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Seniors

There are many resources available especially for senior citizens. This section of my web page lists some of the sites I have found to be particularly useful.

American Association of Retired People

The American Association of Retired Persons is an organization that provides advice to Americans living on a limited income and keeps citizens informed on issues important to older Americans.

American Association of Retired Persons
600 East Court Avenue #C
Des Moines, IA 50309
Toll-Free: 1-800-424-3410
Phone: 515-224-2272
Fax: 515-244-7767
Website: www.aarp.org/states/ia/

Community Action Agencies

CAAs and local neighborhood centers provide several programs for low income and older persons. Examples include: heating assistance programs, weatherization assistance, food banks and chore services for the elderly. CAAs also use funds to trigger new development in economically depressed areas. Visit their website to learn more about the Community Action Agencies in Iowa.

Dental Assistance

A program called Iowa Dental Access implemented by the Iowa Dental Association and the Department of Elder Affairs will provide a wide range of dental services for a discount to older Iowans meeting certain income guidelines. Contact your local Agency on Aging for more information.

Diet and Nutrition

More than ever a good diet is essential to good health. You can evaluate your eating habits by writing down everything you eat for one week, and then take your food diary to your doctor for help in modifying your eating habits for a happier future. Contact your local Iowa State University Extension Service for basic nutrition information. Information on nutrition and food programs can be obtained by contacting your county health department, county extension office, state or local medical society, or a hospital outpatient clinic. The Area Agency on Aging for your region may also have information available on this topic.

Education Opportunities

Iowa Elderhostel

The Iowa Elderhostel is a non-profit educational organization for persons 60 or older. The group offers inexpensive short term academic programs hosted by educational institutions around the world. Whether abroad or in the United States, participants often stay or study in universities and colleges, cultural and research institutions.

Iowa Elderhostel
116 International Center
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-2533
Toll-Free: 877-426-8056
Website: www.elderhostel.org

Area Community Colleges

There are 15 area community colleges in Iowa. Contact your local community college for more information on services in your area. Don't forget to check if they offer educational programs for older Americans at reduced rates.

Employment Opportunities

In addition to volunteer work, many employment opportunities exist throughout the state for older Iowans. In order to aid your search, a list of employment resources is provided below.

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

Provides on the job training and employment services for Iowans age 55 and older. Participants must be able to work, and their income must fall within certain guidelines.

Des Moines: 515-244-2272
Ottumwa: 641-682-8173
Dubuque: 563-582-0902
Toll-Free: 800-424-3410
Website: www.aarp.org/states/ia/

Experience Works

Experience Works is an organization that completes orientation and job placement for part-time employment in non-profit agencies.

Experience Works
3720 2nd Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50333-4040
Toll-Free: 800-782-7519
Phone: 515-243-2430
Website: www.experienceworks.org

J.T.P.A. Older Individual Program

JTPA Older Individual Program completes training, orientation, and job placement of economically disadvantaged people 55 or older. To find out which of the 16 Iowa offices serves your area contact your local Workforce Development Center or the Iowa Division of Workforce Development at 1-800-JOB-IOWA or 515-281-4799.

Self-Employment

Self employment is a good way for retired individuals to keep active. Make the most of hobbies and interests that you may have such as woodworking, flower arranging, gardening, antique collecting, baking, babysitting and even raising livestock if you live on a farm. These options allow you to work at your pace while living a productive life in your retirement.

Age Discrimination

If you feel that you have been a victim of age discrimination please contact either the Iowa Civil Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

Iowa Civil Rights Commission
211 Maple Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-1858
Toll-Free: 800-457-4416
Phone: 515-281-4121
Fax: 515-281-4311
Website: www.state.ia.us/government/crc/

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
310 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Toll-Free: 800-669-4000
TTY: 800-669-6820

Exercise

Keeping active will help you feel better both physically and emotionally. Daily exercise can strengthen muscles, increase your energy level, aid in weight control and help you sleep better. Consult your physician for an exercise plan to fit your needs.

Federal Government Programs

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Act and related laws established a number of programs which have the basic objectives of providing for the material needs of individuals and families, protecting aged and disabled persons against the expenses of illnesses that could otherwise exhaust their savings, keeping families together, and giving children the opportunity to grow up in health and security.

