Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

Here are some common questions (and answers) about VA Healthcare eligibility – Lebanon VAMC newsletter

VA eligibility

Click here to download the complete newsletter.

“Alzheimer’s Disease: Time to Take a Closer Look” – Geriatric Nursing

“Everyone misplaces things now and then; all of us forget names, to our embarrassment. Occasionally we feel out of sorts and moody and can act out of character. For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, however, these behaviors occur much frequently; they become symptoms of a growing problem, one that can’t be fixed by a good night’s sleep or a relaxing vacation.

“Alzheimer’s disease is devastating – both to the one who is suffering with it and to their loved ones who stand by helplessly and watch. Most of us have been touched in some way by Alzheimer’s – a family member or a friend has been stricken with it – but what really is Alzheimer’s disease? Where does it come from? What can be done about it?

“Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder … ” Click here to read more at Geriatric


“Forgetfulness: Normal or Not?” – National Institute on Aging

Many people worry about becoming forgetful as they age. They think it is the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. But forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging.


Pennsylvania Launches Website to Help Seniors and People with Disabilities Find Services Near Home

Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf announced the launch of the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, which connects older Pennsylvanians and individuals with a disability or behavioral health need to services and support available in their community.

The Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website provides users with a wide variety of resources including a home care directory and an information referral tool.

“We have been working hard to help individuals with a disability and older Pennsylvanians to live where and how they choose, just as any of us would want,” Governor Wolf said. “This new website is a tremendous tool to help you or your loved one make the best and most informed decision about care and services.”

The website is a collaboration between the departments of Aging (PDA) and Human Services (DHS), and serves as an extension of PDA’s Aging and Disability Resource call center. With this online resource the commonwealth is adding to its continuing efforts to help Pennsylvanians locate and get the best use of services at the local level.

“Our capacity to link seniors and their families with community resources is critical to helping them live and age well at home,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “Today’s launch empowers older Pennsylvanians and their caregivers to proactively explore the service options that are available to them as they seek to remain independent and age in place.”

The site features 12 service and support categories, including Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation.

Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories. One major component to the site is its home care directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their county. More than 350 in-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services.

“We are committed to serving Pennsylvanians where they want to be – in their homes and communities,” said DHS Acting Secretary Teresa Miller. “This website is a great resource to connect an individual to the services they need to provide a choice in where they live.”

Following the launch of Pennsylvania Link to Community Care, the departments of Aging and Human Services will continue to enhance the website using data and feedback from users, and expand the resources and information provided throughout the site. If you are a provider licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and would like to appear on the home care directory, you may submit your information by navigating to the footer of the site and clicking on “Apply.”

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, or to find information on resources available in your county, visit

“The Necessity of Exercise: Physical Activity and Aging” – University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

As the aging population keeps increasing, more and more older people are recognizing a growing need for exercise in their lives. Maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial for sustaining health and happiness. Exercise can help older adults achieve a higher quality of life, and it can help them live longer as well.


Read more here.

The Great American Smokeout – Thursday – You can do this!


Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

“About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no ‘safe’ way to smoke tobacco.

“Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.” –

“Almost 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a U.S. national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will quit successfully. Some people also try complementary health approaches to help them kick the smoking habit. In one survey of people who visited a tobacco cessation clinic, two-thirds said that they were interested in trying complementary approaches.” – Learn more about QUITTING NOW here.

“How To Plan A Relaxed Family Conversation About Death” – The Wisdom Daily

Last night there was a Death Cafe at Tellus 360; topics like this came up, because what’s written in this article is a kind of “family death cafe.”

“As the youngest in my family, it’s a reasonable assumption that I’ll be the last one to go. The final go. Yes, I’m talking about death.

“It’s not something anyone in my family ever really discussed. We talk about issues: faith, relationships, dreams and goals, worries and fears. But the biggest fear of all — our own mortality — never seemed to come up.

Talk by breakfast

“That started changing when my parents turned 60. They suddenly began dropping ‘when we’re gone’ into conversations. They asked my sister and I about items we’d like bequeathed to us. It felt weird. I wanted to say, ‘I don’t care about your stuff, Mom; I care about you.’ But I shied away from delving into an unwieldy, uncomfortable topic.

“At first. As I thought about it more, I realized this is a big deal. Our existence is because there is a period at the end of it. Those two bookends of birth and death define our life on earth. We hate talking about death, but it matters — a lot.

Continue reading this article in its entirety at The Wisdom Daily Website.

“What are the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options, for individuals with COPD?” – All Hands Home Care

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – “an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases”

Examples of progressive lung diseases:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Refractory (non-reversible) asthma


Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased shortness of breath when completing daily activities
  • Chronic coughing
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
  • Producing a lot of mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Frequent respiratory infections


Risk Factors/Causes

  • Most cases are caused by inhaling pollutants (smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke)
  • Fumes, dust, and chemicals in work environments can be contributing factors
  • Genetics can be a factor, even if the individuals has never smoked or been exposed to lung irritants


Diagnosis – A breathing test called Spinometry can diagnose an individual with COPD.

A Spinometry measures how well the lungs are working and how severe the individual’s COPD is.

smoking 3

Who should get tested?

