medications to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure. The way our bodies react to medication changes as we age, too. This can lead to older adults having problems keeping track of their medications and managing potential side effects.
Possible Negative Effects
Taking multiple medications can affect your balance. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. There is also the risk of drug interactions. Some drugs interact with other prescription and over the counter medications, while others may interact with certain foods.
How to Help Yourself
The best way to make sure you are getting the most from your medications is to keep an updated list of them. Record all of your prescription and over-the-counter drugs and dosages. Make a note of why you take each one and be sure to jot down any unpleasant feelings or sensations you have for more than a couple of days – they could be side effects or drug interactions. Keep this list with you and go over it with your doctor at every visit.
Major changes are coming for nearly half of Minnesotans on Medicare in 2019. Are you one of those affected?
Medicare cost plans are a very popular type of Medicare coverage that help pay costs not covered by regular Medicare and may include prescription drug coverage (Part D). Cost plans will be ending in most Minnesota counties beginning January 1, 2019. If you have a cost plan, you may have to change your Medicare plan so you have the Medicare coverage that is best for you in 2019.
The cost plans in Minnesota include:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Platinum Blue plans
- HealthPartners Freedom plans
- Medica Prime Solution plans
If you have one of these plans, don't worry. You don't need to do anything right now, as long as you are enrolled in your cost plan for 2018 and have coverage. But in the fall of 2018, you will need to make a change that will be effective in 2019. But you will have many Medicare plans to choose from, so you won't be left without coverage. These plans will be different than your current cost plan, but will still provide you with good coverage.
When the time comes to change plans, the Senior LinkAge Line® can help you choose a plan that works best for you. You can call them at 1-800-333-2433 or live chat with them at www.minnesotahelp.info® or www.seniorlinkageline.com.
Medicare changes every year, so even if you are happy with your current plan, you should check to make sure nothing has changed for 2018. If your doctor has switched up any of your regular medications, you may want to use the Medicare Plan Finder Tool to find the best Part D or Advantage Plan for you.
October 15, 2017 through December 7, 2017
Any changes made during this open enrollment window will take effect on January 1, 2018. The Minnesota Board on Aging publishes Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare, which is a complete guide, specific to Minnesota. It's available online or you can call 1-800-333-2433 to request a free copy.
Need help reviewing your Medicare coverage? Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. Experts are available Monday through Friday 8:00am-4:30pm and are offering seminars around Minnesota to highlight what's new for 2018.
Tip: Have your copy of Health Care Choices in front of you when you call the Senior LinkAge Line® to discuss options.
Watch for scams
- Be wary of people who say they work for Medicare. Medicare representatives don't make house calls or call beneficiaries.
- Be cautious of people selling Medicare products door-to-door. If someone comes to your home without a scheduled appointment, don't let the person inside and be sure to protect your personal information.
- Don't fall for pushy sales tactics. Insurance agents aren't always neutral. Tell them you would like time to think it over before you agree to anything.
The Return to Community Initiative is a role of the Minnesota Board on Aging's Senior LinkAge Line® that helps people in nursing facilities who are not yet on Medicaid leave the facility and return home. Senior LinkAge Line® community living specialists meet with these people to ask if they want to return home. If they do, the specialists then work closely with the nursing facility staff to facilitate discharge. Upon returning home, specialists do follow-up for up to five years.
During the 2017 legislative session, the Minnesota State Legislature passed legislation to expand the Return to Community initiative. It will expand the in-person assistance beyond the currently targeted people in nursing homes to reach five new group of people who:
- Have discharged from a hospital who fit within a set of socioeconomic criteria
- Have a doctor who has ordered them to stay more than 90 days in a nursing home
- Are admitted to a nursing home on a respite stay
- Have decided not to move to assisted living facility after discussing their options with the Senior LinkAge Line®
- Have reached the end of Medicare-certified home care.
Currently, staff are working hard on expansion planning. Look for more information to come your way in the months that follow.
Working past the age of retirement is a growing trend in America. In fact, according to the latest Pew Research, nearly 20 percent of Americans 65 and over reported being employed full or part time. The number is projected to hit 30 percent by 2022. People aren't necessarily working longer because they have to, but instead because they want to.
