by Megan Kamerick
“The United States now has 46 million people age 65 or older. That’s a record number, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
“More of these senior citizens are adopting technology, but most also say they need help using new electronic devices such as smart phones. Falling behind on technology puts seniors at risk for social isolation, which makes them vulnerable to poor health and earlier death. It’s also expensive. A study by AARP found isolation is associated with nearly $7 billion in additional annual spending by Medicare.
“A startup company in Albuquerque has made matching tech-savvy young people with seniors its mission. Teeniors coaches them on using smartphones, computers and tablets.”
Are there local programs in Berks, Lancaster & Lebanon Counties like this? Should there be? Let’s get the conversation started — email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
Did you know that PATF offers partial grants for tablet technology to our Mini-Loan borrowers? That’s right — if you’re a Pennsylvanian with a disability planning to use a PATF Mini-Loan to pay for a tablet (for example, an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Amazon Fire, etc.) we can provide a grant to offset the cost by up to 50% of the loan ($500 at most).
These loans also offer an opportunity to build credit, with 0% interest and no fees. Borrowers of ANY income level are eligible.
Please note: PATF does not extend grants only. If a loan applicant meets eligibility guidelines, PATF may be able to offer a partial grant in conjunction with a Mini-Loan.
Save money, build credit, and most importantly, get the assistive technology you need! Contact us for details. https://patf.us/contact/
“‘How long do I have?’ A website on cancer survival rates, from the co-founder of GoodRx, seeks to provide clarity” – STATNews
by Elizabeth Cooney
“Talking about cancer is hard. Talking about your chances of surviving cancer is even harder.
“Now one of the entrepreneurs behind the drug-pricing information site GoodRx wants to make conversations about cancer easier with a new site called CancerSurvivalRates.com. Launched this month, its mission is to make information about cancer prognoses more accessible to patients and families. The idea is to improve on what people can find on the internet or even sometimes in their doctors’ offices, co-founder and drug supply chain veteran Stephen Buck said.
“Oncologists may be leery of their patients’ relying on the web for cancer survival rates or estimates of how long a patient might live, particularly given how many factors come into play for any individual. But Buck, along with oncologists and other experts who have served as advisers on the project, say such information can be the basis for a deeper discussion with clinicians about what the future might hold.”
(Illustration by Matt Saunders for The Washington Post)
by Hawken Miller
“When Jackson Reece lost his arms and legs to sepsis after already being paralyzed, he thought his life was over. It was video games that brought him back.
Almost $1.5M Extended in Consumer Loans to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities for Assistive Technology in 2018
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation Celebrates Its Successes in 2018 and Releases its 2018-2019 Annual Report that Outlines the Organization’s Latest Accomplishments, Including the Publication of Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg (June 3, 2019)– The latest accomplishments of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) were highlighted at a press conference held today at the Capitol Rotunda at 10:30 a.m., hosted by Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh/ACHIEVA and the in-coming Board President of PATF, and Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of PATF.
PATF continues to achieve outstanding results for individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians, helping them purchase the assistive technology (AT) devices and services they need. The program leverages a small amount of public funding into a large number of loans that strengthen our communities. In addition, the repayment of loans from past borrowers provides funding for future borrowers. Remarkably, even though PATF makes many non-traditional loans, its loan loss rate for the last year is only 2.1%, which is better than the industry nonperformance average.
Through loans valued at more than $36M ($1.5M in 2018) and with over 14,000 Pennsylvanians helped since its founding in 1998, PATF is the only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Pennsylvania that extends consumer loans to individuals with disabilities and their families.
At today’s press conference, PATF released its 2018-2019 Annual Report, demonstrating a continued demand for its financial products. The Report highlights the following noteworthy statistics for 2018-19:
- 278 no-interest or low-interest consumer loans were extended worth $1.5M.
- More than 1,178 people were helped through Information & Assistance (I&A) services.
