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Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Mag

Since its first Wills and Trusts Week in the fall of 2011, the Orange Catholic Foundation (OCF) has had as one of its primary goals to encourage everyone to have an estate plan designed to provide for the needs of their families.

Each year in the spring and fall, the OCF works in collaboration with parishes and schools throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to provide information sessions led by local Catholic estate planning attorneys and financial advisors to help you protect and provide for your loved ones, update or create your estate plan, and learn more about wills, trusts, estate taxes, probate expenses, guardianship of minor children, selection of personal representatives, and more.
For convenience, the Foundation offers a series of morning and evening seminars that are scheduled at local parishes across the diocese.

While learning how to effectively plan a legacy, attendees at these sessions receive answers to such questions as:

  • Who will make my healthcare decisions if I am no longer able to act on my own behalf?
  • Who will have the power to manage our finances if we are no longer able to manage our property or financial affairs?
  • What is the difference between a will and a trust?
  • What happens if I pass away without an updated estate plan?
  • What are the advantages of pre-planning for my funeral expenses?
  • How can we leave a legacy of faith?
  • Who should we appoint as our trustees and successor trustees?
  • Who will be the guardian of my dependent children or child with special needs if something happens to me?

The Orange Catholic Foundation warmly welcomes all who are interested in attending one of the upcoming sessions during the week of May 16 through 21. Times and locations for the spring Wills and Trusts Week are listed in their advertisement in this issue of Sorbet.

Everyone who attends and completes a basic introductory form will receive a complimentary consultation with both an estate planning attorney and a financial planner within the next six months.

The Orange Catholic Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and an autonomous pious foundation that exists to serve the Diocese of Orange, including its parishes, schools and overall diocesan mission. The OCF plans and conducts major diocesan fundraising programs including the Proud to be Catholic Pastoral Services Appeal (PSA), the For Christ Forever Capital Campaign, the Conference on Business & Ethics, the annual Wills and Trusts Weeks and other special fundraising events. The Foundation also manages endowments and various charitable funds and grants funds according to the donor’s intent.

Bringing Lady Justice back to Orange County

In ancient poetry, a surviving image of justice was described “holding level the balance.” Later named Iustitia, the image of Lady Justice has maintained through the age, appearing in courtrooms, palaces, and government centers worldwide. A physical allegory for the law, the lady is none to be reckoned with: her double edged sword as formidable as any.

And yet, what is perhaps most striking about this ages old symbol is her blindfold. Any fool can muscle a scale to balance, if he is tilted himself - but the Lady holds the recipe for sea change in her blinded gaze: a ruthless integrity of purpose - to mete justice without the sway of fear or favor.

For Senior Deputy District Attorney Karen Schatzle, that ruthless integrity of purpose is what she seeks to bring to the Superior Court in Orange County. Prior to obtaining work in prosecution, Karen worked full time for the Orange County Probation Department. As a Deputy Probation Officer, she handled a myriad of tasks, ranging from investigating both juvenile and adult offences, supervising violent crimes offenders, and preparing guidelines for the Superior Court’s sentencing procedures. A force on the streets as well, Karen was post certified and trained to carry a weapon. Part of a coalition enforced with unifying efforts to reduce gang violence, she worked hand in hand with social services, law enforcement, probation officers and prosecutors: honing her awareness of the social issues taking shape in the streets of her city, and driving her decision to apply for law school. Clearly no stranger to hard work and dedication, Karen took the initiation to motherhood one step further than most, passing the BAR exam on her first attempt, while pregnant with her third child.

During her longstanding tenure as a prosecutor, Karen dedicated the majority of her attentions towards violent crimes - trying over 86 cases, many of which resulted in multiple life sentences. Though one might guess at the fact, Schatzle notes that “she has never been, or am now, dissuaded by a difficult challenge.” But what is the cost of such dedication? Surely, this is why Lady Justice is blindfolded. To remain separate from her decisions - if not to spare herself the torture of seeing chaos enacted daily in the streets of so many cities in Orange County. But to Schatzle, there is no worth without the struggle for true integrity: which, for her, “is not an external appearance but an inward reality that refers to singleness of heart and mind, the development of a blameless character by adhering to an exemplary moral code.”

