Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. does a monthly blog that includes news from our community partners about upcoming fundraising events, special projects, volunteer opportunities, and community announcements that are of importance to our senior population and their families.
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In this month's community partners' news, we feature a press release from Kathleen Heren, Rhode Island's long-term care ombudsman about the COVID vaccine. We also have information on a compensated research study being supervised by Dr. Geoffrey Tremont for caregivers of someone with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.
The Importance of Facts
by Kathy Heren, RI State Ombudsman
Happy New Year everyone. I know we are all more than happy that 2020 is now behind us. I write to you today with a fervent plea that you receive the Covid vaccine of sign for residents entrusted in your care who can no longer make decisions for themselves. I know most Rhode Islanders remember standing in long lines outside of Chapin Hospital to receive the Polio vaccine. I am sure people were apprehensive, but not to the degree we are experiencing now. Back then there was no internet that frightened everyone with false information as we have today.
Vaccines work in several ways. Not only does the individual who is vaccinated benefit, but so does the community. There can be no dispute that the majority of lives lost from this pandemic are the elderly. The ones who reside in congregated settings have been the most vulnerable for the very reasons the elderly die from complications from the flu. Elders have co-morbidities such as pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, and a fragile immune system. It only makes sense to vaccinate them first and their caregivers. Keep in mind the vaccine is not the magic bullet. Masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene are still critical in preventing the spread of Covid.
There is still the same right a nursing home resident has to refuse the vaccine. I have also found healthcare workers who criticize the benefits of the vaccination, tend to influence the residents and their families not to be vaccinated. You, as an individual, have every right also to refuse to be vaccinated. What you don’t have is to unduly influence the people who trust you because of the influence you have taking care of them. I also worry that people of color will be even more apprehensive given the horrific memories of being used dangerously years ago to test diseases without their knowledge or consent. I have been privileged to be a member of the vaccine task force. There are no higher priorities than to safely distribute this vaccine. Members of the committee who work with disadvantaged communities are reaching out to clergy and community leaders to educate people on the importance of being vaccinated.
Enormous undertakings such as the distribution of the vaccine is dependent on everyone contributing to its success. There will be glitches along the way as there is of any undertaking of this size. Don’t be discouraged; we have become a society of instant gratification or we walk away from the subject. Be patient and allow the process to unfold. Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns (401-785-3340 or 1-888-351-0808). If I can’t answer you, I will direct you to the right person(s) who can. Be safe and wear your mask.
Caregiver Study at Rhode Island Hospital
by Dr. Geoffrey Tremont
On our December 3rd edition of Southcoast Seniors Radio Show heard every Thursday on am790 WPRV, our guest was Dr. Geoffrey Tremont, the Director of Neuropsychology, at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. Dr. Tremont discussed his groundbreaking research on psychosocial treatments for dementia caregivers, telephone-based assessment of mild cognitive impairment, and mind-body approaches for mild cognitive impairment.
During the show, Dr. Tremont discussed research opportunities that are available for caregivers. Please read the announcement below and pass this information on to anyone you know who may be interested in being a part of this important study.
Attorney Connelly Reappointed
by Don Drake, Connelly Law Offices
On November 18, 2020, the Board of Selectman in the Town of Stonington, Connecticut, reappointed Attorney RJ Connelly III, certified elder law attorney, to the Stonington Commission on Aging. His term will expire on December 31, 2022. Acting as an advocate for elderly residents in the Town of Stonington, the Commission on Aging (COA) is a twelve-member commission that meets monthly in order to discuss issues with regard to the elderly. Currently, Attorney Connelly serves as the chair of the commission.
"Working with and for seniors and their families is not only my passion in my professional career but in my personal life as well. As a certified elder law attorney, I know only too well that seniors and the systems that provide services to them require advocacy, coordination, and education and this is exactly what the Commission on Aging does. It is an honor to serve with the other members of the commission and the work they do with seniors which continues to inspire me daily," said Connelly.
Elves for Elders Drive Continues
With Maxine Hutchins
Nor'Easter Slated to Hit Midweek
by Don Drake, Connelly Law Offices