September 7, 2018 – SAVE THE DATE | 6th Annual Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center Community Mental Health Summit

VA mh summit save the date

Friday Wrap-Up, July 13, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


“Patient reports suggest it’s better to avoid catheters” – Futurity

catheters(Credit: Getty Images)

“More than half of hospital patients who get a urinary catheter experienced a complication, in-depth interviews and chart reviews from more than 2,000 patients show.

“The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, puts large-scale evidence behind what many hospital patients already know: Having a urinary catheter may help empty the bladder—but it can also be painful, lead to urinary tract infections, and cause other issues in the hospital and beyond.”

Continue reading this article at, click here.



Free publications about suicide offered by SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

after an attempt

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has provided several helpful documents for persons interested or involved with suicide.

A Guide to Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department

SAMHSA has published an update to this guide that offers information about what to expect in the emergency room, and how to take care of yourself and your family member following a suicide attempt. This guide is also available in Spanish language.

A Guide to Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department

SAMHSA has published an update to this guide that offers strategies for taking care of yourself after treatment in the emergency department for a suicide attempt. The guide also offers ways to connect with other suicide attempt survivors. This guide is also available in Spanish language.

A Guide for Medical Providers in the Emergency Department Taking Care of Suicide Attempt Survivors

SAMHSA has published an update to this brochure that offers emergency department providers tips for enhancing treatment for people who have attempted suicide. It also offers information about communicating with families, HIPAA, patient discharge, and resources for medical professionals, patients, and their families.

“For Owners and Renters, Home Modification Assistance can be a Lifeline” – How Housing Matters


by Maya Brennan

“Are there any steps? How wide are the doorways? Any narrow corners to navigate? How high are the counters and light switches? Searching for an accessible home to buy or rent can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it’s something that a growing number of people need to do.

“The ease of movement that many people take for granted is far from universal.  Around 1 out of every 14 people in the United States has mobility challenges. The likelihood of mobility impairments rises to 1 in 6 among people ages 65 to 74, and then 1 in 3 among people ages 75 and older. Already, more than 17 million US households include a person with a mobility impairment. With an expected doubling of the senior population by 2060, more homes will need to be accessible to ensure disabled residents’ independence and to accommodate mobility-impaired visitors.”

Read this entire article, click here.



Department of Human Services Announces Successful Transition of Hamburg State Center Residents to Community-Based Settings

dhs logo

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced the Hamburg State Center for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities will officially close on August 3, 2018. The closure of Hamburg Center will come 19 months after the January 11, 2017, announcement of the planned closure of the facility, which is in Berks County. There were 80 individuals living at the center in January 2017.

“Research shows that when an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability lives in a community setting, quality of life improves, and more opportunities arise for social participation, community integration, relationships with family and friends, and employment,” said DHS Secretary Miller. “Transitioning residents of the Hamburg State Center will help them grow and thrive in new ways and sets the foundation for a long-term increased quality of life.”

The Hamburg closure is part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to reduce reliance on institutional care, serve more people in the community, and most importantly, make it possible for people to live an everyday life, as their fellow citizens do.

Growth in community services around the commonwealth is making it possible for individuals residing in institutional settings to move to the community and for individuals on waiting lists to get services they need to fully participate in community life.

Community-based living increases quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Being involved in community life creates opportunities for new experiences and interests, the potential to develop friendships, and the ability to make a contribution to the community. An interdependent life, where people with and without disabilities are connected, enriches the lives of everyone.

The Office of Administration, Human Resources, and Labor Relations have been able to secure employment opportunities for the majority of the 351 employees who were employed at Hamburg Center. Most of the employees have either transferred to other commonwealth employment opportunities or have retired.

SOURCE: news release

“Shelter Design Can Help People Recover From Homelessness” – CityLab

“Many homeless shelters are designed to house as many people as possible—not to empower them while they’re there.”

Clean linens, blankets and pillows sit on the beds in a dormitory for homeless men at the Pine Street Inn, in BostonClean linens, blankets and pillows sit on the beds in a dormitory for homeless men at the Pine Street Inn in Boston on January 5, 2018. Brian Snyder/Reuters

by Jill Pable

“Some 544,000 people in the United States have no shelter every night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Families make up more than one-third of this total.

“Beyond exposing them to weather, crime, and unsanitary conditions, homelessness can also damage people’s self-esteem, making them feel helpless or hopeless. Being homeless is a traumatic experience, in part because of the associated stigma.

“Recovering from homelessness may therefore involve not just finding a job and permanent home but also rebuilding one’s self-esteem.”

Click here to read this City Lab article in its entirety.

“Teenage Girl Helps a Blind and Deaf Passenger and Wins Praise for Doing ‘Something Beautiful’” – The New York Times

deaf-blind Clara Daly, 15, “communicating with Mr. Cook during their Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Portland, Ore.” – Credit Diane Scott

by Christina Caron

“The teenage girl was headed to California, and the man to Oregon. They weren’t supposed to be on the same flight, but their chance encounter came to be widely known and celebrated.

“The girl, Clara Daly, 15, and her mother were traveling home to Calabasas, Calif., and had planned to fly nonstop from Boston to Los Angeles. Their flight was canceled, so Alaska Airlines booked them on another flight with a layover in Portland, Ore.

“That’s how Clara ended up meeting Tim Cook, 64. Mr. Cook, who is deaf and blind, wasn’t able to communicate easily with the flight attendants.”

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

Villages | “For some seniors, a cultural shift and a vital volunteerism” – The Boston Globe

villages“Nauset Neighbors volunteer Frank Bridges, 66, changed the batteries in a smoke detector for Ann Miller, 79, seated with Judy Gordon, on July 3.” – Christine Hochkeppel for the Boston Globe

by Robert Weisman

“BREWSTER — When it got too hot for her to sleep with a fan and she could no longer lift her air conditioner, 79-year-old Ann Miller turned to her village.

“Not her bayside town on the Lower Cape, but Nauset Neighbors, a grass-roots network of seniors dedicated to helping other seniors live independently. The volunteer members of Nauset, one of more than 15 self-styled “villages” statewide, draw inspiration from the ethic of small-town New England life in an earlier era, when folks looked after one another.

“Miller’s request for help was answered by Frank Bridges, who pulled up to her modest town house in his pickup truck on a sweltering July morning. Bridges, 66, a retired banker who lives across town, greeted Miller and went straight to work. He removed her window screen, set the air conditioner in place, and screwed it in securely. Before he left, Bridges, who is 6-foot-5, also replaced three of her smoke alarm batteries without aid of a stepladder.”

Read this Boston Globe article in its entirety – click here.

In Lancaster County, Lancaster Downtowners is a village concept. “Downtowners are organizing to provide cost effective services for themselves and others who desire to remain in their homes and urban neighborhoods rather than move to more conventional retirement communities.”

“How ‘villages’ help seniors age at home”The Brookings Institution

The Village to Village Network is the essential tool that enables community members to build and sustain thriving Villages. The Network creates interactions that connect Villages with resources, education and expertise.”

“Family Caregivers Exchange Tips, Share Stories To Ease Alzheimer’s Losses” – NPR

FAMILY CAREGIVERTang Yau Hoong/Ikon Images/Getty Images

by Blake Farmer

“Vicki Bartholomew started a support group for wives who are caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s disease because she needed that sort of group herself.

“They meet every month in a conference room at a new memory care facility in Nashville, Tenn., called Abe’s Garden, where Bartholomew’s husband was one of the first residents — a Vietnam veteran and prominent attorney in Nashville.

“‘My husband’s still living, and now I’m in an even more difficult situation — I’m married, but I’m a widow,’ she says.

“These women draw the shades and open up to each other in ways they can’t with their lifelong friends.”

Continue reading this article at NPR.