The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) offers free insurance counseling, advocacy and community education forums for elders and their families concerning Medicare and other health insurance issues. HICAP counselors provide assistance on a variety of topics including the new Medicare prescription drug plan, Medigap plans, Medicare HMOs, Medicare consumers’ rights and long-term care insurance. Counselors will also help individuals file claims, issue complaints or understand insurance billing. Counseling is one-on-one and home visits are available for homebound individuals. For information or to set up an appointment in your community, call (800) 434-0222 or visit www.calmedicare.org.
Hope Hospice offers a Children and Teens Bereavement Program for youth who have experienced the death of a loved one. Held in Dublin, the program offers a safe and nurturing place for youth to understand and process emotions related to loss, and helps participants develop healthy coping skills. This group is facilitated by a children’s grief counselor and is offered three times a year over an eight-week period. The program is free and enrollment is limited. For more information, please call Jennifer Wilson, Children’s Bereavement Counselor at (925) 829-8770.
In Santa Clara County, Centro de Bienstar Older Adult Program offers mental health and case management services to frail and at-risk elder populations, with an emphasis on serving Spanish-speaking elders. The program offers in-home evaluations, medical and neuropsychological evaluations and psychosocial assessments. Ongoing medical, dental and psychiatric services are also available. Sliding scale rates. For information, call (408) 287-6200.
If you require legal assistance, the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco offers a free Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (LARC). The free clinic is offered the second Saturday of each month at the San Francisco Main Branch Public Library (100 Larkin St.), and you must register between 10:30 a.m. and noon on that day. You will meet for a private consultation with a volunteer attorney and receive advice and appropriate referrals. Areas of law covered include family, landlord/tenant, employment, personal injury, estate planning, contracts, consumer and business issues. Although Chinese and Spanish interpreters are often available, those needing an interpreter are advised to bring their own. For further information, please call (415) 989-1616.
The mission of An Elderly Wish Foundation is to bring joy to the life of a terminally ill person over age 60 by making a special final wish come true. To apply, the person or the person caring for him or her must write a wish request letter, fill out a request form and send in a photograph. The person’s physician must also complete a medical verification form. The Foundation will work hard to grant all wishes, but some wishes will not be granted, including requests for cash, automobiles or property, requests for international travel or visas, and requests for payment of medical treatments or legal assistance. The foundation serves residents of Contra Costa County. Call (925) 978-1883 for more information. Applications can be downloaded from the foundation’s website at www.elderlywish.org.
The PACT Program (Providing Assistance to Caregivers in Transition) assists caregivers interested in moving their loved ones out of a skilled nursing or intermediate facility and back home again. Caregivers will be connected to a team of specialists including a case manager, public health nurse, independent living specialist and ombudsman/advocate in order to help them successfully transition their loved one out of the facility. If it is not suitable for the person to return home, the PACT team can help advocate for services the care receiver needs within the care facility. This is a free service available to persons living in Contra Costa County. Either the caregiver or the care receiver must be 60 years of age or older. To apply, please call (925) 335-8720 or (800) 510-2020 (regional toll free number).
The California Department of Aging is seeking volunteers to serve as Long-Term Care Ombudsmen. For information, call (800) 510-2020, or visit http://www.aging.state.ca.us/.
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