PLTC’s 2022 Award Winners

On behalf of Psychologists in Long Term Care (PLTC), we would like to congratulate our 2022 Award winners.  The Awards Committee was delighted to have received the largest number of nominations in memory.  All nominees were well qualified and have contributed greatly to the field of geropsychology.

The 2022 PLTC Awards are as follows:

The James Georgoulakis, PhD Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Psychology in Long Term Care” is presented to:

Lisa Lind, PhD

This award is presented “for making a significant impact on psychology in long term care via research, clinical training or through other contributions.”

Lisa Lind, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist who is board certified in Geropsychology. She has provided psychological services in long-term care (LTC) settings for the past 18 years. She currently serves on the Chief Clinical Leadership Team at Deer Oaks Behavioral Health in the role of Chief of Quality Assurance and Compliance, where she helps oversee the provision of quality clinical services being provided in LTC settings in 29 states across the US. She is the current President of Psychologists in Long-Term Care (PLTC) and also serves as the Chair of the PLTC Public Policy Committee. Dr. Lind also serves as the Co-Chair of AMDA’s Behavioral Health Council. She is actively involved in advocacy, training, and mentorship activities related to the provision of mental health services in LTC settings. Her current research interests include the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the emotional and behavioral health of LTC residents.

The Michael Duffy, PhD Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Training and Mentorship of Psychology in Long Term Care” is presented to: 

Deborah Theis, PhD

This award is presented “for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to providing training support and mentorship of psychology in the field of long term care.” 

Deborah Theis, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist with over 23 years of experience working in the long-term care industry. Dr. Theis obtained her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas A&M University in 1995. She has extensive experience managing comprehensive psychiatric and psychological services provided to long term care facilities to manage their behavioral health needs. Dr. Theis currently serves as the National Director of Training and Development for Deer Oaks. In that is role she identifies and internal and external training needs as it relates to behavioral health services in post-acute and long-term care. In addition, Dr. Theis serves on the Board of Directors for American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, is the Programming Chair for Psychologists in Long Term Care and is a Committee Member for Academic and Higher Education for Texas Psychological Association.

The inaugural “PLTC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Award” is presented to: 

Lucas Morgan, PhD

This award is presented “for being a catalyst for change regarding long term care or other older adult populations through diversity, equity, and inclusion endeavors such as research, training, mentorship, publications, community service, clinical practice, advocacy, and/or other activities.”

Lucas Morgan, PhD, is an early career licenced psychologist from and living in Hawai’i, who has focused much of his clinical and teaching work on geropsychology, and the intersections of identity, power and privilege, diversity, social justice, and marginalization in clinical work. He works in private practice, partners with geriatic health teams, and leads trainings for family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. He earned his PhD from UMass Boston where he was significantly influenced by his primary mentor Lizabeth Roemer, PhD, as well as Karen Suyemoto, PhD, and whose work continue to shape his growth and development as a psychologist. He loves being in the mountains and the ocean, but is finding little time for that currently given that he has 5 yr old and 7 month old children, a dog, cat, fish, and lots of plants. For all of whom he is very grateful.

PLTC is also proud to announce this year’s PLTC 2022 Student Research Awards:

The Student Paper Award was presented to:

Rachael Spalding, Ph.D. from West Virginia University, for the paper titled: “Development and Initial Validation of the Attitudes Towards Older Adult Sexuality in Long-term Care Scale”.  Rachael’s mentor is Barry Edelstein, Ph.D.

This study developed and tested the psychometric properties of a measure of attitudes toward sexual expression in residential long-term care settings. The study sampled 295 community-living adults and found the resulting scale (i.e., the Attitudes Towards Older Adult Sexuality in Long-term Care Scale) had a two-factor structure: general attitudes toward sexual behaviors and acceptability of various sexual behaviors in long-term care.

The Student Poster Award was presented to: 

Isha Karmacharya, MPH from Miami University, for the poster titled: “Simple solutions to a complex problem: Listening to direct care workers’ perceptions about retention.”  Isha’s mentor is Leah Janssen, Ph.D.

This qualitative study engaged direct care workers (DCWs) across various long-term care settings to identify factors that promote retention. Findings highlight the roles of work culture (e.g., person-centered care, family atmosphere, relationship building, staff empowerment, coaching supervision, participative leadership, effective communication, and flexible working conditions), appreciation (e.g., valuing, respecting, recognizing, and acknowledging the efforts of DCWs), and monetary benefits (e.g., regular wage raises, employee assistance funds, gift cards, bonuses, paid time off, health insurance benefits, and travel reimbursement) for retention.

