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Online cultural events can benefit lonely older people, study shows

We remember it all too well from the first lockdown. The obligatory weekly Zoom quizzes and the stream of cultural events held online.

While most of us can head down to the local pub again and delight in the return of good old Sunday quizzes, some people are still stuck at home. And research suggests online cultural activities such as museum tours can significantly improve the mental and physical health of elderly people who are homebound.

“Our study showed that art-based activity may be an effective intervention,” said Dr Olivier Beauchet, a professor at McGill University in Montreal and lead author of a study published in Frontiers in Medicine.

Social isolation and loneliness, which are often more acute in older people, are as bad for health as long-term illness and can lead to premature death. Successive lockdowns during the pandemic only made things worse.

Researchers suggest that just one virtual trip to the museum a week could foster social inclusion and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of seniors.

The team recruited 106 community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older to investigate the potential health benefits of art-based activities. Half of the participants attended weekly online museum tours followed by an informal discussion, while the other half did not participate in any cultural activities before or during the three-month study period.

The people who joined the visits recorded improved feelings of social inclusion, wellbeing and quality of life, as well as reduced physical frailty, compared with those who did not attend the guided tours.

More than 2 million people aged over 75 live alone in England, and more than a million say they sometimes go for more than a month without any social contact, according to the charity Age UK.

“This study shows that with adequate infrastructure, age-friendly access and technical support, digital technology can benefit the mental health and wellbeing of older people,” said Prof Yang Hu, of Lancaster University.

The necessary technical guidance is often lacking, however, which is why virtual contact left older people feeling lonelier than with no contact at all during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, older people are often left to their own devices to navigate technology use,” Hu said. Unprepared and lengthened digital exposure could lead to stress and burnout in people who are not familiar with technology, he added.

Dr Snorri Rafnsson, of the University of West London, said:“With adequate support, the potential of scaling this kind of intervention up is great.”

Not everyone has access to online resources and activities, however. “There are huge barriers for older people living in the community – lack of internet, knowledge and support, financial issues and so on,” Rafnsson said. “Studies show that those who have family around them, and a supportive social network, are more likely to take up and use online technology.”

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Event-filled day on Aug. 27 to benefit Lacombe & District Historical Society – Lacombe Express

Event-filled day on Aug. 27 to benefit Lacombe & District Historical Society - Lacombe Express

Lacombe will be hopping on Aug. 27 with exciting events being hosted throughout the day by the Lacombe & District Historical Society.

With the day serving as an important fundraising event for the Society, one of the key highlights will be the Servus Credit Union Harvest Dinner, explained Martin Bierens, Museum assistant.

“Servus is the title sponsor of that event,” he said, adding that proceeds will be going back to the Society to help fund everything from operations at the Michener House Museum, the Blacksmith Shop Museum and educational community programming to the creation of various exhibits.

“We kind of see it as an end-of-summer celebration,” he said.

“We also want to see it as a community-building event where we bring lots of people together and have a lot of fun.”

The four-course dinner, described as a farm-to-fork culinary experience, starts at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Lest We Forget Memorial Park next to the LMC.

Beer-pairing to each course will be provided by Blindman Brewing, Bierens said, adding that what’s being served that night is being kept a secret until the actual event.

The four courses will be prepared by four local chefs – an appetizer will be made by Laura Huband of Toller’s Bistro; the salad will be created by Matt Burton from FORNO; the main course is from Derek Layden of Millie Oak Cafe and Catering and dessert will be provided by George Saganis and Lance Sharpe of Leto’s Steakhouse & Bar.

Drinks will be provided by Hans Doef of Blindman Brewing.

“All the ingredients for the dinner are also being sourced from within Lacombe County,” said Bierens.

“We thought we were setting ourselves up for a big challenge but there are so many great farms who are willing to work with us – they are willing to donate for the dinner. We are really grateful,” he said. “We have so many people involved.”

Along with the dinner, there will also be silent and live auctions.

“Proceeds from both the silent and live auctions will be going to the Museum, too.”