There are benefits to extending your employment that range from keeping the mind active to increasing your Social Security benefits.
Psychologists say your brain is like a muscle – using it helps it stay strong and fit. While mental decline as you age appears to be largely due to altered connections among brain cells, research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.
The stereotype of aging workers unable to keep up with the demands of their jobs is passé. In some industries, like education, law, business, and social services, older workers are thriving because of their extensive knowledge base. Many older workers say they find their work more satisfying now than they did in their thirties and forties.
There is also a somewhat little known benefit to working past 65 called Social Security Delayed Retirement Credits. If you defer receiving retirement benefits until after your full retirement age, your monthly benefit continues to increase on a percentage basis depending on when you were born. To find out how much, go to the Social Security retirement planning website.
If you decide to delay your retirement, be sure to sign up for Medicare at age 65.
In the end, if you are healthy and able to work past the age of retirement, there is good science backing you up. Just imagine the reward that comes with mentoring a younger worker and being valued for your knowledge and work ethic.
Hooray for summer! The kids are out of school and the weather has us craving ice cream instead of turning into icicles. What's on your activity list this summer? Studies have shown that staying active and socially engaged is essential for older adults to enjoy a superior quality of life. Here are some ideas to help you get a head start on your summer plans.
Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum or a local garden. There's no better way to experience Minnesota in the summer than outdoors. Be sure to choose an appropriate level of physical activity. Take an easy stroll around the gardens or find yourself a bit of shade and watch the birds.
Go on a picnic. Picnics are a classic summer tradition. Enjoy good food and drink while people-watching at the park or beach.
Take me out to the ballpark. Attending a sporting event is ideal for those with limited mobility. How about taking a trip to watch the grandkids play softball?
Have a staycation. If a full-blown vacation isn't in the cards, why not do something touristy right around town? Visit the zoo or attend a barbecue at a public venue. Your community is probably full of events like concerts and outdoor movies.
Go fish! We've got more than ten thousand lakes here. Enough said.
Take it outside. Do things you'd normally do indoors, but do them outdoors! This can include watching videos on a mobile device, eating on a deck or screened-in porch, playing cards, or just socializing.
Older adults have different needs during the summer than other age groups because of an increased risk of dehydration and sunburn. Be sure to plan your outside activities during cooler hours (morning and evening), drink plenty of fluids and don't forget the sunscreen or bug spray. Also, be aware that some medications and sun don't mix. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it's safe to spend time in the rays.
Minnesota's Area Agencies on Aging, in partnership with the Minnesota Board on Aging, provide a free information and assistance service – the Senior LinkAge Line® that helps older adults and their caregivers with a variety of aging issues. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.
Your immune system weakens with age, putting you at risk for food borne illnesses in your golden years. That's why it's especially important to be careful about how you cook and store food. Though you have probably been cooking for decades, there are new bacteria and new strains of old bacteria that require additional measures to ensure safety.
Any food can carry microorganisms or chemical agents that may cause illness when eaten. Safe food handling practices can prevent growth of bacteria to reduce your chance of getting sick. Just follow four basic rules to keep your kitchen and your family safe: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Bacteria can be anywhere the kitchen, including on cutting boards, utensils, sponges and counter tops. Wash utensils, equipment, countertops and other work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after working with food. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, blowing your nose or handling pets. Cleanliness every step of the way keeps bacteria at bay.
Separate: Don't cross-contaminate
Cross-contamination means that bacteria can be spread from one kind of food to another. It is very important to clean equipment and work surfaces between food products and before they touch prepared foods. Rinse utensils, work surfaces, cutting boards, meat grinders, blenders, and meat slicers with a bleach solution to prevent one food from spreading bacteria to another.
Cook: Heat food to proper temperatures
Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. You can't accurately judge how well-done your food is by looking at the color. Use a food thermometer to be sure you have heated the food enough to destroy harmful bacteria.
Chill: Keep it cool
Did you know food bacteria can double every 20 minutes? The longer food sits out, the more likely it is to grow harmful bacteria. Cold temperatures keep most bacteria from multiplying. Set your refrigerator no higher than 40 degrees, and set the freezer to zero.
