Suggestions for keeping holidays special at a distance

Suggestions for keeping holidays special at a distance

Many of us will be missing our loved ones this holiday season.

In normal times, with busy schedules and families scattered across the country, holidays may be one of the few times families spend together.

We look forward to these special occasions all year long. These visits help to strengthen our family bonds and keep traditions going.

This holiday season, without COVID-19 under control, many of us are rethinking our get-togethers and already grieving in some ways the loss of this coveted occasion.

I’ve been thinking about my own family and how much I would like to see my mother back east. Because I don’t plan to visit, I’ve been considering things my family could do to share some of our traditions without actually being together.

Assessments offer clarity in uncertain times

Assessments offer clarity in uncertain times

Barbara’s parents, like many seniors in their 80s, are trying to keep from contracting COVID-19 by isolating at home.

To keep fed, they signed up for the governor’s Great Plates program, which delivers two restaurant-quality meals per day; other groceries are ordered online by their daughter.

In normal times, Barbara, who lives two hours away, would visit weekly. Now she uses the phone to connect.

Over the past several months, she has become increasingly worried about her mother’s health and well-being. On a recent phone call, her mother related a story about her arthritis flaring up.

“I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said again and again. Barbara must have heard that phrase over 20 times in the span of a few minutes.

Job searching in the age of COVID is a whole new ballgame

Job searching in the age of COVID is a whole new ballgame

As of September 2020, almost 13 million people in the United States were unemployed. Of course, a great deal of the job losses can be attributed to COVID.

I’m sure any one of us, including me, can name multiple people we know who are out of work as a result of the pandemic; half our staff here at Senior Concerns had to be furloughed due to the closure of our Adult Day Program.

In a post-COVID world, many industries will look different, and many jobs as well.

While having nothing to do with the pandemic, my husband lost his job several months ago. This was a bit of a shock. He is the main breadwinner in our family, and the loss of his job could cause quite a disruption in our lives if he were to remain unemployed for a long time.

Looking for a job during the pandemic seemed fraught with challenge.

Influential older voters have much to consider

Influential older voters have much to consider

Why do seniors turn out to vote more than any other age group?

Older adults, especially those that are no longer working, are particularly susceptible to changes in policy made by elected officials. A large percentage of their income and access to healthcare resources are tied to government programs.

It also helps that seniors have years of experience voting, are generally more familiar with the mechanics of how to vote and have more time to vote than younger voters.

The first presidential debate, which ran earlier this week focused on the records of President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence, and the integrity of the election.

These are important topics for the country at large, but let’s take a look

Appointment was a real eye-opener

Appointment was a real eye-opener

I was brought up in a household where we were taught to see the best in people. In most cases, giving folks the benefit of the doubt has served us well.

However, based upon a recent experience my mother had, I think being a bit more cautious, especially as we age, is warranted.

Because of her underlying risk of glaucoma, my mother visits the eye doctor every six months for a checkup. She had an appointment a few weeks ago.

After a temperature check, she proceeded to the registration desk to give her name. They told her she had a $25 copay, so my mother paid in cash.

A few moments later, 

Social isolation results in memory loss in later life

Social isolation results in memory loss in later life

Fifty-four years ago, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song “Eleanor Rigby,” signaling us to “look at all the lonely people.”

Studies in the U.K. show that half a million people over the age of 60 spend every day alone.

Today, scientists around the world are worried about the effect of social isolation on older adults, especially in light of the stay-at-home orders enacted due to the increased mortality rate for seniors who contract COVID-19.

Specifically, scientists are looking at reduction in human contact and its association with declines in cognitive function.

Social isolation, which includes

Memories help bridge the distance

Memories help bridge the distance

It has been eight months since I’ve seen my mother. I miss her tremendously, but I do not think at this point it is safe to travel 3,000 miles by plane and rental car.

So I continue what I have been doing and make my morning phone call to my mother while I walk the dog.

A few years ago, when my dad was alive, we had plenty to talk about—doctor’s appointments, visiting nurse instructions, questions about his Parkinson’s and much more.

Up until the pandemic, we could talk about my mother’s daily activities, including time spent with her new great-grandbaby, excursions to the flower shop and visits with my sister and her children.

Now there is little to talk about. My mother’s life has become very quiet.

Embracing change, because change is inevitable

Embracing change, because change is inevitable

Due to COVID-19, my husband and I are at home a lot more these days. All that togetherness has given me time to reflect on how my husband and I manage change over time.

Of course, marriage created modifications in my lifestyle right from the start. Following in my mother’s footsteps, I felt responsible for having a home-cooked meal on the table each night. The house always needed to be clean enough for company. At least that is the standard I set for myself.

Early in our marriage I traveled all week for work. That left the weekends to do things. I suggested to my husband that I could cook for the week, or clean, but doing both would leave me no free time for us to enjoy together. He asked me which I preferred to do, and I said cooking.

Pandemic bring hierarchy of needs into focus

Pandemic bring hierarchy of needs into focus

I think some of us are surprised by what has become most important to us as a society over these past four months.

Take, for example, the most basic of our needs, something as simple as air and food.

Pre-pandemic we may have been worried about air quality if it was allergy season, but now being able to breathe virus-free air is of top priority.

Before COVID most of us may have considered grocery shopping a bit of a chore. However, now that it is elevated to an “essential activity” and permits us to leave our homes, we are eager to go to the supermarket.

In the early days of the coronavirus, shopping was like a scavenger hunt. Will today be the day I find yeast, flour or rice? Who knew how much we’d valued those items that we previously took for granted?

Comfort at arms length

Comfort at arms length

You are sitting in your favorite spot in your home—what do you have within arm’s reach?

I recently polled my workmates and received a host of answers, including a computer or iPad, tissues, reading material, Sudoku or crossword puzzles, a pen, a notepad, the television remote, a beverage and, of course, a cellphone.

As human beings, we like our frequently used stuff nearby, where we can’t lose track of it. It makes our lives easier, more enjoyable, more hassle-free and much more comfortable. And because of this, designers have for centuries created new ways to give us a resting place for that stuff.

Take, for example, the nightstand or bedside table, 

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