“‘Your mouth becomes a minefield’: the Americans who can’t afford the dentist” – The Guardian

“Pandemic job cuts have meant many people have no insurance to pay for dental work – and the poorest are hardest hit”

older persons dentistryMillions 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.”

Continue reading this article at The Guardian, click here.

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”

“7 Early Warning Signs of Dementia You Shouldn’t Ignore” – AARP

“How to spot early indicators that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s or dementia.”


by Patrick J. Kiger

“From age 50 on, it’s not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things.

“But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs that something more serious is happening to a loved one’s brain.

“Dementia isn’t actually a disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a catch-all term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. Dementia can diminish focus, the ability to pay attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. It also can make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and lead to personality changes.

“More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, according to a 2021 report by the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60 percent to 70 percent of cases, but a range of brain illnesses can lead to the condition (see sidebar, ‘Diseases that cause dementia’).”

Click here to read this article at AARP in its entirety.

“Covid Forces Families to Rethink Nursing Home Care” – The New York Times

“Even with vaccines, many older people and their relatives are weighing how to manage at-home care for those who can no longer live independently.”

rethink nursing homesCredit … Kristian Thacker for The New York Times

by Reed Abelson

“At 86, Diane Nixon, living in an apartment at the back of a daughter’s house, no longer drives and has trouble getting around.

“When her health worsened last year before the coronavirus pandemic, she and all four of her daughters talked about whether a nursing home would be the next step. She worried that she had become a burden to her children.

“’She was very adamant about not wanting her daughters to be caregivers,’ said Jill Cooper, one of her daughters, who lives nearby in the Pittsburgh area.

“But as infections began to tear through nursing homes across the country, killing tens of thousands of residents last year, Ms. Nixon and her family realized a group home was no longer a viable choice. Especially after most of them barred visitors to help contain outbreaks.

“’Not to be able to see her was not an option for us,’ Ms. Cooper said, so the family contacted a local home health agency to hire someone to help her during the day.”

Continue reading this New York Times article, click here.

“7 Steps for Widows and Widowers to Manage Their First Year Alone” – next avenue

“Legal and financial moves to take care of yourself and your loved ones.”

for widowsCredit: Getty

by Anna Byrne

“Nothing quite prepares you for the dark and debilitating grief of losing a spouse or life partner. The beginning of every widow or widower’s journey is about picking up the pieces and finding the strength to keep going even when your ‘other half’ has passed.

“I know firsthand the kind of extreme sadness that can overwhelm you, as I became a widow after losing my husband when I was just 28.

“This life experience taught me that life is unpredictable, underscored the importance of planning for the future and has inspired me to help others plan and navigate such loss.

“The first year of being a widow or widower is about living in memory of a loved one, but the next chapter is about remembering to live your own life.”

Keep reading this article at next avenue, click here.

“He Asked Strangers About Things They Regret Not Saying. The Replies Were Cathartic” – NPR


“The notes that really strike me are the ones that are talking directly to me or addressed to me,” Geloy Concepcion said about the submissions to his project. “These entries are not just confiding … they are talking directly from one human being to another. Every time I get those, they remind me that behind every note submitted is someone hoping I will read and listen to their sentiment.”Geloy Concepcion

by Julia Weng and Michele Abercrombie

“In 2018, Geloy Concepcion was going through a difficult time, having just immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area from his home in Manila, Philippines. While his wife began working at a local café, he bore the responsibility of taking care of their daughter, leaving little time for his passion for photography.

“‘In the Philippines, I shot almost every day. And then when we moved here, my wife only had two days off. She said, “Maybe you can just use one day to go around and take pictures.” So my 365 days of taking pictures became like 48 days a year.’

“It was a change that led Concepcion to turn inwards, setting him on an unexpected path to exploring the sometimes harrowing and overwhelming feelings that can accompany loneliness — in his own life at first, and then in the lives of others following the onset of the pandemic. Nearly a year-and-a-half later, those reflections are the focus of a new collection from Concepcion called Things You Wanted To Say But Never Did.”

Read this NPR article in its entirety, click here.


