EAAA offers tools to help out seniors

Posted Dec. 24, 2008, at 6:44 p.m.

Not that I want to be a pest, but I feel it’s important to remind you of some things that are available through Eastern Area Agency on Aging, either free or for a minimal cost. Things you definitely do not want to be without.

Now I know that I already talked about gifts for seniors, but these items can be life-savers, are very inexpensive and a nice surprise treat in January.

The File of Life is a 4-inch by 3-inch red plastic pocket that attaches to the refrigerator with a magnetic strip and contains a person’s pertinent medical information, such as medications and dosages, doctors’ names, emergency contacts, and medical conditions. A red sticker for the front door signals EMTs to look for the file on the fridge.

If an emergency were to occur and you could not speak, responding medical personnel would have a snapshot of your medical history by reviewing the file. Without it, EMTs would have no way of knowing your situation, so treatment might be delayed. This could be life threatening.

EAAA has Files of Life available, while supplies last, free for the asking. Call us at 941-2865 and we’ll put them in the mail. The next time you hear a siren, remember that one day it could be coming to your door. Help the EMTs save your life by providing them with the necessary information.

If you need help filling out the file, EAAA can help with that too.

Now, let’s say you have a file in place. You are confident that the EMTs will have a better chance of saving your life. And this is true — once the crew is inside your house.

Have you thought about what might happen if they can’t find your house easily?

Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross wants to prevent that scenario from playing out.

“The inmates at Penobscot County jail are making the 6-inch by 8-inch house number signs of highly reflective materials which meet the 911 standards,” he said. “The signs have a strong aluminum backing and can be placed on the house itself, or can be purchased bolted to a steel stake which will be positioned at the end of the driveway. Being reflective, these signs are very visible at night.”

Signs are available by calling your town office. The cost is $12 for the two-sided signs on the post, and $6 for a single-sided sign, which can be bolted directly to the house or mailbox post.

If you’re interested in having a sign for your home but your town is not enrolled in the project, call the Sheriff’s Department at 947-4585 or EAAA for assistance.

Both the File of Life and the house signs are projects of the Penobscot County Triad Coalition, an organization made up of seniors, law enforcement and social service agencies dedicated to fighting crime and fraud against seniors.

Now speaking of fraud, have you ever looked at your Medicare statement and thought to yourself, “I didn’t have that test done,” yet it was billed to Medicare? One way to check for mistakes, errors or fraud is to write down all medical appointments and procedures.

When your Medicare statement arrives, compare your list to your records. The Senior Medicare Patrol has made this task easier by producing the Personal Health Journal. This free, bright pink booklet has ample room to enter all medical information. Call us and get yours today.

One out of every seven dollars billed to Medicare is the result of fraud, errors and abuse of the system, so keep track and report anything that looks suspicious. A little diligence goes a long way in saving Medicare dollars.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@EAAA.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail info@EAAA.org or log on EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.

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