Archives: Aging in Place


Aging-in-Place – We Got This



By Barbara Goll, Community Liaison Educator and Nutritionist

Despite 90% of Americans saying they would like to age-in-place, only 20% end up doing so.  Why are our wishes not being fulfilled and what steps can we take to ensure they are? The answer lies in a few lifestyle changes.

The goal of aging-in-place is to live in our home until our very last breath. Having to leave our home means leaving behind a comfortable setting, familiar community and many memories.  Our home provides us with a sense of control and security leading to feelings of quality of life, dignity and independence. Current statistics indicate that life expectancy for women is 86.7 and for men 84.3. We all would like these additional “Golden” years to be enjoyable, not weakened to where we are dependent on others or unable to safely live in our home. Lifestyle choices are an important area of our lives we can tackle now to increase our ability to age-in-place safely.

senior man doing arm exercises to stay healthyWe may not have control over the normal aging process or our genetic make-up, but we do have control over our lifestyles and the environment in which we choose to live. The following four lifestyle choices can greatly increase our chance of a healthy strong body as well as decrease our risk for disease and dementia:

  1. Exercise and movement –All exercise and movement is a positive change that can effect overall health and help keep bones and muscles strong. Create habits and increase movement in your life with hobbies, chores and walking or other exercise programs. Be sure to discuss with your physician first.
  2. Nutrition – Studies suggest a combination of the DASH and Mediterranean diets (called the Mind Diet) leads to a reduction in inflammation and decrease risk for chronic disease and dementia. This diet is largely plant-based with colorful varieties of fruits and vegetables, seafood and lean meats.  Information on this way of eating can be found here at – Nutrition
  3. Social interaction – Quality communication between family and friends and interaction with groups such as senior and community centers, book clubs, hobby clubs, and churches offer a few social interaction suggestions. Studies have shown that social interaction creates meaning and purpose to life leading to healthy lifestyle choices.
  4. Brain and cognitive activity – Keeping your mind active by using it in new and challenging ways helps create new pathways in the brain and improve cognition. Choose activities that you enjoy but will also challenge your brain. Activities like learning a new language or instrument, playing chess, putting together a difficult puzzle, reading an educational book, learning a new hobby or taking an interesting adult education course.

It is never too early or too late to make changes that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Having a healthy and strong mind and body will decrease risk for falls, chronic conditions, and dementia as well as give you quality of life and independence to age-in-place gracefully. You got this!

Barbara Goll is a Community Education Liaison and Nutritionist for Homeland at Home. Her passion is educating and helping people attain a higher quality of life while aging in place. Goll is a valued member of Homeland’s community outreach team offering a variety of short talks on nutrition and age-related issues, including her “My Reflections” workshop to help you to think through many end-of-life care decisions. She has presented at 50 Plus Expo’s, civic organizations, community support groups, senior centers, aging forums and more.

Meet Master Storyteller Bill Williams


Bill receives nursing care, support from a social worker and complimentary massage services through Homeland Hospice.Bill Williams is a master storyteller with a love of news, history and family. For Bill, knowing the joys and challenges of his ancestors has fueled his career ambitions and love of a good story.

Bill resides in Mechanicsburg with his wife of 60 years, Mary Jane. He receives nursing care, support from a social worker and complimentary massage services through Homeland Hospice. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania. Each month, Bill receives 32 hours of complimentary in-home relief, which gives Mary Jane respite from her role as a caregiver.

The first chapter of Bill’s story begins in South Whales where his parents were born. Bill’s father, like most men in his family, worked as a coal miner beginning at age 12. During this point in history, most children attending public school left after fifth grade to begin working to help support their families.

Bill’s father continued mining until he turned 21 and married Bill’s mother. Two years later, Bill’s parents and uncles immigrated to Scranton where they had a base of family and social connections.

Growing up, Bill loved his history and English courses in school. From his father’s stories of life working in the mines, Bill knew he wanted to attend college to pursue his love of writing.

“Numbers won’t do you any good in life,” Bill says. “You need letters to live.”

When he was 12 years old, Bill’s parents took the family to visit Harrisburg and Gettysburg. The Gettysburg battlefields and the stories surrounding this historic location fascinated Bill. It was the beginning of a life-long love of the town and its impact on history.

In high school, Bill took a job as a copy boy at The Times Tribune where he worked an eight-hour shift three nights a week. Following high school, Bill began studying journalism at Penn State University and entered the U.S. Navy Reserve.

At the end of his sophomore year in college, Bill was reclassified from reserve to active duty and assigned to serve on the USS Coral Sea for two years.

“It was my duty and honor to serve my country,” Bill says. “To this day, it remains one of my proudest moments.”

Following his time in the Navy, Bill returned to Penn State for his junior year. He was unable to finish his senior year because of financial difficulties. During his final months at Penn State, Bill met and married Mary Jane, a math teacher. They spent their honeymoon in Gettysburg walking the grounds of the battlefields.

“From the beginning, we were a perfect match,” Mary Jane says. “My love of numbers balanced with his love of letters.”

Following their marriage, Bill began an illustrious career in journalism. He worked as a reporter and news editor for newspapers in smaller markets before becoming the Mid-Atlantic hub editor for the Associated Press in Philadelphia. Bill and his family relocated to Harrisburg in 1974 when he became bureau chief for the Associated Press at the State Capitol. His final position was director of communications for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Following his retirement, Bill focused his time and talents on writing historical novels, a play, one nonfiction book and an ongoing column for a Welsh newspaper.Following his retirement, Bill focused his time and talents on writing historical novels, a play, one nonfiction book and an ongoing column for a Welsh newspaper.

“That was when the fun began,” Bill says. “I finally had time for my love of history and writing.”

Bill has written eight books since his retirement. Days of Darkness, which sold more than 50,000 copies in paperback, tells the story of life in Gettysburg two weeks before the epic battle. Bill read countless books, diaries and accounts of daily life for the town’s residents to tell this moving story.

Among his many books, The Coal King’s Slaves, written in 2002 remains his favorite.

“I wrote it to honor my father,” Bill adds. “It brings his experiences in the mines to life.”

Bill’s latest book, Smile, is a compilation of jokes from columns he has written for a Welsh newspaper. His granddaughter designed the book cover.

“I’ve passed along my love of the written word to all our children and grandchildren,” Bill jokes. “Mary Jane remains the only fan of numbers in the family.”

In every chapter of Bill’s life, Mary Jane has been the consummate partner and supporter. She has trekked countless battlefields and has a flawless memory for the details of Bill’s books.

From copy boy to author, Bill has incorporated his experiences and those of his family into masterful and moving stories.

To learn more about Homeland Hospice, please call (717) 221-7890.