Bacteria, viruses, and parasites grow very slowly at low temperatures, multiply rapidly in mid-range temperatures, and are killed at high temperatures. For safety, store perishable foods in cool temperatures to inhibit bacterial growth. Cook foods such as meat, seafood and egg products to temperatures high enough to kill harmful microorganisms. Always use a food thermometer to prevent undercooking, which puts you at risk for food borne illnesses.
This article is made possible by Older Americans Act dollars from the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line® makes it easy for older adults and their families to find services in their community. Call 1-800-333-2433 to speak with an information specialist.
During the month of May in Minnesota and across the nation, we celebrate Older Americans Month. This a time when we recognize the contributions of older adults and raise awareness about the important issues they face.
This year's Older Americans Month theme is Age Out Loud, which reflects what today's older adults have to say. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things and engaging in their communities. They're taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence and advocating for themselves and others.
In recognition of Older Americans Month, Governor Mark Dayton recently issued a proclamation recognizing May 2017 as Older Americans Month in Minnesota. In it, he praises older Minnesotans for their many contributions to their communities and he recognizes that they are working longer, trying new things and "Aging Out Loud". He also highlights the Minnesota Board on Aging and the services it provides for leading the nation in the fields of aging policy, advocacy and assistance for older adults.
To learn more about the services that are available to older adults, their families and caregivers, contact the Minnesota Board on Aging's Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. The Senior LinkAge Line® is the State of Minnesota's free, comprehensive resource for all things senior.
April is National Stress Awareness Month, which means it's time to take a look at the role stress plays in our lives and find ways to reduce it. No one is immune to stress — and how we react to it and deal with it matters. There is some good news, however; a recent study shows that Minnesota is ranked as the least stressed state.
A little bit of stress can actually be good for us; it provides energy and keeps us aware of everything going on in our lives. But even though stress is a daily occurrence for all of us, it's important to keep it in check. Stress can go much beyond affecting how you feel. It can also take its toll on your health. In fact, long-term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses—from headaches to stomach disorders to depression—and can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.
The human response to stress is a survival mechanism that is hardwired into our nervous systems. This automatic response is necessary for quick reaction to avoid imminent danger, such as swerving to avoid a car crash. When you perceive a threat, stress hormones rush into your bloodstream—increasing heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels. Other hormones also suppress functions like digestion and the immune system, which is one of the reasons why chronic stress can leave you more vulnerable to illness.
While danger triggers the stress response, unfortunately, so can work conflicts, concerns over debt, bad memories or anxiety in general. Although one bad day at work won't compromise your health, weeks or months of stress can dampen your immune response and raise your risk for disease.
The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Month is to remove as much stress as you can from your life. Take a few minutes and think about where your stressors lie, then work to remove them or lessen their effects. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever.
While you can't avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun.
Minnesota's Area Agencies on Aging, in partnership with the Minnesota Board on Aging, provide a free information and assistance service – the Senior LinkAge Line® that helps older adults and their caregivers with a variety of aging issues. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 or visit us online at MinnesotaHelp.info.
The Minnesota Board on Aging has prepared a summary of what the effects to Medicare may be if the Affordable Care Act is fully repealed. At this time, there has been not been a repeal of the law. Read the summary here.
People are living longer than ever before. Advances in medicine, nutritional awareness and improved exercise habits have contributed to the rapid growth of the 65+ age group. By the year 2030, there will be more people over age 65 than under age 18.
Exercise is important at any age. The benefits of exercise are the same – increased energy and self-esteem, conditioned heart and lungs, improved muscle tone and greater function of bones and joints. Engaging in regular exercise can also reduce the effects of certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Physical inactivity is a problem for everyone, but it is an even greater issue for older adults. When combined with the normal, physical changes of aging, sedentary older adults are more likely to be affected by illness, loss of function and loss of independence.
There are many sports and activities to choose from to help reach your fitness goals. The best choices are those activities you truly enjoy. It's much easier to stay with something that's fun. Walk, ride a bike or dance. Even things like working in a garden and cleaning the house are good for you.
Walking is a great way to achieve overall fitness year-round. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, tones your muscles and burns calories. Walking at a brisk pace gives you the same aerobic benefits as jogging. It also reduces blood pressure, improves sleep, helps digestion, alleviates constipation, raises metabolism and helps to reduce bone loss.