And her opponent? “It is a determination to maintain judicial independence that moved me to challenge Scott”, Karen notes, “I voluntarily supported him during the last election - yet it is opposed to my moral character to do so now.” Recently censured for multiple reasons, including having sex with his law students in the court’s chambers, Steiner is an incumbent, and former colleague of Schatzle’s. “My career in law enforcement began almost 30 years ago - I have dedicated most of my career to prosecuting child molesters, sex offenders, and career criminals. My integrity, and the integrity of the court is an asset that voters should be unwilling to sacrifice.” Will the scales tip in her favor with the vote for the Superior Court seat coming up on June 7? Perhaps they should: after all, I think Lady Justice would agree with Teddy Roosevelt when he noted that “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” - or Robert Brault: “what happens if I do nothing?”

For more information, visit www.schatzleforocjudge.com

Fullerton Municipal Airport event is first of its kind in O.C

A 94-year-old U.S. Army WWII veteran (B-29 radio operator), Vince Van Velzer, along with four other senior veterans and three female seniors, ages 83 to 97, will each take flight in an open-cockpit, 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane at Fullerton Municipal Airport, Thursday, April 7. Two of the other veterans also served in WWII.

The flights are courtesy of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 to honor U.S. military veterans living in long-term care facilities.

All eight “Dream Flyers” are community members of Rowntree Gardens Senior Living located in Stanton / central Orange County – which also celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Van Velzer, a private pilot himself, and the other seven senior Dream Flyers, will strap on goggles and canvas helmets as they enjoy the ride of their lives in the same two-seater aircraft used for training military pilots during WWII.

“We, our senior flyers and their families are all thrilled to have this amazing opportunity,” stated Randy Brown, CEO of Rowntree Gardens. “We look forward to cheering them on from the ground!”

 

Colin JonesColin Jones“Having been shot down by a rocket during WWII and held as a POW in Germany for 17 months, initially I wasn’t so sure about doing this,” recounted Dream Flyer Colin Jones, 94, who served in the 8th Army Air Forces’ 93rd Bomb Group. “But now that it is happening, I can’t wait for the day to arrive.” Jones lived in Long Beach prior to moving to Rowntree Gardens in 2015.

 

 

 

 

Chuck IversonChuck IversonChuck Iverson, 83, Corporal, U.S. Army. Always wanting to fly, Iverson never had the chance to learn or go on flights during his time in the military.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sammye VoreSammye Vore“I may be 97 years young, but I’m always up for an adventure,” proclaimed Dream Flyer Sammye Vore. A community member at Rowntree Gardens for the last 21 years, Vore was a missionary in Guatemala for 40 years as part of her many travels.

 

 

 

 

 

Ed WillemsEd WillemsEd Willems, 94, AMM2C (Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class – plane mechanic), U.S. Navy, World War II. Pilots would sometimes let Willems join them and fly the planes when they needed to do paperwork during flights. Previously a Lodi, CA resident, his son lives in Lakewood, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

Mac LaurenceMac LaurenceMac Laurence, 83, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy pilot stationed in California. After his service, he spent forty years working for Douglas Aircraft – who built the very planes he flew in the Navy. Originally from Rossmoor, CA, his daughter still lives there.

 

 

 

 

 

RG Mary Vince Van VelzerRG Mary Vince Van VelzerMary Van Velzer, 88, a pilot herself and wife of Vince. She always wanted to fly as a child, but didn’t get a chance. After raising her family, she took flying lessons and flew for over 30 years. She and Vince are originally from Huntington Beach and have children in Cucamonga, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

Ann SeufertAnn SeufertAnn Seufert, 89. She’s curious and excited to be a Dream Flyer. Her husband was a commander of the Seabees for 25 years. She has children living in Cypress and Cerritos, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AADF’s collaboration with Rowntree Gardens marks the first Dream Fight in Orange County. To date, the foundation has provided free Dream Flights to more than 1,500 senior U.S. military veterans living in long-term care facilities.

