Fall Has Arrived. Time To Prevent Falls

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Slips and falls now rank as the leading cause of injury deaths among people 65 and older, and Missouri’s rate of injuries related to falling is 31% higher than the national average.1 Falls are the number one cause of injuries to seniors. 2

Falls are not a normal part of aging, and you can take actions to prevent falls.

The risk of falling — and fall-related problems — rises as people age. If you fall and break a bone it could lead to more serious problems, such as a hospital visit, injury, or disability. However, taking care of your overall health may lower your risk of falling. Here are a few tips to help you avoid falls and broken bones:

  • Stay physically active. Plan an exercise program that is right for you; regular exercise can help strengthen muscles.
  • Have your eyes and ears tested. Changes in vision and hearing may cause you to fall. If you receive new eyewear or hearing aids, take time to get used to them.

Make sure you get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can make you susceptible to falls.

Tell your doctor if you have fallen. A fall can alert your doctor to a possible problem and help the doctor provide you with steps to prevent future accidents.

Because the aging process can affect vision, strength and balance, adults 65 and older are at elevated risk for falls. However, falls are not a natural part of aging and can be prevented. You can identify simple steps that can make a big difference to keep safe in your home and the community.

MA4 has created a kit that includes an easy to read brochure, posters for your workplace, senior center or even home bulletin board, and an infographic that gives you a few statistics relating to injuries related to falls in the United States. Download the free materials below from our Steady As You Go campaign.

1 https://health.mo.gov/seniors/showmefallsfreemissouri/index.php

2 American Council on Aging









Police Warn Of Scams Targeting Seniors

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

“American seniors are being targeted by online con artists in record numbers, according to the FBI. In 2020, people ages 50 and older lost a dizzying $1.8 billion to online fraud. And those numbers are probably underreported, as the FBI believes many seniors are ashamed to reveal they’ve been scammed.” *


Open enrollment for Medicare Part D begins Oct. 15. That means that people with Medicare and their caregivers should give their Medicare prescription plans a fresh look to determine whether the plan they have is still the best one to suit their needs.  It’s also a good time for you to know the rules the Medicare Advantage and Part D plans must follow.

Medicare insurance salespeople CANNOT call you or come to your door without your invitation. They CANNOT ask for your Medicare, Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers over the phone unless it’s needed to verify membership, determine enrollment eligibility, or process an enrollment request. Again, be very careful of giving this information to anyone you don’t know.

They CANNOT offer you money, gifts, or free meals to listen to a sales pitch.

Plans are not allowed to require payment over the phone for a health or drug plan. The plan must mail you a bill.

If you have made an appointment to discuss a Medicare plan, agents are not allowed to market other products, like an annuity or life insurance policy.

For unbiased help in comparing plan options, CLAIM counselors can help. To find one near you, call 800-390-3330.


If someone calls and asks for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits, hang up and call us 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY: 1-877-486-2048.

Only give personal information, like your Medicare Number, to health care providers, your insurance companies or health plans (and their licensed agents or brokers), or people you trust that work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give us personal or private information. Report suspected health care fraud or abuse to the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at (888) 515-6565.

* Yahoo News


• Do not provide any personal or financial information over the phone, simply hang up. Scammers may call and tell you they need your banking information to deposit stimulus checks, but you should never provide that information over the phone. For information relating directly to the stimulus checks, please visit irs.gov/coronavirus.
• Scammers create fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand. These may include items such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
• Do research before donating contributions to ensure that it is a valid organization or group collecting donations.
• Be wary of phishing emails such as those claiming to have information about the virus. Oftentimes, they direct the reader to click a link, which can be a form of a Trojan virus and would allow the scammer to have full access to the information on your computer.

As we continue to battle this pandemic, COVID-19 scams may come in many forms which can include unsolicited phone calls, phishing emails, door-to-door sales, individuals offering cures, tests, safety equipment or vaccinations. Here are some tips that can help prevent you from falling victim to a COVID-19 scam.

Be cautious when dealing with any unsolicited offers, and keep in mind if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can report online and email scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 877.382.4357. For more details related to COVID-19 visit consumer.ftc.gov.

South Central Pension Rights Project Helps Missourians

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

The South Central Pension Rights Project is a service designed to help individuals understand and exercise their pension rights. They provide services free of charge to workers and retirees or their family members who currently live or work in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. ​

These services are free of charge, regardless of age, income, or the amount of the benefit sought. Attorneys and paralegals provide services over the telephone and through the mail.

