Area Agency on Aging: Note what to avoid during the vaccine rollout

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    By Kay Kaylor
    PREVIEW Columnist

    I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the regional long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor, all as an employee of San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). The many aging and care concerns will be addressed here.

    As COVID-19 vaccines become available in Colorado for Phase 1B, after Phase 1A is finished, for people age 70 and older, among other categories, keep in mind that scammers have updated and increased their activities. Scammers are fully aware of the vaccine rollout and how people might be anxious to get a vaccine. The federal Administration for Community Living lists what will likely not occur regarding vaccines — information that should protect people from scammers. 

    No one will likely have to pay out of pocket for a vaccine during this public health emergency. You cannot and should not pay to put your name on a waiting list for the vaccine, nor pay for early access to it. No legitimate person will solicit from door-to-door to give you the vaccine.

    No one from Medicare or the health departments will contact you about the vaccine, so be suspicious of anyone claiming to be from such agencies. Neither should any insurance agent or person from a medical office or other vaccine site call you and ask for your Medicare number, Social Security number, credit card number or bank account to give you the vaccine.

    As always, do not give private information out over the phone or Internet unless you initiated your contact with a legitimate source. If you feel suspicious, you likely are correct and should pause and think about what you are doing or hang up.

    WellMed tip

    The WellMed Charitable Foundation offers tips with videos to help keep people aging in their homes. A QuickCare tip for those who have trouble gripping a refrigerator handle is to buckle a belt (or perhaps tie something like a necktie or scarf) around the handle. Then slip your arm through the loop and pull with your arm muscles to open the door. An occupational therapist has reviewed this tip. Such tips will be added here in the future.

    SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare; see sjbaaa.org. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to kkaylor@sjbaaa.org.