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Letter: Congress can act to help the Alzheimer’s and dementia community during this crisis

  • Written by Pete Minden

Dear Editor:

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the health of millions in this country and around the world but also presents additional challenges for more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, their caregivers, the research community, and the nonprofits serving these vulnerable populations.

As an advocate for people with dementia, I understand first-hand the impact Alzheimer’s and all dementia has on families across America.

Congress can act to help the Alzheimer’s and dementia community during this crisis, by including these bipartisan Alzheimer’s Association proposals in the next economic relief package:

• The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would require the Department of Justice to develop best practices materials to assist professionals who support victims of abuse living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, to improve the quality of interactions with this vulnerable population.

• The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would educate clinicians about the Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services available through Medicare.

• Create a fund to support larger nonprofits, including loan forgiveness, so that charities like the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to effectively serve the communities that depend on them.

Please join me in encouraging Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representative Suzan DelBene to include these proposals in the next pandemic relief package that will help the millions of families affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Pete Minden

Kirkland

Woodinville remains committed to our community

  • Written by Mayor Elaine Cook

To our community,

These are challenging and scary times. It appears the whole world has changed in a matter of weeks. But one thing has not changed: City Council and staff at the city of Woodinville remain committed to our community.

Under Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation, most local government operations are deemed essential and must continue. However, we have changed how we operate in an incredibly short period of time. 

New technology solutions have been deployed, enabling 70% of City Hall staff to work from home. We have temporarily suspended processing of passports, concealed carry permits, finger printing, and pet licenses. City Council meetings are now completely virtual, and the Council meeting agenda can only include items that are “necessary and routine” or COVID-19 related.

While most private development has been put on hold by the Governor’s order, the city is making sure construction can resume when the time comes. 

Staff continues to digitally process building permits and perform basic inspections. Large development projects like Wine Village in the tourist district and Woodin Creek Village downtown continue to work their way through the permit approval process. Work continues on the Civic Campus project next to City Hall in a limited capacity in order to prevent weather damage to exposed wood framing. 

Parks and other public facilities have been closed for several weeks to facilitate social distancing and protect staff from potential exposure. Although park maintenance activities such as mowing the grass and emptying trash continues as before, sports field reservations have been cancelled and refunds issued. 

One positive side effect of reduced traffic around town is that planned street maintenance has moved forward at a faster pace. City crews are taking advantage of the calm by filling potholes and rehabilitating street medians.

The city’s engineering staff is moving forward with infrastructure projects planned for construction this summer. That includes design work and bidding of four street resurfacing projects, five pedestrian safety projects and several stormwater system improvements. One project to install a signal at the intersection of 175th Ave and 133rd near the Civic Campus project has been delayed for now.

City Council and staff are evaluating how the coronavirus response will financially impact the city. At this point, the city does not anticipate cuts to service levels thanks to years of sound financial planning and decision making resulting in a healthy rainy-day fund. 

As a next step, we are now working on community relief programs to help those most impacted by COVID-19. Despite the challenges it presents, the city has adjusted operations and continues to provide basic services. 

Our goal is to get back to business as usual when this ordeal is over. In the meantime, keep a close eye on our website (ci.woodinville.wa.us), follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@woodinvillecity), or tune in to the remote City Council meetings to stay updated.

 

Mayor Elaine Cook, 

City Manager Brandon Buchanan

'Plan, plant, and find delicious meaning'

  • Written by Alexia Allen

Dear Editor,

I write with what I hope will be reassuring words. My husband Daniel Kirchhof and I spent all of 2017 eating only food gathered by hand by us or friends. We did not go to the grocery store at all. When people wondered if we were losing weight or having to eat tree bark, we were fortunately able to reply that we were eating goat cheese omelets and big salads. It took us six years of preparation to grow our skills and our garden, but it’s possible to do it faster.

I wish to cheer on the many people looking to grow food for themselves and others. A resilient local food supply is a great comfort and is entirely possible. We are doing our best to feed and educate our community at Hawthorn Farm and beyond.  While we need to keep our distance from other humans, the plants and animals who give us food are great company too. We have a local resource in 21 Acres and other organizations supporting people who are ready to take their supply chain into their own hands. 

