Senior LinkAge Line

Older adults can contact the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays to receive help with questions involving Medicare and health insurance, help finding services to stay in one's home or help to afford medication. Be sure to have a complete list of prescription drugs and dosages.

The Senior LinkAge Line is a free service of the Minnesota Board on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program and Senior Medicare Patrol for Minnesota. Specialists provide one-to-one assistance with all Medicare and health insurance issues. Live chat with a specialist also can be accessed online at www.MinnesotaHelp.info.

New to Medicare: Online virtual class, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 26, for people who will be new to Medicare and would like to learn about Medicare Parts A, B, C and D. Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance and Part D prescription coverage. During the class you will learn the Medicare enrollment details, how to get the most from your benefits and how to research your Medicare plan options using the Medicare.gov site. Please visit mnraaa.org/calendar to sign up for the class as space is limited.

Medicare Advantage open enrollment: If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have until March 31, 2021, to make changes to your plan. People who have their Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage Plan can make a one-time plan change from Jan. 1 through March 31.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

This enrollment period gives people with a Medicare Advantage Plan a second chance to decide if their Medicare Advantage plan is right for them.

  • Enrollees can switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or return to original Medicare.
  • Enrollees cannot switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, cannot join a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan nor can they switch from one stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.

Alzheimer’s educational conference

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America free virtual conference from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 16 will allow participants to learn from, and ask questions of, health, caregiving and legal experts. There will be three sessions “How Mindfulness Can Help Family Caregivers,” “Planning in Crisis,” “It’s Not That Simple — Helping Families Navigate the Alzheimer’s Journey.” For more information or to register, go to www.alzfdn.org/tour.

Senior chat line

Coffee Talk, a statewide phone chat line for older adults, is open from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays. Call toll-free at 877-238-2282. It will be staffed by volunteers who understand the older adult population’s needs and challenges and is dedicated to easing loneliness and social isolation among older adults. Volunteers can offer words of encouragement and understanding and provide information about support and resources available in the person’s community. Calls are free. The caller’s privacy is a priority, and the only information requested will be first name. Users of the line may call as often as they would like.

NAMI Western Minnesota

The National Alliance on Mental Illness and NAMI Minnesota has online support groups and mental health classes in response to COVID-19. All are available through the Minnesota website at namimn.org.

Research Dinner: Feb. 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m., free, online. Researchers will present information about what they have learned about stress, mental health and well-being during the pandemic and the civil unrest. Led by Sophia Vinogradov, head of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota, learn about stress responses and how they affect the brain and body. Register at namimn.org. For more information, call 651-645-2948, Ext. 118, or email directorofoutreach@namimn.org.

Self-care training for senior workers: The training helps caregivers develop personal strategies for managing stress and practicing self-care as they continue to provide care for others. Designed for caregivers to older adults living in care centers, assisted living homes, their own home, or adult foster care settings. The training is about 20 minutes long and can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Access the training at namimn.org and see “Self-Care Training for Senior Workers.” For more information, call 651-645-2948.

Home-delivered meals

Willmar Meals on Wheels: Instead of volunteers, CCT bus drivers are delivering Meals on Wheels on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On these three days the meal is hot but we can include a frozen meal for the following day or the weekend. The meals are available for persons who are unable to cook for themselves due to their age, disability, illness or recent release from the hospital. Along with the regular meal, three special diet meals are available. The cost is $6.81 and includes all the side dishes (including dessert) and either milk or juice.

Order by 1 p.m. the weekday before the delivery day by calling 320-235-5310 ext. 219 or 320-894-7401. The menu is available on West Central Industries website, www.wcimn.org under Business Solutions.

Willmar Senior Dining: The meals will be available for curbside pickup at the Community Center between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. weekdays. Frozen meals are available. The meals are open to those who are 60 years of age and older. Suggested donation of $5 a meal, one-time registration is required by calling 1-800-488-4146. To reserve a meal call 320-262-5288 by noon the day before and leave a message. The menu is available on the City of Willmar website www.willmarmn.gov under Community Center.

Bloodmobile

The American Red Cross conducts blood drives in the west central area. To give blood you must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. You can give blood every 56 days. Double red cells can be donated every 112 days. While all blood types are needed, type O and type B-negative donors are especially encouraged to give.

Appointments can be made at 1-800-RED-CROSS or online at www.redcrossblood.org. All donors need acceptable identification. The preferred form is a government-issued picture identification, such as a driver’s license, or a Red Cross blood donor card. Otherwise you will need to provide two other forms of identification, such as a work identification, Social Security card, personal check or credit card. Personalized mail such as a utility bill will not be accepted.

Blood drives scheduled for the Tribune area that still had appointments available as of deadline are:

Feb. 18, Belgrade: 1 to 7 p.m., St. Francis De Sales Church

Feb. 19, Olivia: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., BOLD High School.

Feb. 23, Litchfield: 1 to 7 p.m., St. Phillip's Catholic Church

Feb. 24, Paynesville: Noon to 6 p.m., American Legion

March 1, New London: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Open Door Christian Church

March 3, Benson: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

March 5, Milan: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kviteseid Lutheran Church

March 8, Willmar: 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., Assembly of God Church

March 8, Willmar: 1 to 5:30 p.m., VFW

March 8, Olivia: 2 to 6 p.m., St. Aloysius Catholic Church

March 9, Willmar: 1 to 7 p.m., Calvary Lutheran Church

March 9, Starbuck: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Community Center