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The Village Common Newsletter - October 2020
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Local Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Set to Begin
By Rosalind Ladd

On a Village Commons-sponsored Zoom session on September 15, Dr. Karen Tashima, Director of Clinical Trials at the Lifespan Immunology Center, offered an overview of a research trial of a promising Covid-19 vaccine she will launch in the coming weeks. The trial vaccine will be chosen from among the most promising of the several vaccines in development that have already undergone preliminary testing in the Operation Warp Speed program. The Rhode Island trial will take one of these potential vaccines to the next step: testing the vaccine on a large number of people. This will be a Phase III study in which subjects who receive the vaccine will be compared to those who receive only a placebo. The trial will focus on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. The study will be double-blind, which means that neither the subjects nor the researchers will know which subjects received which substance.

A recording of the session can be accessed at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/cxfiHCWTGeRo8KEO6epmYTfXGYPJr11MZAH9eV68w0t7mao67wuOx5upBftL23M.GITo_HJBfRbojmYJ. Enter passcode: 6Mw@$7JH.

Currently Dr. Tashima is recruiting subjects. Because people over 65 are considered particularly vulnerable to the virus, it is important that subjects in that age group be included. If you would like to be considered as a volunteer subject for the trial, you can sign up at: www coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org. Enter the site code: LIFE

Those selected for the trial will be contacted and a screening meeting will be arranged. As part of the Informed Consent required for all medical research, potential subjects will be fully informed about the process, expectations and risks of the trial, as well as the experience of previous volunteers.

Depending on which potential vaccine will be tested, two doses may be needed a month apart, followed by blood tests every other month. The trial is expected to continue for two years. Risks may include a sore arm from the injection and possibly an overnight fever. There are no restrictions on volunteers' activities and it is fine to get a flu shot during the trial.

If another potential vaccine receives official approval and is available before this study is completed, volunteers may receive that vaccine as well. Researchers hope to have more than one vaccine approved.

Dr. Tashima answered questions from the Zoom audience and the audience then suggested other outlets where she can reach the over-65 population.

For general information about possible vaccines, Dr. Tashima recommends a CNN site with questions and answers: www.cnn.com

Take Care
By Dianne Strommer

How does one “take care” of oneself during the Covid-19 pandemic, when nothing seems stable, the future is a question mark, friends remain unseen, and not just lines but life itself is socially distant? How does one take care to fend off gloom, remain engaged, give life meaning, and even be content?

Four questions related to the pandemic framed the September 16 monthly meeting of the Longevity Explorers, a collaborative program hosted by Hamilton House and The Village Common. The questions were:

  • What has been your hardest challenge and how have you handled it?
  • How do you get your food and maintain a healthy diet?
  • What is your greatest concern for the future?
  • What have been some of your unexpected positive outcomes?

The responses to the first of these questions are summarized below. Summaries of responses to the other questions will be in the November Newsletter.

“What has been the hardest challenge and how have you handled it?”

Early on, the challenge was the immediate disruption of plans: continued stay in another country become suddenly problematic, major family events upended; a large, complicated family get together suddenly cancelled, a celebratory cruise with a grandchild ended, travel to a new country indefinitely postponed.

A big challenge was dealing with the anxiety and fear concerning the Covid-19 virus itself, and the isolation. Being cut off from friends and family is difficult for all; hardest, for those who are single. Then, for some it became difficult to go out at all, as they are fearful even to shop at opened stores.

Participants suggested a number of ways to meet this challenge. Many participants take advantage of senior shopping hours and home deliveries. And they appreciate today’s technology, from email to newer platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype to see as well as hear one another. A Zoom meeting initially may seem very strange, but in time, it becomes both comfortable and comforting. YouTube provides entertainment and intellectual stimulation—tours of all major museums, concerts, ballet, courses, lectures, and more. Just enter your interest on Youtube.com.

Walking, many found, is a great stress reliever that also offers serendipitous pleasures like making sidewalk friends of neighbors or watching normally absent dads play with their children. Just being outside can provide a lift—backyard birds and a bunny running unexpectedly across your yard can be comic, and interesting.

