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May 14 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

Experts share information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself

AARP is hosting a regular series of Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Halls. Please bookmark this page and join us each Thursday for the latest information on the coronavirus by calling toll-free 855-274-9507.

May 14 Tele-Town Halls

Stay at Home With Lifestyle Experts Matt Paxton, Carla Hall & Ty Pennington

AARP welcomed professional organizer Matt Paxton, chef Carla Hall, and remodeling expert Ty Pennington to our live Q&A event to address your questions about home repair, meal prep and getting organized while at home physical distancing.

Watch a replay of the event below.

Stay at Home With Lifestyle Experts Matt Paxton, Carla Hall and Ty Pennington

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 7 p.m. Stay at Home With Lifestyle Experts Matt Paxton, Carla Hall and Ty Pennington

Michelle Kosinski: Hello there. I’m Michelle Kosinski and on behalf of AARP, I want to welcome you to this important and fun discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources and fighting for older adults and those caring for them.

 Today we are fighting a slightly different battle, of course: how not to go crazy when we’re all stuck here at home, sheltering in place. So our guides for today are three well-known, widely beloved lifestyle experts—you might even call them gurus—who will help us with how to make the most of our now very extended time under our own roofs.

            If you’ve ever participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls, you’ll know that this is similar to a radio talk show, except now you can see us, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. So if you would like to ask a question—and please do—press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and your question and place you in a queue so that you can ask your question live.

            So, hello again, for those who might be just joining us, I’m Michelle Kosinski and on behalf of AARP, I want to welcome you to this important and fun discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re going to be talking with experts and taking your questions for them live. So to ask your question, again, please press *3. And for those watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can also post your questions right there in the comments. AARP is convening this Tele-Town Hall to help share information about the coronavirus, and good ideas, too. So you should also be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, and it can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is also being recorded, so you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus just about 24 hours after we wrap up.

            So first, let’s get to our introductions for our wonderful guests. Ty Pennington is a carpenter, author and star of design television, including the hit shows Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Hello, Ty. And I have to say, I have long been a huge fan of yours, and you don’t even know the crazy DIY projects that you have inspired me to do back in the days of watching Trading Spaces all the time.

Ty Pennington: Well, I’m glad I could inspire you. Yeah, I’ve been, I’ve been lucky and blessed to sort of, sort of been in the DIY thing from early on. So, I definitely have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and as you said, with corona, a lot of people are doing a lot of projects while they’re at home. So I’m glad I could lend some advice and some tips.

Michelle Kosinski: And Ty also told us tonight that he is at home with some lemurs. He has pet lemurs. So that has to be an interesting way to quarantine, with a pack of lemurs.

Ty Pennington: Yes, yes.

Michelle Kosinski: I mean, never a dull moment with a pack of lemurs.

Ty Pennington: Well, you know, you never can— I always like to work with a solid team and the lemurs are really good. They keep the tools organized.

Michelle Kosinski: That is great to hear. Well, we’ll have to take that into consideration. Also, we have Carla Hall, a culinary contributor to Good Morning America and award-winning cookbook author, whose advice we all could use right now, and television host of the ABC Lifestyle series The Chew. She’s also, she was a popular competitor on Bravo’s Top Chef, so thank you for being here today, Carla, and probably saving some of us before this segment is over.

Carla Hall: It’s really exciting to be here. I have to tell you that my mother is so involved with AARP, and she was the reason that I was looking forward to it even at 40. So that is my claim to fame today, that I am here and she always is on these calls. So, hi, Mama!

Michelle Kosinski: Well that’s nice. And also Matt Paxton, one of the top cleanup experts in the United States who we also desperately, desperately need right now. Maybe you could just come over to all of our houses after this. He’s a featured expert on the A&E series Hoarders, is author of The Secret Lives of Hoarders and is the star of the new PBS series Legacy List With Matt Paxton. Wonderful to have you, Matt. I expect lots of great advice to save us all from our own clutter tonight.

Matt Paxton: Yeah. Thanks for having me. A lot of people are hitting the junk drawer, finally.

Michelle Kosinski: Yes, daring to go near it. We will also be joined by AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, who will be our organizer. She’ll help us with your calls. And we can’t wait to hear from everybody out there. And this is like a window into the rest of the country, a little virtual party we’re having tonight. Okay.

So Carla, let’s start with you. One of the few places that people are going to these days is the grocery store. It’s kind of like our big outing. You have to go to it, but it’s also a way to get out of the house and interact with, if not people, then at least products. So I’m curious about what you think are some of the essentials to a great meal. If you’re only able to go to the supermarket once every week or two weeks now, what are those can’t-do-without items to shop for?

Carla Hall: Well, I think it’s really interesting shopping right now, and because it is the one place that has not closed. And shopping every day, like some people will have done, is very different than shopping every two weeks. Even shopping once a week. So for me, when I’m shopping like every two weeks, although I go a little more frequently than that, think about your produce. The produce is there, and I think a lot of people run to the frozen aisle, they run to the meat aisle, they run to the prepared foods, maybe the canned goods aisle, but if you do get your produce, you just know that you’re going to use that produce like the first few days, or even the first week that you’re at home, but don’t skip the produce aisle. And so I’m getting lots of citrus. I’m getting lots of herbs, because that’s going to brighten those, like, meat and frozen products and even things in a can. I’m also getting rice and beans. I’ll do a recipe layer with some beans and show you different things to do with one kind of beans, which is black-eyed peas. I’m also getting, I thought I was going to be getting, flour but that seems to be really hard. So the thing that I got instead are some of these cake mixes, which you can use other things for and doing cookies with cake mix, because you do want a treat every now and then.

Michelle Kosinski: I find that it’s kind of tough to estimate what exactly you’re going to use, because when you see that things are in stock that maybe haven’t been in stock the whole time, you think, oh, I’m going to get all of that, especially the produce. But then it breaks your heart when it starts to go bad in your refrigerator, so you really kind of have to calibrate it, don’t you?

Carla Hall: You do, and I think it’s like, how do you make your produce last? So I’m always getting a lot of herbs, so I have my herbs here, but then I put them in water and then I put wet paper towels on top, and then that baggie that you get in the fresh produce, I put that on top. So I’m creating somewhat of a greenhouse effect and then you change the water every couple of days. The other thing that you can do with some of your produce, like your citrus, is zest it, peel it, freeze it. You can mix those herbs into oil and you can sustain the life of them. So there are things that you can absolutely do because you don’t want them to go bad. Some of that lettuce that comes into that clamshell, take it out of the clamshell, line it with a paper towel, so that the moisture doesn’t get to your lettuce because you hate to see it go badly.

Michelle Kosinski: Exactly. Those are great tips, so thank you for that. And, you know, there’s also been some news lately on the challenges being faced right now by beef, pork and chicken producers. So, Carla, let’s assume that those are off the menu. Can you give us some can’t-miss recipes that don’t use those meats and, for a bonus challenge, how about they also have to be easy to prepare?

Carla Hall: I love the bonus challenge. All right, so the produce that I talked about, eggplant, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, roasting an entire sweet potato and cutting it in half and searing it in a cast-iron skillet is going to be delicious. And then you pile on herbs and even black beans and spice and things like that. The eggplant, same thing, cutting it really thick so it feels like the center-of-the-plate item versus your meat, is going to be really delicious. You hear about whole roasted cauliflower and cauliflower steaks. That’s going to be really good. So my go-to really is tomatoes with onions and garlic, stewed, and then I’ll throw in some herbs or spices, and that’s my base, some stock. I might add roasted vegetables to that. I could also add, you know, a meat or something, but we’re not talking about meat. So then those roasted vegetables are thrown in there and it’s absolutely delicious. Those vegetables can be fresh, they can be frozen, or they can be canned.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, there’s a lot you can do, and I want to follow up to that, too, because food shortages like these exacerbate the situation for people who already don’t have access to quality, affordable food. It’s food insecurity and it is all over the country, unfortunately. So what can people do to help address food insecurity when there are shortages going on?

Carla Hall: So right now, if you go to “soup kitchen near me” or “food pantry” or “food bank near me” and just type that into your browser as a search, it will pop up like all of these different places. You can donate food, you can donate your time, and that time could be prepping food, it could be helping with deliveries and pickups. So they’re different. You could just give money, but they are so desperate for resources, be it money or hours of time. It’s just that if you are donating your time and you can do it on the regular, even if it’s one day a month, it is appreciated.

Michelle Kosinski: That is a great reminder for such an important topic. I know AARP has been working on the issue as well by fighting for more funding for programs like Meals on Wheels that really help people with food insecurity and help with nutrition for low-income seniors.

And we now have lots of questions coming in, too, so I think we should get to some of these for Carla. And I’m going to remind everybody, just press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with AARP staff so you can share your question. And again, if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube and you have a question, just post it there in the comments. So let’s introduce Jean Setzfand now with AARP to help facilitate all of those calls.

Hi, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hi, Michelle.

Michelle Kosinski: Great to have you.

Jean Setzfand: Glad to be here.

Michelle Kosinski: Excellent.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks so much.

Michelle Kosinski: So do we have a first question for Carla?

Jean Setzfand: We certainly do. We have one Gwendolyn from New York.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Gwendolyn from New York, what do you want to talk about tonight?

Gwendolyn: Hi, everybody. Hi, Carla, I love you on The Chew.

Carla Hall: Hi, thank you.

Gwendolyn: My question has to do with cutting back on recipes. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, but it’s just for myself and for my daughter. And so many recipes that I see are for four people, eight people, six people. So do I just cut the recipe in half or is there something special when you have to modify a recipe to go from a larger number of servings to a few servings. And thank you.

Carla Hall: You’re so welcome. That’s a really great question. I think if you think of batch cooking, you can make it all and then put it into containers and either freeze it or put it in the refrigerator. So unless you’re baking, you can cut something in half. So, no problem. If the recipe calls for six pieces of chicken, you can do three pieces of chicken and cut everything else in half. If you think it’s going to last, then just make it all, because that’s one less day that you have to prep your food, and you can have your dinner all ready and just pull it out of the freezer.

Michelle Kosinski: Yup. Good point. Okay. Jean, are there more questions for Carla?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, there is. I’m going to take one from Facebook right now and this question’s coming from Bonnie; she has a question for Carla. “Carla, what’s better to use, broth or stock?”

Carla Hall: It’s kind of the same thing, whether you call it broth, I mean, bone broth, stock, you know, vegetable broth, it’s, it’s the same. It’s just a synonymous term, so you can use either interchangeably. Sometimes you can use water, you can use, you can just use peels or something in your dish, so either/or.

Michelle Kosinski: Good advice there. That’s a question a lot of people have. All right. Let’s keep the questions coming.

Jean Setzfand: All right. Our next call is coming from Donna from Albuquerque.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Donna.

Donna: Hi. Carla, I think you already answered my question I was going to ask about, you know, nutritious meals, but I have another one. My daughter is trying to feed three kids. Five, 6 and 15. So they have different tastes, and they all have a sweet tooth like crazy. So do you have any ideas of what meals and, of course, a very limited budget because she’s furloughed. So I suggested that perhaps one time she could put masks on the kids and make it fun, take them to the produce department and have them pick out colorful produce. But do you have any better ideas for feeding these two age groups on a limited budget? And healthy?

Carla Hall: I think that’s a really good question. And healthy. So I never started, I want to tell you right now that I have a quick little recipe, which I didn’t do, and I think it’s something that everybody’s going to like. And this is with black-eyed peas. So I have black-eyed peas here, and you can make a hummus. Most kids like hummus, and it’s the same ingredients that I would use for a black-eyed-pea salad. So I have black-eyed peas—and it can be any bean whatsoever. It’s just olive oil, vinegar, some chili flakes—or not—tahini, some garlic salt, and then you put it in the food processor and then you get this, and you can do any vegetables. And I like to grill my vegetables, but I grill celery, I grill green beans and  then here is some fresh carrots, which are sweet, and the kids can pick their own vegetables, even if they toss them in oil and they put ’em in the oven. Most kids, if they’re involved in the cooking process, they will eat it. The other thing that I do with the black-eyed peas is make a little bit of a salad. And so I have cucumbers—same ingredients—cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, some onions and then scallions, and I chop everything up and I toss it in quick hot-sauce vinaigrette, and that doesn’t even have to be spicy hot. But I think that if you find something where you can do a couple different ways, and then if you put the hummus with the salad on a pita, so if you have—or like a wrap, and you can grill the wrap—that’s also fun. So I really think that there are things that they can do and get involved in the process, and have them actually make it so everybody’s involved. And then for that sweet tooth, I have some balls here that are peanut butter and prunes and oatmeal and some honey, and I just put it in the food processor, and here I have these cute little balls. So, I hope that helps.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I think that’s great. I like the visuals, too. What do you think a lot of people are doing out there? Are you sort of seeing a return to the great American casserole of like the 1970s? Is some of that stuff coming back?

Carla Hall: It’s all coming back. I think also people are surprising themselves. I think they are getting back to cooking. We’re cooking more now than we ever have been before. We’re cooking all of our meals at home, for the most part. And so I think people are willing to try, they’re willing to forgive themselves, like it doesn’t work out, like, oh well, let me try it again. So I think that people are surprising themselves. One-pot dishes are definitely at the top of most people’s lists.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. That definitely—

Carla Hall: Because they don’t want to do the dishes.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, that, too. That, too. And for me, I’m one person at home while my family is stuck overseas, so it’s weird cooking for one person. It’s like you can do whatever you want, but you know, you either have too much or, one night, so I’m glad people are asking some of these questions. I think there’s sort of something for everybody in there. And are there some more questions for Carla out there?

Jean Setzfand: This one is coming from Joyce from Texas.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Hi, Joyce. Welcome.

Joyce: Hi.

Michelle Kosinski: What’s your question?

Joyce: My question is, I was wondering what you could make that would be either sweet, or for a vegetable meal out of tofu?

Carla Hall: Wait, did you say sweet?

Joyce: Yeah. Can you make anything out of tofu that would be like a dessert?

Michelle Kosinski: Ooh, that’s interesting.

Carla Hall: Absolutely. So you can use silken tofu. I wouldn’t use the extra-firm tofu. I would use silken tofu, so it’s more, it’s creamy. If you take silken tofu and chocolate, so if you melt your chocolate and you put it in the food processor and then you have your silken tofu and some sugar, and you whiz it up, maybe a little bit of vanilla, some cinnamon, then you can actually make a mousse, and it would be absolutely delicious.

Michelle Kosinski: I love that idea. And I actually, in my own experiments in my kitchen, I just learned that silken tofu is a good substitute for egg in baking. That if you’re allergic to eggs or you just don’t like them, or if you’re a vegan, you can actually use silken tofu as an egg substitute. And I tried it in a little loaf cake that I baked and it turned out great. So there’s something else that tofu is good for. Any other questions for Carla?

Carla Hall: It’s really good.

Michelle Kosinski: Any other questions?

Carla Hall: I was also going to say, in a soup that you want the creaminess, so if you have a tomato soup and instead of adding cream, if you add a little bit of silken tofu and you put it in the blender, it’s going to make it creamy, but then it’s an added protein as well.

Michelle Kosinski: That’s nice. Yeah. It’s like when you go out there and research some things online, you find all these other possibilities, so I think there’s a lot of learning and experimenting going on every minute of every day out there. Okay. Let’s take our next question.

Jean Setzfand: All right. Our next call is coming from Deborah in California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Deborah, out on the West Coast.

Deborah: Hi. How are you?

Michelle Kosinski: Great to hear from you. What’s your question?

Deborah: My question is, first off, I love to cook off the cuff, okay? That’s my strong point. But sometimes I don’t have the actual ingredients. So, if I decide to do something off the cuff what would you recommend as the vegetable for something like that?

Carla Hall: All right, so here’s your cheat: Whenever you’re going to do something off the cuff and you know what you have, just google the ingredients that you have, put those in your search, and then it’ll spit out several recipes, right? So in terms of your vegetables, you can toss whatever vegetable it is, put it in a high-heat oven, like at 475, and roast those vegetables. But, so it just, in terms of off the cuff, it just depends on what you have and what you want. Carrots, like I had these green beans, roasted celery, it really depends on what’s available. So when I go into the grocery store, because I do cook for a living, I see so many options and sometimes the options are overwhelming to me. If you don’t cook—unlike you, you do cook—sometimes you go in and you’re like overwhelmed by all of the different foods, so you can’t make choices, but I think that any single vegetable that you use, if it’s a big vegetable, you know it can be in the center of the plate and you’re going to add to that. If it’s a little vegetable, it’s going to be in the supporting cast of whatever you’re making. Does that help?

Michelle Kosinski: Excellent advice. All right. Let’s go to another question.

Jean Setzfand: We have another question coming in from Facebook, and this is coming from Maria, and she’s asking, “What are simple, easy chicken meals that are still delicious?”

Carla Hall: [Laughs.] I love, Maria, that you said, what are some that are simple but still delicious. Hard does not mean delicious, let me tell you. So one of my go-to recipes, I make a lot of chicken thighs, my husband makes a lot of chicken thighs. I have fallen in love with the air fryer. I’d take my chicken thighs, I make a mix of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, a little bit of cayenne and salt. I toss them in this, I put them right in the air fryer for air-fried chicken. Now, for another dish with that same chicken, I will take that marinated chicken, and then I slice up onions and then I have garlic. I slice those up, salt and pepper into a pan, and then I put out about a half a cup of chicken stock. I put my chicken on top of that, skin side up. I put a lid on that pan, and then I put it into the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, covered. I take the lid off another 30 minutes, and then now you have oven-smothered chicken. You take your chicken out, you take a fork and you mash those silky delicious onions and garlic with a fork, making your gravy. And then you put your chicken back in and you have smothered chicken without all the fat, and it is delicious.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I can do this. I want to know how many people tonight are going to try that very recipe because you suggested it. And, Carla, what are you experimenting with? Are you trying new things at home? Have you done it all or what’s your project?

Carla Hall: I have not done it all. I have this thing about making bread. So, you know, when I find the yeast, I’m going to make bread because I love to make biscuits. I’m experimenting with the biscuit dough, what things I can put in it, can I stuff them with sausage gravy? What can I put in the air fryer. I’ve had some fails in the air fryer. Let me tell you, I also fail. I tried to do these cheese and cracker things in the air fryer and then I shut the air fryer and I hear like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. I’m like, what is going on there? Why does it sound like popcorn? And they were blowing all over the place. I opened the air fryer and they were all stuck together. So, you know, I have my fails. But the thing is, you learn from your failures. So I don’t consider them failures, I just consider them a try. And I learned, so I am, I’m learning about the air fryer.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. And I know people, many people have time to finally do that cooking experiment that they’ve always wanted to do. Like when I mentioned that I was looking for an egg substitute and you knew you can google something, and somebody somewhere has tried it, right? So there was this one woman who baked like 18 cakes in one day just so she could see what was the best substitute for eggs. So I love it. Now we have time to do things like this.

Let’s take another question for Carla out there, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: All right. I think this is the last question for Carla and this is coming from Anna from New Jersey.

Michelle Kosinski: Welcome, Anna, from my home state of Jersey.

Anna: Hello. My question is what type of desserts that you have that are simplified? I know, I was using the word simplify for apples and bananas to make a dessert, and I know that you have recipes for the apple crumble, which I love.

Carla Hall: So, for the apple, you can hollow it out, and then you can do a mixture of oatmeal, brown sugar, like calvados, maybe some butter and cinnamon and whatever, like sweet spices, like cardamom. Mix all of that up and hollow out the apple and then push that into the apple and then you can bake them. And that can be one apple, or it can be four apples. You’re going to bake it at 350, a little bit of apple juice in the bottom, until they’re soft. So you can also do something where you’re slicing the apples, and for a quick little dessert and you can put peanut butter on that or some kind of nut butter and granola, and you can have like a little snacky thing. You had said something else. You can do a quick little mousse if you have chocolate and whipped cream. I know we talked about tofu, but you can like whip up whipped cream. Oh my gosh, I have been making these cakes in the microwave, so these little mud cakes. So you can find the recipe online that I had done for another video, and I did a chocolate one and I did a lemon one. And it’s just like three tablespoons of flour, and they’re so easy and so delicious and moist. So the great thing about that is that they’re portioned, so you’re not going to eat the whole cake.

Michelle Kosinski: That is great. I like hearing about your experiments, and I also like to hear that you screw things up sometimes ’cause it makes me feel less, less embarrassed. But hey, there’s nobody around to see and make fun of me, so there. Well, Carla, that was great and stick around because we’re going to be hearing more from you later, too.

But let’s turn now to Ty. With all this time at home, people everywhere are tempted to tackle some of those home improvement projects they’ve been putting off, maybe for years, maybe for decades. I have seen this. I have felt this myself. So, Ty, what do you suggest people consider taking on right now? What’s a good place to even start? And on the flip side, what are the things that they should definitely leave to the experts?

Ty Pennington: Well, I mean, here’s the thing. There’s a lot of things that I think people can take on, but one of the things that I think everyone’s really trying to do is because we’re stuck in this one place, it’s doing that list that you didn’t want to do, but now, you know you have to do. And sometimes it’s not the fun stuff—like cleaning your gutters, fixing drywall patches, cleaning your baseboards and then doing touch-up paint. But it could also be something as crazy and fun as switching your toilet to a bidet, which I took on. But there’s a lot of projects I think that are, that, let’s just say involve a paintbrush, a spackle blade, and it’s really just cosmetic. But I would definitely have people stay away from anything that’s electric; that is, you know, dealing with your foundation, structural. But if you’re putting paint on a wall, if you’re doing wallpaper, if you’re doing projects that make any areas in your room look better, then I say, go for it. But I think the one thing everyone’s doing is doing all those fix-it projects that they’ve been putting off, and I mean pressure washing your deck, ’cause I’ve been doing all of these as well.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. So you mean I shouldn’t jack up my house and work on that foundation? Just kinda, I got the jacks ready, you know, but you—

Ty Pennington: It happens.

Michelle Kosinski: You’re right. Because I put off some, like, I feel like the projects you tend to put off are the ones that once you do them, you’re, like, “Oh, this is so easy, It only took a couple of hours. Why did I put this off for 10 years?” However, I’m finding that the stuff I put off, now I realize, oh, this is why I put it off because it’s so annoying. So there’s a lot of that out there. But I wanted to ask you, for people who might have parents living at home or for people who want to stay in their homes as long as possible, how can they use this time to make plans or update their houses so that they can stay in place? What are some things that people can do, for example, in their bedroom or bathroom.

Ty Pennington: Well, one thing is for sure, I mean, I’m even experiencing, right? I would have never thought that I’d be living with my mother again, but it does happen. And luckily, she’s quite hilarious, so we keep ourselves entertained. But I think that’s, you’re seeing more of that. I think people are converting sheds into like little cottages that people, you know, family members can start to stay with them. So there’s lots of things you can do.  What I like to do, too, is try and convert things into more storage. Let’s face it. We don’t really ever have enough storage. I mean, we have closets, but there’s just never enough room, and so a lot of people are converting, like, let’s say it’s your formal dining room. Turning that into an office where you could add more storage, where you could actually work on things with a computer or a desk, because how many times do you actually use a formal dining room? So I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that. Converting rooms into functional spaces instead of just rooms that look good that you just walk through.

Michelle Kosinski: Ah, that’s interesting, yeah. And it takes getting to a certain point to finally admit, okay, I haven’t used this dining room once in how many years, I’m never going to use this, or it’s time to turn that room that’s just full of junk into something else. So that’s a good point. Also with a lot of people who are looking for new ways to generate some income or make a place for family or caregivers living nearby, you mentioned this: What do you think about adding that accessory living space, like the mother-in-law unit or the granny flat? Tell me something about getting started on a project like that and what you should keep in mind.

Ty Pennington: Well, I think the first thing is, is like, you need to make sure that’s really going to happen, because once you convert a space that was just for storage into a place where someone has to live, you have to remember you’ve got to bring in climate control, you have to bring in light, windows, etc., but once you confirm that that’s happening, I think it’s smart for everybody to sort of have an area that can be converted into an extra bedroom, an extra space. My mom actually stays in the room right next door to mine, so I’m already thinking about moving her outside myself. I’m kidding. But, yes.

Michelle Kosinski: You need more room for those lemurs to multiply, too.

Ty Pennington: That’s right. That’s right.

Michelle Kosinski: I’m going to have nightmares about that tonight.

Ty Pennington: Oh, but they’re so cuddly. They’re so great. They make a mess, but they’re fun.

Michelle Kosinski: We want to see them before this is over.

Ty Pennington: [Laughs.]

Michelle Kosinski: I want proof that there are lemurs living in your house and the fact that they haven’t ripped up your house. I think that’s kind of amazing in itself.

Ty Pennington: They’re very temperamental. I think I’ve got them on some relaxers right now, which is great. So, no, I think that’s a real thing. I think people are converting their garages into small, like one-bedroom apartments. I think we’re going to be seeing even more of that. And the trick is, is whether or not you can, you can run electricity but the other real trick is whether or not you can tie plumbing into your existing plumbing. And that’s, that’s harder than one might imagine.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. That could be more than some people want to bite off, but also as people stay home with their kids more and more, and get more and more annoyed with the teenagers, that garage is kind of looking like a great extra apartment.

Ty Pennington: Well, they can always come in. They can always come in and use the bathroom and a shower and then go to their space. And I think people are doing that everywhere already.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, for sure. And it’s a good time to make that she shed that you’ve always wanted or he shed, man-cave what have you.

Ty Pennington: Yes, absolutely. I couldn’t live without a man cave. It’s everything to me.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. It sounds like your whole house may be a man and lemur cave, I don’t know. But that is great advice. Thanks, Ty. And this highlights how the place we call home is so important, especially as many of us are confined to it. And I know that AARP representatives are working at the federal, state and local levels to make sure that people have safe, secure and connected places to live throughout this crisis. That includes fighting to prevent evictions for people as well as utility and broadband disconnections.

            So let’s take more questions now from our callers out there, and here’s another reminder. To ask your question just press *3 on your phone, and if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube and you have a question, you can just post it in the comments. So, Jean, who do we have next for us wanting to talk to Ty? Who doesn’t want to talk to Ty?

Jean Setzfand: Exactly. Well, let’s begin with Brian in Nebraska.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Brian in Nebraska.

Brian: Hi, how are you guys doing today?

Michelle Kosinski: Welcome.

Brian: Thank you.

Michelle Kosinski: Go ahead. What’s your question?

Brian: Can y’all hear me?

Michelle Kosinski: Yep.

Brian: Okay. Yeah, the question I’ve got is that we bought a house that was a 14-year-old house, and when we bought it, the shower steam kind of streams down the walls in all three bathrooms. We’ve tried replacing the fans with more powerful vents, and we even found one of the vents to have the flap set to “close” by mistake by a set screw inside one vent tube. So we replaced, we backed that out and released the flap. But even after replacing the fans, we still had the same issue in all the bathrooms. I don’t know if there’s anything else we can try or—

Michelle Kosinski: Hmm. That’s an interesting question. What do you think about that, Ty?

Ty Pennington: So, I’m just curious, what’s leaking down the wall? Is there water or what exactly is leaking down the—

Brian: The shower steam, the shower steam.

Ty Pennington: Oh, the shower steam.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah.

Ty Pennington: Okay. That, that’s an interesting thing because, honestly, I think I just posted this on my Instagram the other day, maybe yesterday. But I put a steam shower in my bathroom downstairs, and I only tiled the ceiling on the part that has the glass in with the door shut, right? But sometimes when you’re walking in and out of there, the steam comes out and because of that, it’s affected the drywall at the top, and so it’s been flaking and coming down. So I’ve had to patch that just to cover up where it was flaking off because, as you know, moisture and humidity will make drywall and flakes just peel right off. It sounds to me like you’ve got way too much moisture happening in there. I would suggest two things. You know, there’s this stuff where you can get rid of, it’s called DampRid or something like that, that gets rid of moisture. Maybe you could try that. But it sounds like you need an extra vent that’s going out maybe of your attic that can let that air out, because it’s staying trapped inside your bathroom or whatever room you’ve got. So is there any way you could put a second vent in that’s just an air release, because that may be what you need.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I think our caller, I don’t think that they can, they’re on the line that long. They can just listen from that point, but that’s good advice.

Ty Pennington: Yeah. Look into that.

Michelle Kosinski: Okay. Jean, who else is out there?

Jean Setzfand: We have Wendy from Facebook and Wendy’s asking Ty, “Are certain repair people considered essential now? Plumbers, electricians, etc. I really need help.”

Ty Pennington: Mmm, well, yes. Okay, electricians, absolutely, and here’s why. You just shouldn’t take on too much electrical on your own. Now, if you want to switch out a ceiling fan, you want to switch out a light, if you’ve got somebody who’s done that before or you’ve got a neighbor who has, call them. The most simple thing you need to do is just make sure the breaker is off. I cannot express that enough, but if it’s like really rewiring an entire room or you’ve got some issues with your breaker box, call in a professional. Now, as far as plumbers go, you can try and do simple things. I literally, I just converted my toilet into a bidet, which I’m going to tell you, talk about saving toilet paper. This is a huge way to save on TP. And it’s also so refreshing and it turns into a water fountain as well. You’re going to love it. But here’s what I’m saying. If you have other problems with plumbing, and let’s just say you’ve got septic issues and things are backing up and things are overflowing, you’re going to want to call a plumber because that’s, let’s just say, a sticky situation that you’re going to, let’s just say that is absolutely a crisis that you’re going to want a professional for.

Michelle Kosinski: For sure, for sure. All right. Let’s see who else is out there.

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Marta from California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hello, Marta, how is California?

Marta: Hello. I have a patio that, it’s a nice big patio, but I’d like to enclose the top. It’s kind of, it’s open where the rain just goes through. So I’d like to enclose it, to just allow for a better sitting area and protected from the rain. Are there any suggestions that I can, so I can still keep the same, because the rest of the patio is still very strong and sturdy wood. I don’t want to just toss it and start all over.

Ty Pennington: Yeah. There’s a couple of options. First of all, like being in California, what’s great is you basically sitting outside, that becomes another living room, which is so awesome. So, yes, you definitely want to take advantage of that. But you’re right, the trouble is, is sometimes rain gets through there.

My suggestion is this you can do it the good old-fashioned, sturdy way, which is you just put plywood over the top and then you put shingles, etc. You’re going to lose some of your light, but you’re going to get a really watertight, weatherproof roof above your outdoor area. The other thing you could do is do corrugated panels or roofing panels. They come in aluminum, they come in tin. You can also get them in fiberglass where they’re clear and you can actually let light through. They use them sometimes on greenhouses. They don’t last as long because high winds can sort of damage them, etc., but they look beautiful for quite a while. They’re super cheap and easy to install.

Michelle Kosinski: Got it.

Ty Pennington: I hope that helps.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. I think that’s great advice. You have something for everything I think.  So let’s see what other—

Ty Pennington: I try.

Michelle Kosinski: Hopefully nobody calls with like a big urgent problem that needs help right away, like call 911.

Ty Pennington: It’s leaking right now.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I’m in 4 feet of water, God forbid. Okay. Let’s see who else is out there with an interesting question for us, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: So we have Joan from Facebook and in the coronavirus social distancing environment that we’re in, Joan’s noticing that more and more neighbors are trying to set up quote unquote, front yard sitting spots to be able to chat with neighbors easy. Any good ideas around DIY projects on this?

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, that’s interesting. A social distancing, social party space.

Ty Pennington: So I’ve noticed that as well, and let’s face it, I mean, all over America, people are, they’re getting lawn chairs and they’re distancing themselves at least 6 feet apart. But that way they can see each other, they can have a beverage and they can communicate. But one thing I realized is that you know, if you design a firepit with pavers and stones, etc., in a circle, and you make that big enough, the perimeter, the cool thing is it’s just like King Arthur’s Round Table. Everybody can see each other, but you can space yourself out even farther, and then if you’re at the point where you can actually see the light coming from the fire, everybody’s involved but everyone’s spaced out. So I think that’s a great idea, using a circle to sort of keep the distance.

Michelle Kosinski: Very nice. And I want to remind everybody out there, if you are joining us on the phone, then press *3 on your phone to be able to be put into the queue to ask a question. And if you’re on Facebook or YouTube, then you can just add your questions in the comments. So, Jean, is there somebody else out there with a pressing question for Ty?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. We actually have Stephanie from Wisconsin.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Stephanie in Wisconsin.

Stephanie: Hi, how are you doing today? Is it warm where you are?

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. Kinda. Great to hear from you. So what’s on your mind?

Stephanie: What’s on my mind is I live in about a 900-square-foot apartment, and I have a, and the condominium that I’m in is probably close to 50 years old. The kitchen has not been remodeled and of all the rooms, the kitchen needs a remodeling. I need to repaint, I need to repaint the cabinets or get new cabinets, I need to replace the floor, and I need to take the wallpaper off of the wall ’cause it’s getting pretty old. I was just wondering if he had any suggestions on what to do first, or how to do this, and what’s the least expensive way to do it if I have to space it out over a couple of years?

Michelle Kosinski: Great.

Ty Pennington: Okay. That is a loaded question. It’s a great question. But what I love about it is it reminds me already of, like, the kitchen I grew up in with my family because I literally saw that same thing happen where you’re looking at the wallpaper and it’s like from the ’70s, and you’re like, we should probably change that. And then you’re looking at the linoleum on the floor and it’s like peeling up from where the refrigerator’s been drug across it, or the portable dishwasher, and that needs to be replaced. And then you’re looking at the cabinets and they’re dated. So what you have there is a very dated kitchen. So you have a bit of a conundrum. You’re going to have to spend some money in a lot of different areas because—  Now one way you could save is not replace all the cabinets, but just change the faces of the kitchen cabinet doors and maybe repaint those and try and keep it simple and easy. However, you’re talking about really having to do every surface of that kitchen, so you have to weigh how much it’s going to cost to redo the cabinets, as how much it’s going to to just redo everything. In my opinion, if you could only do one thing, and that would like figure out a way to just sort of prime the wallpaper and either, but new wallpaper over the top would be the easiest way because I painted houses for 13 years and trying to pull wallpaper off is one of the most difficult things ever, especially if it’s been around over 50 years because you’re going to have to fix a lot of drywall when you do that. But I think the way kitchens go these days, if you could replace your cabinets, that’s what I would do. If you cannot do that, then definitely replace the actual doors and go with a modern door, get new Euro hinges, and you’d be amazed at just painting everything maybe a sort of a charcoal gray or a light gray, you’d be amazed at how good they can look just by replacing the doors and also the hardware and the pulls on the drawers.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, we did exactly that in my parents’ house. We first repainted the cabinets but then decided to replace the fronts of them. They had paneling. We painted that, and we took out the linoleum floor and put in those little parquet wood floors. And it was just, it was quick, it wasn’t very expensive and it looked so much better. It looked just so fresh and homey in there. So good luck to everyone out there and, Ty, thanks for your questions, but stick around because we’re going to talk to you again later.

So, Matt, let’s go to you now. You’ve been waiting so patiently, but we also are dying to get your perspective on some of these projects as well because you are an expert on decluttering. And if all this time at home has shown us anything, it’s that we could all use some extra space and some decluttering in our lives. And I don’t think I know a single person who has not been trying to go through cupboards and closets, and some of the things they found, by the way, or forgotten all about, have been kind of interesting and none too appetizing. In fact, last weekend, one of my friends found a jar in his refrigerator that literally expired 12 years ago.

But here’s the challenge, so much of what we might call clutter elsewhere in our house, not in the refrigerator, is tied to meaningful moments in our lives. Every room, every closet, even just one drawer or box can take hours to sort through just to determine what to keep or toss. So, Matt, what is your advice on separating the clutter from the truly meaningful mementos that we might later regret tossing out?

Matt Paxton: So the emotions are there for a reason, right? You had something good happen, something positive happen. And so for me, I’ve been doing this 15 years, you’ve got to tell the stories. You got to tell your story out loud to someone that you love. You’re, hopefully you’re not by yourself but, and if you are, call a friend, call up one and tell the story about the item. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to let go of the item if you share the story.

Michelle Kosinski: And you know, sometimes you have to be in the mood for it, too. Don’t you find that if you’re, well, you’re the expert so you know how to do everything right. But do you find that people sometimes if they approach one of these tasks and they’re just kind of not in the mood for giving stuff away or getting rid of stuff, you’re just going to keep everything. But then when you get into that zone or the mood strikes that you want to get rid of stuff, then it’s much easier somehow.

Matt Paxton: Yeah, I encourage you to set a time. It’s almost like working out like, I know I need to do it, but I don’t really want to do it. So I set a time every day like, I’m going to organize for 30 minutes. Sometimes I do 10 minutes the first week, but I set that time, I get down to it, and then you do the 10 minutes and then you’re proud of yourself. The next week. stretch it out to 20 minutes. The next week, stretch it out to 30, but get focused and get dedicated. I like to start at 7:30, like right about this time and then when I hear Jeopardy! on, you know, finishing up at 8, I’m done.

Michelle Kosinski: That’s the same kind of advice people give to writers, that “just do it.” Just set that time and do it and get into the practice of it. That’s very good advice. But you know, most charities and consignment shops right now—oh, go ahead.

Matt Paxton: I was going to say, you’re not going to enjoy it the first two days. You’re not going to enjoy it until you see that empty space. And so what I really, a lot of us are going to jump around. We get halfway through a room. Most of us are like 85 percenters. You do 85 percent of it and then you stop and you go to the next room. My advice is finish the room. Stay in a very dedicated space. It may only be like 4 feet, but just stay focused, finish it, ’cause then you get the visual gratification of finishing it. It’s almost like trying on new jeans that fit, right; you need to see that vision. So get really focused on the time and the space, and when you do that, you start to really get that joy and excitement.

Michelle Kosinski: I think we need you to be there, coaching us on FaceTime or something. You’re good at getting us into the psyched-up position to just do it. But I was about to say that right now, most charities and consignment shops have stopped accepting donations because of the pandemic. Also, local governments are closing down the public dump, and they’re asking people not to leave a whole lot out there on the curb. So what do you suggest people do with all the stuff that you are finally in a position to get done with and give it away or throw it away, and now there’s not really a place for it. So, ah, you don’t want to hold on to it longer, you kind of want to get rid of it while you’re, you know, in that mode, right?

Matt Paxton: Yeah. So I’ve been talking to Goodwill all week because this is my biggest question. People are like, what do I do with it, where do I take it? They are slowly starting to open. Some of the regional places are open, but you have to remember this is a mission-based company. Anywhere that you, that you donate, really anywhere you donate the stuff that you don’t want, that stuff goes to provide jobs for people, right? And so, believe it or not, all the donation places, whether they’re big or small, I’ve been talking to a bunch of them, they haven’t worked for the last eight weeks, and they haven’t had items come in, so they’re broke. So they’re as anxious as you are to get those items because those items fund all their employees.

Now, here’s what I encourage you to do. You can call now to find out if they’re available. Don’t expect anyone to come pick it up. That’s not going to happen. Those days are done. It’s too dangerous for people to come to your house and pick it up, they’re just not going to do that anymore. So you’ve got to get it there. One little thing I encourage you to do is if you, if you do still drive and you have a car, I really encourage you to put two cardboard boxes in the back of your trunk and you can fill those up with the things you want to donate, and when it’s full, drive by a donation center. They’re going to be open in the next two to four weeks, right? And the guys at the front will actually pull it out for you because the reality is, we don’t want to be lifting it and picking those big boxes up out of our garage.

I mean, what I really want to encourage you all in is in what you send, because the biggest issue here is we’re sending a lot of trash to these donation centers nationwide. We’re, like, “Oh, I don’t wear this anymore, it’s all ratty.” And we say, “It’s trash, so I’ll donate it.” They don’t want your trash. They need your good stuff. I had a guy that used to work for me and he had been homeless at one point, he had done some time, and he had really gotten his life back. And this lady said, “Why that sweater’s all nasty and ratty. You can throw it away. Or you can donate it.” And he said, "Well, ma’am, I’m homeless; I’m not ugly. I need your nice stuff.” And so I thought that was a great way to say it. You’ve got to get focused on getting rid of stuff to make space for the stuff, the renovations that Ty’s going to help you do, you’ve got to get rid of some good volume. So get real on your clothes, get real on your photographs, get real on all of that stuff and get rid of the space so that you can actually make more space. But don’t throw— Your trash goes to the dump. If you feel bad about how much trash is on the curb, then it’s time to stop. Once you feel guilty about it, then you know it’s time.

Michelle Kosinski: This is like a good pep talk, and it is kind of making me feel guilty for not getting rid of more stuff. So thank you for that, Matt. And, you know, going through somebody’s personal papers can be really emotional. And what do you suggest for people who are doing this now? They’re going through records and photos and just the personal things of loved ones. That can be a heart-wrenching job.

Matt Paxton: Yeah. This is really hard because a lot of the people listening right now are caregivers for their loved ones, and so there’s an event, there’s something happening. You’re not dealing with these papers unless you’re forced to. You’re not thinking, Hey, I want to go through the really hard stuff right now, right? You got to know your facts. This is the number one question on paper I get all the time, which is, what do I keep? What do I not keep? Right. On accounting, on your taxes, it is seven years. That’s a legit term. Anyone says from seven to 10, it’s seven, right? You do need to keep seven years back. On legal work, it’s five years, all right. And here’s the big one: People ask me all the time, how long should I keep the will? Forever. You keep the will forever. That’s the big one.

I would digitize those three things if you can. Should you figure out, get a scanner and try to digitize everything? No. Take it to FedEx, Kinko’s, pay them 30 bucks, they’ll scan everything for you, or give it to your grandson, give him 10 bucks, let him scan it. I mean, you don’t need to waste your time with the technology side of it, just get it scanned. But everything you do get rid of, you’ve got to shred. Shred, shred, shred, shred, shred. I cannot stress how important it is to shred all these old papers because— And I mean your old mail, too, all right? Even your old mail, your junk mail from the banks, shred that stuff. Your bank statements. By the way, you don’t need any of your old bank statements. None of them. You can shred them all, right? I don’t care if it’s last month’s. You just need the most recent. That’s it. I think this is a great time to call your catalog companies and get off the mailing list.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, yes. Yes.

Matt Paxton: That would decrease your mail quite a bit. Get—

Michelle Kosinski: You’re wonderful for saying that because I think about this literally every single day, and I even get angry at these companies, like, you know, I’m not interested in that. How did I even get on your list in the first place? I think about all the paper that is wasted sending, not necessarily sending a nice catalog but sending it to people who would never be interested in whatever that thing is. So, Matt, thank you for bringing this up. You’re going to make me in tears, I’m so happy that you brought this up. What should you do? How do you free yourself of the catalogs?

Matt Paxton: Catalog— look, just the two things, you know, I’m glad that I’m last because cooking with your friends and cooking with your family and even cooking for yourself, that’s joyful. That’s exciting, right? And that was from Carla. The stuff from Ty, I mean, he is dead right. I am seeing so many of my clients making space either out of their garage, out of the dining room or a new, a shed, a new independent ADU in the back for mom to move in. Ty, I am as well. My mother has moved back into my house during this thing and we’re making space, right?

Michelle Kosinski: Yay, for moms!

Matt Paxton: But the junk holds it [inaudible], yeah, dude, it’s awesome, I love it. The junk holds us back, it makes us depressed, and the catalogs are a daily reminder. It’s like a daily weight. Like, just get rid of it, just stop. Put them in the recycling, but call every single one and just, I do like five a day, right? Just keep the stack for the whole month or the whole two months and then every day take five off the top, call them; say, take me off your list—they have to by law—and get rid of it.

Michelle Kosinski: So you just have to call a number, like the customer service number on the catalog, and that’s all you need to do?

Matt Paxton: Yep. That’s all you need to do. And I don’t want to get into a hornet’s nest here, but on the digital side too, on your email, you can just hit unsubscribe on all of these as well ’cause the email weighs you down as well.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. I find that the email is easy and it really does work when you unsubscribe, and I always tell people to do that, but the, you know, 40 pounds of catalogs that arrive at a house every day, I always wondered what exactly do I need to do to get rid of these. So bravo. Thank you, Matt.

And you know, this topic also brings up some of the challenges that millions of family caregivers are facing right now, particularly those who have loved ones in nursing homes or other types of care facilities. There’s been a lack of transparency and not enough resources so many people out there are having a hard time learning if there’s even positive COVID cases in these facilities where their family members live. Making the situation worse, people aren’t able to connect with their loved ones through video chats and phone calls right now. I know that AARP is urging federal and state policymakers to take action to ensure that residents and staff have adequate testing and protections, and that family members are able to stay connected with, and get information about their loved ones. So if you’re facing this situation or you know of someone who is, you can learn more about this at aarp.org/coronavirus.

            So now let’s turn to some more of your questions out there for Matt Paxton. Another reminder, just press *3 by phone on your telephone keypad if you’re listening that way. You’ll be connected to AARP staff who will share your question. And if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can just post your question there in the comments. So, Jean, what is our first question somewhere in America for Matt.

Jean Setzfand: We are going to stay close to home. Lillie from Maryland has a question for Matt.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Hi, Lillie.

Lillie: Good evening. Hi, Michelle. Hi, Matt.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi.

Lillie: My question is, I am actually, I have a small bedroom that is multi-use. It’s not only where my bed is, but it’s where my clothes, my shoes, my desk, my books— And I’m trying to get organized but I just, I’m having a rough time. I know I got to go up. I can’t go, you know, I got some things going out but I know, I think I need to go up, but I can’t figure out what kind of storage I can use. I’m, right now, most things are in bins and I can’t get to the thing on the bottom because all the four bins on the top. I can’t get to the one on the bottom quick enough. So what kind of storage would you suggest for a small bedroom?

Matt Paxton: All right. You’re not gonna like my answer. I’m going to answer your question with questions. Do all those clothes fit you? Probably not.

Lillie: I’m not even talking about clothes.

Matt Paxton: Do you read all the books? Probably not.

Lillie: [Inaudible] my clothes. I have a closet that the clothes are in, so it’s not even clothes.

Matt Paxton: Okay.

Lillie: My purses and—

Matt Paxton: Okay, all right, so I know where to send you here. What I really like to do is encourage people to sift through what you have first. All right? If you haven’t read the book in 20 years, you can donate it. If you haven’t worn the clothes in a year, you can get rid of them. If—you know, I’m a size 36 now in jeans; if my 28s, I can let them go, all right? Like get realistic about the items, that brings the volume down 25 percent, and then you go buy the storage systems. Two big retailers, Ikea and the Closet Store or the Closet Factory, any of these companies, their systems are on sale right now, all right? This is a good time to get a closet system and you want a hanging system. Here’s the problem. You really need someone to help you do that. And I would wait until it clears up a little bit and it’s safer to have someone in your house because you want that, you’re going to put a lot of weight of storage in here. They’re going to have great closet systems. I don’t believe big furniture is a good idea. Closet systems.

Michelle Kosinski: Okay. That’s good for everybody to know. Thanks for that, Matt. So now it’s time to address more of everyone’s questions with all of our experts: Ty Pennington, Carla Hall and Matt Paxton. Again, press *3 at any time on your phone, if you want to share your question with us, and on Facebook and YouTube, just enter it right there into the comments. So, Jean, let’s open it up now and it’s kind of a free for all, questions for everybody, except me who needs help with all of these things. Okay, so who’s out there?

Jean Setzfand: Let’s begin with Carla. There’s a question from Wendy from California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Wendy.

Wendy: Hi, how are you?

Michelle Kosinski: Great, great to hear from you. What’s your question for Carla?

Wendy: Well, my question is about several people asked about sugar or sweet things, and some of my colleagues at work are using the monk fruit sweetener to replace sugar, and it seems to be really good. Is it good for you, and is it a good replacement for sweet things for kids, for instance?

Carla Hall: I’m not a nutritionist, so I can’t talk about it being good for you, but I have used it, and it is a nice sugar substitute. Sometimes a substitute doesn’t give you the volume that a regular sugar would be, but that’s fine because the trade-off is great. It’s sweet. You can use it in— Like you can’t make a meringue with it; however, how many times do you make a meringue? So I would say yes, great.

Michelle Kosinski: Is that a new sweetener?

Carla Hall: Yeah. The monk fruit. Well, it’s not new, but you know, people are now incorporating it as a sugar substitute.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, that’s great. I haven’t even heard of that yet. Okay, so let’s take some more questions. Who’s out there, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Our next call is from Renée from Florida.

Michelle Kosinski: Hello, Renée. Welcome.

Renée: Thank you. I am a big fan of everyone. I just saw Carla, watching Julia Child, I think, on one of her shows. Matt, I watch your show every night. I have like 500 of them taped, but my question I think is for Ty. My husband, before we got married, he was diagnosed with MS, and he used to be the cook but now he’s in a wheelchair, so it’s hard for him to cook. So I don’t know if there’s any do-it-yourself projects that we can lower any of the items in the kitchen. And just so you know, I hate the kitchen. I don’t even walk through it, I walk around it, so I don’t want any part of it. So I’m hoping he can get back to cooking. [Laughs.]

Ty Pennington: Well, you know, on Extreme, we did a lot of custom kitchens for people that, you know, were in wheelchairs and it’s— Converting your kitchen can be a bit of a job, but you know, if he really misses cooking and you guys could figure out a way to just maybe work on an island, there’s a half a section that drops down counter-wise that he can work on, then you guys could sort of be a team and he could be your sous chef, you know, do it all, but I think together you guys can make it work. But, yeah, you can definitely have a section of an island that maybe drops down. Hopefully you’ve got the room that you could add to that in your kitchen because that would be awesome. And it also gives him that independence that I’m sure he would love to have back.

Michelle Kosinski: That’s a great idea. What other callers are out there, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: We have a question from Facebook. Well, this is coming from Nancy for Matt. And her question is this, “My mother’s family has collected many valuables and a lot of nonvaluable items. She’s since passed away and my family’s having a very difficult time identifying the valuable items. What resources are available to us? What type of experts should we use to help us get through everything in the most cost-effective way?”

