Schedule Medicare enrollment appointments now

Open enrollment for the Medicare Part D (prescription drug program) and Medicare Advantage plans (like HMO’s and PPO’s) began nationwide Nov. 15 and here in Archuleta County on Nov. 17. All interested parties should have their appointments scheduled by mid December.

Our counselors are trained through the State of Colorado Division Insurance SHIP program and are here to help you through the, at times, confusing process.

Part D low income assistance is available to qualifying individuals. If you are not sure if you qualify we can help you make that determination or contact Human Services directly at 264-2182 to schedule an appointment for low income assistance. Qualifying individuals may have a zero premium and prescription costs may be as low as $3.

Anyone already participating in the Part D program is strongly encouraged to schedule a reassessment appointment or go online at www.Medicare.gov to ensure that you are in the best program for you. Over the years we’ve had many individuals tell us they’d like to have their friend or neighbors program or enroll with a particular well known company name. Folks need to understand that these programs are based on their individual medications and your friend’s plan may actually be worse for you. Programs also may change the drugs they cover from time to time or the amounts they charge for your premium and/or drugs.

If you have not yet enrolled in a plan, there are penalties involved and these penalties continue to increase the longer you wait. We’re here to help you through all the choices.

Don’t delay, call today for your appointment, 264-2167; walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

Emergency plan enrollment

As part of the Archuleta County Emergency Plan, the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center is creating a list of people of all ages who may need assistance in the event of an emergency such as a blizzard, power outage, flood, etc.

Folks on oxygen or an electric dependent health system should be on the list as well as anyone with a disability, which could make it difficult for them to evacuate.

If you think you may be in need of assistance during an emergency, call 264-2167 to register. Be prepared, call today.

High fructose corn syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made of roughly 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Since its introduction in the late 1970s, it has become the preferred sweetener for many food manufacturers, mostly because it is cheap (especially when made with government-subsidized corn, as is unfortunately the case in the U.S.).

Now, new research from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centers shows what many have long suspected: our bodies make fat from fructose more readily than from other kinds of sugar. In the research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, six healthy individuals went through three tests: one in which they drank 100 percent glucose, another with half glucose and half fructose, and a third with 25 percent glucose and 75 percent fructose. The tests were random and double-blind, and the subjects ate a regular lunch about four hours later.

The researchers found that lipogenesis, the process by which sugars are turned into body fat, increased significantly when as little as half the glucose was replaced with fructose. Fructose given at breakfast also changed the way the body handled the food eaten at lunch. After fructose consumption, the liver increased the storage of lunch fats that might have been used for other purposes.

Of course, HFCS isn’t the sole cause of the obesity epidemic, but it is certainly a major offender. Regardless of what the new industry commercials say about its being natural, one of the best dietary decisions you can make is to eliminate it from your diet. Not only does HFCS boost fat storage, but it also serves as a “marker”: any food that contains it is likely over processed and full of cheap, unhealthy, unnatural ingredients. Stick with natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup and use them in moderation — or better yet, retrain your taste buds to appreciate the subtle sweetness of fresh fruit. While fruit contains a small amount of natural fructose, the bulk, fiber and relatively low sugar density of the fruit’s flesh minimizes the lipogenesis potential.

(With permission from Dr. Andrew Weil.)

Estimate your Social Security benefit

A new online calculator estimates your future social security benefit.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has unveiled a new online calculator that allows you to project what your monthly benefit will be based on your actual work record.

The calculator, known as the Retirement Estimator, also lets you create “what if” retirement scenarios based on different earnings projections and retirement ages. The calculator requires in putting personal information like your Social Security number date of birth and mother’s maiden name, but the SSA says the site is secure.

Since the calculator is tied to your actual Social Security earnings record, there is no need to manually enter years of earnings information. The Retirement Estimator is also interactive, allowing you to compare different retirement options by changing your “stop work” dates or expected earnings.

With the click of the mouse, you can calculate the difference in benefits if you retired at age 62 rather than, say, 66, and how reducing your current income by switching to part-time work will affect your benefit.

You cannot use the calculator if you do not have enough Social Security credits at this time to qualify for benefits, or you are already receiving Social Security benefits. The SSA also stresses that retirement estimates are just that, estimates. They will vary somewhat from the actual benefit you may receive, in part because the actual future benefit will be adjusted for inflation. The Retirement Estimator is at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/.

