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June 11 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall

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

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. To be sure, this has been a year that has challenged us in some distinct ways, upending our norms and also shining a light on injustices in our country, particularly in recent weeks. Today, we'll talk with experts about how you can stay healthy and connected, build resilience and cope with stress and anxiety during this uncertain time.

If you've 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. For those of you joining us on a phone. If you'd like to ask a question about how to stay connected during this difficult time, press *3 on your telephone to be connected to an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. So to ask a question, go ahead and press *3.

Joining us today is Donna Benton, Ph.D., director of the Family Caregiver Support Center at the University of Southern California, Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., president of the National Medical Association, and Altha Stewart, M.D. immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand who will help facilitate your calls today.

AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the virus, 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. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. 

Now I'd like to welcome our special guests. Dr. Benton, Ph.D., director of the Family Caregiver Support Center at the University of Southern California. Dr. Benton has 30 years' experience working with family caregivers in communities. Welcome, Dr. Benton.

Donna Benton: Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here today.

Bill Walsh: All right. We're delighted to have you. I'd just, I'd also like to welcome Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D. He's the president of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. In addition, Dr. Brooks is the medical director of Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles. Welcome, Dr. Brooks.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Thank you very much for having me, Bill, and for hosting this forum.

Bill Walsh: All right, we're happy to have you. Later on, we'll also be joined by Dr. Altha Stewart, the immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. Thank you all for being with us today. Let's get started with the discussion.

Dr. Benton, let's start with you. Our ability to connect in person with family and loved ones will continue to be different, even as states and local governments are beginning to open up a little bit. How do we manage this? What ideas do you have to create new traditions or positive, helpful routines during this time?

Donna Benton: Thank you Bill, for asking that. You know, as shelter-in-place orders and businesses really begin to open up for many, for our families who are caring for someone who's at a high risk for COVID, the move out and back into the community is going to require a much more thoughtful planning and caring approach so that the family member that they're caring for won't get sick. And so we have to be more cautious for those that are at risk and for the families that take care of them. You know, like everyone else, we're going to have to organize ourselves differently. So I thought of about four things that we can do during this time.

First of all, I'd say, you know what? Everybody needs to have, and particularly our caring families need to have, a personal protective gear go-to bag. And you put that right by the door with your keys and your phone, and this would have your mask, gloves, hand sanitizer or wipes, or both. And you know what? It has to be a bright color like red or yellow or even Pepto Bismol pink. I mean, so it's always stands out, and it won't be forgotten. So as much as I like to keep little cute bags and put all my stuff in there, in this case, you don't want to forget it.

I would also say keep a similar emergency, what we're calling PPE bags. I'm sure everyone's heard that term now. But now you have this emergency bag with the same items that you keep in the car, and you ask your relatives to actually have a similar bag in their possession in their cars, so that when they come to visit, or if they're taking your relative out, they have this emergency backup bag.

If you can, I think you should have like a visitor greeting center, which is a jar or a bowl that you have right by the front door or wherever that has disposable or washable masks, and some hand sanitizers for when guests come over. So this is kind of your new greeting center. And, of course, we know for the washable masks, you're going to have those cleaned as soon as people are gone or you'll have a trash can there, so you can throw away the disposable things.

Finally, you know, we may have to stay virtual a little while longer than other people that aren't at risk. And, of course, when friends or families are gathering, maybe if they are coming into your house for planned events, you have to keep that social distancing. So say somebody has dementia or they're at risk — set up like maybe some kind of physical barrier, like a TV table or a card table that kind of helps you mark off that safe distance so that people can still talk face-to-face, but it keeps them that six feet away. And so when you have that visible reminder for somebody, it helps for the dementia person. So even if they start to get up to go hug, there's the barrier that can kind of slow them down so that you can redirect them. That's all.

Bill Walsh: Well, those are some great tips, and it really drives home the point that we're not going back to the old normal, that this is indeed a new normal where we're going to have to make adjustments and alter our behavior and the behavior of those who we're caring for, as well. Dr. Brooks, let me ask you a question. You know, almost every state has relaxed restrictions on physical distancing, and we're seeing people have been venturing out. What should older adults, in particular, do to protect their health as we enter this new stage of the pandemic?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So think about, first of all, the things that Dr. Benton just said. So those are all excellent suggestions. I think that the thing to note is that as states, locales start to open up, they're doing it for different reasons. Some are doing it based on clear scientific, or medical information: the case rate is declining, the hospital rate is declining, the death rate is declining. And then some are doing it more for economic reasons, that there's just so much pressure on government officials to take some action to allow more economic activity and more environmental interaction. And that's somewhat understanding because we are moving into, and are into, a recession, and that also is not good for you.

I would, therefore, look at what is being recommended. In other words, when most states and locales are doing it, they're doing it in stages. They're doing it such that you go from no contact to much more contact, so like the fullest would let's say be a large gathering. So as it relates to older Americans, I would say since there is a higher risk there, be clear on what is being recommended. In some of the states that have opened up, there has been an increase in the case rate. So my point is that you do need to be wary.  

The virus, COVID-19, has not gone away. So don't let your guard down. When you go out at this point, I see no indication for not wearing a mask or you wear a mask at all times. You keep your six- foot physical distance. You wash your hands, you wipe down surfaces. I would avoid large gatherings. I, at this point, still would avoid restaurants and bars because you cannot eat and drink with the mask on. So, for example, if you're going out shopping, you can control that, you can also limit the amount of time that you are out in the environment. So my take-home message is to have a great degree of precaution and then evaluate what the recommendations are in your state or locality before you act on them. In other words, don't assume because people are telling you it's OK to go out, it is. Talk to a trusted source, your doctor is who I recommend, and then act accordingly.

Bill Walsh: Well, some great advice there, and a takeaway is don't let your guard down. I think there's probably a temptation that as states do relax restrictions, to go back to the way things were, and both you and Dr. Benton provided us some good tips about how to stay vigilant at what is, continues to be, a perilous time. So thank you both for that.

As a reminder to our listeners, if you want to ask your question, please press *3 to get into the queue. And we're going to go to those questions live shortly. But before we do that, we know this is a trying time for our country, even beyond facing the coronavirus. The pandemic is shedding light on a myriad of disparities that existed before this crisis and which have been exacerbated by it.

As we witness the protests over racial injustice and face the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we believe our nation desperately needs healing. The incidents of racial violence and COVID-19's disproportionate impact on African Americans and people of color are not random. Instead, they're the result of inequality due to lack of social, economic and political opportunities.

So AARP's advocacy programs and services, we fight against discrimination, advocate for access to healthcare and work to improve the lives of all people, especially the most vulnerable. During this crisis, we've advocated at the federal, state and local levels to protect residents and staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Data is showing us that people of color in these facilities are being hardest hit. Also, in places like New York and Michigan, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and New Jersey and California, AARP is working to ensure more racial and ethnic data collection, outreach and testing in communities of color. We're also seeking commitments from leaders to address underlying issues of hunger, health access, transportation and more. It's clear this work is more important than ever. During these difficult days, AARP will use its voice, resources and trust in our brand to continue our fight for what is right so all people can live a life of dignity, regardless of race, age or income.

Now, Drs. Benton and Brooks, so before we get to caller questions, I'd like you to weigh in on this. You know, we're currently in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic and discussions about reopening, all while there are protests across the country against racial injustice. So as we focus today on the topic of building personal resilience to the coronavirus pandemic, what impact have the protests had on our mental well-being? And what's the connection to the coronavirus? Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Certainly. So, we are now seeing changes in the government related to the protests. There was legislation in Congress introduced to ban choke holds, to have bias training, to have mandatory body cams. So my point is that the protests are having an effect. The police brutality and the disparities that we are seeing are a public health crisis, just like COVID-19. So it's not just a political protest, it is a public health protest. Therefore, I believe that it should continue.

Now, for AARP members and let's say older Americans, I do not recommend going out there and protesting. When you were protesting, you may be chanting or singing. Your voice is projecting more, so there's more of a breath distance. You generally are not six feet away from everyone that you're around. When you're there, you're emotional. You may let your guard down. You may have your mask on, but take it off to say something to someone and forget to put it back on. So since there is a higher risk, I would say let the protests happen, but your role doesn't have to be a live protester.

So what can you do? You can write a check, support an organization that has your interests. You can contact your local politician or your state or federal politician and say, “There are things I believe in.” Get politically savvy. Start to understand that if there is a bill coming through, or if there's just a nonspecific concept that you have, just tell them, “I don't like police brutality. I don't like the disparities and the outcomes of COVID-19.” A call from you, their constituent, matters. And generally speaking, older Americans are more likely to vote. So politicians listen to people that vote.

When you interact with your friends and family, speak in a positive, more understanding way. Look inside your heart. See where you are along the spectrum. And let people understand that you are in, that you understand what's going on out there in the streets, and even if you're not out there, you're out there in spirit.

And then, lastly, for those that are social media savvy, post information on your social media platforms. If you have grandchildren or children have them do it. Ask them, “Show me what's going on in the social media arena.” So those are actions that can take place with no risk to your health, but we do need to keep these protests up because the issue out there is real.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, thank you for that. Dr. Benton, it just occurs to me that it's been such a stressful time dealing with coronavirus and all of the restrictions it has imposed. And then recently with all of the racial tensions, what has been the effect on people's mental well-being?

Donna Benton: I think it's been quite obvious that currently during this global pandemic, there are two ways that people have looked at the challenges of the pandemic and the struggle against racial injustice. And on the one hand, for some of us, we can just feel overwhelmed and helpless because just as we're adjusting to the pandemic, along comes the protests and the reminder of our struggle with racism in America. And this has created more disruption in our public spaces, not to speak of the challenges to our physical distancing.

And chances, like the doctor said, that we could have more infection rates, and we can't necessarily, even though our hearts may want to be out there with the protesters, we still have to find a different role. So we may feel that taking an attitude of this too shall pass, it's not really going to help us cope at this time.

On the other hand, if we want to take a more resilient approach, what we begin to do is recognize that the struggle against injustice has really always been with us, in us, and really has oftentimes made us stronger and kept us moving forward without falling apart. That's kind of what the concept of resilience is — that we can continue going through and come out on the other side of the fire.

It's been said that racial injustice itself is much like a pandemic, you know, something which has been with us for a very long time. So the actions that we take and the coping mechanisms that we use to keep our bodies and our minds healthy and safe for the pandemic and for the struggle against racial injustice, they might be kind of similar. You know, not always exactly the same, but similar. So, for example, with the pandemic, we do everything we can to keep ourselves and our communities safe and free from harm on a day-to-day basis. All the while, maintaining patience and faith and calmly anticipating that there'll be a cure and a vaccine. And so maybe we can contribute to the development of the cure vaccine even. And that's kind of when the doctor was saying about public health crisis and what we can do as our role by writing and calling and voting and donating.

So with the struggle against racial injustice, we're always building awareness within ourselves and our community. We take steps to protect against physical and emotional harm. And we help those that have been harmed, all on a day-to-day basis. So in the medium to long term, we work with in our communities and our businesses and our government to find and implement solutions that are effective and long lasting.

So like the pandemic and the protest, when we take the resilient view, our efforts to build resiliency in one area really can benefit us in building resilience in another area in our life.

Bill Walsh: Well, thank you both for that. And let's talk about building resilience with some of our listeners. I'd like now to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. So welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here tonight.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, who do we have up first in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: Our first caller is Jean from Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Jean, go ahead with your question.

Jean: Yes, I'm 84, and I haven't been out since March. The doctor told me today, I have to come in and see him because he hasn't seen me in six months to get a prescription. I don't want to go. I got gloves and I got a mask, but I'm still afraid.

Bill Walsh: Right. Good question. Dr. Brooks, can you provide any advice for Jean?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes. So right now we are operating in a fashion that we see patients only that need to be seen face-to-face, in a face-to-face fashion. I literally got a notification from CMS, which is Medicare, that they're recommending that we start to reopen and have more face-to-face visits. That being stated, a lot of visits are now telehealth, and from what Jean said, the reason that the doctor wanted to see her was for a prescription refill. For an 84-year-old woman, if the doctor doesn't clearly need to do a physical exam or do something that needs a face-to-face visit, that visit should be done, in my view, by telehealth, and then that prescription can be refilled. So, were I Jean, I would call the doctor back and ask him if he can do a tele-visit and fill your prescription that way. And if not, why do you actually need to come in? Her concern is well-founded.

Bill Walsh: Right, right. So she said she hadn't been in since March. Maybe the doctor, I don't know if she has some underlying chronic conditions, but maybe the doctor really wants to check up on those, or it could be simply refilling a prescription, which could be done over the phone.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactly, but he can tell her. He can clarify why I need to see you.

Bill Walsh: OK. All right. Very good. Well, Jean Setzfand, who else do we have on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Winnie from Illinois.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Winnie, go ahead with your question. Hey, how are you?

Winnie: Thank you. I'll make it quick. My husband and I, we're both over 65. We both have diabetes and high blood pressure. I have not been with my kids since like March 15. They're adults, and I show my love by making desserts and handing them out the door, but I haven't hugged my daughter or my son or had any quality time with them. And I just don't know if I can wait until a vaccine comes out. And how long do I have to do this, 'cause this is over the phone.

Bill Walsh: I was going to ask, have you connected through FaceTime or Zoom or anything?

Winnie: Oh, yeah.

Bill Walsh: So you can see their face. You've done that, but you just want to connect with them in person.

Winnie: In person, yes.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you for the call, Winnie. Dr. Benton, what would you say to that?

Donna Benton: Well, I always worry about what's going to happen if you didn't have precautions. I'm over 65 and with my daughter, I have had, what we've done is we've done walks together. I have my mask on, I'm all decked out. She's all decked out. She stays six feet away, and then we are able to kind of talk on these distance walks, but she's really cautious about staying away. And we end up at a park. Sometimes I've driven to the park, met her there where there's really a lot of room and then we're just talking outdoors. So it's a different environment, but I always feel like outdoors may be a little safer and it's easier to keep large distances. I don't have the luxury of having a nice big backyard or something like that.

Bill Walsh: Right. I mean, if Winnie wanted to have her relatives over or go stay with them, what precaution do you suggest she pay?

Donna Benton: I'm going to leave that to (inaudible)

Oliver Tate Brooks: So, what I would recommend is this. First of all, it is general knowledge that outside is better than inside. Winnie also mentioned hugging. I would have to say at this point in time, I would not recommend hugging at all. I believe in keeping that six-foot physical distance. If they came over, again, if it couldn't be outside, they would not touch. But I'm even loath to recommend that. And so the walking was a great suggestion. So if it just had to happen that they had to be in the same indoor space, I would have everything that we already talked about: physical distance, mask, no touching, wipe down surfaces, cover your cough, wash your hands, etc., etc. But I would even avoid that at this point.

What we're going to need is testing and a vaccine, and if we had blood testing. If I could test you and say you're immune the way I can do for measles or chicken pox, that may come before a vaccine. So there is hope. But right now, I would say, Winnie, stay the course.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you both for that. Jean, who's next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have Charmaine from Pennsylvania.

Bill Walsh: Hey Charmaine, go ahead with your question.

Charmaine: Yes, my question is, I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it's a lot of people in Philadelphia that's asymptomatic, a lot. And my question is, so I take it that asymptomatic means you're like a carrier, and it doesn't bother you, but you can carry this virus, and you can spread it, and you can infect other people. How long do you stay infectious like that? Is it a time limit? Do you stay infected, like, for a long period of time or do you stay like that forever? I mean, you can just spread it.

Bill Walsh: Right. But once you've begun showing symptoms, how long are you infectious? Is that your question?

Charmaine: Well, no, they say some people are asymptomatic. They don't show any symptoms, but they can give it to other people. And the ones that don't show any symptoms, do it eventually go away from them or they can just continually spread the virus? You know, they just carry it.

Bill Walsh: Right. Well, let's pose that question to Dr. Brooks. Dr. Brooks, what do you have to say to Charmaine?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Yeah. So that's a good question. So to us physicians, for me, technically, I don't consider that person a carrier because someone that's a carrier will generally carry it for years or a prolonged period of time. So what that person is to me, is they're asymptomatic but infected. So her key question was, what happens? So the mean or the average time of shedding is 20 days. So that person who was asymptomatic, if they got it on June 1, generally the average would be by June 21 they would no longer be shedding. That being stated, there are studies that have shown people that shedded for twice that long.

So, two answers — one is no, you don't carry it forever. Sooner or later, it does get out of your system. But number two, we really don't know how long, but there's somewhere, we're going to say the average is about three weeks. CDC says two weeks, but I go more toward three weeks.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much for that. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Oh, we have Virginia from Virginia.

 Bill Walsh: Hey, Virginia. Go ahead with your question.

Virginia: Yes, hi. My question is pertaining to nursing homes. For example, today I found out that there in one nursing home, I will not call the name of it, and there was four deaths and 84 tested positive. Now, if every staff member is following protocol, how in the world could this happen? They're not allowed to see visitors, they’re supposed to be staying in the room, not socializing. Now somewhere, it seems to me that somebody has dropped the ball, 'cause there's so many people in the nursing homes that this is happening to, and this concerns me, 'cause I just don't understand it.

Bill Walsh: Right, right. No, it's a fair question, and it's not just happening in Virginia. Dr. Benton, do you want to address that?

Donna Benton: Oh, you know, I am going to ask for the assistance of Dr. Brooks, but I would say that one thing that we've noticed in California when we hear about nursing homes where it's kind of spreading throughout the nursing home, part of it is somebody may be, like we were just discussing, asymptomatic, and they went to work. People work in multiple facilities, and even with the hand washing and all the PPE, clearly somebody, like you said, dropped the ball. Early on, I noticed there was a huge struggle to get the personal protective equipment to nursing homes. The aides and other people just were not provided proper equipment and infection control just what wasn't there. And that's, you know, early on, and I think there's still places that are still struggling getting the proper equipment. But I'm sure Dr. Brooks knows even more.

Oliver Tate Brooks: So, what I would say to that is you probably hit the nail on the head. Someone slipped up. Nothing is a hundred percent, A. B, a lot of care in a nursing home is going to be hands on. In other words, you can't do it by keeping a six-foot physical distance, and you are likely going to have to have some touching. The virus is relatively contagious. It's more contagious than influenza, less contagious than measles, for example. So a little slip up is a big deal. So it's bound to happen. And then you obviously have a vulnerable population. So that's what I would attribute it to.

Bill Walsh: Well and a vulnerable population living in very close quarters.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactly.

Bill Walsh: One thing, as I've said before, AARP's been very active on this issue. One thing we've been telling people is this is a time to be a fierce advocate for your loved ones, whether in nursing homes or assisted living. I mean, demand to know what's going on inside, what questions, what precautions are being taken. And we have a list of questions for family members on our website, aarp.org/coronavirus — the top questions to ask to facilities because they have an obligation to keep your loved one safe and to communicate with you about conditions there.

So thank you for all of your questions so far. Right now I'd like to bring in our third guest to the conversation. She is Altha Stewart, M.D. She is immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. She is also associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career spans three decades of work as the CEO of large, public mental health systems in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. Thanks for joining us, Dr. Stewart.

Altha Stewart: Thank you for having me tonight.

Bill Walsh: All right, we're delighted to have you. Let me go right to you with a question. As people work to prioritize mental wellness during this time, is the goal today to restore our routines as they were before the pandemic, to find new routines or something else?

Altha Stewart: Well, it's a question I get asked a lot these days because there's so much conversation about a new normal. I'm not even sure anymore what that actually means. I've decided that what we're going to come out of this with is a hybrid of the things from the past that still work for us, and some new things that we've learned during this time of quarantine and isolation and pandemics, dealing with the pandemic. And then some skills that I think we will pick up as we move forward, because the environment will be new. As we return to work, we're going to find things like a space and the ability to be separate from each other are going to be challenges. So we're going to have to have a different mindset about how we set up our space to work. We're going to have to deal with the fact that there are going to be a lot of people who are still afraid of being at work and around people, because there's still a lot of uncertainty about just what this virus does and is. You just had that section with the other guests about asymptomatic status and, you know, how we can do all the right things, and sometimes it still doesn't work. And so mentally and emotionally, there's going to be a lot of things that we don't even understand right now, except that uncertainty, fear and anxiety will be predominant feelings that we will carry for a long time around this pandemic.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, and to that point, I mean, we've all felt a real sense of loss. You know, we're in the middle of summer. Summer just doesn't feel the same. Summer camps and youth sports are going to be different. As Dr. Brooks was saying earlier, no hugs, no large scale community festivals or concerts. How can we all find joy in these uncertain times?

Altha Stewart: Well, I think it's going to be up to us to figure out how to make the new kind of joy. Some of this is going to be very intentional where we set out every day to remind ourselves we're alive, we aren't ill with the virus, that life will go on and things will be OK. Ultimately, we will get to the other side or get through this, I think, are the terms that people are starting to use. And we've got to understand that simply because we can't do it the way we've always done it doesn't mean we can't do it. I mean, we've seen some creativity around weddings, even funerals, where people have found ways to join together in the spirit of family and unity, to celebrate life, as well as celebrate a life, to make sense of all that's going on. It's going to take us being willing to accept the fact that we won't have what we used to have under any circumstances, for everybody's life has changed. If you were directly impacted, it's changed. If you watch it on TV and the nonstop news cycle, it has changed. There are a lot of things that we will never see or do again. But there are so many things that we can still do if we adapt. If we become more creative. If we began to see this as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.

Bill Walsh: That's a very optimistic outlook. I think it would be wise for everyone to keep that in mind. Thanks for that, Dr. Stewart. Dr. Benton, I'd like to bring you back into the conversation. You know, we know that even in ordinary times, self-care for family caregivers is so important. What are you seeing now, and what should those experiencing the stress of caregiving during the pandemic do?

Donna Benton: Thank you, that's a really excellent question and observation, because many caregivers have talked to me about how just in their regular routine of caregiving, pre the pandemic, they had really learned to go with the flow when they had to go through a rough period with the person they were caring for. Maybe it was a really bad day and the person wasn't cooperating that day or they couldn't get the person to eat or you missed a doctor's appointment or something. And so the caregivers will say, you know, I went through a rough period or I was feeling depressed, but they know that they bounced back and sometimes they often felt like they had grown because of that stressful event. I learned a new way to take care of myself and take care of my relatives.

So again, this is really kind of what resilience is about. It's not that we don't have stress in our life, it's that we learn that as we go through it, we can maybe look back and continue to grow. So it's kind of this active, mindful process of enduring and coping. All of us have found ourselves having to cope and adapt to some adverse event. You know, maybe just think of a time when you said to yourself, I don't know how I found the strength to get through such and such a crisis. Or maybe you found yourself thinking about how a challenge or a loss made you stronger. So we all have these kinds of parts in us that are like that little engine that started out saying, I think I can. I think I can. And as we get closer, as we struggle up that hill, when we get closer to the top and we start going down, start going to the other side, we start telling ourselves, I know I can. I know I can. I know I can. So it's a matter of practicing resilience. And if we do that, this can keep our health, both our mental health and our well-being, and overall reduce our vulnerability to future stress. And I like what you said about an optimism, because we have this realistic optimism that really helps us remain resilient in the face of the pandemic and the continuing caregiving responsibilities.

