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AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall From September 15

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americns 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. It's been two and a half years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and while life is in many ways getting back to normal, so many of us have experienced enormous changes over that period. More than a million Americans have died, and many more lost loved ones. People have experienced isolation and missed out on gatherings with family, friends and grandchildren. Older adults are struggling to pick up the pieces and find happiness and a sense of purpose. And even as we move beyond COVID, there are still many questions and concerns about vaccines, boosters and what we all need to do to stay healthy as we move into the cold and flu season.

Today you'll hear an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. We'll also get an update from Capitol Hill on legislation affecting older Americans. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls in the past, this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask your question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad and you'll be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in queue to ask that question live. If you're joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can drop your question into the comments section.

Hello, if you're just joining us, I am Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, and if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, drop your question into the comments.

We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, a behavioral science expert and an award-winning entrepreneur providing support and hope. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague Shani Hosten, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad, and if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question into the comments.

Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Ashish Jha, MD, is the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. Thank you so much for being with us today, Dr. Jha.

Ashish Jha: Bill, thank you so much for having me here. I'm pleased to do it.

Bill Walsh: All right. And joining us a bit later, Victor Strecher, who is an inspirational speaker and author on finding purpose in life, and Molly MacDonald, who is the founder and CEO of the Pink Fund and an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. Just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube.

Dr. Jha, I know you can only join us for a short time today, so let's dive right in. The omicron subvariant BA.5 has been the dominant strain of COVID since early July. And it appears to be the most contagious strain of SARS-CoV-2 and is higher risk for reinfection. What does this mean for the fall? Is there another surge expected, and what do you recommend?

Ashish Jha: Bill, that's a great question, great place for us to start. What we know is, as you said, BA.5 is the dominant variant out there, 90-some-odd percent of all infections in America. The most contagious, most immunoevasive, and in each of the last two winters, we have seen a surge of infections. Now, what's going to happen this winter, I can't predict with any certainty, but it stands to reason, given what we've seen in the last two winters, that we may very well see an increase of cases again. But the good news is we are in a much better place than where we have been in previously, right? That we have a brand-new vaccine matched to the BA.5 variant, and what I know is that if people go out and get this vaccine, this annual vaccine that is now widely available, it's going to make an enormous difference at keeping infections down, but also make an enormous difference in keeping hospitalizations and more serious illness down.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Well, let's talk about that new vaccine that was authorized by the FDA and the CDC and really tailored for the omicron subvariant. You referred to this in the recent past as a major milestone. Can you talk a little bit more about why that is, and what's different with this new vaccine compared to the ones that maybe our listeners are familiar with?

Ashish Jha: Absolutely, so, the original vaccines, which have been great at preventing serious illness, they were developed in February, March of 2020 against the strain of the virus that was out there at the time, the original Wuhan strain. And over the last two, two and a half years, we have seen this virus evolve and change and new variants have come, and our vaccines have stayed the same until now. And this past summer, based on all the evidence and data out there, FDA made, I think, a bold but important and scientifically grounded decision to shift our vaccines toward what's called a bivalent, which is a combination of the old virus — but the actual virus isn't in there; it's the genetic code that creates an immune response — but also a vaccine that targets the new circulating variant. And the reason I have called it a major milestone is because I think this is a very exciting development. We're the first country in the world to get a BA.5 bivalent. I will tell you that Europe is trying to catch up. They're going to do it in the next few weeks, but we've been ahead on this because we think this is a really important vaccine for people to get. It should provide a much higher degree of protection against infection and transmission and serious illness. And my message on this is really very clear. If you're 12 or older, you need to get this updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall. It's going to make a big difference as we head into the colder weather.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, and of course, we're also heading into the holiday season, where families are going to be gathering in groups, one hopes. What do you recommend in terms of timing? When should people get this new vaccine?

Ashish Jha: Yeah, it's a very good question. I'll tell you that I, in general, have been recommending that people get it as soon as they can. And let me give you a couple of quick caveats. If you've had a previous infection or have gotten a previous booster in the last 90 days, I think it's pretty reasonable to wait out to 90 days from that last infection or shot. That's, I think, a good idea. You know, my elderly parents are in their 80s; they just got the vaccine last week. So I think that's perfectly reasonable to get. I know other people who are going to wait till maybe the end of September, when flu vaccines become more widely available, because they want to get it together with the flu vaccine. I think that's reasonable. Here's the key message: Get it soon. Absolutely get it well before Halloween. And the reason is you want to have maximal protection over Thanksgiving and over the winter holidays. And the best way to do that is to make sure you get it well before Halloween.

Bill Walsh: OK. Are there any concerns about interactions with common vaccines such as the flu or shingles vaccine?

Ashish Jha: You know, your immune system is really remarkable. I remind people that you can take a flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine in the same arm at the same time and your immune system is going to do just fine. It can handle both. It can handle them well, so there is no immunologic or no clinical downside. You might have a bit more of a sore arm, but you get two shots, you're just done, and then you're protected against the two main respiratory pathogens, the viruses that really can harm people and land them in the hospital. So, it's a great thing to do together. You might have a bit of a sore arm for a day or two.

Bill Walsh: OK, great. Thanks for that information. Last question before we take some calls from our listeners. Are we any closer to defining or identifying so-called long COVID and how best to treat it?

Ashish Jha: Bill, it's a great question. I know it's on a lot of people's minds. Let me take a minute just to talk about what we know about long COVID, and then we can talk about treatment. You know, we see after a lot of viral infections, in flu and in RSV, that people can have persistent symptoms for weeks. Thankfully, most people who get COVID end up recovering fully, but we've definitely seen a lot of people, four, six weeks out still have some persistent symptoms. Most of those resolve, but here's the key part: There is a small proportion of people who end up having significant longer-term symptoms. Some symptoms are so disabling that they really get into a lot of trouble, and we don't really fully understand why it is that that happens to some people, but not others. What we know is if you're vaccinated and if you're up to date on vaccines, you're much less likely to have those long-term complications — one more reason to get vaccinated. But we are doing a lot of work in the federal government, running multiple large-cohort studies to understand why it happens to some people, not others; what we can do to potentially prevent it; what we can do to potentially treat it. Vaccines definitely make a big difference in preventing it, but beyond that, we don't have a lot of other factors that we know yet.

Bill Walsh: OK, a work in progress. OK, well, now it's time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator. As a reminder, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. And if you'd like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague Shani Hosten to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Shani.

Shani Hosten: Hi, Bill. Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

Bill Walsh: All right, who do we have first on the line for Dr. Jha?

Shani Hosten: So first, Bill, we have Barbara from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Barbara. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Barbara: My question is, How soon after someone has COVID can they get the new shot? The new booster shot.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Jha.

Ashish Jha: Yeah, yeah, great question, Barbara. It's a question on a lot of people's minds as a lot of people did end up getting an infection over the summer. The recommendation is 90 days. I think that's the right timeline, so wait three months since you had the infection. What that will do, the reason to wait 90 days, is it gives your immune system a chance to kind of mature from the infection, because you're going to get some immunity benefit from the infection, and then after 90 days, if you get that new COVID-19 vaccine, it will really give that immune system of yours a big leg up.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. I'm just curious. With the new vaccine, do we have a sense yet on the length of the protection that it will give you?

Ashish Jha: Oh, that's a very good question, Bill. We don't have very good data yet on that, on the longer-term benefits, because obviously, we're still tracking that. What we know is that the ancestral strain, the original vaccine, provided for older people a high degree of protection against serious illness for between six months and a year. We certainly expect this to do at least as well, probably almost surely better, because it's matched to the virus out there. So we're going to track this closely. I think for most people this will be a once-a-year shot. You know, there may be some folks who are older who have, who are immunocompromised, who may need additional protection. And my commitment, our commitment in the administration, is we're going to track the data. If we see that people need additional protection before next fall, we'll make sure those vaccines are widely available.

Bill Walsh: Got it. Thanks for that. Let's go back to the line. Shani, who do we have up next?

Shani Hosten: We have Karen from Indiana.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Karen. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Karen: I'm wondering if, since I've had the vaccine, I've had the two boosters, do I need this new one?

Bill Walsh: Hmm, Dr. Jha, I think that's a fairly common question people are going to be having.

Ashish Jha: It's a very good question, Karen. And what I would say is if it's been more than three months, I would go out and get it. And let me tell you why. By the way, my elderly parents, same boat, they had gotten the vaccines and two boosters, and when the new shots came out, they called me and I told them that I unequivocally recommended it, thought it was the right thing. Look, those vaccines you've had so far are doing a great job of protecting you, but what we know is immunity wanes over time, and as we head into the fall and winter, Karen, I want you to be able to spend time with friends and family and not be worried about getting sick. And the truth is, with the variant that's circulating out there, BA.5, these vaccines matched to that variant. You should get a much higher degree of protection now by getting this. So as long as it's been 90 days since your last shot, I would very strongly recommend that you go get it.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Shani, who do we have up next?

Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Linda from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Linda. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question for Dr. Jha.

Linda: Hello, Doctor. My question is, I recently had COVID, and in the last month, and then I had the rebound and I had an underlying secondary infection from it. My question is, Should I expect to see adverse reaction to the new vaccine when I'm able to get it? Like fever and weakness?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, go ahead, Dr. Jha.

Ashish Jha: No, I was going to say, Linda, it's a great question. And so, first of all, again, as I have said, I'd wait 90 days, right? So, you've got some time now since you had that unfortunate infection. I'm sorry that you did, but you've got a little time. So, count out to 90 days, three months, basically from when you had it. And what we have seen so far is even for people who've had rebound, but for people who've had infections, when they get that vaccine, we do not see a lot in the way of side effects. The side effects of fever, all that, was really most prominent in the early phases of the vaccination after that second shot. As people have gotten boosters over the years, as people are getting this new shot, we're not seeing a lot of side effects. To the extent that people get side effects, it tends to last no more than 24 hours anyway, obviously way better than getting COVID. That said, most of the things that we're seeing right now is very mild, even for people like you, Linda.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good, thank you so much. Shani, who do we have up next?

Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Walter from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Walter. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Walter: Yes, I've been reading things that Dr. Paul Offit, who seems to be involved with vaccines quite a bit. And I read that he was not sure about, for people who've already had the four [shots] that have been available, not sure that we should rush in and get this by bivalent one until it has been tested a little bit more on humans.

Bill Walsh: Hmm, Dr. Jha, what do you say about that and how much science is behind this latest vaccine?

Ashish Jha: Yeah. So first of all, I will say, a huge fan of Dr. Offit, one of the real national experts on this. You know, I think what Dr. Offit has been saying, is that for, maybe for young people who've been all fully vaccinated, waiting a little bit of time is reasonable. My take, and again, when this decision was made, it was done by FDA with leading scientific experts from across the U.S. government, input from external experts, including Dr. Offit, so he is on the advisory committee that advised FDA on this, and the very strong recommendation of the advisory committee was to move forward with these vaccines. They have been widely tested. Let me be clear that these bivalent vaccines, there was a previous version, BA.1 bivalent, that was tested in hundreds and hundreds of people. All of these vaccines have been consistently extremely safe. And the reason FDA authorized this, CDC recommended this, is because the external experts for these agencies looked at all of the data and said, based on everything we know about these vaccines, they're extraordinarily safe, and they are beneficial. So that's why I continue to really look at that broad group of experts and say I'm in agreement with them. I think it's really important for you to go out and get it, Walter. So, my recommendation to you is as long as it's been 90 days since you got your last shot, I would go and get one.

Bill Walsh: OK. And I assume this new vaccine is widely available at local drugstores for people.

Ashish Jha: It is, it is. First of all, it's free. It remains free. So that's good. It is available widely across the country: Walmart, CVS, Walgreens. If you go to vaccines.gov, you can very quickly look up a place near you. We expect that about 90 percent of Americans live within 5 miles of a place that has these vaccines. So, widely available, free. A lot of doctors' offices, by the way, also have them, so you don't have to necessarily go to a CVS. And for those of you who don't want to use the internet on this, you can, let me just very quickly give you a 1-800 number. You can call 1-800-232-0233, and you can speak to somebody who will help you find a place near you.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good, Dr. Jha. Thank you so much. Shani, who do we have up next?

Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Iris from Oklahoma.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Iris. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Iris: Hello, Dr. Jha. I've had the Moderna vaccine and booster. Do I need to stick with Moderna for the omicron booster, or can I get Pfizer? Do both companies have the omicron booster out?

Ashish Jha: They both have this new COVID-19 omicron vaccine, both Moderna and Pfizer, and it is perfectly safe to mix and match. I will tell you that my own vaccine history, I started with Moderna, and my booster shots were Pfizer, and they're both really terrific and it's perfectly safe and perfectly reasonable to mix and match.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Shani, let's take another question.

Shani Hosten: Hi, we have a Facebook question, from Beth. And the question is, "I have a family member who has not been vaccinated. They are planning on getting the latest vaccine. Do they just get one vaccine now?"

Ashish Jha: Yeah, that's a very good question. So, unfortunately, if you've not had any shots at all, you've gotta get two shots of that primary series, and let me explain why. And that is your original vaccine. We still have plenty of that. The reason is you need to build that immunologic base. The original shots really created a base of immunologic protection, and then after that you can become eligible for this new omicron vaccine. So, you can't just, I mean, if you just got a single shot of the omicron vaccine, that is not going to provide you the level of protection you really need. So right now, for FDA, they're saying you've got to start with that original series. If you got one shot of it, you just need one more, but you really do need that original base of protection. Then the omicron vaccine really helps.

Bill Walsh: And would you wait 90 days, six months before taking the omicron vaccine?

Ashish Jha: Ninety days, again, so that's the number for people to remember: three months.

Bill Walsh: Got it. All right. Let's take another question, Shani.

Shani Hosten: OK, let's go to Jo in Vermont.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Jo, welcome to our program. What's your question for Dr. Jha?

Jo: My name is Jo. Thank you. I was wondering, I'm due anytime now to get my second shot of shingles, and then I would need, I've only had the one booster shot. I haven't had two. And I'm wondering about getting the shot, this current booster shot, and the shingles and the flu shot. Is that too much?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, OK. Dr. Jha, what would you say about that?

Ashish Jha: Yeah, it's a good question. And people often worry that am I going to overwhelm my immune system? Is it going to be able to handle all this? And I remind people, your immune system is remarkable. It is truly a miracle of nature how well your immune system can handle this. So there is no problem with getting all three of those vaccines. I mean, if you want, you can get them all on the same day. Some people might find that a lot, just personally. If you want to space it out a little bit, a few days apart, that's fine. But absolutely, because your immune system developed over centuries to handle many different threats at once. And so, if you get three vaccines over a week or two weeks, it's no problem at all. It'll be able to recognize the vaccine, it'll be able to build that immune response. You will be protected. So Jo, I would strongly recommend you definitely get the COVID vaccine. It's, in my mind, the most important because it's the virus that's most prevalent out there, but please do also get the flu vaccine. And if you are still due for your shingles, get that too. And your body will be just fine. It'll be able to handle it just fine.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you. Thank you for that. And thank you to all our listeners for your questions. We're going to take more live questions shortly, and as a reminder to our listeners, if you'd like to get in the queue to ask your question live, press *3 on your telephone keypad. I had a few more questions for Dr. Jha.

Dr. Jha, older adults age 65 and up who had COVID-19 also experienced brain fog, dementia, psychotic disorders at a higher rate compared to adults of the same age who had other respiratory infections — that's according to an Oxford University study. How can a caregiver or a family member identify if their loved one has a more serious concern?

Ashish Jha: Yeah, Bill, it's a great question and it's a question I get asked a lot by both family and caregivers and patients themselves who feel like they've had a lot of brain fog and other persistent symptoms. As we talked about earlier, this is part of long COVID. A small proportion of people get this, but it's undoubtedly a real phenomenon and can be quite troublesome. Obviously, prevention is key here. So, for most people, the best way to avoid getting into that is to avoid getting infected, or if you're going to get infected, it's much, much better if you've been vaccinated, much less likely to get these things. Can be worrisome if you've had it. And what I recommend is if your symptoms persist, and I say this with caregivers or family members, if the symptoms persist beyond a couple of weeks, once we're into many, many weeks or months, it's very important to seek medical evaluation. See a primary care physician, see a neurologist. They really can assess exactly what's going on and recommend a therapeutic approach, a treatment plan that's right for you.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. A couple more questions. I want to talk a little bit about cost. I'm wondering if the cost of the vaccines and COVID treatments will shift to Americans starting in the new year. How might that impact older adults in terms of insurance, Medicare, out-of-pocket costs, et cetera?

Ashish Jha: Yeah, very good question. You know for the two years that we've been in this pandemic, certainly under the Biden administration, our commitment has been very, very clear, which is we've bought these vaccines on behalf of the American people, and we've made sure that the vaccines are available widely for free. The same thing with all the treatments out there. But we're in a different place now, where Congress has decided to stop funding both vaccines and treatments. And so we are going to, over time, have to shift this over to the commercial market. Let me be very clear on one thing: This fall, all these vaccines remain free because the administration bought them using taxpayer dollars. We bought them. We got a great price, and they are available for free, as are all the treatments. But in '23, over the year, we will see a transition to the commercial market, because we no longer have the funding from Congress to continue doing this. Our hope and our absolutely strong plan is to make sure that these things remain without cost barriers, ideally free, or certainly with low, out-of-pocket costs for patients. That's going to be what we're going to try to fight for and try to do. It'll depend a little bit on what Congress does as well, and how we're able to make this shift. But right now, these things all remain free.

Bill Walsh: Another incentive to get them as soon as possible. Finally, Dr. Jha, there are two very different public health issues that have been in the headlines. There's been a monkeypox outbreak this year, and New York's governor last week declared a state of emergency as wastewater cases of poliovirus continue to increase. How concerning are these viruses, and what's being done to combat them?

