(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that Connecticut residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on Thursday, February 11, 2021, as the state rolls into the next part of phase 1b of its vaccination program. Vaccinations for individuals over the age of 75 and those within phase 1a will continue.
With approximately 350,000 individuals in Connecticut between the ages of 65 and 74, and a slightly increased but relatively small weekly supply of the vaccine being received in the state from the federal government, Governor Lamont and state public health officials are stressing the need for patience on the part of Connecticut residents.
Currently, the state anticipates receiving about 60,000 first doses of the vaccine per week from the federal government.
“In a perfect world, we would receive enough doses of the vaccine to make it available to everyone in Connecticut right now, however each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we need to phase it in and give priority to the most vulnerable populations,” Governor Lamont said. “I know that people are anxious to receive it, and I will continue advocating for our state to receive increased allocations in the coming weeks and months.”
“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted older individuals and individuals in traditionally underserved communities,” Connecticut Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “Now that we’ve vaccinated the majority of our highest risk age group, we are ready to move to those over the age of 65. However, we want to ensure that within this high risk group, we focus on getting vaccine to individuals within the group who come from communities that have been hardest hit by the virus, namely our Black and Latino communities. We are working with our vaccine providers and other community partners to identify underserved areas and focus vaccine resources into those areas, including providing transportation assistance and other solutions to address barriers to vaccine access.”
All eligible residents are required to make an appointment in advance of receiving the vaccine. To find available vaccination clinics throughout the state, residents can visit ct.gov/covidvaccine and enter their zip code.
Appointments can be made utilizing the following tools:
VAMS online system: VAMS is the Vaccine Administration Management System and can be used to schedule appointments at multiple clinics across the state. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
Call Connecticut’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assist Line: Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment assist line is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. To make an appointment, call 877-918-2224.
Hartford HealthCare: Hartford HealthCare has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the Hartford area. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
Yale New Haven Health: Yale New Haven Hospital has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the New Haven area. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
Stamford Health: Stamford Health is operating a clinic seven days per week at Stamford Hospital. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
Walgreens: Walgreens is currently offering the vaccine at 12 different locations and will soon be adding many more across the state. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
CVS: CVS is currently offering the vaccine in four locations (Colchester, Putnam, Waterford, and Windsor Locks) and will be expanding to 12 more locations in the next week. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
Walmart: Walmart will be offering the vaccine at seven locations across the state (Hartford, New Haven, North Windham, Norwalk, Torrington, Waterbury, and West Haven). To make an appointment using this system, click here.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans in Connecticut, visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.
People continue to be surprised on what is still happening in Senior Centers as we continue dealing with COVID and all of those restrictions.
Well first off, the Senior Center Staff is still working. They are just as helpful as they were when you were there. They miss you, too!! They cannot wait for you to come in those doors!
The staff is just as committed to serving you – it’s just that things are different
The Senior Center phone lines are manned, and you can still get your questions answered. Call and let them know what you need help with.
You can still sign up for Meals on Wheels, Fuel Assistance, Elderly & Totally Disabled Tax Relief Program, AARP income tax assistance, and other programs. Or get the information on how you can apply.
You can find out which of these programs you are eligible for. Plus, any others you might be able to take advantage of.
You can get Meals on Wheels delivered to your home.
Most Senior Centers are still providing transportation.
Many Senior Centers have meals you can order and pick-up curbside.
If your local Senior Center is not distributing food, they can tell you where your closest location is.
There are lots of virtual and Zoom classes available. The beauty of those is that you can attend events that are well out of your area. There is no need to travel to a Senior Center across the state. Just register and login on the day and time the event is happening.
SeniorCenterCt.org has a Zoom calendar on the main landing page. Just click on the Zoom Calendar icon and you’ll find any number of things you can do.
Here is an example of some of the virtual and Zoom classes that you might find: Tai Chi, Genealogy, Sing Along, Trivia, lectures on a number of topics, paint night, bingo and more!!
So, call your Senior Center and see if you can pick up jigsaw puzzles, books from the Senior Center Library, or maybe even craft kits. Who knows, give them a call, and ask!!
So even though, you might have thought your Senior Center is CLOSED, it’s not really…. It’s just that the public cannot go into the building.
Toby Keith was inspired to write this song by Clint Eastwood who was about to turn 88. Toby Keith wanted to know what Clint Eastwood was going to do for his birthday and Clint said he was starting to make his new movie “The Mule” that next week.
Amazed Toby wrote about keeping that “Old Man” at bay. As the song says, “How old would you be if you didn’t know the day you were born?”
We all say “I don’t feel as old as I am” which is so true. There are times we are shocked when we look in the mirror because we have forgotten the number of years that have passed by. If we do not think about it, we can do what we have always done regardless of our age.
And as we move into this new year it is time to think and decide how we want to live. How we do not want to let that old man in. How we want to live, do what we love and expand what we are doing.
It is time to make our Bucket List for 2021 and 2022. What do you want your 2021 and 2022 to look like? What is your next act? If we do not plan for our future that old man just might seek in when we are not looking!
It does not have to be just huge things. What are the little things…?