Thank you

A very special thank you to Dr. Deborah Parker-Smith and Dr. Beth Mazzola for volunteering their time in making our National Memory Screening Day possible. Their dedication to the older adult population of Archuleta County is greatly appreciated.

Holiday closure

The staff of The Silver Foxes Den wishes you a peaceful Thanksgiving Holiday. We will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 28. We hope to see you Monday, Dec. 1.

Activities

Geezers. Are you a geezer? For stimulating conversation and an opportunity to meet and greet other geezers, drop by for coffee on Friday mornings at 9 a.m. Please note the geezers get together has been canceled Friday, Nov. 28, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Gym Walk. Tuesdays Fridays at 11:15 a.m. We’re closed this Friday for the holiday, see you Tuesday, to walk off the Thanksgiving dessert.

Gym Walk. Mondays at 11:15 a.m.; get in that weight bearing exercise on a smooth surface.

Canasta. Mondays at 1 p.m. in the lounge.

Meditation for Healing. On Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Sarah Barbara hosts the weekly Meditation for Healing program and will teach you how to meditate and reap the healing benefits of the practice. This program is free.

Dance for Health. On Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet and modern jazz with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to workout to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. This program is free.

Free cardiovascular screening

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., JoJo Jensen, Community Health Worker with the San Juan Basin Health Department, will provide free cardiovascular screenings for qualifying individuals. The screenings include blood pressure check, height, weight BMI (body mass index), glucose, and cholesterol testing, as well as a computerized analysis of each individual’s overall cardiac risk. The process takes 20-25 minutes per client, including the questionnaire on health behaviors and access to medical care. You do not need to fast, and will get your results immediately. Anyone identified as moderate or high risk for cardiovascular disease is offered a referral to local medical providers for follow up. Free screenings are offered to those that have not had a cholesterol screening in the past year or to Medicare recipients that do not have insurance in addition to their Medicare. Please call 264-2167 by Monday, Dec. 1 for an appointment on Dec. 3.

Pagosa Mountain Hospital

Meet Brad Cochennet, CEO of Pagosa Mountain Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 12:30 p.m. Brad will provide us with a brief overview of the services available at the hospital as well as answer your questions.

Alzheimer’s Support Group

Please note the Alzheimer’s Support Group regularly scheduled to meet the last Wednesday of every month has been canceled due to the holiday and will meet again Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. For more information regarding this group, call The Den at 264-2167.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is proud to announce the expansion of the Meals on Wheels program. Frozen meals may be ordered for once a week delivery. Our goal is to reach those residents who are more rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information, call 264-2167.

Toys for Tots

The Den is sharing the holiday spirit with the children of our community by accepting donations of unwrapped, new gifts. If you are interested in donating to Toys for Tots there is donation box available in our dining room.

Archuleta Seniors Inc.

This is one of the best deals in Pagosa. Help out seniors and save money at local businesses with the discount card. Archuleta Seniors, Inc. is selling annual memberships for folks 55 and older at The Den for $5 on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Also, the ASI board would like for folks to know that the computers at the Silver Foxes Den are available for your use. 2009 memberships will be available at a later date.

Presentations and activities

You name it and we will do our best to make it happen ... within reason that is. We are interested in what topics you are interested in, or maybe you have a topic or activity you would like to provide for us.

It’s all about you, so give us your ideas.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, guests $5. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $6. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Wednesday, Nov. 26 — Roast turkey, cornbread stuffing, cauliflower/broccoli mix with cheese sauce, cranberry mold and pumpkin bar.

Thursday, Nov. 27 — Closed for the holiday.

Friday, Nov. 28 — Closed for the holiday.

Monday, Dec. 1 — Oriental Chicken, brown rice, broccoli and tropical fruit.

Tuesday, Dec. 2 — Enchilada Pie, lettuce and tomato, yellow squash, mixed fruit and whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Dec. 3 — Roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, parslied carrots, sugar free jello salad and dinner roll.

Thursday, Dec. 4 — Administrative services only.

Friday, Dec. 5 — Bratwurst, sauerkraut, pickled beets and peaches.