“QuarantineChat Brings Back Spontaneity (and Distraction)” – The New York Times

“Phone calls with strangers can reintroduce random connections into our locked-down lives, and be a balm for loneliness and grief.”

quarantine-chatCredit … via QuarantineChat


Like many people, my life in quarantine has included doses of grief, solitude and unpredictability. In early April, a friend recommended that I try QuarantineChat, an app that connects two people who don’t know each other for a phone call. ‘You’ll love it,’ she said.

“I pocketed the suggestion, and remembered it when my grandmother’s health started to deteriorate. If there was a time to connect with strangers — to startle my life out of its humdrum at-home routine, this was it. I hoped, if only for a few minutes, to be reminded of life in other corners. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be curious about someone else — to meet them for the first time.

“My first match, on May 6, was with a man in Bangkok. He told me about his haircut. ‘My barber was wearing a mask and a face shield,’ he said. ‘It was really weird, but I felt so good.’ He lost his job as a copywriter last month. I exhaled and told him about cutting my own hair with the scissors on a Swiss Army knife, a habit I’d picked up years before while traveling on my bicycle. It felt good to laugh and think about other places. I didn’t have to make eye contact or worry about what I looked like.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.

“lonlieness and the absence of touch” | COVID-19 yields

covid senior despair(Hannah Norman / KHN Illustration)

by Judith Graham

“As states relax coronavirus restrictions, older adults are advised, in most cases, to keep sheltering in place. But for some, the burden of isolation and uncertainty is becoming hard to bear.

“This ‘stay at home awhile longer’ advice recognizes that older adults are more likely to become critically ill and die if infected with the virus. At highest risk are seniors with underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung or autoimmune diseases.

“Yet after two months at home, many want to go out into the world again. It is discouraging for them to see people of other ages resume activities. They feel excluded. Still, they want to be safe.”

Click here to read this Kaiser Health Network article in its entirety.

“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” – The Scientist

“Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.”

by Ashley Yeager | in The Scientist

“It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“’Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,’ says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

To continue reading this article at The Scientist, click here.

“COVID-19 and the loneliness of American heroism” – Task & Purpose


by Peter Lucier

“A few hours after my friend was blown up by the side of the road in southern Helmand Province, I went to the gym. By gym, I mean the wooden squat rack with a rusted barbell and some upright seats made of 2x4s, covered by a dusty tan tarp on which camel spiders crawled, waiting to drop on the unsuspecting. My lifting partner Zach and I went through the same routine we had gone through for the last six months. I think it was a chest day. Members of other platoons occasionally poked their heads in on their way to our platoon’s tent to offer their condolences. We tried to be as gracious as we could, but were anxious to get back to our workout.

“A short month later, I came home. Instead of fellow Marines checking in on me, I was surrounded by civilians. It was hard to connect with them. War had cost me pieces of myself I would never get back, cost me friends I would never get back. I had spent months disassociating myself from basic empathy in order to survive, in order to kill, but now empathy was exactly what I needed. When someone tried their best to check on me, I thought they couldn’t possibly understand. I couldn’t summon the charity to accept their attempt to connect with me. I was too angry.”Click here to continue reading this article at Task &  Purpose.


“Left to die: Inside a ravaged Spanish nursing home” – Associated Press

“‘Didn’t give a damn’: Inside a ravaged Spanish nursing home”

“Spain’s more than 19,000 nursing home deaths, a horrendous toll of the aged, are the most across Europe. And it’s led to soul-searching over its elder-care system, particularly public nursing homes operated by private firms that seek to turn profits quickly by cutting staff, expenses and some say care to the bone, reports Aritz Parra from Madrid.

“An AP investigation into one such home in the capital where 42 people died found cost-cutting and deficiencies in care both before and after the pandemic.

”’They didn’t give a damn,” says a nurse about one of the private firms.

Read the Associated Press article here.

“Funerals in a Time of Quarantine” – Grief Perspectives newsletter from Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes

grief perspectivees

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

“Live Transcribe is an accessibility app designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing and usable by anyone.”

Screenshot_20200527-153154_Live Transcribescreenshot using “Live Transcribe” during the Webinar.

