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Spotlight on: Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia

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By Jessica A. Hayes

To best assist our clients, we strive to familiarize ourselves with the many helpful resources available to seniors in the area. An invaluable resource of which many of our Virginia clients are unaware is Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (SSSEVA). Hook Law Center’s attorneys and long-term care paralegals recently had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from SSSEVA to learn more about their services. Particularly for our clients who have no family nearby or who wish to remain living in their home but require a little assistance, SSSEVA may improve their quality of life significantly.

SSSEVA’s programs and services include:

  • Transportation – The “I-Ride Transit” program provides accessible transportation options for seniors age 60 and up and individuals with disabilities in metropolitan Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater. They offer fixed routes, medical transportation, paratransit, and on-demand response transit. Fares are extremely affordable (generally $4 or less).
  • Meals SSSEVA is a member of Meals on Wheels of America. Its meal delivery service provides 10 microwavable meals every two weeks to individuals age 60 and up who are homebound and unable to prepare their own meals. The meals are free, but donations are welcome.
  • Companionship – The Senior Companion Program will match a senior living at home with a senior volunteer who visits and assists with a variety of tasks such as grocery shopping or light meal preparation. The service is free to those who need the assistance.
  • Ombudsman Services – The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program assists individuals who have concerns about assisted living facilities, nursing homes, in-home care, and adult day care, mediating between seniors and their medical providers and investigating and resolving complaints. This service is free of charge.
  • Medicare benefits counseling – SSSEVA has counselors on staff who can assist seniors in applying for Medicare, filing Medicare claims and resolving billing issues, enrolling in Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Program), and choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan, among others. This service is free of charge.

A call to SSSEVA’s resource specialists (757-461-9481) can help you identify which of these and other SSSEVA programs and services may be beneficial for you or your loved one. For more information, visit https://www.ssseva.org/.

Kit KatAsk Kit Kat – Monkey Talk

Hook Law Center:  Kit Kat, what can you tell us about why monkeys cannot talk? They have so many of the preliminary skills, but for some reason, it just doesn’t result in speech?

Kit Kat:  Well, as is usual, scientists have different opinions on the subject. The groundbreaking original study on the subject was done around 1969 by Philip Lieberman of Brown University and published in the journal Science. The study examined rhesus macaque monkeys. It compared live rhesus macaque monkeys who were sedated with that of a plaster mold of the throat made from a rhesus macaque monkey that had died. The monkeys could produce sounds, but they could not produce certain vowels, like the long E sound, which appears in many languages. The study postulated that the shape of their windpipes was not adequate to produce speech. Nor did they possess a sufficiently long vocal tract.

Until 2016, the Lieberman study appeared to be the accepted thought on the matter. Then, other scientists from the University of Vienna (Austria) and Vrije University in Brussels (Belgium) conducted their own study using a series of x-rays of rhesus macaque monkeys’ vocal tracts. They concluded that monkeys had a much broader speech capability than previously thought. They could indeed make many short vowel sounds (a, e, i, u), as in the words bat, bet bit, and but. However, Anna Barney of the University of Southampton (England) commented, that “the new research was convincing, but raised questions, such as a lack of macaque consonants. What they’ve shown is that monkeys are vowel-ready, not speech-ready.”

So the debate continues. Scientists undoubtedly will seek more clues as to why intelligent primates such as rhesus macaque monkeys, chimpanzees, and bonobos cannot go beyond their cooing and babbling and execute real speech, as humans define it. They certainly possess nonverbal communication; however, real speech continues to elude them. (Ben Guarino, “No More Than Monkey Talk,” reprinted from The Washington Post and appearing in The Virginian-Pilot, p. 4, July 8, 2017)

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Posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017. Filed under Newsletter.