ARCHIVES

by Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator for all of Oklahoma County

Telephone scams, remember the good ole days when you just requested an unlisted number? Yes, those days are gone, I remember my parents saying, “this is an unlisted number” like all mankind would respect it. I’ve spent almost 33 years of my life dedicated to my community and as I look back on the good works of law enforcement officers of the past it’s laughable that we use to tell people “Just Hang Up!” this is no longer good advice. In today’s world you can no longer trust the caller ID boxes we worked so hard to hand out to seniors who couldn’t afford one. These scammers can use software to make calls look like they are coming from anywhere, even the pentagon. The first thing seniors need to understand is that other cultures believe that it is perfectly honorable, acceptable and smart to cheat others out of their money. Unlike our belief system here, they actually believe that they have harmlessly out smarted you to their benefit. There is no guilt associated with their actions to gain your money. The second thing to understand is that in other countries they believe every senior citizen is sitting on a huge three hundred thousand dollar nest egg! Hard to convince them otherwise when some people are sending over two hundred thousand dollars to crooks who promise to be someone they are not! Romance Scams, Solicitation Scams, Granny Scams and even IRS Scams require one thing, your cooperation!Telephone scams, remember the good ole days when you just requested an unlisted number? Yes, those days are gone, I remember my parents saying, “this is an unlisted number” like all mankind would respect it. I’ve spent almost 33 years of my life dedicated to my community and as I look back on the good works of law enforcement officers of the past it’s laughable that we use to tell people “Just Hang Up!” this is no longer good advice. In today’s world you can no longer trust the caller ID boxes we worked so hard to hand out to seniors who couldn’t afford one. These scammers can use software to make calls look like they are coming from anywhere, even the pentagon. The first thing seniors need to understand is that other cultures believe that it is perfectly honorable, acceptable and smart to cheat others out of their money. Unlike our belief system here, they actually believe that they have harmlessly out smarted you to their benefit. There is no guilt associated with their actions to gain your money. The second thing to understand is that in other countries they believe every senior citizen is sitting on a huge three hundred thousand dollar nest egg! Hard to convince them otherwise when some people are sending over two hundred thousand dollars to crooks who promise to be someone they are not! Romance Scams, Solicitation Scams, Granny Scams and even IRS Scams require one thing, your cooperation!I recently learned that some of my seniors in SALT (Seniors And Law enforcement Together) that they answer every call because they do not have voice mail, they feel more comfortable answering calls of their own area code and some even admitted feeling more comfortable if the prefix matched theirs. All are false, a gross false sense of security.  Many are intended to provoke you to call a number.  Many use sad emotional stories about one’s family being in fatal car accidents to entice you to make a call, unbeknownst to an adult entertainment network overseas.  All will come at a cost and all will have one common dominator: A SENSE OF EMERGENCY! In regard to IRS Scams, it’s important to understand that the IRS will notify you in writing should you need to be notified of lack of payment.  Criminal warrants are usually threatened that do not exist. If you know anyone who hangs their head at owing the IRS money and you feel they could be scammed, share this sage advice:1. Do not answer your phone unless you are certain of the caller.2. Never give any numbers associated with your financial well-being.3. Never call numbers back. Make a note of the number they are calling from and make a note of the number they want you to call back as many times these are different. Report these numbers to the IRS. These reports should be handled as IRS Impersonation Scams, report all of them to 1-800-366-4484 or complete a form online at WWW.tigta.gov.  If you do owe money for federal taxes or think you may owe taxes call 1-800 829-1040 IRS workers can help you with payment questions.Remember the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, they will never demand you pay taxes without giving you opportunity to question or appeal and you will never be required to use a specific payment method such as prepaid debit cards.We currently hold 19 key core community groups about topics such as IRS Scams and many more. Get involved with local police and your Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office by calling 405-713-1950 and leaving your address, I will send you a reminder call every month to the Seniors And Law enforcement or SALT group near you. SALT works to prevent crimes against the 65 plus population and holds monthly meetings to be more accessible to you should you have questions or crime concerns. I am Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator for all of Oklahoma County and I look forward to meeting you.