While it is important to stay active, it's also important to play it safe. Before you begin, talk to your doctor. Then start slowly with a five-minute warm-up with stretching and slow movement, increasing your activity level gradually. As your fitness improves, you can exercise more often or for longer.
Exercise at a comfortable, steady pace so you can speak without running out of breath. At the end of your workout, cool down for five minutes, so your heart rate can return to normal and your muscles and joints remain flexible.
It's never too late to increase your physical activity or start exercising. Just choose something you enjoy doing, and the benefits will last a lifetime.
If you experience any shortness of breath, dizziness, cold or clammy skin, nausea or chest pains while exercising, stop exercising immediately and contact your physician.
Minnesota's Area Agencies on Aging, in partnership with the Minnesota Board on Aging, provide a free information and assistance service – the Senior LinkAge Line® that helps older adults and their caregivers with a variety of aging issues. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 or visit us online at MinnesotaHelp.info.
Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. on KARE-11
The Sandwich Generation is a group of people, usually in their 30s, 40s or 50s, who are raising younger children and caring for elderly parents at the same time.
Caring for an elderly parent while raising children can be overwhelming – making sure everyone is at the right place at the right time and has what they need. Sometimes, there is a role reversal between the older parent and the adult child, which can be difficult.
The Minnesota Board on Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging have partnered with KARE-11 to discuss and explore the issues the Sandwich Generation faces every day in the weekly segment, The Sandwich Generation, airing Tuesdays at 11 a.m.
With help from the Senior LinkAge Line®, a free service of the Minnesota Board on Aging, those in the Sandwich Generation can connect with local aging experts to get the help and resources they need on a variety of aging-related topics. The Senior LinkAge Line® - 800.333.2433 - can help with: Medicare, housing options, applications, long-term care planning, caregiving and so much more.
Past KARE-11 Sandwich Generation Stories
- Seniors "SNAP" Out of Hunger, Staying Independent Longer
Hundreds of thousands Minnesota seniors rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP for healthy nutrition.
SNAP is a federally funded program that helps people with low incomes buy food. In 2016, just under 60 percent of seniors who qualify were signed up.
- Elder Law Helps Families Plan for Life Changes
Life is a process of constant change, especially as we age. The Elder Law helps families plan for those changes, and a loved one's growing needs.
- Son Records Mom's Journey with Dementia
A Minnesota man documents his mother's life with dementia and shares it with the world via Facebook.
- Seniors working into retirement
Many older adults have to continue working well past age 65. Learn about playing catch-up on retirement contributions from a financial professional.
- Treating low vision
With the right knowledge, tools and care, people living with low vision can make the most of their reduced sight.
- Medicare patients should know their status
Medicare patients who are hospitalized and don't know their status could pay higher out-of-pocket fees for drugs and medical services. It's important to find out.
- Finding help to pay your winter heating bills
When the temperature plunges, many people just crank up the thermostat, but that can be too costly for seniors and other people on a fixed or limited budget. Assistance programs through local CAP agencies can help those in need this winter.
- Avoiding senior scams
All too often seniors are the target of scams and fraud, but there are steps you can take to prevent your loved one from becoming a victim.
- Checking in on aging parents over the holidays
The holidays are a great time to subtly check in on how things are going in the home for an aging parent or friend.
- Calendar to raise money to fight Alzheimer's
Residents at a small town assisted living facility created a calendar to raise money to fight Alzheimer's.
- Flu season in Minnesota
Stay well during flu season by getting your annual flu shot.
- Study finds elder abuse more common
Recent findings from a survey conducted by Allianz Life
- Programs for low income people on Medicare
Help is available for those who qualify. Learn more about Low Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs.
- Help is on the way for caregivers
AARP shares information about the Care Act.
- Information for seniors on Election Day
Seniors are an important part of the Election Day process. Every vote counts! If you or you know of a senior that needs a ride on November 8, there are options.
- Answers to questions about Medicare Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 – December 7 each year. This is the time for seniors to review their current plan to make sure it is still their best option.
- Active aging
Seniors nationwide are finding ways to stay active, live longer and improve their quality of life.
- Rebuilding Together Twin Cities
Volunteering for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities may be right in your wheelhouse. The group relies on volunteers throughout the year to make necessary repairs and safety modification for homeowners in need.