The Dream Flyers’ family members will be watching the action starting at 9 a.m. on April 7 at Fullerton Municipal Airport located at 4011 W. Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833.

SOKA UNIVERSITY’S 15TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Saturday, May 7 @10:30am

festival2Soka University’s 15th Annual International Festival on May 7, 2016 from 10:30 to 5:00 will feature over 900 international musicians and dancers, 250 exhibitors, international food, children’s Adventure Land with games and inflatable rides, children’s clay workshop, art exhibitions, ceramic sales and demonstrations! The International Festival is a proud partner of Orange County Imagination Celebration.  Admission is FREE! Parking on campus is $10 cash.  
www.soka.edu/festival


Soka Performing Arts Center presents:

STORM LARGE AND LE BONHEUR

Friday, April 1 @8pm

StormLarge3LauraDomelaStorm Large has made a name for herself as one of the singers of the retro chic band, Pink Martini, and on the stage of Carnegie Hall performing Kurt Weill with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. For this performance, Storm joins forces with members of her band, Le Bonheur to perform classics from the Great American Songbook and original compositions with a compelling mix of smoldering seduction, a touch of edgy humor and unquestionable class.

 

 

globalFEST ON THE ROAD: CREOLE CARNIVAL

Sunday, April 3 @7pm

globalFEST2Brushy One String 13 guitarOver the past decade, globalFEST has become one of the most dynamic global music platforms in North America. What started as an annual showcase in New York has grown into an international brand, building audiences for world music with stages at SXSW, Bonnaroo, and beyond. globalFEST On The Road: Creole Carnival will feature three outstanding acts: Emeline Michel – hailed as the reigning queen of Haitian Song, Casuarina – one of the most respected samba bands of Brazil, and  YOUTUBE sensation Brushy One-String.

SOKA UNIVERSITY’S 7th ANNUAL LUAU

Saturday, April 2 @5pm

LUAU Ka Pilina 2013Join Soka University’s Ka Pilina Ho’olokahi Hawaiian Dance Club for an all-you-can-eat buffet with roast pig by Bon Appetit and a wonderful show of Pacific Island dances performed by SUA students. Buffet opens at 5 pm.  Show starts at 5:30 pm on the Campus Green (outdoor seating).

 

 

 

A TRIBUTE TO TOM HARRELL

Friday, April 8 @8pm

An All-Star tribute to one of the greatest jazz trumpet players of our time: Tom Harrell. Tom will be here with his regular bandmates Ugonna Okegwo and Johnathan Blake to kick off the celebration. They will be joined by Grammy Award winning saxophonist Joe Lovano, vocalist Judi Silvano, pianists Kenny Werner and Larry Vuckovich, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny and trumpeters Sean Jones and Ron Stout. You won’t want to miss this incredible mix of outstanding musicians.

BRENTANO STRING QUARTET

Saturday, April 9 @8pm

Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism”. 

SUNDAYS AT SOKA WITH PACIFIC SYMPHONY
Rachel Lee Priday & Juan-Miguel Hernandez

Sunday, April 17 @3pm

The final concert of the MOZART! series will feature Mozart’s Concertante for Violin and Viola. Also being performed will be Symphony No. 41.

Come early for Dinner! Soka Bistro is open for dinner M-F 5:30-7:30 pm, Sat/Sun 5:00-7:00 pm.
Only $11.25 for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
 

Box Office:
(949) 480-4ART (4278); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Box Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am to 2pm
Box Office will be open 1 hour prior to scheduled performance times on performance days.

