If you are an older adult who would like to make new friends safely from the comfort of your home, Care Connection wants you to join the Friends Connection, a new program being offered on Zoom in May.
The Friends Connection will begin meeting at 1:30 p.m. May 19 and continue through Aug. 11. The first meeting will instruct folks on navigating Zoom, and the other discussions will focus on topics the group chooses. Topics could range from exercise and wellness to creative arts and culture. To register and get a Zoom link, call 1-800-748-7826 or visit goaging.org/events.
“The goal is for them to make friends, really,” said Marilyn Gunter, Director of Care Management for Care Connection for Aging Services. “It’s a way to bring together people that would not meet otherwise to form that friendship. It’s to allow members to form closer bonds from week to week.”
The agency is offering the first Friends Connection sessions online while its senior centers prepare to reopen after being closed to the public because of Covid-19. Eventually, sessions will be offered in person.
Four Care Connection Care Managers trained for the program through St. Louis University, which adapted it from Helsinski University in Finland to address the growing challenge of social isolation among older adults.
“Social isolation already was a problem, and was just made worse by the pandemic,” Gunter said.
During the first session, the participants will talk about their interests so that the sessions can be tailored to their interests.
The moderators will guide the meetings, but members will be able to connect naturally. “It’s very unstructured,” Gunter said.
If you or someone you know would like to give the Friend Connection a try, please call Care Connection at 1-800-748-7826 or register here.
We are celebrating Older Americans Month this May with the theme “Communities of Strength,” recognizing the important role older adults have in strong, resilient communities.
This year’s theme recognizes that in tough times, communities find strength in people — and people find strength in their communities.
Over the past year, the agency has sought to build strength in the area’s older adults by staying connected to them, even while senior centers have been closed to the public. Staff members and volunteers have provided phone calls, video Zoom calls, home-delivered meals, and curbside pickups. Our vaccine navigators have provided help in finding the COVID-19 vaccine.
We’ve offered tips on gardening, exercise, birdwatching and simple recipes in our Cabin Fever Cures, a weekly handout to entertain folks.
During Older Americans Month, Care Connection is encouraging community members to share their experiences. Here are some ways to share and connect:
•Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal, and share it with others via social media, or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.
•Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal.
•Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.
•Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.
When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—they build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate!
The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is warning older adults to “Guard your Card” – that is, your Covid-19 Vaccine ID card.
When you get your first COVID-19 vaccination, you should get a card stating the date of the shot and manufacturer of vaccination. If you did not get the card, contact the provider site where you got vaccinated (the pharmacy, health department, doctor’s office, etc.) or the state health department to find out how to get a card.
After you get your COVID-19 vaccine, keep your vaccination card safe. Scammers want to use the COVID-19 pandemic — including the cards from your vaccination — to try to steal your personal information.
While many people are proud of their vaccinated status, we suggest that you NOT share a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination card on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else. Scammers are scouring such sites for your personal information like your date of birth, health care information or other personal information to steal your identity.
If someone offers to sell you a COVID-19 vaccination card, it’s a scam. Valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination can only be provided to individuals by legitimate providers administering vaccines.
To learn more or report suspected Medicare fraud, call the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565. The Missouri SMP is a non-profit agency that empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors and abuse. Medicare fraud and abuse costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion-plus annually.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
To commemorate Older Americans Month, we are proud to introduce some members of our Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role of older adults in maintaining strong, resilient communities. Meet Mary Sharp, who has been an important part of our Warsaw Senior Center for years. Mary has volunteered as a receptionist and a class leader. We appreciate her as she gives back to older adults in her community while she enjoys our support services. Each fall, Mary reaches out to our Care Manager with questions about Medicare insurance. She appreciates knowing that she can turn to us for help. During COVID-19, she has enjoyed receiving telephone reassurance calls from other volunteers. When we reopen our dining room, we can count on Mary to volunteer her time in the Village Café. Thank you, Mary, for being a member of our Communities of Strength.
Our friends at WellMed have a wealth of information for family caregivers scheduled for May. Topics include diabetes, dementia, home care and Covid. Take a look at the calendar and download the PDF today.
The Friend Connection group is geared towards seniors in need of more social support and connection in their community. The overall goal of the Friend Connection is to alleviate and prevent loneliness for older adults, and allows members to meet new people, engage in meaningful activities and discussions, and share feelings of loneliness.
Aging Mastery can help you live better and thrive. Modest lifestyle changes can produce big results! This fun and engaging course helps turn positive lifestyle changes into habits that lead to improved health, stronger economic security, enhanced well-being, and increased societal participation. Classes combine evidence-informed materials, expert speakers, and group discussions focusing on aging well and enjoying longevity. An hour a week for 10 weeks could change the rest of your life! There is a $30 materials fee for this course.
Care Connection is offering a new virtual program on Zoom to help older adults make sound financial decisions.
“Money Smart for Older Adults” will teach you important points to consider in planning for a more secure financial future. Topics covered include how to guard against and report identity theft and other forms of financial exploitation or scams and how to prepare financially for unexpected life events and disasters. Part 1 covers Financial Exploitation and Identity Theft and Part 2 covers Preparing for Unexpected Life Events. Part 1 is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday May 17; Part 2 was from 9 a.m.t o 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 18. You may register by calling 1-800-748-7826 or or filling out the form in the events section.
Care Connection will offer a free workshop series online via Zoom to help older adults live a healthier life. The “Living a Healthy Life” weekly workshops will take place at 11 a.m. Thursdays beginning April 29.
The course consists of six weekly sessions. Advanced registration is required by calling 1-800-748-7826 or visiting goaging.org in the events section.
The course is offered at no cost to people 60 and older and their caregivers.
The workshop uses proven practices based on an ongoing series of studies conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine to provide a path for older adults to enjoy life with conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
–Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance.
–Techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation.
–Appropriate use of medications.
–Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
–Evaluation of new treatments.
Materials – including a textbook, a journal and a cookbook – will be provided. Participants make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they encounter in creating and carrying out their self-management program.