Finding ways to connect with the friends and family you miss—regular online cocktail time, routine FaceTime meetings with individual family members and friends, and family gatherings on Zoom—these brighten our days and keep us connected. Giving structure to your day may matter. Plan to participate in Hamilton House or Village Common’s courses and programs, a “Great Course,” pursue a hobby or a new skill; enjoy museums, concerts, or major theatre performances online. Such activities offer new pleasures and give meaning.

TVC September Board Meeting

The Village Common Board held its Sept. meeting outdoors, at Susan McCalmont's house. This was the Board's first in-person meeting since Covid-19! Board members were socially distanced; others attended remotely by phone. Board members worked on key strategic planning issues including values, new villages, sustainability, outreach and communications, and staffing and volunteer resources.

Left to Right: Suzanne Francis, Anne Connor, Phil West, Jim Maxwell, Jo Ellen Mistarz, Bonnie Ryvicker, Pat Mattingly, John Harkey, Patrice Moskow, Susan McCalmont. Photo by Phil West
Getting Your Affairs In Order
By the Health and Wellness Committee

A pandemic alone would be a sufficient reason for anyone to consider getting their affairs in order. In addition to that, we are all seniors and that provides us with additional motivation to prepare for any future health needs. Where should we begin?

In the next few months, we plan to cover several necessary steps to help you to organize your affairs for the future. It is up to you to follow up with your families and advisors to plan for any emergency situation. This planning can make all the difference. Start by having a discussion with those individuals whom you are closest to and will need to depend on should a health emergency occur.

What is an “important paper?” The answer to this question may be different for every family. This is simply a starting place. For example, if you have a pet, you may wish to include the name and address of your veterinarian.

Include important information about:

  • Personal records:
  • Full legal name
  • Social security number
  • Legal residence
  • Date and place of birth
  • Names, addresses, and contact information for spouse and children
  • Location of birth and death certificates and certificates of marriage, divorce, citizenship, and adoption
  • Employers and dates of employment
  • Education and military records
  • Names and phone numbers of religious contacts
  • Memberships in groups
  • Awards, honors, etc. received
  • Names and phone numbers of close friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers and financial advisors
  • Medications taken regularly (be sure to update this regularly)
  • Sources of income and assets (pensions from your employers, IRA’s, 401Ks, interest, etc.)
  • Insurance information (life, long-term care, home, car) with policy numbers and agent phone numbers
  • Names of banks and account numbers (checking, savings, credit union) Passwords?
  • Investment income (stock, bonds, property) and stockbroker names and phone numbers
  • Copy of recent tax return
  • Location of most up-to-date will with an original signature
  • Liabilities, including mortgages, other debts and property taxes. Identify what is owed, to whom and when payments are due.
Request for Nominations

The Village Common Board is looking for candidates for Board positions to be filled starting in January 2021. Board members serve 3-year terms and are required to attend monthly meetings. The Board is responsible for governance, policy-making, monitoring activities and finances and overseeing the operations of The Village Common. If you, or someone you know, is interested in the mission of The Village Common and in serving on the Board, please contact Jim Maxwell, Chairman of the Nominating Committee. You can reach Jim at jwmxwl.pvri@gmail.com or 401.450.5091. We welcome your suggestions.

News from the Edgewood Village
By Carol Shelton
William H. Hall Free Library, Edgewood Rhode Island

COVID-19 and the restrictions that Rhode Islanders live with has had some effect on the Edgewood Village Steering Committee and has put some limitations on the work that we hope to achieve. However, the determination of the committee to effectively address the needs of the elders in this vibrant community has not lessened over these many months of isolation.

To date:

  • Two volunteers and one alternate representative are actively serving on the Village Coordinating Council, sharing information and The Village Common (TVC) events with all members.
  • Rack Cards for the Edgewood Village are being printed, with a plan for distribution to be discussed in early October.
  • Membership Packets are being assembled that will include organizational information from TVC as well as items specific to the Edgewood neighborhood.

An important concern expressed at our September meeting was the need for the Edgewood Village to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the neighborhood. To that end, the Steering Committee formed an Inclusion Sub-committee to examine ways to ensure that this concern was addressed. The Committee met later in September and created a plan to engage underserved groups in our work through “connectors” in the community. The Committee’s goal is to ensure that the Edgewood Village authentically represents the demographics of the entire community and engages all voices in developing a meaningful Village.

Three goals that we hope to accomplish by the fall include:

  1. developing a Service Map with geographical boundaries of our Village that will be added to the membership packet
  2. creating a volunteer recruitment plan for the distribution of the Rack Card and other marketing materials
  3. determining the best timing for bringing the community together in a launch of our village.

COVID 19 may still be with us, but it has not stopped the momentum of our work.

October: The Barrington Village Reflects
By Laura Young
"Barrington Sunset Gathering" Photo by Laura Young

In 2020, the Barrington Village was founded, and grew as a local Village in the Village Common of RI. We are routinely providing services, adding members and volunteers each month. The COVID 19 pandemic added challenges and opportunities. Volunteers shifted from providing rides to running errands. The Village Common website allows for an easy process of making and communicating requests, then tracking their completion. We are running smoothly and look forward to going where our membership will guide us.

The month of October has been designated as our time to reflect---the visual below says it all. The participation of members, volunteers, fellow Villages, interested community members, and Village Common staff and leadership will make 2021 a second year of successful growth. The Barrington Village Steering Committee will be organizing opportunities to participate and will be reaching out. Thank you in advance to all participants!

Oakhill Antiracism Group
By Susan Bayley
Oakhill Antiracism Group Zoom meeting. Photo by Phil West

Several lifetimes ago, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, under the knee of a police officer pressing on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, literally pressing the life out of Mr. Floyd. A brave 17-year-old black girl, Darnella Fraiser, stood five feet away and held her cell phone steady on the officer killing Mr. Floyd as he pleaded for his life. Her video ignited the world-wide movement.

That day cracked open a new human awareness: here in our neighborhood; in Rhode Island; in the nation; around the world. This incident, all too familiar to us by this time, has caused many people to see that something is deeply wrong. The killing of George Floyd is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom, and if we are able to look, we see similar incidents throughout the US and across the world. It is a wake-up call.

For the past two years, a group of Oak Hill neighbors has been gathering to learn about one another. George Floyd’s death was a catalyst for us to do something more, but quite honestly, we did not know what to do. We have explored several things, such as:

  • introducing ourselves to neighbors
  • reading books about race and racism, such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • actively supporting political candidates of color in the Pawtucket election, such as the It’s Her Time (IHT) slate.

Currently, several folks are following a virtual series of presentations by the Providence Community Library: Power, Privilege & Social Justice; History of African American Civil Rights in Providence, RI. This is a 3-part series by Keith W. Stokes of the RI Black Heritage Society. Valerie Tutson of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers provided an introduction.

This free presentation, on three Wednesdays from 6-7 PM, began on September 23 and continues through October 7. Get information and FREE TICKETS at eventbrite.com or provcomlib.org. You may register for an individual session.

Our anti-racism group meets on Monday evenings, and others interested in joining the discussion may join us (contact Wendy Oliver at woliver@providence.edu). While this group began in the Oakhill neighborhood, we invite anyone from The Village Common community to join us in our exploration. I believe that people are fundamentally good. I want to focus on that foundation of goodness to build a better world, a better nation, a better neighborhood. It’s a place to start.

Help Voting In This Election

Many voting deadlines are coming up, including opportunities to vote early in person. Due to a recent decision, all registered voters should have received a mail ballot application. Please remember these key dates:

  • General Election: November 3
  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 4
  • Mail ballot application deadline: October 13
  • New! Early In-Person Voting for the General Election: October 14 – November 2
For detailed information, please go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov/.