Michelle Kosinski: Hmm. Good question.

Matt Paxton: Okay. So, great question, and every single person in your family is going to answer it differently, because everyone has an emotional value and a financial value. I am a big fan of online auctions—online auctions, not yard sales. Don’t do a yard sale. It’s a total waste of your time. Online auctions will tell you what it’s worth because the more people that look at it, the more people bid on it. So I might think that my grandfather that I loved so much, that the table that he handcrafted was really, really nice. But when no one bids on it, guess what? No financial value, all right. Get it on online auctions. More people will look. Don’t use eBay as a dictionary; it’s not always accurate. Just get it to a local auctioneer who will put it online or one of the big national online auctioneers, and you can find them pretty easily by googling them, but the more people that look at it, the higher that price goes.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. I feel like we’re learning a lot tonight. Jean, who else is out there?

Jean Setzfand: This is Diane from Washington.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Diane. What is your question? And for whom?

Diane:  Hi. My question I guess is for anybody that can help me figure out how to easily build a garden, a raised-bed garden. I collected all the pots from around the yard, put all these vegetables in them, and now I just want it to be a little more organized, look a little better, and I want to be able to have my neighbor’s kids and my nieces and nephews, who are quite young, be able to come over and tend it for me.

Ty Pennington: Well I’ll— Look, it’s a great idea to have kids work in the garden. First of all, that was my first summer job. It was more like mowing the garden but, still, it’s a good start. There are so many ways, I’m sure even Carla can tell you, ways to start a really great herb garden. That’s a good start. Another thing you could do, too, if you just have some PVC buckets, any kind of containers that—you don’t want to go out and buy planters—any kind of container that’s plastic, if you drill a hole in the bottom, that can turn into a pot. If you want to do something that’s already in the ground, another thing you could do is just with wood is build something that’s tiered that actually gets bigger as it goes up. That way, as it grows, it all gets light and comes all the way down. Those are just some thoughts. But I think kids working in the garden and having fun in the garden is great. They learn so much about growing things themselves and they’re taking care of something, which is I think, really good as well. So, great idea.

Michelle Kosinski: And, Carla, I think you wanted to ad. Yeah, go ahead.

Carla Hall: Yeah, I just want to add to that exactly what Ty said. And this is only through osmosis because Michael Simon loved, or loves, gardening. So with that big bucket, you know, you drill a hole, you put the gravel and then the soil, then that way they can drain. But also a regular pallet that, some of those pallets that are being thrown away when you go to like Home Depot or some of these big box stores, they have pallets that you can use. But I think you said you have all of that.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I think our caller can’t respond again. But I would like to build a magnet that would lure all the local kids to come work in my garden as well as on my house. Do you think there’s a, is there a magnet for that? Okay, Jean, who has—

Paxton: Okay, real quick.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, go ahead, Matt.

Matt Paxton: I want to say on the building side of it, I think don’t be afraid to go online for the Nextdoor website or the Freecycle website or even craigslist, just to see if there’s somebody local that could come build it for you for not a lot of money. This is a great time to discuss pricing. Whatever the price is listed for labor, that’s not the price anymore. Don’t be afraid to haggle and see what you can do and you can still do it very safely.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Okay, so let’s go for more questions. And so, callers, I just want to remind you that you can ask a question by pressing *3 on your phone, or if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube, just post it in the comments. I love this technology. It’s working; it’s working! Who else is out there, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Gloria from Maryland.

Michelle Kosinski: Okay, great. Hi, Gloria.

Gloria: Oh yes. I’m here. How are you?

Michelle Kosinski: Hello, we’re great. What’s your question?

Gloria: Oh, yes. My question was [laughs], how do I dispose of, I mean, I know how to dispose, but it’s so much [inaudible], and you know, like more dangerous and all those papers. Can I just put them in the trash and put them in recycle without taking off the address and the name?

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, that is a great question.

Gloria: Because I have electric bills, water bills, so I mean, a lot of bills.

Michelle Kosinski: Got it.

Gloria: School bills for school and everything, all, name it, I have it. But I don’t, I can’t buy another shredder, so I don’t know how to get rid of—

Michelle Kosinski: That’s a good question. Yeah. So she has a lot of papers, but not a shredder. So, Matt, barring going out and buying a shredder, what’s the safest way to get rid of that stuff? This is a great question.

Matt Paxton: For me, it’s, oh, you can do what we call poor man’s strategy. Do it yourself. Manually shred these things. You know, as it comes in, shred it out. She’s got a volume issue. She needs to slowly recycle one week at a time. This isn’t going to get fixed right away. I think Ty’s got a thought on this, too.

Ty Pennington: No, I was just being funny. I was thinking, put it in the blender, but it would take forever.

Michelle Kosinski: I think Carla would have a problem with that.

Matt Paxton: Patience is the issue here.

Michelle Kosinski: Your blender is for your tofu experiments.

Matt Paxton: Patience is the issue here.

Michelle Kosinski: It’s not for your bills.

Ty Pennington: You make pesto, ask Carla, with a blender. Fact.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I made phone bill pesto last night. It was not good. Not good. Okay. Jean, who else is out there?

Jean Setzfand: Right, we have Michelle from Georgia, and she has a question for Ty. She asks, “Hi, I’m 69 years old and my mom is 94, living with me. My bedroom is on the main floor. Her bedroom is on the main floor and mine, the master, is upstairs. We want to age in place. How do I go about finding a qualified professional to help me create a master bedroom on the main floor?”

Ty Pennington: That, okay, well, you’re kind of in luck and here’s why. Twenty years ago, you would have to just, you know, sort of ask anybody in your street that hired someone and go word of mouth. But these days there are websites like porch.com, other places like that where you could look up the houses in your area. You can see what they’ve had done to them. And if you go to that, they’ll show you the people that have worked on the house, whether it be a carpenter, a plumber, etc. You can see the reviews they got and all the above. So, that’s your best bet, because you’re going to be able to see the work they’ve done. You’re going to be able to see what value that’s going to bring to your home. It’s also going to be able to, you’re gonna be able to see what other people have said about working with that individual. But I think that’s a challenge a lot of people want to do, is expand what’s on their existing house.

            The challenges you have is how much easement you have before you hit the property line of your neighbors. But there’s always a way, and even if it’s just keeping the room the way it is, but then adding just another section that’s as big as a bay window, and you turn that into a bathroom. So there’s always an option. But, yeah, I would go to places like porch.com, Houzz, you know, Helper, that anything that shows where you can really get referrals to people in that area that have worked in houses in your neighborhood.

Michelle Kosinski: Nice. Okay. What other questions might exist out there?

Jean Setzfand: All right. We have a call from Nancy for Carla.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Hi, Nancy.

Nancy: Hi, Carla. I have a question in terms of adjusting to using frozen vegetables. I love to bake my vegetables and I’ve always tried to buy fresh but recently with the shortage, I had to buy frozen broccoli. And I tried to use it in one of my favorite recipes, which is basically baking carrots and then adding the broccoli and pineapple at the end. It’s a beautiful, lovely dish, but the broccoli came out mushy. So my question is, how do I kind of transfer or adjust when I am going to have to use a frozen vegetable versus a fresh one so that I get a good texture?

Carla Hall: That is such a great question. First of all, you want to thaw your frozen vegetables, and broccoli especially. So you want to thaw it because there’s so much water. If you thaw it first, and even if you thaw it and then roast it in the oven or let it dry out a little bit, and then incorporate it into a recipe, that would give you a much better texture. If you were adding fresh vegetables, sometimes you add them at the beginning or halfway through the cooking process. If you’re adding them to a soup or stew with frozen vegetables, you should add them at the end, but also taking into account the additional water. That’s why you want to thaw them first and pat them dry and then add them. So hopefully that helps.

            I also want to mention to, about the caller who talked about their husband who loves to cook and who is in a wheelchair and she does not like to be in the kitchen. I had a friend who was in a wheelchair and one of the things that we did for her was to get a burner, like one of those really big induction burners and bring the kitchen down to her. Even if it’s a table so that he can roll up to the table; I mean, obviously be careful, but that way he creates a stove without creating, like, a stove. She didn’t sound like she wanted to be in the kitchen. So I think a table and put in an induction burner, and then you need the proper pan for the induction.

Michelle Kosinski: So you can just buy like a separate burner and then it can just plug into the wall or do you need to get like a separate electrical unit for that?

Carla Hall: No, it just plugs into the wall.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, that’s good to know. Okay, great.

Carla Hall: Yeah.

Michelle Kosinski: What other questions might be out there waiting for us?

Jean Setzfand: We have another one on Facebook, and this one’s coming from Florida, and I think this one’s going to either Ty or Matt or both. “What do you keep in hard-to-reach closets? I don’t utilize it as much since I want things within my reach.”

Ty Pennington: I keep, I keep guitar cases, because when you take guitars out, you have to store them somewhere because eventually you’re going to have to put a guitar back in it. So Matt, don’t get on a case about this. Yes, that was a pun. But so, because they can go up top, but I would say whatever you don’t use a lot and you don’t need, which Matt’s going to say throw out, I say put it up there.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, or I put, sometimes I’ll take seasonal stuff, like when it’s summer, I’ll take winter coats and I’ll put them up there. And you know, just, and it makes you shift things around yearly, but then it’s kind of like the stuff that you need is closer and the stuff you’re not going to use for awhile is farther away. But what say ye, Matt?

Matt Paxton: The clothes that you think you’re going to get back into, but you really know you’re not going to get back into, they go in there. The luggage goes in there and Christmas tree ornaments.

Michelle Kosinski: Ah, yeah, that’s good. There’s always Christmas tree ornaments to be stored somewhere in some crevices of your house. Any other questions out there?

Jean Setzfand: Absolutely. This one’s coming from Ruby from Virginia.

Michelle Kosinski: Great. Hello, Ruby.

Ruby: Hi. I have a question concerning houseplants. I’m finally growing some plants now in my kitchen area because it’s good lighting. I want to incorporate them into other areas in my house. What can I do?

Michelle Kosinski: Ooh.

Ty Pennington: Well, that’s a trick. The thing is houseplants are a little finicky, so they need to be right by windows, but they also— Here’s the problem I have: You need to be home to water them. But if you can get, just make sure you get the plants that grow in low light, make sure that they’re by a window, and the other thing you can do, they make these things now that if you’re like me and forget to water them, you can get like a bottle and it has a little top that screws into it and it lets it drop out just slowly. Then you can actually sorta—  Anybody who travels a lot, that’s a great way to keep their plants alive. But yeah, houseplants are fantastic. They’re a little finicky, but just keep turning them and I hear if you talk to them, they love you back.

Michelle Kosinski: Got it. Okay. Jean, what other questions are there?

Jean Setzfand: All right. We have a question from Frederick in California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hi, Frederick. Welcome.

Frederick: Thank you. Interesting program. I have a question: My wife passed away years ago and she used to make a sloppy joe, we’d put on biscuits, or not biscuits, but buns or bread, and I enjoyed it, but I don’t know how to make it.

Michelle Kosinski: Okay, Carla.

Carla Hall: Okay. I guess that would be for me. Matt, do you want to step in?

Michelle Kosinski: Because it’s sloppy joes, you mean?

Carla Hall: Yeah, no, just kidding. So, hi, Frederick. I think there are a couple of different ways, and even if you don’t have the recipe, what I would suggest you do is look up the sloppy joe recipe. Try to recall and remember what you felt about the recipe. A lot of times people are thinking, because I don’t have the exact recipe, I can’t do it. But your food memories are a lot stronger than maybe your visual memory, but your taste memory is there. So was it sweet? Was it tangy? You know, was it tomatoey? Was it saucy? Those kinds of things. Was it herby? So, you can look up a recipe. Start with the recipe, and then you tweak it based on your memory. I get this all the time, and a lot of times people want to re-create a recipe that was their grandmother’s or their spouse’s or their mom’s, and they can’t, they can’t recall it because they’re trying to be so exact, like to the measurement. But if your heart is into re-creating it, you will get it. I hope that helps.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. Okay, Jean, anybody else out there?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. We have another Facebook question for Matt and this is coming from [inaudible] and he’s asking, “My sister is taking care of paperwork, paperwork and documents for my sister, and needs a better storage solution. Any motivation ideas for getting that done?”

Matt Paxton: Yes, I knew I would get this question. I just go to Target and get your basic easy bucket, but the key is, you want it to be the waterproof bucket. Look at the lining, that blue lining right there, that makes it watertight-sealed. These are like 10 bucks, 12 bucks at Target or Walmart. I think Sterilite is the manufacturer. You want it to be sealed so that doesn’t get moisture in it. And I limit myself to two. Two for pictures, two for paperwork. If you give yourself eight, you’ll fill eight; so just limit it to two.

Michelle Kosinski: And, Matt, on that, I recently tried to do that with some plastic boxes for decluttering and storing things like Christmas ornaments, but when I went to my local store, first of all, I felt that they were kind of expensive, and secondly, I found that they were really heavy. So that when I put everything in them, the box itself seemed to add so much weight and bulk. So are there any other options for doing that other than just your good old-fashioned cardboard box, which unfortunately isn’t moisture tight?

Matt Paxton: Yeah, I mean, you can actually go to the office supply stores and get the, they’re basically like plastic folders and they’ll limit you— The issue there with your boxes, you’re right, if you fill a big box with all paper, it’s too heavy, right? And so you want to have a smaller box there. But a smaller box for paper doesn’t work. So I would get the big folders, they’re like 8½ by 11, and, you know, get two or three of those. But what I’m forcing you to do is, you’ll save as much as you think you have space for. And so when it gets too heavy, dude, that’s your body saying you saved too much. If you can’t carry it, you don’t need it.

Michelle Kosinski: Ah, the pressure, the pressure. Ah, okay, Jean, are there—

Matt Paxton: Organization is, organization is a decision. Organization is a decision, and you have to commit. And if you don’t, it doesn’t work.

Michelle Kosinski: I thought you were going to say it’s a human right, and we’re all entitled to organization. It’s a must-have. Carla, were you going to say something?

Carla Hall: No, this is how I feel about luggage when you’re going on a trip. If you can’t carry it, you shouldn’t bring it. And so if I bring that, what you’re saying, Matt, if you bring that into your life at home, it makes so much sense. Which I don’t do, I’m a pack rat. But when I travel, that is my rule. And so you’re reminding me that I have to just bring that way of thinking into my home.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. It’s hard, though, because I feel like, if there’s something you like, you say, Well, I might use this one day, and then it might be years later but that day comes along and then you say, This thing is perfect, it’s perfect, and I’m so happy I didn’t get rid of it. But there’s a, you know, there’s a time and place for everything, I guess, and sometimes you just have to get rid of it. You must. Okay, so Jean, is there anybody else out there?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. We have Alicia from North Carolina.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, hi, Alicia. Welcome.

Alicia: Yes. Hi. Thanks for having me. So I was wondering, the question is for Ty or anybody who would like chime in and provide some other more detailed advice, but I was wondering about converting my two-car garage into a mother-in-law suite, into a studio apartment. And so I was trying to figure out an economical way to do it and putting everything in, the water, appliances, the flooring, cooling. What is the economical way to go about it, and trying to figure out how much would it cost, and who would I get involved with the project?

Ty Pennington: I’m going to defer you to checking out some of the websites that you can go to, like porch.com, Houzz, I forget the name, but if you look it up, and basically it’s like a house adviser, that kind of a thing, and you type in the same question that you just asked, which is like, any additions that have happened in the neighborhood, converting a garage into an apartment, and then see the words that they’ve been done there. You can find out how much it costs them, how big it was, how difficult it was. There’s literally chat rooms. You can ask the people that they hired to do that. Because to be honest with you, with one question like that,  I’d have to know so much. Like right now is the house built out of two-by-fours or have you got cinder block? Is there a way that you can cut windows in? What is the plumbing situation? There’s so many questions you’ll need to ask someone, and I would also just make a simple call and bring in a construction guy or a building inspector and just find out if you can actually get away with doing it. Do you have the room on the property? Are you allowed to be able to do that? And how difficult it would be. But this is one of those things where you’re going to have to ask somebody in that area that’s right in your neighborhood if they’ve had an addition. Ask those guys and see if they can come over and tell you what they would do and how much they think it would cost.

Michelle Kosinski: Good place to start. Okay. Thanks, Ty, and thanks everyone. But before we go, Ty, Carla and Matt, for our lightning round, if you will, we want you to share with everybody out there what is inspiring each of you during this trying time for, really, everybody on the planet. And we can go clockwise. Carla, let’s start with you.

Carla Hall: Well, two things come to mind: Mother is the necessity of invention. A lot of times we’re going to grocery stores and we don’t see what we can find. And the second thing: Frustration is the ability to do work. And there was a 4-Her that I just spoke to the other day, and she just discovered her love of sewing when she decided to, I mean to make masks or essential workers in her neighborhood, because she wanted to do something for the community. Yeah, and she was like, in her wanting to do something for the community, she was like, oh, I really like to sew. Now she’s actually doing it. So I think in this time, what I see is that people are discovering things about themselves and it’s very inspiring.

Michelle Kosinski: Oh, that’s so nice. Yeah, I agree. It’s like going back to basics and kind of the old way of doing things, and it’s enjoyable in some ways, if there’s ever any bright sides to this. So, Matt, how about you? What’s keeping you inspired?

Matt Paxton: Man, I’m loving my time with my family. I mean, I’m just spending a lot of time with my kids. And I’m finding out these crazy, awesome things about my sons. And when I read my emails, all my fans and all my clients, they’re doing the same thing. They’re spending more time with their family. And so I just encourage people, whatever you heard from any of us tonight, do it with your family. Just keep doing it with your family, ’cause your life’s going to get better if you do. I love it. I’m honestly rather enjoying this time, to be honest.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. I mean, if you’re lucky enough to be healthy, and you can survive for a period of time financially, then you have something you haven’t had in a long time, and that is time. So people, I’ve seen a lot of great ideas of people making the most of that time. How about you, Ty?

Ty Pennington: You know, it’s interesting. I love what everyone has said, and I think there’s a lot that is inspiring in this moment. For me, it’s really, it’s how neighbors are really starting to help other neighbors because they’re realizing that somebody can’t go into a grocery store, or you realizing the person that lives down the street is an elderly person and they need help just getting things that they didn’t know they needed. And you’re really starting to see one neighbor helping another neighbor. And to expand on that, it’s also a time where you’re realizing how important small businesses are in your community and you know that they’re suffering. So people are coming together and pulling donations together to make sure that people can survive this, to keep restaurants and places open. Not just restaurants, but people that are dog groomers, people that have barbershops, people that are clothing designers, people that make things and try and sell them, all the above. So I think just seeing neighbors and communities helping each other is inspiring me because that’s the only way we’re going to get through this.

Michelle Kosinski: Yeah. I guess there’s the sense of community that in some ways people kind of didn’t have time to recognize before and now, you can’t see anybody, but you have to make community in other ways. So it was wonderful talking to all of you. You just, you brightened my day. You probably brightened everybody’s day who’s watching. So thanks so much guys. This has been such a, it’s been fun, it’s been informative. Thanks to everybody for answering the questions and thank you to everybody who asked those questions. Also, thanks to you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, and everybody who’s joined in.

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, AARP is providing information and resources and fighting for older adults and those who are caring for them. All of the resources that we referenced, including a recording of today’s Q and A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on May 15. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We hope that you had as much fun as we did watching and participating in today’s event and maybe you learned some things that help keep you and your loved ones healthy and occupied while at home. Ideas are always a great thing. Also, visit aarp.org/coronavirus for details about upcoming conversations as well as information you need about the coronavirus. Thank you so much. Have a great day. This is the end of our call.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 7 p.m. Stay at Home With Lifestyle Experts Matt Paxton, Carla Hall and Ty Pennington

Michelle Kosinski:  Hello there. I’m Michelle Kosinski and on behalf of AARP, I want to welcome you to this important and fun discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources and fighting for older adults and those caring for them.

[00:00:27] Today we are fighting a slightly different battle, of course: how not to go crazy when we’re all stuck here at home, sheltering in place. So our guides for today are three well-known, widely beloved lifestyle experts—you might even call them gurus—who will help us with how to make the most of our now very extended time under our own roofs.

[00:00:49] If you’ve ever participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls, you’ll know that this is similar to a radio talk show, except now you can see us, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. So if you would like to ask a question—and please do—press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and your question and place you in a queue so that you can ask your question live.

[00:01:13] So, hello again, for those who might be just joining us, I’m Michelle Kosinski and on behalf of AARP, I want to welcome you to this important and fun discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re going to be talking with experts and taking your questions for them live. So to ask your question, again, please press *3. And for those watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can also post your questions right there in the comments. AARP is convening this Tele-Town Hall to help share information about the coronavirus, and good ideas, too. So you should also be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, and it can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. This event is also being recorded, so you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus just about 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:02:11] So first, let’s get to our introductions for our wonderful guests. Ty Pennington is a carpenter, author and star of design television, including the hit shows Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Hello, Ty. And I have to say, I have long been a huge fan of yours, and you don’t even know the crazy DIY projects that you have inspired me to do back in the days of watching Trading Spaces all the time.

[00:02:39]Ty Pennington:  Well, I’m glad I could inspire you. Yeah, I’ve been, I’ve been lucky and blessed to sort of, sort of been in the DIY thing from early on. So, I definitely have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and as you said, with corona, a lot of people are doing a lot of projects while they’re at home. So I’m glad I could lend some advice and some tips.

[00:03:01]Michelle Kosinski:  And Ty also told us tonight that he is at home with some lemurs. He has pet lemurs. So that has to be an interesting way to quarantine, with a pack of lemurs.

[00:03:10]Ty Pennington:  Yes, yes.

[00:03:10]Michelle Kosinski:  I mean, never a dull moment with a pack of lemurs.

[00:03:13]Ty Pennington:  Well, you know, you never can— I always like to work with a solid team and the lemurs are really good. They keep the tools organized.

[00:03:21]Michelle Kosinski:  That is great to hear. Well, we’ll have to take that into consideration. Also, we have Carla Hall, a culinary contributor to Good Morning America and award-winning cookbook author, whose advice we all could use right now, and television host of the ABC Lifestyle series The Chew. She’s also, she was a popular competitor on Bravo’s Top Chef, so thank you for being here today, Carla, and probably saving some of us before this segment is over.

[00:03:47]Carla Hall:  It’s really exciting to be here. I have to tell you that my mother is so involved with AARP, and she was the reason that I was looking forward to it even at 40. So that is my claim to fame today, that I am here and she always is on these calls. So, hi, Mama!

[00:04:06]Michelle Kosinski:  Well that’s nice. And also Matt Paxton, one of the top cleanup experts in the United States who we also desperately, desperately need right now. Maybe you could just come over to all of our houses after this. He’s a featured expert on the A&E series Hoarders, is author of The Secret Lives of Hoarders and is the star of the new PBS series Legacy List With Matt Paxton. Wonderful to have you, Matt. I expect lots of great advice to save us all from our own clutter tonight.

[00:04:37]Matt Paxton:  Yeah. Thanks for having me. A lot of people are hitting the junk drawer, finally.

[00:04:42]Michelle Kosinski:  Yes, daring to go near it. We will also be joined by AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, who will be our organizer. She’ll help us with your calls. And we can’t wait to hear from everybody out there. And this is like a window into the rest of the country, a little virtual party we’re having tonight. Okay.

[00:05:00] So Carla, let’s start with you. One of the few places that people are going to these days is the grocery store. It’s kind of like our big outing. You have to go to it, but it’s also a way to get out of the house and interact with, if not people, then at least products. So I’m curious about what you think are some of the essentials to a great meal. If you’re only able to go to the supermarket once every week or two weeks now, what are those can’t-do-without items to shop for?

[00:05:31]Carla Hall:  Well, I think it’s really interesting shopping right now, and because it is the one place that has not closed. And shopping every day, like some people will have done, is very different than shopping every two weeks. Even shopping once a week. So for me, when I’m shopping like every two weeks, although I go a little more frequently than that, think about your produce. The produce is there, and I think a lot of people run to the frozen aisle, they run to the meat aisle, they run to the prepared foods, maybe the canned goods aisle, but if you do get your produce, you just know that you’re going to use that produce like the first few days, or even the first week that you’re at home, but don’t skip the produce aisle. And so I’m getting lots of citrus. I’m getting lots of herbs, because that’s going to brighten those, like, meat and frozen products and even things in a can. I’m also getting rice and beans. I’ll do a recipe layer with some beans and show you different things to do with one kind of beans, which is black-eyed peas. I’m also getting, I thought I was going to be getting, flour but that seems to be really hard. So the thing that I got instead are some of these cake mixes, which you can use other things for and doing cookies with cake mix, because you do want a treat every now and then.

[00:06:50]Michelle Kosinski:  I find that it’s kind of tough to estimate what exactly you’re going to use, because when you see that things are in stock that maybe haven’t been in stock the whole time, you think, oh, I’m going to get all of that, especially the produce. But then it breaks your heart when it starts to go bad in your refrigerator, so you really kind of have to calibrate it, don’t you?

[00:07:09]Carla Hall:  You do, and I think it’s like, how do you make your produce last? So I’m always getting a lot of herbs, so I have my herbs here, but then I put them in water and then I put wet paper towels on top, and then that baggie that you get in the fresh produce, I put that on top. So I’m creating somewhat of a greenhouse effect and then you change the water every couple of days. The other thing that you can do with some of your produce, like your citrus, is zest it, peel it, freeze it. You can mix those herbs into oil and you can sustain the life of them. So there are things that you can absolutely do because you don’t want them to go bad. Some of that lettuce that comes into that clamshell, take it out of the clamshell, line it with a paper towel, so that the moisture doesn’t get to your lettuce because you hate to see it go badly.

[00:07:58]Michelle Kosinski:  Exactly. Those are great tips, so thank you for that. And, you know, there’s also been some news lately on the challenges being faced right now by beef, pork and chicken producers. So, Carla, let’s assume that those are off the menu. Can you give us some can’t-miss recipes that don’t use those meats and, for a bonus challenge, how about they also have to be easy to prepare?

[00:08:21]Carla Hall:  I love the bonus challenge. All right, so the produce that I talked about, eggplant, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, roasting an entire sweet potato and cutting it in half and searing it in a cast-iron skillet is going to be delicious. And then you pile on herbs and even black beans and spice and things like that. The eggplant, same thing, cutting it really thick so it feels like the center-of-the-plate item versus your meat, is going to be really delicious. You hear about whole roasted cauliflower and cauliflower steaks. That’s going to be really good. So my go-to really is tomatoes with onions and garlic, stewed, and then I’ll throw in some herbs or spices, and that’s my base, some stock. I might add roasted vegetables to that. I could also add, you know, a meat or something, but we’re not talking about meat. So then those roasted vegetables are thrown in there and it’s absolutely delicious. Those vegetables can be fresh, they can be frozen, or they can be canned.

[00:09:22]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, there’s a lot you can do, and I want to follow up to that, too, because food shortages like these exacerbate the situation for people who already don’t have access to quality, affordable food. It’s food insecurity and it is all over the country, unfortunately. So what can people do to help address food insecurity when there are shortages going on?

[00:09:47]Carla Hall:  So right now, if you go to “soup kitchen near me” or “food pantry” or “food bank near me” and just type that into your browser as a search, it will pop up like all of these different places. You can donate food, you can donate your time, and that time could be prepping food, it could be helping with deliveries and pickups. So they’re different. You could just give money, but they are so desperate for resources, be it money or hours of time. It’s just that if you are donating your time and you can do it on the regular, even if it’s one day a month, it is appreciated.

[00:10:23]Michelle Kosinski:  That is a great reminder for such an important topic. I know AARP has been working on the issue as well by fighting for more funding for programs like Meals on Wheels that really help people with food insecurity and help with nutrition for low-income seniors.

[00:10:40] And we now have lots of questions coming in, too, so I think we should get to some of these for Carla. And I’m going to remind everybody, just press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with AARP staff so you can share your question. And again, if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube and you have a question, just post it there in the comments. So let’s introduce Jean Setzfand now with AARP to help facilitate all of those calls.

[00:11:05] Hi, Jean.

[00:11:07]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Michelle.

[00:11:09]Michelle Kosinski:  Great to have you.

[00:11:09]Jean Setzfand:  Glad to be here.

[00:11:10]Michelle Kosinski:  Excellent.

[00:11:11]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks so much.

[00:11:12]Michelle Kosinski:  So do we have a first question for Carla?

[00:11:15]Jean Setzfand:  We certainly do. We have one Gwendolyn from New York.

[00:11:17]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Gwendolyn from New York, what do you want to talk about tonight?

[00:11:23]Gwendolyn:  Hi, everybody. Hi, Carla, I love you on The Chew.

[00:11:26]Carla Hall:  Hi, thank you.

[00:11:27]Gwendolyn:  My question has to do with cutting back on recipes. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, but it’s just for myself and for my daughter. And so many recipes that I see are for four people, eight people, six people. So do I just cut the recipe in half or is there something special when you have to modify a recipe to go from a larger number of servings to a few servings. And thank you.

[00:11:52]Carla Hall:  You’re so welcome. That’s a really great question. I think if you think of batch cooking, you can make it all and then put it into containers and either freeze it or put it in the refrigerator. So unless you’re baking, you can cut something in half. So, no problem. If the recipe calls for six pieces of chicken, you can do three pieces of chicken and cut everything else in half. If you think it’s going to last, then just make it all, because that’s one less day that you have to prep your food, and you can have your dinner all ready and just pull it out of the freezer.

[00:12:27]Michelle Kosinski:  Yup. Good point. Okay. Jean, are there more questions for Carla?

[00:12:34]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, there is. I’m going to take one from Facebook right now and this question’s coming from Bonnie; she has a question for Carla. “Carla, what’s better to use, broth or stock?”

[00:12:48]Carla Hall:  It’s kind of the same thing, whether you call it broth, I mean, bone broth, stock, you know, vegetable broth, it’s, it’s the same. It’s just a synonymous term, so you can use either interchangeably. Sometimes you can use water, you can use, you can just use peels or something in your dish, so either/or.

[00:13:13]Michelle Kosinski:  Good advice there. That’s a question a lot of people have. All right. Let’s keep the questions coming.

[00:13:21]Jean Setzfand:  All right. Our next call is coming from Donna from Albuquerque.

[00:13:24]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Donna.

[00:13:26]Donna:  Hi. Carla, I think you already answered my question I was going to ask about, you know, nutritious meals, but I have another one. My daughter is trying to feed three kids. Five, 6 and 15. So they have different tastes, and they all have a sweet tooth like crazy. So do you have any ideas of what meals and, of course, a very limited budget because she’s furloughed. So I suggested that perhaps one time she could put masks on the kids and make it fun, take them to the produce department and have them pick out colorful produce. But do you have any better ideas for feeding these two age groups on a limited budget? And healthy?

[00:14:29]Carla Hall:  I think that’s a really good question. And healthy. So I never started, I want to tell you right now that I have a quick little recipe, which I didn’t do, and I think it’s something that everybody’s going to like. And this is with black-eyed peas. So I have black-eyed peas here, and you can make a hummus. Most kids like hummus, and it’s the same ingredients that I would use for a black-eyed-pea salad. So I have black-eyed peas—and it can be any bean whatsoever. It’s just olive oil, vinegar, some chili flakes—or not—tahini, some garlic salt, and then you put it in the food processor and then you get this, and you can do any vegetables. And I like to grill my vegetables, but I grill celery, I grill green beans and then here is some fresh carrots, which are sweet, and the kids can pick their own vegetables, even if they toss them in oil and they put ’em in the oven. Most kids, if they’re involved in the cooking process, they will eat it. The other thing that I do with the black-eyed peas is make a little bit of a salad. And so I have cucumbers—same ingredients—cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, some onions and then scallions, and I chop everything up and I toss it in quick hot-sauce vinaigrette, and that doesn’t even have to be spicy hot. But I think that if you find something where you can do a couple different ways, and then if you put the hummus with the salad on a pita, so if you have—or like a wrap, and you can grill the wrap—that’s also fun. So I really think that there are things that they can do and get involved in the process, and have them actually make it so everybody’s involved. And then for that sweet tooth, I have some balls here that are peanut butter and prunes and oatmeal and some honey, and I just put it in the food processor, and here I have these cute little balls. So, I hope that helps.

[00:16:26]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I think that’s great. I like the visuals, too. What do you think a lot of people are doing out there? Are you sort of seeing a return to the great American casserole of like the 1970s? Is some of that stuff coming back?

[00:16:41]Carla Hall:  It’s all coming back. I think also people are surprising themselves. I think they are getting back to cooking. We’re cooking more now than we ever have been before. We’re cooking all of our meals at home, for the most part. And so I think people are willing to try, they’re willing to forgive themselves, like it doesn’t work out, like, oh well, let me try it again. So I think that people are surprising themselves. One-pot dishes are definitely at the top of most people’s lists.

[00:17:09]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. That definitely—

[00:17:10]Carla Hall:  Because they don’t want to do the dishes.

[00:17:12]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, that, too. That, too. And for me, I’m one person at home while my family is stuck overseas, so it’s weird cooking for one person. It’s like you can do whatever you want, but you know, you either have too much or, one night, so I’m glad people are asking some of these questions. I think there’s sort of something for everybody in there. And are there some more questions for Carla out there?

[00:17:36]Jean Setzfand:  This one is coming from Joyce from Texas.

[00:17:43]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Hi, Joyce. Welcome.

[00:17:46]Joyce:  Hi.

[00:17:47]Michelle Kosinski:  What’s your question?

[00:17:49]Joyce:  My question is, I was wondering what you could make that would be either sweet, or for a vegetable meal out of tofu?

[00:18:03]Carla Hall:  Wait, did you say sweet?

[00:18:06]Joyce:  Yeah. Can you make anything out of tofu that would be like a dessert?

[00:18:11]Michelle Kosinski:  Ooh, that’s interesting.

[00:18:13]Carla Hall:  Absolutely. So you can use silken tofu. I wouldn’t use the extra-firm tofu. I would use silken tofu, so it’s more, it’s creamy. If you take silken tofu and chocolate, so if you melt your chocolate and you put it in the food processor and then you have your silken tofu and some sugar, and you whiz it up, maybe a little bit of vanilla, some cinnamon, then you can actually make a mousse, and it would be absolutely delicious.

[00:18:44]Michelle Kosinski:  I love that idea. And I actually, in my own experiments in my kitchen, I just learned that silken tofu is a good substitute for egg in baking. That if you’re allergic to eggs or you just don’t like them, or if you’re a vegan, you can actually use silken tofu as an egg substitute. And I tried it in a little loaf cake that I baked and it turned out great. So there’s something else that tofu is good for. Any other questions for Carla?

[00:19:15]Carla Hall:  It’s really good.

[00:19:17]Michelle Kosinski:  Any other questions?

[00:19:18]Carla Hall:  I was also going to say, in a soup that you want the creaminess, so if you have a tomato soup and instead of adding cream, if you add a little bit of silken tofu and you put it in the blender, it’s going to make it creamy, but then it’s an added protein as well.

[00:19:33]Michelle Kosinski:  That’s nice. Yeah. It’s like when you go out there and research some things online, you find all these other possibilities, so I think there’s a lot of learning and experimenting going on every minute of every day out there. Okay. Let’s take our next question.

[00:19:49]Jean Setzfand:  All right. Our next call is coming from Deborah in California.

[00:19:52]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Deborah, out on the West Coast.

[00:19:54]Deborah:  Hi. How are you?

[00:19:56]Michelle Kosinski:  Great to hear from you. What’s your question?

[00:19:59]Deborah:  My question is, first off, I love to cook off the cuff, okay? That’s my strong point. But sometimes I don’t have the actual ingredients. So, if I decide to do something off the cuff what would you recommend as the vegetable for something like that?

[00:20:26]Carla Hall:  All right, so here’s your cheat: Whenever you’re going to do something off the cuff and you know what you have, just google the ingredients that you have, put those in your search, and then it’ll spit out several recipes, right? So in terms of your vegetables, you can toss whatever vegetable it is, put it in a high-heat oven, like at 475, and roast those vegetables. But, so it just, in terms of off the cuff, it just depends on what you have and what you want. Carrots, like I had these green beans, roasted celery, it really depends on what’s available. So when I go into the grocery store, because I do cook for a living, I see so many options and sometimes the options are overwhelming to me. If you don’t cook—unlike you, you do cook—sometimes you go in and you’re like overwhelmed by all of the different foods, so you can’t make choices, but I think that any single vegetable that you use, if it’s a big vegetable, you know it can be in the center of the plate and you’re going to add to that. If it’s a little vegetable, it’s going to be in the supporting cast of whatever you’re making. Does that help?

[00:21:40]Michelle Kosinski:  Excellent advice. All right. Let’s go to another question.

[00:21:46]Jean Setzfand:  We have another question coming in from Facebook, and this is coming from Maria, and she’s asking, “What are simple, easy chicken meals that are still delicious?”

[00:21:57]Carla Hall:  [Laughs.] I love, Maria, that you said, what are some that are simple but still delicious. Hard does not mean delicious, let me tell you. So one of my go-to recipes, I make a lot of chicken thighs, my husband makes a lot of chicken thighs. I have fallen in love with the air fryer. I’d take my chicken thighs, I make a mix of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, a little bit of cayenne and salt. I toss them in this, I put them right in the air fryer for air-fried chicken. Now, for another dish with that same chicken, I will take that marinated chicken, and then I slice up onions and then I have garlic. I slice those up, salt and pepper into a pan, and then I put out about a half a cup of chicken stock. I put my chicken on top of that, skin side up. I put a lid on that pan, and then I put it into the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, covered. I take the lid off another 30 minutes, and then now you have oven-smothered chicken. You take your chicken out, you take a fork and you mash those silky delicious onions and garlic with a fork, making your gravy. And then you put your chicken back in and you have smothered chicken without all the fat, and it is delicious.

[00:23:21]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I can do this. I want to know how many people tonight are going to try that very recipe because you suggested it. And, Carla, what are you experimenting with? Are you trying new things at home? Have you done it all or what’s your project?

[00:23:35]Carla Hall:  I have not done it all. I have this thing about making bread. So, you know, when I find the yeast, I’m going to make bread because I love to make biscuits. I’m experimenting with the biscuit dough, what things I can put in it, can I stuff them with sausage gravy? What can I put in the air fryer. I’ve had some fails in the air fryer. Let me tell you, I also fail. I tried to do these cheese and cracker things in the air fryer and then I shut the air fryer and I hear like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. I’m like, what is going on there? Why does it sound like popcorn? And they were blowing all over the place. I opened the air fryer and they were all stuck together. So, you know, I have my fails. But the thing is, you learn from your failures. So I don’t consider them failures, I just consider them a try. And I learned, so I am, I’m learning about the air fryer.

[00:24:32]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. And I know people, many people have time to finally do that cooking experiment that they’ve always wanted to do. Like when I mentioned that I was looking for an egg substitute and you knew you can google something, and somebody somewhere has tried it, right? So there was this one woman who baked like 18 cakes in one day just so she could see what was the best substitute for eggs. So I love it. Now we have time to do things like this.

[00:24:59] Let’s take another question for Carla out there, Jean.

[00:25:02]Jean Setzfand:  All right. I think this is the last question for Carla and this is coming from Anna from New Jersey.

[00:25:08]Michelle Kosinski:  Welcome, Anna, from my home state of Jersey.

[00:25:12]Anna:  Hello. My question is what type of desserts that you have that are simplified? I know, I was using the word simplify for apples and bananas to make a dessert, and I know that you have recipes for the apple crumble, which I love.

[00:25:32]Carla Hall:  So, for the apple, you can hollow it out, and then you can do a mixture of oatmeal, brown sugar, like calvados, maybe some butter and cinnamon and whatever, like sweet spices, like cardamom. Mix all of that up and hollow out the apple and then push that into the apple and then you can bake them. And that can be one apple, or it can be four apples. You’re going to bake it at 350, a little bit of apple juice in the bottom, until they’re soft. So you can also do something where you’re slicing the apples, and for a quick little dessert and you can put peanut butter on that or some kind of nut butter and granola, and you can have like a little snacky thing. You had said something else. You can do a quick little mousse if you have chocolate and whipped cream. I know we talked about tofu, but you can like whip up whipped cream. Oh my gosh, I have been making these cakes in the microwave, so these little mud cakes. So you can find the recipe online that I had done for another video, and I did a chocolate one and I did a lemon one. And it’s just like three tablespoons of flour, and they’re so easy and so delicious and moist. So the great thing about that is that they’re portioned, so you’re not going to eat the whole cake.

[00:26:59]Michelle Kosinski:  That is great. I like hearing about your experiments, and I also like to hear that you screw things up sometimes ’cause it makes me feel less, less embarrassed. But hey, there’s nobody around to see and make fun of me, so there. Well, Carla, that was great and stick around because we’re going to be hearing more from you later, too.

[00:27:15] But let’s turn now to Ty. With all this time at home, people everywhere are tempted to tackle some of those home improvement projects they’ve been putting off, maybe for years, maybe for decades. I have seen this. I have felt this myself. So, Ty, what do you suggest people consider taking on right now? What’s a good place to even start? And on the flip side, what are the things that they should definitely leave to the experts?

[00:27:43]Ty Pennington:  Well, I mean, here’s the thing. There’s a lot of things that I think people can take on, but one of the things that I think everyone’s really trying to do is because we’re stuck in this one place, it’s doing that list that you didn’t want to do, but now, you know you have to do. And sometimes it’s not the fun stuff—like cleaning your gutters, fixing drywall patches, cleaning your baseboards and then doing touch-up paint. But it could also be something as crazy and fun as switching your toilet to a bidet, which I took on. But there’s a lot of projects I think that are, that, let’s just say involve a paintbrush, a spackle blade, and it’s really just cosmetic. But I would definitely have people stay away from anything that’s electric; that is, you know, dealing with your foundation, structural. But if you’re putting paint on a wall, if you’re doing wallpaper, if you’re doing projects that make any areas in your room look better, then I say, go for it. But I think the one thing everyone’s doing is doing all those fix-it projects that they’ve been putting off, and I mean pressure washing your deck, ’cause I’ve been doing all of these as well.

[00:28:57]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. So you mean I shouldn’t jack up my house and work on that foundation? Just kinda, I got the jacks ready, you know, but you—

[00:29:05]Ty Pennington:  It happens.

[00:29:07]Michelle Kosinski:  You’re right. Because I put off some, like, I feel like the projects you tend to put off are the ones that once you do them, you’re, like, “Oh, this is so easy, It only took a couple of hours. Why did I put this off for 10 years?” However, I’m finding that the stuff I put off, now I realize, oh, this is why I put it off because it’s so annoying. So there’s a lot of that out there. But I wanted to ask you, for people who might have parents living at home or for people who want to stay in their homes as long as possible, how can they use this time to make plans or update their houses so that they can stay in place? What are some things that people can do, for example, in their bedroom or bathroom.

[00:29:48]Ty Pennington:  Well, one thing is for sure, I mean, I’m even experiencing, right? I would have never thought that I’d be living with my mother again, but it does happen. And luckily, she’s quite hilarious, so we keep ourselves entertained. But I think that’s, you’re seeing more of that. I think people are converting sheds into like little cottages that people, you know, family members can start to stay with them. So there’s lots of things you can do. What I like to do, too, is try and convert things into more storage. Let’s face it. We don’t really ever have enough storage. I mean, we have closets, but there’s just never enough room, and so a lot of people are converting, like, let’s say it’s your formal dining room. Turning that into an office where you could add more storage, where you could actually work on things with a computer or a desk, because how many times do you actually use a formal dining room? So I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that. Converting rooms into functional spaces instead of just rooms that look good that you just walk through.

[00:30:47]Michelle Kosinski:  Ah, that’s interesting, yeah. And it takes getting to a certain point to finally admit, okay, I haven’t used this dining room once in how many years, I’m never going to use this, or it’s time to turn that room that’s just full of junk into something else. So that’s a good point. Also with a lot of people who are looking for new ways to generate some income or make a place for family or caregivers living nearby, you mentioned this: What do you think about adding that accessory living space, like the mother-in-law unit or the granny flat? Tell me something about getting started on a project like that and what you should keep in mind.

[00:31:30]Ty Pennington:  Well, I think the first thing is, is like, you need to make sure that’s really going to happen, because once you convert a space that was just for storage into a place where someone has to live, you have to remember you’ve got to bring in climate control, you have to bring in light, windows, etc., but once you confirm that that’s happening, I think it’s smart for everybody to sort of have an area that can be converted into an extra bedroom, an extra space. My mom actually stays in the room right next door to mine, so I’m already thinking about moving her outside myself. I’m kidding. But, yes.

[00:32:12]Michelle Kosinski:  You need more room for those lemurs to multiply, too.

[00:32:16]Ty Pennington:  That’s right. That’s right.

[00:32:17]Michelle Kosinski:  I’m going to have nightmares about that tonight.

[00:32:20]Ty Pennington:  Oh, but they’re so cuddly. They’re so great. They make a mess, but they’re fun.

[00:32:25]Michelle Kosinski:  We want to see them before this is over.

[00:32:28]Ty Pennington:  [Laughs.]

[00:32:29]Michelle Kosinski:  I want proof that there are lemurs living in your house and the fact that they haven’t ripped up your house. I think that’s kind of amazing in itself.

[00:32:36]Ty Pennington:  They’re very temperamental. I think I’ve got them on some relaxers right now, which is great. So, no, I think that’s a real thing. I think people are converting their garages into small, like one-bedroom apartments. I think we’re going to be seeing even more of that. And the trick is, is whether or not you can, you can run electricity but the other real trick is whether or not you can tie plumbing into your existing plumbing. And that’s, that’s harder than one might imagine.

[00:33:08]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. That could be more than some people want to bite off, but also as people stay home with their kids more and more, and get more and more annoyed with the teenagers, that garage is kind of looking like a great extra apartment.

[00:33:21]Ty Pennington:  Well, they can always come in. They can always come in and use the bathroom and a shower and then go to their space. And I think people are doing that everywhere already.

[00:33:29]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, for sure. And it’s a good time to make that she shed that you’ve always wanted or he shed, man-cave what have you.

[00:33:39]Ty Pennington:  Yes, absolutely. I couldn’t live without a man cave. It’s everything to me.

[00:33:43]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. It sounds like your whole house may be a man and lemur cave, I don’t know. But that is great advice. Thanks, Ty. And this highlights how the place we call home is so important, especially as many of us are confined to it. And I know that AARP representatives are working at the federal, state and local levels to make sure that people have safe, secure and connected places to live throughout this crisis. That includes fighting to prevent evictions for people as well as utility and broadband disconnections.

[00:34:15] So let’s take more questions now from our callers out there, and here’s another reminder. To ask your question just press *3 on your phone, and if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube and you have a question, you can just post it in the comments. So, Jean, who do we have next for us wanting to talk to Ty? Who doesn’t want to talk to Ty?

[00:34:35]Jean Setzfand:  Exactly. Well, let’s begin with Brian in Nebraska.

[00:34:39]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Brian in Nebraska.

[00:34:42]Brian:  Hi, how are you guys doing today?

[00:34:43]Michelle Kosinski:  Welcome.

[00:34:46]Brian:  Thank you.

[00:34:48]Michelle Kosinski:  Go ahead. What’s your question?

[00:34:50]Brian:  Can y’all hear me?

[00:34:51]Michelle Kosinski:  Yep.

[00:34:51]Brian:  Okay. Yeah, the question I’ve got is that we bought a house that was a 14-year-old house, and when we bought it, the shower steam kind of streams down the walls in all three bathrooms. We’ve tried replacing the fans with more powerful vents, and we even found one of the vents to have the flap set to “close” by mistake by a set screw inside one vent tube. So we replaced, we backed that out and released the flap. But even after replacing the fans, we still had the same issue in all the bathrooms. I don’t know if there’s anything else we can try or—

[00:35:28]Michelle Kosinski:  Hmm. That’s an interesting question. What do you think about that, Ty?

[00:35:31]Ty Pennington:  So, I’m just curious, what’s leaking down the wall? Is there water or what exactly is leaking down the—

[00:35:36]Brian:  The shower steam, the shower steam.

[00:35:39]Ty Pennington:  Oh, the shower steam.

[00:35:42]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah.

[00:35:45]Ty Pennington:  Okay. That, that’s an interesting thing because, honestly, I think I just posted this on my Instagram the other day, maybe yesterday. But I put a steam shower in my bathroom downstairs, and I only tiled the ceiling on the part that has the glass in with the door shut, right? But sometimes when you’re walking in and out of there, the steam comes out and because of that, it’s affected the drywall at the top, and so it’s been flaking and coming down. So I’ve had to patch that just to cover up where it was flaking off because, as you know, moisture and humidity will make drywall and flakes just peel right off. It sounds to me like you’ve got way too much moisture happening in there. I would suggest two things. You know, there’s this stuff where you can get rid of, it’s called DampRid or something like that, that gets rid of moisture. Maybe you could try that. But it sounds like you need an extra vent that’s going out maybe of your attic that can let that air out, because it’s staying trapped inside your bathroom or whatever room you’ve got. So is there any way you could put a second vent in that’s just an air release, because that may be what you need.

[00:37:02]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I think our caller, I don’t think that they can, they’re on the line that long. They can just listen from that point, but that’s good advice.

[00:37:11]Ty Pennington:  Yeah. Look into that.

[00:37:12]Michelle Kosinski:  Okay. Jean, who else is out there?

[00:37:15]Jean Setzfand:  We have Wendy from Facebook and Wendy’s asking Ty, “Are certain repair people considered essential now? Plumbers, electricians, etc. I really need help.”

