A Time for Seniors

Conversion to digital TV frustrating seniors

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Dear Candace: This transition to digital broadcasting which is taking place on Feb. 17 has me and many of my friends all confused and frustrated. Every time I turn on my TV now, they keep reminding me that this change is coming and I have to do something, but I’m confused and not sure what it all means. Have you sorted it all out and can you clarify for me what, exactly, I need to do by Feb. 17? — SBJ Dear SBJ: I’ll give it a try. On Feb. 17, 2009 the way television is currently broadcast will change from the way it is today to a new format — a digital format. What that means to you and me is simply if your television set is connected to an antenna (either on your roof or through “rabbit ears” sitting on your TV) you are one of the viewers who will need to do one of the following in order to keep your TV set working after the transition: Connect your analog TV (antenna connected) to a converter box that will get digital reception; subscribe to a paid service like cable or satellite; or buy a TV with a built-in digital tuner. If you already subscribe to a paid service like cable or satellite, again, you need to do nothing, you’re set. If not, you may purchase a converter box locally at any of the following retailers: Fowlers TV in Auburn, Best Buy, Kmart, Radio Shack, Target and Sears. Converter boxes run $50 to $70. Once you purchase the converter box it will need to be installed. Many of the retailers who sell it will also install it for an additional fee ranging from $60 to $100. If you need assistance with the installation, Seniors First will install the converter box for a $60 contribution; simply call Marty at (530) 889-9500 ext. 215 or 1-800-878-9222 ext. 215 to schedule an appointment. If you are still confused, please call us at (530) 889-9500 ext. 216. Dear Candace: I am an 82-year-old widow and I am in need of some home repairs, nothing major like a new roof or anything like that, but I don’t know where to turn and how to get started. I have made some phone calls out of my telephone book but I am on a fixed income and am feeling a little uncertain about spending the money and whom to trust. I have heard some scary stories about people who pretend to be “day laborers” who cheat people like me and I don’t want to be made a fool of! Who can help me? — GB Dear GB: I understand your dilemma. Although there are some very good handymen available for hire, just like every other industry, people need to do their homework before they hire help. That being said, there are two handyman programs available to serve Placer County seniors: Placer Independent Resource Services (PIRS) operates a handyman service and their phone number is (530) 885-6100. Their Minor Home Modification Program in intended for clients 60 and over and low income disabled residents. They provide repair services and modifications that allow individuals to remain at home. You may call Leslie at (530) 885-6100 ext. 30 for more information. Seniors First also has a Home Modification and Safety Repairs program which provides safety repairs and minor home modifications which are needed around the home. This program is provided throughout Placer County and is a free service to residents who live in the unincorporated areas of Placer County, Loomis and the City of Roseville. Recipients who benefit from this service must be 62 years of age or older, have a gross yearly income below $36,600 for single folks and below $41,850 for couples and who are homeowners. For more information or to schedule an appointment please call (530) 889-9500 ext. 400 if you reside in the unincorporated area of Placer County or the town of Loomis and (916) 782-6247 if you’re within Roseville city limits. Candace Roeder is the executive director of Seniors First. Mail your senior-related questions to: A Time For Seniors, c/o Seniors First, 11566 D Ave., Auburn, CA, 95603, e-mail them to