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Series covered Medicare and more

The 13th Annual Healthy Living Series, held at the Lincoln County Senior Center, covered a variety of topics — health, nutrition and end of life planning for starters.
Of all the issues, however, Medicare Part D was first and foremost on the minds of participants.
“I just don’t like it, put it plain,” said Margaret Ingle, a participant. “I think they just pick on seniors.”
Other seniors have reacted favorably to the program after saving money.
“It’s affecting different people in different ways,” said Marti Hovis, program director for the Senior Center.
Josiah Bova, western regional manager for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program with the Division of North Carolina Department of Insurance, was on hand at the event to answer questions.
He said the May 15 deadline for the plan may be extended, but he made no promises.
He suggested those with questions visit www.ncshiip.com.
The Senior Center has also offered up its services to those confused or undecided.
“Medicare Part D has consumed a lot of what we have done in the past months, definitely,” said Karen Leonhardt, director of the Senior Center.
The center is hosting “My Medicare Matters” programs April 19 and May 15.
Participants must bring their Medicare cards, list of prescription drugs and doses they take.
After a computer analysis, they will then be told the best plans for them.
Besides Medicare, seniors were also told about ways to stay off of prescription medicine and out of nursing homes — healthy living.
They were told about today’s “epidemic of obesity” and the importance of exercise.
“If you do a little bit here and a little bit there, you’d be surprised how it adds up,’ said Donna Norwood, a registered nurse with the Lincoln Health Department.
Making positive changes can extend life and improve its quality.
“It’s never too late to change our diet, eat healthy and to exercise,” said Melinda Houser with the Cooperative Extension.
Besides learning how to live longer, participants also learned about the importance of planning for death.
“Nobody wants to talk about end of life because we want to live forever,” Hovis said.
That said, Leslie Barlowe with Hospice of Lincoln County, emphasized the importance of making decisions while you still can.
“It’s very important they pre-plan and list what treatments they would like and would not like,” Barlowe said.
Despite such serious topics being covered at the Healthy Living Series, there was also time for fun — including exercising in chairs and free lunch.
“They enjoy the fellowship, the food and, of course, the door prizes,” said Sharon Boyles, program assistant for the Lincoln County Senior Center.
The event was organized by five community agencies – the Lincoln County Senior Center, Lincoln County Home Health, the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension, the Lincoln County Health Department and the Lincoln County/Lincolnton Parks and Recreation Department.
by Sarah Grano

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