Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Department of Aging wrap-up for Friday, February 27, 2015

PA department of aging logo

Each week the Pennsylvania 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 February 27  newsletter.

This week’s newsletter includes this introduction from the Acting Secretary, Teresa Osborne:

“With pleasure, I share with you today Governor Tom Wolf’s Senior Initiative that will improve home and community-based care services for older Pennsylvanians. This morning in Philadelphia, the Governor unveiled a package of legislative and budgetary actions that will provide choice and protections for our senior population.”

Here’s the news release:


Governor Wolf Announces Initiative to Improve Home- and Community-Based Care Services for Seniors in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a package of legislative and budgetary actions to provide choice and protections for seniors as they age. Governor Wolf, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the PA Department of Aging (PDA) are committed to increasing opportunities for seniors to receive care in a home or community-based setting.

“My actions today are just the first step in rebalancing our long term care system and increasing opportunities for home care workers,” said Governor Wolf.  “This package is designed to provide choices for seniors, efficiencies in home- and community-based care delivery, and protections so that seniors receive the high quality level of care that they seek in their homes.”

This initiative is comprised of the following combination of budget, legislative and executive actions:

Expand Services for Older Pennsylvanians and Reduce Long Term Care Costs.  The upcoming 2015-2016 budget expands home- and community-based long term care programming by allowing more than 5,500 additional individuals to obtain care in their home this year.  With this expansion, more than 50 percent of residents receiving long term care will do so in a home or community setting. For every month a resident receives care in the community as opposed to a nursing facility, the Commonwealth is able to save $2,457 per month. In expanding home- and community-based services to more than 5,500 residents, the Commonwealth is offsetting more than $162.2 million in nursing care costs.

Phase in Medicaid Managed Long Term Care. DHS in partnership with PDA will pursue the implementation of managed long term care through engaging stakeholders to ensure that the system is person-centered, breaks down barriers, and fills in the gaps that currently exist in the long term care services and supports system.  This initiative, which was recommended by the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission, will result in a more strategic care delivery system and improved health outcomes for seniors.

Improve Long Term Living Waiver Enrollment and Service Plan Development Process.  The current process of enrollment into the Commonwealth’s Medicaid-sponsored home- and community-based care services is a paper process and has numerous areas of duplication and inefficiencies that delay services being provided to these consumers.  DHS and PDA are currently developing a work plan to automate and streamline this process so that services are delivered in timely manner and unnecessary nursing home stays are prevented.

Home Modifications through Selective Contracting.  A major barrier to individuals remaining in their homes is accessibility. Under the DHS home- and community-based services waivers, enrolled consumers are eligible for modifications to their homes to prevent admissions to nursing homes, and allow individuals to age in place.  Unfortunately, current program barriers occasionally make it difficult for modifications to be made in a timely manner, forcing consumers into nursing care while waiting for the modifications to be made.  DHS is proposing to establish a coordinated program to manage the home modifications across all of the home- and community-based waivers, through a comprehensive selective contracting model that will establish a team of specialists to allow for more timely services, improved quality and greater accountability for waiver consumers.

Implement Online Homecare Registry. According to PHI PolicyWorks (PHI), Pennsylvania’s direct care workforce in 2013 consisted of 194,670 workers. Between 2012 and 2022, the direct care workforce is projected to grow by 33 percent. PDA is currently working to develop an online tool to make it easier for workers to find stable employment opportunities and for consumers to find competent care.

Ensure Seniors have Choices about Where to Age. Ensuring that the home care sector is able to attract qualified and competent caregivers so that seniors have the option to age at home or community-based setting is a top priority of the Wolf Administration. Governor Wolf is signing Executive Order 2015-05 to form the Governor’s Advisory Group on Participant-Directed Home Care and direct the Secretary of the Department of Human Services to regularly meet and discuss issues of mutual concern with a representative for Direct Care Workers. These actions will ensure that home care workers have a voice in shaping the future of their industry in Pennsylvania and seniors have choices about where to receive care.