Ashish Jha: Yeah, very good question, Bill. It does seem like there are a lot out there. And so, let's break this down for people. Let's remember we're talking about three different viruses now. We're talking about coronavirus; we're talking about monkeypox; we're talking about polio. So for coronavirus, obviously COVID, widespread in America, anybody is at risk. Very, very important to get this new fall vaccine to protect yourself. That's for all Americans. Monkeypox is a virus that's been known to us for many, many years. Major outbreak this year, and it’s almost exclusively confined to the gay and bisexual men community, men who have sex with men, and what that has meant that while there have been a few cases of other people getting monkeypox, most of the cases of monkeypox are through prolonged skin-to-skin contact through sexual activity, and if you're not a member of that community, your risk is very, very low. Now, we have put a lot of work — because we want to make sure we get this virus under control; we want to protect the gay and bisexual male community — we've been doing a lot of work to turn this around. The good news is, monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. has peaked. It's started to turn down. Cases are down almost 50 percent, a work of vaccinations and other things that we are doing. Last thing, on polio. It's obviously a threat from the past that seems to be reemerging. The reason it is reemerging is because vaccination rates have started falling, that a lot of younger people have not been getting vaccinated, so if you have been vaccinated against polio, you have largely nothing to worry about. But for people who have not gotten vaccinated, a lot of communities where vaccination rates are low, there is real risk of polio taking hold again. If you're an older person, if you've been vaccinated against polio, you don't have to do anything at this point. Obviously, we're going to continue tracking this, but if you have family members, kids, grandkids, who have not gotten vaccinated for polio, tell them to go get vaccinated. It is a vaccine-preventable disease. No one should be getting polio. No one should be getting sick from polio. We know we can prevent this with vaccines.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good, Dr. Jha. Thank you so much for being with us today. Dr. Ashish Jha is the White House COVID-19 coordinator. We were delighted to have you with us today. We know you have to go, but we appreciate all of the time and the good information.

Ashish Jha: Thank you, Bill, for having me on. It was an honor and a pleasure, and I look forward to coming back on again at some point in the future if I can be helpful.

Bill Walsh: All right, we hope so. Thank you very much. And to our listeners, please stay with us. In a moment we're going to be speaking with Dr. Victor Strecher and Molly MacDonald about adversity and purpose as we emerge from the pandemic, and we're going to be taking more of your questions live. As a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad. Before we get to your questions, I wanted to give you all a quick update from Capitol Hill. In addition to sharing information and resources, AARP advocates for issues that affect you the most. To give us a quick update on how AARP is fighting for you, I want to bring in my colleague, Vice President Megan O'Reilly. Welcome, Megan.

Megan O'Reilly: Happy to be here, Bill.

Bill Walsh: First of all, Megan, congratulations are in order. Last month, of course, historic prescription drug reforms passed the House and the Senate and were signed into law. These changes are going to save older Americans and Medicare billions of dollars.

Megan O'Reilly: Thank you. We are thrilled with the passage of this historic legislation, which is a huge victory for all older Americans. After decades of calling on Congress to make prescription drugs more affordable, AARP won the fight for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and help seniors save money on their medications.

Bill Walsh: Megan, let's talk about that. Why is it so important to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies?

Megan O'Reilly: You know, Bill, one of the things we hear most from our members about is the frustration and desperation that comes from trying to afford the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. The most common reason that older people skip medications or ration medicine is because they can't afford it. Letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices together with new limits on how much you have to pay out-of-pocket is commonsense solutions. It will strengthen Medicare and put money back in seniors' pockets, at the same time they're struggling to afford the rising cost of medicines and other basic needs.

Bill Walsh: And not to mention inflation. Maybe you can talk about some of the other items that were in this bill that AARP fought for.

Megan O'Reilly: So, as I've mentioned, yes, the legislation is now going to allow Medicare for the first time to negotiate the price of some of the highest-cost prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies. The bill also, starting in 2025, will put an annual limit on how much Part D prescription drug plan members will have to pay out of pocket for their medications, and in 2025, that'll be $2,000. And the bill, the new law also penalizes drugmakers that increase prices faster than the rate of inflation, and finally, the new law caps the cost of Medicare-covered insulin starting next year at just $35 a month, and eliminates out-of-pocket costs for most vaccines under Medicare, such as the shingles vaccine, which we've already talked about today. This bill will save seniors and Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars and give seniors peace of mind, knowing there is an annual limit on what they may pay out of pocket for their medications.

Bill Walsh: All right, very good. What other health priorities is AARP fighting for?

Megan O'Reilly: We're fighting to help family caregivers and working to provide seniors with greater access to home care and more nursing home protections. And we continue to advocate for broader dental coverage in Medicare, as well as vision and hearing care. We advocated for the new lower-cost, over-the-counter hearing aid rule that was released last month, and lower-cost hearing aids will now be available for those with low or moderate hearing loss starting in October. This comes after five years of AARP's bipartisan work with Congress and the administration to expand access to lower-cost hearing aids. We're also fighting to allow greater use of telehealth, working to solve senior hunger, advocating for mental health coverage, and fighting to expand access to affordable health care. AARP is fighting hard to improve your health care and quality of life.

Bill Walsh: All right, thank you so much, Megan. Again, congratulations for all the great work. Finally, if our listeners want to stay on top of AARP's advocacy news, how can they do that?

Megan O'Reilly: We would encourage everyone to go online and search AARP Fighting for You. That will lead you to a daily roundup of all the latest advocacy news and updates on our work with Congress and across the country. It's really a great way to stay informed, and we hope you will check it out.

Bill Walsh: OK. AARP Fighting for You. Got it. All right. Thanks again, Megan. Now, let's turn to our other expert panelists. The last two years have altered or delayed the hopes and ambitions of millions of Americans, challenged our collective resilience and left many wondering how to move forward. There's an intense refocus on returning to norms and restoring social connections, but some older adults say they feel disconnected and adrift. Let's take a moment to address adversity and purpose with Dr. Victor Strecher and Molly MacDonald. Vic Strecher, PhD, is the director of innovation and social entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He's a leader and visionary in the fields of health and well-being, creating new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. He's the author of Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything. Thanks so much for joining us today, Dr. Strecher.

Victor Strecher: Yeah, happy to be here. Can you hear me OK?

Bill Walsh: I can hear you great. Thanks for being with us today. And my other guest, in 2006, Molly MacDonald founded the Pink Fund, which provides 90-day nonmedical cost-of-living expenses on behalf of breast cancer patients in active treatment. That is so they can focus on healing, raising their families and returning to the workplace. She is a 2019 AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. Thanks for joining us today, Molly.

Molly MacDonald: Oh, I'm thrilled to be here. Can you hear me?

Bill Walsh: I can hear you just great. We're delighted to have both of you. Dr. Strecher, let's start with you. Of course, life isn't predictable, but it's rare for so many people to simultaneously experience change like this pandemic. How have the last few years reshaped purpose for our nation, especially for older adults?

Victor Strecher: Yeah, great question. Well, one thing we have found very, very clearly is that a lot of emotional and mental health concerns that public health professionals have, things like depression or anxiety, have increased very significantly. So, that is kind of expected, especially with older people, who we're seeing much greater isolation and that does have a real impact on things like depression, obviously. And certainly people just are generally feeling more anxious. I will say this, though. Older people seem to be far less depressed and anxious than younger people are. So, and it could well be because older people have gone through a lot of different things. Some, they've gone through wars, they've gone through a lot of great big, worldwide or certainly national events that have affected a lot of people. And with that comes greater anxiety sometimes, but at the same time, interestingly enough, sometimes people tend to explore existential things going on in their lives, like, Why am I here? What am I doing in my life? Sometimes these difficult times, whether it's a war or a pandemic or an earthquake or a tsunami or a loss of a loved one or a divorce or retirement, many, many life changes end up resulting in you stopping and taking a breath and going, Why am I here?, Who am I? a little bit more. What is my purpose and direction in my life? And if I feel lost, what are the things I can do to regain that purpose? So, that's what I study. That's what I help people do.

Bill Walsh: Well, and you anticipated my next question, which really is advice for our listeners. We all felt loss and pain when we weren't able to gather with family and friends and when we missed out on activities and customs, all the things you just discussed. How do we resolve what we couldn't control, particularly if we're feeling stuck right now?

Victor Strecher: I'm going to suggest two things: One is asking yourself, Have you discovered new values, new things that you care about now? Could you actually, could you take a piece of paper, and could you write down the things that matter most now in your life? Have they changed over time? My guess is that some of them have. And the second is, Have you discovered new strengths, strengths that you didn't know you had before the pandemic? A lot of people ran out and stripped the shelves bare of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and bought AK-47s, or whatever. They got freaked out. They pulled their money out of the bank. And other people said, How can I take care of these health care workers, or my neighbor, or my mom, or this person right next to me that I love so much? Those people start transcending in the time of difficulty. Can you find times when you did that? Are there new strengths you've discovered that you didn't know you had? Very often adversity and suffering brings on and leads to strength. And that's what I'm interested in. Post-traumatic growth. As we're moving through this pandemic, I'm knocking on wood. Hopefully, let's discover strengths that we didn't know we had.

Bill Walsh: Post-traumatic growth. I love that. I love that notion. As a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question to Dr. Victor Strecher or Molly MacDonald, press *3 on your telephone keypad at any time. Let me turn to you, Molly. In 2019, you were recognized as an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. How have adversity and purpose shaped your life after the age of 50?

Molly MacDonald: Well, I think what would be interesting to your listeners and to Dr. Strecher, that I once lived for many, many years a life of luxury that most Americans gamble and purchase lottery tickets assuming that will bring them happiness. And seven years prior to my 2005 breast cancer diagnosis, I had to take my five children, 4 to 13, and leave our family home, when I learned that it was going to be auctioned off at a sheriff's sale in 30 days. And I reentered the workforce after being out for 12 years wiping butts and noses, and it was a huge transition for me because I had been in the newspaper business, and that product had changed dramatically, and the internet changed everything.

So that breast cancer diagnosis came at a time of job transition when I was about to get the first six-figure job where I felt like we had health insurance, the kids didn't have to have subsidized lunches at school, and that diagnosis derailed my job opportunity and left me unemployed and unemployable. And that was really the launchpad for meeting other women in similar circumstances like mine, in active treatment for breast cancer who were unable to work, and at risk of treatment nonadherence, considering going back to work and stopping treatment altogether, which would've risked earlier mortality for them. And that adversity was kind of that Oprah aha moment, like, Why isn't somebody addressing this problem? And I guess I should. So that was the launchpad for me. I was diagnosed at age 54.

Bill Walsh: Wow. Talk about some post-traumatic growth, though. Well, let's talk about what you ended up doing, the Pink Fund, you founded. Tell us a little bit about it, and how has the Pink Fund managed the adversity that was brought on by the pandemic? Has it shifted your focus at all?

Molly MacDonald: Well, let me tell you first how we launched. So, I had no money. The home that I had rented for cash, and that my mother at age 80 procured a 30-year mortgage while I had to make the payments when I couldn't work, went into foreclosure. Ford Credit wanted to repo my car every 58 days, and I begged them not to do that, and they extended my lease, and I had a car. I ended up in line in the basement of a church pantry for food.

And meeting these other working women, I discovered that what was now called financial toxicity in health care, a term that was not coined until 2013 by Dr. Yousuf Zafar and Amy Abernethy. And I became determined to do something about it. So, with a simple belief — I think a lot about that Ted Lasso show and the "Believe" sign in the locker room — and I went home to my new husband, and I said, "I think we should start this program and pay these women's bills directly to their creditors for 90 days, to help improve treatment adherence, reduce medically related bankruptcy, and improve survivorship outcomes, and certainly their mental health as well," because that was a huge challenge for me.

So we bootstrapped the whole organization. I had a beautiful dining room table that I traded for a heart-and-ribbon logo. I persuaded a friend to launch our website, and health writer at the Detroit Free Press, [inaudible], had once been an executive, wrote a front-page story in the living section that really launched us, and then about 27 newspapers picked that up. And since then, we've delivered about $6.4 million in bills nationwide. In 2012, Ford Motor Company actually took us national when they made a significant investment in an ad campaign for Pink Fund, knowing that what we do is really essential to the health and welfare of women and some men and their families while in treatment.

During COVID, we pivoted. I think it was Friday, I want to say March 14th. I can't remember what day it was, but we packed up. We all went home. Our program manager was able to run the program from her home. We were able to procure the PPP loan, and because people really understood that our services were essential to the health and well-being of those we serve, we actually did not suffer any financial losses in terms of revenue. The other reason for that, though, was that our revenue was not tied to galas and walks and runs like other charities. So we didn't have any of that loss. And I think you asked, Where are we now?

Bill Walsh: Well, that's great information. I'd like to just remind our listeners, if they'd like to ask questions of Molly MacDonald or Dr. Victor Strecher, please hit a *3 on your telephone keypad. I actually wanted to ask Dr. Strecher, I mean, starting today, as we look beyond the pandemic, what are some steps each of us can take to cultivate more meaning in our lives and create a better future for us, and also for our loved ones?

Victor Strecher: Well, one of the things that I mentioned briefly ... by the way, Molly, I really appreciate what you were saying. And gosh, you have gone through so much and your resilience is amazing. And I think purpose gives us resilience. You know, very often going through traumatic events, difficult times, for me this was 12 years ago, when our 19-year-old daughter suddenly passed away of a heart attack. And that was very, very powerful for me, and a few months later, I found myself not doing well at all. And I basically sat down, and I wrote what I valued the most.

What matters most to me? And it turns out most of those things were not things. They were people. So I put down my students at the university. I wrote down my family. I wrote down my community, and other things that I value a lot. And then I started creating what I call Be Goals. I am here to be a really great teacher, if possible, for my students. I'm here to be a family man. Those are what I call Be Goals. And once I've set these Be Goals, these goals that say, I am here to be this person on this planet while I'm here for this brief period of time. And while I am here, those Be Goals require what I call Do Goals. In order to be the person I want to be, I'd better manage my stress. I'd better be a good listener. I'd better be energized. And then from that I start thinking what gives me more energy. And so I start thinking about, well, should I sleep better or maybe start meditating more? And I have been a meditator for a long time. Maybe be more physically active. Walking around the block every morning with my wife is now a new ritual that I … it's a COVID ritual. Walking around the block every morning with my wife and then every evening with my wife, it is now a ritual. There's certain things that we've built into our lifestyles, and I've built into my lifestyle. It gives me more energy so that I can be the person that I really need to be.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, thanks so much for ...

Victor Strecher: Discovering those things are important.

Bill Walsh: Thanks so much for that, Dr. Strecher, and thanks very much, Molly, for sharing your story. Let's go ahead and take some questions from our listeners. A reminder, press *3 anytime on your keypad on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member. Shani, who do we have next on the line?

Shani Hosten: Well, Bill, we have a few that have been sent in. The first one was to Dr. Strecher. And the question is, "After two years of being confined due to COVID, I'm still feeling stagnant and have lost interest in prior hobbies and events that I used to enjoy. How do I regain that momentum and purpose?”

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Strecher.

Victor Strecher: Yeah, what a great question.

Bill Walsh: I can feel for them.

Victor Strecher: Oh, sure, I think everybody has kind of … well, not everybody, but many, many people, especially if you've kind of been in some degree of lockdown, where you just can't get out. It is easy to lose interest in things. I think really trying to ask, I think, again, listing out the things that matter most. I'm going to provide another little exercise that people may get a little bit concerned about, but I'll tell you, it really works very well. If you draw a headstone and you put your name on the top, and you say, I just died today, September 15th, 2022. What would I want in that epitaph? What would I want people to say about me? That person was ... whatever. How would I, as Jonas Salk actually once said later in his life, how would I become a good ancestor? How would the children and their children and their children of our society walk through this cemetery, encounter this headstone and go, “That was an amazing person. That was an amazing ancestor.” That's how I would like to think about this. Because I think what that does is spark a little fire in us to try to go, I'm not here forever. This is not practice. I need to get out onto the dance floor again and dance, and I don't care what other people say about me. I really need to get out there and be my own person.

Bill Walsh: Life is not a dress rehearsal. That's good advice. I'm going to think about my own headstone after this. Let's go back to the phones and see what other questions are out there. Shani, who do we have next on the line?

Shani Hosten: Actually, we have another question that's been sent in and that's for Molly. "Since the onset of COVID-19, many individuals have postponed or skipped yearly screening. And with the projections of later diagnoses, will patients face harsher treatment plans? And greater financial toxicity?"

Bill Walsh: Hmm, Molly, can you field that question?

Molly MacDonald: Yeah, I can, and the answer is yes and yes. And I'm going to say something that's going to make some of the health care providers unhappy, but it is my recommendation that unless you have a palpable lump or you are symptomatic, that you get your annual diagnostic mammogram in the first quarter of the year. And the reason I say that is because if you wait until October, November, December for a mammogram, and you find out that you do have breast cancer, you're going to have that deductible in the last quarter of the year, and then it's going to reset in the next quarter which is really going to land you and your family with a lot of financial challenges, particularly if you have a high deductible.

Bill Walsh: OK, thanks so much, Molly. Some great advice there. Shani, let's go back to the lines. Who do we have next?

Shani Hosten: Sure, we have Suzanne from Illinois.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Suzanne. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Suzanne: Hi, it's good to be here. I had a hard time with COVID because I have a couple of mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, and there's also something called reverse agoraphobia, where I'm afraid to go home and be alone, so that was tailor made to be anxiety producing. But I did find a resource, a type of thing to do, and especially lately when we were able to go out live, and I do have a question about it.

