Tuesday, August 21, 2007

PA Aging Dept Unveils New Resource Website

On August 20, 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging issued a Press Release, entitled "Department of Aging's New Web Site Offers Help For Older Adults, Families", which "announced it has launched a new Web site designed specifically to help older Pennsylvanians and their loved ones more easily find information about available programs and services."

The Press Release, which was listed on PA PowerPort (the Internet portal for Pennsylvania's state government), quoted
Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower in the announcement:

People, including a growing number of older adults, rely on the Internet for answers.

Now when anyone needs information about issues facing older adults, the Department of Aging’s new Web site will be the best place for them to start,” said Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower.

“Our new Web site will help older Pennsylvanians find the support and services they need to remain healthy and independent.”

Through the site,
www.aging.state.pa.us, visitors can learn how to contact Pennsylvania’s local Area Agencies on Aging, which are community organizations staffed by workers who are skilled in geriatrics, social work and are knowledge about local programs for older adults.

The site provides information on long-term living, how to report and recognize elder abuse, application information for Pennsylvania’s PACE/PACENET prescription drug benefit program, where to find legal advice for older adults, how to get help with utility bills, health and wellness tips, volunteer opportunities and more.

“Nearly everyone can benefit from using our Web site. Pennsylvania’s large population of older adults will find information on issues specific to them, as well as information helpful to their friends, family members and even their neighbors,” said Eisenhower.

“Ensuring the safety and well-being of an older person can often involve a network of people, and I hope that our new Web site provides easy access to the help and support that they need.” * * *
The website for the PA DoA technically is not "new". PA DoA has sponsored a public website regarding its activities & services for many years. The Internet address for that website & its link from PA PowerPort remain the same.

Instead, PA DoA's website is
significantly redesigned. It is "refreshed" to be more user-friendly and consumer-capable. This refresh-ment is welcome.

The main topics, which are listed in the left side column of the website's home page, organize its contents from a top view:
As a main topic is selected, the side-banner remains in view, but sub-topics are revealed. This aids navigation around the website. You can, of course, conduct a search of the website's contents.

Clicking a button labeled "
Professionals & Providers" reveals information relevant to these folks, as opposed to consumers.

Overall, the redesign is a nice upgrade to an already content-rich website. This "facelift" is important to senior users, who require particular visual design features.
See: "Designing websites with senior citizens in mind", posted April 3, 2005, by Emily Shartin, of the Boston Globe.

Unveiling of this redesigned website shows the attention paid by the PA DoA to public needs.

Another such sign was the issuance that same day (August 20, 2007) of the Department's latest
Newsletter (Issue 18, Summer, 2007 (PDF, 12 pages), entitled "Secretary's Notes to the Aging Services Network". Past Newsletters issued by the Department are available here.

The current
Newsletter contains these articles:
  • 2007-2008 State Budget News: Assisted-Living Signed into Law, Prescription for Pennsylvania Moves Forward
  • Older Adults, Pennsylvanians Will Benefit From Historic Assisted-Living Legislation
  • Prescription for Pennsylvania: Healing the Health Care System Symposium a Success
  • Make Your Voices Heard; AARP Lobby Day
  • Make Your Voices Heard; PA Association of Senior Centers Rally in Harrisburg
  • On the Road Again, Protective Services Specialists Resume Statewide Visits
  • PEERS Recognized for Their Dedication to Residents Rights: PEER Day 2007
  • Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended
  • Senior Center Study Data is Released
  • Conference Aims to Help Family Caregivers
  • PDA Employees Assist With Prescription for Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania Businesses, Individual Awarded for Outstanding Employment Contributions
  • Out and About With the Secretary
  • A Tribute to Charlie Kane
You may note that, in its Newsletters, the Department refers to itself as the "PDA", rather than the abbreviation I use -- the "DoA". Why do you think that is their preference? And, should I change?

By whatever name, the Department is responding vigorously to its challenges.