- Mini-gardens for all ages
Creating custom gardens is a great way to bring generations together, while also giving e space a botanical boost with a personalized accent. By planting an assortment of green plants, you can create a low-maintenance terrarium to showcase small curios, seasonal ornaments or found objects, like pebbles or sea glass.
- The Gathering Day gives caregivers a break
The Gathering Day is a program aimed at those who have early to mid-stage dementia. It's five hours of fun for participants and a five hour break for caregivers.
- Own Your Future tips from MN Board on Aging
The Minnesota Board on Aging celebrates a milestone this year. The organization has been helping seniors and their families for sixty years.
- Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer's
Experts say more than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease.
- Blended multigenerational families face unique challenges
When adults with children marry again after being divorced or widowed, there are joys and challenges for parents, kids and extended family members.
- Looking for early signs of dementia
Dementia and TV viewing
- Teach children how to be accountable
Many parents understand the importance of setting clear limits for children and using appropriate consequences when children overstep those limits.
- Multigenerational homes in high demand
Multigenerational homes are on the rise! It's estimated that 57 million Americans are sharing a roof with their parents, grandparents, and even their grandkids, too.
- Minnesota Good Age
Minnesota Good Age magazine targets older Minnesotans.
- Volunteer opportunities for seniors
Experts say staying active and engaged in the community is key to seniors' overall health.
- Senior fall prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Minnesota ranks 3rd in the nation for injurious falls and fall-related deaths among seniors. In 2008, the state ranked 5th.
- Gemstone colors help dementia patients
Gemstone colors are helping dementia patients with memory and helping caregivers know what type of care to provide to patients.
- Garden bonding
Gardening is one of America's favorite pastimes. It reduces stress, provides homegrown, healthy food and connects one with the earth.
- Resources to help families make informed decisions
More and more people are finding themselves part of the Sandwich Generation — navigating the world of their aging parents and their younger children.
- Planning senior meals
Planning and preparing daily healthy and delicious meals for children and aging adults can be challenging.
- Expert advice on end-of-life options
Learn about grassroots initiatives to help expand families' knowledge of end-of-life options for aging adults and dying loved ones.
- New Mayo Clinic book offers women menopause solutions
Women of the Sandwich Generation have a brand new resource to help answer their health questions.
- Kitchen Safety
Is your aging loved one in harm's way in the kitchen? Today's Sandwich Generation segment focused on kitchen safety and seniors.
- Helping seniors stay fit
Living a healthy way of life is important and any age. But for those in the Sandwich Generation, ensuing that your parents or other seniors in your life are staying active heathy can often lead to added stress.
- Social Media 101 for seniors
More and more seniors are using the internet and smart phones to help bridge the generation gap.
- Tips on talking with aging parents
It's an issue millions of Baby Boomers face daily: how to have positive, meaningful conversations with their aging parents about life's changes.
- Caregivers of people with dementia face financial hardships
Many relatives and friends providing financial support or care to people with dementia have dipped into their retirement savings, cut back on spending and sold assets to pay for expenses tied to the disease.
- Millennials live in senior center to develop smart watch
They may just be staying for a week, but Brookdale Senior Living Center's two youngest residents hope their temporary neighbors can teach them a lot.
- What is the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people typically in their 30s, 40s, or early 50s who are both raising younger children and caring for elderly parents.
An automated call message stating that the Minnesota Board on Aging is giving away free Lifeline Alerts to seniors has been circulating around Minnesota. The call is coming from a Minneapolis/St Paul phone number, 651-815-4905. The message asks the senior to press 1 to verify the address for free shipping and handling or asks the senior to press 5 to confirm delivery of the product.
This automated call to seniors is a scam. The Minnesota Board on Aging is NOT giving away Lifeline alerts to seniors.
If you received a phone call from this number please report it to the Senior LinkAge Line® at 800-333-2433 for further investigation.
Health care fraud drives up costs for everyone in the health care system. One way to protect yourself from fraud is to protect your Medicare number. Medicare fraud can happen when identity thieves use someone's Medicare number; so treat your number as you would a credit card.
Follow these important steps to protect yourself from fraud:
- Don't share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email or in-person, unless you've given them permission in advance. Medicare will NEVER contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information.
