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In addition to its ongoing groups, NAMI Missoula will offer a new "Family Support & Education" group on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 14. This group is for relatives, friends and caregivers of individuals with mental illness. We are also accepting registration for our fall "Peer to Peer" course; this 10-week "education for recovery" group is for adults living with mental illness, and it begins on Monday, Sept. 18. Call the NAMI office at 406-880-1013 to register.

On Friday, Sept. 22, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., the second annual “Beautiful Minds” benefit event for NAMI Missoula will be held at Imagine Nation, 1151 W. Broadway. The event is free and open to the public. Music will be provided by Chris Pumphrey, Basses Covered, and Shepherd/House. There will be raffle prizes and a “50-50” raffle drawing. Proceeds go to benefit NAMI Missoula and its programs for individuals and families impacted by mental illness. For information, call 406-880-1013.

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If you are full-time student returning to classes and looking for child care, you may qualify for our Best Beginnings scholarship. There are no work requirements for a full-time student which means more families are eligible. To see if you qualify, contact Child Care Resources at 406-728-6446 or go online to childcareresources.org.

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Are you eligible for Medicare but not sure where to begin? Learn how you can make the most of your Medicare options at the New to Medicare workshop offered by Missoula Aging Services (MAS) Resource Center. This popular two-session workshop is available monthly, and starting in September will now be held at the Continuing Education Conference Center in the James E. Todd Building on the UM campus.

In the first session, you will find out about Medicare basics; the difference between original Medicare, Medicare supplemental plans and Medicare Advantage plans; important enrollment dates; how to save money on your prescription drugs and much more. The second session provides an interactive hands-on computer workshop where you'll learn to access your personal Medicare claims, plans and coverage, as well as benefits and entitlements. Workshops are taught by trained and certified State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors.

This month’s workshops are Sept. 18 and 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. Class cost is $35, or two for $60. Register online at newtomedicare.eventbrite.com or call MAS at 406-728-7682. At the link provided you will also find the workshop schedule through August 2018.

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The Ombudsman Program at Missoula Aging Services (MAS) needs volunteers for ongoing service to residents at long-term care facilities in Missoula. These friendly visitor volunteers are specially trained to assist ombudsmen, who are impartial mediators for residents. Ombudsmen support residents in voicing their concerns, advocating for them and seeking resolutions.

If you have good communication skills, enjoy meeting new people and can serve at least four hours each month, you could be a friendly visitor volunteer. Ongoing training and support is provided. The Resource Center at MAS relies on friendly visitors throughout the year, and during October honors the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. This annual event sponsored by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (The Consumer Voice) celebrates and focuses on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents. This year’s theme for Residents' Rights Month is, "It’s All About Me: My Life, My Care, My Choices."

For more information about how you can become a friendly visitor volunteer and help advocate on behalf of older adults living in long-term care facilities, call MAS at 406-728-7682.

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