By Betty Berry, Tuesday, January 25, 2011  Q: My neighbor has told me about an interesting series of seminars offered by Senior Concerns each month. Can you provide details on the coming February presentation?

A: I am glad that your neighbor enjoys the seminars and that she made you aware of the “Solving the Aging Puzzle Series.”

The theme of the 2010-11 series is “Help — Who Are You Going to Call,” and the subject of February’s presentation is Government Resources. It is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks.

Two panelists who know the ABC’s of these two vital resources will present information on Social Security andMedicare — the two most important government programs that seniors must understand.

Essie Landry from the Social Security Administration will address several Social Security programs that will be of interest to new enrollees to the system as well as those who have been enrolled for a number of years. Landry will explain how and when to enroll for benefits. She will also talk about survivor benefits — who is eligible and when — and Social Security disability benefits.

Katherine Raley from the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging will provide a general overview of the programs under the agency’s umbrella.

Raley, who is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) manager, will discuss time frames for eligibility and enrollment.

This should be a very informative program, providing attendees a better understanding of these two most important programs that are part of every senior’s life.

Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling Senior Concerns at 497-0189. If you forget to make a reservation, walk-ins are always welcome.

If you need respite care for a special needs senior so that you can attend the seminar you can make arrangements for that care at the center when making your reservation. Reservations for respite care are required.

There are no fees for these informative discussions; however, donations are always welcome.

Q: I was enrolled in the Senior Advantage Plan Aetna in 2010. They informed me they will not be available in 2011. I haven’t taken any action. Do I need to do something?

A: You have until Jan. 31 to make a decision about the type of coverage you want for 2011.

If you do nothing, you will automatically be placed in original Medicare with no prescription drug coverage.

If you want prescription drug coverage you must enroll in a stand alone prescription drug plan that will work with original Medicare or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

For assistance call 1-800-434-0222. You must take action by Jan. 31 or you will be without prescription drug coverage for the year 2011.


Jan. 31: Seminar p.m.; “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” Moorpark Active Adult Center, 799 Moorpark Ave., Moorpark. Will be facilitated by the Senior Advocate. For information and reservations, call 517-6261.

Feb. 5: Seminar 9-11:30 a.m. “Aging or Alzheimer’s,” Westlake Village City Hall’s Community Room, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village. Will be facilitated by Dr. Lisa Hayden. For information and reservations, call 497-0189.

Feb. 9: Seminar 1:30-3 p.m. Looking Ahead in 2011 — “What Federal and State Programs May Change.” Westlake Village City Hall, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village. Will be facilitated by the Senior Advocate. For information, call the advocate’s office at 495-6250.

— Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362; phone 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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