“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
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.
Credit: Next Avenue | John Gilman
by Jackson Rainer
“’Most people spend more time looking for their next car than they do looking for their doctor” is an old and familiar adage among medical professionals.
“But one of the most important and proactive steps to protecting your future self is building and maintaining a stable care team that nourishes and supports all aspects of your health.
“If you seek out care only in crisis, you’re more likely to receive care that isn’t a good match or aligned with your preferences and health goals.
“This guide explores how to choose a health care provider or replace a retired one, build relationships with physicians and access specialty care.
“To stay grounded in fact, look for physicians who rely on evidence-based practices.”
“The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 40 years. Finding a way to provide and pay for the long-term health services they need won’t be easy.”
(LYDIA ZURAW / KHN)
by Lydia Zuraw and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez
“Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom generation ages into retirement. President Joe Biden tacitly acknowledged those needs in March with his proposal to spend $400 billion over the next eight years to improve access to in-home and community-based care.
“The swelling population of seniors will far outpace growth in other age groups. That acceleration — and the slower growth in other age groups — could leave many older Americans with less family to rely on for help in their later years. Meanwhile, federal officials estimate that more than half of people turning 65 will need long-term care services at some point. That care is expensive and can be hard to find.”
“Tips for Older Adults to Regain Their Game After Being Cooped Up for More Than a Year” – Kaiser Health Network
by Judith Graham
“Alice Herb, 88, an intrepid New Yorker, is used to walking miles around Manhattan. But after this year of being shut inside, trying to avoid covid-19, she’s noticed a big difference in how she feels.
“’Physically, I’m out of shape,’ she told me. ‘The other day I took the subway for the first time, and I was out of breath climbing two flights of stairs to the street. That’s just not me.’
“Emotionally, Herb, a retired lawyer and journalist, is unusually hesitant about resuming activities even though she’s fully vaccinated. ‘You wonder: What if something happens? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe that’s dangerous,’ she said.
“Millions of older Americans are similarly struggling with physical, emotional and cognitive challenges following a year of being cooped up inside, stopping usual activities and seeing few, if any, people.
“If they don’t address issues that have arisen during the pandemic — muscle weakness, poor nutrition, disrupted sleep, anxiety, social isolation and more — these older adults face the prospect of poorer health and increased frailty, experts warn.”
Continue reading this article at Kaiser Health Network, click here.
“Pandemic job cuts have meant many people have no insurance to pay for dental work – and the poorest are hardest hit”
“Millions of Americans have no dental insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay out of pocket for extensive dental care needs.” Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Reuters
by Michael Sainato
“Maureen Haley, 66, lost her home in Florida in the wake of the 2008 recession. She now lives in a camper near Greensboro, North Carolina, relying on social security and Medicare to make ends meet and pay for healthcare.
“But Haley has problems with her teeth, and cannot afford to see a dentist to have them fixed.
“’My teeth problems are the biggest problem I have each day,’ said Haley. ‘I need root canals and implants. I have a tooth impaction. I have to massage the heck out of it to get the air out of my gums and cheek after chewing a meal. Painful is an understatement, and the worry of how this may affect my heart compounds it.’
‘She worries about remaining independent, and not ending up in a nursing home. On a limited income, her decisions revolve around what is most pressing, such as fixing her vehicle and drug prescriptions. The last time she was able to visit a dentist was three years ago, and she was given an estimate of over $8,500 for the work she needs.”
In September, 2019, PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area coordinator, Brian Long, appeared with others on a panel at a United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing entitled, “Promoting Healthy Aging: Living Your Best Life Long Into Your Golden Years.”
In his testimony, he reinforced “Partial and total tooth loss is something that a larger share of older persons deal with, particularly if they are from disadvantaged populations. We know that older seniors, women, persons of color, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have fewer or no remaining teeth. Missing teeth and gum disease are prevalent among many older people in those demographics. Earlier lifestyle choices and forgoing dental treatment, perhaps, have contributed to this, but we know that the absence of regular dental care and treatment can lead to disastrous health consequences.
