Monthly Archives: August, 2019

housing crisis | two articles about the difficulty of finding housing in America

housing crisis

It is not only happening here in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. It is a nationwide challenge. Here are two articles from opposite ends of the nation, that focus on just two aspects of adequate, safe, affordable, dry and warm housing.

Seniors facing eviction fear homelessness and isolation as California’s housing crisis rolls on


Soul-crushing. Demoralizing. My tortured odyssey to find an apartment in Boston

 

 

 

“Opioid / scam awareness” FREE Link training affords exceptional opportunity for everyone

Berks Lancaster lebanon

“The face of the nation’s opioid epidemic increasingly is gray and wrinkled. But that face often is overlooked in a crisis that frequently focuses on the young.”

And this is the singular reason the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area asked Special Agent Alan McGill to come to our counties for the above presentations in each county.

McGill is a Special Agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and those who attended the presentations in Lebanon and Lancaster all agreed: THIS WAS AN EXCEPTIONALLY WELL DONE SESSION THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. (The Berks County presentation is today at the McGlinn Conference Center in Reading.)

Following the “Opioids & Dangerous Drugs” presentation, Jerry Mitchell, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office education & outreach | scam awareness subject matter expert facilitated a dynamic brief mini-presentation about scams and fraud.

“The heroin and opioid epidemic is the number one public health and public safety challenge facing Pennsylvania.  In 2016, 4,642 Pennsylvanians died from overdoses – a 37 percent increase from the year before. An average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from overdose, and based on available data from 2017 the death toll will only continue to rise.

“Opioids come in many different forms with many different names, including OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine and Heroin

“Health effects of prolonged opioid use:

  • Depression
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Hepatitis C (through shared needles)
  • HIV/AIDS (through shared needles)
  • Brain damage
  • Death (by overdose)

“Opioids are often stolen from someone with a legitimate prescription. Seventy percent of people that illegally use prescription drugs admit getting them from family and friends. The number one source of drugs for teenagers is home medicine cabinets.

“Opioids can also be obtained when a person is legally prescribed a drug and then abuses it, prescriptions are forged and altered, or the medications are purchased from a dealer illegally selling prescription drugs.” – SOURCE: Office of the Attorney General Website

There is so much evidence that opioid and other substances are being sought and used by older persons. “Older adults are among the groups affected by this problem because Continue reading →

“The Pay Gap is an Aging Issue” – NCOA

pay-gap-blog-header

by Lauren Popham, PhD

“We weren’t surprised when more than half of women responding to a survey we conducted with Ipsos said they are worried about outliving their savings. Income is tied to lots of aspects of aging, but the way that plays out once you turn 60 is very different for men and women. One major reason: the gender pay gap.

“A lifelong problem

“Women are more likely to experience financial insecurity than men, and this discrepancy becomes even more pronounced later in life. Making less than their male coworkers means women have less money saved when they retired, and will draw less money from Social Security once they’re eligible. We’re left with sobering statistics like this from the Health and Retirement Study: half of women age 60 or older have household incomes below $39,600, yet the median income for men in the same age range is $55,000.

“Despite entering retirement age at a disadvantage, women tend to live longer and face more out-of-pocket costs for things like medication each year.”

Read this article in its entirety at National Council on Aging blog.

“Opinion: It’s Your Right To See Your Medical Records. It Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Do” – NPR

medical-recordsAmericans have the right to access their medical records, but actually doing so is often complicated, slow and costly. – Sean Justice/Getty Images”

by Harlan Krumholz

“At a time when many insurers and health information technology companies are busily assembling databases of hundreds of millions of medical records, Americans find it difficult to get access to their own.

“If you try to get yours, be prepared for confusing policies, ill-informed staff, wasted time and high costs. Even then, you may not get the records you seek. And all of this is at odds with your federal rights.

“Last week a relative of mine relayed a typical story. She requested her medical records in digital format, a right endorsed in federal statutes. Now, two months later, she is still struggling to get them. The hospital had contracted with a third party, and evidently this company transacts only through snail mail.”

Read this opinion column in its entirety at National Public Radio, click here.

“Affordable Housing Push Challenges Single-Family Zoning” – Stateline

new housing models“Phil Chang added an apartment over the garage in his alley after the city of Bend, Oregon, made it easier to build what are known as accessory dwelling units. Two of the homes next door also have ADUs that can be entered from the alley.” – Erika Bolstad / The Pew Charitable Trusts 

by Erika Bolstad

“It was, the Bend City Council reasoned, one way to make room for affordable housing in a city that saw its population double over two decades and is projected to add 30,000 residents by 2030. Bend and other Oregon cities have difficult-to-expand urban growth boundaries that limit new sprawl. That means new development must be a creative mix of habitat, especially if Bend wants to be affordable for everyone.

“‘What was done in Bend has now become a model,’ Bend Mayor Sally Russell said. ‘We started it, we tested it.’

“The new state zoning law also addresses a structural mismatch in available housing, particularly in cities like Portland, said Mary Kyle McCurdy, deputy director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a conservation group that got its start advocating to restrict sprawl in the 1970s.

