Don’t Let Social Distancing Isolate Elders

This article originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

Although the implementation of social distancing is necessary to flatten the coronavirus curve and prevent the current pandemic from worsening, the stress of isolation can have an affect on anyone. With elders designated as “high risk,” elders and those supporting them worry that precautions could further isolate this vulnerable community, exacerbating loneliness and stress.

Chronic stress is harmful to your health and can be particularly hazardous for elders. Although it’s difficult to determine the extent to which chronic stress affects the health of elders, there is undoubtedly a correlation.

Here are some articles discussing both the need to stay socially distant.... Read More

             

Hidden and Buried and Locked

by Cynthia McCormick. This article originally appeared in the Cape Cod Times.

When Cape snowbird Marie Seufert tells people in her Florida retirement community that she’s a widow, they sometimes ask when her husband died.

“I say, ’No, it was my wife,” said Seufert, 71, who lost Mary Sidlevicz, her spouse of nearly nine years, on Jan. 5, 2017.

“There were people in Florida who kept referring to her as my ‘friend.’ I kept correcting them. It was my No. 1 relationship,” Seufert said.

“I have to come out to people whether I want to or not. I’d rather just play golf,” Seufert said during a phone interview.

Support Group “A Relief”

Seufert said it was.... Read More

             

“Meals on Wheels” – Telemundo Oklahoma

by Cecilia Hernandez-Cromwell. This video originally aired on Telemundo Oklahoma. The Spanish-language video embedded below includes English subtitles. A full English transcript is included below.

To be independent is something very important for human beings from the moment we begin to walk until we age. Fortunately there are organizations that help people stay longer in the place they call home.

At noon on a recent cold day in Oklahoma City, José de Loera Ruiz was on his way to have lunch with his friend Jerónimo Cazazos, who says, “For seven years friends like him have come to visit me.”

For approximately four years, José has been delivering lunch for Meals on Wheels to people who are homebound because.... Read More

             

Bridging generations, Cherry Creek students act as volunteer “geek squad” for retirement community

by Meg Wingerter (mwingerter@denverpost.com). This article originally appeared on The Denver Post.

Every Saturday, a sort of “geek squad” sets up shop at a Centennial retirement community to help residents stream, surf and connect.

Unlike professional troubleshooters, however, the members of this tech-support team are supposed to linger to catch up on whatever happened during the week, and they know their repeat customers’ names and stories.

Zachary Wang and Simar Chadha, both seniors at Cherry Creek High School, started Generation Tech in December 2018, after Wang saw a need while volunteering with an adult day program. More than 50 students volunteer on Saturdays at Holly Creek Living, teaching residents to use their devices and hopefully.... Read More

             

Social Isolation and the Holiday Blues for LGBTQ+ Older Adults

In normative aging, the evolution from adult to older adult often parallels exposure to ageist societal attitudes and behaviors. Seniors are adapting to changing circumstances of bereavement, relocation, and the digital divide of technology. Some are exploring social media to close the gap of connection to family and friends, while adjusting to retirement and smaller social circles. With all these moving pieces, the holidays come and may cast a shadow of isolation and potential loneliness to once vibrant, active and engaged individuals.

The holiday season can bring on holiday blues or ‘winter blues’ for vulnerable populations of older adults and elders. Triggers for social isolation during the holidays included changes in family structure that may result in more significant numbers.... Read More

             

Fighting loneliness and isolation with The Harmony Exchange

Older adults suffering from social isolation and loneliness are at a higher risk of developing physical and mental health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2016 study published in Gerontology, up to 29 percent of American adults aged over 70 years report being lonely. Although often overlooked, loneliness is a real and growing epidemic that affects the overall health of older individuals. This is an especially prominent issue for older adults that are either homebound or have decreased mobility, as the only people they may see on a regular basis are home aides or family.

The Harmony Exchange was created to combat exactly this.

As.... Read More

             

Despite connectivity, social isolation is not declining—especially among diverse older adults

This article originally appeared in Aging Today, the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.

When asked by staff of the Diverse Elders Coalition about the aging services available in her area, Elva, an American Indian elder from New Mexico, relayed how important her local Elder Center was to her and her peers’ well-being: “We as elders need a place to come to, [where we] have meals, do activities and visit with friends and relatives.”

Elva noted that the Elder Center was a place where she could get information about benefits and other available resources. “Many times, as a Native elder, we feel that we don’t exist,” she said.

In our increasingly digitally connected world, there.... Read More

             

Quality of Life Enhanced for Seniors with Companion Animals

by D. Kevin McNeir. This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

Much has been reported about a paradigm shift within American society which looms on the horizon and cannot be ignored: In less than 20 years, according to U.S. Census data, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in our history. On reaching that milestone in 2035, experts predict, the 78 million older Americans 65 or more will slightly outnumber the 76.7 million children under 18.

Most of these seniors will be women, who have longer life expectancies than men and who will more than likely live at home with the assistance of family caregivers. The majority of the seniors will be baby.... Read More

             

Immigrant elders find relief with affordable housing in NYC, but feel isolated from community

This article originally appeared on the India Home blog.

Nurul Khan and his wife Farida Begum are an older Bengali couple from Queens who lived for 30 years in damp basement apartments in Jamaica, Queens.

“It was so damp I got arthritis,” Farida Begum said to visitors recently. “The basement was freezing.”

The visitors were in Farida Begum’s brand new apartment on 96th Avenue. Tiny and spry, the 58 year old rushed about the apartment getting us snacks and making chai on her brand new stovetop.

“I never saw the sun for all those years. My body used to ache.... Read More

             

Hmong Elders and Depression

By Alice Daniel. This article originally appeared on txhaub.com.

When Yong Yang Xiong arrived in Fresno, California fourteen years ago at the age of 53, he really wanted to find a job. But he couldn’t speak English–and employers told him he was too old. On top of that, he was suffering from chronic physical pain.

“As a petite man, I was given very heavy loads to carry for days and nights,” he said, referring to the six long years he had spent helping the CIA fight its secret war in Laos.

When the war ended, he fled on foot to a refugee camp in Thailand where he spent the next 26 years. He and his family didn’t.... Read More

             

New York City Program Brings Generations Together

by Beth Baker. This piece originally appeared on Next Avenue.

A large room fills with older adults and teenagers in the New York City headquarters of the nonprofit DOROT. They sit down on opposite sides of two long rows of tables filled with black-and-white chess sets.

Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, Jessica Nooney, who says she is “almost 80,” plays with Joelle Garcia, 15. Nooney learned chess as a child from her father.

“I’ve always loved to play, and I’m so happy to play with young people,” she says. Unlike when she was raising her teenage children, she adds, “It’s a different relationship when you don’t have to be the authority figure. It’s a.... Read More

             

Poor Public Transportation Can Be a Roadblock to the Everyday Needs of Arab-American Seniors

By Julia Kassem, Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Conversations around Detroit-area public transit in recent months have focused on new routes on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan Avenue – as well as the Detroit Connector, a new service operating from Ann Arbor to Detroit offered by the University of Michigan that launched October 30.

Yet these discussions around transit development tend to omit those most in need of affordable, reliable and convenient transportation options.

Nationwide, the Pew Foundation reports that while only 18 percent of urban dwellers born in the United States regularly use public transportation, almost 38 percent of foreign-born city residents rely on public transit.

No. 1 Obstacle to Self-Sufficiency

In Metro Detroit, a city without the mass-transit system.... Read More

             
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