Monthly Archives: June, 2016

What are you going to do with the rest of your life – as an Elder Tween?

There’s this pretty interesting-to-read blog, “Time Goes By – What it’s really like to get old.”?

We find the author’s sense of understanding and appreciation about a host of topics to be refreshing, timely, relevant and, as we said, “interesting.”

This piece, “Elder Tweens” rings a tone that many persons who might be considered “seniors” understand quite well.

Read this article and follow your path … towards volunteering … towards a creative new venture … toward a fulfilling next step.

“Health Literacy in a Consumer-Centric Healthcare System: A Case for Mickey Mouse” –

“One of the biggest problems in healthcare is the gap in understanding between what physicians and insurers say and what consumers understand. “


This piece at is an easy-to-understand article about the subject of “health literacy.”

The video is especially eye-opening.


What is health literacy?

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Health literacy is dependent on individual and systemic factors:

  • Communication skills of lay persons and professionals
  • Lay and professional knowledge of health topics
  • Culture
  • Demands of the healthcare and public health systems
  • Demands of the situation/context

Health literacy affects people’s ability to:

  • Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services
  • Share personal information, such as health history, with providers
  • Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management
  • Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk

Health literacy includes numeracy skills. For example, calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels all require math skills. Choosing between health plans or comparing prescription drug coverage requires calculating premiums, copays, and deductibles.

In addition to basic literacy skills, health literacy requires knowledge of health topics. People with limited health literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about the body as well as the nature and causes of disease. Without this knowledge, they may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and various health outcomes.

Health information can overwhelm even persons with advanced literacy skills. Medical science progresses rapidly. What people may have learned about health or biology during their school years often becomes outdated or forgotten, or it is incomplete. Moreover, health information provided in a stressful or unfamiliar situation is unlikely to be retained. – Source:

“Saving Lives And Saving Money” | … health professionals across California have started targeting this problem group: the super-utilizers – California


Donald Meade, 52, at his apartment in Fullerton, Calif., on February 13, 2016. Meade, a recipient of the Illumination Foundation’s housing-first program, has battled addiction, cancer and chronic heart problems that fueled recurring visits to the emergency room. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

“Don Meade doesn’t like hospitals, but he uses them. In just one year, he made 62 trips to the emergency room. He rattles off the names of local hospitals in Orange and Los Angeles counties like they’re a handful of pills.

“‘St. Joseph’s in Orange, [Saddleback Memorial in] Laguna Hills,’ he says. ‘The best one for me around here is PIH in Whittier.’

At 52, Meade has chronic heart disease and other serious ailments, and he is recovering from a longtime addiction to crack cocaine. Today, he lives with his dog Scrappy in a small apartment in Fullerton.

Beyond making a trip to the ER pretty much every week of the year, Meade has had innumerable X-rays, scans, tests and hospital admissions — all of it on the taxpayers’ and hospitals’ dime, since he is a beneficiary of Medi-Cal, the state and federal program for the poor.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at


Youth Transition Summit – June 30, 2016

YTS logo

When you attend the first annual youth transition summit – The Path Ahead – at The Winter Center on the Campus of Millersville University on Thursday, June 30, be sure to visit with representatives from these  resources and information providers.

exhibitors 06-22

The Path Ahead is a collaborative special project produced by Lancaster and Lebanon County partner’s networks of the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources.

The youth transition summit – free to attend – begins at 8:30 am with registration inside the front entrance of the Winter Center. From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the program includes several speakers; panel discussions; networking and information exchange with the Link partner-exhibitors.

At the conclusion of the speakers and breakout sessions, 2:00 pm, everyone is invited to a free screening of the important WITF-produced film, I GO HOME, the story of Pennhurst State School and Hospital.

The “one-hour original documentary on the history of people with intellectual disability” is the story of a period in history during which “children with intellectual disability were not allowed in public schools. Parents were told to send their children with intellectual disability away to institutions – that it was best for the child, the family and the community.”

If you need more information or require accommodation, contact the Link coordinator by email at or text or call 717.380.9714.



Friday Wrap-Up, June 24, 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 June 24  newsletter.

a sharing of resources for families wanting more information about autism

resources links provided by Elena McDermott

“Taking care of an older relative is hard. Will Pennsylvania’s CARE Act make it easier?” – PublicSource

42 percent

“Hospitals and nurses have just under a year to comply with the CARE Act. But even the bill’s proponents recognize this is just the start of what needs to be done to support family caregivers.”

by Brandy Hadden | Public Source | June 23, 2016

“Leonard Kijowski, an 88-year-old Ford City resident took care of his wife at home for 12 years. She has Alzheimer’s.

“Now she’s in a personal care home, and it’s Leonard who needs help — at least with the small stuff. The caregiving took a toll on him, his son, Alan Kijowski, said.

caregiverAlan Kijowski looks on as his father and mother visit in her room at Grey’s Colonial Acres. Alan said caregiving took a toll on his father, and he expects he’ll have to help him out more soon. (Photo by Connor Mulvaney/PublicSource)

“The Kijowskis are part of a large and growing national network of family caregivers.

“In 2013, an estimated 1.65 million Pennsylvanians were caring for their loved ones, according to the AARP.  That’s a sizeable chunk of the state’s 12.8 million population.