- Tell your friends and neighbors to protect their Medicare number.
- Don't ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
- Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual services.
- Be wary of salespeople who knock on your door or call you uninvited to try to sell you a product or service.
- Don't accept items received through the mail that you didn't order. You should refuse the delivery and/or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the items.
And if you're looking to enroll in a Medicare plan:
- Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you about Medicare plans, unless you gave them permission.
- There are no Medicare "early bird discounts" or "limited time offers."
- Don't let anyone rush you to enroll by claiming you need to "act now for the best deal."
- Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true – especially if you need to hand over your Medicare number to get these items or deals. Decline politely, but firmly.
- By law, any promotional items you're offered to enroll in a plan can't be worth more than $15, and these items can't be given on the condition that you enroll in a plan.
Call the Senior LinkAge Line® to report fraud at 1-800-333-2433. The Senior LinkAge Line® is a service of the Minnesota Board on Aging, in partnership with the Area Agencies on Aging. It is also Minnesota's Senior Medicare Patrol, a designation by the Administration for Community Living.
Learn more about protecting yourself from health care fraud by visiting www.mnaging.org/Advisor/Fraud.aspx
Sherry contracted Polio at the age of ten and has been in a wheelchair ever since. In 2015 Sherry had pneumonia which caused her to go into respiratory arrest. She then spent time at a couple of hospitals as well as respiratory rehab unit within a nursing home. Sherry required a tracheostomy and a ventilator and didn't know if she could ever go home. Sherry and her husband Lee then learned about Return to Community.
"Jen from Return to Community was in my view was a bright light in this whole situation. Now I had somebody besides Lee [her husband] who was there to be an advocate for me and that made me feel good." – Sherry
"The best thing that Return to Community did was help us navigate the process of going from being totally dependent on others in the nursing home situation and being totally independent at home and all the things that could go wrong in that process and making sure they didn't." – Lee
Watch how Return to Community specialist Jen, helped Sherry return back to her community and helped make sure everything needed to support Sherry at home was lined up.
Medicare Open Enrollment for 2017 coverage will begin October 15, 2016 and run through December 7, 2016. This is the time of year that people on Medicare can compare plans for the upcoming year and make changes if they choose to. For most people, this is their only opportunity during the year to make changes to their plan/coverage.
There are approximately 906,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota, and the Senior LinkAge Line®, Minnesota's link to a local aging expert, is ready to help those who would like assistance with open enrollment. A service of the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Senior LinkAge Line® provides free, unbiased help for seniors, their families and caregivers. They can help via phone at 1-800-333-2433, via online chat at www.minnesotahelp.info, or in person, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In addition, the Minnesota Board on Aging publishes a comprehensive, Minnesota-focused guide to Medicare each year, called Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare. This helpful publication is available via the mail by calling the Senior LinkAge Line® or online at the Minnesota Board on Aging's website.
Finally, plans are being made to staff a KARE-11 phone bank, just prior to Open Enrollment on October 11. The topic of Medicare will also be the subject of a KARE-11 Sandwich Generation segment, which will air the same day.
The Minnesota Department of Health's Minnesota Pharmacy Syringe Access Initiative is a program designed to help reduce HIV and HCV transmission among people who use injection equipment and do not always have access to clean syringes. The program allows people to purchase up to 10 new syringes from any participating pharmacy, for private use, without a prescription.
By allowing people access to sterile syringes, it reduces the instances of people sharing infected needles and connects them with information about drug treatment programs, safe disposal of used syringes, HIV counseling and testing, and how to prevent HIV transmission. Pharmacies across the state can opt to participate in this program. To find out which pharmacies near you participate, go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/syringe/mnpharmacylist.html.
For information about proper disposal of used/dirty needles, visit https://www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green/disposing-needles-and-syringes.
For some veterans, their most difficult battles come after they've returned home. One such struggle can come in the form of getting veterans' benefits. Many people think that medical and other benefits are automatic. In reality, veterans must apply for them – and often this can be a very daunting process.
Minnesota's County Veteran Services Officers (CVSO) work with veterans and their families in all 87 counties to help with benefits and services. They help with claims, education, advocacy, counseling and more. To find a CVSO visit: http://www.macvso.org/directory.aspx and enter the name of your county.
