Monthly Archives: February, 2017

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month by conducting an awareness campaign in March each year. The theme for the 2015 to 2017 campaign is: Not Alone.

The Not Alone campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families. The campaign also lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.

Diet and Exercise: Choices Today for a Healthier Tomorrow

“Regular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults.”Read more at the National Institute on Aging.


Friday Wrap-Up, February 24 | a message from the Secretary of Aging


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 download the February 24 newsletter.

VA offering up to $8 million in grants for adaptive-sports programs that aid disabled Veterans

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is providing up to $8 million in grants to fund adaptive-sports programs that offer activities for disabled Veterans and members of the armed forces who have disabilities, VA announced Feb. 22.

The application period for the fiscal 2018 Adaptive Sports Grant begins Feb. 21, 2017, and will close at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on April 21, 2017.

“We know disabled Veterans and military members of all ages and abilities report better health and an improved quality of life when participating in adaptive sports,” said VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin. “We encourage organizations to apply for a grant to better assist those who have faced life changes due to their military service. At VA, caring for Veterans, day in and day out, is a noble cause.”

Previous VA grants included eligible nonprofits, Veterans’ groups, universities and municipalities, which plan, develop, manage and implement adaptive sports activities. Funding may be used for training, program development, coaching, sports equipment, supplies, program evaluation and other activities related to adaptive-sports program implementation and operation.

In fiscal 2016, VA awarded $7.8 million in adaptive-sports grants to 90 programs providing services nationwide.  The Grant Notice of Funding Availability is published on the website ( under opportunity number VA-ASG-2018-01, linked through

For more information about VA’s Adaptive Sports Program, go to

SOURCE: news release

“You prepare for a phone call your mother has passed. You don’t prepare for a phone call that your mother has been RAPED.”|

sonjaSonja Fischer is shown here in earlier days. She is pictured in this story during the last years of her life, with her daughter Maya’s haunting quote in the title of this post.

CNN published this article two days ago: “Sick, dying and raped in America’s nursing homes.”

As you read this article, you’ll be repulsed, shocked and dismayed.

Here is a joint statement from an email received less than half an hour ago:

“Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes -Joint Statement from Consumer Voice, NCEA and NOVA

“Wednesday’s report by CNN, Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes is a shocking reminder that abuse, including sexual abuse, of nursing home residents continues to be a very real problem.  Residents and families need to have confidence that when they turn to a long-term care facility, that every possible step will be taken to protect them from such horrific acts.

“Too often, frail, vulnerable residents, including those living with dementia, are targeted by abusers who use fear and intimidation, or even a resident’s cognitive impairments to try to avoid prosecution.

“Federal regulations state that all residents have the right to be free from abuse.  Additionally, nursing homes must ensure that they have written policies and procedures to prevent abuse, to investigate any allegations, and to ensure that any allegations of abuse are reported immediately to the appropriate agencies.

“What are signs that a nursing home resident is being sexually abused?

“Physical indicators of sexual abuse include:

  • Bruises around inner thighs, the genital area or breasts
  • Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain or irritation
  • New difficulty sitting or walking
  • Torn, stained or bloodied underclothing
  • An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped

“Social indicators of sexual abuse include:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Panic attacks or emerging post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unusual behavior between the victim and the elder sexual abuse suspect

“Victims of dementia will exhibit anxiety or excessive fear around the person providing or tending to their care. They may also engage in more aggressive behaviors.

Getting Help

“Once a person has suspicions of, or has identified, that a resident is being sexually abused, get help immediately.


  • 911 or the local police
  • State Licensing and Certification Agency. This is the agency that inspects nursing homes and investigates complaints.
  • Adult Protective Services (APS).  In some states, APS investigates reported suspicions about abuse of nursing home residents.
  • The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.  The local long-term care ombudsman is an advocate for nursing home residents and can assist the resident in getting the help needed.
  • Report the abuse to the nursing home administrator.

“Contact information for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, or the State Survey and Certification Agency can be found at

For more information, go to:

National Center on Elder Abuse –
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care –
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center –
National Organization for Victim Assitance –

Pennsylvania Department of Aging – REPORT ELDER ABUSE 24 Hour Hotline 


Abuse reports can be made on behalf of an older adult whether the person lives in their home or in a care facility such as a nursing facility, personal care home, hospital, etc. The reporters may remain anonymous and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination and civil or criminal prosecution.


