There is a “hidden crisis” of loneliness among seniors during the pandemic. One organization posted photos on their Facebook page of “before and after faces of loved ones.” It went from June to October. It showed prematurely aging among the seniors. The difference in the images was shocking. Seven states have now classified families as essential caregivers, and allow them to visit their loved ones in the care centers. Family can do things like call to the attention of the staff if the senior is not eating well. The CDC just lifted the barriers to visitations, but the nursing homes are still figuring out how to do it safely.
Lonely people have elevated blood pressure, which is the #1 cause for elevated cortisone levels and mood abnormalities. The effects are: rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, bruises/purple marks, muscle weakness, and mood swings (anxiety, depression or irritability). Find COMMUNITY! I have mentioned this to the Boulder County Aging representative that seniors I’ve talked to are really missing the companionship that takes place in the Lyons Senior Center. As I have often said, they are not just offering a meal, but community.
A women columnist Connie Baher said that she lives in a retirement community that was on lockdown. Her mom, 100+ years old, was in an assisted living home. She asked herself, how did POW’s like John McCain handle it? He endured seven years in a North Vietnam prison. She began to read the memoirs of those real war heroes to see how they did it. McCain wrote, “It’s an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance…The onset of despair is immediate, and it is a formidable foe. You have to fight it with any means necessary.”
McCain and his fellow POW’s came up with memory games that they did in their solitary cells. They told stories in their minds. They did math problems. They made up codes, like tapping on walls to each other.
Another thing they did was routine. This is something that I put in my first article back in spring 2020 when lockdown first happened. They didn’t think about exciting things like Easter, because they would get depressed when it didn’t happen. They thought about things like names and ages of friends or family. They thought about what they did every morning at home, like making the coffee. We don’t have to think about these things in our imagination. We can refuse to stay in bed, or on the couch, and get dressed. We can make a special breakfast on Sundays, or our “regular fish dinner” on Fridays. We can think about planting a garden in spring, and ordering seeds now. We can think about old Easter traditions, and call a loved one and reminisce. We can paint some Easter eggs, and put them around the house –peeking out behind corners, drapes, frames, vases… We can write and send out cards… even just a “Thinking about you” card.
If you feel you are outgoing and this doesn’t apply to you… perhaps you can reach out to other seniors and just say a few words. Or, help them understand how to use Zoom on their computer. == Here are some statistics from StudyFinds: Just the thought of someone stopping to chat can brighten up a person’s day– 54% of respondents agree that even a short conversation with a neighbor or acquaintance would greatly improve their day overall. And a quarter of older adults say it makes them feel good when someone smiles or acknowledges them while waiting in line at a store. More than one in five (22%) will have a conversation with no more than just three people over the span of an entire week, and a large number only speak to one person in a week.
You will see that there are three opportunities below to “talk with someone.” (1) LEAF Volunteer “health check in call” (2) Mental Health group Mondays to chat (3) LEAF Mental Health on Thursdays/or/Fridays with Cherie Maureaux.
==CASUAL CONVERSATION FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH: Every Monday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. Jessica Broadbent is an outreach worker with Mental Health group — she offers a weekly “chat” — if you just need someone to talk to, to ease your stress or loneliness… or need help in being directed to “help,” she can help you — no pressure to talk about “health” etc. — just bring a cup of coffee and talk — if you dont know how to connect to this chat, contact her. — To join call (303) 258-7454, ext. 6 or email@example.com
==LEAF MENTAL HEALTH (&FUN) MEETNG: Cherie Maureaux and Rebecca Major are back! This Friday, March 19th, at 1 to 3 p.m. on Zoom= Springtime is here & changes are afoot in the world. The question up for discussion is: How will we use this time to grow in the midst of change, while staying grounded and whole? In this week’s meeting, we will talk about the changes of an upcoming post-pandemic life, how to grow and use this time to prepare intentionally for the changes ahead, check-in and talk, share community resources, and have some laughs. We look forward to seeing you! Here’s the link and password to join us, this Friday at 2 p.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84936475781 Passcode: Growth2021
NOTE, this is a one time thing. They may end up doing it monthly. You can contact Cherie about individual help at firstname.lastname@example.org
==LEAF can connect you with a Volunteer who can call you every day. They can just check to make sure you are well, or they can have a merry conversation with you. www.LEAFLyons.org
==TIPS FROM Doctor OZ on reducing your stress: DECLUTTERING will aid your mental health! Make your bed and you’ll sleep 20 percent better. For your office space: Clear off your desk. Add a scent to your room that you like (lavender is highly recommended for relaxing, and orange spice for invigorating). Bring something “live” to your room… a plant or flowers. Use alternative sweeteners with your coffee, like honey, or cinnamon (which also controls blood pressure). Have some apple cider vinegar every morning, just an ounce will do. It helps the bacteria of the gut, and reduces the amount of blood sugar.
