Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

“Just a chat: Calls offered for older adults staying home” – Associated Press

calling seniors“Dell Kaplan, 81, talks on her phone if front of her home in Plano, Texas Friday, May 15, 2020. For Kaplan, the offer to get calls from a stranger just to chat while staying home during the coronavirus pandemic was immediately appealing. “It gets pretty lonely here by yourself,” said Kaplan, a suburban Dallas resident who has been missing meals out with friends, family get-togethers and going to classes at a nearby college. The program being offered by the city of Plano is among those that have popped up across the U.S. during the pandemic to help older adults with a simple offer to engage in small talk.” (AP Photo/LM Otero)

by Janie Stengle

“DALLAS (AP) — For 81-year-old Dell Kaplan, the offer to get calls from a stranger just to chat while staying home during the coronavirus pandemic was immediately appealing.

“’It gets pretty lonely here by yourself,’ said Kaplan, a suburban Dallas resident who has been missing meals out with friends, family get-togethers and going to classes at a nearby college.

“The program being offered by the city of Plano is among those that have popped up across the U.S. during the pandemic to help older adults with a simple offer to engage in small talk.

“‘It’s really just to give them a social outlet that they might not have otherwise,’ said Holly Ryckman, a library support supervisor who is among about 15 staffers from several city departments in Plano who together have been making about 50 calls a week starting in April.

“Brent Bloechle, a library manager who helped organize the program, said the city plans to keep it up through at least mid-summer, and maybe permanently.”

Read this AP article in its entirety; click here.


“Virtual Connections” is “The hub for teams, individuals, senior living residents and families to access free activity and entertainment resources.”

Juniper Communities, operates senior living communities in New Jersey, Colorado and Pennsylvania — there are Juniper Village facilities in Lancaster County and in Lebanon County. Fortunately, both are Link to Aging and Disability Resources partners.

juniper villages

virtual connections

After group activities in their facilities were canceled, Juniper Communities launched a centralized website for seniors to find digital resources curated from across the internet. Check out the Virtual Connections platform: 

Virtual Connections is “The hub for teams, individuals, senior living residents and families to access free activity and entertainment resources. As individuals and communities practice ‘stay at home’ and no-visitor access as a response to COVID-19, the leaders at Juniper Communities and LTC REIT have gathered these resources for all to enjoy!”

“More than 1 in 5 Americans are taking care of their elderly, ill and disabled relatives and friends” – The Conversation

caregiver“Caring for loved ones is harder during the coronavirus pandemic.” –  Maskot/Getty Images

by Erin E. Kent

“I’m studying how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing caregiving.

“Immunocompromised people, seniors with dementia and anyone with a chronic disease are more likely to experience the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Caregivers face new worries due to the coronavirus, including whether they can they still assist their vulnerable relatives and friends and what they should do if they themselves or someone they live with gets sick.

“This quandary affects about 21.3% of Americans. The total number of Americans doing this unpaid work has reached an estimated 53 million in 2019, according to the latest data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving, an advocacy and research organization, and AARP. That number, which excludes people caring for children without disabilities, is up from 43.5 million, the previous estimate made in 2015.

“Caregivers support their loved ones and friends by voluntarily performing an array of duties. They help with activities of daily living, such as eating and getting dressed, along with a range of medical needs. They change bandages, make sure the person they’re caring for is taking their drugs and monitor symptoms.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Conversation.


“CDC offers brief checklists to guide businesses, schools and others on reopening” – The Washington Post

cdc fact sheet

by Lenny Bernstein, William Wan, Josh Dawsey and Holly Bailey

“With hundreds of millions of people still seeking advice on resuming their lives safely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a scant six pages of recommendations Thursday to guide schools, businesses, day-care facilities and others into the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The six checklists — which also address restaurants, mass transit and camps — come days, and in some cases weeks, after many states have begun to lift restrictions on their own. The advice is less detailed than draft recommendations the agency sent to the White House for review last month.

“The nation is still awaiting that detailed technical guidance, which the White House has held up and not shared publicly. The delay has left the responsibility for decision-making about reopening to states and localities. It has also left many health experts clamoring for greater transparency.” Continue reading this Washington Post report here.

cdc minimize

The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area 13 meetings will be videoconferenced via Zoom for all of 2020.


“Zoom fatigue is something the deaf community knows very well” – Quarz

zoom fatigue

by Patrick deHahn

“Zoom meetings. FaceTime calls. Birthday parties, coffee chats, game nights, and happy hours over video chat.

“As work and life events go remote, people are increasingly sharing the feeling of ‘Zoom fatigue.’ Little do they know they’re experiencing a sliver of what the deaf and hard of hearing undergo every day.

“It’s called ‘concentration fatigue,’ a concept audiologists and researchers have expanded on.

“’It’s not necessarily persistent fatigue but surely a measurable increase in listening effort,’ Mario Svirsky, professor of hearing science at NYU Langone Health medical center, told Quartz. ‘A little noise in the background can bring you over a tipping point where communication becomes much more difficult and you have to do a lot of work. You may participate in a meeting focusing on everything for the full two hours and, at the end, you are wiped out.’”

Read this article in its entirety at Quartz.

“Persevering in the Pandemic” and “My Father’s Frugal Habits” – articles from next avenue

pandemic items

next avenue has two articles that are somewhat related to the current pandemic experience; we think you’ll like reading both.

“From Our Readers: Persevering in the Pandemic | What you told us you’ve learned and how you’re finding your way forward”

“We asked our readers on Facebook to tell us what you’ve learned due to the pandemic, why that’s been meaningful and how you’re finding your own way forward. Some of you sent photos. Others inspired us with the wise, poignant and sometimes funny things you said:

“My Father’s Frugal Habits Make Sense Now | As a child, she didn’t get her dad’s thriftiness. Why she does now.”

