Q: Some time ago you wrote a column about “senior moments” and what was normal versus abnormal. Could you print that again?
A: A number of years ago I attended a seminar on this topic given by the Alzheimer’s Association. At the end of the session, all attendees received a list of normal versus abnormal situations. I will be glad to share it with my readers again.
Forgetting where you left your keys is normal. Finding those keys and not knowing their purpose is abnormal.
Repeating a story to a friend you have previously told is normal, but repeating the same question over and over in the same day to the same person is not normal.
Forgetting what you ate for breakfast yesterday is normal, but forgetting you ate breakfast 15 minutes ago is not normal.
Being disoriented for a moment upon waking up in a strange hotel room while traveling is normal. But getting lost in a home where you have lived for years is abnormal.
Forgetting to turn off the boiling eggs and burning the pot on occasion is normal. Having no memory of putting the eggs in the pot or turning on the burner is abnormal.
Sometimes forgetting where you parked your car at the mall is normal. Forgetting you drove to the mall or have a car is abnormal.
Forgetting the details of a vacation you took ten years ago is normal, but forgetting you went on a vacation last week is not normal.
Forgetting where you left your checkbook is normal. However, forgetting at which bank you have your checking account is not normal.
Forgetting the name of a star in a movie you have just seen is normal. Not remembering the name of the movie or going to that movie is abnormal.
Last but certainly not least: Worrying that you are having memory problems is very normal, but being unaware that you have a memory loss is not.
Q: At the start of each year, I get confused about the
Medicare Part B deductible. I have several doctors and never know which one I should pay. Can you provide a simple explanation?
A: The key to understanding the puzzle can be found in your Medicare Summary Notice.
The Medicare Part B deductible is applied on a basis of first claim received, first claim applied to the deductible. This means that when a new year starts, Medicare will apply your first claim or claims received to your deductible until the full deductible has been satisfied.
Keep in mind that the first claim Medicare receives may or may not necessarily be from the first doctor you saw in the new year.
Your summary will show which provider’s services Medicare applied to the deductible, the amount of the deductible owed to that provider and how much of the deductible has been met for the year. You will receive a bill from the provider for the amount owed.
Once the deductible has been fully satisfied, the subsequent summary will say your deductible has been met for the year, and Medicare will start to pay its portion of new claims.
Your provider may request the deductible amount at the time of your visit, but because the status of your deductible may not be known at the time of your appointment, I suggest you wait until you receive your summary before paying anything. Better still, wait for a bill from your doctor.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very happy and safe new year and to thank them for all the emails, letters and phone calls. I enjoy hearing from each of you and look forward to that communication in the coming year.