Do we remember what a world not dominated by a pandemic feels like?  I often find myself saying to colleagues in the healthcare field, "Remember when we thought healthcare was stressful before COVID?" And we either roll our eyes, let out a huge groan, or respond with a long pause of silence. 

Our culture has brought immediate gratification to a new, perhaps unhealthy, level, but the pandemic screeched all of that to a halt, and we have no choice but to slow down. Use this time to consider who you are, what makes you tick, what you value, and how you cope. It might serve you well in the future...whatever that brings.

A question we are all thinking about, even if we are not putting it into words.  Is a vaccine the COVID-19 "Holy Grail?"  Will it bring safety and normalcy back to our lives?  Who is working on it?  How many are in trials?  Is it safe?  Will it give me the virus?  Can everyone get vaccinated, or will it be the most vulnerable among us first?  How long will it take to provide immunity?  These are the questions I have, and you must have them too.

Our "normal" goal is usually to be in balance, and even then, without a pandemic or social and political unrest, it's a challenge.  The whole work/family ratio, "on and off-time," and as we all have become so intimately acquainted with these past months, the blur of life's factions, blended into one.  Balance.  The inner and outer world.

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There has been a prevailing sense of "powerlessness" these past months. We were all indoors, working from home, no school, no socialization, yet the numbers went up and up. As our communities "reopen:" remember the power we do have. Our intentional interventions are what is bringing cases and deaths down. The principles of hygiene, distancing, and masks remain crucial. By continuing to use these, we are protecting ourselves and others.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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We've all had experiences of being "up to our eyeballs," "underwater," or "sick to death" of a number of things.  Most of us have good endurance…for a time.  We are New Englanders, after all.  We know that the blizzards come, the power goes out, and we have no milk.  School gets canceled.  It can even snow in May.  But usually, the impact doesn't last months... Until now.

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The scientists and medical experts certainly have amassed a vast amount of knowledge of COVID-19, since January 11th, when the first Coronavirus patient in Wuhan China succumbed to the illness. That is just over three months ago. From an unknown to a household word, inside of 3 months. Staggering.

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North Shore city and towns have implemented "masks in stores" policies, and some have asked for "masks in public places." We see a wide variety of medical, surgical, procedure, and cloth masks, bandanas, and sundry face coverings being used to protect both wearer and neighbor—gloves of green and blue cover many hands at the gas station and grocery store. Information is coming at us from all sides.  

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The trajectory of COVID-19 is clearly climbing toward the peak of infection, and when it gets there is unknown. By now, we are deeply engulfed in the daily numbers, the news, and the experts. We are hopefully doing our part by not “carrying the virus” or catching it, by staying at home, and using all the extreme hygiene measures recommended.

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In light of the recent outbreak and constant media coverage of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to inform you of some widely accepted practices and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) on how to best protect yourself and prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses. 

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You may be worried that before you have had the "right moment" to discuss it with them, word will travel, letting the cat out of the bag. There are many downsides to that happening. One of which is "why didn't you tell me right away," and also the passage of misinformation. So instead of sharing accurate information from the get-go, now you have to unpack the untruth.

There’s a lot set to happen with the Council on Aging (COA) in the coming weeks. Check them out here, and for further information on any of these great trips or to reserve your seat on the van, please call the COA office at (978) 526-7500.

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Gardening, knitting, and walking are back as meditative activities, as is snuggling with the dog or cat. Of course! Our elders knew how these activities were meaningful — simple pleasures, available 365 days a year, and without a steep price tag.

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Our parents' ability to live independently, without help, is changing. It used to be that between the two of them, they had everything pretty well covered. However, Dad's vision has taken a turn.

On Wednesday, February 5, the Manchester Council on Aging was invited by Cape Ann Seniors on the Go to participate in their Winter Bowling Event at Cape Ann Lanes. The purpose was to bring seniors from Cape Ann together.  Seniors from Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester and Essex came for some physical activity through bowling, mingling with new friends and refreshments.  Local seniors were provided with transportation to and from Cape Ann Lanes through the Manchester Council on Aging shuttle bus.  

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Joint replacement surgery is becoming more and more common and is occurring and younger ages. It is to your advantage to think through how you can approach surgery for the best possible recovery and outcome. Start by considering these four major categories as you prepare for upcoming surgery: Overall HealthPrehab, Home Environment, and Post-Op Help.

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We mere mortals, from the Latin word “mortalis,” meaning “of life or living, ending in death.” Hmmm. If the oldest person living on the planet is 117 years old, even if we get to 90, we know what happens eventually. Why don’t we focus on what happens between now and then?

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My friend's Dad is super organized…with issues that he feels comfortable with.  He's excellent at banking, manages the insurance for the house and cars, and pays the bills with Swiss watch precision. When Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he assured the family that he had "everything under control." As it turns out, Dad's version of "everything" had some MAJOR gaps.

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We had every intention of bringing him home for Thanksgiving, but he had a bad cold, and the nursing home advised against it. After we finished our meal, we packed up his dinner, and the whole crew headed over for a visit. He seemed fine, but we all left with a lump in our throats. Will we be able to bring him home on Christmas, or will we be back here with a plate of leftovers and some gifts in hand?

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Let there be Peace on Earth… and let it begin where? With ME? Are you serious? It's the hap-happiest time of the year…and Peace on Earth, but NOT for everyone.  And that's OK, writes Joanne McGinnis.

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You want to have the "attitude of gratitude," but right now… it's just not working out that way. Good news: it doesn't have to every minute of every day. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition. It's not: either/or — thankfully, it's both/and.

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Mom was all about the holidays. She always started her extensive planning on the first day under 50 degrees. Now, this was back in the day before Thanksgiving hit the stores before the Fourth of July. She was all about festivity, menu, getting the family together. The more, the merrier. The …