Thank You to the 2018 Senior Olympics Sponsors and Contributors

Thank you to our 2018 Blair County Senior Olympics Sponsors and Contributors

Hillview Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
Keller Engineers, Inc.
Klesius & Sheedy, Inc.
Maybrook Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center
Traficante Family Chiropractic

 

Conemaugh Nason Medical Center
DelGrosso Family of Companies

 

Bavarian Aid Society
Blair Regional YMCA
Buccinese Club
Highland Park and Central Blair Recreation Commission
Hollidaysburg Area School District
Hollidaysburg Sportsmen’s Club
Northern Blair County Recreation Center
Sylvan Hills Golf Course
The Meadows Original Frozen Custard
Trinity United Methodist Church of Roaring Spring

GIVE65 Event

Blair Senior Services, Inc. Home Delivered Meals Program is participating in the GIVE65 Event to help seniors right here in Blair County.

Your gift, in any amount, will make a real difference in people’s lives and in our community as we strive to continue to serve Blair County’s older residents.

There are family members, neighbors and friends in our community with limited resources who need your help. As we age, things that we take for granted such as bathing, a hot meal and transportation, become a real challenge. Unfortunately, government funding is not sufficient to meet the needs that exist in our community. The Home Delivered Meals Program is one of the most basic ways that Blair Senior Services, Inc. can accomplish its mission of meeting the nutritional needs and improving and maintaining the health and well-being of older individuals in our community. Over the last year, the Agency has served some 10,000 consumers. Of those consumers, 7,000 are older individuals, the majority of which have incomes near or below the poverty level. We’re asking for your help as our Agency strives to continue to our county’s older residents.

Our Goal is $25,000
We have the chance to not only receive up to $5,000 in matching funds, but we are also competing for an additional $10,000 in financial rewards based on how much we raise or how many donors give.

Please visit https://www.give65.org/bsshdm to donate!

Blair Senior Services, Inc. Extreme Weather Advisory for Older Adults

Community Service Announcement

DATE: June 29, 2018

FOR RELEASE: Immediately

CONTACT: Mike Smith, Administrative Services Director Blair Senior Services, Inc.
Phone: 814.946-1235
Email: msmith@blairsenior.org


 

Blair Senior Services, Inc. Extreme Weather Advisory for Older Adults

Altoona, PA: As extremely hot, humid weather is forecasted across the state for the upcoming week, health and aging officials would like to remind all Pennsylvanians to take the necessary precautions to remain healthy and safe.

During the hot weather advisory, Blair Senior Services, Inc. would like to remind the area’s older adults that heat relief is available Monday through Friday at each of their Senior Centers during the following regular business hours:  Central Blair Senior Center (located in downtown Altoona) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Southern Blair Senior Center (located in East Freedom) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Northern Blair Senior Center (located in Tyrone) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Williamsburg Senior Center from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. For additional information on each of the Centers, including directions, visit Blair Senior Services, Inc.’s website at www.blairsenior.org/senior-centers.

– End –

Patricia Reidy

Patricia Reidy has been volunteering for the Apprise Program and VITA Program at Blair Senior Services for the last 4 years. Patricia volunteers 1 day a week answering phones for the Apprise program.  Patricia worked for the telephone company for 45 years so she thought this would be a good fit for her. During tax season, she volunteers 3 days a week helping prepare taxes.  “It has helped me to keep busy”, states Patricia. 

For Apprise, Patricia answers the phones and helps to answer very basic Medicare questions and is able to acquire information to direct the person calling to the right office or Medicare insurance counselor.

When asked what she likes the most about volunteering for Blair Senior Services, Patricia  stated,

“Everyone at Blair Senior Services is so helpful and nice.  I enjoy getting out of my house and being able to give back.”

Patricia would definitely encourage others to help volunteer saying, “There is always a need. Blair Senior Services provides so many services to the area and the more people who help the better it is for the volunteers and the consumers. It is a great way to stay busy and give back.”

