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A Letter from ERS President & CEO, Laura Lamb, on the Anniversary of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Have you been feeling a bit unsettled over the last few days? Maybe a little anxious and not knowing why? I have. Today marks the one-year anniversary for ERS when we shut down due to COVID-19. Overnight, our worlds – and those of our residents – changed dramatically.

For many of us, the anniversary marks a year of losses: not hugging friends, not traveling, not dining in restaurants, and even not attending significant family events such as weddings, graduations, and funerals.

If you're feeling the weight of the year, you're not alone. Psychologists call it the “anniversary effect.” Not unlike another type of anniversary, there is anticipation. However, in the case of COVID-19, this anniversary has a negative feel. Perhaps most similar to the anniversary of the death of someone you love. It is also a bit different in that everyone around you is living the experience, not just your immediate family.  

So what can you do to get through this portion of the marathon called COVID-19?

  1. Name it:  Be aware that your feelings may be related to the anniversary. Or, maybe if a friend, co-worker, or family member is short with you or sad, remember that it may be related to the anniversary. 
  2. Talk to people you trust:  Perhaps a friend, relative, or spouse can be of comfort. Consider reaching out to a professional counselor, if needed. There's no shame in asking for help. 
  3. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do: Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, turn it around. I can travel using safe practices; however, I may have to wait to go back outside the U.S. I can be with my family, but I may have to wait to see my aunt in another state that is not vaccinated. I can share with residents that some can visit families, and hopefully, all residents will be reunited soon. Our human brains sometimes need help with focusing on the possibilities when we see limitations.
  4.  Be kind to yourself: Take care of yourself. Establish a routine that includes at least 8 hours of sleep, get up and move, and other healthy habits. Establish healthy balances between work and home time. Maybe turn off notifications on devices after hours or take breaks from social media, when you notice yourself scrolling too much. 
  5. Please don’t give up on the things we know work: Make sure you wear your masks, social distance, get the vaccine when eligible, and make good choices about what you do and who you do it. We are not quite to the finish line, and we need everyone to continue with the basics to make it to the end of the marathon!

Please know that I am thinking of each of you on this not-so-happy anniversary.  

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb

ERS President & CEO

Laura Lamb
By
March 16, 2021
Laura joined Episcopal Retirement Services in 1994. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Cincinnati and received her Master’s degree in Health Administration from Xavier University. Her thesis on Organizational Design in Healthcare was completed while working as an intern with ERS. Since beginning her ERS career, Laura has held multiple roles in operations and support services, most recently as Executive Vice President. As CEO, Laura provides strategic and organizational leadership to ensure delivery of ERS' mission and successful business results. Laura championed the Person-Centered Care efforts that have led to the cultural transformation of ERS’s communities from an institutional setting to communities with a home-like feel. Laura Lamb was appointed to the LeadingAge Ohio Board of Directors in 2011 and was approved as a CARF surveyor in 2012. In 2013, she and the Council for Lifelong Engagement (CLLE), a program she developed which is dedicated to ending ageism while imparting the wisdom of elders to school children of all ages, were honored by LeadingAge Ohio as a recipient of the Innovation Award and by LeadingAge as the recipient of the Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award. She is also a Fellow of the LeadingAge Leadership Academy. In 2015, Laura graduated from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Leadership Cincinnati Class 38, a highly competitive leadership development program. In 2017, Laura created Dementia Inclusive (DI) Cincinnati, which gathers public, private, and non-profit organizations with a goal to gain acceptance for people living with the disease, and, by 2025, establish Cincinnati as the most dementia-inclusive city in America. The goal of DI Cincinnati is to create welcoming and safe places for those living with cognitive loss and their care partners. In 2019, Laura and ERS were recognized for this innovative work by being named the Leading Age Ohio Recipient of the Aging Impact Award.

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