The South Central Pension Rights Project (SCPRP) is overseen by Texas Legal Services with assistance from the Missouri Area Agencies on Aging. Since teaming with Missouri Area Agencies on Aging in 2010, SCPRP has recovered more than $4.3 million in benefits for Missourians and has assisted more than 550 Missourians with retirement benefit issues. SCPRP is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging to assist individuals who have any kind of issue with their retirement benefits.  It operates in cooperation with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. SCPRP provides attorneys and legal assistants that offer basic advice about pension laws and rights, help people locate their pension plan’s administrator, advocate for people who believe they have been unjustly denied their benefits, and provide referrals to other services as needed.  SCPRP helps all individuals regardless of age or income, and all of SCPRP’s services are completely free.

To contact SCPRP call: 800-443-2528.

Watch Out For Stimulus Check Scams

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Recently, Congress passed legislation that will help individuals and businesses weather the storm created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. One key provision of the new legislation is that the federal government will be sending checks for $1,200 to most adult citizens, even those who currently receive Social Security checks.

Unfortunately, scammers are already trying to get their hands on some of this money. Reports have already surfaced that citizens have been receiving calls and emails asking for personal information in order to “process” the government checks. DON’T GIVE OUT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CALL YOU TO VERIFY YOUR TAX STATUS AND WILL NOT ASK FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE.

Most payments will be directly deposited in bank accounts of people who receive their tax refunds or Social Security payments electronically. For people who are not set up that way, paper checks will be sent. You do not need to apply for this one-time payment. It will be sent automatically – and no company or individual can speed up the process.

If you are contacted by someone posing as an IRS employee or other “help” service, hang up. Do not engage with scammers and do not reply to emails about the stimulus checks even if they sound legitimate. They are not. They are scammers trying to get sensitive financial information to you to try and cheat you out of money.

During these unusual times, stay safe; ask for help when you need it; and avoid getting scammed by people who do NOT have your best interests in mind.

For other questions or help regarding services such as food and nutrition, health care and other senior-related issues, feel free to reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging. A list of contacts is provided at the following link.


UPDATE: Coronavirus – COVID 19 – DHSS Sets Up Hotline

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 is a more technical term for the Coronavirus that has recently been detected in countries throughout the world, including the United States. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has established a hotline for people who have questions about this health situation.

24 hour hotline: 877-435-8411

DHSS and the CDC are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

While there is still much to learn about how the disease is contracted and spread, there are some important things you can do individually to help protect you and the people you live with.

To link directly to the Missouri DHSS website, please follow this link:

Here are a few tips from the Centers For Disease Control to help you stay ahead of a possible outbreak of the virus in your community.

Create a household plan of action

Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.check icon

Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. There is limited information about who may be at risk for severe complications from COVID-19 illness. From the data that are available for COVID-19 patients, and from data for related coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, it is possible that older adults and persons who have underlying chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more serious complications. Early data suggest older people are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. If you or your household members are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications, please consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. CDC will recommend actions to help keep people at high risk for complications healthy if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.check icon

Get to know your neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.check icon

Identify aid organizations in your community. Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, health care services, support, and resources. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.check icon

Create an emergency contact list. Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.

Practice good personal health habits and plan for home-based actions

Practice everyday preventive actions now. Remind everyone in your household of the importance of practicing everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, a list of products with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Productspdf iconexternal icon. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms, as needed, when someone is sick. Learn how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.


March Is National Nutrition Month – Eat Healthy All Month Long

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

March is National Nutrition Month, and to put a sharper focus on healthy eating, nutrition and excercise, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has put together a toolkit to help seniors – or people of any age – make the most of what they eat.

Some quick tips to consider are:
Including healthy foods from all food groups in daily meals
Make sure to hydrate in a healthy manner
Learn how to read the Nutrition Fact Panels on the sides of packaged food
Practice good portion control – eat enough, but not too much

The Academy has put together a handy tool kit complete with activities, posters and literature that can help you educate and remind your friends about the importance of good nutrition every day. Just click on the following link to access the full array of materials, available at no cost.


Fraud Alert: Medicare Enrollment

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Medicare Open Enrollment has closed for 2020 plans, but the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) wants to remind you to protect yourself from healthcare fraud during this time when marketers will try to get your attention.

Even though your Medicare card no longer contains your Social Security number, it’s still valuable information for unscrupulous people who would use it fraudulently. Scammers are after medical insurance and financial account information and passwords for their monetary gain. That’s why you should still guard your Medicare card. Treat it like a credit card. Check Medicare claims summary forms for errors. Be wary of requests for your Medicare number.

