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A site about death, dying, grief, and loss; about caregiving or living with chronic or life-threatening illness; and about positive and realistic approaches to aging. Reading up on end-of-life activities often surprises people, kick-starting their interest in activities that are better done before they are nearly pushing up daisies. Even bereavement and loss may help us grow. And there are links to practical advice here for each step along the way.

What to do and not do

(and sometimes how or how not to do it)

Matt Pearce (a Los Angeles Times reporter) tweeted: "I imagine all the closures and cancellations give people a sense of ominousness. But it's really an amazing act of social solidarity: We're sacrificing so we can give nurses, doctors and hospitals a fighting chance. Start from there and hopefully we can figure out the rest."


Answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 (Harvard Health Publishing) Including What are the symptoms? What should I do if I feel sick? If a loved one gets it, how do I care for them? How do I keep from getting it?

Disinfecting surfaces:
---The Most Effective Ways to Kill Coronavirus in Your Home (Robert Preidt, HealthDay reporter on WebMD, 3-18-2020) "An important general rule is that you shouldn't immediately wipe a cleaning solution off as soon as you've applied it to a surface. Let it sit there long enough to kill viruses first," Donald Schaffner said in a university news release. "Natural chemicals such as vinegar and tea tree oil are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses."
---"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends daily disinfection of often-touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks, as well as the use of detergent or soap and water on dirty surfaces prior to disinfection.
---CDC: Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water.
---WebMD: You can dilute alcohol with water or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Pure (96%) alcohol evaporates too quickly for such use.
--- Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home (CDC, 2019)
--- Make CDC-Approved Disinfecting Wipes (DIY, 4-7-2020) 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
--- DIY Homemade Disinfectant Wipes (Clorox wipes) (MamaInTheKitchen)
--- DIY Disinfectant Wipes (Mitisha P's version, also made with Clorox)
--- KILL COVID - DIY Disinfectant Wipes made with with Bleach or Alcohol (Clueless Mama DIY)
--- How to Make Disinfectant Spray at Home Using CDC and WHO Methods (NOTaboutaMEn)
Running Essential Errands (CDC) Grocery Shopping, Take-Out, Banking, Getting Gas, and Doctor Visits. To protect yourself when getting your prescriptions:
---Call in prescription orders ahead of time. (Or ask if they can mail your order--special dispensation during the pandemic.)
---Use drive-thru windows, curbside services, mail-order, or other delivery services.
---Try to make one trip, picking up all medicine at the same time. During this time, you may also want to contact your Medicare prescription drug plan to see if they've temporarily waived certain requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 — like waiving prescription refill limits or relaxing restrictions on home or mail delivery of prescription drugs.
Sanitizing Amazon boxes, taking Uber and getting food properly during the coronavirus pandemic (Kim Komando, USA Today, 4-3-2020)
Safety Advice If You Must Visit the Grocery Store (Sumathi Reddy, Wall Street Journal, 4-3-2020) Deliveries are safer during the coronavirus pandemic, but sometimes a store visit is unavoidable. Here are the precautions to take.
When and how to use masks (WHO, Advice for the public)
'Under No Circumstance': Lysol Maker, Officials Reject Trump's Disinfectant Idea (Colin Dwyer, NPR, 4-24-2020) After hearing about research reflecting the disinfectant capabilities of ultraviolet light on surfaces, Trump mused that scientists might try to find a way to place strong disinfectants directly inside the body to treat a patient's infection.