Maybe… Enjoy the sunset more. Visit with family and friends more. Make 2 new friends. Read a good book. Maybe join a book club. Garden. Grow your own salad. Take a walk. Go someplace new each month. Redo a room in your house. Paint the walls and rearrange the furniture. Clean out the garage or the shed or both. Make a scrapbook of past vacations. Plan new vacations. Take an online class. Learn how to do 3 new things on your computer or smart phone. Do something kind for someone you hardly know.
For bigger things it might be take that road trip. Volunteer weekly at a school, hospital, or Senior Center. Do a makeover – you, the backyard, or your wardrobe. Brew your own beer. Learn a craft – maybe counted cross-stitch, carving, knitting. Reread your favorite book. Learn to meditate, then meditate daily for a month. Eat healthy and learn to cook new recipes. Redo your budget so you free up money to do the things you are always talking about doing! Book your next big trip!!
And as you make your Bucket List include another list of all the things you want to do as places open back up!! What have you missed the most? What was it you were planning for 2020 you never got to do?
And remember you are never ever “TOO OLD” to do anything!! Get out there and live. “Don’t let the old man in”
We just had another election.
Did your candidate win or lose? Are you happy with the results? Or are you disgusted…. with the results… the candidates… the road we are headed down?
Earlier this year I wrote… “I recently was at a networking event and we were asked “What is important enough to you that you would protest for it?” That is a pretty deep question to answer when you don’t know those around you. My answer was “our basic rights”. The freedom of speech. The right to assemble. The right to bear arms and the right to vote.
And this country was founded so we as individuals could not be suppressed. We have freedom of speech which enables us to voice our beliefs and we need to continue to exercise all these basic rights.”
As we reflect on the results of this election, we need to look for better candidates at every level. Talk to your friends and family. Ask them and yourself which Office, Committee or Board needs help and what you can offer. Then reach out. Make the phone call. Write an email. Step up! All Towns and Cities have many positions that need to be filled every year. I can guarantee they will welcome your offer of help.
When you see something you don’t agree with, don’t just complain and write an angry post or comment. Ask others what they think and how they feel about it. Learn them. Figure out how the situation or problem can be changed or fixed. Then work towards doing just that.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi
Don’t settle for status quo.
We need to stand up and be a part of the system. We need to be a part of the process. We need to hear each other and be respectful. We need to bring our differences together.
We cannot just complain and expect someone else to “fix” things!!
Take some time and reflect. Decide what you believe in today. Challenge yourself.
And as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Now go out and be a part of that change!
Every year – usually in the fall it is time for all of us to do our annual check to see if our insurance will be meeting our needs for the next year. We all need to look at our Medicare, what we have for a supplemental and what our prescription policy covers.
So, for Medicare – do you have Part A and Part B? A covers the hospital and B covers about 80% of all of the other approved services. Part A is covered when you apply for Social Security and if you select to have Part B it is taken monthly out of your Social Security.
To cover the other 20% of Part B, you can choose a supplemental insurance and there are a lot of plans to pick from. Or you can choose to self-pay that 20%.
If you choose to have a supplemental plan, then you should review that the plan you have is the best one for you for the next year. Then pick the company that offers your plan at the lowest monthly rate. All plans at each level offer exactly the same coverage. They just charge different fees.
For example, Plan G might be offered by 14 insurance companies. The prices can range from say $200.00 a month up to say $500.00 a month. The coverage is identical in all of the Plan Gs, so buy the $200.00 a month plan and you will save a lot of money.
It’s very similar when you check for your prescription plan which is Part D. Buy the best deal for you. Deciding is a little more complicated as you want to check that the medicine you are taking is covered by the plan you buy. Visit Medicare.gov and select “find health and drug plans” and plan on spending a half hour or more checking what you have, and which plan will be best for you next year. Be sure you are comparing drug coverage, deductibles and copays.
Then there are Medicare Advantage Plans. These are very similar to an HMO or a PPO where you pick providers from the in-network list. Generally, there is no monthly premium for health coverage. You might need to change doctors but maybe not. And these savings sound very attractive but be sure you are prepared as you will have copays for visits to the doctor, fees if you go to PT and for other services. These out of pocket costs can be as high as say $5,000 up to $6,700 for in-network before your plan kicks in again. And remember this is per person.
So if you are picking a Medicare Advantage Plan you might want to set up a separate bank account with $5,000+ in it so if you or your spouse falls ill you have the money to pay those out of pocket costs. No one needs to be worrying about money when dealing with an illness or accident.
With all of this said, set aside at least an afternoon to review your coverage, your insurance plans, changes in your health and your prescriptions for the last year, then look into what coverage you want for next year.
If this is overwhelming, reach out and ask an expert for help. Visit SeniorCenterCt.org and call your Senior Center or Senior Resources. All of the phone numbers are there for you. And the sooner you do this the better. Open enrollment starts Oct 15 and ends December 7th. If you do nothing your coverage will stay the same as what you have now. So, start today looking at your coverage and deciding if you need help. Those professionals are waiting for you to call and best yet their help is FREE!