Thursday, January 25, 2007

Two Press Releases on PA Senior Issues

On January 24, 2007, two press releases were issued & posted by the Department of Aging on matters initiated by Governor Edward G. Rendell that will affect seniors in Pennsylvania.

One announced funding for renovations & studies at
senior centers, and a second announced the creation of a new position -- the Deputy Secretary for Long Term Living -- to function with the Governor's existing Council on Long-Term Care.

The first press release, entitled Governor Rendell Announces $4 Million in Grants to 153 Senior Centers, announced that 153 senior centers in the Commonwealth would be "revitalized" by improvements funded by grants of varying amounts.

Governor Rendell said the funds will finance necessary repairs, renovations and new equipment at the centers, helping to meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s changing population of older adults.

Department of Aging Secretary Nora Dowd Eisenhower said some centers will receive grants to study how to attract, and better serve, new clients.

"Many forward-thinking senior community centers are working to attract members of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, some of whom may mistakenly think senior centers have little to offer them," Eisenhower said. "By investing strategically, and carefully planning ahead, we can ensure that senior centers will continue to be healthy and vibrant contributors to our communities."
Very impressive to me in that Press Release is the listing of the 153 individual senior centers, located (by my count) in 56 counties, that will benefit from the grants. Such senior centers serve many effectively. See my prior postings Ornament (not Organ) Donations Sought and Seniors Salute Soldier.

The second press release, Governor Rendell Names New Deputy to Lead Improvements in Long Term Living Systems and Services, announces the appointment of Mike Hall "to lead the commonwealth’s efforts to expand and strengthen Pennsylvania’s long term living system."

He will serve as Deputy Secretary for Long Term Living, and be responsible for coordinating the extensive network of state-supported long-term living services that are currently funded and administered by the Department of Aging and the Department of Public Welfare.

"As part of my Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform initiative, I am creating this new position and bringing in a talented and proven leader to boost the quality, cost effectiveness and breadth of options available to Pennsylvanians who need long term living services and supports," Governor Rendell said.

"We want to maximize every dollar we invest in the long term living system to ensure that low- and moderate-income seniors and adults with disabilities can receive the services and supports they need, in the right setting." * * *

At Governor Rendell's direction, the commonwealth has already taken significant steps to improve the long term living system, including dramatically expanding home and community-based options, implementing a successful and innovative nursing home transition program, and creating the inter-agency Long Term Living Council to provide strategic direction to the ongoing reform efforts.
I conclude that, in the year 2007, health care and senior services will continue to be a target of the Rendell administration's thought & energy.

* * *

Post Script: I realized, upon my review of this posting, that I was narrowly adhering to the Julian calendar year in making the last statement about the year 2007.

But, did you know that, according to the Chinese calendar, the year 2006
remains in effect until our Julian date of February 18, 2007?

(year begins on 2/18/2007)
(1/29/2006 - 2/17/2007)
Have I wandered off, or what!?!

Well, as long as I'm here, do you know what is special about 2006 on the Chinese calendar? On that calendar, the year 2006 contained a leap month. Yes, in a Chinese "leap year", instead of adding just one "leap day" in February as we do under the Julian calendar, an entire "leap month" is added. It is very complicated, and the explanation draws upon ancient concepts, as described here.

Aren't you glad you know?

Update: 01/29/07:

In the Daily Item (Lewisburg, PA), on January 27, 2007, columnist
Why are baby boomers avoiding senior centers? -- Study launched to find answer". Following are the leading paragraphs from his article:
Do you know any baby boomers who hang out at the local senior center? The odds are you don't.

But as people of a certain generation get older, those who provide services to senior citizens are bracing for an increase in business, knowing full well that the existing network of senior centers aren't very inviting to those who came of age in the 1960s and are now in their 60s.

"The median age of people who visit our senior centers is 80," said Farida Zaid, the former director of the Union-Snyder Area Agency on Aging.

For those who are just becoming senior citizens, "even the name — senior centers — has negative connotations," she said.

Down the road, the agency will likely scrap the senior center name for something more palatable to its younger clients, Ms. Zaid said.

She is now working on planning and development for that agency, . . . * * *
It is a good article about a very forward-thinking senior center in Central Pennsylvania imagining itself into its future.