I do not have much family, and the family I do have is pretty dysfunctional. I have a wonderful husband, but we have our problems. I have one girlfriend, very close, but she has her limitations. And so I wanted to meet new people. And that was my question. So, I found one answer to that was a yoga class offered by my city's free park district, yoga classes that go on every week. I went to it once, but no one was wearing masks. So I haven't been back yet. I just got the combo shot and in two weeks I'll be protected, and I will go every Thursday and keep quiet, work on my social skills a little more, because I have ADHD. That means you get a little impulsive, so I'll just be quiet. Stay for the core class, and it's an all-day program, have lunch there, and then they are having Ping-Pong from two to four. It's for very young seniors. And that's what I am. And I'm positive and I'm strong. I'm a caregiver. I still have a job. I've had it all the way through. So my question is, What other resources — and how, like this, what you said, Be Goals require Do Goals. And I've been doing that. I'm getting out as often as possible to onetime meetups — but also how can you develop closer friendships? And I know it takes a long time, even especially for seniors whom, yeah.

Bill Walsh: So thanks, Suzanne, thank you. A great question, Dr. Strecher, do you have some advice for Suzanne and folks who are like her?

Victor Strecher: A little bit of Suzanne's question was breaking up, but I'm going to focus and head right into the last one about how do I meet people. First of all, I love the fact that you're taking a yoga class and are going to start getting into that. I applaud you for that. Getting out and doing something like that's important. We've also found that volunteering is really, really important in giving people both purpose and giving people friends. You end up meeting people who are also giving back to their community. So you may want to look at community activities for other people who are givers. And then finally, I think listening is really important. You had mentioned your ADHD, and I think — without, I don't know your case and I'm not a therapist anyway — but I would suggest that really learning how to listen, thinking about how to really carefully and what we call deep listening, really trying to explore. What is this person trying to tell me? And maybe even feeding that back to them rather than having your own tape that you want to say, and “I can't wait to talk,” and talk over the person. You might really want to try to listen and reflect back what that person's saying. I think you're going to make friends that way.

Bill Walsh: All right, some great advice. And just for our listeners, Dr. Strecher talked a little bit about how volunteering. AARP offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities around the country. If you want to check them out, go to our website, to aarp.org/volunteer, and you can find opportunities near where you live. Shani, who do we have up next?

Shani Hosten: We have another question that was sent in for Molly. And the question is, "I have a friend who has been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and is financially unable to pay her mortgage and bills due to her medical bills. Is she eligible for help through the Pink Fund?”

Bill Walsh: Hmm, Molly?

Molly MacDonald: Certainly, our basic qualifications guidelines: Are you in active treatment for the disease, which means mastectomy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy? It does not include the five-to-10-year aromatase inhibitor treatments. Also, that the family household income must be at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level, which in some zip codes allows us to rope in the middle class, who are often left out of social support programs. And then finally, that there's been a loss of household income. So either the patient or their spouse or domestic partner has lost income. And we actually added that spouse or partner benefit — well, it's not really a benefit, but qualifier — because of COVID, when we learned that so many women were being diagnosed, but their partner or spouse had lost their job or reduced wages because of COVID. And so we changed our qualifications, which kind of widened the gate. So, I would encourage that person to go to our website, pinkfund.org, click on the prequalifying questions, and we will email you the application.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Thank you so much, Molly; pinkfund.org. Shani, let's take another question.

Shani Hosten: OK, the next one that was sent in says, "Where can someone who wants to bring more meaning and purpose to their life go for more information, guidance and resources?"

Bill Walsh: Dr. Strecher, this one sounds written for you.

Victor Strecher: I guess so, yeah. Well, of course, I do have a book called Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything. I also have a free course online, and it's done by the University of Michigan, and with Coursera, and if you go to coursera.org … and look for my name, Strecher, or just Finding Purpose. You'll get this three-week course on that that really covers a lot of detail about how to find your own purpose and the importance of having purpose.

Bill Walsh: Yes, I believe that is coursera.org. Very good. Thanks for that tip. That's a great resource. This has been a really informative discussion. I want to thank all of our guests for their information and insights, and thank you, our AARP members and volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today.

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, 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 today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, September 16th. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

Please join us again on September 22nd for a special live Q&A event with personal finance expert Suze Orman and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, who will discuss inflation and how to manage your finances. Until then, thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

 

Tele-Town Hall 9/15 Transcript with Timestamps

[00:00:00] Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:00:21] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:00:21] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americns 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. It's been two and a half years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and while life is in many ways getting back to normal, so many of us have experienced enormous changes over that period. More than a million Americans have died, and many more lost loved ones. People have experienced isolation and missed out on gatherings with family, friends and grandchildren. Older adults are struggling to pick up the pieces and find happiness and a sense of purpose. And even as we move beyond COVID, there are still many questions and concerns about vaccines, boosters and what we all need to do to stay healthy as we move into the cold and flu season.

[00:01:22] Today you'll hear an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. We'll also get an update from Capitol Hill on legislation affecting older Americans. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls in the past, this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask your question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad and you'll be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in queue to ask that question live. If you're joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can drop your question into the comments section.

[00:02:05] Hello, if you're just joining us, I am Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, and if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, drop your question into the comments.

[00:02:27] We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, a behavioral science expert and an award-winning entrepreneur providing support and hope. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague Shani Hosten, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad, and if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question into the comments.

[00:03:09] Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Ashish Jha, MD, is the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. Thank you so much for being with us today, Dr. Jha.

[00:03:20] Ashish Jha: Bill, thank you so much for having me here. I'm pleased to do it.

[00:03:23] Bill Walsh: All right. And joining us a bit later, Victor Strecher, who is an inspirational speaker and author on finding purpose in life, and Molly MacDonald, who is the founder and CEO of the Pink Fund and an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. Just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube.

[00:03:49] Dr. Jha, I know you can only join us for a short time today, so let's dive right in. The omicron subvariant BA.5 has been the dominant strain of COVID since early July. And it appears to be the most contagious strain of SARS-CoV-2 and is higher risk for reinfection. What does this mean for the fall? Is there another surge expected, and what do you recommend?

[00:04:13] Ashish Jha: Bill, that's a great question, great place for us to start. What we know is, as you said, BA.5 is the dominant variant out there, 90-some-odd percent of all infections in America. The most contagious, most immunoevasive, and in each of the last two winters, we have seen a surge of infections. Now, what's going to happen this winter, I can't predict with any certainty, but it stands to reason, given what we've seen in the last two winters, that we may very well see an increase of cases again. But the good news is we are in a much better place than where we have been in previously, right? That we have a brand-new vaccine matched to the BA.5 variant, and what I know is that if people go out and get this vaccine, this annual vaccine that is now widely available, it's going to make an enormous difference at keeping infections down, but also make an enormous difference in keeping hospitalizations and more serious illness down.

[00:05:11] Bill Walsh: Very good. Well, let's talk about that new vaccine that was authorized by the FDA and the CDC and really tailored for the omicron subvariant. You referred to this in the recent past as a major milestone. Can you talk a little bit more about why that is, and what's different with this new vaccine compared to the ones that maybe our listeners are familiar with?

[00:05:32] Ashish Jha: Absolutely, so, the original vaccines, which have been great at preventing serious illness, they were developed in February, March of 2020 against the strain of the virus that was out there at the time, the original Wuhan strain. And over the last two, two and a half years, we have seen this virus evolve and change and new variants have come, and our vaccines have stayed the same until now. And this past summer, based on all the evidence and data out there, FDA made, I think, a bold but important and scientifically grounded decision to shift our vaccines toward what's called a bivalent, which is a combination of the old virus — but the actual virus isn't in there; it's the genetic code that creates an immune response — but also a vaccine that targets the new circulating variant. And the reason I have called it a major milestone is because I think this is a very exciting development. We're the first country in the world to get a BA.5 bivalent. I will tell you that Europe is trying to catch up. They're going to do it in the next few weeks, but we've been ahead on this because we think this is a really important vaccine for people to get. It should provide a much higher degree of protection against infection and transmission and serious illness. And my message on this is really very clear. If you're 12 or older, you need to get this updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall. It's going to make a big difference as we head into the colder weather.

[00:06:59] Bill Walsh: Yeah, and of course, we're also heading into the holiday season, where families are going to be gathering in groups, one hopes. What do you recommend in terms of timing? When should people get this new vaccine?

[00:07:12] Ashish Jha: Yeah, it's a very good question. I'll tell you that I, in general, have been recommending that people get it as soon as they can. And let me give you a couple of quick caveats. If you've had a previous infection or have gotten a previous booster in the last 90 days, I think it's pretty reasonable to wait out to 90 days from that last infection or shot. That's, I think, a good idea. You know, my elderly parents are in their 80s; they just got the vaccine last week. So I think that's perfectly reasonable to get. I know other people who are going to wait till maybe the end of September, when flu vaccines become more widely available, because they want to get it together with the flu vaccine. I think that's reasonable. Here's the key message: Get it soon. Absolutely get it well before Halloween. And the reason is you want to have maximal protection over Thanksgiving and over the winter holidays. And the best way to do that is to make sure you get it well before Halloween.

[00:08:04] Bill Walsh: OK. Are there any concerns about interactions with common vaccines such as the flu or shingles vaccine?

[00:08:12] Ashish Jha: You know, your immune system is really remarkable. I remind people that you can take a flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine in the same arm at the same time and your immune system is going to do just fine. It can handle both. It can handle them well, so there is no immunologic or no clinical downside. You might have a bit more of a sore arm, but you get two shots, you're just done, and then you're protected against the two main respiratory pathogens, the viruses that really can harm people and land them in the hospital. So, it's a great thing to do together. You might have a bit of a sore arm for a day or two.

[00:08:50] Bill Walsh: OK, great. Thanks for that information. Last question before we take some calls from our listeners. Are we any closer to defining or identifying so-called long COVID and how best to treat it?

[00:09:04] Ashish Jha: Bill, it's a great question. I know it's on a lot of people's minds. Let me take a minute just to talk about what we know about long COVID, and then we can talk about treatment. You know, we see after a lot of viral infections, in flu and in RSV, that people can have persistent symptoms for weeks. Thankfully, most people who get COVID end up recovering fully, but we've definitely seen a lot of people, four, six weeks out still have some persistent symptoms. Most of those resolve, but here's the key part: There is a small proportion of people who end up having significant longer-term symptoms. Some symptoms are so disabling that they really get into a lot of trouble, and we don't really fully understand why it is that that happens to some people, but not others. What we know is if you're vaccinated and if you're up to date on vaccines, you're much less likely to have those long-term complications — one more reason to get vaccinated. But we are doing a lot of work in the federal government, running multiple large-cohort studies to understand why it happens to some people, not others; what we can do to potentially prevent it; what we can do to potentially treat it. Vaccines definitely make a big difference in preventing it, but beyond that, we don't have a lot of other factors that we know yet.

[00:10:17] Bill Walsh: OK, a work in progress. OK, well, now it's time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator. As a reminder, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. And if you'd like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:10:46] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:10:47] I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague Shani Hosten to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Shani.

[00:10:54] Shani Hosten: Hi, Bill. Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:10:58] Bill Walsh: All right, who do we have first on the line for Dr. Jha?

[00:11:03] Shani Hosten: So first, Bill, we have Barbara from New York.

[00:11:07] Bill Walsh: Hey, Barbara. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:11:11] Barbara: My question is, How soon after someone has COVID can they get the new shot? The new booster shot.

[00:11:20] Bill Walsh: Dr. Jha.

[00:11:21] Ashish Jha: Yeah, yeah, great question, Barbara. It's a question on a lot of people's minds as a lot of people did end up getting an infection over the summer. The recommendation is 90 days. I think that's the right timeline, so wait three months since you had the infection. What that will do, the reason to wait 90 days, is it gives your immune system a chance to kind of mature from the infection, because you're going to get some immunity benefit from the infection, and then after 90 days, if you get that new COVID-19 vaccine, it will really give that immune system of yours a big leg up.

[00:11:57] Bill Walsh: OK, very good. I'm just curious. With the new vaccine, do we have a sense yet on the length of the protection that it will give you?

[00:12:05] Ashish Jha: Oh, that's a very good question, Bill. We don't have very good data yet on that, on the longer-term benefits, because obviously, we're still tracking that. What we know is that the ancestral strain, the original vaccine, provided for older people a high degree of protection against serious illness for between six months and a year. We certainly expect this to do at least as well, probably almost surely better, because it's matched to the virus out there. So we're going to track this closely. I think for most people this will be a once-a-year shot. You know, there may be some folks who are older who have, who are immunocompromised, who may need additional protection. And my commitment, our commitment in the administration, is we're going to track the data. If we see that people need additional protection before next fall, we'll make sure those vaccines are widely available.

[00:12:57] Bill Walsh: Got it. Thanks for that. Let's go back to the line. Shani, who do we have up next?

[00:13:04] Shani Hosten: We have Karen from Indiana.

[00:13:07] Bill Walsh: Hey, Karen. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:13:11] Karen: I'm wondering if, since I've had the vaccine, I've had the two boosters, do I need this new one?

[00:13:20] Bill Walsh: Hmm, Dr. Jha, I think that's a fairly common question people are going to be having.

[00:13:26] Ashish Jha: It's a very good question, Karen. And what I would say is if it's been more than three months, I would go out and get it. And let me tell you why. By the way, my elderly parents, same boat, they had gotten the vaccines and two boosters, and when the new shots came out, they called me and I told them that I unequivocally recommended it, thought it was the right thing. Look, those vaccines you've had so far are doing a great job of protecting you, but what we know is immunity wanes over time, and as we head into the fall and winter, Karen, I want you to be able to spend time with friends and family and not be worried about getting sick. And the truth is, with the variant that's circulating out there, BA.5, these vaccines matched to that variant. You should get a much higher degree of protection now by getting this. So as long as it's been 90 days since your last shot, I would very strongly recommend that you go get it.

[00:14:15] Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Shani, who do we have up next?

[00:14:21] Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Linda from Florida.

[00:14:23] Bill Walsh: Hey, Linda. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question for Dr. Jha.

[00:14:29] Linda: Hello, Doctor. My question is, I recently had COVID, and in the last month, and then I had the rebound and I had an underlying secondary infection from it. My question is, Should I expect to see adverse reaction to the new vaccine when I'm able to get it? Like fever and weakness?

[00:14:57] Bill Walsh: Yeah, go ahead, Dr. Jha.

[00:14:59] Ashish Jha: No, I was going to say, Linda, it's a great question. And so, first of all, again, as I have said, I'd wait 90 days, right? So, you've got some time now since you had that unfortunate infection. I'm sorry that you did, but you've got a little time. So, count out to 90 days, three months, basically from when you had it. And what we have seen so far is even for people who've had rebound, but for people who've had infections, when they get that vaccine, we do not see a lot in the way of side effects. The side effects of fever, all that, was really most prominent in the early phases of the vaccination after that second shot. As people have gotten boosters over the years, as people are getting this new shot, we're not seeing a lot of side effects. To the extent that people get side effects, it tends to last no more than 24 hours anyway, obviously way better than getting COVID. That said, most of the things that we're seeing right now is very mild, even for people like you, Linda.

[00:15:58] Bill Walsh: OK. Very good, thank you so much. Shani, who do we have up next?

[00:16:03] Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Walter from Washington.

[00:16:05] Bill Walsh: Hey, Walter. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:16:10] Walter: Yes, I've been reading things that Dr. Paul Offit, who seems to be involved with vaccines quite a bit. And I read that he was not sure about, for people who've already had the four [shots] that have been available, not sure that we should rush in and get this by bivalent one until it has been tested a little bit more on humans.

[00:16:36] Bill Walsh: Hmm, Dr. Jha, what do you say about that and how much science is behind this latest vaccine?

[00:16:43] Ashish Jha: Yeah. So first of all, I will say, a huge fan of Dr. Offit, one of the real national experts on this. You know, I think what Dr. Offit has been saying, is that for, maybe for young people who've been all fully vaccinated, waiting a little bit of time is reasonable. My take, and again, when this decision was made, it was done by FDA with leading scientific experts from across the U.S. government, input from external experts, including Dr. Offit, so he is on the advisory committee that advised FDA on this, and the very strong recommendation of the advisory committee was to move forward with these vaccines. They have been widely tested. Let me be clear that these bivalent vaccines, there was a previous version, BA.1 bivalent, that was tested in hundreds and hundreds of people. All of these vaccines have been consistently extremely safe. And the reason FDA authorized this, CDC recommended this, is because the external experts for these agencies looked at all of the data and said, based on everything we know about these vaccines, they're extraordinarily safe, and they are beneficial. So that's why I continue to really look at that broad group of experts and say I'm in agreement with them. I think it's really important for you to go out and get it, Walter. So, my recommendation to you is as long as it's been 90 days since you got your last shot, I would go and get one.

[00:18:13] Bill Walsh: OK. And I assume this new vaccine is widely available at local drugstores for people.

[00:18:21] Ashish Jha: It is, it is. First of all, it's free. It remains free. So that's good. It is available widely across the country: Walmart, CVS, Walgreens. If you go to vaccines.gov, you can very quickly look up a place near you. We expect that about 90 percent of Americans live within 5 miles of a place that has these vaccines. So, widely available, free. A lot of doctors' offices, by the way, also have them, so you don't have to necessarily go to a CVS. And for those of you who don't want to use the internet on this, you can, let me just very quickly give you a 1-800 number. You can call 1-800-232-0233, and you can speak to somebody who will help you find a place near you.

[00:19:12] Bill Walsh: OK, very good, Dr. Jha. Thank you so much. Shani, who do we have up next?

[00:19:18] Shani Hosten: Hi, we have Iris from Oklahoma.

[00:19:21] Bill Walsh: Hey, Iris. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:19:28] Iris: Hello, Dr. Jha. I've had the Moderna vaccine and booster. Do I need to stick with Moderna for the omicron booster, or can I get Pfizer? Do both companies have the omicron booster out?

[00:19:58] Ashish Jha: They both have this new COVID-19 omicron vaccine, both Moderna and Pfizer, and it is perfectly safe to mix and match. I will tell you that my own vaccine history, I started with Moderna, and my booster shots were Pfizer, and they're both really terrific and it's perfectly safe and perfectly reasonable to mix and match.

[00:20:22] Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Shani, let's take another question.