“This package will also provide home care workers with the opportunity to meet and contribute to discussions about improving wages and employment conditions,” added Governor Wolf.  “As the workers on the front lines of delivering care to seniors and our most vulnerable, they should have a voice in the future of their industry in Pennsylvania.”

Over the next few months, DHS Secretary Ted Dallas and PDA Secretary Teresa Osborne will work with key stakeholders to develop an action plan that addresses the current income and health barriers that prevent seniors from being able to age in place.

“GAPNA’s Dr. Carolyn Clevenger Shares Tips to Avoid Senior Hospitalizations” –

“Unplanned senior hospitalizations can occur for a variety of reasons—many of them preventable. Home Instead, Inc. asked the president-elect of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA), Carolyn Clevenger RN, DNP, GNP-BC, to discuss how to mitigate the major risk factors involved in senior hospitalizations. Dr. Clevenger contributed her expert knowledge to Home Instead, Inc.’s Prevent Senior Hospitalization program  and its guide 5 Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations. Here’s a summary of her recommendations.

Help seniors adhere to medical advice. –

      Apathy or a cognitive decline may make it difficult for seniors to follow medication regimens or otherwise comply with the medical advice they’re given. “Watch for red flags (such as missed doctor appointments, worsening of chronic conditions or unused prescription medications), help serve as an advocate for older adults and build a support system around the senior,” said Dr. Clevenger.

Don’t ignore symptoms of illness or disease.

    – According to Dr. Clevenger, when one local hospital partnered with a home health agency to look at readmissions, “Here’s what they saw happening: the home health aide would call the senior to say they were coming by at 1 p.m. The older adult would say they didn’t want a visit because they weren’t feeling well. The next day that senior would be in the emergency room.”

Read this CareGiverStress article in its entirety, click here.

The Arts at Millersville – Accessible Performances in Spring 2015

MU accessible programs

Click here or on the above graphic to download the two page brochure.

“Palliative Care: Relief from the Symptoms of Serious Illness”

palliative care article

The Winter 2015 issue of Hospice & Community Care’s “Horizons” features an article about palliative care. Click here (or on the above graphic) to download the two page article.

There’s a Webpage at the Hospice & Community Care Website that explains more about palliative care.

“Music and Memory” Program – an innovative approach to dementia care

Earlier today, Linden Village hosted a “lunch and a movie” event. The movie was the acclaimed film, Alive Inside, released in 2014. Kudos to the staff at Linden Village for hosting this event.

In April 2014, the article below was posted at the former Lancaster County Link and Lebanon County Link Websites. To show the dramatic impact that music can have on persons with Alzeimer’s Disease or related dementias, this is the repost of that article.

“Wisconsin Department of Health Services announces new program to aid people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias”

“100 Wisconsin nursing homes now certified to assist residents in the Wisconsin Music and Memory Initiative”


MADISON — “Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Kitty Rhoades today announced that 100 nursing homes around the state have been certified to take part in a new project that uses personalized music to assist residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

“The Wisconsin Music and Memory Initiative is part of a national program developed to train nursing home staff to create personalized music playlists for up to 15 residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. By listening to their favorite songs, residents are able to recall memories that haven’t been lost to their disease. This has an uplifting affect that improves their spirits, and allows them to be responsive, cooperative, and engaged with family, friends, staff and other community members.

“‘Increasing a person’s ability to positively interact with others through the power of music is really priceless,’ said Secretary Rhoades. ‘We are gratified that so many of the nursing homes across the state want to participate in what we believe is a landmark program in the treatment of people with dementia.’


“DHS hosts monthly support sessions for nursing homes to discuss successes and solve challenges. Nursing homes will also participate in a research study to measure the effectiveness of the program. The results of the study will be used for future planning.

