Charlotte’s Blog

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Heard or Herd?

I am really, truly, seriously, absolutely in need of good news – heard news and herd news.  Today, I am happy to say that I can share good news about both!  Let me start with the first part  – a quick story for folks who have a harder time hearing, then I’ll tell you what I heard about the herd.

First, the heard news.  A church-going friend of mine comments on the upside of not being able to attend in person religious services at his place of worship.  Yes, this is someone who has become a Zoom fan!  He talked of so many areas in his place of worship where the sound quality was virtually non-existent, but at his home computer all the speakers and singers were positioned properly with their mikes, and he had control of the volume.  He considered that something of an upgrade.

But the upgrade doesn’t hold true for everyone during this time of masks and social distancing where some older adults just are out of reach and out of hearing range.  With the sound quality dampened by masks and distance posing a hearing obstacle, they are at an even greater disadvantage in this pandemic.  But there is a new hearing device that a lot of people are bragging about, and its success owes as much to the ear bud’s popularity as it does to the cool technology of the new device.

Oh, sure, there have been cool hearing technologies in micro before, but unless one has as much as $5,000 in discretionary funds, improved hearing is rather out of reach.  Enter the Olive Smart Ear.  The really great part is not only the apps for getting the setting just right for anyone’s hearing needs, but the price is less than a tenth of some of the micro-technological devices previously available.  And everyone wears an ear bud these days for their smart phones and for their music and more.  The Olive Smart Ear blends into the fashion and taste of the 21st century really well.  If you have an older loved one whose hearing and attitude could use a bit of a boost, please check out www.oliveunion.com.

And then there is the herd news.  You may recall early on in this pandemic that there was talk of herd immunity.  Well, it is not the kind where the COVID is going to just disappear, but there was talk about when we would get to the point that about 70% of a community had had the disease with or without symptoms, and then the rate of spread would dramatically drop off.  Scientists had estimated that the magic 70% mark was the point at which any given individual who contracted COVID would spread it to less than one person on average.

Now, it seems that the threshold is as low as 45 to 50% of people having been exposed to confer “herd immunity.”  Cities like New York City or London or other European cities or even Mumbai may not see a second wave after all.  And while there still is no guarantee that we will have a vaccine before the end of the year, our herd may be a lot closer to turning the corner on this pandemic than we initially had thought.

Until then, keep your distance, wear your mask and practice really good hygiene, and be something that you may not have been for some time…be hopeful!

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.

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