Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

“Coronavirus shows how ageism is harmful to health of older adults” – The Conversation

older persons and coronavirus“In Ventura, California, a woman who is social isolating greets a little boy who has come to visit. – Getty Images / Brent Stirton”

by Paul Nash and Philip W. Schnarrs

“People over 65 years old account for about 80% of the deaths related to COVID-19 in the U.S. But we have to consider comorbidity, not just the number of years lived. Older people more likely live with underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, lung conditions, diabetes and cancer. It is these complications, not just age, that dictate the mortality of COVID-19.

“Yet the misperception persists that older adults are frail and weak. As educators in the field of health and gerontology, we can tell you research shows that ageist attitudes harm the health of older adults. Indeed, the World Health Organization acknowledges ageism as the last socially accepted form of prejudice. And this impacts the kind of care they receive and the health care outcomes they experience.

“In the U.S., these perceptions are reinforced in medical training; geriatric care doesn’t even appear on the list of required training for doctors. This approach may have contributed to the U.S.‘s arguably poor response to COVID-19.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Conversation.


Comfort Keepers Celebrates National Day of Joy – June 24, 2020

— Leading In-Home Senior Care Provider Places Priority on Finding Joy and Sharing with Others, Reinforcing Relevance in Light of Global Pandemic –

West Lawn, PA, June 10, 2020– Comfort Keepers® of Berks County, a leading provider of in-home senior care, will celebrate the National Day of Joy on June 24, 2020.

The National Day of Joy, which takes place every year on the last Wednesday in June, was established in 2019 to help inspire and encourage people to experience joy and share it with others; an action that has become more meaningful in the current COVID-19 environment.

To celebrate, the Berks County office of Comfort Keepers will be surprising Berks County seniors with special “socially distanced” visits by “Joy Teams” and extra-special interactions with their regular caregivers.  Visits will take place on both June 23 and June 24.  The public is invited to participate by following the “Comfort Keepers of West Lawn & Reading – PA” Facebook page throughout the day to witness the spreading of JOY across Berks County.

As part of the first annual Day of Joy in 2019, Comfort Keepers released the results of its National State of Joy survey, which polled Americans on what brings the most joy into their lives. The survey found that people with the greatest levels of joy are older, with those over 60 averaging higher levels of joy than 18-29 year old’s and those 45-60. According to this same research, residents of Pennsylvania reported that traveling brings them the most joy.  The 2020 National Day of Joy research indicated that residents of the greater Northeast region reported that sharing family meals brought them the greatest joy.

National 2020 ’State of Joy’ Survey

Each year, as part of the National Day of Joy, Comfort Keepers conducts a survey that polls Americans on their perspectives about joy, including specific activities that bring them happiness, evolving attitudes about joy in light of current events as well as overall opinions about the state of joy in the world.

“We’ve all been impacted by events in our local community, state and country,” said Jennifer Mish, Comfort Keepers co-owner. “The results from the National State of Joy survey make clear, that even in difficult times, we are all looking for ways to experience joy. We understand this, which is why we focus on doing activities with our clients that bring them happiness, from listening to music to baking cookies to reliving family stories.”

The 2020 survey was conducted from May 5-11 and polled 2,000 Americans; 1,000 of those surveyed were 30+ years of age with at least one living parent, and 1,000 were people aged 65+.

In the Northeast:

On an average day, 75% of people said they are joyful, while 6% said they are not.

The activities that bring Northeasterners the most joy are:

  • Family dinner 59%
  • Spending time outside 56%
  • Watching a favorite movie/TV show 55%
  • Receiving a hug 52%
  • Going out to dinner 51%

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Americans were already on the quest to find joy, peace and balance in their busy lives, in an effort to improve mental health. Simple, sometimes mundane activities have become increasingly more meaningful in today’s setting, as more people are spending a greater amount of time at home.

While these ‘simple pleasures’ are bringing many people joy, the majority are participating in these activities alone. This national survey found that more than half (57%) of all people aged 65+ have missed hugs from a loved one since being in quarantine. This has also been difficult for the “sandwich generation” – a group of people who are tasked with caring for their aging parents as well as their own younger children. This has made caregiving services, like Comfort Keepers, even more critical during this time. On the National Day of Joy — and every day after that – the sandwich generation is comforted by the fact that even if they cannot visit or spend time with their loved ones, they are in good hands with a qualified Comfort Keepers caregiver.

