Help WVPEL with Your Particpation in CURA Survey

Your input is needed for the Downtown Charleston Elders/Artists Housing Poll

The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority has joined with an ad hoc group to explore the possibility of creating new housing for seniors and artists in the downtown area of Charleston. We have developed a survey to gauge the interest in such a project as well as get a sense of how area residents envision future housing for themselves.  We are using a “snowball” method of distributing the survey which means we need your help in getting it out.

We ask that you take this online survey by going to this web address: (be sure to click the last green box to get your answers recorded!)

Then put this notice, or one you write yourself, with the above web address on your social media and/or message that you send to friends, family and colleagues on your e-mail lists.  The more it ‘snowballs’, the bigger our sample and the more reliable our findings.  The survey takes about 10 minutes.  Hope you have fun filling it out and thank you for participating.

Senior Legislation Watch

Notes from WVPEL Director, Phil Schenk

In his State of the State address, Governor Jim Justice used the word “senior” once. That was a reference to the grade level of one of the basketball players on the team that he coaches. Given that West Virginia is, by percentage, one of the top 3 states in the Union for over-65 populations, this omission is noteworthy. The legislature, however, is looking at a number of bills directly related to elders.

The bills noted below are some of those introduced so far that relate to elder living. It is not presented as a complete list, but is a representation. Note that most of these bills relate to lowering the tax burden on seniors either by altering the existing homestead exemption reduction on property taxes or by reducing income taxes – especially on Social Security income. Numbers 2 and 9 provide other benefits to elders.

  1. SB 97 a fixed-income credit for low income senior citizens; establishing procedures for claiming credit; and defining terms. The bill calls for a 1% credit for those with incomes up to 125% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and then reducing that credit by 4% of the amount for each percentage point of income over 125% (SB125 also includes this provision or a similar one)
  2. HB2044 relating to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program; creating the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Fund; and requesting additional funds to be added to the fund. This would raise the amount of vouchers for seniors at farmers’ markets from $20 to $50.
  3. SB139 -relating to changing the qualifier for low income from 150% or less to 300% or less of the FPL for a senior citizens’ homestead tax credit. This would help seniors with incomes from about $18,000 (single person or about $24,360 for a family of 2) up to about $36,000 (single person or about $48,700 for a family of 2) on their property taxes.
  4. HJR 15 – constitutional amendment to lock in the values of a home at the assessed value of the home when homeowner turned 65.
  5. HB2358 taking Social Security benefits out of the calculation of adjusted gross income (AGI) for state income taxes (not federal) on a sliding scale. For example: those with incomes of $0-$50,000 would not include any Social Security income in their AGI. Those with incomes of between $50,000 and $70,000 would take 80% of their Social Security income off the AGI. The bill has further cuts depending on income in its sliding scale.
  6. HB2217 relating to increasing the maximum personal income tax exemption for persons over the age of sixty-five and for persons who are totally disabled.
  7. HB2323 exempting SS benefits from state income tax altogether.
  8. HB2848 – relating to providing a tax credit for the costs of modifying homes to make them more accessible for an elderly person or a person with a disability.
  9. SB87 – relating to allowing a person to purchase a Class XS resident senior hunting, fishing and trapping license at the beginning of the year he or she becomes 65, if otherwise eligible.

We strongly urge readers to stay in touch with the AARP West Virginia news regarding legislative actions at the Capitol that relate to seniors in our state.

The 2018 Call for Workshops for the 40th Summer Institute on Aging is open!

The 2018 conference sponsored by WVU School of Social Work will be held June 12-14, 2018 at Lakeview Resort & Conference Center in Morgantown, WV.  The theme is “Adventures in Aging: Building Wisdom, Well Being and Wonder”

Proposals (90 minutes or 3 hours) will be accepted online at  – the deadline is January 15, 2018.

Please share with interested persons!  For additional information or questions, contact me at or 304-293-3280.


Ambulance Crew Gives Terminally Ill Patient A Side Trip To The Beach

An ambulance crew transporting a terminally ill woman to a local hospital on Australia’s east coast week took a small diversion to a nearby beach after the woman said she wanted to see the ocean, perhaps for the last time.

“Tears were shed and the patient felt very happy,” the Queensland Ambulance Service said.

The caption appeared beneath a photo on Facebookshowing the woman on a gurney, with paramedic Graeme Cooper at her side, overlooking Hervey Bay from a small beach side bluff on Wednesday.

Cooper told reporters the patient was on “her last journey back to (palliative care) where she was going basically to pass away,” reported Thursday. “We popped her up on the hill where she could see the pier and Fraser Island and right through to Point Burrum and she was ecstatic with it all.”

Cooper, who got permission for the side trip from his superiors, said if it hadn’t been such a rocky coastline he would have taken the patient right down to the water.

“I thought the next best thing was I can get some ocean and bring it to her,” Cooper said. “She actually tasted the salt water.”

Danielle Kellan, who took the photo of the poignant scene, said she asked the elderly woman what she was thinking as she looked over the incoming waves at Hervey Bay.

“She said, ‘I’m at peace, everything is right.'” Kellan said, according to

WVU Today: Multi-State Research Project Explores Diet and Healthy Ageing

Photo: Russ Allison Loar/FlickrCC

By WVU Today

In many rural areas, treating chronic diseases related to diet and weight is challenging because of limited access to food and nutrition experts. A West Virginia University professor has found that using technology to connect those experts with middle-aged and older patients in those areas can improve nutritional health.

Melissa Ventura Marra, assistant professor of human nutrition and foods in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is part of a multi-state research team that is evaluating how food security and lifestyle choices such as diet quality and physical activity affect individual health and well-being.

[More information about the research can be found at]

A multistate research team has been evaluating how food security and lifestyle choices such as diet quality and physical activity affect individual health and well-being.

The project includes a broad range of research, from basic science to social science, from 13 universities around the country. A team of scientists from the group will present their findings during a special symposium as part of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics on July 23-27 in San Francisco.

The symposium, titled “Successes in older adult nutrition and physical activity studies,” is the result of a USDA-funded multistate research project that began in 1989.

The research project examines three areas: molecular and mechanistic understanding of how nutrients and activity can influence age-related diseases, environmental factors that influence the adoption of health-promoting lifestyle changes, and lifestyle needs assessment and evaluation of lifestyle interventions that lead to measurable outcomes…

Read the full story at