[00:20:27] Shani Hosten: Hi, we have a Facebook question, from Beth. And the question is, "I have a family member who has not been vaccinated. They are planning on getting the latest vaccine. Do they just get one vaccine now?"

[00:20:41] Ashish Jha: Yeah, that's a very good question. So, unfortunately, if you've not had any shots at all, you've gotta get two shots of that primary series, and let me explain why. And that is your original vaccine. We still have plenty of that. The reason is you need to build that immunologic base. The original shots really created a base of immunologic protection, and then after that you can become eligible for this new omicron vaccine. So, you can't just, I mean, if you just got a single shot of the omicron vaccine, that is not going to provide you the level of protection you really need. So right now, for FDA, they're saying you've got to start with that original series. If you got one shot of it, you just need one more, but you really do need that original base of protection. Then the omicron vaccine really helps.

[00:21:31] Bill Walsh: And would you wait 90 days, six months before taking the omicron vaccine?

[00:21:36] Ashish Jha: Ninety days, again, so that's the number for people to remember: three months.

[00:21:41] Bill Walsh: Got it. All right. Let's take another question, Shani.

[00:21:45] Shani Hosten: OK, let's go to Jo in Vermont.

[00:21:48] Bill Walsh: Hey, Jo, welcome to our program. What's your question for Dr. Jha?

[00:21:51] Jo: My name is Jo. Thank you. I was wondering, I'm due anytime now to get my second shot of shingles, and then I would need, I've only had the one booster shot. I haven't had two. And I'm wondering about getting the shot, this current booster shot, and the shingles and the flu shot. Is that too much?

[00:22:26] Bill Walsh: Yeah, OK. Dr. Jha, what would you say about that?

[00:22:29] Ashish Jha: Yeah, it's a good question. And people often worry that am I going to overwhelm my immune system? Is it going to be able to handle all this? And I remind people, your immune system is remarkable. It is truly a miracle of nature how well your immune system can handle this. So there is no problem with getting all three of those vaccines. I mean, if you want, you can get them all on the same day. Some people might find that a lot, just personally. If you want to space it out a little bit, a few days apart, that's fine. But absolutely, because your immune system developed over centuries to handle many different threats at once. And so, if you get three vaccines over a week or two weeks, it's no problem at all. It'll be able to recognize the vaccine, it'll be able to build that immune response. You will be protected. So Jo, I would strongly recommend you definitely get the COVID vaccine. It's, in my mind, the most important because it's the virus that's most prevalent out there, but please do also get the flu vaccine. And if you are still due for your shingles, get that too. And your body will be just fine. It'll be able to handle it just fine.

[00:23:40] Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you. Thank you for that. And thank you to all our listeners for your questions. We're going to take more live questions shortly, and as a reminder to our listeners, if you'd like to get in the queue to ask your question live, press *3 on your telephone keypad. I had a few more questions for Dr. Jha.

[00:24:00] Dr. Jha, older adults age 65 and up who had COVID-19 also experienced brain fog, dementia, psychotic disorders at a higher rate compared to adults of the same age who had other respiratory infections — that's according to an Oxford University study. How can a caregiver or a family member identify if their loved one has a more serious concern?

[00:24:27] Ashish Jha: Yeah, Bill, it's a great question and it's a question I get asked a lot by both family and caregivers and patients themselves who feel like they've had a lot of brain fog and other persistent symptoms. As we talked about earlier, this is part of long COVID. A small proportion of people get this, but it's undoubtedly a real phenomenon and can be quite troublesome. Obviously, prevention is key here. So, for most people, the best way to avoid getting into that is to avoid getting infected, or if you're going to get infected, it's much, much better if you've been vaccinated, much less likely to get these things. Can be worrisome if you've had it. And what I recommend is if your symptoms persist, and I say this with caregivers or family members, if the symptoms persist beyond a couple of weeks, once we're into many, many weeks or months, it's very important to seek medical evaluation. See a primary care physician, see a neurologist. They really can assess exactly what's going on and recommend a therapeutic approach, a treatment plan that's right for you.

[00:25:31] Bill Walsh: OK, very good. A couple more questions. I want to talk a little bit about cost. I'm wondering if the cost of the vaccines and COVID treatments will shift to Americans starting in the new year. How might that impact older adults in terms of insurance, Medicare, out-of-pocket costs, et cetera?

[00:25:51] Ashish Jha: Yeah, very good question. You know for the two years that we've been in this pandemic, certainly under the Biden administration, our commitment has been very, very clear, which is we've bought these vaccines on behalf of the American people, and we've made sure that the vaccines are available widely for free. The same thing with all the treatments out there. But we're in a different place now, where Congress has decided to stop funding both vaccines and treatments. And so we are going to, over time, have to shift this over to the commercial market. Let me be very clear on one thing: This fall, all these vaccines remain free because the administration bought them using taxpayer dollars. We bought them. We got a great price, and they are available for free, as are all the treatments. But in '23, over the year, we will see a transition to the commercial market, because we no longer have the funding from Congress to continue doing this. Our hope and our absolutely strong plan is to make sure that these things remain without cost barriers, ideally free, or certainly with low, out-of-pocket costs for patients. That's going to be what we're going to try to fight for and try to do. It'll depend a little bit on what Congress does as well, and how we're able to make this shift. But right now, these things all remain free.

[00:27:12] Bill Walsh: Another incentive to get them as soon as possible. Finally, Dr. Jha, there are two very different public health issues that have been in the headlines. There's been a monkeypox outbreak this year, and New York's governor last week declared a state of emergency as wastewater cases of poliovirus continue to increase. How concerning are these viruses, and what's being done to combat them?

[00:27:39] Ashish Jha: Yeah, very good question, Bill. It does seem like there are a lot out there. And so, let's break this down for people. Let's remember we're talking about three different viruses now. We're talking about coronavirus; we're talking about monkeypox; we're talking about polio. So for coronavirus, obviously COVID, widespread in America, anybody is at risk. Very, very important to get this new fall vaccine to protect yourself. That's for all Americans. Monkeypox is a virus that's been known to us for many, many years. Major outbreak this year, and it’s almost exclusively confined to the gay and bisexual men community, men who have sex with men, and what that has meant that while there have been a few cases of other people getting monkeypox, most of the cases of monkeypox are through prolonged skin-to-skin contact through sexual activity, and if you're not a member of that community, your risk is very, very low. Now, we have put a lot of work — because we want to make sure we get this virus under control; we want to protect the gay and bisexual male community — we've been doing a lot of work to turn this around. The good news is, monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. has peaked. It's started to turn down. Cases are down almost 50 percent, a work of vaccinations and other things that we are doing. Last thing, on polio. It's obviously a threat from the past that seems to be reemerging. The reason it is reemerging is because vaccination rates have started falling, that a lot of younger people have not been getting vaccinated, so if you have been vaccinated against polio, you have largely nothing to worry about. But for people who have not gotten vaccinated, a lot of communities where vaccination rates are low, there is real risk of polio taking hold again. If you're an older person, if you've been vaccinated against polio, you don't have to do anything at this point. Obviously, we're going to continue tracking this, but if you have family members, kids, grandkids, who have not gotten vaccinated for polio, tell them to go get vaccinated. It is a vaccine-preventable disease. No one should be getting polio. No one should be getting sick from polio. We know we can prevent this with vaccines.

[00:29:49] Bill Walsh: OK, very good, Dr. Jha. Thank you so much for being with us today. Dr. Ashish Jha is the White House COVID-19 coordinator. We were delighted to have you with us today. We know you have to go, but we appreciate all of the time and the good information.

[00:30:05] Ashish Jha: Thank you, Bill, for having me on. It was an honor and a pleasure, and I look forward to coming back on again at some point in the future if I can be helpful.

[00:30:11] Bill Walsh: All right, we hope so. Thank you very much. And to our listeners, please stay with us. In a moment we're going to be speaking with Dr. Victor Strecher and Molly MacDonald about adversity and purpose as we emerge from the pandemic, and we're going to be taking more of your questions live. As a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad. Before we get to your questions, I wanted to give you all a quick update from Capitol Hill. In addition to sharing information and resources, AARP advocates for issues that affect you the most. To give us a quick update on how AARP is fighting for you, I want to bring in my colleague, Vice President Megan O'Reilly. Welcome, Megan.

[00:30:58] Megan O'Reilly: Happy to be here, Bill.

[00:31:00] Bill Walsh: First of all, Megan, congratulations are in order. Last month, of course, historic prescription drug reforms passed the House and the Senate and were signed into law. These changes are going to save older Americans and Medicare billions of dollars.

[00:31:16] Megan O'Reilly: Thank you. We are thrilled with the passage of this historic legislation, which is a huge victory for all older Americans. After decades of calling on Congress to make prescription drugs more affordable, AARP won the fight for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and help seniors save money on their medications.

[00:31:35] Bill Walsh: Megan, let's talk about that. Why is it so important to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies?

[00:31:44] Megan O'Reilly: You know, Bill, one of the things we hear most from our members about is the frustration and desperation that comes from trying to afford the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. The most common reason that older people skip medications or ration medicine is because they can't afford it. Letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices together with new limits on how much you have to pay out-of-pocket is commonsense solutions. It will strengthen Medicare and put money back in seniors' pockets, at the same time they're struggling to afford the rising cost of medicines and other basic needs.

[00:32:20] Bill Walsh: And not to mention inflation. Maybe you can talk about some of the other items that were in this bill that AARP fought for.

[00:32:29] Megan O'Reilly: So, as I've mentioned, yes, the legislation is now going to allow Medicare for the first time to negotiate the price of some of the highest-cost prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies. The bill also, starting in 2025, will put an annual limit on how much Part D prescription drug plan members will have to pay out of pocket for their medications, and in 2025, that'll be $2,000. And the bill, the new law also penalizes drugmakers that increase prices faster than the rate of inflation, and finally, the new law caps the cost of Medicare-covered insulin starting next year at just $35 a month, and eliminates out-of-pocket costs for most vaccines under Medicare, such as the shingles vaccine, which we've already talked about today. This bill will save seniors and Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars and give seniors peace of mind, knowing there is an annual limit on what they may pay out of pocket for their medications.

[00:33:26] Bill Walsh: All right, very good. What other health priorities is AARP fighting for?

[00:33:33] Megan O'Reilly: We're fighting to help family caregivers and working to provide seniors with greater access to home care and more nursing home protections. And we continue to advocate for broader dental coverage in Medicare, as well as vision and hearing care. We advocated for the new lower-cost, over-the-counter hearing aid rule that was released last month, and lower-cost hearing aids will now be available for those with low or moderate hearing loss starting in October. This comes after five years of AARP's bipartisan work with Congress and the administration to expand access to lower-cost hearing aids. We're also fighting to allow greater use of telehealth, working to solve senior hunger, advocating for mental health coverage, and fighting to expand access to affordable health care. AARP is fighting hard to improve your health care and quality of life.

[00:34:26] Bill Walsh: All right, thank you so much, Megan. Again, congratulations for all the great work. Finally, if our listeners want to stay on top of AARP's advocacy news, how can they do that?

[00:34:38] Megan O'Reilly: We would encourage everyone to go online and search AARP Fighting for You. That will lead you to a daily roundup of all the latest advocacy news and updates on our work with Congress and across the country. It's really a great way to stay informed, and we hope you will check it out.

[00:34:55] Bill Walsh: OK. AARP Fighting for You. Got it. All right. Thanks again, Megan. Now, let's turn to our other expert panelists. The last two years have altered or delayed the hopes and ambitions of millions of Americans, challenged our collective resilience and left many wondering how to move forward. There's an intense refocus on returning to norms and restoring social connections, but some older adults say they feel disconnected and adrift. Let's take a moment to address adversity and purpose with Dr. Victor Strecher and Molly MacDonald. Vic Strecher, PhD, is the director of innovation and social entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He's a leader and visionary in the fields of health and well-being, creating new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. He's the author of Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything. Thanks so much for joining us today, Dr. Strecher.

[00:35:57] Victor Strecher: Yeah, happy to be here. Can you hear me OK?

[00:35:59] Bill Walsh: I can hear you great. Thanks for being with us today. And my other guest, in 2006, Molly MacDonald founded the Pink Fund, which provides 90-day nonmedical cost-of-living expenses on behalf of breast cancer patients in active treatment. That is so they can focus on healing, raising their families and returning to the workplace. She is a 2019 AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. Thanks for joining us today, Molly.

[00:36:28] Molly MacDonald: Oh, I'm thrilled to be here. Can you hear me?

[00:36:30] Bill Walsh: I can hear you just great. We're delighted to have both of you. Dr. Strecher, let's start with you. Of course, life isn't predictable, but it's rare for so many people to simultaneously experience change like this pandemic. How have the last few years reshaped purpose for our nation, especially for older adults?

[00:36:51] Victor Strecher: Yeah, great question. Well, one thing we have found very, very clearly is that a lot of emotional and mental health concerns that public health professionals have, things like depression or anxiety, have increased very significantly. So, that is kind of expected, especially with older people, who we're seeing much greater isolation and that does have a real impact on things like depression, obviously. And certainly people just are generally feeling more anxious. I will say this, though. Older people seem to be far less depressed and anxious than younger people are. So, and it could well be because older people have gone through a lot of different things. Some, they've gone through wars, they've gone through a lot of great big, worldwide or certainly national events that have affected a lot of people. And with that comes greater anxiety sometimes, but at the same time, interestingly enough, sometimes people tend to explore existential things going on in their lives, like, Why am I here? What am I doing in my life? Sometimes these difficult times, whether it's a war or a pandemic or an earthquake or a tsunami or a loss of a loved one or a divorce or retirement, many, many life changes end up resulting in you stopping and taking a breath and going, Why am I here?, Who am I? a little bit more. What is my purpose and direction in my life? And if I feel lost, what are the things I can do to regain that purpose? So, that's what I study. That's what I help people do.

[00:38:36] Bill Walsh: Well, and you anticipated my next question, which really is advice for our listeners. We all felt loss and pain when we weren't able to gather with family and friends and when we missed out on activities and customs, all the things you just discussed. How do we resolve what we couldn't control, particularly if we're feeling stuck right now?

[00:38:56] Victor Strecher: I'm going to suggest two things: One is asking yourself, Have you discovered new values, new things that you care about now? Could you actually, could you take a piece of paper, and could you write down the things that matter most now in your life? Have they changed over time? My guess is that some of them have. And the second is, Have you discovered new strengths, strengths that you didn't know you had before the pandemic? A lot of people ran out and stripped the shelves bare of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and bought AK-47s, or whatever. They got freaked out. They pulled their money out of the bank. And other people said, How can I take care of these health care workers, or my neighbor, or my mom, or this person right next to me that I love so much? Those people start transcending in the time of difficulty. Can you find times when you did that? Are there new strengths you've discovered that you didn't know you had? Very often adversity and suffering brings on and leads to strength. And that's what I'm interested in. Post-traumatic growth. As we're moving through this pandemic, I'm knocking on wood. Hopefully, let's discover strengths that we didn't know we had.

[00:40:17] Bill Walsh: Post-traumatic growth. I love that. I love that notion. As a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question to Dr. Victor Strecher or Molly MacDonald, press *3 on your telephone keypad at any time. Let me turn to you, Molly. In 2019, you were recognized as an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. How have adversity and purpose shaped your life after the age of 50?

[00:40:46] Molly MacDonald: Well, I think what would be interesting to your listeners and to Dr. Strecher, that I once lived for many, many years a life of luxury that most Americans gamble and purchase lottery tickets assuming that will bring them happiness. And seven years prior to my 2005 breast cancer diagnosis, I had to take my five children, 4 to 13, and leave our family home, when I learned that it was going to be auctioned off at a sheriff's sale in 30 days. And I reentered the workforce after being out for 12 years wiping butts and noses, and it was a huge transition for me because I had been in the newspaper business, and that product had changed dramatically, and the internet changed everything.

[00:41:26] So that breast cancer diagnosis came at a time of job transition when I was about to get the first six-figure job where I felt like we had health insurance, the kids didn't have to have subsidized lunches at school, and that diagnosis derailed my job opportunity and left me unemployed and unemployable. And that was really the launchpad for meeting other women in similar circumstances like mine, in active treatment for breast cancer who were unable to work, and at risk of treatment nonadherence, considering going back to work and stopping treatment altogether, which would've risked earlier mortality for them. And that adversity was kind of that Oprah aha moment, like, Why isn't somebody addressing this problem? And I guess I should. So that was the launchpad for me. I was diagnosed at age 54.

[00:42:20] Bill Walsh: Wow. Talk about some post-traumatic growth, though. Well, let's talk about what you ended up doing, the Pink Fund, you founded. Tell us a little bit about it, and how has the Pink Fund managed the adversity that was brought on by the pandemic? Has it shifted your focus at all?

[00:42:39] Molly MacDonald: Well, let me tell you first how we launched. So, I had no money. The home that I had rented for cash, and that my mother at age 80 procured a 30-year mortgage while I had to make the payments when I couldn't work, went into foreclosure. Ford Credit wanted to repo my car every 58 days, and I begged them not to do that, and they extended my lease, and I had a car. I ended up in line in the basement of a church pantry for food.

[00:43:05] And meeting these other working women, I discovered that what was now called financial toxicity in health care, a term that was not coined until 2013 by Dr. Yousuf Zafar and Amy Abernethy. And I became determined to do something about it. So, with a simple belief — I think a lot about that Ted Lasso show and the "Believe" sign in the locker room — and I went home to my new husband, and I said, "I think we should start this program and pay these women's bills directly to their creditors for 90 days, to help improve treatment adherence, reduce medically related bankruptcy, and improve survivorship outcomes, and certainly their mental health as well," because that was a huge challenge for me.