“Again, affordability is a huge contributor. The issue of coverage for dental, vision and hearing services is about healthy
aging. Without access to these services, we know that older adults have a greater likelihood of:
- Experiencing social isolation or mental health issues
- Becoming the victim of a scam
- Having difficulty accessing transportation resources
- Struggling to adhere to their prescription medicines
- Encountering hazards in the home”
(Image credit: Getty)
by Claire Davies
“Sleep. We all do it, and some of us do it better and for longer than others. But why do we sleep and why is sleep important? These may seem like obvious or basic questions, but the answers are neither obvious nor basic, as a lot of human sleep remains uncharted territory. Science now knows more about it compared to even ten years ago, but most sleep experts agree there are still many riches to discover.
“Type the word ‘sleep’ into Google, as many people are during Sleep Week, and you’ll be met by a sea of articles discussing why sleep is important – and why it can sometimes be so difficult to fall asleep. Regular questions include, ‘How many hours of sleep do you need?’ and ‘How can I sleep instantly?’ As a species, we seem obsessed with slumber numbers: how much, how fast, and also what does our age have to do with it? And it isn’t just Google being asked why sleep is important – doctors are regularly quizzed, usually by folk who are at their wits’ end over poor sleep.
“For some, good sleep is an elusive beast, and cruelly it seems like the more a person struggles to sleep, and the more effort they put into trying, the more they struggle. And on it goes. But understanding the importance of sleep and how to let it happen (because we can’t make it happen), the sooner you’ll return to what feels like healthy, happy snoozing for you. It’s also worth remembering – as neuroscientists and sleep doctors are now reminding us – one size does not fit all when it comes to getting some decent shut-eye.”
“Older Americans still make up a majority of those who have been inoculated, and many are taking advantage and venturing out.”
“Marcia Bosseler, 85, is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.” Credit. … Scott McIntyre for The New York Times“
by Jennifer Steinhauer
“Bobby Stuckey flipped through receipts this month, surprised to see a huge increase in cocktail sales, the highest in the 17-year history of his restaurant, even though the bar section has been closed. The septuagenarians are back.
“’Every night we are seeing another couple or a pair of couples in the dining room, and they feel so much relief,’ said Mr. Stuckey, the owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo. ‘Covid was hard on everybody, but you can’t even think of the emotional toll in this group. They haven’t gone out. They want to have the complete experience. It is just joyful to see them again.’
“Older people, who represent the vast majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, are emerging this spring with the daffodils, tilting their faces to the sunlight outdoors. They are filling restaurants, hugging grandchildren and booking flights.
“Marcia Bosseler is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.”
Read this article at The New York Times in its entirety, click here.
by Yuki Naguchi
“For many years, Jessica Duenas led what she calls a double life. She was the first in her immigrant family to go to college. In 2019, she won Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year award. That same year, Duenas typically downed nearly a liter of liquor every night.
“By the time she was 34, she was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, a serious inflammation of her liver that doctors warned could could soon lead to irreversible scarring and even death if she didn’t didn’t stop drinking, and quickly.
“‘I couldn’t keep down any food,” Duenas says. ‘My belly was supersensitive, like if I pressed on certain parts of it, it would hurt a lot. My eyes were starting to get yellowish.’
“Cases of alcoholic liver disease — which includes milder fatty liver and the permanent scarring of cirrhosis, as well as alcoholic hepatitis — are up 30% over the last year at the University of Michigan’s health system, says Dr. Jessica Mellinger, a liver specialist there.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet compiled data on any overall increase in severe cases of alcoholic liver disease since the pandemic began. But, Mellinger says, ‘in my conversations with my colleagues at other institutions, everybody is saying the same thing: “Yep, it’s astronomical. It’s just gone off the charts.”‘”