- 122 trainings were conducted about financial education, funding resources and assistive technology.
Nancy Murray spoke about the importance of helping people with disabilities and family members navigate the complexities of financing their AT needs. She urged everyone to pick up a copy of PATF’s new, comprehensive book, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania. Published in April, 454 people have already downloaded the book from PATF’s website, www.patf.us.
Susan Tachau thanked Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for their long-standing support of PATF. She stated, “We are so grateful to the Governor and our elected officials for making it possible for PATF to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities of all ages and incomes help themselves. Most of our borrowers do not have access to conventional lending markets-and therefore, do not have access to the capital that’s needed to purchase assistive technology. We remain committed to creating programs that are meaningful and respond to our ever-changing world of technology.”
Pennsylvania policymakers spoke about their continued commitment to provide essential public and private funding for the program. Speakers included:
- Senators Camera Bartolotta, Bob Mensch, and Christine Tartaglione; and
- Representatives Sheryl Delozier, Patty Kim, Brandon Markosek, and Melissa Shusterman.
Additional speakers included:
- Ms. D.J. Stemmler, PATF borrower featured in the 2018-2019 Annual Report, stated “PATF was willing to fund the van and the adaptive equipment-something most commercial banks won’t do. Without this loan, I wouldn’t have been able to continue to work.”
- David Gates, Esq., Senior Attorney, PA Health Law Project and PATF Board member, who discussed the importance of integrating financial education into community programming and he encouraged attendance at PATF’s upcoming conference, Vision for the Future: Financial Empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities on October 3, 2019 at the Keystone Building, Harrisburg.
- Matthew Seeley, Esq., Executive Director, PA Statewide Independent Living Council, who discussed blending PATF funding with PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) funds for the purchase of his van so that he could work and be active in the community.
- Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin, PA AgrAbility Project, who talked about PA’s AgrAbility Program, a program that helps farmers with disabilities remain in production agriculture, and their collaboration with PATF.
Nancy Murray closed the press conference by announcing that PATF was honored to be included again in the Governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 in a line item called Assistive Technology Financing (or Devices), within the Department of Labor & Industry. The appropriation supports PATF’s operations on behalf of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes throughout the Commonwealth. PATF is advocating for an increase of $50,000 (total of $500,000) to support the costs associated with outreach and underwriting new loan applications and providing financial education trainings and one-on-one coaching.
SOURCE: news release
“Can We Live Longer but Stay Younger? | With greater longevity, the quest to avoid the infirmities of aging is more urgent than ever.” – The New Yorker
Some view old age not as a fact to be endured but as a disease to be cured.
Illustration by Igor Bastidas
by Adam Gopnik
“Aging, like bankruptcy in Hemingway’s description, happens two ways, slowly and then all at once. The slow way is the familiar one: decades pass with little sense of internal change, middle age arrives with only a slight slowing down—a name lost, a lumbar ache, a sprinkling of white hairs and eye wrinkles. The fast way happens as a series of lurches: eyes occlude, hearing dwindles, a hand trembles where it hadn’t, a hip breaks—the usually hale and hearty doctor’s murmur in the yearly checkup, There are some signs here that concern me.
“To get a sense of what it would be like to have the slow process become the fast process, you can go to the AgeLab, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, and put on agnes (for Age Gain Now Empathy System). agnes, or the ‘sudden aging’ suit, as Joseph Coughlin, the founder and director of the AgeLab describes it, includes yellow glasses, which convey a sense of the yellowing of the ocular lens that comes with age; a boxer’s neck harness, which mimics the diminished mobility of the cervical spine; bands around the elbows, wrists, and knees to simulate stiffness; boots with foam padding to produce a loss of tactile feedback; and special gloves to ‘reduce tactile acuity while adding resistance to finger movements.'”
