Wednesday, June 2, 2021


It’s All About the Heart and Everything Else

Two weeks ago, my heart was aflutter. Not because I was excited about something, it just felt weird and I was convinced, I was having a heart attack. I spoke with my doctor and she recommended I go to the emergency room, just as a precaution. It was not a heart attack, thankfully, but I am wearing a heart monitor for a few weeks to see if something is going on in there. This monitor made me think about other ways we can see if things are going ok with us by getting screenings and preventive services and how important they are.

Preventive services are tests, screenings and health counseling that help to prevent or catch illness or disease early and keep you healthy. Medicare offers many preventive services free, check with your doctor to see which ones you need. Your local Area Agency on Aging may have “A Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services” so you can check what is available to you.

Everyone getting Medicare is able to have a Welcome to Medicare “Wellness” visit within the first 12 months of being on Medicare. This visit can include a health risk assessment and go over your medical and family history, height, weight and blood pressure. They will determine if you are behind on any health screening and advise you one a schedule for them. Consider this your baseline or starting point of your Medicare health journey. When making the appointment you need to say you are scheduling your “welcome to Medicare wellness visit” so they can bill Medicare correctly. Medicare also covers an annual “Wellness” visit for those who have been on Medicare for over 12 months. This visit covers many of the same things in the New to Medicare visit. It makes sure you are on track and getting the tests and screenings needed.

Other preventive services that are available include:

  • annual flu shot
  • Pneumococcal shot
  • prostate screening
  • glaucoma tests
  • colorectal cancer screening
  • depression screening
  • cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • tobacco use cessation counseling
  • cardiovascular disease screening

Getting a few tests and screenings throughout the year could make the difference in preventing or catching an illness or disease early. For me it is worth it.

Preventive Services is just one-way to stay healthy for as long as possible. I am glad that I took that step to ensure my own health. So if your heart is aflutter call your doctor or 911, but if you would like more information on Medicare’s Preventive services or other Medicare information, please contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

 Jackie Dover

Aging Matters, Public Information Director

Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging


Wednesday, May 19, 2021


The Envision I &R AIRS 2021 E-Conference was a success. Attendees appreciated the ease of attending virtually but all expressed missing the opportunity to network in person. Those who registered for the conference will soon be able to access the recorded sessions to watch at their leisure.
Please save the time to join us for the Fall Virtually Yours Conference October 13th, 14th and 15th. This conference will be geared toward frontline folks and their supervisors. It’s going to be awesome and you’re going to love it!

Friday, December 11, 2020


I & R Community Specialist Listen for the Good

I grew up hearing people say there are three things you are not supposed to talk about…

What are those three things you might ask? Politics, Religion and Money.

I don’t know who came up with those 3 but I do believe in 2020 people are talking about all of the above and then some. As a young adult I remember hearing this and wondering why I should avoid such topics. As I grew older it quickly became apparent as to why these conversations should be limited to a select few. Everyone has a different opinion regarding politics, religion and money. These three topics invoke a lot of emotion, they can encourage as well as destroy relationships.

The list of things you’re not supposed to talk about gets even longer when you mention gender identity, racism, and defunding the police. Can’t we all just sit around the fire sing America the Beautiful, roast marshmallow, eat s’mores and drink hot cocoa? Yes we can, in order to make America “great again” we need to have positive respect toward people from all backgrounds and circumstances.

When we are engaged in a good healthy conversation in a safe and or courageous space good ideas emerge. In our role as Community Resource Specialist we often get tossed the hot potato of politics, religion and money over the phone. Section 9 of the AIRS 2020 Manual does an excellent job defining and describing our role serving diverse communities.

I won’t waste your time paraphrasing the entire section in this blog. However I couldn’t resist inserting my favorite quote from page 193.

“Awareness of one’s self is the first step to understanding others. People who are secure in their own identity can act with freedom, flexibility and openness toward people from different backgrounds…

Knowing this means knowing that you always have to work at it.”

