Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Mag

When you’re feeling under the weather and need your prescription filled, there is something said for speedy service that is professional and above all: caring. Chances are, you’ve spent more time than you wanted to in the waiting room at your doctor’s office.

You don’t feel well, and the last thing you want to do is stop somewhere else to fill your prescriptions. All of it is enough to make you want to call your mother to come take care of you. Well, that’s exactly what the folks at OC Pharmacy had in mind when they opened for business.

We’ve covered OC Pharmacy in the past, however, this issue is a little bit different. This fall, OC Pharmacy has teamed up with Merrill Insurance Services, two small businesses that call South Orange County their home, to help our seniors better understand and navigate one of the most complicated life events: signing up for Medicare.

You may thinking, “that’s not hard at all, I was auto-enrolled without doing a thing and have had that plan for years!” If you’re one of those people then you are in for a surprise.

Medicare plans are not great at communicating. What they don’t tell you is that your plan may change every year. The plan that you currently have is supposed to inform you of any changes, but it’s usually by mail and either gets lost or tossed out with the junk mail. OC Pharmacy and Merril Insurance have always had great communication and a common goal to help our senior population.  Now we are taking it to the next level by helping seniors nail down the best plan for 2016.

OC Pharm Merrill Ins 3This fall, OC Pharmacy began offering free Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) reviews to the community seniors. You don’t have to be a current OC Pharmacy patient to participate, just call them up to make an appointment. They will sit down with you, verify your medication list, and review your Medicare drug coverage for 2016 and what your options are, all at no cost to you. You’ll be able to see exactly how much you will pay out of pocket for things like co-pays. You’ll know ahead of time whether a medication will need a pesky prior-authorization come January so OC Pharmacy can prepare for it now instead of in January when the medical industry is in a frenzy adjusting to all the new changes that come annually. You can even see which plans will try to force you to switch to their mail order services, or even worse, to CVS!

Now, the drug portion of your Medicare plan is only one part of your whole multi-part Medicare coverage. To keep it simple, think of Medicare as two portions: (1) Drug coverage, and (2) Medical coverage. Of course, there is more to it than just those two segments, but those 2 will probably impact you the most: your medical coverage determines what doctors you can see, what hospitals you can go to, what your office-visit co-pays are, etc. and your Drug coverage determines what drugs you’re allowed to take, when you’re allowed to take them, and your co-payment amounts. While OC Pharmacy doesn’t have the necessary tools to help you with the medical coverage portion of your plan, Merrill Insurance Services can help you identify the best medical coverage for you.

For this issue, we sat down with Omeed Askari from OC Pharmacy and Denice Merrill from Merrill Insurance Services to answer some questions about Medicare Enrollment:

Sorbet: When should seniors start thinking about scheduling their appointments with OC Pharmacy and Merrill Insurance Services?

Merrill Insurance Services: NOW is the time to call. Get in this month The deadline to make changes is Dec 7th.  

Sorbet: Why should a person contact your agency “Merrill Insurance Services, Inc” rather than using their Financial Planner, Auto Insurance Provider, or a general Insurance Broker?

MIS: Merrill Insurance Services, Inc.  focuses on Medicare choices exclusively, not a shop that tries to do multiple insurances.  Look for a “Medicare Broker” and ask this question specifically!  We are Medicare Brokers which means we are licensed to represent a large variety of plans in your area.

This fall, OC Pharmacy began offering free Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) reviews to the community seniors. You don’t have to be a current OC Pharmacy patient to participate, just call them up to make an appointment.

Sorbet: Why is the system so complicated?

OC Pharmacy: Medicare used to be a lot easier to handle when it was a single-payer, federal-run insurance system. Medicare was semi-privatized under the Bush jr. administration in 2003 under the “Medicare Modernization Act”. This meant that private insurance companies would create Medicare departments, with their own rules, payment structures, etc. This change really complicated things, and made them more expensive, for seniors as well as doctors and pharmacists. We all lost. Only the insurance companies gained.

Sorbet: Other than contacting you to get enrolled for 2016, what can patients do to make the Medicare part of their life simpler?

OCP: Unfortunately, Medicare is very political. The only way to effect change in Medicare is to contact your elected officials. Luckily, at OC Pharmacy, we have a political expert to navigate the field. We can help you deliver a decisive message to your representatives. We need to do this as a community; we need to tell our representatives they’ve lost our votes if they don’t take the greed out of Medicare. Private companies are setup to make a profit, and it seems wrong to us at OC Pharmacy that insurers should take advantage of our retired seniors like that. Now is the time to make your voices heard! If you live in San Juan, your Reps are either Dana Rohrabacher or Darrell Issa. It’s also important to reach out to our California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

At the moment no other brokerage in the area is offering this type of partnered-service like OC Pharmacy and Merrill Insurance Services.