(MIKE REDDY FOR STAT)
by Mike Reddy
“CLEVELAND — Seven floors, and long odds, were stacked against John S. He was undergoing a test on the first floor of a Cleveland Clinic hospital when his nursing team — on the eighth floor — got a call, telling them the 57-year-old had developed a dangerously rapid heartbeat that was spiraling toward cardiac arrest.
“It is a predicament that often ends badly. Only about 25 percent of U.S. patients survive when their hearts stop in hospitals. Crucial minutes elapse before help arrives, sometimes because alarms are missed amid the din of beeping monitors.
“But the call that day didn’t come from within the hospital. It came from a darkened room in an office park several miles away, where a technician in the clinic’s Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) was watching the patient’s vital signs on a computer monitor and noticed the onset of ventricular tachycardia.”
Continue reading this STAT news article in its entirety, click here.
Long-Awaited Assistive Technology Funding Guide for People with Disabilities and Older Pennsylvanians is Published
“Local organization helps Pennsylvanians navigate complicated process of paying for assistive technology devices and services in a free, user-friendly guide”
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA—Today, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is bringing clarity to the complex process of funding assistive technology (AT) by publishing an easy-to-read guide, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania (http://www.patf.us/fundingyourat/), the first of its kind to be compiled for people with disabilities and seniors in Pennsylvania.
“At PATF, we define assistive technology as any device that helps a person with a disability achieve a more independent and productive life. Examples include a ramp into a home, smart home technology, and hearing aids,” explains Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of PATF. “These devices are critical for many people with disabilities to go to work, live in their own homes, and actively participate in the community.”
The conversation around assistive technology is often centered on new advancements and innovative applications, while consideration for how to pay for this technology remains an afterthought. In fact, one of the leading obstacles for many people in obtaining assistive technology is finding the money to pay for it. And, there are many circumstances to take into account when developing a funding solution. A person’s diagnosis, age, whether or not they are a student, where they live, whether or not they work, their financial situation, and their wants and needs all factor into determining what funding options are available.
The friendly tone of Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania, leads readers through the decision of choosing an appropriate assistive technology device and/or service to developing a funding strategy with simple instructions and sound advice. The Guide suggests: “Look at your objective first and work backwards from there: ‘What am I trying to do?’ and then, ‘What technology or device would best support me in reaching this goal?’ It’s easy to be wooed by fancy marketing and flashy technology, but by focusing attention on the task you are trying to accomplish—the functional skill—you are more likely to find the device that most closely fits your wants and needs.”
Topics covered include:
- What Is Assistive Technology?
- Choosing My Assistive Technology
- Developing a Successful Funding Strategy
- Accessing Assistive Technology Through Home and Community-Based Waiver Programs (including Community HealthChoices)
- A Funding Resource List
- Saving for Assistive Technology: ABLE vs Special Needs Trusts
“This comprehensive guide is an easy-to-use resource for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, seniors, their families, service providers, and legislators. It empowers Pennsylvanians with the knowledge to gain access to devices and services that make independence and autonomy possible,” says Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA and incoming Board President at PATF.
Funding Your Assistive Technology was made possible through a generous grant by The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation of Harrisburg, PA and can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF at: http://www.patf.us/fundingyourat/.
“Older people play an outsized role in civic life. They also are more likely to be online targets for misinformation and hyperpartisan rhetoric.”
by Craig Silverman
“FORT WASHINGTON, Maryland — It’s late morning and roughly 25 senior citizens are learning how to talk to Siri. They pick up their iPads and press the home button, and pings echo around the room as Siri asks what she can do to help.
“‘Siri, what’s the closest coffee shop?’ one woman asks.
“‘Sorry I’m having trouble with the connection, please try again?’ Siri says.
“A handful of employees with AARP, the national nonprofit focused on Americans age 50 and older, hover behind the participants and jump in to help. They’re in Fort Washington, Maryland, to deliver four free workshops about how to use an iPad. Participants learn how to turn it on, what an app is, how to text, and how to flip the camera to take a selfie, among other activities.”