“‘So Deep And So Rich’: Seniors Stay Connected Via Their New Life On Zoom” – NPR

senior zoom
"The memoir writing students at the DOROT Center found new closeness on Zoom." - Gwynne Hogan

by Gwynne Hogan

“Last March, I visited a senior center in Manhattan on its last day of programming before lockdown forced everything in New York City to a grinding halt. At that point in the pandemic, we were flying blind — elbow-bumping instead of handshaking, but not wearing masks, even in cramped indoor settings.

“I rode my bike to DOROT on the Upper West Side with a lump in my throat, fearing that maybe I was an unknowing vector of the virus. (A traveling group of coughing a cappella singers was performing and my fears abated that I’d be the one to get them sick.)

“I met a group of women in a weekly memoir class, right as the director broke the news that the center was closing because of the coronavirus.

“It came as a blow to the women, especially for Yvonne Rossetti, who was 65 years old at the time.

“‘I think depression is a killer, and certainly many of us are here because maybe we battle depression,’ she’d said to the room. ‘This place is a lifeboat.'”

Keep reading this article at NPR, click here.

For Lebanon Countians: Exciting news! Self-Determination Housing of Pennsylvania’s Home Modification Program is up and running again!

SDHP accessible program

We are reaching out to the community of Lebanon county to receive applicants for this program funded by DCED!  Multiple home modifications projects are currently underway across the state! Below is information about eligibility and how to get more information.  Please feel free to share with your Lebanon county community!

Eligibility criteria at-a-glance:

  • Income levels must not exceed 120% of area median income (all household income must be verified through proper documentation).
  • Priority given to individuals residing in counties not receiving financial assistance through other programs.
  • Homeowners need proof of homeowners’ insurance coverage.
  • Renters need a landlord letter of approval/permission for home modifications.
  • Applicant cannot be receiving other public funded assistance or waivers. (example: Community Health Choices (CHC) managed care organizations – MCOs)

Applications are now being accepted!

  • For more information and to receive an application, please call (610) 873-9595 or email Beth at beth.mckeown@inglis.org
  • See attached flyer for more information
  • Learn more about this program by clicking HERE

Study | “Medicare Advantage beneficiaries save more money on out-of-pocket costs than Medicare fee-for-service” – Fierce Healthcare

medicare advantage

“Medicare Advantage offers care for more low-income individuals compared with traditional Medicare, a new analysis from Better Medicare Alliance said.” (Getty/zimmytws) “Better Medicare Alliance is the nation’s leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage. Together, we are over 150 Ally organizations from across the health care spectrum and more than 500,000 grassroots beneficiary advocates united in our mission to build a healthier future through a strong Medicare Advantage.” – Better Medicare Alliance

by Robert King

“Medicare Advantage plan holders spend $1,640 less a year compared with traditional fee-for-service, a new analysis finds.

“The analysis released Tuesday from the advocacy group Better Medicare Alliance also found that lower-income Medicare beneficiaries are more likely to choose MA over the traditional program.

“Beneficiaries in MA reported out-of-pocket and premium spending of $3,354 a year in 2018, compared with $4,994 in fee-for-service, the analysis added. That was a $42 increase since 2017.

“’This results in a 40% lower cost burden for consumers than traditional Medicare’” said Allyson Schwartz, president and CEO of Better Medicare Alliance, in a statement. ‘The consumer savings in Medicare Advantage translates to meaningful financial security and peace of mind for millions of beneficiaries.’

“The analysis also found that more than 40% of beneficiaries who make under 200% of the federal poverty level were enrolled in MA, compared with 27% of beneficiaries that make more than 400% of the poverty level.”

Click to continue reading this article at Fierce Healthcare.

Link Service Area 13 partners launch YouTube channel.


youtube channelWe’ve been announcing this project for several months at the separate Link cross-training meetings — now the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Service Area 13 YouTube channel has launched.

You can access it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZwmzU3Q5WW8SZK4COihQMA

Margie Pizarro will be interviewing Service Area 13 Link partner agencies to learn more about their services and programs in 15 minute ZOOM interviews. Those interviews will be posted at the Link Service Area 13 YouTube channel for everyone to view and share.

If you are a Link partner agency/organization and would like to be a featured interview in this series, let us know.

Call or text: 717.380.9714 or email blllink@mail.com to get on the schedule.



Saturday webinars | Link Service Area 13’s second “Let’s get Tech Savvy” webinar video on Windows 10 is here.

baby steps webinar

“In the USA, only 59% of people over the age of 65 use the Internet daily, as opposed to 86% of all adults under 65.”

That’s the entire reason the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area  scheduled the Saturday morning (March 6 and March 27) webinars. These are the first two in a series of planned webinars that are designed to erase and lessen the fears that many people may have about using digital technology.

It’s tough trying to deliver taking training about how to use a smart phone, a tablet or a computer to persons who may not have the technology, the experience or the connectivity. It’s also tough to not have internet access and technological skills needed to find a Covid vaccination site. Or to file an online unemployment claim. Or to schedule a medical appointment.

But the intent of this series of webinars is to lessen the trepidation and the uncertainty of the technology in small bite-sized blocks of 30 to 40 minute online webinars. The Link coordinator hopes that caregivers, family members and agency resources who interact with persons with low or no digital savvy will share the webinar information with them.

Here are the video recordings of the first two Saturday’s “Baby Steps” Webinars: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Agtzmyc10ssBgxni4YdAzYOFpFiO?e=Sdb3wR

The next Webinar will be scheduled for Saturday morning, April 17 and will be announced at the Link Website and hopefully in local media. For more information about upcoming Webinars, send an email to blllink@mail.com or call / text: 717.308.9714.

