Hello And Update From Jenny Gallagher, CEO Of LinkAges / Help-Full

Dear linkAges Members,

I hope this note finds you well. I had the pleasure of meeting some of you at a recent linkAges member event.  My co-founder Shamshad Khan, myself and the rest of the Help-Full team have been working hard to support the linkAges Community so it’s always great to meet some of you in person.  During our “member mingle” my team and I had the opportunity to speak with some of you, and some questions came up about  the differences between LinkAges and Help-Full, why the change was made, whether you would have to pay for your membership, and what would happen to the hours you have accumulated. In this letter, I’ll answer those questions and update you on our plans going forward.

How linkAges Got Started

Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation developed linkAges as a 3-year pilot program, which was  funded by grants from various sources. The aim of the linkAges pilot was to create a network to connect people of all ages to support individual and community health.  Its overarching approach was to provide opportunities for meaningful connections and empower individuals to improve each other’s health.

Once Sutter Health successfully concluded the 3-year pilot, they  evaluated next steps. In keeping with Sutter Health’s belief in the power of partnerships to enhance community health, they considered various organizations to whom they could transfer linkAges.  They selected Help-Full, given the strong alignment of our respective missions.

How Help-Full Got Started

A few years ago, my mother’s health was declining.  While she was fortunate enough to afford in-home caregivers who assisted her, what she lacked were opportunities to continue to stay engaged in pursuits she enjoyed, to continue to have purpose and give back, and to find new friends and others with whom she was compatible.  I felt helpless living far away and not being able to help her find such fulfillment in her life. So, I left my job at AARP in Washington DC and moved back to the Bay Area. There I reconnected with my friend and former colleague Shamshad Khan. Like me, Shamshad was concerned about the well-being of his parents living in India.  So together we started Help-Full out of a desire to help families like our own.

Help-Full’s mission is to make life more enjoyable at any stage.  We set out to create a community network where members of all ages can give and get practical help, exchanges skills, and share interests.  Our vision is not only to support such a community here in the Bay Area but also in other regions as well. As families are increasingly spread out geographically, we see the need to create a network of communities where friends and family no longer need to let time, distance or money keep them from helping those they care about.  Help-Full members can give help in their local Help-Full community, earn hours, and then have the option to give hours to loved ones who live in other areas.

How linkAges Connected with Help-Full

During 2017, we had the good fortune to connect with Sutter Health and learn about their plans to find a new “home” for linkAges.  After successfully concluding their 3-year pilot, Sutter Health sought an organization to whom they could transfer linkAges, one that would continue to operate, grow and enhance the linkAges community network. We were honored that Sutter Health selected Help-Full

While linkAges and Help-Full’s missions are similar, our beginnings were different.  Unlike linkAges, which was created by Sutter Health and supported by funding through Palo Alto Medical Foundation,  we are a startup with all the promise and challenges that goes with an early stage organization. Our team may be small but we’re hearty!  We are building a mission-driven company that will benefit peoples’ lives and have a business model that will be self-sustaining.  During the coming months, we will be evaluating options for organizational partners, such as healthcare companies. Our plan is that our organizational partners will pay for some or all of their customers’ community memberships, keeping Help-Full as affordable as possible for individual members.

How Does This Affect Your Membership?

This brings me to our plans for next year.  While our plans may change from time to time, here is what I can tell you:

  • If you were a linkAges member before January 1, 2018 (the transition date from Sutter Health), you are a “founding member. ” As such, we will provide you with the same community network you have enjoyed – free of charge – for at least next year.  At this time, we can’t commit to a free service beyond 2019 but our intention is to continue to honor your status as a founding member.

  • If you joined linkAges after January 1, 2018 you also are very important to us.  We unfortunately cannot offer the linkAges Community for free to new members, but it is our intent to make the community as affordable for as many people as possible.  We will keep you updated with any changes to pricing as soon as they are finalized. For now, we hope you’ll continue to enjoy the service for free.

  • In the coming months, we will be upgrading from “Community Hours” to “Time Tokens”.  Time Tokens are similar to Community Hours but will have increased functionality, such as the ability to be given to family and friends who live in another geographic area.  You may be wondering “what will happen to my Community Hours?” Founding members who have Community Hours in their account will still be able to exchange them with other founding members,  just as you always have. We will provide more information before we introduce Time Tokens.

  • Since the transition started in January, we have continued to use both organizations’ names  – “linkAges” and “Help-Full” – and have maintained both websites with their distinctive “look and feel.”  In the coming months, we will bring these together into a single, unified website and member experience. For now, you can still access the linkAges Community as you have in the past  – at community.linkages.org.  We will send out an announcement before changes to the website are made.

