September 2020 Blog post
As we wind down the summer, the temperatures remain very high here in the desert and it seems fall will never come. It is hard to believe that we are approaching six months of being forced to suspend our in-person services and that there is no end in sight. The latest from the Governor’s office only adds to the uncertainty as the goal posts continue to shift and we are confronted with the alternate realities by our less than reliable media. One startling piece of data I read this morning was from the CDC. It stated that, as of the August 22 count of 161,392 COVID related deaths in the USA, only about 6% of the people had COVID alone. The other 94% had an average of 2.6 additional conditions or causes of death. Additionally, 91% of deaths were in people over the age of 55. Another report I read discussed the fact that in Japan, the number of deaths among the older population recorded is significantly lower than in the United States in terms of percentage of the population even thought Japan reports one of the oldest average populations in the world. Let us look at what these disparate pieces of data might mean. First, the CDC data certainly exposes the greatest risk to death from COVID is among the older, sicker population. In Japan, prior to the advent of long term care insurance coverage, the elderly and the chronically ill were mostly care for at home. Apparently, that has changed and nursing homes, assisted living and day care are becoming the norm. However, the culture of respect for the older population has resulted in a higher level of visibility of the care providers which in turn has resulted in better infection control and overall higher level of care than that which we provide. To be a care giver, to be a geriatrician, to be a long term care worker is a respected and well paid job in Japan. All of that means they are able to care for and protect their high risk population much better than we. With all the billions and trillions of dollars being discussed and allocated to healthcare, why not take a large carve out and allocate the dollars to improving the care to the segment of society most at risk? Not only would this help rid us of COVID-19 but it would ameliorate future cases of flu and viruses. And even, more important it would celebrate and honor those folks who have brought us into the world, have supported and care for us and have been there for us for all our days. Maybe it is time to return the favor. Contact our local congressperson, Raul Ruiz: or our state senator: Melissa Menendez: .“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, determined citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)
August blog 2020
When we look back on this spring and summer, I wonder what will stand out in our memories. I have been working here for 15 years. There have been hundreds of people who have come in our doors, who have joined in our programs, who have made friends and become part of the Stroke Recovery Center/ Neuro Vitality Center family. There have been many folks both clients and staff who have come and gone but always at the core, there has always been the reason that we are here. We must never give up. No matter how hard things seem to be – and they have been very hard for many of you – there is always hope for better days ahead. We have to keep reaching for tomorrow whether it is in the gym, challenging our brain power, learning new ways to do things or just enjoying a conversation with a friend. Who ever would have predicted that we would fall victim to a pandemic but isn’t it just the same thing we have been dealing with? We are not victims when we are at the center and we will not be victims now – we are survivors. In the months we have not been allowed to have folks here at the center in person, you have learned how to use your phones, your computers, your tablets and keep working on your health, join with friends in group activities, work with Nancy, with Anne, with Bootsie and with Elsa to keep yourself engaged and active. For those of you doing speech therapy you work with Mike, with Sandra doing your exercises and continuing to make progress. Stand back a bit and congratulate yourself. You have overcome the isolation by embracing new technologies and have stood up to this virus and are winning. I don’t know when we will be able to put all this behind us but we can be proud of the spirit and the tenacity. We are not victims, we will never be victims – we are survivors . Bring it on – we can handle it.
JULY BLOG 2020
We are definitely late getting our blog and our calendars posted this month but we want everyone to know it is not because we haven’t been working for you. We are trying to do all we can to make this time valuable and facilitate some positivity out of what is arguably, the most negative time we have seen. No one discounts how hard it is to self-isolate, to stay at home, particularly with no end in sight. Especially for those of you who are used to coming over to the Center, working out, visiting with your friends, having lunch, enjoying activities and doing all those things we have always taken for granted. Well, no longer. Now we know how precious those things are and we will never take them for granted again. I wish I could say that this will all be over next week or next month, but while I am tracking all the information I can and am meeting weekly with representatives from the State, we really have no idea when it will be safe for us to all get together in -person and return to our prior life. But what can I say? First, I want you all to know that we are here for you. We are at the end of the phone, we are on-line with ZOOM, we are able to meet with you individually if you need extra help. We will make sure that the Center stays ready to reopen at a moment’s notice as soon as the State and we both feel it is safe and secure for each of you and for us as well. We are committed to giving you what services we can on-line and will provide tablets and instruction on how to participate.We will present a full schedule of activities for each of you to join in and see your friends as well as challenge your brains and your bodies. We will send a lunch home for you if you need or want it. (Menus and Activities calendars are on the web site.) Please let us help you to get through this pandemic, let us help you to keep active and let us help you to keep working on getting better. We are able to do group activities, individual therapies for Speech and for exercise - the more of you who want o join in the better. We may not see you in person but we are still here working for you everyday. Give us a little time and maybe we will even come up with some parties…..you know we are good at that.