October 2022 Diversity Calendar

In keeping with our monthly sharing of notable holidays and dates important to diverse groups we serve, the DEI Committee presents the following details to help inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts. October is notable for being a celebration of Filipino-American, Italian-American, Polish-American, and German-American heritage. Some other relevant month-long commemorations include:

  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month is designed around a campaign to raise awareness about disability employment issues and recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/ndeam
  • National Down Syndrome Awareness Month was established to raise public awareness of Down syndrome, celebrate people’s abilities and accomplishments, and advocate for acceptance and inclusion of people with this common disorder.
  • National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month aims to encourage schools, communities and organizations to address bullying and cyberbullying, and put an end to hatred and racism by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of all forms of bullying on children of all ages.(*Please note that we are including this on the calendar because bullying actually also take place in LTC settings; and is a topic that may be very relevant to our PLTC members.)
  • LGBT History Month is an observance of LGBT history and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is celebrated in October to commemorate the first and second marches on Washington in 1979 and 1987 for LGBT rights.

October 1: International Day of Older Persons aims to raise awareness about issues that older adults face and the need to ensure that people can grow old with dignity.

October 2: International Day of Non-Violence is observed annually on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, the leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

October 5: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the most sacred day of Judaism and is often observed with 25 hours of fasting and prayer. Some observing Jews spend the day in the synagogue. Jewish holidays are generally celebrated from sundown the day before (October 4) ending at sundown (October 5).

October 10-11: Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles) celebrates the harvest and the protecting of the Jews on their way to the Promised Land. It is a 7-day holiday but work is not allowed for only the first 2 days.

October 10: World Mental Health Day focuses on global mental health education, advocacy against social stigma, and awareness about the major effects mental health issues have on peoples’ lives worldwide.

October 10: Indigenous People’s Day/ National Native American Day (South Dakota and Wisconsin)is celebrated the second Monday every October. It celebrates the culture, heritage, and history of Native American people. It is recognized in several states and is gaining popularity in the rest of the nation as a replacement for the Columbus Day holiday.

October 11: National Coming Out Day celebrates the bravery of individuals to speak up and serves as a reminder that homophobia thrives in silence and ignorance: once people know that they have a loved one who is LGBTQ+, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views and instead become a supporter of equality under the law.

October 15: White Cane Safety Day celebrates the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the importance of the white cane as an important symbol and tool for independence. White Cane Safety Day laid the precedent for equal rights to access roads for the sighted and the blind. The canes are painted white as a visible indicator for sighted people that the user is visually impaired. https://brailleinstitute.org/white-cane-day

October 20: Spirit Day was started as a way to speak out against a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of LGBTQ+ students in 2010. On this day, millions of Americans wear purple as a sign of support to LGBTQ+ youth and solidarity against anti-LGBTQ+ bullying. https://www.glaad.org/spiritday

October 22: International Stuttering Awareness Day is designated since 1998. It raises public awareness about stuttering, which affects nearly 1% of the world’s population. The day reminds us help is available, challenges negative attitudes and discrimination, and celebrates the many notable figures who stutter and have made a positive impact to the world.

October 24: Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhist. The festival usually lasts five days. 

Please note that from time to time, communications on behalf of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) Committee may include information from other organizations or advocacy groups in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. We believe this information can help spark discussions, further the exchange of ideas and best practices, and ultimately help further PLTC’s purpose, among other goals, to provide advocacy on ethical, regulatory, organization, and public policy issues which impact individuals and professionals in long-term care. It is not intended to support or oppose any partisan political views, beliefs, or ideology.

September 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for September 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence. We are also attempting to include a few upcoming webinars that relate to notable events for the month, and as always you are welcome to check out additional DE&I resources on the PLTC website.  

This Month’s Pertinent DE&I Resources:

“Throw the Manual Out the Window: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of working with Latinos.” Speaker Daniel E. Jimenez, Ph.D. presents a Webinar on 9/7/2022 @ 1200 CT. Register Here.

