Well the Holiday Season got off to a weak start, but we’re all hanging in there, with hope on the horizon. The seniors I spoke with either had Thanksgiving dinner with their local family, or cancelled all plans. Some said that they already knew that their children or old friends would not be coming for Christmas dinner. But there were places they could still get a turkey dinner. Boulder County Aging had a plentiful turkey meal in a box on Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, handed out by Helen Vanderwerken. The River Church had turkey in a box too, picked up at the church. And some individuals said they shared with their neighborhood seniors. I cooked a turkey and shared it with two seniors, in a box. Both had no turkey on Thanksgiving Day, and were glad to satisfy their traditional turkey craving.
While I know that you hear news about COVID-19 every night on the news, I wanted to say a few things specifically aimed at seniors. You probably know that the number of cases went from 2,708 (averaging 2,000 for about 5 days) to 6,037 on December 3. And, the ICU beds are now 83 percent full, with 1600 beds in the state.
While the current age group being hit the hardest is from 40 to 65, the highest percentage of those dying are in the 80 and over bracket. Almost 90 percent of people do not get hospitalized when they contract COVID-19. Those age 70 and over that get the virus have 20 percent chance of being hospitalized, and ten percent of those pass away. Those who survive may have scar tissue (known as pulmonary fibrosis) which stiffens the lungs and makes it harder to breath. And, this makes catching pneumonia even more life threatening.
After months of learning, medical professional find that they no longer quickly put people on a ventilator, but use other methods and drugs to try and control it. Doctors and nurses find that it is a very bad sign and highly likely that the person who gets intubated will pass away.
As far as the vaccine, the first of three vaccines are up for approval, and the shipments may start this coming week. But that doesn’t mean it will soon be over. Some cities are doing fake administration of vaccinations, and they find that they can only do 400 to 1,500 vaccines a day. So when you think that there are 20 million vaccines (or 47,000+ here in Colorado), that means it will take many weeks to just get through the first round.
Recently the Administration decided to switch to giving each state the number of vaccines based on their population. Colorado has 1.7 percent of the US population (previously it was going to be based on what areas were hit the hardest). They also changed the order from having states do what the CDC ordered, to having the states decide their own rules, based on CDC recommendations. In Colorado that means first responders and health care workers were first, and patients in long-term nursing facilities and their care givers. Long term care facilities account for 40 to 50 percent of the deaths. So, that does not mean if you are 65 years old or more, that you will be seeing a vaccine this year.
So, what can you do to protect yourself? Consider these guidelines for the entire month of December, including Christmas and other holidays: Stay home as much as possible. I repeat, stay home. Other than essential doctor visits, there is pretty much nothing worth going out for. You can call the LEAF volunteer line and ask for help in getting important items picked up or delivered. We thought big box stores were safe because of their high ceilings, but the mayor of El Paso, that just had a surge in case numbers, says that 55 percent of the cases came from those who did shopping at large retailers.
Personally, I’ve told my relatives and friends to not go to the post office to mail me Christmas packages, and I won’t be doing it either. Send gift cards or I.O.U.’s.
When people visit, all of you must wear a mask, unless you are putting food in your mouth. When you go to a store, restaurant, or church of any size, wear a mask. When you are outside, wear a mask (you never know when someone can walk by “too close”). I wear a mask from the time my car enters Lyons till the time I am out of town. It’s easier than to remember to put it on for some things and not for others.
I have spent many hours collecting answers to the most common questions about COVID-19, like “are my symptoms flu or the virus;” and how do I sign up for contact tracing; and what are “long haulers.” Go to: https://lyonsrecorder.org/…/covid-19-2nd-wave-facts…/
Have a safe and healthy Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s Eve!
INFORMATION & ALERTS:
===FLU SHOT WEEK: Did you get your flu shot? You do not want to be fighting for a hospital bed this December or January. The hospitals are normally 80 to 90 percent full with routine patients, and then add 10 – 15 – 20 percent more COVID-19 on top of that.
===WILD FIRES: All three wildfires that were near Lyons and the Front Range are now 100% contained.
