Snowbirds and the US Census
Older adults who travel south for the winter months can fill out census forms when they return to Michigan. Submitting the document with a southern address could cost their home state millions in federal dollars.
“We are encouraging older adults to fill out their forms at home in Michigan,” says Tom Czerwinski, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “It is a situation that could be very costly for Michigan’s senior services; potentially reducing funding at a time when state dollars are decreasing and the older adult population is increasing.”
The census information is set to be distributed in February and March, when many snowbirds are already at their southern addresses. The form asks individuals to identify who is living at their address on April 1, 2010. Simply write “usual residence elsewhere” on the document and return it without completing the information.
Those who live in Michigan for six months or more will have a form mailed to their Michigan address. They can fill out that form when they return to their northern home.
Upcoming federal funding to state and local entities will be based on the 2010 census. If snowbirds are not counted it would costs the state millions in federal funding for senior services.
Free Kent Rx Discount Card Usage Soars in Tough Economy
The Free Kent County Rx discount card, sponsored by Kent County and the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), debuted in January 2009 and has seen usage numbers climb steadily over the past year.
There are no enrollment or participation guidelines and it is open to Kent County residents of all ages. Participating pharmacies include CVS, Family Fare, Meijer, Kay, Kmart and Walgreens. Card users can expect to see an average of 30% savings off their prescriptions.
“We anticipated the card would be useful to Kent County residents, and it certainly has been says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at AAAWM. “The last report showed over 1,200 users in October 2009. This is double the 600 individuals reported just after the card debuted.”
AAAWM worked with a number of organizations throughout the county to distribute cards. Individuals can still request a card by calling (616) 988-5081 or by visiting www.aaawm.org or http://www.accesskent.com/OnlineServices/rxcard.htm. Additional savings on eyeglasses, vitamins, pet medications and dental care are also available.
Kent County Administration was the driving force in the inception of the discount card. “This was a great option to give to our citizens without costing the county any money," says Wayman Britt, Assistant Administrator. “It assists Kent County residents who may not have drug coverage and helps individuals and families control skyrocketing prescription expenses.”
Cards have no expiration date and are open to Kent County residents of all ages. Cards can not be used in conjunction with insurance coverage. Depending on the insurance provider, discounts may be better with the Kent County Rx Card.
For more information on how to use the card, click here.
Seniors and the Flu
While all seniors are encouraged to get a seasonal influenza vaccination, experts believe older adults are less vulnerable to the H1N1 strain. Older adults should still discuss H1N1 with their physician.
Kent County seniors age 60-64 who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid funded vaccines may be eligible to receive flu or pneumonia shots under the Kent County Senior Millage.
For more information, contact AngelCare Home Health Care at 245-8899 or Catherine’s Health Center at 336-8800.
For up-to-date information on influenza, visit www.flu.gov
Kent County Rx Card
As a resident of Kent County, you and your family have access to a FREE Prescription Drug Card program. Simply download your card and receive savings of up to 75 percent (savings average around 30 percent) at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. Participating pharmacies include the following: Kmart Pharmacy, Meijer, Family Fare, Kay, CVS/pharmacy, and Walgreens, as well as thousands of independent pharmacies.