Minnesota's Veterans Linkage Line™, known as LinkVet, is a toll-free customer service line and website staffed by a team of specialists trained by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. LinkVet provides veterans and their families with up-to-date information on all veterans' benefits, including: compensation, pension, education, medical, employment and more.
The LinkVet website – https://linkvet.custhelp.com – has information on a variety of topics with live chat support offered seven days a week. LinkVet staff can also be reached by phone by calling 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838).
In addition, the Senior LinkAge Line®, Veterans Linkage Line™ and CVSOs have been working together to enhance their partnerships for providing Medicare and veterans benefits assistance. For help with questions about Medicare, contact your CVSO or call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. They will work together to get you the answers you need.
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is a federally funded program that provides a grant or credit on an account for struggling and lower income households who need help paying their home energy bills. The program's purpose is to help lower income households meet their immediate home energy needs. Qualified customers can get help paying for both winter heating bills and summer cooling bills.
EAP is available to both renters and homeowners, typically at or below 50 percent of the state median income level. Qualification is based on household size, income, etc. Applications for 2016 - 2017 benefits must be received by May 31, 2017. To learn more, visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce's website: http://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/.
Reach Our for Warmth
For Minnesotans with slightly higher income, Reach Out for Warmth (ROFW) may be able to help. ROFW is a community-based emergency fuel fund that is a last resort for residents in crisis. Funds are donated from the community and granted from the State of Minnesota, local and federal government funds.
Donations to ROFW are tax deductible and all money raised in a given county will stay in that county to help local people who are struggling to keep their heat and lights on during the winter. ROFW has dozens of agencies that administer the program that can also provide support, referrals and can advise applicants on the options available to them. Call 1-800-657-3710 for more information or to apply.
The Senior LinkAge Line® can help you apply for these programs 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. They are your link to a local expert – finding services in your community, helping you with applications and forms, with Medicare and prescription drugs. Give them a call at 1-800-333-2433.
Aging is a natural and inevitable process – but how people age has changed and continues to change. In celebration of the Minnesota Board on Aging's 60th Anniversary, Celebrating Wisdom is a TPT program that examines getting older in America, and in particular, in Minnesota. It traces the history of aging and aging programs from the 1930s to present, with expert accounts from policy makers, scholars, workers, volunteers and from Minnesota seniors themselves.
Celebrating Wisdom, sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging, shines a light on many aging issues of great importance for Minnesota's continuously changing landscape, including the impending "Age Wave" and the increasing diversity within the state's population. You can view the video here.
The Great Minnesota Get Together – the Minnesota State Fair - is upon us, and the Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) will once again have a presence in the State Fair's Education Building. The theme of this year's booth is Blazing a Trail, a reference to the Minnesota Board on Aging, which has blazed the trail for the nation in the fields of aging policy, information and assistance for 60 years.
The Board's booth space at the fair provides a great opportunity to connect with thousands of older Minnesotans and their family members from across the state, provide them with information and answer their questions. Topics covered include Medicare, aging in place, long-term care planning, preventing senior fraud and much, much more. The booth will be manned by staff, volunteers and board members from the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota's Area Agencies on Aging, which staff the Senior LinkAge Line® (800-333-2433). They will be on hand every day throughout the fair to answer questions and connect seniors to the resources and help they need.
In keeping with the Blazing a Trail theme, the booth will feature a photo backdrop and props that visitors can use to take photos of themselves. In addition, Own Your Future, the state's initiative to encourage individuals over 40 to begin planning for long-term care, will again be at the booth, providing information and surveying fairgoers about their plans for saving for retirement and long-term care.
The Minnesota State Fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 25 through Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 5 this year. The State Fair Education Building is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during the fair.
Charles and his wife Ellen, have lived in their home of more than 57 years in Minneapolis.
After 97 days in a nursing home, Charles was determined to go back home where his wife was.
This is when he met Community Living Specialist Pam who helped Charles connect to services to make his wish become reality.
Charles and Ellen are thankful for the Return to Community program where they met Pam. "She is someone we can call on if we have to have help. And we never know when we're going to need it" says Ellen.
