May is Senior Citizen’s Month in the Virgin Islands, and among the special activities held this year was a St. Thomas forum put on by Legal Services of the Virgin Islands. More than two dozen elderly and disabled residents traveled to Victor’s New Hideout Restaurant in Subbase to learn how to keep themselves legally protected.
Some of the strategies discussed by experts speaking on May 11 were simple reminders to check the mail (or the e-mail) sent by Medicare to make sure the charges listed are correct. Other presenters raised awareness about elder abuse and how to spot signs of abuse.
“How many of you read the mail that comes from Medicare that says ‘This is Not a Bill’?” asked presenter Jennifer Logie. Logie’s topic was Medicare Fraud, Errors and Abuse.
A handful of hands appeared in response. Logie spent the rest of her presentation persuading the audience to open and read their Medicare mail.
Seniors heard about steps they can take to turn their affairs over to someone they trust in case of emergency. Afternoon topics offered tips on preparing a will.
There was also a call to action. Attorney Archie Jennings from the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands urged the audience to contact the Virgin Islands Port Authority about increasing access in its airport modernization plans. Starting Tuesday evening, organizers from the Port Authority are holding Airport P3 Project Community meetings to gather public comments and answer questions.
Details about public meetings being held from Tuesday through Thursday can be found at www.vipaairportsp3.com. Jennings stressed the importance of promoting the “Access for All” program to improve public accommodations.
Access for All is an action and advocacy program inspired by the late heritage architect Siddhant Shah. Its goal is to make life easier for those living with disabilities and mobility challenges through efficient building design.
Legal Services Staff Attorney Tania Parker said the forum was held to keep the territory’s seniors up to date on changes in policies, changes in the law, and the latest scams targeting them.
“This is a partnership with Human Services. We’ve done this conference in the past. There are some new things we wanted to share and since our aging community makes up a lot of our population, we want to make sure they know what rights they have,” Parker said.
St. John hosted a similar forum in October. Legal Services and the agency’s Medicare Patrol also recently held a Senior Financial Health and Wellness Conference at St. Ann’s Church in Barren Spot, St. Croix, in late March.