“SAFE-Home Opioid Management Education (SAFE-HOME) in Older Adults Naloxone and Opioid Awareness.” Speakers Abigail Elmes, PharmD and Jennie Jarrett, PharmD present a Webinar on 10/5/22 @ 1200 CT. Register Here

“Preparing Long-Term Care Staff to Meet the Needs of Aging Persons Living with A Serious Mental Health Disorder.” Speakers Victor Molinari, PhD, ABPP and John Hobday, MA, CEO and Founder of HealthCare Interactive, Inc present a webinar on 9/8/2022 @ 9am-12pm CST. Register Here.

Holidays and Observances:

The month of September is significant for being Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15/22 thru 10/15/22), National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month, and National Recovery Month.

September 1 – Samvatsari Parva (Jain) 

September 5 – Labor Day

September 8 – Onam (Hindu)

September 11 – Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks

September 11 – Grandparents Day

September 16 – Mexican Independence Day

September 17 – Rohini Vrat (Jain)

September 17 – Vishwakarma Puja (Hindu)

September 18 – International Equal Pay Day

September 20 – HeForShe (initiated by the UN to promote gender equality)

September 22 – Mabon (Wiccan)

September 23 – Indigenous People’s Day (Native American Day)

September 25-27 – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

September 25 – Mahalaya Amavasya (Hindu)

September 26 – Navartri begins (Hindu)

Please note that from time to time, communications on behalf of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee (DE&I) may include information from other organizations or advocacy groups in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. We believe this information can help spark discussions, further the exchange of ideas and best practices, and ultimately help further PLTC’s purpose, among other goals, to provide advocacy on ethical, regulatory, organization, and public policy issues which impact individuals and professionals in long-term care. It is not intended to support or oppose any partisan political views, beliefs, or ideology.

August 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for August 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence. We are also attempting to include pertinent resources in these emails, and as always you are welcome to check out additional DE&I Resources on the PLTC website.

Please see below DE&I related topics at APA 2022.   
A few free pre-recorded resources:

Older Black Americans and Mental Health – E4 Center: Presenters: Martha Crowther, PhD, MPH & Danielle McDuffie, MA. Date: February 2, 2022. “This recorded presentation describes important issues for mental health researchers and service providers to consider when working with older African Americans. It also provides a review of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of depression, anxiety, and dementia among this population.”

Lessons Learned from the Positive Minds Strong Bodies Trial on Disability Prevention for Racial/Ethnic Minority Elders – E4 Center: Presenter: Margarita Alegria, PhD.  Date: May 13, 2021. Dr. Alegria shares “the design, methodology and findings of her NIH/NIA funded R01 project testing a combined mental health/disability prevention intervention offered to minority elders by Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Exercise Trainers (ET) in community clinics and CBOs. In this recorded presentation, they discuss the multiplicity of factors to be considered when addressing a multicultural population requiring services for later life mental health and substance use problems. We will also share changes made to implement the intervention virtually to respond to the challenges of COVID-19.”

Holidays and Observances

The month of August is significant for being National Civility Month, which was founded to raise awareness to treat others the way we wish to be treated ourselves — with kindness, empathy, and respect.

August 7: Purple Heart Day

August 7-8: Ashura (Muslim)

August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

August 13: Obon (Ullambana) – (Mahayana Buddhism)

August 15: Feast of Assumption (Roman Catholic)

August 18-19: Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

August 21: National Senior Citizens Day

August 21: Marcus Garvey Day

August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition

August 24-31: Paryushana Parva (Jain)

August 26: Women’s Equality Day

August 29: Al-Hijri (Muslim New Year)

August 31: Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)

June 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for June 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence. We are also attempting to include a few upcoming webinars that relate to notable events for the month, and as always you are welcome to check out additional DE&I Resources on the PLTC website.
Holidays and Observances

The month of June is significant for being Pride Month, Caribbean American Heritage Month, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, Black Music Month, and PTSD Awareness Month.

June 8: Race Unity Day (Baha’i)

June 12: Loving Day

June 19: Father’s Day

June 19: Juneteenth

June 20: World Refugee Day

June 21: Litha, Summer Solstace (Pagan)

June 21: National Indigenous People’s Day (Canada)

June 21: Summer Solistice

June 28: Pride Day (LGBTQIAA+) (date varies by city and country) 

May 2022 Diversity Calendar

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee of PLTC respectfully continues our monthly sharing of notable dates and holidays important to diverse groups whom we work with and among.

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, Jewish-American Heritage Month, Asian/Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, and ALS Awareness Month.