By Ron Hendricks

Dementia could be reduced if everyone with hearing loss would seek treatment. Dr. Pam Matthews, Oklahoma City Audiologist, explained to the Monday meeting of Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (COC HLAA) how hearing loss and decreased brain functions are connected. If the brain does not receive signals from the ear, it must work harder to fill in the blank spaces to the detriment of other brain functions — bringing on cognitive disorders. An early visit to the audiologist at first sign of hearing loss, could help prevent Dementia.
Pam discussed how a new hearing aid wearer reported good hearing in the low registers, but had lost over 50% in the upper ranges. New hearing aids allowed the wearer to once again hear high pitched sounds like children’s laughter, the squeak of a door hinge, or the tinkling of running water. It is encouraging to know that a visit to the audiologist could help combat potential loss of brain activity. A hearing test is the best way to know for sure if you have hearing loss.
Do you have hearing loss? Hear a few of the most common symptoms according to the National HLAA: Do you:
* Ask people to repeat what they say * Have trouble following the conversation in groups * Think others are mumbling * Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio * Have difficulty on the phone * Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock * Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies * Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
Hearing tests are easy and available online and at many locations here in the OKC metro. In many cases, the initial screening is free. See any of the fine Audiologists here in the Oklahoma City area for more information.

COC HLAA has served Oklahoma’s hearing loss population for 27 years and is going strong for 2019. Two informational and educational meetings are held monthly and both are open to the public and are free. Meetings are captioned and are a safe and friendly place if you have hearing loss or love someone with hearing loss. Again, this year we will give two scholarships of $1,000 each to students heading for higher education this fall. We are actively involved in making Oklahoma City more accessible to those with hearing loss thru our LOOP OKC drive — getting hearing Loops installed in public facilities. And for over 20 years the Hearing Helpers Room has encouraged Oklahomans to live well with hearing loss; open Monday – Friday, 10-3, at 5100 N Brookline, Suite 100. Stop by to try a device in person or check one out for a free trial at home. We have over 100 assistive hearing devices on hand. Volunteers have ordering information and are available to answers any questions. For more information visit the website at WWW:OKCHearingLoss.org

Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about reverse mortgages for retirees? My wife and I are contemplating getting one but want to make sure we know what we’re getting into. Running Short

 

Dear Running,
For retirees who own their home and want to stay living there, but could use some extra cash, a reverse mortgage is a viable financial tool, but there’s a lot to know and consider to be sure it’s a good option for you.
Let’s start with the basics.
A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that allows older homeowners to borrow money against the equity in their house (or condo) that doesn’t have to be repaid until the homeowner dies, sells the house or moves out for at least 12 months. At that point, you or your heirs will have to pay back the loan plus accrued interest and fees, but you will never owe more than the value of your home.
It’s also important to understand that with a reverse mortgage, you, not the bank, own the house, so you’re still required to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Not paying them can result in foreclosure.
To be eligible, you must be 62 years of age or older, own your own home (or owe only a small balance) and currently be living there.
You will also need to undergo a financial assessment to determine whether you can afford to continue paying your property taxes and insurance. Depending on your financial situation, you may be required to put part of your loan into an escrow account to pay future bills. If the financial assessment finds that you cannot pay your insurance and taxes and have enough cash left to live on, you’ll be denied.
Loan Details
Around 95 percent of all reverse mortgages offered today are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which are FHA insured and offered through private mortgage lenders and banks. HECM’s also have home value limits that vary by county, but cannot exceed $679,650.
How much you can actually get through a reverse mortgage depends on your age (the older you are the more you can get), your home’s value and the prevailing interest rates. Generally, most people can borrow somewhere between 50 and 65 percent of the home’s value. To estimate how much you can borrow, use the reverse mortgage calculator at ReverseMortgage.org.
You also need to know that reverse mortgages have recently become more expensive with a number of fees, including: a 2 percent lender origination fee for the first $200,000 of the home’s value and 1 percent of the remaining value, with a cap of $6,000; an upfront 2 percent mortgage insurance premium (MIP) fee on the maximum loan amount, plus an annual MIP fee that’s equal to 0.5 percent of the outstanding loan balance; along with an appraisal fee, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Most fees can be deducted for the loan amount to reduce your out-of-pocket cost at closing.
To receive your money, you can opt for a lump sum, a line of credit, regular monthly checks or a combination of these.
More Information
To learn more, read the National Council on Aging’s online booklet “Use Your Home to Stay at Home” at NCOA.org/home-equity. And see the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association self-evaluation checklist at ReverseMortgage.org/consumerguides.
Also note that because reverse mortgages are complex loans, all borrowers are required to get face-to-face or telephone counseling through a HUD approved independent counseling agency before taking one out. Most agencies typically charge around $125. To locate one near you, visit Go.usa.gov/v2H, or call 800-569-4287.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Mar 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Mar 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S. W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Mar 9/ Saturday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 473-8239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave.
Mar 9/ Saturday/ Moore/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Schaumberg
Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main Street
Mar 12/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Center –
6292 Tinker Diagonal, room 203
Mar 22/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 297-1455/ Palinsky
Will Rogers Senior Center – 3501 Pat Murphy Drive
Mar 23/ Saturday/ Shawnee/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase
Gordon Cooper Tech. Center – One John C. Burton Blvd.
Mar 23/ Saturday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 4 pm/ 350-5014/ Kruck
Spanish Cove Retirement Center – 11 Palm Ave.