[00:37:27]Ty Pennington:  Mmm, well, yes. Okay, electricians, absolutely, and here’s why. You just shouldn’t take on too much electrical on your own. Now, if you want to switch out a ceiling fan, you want to switch out a light, if you’ve got somebody who’s done that before or you’ve got a neighbor who has, call them. The most simple thing you need to do is just make sure the breaker is off. I cannot express that enough, but if it’s like really rewiring an entire room or you’ve got some issues with your breaker box, call in a professional. Now, as far as plumbers go, you can try and do simple things. I literally, I just converted my toilet into a bidet, which I’m going to tell you, talk about saving toilet paper. This is a huge way to save on TP. And it’s also so refreshing and it turns into a water fountain as well. You’re going to love it. But here’s what I’m saying. If you have other problems with plumbing, and let’s just say you’ve got septic issues and things are backing up and things are overflowing, you’re going to want to call a plumber because that’s, let’s just say, a sticky situation that you’re going to, let’s just say that is absolutely a crisis that you’re going to want a professional for.

[00:38:39]Michelle Kosinski:  For sure, for sure. All right. Let’s see who else is out there.

[00:38:44]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Marta from California.

[00:38:47]Michelle Kosinski:  Hello, Marta, how is California?

[00:38:50]Marta:  Hello. I have a patio that, it’s a nice big patio, but I’d like to enclose the top. It’s kind of, it’s open where the rain just goes through. So I’d like to enclose it, to just allow for a better sitting area and protected from the rain. Are there any suggestions that I can, so I can still keep the same, because the rest of the patio is still very strong and sturdy wood. I don’t want to just toss it and start all over.

[00:39:23]Ty Pennington:  Yeah. There’s a couple of options. First of all, like being in California, what’s great is you basically sitting outside, that becomes another living room, which is so awesome. So, yes, you definitely want to take advantage of that. But you’re right, the trouble is, is sometimes rain gets through there.

[00:39:40] My suggestion is this you can do it the good old-fashioned, sturdy way, which is you just put plywood over the top and then you put shingles, etc. You’re going to lose some of your light, but you’re going to get a really watertight, weatherproof roof above your outdoor area. The other thing you could do is do corrugated panels or roofing panels. They come in aluminum, they come in tin. You can also get them in fiberglass where they’re clear and you can actually let light through. They use them sometimes on greenhouses. They don’t last as long because high winds can sort of damage them, etc., but they look beautiful for quite a while. They’re super cheap and easy to install.

[00:40:24]Michelle Kosinski:  Got it.

[00:40:25]Ty Pennington:  I hope that helps.

[00:40:27]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. I think that’s great advice. You have something for everything I think. So let’s see what other—

[00:40:34]Ty Pennington:  I try.

[00:40:34]Michelle Kosinski:  Hopefully nobody calls with like a big urgent problem that needs help right away, like call 911.

[00:40:39]Ty Pennington:  It’s leaking right now.

[00:40:41]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I’m in 4 feet of water, God forbid. Okay. Let’s see who else is out there with an interesting question for us, Jean.

[00:40:49]Jean Setzfand:  So we have Joan from Facebook and in the coronavirus social distancing environment that we’re in, Joan’s noticing that more and more neighbors are trying to set up quote unquote, front yard sitting spots to be able to chat with neighbors easy. Any good ideas around DIY projects on this?

[00:41:08]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, that’s interesting. A social distancing, social party space.

[00:41:15]Ty Pennington:  So I’ve noticed that as well, and let’s face it, I mean, all over America, people are, they’re getting lawn chairs and they’re distancing themselves at least 6 feet apart. But that way they can see each other, they can have a beverage and they can communicate. But one thing I realized is that you know, if you design a firepit with pavers and stones, etc., in a circle, and you make that big enough, the perimeter, the cool thing is it’s just like King Arthur’s Round Table. Everybody can see each other, but you can space yourself out even farther, and then if you’re at the point where you can actually see the light coming from the fire, everybody’s involved but everyone’s spaced out. So I think that’s a great idea, using a circle to sort of keep the distance.

[00:42:03]Michelle Kosinski:  Very nice. And I want to remind everybody out there, if you are joining us on the phone, then press *3 on your phone to be able to be put into the queue to ask a question. And if you’re on Facebook or YouTube, then you can just add your questions in the comments. So, Jean, is there somebody else out there with a pressing question for Ty?

[00:42:26]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. We actually have Stephanie from Wisconsin.

[00:42:29]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Stephanie in Wisconsin.

[00:42:35]Stephanie:  Hi, how are you doing today? Is it warm where you are?

[00:42:36]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. Kinda. Great to hear from you. So what’s on your mind?

[00:42:39]Stephanie:  What’s on my mind is I live in about a 900-square-foot apartment, and I have a, and the condominium that I’m in is probably close to 50 years old. The kitchen has not been remodeled and of all the rooms, the kitchen needs a remodeling. I need to repaint, I need to repaint the cabinets or get new cabinets, I need to replace the floor, and I need to take the wallpaper off of the wall ’cause it’s getting pretty old. I was just wondering if he had any suggestions on what to do first, or how to do this, and what’s the least expensive way to do it if I have to space it out over a couple of years?

[00:43:29]Michelle Kosinski:  Great.

[00:43:33]Ty Pennington:  Okay. That is a loaded question. It’s a great question. But what I love about it is it reminds me already of, like, the kitchen I grew up in with my family because I literally saw that same thing happen where you’re looking at the wallpaper and it’s like from the ’70s, and you’re like, we should probably change that. And then you’re looking at the linoleum on the floor and it’s like peeling up from where the refrigerator’s been drug across it, or the portable dishwasher, and that needs to be replaced. And then you’re looking at the cabinets and they’re dated. So what you have there is a very dated kitchen. So you have a bit of a conundrum. You’re going to have to spend some money in a lot of different areas because— Now one way you could save is not replace all the cabinets, but just change the faces of the kitchen cabinet doors and maybe repaint those and try and keep it simple and easy. However, you’re talking about really having to do every surface of that kitchen, so you have to weigh how much it’s going to cost to redo the cabinets, as how much it’s going to to just redo everything. In my opinion, if you could only do one thing, and that would like figure out a way to just sort of prime the wallpaper and either, but new wallpaper over the top would be the easiest way because I painted houses for 13 years and trying to pull wallpaper off is one of the most difficult things ever, especially if it’s been around over 50 years because you’re going to have to fix a lot of drywall when you do that. But I think the way kitchens go these days, if you could replace your cabinets, that’s what I would do. If you cannot do that, then definitely replace the actual doors and go with a modern door, get new Euro hinges, and you’d be amazed at just painting everything maybe a sort of a charcoal gray or a light gray, you’d be amazed at how good they can look just by replacing the doors and also the hardware and the pulls on the drawers.

[00:45:30]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, we did exactly that in my parents’ house. We first repainted the cabinets but then decided to replace the fronts of them. They had paneling. We painted that, and we took out the linoleum floor and put in those little parquet wood floors. And it was just, it was quick, it wasn’t very expensive and it looked so much better. It looked just so fresh and homey in there. So good luck to everyone out there and, Ty, thanks for your questions, but stick around because we’re going to talk to you again later.

[00:46:01] So, Matt, let’s go to you now. You’ve been waiting so patiently, but we also are dying to get your perspective on some of these projects as well because you are an expert on decluttering. And if all this time at home has shown us anything, it’s that we could all use some extra space and some decluttering in our lives. And I don’t think I know a single person who has not been trying to go through cupboards and closets, and some of the things they found, by the way, or forgotten all about, have been kind of interesting and none too appetizing. In fact, last weekend, one of my friends found a jar in his refrigerator that literally expired 12 years ago.

[00:46:39] But here’s the challenge, so much of what we might call clutter elsewhere in our house, not in the refrigerator, is tied to meaningful moments in our lives. Every room, every closet, even just one drawer or box can take hours to sort through just to determine what to keep or toss. So, Matt, what is your advice on separating the clutter from the truly meaningful mementos that we might later regret tossing out?

[00:47:08]Matt Paxton:  So the emotions are there for a reason, right? You had something good happen, something positive happen. And so for me, I’ve been doing this 15 years, you’ve got to tell the stories. You got to tell your story out loud to someone that you love. You’re, hopefully you’re not by yourself but, and if you are, call a friend, call up one and tell the story about the item. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to let go of the item if you share the story.

[00:47:30]Michelle Kosinski:  And you know, sometimes you have to be in the mood for it, too. Don’t you find that if you’re, well, you’re the expert so you know how to do everything right. But do you find that people sometimes if they approach one of these tasks and they’re just kind of not in the mood for giving stuff away or getting rid of stuff, you’re just going to keep everything. But then when you get into that zone or the mood strikes that you want to get rid of stuff, then it’s much easier somehow.

[00:47:58]Matt Paxton:  Yeah, I encourage you to set a time. It’s almost like working out like, I know I need to do it, but I don’t really want to do it. So I set a time every day like, I’m going to organize for 30 minutes. Sometimes I do 10 minutes the first week, but I set that time, I get down to it, and then you do the 10 minutes and then you’re proud of yourself. The next week. stretch it out to 20 minutes. The next week, stretch it out to 30, but get focused and get dedicated. I like to start at 7:30, like right about this time and then when I hear Jeopardy! on, you know, finishing up at 8, I’m done.

[00:48:29]Michelle Kosinski:  That’s the same kind of advice people give to writers, that “just do it.” Just set that time and do it and get into the practice of it. That’s very good advice. But you know, most charities and consignment shops right now—oh, go ahead.

[00:48:45]Matt Paxton:  I was going to say, you’re not going to enjoy it the first two days. You’re not going to enjoy it until you see that empty space. And so what I really, a lot of us are going to jump around. We get halfway through a room. Most of us are like 85 percenters. You do 85 percent of it and then you stop and you go to the next room. My advice is finish the room. Stay in a very dedicated space. It may only be like 4 feet, but just stay focused, finish it, ’cause then you get the visual gratification of finishing it. It’s almost like trying on new jeans that fit, right; you need to see that vision. So get really focused on the time and the space, and when you do that, you start to really get that joy and excitement.

[00:49:23]Michelle Kosinski:  I think we need you to be there, coaching us on FaceTime or something. You’re good at getting us into the psyched-up position to just do it. But I was about to say that right now, most charities and consignment shops have stopped accepting donations because of the pandemic. Also, local governments are closing down the public dump, and they’re asking people not to leave a whole lot out there on the curb. So what do you suggest people do with all the stuff that you are finally in a position to get done with and give it away or throw it away, and now there’s not really a place for it. So, ah, you don’t want to hold on to it longer, you kind of want to get rid of it while you’re, you know, in that mode, right?

[00:50:10]Matt Paxton:  Yeah. So I’ve been talking to Goodwill all week because this is my biggest question. People are like, what do I do with it, where do I take it? They are slowly starting to open. Some of the regional places are open, but you have to remember this is a mission-based company. Anywhere that you, that you donate, really anywhere you donate the stuff that you don’t want, that stuff goes to provide jobs for people, right? And so, believe it or not, all the donation places, whether they’re big or small, I’ve been talking to a bunch of them, they haven’t worked for the last eight weeks, and they haven’t had items come in, so they’re broke. So they’re as anxious as you are to get those items because those items fund all their employees.

[00:50:49] Now, here’s what I encourage you to do. You can call now to find out if they’re available. Don’t expect anyone to come pick it up. That’s not going to happen. Those days are done. It’s too dangerous for people to come to your house and pick it up, they’re just not going to do that anymore. So you’ve got to get it there. One little thing I encourage you to do is if you, if you do still drive and you have a car, I really encourage you to put two cardboard boxes in the back of your trunk and you can fill those up with the things you want to donate, and when it’s full, drive by a donation center. They’re going to be open in the next two to four weeks, right? And the guys at the front will actually pull it out for you because the reality is, we don’t want to be lifting it and picking those big boxes up out of our garage.

[00:51:31] I mean, what I really want to encourage you all in is in what you send, because the biggest issue here is we’re sending a lot of trash to these donation centers nationwide. We’re, like, “Oh, I don’t wear this anymore, it’s all ratty.” And we say, “It’s trash, so I’ll donate it.” They don’t want your trash. They need your good stuff. I had a guy that used to work for me and he had been homeless at one point, he had done some time, and he had really gotten his life back. And this lady said, “Why that sweater’s all nasty and ratty. You can throw it away. Or you can donate it.” And he said, "Well, ma’am, I’m homeless; I’m not ugly. I need your nice stuff.” And so I thought that was a great way to say it. You’ve got to get focused on getting rid of stuff to make space for the stuff, the renovations that Ty’s going to help you do, you’ve got to get rid of some good volume. So get real on your clothes, get real on your photographs, get real on all of that stuff and get rid of the space so that you can actually make more space. But don’t throw— Your trash goes to the dump. If you feel bad about how much trash is on the curb, then it’s time to stop. Once you feel guilty about it, then you know it’s time.

[00:52:37]Michelle Kosinski:  This is like a good pep talk, and it is kind of making me feel guilty for not getting rid of more stuff. So thank you for that, Matt. And, you know, going through somebody’s personal papers can be really emotional. And what do you suggest for people who are doing this now? They’re going through records and photos and just the personal things of loved ones. That can be a heart-wrenching job.

[00:53:04]Matt Paxton:  Yeah. This is really hard because a lot of the people listening right now are caregivers for their loved ones, and so there’s an event, there’s something happening. You’re not dealing with these papers unless you’re forced to. You’re not thinking, Hey, I want to go through the really hard stuff right now, right? You got to know your facts. This is the number one question on paper I get all the time, which is, what do I keep? What do I not keep? Right. On accounting, on your taxes, it is seven years. That’s a legit term. Anyone says from seven to 10, it’s seven, right? You do need to keep seven years back. On legal work, it’s five years, all right. And here’s the big one: People ask me all the time, how long should I keep the will? Forever. You keep the will forever. That’s the big one.

[00:53:45] I would digitize those three things if you can. Should you figure out, get a scanner and try to digitize everything? No. Take it to FedEx, Kinko’s, pay them 30 bucks, they’ll scan everything for you, or give it to your grandson, give him 10 bucks, let him scan it. I mean, you don’t need to waste your time with the technology side of it, just get it scanned. But everything you do get rid of, you’ve got to shred. Shred, shred, shred, shred, shred. I cannot stress how important it is to shred all these old papers because— And I mean your old mail, too, all right? Even your old mail, your junk mail from the banks, shred that stuff. Your bank statements. By the way, you don’t need any of your old bank statements. None of them. You can shred them all, right? I don’t care if it’s last month’s. You just need the most recent. That’s it. I think this is a great time to call your catalog companies and get off the mailing list.

[00:54:33]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, yes. Yes.

[00:54:35]Matt Paxton:  That would decrease your mail quite a bit. Get—

[00:54:36]Michelle Kosinski:  You’re wonderful for saying that because I think about this literally every single day, and I even get angry at these companies, like, you know, I’m not interested in that. How did I even get on your list in the first place? I think about all the paper that is wasted sending, not necessarily sending a nice catalog but sending it to people who would never be interested in whatever that thing is. So, Matt, thank you for bringing this up. You’re going to make me in tears, I’m so happy that you brought this up. What should you do? How do you free yourself of the catalogs?

[00:55:13]Matt Paxton:  Catalog— look, just the two things, you know, I’m glad that I’m last because cooking with your friends and cooking with your family and even cooking for yourself, that’s joyful. That’s exciting, right? And that was from Carla. The stuff from Ty, I mean, he is dead right. I am seeing so many of my clients making space either out of their garage, out of the dining room or a new, a shed, a new independent ADU in the back for mom to move in. Ty, I am as well. My mother has moved back into my house during this thing and we’re making space, right?

[00:55:41]Michelle Kosinski:  Yay, for moms!

[00:55:41]Matt Paxton:  But the junk holds it [inaudible] , yeah, dude, it’s awesome, I love it. The junk holds us back, it makes us depressed, and the catalogs are a daily reminder. It’s like a daily weight. Like, just get rid of it, just stop. Put them in the recycling, but call every single one and just, I do like five a day, right? Just keep the stack for the whole month or the whole two months and then every day take five off the top, call them; say, take me off your list—they have to by law—and get rid of it.

[00:56:10]Michelle Kosinski:  So you just have to call a number, like the customer service number on the catalog, and that’s all you need to do?

[00:56:18]Matt Paxton:  Yep. That’s all you need to do. And I don’t want to get into a hornet’s nest here, but on the digital side too, on your email, you can just hit unsubscribe on all of these as well ’cause the email weighs you down as well.

[00:56:27]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. I find that the email is easy and it really does work when you unsubscribe, and I always tell people to do that, but the, you know, 40 pounds of catalogs that arrive at a house every day, I always wondered what exactly do I need to do to get rid of these. So bravo. Thank you, Matt.

[00:56:47] And you know, this topic also brings up some of the challenges that millions of family caregivers are facing right now, particularly those who have loved ones in nursing homes or other types of care facilities. There’s been a lack of transparency and not enough resources so many people out there are having a hard time learning if there’s even positive COVID cases in these facilities where their family members live. Making the situation worse, people aren’t able to connect with their loved ones through video chats and phone calls right now. I know that AARP is urging federal and state policymakers to take action to ensure that residents and staff have adequate testing and protections, and that family members are able to stay connected with, and get information about their loved ones. So if you’re facing this situation or you know of someone who is, you can learn more about this at aarp.org/coronavirus.

[00:57:43] So now let’s turn to some more of your questions out there for Matt Paxton. Another reminder, just press *3 by phone on your telephone keypad if you’re listening that way. You’ll be connected to AARP staff who will share your question. And if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can just post your question there in the comments. So, Jean, what is our first question somewhere in America for Matt.

[00:58:08]Jean Setzfand:  We are going to stay close to home. Lillie from Maryland has a question for Matt.

[00:58:11]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Hi, Lillie.

[00:58:15]Lillie:  Good evening. Hi, Michelle. Hi, Matt.

[00:58:18]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi.

[00:58:20]Lillie:  My question is, I am actually, I have a small bedroom that is multi-use. It’s not only where my bed is, but it’s where my clothes, my shoes, my desk, my books— And I’m trying to get organized but I just, I’m having a rough time. I know I got to go up. I can’t go, you know, I got some things going out but I know, I think I need to go up, but I can’t figure out what kind of storage I can use. I’m, right now, most things are in bins and I can’t get to the thing on the bottom because all the four bins on the top. I can’t get to the one on the bottom quick enough. So what kind of storage would you suggest for a small bedroom?

[00:59:10]Matt Paxton:  All right. You’re not gonna like my answer. I’m going to answer your question with questions. Do all those clothes fit you? Probably not.

[00:59:23]Lillie:  I’m not even talking about clothes.

[00:59:23]Matt Paxton:  Do you read all the books? Probably not.

[00:59:25]Lillie:  [Inaudible] my clothes. I have a closet that the clothes are in, so it’s not even clothes.

[00:59:30]Matt Paxton:  Okay.

[00:59:30]Lillie:  My purses and—

[00:59:30]Matt Paxton:  Okay, all right, so I know where to send you here. What I really like to do is encourage people to sift through what you have first. All right? If you haven’t read the book in 20 years, you can donate it. If you haven’t worn the clothes in a year, you can get rid of them. If—you know, I’m a size 36 now in jeans; if my 28s, I can let them go, all right? Like get realistic about the items, that brings the volume down 25 percent, and then you go buy the storage systems. Two big retailers, Ikea and the Closet Store or the Closet Factory, any of these companies, their systems are on sale right now, all right? This is a good time to get a closet system and you want a hanging system. Here’s the problem. You really need someone to help you do that. And I would wait until it clears up a little bit and it’s safer to have someone in your house because you want that, you’re going to put a lot of weight of storage in here. They’re going to have great closet systems. I don’t believe big furniture is a good idea. Closet systems.

[01:00:37]Michelle Kosinski:  Okay. That’s good for everybody to know. Thanks for that, Matt. So now it’s time to address more of everyone’s questions with all of our experts: Ty Pennington, Carla Hall and Matt Paxton. Again, press *3 at any time on your phone, if you want to share your question with us, and on Facebook and YouTube, just enter it right there into the comments. So, Jean, let’s open it up now and it’s kind of a free for all, questions for everybody, except me who needs help with all of these things. Okay, so who’s out there?

[01:01:09]Jean Setzfand:  Let’s begin with Carla. There’s a question from Wendy from California.

[01:01:13]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Wendy.

[01:01:15]Wendy:  Hi, how are you?

[01:01:17]Michelle Kosinski:  Great, great to hear from you. What’s your question for Carla?

[01:01:21]Wendy:  Well, my question is about several people asked about sugar or sweet things, and some of my colleagues at work are using the monk fruit sweetener to replace sugar, and it seems to be really good. Is it good for you, and is it a good replacement for sweet things for kids, for instance?

[01:01:42]Carla Hall:  I’m not a nutritionist, so I can’t talk about it being good for you, but I have used it, and it is a nice sugar substitute. Sometimes a substitute doesn’t give you the volume that a regular sugar would be, but that’s fine because the trade-off is great. It’s sweet. You can use it in— Like you can’t make a meringue with it; however, how many times do you make a meringue? So I would say yes, great.

[01:02:13]Michelle Kosinski:  Is that a new sweetener?

[01:02:16]Carla Hall:  Yeah. The monk fruit. Well, it’s not new, but you know, people are now incorporating it as a sugar substitute.

[01:02:23]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, that’s great. I haven’t even heard of that yet. Okay, so let’s take some more questions. Who’s out there, Jean?

[01:02:29]Jean Setzfand:  Our next call is from Renée from Florida.

[01:02:31]Michelle Kosinski:  Hello, Renée. Welcome.

[01:02:34] Renée: Thank you. I am a big fan of everyone. I just saw Carla, watching Julia Child, I think, on one of her shows. Matt, I watch your show every night. I have like 500 of them taped, but my question I think is for Ty. My husband, before we got married, he was diagnosed with MS, and he used to be the cook but now he’s in a wheelchair, so it’s hard for him to cook. So I don’t know if there’s any do-it-yourself projects that we can lower any of the items in the kitchen. And just so you know, I hate the kitchen. I don’t even walk through it, I walk around it, so I don’t want any part of it. So I’m hoping he can get back to cooking. [Laughs.]

[01:03:18]Ty Pennington:  Well, you know, on Extreme, we did a lot of custom kitchens for people that, you know, were in wheelchairs and it’s— Converting your kitchen can be a bit of a job, but you know, if he really misses cooking and you guys could figure out a way to just maybe work on an island, there’s a half a section that drops down counter-wise that he can work on, then you guys could sort of be a team and he could be your sous chef, you know, do it all, but I think together you guys can make it work. But, yeah, you can definitely have a section of an island that maybe drops down. Hopefully you’ve got the room that you could add to that in your kitchen because that would be awesome. And it also gives him that independence that I’m sure he would love to have back.

[01:04:05]Michelle Kosinski:  That’s a great idea. What other callers are out there, Jean?

[01:04:09]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question from Facebook. Well, this is coming from Nancy for Matt. And her question is this, “My mother’s family has collected many valuables and a lot of nonvaluable items. She’s since passed away and my family’s having a very difficult time identifying the valuable items. What resources are available to us? What type of experts should we use to help us get through everything in the most cost-effective way?”

[01:04:33]Michelle Kosinski:  Hmm. Good question.

[01:04:35]Matt Paxton:  Okay. So, great question, and every single person in your family is going to answer it differently, because everyone has an emotional value and a financial value. I am a big fan of online auctions—online auctions, not yard sales. Don’t do a yard sale. It’s a total waste of your time. Online auctions will tell you what it’s worth because the more people that look at it, the more people bid on it. So I might think that my grandfather that I loved so much, that the table that he handcrafted was really, really nice. But when no one bids on it, guess what? No financial value, all right. Get it on online auctions. More people will look. Don’t use eBay as a dictionary; it’s not always accurate. Just get it to a local auctioneer who will put it online or one of the big national online auctioneers, and you can find them pretty easily by googling them, but the more people that look at it, the higher that price goes.

[01:05:31]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. I feel like we’re learning a lot tonight. Jean, who else is out there?

[01:05:36]Jean Setzfand:  This is Diane from Washington.

[01:05:38]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Diane. What is your question? And for whom?

[01:05:42]Diane:  Hi. My question I guess is for anybody that can help me figure out how to easily build a garden, a raised-bed garden. I collected all the pots from around the yard, put all these vegetables in them, and now I just want it to be a little more organized, look a little better, and I want to be able to have my neighbor’s kids and my nieces and nephews, who are quite young, be able to come over and tend it for me.

[01:06:18]Ty Pennington:  Well I’ll— Look, it’s a great idea to have kids work in the garden. First of all, that was my first summer job. It was more like mowing the garden but, still, it’s a good start. There are so many ways, I’m sure even Carla can tell you, ways to start a really great herb garden. That’s a good start. Another thing you could do, too, if you just have some PVC buckets, any kind of containers that—you don’t want to go out and buy planters—any kind of container that’s plastic, if you drill a hole in the bottom, that can turn into a pot. If you want to do something that’s already in the ground, another thing you could do is just with wood is build something that’s tiered that actually gets bigger as it goes up. That way, as it grows, it all gets light and comes all the way down. Those are just some thoughts. But I think kids working in the garden and having fun in the garden is great. They learn so much about growing things themselves and they’re taking care of something, which is I think, really good as well. So, great idea.

[01:07:23]Michelle Kosinski:  And, Carla, I think you wanted to ad. Yeah, go ahead.

[01:07:27]Carla Hall:  Yeah, I just want to add to that exactly what Ty said. And this is only through osmosis because Michael Simon loved, or loves, gardening. So with that big bucket, you know, you drill a hole, you put the gravel and then the soil, then that way they can drain. But also a regular pallet that, some of those pallets that are being thrown away when you go to like Home Depot or some of these big box stores, they have pallets that you can use. But I think you said you have all of that.

[01:07:56]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I think our caller can’t respond again. But I would like to build a magnet that would lure all the local kids to come work in my garden as well as on my house. Do you think there’s a, is there a magnet for that? Okay, Jean, who has—

[01:08:15]Paxton:  Okay, real quick.

[01:08:16]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, go ahead, Matt.

[01:08:20]Matt Paxton:  I want to say on the building side of it, I think don’t be afraid to go online for the Nextdoor website or the Freecycle website or even craigslist, just to see if there’s somebody local that could come build it for you for not a lot of money. This is a great time to discuss pricing. Whatever the price is listed for labor, that’s not the price anymore. Don’t be afraid to haggle and see what you can do and you can still do it very safely.

[01:08:44]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Okay, so let’s go for more questions. And so, callers, I just want to remind you that you can ask a question by pressing *3 on your phone, or if you’re watching on Facebook or YouTube, just post it in the comments. I love this technology. It’s working; it’s working! Who else is out there, Jean?

[01:09:01]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Gloria from Maryland.

[01:09:03]Michelle Kosinski:  Okay, great. Hi, Gloria.

[01:09:05]Gloria:  Oh yes. I’m here. How are you?

[01:09:07]Michelle Kosinski:  Hello, we’re great. What’s your question?

[01:09:11]Gloria:  Oh, yes. My question was [laughs] , how do I dispose of, I mean, I know how to dispose, but it’s so much [inaudible] , and you know, like more dangerous and all those papers. Can I just put them in the trash and put them in recycle without taking off the address and the name?

[01:09:43]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, that is a great question.

[01:09:46]Gloria:  Because I have electric bills, water bills, so I mean, a lot of bills.

[01:09:53]Michelle Kosinski:  Got it.

[01:09:55]Gloria:  School bills for school and everything, all, name it, I have it. But I don’t, I can’t buy another shredder, so I don’t know how to get rid of—

[01:10:08]Michelle Kosinski:  That’s a good question. Yeah. So she has a lot of papers, but not a shredder. So, Matt, barring going out and buying a shredder, what’s the safest way to get rid of that stuff? This is a great question.

[01:10:24]Matt Paxton:  For me, it’s, oh, you can do what we call poor man’s strategy. Do it yourself. Manually shred these things. You know, as it comes in, shred it out. She’s got a volume issue. She needs to slowly recycle one week at a time. This isn’t going to get fixed right away. I think Ty’s got a thought on this, too.

[01:10:42]Ty Pennington:  No, I was just being funny. I was thinking, put it in the blender, but it would take forever.

[01:10:50]Michelle Kosinski:  I think Carla would have a problem with that.

[01:10:52]Matt Paxton:  Patience is the issue here.

[01:10:53]Michelle Kosinski:  Your blender is for your tofu experiments.

[01:10:57]Matt Paxton:  Patience is the issue here.

[01:10:57]Michelle Kosinski:  It’s not for your bills.

[01:11:01]Ty Pennington:  You make pesto, ask Carla, with a blender. Fact.

[01:11:04]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I made phone bill pesto last night. It was not good. Not good. Okay. Jean, who else is out there?

[01:11:14]Jean Setzfand:  Right, we have Michelle from Georgia, and she has a question for Ty. She asks, “Hi, I’m 69 years old and my mom is 94, living with me. My bedroom is on the main floor. Her bedroom is on the main floor and mine, the master, is upstairs. We want to age in place. How do I go about finding a qualified professional to help me create a master bedroom on the main floor?”

[01:11:41]Ty Pennington:  That, okay, well, you’re kind of in luck and here’s why. Twenty years ago, you would have to just, you know, sort of ask anybody in your street that hired someone and go word of mouth. But these days there are websites like porch.com, other places like that where you could look up the houses in your area. You can see what they’ve had done to them. And if you go to that, they’ll show you the people that have worked on the house, whether it be a carpenter, a plumber, etc. You can see the reviews they got and all the above. So, that’s your best bet, because you’re going to be able to see the work they’ve done. You’re going to be able to see what value that’s going to bring to your home. It’s also going to be able to, you’re gonna be able to see what other people have said about working with that individual. But I think that’s a challenge a lot of people want to do, is expand what’s on their existing house.

[01:12:37] The challenges you have is how much easement you have before you hit the property line of your neighbors. But there’s always a way, and even if it’s just keeping the room the way it is, but then adding just another section that’s as big as a bay window, and you turn that into a bathroom. So there’s always an option. But, yeah, I would go to places like porch.com, Houzz, you know, Helper, that anything that shows where you can really get referrals to people in that area that have worked in houses in your neighborhood.

[01:13:12]Michelle Kosinski:  Nice. Okay. What other questions might exist out there?

[01:13:17]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have a call from Nancy for Carla.

[01:13:20]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Hi, Nancy.

[01:13:22]Nancy:  Hi, Carla. I have a question in terms of adjusting to using frozen vegetables. I love to bake my vegetables and I’ve always tried to buy fresh but recently with the shortage, I had to buy frozen broccoli. And I tried to use it in one of my favorite recipes, which is basically baking carrots and then adding the broccoli and pineapple at the end. It’s a beautiful, lovely dish, but the broccoli came out mushy. So my question is, how do I kind of transfer or adjust when I am going to have to use a frozen vegetable versus a fresh one so that I get a good texture?

[01:14:03]Carla Hall:  That is such a great question. First of all, you want to thaw your frozen vegetables, and broccoli especially. So you want to thaw it because there’s so much water. If you thaw it first, and even if you thaw it and then roast it in the oven or let it dry out a little bit, and then incorporate it into a recipe, that would give you a much better texture. If you were adding fresh vegetables, sometimes you add them at the beginning or halfway through the cooking process. If you’re adding them to a soup or stew with frozen vegetables, you should add them at the end, but also taking into account the additional water. That’s why you want to thaw them first and pat them dry and then add them. So hopefully that helps.

[01:14:48] I also want to mention to, about the caller who talked about their husband who loves to cook and who is in a wheelchair and she does not like to be in the kitchen. I had a friend who was in a wheelchair and one of the things that we did for her was to get a burner, like one of those really big induction burners and bring the kitchen down to her. Even if it’s a table so that he can roll up to the table; I mean, obviously be careful, but that way he creates a stove without creating, like, a stove. She didn’t sound like she wanted to be in the kitchen. So I think a table and put in an induction burner, and then you need the proper pan for the induction.

[01:15:27]Michelle Kosinski:  So you can just buy like a separate burner and then it can just plug into the wall or do you need to get like a separate electrical unit for that?

[01:15:37]Carla Hall:  No, it just plugs into the wall.

[01:15:39]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, that’s good to know. Okay, great.

[01:15:41]Carla Hall:  Yeah.

[01:15:41]Michelle Kosinski:  What other questions might be out there waiting for us?

[01:15:45]Jean Setzfand:  We have another one on Facebook, and this one’s coming from Florida, and I think this one’s going to either Ty or Matt or both. “What do you keep in hard-to-reach closets? I don’t utilize it as much since I want things within my reach.”

[01:16:04]Ty Pennington:  I keep, I keep guitar cases, because when you take guitars out, you have to store them somewhere because eventually you’re going to have to put a guitar back in it. So Matt, don’t get on a case about this. Yes, that was a pun. But so, because they can go up top, but I would say whatever you don’t use a lot and you don’t need, which Matt’s going to say throw out, I say put it up there.

[01:16:33]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, or I put, sometimes I’ll take seasonal stuff, like when it’s summer, I’ll take winter coats and I’ll put them up there. And you know, just, and it makes you shift things around yearly, but then it’s kind of like the stuff that you need is closer and the stuff you’re not going to use for awhile is farther away. But what say ye, Matt?

[01:16:57]Matt Paxton:  The clothes that you think you’re going to get back into, but you really know you’re not going to get back into, they go in there. The luggage goes in there and Christmas tree ornaments.

[01:17:07]Michelle Kosinski:  Ah, yeah, that’s good. There’s always Christmas tree ornaments to be stored somewhere in some crevices of your house. Any other questions out there?

[01:17:17]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. This one’s coming from Ruby from Virginia.

[01:17:20]Michelle Kosinski:  Great. Hello, Ruby.

[01:17:24]Ruby:  Hi. I have a question concerning houseplants. I’m finally growing some plants now in my kitchen area because it’s good lighting. I want to incorporate them into other areas in my house. What can I do?

[01:17:37]Michelle Kosinski:  Ooh.

[01:17:39]Ty Pennington:  Well, that’s a trick. The thing is houseplants are a little finicky, so they need to be right by windows, but they also— Here’s the problem I have: You need to be home to water them. But if you can get, just make sure you get the plants that grow in low light, make sure that they’re by a window, and the other thing you can do, they make these things now that if you’re like me and forget to water them, you can get like a bottle and it has a little top that screws into it and it lets it drop out just slowly. Then you can actually sorta— Anybody who travels a lot, that’s a great way to keep their plants alive. But yeah, houseplants are fantastic. They’re a little finicky, but just keep turning them and I hear if you talk to them, they love you back.

[01:18:28]Michelle Kosinski:  Got it. Okay. Jean, what other questions are there?

[01:18:32]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have a question from Frederick in California.

[01:18:36]Michelle Kosinski:  Hi, Frederick. Welcome.

[01:18:38]Frederick:  Thank you. Interesting program. I have a question: My wife passed away years ago and she used to make a sloppy joe, we’d put on biscuits, or not biscuits, but buns or bread, and I enjoyed it, but I don’t know how to make it.

[01:19:00]Michelle Kosinski:  Okay, Carla.

[01:19:00]Carla Hall:  Okay. I guess that would be for me. Matt, do you want to step in?

[01:19:05]Michelle Kosinski:  Because it’s sloppy joes, you mean?

[01:19:08]Carla Hall:  Yeah, no, just kidding. So, hi, Frederick. I think there are a couple of different ways, and even if you don’t have the recipe, what I would suggest you do is look up the sloppy joe recipe. Try to recall and remember what you felt about the recipe. A lot of times people are thinking, because I don’t have the exact recipe, I can’t do it. But your food memories are a lot stronger than maybe your visual memory, but your taste memory is there. So was it sweet? Was it tangy? You know, was it tomatoey? Was it saucy? Those kinds of things. Was it herby? So, you can look up a recipe. Start with the recipe, and then you tweak it based on your memory. I get this all the time, and a lot of times people want to re-create a recipe that was their grandmother’s or their spouse’s or their mom’s, and they can’t, they can’t recall it because they’re trying to be so exact, like to the measurement. But if your heart is into re-creating it, you will get it. I hope that helps.

[01:20:17]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah, I think that’s great advice. Okay, Jean, anybody else out there?

[01:20:22]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. We have another Facebook question for Matt and this is coming from [inaudible] and he’s asking, “My sister is taking care of paperwork, paperwork and documents for my sister, and needs a better storage solution. Any motivation ideas for getting that done?”

[01:20:41]Matt Paxton:  Yes, I knew I would get this question. I just go to Target and get your basic easy bucket, but the key is, you want it to be the waterproof bucket. Look at the lining, that blue lining right there, that makes it watertight-sealed. These are like 10 bucks, 12 bucks at Target or Walmart. I think Sterilite is the manufacturer. You want it to be sealed so that doesn’t get moisture in it. And I limit myself to two. Two for pictures, two for paperwork. If you give yourself eight, you’ll fill eight; so just limit it to two.

[01:21:15]Michelle Kosinski:  And, Matt, on that, I recently tried to do that with some plastic boxes for decluttering and storing things like Christmas ornaments, but when I went to my local store, first of all, I felt that they were kind of expensive, and secondly, I found that they were really heavy. So that when I put everything in them, the box itself seemed to add so much weight and bulk. So are there any other options for doing that other than just your good old-fashioned cardboard box, which unfortunately isn’t moisture tight?

[01:21:48]Matt Paxton:  Yeah, I mean, you can actually go to the office supply stores and get the, they’re basically like plastic folders and they’ll limit you— The issue there with your boxes, you’re right, if you fill a big box with all paper, it’s too heavy, right? And so you want to have a smaller box there. But a smaller box for paper doesn’t work. So I would get the big folders, they’re like 8½ by 11, and, you know, get two or three of those. But what I’m forcing you to do is, you’ll save as much as you think you have space for. And so when it gets too heavy, dude, that’s your body saying you saved too much. If you can’t carry it, you don’t need it.

[01:22:27]Michelle Kosinski:  Ah, the pressure, the pressure. Ah, okay, Jean, are there—

[01:22:33]Matt Paxton:  Organization is, organization is a decision. Organization is a decision, and you have to commit. And if you don’t, it doesn’t work.

[01:22:42]Michelle Kosinski:  I thought you were going to say it’s a human right, and we’re all entitled to organization. It’s a must-have. Carla, were you going to say something?

[01:22:53]Carla Hall:  No, this is how I feel about luggage when you’re going on a trip. If you can’t carry it, you shouldn’t bring it. And so if I bring that, what you’re saying, Matt, if you bring that into your life at home, it makes so much sense. Which I don’t do, I’m a pack rat. But when I travel, that is my rule. And so you’re reminding me that I have to just bring that way of thinking into my home.

[01:23:16]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. It’s hard, though, because I feel like, if there’s something you like, you say, Well, I might use this one day, and then it might be years later but that day comes along and then you say, This thing is perfect, it’s perfect, and I’m so happy I didn’t get rid of it. But there’s a, you know, there’s a time and place for everything, I guess, and sometimes you just have to get rid of it. You must. Okay, so Jean, is there anybody else out there?

[01:23:47]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. We have Alicia from North Carolina.

[01:23:50]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, hi, Alicia. Welcome.

[01:23:53]Alicia:  Yes. Hi. Thanks for having me. So I was wondering, the question is for Ty or anybody who would like chime in and provide some other more detailed advice, but I was wondering about converting my two-car garage into a mother-in-law suite, into a studio apartment. And so I was trying to figure out an economical way to do it and putting everything in, the water, appliances, the flooring, cooling. What is the economical way to go about it, and trying to figure out how much would it cost, and who would I get involved with the project?

[01:24:51]Ty Pennington:  I’m going to defer you to checking out some of the websites that you can go to, like porch.com, Houzz, I forget the name, but if you look it up, and basically it’s like a house adviser, that kind of a thing, and you type in the same question that you just asked, which is like, any additions that have happened in the neighborhood, converting a garage into an apartment, and then see the words that they’ve been done there. You can find out how much it costs them, how big it was, how difficult it was. There’s literally chat rooms. You can ask the people that they hired to do that. Because to be honest with you, with one question like that, I’d have to know so much. Like right now is the house built out of two-by-fours or have you got cinder block? Is there a way that you can cut windows in? What is the plumbing situation? There’s so many questions you’ll need to ask someone, and I would also just make a simple call and bring in a construction guy or a building inspector and just find out if you can actually get away with doing it. Do you have the room on the property? Are you allowed to be able to do that? And how difficult it would be. But this is one of those things where you’re going to have to ask somebody in that area that’s right in your neighborhood if they’ve had an addition. Ask those guys and see if they can come over and tell you what they would do and how much they think it would cost.

[01:26:08]Michelle Kosinski:  Good place to start. Okay. Thanks, Ty, and thanks everyone. But before we go, Ty, Carla and Matt, for our lightning round, if you will, we want you to share with everybody out there what is inspiring each of you during this trying time for, really, everybody on the planet. And we can go clockwise. Carla, let’s start with you.

[01:26:31]Carla Hall:  Well, two things come to mind: Mother is the necessity of invention. A lot of times we’re going to grocery stores and we don’t see what we can find. And the second thing: Frustration is the ability to do work. And there was a 4-Her that I just spoke to the other day, and she just discovered her love of sewing when she decided to, I mean to make masks or essential workers in her neighborhood, because she wanted to do something for the community. Yeah, and she was like, in her wanting to do something for the community, she was like, oh, I really like to sew. Now she’s actually doing it. So I think in this time, what I see is that people are discovering things about themselves and it’s very inspiring.

[01:27:15]Michelle Kosinski:  Oh, that’s so nice. Yeah, I agree. It’s like going back to basics and kind of the old way of doing things, and it’s enjoyable in some ways, if there’s ever any bright sides to this. So, Matt, how about you? What’s keeping you inspired?

[01:27:35]Matt Paxton:  Man, I’m loving my time with my family. I mean, I’m just spending a lot of time with my kids. And I’m finding out these crazy, awesome things about my sons. And when I read my emails, all my fans and all my clients, they’re doing the same thing. They’re spending more time with their family. And so I just encourage people, whatever you heard from any of us tonight, do it with your family. Just keep doing it with your family, ’cause your life’s going to get better if you do. I love it. I’m honestly rather enjoying this time, to be honest.

[01:28:02]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. I mean, if you’re lucky enough to be healthy, and you can survive for a period of time financially, then you have something you haven’t had in a long time, and that is time. So people, I’ve seen a lot of great ideas of people making the most of that time. How about you, Ty?

[01:28:21]Ty Pennington:  You know, it’s interesting. I love what everyone has said, and I think there’s a lot that is inspiring in this moment. For me, it’s really, it’s how neighbors are really starting to help other neighbors because they’re realizing that somebody can’t go into a grocery store, or you realizing the person that lives down the street is an elderly person and they need help just getting things that they didn’t know they needed. And you’re really starting to see one neighbor helping another neighbor. And to expand on that, it’s also a time where you’re realizing how important small businesses are in your community and you know that they’re suffering. So people are coming together and pulling donations together to make sure that people can survive this, to keep restaurants and places open. Not just restaurants, but people that are dog groomers, people that have barbershops, people that are clothing designers, people that make things and try and sell them, all the above. So I think just seeing neighbors and communities helping each other is inspiring me because that’s the only way we’re going to get through this.

[01:29:27]Michelle Kosinski:  Yeah. I guess there’s the sense of community that in some ways people kind of didn’t have time to recognize before and now, you can’t see anybody, but you have to make community in other ways. So it was wonderful talking to all of you. You just, you brightened my day. You probably brightened everybody’s day who’s watching. So thanks so much guys. This has been such a, it’s been fun, it’s been informative. Thanks to everybody for answering the questions and thank you to everybody who asked those questions. Also, thanks to you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, and everybody who’s joined in.

[01:30:05] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, AARP is providing information and resources and fighting for older adults and those who are caring for them. All of the resources that we referenced, including a recording of today’s Q and A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on May 15. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We hope that you had as much fun as we did watching and participating in today’s event and maybe you learned some things that help keep you and your loved ones healthy and occupied while at home. Ideas are always a great thing. Also, visit aarp.org/coronavirus for details about upcoming conversations as well as information you need about the coronavirus. Thank you so much. Have a great day. This is the end of our call.

[01:31:05]

Teleasamblea sobre el coronavirus

QUÉDATE EN CASA CON LOS EXPERTOS

Participan:

Ty Pennington: carpintero, autor y estrella de televisión

Carla Hall: autora galardonada de libros de cocina, anfitriona de TV

Matt Paxton: experto en eliminación de lo innecesario

Jean Setzfand: moderadora, vicepresidenta sénior, AARP

Michelle Kosinski: moderadora, ganadora del premio Emmy en periodismo

 

 

 

Michelle Kosinski: Hola. Soy Michelle Kosinski, de AARP.

Quiero darles la bienvenida a este divertido e importante debate sobre el coronavirus.

AARP, una organización no partidaria sin fines de lucro, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país durante más de 60 años.

Frente a la pandemia mundial por el coronavirus, AARP está brindando información y recursos, y luchando por los adultos mayores y los que cuidan de ellos. Hoy, luchamos en una batalla un tanto distinta, claro, cómo no enloquecer cuando estamos atrapados en casa refugiándonos.

Nuestras guías de hoy son tres expertos en estilo de vida muy conocidos y muy queridos. Incluso pueden considerarlos gurús, quienes nos ayudarán con cómo sacarle provecho al tiempo extendido que ahora tenemos bajo nuestro techo.

Si ya participaste de alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, ya sabrás que esto es similar a un programa de radio, con la diferencia de que ahora puedes vernos, y tienes la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

Si quieres hacer una pregunta, por favor, hazla. Presiona *3 en tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del equipo de AARP. Tomaremos nota de tu nombre y tu pregunta, y te pondremos en una lista para que puedas hacerla en vivo.

Hola, nuevamente, para los que recién se estén uniendo. Soy Michelle Kosinski. Y en nombre de AARP, quiero darles la bienvenida a este importante y divertido debate sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial por coronavirus.

Estaremos hablando con expertos y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona *3. Y para quienes nos vean a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden dejarnos sus preguntas en los comentarios.

AARP está convocando a esta teleasamblea para compartir información sobre el coronavirus, y buenas ideas también.

Tengan presente que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud es los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, o CDC, y pueden contactarse con ellos en cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Este evento también está siendo grabado, y podrán acceder a la grabación en AARP.org/coronavirus 24 después de que hayamos terminado.

Primero, presentemos a nuestros grandiosos invitados.

Ty Pennington es carpintero, autor y estrella de programas de televisión sobre diseño, entre ellos los exitosos "Trading Spaces" y "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition".

Hola, Ty. Y debo decir que te sigo desde hace mucho tiempo, y no tienes idea de los locos proyectos de manualidades que me inspiraste a hacer en las épocas en que miraba "Trading Spaces" todo el tiempo.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, me alegra haberte podido inspirar.

Sí, he sido afortunado y bendecido. He estado en el mundo de las manualidades desde hace mucho tiempo, así que, sin duda, he visto mucho y experimentado mucho. Y, como has dicho, con el coronavirus, muchas personas están trabajando en muchos proyectos mientras están en casa. Así que me alegra poder dar algunos consejos y sugerencias.

Michelle Kosinski: Y Ty también nos contó que está en casa con unos lémures. Tiene lémures como mascotas. Esa debe ser una manera interesante de hacer cuarentena, con lémures.

Ty Pennington: Sí.

Es decir, no debes aburrirte nunca con una manada de lémures.

Bueno, sabes, nunca puedes... Me gusta trabajar con un grupo sólido, y los lémures siempre van a... Mantienen las herramientas organizadas.

Michelle Kosinski: Es bueno oír eso. Lo vamos a tener que considerar.

También tenemos a Carla Hall, colaboradora culinaria en "Good Morning America", y autora galardonada de libros de cocina, cuyos consejos convendrían muy bien ahora. Y anfitriona de "The Chew", de ABC. Fue una popular participante del programa "Top Chef", de Bravo.

Gracias por estar con nosotros, Carla, y probablemente salvarnos a algunos de nosotros antes de que termine este segmento.

Carla Hall: Estoy muy entusiasmada por estar aquí.

Debo decirte que mi madre está muy involucrada con AARP, y ella es la razón por la que estaba contando los días. Así que por eso me enorgullezco hoy. Estar aquí cuando ella siempre está en estas llamadas. Hola, mamá.

Michelle Kosinski: Bueno, qué lindo.

Y también Matt Paxton, uno de los principales expertos en limpieza en el país, alguien a quien también necesitamos con desesperación en este momento. Quizá puedas pasar por casa con nosotros cuando esto termine.

Él se presentó en "Hoarders", de A&E. Es autor del libro The Secret Lives of Hoarders, y protagoniza la nueva serie de PBS "Legacy List with Matt Paxton". Es maravilloso que estés aquí, Matt. Espero recibir muchos consejos para salvarnos de nuestro propio desorden.

Matt Paxton: Sí, gracias por invitarme. Muchas personas están revisando el cajón de los trastos, finalmente.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, se atreven a acercarse.

También nos acompañará Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta sénior de AARP, quien será nuestra organizadora. Nos ayudará con sus llamados. Y estamos muy ansiosos por escuchar a todos. Esta es como una ventana al resto del país. Tenemos una pequeña fiesta virtual esta noche.

Muy bien. Carla, comencemos contigo. Uno de los pocos lugares al que está yendo la gente en estos días es el supermercado. Es como nuestra gran salida. Tenemos que ir, pero también es una forma de salir de casa e interactuar, si no es con personas, al menos con productos.

Me intriga saber cuáles crees que sean los ingredientes esenciales para una buena comida. Si puedes ir al supermercado una vez a la semana, o cada dos semanas, ¿cuáles son las cosas imprescindibles que hay que comprar?

Carla Hall: Bueno, yo creo que hacer las compras ahora es muy interesante porque es el único lugar que no ha cerrado. Y hacer las compras a diario, como mucha gente seguramente lo hacía, es muy diferente a comprar cada dos semanas, o incluso una vez por semana.

