HEAP Winter Crisis Program
This HEAP program helps eligible Ohioans that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected, or are low on fuel.
The Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program (HEAP Winter Crisis Program) helps income eligible Ohioans that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected or have less than a 25 percent supply of bulk fuel in their tank maintain their utility service.
The program runs from November 1 until March 31.
Ohio households, serviced by a PUCO-regulated utility, must sign up for the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) or another payment plan in order to receive emergency benefits.
You will need to bring copies of the following documents to your appointment with your local Energy Assistance Provider:
    Proof of citizenship and income documentation for the most recent 90 days for all members of the household.
    Copies of your most recent utility bills.
    Social Security numbers and dates of birth for all household members are also required.
    Applicants receiving disability assistance must bring payment documentation.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP)
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) helps eligible Ohioans manage their energy bills year- round. Payments are based on a percentage of household income and are consistent year-round.
If your home is heated with gas, you will have a monthly payment of 6% of your household income for your natural gas bill, and 6% of your household income for your electric bill. If you heat with electric, your monthly payment is 10% of your household income. The balance of your utility bill is subsidized by the state of Ohio. There is a minimum monthly payment of $10.00.
Paying on-time and in-full each month reduces your outstanding balance. If you make 24 on-time and in-full payments, your outstanding balance with your utility company will be eliminated.
aaa11.orgOnce you are enrolled in the PIPP program, you are required to re-verify your income each year. You must also be caught up on all your PIPP payments by your Anniversary Date, which is the date you signed up for PIPP. Failure to report changes in the household income or household members, missing a payment, or not re-verifying your income can result in being dropped from the program.
Who is eligible for PIPP?
Ohioans with a household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and have utility service from an electric or natural gas company regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio are eligible for the program.
A household applying for PIPP must report total gross household income for the past 30 days (12 months preferred) for all members, except wage or salary income earned by dependent minors under 18 years old. Both homeowners and renters are eligible for assistance.
For 2019-2020, the income levels are:
Size of Household             Total Household Income 12 Months
1              up to $18,735.00
2              up to $25,365.00
3              up to $31,995.00
4              up to $38,625.00
5              up to $45,255.00
6              up to $51,885.00
7              up to $58,515.00
8              up to $58,515.00
For households with more than 8 members, add $6,630 for each additional member.
How do I apply?
If you are enrolling for the first time, please contact your local Energy Assistance Provider to make an appointment.
If you are reverifying for PIPP, you can complete your application online at energyhelp.ohio.gov or in person at your local Energy Assistance Provider.
For reverification or to apply for the first time, you will need to complete the Energy Assistance Application (English or Spanish), and submit copies of the following:
    a copy of your most recent utility bills, gas and/or electric,
    a list of all household members (include birth dates and Social Security numbers) and proof of income for the last 30 days for each member (12 months preferred)
    Proof of citizenship or legal residency for all household members.
Please contact your local agency provider for a list of required documents.  Depending on your income type, additional forms may be required.  Samples of the additional forms can be found by clicking here.
Don’t forget to sign the application. Not signing the application will delay the application process.
For more information log on to Ohio.gov.