 

The holiday season filled with friends, family and lots of food has come to an end. The start of the New Year is a perfect time to get back on track with healthy habits and take charge of your family’s health.

CalOptima, the health insurance provider for thousands of adults and children throughout Orange County, offers these easy tips to start off 2016 on the right foot:

Get vaccinated: Vaccinations are one of the best ways to protect you and your family from potentially harmful diseases. Immunizations such as the flu shot are important to people six months or older and especially if you have family members over 50 years. Be sure to check-in with your doctor regularly to ensure that you and your family are up-to-date on your vaccinations.

Maintain a healthy diet: Focus on eating foods that help promote all around health. Try to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your family’s regular diet. Maintaining a diet rich in vegetables may help reduce risk of stroke, cancer, heart-diseases and Type-2 diabetes. Make a habit of incorporating one new fruit or vegetable into your weekly meals.

Stay active: Regular physical activity improves overall health and fitness. Staying active is easier than you think and is as simple as going for a twenty minute walk with your kids or dog, taking the stairs at work or playing a friendly ball game with friends and family. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while you exercise.

Get plenty of sleep: Lack of sleep can affect you mentally and physically. It can decrease the strength of your immune system and increase the chances of getting sick. Keep good sleep habits by avoiding large meals before bed and ensure that you and your child go to bed at the same time every night.

Schedule a wellness visit: The beginning of the year is a great time to schedule a wellness visit for you and your child with your doctor. Lastly, make sure to bring a list of questions you may have about your health to address with your doctor at this visit.

It’s easy to take an active role in your health care all year long. By following these simple tips you and your family will be well on your way to a healthy 2016!

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 765,000 members with a network of more than 7,500 primary care doctors and specialists, as well as 30 hospitals.

In California, patients who wish to acquire medical marijuana need a doctor’s approval and require enrollment in a patient registry and a medical marijuana identification card to be shown at a dispensary (this ID card is issued to patients who have a signed statement from a doctor diagnosing their specific condition and that medical marijuana is the recommended treatment protocol).

California's medical marijuana laws state that marijuana can be used for a wide range of health conditions - from arthritis, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and migraine headaches to diabetes, glaucoma and "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."

In the following interview, Derek Worden, owner of the Santa Ana-based South Coast Safe Access (SCSA), addresses some commonly asked questions about the process and safety of the product available at Orange County's first fully licensed, state-of-the-art marijuana dispensary.

Question: Who can buy medical marijuana (MMJ) at your dispensary?

Answer: SCSA patients must be over 21 years of age, have a valid California Driver's License and must provide an original doctor's recommendation.

Q: Where does the MMJ sold at SCSA come from? SCSA is the first licensed Medical Dispensary in Santa Ana.

A: All vendors are exclusively hand-picked cultivators of medical marijuana and are the best in the industry. We send every product to SC Labs to be tested for quality assurance. SC Labs conducts all testing in accordance with strict scientific protocols and the latest research.

Q: Is the MMJ sold at SCSA safe?

A: Yes, we have every product lab tested and those results are available for our patients' review.

Q: What are MMJ edibles, extracts, tinctures and concentrates?

A: We offer a wide selection of edibles, extracts, tinctures and concentrates including Kiva, Liquid Gold, Cheeba Chews and Prima Can, among others.

Q: How much MMJ can a patient buy at one time at SCSA?

A: Patients are able to buy up to two ounces of medicine when visiting SCSA.

Q: Is patient information confidential at SCSA?

A: Yes, all patient information is confidential.

How to

Dec 01, 2015

SNOWY MASON JAR

Steps:

1. Pour Epsom salt in to a flat container and set aside. Make sure container is wide enough to easily roll mason jar in.
2. Dip sponge brush into mod podge and evenly coat the outside of the mason jar. Do not coat the bottom of the jar or the threaded area on top.
3. Carefully roll mason jar in the Epsom salt, covering thoroughly.
4. Stand upright and let dry overnight.
5. Once dried, wrap top of mason jar with twine and add your holiday finding.
6. Enjoy as-is, or insert a tealight candle to add a little sparkle to your snowy mason jar!