[00:43:49] So we bootstrapped the whole organization. I had a beautiful dining room table that I traded for a heart-and-ribbon logo. I persuaded a friend to launch our website, and health writer at the Detroit Free Press, [inaudible] , had once been an executive, wrote a front-page story in the living section that really launched us, and then about 27 newspapers picked that up. And since then, we've delivered about $6.4 million in bills nationwide. In 2012, Ford Motor Company actually took us national when they made a significant investment in an ad campaign for Pink Fund, knowing that what we do is really essential to the health and welfare of women and some men and their families while in treatment.

[00:44:32] During COVID, we pivoted. I think it was Friday, I want to say March 14th. I can't remember what day it was, but we packed up. We all went home. Our program manager was able to run the program from her home. We were able to procure the PPP loan, and because people really understood that our services were essential to the health and well-being of those we serve, we actually did not suffer any financial losses in terms of revenue. The other reason for that, though, was that our revenue was not tied to galas and walks and runs like other charities. So we didn't have any of that loss. And I think you asked, Where are we now?

[00:45:13] Bill Walsh: Well, that's great information. I'd like to just remind our listeners, if they'd like to ask questions of Molly MacDonald or Dr. Victor Strecher, please hit a *3 on your telephone keypad. I actually wanted to ask Dr. Strecher, I mean, starting today, as we look beyond the pandemic, what are some steps each of us can take to cultivate more meaning in our lives and create a better future for us, and also for our loved ones?

[00:45:40] Victor Strecher: Well, one of the things that I mentioned briefly ... by the way, Molly, I really appreciate what you were saying. And gosh, you have gone through so much and your resilience is amazing. And I think purpose gives us resilience. You know, very often going through traumatic events, difficult times, for me this was 12 years ago, when our 19-year-old daughter suddenly passed away of a heart attack. And that was very, very powerful for me, and a few months later, I found myself not doing well at all. And I basically sat down, and I wrote what I valued the most.

[00:46:26] What matters most to me? And it turns out most of those things were not things. They were people. So I put down my students at the university. I wrote down my family. I wrote down my community, and other things that I value a lot. And then I started creating what I call Be Goals. I am here to be a really great teacher, if possible, for my students. I'm here to be a family man. Those are what I call Be Goals. And once I've set these Be Goals, these goals that say, I am here to be this person on this planet while I'm here for this brief period of time. And while I am here, those Be Goals require what I call Do Goals. In order to be the person I want to be, I'd better manage my stress. I'd better be a good listener. I'd better be energized. And then from that I start thinking what gives me more energy. And so I start thinking about, well, should I sleep better or maybe start meditating more? And I have been a meditator for a long time. Maybe be more physically active. Walking around the block every morning with my wife is now a new ritual that I … it's a COVID ritual. Walking around the block every morning with my wife and then every evening with my wife, it is now a ritual. There's certain things that we've built into our lifestyles, and I've built into my lifestyle. It gives me more energy so that I can be the person that I really need to be.

[00:47:55] Bill Walsh: Yeah, thanks so much for ...

[00:47:56] Victor Strecher: Discovering those things are important.

[00:47:59] Bill Walsh: Thanks so much for that, Dr. Strecher, and thanks very much, Molly, for sharing your story. Let's go ahead and take some questions from our listeners. A reminder, press *3 anytime on your keypad on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member. Shani, who do we have next on the line?

[00:48:16] Shani Hosten: Well, Bill, we have a few that have been sent in. The first one was to Dr. Strecher. And the question is, "After two years of being confined due to COVID, I'm still feeling stagnant and have lost interest in prior hobbies and events that I used to enjoy. How do I regain that momentum and purpose?”

[00:48:34] Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Strecher.

[00:48:35] Victor Strecher: Yeah, what a great question.

[00:48:36] Bill Walsh: I can feel for them.

[00:48:39] Victor Strecher: Oh, sure, I think everybody has kind of … well, not everybody, but many, many people, especially if you've kind of been in some degree of lockdown, where you just can't get out. It is easy to lose interest in things. I think really trying to ask, I think, again, listing out the things that matter most. I'm going to provide another little exercise that people may get a little bit concerned about, but I'll tell you, it really works very well. If you draw a headstone and you put your name on the top, and you say, I just died today, September 15th, 2022. What would I want in that epitaph? What would I want people to say about me? That person was ... whatever. How would I, as Jonas Salk actually once said later in his life, how would I become a good ancestor? How would the children and their children and their children of our society walk through this cemetery, encounter this headstone and go, “That was an amazing person. That was an amazing ancestor.” That's how I would like to think about this. Because I think what that does is spark a little fire in us to try to go, I'm not here forever. This is not practice. I need to get out onto the dance floor again and dance, and I don't care what other people say about me. I really need to get out there and be my own person.

[00:50:04] Bill Walsh: Life is not a dress rehearsal. That's good advice. I'm going to think about my own headstone after this. Let's go back to the phones and see what other questions are out there. Shani, who do we have next on the line?

[00:50:18] Shani Hosten: Actually, we have another question that's been sent in and that's for Molly. "Since the onset of COVID-19, many individuals have postponed or skipped yearly screening. And with the projections of later diagnoses, will patients face harsher treatment plans? And greater financial toxicity?"

[00:50:37] Bill Walsh: Hmm, Molly, can you field that question?

[00:50:39] Molly MacDonald: Yeah, I can, and the answer is yes and yes. And I'm going to say something that's going to make some of the health care providers unhappy, but it is my recommendation that unless you have a palpable lump or you are symptomatic, that you get your annual diagnostic mammogram in the first quarter of the year. And the reason I say that is because if you wait until October, November, December for a mammogram, and you find out that you do have breast cancer, you're going to have that deductible in the last quarter of the year, and then it's going to reset in the next quarter which is really going to land you and your family with a lot of financial challenges, particularly if you have a high deductible.

[00:51:24] Bill Walsh: OK, thanks so much, Molly. Some great advice there. Shani, let's go back to the lines. Who do we have next?

[00:51:31] Shani Hosten: Sure, we have Suzanne from Illinois.

[00:51:34] Bill Walsh: Hey, Suzanne. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:51:38] Suzanne: Hi, it's good to be here. I had a hard time with COVID because I have a couple of mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, and there's also something called reverse agoraphobia, where I'm afraid to go home and be alone, so that was tailor made to be anxiety producing. But I did find a resource, a type of thing to do, and especially lately when we were able to go out live, and I do have a question about it.

[00:52:08] I do not have much family, and the family I do have is pretty dysfunctional. I have a wonderful husband, but we have our problems. I have one girlfriend, very close, but she has her limitations. And so I wanted to meet new people. And that was my question. So, I found one answer to that was a yoga class offered by my city's free park district, yoga classes that go on every week. I went to it once, but no one was wearing masks. So I haven't been back yet. I just got the combo shot and in two weeks I'll be protected, and I will go every Thursday and keep quiet, work on my social skills a little more, because I have ADHD. That means you get a little impulsive, so I'll just be quiet. Stay for the core class, and it's an all-day program, have lunch there, and then they are having Ping-Pong from two to four. It's for very young seniors. And that's what I am. And I'm positive and I'm strong. I'm a caregiver. I still have a job. I've had it all the way through. So my question is, What other resources — and how, like this, what you said, Be Goals require Do Goals. And I've been doing that. I'm getting out as often as possible to onetime meetups — but also how can you develop closer friendships? And I know it takes a long time, even especially for seniors whom, yeah.

[00:53:35] Bill Walsh: So thanks, Suzanne, thank you. A great question, Dr. Strecher, do you have some advice for Suzanne and folks who are like her?

[00:53:42] Victor Strecher: A little bit of Suzanne's question was breaking up, but I'm going to focus and head right into the last one about how do I meet people. First of all, I love the fact that you're taking a yoga class and are going to start getting into that. I applaud you for that. Getting out and doing something like that's important. We've also found that volunteering is really, really important in giving people both purpose and giving people friends. You end up meeting people who are also giving back to their community. So you may want to look at community activities for other people who are givers. And then finally, I think listening is really important. You had mentioned your ADHD, and I think — without, I don't know your case and I'm not a therapist anyway — but I would suggest that really learning how to listen, thinking about how to really carefully and what we call deep listening, really trying to explore. What is this person trying to tell me? And maybe even feeding that back to them rather than having your own tape that you want to say, and “I can't wait to talk,” and talk over the person. You might really want to try to listen and reflect back what that person's saying. I think you're going to make friends that way.

[00:54:58] Bill Walsh: All right, some great advice. And just for our listeners, Dr. Strecher talked a little bit about how volunteering. AARP offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities around the country. If you want to check them out, go to our website, to aarp.org/volunteer, and you can find opportunities near where you live. Shani, who do we have up next?

[00:55:23] Shani Hosten: We have another question that was sent in for Molly. And the question is, "I have a friend who has been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and is financially unable to pay her mortgage and bills due to her medical bills. Is she eligible for help through the Pink Fund?”

[00:55:40] Bill Walsh: Hmm, Molly?

[00:55:41] Molly MacDonald: Certainly, our basic qualifications guidelines: Are you in active treatment for the disease, which means mastectomy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy? It does not include the five-to-10-year aromatase inhibitor treatments. Also, that the family household income must be at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level, which in some zip codes allows us to rope in the middle class, who are often left out of social support programs. And then finally, that there's been a loss of household income. So either the patient or their spouse or domestic partner has lost income. And we actually added that spouse or partner benefit — well, it's not really a benefit, but qualifier — because of COVID, when we learned that so many women were being diagnosed, but their partner or spouse had lost their job or reduced wages because of COVID. And so we changed our qualifications, which kind of widened the gate. So, I would encourage that person to go to our website, pinkfund.org, click on the prequalifying questions, and we will email you the application.

[00:56:47] Bill Walsh: Very good. Thank you so much, Molly; pinkfund.org. Shani, let's take another question.

[00:56:55] Shani Hosten: OK, the next one that was sent in says, "Where can someone who wants to bring more meaning and purpose to their life go for more information, guidance and resources?"

[00:57:05] Bill Walsh: Dr. Strecher, this one sounds written for you.

[00:57:09] Victor Strecher: I guess so, yeah. Well, of course, I do have a book called Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything. I also have a free course online, and it's done by the University of Michigan, and with Coursera, and if you go to coursera.org … and look for my name, Strecher, or just Finding Purpose. You'll get this three-week course on that that really covers a lot of detail about how to find your own purpose and the importance of having purpose.

[00:57:55] Bill Walsh: Yes, I believe that is coursera.org. Very good. Thanks for that tip. That's a great resource. This has been a really informative discussion. I want to thank all of our guests for their information and insights, and thank you, our AARP members and volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today.

[00:58:18] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, 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 today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, September 16th. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

[00:59:10] Please join us again on September 22nd for a special live Q&A event with personal finance expert Suze Orman and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, who will discuss inflation and how to manage your finances. Until then, thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Teleasamblea de AARP:

Encontrar un propósito a medida que superamos la COVID-19

 

 

Participan:

 

Dr. Ashish Jha: Coordinador de respuesta contra la COVID-19 de la Casa Blanca

 

Dr. Victor Strecher: director, Innovación y emprendimiento social,

University of Michigan

 

Molly MacDonald: fundadora y directora ejecutiva, The Pink Fund

 

Megan O'Reilly: invitada especial, vicepresidenta, AARP

 

Shani Hosten: organizadora, vicepresidenta, AARP

 

Bill Walsh: moderador, vicepresidente, AARP

 

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP, Bill Walsh, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si desean escuchar esta reunión telefónica en español, presionen asterisco y cero en su teléfono ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: AARP, una organización de membresía no partidista y sin fines de lucro, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años. Ante la pandemia mundial del coronavirus, AARP brinda información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan. Han pasado 2 años y medio desde que comenzó la pandemia de COVID-19. Y aunque la vida está volviendo a la normalidad en muchos sentidos, muchos de nosotros hemos experimentado enormes cambios durante ese período. Más de un millón de personas en el país han muerto y muchos más han perdido a sus seres queridos. Las personas experimentaron aislamiento y se perdieron reuniones con familiares, amigos y nietos. Los adultos mayores luchan por recoger los pedazos, encontrar la felicidad y encontrar un propósito. E incluso mientras avanzamos más allá de la COVID-19, todavía hay muchas preguntas e inquietudes sobre las vacunas, los refuerzos y lo que debemos hacer para permanecer sanos mientras pasemos la temporada de resfriados y gripe. Hoy, escucharán a un impresionante panel de expertos sobre estos temas y otros, y también recibiremos una actualización del Congreso sobre la legislación que afecta a los adultos mayores. Si ya han participado en alguna de nuestras teleasamblea, sabrán que es igual a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tienen la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Para quienes se unen a nosotros por teléfono, si desean hacer alguna pregunta sobre la pandemia del coronavirus, deben presionar asterisco tres en su teléfono y lo conectarán con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y su pregunta y lo colocarán en una cola para que hagan esa pregunta en vivo. Si se unen a nosotros por medio de Facebook o YouTube, pueden dejar su pregunta en la sección de comentarios. Hola, si acaban de unirse a nosotros, soy Bill Walsh, de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a este importante debate sobre la pandemia mundial del coronavirus. Hablaremos con los principales expertos y responderemos sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presionen asterisco tres en su teléfono. Y si participan por medio de Facebook o YouTube, dejen su pregunta en los comentarios. Tenemos algunos invitados destacados que se unen a nosotros hoy, incluido el Coordinador de respuesta contra la COVID-19 de la Casa Blanca, un experto en ciencias del comportamiento y un empresario galardonado que brinda apoyo y esperanza. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Shani Hosten, quien ayudará con las llamadas el día de hoy. Este evento se está grabando y pueden acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/elcoronavirus 24 horas después de que terminemos. Repito, para hacer alguna pregunta presionen asterisco tres en cualquier momento en su teléfono. Y si participan por medio de Facebook o YouTube, dejen su pregunta en los comentarios. Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados. El Dr. Ashish Jha es el coordinador de respuesta contra la COVID-19 de la Casa Blanca. Muchas gracias por estar con nosotros hoy, Dr. Jha.

 

Ashish Jha: Bill, muchas gracias por invitarme. Estoy complacido de estar acá.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Y un poco más tarde se nos unirá Victor Strecher, que es un gran orador y escritor sobre cómo encontrar un propósito en la vida, y Molly MacDonald, que es la fundadora y directora ejecutiva de The Pink Fund y becaria del Premio Propósito, de AARP. Les recuerdo de nuevo que para hacer su pregunta, deben presionar asterisco tres en su teléfono o escribirla en la sección de comentarios de Facebook o YouTube. Dr. Jha, sé que hoy solo puede estar con nosotros por un corto tiempo, así que comencemos. La subvariante BA.5 de ómicron ha sido la cepa dominante de la COVID-19 desde principios de julio, y parece ser la cepa más contagiosa de SARS-CoV-2 y tiene un mayor riesgo de reinfección. ¿Qué implica esto para el otoño? ¿Se espera que vuelva a aumentar y qué recomienda?

 

Ashish Jha: Bill, esa es una gran pregunta, un bueno punto de inicio. Lo que sabemos es que, como dijo, BA.5 es la variante dominante con relación al 90% de todas las infecciones en Estados Unidos, la más evasiva al sistema inmunitario y la más contagiosa. Y hemos visto un aumento de infecciones en los dos últimos inviernos. Ahora, ¿qué va a pasar este invierno? No lo puedo predecir con certeza, pero es lógico, dado lo que hemos visto en los últimos dos inviernos. Entonces, es muy posible que veamos nuevamente un aumento de casos. Pero la buena noticia es que estamos mucho mejor que antes, correcto, ya que tenemos una vacuna nueva compatible con la variante BA.5. Y lo que sé es que si las personas se vacunan, esta vacuna anual que ahora está disponible de forma amplia, marcará una gran diferencia y reducirá las infecciones, pero también marcará una gran diferencia para reducir las hospitalizaciones y las enfermedades más graves.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Bueno, hablemos de esa nueva vacuna que fue autorizada por la FDA y los CDC y que realmente se adaptó a las subvariantes de ómicron. Dijo que se trataba de un hito importante. ¿Puede hablar un poco más sobre por qué es así? ¿Y qué tiene de diferente esta nueva vacuna en comparación con las que quizás nuestros oyentes ya conozcan?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, por supuesto. Como sabe, las vacunas originales que han sido excelentes, han sido excelentes para prevenir enfermedades graves, se elaboraron en febrero y marzo del 2020 contra la cepa del virus que existía en ese momento, la cepa original de Wuhan. Y en los últimos dos años y medio, hemos visto cómo este virus evolucionaba, se convertía y cambiaba y llegaban nuevas variantes, y nuestras vacunas se han mantenido igual hasta ahora. Y el verano pasado, con base en toda la evidencia y los datos disponibles, la FDA tomó una decisión audaz pero importante y científicamente fundamentada para cambiar nuestras vacunas hacia lo que se llama bivalente, que es una combinación del virus anterior. Pero no es el virus real, ¿no? Está el código genético que crea una respuesta inmunitaria, pero también una vacuna dirigida a la nueva variante circulante. Y la razón por la que he dicho que es un hito importante es que creo que es un desarrollo muy emocionante. Somos el primer país del mundo en obtener una vacuna bivalente BA.5. Les diré que Europa está tratando de ponerse al día, lo harán en las próximas semanas. Pero nos hemos adelantado porque creemos que esta es una vacuna realmente importante para la gente. Debería proporcionar un nivel mucho más alto de protección contra infecciones, transmisión y enfermedades graves. Y sabe, mi mensaje al respecto es realmente muy claro. Si tiene 12 años o más, debe recibir esta vacuna contra la COVID-19 actualizada este otoño, hará una gran diferencia mientras nos acercamos a un mayor frío.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí. Y, por supuesto, también vamos hacia la temporada navideña cuando las familias se reúnen, así esperamos, ¿qué recomienda en cuanto al momento, cuándo deberían las personas recibir esta nueva vacuna?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, es una muy buena pregunta. Le diré que, en general, he estado recomendando que las personas se la pongan lo antes posible. Y déjeme decir un par de advertencias rápidas. Si ha tenido una infección o si ha recibido un refuerzo en los últimos 90 días, creo que es bastante razonable esperar 90 días desde la última infección o refuerzo. Creo que esa es una buena idea. Sabe, mis padres tienen 80 años. Apenas recibieron la vacuna la semana pasada, así que creo que es perfectamente razonable. Conozco a otras personas que van a esperar tal vez hasta finales de septiembre, cuando las vacunas contra la influenza estén más disponibles, porque quieren dársela con la vacuna contra la influenza. Creo que eso es razonable. He aquí el mensaje clave. Vacúnense pronto. Definitivamente antes de Halloween. Y eso es debido a que conviene tener la máxima protección durante el Día de Acción de Gracias y durante las vacaciones de invierno. Y la mejor manera de hacerlo es asegurarse de vacunarse mucho antes de Halloween.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿hay alguna preocupación sobre las interacciones con las vacunas comunes, como la vacuna contra la gripe o la culebrilla?

