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Senior News: Medicare open enrollment between Oct. 15-Dec. 7

This Friday night from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Meals-on-Wheels and the Mid-Columbia Senor Center invite you to their 3rd Annual Baby Back Rib Dinner sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek. With the financial support of the Springs and with several other small and large donations, all the expenses for the dinner are covered, so every penny from every ticket sold goes directly to Meals-on-Wheels and Senior Center — split evenly.

For only $15 per person, you can enjoy a great meal, music by local bluegrass favorites “Hard Shell Harmony” and help support Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center.

And for the second year there will be a silent auction — but bigger and better. There will be many fantastic items generously donated by local businesses plus some special ones: a Trailblazer pennant signed by all the players, and for football fans two tickets to the OSU-Washington football game

Nov. 23 including a tailgate party. And with both Washington (4-0) and OSU (4-1) off to great starts, it should be a pivotal game.

The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare, when you have the opportunity to review and make changes to your health coverage, occurs once again between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7.

Before then you should be receiving in the mail your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from your current plan. Because the plan can change how they cover your care each year, take time to review it, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare coverage. Check to see if there are any changes in the plan’s provider network and the drugs that are covered; and any increases in the costs for the coverage.

But don’t confuse the Medicare Enrollment Period with the enrollment period for the new Health Insurance Marketplaces or Exchanges (in Oregon called “Cover Oregon”) created by the Affordable Care Act. If you are enrolled in Medicare, the Marketplaces do not affect you. But the Affordable Care Act does create several new benefits for Medicare enrollees: the percentage you pay for drugs in the “donut hole” is gradually reduced; and Medicare now covers certain preventive services, mammograms or colonoscopies, without charging you for the Part B coinsurance or deductible.

Unlike Trix cereal, vaccines are not just for kids — or silly rabbits. Each year thousands of older adults die or have serious complications from vaccine preventable diseases. Consequently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends older adults receive the following vaccines: shingles, pneumococcal, influenza (flu), and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). At the Center’s 11 a.m. Tuesday lecture Octo. 8, Jenny Tran, a pharmacist at Rite-Aid, will explain and answer any questions about these “Vaccines for Older Adults.”

And since the flu season is unpredictable and can start as early as October, Jenny Tran will also be offering flu shots at the center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.

Dennis Davis, the volunteer instructor for the AARP Driver Safety Class, wants me to remind everyone that the Driver Safety Class is offered every month on the third Monday and Tuesday. (The next class is from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 21 and 22.) The cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. You can sign up by calling the center.

Three quick reminders in chronological order: Tuesday, Oct. 1, starting at 7 p.m., The Strawberry Mountain Band will perform; the monthly iPad Users Group will meet Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 1 p.m. to discuss the new iOS 7.0 operating system; and Sandy Haechrel, AARP money management volunteer, will be at the center Thursday, Oct 3, at 1:30 p.m. to help anyone balance their checkbooks or answer simple financial questions.

Last week’s “Remember When” question was a tough one but the controversial cartoonist who created such countercultural characters as “Fritz the Cat” and “Mr. Natural” was Robert Crumb or more widely known as R. Crumb. (And the winner and only entry was Bill Van Nice.)

Sticking with a counterculture theme from the ‘60’s, what was the name of the third highest grossing film of 1969, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, and depicted many of the societal tensions of the 1960’s as two bikers travelled through the American southwest and south? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or deliver it to the center while riding the “Captain America” Harley Davidson specially designed and built for the movie.

Well, it has been another week waiting to sink my teeth into some Baby Back Ribs. Until we meet again, remember the advice of Robert Heinlein “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”


Wednesday (2) Chicken Dumplings

Thursday (3) Oven Baked Chicken

Friday (4) Potato Bar with Chili

Monday (7) Beef Stew

Tuesday (8) Lemmon Pepper Fish


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