By denise g nelesen, lcsw editor, County's Aging & Independence Services

The recent major earthquake that hit the islands of Hawaii shows us that disasters can happen at any time, anywhere. Unfortunately, only 30 percent of Californians are prepared for disasters that occur naturally in this state, such as earthquakes, wildfires, and winter storms.
The County Office of Emergency Services (OES) urges all San Diegans to complete a Family Disaster Plan. A plan discusses what steps families should take before, during, and after a disaster. A plan also has helpful tips for evacuating your home, suggestions for home emergency supplies, and assembling family disaster kits for your vehicle and home.
A Family Disaster Plan includes:
· A list of emergency contact numbers for family members.
· An out-of-area contact for family members to call following a disaster.
· Pre-identified meeting areas near and away from home, in case family members become separated.
Copies of the Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Tagalog, and can be downloaded from the County OES Web site at Click “Family Disaster Plan” in the listing on the left of the page.
Copies of the plan and guide can also be requested from the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services at (858) 565-3490.


The Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006 (H.R. 6197) was signed into law by President Bush last month, after the measure was passed without opposition by both the House and Senate.
Established in the 1960s primarily to govern social services for seniors, programs under the Older Americans Act have transformed into the first stop for seniors and their families to identify home- and community-based long term care options, as well as other services to assist them.
This revised act will support community-based efforts to assist low-income and limited-English speaking populations with enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug program. It will also launch Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to create a single point of access to the range of services available to seniors.
The act also directs the Administration on Aging to designate someone to be responsible for elder abuse prevention and services. The new Older Americans Act has an increased focus on civic engagement and volunteerism.
To read the measure, see


An Adults in Crisis Emergency Fund has been created to help older adults who are caught in a situation or with a need they cannot afford at the moment. Examples might include the security deposit on a new apartment, replacing a broken refrigerator, or paying for an unexpected car repair, dental or veterinarian bill.
AIS is joining with Catholic Charities to coordinate the program, using interest from specific individual bequests made to an AIS Endowment Fund to assist adults in crisis. Catholic Charities has already been assisting low-income seniors through the distribution of the Marguerite Schwartzman loan program. This collaboration will make it possible for more people to be served.
The Adults in Crisis fund will offer loans to low-income seniors age 60 and older who are San Diego County residents and in need of emergency financial ais, especially to remain independent in their homes. The money cannot be used to benefit a younger person in the same household.
Before a loan can be given, it must be determined that no alternative financial resources exist. The coordinators will work with applicants to determine reasonable installments to pay back the loan.
Many of the referrals are likely to be from AIS social workers and care managers regarding clients, but other community health and social service professionals may also make referrals. For the Adults in Crisis Emergency Fund guidelines and referral forms, contact Marion Keller at (619) 231-2828, ext. 103, or email her at



Archived installments of our "In Focus" radio show are available for listening on SigOnSan Diego's Eldercare web site: Click"Elder Talk Radio" and scroll down until you see mention od "In Focus" and its host Vicki Velasco. Out thanks fo to the SigOnSanDiego folks for providing this archive!
The radio show is broadcast a 10 a.m each saturday on AM 1700.Each week,we present a different topic of interest for older adults and other.There will also shows that feature other divisions of the County's health and Human Services Agency. Here are upcoming shows:
Nov-4- Adoption Awareness
Nov.11-Mental Health Medications for children
Nov-18-Butrition and MOMeals
Nov-25 (No show;Thaksgiving weekend)
Dec-2New Elder Abuse Pilot Project



Our friends at HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) have some important information on health coverage for 2007.
Premiums for Medicare Part B will increase $5 a month from $88.50 to $93.50 beginning in January.
The next Medicare enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 through the end of December. For those who are in what are called Medicare Advantage Plans, there are new options in the menu in our county: Besides a new HMO, there are PFFs (Private Fee-for-Service Plans) and three PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations). You will be receiving a handbook with information about all these options, so this may be a good time to review your situation.
Regarding Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, you will need to enroll in a plan by Dec. 8 if you want coverage to start by Jan. 1, 2007. Also, the term “doughnut hole” has been replaced by “coverage gap” in the literature. In most, but not all, plans, beneficiaries can reach a coverage gap where they have to pay 100 percent of their drug costs for a period of time.
Low-income beneficiaries will not automatically be enrolled in a Part D plan this year, so they should become aware of their options.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for assistance, call HICAP at (800) 434-0222. More about MEDICARE



The “Medicare & You 2007” handbook is available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The handbook helps Medicare beneficiaries review their coverage options and prepares them to enroll in a new plan, if they wish. This official government handbook covers what’s new, health plans, prescription drug plans and rights. CMS is encouraging people to review their current coverage this fall to see if it will meet their needs in 2007. Medicare beneficiaries will be receiving a handbook in the mail, or they can order by calling (800) MEDICAR(E), or see it on the Medicare Web site:


Wheelchairs for Balboa Park

People who need to use a wheelchair to better enjoy all the features of balboa Park can check at the seniors Lounge in Casa del Prado (Room 105). The volunteers at the Seniors Lounge are also looking to have more wheelchairs available.So if you have a wheelchair in good condition to donate for this issue,contact Kristi Fenick from the City of San Diego's Seniors Citizen Services at (619) 236-6906

East County Project CARE

Do you live alone? Are you concerned about a senior who lives alone? Project CARE may be able to help. It is a community program that involves community service agencies and local businesses in providing services to any senior or disabled person. Programs include R-U-OK ( daily phone call),Postal alert, gatekeeper, Vial of Life, YANA ( You are Not Alone), Safe return and more. These free program helps maintain people in their homes.

For more information call 1-800-510-2020 or follow this link PROJECT CARE

Food Staps are for Seniors,Too

Many older adults on low fixed incomes can qualify to receive food stamp benefits each month. People on SSI are not eligible. Food "Stamps" no longer come in a stamp or check form; eligible participants receive a card that resembles a debit card.

To apply for this benefit, call: (866) 262-9881. Learn more on the County web site: , click "All services A-Z" and find "Food Stamps" under "F".

New Online Library Services

Readers can be notified by email that their requested books have arrived at their branch library. Customers can download legal forms. These are just two of the recent improvements the County Library has made to its Web site: . Besides the new features mentioned above, the site includes courtesy emails before items are due to be returned; a Spanish language resources page; and new database resources on American history and government, ancient and world history, and state and world geography.

More info for Seniors


Do you know of other people who could benefit from the information provided in the Aging & Independence bulletin? Would they (or you) also like to be on our emailing list to receive notices of special items? If so, send mail and email to Denise Nelesen , 9335 Hazard Way, San Diego, CA 92123; or call (858) 505-6474


Salud+HealthInfo is for information and educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. If you are concerned abut your health or that of a child, please consult your family's physician or health provider immediately and do not try to diagnose yourself.

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