 

Ashish Jha: Sabe, el sistema inmunitario es realmente extraordinario. Les recuerdo a todos que pueden recibir una vacuna contra la gripe y una vacuna contra la COVID-19 en el mismo brazo al mismo tiempo y el sistema inmunitario funcionará bien. Puede manejar ambas, y lo hace bien. Por lo tanto, no hay ninguna desventaja inmunitaria ni clínica. Es posible que le duela un poco más el brazo, pero ya sabe, recibe dos inyecciones, listo, y luego está protegido contra los dos patógenos respiratorios principales, los virus que realmente pueden dañar a las personas y llevarlas al hospital. Así que hacerlo a la vez es algo importante. Es posible que tenga un poco de dolor en el brazo durante un día o dos.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, bien, genial. Gracias por esa información. Última pregunta antes de recibir algunas llamadas de nuestros oyentes. ¿Estamos más cerca de definir o identificar la llamada COVID-19 prolongada y cuál es la mejor manera de tratarla?

 

Ashish Jha: Bill, es una gran pregunta. Sé que muchos piensan en eso. Permítanme tomarme un minuto para hablar sobre lo que sabemos acerca de la COVID-19 prolongada y luego hablaremos sobre el tratamiento. Vemos que después de muchas infecciones virales con gripe y RSV, las personas pueden tener síntomas persistentes durante semanas. Afortunadamente, la mayoría de las personas contraen COVID-19 y se recuperan por completo, pero definitivamente hemos visto a muchas personas que luego de cuatro a seis semanas, todavía tienen algunos síntomas persistentes, en la mayoría de esos resultados. Pero, aquí está la clave del asunto, hay una pequeña proporción de personas que terminan teniendo síntomas significativos a largo plazo. Algunos síntomas son tan incapacitantes que realmente causan muchos problemas. Y realmente no entendemos del todo por qué eso les sucede a algunas personas y no a otras. Lo que sabemos es que si está vacunado y tiene las vacunas al día, es mucho menos probable que tenga esas complicaciones a largo plazo. Una razón más para vacunarse. Pero en el Gobierno federal estamos trabajando mucho realizando múltiples estudios de cohortes grandes para comprender por qué les sucede a algunas personas, y no a otras, qué podemos hacer para potencialmente prevenirlo y para potencialmente tratarlo. Definitivamente las vacunas hacen una gran diferencia en la prevención. Pero más allá de eso, todavía no conocemos muchos otros factores.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien. Bien, ahora es el momento de responder sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con el Dr. Ashish Jha, el coordinador contra la COVID-19 de la Casa Blanca. Como recordatorio, presionen asterisco tres en cualquier momento en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta en vivo. Y si desean escuchar este programa en español, presionen asterisco cero en su teléfono ahora.

 

[En español]

 

Bill Walsh: Ahora me gustaría invitar a mi colega de AARP, Shani Hosten, para ayudarlos en su llamada de hoy. Bienvenida Shani.

 

Shani Hosten: Hola Bill. Gracias por invitarme. Estoy feliz de participar en esta importante conversación.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, ¿quién está de primero en la línea para hablar con el Dr. Jha?

 

Shani Hosten: Bill, primero tenemos a Barbara de Nueva York.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Barbara, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Adelante con su pregunta.

 

Barbara: Mi pregunta es, ¿cuánto tiempo después de haber tenido COVID-19 se puede recibir la nueva vacuna, la nueva vacuna de refuerzo?

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Doctor Jha?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí. Sí. Gran pregunta, Barbara. La pregunta que se hacen muchas personas que se infectaron durante el verano. La recomendación es 90 días. Creo que ese es el plazo correcto. Así que espere tres meses desde que tuvo la infección. La razón para esperar 90 días es que le da al sistema inmunitario la oportunidad de madurar luego de la infección porque obtendrá algo de inmunidad a partir de la infección. Y luego, después de 90 días, si se da la nueva vacuna contra la COVID-19, la nueva vacuna contra la COVID-19, realmente le dará una gran ventaja al sistema inmunitario.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Siento curiosidad por la nueva vacuna, ¿se tiene una idea de la duración de la protección que brinda?

 

Ashish Jha: Oh, esa es una muy buena pregunta, Bill. Todavía no tenemos muy buenos datos sobre los beneficios a largo plazo, porque obviamente, todavía estamos dándole seguimiento. Lo que sabemos es que la cepa ancestral de la vacuna original brindaba a las personas mayores un alto grado de protección contra enfermedades graves entre seis meses y un año. Ciertamente esperamos que esto funcione al menos igual de bien, probablemente, casi con seguridad, mejor porque coincide con el virus que existe. Así que vamos a darle seguimiento cercano. Creo que para la mayoría de las personas, será una sola vacuna al año. Sabe, puede haber algunas personas mayores que estén inmunocomprometidas, que pueden necesitar protección adicional y mi compromiso, el compromiso de la Administración es que cuando demos seguimiento a los datos, si vemos que las personas necesitan protección adicional antes del próximo otoño, nos aseguraremos de que esas vacunas estén ampliamente disponibles.

 

Bill Walsh: Entiendo. Gracias. Volvamos a la línea. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Tenemos a Karen de Indiana.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Karen, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Adelante con su pregunta.

 

Karen: Me pregunto si dado que me pusieron la vacuna, y los dos refuerzos, ¿necesito esta nueva?

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Jha, creo que esa es una pregunta bastante común que se hará la gente.

 

Ashish Jha: Es una muy buena pregunta, Karen. Y lo que diría es que si han pasado más de tres meses, saldría a buscarla. Y déjeme decirle por qué. Por cierto, es el mismo caso de mis padres ancianos, se habían puesto las vacunas y dos refuerzos. Y cuando salieron las nuevas vacunas, ellos me llamaron. Y les dije que definitivamente lo recomendaba. Pensé que era lo correcto. Mire, las vacunas que ha tenido hasta ahora han hecho un gran trabajo para protegernos. Pero sabemos que la inmunidad disminuye con el tiempo. Y a medida que nos acercamos al otoño y al invierno, Karen, quisiera poder pasar tiempo con amigos y familiares sin preocuparme por enfermarme. Y la verdad es que con la variante que está circulando BA.5, estas vacunas coinciden con esa variante, por lo que debería recibir un grado de protección mucho más alto con esta. Siempre que hayan pasado 90 días desde la última inyección, le recomiendo enfáticamente que vaya a buscarla.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Tenemos a Linda de Florida.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Linda, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Continúe con su pregunta para el Dr. Jha.

 

Linda: Hola, doctor. Mi pregunta es, recientemente tuve COVID-19 el mes pasado, y luego tuve el rebote y tuve una infección secundaria subyacente. Mi pregunta es, bueno, ¿debo esperar ver una reacción adversa a la nueva vacuna cuando me la ponga? ¿Como fiebre y reinfección?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, adelante, Dr. Jha.

 

Ashish Jha: Oh, absolutamente, esa es una gran pregunta. Y, en primer lugar, nuevamente, como dije, debe esperar 90 días, ¿cierto? Así que tiene algo de tiempo desde que tuvo esa desafortunada infección, lo lamento. Pero tiene un poco de tiempo. Así que cuente 90 días, 3 meses, básicamente, desde que lo tuvo. Y lo que hemos visto hasta ahora, incluso para las personas que han tenido un rebote, pero para las personas que han tenido infecciones cuando reciben esa vacuna, no vemos muchos efectos secundarios. Los efectos secundarios como fiebre, todo eso, fue realmente más prominente en las primeras fases de la vacunación después de la segunda dosis, ya que las personas han recibido refuerzos a lo largo de los años. Con las personas que reciben esta nueva inyección, no estamos viendo muchos efectos secundarios. De todos modos, si las personas tienen efectos secundarios, tienden a durar no más de 24 horas. Obviamente, es mucho mejor que contraer COVID-19. Dicho esto, la mayoría de las cosas que vemos ahora son muy leves, incluso para personas como usted, Linda.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Muchas gracias. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Hola, tenemos a Walter de Washington.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Walter, bienvenido a nuestro programa. Adelante con su pregunta.

 

Walter: Sí, he estado leyendo cosas del Dr. Paul Offit, que parecía estar bastante involucrado con las vacunas, y leí que no era seguro para las personas que ya han recibido las cuatro inyecciones que estaban disponibles. No estoy seguro de que debamos apresurarnos y obtener esta bivalente hasta que se haya probado un poco más en seres humanos.

 

Bill Walsh: Dra. Jha, ¿qué dice al respecto? Y cuánto... ¿Cuánta ciencia hay detrás de esta última vacuna?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, antes que nada, diré que soy un gran admirador del Dr. Offit, uno de los verdaderos expertos nacionales en la materia. Sabe, creo que lo que el Dr. Offit ha estado diciendo es que, quizás para los jóvenes que han recibido todas las vacunas, esperar un poco de tiempo es razonable. Mi opinión, y nuevamente, cuando se tomó esta decisión, la tomó la FDA con los principales expertos científicos de todo el Gobierno de EE.UU., aportes de expertos externos, incluido el Dr. Offit. Él está en el comité asesor que asesoró a la FDA sobre esto. Y la fuerte recomendación del comité asesor fue seguir adelante con estas vacunas. Han sido ampliamente probadas, déjenme aclarar que de estas vacunas bivalentes había una versión BA anterior. Una bivalente que se probó en cientos y cientos de personas. Todas estas vacunas han sido extremadamente seguras de forma continua. Y la razón por la que la FDA autorizó esto y los CDC recomendaron esto es que los expertos externos de estas agencias analizaron todos los datos y dijeron, según todo lo que sabemos sobre estas vacunas, que son extraordinariamente seguras y beneficiosas. Es por eso que sigo viendo a ese amplio grupo de expertos y digo: "Estoy de acuerdo con ellos". Creo que es muy importante que vaya y se vacune, Walter. Así que mi recomendación para usted es que siempre que hayan pasado 90 días desde que recibió la última inyección, vaya a buscarla.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Y supongo que esta nueva vacuna está ampliamente disponible en las farmacias locales.

 

Ashish Jha: Así es, así es. En primer lugar, es gratis, sigue siendo gratis. Entonces, ya sabe, eso es bueno. Está disponible ampliamente en todo el país, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, si visita vaccines.gov, puede encontrar rápidamente un lugar que le quede cerca. Esperamos que alrededor del 90% de las personas del país vivan dentro de las cinco millas de un lugar que tenga estas vacunas. Entonces, ampliamente disponibles, gratis, muchos consultorios médicos, por cierto, también las tienen para que no tenga que ir necesariamente a un CVS. Y para aquellos de ustedes que no quieran usar internet para esto, está el número 1-800. Pueden llamar al 1-800-232-0233, 1-800-232-0233 y hablar con alguien que los ayudará a encontrar un lugar cercano.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Dr. Jha, muchas gracias. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Hola, tenemos a Iris de Oklahoma.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Iris, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Adelante con su pregunta. Iris, continúe con su pregunta. Quizás perdimos a Iris. ¿Tenemos otra llamada?

 

Iris: No, todavía estoy aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Ah, lo siento.

 

Iris: Hola.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Iris, bienvenida al programa. Adelante con su pregunta para el Dr. Jha.

 

Iris: Hola, Dra. Jha. Me di la vacuna Moderna y el refuerzo. ¿Debo quedarme con Moderna para el refuerzo de ómicron o puedo darme la Pfizer? ¿Ambas compañías tienen el refuerzo ómicron?

 

Ashish Jha: Ambas tienen esta ómicron, la nueva vacuna contra ómicron COVID-19, tanto Moderna como Pfizer, y es perfectamente seguro mezclarla y combinarla. Le diré mi propio historial de vacunas: comencé con Moderna y mis vacunas de refuerzo fueron Pfizer, y ambas son realmente excelentes. Y es perfectamente seguro y perfectamente razonable mezclarlas y combinarlas.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Shani, vayamos por otra pregunta.

 

Shani Hosten: Tenemos una pregunta de Facebook, de Beth. Y la pregunta es la siguiente: tengo un familiar que no ha sido vacunado, y está planeando darse la última vacuna. ¿Reciben solo una vacuna ahora?

 

Bill Walsh: Dra. Jha.

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, esa es una muy buena pregunta. Sí, es una muy buena pregunta. Desafortunadamente, si no se ha dado ninguna, debe darse dos tomas de esa serie principal. Y permítanme explicar por qué, y esa es la vacuna original, todavía tenemos muchas de esas. La razón es que necesita construir esa base inmunitaria. La vacuna original realmente creó una base de protección inmunitaria. Y luego, después de eso, puede ser apto para esta nueva vacuna contra ómicron. Entonces, no puede simplemente... es decir, si solo recibió una sola dosis de la vacuna contra ómicron, eso no le brindará el nivel de protección que realmente necesita. Entonces, en este momento, la FDA dice que debe comenzar con esa serie original. Si tiene una sola, necesita una más. Pero realmente necesita esa base original de protección, entonces la vacuna contra ómicron realmente ayudará.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Y esperaría 90 días, 6 meses antes de vacunarse contra ómicron?

 

Ashish Jha: 90 días.

 

Bill Walsh: 90 días.

 

Ashish Jha: De nuevo, sí.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien.

 

Ashish Jha: Ese es el número que la gente debe recordar, tres meses.

 

Bill Walsh: Entiendo. Está bien. Tomemos otra pregunta. ¿Shani?

 

Shani Hosten: Bien, está la de Joe de Vermont.

 

Bill Walsh: Oye, Joe, bienvenido a nuestro programa. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para el Dr. Jha?

 

Joe: Mi nombre es Joe. Gracias. Me preguntaba si en algún momento debo recibir mi segunda inyección contra la culebrilla. Y entonces necesitaría... Solo he recibido una inyección de refuerzo, no he recibido dos. Y me pregunto si recibir la inyección de refuerzo de esta vacuna, este refuerzo actual y la vacuna contra la culebrilla y la gripe, ¿es demasiado?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno. Dr. Jha, ¿qué diría sobre eso?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, es una buena pregunta. La gente a menudo se preocupa por abrumar su sistema inmunitario. ¿Será capaz de tolerar todo esto? Y un recordatorio a todos, el sistema inmunitario es increíble. El... Es verdaderamente un milagro de la naturaleza lo bien que el sistema inmunitario puede manejar esto. Por lo tanto, no hay problema con recibir las tres vacunas. Quiero decir, si quiere, puede dárselas todas el mismo día. Algunas personas pueden ver que muchos simplemente quieren espaciarlo un poco con unos días de diferencia, eso está bien. Pero absolutamente, el sistema inmunitario... porque el sistema inmunitario se desarrolló durante siglos, maneja muchas amenazas diferentes a la vez. Entonces, si recibe tres vacunas durante una o dos semanas, no hay ningún problema, podrá reconocer la vacuna, podrá desarrollar esa respuesta inmunitaria, estará protegido. Entonces, Joe, le recomendaría que definitivamente se vacune contra la COVID-19, y lo más importante, porque es el virus que más prevalece. Pero por favor, también vacúnese contra la gripe. Y si todavía se vacuna contra la culebrilla, también hágalo. Y ya sabe, el cuerpo estará bien. Será capaz de lidiar con ello.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias. Gracias por eso. Y gracias a todos nuestros oyentes por sus preguntas. Vamos a tomar más preguntas en vivo en breve. Y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, si desean ponerse en la fila para hacer su pregunta en vivo, presionen asterisco tres en su teléfono. Tenía algunas preguntas más para el Dr. Jha. Dr. Jha, los adultos mayores de 65 años en adelante que han tenido COVID-19 también experimentaron confusión mental, demencia y trastornos psicóticos a una tasa más alta en comparación con los adultos de la misma edad que tenían otras infecciones respiratorias. Eso es según un estudio de Oxford University. ¿Cómo puede un cuidador o un familiar identificar si su ser querido tiene algo más serio?

