What is PA Link?
Linking Seniors to Services and Information
By: Melissa Bottorf, PA Lead Link Coordinator
A good quality of life is important to everyone. This is especially true as we age and/or live every day with a physical or intellectual disability. One of the keys to a long, healthy life is to understand the types of services available and learn how to access and pay for those services needed.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, navigating the complex world of aging isn’t easy – it’s far from it. As my grandfather – a hugely independent and strong-willed person aged, he would constantly remind me to “never get old” whenever he had a problem. He was lucky to have his family who lived close and could help. He had good insurances and few complicated medical issues, but for many of the most vulnerable people in our communities, they don’t have these luxuries.
PA Link to Aging and Disability is a program intended to help seniors and individuals with disabilities understand what services are available in the community and help them navigate through this oftentimes frustrating system. In Pennsylvania, PA Link is part of the Aging and Disability Resource Center which covers every part of the state. Throughout the state, Lead Link Coordinators (like myself) work to help pull together the resources available and educate consumers.
The idea behind the PA Link program is to help further the federal government’s philosophy of a “No Wrong Door” program. “No Wrong Door” is the idea that if someone needs help and they contact a particular agency or organization, the staff from that agency would be able to share resources and provide accurate information to assist the caller. This is tough to do with agencies constantly changing staff, cut-backs, etc., but PA Link is working with all these agencies (profit, non-profit, government, etc.) to help train staff and keep updated information at our toll-free call center.
So what does all of this mean to you – the senior, the individual with a disability or a caregiver? Our goal is to help consumers experience a more streamlined process when they have a need. It is also intended to create a stronger network between professionals and agencies so everyone communicates and knows what services are available to any consumer they may be trying to assist. Our goal is to provide efficient solutions to help individuals with a disability and / or our seniors understand their options, know what is available and ultimately, receive the best long-term supports and services for their unique situation.
PA Link to Aging and Disability Resource Center can assist consumers and the professionals who care for them in many ways. Over the next few months, we’ll explore some of those other options in the Senior Source. In the meantime, if you think PA Link can help you or a loved one, please call our toll-free Call Center at 1-800-753-8827 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.