For many of us, the holidays are a wonderful time, providing an opportunity to gather with loved ones, catch up with friends, take a look back as the year winds down and look forward with anticipation to the new year ahead.
Each of the previous two holiday seasons, much of our focus was on COVID-19, as we sought to stay safe in 2020 and looked for the virus to wane in 2021. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and its variants are still with us and it continues to impact many lives as we learn to adapt and live with the virus.
This year, COVID-19 has been joined by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and the flu to form what some are calling a “tripledemic,” once again stressing our healthcare system. As a result, we continue to keep facemasks handy, wash our hands often and stay up to date on our vaccines and boosters. Some families will again have smaller gatherings than usual and because we live in Southern California, some holiday feasts will be held outdoors as we try to minimize the spread of these respiratory illnesses.
If there is a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be the attention that has been placed on mental health for people of all ages.
This includes our team at BCHD, where we have recently had more than 30 staff members complete Mental Health First Aid training, to give our staff guidance to assess a person who may be in crisis and take initial steps to keep that person – and those around them – safe during a mental health episode.
For young people, allcove Beach Cities began operations this fall at our campus on Prospect Avenue, giving young people ages 12 to 25 a unique space for them to gather, socialize or access our services, including mental health resources and support for family, friends, and the larger community.
Older adults receive support from BCHD and our team of Care Managers who assist more than 400 older adults and adults with disabilities in the Beach Cities. This important program provides vital assistance to this vulnerable population, giving many much-needed assistance as these residents age in place.
One aspect of our care for older adults in our community is our Holiday Gift Bag program, which provides some holiday cheer and supplies for older adults and adults with disabilities. This program truly represents what BCHD is all about: bringing the community together – donors, sponsors, bag stuffers and volunteers delivering the bags – to assist people in need in the Beach Cities. To everyone who participated with our Holiday Gift Bags, we are extremely grateful for your support.
Best wishes to you and yours during the holidays, and here’s to a happy and safe 2023!