  • We will be conducting a pilot with a healthcare provider in Phoenix AZ starting later this year.  This partnership will give us an opportunity to continue to refine our service, especially as it relates to connecting friends and family and enabling them to exchange hours across communities.

One of Help-Full’s values is integrity – to communicate and act with transparency and honesty.  While our plans may need to change and adapt, we will keep you updated along the way. We are working hard to honor and support what has been built within the linkAges Community.  Although we are a small organization, we will do our best to provide good service, keep you informed, and answer any questions you might have. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll say so.

Finally, as a mentor of mine often said, “feedback is a gift.”  So, we would love to hear from you with any comments, questions, suggestions, what you like, and what you don’t – all of it helps us learn and get better.

Wishing each of you all the best,

Jenny Gallagher

CEO, Help-Full and linkAges

October 2018 – National Animal Safety and Protection Month

October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. Animals play an important part in our everyday lives, even if we don’t personally have pets. So it’s vital to make sure that they are treated kindly and with the respect and care they deserve.  There are several ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

  • Ensure pets are micro-chipped so if they are ever lost, they can be easily found and returned; collars with identification tags are also just as important.
  • Pet proof your home against the possibility of your animals coming in contact with any dangerous poisons or toxins.
  • Put together a disaster escape plan in case you ever need to evacuate your pets quickly from the home.

If you need assistance with your pets, we encourage members to post a request on linkAges Community.


We would like to say a big thank you to all the linkAges Members who made our Fall Potluck a success! It was decorated with such an amazing selection of food to share with one another. We hope that you had a great time, had a chance to reconnect and make some new friends.


linkAges October Partner Spotlight:

We want to extend a big thank you to Dragon Theatre of Redwood City for their long-time involvement as a linkAges partner. Their creative collaboration with linkAges allows our members to serve as hospitality volunteers, while also supporting the unique and thoughtful plays performed at the theater. This month the Dragon Theatre is showcasing Madeline George’s, “The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence” until Oct. 7th. We encourage you to invite a linkAges member and connect over a night filled with drama and excitement!


Insights on Isolation By Rochelle Perucca

Hafiz, the fourteenth century Persian poet often wrote about love in an attempt to address what impedes us from living a more fulfilled life.

He wrote…
The heart is a thousand stringed instrument that can only be tuned with love.

Is he telling us (you) here that (y)our love is enough to tune (y)our own heart? If so, this is a big request. When we feel confined or stuck in loneliness, can we lovingly be with ourselves?

In another poem he writes: Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the vast fields of light… And let it breathe. 

Is he inviting us to breathe into our own hearts just what they need? Can we throw off the restrictions, the conditioning and let our hearts have the space and love they need? Can we be real with ourselves and others about this  need?

Again he writes: How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its own being. Otherwise we all remain too frightened.

Fear can grip us in a way that steals our freedom, limits our actions, and
shuts down our heart. Can we be with our frightened heart and bring
compassion and soothing comfort to the tenderness of our being? Can we
embrace ourselves in a way Hafiz would have understood and encouraged?

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rochelle  Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.

 


Technology Tip:

Did you know that linkAges has a Resource Library to assist with frequently asked questions? The Resource Library offers information on how to post your first listing, how to find and create events, and how to complete/record an exchange. Please refer this to useful tool to learn how to utilize the linkAges website.  Find the Resource Library on the left-hand side of the website.

library


Next Member Event.. Coming Soon!

We just want to say thank you again for all those who attended last weekend’s Fall Potluck.

Be sure to keep an eye on the “Events” page as we are in the process of planning our next linkAges Member event. More information and details to follow. We look forward to seeing you soon!

August 2018 – Transportation Month

We hope linkAges members are enjoying the warm days and nights of summer. For the month of August, the linkAges theme is transportation. Please remember linkAges Community is a great resource to connect with each other for transportation needs. Read what members are saying about their recent transportation exchanges.

  • She “felt secure, safe and in good hands when relying on my new linkAges friend who drove me to and from the airport.”
  • Another expressed her experience as “much more comfortable with the linkages driver than with any cab driver I’ve ever had.  It was a very pleasant way to begin a journey.”

We couldn’t have said it any better!


Happy senior couple in the car.


Partner Spotlight: Village Santa Cruz

village

Village Santa Cruz is a non-profit, grassroots membership organization.  They are a network of Santa Cruz city and county residents with a vision of aging and focus on empowering, growing and learning. Village Santa Cruz’s goal is to develop a vibrant and caring community, encourage neighbors of all ages to help each other, and continue to be engaged in their community, through all the transitions of aging. To learn more about Village Santa Cruz, please click here.


