(By Ursel J. McElroy, Ohio Department of Aging Director
Jillian Froment, Ohio Department of Insurance Director)
Each year, older adults are making positive contributions in Ohio. As dedicated volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, caregivers and more, they offer insight and experience that benefit the entire community. We must celebrate and recognize their impact each and every day – especially during the month of May which is Older Americans Month. The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
- Older Ohioans deserve the very best support and in his budget proposal, Governor Mike DeWine is ensuring the departments of Aging and Insurance protect and assist older Ohioans. From our offered services to the information we provide, we are always ready to lend a trustworthy hand to older Ohioans.
The Department of Aging offers a range of programs designed to help older Ohioans and family members, neighbors and friends who care for them. Health and wellness programs like HEALTHY U Ohio and the STEADY U Ohio falls prevention initiative help individuals make informed decisions about their health and safety. Home and community-based supports, like home-delivered meals, transportation programs, the PASSPORT Medicaid home care waiver and more, help older adults remain active and independent in their communities for longer. When care is needed, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocates for consumers, and the National Family Caregiver Support Program and other programs provide resources and assistance. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov for more information and resources.
The Department of Insurance’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) is the lead Medicare educational and enrollment assistance program in the state. Medicare experts help older Ohioans become familiar with the different benefits, coverage options, financial assistance offerings, and key deadlines that they will encounter. Last year, OSHIIP helped Ohioans save nearly $36 million for Medicare consumers by aligning them with the coverage most suitable for their needs.
May is also the time when OSHIIP’s popular statewide Welcome to Medicare events are in full swing. Geared to those approaching the age of 65 and transitioning into Medicare, older Ohioans can learn about their Medicare and prescription drug coverage options during face-to-face sessions with OSHIIP’s Medicare experts through June. A listing of the events as well as Welcome to Medicare webinars are available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. OSHIIP staff also can be reached at 1-800-686-1578 for those who want unbiased answers to their Medicare questions.
Both agencies work with the state’s 12 area agencies on aging to make their services and resources available to you. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
The dedicated employees of our agencies are proud to serve older Ohioans and it is an honor to celebrate Older Americans Month. We urge all Ohioans to become familiar with the resources provided by the Departments of Aging and Insurance and to take advantage of them.