mental health

Connected Loneliness

By: Christina Bein   

Have you grown up observing that talking about feelings are reserved for a certain range of emotions? Humans are born with the ability to express a set of primary emotions in their early life. This includes joy, sadness, fear, surprise, anger, and disgust. All emotions can be linked back to these primary ones (see emotions wheel). In a lot of societies, it’s appropriate and easier to talk about feelings linked to joy, surprise, and disgust. It’s acceptable to share happiness and celebrate with someone. It’s OK to feel surprised about something unexpected. It’s also somewhat more normalized to say when something is displeasing. 

These are surface level experiences that society is comfortable acknowledging. When it comes to the other primary emotions, it becomes harder to share. This makes it more difficult to be authentic. It also makes it challenging for people to learn to understand, how to be empathetic, and hold space for what is perceived as “uncomfortable” emotions.

In many cultures the feelings of fear, sadness, and anger are taught to be repressed. This makes it harder to be connected to one’s genuine and vast range of responses to life. 

Generally viewing history, the aforementioned repressed feelings were associated with weakness (not valued to help with survival) and has generationally been pervasive as teachings through the greater expanse of lineages. The following generations interpret how they are not welcomed or given a safe space to talk about what they are struggling with, or that their feelings are just “too much.” This creates disconnect and loneliness.

The feeling of loneliness coupled with negative thoughts builds the idea that no one can understand that we do not want to burden others with this struggle. It leads to isolation. 

When a person is alone with a persistent negative narrative it can start to seem like no one can help. This negative thought loop is like running in a hamster wheel. It goes nowhere productive, just stuck and suspended in one place that feels terrible. The way through loneliness and despair is to get unstuck from that hamster wheel, to reach out for a lifeline. Talking to someone else that is trustworthy and can kindly hold space for feelings is a great resource to interrupt the negative thought loop. 

Effort is a required initiative in making social connections, and positive relationships are an effective aspect of overcoming depression.

It’s OK to Ask for Help

Not everyone may be well equipped to hold space for the myriad of human experiences, but there are trained people who can be helpful. Here’s a start on where to find them. Explore options to seek support from a mental health therapist. It’s great to start with your insurance provider to find in-network providers. Or explore local agencies and practices to see if they are accepting new clients or sign up to be on their waitlist.

Call or Text 988 to reach the Suicide Prevention Hotline

It’s a 24/7 service with trained crisis counselors to provide compassionate support.

Walk-in Crisis Clinics

Portland, OR: Cascadia Urgent Walk-In Clinic. It’s open 7 days a week, Monday-Friday

from 7am to 9pm. Saturday-Sunday from 9am-9pm.

Located at 4212 SE Division, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97206. Call at (503) 963-2575.

Eugene, OR: Hourglass Community Crisis Center. It’s open 24 hours a day from Monday-

Friday and 8am-12am from Saturday-Sunday.

Located at 2443, 71 Centennial Loop suite a, Eugene, OR 97401. Call at (541) 505-8426.

Both offer mental health crisis care from trained professionals that can also connect people with further needed supportive services.

Become familiar with your local mental health Mobile Crisis Services like:

Portland, OR: Project Respond | 503-988-4888

Eugene, OR: CAHOOTS | (541) 682-5111

Trained crisis mental health professionals go out into the community, to the location of the distressed person in need of supportive mental health services. This is also a service that people can call to support someone they care about.

Inpatient hospitalization for mental or behavioral health:

Portland, OR: Unity Behavioral Health. Open 24/7.

Located at 1225 NE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97232. Call at (503) 944-8000.

Eugene, OR: Inpatient Behavioral Health at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center

University District. Open 24/7.

Located at 770 E 11th Avenue Eugene, OR 97401. Call at (458) 205-7013.

Voluntary inpatient hospitalization for mental health crisis, especially when one is at risk of hurting oneself.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP):

Is a short-term and therapeutic psychiatric treatment program that functions within a group setting to support safety, stability, and helpful coping.

Several hospitals provide IOP services. It would be beneficial to check with your insurance provider to see which program location would be in-network. Otherwise, contact your local hospital or medical clinic for program inquiry.

You don’t have to be alone. Explore how you can get connected.

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U.S. Suicides Hit All-Time High in 2022

By: Betsy Pownall

Three weeks ago the Center for Disease Control posted the number of completed suicides in the United States in 2022. About 49,500 people took their lives last year, the highest number in our history. It is suggested that the United States suicide rate is “more common in the U.S. than at any time since the dawn of World War II”.