National survey results also include the following:

  • Eighty-five (85%) percent agree that finding joy is more important now more than ever.
  • Many individuals are enjoying certain activities now that they did not have time to do before COVID-19, including:
    • Spending time with family (33%)
    • Reading (32%)
    • Taking walks (28%)
  • Almost three-quarters (72%) agree that technology has brought them a lot of joy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At Comfort Keepers, we believe that no matter someone’s age, experiencing daily moments of joy is critical for maintaining physical health, mental health, and overall well-being,” said Dave Kendall, Comfort Keepers co-owner. “Our senior loved ones, many who have been disproportionally affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, want the same opportunities for joy and happiness that we all do. We are proud to help seniors live the best quality of life today and every day. “

To participate in the National Day of Joy, do something that makes you or someone else happy, and share your activity on social media using the hashtag, #NationalDayofJoy. For more information about the National Day of Joy, visit

About Comfort Keepers®

Comfort Keepers®, located at 2209 Quarry Drive, Suite A-12 – West Lawn, PA  19609, provides professional in-home senior care that makes a difference in the lives of seniors and other adults.  Since its founding locally in 2001, the company has been providing support and services to support independent living at home.  For more information, visit

SOURCE: submitted


FREE screening: “Opening Doors to College”: Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability.

opening doors

Opening Doors to College” is a 36-minute documentary by filmmaker Dan Habib which shows the educational, social and self-determination strategies of inclusive higher education at Millersville and Temple Universities. Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.

Watch the trailer here.

Watch this film for FREE on June 19 at noon. Register here:

Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.

“Healthcare groups call racism a ‘public health’ concern in wake of tensions over police brutality” – Fierce Healthcare

clenched mask“Healthcare groups decried the public health inequality highlighted by the dual crises of police brutality against minorities and the disproportionately negative impact of COVID-19 on nonwhite patients.” (Getty/Worledit)

by Tina Reed

“After days of protests across the world against police brutality toward minorities sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, healthcare groups are speaking out against the impact of ‘systemic racism’ on public health.

“‘These ongoing protests give voice to deep-seated frustration and hurt and the very real need for systemic change. The killings of George Floyd last week, and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor earlier this year, among others, are tragic reminders to all Americans of the inequities in our nation,’ Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA), said in a statement.

“‘As places of healing, hospitals have an important role to play in the wellbeing of their communities. As we’ve seen in the pandemic, communities of color have been disproportionately affected, both in infection rates and economic impact,’ Pollack said. ‘The AHA’s vision is of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health … to achieve that vision, we must address racial, ethnic and cultural inequities, including those in health care, that are everyday realities for far too many individuals. While progress has been made, we have so much more work to do.'”

Read this article in its entirety at

Military OneSource Financial Readiness Discussions Webinar link-up for June

Check out these upcoming events. The Personal Financial Counselor and Military OneSource State Consultant will bring the information and resources you need for financial success. To join us, download the Zoom app or go to the Zoom website and use the links provided. A Zoom account with password is NOT required. RSVPs appreciated.

military one source


“What If Working From Home Goes on … Forever?” – The New York Times

“Miserable as it can often be, remote work is surprisingly productive — leading many employers to wonder if they’ll ever go back to the office.”

working at home foreverllustration by Max Guther

by Clive Thompson

“Josh Harcus sells robots for a living. Robotic vacuum cleaners, to be specific — a model called the Whiz, which his employer, SoftBank Robotics America, released here last fall. The company, part of a group owned by the Japanese conglomerate, has deployed more than 6,000 of the robots around the world, including at Facebook headquarters. They look like something out of “Wall-E”: a rolling gray cylinder about thigh-high that trundles back and forth over carpets, sucking up dirt. Many of Harcus’s customers are major airports and hotel chains or the huge cleaning companies hired by them. SoftBank Robotics rents the units to clients, at an annual cost of $6,000 per machine. It’s an expensive lease, so all last fall and through the winter Harcus was traveling around, showing off the Whiz, pressing the flesh to convince customers of its value.

