Friday Wrap-Up, September 23, 2016 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

friday wrap-up 03-11-16

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 to read the September 23  newsletter.

Highlighted in this newsletter are:

  • The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger has launched What A Waste University (WAWU). WAWU is a center for learning – dedicated to education about Nutrition, Waste and Sustainability
  • Information about a Human Diversity and Cultural Competency Online Course.
  • Events – PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources.

GO-TIME: Department of Aging Improves Access Services at Senior Community Center

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in partnership with WITF, is entering its third season of an exciting initiative called MindMatters: a series of stimulating lectures presented by academics and experts on subjects ranging from history and current events, to politics and culture, to gardening and healthy living.

With a savings of over $75,000 annually, MindMatters offers professional programming at no cost to senior community centers across the commonwealth. MindMatters is designed to be viewed in a group setting and encourages senior center attendance, social interaction and stimulating discussions between center participants and presenters.

“Studies have shown that when given the opportunity to participate in life-long learning or self-management programs in a senior community center, older adults are given the tools needed to better manage their life,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne.  “By providing enrichment in a social, community setting, improvements in overall mental, physical, social, spiritual, emotional and economic well-being can be measured.”

Prior to MindMatters, senior community centers would pay for individuals to travel and present on various topics in person. The cost and logistics of delivering this type of programming made it difficult or sometimes impossible for centers to provide it for their participants. Now, senior centers can choose from over 30 lectures on topics of interest that appeal to their participants.

Some of the MindMatters topics include:

  • Betsy Ross: The Making of the Myth
  • Exercise is Medicine
  • Famous Pennsylvania Politicians of the 20th Century
  • Food Glorious Food: Satisfaction Without Guilt
  • Gardening and Planting
  • Optical Illusions: A Look at How the Human Eye Works
  • Quilts: Crafting an American Icon

“Providing on-demand access to this resource expands the opportunity for senior centers to participate and enables older Pennsylvanians throughout the commonwealth to be engaged, physically, mentally, and emotionally in their community,” said Secretary Osborne.

To learn more about GO-TIME, visit

“Infographic: Smoking and Mental Illness – A Double Dilemma” – Mental Health America


“close relationships are good for our health and well-being” | results from the longest-running study on happiness

“The one thing you need for a happier, healthier life | the answer might be more simple than you expect”


“When it comes to happiness, many have tried to find the key to it. Is it money, a successful career, fame? Is there one thing that happy people have that unhappy people don’t? According to The Harvard Study of Adult Development, there is.

“Harvard Medical School professor and researcher Robert J. Waldinger spoke at the TEDxBeaconStreet conference recently and delivered the findings from a more than 75-year-old ongoing study on the cause of happiness. (You can watch his talk below.) Waldinger is the fourth person to run the study, according to The Washington Post.

“In it, researchers selected a group of of 724 men from the Boston area — 268 sophomores from Harvard College and 456 teenagers from the inner city — and followed them as they aged. The men grew to become lawyers, bricklayers, doctors and even a future President of the United States — John F. Kennedy.”

Click on the graphic above or here to read this article in its entirety.

“ video – What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.”

Today, September 22, is National Falls Prevention Day


One of our Lebanon County Link partners, sends this reminder: Today is National Falls Prevention Day and this toolkit offers helpful materials and resources.


Department of Military and Veterans Affairs [DMVA] Announces Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Opportunities

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) announced the availability of up to $650,000 in competitive grants from the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF).

“We’re building and expanding partnerships with charitable organizations, veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs through the Veterans’ Trust Fund,” said Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general. “The grants that we are awarding will ensure that the organizations who serve our veterans will be able to continue their good work and Pennsylvania’s veterans and their families will soon be the fortunate beneficiaries.”

Grants will be considered in the following areas:

  • Up to $500,000 in competitive grants to 501(c)(19) veterans service organizations and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans, focusing on four areas of emphasis: homelessness; post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI); behavioral health initiatives; unique veteran health services; and other programs or services that address newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
  • Up to $150,000 in competitive grants to County Directors of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans’ Affairs, focusing on three areas of emphasis: veteran outreach initiatives; veterans’ court initiatives; and other programs or services that address newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.

Since the VTF was established in 2012, more than $1.4 million has been awarded in competitive grants.

“The Veterans’ Trust Fund has grown considerably and that is due to the generous Pennsylvanians who have voluntarily made a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID and renewing a motor vehicle registration, as well as proceeds from the sale of the Honoring our Veterans license plates for cars and motorcycles,” Carrelli added.

