County plans Medicare Information Day

Pierce County and other local agencies are conducting an Information Day Oct. 24 to help older adults understand Medicare prescription drug program changes that will occur Jan. 1, 2006.

The free event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tacoma Elks Lodge, 1965 S. Union Ave., Tacoma. Representatives from Medicare will explain the new prescription drug program in a keynote presentation, repeated at 10 a.m. and 12, 2 , 4, and 6:30 p.m. A Q&A session will follow each session.

The new program will affect 42 million Medicare recipients nationwide and more than 100,000 beneficiaries in Pierce County. Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care, SHIBA Helpline (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors), Puget Sound Health Care Professionals, and AARP of Washington, along with other members of the Pierce County Senior Advocacy Coalition, will offer workshops and presentations on such issues as living wills, estate planning, identity theft, fraud, choosing long term care facilities, talking with pharmacists, and alternatives to the Medicare plans. Individual advising about the Medicare prescription drug program will be provided by Medicare staff, SHIBA Helpline volunteers, and Senior Information & Assistance specialists.

Participants can receive flu and pneumonia shots (provided by Walgreen Drug Stores) as a Part B benefit to subscribers. Walker and wheelchair tune-ups, blood pressure checks, eyewear cleanings, strength and balance assessments, eligibility screenings, depression screenings, advance directives, and a variety of other services will be offered free of charge. Everyone attending will receive a Senior Health Guide and two-for-one coupons for Amtrak Cascades. In addition, the Cascade Regional Bloodmobile will be on site from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. for those who would like to make blood donations.

For more information or a schedule of the day’s events, please call Bob Riler at (253) 798-7384.