“‘Probably a good 80 percent of my time was on the road,’ he says. He would pack up a robot, fly it into town, turn up at the hotel and then have it go to work in front of the staff. ‘It feels kind of like vacuum sales back in the day, like Hoover sales: You show up, throw dirt on the ground, scoop up the dirt — “How many do ya want?”‘ He had mastered a sales pitch filled with patter about industrial filth. (‘Not to bore you with stats, but a foot of carpet can hold up to a pound of dirt,’ he told me. ‘Honestly? Those are the nastiest hallways in the world.’)

“When Covid-19 hit, Harcus’s company, like most firms across the country, sent its office staff home. Overnight, it essentially became a remote workplace.”

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


Bellomo and Associates, LLC announces virtual workshops for June


To enlarge any of the above graphics, just click on the individual program.

“The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running: Now What can the pandemic teach us about how people respond to adversity?” – Scientific American

“Research has shown that when faced with potentially traumatic events, about two thirds of people show psychological resilience.”

biggest experimentPhotograph by Ethan Hill

by Lydia Denworth

“The impact of ­COVID-19 on the physical health of the world’s citizens is extraordinary. By mid-May there were upward of four million cases spread across more than 180 countries. The pandemic’s effect on mental health could be even more far-reaching. At one point roughly one third of the planet’s population was under orders to stay home. That means 2.6 billion people–more than were alive during World War II–were experiencing the emotional and financial reverberations of this new coronavirus. “[The lockdown] is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted,” wrote health psychologist Elke Van Hoof of Free University of Brussels-VUB in Belgium. The results of this unwitting experiment are only beginning to be calculated.

“The science of resilience, which investigates how people weather adversity, offers some clues. A resilient individual, wrote Harvard University psychiatrist George Vaillant, resembles a twig with a fresh, green living core. ‘When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead it springs back and continues growing.'”

Read this article at Scientific American in its entirety.


Perspective: “The Plight of the African American”

by Susan Shaffer

Background – After the horrific killing of George Floyd, by a police officer, America become more focused on the poor treatment and stereotypes toward people of color. We have experienced a plethora of outrage on the issue. Venting / anger must now be transformed into ongoing dialogue and constructive action. As a person with a disability, I’m aware of how society may treat marginalized populations. I’m qualified to offer strategies for improvement. The key to change is meaningful action.

Introduction – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This mandate must again be front and center as well as upheld and implemented; there is no use for a law that has no teeth in it. Below are a series of typical scenarios illustrating what African Americans experiences as well as some success stories depicting ways to avoid the rabbit hole i.e. negative patterns. This is a two- way street the individual must be empowered to take responsibility one’s own choices and reject temptations.

#1 It isn’t easy being black: Exploring Life as an African American. I did not ask to be born black. I wish I was given a choice, as if I was able to check the appropriate box before my cells were formed. Life would be significantly easier I’d have been able to live in a house like Tom Brady’s with a parking lot on the balcony. Instead I lived in a rat -infested place in the projects. The space heater and fan never worked and sometimes the toilet wouldn’t flush. Dinner was usually cereal or an unidentified item that came from the fridge. Once in a while mom cooked but since mine wasn’t the only mouth to feed, I often left the table hungry. I loved visiting grandma who lived a few towns over she was a good cook and she cooked for an army so my belly was always full when I went there.

School was an escape from home but it was boring; students didn’t learn much. The class was located at the end of a long narrow hall filled with graffiti. Our books were outdated and most kids didn’t have nice backpacks and notebooks. The teacher spent a lot of time trying to get the kids to stop talking, not many listened.

After school I spent time with my friends but there were kids in gangs who kept trying to interest me. The kids seemed nice but after I agreed to hang out with them, they only wanted me to shoot people and take drugs. I knew it was wrong but they had money, power, and were happy. I didn’t want to live this life but before I knew it, I was committing crimes and could not see any way out. Sure, there were after-school programs for kids like me but it wasn’t cool and my group leader “reminded” me that he would not protect me if I chose to leave. I saw what happened to kids who wanted to take a different path. I grew up just like almost everyone else I knew. No real way to improve myself, hell, I didn’t think I could. What would I do? What were my skills other than stealing, killing, and selling drugs?

