Helping Seniors through the maze of Medicare Part D.
For the past four years, I’ve been part of a team that helps local senior citizens maneuver their way through the difficult task of choosing Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans during the months of November and December. Each person I encounter expresses frustration and confusion at the complexity of this government program and I share in their feelings. I don’t know how our federal officials can expect older people to know how to use computers and online programs when they may have reduced eyesight or have arthritic fingers that no longer work well enough to use keyboards. It’s a daunting task even for those of us who use computers routinely! Thankfully, our library has responded to this great need in our community and has partnered with CVS pharmacy techs to provide hands-on help.
We’ve held four programs so far this month and have two more to go in early December. Each class has reached its maximum registration since we must work one-on-one in entering our patrons’ drug names & dosages for them and then produce the three best plans for them to view. We print out the comparisons and patrons leave our classes with clear choices and phone numbers to call to enroll in the drug plan that best suits their needs.
Why do I bring this up? Because I think this is a perfect example of how libraries can be leaders in providing information and help to our seniors. Because we, as librarians, are able to take complicated web sites and boil the info down into everyday terms and make our senior patrons not feel like dummies. We ARE people friendly, by our very choice of this profession, and that’s what it takes to make this annual exercise seem not so awful in the minds of those who need our service the most. These classes always help to refocus my priorities back to the original reason I chose this career amost a quarter-century ago.
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