Para mí, cuando voy a hacer las compras cada dos semanas, aunque voy con un poco más de frecuencia que eso, pienso en los productos naturales. Los productos naturales están ahí, pero corren al pasillo de los congelados, corren al pasillo de la carne, corren a los alimentos preparados, quizá al pasillo de los enlatados. Pero, si compras productos naturales, sabes que vas a usar esos productos naturales los primeros días o incluso la primera semana que estés en casa. No te saltes los productos naturales.

Yo estoy comprando muchos cítricos, estoy comprando muchas hierbas, porque eso va a levantar los productos como carne o productos congelados, e incluso cosas enlatadas.

También estoy comprando arroz y granos. Les mostraré una receta con granos, y les mostraré diferentes cosas que se puede hacer con la misma clase de grano, los frijoles de ojo negro. También estoy comprando... pensaba comprar harina, pero eso es misión imposible.

Así que lo que compré son algunos preparados para torta, que se puede usar para otras cosas. Puedes hacer galletas con esos preparados, porque querrás darte un gusto de vez en cuando.

Michelle Kosinski: Me resulta bastante difícil calcular qué exactamente uno va a usar. Porque cuando ves que hay disponibles cosas que no lo estuvieron todo este tiempo, piensas: "Me voy a comprar todo eso". Especialmente los productos naturales. Pero, después, te rompe el corazón que se empiecen a poner feos en el refrigerador. Entonces, realmente tienes que calibrarlo, ¿no?

Carla Hall: Así es. Y lo importante es cómo hacer que tus productos naturales duren. Yo siempre compro muchas hierbas. Aquí tengo mis hierbas. Las pongo en agua y les pongo papel de cocina húmedo arriba y luego la bolsita en la que vienen estos productos. Les pongo eso arriba. Y así creo un cierto efecto invernadero. Y hay que cambiarle el agua cada par de días.

Otra cosa que puedes hacer con los productos naturales, como los cítricos, es pelarlos y congelarlos. Puedes mezclar las hierbas con aceite, así preservarlas. Así que hay cosas que se puede hacer, porque no queremos que se pongan feos. La lechuga que viene en un contenedor plástico... Hay que sacarla del contenedor y forrarla con papel de cocina para que la humedad no entre a la lechuga, porque odiamos ver que se ponga fea.

Michelle Kosinski: Exacto. Esos son muy buenos consejos, gracias.

Y escuchamos en las noticias últimamente sobre las dificultades que enfrentan ahora los productores de pollo, cerdo y carne. Carla, suponiendo que no podamos contar con eso en el menú, ¿puedes darnos algunas recetas que no fallen y no contengan carne? Y para completar el desafío, ¿qué tal que también sean fáciles de preparar?

Carla Hall: Me encanta cómo lo completaste.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Carla Hall: Muy bien. Productos naturales, como hablamos. Berenjena, batatas, coliflor... Si asas una batata entera y la cortas a la mitad, la sellas en una sartén de hierro fundido, sabrá deliciosa. Y después le pones arriba hierbas, incluso frijoles negros, especias y demás.

Con la berenjena, lo mismo. Córtala bien gruesa para que se sienta como el plato principal y quedará deliciosa. Se habla de coliflor entera asada y filetes de coliflor. Son muy buenos.

Mi primera elección es tomates con cebollas y ajo guisados. Luego le metería algunas hierbas o especias, y esa es mi base. Le podría agregar verduras asadas a eso. También podría agregarle algo de carne, pero no estamos hablando de carne. Entonces, le podría agregar las verduras asadas a eso, y sabe riquísimo. Esas verduras pueden ser verduras frescas, congeladas o enlatadas.

 

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, hay mucho que se puede hacer, y quiero seguir con eso también porque la falta de alimentos como hay ahora agudiza la situación de personas que ya no tienen acceso a alimentos asequibles y de buena calidad.

Es inseguridad alimentaria, y hay por todo el país, lamentablemente. Entonces, ¿qué puede hacer la gente para ayudar a abordar la inseguridad alimentaria cuando hay faltantes?

Carla Hall: En este momento, si buscas un comedor benéfico cercano, un comedor comunitario o un banco de alimentos... Escribe eso en el buscador de internet, y verás todos los lugares donde puedes donar comida, o donar tu tiempo.

Y ese tiempo puede ser preparando comida, ayudando con entregas y retiros. Así que hay diferentes formas. Podrías simplemente dar dinero, pero están tan desesperados por recursos, ya sea dinero u horas de trabajo, que si donas tu tiempo, y puedes hacerlo regularmente o hasta una vez al mes, se valora mucho.

Michelle Kosinski: Es un muy buen recordatorio para un tema tan importante. Sé que AARP ha estado trabajando en ese asunto, luchando por más fondos para programas como Meals on Wheels, que ayudan mucho a personas con inseguridad alimentaria y ayudan con la nutrición de adultos mayores de bajos ingresos.

Nos están llegando muchas preguntas, y creo que se las deberíamos hacer a Carla. Les recuerdo a todos que presionen *3 en cualquier momento en sus teléfonos para conectarse para conectarte con un miembro del equipo de AARP y hacer sus preguntas. Y, nuevamente, si estás mirando a través de Facebook o YouTube y tienes una pregunta, déjala en los comentarios.

Presentemos ahora a Jean Setzfand, de AARP, para que nos facilite todas esas llamadas. Hola, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Michelle.

Un placer tenerte aquí. Excelente.

 

Muchas gracias.

Michelle Kosinski: ¿Tenemos una primera pregunta para Carla?

Jean Setzfand: Claro que sí. Tenemos a Gwendolyn, de Nueva York.

Michelle Kosinski: Grandioso. Gwendolyn, de Nueva York, ¿de qué quieres hablar esta noche?

Gwendolyn: Hola. Hola a todos. Hola, Carla. Me encanta verte en "The Chew". Mi pregunta tiene que ver con...

Carla Hall: Hola, gracias.

Gwendolyn: ...reducir las recetas. He estado cocinando mucho, pero solo para mí y mi hija. Y muchas de las recetas que veo son para cuatro personas, ocho, seis personas. Entonces, ¿solo divido los ingredientes a la mitad o hay algo especial que haya que modificar en una receta para adaptarla de una receta para muchas porciones a pocas porciones? Y gracias.

Carla Hall: De nada. Es una muy buena pregunta.

Si consideras cocinar por cantidad, puedes hacer la receta completa y después la divides en contenedores y la congelas o la pones en el refrigerador.

A menos que estés horneando, puedes dividir los ingredientes a la mitad sin problema. Si la receta lleva seis presas de pollo, puedes usar tres presas de pollo, y todos los demás ingredientes a la mitad. Si crees que va a durar, hazla completa, porque será un día menos que tengas que cocinar. Ya puedes tener la cena lista y solo la sacar del congelador.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, buen punto.

Bien, Jean. ¿Hay más preguntas para Carla?

Jean Setzfand: Sí, hay más. Leeré una pregunta de Facebook ahora. Y esta pregunta es de Bonnie. Tiene una pregunta para Carla. "Carla, ¿es mejor usar caldo o consomé?"

Carla Hall: Es, básicamente, lo mismo. Lo puedes llamar caldo, caldo de huesos, caldo de verduras... Es lo mismo.

Son términos sinónimos, se puede usar cualquiera e intercambiar. A veces, puedes usar agua o puedes usar... Puedes usar cáscaras o algo en tu plato, así que cualquiera.

Michelle Kosinski: Buen consejo. Muchas personas tienen esa pregunta.

Carla Hall: Mm-hm.

Michelle Kosinski: Muy bien, que sigan las preguntas.

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, nuestra próxima llamada es de Donna, de Albuquerque.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Donna.

Donna: Hola. Carla, creo que ya respondiste la pregunta que estaba por hacer sobre comidas nutritivas, pero tengo otra. Mi hija intenta alimentar a tres niños, de 5, 6 y 15 años. Tienen gustos diferentes, y todos tienen caprichos a lo loco. ¿Tienes idea de qué platos y, claro, con un presupuesto muy limitado porque ahora está suspendida...?

Le sugerí que, quizá una vez, les pusiera máscaras a los chicos para que fuera divertido y los llevara a comprar productos naturales para que escogieran cosas coloridas. Pero ¿tienes ideas mejores para alimentar a estos dos grupos de edades con poco presupuesto? Y...

Carla Hall: Creo que es una muy buena pregunta, y saludable.

Entonces, nunca comienzo... Quiero decirte rápido que tengo una receta rápida, que no hice. Y creo que es algo que le gustará a todos, y es con frijoles de ojo negro. Tengo aquí frijoles de ojo negro, y puedes hacer un humus. A la mayoría de los chicos le gusta el humus, y son los mismos ingredientes que usaría en una ensalada de frijoles de ojo negro.

Entonces, tengo frijoles de ojo negro, y puede ser cualquier clase de frijoles. Con aceite de oliva, vinagre, ají molido o tahini, un poco de ajo, sal. Pones todo en el procesador, y obtendrás esto. Y puede ir con cualquier verdura.

A mí me gusta cocinar las verduras a la plancha. Cocino apio, cocino judías verdes, y aquí tengo zanahorias frescas, que son dulces. Y los chicos puedes elegir las verduras que quieran, aunque la llenen de aceite, y ponerlas al horno.

La mayoría de los chicos, si participan del proceso de cocinar, lo comen. Otra cosa que hago con los frijoles de ojo negro es ensalada. Tengo pepino... Los mismos ingredientes con pepinos, tomates, ajo, unas cebollas y cebollines. Pico todo, y lo echo en una vinagreta de salsa picante, y ni siquiera tiene que ser picante.

Pero creo que, si encuentras algo que puedes hacer de diferentes maneras... Puedes poner el humus con la ensalada en un pan árabe o en una tortilla, y puedes dorarlo a la plancha. Eso también es divertido. Realmente creo hay cosas que ellos pueden hacer. Que participen del proceso, haz que lo hagan. Para que todos estén involucrados.

Y para el paladar dulce, tengo aquí unas bolitas hechas con manteca de maní, ciruelas pasas, avena y un poco de miel. Todo al procesador, y tengo estas hermosas bolitas. Espero que eso ayude.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso es genial. Y me gustan las imágenes también. ¿Qué crees que esté haciendo mucha gente afuera? ¿Te parece que vayan a volver los grandes guisos de la década de 1970? ¿Vuelve algo de eso?

Carla Hall: Todo vuelve. Creo que la misma gente se sorprende. Están volviendo a cocinar. Ahora cocinamos más de lo que nunca antes hemos cocinado. Cocinamos todas nuestras comidas en casa.

Y creo que la gente tiene la voluntad de intentarlo. Están dispuesto a perdonarse si no funciona. "Bueno, volveré a intentarlo". Creo que se están sorprendiendo de ellos mismos. Los platos que se preparan en una sola olla son los primeros en la lista de muchos.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso definitivamente...

Carla Hall: Porque no quieren lavar los platos.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso también. Yo misma... Yo estoy sola en casa, mientras mi familia está varada en el extranjero. Y es raro cocinar para uno. Puedo hacer lo que quiera, pero... tengo mucho o en una noche... Así que me alegra que la gente haga estas preguntas. Creo que hay algo para todos ahí.

¿Y hay más preguntas para Carla?

Jean Setzfand: La próxima es de Joyce, de Texas.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Hola, Joyce. Bienvenida.

Joyce: Hola.

Michelle Kosinski: ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

Joyce: Mi pregunta es... Me preguntaba qué se puede hacer que sea dulce con harinas vegetales y tofu.

Carla Hall: Espera, ¿dijiste que sea dulce?

Joyce: Sí.

Michelle Kosinski: Eso es interesante.

Carla Hall: Totalmente. Puedes usar tofu suave. Yo no usaría el tofu extrafirme. Uso tofu suave, que es más cremoso. Con tofu suave y chocolate. Entonces, derrites el chocolate y lo pones en el procesador con el tofu suave y azúcar, quizá un poquito de vainilla o canela, y con eso haces un mousse, y queda delicioso.

Michelle Kosinski: Me encanta esa idea. Y yo, en mis experimentos de cocina, acabo de enterarme de que el tofu suave es un buen sustituto del huevo en repostería. Entonces, si eres alérgico a los huevos o no te gustan o si eres vegano, puedes usar tofu suave como un sustituto del huevo. Lo probé en un pequeño budín que hice, y salió genial. Así que eso es algo más para lo que es bueno el tofu.

¿Alguna otra pregunta...?

Carla Hall: Es muy bueno.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí… ¿Alguna otra pregunta para Carla?

Carla Hall: También iba a decir...

Michelle Kosinski: Adelante.

Carla Hall: Es una sopa, si la quieres cremosa. Si tienes una sopa de tomate, en vez de agregarle crema, si le agregar un poquito de tofu blando y lo pones en la licuadora, hará que quede cremosa. Y además le agrega proteínas.

Michelle Kosinski: Qué bien. Sí. Es como cuando buscas e investigas algo en internet, encuentras todas estas otras posibilidades. Así que creo que hay mucho de investigación y experimento todo el tiempo todos los días.

Bien, escuchemos nuestra próxima pregunta.

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien. Tenemos a Debra, de California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Debra, en la costa oeste.

Debra: Hola, ¿qué tal?

Michelle Kosinski: Un placer. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

Debra: Mi pregunta es... Me encanta cocinar improvisando, ¿sí? Ese es mi punto fuerte. Pero, a veces, no tengo los ingredientes. Entonces, si decido improvisar algo... ¿Qué recomendarías como verduras para hacer algo así?

Carla Hall: Muy bien, este es el truco para ti. Cuando quieras improvisar algo y sepas lo que tienes, busca en Google esos ingredientes que tienes.

Escríbelos en la barra de búsqueda, y... Y te aparecerán varias recetas, ¿sí? Entonces, en cuanto a las verduras, pones cualquier verdura que tengas en el horno caliente y asa esas verduras.

En cuanto a improvisar, depende de lo que tienes y lo que quieres. Zanahorias, como tengo yo, judías verdes, apio asado. Realmente depende de lo que uno tenga.

Cuando voy al supermercado, porque me dedico a cocinar, veo tantas opciones y, a veces, me abruman las opciones. Si uno no cocina, no es tu caso, tu sí cocinas, vas y te sientes abrumado por todas las comidas y no puedes elegir.

Pero pienso que cualquier verdura que uses... Si es una verdura grande, puede estar en el centro del plato, y le agregas cosas a eso. Si es una verdura chica, se apoyará en lo que sea que estés haciendo. ¿Sirve de ayuda?

Michelle Kosinski: Excelente consejo.

Muy bien, pasemos a otra pregunta.

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos otra pregunta que nos llega a través de Facebook.

Y esta es de María, y nos pregunta qué comidas de pollo son simples y fáciles y aún así ricas.

Carla Hall: Me encanta, María, que preguntes qué comidas son simples y aun así ricas.

Difícil no quiere decir que sea rico, déjame decirte. Una de mis primeras elecciones son los muslos de pollo. Mi esposo hace muchos muslos de pollo. Me enamoré de la freidora por aire.

Uso muslos de pollo, hago una mezcla de pimentón, ajo en polvo, cebolla en polvo, un poquito de cayena y sal. Los curo con eso y los pongo en la freidora por aire en la función de pollo frito por aire.

Para preparar otro plato con el mismo pollo, agarro ese pollo marinado y rebano cebollas y ajo. Rebano eso y lo pongo en una sartén con sal y pimienta, y luego pongo más o menos media taza de caldo de pollo. Pongo el pollo sobre eso con la piel hacia arriba, le pongo una tapa y lo meto al horno a 400 °F por alrededor de una hora cubierto. Le saco la tapa y lo dejo 30 minutos más, y así tendrás un rico pollo sofocado al horno. Sacas el pollo, tomas un tenedor y aplastas esas deliciosas cebollas y ajo suaves con el tenedor para hacer una salsa, y vuelves a poner el pollo. Y así tienes un pollo sofocado sin toda la grasa, y es delicioso.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, yo puedo hacerlo. Quisiera saber cuántas personas probarán esa misma receta esta noche porque la sugeriste.

Y, Carla, ¿con qué estás experimentando tú? ¿Estás probando cosas nuevas en casa, ya lo hiciste todo, o cuál es tu proyecto?

Carla Hall: No lo he hecho todo. Tengo algo con hacer pan, sabes. Cuando consiga levadura, voy a hacer pan porque me encanta hacer bizcochos. Estoy experimentando con la masa de bizcochos, qué se le puede agregar. ¿Puedo rellenarlos con salsa?

Michelle Kosinski: Qué rico.

Carla Hall: ¿Qué puedo poner en la freidora por aire? Tuve fracasos en la freidora por aire. Déjame decirte, a mí también me sale mal.

Intenté hacer algo con queso y galletitas en la freidora por aire, y después de cerrarla, comencé a oír pop, pop, pop. Y pensé: "¿Qué está pasando ahí? ¿Por qué suena como palomitas?". Y volaban para todas partes. Abrí la freidora por aire, y estaba todo pegado.

Así que yo también tengo fracasos, pero aprendemos de los fracasos. Así que no los considero fracasos. Solo considero que son pruebas, y aprendo. Así que estoy aprendiendo sobre la freidora por aire.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Sé que hay mucha gente que finalmente puede hacer los experimentos de cocina que quiso hacer durante mucho tiempo. Como cuando mencioné que estaba buscando un sustituto del huevo.

Puedes buscar algo en Google, y alguien en algún lugar ya lo intentó, ¿no? Y encontré que una mujer horneó como 18 tortas en un día solo para descubrir cuál era el mejor substituto del huevo. Me encanta que ahora tengamos el tiempo de hacer cosas así.

Escuchemos otra pregunta para Carla, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, creo que esta es la última pregunta para Carla.

Michelle Kosinski: Bueno.

Jean Setzfand: Y es de Anna, de Nueva Jersey.

Michelle Kosinski: Bienvenida, Anna, de mi estado natal de Nueva Jersey.

Anna: Hola. Mi pregunta es qué clase de postres tienes que sean simplificados. Lo sé, estoy usando la palabra "simplificar" para manzanas y bananas para hacer un postre, y sé que tienes recetas para la tarta de manzanas, que me encanta.

Carla Hall: Mm-hm. En cuanto a las manzanas, puedes ahuecarla y poner adentro una mezcla de azúcar morena, licor, quizá manteca y canela, y cualquier especia dulce como cardamomo. Mezcla todo y rellena la manzana que ahuecaste. Y luego la horneas. Y puedes hacer una manzana o pueden ser cuatro manzanas. Las horneas a 350 °F con un poquito de jugo de manzana en el fondo, hasta que estén blandas.

También puedes hacer algo rebanando las manzanas, para un postre rápido, y le pones manteca de maní arriba, o alguna clase de manteca de nuez y granola, y así haces algo superrápido.

Habías dicho algo más. Puedes hacer un mousse si tienes chocolate y crema batida. Sé que hablamos sobre el tofu, puedes batirlo con... ¡Dios mío! He estado haciendo tortas en el microondas, tortitas en taza. Puedes encontrar la receta que hice para otro video en internet.

Hice una de chocolate y una de limón, y llevan tres cucharadas de harina, y son superfáciles de hacer y muy deliciosas y húmedas. Y lo bueno de eso es que son una porción, así que no te vas a comer una torta entera.

Michelle Kosinski: Eso es genial. Me gusta oír sobre tus experimentos y también me gusta oír que, a veces, te salen mal las cosas porque me hace sentir menos vergüenza. Pero, bueno, no hay nadie cerca para que vea y se burle de mí. Bueno, Carla, eso fue grandioso. Y quédate por ahí porque volveremos a hablar contigo después.

Pero ahora vayamos a Ty. Con todo este tiempo en casa, todo el mundo está tentado a abordar alguno de esos proyectos para mejorar el hogar que han postergado quizá durante años, o hasta incluso décadas. Lo he visto y lo he sentido.

Entonces, Ty, ¿qué le sugieres a la gente que haga en este momento? ¿Cuál es un buen punto de partida? Y por otro lado, ¿cuáles son las cosas que definitivamente deberían dejárselas a los expertos

Ty Pennington: Bueno, esta es la cosa. Hay muchas cosas que creo que la gente puede hacer. Pero una de las cosas que creo que todos están intentando hacer, porque estamos encerrados en este lugar, es listar las cosas que antes te gustaría hacer y ahora sabes que necesitas hacer.

Y muchas veces no son cosas divertidas, como limpiar los canalones, hacer remiendos en la pared, limpiar los zócalos y hacer retoques en la pintura. Pero también puede ser algo loco y divertido como convertir tu inodoro en un bidé, ese en un proyecto que yo emprendí.

Pero hay muchos proyectos que creo que son... que implican trabajar con un pincel, con una espátula, y son solo trabajos estéticos. Pero, definitivamente, les pediría que se abstengan de cualquier trabajo eléctrico, o que tenga que ver con los cimientos.

Pero si estás pintando la pared, empapelando, si te embarcas en proyectos que mejores cualquier ambiente de tu casa, yo diría que lo hagan. Pero pienso que lo que la gente está haciendo son los arreglos que han estado postergando, como lavar la terraza a presión. Yo también he estado haciendo esa clase de trabajos.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Entonces, ¿dices que no debería levantar mi casa y trabajar en los cimientos? Tengo todo listo.

Ty Pennington: Me alegra.

Michelle Kosinski: Tienes razón, porque he pospuesto cosas... Creo que los proyectos que posponemos son los proyectos que, cuando terminamos, decimos: "Esto es tan fácil. Solo me llevó unas cosas. ¿Por qué lo postergué 10 años?"

Sin embargo, en cuanto a las cosas que postergué, ahora pienso: "Por esto es que lo postergué, porque esto es muy molesto". Eso pasa mucho.

Pero quería preguntarte, para las personas que tengan a sus padres viviendo en casa, o para los que quieran quedarse en la casa de ellos lo más posible, ¿cómo pueden aprovechar este tiempo para hacer planes o mejorar sus casas para poder quedarse en casa? ¿Qué cosas puede hacer la gente, por ejemplo, en la habitación o el baño?

Ty Pennington: Una cosa es segura. Y yo la estoy experimentando ahora.

Nunca pensé que volvería a vivir con mi mamá, pero así pasó. Y, por suerte, ella es muy graciosa, así que nos entretenemos mucho. Pero creo que es... Eso se ve mucho.

Creo que la gente está convirtiendo sus hogares en alojamientos donde los miembros de la familia puedan comenzar a quedarse. Así que hay muchas cosas que puedes hacer. Lo que me gustaría hacer es convertir espacios para darles más utilidad. Reconozcámoslo.

Nunca nos alcanza el espacio. Es decir, tenemos guardarropas, pero el espacio nunca es suficiente. Y entonces, muchas personas están convirtiendo. Por ejemplo, digamos que es el comedor formal que queremos convertir en oficina, donde podrías aprovechar más el espacio y trabajar con una computadora en un escritorio, porque ¿cuántas veces usamos el comedor formal? Así que creo que eso se verá mucho.

Convertir habitaciones en espacios funcionales en lugar de habitaciones que se ven bien pero que solo las atravesamos caminando.

Michelle Kosinski: Eso es interesante, sí. Y se necesita llegar al punto de finalmente admitir: "Bien, no he usado este comedor ni una vez en años". "Nunca lo voy a usar" o "Es hora de convertir esa habitación que está llena de cosas inservibles en algo más". Así que ese es un buen punto.

Además, con tanta gente que busca nuevas formas de generar ingresos o hacer un espacio para un familiar o cuidadores que viven cerca, mencionaste esto, ¿qué opinas de agregar ese espacio habitable adicional, como una habitación para la suegra o para la abuela? Dime algo sobre comenzar un proyecto así y qué se debería tener presente.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, pienso que lo primero que debes hacer es asegurarte de que se va a concretar porque, una vez que conviertes un espacio que era de almacenamiento en un lugar donde alguien tiene que vivir, debes recordar que tienes que climatizarlo, tienes que ponerle luces, ventanas, etcétera. Pero una vez que confirmas que sucederá, creo que es inteligente para cualquiera comenzar por un área que pueda convertirse en una habitación adicional.

Mi mamá se está quedando en la habitación que está justo al lado de la mía, así que ya estoy pensando en pasarme a la sala. Es broma, pero... Sí, pienso que...

Michelle Kosinski: También necesitas espacio para que los lémures se reproduzcan.

Ty Pennington: Es cierto, es cierto.

Michelle Kosinski: Voy a tener pesadillas sobre eso esta noche.

Ty Pennington: Pero son tan tiernos, Son grandiosos. Son realmente grandiosos. Hacen un lío, pero son divertidos.

Michelle Kosinski: Queremos verlos antes de que esto termine. Quiero pruebas de que hay lémures viviendo en tu casa. Y el hecho de que no te hayan roto la casa, creo que ya es grandioso.

Ty Pennington: Son muy caprichosos. Creo que tomaron relajantes ahora, y eso es bueno. Pero creo que es real.

Creo que la gente está convirtiendo sus garajes en pequeños departamentos monoambientes. Creo que se va a ver eso cada vez más. Y la dificultad es si se puede o no instalar electricidad, pero otra cosa es si se puede acoplar cañerías a las cañerías que existentes. Y eso es más de lo que uno puede imaginarse.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso podría ser más de los que algunos quieren hacer. Pero, también, como la gente está más en casa con los niños y se molesta cada vez más con los adolescentes, ese garaje puede ser un gran departamento adicional.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, siempre pueden entrar. Pueden venir y usar el baño y la ducha, pero tienen ese espacio extra para ellos. Y creo que eso se está haciendo en todas partes ya.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Ty Pennington: Sí.

Michelle Kosinski: Seguro. Y es un buen momento para hacer ese espacio femenino que siempre quisiste o espacio masculino, cueva masculina.

Ty Pennington: Sí, absolutamente. Yo no podría vivir sin una cueva masculina. Es todo para mí.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, parece que toda tu casa puede ser una cueva masculina y cueva de lémures. Yo no sé, pero es un buen consejo. Gracias, Ty. Y esto remarca lo importante que es el lugar que llamamos hogar, especialmente cuando muchos de nosotros estamos confinados en nuestro hogar.

Y sé que representantes de AARP están trabajando a nivel federal, estatal y municipal para garantizar que la gente tenga un lugar seguro y conectado para sobrevivir esta crisis. Eso incluye luchar para evitar desalojos a personas, al igual que interrupciones en los servicios públicos y banda ancha.

Respondamos ahora más preguntas de nuestros oyentes. Y aquí va otro recordatorio. Para hacer preguntas, solo presiona *3 en tu teléfono. Y si nos estás viendo a través de Facebook o YouTube y tienes una pregunta, puedes dejarla en los comentarios.

Jean, ¿a quién tenemos en línea para hablar con Ty? ¿Quién no quiere hablar con Ty?

Jean Setzfand: Exacto. Bueno, comencemos con Brian, de Nebraska.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Brian de Nebraska.

Brian: Hola, ¿cómo andan, muchachos?

Michelle Kosinski: Bienvenido.

Brian: Gracias.

Michelle Kosinski: Adelante. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

Brian: ¿Pueden oírme?

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Brian: Bueno. Sí. La pregunta que tengo es... Compramos una casa, una casa de 14 años, y compramos duchas de vapor, se chorreaba la pared en los tres baños.

Tratamos de reemplazar los ventiladores por extractores más potentes, y notamos que uno de los tubos de ventilación tenía el “flap” instalado para cerrar por error con un tornillo de presión dentro de uno de los tubos de ventilación, así que lo sacamos y liberamos el “flap”. Pero incluso después de reemplazar el ventilador, tenemos el mismo problema en los tres baños. No sé si hay algo más que podamos intentar o...

Michelle Kosinski: Esa es una pregunta interesante. ¿Qué piensas de eso, Ty?

Ty Pennington: Me causa curiosidad, ¿qué se corre por la pared? ¿Es agua o qué exactamente?

Brian: La ducha a vapor.

Michelle Kosinski: El vapor de la ducha.

Ty Pennington: Oh, ¿el vapor de la ducha?

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Ty Pennington: Bien, eso es algo interesante porque, honestamente, creo que publiqué esto en mi Instagram hace unos días, que puse una ducha de vapor en mi baño de la planta baja. Y puse azulejos en el techo en la parte que tiene el vidrio, con la puerta cerrada, ¿no? Pero, a veces, cuando entras y sales, sale el vapor y por eso afectó el yeso del techo, y entonces se estaba descamando y cayendo. Entonces, tuve que arreglar donde se estaba descamando porque la humedad iba a hacer que el yeso se descame. Pareciera que tienes mucha humedad ahí.

Te sugeriría dos cosas. Hay algo para deshacerte de la humedad. Se llama DampRid o algo así. Absorbe la humedad, podrías probar eso. Pero pareciera que necesitas ventilación extra hacia afuera, quizá a un ático, para que el aire salga porque está quedando atrapado dentro de tu baño o la habitación que sea.

¿Hay alguna forma de que pongas una segunda ventilación que sea una simple salida de aire? Porque creo que eso es lo que necesitas.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Creo que nuestro oyente... Sí, no creo que permanezcan en línea tanto tiempo. Solo pueden escuchar después de preguntar, pero ese fue un buen consejo.

Ty Pennington: Sí, considera eso.

Michelle Kosinski: Bien, Jean, ¿a quién más tenemos?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Wendy, a través de Facebook. Y Wendy pregunta: "Ty, del personal de reparación, ¿hay alguno que sea esencial? Plomero, electricista... Realmente necesito ayuda".

Ty Pennington: Bueno, bien. Los electricistas, sin duda, y te diré por qué. No deberías hacer mucho de electricidad por tu cuenta.

Si quieres cambiar un ventilador de techo, si quieres cambiar una luz, si tienen alguien que lo haya hecho antes o un vecino, pídeselo. Lo más simple que debes hacer es asegurarte de desconectar la electricidad. No me canso de decirlo. Pero si se trata de hacer una reconexión o tienes algún problema con la caja de interruptores, llama a un profesional.

En cuanto a plomería, puedes tratar de hacer cosas simples. Yo, literalmente, acabo de convertir mi inodoro en un bidé, y les diré que se ahorra mucho papel higiénico. Se ahorra mucho papel. Y también es muy refrescante, y se convierte en una fuente de agua. Les encantará.

Pero esto es lo que digo: si tienes otros problemas de plomería, supongamos que tienes problemas de la fosa séptica y las heces no se van y rebalsa, deberías llamar a un plomero profesional porque esa es una situación... digamos delicada que vas a... Digamos que esa es una verdadera crisis para la que necesitas un profesional.

Michelle Kosinski: Sin duda, sin duda. Muy bien, veamos a quién más tenemos.

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo oyente es Marta, de California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Marta. ¿Cómo está California?

Marta: Hola. Tengo una terraza en el patio... Es una linda terraza, y grande, pero quisiera cerrarla arriba. Es abierta y entra la lluvia. Entonces, me gustaría cubrirla para disfrutar de un mejor lugar donde sentarse y estar protegidos de la lluvia.

¿Hay alguna sugerencia para hacerlo manteniendo lo que tengo? Porque el resto de la terraza está en buenas condiciones y es madera sólida, no quiero tirar todo y hacerlo todo nuevo.

Ty Pennington: Sí, hay un par de opciones.

Primero que nada, estando en California, lo grandioso es que sentarse afuera básicamente es tener otra sala, y eso es grandioso. Así que sí, definitivamente tienes que sacarle provecho a eso.

Pero, tienes razón, el problema es que a veces entra la lluvia. Mi sugerencia es... Puedes hacerlo a la antigua, que sería poner contrachapado arriba, y luego le pones tejas y demás. Perderás un poco de luz, pero tendrás un espacio resistente a la lluvia, con un techo en tu área exterior.

La otra cosa que puedes hacer es usar paneles corrugados o paneles de cubierta. Vienen de aluminio y vienen finos. También puedes conseguirlos de fibra de vidrio, que son transparentes y permiten que pase la luz. Los usan a veces en los invernaderos. No duran tanto porque los vientos fuertes los van dañando y demás, pero se ven muy bien por un tiempo. Son superbaratos y fáciles de instalar.

Michelle Kosinski: Entendido.

Ty Pennington: Espero que eso ayude.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, creo que es un muy buen consejo. Tienes respuesta para todo, parece. Veamos qué mas...

Ty Pennington: Así es.

Michelle Kosinski: Esperemos que nadie llame por algo grave que requiera ayuda urgente. Para eso llamen al 911.

Ty Pennington: Cierto. "¡Está goteando ahora!".

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. "Tengo cuatro pies de agua, que Dios me salve".

Bueno, veamos quién más está del otro lado con alguna pregunta interesante. Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Jones, a través de Facebook. Y en el entorno del distanciamiento social por el coronavirus en el que estamos, Jones nota que cada vez más vecinos están armando espacios para sentarse en el patio delantero para poder conversar con los vecinos en la tarde-noche. ¿Alguna buena idea de manualidades para eso?

Michelle Kosinski: Eso es interesante. Como un espacio de reunión en distanciamiento.

Ty Pennington: También lo noté. Reconozcámoslo, en todo el país, la gente está... Están sacando las sillas de jardín, y mantienen la distancia de al menos seis pies entre sí, pero así se pueden ver. Pueden beber algo y comunicarse.

Pero una cosa de la que me di cuenta es que, si diseñas una hoguera, con adoquines, piedras y demás, en un círculo, y lo haces suficientemente grande, que el perímetro sea grande... lo genial es que es como la Mesa Redonda del rey Arturo.

Todos se pueden ver, pero te distancias aún más. Y si estás en el punto en que puedes ver la luz del fuego, todos están involucrados, pero todos están distanciados. Así que me parece una idea genial, usar un círculo para mantener la distancia.

Michelle Kosinski: Muy lindo. Y quiero recordarles a todos, si se están uniendo a través del teléfono, presionen *3 en sus teléfonos para estar en la lista para hacer sus preguntas. Y si nos están viendo a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden dejar sus preguntas en los comentarios.

Jean, ¿hay alguien más por ahí con alguna pregunta difícil que hacer?

Jean Setzfand: Sí. Tenemos a Stephanie, de Wisconsin.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Stephanie, en Wisconsin.

Stephanie: Hola, ¿cómo están? ¿Está cálido donde están?

Michelle Kosinski: Un poquito. Un placer oírte. Y, dinos, ¿qué tienes en mente?

Stephanie: Lo que tengo en mente es que vivo en un departamento de 900 pies cuadrados Y tengo un... En el condominio en el que estoy... Tendrá unos 50 años. La cocina no ha sido remodelada. Y entre todas las habitaciones, la cocina es la que necesita remodelación.

Tengo que poner... Tengo que repintar los gabinetes o poner gabinetes nuevos. Tengo que cambiar el piso, y tengo que sacar el empapelado porque es bastante viejo. Me preguntaba si Ty tiene sugerencias sobre qué hacer primero o cómo hacerlo y cuál es la forma menos costosa si lo tengo que hacer de a poco en el plazo de un par de años.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, esa es una pregunta cargada. Es una muy buena pregunta. Pero lo que me encanta es que ya me recuerda la cocina en la que crecí con mi familia, porque literalmente vi la misma situación en la que miras el empapelado, y parece de los años 70, y piensas: "Creo que deberíamos cambiar eso". Y después miras el linóleo en el piso, y comienza a descamarse donde se arrastró el refrigerador o el lavavajillas portátil, y hay que cambiarlo. Y luego miras los gabinetes, y están pasado de moda. Entonces, lo que tienes es una cocina muy anticuada. Y lo que tienes es un pequeño acertijo.

Tendrás que gastar dinero en muchas áreas diferentes. Ahora, una forma en la que podrías ahorrar dinero es no reemplazar todos los gabinetes, y solo cambia la cara de las puertas de los gabinetes. Y quizá repintarlos, y tratar de mantenerlo simple y fácil.

Sin embargo, estás hablando de tener que hacer todo lo de la cocina, entonces tienes que evaluar cuánto te costará rehacer los gabinetes y cuánto te costará rehacer todo.

En mi opinión, si pudieras hacer solo una cosa, yo le daría prioridad al empapelado y le pondría un nuevo empapelado arriba, que sería lo más fácil. Porque he pintado casas durante 13 años, y tratar de sacar un empapelado es una de las cosas más difíciles, especialmente si estuvo ahí unos 50 años. Pero aquí tendrás que arreglar mucho la pared cuando lo hagas. Pero creo que como se usan las cocina hoy, si puedes reemplazar los gabinetes, eso es lo que haría yo.

Si no puedes hacer eso, definitivamente reemplazaría las puertas y usaría unas puertas modernas. Las pones con bisagras, y te sorprendería el cambio. Y simplemente pinta todo, quizá de un color gris tiza o gris claro. Te sorprendería lo bien que puede verse solo con reemplazar las puertas y los accesorios, y los tiradores de los cajones.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso exactamente hicimos en la casa de mis padres.

Primero repintamos los gabinetes, pero después decidimos cambiarles las puertas. Tenían paneles, los pintamos, y sacamos el linóleo del suelo y pusimos piso de parqué. Fue rápido, no fue muy costosa, y quedó mucho mejor. Quedó mucho más nuevo y acogedor. Así que buena suerte a todos.

Y, Ty, gracias por las respuestas y quédate por ahí porque volveremos a hablar contigo.

Matt, vayamos a ti ahora. Has estado esperando pacientemente. Y nos morimos por escuchar tu perspectiva en estos proyectos también porque eres un experto en eliminar de lo innecesario. Y si todo este tiempo en casa nos mostró algo, es que a todos nos vendría bien un poco de lugar extra y eliminar algunas cosas. Y no creo conocer a alguien que no haya intentando revisar los cajones y guardarropas. Y algunas de las cosas que encontraron, por cierto, u olvidado por completo eran interesantes y no tan tentadoras. De hecho, la semana pasada, una amiga encontró un frasco en el refrigerador que había vencido, literalmente, hace 12 años.

Pero aquí está el desafío. Gran parte de lo que podemos considerar que no es necesario en nuestra casa, no en el refrigerador, está sujeto a momentos significativos en nuestra vida.

Cada habitación, cada armario, incluso cada cajón o caja puede tomarnos horas solo para determinar qué guardar y qué tirar. Entonces, Matt, ¿cuál es tu consejo en cuanto a separar las cosas innecesarias de los verdaderos recuerdos significativos que podríamos arrepentirnos de tirar?

Matt Paxton: Las emociones están ahí por una razón, ¿no? Algo bueno pasó, algo positivo pasó.

Para mí, que hago esto durante 15 años, tienes que contar las historias. Tienes que contarle tus historias en voz alta a alguien que quieras. Esperemos que no estés solo.

Pero, si estás solo, llama a un amigo. Cuéntale la historia sobre ese elemento. Te sorprendería con qué facilidad lo tiras si compartes la historia.

Michelle Kosinski: Y tienes que estar de ánimo para hacerlo. ¿No te parece que si...? Bueno, tú eres el experto, así que saber cómo hacerlo.

Pero ¿no te parece que la gente, a veces, si aborda una de estas tareas y no están de ánimo para ceder cosas o deshacerse de cosas, se van a quedar con todo? Pero, cuando llegas a esa zona o te dan ganas de hacerlo, quieres deshacerte de cosas y entonces es mucho más fácil.

Matt Paxton: Sí, yo recomiendo ponerse un horario. Es prácticamente como hacer ejercicio. Sé que debo hacerlo, pero realmente no quiero hacerlo. Entonces, me pongo horarios todos los días. Por ejemplo, voy a organizar 30 minutos. Quizá me tomaría solo 10 minutos la primera semana, pero me pongo un horario. Me pongo a hacerlo, lo hago 10 minutos, y después me siento orgulloso.

La siguiente semana, estiro el tiempo a 20 minutos. Luego a 30, pero me concentro y me dedico a eso. Me gustaría comenzar a las 7:30, como a esta hora. Y, cuando oigo la campana de las 8:00, terminé.

Michelle Kosinski: Es la misma clase de consejo que se les da a los escritores. Solo hazlo. Ponte un horario y hazlo, tómate la práctica de hacerlo.

Es un muy buen consejo. Pero, sabes, las organizaciones benéficas y tiendas de consignación ahora... Adelante.

Matt Paxton: Yo diría que no lo vas a disfrutar los primeros dos días. No lo vas a disfrutar hasta que veas el espacio libre. Entonces, lo que realmente... Muchos de nosotros saltamos a revisar media habitación. Muchos de nosotros hacemos el 85%. Hacemos el 85% y después paramos y vamos a la siguiente habitación.

Mi recomendación es terminar la habitación, dedicarse a un espacio. Pueden ser cuatro pies, solo mantente concentrado. Termínalo, porque luego tienes la satisfacción visual por terminarlo. Es prácticamente como probarse nuevos jeans que te calzan bien, ¿sí? Tienes que ver eso para estar muy concentrado en el tiempo y espacio. Y cuando lo haces, comienzas a sentir esa alegría y emoción.

Michelle Kosinski: Creo que necesitamos que estés ahí guiándonos a través de FaceTime o algo así, porque eres bueno para mentalizarnos a hacerlo.

Pero estaba por decir que las organizaciones benéficas y tiendas de consignación ahora dejaron de aceptar donaciones por la pandemia.

Los Gobiernos municipales están cerrando los vertederos públicos y le están pidiendo a la gente que no dejen cosas en la entrada. Entonces, ¿qué sugieres que se haga con todas las cosas de las que finalmente decidimos deshacernos y donarlos o tirarlos?

Ahora no hay un lugar para ir a dejar esas cosas, y no deberíamos guardarlas cuando estamos de ánimo para soltarlas, ¿no?

Matt Paxton: Sí, he estado hablando con Google toda la semana porque esa es mi gran pregunta.

La gente dice: "¿Qué hago con esto? ¿A dónde lo llevo?" Lentamente están comenzando a abrir algunos de los lugares regionales. Pero deben tener presente que es una empresa basada en una misión, cualquier lugar al que dones las cosas que no quieres, esas cosas van a darle trabajo a personas, ¿no?

Entonces, créanlo o no, todos los lugares de donaciones, sean grandes o pequeños, y estuve hablando con varios, no han trabajando durante las últimas seis semanas, y no estuvieron recibiendo cosas, así que están quebrados. Así que están tan ansiosos como ustedes por recibir cosas, porque con esas cosas se logra pagarles a los empleados.

Esto es lo que les diría que hagan, llamen para ver si están disponibles, no esperen que venga alguien a recogerlos. Eso no sucederá. Esos días terminaron. Es muy peligroso para la gente ir a sus casas a retirar cosas. Simplemente no lo harán. Así que tendrán que llevarlas.

Una cosa que les diría que hagan es, si aún conducen y tienen auto, les diría que pongan dos cajas de cartón en el maletero y las llenen con las cosas que quieren donar. Y cuando estén llenas, conduzcan hasta un centro de donación.

Estarán abiertos las próximas dos a cuatro semanas. Y los muchachos que están ahí las sacarán por ustedes porque la realidad es que no queremos estar levantando y acarreando esas enormes cajas desde el garaje.

Lo que realmente quiero es que analicen lo que donan porque el mayor problema es que enviamos un montón de basura a los centros de donación en todo el país. Pensamos: "Ya no uso esto. Está arruinado". Y decimos: "Es basura. Lo donaré". No quieren tu basura.

Necesitan con cosas en buenas condiciones. Un muchacho que trabajaba para mí había sido indigente en algún momento. Lo fue un tiempo, y luego recompuso su vida. Y una mujer dijo: "Bueno, este suéter está arruinado y horrible, puedes tirarlo o donarlo". Y él dijo: "Bueno, señora. Soy indigente, no feo. Necesito cosas buenas". Me pareció que era una gran forma de verlo.

Tienes que concentrarte en... hacer espacio para las renovaciones con las que Ty te ayudará. Tenemos de deshacernos de un volumen considerable.

Seamos realistas revisando las ropas, seamos realistas revisando las fotos, deshazte de cosas que ocupan lugar para poder aprovechar mejor ese lugar, pero no tires todo en la misma bolsa. La basura va al basurero. Si te sientes mal porque la pila de basura, significa que es momento de detenerte. Cuando comienzas a sentir culpa, sabes que es el momento.

Michelle Kosinski: Esas son buenas palabras a aliento. Y me estoy empezando a sentir culpable por no deshacerme de algunas cosas. Gracias por eso, Matt.

Y revisar los papeles personales de alguien puede ser muy emotivo. ¿Qué le sugieres a las personas que están haciendo eso ahora? Están revisando papeles, fotos y cosas personales de un ser querido, y eso puede ser un trabajo tormentoso.

Matt Paxton: Sí, eso es muy difícil porque muchas personas que nos están escuchando son cuidadores de sus seres queridos. Entonces, es todo un evento, es algo importante.

No revisamos esos papeles a menos que debamos hacerlo. Uno no piensa: "Tengo ganas de hacer la parte difícil ahora". ¿Sí? Tienes que conocer la realidad.

Esta es la principal pregunta que recibo todo el tiempo, qué guardo y qué no, ¿sí? En cuanto a contabilidad, a impuesto, son siete años. Es el plazo legal. Dicen entre siete y diez, son siete. Sí hay que guardar los últimos siete años. En trabajo legal, son cinco años. Y ahí va una importante.

La gente me pregunta todo el tiempo: "Cuánto tiempo guardo el testamento?" Para siempre. Guarda el testamento para siempre. Eso es importante. Yo digitalizaría esas tres cosas de ser posible.

¿Estás pensando en conseguir un escáner y tratar de digitalizar todo? No, llévalo a FedEx Kinko's, págales 30 dólares y lo harán por ti. O dáselo a tu nieto, dale 10 dólares y pídele que lo escanee. No es necesario que pierdas tiempo con la tecnología. Escanéalos, pero pasa todos los papeles que deseches por la trituradora de papeles. Tritura, tritura, tritura, tritura. No me canso de decir lo importante que es pasar los papeles viejos por la trituradora.

Porque... Eso también va para la correspondencia vieja. Toda la correspondencia vieja, cosas del banco... Tritura todo. Los extractos del banco. Por cierto, no necesitas ninguno de los extractos del banco, ninguno. Puedes triturarlos todos, ¿entendido? No importa si es el mes anterior, solo necesitas el último. Eso es todo.

Creo que es un buen momento para llamar a las empresas de catálogos y pedirles que te quiten de la lista. Eso reduciría bastante la correspondencia.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, sí. Es grandioso que digas eso, porque yo pienso en eso, literalmente, todos los días, e incluso me enojo con las compañías en las que no estoy interesada. ¿Cómo terminé en esa lista en primer lugar? Pienso en todo el papel que se desperdicia enviando...

No hablo de los catálogos que nos gusta recibir, pero enviando catálogos a gente que jamás estará interesada en lo que venden. Así que, Matt, gracias por sacar el tema. Me voy a poner a llorar. Me alegra mucho que saques el tema. ¿Qué hay que hacer? ¿Cómo nos libramos de los catálogos?

Matt Paxton: Los catálogos... Lo segundo... Me alegra ser el último porque cocinar con amigos y cocinar con la familia, incluso cocinar para uno solo, es placentero. Es emocionante, ¿no? Y eso le tocó a Carla.

Lo de Ty, digo...

Veo que muchos de mis clientes están haciendo lugar, en el garaje o en el comedor, o un cobertizo nuevo en la parte de atrás para que se mude la mamá. Yo también... Ty, mi mamá se mudó a casa durante esta situación. Y estamos haciendo lugar.

Michelle Kosinski: ¡Sí! ¡Para las mamás!

Matt Paxton: Pero las porquerías nos... Sí, amigo, es genial. Me encanta. Esas porquerías nos retienen. Nos ponen depresivos, y los catálogos son un recordatorio diario.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Matt Paxton: Es un peso diario. Deshazte de eso, hay que pararlo. Ponlos en la papelera de reciclaje, pero primero llama una por una. Encárgate de cinco por día, ¿sí? Junta todos los que recibiste en un mes o dos meses, y cada día toma las cinco de arriba y llámalas. Y tienen que, por ley, quitarte de la lista.

Michelle Kosinski: Entonces, solo hay que llamar al número de atención al cliente que figura en el catálogo y eso es todo. Eso es genial.

Matt Paxton: Sí, es todo lo que tienes que hacer. Sí, y no me quiero meter donde no me corresponde, pero en lo digital es igual. En los e-mails, haces clic en “terminar suscripción”. Porque esos e-mails te ocupan lugar también.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Con los e-mails, me resulta fácil, y sí funciona cuando te das de baja. Siempre le digo a la gente que lo haga, pero... 40 libras de catálogos que llegan a una casa por día... Siempre me pregunté qué tenía que hacer para librarme de ellos. Así que "bravo". Gracias, Matt.

Y este tema nos hace pensar en algunos de los desafíos que millones de cuidadores están enfrentando ahora particularmente, aquellos que tienen a sus seres queridos en asilos o algún otro centro de salud. Ha habido muy poca transparencia y escasos recursos. Entonces, mucha gente está pasando por momentos difíciles enterándose de casos positivos de COVID-19 en esos lugares donde viven sus familiares. Para empeorar la situación, la gente no puede conectarse con sus seres queridos mediante videollamadas o llamadas telefónicas ahora.

AARP está instando a los políticos federales y estatales para que tomen acciones para garantizar que los residentes y el personal cuenten con protección y pruebas adecuadas y que los familiares puedan estar conectados con ellos y puedan obtener información sobre sus seres queridos. Así que si estás enfrentando esta situación o sabes de alguien que lo esté, puedes averiguar más sobre eso en aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Ahora vayamos a algunas de las preguntas para Matt Paxton.

Otro recordatorio, presiona *3 en el teclado del teléfono si estás escuchando por teléfono, y serás conectado con un miembro del equipo de AARP que compartirá tu pregunta. Y si nos estás mirando a través de Facebook o YouTube, puedes dejar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

Jean, ¿cuál es la primera pregunta, de algún punto del país, para Matt?