Call us at 401-44-5240 (401-400-5599 in Barrington) for assistance, including general information, rides to polls, and picking up completed, signed, and sealed ballots to deliver to drop boxes.

Stanley Smith
from The Providence Journal

Stanley Smith, age 86, passed away Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Born in Newport, he was a son of the late Hyman and Esther (Berman) Smith. He is survived by his children Cindy (Bill) Smith, Cheryl (Joe) Dourado, Alan (Kim) Smith; grandchildren Scott (Mandy) Smith, Matthew (Michelle) Smith, and Brendan and Shane Smith; 4 great-grandchildren; siblings Richard (Libby) Smith, Barbara (Warren) Blakeley, and Beverly (Steve) Reinert; his beloved partner of 20 years Arlene Berrol and her children Avram Gleitsman and Leah Palmiter; and stepsons Larry and Michael Richter. He was loved and admired by all who knew him. Stanley worked as a chemist at Colfax, Inc in Pawtucket for 38 years and was also past president of The Association of Oil Chemists Society. He was an avid tennis player and golfer that loved sports, theater, opera, the arts and was an active and beloved member of the Friday Group.

Due to the current restrictions on social gatherings, funeral and Shiva will be private. Arrangements are in the care of Sugarman-Sinai Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Tomorrow Fund, www.tomorrowfund.org. For online condolences, www.SugarmanSinai.com.

Pat Keefe Is On The Move
By Laura Young
Photo by Laura Young

Wakefield, RI is the lucky community Pat Keefe will be moving to next month. It is a beautiful community, in a lovely part of the state. Pat will be living near her daughter and grandchildren, spending precious time with them.

Barrington will be losing a dear friend, an active volunteer, and a woman who makes things happen. Pat has been the force behind the Barrington Village, organizing meetings, discussing timing, directions, and working through conflicts. As co-lead, Pat always found time for calls, walks, email reading and writing, and taking on important pieces of leadership. She voiced her opinions clearly and was true to her perspective, considering thoughtfully the views of others and keeping her mind open.

Pat has been active in many organizations within the community and will be missed. Pat will continue to work with the Barrington Village for the remainder of the year, allowing for a smooth transition. Although we at the Barrington Village will feel the loss of Pat (for me, it seems like losing a right arm), she is a member of the Nominating Committee and will help identify next year’s leaders.

We cherish the time you have spent with us!

Home Safety Check For This Month
By Joy Twelves

Each month we choose a different area of the home to check for safety. Our focus this month is on steps and stairways (interior and exterior).

  • Handrails are on both sides – appropriate height and properly secured to wall
  • Stairway light switches are located at top and bottom of stairs
  • All stairs are clear of clutter
  • All stair treads have non-slip surface
  • All stair treads are in good condition: no weak or missing steps, loose bricks, raised nail heads
  • Carpeted steps have tightly placed, woven low pile carpet
  • Automatic night lights are in outlets nearby
The Village Common of RI
Board of Directors
Suzanne Francis, President
Jim Maxwell, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Peter Viner-Brown, Treasurer

Lenore Bunting, Lorraine Keeney, Pat Mattingly, Susan McCalmont, Bonnie Ryvicker, Terry Percelay, Joe Santarlasci, Phil West

The Village Common of RI
Advisory Council

Barry Fain, Jay Glasson, Beverly Ledbetter, Lynette Lopes, Marcus Mitchell, Herbert Rakatansky, Corinne Calise Russo, Barbara Sokoloff, Bill Twaddell, Phil West

Newsletter Staff
Editor:
 Wendy Oliver
Design: Josh Kemp   
Writers:  Jane Adler, Sue Bayley, Anne Connor, John Harkey, Rosalind Ladd, Vivian Malloy, Jo Ellen Mistarz, Wendy Oliver, Diane Strommer, Eliza Sutton, Phil West 
Photography:  Jane Adler, John Harkey, Phil West,
Obituary Assistance: Anne Connor, Phil West
villagecommonri.org

Please contact us at: office@villagecommonri.org
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