“What we can learn from solitude: Contemporary hermits are reaching out to people struggling from isolation – their message: ‘Go inward and get outside.'” – The New York Times
“Paul Fredette (left) and Karen Karper Fredette on their property in Hot Springs, N.C.” – Credit…Clark Hodgin for The New York Times
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Paul Fredette and Karen Karper Fredette have made some changes to their lives: Ms. Fredette stopped attending her local exercise class, and the couple whittled their interactions with their neighbors down to waves.
“But in many ways, seclusion comes naturally to them. From a house they call Still Wood, nestled in the slope of a mountain surrounded by hundreds of acres of wild woodlands, the Fredettes live their lives ‘oriented towards solitude,’ which is their preferred way of saying that they’re hermits: devoted to simplicity, silence and prayer. The nearest town, Hot Springs, N.C., is 18 miles away and has a population just under 600.
“Mr. Fredette, 71, is a former Catholic priest, while Ms. Fredette, 78, spent 30 years in a monastery after high school before leaving to live as a hermit in a cabin in West Virginia. Since 1996, the couple has overseen a social network for hermits … “
Continue reading this article at The New York Times. click here.
Loneliness and isolation | here are two articles that let us know that every day is not “sunshine and penguins” but there are ways to adjust.
This New York Times article, “How to Deal With Life in Long-Term Isolation” offers examples of people who have managed in scenarios of being alone or being isolated.
74 year-old Diane Evans has learned, “If adverse situations beat you down, there wouldn’t be an African American in this country. You do what you have to do to survive.” In this NPR article, “There’s No Stopping These Seniors; Even A Pandemic Can’t Bring Them Down”, there are stories of remarkable resilience many older persons are showing in the pandemic.
As the Telecommunications Relay and/or Captioned Telephone service provider for Pennsylvania, Hamilton Relay acknowledges that opportunities for higher education affect the future of Pennsylvania’s high school students.
We are pleased to once again extend the Hamilton Relay Scholarship opportunity to graduating high school seniors in Pennsylvania who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking to assist in their goals of continuing their education.
Hamilton Relay selects one candidate from each of the states where Hamilton is the contracted service provider. All candidates are required to submit an application, write an essay under the topic of communication technology and provide a letter of recommendation in order to qualify. The application documents can also be found online here.
The scholarship deadline is January 30, 2021 and applications must be received or postmarked by that date. The scholarship is in the amount of $500 and the winner will be determined on or before March 1, 2021.
If you have any questions about Hamilton Relay or the Hamilton Relay Scholarship Program, please contact Amy Strawser directly. In addition, Amy and Sudan Bradley, will be hosting an informational webinar with details and instructions for applying for this scholarship award. The dates and links to registration for this webinar are listed below. We will be offering three different dates to accommodate your schedule, each date provides the same information.
Hamilton Relay is excited to give back to the community by offering this scholarship opportunity to students who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking. We look forward to learning more about the outstanding students in Pennsylvania.
Amy Strawser, Pennsylvania Outreach Coordinator | (412) 944-7424 | Amy.Strawser@hamiltonrelay.com
Please register for an informational Pennsylvania Relay Awards & Scholarship webinar at the link below. If accommodations are needed (ASL or CART services) please let us know at least one week in advance.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
“This article is one in a series of profiles on the 2020 winners of the National Academy of Medicine’s Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards — part of the Healthy Longevity Global Competition, a multiyear, multimillion-dollar international competition seeking breakthrough innovations to improve physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age.”
by Stephanie Miceli
“Imagine if just by sitting on the toilet, you could collect actionable information about your health.
“Although health and fitness wearables can help do that job, people tend to lose interest after a few months. Fitbits are forgotten at home or put in a drawer when the battery dies. Even stepping on a scale or using a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor can be difficult tasks to remember, if they’re not part of your routine. This can be especially true for seniors, who are generally less likely to use wearable gadgets.
“David Borkholder and his co-investigators at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) believe that the toilet is the next frontier for health data collection — because going to the bathroom is part of our daily lives.
“His multidisciplinary team of behavioral and design experts recently won a Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). They plan to apply this funding to their “smart toilet seat” model, which is embedded with sensors that can collect vital signs (such as heart rate, blood oxygenation, and blood pressure) from skin contact, right in the home.”
Learn more about this interesting developing concept, click here.
Experts provide tips on where to turn in a caregiving emergency
IMAGE SOURCE/GETTY IMAGES
by Bruce Horovitz
“En español | The good news: COVID-19 was not at issue when then-64-year-old Ginny Valenze had to quickly and independently assemble caregiving help for herself after suffering a very serious medical emergency while out of town.
“The bad news: It still required an array of often-confusing calls and wide outreach to friends and neighbors that left her feeling utterly vulnerable and, as she said, “terrified.” Never mind that her own profession as a patient advocate for pharmaceutical companies stretched for more than 20 years.
“‘You don’t ever think this is going to happen to you — until it does,’ says Valenze, now 70, who never married and lives on her own in Whippany, New Jersey. She was the caregiver for her late father, and assisted with the care of her mom and one sister, who both died when she was a teen, but ironically, she says, she didn’t have her own self-care plan in place. Another sister lives much too far away to be of daily assistance. ‘Your world can turn upside down in an instant, and the older you get, the more likely it will.’