Bill Walsh: One piece of advice AARP has had for family caregivers to preempt some of that stress is to create a plan, a care plan, you know, in case you get sick, in case your loved one gets sick. Could you just very quickly give our listeners two or three pieces of advice about what sorts of things they should be doing to create such a plan?

Donna Benton: Well, one thing that should be in your plan is you should have an emergency backup. Someone that you've talked to about your day-to-day routine for caregiving, who understands what's going on in case you get sick. That you're going to feel comfortable that they can step in. If you've had time, it's a good time to also set up any kind of legal documents and know where they are, know where you can find those for your relatives, so that you don't have that kind of stress during your care plan.

The other part of your care plan is have a good support system of people, friends neighbors, religious pastors and whoever you can have in your system, both close people and maybe people in programs further out, who you can have someone to talk to. Because we all at different times need different options for getting advice and talking and problem-solving. So I think that that's a very important part of having a support system that you use.

I also believe that for us, as caregivers, it's very important to have some place where we get some respite, you know, being able to take a break, whether it's through using meditation or yoga, or just having what I always like to say is have a humor bag or something where, when you're really just feeling super stressed, if you have a drawer or a box of tapes and pictures and that you know that if you look at them, they're going to make you smile or laugh, just have that ready and walk over to that box and start looking through it. Put that together before you get stressed. And when you start feeling stressed, you just walk over and maybe, you know, I have a bunch of cat videos and dog pictures, and then a movie. A movie that I know that I can always put on, go to a certain scene and no matter what, I'm just going to zone out and be there for a movie or a book. So have this in your stress bag, your place. So those are couple of things that I would do.

Bill Walsh: All right. I like it. Dr. Benton's humor bag — it sounds like a product opportunity waiting to be created. Thank you very much for that. Dr. Brooks, let me turn to you. I saw a poll recently that showed about two-thirds of Americans are fearful about a resurgence of coronavirus, particularly as we enter into the fall, which is traditional cold and flu season. What should people be expecting during that time?

Oliver Tate Brooks: We are unsure as to what people should expect. This virus doesn't necessarily need to act like a flu virus, influenza, that it tends to circulate more in the winter than summer. We just don't know. I think that a concern that I have, is that as we open up, we're going to see more cases, and as time plays through, this is what, early to mid-June, July, August, September, two to three months from now, I believe that unrelated to seasonality, we're going to be seeing a surge or at least an increase in cases just as the economy or the environment opens up. Excuse me.

Now, if this does in fact act like a flu virus that circulates more in the wintertime and in the fall when people are more indoors and less outdoors, the air is less humid, the virus seems to prefer dry over humid, (inaudible) cold over heat; so as those environmental changes occur, I think what we should truly expect is there will be more circulating COVID-19, and therefore more cases.

So it's just going to mean, and unfortunately, I don't enjoy being the purveyor of bad news. I, too, want to go to large gatherings and concerts and go eat out and go see friends and give a hug to somebody, but I think what we need to expect is that we are going to likely have to continue with the present infection control measures that we are now practicing.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you very much for that. We are going to go to more of your live questions soon, and just a reminder to our listeners: if you want to ask a question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member to get into the queue. But before we do that, as we talk about resiliency and the new normal. I want to take a moment to update you on AARP's continuing fight for residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

More than 40,000 nursing home residents and staff have died. This is a tragic situation and AARP has been putting our full weight behind advocacy efforts. While the situation is still dire, we're seeing some positive movements. At the federal level, due to AARP's advocacy, the Administration is now requiring that nursing homes disclose COVID cases and deaths. That's a big step forward. The Administration has also announced that the federal government will provide a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment to nursing homes and funding that can be used for protective equipment, testing and staffing. At the state level, we've seen positive momentum, as well. For instance, Nevada announced that National Guard units doing inspections will also provide personal protective equipment to nursing homes with insufficient supplies. And recently Maryland publicly released data on positive cases for the first time.

In addition, in Alaska, Pennsylvania and Texas, AARP state offices have all successfully advocated for the purchase of technology to facilitate communications between nursing home residents and their loved ones. AARP members, volunteers and activists have made their voices heard and helped secure these important victories in our continued efforts to protect people who live and work in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

Now it's time to go back to your questions for Dr. Donna Benton, Dr. Altha Stewart and Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks. Jean, who do we have on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have Ruby from Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hey Ruby, go ahead with your question.

Ruby: Well, I'm living in an assisted living facility, and we have never had any of the virus here. I'm in a small community, but we've never had any of it in any nursing home around, and there's none in the hospital at this time, because I was there at the doctor yesterday and they told me. And it's really, we've not had hardly any in our area. Now, how long can the governor keep up shut up in here? We’ve been here, we have been shut up since the 12th of March. You stop and think. That’s a long time. No visitors. Our families, we have to talk to them through the windows or the patio doors, whatever we're fortunate enough to have. And how long is this going to go on? It is extremely hard on everyone. And we are segregated inside with the halls and a dining room, and we can only go to our hall or our dining room, and we don't see everybody else. And talk about depression and anxiety. It's there.

Bill Walsh: Well, I can hear it in your voice. So I wonder, Dr. Stewart, do you want to talk about that situation?

Altha Stewart: Well, I'm happy to respond to the part of her comment about the depression, but I think Dr. Brooks might need to weigh in first about the how long part, 'cause that's going to impact her sense of depression.

Ruby: Yes, because I'm used to seeing my family every week. Most of them, not everyone, most of them. I have a little 2-year-old great-granddaughter. She's had a birthday. I've not seen her since March. I mean, this is ...

Bill Walsh: Sure. Dr. Brooks, I wonder, as you're looking across the country, what standards are governors using for reopening their economies and giving people like Ruby the opportunity to see their loved ones.

Oliver Tate Brooks: So some people are looking at, again, primarily it's hospitalization rates and death rates, and pace rates is third. 'Cause you know, it's hospitalization and death that you're worried about. So, a lot of places that you want to see a 14-day decline in hospitalization rates and death rates. And some will also add the case rates. So at that point … one of the problems in the United States is each state has different criteria. In other words, there is no national standard. I believe there should be some, but it also is hitting different places differently. So let me just add this and then I'll give you a final answer — what she is saying essentially is that the methods that are being implemented are working. So the fact that she'd been shut in for about three months, that's rough and that's really hard to manage, but it's working. So, understand that. That being stated, at some point we do have to end this. So I would say that she should go to the website of either her county or her state public health department. They will have there, generally speaking, what's going on and what the criteria are. I wouldn't, on my own, make a determination that there are no cases and there's no one in the hospital, so I'm going to go on out there and see my great-grandchild. I would, actually, if you really want to know, call your politician, call your local representative. Say, I want to know what’s going on. This is what they get paid to do. You actually call your state county public health department and ask them what their thought process is. The decision is bigger than we are. So you want to have the scientists weigh in, and I can't tell you when it's going to end, but obviously this gets to what you were saying earlier, Bill, self-advocacy. Demand an answer from somebody.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. And Dr. Stewart, I wanted to just bring you back in. What I heard from Ruby also was a great deal of stress. I mean, she's just anxious to reconnect in a real way with her loved ones. So in the meantime, what would you suggest for her?

Altha Stewart: Well, and that's why I thought it might be good for Dr. Brooks to weigh in, because I want her to hear that there is a reality to, and something that I hope she heard in what he said. What they are doing in your area is working. And that is the good news, and so the fact that you miss your grandchild and your friends that are away from the facility means that, as I said earlier, we've got to get creative. If your grandchild is old enough for you to have a conversation on the phone, then you can do, by phone, what you would normally do, everything, but touching. And if your family can get you a device that you can actually see them on your phone, then you can have that quality grandparenting time. And we've even asked people to think of things to do that they would normally do with a child or grandchild that they're now separated from. One example that came up in a previous discussion about this with someone was that they used to be with their grandchild and cook. And that was their special time. Well, if you can't do that now, if your grandchild isn't old enough, there are things that you can talk about with them that are your special things, you're secret things that only you and they know that makes them feel special and give you that warm feeling of connectedness with them. And today with the technology that's available, if you have access to that, I would encourage you to really make use of it now, as you're getting a little more cabin fever and really antsy to get out. Now's the time to really take advantage of that, and figure out ways to use that technology to be in contact with them. And just remember, the good news is whatever's going on in your facility is working. So if you're not seeing it and you don't have it, I would encourage you to take Dr. Brooks advice and find out — legislator, when are we going to be out of quarantine because we want to get on with life?

Bill Walsh: It sounds like great advice. If ever there was a time to reach out to your state legislatures, state legislator, this would be it, right? And they can probably fill you in on the latest and give you the criteria the state is using for reopening.

Altha Stewart: Yes.

Bill Walsh: All right. Very good. Thank you very much both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming from Bob on Facebook. And Bob is asking, "This is the question for the doctors: my family of all adults who are going to visit my 80-plus-year-old parents for the first time since the lockdown. What, if any, precautions, should we take? Hugs are expected.

Bill Walsh: Hugs are expected? OK. Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes. I would say it'd be nice to be tested and to know that you are COVID negative at the day of the test. Again, if you get tested on Tuesday, you're negative, but you could turn positive on Wednesday, but it still gives you information. An 80-plus-year-old is at risk just due to being 80-plus years old. I won't even ask if there are any underlying conditions — hypertension, obesity, diabetes and COPD are the big ones that lead to worser outcomes. I can't recommend hugging. I just feel strongly about that. And I think one thing we have to have is patience. We have to understand that. I mean, how would you feel if you hugged this family member and nine days later they became asymptomatic and they were in the hospital on a ventilator? Then you get into the emotion and stress, and that impatience would lead to guilt.

So that being stated, if you gotta go, if there's nothing that's going to stop you, then it gets back to the basics. Don't hug. Keep a six-foot distance. Wear a mask, wipe down surfaces, cover your cough, wash your hands. Again, try to do the visit outside if you can. I mean, it is summertime. And I think that's one, well it's summer in another couple of day. But we're feeling like, oh, it's beautiful outside and this COVID-19, this thing has got to be over. It's not. So my recommendation would be don't, but if you must, keep your distance and hugging just is not a good deal. I mean, theoretically, if each person has a sheet over them, would this be all right? And then you hug with the sheet being too in contact, you take it off and (inaudible) and wash it. I can't really, I can't, you know, if I had to, had to, had to, it would be something like that. But you understand how, ultimately this, the action that the person's contemplating is not the proper action.

Bill Walsh: All right, Dr. Brooks, thanks for that. Jean who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have Herbert from Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hey Herbert, go ahead with your question. Herbert, are you on the line?

Herbert: I've been laid off because of this COVID virus. When am I going to go back to work?

Bill Walsh: What do you do, Herbert?

Herbert: I am a disabled veteran. I work with a bunch of other disabled veterans. The state provides work for us and we do whatever the state says. It's minor things just to keep us busy, probably, but it gives us an eight-hour a day job. We're all working. Everybody's working good and doing a good job, and this is where, it's, I guess, it's just whatever they call me, right?

Bill Walsh: Yeah. So what has your boss told you? Have you reached out? What is your boss telling you about returning to work?

Herbert: They don't say about that, they don't know, but they'll give me a call when it's time to go back to work. I'm a disabled veteran, so I get a VA pension check. I'm 40 percent disabled. I've come from 80 percent to 40 percent since I started working. So I guess I'm getting progressively better. But I do get a $40 check every month, so I've got to apply for Social Security anyway, cause I'm 71. I just haven't done that yet. I will. My dilemma is, my brother said I had two head-on car crashes. They took my license last time for careless driving. So I'm not going to drive again. I got a ticket for speeding on my bicycle. So, I'm just going to wait for my brother to come back this summer. He said he would take me to apply for unemployment. I guess this is what I gotta do, right? Just wait for my brother?

Bill Walsh: Right. Well, Herbert, I don't know if we can help you answer your specific question about when you might be going to work, but Dr. Stewart, I wonder if you might have some advice for people who have been laid off. I mean, there have been millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. Do you have any advice for them during this difficult time?

Altha Stewart: Well, I think this is a time when people really have to arm themselves with education and information about what rights they have as laid off workers in this climate. Like everyone else, I see on the news how difficult it is to reach the unemployment office, but people have to have a little more than patience. They've really got to build in persistence on top of patience, and stay with the attempts to get what is rightfully theirs in the way of unemployment. I also think that some people will need to consider whether they will be hired back to the work they used to do or whether they should start looking at other things they can do. People with a status of veteran or disabled or other special skills that may put them in a position to change to another kind of job ought to be thinking about that. We encourage people who’ve been laid off to spend some part of every day thinking or doing something actively about getting employed again. For people who are laid off, trying to get unemployment, that may mean the unemployment line and office and whatever you go through in that system. For people for whom the job is no longer there because the company or the agency or facility or restaurant has closed, then thinking about what other skill do I have and how do I market myself to get a job in that area is a part of what they should do every day. I do not encourage people to sit around, getting depressed about what they used to have and what they used to do. I really think people need to stay active and engaged in trying to find employment. Every day, do something that moves you towards work.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, that's terrific advice. And while this show, per se, isn't about finding work, I will tell our listeners that at aarp.org/work, we have some tremendous free resources. We have a job-search tool. We have a free resume advisor there, and lots of videos about, as the doctor said, upskilling. And there have been some new jobs posted on our site, even since coronavirus hit. For example, the Small Business Administration was looking to fill thousands of jobs helping to process business loans. And so those are things that can be very easily done remotely. So go check out the job board, the resume advisor and take doctor Dr. Stewart's advice and build your skill set. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Judy from Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hey Judy, go ahead with your question.

Judy: Hi, yes. I'm 76 years old. I live in Maryland, and I'm scheduled tomorrow for same-day surgery and I'm extremely, I have a lot of anxiety about it, about the safeness of it. But I've been in quarantine since February and my adult children that live locally are essential workers. So I have to depend on someone else to take me. I've a friend and she can't wear a mask. And we are still wearing masks around here, but something about her health. And I do wear a mask, and I'm concerned about that, too.

Bill Walsh: Judy, I just wanted to clarify, is this elective surgery or this is something you absolutely have to get done.

Judy: This is something that I have to have done for, yes, I have to have it done.

Bill Walsh: OK. OK. Dr. Brooks, do you have some advice for Judy?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So, Judy, if you have to get it done, and we won't ask you what the procedure is obviously, but if you have to get it done, you have to get it done. I don't like the fact that the person taking you to the surgery center or hospital will not or cannot wear a mask. So that's the one quote unquote hole in the story. Wherever you get the procedure done, they will have their PPE, and they will do the appropriate thing to protect you from getting infected and/or you infecting them. If your family are essential workers, then they can't quote unquote, take you. They're also theoretically exposing themselves, 'cause they're out there working.

Transportation is a challenge in these times, you know? And then whose vehicle is it also? If they're driving your vehicle then, you know, what kind of exposure is there from the services. So I would put down something in the car, like a plastic or a cloth sheet, 'cause again, that you could wash. Theoretically, if you have to go, if that person drives you, sit in the back seat and transverse away from them, but implore them to wear a mask. And that's the one — I can't wear a mask for health reasons — I'm not sure what that is. So that's a very tough one.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, it's a tough one. Isn't it? I mean, would you recommend that Judy use like Uber or Lyft or one of the car services, is that safer? Or is that dangerous in a different way?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Correct. So an Uber or Lyft driver or a taxi, they have different people going in and out of their car, and you don't know what was happening in that car. The person may not have been wearing a mask last time. There may have been 10 people in four days on that backseat. So, the guy may or may not sanitize. So I clearly thought about that, you know, a taxi. I don't know. And she's having this surgery tomorrow, so it's a tough one based on the time of the evening. I would have also contacted the surgery center, the site to see if they have any transportation options for you, 'cause they might have a safer method of transport, a van that is, you know, they have social distance in there, they wipe it down, the driver's wearing a mask, they understand. So that would have been my suggestion. I would say, ultimately, it comes down to benefit and risk. If you have to have the surgery, and it has to be tomorrow, then you may end up having to take that risk of the transportation. And then it's going and coming theoretically, so you have to take that risk twice.

Bill Walsh: Well, I like the suggestion about calling the hospital or the provider and saying, “Look, here's my situation. I'm concerned about the transportation. What options can you suggest?” They might have some approved transportation providers, so have a good record of cleaning out their vehicles after every trip or something like that. But they must have dealt with this situation in the past few months.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Agreed.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. So thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have Anne from Alabama.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Anne, go ahead with your question.

Anne: Hello there. First of all, I'm a bright woman and I pretty much could answer this question. But my husband and I are in our late 70s and because of a family crisis, we have had to keep our two great-granddaughters, one of which is 10 and the other is 6. And we keep them during the day, and they go home at night. Also, their mother is in health care. And I've ordered all kinds of sprays, and I have a no-touch thermometer, and I do everything that I can possibly do. However, I'm still nervous and still concerned, but someone has to take care of these children. And I understand Ruby, in that I do better when I'm able to see my children and my grandchildren because I get really despondent if I don't get to see them. But as I say, this is because of a crisis that we're having to keep the children. So give me some advice.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that. And I mean, geez, it's one crisis on top of another, isn't it? Dr. Benton, I wonder if you can … it sounds like Anne is taking a lot of precautions. Do you have other pieces of advice for her?

Donna Benton: First of all, I mean, I can hear the mixed feelings and what's become important is sometimes, like we have to be with our grandchildren because of this crisis. You're taking a risk, but it sounds like, like you said, you're a bright woman, it sounds like you've done everything to minimize your risk. So that if you're like sanitizing, if you turned it into a game for the kids so that they get to play doctor and keep you a safe patient. Especially for the younger one, too, so that she gets in her mind that she's keeping grandma's safe, and she can talk to you about all the precautions that she's learning as a doctor, and you can kind of teach her those things. Now, Dr. Brooks may not agree with me, and so please, step on in Dr. Brooks. But the more you can keep it a creative way of allowing everybody to participate in the safety of both them and you, I think that you're doing the best you can under very, very tough circumstances.

Bill Walsh: Well, what I was going to say it's kind of reminiscent of something — Dr. Benton, you were talking about before about self-care. And it sounds like Anne is trying to take care of everybody here. What advice would you have for her to make sure she's building up her own resiliency and finding those times to take care of herself?

Donna Benton: You know, you're absolutely right. She has taken on a lot. So part of that is making sure that you are taking breaks when you can. When the kids are gone, do something that isn't child-related for yourself. Make sure you're having time to, you know, I don't know, people like lighting candles or taking a longer shower or all of those kinds of things. But, yeah, you do have to work on yourself at the same time. And then at some point, I don't know how your network is or what for your children, but you can't always say yes to everything. And that's really, really hard.

Bill Walsh: All right. Dr. Brooks, did you want to weigh in on that as well?

Oliver Tate Brooks: First of all, I think we need to step back and understand that there are no easy answers. What's the best way to paint on canvas blindfolded with your left hand? OK, there's no good way. So we're left with a lot of tough choices. I would say if these are children of family members, that I would consider getting the adults tested. It'd be good to get the children tested, but there's just not a lot of testing of children that's going on right now. But if the parents of the children both test negative, then that would make me feel a lot better. And on the other side, if they test positive, then you know that you have a problem. And if one of them is a health care worker, then they're able to be tested most readily. So consider having the adults in the other household tested.

Bill Walsh: OK, well Anne, you've got a lot on your plate right now. We're going to be thinking about you going forward. Good luck to you. Jean, who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have a Facebook question and this one's coming from Julia, and Julia is asking, "If I've quarantined for 14 days, not going to the store, no contact with anyone, would it be safe for me to go see my parents in their home? They're 90 and 91.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Excuse me. That's a really tough one, 'cause you get back to that concept of asymptomatic carrier. Not carrier, asymptomatic infection. So she has been away from everyone, let's say for 14 days, a week. We don't know what her status was before that. And the person is of advanced age. Right now, the general recommendation is don't go. But I am getting to the point that — so, OK, here's the real easier answer: get tested. You've been away from people for 14 days, and if your test is negative, then likely that's a truly negative, you know, you're negative. So I think that one thing for people to keep in mind is testing is really, really important. It gives you information. So that's what I would recommend for that person visiting a 90-year-old. And even though you've been away quarantined for 14 days, I still just have some concern.

Bill Walsh: OK. Well, thank you very much for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Sandy from Connecticut.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Sandy, go ahead with your question.

Sandy: Thank you. Actually it's, I don't know if I can ask two, but one has to do with testing, as you just mentioned, and part of the other one you had talked about earlier. My dad's in an independent living, and they've been quarantined in their rooms for three months now. And I understand it was important, and I get that, but a lot of the residents are getting kind of frail because they're not allowed, they can't even walk the hallways. They can't do anything. It would seem with social distancing and with masks that they should be able to at least do that. I get nursing homes. They're much closer, and it's more confined. So that was one question. And the second one on the testing, you mentioned earlier, if you get tested on Wednesday, on Thursday you could get it. So when we talk about testing, are we talking about antibodies or the test itself?

Bill Walsh: Why don't we take that one first? Dr. Brooks?

Oliver Tate Brooks: All right, when I say testing, I'm talking about what's called PCR testing for presence of the virus, not antibodies. We haven't yet gotten to the point that we truly can understand or know the significance of an antibody test, and that's on the CDC website. So I am talking about the virus, and you are right, as I have said already, that test is a point in time. But it's an important point in time, especially with the last caller. I've been out for 14 days and test negative, I'm likely good. So that is the test, not antibody testing. As it relates to our man, so you've got nursing home and frail, I don't know if Dr. Benson wants to take that question in terms of caregiving, but I still am very leery. I think that the six foot distance and here … OK, theoretically, if I were a visitor, if I wore PPE, I mean, that's not just a mask, but that's an N95 mask, gown, gloves an eye covering, that I would actually feel OK if someone went into a nursing home in full PPE to see someone. It gets around to some of the things that Dr. Stewart knows well. And I think that this psychological or mental well-being is important. I think that after a while, people may start to break down and that may have an adverse effect on your immune system. So I think that we can't, from the clinical infection control side, ignore the mental, emotional, psychological side. And Dr. Stewart may want to speak to that. But nursing homes are one of the greatest concerns. So we have to just have extra precaution there, I'm sorry.

Bill Walsh: Well, yeah, thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. And yeah, Dr. Stewart, I was wondering if you could weigh in from the mental health point of view here, providing some emotional support for folks who simply have not seen loved ones for three months.

Altha Stewart: I appreciate Dr. Brooks, acknowledging that, recognizing and wanting to add that to the answer to the question that was asked, because I think that is the next step in how nursing homes, assisted living, places where we have only viewed them as clusters or potential clusters of the virus. As we learn more and we determine that we've managed to keep the spread at least down, if not nonexistent, that now we have to focus a little bit on what this whole isolation does. And there is clear evidence in lots of research that at a certain point people have to have some kind of social contact. They need physical touch, they need to eyeball people. They need to do more than see each other through a glass partition. And there is something very important that those kinds of facilities are going to have to deal with, which is this protracted period or noncontact. At some point, the people who most need this are, in fact, going to start seeing some kind of physical breakdown. Their spirits, what when I was growing up the old folks used to call their spirit, gets broken, and they began to lose hope and all of those things have a real physical impact on their body, on organs in their body. And should they be unfortunate enough to have any of the preexisting conditions, some of which come with age and some of which are lifelong medical, chronic conditions, any of those things, set them up for sudden decline in health. And that's where I think facilities, especially nursing homes and assisted living, who have essentially shut down and kept them away from the world to protect them, now the policies and practices have to catch up so that we acknowledge that those things matter also. So I'm hoping that’s some of the stuff that AARP might be able to help with is helping them see how to make that transition. There are a lot of people who can help them from the medical and psychological side look at new policies and practices, and I'm sure everybody on this call would be willing to offer some guidelines and help with that.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, thank you both for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have Annette from Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Annette, go ahead with your question.

