News for Constituents

Caring for Older Adults’ Mental Health during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to keep all citizens’ mental health in mind, but particularly older adults whose everyday support systems have been disrupted.  Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has published a Lifesaver Blog, “COVID-19: We Must Care for Older Adults’ Mental Health.”  This blog provides useful information to help understand what our older family members and friends may be feeling during this difficult time.

According to the blog, the most powerful factors impacting mental health and well-being for older adults include:  mental health conditions; physical health and disability; social isolation and feeling lonely; losses; and disruption in routine.  The blog provides information on how to help older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, most importantly communicating regularly and expressing support.  Reaching out to older loved ones via telephone or video-chat, asking how they are doing, and encouraging them to keep doing allowable activities are important during this time.

Additional information on assistance and resources for older Pennsylvanians can be found in the 2020 Benefits and Rights for Older Pennsylvanians which is now available on the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s website.

COVID-19 Response Measures Approved by PA Senate

The PA Senate convened remotely on March 25, 2020 to pass the following bills to keep Pennsylvania moving forward during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  All have been signed into law.

Senate Bill 422 (Vogel) – Act 12 – Postpones Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 to June 2;

Senate Bill 751 (Aument) – Act 13 – Updates Pennsylvania’s School Code to waive a number of mandates on schools that cannot be fulfilled under the current circumstances;

House Bill 68 – Act 9 – Provides for emergency changes to the state’s Unemployment Compensation law in response to COVID-19, and;

House Bill 1232 – Act 10 – Provides additional funding to healthcare facilities to purchase medical supplies and equipment, and extends the deadline for certain state and local income tax payments and filings.

Read more about these vital measures. 

More recently, the Senate passed Senate Bill 841 (Martin) to address numerous COVID-19 disaster related issues, such as allowing local governments to meet remotely and clarifying provisions related to the collection of property taxes.  The measure awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.

The Senate will continue to convene remotely to address important issues for Pennsylvanians.  Senate committee meetings and Session can be watched live here.

Learning at Home with Pennsylvania Public Television

With schools closed, Pennsylvania public television stations have worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create Learning at Home, a connection to thousands of hours of educational and entertaining videos, activities and games.  From Sesame Street for preschoolers to NOVA for high school science students.

PBS for Parents is dedicated to offering free access to media content and community-based experiences to support learning for young children, and to use the power of media to open worlds of possibilities for all children, so every child can reach their full potential.  PBS for Parents offers activities for emotions and self-awareness, social skills, character, literacy, math, science and arts.  Activities can be searched for by age range or topic.

Fish and Boat Commission Opens Trout Season Early

On April 7, 2020, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission opened the statewide 2020 trout season.  Anglers and boaters are still required to abide by the social distancing guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order. 

Fishing licenses can be purchased at The Outdoor Shop on-line.

Showing Support for Local Small Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic

Some locally-owned small businesses remain in operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, as allowed by the Administration, while others have had to temporarily shut down.  The financial impact on these local business owners and employees can be devastating, but there are ways you can help support them until this is over.

Some locally-owned restaurants still remain open for takeout and delivery.  If you normally go out to eat on a particular night, consider ordering takeout or delivery.  If a small business you typically utilize is not open during this time, consider buying a gift certificate online to save for later use.  Customers can also share businesses’ social media posts, websites and services on our personal social media accounts to spread the positive word for when they reopen.