The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources − Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area partner network − is your "no wrong door" system: a shared statewide approach for Long-Term Services and Supports … for all populations regardless of age, income or ability … including all payers, federal, state, local and private.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff – Vito LaMura makes a Meals on Wheels delivery to Sally Neale in Lexington.
LEXINGTON — It’s a Tuesday ritual that Vito LaMura holds dear.
“On that day, the 71-year-old retired teacher drives from his Bedford home to Lexington Community Center, where he picks up more than a dozen Meals on Wheels packages. LaMura carefully lays out the bagged containers in his Mazda hatchback. Then he’s off on an 8-mile route — delivering food to housebound seniors who get by on Social Security, daily routines, and memories.
“The modest meals are crucial for those who receive them. So is the emotional nourishment. The state and federally funded Meals on Wheels program provides a daily visit for about 75,000 people over age 60 in Massachusetts. Many are hungry, isolated, and living in or near poverty. It’s a human connection to an outside world that can recede from view in later years. Many Meals on Wheels volunteers are retirees like LaMura. Some aren’t that much younger than the folks they visit. But most of them are focused on navigating their routes rather than peering into what could be their future. As he makes his rounds, it’s clear the program benefits LaMura as much as it does the recipients, whom he calls ‘my people.’ Their conversations come easily.”
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 download the newsletter as a .pdf file.
As lifespans lengthen, the proportion of elderly in our populations is increasing, but how will they be supported?
Social robotics may take over many tasks in aged-care facilities and the home.
What does it say about humanity when we leave the care of our most vulnerable to machines?
“The world’s elderly population is surging, and in many countries health and home care services are already stretched. Researchers in New Zealand, with South Korean colleagues, are working on a project that suggests a different solution – robots. South Korea provides the robot-making expertise, and New Zealand the network of rest homes as testing grounds. Both countries have received funding from their governments to collaborate on health-bot projects.
“In Gisborne, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Lillian Neilson loves to sing those old songs from her youth. The staff and therapists of Selwyn Village in Auckland sometimes sing or hum along with her, turning to their phones to search for words she’s forgotten.
“‘I used to be a singer,’ she says. ‘You’ve heard of Daphne Walker [New Zealand star of the mid-20th century]? I was the young Daphne Walker.’
“But Neilson, 84, a mother of four and a former maternity nurse, doesn’t know any other Māori in the rest home, and few residents add their voices to hers.
“‘I do feel lonely, so I generally come in my room and I sing my songs. I put the telly on and sing the music that comes over.’ But Paro, a fluffy Canadian “seal” with large, fathomless eyes, provides a willing audience.”
Read this WikiTribune article in its entirety, click here.
“Jordan Hall (left) and Victoria Warfel hold one of the therapeutic robotic harp seals.” – Lititz Record
” … the hit of the open house were the PARO robotic harp seals. Jordan Hall, assistant director of the Lancaster facility, and Victoria Warfel RN, wellness director of the Lititz facility, explained the seals to interested guests. Warfel said that the seals are used in the memory support area. Seymour is the Lititz facility’s seal, while the Lancaster facility’s seal is named Lucy. Each robotic seal can recognize its name and residents’ voices as well as tone of voice. It and responds to being petted, cuddled and talked to and reproduces the sounds that a real harp seal makes in various situations.
“‘Harp seals were chosen because people don’t have expectations of a harp seal. If it were a cat or dog, people expect them to act in a certain way, and some people are allergic to cats and dogs or may be fearful of dogs. The harp seal can be whatever people want it to be, and it’s proven to reduce stress in patients,’ Warfel explained, adding that there are about 100 of the robotic seals in the US.”
Monday, April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day – “National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”
“Ideally, each of us would be able to make our own health care decisions throughout our lives. But in reality, many will have at least a limited period of time when we are unable to communicate our health care choices. Advance health care directives increase the likelihood our wishes are followed, when we are not in a position to voice them.
“Advance health care directives are written directions that appoint another individual to make heath care decisions when a patient is unable to effect such decisions, and frequently include patients’ specific directions on the care they want to receive. Advance directives include a power of attorney that appoints a health care agent, a living will that leaves instructions on end-of-life care, do-not resuscitate orders and values surveys that offer guidance on care decisions.
“To encourage advance health care planning, April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day. Most adults put off planning and may be confused by conflicting information and myths about advance health care planning. Let’s clear up a few common myths:
“Myth No. 1: Advance directives are only for older people.
“False. It is true older people are most likely to use advance directives, but every adult needs one. You never know when an accident or injury might leave you temporarily unable to communicate. Young adults should at a minimum name someone to make health care decisions when they can’t.
“Julie Holzhauer stands among her family’s possessions after being evicted from her home in Centennial, Colo., in 2011. – John Moore/Getty Images”
by Terry Gross
“For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute.
“‘Eviction isn’t just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of poverty,’ Desmond says. ‘Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.’”
“Medicare officials say they have delayedmailing out the new Medicare identification cards to current beneficiaries because they are stepping up their anti-fraud initiatives.
“According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), beneficiaries living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in May, not April, as originally scheduled.
“‘We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries,’ the CMS notes.
“The CMS also announced that new enrollees in Medicare will automatically get the revamped cards, regardless of where they live.”
Here are two wonderful “inclusive arts programs” coming to the Ware Center of Millersville University in downtown Lancaster.
The first is a dance performance created especially for kids – SNOW WHITE by the PENNSYLVANIA BALLET on April 21 which will include both ASL INTERPRETATION and AUDIO-DESCRIPTION. There will also be a sensory tour of the stage and props just prior to the performance and an opportunity to meet with dancers afterwards.
The second is a presentation on May 6 is PETER GROS of MUTUAL of OMAHA’s WILD KINGDOM featuring live exotic animals, although that will take place on the Millersville campus, not downtown. That show will also feature ASL INTERPRETATION and AUDIO-DESCRIPTION, but it will also be SENSORY FRIENDLY.
Both come with hands-on creative activities for kids beginning one hour before show time.
These performances are selling very well, but there are still seats available.
If you know families with financial need, email Barry Kornhauser at Barry.Kornhauser@Millersville.edu.
“At a time when only 61.3 percent of Americans are white, about 84 percent of nonprofit board members are in that demographic group, along with 90 percent of nonprofit board chairs.”
“Nonprofit boards should be more diverse than this group, but too often they’re not. dotshock/Shutterstock.com”
“You may not recognize the name Tarana Burke. She’s the black woman who founded the #MeToo movement a decade ago to support women of color who survive sexual harassment and assault.
“Although this movement has mostly directed attention to work-related abuses involving white women since it hit critical mass in 2017, it also speaks to me as a black man because of the racial discrimination I personally experienced many years ago as a nonprofit CEO.
“Today, I blame that predicament on the lack of leadership diversity on my nonprofit’s board … ”
“The once insular health care industry now finds itself facing the fallout from decades spent resisting change: an all-sides blitz orchestrated by outsiders intent on doing the changing for it. Besieged by upstarts and titans alike, even the most change-averse organizations are being forced to adapt to this threat. For leaders already laying foundations for innovation within the industry, these disruptions are providing new platforms on which to build the health care delivery models of the future.
“Hospitals have long been the exemplar of the old-school model, where bigger is better, evolution is met with suspicion, and more services — regardless of their necessity — mean more lucrative kickbacks from the regulators in charge. As hospitals cling to their shiny facades and standard procedures, the federal government props them up with inefficient regulations and misdirected incentives. Bureaucrats pay them to diagnose and treat illnesses, shelling out money every time a doctor orders a test or performs a procedure. This keeps hospitals in the sickness business — not the health care business.”