Those who’ve ventured into owning a smart phone know “how many times a day your phone, computer, tablet, watch and other gadgets buzz or ding. It gets annoying and distracting.”

Upcoming webinars will deal with smart phone questions, but here’s a Kim Kommando column that’s especially topical: “How to stop junk text messages and spam for good.”

VA and Department of Labor releases high demand occupation list for the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program

va logo

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is preparing to launch the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) as part of its continued effort to support Veterans seeking retraining and economic opportunities in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VA in partnership with the Department of Labor published a list of high-demand occupations. The list is available here and includes healthcare, education, media, engineering, and high tech opportunities.

The new program, part of the American Rescue Plan, will allow qualifying Veterans between the ages of 22 and 67 to receive up to 12 months of tuition and fee and monthly housing allowance payments, based on Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. VA will provide further information soon on how Veterans can apply for this program.

The week of April 4th, VA will release a participation agreement and begin to work with educational institutions interested in participating in VRRAP.  VA will require educational institutions to commit to a participation agreement that will outline VRRAP requirements and specify which training programs are covered under VRRAP. Once reviewed and approved by VA, a comprehensive list of VRRAP educational institutions and programs will be published and made available.

For a program of education to qualify for VRRAP, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Be approved for GI Bill or VET TEC
  • Not lead to a bachelors or graduate degree
  • Provide training for a high-demand occupation

The payment model for VRRAP tuition and fees (paid directly to the VRRAP education institution) is milestone based:

  • 50% when the Veteran begins the program
  • 25% when the Veteran completes the program
  • 25% when the Veteran finds employment in the field of study

The program is limited to a maximum of 17,250 participants and up to $386 million.

If you are aware of any GI Bill Beneficiaries who require assistance, please have them contact the Education Call Center at 888-442-4551 between 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday-Friday to speak with a representative.

To learn more about the program and for updates, go to our website, or visit our Facebook page.

webinar: “The Rise of Alcohol Use During COVID-19: An Epidemic in Plain Sight”


Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – 2:15 pm ET 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, excessive drinking affected approximately 50 million Americans and was the 3rd largest preventable cause of death in the United States. Alcohol elevates the risk of almost all chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and is closely tied to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In the past year, alcohol consumption has increased 14% across the board, with heavy drinking rates for women increasing 41%. Surveys have shown that only 2% of excessive drinkers receive any treatment due to a variety of barriers to care. This webinar will introduce a no-shame, labels optional, evidenced-based approach to treating excessive drinking employed at Tempest, a digital recovery platform.

This is a Mental Health America Webinar.

In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, join us for this 60-minute webinar where we will discuss:

  • The rise in alcohol sales and use during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Why drinking is a common coping mechanism;
  • How to know if and when your alcohol consumption becomes a problem;
  • And how excessive alcohol use changes the brain, and how to reverse those changes.

This webinar will be recorded and available to the public within 1 week. We do not offer CEUs, but certificates of attendance will be available after the event.


“The Richness of Middle Age | Growing up has no expiration date.” – Psychology Today

middle ageSOURCE: Shutterstock

by Cecilia Dintino PsyD

“At 55, Gail started therapy with the question, “Who do I want to be when I grow-up?”

“Can we take a moment to think about this?

“What does it mean to be a grown-up?

“Do we progress on a singular path towards a final destination?  Is grown-up an outcome that once accomplished, means we are all set?  How long are we set for?  Or does midlife mean it’s time to fasten our seat belt for the inevitable decline and descent?

“These are questions Gail wanted to figure out.”

Continue reading this article at Psychology Today, click here.


April 01 – FREE WEBINAR: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Webinar

grandparents raising grandchildres

This webinar will give grandparents raising grandchildren and anyone working with them, tips and resources that are available in Pennsylvania.

Things to Keep in Mind When Working With Grandfamilies

Families come in all shapes and sizes.
Grandparents or even Great-Grandparents, raising their grandchildren (Grandfamilies) are becoming more and more prevalent and these families have a unique set of needs.
In order to be an effective service provider for your grandfamilies take a look at these tips below which come directly from individuals who have raised or are currently raising their grandchildren.

What is The Grandfamilies Act, and How Will it Impact Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren?

This project was developed, in part, under grant number 1H79SM082194-02 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S.

“Woman With Developmental Disability Among Victims In Boulder Shooting” – Disability Scoop


(Top row, from left) Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Denny Stong, 20; Jody Waters, 65; Teri Leiker, 51; (Bottom row, from left) Officer Eric Talley, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Rikki Olds, 25; Lynn Murray, 62; Neven Stanisic, 23. (Photos courtesy of friends and family)

by Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post

DENVER — “The University of Colorado’s Golden Buffalo Marching Band gathers every Friday night before home football games to rally fan support in the heart of Boulder.

“Nobody loved the Pearl Street Stampede quite so much as Teri Leiker.

“’She was there even before we started gathering, which is half-an-hour before the stampede started,’ CU marching band director Matt Dockendorf said. ‘She was just a staple. She was kind of a personal cheerleader for the band.’

“Leiker, 51, was a longtime King Soopers employee who was shot and killed along with 9 others Monday at the Table Mesa Drive location in Boulder. She was also a member of Boulder’s ‘intellectual and developmental disabilities community,’ according to a statement from Special Olympics Colorado.”

Read the entire article at Disability Scoop, click here.

“Boulder shooting victims: Identifying the 10 lives lost” The Denver Post