Sorbet: As a patient, what is the most effective way to contact my elected official?

OCP: Great question. The best method is a bit old school: writing a letter. All you need to do is write a letter addressed to your representative, but send that letter to your local newspaper’s editor. Staffers from the offices of elected officials put together a daily report showing any editorials from the top newspapers in their district. For example, trying to reach Rep. Darrell Issa of San Juan (District 49)? Send a letter to the editor at the Capistrano Dispatch. Trying to catch Senator Boxers attention? Send a letter to the editor at the OC Register. So few people do that these days that your letter is bound to be published and end up on your representative’s desk the following morning!

Sorbet: Why not use Merrill Insurance Services for selecting both the prescription drug portion and the medical portion of a Medicare plan?

MIS: OC Pharmacy is doing something that other pharmacies have never done which is to pro-actively gather the seniors list of medications from history and help to provide choices that would help them to stay with their local pharmacist.  Research has shown that seniors that utilize a local pharmacy with personal contacts are more likely to take their medications regularly and overall have better success.

Sorbet: Omeed, why should seniors use Merrill Insurance Services instead of enrolling in a new plan with you?

OCP: While we’re able to help a patient enroll through the whole process, when it comes to the Medical coverage portion of a Medicare plan we just don’t know enough in the pharmacy. Denice and Stephen at Merrill Insurance Services have many years of experience navigating Medicare plans and they are experts when it comes to enrolling a patient in their Medical coverage plan.

Sorbet: Denice, can you explain what a preferred pharmacy is?

MIS: OC Pharm is a “Preferred Pharmacy” with many Medicare plans and this is going to become an even more important aspect as our Medicare benefits change over the next few years.  “Preferred” status allows for seniors to get their medications locally at a lower cost.

Sorbet: Omeed, how can your joint-services with Merrill Insurance Services make the enrollment process easier for patients?

OCP: When we know the plan details in advanced of the 2016 effective date, OC Pharmacy can pro-actively call the doctor’s office directly to discuss medications that may be equivalent or alternatives in cases where a medication may be very costly and look for lower cost options.

Sorbet: Why come to Merrill Insurance Services and OC Pharmacy over other brokers and pharmacies offering similar services?

MIS: At the moment no other brokerage in the area is offering this type of partnered-service like OC Pharmacy and Merrill Insurance Services. The insurance industry has changed significantly over the last few years and unless you have a broker that really knows Medicare, you can be lead down the wrong path. Some insurance agents only work with or for one company you’ll only hear how great that company’s benefits are, but not know if there may be better alternatives especially when it comes to medications.

Sorbet: How do Medicare Plans come up with the co-pays amount?

OCP: Every Medicare insurance plan has different costs on the medications they cover.  This is called a formulary. OC Pharmacy and Merrill Insurance Services review all plans in your area to help you make the decision that best fits your needs. This is where Merrill Insurance Medicare Brokers & OC Pharmacy staff members will work together to help seniors to find their best solutions for 2016!

Sorbet: So what do seniors need to do to get started?

OCP: Just call us at (949) 429-5102, ask for Sarah, and schedule your Medicare Enrollment Review today!

Connect with OC Pharmacy by calling (949) 429-5102. OC Pharmacy is located at 31654 Rancho Viejo Road in San Juan Capistrano. Denice Merrill can be reached by calling (949) 388-7332.

Technological advancements are moving at a rapid pace. A new device seems to appear nearly every day. For many seniors, this pace can be overwhelming to stay up-to-date, especially when most devices aren’t created with the senior user in mind.

Although advancements in technology can be frustrating at times, studies show that older adults are beginning to slowly adapt to the digital age. Pew Research reports that 77 percent of adults over 65 owned a cell phone in 2014, but only 18 percent of those are smart phone users. This slow incline to adjust to technology can be partially attributed to the learning curve and adaptation time required to learn new technology as a senior. Technology can be a stressful experience for the senior population, especially with devices that are not user-friendly.

Luckily, select technology companies are realizing this challenge for those who aren’t digital natives and are making moves to create more senior, user-friendly devices to remove the frustration factor.

A device like grandPad, a tablet for seniors developed by Chapman University computational science students, is an example of how technology can adapt to generational needs and relieve technology stress. grandPad is a touchscreen tablet with simplified user interface that allows senior users to easily stay connected with family.

Technological tools like grandPad are tailored for seniors and are on the rise. Here are additional tools that can help bridge the gap between senior tech stress and tech success:

1. Finances and identity

Seniors lose $36.48 billion each year to elder financial abuse. To prevent financial exploitation, seniors and family members can use True Link, an online tool that keeps track of financial accounts and monitors any suspicious activity.