Another highlight will be the Lacombe County 2022 Ag Tour, which will be visiting several local farms, said Bierens. Tickets for the tour must be purchased separately.

“Lacombe County actually has an Eventbrite post for that.

Also, check out the Lacombe Museum Artisan Market and the Blacksmith Shop Museum Hammer-In Festival – both will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At last count, about 20 artisans had signed up to showcase their wares at the market. “We still have spots open for last-minute sign-ups,” he said, adding that the market will be held along 49 St. As for the Hammer-In Festival, Bierens said visiting blacksmiths from all over Alberta will be in attendance.

“Both the Lacombe Museum Artisan Market and the Blacksmith Shop Museum Hammer-In Festival are free to attend. Of course, people are always welcome to donate,” he said.

Ultimately, Bierens said it’s a year of ‘firsts’.

“It’s the first year we’ve done the artisan market, the first year for the dinner and the first year for the bus tour. So we are really excited. It’s a full day of events,” he said. “And it’s going to be a blast.

“We’ve also gotten such a great community response.”

Bierens said some businesses and organizations even had approached the Society, wanting to be part of the day’s events.

“It’s really exciting to see that what we are doing here at the Museum is being recognized across the wider region.”

For tickets, check out or drop by the Flatiron Museum.

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Opera Mariposa’s 2022 Benefit + Awareness Event – GlobalNews Events

Opera Mariposa’s 2022 Benefit + Awareness Event - GlobalNews Events



All ages

Join Opera Mariposa’s award-winning artists for their 10th annual Benefit + Awareness event – all month, all online, and all for charity! Enjoy music, videos, artwork, shopping, and an international giveaway with over $3,500 in prizes – all in support of the high-risk chronic illness community and the ME | FM Society of BC. The event honours the International Awareness Month for chronic neuro-immune diseases like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME, also known as ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM), and all proceeds up to the fundraising goal will be triple-matched – $10 becomes $30, and $100 becomes $300!

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Dead Crow Comedy hosting two events to benefit Play It Forward Wilmington

Dead Crow Comedy hosting two events to benefit Play It Forward Wilmington

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Dead Crow Comedy Room will play host to a pair of events this weekend to help raise funds for Play It Forward Wilmington, a non-profit which takes new and used musical instruments and gifts them to children.

On Friday, April 1, Dead Crow will host two comedy shows. At the 7 p.m. show, comedians Mat Millner, Steve Marcinowski and Timmy Sherrill will perform. The 9:30 show will feature comedians Chad Fogland, Jack Nelson and Bridget Callahan.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for VIP for each show.

On Sunday, April 3, the venue will host an all-day music event. Doors open at 1 p.m. with bands starting at 2.

Scheduled to perform are:

  • School of Rock
  • Free Drinks the band
  • Audiomelt
  • The Swellians
  • Hyperloops
  • Cool Jerk
  • Jared Cline
  • Cary Benjamin

For Sunday’s event, admission is free for all kids under 16. All other tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show.

Advanced tickets for both events can be found here.

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.

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World events, time change and anger piling on pandemic pressures

World events, time change and anger piling on pandemic pressures

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

Don’t care much for the constant mid-March ritual of moving our clocks ahead one hour? According to Beth Ann Malow, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, 63% of Americans would like to see it eliminated.

The thing is, daylight saving time represents much more than a disruption to daily routines. Given the stresses heaped upon us in our world of uncertainties, it could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Beyond simple inconvenience,” writes Malow on, “Researchers are discovering that ‘springing ahead’ each March is connected with serious negative health effects.”

“In a 2020 commentary for the journal JAMA Neurology, my co-authors and I reviewed the evidence linking the annual transition to daylight saving time to increased strokes, heart attacks and teen sleep deprivation,” she says.

A separate post on co-authored by Deepa Burman, co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Hiren Muzumdar, director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center, notes that sleep deprivation can result in increases of workplace injuries and automobile accidents. One individual’s sleep deprivation can affect an entire family.

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“You may notice more frequent meltdowns, irritability and loss of attention and focus,” they say.

I wonder, could uncontrolled anger be far behind?

