Friday, October 31, 2014

A Day in the Life

     This blog was supposed to be about Being Old, and today it is.  Looking back, I realize it has been a Senior Day All the Way.
     Morning -- Elder Law Fair, sponsored by half a dozen organizations including the County Bar Association.  The flyer promised it would start with Refreshments at 8:30 -- alas! nothing set out but coffee urns and hot water for tea.  You know the drill  -- the usual opportunity to cruise exhibitors' tables and pick up imprinted pens, key chains, and wrapped candy, all of which went into a bright red tote bag from the AARP. 
  I breakfasted on tea and kisses.  Sounds like a song title.
    The first lawyer who spoke said he preferred the phrase Seasoned Citizens, which he then used  throughout his presentation.  Maybe I'm the only one of several hundred attendees who found that somehow patronizing?  as if Senior was a bad word?  I did pick up a few facts, though -- did you know Americans aged 85 and older constitute less than two percent of the population?  I realize there's no particular merit in simply breathing for a long time,  but it doesn't take much these days to make me feel special.
Retired Teachers
Autumn Leaves
     After a couple of breakout sessions, I left for the town's weekly Senior Lunch, where after the meal we had a concert of Fall Music sung by -- it does seem to be the theme of the day --  the Retired Teachers Chorus.  Music now strikes my ears as painful cacaphony, so I scuttled out after their first number, which was the appropriate Autumn Leaves.  
     Then in the afternoon -- I swear this was all coincidence -- I had an appointment at a local non-profit called Lifespan.  My health insurer is discontinuing the fine prescription drug coverage it's been offering -- well, it was somewhat fine.  I have fallen into the Donut Hole
Donut Hole
and trust me, that's quite a shock.  I've been at sea, trying to find the right new insurer for stand-alone  Part D -- spent hours on the Internet, studied formularies -- imagine learning  a new word at my age --  and finally gave up in frustration.

     That Lifespan appointment turned out to be with a woman who took courses and passed an exam to be certified as a Medicare Counselor or whatever they call it.  She said there's at least one available in every county, free.  She typed my meds into just the right screen, hit keys to research things I hadn't even considered  -- would I save money buying online? -- did any insurer have special arrangements with pharmacies in my zip code? -- and came up with exactly the right company (four stars out of five in consumer satisfaction, too.)
     Best of all, when I said I wouldn't be able to enroll over the phone and was stressed out by the Internet, she offered to do it for me.  She spent another half-hour on the phone -- even she found it frustrating.  But at least she could hear what they were saying on the other end.  And I'm all set!
     You've got to work at Being Old.


  1. What a day! At least you ended up with chocolate and new heath insurance! A good days work!

  2. I appreciate the effort made by someone who uses an alternative for Senior. I agree that it will take some more effort to say it the right way. How about - people over the age of 65/75/85 or is that too wordy?

  3. What a relief that you navigated the health insurance labyrinth! We are caring for my 78-year-old mother-in-law who has dementia, and even though I can hear well, sorting through insurance issues and accessing services for her is a full-time job -- along with keeping her healthy, happy, and safe. I hope you'll reward yourself this weekend with fun and relaxing stuff.

  4. My husband is now Medicare age, and his stand-alone Part D program (probably the same one as yours) also got dropped this year, so we too have been playing Part
    D Roulette this month. Thank heavens we have a neighbor who is a retired MD and Medicare whiz; we have been profiting from her expertise. Sure beats actually trying to decipher the literature for ourselves. (And, mind you, we have a PhD and an MA in English between us.)