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in or Subscribe See Offers. Jan Berlin of Portland participates in Zoom chats through a University of New England program that connects people 55 and over, in an effort to help them overcome feelings of isolation during the pandemic.
For the last 10 years, Dr. Jan Berlin has met with a small group of friends every Friday morning to have breakfast. That is, until the coronavirus pandemic broke out. At 85, Berlin is in a higher-risk group should he contract the virus, so the breakfasts ended. Other than that, however, his excursions are fairly limited. Recently, he has found a way to stay socially connected in a world that is maine chats shrinking for many older adults. After the coronavirus shut down the research portion, Dr. Each week, they hold several online Zoom video chats to help ease any feelings of isolation or loneliness the older adults might be feeling.
Berlin, a retired ophthalmologist who has lived alone following the death of his wife, Louise, two years ago, looks forward to each meeting. For Miriam Congdon of Scarborough, it also provides comfort. And that can be important at a time like this. Making some informal connections, even though only at a distance, is important.
That was the idea behind the Zoom chats, according to Meuser, maine chats clinical psychologist and a professor of social work at UNE. With UNE shifting to online classes, they felt going that way might work as well. Meuser and Woolard, among others, are facilitating the Zoom chats, which provide peer support and fellowship meetings.
All chat sessions are recorded and available for viewing
And because older adults are at risk, many feel personally vulnerable at this time. He always did what he wanted to do and when he wanted to do it. As we get older, our social networks get smaller. And you might not know how to reach out. What we are doing is reaching out.
University of New England photo. The network is led by Dublin City University in Ireland and centers on the role higher education plays in meeting the challenges and opportunities of an aging population.
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As director of the center, Meuser wanted to search for ways to make UNE more age-friendly, to find ways to get older Mainers more involved with the school. Thus he began the Legacy Scholars. The Legacy Scholars would attend university events deed to engage them in fellowship and education.
The events and research ended with the virus outbreak, but Meuser knew he had to do something to maintain the fellowship. They offer three kinds of Zoom chats: a virtual coffee and conversation, a peer connection support group and a reminiscence group.
In the two weeks or so that the Zoom chats have been held, Meuser estimates they average about seven individuals on each chat. Most have taken quickly to Zoom while others have had help from relatives to set things up.
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Those without internet access can call in to the chats on their phones. The one-hour chats begin with introductions and then a centering exercise, a meditation to help relieve stress. They sometimes come with a theme, but often they never get to talk about the theme. Instead, the participants simply talk.
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They really care. And that in itself is pretty important at this time.
Carly Woolard is a UNE grad assistant who has been helping to facilitate the Zoom meetings for older adults. In the very first session, Meuser taught the participants how to brew kombucha, a fermented tea with ginger, at home. Berlin was intrigued by it.
It was great.
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Berlin said living alone the last two years has somewhat prepared him for the current isolation. He ed the Legacy Scholars because he was fascinated by the data they might collect.
And while he engages in Zoom chats with his breakfast club friends, these are different. Are there folks in your community going out of their way to help others during the virus outbreak? If so, please send details about their efforts to [ protected]. Please wait for the to reload.
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By Mike Lowe Staff Writer. Related Maine Acts of Kindness: Read about charitable efforts during the pandemic. and password to access comments. address Password Forgot Password? Don't have a Talk profile? Create one.
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