Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Department of Aging, and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' (DMVA) Counterdrug Joint Task Force (CJTF) joined officials from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to encourage Pennsylvanians to take part in the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day initiative this Saturday, October 23. <br><br>"Unused or unwanted medication left inside the home is a potential hazard that can lead to drug misuse, drug addiction or lethal overdose," said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. "In an older person's home, these risks can be amplified. These medications can be stolen, sold, or abused by others for whom they were not prescribed. They can be accidentally ingested or abused by other family members including children. We encourage older adults, their family and caregivers to consider these risks and take proper action to discard unused or unwanted medications."
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) reminds consumers that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries begins today, Friday, October 15, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits takes effect January 1, 2022.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) today hosted a news conference to acknowledge the Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) volunteers, the known and trusted community resource for Medicare information for Pennsylvania's Medicare beneficiaries.
Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres and Susan Neff, the department's representative for the National Falls Free Coalition, recently participated in the inaugural Falls Prevention Event hosted by the Berks County Falls Free Coalition. The event provided resources including health screenings and exercises, as well as information on nutrition, mental health and wellness to individuals age 55 and older on how they can prevent falls, trips and improve their balance.
At the Westmoreland Food Bank today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Second Lady Gisele Fetterman joined Pennsylvania's anti-hunger organizations and food banks to announce a new partnership with DoorDash to have healthy, nutritious meals delivered to homebound seniors in need.<br><br>The initiative, unveiled during Hunger Action Month, is designed to remove barriers and increase enrollment in the underutilized Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program, which provides life-sustaining meal deliveries and nutrition services to eligible older Pennsylvanians.<br><br>Hunger-Free Pennsylvania also recently launched a pilot with PACE and PACENET, Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults. Because eligibility requirements for prescription assistance and the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program mirror each other so closely, the organizations are able to capture people seeking low-cost prescription medication and bring them into the charitable food program. Since its launch this summer, the effort has already drawn more than 2,800 applications for food boxes provided by nine different regional food banks.<br>
To help protect vulnerable residents, Department of Health Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter today set the expectation for all of Pennsylvania's skilled nursing facilities (SNF), also referred to as nursing homes, to have at least 80 percent of staff vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 1, 2021. Currently in Pennsylvania, 12.5 percent of facilities have staff vaccinated at or above 80 percent, which is not enough from a public health perspective to prevent future outbreaks of the virus.<br><br>"Nursing home residents have been disproportionately impacted by this virus," said Margaret Barajas, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. "The commonwealth's leadership in prioritizing their safety through this focused effort to get more staff vaccinated is a critical next step to protecting our most vulnerable residents from a potentially deadly infectious disease. We have an ethical imperative to do this. They're counting on us."
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) has launched its first-ever marketing campaign to promote its Shared Housing and Resource Exchange Program, also known as SHARE. <br><br>SHARE is an affordable housing choice that brings together home hosts who have extra room in their home with home seekers who are looking for housing, in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both. Now in its fourth year, SHARE is currently available in Pike, Wayne, Monroe, Venango, Crawford, Adams, Union, and Snyder counties, with planning underway for expansion into additional counties.<br>
Wolf Administration officials today shared proposed nursing home regulations focused on increasing the quality of care received by residents by increasing the minimum direct care hours by 1.4 more hours each day. The current skilled nursing facility regulations have not been updated since 1999.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) announced that as of July 1, the PA State Health Insurance Assistance Program, formerly known as APPRISE, has now been renamed Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight, or PA MEDI. Pennsylvania's Medicare beneficiaries will receive the same services under the same program, just under a new name.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A), announced that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to expand the Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) across the commonwealth.
First Lady Frances Wolf, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Aging Secretary Robert Torres joined a group of older Pennsylvanians at Crispus Attucks Active Living Center in York to hear their first-hand experiences with Pennsylvania's food assistance programs – they shared what they enjoy, what could be improved, their ideal program offerings, and barriers to knowledge of or access to programs.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) announced a bill sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback and signed into law by Governor Wolf that will expand eligibility and allow flexibility in the administration of Pennsylvania's Caregiver Support Program (CSP). The program provides support to caregivers – including caregivers of older adults, grandparents raising grandchildren, and older caregivers of adults living with a disability – with the purpose of alleviating stress and promoting well-being to help sustain a healthy ongoing caregiving relationship.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA), joined by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and other members of a public-private task force, held a media briefing to provide an overview of its work and announce a series of recommendations, focused on multi-disciplinary approaches, to help prevent financial exploitation of older adults and to effectively respond to incidents of financial exploitation.
The Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Health today encouraged all Pennsylvanians to educate themselves on the importance of brain health, and to learn about Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.
At the Open-Air Farmers Market at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg today, Wolf Administration officials reminded Pennsylvania's low-income seniors and WIC recipients to obtain and use their vouchers from the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) to purchase fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and herbs from FMNP-approved farmers at farmers markets and farm stands across the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today encouraged Medicare beneficiaries to make the most of their preventive benefits that could help them save money and live healthier lives through preventive care. The department recently launched a five-week media campaign to promote awareness of these benefits.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today announced it has received a three-year $270,295 grant from the Administration of Community Living to expand its Healthy IDEAS (Identify Depression and Empowering Activities for Seniors) Program within Pennsylvania's Area Agencies on Aging to better identify and address depression symptoms among older adults. <br><br>Pennsylvania is the first state to independently train and administer the Healthy IDEAS program, an evidence-based depression self-management program that brings together the aging network and the mental/behavioral health community to achieve significant benefits for older adults and their families who may be dealing with depression.<br>
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs recently partnered with the Department of Aging on successful webinars geared toward educating veteran advocates on how to identify and properly report abuse, neglect or exploitation of older veterans.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman today announced the dates and topics for the upcoming Virtual Family Council (VFC) meetings in June.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today announced that older adults who will soon be turning 65 and are not yet enrolled in Medicare can attend a free virtual event to learn about their healthcare coverage options when enrolling for Medicare.
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Aging Secretary Robert Torres today joined seniors at Kings Terrace to announce steps to increase access to Pennsylvania's Senior Food Boxes, a supplemental food program available free to lower income seniors. Giving the program a new name and removing proof of income requirements are among the barriers to participation the state is removing, with the goal of encouraging seniors to take advantage of the program.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, joined the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley and Greater Pennsylvania Chapters for a virtual event focused on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their impact on women.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today announced that its PACE prescription assistance program, working together with Walmart, has helped more than 25,000 older Pennsylvanians get a vaccination appointment.
With the pandemic creating unprecedented challenges over the past year, Governor Tom Wolf is honoring state employees who went above and beyond this year with Governor's Awards for Excellence. Margaret Barajas, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, is being recognized for going above and beyond in her duties to protect and advocate for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is among 51 employees from 10 agencies who will receive awards during a virtual ceremony on May 5 for extraordinary accomplishments in 2020.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman today announced the dates and topics for the upcoming Virtual Family Council (VFC) meetings in May.
As Pennsylvania continues its accelerated COVID-19 vaccination plan, Pennsylvanians who are not able to leave their homes must be reached, and various state agencies and community groups are helping.<br><br>"The Department of Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are committed to helping all segments of Pennsylvania's older adult population obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, including those older adults for whom leaving their home to get a vaccine is either impossible or highly impractical," said Aging Secretary Robert Torres. "Addressing the needs of these seniors is an issue that requires us to mobilize and collaborate to fit the needs and resources of each community. AAAs have been doing a great job collaborating with community partners to help older adults obtain their vaccine appointments."
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today announced that in compliance with federal requirements, it will be updating its formula for how Pennsylvania distributes federal funds authorized by the Older Americans Act, among the 52 Area Agencies on Aging that serve the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today continued to encourage older adults seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment to contact their local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for any assistance they may need in scheduling an appointment. The AAAs have been working with vaccine providers to arrange appointments for older adults eligible in Phase 1A of the commonwealth's vaccine plan after the Department of Health (DOH) issued an amended order in March.
An amended Department of Health order indicating that certain vaccine providers must work with local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to schedule vaccination appointments for older adults eligible in Phase 1A of the state's vaccination plan is reaping measurable results, as reported to the Department of Aging.<br><br>On a media briefing call today, the department was joined by several AAAs who described progress made on their vaccination waiting lists, as well as continuing partnership efforts to help every older adult in their local service area who wants a vaccine to get one. <br>
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman today announced the dates and topics for the upcoming Virtual Family Council (VFC) meetings in April.