Helpful information for dealing with your Dry, Red, and Itchy Eyes
Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. When your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye. Dry eye is also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.
Here are some of the symptoms of dry eye:
You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning,
There is a scratchy or gritty feeling like something is in your eye.
There are strings of mucus in or around your eyes.
Your eyes are red or irritated. This is especially true when you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke.
It is painful to wear contact lenses.
You have lots of tears in your eyes.
Having a lot of tears in your eyes with “dry eye” might sound odd. But your eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye.
josepheyeandlaser.comAt Joseph Eye & Laser Center, we guide you through your options and help you determine the treatment that is customized for your specific needs.  Dr. Christopher Joseph, DO, FACS is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye Disease, as well as Cataract, and Glaucoma surgery.  He completed an extra year of training by completing a fellowship in Pittsburgh, PA, which specialized in Laser Cataract Surgery, and Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS).  Dr. Joseph is also one of the few Ophthalmologist in the United States recognized for his excellence by the America College of Surgeons (ACS).  In 2018, the ACS nominated Dr. Joseph as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).  At Joseph Eye & Laser, we have the most high-tech corneal topographer, which allows us to detect Dry Eye Disease and corneal changes at the earliest possible time.
How Do Tears Work?
When you blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye. This keeps the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is important for good vision.
The tear film is made of three layers, an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucus layer.  Each layer of the tear film serves a purpose. 
Normally, our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated, or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears.  But, sometimes the eyes don’t make enough tears or something affects one or more layers of the tear film. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes.
Dry Eye Causes
People tend to make fewer tears as they get older due to hormonal changes. Both men and women can get dry eye. However, it is more common in women—especially those who have gone through menopause.
Other causes of dry eye include.  Allergies, certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sj√∂gren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, and lupus, and blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red).  Entropion (when eyelids turn in); ectropion (eyelids turn outward), being in smoke, wind or a very dry climate, looking at a computer screen for a long time, reading and other activities that reduce blinking.  Using contact lenses for a long time.  Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK.  Taking certain medicines, such as: Diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure, Beta-blockers, for heart problems or high blood pressure, Allergy and cold medicines (antihistamines), Sleeping pills, Anxiety and antidepressant medicines, and Heartburn medicines.
Tell your ophthalmologist about all the prescription & non-prescription medicines you take.
Your ophthalmologist will begin with an eye exam. He or she will look at your eyelids and the surface of the eye. They will also check how you blink.
There are many different tests that help diagnose dry eyes. Your ophthalmologist may do a test that measures the quality or the thickness of your tears. He or she may also measure how quickly you produce tears.
How Is Dry Eye Treated?
Your ophthalmologist might tell you to use artificial tears. These are eye drops that are like your own tears. You can use artificial tears as often as you need to. You can buy artificial tears without a prescription. There are many brands. Try a few until you find a brand that works best for you.
If you use artificial tears more than six times a day or are allergic to preservatives, you should use preservative-free tears, to eliminate irritation caused by the chemicals in some artificial tears.
Your ophthalmologist may suggest blocking your tear ducts. This makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer. Tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) may be inserted in your tear ducts. These plugs can be removed later as needed. Your ophthalmologist may also recommend surgery that permanently closes your tear ducts.
Your ophthalmologist might have you use a special eyedrop medication. This helps your eyes produce more of their own tears.
Treating dry eye culprits
If your eyes are irritated, your ophthalmologist can treat those problems. They may recommend, prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses on the eyes, massaging your eyelids, or certain eyelid cleaners.
Only your eye surgeon can assess whether you have Dry Eye Disease, Cataracts or Glaucoma and determine the necessary treatments or surgeries for these diseases. These procedures are extremely safe, and have a high success rate, however, the use of cutting-edge technology can be difficult to master, so picking the right surgeon is critical.  Dr. Joseph is Fellowship trained in Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) and Laser Glaucoma Surgery (SLT).  As well as, LASER cataract surgery, dropless cataract surgery, and high-tech lens implants (IOLs). If you would like to further learn about any of our Dry Eye Disease evaluations, Cataract or MIGS procedures, contact the trusted experts at Joseph Eye & Laser Center today (330) 619-3155.