        As many experts have stated since horrified expressions crossed faces all over the country, THIS IS A HORRIBLE, DEADLY IDEA. Reported Domenico Montanaro of NPR on 4-25: ’"With the president facing criticism for seemingly thinking out loud behind the lectern at these briefings, floating untested ideas, Friday’s session was cut short to just over 20 minutes. Axios reported that the president may reduce the length of them or not appear daily....advisers to the president, in and out of the White House, reportedly think these briefings are hurting his image." Indeed.
Myth Busters (World Health Organizations) Things that are not true about covid 19.
Stories of Hope (The Obama Foundation) Tell us about the stories—big and small—that are lifting your spirits.
COVID-19 - Some Drug-Related Issues (The Medical Letter)
COVID-19 Loan and Relief Resources for Small Businesses (Gusto editors) Click on "COVID-19 Relief Resources for Small Businesses" to get updated spreadsheet.
Trump's mismanagement helped fuel coronavirus crisis (Dan Diamond, Politico, 3-7-2020) Current and former administration officials blame the president for creating a no-bad-news atmosphere that stifled attempts to combat the outbreak. Fortunately, we're learning to listen to Dr. Fauci instead of Trump.
Not His First Epidemic: Dr. Anthony Fauci Sticks to the Facts (Denise Grady, NY Times, 3-9-2020) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, is widely respected for his ability to explain science without talking down to his audience and to correct the president. See also “I Have No Ideology. My Ideology Is Health”: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Tactics of Dealing With the Novel Coronavirus—And Trump (Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair, 3-31-2020) “We are by no means out of the woods,” Fauci says. But his insistence on facts, and science, may be finally changing the trajectory of the pandemic.
The Use of Bleach (Hong Kong health department during SARS crisis). Bleach is a good disinfectant but it's dangerous if misused. Follow instructions!
Interim Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 among People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Key actions that local and state health departments, homelessness service systems, housing authorities, emergency planners, healthcare facilities, and homeless outreach services can take to protect people experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19.
Whether planned surgery should proceed (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Determining essential vs. elective surgery. "At all times, the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), hospital and intensive care unit beds, and ventilators should be considered, even in areas that are not currently dealing with COVID-19 infections."
Does Everyone Over 60 Need to Take the Same Coronavirus Precautions? (Judith Graham, KHN, 3-24-2020) If you’re going to the store, consider wearing cloth gloves, because viruses don’t survive as well on soft surfaces. Try not to handle your smartphone when you’re out of the house. “A phone is a hard plastic surface that can easily get contaminated,” she said. Are you frail? Answer these questions:

F: Are you consistently fatigued?

R, for resilience: Can you climb a flight of stairs?

A, for aerobic: Can you walk a block?

I, for illnesses: If you’ve got five or more, that’s bad.

L, for loss of weight: That’s not good.”

If you answer yes to three or more of those questions, you should be “really careful and self-isolate,” Morley said. ...even healthy people are becoming sick.
Life on Lockdown in China (Peter Hessler, Letter from Chengdu, New Yorker, 3-30-2020) Forty-five days of avoiding the coronavirus. 'There seems to be a brief window—perhaps two or three days—when people are infectious but not yet showing symptoms. Gabriel Leung, the dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, told me that he believes between twenty and forty per cent of infections come from people who don’t yet seem sick. “They could be spreading it through droplets, say during eating or speaking,” he said. “These droplets could contaminate surfaces, and this is how it spreads.”' [Not touching your face is the critical preventive step--that plus washing your hands when you've touched possibly contaminated surfaces.]
U.S. Health Workers Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Training and Protective Gear, Whistle-Blower Says (Emily Cochrane, Noah Weiland and Margot Sanger-Katz, NY Times, 2-27-2020) Team members were not properly trained, lacked necessary gear and moved freely around and off military bases where Americans were quarantined, a whistleblower complains.
How prepared are you for disaster? Sites geared to helping you prepare for hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and flash floods, and to increase child and campus security. Many of the steps are helpful in a pandemic.
Help fight Medicare fraud (Medicare.gov) Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card.
Why Texas is so far behind other states on virus response(Politico, 3-18-2020) Texas leaders have been reluctant to set restrictions conservative voters might consider draconian and business leaders oppose. They’ve also opposed steps to expand health insurance coverage. The state, which didn’t expand Medicaid, has the highest uninsured rate in the country, meaning millions of people don’t have doctors to call if they show symptoms.
What am I supposed to do about my fundraising event: Event planning and COVID-19: (Vimeo video, Laura Pierce of Washington Nonprofit and Rebecca Zanatta of Ostara Group, a nonprofit consulting group) Cancel? or something else?
Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States (Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, 3-2-2020) The race to curb the spread of the new coronavirus could be thwarted by Americans fearful of big medical bills if they get tested, low-income workers who lose pay if they take time off when sick, and similar dilemmas that leave the United States more vulnerable to the epidemic than countries with universal health coverage and sturdier safety nets. As the test for the virus becomes more widely available, health-care experts predict that some people with flu-like illnesses — or those who may have been exposed — will avoid finding out whether they have been infected because they are uninsured or have health plans that saddle them with much of the cost of their care.
These Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus (Consumer Reports) On surfaces, that is, and why you need to clean using the right stuff. Soap and water is right up there with disinfectants.
Tipsheet for Journalists: Covering the Coronavirus Epidemic Effectively without Spreading Misinformation (Laura Helmuth, TheOpenNotebook, 3-2-2020) See tip sheets for journalists below.
Avoid cruise ships, says State Department (Noah Weiland and Maggie Haberman, NY Times, 3-9-2020) “Absolutely don’t get on a cruise ship,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has overseen epidemics for decades at NIH/NIAID.
Coronavirus: Fake health advice you should ignore (BBC News, 3-8-2020) Drinking water every 15 minutes (and eating garlic) cannot kill the virus. You should remain well-hydrated, however.
I.O.C.’s Reassurance About the Tokyo Olympics Rankles Some Athletes (NY Times, 3-18-2020) Some athletes on a conference call about whether to cancel the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July were left dumbfounded when an athlete representative from Europe made a comment playing down the severity of the virus and blaming the news media for hyping its risks. The I.O.C. is insisting the games will go on; the athletes are worried about the health risk. (In late March the games were postponed a year.)
What you need to know about the coronavirus (Washington Post, 3-3-2020)
Online training as a weapon to fight the new coronavirus (World Health Organization, 2-7-2020) This free learning resource is available to anyone interested in novel coronavirus on WHO’s open learning platform for emergencies, OpenWHO.org.
Here Is What a WHO Global Health Emergency Means (Washington Post) While the recommendations aren’t enforceable, there’s considerable pressure for countries to abide by the WHO’s advisories.
You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus (James Hamblin, The Atlantic, 2-24-2020) Most cases are not life-threatening, which is also what makes the virus a historic challenge to contain. (WHO)
Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus (ANSInet, 2-29-2020)
Growing Concerns Of Coronavirus Should Spur Plans – Not Panic – In The Workplace (Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, 2-28-2020)
World experts and funders set priorities for COVID-19 research (WHO, 2-12-2020)

 

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CATEGORIES, in alphabetical order
See also Subjects/sections within categories
Advance directives, living wills, and other practical matters Wills, trusts, and other aspects of end-of-life decision making
Aging with grace Enjoying the golden years
Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and memory loss
Autism spectrum disorders Autism, Asperger's syndrome, savant syndrome, and others
The Beneficial Effects of Life Story and Legacy Activities
Bereavement, grief, and recovery
Blog posts on this website, Index of (by category)
Books and film to help you make it through the night (Recommended reading, viewing, and listening
Cardiovascular disease and prevention (Heart and coronary conditions and care)
Caregivers, caregiving, long-term care and caregiver burnout
Charitable giving and volunteering (and donating your body or body parts)
Coping with cancer
Coping with chronic, rare, and invisible diseases and disorders
Death, dying, and end-of-life care
Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other forms of mental illness
Difficult endings (including suicide and homicide, especially gun violence)
Disability
Downsizing, decluttering, moving, and other hard-to-face realities
Drugs, surgery, procedures, tests, and medical care
Eulogies and video tributes (celebrating a life)
Funerals, cremation, home funerals, green burial, memorial services (plus cemeteries, coffins, headstones, memorials)
Helping a dying friend (and ways to help the dying)
HIPAA, electronic health records, patient privacy and safety
Hospice care and palliative care (end-of-life care--to comfort, not to cure)
How storytelling can aid in healing
Life story writing (the healing powers of narrative)
Long-term care and long-term care insurance
Managing living arrangements for elderly and disabled (home-based and facility-based housing and care options, helpful devices and supports)
Managing your health, pain, and health care costs (plus hospitals, ER, urgent care, and hospitalization)
Medical mysteries, patient and caregiver stories, infections and infectious diseases
Music for funerals, wakes, and memorial services
Obituaries and other forms of tribute
Order DYING, A BOOK OF COMFORT
Prayers, poems, and meditations
Recommended reading, viewing, and listening
Reducing medical errors
Reforming the U.S. health care system (understanding the issues reform must address)
Retirement 101
Selections from DYING, A BOOK OF COMFORT
Single payer and other models for health care financing
Social Security and veterans benefits, pensions, and annuities
The stages of grief
Substance abuse and recovery (and other forms of addiction)
Writing an ethical will (a legacy letter)
Vaccines and vaccinations (immunization)
Index of site
Order DYING, A BOOK OF COMFORT

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CATEGORIES (WITH SUBJECTS/TOPICS WITHIN THOSE CATEGORIES)

HIPAA, electronic health records, and patient privacy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA),
---Electronic health records (EHR--issues, problems, information)
---The HIPAA privacy rule
---Patient privacy and related issues

Music for funerals and memorial services

Listen to samples of hymns, gospel and inspirational music; blues and nostalgic popular music; anthems; patriotic and military funeral music; and classical music. If you click on the Amazon link to buy and download the music, this site gets a small commission (usually 4 or 5 cents).
---Classical music for funerals and memorial services
---Hymns, gospel, and inspirational music for funerals and memorial services
---Funeral anthems
---Patriotic and military funeral music
---Popular secular music, including blues music