Category Archives: Food & nutrition

Changes in federal law will End SNAP Emergency Allotments after February 2023

Are You an Older Adult Facing Changes to Your SNAP Benefits? Help with Food and Meals is Available.

If you are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you may have already heard from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) about an important change in the amount of SNAP benefits you will be getting as a result of recent federal action.

What is happening?

Since the pandemic started in 2020, households receiving SNAP benefits have been getting an additional payment in the second half of the month known as an Emergency Allotment. Right now, SNAP benefits are paid in two payments during the month: your regular SNAP benefit in the first half of the month and an extra payment in the second half of the month.

However, changes in federal law mean that states will no longer be able to issue these additional EA payments. The extra payment in the second half of the month will stop after February 2023. This means that starting March 1, 2023, you will only receive one regular SNAP payment, like you did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· Another federal change affecting older Pennsylvanians is the 2023 cost of living adjustment for Social Security Income (SSI), which prompted an increase to SSI income. SNAP eligibility thresholds – also set at the federal level – did not rise proportionally. Because of this, approximately 249,000 households will see a decrease in their base SNAP benefits by an average of $40 per household, which will take effect in March when Emergency Allotments end. DHS anticipates that 5,000 to 20,000 households will be disenrolled from SNAP due to the SSI increase.

The Department of Aging and its aging network partners want to make sure that older adults who need food assistance know where to go for help.

How can older adults find other help with getting food and meals?

· Senior Community Centers provide nutritious lunchtime meals and socialization. Many also offer grab & go meals. You can find a senior center near you by visiting Senior Community Centers (pa.gov)

· You can call your local Area Agency on Aging to connect with meal resources at the local level, including in-home meal delivery and other meal options. You can find your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting http://www.aging.pa.gov/AAA, or by calling the Department of Aging at 717-783-1550.

· You can call the Department of Aging’s PACE program at 800-424-4356 to apply for the Senior Food Box program, which provides eligible seniors with nutritious, shelf-stable groceries each month. PACE operators will complete the application for you and send it directly to the Department of Agriculture. PACE can also help you connect with local food pantries and meal assistance.

· You can call the PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources at 1-800-753-8827. A PA Link counselor in your region will talk with you one-on-one to help you connect with meal support, benefits programs and other help with activities of daily living.

· Starting June 1 each year, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides eligible adults over age 60 with vouchers that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at more than 800 farm stands and more than 200 farmers’ markets in Pennsylvania. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your local Area Agency on Aging can tell you when and how to get your vouchers.

· Some Medicare Advantage Plans and Special Needs Plans offer grocery benefits, food boxes, and home-delivered meals as a plan bonus. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Special Needs Plan, you may want to inquire with your plan to see if they offer these added benefits.

· You can call 211 or visit http://www.211pa.org to connect with various local food resources, or to locate your local Area Agency on Aging.

· You can learn more about nutrition programs for older adults at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

· You can learn more about the end of the SNAP Emergency Allotment and other resources available at www.dhs.pa.gov/SNAPCares.

Community Christmas Meal from Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM)

Lebanon Family Health Services – June 8, 2022 Farm to Table Day

PA’s Water Assistance Program is Here to Help

In Deep Water?
PA’s Water Assistance Program is Here to Help.
Funding continues to be available for eligible individuals and families experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This assistance can aid in maintaining households’ access to drinking and wastewater services essential to ongoing health and overall wellbeing.   Program funds are issued directly to the service providers in the form of grants, or crisis grants depending on situation severity. To qualify for the program, participants must either rent or own their home, have overdue water bills, and meet program income guidelines
APPLY NOW FOR WATER HELP!

“To Keep Your Brain Young, Take Some Tips From Our Earliest Ancestors” – NPR

“Without a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, prevention is paramount. Habits that helped early humans thrive still make sense; a varied diet, exercise and an engaging social life.”

human evolution and alzheimers

“Reconstructions from the Daynès Studio in Paris depict a male Neanderthal (right) face to face with a human, Homo sapiens.” – Science Source

by Brett Stretka

“It’s something that many of us reckon with: the sense that we’re not quite as sharp as we once were.

“I recently turned 42. Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and with my mom suffering from a similar neurodegenerative disease, I’m very aware of what pathologies might lurk beneath my cranium.

“In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the most important interventions for upholding brain function are preventive — those that help maintain our most marvelous, mysterious organ.

“Based on the science, I take fish oil and broil salmon. I exercise. I try to challenge my cortex to the unfamiliar.

“As I wrote my recent book, A History of the Human Brain, which recounts the evolutionary tale of how our brain got here, I began to realize that so many of the same influences that shaped our brain evolution in the first place reflect the very measures we use to preserve our cognitive function today.

“Being social, and highly communicative. ”

Continue reading this column at NPR; click here.