JBL 8332

WHAT YOU NEED:

8 oz. mason jar (we used Ball brand)
Epsom Salt
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
Twine
Holiday findings (we used a holly sprig)
Tealight candle (optional)


JBL 8508

ADVENT ACTIVITY JAR

Steps:

1. Take washi tape and wrap around one end of craft stick. You can do any number of strips! Get creative and mix up your designs to add variety, but be sure to leave room to write the activies.
2. Using the Sharpie, write 24 activities that would be fun to accomplish during the month of December, one on each stick. Activities can be anything you’d like! Here are a few suggestions to get you started: Drink Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows, Donate Toys to Children in Need, Go on a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt, Make Christmas Cookies, Send a Holiday Card to a Deployed Service Member, Make a Gingerbread House, Say a Prayer for Peace, Deliver Christmas Goodies to a Neighbor, Listen to Christmas Music, Write a Letter to Santa, Donate Canned Goods to a Shelter
3. Place activity sticks in jar. Starting with December 1, choose an activity each day from the jar to do together as a family. When there are no more activities left in the jar, it must be Christmas!

JBL 8527

WHAT YOU NEED:

16 oz. mason jar
24 Craft sticks (tongue depressor size)
Holiday-themed washi tape
Fine point Sharpie Marker


JBL 8452

TISSUE PAPER ORNAMENTS

Steps:

1. Cut about 15-20 1-inch wide strips from tissue paper. For an 80 mm ornament, you will want the length to be around 5-6”. For best results, do 2 layers on the ornament.
2. Remove the top of ornament and set aside. This will allow you to hold onto the ornament when applying mod podge.
3. Pour a small amount of mod podge into a plastic cup or other container. You can add more later as needed.
4. Insert index finger into stem of ornament to hold. Dip sponge brush into mod podge and apply one layer all around ornament.
5. Starting at the top of the ornament, take one strip of tissue paper and smooth it onto the ornament. Apply a very thin layer of mod podge on top of the tissue paper to hold in place and carefully smooth out wrinkles. Do not soak the tissue as it will tear.

Tip: be sure that your tissue goes all the way onto the stem of the ornament so that when the top is replaced, it hides the ends of the tissue.

6. Take another strip of tissue paper and slightly overlap onto the piece already on the ornament. Apply a thin layer of mod podge on top of tissue paper and smooth out wrinkles.
7. Repeat Step #6 until the entire ornament is covered all around with tissue paper.
8. Once first layer of tissue paper is completed, repeat Steps #5 – 7 to apply second layer.
9. (Optional) Apply glitter before letting dry.
10. Let dry overnight and replace top. Trim your tree with your homemade beauties!

JBL 8358

WHAT YOU NEED:

Clear plastic ornaments (we used 80 mm ornaments)
Printed tissue paper of your choice
Scissors
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
Glitter (optional)

enliu logo

enliu is an Orange County-based company specializing in homemade crafts and décor. enliu’s items can be found at various craft fairs around Orange County and online at www.etsy.com/shop/enliu. All designs can be customized or personalized to create one-of-a-kind gifts, wedding favors and more. Contact enliu through Etsy or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

enliu will be at the Sonora Cheer Holiday Boutique on December 5th at Sonora High School. Come shop our unique gifts and décor for the holidays and meet the enliu team!

For this showcase, our editorial team asked Cheryl Turner, owner of Paris in a Cup, to share her personal vision and inspiration behind her immensely popular tea salon and boutique based in historic Old Town Orange ... in her own words and just in time for the holidays.

