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Natural Awakenings Boston

Connecting with Others in Unique Ways, Even During These Times of Social Distancing

This issue wraps up a whirlwind of a year, which I can say wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. Just like many of our readers, my expectations included a year of clarity, and hope for this new decade, and a mindset that included 20/20 vision set on seeing the good in everything, including our political landscape.

It hasn’t been easy finding the good in all situations, especially when regarding politics and an unexpected pandemic that has seemingly, singlehandedly turned our world and its occupants upside down and sideways though I still see that hope is alive and well, manifested in many ways.

Today, I’m especially grateful for one area in particular. After earning a few different degrees and making several different career choices, my great niece Danielle finally settled on Occupational Therapy. I had no idea of the scope of what OTs do but suffice to say, it is expansive.

Currently still a student, she has been working in a variety of hospital settings including acute psychiatric care and a geriatric unit. Many of her patients are there due to the stress and anxiety of prolonged isolation. Those who live alone, in nursing homes isolated from friends, family and other facility residents, are suffering at alarming rates.

Danielle’s work includes educating patients on how to use technology to connect with others through platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts. It also includes assisting patients with coping skills and stress management. Leisure exploration introduces opportunities for hobbies like online knitting, writing and crafting groups and support groups to help connect with others on a regular basis.

When asked what friends, family and even strangers can do to help support the elderly, Danielle encourages family and friends to be diligent about connecting with loved ones online as often as possible. For strangers, she encourages anyone interested to reach out to area nursing homes to explore pen pal programs to connect with residents and exchange letters and photos. A letter can make all the difference in the world to one’s mental and emotional health, especially during the holidays when many individuals are isolated.

With hopes and wishes for a peaceful holiday season for all.


Maisie Raftery, Publisher