If you or your group is interested in volunteering for this program or any of the programs offered, please call Blair Senior Services, Inc. at 814-946-1235. 

Scott Moyer

Scott Moyer has been working for Blair Senior Services, Inc. for almost 2 years now.  He initially applied with the Agency as a van driver, but ended up working in the Apprise Department and helping with consumer education activities.   

Scott meets with consumers regarding Medicare options and provides them with information and knowledge so they are able to choose the plan that is best or make informed decisions when changing their current plan coverage. 

When asked what he likes best about working for Blair Senior Services, Scott stated, “I enjoy helping people.  This is a way to get out of the house but know that I am making a difference by helping people.  I also like the staff and all the education the Agency provides you to do the best job you can to help the consumers.”

Scott’s favorite memory thus far was the warm welcome he received from the staff when he first started with Blair Senior Services. 

Scott stated he would definitely encourage people to work or volunteer stating,

“Blair Senior Services has great opportunities in both the volunteer and work capacities.  If you are looking for something to do you should try it. It’s a great place to be and know you are part of an agency making a big difference in the senior community.” 

If you are interested in volunteering for one of the many programs at Blair Senior Services, Inc., please call 814-946-1235.

Did You Get Your New Medicare Card?

Social Security numbers are used for just about everything; including financial records, medical information and legal documents.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and people with disabilities, are removing Social Security numbers (SSN) off the cards it distributes to enrollees. Instead of identifying members by their Social Security number, the new cards will use a computer generated series of 11 letters and numbers. The cards will also no longer include a person’s gender or signature.

Pennsylvania residents were among the first affected by the change and they should have received cards between April 2018 and the end of June 2018.

The reason for this change is meant to help defend you against identity theft, which affects a large and growing number of seniors. By removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards this will help to prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe. 

The use of Social Security numbers on Medicare cards has long been problematic. Whether through theft or fraud, if your number falls in the wrong hands, it can be used to access your bank accounts, steal your Social Security checks, or fraudulently get medical care or prescription drugs in your name.

According to the Social Security Administration, a task force was created in 2006 to investigate identity theft. Because about 42 million Medicare cards display the full Social Security number, authorities feared that beneficiaries would be vulnerable to identity theft. Federal agencies have been recommending removal of the SSN for a number of years, and now the Department of Health and Human Services has until 2019 to issue new modernized Medicare cards to new beneficiaries and give out the new cards to those who already have existing Medicare cards.

“The change is long overdue”, states Melissa Hey, Blair Senior Services, Apprise Coordinator. “You show your health insurance card to a lot of people you wouldn’t share your Social Security number with”, she says. “The updated cards provide more privacy protection and lowers the risk of identity theft.” 

Ironically, the change has sparked a wave of new scams targeting people on Medicare. The new scams started almost as soon as the replacement card program was announced. In one typical scheme, fraudsters call Medicare beneficiaries on the phone and tell them that in order to get the new card they need to provide Social Security and bank account information, threatening to cancel their Medicare benefits if they don’t provide both. None of which are true.

Seniors who account for 50 million people using Medicare, the other million are people with disabilities, are especially vulnerable to scams. Melissa Hey says, “ Older adults are targeted more often because they are perceived to be more trusting. But scams can have a devastating impact on seniors who live on a fixed income and who don’t have time to rebuild savings.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR NEW CARD

You don’t need to do anything to get your card.
Medicare won’t call you to ask for personal or financial information.  Just make sure Medicare has your current mailing address. If it needs to be updated due to moving in the past year or two, contact Social Security, which administers the Medicare program. You can update it online by creating an online account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount, or you can call 1-800-772-1213. You can also go to a Social Security field office.

Medicare coverage and benefits will NOT change.
Getting a new Medicare card and number will not change the coverage or benefits that people with Medicare are currently receiving. The new Medicare Beneficiary Identification number (MBI) will be used for billing and for checking eligibility and claim status.