 

Ashish Jha: Bill, es una gran pregunta. Es una pregunta que me hacen mucho tanto la familia como los cuidadores y los propios pacientes que sienten que han tenido mucha confusión mental y otros síntomas persistentes. Como mencionamos anteriormente, esto es parte de la COVID-19 prolongada. Un pequeño grupo de personas entiende esto, pero sin duda es un fenómeno real y puede ser bastante problemático. Obviamente, la prevención es clave aquí. Entonces, para la mayoría de las personas, la mejor manera de evitar sufrir de eso es evitar infectarse o, si se va a infectar, es mucho, mucho mejor si ha sido vacunado, es menos probable que padezca estas cosas que pueden ser preocupantes. Y lo que le recomiendo si sus síntomas persisten, y esto se lo digo a los cuidadores o familiares, si los síntomas persisten más allá de un par de semanas, una vez que se acabe, muchas, muchas semanas o meses, es muy importante hacer una evaluación médica. Consulte a un médico de atención primaria, consulte a un neurólogo, realmente pueden evaluar exactamente lo que está sucediendo y recomendar un enfoque terapéutico y un plan de tratamiento adecuado para usted.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Un par de preguntas más. Quiero hablar un poco sobre el costo. Me pregunto si el costo de las vacunas y los tratamientos contra la COVID-19 cambiará para las personas a partir del nuevo año. ¿Cómo podría afectar eso a los adultos mayores en términos de seguro, Medicare, gastos de bolsillo, etcétera?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, muy buena pregunta. Ya sabe, durante dos años, por lo que hemos estado en esta pandemia bajo la administración de Biden, nuestro compromiso ha sido muy, muy claro, que es que hemos comprado estas vacunas en nombre del pueblo estadounidense. Y nos hemos asegurado de que las vacunas estén ampliamente disponibles de forma gratuita. Lo mismo con todos los tratamientos que existen. Pero ahora estamos en un punto diferente donde el Congreso ha decidido dejar de financiar vacunas y tratamientos. Y entonces vamos a necesitar un tiempo extra para llevar esto al ámbito comercial. Seré claro en lo que respecta al otoño, todas estas vacunas siguen siendo gratuitas porque la Administración las compró con dinero de los contribuyentes, las compramos, obtuvimos un excelente precio, y están disponibles de forma gratuita al igual que todos los tratamientos. Pero en el 2023, a lo largo del año, veremos una transición al mercado comercial porque ya no tenemos los fondos del Congreso para seguir haciendo esto. Nuestra fuerte esperanza y nuestro plan es asegurarnos de que estas cosas permanezcan sin barreras de costos, idealmente gratis o ciertamente con costos bajos para los pacientes. Por eso vamos a tratar de luchar y tratar de lograrlo. También dependerá un poco de lo que haga el Congreso y de cómo podamos hacer este cambio. Pero en este momento todas estas cosas siguen siendo gratuitas.

 

Bill Walsh: Otro incentivo para buscarla lo antes posible. Finalmente, Dr. Jha, hay dos problemas de salud pública muy diferentes que han estado en los titulares. Ha habido un brote de viruela del mono este año. Y la semana pasada, el gobernador de Nueva York declaró el estado de emergencia debido a que los casos de virus de la poliomielitis en aguas residuales continúan aumentando. ¿Qué tan preocupantes son estos virus y qué se está haciendo para combatirlos?

 

Ashish Jha: Sí, muy buena pregunta. Bill. Es importante, así que analicemos esto. Para todos... Primero, recuerden, estamos hablando de tres virus diferentes. Estamos hablando de coronavirus, estamos hablando de viruela del mono, estamos hablando de polio. Entonces, en cuanto al coronavirus, obviamente la COVID-19 está generalizada en Estados Unidos, cualquiera está en riesgo. Es muy, muy importante que tengan esta nueva vacuna de otoño para protegerse. Eso es para todas las personas. La viruela del mono es un virus que conocemos desde hace muchos, muchos años, con un brote importante este año. Y se limita casi exclusivamente a los hombres homosexuales y bisexuales, hombres de la comunidad que tienen sexo con hombres. Y lo que eso ha significado... bien, aunque ha habido algunos pocos casos de otras personas que han contraído la viruela del mono, la mayoría de los casos de viruela del mono se deben al contacto prolongado de piel con piel durante la actividad sexual. Y si no es miembro de esa comunidad, el riesgo es muy, muy bajo. Ahora hemos trabajado mucho porque queremos asegurarnos de tener este virus bajo control, queremos proteger a la comunidad de hombres gay y bisexuales. Hemos estado trabajando mucho para cambiar esto. La buena noticia es que el brote de viruela del mono en Estados Unidos alcanzó su punto máximo y comenzó a disminuir, los casos se han reducido en casi un 50%, con el trabajo de vacunación y otras cosas que estamos haciendo. Lo último sobre la polio. Ya saben, la polio es obviamente una amenaza del pasado que parece estar resurgiendo. La razón por la que está resurgiendo es que las tasas de vacunación han comenzado a caer y mucha gente joven no se ha vacunado. Entonces, si ha sido vacunado contra la polio, no tiene nada de qué preocuparse. Pero para las personas que no se han vacunado, muchas comunidades donde las tasas de vacunación son bajas, existe un riesgo real de que la polio se arraigue nuevamente. Si es una persona mayor, si lo han vacunado contra la polio, no tiene que hacer nada en este momento. Obviamente, vamos a seguir dándole seguimiento a esto. Pero si tiene familiares, hijos, nietos, que no se han vacunado contra la polio, díganles que se vayan a vacunar. Es una enfermedad que se puede prevenir con vacunación. Nadie debería contraer polio. Nadie debería enfermarse de polio. Sabemos que podemos prevenir esto.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Dr. Jha, muchas gracias por estar con nosotros hoy. El Dr. Ashish Jha es el coordinador contra la COVID-19 de la Casa Blanca. Nos encanta que haya estado hoy con nosotros, sabemos que se tiene que ir. Pero apreciamos todo el tiempo y la buena información.

 

Ashish Jha: Gracias, Bill por invitarme. Fue un honor y un placer. Y espero volver a participar en algún momento en el futuro si puedo ser útil.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, eso esperamos. Muchísimas gracias. Y a nuestros oyentes, por favor quédense con nosotros. En un momento, hablaremos con el Dr. Victor Strecher y Molly MacDonald sobre la adversidad y el propósito a medida que salimos de la pandemia, y responderemos más preguntas en vivo. Les recordamos que para hacer su pregunta, presionen asterisco tres en su teléfono. Antes de ir a las preguntas, quería darles a todos una actualización rápida del Congreso. Además de compartir recursos de información, AARP aboga por los problemas que más los afectan. Para brindarnos una actualización rápida sobre cómo AARP está luchando por ustedes, quiero traer a mi colega, la vicepresidenta Megan O'Reilly. Bienvenida, Megan.

 

Megan O’Reilly: Feliz de estar aquí, Bill.

 

Bill Walsh: En primer lugar, Megan, la felicito. El mes pasado, por supuesto, las históricas reformas de medicamentos recetados aprobadas por la cámara en el Senado se convirtieron en ley. Estos cambios les ahorrarán miles de millones de dólares a los adultos mayores y a Medicare.

 

Megan O’Reilly: Gracias. Estamos encantados con la aprobación de esta legislación histórica que es una gran victoria para todos los adultos mayores. Después de décadas de pedirle al Congreso que hiciera que los medicamentos recetados fueran más asequibles, AARP ganó la lucha para que Medicare negociara precios más bajos y ayudara a las personas mayores a ahorrar dinero en sus medicamentos.

 

Bill Walsh: Megan, hablemos de eso. ¿Por qué es tan importante permitir que Medicare negocie los precios con las compañías farmacéuticas?

 

Megan O’Reilly: Sabe, una de las cosas que más escuchamos de nuestros socios es la frustración y la desesperación que surge al tratar de pagar los precios exorbitantes de los medicamentos recetados. La razón más común por la que las personas mayores dejan de tomar los medicamentos o los racionan es que no pueden pagarlos. Permitir que Medicare negocie precios de medicamentos más bajos junto con nuevos límites sobre cuánto debe pagar de su bolsillo son soluciones de sentido común. Fortalecerá Medicare y devolverá dinero a los bolsillos de las personas mayores al mismo tiempo que luchan para pagar el costo creciente de los medicamentos y otras necesidades básicas.

 

Bill Walsh: Y sin mencionar la inflación. Tal vez pueda hablar sobre algunos de los otros artículos que estaban en este proyecto de ley por los que luchó AARP.

 

Megan O’Reilly: Como mencioné, sí, la legislación ahora permitirá que Medicare negocie por primera vez el precio de algunos de los medicamentos recetados de mayor costo con las compañías farmacéuticas. A partir del 2025, el proyecto de ley también establecerá un límite anual sobre la cantidad que los miembros del plan de medicamentos recetados de la Parte D tendrán que pagar de su bolsillo por sus medicamentos. Y en el 2025, será de $2,000. La nueva ley también penaliza a los fabricantes de medicamentos que aumentan los precios más rápido que la tasa de inflación. Y finalmente, la nueva ley limita el costo de lo cubierto por Medicare a partir del próximo año en solo $35 por mes y elimina los gastos de bolsillo para la mayoría de las vacunas bajo Medicare, como la vacuna contra la culebrilla, de la que ya hemos hablado hoy. Esta ley permitirá que las personas mayores y Medicare ahorren cientos de miles de millones de dólares y les dará la tranquilidad de saber que hay un límite anual y lo que pueden pagar de su bolsillo por sus medicamentos.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muy bien. ¿Por qué otras prioridades de salud lucha AARP?

 

Megan O’Reilly: Estamos luchando para ayudar a los cuidadores familiares y trabajando para brindar a las personas mayores un mayor acceso a la atención domiciliaria y más protección en los hogares de ancianos. Y seguimos abogando por una cobertura dental más amplia en Medicare, así como atención de la vista y la audición. Abogamos por la nueva ley de audífonos de venta libre de menor costo que se publicó el mes pasado y ahora habrá audífonos disponibles de menor costo para aquellos con pérdida auditiva baja o moderada a partir de octubre. Esto ocurre después de cinco años de trabajo bipartidista de AARP con el Congreso y la Administración para ampliar el acceso a audífonos de menor costo. También estamos luchando para permitir un mayor uso de la telesalud, trabajando para resolver el hambre de las personas mayores, defendiendo la cobertura de salud mental y luchando para ampliar el acceso a la atención médica asequible. AARP está luchando arduamente para mejorar la atención médica y la calidad de vida.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Megan. Nuevamente, felicidades por todo ese gran trabajo. Finalmente, si nuestros oyentes quieren estar al día con las noticias de defensa de AARP, ¿cómo pueden hacerlo?

 

Megan O’Reilly: Alentamos a todos a conectarse en línea y buscar "AARP Fighting for You". Eso los llevará a un resumen diario de las últimas noticias y actualizaciones sobre nuestro trabajo con el Congreso y en todo el país. Es realmente una excelente manera de mantenerse informado, esperamos que lo lean.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. AARP Fighting for You, entendido. Está bien. Gracias de nuevo, Megan. Ahora escuchemos a nuestros otros panelistas expertos. Los últimos dos años han alterado o retrasado las esperanzas y ambiciones de millones de adultos del país, han desafiado nuestra resiliencia colectiva y han dejado a muchos preguntándose cómo seguir adelante. Hay un intenso debate para volver a la normalidad y restaurar las conexiones sociales. Pero algunos adultos mayores dicen que se sienten desconectados y a la deriva. Ahora abordemos la adversidad y el propósito con el Dr. Victor Strecher y Molly McDonald. El Dr. Vic Strecher es el director de Innovación y emprendimiento social en la Facultad de Salud Pública de University of Michigan. Es un líder y visionario en los campos de la salud y el bienestar que crea nuevas soluciones que operan en el área común de la ciencia del cambio de comportamiento y la tecnología avanzada. Es el autor de "Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Changes Everything". Muchas gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Dr. Strecher.

 

Victor Strecher: Sí, feliz de estar aquí.

 

Victor Strecher: ¿Puede oírme?

 

Bill Walsh: Puedo oírlo muy bien.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias por estar con nosotros hoy.

 

Victor Strecher: Maravilloso. Claro que sí.

 

Bill Walsh: Y mi otra invitada, en el 2006, Molly MacDonald fundó The Pink Fund, que proporciona costos de vida no médicos de 90 días en nombre de pacientes con cáncer de mama y tratamiento activo. Eso es para que puedan concentrarse en curarse, criar a sus familias y regresar al lugar de trabajo. Es becaria del Premio Propósito de AARP del 2019. Gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Molly.

 

Molly MacDonald: Oh, estoy encantada de estar aquí. ¿Puede oírme?

 

Bill Walsh: La escucho muy bien. Estamos encantados de tenerlos a los dos. Dr. Strecher, empecemos con usted. Por supuesto, la vida es impredecible. Pero es raro que tantas personas experimenten cambios de forma simultánea como esta pandemia. ¿Cómo han cambiado los últimos años el propósito de nuestra nación, especialmente para los adultos mayores?

 

Victor Strecher: Sí, gran pregunta. Bueno, una cosa que hemos encontrado de forma muy clara es que muchos de los problemas de salud emocional y mental que conciernen a los profesionales de la salud pública, como la depresión o la ansiedad, han aumentado de manera muy significativa. Eso es algo que se espera, especialmente con las personas mayores que, ya sabe, estamos viendo un aislamiento mucho mayor. Y eso tiene un impacto real en cosas como la depresión, obviamente, y ciertamente las personas generalmente se sienten más ansiosas. Debo decirlo, aunque las personas mayores parecen estar mucho menos deprimidas y ansiosas que las personas más jóvenes. Entonces… Y bien podría ser porque la gente mayor ha pasado por muchas cosas diferentes. Algunos han pasado por guerras, han pasado, ya sabe, por muchos grandes eventos mundiales o ciertamente hechos a nivel nacional que han afectado a mucha gente. Y eso, a veces, conlleva una mayor ansiedad, pero al mismo tiempo, curiosamente, a veces las personas tienden a explorar cosas existenciales que suceden en su vida, como ¿por qué estoy aquí? ¿Qué estoy haciendo en mi vida? A veces, estos tiempos difíciles, ya sea una guerra, una pandemia, un terremoto, un tsunami, la pérdida de un ser querido, un divorcio o una jubilación, muchos, muchos cambios de vida terminan en que se detiene, toma un respiro y dice: "¿Por qué estoy aquí? ¿Quién soy? ¿Cuál es mi propósito y dirección en mi vida? Y si me siento perdido, ¿qué puedo hacer para recuperar ese propósito?". Entonces eso es lo que estudio. En eso ayudo a la gente.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, y anticipó mi próxima pregunta, que en realidad es un consejo para nuestros oyentes. Todos sentimos pérdida y dolor cuando no pudimos reunirnos con familiares y amigos, y nos perdimos actividades y tradiciones, todas las cosas que acaba de argumentar. ¿Cómo resolvemos lo que no pudimos controlar, particularmente si nos sentimos estancados en este momento?

 

Victor Strecher: Voy a sugerir dos cosas. Lo primero es preguntarse, ¿ha descubierto nuevos valores, cosas nuevas que le importan ahora? ¿Podría realmente… podría tomar una hoja de papel y escribir las cosas que más importan ahora en su vida, si cambiaron con el tiempo? Apuesto a que sí las hay. Y la segunda es, ¿ha descubierto nuevas fortalezas, fortalezas que no sabía que tenía antes de la pandemia? Ya sabe, mucha gente salió corriendo y saquearon los estantes de papel higiénico y desinfectante para manos y compraron AK-47 o lo que sea, ya sabe, se asustaron, sacaron el dinero de su banco. Y otras personas decían: "¿Cómo puedo cuidar a estos trabajadores de la salud o a mi vecino o a mi mamá o a esta persona que está a mi lado y que quiero tanto?" Esas personas empiezan a trascender en un momento de dificultad. ¿Puede encontrar momentos en los que hizo eso? ¿Hay nuevas fortalezas que ha descubierto que no sabía que tenía? Muy a menudo, la adversidad y el sufrimiento provocan y llevan a la fortaleza. Y eso es lo que me interesa del crecimiento postraumático. A medida que salimos de esta pandemia, toco madera, descubramos fortalezas que no sabíamos que teníamos.

 

Bill Walsh: Crecimiento postraumático. Me encanta eso... Me encanta esa noción. Como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes para que hagan sus preguntas al Dr. Victor Strecher, y Molly MacDonald, presionen asterisco tres en su teléfono en cualquier momento. Voy con usted, Molly. En el 2019, fue reconocida como miembro del Premio Propósito de AARP. ¿Cómo moldearon su vida la adversidad y el propósito después de cumplir 50?

 

Molly MacDonald: Bueno, creo que sus oyentes y el Dr. Strecher encontrarán interesante saber que viví durante muchos, muchos años de vida un lujo que la mayoría de las personas quisieran y por el que compran boletos de lotería suponiendo que eso les traerá felicidad. Y cuando me diagnosticaron cáncer de mama en el 2005, tuve que llevarme a mis cinco hijos y dejar la casa de nuestra familia cuando me enteré de que iba a ser subastada en una venta de alguacil en 30 días. Y volví a ingresar a la fuerza laboral después de estar fuera durante 12 años limpiando pompis y narices. Y fue una gran transición para mí porque había estado en el negocio de los periódicos y ese producto había cambiado drásticamente. E internet lo cambió todo. Así que el diagnóstico de cáncer de mama llegó en un momento de transición laboral cuando estaba a punto de conseguir el primer trabajo de seis cifras, donde tendríamos un seguro médico, los niños no tendrían almuerzos subsidiados en la escuela. Y ese diagnóstico descarriló mi oportunidad laboral y me dejó desempleada y sin poder ser empleada. Y esa fue realmente la plataforma de lanzamiento para conocer a otras mujeres en circunstancias similares a la mía y en tratamiento activo para el cáncer de mama, mujeres que no podían trabajar y corrían el riesgo de no cumplir con el tratamiento, que estaban considerando volver a trabajar y suspender el tratamiento por completo, lo que supondría un riesgo de muerte más temprana para ellas. Y esa adversidad fue una especie de momento para comprender. Algo como, ¿por qué nadie está abordando este problema? Y supuse que sería yo. Así que en mi caso, esa fue la plataforma de lanzamiento. Fui diagnosticada a los 54 años.

 

Bill Walsh: Guao. Hablando de crecimiento postraumático, hablemos de lo que terminó haciendo The Pink Fund que fundó. ¿Cómo...? Cuéntenos un poco al respecto. ¿Y cómo ha manejado The Pink Fund la adversidad que trajo la pandemia? ¿Ha cambiado su enfoque?