We are human. We bring ourselves into every call and the tone in which we respond is regulated by the AIRS Standards. The I &R service requires us to respond in a professional, nonjudgmental, culturally-appropriate and timely manner. In my six years of being on the phones with clients I have had to attentively listen without offering my personal opinion on topics of politics, religion and money.  In fact, asking a client what is the source of their monthly income can spark an unwarranted conversation about money. Dare I mention the intake process requires specialist to ask a client’s race, ethnicity and military status. And just like that the specialist is knee deep in a conversation about politics and religion.

Over the last 4 years I have had to govern my conversations in the office and over the phone by one of my favorite scripters. Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Oops I just slipped in the topic of religion.

As we close out this year, in the midst of a raging pandemic and plagued by racial divide, I hope you all will join me in my determination to check myself.  I’m walking into 2021 with self –awareness, more compassion for diverse groups and practicing self-care. Over the phone we don’t take sides but we seek to find value in the client’s experience.

In I & R we don’t talk in depth about politics, religion and money. Specialist have to attentively listen when callers need to vent their frustration. In that moment we have to toss aside our personal opinions and focus on the need. Often those hard conversations seem to last for an eternity but it’s in those moments I encourage my staff to listen for the good.

Happy Holiday & Happy New Year!!!

Jamie Saunders - December 2020 MAK AIRS blog

Thursday, November 5, 2020


Successful Aging: What words to use, which to avoid in describing the older generation

Many people have expressed dismay about the lack of a good term to describe aging boomers. “Senior citizen” and “golden ager” didn’t work. In a report “Words to Age By: A Brief Glossary on Tips and Usage,” Paul Kleyman, journalist at New America Media, surveyed nearly 100 journalists for the Journalist Exchange on Aging to get a sense of the language they used in covering issues of aging. Here are a few principles noted in the report.

Elderly. “Use this word carefully and sparingly.” The term is appropriate in phrases that do not refer to specific individuals such as “concern for the elderly or a home for the elderly.” It should not be used in reference to a person’s deteriorating condition.

Seniors. A style guide for one family of newspapers say that reporters should be specific when possible, reserving ‘seniors’ when no other descriptive will work.

Additionally journalists are urged to use adjectives that are accurate and avoid patronizing or demeaning words such as “feisty,” “spry,” “sweet,” “eccentric,” “feeble,” “senile” and “grandmotherly.”

Activity and relationships. Describing an older adult as “active” should also be avoided. This implies the older individual is an exception, suggesting that in general, older people are sedentary. Additionally, don’t mention relationships when they are irrelevant. An example of an inappropriate use of reference to a relationship is “Golda Meir, a doughty grandmother, told the Egyptians…”

Mentioning a person’s age. Don’t mention it unless it’s germane. A news story about an 84-year old truck driver who hit two cars should cite facts that his or her age was relevant to the accident.

Be aware of political spin. This applies to public policy aspects of a news story. For example, the use of the term “burden” can be misleading. We may read it causally such as the “burden” of Social Security or the “burden” of our aging society. It implies that the ills of America are primarily caused by our aging population.

Avoid the naïve sense of wonder. This is my favorite both in news stories and general conversations. Operative words are “remain” or “still.” Example: “At 76, Smith remains active as a teacher…gardener…or hang glider,” which assumes one typically is inactive at age 76. “Remains active” can be erroneously interpreted as a “vestige of one’s waning power,” Kleyman writes.

On a personal note, here are some questions often asked of me. “Are you ‘still’ working?” “Are you “still’ running?” “Are you ‘still’ doing yoga?” It’s yes, yes and yes, with appreciation for the interest and gratitude knowing that many cannot.

The most recent question is from an acquaintance who asked me what’s new in aging. After my rather comprehensive reply, she asked in all seriousness, “How is your memory?” My acquaintance was worried I would forget to remind her friend to take some packages home. There were no “remains” or “stills,” yet the expectation was clear.

