Dear Savvy Senior, Since retiring a few years ago, my husband has become increasingly irritable and apathetic. I’m concerned that he’s depressed, even though he may not admit it. Where can we turn to get help with this, and what, if anything, does Medicare pay for?  Concerned Spouse

Dear Concerned,
Depression is unfortunately a widespread problem among older Americans, affecting approximately 15 percent of the 65-and-older population. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips and resources for screening and treatments, and how Medicare covers it.
Identifying Depression
Everyone feels sad or gets the blues now and then, but when these feelings linger more than a few weeks, it may be depression. Depression is a real illness that affects mood, feelings, behavior and physical health, and contrary to what many people believe, it’s not a normal part of aging or a personal weakness, but it is very treatable.
It’s also important to know that depression is not just sadness. In many seniors it can manifest as apathy, irritability, or problems with memory or concentration without the depressed mood.
To help you get a handle on the seriousness of your husband’s problem, a good first step is for him to take an online depression-screening test.
He can do this for free at Mental Health America, a national nonprofit organization that offers a variety of online mental health screening tools at MentalHealthAmerica.net – click on “Take a Screen” in the menu bar. Or at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org, which is offered by Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
Both of these tests are anonymous and confidential, they take less that 10 minutes to complete, and they can help you determine the severity of your husband’s problem.
Get Help
If you find that he is suffering from depressive symptoms, he needs to see his doctor for a medical evaluation to rule out possible medical causes. Some medications, for example, can produce side effects that mimic depressive symptoms – pain and sleeping meds are common culprits. It’s also important to distinguish between depression and dementia, which can share some of the same symptoms.
If he’s diagnosed with depression, there are a variety of treatment options including talk therapy, antidepressant medications or a combination of both.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective type of talk therapy, which helps patients recognize and change destructive thinking patterns that leads to negative feelings.
For help finding a therapist who’s trained in CBT, ask your doctor for a referral, check your local yellow pages under “counseling” or “psychologists,” or check with the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (FindCBT.org), or the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (AcademyofCT.org).
And to search for therapists that accept Medicare, use Medicare’s Physician Compare tool. Go to Medicare.gov/physiciancompare and type in your zip code, or city and state, then type in the type of profession you want locate, like “psychiatry” or “clinical psychologist” in the “What are you searching for?” box.
Medicare Coverage
You’ll be happy to know that original Medicare currently covers 100 percent for annual depression screenings that are done in a doctor’s office or other primary care clinic. They also pay 80 percent of its approved amount for outpatient mental health services like counseling and therapy services, and will cover almost all medications used to treat depression under the Part D prescription drug benefit.
If you and your husband get your Medicare benefits through a private Medicare Advantage plan, they too must cover the same services as original Medicare but they will likely require him to see an in-network provider. You’ll need to contact your plan directly for the details.
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.

Apr 4/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100

Apr 9/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Kruck
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.

Apr 12/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S,W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10

Apr 12/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/297-1449/ Palinsky
Southern Oaks Recreation Center – 400 S.W. 66th St

Apr 13/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 834-2348/ Brase
First United Methodist Church – 122 West 10th

Apr 23/ Tuesday/Okla, City/ 8:30 am – 3:30 pm/ 773-6910/ Kruck
Healthy Living Center – 11501 N. Rockwell Ave.

May 2/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline

May 9/ Thursday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3177/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.

May 10/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W, Medical Center – 4299 S. Douglas, Suite B-10

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

Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without any warning. The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die.
Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for workers and their families. The value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security may even be more than the value of your individual life insurance. When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children, and dependent parents.
Here are the people who can get survivors benefits based on your work:
* Your widow or widower may be able to get full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956, with the full retirement age gradually increasing to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Your widow or widower can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.
* Your widow or widower can get benefits at any age if they take care of your child younger than age 16 or disabled, who is receiving Social Security benefits.
* Your unmarried children, younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they’re attending elementary or secondary school full time), can also get benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22. Under certain circumstances, we can also pay benefits to your stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren, or adopted children.
* Your dependent parents can get benefits if they’re age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you must have provided at least half of their support.)
You can read more about Survivors Benefits at:
How much your family can get from Social Security depends on your average lifetime earnings. The more you earned, the more their benefits will be. For more information on widows, widowers, and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/survivors.
Social Security is with you through life’s journey. Be sure to tell friends and family about our Survivors Benefits and how we can help in times of need.