Hear Charles story here: Charles' story
If you have been a past user of MinnesotaHelp.info®, then you know that this site has been completely redesigned. As part of the website upgrade, you can now use Home and Community Services Finders to help you find assisted living, supported employment services and independent living skills providers. In addition, those who use these services will be able to help test another new features within the site – service provider reviews.
If you have used services from an agency or business listed in MinnesotaHelp.info®, then you can help by being part of a pilot of reviews for providers of these services. Between now and running through May 1, 2016, MinnesotaHelp.info® will test a new process for people to write and submit online reviews of services they've received for possible follow-up by the service provider.
The Minnesota Board on Aging is conducting this pilot in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to test how well the process for consumers' reviews of assisted living, supported employment and independent living skills providers is working. Consumers will be able to write reviews, see their own reviews, and providers will be able to respond. However, during the pilot, these reviews will not be posted to the live website. The goal of this pilot is to gather a sampling of the types of reviews received and to test the process for submitting reviews. To do this, we need your help.
Go to https://minnesotahelp.info/QualityInformation and click on Write a Review. Then, search for the agency you'd like to review. You be asked to log in to your My MinnesotaHelp.info® account. If you don't have one, you can easily create one.
The goal is for users to have a positive experience, so if something is not working properly or if something is missing, please let the project team know. You can email them at https://minnesotahelp.info/ContactUs or call the Senior LinkAge Line® to be routed to project staff who can assist you.
Twenty-seven percent of Minnesotans are unsure about how they would pay for long-term care expenses as they age, a recent survey found. But many of those surveyed are interested in financial products that could help them pay for that care. These are among the findings of an annual retirement and long-term care planning survey conducted by the Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).
Each year during the Minnesota State Fair, the MBA and DHS work together to administer the Own Your Future Survey to gauge State Fair attendees' feelings about retirement and long-term care planning. The 2015 survey marked the ninth time the survey was conducted. Each of its more than 2,600 respondents were asked seven main questions and four demographic questions. Among the key findings, it found that:
- Retirement attitudes differ by income levels.
Wealthier respondents were more likely to think that retirement is a well-deserved reward for years of hard work than respondents with a lower income.
- Age and income are the best predictors of an individual's biggest retirement concern.
The main retirement concern for almost half (43.7%) of those under the age of 44 is running out of money, while only 25% of those over 65 had the same concern.
- Many Minnesotans have experience as a family caregiver.
Almost the same percentage of people reported serving as a caregiver now (15%) or in the past (18.8%) as did in past years, but the number continues to grow. The likelihood of serving in this role is greater for older individuals and females.
- Minnesotans do not know how they would pay for long-term care or where they would go to purchase a product to pay for it.
Nearly one-third (27.4%) of those surveyed did not know how they would pay for long-term care, indicating a continued need for long-term care planning and awareness.
- A majority of Minnesotans would consider new products to finance their long-term care.
More than 45 percent of respondents said they would consider paying for a Medicare home care benefit, while 35.5% would consider buying combined life and long-term care insurance.
The Own Your Future Survey is not intended to be a survey that meets all the criteria of a methodologically strict survey, but gives insight into the current thinking of Minnesotans on their retirement and long-term care. The sponsors use the results of the survey to determine how concerns and behavior are changing over time regarding the critical issues of retirement preparation and long-term care plans, and how these trends should influence public information and outreach efforts so they are more effective. More detailed information is available in a news release or in the full report available on the Own Your Future website.
AARP, the largest advocate for senior in the United States, ranks Minnesota as the best place to retire in the country. They rated Minnesota the top state in the nation on its 2014 scorecard of services and support for older residents. According to the organization, Minnesota has the most senior housing units per senior than any other state – 125 housing units per 1,000 older adults, compared to the national median of 27. The next-highest state is our neighbor to the east, Wisconsin, which has 58 units per 1,000 older adults.
In addition, Minnesota was the only state to rank in the top 25 percent for all five categories AARP measured – affordability, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and care, support for family caregivers and effective transitions, which means the ability to move someone from a nursing home back into the community. Of those categories, Minnesota ranked first in choice of setting and provider, and for quality of life and care.
The population of retirees in Minnesota is growing, with the number of retirees expected to double in the Twin Cities metropolitan area by 2040.
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