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

By Jose M Olivero, Social Security Public Affairs in Oklahoma City

If you have higher income, the law requires an upward adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. But, if your income has gone down, you may use form SSA-44 to request a reduction in your Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amount.
Medicare Part B helps pay for your doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers other medical services, such as physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a substantial portion — about 75 percent — of the Part B premium, and the beneficiary pays the remaining 25 percent.
If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, you’ll pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Medicare Part B, based on the income you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35, 50, 65, 80, or 85 percent of the total cost, depending on the income you report to the IRS.
Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage helps pay for your prescription drugs. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a major portion of the total costs for this coverage, and the beneficiary pays the rest. Prescription drug plan costs vary depending on the plan, and whether you get Extra Help with your portion of the Medicare prescription drug coverage costs.
If you’re a higher-income beneficiary with Medicare prescription drug coverage, you’ll pay monthly premiums plus an additional amount, which is also based on the income you report to the IRS. Because individual plan premiums vary, the law specifies that the amount is determined using a base premium. Social Security ties the additional amount you pay to the base beneficiary premium, not your own premium amount. If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, we deduct this amount from your monthly Social Security payments regardless of how you usually pay your monthly prescription plan premiums. If the amount is greater than your monthly payment from Social Security, or you don’t get monthly payments, you’ll get a separate bill from another federal agency, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or the Railroad Retirement Board.
You can find Form SSA-44 online at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-44.pdf. You can also read more in the publication “Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries” at: www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10536.pdf.

The Oklahoma Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) recently presented its quarterly Citations of Merit for work in preserving the history of Oklahoma. Three citations were awarded for accomplishments in three Oklahoma communities. The award recognizes efforts to preserve Oklahoma’s historic properties through restoration, rehabilitation, research, planning, public programming and other activities.
The January 2019 recipients of the SHPO’s Citations of Merit and their accomplishments include:
Oklahoma Affordable Housing Partners, LLC; Rosin Preservation, LLC; and Stark Wilson Duncan Architects, Inc., for the rehabilitation of the Mining Exchange Building located on Route 66 in Downtown Miami.
H2O Apartments of OKC, LLC; Steve McQuillin & Associates; and KKT Architects, Inc., for the rehabilitation of the Tiffany Apartments in Oklahoma City.
Archer Building, LLC; Rosin Preservation, LLC; and Lilly Architects for the rehabilitation of the Archer Warehouse in downtown Tulsa.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Central Oklahoma (RSVP), a nonprofit organization that enriches the lives of senior adults through community volunteer opportunities and the Provide-A-Ride Senior Transportation Program, recently announced its 2019 Advisory Council members.
RSVP Advisory Council members are: Debbie Evers, community volunteer; Jamie Jeter, retired, Tinker Air Force Base; Wanda Patrick, retired, Hank Martin, CPA; Sheryl Presley, TRIAD coordinator, Oklahoma City Police Department; Kimberly Sanders, retired, Focus Oil & Gas; Paul Sanders, retired, All-American Bottling Corporation; and David Smith, retired, Oklahoma Tax Commission.
RSVP’s advisory council helps to enhance the nonprofit’s recruitment, retention, and recognition of volunteers.