Visitors to my Tea Salon frequently ask me why I chose a French theme for my restaurant, my answer is always the same. I love all things French, especially the beautiful city of Paris. Due to an inner-ear problem, I have never been to the city of love, so I decided to bring it stateside. Old Towne Orange was the perfect choice. My husband and I own the building and this community is a great place to do business. I have been a business owner in this charming district for over 20 years, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

I’m a fan of old movies, so I incorporated elements from the silver screen era while designing and planning my restaurant. You’ll see touches from movies like “An American In Paris,” “Weekend At The Waldorf,” “Gigi” and more. My plan was to give my guest an escape, to be transported to another era, if only for an hour or two. Even the clock on the wall reads Paris time and you’ll find the daily Paris forecast displayed in the gift shop. If I had to describe my decorating style, I would have to say “Vintage Parisian Glamour.”

We offer our guest two experiences, shopping and dining. When you first enter, you’ll discover a little French souvenir shop filled with much of the same merchandise you find when you visit Paris, France. I have worked very carefully with several French Importers to assure my customer they are getting an authentic souvenir. We actually have shoppers who purchase our souvenirs, travel to Paris and upon returning give them to their family and friends.

Our Tea Market offers our guest a sample “sniff” of every tea we carry, so you can make your tea selection before enjoying it in the salon or purchasing it to take home. In addition to carrying several French tea lines, we also proudly serve and sell our own Paris In A Cup signature brand. Our teas are imported and blended by a master tea blender here in the US. You’ll find French gourmet goods, tea towels, candies, chocolates, watches and of course Eiffel Towers. French themed jewelry adorned with Eiffel Towers and fleur di lis are abundant and quite reasonably priced. We’re a great spot to find a gift for your favorite Francophile, or that hard to buy for person.

After browsing you enter our Tea Salon, deliberately separated from the shop. Once seated in the salon you’ll forget you’re in the US. Our guests are soon transported to another place and time as they sit back in our cushy, European style banquettes or on one of our oversized chairs. Enjoy our French café music while dining. Close your eyes, you’re in Paris. You’ll be offered a menu featuring tea fare, luncheon and tempting desserts, along with our vast tea selections menu containing 130 teas.

Our kitchen staff, headed up by Chef Josh Backstrom, will prepare your choice to order. You’ll find items like seasonal entrée salads, hearty handcrafted soups and sandwiches and two types of quiche, all prepared fresh daily. Tea fare can include our award-winning scones served with house made crème fraiche and our berry jam, delectable tea sandwiches and petit fours (a trio of petite desserts). You may want to add a side of our delicious three-citrus curd (our scones and curd got us featured in Tea Time Magazine and “Tea and Scones” book, Hoffman Publishing). Tempting desserts are presented with a French flair. My favorites, our crème brûlée or our French macarons served on an Eiffel Tower stand. It’s really hard to choose. All entrees include your beverage choice. Choose from of our freshly brewed teas, delivered to your table ready to pour, or our European style coffee, or try our famous French Vanilla lemonade. We also offer house passion-berry iced tea or pick one from the tea selections menu and we’ll ice it for you.

Throughout the year, we have many fun events and themed teas. Some of our most popular include our Meet the Author Teas, Best Friends Tea for Valentine’s Day, Little Black Dress Tea, Mother’s Day Teas, and of course or Joyeux Noel Teas at the Holidays. As a breast cancer survivor, I am happy to give back by hosting a fundraiser the first Friday in October every year. We call it An Evening in Paris. Our salon is available for bridal showers and baby showers. You can visit our website for more details.

Paris In A Cup has been in business for over eight years, with this being our ninth Christmas. If you haven’t visited us as of yet, I sincerely hope I have tempted you to drop in and say “Bonjour”. We look forward to serving you soon. We’re open Wednesday through Sunday serving from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and our boutique stays open for shopping until 5:00 PM. Don’t forget to take a box of our French macarons home with you. I promise you, you’ll be back for more. À bientôt!

You’ll find Paris In A Cup at 119 S Glassell Street in Old Towne Orange. To avoid disappointment, please call for reservations (714) 538-9411. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit www.parisinacup.com. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

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.

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