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AARP to meet Dec. 5

AARP Chapter 632 met Oct. 31 at the James B. Allen Generations Center with 27 members and guests. President Elizabeth Gay presided.

Following the pledge to the flag, Colista Ledford gave the invocation. Celia Estes was recognized for having an October birthday.

After a potluck meal, Sen. Ralph Alvarado was guest speaker. Alvarado represents all of Clark and Montgomery counties and northern Fayette County. He discussed several of the 90 bills the legislature has considered this session. The legislature is working to decrease taxes, but the budget is strained. Alvarado noted $1.9 billion is being spent on fighting against smoking.

Much work is being done in health care — rural hospitals are struggling and there are not enough primary doctors. Kentucky spends $1 billion per year on long-term care and “we don’t want to build more nursing homes,” $900 million is spent annually on federal programs for veterans, and 30 percent of the state population is on Medicaid.

One of the biggest problems is the pension crisis. Alvarado said we need $9 million to cover this obligation — money the state does not currently have. He added the state borrowed from the pension fund once, making the situation worse. Alvarado wrapped up by answering a few questions from the attendees.

Ron Kibbey, retired Clark County Comprehensive Care social worker, spoke to the group regarding the Prescription Assistance program which was started here eight years ago to help people who have trouble obtaining for their prescriptions. The program has one paid employee, Melissa Biddle, and two volunteers, Anna Gatewood and Brenda Harrington.

The program is free, and benefits are based on income eligibility criteria established by each pharmaceutical company. The program staff check their databases to find each client the lowest available prescription prices. More senior citizens are being helped now; 70 percent of them are getting assistance because they are in the Medicare donut hole, the point at which Medicare Part D refuses to pay any more.

Kibbey said there is discussion to possibly partner with Clark Regional Medical Center. Funding for the program comes from United Way, Clark County Fiscal Court Community Foundation funds, the Episcopal Church and other donors.

To determine if you qualify, call 595-5637. This group is located at the Clark County Health Department on Professional Ave.

Kibbey also shared about the Caregivers Support Group for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Their meetings are at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month at Winchester First United Methodist Church.

The next AARP meeting will be a holiday potluck, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the James B. Allen Generations Center, 32 Meadow St. Musical entertainment will be provided.

Everyone 50 years of age or older is invited.