Anyone who is showing signs of any of theses symptoms are at risk for developing COPD and should get tested:

  • A history of smoking
  • Has had a long-term exposure to air pollutants
  • Chronic cough with/without sputum
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath that is getting worse over time

Leaving symptoms un-managed can lead them to worsen faster than with appropriate medicine and therapy. Many adults are misdiagnosed with asthma, so an  accurate diagnosis is imperative for treatment and monitoring.



  • Medication
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
    • This type of therapy combines education, exercise, nutrition, and counseling.
  • Supplemental Oxygen (Oxygn Therapy)
    • This therapy is used if breathing becomes so restricted that the body needs more oxygen.
  • Surgery
    • Some individuals have COPD so severe that breathing is difficult all of the time. In this case, doctors might suggest surgery to improve breathing.
  • Palliative Care
    • This will help in improving quality of life.

smoking 4

Managing COPD

COPD can be managed by protecting the lungs, incorporating the right type of exercises to stay physically active, and changing nutrition which can improve breathing.

Click HERE to learn more about COPD


“ANALYSIS: More than Half of Uninsured People Eligible for Marketplace Insurace Could Pay Less for Health Plan than Individual Mandate Penalty” – Kaiser Family Foundation

About 4 in 10 Could Obtain Bronze Plan at No Cost

“A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that more than half (54% or 5.9 million) of the 10.7 million people who are uninsured and eligible to purchase an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan in 2018 could pay less in premiums for health insurance than they would owe as an individual mandate tax penalty for lacking coverage.

aca sign up

“Within that 5.8 million, about 4.5 million (42% of the total) could obtain a bronze-level plan at no cost in 2018, after taking income-related premium tax credits into account, the analysis finds.

“Most people without insurance who are eligible to buy marketplace coverage qualify for subsidies in the form of tax credits to help pay premiums for marketplace plans (8.3 million out of 10.7 million). Among those eligible for premium subsidies, the analysis finds that 70 percent could pay less in premiums than what they’d owe as a tax penalty for lacking coverage, with 54 percent able to purchase a bronze plan at no cost and 16 percent contributing less to their health insurance premium than the tax penalty they owe.

“Among the 2.4 million uninsured, marketplace-eligible people who do not qualify for a premium subsidy, 2 percent would be able to pay less for marketplace insurance than they’d owe for their 2018 penalty, the analysis finds.

“The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requires that most people have health coverage or be subject to a tax penalty unless they qualify for certain exemptions. The individual mandate is still in effect, though Congress may consider repealing it as part of tax legislation.

“Consumers can compare their estimated 2018 individual mandate penalty with the cost of marketplace insurance in their area with KFF’s new Individual Mandate Penalty Calculator.

“The deadline for ACA open enrollment in most states is Dec. 15, 2017.”

Pennsylvania Postpones Phase 2 and Phase 3 Rollout of Community HealthChoices.

“Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne sent a message to stakeholders updating the Community HealthChoices (CHC) implementation timeline.

“CHC is the commonwealth’s new managed long-term services and supports program for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities and is being implemented in three phases. For Phase 1, notices have been mailed to participants in the 14 counties in the Southwest Zone to inform them that they will move to CHC on January 1, 2018. Phase 1 is expected to include approximately 80,000 people.

“The deadline for Phase 1 participants to select an MCO is November 13th; currently around 25 percent of eligible members have already made a plan choice. Secretaries Miller and Osborne say they are “confident” in the Phase 1 rollout, but would prefer more time to adjust based on lessons learned for Phases 2 and 3. The commonwealth has decided to shift the implementation dates for the next two phases of CHC. The new start dates are as follows: Phase 2 will now begin on January 1, 2019, instead of July 1, 2018; Phase 3 will now begin on January 1, 2020, instead of January 1, 2019.”

SOURCE: HMA Weekly Roundup

According to this news release from the Hospital Health System of Pennsylvania, Two days ago “the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that it is delaying the start dates for Phases 2 and 3 of Community HealthChoices (CHC), Pennsylvania’s new Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program.

“DHS says it wants to learn from the Phase 1 rollout and allow time to make any necessary adjustments before implementing further phases.

“Phase 1 is scheduled to begin in 14 counties in the Southwest Zone on January 1, 2018. Notices have been sent to about 80,000 people and an independent enrollment broker is helping them to choose one of three statewide managed care organizations (AmeriHealth Caritas, PA Health & Wellness (Centene) or UPMC Community Health Choices) for their MLTSS needs. If no selection is made by November 13, 2017, people will be automatically enrolled in one of the three plans for this coverage. They may then elect to change plans.

“The new start dates for the other phases are:

  • Phase 2––January 1, 2019, instead of July 1, 2018
  • Phase 3––January 1, 2020, instead of January 1, 2019

“CHC is designed to help older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities remain in their homes instead of going to facilities for care. CHC will provide coverage for people who are 21 or older and have both Medicare and Medicaid, or receive long-term supports through Medicaid––help with bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and administering medications. When CHC is fully implemented in 2020, about 420,000 Pennsylvanians will be enrolled.”