Edition #1 | September 2019

Your quarterly news & updates
We’re thrilled to bring you, Connections!, the first edition of our quarterly newsletter!
You’ll read about news and updates happening at CAHNJ. This is an exciting year for us.
Please read on to learn more.

A word from our Founder

Dr. Thomas McCarrick
Dr. Thomas McCarrick
In 2014, Connections at Home (CAH) was founded in response to the recognition that many of our older patients live alone and are lonely and socially isolated, with few family, friends, or social safety net.  As we embark on our fifth year of bringing technology, social work services, and support groups to more than 400 people, we are thrilled to bring you updates through our first quarterly newsletter. 
As we grow older, reduced mobility can lead to increased social isolation and loneliness. CAH’s staff work to reduce that barrier and mitigate loneliness by providing technology and social workers to our older adult, homebound participants.
We are so grateful to be able to reach so many and enhance their quality of life. I hope you’ll continue to read more about us and that our stories inspire you. 

Alex’s Corner

I am thrilled to get to work with so many wonderful and committed staff and participants at Connections at Home. We’ve reached so many people and connected them to their loved ones. CAH participants are our family; we’ve developed many great relationships.
Alex Kent
Alex Kent
As the Executive Director, my goal is to sustain and grow CAH so we can continue to reach more homebound, older adults. Most notably, this year we’ve embarked on a strategic planning process that will map out our work over the next five years.
We are developing our resources by garnering grant funding and instigating new partnerships with businesses and nonprofits that align with our mission . As a nonprofit, we subsist on donations from generous donors. We invite you to read on and hear the inspiring stories from our staff and participants.
If the mission of CAH resonates with you or someone you know, please refer them to us.  We are always looking for program participants, partnerships with businesses and funders, and are open to any conversation that will help us sustain and grow.
I can be reached at alex.kent@cahnj.org or 973-239-2600, ext. 1075. Thank you for reading.

Spotlight on CAH Staff

Maureen began as CAH’s Lead Social Worker in 2014. With more than 20 years experience, she is responsible for coordinating the Social Work staff, weekly video chat visits with patients,
Dr. Williams and Maureen Karsen and family
Dr. Williams and Maureen Karsen and family
moderating the Caregiver Support Group, and assisting with social service needs as necessary.
What inspired you to be a social worker? I became a social worker because I’ve always wanted to help others. I enjoy connecting my clients to services and seeing the impact I and the services have had on their lives.
What makes CAH special?
It’s really special to see how CAH has found ways to meet people where they are. We first started with the Telikin computer for those who could use a computer. Then we introduced the Grandpad for those who preferred a smaller tablet. For those who are visually impaired, we make phone calls to ensure they too know that they are cared for.
We also run caregiver and grief support groups for those grieving a loved one and those caring for a loved one. It is such a benefit to hundreds of people. It’s the group members who help to make it so successful. 
Working at CAH, I get more than I give. I get to meet so many interesting people with great life experiences. My time with them is so special; it is such a gift.
Tell us about a remarkable CAH participant:
All of our participants are special to us but one in particular stands out. Dr. Michael Williams is a theologian and pastor. He is our first CAH participant and is currently working with Telikin staff to create a regular Skype group in which he facilitates conversations on a particular topic. He is also a mentor to other participants by assisting them with their computer skills. 
Dr. Williams said, “CAH is my support network and Telikin is my left hand. I use it to make spreadsheets, manage my finances, write out lesson plans and sermons and play games…the calendar helps me to keep my appointments, and Skype and email help me stay connected to family and friends.” Dr. Williams also said, “if every patient had the opportunity to Skype with a social worker at their medical office, we could avoid many medical crises.”
We are so grateful for knowing Dr. Williams. He is a great asset to CAH and our participants.


Nutrition Tips

Healthy nutrition grows more important as we age. A balanced diet give us the nutrients needed to nourish our bodies in order to function properly. The six specific nutrients important to sustaining life are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
As older adults, our daily diet intake should include vegetables, lean protein, grains, and dairy. To stay healthy, try to avoid high cholesterol foods and flavoring like butter and bacon. While grocery shopping, purchase fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables as canned goods are high in sodium and sugar. Avoid refined sugar and sweets.
Healthy eating tips include: 
  • Eat with family and friends whenever you can. Set up times to video chat on your Telikin or Grandpad;
  • Check with your dentist if you are experiencing any difficulty chewing your food;
  • Drink a lot of water and fresh juices with your meal;
  • Add color and texture to make your food more interesting by adding fresh vegetables like steamed broccoli, carrots, and beets;
  • If an illness is making physically harder for you to cook or feed yourself, reach out to your health care provider as an occupational therapist might be recommended.
Connections at Home NJ is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization. We operate on donations from generous donors like you. Kindly support our mission to reduce social isolation among homebound older adults. Make your donation at www.cahnj.org/donations today.