Social Security Hotline
Toll-Free: 800-772-1213
TTY: 800-325-0778
Website: www.ssa.gov

Eligibility for Social Security Benefits depends on how long you have monetarily contributed as a worker. In order to qualify for retirement, disability or survivors' benefits for your family, you must have a certain number of years of coverage. Because of longer life expectancies, full retirement age varies with your date of birth. Please see the chart below to determine the age at which you may retire with full benefits. You may retire as early as age 62, but the amount you receive will be less than at your full retirement age.

Age To Receive Full Social Security Benefits

Year of BirthRetirement Age
1937 or earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
1943 - 195466
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 or later67

How much should I expect?

Being covered or insured only means that you and your family can receive benefits. The amount you receive in monthly paychecks depends on the average yearly earnings of your working career under Social Security. These basic benefits are now automatically adjusted upward every January to keep pace with the cost of living.

If you are nearing retirement, and would like an estimate of your retirement benefits you should contact your local Social Security Administration office and request a copy of the leaflet: Estimating Your Social Security Retirement Check. You may also call the Social Security Hotlineat1-800-772-1213to request a benefits estimate.

When should I contact my Social Security office?

Sometimes a person is uncertain whether he or she qualifies for Social Security. In many cases, that doubt causes a person to lose those benefits to which he is entitled. Therefore, it is important that you contact your Social Security Office if:

  • You are unable to work because of an illness or injury that is expected to last a year or longer.
  • You are 62 or older and plan to retire.
  • You are within three months of 65 even if you do not plan to retire.
  • Someone in your family dies.
  • You, your wife or husband or your dependent children suffer permanent kidney failure.

What about Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

The SSI program is also administered by the Social Security Administration. SSI's aim is to provide a basic monthly income to persons who are blind or disabled, or to senior citizens (age 65 or older) who are in special need of financial assistance and who meet the income requirements. Because income requirements change often, contact your local Social Security Office to determine your eligibility. Your home or personal property is not considered as a limitation. Unlike Social Security, you can get SSI benefits even if you have never worked or for other reasons do not qualify for Social Security benefits.

SSI defines a person as disabled if he/she is unable to engage in any gainful employment due to a physical or mental impairment which has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.

How can I appeal if I am denied benefits?

If your application for Social Security or SSI benefits is denied, or if any of your benefits are reduced or terminated, you certainly may appeal the decision. Appeal forms are available from any Social Security Administration Office. You are allowed to have a friend or relative assist you in any appeal proceeding. You may also want to contact an attorney to help you with an appeal or any other matter concerning the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. It is important to remember that before an attorney can charge you a fee, he or she must petition the Social Security Administration for approval of the fee.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible for retirement benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Veterans Affairs Regional Office
Federal Building
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-9825
Toll-Free: 800-827-1000
Fax: 515-323-7407
Website: www.va.gov/

Black Lung

Inquiries regarding Black Lung claims may be made at your local Social Security Office. Billing problems should be referred to the Department of Labor, Coal Mine Workers' Compensation Division.

Department of Labor
ESA/OWCP/DCMWC
1999 Broadway, Suite 690
P.O. Box 46550
Denver, Co. 80201
Toll-Free: 800-366-4612
Phone: 720-264-3100
Website: www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-blba.htm

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible for retirement benefits from the Railroad.

Railroad Retirement Board
Federal Building
210 Walnut Street, Room 921
Des Moines, IA 50309-9825
1-800-808-0772
515-284-4344
FAX: 515-284-4616
email: desmoines AT rrb.gov
Website: www.rrb.gov

Other Federal Programs

The federal government offers a wide variety of assistance programs. Benefits.Gov helps you find government benefits you may be eligible to receive.

Financial Resources

Credit Resources

Many newly widowed or divorced women find themselves unable to get credit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that says creditors must report the credit history of jointly held accounts in the names of each spouse. In addition, the FTC has a variety of pamphlets available on their web site concerning consumer credit.

How to contact the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax

To learn more about Equifax, please visit their website.

To order your report

Call: 800-685-1111
Write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

To report fraud

Call: 800-525-6285
Write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report.

Experian

To learn more about Experian, please visit their website.

To order your report

Call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Write: P.O. Box 2002, Allen TX 75013

To report fraud

Call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Write: P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013
TDD: 1-800-972-0322

Trans Union

To learn more about Trans Union, please visit their website.

To order your report

Call: 800-888-4213
Write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022

To report fraud

Call: 800-680-7289
Write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
TDD: 1-877-553-7803

Business Investments

Many retired people looking for ways to supplement their income end up losing their savings in fraudulent or misrepresented schemes. The FTC has acted to make wise investing easier by requiring companies to give potential buyers a prospectus containing critical financial information about the franchise and its earning potential. Consumers considering investing in a franchise business should ask for the prospectus before making a decision.

