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Sentinel : What in the World Wide Web?! | Keystone Elder Law – Mechanicsburg, PA

It is simply amazing how much information is available on the internet, and the good news is that we are never too old to learn how to surf the net. My parents were in their mid 80’s when they learned to do this. In today’s column we want to introduce you to some informative websites, give you a little explanation on why they are important and, in some cases, tips for navigating that site. If you do not have a computer, go to your local library; many libraries have computers with internet access available for public use. This is the website for Cumberland County. Among the information provided is a link to the county’s Aging office. Click on “Government,” then click on “Health and Human Services,” and finally click on “Aging and Community Services.” Here you will find information about the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Under “Office of Long Term Living” there is an “A-Z Directory of Services.” There also is information on all of the different PACE programs, and under “Brochures” you can access and/or request a free copy of a booklet entitled Benefits & Rights for Older Pennsylvanians. For information about the Department of Public Welfare, visit this website. You can apply online for all the benefits they offer. Since DPW licenses personal care homes, you can get listings for all personal care homes in any county, and you can also see DPW’s inspection reports on those homes. Click on “Search for Provider/ Inspection Results,” then click on “Personal Care Homes Directory.” This site connects you to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While there is a variety of information on health issues, what I like best is being able to get listings of providers, and for some, the Department of Health inspection reports on these providers. There are two types of home care agencies listed. One type, “Home Health,” is Medicare certified for intermittent skilled services. The other type, “Home Care Agencies/Registries,” refers to private duty agencies that primarily provide non-medical in-home care. For nursing homes, click on “Facility, Providers & Managed Care Plans,” then in the upper right corner, click on “nursing homes,” then click on any county to get a list of all the nursing homes in that county. Under each nursing home there are links to inspection reports for that facility. Personally, I find this site has more specific information than Medicare’s nursing home ratings page. This is a great website for complete information about Medicare. They have wonderful tools to help people not only understand how all the Medicare programs work, but also to find out what specific insurance companies provide Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D (prescriptions) and Medigap policies in your area. Since Medicare can be confusing, it is well worth spending some time on this site. This is the website for the National Institutes of Health. If you click on “Health Information,” you can access a vast array of information available on almost any health topic. If you click on “Seniors” on their home page, you will find the “Senior Citizen Resources” page. Here you will find a number of valuable topics and links to additional information. This website is a service of the Department of Health and Human Services. It not only has a variety of topics listed, but it also can provide information on local resources. On this website you will find courses on how to provide care for older people. It is open to family caregivers as well as professional caregivers. It is a great resource to learn what care is needed and effective ways to provide it. Retirement is a good time to give back to your community by becoming a volunteer. If you have any questions about volunteering, this is the website for you. This is the website of the National Alliance for Caregiving. If you are a caregiver for a spouse or other family member, they have publications and links to sites which can provide helpful information about caregiving. The PA Bar Association’s website features information targeted to seniors. Click on “Law Related Education,” then click on “”Law Related Information for Consumers,” and finally click on “Legal Guide for Senior Citizens.” This is an almost 100 page document on legal information specifically for older adults. This site is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It provides information on 40,000 assistive products in 20 categories. If you want to know what equipment is available to help maintain your independence, check out this site. The Life Care Planning Law Firms Association pioneered the collaborative approach of legal and social services to elder care. It is the model upon which Keystone Elder Law was based. Their website has a “Resources” tab for seniors and their families. The “Directory” tab lists member elder law firms throughout the United States. This is Keystone’s website. Because we believe in a collaborative approach to elder care, we have designed our website to provide useful information for senior adults and their families, as well as information about Keystone Elder Law. We have four E-Courses available for free: an Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, a Veterans Benefits Guide, a Nursing Home Guide, and an Estate Planning Guide. We also have our “Capital Region Directory of Services for Senior Adults and Caregivers,” which lists numerous organizations and services for seniors in a four county area.

I hope you have fun and gain some useful information checking out these websites – I know I have. Be sure to check back on these websites periodically, as new information is added regularly.

John Reese
Elder Care Coordinator