I write this from my home office as snow settles on the ground and hail taps at my window. It is Maine! I moved here from St. Louis, Missouri, in 2018 in hopes of enjoying such days. There’s something about New England in snow that makes for an extra special experience. I am mostly working from home these days, as the pandemic continues to challenge us all. I am encouraged by the vaccination process and the potential it holds for a new normal in the months to come. I find myself reflecting a lot about the past 10+ months and how my work has both changed and remained the same. I must say I have become used to working at home. I even enjoy Zoom meetings (mostly)! The challenges of the pandemic pale in face of the resilience and innovation that has come from this shared experience. The CEAH, our Legacy Scholars, and our many friends are doing some amazing things. I look forward to celebrating these successes together later in 2021. There’s much to celebrate, now, in this newsletter.
PhD, Director, CEAH (top)
|CEAH Online “E-Power” Series|
Electronically Engaging Elders for Enjoyment & Education
Our new “E-Power” Series has kicked off but there is still time to join in the fun & learning. UNE faculty from across our two campuses will share their perspectives and expertise with our Legacy Scholars and other friends aged 55 years and older. If you haven’t already, click the link below and register for the sessions that most interest you. If for some reason you miss a session, you can now view them at your leisure.
View Full Lineup & RegisterView E-Power Recorded Sessions
Our Peer Connections support group has been a mainstay of our pandemic outreach since last April. Our first student leader from social work, Carly Woolard, set the standard for warmth and professionalism. Since her departure last August, two equally marvelous leaders have stepped up to volunteer and make Peer Connections even more special. They are Molly Spadone and Bobby Bennett.
Bobby says, “I chose to be a facilitator of Peer Connections because I love the support a group can give each other. I have facilitated many groups and Peer Connections has some of the deepest and richest discussions and we all have built a deep connection with one another. Participants have said, “I look forward to coming to this every week” and I do too. Its’s an amazing space full of love and compassion. I feel so lucky to be a part of it.” We thank them and honor them by giving voice to their amazing efforts.
|Announcing the UNE Living Tapestries Project|
Living Tapestries is sponsored by the UNE Center for Excellence in Aging & Health. We believe in the adage “with age comes wisdom.” Through Living Tapestries, we capture, preserve and celebrate the life lessons of older Mainers. Who can participate? Adults, aged 55 years and older, are invited to share their personal wisdom in order to teach, inspire, and leave a spoken legacy for the future. How does it work? A trained interviewer meets with each volunteer by telephone or video chat (Zoom™) for the audio recorded session. Questions are organized around themes oflife, death and personal legacy. Select questions are weaved into a friendly conversation that may last up to an hour. These audio “testimonies” are edited and posted on the CEAH website. Participants receive a CD of the full interview by mail and web links of edited clips to share with family and friends.Students listen and learn about aging, and transcripts become” data” for research projects. The general public may also benefit from listening.
You can learn more & register HERE!
|Legacy Scholars Step Up|
Kudos are due to the many Legacy Scholars who stepped up to serve as online “elder teachers” for UNE’s Interdisciplinary Geriatric Education Program (IGEP). The pandemic prevented student teams from visiting folks at home this year. Zoom provided a platform for new types of engagement and shared successes. Way to go Legacy Scholars!
Read Full Celebratory Article Here
|Volunteers Needed for Student Research Projects|
Technology and Aging
We are interested in exploring how the use (or non-use) of digital technologies (computer, tablets, internet communication) has impacted older adults especially during this pandemic, when official guidance has led many of us to maintain social distancing. We want to examine if there is a connection between the use of technology and the feelings of social isolation or loneliness. Qualifications:•You are at least 55 years old and have an opinion about digital technology•You regularly use digital technology in your daily life OR•You do not feel comfortable or competent using digital technologies, or just do not use them at all. The graduate student occupational therapy research group, two health care providers, and Regi Robnett, PhD, OTR/L, have designed a 10-20 minute survey. It focuses on your opinions about the use of technology in your lives.
Technology SurveyOccupational Losses Related to Covid-19
This recent pandemic has changed our lives. If you are at least 18 years old and have experienced a loss or change in day-to-day activity due to the COVID pandemic (due to having had the virus, someone close to you having had the virus, or a sense of loss based on what you currently can or cannot do) we want to hear from you. A graduate student occupational therapy research group at the University of New England, working with Michael Pizzi, PhD, OTR/L and Regi Robnett, PhD, OTR/L, have designed a 10-20 minute survey that we are inviting you to take. It focuses on the losses and changes to your daily activities and routines that are important to you, that you may have experienced since the pandemic started.
