“Chronic loneliness, some say, is like ‘smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’ It ‘kills more people than obesity.’ | A history of loneliness”

lonelinessAndrew Wyeth’s ‘Baleen’ (1982). Mia Feigelson, CC BY-NC-SA”

“Is loneliness our modern malaise?

“Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says the most common pathology he saw during his years of service “was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

“Chronic loneliness, some say, is like ‘smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’ It ‘kills more people than obesity.’

“Because loneliness is now considered a public health issue – and even an epidemic – people are exploring its causes and trying to find solutions.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety; click here.

“More Than A Job: Home Care For A Mom With Alzheimer’s Disease” – NPR


Celina Raddatz and her mother, Guadalupe Pena Villegas, at home in California. Xavier Vasquez/NPR

by Franziska Monahan

“Celina Raddatz quit her job at a nursing home in 2014 when she realized she would have to take care of her mother full-time. Raddatz’s mother, Guadalupe Pena Villegas, 83, suffers from Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder, a combination that sometimes makes her a danger to herself and others, and thus requires her to be supervised 24 hours a day.

“Raddatz and one of her sisters, Rosalia Lizarraga, 61, had been caring for their mother together. But as the Alzheimer’s progressed, the task became too stressful for Lizarraga. The full responsibility fell on Raddatz, who was determined to fulfill a promise she and her siblings had made their mother as children.

“‘When my mother was sane, she made us promise never to put her in a nursing home. And of course, us young kids said, “OK, mom we would never …” Raddatz says. ‘But we never ever once ever thought that she would get sick like this.’”

Click here to continue reading this NPR article.

SCAM call alert! “(206) 792-9589 is an IRS Scam”

This call came to our Link to Aging and Disability Resources telephone number this afternoon. While we do answer most of the calls because they can be legitimate calls for assistance or information, this call came while our phone was silenced during a Link event.

Invariably, we recommend that you do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognize – let the calls go to your voicemail. When we retrieved the voice message, this is what we heard.

irs scam call

THIS IS A SCAM CALLClick here to listen to the message that purports to be a call from the IRS.

Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency

“Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.

“The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam.”

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s office released this warning, too.

Remember, scammers want to prey on you! Don’t let that happen.



Friday Wrap-Up, March 16, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

Apply for Aetna Foundation’s 2018 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program – deadline is 04/18/2018

The Aetna Foundation’s 2018 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program is now accepting applications. This will be the Foundation’s only open RFP this year. The Foundation expects to award up to $2 million in grants to organizations that increase opportunities for low-income, minority communities to make healthy choices in the places they live, work, learn, and play. Grant requests can range between $50,000 and $100,000 for projects that span 18 to 24 months. The Foundation seek partners whose work addresses pressing issues in the following domains: Built Environment, Community Safety, Environmental Exposures, Healthy Behaviors, and Social/Economic Factors.

This will be a highly competitive funding opportunity structured in two stages. Stage 1 involves a short application. All eligible organizations are invited to submit an online Stage 1 application by April 18, 2018 at 3PM ET. Upon reviewing all Stage 1 applications, a smaller group of applicants will be invited to submit a full application for Stage 2. Please visit the Aetna Foundation website and read the RFP. which includes a detailed FAQ section, for more information and other materials to assist you in applying.

SOURCE: news release

“A Quiet Drug Problem Among the Elderly” – The New York Times

Despite warnings from experts, older people are using more anti-anxiety and sleep medications, putting them at risk of serious side effects and even overdoses.

elderly drugs

by Paula Spahn

“At first, the pills helped her feel so much better.

“Jessica Falstein, an artist living in the East Village in Manhattan, learned she had an anxiety disorder in 1992. It led to panic attacks, a racing pulse, sleeplessness. ‘Whenever there was too much stress, the anxiety would become almost intolerable, like acid in the veins,’ she recalled.

“When a psychopharmacologist prescribed the drug Klonopin, everything brightened. ‘It just leveled me out,’ Ms. Falstein said. ‘I had more energy. And it helped me sleep, which I was desperate for.’

“After several months, however, the horrible symptoms returned. ‘My body became accustomed to half a milligram, and the drug stopped working,’ she said. ‘So then I was up to one milligram. And then two.’ Her doctor kept increasing the dosage and added Ativan to the mix.

“Now 67, with her health and stamina in decline …

Click here to read this New York Times article in its entirety.

“Why does the U.S. spend so much on health care?” – STAT: Morning Rounds

health care spending

“A new report finds the U.S. spent nearly twice as much on health care in 2016 as 10 other high-income countries — but by and large, our health outcomes are worse. The U.S. had the highest maternal and infant mortality rates and the lowest life expectancy of the 11 countries included in the study. So what’s driving that difference in spending? A look at the numbers:

  • We spend a lot on health care. The U.S. spent about $1,443 a person on health care in 2016. The next highest: Switzerland, which shelled out $939 per person.
  • But it’s not because we use it much more often. For the most part, people in the U.S. used health care services about as often as people in other countries.
  • Prices for goods, like prescription drugs, seem to play a big part. Take the cholesterol drug Crestor, with a list price of $86 per month in the U.S., but $41 in Germany and $9 in Australia.
  • So do labor costs, such as physician salaries. General physicians in the U.S. had the highest salary of any country in the study, making $218,173 on average, compared to $154,126 in Germany, which had the next highest salary.”


Governor Announces Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Awards

governor - veterans

March 12, 2018 Harrisburg, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that 13 Pennsylvania counties’ veterans’ affairs offices will receive $150,000 in grants and 18 charitable or veteran service organizations will receive $650,000 in grants from the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID and also renewing a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, proceeds come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, a total of $2,832,860 has been awarded to organizations that serve Pennsylvania veterans.“The citizens of Pennsylvania continue to show how much they value our veterans through their willingness to voluntarily donate to the Veterans’ Trust Fund,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Their generosity helps to support programs and services that positively impact the lives of veterans and their families.”

Grantees slated to receive funding identified $520,193 in matching funds pledged toward grant-funded initiatives. Combined with the VTF grants, this will result in more than $1.3 million for veterans’ initiatives during the next two years.

“I have been fortunate to see firsthand how these organizations that were selected for VTF grants provide critical support to our most needy veterans,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Continue reading →

“New Dental Care Model Helping to Solve Healthcare Inequality” – Modern Healthcare

dental3by Jane S. Grover, D.D.S., M.P.H., Director, Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention, American Dental Association (ADA) 

“While Congress continues the seemingly endless debate over healthcare reform, we need to remember that community-based solutions are addressing our health equity crisis right now. The Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC), along with improved Medicaid dental benefits, are proven, complementary solutions to a complex problem.

First, consider the challenge. 2.2 million people visit hospital emergency departments (ED) each year for dental pain, according to the ADA’s Health Policy Institute. 91% of adults aged 20-64 have caries, the disease that causes tooth decay and cavities, and nearly a third (27%) go untreated, according to the CDC. Almost half (47%) of people over age 30 have some form of gum disease.”

Keep reading this article at Modern Healthcare, click here.

March 20 – A FREE town hall meeting to learn about resources for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind.

town hall