A few months ago I shared with readers the Music & Memory Program we were preparing to launch through the Senior Companion Program at the Area Agency on Aging. Recently, I’ve been asked many questions about the program, so I thought I share the progress

For new readers, the basis of the Music & Memory Program is to make connections, through personalized iPod playlists, with clients who have advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that hearing music from their lives produces many positive effects – not just while they’re listening, but beyond that time. 

Questions and Answers

  1. Is it true that we can use our MI Bridge Card at local farm markets?
  1. As the summer begins and our state’s outdoor growing season opens, there are increased opportunities for people to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.  The Michigan Farm Market Association reports there are over 150 farm markets across Michigan that are certified to accept SNAP benefits such as the Bridge Card, Double Up Food Bucks, and WIC and Senior Project FRESH vouchers.  

Three of the larger, weekly markets are as follows:  Benton Harbor, on Wednesdays, 10am-3pm, at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park; South Haven, on Saturdays and Wednesdays, 8am-2pm, at the Huron Street Pavilion; and Three Rivers, on Thursdays, 1-6pm, at 138 North Michigan Avenue.  To find other locations, you can go to www.mifma.org/findafarmersmarket.  In addition, in Berrien County, there is a mobile farmers market, supplied by Andrews University student gardens, with multiple sites around the county weekly, and this also accepts Bridge Cards.  Finally, the Feed America Food Truck has multiple locations for free food distribution around Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties this summer.  For the schedule of the Be Healthy Berrien mobile farmer market or Feed America Food Truck, please contact the Info-Line for Aging & Disability, at 800-654-2810, and we can direct you to a site near you.

Lori’s life took an abrupt change when a spinal cord infarction left her paralyzed with only use of her left arm. Describing her husband as “her best friend”, they tried to figure out what to do. An electric wheelchair helped, but not being able to stand or even transfer to a chair alone made daily life overwhelming. Unable to afford daily assistance in the home, a nursing home was recommended.

There’s a happy ending. Lori is one of 1,173 southwest Michigan residents who received life-sustaining Medicaid funded support in the home though Michigan’s MI Choice program last year. She and her husband enjoy life, have their grandchildren over, and continue to relish their years.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.”

      – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

President Trump’s recent decision to have the United States withdraw from the Paris climate agreement reveals to us that there are even more divisions among the American citizenry on global issues that threaten to deepen and make consensus on solutions more difficult, even in the face of wide international agreement.

Thirty-five years ago, few Americans were concerned about global warming and its impact on our way of life.  And even fewer looked forward to a mobilization to offset the negative consequences of an increasingly hot world. So even today many older Americans still feel they have the luxury of being able to argue about whether global climate change is real or not.

“We become the average of the five people we associate with the most.” This quote is still resonating with me after my return from a 3-day training conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

As with most conferences, there were many workshop sessions to choose from, as well as keynote speakers at opening and close of the conference. It was a great conference, full of take-aways for my specific roles at the Area Agency on Aging. But the recurring theme of that quote is sticking to me like glue.

Who do I choose to surround myself with? If those choices indeed predict my potential, am I intentional enough about making them? Or, do I take a path of least resistance, letting those relationships develop by default?

The preamble to the federal Older Americans Act enacted in 1965 is beautiful in its language and masterful in its design. It lays out the guiding principles and structural foundation for how we as a nation will plan for the aging of America and capitalize on the strengths of an aging population.


In part, it reads… “The Congress hereby finds and declares that, in keeping with the traditional American concept of the inherent dignity of the individual in our democratic society, the older people of our Nation are entitled to, and it is the joint and several duty and responsibility of the governments of the United States, of the several States and their political subdivisions, and of Indian tribes to assist our older people to secure equal opportunity to the full and free enjoyment of the following objectives…”


Questions and Answers

  1. My former employer is discontinuing retiree health care coverage of our prescriptions and supplemental insurance, what do I do?
  1. When your Medicare Part D Prescription drug coverage ends due to life changes, such as death, divorce, relocation, or as in your case, loss of creditable drug coverage from another source, then you qualify to sign up for a new drug plan, outside of the open enrollment period, without penalty.  You can do this by going online to Medicare.gov and clicking on “Find Health and Drug Plans.”  If you don’t have computer access or aren’t comfortable going online, the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has counselors certified by the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) who are available to assist in objectively reviewing your current drug plan and comparing other Medicare drug plan choices.  This service is free and confidential.