Reimagine Aging News: November 2015

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In The News

CEO Deb Taylor’s monthly column, which is published in many Minnesota newspapers, focuses on how we can Reimagine Aging to better serve seniors and their caregivers. The most recent newspaper column is available here.

If you know of a caregiver or older adult who would benefit from Senior Community Services' many supportive programs and services, please encourage them to contact us. They can stay connected with us by doing three things: 'LIKE' us on FACEBOOK, 'FOLLOW' us on TWITTER, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.

Know someone with home maintenance needs? 

Chore services may be purchased through Senior Community Services' 

HOME store.

Review Your Medicare Health Insurance Needs Annually,
You May Save Money

For older adults on Medicare and for those about to sign-up, the important fall Medicare open enrollment period runs through December 7 this year. It's important to reevaluate your plans annually because costs, coverage and the providers and pharmacies in the networks may change.
Shopping around for the best Medicare and prescription Part D plans may save you money, too.  "I recently spoke with a man who was able to save $600 by changing his coverage," said Dawn Lund, director of the Medicare Programs. The trained and dedicated volunteer Medicare counselors routinely help clients save hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually on health insurance. 
Debra was about to retire when she was overwhelmed by the phone calls and mail from businesses promoting their insurance products. "It's all overwhelming and complex, and there are so many choices. It's hard to know where to begin," she said.
Debra's Medicare counseling enabled her to ignore the telemarketer sales pitches and rely on the unbiased expertise of a Medicare counselor. The trained volunteer counselors help seniors and caregivers weigh costs and find the most appropriate coverage from Medicare, Medicare supplements and Part D plans. Sometimes a plan will have a lower premium, but the co-pays may be higher and more frequent. So a higher premium may be cheaper in the long run if there are fewer co-pays. Medicare counselors help the consumer determine what's best for them.
Medicare counseling is available at many locations in Minneapolis, Bloomington, and the west metro.  Navigating Medicare community education classes also are held at public and corporate venues. Private counseling sessions can be arranged, too.
Thanks to her Medicare counseling assistance, Debra found the best coverage for her current needs, and she saved money. "I could not have made this decision without the help of Senior Community Services. It was so wonderful to have a knowledgeable, unbiased guide to help me through this confusing decision. Thank you so much."
Help With Financial Debt for Low Income Seniors
Other Senior Community Services staff can even help resolve outstanding health insurance claims that pose a financial burden for many seniors through the Senior Partners Care (SPC) program.
Senior Partners Care has partnered with many of the major metropolitan area healthcare systems and hundreds of clinics and providers statewide.  Some of our key metro providers are Fairview, Hennepin County Medical Center, Park Nicollet/Methodist, North Memorial, HealthEast, and Minnesota Oncology.  Partners agree to accept Medicare as full payment on Medicare covered services for SPC members.
Senior Partners Care members must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, cannot have a supplemental medical insurance policy (though they can have a Part D Drug only policy), are not on Medical Assistance, and meet our program’s financial guidelines: $1,961 in gross income per month for a single person and $2,655 per month for a couple, and liquid assets of under $48,500 per household regardless of size. This excludes a house you live in and one car.
Rising costs are putting the squeeze on seniors living on fixed incomes. The programs provided by Senior Community Services help the community Reimagine Aging and ensure a quality life for seniors struggling to maintain independence.


Deb Taylor
Chief Executive Officer



The 2015 Key Community Partner Awards Luncheon was a tremendous success!

Our Key Community Partner Award winners are...