Ways to Make Bathrooms a Safer Place

Homes should be safe havens. But each year injuries in and around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and many fatalities each year.
Although anywhere in a home can be the scene of an accident, bathrooms tend to be the most dangerous room in the house. Slippery tile, the presence of water and many sharp and hard edges in a small space pose several different hazards in the bathroom, particularly for young children and people age 65 and up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says falls, which can result in serious injuries like hip fractures and head trauma, are the cause of 80 percent of all bathroom accidents.
www.onlyatoz.comYour friends at A to Z Dependable Services want you to be safe by following these simple tips.
Many bathroom accidents are preventable with some easy modifications.
Reduce slippery surfaces. Wet tile is a recipe for slick conditions. Bath rugs with rubber backing can provide traction in the bathroom, as can nonslip mats placed on the floor of the bathtub or shower enclosure. Water-resistant flooring made from recycled rubber is another option. It is softer, less slippery and more forgiving than traditional tile flooring.
Install lever-style fixtures. Round knobs in the bathroom can be difficult to grasp, especially for the elderly or those with arthritis. Lever-style fixtures are easier to maneuver and can help alleviate scalding from not being able to adequately adjust the water temperature.
Utilize transfer benches and shower seats. A transfer bench can help reduce injuries that occur when trying to climb over a tub wall. Benches are placed outside of the tub and a person sits and then swings his legs over the ledge. Transfer benches also can be used in conjunction with shower seats. This is a chair or bench that allows people to sit while they shower.
Install grab bars. Properly installed grab bars around the shower and toilet area can provide leverage and stability. AARP says many injuries to seniors occur when they are attempting to sit or get up from the toilet. Grab bars or an elevated toilet seat can help.
If you need bathroom renovations A to Z can help.  Does your bath need an update?
Looking for a beautiful, easily cleaned, affordable product that won't take weeks and weeks to complete? Want your remodeling dollars to last?
Our 1-Day Baths are the perfect solution! Increase your home's value and market appeal without breaking the bank with our non-invasive, and timely installs. 
Bath and Shower Liner Systems
Tub-to-Shower Conversions
Walk-in Hydrotherapy Tubs
Money back guarantee
Bathe Safely and Comfortably
Add Value to your life
Safe Entry
Comfortable and Therapeutic
Low Threshold Doors
Bathroom safety should be made a priority. Various modifications can make bathrooms safer for people of all ages.
To find out more about one day bathroom remodeling or to schedule a call contact A to Z at  330-652-0511 or online at www.OnlyAtoZ.com.

AquaCare Rehabilitation Offers Water Therapy Near You!
AquaCare Rehabilitation Centers, a new water therapy company, opens with the intent to deliver the most comprehensive therapeutic experience imaginable. Utilizing the healing effects of water, along with a one-on-one approach in dealing with people, rather than a diagnosis is what separates us from the rest. We’ve learned that as every medical condition is different, so is every individual.
Therefore, therapy protocols are uniquely designed based upon your needs. After seeing and hearing about so many people who needed physical therapy, but simply were not a candidate due to numerous reasons ranging from increased pain, obesity, limited function, underlying heart/lung issues, generalized weakness, balance concerns, etc, we decided to concentrate on offering a concept that targeted such a population. Our goal was to be able to offer these individuals an opportunity to try something different rather than just simply suffering at home.
That concept became a reality and now a Foundation called POOLS OF HOPE, in which we have partnered with some of the finest facilities in the area to deliver this service, hired the most experienced therapists specializing in Aquatic Therapy, and concentrated on removing virtually all the barriers that would get in the way of someone not being able to access the benefits of water. Some of which include: seeing patients within 24 hours, being a provider with ALL INSURANCES, and even providing courtesy transportation to those in need.
Doing so has afforded us the opportunity to concentrate on getting results in a variety of health conditions ranging from: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Weight Loss, Muscle Spasms, Balance Issues, Neck/Back Pain, Neurologic Conditions, Sciatica, Generalized Weakness, Sports and Work-Related Injuries, Post-Surgical Cases, and many many more.

People often ask, how does water heal? Well, the benefits of water focus on 4 major principles: 1.) Heat 2.) Buoyancy 3.)Hydrostatic Pressure, and 4.)Resistance. Heat…Warm water relaxes muscles and allows for improved range of motion. Buoyancy provides assistance and support to the body, while reducing gravitational forces, thus allowing muscles and joints to move more freely and easily.
Hydrostatic pressure comes into play as water surrounds the body, it creates a pressure that helps circulate blood and fluid from the arms and legs resulting in reducing inflammation/swelling. Lastly Resistance, as water creates a force that provides resistance allowing for improvement in muscle strength/conditioning. All of this is accomplished without the soreness that typically occurs when doing physical therapy on land.
At AquaCare Rehab Centers, we feel that we have developed a unique approach to streamline recovery utilizing these principles. Consequently, our mission is to help as many people as possible who are living with pain or some other limitation, yet unsure as to what to do about it. If this is you, or someone you know, then encourage you/them to do something to make a change, and water therapy may be the answer.
With locations in Youngstown, Warren, Liberty, and Austintown, we are able to offer care to a wide range of individuals. Expect your experience with us to be challenging, enjoyable, yet most importantly…..SUCCESSFUL!
At AquaCare Rehab Centers, we feel that we have developed a unique approach to streamline recovery utilizing these principles. Consequently, our mission is to help as many people as possible who are living with pain or some other limitation, yet unsure as to what to do about it. If this is you, or someone you know, then encourage you/them to do something to make a change, and water therapy may be the answer.