“Hunger Awareness Month: Food assistance is available to keep Pennsylvanians fed, healthy” – PA Department of Human Services

HUNGER AWARENESS MONTH

Food Assistance is Available to Keep Pennsylvanians Fed, Healthy

hunger awareness month

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12 percent of the U.S. population has limited access to nutritious food. Hunger can impact your health and wellbeing throughout your life, work performance, and the rate that children learn and grow. It is imperative that we reduce hunger and promote good health by ensuring that Pennsylvanians are able to access to fresh, healthy food as well as health and nutrition information and education.

In recognition of National Hunger Awareness Month in June, the Department of Human Services is highlighting some of the food and nutrition programs available for children, adults, and seniors in Pennsylvania. Check out some of the programs available; click here.

 

“Our Average Life Expectancy Could Increase to 115 Years Very Soon” – Allure

“The more scientists learn about how we age, the more likely they are to recalibrate the clock. But that poses another question: Should they?”

AGING_WELLIllustration by Liana Farmer

by Liz Stinson

“Humans are born with an expiration date. From the moment of conception, we’re assigned a shared fate — that someday, in some way, we all die. It used to come earlier. In ancient Roman times, people could expect to live 30 to 35 years. By the mid-20th century, life expectancy in the United States had risen to 65 for men and 71 for women. Today, the average American life span hovers around 78 years, though that’s far from the bounds of what is possible.

“Scientists believe that the capacity of the human body currently reaches its limits at around 115 years old. But most people fall short of that due to the ailments and vulnerabilities that accompany old age, a fact that has been tragically underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what if it was possible to reach that outer edge? Just think about that delta for a second: 80 versus 115. “That leaves 35 years to realize,” says Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of Age Later (St. Martin’s Press). Barzilai is part of a growing cadre of scientists studying longevity — why we age, how our bodies break down, how it affects our well-being and quality of life, and what we can do to slow the process. These scientists believe in a future where interventions will forestall our physiological wear and tear, effectively making us better resistant to age-related diseases and, yes, maybe even pandemics.

“Extending life span is rooted deep in the human psyche.” Keep reading this article at Allure, click here.

Fizikaflex Helps Seniors Stay Healthy and Active | Sign up for a free 3 month subscription to Fizikaflex.

This morning, Martha Harris, founder and CEO of Fizika Group was the cross-training presenter with the Lebanon County Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner network. In a Zoom meeting, she shared an important story about fitness, diet and healthy habits Click here to view it) that resonated with everyone.

Martha’s now got to meet partners in all three of the counties in Service Area 13 as she’s presented at cross-training meetings for each county.

She’s also making a very special offer to persons in Berks-Lancaster & Lebanon Counties; an offer of a free three month  subscription to Fizikaflex. 

Read the article below for a lot more information about Fizikaflex.

Senior black couple dance in their back garden, full length

“Fizika Group, LLC, a social enterprise based in Lancaster, today announced the release of Fizikaflex™ a new digital health platform designed to help seniors stay healthy and active as they age.

“Fizikaflex is an attractive, secure web-based application that enables seniors to record their daily health inputs, such as exercise and nutrition, document progress in reaching personal health goals, and compare their results with peers.  User preferences enable synchronization with FitBit™ for daily step count, and dietary preferences based on eating restrictions.

“‘The need for Fizikaflex is evident in the rapid growth of dementia and other forms of brain diseases worldwide. While there is no known cure, scientists know that lifestyle choices can influence the risk factors that contribute to brain disease,’ said Martha Harris, Founder and CEO of Fizika Group.  ‘Our goal in creating Fizikaflex is to provide a simple, easy to use tool that can motivate and inform seniors and the communities in which they live, to make healthy habits habit forming.’

Fizikaflex is designed for use by senior living communities and affordable housing complexes that want to improve the health and wellbeing of residents.   No software installation is required.” Continue reading this article, click here.

“What Makes a Community Livable?” – AARP

English-In a Livable Community Poster

“The formula for what makes a community livable isn’t particularly complex. For the most part, the features and needs are fairly simple.

“But living in a place that, say, requires having a car for every errand or outing can be a difficult place to live if you don’t have a car or can’t drive.

“Living in a place without access to outdoor spaces, good schools and healthy food isn’t very livable, especially for young families.

“Living in a community that isn’t safe, or offers few activities, can be isolating for people regardless of age.

“On the other hand, a community that includes all of the features pictured in our “In a Livable Community” handout can be great — for people of all ages!”

AND people with a disability!

Heard about “Blue Zones?” | They’re places where “people live much longer than average.”

This Time Magazine article begins, “Global life expectancy averages out to 71.4 years. That means, of course, that some parts of the world see much shorter life spans, while others enjoy far greater longevity.

“Five places, in particular, fall into the latter category. They’re known as Blue Zones —named for the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map — and they’re home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution, told TIME why residents of these places live so long—and how you can steal their habits.”

bluezones

Blue Zones “are Inspired by the world’s longest-lived cultures, we help you live longer, better.”