==DEPRESSED/ SUICIDAL? Colorado has one of the highest rates in the country. You can seek mental health assistance through LEAF, or call the Suicide Hotline. Colorado: (844) 493-TALK//1-844-493-8255 – National (800) 273-8255. Both are Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. Check out the Lyons Recorder’s Emotional and Mental Resource List.
As an update since I last wrote about the vaccines, any senior that I personally asked in Lyons, said they have got the first vaccines, and most have got their second one! A few of the stragglers who are on the Town of Lyons “senior news” email list, got news of King Sooper coming to town, and about 52 of them got their first shots. The store will return in a month to give the second one. If you still need a shot, contact Lisa Ramsey at the Town email@example.com and let her know. The last time there were a couple of cancellations and some seniors were called to “come on over, now!”
Both the State of Colorado and the federal government have announced that they met the goal of getting 70 percent of those over 70 years old their first vaccine by the end of February. In Colorado, 100 percent of seniors in “nursing homes” has got their first shot (if they wanted one), and 71 percent have got their second shot.
I have been in touch with the Colorado Health Department about visitations in nursing homes, and they refused to change their rules until they got guidance from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Well, they got it last week! They now recommend that seniors who have received both shots, and at least two weeks have passed, can now visit with family (one household at a time), even though the rest of the family has not got a shot, as long as no one in the household has a high-risk condition. They are still recommending that seniors avoid crowded places, like restaurants and large stores, and airplanes. You must still wear a mask when outside in public. It seems that vaccinated people might still catch it, and won’t become ill, but they can pass it on to other people. Also, these new variants are still spreading.
We still do not have a firm date as to when the Senior Center will reopen. Boulder County is reopening some offices June 1st, but there is no guarantee that it will extend to Lyons. We will keep you posted. But the good news is that the Town of Lyons activities coordinator, Lisa Ramsey, is working on some things for seniors. She hopes to be ready to announce them in a couple of weeks, so that means we’ll have them in our next mid-April News.
New COVID-19 NEWS===== See our NEW MARCH “COVID NEWS” — MONTHLY article.
Throughout the month, look for the words “UPDATE” in this article for any big changes
Initially it was predicted that everyone can get a vaccine by the end of July, but it is now moved up to May. They say we might be able to BBQ outside with friends on the 4th of July!
COLORADO cases and deaths have rapidly dropped in the past month. They have now plateaued, and some minor increases have shown. We have been steady at 3.4 percent new cases.
This young computer expert developed a search engine just for vaccines in the Front Range! Easy and free! https://vaccine-finder.nickm.org/?fbclid=IwAR2wwFV-0kIRydWhTziNPk2QrdsrYypilBDNoCJkJO6fKXYYUzxPVy_Bx14
NEWS, FUN …AND SERIOUS
===LYONS COMMUNITY FARM PLANNING: Organizer Vasilena Smith met in early March with a small but enthusiastic group to discuss what fresh gardening ideas they want to establish in Lyons. Among the things they are planning are: 1) A Lyons-based 6-month Permaculture Design Certification Course, taught by experts, for a fee. 2) Finding the ideal piece of land to grow some vegetables and other crops for the community. 3) Creating a community food forest with fruit trees, nut trees, herbs, and other food crops. 4) Exploring how we can start an outdoor Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market for the Lyons Community.
It is not too late to join. Everyone is welcome to participate and discuss, add new ideas you may have, or expertise you can contribute. You can find them on the Lyons Community Farm Project Facebook page. Future meetings will be posted there. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Vasi at (720) 442-1368.
Here are some reports from seniors in Lyons:
== I received 10 text messages from Amazon and they called my phone 3 times all in one day. I called Amazon – they said it was not them contacting me.
== Please be aware that now you may get a phone call from someone who claims to be from Centurylink regarding your service and your modem. This is a “Windows-like” scam call. When I told him I don’t have Centurylink he hung up.