2. Safety in any location

Emergency response necklaces can feel aging to some. The Lively smartwatch transcends the average response necklace by giving users a sleek tech device that can send medicine reminders, count steps, and can connect to a live operator who will call emergency contacts and, if needed, dispatch emergency services.

3. Volume control

No more arguing about television volume. TV Ears can enhance the quality and clarity of television sound. This device improves the frequencies of human speech and decreases background noise to allow TV viewers to not miss another word of their favorite show.

4. Connect to family and friends

The grandPad touchscreen tablet provides a highly intuitive way to communicate with family or friends with video chat, phone calls, and voice email capabilities. The device also comes with 24/7 support service.

Not being up-to-date with the latest technology can feel isolating. However, tech stress can be alleviated when devices are made with the senior user in mind. The shift in understanding senior needs with technology is important to ultimately produce more tools that can be useful to a maturing population. As technology continues to develop, older adults can feel more comfortable and confident about using devices that will enhance everyday life.


Performing under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top


OC FAIR & EVENT CENTER in Costa Mesa: October 15 through November 29, 2015

17037 1060kurios quebec 9546KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™ premiered to the world in Montréal in April 2014 and is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production. Since its debut, the critics have been raving: “KURIOS is Cirque du Soleil’s strongest act in years…one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on a stage” (Toronto Star) and “KURIOS is the best Cirque du Soleil show in a long time.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™ is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible.

In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed. The name of the show refers to the humble and strange characters that inhabit the Seeker’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting. A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world. When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.

Tickets are now available by visiting or calling 1-877-9 CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

For the month of October, Orange Public Library has partnered with Fullerton Public Library to read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and brand new release, Go Set a Watchman. Join us in reading both books.

We will also offer several programs to celebrate reading these books as a community. Programming will include book discussions, movie showings, a Southern cooking demonstration, a trivia contest, nostalgic games, music performances and more. There will also be an engaging speaking presentation called Law and Order: Atticus Finch by Constitutional Law expert and fellow literature fan, Dr. John Eastman of Chapman University.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American Literature. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The character Atticus Finch has service as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers.

Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee which has just been released this summer! The novel was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but only recently discovered and published. The story follows an adult Scout Finch who travels from New York back to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus, 20 years after the events in the previous story. According to the publisher, Go Set a Watchman includes many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

In August, patrons can pick up a program brochure at any branch of the Orange Public Libraries or Fullerton Public Library.

For more information, check our websites at or


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July 2015


For almost two decades, our community has relied on Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center to provide emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As the area’s population has grown and matured, the hospital has experienced a steep rise in the demand for acute care.

Over the past nine years, visits to the emergency room at Orange Coast Memorial have increased by more than 44 percent. They now treat over 32,000 ill and injured people a year in the same square footage that served emergency patients when the hospital first opened its doors to the community in 1996. That’s an average of almost 90 patients per day.

As a result, paramedics must increasingly bypass the hospital’s emergency room because it is too full to accept any more patients.

Patient volumes are projected to increase another 29% over the next ten years, bringing the average number of emergency visits to over 100 per day.

With this expected upsurge in the number of patients who will require care, and the severity of the conditions for which they seek treatment, a new facility with improved access is essential.

To meet this growing need, Orange Coast Memorial has plans to build a new Emergency Pavilion that will be twice the size of the current facility and will double their treatment capacity. Occupying 11,400 square feet, it will contain a total of 27 treatment rooms, including 16 private treatment suites, one of which is designed exclusively for young children, and a “fast track” evaluation station which will facilitate rapid medical evaluations.

It will also offer separate entrances for both ambulances and walk-in patients, along with accommodations for bedside registration and increased infection control. The project includes a comfortable reception lobby with seating for 35 patients and visitors, enhanced space for physician consultations, and an adjacent chapel and healing garden.

This comprehensive expansion will allow Orange Coast Memorial physicians and staff to provide top-quality emergency care in an efficiently designed, modern setting. It will address the limitations of the existing facilities and provide the community with easy access and reduced wait times.

As a nonprofit hospital, Orange Coast relies on philanthropy to help fund facility enhancements such as this. Gifts received by the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation from individuals and businesses throughout the community play a vital role in strengthening the hospital’s ability to fund advanced technology purchases and provide crucial patient programs and services.

In support of the new Emergency Pavilion, the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation is hosting its thirteenth annual Fall Gala on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the Ritz- Carlton in Laguna Niguel. “Light up the Night” is the theme of this year’s event which will feature an evening of fine dining, musical entertainment, dancing and a live and silent auction.

For more information regarding the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation and their upcoming event, please call (714) 378-7397 or visit them online at

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 730,000 Americans experience a heart attack annually.

If you have diabetes, a poor diet, are overweight or don’t regularly exercise, you could be at risk for a heart attack or heart disease. Additionally, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance that clogs your arteries may slow down the flow of blood to your heart and brain, and can lead to chest pain, heart attack, stroke or other health problems.

