Maria Sonnenberg – Special to FLORIDA TODAY
You’ve had your two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. You may feel invincible, or maybe invisible, as your “COVID anxiety” still engages you while dashing through the grocery aisles.
In either case, it is high time to try getting back to at least a semblance of normalcy.
“Many seniors have not gone out of their homes for months,” said Barbara Fradkin, director of One Senior Place in Viera.
Fradkin and the rest of the One Senior Place team hope to draw seniors out from their pandemic-induced cocoon with a week-long “Welcome Back” series of free events held in the safety of the great outdoors.
“Our goal is to get seniors back out and having some fun,” Fradkin said. “One Senior Place is a safe place for them.”
The one-stop senior services center remained open throughout the pandemic, although Fradkin admits it was not easy at times.
“OSP went through a huge learning curve during the pandemic,” she said. “Seniors were more fearful of receiving services. We had to learn new ways of communicating and getting our voices heard. We learned how to use Zoom, we did more phone consultations. Senior Partner Care Services still sent out caregivers to help the seniors at home and our nurses still went out to do assessments.”
Isolation isn’t just a bummer. It can be responsible for health issues that range well beyond raging cabin fever. Out of fear, some seniors may not be keeping up with health concerns.
“Many seniors have postponed routine medical visits to decrease chances of being around those who may be infected,” said Lisa Conway, vice-president of Senior Partner Care Services and herself a certified care manager. “We encourage our clients to keep of list of appointments that they have missed, and once they are feeling a little more confident in going out to reschedule these appointments.”
The extended period of isolation can trigger a host of mental and physical issues.
“It can lead to depression, anxiety, confusion, which in turn can also be manifested in physical symptoms, including feelings of fatigue, GI issues, weight loss or weight gain, inconsistent sleep patterns and appetite disturbances,” said Conway.
If you have experienced any of these, you definitely should pencil in attendance at one or all of the upcoming events, which run May 11 to 14, under a large covered tent at the parking lot of One Senior Place, 8085 Spyglass Hill Rd., Viera.
If you haven’t and you are already out and about, it’s still a good idea to participate. It’s interesting, it’s free, it’s outside and participants are still asked to wear masks. What’s not love?
“The week is based on fun and friendship and allows everyone to try to get back to a new normal,” Fradkin said.
The event kicks off by addressing the elephant in the room, the reality behind the vaccination.
“I’m Vaccinated, Now What” begins at 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 11. Guest speaker for this Q&A session is Dr. Frederick Peterson of VITAS Healthcare. Board certified in family practice, Peterson is a popular and frequent presenter at One Senior Place. Lunch is provided.
At 2 p.m. the same day, a team from Oceans Realty addresses the sizzling housing market with “Sold in a Second, Now What?”
Unbuckle the belts for “A Taste of Senior Living,” at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12. Chefs from nine senior living communities will serve an assortment of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, free, of course. In keeping CDC guidelines, there will be timed entries to allow for social distancing.
At noon on Thursday, May 13, a quartet from the Harbor City Harmonizers appears on the scene to serenade attendees. The performance is followed by an ice cream social with sundaes before the classic flick “Casablanca” is screened at 2 p.m., with plenty of popcorn to enjoy the Bergman/Bogart banter.
At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 14, it’s time for Beach Bingo Grab a Lunch for less than $5 from the Lenand10 food truck on site and get in the fray for prizes.
Since space is limited and social distancing is observed, attendees are asked to RSVP for each event they plan to attend. For many, the “Welcome Back” series may be the first step on the road back to normalcy.
“People will have the opportunity to see their peers, but there will also be trusted professionals that they can turn to about concerns they may have as we enter this new phase,” Conway said.
For more information on the “Welcome Back” series or to register for one or more of the events, call 321-751-6771.
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About One Senior Place– Now in its 14th year, One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging, is a marketplace of resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their family caregivers in Central and East Central Florida. Completely unique, One Senior Place at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road in Viera is a one-stop information hub and mini-mall “revolutionizing the way America shops for elder care and services.” One Senior Place is home to a wide variety of senior-focused businesses, a resource library and is the site of educational seminars and presentations for seniors. In 2008, One Senior Place was named Florida’s Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In Brevard, they were honored as Business of the Year by the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce. A second location, One Senior Place Orlando, opened in Altamonte Springs in December of 2011. More information about One Senior Place and One Senior Place Orlando can be found on the company website at OneSeniorPlace.com or by calling 321-751-6771. View their video at https://youtu.be/RxFCCL0wnRY.