“Her best advice: Make a plan. This is particularly critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Data show hospitalized Covid-19 patients are surviving at higher rates, but surge in cases could roll back gains” – STATnews
“GO NAKAMURA/GETTY IMAGES”
by Andrew Joseph
“Patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are surviving at higher rates than in the early days of the pandemic, gains that data and interviews with experts suggest are driven by a more refined understanding of the disease and how to treat it — and, crucially, less strain on hospitals that had been inundated at times.
“Other factors have contributed to the improved outcomes: Steroids that help save some lives are being used more widely, and people infected after the initial surge were, as a whole, younger and arrived at the hospital earlier in the course of the disease.
“But clinicians warn that this progress won’t withstand what happens when crushes of patients again overwhelm hospitals, as is now occurring in dozens of U.S. states. With the country setting new records of hospitalizations daily, care is getting threatened, and death rates — not just deaths — could increase.
“’We’re going to have lives lost that shouldn’t be lost,’ said Kelly Cawcutt, an infectious diseases and critical care physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.”
Read this article in its entirety at STATnews – click here.
“The Last Children of Down Syndrome: Prenatal testing is changing who gets born and who doesn’t. This is just the beginning.” – The Atlantic
by Sarah Zhang
“Every few weeks or so, Grete Fält-Hansen gets a call from a stranger asking a question for the first time: What is it like to raise a child with Down syndrome?
“Sometimes the caller is a pregnant woman, deciding whether to have an abortion. Sometimes a husband and wife are on the line, the two of them in agonizing disagreement. Once, Fält-Hansen remembers, it was a couple who had waited for their prenatal screening to come back normal before announcing the pregnancy to friends and family. ‘We wanted to wait,’ they’d told their loved ones, ‘because if it had Down syndrome, we would have had an abortion.’ They called Fält-Hansen after their daughter was born—with slanted eyes, a flattened nose, and, most unmistakable, the extra copy of chromosome 21 that defines Down syndrome. They were afraid their friends and family would now think they didn’t love their daughter—so heavy are the moral judgments that accompany wanting or not wanting to bring a child with a disability into the world.”
“All of these people get in touch with Fält-Hansen, a 54-year-old schoolteacher, because she heads Landsforeningen Downs Syndrom, or the National Down Syndrome Association, in Denmark, and because she herself has an 18-year-old son, Karl Emil, with Down syndrome. Karl Emil was diagnosed after he was born. She remembers how fragile he felt in her arms and how she worried about his health, but mostly, she remembers, ‘I thought he was so cute.’ Two years after he was born, in 2004, Denmark became one of the first countries in the world to offer prenatal Down syndrome screening to every pregnant woman, regardless of age or other risk factors. Nearly all expecting mothers choose to take the test; of those who get a Down syndrome diagnosis, more than 95 percent choose to abort.”
To read this “long read” at The Atlantic, click here.
This millennial founded CIRKEL so all ages would share their knowledge
by Richard Eisenberg
“Charlotte Japp, the 30-year-old founder of the uplifting CIRKEL community platform for intergenerational networking, drew inspiration for it from what happened to her parents.
“Growing up, I saw both of my parents get aged out of their careers and pretty much get forced to pivot and start their own businesses,” she recalls. “So, for me, it seemed normal that after you hit a certain age, you just worked for yourself in this age bubble, or silo, at home.”
That didn’t seem right to Japp, who was recently named one of the nonprofit Encore.org’s 2020 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows. Through CIRKEL (the Danish word for circle, since workers need to close the intergenerational loop), Japp is helping older and younger people to network with each other, one generation assisting the other.
Continue reading this interview with Japp, click here.
“I spent the better part of a year inside a hospital with a Stephen King-level freaky, highly life-threatening autoimmune disorder.”
“This is a world I know well.”
by David Stewart
“The odds are that you or someone you love will be hospitalized at some point. My sincere hope is that you will never have to use any of the suggestions in this article. We recently learned from her NYTimes editorial that our friend and AGEIST profile Annabelle Gurwitch is having a very tough time and, because of her illness, stage 4 lung cancer, she is highly engaged with the medical system. Her particular illness is not something I have knowledge of, but the medical system at that level is something I do. Annabelle, you are in our thoughts today as I write this.
“At about 50 years old, I spent the better part of a year in a hospital as a ‘science project’ due to my having contracted ITP — idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. That is the Latin for ‘you seem to have a problem bleeding and we don’t know why.’ One thing about autoimmune disorders, and their inverse disorder, cancers, is that there is no run-of-the-mill average occurrence. They are all weird, all unique, and all special. You can have an average broken arm, but I have yet to hear of an average, regular old autoimmune disease. Modern medicine is fantastic at things like hip replacement, it is much less so with things like cancer and autoimmune. Which is not so say they don’t do incredible work, they do; I’m still alive! It is just that it is all sort of an experiment on a group of one, you, to see what works.”
“As social isolation takes its toll on older adults, many find ways to cope”
by Craig Miller
“The holidays, for all their glitter and manufactured cheer, are also notorious for stoking feelings of loneliness and depression.
“This year – the first holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be a bigger test than usual. With coronavirus cases on the rise again across the country, caution will dictate more social distancing and isolation, particularly among older Americans.
“Some of the nation’s most respected health authorities, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and his boss at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, have publicly said they’re foregoing large family gatherings at Thanksgiving this year.
“‘It can’t be understated how important social isolation can be on the health of older adults,’ says Dr. Ashwin Kotwal, a geriatrician and palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.”
Click here to read this article in its entirety at next avenue.