“As the Baby Boomers age, many of them want to stay at home for as long as possible, making family caregiving commonplace in the nation. According to the AARP, there are about 40 million family members in the United States taking care of their loved ones at home.

that is where

Click here to read this PublicSource article in its entirety.

Click here to read Pennsylvania’s C.A.R.E. Act.



“Painkillers now kill more Americans than any illegal drug. Watch why.” – Vox

“It’s a terrifying fact: More than 47,000 people in America died of drug overdoses in 2014 — in what’s been widely called an epidemic. But the biggest killer of this epidemic isn’t cocaine, meth, or even heroin; it’s totally legal opioid painkillers.

“Since the 1990s, doctors have been under more and more pressure to treat pain as a serious medical issue. Pharmaceutical companies took advantage of this desire, marketing opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin as a safe, effective solution to pain.

“The result: Millions of Americans got hooked on the drugs, and tens of thousands have died from overdoses. In 2014, nearly 19,000 died from overdoses linked to opioid painkillers.”

Watch the video and read this Vox report in its entirety here.

Misdiagnosed | “Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Dementia’ Was Lyme Disease” – next avenue

“‘He was taking all these medications for things he doesn’t have, and they all have side effects,’ his wife, Lisa, told Rolling Stone.” – next avenue

There are several stories in this next avenue article about Kristofferson’s initial diagnosis.

kk lymeKris Kristofferson – Credit:

“‘For years, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson was told he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia. His memory was getting progressively worse.’”

Kristofferson’s misdiagnosis, mis-medication and subsequent identification and recognition of Lyme Disease is leading to a change.

Read the entire next avenue article here.

“Study Disproves Link Between Lyme Disease and Alzheimer’s”Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Misdiagnosis and taking multiple medications among older adults can create numerous adverse conditions.

“An elderly patient is also more likely to be taking a medication that has been prescribed inappropriately—one that’s unnecessary, ineffective, or potentially dangerous—and to suffer an adverse drug event (ADE).” – “Polypharmacy: Keeping the elderly safe”

You can learn more about the effects of polypharmacy and the effects of multi-medications at a free two-hour seminar at The Long Community at Highland,  600 East Roseville Road, Lancaster, PA next Tuesday, June 28. Call 717.381.4914 to reserve to attend this FREE session.




Death Cafés … “informative, informative, & informative”

a death cafe

That’s often the response we got when we announced the first Death Café in Lebanon County on May 21 and in Lancaster County on June 4. We called it that because that’s the name that’s used around the world. 

Lebanon death cafe

At the Death Café Website, this is what it says: “At a Death Cafe people drink tea (or coffee), eat cake (and scones, cookies, pies) and discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

We bounced the idea off our partners’ networks and the executive directors of the Manheim Township Public Library and the Lebanon Community Library. The Library partners enthusiastically supported the idea of collaborating and providing the venues for these first Death Cafés.

At the Death Cafés, people came together  – people who’d not met one another before – to engage in conversations about end-of-life in a non-directed and not-judgmental manner. Each small group table had a moderator / facilitator to make “people feel safe to talk about death.” And to keep the conversation moving should there be a lull.

There were no lulls at these Death Cafés. In fact, the time passed so quickly that many were surprised when the two-hours elapsed.

three words

Following the Death Cafés, participants volunteered to participate in confidential electronic surveys to share their impressions and thoughts about their experiences.

When asked “to list three words that best describe your experience of the Death Café,” these were some of the replies:

Inspiring, educational, comfortable
prepared for death
Nonjudgemental, friendly, supportive
Grateful, appreciative, and necessary
Openness Listening Sharing
Enlightening Educational Informative
heartwarming, reaffirming, connected
Meaningful, enriching, community-building
Open, informative, quaint
Inspirational. Bold. Helpful.
informative, informative, & informative
Interesting and useful

what would you say

Another question on the survey was “If someone told you they were thinking of attending a Death Café, what would you say to them?”

Here’s are some of the participant responses to that question:

do it. It is enriching.
Go for it!
It’s a great and necessary event…good for you!
go with an open mind and inquisitive purpose
Go for it. It’s worth your time
Go with an open mind, be ready to listen, share and embrace the experiences of others
Absolutely and without a doubt, go to the Death Cafe!
I would go with.
Go for the experience. Don’t be surprised if you get personal value.
do it
The name is a bit of a put off.


We did get more than a few emails before and after the events; here are extracts from two we’d like to share.

“I would be interested in attending, will not be back to attend the June 4 meeting but will watch for the next date.”

“I got into a conversation with a random woman at (a store) yesterday, who told me about taking her son to the bank to prepare for when she dies.  She told how her son responded, which was the typical telling a mother to keep their money, etc.  I told her about my experience at Death Cafe the other week and she was really interested and actually gave me her contact information so I can let her know if there is another one; in case she doesn’t see it advertised.”


We’re planning on follow-on Death Cafés sometime after summer … right now we’re looking at mid-September. Contact us if you’d like to:

  • Be on the notification email list to get information about the next Death Café;
  • Help out with the planning for the next Death Café;
  • Volunteer to be a table moderator or facilitator at the next Death Café;
  • Bring a pie, cake, cookies or scones to the next Death Café;
  • Suggest something for the next Death Café.

Complete the form below or call or text 717.380.9714.