Insights on Isolation By Rochelle Perucca

Change is constant. As we age, our bodies often become steady reminders that we are changing. We may begin to notice more fatigue, aches, pains, loss of vision, hearing, or muscle tone. We also become more aware of our vulnerability. We may begin to pull in and become defined by our limitations. It may feel scary to show up and be seen.

I know that our need for social connection is triggered from the same primal alarm bells as hunger, thirst, and physical pain. “Oh no,” I say, “When we isolate, are we depriving ourselves of basic needs? What can I do?” Vulnerability is scary. Can I accept my own limitations? Am I willing to show up and be seen just as I am? Will I be able to trust and be vulnerable enough to feel that others will love me with my humanness?

Brene Brown, research professor affirms: “Yes, I am vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.” Can you find that place within you that feels this is true? Might you ask yourself the question: “What if I dare show up as I am? How might my life be different?”

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rochelle  Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.

 


Technology Tip:

Ever wonder what the number is next to the bell on the dashboard?

That number indicates you have some notifications. Have a high number of notifications on the dashboard? If so, there is an easy way to clear your notifications without having to read all of them. To remove the notifications, click on the bell or the number next to it. A prompt will appear and members will only need to click on “Mark all as read” (circled in red) to clear the notifications.

notifications.jpg

July 2018 – National Picnic Month

July is National Picnic Month which means another great excuse to spend time with friends and family while enjoying some of the freshest in-season produce. It’s the perfect time to bask in sunshine, eat delicious food, and venture on nature walks to beautiful locales. Picnics are a great way to see the city or town you live in. If you are planning a picnic this month, we encourage you to invite some linkAges members. It will be a great way to enjoy all the natural beauty and fresh foods in the Bay Area!


CP_Food-Network_Packable-Picnic_vector-final_MAY19


Partner Spotlight: Mountain View Library

library

The Mountain View Library’s mission is to be the information center for their diverse community providing a dynamic place to share resources and ideas, to find joy in reading, and to experience the power of lifelong learning. The Library also looks for volunteers for these events. For more information about all events, please visit their website here.


Insights on Isolation by Rochelle Perucca

Do you enjoy reading children’s picture books? For those who are feeling lonely or dealing with social isolation, I have a must see for you. It is called PANDORA written and illustrated by Victoria Turnbull, available at your local library.

Picture books have many advantages. Each one is unique both in plot, character and depth of message. The books often speak to the child in us, to our longings for things both experienced and things missed. The illustrations offer a fascinating genre all by themselves. If your physical vision is fading, you may appreciate the larger font and brevity of words. Picture books are also ideal for those evenings when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

Who knows, you may even begin to write you own stories. There is a need for good picture books with unique and inspirational concepts. Enjoy exploring something new.

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 Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.


Technology Tip:

Ever wonder what the number is next to the bell on the dashboard?

That number indicates you have some notifications. Have a high number of notifications on the dashboard? If so, there is an easy way to clear your notifications without having to read all of them. To remove the notifications, click on the bell or the number next to it. A prompt will appear and members will only need to click on “Mark all as read” (circled in red) to clear the notifications.

library

 

June 2018 – Great Outdoors Month

If you love getting out and about and enjoying yourself, then June is the perfect month since it’s Great Outdoors Month! It’s a great opportunity to go outside, be active and start a healthy lifestyle. Getting out and about is often a free or cheap day out for families, and can be a lot of fun. It’s a great way to learn about nature and the environment so please connect with other linkAges members for a hike or bike ride around the Bay Area.


Partner Spotlight: YWCA Silicon Valley

For over 100 years, YWCA Silicon Valley has been at the forefront of the most critical social movements – from civil rights, to affordable housing and pay equity, to violence prevention. YWCA Silicon Valley is one door to many solutions for those who have been impacted by violence. Last year we opened our doors over 20,000 times to provide critical services to our clients’ needs including shelter, housing, counseling, child care, and education and prevention programming.  If you would like to learn more about YWCA Silicon Valley, click here.


Insights on Isolation by Rochelle Perucca

When we lose something, we often go to the “Lost and Found.” But what
happens when we lose something that can’t be “found,” like our health, job, pet, youth, parent, relationship?

Decades ago I had a rock climbing fall and “lost” my mobility. Stuck in a
wheel chair, I was an extrovert in an introvert’s body. I deeply wanted things to return to how they were before. I had to learn different ways of coping, relating to others, and adopting new ideas and perspectives.

Are there strategies you have used to “find” what you have “lost?” How are you making the necessary adjustments to live with your losses? Change is needed. Today, make a list of new actions you can take to re-connect and fill some of the “lost” places. Life is all around; our job is to reach out and “find” it. I know you can.
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 Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.


