Nancy’s Bulletin Board has been here since March of 2020 to connect us in real time with updates on events, activities, community resources and your feedback. At the bottom of the page please leave a positive comment, story, joke, pun, riddle or community news to post on this board.  Resident art and photography would post on this website’s “Show and Tell” board.  Or, you can email me your contribution at general_activity@otowfl.com and please note whether you want it published or not.

To make a reservation on the calendar, register for a Master the Possibilities (MTP) class or make an appointment to meet, please email me at general_activity@otowfl.com or give me a call at 727-799-2734.  If you are a new resident and have questions, do not hesitate to call or email me and we can also set an appointment to meet.

Some activities have resumed under restrictions and a calendar is now included in the On Top of the World newspaper. For the most up to date and accurate activity information visit OTOW TV Channel 732.

 

ATTENTION:  OTOW-TV – Channel 732 will not be available until further notice.  TV slides can be viewed at the Box Office but videos such as exercise with Cammy & Jessica are not available right now.  We are looking into other options for residents to view exercise videos and will update you soon.  Thank you for your patience!

 

LOOKING FOR A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY?

Give One Day a Week, Make a Lifetime of a Difference

Neighborly/Meals on Wheels (MOW) Pinellas County urgently needs volunteers to deliver lunchtime meals to approximately 10 homebound seniors. All it takes is 1 1/2 – 2 hours a week and your vehicle! Shifts are weekdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Choose the day that works best for you and your location; we have nine throughout Pinellas County! To learn more and to apply, visit: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c3dc50ca/dq6Yoyuz6xGde-MTgdRvyg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org%2Fvolunteer-opportunities%2F 

Give the Gift of a Lift! 

Imagine you no longer had transportation…how would you go to the pharmacy or get to the doctor? Last year Neighborly helped seniors get to over 10,000 appointments and we need your help to handle overflow requests. If you love to drive, have a safe driver record, a 2006 (or newer) vehicle, and enjoy helping seniors, this is for you! Neighborly has safety protocols to keep volunteers, and our clients, safe. Volunteers do not transport individuals in wheelchairs and do not lift clients. Choose one weekday or more in any region of Pinellas County. Volunteers use their own vehicle and generally serve between two and four hours a week (but can do more).To learn more or to apply, please visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c3dc50ca/dq6Yoyuz6xGde-MTgdRvyg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org%2Fvolunteer-opportunities%2F and complete the online application and choose your orientation date (be sure to choose an orientation for Transportation Drivers!).  

A Turning Point, by Jan Larraine Cox

(note: Jan is a resident of On Top of the World and writes for “Lifestyles After 50″ magazine.  She recently received an award for Profile from NAMPA (North America Mature Publishers Association)

We understand we could be approaching a turning point in the pandemic in The United States, if we all continue to follow covid safety guidelines even after receiving the vaccine.  In the Miami area, spring break revelers threatened this hope, but thankfully warm weather hastened their return home!

Because of the continued length of this health crisis, we who are endeavoring to stay safe are thinking forward, even if not ready to act on our latest goals.  It helps to have something to anticipate.  Many have decided to try a new hobby, which helps to create neural pathways in the brain.  Others have decided to eliminate what doesn’t provide positive feedback to their lives.

Some have found ways to become resilient and bounce back.  By thinking of what you like about yourself, one becomes kinder to oneself, avoiding negative self talk. Consequently we can become more meaningful in the community, as we find our own meaning and purpose.

Some ask: “What is my unique footprint, and how can I share my unique strengths with others?”

The VIA Classification of 24 Character Strengths addresses this question, for we all have within us many gifts that can brighten the lives of others.  The VIA Institute on Character in Cincinnati, Ohio has devised a unique list of strengths addressing Wisdom; Courage; Humanity; Justice; Temperance and Transcendence.

Wisdom evolves from Creativity—how clever and adaptive one is in problem-solving, for example.  With an innate love of learning one can easily master new skills, while staying open minded enough to master new topics and add to one’s knowledge.  Wisdom opens the doors to the big picture and the ability to think critically while thinking through issues.

Courage is linked to perseverance, having the stamina to persist to the completion of a task.  To speak up for what is right, energetically enthusiastic, delivers authentic and trustworthy results, from a sincere place in one’s heart.