==I received two “taped messages” from “Publishers Clearing House” today about winning something. I haven’t entered that contest in a dozen years.
==I am constantly getting emails saying they are confirming my purchase (eg, $400). I have not bought anything online in a year, which tempts me to go to their web page to cancel it, but then they ask me for my ID, my password, my bank account number! If it was really my account, they would already have that information. It’s fake! Just delete it.
== Vacuum salesman: multiple people have complained about a fake vacuum salesperson coming to their door and “casing out” the place. The police have received complaints and are following the cases.
==Stimulus Checks: here we go again. I got several calls from someone who says that they can give me special deals connected with the Stimulus Checks. Just hang up. There are no businesses connected with the government who can give you “more for your money.”
==Warnings on RELIA CARDS. Don’t just throw them away. Deactivate them, and call and report them. There is a number on the card. The fraud form and instructions are at www.Colorado.ui.gov. Alert your credit agency. File a police report. Notify FTC at www.identitytheft.gov.
==UNEMPLOYMENT insurance: if you received a tax form 1099-G saying you received unemployment funds when you didnt, report it to the Unemployment office, and to https://cdle.colorado.gov/fraud-prevention.
====PHOTO SPREADS: We have a number of fun winter Photo Spreads this past month. It includes wildlife in winter // Greenwood Rehab Center history and connection to Lyons // a “web trail cam” showing a multitude of beauty animals walking through the landscape // the beauty of snow, taken last weekend when we had the major snow storm. Go to this INDEX page of “photo spreads” to chose the article pages. All photos were taken in Lyons, or within 10-15 miles of Lyons.
LONGMONT SENIOR CENTER: The new catalog is out, and registration is open for April/May. All classes are online or by phone. https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/senior-services/catalog-and-registration-senior-services
BOULDER COUNTY AGING/ NUTRITION is offering FRESH CONVERSATIONS
This new program is being offered remotely via ZOOM to meet monthly, with a different nutrition/health topic being discussed each time.
Any Coloradoan 60 years old or older can participate in the meetings, especially those who are interested in positively transforming their personal health. Contact Patti Murphy, Registered Dietitian with Boulder Aging at email@example.com or (303) 441-4710. Sample topics are: Heart Disease Myths and Facts == The Down Low on Processed Foods == Keeping Up with Diet Trends.
===LYONS WEDNESDAY WALKERS: The Town of Lyons Recreation Department is still running the Wednesday Walkers group. They meet at the senior center at 11 a.m. and walk to a park and do some light exercises. Contact LRamsey@townoflyons.com to get on the e-mail list or to see if the class is running on the day you want to join them. Free. 55 years and older. = NOTE, this has been cancelled when the weather goes below freezing. Always check with Lisa before coming down if weather is bad. Approximately four to seven people participate.
===ICE SKATING IN LYONS: The ice-skating rink in LaVern Johnson Park is closed for the season due the sun melting the ice mid-day.
===MARCH: WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: The Lyons Recorder has a series of articles going on all month that connect you with different places that preserve Women’s History, such as the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, and the anticipated Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C. Go to the first in the series to see the list and links.
1. American Legion in Estes Park has it weekly. –Sunday at 6 p.m. Checker their Facebook page before going there.
2. The Lyons Booster Club sponsors Bingo in Longmont’s Bingo Alley, which raises money for school supplies purchases. They just restarted it this February 2021. They can have up to 100 people in the room, social distancing. See our Article on “SCHOOL NEWS, March 2021” for more details.
===LYONS LIBRARY: as of March 1st
· Call 303-823-5165 to schedule a time to use a computer or browse the collection.
· Grab-and-Go encouraged.
· One 30-minute visit per person/per day.
· Masks are REQUIRED in order to enter and must remain on while in the library.
· Hand sanitizing and social distancing are required while in the library.
· Curbside pickup is still available.
· Meeting rooms remain closed.
MEALS, HEALTH, SERVICES
The Meal Schedule Remains the Same:
===FREE MONDAY SUPPER: The River Church 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. (This may end on March 30).
===BOULDER COUNTY AGING – LUNCHES: Changes for the lunch program: Boulder County Area Aging (BCAAA) is continuing its lunch schedule. But, starting in January, they switched 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. == Upcoming meals include: roast turkey on March 25, and baked chicken with baked sweet potatoes on March 30.== I post the menu at the beginning of each month on the senior Facebook page.
