Category Archives: People

“Overlooked No More: Roland Johnson, Who Fought to Shut Down Institutions for the Disabled” – The New York Times

He survived 13 years of neglect and abuse, including sexual assault, at the notorious Pennhurst State School and Hospital outside Philadelphia before emerging as a champion for the disabled.”

roland johnson trailblazer

Credit … via the Johnson family”

by Glenn Rifkin

“In 1958, when Roland Johnson was 12, his parents sent him to the Pennhurst State School and Hospital outside Philadelphia. There he would spend 13 tormented years living through the nightmare of institutionalization that was commonplace in mid-20th-century America.

“Terrified and confused, Roland, who had an intellectual disability, quickly discovered the inhumane realities of Pennhurst, including neglect, beatings and sexual assault. And as a Black child, he encountered the toxic racism roiling life both outside and within the institution’s walls.

“’After that long ride up there, it was just horrible,’ Johnson wrote of his arrival at Pennhurst in a posthumously published autobiography, ‘Lost in a Desert World’ (2002, with Karl Williams). He described himself as having been ‘lost and lonely,’ as if ‘in a desert world.'”

Click here to read this article at The New York Times in its entirety.


Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This latest installment is part of a series exploring how the Americans With Disabilities Act has shaped modern life for disabled people. Share your stories or email us at ada@nytimes.com.

 

“‘It just weighs on your psyche’: Black Americans on mental health, trauma, and resilience” – STAT: Daily Recap

wears on youCRYSTAL MILNER/STAT

Photos and interviews by Crystal Milner

I’m feeling it, my friends and family are feeling it: the weight of this moment is immeasurable. Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This has been compounded by the tragic deaths of Black men and women — lives cut short at the hands of police and vigilantes.

“Ahmaud Arbery shot while jogging. Breonna Taylor killed in her home. George Floyd suffocated as the world watched. Rayshard Brooks asleep in a Wendy’s parking lot. Robert Fuller found hung from a tree in Palmdale, Calif. We lament the Black lives lost, past and present.

“Repeated trauma and stress have real effects on health, both physical and mental. Though the dialogue surrounding mental health is changing, it’s often considered a taboo subject in the Black community. Navigating the intersections of Black identity has always been layered and complex. With these ideas in mind, I photographed family, friends, and others in my community of Southern California and spoke with them about how being Black in the U.S. affects them, especially right now. Here are their stories and portraits.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

WEBINAR: The Joy of Animals

Mark this date and time on your calendar: Wednesday, July 22, 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Join Link partners, Karen Greth, Meagan Good and Chris Hainley as they introduce you to special animal friends of theirs during this Webinar presentation.

Our special presenters (human and animal) will be sharing ideas and examples of the ways animals help fight social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and other emotional and out-of-normal feelings. COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have changed everything except the joy that animals bring to people.

joy of animals draft

Human Presenters:

  • Karen Greth, K-PETS – Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
  • Meagan Good, Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy 
  • Chris Hainley, Fairy Tail Acres, the Rescue. 

Each of the presenters will introduce Webinar participants to their animal presenters.


 

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 22, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: The Joy of Animals!

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_F0210kG-SoeU5f0SfJppjw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” – The Scientist

“Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.”

HUGS

by Ashley Yeager

It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“’Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,’ says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Like more than 35 million other Americans, I live alone, and with the guidelines of physical distancing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I hadn’t been getting close to anyone to avoid being infected with (or potentially spreading) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I’d been working, thankfully, at home and staying connected with friends and family through Zoom and Skype, but those virtual interactions were no replacement for being with loved ones in person.”

Click here to read this article at The Scientist in its entirety.

 

Link Webinar trilogy is complete | Do not miss any of these – Register for these three Link Webinars now

Each of these webinars are totally FREE to attend; take advantage of these special training opportunities for Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner agencies.

Managing through uncertainty FINAL-3

Click on the above graphic; then click on the link in the .pdf file to register.


dr lark Webinar flyer with CEs

Click on the above graphic; then click on the link in the .pdf file to register.


amitamehta announcement FINAL

Click on the above graphic; then click on the link in the .pdf file to register.

 

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.

“Who Is ‘Worthy?’ Deaf-Blind People Fear That Doctors Won’t Save Them from the Coronavirus” – The New Yorker

DeafBlindDuringPandemic-PrimaryThe lawyer and disability-rights activist Haben Girma, who is deaf-blind, said that she is terrified that ‘hospitals facing scarce resources will decide not to save our lives.’”Photograph by Celeste Sloman / Redux

“Rebecca Alexander volunteered shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo appealed for mental-health professionals to help counsel first responders traumatized by the covid-19 crisis. A New York psychotherapist, she has taken calls from a young nurse who had trouble sleeping because she was haunted by the sounds of dying patients gasping for breath. A doctor described getting instructed not to intubate anyone over eighty on the day his mother turned eighty-two. A pediatric nurse who specialized in infant diseases recounted her lack of training after being abruptly transferred to caring for adults in acute respiratory failure. Several confessed their own extreme distress at pushing the limits of their bodies physically and emotionally. ‘Constantly being on the front lines is taking a toll on them,’ she told me.

“What none of the people pouring out their problems to Alexander knew is that she is legally deaf and blind—and has her own deep fears about how the new coronavirus threatens the estimated 2.4 million Americans, and millions more across the globe, who, like her, rely on touch to communicate, navigate, and care for themselves. ‘When you don’t have vision or hearing or both, you rely heavily on other senses,’ she said. ‘For us, that other sense is touch.’ But touch is now the most prevalent means of spreading covid-19.

“Brooke and Bryan Smith serve Lebanon County separately but together” – LebTown

smiths“Brooke and Bryan Smith pause for a snapshot at a fundraising event.” (Provided photo)

by Jeff Falk

“Marriage has been described romantically as ‘two hearts beating as one.’ And while that phrase certainly applies to Brooke and Bryan Smith, perhaps an even better way to describe their union might be ‘two hearts caring as one.’

“In the world of local service and community impact, the Smiths are a power couple.

“Brooke is the chief executive officer of United Way of Lebanon County. Her husband Bryan is the executive director of Lebanon County Christian Ministries.

“LCCM and the United Way are two of the highest-profile, most integral, and most diverse nonprofits in the county.

“The Smiths have been married for ten years, but each has only been in their respective roles for relatively short periods of time. While there are some unavoidable cross-over aspects to their personal and professional lives, the Smiths diligently guard against anything that can be construed as conflicts of interest.”

Click here to continue reading this story in its entirety at LebTown.


NOTE: Both Brooke’s and Bryan’s agencies are partner agencies with the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Lebanon County partner’s network.