Humanity delivers altruism, and knowing what makes others tick.  Aware of the motives and feelings of oneself and others encourages close relationships based on a warm and genuine core.  When compassionate, our kindness can translate into a sort of social intelligence that engenders warm and close relationships.

The character strength of Justice encourages one to act as a team player with loyalty and social responsibility.  As a just leader one encourages group activities that accomplish things for the team.

Temperance brings with it forgiveness with mercy and the acceptance of others’ shortcomings.  In humility, one modestly allows one’s own accomplishments to speak for themselves.

Finally, Transcendence delivers the ability to appreciate beauty and the goodness of others that surrounds us.  To feel blessed and express thanks for this goodness that surrounds us, we connect to purpose and meaning.  We are drawn into a relationship with the sacred.

As we aim to end this pandemic through vaccines, social distancing and mask-wearing, we can stay optimistic that we shall come out of it, and once again be truly lighthearted and playful, newly enhanced with character strengths isolation has ironically grown within us.

SHINE outreach EVENTS

MAY 2021

SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) is a Free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco & Pinellas. Specially trained volunteers can assist you with your Medicare, Medicaid, and Health insurance questions by providing one-on-one counseling and information. SHINE services are free, unbiased, and confidential. Shine Counselors can be reached by calling 1-800-963-5337 or 1-727-217-8111.

 Medicare Part D Drug Plan Zoom meeting with Shine Monday May 10th at 12:00 pm

(Provides an overview of Part D Drug plan options available in Florida).

When: May 10, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/89510b39/2PTBZ1ud6xGJe9sKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJYsf-mrrTIuEte7195vttqa3LJrzwim9ePK

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Part C Advantage Plans Zoom meeting Wednesday May 12th, 2021 at 10:00 am

(Provides an overview of Medicare Advantage Plan options available in Florida)

When: May 12, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/b957d1a6/Oh-CZ1ud6xGsA9sKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJUvf-msqTotHdReuXA8JebFil4i78jMagOw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

Medicare Basics with Shine via Zoom Wednesday May 12th at 12:00 noon

(Designed to provide an overview of Medicare options and how SHINE can help)

When: May 12, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/475d56ca/EEnCZ1ud6xGUJtsKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJEof-ippjIjE9alc6Yy7aZqyyIO2sh2HopU

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Long Term Care with Shine Monday May 17th, 2021 at 12:00 pm

(This presentation gives an overview of some of the issues regarding Long-Term Care Planning in Florida.)

When: May 17, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c8bf8a49/fHPCZ1ud6xGXzNsKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJcodumvpjotH9DzZxtwsEquDUTDgE_DilHX

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

Medicare Part C Advantage Plans Zoom meeting Wednesday May 19th, 2021 at 10:00 am

(Provides an overview of Medicare Advantage Plan options available in Florida).

When: May 19, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/6e66310c/eqLCZ1ud6xG599sKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJIvdeCprT8oGd1gAXYRttDfESCiHmIKhFwD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Basics with Shine via Zoom Wednesday May 19th at 12:00 noon

(Designed to provide an overview of Medicare options and how SHINE can help)

When: May 19, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/4a636665/vszCZ1ud6xGOntsKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJIqc-qrpjMjG92A49pwvvGZ5hZQIy0y-bR4

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Financial Assistance with Shine via Zoom meeting Monday May 24th at  12:00 pm

(Need help paying for your Part B or need Extra Help paying for your prescriptions?)

When: May 24, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/5d92b2ec/cPfCZ1ud6xG9UdsKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJMqdOCqrzgpG9ZA6b_GAWZJJA4w2aoFcQ27

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Part C Advantage Plans Zoom meeting Wednesday May 26th, 2021 at 10:00 am

(Provides an overview of Medicare Advantage Plan options available in Florida).

When: May 26, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/f7902adb/giHDZ1ud6xGpQdsKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJcvce2uqz8jHNfxL1_k7kEvYL8dHFrXC2CM

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Medicare Basics with Shine via Zoom Wednesday May 26th, 2021 at 12:00 noon

(Designed to provide an overview of Medicare options and how SHINE can help)

When: May 26, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.zixcentral.com/u/56acf5fc/9ErDZ1ud6xGSh9sKh3soMg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJIkd-ugpzkuGteW55JquiV00UWYzRqgbGNt

