PA Department of Aging Honors Long-Term Living Volunteers at Annual 'PEER Day' Event

Jun 09, 2010, 14:53 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Aging

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Aging John Michael Hall today honored Pennsylvania's Empowered Expert Residents, or PEERs, for their efforts in advocating for their own quality of life in long-term living facilities.

"Through PEER, residents are trained to advocate for themselves and others to resolve issues such as maintaining access to their money, improving living conditions, having nutritious meals and other quality care concerns in their facility," said Hall. "I am pleased to recognize the many older adults, and resident staffs, for their diligent efforts to improve the quality of live in long-term living facilities throughout Pennsylvania."

PEER began in 2002 and there are now approximately 1,100 graduates located in over 150 nursing and veterans homes, and other long-term living facilities covering 50 counties statewide. The 10-hour training curriculum was developed by the State Ombudsman Office, local ombudsmen and PEER graduates.  While the PEER program is resident-directed, trainings also include working with staff at all levels of the facilities.

The 2010 PEER Award was presented to Ann Balzer of Sycamore Manor in Montoursville, and the Staff PEER Award went to Rudy White of The Williamsport Home in Williamsport, both in Lycoming County.

"PEERs play an important part in helping us to ensure that residents of long-term living facilities are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve," said State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Wilmarie Gonzalez. "We have designated June 9 as PEER Day to help recognize all of their hard work."

Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to sustain a comprehensive self-advocacy program such as PEER.  For a list of the counties with PEER programs and more information, visit

Media contact: Jane Crawford, 717-783-1549

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging