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?”
Here’s another article related to the differences and embracing them: “Body Image: Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”
Come to a special presentation about “OPIOIDS & DANGEROUS DRUGS” | Controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled population.
“AMERICANS OVER 50 are using narcotic pain pills in surprisingly high numbers, and many are becoming addicted. While media attention has focused on younger people buying illegal opioids on the black market, dependence can also start with a legitimate prescription from a doctor: A well-meant treatment for knee surgery or chronic back troubles is often the path to a deadly outcome.”
Click here to read this AARP article about “America’s Addiction to Pain Pills.”
“A growing number of older Americans are becoming addicted to prescription opioid drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. While drug-related deaths have increased dramatically in all age groups, the greatest percentage increase has been among adults ages 55 to 64.” – Read more here.
“The writer and her guide dog, Mylo. (Haben Girma)”
by Haben Girma
“My guide dog crossed the street, then jerked to a halt. ‘Mylo, forward.’ My left hand held the leather harness that wrapped around his shoulders. ‘Forward,’ I repeated. The harness shifted, and I knew he was peering back at me. Some barrier, unseen and unheard by me, blocked our passage.
“Cars created little earthquakes in the street on our left. Behind us ran the road we just crossed. I made the decision: ‘Mylo, right.’ He turned and headed down the sidewalk. I directed him around the block to bypass whatever had stood in our way.
“My dog never knows where I’m going. He has his theories, of course. You went to this cafe yesterday, so clearly you’re going there again, right? Or he’ll veer toward an open door. Seriously, Haben, we need to step in here for a sniff.“
Read this story in full at The Washington Post.
This message from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Secretary, Robert Torres, comes in the Inside Aging – August eblast. It’s an idea that many in our Service Area (Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Counties) have talked about … shared housing.
“Many of us may have experienced placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility—it’s a challenging process for both the family and the older adult. This can isolate the senior from regular time with family and friends and put them in a new setting to adjust to, as opposed to the comfort they have been used to in their own home or local community. The family having to rehome an older adult may worry about cost, quality of care, and a change in convenience of spending time with them.
“Aging in place is an option we know that most seniors prefer, and improving access to affordable and accessible housing is an objective of the department’s State Plan on Aging. An AARP study found that an overwhelming 90% of people age 65 and over would rather stay in their own home as they age.
“It’s important to know that there are alternatives for the seniors in our lives when it comes time to make such a difficult decision. Within the last two years, the Department of Aging has overseen the launch of two very exciting housing programs: the Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) pilot program, and Pennsylvania’s very first Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) program.
“The SHARE housing program launched in 2017 in Pike, Wayne, and Monroe Counties in partnership with the Pike County Area Agency on Aging and the support of the counties’ commissioners. SHARE brings together homeowners with extra space in their home and individuals, referred to as home seekers, in need of affordable housing. SHARE counselors assist a matched set of homeowners and home seekers in making a plan where affordable housing is offered in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both.
“Last year, the department celebrated Pennsylvania’s first ECHO cottage in Clearfield County. Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed on the side or rear yard of a host family for an older adult. This allows privacy for both the senior and host family, while at the same time assuring accessibility for both parties as necessary. Additionally, the cottages are far more cost-effective for both parties and give the older adult the option to avoid premature admission into a long-term care facility.
“SHARE and ECHO allow seniors to age in their communities, close to their family and friends, without concern of isolation. Programs like this can give families one peace of mind about their loved one’s wellbeing. If you are interested in exploring housing alternatives for an older adult, please reach out to Julie Seby, firstname.lastname@example.org, at the Department of Aging to learn more about these programs.”
Opioids and older Americans | clear and present threat; FREE presentations near you about “controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled populations”
Recent “revelations” about the pharmaceutical manufacturers producuction and marketing of opioids has garnered national media attention … finally.
“It was the early 2000s, and they usually talked over old-school computer message boards. Occasionally they gathered in person, carrying posters of their children and middle-aged spouses — all dead from OxyContin overdoses.”
We now know that the warnings these people tried to send matched the incidents that the 2015 book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.
“In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America—addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.
“Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two riveting tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been a catastrophic opiate epidemic.
“The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive—extremely addictive—miracle painkiller.”
Opioids have reached into so many families across the nation; the addictions know no barriers. Young and old; male and female; black and white … the stories of people who have, and continue, to struggle with addiction abound.
Click on the above graphic to read more about chronic pain and opioids. “The rapid growth in opioid overdoses has put a spotlight on opioid prescribing patterns, with increased pressure on clinicians to reduce opioid prescribing, especially for long-term management of chronic, noncancer pain.”
