AARP Eye Center
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging unveiled an AARP-supported 30-step Action Plan to promote an Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh on Tuesday, October 17. The goal of this initiative is to create a better environment for the aging population. This plan aims to promote livable communities through the emphasis of accessibility, connection to community, and senior-focused innovation.
Community Bike Ride
AARP Pennsylvania partnered with BikePGH and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on October 1 to promote one of the region’s best opportunities to get active! The riders enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon on dedicated trails along the rivers in and around downtown Pittsburgh in order to get some fresh air and meet new people. For some, getting reacquainted with a bicycle for the first time in a long time was the best part of the event!
Park Ambassador Training
AARP Pennsylvania teamed up with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation on September 19 to train Park Ambassadors. These AARP Park Ambassadors will lead regular group walks through Frick and South Park. AARP supports livable communities as it aims to get older adults outdoors and moving around in connection with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s new Senior Connections initiative.
AARP Pennsylvania was honored to participate in “Hidden Heroes,” a Military Caregiver Celebration event at the VA Pittsburgh on Friday, September 15. The event featured Dr. David Shulkin, Secretary of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Senator Elizabeth Dole, Founder of Elizabeth Dole Foundation; Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto; Joe Robinson, Health Systems Solutions, Philips North America; and local military caregivers. The panel discussion addressed the unique challenges facing military caregivers in the Pittsburgh region.
Future of Healthcare Community Conversation
AARP hosted community conversation at the H.O. Hirt Auditorium in Erie and the Bethel Park Community Center on August 21 and 22 where a panel of health policy experts discussed how proposed changes to the federal health care law will impact Pittsburgh-area older adults and those who are Medicaid eligible. The panelists discussed how current proposals being considered in Washington and Harrisburg will affect the access and delivery of local healthcare services.
Both discussions were moderated by AARP Pennsylvania State President Joanne Grossi, who previously served as Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Erie panel included healthcare policy experts such as Lawrence D. Baronner, Rural Health Systems Manager and Deputy Director, PA Office of Rural Health; Matthew Trott, Division Manager, Greater Erie Community Action Committee Area Agency on Aging; Suzanne Almeida, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of PA; Andrew Dolan, Youth Advocate; and Ray Landis, Advocacy Manager, AARP Pennsylvania.
The Bethel Park panel included healthcare policy experts such as Dr. Noble A-W Maseru, Director of the Center for Health Equity, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health; John G. Lovelace, President, Government Programs and Individual Advantage, UPMC Health Plan; Nancy Murray, President, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh/ACHIEVA; Suzanne Almeida, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of PA; and Ray Landis, Advocacy Manager, AARP Pennsylvania.
AARP PA also is a proud sponsor of OpenStreetsPGH. Local volunteers participated in events on the last Sunday of May, June, and July, when miles of streets are closed to cars allowing people to walk, run, bike, dance, socialize and play downtown. The program gets people outside and active and connects them to neighborhoods and local businesses.
Conversation with Rep. Rothfus
On July 7, AARP PA volunteers hosted a conversation with U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus at the Ross Township Municipal Building. The audience had opportunities to discuss Rep. Rothfus’s views on healthcare reform legislation and the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Back in June, AARP PA volunteers staffed a booth at Pittsburgh’s PrideFest on Liberty Avenue. The two day event is organized and run by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh and attracted more than 100,000 people to celebrate the contributions of the LGBT community in Western Pennsylvania.
Operation: Stop Scams
On April 29, AARP hosted a shredding event at the Century III Mall, where more than 550 cars brought old paper records to be shredded, generating more than 26,000 pounds of shredded material. Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen and two of his Deputies were on hand to help with traffic control, and through the extraordinary generosity of the attendees, we were able to collect 1,800 pounds of food for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank!
The free shredding event allowed people to shred unwanted documents containing sensitive or personal information, which is one way to protect yourself from identity theft. AARP staff and volunteers encouraged people to sign up for AARP Fraud Watch Network to learn more about how to protect oneself from fraudsters.
“Get to Know AARP” Event
AARP Pennsylvania hosted an event on February 28 th at the Senator John Heinz History Center to share information about the work we are doing in the region and at the national level with community partners and potential volunteers. Through education, advocacy and service, AARP volunteers work together to protect Medicare, support caregivers, prevent fraud, and engage in many local advocacy and community service efforts. Representatives from AARP Pennsylvania’s volunteer “Citizen Action Team” were on hand to discuss recent legislative victories and answer questions.
Western Pennsylvania volunteers have been engaging in training opportunities for volunteers and activists in the community. Well-trained volunteers are critical to the success of AARP’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the 50+ and if you are interested in learning more, click here.
Movies for Grown Ups
Over the past couple of months, AARP Pennsylvania has offered several Movies for Grown Ups showings. In February, members and volunteers enjoyed a free screening of Maya Angelou: And I Rise as documentary about the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random House). Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before.
Dr. Angelou’s was a prolific life; as a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. This unprecedented film weaves her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon.
Just before the movie screening, AARP Pennsylvania hosted a private reception in Monroeville for community leaders and volunteers in the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County area, where we heard from the local community about the growing concerns that affect the 50+ in the region.
Fraud Watch Presentations
AARP Pennsylvania volunteer and consumer advocate Mary Bach addressed Butler County residents on January 31 at the Butler YMCA. Mary highlighted popular scams, what to look out for to avoid falling victim to scams, and provided resources to help people, including the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
MLK Day Breakfast
On January 14, AARP Pennsylvania volunteers attended the 17 th Annual Unity Breakfast at La Roche College students to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.