“Should You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card Laminated? | Tips for safeguarding the paper record of your coronavirus vaccination” – AARP


by Katherine Skiba

“Congratulations, you’ve been inoculated against the coronavirus — and you have an official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to prove it.

“You should keep the card, which bears your name, date of birth, vaccine type and vaccination date, in a safe place. You may need it in the future. You should also take a photo of the card as a backup, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises.

“Here’s what you shouldn’t do with your vaccine card: Laminate it.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at AARP.org.

May is Older Americans Month!

older americans month

Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The theme for 2021 is “Communities of Strength.” 

Older adults have built resilience and strength over their lives through successes, failures, joys, and difficulties. Their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others. This OAM, we will celebrate the strength of older adults and the Aging Network, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.

There are many things we all can do to nurture ourselves, reinforce our strength, and continue to thrive. Connecting with others is one of the most important—it plays a vital role in our health and well-being, and in that of our communities. From finding joy in small things and sharing our stories, to looking at the big picture and giving to others, join us in promoting the ways we are connected and strong.

The ACL has created a website that provides activity ideas, social media resources and other materials to help you observe Older Americans Month.


“Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward”

dementia and caregivers

“At a time when unprecedented numbers of people are enjoying more years of life, this report of the National  Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine describing a way forward for meeting the challenges of persons  living with dementia and their care partners and caregivers could not be more timely and welcome. A previous  National Academies study addressed the evidence on interventions to prevent or slow cognitive decline and dementia.

“The committee that conducted the present study was charged with reporting on evidence regarding interventions aimed at improving care for persons living with dementia and their care partners and caregivers. Both of these reports emanated from a widely shared desire to avoid dreading living to old age rather than approaching a long life as a reward for a life well lived.

In the waning decades of the 20th century, when the research world “discovered” late-life Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of research to understand and address it, this developing field also recognized the need for quality improvement in caring for persons living with dementia, as well as their care partners and caregivers. Early advances  led to findings that essentially helped reduce harm caused by unfortunately common practices in the care of persons with late-stage dementia. Examples included use of mechanical restraining devices (as exemplified by so-called “Geri-chairs”) and chemical restraints, such as harmful overuse of antipsychotics. Today, Geri-chairs are virtually outlawed, and a recent report of the Lancet Commission documents declining use of antipsychotics. Likewise, harmful practices
designed to sustain life, such as the use of feeding tubes and some other forced-feeding techniques, have declined significantly. Yet, while these changes represent progress, they can best be viewed as harm reduction due to existing practices.

Click on the graphic to continue reading by downloading the report.

dementia caregivers

“CVS To Offer In-Store Mental Health Counseling.” – NPR

cva mental health

“CVS is adding mental health counseling to the services offered at about a dozen of its stores with HealthHUBs in Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.”David J. Phillip/AP

by Yuki Nocuchi

“Barber shop owner Angela Miller always hears about clients’ family dysfunctions and financial struggles, but that’s especially been the case during the pandemic.

“‘You hear everything,’ she says. Lost jobs. Lost family. She says she can very much relate.

“‘My business had to shut down for about four months, and I wasn’t really financially prepared for that,’ says Miller, who says she normally pays bills ahead of time.

“Her entire family caught COVID-19 early in the pandemic, and Miller, a 50-year-old single mom living in Philadelphia, almost died. Being socially isolated also stirred up past childhood trauma, she says. So this year, she finally sought help.

“But the first therapist she contacted didn’t return her call for a month, only to tell her that the next available appointment would take another month.

“‘And I said, “You need to change your practice because for somebody reaching out, they could be suicidal,” she says.

“Eventually, Miller connected with a therapist in an unorthodox place: her local CVS.”

Read this article in its entirety at NPR, click here.

Carol Davies, Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging administrator, is featured in “The More You Know” Link interview series.

carol davies

Carol Davies (above left), Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging administrator, elaborates on the array of services offered by that agency in this episode of “The More You Know.”

Margie Degler-Pizarro interviewed Carol and this interview is posted now here:


This interview is one of a series of YouTube interviews with Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Service Area 13 partner agencies. If your agency / entity / organization is a Link partner and you would like to be a “The More You Know” featured interview subject, call / text or email the Link coordinator: 717.380.9714 – blllink@mail.com.