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COVID-19 and Mental Health Among Seniors

We Got This SeniorsAs the COVID epidemic continues to spread in the Berks County / Reading area, the world shares the same concerns as our area: How do this virus and the attendant restrictions affect senior populations? Ageism plays a part in the reaction to the situation, surprisingly in a few positive ways. One outcome has been that the effect on mental health has had less of a negative impact on the elderly than on younger adults. Considering the higher and more severe physical risk to seniors, this is surprising. Why?

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COVID-19 Fears Extend to the Vaccine

Vaccine shot vaccinationThe COVID-19 pandemic has birthed a lot of fears and confusion. Even in the midst of good news and hope, there are fears and confusion about the vaccine. The rollout has had its problems, the question of who qualifies for the initial doses is murky, and the when and where of receiving the vaccine may take some research. Many people are hesitant to receive the vaccine for various reasons. The rationalizations run from people who refuse all vaccines as harmful or unspiritual, to groups who see such intrusions as government or corporate conspiracies to somehow control our lives for evil purposes.

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What Do You Mean, “Act your age”? What’s Age Got to Do with It?

Man playing accordianWhen we’re kids, we’re told to “Grow up!” When we’re “old,” we’re told, “Act your age!” Come on, people, make up your mind! Retired men and women in Berks County, even those who’ve retired at Sacred Heart Villa, don’t let age dictate people’s perceptions of them. Grouping people together by age for marketing or other purposes minimizes the diversity and complexity of individual lifestyles.

“If we gathered a group of 65-year-olds, their situations, experiences, and interests would be all over the map. One could be a newlywed, another recently widowed. One might be going back to college, another could be starting an encore career in teaching. One is very happy to be empty nesting, another is happy to have their children and grandchildren move in. One is scraping to get by, another is a millionaire and starting a foundation. And, of course, with many variations and gradations in between” (Ken Dychtwald and Bob Morison, Forbes.com).

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“Wellness” Is a Deep Subject: What Is It?

Couple-Enjoying-Meadowreduced"Wellness" may be a slightly misunderstood word, but it is no doubt a major concern for older Berks County residents. It is a relatively new word, and is generally equated with the concept of physical health. However, the meaning goes far beyond that, encompassing physical, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, and vocational elements. So, as we age, we may have physical or environmental conditions that limit our activities, but that does not necessarily limit our wellness in other areas. Berks County retirees need not resign themselves to a languishing life.

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Pharmacies, Physicians, and Rising Prices

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The spread of COVID-19 in the Reading area has triggered the spread of concerns about the rising costs of healthcare, including doctor visits and medications. If you haven’t already done so, now may be the time to have a talk with your pharmacist and your physician about your concerns regarding the price of pills and the value of visits. Often, there are ways to save money without compromising quality.

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Tax Tips for Seniors

Tax papersWinter has come to the Reading / Berks County area. Is it too early to start thinking about springtime? Well, as the year 2020 ends (which many of us are thankful for), a new year begins, bringing along with it — tax time! January is generally when all those tax statements arrive in the mail, and those quiet winter days are the perfect time to collect what you need to file correctly. It’s also the perfect time to research the tax breaks available for seniors.

The following tips were developed to help you avoid some of the common errors in dealing with senior taxes. Visit the IRS at irs.gov/individuals/seniors-retirees/tips-for-seniors-in-preparing-their-taxes for helpful publications and information on how to obtain free tax assistance.

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Looking for Clues

John Brooks CDC Chief Medical OfficerWith COVID-19 still dominating the Reading Area news, many people wonder what is going on behind the scenes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want you to know that they have dedicated professionals searching for clues every day that can end the pandemic. Here is the CDC's story about one busy worker. Also know that Sacred Heart Villa in Reading is taking all CDC-recommended precautions to protect our residents, staff, and visitors. Click here to read our statements.

In long days at his dining-room table, Dr. John Brooks is looking for clues to bring COVID-19 to an end.

John, a CDC medical epidemiologist, is the chief medical officer for the agency’s COVID-19 response. He and his team of more than a dozen—all working remotely during the outbreak—pore over scores of newly published reports on the disease, compiling the highlights to share with researchers throughout the agency and figuring out how to apply those findings.

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