===VETERAN’S DAY: Please check out the list of Lyons Veterans, and let us know if we are missing your family name: https://lyonsrecorder.org/…/11/05/honor-veterans-lyons-co/ LyonsRecorder.Editor@gmail.com
===SOCIAL SECURITY: Your Social Security benefit will increase in 2021 by 1.3 percent because of a rise in the cost of living.
Remember, no government office will call you and ask personal questions. I have got several calls this week supposedly about Social Security, maybe because it was Medicare Enrollment time. Always hang up; and, then call the local office yourself to see if there is a problem. If You Have Questions • Visit www.ssa.gov online. • Call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). •
====Elder Justice Coalition Receives Grant: The Boulder County Elder Justice Coalition is pleased to announce they have received a federal grant through the Office on Violence Against Women, part of the United States Department of Justice, to combat elder abuse. The grant focuses on education and training of local law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and professionals working with older adults and survivors of abuse. With an increasing older adult population, elder abuse has become a bigger focus for local law enforcement, criminal justice systems, and service providers.==Go here for more info: https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/seniors/services/elder-rights/
===How to Order Online (& Stay Home Safe): Are you trying to stay at home and not go to restaurants but don’t know how to order online? You have three helpers: (1) Senior Planet has created a series of ‘Stuck-at-Home Guides’ to walk folks through online grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, online games, and even ballet. (2) The second option is to contact LEAF. You can order Meals on Wheels, or have a box from the Food Bank delivered to your house. They also have a list of volunteers that can help you with other important chores. (3) The Lyons library has a “tech” person who can help you navigate the internet. Go to the library’s page and click on her link to request help.
===BOULDER COUNTY AREA AGENCY ON AGING (BCAAA)===
Boulder County Area Agency on Aging (BCAAA) has online and phone services for clients. The staff is available to answer calls and emails from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (303) 441-3570.
The BCAAA responds to the needs of older adults (60+) and their family and informal caregivers in our community through advocacy, funding, direct service, planning, and education.
***AGE WELL SERIES*** 9th Annual. It is open to the community at no cost. The series was planned and organized by a team of BCAAA staff and volunteers.
= COVID-19 Advance Care Planning Conversations (Wednesday, Dec. 16)
=Layers of Loss: Understanding Grief as a Caregiver (Thursday, Jan. 7)
=Project Visibility: Creating Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ Older Adults (parts 1 and 2, Jan. 12 and 14)
=Supporting and Growing the Director Care Workforce (Tuesday Jan. 19)
=Reframing Aging: The COVID-19 Edition (Wednesday, Jan. 20)
=Change and Uncertainty: That’s Caregiving! (Wednesday, Jan. 27)
=Ending Ageism Together (Wednesday, Feb.3)
For questions, go to: firstname.lastname@example.org
===The 20th Annual Lavender Gala celebration is online starting Dec. 7 – Dec. 13. There was a kick-off reception on Monday; on Thursday, Dec. 10, a mixer event to connect with other LGBTQ’s, and on Sunday, Dec. 13, a live celebration with dancing, raffle drawings and more. All programming is offered at no cost! Register for the 2020 Lavender Gala here.
===Learn more about the BCAAA’s LGBTQ+ older adult programming.
===AGING ADVISORY COUNCIL: The AAC will be recruiting new members in early December. The AAC serves in an advisory capacity to the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging. The AAC helps in the administration and planning of the Older Americans Act programs by gathering information and ideas that help to coordinate the delivery of services, and by responding effectively to the strengths and needs of older adults throughout Boulder County. The AAC meets the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon, except for July and November. Members of the public are welcome to AAC meetings. contact email@example.com.
===SENIOR LAW DAY: Despite the change in setting, this year’s Senior Law Day succeeded in providing needed information to our community. The series of eight workshops drew over 500 attendees and the recordings continue to be available on YouTube. You are invited to visit the Boulder County Senior Law Day site for details on resources right here in Boulder County.
FOOD/MEALS & HEALTH
===WELLNESS: The Lyons Recorder will have an article every week in December that will address wellness and health needs during this very stressful and unusual pandemic month. Get free advice from experts, and digest them at home, on your own time, at your own pace.
===FREE MONDAY SUPPER: As far as free meals, The River Church is back! They will be serving free suppers in a box to those who need a hot meal on Monday nights. Arrive between 5 and 5:30 p.m. in front of the Walt Self Center. Please wear masks and stay six feet away from others. No other church has indicated that they will restart the Monday night suppers.
