Audio Podcasts to Keep Us Going

More ways to occupy our time

Many of us who are mostly at home have reached a high level of boredom. No matter how interesting our activities, we’ve probably been doing the same things for quite a well.

To help us stay on an even keel, the AAA has devised an audio playlist for us to listen to during our stay at home.

Here are some selections from the AAA.

All Told— A human-interest podcast by The Washington Post. It reports first-hand stories of Americans whose lives are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve recently interviewed a physician assistant, a minister for the homeless and even a blues musician.

Coronavirus Daily — NPR’s new podcast reporting on coronavirus, hosted by Kelly McEvers of the NPR show, Embedded. Coronavirus Daily posts updates every weekday, and they’re usually about ten minutes long.

Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction — A podcast by CNN, hosted by their chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This show also updates every weekday.

Coronavirus Global Update — A podcast by BBC World Service, which reports on coronavirus from affected areas around the world. Unlike the previous two podcasts, Coronavirus Global Update has a far more, well, global perspective.

Staying In with Emily and Kumail— Married couple Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani are staying in – like a lot of us are. Their podcast is all about getting through life “in the weirds,” their term for the current situation. All proceeds from Staying In go to charities who are helping to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus.

 

Lighthearted Look at Possible Activities

There is a light ahead.

We still need a chuckle or two during this period. Check out this image from the United Nations:

Mental health is an important part of overall wellbeing, especially now as anxiety and loneliness are on the rise due to the pandemic. This poster is digitally illustrated and designed to highlight the things one can do in the comfort of your own home to increase physical and mental wellbeing during the lockdown/isolation period. Its is a lighthearted take on a tough subject. Image created by Chevon Beckley. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Lighthearted Look at Possible Activities
 

More COVID-19 Resources

Valuable sites for you to visit.

During the last few weeks, we have made several posts related to COVID-19.  Given the ongoing nature of the virus, today we offer more COVID-19 resources. 

Click the links:

And, if you know someone you think feels overly stressed or anxious, please refer them to the following site. Just click on the image.

More COVID-19 Resources

 

We REALLY Hope This Device Works

For just $300 in parts, Rice University is devising an automated ApolloBVM device.

As we all know, there is a worldwide shortage of ventilators for those stricken with COVID-19. While there are finally multiple efforts underway to produce more ventilators, the time to and costs of converting factories has caused a real  lag.

In the mean time, many innovative and entrepreneurial efforts are taking place.

According to Rice University:

“The ApolloBVM is a controllable, automated add-on solution to the existing and widely available Bag Valve Mask (BVM). The device compresses the BVM with a mechanical system that is able to provide consistent and accurate ventilation with positive-pressure.”

“This solution exists within the top range of high-acuity limited-operability (HALO) ventilator solutions with an a priori design to produce volume and pressure cycled ventilation that includes positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and enriched oxygen sources.”

“The ApolloBVM is a rapidly scalable solution with a clinician-informed end-to-end design that repurposes the existing BVM global inventory toward widespread and safe access of hospital-grade mechanical ventilation.”

The video below highlights the promising, inexpensive, and simple-to-scale-up inhaler that would help those who are not in critical condition. 

For much more information on this exciting project, click here.

 

Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times

Information about anxiety and loneliness. With tips.

Recently, we published three articles on COVID-19 (the coronavirus). Today, we conclude our series with a look at handling anxiety in difficult times. Tomorrow, we return to our regular topics.

Please look at this post for links to important sites on COVID-19. About the Coronavirus.

Author’s comment: Just a few days ago, my 37-year-old daughter asked me if I had ever seen anything like this pandemic in my lifetime. My response was an emphatic NO!!  This is  the most widespread and anxiety-provoking health crisis that I have ever seen.  Most of us could never imagine a worldwide crisis that has put many of us in stay-at-home status. And threatens the world’s economies.

Observations About Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times

As a high-risk person, I know from my own situation how anxiety-provoking this pandemic can be. Especially now that millions of us are in isolation — either totally alone or staying with a limited number of family members. And  with little outside contact, given all of the business, school, entertainment venue, and other shutdowns.  Unfortunately, this looks like our living arrangements for a while.

For information on anxiety and loneliness during these stressful times, we turn to Business Insider and Futurity.

Insights from Business Insider (BI)

BI published an article titled How Increased Social Distancing for the Coronavirus Could spur a Loneliness Epidemic.” Here are a few highlights:

“While the implementation of social distancing — avoiding large gatherings and maintaining a distance from others — is crucial to preventing the coronavirus pandemic from intensifying, the practice could also cause a ‘social recession,’ or a collapse in social contact that especially affects populations who are most susceptible to loneliness and isolation, like the elderly, according to Vox.”

“And loneliness has proven to exacerbate health complications among the elderly: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a report suggesting seniors who experience social isolation or loneliness may face a higher risk of conditions including heart disease, depression, and mortality.”

Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times
Tips For Handling Loneliness from Futurity

Elissa Kozlov, a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at Rutgers University, discusses strategies for taking care of your mental health while staying at home (at Futurity.org):

“Use technology! For example, schedule regular video chat and phone dates with friends and family. Get creative. Watch movies, play online games,  or participate in virtual book clubs.”

“Reach out to friends and relatives who are especially at risk during this time. Call older adults and people with chronic health conditions to give them meaningful social contact during these trying times.”

“A good strategy is distraction. If you find yourself thinking continuously about risk of illness, try to distract yourself by getting involved in an engaging activity. Or by picking up the phone to talk with a friend. Take advantage of nice weather and go for a walk in an open space. Get outside as much as possible if it’s safe to do so.”

“You can also try mindfulness meditation. There are several excellent mobile apps that can teach you how to practice meditation, such as the free app Mindfulness Coach, which was developed by a team of psychologists at the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD research. It walks users through the basics of mindfulness meditation.”

“If you have trouble sleeping, check out the Veterans Affairs’ app CBT-I Coach (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia), which takes you through different strategies to help quiet your mind at night. If you find that anxiety or insomnia interferes with your ability to function during the day, seek professional help to reduce the impact of anxiety.”

Click the image to read more.

Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times
(Credit: Getty Images)

What We Should Do Now – Cleanliness

Be smart. Follow these tips.

This week, we add to our two posts from last week. About the Coronavirus and Coronavirus Thoughts from a High-Risk Perspective. Today, we look at what we should do now – cleanliness. Thursday, we look at activities we can do to productively occupy ourselves.

Update from the author: For the most part, I stayed at home last week. Went out to the supermarket a couple of times and ate out once. However, as of today during my routine checkup, my endocrinologist (Dr. T) told me to stay at home. Period! And when Dr. T speaks, we listen. After all, he saved my life with his early discovery of my pancreatic cancer.

Food for Thought: What We Should Do Now – Cleanliness

The number one COVID-19 tip is overwhelming related to cleanliness. Washing our hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Reducing how often we touch our faces. Washing down surfaces we and others touch. Even cleaning our cell phones. And more!

Just yesterday, Futurity ran an article on the importance of cleanliness from Neal Buccino of Rutgers University. Some highlights from that article:

    • “The CDC recommends daily disinfection for frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. The CDC also recommends the use of detergent or soap and water on dirty surfaces prior to disinfection.”
    • “Whatever cleaning solution you use, let it remain in contact with the surface long enough to kill viruses and other pathogens. The time depends on the chemical. Don’t use different cleaning agents at the same time. Some, if mixed, can create dangerous and poisonous gases.”
    • “Bleach can be diluted with cold water to make an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi, and many viruses — including coronaviruses. Be sure to follow the directions on the label of your bleach.”
    • “You can dilute alcohol with water (or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Many hand sanitizers have a concentration of about 60% alcohol. And Lysol contains about 80%. These are all effective against coronaviruses.”
    • “Vinegar, tea tree oil, and other natural products are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses.”

To read more at Futurity, click the image.

What We Should Do Now - Cleanliness
“Whatever cleaning solution you use, let it remain in contact with the surface long enough to kill viruses and other pathogens. The time needed will depend on the chemical.” (Credit: Getty Images)

 

Coronavirus Thoughts from a High-Risk Perspective

As older and less-healthy adults, what are we to do?

On Tuesday, we looked at the coronavirus in terms of facts versus myths. Now, we offer coronavirus thoughts from a high-risk perspective.

As those of you who read Living Well While Surviving Cancer already know, the author of this blog (Joel Evans) is a pancreatic cancer survivor with a compromised immune system. As well as a Type I diabetic. And a senior citizen. That puts me in the highest-risk category if I contract COVID-19.

Something else to worry about. Or not. After all, what am I supposed to do now? I refuse to lock myself in my house. But what smart things should I do?

Psychologically, I was fine until the CDC issued an advisory for older adults. According to a CNN report:

[On Thursday March 5, 2020] “Amid a coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to stay at home as much as possible.'”

“This advice is on a CDC Web site, according to a CDC spokeswoman. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC.”

“The CDC guidance comes as two top infectious disease experts with ties to the federal government have advised people over 60 and those with underlying health problems to strongly consider avoiding activities that involve large crowds. Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the CDC, said these two groups should consider avoiding activities such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls, and going to religious services.”

Also, check out the CNN video.

My Advice to Myself

In light of the CDC’s warning and my health status, what am I to do? My answer for ME (which may be different than your advice for YOU) is to BOTH be smart and live life every day.

I will go out to restaurants, but not to movie theaters. Linda and are rethinking our vacation plans and not going on the cruise we were planning. Also, the thought of air travel does not excite me. I will wash my hands more often and more thoroughly.  I will continue my volunteer work at United Cerebral. I guess I will fist pump rather than shake hands, even though this seems somewhat silly to me.

When I started thinking about doing this post, I looked for information from AARP. And as expected, it has a terrific section of its Web site devoted to COVID-19:

“Older Americans and adults who take routine medications to manage chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, should make sure they have ‘adequate supplies’ on hand as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the U.S.”

“Avoiding sick people and washing your hands often are two preventive strategies public health experts have been pushing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Older Americans living in areas that are experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases may also need to think about the actions they take to reduce exposure to the virus.  This may include social distancing strategies, such as teleworking and avoiding large public gatherings.”

“Health officials also advise taking everyday steps that can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. Wash your hands often with soap and water (scrub for at least 20 seconds), and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not an option. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. And cover your coughs and sneezes. “

Click the image to read a lot more from AARP.

Coronavirus Thoughts from a High-Risk Perspective