 

Molly MacDonald: Bueno, déjeme contarle primero cómo fue el lanzamiento. Así que no tenía dinero. Alquilé la casa con efectivo y mi madre de 80 años procuró una hipoteca de 30 años mientras yo tenía que hacer los pagos. Cuando no pude trabajar entró en ejecución hipotecaria. Ford Credit quería embargar mi auto cada 58 días y les rogué que no lo hicieran. Y extendieron mi contrato de arrendamiento y tuve un auto. Acabé haciendo cola en el sótano de la despensa de una iglesia para conseguir comida. Y al conocer a estas otras mujeres trabajadoras descubrí lo que ahora se llama toxicidad financiera en el cuidado de la salud, un término que no fue acuñado hasta el 2013 por el Dr. Yousuf Zafar y Amy Abernethy. Y decidí que haría algo al respecto. Entonces, solo creyendo, pienso mucho en que el último niño que mostró el letrero de "creer" en el vestuario, y me fui a casa con mi nuevo esposo. Y dije: "Creo que deberíamos comenzar este programa y pagar las facturas de estas mujeres directamente a sus acreedores durante 90 días para ayudar a mejorar el cumplimiento del tratamiento, reducir la bancarrota médica y mejorar los resultados de supervivencia y, sin duda, también su salud mental porque eso fue un gran desafío para mí". Así que arrancamos con toda la organización. Cambié… Tenía una hermosa mesa de comedor que cambié por un logo de corazón y un lazo. Convencí a un amigo para que lanzara un sitio web, y un escritor de salud en Detroit Free Press, que una vez fue ejecutivo, escribió un artículo de primera plana en la sección de vida que realmente nos lanzó, y luego unos 27 periódicos lo recogieron. Y desde entonces, hemos entregado cerca de 6.4 millones en facturas a nivel nacional. En el 2012, Ford Motor Company nos llevó a nivel nacional cuando realizó una inversión significativa en una campaña publicitaria para Pink Fund, sabiendo que lo que hacemos es realmente esencial para la salud y el bienestar de las mujeres, los hombres y algunos hombres y sus familias. Durante la COVID-19, cambiamos, creo que fue el viernes, o digamos el 14 de marzo, no recuerdo qué día fue, pero empacamos y todos nos fuimos a casa. Nuestro gerente de programa pudo ejecutar el programa desde su casa, pudimos obtener el préstamo PPP. Y debido a que la gente realmente entendió que nuestros servicios eran esenciales para la salud y el bienestar de aquellos a quienes servimos, en realidad no sufrimos ninguna pérdida financiera en términos de ingresos. Sin embargo, otra razón fue que nuestros ingresos no estaban vinculados a galas, caminatas y carreras como otras organizaciones benéficas, por lo que no tuvimos ninguna pérdida. Preguntó creo ¿dónde estamos ahora?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno, esa es una gran información. Quisiera recordarles a nuestros oyentes que si desean hacer preguntas a Molly MacDonald o al Dr. Victor Strecher, presionen asterisco tres en el teléfono. De hecho, quería preguntarle al Dr. Strecher, a partir de hoy, mientras miramos más allá de la pandemia, ¿cuáles serían algunos pasos que cada uno de nosotros puede dar para agregar más significado en nuestra vida y crear un futuro mejor para nosotros y también para nuestros seres queridos?

 

Victor Strecher: Bueno, una de las cosas que mencioné brevemente, Molly, realmente aprecio lo que estabas diciendo. Y, Dios mío, ha pasado por mucho y su capacidad de resiliencia es asombrosa. Y creo que el propósito nos da resiliencia, pasar por eventos traumáticos, momentos difíciles. En mi caso fue hace 12 años cuando nuestra hija de 19 años falleció repentinamente de un ataque al corazón. Y eso fue muy, muy poderoso para mí. Y unos meses más tarde, me encontré bastante mal. Y básicamente me senté y escribí lo que más valoraba, lo que más me importa, cuáles son las cosas que más me importan. Y resulta que la mayoría de esas cosas no eran cosas, eran personas. Entonces escribí "mis estudiantes en la universidad", escribí "mi familia", escribí "mi comunidad" y otras cosas que valoro mucho. Y luego empiezo a crear lo que llamo grandes objetivos. Estoy aquí para ser un gran maestro, si es posible, para mis alumnos, estoy aquí para ser un hombre de familia. Esos son lo que yo llamo grandes objetivos. Y una vez que he establecido estas grandes metas, estas metas que dicen, estoy aquí para ser esta persona en este planeta, mientras estoy aquí por este breve período. Y mientras estoy aquí, esas grandes metas requieren lo que yo llamo lograr metas. Para ser la persona que quiero ser, es mejor, ya sabe, manejar bien mi estrés, es mejor que sea un buen oyente, es mejor que tenga energía. Y luego, a partir de eso, comencé a pensar, qué me da más energía. Entonces empiezo a pensar, bueno, ¿debería dormir mejor, tal vez comenzar a meditar más, o he sido un meditador durante mucho tiempo, tal vez ser más activo físicamente, caminar por la cuadra todas las mañanas con mi esposa, ahora es un nuevo ritual que es un ritual COVID-19, caminar alrededor de la cuadra todas las mañanas y luego todas las noches con mi esposa, ahora es un ritual. Hay ciertas cosas que hemos integrado en nuestro estilo de vida y que he integrado en mi estilo de vida, me da más energía para que pueda ser la persona que realmente necesito ser.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí. Muchas gracias por...

 

Victor Strecher: Descubrir esas cosas es importante.

 

Bill Walsh: Muchas gracias por eso, Dr. Strecher y muchas gracias, Molly, por compartir sus historias. Sigamos adelante y respondamos algunas preguntas de nuestros oyentes. Les recuerdo presionar asterisco tres en cualquier momento en el teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora en la línea?

 

Shani Hosten: Bueno, Bill, tenemos algunas enviadas, y la primera es para el Dr. Strecher. Dice así, "después de dos años de estar confinado debido a la COVID-19, todavía me siento estancado y he perdido el interés en pasatiempos y eventos que antes solía disfrutar. ¿Cómo recupero ese impulso y propósito?"

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Strecher.

 

Victor Strecher: Sí, qué gran pregunta.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, casi lo siento también.

 

Victor Strecher: Oh, seguro. Creo que todo el mundo tiene... bueno, no todo el mundo, pero mucha, mucha gente, especialmente si ha estado en algún grado de encierro, donde simplemente no puede salir, es fácil perder el interés por las cosas. Creo que tratando de preguntar, de nuevo, enumerando las cosas que más importan. Voy a proporcionar otro pequeño ejercicio que puede preocupar un poco a la gente, pero les diré que realmente funciona muy bien. Si dibuja una lápida y pone su nombre en la parte superior, y dice, acabo de morir hoy, 15 de septiembre del 2022, ¿qué querría yo en ese epitafio? ¿Qué me gustaría que la gente dijera sobre mí? Esa persona era, lo que sea. ¿Cómo podría yo, como Jonas Salk dijo una vez más adelante en su vida, "¿Cómo me convertiría en un buen antepasado?" Yo, los niños y sus hijos y sus hijos de nuestra sociedad caminarían por este cementerio, se encontrarían con esta lápida y dirían: "Era una persona asombrosa. Ese era un antepasado asombroso". Así es como me gusta pensar en esto. Porque creo que lo que hace es encender un poco de fuego en nosotros para tratar de andar, no estoy aquí para siempre. Esto no es práctica. Necesito salir a la pista de baile de nuevo y bailar y no me importa lo que digan los demás sobre mí. Realmente necesito salir y ser mi propia persona.

 

Bill Walsh: La vida no es un ensayo general. Ese es un buen consejo. Voy a pensar en mi propia lápida después de esto. Volvamos a las llamadas y veamos qué otras preguntas hay. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora en la línea?

 

Shani Hosten: En realidad tenemos otra pregunta enviada. Y es para Molly. Desde el inicio de la COVID-19, muchas personas pospusieron o se saltaron las pruebas de detección anuales. Y con las proyecciones de diagnósticos posteriores, ¿los pacientes enfrentarán planes de tratamiento más severos y una mayor toxicidad financiera?

 

Bill Walsh: Molly, ¿puede responder esa pregunta?

 

Molly MacDonald: Sí, puedo. Y la respuesta es sí y sí. Y voy a decir algo que hará que algunos de los proveedores de atención médica se sientan descontentos. Pero mi recomendación es que, a menos que tenga un bulto palpable o sea sintomático, se haga una mamografía de diagnóstico anual en el primer trimestre del año. Y la razón por la que digo eso es que si espera hasta octubre, noviembre o diciembre para hacerse una mamografía y descubre que tiene cáncer de mama, tendrá ese deducible en el último trimestre del año, y luego se restablecerá en el próximo trimestre, lo que realmente pondrá a usted y a su familia frente a muchos desafíos financieros, especialmente si tiene un deducible alto.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, muchas gracias, Molly. Un gran consejo. Shani, volvamos a las llamadas. ¿A quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Claro, tenemos a Suzanne de Illinois.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Suzanne, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Adelante con su pregunta.

 

Suzanne: Hola, me alegro de estar aquí. La pasé mal con la COVID-19 porque tengo un par de enfermedades mentales, ansiedad y depresión. Y también hay algo llamado agorafobia inversa es decir, tengo miedo de ir a casa y estar sola. Así que eso fue ideal para producirme ansiedad. Pero encontré un recurso, algo que hacer, y especialmente últimamente, cuando pudimos salir. Y tengo una pregunta al respecto. No tengo mucha familia y la familia que tengo es bastante disfuncional. Tengo un esposo maravilloso, pero tenemos nuestros problemas. Tengo una amiga muy cercana, pero tiene sus limitaciones. Y por eso quería conocer gente nueva. Y esa era mi pregunta. Así que encontré una respuesta a eso: una clase de yoga gratuita ofrecida por el Distrito de Parques de mi ciudad que se llevan a cabo durante toda la semana. Fui una vez, pero nadie llevaba mascarillas. Así que todavía no he vuelto. Acabo de recibir la inyección combinada y en dos semanas estaré protegida. E iré todos los jueves y me calmaré, ya sabe, trabajaré un poco más en mis habilidades sociales, porque tengo TDAH. Eso significa que me vuelvo impulsiva. Así que estaré calmada. Me quedo para la clase principal, y es un programa de todo el día, almuerzo allí. Y luego juego ping pong de dos a cuatro. Es para personas mayores jóvenes.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí.

 

Suzanne: Y así soy. Y soy positiva y soy fuerte. Soy cuidadora. Todavía tengo un trabajo. Lo he tenido todo el tiempo. Así que mi pregunta es, qué otros recursos y cómo estos, lo que dijo, las grandes metas requieren hacer metas. Y he estado haciendo eso, salgo con la mayor frecuencia posible para reunirme. Pero también, ¿cómo puede formar amistades más cercanas? Y sé que lleva mucho tiempo, especialmente para las personas mayores...

 

Bill Walsh: Sí.

 

Suzanne: Quién... Sí.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Suzanne. Gracias. Gran pregunta. Dr. Strecher, ¿tiene algún consejo para Suzanne y la gente como ella?

 

Victor Strecher: Parte de su pregunta se escuchó mal. Pero me voy a concentrar y pasar directamente a la última parte sobre cómo conocer gente. En primer lugar, me encanta el hecho de que está tomando una clase de yoga y va a empezar a involucrarse en eso. La aplaudo por eso. Salir y hacer algo así es importante. También descubrimos que el voluntariado es muy, muy importante para darles a las personas un propósito y darles amigos, termina conociendo a personas que también están retribuyendo a su comunidad. Por lo tanto, es posible que desee buscar actividades comunitarias para otras personas que son cuidadoras. Y finalmente, creo que escuchar es muy importante. Usted había mencionado su TDAH, y creo que, no conozco su caso y no soy terapeuta de todos modos, pero sugeriría que realmente aprender a escuchar, pensar en cómo realmente cuidadosamente y lo que llamamos escucha profunda, realmente tratar de explorar. ¿Qué está tratando de decirme esta persona? Y tal vez incluso devolverle eso en lugar de tener su propia historia que quiere decir, y "no puedo esperar a hablar", y hablar por encima de la persona. Tal vez quiera realmente intentar escuchar y reflejar lo que esa persona está diciendo. Creo que así hará amigos.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, un gran consejo. Y para nuestros oyentes, el Dr. Strecher habló un poco sobre el voluntariado, AARP ofrece una amplia variedad de oportunidades de voluntariado en todo el país. Si desean consultarlos, visiten nuestro sitio web en aarp.org/volunteer y podrán encontrar oportunidades cerca de donde viven. Shani, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

 

Shani Hosten: Tenemos otra pregunta enviada a Molly. Y la pregunta dice, tengo una amiga a la que le han diagnosticado cáncer de mama en etapa 2 y económicamente no puede pagar su hipoteca ni sus facturas médicas. ¿Califica para la salud a través de The Pink Fund?

 

Bill Walsh: Molly.

 

Molly MacDonald: Ciertamente, nuestras pautas de calificaciones básicas son ¿está en tratamiento activo para la enfermedad?, lo que significa mastectomía, quimioterapia o radioterapia, no incluye los tratamientos con inhibidores de 5 a 10 años. También ¿hizo que el ingreso familiar del hogar sea igual o inferior al 500% del nivel federal de pobreza? lo que en algunos códigos postales nos permite atraer a la clase media que a menudo queda fuera de los programas de apoyo social. Y finalmente, ¿ha habido una pérdida de ingresos familiares? Entonces, el paciente o su cónyuge o pareja de hecho ha perdido ingresos. Y de hecho agregamos que los beneficios de cónyuge o pareja, no, no es realmente un beneficio sino un calificador. Y debido a la COVID-19, cuando supimos que tantas mujeres estaban siendo diagnosticadas pero su pareja o cónyuge había perdido su trabajo o se le había reducido su salario debido a la COVID-19, entonces cambiamos nuestras calificaciones, lo que en cierto modo amplió la puerta. Animo a esa persona a visitar nuestro sitio web, pinkfund.org, hacer clic en las preguntas de precalificación y le enviaremos la solicitud por correo electrónico.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Muchas gracias, Molly, pinkfund.org Shani, tomemos otra pregunta.

 

Shani Hosten: Bien, la siguiente que se envió dice: "¿Dónde puede alguien que quiere darle más significado y propósito a su vida buscar más información, orientación y recursos?"

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Strecher, esta parece hecha para usted.

 

Victor Strecher: Supongo que sí. Sí, bueno, por supuesto. Tengo un libro llamado "Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything". También tengo una línea de cursos gratis. Y está hecho por University of Michigan y con Coursera. Y si va a Coursera.org, creo que solo es C-O-U-R-S-E-R-A, o tal vez E o A, tengo que verificar eso. Pero en Coursera.org y busca mi nombre, S-T-R-E-C-H-E-R, Strecher o simplemente buscando un propósito, obtendrá este curso de tres semanas. Y eso realmente cubre muchos detalles sobre cómo encontrar su propio propósito y la importancia de tener un propósito.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, creo que es Coursera.org C-O-U-R-S-E-R-A punto O-R-G. Muy bien. Gracias por ese consejo. Eso es... Ese es un gran recurso. Esta ha sido una discusión muy informativa. Quiero agradecer a todos nuestros invitados por su información y puntos de vista. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en la discusión de hoy. AARP, una organización de membresía no partidista y sin fines de lucro, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años. Ante esta crisis, brindamos información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus y evitar que se propague a otros mientras se cuidan. Todos los recursos a los que hicimos referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se pueden encontrar en aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir de mañana, 16 de septiembre. Vayan allí si su pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como la información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares. Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse saludables. Vuelvan a participar el 22 de septiembre en un evento especial de preguntas y respuestas en vivo con la experta en finanzas personales, Suze Orman y la directora ejecutiva de AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins, quienes hablarán sobre la inflación y cómo administrar sus finanzas. Hasta entonces, gracias y que tengan un buen día. Esto concluye nuestra llamada.

Finding Purpose as we Move Beyond COVID

Listen to a replay of the event above

Join AARP for a special tele-town hall where we will address the topic of Finding Purpose As We Move Beyond COVID. Life isn’t predictable, but it’s rare to collectively experience enormous change like we’ve done through the pandemic. Many lost loved ones, experienced isolation, and the loss of gathering with family, friends and grandchildren. Hear from experts on steps to take to find purpose and happiness in life in the face of adversity. We will also discuss the latest COVID developments including boosters, what to expect heading into cold and flu season, and the physical and mental impact of COVID.

This event will focus on the following areas:

  • How to find purpose in life that leads to better health and overall happiness.
  • The latest update on COVID boosters, long COVID and what to expect as we head into cold and flu season.
  • The physical and mental toll of COVID, what it means for older adults and when to seek help.

Experts:

  • Ashish Jha, MD, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.
  • Victor Strecher, PhD, Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Molly MacDonald, Founder and CEO of The Pink Fund and Purpose Prize Fellow (2019)

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


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • October 21 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Treatments and Flu Season
  • September 29 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Flu Season and Telling Our Stories
  • September 15 - Coronavirus: Finding Purpose as we Move Beyond COVID
  • June 2 - Coronavirus: Living With COVID
  • May 5 - Coronavirus: Life Beyond the Pandemic
  • April 14Coronavirus: Boosters, Testing and Nursing Home Safety
  • March 24Coronavirus: Impact on Older Adults and Looking Ahead
  • March 10Coronavirus: What We’ve Learned and Moving Forward
  • February 24Coronavirus: Current State, What to Expect, and Heart Health
  • February 10 - Coronavirus: Omicron, Vaccines and Mental Wellness
  • January 27 - Coronavirus: Omicron, Looking Ahead, and the Impact on Nursing Homes
  • January 13 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe During Changing Times
  • December 16 - Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About Boosters, Vaccines & Variants
  • December 9 - Coronavirus: Boosters, Vaccines and Your Health
  • November 18 - Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered — Vaccines, Misinformation & Mental Wellness
  • November 4 - Coronavirus: Boosters, Health & Wellness
  • October 21 - Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Caring for Loved Ones
  • October 7 - Coronavirus: Boosters, Flu Vaccines and Wellness Visits
  • September 23 - Coronavirus: Delta Variant, Boosters & Self Care
  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1 - Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25 - Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25 - Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe