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To Denver, for the ElderWatch anniversary

Travel was on the agenda for me this past week, destination Denver.

I was quite antsy to begin my trip, a winter weather advisory coming soon to a mountain pass near you. I was on the road by 11 a.m. and as usual I left late — always something before I can get out the door.

I scooted into Denver just in time for rush hour, checked in at the motel, changed my clothes and dashed downtown to attend AARP’s ElderWatch 10th anniversary celebration with program director Amy Nofzinger, Attorney General John Suthers and their wonderful staff. I was tickled to have finally met the staff members I have been in contact with over the past 10 years.

John Suthers made note of comments he has received from the many volunteers of the ElderWatch program. In a nutshell, those of us participating in the program and bringing the information back to you, find it gratifying to share this information with you on how to avoid being scammed. Most of you are listening and learning the importance of not believing you won the lottery and knowing not to send your money to pay the taxes. The scams are countless; to learn more or report an issue, you may contact them at (800) 222-4444 or visit them on the Web at for the latest and greatest information. Congratulations ElderWatch and keep up the good work.

Day two of my trip began the real reason I traveled to Denver — a retreat for State of Colorado SHIP/SMP coordinators. Translated: SHIP/SMP — Senior Health Insurance Program/Senior Medicare Patrol. Translation whittled down even further: Medicare Navigator (counselor) and Medicare Fraud educator. As I write, I’m reviewing the agenda. Yep, my brain is going to hurt again: Health Care Reform, Administration on Aging, performance measures, reports and the list goes on. I have a feeling there’s homework involved.

A grueling day two of my trip is now over, “Pooped” is my middle name. We met the new State of Colorado Insurance Commissioner, Jim Reisberg, a great guy with a master’s in gerontology. He’s quite the resourceful man, and he understands the challenges we face.

We reviewed a large number of stats. The Archuleta County SHIP/SMP program is looking fine. I couldn’t do it without the wonderful volunteers who make this program happen.

Day three is now on the radar, I’ll need a good night’s sleep to tackle this one and the drive home.

Stayed tuned for more information from the Medicare front.

Upcoming events

A Housing Solutions for the Southwest presentation will consider reverse mortgages, foreclosure prevention, homeowner rehabilitation, weatherization and help with late utility payments. It will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 12:30 p.m. You’ll learn how Housing Solutions might be able to help you or a friend. See you at the Senior Center.

Free movie and popcorn — Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. Celebrate football season with “The Blind Side.” Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) are at the center of this real-life story of family and Michael’s growth into a blue-chip football star. Share the remarkable journey of the college All-American and first-round NFL draft pick. This movie comes highly recommended by “my people.”

Medicare 101. Are you new to Medicare, or about to be? If so, this introduction is for you. Trained volunteer SHIP (Medicare) counselors will provide the ins and outs of Medicare and help you navigate through this complicated program. Monday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m., at the Senior Center. Registration is required, so call 264-2167.

Medicare enrollment

The 2011 General Enrollment for Medicare Prescription Plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage Plans has changed to Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2011

Transportation service

Available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors age 60-plus; suggested donation is $2 per day. Call for details, 264-2167.

Home meal delivery

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals on Thursdays and weekends. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly Activities

Friday, Sept. 23 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; book club 10:30 a.m.; Gym walk 12:30

Monday, Sept. 26 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Housing Solutions program 12:30 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 — Blood pressure checks 11 a.m.; free movie and popcorn.

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Administrative day, no services.

Friday, Sept. 30 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym walk 12:30 p.m.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 23 — Dijon chicken, brown rice with parsley, green salad, orange beets, orange wedges.

Monday, Sept. 26 — Baked tilapia with mushroom sauce, peas, yogurt and cucumber salad, mandarin oranges, bran muffin.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 — Chicken fried steak with country gravy, mashed potatoes, cauliflower broccoli mix, tossed salad, apple quarters, biscuit.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 — Chicken fajita, lettuce and tomato, cilantro rice, green grapes, pinto beans, whole wheat tortilla.

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Closed.

Friday, Sept. 30 — Birthday meal: Roast beef, baked potato, tossed salad, whole wheat roll, cupcake with chocolate frosting.

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