‘They’re totally consumed’: Pennsylvania’s Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers need more help

Crisis of Care: The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to swell exponentially in Pennsylvania, one of the oldest states in the nation. But efforts to prepare are falling short. The first time Betty Kinter’s husband disappeared, he left their Murrysville house to grab the garbage bin at the end of their driveway and got lost. Luckily, a neighbor spotted him sitting on a wall at the beginning of their housing development, picked him up and brought him home. “I was pretty hysterical,” Kinter recalled.

Terry Jones with his daughters. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

How becoming a dad helped save my life after years of struggling with my mental health

Editor's note: This story contains references to suicide and trauma. Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. ​​Every morning, I wake up to an alarm. The alarm is not always the same; sometimes it’s my Samuel L. Jackson Alexa app and sometimes it’s someone saying, “Daddy, wake up.”

Wait, did someone really call me “Dad?”

Since I was young, I’ve known that I wanted to grow up to become a comedian, an actor, or a musician. But I had no clue the kid who wore cowboy boots in the hood, the one who was called “not Black enough,” would ever be called “Dad.” The guy with depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, and PTSD is a dad?

Carl Lewis, owner of Carl’s Cafe in Rankin, touchs a leafy grape plant growing on the side of his store.

Fresh produce and bagged meals: Four Pittsburghers share how the pandemic has impacted their approach to food security

Before the pandemic, more than one in five Pittsburgh residents were food insecure. That means social and economic conditions limit their consistent access to food. After the pandemic hit, residents lost jobs and distribution methods like school lunches were disrupted. While residents from all communities seek aid from food banks and pantries, food insecurity disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color.

Todd and Kelsey Johnson, along with their 22-month-old daughter, visit with Christine Roman-Lantzy in Friendship Park in July

A Pittsburgh-based expert in helping children with neurological blindness seeks new home for progressive practice

Christine Roman-Lantzy welcomed the Johnson family into her office at West Penn Hospital. Kelsey, Todd and their 22-month-old daughter Seda had traveled five hours from Virginia to have Seda assessed for cortical visual impairment [CVI].  

At four and a half months, an ophthalmologist said Seda couldn’t see much more than shadows and lights, implying there was nothing to be done. “That was really hard,” Kelsey said at their July appointment in Pittsburgh, “and we didn’t really agree.”

By chance, Kelsey learned of CVI, a neurological condition where the eyes and optic nerves are structurally intact, but the brain has trouble processing visual input. It accounts for about 30-40% of children with visual impairments, more than any other cause, and can be the result of premature birth, epilepsy or traumatic brain injury, among other reasons. 

She joined a 9,000-member CVI Facebook group where Roman-Lantzy’s name came up for her internationally renowned assessment, the CVI Range, that she offered through her Pediatric VIEW program at West Penn Hospital. Kelsey and Todd were surprised to get an appointment in what they would later learn would be Roman-Lantzy’s final months at the hospital.