At 90, Louise Colbaugh finds joy in helping others in their darkest moments

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

On the darkest days, sometimes all it takes is a single ray of light to turn everything around.
For the last 20 years, Louise Colbaugh, 90, has shined in the Oklahoma City metro, volunteering at metro hospitals.
Colbaugh is closing in on three years volunteering at Community Hospital in south Oklahoma City but before that she gave 17 years at Hillcrest and eventually St. Anthony.
“I enjoyed it,” she said of her decades of unpaid service. “I don’t know. It’s just a way of life after awhile, you get up and go. You don’t sit at home and watch television or whatever.”
Colbaugh stayed home until almost 45, rearing a son and a daughter before heading out into the workforce.
Her son moved on to the paper products industry in Houston. Her daughter is close by in Moore and retired herself.
Her great granddaughter has already graduated college and is going on to pursue her degree as a physician’s assistant.
Attending graduation for her great granddaughter was a moment she’ll never forget.
“Wonderful and proud,” beamed Colbaugh, who also has two younger great grandchildren.
After raising kids and before volunteering she went back to school and studied accounting. She worked in the accounting department at Shepler’s western store.
As her husband’s health faltered, she decided she needed better insurance. She worked at Tinker Air Force Base as a civilian in the accounting department, eventually in the AWACs division.
Numbers were numbers, but only a lot more zeroes were at the end of those military budgets.
Colbaugh and her husband celebrated 51 years of marriage before he passed.
“It was bad,” she said of the end. “He had so many heart surgeries before he died. They tried to do surgery on him again and he never came out of it.”
For most who spend time with a loved one during an extended illness, the hospital would be the last place they would want to spend more time. Too many hours of fear and pain.
Colbaugh ran towards it.
“It’s just a way of life. It’s like another home to me,” Colbaugh said. “It gives you a purpose to get up in the morning. You know you’re going to meet people and you’re going to talk. I just like to do it.”
It’s an opportunity for Colbaugh to pour into others. She has stories to share. She’s felt the same feelings.
“It may be something like getting them a cup of coffee or a warm blanket,” Colbaugh explained. “I enjoy doing it and I enjoy talking to the people. It’s satisfying I can help people.”
“Like I say, it’s a way of life for me now.”
Colbaugh’s journey to Community Hospital began when St. Anthony closed its gift shop. A few of her fellow volunteers made the trip as well.
“Some people they’ll sit home and don’t do anything and then they wonder why they feel so bad,” Colbaugh said. “If they only knew how satisfying it was they would run for it really. That includes men and women. I work with both.”
“And there’s always somebody coming in and they see what you’re doing and they want to volunteer, too, but it’s getting farther and farther in between.”
Community Hospital has two campuses featuring a comprehensive range of medical services offering nursing care in a close-knit, compassionate community.
“You get paid. You get paid with gratitude and the thank-you’s you get,” Colbaugh said. “Men especially say ‘thank you for being a volunteer.’ That just makes me feel good.”
“And Roxy (Kostuck) our manager she is so good to all of us. She has Valentine’s parties and she gave me a 90th birthday party and it was wonderful.”
She immediately used the gift certificate she received to splurge on a cashmere sweater.
Colbaugh typically volunteers every Monday and Tuesday, coming in at 8 a.m. and working until 2 p.m.
She grabs the cart filled with complimentary items and goes room to room checking on patients and their families asking if they need anything.
From there she goes to the surgery waiting room.
“I go in and see what I can do for them,” she said. “And then I come back and Roxy always has something. I wrap a lot of gifts. They give away so much I can’t believe a hospital does that.”
As you might expect, Colbaugh is a big fan of volunteering her time. She’s quick to share her experience when others ask.
“I would tell them they would appreciate coming up here once they started,” Colbaugh said. “It would be good for them and they would get lots of exercise. I think they would love it.”

Some of the dedicated staff of Tealridge Retirement Community. (L to R) top row- Jim Delzell, Chef Andre Coleman, Katie Martinez and Kristen Moss ( L to R) Seated- Danielle Suggs, Kathy Evans, Michele Woodward and Melissa Mahaffey

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

A new chapter is unfolding in the Tealridge retirement community history.
Oklahoma Christian University recently sold its Tealridge retirement community located at 2100 NE 140th Street in Edmond to a local group with big plans for this well-known senior living community on the university campus.
The new group owns and manages the Tealridge Assisted Living & Memory Care Community in Edmond as well as the University Village Retirement Community in Tulsa among other communities.
However, leadership is based locally in Edmond.
“With the addition of the Tealridge independent living community, we are now able to offer our residents a full care campus with housing options ranging from independent living apartments to assisted living and even memory care services – all in one location,” said Jon Paden, who leads the new group.
The sale took almost two years to complete given Oklahoma Christian’s desire to find the right buyer and ensure the community continued to be managed and owned by a group with integrity as well as shared values and beliefs.
The new owners are already starting to reinvest in the community with over $1 million funded for building improvements which will include updating all resident apartments, dining and social areas.
“We are excited to build on the great Tealridge reputation for quality in the Edmond community and we are blessed to be able to invest the money and resources needed to really create a special, yet affordable retirement option.” added Paden.
Daily operations will be managed by Melissa Mahaffey the new Executive Director at Tealridge Retirement Community.
While she has extensive senior living management experience, Mahaffey credits her success from a genuine passion for improving the lives of her senior residents.
She also serves on the Oklahoma Assisted Living Federation.
“I am so excited to be a part of the next chapter at Tealridge.” shared Mahaffey. “We have the resources and vision to really create a place that builds on Tealridge’s great reputation while updating things to be on par with the best rental communities in Edmond.”
In addition to the great residents that already call Tealridge home, Mahaffey is building a team focused on placing a strong emphasis on customer service, hospitality and convenience for retirees regardless of what phase of life they are in, Paden added.
To find out more about Tealridge you can go online at tealridge.com.

Sarcoidosis patient David Key donated blood to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation's Saroidosis Unit to make a difference down the line for those suffering with the disease.

The stabbing pains in David Key’s armpits awoke him from sleep one night in 2006. “It was excruciating,” said Key, 53, who lives in Oil Center, about 10 miles northeast of Ada.
He cycled through hospitals and clinics, his condition worsening. He developed uncontrollable tremors and neurological problems and gave up his business. After a pair of strokes, he was forced to go on disability. Years passed, yet still he had no answers.
Finally, one physician thought he recognized Key’s condition. A subsequent biopsy of lymph nodes proved the hunch: sarcoidosis, a rare disease that causes lumps of immune cells – known as granulomas – to form in organs throughout the body.
“Unless patients’ first symptoms are in the lungs, they’re usually misdiagnosed,” said Courtney Montgomery, Ph.D., who studies the disease in her lab at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Scientists know little about what triggers sarcoidosis. It seems to start in the immune system, eliciting rampant inflammation. The tumor-like lumps can appear in the eyes, liver, heart, skin and brain and, most often, in the lungs.
The disease can strike anyone, but it disproportionately affects African Americans. And, said Montgomery, it can be fatal.
“The most common causes of death are cardiac conditions,” she said. Heart complications claimed the disease’s two most famous victims – NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White and comedian Bernie Mac – at the ages of 43 and 50, respectively.
For Key, doctors have largely managed to control his symptoms through steroids and long list of other medications for the tremors, pain, depression and neurological issues. Still, he continues to experience near-constant pain in his chest. “Sometimes, I can swear I’m having a heart attack,” he said.
Last year, in an effort to help Montgomery and her OMRF scientific team better understand the disease, Key traveled to Oklahoma City to participate in a research study of sarcoidosis at the foundation. After filling out questionnaires detailing his disease and medication history, he donated blood for the researchers to analyze.
“By studying what’s going on at a genetic level in patients with active disease, we hope to identify environmental triggers that initiate sarcoidosis,” Montgomery said. Ultimately, that work might point scientists to an effective treatment.
Key understands that volunteering in OMRF’s research study likely won’t help directly. Still, he said, “If it can help somebody down the road, it’s worth it.”
For more information about sarcoidosis or to participate in research studies of the disease at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, call (405) 271-2504 or email sru@omrf.org.

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