Application deadline is nearing. Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (COC HLAA) is offering two scholarships of $1,000 each. These scholarships are available to students attending higher education in the fall of 2019. The main requirements are that the applicant must have a hearing loss, be an Oklahoman, attending an Oklahoma institution of higher education. Applications may be mailed to COC HLAA, PO Box 42801, OKC 73123, or delivered to the Hearing Helpers Room, 5100 N Brookline, Suite 100, OKC 73112. Application deadline is April 8, 2019, 5PM.
If you know of a student who might be interested, OCO HLAA encourages you to inform them of this scholarship and suggest they make application immediately
COC HLAA has been providing assistance to Oklahomans with hearing loss for 27 years. 2019 holds hope for returning servicemen & women with hearing loss as COC HLAA reaches out with assistance to veterans. 2019 offers a place with COC HLAA to find answers and hope for families of children with hearing loss. 2019 expects to see many more public places joining the Loop OKC initiative to become more hearing friendly and ADA compliant. Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America stands ready to welcome all. Two meetings monthly that are free and open to the public; 2nd Monday monthly at 6:30 PM and 3rd Thursday monthly at 1:30 PM held at the Lakeside Methodist Church 2925 NW 66. Visit the website for more information. WWW.OKCHearingLoss.org.

Norman, Oklahoma. Full Circle Adult Day Care Center dedicated its new facility on March 26th with a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house. The new location is 4223 28th Avenue NW, Norman, Oklahoma, in the Franklin Business Park. Established in 1995 out of an urgent and growing need for adult day services in the Norman community and surrounding areas, Full Circle provides person-centered care. Our Program Coordinator plans and implements a variety of stimulating activities based on our members’ interests and abilities. The comprehensive program addresses all areas of wellness including intellectual, physical, emotional, vocational, spiritual, and social health, through both group and individual activities such as pet visits, community outings, an intergenerational program, art classes, cooking groups, entertainment, holiday celebrations, special events, and more. Nutritious meals are provided and special diet needs are met by the kitchen staff. Costs are kept as low as possible and we accept DHS, Advantage, VA benefits, and private pay. Scholarships are also available to those who qualify. Our new facility is state of the art, with families as our top priority.
Our Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN) monitors dietary and health needs of our members. Certified Nurses Assistants (CNAs) provide assistance with activities of daily living and personal care needs. Medication is administered by our LPN or a Medication Administration Tech (MAT) as directed per physician’s orders. Any concerns regarding the wellness and care of our members are communicated to the family and physician.
Full Circle has been referred to as the “missing piece” for caregivers struggling to keep loved ones at home as long as possible and a respite for those caregivers needing a welcome break to look after their own health and wellbeing. Full Circle would like to extend a warm invitation to everyone in the community to come see what we have accomplished and what we have to offer. For more information, please call us at 405-447-2955 or visit us at www.fullcircleok.org.

Mozart: From Salzburg to Vienna

The Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble will present its fifth and final regular-season concert, Mozart: From Salzburg to Vienna, Tuesday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. This all-Mozart evening will feature his most popular work, Eine kleine Nachtmusik.
Mozart’s String Duo No. 1 in G (K. 423) for violin and viola was written when the child-genius was only 17 to help out a colleague—Joseph Haydn’s brother, Michael—who was unable to complete a commissioned work due to illness. By this time, Mozart had been composing for over a decade so, though it is a youthful work, it does not lack maturity. Like Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B-flat (K. Anh. 91), for two violins, viola, cello and clarinet, was published after the composer’s death at the early age of 35. The quintet, like a number of Mozart’s later works, was finished by another, in this case, the renowned Mozart scholar R.D. Levin. The program will include Mozart’s enchanting violin sonata No. 24 in B-flat (K. 378/317d), transcribed for clarinet quartet (violin, viola, cello and clarinet).
Capping the evening is a work that has long been considered Mozart’s best loved, his serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik—literally “A Little Night Music” (K. 525) for two violins, viola, cello and double bass. This work was among a bundle of manuscripts that Mozart’s young widow took to a publisher hoping to generate some badly-needed cash. Though it is thought to be missing a movement, there is plenty of charm in the surviving four movements.
Musicians appearing in this concert are: Gregory Lee and Katrin Stamatis (violin), Samuel Formicola (viola), Meredith Blecha-Wells (cello), George Speed (double bass) and Chad Burrow (clarinet).
Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble, Oklahoma City’s own chamber ensemble, presents fine classical chamber music in the beautiful and acoustically-rich St. Paul’s Cathedral at 7th and N. Robinson near downtown Oklahoma City. Tickets are $20 at the door. Children, students and active-duty military personnel admitted free with ID. Free parking south of the cathedral. For more information, visit us at www.brightmusic.org