A Step Ahead
In an early move to prevent cuts to services such as Meals on Wheels, AARP Kentucky is building grassroots support before the 2012 budget battle begins.
Lawmakers will begin in January to hammer out a biennial budget in a sluggish economy. Meanwhile, waiting lists for in-home services continue to grow. About 19,000 Kentuckians are on waiting lists for services from the Department of Aging and Independent Living, including nearly 6,500 in need of home-delivered meals and more than 3,200 in need of homemaker services.
People age 65 and older make up 13 percent of the state's population, and the percentage is growing. Most people want to live in their own homes for as long as possible but will need in-home services to do so.
To get involved in this issue, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to aarp.org/ky.
Staying Fit in Mind and Body
In a recent poll of AARP Kentucky members, 80 percent said staying mentally fit is a top concern, and 77 percent said health-related issues are a high priority.
To address these concerns, AARP Kentucky will host a statewide series of free member events, with tips and resources to help members stay sharp and healthy.
Kicking off the series is a Day of Health on June 18 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, with Louisville native Mozziz "Coach Mo" DeWalt as special guest. Coach Mo, a former contestant on NBC's The Biggest Loser, will give participants tips on how to exercise their bodies and brains. The event is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. To register, call 1-877-926-8300 toll-free. For more information, go to aarp.org/ky.
Access to Doctors
When Congress voted in December 2010 to freeze Medicare doctors' rates for a year, the move came as welcome news in Kentucky and Iowa.
More than 750,000 Kentuckians and almost 514,000 Iowans rely on Medicare to meet their basic health care needs. Iowa's ratio of practicing physicians to Medicare beneficiaries is just 12 per 1,000, ranking the state 48th nationwide. Kentucky is only slightly better off, with 13 doctors per 1,000 beneficiaries. Without the "doc fix," the ratios likely would have grown worse. Physicians would have faced a 25 percent rate cut from Medicare, raising the possibility that some might have closed their doors to Medicare patients.
"Although we applaud the doc fix, it is a temporary solution," says AARP Kentucky state director Phil Peters. "To avoid future funding gaps, we need to change the formula Medicare uses to pay doctors." To learn more, go to aarp.org/governmentwatch.
AARP and the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions will begin the 2011 Senior Scam Jam series on April 21 in Ashland. Presenters will describe common scams and alert participants to beware of certain kinds of pitches.
"Recognizing signs of fraud and knowing how to make wise investment decisions are building blocks to financial security," says Bill Harned, AARP Kentucky executive council member.
Funded by the Investor Protection Trust, the events are open to the public. For dates and locations or to register, go to www.aarp.org/ky. To watch video clips on fraud protection, go to youtube.com/aarpky and click on the "Buyer Beware" playlist.