Because many older persons contend with debilitating pain and in some cases addiciton, the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources is collaborating with the Office of the Attorney General to hold free presentations: “Opioids & Dangerous Drugs | A FREE presentation about controlling the opioid epidemic in our aging and disabled populations” in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in August.
Each of these presentations is open to all and FREE to attend. Click on the links below for more information and RSVP specifics.
- Lebanon County – Tuesday, August 27 – 10:00 to Noon
- Lancaster County – Wednesday, August 28 – 10:00 to Noon
- Berks County – Thursday, August 29 – 10:00 to Noon
“Janet Simeone calls ACCESS, a door-to-door paratransit service in Allegheny County, to confirm an upcoming ride. Whether or not the paratransit shows up on time is a point of anxiety for Simeone.”
“Janet Simeone never expected to live on her own. Yet at age 71, she’s four years into living alone in a Greenfield apartment.
“Simeone has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.
Combined with depression and anxiety, she has difficulty doing things on her own, including making friends and living independently.
“Simeone lived with her aunt, Laurie Raffaele, for almost 10 years. And it was her aunt who ultimately pushed her to try living alone. She thought it would help Simeone feel control over her life and provide an opportunity for her to make friends.
“One day, her aunt told her about an apartment she’d found in Greenfield.”
Heard about “ALPHA”? | This York County initiative is tackling the issue of helping people by bolstering interest in personal care homes
Click on the above graphic to download the entire fact sheet.
“In southcentral Pa, low-income residents are at risk as personal care homes rapidly close” – The Hanover Evening Sun
“Personal Care Homes (PCHs) are residences that provide shelter, meals, supervision and assistance with personal care tasks, typically for older people, or people with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities who are unable to care for themselves but do not need nursing home or medical care. While available services vary and are based on the individual needs of each resident, services provided at a typical PCH include assistance with:
Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. They are usually privately-owned, although some are operated by local governments or non-profit agencies. In Pennsylvania, homes may be licensed to care for as few as four people and as many as several hundred. -SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
To find information on a Personal Care Home near you see the Personal Care Home Directory.
October 3, 2019
Forest Room, Keystone Building
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is holding its first financial empowerment conference for people with disabilities on October 3, 2019 in Harrisburg and you’re invited!
“Vision for the Future: Financial Empowerment Conference for Individuals with Disabilities” will bring together individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and policy makers to discuss, collaborate, and learn about financial education.
The conference is a one-day, free, accessible event open to the public. Registration is required. A limited number of scholarships are available to people with disabilities and their families to help defray the cost of travel and lodging.
“The need is great and growing for accessible, affordable housing” | maybe this is one step toward satisfying that need?
Shuttered stores dominate the interior of the Schuylkill Mall which has closed and been demolished in Frackville, Pennsylvania.
This article at Pennlive today, “Dead and dying malls of Pennsylvania, updated: More shopping centers are bleeding retailers.” prompted a revisited look at an idea that’s being floated across the nation.
What will become of these once-popular retail centers? Demolish them? Re-store them? Re-purpose them?
“The retail apocalypse has not been kind to malls. Credit Suisse recently studied the state of mall-based retail and predicted that that about one-fourth of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls — or roughly 220 to 275 shopping centers — will close by 2022.”
The above is the lead paragraph from this Forbes Magazine article: “Why Malls Should Add Residential To Their Repurposing Plans.”
Te idea that malls offer ideal solutions for affordable, accessible residences is one that has to be considered. Many malls already are on public transportation routes; they already have plenty of parking and they’re “walkable.”
This white paper by New York State Assemblyman Stephen Englebright points out other benefits for older adults and people with disabilities:
- Mixed-use development that includes housing, shopping, amenities, and
access to transportation and professional offices provides easy, often
walkable, access to necessities for daily living and substantially reduces or eliminates use of personal cars—thereby, (1) helping non-driving older people and people with disabilities to remain independent for much longer periods of time, (2) keeping these individuals integrated with others in the community, and (3) significantly supporting the caregiving efforts of family members.
- Subsidized housing in place of distressed or vacant strip malls, or developed above prosperous malls, helps address the State’s significant need for additional affordable housing, thereby helping to keep seniors and people with disabilities living in their own communities instead of relocating.
- Small numbers of affordable units above a box store or strip mall, or incorporated as a component of a mixed-income larger redevelopment of a shopping center furthers the integration of low- and moderate-income families and individuals into the wider community.
Another Forbes Magazine shares the thought: “4 Models Of The Shopping Mall Of The Future.”
In Providence, RI, “You Can Now Live Inside America’s First Shopping Mall for $550 a Month: But there’s already a waiting list for these new micro apartments.”