Overcoming reopening anxiety

Overcoming reopening anxiety

After months and months of pandemic public health restrictions, stay-home orders and phased reopenings, the governor lifted the restrictions June 15 and we should come much closer to “normal” soon.

As I check in with my own feelings about this transition, the two words that comes to mind for me are anticipation and anxiety.

I dream of going places. Granted, I have been pretty busy at work this past year and have only traveled from home to work and back. I do remember that when I drove to get my vaccine I passed the agricultural areas of Ventura County and thought how refreshing it was to see something different.

I’m enjoying the anticipation of 

Caregiving course offers training many adults need

Caregiving course offers training many adults need

Like many, I entered the role of caregiver without any preparation.

My husband and I began caring for our elderly neighbors, Fred and Hildy. Over time we were dealing with a dizzying array of doctor visits, personal care needs, and physical and cognitive health issues without any of their family to lean on.

I had a few things going for me. I was compassionate, motivated to help and not afraid to ask questions. The problem was, who should I ask questions of?

Celebrating the family caregiver

Celebrating the family caregiver

Wanda takes pride in the care she provides to her husband, Jim, as he goes through his journey with dementia.

Before COVID, Jim attended the Senior Concerns Adult Day Program. Wanda felt his weekday presence there helped slow the progression of the disease as he engaged in conversation, activities, meals and exercise with others in the program.

In addition, the respite she received during the day helped her feel refreshed when Jim came home and needed more of her time in the evenings. Jim had developed sundown syndrome, a term used to describe a range of behaviors—often including agitation, confusion and restlessness—that occurs during the transition from daylight to darkness.

To comfort her husband, 

Listening to our body when it whispers

Listening to our body when it whispers

Silent whispers from our body come in many forms and may include aches or pains, emotions, gut feelings or just a sense that something is off.

It’s easy to ignore these signs, but by doing so we may be jolted to attention when, at last, our body screams.

Case in point. My Auntie Jean had many signs that something was wrong but waited to act. Thankfully, it did not cost her life. Many others aren’t as fortunate.

Auntie Jean is 85. I always enjoy visiting with her. She has a fun sense of humor, and we actually have a lot in common.

A few months ago she was cleaning the glass on the inside of her front windshield when she felt a sharp pain in her chest. She thought maybe she pulled a muscle and decided to head inside the house to take it easy.

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

I’ve been looking through an ethical lens at some of the COVID-era choices people make.

Have you ever heard the statement, “Do the right thing even when no one else is watching?” That is a statement about ethics.

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior; they suggest we do the right thing even when doing the wrong thing is not illegal.

Laws surrounding COVID-19 are sparse. After all, it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Instead, various entities have established guidelines as recommendations on how to act.

Whether or not one conforms to these guidelines has a lot to do with a person’s ethical lens.

Let’s look at some ethical choices during COVID times.

Learning from COVID to improve assisted-living facilities

Learning from COVID to improve assisted-living facilities

If I outlive my husband and have difficulty living independently, I want to move to an assisted-living facility.

I thrive in the company of others, and a socially isolated life would be lonely and depressing.

However, with an eye on COVID and social isolation, I’ve been thinking about features I would like to have available should I make the move in later years.

At the top of the list of considerations is the ability to keep myself healthy should some communal or personal health crisis occur. I’d love to see my facility have an infirmary where I could be cared for if I were too ill to be alone in my apartment but not ill enough to be hospitalized.

Experts on aging provide life lessons

Experts on aging provide life lessons

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the book “Live Smart After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Life Planning for Uncertain Times” that I co-edited and co-authored with 32 other experts in the field of aging.

It was a passion project for a few members of the Life Planning Network, a national organization of individuals working with, and writing about, older adults. I was president of the organization and saw the book as a vehicle to harness and disseminate all the great thinking our members had done.

I’m not sure any of us predicted a global pandemic as an example of an uncertain time, but the advice in the book is as fresh today as it was 10 years ago.

I looked back at some of our authors and wanted to share their groundbreaking work, as it may be even more relevant to our lives today.

Complicating COVID stress: Technology gaps for seniors

Complicating COVID stress: Technology gaps for seniors

Early on, when COVID vaccine appointments first became available for seniors age 75-plus, the online application asked the user to select their insurance. Most seniors have Medicare and selected that option. Next, they were instructed to upload a copy of their Medicare card.

Calls were coming in to Senior Concerns: “I am trying to make an appointment for a vaccine. Can you tell me what upload means?”

Seniors who used to schedule an in-person appointment to receive no-cost assistance in preparing their tax returns at Cal State Northridge are now being asked to make an appointment on the website, and on the day of their appointment they will receive an email with a private, encrypted link to HIPAA Zoom.

More calls came in: “What is an encrypted HIPPA Zoom?”

Free tax help is available for seniors

Free tax help is available for seniors

Even in a pandemic, the tax season goes on.

Free tax preparation help for seniors goes on, too, albeit with some changes.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to people who make $57,000 or less, people with disabilities and taxpayers who speak limited English and need assistance in preparing their tax returns. The program is not specific to seniors; if you qualify in any of the categories above, you may use the program.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program offers free tax help, particularly for those who are 60 and older. The program specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

Rules for the greater good during COVID times

Rules for the greater good during COVID times

The novel “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng keeps swirling in my mind these days because one of its basic themes is the conflict between rule followers and rule breakers that we see playing out in America today.

The story features two main characters, both women.

Elena has followed the rules her entire life and, as a result, has built a comfortable life for herself. She wonders what would have happened had she not been such a rule follower. But she believes “rules exist for a reason; if you followed them you would succeed. If you didn’t, you might burn the world to the ground.”

Mia, on the other hand, does not conform to social norms and lives a life of continuous relocation so that she can escape the consequences of her past actions. Mia never regrets breaking the rules. She sees it as necessary to stay true to her heart.

Whether one follows rules or breaks them is based on

RSS

Archive