Medicare Enrollment Season is right around the corner

Each fall (October 15 through December 7), you have the opportunity to make changes to your Medicare plan.  You can review your current Medicare health and drug coverage during this Annual Enrollment Period.  If you are dissatisfied with your coverage, you are able to make changes at this time for the upcoming year.  Even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare coverage, you may want to look at other Medicare options that may better suit your individual needs in the upcoming year.  Reasons for considering changes could include:  increase in travel, medication changes, financial changes, health changes, etc.
We at Ohio Health Benefits understand that this Annual Enrollment Period is very important to you and would like to help. We offer you the opportunity to review your current plan, which is especially useful if you have had difficulties or unforeseen cost under your current plan. We strive to help those eligible for Medicare in the most efficient way possible.
We work diligently to prepare for Annual Enrollment and look forward to help you assess your current insurance situation. Please call us at Ohio Health Benefits to schedule your no cost annual review at 800-379-9621.
11681 Hayden St.  (P.O. Box 411) Hiram, OH Toll Free 1-800-379-9621

Construction has completed at the Austinwoods Nursing Center campus in Austintown

Construction has completed at the Austinwoods Nursing Center campus in Austintown. A new rehabilitation center and assisted living community are now open and accepting referrals. Austinwoods rehabilitation center features 24 private suites, with private bath, shower and hotel-like amenities. 
Focusing on intensive rehab, therapy and skilled nursing after surgery, illness and injury, Austinwoods is helping individuals regain strength and mobility to get back home and to doing what they love most.
Our new assisted living, Woodlands Assisted Living at Austinwoods, is offering community residents a new service, heavily requested by past patients.
At Woodlands, assisted living is independent living with the knowledge that further support is there for you, if and when you need it. Woodlands Assisted Living offers individuals an environment that encourages independence and provides support through compassionate caregivers.
In addition to the excitement of construction and new services, Austinwoods is thrilled to announce we’ve earned 100% Perfect Annual State Survey for 2019!

Medicare Open Enrollment: Time to pick a plan
Medicare Open Enrollment is here and runs until December 7. We know many people find and compare health plans at Medicare.gov during Open Enrollment. This year we’ve made some improvements to provide you with more personalized help with your plan choices.
We’ve added a simplified log in option through your MyMedicare.gov account, for a more personalized experience. You also can still log in with your Medicare number and a little more information or do a general search of Medicare plans by entering just a ZIP code.

If you’re comparing plans through your MyMedicare account and need help or have a question, you can access our new web chat feature to connect with a customer service representative online and get answers right away. Watch a video about these improvements to help you find the right plan for you.
Picking a plan is an important and personal decision. Here are some things to think about as you compare Medicare plans to find one that meets your needs:
Does the plan cover the services you need?
Think about what services and benefits you’re likely to use in the coming year and find coverage that meets your needs. If you have other types of health or prescription drug coverage, make sure you understand how that coverage works with Medicare. And, if you travel a lot, check to make see if your plan covers you when you’re away from home.
What does the plan cost?
The lowest-cost health plan option might not be the best choice for you – consider things like the cost of premiums and deductibles, how much you pay for hospital stays and doctor visits, and whether it’s important for you to have expenses balanced throughout the year.
Are the plan’s providers and rules convenient?
Your time is valuable. Where are the doctors’ offices? What are their hours? Which pharmacies can you use? Can you get prescriptions by mail? Do the doctors use electronic health records or prescribe electronically? Answers to these questions may help you decide which plan is best for you.
What plans perform the best?
Not all health care is created equal, and the doctors, hospitals and facilities you choose can affect your health. Open Enrollment is also a good time to ask yourself whether you’re truly satisfied with your medical care. Look for plans with a 5star performance ratingthe right expertise and care can make a difference.
Remember that even if you’re happy with your current plan, things change from year to year—so it’s important to take the time to compare.
For more information see www.medicare.gov