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Meals On Wheels America
This year we teamed up with DoSomething.org, a national website dedicated to students doing positive things for others, through an initiative called Love Letters to have 520 cards made for our seniors. Additionally, the Kiwanis Club along with their affiliates Iroquois Elementary K-Kids, Klein Elementary Library Kids, Harborcreek Builders Club and Circle-K at Penn State – The Behrend College made another 355 cards.
We were so pleasantly surprised to see 875 cards some to our office! With just over 300 clients, each senior client and under 60 client with disabilities will receive from 2 to 3 delightful home made cards! We are grateful to all who participated in this program from across Pennsylvania from the brand new DoSomething.org project and The Kiwanis Club right here in Erie County.
After an informal presentation and discussion of the local landscape for volunteerism in Erie, potential volunteers can network with the organizations represented and learn more about current opportunities. Volunteers say that finding the right opportunity is the biggest barrier to volunteering because they do not always know what organizations need or how their skills could be used.
If you or someone you know is interested in attending the Lunch and Learn (or the organizational seminar) please contact Melissa Fenn at the Nonprofit Partnership 454-8800, ext 2 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 20, 2013 a comprehensive one-hour program called Focus On Aging Adults aired on PCN – Pennsylvania Cable Network. Interviewed were JoAnn Nenow, President of the Meals On Wheels Association Of Pennsylvania, Bill Walsh, PA State AARP Director and Karen Long, PA State Director of Feeding America.
Focus on Aging Adults takes a look at the problems some Pennsylvania seniors have in affording or getting enough food to maintain their health. Find out how to recognize if an aging family member or neighbor may be suffering from problems related to Senior Hunger.
The link to watch this program is http://pcntv.com/2013/11/20/november-20-at-900-pm-senior-hunger/
For 50 years, we have celebrated and honored the achievements of our nation’s older adults during the month of May. This proud tradition was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy who designated May as Senior Citizens Month and encouraged the country to pay tribute to older adults. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate those 65 and older through ceremonies, events and public recognition.
This year’s Older Americans Month theme—“Unleash the Power of Age!”—emphasizes the important role of older adults. This May, communities across the nation will recognize older Americans as productive, active, and influential members of society.
While Metro-Erie Meals On Wheels provides services, support, and resources to older adults year-round, Older Americans Month is a great opportunity to show special appreciation.
What can you do to provide opportunities for elders to come together and share their experiences with one another, or with individuals of other generations? It could be as simple as having dinner with your grandparents! Over 65 yourself? Gather your friends together to celebrate yourselves this month!
Read the Metro-Erie Meals On Wheels Older Americans Proclamation.
$299 Prescription Drug Phone Scam
The Pennsylvania Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) has received calls about a prescription drug phone scam affecting PA seniors. The scammer offers a new prescription drug plan for the low price of $299 per year, then asks for checking account information and social security number (no reputable company or government agency will EVER ask for this information).
Don’t believe anyone who threatens to take away your Medicare benefits if you do not sign up for their plan.
Remember: Never give out your checking account, social security, or Medicare number to someone who calls you. Medicare does not allow prescription drug plans to cold call seniors.
If you get a call like this, protect yourself by hanging up the phone (my Mom doesn’t like hanging up on people. So, she sets the phone down on the counter and cleans something – they’re never there when she picks up the phone again!)
If you believe you may have been the victim of this scam or would like to report another health care scam, call the SMP at CARIE (Center For Advocacy For The Rights And Interest Of The Elderly). They are there to help. A real person will answer your call. No buttons to push or menus to follow. 1-800-356-3606.
Elder abuse and crimes targeting older people are a real issue that come in many forms, including neglect, physical, financial and sexual abuse. Learn how to stay safe and report suspected abusers.
Statewide elder abuse hotline: (800) 490-8505
Any person who believes that an older adult is being abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned may call the elder abuse hotline. The hotline is open 24 hours a day.
GECAC Erie County Elder Abuse Hotlines:
8AM to 4PM weekedays call (814) 459-4581 ext 400 or 480
After hours you can call (814) 451-1520
If you have concerns about the quality of care an older person is receiving from a facility or a caregiver, please call GECAC/Are Agency On Aging for guidance.
Signs of elder abuse – Although these signs do not always mean elder abuse, it is important to be aware that elder abuse can occur at anytime to anyone:
A family of four with a gross annual income of $34,575 qualifies for a grant. A household size of one with a gross annual income of $16,755 qualifies for a grant.
Download this LIHEAP Poster to see a table of qualifying household sizes and requirements and the steps to take to receive assistance.
NY Times reviewer Alexandra Harney notes, “…aging accelerates globalization. As science allows us to live longer and we choose to have fewer children, we will increasingly rely on the more affordable labor of foreigners.”
And…”aging populations and globalization make it easier for companies to engage in ‘age arbitrage,’ trading in their old employees for a younger, cheaper work force elsewhere.”