Annette: Hi, can you hear me, OK?

Bill Walsh: I can hear you fine.

Annette: OK. I'm surprised I made it in the queue. Anyway, so I have a 93-year-old father that has been locked down since March 3. On March 10 they locked the facility down. From March 10 to March 26, they let him lose 13.8 pounds completely on their watch. And then, on April 26 or so, they said, oh, he can go home, he's doing fine. Dah, dah, dah. I want to put him in assisted living. So I insist on seeing him. They let me in the facility for 20 minutes. In the 20 minutes I was there I got screamed at and yelled at by the director for 17 of those minutes, telling me that, why don't I trust that he can walk? Why don't I trust? Now, my father could put himself in and out of a tub. He was completely independent. He had a slight stroke. We've only put him there for physical therapy. Here we are, I notice right away, they let me in, something's wrong. That's why he started screaming at me for 17 minutes. So then three days later, they test him. He's positive. He is still positive as of today. This is now 40-something days later. But his 100 days ended yesterday. So this new two-week-old administrator comes in — and I had to go there to bring him food; they had to make an exception because they let him lose the 13.8 pounds. I insist on seeing him last Friday. They bring him in, stand him by the glass doors. First thing I notice, lost weight. Hair's not cut. Eyebrows out like you would not believe, like four inches long. Nails filthy, orange, horrible. He bites his nails, so the fact that he has nails means he's definitely not eating, and they're not doing anything even though I'm bringing food. Now, so I'm getting to my question. So here we are. I see him. I ask the director, why haven't you cut his hair? Why haven't you done this? Dah, dah, dah. He looks terrible. Where's his socks? He's always supposed to have on a high sock because he has a little problem with his feet and, to make a long story short, I get there today to bring him food. New two-week-old administrator of the building tells me, oh, by the way, his money stopped. What are you going to do about it? I said, no, what are you going to do about it? I'm not giving you a dime. I said the way I feel about it, you neglected him for the first 16 days. You haven't communicated with me. I'm standing out there on Friday through a glass door, talking to my father. That's when the dietician decided to tell me, oh, by the way, he lost another 28 pounds. He is now 42 pounds since March 3, March 10, the day they locked down. 42 pounds. He only weighed 182 to begin with. Completely independent man, who on Friday told me, “I'm done. I can't stand. I can't walk. I can't …”. He couldn't even move his neck. They're telling me they're back to giving him the physical therapy, but because Medicare said the 100 days are over and I told them to fight it, that he goes back to Medicare. He's not getting a dime from me. What am I going to do?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, no, I hear you. Annette, let me let our experts get in on this. This has been a, what a terrible time you've had. I wonder, Dr. Benson, if you have any advice for her. She sounds like she's been a really strong advocate, but just isn't getting any results.

Donna Benton: I mean at this point besides the nursing home, I don't know what the laws are where you are. I know in California, we have adult protective services, and for the nursing homes, we have an ombudsman, and then there's licensing so that you can bring in someone else to be by your side in this fight to help your father. This just sounds egregious, and I mean my heart is breaking as I hear your story. I just think that you need some one else beside you in this fight to help your father.

Bill Walsh: Right. I like your suggestion about the ombudsman. Every state has an ombudsman’s program to do this very thing. And Annette, I just asked the staff if they can find the number in Maryland, but it's probably pretty easy to find online. That's what these folks do, is to go to bat for consumers like you when they're not getting results and when people are suffering.

Thank you to our whole panel, for your participation here today. We're almost out of time and before we run out of time, I just wanted to see, Dr. Benton, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Brooks, if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for AARP members and listeners about what they should understand most from our conversation today. Dr. Benton, do you want to start?

Donna Benton: Sure. I would just want to say that what you can take away from everything is, this is not a sprint. It is going to be a marathon, but we will have new ways of adapting. We can get through this crisis. We will still connect. Yes, we have physical distancing, but that's not the same as — I always did not like the term social distancing. I think that our hearts are still going to be able to connect with our families.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much for that. Dr. Benton. Dr. Stuart, any closing thoughts or recommendations?

Altha Stewart: Yeah, I want people to remain hopeful and optimistic. I know these are challenging times. They are testing us beyond everything we could have imagined. Be creative in being hopeful. And also remember as Dr. Benton just said, social distancing does not mean being distant socially. Interact in whatever way you can, as much as you can. Be mindful of the fact that right now people need each other. In some way, shape or form, we have got to stay connected.

Bill Walsh: OK, terrific advice. And Dr. Brooks, any closing thoughts?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Certainly. First, don't let your guard down. As the environment opens, use your own best judgment. You all are all relatively wise. Use your wisdom. So don't let your guard down, but keep your spirits up as both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Benton have stated. Advocate for yourself and for others. Just be firm in your knowledge and your belief in yourself. And as the discussion was today, be resilient. Each of us has our own individual story, as we heard from the callers, but we are all linked as Americans, as humans and as those living in hard times. So be resilient, we will come out of the other side.

Bill Walsh: OK, what a great note to end this conversation on. I want to thank each of you on our panel for providing such informative answers to these questions, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization. We have 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, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves.

All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on June 12. For Annette from Maryland, we got a number for the state ombudsman program. If you're still on the line, it is 1-800-243-3425, 1-800-243-3425, and to all our listeners, there are state ombudsman programs available to you as well.

Again, I wanted to just direct you to aarp.org/coronavirus, which is a terrific source of information, breaking news on the virus, but also some helpful information, for caregivers, how to take care of your loved ones, how to work with nursing homes, independent living facilities, etc. You can go there if your question was not answered, and you will find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

We hope you learned something that can help you and your loved ones stay healthy today. Please be sure to tune in Thursday, June 18, when we'll have two tele-town halls. The first one is at 1 p.m. ET, and we’ll address how to manage your career during this time. The second event at 7 p.m. ET, we'll focus on how to manage, grow and deepen relationships. It'll feature actress Marlo Thomas, and her husband, daytime talk-trailblazer, Phil Donahue. They'll discuss their new book, which features advice from 40 celebrity couples on how to make relationships last. Thank you, and have a good day. This concludes our call.

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. To be sure, this has been a year that has challenged us in some distinct ways, upending our norms and also shining a light on injustices in our country, particularly in recent weeks. Today, we'll talk with experts about how you can stay healthy and connected, build resilience and cope with stress and anxiety during this uncertain time.

[00:00:51] If you've 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. For those of you joining us on a phone. If you'd like to ask a question about how to stay connected during this difficult time, press *3 on your telephone to be connected to an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. So to ask a question, go ahead and press *3.

[00:01:43] Joining us today is Donna Benton, Ph.D., director of the Family Caregiver Support Center at the University of Southern California, Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., president of the National Medical Association, and Altha Stewart, M.D. immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand who will help facilitate your calls today.

[00:02:10] AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about the coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the virus, 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. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:02:53] Now I'd like to welcome our special guests. Dr. Benton, Ph.D., director of the Family Caregiver Support Center at the University of Southern California. Dr. Benton has 30 years' experience working with family caregivers in communities. Welcome, Dr. Benton.

[00:03:11]Donna Benton:  Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here today.

[00:03:14]Bill Walsh:  All right. We're delighted to have you. I'd just, I'd also like to welcome Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D. He's the president of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. In addition, Dr. Brooks is the medical director of Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles. Welcome, Dr. Brooks.

[00:03:39]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Thank you very much for having me, Bill, and for hosting this forum.

[00:03:43]Bill Walsh:  All right, we're happy to have you. Later on, we'll also be joined by Dr. Altha Stewart, the immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. Thank you all for being with us today. Let's get started with the discussion.

[00:04:02] Dr. Benton, let's start with you. Our ability to connect in person with family and loved ones will continue to be different, even as states and local governments are beginning to open up a little bit. How do we manage this? What ideas do you have to create new traditions or positive, helpful routines during this time?

[00:04:23]Donna Benton:  Thank you Bill, for asking that. You know, as shelter-in-place orders and businesses really begin to open up for many, for our families who are caring for someone who's at a high risk for COVID, the move out and back into the community is going to require a much more thoughtful planning and caring approach so that the family member that they're caring for won't get sick. And so we have to be more cautious for those that are at risk and for the families that take care of them. You know, like everyone else, we're going to have to organize ourselves differently. So I thought of about four things that we can do during this time.

[00:05:10] First of all, I'd say, you know what? Everybody needs to have, and particularly our caring families need to have, a personal protective gear go-to bag. And you put that right by the door with your keys and your phone, and this would have your mask, gloves, hand sanitizer or wipes, or both. And you know what? It has to be a bright color like red or yellow or even Pepto Bismol pink. I mean, so it's always stands out, and it won't be forgotten. So as much as I like to keep little cute bags and put all my stuff in there, in this case, you don't want to forget it.

[00:05:56] I would also say keep a similar emergency, what we're calling PPE bags. I'm sure everyone's heard that term now. But now you have this emergency bag with the same items that you keep in the car, and you ask your relatives to actually have a similar bag in their possession in their cars, so that when they come to visit, or if they're taking your relative out, they have this emergency backup bag.

[00:06:23] If you can, I think you should have like a visitor greeting center, which is a jar or a bowl that you have right by the front door or wherever that has disposable or washable masks, and some hand sanitizers for when guests come over. So this is kind of your new greeting center. And, of course, we know for the washable masks, you're going to have those cleaned as soon as people are gone or you'll have a trash can there, so you can throw away the disposable things.

[00:06:53] Finally, you know, we may have to stay virtual a little while longer than other people that aren't at risk. And, of course, when friends or families are gathering, maybe if they are coming into your house for planned events, you have to keep that social distancing. So say somebody has dementia or they're at risk — set up like maybe some kind of physical barrier, like a TV table or a card table that kind of helps you mark off that safe distance so that people can still talk face-to-face, but it keeps them that six feet away. And so when you have that visible reminder for somebody, it helps for the dementia person. So even if they start to get up to go hug, there's the barrier that can kind of slow them down so that you can redirect them. That's all.

[00:07:49]Bill Walsh:  Well, those are some great tips, and it really drives home the point that we're not going back to the old normal, that this is indeed a new normal where we're going to have to make adjustments and alter our behavior and the behavior of those who we're caring for, as well. Dr. Brooks, let me ask you a question. You know, almost every state has relaxed restrictions on physical distancing, and we're seeing people have been venturing out. What should older adults, in particular, do to protect their health as we enter this new stage of the pandemic?

[00:08:23]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So think about, first of all, the things that Dr. Benton just said. So those are all excellent suggestions. I think that the thing to note is that as states, locales start to open up, they're doing it for different reasons. Some are doing it based on clear scientific, or medical information: the case rate is declining, the hospital rate is declining, the death rate is declining. And then some are doing it more for economic reasons, that there's just so much pressure on government officials to take some action to allow more economic activity and more environmental interaction. And that's somewhat understanding because we are moving into, and are into, a recession, and that also is not good for you.

[00:09:20] I would, therefore, look at what is being recommended. In other words, when most states and locales are doing it, they're doing it in stages. They're doing it such that you go from no contact to much more contact, so like the fullest would let's say be a large gathering. So as it relates to older Americans, I would say since there is a higher risk there, be clear on what is being recommended. In some of the states that have opened up, there has been an increase in the case rate. So my point is that you do need to be wary.

[00:10:00] The virus, COVID-19, has not gone away. So don't let your guard down. When you go out at this point, I see no indication for not wearing a mask or you wear a mask at all times. You keep your six- foot physical distance. You wash your hands, you wipe down surfaces. I would avoid large gatherings. I, at this point, still would avoid restaurants and bars because you cannot eat and drink with the mask on. So, for example, if you're going out shopping, you can control that, you can also limit the amount of time that you are out in the environment. So my take-home message is to have a great degree of precaution and then evaluate what the recommendations are in your state or locality before you act on them. In other words, don't assume because people are telling you it's OK to go out, it is. Talk to a trusted source, your doctor is who I recommend, and then act accordingly.

[00:11:23]Bill Walsh:  Well, some great advice there, and a takeaway is don't let your guard down. I think there's probably a temptation that as states do relax restrictions, to go back to the way things were, and both you and Dr. Benton provided us some good tips about how to stay vigilant at what is, continues to be, a perilous time. So thank you both for that.

[00:11:47] As a reminder to our listeners, if you want to ask your question, please press *3 to get into the queue. And we're going to go to those questions live shortly. But before we do that, we know this is a trying time for our country, even beyond facing the coronavirus. The pandemic is shedding light on a myriad of disparities that existed before this crisis and which have been exacerbated by it.

[00:12:12] As we witness the protests over racial injustice and face the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we believe our nation desperately needs healing. The incidents of racial violence and COVID-19's disproportionate impact on African Americans and people of color are not random. Instead, they're the result of inequality due to lack of social, economic and political opportunities.

[00:12:37] So AARP's advocacy programs and services, we fight against discrimination, advocate for access to healthcare and work to improve the lives of all people, especially the most vulnerable. During this crisis, we've advocated at the federal, state and local levels to protect residents and staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Data is showing us that people of color in these facilities are being hardest hit. Also, in places like New York and Michigan, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and New Jersey and California, AARP is working to ensure more racial and ethnic data collection, outreach and testing in communities of color. We're also seeking commitments from leaders to address underlying issues of hunger, health access, transportation and more. It's clear this work is more important than ever. During these difficult days, AARP will use its voice, resources and trust in our brand to continue our fight for what is right so all people can live a life of dignity, regardless of race, age or income.

[00:13:43] Now, Drs. Benton and Brooks, so before we get to caller questions, I'd like you to weigh in on this. You know, we're currently in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic and discussions about reopening, all while there are protests across the country against racial injustice. So as we focus today on the topic of building personal resilience to the coronavirus pandemic, what impact have the protests had on our mental well-being? And what's the connection to the coronavirus? Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that?

[00:14:20]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Certainly. So, we are now seeing changes in the government related to the protests. There was legislation in Congress introduced to ban choke holds, to have bias training, to have mandatory body cams. So my point is that the protests are having an effect. The police brutality and the disparities that we are seeing are a public health crisis, just like COVID-19. So it's not just a political protest, it is a public health protest. Therefore, I believe that it should continue.

[00:15:08] Now, for AARP members and let's say older Americans, I do not recommend going out there and protesting. When you were protesting, you may be chanting or singing. Your voice is projecting more, so there's more of a breath distance. You generally are not six feet away from everyone that you're around. When you're there, you're emotional. You may let your guard down. You may have your mask on, but take it off to say something to someone and forget to put it back on. So since there is a higher risk, I would say let the protests happen, but your role doesn't have to be a live protester.

[00:15:51] So what can you do? You can write a check, support an organization that has your interests. You can contact your local politician or your state or federal politician and say, “There are things I believe in.” Get politically savvy. Start to understand that if there is a bill coming through, or if there's just a nonspecific concept that you have, just tell them, “I don't like police brutality. I don't like the disparities and the outcomes of COVID-19.” A call from you, their constituent, matters. And generally speaking, older Americans are more likely to vote. So politicians listen to people that vote.

[00:16:33] When you interact with your friends and family, speak in a positive, more understanding way. Look inside your heart. See where you are along the spectrum. And let people understand that you are in, that you understand what's going on out there in the streets, and even if you're not out there, you're out there in spirit.

[00:16:56] And then, lastly, for those that are social media savvy, post information on your social media platforms. If you have grandchildren or children have them do it. Ask them, “Show me what's going on in the social media arena.” So those are actions that can take place with no risk to your health, but we do need to keep these protests up because the issue out there is real.

[00:17:27]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, thank you for that. Dr. Benton, it just occurs to me that it's been such a stressful time dealing with coronavirus and all of the restrictions it has imposed. And then recently with all of the racial tensions, what has been the effect on people's mental well-being?

[00:17:49]Donna Benton:  I think it's been quite obvious that currently during this global pandemic, there are two ways that people have looked at the challenges of the pandemic and the struggle against racial injustice. And on the one hand, for some of us, we can just feel overwhelmed and helpless because just as we're adjusting to the pandemic, along comes the protests and the reminder of our struggle with racism in America. And this has created more disruption in our public spaces, not to speak of the challenges to our physical distancing.

[00:18:28] And chances, like the doctor said, that we could have more infection rates, and we can't necessarily, even though our hearts may want to be out there with the protesters, we still have to find a different role. So we may feel that taking an attitude of this too shall pass, it's not really going to help us cope at this time.

[00:18:53] On the other hand, if we want to take a more resilient approach, what we begin to do is recognize that the struggle against injustice has really always been with us, in us, and really has oftentimes made us stronger and kept us moving forward without falling apart. That's kind of what the concept of resilience is — that we can continue going through and come out on the other side of the fire.

[00:19:24] It's been said that racial injustice itself is much like a pandemic, you know, something which has been with us for a very long time. So the actions that we take and the coping mechanisms that we use to keep our bodies and our minds healthy and safe for the pandemic and for the struggle against racial injustice, they might be kind of similar. You know, not always exactly the same, but similar. So, for example, with the pandemic, we do everything we can to keep ourselves and our communities safe and free from harm on a day-to-day basis. All the while, maintaining patience and faith and calmly anticipating that there'll be a cure and a vaccine. And so maybe we can contribute to the development of the cure vaccine even. And that's kind of when the doctor was saying about public health crisis and what we can do as our role by writing and calling and voting and donating.

[00:20:25] So with the struggle against racial injustice, we're always building awareness within ourselves and our community. We take steps to protect against physical and emotional harm. And we help those that have been harmed, all on a day-to-day basis. So in the medium to long term, we work with in our communities and our businesses and our government to find and implement solutions that are effective and long lasting.

[00:20:52] So like the pandemic and the protest, when we take the resilient view, our efforts to build resiliency in one area really can benefit us in building resilience in another area in our life.

[00:21:08]Bill Walsh:  Well, thank you both for that. And let's talk about building resilience with some of our listeners. I'd like now to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. So welcome, Jean.

[00:21:31]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here tonight.

[00:21:33]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, who do we have up first in the queue?

[00:21:38]Jean Setzfand:  Our first caller is Jean from Maryland.

[00:21:42]Bill Walsh:  Jean, go ahead with your question.

[00:21:45]Jean:  Yes, I'm 84, and I haven't been out since March. The doctor told me today, I have to come in and see him because he hasn't seen me in six months to get a prescription. I don't want to go. I got gloves and I got a mask, but I'm still afraid.

[00:22:05]Bill Walsh:  Right. Good question. Dr. Brooks, can you provide any advice for Jean?

[00:22:11]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Yes. So right now we are operating in a fashion that we see patients only that need to be seen face-to-face, in a face-to-face fashion. I literally got a notification from CMS, which is Medicare, that they're recommending that we start to reopen and have more face-to-face visits. That being stated, a lot of visits are now telehealth, and from what Jean said, the reason that the doctor wanted to see her was for a prescription refill. For an 84-year-old woman, if the doctor doesn't clearly need to do a physical exam or do something that needs a face-to-face visit, that visit should be done, in my view, by telehealth, and then that prescription can be refilled. So, were I Jean, I would call the doctor back and ask him if he can do a tele-visit and fill your prescription that way. And if not, why do you actually need to come in? Her concern is well-founded.

[00:23:15]Bill Walsh:  Right, right. So she said she hadn't been in since March. Maybe the doctor, I don't know if she has some underlying chronic conditions, but maybe the doctor really wants to check up on those, or it could be simply refilling a prescription, which could be done over the phone.

[00:23:30]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Exactly, but he can tell her. He can clarify why I need to see you.

[00:23:35]Bill Walsh:  OK. All right. Very good. Well, Jean Setzfand, who else do we have on the line?

[00:23:42]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Winnie from Illinois.

[00:23:46]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Winnie, go ahead with your question. Hey, how are you?

[00:23:49]Winnie:  Thank you. I'll make it quick. My husband and I, we're both over 65. We both have diabetes and high blood pressure. I have not been with my kids since like March 15. They're adults, and I show my love by making desserts and handing them out the door, but I haven't hugged my daughter or my son or had any quality time with them. And I just don't know if I can wait until a vaccine comes out. And how long do I have to do this, 'cause this is over the phone.

[00:24:25]Bill Walsh:  I was going to ask, have you connected through FaceTime or Zoom or anything?

[00:24:30]Winnie:  Oh, yeah.

[00:24:30]Bill Walsh:  So you can see their face. You've done that, but you just want to connect with them in person.

[00:24:34]Winnie:  In person, yes.

[00:24:35]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you for the call, Winnie. Dr. Benton, what would you say to that?

[00:24:42]Donna Benton:  Well, I always worry about what's going to happen if you didn't have precautions. I'm over 65 and with my daughter, I have had, what we've done is we've done walks together. I have my mask on, I'm all decked out. She's all decked out. She stays six feet away, and then we are able to kind of talk on these distance walks, but she's really cautious about staying away. And we end up at a park. Sometimes I've driven to the park, met her there where there's really a lot of room and then we're just talking outdoors. So it's a different environment, but I always feel like outdoors may be a little safer and it's easier to keep large distances. I don't have the luxury of having a nice big backyard or something like that.

[00:25:42]Bill Walsh:  Right. I mean, if Winnie wanted to have her relatives over or go stay with them, what precaution do you suggest she pay?

[00:25:52]Donna Benton:  I'm going to leave that to [inaudible]

[00:25:56]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So, what I would recommend is this. First of all, it is general knowledge that outside is better than inside. Winnie also mentioned hugging. I would have to say at this point in time, I would not recommend hugging at all. I believe in keeping that six-foot physical distance. If they came over, again, if it couldn't be outside, they would not touch. But I'm even loath to recommend that. And so the walking was a great suggestion. So if it just had to happen that they had to be in the same indoor space, I would have everything that we already talked about: physical distance, mask, no touching, wipe down surfaces, cover your cough, wash your hands, etc., etc. But I would even avoid that at this point.

[00:26:46] What we're going to need is testing and a vaccine, and if we had blood testing. If I could test you and say you're immune the way I can do for measles or chicken pox, that may come before a vaccine. So there is hope. But right now, I would say, Winnie, stay the course.

[00:27:06]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you both for that. Jean, who's next on the line?

[00:27:11]Jean Setzfand:  We have Charmaine from Pennsylvania.

[00:27:14]Bill Walsh:  Hey Charmaine, go ahead with your question.

[00:27:17]Charmaine:  Yes, my question is, I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it's a lot of people in Philadelphia that's asymptomatic, a lot. And my question is, so I take it that asymptomatic means you're like a carrier, and it doesn't bother you, but you can carry this virus, and you can spread it, and you can infect other people. How long do you stay infectious like that? Is it a time limit? Do you stay infected, like, for a long period of time or do you stay like that forever? I mean, you can just spread it.

[00:28:15]Bill Walsh:  Right. But once you've begun showing symptoms, how long are you infectious? Is that your question?

[00:28:23]Charmaine:  Well, no, they say some people are asymptomatic. They don't show any symptoms, but they can give it to other people. And the ones that don't show any symptoms, do it eventually go away from them or they can just continually spread the virus? You know, they just carry it.

[00:28:48]Bill Walsh:  Right. Well, let's pose that question to Dr. Brooks. Dr. Brooks, what do you have to say to Charmaine?

[00:28:52]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Yeah. So that's a good question. So to us physicians, for me, technically, I don't consider that person a carrier because someone that's a carrier will generally carry it for years or a prolonged period of time. So what that person is to me, is they're asymptomatic but infected. So her key question was, what happens? So the mean or the average time of shedding is 20 days. So that person who was asymptomatic, if they got it on June 1, generally the average would be by June 21 they would no longer be shedding. That being stated, there are studies that have shown people that shedded for twice that long.

[00:29:36] So, two answers — one is no, you don't carry it forever. Sooner or later, it does get out of your system. But number two, we really don't know how long, but there's somewhere, we're going to say the average is about three weeks. CDC says two weeks, but I go more toward three weeks.

[00:29:57]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much for that. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:30:02]Jean Setzfand:  Oh, we have Virginia from Virginia.

[00:30:05] Bill Walsh: Hey, Virginia. Go ahead with your question.

[00:30:08]Virginia:  Yes, hi. My question is pertaining to nursing homes. For example, today I found out that there in one nursing home, I will not call the name of it, and there was four deaths and 84 tested positive. Now, if every staff member is following protocol, how in the world could this happen? They're not allowed to see visitors, they’re supposed to be staying in the room, not socializing. Now somewhere, it seems to me that somebody has dropped the ball, 'cause there's so many people in the nursing homes that this is happening to, and this concerns me, 'cause I just don't understand it.

[00:30:50]Bill Walsh:  Right, right. No, it's a fair question, and it's not just happening in Virginia. Dr. Benton, do you want to address that?

[00:30:56]Donna Benton:  Oh, you know, I am going to ask for the assistance of Dr. Brooks, but I would say that one thing that we've noticed in California when we hear about nursing homes where it's kind of spreading throughout the nursing home, part of it is somebody may be, like we were just discussing, asymptomatic, and they went to work. People work in multiple facilities, and even with the hand washing and all the PPE, clearly somebody, like you said, dropped the ball. Early on, I noticed there was a huge struggle to get the personal protective equipment to nursing homes. The aides and other people just were not provided proper equipment and infection control just what wasn't there. And that's, you know, early on, and I think there's still places that are still struggling getting the proper equipment. But I'm sure Dr. Brooks knows even more.

[00:32:00]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So, what I would say to that is you probably hit the nail on the head. Someone slipped up. Nothing is a hundred percent, A. B, a lot of care in a nursing home is going to be hands on. In other words, you can't do it by keeping a six-foot physical distance, and you are likely going to have to have some touching. The virus is relatively contagious. It's more contagious than influenza, less contagious than measles, for example. So a little slip up is a big deal. So it's bound to happen. And then you obviously have a vulnerable population. So that's what I would attribute it to.

[00:32:50]Bill Walsh:  Well and a vulnerable population living in very close quarters.

[00:32:54]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Exactly.

[00:32:55]Bill Walsh:  One thing, as I've said before, AARP's been very active on this issue. One thing we've been telling people is this is a time to be a fierce advocate for your loved ones, whether in nursing homes or assisted living. I mean, demand to know what's going on inside, what questions, what precautions are being taken. And we have a list of questions for family members on our website, aarp.org/coronavirus — the top questions to ask to facilities because they have an obligation to keep your loved one safe and to communicate with you about conditions there.

[00:33:33] So thank you for all of your questions so far. Right now I'd like to bring in our third guest to the conversation. She is Altha Stewart, M.D. She is immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. She is also associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career spans three decades of work as the CEO of large, public mental health systems in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. Thanks for joining us, Dr. Stewart.

[00:34:13]Altha Stewart:  Thank you for having me tonight.

[00:34:15]Bill Walsh:  All right, we're delighted to have you. Let me go right to you with a question. As people work to prioritize mental wellness during this time, is the goal today to restore our routines as they were before the pandemic, to find new routines or something else?

[00:34:37]Altha Stewart:  Well, it's a question I get asked a lot these days because there's so much conversation about a new normal. I'm not even sure anymore what that actually means. I've decided that what we're going to come out of this with is a hybrid of the things from the past that still work for us, and some new things that we've learned during this time of quarantine and isolation and pandemics, dealing with the pandemic. And then some skills that I think we will pick up as we move forward, because the environment will be new. As we return to work, we're going to find things like a space and the ability to be separate from each other are going to be challenges. So we're going to have to have a different mindset about how we set up our space to work. We're going to have to deal with the fact that there are going to be a lot of people who are still afraid of being at work and around people, because there's still a lot of uncertainty about just what this virus does and is. You just had that section with the other guests about asymptomatic status and, you know, how we can do all the right things, and sometimes it still doesn't work. And so mentally and emotionally, there's going to be a lot of things that we don't even understand right now, except that uncertainty, fear and anxiety will be predominant feelings that we will carry for a long time around this pandemic.

[00:36:11]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, and to that point, I mean, we've all felt a real sense of loss. You know, we're in the middle of summer. Summer just doesn't feel the same. Summer camps and youth sports are going to be different. As Dr. Brooks was saying earlier, no hugs, no large scale community festivals or concerts. How can we all find joy in these uncertain times?

[00:36:34]Altha Stewart:  Well, I think it's going to be up to us to figure out how to make the new kind of joy. Some of this is going to be very intentional where we set out every day to remind ourselves we're alive, we aren't ill with the virus, that life will go on and things will be OK. Ultimately, we will get to the other side or get through this, I think, are the terms that people are starting to use. And we've got to understand that simply because we can't do it the way we've always done it doesn't mean we can't do it. I mean, we've seen some creativity around weddings, even funerals, where people have found ways to join together in the spirit of family and unity, to celebrate life, as well as celebrate a life, to make sense of all that's going on. It's going to take us being willing to accept the fact that we won't have what we used to have under any circumstances, for everybody's life has changed. If you were directly impacted, it's changed. If you watch it on TV and the nonstop news cycle, it has changed. There are a lot of things that we will never see or do again. But there are so many things that we can still do if we adapt. If we become more creative. If we began to see this as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.

[00:38:03]Bill Walsh:  That's a very optimistic outlook. I think it would be wise for everyone to keep that in mind. Thanks for that, Dr. Stewart. Dr. Benton, I'd like to bring you back into the conversation. You know, we know that even in ordinary times, self-care for family caregivers is so important. What are you seeing now, and what should those experiencing the stress of caregiving during the pandemic do?

[00:38:29]Donna Benton:  Thank you, that's a really excellent question and observation, because many caregivers have talked to me about how just in their regular routine of caregiving, pre the pandemic, they had really learned to go with the flow when they had to go through a rough period with the person they were caring for. Maybe it was a really bad day and the person wasn't cooperating that day or they couldn't get the person to eat or you missed a doctor's appointment or something. And so the caregivers will say, you know, I went through a rough period or I was feeling depressed, but they know that they bounced back and sometimes they often felt like they had grown because of that stressful event. I learned a new way to take care of myself and take care of my relatives.

[00:39:21] So again, this is really kind of what resilience is about. It's not that we don't have stress in our life, it's that we learn that as we go through it, we can maybe look back and continue to grow. So it's kind of this active, mindful process of enduring and coping. All of us have found ourselves having to cope and adapt to some adverse event. You know, maybe just think of a time when you said to yourself, I don't know how I found the strength to get through such and such a crisis. Or maybe you found yourself thinking about how a challenge or a loss made you stronger. So we all have these kinds of parts in us that are like that little engine that started out saying, I think I can. I think I can. And as we get closer, as we struggle up that hill, when we get closer to the top and we start going down, start going to the other side, we start telling ourselves, I know I can. I know I can. I know I can. So it's a matter of practicing resilience. And if we do that, this can keep our health, both our mental health and our well-being, and overall reduce our vulnerability to future stress. And I like what you said about an optimism, because we have this realistic optimism that really helps us remain resilient in the face of the pandemic and the continuing caregiving responsibilities.

[00:41:00]Bill Walsh:  One piece of advice AARP has had for family caregivers to preempt some of that stress is to create a plan, a care plan, you know, in case you get sick, in case your loved one gets sick. Could you just very quickly give our listeners two or three pieces of advice about what sorts of things they should be doing to create such a plan?

[00:41:26]Donna Benton:  Well, one thing that should be in your plan is you should have an emergency backup. Someone that you've talked to about your day-to-day routine for caregiving, who understands what's going on in case you get sick. That you're going to feel comfortable that they can step in. If you've had time, it's a good time to also set up any kind of legal documents and know where they are, know where you can find those for your relatives, so that you don't have that kind of stress during your care plan.

[00:42:02] The other part of your care plan is have a good support system of people, friends neighbors, religious pastors and whoever you can have in your system, both close people and maybe people in programs further out, who you can have someone to talk to. Because we all at different times need different options for getting advice and talking and problem-solving. So I think that that's a very important part of having a support system that you use.

[00:42:40] I also believe that for us, as caregivers, it's very important to have some place where we get some respite, you know, being able to take a break, whether it's through using meditation or yoga, or just having what I always like to say is have a humor bag or something where, when you're really just feeling super stressed, if you have a drawer or a box of tapes and pictures and that you know that if you look at them, they're going to make you smile or laugh, just have that ready and walk over to that box and start looking through it. Put that together before you get stressed. And when you start feeling stressed, you just walk over and maybe, you know, I have a bunch of cat videos and dog pictures, and then a movie. A movie that I know that I can always put on, go to a certain scene and no matter what, I'm just going to zone out and be there for a movie or a book. So have this in your stress bag, your place. So those are couple of things that I would do.

[00:43:54]Bill Walsh:  All right. I like it. Dr. Benton's humor bag — it sounds like a product opportunity waiting to be created. Thank you very much for that. Dr. Brooks, let me turn to you. I saw a poll recently that showed about two-thirds of Americans are fearful about a resurgence of coronavirus, particularly as we enter into the fall, which is traditional cold and flu season. What should people be expecting during that time?

[00:44:24]Oliver Tate Brooks:  We are unsure as to what people should expect. This virus doesn't necessarily need to act like a flu virus, influenza, that it tends to circulate more in the winter than summer. We just don't know. I think that a concern that I have, is that as we open up, we're going to see more cases, and as time plays through, this is what, early to mid-June, July, August, September, two to three months from now, I believe that unrelated to seasonality, we're going to be seeing a surge or at least an increase in cases just as the economy or the environment opens up. Excuse me.

[00:45:10] Now, if this does in fact act like a flu virus that circulates more in the wintertime and in the fall when people are more indoors and less outdoors, the air is less humid, the virus seems to prefer dry over humid, [inaudible] cold over heat; so as those environmental changes occur, I think what we should truly expect is there will be more circulating COVID-19, and therefore more cases.

[00:45:42] So it's just going to mean, and unfortunately, I don't enjoy being the purveyor of bad news. I, too, want to go to large gatherings and concerts and go eat out and go see friends and give a hug to somebody, but I think what we need to expect is that we are going to likely have to continue with the present infection control measures that we are now practicing.

[00:46:09]Bill Walsh:  OK, thank you very much for that. We are going to go to more of your live questions soon, and just a reminder to our listeners: if you want to ask a question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member to get into the queue. But before we do that, as we talk about resiliency and the new normal. I want to take a moment to update you on AARP's continuing fight for residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

[00:46:40] More than 40,000 nursing home residents and staff have died. This is a tragic situation and AARP has been putting our full weight behind advocacy efforts. While the situation is still dire, we're seeing some positive movements. At the federal level, due to AARP's advocacy, the Administration is now requiring that nursing homes disclose COVID cases and deaths. That's a big step forward. The Administration has also announced that the federal government will provide a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment to nursing homes and funding that can be used for protective equipment, testing and staffing. At the state level, we've seen positive momentum, as well. For instance, Nevada announced that National Guard units doing inspections will also provide personal protective equipment to nursing homes with insufficient supplies. And recently Maryland publicly released data on positive cases for the first time.

[00:47:45] In addition, in Alaska, Pennsylvania and Texas, AARP state offices have all successfully advocated for the purchase of technology to facilitate communications between nursing home residents and their loved ones. AARP members, volunteers and activists have made their voices heard and helped secure these important victories in our continued efforts to protect people who live and work in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

[00:48:13] Now it's time to go back to your questions for Dr. Donna Benton, Dr. Altha Stewart and Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks. Jean, who do we have on the line?

[00:48:30]Jean Setzfand:  We have Ruby from Missouri.

[00:48:33]Bill Walsh:  Hey Ruby, go ahead with your question.

[00:48:36]Ruby:  Well, I'm living in an assisted living facility, and we have never had any of the virus here. I'm in a small community, but we've never had any of it in any nursing home around, and there's none in the hospital at this time, because I was there at the doctor yesterday and they told me. And it's really, we've not had hardly any in our area. Now, how long can the governor keep up shut up in here? We’ve been here, we have been shut up since the 12th of March. You stop and think. That’s a long time. No visitors. Our families, we have to talk to them through the windows or the patio doors, whatever we're fortunate enough to have. And how long is this going to go on? It is extremely hard on everyone. And we are segregated inside with the halls and a dining room, and we can only go to our hall or our dining room, and we don't see everybody else. And talk about depression and anxiety. It's there.

[00:49:47]Bill Walsh:  Well, I can hear it in your voice. So I wonder, Dr. Stewart, do you want to talk about that situation?

[00:49:55]Altha Stewart:  Well, I'm happy to respond to the part of her comment about the depression, but I think Dr. Brooks might need to weigh in first about the how long part, 'cause that's going to impact her sense of depression.

[00:50:11]Ruby:  Yes, because I'm used to seeing my family every week. Most of them, not everyone, most of them. I have a little 2-year-old great-granddaughter. She's had a birthday. I've not seen her since March. I mean, this is ...

[00:50:26]Bill Walsh:  Sure. Dr. Brooks, I wonder, as you're looking across the country, what standards are governors using for reopening their economies and giving people like Ruby the opportunity to see their loved ones.

[00:50:40]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So some people are looking at, again, primarily it's hospitalization rates and death rates, and pace rates is third. 'Cause you know, it's hospitalization and death that you're worried about. So, a lot of places that you want to see a 14-day decline in hospitalization rates and death rates. And some will also add the case rates. So at that point … one of the problems in the United States is each state has different criteria. In other words, there is no national standard. I believe there should be some, but it also is hitting different places differently. So let me just add this and then I'll give you a final answer — what she is saying essentially is that the methods that are being implemented are working. So the fact that she'd been shut in for about three months, that's rough and that's really hard to manage, but it's working. So, understand that. That being stated, at some point we do have to end this. So I would say that she should go to the website of either her county or her state public health department. They will have there, generally speaking, what's going on and what the criteria are. I wouldn't, on my own, make a determination that there are no cases and there's no one in the hospital, so I'm going to go on out there and see my great-grandchild. I would, actually, if you really want to know, call your politician, call your local representative. Say, I want to know what’s going on. This is what they get paid to do. You actually call your state county public health department and ask them what their thought process is. The decision is bigger than we are. So you want to have the scientists weigh in, and I can't tell you when it's going to end, but obviously this gets to what you were saying earlier, Bill, self-advocacy. Demand an answer from somebody.

[00:52:58]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. And Dr. Stewart, I wanted to just bring you back in. What I heard from Ruby also was a great deal of stress. I mean, she's just anxious to reconnect in a real way with her loved ones. So in the meantime, what would you suggest for her?

[00:53:14]Altha Stewart:  Well, and that's why I thought it might be good for Dr. Brooks to weigh in, because I want her to hear that there is a reality to, and something that I hope she heard in what he said. What they are doing in your area is working. And that is the good news, and so the fact that you miss your grandchild and your friends that are away from the facility means that, as I said earlier, we've got to get creative. If your grandchild is old enough for you to have a conversation on the phone, then you can do, by phone, what you would normally do, everything, but touching. And if your family can get you a device that you can actually see them on your phone, then you can have that quality grandparenting time. And we've even asked people to think of things to do that they would normally do with a child or grandchild that they're now separated from. One example that came up in a previous discussion about this with someone was that they used to be with their grandchild and cook. And that was their special time. Well, if you can't do that now, if your grandchild isn't old enough, there are things that you can talk about with them that are your special things, you're secret things that only you and they know that makes them feel special and give you that warm feeling of connectedness with them. And today with the technology that's available, if you have access to that, I would encourage you to really make use of it now, as you're getting a little more cabin fever and really antsy to get out. Now's the time to really take advantage of that, and figure out ways to use that technology to be in contact with them. And just remember, the good news is whatever's going on in your facility is working. So if you're not seeing it and you don't have it, I would encourage you to take Dr. Brooks advice and find out — legislator, when are we going to be out of quarantine because we want to get on with life?

[00:55:22]Bill Walsh:  It sounds like great advice. If ever there was a time to reach out to your state legislatures, state legislator, this would be it, right? And they can probably fill you in on the latest and give you the criteria the state is using for reopening.

[00:55:42]Altha Stewart:  Yes.

[00:55:42]Bill Walsh:  All right. Very good. Thank you very much both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is next on the line?

[00:55:51]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question coming from Bob on Facebook. And Bob is asking, "This is the question for the doctors: my family of all adults who are going to visit my 80-plus-year-old parents for the first time since the lockdown. What, if any, precautions, should we take? Hugs are expected.

[00:56:10]Bill Walsh:  Hugs are expected? OK. Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that?

[00:56:15]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Yes. I would say it'd be nice to be tested and to know that you are COVID negative at the day of the test. Again, if you get tested on Tuesday, you're negative, but you could turn positive on Wednesday, but it still gives you information. An 80-plus-year-old is at risk just due to being 80-plus years old. I won't even ask if there are any underlying conditions — hypertension, obesity, diabetes and COPD are the big ones that lead to worser outcomes. I can't recommend hugging. I just feel strongly about that. And I think one thing we have to have is patience. We have to understand that. I mean, how would you feel if you hugged this family member and nine days later they became asymptomatic and they were in the hospital on a ventilator? Then you get into the emotion and stress, and that impatience would lead to guilt.

[00:57:24] So that being stated, if you gotta go, if there's nothing that's going to stop you, then it gets back to the basics. Don't hug. Keep a six-foot distance. Wear a mask, wipe down surfaces, cover your cough, wash your hands. Again, try to do the visit outside if you can. I mean, it is summertime. And I think that's one, well it's summer in another couple of day. But we're feeling like, oh, it's beautiful outside and this COVID-19, this thing has got to be over. It's not. So my recommendation would be don't, but if you must, keep your distance and hugging just is not a good deal. I mean, theoretically, if each person has a sheet over them, would this be all right? And then you hug with the sheet being too in contact, you take it off and [inaudible] and wash it. I can't really, I can't, you know, if I had to, had to, had to, it would be something like that. But you understand how, ultimately this, the action that the person's contemplating is not the proper action.

[00:58:39]Bill Walsh:  All right, Dr. Brooks, thanks for that. Jean who is next on the line?

[00:58:43]Jean Setzfand:  We have Herbert from Missouri.

[00:58:46]Bill Walsh:  Hey Herbert, go ahead with your question. Herbert, are you on the line?

[00:58:54]Herbert:  I've been laid off because of this COVID virus. When am I going to go back to work?

[00:59:02]Bill Walsh:  What do you do, Herbert?

[00:59:04]Herbert:  I am a disabled veteran. I work with a bunch of other disabled veterans. The state provides work for us and we do whatever the state says. It's minor things just to keep us busy, probably, but it gives us an eight-hour a day job. We're all working. Everybody's working good and doing a good job, and this is where, it's, I guess, it's just whatever they call me, right?

[00:59:30]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. So what has your boss told you? Have you reached out? What is your boss telling you about returning to work?

[00:59:41]Herbert:  They don't say about that, they don't know, but they'll give me a call when it's time to go back to work. I'm a disabled veteran, so I get a VA pension check. I'm 40 percent disabled. I've come from 80 percent to 40 percent since I started working. So I guess I'm getting progressively better. But I do get a $40 check every month, so I've got to apply for Social Security anyway, cause I'm 71. I just haven't done that yet. I will. My dilemma is, my brother said I had two head-on car crashes. They took my license last time for careless driving. So I'm not going to drive again. I got a ticket for speeding on my bicycle. So, I'm just going to wait for my brother to come back this summer. He said he would take me to apply for unemployment. I guess this is what I gotta do, right? Just wait for my brother?

[01:00:30]Bill Walsh:  Right. Well, Herbert, I don't know if we can help you answer your specific question about when you might be going to work, but Dr. Stewart, I wonder if you might have some advice for people who have been laid off. I mean, there have been millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. Do you have any advice for them during this difficult time?

[01:00:51]Altha Stewart:  Well, I think this is a time when people really have to arm themselves with education and information about what rights they have as laid off workers in this climate. Like everyone else, I see on the news how difficult it is to reach the unemployment office, but people have to have a little more than patience. They've really got to build in persistence on top of patience, and stay with the attempts to get what is rightfully theirs in the way of unemployment. I also think that some people will need to consider whether they will be hired back to the work they used to do or whether they should start looking at other things they can do. People with a status of veteran or disabled or other special skills that may put them in a position to change to another kind of job ought to be thinking about that. We encourage people who’ve been laid off to spend some part of every day thinking or doing something actively about getting employed again. For people who are laid off, trying to get unemployment, that may mean the unemployment line and office and whatever you go through in that system. For people for whom the job is no longer there because the company or the agency or facility or restaurant has closed, then thinking about what other skill do I have and how do I market myself to get a job in that area is a part of what they should do every day. I do not encourage people to sit around, getting depressed about what they used to have and what they used to do. I really think people need to stay active and engaged in trying to find employment. Every day, do something that moves you towards work.

[01:02:48]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, that's terrific advice. And while this show, per se, isn't about finding work, I will tell our listeners that at aarp.org/work, we have some tremendous free resources. We have a job-search tool. We have a free resume advisor there, and lots of videos about, as the doctor said, upskilling. And there have been some new jobs posted on our site, even since coronavirus hit. For example, the Small Business Administration was looking to fill thousands of jobs helping to process business loans. And so those are things that can be very easily done remotely. So go check out the job board, the resume advisor and take doctor Dr. Stewart's advice and build your skill set. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:03:41]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Judy from Maryland.

[01:03:44]Bill Walsh:  Hey Judy, go ahead with your question.

[01:03:46]Judy:  Hi, yes. I'm 76 years old. I live in Maryland, and I'm scheduled tomorrow for same-day surgery and I'm extremely, I have a lot of anxiety about it, about the safeness of it. But I've been in quarantine since February and my adult children that live locally are essential workers. So I have to depend on someone else to take me. I've a friend and she can't wear a mask. And we are still wearing masks around here, but something about her health. And I do wear a mask, and I'm concerned about that, too.

[01:04:31]Bill Walsh:  Judy, I just wanted to clarify, is this elective surgery or this is something you absolutely have to get done.

[01:04:37]Judy:  This is something that I have to have done for, yes, I have to have it done.

[01:04:42]Bill Walsh:  OK. OK. Dr. Brooks, do you have some advice for Judy?

[01:04:48]Oliver Tate Brooks:  So, Judy, if you have to get it done, and we won't ask you what the procedure is obviously, but if you have to get it done, you have to get it done. I don't like the fact that the person taking you to the surgery center or hospital will not or cannot wear a mask. So that's the one quote unquote hole in the story. Wherever you get the procedure done, they will have their PPE, and they will do the appropriate thing to protect you from getting infected and/or you infecting them. If your family are essential workers, then they can't quote unquote, take you. They're also theoretically exposing themselves, 'cause they're out there working.

[01:05:36] Transportation is a challenge in these times, you know? And then whose vehicle is it also? If they're driving your vehicle then, you know, what kind of exposure is there from the services. So I would put down something in the car, like a plastic or a cloth sheet, 'cause again, that you could wash. Theoretically, if you have to go, if that person drives you, sit in the back seat and transverse away from them, but implore them to wear a mask. And that's the one — I can't wear a mask for health reasons — I'm not sure what that is. So that's a very tough one.

[01:06:24]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, it's a tough one. Isn't it? I mean, would you recommend that Judy use like Uber or Lyft or one of the car services, is that safer? Or is that dangerous in a different way?

[01:06:37]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Correct. So an Uber or Lyft driver or a taxi, they have different people going in and out of their car, and you don't know what was happening in that car. The person may not have been wearing a mask last time. There may have been 10 people in four days on that backseat. So, the guy may or may not sanitize. So I clearly thought about that, you know, a taxi. I don't know. And she's having this surgery tomorrow, so it's a tough one based on the time of the evening. I would have also contacted the surgery center, the site to see if they have any transportation options for you, 'cause they might have a safer method of transport, a van that is, you know, they have social distance in there, they wipe it down, the driver's wearing a mask, they understand. So that would have been my suggestion. I would say, ultimately, it comes down to benefit and risk. If you have to have the surgery, and it has to be tomorrow, then you may end up having to take that risk of the transportation. And then it's going and coming theoretically, so you have to take that risk twice.

[01:07:46]Bill Walsh:  Well, I like the suggestion about calling the hospital or the provider and saying, “Look, here's my situation. I'm concerned about the transportation. What options can you suggest?” They might have some approved transportation providers, so have a good record of cleaning out their vehicles after every trip or something like that. But they must have dealt with this situation in the past few months.

[01:08:13]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Agreed.

[01:08:14]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. So thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:08:20]Jean Setzfand:  We have Anne from Alabama.

[01:08:23]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Anne, go ahead with your question.

[01:08:25]Anne:  Hello there. First of all, I'm a bright woman and I pretty much could answer this question. But my husband and I are in our late 70s and because of a family crisis, we have had to keep our two great-granddaughters, one of which is 10 and the other is 6. And we keep them during the day, and they go home at night. Also, their mother is in health care. And I've ordered all kinds of sprays, and I have a no-touch thermometer, and I do everything that I can possibly do. However, I'm still nervous and still concerned, but someone has to take care of these children. And I understand Ruby, in that I do better when I'm able to see my children and my grandchildren because I get really despondent if I don't get to see them. But as I say, this is because of a crisis that we're having to keep the children. So give me some advice.

[01:09:41]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that. And I mean, geez, it's one crisis on top of another, isn't it? Dr. Benton, I wonder if you can … it sounds like Anne is taking a lot of precautions. Do you have other pieces of advice for her?

[01:09:59]Donna Benton:  First of all, I mean, I can hear the mixed feelings and what's become important is sometimes, like we have to be with our grandchildren because of this crisis. You're taking a risk, but it sounds like, like you said, you're a bright woman, it sounds like you've done everything to minimize your risk. So that if you're like sanitizing, if you turned it into a game for the kids so that they get to play doctor and keep you a safe patient. Especially for the younger one, too, so that she gets in her mind that she's keeping grandma's safe, and she can talk to you about all the precautions that she's learning as a doctor, and you can kind of teach her those things. Now, Dr. Brooks may not agree with me, and so please, step on in Dr. Brooks. But the more you can keep it a creative way of allowing everybody to participate in the safety of both them and you, I think that you're doing the best you can under very, very tough circumstances.

[01:11:17]Bill Walsh:  Well, what I was going to say it's kind of reminiscent of something — Dr. Benton, you were talking about before about self-care. And it sounds like Anne is trying to take care of everybody here. What advice would you have for her to make sure she's building up her own resiliency and finding those times to take care of herself?

[01:11:39]Donna Benton:  You know, you're absolutely right. She has taken on a lot. So part of that is making sure that you are taking breaks when you can. When the kids are gone, do something that isn't child-related for yourself. Make sure you're having time to, you know, I don't know, people like lighting candles or taking a longer shower or all of those kinds of things. But, yeah, you do have to work on yourself at the same time. And then at some point, I don't know how your network is or what for your children, but you can't always say yes to everything. And that's really, really hard.

[01:12:28]Bill Walsh:  All right. Dr. Brooks, did you want to weigh in on that as well?

[01:12:32]Oliver Tate Brooks:  First of all, I think we need to step back and understand that there are no easy answers. What's the best way to paint on canvas blindfolded with your left hand? OK, there's no good way. So we're left with a lot of tough choices. I would say if these are children of family members, that I would consider getting the adults tested. It'd be good to get the children tested, but there's just not a lot of testing of children that's going on right now. But if the parents of the children both test negative, then that would make me feel a lot better. And on the other side, if they test positive, then you know that you have a problem. And if one of them is a health care worker, then they're able to be tested most readily. So consider having the adults in the other household tested.

[01:13:27]Bill Walsh:  OK, well Anne, you've got a lot on your plate right now. We're going to be thinking about you going forward. Good luck to you. Jean, who is next on the line?

[01:13:39]Jean Setzfand:  We have a Facebook question and this one's coming from Julia, and Julia is asking, "If I've quarantined for 14 days, not going to the store, no contact with anyone, would it be safe for me to go see my parents in their home? They're 90 and 91.

[01:13:54]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Brooks?

[01:13:57]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Excuse me. That's a really tough one, 'cause you get back to that concept of asymptomatic carrier. Not carrier, asymptomatic infection. So she has been away from everyone, let's say for 14 days, a week. We don't know what her status was before that. And the person is of advanced age. Right now, the general recommendation is don't go. But I am getting to the point that — so, OK, here's the real easier answer: get tested. You've been away from people for 14 days, and if your test is negative, then likely that's a truly negative, you know, you're negative. So I think that one thing for people to keep in mind is testing is really, really important. It gives you information. So that's what I would recommend for that person visiting a 90-year-old. And even though you've been away quarantined for 14 days, I still just have some concern.

[01:15:09]Bill Walsh:  OK. Well, thank you very much for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:15:14]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Sandy from Connecticut.

[01:15:18]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Sandy, go ahead with your question.

[01:15:21]Sandy:  Thank you. Actually it's, I don't know if I can ask two, but one has to do with testing, as you just mentioned, and part of the other one you had talked about earlier. My dad's in an independent living, and they've been quarantined in their rooms for three months now. And I understand it was important, and I get that, but a lot of the residents are getting kind of frail because they're not allowed, they can't even walk the hallways. They can't do anything. It would seem with social distancing and with masks that they should be able to at least do that. I get nursing homes. They're much closer, and it's more confined. So that was one question. And the second one on the testing, you mentioned earlier, if you get tested on Wednesday, on Thursday you could get it. So when we talk about testing, are we talking about antibodies or the test itself?

[01:16:17]Bill Walsh:  Why don't we take that one first? Dr. Brooks?

[01:16:21]Oliver Tate Brooks:  All right, when I say testing, I'm talking about what's called PCR testing for presence of the virus, not antibodies. We haven't yet gotten to the point that we truly can understand or know the significance of an antibody test, and that's on the CDC website. So I am talking about the virus, and you are right, as I have said already, that test is a point in time. But it's an important point in time, especially with the last caller. I've been out for 14 days and test negative, I'm likely good. So that is the test, not antibody testing. As it relates to our man, so you've got nursing home and frail, I don't know if Dr. Benson wants to take that question in terms of caregiving, but I still am very leery. I think that the six foot distance and here … OK, theoretically, if I were a visitor, if I wore PPE, I mean, that's not just a mask, but that's an N95 mask, gown, gloves an eye covering, that I would actually feel OK if someone went into a nursing home in full PPE to see someone. It gets around to some of the things that Dr. Stewart knows well. And I think that this psychological or mental well-being is important. I think that after a while, people may start to break down and that may have an adverse effect on your immune system. So I think that we can't, from the clinical infection control side, ignore the mental, emotional, psychological side. And Dr. Stewart may want to speak to that. But nursing homes are one of the greatest concerns. So we have to just have extra precaution there, I'm sorry.

[01:18:15]Bill Walsh:  Well, yeah, thank you for that, Dr. Brooks. And yeah, Dr. Stewart, I was wondering if you could weigh in from the mental health point of view here, providing some emotional support for folks who simply have not seen loved ones for three months.

[01:18:29]Altha Stewart:  I appreciate Dr. Brooks, acknowledging that, recognizing and wanting to add that to the answer to the question that was asked, because I think that is the next step in how nursing homes, assisted living, places where we have only viewed them as clusters or potential clusters of the virus. As we learn more and we determine that we've managed to keep the spread at least down, if not nonexistent, that now we have to focus a little bit on what this whole isolation does. And there is clear evidence in lots of research that at a certain point people have to have some kind of social contact. They need physical touch, they need to eyeball people. They need to do more than see each other through a glass partition. And there is something very important that those kinds of facilities are going to have to deal with, which is this protracted period or noncontact. At some point, the people who most need this are, in fact, going to start seeing some kind of physical breakdown. Their spirits, what when I was growing up the old folks used to call their spirit, gets broken, and they began to lose hope and all of those things have a real physical impact on their body, on organs in their body. And should they be unfortunate enough to have any of the preexisting conditions, some of which come with age and some of which are lifelong medical, chronic conditions, any of those things, set them up for sudden decline in health. And that's where I think facilities, especially nursing homes and assisted living, who have essentially shut down and kept them away from the world to protect them, now the policies and practices have to catch up so that we acknowledge that those things matter also. So I'm hoping that’s some of the stuff that AARP might be able to help with is helping them see how to make that transition. There are a lot of people who can help them from the medical and psychological side look at new policies and practices, and I'm sure everybody on this call would be willing to offer some guidelines and help with that.

[01:20:52]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, thank you both for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:20:57]Jean Setzfand:  We have Annette from Maryland.

[01:20:59]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Annette, go ahead with your question.

[01:21:02]Annette:  Hi, can you hear me, OK?

[01:21:04]Bill Walsh:  I can hear you fine.

[01:21:04]Annette:  OK. I'm surprised I made it in the queue. Anyway, so I have a 93-year-old father that has been locked down since March 3. On March 10 they locked the facility down. From March 10 to March 26, they let him lose 13.8 pounds completely on their watch. And then, on April 26 or so, they said, oh, he can go home, he's doing fine. Dah, dah, dah. I want to put him in assisted living. So I insist on seeing him. They let me in the facility for 20 minutes. In the 20 minutes I was there I got screamed at and yelled at by the director for 17 of those minutes, telling me that, why don't I trust that he can walk? Why don't I trust? Now, my father could put himself in and out of a tub. He was completely independent. He had a slight stroke. We've only put him there for physical therapy. Here we are, I notice right away, they let me in, something's wrong. That's why he started screaming at me for 17 minutes. So then three days later, they test him. He's positive. He is still positive as of today. This is now 40-something days later. But his 100 days ended yesterday. So this new two-week-old administrator comes in — and I had to go there to bring him food; they had to make an exception because they let him lose the 13.8 pounds. I insist on seeing him last Friday. They bring him in, stand him by the glass doors. First thing I notice, lost weight. Hair's not cut. Eyebrows out like you would not believe, like four inches long. Nails filthy, orange, horrible. He bites his nails, so the fact that he has nails means he's definitely not eating, and they're not doing anything even though I'm bringing food. Now, so I'm getting to my question. So here we are. I see him. I ask the director, why haven't you cut his hair? Why haven't you done this? Dah, dah, dah. He looks terrible. Where's his socks? He's always supposed to have on a high sock because he has a little problem with his feet and, to make a long story short, I get there today to bring him food. New two-week-old administrator of the building tells me, oh, by the way, his money stopped. What are you going to do about it? I said, no, what are you going to do about it? I'm not giving you a dime. I said the way I feel about it, you neglected him for the first 16 days. You haven't communicated with me. I'm standing out there on Friday through a glass door, talking to my father. That's when the dietician decided to tell me, oh, by the way, he lost another 28 pounds. He is now 42 pounds since March 3, March 10, the day they locked down. 42 pounds. He only weighed 182 to begin with. Completely independent man, who on Friday told me, “I'm done. I can't stand. I can't walk. I can't …”. He couldn't even move his neck. They're telling me they're back to giving him the physical therapy, but because Medicare said the 100 days are over and I told them to fight it, that he goes back to Medicare. He's not getting a dime from me. What am I going to do?

[01:24:09]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, no, I hear you. Annette, let me let our experts get in on this. This has been a, what a terrible time you've had. I wonder, Dr. Benson, if you have any advice for her. She sounds like she's been a really strong advocate, but just isn't getting any results.

[01:24:25]Donna Benton:  I mean at this point besides the nursing home, I don't know what the laws are where you are. I know in California, we have adult protective services, and for the nursing homes, we have an ombudsman, and then there's licensing so that you can bring in someone else to be by your side in this fight to help your father. This just sounds egregious, and I mean my heart is breaking as I hear your story. I just think that you need some one else beside you in this fight to help your father.

[01:25:08]Bill Walsh:  Right. I like your suggestion about the ombudsman. Every state has an ombudsman’s program to do this very thing. And Annette, I just asked the staff if they can find the number in Maryland, but it's probably pretty easy to find online. That's what these folks do, is to go to bat for consumers like you when they're not getting results and when people are suffering.

[01:25:33] Thank you to our whole panel, for your participation here today. We're almost out of time and before we run out of time, I just wanted to see, Dr. Benton, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Brooks, if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for AARP members and listeners about what they should understand most from our conversation today. Dr. Benton, do you want to start?

[01:26:00]Donna Benton:  Sure. I would just want to say that what you can take away from everything is, this is not a sprint. It is going to be a marathon, but we will have new ways of adapting. We can get through this crisis. We will still connect. Yes, we have physical distancing, but that's not the same as — I always did not like the term social distancing. I think that our hearts are still going to be able to connect with our families.

[01:26:34]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much for that. Dr. Benton. Dr. Stuart, any closing thoughts or recommendations?

[01:26:41]Altha Stewart:  Yeah, I want people to remain hopeful and optimistic. I know these are challenging times. They are testing us beyond everything we could have imagined. Be creative in being hopeful. And also remember as Dr. Benton just said, social distancing does not mean being distant socially. Interact in whatever way you can, as much as you can. Be mindful of the fact that right now people need each other. In some way, shape or form, we have got to stay connected.

[01:27:18]Bill Walsh:  OK, terrific advice. And Dr. Brooks, any closing thoughts?

[01:27:23]Oliver Tate Brooks:  Certainly. First, don't let your guard down. As the environment opens, use your own best judgment. You all are all relatively wise. Use your wisdom. So don't let your guard down, but keep your spirits up as both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Benton have stated. Advocate for yourself and for others. Just be firm in your knowledge and your belief in yourself. And as the discussion was today, be resilient. Each of us has our own individual story, as we heard from the callers, but we are all linked as Americans, as humans and as those living in hard times. So be resilient, we will come out of the other side.

[01:28:13]Bill Walsh:  OK, what a great note to end this conversation on. I want to thank each of you on our panel for providing such informative answers to these questions, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization. We have 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, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves.

[01:28:54] All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on June 12. For Annette from Maryland, we got a number for the state ombudsman program. If you're still on the line, it is 1-800-243-3425, 1-800-243-3425, and to all our listeners, there are state ombudsman programs available to you as well.

[01:29:30] Again, I wanted to just direct you to aarp.org/coronavirus, which is a terrific source of information, breaking news on the virus, but also some helpful information, for caregivers, how to take care of your loved ones, how to work with nursing homes, independent living facilities, etc. You can go there if your question was not answered, and you will find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers.

[01:30:01] We hope you learned something that can help you and your loved ones stay healthy today. Please be sure to tune in Thursday, June 18, when we'll have two tele-town halls. The first one is at 1 p.m. ET, and we’ll address how to manage your career during this time. The second event at 7 p.m. ET, we'll focus on how to manage, grow and deepen relationships. It'll feature actress Marlo Thomas, and her husband, daytime talk-trailblazer, Phil Donahue. They'll discuss their new book, which features advice from 40 celebrity couples on how to make relationships last. Thank you, and have a good day. This concludes our call.

[01:30:44]

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy Bill Walsh, vicepresidente de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus.

AARP, una organización de membresía sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores en EE.UU. durante más de 60 años.

Ante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP está proporcionando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

Sin duda, este ha sido un año que nos ha desafiado de varias maneras distintas, que ha revertido nuestras normas y también ha traído a la luz las injusticias en nuestro país, particularmente en las últimas semanas.

Hoy hablaremos con expertos sobre cómo puedes mantenerte sano y conectado, desarrollar resiliencia y lidiar con el estrés y la ansiedad durante este tiempo incierto.

Si has participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas sabes que esto es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tienes la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre cómo mantenerse conectado durante estos tiempos difíciles, presionen * 3 en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y los pondrá en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta presione * 3.

Hola. Si recién te unes, soy Bill Walsh de AARP, y quiero darte la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, a medida que nos adaptamos a la nueva normalidad. Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes esta noche y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3.

Nos acompañará hoy la doctora Donna Benton, Ph.D., directora del Centro de Apoyo al Cuidador Familiar en la University of Southern California, el doctor Oliver Tate Brooks, presidente de la National Medical Association, y la doctora Altha Stewart, expresidenta inmediata de la Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

AARP está convocando esta teleasamblea para ayudarlos a acceder a información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien vemos un papel importante para AARP en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el virus, 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. Se puede encontrar en www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrá acceder a la grabación en www.aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después de que finalice. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP.

Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados especiales, la Dra. Benton, Ph.D., directora del Centro de Apoyo al Cuidador Familiar de University of Southern California. La Dra. Benton tiene 30 años de experiencia trabajando con cuidadores familiares en las comunidades. Bienvenida, Dra. Benton.

Donna Benton: Muchas gracias. Es un placer estar aquí hoy.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, estamos encantados de tenerla. También me gustaría dar la bienvenida a Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D. Es el presidente de la National Medical Association la organización nacional más grande y antigua que representa a los médicos afroamericanos y sus pacientes en Estados Unidos. Además, el Dr. Brooks es el director médico de Watts Healthcare Corporation en Los Ángeles. Bienvenido, Dr. Brooks.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Muchas gracias por invitarme, Bill, y por ser el anfitrión de este foro.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, estamos felices de tenerlo. Más adelante, también nos acompañará la Dra. Altha Stewart, la expresidenta inmediata de la Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría. Gracias a todos por estar con nosotros hoy. Comencemos con la discusión.

Y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer preguntas, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono.

Dra. Benton, comencemos con usted. Nuestra capacidad de conectarnos en persona con familiares y seres queridos seguirá siendo diferente, incluso a medida que los Gobiernos estatales y locales comiencen a abrirse un poco. ¿Cómo lo manejamos? ¿Qué ideas tiene para crear nuevas tradiciones o rutinas útiles positivas durante este tiempo?

Donna Benton: Gracias, Bill, por preguntar eso. A medida que las órdenes de refugio y los negocios comiencen a abrirse para muchos, para nuestras familias que están cuidando a alguien que tiene un alto riesgo de COVID, la salida y el regreso a la comunidad requerirán una planificación mucho más reflexiva y un enfoque cuidadoso, para que los miembros de la familia que están cuidando no se enfermen.

Por lo tanto, debemos ser más cautelosos con aquellos que están en riesgo y con las familias que los cuidan. Como todos los demás, vamos a tener que organizarnos de manera diferente. Pensé en cuatro cosas que podemos hacer durante este tiempo.

En primer lugar, diría que todo el mundo debe tener, y particularmente nuestras familias cuidadoras deben tener un equipo de protección personal para llevar. Y lo pones junto a la puerta con tus llaves y tu teléfono. Esto tendría mascarillas, guantes, desinfectante para manos o toallitas, o ambos. Debería ser, y tiene que ser de un color brillante, como rojo o amarillo o incluso rosa de Pepto-Bismol, por lo que siempre se destacará y no lo olvidarán. Por mucho que me guste tener bolsitos lindos y pequeños para poner todas mis cosas allí, en este caso, no querrás olvidarlo.

También diría, ten a mano una similar, de las que llamamos bolsas de EPP. Estoy segura de que todos han escuchado ese término ya, pero guarda esta bolsa de emergencia con los mismos artículos en el auto, y pide a tus familiares que tengan una bolsa similar en sus autos, para que cuando vengan de visita, o si se llevan a tu pariente fuera, tengan esta bolsa de emergencia de respaldo.

Si puedes, creo que deberías tener un centro de bienvenida para visitantes, que es un frasco o un tazón justo al lado de la puerta principal o donde sea, que tenga mascarillas desechables o lavables y algunos desinfectantes para las manos cuando vengan los invitados. Este es tu nuevo centro de saludo. Y, por supuesto, sabemos que a las mascarillas lavables tendrás que limpiarlas tan pronto como la gente se vaya, o tendrás un bote de basura allí para que pueda tirar los objetos desechables.

Finalmente, es posible que tengamos que permanecer virtuales un poco más de tiempo que otras personas que no están en riesgo. Y, por supuesto, cuando se reúnen amigos o familiares, tal vez si vienen a tu casa para eventos planificados, debes mantener el distanciamiento social.

Supongamos que alguien tiene demencia o está en riesgo, establezcan algún tipo de barrera física, como una mesa de televisión o una mesa de cartas, que te ayude a demarcar esa distancia segura, para que las personas puedan hablar cara a cara, pero los mantiene a seis pies de distancia. Cuando tienes ese recordatorio visual ayuda a la persona con demencia. Entonces, incluso si comienzan a levantarse para abrazarse, hay una barrera que puede ralentizarlos para que puedas redirigirlos. Eso es todo.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, esos son buenos consejos. Y realmente todo el punto de que no volveremos a la vieja normalidad, que esta es de hecho una nueva normalidad, donde tendremos que hacer ajustes y alterar nuestro comportamiento y el comportamiento de aquellos que estamos cuidando también.

Dr. Brooks, permítame hacerle una pregunta. Casi todos los estados han relajado las restricciones al distanciamiento físico. Estamos viendo personas aventurándose a salir. ¿Qué deben hacer los adultos mayores, en particular, para proteger su salud al entrar en esta nueva etapa de la pandemia?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Piensen, en primer lugar, en las cosas que acaba de decir la Dra. Benton. Esas son todas excelentes sugerencias. Creo que lo que hay que tener en cuenta es que a medida que los estados, los locales comienzan a abrirse, lo hacen por diferentes razones.

Algunos lo hacen basándose en información científica o médica clara de que la tasa de casos ha disminuido, la tasa de hospital ha disminuido, la tasa de mortalidad ha disminuido. Y luego, algunos lo están haciendo más bien por razones económicas, que hay tanta presión sobre los funcionarios del gobierno para que tomen medidas para permitir más actividad económica y más interacción ambiental. Y eso es algo entendible, porque estamos en camino a una recesión, y eso tampoco es bueno para uno. Por lo tanto, me gustaría ver lo que se recomienda.

En otras palabras, cuando la mayoría de los estados y locales lo hacen, lo están haciendo en etapas, lo hacen de manera tal que pasas de no contacto a mucho más contacto. El más completo sería, digamos, una gran reunión. En lo que respecta a los adultos mayores, diría que, dado que existe un mayor riesgo, tengan en claro lo que se recomienda.

En algunos de los estados que se han abierto, ha habido un aumento en la tasa de casos. Mi punto es que debes tener cuidado, porque la COVID-19 no ha desaparecido. No bajes la guardia. Cuando sales, en este punto, no veo ninguna indicación para dejar de usar una mascarilla. Úsala en todo momento. Mantén la distancia física de seis pies. Lávate las manos. Limpia las superficies. Evita las grandes reuniones. Yo, en este punto, aún evitaría restaurantes y bares porque no puedes comer y beber con una mascarilla puesta.

Pero, por ejemplo, si vas de compras, puedes controlar eso. También puedes limitar la cantidad de tiempo que pasas en ese ambiente. Mi mensaje final es tener un alto nivel de precaución y luego evaluar cuáles son las recomendaciones en tu estado o localidad antes de actuar. En otras palabras, no asumas que porque la gente te dice que está bien salir, así es. Habla con una fuente confiable. Tu doctor es quien recomiendo. Y luego actúa en consecuencia.

Bill Walsh: Ese es un gran consejo. Y una conclusión es, no bajes la guardia. Creo que probablemente haya una tentación, a medida que los estados relajan las restricciones, de volver a como eran las cosas antes. Tanto usted como la Dra. Benton nos brindaron algunos buenos consejos sobre cómo mantenerse alerta en lo que sigue siendo un momento peligroso. Gracias a los dos por eso.

Como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 para ingresar a la lista. Y vamos a responder esas preguntas en vivo en breve.

Pero antes de hacer eso, sabemos que este es un momento difícil para nuestro país, incluso más allá de enfrentar el coronavirus. La pandemia está sacando a la luz una miríada de disparidades que existían antes de esta crisis y que han sido exacerbadas por ella.

Al presenciar la protesta por la injusticia racial y enfrentar la pandemia de coronavirus en curso, creemos que nuestra nación necesita desesperadamente sanar. La incidencia de la violencia racial y el impacto desproporcionado de COVID-19 en los afroamericanos y las personas de color no son aleatorias. En cambio, son el resultado de la desigualdad debido a la falta de oportunidades sociales, económicas y políticas.

A través de los programas y servicios de defensa de AARP, luchamos contra la discriminación, abogamos por el acceso a la atención médica y trabajamos para mejorar la vida de todas las personas, especialmente las más vulnerables. Durante esta crisis, hemos abogado a nivel federal, estatal y local para proteger a los residentes y al personal en hogares de ancianos y centros de cuidado a largo plazo. Los datos nos muestran que las personas de color en estas instalaciones están siendo las más afectadas. Además, en lugares como Nueva York y Míchigan, Massachusetts, Carolina del Sur, Nueva Jersey y California, AARP está trabajando para garantizar una mayor recopilación, divulgación y pruebas de datos raciales y étnicos en comunidades de color.

También estamos buscando comprometer a los líderes a abordar los problemas subyacentes del hambre, el acceso a la salud, el transporte y más. Está claro que este trabajo es más importante que nunca. Durante estos días difíciles, AARP usará su voz, recursos y confianza en nuestra marca para continuar nuestra lucha por lo que es correcto, para que todas las personas puedan vivir una vida digna, independientemente de su raza, edad o ingresos.

Dres. Benton y Brooks, antes de comenzar con las preguntas de los oyentes me gustaría que opinen sobre esto. Actualmente estamos en medio de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus y las discusiones sobre la reapertura, mientras hay protestas en todo el país contra la injusticia racial.

Al centrarnos hoy en el tema de la construcción de la resiliencia personal a través de la pandemia de coronavirus, ¿qué impacto han tenido las protestas en nuestro bienestar mental? ¿Y cómo se conecta con el coronavirus? Dr. Brooks, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Claro. Ahora estamos viendo cambios en el Gobierno relacionados con las protestas. Hubo legislación en el Congreso introducida para prohibir las llaves de cuello, para tener un entrenamiento imparcial implícito, para tener cámaras corporales obligatorias.

Mi punto es que las protestas están teniendo efecto. La brutalidad policial y las disparidades que estamos viendo son una crisis de salud pública, al igual que COVID-19. No es solo una protesta política, es una protesta de salud pública. Por lo tanto, creo que debería continuar.

Ahora, para los socios de AARP y, digamos, los adultos mayores del país, no recomiendo salir y protestar. Cuando uno está protestando, puede estar cantando su voz se proyecta más, por lo que hay más distancia para respirar.

Por lo general, no estás a seis pies de distancia de todos aquellos que tienes cerca. Cuando estás allí, eres susceptible. Puedes bajar la guardia. Es posible que tengas puesta tu mascarilla, pero te la quites para decirle algo a alguien y olvides volver a ponértela. Como existe un mayor riesgo, diría, deja que las protestas sucedan, pero tu papel no tiene que ser un manifestante en vivo.

¿Qué puedes hacer? Puedes escribir un cheque, apoyar a una organización que tenga tus mismos intereses. Puedes contactar a tu político local estatal o federal. Hay cosas en las que creo. Sé políticamente inteligente. Comienza a entender, si hay una propuesta de ley, o si solo hay un concepto inespecífico. Solo diles: "No me gusta la brutalidad policial. No me gustan las disparidades y los resultados de COVID-19". Una llamada tuya, de su constituyente, es importante. Y en términos generales, los adultos mayores tienen más probabilidades de votar, y los políticos escuchan a las personas que votan.

Cuando interactúes con tus amigos y familiares, habla de una manera positiva y más comprensiva. Mira dentro de tu corazón. Fíjate dónde te encuentras a lo largo del espectro. Y que la gente entienda que estás ahí, que entiendes lo que está sucediendo en las calles. Y aunque no estés ahí afuera, estás ahí en espíritu.

Y luego, por último, para aquellos que conocen las redes sociales, publiquen información en sus plataformas de redes sociales. Si tienes nietos o hijos, pídeles que lo hagan. Di: "Muéstrame lo que está pasando en el ámbito de las redes sociales". Esas son acciones que pueden llevarse a cabo sin poner riesgo tu salud. Pero necesitamos mantener estas protestas porque el problema es real.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Bueno, gracias.

Dra. Benton, se me ocurre que ha sido un momento tan estresante, lidiando con el coronavirus y todas las restricciones que ha impuesto, y luego recientemente con todas las tensiones raciales. ¿Cómo ha afectado el bienestar mental de las personas?

Donna Benton: Creo que ha sido bastante obvio que actualmente, durante esta pandemia global, hay dos formas en que las personas han visto los desafíos de la pandemia y la lucha contra la injusticia racial.

Por un lado, algunos de nosotros podemos sentirnos abrumados e indefensos, porque justo cuando nos estamos adaptando a la pandemia, llegan las protestas y el recordatorio de nuestra lucha contra el racismo en Estados Unidos. Y esto ha creado más interrupciones en nuestros espacios públicos, por no hablar de los desafíos del distanciamiento físico.

Y las posibilidades, como dijo el doctor, de que podríamos tener más tasas de infección, y no podemos necesariamente, aunque nuestros corazones quieran estar con los manifestantes, todavía tenemos que encontrar un papel diferente. Podemos sentir que tomar una actitud de "esto también pasará" realmente no nos ayudará a manejar los problemas en este momento.

Por otro lado, si queremos adoptar un enfoque más resiliente, lo que comenzamos a hacer es reconocer que la lucha contra la injusticia realmente siempre ha estado con nosotros, en nosotros, y muchas veces nos ha hecho más fuertes y nos ha hecho seguir adelante sin desmoronarnos. Ese es el concepto de resiliencia, es que podemos continuar y salir al otro lado de la tormenta.

Se ha dicho que la injusticia racial en sí es muy parecida a una pandemia, algo que ha estado con nosotros durante mucho tiempo. Las acciones que tomamos y los mecanismos de afrontamiento que utilizamos para mantener nuestros cuerpos y nuestras mentes sanos y seguros ante la pandemia y la lucha contra la injusticia racial, podrían ser algo similares, no siempre exactamente iguales, pero similares.

Por ejemplo, con la pandemia, hacemos todo lo posible para mantenernos a nosotros mismos y a nuestra comunidad seguros y fuera de peligro día a día, todo el tiempo, mientras mantenemos la paciencia y anticipamos con seguridad y con calma que habrá una cura y una vacuna. Entonces, quizás podamos contribuir al desarrollo de la cura o vacuna incluso. Y eso es lo que el médico decía sobre la crisis de salud pública y que podemos cumplir con nuestro papel escribiendo, llamando, votando y donando.

Con la lucha contra la injusticia racial, siempre estamos creando conciencia dentro de nosotros mismos y nuestra comunidad. Tomamos medidas para protegernos contra el daño físico y emocional. Y ayudamos a aquellos que han sido perjudicados, todo eso en el día a día. A mediano y largo plazo, trabajamos dentro de nuestras comunidades y nuestros negocios y nuestros gobiernos para encontrar e implementar soluciones que sean efectivas y duraderas.

Al igual que la pandemia y las protestas, cuando adoptamos una visión resiliente, nuestros esfuerzos para desarrollar resiliencia en un área realmente pueden beneficiarnos en la construcción de resiliencia en otra área de nuestra vida.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Bueno, gracias a los dos por eso. Y hablemos sobre la construcción de resiliencia con algunos de nuestros oyentes.

Nuevamente, un recordatorio, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para unirse a la conversación.

Ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenida Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí esta noche.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Bueno, ¿a quién tenemos en la lista primero?

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra primera llamada es de Jean de Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Jean, adelante con tu pregunta.

Jean: Sí. Tengo 84 años y no he salido desde marzo. Mi médico me dijo hoy que tengo que ir a verlo, porque no me ha visto en seis meses, para buscar una receta. No quiero ir. Tengo guantes y una mascarilla, pero aún tengo miedo.

Bill Walsh: Buena pregunta. Dr. Brooks, ¿puede darle algún consejo a Jean?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Sí. En este momento, estamos operando de manera tal que solo vemos pacientes que necesitan ser vistos cara a cara, de manera presencial. Literalmente recibí una notificación de CMS, que es Medicare, que recomiendan que comencemos a reabrir y que tengamos más visitas cara a cara.

Dicho esto, muchas visitas son ahora telesalud. Y por lo que dijo Jean, la razón por la que el médico quería verla era por una receta médica. Para una mujer de 84 años, si el médico claramente no necesita hacer un examen físico o hacer algo que necesita una visita cara a cara, esa visita debe hacerse, en mi opinión, por telesalud. Y luego esa receta puede ser rellenada.

Si yo fuera Jean, volvería a llamar al médico y le preguntaría si puede hacer una televisita y proveer su receta de esa manera. Y si no, preguntar por qué realmente necesita ir. Su preocupación está bien fundada.

Bill Walsh: Correcto, correcto. Ella dijo que no había ido desde marzo. Tal vez el médico, no sé si tiene algunas enfermedades crónicas subyacentes, pero tal vez el médico realmente quiera controlarlas. O podría ser simplemente surtir una receta, lo que podría hacerse por teléfono.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactamente. Pero él puede decirle. Él puede aclarar "por qué necesito verte".

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien, muy bien. Bueno, Jean Setzfand, ¿a quién más tenemos en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Winnie de Illinois.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Winnie. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Winnie: Hola.

Bill Walsh: Hola, ¿cómo estás?

Winnie: Gracias. Seré rápida. Mi esposo y yo tenemos más de 65 años. Ambos tenemos diabetes y presión arterial alta. No he estado con mis hijos desde el 15 de marzo. Son adultos y demuestro mi amor haciendo postres y entregándolos por la puerta. Pero no he abrazado a mi hija ni a mi hijo, ni he pasado tiempo de calidad con ellos. Y simplemente no sé si puedo esperar hasta que salga una vacuna. ¿Y cuánto tiempo tengo que hacer esto?

Bill Walsh: ¿Te has conectado con...?

Winnie: Tenemos visitas por teléfono.

Bill Walsh: Iba a preguntar, ¿te has conectado a través de FaceTime o Zoom o algo así, para poder verles la cara?

Winnie: Oh, sí.

Bill Walsh: ¿Has hecho eso, pero solo quieres conectarte con ellos en persona?

Winnie: En persona, sí.

Bill Walsh: Sí, sí. Bueno, gracias por la llamada, Winnie. Dra. Benton, ¿qué opina sobre eso?

Donna Benton: Bueno, realmente me gustaría saber, siempre me preocupa lo que sucederá si no tomas precauciones. Sé que tengo más de 65 años, y con mi hija, he tenido... Lo que hemos hecho es salir a caminar juntas. Me pongo mi mascarilla. Me visto por completo. Ella se viste por completo. Ella se queda a seis pies de distancia. Y entonces podemos hablar en estos paseos distanciados. Pero ella es muy cautelosa de mantenerse alejada. Y terminamos en un parque.

A veces he conducido al parque, la encontré allí, donde realmente hay mucho espacio, y luego solo hablamos al aire libre. Es un ambiente diferente. Pero siempre siento que al aire libre puede ser un poco más seguro, y es más fácil mantener grandes distancias. No tengo el lujo de tener un patio grande y bonito o algo así.

Bill Walsh: Claro. Si Winnie quisiera invitar a sus parientes o quedarse con ellos, ¿qué precauciones sugeriría que tome?

Donna Benton: Voy a dejar que eso lo responda...

Oliver Tate Brooks: Lo que recomendaría es esto. En primer lugar, el conocimiento general es que afuera es mejor que adentro. Winnie también mencionó abrazos. Debo decir que, en este momento, no recomendaría abrazarme en absoluto. Creo en mantener esa distancia física de seis pies. Si vinieran, nuevamente, si no pudieran estar afuera, no se tocarían. Pero incluso no lo recomendaría. La caminata fue una gran sugerencia.

Si tuviera que suceder que tuvieran que estar en el mismo espacio interior, tendría todo lo que ya dijimos, distancia física, mascarilla, no tocar, limpiar superficies, cubrirse la tos, lavarse las manos, etc. Pero incluso evitaría eso en este punto.

Lo que vamos a necesitar es pruebas y una vacuna, y análisis de sangre. Si pudiera hacerte una prueba y decirte que eres inmune, de la forma en que lo puedo hacer para el sarampión o la varicela, eso sería... Eso puede ocurrir antes de una vacuna. Hay esperanza. Pero en este momento, diría, intenta mantener el rumbo.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias a los dos por eso. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Charmaine de Pensilvania.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Charmaine. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Charmaine: Sí. Mi pregunta es: Vivo en Filadelfia, Pensilvania, y hay muchas personas en Filadelfia que son asintomáticas, muchas. Y mi pregunta es, supongo que asintomático significa que eres portador, y no te molesta, pero puedes portar este virus y puedes propagarlo. Y puedes infectar a otras personas. ¿Cuánto tiempo te mantienes infeccioso así? ¿Hay un límite de tiempo? ¿Permaneces infectado por un largo período de tiempo? ¿O te quedas así para siempre? Quiero decir, puedes difundirlo.

Bill Walsh: Correcto. Una vez que hayas comenzado a mostrar síntomas, ¿por cuánto tiempo eres infeccioso? ¿Esa es tu pregunta?

Charmaine: Bueno, no. Dicen que algunas personas son asintomáticas, no muestran ningún síntoma, pero pueden transmitírselo a otras personas.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Charmaine: Y los que no muestran ningún síntoma, ¿eventualmente se curan? ¿O simplemente pueden transmitir continuamente el virus como portadores?

Bill Walsh: Correcto. Bueno, hagamos esa pregunta al Dr. Brooks. Dr. Brooks, ¿qué tiene para decirle a Charmaine?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta. Para nosotros, los médicos, para mí, técnicamente, no considero que esa persona sea un portador, porque alguien que es un portador generalmente lo llevará durante años o durante un período prolongado de tiempo.

Lo que esas personas son para mí, es que son asintomáticos, pero están infectados. Su pregunta clave fue, ¿qué pasa? El tiempo medio o promedio de contagio es de 20 días. Esa persona que es asintomática, se contagió el 1 de junio, en general, el promedio sería que el 21 de junio, ya no contagiarían más.

Dicho esto, hay estudios que han demostrado que las personas han contagiado el doble de tiempo. Dos respuestas, una es no, no lo portas para siempre. Tarde o temprano, saldrá de tu sistema. Pero número dos, realmente no sabemos en cuánto tiempo, pero vamos a decir que el promedio es de aproximadamente tres semanas. Los CDC dicen que dos semanas. Pero yo me inclino más hacia tres semanas.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muchas gracias. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Virginia de Virginia.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Virginia. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Virginia: Sí, hola. Mi pregunta es sobre hogares de ancianos. Por ejemplo, hoy descubrí que en un hogar de ancianos, y no lo nombraré, hubo 4 muertes y 84 dieron positivo. Ahora, si cada miembro del personal sigue el protocolo, ¿cómo puede haber sucedido esto? No se les permite ver visitantes. Se supone que deben quedarse en la habitación, no socializar. Ahora, en algún lugar, me parece que alguien ha dejado caer la pelota, porque hay tantas personas en los hogares de ancianos en que está sucediendo esto. Y me preocupa porque simplemente no lo entiendo.

Bill Walsh: Claro, claro. No, es una pregunta válida. Y no solo está sucediendo en Virginia. Dra. Benton, ¿quiere abordar eso?

Donna Benton: Voy a preguntarle esto al Dr. Brooks. Pero diría que una cosa que notamos en California cuando escuchamos sobre hogares de ancianos donde se está extendiendo por todo el hogar de ancianos, parte de eso es que alguien puede ser, como acabamos de discutir, asintomático, y fueron a trabajar.

Las personas trabajan en múltiples instalaciones. E incluso con el lavado de manos y todo el PPE, claramente, alguien, como usted dijo, dejó caer la pelota. Al principio, sé que hubo una gran lucha para conseguir el equipo de protección personal para los hogares de ancianos. Los ayudantes y otras personas simplemente no recibieron el equipo adecuado. Y simplemente no había control de infecciones allí. Y eso fue al comienzo, y creo que todavía hay lugares que todavía tienen dificultades para obtener el equipo adecuado. Pero estoy segura de que el Dr. Brooks sabe aún más.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Lo que yo diría a eso es que probablemente le diste en el clavo. Alguien se equivocó. Nada es 100%, A. B, muchos cuidados en un hogar de ancianos serán con contacto estrecho. En otras palabras, no puedes hacerlo manteniendo una distancia física de seis pies. Y es probable que tengas que tocar algo.

El virus es relativamente contagioso. Es más contagioso que la gripe, menos contagioso que el sarampión, por ejemplo. Un pequeño error es un gran problema. Seguro va a suceder. Y luego obviamente tienes una población vulnerable. Se lo atribuiría a eso.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, y una población vulnerable que vive en lugares muy estrechos.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactamente.

Bill Walsh: Una cosa que, como dije antes, AARP ha sido muy activa en este tema. Y una cosa que le hemos estado diciendo a la gente es que este es un momento para ser un defensor feroz de sus seres queridos, ya sea en hogares de ancianos o en la vida asistida. Exija saber qué sucede dentro, qué precauciones se están tomando. Y tenemos una lista de preguntas para los miembros de la familia en nuestro sitio web, www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Estas son las principales preguntas que debes hacer a las instalaciones, ya que tienen la obligación de mantener a salvo a tu ser querido y comunicarte en qué condiciones está.

Gracias por todas sus preguntas hasta ahora. Y solo como recordatorio, si deseas sumarte a la lista de preguntas, presiona * 3.

En este momento me gustaría traer a nuestra tercera invitada a la conversación. Ella es Altha Stewart, M.D. Es la expresidenta inmediata de la Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría. También es profesora asociada y jefa de Psiquiatría Social y Comunitaria en el Centro de Ciencias de la Salud de University of Tennessee en Memphis. Su carrera abarca tres décadas de trabajo como directora ejecutiva de grandes sistemas públicos de salud mental en Míchigan, Pensilvania y Nueva York. Gracias por acompañarnos, Dra. Stewart.

Altha Stewart: Gracias por invitarme esta noche.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, estamos encantados de tenerla. Permítame hacerle directamente una pregunta. A medida que las personas trabajan para priorizar el bienestar mental durante este tiempo, ¿el objetivo hoy es restaurar nuestras rutinas como eran antes de la pandemia, encontrar nuevas rutinas o algo más?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, es una pregunta que me hacen mucho en estos días, porque se habla mucho sobre una nueva normalidad. Ya ni siquiera estoy segura de qué significa eso realmente.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Altha Stewart: He decidido que con lo que vamos a salir de esto es un híbrido de las cosas del pasado que todavía funcionan para nosotros y algunas cosas nuevas que hemos aprendido durante este tiempo de cuarentena y aislamiento y de lidiar con la pandemia, y algunas habilidades que creo que adquiriremos a medida que avancemos, porque el entorno será nuevo. A medida que volvamos al trabajo, encontraremos que cosas como el espacio y la capacidad de estar separados el uno del otro serán desafíos.

Tendremos que tener una mentalidad diferente sobre cómo configuramos nuestro espacio para trabajar. Vamos a tener que lidiar con el hecho de que habrá muchas personas que todavía temen estar en el trabajo y cerca de las personas, porque todavía hay mucha incertidumbre sobre qué hace y qué es este virus. Y como acabas de tener esa sección con los otros invitados sobre el estado asintomático y cómo podemos hacer todo lo correcto, y a veces aún así puede no funcionar.

Mental y emocionalmente, habrá muchas cosas que ni siquiera entendemos en este momento, excepto que la incertidumbre, el miedo y la ansiedad serán sentimientos predominantes que tendremos durante mucho tiempo en torno de esta pandemia.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno, y hasta ese punto, todos hemos sentido una verdadera sensación de pérdida. Estamos en pleno verano. El verano simplemente no siente igual. Los campamentos de verano y los deportes juveniles serán diferentes. Como dijo el Dr. Brooks anteriormente, no hay abrazos, no hay festivales o conciertos comunitarios a gran escala. ¿Cómo podemos encontrar alegría en estos tiempos inciertos?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, creo que dependerá de nosotros descubrir cómo construir el nuevo tipo de alegría. Una parte va a ser muy intencional, donde nos predisponemos todos los días a recordarnos a nosotros mismos que estamos vivos, no estamos enfermos con el virus, que la vida continuará y todo estará bien, al final.