Suicide is complicated and a range of factors are driving the rates up, such as depression and availability of mental health services. The nation’s gun suicide rate was the highest last year, and for the first time, Black teen suicide rates surpassed white teens, researchers at Johns Hopkins Unviversity discovered.

The largest increases are in adults, ages 45-65 and more than 8% in people 65 and older. White men, in particular, have high rates. The CDC is expanding a suicide program to fund more prevention in communities through schools and community agencies.

There has been more than an 8% drop in suicides in people ages 10-24 in 2022, which could be because of the increased attention being paid to youth and adolescent mental health.

Read the article here: US suicides hit an all-time high last year – AP News

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How The Beach Can Support Your Mental Health

Sandcastles, crashing waves, and the smell of salty air—it’s an instant recipe for relaxation. But have you ever wondered what makes the beach such an excellent place for mental health? Well, let’s spill the seashell secrets! 

Water, sun, and air – all of these natural elements offer some form of mental health benefits that help the mind unwind and create the perfect backdrop for social gatherings. So, whether you’re a sunbather, a sandcastle architect, or simply someone who enjoys the serenity of the shore, there’s science behind that beachy bliss. 

Breathe In, Bliss Out

Turns out, fresh air isn’t just good for your lungs—it’s a secret elixir for your mind and soul too! It’s time to wave goodbye to stuffy indoor spaces and unlock the magic of the beach. 

Researchers have uncovered that outdoor activities have a more potent impact on mental health than indoor ones. That daily jog through the park or a leisurely stroll on the beach could be your shortcut to a happier mind. From birds chirping to the waves crashing on the shore, every moment spent outdoors is an opportunity to soak in positive vibes.

Now, swap your office desk for a picnic blanket, or bring your yoga mat to the garden for an invigorating session of downward dogs!

Embrace The Zen Life By The Shore 

The beach isn’t just for sunbathing and sandcastles—it’s a mindfulness playground!  

The sand, the sun, the waves – it’s all a reminder of Earth’s touch. Wiggle your toes into the sand, let the golden spotlight shine on your skin, and embark on a mindfulness adventure with the ocean’s lullaby.

Each scene, each sensation—it’s an invitation to be fully present.

Enjoy Sun, Sand, And Team Spirit 

Volleyball, football, soccer – you name it, the beach has it. And guess what? These games aren’t just about scoring points; they’re about building connections too. High-fives after a great play, shared laughs during a friendly match – these moments are more than just fun; they’re building blocks for new connections.

Bring your A-game, and don’t forget your sunscreen – you’re about to have the time of your life and create unforgettable memories!

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Supporting Friends With Their Mental Health

In life, we often rely on our friends to support us during challenging times. But what happens when a friend vanishes, leaving you to wonder what went wrong? 

Friendships can profoundly impact your mental well-being, and having a reliable and supportive friend during difficult times can be a lifeline. However, when your friend faces significant mental health challenges like hearing voices, experiencing panic, or holding unusual beliefs, know how to show up for them. 

In this blog, explore a simple list of ways that offer valuable insights on being there for a struggling friend. With these meaningful ways – you can provide support, compassion, and friendship during their journey to wellness. 

Ready to foster a strong friendship that can weather any storm? 

Acknowledge Your Friend’s Core Identity

Supporting a friend going through a mental health crisis can be challenging and rewarding. 

It is crucial to remember that despite any changes in their behaviour, they are still the same person, and although mental illness may impact their actions, it doesn’t alter the essence of who they are. 

Being there for them as you always have, engaging in activities together, and maintaining a sense of normalcy can mean the world to them during this difficult time.  

Lastly, patience and compassion go a long way, so having a non-judgmental and supportive approach can send a reassuring message that they are not alone in their journey to recovery.

Stay By Their Side and Offer Help

During a mental health crisis, it’s crucial not to leave your friend alone. While you may not have all the answers, your presence and support can provide comfort and reassurance. Remember, you don’t need to resolve the crisis yourself, but being there can make a significant difference.

Also, providing your friend with essential resources can make a significant difference if your friend is struggling with thoughts of suicide or needs immediate assistance; share helplines and mental health resources. Normalizing seeking help and guiding your friend to the right support networks can be crucial to their recovery and well-being.

 Offer Them a Listening Ear 

Your willingness to be there and hear your friend out can mean a lot to them. Even if you can’t fully grasp their struggles, showing support will let them know they are not alone.