Now, watching a devastating war unfold on social media is also hammering away at our collective mental health. We’re all being heightened by graphic and disturbing images that fill our feeds, writes Time magazine reporter Jamie Ducharme.

“Tracking up-to-the-minute developments can come at a cost. … Footage and photos from Ukraine flooding social media and misinformation spreading rampantly (has) implications for public health,” she reports.

It has long been the responsibility of traditional media outlets for editors to decide which content is too graphic to show, or to label disturbing images with warnings. As pointed out by Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine, today anyone “can take pictures and videos and immediately distribute that (on social media) without warning, potentially without thinking about it.”

Jason Steinhauer, founder of the History Communication Institute, says, “Russia has been waging a social media and misinformation war for the past 10 to 12 years.” This has only gotten worse since its invasion of Ukraine.

We should not be surprised at all that studies now suggest that news coverage of the pandemic has contributed to our mental distress. “Adding yet another difficult topic to the mix can worsen those feelings,” Cohen Silver says.

Yet the war is hardly the only attack on our senses. At a time when we are most vulnerable, the Federal Trade Commission reports that predatory fraudsters bilked consumers of an estimated $5.8 billion last year. According to the agency, it represents a 70% increase over 2020. “Almost 2.8 million people filed a fraud complaint, an annual record” and “the highest number on record dating back to 2001,” reports the FTC. “Imposter scams were most prevalent, but investment scams cost the typical victim the most money.”

“Those figures also don’t include reports of identity theft and other categories,” the report points out. “More than 1.4 million Americans also reported being a victim of identity theft in 2021; another 1.5 million filed complaints related to ‘other’ categories (including credit reporting companies failing to investigate disputed information, or debt collectors falsely representing the amount or status of debt).”

The mounting stresses placed upon us are now posing a threat to not just our mental and financial health but our physical well-being.

According to a working paper from researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of Pennsylvania, “In 2020, the risk of outdoor street crimes initially rose by more than 40% and was consistently between 10-15% higher than it had been in 2019 through the remainder of the year.” Researchers also believe that the finding “points to the potential for other crimes to surge the way homicides have as cities reopen and people return to the streets,” says the report.

Adds Megan McArdle commenting on the report in an op-ed for the Washington Post, “community trust in the police might have plummeted, possibly making people more likely to settle scores on their own. Or police might have reacted to public anger by pulling back from active policing, creating more opportunities for crime.”

Hans Steiner is a professor emeritus of Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences who has logged decades of work studying anger and aggression. In an interview posted on the Stanford University website, he says he believes that “the coronavirus pandemic, with its extreme disruption of normal daily life and uncertainty for the future, compounded by several other crises (economic distress, racial tension, social inequities, political and ideological conflicts) puts us all to the test: we find ourselves immersed in a pool of negative emotions: fear, sadness, contempt, and yes, anger. What do we do with this forceful emotion?”

“Anger signals that we are being threatened, injured, deprived, robbed of rewards and expectancies,” Steiner says. It should be “one of our adaptive tools to deal with the most difficult circumstances. Sometimes it becomes an obstacle to our struggles, especially when it derails into aggression and even violence.”

Anger problems are now spilling over into record accounts of hate crimes. It seems that today’s circumstances, with anger management and rule of law seemingly at an all-time low, have caused many individuals to become ticking time bombs. Reports CBS News, “the total number of hate crimes nationwide has increased every year but one since 2014, according to FBI data, which includes statistics through 2020.”

Steiner says that “maladaptive anger and aggression has the following characteristics: 1. It arises without any trigger, seemingly out of the blue; 2. it is disproportionate to its trigger in its frequency, intensity, duration and strength; 3. it does not subside after the offending person has apologized; 4. it occurs in a social context which does not sanction anger and aggression.”

Who among us has not seen or maybe even experienced some, maybe all, of these behavior characteristics?

“In such conflicts we need to remind ourselves that diatribes, lies and accusations will not move us forward; compassion, empathy and the reminder that we are all in this horrible situation together (needs to) inspire us,” Steiner advises.

Write to Chuck Norris at with questions about health and fitness.