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Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 During Winter Months

Monday , October 19 , 2020

Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 During Winter Months

As we near winter in North America where the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging, one thing has become glaringly obvious: Cold weather will make things much, much worse.

Historically, viruses like the seasonal flu peak during the late fall and winter months (last year in the U.S., there were 40 times more cases in the fall and winter than during the spring and summer). If Covid-19 follows the same pattern, we could be facing at least another 300,000 deaths in the U.S. in coming months.

Though these numbers are scary, there are several steps you can take to help protect yourself and others during the coming months.

Keep reading for some simple tips and tricks:

 

Prevent Getting Sick

Covid-19 is thought to spread person-to-person, mainly through respiratory droplets in the air. Unfortunately, the dry winter atmosphere makes it possible for those droplets to remain in the air for longer periods of time – even after the sick individual has left the room.

The best way to avoid getting ill is to stay in your home and limit face-to-face interactions with other people as much as possible. Since that is not always feasible, help keep yourself safe by following these simple precautions from the CDC:

  •  Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with other people, even inside your home. A distance of at least six feet (about two arms-length) is suggested.
  • Wear a face mask when in public and around others who are not a part of your household. Continue to keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others, even when wearing a mask.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Minimize social gatherings – Stay connected with friends and family who don’t live in your home by calling, using video chat, or interacting on social media.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (phones, doorknobs, light switches, etc.) daily with soap and water and then an approved disinfectant.
  • Get a flu shot to help save health resources for those infected with Covid-19 and to help protect yourself from the seasonal flu.

Beware “Covid Fatigue”

As we near our second year of the pandemic, many people feel like they have “done enough” to protect themselves from the virus. They’ve spent months social distancing, wearing a mask, and working from home. And they’re tired of it.

Officials are dubbing this phenomenon “Covid Fatigue” – and they’re warning the public to remain vigilant.

Dr. Claude Mellins, a medical psychologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, says that it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t forever. “We’re gonna get through this,” she said. “That’s the first message of any disaster. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to be unchanged, but we will get through it.”

As we try to navigate the next few months, it’s important to keep Dr. Mellins words in mind. Getting through this winter certainly won’t be easy, but knowing there is an end in site will make it more bearable.

Stay safe and keep healthy.

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What is an Ethical Will and Do You Need One?

Monday , October 5 , 2020

What is an Ethical Will and Do You Need One?

Have you ever heard someone mention their “ethical will” and wondered what in the world they were talking about? We’re here to tell you what you need to know.

First, an “ethical will” or “legacy letter” is not legally binding. They don’t bequeath assets or spell out your last wishes.

Ethical wills are documents that communicate values and life experiences to your family or loved ones. They express your thoughts and feelings about what’s most important to you to those you care about. They can be created by a person of any faith – or of no faith at all.

And many people find that writing down their personal history eases the existential pain about the end of life.

Keep reading to learn more:

How do I Write an Ethical Will? 

Unlike a Last Will and Testament, ethical wills can take many forms. Because they are not a legal document, you are free to be as creative as you want.

Many people choose to simply write up a document, often just a single page. Others create slideshows, photo albums, recipe collections, or a gathering of favorite quotes.

The document (or collection) can be a one-time creation, something you add to at each of life’s milestones (retirement, the birth of a grandchild, etc.), or something you work on throughout your life. It can be intended for your children, grandchildren, spouse or partner, best friend, and more.

There really are no rules!

How do I Create My Ethical Will? 

According to AARP, you should begin your ethical will by “jotting down notes about your beliefs, life lessons and hopes for the future. You might include details about your family history. You also may want to express gratitude toward family and friends or request forgiveness for past actions.”

If you plan on creating a multi-media project, you might also start gathering photos, collecting favorite quotes, filming video, and more.

Ask yourself, “What have I learned during my lifetime that I’d like to share?”

Here are some topics that others have chosen to include in their ethical wills. Feel free to use these questions as you wish, skip some, or add your own:

Values

  • What values are important to me?
  • What are my spiritual beliefs?
  • Are there any special sayings, traditions, or rituals that have been passed down through the family?

Thoughts

  • What would I like to pass down to my grandchildren or other loved ones?
  • What books and movies influenced me and in what way?