Medicare will never call you to ask for your Medicare number. If someone calls you claiming to be Medicare and asking for your number, hang up the phone. Also, if someone wants to use your Medicare number to see whether you might be a good fit for a particular Part D or Medicare advantage plan, be wary of giving out the Medicare information. Make sure you trust the person who is asking for it.

The Missouri SMP works closely with CLAIM, the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program. If you want to get free, unbiased information about Medicare, you can call CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330. CLAIM will connect you to the nearest local CLAIM Medicare counselor.

Here are some more tips:

•Never accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. Medicare and Medicaid do not send representatives to your home.

•Never give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.

•Remember, nothing is ever “free.” Never accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.

•Be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn’t usually covered, but they “know how to bill Medicare” so Medicare will pay.

•Always check your medications before leaving the pharmacy to be sure you received the correct medication prescribed.

•Never submit to cheek swabs from providers you do not know. DNA fraud is on the rise. If you want a DNA/genetic/cancer screening, you should talk to your primary care doctor.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

Senior Medical Patrol September Fraud Alert

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Today, the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol is sharing four tips from the National Council on Aging to protect you from scams.

First, hang up on government imposters. They may call claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security, or Medicare. The phone number on caller ID may match the toll-free number for the agencies. The caller claims your account is locked or they need information from you. They may threaten to arrest you if you don’t do what they say. Just hang up. If you don’t recognize the number, just do not answer the phone to begin with. And don’t return calls either.

Second, don’t accept offers of “free” medical equipment or tests. They may show up in the mail, on the phone, in the mall or elsewhere. While Medicare covers preventive services and durable medical equipment at no or low cost, there are rules on getting them. Start with your primary care doctor or trusted specialist – not someone selling a test or equipment. Suppliers of back braces or wheelchairs that market directly to consumers sometimes could use your personal Medicare information to bill Medicare for thousands of dollars.

Third, check your Medicare Summary Notice. Medicare sends an MSN to beneficiaries every three months. The MSN lists providers that billed Medicare on your behalf, what Medicare paid, and amounts you owe. Check your MSN regularly to identify any suspicious activity, such as a bill for equipment you didn’t receive or from a provider that you do not know.

Fourth, protect your identity. Make sure that you do not give away your date of birth, Social Security number, Medicare number or any other personal information unless you know for certain who you are dealing with and why they need it.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

(This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.)

Social Security Program Turned 84 On August 14

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

These days, all of us take the Social Security program for granted. For many, it is a mainstay of income in retirement years, and for others, it has been an indispensable resource when someone becomes disabled. This past year, more than 63 million people received Social Security benefits, and the number of people who will become eligible in the next few years is expected to increase.

August 14, 1935 was the date Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation creating the Social Security Administration, which makes this date its 84th birthday.

For additional information about the viability of the current program, and how it might be improved to match the realities of today’s changing economy, check out a recent story published by Forbes Magazine at the following link:


POTENTIAL FRAUD ALERT: Cancer & Genetic Screening Offer

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

If you have been approached by individuals offering free DNA, genetic or cancer testing, please understand that THIS COULD BE A SCAM. Here’s how the scheme generally works: A person or group holds an informational session, or goes door-to-door in senior housing complexes, and implies that DNA or genetic testing could help individuals determine their risk for cancer; assist with medication management; or provide various other health benefits.

Some people have also been known to contact seniors by phone and send a “testing kit” by mail after collecting that person’s private Medicare information. The people making the presentations indicate that the tests are free if you are covered by Medicare, and that all they require is a copy of your Medicare card and a swab from the inside of your cheek.

What happens next is where the problem comes in. The presenters take the information and bill Medicare $3,000 for genetic screening.

BEWARE OF THIS POTENTIAL SCAM. Medicare only covers genetic screening in very limited circumstances. You should only receive testing that has been ordered or prescribed by a physician, and should not agree to submit to such testing after a group meeting unless your personal physician has approved of such a procedure. 

Not only could this be considered Medicare fraud, but unscrupulous people could use your personal information to file additional false claims using your private Medicare information.

If you are approached to participate in such a testing program, immediately contact your doctor or other trusted friend or authority. In Missouri, The Senior Medical Patrol has been tracking this potential scam and would like to know if it is occurring in your area. “Out-of-the-blue genetic or DNA testing is not free and is not routinely covered for all Medicare patients”, according to Rona McNally, Director of the Missouri SMP.

There are some instances where such testing is legitimate and necessary, but you should only agree to such testing after consulting with your doctor or trusted specialist.

Medicare beneficiaries who believe they have been victims of such fraud should report suspected cases to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.