 

Jean Setzfand: Es de aquí cerca. Lily, de Maryland. Primera pregunta para Matt.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Hola, Lily.

Lily: Genial. Buenas noches. Hola, Michelle. Hola, Matt.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola.

Lily: Mi pregunta es... Yo... Tengo un pequeño dormitorio que es multiuso. No es solo donde tengo mi cama, sino que también tengo mi ropa, mis zapatos, mi escritorio, mis libros, y estoy intentando organizarme, pero me está resultando difícil. Sé que tengo que apilar cosas, pero no puedo.

Sé que hay cosas que se tienen que ir. Pero creo que necesito apilar cosas, pero no sé qué clase de contenedores debería usar. Ahora, tengo todas las cosas en pilas, y no puedo sacar las cosas que están abajo. Por todas las cosas que tengo arriba, no puedo sacar las cosas que están abajo fácilmente. Entonces, ¿qué clase de contenedores recomendarías para un dormitorio pequeño?

Matt Paxton: Muy bien. No te va a gustar mi respuesta. Voy a responder tu pregunta con preguntas. ¿Usas toda la ropa que tienes?

Matt Paxton: Probablemente no.

Lily: No hablo de la ropa.

Matt Paxton: ¿Lees todos esos libros? Probablemente no.

Lily: No mi ropa. Mi ropa... Tengo un guardarropas donde está la ropa. Ni siquiera está cerca. Eso...

Matt Paxton: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Bueno, muy bien. Sé qué decirte.

Lo que le recomiendo a la gente que haga es revisar lo que tiene, primero que nada. Muy bien, si no has leído un libro en 20 años, lo puedes donar. Si no has usado alguna ropa en un año, la puedes donar Uso jeans talla 36. Puedo soltar los de talla 28. Hay que ser realista. Eso reduce el volumen en un 25%, y después pasas al sistema de almacenamiento.

Dos grandes vendedores, IKEA y... the Closet Factory. Cualquiera de estas empresas tienen sus sistemas en rebaja ahora. Este es un buen momento para comprar un sistema de almacenaje para el guardarropas, y necesitas un sistema de colgado.

Pero este es el problema, necesitas a alguien que te ayude con eso, y yo esperaría a que pase un poco esto y sea seguro tener a alguien en tu casa, porque eso es lo más importante. Vas a poner mucho peso de almacenaje ahí. Tendrán muy buenos sistemas de guardarropas. No creo que grandes muebles sea una buena idea, sistemas de guardarropas.

Michelle Kosinski: Bien. Es bueno saber eso. Gracias, Matt.

Ahora es el momento de responder más preguntas con nuestros expertos Ty Pennington, Carla Hall y Matt Paxton.

Una vez más, presiona *3 si quieres hacer alguna pregunta. Y en Facebook y YouTube, déjala en los comentarios.

Jean, abramos las preguntas para todos, preguntas para todos, excepto para mí, que también necesito ayuda en todo esto. Bien, ¿a quién tenemos en línea?

Jean Setzfand: Comencemos con Carla. Hay una pregunta de Wendy, de California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Wendy.

Wendy: Hola, ¿qué tal?

Michelle Kosinski: Muy bien. Qué bueno, tenerte en línea.

¿Cuál es tu pregunta para Carla?

Wendy: Bueno, mi pregunta es sobre... Varios preguntaron sobre la azúcar o las cosas dulces. Y algunos de mis colegas de trabajo están usando edulcorante de fruta del monje para reemplazar la azúcar, y pareciera ser muy bueno. ¿Es bueno para la salud? ¿Es un buen sustituto para las cosas dulces para los niños, por ejemplo?

Carla Hall: No soy nutricionista, así que no puedo garantizar que sea bueno para la salud.

Wendy: Bueno.

Carla Hall: Pero lo he usado, y es un lindo sustituto de la azúcar. A veces, un sustituto no te da el mismo volumen que la azúcar común, pero no importa porque la compensación es buena. Es dulce. Y puedes usarlo.

Pero no puede, por ejemplo, hacer merengue con edulcorante. Y a la vez, ¿cuántas veces hacemos merengue? Así que yo diría que sí. Genial.

Michelle Kosinski: ¿Es un edulcorante nuevo?

Carla Hall: Sí, de fruta del monje.

Michelle Kosinski: Bien.

Carla Hall: Bueno, no es nuevo, pero la gente lo está incorporando ahora como sustituto de la azúcar.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Ni siquiera lo había oído nombrar.

Muy bien, pasemos a otras preguntas. ¿Quién sigue, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: La próxima llamada es de Renee, de Florida.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Renee. Bienvenida.

Renee: Gracias. Soy una gran admiradora de todos. Acabo de ver a Carla mirando a Julia Child, creo que en uno de sus programas Matt, miro tu programa todas las noches. Tengo como 500 grabados. Pero creo que mi pregunta es para Ty.

A mi esposo, antes de que nos casáramos, le diagnosticaron esclerosis múltiple. Y él es quien solía cocinar, pero ahora está en silla de ruedas, entonces le resulta difícil cocinar. Y no sé si hay proyectos de manualidades que se pueda hacer para bajar la altura de algunas cosas en la cocina. Y yo odio la cocina, ni siquiera la piso, le paso lejos, ni me acerco. Me gustaría que pueda volver a cocinar.

Ty Pennington: En Extreme Makeover, hicimos muchas cocinas personalizadas para personas que están en silla de ruedas. Y es...

Convertir una cocina puede ser bastante trabajo. Pero si él echa de menos cocinar, y podrían buscar la forma de trabajar sobre una isla en la que un sector descienda a su altura, eso podría funcionar y podrían trabajar en equipo, y él podría ser tu segundo chef.

Creo que juntos lo pueden hacer funcionar. Sí, definitivamente, pueden tener un sector de la isla que baje. SI tienes la suerte de tener espacio en la cocina, puedes agregar eso, porque sería grandioso. Eso también le daría esa independencia que seguro a él le gustaría volver a tener.

Michelle Kosinski: Es una idea genial. ¿A quién más tenemos, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta a través de Facebook, de Nancy para Matt. Y su pregunta es:

"La familia de mi madre ha coleccionado muchas cosas de valor y no de valor. Desde que ella falleció, a mi familia le está costando mucho identificar cuáles tienen valor. ¿Qué recursos hay que podríamos usar? ¿A qué clase de expertos deberíamos recurrir para evaluar todo de la forma más económica y efectiva?".

Michelle Kosinski: Buena pregunta.

Matt Paxton: Muy buena pregunta. Y todos en la familia contestará de diferente manera porque todos tienen diferentes valores emocionales y valores financiero.

Yo soy fanático de las subastas en línea. Subastas en línea. No ventas de garaje. No hagas ventas de garaje. Es una pérdida de tiempo total. Las subastas en línea te dirán qué tiene valor porque cuanta más gente lo vea, más gente oferta.

Yo puedo pensar que la mesa que hizo mi abuelo, que amo mucho, es muy linda. Pero si nadie ofrece nada por ella en una subasta, supongo que no tiene valor. Publícalas en subastas en línea, más personas las verán.

No uses eBay como referencia. No siempre es preciso. Contáctate con un subastador local para que las publique en línea o con algunos de los grandes subastadores del país, y los puedes encontrar fácilmente buscando en Google. Pero cuanta más personas lo vea, mayor será el valor,

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Siento que estamos aprendiendo mucho hoy.

Jean, ¿a quién más tenemos?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Diane, de Washington.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Diane. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta y para quién?

Diane: Hola, mi pregunta creo que es para cualquiera que pueda ayudarme a descifrar cómo armar un jardín, unos canteros elevados. Junté todos los tiestos que tenía en el jardín, planté verduras en ellos, y ahora quiero lograr que esté todo más organizado, que se vea mejor. Quiero que puedan venir los hijos de mi vecina y mis sobrinos y sobrinas, que son bastante chicos, y que puedan hacer jardinería.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, yo...

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Ty Pennington: Bueno, es una gran idea que los chicos trabajen en el jardín. En primer lugar, pienso que...

Michelle Kosinski: Lo sé.

Ty Pennington: Ese fue mi primer trabajo de verano. Era más bien cortar el pasto, pero por algo se empieza. Hay muchísimas maneras. Seguramente Carla también pueda decirte formas de iniciar un buen jardín de hierbas. Ese es un buen comienzo.

Otra cosa que puedes hacer, si tienes cubos de plástico, cualquier clase de contenedores... No tienes que salir a comprar macetas. ...cualquier contenedor que sea plástico, y le haces un agujero abajo, para que funcione como un plantero.

SI quieres mejorar algo que ya está en el suelo, otra cosa que puedes hacer simplemente construir algo con madera que suba a medida que crezca. De esa manera, a medida que crezca, es liviano y cubre desde abajo.

Son solo unas ideas, pero me parece que hacer que los chicos trabajen y se diviertan en el jardín es grandioso. Aprenden muchísimo plantando algo ellos mismos. Y después cuidan algo que... También creo que es muy bueno. Una gran idea.

Michelle Kosinski: Carla, creo que querías agregar algo.

Carla Hall: Solo quería...

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, adelante.

Carla Hall: Sí, quería agregar lo que acaba de decir Ty. Y esto es solo a través de nosotros, porque Michael Simon amaba y ama la jardinería. Entonces, con esos contenedores grandes, haces un agujero, pones grava, y luego la tierra. Y así va a drenar.

Pero también puedes usar esos pallets que encuentras tirados cuando vas a Home Depot, por ejemplo, o alguna de esas tiendas grandes. Ahí hay pallets que puedes usar, pero creo que dijiste que ya tienes todo eso.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Creo que ya no nos puede responder. A mí me gustaría construir un imán que atraiga a todos los chicos para que trabajen en mi jardín, y también en mi casa. ¿Crees que haya algún imán para eso?

Bien, Jean, ¿a quién...?

Matt Paxton: Una cosita.

Michelle Kosinski: Adelante, Matt.

Matt Paxton: En cuanto a la construcción del cantero, no tengas miedo de ir a la página de Nextdoor o Freecycle o Craigslist para ver si hay alguien en tu localidad que pueda hacer el trabajo por ti no por tanto dinero.

Este es un buen momento para negociar precios. Cualquiera sea el precio listado, ese ya no es el precio. No tengas miedo de regatear y ver a qué llegas. Y aun así, puedes hacerlo de forma muy segura.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Bueno, sigamos con más preguntas.

A los oyentes, quiero recordarles que pueden hacernos preguntas presionando *3 o, si nos ven a través de Facebook o YouTube, dejándola en los comentarios. Me encanta esta tecnología. Funciona, funciona.

¿A quién más tenemos, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos en línea a nuestra oyente Gloria, de Maryland.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Hola, Gloria.

Gloria: Sí. Aquí estoy. ¿Cómo están?

Michelle Kosinski: Hola. Estamos bien. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

Gloria: Sí, mi pregunta es... ¿Cómo me deshago de...? Sé cómo hacerlo, pero tengo demasiadas facturas, como de la hipoteca y todos esos papeles. ¿Puedo simplemente ponerlos en la basura y reciclar sin sacarle el nombre y el domicilio?

Michelle Kosinski: Es una muy buena pregunta.

Gloria: Tengo facturas de electricidad, de agua, son muchas facturas.

Michelle Kosinski: Entendido.

Gloria: Facturas de la escuela. De lo que se te ocurra, tengo facturas. ¿Entiendes? No puedo comprar una trituradora, entonces no sé cómo deshacerme de...

Michelle Kosinski: Bueno, es una buena pregunta. Sí. Entonces, tiene muchos papeles, pero no tiene una trituradora. Matt, dejando de lado la opción de ir a comprar una trituradora, ¿cuál es la forma más segura de deshacerse de todo eso? Es una muy buena pregunta.

Matt Paxton: Para mí, es... Puedes hacer lo que llamamos "trituradora de pobre". Hazlo tú misma, tritura todo manualmente. A medida que llegan, las trituras. Pero ella tiene un problema de volumen. Tiene que reciclar poco a poco, un poco cada semana. No se resolverá de un día para el otro. Creo que Ty tiene algo que agregar también.

Ty Pennington: No, solo hacía una broma. Decía que los ponga en la licuadora, pero le llevaría una vida.

Matt Paxton: Bueno.

Michelle Kosinski: Creo que a Carla no le gustaría ese método. Tu licuadora es para hacer experimentos con tofu, no para facturas.

Ty Pennington: Haz pesto como hace Carla con la licuadora.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, hice pesto con facturas del teléfono anoche, y no sabía bien. Nada bien.

Jean, ¿a quién más tenemos?

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien. Tenemos a Michelle, de Georgia, y tiene una pregunta para Ty.

Michelle Kosinski: Bien, genial.

Jean Setzfand: "Hola. Tengo 69 años, y mi mamá de 94 vive conmigo. El dormitorio está es la planta principal. Su dormitorio está en la planta principal, y el mío en la planta alta.

Con alguien de edad avanzada en casa, ¿cómo hago para encontrar un profesional calificado para que haga mi cuarto principal en la planta de arriba?"

Ty Pennington: Eso... Bueno. Tienes suerte, y te diré por qué. Hace 20 años, había que hablar con todos los vecinos que habían contratado a alguien, era de boca a boca. Pero hoy en día, hay sitios web como porch.com, u otros sitios así, puedes buscar casas en la zona y puedes ver qué trabajos hicieron. Y si te fijas ahí, puedes ver quiénes trabajaron en esa casa, ya sea un carpintero, un plomero, etcétera.

Puedes ver los comentarios que obtuvieron sobre los trabajos que hicieron. Así que esa es tu mejor opción porque puedes ver los trabajos que hicieron. Puedes ver el valor que le agregará a tu casa.

También podrás... Podrás ver lo que dijeron otras personas sobre trabajar con ese individuo. Pero creo que es un desafío, y lo que mucha gente quiere hacer es expandir lo que tienen ya en su casa.

Los desafíos que tienes son cuánta servidumbre tienes antes de ver las propiedades de tus vecinos. Pero siempre hay una manera, incluso si mantendrás el dormitorio como está, y solo agregas una sección grande como un ventanal, y lo conviertes en un baño, siempre hay opción.

Pero sí, iría a sitios como porch.com, cualquiera de esos sitios que puedes visitar y ver dónde puedes obtener referencias de la gente en esa área que hayan trabajado en casas en tu barrio.

Michelle Kosinski: Bien. ¿Qué otra pregunta hay por ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien. Tenemos una llamada de Nancy para Carla. Genial. Hola, Nancy.

Nancy: Hola, Carla. Tengo una pregunta relacionada con adaptarse a usar verduras congeladas. Me encanta hornear verduras. Y siempre trato de comprar verduras frescas, pero ahora con los faltantes, tuve que comprar brócoli congelado, y traté de usarlo en una de mis recetas favoritas, que básicamente es hornear zanahorias y luego agregar brócoli y piña al final. Es hermoso, un plato divino, pero el brócoli quedó pastoso. Entonces, mi pregunta es ¿cómo transfiero o adapto cuando tengo que usar verduras congeladas en lugar de verduras frescas para que la textura sea buena?

Carla Hall: Esa es una pregunta genial.

Primero que nada, tienes que descongelar las verduras congeladas, especialmente el brócoli. Tienes que descongelarlo porque tiene mucha agua. Si lo descongelas primero, incluso si lo descongelas y después lo pasas por al horno o dejas que se seque y luego lo incorporas a la receta, la textura seguramente sea mejor.

Si estuvieras agregando verduras frescas, a veces las agregas al principio o a la mitad del proceso de cocina. Si le agregas a una sopa o estofado verduras congeladas, deberías agregarlas al principio. Pero también teniendo en consideración el agua adicional, por eso es que debes ponerlas al principio, primero secarlas con papel de cocina. Espero que eso ayude.

También quiero mencionar sobre la oyente que habló del esposo que amaba cocinar y ahora está en silla de ruedas, y a ella no le gusta cocinar. Tenía una amiga que estaba en silla de ruedas, y una de las cosas que hicimos por ella fue comprar un anafe, uno de esos grandes, industriales, y bajar la cocina a su nivel. Así que, aunque sea solo una mesa, para que él pueda rodar hasta la mesa.

Obviamente, ten cuidado, pero así creas una cocina sin crear... Es como una cocina. No parecía que ella tuviera ganas de ir a la cocina, así que creo que una mesa con un anafe arriba y después tienes que tener una sartén adecuada.

Michelle Kosinski: Entonces, ¿puedes comprar un anafe aparte y solo enchufarlo a la pared o se necesita alguna otra unidad eléctrica?

Carla Hall: No, solo se conecta a la pared.

Michelle Kosinski: Es bueno saberlo. Bueno, genial.

 

Carla Hall: Sí…

Michelle Kosinski: ¿Qué otras preguntas tenemos por ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos otra en Facebook, y esta es desde Florida. Creo que esta va para Ty o Matt, o ambos. "¿Qué se guarda en la parte alta de un guardarropas? No lo uso mucho porque quiero las cosas al alcance de la mano".

Ty Pennington: Yo guardo fundas de guitarra, porque cuando sacas las guitarras, tienes que guardarlas en algún lugar porque en algún momento tendrás que volver a guardar la guitarra. Matt, no saques la guitarra. Sí, fue un juego de palabras. Porque puedes ponerlas arriba. Pero yo diría que las cosas que no usas y no necesitas, Matt diría que deben irse, y yo diría que las pongas ahí arriba.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, Yo guardo... A veces, guardo cosas de temporada. Cuando es verano, agarro todos los abrigos de invierno y los guardo ahí arriba.

Ty Pennington: Sí.

Michelle Kosinski: Y, sabes, solo... Tienes que cambiar cosas de lugar cada tanto, pero así tienes lo que necesitas cerca y no lo que no vas a usar por un tiempo no tan al alcance.

Pero ¿qué dices tú, Matt?

Matt Paxton: Yo pongo... Las ropas que crees que te van a volver a quedar, pero en el fondo sabes que no te van a volver a quedar, esas van ahí, maletas de equipaje y los adornos navideños.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí, eso también. Siempre hay adornos del árbol de Navidad que hay que guardar en algún lugar, en algún rincón de la casa.

¿Alguna otra pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Claro que sí. Esta es de Ruby, de Virginia.

Michelle Kosinski: Genial. Hola, Ruby.

Ruby: Hola. Tengo una pregunta sobre las plantas de interior. Finalmente tengo unas plantas en el área de mi cocina porque tengo buena luz ahí. Quiero incorporarlas a otras áreas de la casa, ¿qué puedo hacer?

Ty Pennington: Bueno, eso es un desafío. El tema es que las plantas de interior son un tanto delicadas. Tienen que estar cerca de la ventana, pero a la vez... Este es un problema que tengo yo, tienes que estar en casa para regarlas.

Pero si puedes... Solo asegúrate de poner plantas que no necesiten mucha luz, pero asegúrate de que esté cerca de la ventana. Y otra cosa que puedes hacer, también se pueden comprar ahora...

Si eres como yo y te olvidas de regarlas, puedes ponerle algo como una botella con una pequeña salida que deja que el agua gotee muy lentamente, entonces puedes... para alguien que viaja mucho, es una buena forma de mantenerlas con vida. Pero sí, las plantas de interior son fantásticas. Son delicadas, pero le encuentras la vuelta. Y dicen que si les hablas, aprenden a quererte.

Michelle Kosinski: Entendido. Jean, ¿qué otra pregunta tenemos?

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien. Tenemos una pregunta de Frederick, de California.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Frederick. Bienvenido.

Frederick: Gracias. Interesante programa. Tengo una pregunta. Mi esposa falleció hace años, y solía hacer un sloppy joe. Algo desordenado en galletas. No galletas, una especie de pan. Y me gustaba, pero no sé cómo hacerlo.

Michelle Kosinski: Bueno, Carla.

Carla Hall: Bueno, creo que esa es para mí. Matt, ¿quieres aportar algo?

Michelle Kosinski: ¿Por lo de desordenado?

Frederick: Hola.

Carla Hall: Sí, solo bromeo. Hola, Frederick. Creo que hay diferentes formas, y... Aunque no tengas la receta exacta, lo que te sugiero es que busques esa receta, trata de recordar y recordar cómo se sentía esa receta.

Muchas veces, la gente piensa que, porque no tienen la receta exacta, no pueden hacerlo. Pero los recuerdos de comidas son mucho más fuertes que la memoria visual.

La memoria gustativa existe. ¿Era dulce? ¿Era fuerte? ¿Era tomatoso? ¿Era jugoso? Esa clase de cosas. ¿Tenía hierbas? Así puedes buscar esa receta. comenzar la receta, y después la modificas de acuerdo a tus recuerdos. Me preguntan eso todo el tiempo.

Muchas veces, la gente quiere recrear una receta que era su abuela, de su esposa o mamá, y no pueden recordarla porque buscan la receta exacta. Pero si el corazón está en esa creación, lo lograrás. Espero que eso ayude.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Creo que es un muy buen consejo.

Jean, ¿alguien más por ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Sí. Tenemos otra pregunta de Facebook para Matt. Es de Gus Black, y pregunta: "Mi hermana se está ocupando de papeles y documentos de mi hermana y necesita una mejor solución de almacenaje. ¿Alguna idea motivacional para hacerlo?".

Matt Paxton: Sí. Sabía que me iban a hacer estar pregunta.

Voy a Target y compro un contenedor básico y simple. La clave es que sea un contenedor a prueba de agua. Mira los bordes. Ese borde azul ahí hace que sea sellado y a prueba de agua. Salen unos 10 dólares, 4 dólares en Target o Walmart. Creo que Sterilite es el fabricante.

Tiene que ser sellado para que no le entre humedad. Y me limito a dos. Dos para fotos, dos para papeles. Si te compras ocho, llenarás los ocho. Limítate a dos.

Michelle Kosinski: Matt, con respecto a eso, traté de hacer eso hace poco con unas cajas plásticas para separar y archivar cosas como adornos navideños. Pero, cuando fui a la tienda... Primero, me encontré con que eran algo costosos. Y segundo, me encontré con que eran muy pesados. Entonces, cuando pongo todo adentro, la caja en sí parece sumarle mucho peso.

¿Hay otras opciones para hacer eso aparte de las viejas cajas de cartón que, lamentablemente, no evitan que entre humedad?

Matt Paxton: Sí. Puedes ir a la tienda de suministros de oficina y comprar las carpetas plásticas básicas. Y te limitan...

Tienes un problema con las cajas, es verdad. Si llenas una caja con papeles, queda muy pesada. Entonces, tiene que ser una caja más pequeña. Pero una caja pequeña no funciona para papeles. Así que compraría las carpetas grandes, son de 8.5 x 11. Compra dos o tres de esas.

Pero lo que quiero que hagas es... Guardarás cuanto entre en el espacio que tienes. Entonces, si se pone muy pesado, amigo, tu propio cuerpo te dice que guardaste demasiado. Si no puedes levantarlo, no lo necesitas.

Michelle Kosinski: La presión, la presión.

Bueno, Jean, ¿hay...?

Matt Paxton: La organización es una decisión. La organización es una decisión, y debes comprometerte. Si no lo haces, no funciona.

Michelle Kosinski: Pensé que ibas a decir que es un derecho humano y que todos tenemos derecho a la organización. Es un deber.

Carla, ¿quieres decir algo?

Carla Hall: Eso es lo que siento con el equipaje cuando viajo. Si no puedes cargarlo, no lo lleves. Y, entonces, si traigo... Lo que dices... Si transfiero eso a la vida en casa, tiene mucho sentido, aunque yo no hago eso. Soy una acumuladora. Pero cuando viajo, es mi regla.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí.

Carla Hall: Estás haciendo ver que tengo que usar esa misma regla en casa.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Pero es difícil porque, si hay algo que te gusta, piensas: "Quizá algún día lo use". Y pueden pasar años, pero ese día llega, y entonces dices: "Esto es perfecto. Qué bueno que no lo tiré". Pero hay un momento y un lugar para todo, supongo. Y, a veces, simplemente hay que deshacerse de las cosas. Debes hacerlo.

Jean, ¿tenemos a alguien más por ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Sí. Tenemos a Alicia, de Carolina del Norte.

Michelle Kosinski: Hola, Alicia. Bienvenida.

Alicia: Sí, hola. Gracias por tomar mi llamado, Me pregunta... La pregunta es para Ty o cualquiera que quiera responder y dar algún otro consejo detallado. Me estaba planteando convertir mi garaje para dos autos en una hermosa casa, en un monoambiente. Y estaba tratando de hallar una forma económica de hacerlo y poniendo todo, el agua, electrodomésticos, piso, climatización. ¿Cuál es la forma económica de hacerlo? Intento calcular cuánto me costará y quién tendría que participar en el proyecto.

Ty Pennington: Te voy a decir que visites algunos de los sitios web, como porch.com, house... Me olvidé el nombre. Pero si entras a ver, es como un asesor o algo así.

Escribes la misma pregunta que nos acabas de hacer. Verás cualquier ampliación que se haya hecho en el barrio, como convertir el garaje en un departamento, y verás los trabajos que se han hecho.

Puedes averiguar cuánto les costó, qué tan grande fue, qué tan difícil. Literalmente, hay salas de conversación en las que puedes preguntar a quiénes contrataron. Porque, para ser honesto, con una pregunta como esa, tendría que saber mucho, como si la casa está construida con ladrillos o bloques de hormigón.

¿Hay forma de poner ventanas? ¿Cuál es la instalación sanitaria? Hay muchísimas preguntas que debes preguntarle a alguien. Y también haría una simple llamada para que venga un albañil o un inspector de construcción para descubrir si es realmente viable. ¿Están los papeles de la casa al día? ¿Puedes hacer modificaciones? ¿Y qué tan difícil será?

Sí, es una de esas cosas para las que tienes que consultar con alguien de la misma área, de tu mismo barrio. Si hicieron alguna ampliación, pregúntales y fíjate si pueden juntarse a conversar para que te den su perspectiva, y cuánto creen que te costará.

Michelle Kosinski: Buen lugar para comenzar. Gracias, Ty. Y gracias a todos. Pero antes de irnos, Ty, Carla y Matt, para cerrar, si les parece, queremos compartir con todos los oyentes lo que está inspirando a cada uno de ustedes en este momento difícil para, literalmente, todo el mundo. Podemos seguir el sentido de las agujas del reloj. Carla, tú primero.

Carla Hall: Bueno, dos cosas se me vienen a la cabeza. La necesidad es la base de la inventiva. Muchas veces, vamos a hacer las compras, y no vemos lo que podemos encontrar.

Y la segunda, la frustración es la habilidad de trabajar. Y hablé con alguien hace unos días, y descubrió su pasión por la costura cuando decidió hacerlo para hacer máscaras para los trabajadores esenciales del barrio porque quería hacer algo por la comunidad.

Quería hacer algo por la comunidad, y así se dio cuenta de que le gusta coser Y ahora lo está haciendo. Entonces, en este momento, veo que la gente está descubriendo cosas sobre sí misma. Y eso es inspirador.

Michelle Kosinski: Eso es lindo. Estoy de acuerdo. Es como volver a lo básico y a la forma antigua de hacer las cosas. Se disfruta de esas cosas, si es que hay algo positivo de toso esto.

Matt, ¿qué hay de ti? ¿Qué te mantiene inspirado?

Matt Paxton: Me encanta el tiempo que tengo con mi familia. Estoy pasando mucho tiempo con mis hijos. Y estoy descubriendo cosas geniales sobre mis hijos. Y cuando leo mis e-mails, veo que todos mis clientes y seguidores están haciendo lo mismo. Están pasando más tiempo en familia.

Lo que les digo es que, hayan oído lo que hayan oído de nosotros, háganlo con la familia, sigan haciendo cosas en familia porque sus vidas mejorarán si lo hacen. Me encanta. Honestamente, estoy disfrutando de este momento.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Si tienes la suerte de gozar de salud y puedes sobrevivir un tiempo financieramente, tienes algo que no has tenido en mucho tiempo. He visto mucha gente disfrutando al máximo su tiempo.

¿Qué hay de ti, Ty?

Ty Pennington: Es interesante. Me encanta lo que dijeron todos. Creo que hay mucho de inspiración en este momento.

Para mí, es... Es cómo los vecinos comienzan a ayudarse entre sí porque se están dando cuenta de que otro no puede ir a hacer compras, o que la persona que vive abajo es un adulto mayor y necesita ayuda para obtener cosas que no sabían que necesitaban.

Y se comienza a ver un vecino ayudando a otro vecino. Y para expandir eso, también es un momento en el que te das cuenta de la importancia de las pequeñas empresas en la comunidad. Y que están sufriendo, entonces la gente se organiza para juntar donaciones para asegurarse de que esa gente pueda atravesar esto, para mantener restaurantes y lugares abiertos. No solo restaurantes, sino también peluqueros caninos, personas que tienen barberías, diseñadores de ropa, personas que hacen cosas para vender.

Así que creo que ver a los vecinos y a las comunidades ayudándose me inspira, porque esa es la única forma que vamos a superar esto.

Michelle Kosinski: Sí. Hay un sentido de comunidad en cierta forma que la gente no tenía tiempo de reconocer antes, y ahora no puedes ver a nadie, pero tienes que hacer comunidad de otra forma.

Fue grandioso hablar con ustedes. Me... Me iluminaron el día. Probablemente hayan iluminado es día de muchos de los que nos miran. Así que muchas gracias, chicos. Esto ha sido... Fue divertido. Fue informativo. Gracias a todos por contestar las preguntas. Y gracias a todos lo que hicieron sus preguntas.

Además, gracias a los socios, los voluntarios y oyentes de AARP, y a todos los que se unieron.

AARP es una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidista, que ha trabajado para promover la salud y el bienestar de adultos mayores en el país durante más de 60 años.

De cara a esta crisis, AARP está brindando información y recursos, y luchando por los adultos mayores y quienes cuidan de ellos. Todos los recursos a los que hicimos referencia, incluyendo la grabación de este evento de preguntas y respuestas, están disponibles en aarp.org/elcoronarivus a partir del 15 de mayo. Nuevamente, el sitio web es aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Esperamos que se hayan divertido tanto como nosotros mirando y participando de este evento, y quizá aprendiendo cosas que puedan ayudarlos a ustedes y sus seres queridos a estar saludables y entretenidos en casa. Las ideas siempre son algo bueno.

Visiten también aarp.org/el coronavirus para saber sobre los próximos eventos al igual que información que necesites sobre el coronavirus.

Muchas gracias. Que tengan un buen día.

Este es el final de nuestro llamado.

The experts

  •  Matt Paxton, one of the top clean-up experts in the U.S., was featured on A&E’s ‘Hoarders,’ is the author of The Secret Lives of Hoarders and stars in the new PBS series ‘Legacy List with Matt Paxton.'
  •  Carla Hall is a chef and culinary contributor to ‘Good Morning America,’ an award-winning cookbook author, a host on ABC’s ‘The Chew,’ and was a popular competitor on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef.’
  • Ty Pennington is a carpenter, author and star of design television, including hit shows ‘Trading Spaces’ and ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.’

Coronavirus: Veterans Tele-Town Hall

Experts answered your questions and addressed how to navigate benefits and health services through the VA and general health care providers. They shared information on how to coordinate caregiving support and stay connected to loved ones in VA long-term care facilities. They discussed managing your finances and accessing unemployment and stimulus payments. The experts also provided tips for protecting your well-being and staying sharp while handling stress, anxiety and other adverse effects of physical distancing. 

Listen to a replay of the event below.

Coronavirus: Veterans Tele-Town Hall

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today is a special edition of our weekly conversation. We'll discuss the issues that U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans are facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and we'll address health, resources and finances. It's an important conversation if you, a loved one, friend or neighbor is an active duty, retired or former U.S. service member, so please stay with us. If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, press *3.

Joining us today is Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.]. She is the chief veterans experience officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rashi Romanoff, vice president of programs and partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Koon, vice president of corporate [and] military business development at F&M Bank in the Clarksville, Tennessee, area. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today.

AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Veterans can also find COVID-19 resources and benefits at va.gov. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

Today, we're talking with experts about how you can protect your health and finances during the global coronavirus pandemic with a special emphasis on U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans and their families. Now before we bring in our guests I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers continue to use the headlines as an opportunity to steal money or sensitive personal information, and we know from our own research that veterans are targeted by a large volume of scam attempts. As a result, veterans are twice as likely as the general population to lose money in a scam. If you're a veteran, a scammer may call you impersonating the VA Office of General Counsel to request payment to process your claims for benefits. Know that the VA will never request payment to carry out their mission to serve veterans. Also know that scammers are attempting to sell fake coronavirus cures, treatments and vaccines. Public health officials and private labs are working hard. At this time there is no publicly available vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19. So ignore offers that suggest otherwise. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or call the Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360, that's 877-908-3360. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. That's aarp.org/veterans.

Now, I'd like to welcome our first two guests, Dr. Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] is dedicated to improving the experience of all those using the care and benefits of the VA. She is the chief veterans experience officer. Dr. Davis is nationally recognized for her leadership of services for military personnel, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. She is the founder and CEO of the Military Veteran Caregiver Network (inaudible) and the CEO of the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. She is also a former clinician at a VA medical center, a former army signal officer and the mother of a veteran. Welcome, Dr. Davis.

Lynda Davis: Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be with you.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks for being with us. Next up is Rashi Romanoff. She is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. She is an experienced healthcare professional and has worked at the VA from 2010 to 2017. She directed collaborative partnerships with the public and private sectors valued at more than $150 million. Most recently, she served as executive director of prevention and population health for America's health insurance plans. Welcome Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: So happy to be here.

Bill Walsh: We're happy to have you. Thank you both for joining us today. Let's go ahead and get started with the conversation. Dr. Davis, let's start with you. How have the experiences of combat veterans and military families changed with the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, and how is the VA responding to their needs?

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much again for this opportunity. As a veteran and the mother of a veteran and the survivor of several veterans who I have cared for, it's an honor to be at the VA, especially at a time like this when it's so important that we ensure the safety of our veterans and their families and the accessibility to the care that they need. You know, we have almost 19.2 million living veterans with us today. And more than 9 million of them are over the age of 65 and often have caregivers. We have about 20,000 caregivers of the 5.5 million in the country, enrolled in different VA programs. And right now we're trying to do everything possible to ensure their care remains the best in the country. The experiences of veterans are not just for combat veterans because not all veterans have experienced combat, but the experience of our veterans and their families are not unlike those of our civilians. That is that they are isolated, there are challenges with that isolation, with stress, access to the support services they need. For those who don't have coronavirus but are unable to get to a medical facility for their normal care, like a dialysis or a pharmacy replacement of their medications, the VA is reaching out through multiple ways to assist them, and some of them, which you mentioned. We are very fortunate to have that website, which provides everything that's needed, but sometimes people can't easily get to that.

So let me start out this conversation by highlighting our key number that's available 24/7 to all veterans and family members and friends. This is the White House VA hotline. The number is 855-948-2311. That is the most important number that they will need to answer any questions they have about the entire VA — 24/7 it is an answered by trained veterans and their family members. And if there are calls about accessing the clinical services in their particular medical center, the best number for them to call is 844-698-2311.

So what we're trying to do is ensure the safety of our veterans and their family members, whether they are experiencing the symptoms of COVID, or whether they are just trying to maintain their health. And I'll talk later about some of the ways in which we are doing that.

Bill Walsh: OK, well, thank you for that Dr. Davis and for those numbers. I'm going to repeat them right now, or perhaps you can, just to make sure we get them right and so our listeners can hear them. And just a note, 24 hours after this event, we'll have all of the resources on aarp.org/coronavirus. So Dr. Davis, can you just repeat those numbers and what they're for?

Lynda Davis: First of all, we have a 24/7 call line that is answered by veterans and their trained family members. And that will answer any question that a veteran or family member has about care or benefits or memorial services. That is 855-948-2311. We also have a number with specific questions related to clinical care and COVID-19. That is 844-698-2311. Finally, I'd like to mention that we have a number for caregivers of veterans, and that is answered from 8:00 to 8:00 Eastern Standard Time, 855-260-3274.

Bill Walsh: OK, and that's for caregiving related questions.

Lynda Davis: Yes sir.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Dr. Davis, I want to focus in a little bit on a particular dimension of VA service, and that's mental health. We know that mental health issues require constant vigilance, and the global pandemic has just elevated the level of anxiety and isolation for so many people. The VA is well-known as an innovator in telehealth. Can you talk a little bit about how VA mental health services are growing and changing to meet the needs of veterans today?

Lynda Davis: Yes, this is especially dear to my heart as a psychologist. The mental health capabilities of the VA have increased by about 750 percent recently as we've undertaken over a 100,000 telehealth appointments, many of them for mental and emotional health concerns. It is often that isolation and the stress leads us to have physical symptoms because we know that our entire wellness is based largely in part on our mental health, and these are very stressful times. We can find ourselves nervous about the safety of our loved ones far away. We can find ourselves stressed with people in a very small confined area, concerned about our ability to get our medications, etc. Our tele-mental health is specifically addressing these concerns. And each medical facility has the capability to provide the tele-mental health for veterans who maybe have been seeing a provider in the past or now need to have a provider. The ability to access those services is available through that hotline number I gave you earlier, the 844-698-2311 number. If someone is concerned about their health, their mental health, they just need to call that number and request an appointment with a mental health provider.

We do have as our VA facilities are returning to expanded services beyond our appropriately more narrow focus on COVID patients. We are able to serve, not only veterans and their family members in the community, through our vet centers, but we're able to call on our partner organizations and nonprofits; organizations like the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that provides services and support for the caregivers who themselves may be under stress. The Cohen Veterans Network that provides assistance to family members and small children. The small children of veterans are also able to receive assistance through the One Source program at the Department of Defense. Many of our AARP eligible veterans will be grandparents and they have concerns about their own children, or maybe the ones who are primary, the caregivers. So we encourage you to reach out to all of these resources and make sure you're well.

Bill Walsh: Well, thank you for that. Dr. Davis. Let's ask about caregivers. I wonder if you can tell us the latest information for people who have loved ones in VA nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Where can they go for information and resources?

Lynda Davis: Well, the VA is very fortunate to have a very robust, community facilities or what we call community living centers. They are not what you and I often think of when we think of nursing homes or rehabilitation centers or assisted living centers, some of which I'm using right now for loved ones. Our VA community living centers are really an extension of our hospitals. They are acute care centers with very extensive physician and nursing staff. They are very well monitored; they have restrictions on visitors right now except for certain compassionate care situations. These are connected to other services that may be needed like palliative care or even, at some point, hospice care. We have rigorous guidelines that have been put in place and they follow the CDC, and those veterans who have tested positive for coronavirus are isolated, but they are getting exceptional care there.

Now, one of the things, it's often confused that there are state veteran nursing homes, and by law, the VA has no authority to go into those unless the governor of a state invites us in. We have been going into several locations at that invitation to provide our own nursing staff to supplement those homes who have been unable to keep pace with the needs of their veterans. And we will continue to do that. We also offer home-based care; that has been a little bit more difficult to secure right now. But most of our veterans, of course, are not in these community living centers. They are at home with their loved ones, and they need assistance that's provided through the VA in conjunction with the Administration for Health and Human Services. We expect that the need for those kinds of home-based services will increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years as we age, and we are ready to support those needs for our veterans and their loved ones.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Let me bring Rashi Romanoff from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation into the conversation. Rashi, we know that older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the coronavirus. As a result, many caregivers are facing unprecedented challenges. What are some of the most critical concerns for military and veteran caregivers today?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Thanks so much, Bill, and thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk to the audience today a little bit about some issues that military and veteran caregivers are facing. And a huge thanks to Dr. Davis. She's been such a leader in this space, and rightly notes that when you think about military and veteran caregivers, research is telling us that nationally there's at least 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers out there nationally. And the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is solely focused on the needs of supporting systems and establishing resources and programs to really help these caregivers transition into these new roles and care for the veterans in their lives. I think Dr. Davis did a really great job outlining some specific challenges that the military and veteran community are facing at this time. You know, under the best of circumstances, I would say caregivers were already facing a number of challenges just getting through their day-to-day. And I think COVID-19 has obviously introduced a much more complex set of additional challenges and hurdles to cross.

When it comes to what are the most significant or critical concerns, in the early days, we at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation surveyed our caregivers and identified some top needs. And at a high level, the top needs really continue to be around medical supplies, peer and mental support, financial support and backup care. And I'll talk very briefly about each one.

On the supplies front, our data shows that upwards of 40 percent of our military and veteran caregivers are using medical supplies and personal protective equipment on a regular basis, things like medical gloves, masks, alcohol prep pads, distilled water. Not only are these now increasingly needed in healthcare settings, but oftentimes a lot of military and veteran caregivers that are providing quite complex care at home really need these items to make sure that they're providing safe and quality care at home. So in addition to not only being able to find these things, increasingly, the prices for these items have also gone up since there's such a dramatic spike in demand. So that's definitely been something that I think is a critical need for our community.

The second one that I would mention is increasingly that we're seeing needs around caregiver mental health and peer support. In recent days we've seen pretty large spikes in the increases for caregivers, mental health and behavioral health support. I think in the early days there was a lot of focus around veterans’ mental health, and I think that's evolving. I think for many of us in the country are on week six, seven, eight, nine of this crisis. And so a lot of those stresses or things that you've grown accustomed to have become more challenging. You're now doing this on an extended period of time. And so those are some of the new challenges that I think we're hearing about from our caregiver community.

Bill Walsh: Right, well in light of all those challenges, I wonder if you can address some of the common strategies that caregivers are using and share some resources that are available to them.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. I would just say it's never really been more important for our country and our healthcare institutions to get caregiver support right. Increasingly across the nation, more and more people are not only going to be stepping up as caregivers and taking on these roles, but either as a result of COVID-19 or existing chronic conditions, we're also going to have new people stepping up to take on these roles. Our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus, has a full listing of resources available, and I encourage everyone to visit. I would also mention just a few weeks ago, we teamed up with AARP on a document to really outline a few strategies, and there are three things that I would highlight for the folks listening in today.

One, stock up and be prepared. I think a lot of us now are used to sort of making sure we're OK on our essential items and things like that. But also make sure you have a list of all of your medications, all of your medical contacts and any other important clinical information. Keep this on your fridge in the event that something comes up or you need to go and seek urgent medical care. Being prepared is really important. Number two, I would say, come up with your backup plan. What is your family's plan in the event that someone in your household gets infected? Where are they going to stay? How are you going to confine them to one location to reduce the risk of spread? I would definitely make sure you think through that. And three, find your community. For military and veteran caregivers we've always known that you can feel isolated and that's always been an issue. And now that we're all staying at home and self-isolating, it can really contribute and be an added stressor. So I would say, find a community. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is our digital platform based off of Facebook. It reaches thousands of caregivers and serves as a safe space for caregivers to seek advice and learn more about new resources. We just launched a new Caregiver Community Connections Series with our partners at the VA and with Wounded Warrior Project. And these are going to be different kinds of weekly webinars to talk about different issues that caregivers will find of interest. I think finding other caregivers and starting a dialogue and having that community to support you is really important right now.

Bill Walsh: All right, Rashi, some great advice there. And I know to our listeners, we're throwing a lot of resources at you, but just a reminder that tomorrow we'll be posting the recording of this event and all of the resources at aarp.org/coronavirus. And, also to our listeners, we're going to get to your calls in a second so please press *3 if you want to ask a question and get in the queue. Rashi, one other question. I wonder what the significance is when somebody like actor Tom Hanks tests positive for COVID-19? He was very open about his experience. How did that help bring awareness and hope to our veterans?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, you know, Tom Hanks is definitely a part of our Elizabeth Dole Foundation family. He served as a Hidden Heroes ambassador. In fact, it's kind of weird to think, I think this time last year we were in Indianapolis with him, doing some events for military families and celebrating them in Indiana. He's long had a great commitment to this sector and to this population, and it's been really great and creative to work with him.

I think when you think back to the really early days of this crisis, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were probably some of the earliest and most recognizable faces that were impacted by this disease. You might also recall that there was a lot of misinformation in the early days just about transmission and prevention strategies. And so I think, having someone like him test positive and share that so openly, it did two really, really important things, not just for our veteran and caregiver community, but really for our broader public health community, as well. One, I think it emphasized to the public that anybody, whether you're a celebrity or not, is at risk. If Tom Hanks can come down with this, it's really important that all of us take all of the precautions. And two, I think he used his platform, whether it was Twitter or social media or leveraging partners to really share really critical and useful information. The importance of taking quarantine really seriously, following the advice of the experts, the importance of protecting those who might be immunosuppressed, which is always of importance to our veteran and caregiver community. I think he used that platform really, really positively. It's weird to think that that only all happened just a couple months ago, but I think it really did shine national attention to it and got everyone thinking that we really have to take this seriously and anybody can be impacted.

Bill Walsh: Right. And gave people, I think, a lot of hope that he has come out the other side and has recovered and talking about that recovery, as well. So, well, thank you both, Rashi Romanoff and Dr. Davis. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of Veterans Affairs and Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. We'll also be joined shortly by Charlie Coon of F&M Bank. He's here to address the financial fallout of the coronavirus and answer your questions.

I'd now like to address, introduce rather, AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill, I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

Bill Walsh: OK. Who do we have on the line with us?

Jean Setzfand: We have Hazel from Oklahoma.

Bill Walsh: All right. Hazel, welcome. Go ahead with your question.

Hazel: I have a question. My husband is in the Claremore, Oklahoma Veteran's Facility. I would like to know if there is any plans to reopen it up.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you for that, Hazel. Dr. Davis, are you able to address that question from Hazel in Oklahoma?

Lynda Davis: Yes, Hazel. Thank you so much for the loving care I'm sure your husband is getting from you. And let me say that what we're doing now with all our VA medical facilities is we are looking at each one to see how we reopen. And those facilities that are less impacted by the number of people who have had COVID or are still there with COVID; those that will be the ones that open first. Let me, I'm very happy to find that specifically out and get back to you, if they can help us do that. But let me tell you again, the quickest way to find that out, Hazel, if you don't mind, is to call that 844-698-2311 number because they can tell you by facility, as well as they know it, when the reopenings … I won't say reopenings because none of our VA facilities have ever closed, but they have focused on the COVID services that are needed and not always been able to provide those other care that your husband may need. So, your safe care, your husband's safe care is our core mission and we want to transition back to that normal services as quickly as possible.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, I was wondering if there's any online resource that people can check to see the status of their local VA facilities?

Lynda Davis: Yes. So that's va.gov.

Bill Walsh: OK.

Lynda Davis: www.va.gov. But my experience, you get much richer conversation and additional resources, and perhaps even more up-to-date resources, if you take the time to talk to somebody.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Jean, who's next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Brandon from Ohio.

Bill Walsh: Hey Brandon, go ahead with your question. Hi, Brandon. Are you with us?

Brandon: Yes.

Bill Walsh: All right, go ahead with your question.

Brandon: I wanted to know what kind of resources are available to help both the veterans and especially our veteran caregivers, in ways that as individuals we can support those and support those resources.

Bill Walsh: OK. It sounds like a resource question. Dr. Davis, I know you've called out some resources. Maybe you could just refresh that and, maybe Rashi, if you have some suggestions on that as well.

Lynda Davis: Brandon, thank you very much for the care that you are providing to a veteran. Perhaps you're a veteran yourself, but we want to make sure that, as Rashi said, our caregivers are fully supported. We have a peer support service for veterans and also for caregivers. And if you can take the number down, I'll give it to you again. It's 1-800-342-9647. We have numerous services for caregivers including respite care, which means that somebody can assist you in delivering the services that are needed and give you or other loved ones a break. It can be very strenuous and stressful to care for a loved one 24/7. We also have the ability to have some home healthcare services come in to assist you. But the best way is to call that number I just gave you, or 877-222-8387, and they will assist you with the resources that you need.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: And Brandon, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Yeah, absolutely. One thing I would really recommend if you're a caregiver yourself is, register at our website at hiddenheroes.org. That's really the easiest way to get information about different resources that we have. I know I mentioned our Caregiver Community Connection Series. Another thing that we've been working on actually very closely with the VA is a spotlight series on really high priority topics that are impacting veterans and caregivers. So last month we did a whole session on accessing VA telehealth services, which is really important during this time. It was sort of a step-by-step of how you create an account, what different resources are available and then some really robust Q&A. On May 20, next week, actually on Wednesday, we're going to be doing a whole session with VA experts, along with our partners at Phillips, on whole healthcare resources and self-care resources available to veterans and families during this time. So I would really recommend, there's a lot out there; hidden heroes.org is a great place to get started and registering there will get you direct links to all of these different resources.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Thank you both for those suggestions. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming in from YouTube, from Jeffrey. It's a two-part question. So, let me read this for you. "The VA system is deferring most non-emergency medical care, and I and other vets are waiting for non-emergency care. Our vets are seeing health issues worsen by these delays. And as a follow-up, the question continues to say, "Because I'm an Illinois resident who received care from Missouri, my therapist cannot meet me via telehealth. They're licensed to practice only in the state of Missouri. So I think this is a question around the VA system. Thank you.”

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Very good. Dr. Davis, are you able to handle those? So just as a refresher, Jeffrey was asking about non-emergency care, and have we seen the condition of veterans worsen as those things have been deferred?

Lynda Davis: Jeffrey, thank you for this question. His question is very, very relevant, and just like with Hazel's concern about her husband, getting access to his local facility, first of all, our concern is the safe return, so to speak, of our veterans to their local medical facilities or community-based clinic or veteran clinic. What we're doing to supplement the care of our veterans during this time when the focus is understandably so much on COVID services, we're making sure that we utilize other authorities that we have through things like community care, through the Mission Act and care in the community. We are able to support veterans in seeing practitioners in the community, and we are working with them. Those are services that are authorized and reimbursed with the VA, but they're able to be done through non-VA clinicians. So, also if there is emergency care needed or urgent care needed, urgent care now is certainly covered. And that can be obtained by any veteran at one of the urgent care facilities or their emergency room or at our VA medical centers. They are always open to take in emergency situations.