“Amid Repeal Debate, Public Views Obamacare More Favorably Than Unfavorably” – Kaiser Family Foundation

“Public Remains Split on Repeal but a Small Share, Including 31% of Republicans, Favor Repeal Without Replace”


“As President Trump and Congress weigh repealing the Affordable Care Act, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds more Americans viewing the law favorably than unfavorably (48% compared to 42%). This is the highest level of favorability measured in more than 60 Kaiser Health Tracking Polls conducted since 2010.

“In spite of these more favorable views, the public remains divided along partisan lines on whether Congress should (47%) or should not (48%) repeal the law. At the same time, more of those who favor repeal want lawmakers to wait until the details of a replacement plan are known (28% overall) than want Congress to repeal immediately and work out the replacement’s details later (18% overall).

“Even among Republicans, while the majority want to see Congress vote to repeal the law – fewer want them to vote to repeal the law immediately (31%) than want them to wait until they have the details of a replacement plan announced (48%), and 16 percent of Republicans do not want the law repealed at all.”

Read more at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Elder Use of Marijuana” – Time Goes By: What it’s really like to get old

“A new report has found that cannabis use by people over age 50 has increased significantly and outpaced growth across all other age groups.”


“One of the most common afflictions that comes with old age is pain – from arthritis to cancer to neuropathy to back and neck pain to those random aches and pains that come and go and seem to have no known cause.

“For many, pain is almost a definition of growing old and these days, increasing numbers of elders are using cannabis (also known as pot, weed, reefer, maryjane, etc.) to treat their pain. As UPI reported in January,

”A new report has found that cannabis use by people over age 50 has increased significantly and outpaced growth across all other age groups.

Read this column at Time Goes By: What it’s really like to get old in its entirety, click here.

“Elder Orphans – An Increasing and Vulnerable Population” -IKOR (Advocacy & Life Management for Seniors and Disabled Individuals)

“In 2003, Jeff Kunerth of the Chicago Tribune was writing about a rapidly growing number of seniors who were living without any support network, and the difficulties this presented for them as they aged. He wanted to impart on his readers the situation these older Americans found themselves in, so he coined a term that instantly conveyed their situation to everyone: “elder orphans.” The phrase caught on and was soon being used by the media, medical professionals, aging experts and senior advocates to describe seniors who were living independently but lacked the support of family or close friends.

“Despite the embrace of the term “elder orphans,” there is still a widely held misconception that all seniors have family they can fall back on to help them manage the challenges of aging.”

Continue reading this article from the IKOR | Advocacy & Life Management for Seniors and Disabled Individuals Website, click here.

IKOR is a Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties.

“Wolf administration officials discuss implications of an Affordable Care Act Repeal”

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy, and Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas today joined Pennsylvania consumers to discuss the implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act for consumers around the commonwealth. More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians currently receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion.

Commissioner Miller highlighted the advancements the Affordable Care Act has made in providing quality coverage for all Pennsylvanians. Because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 6.1. million Pennsylvanians benefit from access to free preventive care services, 5.4 million cannot be denied health insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and 4.5 million are no longer subject to annual and lifetime limits that used to be placed on covered benefits. These protections benefit all Pennsylvanians and are not limited to those who receive coverage through the Medicaid expansion or a plan purchased on the exchange.

Commissioner Miller urged lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to keep the voices of consumers who are positively impacted by the Affordable Care Act in mind when considering the law’s future.

“We need to focus on building on the progress we’ve made since the health law was passed instead of undoing the system and starting from scratch,” said Commissioner Miller. “While the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect and there are certainly improvements that could be made that would address the overall issue of rising health care costs and lead to a more viable, attractive market that provides more options to consumers at competitive prices, these are not the conversations that are taking place.”

If the ACA were to be repealed, Pennsylvania could lose 137,000 jobs in 2019, almost all in Continue reading →

“Protect yourself from health scams” – National Institute on Aging


Today, there are more ways than ever to sell untested products—online, TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers are just a few examples. Actors portray doctors and patients on infomercials. You might even get an email urging you to try a product. It can be hard to tell what’s an ad and what’s a scam.

Be skeptical. Something might be a scam if it:

  • Promises a quick or painless cure
  • Claims the product is made from a special, secret, or ancient formula
  • Offers products and services only by mail or from one company
  • Uses statements or unproven case histories from so-called satisfied patients
  • Claims to be a cure for a wide range of ailments
  • Claims to cure a disease (such as arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease) that hasn’t been cured by medical science
  • Promises a no-risk, money-back guarantee
  • Offers an additional free gift or a larger amount of the product as a special promotion
  • Requires advance payment and claims there is a limited supply of the product

Learn more about protecting yourself from health scams and how to find trustworthy health information online.