The Flu and You: 7 Habits to Stay Healthy

This year Maine, like many other states, has been hit especially hard with flu cases. According to a recent Portland Press Herald article, 531 new cases of influenza were reported the week of January 15th, 2018 and many were of a more severe type.

Here are some simple habits you can practice to stay healthy during flu season.

1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

7. Get a Flu Shot (It’s not too late).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

“I strongly advise getting the flu shot this year.  The flu vaccine is not perfect,  but it will make  you less likely to get the flu, and  if you do get it, you will likely get a milder case. The flu is all around us, but it is not too late to get vaccinated. A flu shot now may also  make you less likely to get the flu next year too”, adds Dr. Patrick Connolly, MD from Martin’s Point’s Health Care Center in Portland.

Martin’s Point Health Care patients can call and schedule an appointment for a flu shot at a local Martin’s Point Health Care Center. Generations Advantage members can learn more about your flu shot benefit by clicking here.

“The single greatest advance in medicine in the last 50 years are immunizations. Diseases such as measles, small pox and pox, which used to have devastating effects and killed or crippled  millions of people, have been effectively eradicated thanks to vaccines. Protect yourself,  protect your loved ones, protect your neighbors. Get  vaccinated today!” –  Dr. Patrick Connolly, MD

Visit the CDC website for more information on the Flu and You.


Five Common Scams Directed at Seniors

“We often hear from members that they’ve received suspicious phone calls or emails,” says Marcia Griffin, Director of Member Engagement at Martin’s Point. “Thankfully, it’s easy for seniors to protect themselves against such scams with awareness and knowledge. For starters, know that a Martin’s Point representative will never ask for your Social Security number over the phone.”

1. Medical identity theft.
If a thief captures your health insurance or Medicare numbers, you could end up having to pay for prescription drugs, medical tests and procedures you didn’t have.

• Do not give your Medicare, health insurance or Social Security numbers to people you do not know and trust.
• Avoid “free health checks” from sources you do not know, especially if they ask for your cards.
• Check your health insurance statements to make sure all the charges are for treatment and/or services you’re aware of.

2. Conning a grieving spouse.
Thieves know we’re especially vulnerable when we’ve just lost a life partner. They scan obituaries looking for victims to trick.

• Ask a relative you trust to help with your finances while you’re emotionally stressed.
• Be wary of phone calls and emails from people you don’t know during this time.


3. The grandparent scam.
After discovering you have grandkids on Facebook, scammers manipulate software to make it look like you’re getting a call from a police department and demand bail for the release of your grandson or daughter. Thieves might even pretend to be your grandchild, using personal information found on social media to trick you into believing them.

• Be suspicious of anyone who calls asking for cash related to your grandchildren.
• Tell the caller you need to talk with another family member, hang up, and consult with another relative.
• Report your suspicions to the police.

4. The freebie lure.
Con artists sometimes ask seniors to share their name, date of birth, doctor’s name and address, and health plan name in exchange for something free, like a medical alert device or an anti-aging product.

• Know that no organization that’s above-board would ask for this information online.
• Hang up on automatic and unsolicited calls, especially if you never contacted the company calling you.
• Do not pay for an item you did not order, even if the caller threatens to take legal action against you.

5. Counterfeit prescription medications.
These scammers use the Internet to lure seniors looking for low prices on medications. Not only could you waste your money, you might end up taking a substance that doesn’t help your condition, and may cause still more harm.

Prevention: Avoid websites that:
• Have prices much lower than most vendors
• Suggest a different drug for your condition
• Don’t have a phone number for consumers to call them.
• Sell prescription drugs without prescriptions.
• Don’t have a pharmacy on staff you can talk with.
• Are not located in the United States, and licensed by their state board.


Five Ways to Protect Yourself

1. Know you’re a target.
The sad truth is, scammers focus on seniors, whether they have a lot of income or not. If you know their games, it’s a lot easier to protect yourself.

2. Do not share your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare or other personal information with anyone you did not call yourself, or with unexpected visitors you don’t know.

3. Ask solicitors for printed information before you buy or donate.
If you get an unexpected call or visit asking you to make a purchase or give money to a charity, be suspicious.

• Ask the representative to send you information in writing.
• Get his/her name, contact information, and business license number.
• Don’t let solicitors pressure you or make you feel rushed.
• Make sure your phone number is on the Do Not Call list to keep telemarketers from calling you. To register, visit this website or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236), using the phone you want to register.

4. Shred receipts that include your credit card number.
Safeguard yourself against identity theft by purchasing a paper shredder and using it regularly.

5. Safeguard your mail.
• To prevent theft of checks from your mailbox, set up direct deposit for benefit payments.
• Don’t leave outgoing or incoming mail sitting in your mailbox.

Where to learn more:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Learn more about health fraud
AARP: Reporting fraud
AARP: Identifying fraud

Martin’s Point’s Scarborough Health Care Center named 2017 Project of the Year

The Scarborough Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors has selected Martin’s Point Health Care Center in Scarborough as their 2017 Project of the Year.  The purposefully-designed space was opened in January 2017 and offers patient-centered care with primary and integrated specialty services and a dedicated space for seniors.  The nearly 18,000 square foot facility has 10 Primary Care providers and 30 employees.

Martin’s Point approached the site with care and worked in collaboration with Town of Scarborough staff to ensure it met the community needs. In partnership with the Town of Scarborough, Southern Maine Agency on Aging, Maine Strong Balance Center, The Center has been able to provider 34 senior lunch events, 74 senior drop in days, 34 Bingo sessions, 19 Tai chi classes, 4 balance classes, 15 yoga sessions, 6 living well for better health and 4 Vet to Vet volunteer meetings.

“The board was unanimous in its selection of Martin’s Point because of many factors.  They went above and beyond our expectations and have become a huge community supporter,” says Karen Martin, SEDCO Executive Director. “They took a site that was struck by a devastating fire and transformed it into a beautiful facility for our entire community to enjoy”.

As the largest Medicare Advantage plan in Maine, Martin’s Point is an expert on the needs of local seniors and created this space as a place for seniors to gather, socialize, and engage in healthy physical activity and lifelong learning.

“Nowhere is our deep commitment to senior health more evident than in our decision to include a Community Room,” said Steve Amendo, Martin’s Point Director, Marketing and Communications. “Underscoring the community’s need, our Scarborough Health Care Center Community Room has been booked solid with weekly senior lunches, drop-in social hours, bingo, tai chi and chair yoga classes, and educational workshops promoting healthy lifestyle habits.”