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(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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
“I started using telemedicine around 13 years ago as a geriatrician for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I used it mostly for following up with patients after discharge from a Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit, which served as a longer-term rehabilitation unit that we had in our hospital.
“I’ve seen how the VA has used telemedicine over the years, using numerous different platforms. They’ve used encrypted telephones that involved calling from a central location in a medical facility and video chat that required placement of equipment during a home visit.
“We’ve run the gamut from using basic landline telephones to HIPAA-secure video-conferencing programs. These days, we sometimes place tablets in the home when the patient does not have access to a smartphone.
“As more primary care is being shifted away from office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m now using my telemedicine experience and training as a geriatrician to help the VA use the 4Ms Framework for Age-Friendly Care to improve care for older adults.
Continue reading this article at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, click here.
“Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.”
“Long-term care is provided in different places by different caregivers, depending on a person’s needs. Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can also be given in a facility such as a nursing home or in the community, for example, in an adult day care center.
“The most common type of long-term care is personal care—help with everyday activities, also called “activities of daily living.” These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating, and moving around—for example, getting out of bed and into a chair.
“Long-term care also includes community services such as meals, adult day care, and transportation services. These services may be provided free or for a fee.”
“As the pandemic forces doctors to turn to online solutions, many healthcare providers say they now see their advantages.”
“Caitlin Powers sits in the living room of her Brooklyn apartment in New York, and has a telemedicine video conference with her physician, Dr Deborah Mulligan.” – [Mark Lennihan/AP Photo]
by Christine Nguyen
“When Dr Mythili Krishnamurthy, an obstetrician/gynaecologist in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, got her patient’s message on WhatsApp about breast pain and a fever, she was confined to her home, like the rest of India, which had been on lockdown since March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the lockdown did not stop her from managing the patient’s care.
“Doctors, like Krishnamurthy, are doing ‘house calls’ again – but now, they are in the form of telemedicine visits. Telemedicine refers to remote care, including real-time video and app-based visits. Because of the public health crisis, a profession wary of accepting telemedicine has turned to it overnight.
“Media touts telemedicine’s value as a way to triage suspected COVID-19 patients, but telemedicine is not just a useful temporary stopgap, healthcare professionals say. It allows doctors to see patients with a range of problems and can improve patient care. Once doctors and patients use it, it is unlikely they will stop.”
The Lancaster County Link partners’ cross-training meeting is about telemedicine at Veterans Affairs.
“May 21 – VIRTUAL ZOOM CROSS-TRAINING meeting – Jessica Lehman, Veteran Affairs Medical Center- Lebanon, VA’s Health Initiative – Telehealth
With older Americans at higher risk for social isolation, science may have a treatment
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MAKOTO FUNATSU
by Lynn Darling
“Genomics Researcher Steve Cole had never really thought much about loneliness and the pain it causes until he looked into a molecular microscope at a small sample of white blood cells. What he saw there changed his life.
“The sample was one of several that had been taken from a handful of very lonely men and women, and Cole’s observations were startling: In each of the samples, the blood cells appeared to be in a state of high alert, responding the way they would to a bacterial infection. It was as though the subjects were under mortal assault by a disease — the disease of loneliness.
“But even more surprising to Cole, a professor of medicine, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine, was the public reaction to the subsequent study he coauthored, when it was published in 2007.
“‘The impact at the societal level — it really kind of shocked me,’ he says.”