Monthly Archives: February, 2018

“I’m autistic. I just turned 36 — the average age when people like me die.” – Vox

“The stress of living with autism is exhausting.”

autisticVox – Shutterstock

by Sarah Kurchak

“On March 21, 2017, CNN published an article on a new study from the American Journal of Public Health that found the average life span of an autistic person is 36 years. I wasn’t shocked by this news. I know how dire things can be for so many of us on the spectrum, but that number struck me for a very specific reason. I had just turned 35 the previous month.

“Since I learned this news, I’ve been anticipating the milestone of turning 36 with a mix of confusion, dread, and a host of other feelings I can’t quite articulate.”

Read this Vox First Person narrative essay in its entirety, click here.

Millersville University’s slate of “accessible perfomances”

accessible performances

Download the above graphic as a .pdf format; click here: Accessible Performances Flier

Homelessness | a real issue in the United States.

It is a growing crisis for many. Across the nation and right here in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

Families and individuals who have no access to safe, affordable shelter. At the Traveling Resource and Information Fairs held across this part of Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, the question of housing was a number one priority for the persons displaced following the ravages of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Articles as these, “The Number of Homeless People in America Increased for the First Time in 7 Years” and “Affordable Housing Crisis Forces U.S. Homeless Numbers Up for First Time Since Great Recession” point to the nationwide phenomenon.

homelessness everywhere

In metropolitan areas, homelessness can occur because of “runaway rents, stagnant wages and vanishing affordable housing” claims this New York Times article.

Homelessness is, in fact, caused by tragic life occurrences like the loss of loved ones, job loss, domestic violence, divorce and family disputes. Other impairments such as depression, untreated mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical disabilities are also responsible for a large portion of the homeless. Many factors push people into living on the street. Acknowledging these can help facilitate the end of homelessness in America.”

Perhaps, the idea of multi-generational housing is due to be recycled. Generations ago, it was not at all uncommon to have three generations sharing the same residence. Shared housing is another option that is being revisited and accepted.

Here are a few articles about each”

How a return to multigenerational living is shifting the housing market: Shifts in senior living, immigration, and affordability have brought extended families together under the same roof.

“America at Home: Grandparents in the Attic, Children in the Basement”: A decade or so ago, as demographers began reporting an uptick in shared and multigenerational housing, the trend again looked to be economically driven, this time by the Great Recession.

“Co-living – the companies reinventing the idea of roommates”: It’s a Three’s Company, Golden Girls or Friends concept that capitalizes on multiple incomes combining to save on costs and to stymie or inhibit social isolation.



Friday Wrap-Up, February 16, 2018 | 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 newsletter as a .pdf file.

Who gets Medicaid in Pennsylvania?

pa dhs logo

Older adults and people with disabilities account for 78 percent of state Medicaid spending in Pennsylvania. These are two of the state’s most vulnerable populations, and they oftentimes require more expensive care. Here is a graphic of how Medicaid spending breaks down by population:

w2ho gets medicaid

  • 12 PERCENT are older adults, accounting for 27 PERCENT of spending
  • 18 PERCENT are people with disabilities, accounting for 51 PERCENT of spending
  • 35 PERCENT are children, accounting for 13 PERCENT of spending
  • 8 PERCENT are adults, accounting for 6 PERCENT of spending
  • 27 PERCENT are newly eligible under Medicaid expansion, accounting for 3 PERCENT of spending
Percent of spending values represent fiscal year 2018-19 non-federal share, �including state general, lottery, tobacco funds and augmentations.

“Gentrification became low-income lending law’s unintended consequence” – Reveal News


“PHILADELPHIA – Jonathan Jacobs had almost no savings, a modest income and a credit report marred by a disputed cellphone bill. But he easily bought a newly renovated row house in Point Breeze, a South Philadelphia neighborhood that’s historically African American.

“‘It took about 15 minutes’ to fill out the paperwork, the career counselor said. ‘Now I pay less to own a house than I did to rent an apartment. That’s the American dream.’

“Jacobs, who is white, got a special home loan from New Jersey-based TD Bank that is designed to help low-income people and blighted neighborhoods, where banks are required to lend under the landmark Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The law was designed to correct the damage of redlining, a now-illegal practice in which the government warned banks away from neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants and African Americans.

“But the law didn’t anticipate a day when historically black neighborhoods would be sought out by young white homebuyers.”

Read this article at Reveal News in its entirety, click here.

“Emergency Preparedness: When is it enough?” – Aging Today

wsest chester fire“West Chester, Pennsylvania | Residents were wrapped in blankets as they were forced to evacuate the senior living community during the five-alarm fire at around 11 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2017. Steven M. Falk/AP” – PHOTO SOURCE: New York Daily News

by Lori Smetanka and Beverley Laubert

“Recent natural disasters exposed long-term-care facilities’ and com­­munity care systems’ levels of pre­­paredness to handle emergencies and protect their residents and patients. Hurri­canes and wildfires have tested communities’ emergency readiness and ability to respond. The failure of these providers to be prepared, or to effectively implement procedures that would protect their frail, vulnerable populations, has resulted in serious health consequences, even death.

“Long-term-care facilities have long been required by law to have detailed emergency response plans and procedures in place. But these regulations were not clear on what details were to be included in the plans, only requiring that facilities be prepared to meet all poten­tial emergencies and disasters; specifically fires, severe weather and residents who go missing. Facilities also were required to train employees in emergency procedures, and to carry out random drills for staff.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

This Valentine’s Day, pop the question to the one you love

pop the question

This Valentine’s Day, give the ones you love a gift that matters. One community member is handing out our starter kit as valentines! Below are some popular resources that you can share to show the ones you love that talking matters when it comes to end-of-life care.
  • Pop the question to the one you love… video
  • Even when people express their end-of-life care wishes, honoring their choices can be challenging or impractical. Dr. Karen Boudreau’s family knows this from experience. She wrote this letter to her loved ones to offer guidance in case they ever need to make difficult decisions at the end of her life.
  • Consider writing a lasting letter to your loved one, you can learn more on our latest blog post

“The Age of Forgetting” – Purple Clover

“It was always so funny to watch my mother’s panic rise when she misplaced something—until it happened to me”

forgettingThe missing painting

by Stacia Freedman

“When my mom was the age I am now, my sister and I teased her unmercifully about her ‘special places.’ These were the black holes into which my mother deposited important items: her passport, an overdue bill, a wedding invitation and so on.

“‘I’ll find it. I’ll find it,’ she cried, scurrying from room to room, pulling open drawers. The problem is that Mom had so many special places that the odds of ever finding the lost item were somewhere between her locating her G-spot and her finding Jimmy Hoffa.

“Every room in our three-story house had mystery drawers containing a bizarre array of clutter that made sense to Mom but would’ve stymied a Nobel Prize-winning archeologist: plastic combs, matchbooks, department store receipts, keys that opened car doors and houses sold a decade ago, prehistoric chewing gum, falsies, lipsticks as dry as plaster, pens without ink, ink without pens. You get the idea.”

Keep reading this article at Purple Clover, click here.

Starting tomorrow: A week of special events for veterans at Lebanon VA Medical Center

va open house

There is a week-long schedule of events during Nation Salute to Veteran Patients Week at Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

va week