But also remember, your role as a friend differs from that of a therapist. It’s okay to listen and validate their experiences, but if your friend needs professional help, encourage them to seek assistance from mental health providers. Your support as a friend can be significant, but leave the therapeutic expertise to trained professionals.

Avoid Dismissing Their Experiences 

Mental health difficulties can be confusing and disorienting, making it challenging for your friend to distinguish between different emotions and thoughts. Take their ideas seriously, validate their feelings, and tell them that their voice matters to you. This validation can provide a sense of reassurance and help them feel heard and respected. 

Every person’s emotions and thoughts are valid, regardless of their mental health status. Just show your friend that you genuinely care about their perspectives and feelings.

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3 Ways to Master the Art of De-Escalation

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, whether in personal relationships, professional settings, or even casual encounters. But how you handle conflicts can make all the difference in resolving issues and maintaining harmony in your relationships. 

That’s why it is vital to develop and employ healthy techniques for de-escalating conflicts in a constructive and beneficial manner. 

Let’s explore some effective de-escalation techniques that can help diffuse conflicts and pave the way for peaceful resolutions.

Resolve the Conflict as Early as Possible

While it may be tempting to brush off small issues, doing so can make conflicts increasingly more challenging to resolve in the long run.

Long-term conflicts can be more difficult to resolve over time and can linger between you and the other people involved. But proactively addressing this conflict at the earliest stage possible can prevent it from escalating further. 

Identify and Understand the Goal

One crucial step in de-escalating conflict is identifying the goal and outcome you wish to achieve. You can set the stage for productive communication and problem-solving by taking the time to reflect.

Consider asking yourself, “How will I know this conflict is resolved?” This question can help you think about ways you can resolve the conflict by apologizing or trying to understand where the other person is coming from.

This approach will allow you to seek common ground and work towards a resolution that benefits everyone.

Promote Understanding and Open Dialogue

While you have your own side of events when conflict happens, acknowledging the other person’s point of view can help toward a resolution.

Fostering open communication and active listening is key to de-escalating conflict. You can bring empathy and understanding into the conversation to make each person feel heard. After all, everyone has their own side of the story.

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Setting Boundaries At Work

Leadership isn’t just about what you can do; it’s also about knowing your limits. Boundaries can help you level up your leadership and reach your goals with ease!

Setting boundaries at work is essential for creating a safe and productive environment as they ensure everyone is aware of what is acceptable behaviour. And when we take the time to understand our boundaries, we can begin tackling the more profound challenges we face. 

A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. To learn how to communicate your needs, create space for your best selves to emerge and take the time to ask yourself what you need to be your best self – it’s worth the effort! 

See why boundaries are crucial for professional growth and how you can benefit from them.

Builds Trust By Creating a Conflict-Free Environment 

Boundary erosion can lead to a breakdown of trust in relationships.  Creating a conflict-free work-life starts with setting clear boundaries and communicating them to your colleagues. Unfair demands, disrespect, and politics can quickly lead to disputes, so it’s essential to be proactive in creating a positive work environment.

Boundaries help ensure everyone is on the same page and that no one is taken advantage of. 

Helps to Reflect on Your Values and Priorities

When you know what you stand for, you can stand firm. Leadership is about finding the right balance between the needs of those you serve and the expectations of those you lead. So staying true to your values and priorities is important, no matter the challenge.

Well-defined boundaries will allow you to show up more assertively and authentically and act with courage and honesty. 

Reduces Work-Related Stress

 When you set clear boundaries, you will be better equipped to manage your time, energy, and attention, leading to lower stress levels.

While setting limits and boundaries to manage workplace issues, only accept a reasonable amount of work at a time. 

This will help to prioritize your mental health and set boundaries that work for you!

Maintains a Good Work-Life Balance

Leadership is a 24/7 job. So achieving a healthy work-life balance is essential for leaders, as it impacts personal well-being and the success of their organization. You can ensure that both are addressed by defining your priorities, creating a schedule, and learning to say yes to requests and opportunities that don’t align with your preferences or boundaries.

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The Power of Mindful Communication

Want to create meaningful connections with others? 

A powerful tool you can utilize is mindful communication, which helps you foster more understanding and compassion by being aware of the present moment. 

It can also help strengthen important traits like forgiveness, gratitude, decision-making, and leadership so you can build a community. Practicing these mindfulness techniques will help you continue to make strong connections and live a more peaceful life. 