“Music and Memory founder Dan Cohen, MSW, used thorough neuroscience research to create the program which has been shown to enhance the lives of residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias by:

  •  Reducing the reliance on anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication
  •  Reducing agitation and “sun-downing”
  •  Enhancing engagement and socialization, in turn fostering a calmer social environment
  •  Increasing pleasure to persons with dementia
  •  Increasing cooperation and attention of patients
  •  Boosting staff morale by reducing the resistance to care
  •  Increasing fulfilling engagements among the residents, staff, family, friends, and their community.

“Music and Memory is already highly regarded for its impact on people with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. A film chronicling Cohen’s discovery of the power of personalized music, Alive Inside, directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, has been selected to debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

“DHS plans to expand The Wisconsin Music & Memory Initiative this spring to include an additional 135 nursing homes in the project.

“For additional information about the DHS Music & Memory Initiative, go to:

March 25 – a community conversation “coping with Alzheimer’s and other dementias” at Linden Village

community conversation

“10 Things You Should Know about Social Security Benefits”

Get to Know, the federal government website for information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide. Visitors can explore resources covering 10 main topics, including housing, employment and healthcare. Since the site is a directory of resources, you will be sent to other websites managed by the federal government, state and local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to get the information or help you need. does not process disability benefits applications or decide who has a disability. Those matters are handled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and your state’s Disability Determination Service. However, does connect you to information, such as qualifying for Social Security disability benefits. To learn more about navigating, read the “How to Use the Site” guide. You can also browse 14 different guides, which provide a brief overview of the site’s most important topics like disability benefits and financial help for low income individuals and families.

Applying for Disability Benefits. Last year, more than 2.5 million people applied for Social Security disability benefits, and that number is expected to continue growing as baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) enter their most disability-prone years. For the nine million who receive a monthly check, the average disability benefit is only $1,146, an amount barely above the 2013 poverty level of $11,490 annually; yet, even this modest level of support makes a difference.

So where should you begin? offers a thorough Guide to Disability Benefits, which connects visitors to information on what you need to apply, as well as what SSA means by “disabled.” You should also check out SSA’s factsheet on “What You Should Know before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits” and the Disability Planner. Next, use this checklist to help you gather the necessary pieces of information. Finally, read this brochure about applying online, which will help you save time, money and a trip to the Social Security office!

Click here to connect to and to read this article in its entirety.

“Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Stars’ Quotes on Aging” – nextavenue

“The sequel to the sleeper hit about retirees arrives soon”

“‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ opens in the U.S. on March 6, 2015.”


No one expected a movie about down-on-their-luck retirees — some broke, some heart-broken — to become a box office hit. But with star power from Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Lillete Dubey and Celia Imrie to add dimension and depth, it did.

“Now, the sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, follows the group living in India at a rundown senior residence as they settle in and their relationships change. Each day now starts with a roll call by Dev Patel’s character, to make sure everyone is still living. And a charming American, played by Richard Gere, joins the cast.

“The movie has tender, compelling moments, with themes of romance and sex and of finding life’s meaning through loss and change. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel makes good use of its stars, who are strong personalities off-camera as well as on. While we wait for the film’s March 6 release, we’ve gathered some of its stars’ quotes on aging.” – NextAvenue

Here’s “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” Official Trailer (2015)

Department of Aging wrap-up for Friday, February 20, 2015

PA department of aging logo

Each week the Pennsylvania 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 February 20  newsletter.

February 26 Webinar: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Dementia- Experiences of a Family Advocate and Promising Practices

Here’s a Webinar you may find interesting.

The February 26th webinar will provide participants with information on personal experiences, advocacy efforts, and helpful practices for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/D) and dementia. Mary Hogan will speak about her personal experience as guardian for her late brother and an advocate for her brother and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities and dementia. Phil McCallion will speak about promising practices of how to work with people with ID/D and dementia.

Please note: All times listed are for the Eastern time zone. The webinar will occur from 3:00-4:00 p.m. eastern.

Click here to register for the Webinar.

Here’s more information about another Webinar: “Dementia in People with Down Syndrome or Other Intellectual Disabilities”.

Note: both Webinars are on the same date; the second one has a 2:30 pm eastern start time.