There is no charge for the new Medicare Card.
There is absolutely no fee to get the new card.  If anyone says otherwise, that should be a red flag that it’s a scam.

You may not get your card right away.
The process of mailing cards will take time, and you may not get your new card at the same time as your friends and neighbors. All people with Medicare will be mailed new cards by April 2019. You can make sure your mailing address is up to date by contacting Social Security at www.ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY (Teleprinter/Teletypewriter) users can call 1-800-325-0778.

You can use your current card until January 1, 2020.
There is a transition period during which you can use either your new Medicare card or your old card at doctors’ offices and hospitals. Both should work until Dec. 31, 2019. After that, shred your old card—don’t just put it in the trash. The new card is smaller, the size of a credit card, so it fits in your wallet more easily. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, only the new card will be usable. 

You should keep your OTHER Medicare cards.
About one-third of people get their Medicare benefits through private insurance plans known as Medicare Advantage. Your Medicare Advantage card, which like the new Medicare cards, uses a unique identifier, not your Social Security number. This will not change and will still be your main card for Medicare. But you may be asked to show your new Medicare card, too, so take that with you for your initial appointments. Same goes if you have a separate plan for prescription drug coverage, Medicare Part D.

You can get help if you are scammed.
If you think you are a victim of identity theft or Medicare fraud, contact your state’s Senior Medicare Patrol, a federally funded program to help Medicare beneficiaries, their family, and caregivers. You can also call the Medicare fraud tip line at 1-800-447-8477; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 800-633-4227; or Blair Senior Services, Inc. Apprise office at 814-946-1235. Unlike a Social Security number, which is difficult to change, you can get a different Medicare number if needed.

Melissa Hey said, “Ways to cut down on fraud with the new cards is first and foremost, keep the card in a safe place. Do not carry the new card in your wallet.  After your initial visits with your doctors, pharmacy or if you have an appointment here with us, always return your new card to a safe, secure location in your home. Be sure to check and read all the statements you receive in the mail regarding your benefits. Check for costs not associated with any visits, prescriptions or ‘fake’ services you may be charged.”

“Overall the new Medicare cards will make identity theft and theft of services for Medicare recipients less common. But be aware, scammers always find new ways. Please feel free to call our Apprise office at 814-946-1235 if there are any questions we can help answer for you.”

For more information on the new Medicare cards you can go to www.Medicare.gov.

Seasons Magazine Summer 2018

Harold Snyder

Harold Snyder has been volunteering for the VITA Program at Blair Senior Services, Inc. for the last 18 years. Harold started originally as an employee for Blair Senior Services in 1999, working at the information desk and security services. In 2000, he began helping with the VITA Program. When he retired, he decided to continue with volunteering to do taxes with the VITA Program at Blair Senior Services, Inc.

Harold volunteers at the Blair Senior Services’ Central Blair Senior Center by assisting consumers with preparing their taxes.

When asked what he liked the most about volunteering for Blair Senior Services, Harold stated “I enjoy helping the people with being able to provide them with a free service that many on fixed incomes may not be able to afford. They are appreciative and it’s so rewarding knowing I am able to help them.”

When asked if he had a special memory while volunteering for Blair Senior Services, Harold said, “I have met so many nice people over the years. Even the ones that have passed away, I still remember them. I know one gentleman came in and was rather upset about getting his taxes done and actually left the paperwork and walked out. I completed his return and called him. He was so happy and appreciative that he comes back every year for me to do his taxes and is much happier about it. It is nice knowing that I made his experience a better one.”

Harold would encourage anyone to give the VITA Program a try saying, “It is such a help to so many in the community. It is also a much needed service for our area seniors. You receive training and I can say all the volunteers have fun and the seniors are so appreciative.”

If you or your group is interested in volunteering for this program or any of the programs offered, please call Blair Senior Services, Inc. at 814-946-1235.