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

HURRICANE TIPS

  1. Purchase a battery-operated radio and a supply of batteries.
  2. Purchase flashlights with batteries. Use caution when using candles.
  3. Get an ice chest. Stock up on a week’s worth of water, food that won’t spoil, pet supplies, toilet paper, purchase a battery-operated fan.
  4. Refill medical prescriptions.
  5. Go to an ATM or bank and get cash.
  6. Fill your vehicle with gas. Fill a lawn mower container with gas.
  7. Do you need a generator? Never operate a generator indoors.
  8. Recharge cell phone batteries and use only when necessary.
  9. If you are evacuating, tell people where you are evacuating to and leave you contact information.
  10. Bring lawn furniture and outdoor decorations indoors.
  11. Sign up for the RAVE alert system from OTOW.
  12. Community updates will be posted on otowclearwaterinfo.com,

OTOW-TV Channel 732 and the Box Office (otowboxoffice.com).

  1. Make sure you have a first-aid kit, including bandages, ointments.
  2. Make sure important documents are safely stored.
  3. Don’t forget rain gear, blankets and home entertainment.

Don’t panic, but you may not have internet service for days.

WHEN A STORM HAS PASSED

  1. Do not go outside and begin cleanup on your own. Let OTOW

employees remove limbs and all damage. There could be wires down.

  1. Traffic lights may be out. Stop at all intersections.

EXCITING NEWS!

On April 2, 2021 SCA Facilities is returned to normal operating hours.

updated COVID restriction updates are available on the website, the On Top of the World Newspaper, OTOW Alerts, Channel 732, and the Activity Centers.

VACCINATIONS FOR HOMEBOUND 

Florida seniors who cannot leave their homes but in need of a COVID-19 vaccine have a new way to sign up for an appointment.  Email HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com with your name and phone number and someone will get back to you about setting up an appointment, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution.

You can also call 866-779-6121 to schedule an appointment.

VACCINATIONS FOR 50 AND OLDER AT PUBLIC SITES AND PHARMACIES IN PINELLAS COUNTY

Starting Monday, residents 50 and older can sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at public sites and pharmacies in Pinellas County.

The governor expanded eligibility to those over 50 statewide starting March 22, which will make the vaccine available to about 150,000 more Pinellas residents between the ages of 50-59, based on the latest Census Bureau population data.

This new group can create an account now at www.PatientPortalFL.com or by calling 844-770-8548, and can then check for available appointments starting next week. The website and phone number are available 24/7.

Publix, CVS, Winn Dixie, Walmart, and Sam’s Club pharmacies are also offering vaccines to the eligible groups, in addition to K-12 teachers of any age as directed by the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership. Residents can check each of the pharmacy chain websites for more information. K-12 teachers under 50 can also receive their vaccine at the federally-supported, state-run site at the Tampa Greyhound Track.

The Florida Department of Emergency Management is also running a walk-up vaccination site at The Centre at Palm Harbor (1500 16th St, Palm Harbor, FL 34683) from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. until at least March 27. Public sites operated by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas and Pinellas County Government are adding new first dose appointments each week at three sites as additional shipments are received from the state.

The following groups may also continue to schedule appointments through the Patient Portal:

Identification and proof of eligibility required at all appointments.

Residents needing transportation to a vaccine site have options available in Pinellas County:

  • PSTA currently offers FREE bus service to several drop-off locations near vaccine sites within Pinellas County.  Check out https://link.zixcentral.com/u/cf74f8c9/NFU53uOI6xGG-qpkg-oQLQ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.psta.net%2Friding-psta%2Fpsta-coronavirus-response%2F for a route convenient to you.  PSTA buses are limited to 15 passengers plus two mobility device passengers to allow for social distancing. Masks are required for all PSTA riders.
  • Neighborly offers free rides to adults 60 and over for medical appointments including vaccines. Visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/48456aca/boQ53uOI6xGG-qpkg-oQLQ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org%2Ftransportation to register. The medical appointment must be within 10 miles of your home, and you must book a ride at least two days in advance of the appointment. Anyone needing wheelchair assistance must book at least a week in advance. Rides are available from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. For more information visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c668d91c/aLI53uOI6xGG-qpkg-oQLQ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org or call (727) 573-9444.
  • The Area Agency on Aging helps Pinellas seniors find free or low-cost local transportation via their Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.
  • Residents with Medicaid can get a free ride to and from vaccine appointments. Once the shot is scheduled, residents are asked to call their health plan provider to get the name and phone number for the transportation service. If not in a health plan, residents can call the Medicaid help line at 1-877-254-1055 to be connected with a transportation service.Residents should schedule their ride at least three business days before your appointment, and be prepared to provide the following information: full name; Medicaid identification number; addresses of pickup and drop off locations; date of birth; name of health plan (if enrolled in one); date and time of the appointment; and a phone number. They may have someone accompany them if it is medically necessary. Be sure to call the transportation service if an appointment is canceled or rescheduled.