Now is the perfect time to plan, plant, and find delicious meaning in growing your own food and supporting the local farmers who do too!  Imagine good food within walking distance for every person, and let’s make it happen.

In good health,

Alexia Allen 

Woodinville

Newspaper edition keeps positive tone

Dear Editor,

I want to commend you on your issue of April 2, for the positive tone throughout. A minister has said that this virus epidemic can be seen as a great chance given to us to see that the world is one, that we are all here to work together, and that there is no distinction between the poor person and the rich person. 

We are all to work together. Your paper illustrated this admirably. I was beaming after having read it. Please keep up the good work. There is always the temptation to show that we are not perfect, that so-and-so is a scoundrel, that I am right, and you are wrong. You have shown that it is better to see what is good. Thank you very much.

Dan Geels

Woodinville

Tips for talking to children about COVID-19

  • Written by By Dr. David Schneider
Dr. Davis Schneider

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking over our news feeds, social media, conversations with friends and family — pretty much everywhere we look or listen, you will find a mention of COVID-19. It can be overwhelming for many of us.

This is especially difficult for children, who may not have a true grasp on everything going on and who may even be confused due to the spread of misinformation. It is important that, as parents and guardians, we talk to children about our world’s current public health crisis to not only ease their concerns but also ensure they have tools to keep themselves healthy. 

Below, I offer four strategies on how to talk to children about COVID-19 and ways to stay healthy:

Initiate the conversation

Chances are good that your child has already heard a lot of information about COVID-19 from friends or through social media. Rather than waiting for your child to come to you, start talking to them about what’s going on sooner rather than later.

Listen to your child and ask questions

Gain an understanding of what they’ve heard and what they are worried about. Kids often misinterpret information or are more likely to believe inaccurate information.

Provide honest and accurate information

For younger kids, keep information simple and balance facts with reassurances that doctors and scientists are learning as much as they can about the new coronavirus so that we can keep them safe.

Older children may need help in separating reality from rumors. High school students can discuss issues in a more adult-like way and should be referred directly to sources of factual information about the current status of COVID-19:

Remain calm and give reassurance

Remember that kids look to adults for guidance on how to react in stressful situations, so be careful that your verbal and nonverbal cues do not increase their worry or anxiety.

For younger children, emphasize that their home is safe and that adults are there to take care of them if they get sick. Give simple examples of ways they can stay healthy, such as washing hands and sneezing or coughing into their sleeve.

For older children, knowledge can give a sense of control but can also cause more anxiety if they become fixated on seeking new information about COVID-19. Correct any inaccurate information or rumors that they hear.

Teenagers may feel better when helping others, so discuss how their actions to protect themselves will also benefit society as a whole. You might give them the task of cleaning things that are commonly touched in the home.

In talking to your children, suggest ways they can stay healthy and strong, maintaining a routine even though their day-to-day might drastically change. Encourage activities or behaviors in children by not only talking about their importance but also modeling these behaviors yourself. Instilling these behaviors now will help your children remain safe from other illnesses, not just COVID-19.

Establish routine health precautions

Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve. Keep your hands off of your face. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABC’s or the “Happy Birthday” song twice).

Limit screen time

Information on television, on the Internet or social media, may cause increased anxiety and may not be accurate. Engage children in reading, games or other interesting activities.

Encourage reading

Reading will benefit their social and cognitive development while providing a stress-relieving escape from external problems. 

Keep up schoolwork

Encourage children to keep up with schoolwork or extracurricular activities to maintain as much of a normal routine as possible.

Skype with friends and family

Social distance to avoid getting sick and unintended doctor’s visits. Replace play dates with family time and maintain at least 6 feet from other children. Encourage virtual visits with grandparents or high-risk adults.

Eat a balanced diet

Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and exercise regularly to keep their immune systems strong.

Keep things clean

Older kids can help clean things that are commonly touched, like doorknobs and light switches.

Dr. David Schneider, M.D., FAAP, is board-certified in general pediatrics. He practices on the Eastside specializing in pediatric and adolescent medicine, with special interests ranging from well-child visits and sports-related injuries to LGBTQ health and mental health concerns around ADHD, depression and anxiety.