STUCK AT HOME WITH NOTHING TO DO
Neuro Vitality Center is offering access to our VIRTUAL CENTER to all of you who are sheltering in place because of your chronic illness, your age or your disability. Now you will be able to take part in group activities including exercise, yoga, group discussions, individually needed therapies and, if you wish, a home delivered lunch. Every day will offer opportunities to join with your peers, meet new people and participate in competitions, sing-a-longs, educational programs and many other programs. For those of you who have IEHP, Molina or Kaiser MediCal insurance coverage, we will offer medical treatment and needed therapies along with the group activities and home delivered meals. For those of you who do not, we will offer a full menu of group activities, some special exercise groups and a home delivered meal. Give us a call to put together a program specific to your wants, needs and financial situation. We have to stay home for our safety and the safety of those around us – let’s make sure we make the best of this and join together to help each other through this terrible time. We are at 760-323-7676 every day Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 3:30 pm.Look forward to talking with you and having you join us in fighting this pandemic together.
May 2020 Blog
May is Older American Month. While this is a difficult time for everyone, it is extremely hard on all of us who are at high risk of serious complications or death from this insidious virus. It was good to hear that the federal government is focusing on nursing homes quality control and systems of care – long overdue in many of our minds. Additionally, there has been an enormous amount of money for meals on wheels, transportation – although I am not sure what that is targeted to fund – and in home health services. But, I was sorry not to hear concern for Senior Centers, Adult Day Programs, Assisted Living facilities along with millions of vulnerable seniors who are not attached to a formal system of care. For those of us at the Neuro Vitality Center, we realize that the COVID-19 crisis has thrown out a challenge to the health and well being of those who have depended upon us for help and hope. We understand the restrictive orders we are under. We listen to the medical profession and the scientists and understand that our strokes, our diabetes, our heart problems along with the other health issues we add to the burden of getting older put us at a higher risk for infection. We also know that we do not want to infect any of our NVC friends, the staff and our great volunteers if we are unlucky enough to have been infected ourselves. But, on the other hand, this is our extended family and we miss all being together and even though we fight and complain, we also laugh and relax together.The question you all ask is when are we going to open again. I can’t answer that because I really do not know. There is no benchmark I can share to have you track and say once we reach “xyz”, we will open the next day. We do know that we are constant contact with the Department of Aging who is working diligently with the State government and they are keeping us as up to date as is possible. But – and this is speculation on my part – I do not see us opening for many months in the future. But we are a group who fights, who doesn’t give up, who has not just sat at home and won’t give up on each other. We are working hard to put together programs that you can join using your phones, your laptops or your computers. We will have group activities, therapies, counselling and education where you can join in and talk to your friends as well as interact with all of us. We can’t replicate the gym, but we will have Bootsie to lead us in some exercise and even work one on one with those of your who need it. Let us know if you don’t have a cell phone or a lap top, a tablet or computer. Also if your computer monitor doesn’t have a camera. We can help. Our supporters want to help each of you to have the opportunity to keep up the good work and to stay together as we stay safe. I am here at the center and you know you can call me anytime. Ann and Elsa and Bootsie are also here. Mike is not here all the time but we can always find him at end of his phone. Nancy is our new nurse and is here to help as well ( By the way – Ashley and John welcomed their little girl in April – mom and baby doing fine). We will be working hard in May to get you all up and running and joining in to our new Virtual Clinic and look forward to seeing you all again soon. And – just one more thing – yes we do all need haircuts except for Joe.