Try these mindfulness techniques and see the positive changes they can bring to your life! 

Practice Self-Compassion and Self-Awareness 

Remember to be kind to yourself by taking time to appreciate your own worth.

When you are mindful of your actions, you can make a positive difference in your lives and the lives of those around you! 

So, start by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would show others!

 Create Boundaries 

 Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and set boundaries when needed.

Creating healthy boundaries starts with understanding your emotions and triggers – so pay attention to your feelings closely. Taking these steps can help you build healthier relationships.

Your feelings are valid and deserve to be respected, so have confidence in the boundaries you set!

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A Reflection on Gratitude Found in Small Moments

By: Betsy Pownall

In the morning, I read the paper. I read about a bank imploding, gun violence, intelligence leaks, and now it is time to walk Lulu. Lulu, our 6-year-old Chocolate Lab, is an urban dog from a hunting lineage. She came into our lives the week after the 2016 Presidential Election.

We head onto the forest path beside our house and I am alert for sound and movement. Last year a doe and her fawn nested in the forest when the plums in our tree were ripe. They ate the plums by day, slept in the forest by night. 

One morning, the doe ran toward us, head down. Lulu panted, tail up, ears perched, a warning tug on the leash. I gripped the leash, and said to Lulu “stay with me, stay with me’, (salami helped). We steered a wide berth around her. The doe slowly backed up. Crisis averted.

We walk down the hill toward the easement. On either side of the easement is a fence and behind one fence is a hound, the other a dog. We are a block away and they start baying and barking. This lasts as we walk through the easement (Dog Aisle) and ceases when we are on the other side. Lulu ignores them. 

When she was a puppy I had to carry her through Dog Aisle; she was terrified, literally shaking. Now she is 70 pounds and indifferent. (Who she cares about is a tiny dog behind a big fence on another easement, who barks and digs at the fence. Lulu barks and digs back, and I have to intervene. Is it the high-pitched bark? Small dog scent? Both? I don’t know. It’s really annoying.)

We come out to a street that winds up a hill which we walk up, we will turn at the top of the hill, meander through neighborhoods, and home. 

Today there is a large flock of wild turkeys on the corner near the hills crest. Three strutting Toms are fanning their tails which are stippled with blue, red, white and black. 

Since she was a puppy Lulu and the turkeys have peacefully co-existed. Today the Toms are paying attention to her, staring and fanning them. I don’t trust it. We walk across the street and continue up the hill. 

This is the same corner where, during the 2020 McKenzie River fires, a cougar was sighted at 9 in the morning. Wildlife was driven off the mountains, confused by the smoke, the ash, and the scent of fire. 

All year there were many random sightings of bear, cougar, fox, more than normal deer and turkey. It’s partly why I carry my flashlight. It feels good having it in my hand, even though it is false security.

There are others out, we know each other as morning walkers. We wave, say a quiet ‘hello’, and nod, but never engage in conversation. There is a silent agreement~this  is a sacred time of day when we all must pay close attention to the present moment, to our surroundings, and breathe deeply.

An hour later, we return home. The newspaper folded up on the chair,  it’s time to get ready for work. My phone screen has a list of notifications from CNN, the Washington Post, and Twitter. The bank is still imploding, guns still create violence, and intelligence is still leaking. After my urban walk with Lulu, who has hunting ancestors, I feel refreshed.

Mental Health Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

By: Darcy Knight 

Mental illness, by definition, differs from everyday feelings and reactions to difficult situations. 

People who suffer from a mental illness may experience a serious disturbance in thinking, mood, or behavior. 

This may have an impact on their ability to function effectively over a long period of time. They may have a decreased ability to cope with the basic aspects of everyday life. 

Many people need help in regaining balance in their lives.

While millions of people struggle with mental health issues, it is easy to feel isolated or like there is something wrong with you.  

Did you know:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 2.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14.

(Facts provided by NAMI)

Mental health issues can have a radiating impact on your body and on those around you.  Physical health can be impacted by mental health issues. 

This includes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues and even cancer.  Your sleep can also be impacted, which creates a compounding impact. You experience an increase in physical and mental health issues due to not getting enough sleep, which then can result in you having more sleep issues.