“Growing Up Alongside a Sibling With a Disability” – The New York Times

“When children help with the education of a brother or sister with special needs, the outcomes are often good for both.”

siblingsMar Hernández


Not long after my mother learned that my brother, David, was autistic, she began what she called ‘little school’: sessions in which she taught him to draw faces, cut with scissors, read and cook. He was 4, I was 2. I recently asked her how she balanced David’s needs with mine. ‘You were the teacher’s assistant,’ she said. ‘I was trying to make you feel important.’

“It was the 1970s, and researchers considered siblings of children with disabilities as a sort of disadvantaged population. Since then, a body of research suggests that when children help with the education of a brother or sister with a disability, the outcomes are often good for both — and my mom was way ahead of the curve. She believed she could help David and lift me up, too. There wasn’t a lot of guidance at the time, so Mom hired an education specialist and talked to David’s teachers and school psychologist.

“More recently, researchers have viewed families with special-needs children through a more positive, less stigmatizing lens, said Meghan Burke, Ph.D., an associate professor of special education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at The New York Times, click here.



“How do you maintain dignity for the dead in a pandemic? – The New York Times Magazine

Overwhelmed by bodies, funeral homes are struggling to fulfill their mission to grieving families.”

death dignityA chapel at Farenga Brothers Funeral Home in the Bronx that has been used to store bodies during the pandemic. Credit … Philip Montgomery for The New York Times)

Photographs by Text by 

Nick Farenga stood amid the body bags in a refrigerated 18-wheel trailer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. “This is him,” a hospital worker said, pointing to a white body bag among the roughly 40 others lying on wooden platforms that resembled hastily constructed bunk beds. As a funeral director in the Bronx, Farenga has spent two months on the front lines of Covid-19, picking up dozens of bodies. Yet somehow, until that day in late April, he had escaped the pain of retrieving the body of someone he loved. Philip Foglia was Farenga’s former Little League coach. He and his brother, Sal, played baseball with Foglia’s sons; the families lived just blocks apart; their fathers were longtime friends.

In the trailer, Farenga squatted down next to a lower platform. With his gloved hand, he pulled the double zippers down the body bag to Foglia’s waist where his hands were folded. Farenga checked his hospital ID wristband before pulling the zippers up.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

spanish flu memorialCredit … Caleb Kenna for The New York Times)

Related article: “Why Are There Almost No Memorials to the Flu of 1918?”

Department of Health Distributes Drug to Help Treat COVID-19 Patients in Hospitals

File:Pennsylvania Department of Health Logo.svg - Wikipedia

The Department of Health today distributed the investigational antiviral medication, remdesivir, to treat patients in the hospital with COVID-19. The federal government distributed the first shipment of 1,200 doses to the department on Tuesday, May 12, and this entire allotment has been shipped to Pennsylvania hospitals.

“The department is working to give our hospitals every opportunity to treat patients with COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment.”

Fifty-one hospitalsOpens In A New Window across Pennsylvania will be receiving the first shipment over the next few days. The hospitals that will receive the first shipments were determinedOpens In A New Window based on the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital over a recent seven-day period, and the severity of the illness of those patients, based on whether they are on a ventilator. The department will continue to work with our federal partners to acquire more doses of this medication to serve more patients across Pennsylvania.

Remdesivir is given to a patient through an IV once per day for up to 10 days, depending on how critically ill the patient is. According to the FDA, remdesivir may help decrease the amount of coronavirus in your body, which may help you get better faster.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Repeating shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

As of 12:00 a.m., May 12, there were 57,991 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 3,806 confirmed deaths. Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 and older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available hereOpens In A New Window.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at In A New Window.

SOURCE: news release

ASHA Marks Better Hearing & Speech Month by Providing Public With Information to Foster Communication, Manage Disorders Despite COVID-19 Barriers

better hearing month

As millions of Americans with communication disorders shelter at home, many are facing disruptions to treatment or highly modified therapy services. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) will use this year’s Better Hearing & Speech Month (May) observance to provide resources to help the public manage their conditions at this unprecedented time.

With “Communication at Work” the ASHA-designated theme for the month, the 2020 awareness campaign will inform the public of ways they can enhance everyday communication at and from home. It will also address some unique challenges associated with speech, language, swallowing, and hearing disorders in the current environment. Throughout the month, ASHA will distribute resources for more than a dozen focus areas.

“Our goal is to champion every person’s ability to communicate, including at this difficult time,” ASHA President Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP, said. “Although circumstances are quite unprecedented for this year’s Better Hearing & Speech Month, the expertise and dedication of ASHA members are constant. The countless, innovative ways audiologists and speech-language pathologists have transformed their work during the pandemic—striving to help their patients, clients, and students to the fullest extent possible—testify to their unwavering commitment to ASHA’s vision of making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.”

ASHA’s May outreach will cover a variety of topics, including the following:

  • Early Intervention and COVID-19: Advice for Parents of Children Whose Services Are Interrupted
  • Building Preschoolers’ Speech and Language Skills at Home
  • School Services, Interrupted: What Parents of Students Receiving Speech and Language Treatment in Schools Should Know During Closures
  • Helping Children With Language Disorders Maintain Social Connection While at Home
  • Zoom Meetings and Stuttering: Tips to Make Virtual Interactions More Successful
  • Caring for Your Child’s Hearing Health at Home
  • Hearing Loss in Adults: Strategies at Home
  • Hearing Loss and Remote Work: Effective Communication During Virtual Meetings
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication and COVID-19: Enabling Communication for Acute Care Patients

For more information and to view available resources, visit