Tuned into this ADvancing States WEBINAR today, “Using Technology to Meet the Needs of Older Adults Isolated at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Of the volumes of Webinars that have proliferated the landscape in the past bunch of months, this one had some real applicable learning points. One we are eager to share with our Link partners and people who come to this Website.

Meet “Live Transcribe” – an quite useful app for your smart phone.

Live Transcribe is an accessibility app designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing and usable by anyone. Using Google’s state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition technology, Live Transcribe performs real-time transcription of speech and sound to text on your screen, so you can more easily participate in conversations going on in the world around you. You can also keep the conversation going by typing your response on the screen.

On Pixel 3 and up, these additional steps are required to use Live Transcribe:

1. Open your device’s Settings app.
2. Tap “Accessibility”, then tap “Live Transcribe”.
3. Tap “Use service”, then accept the permissions.
4. An Accessibility button should now appear at the bottom right corner of your screen, next to the Home button. Tap the Accessibility button or use gesture (https://support.google.com/accessibility/android/answer/7650693) to start Live Transcribe.

Real-time transcription:
• Supports transcription in over 70 languages and dialects.
• Supports quick-switching between 2 languages.
• Displays non-speech sound so that you know if someone is knocking on your door or a dog is barking.
• Reply without speaking by typing your responses within the app.

Referring back to transcription:
• You can save a transcript up to 3 days which stays secure on your device. (By default, transcriptions are not saved.)
• Touch and hold the transcript to copy & paste.

For more accurate transcription:
• Use an external microphones found in wired headsets, Bluetooth headsets, and USB mics for better audio reception.
• Check the loudness and noise indicator to find out if your environment is suitable for transcription.

• Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and up.

Live Transcribe was made in collaboration with Gallaudet University, the premier Deaf and hard of hearing university in the US.

Join the Google Accessible community (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/accessible) to provide feedback and receive product updates.Visit link: http://g.co/disabilitysupport to connect with an expert on the Disability Support team.

Permissions Notice
Microphone: Live Transcribe needs microphone access to transcribe the speech around you. The audio is not stored after the transcript is processed.


Are you current? Update to Zoom 5.0 info.

zoom update

If you are participating in Zoom gatherings or may be in the future, you need to know that Zoom is releasing robust security enhancements and making changes. Here’s everything you need to know to start updating today.

On April 27th Zoom released Zoom 5.0, setting a new standard in video communications security. After May 30th all Zoom users will be required to upgrade before joining meetings.

You may be prompted to update when you next open Zoom. You may also go to https://zoom.us/download to update Zoom. You can select the appropriate upgrade for the version of Zoom that you have been using.

You can learn more about the upgraded security features here: https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/zoom-v5-0.html

New resource for reaching veterans with behavioral health conditions

older veteran behavioral

Click to download this New resource for reaching veterans with behavioral health conditions: In a collaborative initiative with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we helped create a new overview of the programs, services, and agencies helping veterans with a variety of behavioral health issues.

“Poll: Nearly Half of the Public Say They or a Family Member Skipped or Delayed Care Due to Coronavirus, But Most Plan to Get Care in the Coming Months” – Kaiser Family Foundation

“Most Say Their Physical Health has Not Been Affected, But Many Say Their Mental Health Is Worse”  Kaiser poll

“Nearly One in Four Expect a Family Member to Turn to Medicaid in the Coming Year, and Majorities across Party Lines Oppose Medicaid Cuts to Address State Budget Shortfalls

“Amid the threat of coronavirus, nearly half (48%) of Americans say someone in their family has skipped or delayed getting some type of medical care due to the pandemic, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds. This includes 11% who say the person’s condition worsened due to the missed care.

“The findings come as many states move to relax some restrictions on businesses, including health care providers, aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, which has already caused about 100,000 deaths nationwide.

Read the complete report, click here.

Are you registered to attend these Link partners’ June FREE WEBINARS?

Be sure you’ve got these FREE WEBINARS on your schedule. Be sure you’re registered to attend. Both WEBINARS are approved for Continuing Education and listed at the National Association of Social Workers – Pennsylvania Community Calendar.register now for these two

June 23 WEBINAR INFORMATION – click here. 

Find out more about Dr. Lark Eshleman here.

June 25 WEBINAR INFORMATION – Click here.  

Find out more about Amita Mehta here and here.