Mental health issues, even less chronic ones, can have a significant impact on family and friend relationships.  When you are depressed or experiencing severe anxiety, it is difficult to focus on anything outside of your own feelings at that moment, leaving little bandwidth to invest energy in the relationships with those around you.  In a family, it can cause stress, tension and worry as well as the focus of the family becoming centered on the identified patient. 

This is challenging for family members as well as not being an ideal situation for the person struggling.

Next Steps

It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the common signs of mental illness.  Although each condition is different, there are common signs to watch for, such as feeling excessively sad or low, confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning, extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria, prolonged feelings of irritability or anger, and avoiding friends and social activities. 

In kids the signs might include changes in school performance, excessive worry or anxiety,  hyperactive behavior, frequent nightmares, frequent disobedience or aggression, or frequent temper tantrums.  

You can find a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms on NAMI’s website. 

Recovery and relief from many mental health issues is possible. Proper diagnosis, therapy, medication if needed (including some new approaches that have shown promise for treatment- resistant depression, such as Spravato and Psilocybin), healthy habits, and self-care can all help to get you on the path towards feeling better.  

Engaging in positive habits can help anyone feel better both emotionally and physically. Here are some suggestions for getting yourself and your loved ones on the healthiest path that you can.

  • Be physically active on a daily basis.  Go for a walk with a friend or with your dog, do yoga, go for a bike ride, take the stairs, dance. You can fit multiple short periods of exercise in throughout your day.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy food gives your body the fuel it needs to heal.  Eat the rainbow, get enough protein, limit sugar, and try to eat everything in moderation.
  • Sleep! A deficiency in sleep is linked to many chronic health problems as well as to depression. When you sleep, it is your brain and body’s time to grow and heal.
  • Limit substance use, including alcohol. You can weigh the risks vs. rewards of moderate alcohol use.  But heavy use does not have any benefits and contributes to a number of health issues.
  • Engage with your support system. This is your psychological first aid.  A hug. Someone to talk to.  Someone who cares about you.  Connection is vitally important to emotional well-being. Friends, family (for some), your job, your activities, social events, Etc. Go do whatever it is that makes you feel connected to others. Even just acknowledging a stranger as they walk by has been found to have a positive impact on feelings of connection.
  • Focus on gratitude. This is associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive, enjoy good experiences, improve health, and build relationships.

All of these habits can help you be more healthy in your everyday life.  But while they might help, they are not a cure for mental illness. 

 If you or a loved one is struggling, please ask for help. You are not alone.


Mayo Clinic 


988–Suicide and Crisis Hotline

Gratitude Research by Harvard Health

The Sweet Danger of Sugar by Harvard Health

Alcohol Use: Weighing Risks and Benefits

The Benefits of Eating the Rainbow

Connection with Social Supports


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Mental Health Awareness Month – Take a Break From Technology

By: Tanya Kramer

It was not that long ago that we did not have cell phones, no one had an email address, and the internet was just a dream in someone’s brain.

For those that may not remember or were not even born yet, the internet was “born” on January 1, 1983.

The birth of email is a bit more involved. Technically it started in 1969 when the US Department of Defense started connecting its computers and using a messaging process. 

I can say from my own experience, email started to feel like a real thing around 1994.  

You might be surprised (at least I was) that the first video game was invented in 1958.  It was a simple tennis game similar to the 1970’s favorite Pong. 

But here we are with computers in our pocket, including as many games as we can make time for, and various messaging platforms which provide the ability for others to reach us literally 24/7. 

There are benefits that come with this technology, but there is also harm if we are not careful.

Here are some simple red flags that demonstrate you might have crossed the gray line between using this technology in a healthy way or resulting in using it to a degree that might be harming you.

  • Feel stressed when you can’t find your phone.
  • Check your phone every few minutes.
  • Feel depressed, lonely, or angry after spending time on social media or the internet.
  • Preoccupied with responses on social media.
  • Feeling distracted by your phone when you are doing work, school, or some other tasks.
  • Noticing you are not moving your body as much as you used to due to time on your phone.
  • Checking emails first thing in the morning when you wake up.
  • Physical pain and strain of the eyes.
  • Not sleeping well.
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO).

There is a BIG push for all of us to find ways to limit our use of screens. 

There is even a designated Screen Free Week which this year was May 1-7, 2023. 

Benefits you could experience by taking a phone vacation

  • Being more in the moment.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Deepened connections – the ones that are face to face.
  • Less eye strain.
  • Feeling calmer and happier.
  • Increased self worth.
  • Less stress.