===BOULDER COUNTY AGING – LUNCHES: Changes for the lunches: For the month of December, Boulder County Area Aging (BCAAA) is continuing its Wednesday and Friday lunch schedule. But, starting in January, they will be switching to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Nutritious quality lunches for seniors ages 65 and up can be ordered by 1p.m. the day before at (303) 441-1415, and picked up in front of the Walt Self Senior Center at 12 noon. Please wear a mask and stay six feet away from others.
Note, there will be no meal served the Friday after Christmas, nor on January 6, Wednesday. The Christmas Eve lunch is cod with tomato sauce, wild rice blend, and spinach salad. The New Year’s Eve lunch will be parmesan pork chops with Yukon gold potatoes and grilled Brussel sprouts.
We thank Teresa DeAnni, Boulder County Healthy Aging Program Manager, and Boulder County, for writing the grants to subsidize the lunch costs. It is keeping our seniors healthy and happy!
===LYONS EMERGENCY & ASSISTANCE FUND
***The Food Bank that is run by LEAF went back to curbside delivery on November 28, due to the new RED Level restrictions. Pull up in front of the Community Church, wear a mask and stay in your car. Someone will come up to your passenger window and help you. If you are handicap or unable to drive to the Food Bank, LEAF can arrange to have the food box delivered to your home.
***Meals on Wheels is still active in Lyons, and handled through LEAF. If you are unable to cook for yourself, or have other elderly disabilities, call them to set up delivery.
***LEAF has a “Super Duper Food Pantry” going on December 16, Wednesday, from 3 to 5 p.m. Several people and the two schools have been collecting lots of food and home items to distribute to seniors and those disadvantaged at this time of the year. Just pull up in your car, in the line in front of the Lyons Community Church, wear a mask, stay in your car, and roll down your window. Someone will deliver the box to your car. Thank you to LEAF and their volunteers! This is a very big job to organize, and we all know your hearts are in it. Special thanks to Higher Grounds Ministries, Laura Levy Coldwell Banker, and more.
***ARE YOU FEELING DOWN? LEAF is offering free online Mental Wellness sessions. It includes talks about dealing with stress, depression, using mindfulness tools, coping with grief, dealing with family, and more. You can write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FUN THINGS TO DO
===Happy Birthday! Tina Wolf, Carolyne Dollar, Bonnie DiSalvo, Annie Mannering, and Carol Groves who is a December 25th Christmas baby! Happy Birthday to all! Seniors, be sure to call your birthday friends.
===Agree to have a cup of tea by your side, and some cookies, and set aside some quality time to talk about whatever comes to your mind! There’s no greater gift than showing your friendship.
===LYONS LIBRARY: The Lyons Community Library returned to Curbside Pickup Service only beginning Monday, November 16th. The library’s hours of operation will remain the same, but the building will be closed. See our article in November for all the details.
===TOWN OF LYONS RECREATION: There are no activities, programs, crafts etc. in the Walt Self Senior Center for the rest of this season. The Wednesday Walkers are continuing, but have moved their meeting time to 11 a.m. because of the cooler weather. If it is approximately below 40 degrees, or icy outside, it is likely the walk will be cancelled. (There is no class the Wednesday before Christmas.) The walkers meet at the Senior Center and go to a nearby park, do some exercises or stretches, and return to the Center. This is also an enjoyable time to share your latest news with friends, while social distancing.
The Town also has an exercise in the park program., ages 10 and up. Two seniors are attending. Seniors get a discounted $5 rate. This is an action packed, strength-building class. Sign up online.
===Here is a Primer from Senior Planet in finding easy online puzzles and games.
===CBS Sunday Morning features NATURE clips at the end of each show through their Sunday Morning Nature series. There are hours of these one to two minute clips available on their Facebook page. In addition, they offer their Rise and Shine Series featuring their gorgeous theme song played by folks from around the world, the Sunday Matinee, and latest clips from the show on their Facebook Watch page. Enjoy!
===Boomers Leading Change introduces new resources that support older adults who want to make friendly connections. Sign up to participate in their pen pal, email pal, and phone tree opportunities on their webpage.