To date, more than 220,000 people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in Pinellas County. For the latest information on vaccine availability countywide, visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/fc124260/tuY53uOI6xGG-qpkg-oQLQ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcovid19.pinellascounty.org%2Fvaccines.

CDC GUIDELINE (update:  3-17-21)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take these COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from people you do not live with.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

NOTICE TO OTOW CLUB AND ACTIVITY REPRESENTATIVES

I miss seeing all of our club and activity reps on a day-to-day basis and eager for the day when we are all together again.

Even though many club events and activities are still on hold, your Annual Club forms are due.  This packet includes important requirements and information for maintaining a successful club, 10 questions to answer, a request for updated information such as copies of your board’s activity cards, club member roster and an agreement to be signed, that’s it folks!  Please contact me with any questions.

FLORIDA VETERANS SUPPORT LINE

Talk with someone who’s been there.
If you or your loved one needs support or connections to community resources, call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) and talk to a trained specialist. Many of them are fellow veterans. Available 24/7 every day, all conversations are confidential and judgement-free.
All calls are:
Confidential
Available 24/7 every day

https://www.myflvet.com/

GRATITUDE AND HEALTH

By, resident, Jan Larraine Cox (contributed on 2/23/21)

“Reflect upon your present blessings—of which everyone has many, and not on your past misfortunes, of which we all have some”:  London author Charles Dickens said this in the mid-1800s.  Sound familiar?  Parents often urge gratitude in their children, starting at a young age.

And Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus who was born a slave in Rome and was banished to Greece during the first century after Christ, famously said: “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

These are timeless thoughts which thankfully have been preserved through the ages so that we can appreciate and relate to them today, when we need them so much.

Focusing on the Positive and Feeling Grateful can have many physical health benefits. To name a few: Improved sleep quality, lessened inflammation and fatigue, and increased physical activity.

Gratitude can also provide psychological health benefits by reducing feelings of anxiety, stress and other toxic emotions.  By increasing the positive influence of an event, gratitude can lead to increased pleasure hormone levels.  Better feelings of well-being lead to less depression and better resilience to trauma.

Prior to the pandemic, 78% of Americans reported feeling a strong sense of gratitude at least once a week during a survey of American religion and spirituality.  Other studies showed “gratitude promotes regular heart rhythms, rebalances hormones, reduces stress, increases relaxation, and promotes resistance to common illnesses,” says author Diana Butler Bass, in her book called Grateful.

Bass continues, the link between gratitude and the heart is so pronounced, gratefulness can be described as a “strength of the heart.”

Lower levels of anxiety, decreased panic attacks and phobias, reduced risk of alcoholism and substance abuse all lead to longevity.  More attention to pleasure and contentment over envy, brings good memories to an individual.

Researcher Robert Emmons summarizes gratitude benefits to include self-esteem and will power, stronger relationships, deeper spirituality, boosted creativity, improved athletic and academic performance, and having a unique ability to heal, energize and change lives.”

At its deepest level gratitude isn’t about what we have in life.  Rather it’s about embracing what we are, what our life story is.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said “When people lack gratitude, something is missing in their humanity.  People can almost be defined by their attitude toward gratitude…Every hour is grace.”

To feel grateful together as a community moves us from “me” and my opinions toward “we” and the good of “our” community, says Diana Bass.  She continues, “Communal gratitude might heal our civic heart, putting us on a path toward a new future of national emotional health and well-being.”

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt found evidence that “people really do respond emotionally to acts of moral beauty, and these beneficial acts cause others to want to copy them and spread the positive feelings.

In other words, patriotism can be positive unless it becomes tainted by dominance by one group over another in the case of nationalism.   True gratitude is based on empathy, connecting with each other with positive emotion.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life…It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow”—Author Melodie Beattie

On a personal note, I would like to thank OTOW management and staff for taking on the task of organizing a vaccination event for so many hundreds of our community.  We appreciate you and hope that your turn for the vaccine comes very soon!