Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Helping to make a hard day a little more “bear”able

A few months ago, I brought up the idea to my children to raise enough money for each of us to donate a filled duffel bag to a child in foster care.

You see, most of the children who have come to our home arrived with their items in a garbage bag.

After we decided to take on this project, we shared the idea with friends. We also presented it to our Sunday School program. And what began as a project to gather enough items for six bags turned into an amazing project that raised enough for 37 of them!

November 2015 (1) 219

Reaching rural communities a prime goal of PrimeTime Health

For older adults who live in rural areas—such as Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and who prefer not to venture far from home, PrimeTime Health offers classes in a number of community settings, reaching people where they live.

For example, our “Healthy Steps” classes take place in a variety of community settings, including senior community centers and even department stores. As a result, I have seen so many people benefit from this program designed to reduce people’s chances of falling. Developed by the state Department of Aging and the University of California at Berkley, the program is a proven way to reduce this risk, with the two-session series including a personal risk assessment, a balance evaluation, exercise and a home safety checklist. Think of the significant impact a serious fall can have on a frail older adult—and you can easily visualize how important such a program can be!

In our area, we also offer a “Healthier Living with Diabetes” class that runs for six weeks. Brand-new to Schuylkill County in 2016, the program, which was developed by Stanford University, covers topics such as managing symptoms, exercise, medication and working with health-care providers.

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Veterans specialist finds helping vets not only rewarding, but also a duty

The situation was somewhat unusual. The woman had been married to a veteran who had died on active duty—in 1948! She had been drawing a veterans benefit called DIC after he passed away, but then remarried and the benefits were terminated.

Later her second husband died and she developed disabilities that required personal care. But because she could no longer remember many of the details, I interviewed her family and began research to determine information on her first husband. With the assistance of personnel at the VA Regional Office in Philadelphia, we were able to identify the veteran, obtain the necessary information, file a claim and get benefits awarded for her.

Further, we were able to secure CHAMP-VA health-care coverage for her, meaning she did not have to obtain a separate supplemental health-care policy, saving her considerable funds.

I took these steps because I believe that making sure that veterans and their spouses receive the benefits to which they are entitled isn’t just a priority—it’s our duty.

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Seniors sharing compassion and creating connections

Even in retirement many people remain active in their communities, especially as volunteers. Our Diakon Senior Living Services campuses are home to many of these caring individuals. Two Twining Village residents offer their experiences on why they share their time and talents with others in need of compassion and connection…

I really had no background or training in volunteering when I came to Twining Village in May 2014, but I’ve been glad to be able to serve. I actually started as soon as I got here.

I visit the residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related illnesses and say the Rosary and the Our Father with them. But I don’t just say it and leave; I stay until I make contact. I touch their arms or look into their eyes. They may not be able to talk, but I’m sure many of them appreciate knowing they have someone there just for them.