Q:  Are there any resources for seniors who need hearing aids?  We can’t believe how expensive they are and on our fixed income we cannot afford it.

A:  This is a question we receive repeatedly on the Area Agency on Aging’s (AAA) Info-Line for Aging and Disability.  Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, although some private insurance plans do.  Medicaid has very limited coverage of hearing exams and hearing aids and it is often difficult to find a provider that accepts Medicaid.  If you are a veteran, you might qualify for assistance through the Veterans Administration. 

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!’” ~ C. S. Lewis

Friendships come in all shapes, sizes and ages, over the stages of our lives. I remember my first best friend. We played together before we could walk or talk. We started kindergarten together and graduated from high school together. We even shared a house together briefly as young adults before our lives took us in very different geographic directions. Now, 58 years later and many states between us, we still have an unshakable bond. It’s different now, of course, but when we get together, we can go from 0-60 in two minutes. She is a great gift in my life.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Winston Churchill

Q:  I’ve had the same Part D Prescription Drug plan for three years.  My doctor put me on two new prescription drugs and suddenly my co-pay has increased a lot.  What’s going on and what can I do?

At home, at work, and in my public service endeavors, I am surrounded by technological geniuses – I celebrate geeks! Our son works as a Systems Monitor for a large retail chain. I believe he was born understanding how computers work. He has been taking them apart and putting them together for as long as I can remember.

Old age is not a disease - it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses. ~ Maggie Kuhn

Q: My grandmother is staying with us temporarily and we need a small ramp for steps in our garage into our house. Are those available to rent anywhere? Would her insurance cover the cost?

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘team’? Do you think of your favorite sports team? (I love my Tigers, but come on bullpen! but I digress). Or do other pictures come to mind when you think of team?

At the Area Agency on Aging we hear daily from people who struggle with issues of age and disability. We’re always glad they called. We’re here to help. Interspersed in those stories of people dealing with challenges of advanced age or disability, we also hear stories of people living long and living well in spite of – or even in response to – significant challenges. From time to time in this column we’ll share those inspiring stories. Stories like Elinor Otto’s.

A key role of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is to provide the community with information and resources. Our Info-Line for Aging and Disability can field upwards of 40 calls a day on a variety of topics. This column seeks to share answers to some common questions received. If you have a question, feel free to contact the Info-Line at 800-654-2810.

Ralph and Minnie have spent most of their lives together and they intend to keep it that way. Now ages 97 and 95, Ralph met the lovely Minnie in the 1930s and they married in the summer of 1940. Ralph spent his career with a local corporation and Minnie worked in the home raising their children. When we met them, Minnie was in a nursing home and Ralph was determined to bring her back to live with him in their own home.

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Betty Friedan

The current growth in the older adult population is unprecedented in our nation’s history. Ten thousand Americans turn sixty-five every day. By 2030 one out of five people in the U.S. will be 65-plus. Three factors - aging baby boomers, lower birthrates, and a longer life-span - will combine to grow the number of Americans aged 65 years or older to 72 million in the next 15 years – doubling the 65-plus population of 2010.

Twenty-five years ago Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, inspired us with, “OH! The places you’ll go!” Schools everywhere are celebrating Dr. Seuss and other amazing children’s authors in March during National Reading Month. I don’t need a calendar to remind me to read, but I’ll use any excuse I can. And, oh the places I’ve been! On a recent vacation I read six books. That may not seem like a vacation to everyone, but for me it was a slice of heaven.

Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day. Or is it?

Most federal holidays are pretty clear. You can find the ten official holidays listed at archives.gov. You can also be fairly certain you know what we celebrate on those days.