  • Park Nicollet Health Services is recognized for its commitment to seniors and its financial support of Senior Community Services through the Park Nicollet Foundation. Seniors issues are one of the two top priorities of the foundation. The Director of Nursing & Population Health, Linda Bauermeister, at Park Nicollet also serves on our board. 
  • City of Eden Prairie senior center is the hub of activitiy for residents 55 years and older. We partner with the senior center to office one of our social workers who assists Eden Prairie's older residents and their families in accessing the most appropriate and affordable combination of services that help them stay in the community for as long as possible. The city of Eden Prairie also supports both our Household & Outside Maintenance for Elderly (HOME) program and our Senior Outreach & Caregiver Services program. 
  • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation provides a variety of programs that help thousands of seniors remain independent and enjoy active, productive lives. Senior Community Services has worked collaboratively with Wilder since 1999 to provide caregiving services through a collborative called Eldercare Partners. Eldercare Partners significantly advanced the caregiver service delivery system in Minnesota by pioneering and prompting caregiver coaching and counseling, receiving a national award in 2008 for the effort. 
  • Dave Carroll and Fran Dranginis graciously volunteered to be our first Volunteer Ambassadors for the HOME program. They hit the ground running in September by representing the agency at several senior events. They also help coordinate large mailings for Senior Community Services. Dave Carrol served on the Minnetonka Senior Advisory Board for eight years and Fran Dranginis is a current member. 
  • Patsy Bartley is honored for her dedication and commitment to make sure that senior chore services would continue in Minneapolis while she was leading Neighborhood Involvement Program (NIP) through a disillusion process. She reached out to Senior Community Services to acquire the senior program. Patsy was steadfast in her commitment to make sure we had all of the information and support we needed to acquire the senior program.

Thank you for supporting Senior Community Services' vital mission to help older adults and caregivers maintain independence.


“May God bless you for making my life better and not having to worry about the cost of going to see medical providers”

- Robert Arola

On a brisk October morning, Robert Arola awoke with overwhelming gratitude in his heart, “I had this feeling I should thank all of those involved with a wonderful program for people like me who cannot afford supplementary health insurance,” wrote Robert in a lengthy, handwritten thank-you letter to the Senior Partners Care program.

Robert, 70, a Senior Partners Care client, had been reflecting on his health challenges. “I've suffered from fibromyalgia and a serious neck injury for most of my life, which has left me disabled for the last 20 years," he explained. "During the past year, however, I have been able to see specialists, have MRI’s, X-rays, and receive therapy to help relieve my neck pain, and so far, I've not received any major bills thanks to Senior Partners Care.”

The opportunities that the Senior Partners Care program has provided to Robert have been a godsend. He closed his letter with heartfelt words of thanks, “May God bless you for making my life better and not having to worry about the cost of going to see medical providers.” 

For more information, please visit

"Senior Community Services is a great organization with a focused mission and a bright future."


- Matt Bochnicek

Matt Bochnicek, a Minneapolis-based business and technology consultant, financially supports Senior Community Services because it's well-positioned to meet the growing needs of older adults. "I'm impressed with the vision and leadership, and the financial resources are used wisely. There's good stewardship of donor gifts."
Matt's grown increasingly sensitive to senior needs in recent years. He saw a loved one battle Alzheimer's Disease and die at age 62. Having grown up in Nebraska, Matt's far from his parents who still live there, and he acknowledges that widely dispersed families can make caregiving more challenging. "Living far from them weighs on me as they age," Matt says.
That's why Matt sees CareNextion ( as a valuable, free online resource for family members to stay connected and manage care, regardless of where they live. "The CareNextion platform is a perfect solution for families far away, and it will be needed more and more," he adds.
Bochnicek now enthusiastically serves on the Senior Community Services Board of Directors. "We have a fantastic board and staff and when you put these pieces together with the unmet needs, things happen. Senior Community Services is a great organization with a focused mission and a bright future."
Senior Community Services relies upon community generosity to sustain our mission.  Please consider a financial gift today and help make life healthier, more engaging and vital for those older adults in our lives.

Stay Connected With CareNextion

Are you caring for an aging loved one? Stay connected to caregiving from anywhere with This free and secure online tool strengthens support networks through centralized coordination of care, task assignment and journaling.

You can also access helpful resources. Visit for more information or to speak with a staff person call 612-770-7005.

The Reimagine Aging Institute is the public awareness arm of Senior Community Services as we reach out to the community via the news media.  Through the Institute, we illuminate aging issues of broad relevance for seniors, their families, and Minnesota communities.

Visit the Institute's web page here.  And be sure to watch for media stories of interest to families with older loved ones and friends.

See you online!

Copyright © 2015 Senior Community Services, All rights reserved.

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