Tax Resources

Numerous changes are made each year with the tax laws that affect the payment of income taxes. There are many tax advantages to benefit elderly persons. Many exemptions and itemized deductions exist for those 65 and over, such as blindness, medical/dental expenses, etc. IRS assistance is available to answer questions about these advantages at 800-829-1040 or 515-284-4240.

The IRS in Iowa also offers "Tax Counseling for the Elderly" and "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance." These programs are available for all older, low-income taxpayers and those with disabilities. Contact the Statewide IRS office at 800-829-1040 or 877-777-4778 for more information.

If you are not satisfied with the way a local IRS office handles the resolution of the problem, report it to:

Problem Resolution Office
Internal Revenue Service
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50305
Phone: 515-284-4240

Iowa Department of Revenue

If you have questions concerning state taxes you can contact the Department of Revenue. Additionally, if you meet necessary guidelines, the department can provide you information on your property tax credit or rent reimbursement. Call 800-367-3388 for more information.

Property Taxes

If you have questions about property tax, your county assessor can help. Their is an online directory of county assessors to help you find one close to you.

General Health Resources

The National Institute on Aging has pamphlets on health matters affecting older persons. You can obtain free copies by writing to:

National Institute on Aging
Building 31, Room 5C27
31 Center Drive MSC 2292
Bethesda, MD 20892-2292
301-496-1752
Website: www.nia.nih.gov

The National Health Information Center provides data on prescription drugs and other health matters.

National Health Information Center
1-800-336-4797
Email: info AT nhic.org
Website: www.health.gov

If you have questions regarding other medical matters the following may be helpful:

Elder Abuse
200 10th Street, 3rd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319
Domestic elder abuse: 800-362-2178
Institutional elder abuse: 515-242-3321
Website: www.iowa.gov/elderaffairs/faq/elderrights.html

Hill Burton Hospital Law

Under the Hill-Burton law, many hospitals must allow some free to reduced charges for care to low-income persons. For more information call 800-638-0742.

Internet Resources

The Internet offers a wealth of information for seniors on just about any topic you could imagine, and through Internet features like electronic mail, it is also a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. Below are just a few of the many resources available for older Iowans on the Internet.

  • Senior Net
    • A Non-profit organization that offers chat rooms and discussions on politics, travel and health, among others, as well as links to senior organizations and publications on the Web.
  • The Senior Center
    • Information on travel bargains, free books, and health news for senior citizens.
  • The Senior Circle
    • Interactive community of active senior citizens with discussion groups, travel opportunities, health information, and more.
  • Interactive Aging Network (IAN)
    • IAN provides senior citizens with health, legal/financial and entertainment resources, and offers vital information on fund-raising and program development to assist providers of aging services.
  • National Council of Senior Citizens
    • A nonprofit activist organization dedicated to senior and retirement issues such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
  • National Senior Citizen Law Center
    • Advocates, litigates and publishes on low-income elderly and disability issues including Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, nursing homes, age discrimination, pensions.

Iowa Area Agencies on Aging

Area and local Agencies on Aging can often help older persons with consumer problems. Services may vary from area to area, but most offer "advocacy" programs that generally provide information on congregate meal programs, transportation, insurance, employment, nutrition education, health screening and emergency services for older persons. To locate your local Area Agency on Aging, please visit the Iowa Department On Aging website.

Iowa Department on Aging

This agency coordinates several programs through the Area Agencies including the Care Review Committees for nursing homes, the Assurance Network for Easing Widowhood, telephone reassurance, Homemaker Health Aides, Eldercare and chore services.

Iowa Department on Aging
Jessie Parker Building
510 East 12th St. Suite 2
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-725-3333 Website: https://www.iowaaging.gov/

Long term care complaint hotline
Toll-Free: 800-532-3213
Phone: 515-725-3333
TTY: 515-725-3302
Website: https://www.iowaaging.gov/area-agencies-aging

Legal and Financial Services

Drake Legal Clinic

The Drake Legal Clinic's Elderly Services Division provides free legal services for persons 60 years and older. Call515-271-3851or go to their Website for more information.

Legal Hotline for Older Iowans

Legal Hotline for Older Iowans is a free and confidential service for Iowans 60 years and older who have questions about non-criminal legal matters.

