SHINE program seeks volunteers

HENDRY/GLADES COUNTIES — SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) is announcing an exciting and rewarding opportunity to make a difference in the lives of elders and people with disabilities in Southwest Florida. The SHINE Program is seeking volunteers, including bilingual volunteers, to assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers in Southwest Florida.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
SHINE’s Southwest Florida Volunteers in 2019 were happy to help.

SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through AAASWFL. Specially trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs. The SHINE mission is to provide free and unbiased information about Medicare and Medicaid for beneficiaries, their families and caregivers.

SHINE counselors can also help beneficiaries understand benefits available through Medicare, such as preventive health care services. Additionally, SHINE counselors assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries with applying for cost-savings programs. As part of the national Senior Medicare Patrol program, counselors also educate beneficiaries to protect, detect and report potential errors, fraud and abuse with their Medicare coverage. In addition to providing one-on-one counseling and support, SHINE volunteers may also deliver educational presentations in the community and participate in health fairs and outreach events.

In 2019, 62 local SHINE volunteers helped more than 5,100 clients in Southwest Florida. In total, the AAASWFL SHINE volunteers provided more than 5,000 hours of counseling last year.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
SHINE counselors Pat Archambault and Hallie Devlin review a client file.

Requirements to become a SHINE volunteer include an interest in assisting seniors and people with disabilities, along with basic computer knowledge and internet navigation skills. A background in health care or insurance is not required. Specialized training and informational materials are provided to all SHINE volunteers.

Potential SHINE volunteers may contact Camilita Aldridge, SHINE Liaison, at (239) 652-6900 for more information about volunteer opportunities or to apply. Volunteer applications can also be found at the State of Florida’s SHINE website at floridashine.org.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. AAASWFL is the state’s designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to connecting older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity. More information is available at aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER)

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