Zephyr

By Zivvy

Anxiety. I’m full of that right now.

It’s pretty common, but it still feels like something you’d see in a horror movie: it sneaks up on you, there’s some loud, dramatic cue of music, and then suddenly whatever else you’re doing feels irrelevant because now you have to run from It.

Tonight, I sat outside with my friends and watched the tree canopies above us get caught up in the wind. It’s a cool, breezy night Continue reading

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Autumn Mock-Tail Recipe

We are officially in the fall season, and as the weather cools down, our taste buds start to crave certain festive drinks. We are not talking pumpkin spice – although I can appreciate a good fall pumpkin spice anything.

Why not try a Mock-Tail. I love this Mock-Tail recipe because it reminds me of Autumn. It has all the colors I love to see outside this time of year.

Ingredients Continue reading

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Medicare Open Enrollment 2021

We’ve entered that time of year again when insurance changes and decisions are upon us. And during what has been a very challenging and different, (to say the least), year, these decisions are more crucial than ever.

Medicare open enrollment begins tomorrow, October 15th, and will last until December 7th. During this time period, individuals can review their current Medicare plan and make changes if needed. You do not need to sign up for Medicare each year but reviewing your plan and making adjustments and changes as needed to make sure your healthcare needs are met, is essential.

Some new changes to note for the 2021 coverage year include lower premium costs and increased benefits and plan options for Medicare Advantage recipients. Premiums will be at their lowest rate since 2007, and extra telehealth and supplemental benefits, such as in-home support, will be offered as well. But it’s important to review out-of-pocket costs with these plans, even though premiums could be low, as well as making sure your providers are in the coverage network. These plans are very localized as well, so review what options are offered in your specific area/zip code for coverage. *Medicare Advantage plans are a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and B benefits.

Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan should receive paperwork called “Evidence of Coverage” or “Annual Notice of Change” letters from your health plan showing coverage outlines and any changes that will occur. It’s very important to review these materials to make sure of any changes in the plan’s costs, providers, benefits, drug formularies, etc. so that if something is changing with your plan, you are aware of it and can make changes to your coverage if needed. These plans can change their benefits so it’s crucial to review your policy and any upcoming changes.

According to Medicare, you can make the following changes during the open enrollment period:

Also, if you are not satisfied with your Medicare Advantage Plan, you can disenroll from that plan and join Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. This disenrollment period is open from January 1st to February 14th of each year.

The Medicare website offers a Medicare Plan Finder where you can search for and compare health plans, benefits, coverage and estimated costs. You can also contact Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for information and questions.

You can also receive assistance and guidance in choosing coverage through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This resource provides one-on-one insurance counseling and support regarding Medicare benefits. Visit https://www.shiptacenter.org/ to find your local office.

MSAA’s My Health Insurance Guide is a helpful source for the MS community to find more information about insurance options and resources, in addition to the Medicare Planning and Multiple Sclerosis brochure that helps to outline important parts and questions about Medicare coverage.

This is an important time to review your plan’s policy and make changes if needed to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your healthcare needs.

 

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Take the Time to Feed Your Creative Self

By Maria Sammartino

Art has always been a part of my life and who I am. Growing up we didn’t have the luxury of “just watching TV.” My grandparents were both artists and made sure when we were with them, we either had a pen, crayon, paint, knitting needles, or crochet hook in our hands. Thankfully for us, they made sure our hands were always busy and we were creating something.

My grandmother was Continue reading

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Yes, it’s common with MS, and you are not alone

On the MSAA helpline we are often asked the question if depression and anxiety are common with MS. Those diagnosed and/or their loved ones reach out wondering about these symptoms and if others experience them too. The answer is yes. These symptoms can be very common with MS and are experienced by many with the disease. Questions about why and how, are ones still being researched to this day. And in a year like we’ve had, will probably be highlighted even more so moving forward.

There are many factors that connect these symptoms to MS and the disease course. MS can affect parts of the brain that help to control and regulate emotions and behaviors. Side effects of medications, other symptoms, and changes in the body due to MS can also contribute to depression and anxiety. And let’s not forget the general life stressors and daily changes encountered all the time.

Learning that depression and anxiety are common with MS and happens to others can help to alleviate some of the stress and burden felt when questioning the symptoms. And though that doesn’t always necessarily make it easier to cope with or manage, finding validation and support are definitely helpful keys. The first step is talking about it. Finding someone trusted to confide in and disclose what you’re feeling is an action you owe yourself to take. There may be things that are out of your control when it comes to MS. But your ability and strength to share what you’re feeling is not lost.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, or even if you’re really not sure what it is that you’re feeling, talk to your doctor. Be open and honest about what’s going on. If you or others around you have concerns or questions, bring them up. And if you feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about symptoms with certain people in your life, then choose that one person you know will listen without judgment and that you would trust. Whether that’s a medical professional or starting the conversation with someone close to you. Do yourself that justice and reach out for support. There are many ways that depression and anxiety can be treated and managed, and you deserve to have it be so.

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Voting Reminders – In-Person or Mail-In Ballot

Election season is upon us and we are less than one month away from election day. Across the country, there are many important federal, state, and local elections awaiting the decision of the people on November 3, 2020. This year in particular, many people are considering how they want to vote – either in-person at their polling place or via a mail-in (or absentee) ballot. Whether you plan to vote-by-mail or in-person this election, below are a few things to keep in mind as we get closer to Election Day. Continue reading

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Barbara Dixon – October 2020 Artist of the Month

Each year, MSAA features the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis in our annual MSAA Art Showcase. We also highlight one artist each month as our Artist of the Month. This month, we are proud to feature artist Barbara Dixon of Woodstock, GA:

Tolerance

About the Artist: Continue reading

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Multiple Sclerosis and Communication Issues

A woman and man are having a conversation. The man has his eyes closed and is talking as a paragraph of lines comes out of a speech bubble. The woman's eyes are wide with a broken speech bubble as a completely empty thought cloud lingers over her head.

Although many people think of multiple sclerosis as primarily a diagnosis with physical symptoms, its reach is far more extensive. Since MS begins in the brain, it can impact one’s ability to communicate – namely, it often impairs memory and speech.

To find out more about the speech and memory challenges community members deal with, we reached out to members of our Facebook community and asked “Do you ever suffer from communication issues and expressing yourself with MS?”

More than 550 community members shared. Here is what was said. Continue reading

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Reluctant to Change

By Doug Ankerman

Multiple sclerosis has been, and continues to be, the best disease I could ever have!

(More on this later.)

When it comes to change, I have been reluctant, even rebellious, my whole life.

Strange places, new faces, different situations make me Continue reading

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Warm Apple Crisp

There is nothing that says the Fall season is approaching like warm apple crisp. The leaves are starting to change color and the apples are delicious this time of the year too. I do not know about you, but Fall is my favorite season.

And the best part is…this dessert can be made super quick and requires no baking skills!

Ingredients: Continue reading

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