We thank Teresa DeAnni, Boulder County Healthy Aging Program Manager, and Boulder County, for writing the grants to subsidize the lunch costs, and for Helen Vanderwerken for serving the meal boxes twice a week. It is keeping our seniors healthy and happy!
===LYONS EMERGENCY & ASSISTANCE FUND
***The Food Bank that is run by LEAF will remain with curbside delivery, due to the “high risk” level of Boulder County. 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. They may be switching to in-door service next month, April, but will limit the number of people allowed inside.
***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.
***Emergency funds: If you are having trouble paying your rent or electric bills, contact them for options.
***Well-check phone call: they can arrange to have a Volunteer call you daily to make sure everything is ok. The person can also be a friendly voice, to talk about your day.
NOTE: If you live in Larimer County, you will not be eligible for all of these services. Contact Crossroads Ministry in Estes Park for additional support.
===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.
===The Boulder County NEWSLETTER provides up-to-date information to you about nutrition and health research. Also low-cost health recipes, easy ways to be active at home, puzzles, games and more.
You can also connect with other older adults for a friend discussion focused on nutrition and physical activity education.
See BCAAA page.
===BOULDER COUNTY AGING OFFICE, in the Walt Self Center: Lynette Anderson I’m the gal that was working at Walt Self counseling office pre-COVID, and am happy to get you linked to Medicare folks. My work cell is 720-766-8844; if I don’t answer, just leave me a message. I’m working from home, and I live in town.
===LARIMER COUNTY – OFFICE ON AGING ===
While the Lyons Recorder focuses on Boulder County most of the time, Larimer County has some excellent resources for those seniors who live in the vast areas of Spring Gulch, Pinewood Springs, and more. See the list, and links at: https://www.larimer.org/humanservices/aging/ooa == 970-498-7750 ==1501 Blue Spruce, Fort Collins, CO 80524=Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., BY APPOINTMENT
===The Alzheimer’s Association has almost daily classes on different aspects of recognizing it, working with it, and assisting caregivers. Here is a link to the document listing all the classes, dates, and links, which you can bookmark or print up: https://stage.alz.org/media/co/documents/Regional-Education-Jan-2021.pdf
1) AARP HELP – is back!
Here is the General Information web page: https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/
Local: Longmont Senior Center and Boulder West Senior Center. Also in the Estes Park Library.
Note that tax service availability (in-person, virtually, or both) is available by appointment only, and will vary due to COVID spread and volunteer capacity, and may therefore be limited depending on your location.
Longmont Library: https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-e-m/library/eresearch/tax-information-and-forms
Estes Park Library: https://estesvalleylibrary.org/services/tax-preparation-assistance/
Boulder Library: https://research.boulderlibrary.org/c.php?g=204227&p=1390334
You will need to complete an intake packet and bring it with you to your appointment. On appointment day, you’ll also need to bring your photo IDs, all Social Security or ITIN cards (no Medicare cards), all tax forms you’ve received, and documentation to support deductions. Even if you don’t normally itemize deductions, bring evidence of contributions if they exceed $500 because of a Colorado tax benefit. An organized compilation and totaling of such expenses beforehand will facilitate the preparation of your return.
2) Free forms, and e-filing online
See our TAX article on how you can get FREE TAX FORMS to fill out and send ONLINE. The federal government has had to step up to fight the software companies’ deceitful practices of making you pay for fees half-way through doing your tax return.
3) File Time EXTENSION= The IRS announced March 17th that they will delay the due date till May 17th. The form is more complicated for many due to all the credits and adjustments needed for money received during the pandemic. Note, the State of Colorado has not announced yet if they will also extend the time.
4) Stimulus Check: If you did not get your $600 Stimulus check in January 2020, you can get it by filing a 2020 tax return, even if you do NOT have to pay taxes. See our Tax article for more details.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to:
Shirley DeVeny, Donna (Harkalis) Johnson, Deb Tabor, Helen Vanderwerken, Isabel Vasquez, James McCurry and Linda LeFou! We hope you do something SPECIAL for your birthday!
The Town of Lyons invites you to swing by Sandstone Park, March 19, for a special treat. Lisa Ramsey says, “We have not celebrated the senior birthdays in person for a year now and it’s time we did that again. Come join us from 11 a.m. – noon on Friday, grab a cupcake and stay to chat a bit (masks and/or social distancing of course.) Or just swing by and stick your hand out of your car window, and we’ll get you a cupcake and wish you Happy Birthday from a distance.”