QUESTION: My husband and I are in our fifties and very much aware that we are no longer as young as we used to be. As we get older, I want to make sure we have the ability to maintain our lifestyle and independence. Are there any state programs that could give us information on this?
ANSWER: Many Americans are in a similar situation as you are. Baby boomers are just now beginning to enter retirement, and whether or not Social Security is prepared to meet this cost is a question for another day.
However, Pennsylvania does have a program that you may find very useful as you begin your retirement. The PrimeTime Health Program, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, is one such program that focuses its efforts on several key components of a healthy lifestyle: exercise, nutrition, chronic conditions, incontinence, mental health, injury prevention, medication management and alcoholism.
The PrimeTime Health program is often provided through a local senior center, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Individual topics cover issues such as aging gracefully, staying fit, Tai Chi, arthritis pain and depression.
Another program, which the Department of Aging is promoting, shows older Pennsylvanians how to avoid dangerous situations that could place them at higher risks for injuries. The Healthy Steps for Older Adults Program also sponsors a series of educational classes and exercises to help improve balance, strength and help increase public awareness of fall prevention.
Many people do not know that falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital visits for older Pennsylvanians. In fact, as many as one in three individuals over the age of 65 fall once or more during the year. A fall may sound innocent enough, but half of those who break a hip do not fully recover according to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Many individuals who enter nursing homes are motivated to do so after a fall, no longer able to remain fully independent.
To enroll in any of these programs or to learn about others that state government may offer, you can contact your Area Agency on Aging or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Aging online at Aging.State.PA.US.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or my district staff or visit my Web site at RepSonney.com. We are here for you and will help you in any way we can.
If you have a question you would like me to address in an upcoming column, please send it to:
Rep. Curt Sonney
Room 149-B East Wing
P.O. Box 202004
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2004
Rep. Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives