Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

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

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.

“New culture war: The meaning of white privilege” – Axios

white privilegeIllustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

by Erica Pandey

“‘White privilege’ has become a common phrase in Americans’ conversations about race — and that’s unsettling many white Americans because they think it undervalues their struggles or questions the legitimacy of their successes.

“Why it matters: The term is a new weapon — and fault line — in American culture and politics. It’s one of a growing list of phrases different sides view very differently.

“The big picture: The dynamics of “white privilege” were first popularized by Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh in a 1988 paper, but interest in the term has recently exploded. Google searches for white privilege have been steadily rising for about a decade — and they’re surging right now.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Axios.


“The secret opioid memo that could have slowed an epidemic” – The New York Times

opioid report

Producer/Director John Pappas

“A confidential government document containing evidence so critical it had the potential to change the course of an American tragedy was kept in the dark for more than a decade. The document, known as a ‘prosecution memo,’ details how government lawyers believed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the powerful opioid, OxyContin, knew early on that the drug was fueling a rise in abuse and addiction. They also gathered evidence indicating that the company’s executives had misled the public and Congress.

“”The Weekly’ shines a light on that 2006 Justice Department memo and its consequences for today’s wave of lawsuits against opioid makers and members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma.” – Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

“What if calling a suicide hotline were as easy as dialing 911?”


“Federal officials want to change the 10-digit number people now dial when they are having suicidal thoughts to 988, modeled on 911 for emergencies and 311 for city services. It would replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s current number, 800-273-TALK (8255), which routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers. Those centers fielded 2.2 million calls last year, a number that’s expected to rise with climbing suicide rates and the shorter phone number. Already strapped, those centers would need an extra $50 million, the FCC recommended in a new report. The new number and funding request follow a law passed last year to assign a three-digit number. ‘988 makes it much easier to remember,’ said Dr. Lynn Bufka of the American Psychological Association told the Associated Press.”

SOURCE: STAT: Morning Rounds


“What Different-Looking People Would Like You to Know Before You Stare” – The New York Times

different peopleGraham Roumieu

by David Pogue

“A little boy sees a bald man in the store. ‘Mommy, look! That man has no hair!’ he says.

“His mother grabs his arm and whispers urgently: ‘Be quiet! He might hear you!’

“The boy looks at his mother, puzzled. ‘Doesn’t he know?’

There’s a lot going on in that old joke — about children and novelty, about unusual looks, about parenting and tact.

“At the end of the previous ‘Crowdwise,’ I invited people who describe themselves as looking different — people who are very large or small, who are visibly disabled, who have distinctive features — to share their thoughts with the public. How should strangers react? Look away? Smile? Is it O.K. to ask questions?”

Read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.

body image

Here’s another article related to the differences and embracing them: “Body Image: Don’t Believe Everything You Think.” 



A link? “Gum infection linked to Alzheimer’s disease, new study suggests” – USA Today

linkedCould Alzheimer’s disease be caused by a gum infection?

by Ashley May

“Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by a gum infection, according to a new study.

“The study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, suggests the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis that destroys gum tissue in the mouth is linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“Researchers observed the bacteria in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. They also conducted tests on mice that showed the gum infection led to an increased production of amyloid beta, a part of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” Click here to continue reading this article at USA Today.

Another article from 2018, “How Gum Disease Could Lead to the Development of Alzheimer’s,” suggests the same conclusion.