Category Archives: Aging

Friday Wrap-Up, July 20, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

In this week’s “Wrap Up” the Secretary writes about senior community centers.

“Senior community centers are places for people to gather, engage in activities, and get to know one another–but today’s senior community centers are vibrant and action-packed, offering a combination of trips and special events, fine arts and crafts, music and dance, lifelong learning, health and wellness programs, employment and volunteer opportunities, and nutritional services.”

And … a wedding!

Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


“7 Facts about Older Adults and SNAP” – National Council on Aging

snapby Erin Kee McGovern

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest domestic hunger safety net program. SNAP is especially important in helping low-income older adults to achieve food security. But many myths abound–here we set the record straight with seven facts about seniors and SNAP.

1. Older adults’ participation in SNAP is staggeringly low.

Click here to read all the 7 Facts and more.

Webinar: Promising Practices for Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Dually Eligible Older Adults | Thursday, August 2, 2018, 2:00-3:30 PM ET

ACL header

In the U.S., 25% adults age 65 or older experience a behavioral health issue, yet only 3% of them report seeking treatment from a behavioral health professional. Those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have high rates of behavioral health conditions compared to beneficiaries with Medicare only. For example, among individuals 65 or older, 19% of dually eligible beneficiaries were diagnosed with a depressive disorder compared to 8% of Medicare-only beneficiaries, and 11% of dually eligible beneficiaries were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder compared to 6% of Medicare-only beneficiaries.

This interactive webinar will discuss common behavioral health conditions and related challenges among dually eligible older adults, identify best practices for treatment options and care coordination, and demonstrate practical strategies for meeting beneficiary needs. Speakers will discuss firsthand experiences, lessons learned, and strategies to coordinate care across diverse settings.

Register here!

“Heat-related health dangers for older adults soar during the summer”

National Institute of Health tips help reduce risk of hyperthermia.

As we age, our ability to adequately respond to summer heat can become a serious problem. Older people are at significant increased risk of heat-related illnesses, known collectively as hyperthermia, during the summer months. Hyperthermia can include heat stroke, heat edema (swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot), heat syncope (sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat), heat cramps, and heat exhaustion.


Experts at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, say knowing which health-related factors may increase risk could save a life. Those factors include:

  • Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
  • Heart, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
  • High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet, such as salt-restricted diets
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
  • Taking several drugs for various conditions (It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.)
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Being dehydrated

Lifestyle factors can also increase risk, including extremely hot living quarters, lack of transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places, and not understanding how to respond to weather conditions.

Older people, particularly those at special risk, should stay indoors on particularly hot and humid days, especially when there is an air pollution alert in effect. To stay cool, drink plenty of fluids and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics. People without fans or air conditioners should keep their homes as cool as possible or go someplace cool. Senior centers, religious groups, and social service organizations in many communities provide cooling centers when the temperatures rise. Or visit public air conditioned places such as shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries.

Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia that occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Someone with a body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is likely suffering from heat stroke. Symptoms include fainting; a change in behavior (confusion, combativeness, staggering, possible delirium or coma); dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse; and lack of sweating. Seek immediate medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water and fruit or vegetable juices, but not alcohol or caffeine.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and a cold cloth can help cool the blood.
  • Encourage the person to shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.

If you are having a hard time paying for home cooling and heating costs, there are some resources that might help. Contact the National Energy Assistance Referral service(link is external), your local Area Agency on Aging(link is external), senior center, or social service agency.

To learn more, go to Hot Weather Safety for Older Adults. Free publications on hot weather safety and other healthy aging topics in English and Spanish are available from the NIA website or by calling NIA’s toll-free number: 1-800-222-2225.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Friday Wrap-Up, July 13, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


Villages | “For some seniors, a cultural shift and a vital volunteerism” – The Boston Globe

villages“Nauset Neighbors volunteer Frank Bridges, 66, changed the batteries in a smoke detector for Ann Miller, 79, seated with Judy Gordon, on July 3.” – Christine Hochkeppel for the Boston Globe

by Robert Weisman

“BREWSTER — When it got too hot for her to sleep with a fan and she could no longer lift her air conditioner, 79-year-old Ann Miller turned to her village.

“Not her bayside town on the Lower Cape, but Nauset Neighbors, a grass-roots network of seniors dedicated to helping other seniors live independently. The volunteer members of Nauset, one of more than 15 self-styled “villages” statewide, draw inspiration from the ethic of small-town New England life in an earlier era, when folks looked after one another.

“Miller’s request for help was answered by Frank Bridges, who pulled up to her modest town house in his pickup truck on a sweltering July morning. Bridges, 66, a retired banker who lives across town, greeted Miller and went straight to work. He removed her window screen, set the air conditioner in place, and screwed it in securely. Before he left, Bridges, who is 6-foot-5, also replaced three of her smoke alarm batteries without aid of a stepladder.”

Read this Boston Globe article in its entirety – click here.

In Lancaster County, Lancaster Downtowners is a village concept. “Downtowners are organizing to provide cost effective services for themselves and others who desire to remain in their homes and urban neighborhoods rather than move to more conventional retirement communities.”

“How ‘villages’ help seniors age at home”The Brookings Institution

The Village to Village Network is the essential tool that enables community members to build and sustain thriving Villages. The Network creates interactions that connect Villages with resources, education and expertise.”

“Straight Talk for Seniors®: Congressional Committees Preserve Aging Services Funding for 2019” – National Council on Aging Blog

adrc in budget

by Marci Phillips

“Congressional appropriators have moved their FY19 bills quickly though the committee process, with only the House version of the Labor-HHS-Education (Labor-HHS) bill still waiting for full committee approval.

“There is generally good news for aging services programs in both bills. They each reject cuts and eliminations proposed by the Administration and largely maintain funding at current levels, keeping the increases that were secured for many programs in last year’s fiscal year. A few small increases also have been proposed.

“See our Aging Services Funding Table for more details, and here are some highlights:”

Continue reading this article, click here.

Federal Budget – FY19 Aging Program Funding Table

“The latest blood pressure guidelines: What they mean for you” – The Conversation

new blood pressureNew blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association. CC BY-SA

by John Warner

Updated blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association mean that many more Americans, notably older people, are now diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension. This may sound like bad news, but the new guidelines highlight some important lessons we cardiologists and heart health researchers have learned from the latest blood pressure studies. Specifically, we have learned that damage from high blood pressure starts at much lower blood pressures than previously thought and that it is more important than ever to start paying attention to your blood pressure before it starts causing problems.

“High blood pressure accounts for more heart disease and stroke deaths than all other preventable causes, except smoking.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Conversation.

“Medicare changing nursing home incentives to deter poor care” – JustCare

medicare nursing homes

by Diane Archer

Kaiser Health News reports on a ghastly phenomenon that appears all too common for people with Medicare in some nursing homes. To increase their revenues, nursing homes create conditions that lead residents to be rehospitalized. Medicare is now changing its nursing home payment policies to try to align nursing home financial incentives to deter poor care.

“KHN describes one case in which a nursing home literally dropped a resident, causing a hip fracture, and creating a reason to move the resident to a nursing home. That led to a lawsuit from the patient’s family and a settlement of $1.4 million by Richmond Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina.

“All too frequently patients are discharged from hospital to a nursing home and return to hospital in less than a month. One in five Medicare patients are back in hospital after discharge in less than 30 days.”

Read this JustCare article in its entirety, click here.

Friday Wrap-Up, June 22, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.