La tormenta pasará o superaremos esto, creo, son los términos que las personas están comenzando a usar. Y tenemos que entender que, simplemente porque no podemos hacer las cosas como siempre lo hemos hecho, no significa que no podamos hacer nada. Hemos visto cierta creatividad en torno a bodas, incluso funerales, donde las personas han encontrado formas de unirse en el espíritu de familia y unidad para celebrar la vida, así como celebrar una vida, para darle sentido a todo lo que está sucediendo. Nos llevará a estar dispuestos a aceptar el hecho de que no tendremos lo que solíamos tener bajo ninguna circunstancia.

Bill Walsh: Claro, claro.

Altha Stewart: Para todos, la vida ha cambiado. Si te ha impactado directamente, ha cambiado. Si lo ves en la televisión en un ciclo de noticias sin parar, ha cambiado. Hay muchas cosas que nunca volveremos a ver o hacer. Pero hay tantas cosas que aún podemos hacer si nos adaptamos, si nos volvemos más creativos, si comenzamos a ver esto como una oportunidad en lugar de un obstáculo.

Bill Walsh: Esa es una perspectiva muy optimista. Creo que sería prudente que todos lo tengan en cuenta. Gracias por eso, Dra. Stewart. Dra. Benton, me gustaría traerla nuevamente a la conversación. Sabemos que incluso en tiempos normales, el autocuidado de los cuidadores familiares es muy importante. ¿Qué se ve ahora? ¿Y qué deben hacer aquellos que experimentan el estrés del cuidado durante la pandemia?

Donna Benton: Gracias. Esa es una excelente pregunta y observación, porque muchos cuidadores me han hablado sobre cómo, en su rutina habitual de cuidado previo a la pandemia, realmente han aprendido a seguir la corriente, cuando tuvieron que pasar por un período difícil con la persona que estaban cuidando. Tal vez fue un día realmente malo, y la persona no estaba cooperando ese día, o no podían hacer que comiera o se perdieron una cita con el médico o algo así. Los cuidadores decían: "Pasé por un período difícil" o "me sentía deprimido", pero saben que se recuperan. Y a veces sentían que habían crecido gracias a ese evento estresante. Aprendí una nueva forma de cuidarme y cuidar a mis parientes.

Nuevamente, esto es realmente en lo que se basa y de qué se trata la resiliencia. No es que no suframos estrés en nuestra vida. Es que aprendemos que a medida que avanzamos, tal vez podamos mirar hacia atrás y seguir creciendo. Es una especie de este proceso activo y consciente de resistencia y afrontamiento. Y todos nos hemos visto obligados a hacer frente y adaptarnos a algún evento adverso. Tal vez solo piensa en un momento en que te hayas dicho a ti mismo: "No sé cómo encontré la fuerza para superar tal o cual crisis". O tal vez te encontraste pensando en cómo un desafío o una pérdida te hicieron más fuerte.

Todos tenemos estas pequeñas partes de nosotros que son como ese pequeño motor que comenzó diciendo: "Creo que puedo, creo que puedo". Y a medida que nos acercamos, mientras luchamos por subir la colina y nos acercamos a la cima, y comenzamos a ir al otro lado, comenzamos a decirnos: "Sé que puedo, sé que puedo, sé que puedo".

Se trata de practicar la resiliencia. Y si hacemos eso, esto puede mantener nuestra salud, tanto nuestra salud mental, nuestro bienestar y, en general, reducir nuestra vulnerabilidad al estrés futuro. Y me gusta lo que dijiste sobre un optimismo, porque tenemos este optimismo realista que realmente nos ayuda a mantenernos firmes ante la pandemia y continuar con las responsabilidades de cuidado.

Bill Walsh: Algo que AARP ha aconsejado a los cuidadores familiares para evitar algo de ese estrés es crear un plan, un plan de atención, en caso de que enfermes, en caso de que tu ser querido se enferme. ¿Podrías darle rápidamente a nuestros oyentes dos o tres consejos sobre qué tipo de cosas deberían estar haciendo para crear dicho plan?

Donna Benton: Bueno, una cosa que debería estar en tu plan es que deberías tener un respaldo de emergencia, alguien con quien hayas hablado sobre tu rutina diaria de cuidado, que entienda lo que está sucediendo, y en caso de que enfermases, te sientas cómodo de que pueda intervenir.

Si has tenido tiempo, también es un buen momento para establecer cualquier tipo de documento legal y saber dónde están, saber dónde puedes dejarlos a mano para tus parientes para que no tengas ese tipo de estrés durante tu plan de atención. La otra parte de tu plan de atención es tener un buen sistema de apoyo de personas, amigos, vecinos, pastores religiosos y quien sea que puedas tener en tu sistema, tanto personas cercanas como programas más alejados, y puedas tener a alguien con quien hablar, porque todos, en diferentes momentos, necesitamos diferentes opciones para recibir consejos, hablar y resolver problemas.

Creo que esa es una parte muy importante de tener un sistema de apoyo que uses. También creo que para nosotros, como cuidadores, es muy importante tener un lugar donde podamos descansar, tomar un descanso, ya sea mental, usar meditación o yoga, o simplemente tener... Lo que siempre me gusta decir, es una bolsa de humor o algo donde, cuando realmente te sientes súper estresado, si tienes un cajón o una caja de cintas e imágenes, y sabes que si los miras, te harán sonreír o reír, solo tenla lista y ve hacia esa caja y comienza a mirar lo que tiene.

Lo juntas antes de estresarte. Y cuando empiezas a sentirte estresado, simplemente te acercas. Y tal vez podría ser, yo tengo un montón de videos de gatos y fotos de perros y luego una película, una película que sé que siempre puedo poner, ir a cierta escena, y sin falta voy a desconectarme con una película o un libro. Ten esto en tu bolsa de estrés, tu lugar. Esas son un par de cosas que aconsejaría.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, me gusta, la bolsa de humor de la Dra. Benton. Parece una oportunidad de producto a la espera de ser creada. Muchas gracias por eso.

Dr. Brooks, déjeme recurrir a usted. Hace poco, vi una encuesta que mostraba que aproximadamente dos tercios de las personas en el país temen un resurgimiento del coronavirus, particularmente cuando entremos en el otoño, que es la temporada tradicional de resfriados y gripe. ¿Qué debería esperar la gente durante ese tiempo?

Oliver Tate Brooks: No estamos seguros de lo que la gente debería esperar. Este virus no necesariamente tiene que actuar como un virus de la gripe, la gripe, que circula más en invierno que en verano. Simplemente no lo sabemos. Creo que una preocupación que tengo es que a medida que nos abramos, veremos más casos. Y a medida que pasa el tiempo, ¿cuánto sería? Desde principios hasta mediados de junio, julio, agosto, septiembre, dentro de dos o tres meses, creo que sin relación con la estacionalidad, veremos un aumento, o al menos un aumento en los casos, al igual que la economía o el ambiente se abre.

Ahora, si esto, de hecho, actúa como un virus de la gripe que circula más en invierno y en otoño, cuando las personas están más adentro y menos afuera, el aire es menos húmedo. El virus parece preferir seco a húmedo. El virus parece disfrutar el frío sobre el calor. Entonces, a medida que ocurran esos cambios ambientales, creo que lo que realmente deberíamos esperar es que haya más COVID-19 circulando y, por lo tanto, más casos. Simplemente significará... Y, por supuesto, no disfruto ser el proveedor de malas noticias.

Yo también quiero ir a grandes reuniones y conciertos, salir a comer, ir a ver amigos y darle un abrazo a alguien. Pero creo que simplemente lo que debemos esperar es que probablemente tengamos que continuar con las actuales medidas de control de infecciones que ahora estamos practicando.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, muchas gracias por eso. Pronto iremos a más de sus preguntas en vivo.

Y solo un recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, si deseas hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP y entrar en la lista.

Pero antes de hacer eso, mientras hablamos sobre la capacidad de resiliencia y la nueva normalidad, quiero tomarme un momento para informarles sobre la lucha continua de AARP por los residentes y el personal en hogares de ancianos y otras instalaciones a largo plazo.

Más de 40,000 residentes y personal de hogares de ancianos han muerto. Esta es una situación trágica, y AARP está poniendo todo nuestro peso detrás de los esfuerzos de defensa. Si bien la situación sigue siendo grave, estamos viendo un movimiento positivo. A nivel federal, debido a la defensa de AARP, la administración ahora exige que los hogares de ancianos revelen casos y muertes de COVID. Ese es un gran paso hacia adelante.

La Administración también ha anunciado que el Gobierno federal proporcionará un suministro de 14 días de equipo de protección personal para hogares de ancianos y fondos que pueden usarse para equipo de protección, pruebas y personal. A nivel estatal, también hemos visto un impulso positivo. Por ejemplo, Nevada anunció que las unidades de la Guardia Nacional que realizan inspecciones también proporcionarán equipo de protección personal a hogares de ancianos con suministros insuficientes.

Y recientemente, Maryland divulgó públicamente datos sobre casos positivos por primera vez. Además, en Alaska, Pensilvania y Texas, las oficinas estatales de AARP han abogado con éxito por la compra de tecnología para facilitar las comunicaciones entre los residentes de hogares de ancianos y sus seres queridos. Los miembros, voluntarios y activistas de AARP han hecho oír su voz y han ayudado a asegurar estas importantes victorias en nuestros continuos esfuerzos para proteger a las personas que viven y trabajan en hogares de ancianos y otras instalaciones a largo plazo.

Ahora es el momento de volver a sus preguntas para la Dra. Donna Benton, la Dra. Altha Stewart y el Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks. Nuevamente, presiona * 3 para ingresar a la lista. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Ruby de Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Ruby. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Ruby: Bueno, estoy viviendo en un centro de vida asistida y nunca hemos tenido el virus aquí. Estoy en una comunidad pequeña, pero nunca lo hemos tenido en ninguno de los hogares de ancianos de por aquí. Y no hay ninguno en el hospital en este momento, porque ayer estuve allí con el médico y me lo dijeron. Y realmente, no hemos tenido casi ninguno en nuestra área. Ahora, ¿cuánto tiempo puede el gobernador mantenernos encerrados aquí? Hemos estado aquí, hemos estado callados desde el 12 de marzo. Te detienes y piensas. Ese es un tiempo muy largo. Sin visitantes.

Nuestras familias, tenemos que hablar con ellos a través de las ventanas o las puertas del patio, lo que sea que tengamos la suerte de tener. ¿Y cuánto por tiempo va a continuar esto? Es extremadamente difícil para todos. Y estamos segregados por dentro con el hall y un comedor. Y solo podemos ir a nuestra sala o nuestro comedor.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Ruby: No vemos a todos los demás. Hablemos de depresión y ansiedad. Aquí está.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, puedo escucharlo en tu voz. Me pregunto, Dra. Stewart, ¿le gustaría hablar sobre esa situación?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, con gusto responderé a la parte de su comentario sobre la depresión, pero creo que el Dr. Brooks podría opinar primero sobre la parte de "cuánto tiempo", porque eso afectará su sentido de la depresión.

Ruby: Sí, porque estoy acostumbrada a ver a mi familia todas las semanas, la mayoría de ellos, no todos, la mayoría. Tengo una pequeña bisnieta de dos años. Ella ha cumplido años. No la veo desde marzo.

Bill Walsh: Claro. Por supuesto. Dr. Brooks, me pregunto, mientras mira en todo el país, ¿qué estándares están usando los gobernadores para reabrir sus economías y dar a personas como Ruby la oportunidad de ver a sus seres queridos?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Algunas personas están mirando, una vez más, principalmente, las tasas de hospitalización y mortalidad, y la tasa de casos es la tercera. Es la hospitalización y la muerte lo que preocupa. En muchos lugares, quieren ver una disminución de 14 días en las tasas de hospitalización y mortalidad. Y algunos también agregarán las tasas de casos.

En ese momento, cuando ves que se están volviendo diferentes, y uno de los problemas en los Estados Unidos es que cada estado tiene criterios diferentes. En otras palabras, no hay un estándar nacional. Creo que debería ser algo, pero también está afectando diferentes lugares de manera diferente.

Permítanme agregar esto, y luego daré una respuesta final. Lo que ella dice, esencialmente, es que los métodos que se están implementando están funcionando. El hecho de que haya estado encerrada durante unos tres meses, es duro y realmente difícil de manejar. Pero está funcionando. Entiendan eso. Dicho esto, en algún momento, tenemos que terminar con esto. Yo diría que debería visitar el sitio web de su condado o del departamento de salud pública de su estado. Allí tendrán, en general, lo que está sucediendo y cuáles son los criterios.

Por mi cuenta, no tomaría la determinación de que no hay casos, y no hay nadie en el hospital, así que voy a salir y ver a mi bisnieto. En realidad, si realmente quieres saber, esta es una de las cosas, llama a tu político, llama a tu representante local y di: "Quiero saber qué está pasando". Para eso se les paga.

Llamas al departamento de salud pública de tu estado y condado y les preguntas cuál es su proceso de pensamiento. La decisión es más grande que nosotros, por lo que querrás que los científicos intervengan. Y no puedo decirte cuándo terminará. Pero sugeriría, a lo que estabas diciendo, Bill, autodefensa. Exigir una respuesta de alguien.

Bill Walsh: Sí, sí. Gracias, Dr. Brooks.

Y Dra. Stewart, quisiera traerla de regreso. Lo que escuché de Ruby también fue mucho estrés. Está ansiosa por volver a conectarse de manera real con sus seres queridos. Mientras tanto, ¿qué sugeriría para ella?

Altha Stewart: Y es por eso que pensé que sería bueno que el Dr. Brooks intervenga, porque quiero que ella escuche que hay una realidad, y algo que espero que haya escuchado en lo que él dijo: lo que están haciendo en su área está funcionando. Y esas son las buenas noticias. El hecho de que extrañes a tu nieto y a tus amigos que están lejos de las instalaciones significa que, como dije antes, debemos ser creativos.

Si tu nieto tiene la edad suficiente para tener una conversación por teléfono, entonces puedes hacer por teléfono lo que normalmente harías, todo menos tocar. Y si tu familia puede conseguirte un dispositivo en el que puedas verlos en tu teléfono, entonces pueden pasar ese tiempo de abuelos de calidad. E incluso hemos pedido a las personas que piensen en cosas para hacer que normalmente harían con un hijo o un nieto del que ahora están separados.

Un ejemplo que surgió en una discusión previa sobre esto con alguien fue que solían estar con su nieto y cocinar. Y ese era su momento especial. Bueno, si no puedes hacer eso, si tu nieto no tiene la edad suficiente, hay cosas de las que puedes hablar con ellos, son tus cosas especiales, tus cosas secretas que solo tú y ellos saben, eso los hace sentir especiales y te da esa cálida sensación de conexión con ellos. Y hoy, con la tecnología que está disponible, si tienes acceso a eso, te aconsejo a que realmente lo uses ahora, ya que estás teniendo un poco más de fiebre de la cabina y realmente ansiosa por salir.

Ahora es el momento de aprovechar realmente eso y descubrir formas de usar esa tecnología para estar en contacto con ellos. Y solo recuerda, la buena noticia es que, lo que sea que esté sucediendo en sus instalaciones, está funcionando. Si no lo ves y no lo tienes, te animo a que sigas el consejo del Dr. Brooks y averigües: "Legislador, ¿cuándo vamos a estar fuera de la cuarentena? Porque queremos seguir adelante con vida." Pero normalmente, sí.

Bill Walsh: Eso suena como un gran consejo. Si alguna vez hubo un momento para contactar a su legislador estatal, este sería el momento. Probablemente puedan informar lo último y darte los criterios que el estado está utilizando para reabrir.

Altha Stewart: Sí.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muy bien. Muchas gracias, tanto a la Dra. Stewart como al Dr. Brooks. Jean, ¿quién sigue en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta de Bob en Facebook. Y Bob pregunta: esta es una pregunta para los médicos. Mi familia de todos adultos visitará a mis padres de más de 80 años por primera vez desde el encierro. ¿Qué precauciones, si las hay, debemos tomar? Se esperan abrazos.

Bill Walsh: "Se esperan abrazos". Bien, Dr. Brooks, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Sí. Yo diría que sería bueno hacerse la prueba y saber que son COVID negativo el día de la prueba. Nuevamente, si te haces la prueba el martes, eres negativo, pero podrías dar positivo el miércoles. Pero aún te da información.

Una persona de más de 80 años está en riesgo solo por tener más de 80 años. Ni siquiera preguntaré si hay condiciones subyacentes. La hipertensión, la obesidad, la diabetes y la EPOC son los grandes que conducen a peores resultados. No puedo recomendar abrazos. Tengo fuertes sentimientos al respecto. Y creo que, una emoción, y la paciencia no es realmente una emoción, pero una cosa que debemos tener es paciencia. Tenemos que entender eso: ¿cómo te sentirías si abrazaras a este miembro de la familia y nueve días después se volvieran asintomáticos y luego terminaran en el hospital con un ventilador?

Luego entras en lo emocional y el estrés, y supongo que la paciencia conduciría, algo de paciencia conduciría a la culpa. Dicho esto, si tienes que ir, si no hay nada que te detenga, entonces vuelve a lo básico. No se abracen. Mantengan una distancia de seis pies. Usen una mascarilla. Limpien las superficies. Cúbrete la tos. Lávate las manos. Nuevamente, intenta hacer la visita afuera si puedes.

Es verano, y creo que es uno de los... Bueno, verano, en un par de días. Pero sentimos que, oh, está hermoso afuera, y este COVID-19, esto tiene que haber terminado. No es así.

Mi recomendación sería, no lo hagas. Pero si es necesario, mantener la distancia y abrazarse no es parte del trato. Teóricamente, si realmente lo piensas, pónganse cada persona una sábana encima. [INAUDIBLE] Y luego te abrazas con la sábana en contacto. Luego se la quitan y la tiran, bueno, la lavan. Pero no puedo realmente... Si realmente tuviera que hacerlo, sería algo así. Comprenden cómo, en última instancia, la acción que la persona contempla no es la acción adecuada.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Dr. Brooks, gracias. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Herbert de Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Herbert. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Herbert, ¿estás en la línea?

Herbert: Me despidieron por este virus COVID. ¿Cuándo voy a volver a trabajar?

Bill Walsh: ¿En qué trabajas, Herbert?

Herbert: Soy un veterano discapacitado. Trabajo con un grupo de otros veteranos discapacitados. El estado nos proporciona trabajo y hacemos lo que el estado nos diga. Probablemente sean cosas menores para mantenernos ocupados, pero nos da un trabajo de ocho horas al día, y todos estamos trabajando. Todos están trabajando y haciendo un buen trabajo. Y solo quiero saber... supongo, cuándo me llamarán, ¿verdad?

Bill Walsh: Sí. ¿Qué te ha dicho tu jefe? ¿Te has contactado?

Herbert: ¿Qué?

Bill Walsh: ¿Qué te dice tu jefe acerca de volver al trabajo?

Herbert: No se ha dicho nada al respecto. Dicen que no lo saben, pero me llamarán cuando sea hora de volver al trabajo. Soy veterano discapacitado, así que recibo un cheque de pensión de VA. Estoy 40% discapacitado. He pasado del 80% al 40% desde que comencé a trabajar, así que creo que estoy mejorando progresivamente. Pero recibo un cheque de $400 cada mes. Tengo que solicitar la Seguridad Social porque tengo 71 años. Todavía no lo he hecho. Lo haré.

Mi dilema es que mi hermano dijo que tuve dos accidentes automovilísticos. Me quitaron mi licencia la última vez por conducir descuidadamente, así que no voy a volver a conducir nuevamente. Tengo una multa por exceso de velocidad en mi bicicleta. Así que voy a esperar a que mi hermano regrese este verano. Dijo que me llevaría a solicitar el desempleo. Supongo que eso es lo que tengo que hacer, ¿verdad? ¿Solo esperar a mi hermano?

Bill Walsh: Claro. Bueno, Herbert, no sé si podemos ayudarte a responder tu pregunta específica sobre cuándo podrías volver a trabajar. Pero Dra. Stewart, me pregunto si podría tener algún consejo para las personas que han sido despedidas. Ha habido millones de personas que han perdido sus empleos o han sido despedidos. ¿Tienes algún consejo para ellos durante este momento difícil?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, creo que este es un momento en que las personas realmente tienen que armarse con educación e información sobre los derechos que tienen como trabajadores despedidos en este clima.

Como todos los demás, veo en las noticias lo difícil que es llegar a la oficina de desempleo. Pero la gente tiene que tener un poco más que paciencia. Realmente deben construir persistencia además de paciencia, y continuar con los intentos de obtener lo que es legítimamente suyo, en el camino del desempleo. También creo que algunas personas deberán considerar si serán contratadas nuevamente para el trabajo que solían hacer, o si deberían comenzar a considerar otras cosas que pueden hacer.

Las personas con un estado de veterano o discapacitado u otras habilidades especiales que pueden ponerlos en una posición para cambiar a otro tipo de trabajo deberían estar pensando en eso. Alentamos a las personas que han sido despedidas a pasar una parte de cada día pensando o haciendo algo activamente para volver a trabajar.

Para las personas que fueron despedidas, tratar de obtener el desempleo, eso puede significar la línea de desempleo y la oficina y lo que sea que pase por ese sistema. Para las personas para quienes el trabajo ya no existe porque la compañía, la agencia, las instalaciones o el restaurante han cerrado, pensar en qué otras habilidades tengo y cómo comercializarme para conseguir un trabajo en esa área es un parte de lo que deberían hacer todos los días. No recomiendo a las personas a quedarse sentadas, deprimirse por lo que solían tener y lo que solían hacer. Realmente creo que es necesario mantenerse activo y comprometido en la búsqueda de empleo. Todos los días haz algo que te acerque al trabajo.

Bill Walsh: Ese es un excelente consejo. Y aunque este programa, en sí, no se trata de encontrar trabajo, les diré a nuestros oyentes que en www.aarp.org/work, tenemos algunos recursos gratuitos tremendos. Tenemos una herramienta de búsqueda de empleo. Tenemos un asesor gratuito de currículos, y muchos videos sobre, como dijo la doctora, capacitación. Y ha habido algunos trabajos nuevos publicados en nuestro sitio, incluso desde que llegó el coronavirus.

Por ejemplo, la Administración de Pequeños Negocios buscaba llenar miles de trabajos ayudando a procesar préstamos comerciales. Esas son cosas que se pueden hacer muy fácilmente de forma remota. Ve a ver la bolsa de trabajo, al asesor de currículos, y sigue los consejos de la Dra. Stewart y desarrolla tu conjunto de habilidades. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Judy de Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Judy. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Judy: Hola señor. Sí. Tengo 76 años de edad. Yo vivo en Maryland. Y mañana tengo programada una cirugía del mismo día. Y estoy extremadamente... Tengo mucha ansiedad al respecto, sobre la seguridad del mismo. Y he estado en cuarentena desde febrero. Y mis hijos adultos que viven localmente son trabajadores esenciales, así que tengo que depender de alguien más para que me lleve, un amigo. Y ella no puede usar una mascarilla, Y todavía usamos mascarillas aquí pero hay algo sobre su salud. Y yo uso una mascarilla, y eso también me preocupa.