“In Portland, two-thirds of households consist of one or two people, McCurdy said, yet most of the available homes are detached single-family housing. An estimated 90% of residential areas are zoned for single-family, detached homes.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Stateline.

 

 

Increasingly popular | “Deathwives, Death Cafes And Death Doulas. Learning To Live By Talking About Death. – Forbes Magazine

“Whatever the reason, a reluctance to face or even talk about dying is largely an American phenomenon.”

eat cake and talk about death

by Robin Seaton Jefferson

“‘To die will be an awfully big adventure.’ Even Peter Pan, the mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up but rather spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the island of Neverland, attempted to see death in a positive light.

“But things were different in 1902 when Peter Pan first appeared in the book ‘The Little White Bird.’ We saw death differently then and treated it more as a part of life. Is it because we believe we’re more likely to avoid it for longer in the 21st century that we seem to shy away from talking about it? Or is it because we have removed ourselves so far from the reality of physically dealing with the dead.

“Whatever the reason, a reluctance to face or even talk about dying is largely an American phenomenon. And though there are many and varied ways for families and friends to honor their dead, we don’t seem to want to talk about it until it’s too late. And then we pay others to handle most of it.”

Continue reading this article at Forbes.com.


THREE DEATH CAFES ARE SCHEDULED FOR Lancaster County in the next few weeks. RSVP for one that fits your schedule; find out why Death Cafes have become so popular. All Death Cafes are FREE to attend, but you must RSVP.

COLUMBIA, Monday, August 26 – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Nissley Vineyards, Sunday, September 15 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm 

Lancaster County’s first Latino Death Cafe, (conversations in English and Spanish), Thursday, September 19 – 5:30 to 7:00 pm 

“‘Disconnected from other folks,’ seniors grapple with a loneliness epidemic” – The Boston Globe

lonely seniorsSarah Cammarata, 100, has become a regular at bingo at the Callahan Center in Framingham. Social interaction helps combat depression, senior advocates say. (PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF)”

by Robert Weisman

WOBURN — Scanning recent police reports from the Massachusetts communities under her jurisdiction, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was alarmed to spot what she called a “tragic spike” in suicides.

“Fifty-two county residents had taken their lives in the first half of this year, a toll up almost two-thirds from last year. She knew that plenty of young people battle anxiety but was surprised to learn the residents’ average age was 46. A quarter were over 60.

“’The numbers are dramatically higher than we’ve seen in the past,’ Ryan said. Although it’s impossible to pinpoint one cause, ‘loneliness is definitely a factor,’ she said. ‘Many older people are feeling disconnected from other folks in their communities.’”

Read this Boston Globe article in its entirety here.

 

“Why women veterans are more likely than civilian women to commit suicide” – Military Times

women veterans“The Women in Military Service to America Memorial, the only national museum honoring military women, celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 20, 2012. (Veterans Affairs)”

by Kate Henricks Thomas and Kyleanne Hunter

After four years on active duty, Amy left the Army and moved back to her hometown.

“However, she struggled to find her tribe. At work, she was told her handshake was a bit too firm and lectured about how her direct communication style made her coworkers uncomfortable. At her local VFW bar, the men stopped talking to stare at her, and her attempts to connect were met with awkward silences. A few other attempts to connect with the veteran communities she saw advertised at the VA and Facebook left her feeling similarly displaced.

“‘In both civilian settings and veteran settings, I was “weird,”’ she recalls.

She explored some of the newer veteran service organizations (VSOs), but most failed to include child care or weren’t kid-friendly. Amy was a single parent, so she mentally crossed those options off her list too. She stayed lonely, and slowly sank into a deep depression.

“The very word ‘veteran’ calls to mind the image of a man — particularly a male combat veteran.”

Continue reading this article at Military Times, click here.

a flood of scam callers claim to be from Social Security

ss scam callers

The screen shot reflects some of the calls we received on the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources mobile phone yesterday afternoon. Note that the 800.804.8167 and the 210.405.6186 callers are repetitive ones. Both the numbers are scam callers purporting to be from “Social Security.”

In both cases, we let the calls go to voice mail, here’s what the messages sound like.

Remember, if you “you get a call from an unknown number. You answer only to find yourself on the receiving end of a threatening message saying your Social Security benefits will stop immediately unless you provide your personal information. It happens every day to thousands of Americans.  And it’s not Social Security calling.”

The Federal Trade Commission reminds everyone, “This is what a Social Security scam sounds like.”

Link Webinar | Wednesday, September 11 – “Eligibility for Payment of Long-Term Care and Home and Community-Based Services”

Link Webinar

The next PA Link Webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. This webinar is entitled: “Eligibility for Payment of Long-Term Care and Home and Community-Based Services”. The presentation will outline Long-Term Care eligibility requirements with a focus on financial eligibility; the application process; fair consideration and spousal impoverishment criteria; and common reasons why an individual is determined ineligible the first time they apply as well as the actions needed to become eligible.

Our presenter will be Marcia Mikos. Marcia is the Welfare Program Executive for the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Income Maintenance. She has been working for DHS for 15 years, with 14 years of Long-Term Care experience.

Register here.