Grant information can be found at Grant applications must be received at DMVA by 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, November 18, 2016. Late submissions will be administratively rejected without review.

DMVA is authorized to solicit and accept donations to the VTF on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Tax-deductible donations to the VTF can be sent to: Veterans’ Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47 Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003.

To learn more about the VTF, visit or follow DMVA on Facebook at

LIHEAP – The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will reopen on November 1, 2016

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.


LIHEAP Brochure – English

LIHEAP Brochure- Español

FY 2017 LIHEAP State Plan

Crisis Grants:

In addition to the LIHEAP cash program, households experiencing a heating crisis may be eligible for additional benefits through the LIHEAP crisis program.

 The Crisis program will reopen in the Fall of 2016.

Emergency situations include:

  • Broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced
  • Lack of fuel
  • The main heating source or second heating source (a source that is used to operate the main heating source or used if the main heating source is not working) has been completely shut-off
  • Danger of being without fuel (less than a 15 day supply) or of having utility service terminated (received a notice that service will be shut off within the next 60 days)

Assistance with home heating crisis situations will be available 24 hours a day; in most counties, you should contact your local county assistance office. However, residents of the two counties listed below are encouraged to directly contact their local agencies that operate the crisis component in their areas:



New report calls for systemwide reorientation to account for health care and support of both elders and family caregivers | “Families Caring for an Aging America”

NOTE: Last week the National Academy of Medicine released a report, Families Caring for an Aging America, examining family caregiving for older adults.

The Academy is offering a free briefing on the report next Thursday, September 29 at 1:30 pm.  This Website gives some background information about the report and has a place for webinar registration.

Webinar: Report on Families Caring for an Aging America: Thursday, September 29 at 1:30 pm

“The demand for family caregivers for adults who are 65 or older is increasing significantly, and family caregivers need more recognition, information, and support to fulfill their responsibilities and maintain their own health, financial security, and well-being, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” – SOURCE:


“Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are caregivers of an older adult with a health or functional limitation. The nation’s family caregivers provide the lion’s share of long-term care for our older adult population. They are also central to older adults’ access to and receipt of health care and community-based social services. Yet the need to recognize and support caregivers is among the least appreciated challenges facing the aging U.S. population.

“Families Caring for an Aging America examines the prevalence and nature of family caregiving of older adults and the available evidence on the effectiveness of programs, supports, and other interventions designed to support family caregivers. This report also assesses and recommends policies to address the needs of family caregivers and to minimize the barriers that they encounter in trying to meet the needs of older adults.”

To buy or download this book, visit the National Academies Press Webpage here.

“Study: Family Caregivers Need Help, Too” – California HealthLine

Physiotherapist supporting disabled man

“Elderly Americans’ well-being is at risk unless the U.S. does much more to help millions of family caregivers who sacrifice their own health, finances and personal lives to look out for loved ones, reported a (recently released) study.

“Nearly 18 million people care for a relative who is 65 or older. ‘The need to recognize and support caregivers is among the most significant challenges’ facing the nation’s swelling elderly population, their families and society, according to the report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

“Describing family caregiving as ‘a critical issue of public policy,’ a committee of experts in health care and aging said the next presidential administration in 2017 should direct a national strategy to develop ways to support caregivers, including economically.”

Continue reading this article at California HealthLine; click here.

“Scuba, Parrots, Yoga: Veterans Embrace Alternative Therapies for PTSD” – The New York Times

vet-therapyVeterans swimming with whale sharks this month at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta as part of their therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Credit Melissa Golden for The New York Times

“ATLANTA — Thomas Harris slid into the cool, salty water of a 6.3-million-gallon tank at the Georgia Aquarium here and let himself float limp as kelp.

“Mr. Harris, a former Army medic, gazed through a diving mask at a manta ray the size of a hang glider doing slow somersaults above shifting schools of silver fish. A 21-foot whale shark brushed silently by, inches from his face, its broad, spotted back taking up his entire view. Immersed in the moment, he forgot about the world.

“This is not a weekend hobby. It is part of his therapy for the post-traumatic stress disorder he has been grappling with after his tours in Iraq. And like Mr. Harris, more veterans are turning to these sorts of outside-the-office treatment.

“The broad acceptance of PTSD after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has posed an unexpected challenge. Acknowledging PTSD has only spurred a wide-ranging debate over the best way to treat it.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety here.