With regard to the telehealth, tele-mental health, it is unfortunate that there are still restrictions because of licensure for people to practice across state lines. We are working on that, and in the meantime, if you need to receive support from a different clinician than the one that you were accustomed to, again, I ask you please to reach out, Brandon, to 1-844-698-2311. There are also numerous peer support programs through organizations like the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled Veterans of America, Paralyzed American Veterans and also the Wounded Warrior Project.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Thanks for all these questions. Jean, who's next in line to ask a question?

Jean Setzfand: We have Jasmine from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Jasmine, go ahead with your question.

Jasmine: Hi. Yes, my question is in regards to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. I was just wondering if you could explain more about the programs that are available for military and veteran caregivers, and what I can do now as a caregiver, in order to get involved with the foundation during COVID-19?

Bill Walsh: Rashi Romanoff, can you handle that question from Jasmine?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. I would definitely encourage you … there's two ways that I think you can get involved right now if you're a military and veteran caregiver. One is to join our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, which is our Facebook group. It's a really great place to share advice, to seek guidance, just to talk with other military and veteran caregivers that are out there. Some of the questions that have come in just about accessing telehealth or some of the state by state issues; a lot of those same questions are being asked in that community. And what I love about our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is that it's a great opportunity to get intel sort of from other caregivers themselves that have queried the same issues. So that's something you can do right now. At hiddenheroes.org, if you register there as well, all of this content that we've been pushing out with our partners at the VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Phillips and others, we're really trying to think of new and creative content ideas. Last week we did a healthy eating and cooking demonstration for people at home. We also talked a little bit about breathing strategies and exercises you can use to cope with stress. This afternoon, actually, we're going to be talking with Operation Gratitude a little bit about virtual volunteerism efforts. And so, I think what's important to note is that, Jasmine, right now folks need a wide range of different kinds of support. Some people need really specific kinds of clinical care support. Others are looking for things to do with their families or ways to give back. And so we're trying to curate content that really focuses on all of those different needs. And we want to work with our caregiving community to create more content and to work with our partners to answer some of these challenging questions of the day.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for that, Rashi. Let's go back to our questions. Jean, who is next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Rebecca from Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Rebecca. Go ahead with your question.

Rebecca: Hello. My husband has previously had his hearing aids serviced in Wyoming at the facility there. The other option would be to go to Loveland, both of which are equally as far away from us. We live in a very small town in the Northeastern plains of Colorado. And his rechargeable hearing aid batteries are dead. They have told me previously that they didn't ship those to the home and what can we do now? Because he's been without a hearing aid for quite some time.

Bill Walsh: All right, Rebecca, thank you for that question. Dr. Davis, can you address Rebecca's concerns?

Lynda Davis: Well, I certainly hope I can. I'm so sorry for that inconvenience, Rebecca. That's a real tough situation for your husband and for you. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are extraordinary circumstances, and being able to transport something to you under these conditions is what we are trying to find ways to do. We do not rely simply on our own ability to do that. We work very closely with other partners, including the Red Cross. Again, if the AARP team will get your information, I will follow up with you from the VA, but if you can call the 844-698-2311 number and tell them specifically that it is urgent that you get those hearing aids and that you need to have them provided to you, I know they will do everything possible. Let me tell you my specific email address, so that you or anyone else on this call who has a concern can reach me. My name is Lynda.Davis@va.gov. If you send me your concern, just like we're going to look into the Oklahoma facility opening, we will do everything we can to assure you get the assistance that you need.

Bill Walsh: Excellent. Dr. Davis, thanks so much for that. And to our listeners, you've heard a lot of resources mentioned here today, so tomorrow, all of these resources will be on aarp.org/coronavirus. So if you missed the phone number or website, look at AARP's website tomorrow and it will be there.

So, at this time I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief update on what AARP has been doing to protect older Americans during this pandemic. We are focused on three key coronavirus related priorities: transparency and protections for nursing home staff and residents, access to necessary food and nutrition and support for state and local governments. More than 20,000 COVID-19 facilities, fatalities, I'm sorry, have occurred in our nation's long-term care facilities accounting for 1 of every 4 reported coronavirus deaths. AARP state offices are focusing much of their attention on keeping residents and staff safe in these facilities. We've pushed to improve protective equipment and increased testing availability. We have also advocated to address staffing shortages and required transparency at facilities with known infections, and increasing access to virtual visitation for residents such as video chats. AARP's efforts have already resulted in dozens of policy changes. COVID-19 will continue to be a major threat to residents of long-term care facilities for the foreseeable future, and AARP’s advocacy is crucial. The efforts and success would not be possible, however, without the phone calls, emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you for all of that support.

Let's hear more from our guests. Let's get into the financial impact of the coronavirus on households and businesses. And for that, we'd like to welcome today, Charlie Koon. Charlie is the vice president of F&M Bank. He serves as a business development liaison between F&M Bank and the military community in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He works with active duty soldiers, veterans and their families. He is committed to economic progress and growth at the local, state and national levels. Previously, he served as the director of workforce and economic development, as well as the liaison between new and expanding industries and the Tennessee Department of Labor, local American job centers, workforce essentials and existing businesses. Thanks for being with us today, Charlie.

Charlie Koon: Yes, sir. Good to be here. It's been a pleasure to just be on the line with you guys and listen to all the resources that are available. And hopefully, I can help out a little bit. And I'm going to do like Dr. Davis. At some point, I'll give out my email address because there may be a question I can't give you the precise answer, but I'm happy to dig into it and find out whatever we need to find out.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Well, Charlie, let's get into some questions for you. You know the coronavirus has been a major financial blow to so many households across the country. What can veterans do about bills and debt in light of the sudden crisis? Are there special relief programs or appeals available to extend or reduce copays, VA-backed home loans and other debts at this time?

Charlie Koon: You know, there are some things locally and I know we've got people all across the country. So the first thing I would say is use your VA resources. And I know Dr. Davis has spoken a lot about what the VA does, but they have implemented some programs to help with debt and healthcare debts, and benefit debts. So they've suspended all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. And they're suspending collection action, extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts. So the VA is definitely a great resource. And if I could give out a couple of phone numbers ...

Bill Walsh: Yes, please do.

Charlie Koon: … for benefit debt questions, 1-800-827-0648, and for healthcare debt questions, 888-827-4817. Now, we have a lot of these questions; we have people coming into our bank and other financial institutions have them as well, and there's a couple of things that I would recommend. If you know your banker or your financial advisor, I would definitely talk to them about some resources because there are so many, they're hard to list, but there are so many locally that might apply to veterans and their families. I would definitely find somebody that I trust, somebody that I've worked with, banked with or my financial advisor to get some local answers.

Bill Walsh: OK. And Charlie, are you finding that lenders are being more open to extending terms and payback deadlines and whatnot?

Charlie Koon: Yes, sir. You know, that's decided on a per institution basis. But there are many, many credit unions, banks that are being lenient, either deferring payment or helping with lowering payments just to keep people on track.

Bill Walsh: OK. All right, Charlie, given the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses and communities, what do veterans most need to know about preserving their employment or businesses? And how can veterans help each other?

Charlie Koon: Well, I would say about preserving employment is speak with your employer. We see it a lot here in Tennessee. A lot of people have been furloughed or laid off, but I really believe the economy's going to turn around probably sooner rather than later. There'll be some short-term pains, but if you stay in touch with your employer, I believe your job will probably be secure unless there's some unfortunate circumstances.

There are veteran network groups, and I'm sure you're aware of a lot of them, but get involved in veteran network groups in your community. There are different ways that they can help support you, give you information and just kind of help you through these trying times.

Bill Walsh: OK. Let me throw another question at you, Charlie. There's been so many questions to us about the stimulus checks. I'm wondering if the stimulus checks or extra employment payments have any impact on veteran benefits.

Charlie Koon: They do not. They're not supposed to have any impact on that whatsoever. So, I think you're fine. I think everybody will be fine that received one as a veteran.

Bill Walsh: OK. All right, well, thank you for that, Charlie, and we'll come back with some more questions from our listeners. But before we return to your questions, I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Davis and all our callers today who have served our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense and was first observed 70 years ago on May 20, 1950. Next week, our nation formerly honors all six branches of the U.S. military and traditionally offers weeklong activities to remember past and present service in all branches. While these activities will be muted, our times and the sacrifices by medical professionals only remind us of the valor and sacrifice of active duty personnel and veterans. There's no greater honor than service to country and AARP appreciates and honors those who have served, particularly on Memorial Day, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. Today and every day, we salute you for your service.

It's now time to take more of your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of the VA, Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Coon with F&M Bank. Jean, who do we have up next?

Jean Setzfand: We have David from Coachella, California.

Bill Walsh: All right. Dave from California, go ahead with your question.

David: Yes. I was asking the young lady from AARP about; I had some identity theft issues prior to retirement. And so I froze all my credit bureaus. It's so difficult to try to refinance or readjust your VA loan if you can't reach the credit bureaus. They're so difficult. Even with pin numbers that they gave to me when I first froze my accounts, or froze my credit, you can get one, but you can't get the other two. It's a very difficult situation. There's very limited people that you can access. Same thing with the post office. You can't mail stuff because it's going to take 10 times longer to get there. So, I mean, I don't understand how are we supposed to help correct our financial instabilities when we can't even get through the credit bureau.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Well, it's a challenging time for all businesses, but Charlie, I wonder if you might help David. Are there any tips for getting through to the three credit bureaus to address credit issues?

Charlie Koon: You know that's a really challenging question, and I've really not faced that before, but what I would like to offer him is if he were to reach out to me, I will find those answers and then supply them back to the AARP to distribute amongst your members. I'd want to give as accurate of answer as I can, and I just don't have that information.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, do you have any insight on that? Does the Veterans Affairs have any tips on how to get through to the credit bureaus?

Lynda Davis: Let me suggest that, especially if this is interfering with your access to any of your veteran’s benefits in any way, we do have a hotline specifically for that. And that number is 800-827-1000. That's for the benefits hotline. I will also raise this with our Veterans Benefit Administration, because I'm sure it's a question and a challenge other veterans besides yourself are experiencing. There's one other place that we can go. The federal government now has a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they are specifically there to address the concerns of American citizens about things like identity fraud and financial theft of their information. They have a specific office that is dedicated to military service members and veterans and their financial identity and wholeness and the protection of that. I do not have the number right now. I'm going to look it up, but I'm sure that our AARP colleagues will make sure that by the time that they post tomorrow that they have the Division for Military and Veterans under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I hope they can help you too.

Bill Walsh: Yes, I'm sure right now my AARP colleagues are looking up those resources. If we don't get it before the end of the call, it'll be on aarp.org/coronavirus tomorrow. Jean, let's take another call.

Jean Setzfand: We have Bernard from North Carolina.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Bernard. Go ahead with your question.

Bernard: Yes, I'm a blind veteran. My question is, I have an appointment upcoming June 22 and I need transportation. I need to know, is the facility still providing transportation to veterans that need it?

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that question, Bernard. Dr. Davis or Rashi, are you able to address that?

Lynda Davis: Can I understand that the question is for your upcoming appointment, can you still get assistance with transportation to the facility? And if that's the case, sir, we want to make sure that you don't miss your appointment. Oftentimes our transportation is provided by Disabled Veterans of America. They run many of our shuttles for our veterans. So the best way to determine when and if they're operating is to make sure that we get the information for your local facility. I can find that for you if someone will connect us, or we can call the 844-698-2311 number, and they will make sure that you have transportation.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Dr. Davis for that. Jean, who's next in the questioning queue?

Jean Setzfand: I have a call from Miriam from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Miriam, go ahead.

Miriam: My question is my father is a veteran, and I have a question if there are any resources to find a cell phone service and/or internet service, that is available, that is less expensive, without having to prove that one is extremely low-income? We have a lot of expenses, health expenses, and wanted to know if the VA has any resources or anyone else.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, do you want to take a crack at that, and Rashi, if you have anything to add, please do.

Lynda Davis: Yes, Miriam. Not having the access the internet and cell phone services is not only inconvenient, it can be life threatening. And we are currently in negotiation with the major carriers, and I won't name one because if I forget one then I'll be in trouble. But all of the major carriers are working with our Office of Strategic Programs to ensure the rates and the coverage for all broadband is available for all veterans, including those in very remote areas, like Alaska and the Yukon Territories, etc., in Guam. We want to make sure that everyone can reach their provider and have access to telehealth. So, I want to make sure we look at how we have the most affordable access to the internet for your family. And again, I can get you some information about what specific program to use. And I can also ask you to, if you can call our hotline number at 855-948-2311, tell them your problem, they will get back to you with an answer and a way to address it. And they will let us know how quickly they've responded to you.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: And Bill, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Miriam, thanks so much for the question. Definitely please, if there's a way that we can reach out to you following the call through AARP, I want to talk to you a little bit more about this. You know, we have partnerships, both with AT&T and Comcast, where they're both doing offerings. It sort of depends on where you live and exactly what's available, but would love to connect you with that. You know, I know our partners at Comcast have started offering their internet essentials package much more broadly given that a lot of people are at home right now and internet access is really key, particularly for veterans and accessing telehealth appointments and things like that. So we have some great resources and would love to connect you directly with those providers. And you can feel free to email me, I'm rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org., or I'll sort of work with Bill and the team to get your contact information afterwards, as well.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you both for that. And David from California, you had a question a few minutes back about reaching the credit bureaus and one of our guests suggested reaching out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They actually have some pretty robust information for service members and credit. And so you can reach them at 855-411-2372, that's 855-411-2372. You can also reach them online at consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. And again, all of these resources will be available at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. OK, Jean, you have another question for us?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. This is Thomas from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead with your question, Thomas.

Thomas: Hi. I have 160 percent SMC rating and I haven't been able to get my stimulus payment, or I have a HELOC, and I can't get that transferred into my GI Bill to get a loan. So I've been trying everything in the world, but I just can't make the connection.

Bill Walsh: OK. Charlie, do you want to see if you can address Thomas's question?

Charlie Koon: Yeah. He kind of broke up on my end. I didn't hear his question. Could you repeat that?

Bill Walsh: Well, he started off saying that he had 160 percent SMC rating, but he's having trouble getting a stimulus check. He's also having trouble accessing his home equity line of credit. I'm wondering if we can give him some tips and resources to address that. It sounds like he's in a tight financial spot right now.

Charlie Koon: Yeah, I would, as far as the stimulus check, if he, well, he can't get online. If somebody could get online to go to irs.gov/coronavirus, there's a way you can click on there, put your information on it, and it will tell you how and when your check should come if you have not received it. If he has a home equity line of credit, he should be able to use that already unless he's maxed out on that. So we would need more information on his home equity line of credit, but if he has any room on there at all, he should be able to use it.

Bill Walsh: OK. And we too have been referring people to irs.gov for updates on their stimulus checks. Jean, who is next in the questioning queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have a call from Richard from New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: All right, Richard. Go ahead with your question.

Richard: My question is, I'm the caretaker of my wife. She has Alzheimer's, and I filed for assistance through the VA. It's been about approximately 10 months now. And whenever I filed it, not a month later, the lady that filed it for me says it was approved. Now, since then, I haven't heard a word.

Bill Walsh: Hmm. And how long ago, was that when you ...

Richard: About 10 months ago now.

Bill Walsh: ... heard that it was approved? It was 10 months ago since you heard that it was approved.

Richard: No, I'd say nine months ago.

Bill Walsh: Nine to 10 months. Dr. Davis, can you address Richard's concern.

Lynda Davis: Absolutely Richard. I am very glad that you were approved, and you got confirmation of that. Did you get something also in writing?

Bill Walsh: Richard, are you still on the line? I think he may not be.

Lynda Davis: OK.

Bill Walsh: It sounds like somebody told him that it was approved.

Lynda Davis: OK, yeah, and that's always good news to hear positive news, but it's always important for us to make sure we receive things in writing when we're talking about federal or state public benefits. So for Richard, or anyone else who has a challenge with payments, even Thomas who was talking about trying to make sure that he got his stimulus checks, our Veterans Benefits Administration will look into issues like this for you. And their number again is 800-827-1000. But our hotline specifically is designed 24/7 to do case management. If you tell us your name and just a little bit of information, we will not rest until we track down the source or the status of your benefit application and understand what needs to be done, if anything, to make sure you get access to the benefits that you deserve. So that hotline number is 855-948-2311.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Richard, again, if you were just trying to copy that down, it was 855-948-2311. Just a quick question to follow up on that. I'm wondering if it's possible to get paid for taking care of loved ones who are veterans.

Lynda Davis: Absolutely, it is. Congress has passed a law. Beginning in 2009, they began to understand the importance, even more so, of the critical role that family members play as caregivers. Many times our veterans who are wounded, ill or injured, do not want to be in a medical facility or assisted-living, but they want to be home with their family, understandably. And so we now have programs, a program of comprehensive assistance for family that provides stipends to those family members or even friends who have a commitment to care for an eligible veteran who has the inability to perform some of the activities of daily living. And the caregiver line that I provided earlier is the number to call to get information on that. Also again, the hotline that I just gave out, 855-948-2311, saying that I'd like information on all the programs available to assist family members who are caregivers of a veteran. They will provide you that. But there are stipends available for those who qualify, and we'll be expanding those in the coming year to caregivers of veterans who were injured before 9/11. Currently it's just 9/11 veterans, so our population of AARP individuals like myself, who are older veterans, we would not yet be eligible. But we will be very soon. And it's a wonderful program to assist family members.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very, very good. And it's great to hear that. Jean, who's next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Antoinette from South Florida.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Hi, Antoinette. Go ahead with your question.

Antoinette: It's more of a comment. Everybody is concerned about nursing homes, and they should be. But there's also over 55 communities, condominiums that no one checks on, even if you have it through your health insurance. There's really nothing happening to look after us to make sure that we're getting food, that they're sanitizing the areas properly. Now, the young woman that I spoke to said, did I tell my management company? I wouldn't make these statements if they followed through on things. But it's something to look into. There a lot of people here that are way over 90, and my father was a veteran. There are a lot of veterans here. And you know, we're inside, so we don't get as much information as when we traveled out, gone shopping. But it should be noted that these communities that are way over 55, they don't seem to be doing much as far as keeping us as safe as they should. That's all I have to say.

Bill Walsh: Antoinette, I just want to ask you before you drop off, are you talking about an assisted-living facility or are you just talking about a complex with older people?

Antoinette: No, over 55, a complex that's been around for a long time. And again, people live longer and everybody's here a long time. I'm 77. My father lived to be 90, my mother, 95. And people are staying, living, aging in place. I guess that's what's troubling — the aging in place and not having the safety that we should have.

Bill Walsh: Right. OK, Antoinette, thanks for that. I wonder if Rashi, do you have any thoughts on Antoinette's comment? Really, she's asking about, I guess, oversight and assistance outside of a nursing home or assisted living location; just where older folks are living in apartments or whatever. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, and thanks so much for raising that, Antoinette. I think, obviously, from like a who has authority, I know within housing there's different local authorities and agencies that have requirements around safety and living conditions. I will say, that's probably more of the official answer. And I don't have specifics about what might be available in South Florida, but I think the comment you raise is really important. And I think it's important for all of us to keep in mind and really reinforces, I think, not only the trends with individuals and baby boomers and all getting older, but recognizing that a lot of folks are now, as you said, aging in place or they're not necessarily going to institutions. They might be moving in with family members or staying in different kinds of condominium situations. Obviously, we're seeing from the caregiver perspective, a lot more people stepping up to help grandparents and parents as they age, so I think a lot of the issues you're raising are really important ones. Obviously COVID-19 has introduced a wide set of challenges for a number of different industries. And I think as a result of this, a lot of different groups are going to be thinking about, how are we really protecting those Americans that are aging in place, and how are we getting resources to them, whether it's everything from grocery supplies to cleanliness in apartment buildings. I think everything's going to be on the table as we think about ways to do a lot of this better.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who do we have up next?

Jean Setzfand: We have Elaine from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey Elaine, go ahead with your question.

Elaine: Yes. Nice to talk to you, I'm enjoying your program very, very much, Bill Walsh. Dr. Davis, I have a question regarding Vietnam vets. I come from a long line of veterans who have deceased and also my own father was a veteran, and he was cared for at the VA hospital in San Albans, Queens. Had to be coming home from the war, and he wound up getting a leukemia and passed away eventually in that hospital. But my question is, what is the parameter requirement for getting dental service? You know, if you have bad teeth, a veteran, I'm talking about, that was in Vietnam.

Bill Walsh: So, Dr. Davis, can you talk a little bit about dental service? And she was asking about the parameters, the requirements, probably income thresholds, etc., that you need to meet in order to get those dentist services.

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much for your service through your family's service. Let me just say that eligibility for VA care is not connected first and foremost in any way to income. What we first, to determine eligibility for the levels of care, it depends on when the individual served, and in this case, it sounds like certainly service during the Vietnam era qualifies someone for our benefits. And you're probably already receiving ... is your loved one already receiving healthcare from the VA?

Bill Walsh: Elaine is not on the line.

Lynda Davis: OK. So first of all, if someone is not yet, encourage them to enroll. The fastest way to enroll is to go right now because you're not going to be walking into your facility yet. I'm not sure where she is in Florida.

Bill Walsh: She's in New York, actually.

Lynda Davis: Oh, OK. The last caller, Antoinette was in Florida. And I would encourage Antoinette to reach out to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs also, or even the local VA medical center to ask about, especially if she can express her concern for the safety of veterans and family members in her apartment complex. But for New York and our Vietnam-veteran family member, if you're not yet enrolled, the healthcare coverage does include dental in almost all cases. And so we want to make sure that your loved one is enrolled. The best way to do that right now is to call the 855-948-2311 number, and they will help determine the eligibility. And then we'll direct you to the ways to get the dental care. Most facilities have that dental care available at the same location. Some have to refer to. If you are not near a facility that offers a service you need — dental extraction, for instance, or braces or dentures — we will refer you out to the community near you to get those services, and they will be paid for through the VA. So we want to make sure, especially nutrition becomes such a challenge as we age, and it's important to be able to have good, good dental hygiene. So that's a great question.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Davis, thanks for that answer. So Elaine, it sounds like starting at the hotline might be your best starting place to find out the parameters for dental coverage. Jean, who is next up for a question?

Jean Setzfand: We have Mary from L.A.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Mary, go ahead with your question. Go ahead, Mary. Mary, are you on the line with us?

Jean Setzfand: Sounds like we might've lost her.

Bill Walsh: OK, well maybe we can take whoever was next in line.

Jean Setzfand: All right. We have Carl from Pennsylvania.

Bill Walsh: Hey Carl, go ahead with your question for our panel.

Carl: I have, two questions I'd like to ask on the transportation. The drivers that are driving the veterans from their facility to their apartment. I would like to know, do those drivers has their temperature taken every day? Do they wear masks? The other thing that I would like to know, do they clean their vehicles when they get through?

Bill Walsh: OK, that's a good question for Dr. Davis about the drivers and the vehicles that are transporting veterans to and from facilities. Are the drivers monitored for COVID, and what's being done to keep those vehicles clean?

Lynda Davis: Carl, that is a great question whether you're in Pennsylvania or in Texas. As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding the services to what they used to be with one primary thing in mind, and that is safety. So as we open up and get you back to depending and using the services of these drivers, the cleanliness of their vehicles, and our working with groups like the Disabled Veterans of America, will be priority number one. Given your great question, Carl, and our need to assure that our external partners, whether they're one of our veteran service organizations or whether we're relying on private transportation, that those are 100 percent reliable in terms of their cleanliness. I'm going to take this question right now back to both our benefits and our health undersecretaries and say that you want to make sure that's the case, Carl, and I will call the Disabled Veterans of America and make sure that they have all the arrangements to take care of that.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Davis. Jean, do we have another question?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. We have Lydia from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Lydia, go ahead with your question.

Lydia: Hi, good afternoon. My name is Lydia Rivera. I'm calling from Tampa, Florida. I am a caregiver to my mom. She's 90 years old. And I'm wondering how can caregiver volunteers support all their caregivers and are there any local resources or initiatives available to caregivers?

Bill Walsh: OK, we have a caregiving question. Rashi, do you want to tackle that one?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Lydia. It's actually a very timely question. And at 4:00 Eastern today, we're actually going to be hosting a whole webinar session on virtual volunteerism opportunities, later on today. So I hope you can dial in and if not. happy to connect you with some of the information following. We've been hearing, on a personal note, just really amazing stories about caregivers and military families doing a lot to help others during this time of need. Our foundation has our Dole Caregiver Fellows program, and a number of our fellows have been doing things like designing masks and hand-sewing masks to send out to other folks. And so I think there's been really exciting things, and we've been trying to share all of those opportunities through our networks and through our different platforms. And so at 4:00 today, we're actually going to be talking a little bit about a virtual volunteerism activity that folks can be doing with their families. You mentioned locally what you can be doing. I would recommend, we have a Hidden Heroes Cities Program at the foundation, and you can feel free to reach out to us to get you involved. But across the country, we're trying to activate local cities and local counties to do more to create local systems of support for caregivers and for military families in those communities. Oftentimes, nationally, it can be really hard to get things done. But once you go into a local community and work with your mayor or your county officials, it can be really creative and a really great relationship to build up. Also, your local VA, and so definitely reach out to us because we'd love to get you involved in the work that we have ongoing in Tampa and see if there's ways that we can do some volunteer activities there.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Rashi, for that. And we are coming to the end of our show. I wanted to thank Dr. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff and Charlie Coon. This has been a really informative session. I hope our listeners have gotten a lot out of it. I wanted to thank each of you for answering our questions, and I want to invite you to offer any closing thoughts or recommendations. Dr. Davis, do you want to start us off?

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity, Bill, most of all to talk to my AARP members like myself and also to veterans and veteran loved ones. Thank you for your service and those who support those who have served. I want to just leave you with one thing: our pledge to provide the best, highest quality care benefits and memorial services to all of you stands. You will see even an improved VA capability to do that going forward — a lot more virtual services there in your home community as we transition and ensure that your safety remains the highest priority. I want to urge you to remember just a couple key numbers. One, always the bottom line, if you have a concern, is the hotline — 855-948-2311. For any questions related to COVID and the virus, 844-698-2311. And please, please, if anyone is in crisis or concerned about your physical safety or harm to self or others, we have a veteran's crisis line 24/7. That's 800-273-8255. Please be safe, stay well and we look forward to celebrating or recognizing and remembering those loved ones who are no longer with us on Memorial Day.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you so much for that. Dr. Davis. Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, any closing thoughts or recommendations for our listeners?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yes. Thank you so much, Bill, and thanks so much to all of the questions that came in. It was really great and such a geographic diversity as well. In closing, I think it's a really tough time I think for all Americans, but it's a really particularly tough time for military families. And to all the military and veteran caregivers out there, we recognize that many of you are under tremendous amounts of stress and are really triaging, whether it's having kids at home, or more older people at home or having to coordinate a lot of clinical care via telehealth and all these different modalities. We know it can be a really challenging time, and I think I just want to impart that they're not alone and the people at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation are really here for you. So one thing I would leave everyone with is to visit our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. There's a ton of different resources there that are available to you. There's also just an open question opportunity. So at the point that anyone has questions or wants to reach out, you can always email us after this call, and we can try to help you get support as well. So thanks so much.

Bill Walsh: OK, Rashi, thank you so much. And Charlie Coon of F&M Bank, any closing thoughts?

Charlie Koon: Yes sir, Bill. Well, first I want to thank you and AARP for the great resources that you provide to our veterans and their families. And I'd also like to thank our veterans and families for everything they do for us because what we do would not be possible without the support from them. So thank you for that. I ditto what Dr. Davis and Rashi have said. You know, these are tough, unique times, and there's not a one-shoe-fits-all to solve all these issues. So I would just recommend to reach out to your local financial institution and try to find some local support. And if you can't find that, feel free to contact me at charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, and I will do my best to find out the answers that you need. So thank you all very much for this opportunity.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Charlie. And thank you to all of our expert panelists, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And in the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. As I've said before, all the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on May 8 [15]. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy today. I want to let you all know, we have a couple of special conversations coming up. Be sure to join us tonight, 7:00 p.m. ET for a conversation with TV personalities and lifestyle experts Ty Pennington of the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Carl Hall of “America's Top Chef” and Matt Paxton of “Hoarders.” They will share how we can make the most of our extended time at home while physical distancing and sheltering-in-place orders continue. And next Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, we'll have a special discussion with Academy Award-winning actress Susan Lucci and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. Thank you for listening. This concludes our call.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Bill Walsh:  Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today is a special edition of our weekly conversation. We'll discuss the issues that U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans are facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and we'll address health, resources and finances. It's an important conversation if you, a loved one, friend or neighbor is an active duty, retired or former U.S. service member, so please stay with us. If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, press *3.

[00:01:39] Joining us today is Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] . She is the chief veterans experience officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rashi Romanoff, vice president of programs and partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Koon, vice president of corporate [and] military business development at F&M Bank in the Clarksville, Tennessee, area. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today.

[00:02:12] AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Veterans can also find COVID-19 resources and benefits at va.gov. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:02:55] Today, we're talking with experts about how you can protect your health and finances during the global coronavirus pandemic with a special emphasis on U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans and their families. Now before we bring in our guests I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers continue to use the headlines as an opportunity to steal money or sensitive personal information, and we know from our own research that veterans are targeted by a large volume of scam attempts. As a result, veterans are twice as likely as the general population to lose money in a scam. If you're a veteran, a scammer may call you impersonating the VA Office of General Counsel to request payment to process your claims for benefits. Know that the VA will never request payment to carry out their mission to serve veterans. Also know that scammers are attempting to sell fake coronavirus cures, treatments and vaccines. Public health officials and private labs are working hard. At this time there is no publicly available vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19. So ignore offers that suggest otherwise. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or call the Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360, that's 877-908-3360. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. That's aarp.org/veterans.

[00:04:55] Now, I'd like to welcome our first two guests, Dr. Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] is dedicated to improving the experience of all those using the care and benefits of the VA. She is the chief veterans experience officer. Dr. Davis is nationally recognized for her leadership of services for military personnel, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. She is the founder and CEO of the Military Veteran Caregiver Network [inaudible] and the CEO of the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. She is also a former clinician at a VA medical center, a former army signal officer and the mother of a veteran. Welcome, Dr. Davis.

[00:05:44]Lynda Davis:  Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be with you.

[00:05:47]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thanks for being with us. Next up is Rashi Romanoff. She is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. She is an experienced healthcare professional and has worked at the VA from 2010 to 2017. She directed collaborative partnerships with the public and private sectors valued at more than $150 million. Most recently, she served as executive director of prevention and population health for America's health insurance plans. Welcome Rashi.

[00:06:21]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  So happy to be here.

[00:06:23]Bill Walsh:  We're happy to have you. Thank you both for joining us today. Let's go ahead and get started with the conversation. Dr. Davis, let's start with you. How have the experiences of combat veterans and military families changed with the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, and how is the VA responding to their needs?

[00:06:48]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much again for this opportunity. As a veteran and the mother of a veteran and the survivor of several veterans who I have cared for, it's an honor to be at the VA, especially at a time like this when it's so important that we ensure the safety of our veterans and their families and the accessibility to the care that they need. You know, we have almost 19.2 million living veterans with us today. And more than 9 million of them are over the age of 65 and often have caregivers. We have about 20,000 caregivers of the 5.5 million in the country, enrolled in different VA programs. And right now we're trying to do everything possible to ensure their care remains the best in the country. The experiences of veterans are not just for combat veterans because not all veterans have experienced combat, but the experience of our veterans and their families are not unlike those of our civilians. That is that they are isolated, there are challenges with that isolation, with stress, access to the support services they need. For those who don't have coronavirus but are unable to get to a medical facility for their normal care, like a dialysis or a pharmacy replacement of their medications, the VA is reaching out through multiple ways to assist them, and some of them, which you mentioned. We are very fortunate to have that website, which provides everything that's needed, but sometimes people can't easily get to that.

[00:08:51] So let me start out this conversation by highlighting our key number that's available 24/7 to all veterans and family members and friends. This is the White House VA hotline. The number is 855-948-2311. That is the most important number that they will need to answer any questions they have about the entire VA — 24/7 it is an answered by trained veterans and their family members. And if there are calls about accessing the clinical services in their particular medical center, the best number for them to call is 844-698-2311.

[00:09:43] So what we're trying to do is ensure the safety of our veterans and their family members, whether they are experiencing the symptoms of COVID, or whether they are just trying to maintain their health. And I'll talk later about some of the ways in which we are doing that.

[00:10:11]Bill Walsh:  OK, well, thank you for that Dr. Davis and for those numbers. I'm going to repeat them right now, or perhaps you can, just to make sure we get them right and so our listeners can hear them. And just a note, 24 hours after this event, we'll have all of the resources on aarp.org/coronavirus. So Dr. Davis, can you just repeat those numbers and what they're for?

[00:10:36]Lynda Davis:  First of all, we have a 24/7 call line that is answered by veterans and their trained family members. And that will answer any question that a veteran or family member has about care or benefits or memorial services. That is 855-948-2311. We also have a number with specific questions related to clinical care and COVID-19. That is 844-698-2311. Finally, I'd like to mention that we have a number for caregivers of veterans, and that is answered from 8:00 to 8:00 Eastern Standard Time, 855-260-3274.

[00:11:35]Bill Walsh:  OK, and that's for caregiving related questions.

[00:11:38]Lynda Davis:  Yes sir.

[00:11:39]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Dr. Davis, I want to focus in a little bit on a particular dimension of VA service, and that's mental health. We know that mental health issues require constant vigilance, and the global pandemic has just elevated the level of anxiety and isolation for so many people. The VA is well-known as an innovator in telehealth. Can you talk a little bit about how VA mental health services are growing and changing to meet the needs of veterans today?

[00:12:14]Lynda Davis:  Yes, this is especially dear to my heart as a psychologist. The mental health capabilities of the VA have increased by about 750 percent recently as we've undertaken over a 100,000 telehealth appointments, many of them for mental and emotional health concerns. It is often that isolation and the stress leads us to have physical symptoms because we know that our entire wellness is based largely in part on our mental health, and these are very stressful times. We can find ourselves nervous about the safety of our loved ones far away. We can find ourselves stressed with people in a very small confined area, concerned about our ability to get our medications, etc. Our tele-mental health is specifically addressing these concerns. And each medical facility has the capability to provide the tele-mental health for veterans who maybe have been seeing a provider in the past or now need to have a provider. The ability to access those services is available through that hotline number I gave you earlier, the 844-698-2311 number. If someone is concerned about their health, their mental health, they just need to call that number and request an appointment with a mental health provider.

[00:14:14] We do have as our VA facilities are returning to expanded services beyond our appropriately more narrow focus on COVID patients. We are able to serve, not only veterans and their family members in the community, through our vet centers, but we're able to call on our partner organizations and nonprofits; organizations like the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that provides services and support for the caregivers who themselves may be under stress. The Cohen Veterans Network that provides assistance to family members and small children. The small children of veterans are also able to receive assistance through the One Source program at the Department of Defense. Many of our AARP eligible veterans will be grandparents and they have concerns about their own children, or maybe the ones who are primary, the caregivers. So we encourage you to reach out to all of these resources and make sure you're well.

[00:15:34]Bill Walsh:  Well, thank you for that. Dr. Davis. Let's ask about caregivers. I wonder if you can tell us the latest information for people who have loved ones in VA nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Where can they go for information and resources?

[00:15:49]Lynda Davis:  Well, the VA is very fortunate to have a very robust, community facilities or what we call community living centers. They are not what you and I often think of when we think of nursing homes or rehabilitation centers or assisted living centers, some of which I'm using right now for loved ones. Our VA community living centers are really an extension of our hospitals. They are acute care centers with very extensive physician and nursing staff. They are very well monitored; they have restrictions on visitors right now except for certain compassionate care situations. These are connected to other services that may be needed like palliative care or even, at some point, hospice care. We have rigorous guidelines that have been put in place and they follow the CDC, and those veterans who have tested positive for coronavirus are isolated, but they are getting exceptional care there.

[00:17:13] Now, one of the things, it's often confused that there are state veteran nursing homes, and by law, the VA has no authority to go into those unless the governor of a state invites us in. We have been going into several locations at that invitation to provide our own nursing staff to supplement those homes who have been unable to keep pace with the needs of their veterans. And we will continue to do that. We also offer home-based care; that has been a little bit more difficult to secure right now. But most of our veterans, of course, are not in these community living centers. They are at home with their loved ones, and they need assistance that's provided through the VA in conjunction with the Administration for Health and Human Services. We expect that the need for those kinds of home-based services will increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years as we age, and we are ready to support those needs for our veterans and their loved ones.

[00:18:32]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Let me bring Rashi Romanoff from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation into the conversation. Rashi, we know that older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the coronavirus. As a result, many caregivers are facing unprecedented challenges. What are some of the most critical concerns for military and veteran caregivers today?

[00:18:58]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Thanks so much, Bill, and thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk to the audience today a little bit about some issues that military and veteran caregivers are facing. And a huge thanks to Dr. Davis. She's been such a leader in this space, and rightly notes that when you think about military and veteran caregivers, research is telling us that nationally there's at least 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers out there nationally. And the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is solely focused on the needs of supporting systems and establishing resources and programs to really help these caregivers transition into these new roles and care for the veterans in their lives. I think Dr. Davis did a really great job outlining some specific challenges that the military and veteran community are facing at this time. You know, under the best of circumstances, I would say caregivers were already facing a number of challenges just getting through their day-to-day. And I think COVID-19 has obviously introduced a much more complex set of additional challenges and hurdles to cross.

[00:20:09] When it comes to what are the most significant or critical concerns, in the early days, we at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation surveyed our caregivers and identified some top needs. And at a high level, the top needs really continue to be around medical supplies, peer and mental support, financial support and backup care. And I'll talk very briefly about each one.

[00:20:34] On the supplies front, our data shows that upwards of 40 percent of our military and veteran caregivers are using medical supplies and personal protective equipment on a regular basis, things like medical gloves, masks, alcohol prep pads, distilled water. Not only are these now increasingly needed in healthcare settings, but oftentimes a lot of military and veteran caregivers that are providing quite complex care at home really need these items to make sure that they're providing safe and quality care at home. So in addition to not only being able to find these things, increasingly, the prices for these items have also gone up since there's such a dramatic spike in demand. So that's definitely been something that I think is a critical need for our community.

[00:21:23] The second one that I would mention is increasingly that we're seeing needs around caregiver mental health and peer support. In recent days we've seen pretty large spikes in the increases for caregivers, mental health and behavioral health support. I think in the early days there was a lot of focus around veterans’ mental health, and I think that's evolving. I think for many of us in the country are on week six, seven, eight, nine of this crisis. And so a lot of those stresses or things that you've grown accustomed to have become more challenging. You're now doing this on an extended period of time. And so those are some of the new challenges that I think we're hearing about from our caregiver community.

[00:22:13]Bill Walsh:  Right, well in light of all those challenges, I wonder if you can address some of the common strategies that caregivers are using and share some resources that are available to them.

[00:22:25]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. I would just say it's never really been more important for our country and our healthcare institutions to get caregiver support right. Increasingly across the nation, more and more people are not only going to be stepping up as caregivers and taking on these roles, but either as a result of COVID-19 or existing chronic conditions, we're also going to have new people stepping up to take on these roles. Our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus, has a full listing of resources available, and I encourage everyone to visit. I would also mention just a few weeks ago, we teamed up with AARP on a document to really outline a few strategies, and there are three things that I would highlight for the folks listening in today.

[00:23:12] One, stock up and be prepared. I think a lot of us now are used to sort of making sure we're OK on our essential items and things like that. But also make sure you have a list of all of your medications, all of your medical contacts and any other important clinical information. Keep this on your fridge in the event that something comes up or you need to go and seek urgent medical care. Being prepared is really important. Number two, I would say, come up with your backup plan. What is your family's plan in the event that someone in your household gets infected? Where are they going to stay? How are you going to confine them to one location to reduce the risk of spread? I would definitely make sure you think through that. And three, find your community. For military and veteran caregivers we've always known that you can feel isolated and that's always been an issue. And now that we're all staying at home and self-isolating, it can really contribute and be an added stressor. So I would say, find a community. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is our digital platform based off of Facebook. It reaches thousands of caregivers and serves as a safe space for caregivers to seek advice and learn more about new resources. We just launched a new Caregiver Community Connections Series with our partners at the VA and with Wounded Warrior Project. And these are going to be different kinds of weekly webinars to talk about different issues that caregivers will find of interest. I think finding other caregivers and starting a dialogue and having that community to support you is really important right now.

[00:24:54]Bill Walsh:  All right, Rashi, some great advice there. And I know to our listeners, we're throwing a lot of resources at you, but just a reminder that tomorrow we'll be posting the recording of this event and all of the resources at aarp.org/coronavirus. And, also to our listeners, we're going to get to your calls in a second so please press *3 if you want to ask a question and get in the queue. Rashi, one other question. I wonder what the significance is when somebody like actor Tom Hanks tests positive for COVID-19? He was very open about his experience. How did that help bring awareness and hope to our veterans?

[00:25:35]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, you know, Tom Hanks is definitely a part of our Elizabeth Dole Foundation family. He served as a Hidden Heroes ambassador. In fact, it's kind of weird to think, I think this time last year we were in Indianapolis with him, doing some events for military families and celebrating them in Indiana. He's long had a great commitment to this sector and to this population, and it's been really great and creative to work with him.

[00:26:03] I think when you think back to the really early days of this crisis, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were probably some of the earliest and most recognizable faces that were impacted by this disease. You might also recall that there was a lot of misinformation in the early days just about transmission and prevention strategies. And so I think, having someone like him test positive and share that so openly, it did two really, really important things, not just for our veteran and caregiver community, but really for our broader public health community, as well. One, I think it emphasized to the public that anybody, whether you're a celebrity or not, is at risk. If Tom Hanks can come down with this, it's really important that all of us take all of the precautions. And two, I think he used his platform, whether it was Twitter or social media or leveraging partners to really share really critical and useful information. The importance of taking quarantine really seriously, following the advice of the experts, the importance of protecting those who might be immunosuppressed, which is always of importance to our veteran and caregiver community. I think he used that platform really, really positively. It's weird to think that that only all happened just a couple months ago, but I think it really did shine national attention to it and got everyone thinking that we really have to take this seriously and anybody can be impacted.

[00:27:32]Bill Walsh:  Right. And gave people, I think, a lot of hope that he has come out the other side and has recovered and talking about that recovery, as well. So, well, thank you both, Rashi Romanoff and Dr. Davis. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of Veterans Affairs and Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. We'll also be joined shortly by Charlie Coon of F&M Bank. He's here to address the financial fallout of the coronavirus and answer your questions.

[00:28:14] I'd now like to address, introduce rather, AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome Jean.

[00:28:22]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks, Bill, I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:28:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Who do we have on the line with us?

[00:28:29]Jean Setzfand:  We have Hazel from Oklahoma.

[00:28:33]Bill Walsh:  All right. Hazel, welcome. Go ahead with your question.

[00:28:36]Hazel:  I have a question. My husband is in the Claremore, Oklahoma Veteran's Facility. I would like to know if there is any plans to reopen it up.

[00:28:48]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thank you for that, Hazel. Dr. Davis, are you able to address that question from Hazel in Oklahoma?

[00:28:55]Lynda Davis:  Yes, Hazel. Thank you so much for the loving care I'm sure your husband is getting from you. And let me say that what we're doing now with all our VA medical facilities is we are looking at each one to see how we reopen. And those facilities that are less impacted by the number of people who have had COVID or are still there with COVID; those that will be the ones that open first. Let me, I'm very happy to find that specifically out and get back to you, if they can help us do that. But let me tell you again, the quickest way to find that out, Hazel, if you don't mind, is to call that 844-698-2311 number because they can tell you by facility, as well as they know it, when the reopenings … I won't say reopenings because none of our VA facilities have ever closed, but they have focused on the COVID services that are needed and not always been able to provide those other care that your husband may need. So, your safe care, your husband's safe care is our core mission and we want to transition back to that normal services as quickly as possible.

[00:30:29]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, I was wondering if there's any online resource that people can check to see the status of their local VA facilities?

[00:30:38]Lynda Davis:  Yes. So that's va.gov.

[00:30:41]Bill Walsh:  OK.

[00:30:42]Lynda Davis:  www.va.gov. But my experience, you get much richer conversation and additional resources, and perhaps even more up-to-date resources, if you take the time to talk to somebody.

[00:30:59]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Jean, who's next in the queue?

[00:31:11]Jean Setzfand:  We have Brandon from Ohio.

[00:31:14]Bill Walsh:  Hey Brandon, go ahead with your question. Hi, Brandon. Are you with us?

[00:31:23]Brandon:  Yes.

[00:31:24]Bill Walsh:  All right, go ahead with your question.

[00:31:26]Brandon:  I wanted to know what kind of resources are available to help both the veterans and especially our veteran caregivers, in ways that as individuals we can support those and support those resources.

[00:31:38]Bill Walsh:  OK. It sounds like a resource question. Dr. Davis, I know you've called out some resources. Maybe you could just refresh that and, maybe Rashi, if you have some suggestions on that as well.

[00:31:51]Lynda Davis:  Brandon, thank you very much for the care that you are providing to a veteran. Perhaps you're a veteran yourself, but we want to make sure that, as Rashi said, our caregivers are fully supported. We have a peer support service for veterans and also for caregivers. And if you can take the number down, I'll give it to you again. It's 1-800-342-9647. We have numerous services for caregivers including respite care, which means that somebody can assist you in delivering the services that are needed and give you or other loved ones a break. It can be very strenuous and stressful to care for a loved one 24/7. We also have the ability to have some home healthcare services come in to assist you. But the best way is to call that number I just gave you, or 877-222-8387, and they will assist you with the resources that you need.

[00:33:13]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  And Brandon, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Yeah, absolutely. One thing I would really recommend if you're a caregiver yourself is, register at our website at hiddenheroes.org. That's really the easiest way to get information about different resources that we have. I know I mentioned our Caregiver Community Connection Series. Another thing that we've been working on actually very closely with the VA is a spotlight series on really high priority topics that are impacting veterans and caregivers. So last month we did a whole session on accessing VA telehealth services, which is really important during this time. It was sort of a step-by-step of how you create an account, what different resources are available and then some really robust Q&A. On May 20, next week, actually on Wednesday, we're going to be doing a whole session with VA experts, along with our partners at Phillips, on whole healthcare resources and self-care resources available to veterans and families during this time. So I would really recommend, there's a lot out there; hidden heroes.org is a great place to get started and registering there will get you direct links to all of these different resources.

[00:34:32]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Thank you both for those suggestions. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:34:38]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question coming in from YouTube, from Jeffrey. It's a two-part question. So, let me read this for you. "The VA system is deferring most non-emergency medical care, and I and other vets are waiting for non-emergency care. Our vets are seeing health issues worsen by these delays. And as a follow-up, the question continues to say, "Because I'm an Illinois resident who received care from Missouri, my therapist cannot meet me via telehealth. They're licensed to practice only in the state of Missouri. So I think this is a question around the VA system. Thank you.”

[00:35:14]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. Very good. Dr. Davis, are you able to handle those? So just as a refresher, Jeffrey was asking about non-emergency care, and have we seen the condition of veterans worsen as those things have been deferred?

[00:35:32]Lynda Davis:  Jeffrey, thank you for this question. His question is very, very relevant, and just like with Hazel's concern about her husband, getting access to his local facility, first of all, our concern is the safe return, so to speak, of our veterans to their local medical facilities or community-based clinic or veteran clinic. What we're doing to supplement the care of our veterans during this time when the focus is understandably so much on COVID services, we're making sure that we utilize other authorities that we have through things like community care, through the Mission Act and care in the community. We are able to support veterans in seeing practitioners in the community, and we are working with them. Those are services that are authorized and reimbursed with the VA, but they're able to be done through non-VA clinicians. So, also if there is emergency care needed or urgent care needed, urgent care now is certainly covered. And that can be obtained by any veteran at one of the urgent care facilities or their emergency room or at our VA medical centers. They are always open to take in emergency situations.

[00:37:05] With regard to the telehealth, tele-mental health, it is unfortunate that there are still restrictions because of licensure for people to practice across state lines. We are working on that, and in the meantime, if you need to receive support from a different clinician than the one that you were accustomed to, again, I ask you please to reach out, Brandon, to 1-844-698-2311. There are also numerous peer support programs through organizations like the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled Veterans of America, Paralyzed American Veterans and also the Wounded Warrior Project.

[00:38:02]Bill Walsh:  OK, Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Thanks for all these questions. Jean, who's next in line to ask a question?

[00:38:17]Jean Setzfand:  We have Jasmine from Florida.

[00:38:19]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Jasmine, go ahead with your question.

[00:38:23]Jasmine:  Hi. Yes, my question is in regards to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. I was just wondering if you could explain more about the programs that are available for military and veteran caregivers, and what I can do now as a caregiver, in order to get involved with the foundation during COVID-19?

[00:38:41]Bill Walsh:  Rashi Romanoff, can you handle that question from Jasmine?

[00:38:46]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. I would definitely encourage you … there's two ways that I think you can get involved right now if you're a military and veteran caregiver. One is to join our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, which is our Facebook group. It's a really great place to share advice, to seek guidance, just to talk with other military and veteran caregivers that are out there. Some of the questions that have come in just about accessing telehealth or some of the state by state issues; a lot of those same questions are being asked in that community. And what I love about our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is that it's a great opportunity to get intel sort of from other caregivers themselves that have queried the same issues. So that's something you can do right now. At hiddenheroes.org, if you register there as well, all of this content that we've been pushing out with our partners at the VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Phillips and others, we're really trying to think of new and creative content ideas. Last week we did a healthy eating and cooking demonstration for people at home. We also talked a little bit about breathing strategies and exercises you can use to cope with stress. This afternoon, actually, we're going to be talking with Operation Gratitude a little bit about virtual volunteerism efforts. And so, I think what's important to note is that, Jasmine, right now folks need a wide range of different kinds of support. Some people need really specific kinds of clinical care support. Others are looking for things to do with their families or ways to give back. And so we're trying to curate content that really focuses on all of those different needs. And we want to work with our caregiving community to create more content and to work with our partners to answer some of these challenging questions of the day.

