Medicare cards should be left at home, not carried in a purse or wallet.

That’s the message Kathie Mallory, chairwoman of the Healthy Communities Coalition Senior Subcommittee, wants seniors in Umatilla and Morrow counties to keep in mind.

“Lock it up in a safe place, only take it with you when you need it,” Mallory said. “If someone gets a hold of that and starts using it, you’ll have nothing but headaches. They’re not going to issue you a new Social Security number.”

In addition to reminding seniors of the identity theft risk of a Medicare card, the coalition is also looking for volunteers for the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program. Volunteers help seniors navigate Medicare options through the SHIBA office at Good Shepherd Medical Center. Volunteers do receive training before working with seniors.

“In our community, our seniors really need help with their options,” Good Shepherd health educator Kathy Thomas said. “It’s a really rewarding experience.”

Right now, the Hermiston program has four volunteers, but organizers are seeking additional volunteers before the open enrollment period begins. Potential volunteers can observe a SHIBA session to see the process before taking training.

Volunteers are also needed to help with the Oregon Fall Prevention Program. Volunteers in that program would visit the homes of seniors and give tips and advice for preventing falls.

For more information on volunteering with SHIBA or other programs, call the Good Shepherd Health Information office at 541-667-3509.

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