Words of Wisdom

  • What advice can I offer to others about living their lives? Do I have any wisdom to pass on to the next generation?
  • What has life taught me?
  • What have I learned from my parents or grandparents that I want to pass on?
  • If I could change one thing in the world, what would I change and why?

Life Experiences

  • What do I want my family to know about me that they might not already be aware of?
  • Have I ever had a life-altering experience? How did this affect me?
  • What was the most significant/meaningful moment in my life?
  • What made my life worth living? A special relationship? Work? Children? Hobbies?
  • Did I fulfill all the dreams of my youth?
  • Who is or was the most important person in my life? What did I learn from them?
  • Were there any others who greatly impacted my life? Who?
  • What am I most proud of?

Decisions

  • What was the most difficult decision I ever made?
  • Is there anything in life I wish I had done differently? Do I need to request forgiveness or make amends with anyone?
  • If I knew I only had one year left to live, what would I do?
  • How did I choose the recipients for my charitable gifts and financial inheritance?

Creating an ethical will is simple, fun, and FREE. Why not start on your own project today and give your loved ones something to cherish for years to come?

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Remembering Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers

Monday , September 21 , 2020

Remembering Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers

Fifty years ago, Maggie Kuhn founded the Gray Panthers, a radical movement to encourage activism among America’s older population. 

 

Inspired by the political environment at the time, such as Vietnam War protests and racial equality demonstrations, Kuhn believed that issues affecting older people should also be on the radar. More than anything, she wanted to destroy every single stereotype surrounding older adults – especially older women. 

 

Please keep reading to learn more about Maggie and the movement she started and find out where the Gray Panthers are today. 

 

Who was Maggie Kuhn? 

 

Maggie Kuhn was born in 1905 to parents who grew up in the segregated South. Determined to give their daughter a different life, they raised Maggie in the North, where she graduated college and organized a chapter of the League of Women Voters. 

 

Throughout her adult life, Maggie worked towards change and demonstrated a powerful interest in social reform on many fronts. 

 

In 1970, at just 65 years old, Maggie was forced into retirement. At the time, this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Senior citizens were expected to fade into the background and disappear from everyday life. Maggie, however, was infuriated. 

 

Even more irksome? Her parting gift was a sewing machine. 

 

“Old age is not a disease. [Old age] is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.”

 

Sexism and ageism were two things this petite, gray-haired lady couldn’t stand for. Maggie took it upon herself to make sure other older adults didn’t face the same fate as her. 

 

With the help of a few other seniors forced out of the workplace, Kuhn quickly founded the “Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change,” dubbed the “Gray Panthers” by the press. The group was “lively, quick-witted, controversial and action-oriented.” 

 

Maggie’s legacy was so impactful that political activist Ralph Nader once called her retirement “the most significant retirement in modern American history.”

 

Conjuring the Power of Older Adults

 

The Gray Panthers identified as a militant, though nonviolent group and their tactics included public protests, political lobbying, and grassroots organizing. They forced their way into the diplomatic sphere and demanded action. 

 

According to the AARP, in their first full year of operation, the Gray Panthers stormed the White House and requested access to the presidential conference on aging. Kuhn even called out President Gerald Ford when she found his remarks “patronizing.” 

 

Throughout the years, the organization successfully lobbied against mandatory retirement age, pushed for nursing home reform and creation of a government-subsidized single-payer national health insurance program, fought for accessibility in mass transportation and against proposed cuts to Social Security, and much more. 

 

Most of all, Kuhn fought against the rampant ageism in America – especially the negative stereotypes about older adults in the media. The Panthers routinely monitored how seniors were portrayed on television and rallied against networks that insisted upon depicting them as “dependent, powerless, wrinkled babies.” 

 

The Gray Panthers Today

 

Today, it seems as though the Panthers have been largely forgotten. In part, that can be attributed to Kuhn’s death in 1995. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Maggie was “such a charismatic leader that once she died, the organization began to drift.” 

 

But despite their challenges since Kuhn’s death, the Gray Panther’s mission continues to this day. With a series of local advocacy networks throughout the United States, the group fights ageism and other social justice issues every day.

 

Interested in helping? You can contact the NYC chapter here or visit the National Council of Gray Panthers Networks on Facebook.

Posted in: Aging

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