Occupational Losses Covid 19 Study
Thank you for considering taking part in these surveys. Feel free to forward these invitaitons to anyone who might fit the criteria. If you prefer a paper survey or have questions, contact Regi Robnett or 207-221-4102.
One of our Legacy Scholars suggested that we establish a FUNctional fitness “buddy system,” in which pairs or triads would support one another in their physical, cognitive, or social/emotional goals. The CEAH would make the matches of people working on similar types of goals and introduce the partners/teams. The “buddies” would then establish their relationship and determine how the connection would be most helpful. For example, they may decide to exercise together (e.g., socially distance walking or simultaneous Zoom class) or just to
touch base weekly at a mutually agreeable time to check in on their biopsychosocial goals
for better health. You would be able to buddy up with another Legacy Scholar, or if you want, you could be matched with a health care student or two. Regi Robnett ,Associate Director of the CEAH, and Trisha Mason, Director of UNE’s Service Learning Office, will make the matches and set up introductions. If you are interested, please fill out the survey below. Thanks for considering this! Here’s to better health for all in 2021! Questions? Contact Regi Robnett, 207-221-4102
FUNctional Fitness Survey
|Aging In Place – Portland Area Villages, Inc.|
Portland Area Villages, Inc. is a nonprofit membership organizaiotn providing services to Seniors, to assist in making it possible for them to remain in their own homes. The services are all provided by volunteers who are vetted prior to interacting with the members. The services conssit of transportation to appointments and social activities, assistance with shopping and errands, light household chores, light gardening, phone call check-ins, computer assistance, friendly visits, bringin trash to the street, and handyman assistance. We also endeavor to connect members with each other and help to combat social isolation.
If you need assistance, would like to know more about us, or know of any neighbors we could help, please contact us. More volunteers and Board members would also be welcome! For more information visit our website, email or call 207-370-1896. Or you can contact Carol Colton directly, 508-728-1296. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
|Aging ME GWEP|
Dementia Reconsidered: Compassion, Not Control
Dr. Susan Wehry
February 23, 1pm-3pm
This 2-hour virtual session is being offered at NO CHARGE in response to the feeback AgingME GWEP has received from the November sessions. The discussion is NEW. You are invited to participate whether you attended the November Training Sessions or are new to the Dementia Reconsidered Series. In this session, Dr. Susan Wehry looks at preserving autonomy for people living with dementia. Titled Compassion, Not Control, this session explains the difference between competency and capacity and explores ways to support decision making in people living with diminishing capacity. A Q&A with Dr. Wehry will follow. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions about unique conditions or situations brought on by COVID-19. Register below by Febraury 18. Training details, including zoom link, will be sent to you by Monday, February 22. Registration also provides access to all Dementia Reconsidered sessions as well as a downloadable curriculum that can provide up to 8 hours of dementia training.
Ageism Study – During the summer of 2019, the CEAH conducted a qualitative study in response to the World Health Organization’s 2016 call to combat ageism, exploring a general understanding of the term among older adult participants, as well as the perceived impact on personal and public health. Dr. Tom Meuser, Director of the CEAH and UNE colleague Diana Mayo, interviewed two age-specific groups, baby bommers, ages 60-72 and silent generation members, ages 78-85.
A team of analysts from UNE joined Dr. Meuser and Diana to analyze recorded transcripts for common themes and generational differences. Analysis team members included CEAH Associate Director, Regi Robnett, and School of Social Work’s Megan Webster and Carly Woolard. Findings unveiled each group’s initial denial of ageism’s presence in their lives, yet powerful accounts of its impact were eventually realized by all. Common perpetrators of ageism reportedly include doctors, health care workes, places of employment, family members and older adults themselves. The study was presented at the 2019 Gerontological Society of America conference and will soon be submitted for publication in an effort to gain awareness of the often silent “ism” of age discrimination, as well as prompt further research in the topic.
|Our External Partners|
We are proud to collaborate with many wonderful individuals and organizations in Maine and beyond. Here are just a few. Click to learn more.
Institute for Integrative Aging
Saint Joseph’s College
Westbrook Housing Authority
The Park Danforth
*Portland Area Villages
Housing Initiatives of New England
Motherhouse at Baxter Woods
Ignation Volunteer Corps
The Foundation for Art & Healing
UMaine Center for Aging
UCONN International Center for Life Story Innovations & Practice
UML Center for Gerontology Research & Partnerships
Maine Senor Games
*indicates partners included in this newsletter (top)