If you are not ready to take a full vacation from your phone, then try some of these simple tips first. 

  1. Consider deleting specific apps that simply are not bringing you happiness.
  2. Moving some apps from the front page (easily accessible) to another page, creating a few more steps (this actually works).
  3. Put your phone down during lunch and talk to a coworker or read a book.
  4. Monitor your screen time and give yourself a specific allowance.
  5. Use the do not disturb setting on your phone.
  6. If you work at a computer all day, designate time away from the computer or screen. 
  7. Replace digital habits with healthy habits such as exercise or meditation. 

Taking a real vacation from your phone will likely require you to practice taking short breaks from your phone first, maybe on a Saturday morning.  

Then when you are ready to take a full day or more, there might be key people you need to notify so they don’t worry about you. 

But after that, put your phone down, slow down, and see where your focus goes.  You might find you have the energy or desire to work on a project or explore a new place that you have not made time for before.

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May is Older Americans Month

By: Tanya Kramer

This month was established to honor and acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country. 

Older Americans Month (initially called Senior Citizen’s Month) was established after a meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Council of Senior Citizens. 

This time of recognition has transitioned from acknowledging older persons while also recommitting to our work to empower older adults, which allows them to live a life of quality which in some cases means supporting their ability to be independent

The 2023 theme for this year is “Aging Unbound” which offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes. 

When thinking about how to engage with an older American in celebration of this month, take into consideration their interest(s) and give them an experience that they have been wanting but maybe have not made time for themself to enjoy. 

You could also set up to meet with them to ask them questions about their life and see if they are open to being audio or video recorded.

I have a precious audio tape of my grandmother, who passed away over 25 years ago and a videotape of my mom and dad (my dad passed away in 2015). 

These opportunities taught me about their history and what they experienced in their lives, which was very humbling.

Another honoring approach is to bring the party or activity to them if they have physical or medical limitations. 

If someone used to love to travel, then set time aside to watch a documentary about a specific country, read books about it together, and consider making food that represents that country. 

The most important thing you can do is spend quality time with the older adults in your life as they are wise, and this is precious time.

For older adults who want to engage in life in a new way, volunteering can be both beneficial for your mental and physical health. It is also a way to support others who might have limitations. Article Source

11 Volunteer Opportunities for Older Adults

  1. Senior corps (adults ages 55 or older) – includes opportunities such as visiting other older adults or mentoring students.
  2. Local or national charities – Habitat for Humanity, Feeding America, Alzheimer’s Association, etc.
  3. Local, state, and national parks – invasive plant removal, tour guide, camp host, along with other options depending on location.
  4. Food delivery services – Meals on Wheels or local nonprofits.
  5. Animal shelters – giving love and attention to animals so they can increase their chance of being adopted
  6. Foster grandparent programs – a meaningful opportunity to connect and support children in need in your area.
  7. Community gardens – teaching, maintaining, sharing resources, and the benefit of a bountiful harvest to share with others.
  8. Local school support and training – local schools often are looking for extra support in class, during activities, lunchtime, or chaperoning trips
  9. Mentoring or training young professionals – such as Big and Mini or Career Village who match older adults with young adults who have similar interests, hobbies, or professional aspirations in person or online.
  10. Ideas for older adults with low mobility – participate in GetSetUp which is a platform that provides educational courses led by volunteers which benefit those with low mobility

Providing companionship at your local hospice agency – companionship, creating comfort items, clerical support, welcoming visitors, etc.

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Supporting a Loved One

Do you have a loved one going through a difficult time and aren’t quite sure how to help support them? Read on – these tips can help! 

1. Check in on Them 

Even if there is nothing you can immediately do to help your loved one, simply asking how they are doing can be very helpful. 

Sometimes opening up and venting can help us look at our obstacles in a new way. 

Again, even if you don’t have any actional feedback to share, you can always be a good listener. 

2. Thoughtful Gifts 

Thoughtful gift-giving is a great way to show your loved one you care – when they are going through a tough time.

A great gift does not have to be elaborate or expensive. 

It just has to come from the heart. For example, if your loved one has been experiencing insomnia, you can gift them a sleep journal, slippers or pyjamas. 

3. Reflect On Your Personal Experiences 

We are all unique, and what works for you may not work for someone else. 

However, if you’ve been in your loved ones shoes before, you can open up and let them know how you moved past the obstacle.

Even if your tactics don’t end up working for them, it’s always nice to know you aren’t alone. 

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