#2 Taking Responsibility for my action: Life is not a pity party. I realize now that I had to want to change and it wasn’t impossible. I must speak up and find my inner strength to reject the “easy” road as so many of my “friends” continue to do. They may feel like, “Nothing can happen to me.” But no one is invincible, too many people end up in jail or worse. They may have money and power now but what about tomorrow; there may not be a tomorrow. Especially if they have kids; what kind of example are they setting by inciting violence? What kind of future would their kids have? They are continuing the problem instead of being part of the solution. Some of my brothers have enrolled in college and will learn a profession that enables them to turn their future around completely. If they can do it I can too. I must seek out healthier routes. All I had to do was remember how many times I came to getting killed.  I snuck out with, the few dollars I saved, and took a bus to a town where no one knew me. I had no idea what I was doing and I knew no one, only that I had to leave my past horrid situation. I just walked up and down the streets then found a building that offered a program for kids like me who needed a second chance. I will be on the right side of the tracks (the law).

It was brand new and scary but so was breaking a window with a gun in order to threaten a home owner. I saw someone with a name tag around her neck and explained my situation. The person listened and called another worker who explained that he knew a local program designed to help people who are like me. I was driven to a house with teenagers who were in the process of turning their futures around. I met a few and spent time listening to “my” story but it was told by someone else. For the first time I realized I was not alone. If I could follow their lead, I will have a chance. College was not easy but I stuck with it, I found work, then a profession, then a girlfriend and followed the path to a life filled with healthy choices. The key is not to wallow in pity but take full responsibility for myself and my situation. As a counselor, I encourage anyone to pursue another route.

Here are some discussion questions:

  • What makes people resist making the changes that can help them find the way to a better future?
  • What can communities do to improve the situations of people in lower income neighborhoods?
  • How can people break the pattern of “poor me” that perpetuates the situation?
  • What steps can religious entities take to help troubled kids and their families?
  • How can the current programs and efforts be improved to reach more people?
  • What role does the family play in this situation? What can be done at a family level?
  • What can individuals do to encourage their peers to take responsibility for their own lives?
  • What is already done in the schools to encourage inclusion? What improvements can be made?

Susan Schaffer has a congenital physical disability. Since birth her parents were encouraged by many medical to place her in an institution. Her parents refused to agree with the bleak future others predicted. Her parents literally awoke throughout the night in order to clean substances in her body.

Susan was unable to make sounds, sit up, or eat independently. She grew out of many of the medical problems but made regular visits to specialists at Du Pont Institute during her childhood. She continues to be extremely sensitive to the stereotypes of the community her entire life. People did not understand her challenges especially her peers; public school was a very difficult experience.

The law mandated that she be accompanied and cared there by an adult. The formative years are crucial in psychological development. Low self-esteem can lead to a plethora of emotional problems. Attitudes cannot be legislated but actions can. People with  disabilities have the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. People of color have the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Statistics prove that people of both populations can make meaningful contributions to society. However, the former still get patted on the head and the later still get arrested though innocent due to society’s judgmental attitudes. There are many similar threads that result in anger and danger. Venting is a meaningful act but this energy must be transferred into healthy, simple action. Communication is the way to reach true inclusion.

Please visit to learn more. Contact me to help implement programs. I may be reached at

“‘It’s not cutting it’: Significant roadblocks deter special education students from progressing at home” – Lancaster Online

unique struggle

by Alex Geli

“Denise Schwebel and her daughter, Emma, sat at the head of their dining room table on a recent Friday afternoon to finish the final few online assignments of the school year.

“Schoolwork for Emma, who is in a multiple disabilities support program run by the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 at Conestoga Valley High School, is always a team effort. The 20-year-old is cognitively delayed and in a wheelchair, can’t talk and only eats pureed foods.

“But because she hasn’t been in school since mid-March because of the coronavirus shutdown, her mom has been by her side to help.”

Click here to read this Lancaster Online / LNP – Always Lancaster article in its entirety.