The “dangerous tightrope” some people walk | a story of A.L.I.C.E.

A few weeks ago, the United Way of Lebanon County hosted an eye-opening event to introduce A.L.I.C.E. to the community.

This Morning Call article, “Paycheck to paycheck: New United Way study shows how many in Lehigh Valley walk a dangerous financial tightrope”, is a poignant reminder of the hard facts that many people are “one of those ‘there but for the grace of God’ narratives you hear all the time.”

One of the people might be the person at the register where you shop; or a health care worker; a neighbor; someone who attends your church or the person who just walked by you.

“The ALICE Report for Pennsylvania describes the population called ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — families with income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but not high enough to afford basic household necessities or save for the future. With the cost of living higher than what most people earn, ALICE households live in every county in Pennsylvania — urban, suburban, and rural — and they include women and men, young and old, of all races and ethnicities.”

At a minimum, one in three families in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties is struggling financially according to the A.L.I.C.E. reports.

alice berks


alice lancaster

alice lebanon

“‘You keep loving each other’: A window into dementia at the end of a lifelong partnership” – STATNews

you keep loving

“For Poul Mathiassen, Parkinson’s disease came as a cascade of losses. First, he could no longer control his toothbrush. Then he couldn’t remember his friends’ names. During the four years his granddaughter, photographer Sofie Mathiassen, spent chronicling his experience of dementia, she captured images of his increasing frailty but also of the 57-year relationship he’d built with his wife, Else. These moments are at once difficult and tender, a testament to the tiny, everyday actions that constitute care. Else shaves Poul, keeping him steady with a thumb and finger on the back of his neck. She helps him take a few halting steps, holding his hands as if in a careful dance. You can see more of Mathiassen’s powerful photo essay here.”


What’s new this flu season?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports:

A few things are new this season:

  • Flu vaccines are updated to better match viruses expected to be circulating in the United States.
    • The A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine component was updated from an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus to an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
    • The A(H3N2) vaccine component was updated from an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus to an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
    • Both B/Victoria and B/Yamagata virus components from the 2018-2019 flu vaccine remain the same for the 2019-2020 flu vaccine.
  • All regular-dose flu shots will be quadrivalent. (No trivalent regular-dose flu shots will be available this season.) Read more here.

flu season

This Website,, tracks flu cases around the country. “Early detection and early response are key to preventing the spread of any disease. We believe that letting individuals report symptoms in real-time can complement traditional tracking while providing useful information directly to the public.”

“While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.” – CDC

“New Therapies Help Patients With Dementia Cope With Depression” – The New York Times

“Many patients with cognitive impairment have anxiety or depression, but standard treatments are difficult for people with memory issues.”

dementia mental healthAnne Firmender received treatment for depression through a program called Problem Adaptation Therapy, which is specially suited to people with memory issues.” Credit … Geraldine Hope Ghelli for The New York Times

by Andrea Petersen

“Anne Firmender, 74, was working with her psychologist to come up with a list of her positive attributes.

“’I cook for others,’ said Ms. Firmender.

“’It’s giving,’ encouraged the psychologist, Dimitris Kiosses.

“”Good kids,’ continued Ms. Firmender, who has four grown children and four grandchildren.

“’And great mother,’ added Dr. Kiosses. Ms. Firmender smiled.

Dr. Kiosses typed up the list and handed a printout to Ms. Firmender to take home. ‘When you’re feeling down and hard on yourself, you can remind yourself of your strengths,’ he told her.”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times.

Philadelphia’s aging population needs help fighting loneliness | Opinion – The Inquirer

agina lonlinessMICHAEL PRONZATO

by Jane Eleey, for The Inquirer

Loneliness may have the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous to health than obesity. Recent nationwide studies highlight the close relationship between social isolation and loneliness and serious health problems — memory loss, depression, self-neglect, changes in blood pressure, medication errors, decline in functional status, poor management of everyday living tasks — as well as greater mortality.

“Social ties provide support during illness, encourage people to maintain better health habits, and have positive effects on the immune system. Isolation from others contributes heavily to illness burden and premature death in at-risk populations.”

Read this article at The Inquirer, click here.

Opioid crisis harms aging community

A new National Council on Aging report synthesizing the results of a national survey taken earlier this yearreveals that the aging network is spending more time addressing effects of the opioid epidemic, and older adults face increased financial concerns as a result of the crisis. Read the full issue brief for more findings and recommendations to address these issues.

opioids and aging

“Does Who You Are at 7 Determine Who You Are at 63?” – The New York Times Magazine

7 to 63

“In 1964, with ‘Seven Up!’ Michael Apted stumbled into making what has become the most profound documentary series in the history of cinema. Fifty-five years later, the project is reaching its conclusion.”


“On a brisk Saturday morning, one uncommonly cloudless and bright for late autumn on England’s moody North Sea coast, the filmmaker Michael Apted paced a sloping headland of mud and stubble with an air of fretful preoccupation. Though the day’s shoot would amount, in the end, to an additional five-minute increment of the documentary project that had intermittently consumed the entirety of his working life, these occasions never ceased to surprise and unnerve him. He had known Jackie, whose arrival was imminent, for 56 years, but her interviews could be volatile, and this one was particularly important, he felt, to get right.”

Read this interesting article in its entirety at The New York Times Magazine here.

“A Change in Medicare Has Therapists Alarmed | Medicare revamped its reimbursement policy for physical, occupational and speech therapy in nursing homes. That has left some patients with less help.” – The New York Times

medicare changeStuart Briers

by Paula Spahn

“In late September, a woman in her 70s arrived at a skilled nursing facility in suburban Houston after several weeks in the hospital. Her leg had been amputated after a long-ago knee replacement became infected; she also suffered from diabetes, depression, anxiety and general muscular weakness.

“An occupational therapist named Susan Nielson began working with her an hour a day, five days a week. Gradually, the patient became more mobile. With assistance and encouragement, she could transfer from her bed to a wheelchair, get herself to the bathroom for personal grooming and lift light weights to build her endurance.

“That progress ended abruptly on Oct. 1, when Medicare changed its payment system for physical, occupational and speech therapy in nursing homes.”

Click here to continue reading this New York Times article. 

WEBINAR SERIES: Supporting Transgender Clients


Please RSVP via Eventbrite:

Webinar login information will be shared prior to the training date

“Six Ways to Deal With Sentimental Items When Decluttering” – next avenue

“Start slowly, create categories and seek help if you need it”


“Sentimental clutter is the hardest clutter to part with.”

by Rachel Hartman

“Organizing. and getting rid of, extra belongings can make it easier to downsize, clean a home and entertain guests.

“But what should be done with a stack of boxes containing memorabilia stashed in a closet? Or a basement filled with items that represent the past 30 years?

“‘Clutter is real, and stuff follows us to the end,’ says Felice Cohen, author and professional organizer based in New York City who teaches online organization classes to older adults.

“Sorting through last week’s coupons can be much easier than tackling a bin filled with memories from the past.”

Read this article at next avenue in its entirety, click here.

Several partner agencies and organizations with the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources |Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area can help your decluttering decisions.