Legal Hotline for Older Iowans
Legal Services Corporation of Iowa
1111 9th Street, Suite 230
Des Moines, IA 50314
Toll-Free: 800-992-8161
Phone: 515-282-8161
Website: www.showcase.netins.net/web/decat/legalcor.html

The National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC)

The NSCLC was established in 1972 to help older individuals through legal work in support of elderly poor clients, client groups, and Elder Law attorneys. The NSCLC responds to 4,000 requests for assistance annually. Requests may be made by telephone, by mail or by e-mail. NSCLC is available to serve in a purely supportive or advisory capacity, as active co-counsel, or as lead counsel in litigation and administrative aging matters.

National Senior Citizens Law Center
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-289-6976
FAX: 202-289-7224
Website: www.nsclc.org

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
1604 North Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85716
520-881-4005
FAX: 520-325-7925
Website: www.naela.org

The Iowa Senior Citizens' Handbook

The Iowa Senior Citizens' Handbook is a wonderful in-depth handbook that contains legal and resource information. It was produced by the Young Lawyers Section of the Iowa State Bar Association. It is available free by writing to:

Iowa Senior Citizens' Handbook
Iowa State Bar Association
Office of the Secretary
521 E. Locust
Des Moines, IA 50309

Long Term Care

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are medical facilities in which high intensity, comprehensive and planned 24-hour nursing care is provided with maximum efficiency by registered and licensed nurses. Rehabilitation is also provided as required by the individual's plan of care. These types of homes serve convalescent residents and those with long term illness and also provide services for persons who, because of their physical or mental limitations, require 24-hour care but do not require the degree of care and treatment a hospital provides.

If you decide a nursing home suits your family member's needs, it is wise to visit several facilities to determine the one that best fits your situation. The administrator, the person managing day-to-day operations, will be glad to show you and your family the facility if you make an appointment. Among the many questions you might ask at that initial meeting are:

  • Is the nursing home Medicare and/or Medicaid certified?
  • Are other insurance plans accepted?
  • Is there a staff physician who assists in policy making and answers emergency calls?
  • What facilities and staff are available for rehabilitation and physical therapy?
  • How well is the home able to meet my specific needs?

These are just examples of the types of questions you might want to ask. It is important that the facility offer you services that will not needlessly restrict your normal lifestyle.

Nursing Homes Report Card

Medicare.gov has a "report card" on nursing homes in Iowa. You can search by proximity to your city or zip code and then select the nursing homes you are interested in to review their scores.

Nursing Home Care Review

The Iowa Department of Elder Affairs Long Term Care Ombudsman Office serves as advocates for residents of Iowa nursing homes. They assist in answering questions and deal with the concerns and complaints residents often have. This should be your first recourse should a problem arise. Secondly, you should contact the Area Agencies on Aging. They coordinate "Care Review Committees" that also act as advocates for residents of long term care facilities. Contact your Agency on Aging or ask the nursing home for a list of Care Review Committee members. To locate your local Area Agency on Aging, please visit the Iowa Department On Aging website.

Complaints with County Care Facilities

If your complaint concerns a county care facility, and not a long-term care facility, you should contact the Iowa Citizen's Aide/Ombudsman Office at:

Toll-Free: 888-426-6283
Phone: 515-281-3592
TTY: 515-242-5065
FAX: 515-242-6007

If your complaint involves the quality of care at a facility, aid, or filing an appeal or complaint contact the Peer Review Organization at: 800-752-7014 or 515-223-2900.

Long Term Care Insurance

As Iowa's older population increases, the interest in developing insurance plans to protect against the rising costs of long-term health care has intensified. Nationally, more than half of all nursing home expenses are paid out-of-pocket by individuals and their families, and somewhat less than half are paid by state Medicaid programs. Neither Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, nor the health insurance provided by your employer will pay for all long-term care expenses. Long-term care insurance helps to ease the financial burden if you require either the services of a nursing facility or care in your own home.

Before buying insurance to supplement Medicare, ask yourself whether you need private health insurance in addition to Medicare. Each person should carefully examine his or her needs and resources to decide whether long-term care insurance is appropriate.

If you decide long-term care insurance is for you, help is available. The Iowa Insurance Division's Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) can help answer your long-term care insurance questions. The Insurance Division also has available a booklet entitled 'Iowa Guide to Long Term Care Insurance'. For more information about the SHIIP counselor nearest you or to request a copy of the free booklet, call 800-351-4664 or your local area agency on aging.

