The holidays are a busy time of year, but before you finish making your list and checking it twice consider adding these six things to your holiday checklist this year:
1) Fight Medicare Fraud
Did you know you are the best defense against Medicare fraud? Every year we lose billions of dollars to Medicare fraud. This is why the National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP) works to empower Latino seniors, their families, and caregivers to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud. There are simple steps we can take to ensure older adults don’t become victims of Medicare fraud. Visit www.nhcoa.org/medicare for more information.
2) Keep Up-To-Date With Vaccinations
Immunizations aren’t just for babies and children. We need to get vaccinated at every stage of life to ensure we protect our health and that of our friends, families, and communities. One immunization everyone should get each year is the flu shot. This year the flu season seems to have peaked early, so be sure to get vaccinated before ringing in the New Year! Medicare recipients can get the flu shot for free as part of preventative care coverage. Click here to find a nearby clinic or pharmacy.
3) Avoid the Fiscal Cliff
The future of Medicare, Social Security and other programs that impact Hispanic families and older adults are at risk as we face a series of budget cuts and elimination of tax breaks and temporary tax cuts known as the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Make your voice heard! Call your Representative and Senator and let them know that they are putting families at risk by not acting now to solve the budget crisis.
Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121
House of Representatives’ switchboard: (202) 225-3121
4) Empower Your Loved Ones to Talk HIV
It is known that HIV/AIDS impacts Hispanics and other diverse communities disproportionately. However, one segment of the population that is often looked over or neglected is Hispanic older adults. In fact, in recent years we have experienced an increase in HIV/AIDS infections among the Latino aging population, and older adults in general. Almost 25% of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. are ages 50 or older, which is up from 17% in 2001. For more information, visit www.actagianstaids.org.
5) Adopt Healthier Eating Habits
The holiday season is a time when we gather around tables to share delicious meals. While these meals represent family memories and holiday cheer, the increased calorie intake can affect your health and well-being. This is why NHCOA helps to educate and inform Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers on how to prevent and/or manage diabetes and its complications through its signature program Salud y Bienestar (Health and Well-Being), which is supported by the Walmart Foundation. Salud y Bienestar has helped thousands of Latino seniors and families over the last several years make healthier lifestyle changes.
6) Plan a Budget
Be sure your 2013 budget accurately reflects your needs. Different health concerns, new diet restrictions and family visits should all be represented in your future budget. Also, it is important to know that in states there are laws that make it possible for workers to take paid time off to care for sick family members or make trips to the doctor, such as California. Ask your employer about leaves that pay to make sure you’re not losing wages due to a family emergency. After budgeting, www.benefitscheckup.org/ to see if you or your family members are eligible for assistance paying for medicine, food, utilities and more.