Bill Walsh: Judy, solo quisiera aclarar. ¿Es esta cirugía electiva? ¿O esto es algo que absolutamente tienes que hacer?

Judy: Esto es algo que debo hacer. Sí, tengo que hacerlo.

Bill Walsh: Bien, de acuerdo. Dr. Brooks, ¿tiene algún consejo para Judy?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Judy, si tienes que hacerlo, y no te preguntaremos cuál es el procedimiento, obviamente, pero si tienes que hacerlo, tienes que hacerlo.

No me gusta el hecho de que la persona que la lleve al centro de cirugía u hospital no use o no pueda usar una mascarilla. Ese es el único "agujero" en la historia. La cirugía: supongo que donde sea que se realice el procedimiento, tendrán su EPP y harán lo apropiado para evitar infectarte tanto tú como ellos.

Si en tu familia son trabajadores esenciales, entonces no pueden "llevarte". También se están exponiendo teóricamente porque están trabajando. El transporte es un desafío en estos tiempos. Me gustaría preguntar: ¿Y de quién es ese vehículo? ¿Conducen un vehículo más bien nuevo? ¿Qué tipo de exposición hay de los servicios? Colocaría algo en el auto, como un plástico o una sábana de tela que, nuevamente, puedas lavar. Teóricamente, si tienes que ir, si esa persona conduce, te sientas en el asiento trasero y te alejas de ella. Pero implórales que usen una mascarilla. Esa es la siguiente: "No puedo usar una mascarilla por razones de salud", no estoy seguro de qué es eso.

Bill Walsh: ¿Recomendarías--

Oliver Tate Brooks: Eso es lo mejor que puedo hacer. Esa es una muy difícil.

Bill Walsh: Sí, es difícil, ¿no? ¿Recomendaría que Judy use Uber o Lyft o uno de los servicios de automóviles? ¿Eso es más seguro? ¿O es peligroso de otra manera?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Correcto. Un conductor de Uber o Lyft o un taxi, tienen diferentes personas entrando y saliendo de su automóvil. Y no sabes lo que estaba pasando en ese auto. Es posible que la persona no haya estado usando una mascarilla la última vez. Podrían haber habido 10 personas en 4 días en ese asiento trasero. El gel puede o no desinfectar. Entonces, claramente he pensado en eso, taxi. No lo sé, y ella se someterá a la cirugía mañana, así que es difícil, según el momento de la noche.

También me habría puesto en contacto con el centro de cirugía o el sitio para ver si tienen alguna opción de transporte para ti, porque podrían tener un método de transporte más seguro, una camioneta que tenga distancia social, que la limpian, que el conductor usa una mascarilla, ellos entienden. Esa habría sido mi sugerencia. Yo diría que, en última instancia, todo se reduce al beneficio y al riesgo.

Si tienes que someterte a una cirugía y tiene que ser mañana, entonces puede que termines teniendo que correr el riesgo del transporte. Y es ir y volver, teóricamente. Tienes que correr ese riesgo dos veces.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, me gusta la sugerencia de llamar al hospital o al proveedor y decir: "Mira, esta es mi situación. Me preocupa el transporte. ¿Qué opciones me pueden sugerir?" Es posible que tengan algunos proveedores de transporte aprobados que tengan un buen historial de limpieza de sus vehículos después de cada viaje, o algo así. Pero deben haber lidiado con esta situación en los últimos meses.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Estoy de acuerdo.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Gracias, Dr. Brooks. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Anne de Alabama.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Anne. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Anne: Hola. En primer lugar, soy una mujer brillante y podría responder esta pregunta. Pero mi esposo y yo tenemos más de 70 años, y debido a una crisis familiar, hemos tenido que mantener a nuestras dos bisnietas, una de las cuales tiene 10 años, la otra tiene 6. Las cuidamos durante el día. Se van a casa por la noche. Además, su madre está en el cuidado de la salud. Y he ordenado todo tipo de aerosoles, y tengo un termómetro sin contacto, y hago todo lo que puedo. Sin embargo, todavía estoy nerviosa y preocupada. Pero alguien tiene que cuidar a estos niños.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Anne: Y entiendo a Ruby en que me va mejor cuando puedo ver a mis hijos y mis nietos, porque me siento realmente abatida si no los veo. Pero como digo, es debido a una crisis que tenemos que mantener a los niños. Dame algún consejo.

Bill Walsh: Gracias por eso, Anne. Dios, es una crisis sobre otra, ¿no?

Anne: Sí.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Benton, me pregunto si podría... Parece que Anne está tomando muchas precauciones. ¿Tiene otros consejos para ella?

Donna Benton: Sí. En primer lugar, entiendo los sentimientos encontrados. Y lo que se volvió importante es que, a veces, tenemos que estar con nuestros nietos debido a esta crisis. Estás tomando un riesgo. Pero parece que, como dijiste, eres una mujer inteligente. Absolutamente, parece que has hecho todo lo posible para minimizar su riesgo, de modo que si están desinfectando, si lo convierten en un juego para los niños para que jueguen al "doctor" y mantengan a salvo a los pacientes, especialmente para el más joven, para que tenga en cuenta que está manteniendo a la abuela a salvo. Y ella puede hablar contigo sobre todas las precauciones que está aprendiendo para ser como un médico. Y puedes enseñarle esas cosas.

Ahora, el Dr. Brooks puede no estar de acuerdo conmigo, así que intervenga, Dr. Brooks. Pero cuanto más puedas mantenerlo como una forma creativa de permitir que todos participen en la seguridad tanto de ellos como tuya, creo que estás haciendo lo mejor que puedes en circunstancias muy, muy difíciles.

Bill Walsh: Y lo que iba a decir, es una especie de reminiscencia de algo, Dra. Benton, de lo que estaba hablando antes sobre el cuidado personal. Parece que Anne está tratando de cuidar a todos. ¿Qué consejo le darías para que se asegure de desarrollar su propia capacidad de resiliencia y de encontrar esos momentos para cuidarse ella misma?

Donna Benton: Tienes toda la razón. Ella ha asumido mucho. Parte de eso es asegurarte de que estés tomando descansos cuando puedas. Cuando los niños se hayan ido, haz algo que no esté relacionado con niños. Asegúrate de tener tiempo para, no lo sé, a la gente le gusta encender velas o darse una ducha más larga, todo ese tipo de cosas. Sí, tienes que trabajar en ti mismo al mismo tiempo. Y luego, en algún momento, no sé cómo es tu red o la realidad de tus hijos, pero no siempre puede decir "sí" a todo. Y eso es muy, muy difícil.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Dr. Brooks, ¿también quería opinar sobre eso?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Primero que nada, creo que debemos dar un paso atrás y entender que no hay respuestas fáciles. ¿Cuál es la mejor manera de pintar sobre lienzo con los ojos vendados con la mano izquierda? No hay una manera correcta. Nos quedan muchas opciones difíciles.

Yo diría, si se trata de hijos de miembros de la familia, que consideraría hacerles la prueba a los adultos. Sería bueno hacerles la prueba a los niños, pero no hay muchas pruebas de niños en este momento. Si los dos padres de los niños tienen un resultado negativo, eso me haría sentir mucho mejor. Y por otro lado, si dan positivo, entonces sabes que tienes un problema. Y si uno es un trabajador de la salud, entonces puede hacerse la prueba más fácilmente. Considere hacer que los adultos en el otro hogar sean examinados.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Anne, tienes mucho en tu plato ahora mismo. Vamos a estar pensando en ti en el futuro. Buena suerte para ti. Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la línea?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta en Facebook, y viene de Julia. Y Julia pregunta: "Si estuve en cuarentena durante 14 días, sin ir a la tienda, sin contacto con nadie, ¿sería seguro para mí ir a ver a mis padres a su casa? Tienen 90 y 91 años".

Bill Walsh: ¿Dr. Brooks?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Esa es una pregunta muy difícil, porque vuelves a ese concepto de portador asintomático, no portador, infección asintomática. Ella ha estado lejos de todos durante 14 días. No sabemos cuál era su situación antes de eso, y si la persona tiene una edad avanzada. En este momento, la recomendación general es, no vayas. Pero estoy llegando al punto que... Bueno, esta es la respuesta más fácil. Hacerse la prueba. Has estado lejos de la gente durante 14 días.

Si tu prueba es negativa, entonces es probable que sea realmente negativa, que no tengas el virus. Creo que una cosa que las personas deben tener en cuenta es que las pruebas son realmente importantes. Te da información. Eso es lo que recomendaría para esa persona. Aparte de eso, visitar a una persona de 90 años, aunque hayas estado en cuarentena durante 14 días, todavía me genera algo de preocupación.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muchas gracias. Jean, ¿quién sigue?

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima oyente es Sandy de Connecticut.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Sandy. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Sandy: Gracias. En realidad, no sé si puedo hacer dos preguntas, pero una tiene que ver con las pruebas, como acabas de mencionar. Y parte de lo otro que hablaron antes. Mi papá vive en una vida independiente y llevan tres meses en cuarentena en sus habitaciones ya. Y entiendo que era importante, y lo entiendo. Pero muchos de los residentes se están volviendo frágiles porque no se les permite, ni siquiera pueden caminar por los pasillos. No pueden hacer nada. Parecería, con distanciamiento social y con mascarillas, que al menos deberían poder hacer eso. Entiendo a hogares de ancianos. Están mucho más cerca y más confinados. Esa fue una pregunta.

Y la segunda, en la prueba que mencionó anteriormente, si pudieran hacerse la prueba el miércoles, el jueves, podrían hacerlo. Entonces, cuando hablamos de pruebas, ¿estamos hablando de anticuerpos o de la prueba en sí?

Bill Walsh: ¿Por qué no respondemos esa primero? ¿Dr. Brooks?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Sandy, cuando digo pruebas, estoy hablando de que se llama PCR, pero prueba la presencia del virus, no de anticuerpos. Todavía no hemos llegado al punto de que realmente podamos entender o conocer la importancia de una prueba de anticuerpos. Eso está en el sitio web de los CDC. Estoy hablando del virus. Y tienes razón, como yo [INAUDIBLE], obtienes cuando esa prueba está en un punto en el tiempo. Es un punto importante en el tiempo, especialmente para la última oyente. He estado fuera por 14 días, tengo un resultado negativo, probablemente esté bien. Esa es la prueba, no la prueba de anticuerpos.

En lo que respecta a [INAUDIBLE], tienes un hogar de ancianos y frágiles, no sé si la Dra. Benton quiere responder esa pregunta, en términos de cuidado. Todavía estoy muy receloso. Creo que la distancia de seis pies, en teoría... De acuerdo, teóricamente, pienso que si fuera un visitante, si usara EPP, en otras palabras, eso no es solo una mascarilla, sino una mascarilla N-95, un vestido, guantes y protección para los ojos, entonces me sentiría bien si alguien entrara a un hogar de ancianos con EPP completo para ver a alguien. Se trata de algunas de las cosas que la Dra. Stewart sabe.

Bueno, creo que el bienestar psicológico o mental es importante. Creo que después de un tiempo, las personas pueden colapsar, y eso puede tener un efecto adverso en su sistema inmunológico. Entonces, creo que no podemos, desde el lado del control de infecciones clínicas, ignorar el lado mental, emocional y psicológico. La Dra. Stewart quizás quiera hablar sobre eso. Pero los hogares de ancianos son una de las mayores preocupaciones. Tenemos que tener precaución adicional allí.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, sí, gracias, Dr. Brooks. Y sí, Dra. Stewart, me preguntaba si puede evaluar desde el punto de vista de la salud mental aquí, brindando apoyo emocional a las personas que simplemente no han visto a sus seres queridos durante tres meses.

Altha Stewart: Mm-hmm. Y agradezco que el Dr. Brooks reconozca y quiera agregar eso a la respuesta de la pregunta que se hizo, porque creo que ese es el siguiente paso en cómo los hogares de ancianos, las residencias asistidas, los lugares que solo hemos visto como agrupaciones o agrupaciones potenciales del virus, a medida que aprendemos más y determinamos que hemos logrado mantener la propagación al menos baja, si no inexistente.

Que ahora tenemos que centrarnos un poco en lo que genera todo este aislamiento. Y existe evidencia clara en muchas investigaciones de que, en cierto momento, las personas tienen que tener algún tipo de contacto social. Necesitan contacto físico. Necesitan mirar a las personas. Necesitan hacer más que verse a través de una separación de vidrio.

Y hay algo muy importante con lo que tendrán que lidiar ese tipo de instalaciones, que es este prolongado período de no contacto. En algún momento, las personas que más lo necesitan comenzarán a ver algún tipo de crisis física, su espíritu. Cuando era niña, los ancianos solían decirlo, su espíritu se rompe y comienzan a perder la esperanza. Y todas esas cosas tienen un impacto físico real en su cuerpo, en los órganos de su cuerpo.

Y si son lo suficientemente desafortunados como para tener alguna de las enfermedades preexistentes, algunas de las cuales vienen con la edad, y algunas de las cuales son enfermedades médicas, crónicas de por vida, cualquiera de esas cosas los prepara para una disminución repentina de la salud. Y ahí es donde creo que las instalaciones, especialmente los hogares de ancianos y las viviendas asistidas, que esencialmente han cerrado y los han mantenido alejados del mundo para protegerlos, ahora las políticas y prácticas tienen que ponerse al día, de modo que reconozcamos que esas cosas también importan.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Altha Stewart: Entonces, espero que algunas de las cosas con las que AARP pueda ayudar sea ayudarlos a ver cómo hacer esa transición. Hay muchas personas que pueden ayudarlos desde el lado médico y psicológico. Mirar nuevas políticas y prácticas. Y estoy seguro de que todos en esta llamada estarían dispuestos a ofrecer algunas pautas y ayudar con eso.

Bill Walsh: Sí, muy bien. Bueno, gracias a los dos. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Annette de Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Annette. Adelante con tu pregunta.

Annette: Hola. ¿Me oyes bien?

Bill Walsh: Puedo escucharte bien.

Annette: De acuerdo. Me sorprende que haya llegado a la lista. De todos modos, tengo un padre de 93 años que ha estado encerrado desde el 3 de marzo. El 10 de marzo, cerraron la instalación. Del 10 al 26 de marzo, perdió 13.8 libras completamente bajo su vigilancia.

Bill Walsh: Wow.

Annette: Y luego, el 26 de abril más o menos, dijeron: "Oh, él puede irse a casa. Está bien. Bla, bla, bla". Quiero ponerlo en vida asistida. Así que insisto en verlo. Me dejaron entrar en la instalación durante 20 minutos. En los 20 minutos que estuve allí, el director me gritó durante 17 de esos minutos, diciéndome que, ¿por qué no confío en que puede caminar? ¿Por qué no confío? Ahora, mi padre podía meterse y salir de una bañera. Él era completamente independiente. Tuvo un ligero derrame cerebral. Solo lo pusimos allí para hacer terapia física. Aquí estamos.

Me di cuenta enseguida de que me dejaron entrar, que algo andaba mal. Es por eso que comenzó a gritarme durante 17 minutos. Luego, tres días después, lo examinan, es positivo. Todavía es positivo al día de hoy. Esto es ahora 40 y tantos días después. Pero sus 100 días terminaron ayer. Entonces, este nuevo y joven administrador entra y yo voy allí a llevarle comida. Tuvieron que hacer una excepción porque lo dejaron perder las 13.8 libras.

Insisto en verlo el viernes pasado. Lo traen por las puertas de cristal. Lo primero que noto es que bajó de peso, no se cortó el pelo, cejas como no creería, como cuatro pulgadas de largo. Uñas sucias, naranjas, horribles. Se muerde las uñas, el hecho de que tenga uñas significa que definitivamente no está comiendo. Y no están haciendo nada, a pesar de que le llevo comida.

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Annette: Estoy llegando a mi pregunta. Aquí estamos, lo veo. Le pregunto al director: "¿Por qué no le han cortado el pelo? ¿Por qué no han hecho esto? Bla, bla, bla. Se ve horrible. ¿Dónde están sus calcetines? Se supone que siempre debe tener los calcetines altos porque tiene un pequeño problema con sus pies". Y para resumir, hoy voy allí para traerle comida, el nuevo administrador joven del edificio me dice: "Ah, por cierto, su dinero dejó de entrar. ¿Qué vas a hacer al respecto?" Le dije: "No. ¿Qué va a hacer usted al respecto? No les voy a dar un centavo". Le dije: "A mi entender, lo descuidaron durante los primeros 16 días. No se han comunicado conmigo". Estoy parada allí el viernes, a través de una puerta de vidrio, hablando con mi padre. Fue entonces cuando el dietista decidió decirme: "Ah, por cierto, perdió otras 28 libras". Ahora van 42 libras desde el 3 de marzo, 10 de marzo, el día que cerraron. 42 libras. Para empezar, solo pesaba 182. Un hombre completamente independiente que, el viernes, me dijo: "Ya está. No puedo pararme. No puedo caminar. No puedo..." Ni siquiera podía mover el cuello.

Bill Walsh: Wow.

Annette: Entonces, diciéndome que volvieron a darle la terapia física, pero porque Medicare dijo que habían pasado los 100 días y les dije que lucharan, que él regrese a Medicare. No va a recibir un centavo de mí.

Bill Walsh: Annette...

Annette: ¿Qué voy a hacer?

Bill Walsh: Sí, no, te entiendo. Annette, déjame pedir a nuestros expertos que aporten a esto. Este ha sido un... Qué momentos tan terribles has pasado. Me pregunto, Dra. Benton, si tiene algún consejo para ella. Parece que ha sido una gran defensora, pero simplemente no está obteniendo ningún resultado.

Donna Benton: En este punto, además de un hogar de ancianos, no sé cuáles son las leyes en donde estás. Sé que en California tenemos servicios de protección para adultos. Y para los hogares de ancianos, tenemos un defensor del pueblo y luego hay licencias para que pueda traer a alguien más a su lado en esta lucha para ayudar a su padre. Esto simplemente suena atroz. Y mi corazón se rompe cuando escucho su historia. Solo creo que necesitas a alguien más a tu lado en esta lucha para ayudar a tu padre.

Bill Walsh: Claro. Me gusta su sugerencia sobre el defensor del pueblo. Cada estado tiene un programa de defensor del pueblo para hacer esto mismo. Y Annette, le preguntaría al personal si pueden encontrar el número en Maryland. Pero probablemente sea bastante fácil de encontrar en línea. Eso es lo que hacen estas personas, ir a pelear por consumidores como tú, cuando no están obteniendo resultados y cuando las personas están sufriendo.

Gracias a todo nuestro panel por su participación aquí hoy. Estamos casi a la hora. Y antes de que se nos acabe el tiempo, solo quería ver, Dra. Benton, Dra. Stewart y Dr. Brooks, si tienen alguna idea final o recomendaciones para los miembros y oyentes de AARP sobre lo que deberían entender por sobre todo de nuestra conversación de hoy. Dra. Benton, ¿quiere comenzar?

Donna Benton: Claro. Solo quiero decir que puedes quedarte con que esto no es una carrera de velocidad. Va a ser una maratón. Pero tendremos nuevas formas de adaptación. Podemos superar esta crisis. Todavía nos conectaremos. Sí, tenemos distanciamiento físico, pero eso no es lo mismo que... Nunca me gustó el término "distanciamiento social". Creo que nuestros corazones aún podrán conectarse con nuestras familias.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muchas gracias Dra. Benton. Dra. Stewart, ¿tiene ideas o recomendaciones finales?

Altha Stewart: Sí. Quiero que la gente se mantenga esperanzada y optimista. Sé que estos son tiempos difíciles. Nos están probando más allá de todo lo que podríamos haber imaginado. Sé creativo en mantener la esperanza. Y también, recuerda, como acaba de decir la Dra. Benton, el distanciamiento social no significa estar distante socialmente. Interactúa de la manera que puedas, tanto como puedas, tenga en cuenta el hecho de que en este momento las personas se necesitan mutuamente. De alguna manera o forma, tenemos que mantenernos conectados.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, excelente consejo. Y Dr. Brooks, ¿alguna idea final?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Ciertamente. Primero, no bajes la guardia. A medida que se abra el entorno, usa tu propio mejor criterio. Todos son relativamente sabios. Usa tu sabiduría. No bajes la guardia, pero mantén el ánimo en alto, como bien han dicho la Dra. Stewart y la Dra. Benton. Aboga por ti mismo y por los demás. Apóyate en tu conocimiento y cree en ti mismo. Y como la charla de hoy, sé resiliente. Cada uno de nosotros tiene su propia historia individual, como escuchamos de los oyentes. Pero todos nos vinculamos como humanos y como aquellos que viven en tiempos difíciles. Resiliencia. Saldremos de esta.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Qué gran idea para terminar esta conversación.

Quiero agradecer a cada uno de ustedes en nuestro panel por proporcionar respuestas tan informativas a las preguntas. Y gracias a ustedes, nuestros miembros de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en la discusión.

AARP es una organización de membresía, sin fines de lucro, no partidista. Llevamos más de 60 años trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores. Ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a aquellos que los cuidan a protegerse del virus, evitar su propagación a otros y cuidarse a sí mismos.

Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas de hoy, se podrán encontrar en www.aarp.org/coronavirus a partir del 12 de junio. Para Annette de Maryland, tenemos un número para el programa estatal de defensor del pueblo.

Si todavía está en la línea, es 1-800-243-3425. 1-800-243-3425. Y para todos nuestros oyentes, también hay programas estatales de defensor del pueblo disponibles para ustedes.

Una vez más, solo quería dirigirlos a www.aarp.org/coronavirus, que es una excelente fuente de información, noticias de última hora sobre el virus, pero también información útil para los cuidadores, sobre cómo cuidar a tus seres queridos, cómo trabajar con hogares de ancianos, centros de vida independiente, etc. Puedes visitar el sitio si tu pregunta no fue respondida, y encontrarás las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que hayas aprendido algo que pueda ayudarte a ti y a tus seres queridos a mantenerse saludables hoy. Asegúrense de sintonizar el jueves 18 de junio que tendremos dos teleasambleas.

La primera, a la 1:00 PM hora del este, abordará cómo manejar tu carrera durante este tiempo. El segundo evento, a las 7:00 p.m., hora del este, se centrará en cómo gestionar, crecer y profundizar las relaciones. Contará con la actriz Marlo Thomas y su esposo, el pionero de la conversación diurna, Phil Donahue. Discutirán su nuevo libro, que presenta consejos de 40 parejas de celebridades sobre cómo hacer que las relaciones duren.

Gracias, que tengan un buen día.

Esto concluye nuestro llamado.

Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal

En español | As many states and communities continue physical distancing measures and others begin relaxing them, this live Q&A event addressed the challenges of staying socially engaged and connected to loved ones while remaining safe. Watch a replay of the event above.

The Experts

Donna Benton, Ph.D.
Director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center, University of Southern California

Altha Stewart, M.D.
Past President, American Psychiatric Association

Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D.
President, National Medical Association


For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • May 21 – Coronavirus: Caring for Loved Ones in Care Facilities With Special Guests Susan Lucci and Jo Ann Jenkins
  • 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 – Coronavirus: Symptoms. How to Protect Yourself, and What It Means for Older Adults and Caregivers