Clearing the way for reading enjoyment

Clearing the way for reading enjoyment

If your friends are anything like mine, casual conversations these days often turn to a discussion of the amazing television series they’ve been watching on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

I appreciate their enthusiasm and write down their recommendations, fully intending to check them out as soon as I have some free time.

The problem is that my choice when I have free time leans toward reading a good novel versus binging on TV. My enthusiasm for reading became especially fierce during the COVID lockdowns, and it remains a passion today.

That cold might be COVID, so it’s best to play it safe

That cold might be COVID, so it’s best to play it safe

Last week my sister’s father-in-law, who lives on the East Coast, was mowing his lawn. After he finished, he started feeling respiratory discomfort, chalking it up to the grass and weeds he’d stirred up while mowing.

A few days later, his wife experienced a runny nose, cough and muscle aches. Suspicious of her symptoms, she used one of her insurance-provided home COVID tests and tested positive for coronavirus.

Now believing he was responsible for passing it to her, he went over in his mind all of the people and places he’d visited in the days before: the church meeting he attended, his visit to see his granddaughter and great-grandchild, and his evening spent with neighbors.

In all, he estimated he had come in close contact with over 30 people.

He still didn’t take a COVID test, 

Trip to the ER brings fresh insights

Trip to the ER brings fresh insights

A few weeks ago, I had a two-day stay in the hospital. I’m OK, but my eyes were opened by the changes I saw since my last visit to the emergency room three years ago.

I want to share what I experienced on the chance that it might be helpful to others.

First, I was shocked by the sheer number of people who came to the ER for care. Maybe I had been there on a slow day in the past? The people I happened to see were at the hospital for treatment for something other than COVID. And still, this was a very large number.

I arrived at the ER before 9 a.m. At the time, I was one of four people waiting to be seen. As the day wore on, the waiting room became full and there was a line of folks just to enter the building.

Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Right now I’m aware of several neighbors dealing with the sudden health crises of aging loved ones.

Once the short-term crisis is dealt with, they will have to decide where to turn next.

I have seen queries about these types of choices on Nextdoor. And while I love Nextdoor for restaurant recommendations and learning about wild animal sightings or local robberies, I get a bit concerned when subscribers seek recommendations for critical personal support at a time of need.

Most respondents on Nextdoor are well-intentioned, but at the same time their experience may not be the thing your loved one needs. Just as we generally would not ask neighbors to provide advice on a medical issue, what you do and where you go after a loved one’s health crisis can best be served by talking to exp

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

My husband keeps asking me why I cry at the drop of a hat lately.

I have always been prone to tears when really stressed or when something touches my heart. And I guess that is exactly why I’m crying these days.

For the past three months, my staff and I at Senior Concerns have been preparing for the grand reopening of our Adult Day program on Sept. 1.

With safety as our first priority, we installed a new HVAC system, complete with air purifiers that clean the air at the molecular level. We replaced our 18-yearold pergola to provide shade, and purchased new outdoor furniture to allow for outside activities.

A team of teenage volunteers helped to wash windows.

Other volunteers pitched in to

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.

Checking in with ourselves is more important than ever

Checking in with ourselves is more important than ever

I’m not sure anyone could have predicted what the beginning of 2021 would look like, particularly as we ushered out 2020 believing it was one of the most challenging years on record.

And now, as our new year begins, we are seeing an unprecedented surge in COVID deaths, stoking our fears of an elderly loved one contracting the virus. We see that our local hospital’s ICU beds are full and wonder what will happen to us if we become ill.

We see record business closures resulting in the unemployment of friends and family. We see the storming and vandalizing of our Capitol, making us feel unsafe and stirring up emotions of shock and disbelief.

And we’ve missed, for months on end, being able to hold, hug and be with those we love.

If we look back at the past 10 months, it’s no surprise many of us are experiencing chronic stress.

COVID creates tough ethical calls for care

COVID creates tough ethical calls for care

There’s no debating that seniors are most at risk during this pandemic. While COVID-19 deaths have spanned all age groups, the hardest hit has been the 65-and-older population, which accounts for over 80% of the U.S. death toll from the disease.

A friend offered her opinion that this pandemic may just be nature’s way of getting rid of the weak, that seniors had lived a full life and this was their time to go. In other words, she felt that older adults are collateral damage in this global health crisis.

I found this to be shocking. She immediately walked back her words, but it does show that this opinion is out there.

Let’s look at what these older adults may have endured in the course of their lives.

What should we expect from our doctors?

What should we expect from our doctors?

What are our expectations when we visit our doctor? Do expectations differ with age? I pondered this question recently after an unsatisfactory visit to see a medical professional.

Two years ago, I had a problem that landed me in the emergency room. A specialist physician was called in to perform an emergency procedure. I spent five days in the hospital and recovered well, but in the process learned I had a treatable autoimmune disease.

After my hospitalization, I continued to see this physician for outpatient checkups. In the past two years, I have had three office visits and an additional procedure.

As part of my treatment, I was prescribed a daily medication. Recently, as I was trying to order a refill, the physician’s office informed me I would need to make an appointment so the doctor could check me before he renewed my prescription.

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