Filled with witticisms, data, and anecdotes (like the first reported parent and child occupying the same nursing home at the same time in Sarasota, FL) it’s a thought provoking and noteworthy read about the world’s aging population.
Read the New York Times review
View Ted C. Fishman’s video titled. “How Old Is The World’s Population”
Read a review of another book by the author: “China, Inc. How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World.”
Copied below is the full text of a recent press release from Brown University. It references their study which you can download here.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The more states spend on home-delivered meals under the Older Americans Act, the more likely they are to help people who don’t need nursing home care to stay in their homes, according to a newly published Brown University statistical analysis of a decade of spending and nursing home resident data.
“Despite efforts to rebalance long-term care, there are still many nursing home residents who have the functional capacity to live in a less restrictive environment,” wrote gerontology researchers Kali Thomas and Vincent Mor in the journal Health Services Research. “States that have invested in their community-based service networks, particularly home-delivered meals, have proportionally fewer of these people than do those states that have not.”
Nationwide in 2009, 12.6 percent of nursing home residents were considered “low-care,” meaning they did not need much of the suite of services that a nursing home provides. That proportion had declined from 17.9 percent in 2000 because of a variety of efforts, including OAA programs as well as Medicaid-sponsored home- and community-based services (HCBS).
Answering their own doorbell
Lead author Kali Thomas, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer, knows that delivering meals addresses solvable problems — arthritis that makes cooking difficult, limited options for transportation without a car — and supports seniors in their own living quarters.But the percentages every year vary widely between the states. A major reason for that state-to-state variation turns out to be the difference that home-delivered meals can make. The researchers wrote that their analysis boils down to this ratio: For every $25 per year per older adult above the national average that states spend on home-delivered meals, they could reduce their percentage of low-care nursing home residents compared to the national average by 1 percentage point.
Thomas and Mor’s calculations didn’t merely associate each state’s meals spending with its percentage of low-care residents in nursing homes. They also statistically controlled for the overall decline over time and a wide variety of factors that might also have affected the rates. Those factors included state spending on Medicaid HCBS, as well as a variety of long-term care market pressures, such as excess capacity or nursing home reimbursement rates, that could create incentives for nursing homes in different states to pursue or forgo relatively profitable low-care residents.
The data included state spending on OAA programs and performance information from each state between 2000 and 2009 as well as variety of public health and nursing home data sources compiled by Brown University’s Shaping Long-Term Care in America Project. In all, 16,030 nursing homes were included in the research.
After all the analysis, home-based meals, which served more than 868,000 people in fiscal 2010, emerged as the only statistically significant factor among OAA programs that affected state-to-state differences in low-care nursing home population. Home-delivered meals account for the bulk of OAA spending.
Other factors keeping low-care residents out of nursing homes in some states included a high proportion of residents receiving skilled nursing care, which provides nursing homes with higher revenues. Factors that drove more low-care residents of some states into homes included high nursing home capacity and a high percentage of residents with not-so-lucrative Medicaid funding.
Meals mean a lot
Lead author Thomas said that as a Rhode Island Meals on Wheels volunteer and the granddaughter of a Meals on Wheels beneficiary, she was not surprised to see that the program has such a significant impact.
Food delivery as a point of contact
Regular deliveries of food also provide a chance to check in and chat with seniors.Until her grandmother died in October, she was able to live at home despite suffering from macular degeneration that made it impossible for her to cook.
“My 98-year-old granny was able to remain at home, independent in her house until she died, and we have always, even before I did this research, attributed that to Meals on Wheels,” Thomas said. “She lived four hours away from any family and refused to leave her house. We had comfort in knowing that every day someone was in her house to see how things are.”
Drivers, after all, not only bring food every day but also observe the condition of their clients. If the elderly beneficiary doesn’t answer a delivery, drivers report that. The volunteers therefore provide food and a “safety check” for many older adults.
For retired journalist and state worker Bill McNamara, 90, of Warwick, R.I., Meals on Wheels helps because he and his wife Catherine, also 90, have developed arthritis in recent years that makes food preparation too difficult. Since 2009 they have lived in an in-law unit of their son’s house, but because his son and daughter-in-law both work, McNamara said, asking them to prepare all their meals would be a significant burden.
Instead, Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island provides that service, McNamara said. The food is great and the drivers work hard to ensure consistent and timely delivery, he said. They even faithfully worked around the recent obstacle of the road being closed for a time.
“We feel it’s even better than we would have anticipated,” McNamara said. “We look forward to hearing the bell ring.”
For many seniors, especially those who don’t live with such a supportive family like the McNamaras, research shows that meal delivery is what allows them to remain where the ring of the doorbell is for their own door.
The National Institute on Aging (grant PO1AG027296) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (grant 5T32HS000011) supported the research.