Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

Social Security Administration imposters top IRS in consumer loss reports

hang up

Have you gotten calls about supposed problems with your Social Security number from callers pretending they’re with the Social Security Administration (SSA)? If so, you’re not alone. Our latest Data Spotlight finds that reports about SSA imposters are surging, while reports about IRS imposters have taken a dive.

As the Spotlight puts it, “In the shady world of government imposters, the SSA scam may be the new IRS scam.” While reports of SSA imposters have swelled – nearly half of the reports we’ve gotten in the last year have come in the past two months alone – reports of IRS scammers have plunged. What’s more, people told us they lost $19 million to SSA imposters in the past year. That overtakes the $17 million reported lost to IRS imposters in 2016, the peak year of the IRS scam.

How can you spot SSA imposters? They often use robocalls to reach you, then launch into a story aimed at tricking you into giving them your money, your Social Security number (SSN), or both. They may say your SSN has been suspended and you need to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Or, they may say your SSN has been involved in a crime and your bank account is about to be seized or frozen, but you can protect your money if you put it on a gift card and give them the code. Never do that – your money will disappear.

If you get one of these calls, remember – the real SSA will nevercontact you out of the blue or tell you to put money on a gift card or, for that matter, visit a Bitcoin ATM, or wire money. If your caller ID shows a number that looks like it belongs to the SSA, don’t trust the number – scammers fake their caller ID all the time. If you’re worried, hang up and call the SSA yourself at 1-800-772-1213.

Check out the Data Spotlight for more information. If you think a scammer has your Social Security number, visit learn what you can do.

SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission new release

“Lethal Plans: When Seniors Turn To Suicide In Long-Term Care” – Health News Florida

(Darren Hauck for KHN)“‘It’s sad he was feeling in such a desperate place in the end,’ says Lorie Juno of her father, Larry Anders.”DARREN HAUCK KAISER HEALTH NEWS

by Melissa Bailey and Jonel Aleccia – KAISER HEALTH NEWS

“When Larry Anders moved into the Bay at Burlington nursing home in late 2017, he wasn’t supposed to be there long. At 77, the stoic Wisconsin machinist had just endured the death of his wife of 51 years and a grim new diagnosis: throat cancer, stage 4.

“His son and daughter expected him to stay two weeks, tops, before going home to begin chemotherapy. From the start, they were alarmed by the lack of care at the center, where, they said, staff seemed indifferent, if not incompetent — failing to check on him promptly, handing pills to a man who couldn’t swallow.

“Anders never mentioned suicide to his children, who camped out day and night by his bedside to monitor his care.

“But two days after Christmas, alone in his nursing home room, Anders killed himself. He didn’t leave a note.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Health News Florida.

“Medical comics help patients better understand procedures, associated risks” – STAT: Morning Rounds


“A new study suggests that delivering information about medical procedures and risk — which can often overwhelm patients — in the form of a graphic novel can help improve comprehension about standard medical disclosures. Patients who were about to undergo a cardiac catheterization received informed consent information either through the usual forms or through a graphic novel. Those who received the book scored, on average, two points higher on a 13-point test of details about the procedure. Although the two groups exhibited the same level of pre-procedure anxiety, those who received the graphic novel reported feeling well prepared for the procedure more than those who received the standard forms.”

Long-Awaited Assistive Technology Funding Guide for People with Disabilities and Older Pennsylvanians is Published

Local organization helps Pennsylvanians navigate complicated process of paying for assistive technology devices and services in a free, user-friendly guide”


KING OF PRUSSIA, PA—Today, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is bringing clarity to the complex process of funding assistive technology (AT) by publishing an easy-to-read guide, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania (, the first of its kind to be compiled for people with disabilities and seniors in Pennsylvania.

“At PATF, we define assistive technology as any device that helps a person with a disability achieve a more independent and productive life. Examples include a ramp into a home, smart home technology, and hearing aids,” explains Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of PATF. “These devices are critical for many people with disabilities to go to work, live in their own homes, and actively participate in the community.”

The conversation around assistive technology is often centered on new advancements and innovative applications, while consideration for how to pay for this technology remains an afterthought. In fact, one of the leading obstacles for many people in obtaining assistive technology is finding the money to pay for it. And, there are many circumstances to take into account when developing a funding solution. A person’s diagnosis, age, whether or not they are a student, where they live, whether or not they work, their financial situation, and their wants and needs all factor into determining what funding options are available.

The friendly tone of Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania, leads readers through the decision of choosing an appropriate assistive technology device and/or service to developing a funding strategy with simple instructions and sound advice. The Guide suggests: “Look at your objective first and work backwards from there: ‘What am I trying to do?’ and then, ‘What technology or device would best support me in reaching this goal?’ It’s easy to be wooed by fancy marketing and flashy technology, but by focusing attention on the task you are trying to accomplish—the functional skill—you are more likely to find the device that most closely fits your wants and needs.”