In addition, Medicaid can often assist those who meet federal guidelines in meeting nursing home costs. To learn about Medicaid eligibility contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) at:

Iowa Department of Human Services
1305 East Walnut Street
Hoover State Office Building
Des Moines, IA 50319
Toll-Free: 800-972-2017
Phone: 515-281-8621

Medicaid

Medicaid is a state program providing health care coverage to low-income people. This program is also referred to as Title XIX (19). Medicaid involves several different programs and covers more medical services than Medicare or any insurance program. To learn about and apply for these programs contact either your county Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Iowa DHS at: 800-972-2017

Area Agencies On Aging

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) staff, Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) volunteers: 800-351-4664 or 515-281-6867, Health Care Providers, and numerous volunteers have combined their efforts to eliminate problems associated with waste, fraud, and abuse of Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare

Medicare was created by Congress in order to provide essential health insurance to those in need. Today, this includes the elderly and the disabled. Most recently, Congress included a prescription drug plan to the Medicare program, enabling beneficiaries to obtain the medications they need. While I voted against the creation of this plan as it was introduced, I understand that Medicare prescription drug plans are the only option available to many seniors to offset the cost of their prescriptions and they will provide extra benefits for seniors with limited means.

There are many helpful resources available at the website maintained by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). On this site you can learn more about the prescription drug plans, access the most frequently asked questions, compare plans, and learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans.

Website: www.medicare.gov
Phone: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

Medicare Part D- Prescription Drugs Assistance

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to help with the cost of drug bills. Medicare beneficiaries can compare prescription drug plans by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or www.medicare.gov. The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D benefits is November 15 through December 31. Below is a pamphlet this is helpful in answering some of the initial questions seniors and their families face while choosing the best prescription drug plan. However, if you have additional questions, I urge you to contact one of my offices in Iowa or one of the organizations included in the link below.

Medicare Pamphlet

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Download Acrobat Reader

SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program)

SHIIP is a program available through the Iowa Insurance Division that offers free information on health insurance for Iowa's seniors. SHIIP maintains a web of volunteers in 75 Iowa counties to answer questions regarding health insurance and Medicare, including prescription drug plans.

Website: www.shiip.state.ia.us
Phone: 1-800-351-4664

Has Medicare incorrectly billed you for services?

Contact the STOP! Medicare Fraud line at 1-800-532-1285 or the Complaints Unit at:

Medicare Part B
Attention: Complaints Unit
P.O. Box 6706
Fargo, North Dakota 58103-3309
Toll-Free: 800-477-8477
TTY: 800-377-4950

Have your rights concerning Medicare been abused?

Contact the Medicare Rights Hotline at: 1-800-433-4958

Reporting a lost or stolen Medicare card

If you lost your Medicare card or need to replace it contact: 1-800-772-1213

Medicaid for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)

This program allows Medicaid to help pay Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for qualified individuals. To apply or see if you are eligible for QMB, contact your local DHS office. To locate your local DHS office, please visit their website.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Regional Office (CMS)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may answer questions on local seminars and health fairs on Medicare health plan choice. If you would like to report a complaint directly to CMS Regional Office, please call 1-816-426-2866 or visit their website.

National Active & Retired Federal Employees

National Active & Retired Federal Employees
606 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Toll-Free: 800-456-8410
Website: www.narfe.org

Prescription Drug Assistance

NeedyMeds.com is a website that compiles information on prescription drug patient assistance programs. These programs are offered by the drug manufacturers to help cover the cost of prescriptions for low-income individuals. Drugs are listed alphabetically and are split into brand-name and generic groups.

If your drug is not covered under Iowa Priority's formulary, you may also contact the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer's Association on their website to inquire if you are eligible for patient assistance offered by individual pharmaceutical companies.

Iowa Priority is a prescription drug savings program available to all Medicare-eligible seniors and disabled Iowans. For more information call toll free 866-282-5817.

Respite Care

Respite Services provide supervised temporary care for frail older adults in a facility or in the home to provide relief for the primary care giver. Some nursing home facilities may offer this service when space is available.

Iowa Hospice Organization

Iowa Hospice Organization
100 East Grand Avenue, suite 120
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: 515-243-1046
Fax: 515-283-9366

Link Associates

Link Associates offers support services to people age 55 and older with mental retardation.

