Sue Womack presented the program,”Credit Reports and Credit Scores: What They Are and Why They Matter” at the recent meeting of the Heart-N-Hands Extension Homemakers Club.


The meeting and pot luck luncheon were held at the Centennial Fellowship Church at White Hall. Womack stressed the importance of monitoring one’s credit report.


Residents can check their free annual credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. People are entitled to a free annual report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reporting companies.


“If you suspect fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission. Check your credit score,” according to the presentation.


Most scoring systems range from 300 to 850. Higher scores qualify for lower interest rates.


The most commonly used types of credit scores are FICO and Vantage Score. Understand the components that impact the credit score and use them to build the score. Determine one’s personal goals. Use money and other resources to meet goals.


Rosemary Withers, Community Health Promotion Specialist, was the guest speaker. Withers spoke on “Preventing Prescription Painkiller Abuse in Arkansas.”


Withers gave the following signs that could mean a person over 65 is at risk: appearing over sedated, disoriented or impaired; poor balance or unsteady gait; requesting early refills; reporting that their medications have been lost or stolen; poor hygiene or disheveled appearance; appetite changes; mood swings or major personality changes; increased isolation; demanding narcotic drugs at visits to the doctor; and apparent doctor shopping.


Seniors and caregivers can do the following: understand the risk factors for abuse of painkillers- improper use, depression, anxiety; talk with the seniors under their care about the risks and dangers of prescription painkillers; encourage seniors to ask healthcare professionals for non-narcotic painkiller alternatives if prescribed; let seniors know that the caregiver will stand by them and offer support; store any prescription painkillers in a locked storage box, drawer, or cabinet to limit access; do not keep unused or unwanted prescriptions; ask about senior caregiver/care facility policies or prescription drug policies; watch for signs of addiction.


Also during the Heart-N-Hands meeting, Brenda Robinson, club president, welcomed members. For Show and Tell, Womack brought a pillowcase as well as a purse that she had made. Lynda Toler brought a felt mouse that she made in a recent workshop for Show and Tell.


Delores Kelley, community service chairwoman, reported that the club has collected 1,553 food items for the Transformation Project.


Nancy Rosen, special community service project chairwoman, said that she and Margaret Thomas would deliver an Easter basket filled with donations to the Villages of Baptist Health Care West for a needy resident.


Robinson thanked members for participating in club and county activities. Robinson taught the club a YoYo Towel Workshop. Those attending were: Cathy Lewis, Patsy Brown, Dianna Winfree, Jody Stout, Toler, Debbie James, Linda Murray, Kaye Richardson, Carolyn Harness, Kelley, and Sandy Smith.


Marnette Reed, a member of Willing Workers of White Hall, taught a Felt Mouse Workshop at the Extension Office for JCEHC. Heart-N-Hands Extension Homemakers Club attended it as well as working at Kids Fest.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.