Professional journals also have guidelines. A notice to those submitting papers to the “Gerontologist,” a highly regarded peer-reviewed journal on aging, reads, “Please avoid (using the terms) elders, older adults, or other words…” Caregivers, Alzheimer patients and study participants are more commonly used terms.

People’s response to age-related language can depend on their chronological age, generation, cultural community and personal preference. Avoiding preconceived notions and remaining neutral is important not only for journalists, but for each of us in our everyday lives.

So what are the words commonly used? I gravitate to the descriptor indicated as the most preferred among journalists: “older.” I also use terms such as “later life,” “the next chapter,” and the “older generation.”

The guidelines for journalists can help us become more aware of implied ageism through the subtle use of language. By astute listening and use of accurate words, each of us can debunk the stereotypes and erroneous assumptions about aging. Consider that a collective goal.                                                                  Helen Dennis,

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Did you get your stimulus check?

It’s not too late to get your Economic Impact Payment worth $1200 or more.  It has been extended till October 15, 2020.

Most people over 18 who make less than $99,000, got an Economic Impact Payment.

If you haven’t seen your money, go to now and use the Get My Payment tool.

·         It’s not taxable. You won’t need to pay it back

·         It won’t impact your benefits, or immigration status.

·         There is no late filing penalty if you don’t owe taxes

Getting your payment is easy. 

Simply file your tax return or use the Non-Filer tool at

Who should use Non-Filers?

Use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool if you do not normally and are not planning to file a federal income tax return for 2019 for any reason including:

  • Your income is less than $12,200
  • You’re married filing jointly and together your income is less than $24,400
  • You have no income

Information you will need to provide

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
    • Taxpayers who previously have been issued an Identity Protection PIN but lost it, must use the Get an IP PIN tool to retrieve their numbers
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
  • For each qualifying child during 2019: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse


Help is available at 211,, or your local Area Agency on Aging



Wednesday, September 9, 2020


Dear colleagues in 211,

 MaryEllen Mendl, Executive Director of Vermont 211 recently posted the following on the AIRS 211 Directors/Managers area the other day:

“Several of you have mentioned experiencing an issue when folks dial 211 from their cell phone using wifi. We have been experiencing this in VT since March, when it first came to our attention responding to COVID. I spoke with Senator Sanders office this morning regarding this national issue. I encourage you to do two things:

1.     Contact your congressional offices if you are experiencing this issue (chances are you are but you don't know it). Let them know the FCC is working diligently to get 988 set up and free of this type of issue...we want parity. Let's get this circulating in DC.

2.     Send me a quick email letting me know if you are experiencing the issue so I can give some sense of the scope of this issue.

Thank you!”

So listen to MaryEllen, contact your federal representatives and email her at!

 In addition, MaryEllen alludes to the new rules being prepared by the FCC for the implementation of the 988 suicide prevention number. The FCC is endorsing a concept they call “ubiquitous deployment” which means that ALL wired, wireless and VoIP telecommunications providers MUST organize 988 dialing, they MUST get it done by a specific time, and they must do the work for FREE. These are great rules. We are happy that 988 will get that deserved implementation assistance. But we would also like those rules to also apply for 211.

Nearly everyone reading this has experienced problems with getting telco providers to properly translate to 211. The original FCC ruling only made it compulsory for wired services to switch and even then, it allowed them to charge a random fee for this service.

As a sector, we are preparing a formal request to the FCC for a rule change regarding 211.

We know that Verizon and AT&T are avoiding 211 dialing with their wifi service. We also know that many of you have experienced these and other switching problems.

So we want to hear about every instance over the last few years where you felt like tearing some hair out in dealing with 211 translation on any telecommunications medium (wired, wireless, VoIP, wifi). Sharing your stories strengthens our case!

So please, copy in any email!

 Looking forward to reading your horror stories …

 Clive Jones

AIRS Executive Director