[00:40:36]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thanks for that, Rashi. Let's go back to our questions. Jean, who is next in the queue?

[00:40:43]Jean Setzfand:  We have Rebecca from Colorado.

[00:40:46]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Rebecca. Go ahead with your question.

[00:40:49]Rebecca:  Hello. My husband has previously had his hearing aids serviced in Wyoming at the facility there. The other option would be to go to Loveland, both of which are equally as far away from us. We live in a very small town in the Northeastern plains of Colorado. And his rechargeable hearing aid batteries are dead. They have told me previously that they didn't ship those to the home and what can we do now? Because he's been without a hearing aid for quite some time.

[00:41:36]Bill Walsh:  All right, Rebecca, thank you for that question. Dr. Davis, can you address Rebecca's concerns?

[00:41:42]Lynda Davis:  Well, I certainly hope I can. I'm so sorry for that inconvenience, Rebecca. That's a real tough situation for your husband and for you. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are extraordinary circumstances, and being able to transport something to you under these conditions is what we are trying to find ways to do. We do not rely simply on our own ability to do that. We work very closely with other partners, including the Red Cross. Again, if the AARP team will get your information, I will follow up with you from the VA, but if you can call the 844-698-2311 number and tell them specifically that it is urgent that you get those hearing aids and that you need to have them provided to you, I know they will do everything possible. Let me tell you my specific email address, so that you or anyone else on this call who has a concern can reach me. My name is Lynda.Davis@va.gov. If you send me your concern, just like we're going to look into the Oklahoma facility opening, we will do everything we can to assure you get the assistance that you need.

[00:43:38]Bill Walsh:  Excellent. Dr. Davis, thanks so much for that. And to our listeners, you've heard a lot of resources mentioned here today, so tomorrow, all of these resources will be on aarp.org/coronavirus. So if you missed the phone number or website, look at AARP's website tomorrow and it will be there.

[00:44:00] So, at this time I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief update on what AARP has been doing to protect older Americans during this pandemic. We are focused on three key coronavirus related priorities: transparency and protections for nursing home staff and residents, access to necessary food and nutrition and support for state and local governments. More than 20,000 COVID-19 facilities, fatalities, I'm sorry, have occurred in our nation's long-term care facilities accounting for 1 of every 4 reported coronavirus deaths. AARP state offices are focusing much of their attention on keeping residents and staff safe in these facilities. We've pushed to improve protective equipment and increased testing availability. We have also advocated to address staffing shortages and required transparency at facilities with known infections, and increasing access to virtual visitation for residents such as video chats. AARP's efforts have already resulted in dozens of policy changes. COVID-19 will continue to be a major threat to residents of long-term care facilities for the foreseeable future, and AARP’s advocacy is crucial. The efforts and success would not be possible, however, without the phone calls, emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you for all of that support.

[00:45:32] Let's hear more from our guests. Let's get into the financial impact of the coronavirus on households and businesses. And for that, we'd like to welcome today, Charlie Koon. Charlie is the vice president of F&M Bank. He serves as a business development liaison between F&M Bank and the military community in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He works with active duty soldiers, veterans and their families. He is committed to economic progress and growth at the local, state and national levels. Previously, he served as the director of workforce and economic development, as well as the liaison between new and expanding industries and the Tennessee Department of Labor, local American job centers, workforce essentials and existing businesses. Thanks for being with us today, Charlie.

[00:46:24]Charlie Koon:  Yes, sir. Good to be here. It's been a pleasure to just be on the line with you guys and listen to all the resources that are available. And hopefully, I can help out a little bit. And I'm going to do like Dr. Davis. At some point, I'll give out my email address because there may be a question I can't give you the precise answer, but I'm happy to dig into it and find out whatever we need to find out.

[00:46:51]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Well, Charlie, let's get into some questions for you. You know the coronavirus has been a major financial blow to so many households across the country. What can veterans do about bills and debt in light of the sudden crisis? Are there special relief programs or appeals available to extend or reduce copays, VA-backed home loans and other debts at this time?

[00:47:16]Charlie Koon:  You know, there are some things locally and I know we've got people all across the country. So the first thing I would say is use your VA resources. And I know Dr. Davis has spoken a lot about what the VA does, but they have implemented some programs to help with debt and healthcare debts, and benefit debts. So they've suspended all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. And they're suspending collection action, extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts. So the VA is definitely a great resource. And if I could give out a couple of phone numbers ...

[00:48:11]Bill Walsh:  Yes, please do.

[00:48:14]Charlie Koon:  … for benefit debt questions, 1-800-827-0648, and for healthcare debt questions, 888-827-4817. Now, we have a lot of these questions; we have people coming into our bank and other financial institutions have them as well, and there's a couple of things that I would recommend. If you know your banker or your financial advisor, I would definitely talk to them about some resources because there are so many, they're hard to list, but there are so many locally that might apply to veterans and their families. I would definitely find somebody that I trust, somebody that I've worked with, banked with or my financial advisor to get some local answers.

[00:49:18]Bill Walsh:  OK. And Charlie, are you finding that lenders are being more open to extending terms and payback deadlines and whatnot?

[00:49:29]Charlie Koon:  Yes, sir. You know, that's decided on a per institution basis. But there are many, many credit unions, banks that are being lenient, either deferring payment or helping with lowering payments just to keep people on track.

[00:49:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. All right, Charlie, given the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses and communities, what do veterans most need to know about preserving their employment or businesses? And how can veterans help each other?

[00:50:08]Charlie Koon:  Well, I would say about preserving employment is speak with your employer. We see it a lot here in Tennessee. A lot of people have been furloughed or laid off, but I really believe the economy's going to turn around probably sooner rather than later. There'll be some short-term pains, but if you stay in touch with your employer, I believe your job will probably be secure unless there's some unfortunate circumstances.

[00:50:49] There are veteran network groups, and I'm sure you're aware of a lot of them, but get involved in veteran network groups in your community. There are different ways that they can help support you, give you information and just kind of help you through these trying times.

[00:51:08]Bill Walsh:  OK. Let me throw another question at you, Charlie. There's been so many questions to us about the stimulus checks. I'm wondering if the stimulus checks or extra employment payments have any impact on veteran benefits.

[00:51:25]Charlie Koon:  They do not. They're not supposed to have any impact on that whatsoever. So, I think you're fine. I think everybody will be fine that received one as a veteran.

[00:51:39]Bill Walsh:  OK. All right, well, thank you for that, Charlie, and we'll come back with some more questions from our listeners. But before we return to your questions, I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Davis and all our callers today who have served our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense and was first observed 70 years ago on May 20, 1950. Next week, our nation formerly honors all six branches of the U.S. military and traditionally offers weeklong activities to remember past and present service in all branches. While these activities will be muted, our times and the sacrifices by medical professionals only remind us of the valor and sacrifice of active duty personnel and veterans. There's no greater honor than service to country and AARP appreciates and honors those who have served, particularly on Memorial Day, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. Today and every day, we salute you for your service.

[00:52:48] It's now time to take more of your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of the VA, Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Coon with F&M Bank. Jean, who do we have up next?

[00:53:09]Jean Setzfand:  We have David from Coachella, California.

[00:53:17]Bill Walsh:  All right. Dave from California, go ahead with your question.

[00:53:21]David:  Yes. I was asking the young lady from AARP about; I had some identity theft issues prior to retirement. And so I froze all my credit bureaus. It's so difficult to try to refinance or readjust your VA loan if you can't reach the credit bureaus. They're so difficult. Even with pin numbers that they gave to me when I first froze my accounts, or froze my credit, you can get one, but you can't get the other two. It's a very difficult situation. There's very limited people that you can access. Same thing with the post office. You can't mail stuff because it's going to take 10 times longer to get there. So, I mean, I don't understand how are we supposed to help correct our financial instabilities when we can't even get through the credit bureau.

[00:54:16]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Well, it's a challenging time for all businesses, but Charlie, I wonder if you might help David. Are there any tips for getting through to the three credit bureaus to address credit issues?

[00:54:29]Charlie Koon:  You know that's a really challenging question, and I've really not faced that before, but what I would like to offer him is if he were to reach out to me, I will find those answers and then supply them back to the AARP to distribute amongst your members. I'd want to give as accurate of answer as I can, and I just don't have that information.

[00:54:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, do you have any insight on that? Does the Veterans Affairs have any tips on how to get through to the credit bureaus?

[00:55:03]Lynda Davis:  Let me suggest that, especially if this is interfering with your access to any of your veteran’s benefits in any way, we do have a hotline specifically for that. And that number is 800-827-1000. That's for the benefits hotline. I will also raise this with our Veterans Benefit Administration, because I'm sure it's a question and a challenge other veterans besides yourself are experiencing. There's one other place that we can go. The federal government now has a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they are specifically there to address the concerns of American citizens about things like identity fraud and financial theft of their information. They have a specific office that is dedicated to military service members and veterans and their financial identity and wholeness and the protection of that. I do not have the number right now. I'm going to look it up, but I'm sure that our AARP colleagues will make sure that by the time that they post tomorrow that they have the Division for Military and Veterans under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I hope they can help you too.

[00:56:43]Bill Walsh:  Yes, I'm sure right now my AARP colleagues are looking up those resources. If we don't get it before the end of the call, it'll be on aarp.org/coronavirus tomorrow. Jean, let's take another call.

[00:56:57]Jean Setzfand:  We have Bernard from North Carolina.

[00:57:00]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Bernard. Go ahead with your question.

[00:57:04]Bernard:  Yes, I'm a blind veteran. My question is, I have an appointment upcoming June 22 and I need transportation. I need to know, is the facility still providing transportation to veterans that need it?

[00:57:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that question, Bernard. Dr. Davis or Rashi, are you able to address that?

[00:57:33]Lynda Davis:  Can I understand that the question is for your upcoming appointment, can you still get assistance with transportation to the facility? And if that's the case, sir, we want to make sure that you don't miss your appointment. Oftentimes our transportation is provided by Disabled Veterans of America. They run many of our shuttles for our veterans. So the best way to determine when and if they're operating is to make sure that we get the information for your local facility. I can find that for you if someone will connect us, or we can call the 844-698-2311 number, and they will make sure that you have transportation.

[00:58:38]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Dr. Davis for that. Jean, who's next in the questioning queue?

[00:58:46]Jean Setzfand:  I have a call from Miriam from Washington.

[00:58:49]Bill Walsh:  Miriam, go ahead.

[00:58:51]Miriam:  My question is my father is a veteran, and I have a question if there are any resources to find a cell phone service and/or internet service, that is available, that is less expensive, without having to prove that one is extremely low-income? We have a lot of expenses, health expenses, and wanted to know if the VA has any resources or anyone else.

[00:59:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, do you want to take a crack at that, and Rashi, if you have anything to add, please do.

[00:59:30]Lynda Davis:  Yes, Miriam. Not having the access the internet and cell phone services is not only inconvenient, it can be life threatening. And we are currently in negotiation with the major carriers, and I won't name one because if I forget one then I'll be in trouble. But all of the major carriers are working with our Office of Strategic Programs to ensure the rates and the coverage for all broadband is available for all veterans, including those in very remote areas, like Alaska and the Yukon Territories, etc., in Guam. We want to make sure that everyone can reach their provider and have access to telehealth. So, I want to make sure we look at how we have the most affordable access to the internet for your family. And again, I can get you some information about what specific program to use. And I can also ask you to, if you can call our hotline number at 855-948-2311, tell them your problem, they will get back to you with an answer and a way to address it. And they will let us know how quickly they've responded to you.

[01:01:14]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  And Bill, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Miriam, thanks so much for the question. Definitely please, if there's a way that we can reach out to you following the call through AARP, I want to talk to you a little bit more about this. You know, we have partnerships, both with AT&T and Comcast, where they're both doing offerings. It sort of depends on where you live and exactly what's available, but would love to connect you with that. You know, I know our partners at Comcast have started offering their internet essentials package much more broadly given that a lot of people are at home right now and internet access is really key, particularly for veterans and accessing telehealth appointments and things like that. So we have some great resources and would love to connect you directly with those providers. And you can feel free to email me, I'm rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org., or I'll sort of work with Bill and the team to get your contact information afterwards, as well.

[01:02:15]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you both for that. And David from California, you had a question a few minutes back about reaching the credit bureaus and one of our guests suggested reaching out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They actually have some pretty robust information for service members and credit. And so you can reach them at 855-411-2372, that's 855-411-2372. You can also reach them online at consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. And again, all of these resources will be available at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. OK, Jean, you have another question for us?

[01:03:08]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. This is Thomas from Washington.

[01:03:11]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead with your question, Thomas.

[01:03:15]Thomas:  Hi. I have 160 percent SMC rating and I haven't been able to get my stimulus payment, or I have a HELOC, and I can't get that transferred into my GI Bill to get a loan. So I've been trying everything in the world, but I just can't make the connection.

[01:03:44]Bill Walsh:  OK. Charlie, do you want to see if you can address Thomas's question?

[01:03:49]Charlie Koon:  Yeah. He kind of broke up on my end. I didn't hear his question. Could you repeat that?

[01:03:55]Bill Walsh:  Well, he started off saying that he had 160 percent SMC rating, but he's having trouble getting a stimulus check. He's also having trouble accessing his home equity line of credit. I'm wondering if we can give him some tips and resources to address that. It sounds like he's in a tight financial spot right now.

[01:04:15]Charlie Koon:  Yeah, I would, as far as the stimulus check, if he, well, he can't get online. If somebody could get online to go to irs.gov/coronavirus, there's a way you can click on there, put your information on it, and it will tell you how and when your check should come if you have not received it. If he has a home equity line of credit, he should be able to use that already unless he's maxed out on that. So we would need more information on his home equity line of credit, but if he has any room on there at all, he should be able to use it.

[01:05:02]Bill Walsh:  OK. And we too have been referring people to irs.gov for updates on their stimulus checks. Jean, who is next in the questioning queue?

[01:05:14]Jean Setzfand:  We have a call from Richard from New Jersey.

[01:05:18]Bill Walsh:  All right, Richard. Go ahead with your question.

[01:05:22]Richard:  My question is, I'm the caretaker of my wife. She has Alzheimer's, and I filed for assistance through the VA. It's been about approximately 10 months now. And whenever I filed it, not a month later, the lady that filed it for me says it was approved. Now, since then, I haven't heard a word.

[01:05:54]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. And how long ago, was that when you ...

[01:05:57]Richard:  About 10 months ago now.

[01:05:57]Bill Walsh:  ... heard that it was approved? It was 10 months ago since you heard that it was approved.

[01:06:04]Richard:  No, I'd say nine months ago.

[01:06:06]Bill Walsh:  Nine to 10 months. Dr. Davis, can you address Richard's concern.

[01:06:11]Lynda Davis:  Absolutely Richard. I am very glad that you were approved, and you got confirmation of that. Did you get something also in writing?

[01:06:25]Bill Walsh:  Richard, are you still on the line? I think he may not be.

[01:06:30]Lynda Davis:  OK.

[01:06:30]Bill Walsh:  It sounds like somebody told him that it was approved.

[01:06:32]Lynda Davis:  OK, yeah, and that's always good news to hear positive news, but it's always important for us to make sure we receive things in writing when we're talking about federal or state public benefits. So for Richard, or anyone else who has a challenge with payments, even Thomas who was talking about trying to make sure that he got his stimulus checks, our Veterans Benefits Administration will look into issues like this for you. And their number again is 800-827-1000. But our hotline specifically is designed 24/7 to do case management. If you tell us your name and just a little bit of information, we will not rest until we track down the source or the status of your benefit application and understand what needs to be done, if anything, to make sure you get access to the benefits that you deserve. So that hotline number is 855-948-2311.

[01:07:55]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Richard, again, if you were just trying to copy that down, it was 855-948-2311. Just a quick question to follow up on that. I'm wondering if it's possible to get paid for taking care of loved ones who are veterans.

[01:08:13]Lynda Davis:  Absolutely, it is. Congress has passed a law. Beginning in 2009, they began to understand the importance, even more so, of the critical role that family members play as caregivers. Many times our veterans who are wounded, ill or injured, do not want to be in a medical facility or assisted-living, but they want to be home with their family, understandably. And so we now have programs, a program of comprehensive assistance for family that provides stipends to those family members or even friends who have a commitment to care for an eligible veteran who has the inability to perform some of the activities of daily living. And the caregiver line that I provided earlier is the number to call to get information on that. Also again, the hotline that I just gave out, 855-948-2311, saying that I'd like information on all the programs available to assist family members who are caregivers of a veteran. They will provide you that. But there are stipends available for those who qualify, and we'll be expanding those in the coming year to caregivers of veterans who were injured before 9/11. Currently it's just 9/11 veterans, so our population of AARP individuals like myself, who are older veterans, we would not yet be eligible. But we will be very soon. And it's a wonderful program to assist family members.

[01:10:09]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very, very good. And it's great to hear that. Jean, who's next in the queue?

[01:10:16]Jean Setzfand:  We have Antoinette from South Florida.

[01:10:18]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Hi, Antoinette. Go ahead with your question.

[01:10:22]Antoinette:  It's more of a comment. Everybody is concerned about nursing homes, and they should be. But there's also over 55 communities, condominiums that no one checks on, even if you have it through your health insurance. There's really nothing happening to look after us to make sure that we're getting food, that they're sanitizing the areas properly. Now, the young woman that I spoke to said, did I tell my management company? I wouldn't make these statements if they followed through on things. But it's something to look into. There a lot of people here that are way over 90, and my father was a veteran. There are a lot of veterans here. And you know, we're inside, so we don't get as much information as when we traveled out, gone shopping. But it should be noted that these communities that are way over 55, they don't seem to be doing much as far as keeping us as safe as they should. That's all I have to say.

[01:11:38]Bill Walsh:  Antoinette, I just want to ask you before you drop off, are you talking about an assisted-living facility or are you just talking about a complex with older people?

[01:11:45]Antoinette:  No, over 55, a complex that's been around for a long time. And again, people live longer and everybody's here a long time. I'm 77. My father lived to be 90, my mother, 95. And people are staying, living, aging in place. I guess that's what's troubling — the aging in place and not having the safety that we should have.

[01:12:19]Bill Walsh:  Right. OK, Antoinette, thanks for that. I wonder if Rashi, do you have any thoughts on Antoinette's comment? Really, she's asking about, I guess, oversight and assistance outside of a nursing home or assisted living location; just where older folks are living in apartments or whatever. Do you have any thoughts on that?

[01:12:42]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, and thanks so much for raising that, Antoinette. I think, obviously, from like a who has authority, I know within housing there's different local authorities and agencies that have requirements around safety and living conditions. I will say, that's probably more of the official answer. And I don't have specifics about what might be available in South Florida, but I think the comment you raise is really important. And I think it's important for all of us to keep in mind and really reinforces, I think, not only the trends with individuals and baby boomers and all getting older, but recognizing that a lot of folks are now, as you said, aging in place or they're not necessarily going to institutions. They might be moving in with family members or staying in different kinds of condominium situations. Obviously, we're seeing from the caregiver perspective, a lot more people stepping up to help grandparents and parents as they age, so I think a lot of the issues you're raising are really important ones. Obviously COVID-19 has introduced a wide set of challenges for a number of different industries. And I think as a result of this, a lot of different groups are going to be thinking about, how are we really protecting those Americans that are aging in place, and how are we getting resources to them, whether it's everything from grocery supplies to cleanliness in apartment buildings. I think everything's going to be on the table as we think about ways to do a lot of this better.

[01:14:17]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who do we have up next?

[01:14:32]Jean Setzfand:  We have Elaine from New York.

[01:14:34]Bill Walsh:  Hey Elaine, go ahead with your question.

[01:14:37]Elaine:  Yes. Nice to talk to you, I'm enjoying your program very, very much, Bill Walsh. Dr. Davis, I have a question regarding Vietnam vets. I come from a long line of veterans who have deceased and also my own father was a veteran, and he was cared for at the VA hospital in San Albans, Queens. Had to be coming home from the war, and he wound up getting a leukemia and passed away eventually in that hospital. But my question is, what is the parameter requirement for getting dental service? You know, if you have bad teeth, a veteran, I'm talking about, that was in Vietnam.

[01:15:26]Bill Walsh:  So, Dr. Davis, can you talk a little bit about dental service? And she was asking about the parameters, the requirements, probably income thresholds, etc., that you need to meet in order to get those dentist services.

[01:15:41]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much for your service through your family's service. Let me just say that eligibility for VA care is not connected first and foremost in any way to income. What we first, to determine eligibility for the levels of care, it depends on when the individual served, and in this case, it sounds like certainly service during the Vietnam era qualifies someone for our benefits. And you're probably already receiving ... is your loved one already receiving healthcare from the VA?

[01:16:32]Bill Walsh:  Elaine is not on the line.

[01:16:34]Lynda Davis:  OK. So first of all, if someone is not yet, encourage them to enroll. The fastest way to enroll is to go right now because you're not going to be walking into your facility yet. I'm not sure where she is in Florida.

[01:16:56]Bill Walsh:  She's in New York, actually.

[01:16:58]Lynda Davis:  Oh, OK. The last caller, Antoinette was in Florida. And I would encourage Antoinette to reach out to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs also, or even the local VA medical center to ask about, especially if she can express her concern for the safety of veterans and family members in her apartment complex. But for New York and our Vietnam-veteran family member, if you're not yet enrolled, the healthcare coverage does include dental in almost all cases. And so we want to make sure that your loved one is enrolled. The best way to do that right now is to call the 855-948-2311 number, and they will help determine the eligibility. And then we'll direct you to the ways to get the dental care. Most facilities have that dental care available at the same location. Some have to refer to. If you are not near a facility that offers a service you need — dental extraction, for instance, or braces or dentures — we will refer you out to the community near you to get those services, and they will be paid for through the VA. So we want to make sure, especially nutrition becomes such a challenge as we age, and it's important to be able to have good, good dental hygiene. So that's a great question.

[01:18:55]Bill Walsh:  OK, Dr. Davis, thanks for that answer. So Elaine, it sounds like starting at the hotline might be your best starting place to find out the parameters for dental coverage. Jean, who is next up for a question?

[01:19:09]Jean Setzfand:  We have Mary from L.A.

[01:19:11]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Mary, go ahead with your question. Go ahead, Mary. Mary, are you on the line with us?

[01:19:30]Jean Setzfand:  Sounds like we might've lost her.

[01:19:32]Bill Walsh:  OK, well maybe we can take whoever was next in line.

[01:19:36]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Carl from Pennsylvania.

[01:19:44]Bill Walsh:  Hey Carl, go ahead with your question for our panel.

[01:19:47]Carl:  I have, two questions I'd like to ask on the transportation. The drivers that are driving the veterans from their facility to their apartment. I would like to know, do those drivers has their temperature taken every day? Do they wear masks? The other thing that I would like to know, do they clean their vehicles when they get through?

[01:20:16]Bill Walsh:  OK, that's a good question for Dr. Davis about the drivers and the vehicles that are transporting veterans to and from facilities. Are the drivers monitored for COVID, and what's being done to keep those vehicles clean?

[01:20:33]Lynda Davis:  Carl, that is a great question whether you're in Pennsylvania or in Texas. As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding the services to what they used to be with one primary thing in mind, and that is safety. So as we open up and get you back to depending and using the services of these drivers, the cleanliness of their vehicles, and our working with groups like the Disabled Veterans of America, will be priority number one. Given your great question, Carl, and our need to assure that our external partners, whether they're one of our veteran service organizations or whether we're relying on private transportation, that those are 100 percent reliable in terms of their cleanliness. I'm going to take this question right now back to both our benefits and our health undersecretaries and say that you want to make sure that's the case, Carl, and I will call the Disabled Veterans of America and make sure that they have all the arrangements to take care of that.

[01:21:57]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Davis. Jean, do we have another question?

[01:22:03]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. We have Lydia from Florida.

[01:22:06]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Lydia, go ahead with your question.

[01:22:10]Lydia:  Hi, good afternoon. My name is Lydia Rivera. I'm calling from Tampa, Florida. I am a caregiver to my mom. She's 90 years old. And I'm wondering how can caregiver volunteers support all their caregivers and are there any local resources or initiatives available to caregivers?

[01:22:35]Bill Walsh:  OK, we have a caregiving question. Rashi, do you want to tackle that one?

[01:22:40]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Lydia. It's actually a very timely question. And at 4:00 Eastern today, we're actually going to be hosting a whole webinar session on virtual volunteerism opportunities, later on today. So I hope you can dial in and if not. happy to connect you with some of the information following. We've been hearing, on a personal note, just really amazing stories about caregivers and military families doing a lot to help others during this time of need. Our foundation has our Dole Caregiver Fellows program, and a number of our fellows have been doing things like designing masks and hand-sewing masks to send out to other folks. And so I think there's been really exciting things, and we've been trying to share all of those opportunities through our networks and through our different platforms. And so at 4:00 today, we're actually going to be talking a little bit about a virtual volunteerism activity that folks can be doing with their families. You mentioned locally what you can be doing. I would recommend, we have a Hidden Heroes Cities Program at the foundation, and you can feel free to reach out to us to get you involved. But across the country, we're trying to activate local cities and local counties to do more to create local systems of support for caregivers and for military families in those communities. Oftentimes, nationally, it can be really hard to get things done. But once you go into a local community and work with your mayor or your county officials, it can be really creative and a really great relationship to build up. Also, your local VA, and so definitely reach out to us because we'd love to get you involved in the work that we have ongoing in Tampa and see if there's ways that we can do some volunteer activities there.

[01:24:34]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Rashi, for that. And we are coming to the end of our show. I wanted to thank Dr. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff and Charlie Coon. This has been a really informative session. I hope our listeners have gotten a lot out of it. I wanted to thank each of you for answering our questions, and I want to invite you to offer any closing thoughts or recommendations. Dr. Davis, do you want to start us off?

[01:25:02]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity, Bill, most of all to talk to my AARP members like myself and also to veterans and veteran loved ones. Thank you for your service and those who support those who have served. I want to just leave you with one thing: our pledge to provide the best, highest quality care benefits and memorial services to all of you stands. You will see even an improved VA capability to do that going forward — a lot more virtual services there in your home community as we transition and ensure that your safety remains the highest priority. I want to urge you to remember just a couple key numbers. One, always the bottom line, if you have a concern, is the hotline — 855-948-2311. For any questions related to COVID and the virus, 844-698-2311. And please, please, if anyone is in crisis or concerned about your physical safety or harm to self or others, we have a veteran's crisis line 24/7. That's 800-273-8255. Please be safe, stay well and we look forward to celebrating or recognizing and remembering those loved ones who are no longer with us on Memorial Day.

[01:26:50]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you so much for that. Dr. Davis. Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, any closing thoughts or recommendations for our listeners?

[01:27:00]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yes. Thank you so much, Bill, and thanks so much to all of the questions that came in. It was really great and such a geographic diversity as well. In closing, I think it's a really tough time I think for all Americans, but it's a really particularly tough time for military families. And to all the military and veteran caregivers out there, we recognize that many of you are under tremendous amounts of stress and are really triaging, whether it's having kids at home, or more older people at home or having to coordinate a lot of clinical care via telehealth and all these different modalities. We know it can be a really challenging time, and I think I just want to impart that they're not alone and the people at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation are really here for you. So one thing I would leave everyone with is to visit our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. There's a ton of different resources there that are available to you. There's also just an open question opportunity. So at the point that anyone has questions or wants to reach out, you can always email us after this call, and we can try to help you get support as well. So thanks so much.

[01:28:11]Bill Walsh:  OK, Rashi, thank you so much. And Charlie Coon of F&M Bank, any closing thoughts?

[01:28:17]Charlie Koon:  Yes sir, Bill. Well, first I want to thank you and AARP for the great resources that you provide to our veterans and their families. And I'd also like to thank our veterans and families for everything they do for us because what we do would not be possible without the support from them. So thank you for that. I ditto what Dr. Davis and Rashi have said. You know, these are tough, unique times, and there's not a one-shoe-fits-all to solve all these issues. So I would just recommend to reach out to your local financial institution and try to find some local support. And if you can't find that, feel free to contact me at charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, and I will do my best to find out the answers that you need. So thank you all very much for this opportunity.

[01:29:14]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Charlie. And thank you to all of our expert panelists, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And in the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. As I've said before, all the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on May 8  . Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy today. I want to let you all know, we have a couple of special conversations coming up. Be sure to join us tonight, 7:00 p.m. ET for a conversation with TV personalities and lifestyle experts Ty Pennington of the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Carl Hall of “America's Top Chef” and Matt Paxton of “Hoarders.” They will share how we can make the most of our extended time at home while physical distancing and sheltering-in-place orders continue. And next Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, we'll have a special discussion with Academy Award-winning actress Susan Lucci and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. Thank you for listening. This concludes our call.

[01:31:13]

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Teleasamblea sobre el Coronavirus: VETERANOS

Participan:

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: vicepresidenta de Programas y Alianzas, Fundación Elizabeth Dole

Lynda Davis, Ph.D.: oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos, Oficina de Asuntos Públicos e Intergubernamentales, Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de EE.UU.

Charlie Koon: vicepresidente de Desarrollo Corporativo y Militar, F&M Bank

Jean Setzfand: moderadora, vicepresidenta sénior, AARP

Bill Walsh: moderador, vicepresidente, AARP

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP, Bill Walsh. Y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores por más de 60 años.

Ante la situación de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP está proporcionando recursos de información para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

La de hoy es una edición especial de nuestra conversación semanal. Discutiremos los problemas que enfrentan los veteranos y el servicio activo de las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. ante la pandemia de coronavirus, y abordaremos la salud, los recursos y las finanzas. Es una conversación importante si usted, un ser querido, amigo o vecino está en servicio activo, retirado o solía ser miembro del servicio de EE.UU., así que quédese con nosotros.

Si ya participó en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabrá que esto es similar a un programa de radio y tiene la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

Si desea hacer una pregunta, presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y lo colocará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Hola, si recién se une, soy Bill Walsh de AARP. Y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus.

Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Nos acompañará hoy Lynda Davis, MD. Ella es la oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos del Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de EE.UU., Rashi Romanoff, vicepresidenta de Programas y Alianzas de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, y Charlie Koon, vicepresidente de Desarrollo de Negocios Corporativos Militares en F&M Bank en el área de Clarksville, Tennessee.

También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand. Jean será nuestra organizadora y ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas de hoy.

AARP está convocando esta teleasamblea para ayudarlo a acceder a información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien vemos que AARP cumple un papel importante en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el coronavirus, debe tener en cuenta que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud son los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, y se puede encontrar visitando cdc.gov/coronavirus. Los veteranos también pueden encontrar recursos y beneficios de COVID-19 en va.gov, eso es va.gov.

Este evento está siendo grabado. Puede acceder a la grabación desde AARP.org/elcoronavirus, 24 horas después de finalizar.

Hoy, estamos hablando con expertos sobre cómo proteger su salud y sus finanzas durante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus con un énfasis especial en el servicio activo de las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. y los veteranos y sus familias.

Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Ahora, antes de traer a nuestros invitados, quiero proporcionar una rápida alerta de coronavirus de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP. Los estafadores continúan usando los titulares como una oportunidad para robar dinero o información personal confidencial. Y sabemos, a partir de nuestra propia investigación, que los veteranos son blanco de un gran volumen de intentos de estafa. Los veteranos tienen el doble de probabilidades que la población general de perder dinero en una estafa.

Si es un veterano, un estafador puede llamarlo haciéndose pasar por la Oficina de Asesoría Jurídica del VA para solicitar un pago para procesar sus reclamos de beneficios.

Sepa que el VA nunca solicitará pago alguno para llevar a cabo su misión de servir a veteranos. También sepa que los estafadores están intentando vender curas, tratamientos y vacunas para coronavirus falsas. Los funcionarios de salud pública y los laboratorios privados están trabajando duro, pero hasta ahora no existe una vacuna, tratamiento o cura para COVID-19 disponible públicamente.

Así que ignore las ofertas que lo sugieren, de lo contrario visite aarp.org/fraude para obtener más información sobre estas y otras estafas o llame a la línea de ayuda de la Red contra el Fraude al 877-908-3360. Eso es 877-908-3360.

También tenemos recursos, consejos y herramientas gratuitos diseñados específicamente para veteranos y familias militares sobre cuidados, lucha contra el fraude, empleos y seguridad financiera en aarp.org/veterans, eso es aarp.org/veterans.

Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestras dos primeras invitadas.

La Dra. Lynda Davis, se dedica a mejorar la experiencia de todas las personas que utilizan la atención y los beneficios del VA, es la oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos.

La Dra. Davis es reconocida a nivel nacional por su liderazgo en servicios para personal militar, veteranos, sus familias, cuidadores y sobrevivientes. Es la fundadora y directora ejecutiva de la Red de Cuidado de Veteranos Militares dentro de TAPS, y la directora ejecutiva de Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. También es ex clínica de un centro médico del VA, una exoficial de señales del ejército y la madre de un veterano.

Bienvenida, Dra. Davis.

Lynda Davis: Buenas tardes. Es un placer estar con todos ustedes.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por estar con nosotros.

La siguiente es Rashi Romanoff. Es vicepresidenta de programas y alianzas de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole. Es una profesional de la salud con experiencia que trabajó en el VA del 2010 al 2017. Dirigió alianzas de colaboración con los sectores público y privado valuados en más de $150 millones.

Más recientemente, se desempeñó como directora ejecutiva de Prevención y Población de Salud para los Planes de Seguro de Salud de Estados Unidos. Bienvenida Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Un placer estar aquí.

Bill Walsh: Un placer tenerla. Gracias a las dos por acompañarnos hoy.

Comencemos con la conversación. Y un simple recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Dra. Davis, comencemos con usted. ¿Cómo se ven afectadas las experiencias de los veteranos de combate y las familias militares con la incertidumbre actual de COVID-19 y cómo responde el VA a sus necesidades?

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias, nuevamente, por esta oportunidad.

Como veterana, y madre de un veterano, y sobreviviente de varios veteranos a los que he atendido, es un honor estar en el VA.

Y especialmente en un momento como este, cuando es tan importante que garanticemos la seguridad de nuestros veteranos y sus familias, y la accesibilidad a la atención que necesitan. Sabes, tenemos casi 19.2 millones de veteranos vivos con nosotros hoy y más de 9 millones de ellos son mayores de 65 años y a menudo tienen cuidadores.

Tenemos alrededor de 20,000 cuidadores de los 5.5 millones en el país, inscritos en diferentes programas del VA. Y en este momento estamos tratando de hacer todo lo posible para garantizar que su atención siga siendo la mejor del país.

Las experiencias de los veteranos, no se tratan solo de veteranos de combate porque no todos los veteranos han experimentado combate, pero las experiencias de nuestros veteranos y sus familias no son diferentes a las de nuestros civiles. Es decir, están aislados, hay desafíos ante ese aislamiento, estrés, acceso a los servicios de apoyo que necesitan, para aquellos que no tienen coronavirus pero que no pueden acercarse a un centro médico para su atención regular, como diálisis o farmacia, reemplazo de sus medicamentos.

El VA se está comunicando de múltiples maneras para ayudarlos, algunas de las cuales ya mencionaron. Somos muy afortunados de tener ese sitio web que proporciona todo lo que se necesita, pero a veces las personas no pueden acceder fácilmente.

Permítanme comenzar esta conversación destacando nuestro número que está disponible 24/7 para todos los veteranos y familiares y amigos. Esta es la línea directa del VA de la Casa Blanca, el número es 855-948-2311.

Ese es el número más importante, que necesitarán para responder cualquier pregunta que tengan sobre el VA en general, 24/7 es respondido por veteranos capacitados y sus familiares. Y si tienen preguntas sobre el acceso a los servicios clínicos en su centro médico en particular, el mejor número para llamar es 844-698-2311.

Entonces, lo que estamos tratando de hacer es garantizar la seguridad de nuestros veteranos y sus familiares, ya sea que estén experimentando los síntomas de COVID-19 o si solo están tratando de mantener su salud. Y luego hablaré sobre algunas de las formas en que hacemos eso.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, bien, gracias por eso, Dra. Davis y por los números.

Voy a repetirlos ahora mismo o tal vez pueda asegurarse de repetir fuerte y claro y que nuestros oyentes puedan escucharlos en una nota.

Tendremos... Veinticuatro horas después de este evento, tendremos todos los recursos en aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Entonces, Dra. Davis, ¿puede repetir esos números y para qué sirven?

Lynda Davis: Primero que nada, tenemos una línea de llamadas 24/7 que es atendida por veteranos y sus familiares capacitados. Y ellos responderán cualquier pregunta que un veterano o familiar tenga sobre la atención o los beneficios o los servicios conmemorativos. El número es 855-948-2311.

También tenemos un número para preguntas específicas relacionadas con la atención clínica y COVID-19 que es 844-698-2311.

Y finalmente, me gustaría mencionar que tenemos un número para cuidadores de veteranos. Y atiende de 8 a 8, hora estándar del este y ese es 855-260-3274.

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿y eso es para preguntas relacionadas con el cuidado?

Lynda Davis: Sí, señor.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien.

Dra. Davis, quiero centrarme un poco en una dimensión particular del servicio del VA, la salud mental. Sabemos que los problemas de salud mental requieren vigilancia constante, y la pandemia global ha elevado el nivel de ansiedad y aislamiento para muchas personas.

El VA es muy conocido como un innovador en telesalud. ¿Puede hablar un poco sobre cómo los servicios de salud mental del VA están creciendo y cambiando para satisfacer las necesidades de los veteranos de hoy?

Lynda Davis: Sí. Esto es especialmente especial para mí como psicóloga.

Las capacidades de salud mental del VA han aumentado en aproximadamente un 750% recientemente. Ya que hemos realizado más de 100,000 citas de telesalud, muchas de ellas por problemas de salud mental y emocional.

A menudo es ese aislamiento y el estrés lo que nos lleva a tener síntomas físicos porque sabemos que todo nuestro bienestar se basa en gran medida en nuestra salud mental, y estos son tiempos muy estresantes. Podemos sentirnos nerviosos por la seguridad de nuestros seres queridos a lo lejos, podemos encontrarnos estresados con personas en un área confinada muy pequeña, preocupados por nuestra capacidad de obtener medicamentos, etc.

Nuestra telesalud mental está abordando específicamente estas preocupaciones. Y cada instalación médica tiene la capacidad de proporcionar telesalud mental a los veteranos que quizás hayan estado viendo a un proveedor en el pasado o que ahora necesiten tener un proveedor.

La capacidad de acceder a esos servicios está disponible a través de ese número de línea directa que le mencioné anteriormente, el número 698-2311. Si alguien está preocupado por su salud o salud mental, solo debe llamar a ese número y solicitar una cita con un proveedor de salud mental.

Sí tenemos... A medida que nuestras instalaciones del VA regresan para expandir sus servicios más allá de nuestro enfoque particular en pacientes con COVID-19, podemos servir no solo a los veteranos y sus familiares en la comunidad a través de nuestros Centros de Veteranos, sino que podemos recurrir a nuestras organizaciones aliadas y organizaciones sin fines de lucro, como la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, que brinda servicios y apoyo a los cuidadores, quienes pueden estar bajo estrés.

La Red de Veteranos de Cohen que brinda asistencia a familiares y niños pequeños. Los niños pequeños de veteranos también pueden recibir asistencia a través del programa OneSource en el Departamento de Defensa. Muchos de nuestros veteranos elegibles de AARP serán abuelos, y tienen inquietudes sobre sus propios hijos o quizás sobre los que son cuidadores primarios.

Por lo tanto, los alentamos a que utilicen todos estos recursos y se aseguren de estar bien.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias, Dra. Davis. Preguntemos por los cuidadores.

¿Puede darnos la información más reciente para aquellos que tienen seres queridos en hogares de ancianos y centros de vida asistida del VA? ¿Dónde pueden obtener información y recursos?

Lynda Davis: Bueno, el VA es muy afortunado de tener una comunidad muy sólida.

Nuestras instalaciones de... Lo que llamamos Centros de Vida Comunitaria, no son lo que pensamos a menudo cuando pensamos en hogares de ancianos o centros de rehabilitación o centros de vida asistida, algunos de los cuales estoy usando ahora para mis seres queridos.

Nuestros Centros de vida comunitaria del VA son realmente una extensión de nuestros hospitales. Son centros de cuidados agudos con personal médico y de enfermería muy extenso. Están muy bien monitoreados. Tienen restricciones para los visitantes en este momento, a excepción de ciertas situaciones de cuidado compasivo.

Estos están conectados a otros servicios que pueden ser necesarios, como cuidados paliativos o incluso, en algún momento, hospicio. Tenemos pautas rigurosas que se han implementado y siguen a los CDC. Y los veteranos que están aislados son... Quienes han dado positivo para coronavirus están aislados, pero están recibiendo una atención excepcional allí.

Ahora, una de las cosas, a menudo se confunde que hay hogares de veteranos ancianos estatales. Y, por ley, el VA no tiene autoridad para ingresar a ellos a menos que el gobernador de un estado nos invite a entrar.

Hemos estado yendo a varios lugares con esa invitación para proporcionar nuestro propio personal de enfermería para complementar aquellos hogares que no han podido mantener el ritmo con las necesidades de sus veteranos. Y continuaremos haciendo eso.

También ofrecemos atención domiciliaria que ha sido un poco más difícil de asegurar en este momento, pero la mayoría de nuestros veteranos, por supuesto, no se encuentran en estos Centros de Vida Comunitaria. Están en casa con sus seres queridos. Y necesitan asistencia que se proporciona a través del VA en conjunto con la Administración de Servicios Humanos y de Salud.

Esperamos que la necesidad de ese tipo de servicios en el hogar aumente en un 50% en los próximos 10 años a medida que envejezcamos, y estamos listos para apoyar esas necesidades para nuestros veteranos y sus seres queridos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, Dra. Davis. Gracias.

Permítanme invitar a Rashi Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole a la conversación. Rashi, sabemos que los adultos mayores y aquellos con condiciones de salud crónicas tienen un mayor riesgo de enfermedades graves y complicaciones por coronavirus. Como resultado, muchos cuidadores enfrentan desafíos sin precedentes.

¿Cuáles son algunas de las preocupaciones más críticas de los cuidadores militares y veteranos en la actualidad?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Muchas gracias, Bill, y muchas gracias por invitarme.

Estoy muy entusiasmada por hablar con la audiencia de hoy un poco sobre algunos problemas que enfrentan los cuidadores militares y veteranos. Y muchas gracias a la Dra. Davis. Ella ha sido una líder en este espacio.

Y con razón sabe que cuando uno piensa en cuidadores militares y veteranos, la investigación nos dice que, a nivel nacional, hay al menos 5.5 millones de cuidadores militares y veteranos a nivel nacional, y la Fundación Elizabeth Dole se centra exclusivamente en la necesidad de sistemas de apoyo y establecer recursos y programas para ayudar realmente a la transición de estos cuidadores a estos nuevos roles y a cuidar a los veteranos y sus vidas.

Creo que la Dra. Davis hizo un gran trabajo al describir algunos desafíos específicos que enfrentan la comunidad militar y de veteranos en este momento.

Sabe, en la mejor de las circunstancias, diría que los cuidadores ya se enfrentaban a una serie de desafíos, simplemente superando su día a día. Y creo que COVID-19 obviamente ha introducido un conjunto mucho más complejo de desafíos y obstáculos adicionales que superar.

En los primeros días, cuando se trataba de una de las preocupaciones más importantes o críticas, en los primeros días, en la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, encuestamos a nuestros cuidadores e identificamos algunas de las principales necesidades. Y principalmente, en verdad siguen siendo los suministros médicos, el apoyo mental y de pares, el apoyo financiero y la atención de respaldo. Y hablaré muy brevemente sobre cada uno.

Respecto a los suministros, nuestros datos muestran que más del 40% de nuestros cuidadores militares y veteranos están usando suministros médicos y equipos de protección personal de manera regular.

Ya sabe, cosas como guantes médicos, mascarillas, almohadillas de preparación de alcohol, agua destilada, y estas cosas no solo se necesitan cada vez más en entornos de atención médica, sino que a menudo estos artículos son necesarios para los cuidadores militares y veteranos que brindan atención bastante compleja en el hogar, para asegurarse de brindar atención segura y de calidad en el hogar. Entonces, además de tener cada vez más dificultad para encontrar estas cosas, los precios de estos artículos también han aumentado ya que hay un aumento tan dramático en la demanda. Así que definitivamente eso es algo que creo que es una necesidad crítica para nuestra comunidad.

Lo segundo que mencionaría es que cada vez vemos más necesidades en torno a la salud mental y el apoyo de los cuidadores. En los últimos días, hemos visto picos bastante altos y aumentos para los cuidadores, la salud mental y el apoyo a la salud del comportamiento.

Creo que en los primeros días, se prestaba mucha atención a la salud mental de los veteranos, y creo que eso está evolucionando. Ahora creo que muchos de nosotros en el país estamos en la semana 6, 7, 8, 9 de esta crisis. Y muchas de esas tensiones o cosas a las que nos hemos acostumbrado se han vuelto más desafiantes.

Llevamos haciendo esto en un período prolongado de tiempo. Y esos son algunos de los nuevos desafíos que creo que estamos escuchando de nuestra comunidad de cuidadores.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, ante todos esos desafíos, me pregunto si puede abordar algunas de las estrategias comunes que utilizan los cuidadores y compartir algunos recursos disponibles para ellos.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente.

Solo diría que nunca ha sido más importante para nuestro país y nuestras instituciones de salud obtener el apoyo adecuado de los cuidadores. Cada vez más, en todo el país, no solo van a aparecer más y más cuidadores y asumir estos roles, sino como resultado de COVID-19 o las condiciones crónicas existentes, también vamos a tener nuevas personas que empezarán a asumir estos roles.

Nuestro sitio web hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus tiene una lista completa de recursos disponibles, y propongo que todos la visiten.

También mencionaría que hace unas semanas, nos asociamos con AARP para hacer un documento y establecer algunas estrategias. Y hay tres cosas que destacaría para la gente que escucha hoy.

Primero, abastecerse y estar preparado. Creo que muchos de nosotros ya estamos acostumbrados a asegurarnos de que tenemos suficientes artículos esenciales y cosas así. Pero también asegúrense de tener una lista de todos sus medicamentos, todos sus contactos médicos y cualquier otra información clínica importante, y cuélguelos en su refrigerador en caso de que surja algo o deba ir a buscar urgentemente atención médica. Estar preparado es realmente importante.

Número dos, diría, establezca su plan de respaldo. ¿Cuál es el plan de su familia en caso de que alguien en su hogar se infecte? ¿Dónde se van a quedar? ¿Cómo los vas a confinar en un lugar para reducir el riesgo de propagación? Definitivamente me aseguraría de que empiecen a pensar en eso. Y tres, encuentre su comunidad. Ya sabe, para los cuidadores militares y veteranos, sabemos que siempre puede sentirse aislado. Y eso siempre ha sido un problema. Y ahora que todos nos quedamos en casa y nos aislamos voluntariamente, realmente puede contribuir y ser un factor estresante adicional.

Entonces diría, encuentre una comunidad. Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, es nuestra plataforma digital basada en Facebook. Llega a miles de cuidadores y sirve como un espacio seguro para que los cuidadores busquen asesoramiento y aprendan más sobre nuevos recursos.

También mencionaría con orgullo que acabamos de lanzar una nueva serie de Caregiver Community Connection con nuestros socios en el VA y con Wounded Warrior Project. Y estos serán seminarios web semanales para hablar sobre diferentes temas que los cuidadores encontrarán interesantes. Creo que encontrar a otros cuidadores y comenzar un diálogo y tener esa comunidad para apoyarlo es realmente importante en este momento.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Rashi, muy buenos consejos.

Y sé que para nuestros oyentes, les estamos lanzando muchos recursos, pero les recuerdo que mañana publicaremos la grabación de este evento y todos los recursos en aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Y también para nuestros oyentes, vamos a atender sus llamadas en un segundo, así que presione * 3 si desea hacer una pregunta y ponerse en la lista.

Rashi, otra pregunta si puede ser. Me pregunto cuál es el significado cuando alguien como el actor Tom Hanks da positivo por COVID-19, él fue muy abierto con respecto a su experiencia. ¿Cómo ayudó eso a crear conciencia y esperanza para nuestros veteranos?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, Tom Hanks definitivamente es parte de nuestra familia de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Sirvió como el embajador de Hidden Heroes. De hecho, es un poco extraño pensarlo. Creo que en esta época, el año pasado estuvimos en Indianápolis con él, haciendo algunos eventos para familias militares y celebrando con ellos en Indiana.

Sabe, tenía un gran compromiso con este sector y con esta población, y ha sido realmente genial y creativo trabajar con él. Creo que cuando se piensa en los primeros días de esta crisis, Tom Hanks y su esposa, Rita Wilson, fueron probablemente algunas de las primeras caras reconocibles que se vieron afectadas por esta enfermedad.

También podrán recordar que hubo mucha desinformación en los primeros días sobre la transmisión y las estrategias de prevención. Y creo que, alguien como él que dé positivo y comparta eso abiertamente, logró dos cosas realmente importantes, no solo para nuestra comunidad de veteranos y cuidadores, sino también para nuestra comunidad más amplia de salud pública.