Link Associates
4301 Northeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50313
Phone: 515-262-8888

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

(Formally known as Food Stamps)

For questions about Food Stamps call the Iowa Department of Human Services at:

Iowa Department of Human Services
Division of Economic Assistance
1305 East Walnut Street
Hoover State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Toll-Free: 800-972-2017
Phone: 515-281-3163
FAX: 515-281-7791
Website: www.dhs.state.ia.us

Transportation and Travel Resources

Travelers 50 years and more (though more commonly 65 and up) can expect to receive cut rates at such places as hotels, museums and restaurants. Usually all you have to do is ask, if you don't ask about prices and discounts you will not receive them. There is no reason to be embarrassed. On the contrary, asking shows sophistication and will disclose an appreciation of your good business sense.

To learn about local transportation services, contact your Agency on Aging or the Iowa Department of Transportation Office (DOT) for your area. DOT phone numbers are located in your telephone book under State Government or you can go to the iowadot.gov website.

Handicapped Parking Permits

Iowa law provides for issuance of such permits that may be used to identify motor vehicles operated by or being used to transport physically handicapped persons. An application requires a physician's signature. To apply, contact your local Iowa Driver's License Bureau.

Trip Planning

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a national advocacy group that can help those fifty years or older in planning their travels. For more information, contact the AARP at:

American Association of Retired Persons
600 East Court Avenue #C
Des Moines, IA 50309
Toll-Free: 800-424-3410
Phone: 515-224-2272
Fax: 515-244-7767
Website: www.aarp.org/states/ia

Airlines

Many airlines offer senior discounts on a number of different flights. For more information, contact the individual airline.

Should you have a complaint about an airline you can contact:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division
Department of Transportation
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20590
Toll-Free: 800-255-1111
Phone: 202-366-2220

Bus Travel

Many bus companies offer discounts to seniors. Contact your local bus company for details.

Federal Parks

The National Park Service offers Golden Age and Golden Access Passports to seniors. Golden Age Passports allow senior citizens to get a discount for federal park entrance and campground fees, while Golden Access Passports allow disabled people free access to federal park sites and a discount for campground fees.

Reduced Rates in Federal Parks
Golden Eagle Passports
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Website: www.doi.gov

Volunteer Programs, Employment, and Further Education

Many older Americans have spent the bulk of their working years expecting to retire and live comfortably. Older Americans are better educated, better trained and are healthier than past generations. Today, older Americans can create second career opportunities or share with others their experience and knowledge.

Volunteer Opportunities

Understandably, most organized volunteer activities are concentrated in urban areas, but many more opportunities are likely available in local areas just waiting to be found. Iowa has more small towns than any state other than Illinois and Texas, which means endless opportunities to volunteer and make a difference. Your local community needs your expertise! Consider volunteering at your local economic development group, library, historical society, school, nursing home.... the possibilities are endless.

For those in the Des Moines area, a helpful reference is available from the Iowa Methodist Medical Center entitled, A Guide to Community Services for Older Adults and Their Families. For a copy contact LifePlus at 515-241-2442.

A list several organizations seeking volunteers is provided below:

Iowa Aging Coalition

Works to unify and strengthen organizations and individuals in their efforts to improve the quality of life for older Iowans.

Aging Resources of Central Iowa
Toll-Free: 800-747-5352
Phone: 515-255-1310
Fax: 515-255-9442

Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
Toll-Free: 800-308-5987
Phone: 515-242-4799
Website: www.volunteeriowa.org

Corporation for National Service (CNS)

When faced with challenges, our nation has always relied on the dedication and action of citizens. The CNS carries on a long tradition of citizen involvement by providing opportunities for Americans of all ages to improve their communities through service.

Corporation for National Service
Federal Building Room 917
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-2195
Phone: 515-284-4816
Fax: 515-284-6640
Website: www.nationalservice.gov

Some of the programs administered by the CNS are:

  • Foster Grandparent Program
    • Provides meaningful part-time volunteer opportunities for the low income adult, over 60, working on a one-to-one basis with children who have special or exceptional needs. 515-246-6539
  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (R.S.V.P.)
    • Provides a variety of interesting volunteer opportunities enabling persons age 55 and older to be active and use their skills. 515-246-6544
  • Senior Community Service Program
    • This program provides on-the-job training and employment services for Iowans over the age of 55. Participants must be able to work and their income must fall within certain guidelines.

CNS Regional Offices
Des Moines: 515-281-8924
Ottumwa: 641-682-8173
Dubuque: 563-582-0902

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide. Working and retired executives and business owners donate their time and expertise as volunteer business counselors and provide confidential counseling and mentoring to small businesses, free of charge. SCORE is a resource partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA). For more information contact the SBA at 319-362-6405 or 515-284-4422.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service accepts paid and volunteer weather observers.

National Weather Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Website: www.nws.noaa.gov