So, what can you do to protect your heart and keep it healthy? CalOptima, the health insurance provider for thousands of adults and children throughout Orange County, offers these tips:

  • It’s all about your diet: following a diet that is low in salt, total fat, saturated fat (such as fatty beef or cheese made with whole milk) and cholesterol helps to keep your heart healthy. It’s also important to incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily meals.
  • Exercise: lack of physical activity can negatively impact your heart – like any muscle, it needs to be exercised. The CDC recommends taking a brisk 10-minute walk three times a day, five days a week to help stay healthy. Check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to be active and get moving!
  • Visit your doctor: if you have a family history of heart disease, it’s important that you see your primary physician or cardiologist on a regular basis. Make sure to bring a copy of the results of any recent heart tests, a list of your medications, questions about any other di- agnostic tests you may need and if you’ve noticed any new health problems to your appointment.
  • Take your medications: there’s a reason why your doctor has prescribed specific medications for you to take. Follow each medicine’s directions – let you doctor know if you have any strange side effects. Also, avoid suddenly stopping your medications unless directed by a medical professional.

Additionally, make a point to avoid smoking – if you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Remember regular visits to your doctor can help to keep you out of the hospital.

Sometimes, women can have a heart attack without the “typical” symptoms. Instead, they may have pain in their stomach, feel dizzy, light headed, and pressure in their back or feel very tired.

When you have a heart problem, it is very important you take good care of your heart.

If you have any of the heart attack symptoms below, call 9-1-1 immediately or go to the emergency room right away:

  • Chest pressure or pain, most likely on the left side of your body
  • Neck or jaw pain
  • Shoulder or arm pain
  • Sweaty
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting

CalOptima is a county organized health system, and provides publicly funded health care coverage for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities in Orange County. In total, CalOptima serves more than 736,000 members with a network of more than 7,000 primary care doctors and specialists, as well as 30 hospitals.

As the official hotel partner of Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is showcasing original works from 25 Festival of Arts artists. The exhibit will be on display in the Art Exhibit Space through September 30, 2015.

the girlThe Festival of Arts is California’s premiere fine art show. The Festival’s prestigious juried art show includes a wide variety of media such as paintings,photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more – all by 140 of Orange County’s finest artists. Established in 1932, Festival of Arts promotes, produces and sponsors events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts.

For a more comprehensive art experience, guests can book one of the two Pageant of the Masters overnight experiences that feature incredible seats and exclusive offerings. The Behind the Velvet Rope Experience features ocean view overnight accommodations on The Ritz-Carlton Club Level, two premium seat tickets to the Pageant, a guided docent tour of the Festival, a backstage tour of the Pageant for $1,699 per night. The Pursuit of Happiness Experience includes overnight accommodations and two premium seat tickets to the Pageant with rates starting at 775 per night. Both packages can be booked on-line at

If your business serves 55+ seniors in Orange County, California, then Sorbet Magazine is your outlet of choice.

Each issue of this monthly glossy format publication is direct-mailed into EVERY 55+ senior community in Orange County, direct- mailed to 55+ homeowners and is available on high-foot traffic stand locations and distribution locations across OC, including EVERY senior center and public library branch, as well as medical offices, hospitals, retail and restaurants.

In addition to widespread distribution, competitive rates and a quality product, at Sorbet Magazine we enjoy connecting people – businesses to customers, people to people and community organizations to community members. Our advertisers and our readers are our friends.

Let us create an added-value advertising/editorial package that works for you.

Contact Jody Robinson, publisher, for further information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or call (714) 469-3495.


Click here to see the Sorbet Media Kit.

Click here to download Insertion Order.

The mission of each monthly edition is to serve as a resource for our readership - features penned by experts in their respective industries designed to provide education, information and entertainment focused on the interests of mature adults in Orange County.

Each issue of this monthly glossy format publication is direct-mailed into EVERY 55+ senior community in Orange County, direct- mailed to 55+ homeowners and is available on high-foot traffic stand locations and distribution locations across OC, including EVERY senior center and public library branch, as well as medical offices, hospitals, retail and restaurants.

Why “Sorbet” you ask? Our editorial team considered a number of options with the goal of finding a moniker that would communicate “light, active, fun” to an ever-growing younger population of 55+ adults. Sorbet is a fruit-flavored ice served between courses as a palate cleanser. We thought the name was particularly apropos for our audience – individuals poised to embark on the main “course” of their lives and all of the wonderful activities, accomplishment, entertainment and endeavors to come.

We will strive to continually improve the depth and breadth of our editorial content. If you have a topic you’d like to see addressed or would like to share feedback or thoughts on any aspect of Sorbet, I encourage you to call or email me directly.

Jody Robinson, editor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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