As individuals retire or age into Medicare, their insurance situation can change dramatically. There are a multitude of options open to those with Medicare. The terms are different, the prices are different, the products offered are dramatically different each year.
The purpose of this column is to give those who are eligible for Medicare, or soon to be eligible for Medicare, some understanding of their insurance options and how it could impact their health and finances.
These questions and answers are meant as a guide to help you understand the complex questions you are now thinking about. Each individual's specific situation may create a different solution. You shouldn't necessarily do what your friends, family and neighbors do.
Q: I am interested in exercising, but don't like to exercise alone. I also can't tolerate most of those classes, like zumba and aerobic exercise. What ideas do you have?
A: Exercising is a wonderful way to keep yourself healthy and feeling young. The exercise habit can be difficult to start and to keep moving forward with. Remember that walking is one of the best exercises that you can do. Some people have difficulty with walking, so something in a chair is more their style. These ideas include both options.
Here are some ideas I think would be great:
If you are a walker, I would suggest walking outside whenever the weather is cooperative for that. Inside walking can be done for free in most school buildings (when students are not there), and the Chautauqua Mall. I suggest finding a walking buddy to make it more fun. If you don't have one, go walk a few times alone and my guess is you will find a walking partner there.
Jamestown Savings Bank Arena also has a wonderful walking program. Last time I was there it cost $1; the price may be different now. This walking is on a padded surface, and that is easier on your legs and joints.
If you are looking for a class-type situation, I have some great ideas. The Jamestown Area Senior Center at 525 Falconer St., Jamestown has a number of exercise programs each week. They have exercise classes every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. These are exercises that can be done standing up or in a chair. They also offer tai chi on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and line dancing at 11 a.m. on Thursdays. The senior center also has a group of bowlers who bowl every other Friday at 1 p.m. Membership to the Jamestown Senior Center is $10 per year, but then the exercise classes are free. Plus when you join the Senior Center, you have all the other activities and trips they do too. The Jamestown Area Senior Center can be reached at 484-1627.
There are also healthy bones exercise classes sponsored by RSVP and Chautauqua County Office for the Aging that are held in Jamestown and other locations throughout Chautauqua County. These classes are not currently running, but will start again in the fall. Call Chautauqua County RSVP at 665-8039 or NY Connects at 753-4582 or 661-7582 for scheduling and more information. Healthy Bones has completed 16 10-week sessions. The focus of this exercise program is to ward off or prevent osteoporosis or osteopenia, and increase strength and balance to prevent falls. The exercise program is a 10-week course meeting twice weekly. There is a pre and post test designed by StrongWomen that measures each participant's progress. The results throughout the county have been outstanding.
For more information about this curriculum, please click on www.strongwomen.com/strongwomen-programs/strongwomen/.
RSVP is also looking to certify new trainers for the StrongWomen program. StrongWomen is an evidenced-based exercise program based on the research of Dr. Miriam Nelson of Tuft's University in Boston. Locally, this exercise program is known as "Healthy Bones Chautauqua County."
Chautauqua County RSVP has secured instructors from Penn State Extension of Lancaster County to come to Jamestown to train and certify new trainers at the Lutheran campus. The training will take place on Thursday, Sept. 13, in Christ Chapel beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 4:30 p.m.
The daylong training will include a light breakfast, lunch and breaks. The cost of the training is $200 per participant, and some scholarship funds are available. Call RSVP at 665-8039 for more information.
If you are already an exerciser, maybe being an instructor/trainer is for you.
If you are not a regular exerciser, try one of the classes they will be offering in the fall. The measured improvements to participants in these groups is impressive.
You also may be eligible for a free health club membership. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan as part of your health insurance, you may get a health club membership as part of your plan. Call your health insurance company to see if this applies to you. These plans may include Silver Sneakers or a similar option paying the membership cost of a health club.
I know how difficult it can be to start and keep exercising. I am not the best role model for that behavior. Start with something simple and keep moving. It will make your whole life better. Good Luck.
Janell Sluga is a geriatric care manager certified and works for Senior Life Matters, a program of Lutheran Senior Housing, and has worked in Chautauqua County with seniors for more than 18 years. She is HIICAP (Health Insurance Information, Counseling & Assistance Program) counselor-trained by Office for the Aging. She does not sell insurance or represent any insurance company. She is an unbiased source of insurance and education to help seniors choose the best option for them.
You may submit questions to be answered in later columns to Janell Sluga at Senior Life Matters, 737 Falconer St., Jamestown, NY 14701, or call 716-720-9797, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that not all questions can be answered in this format, but as many as can be, will be.