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PATF Newsletter Spring 2013
Independence is priceless...we help make it affordable.

Invitation To Attend PATF Press Conference

Tuesday, June 4 2013

It is our pleasure to invite you to attend a press conference on                        

Tuesday, June 4 at 11:00 AM in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg,              

harrisburg capitol building
Capitol Rotunda

where PATF will release its 2013 Annual Report.

 

 

Through the personal stories of individuals and families who have benefited from our varied programs, the report highlights how assistive technology (AT) helps hundreds of Pennsylvanians with disabilities go to work, live comfortably in their own homes, learn more effectively in school, and participate in community activities. Copies of the report, which describes the growth PATF has experienced, as well as brochures about our programs and services, will be available at the event.

 

 

In This Issue
2013 Press Conference
A Man and His Van
Financial Education
Fitness Program for Veterans
How to Shop for a Hearing Aid
Get A Free Credit Report
QUICK LINKS

  
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An Adapted Vehicle Can Make
A World of Difference

  
Neil lives on the fully-accessible first floor of a home he shares with his brother, sister-in-law and niece, near Doylestown, Bucks County. An avid Phillies fan, he has tickets for the Sunday home games, and especially enjoys the annual Father's Day game with his Dad.
He also loves to drive down to the Jersey Shore, and shared a really good tip we didn't know about: Belmar, between Point Pleasant and Asbury Park has installed two ramps with mats that cross the sandy beach, making the shoreline much easier to access for anyone traveling on wheels.
A wheelchair user himself since an accident at work, he was frustrated by having to rely on family and friends to drive him where he needed - or wanted - to go. Now, he has his own wheels and the independence to get out of the house on a daily basis.
 Neil came to PATF for a low-interest loan to purchase a handsome adapted Honda Odyssey van.  He propels his wheelchair up the side ramp, transfers in to a specially-designed seat and drives with hand controls. He makes frequent use of his van to travel to Magee Rehab in Philadelphia, where he volunteers as a peer mentor to others navigating the challenges of recent spinal cord injuries. It is easy to see that his easy-going nature and ready smile would be helpful and encouraging. Neil is mulling ideas for a new career path. There is no doubt that the Odyssey will be a big help in getting him to classes and to work. Neil is a busy man with places to go and a way to get there!

 

Neil in van
Neil's Wheels

 

  

Financial Education Booklet

for Adults with Disabilities is Now Available!

Cents & Sensibility
This new financial education booklet teaches money management: saving, budgeting, establishing credit,   and much, much more!
Thanks to a collaboration with Widener University School of Business Administration, and grants from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, PATF  has published the 1st edition of Cents & $ensibility: A Guide to Money Management for People with Disabilities. To download the booklet, check out this link ´┐Żents & $ensibility .
 
Geared towards the 18-40 age group, the booklet is available both in hard copy and electronically. It covers topics such as money management, budgeting, credit, banks and credit unions,  government benefits and saving options. With helpful activities reinforcing the topics in each chapter, definitions and tips, a glossary of financial terms and an index of resources, Cents & $ensibility is a valuable tool for the young (and not quite so young) person starting down the road to independent financial management. Visit www.patf.us for more information.
Fitness Program for Veterans 

 . 

CAL provides gym memberships or in-home gym equipment
CATCH A LIFT (CAL) is a non-profit organization that assists wounded service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with the healing process and maintaining mental and physical health through physical fitness. CAL provides gym memberships or in-home gym equipment. A veteran can choose to attend any gym in their town or city.  When applying, let Catch A Lift know the gym in your area that offers the services you are looking for, fill-in the contact information on the application and Catch A Lift will place you into that gym. 

Check participating gyms on the website to see if one is located in your area. If not, contact the gym in your area that you wish to apply to, fill out an application, and submit it to Catch A Lift. Forms to include are a DD214 and a VA % disability/description award letter. 

For more information go to: http://www.catchaliftfund.com/ 

 

How To Shop for A Hearing Aid 

With so many choices and options available today, shopping for a hearing aid that meets your needs and budget can be challenging. Here are some tips that can help you locate a good hearing aid provider

and choose an aid appropriate for you.

hearing aid  

 

1. Choose a Provider  

The best option -- as recommended by Consumer Reports -- is an an ear, nose and throat doctor who employs an audiologist to fit and dispense hearing aids.

 

The doctor will first examine your ears and rule out any serious medical conditions that can affect your hearing. Medicare will cover the medical exam and an audiologist's test if ordered by a physician.

If you can't find a conveniently located doctor's office that dispenses aids, an independent audiologist or hearing instrument specialist is a good alternative. To search for these professionals in your area, see howsyourhearing.org and ihsinfo.org. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco also sell hearing aids.

If you're a veteran, be sure to check with your nearest VA health facility. Eligible veterans may be able to get hearing aids for free.

2. During Your Visit

When you go for your first visit be prepared to discuss your lifestyle and hearing needs. For example: Do you just want to hear the TV, or other people speaking? Do you talk on the phone a lot? Do you need to hear in noisy places, like buses, trains, or restaurants? Knowing your priorities will help your provider determine what style and hearing aid technology is best for you.

You'll also be given a hearing test in a soundproof booth to determine what type of hearing loss you have. After the test, your provider should give you a choice of hearing aid brands, features and styles to consider.

To help you decide, ask for a demonstration. Many providers are able to put a disposable plug on the tip of a behind-the-ear hearing aid and program the device to your hearing loss so you can experience how it works.

Also ask about popular add-on features like "telecoils" that help with phone conversations, "directional microphones" that can help you hear in noisy places and "feedback cancellation" that prevents the aid from squealing when you get close to other audio equipment. But, keep in mind that extra features will increase the price.

 

3. At the Fitting  

After you buy your hearing aid, don't leave the office without making sure it physically fits your ear and that it does what you want it to do. To help with this, ask to have a
"real-ear" test which measures the match between your hearing loss and the response of your hearing aid.

 

Also, get a signed copy of a contract that outlines the hearing aid you're buying, along with the price, trial period, any nonrefundable fees and the warranty. Most manufacturers allow a 30- to 60-day trial period to be sure you're satisfied, and provide follow-up visits to help you with needed adjustments or questions.

 

4. Resources

Digital hearing aids are expensive, typically costing between $1,000 and $3,500 per ear, and they're not covered by traditional Medicare or most private insurance companies. 

PATF can provide a zero-interest mini-loan (under $1,500) or a 3.75% loan (over $1,500). Some mini-loan applicants can also qualify for a partial grant.

You can also call the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at 800-241-1044. They can mail you a list of financial resources for hearing aids.

 

This article has been adapted from SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of "The Savvy Senior" book.

Don't Forget! Check Your Credit Report Once a Year 

  PATF staff

AnnualCreditReport.com provides consumers with a secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).

 

Get Your Credit Report For Free

About Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation 
The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides low-interest loans to people with disabilities and older adults so that they can buy the assistive technology devices and services they need.
  
Call us toll-free/TTY at 888-744-1938, email patf@patf.us or visit www.patf.us  
  
Any device that helps a person with a disability achieve a more independent and productive life is known as Assistive Technology. Devices include such items as:
  • adapted vehicles
  • i-Pads
  • home modifications (including ramps, roll-in showers, lowered counter tops)
  • Braille readers and other devices for people with low vision or blindness 
  • computers with special software and/or hardware
  • hearing aids 
  • flashing doorbells 
  • scooters and wheelchairs
  • seat lift chairs
  • closed circuit televisions (CCTVs)