Friday, January 13, 2012

Smart Talk Features PA Aging Secretary

On Friday, January 13, 2012, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Brian Duke (accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Kevin Hancock), was interviewed for an hour on WITF-FM Radio's Smart Talk, about the changing and growing needs for the Commonwealth's aged population.

The discussion revolved around the federally-required State Plan for Aging to be prepared by the Department for the four-year period extending to 2016, when 22.5% -- nearly one of four -- of Pennsylvanians will be over the age of 65.

Development of a new State Plan was announced on November 2, 2011, in a Press Release entitled Department of Aging Begins Work on 2012-2016 State Plan on Aging, which noted that "[t]he process will include focus groups, town meetings and public hearings."

There will be changes and expansions beyond the 2008-2012 PA State Plan for Aging, which was explained by the Department in a presentation during its past development.  The successor State Plan likely will address broadened medical concerns, innovative long-term care, growing involvement of private and charitable service providers, and increasing need for elder protective services.

Secretary Duke spoke clearly, knowledgeably, and openly on every concern raised by the host and by various callers.  He demonstrated, through his impromptu responses, that he is highly qualified and experienced to lead the Department, as suggested by his posted biography:
Prior to his nomination by Governor Tom Corbett, Duke served as Director of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging. Before that he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, a statewide public charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of older persons.

Prior to his work with the Foundation, Duke served as a consultant working with the U.S. Administration on Aging and the AARP Foundation in the development of statewide care giving coalitions in 12 states. He also co-chaired the Caring Community, a coalition of over 100 organizations convened by WHYY, the public broadcasting station serving the greater Philadelphia region. * * * [Linnks added.]
Callers raised issues of real estate property tax relief, costs of long-term care, adequate in-home services, specialized senior housing, accessible transportation, funding and availability of services through the local area agencies on aging, accurate informational and evaluation websites about senior services, coordination of service agencies for efficiencies and effectiveness, and fairness in the rendering of services, among others.

Comments for the new State Plan on Aging can be provided to the Department via telephone (717-783-1550), by email (, in correspondence mailed to the Department, or through participation in Department-sponsored sessions, such as those already held on November 2-3, 2011, in Hershey, PA or to be held in 2012.

If you are interested in aging issues or elder's concerns, whether professionally or personally, you would benefit by listening to this comfortable, informative interview.  You can listen online by accessing the program's web page.