Una, creo, enfatiza al público que cualquiera, ya sea una celebridad o no, está en riesgo. Si Tom Hanks puede contagiarse de esto, es realmente importante que todos tomemos todas las precauciones. Y dos, usó su plataforma, ya sea Twitter o redes sociales o para socios, para compartir información realmente crítica y útil.

La importancia de tomar la cuarentena realmente en serio, seguir los consejos de expertos, la importancia de proteger a aquellos que podrían estar inmunodeficientes, lo que siempre es importante para nuestra comunidad de veteranos y cuidadores. Creo que usó esa plataforma muy, muy positivamente.

Es extraño pensar que todo eso sucedió hace solo un par de meses. Pero creo que realmente le brindó una atención nacional y consiguió que todos pensaran que realmente tenemos que tomar esto en serio y que cualquiera podría verse afectado.

Bill Walsh: Correcto, y le dio a la gente, creo, muchas esperanzas de que él haya salido bien y se haya recuperado y esté hablando de esa recuperación también.

Muy bien, gracias a ambas, Rashi Romanoff y Dra. Davis. Es hora de abordar sus preguntas con la Dra. Lynda Davis de Asuntos de Veteranos y Rashid Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Le recuerdo, presione * 3 en cualquier momento en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta.

También nos acompañará en breve Charlie Koon de F&M Bank. Él está aquí para abordar las consecuencias financieras del coronavirus y responder sus preguntas.

Ahora me gustaría dirigirme, mejor dicho presentar a Jean Setzfand, colega de AARP, que ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenida Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Bill. Un gusto estar aquí para esta importante conversación.

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea con nosotros?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Hazel de Oklahoma.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Hazel, bienvenida. Adelante con su pregunta.

Hazel: tengo una pregunta. Mi esposo está en las instalaciones de veteranos de Claremore, Oklahoma. Me gustaría saber si hay algún plan para reabrir.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias, Hazel.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede responder esa pregunta de Hazel en Oklahoma?

Lynda Davis: Sí, Hazel. Muchas gracias por el amoroso cuidado que estoy segura de que su esposo está recibiendo de usted.

Y permítanme decir que lo que estamos haciendo ahora con todas nuestras instalaciones médicas del VA es que estamos analizando cada una para ver cómo reabrimos y aquellas instalaciones que están menos afectadas por la cantidad de personas que han tenido COVID-19 o que todavía están allí con COVID-19, serán las que abran primero.

Con gusto podría averiguar específicamente y responderle, si pueden ayudarnos. Pero déjeme decirle nuevamente, la forma más rápida de averiguarlo, Hazel, si no le importa, es llamar a ese número 844-698-2311 porque pueden informar por instalación, y saben cuándo reabrirán.

No diré reaperturas porque nunca una de nuestras instalaciones del VA ha cerrado, pero se han centrado en los servicios COVID-19 que se necesitan y no siempre han podido proporcionar la otra atención que su esposo pueda necesitar. Por lo tanto, la atención segura suya y de su esposo es nuestra misión principal, y queremos regresar a esos servicios normales lo más rápido posible.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Dra. Davis, me preguntaba si hay algún recurso en línea que la gente pueda verificar para ver el estado de sus instalaciones locales de VA.

Lynda Davis: Sí, en va.gov.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Lynda Davis: Www.va.gov. Pero según mi experiencia, debería tener una conversación mucho más beneficiosa y recursos adicionales, y tal vez recursos aún más actualizados si se toma el tiempo para hablar con alguien.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Un recordatorio, para hacerle una pregunta a los panelistas de hoy, presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Brandon de Ohio.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Brandon. Adelante con la pregunta. Hola Brandon, ¿está con nosotros?

Brandon: Sí.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, adelante con su pregunta.

Brandon: Queremos saber qué tipo de recursos hay disponibles para ayudar a los veteranos, especialmente a los cuidadores veteranos, de manera que, como individuos, podamos apoyarlos y tener recursos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Suena como una pregunta de recursos.

Dra. Davis, sé que ha nombrado algunos recursos, tal vez podría volver a mencionarlos y tal vez, Rashi, si tiene algunas sugerencias al respecto también.

Lynda Davis: Brandon, muchas gracias por la atención que le brinda a un veterano. Quizás usted también sea un veterano, pero queremos asegurarnos de que, como dice Rashi, nuestros cuidadores se sientan completamente apoyados.

Tenemos un servicio de apoyo entre pares para veteranos y también para cuidadores. Y si puede anotar el número, se lo volveré a dar. Es 1800-342-9647. Tenemos numerosos servicios para cuidadores, incluido el cuidado de relevo, lo que significa que alguien puede ayudarlo a brindar los servicios que se necesitan y darte un descanso a usted y a otros seres queridos.

Puede ser muy agotador y estresante cuidar a un ser querido 24/7. También tenemos la capacidad de enviar algunos servicios de atención médica a domicilio para ayudarlo, pero lo mejor sería llamar al número que le acabo de dar o al 877-222-8387. Y lo ayudarán con los recursos que le hagan falta.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Y, Brandon, esto es lo que...

Bill Walsh: Bien. Adelante, Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Le habla Rashi de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Sí, absolutamente, una cosa que realmente recomendaría si es un cuidador es registrarse en nuestro sitio web en hiddenheroes.org. Esa es la forma más fácil de obtener información sobre los diferentes recursos que tenemos.

Sé que mencioné nuestra serie Caregiver Community Connection. Otra cosa en la que hemos estado trabajando muy de cerca con el VA es una serie destacada sobre temas de alta prioridad que están impactando a los veteranos y cuidadores. Y el mes pasado, hicimos una sesión completa sobre el acceso a los servicios de telesalud del VA que es realmente importante en este momento.

Fue una especie de paso a paso de cómo crear una cuenta, qué diferentes recursos están disponibles y luego algunas preguntas y respuestas realmente sólidas. El miércoles, 20 de mayo, la próxima semana, haremos una sesión completa con expertos del VA junto con nuestros socios en Philips sobre recursos de atención médica completos y recursos de autocuidado disponibles para veteranos y familias durante este tiempo.

Así que realmente recomendaría, hay muchas cosas dando vueltas, hiddenheroes.org es un buen lugar donde comenzar y al registrarse allí obtendrá enlaces directos a todos estos diferentes recursos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien Gracias a ambos por esas sugerencias.

Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta proveniente de YouTube de Jeffrey. Es una pregunta de dos partes, así que déjenme leerla para ustedes.

"El sistema del VA está aplazando la mayoría de la atención médica que no es de emergencia, y yo y otros veteranos estamos esperando atención que no es de emergencia. Nuestros veteranos ven cómo sus problemas de salud empeoran debido a estos retrasos".

Y como seguimiento, la pregunta continúa: "Como soy un residente de Illinois, que recibió atención de Misuri. Mi terapeuta no puede reunirse conmigo a través de telesalud. Tienen licencia para practicar solo en el estado de Misuri". Así que creo que esta es una pregunta sobre el sistema VA. Gracias.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Dra. Davis, ¿puede contestar eso?

Como recordatorio, Jeffrey estaba preguntando acerca de la atención que no es de emergencia y si hemos notado que la condición de los veteranos empeora a medida que esas cosas se aplazan.

Lynda Davis: Jeffrey, gracias por esta pregunta. Su pregunta es muy, muy relevante, al igual que con la preocupación de Hazel de que su esposo tenga acceso a sus instalaciones locales.

En primer lugar, nuestra preocupación principal es el regreso seguro, por así decirlo, de nuestros veteranos a sus instalaciones médicas locales o clínicas comunitarias o clínicas de veteranos. Lo que estamos haciendo para complementar la atención de nuestros veteranos durante este tiempo donde el enfoque está en los servicios de COVID-19, es asegurarnos de utilizar a otras autoridades que tenemos, a través de cosas como la atención comunitaria, a través de la Ley MISSION y cuidado en la comunidad.

Podemos apoyar a los veteranos para que vean a practicantes en la comunidad. Y estamos trabajando con ellos, esos son servicios que están autorizados y reembolsados con el VA, pero que pueden hacerse a través de médicos que no son del VA. Así también, si se necesita atención de emergencia o atención de urgencia, la atención de urgencia ahora está cubierta.

Y eso lo puede obtener cualquier veterano en uno de los centros de atención de urgencia o en su sala de emergencias o en nuestros Centros Médicos del VA. Siempre están abiertos a situaciones de emergencia. Con respecto a la telesalud mental, es lamentable que todavía haya restricciones debido a la licencia para que las personas practiquen a través de las fronteras estatales. Estamos trabajando en eso.

Y mientras tanto, si necesita recibir apoyo de un médico diferente al que estaba acostumbrado, nuevamente, le pido que se comunique, Brandon, al 1-844-698-2311.

También hay numerosos programas de apoyo entre pares a través de organizaciones como la Cruz Roja Americana, los Veteranos de Vietnam de América, los Veteranos Discapacitados de América, los Veteranos Americanos Paralizados y también el Proyecto Guerrero Herido.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, Dra. Davis, gracias. Gracias por todas estas preguntas.

Y un simple recordatorio, si tiene una pregunta, presione * 3 para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para ponerse en la lista.

Jean, ¿quién sigue para hacer una pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Jasmine de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Jasmine, adelante con su pregunta.

Jasmine: Hola, sí. Mi pregunta es con respecto a la Fundación Elizabeth Dole. Me preguntaba si podría explicar más acerca de los programas que están disponibles para los cuidadores militares y veteranos. ¿Y qué puedo hacer ahora como cuidadora para involucrarme con la fundación durante COVID-19?

Bill Walsh: Rashi Romanoff, ¿puede responder la pregunta de Jasmine?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente. Sabe, definitivamente la animaría a hacerlo.

Hay dos maneras en las que creo que puede involucrarse ahora mismo si es una cuidadora militar y veterana. Una es unirse a nuestra comunidad de cuidadores de Hidden Heroes, que es nuestro grupo de Facebook. Sabe, es un gran lugar para compartir consejos, buscar orientación, solo para hablar con otros cuidadores militares y veteranos que hay por ahí.

Algunas de las preguntas que han surgido sobre, acceder a la telesalud o, algunas cuestiones de estado por estado, se hacen muchas de esas mismas preguntas en esa comunidad. Y lo que me encanta de nuestra comunidad de cuidadores de Hidden Heroes es que es una gran oportunidad para obtener información de otros cuidadores que han consultado sobre los mismos problemas, así que eso es algo que puede hacer ahora.

En hiddenheroes.org, si también se registra allí, todo este contenido que hemos estado promoviendo con nuestros socios en el VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Philips y demás, realmente estamos tratando de pensar en ideas de contenido nuevas y creativas.

La semana pasada hicimos una demostración de alimentación y cocina saludable para las personas en el hogar. También hablamos un poco sobre estrategias de respiración y ejercicios que puede usar para lidiar con el estrés Esta tarde, de hecho, vamos a hablar con Operation Gratitude, un poco sobre los esfuerzos de voluntariado virtual y demás.

Creo que es importante tener en cuenta Jasmine, que ahora la gente necesita una amplia gama de diferentes tipos de apoyo. Algunas personas necesitan tipos de apoyo de atención clínica realmente específicos, otras buscan cosas que hacer con sus familias y formas de retribuir.

Por lo tanto, estamos tratando de seleccionar contenido que realmente se centre en todas esas necesidades diferentes. Y queremos trabajar con nuestra comunidad de cuidadores para crear más contenido y trabajar con nuestros socios para responder algunas de estas preguntas desafiantes del día.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias, Rashi. Volvamos a nuestras preguntas.

Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Rebecca de Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Rebecca. Adelante con su pregunta.

Rebecca: Hola. Anteriormente, mi esposo tenía el servicio técnico de su audífono en el Wyoming, en las instalaciones allí. La otra opción sería ir a Loveland, que está igual de lejos para nosotros. Vivimos en un pueblo muy pequeño en las llanuras del noreste, Colorado. Y sus baterías recargables para audífonos están agotadas. Me han dicho anteriormente que no hacían envíos a domicilio. ¿Y qué podemos hacer ahora? Porque ha estado sin audífono durante bastante tiempo.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Rebecca, gracias por esa pregunta.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede abordar las preocupaciones de Rebecca?

Lynda Davis: Bueno, ciertamente espero poder hacerlo.

Lamento mucho las molestias, Rebecca. Esa es una situación realmente difícil para su esposo y para usted. No quiero sonar como un disco rayado, pero estas son circunstancias extraordinarias. Estamos tratando de encontrar formas de poder entregar cosas en estas condiciones. No dependemos simplemente de nuestra propia capacidad para hacerlo.

Trabajamos muy de cerca con otros socios, incluida la Cruz Roja. Una vez más, si el equipo de AARP puede tomar su información, le haré un seguimiento desde el VA. Pero si puede, llame al número 844-698-2311 y dígale específicamente que necesita con urgencia obtener esos audífonos y que necesita que se los proporcionen. Sé que harán todo lo posible.

Permítame darle mi dirección de correo electrónico específica para que usted o cualquier otra persona que tenga una inquietud, pueda comunicarse conmigo. Mi nombre es Lynda, L-Y-N-D-A. Davis, D-A-V-I-S @va.gov. Si me envían su inquietud, al igual que averiguaremos la apertura de las instalaciones de Oklahoma, haremos todo lo posible para asegurarles que obtengan la asistencia que necesitan.

Bill Walsh: Excelente. Dra. Davis, muchas gracias.

Y para nuestros oyentes, han escuchado mencionar muchos recursos aquí hoy, así que mañana todos estos recursos estarán en aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Entonces, si se perdieron el número de teléfono o el sitio web, visite el sitio web de AARP mañana y estará allí.

Entonces, ahora, me gustaría tomar un momento para brindarles una breve actualización sobre lo que AARP ha estado haciendo para proteger a los adultos mayores durante esta pandemia.

Nos centramos en tres prioridades clave relacionadas con el coronavirus, la transparencia en las protecciones para el personal y los residentes de hogares de ancianos, el acceso a los alimentos y la nutrición necesarios y el apoyo a los Gobiernos estatales y locales.

Más de 20,000 muertes por COVID-19, han ocurrido en las instalaciones de atención a largo plazo de nuestra nación que representan una de cada cuatro muertes de coronavirus reportadas. Las oficinas estatales de AARP centran gran parte de su atención y mantienen seguros a los residentes y al personal en estas instalaciones.

Hemos presionado para mejorar el equipo de protección y aumentar la disponibilidad de pruebas. También hemos abogado para abordar la escasez de personal y exigir transparencia en las instalaciones con infecciones conocidas y aumentar el acceso a las visitas virtuales para los residentes, como las llamadas de video. Los esfuerzos de AARP ya han resultado en docenas de cambios en las políticas.

COVID-19 continuará siendo una gran amenaza para los residentes de centros de atención a largo plazo en el futuro cercano, y la defensa de AARP es crucial. Sin embargo, los esfuerzos y el éxito no serían posibles sin las llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos y acciones de los socios de AARP, voluntarios y adultos mayores en todo el país, así que gracias por todo ese apoyo.

Escuchemos hablar más a nuestros invitados. Entremos en el impacto financiero del coronavirus en los hogares y las empresas. Y para eso, nos gustaría dar la bienvenida hoy a Charlie Koon.

Charlie es el vicepresidente de F&M Bank. Sirve como enlace de desarrollo comercial entre F&M Bank y la comunidad militar en Clarksville, Tennessee y Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Trabaja con soldados en servicio activo, veteranos y sus familias. Está comprometido con el progreso económico y el crecimiento a nivel local, estatal y nacional. Anteriormente, se desempeñó como director de Desarrollo de la Fuerza Laboral y Económica, así como enlace entre las industrias nuevas y en expansión en el Departamento de Trabajo de Tennessee, los Centros de Empleo Americanos locales, Workforce Essentials y las empresas existentes.

Gracias por estar con nosotros hoy, Charlie.

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Un placer estar aquí. Sabe, ha sido un placer estar en línea con ustedes y escuchar todos los recursos disponibles. Y con suerte, puedo ayudar un poco.

Y voy a hacer como la Dra. Davis. En algún momento, daré mi dirección de correo electrónico porque puede haber una pregunta a la que no pueda darle una respuesta precisa pero con gusto investigaré y averiguaré lo que sea que necesitemos averiguar.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Bueno, Charlie, vamos a hacerle algunas preguntas.

Sabe, el coronavirus ha sido un gran golpe financiero para muchos hogares en todo el país. ¿Qué pueden hacer los veteranos con respecto a las facturas y las deudas ante esta crisis repentina? ¿Existen programas especiales de ayuda o apelaciones disponibles para extender o reducir los copagos, los préstamos hipotecarios respaldados por el VA y otras deudas en este momento?

Charlie Koon: Hay algunas cosas a nivel local, y sé que tenemos personas en todo el país. Entonces, lo primero que diría es que usen los recursos del VA. Y sé que la Dra. Davis ha hablado mucho sobre lo que hace el VA, pero han implementado algunos programas para ayudar con las deudas y deudas de salud y las deudas de beneficios. Así que han suspendido todas las acciones sobre deudas de veteranos bajo la jurisdicción del Departamento del Tesoro. Y están suspendiendo el cobro, extendiendo los plazos de pago de las deudas del VA preexistentes. Entonces el VA es definitivamente un gran recurso. Y si pudiera dar un par de números de teléfono.

Bill Walsh: Sí.

Charlie Koon: Para preguntas sobre deudas de beneficios, 1-800-827-0648 y para preguntas sobre deudas de atención médica 888-827-4817. Ahora tenemos muchas... Muchas de estas preguntas... Hay personas que vienen a nuestro banco y otras instituciones financieras también las tienen. Y hay un par de cosas que recomendaría.

Si tiene un banquero o asesor financiero, definitivamente hablaría con ellos sobre algunos recursos porque hay tantos... Son difíciles de enumerar, pero hay tantos a nivel local que podrían aplicarse a los veteranos y sus familias.

Definitivamente buscaría a alguien en quien confíe, alguien con quien yo haya trabajado, hecho cuentas, o mi asesor financiero para obtener algunas respuestas locales.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Y Charlie, ¿te parece que los prestamistas están más abiertos a extender los plazos y los plazos de amortización y demás?

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Ya sabe, eso se decide por institución, pero hay muchas, muchas cooperativas de crédito, bancos que son indulgentes, ya sea aplazando el pago o ayudando a reducir los pagos solo para mantener a las personas en el camino correcto.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien.

Charlie, dado el impacto del coronavirus en las pequeñas empresas y comunidades, ¿qué es lo que más deben saber los veteranos para preservar su empleo o negocios? ¿Y cómo pueden ayudarse los veteranos entre sí?

Charlie Koon: Bueno, yo diría que para preservar su empleo debe hablar con su empleador. Lo vemos mucho aquí en Tennessee. Mucha gente ha sido suspendida o despedida, pero realmente creo que la economía va a cambiar, probablemente no tardará mucho, sin embargo, habrá algunas molestias a corto plazo. Pero si se mantiene en contacto con su empleador, creo que su trabajo probablemente estará asegurado a menos que haya algunas circunstancias desafortunadas.

Hay grupos de veteranos en la red. Y estoy seguro de que conocen muchos de ellos. Pero participen en grupos de veteranos de su comunidad. Hay diferentes maneras en que pueden brindar apoyo, brindar información y simplemente ayudar en estos momentos difíciles.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Otra pregunta para usted, Charlie.

Han habido tantas preguntas sobre los cheques de estímulo. Me pregunto si los cheques de estímulo o los pagos adicionales por empleo tienen algún impacto en los beneficios para veteranos.

Charlie Koon: No lo tienen. No se supone que tengan ningún impacto en eso. Así que creo que están cubiertos. Creo que todo el mundo estará bien si recibe uno como veterano.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Bueno, gracias por eso, Charlie. Y volveremos con algunas preguntas más de nuestros oyentes.

Pero antes de que volvamos a sus preguntas, quiero tomarme un momento para agradecer a la Dra. Davis y a todos los oyentes de hoy que han servido a nuestro país en las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. Armed Forces Day, Week se creó a raíz de la consolidación de los servicios militares bajo el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos y se observó por primera vez hace 70 años el 20 de mayo de 1950.

La próxima semana nuestra nación honra formalmente a las seis ramas del ejército estadounidense y tradicionalmente ofrece actividades toda la semana para recordar el servicio pasado y presente de todas las ramas. Si bien estas actividades se silenciarán, nuestros tiempos y los sacrificios de los profesionales médicos solo nos recuerdan el valor y el sacrificio del personal en servicio activo y los veteranos.

No hay mayor honor que servir al país. Y AARP aprecia y honra a quienes han servido, particularmente en el Día de los Caídos, a quienes hicieron el máximo sacrificio en defensa de nuestras libertades. Hoy y todos los días los saludamos por su servicio.

Ahora es momento de responder más preguntas con la Dra. Lynda Davis del VA, Rashi Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole y Charlie Koon del F&M Bank. Presione * 3 en cualquier momento en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta.

Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Davis, lo siento, David de Coachella, pido disculpas por eso, California.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. David, de California, adelante con su pregunta.

David: Sí, le estaba preguntando a la joven de AARP sobre algunos problemas de robo de identidad que tuve antes de jubilarme así que congelé todo con las agencias de crédito. Es muy difícil tratar de refinanciar o reajustar un préstamo del VA si no puede uno comunicarse con las agencias de crédito. Es tan difícil, incluso con los números de pin que me dieron cuando congelé por primera vez mis cuentas o congelé mi crédito. Puede obtener uno, pero no puede obtener los otros dos, o puede... Ya sabe, es una situación muy difícil. Son muy limitadas las personas a las que puede uno acceder.

Lo mismo sucede con la oficina de correos, no puede uno enviar algo por correo porque va a tardar 10 veces más en llegar. Entonces, quiero decir, no entiendo cómo se supone que debemos ayudar a corregir nuestras inestabilidades financieras cuando ni siquiera podemos pasar por la agencia de crédito.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno, es un momento desafiante para todas las empresas.

Pero, Charlie, me pregunto si podría ayudar a David. ¿Hay algún consejo para contactarse con las agencias de crédito para abordar problemas de crédito?

Charlie Koon: Esa es una pregunta realmente desafiante, y realmente no me he enfrentado con eso antes. Pero lo que me gustaría ofrecerle, si se comunica conmigo, encontraré esas respuestas y luego se las enviaré a AARP para que las distribuya entre sus socios. Quiero obtener la respuesta más precisa posible, y simplemente no tengo ninguna información.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Dra. Davis, ¿tiene alguna idea de eso? ¿Los Asuntos de Veteranos tiene algún consejo sobre cómo comunicarse con las oficinas de crédito?

Lynda Davis: Permítanme sugerir que, si esto está interfiriendo con su acceso a cualquiera de los beneficios de veterano de alguna manera, tenemos una línea directa específicamente para eso. Y ese número es 800-827-1000. Eso es para la línea directa de beneficios.

También plantearé esto con nuestra Administración de Beneficios para Veteranos porque estoy segura de que es una pregunta y un desafío que otros veteranos además de usted están experimentando.

Hay otro lugar al que podemos ir. El Gobierno federal ahora tiene una Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor, y están específicamente para abordar las preocupaciones de los ciudadanos del país sobre cosas como el fraude de identidad y el robo financiero de la información. Tienen una oficina específica que está dedicada a miembros del servicio militar y veteranos, y su identidad financiera y su integridad y la protección de eso. No tengo el número en este momento. Voy a buscarlo.

Pero estoy segura de que nuestros colegas de AARP se asegurarán de publicar mañana que tienen una división para militares y veteranos en la Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor, y espero que puedan ayudarlo también.

Bill Walsh: Sí, estoy seguro de que ahora mis colegas de AARP están buscando esos recursos. Si no lo recibimos antes del final de la llamada, estarán en aarp.org/elcoronavirus mañana.

Jean, respondamos otra llamada.

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Bernard de Carolina del Norte.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Bernard. Adelante con su pregunta.

Bernard: Sí. Soy un veterano de bombas. Y mi pregunta es, tengo una cita el próximo 22 de junio y necesito transporte. Necesito saber si la instalación aún brinda transporte a los veteranos que lo necesitan.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias por esa pregunta, Bernard.

Dra. Davis o Rashi, ¿pueden abordar eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: ¿Puedo confirmar si la pregunta es, si para su próxima cita, todavía puede solicitar ayuda con el transporte a las instalaciones?

Bill Walsh: Sí.

Lynda Davis: Si ese es el caso, señor, queremos asegurarnos de que no se pierda su cita.

A menudo, nuestro transporte es provisto por Veteranos Discapacitados de América. Hacen muchos de los traslados para nuestros veteranos. Entonces, la mejor manera de determinar cuándo y si están operando es que nos dé la información de su instalación local.

Puedo averiguarlo por usted si alguien nos conecta o podemos llamar al número 844-698-2311, y se asegurarán de que tenga transporte.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias Dra. Davis.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista de preguntas?

Jean Setzfand: Tengo una llamada de Miriam de Washington.

Bill Walsh: Miriam, adelante.

Miriam: Mi padre es veterano y tengo dudas sobre si hay algún recurso para encontrar un servicio de telefonía celular o de internet que esté disponible, que sea menos costoso sin tener que demostrar que uno tiene ingresos extremadamente bajos. Tenemos muchos gastos, gastos de salud y queríamos saber si el VA tiene algún recurso o alguien más.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Dra. Davis, ¿quiere comentar sobre eso? Y, Rashi, si tiene algo que agregar, hágalo.

Lynda Davis: Sí, Miriam, no tener acceso a internet ni a los servicios de telefonía celular no solo es un inconveniente, sino que puede atentar contra la vida. Y actualmente estamos negociando con los principales operadores, y no los nombraré porque si olvido uno, estaré en problemas.

Pero todos los principales operadores están trabajando con nuestra Oficina de Programas Estratégicos para garantizar que las tarifas y la cobertura de toda la banda ancha esté disponible para todos los veteranos, incluidos aquellos en áreas muy remotas como Alaska y los territorios de Yukón, etc. y Guam.

Queremos asegurarnos de que todos puedan comunicarse con su proveedor y tengan acceso a la telesalud. Así que quiero asegurarme de que busquemos cómo lograr una disponibilidad a internet más accesible para su familia. Y nuevamente, puedo buscarle información sobre qué programa específico utilizar.

Y también puedo pedirle que, si puede, llame a nuestro número de línea directa al 855-948-2311, les informe su problema, y ellos le darán una respuesta y una forma de abordarlo. Y nos harán saber qué tan rápido le han respondido.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Y, Bill, habla Rashi de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Miriam, muchas gracias por la pregunta. Definitivamente, por favor... Si hay una manera de comunicarnos con usted luego de la llamada con AARP, quisiera hablar un poco más sobre esto.

Tenemos asociaciones, tanto con AT&T como con Comcast, y ambos están haciendo ofertas. De alguna manera, depende de dónde viva y exactamente qué hay disponible, pero nos encantaría ponerla en contacto con eso, sé que nuestros socios de Comcast han comenzado a ofrecer su paquete de elementos esenciales de internet de manera mucho más amplia dado que muchas personas están en casa en este momento y el acceso a internet es realmente clave, especialmente para los veteranos y para acceder a citas de telesalud y cosas por el estilo.

Por lo tanto, tenemos algunos recursos excelentes y nos encantaría ponerla en contacto directamente con esos proveedores. Y puede sentirse libre de enviarme un correo electrónico a rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org o podemos trabajar con Bill y el equipo para conseguir su información de contacto también.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias a las dos.

Y David, de California, preguntó hace unos minutos acerca de cómo comunicarse con las agencias de crédito y uno de nuestros invitados sugirió comunicarse con la Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor.

De hecho, tienen información bastante sólida, para miembros del servicio y créditos. Y puede comunicarse con ellos al 855-411-2372, eso es 855-411-2372. También puede comunicarse con ellos en línea en consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. Y nuevamente, todos estos recursos estarán disponibles en aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir de mañana.

Bien, Jean, tiene otra pregunta para nosotros.

Jean Setzfand: Sí. Este es Thomas de Washington.

Bill Walsh: Adelante con su pregunta, Thomas.

Thomas: Hola. Tengo una calificación de SMC del 150% y no he podido recibir mi pago de estímulo, o tengo HELOC y no puedo transferirlo a mi G.I. Bill para obtener un préstamo. Así que he estado probando todo lo posible pero no puedo conectarme.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Charlie, ¿quiere ver si puede responder a la pregunta de Thomas?

Charlie Koon: Sí, se cortó un poco. No escuché su pregunta. ¿Podrías repetirla?

Bill Walsh: Bueno, comenzó diciendo que tenía una calificación de SMC del 160%, pero que tiene problemas para obtener un cheque de estímulo.

También tiene problemas para acceder a su línea de crédito sobre el valor neto de la vivienda. Me pregunto si podemos darle algunos consejos y recursos para abordar... Parece que está en una situación financiera difícil en este momento.

Charlie Koon: Sí. En cuanto al cheque de estímulo, Si alguien pudiera conectarse, ir a irs.gov/coronavirus. Hay una manera, puede hacer clic allí y poner su información, y le dirá cómo y cuándo debería llegar su cheque o si no lo ha recibido.

Si tiene una línea de crédito sobre el valor acumulado de la vivienda, ya debería poder usarla a menos que esté al máximo. Por lo tanto, necesitamos más información sobre la línea de crédito sobre el valor neto de la vivienda, pero si tiene algo de dinero ahí, debería poder usarla.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Y nosotros también hemos estado derivando a las personas a irs.gov para informarse sobre cheques de estímulo.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista de preguntas?

Jean Setzfand: Recibimos una llamada de Richard desde Nueva Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Richard, adelante con su pregunta.

Richard: Yo soy el cuidador de mi esposa, ella tiene Alzheimer. Y solicité asistencia al VA. Han pasado aproximadamente 10 meses. Y cuando lo presenté, aproximadamente un mes después, la señora que lo presentó por mí dice que fue aprobado. Y desde entonces no he sabido nada.

Bill Walsh: ¿Y cuánto tiempo hace de que supo que fue aprobado? Hace 10 meses que supiste que fue aprobado.

Richard: Hace diez, nueve meses.

Bill Walsh: Entre nueve y diez meses.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede abordar la preocupación de Richard?

Lynda Davis: Absolutamente, Richard. Me alegro de que le hayan aprobado, y haya recibido la confirmación de eso. ¿Recibió también algo por escrito?

Bill Walsh: Richard, ¿sigue en la línea? Creo... Creo que parece que no... Parece que alguien le dijo que fue aprobado.

Lynda Davis: De acuerdo. Si. Y eso es siempre... Es bonito escuchar noticias positivas. Pero siempre es importante asegurarnos de recibir las cosas por escrito cuando hablamos de beneficios públicos federales o estatales.

Entonces, para Richard o cualquier otra persona que experimente desafíos con los pagos, incluso Thomas, que estaba hablando de tratar de asegurarse de que obtuviera sus cheques de estímulo, nuestra Administración de Beneficios de Veteranos investigará problemas como este. Y su número nuevamente es 800-827-1000. Pero nuestra línea directa está específicamente diseñada para administrar los casos 24/7.

Si nos dice su nombre y nos da un poco de información, no descansaremos hasta rastrear la fuente o el estado de su solicitud de beneficios y comprendamos si debe hacer algo para asegurarnos de que tenga acceso a los beneficios que se merece. Entonces ese número de línea directa es 855-948-2311.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Richard, si intentaba apuntarlo, era 855-948-2311.

Una pregunta rápida a modo de seguimiento. Me pregunto si es posible que me paguen por cuidar a los seres queridos que son veteranos.

Lynda Davis: Absolutamente. El Congreso aprobó una ley a principios del 2009. Comenzaron a comprender aún más la importancia del papel fundamental que desempeñan los miembros de la familia como cuidadores.

Muchas veces, nuestros veteranos lesionados, enfermos o heridos no quieren estar en un centro médico o de vida asistida, pero sí quieren estar en casa con su familia y es entendible. Y ahora tenemos programas, un programa de asistencia integral para la familia que proporciona estipendios a aquellos miembros de la familia o incluso amigos que tienen el compromiso de cuidar a un veterano elegible que no puede realizar algunas de las actividades de la vida diaria. Y la línea para el cuidador que proporcioné anteriormente es el número al que hay que llamar para obtener información al respecto.

Además, una vez más, la línea directa que acabo de dar, 855-948-2311, creo que me gustaría obtener información sobre todos los programas disponibles para ayudar a los miembros de la familia que son cuidadores de un veterano.

Le proporcionarán eso, pero hay estipendios disponibles para aquellos que califican. Y los ampliaremos el próximo año a los cuidadores de veteranos que resultaron heridos antes del 11 de septiembre. Actualmente, son solo veteranos del 11 de septiembre. Por lo tanto, la población de individuos de AARP como yo, que somos veteranos mayores, aún no seríamos elegibles, pero lo seremos muy pronto. Y es un programa maravilloso para ayudar a los miembros de la familia.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Me alegra escuchar eso.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Antoinette del sur de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Antoinette. Adelante con su pregunta.

Antoinette: Se trata más bien de un comentario. Todos están preocupados por los hogares de ancianos, y deberían estarlo. Pero también hay más de 55 comunidades, condominios que nadie revisa, incluso si lo cubre su seguro de salud.

Realmente no hay nadie que nos cuide para asegurarse de que estamos obteniendo alimentos, que se estén desinfectando las áreas adecuadamente. Ahora la joven con la que hablé preguntó si le dije algo a mi compañía de gestión. No haría estas afirmaciones, si hicieran bien las cosas, pero es algo que hay que analizar.

Hay mucha gente aquí que tiene más de 90 años. Y mi padre era veterano, hay muchos veteranos aquí. Y, ya sabe, estamos adentro, así que no recibimos tanta información. Cuando viajamos, salimos de compras. Pero debe tenerse en cuenta que hay más de 55 de estas comunidades. No parecen estar haciendo tanto en cuanto a mantenernos a salvo como deberían. Eso es todo lo que tengo para decir.

 

Bill Walsh: Antoinette, solo quiero preguntarle antes de que se vaya. ¿Está hablando de un centro de vida asistida o simplemente está hablando de un complejo con todas las personas?

Antoinette: un complejo que existe desde hace mucho tiempo. Y nuevamente, la gente vive más y todos están aquí mucho tiempo. Tengo 77 años. Mi padre vivió hasta los 90 años, mi madre 95. Y, sabe, la gente envejece en el lugar. Esto es lo que... Supongo que debería haber...

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Antoinette: Eso es lo que preocupa. Envejecer en un lugar y no tener la seguridad que deberíamos tener.

Bill Walsh: Claro. De acuerdo, Antoinette, gracias.

Me pregunto si, Rashi, ¿tienes alguna idea sobre el comentario de Antonieta? Realmente está preguntando, supongo, que por la supervisión y la asistencia fuera de un hogar de ancianos o de vida asistida, ya sabe, donde viven las personas mayores en apartamentos o lo que sea. ¿Tiene alguna idea sobre eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí. Y muchas gracias por plantear eso, Antoinette.

Creo que, obviamente en lo que respecta a la autoridad, sé que dentro de la vivienda hay diferentes autoridades y agencias locales que tienen requisitos en torno a la seguridad y las condiciones de vida. Diré que esa es probablemente la respuesta más oficial. Y no tengo detalles sobre lo que podría haber disponible en el sur de Florida. Pero creo que el comentario que hace es realmente importante.

Y creo que es importante que todos nosotros tengamos en cuenta, y realmente refuerza... Creo que no solo se trata de individuos y baby boomers y de que todos envejecen, sino de reconocer que mucha gente está ahora, como dijo, envejeciendo en un lugar o no van necesariamente a instituciones.

Es posible que se muden con familiares o que se queden en diferentes tipos de situaciones de condominio. Obviamente, estamos viendo desde la perspectiva del cuidador, mucha más gente que ayuda a abuelos y a padres a medida que envejecen. Así que creo que muchos de los problemas que estás planteando son realmente importantes. Obviamente COVID-19 ha introducido un amplio conjunto de desafíos para varias industrias diferentes.

Y creo que, como resultado de esto, muchos grupos diferentes van a estar pensando en cómo estamos realmente protegiendo a las personas que están envejeciendo en su hogar y cómo estamos consiguiendo recursos para ellos, desde el suministro de comestibles a la limpieza en edificios de apartamentos. Creo que todo va a estar sobre la mesa mientras pensamos en formas de hacer esto de una manera mejor.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias por eso.

Y le recuerdo a nuestros oyentes que si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono en cualquier momento para hablar con un miembro del personal de AARP y ponerse en la lista.

Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Elaine de Nueva York.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Elaine, adelante con su pregunta.

Elaine: Sí, encantada de hablar con usted. Estoy disfrutando mucho su programa, Bill Walsh.

Dra. Davis, tengo una pregunta con respecto a los veteranos de Vietnam. Vengo de una larga línea de veteranos que han fallecido y también mi propio padre era un veterano. Y lo atendieron en el hospital y el centro de VA, tenía que regresar a casa de la guerra, y terminó con leucemia y falleció finalmente en ese hospital.

Pero mi pregunta es, ¿cuáles son los requisitos para obtener servicio dental? Ya sabe, si uno tiene dientes malos o, aquellos veteranos de los que estoy hablando, eso fue en Vietnam.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Davis, ¿puede hablar un poco sobre el servicio dental? Y ella pregunta sobre los parámetros, los requisitos probablemente los umbrales de ingresos, etcétera, que necesita cumplir para obtener esos servicios dentales.

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias por su servicio a través del servicio de su familia.

Permítanme decir que los requisitos para la atención del VA no está relacionada de ninguna manera con... No está relacionada en primer lugar de ninguna manera con los ingresos. Para determinar la elegibilidad para los niveles de atención, depende de cuándo sirvieron los individuos. Y en este caso, parece que ciertamente, el servicio durante la era de Vietnam califica a alguien para nuestros beneficios, y probablemente ya esté recibiendo... ¿Su ser querido ya recibe atención médica del VA?

Bill Walsh: Elaine ya no está en la línea.

Lynda Davis: De acuerdo.

En primer lugar, si alguien aún no se ha inscrito, la forma más rápida de inscribirse es ir ahora mismo, porque todavía no van a ingresar a las instalaciones... No estoy segura de dónde es en Florida.

Bill Walsh: Ella está en Nueva York en realidad.

Lynda Davis: Oh, de acuerdo, La última oyente, Antoinette, estaba en Florida. Y también le recomendaría a Antoinette que se comunique con el Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de Florida o incluso con el Centro Médico del VA local, especialmente si puede expresar su preocupación por la seguridad de los veteranos y los miembros de su familia en su complejo de apartamentos.

Pero para Nueva York y el familiar veterano de Vietnam, simplemente... Si aún no está inscrito, la cobertura de atención médica incluye servicios dentales en casi todos los casos. Y por eso queremos asegurarnos de que su ser querido esté inscrito. La mejor manera de hacerlo ahora es llamando al 855-948-2311. Y le ayudarán a determinar la elegibilidad y luego la guiarán a las formas de obtener la atención dental.

La mayoría de las instalaciones tienen esa atención dental disponible en el mismo lugar, en otras debe ir a otro lado. Si no está cerca de una instalación que ofrezca el servicio que necesita, extracción dental, por ejemplo, frenillos o prótesis dentales, la derivaremos a la comunidad más cercana para que reciba esos servicios y se pagarán a través del VA.

Queremos asegurarnos de que la nutrición especialmente, que se convierte en un desafío a medida que envejecemos, y es importante poder tener una buena higiene dental. Así que los aprecio, es una buena pregunta.

Bill Walsh: Bien, Dra. Davis, gracias por esa respuesta.

Entonces, Elaine, parece que la línea directa podría ser el mejor lugar para comenzar a averiguar los parámetros para la cobertura dental.

Jean, ¿quién es el próximo para una pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Mary de Los Ángeles.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Mary, adelante con su pregunta. Adelante, Mary. Mary, ¿está ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Parece que la perdimos.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, tal vez podamos continuar con quien sea el próximo en la lista.

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, tenemos a Carl de Pensilvania.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Carl, adelante con su pregunta para nuestro panel.

Carl: Sí, tengo dos preguntas. Me gustaría preguntar sobre el transporte. Los que conducen a los veteranos de la instalación al departamento. Me gustaría saber si a los conductores se les toma la temperatura todos los días. ¿Llevan mascarillas? La otra cosa que me gustaría saber, ¿limpian los vehículos cuando descansan?

Bill Walsh: Bueno, esa es una buena pregunta para la Dra. Davis sobre los conductores y los vehículos que transportan a los veteranos hacia y desde las instalaciones. ¿Los conductores son monitoreados para COVID-19? ¿Y qué se está haciendo para mantener limpios esos vehículos?

Lynda Davis: Carl, esa es una buena pregunta ya sea que esté en Pensilvania o en Texas.

Como mencioné anteriormente, estamos ampliando los servicios a lo que solían ser con una cosa principal en mente, y es la seguridad. Entonces, a medida que abrimos y volvemos a depender y usar los servicios de estos conductores, la limpieza de sus vehículos en nuestro trabajo con grupos como los Veteranos Discapacitados de América será la prioridad número uno.

A partir de su buena pregunta, Carl, y nuestra necesidad de asegurarnos de que nuestros socios externos, ya sean una de nuestras organizaciones de servicios veteranos o si recurrimos al transporte privado, son 100% confiables en términos de su limpieza.

Voy hacerles esta pregunta tanto a nuestros subsecretarios de beneficios como de la salud, y les diré que desea asegurarse de que ese sea el caso, Carl. Y llamaré a los Veteranos Discapacitados de América y me aseguraré de que tengan todo lo necesario para encargarse de eso.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Davis.

Jean, ¿tenemos otra pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Claro que sí. Tenemos a Lydia de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Lydia, adelante con su pregunta.

Lydia: Hola, buenas tardes. Me llamo Lydia Rivera. Estoy llamando desde Tampa, Florida. Soy cuidadora de mi madre, ella tiene 90 años. Y me pregunto, ¿cómo pueden los cuidadores voluntarios apoyar a los cuidadores mayores? ¿Y hay recursos locales o iniciativas disponibles para el cuidador?

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Tenemos una pregunta sobre cuidadores.

Rashi, ¿quiere abordar eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente. Muchas gracias, Lydia.

En realidad es una pregunta muy oportuna. A las 4 en punto, horario del este, de hoy, vamos a organizar un seminario web sobre oportunidades de voluntariado virtual. Así que espero que pueda asistir y si no, ya sabe, con gusto le daré la siguiente información. Hemos estado escuchando, desde un aspecto personal, historias realmente asombrosas sobre cuidadores y familias militares que hacen mucho para ayudar a otros durante este tiempo de necesidad.

Nuestra fundación tiene el Programa Dole Caregiver Fellows y varios de nuestros compañeros han estado haciendo cosas como diseñar mascarillas y coserlas para enviar a otras personas. Y creo que ha habido cosas realmente emocionantes que hemos estado tratando de compartir todas esas oportunidades a través de nuestras redes y de nuestras diferentes plataformas. Así que a las 4 en punto de hoy, vamos a hablar un poco sobre una actividad virtual de voluntariado que la gente puede hacer con sus familias.

Mencionó lo que podría estar haciendo a nivel local. Yo recomendaría, tenemos un programa de Hidden Heroes Cities en la fundación, y puede sentirse libre de contactarnos para involucrarse. Pero en todo el país, estamos tratando de activar ciudades locales y condados locales para hacer más para crear sistemas locales de apoyo para cuidadores y familias militares en esas comunidades.

A menudo, a nivel nacional, puede ser realmente difícil hacer cosas. Pero una vez que ingresa a una comunidad local y trabaja con el alcalde o con los funcionarios del condado, puede ser realmente creativo y es una gran relación para construir.

También su VA local, también me conectaría con la Dra. Davis por teléfono. Y definitivamente, comuníquese con nosotros porque nos encantaría que se involucre en el trabajo que tenemos en curso en Tampa y ver si hay formas de que podamos realizar algunas actividades de voluntariado allí.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias, Rashi. Y estamos llegando al final de nuestro programa.

Quiero agradecer a la Dra. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff y Charlie Koon. Esta ha sido una sesión realmente informativa. Espero que nuestros oyentes le hayan sacado mucho provecho.

Quiero agradecer a cada uno de ustedes por responder nuestras preguntas, y quiero invitarlos a ofrecer sus ideas o recomendaciones finales.

Dra. Davis, ¿quiere comenzar?

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias. Agradezco esta oportunidad, Bill. Sobre todo para hablar con los socios de AARP, como yo y también con los veteranos y los seres queridos de veteranos. Gracias por su servicio y aquellos que apoyan a quienes han servido.

Solo quiero dejarlos con una cosa. Nuestro compromiso de proporcionar los mejores beneficios de atención de la más alta calidad y servicios conmemorativos para todos ustedes. Verán incluso una capacidad mejorada en el VA para hacer eso en el futuro, muchos más servicios virtuales en su comunidad de origen a medida que hacemos la transición y garantizamos que su seguridad sigue siendo la máxima prioridad. Quiero instarles a que recuerden un par de números clave.

El primero, si tiene cualquier preocupación es la línea directa 855-948-2311. Para cualquier pregunta relacionada con COVID-19 y el virus 844-698-2311. Y por favor, por favor, si alguien está en crisis o preocupado por su seguridad física o daño a sí mismo u otros, tenemos una Línea de Crisis para Veteranos 24/7. Es 800-273-8255.

Manténganse a salvo, bien, y aguardamos con ansias celebrar, reconocer y recordar a aquellos seres queridos que ya no están con nosotros, en el Día de los Caídos.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Davis.

Rashi Romanoff, de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, ¿tienes alguna idea final o recomendación para nuestros oyentes?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí. Muchas gracias Bill. Y muchas gracias a todas las preguntas que surgieron. Fue realmente genial y también hubo una gran diversidad geográfica.

Para terminar, creo que es un momento realmente difícil, para todas las personas. Pero es un momento particularmente difícil para las familias militares. Y a todos los cuidadores militares y veteranos, reconocemos que muchos de ustedes están bajo una gran cantidad de estrés y realmente están balanceando, ya sea teniendo niños en casa o más personas mayores en casa o teniendo que coordinar varias atenciones clínicas a través de telesalud y todas estas modalidades diferentes.

Sabemos que puede ser un momento realmente desafiante. Y creo que solo quiero comunicarles que no están solos y que la gente de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole realmente está aquí para ustedes. Así que, una cosa que le dejaría a todos es que visiten nuestro sitio web, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. Hay muchos recursos diferentes disponibles para ustedes.

También hay lugar para preguntas abiertas. Entonces, si alguien tiene preguntas o quiere comunicarse, puede enviarnos un correo electrónico, después de esta llamada, y también podemos tratar de ayudarlos a obtener apoyo. Muchas gracias.

Bill Walsh: Bien, Rashi, muchas gracias.

Y, Charlie Koon de F&M Bank, ¿alguna idea final?

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Bill, bueno, antes que nada, gracias a ustedes y AARP por los excelentes recursos que brindan a nuestros veteranos y sus familias.

Y también me gustaría agradecer a nuestros veteranos y familias por todo lo que hacen por nosotros porque lo que hacemos no sería posible sin su apoyo. Así que gracias por eso.

Y como la Dra. Davis y Rashi han dicho, estos son tiempos difíciles y únicos, y no hay una misma solución que resuelva todos estos problemas. Por lo tanto, solo recomendaría que contacten a su institución financiera local y traten de encontrar algún apoyo local.

Y si no pueden encontrar eso, no duden en ponerse en contacto conmigo en charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, y haré todo lo posible para encontrar las respuestas que necesitan. Así que muchas gracias a todos por esta oportunidad.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias Charlie.

Gracias a todos nuestros expertos panelistas. Y gracias a ustedes, nuestros socios de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en la discusión de hoy.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años.

Y ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus y y su propagación a otros, mientras se cuidan ellos mismos.

Como he dicho antes, todos los recursos a los que se hace referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se pueden encontrar en aarp.org/elcoronavirus, a partir del 8 de mayo. Nuevamente, la dirección web es aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

También tenemos recursos gratuitos, consejos y herramientas específicamente diseñados para veteranos y familias militares sobre cuidados, lucha contra el fraude, empleos y seguridad financiera en aarp.org/veterans. Eso es aarp.org/veterans. Esperamos que haya aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlo a mantenerse usted y sus seres queridos saludables hoy. Y quiero que todos sepan que tenemos un par de conversaciones especiales por venir.

Asegúrense de acompañarnos esta noche a las 7:00 p.m., hora del este, para conversar con personajes de la televisión y expertos en estilo de vida Ty Pennington de The Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, Carla Hall of America's Top Chef y Matt Paxton de Hoarders.

Compartirán cómo pueden aprovechar al máximo nuestro tiempo extendido en casa mientras continúan los pedidos de distanciamiento físico y refugio en el hogar. Y el próximo jueves 21 de mayo a la 1:00 pm, hora del este, tendremos una discusión especial con la actriz ganadora del premio Emmy Susan Lucci y la directora ejecutiva de AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins.

Gracias por escuchar. Esto concluye nuestro llamado.

The experts

  • Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships, Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Lynda Davis, Ph.D., Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Charlie Koon, Vice President of Corporate and Military Development, F&M Bank

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • May 14 –  Coronavirus: Veterans & Staying at Home With Lifestyle Experts
  • May 7 – Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Bank Account and Managing Your Career, Business & Income
  • April 30 – Coronavirus: Caring for Parents, Kids & Grandkids
  • April 23 – Coronavirus: Supporting Loved Ones in Care Facilities and Disparate Impact on Communities
  • April 16 – Coronavirus: Telehealth
  • April 9 – Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • April 2 – Coronavirus: Managing Your Money and Protecting Your Health
  • March 26 – Coronavirus: Protecting and Caring for Loved Ones
  • March 19  Coronavirus: Protect Your Health, Wealth and Loved Ones
  • March 10 – Cornavirus: Symptoms. How to Protect Yourself, and What It Means for Older Adults and Caregivers

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