DOA Unveils Oral History Project to Celebrate Older Adults, People with Disabilities Living Independently

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging and Office of Long-Term Living  celebrated older adults and people with disabilities who are living independent, active lives.

Department officials unveiled an oral history exhibit featuring 38 Pennsylvanians who lead inspiring lives of independence and serve their communities.

“These colorful photographs and powerful stories capture the spirit of people with disabilities and older adults who receive support from the programs offered by the Department of Aging and the Office of Long-Term Living. Their stories reflect their strength, independence and desire to actively participate in and contribute to the community,” said Secretary of Aging John Michael Hall.

The oral history project aims to inspire others. The stories are direct and engaging. Some individuals state a strong desire to live independently so they can be active and engaged in life on their own. Others describe how they acquired their disability and how they go to work, go to school and live beyond their own expectations.

The featured individuals come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Some represent the many volunteers who support department programs. Others use state-provided services that help them live independently in their own homes and communities instead of an institutional setting.

Receiving services in the setting of one’s choice is a key to planning long-term living needs. Most consumers prefer to live at home. Department programs allow them to direct their own services and, in most cases, select their own providers.

More than 45,000 people with disabilities over age 60 and 30,000 under 60 receive support from department programs.

The photos and stories will be used by the department in state exhibits, publications, websites and other educational venues to encourage others to explore their long-term living options.

To view the Oral History Project photos and text, visit and click on Home and Community Based Services.

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