Technology Tip:

Ever wonder what the number is next to the bell on the dashboard?

That number indicates you have some notifications. Have a high number of notifications on the dashboard? If so, there is an easy way to clear your notifications without having to read all of them. To remove the notifications, click on the bell or the number next to it. A prompt will appear and members will only need to click on “Mark all as read” (circled in red) to clear the notifications.


 

May 2018 – Culture and Language Month

The month of May is filled with the sounds of birds, the smell of fresh flowers and warm breezes from time to time. The month marks the height of spring and the beginning of summer. This month’s theme is exploring culture and language. You can use linkAges to practice a new language, learn more about a country or region you are visiting during summer vacation, or learn a new family recipe. If you speak another language or would like to share your unique cultural skills with others, we hope you will post an offer this month!

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Partner Spotlight: The Dragon Theatre of Redwood City

We want to extend a big thank you to Dragon Theatre of Redwood City for their long-time involvement as a linkAges partner. Their creative collaboration with linkAges allows our members to serve as hospitality volunteers,  while also supporting the unique and thoughtful plays performed at the theater. This month the Dragon Theatre is debuting their upcoming play, “Three Days of Rain” beginning May 25th. We encourage you to invite a linkAges member and connect over a night filled with drama and suspense!


Insights on Isolation by Rochelle Perucca

Are you in pain? I know that place. Pain really takes a toll on our entire being. It saps our energy, influences our mind and impacts our choices and decisions.

Its spring and I want to buy some seeds to plant. I hear my mind saying: “Is it worth the effort, stress, pain you will experience?” Ah-ha, I caught my self sabotaging thought right in the act. If I let it take over, it would add to my isolation and emotional pain.

What can we do?

  1. When we live in alignment with our values we feel better.

  2. Call a friend to go with us and enjoy the travel time together.

  3. Shift our thinking to something more supportive, i.e. “It will be nourishing to watch the seeds grow and blossom.”

  4. Ask a friend to pick up some seeds or starters for us.

Reach out and plant some seeds, literally or figuratively.

Happy planting,

Rochelle

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 Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.

 


Technology Tip:

As a reminder for members, we have updated our member guidelines and safety tips for members here.   When exchanging with an unfamiliar Community member, exercise the same caution you would when interacting with a new neighbor for the first time. The guidelines help you have a positive and rewarding experience in linkAges Community! You can find additional information in the Resource Library.

March 2018 – National Nutrition Month

Happy March! March is National Nutrition Month, so let linkAges help you maintain good eating habits and physical activity. We all know that eating at home not only can help save money but can help us eat healthier too. Try experimenting with healthier ingredients, such as chicken breast, fish, and your favorite vegetables. If you need suggestions for recipes, please post a listing on linkAges since our members have many healthy recipes to share. To kickstart physical activity habits, find an activity such as hiking on linkAges Community that you might enjoy. We look forward to supporting members in participating in National Nutrition Month!nutrition.png


 

Partner Spotlight: The Mountain View Senior Center

mountain view.jpg

linkAges has collaborated with The Mountain View Senior Center to host many events and we are so grateful for their partnership. The Mountain View Senior Center is an all-purpose facility that offers programs and services for adults 55 years of age and over. They offer many types of classes, social events, community garden, and a nutrition program.


 

Insights on Isolation by Rochelle Perucca

It’s March, the winds of change are blowing and Spring is coming.

Is your life representative of the upcoming season or are you still in Winter?

What if: Attitude + Energy = Choice. Let’s make a hypothesis: A+E = C

How would you describe your Attitude? Does it feel like a sloth in slow motion? Or is it

like a curious cat, interested in anything that moves?

How is your Energy? Is it like a banana slug slowly traversing the forest floor? Or does it

feel more like a flower ready, waiting and hoping to blossom?

If A+E does equal C, then the Choices we make do depend on how much energy we

have and more importantly, A, our Attitude and how we think.

So, this month, let’s take a look at how our A is impacting our E, and particularly our C.

Are we reaching out or are we choosing to remain in winter? If so, what is stopping us?

My hope is for all of us to find a way to choose Spring.


rochelle

Rochelle Perucca, a Fulbright Scholar, psychotherapist, a college professor for the past 35 years, and a National Park Ranger (language interpreter), has been a linkAges Community member since 2015. She has seen the many benefits of being part of a larger community and we welcome her contributions and insights to the linkAges newsletter.

 


Technology Tip:

library

 

Did you know that linkAges has a Resource Library to assist with frequently asked questions? The Resource Library offers information on how to post your first listing, how to find and create events, and how to complete/record an exchange. Please refer this to useful tool to learn how to utilize the linkAges website.

Find the Resource Library on the left-hand side of the website.