Topics covered include:

  • What Is Assistive Technology?
  • Choosing My Assistive Technology
  • Developing a Successful Funding Strategy
  • Accessing Assistive Technology Through Home and Community-Based Waiver Programs (including Community HealthChoices)
  • A Funding Resource List
  • Saving for Assistive Technology: ABLE vs Special Needs Trusts

“This comprehensive guide is an easy-to-use resource for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, seniors, their families, service providers, and legislators. It empowers Pennsylvanians with the knowledge to gain access to devices and services that make independence and autonomy possible,” says Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA and incoming Board President at PATF.

Funding Your Assistive Technology was made possible through a generous grant by The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation of Harrisburg, PA and can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF at:


“Preparing for a Good End of Life” – The Wall Street Journal

Several weeks ago, a Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner (Thank you Link partner, you know who you are!) gave us this page from the February 9/10 Weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a link to the Wall Street Journal article, but you’ll have to sign in or subscribe to read it in full.

We’ve reproduced it below; admittedly it’s a scan and hard to read. Here’s another link to an article about the article at the John A. Hartman Foundation.

Click here to open a .pdf file of a home-made scan of part of the article that may (largely) be readable because you can enlarge it.

preparing for a good end of life

“Zapping brain with precise electrical current boosts working memory in older adults, study finds” – STATnews

zappingA participant taking a memory test as part of a study testing the use of alternating current to improve working memory in older people. Younger adults were used as controls.” – BOSTON UNIVERSITY

by Sharon Begley

Shooting electrical current into the brain for just 25 minutes reversed the decline in working memory that comes with aging, scientists reported on Monday. Although the researchers tested the effects on people for only 50 minutes, the finding offers hope for boosting a mental function that is so crucial for reasoning, everyday problem-solving, and planning that it has been called the foundation of intelligence.

“By stimulating the brain in precise regions with alternating current (AC), ‘we can bring back the superior working memory function you had when you were much younger,’ psychology researcher Robert Reinhart of Boston University told reporters. ‘The negative age-related changes [in working memory] are not unchangeable.’

“For alternating current, delivered by electrodes embedded in a skull cap, to become a treatment for working memory deficits, however, it would have to overcome a long list of hurdles, starting with proof that it’s safe.”

Keep reading this article at STAT news, click here.

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16 | it’s about the importance of advance care planning … for everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2019 – It’s the day after TAX day.

national health care decision day

“National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.”

“Across the country, every healthcare facility will participate as the flagship venues for the public engagement. Other participating organizations/facilities that have their own physical spaces will engage in activities as well. Those organizations that lack physical spaces will work in conjunction with others or at non-healthcare venues (libraries, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.) to support the initiative. A variety of churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country will also support the effort by highlighting the importance of advance care planning with their congregations.”

Why do we need a National Healthcare Decisions Day?

Here is a template of the Advance Health Care Directive Form with Instructions

Here is a template of the Advance Health Care Directive Form with Instructions (Directiva anticipada de atención de la salud) in Spanish.

Here is a template of Pennsylvania’s Advance Care Directive.


“Seed Grants for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children”

brookdale foundation

The Brookdale Foundation Group has issued a Request for Proposals for creating or expanding supportive services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Up to 15 programs from throughout the United States will be selected to receive a seed grant of $15,000 based on progress made during the first year and potential for more in the future. Technical assistance will also be provided. Any 501 (c)(3) or equivalent not-for-profit organizations can apply.

Apply for this funding opportunity by June 12, 2019.


“Old, Online, And Fed On Lies: How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet” – BuzzFeed News

“Older people play an outsized role in civic life. They also are more likely to be online targets for misinformation and hyperpartisan rhetoric.”

fake news

by Craig Silverman

FORT WASHINGTON, Maryland — It’s late morning and roughly 25 senior citizens are learning how to talk to Siri. They pick up their iPads and press the home button, and pings echo around the room as Siri asks what she can do to help.

“‘Siri, what’s the closest coffee shop?’ one woman asks.

“‘Sorry I’m having trouble with the connection, please try again?’ Siri says.

“A handful of employees with AARP, the national nonprofit focused on Americans age 50 and older, hover behind the participants and jump in to help. They’re in Fort Washington, Maryland, to deliver four free workshops about how to use an iPad. Participants learn how to turn it on, what an app is, how to text, and how to flip the camera to take a selfie, among other activities.”

Click here to continue reading this article at

“No Veteran Dies Along” Program at the VA Medical Center | Volunteers wanted.

no veteran dies alone

A training program for the Veterans Affairs “No Veteran Dies Alone Program” will be held at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lebanon on June 11. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering to be a part of this supportive program, get in touch with Rebecca Sanders, LCSW, CADC, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Chaplain Service / EAP, Lebanon VA Medical Center, 717-272-6621 ext. 3437 ∗ 717-844-1628 (cell). Email:

There is a application to complete with voluntary services and fingerprinting.

Click on the above graphic to download the entire brochure as a .pdf file.