Psychologists Against Ageism: Promoting Productive Narratives and Inclusivity about Aging:

May 4: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_L5Kz1PWER3CiUJhpWNH2lQ

National Council on Aging’s 5thAnnual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium

May 16: https://www.ncoa.org/article/5th-annual-older-adult-mental-health-awareness-day-symposium

May Holidays and Important dates:

May 1-2- Eid Al Fitr- (Islamic): Starting at sundown, this day marks the end of Ramadan in 2022 based on the lunar calendar. It is observed as a celebratory marking of the end of the fasting period. This is an estimated date as the final time depends on the sighting of the moon. As such, you may have seen on different websites that it’s either May 1 or May 2 this year in North America.

May 5- Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s defeat of the French army. While it’s primarily observed by Mexican Americans, others often join the celebration as well.

May 8- Birthday of the Buddha (Buddhist) celebrates the spiritual leader of the Buddhist Faith

May 8/9- United Nations Time to Remember Lost Lives from WWII

May 8- Mother’s Day (North America)

May 10- Mother’s Day (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador)

May 16- National Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day

May 17- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

May 19- Birthday of Malcolm X (Black American/Muslim)

May 19- Lag B’Omer (Jewish): A communal celebratory day among Jewish communities marking the end of a counting and mourning period.

May 21- World Day for Cultural Diversity

May 24- Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness Day

May 25- Africa Day

May 26- Ascension (Christian): A commemorative holiday marking 40 day after Easter, in which it is believed Jesus ascended to heaven

May 29- Agender Pride Day

May 30- Memorial Day: A day of remembrance for those who died in active military service

The mission of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is to promote deeper understanding of, and respect for, the intersections of identity and culture, especially considering age and disabilities, when working with long-term care residents, staff, and colleagues. We strive to build a diverse, inclusive, and empathically minded community that advocates for equity and social justice in long-term care settings.

April 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for April 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence.

Holidays and Observances

The month of April is significant for being Celebrate Diversity Month, Arab-American Heritage Month, Autism Awareness Month, Tartan (Scottish American) Heritage Month, Occupational Therapy Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and National Donate Life Month.

April 2 – Ramadan begins (Muslim): holy month of fasting from dawn to dusk, introspection, and communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque. It is celebrated as the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Qurʾān. Ramadan, however, is less a period of atonement than it is a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam.

April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day: United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. This year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day.

April 7 – International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide: established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003. The date marks the beginning of the genocide perpetrated against members of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu extremist-led government. Within just over 100 days, more than 1 million Tutsi were systematically murdered. Moderate Hutu and others who opposed the massacres were also killed during this period.

April 2 – Hindu New Year:  also known as the Vikram Samvat. The current era of Vikram Samvat is believed to have begun in the year 57 BC. This day also marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one. Festivities may have different names, the activities may vary, and the day may even be celebrated on a different day in different states in India. As a result, there are a host of new year festivities that are unique to various regions in the vast country.

April 8 – National Day of Silence (LGBTQ2+): a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ2+ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ2+ students. The silence symbolically represents the silencing of LGBTQ2+ students.

April 15-23 – Passover (Jewish): commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over,” or the sparing, of the firstborn of the Israelites. On these seven (or eight) days, all leaven, whether in bread or other mixture, is prohibited, and only unleavened bread, called matzo, may be eaten. The matzo symbolizes both the Hebrews’ suffering while in bondage and the haste with which they left Egypt in the course of the Exodus. The festival of Passover is meant to be one of great rejoicing, strict dietary laws must be observed, and special prohibitions might restrict work.

April 17 – Easter (Christian): Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion.

April 19- Start of Ridván (Baha’i): Riḍván is a twelve-day festival that celebrates the beginnings of the Bahá’í Faith in 1863. It does this by commemorating Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration that he was a Manifestation of God. Ridván means paradise, and is named for the Garden of Ridván outside Baghdad, where Bahá’u’lláh stayed for twelve days, and made this declaration.

April 21-23 – Gathering of Nations (Native American): more than 500 Native tribes meet and celebrate various traditions and cultures. These tribes meet to celebrate their traditions and cultures each year in the largest event for North America’s tribes. This year, the event is returning to in-person.

April 27-28 – Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah): Shoah, which means “catastrophe” or “utter destruction” in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II.  Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Holocaust was the largest manifestation of antisemitism in recent history. Yom HaShoah reminds us of the horrors that Jews and other persecuted groups faced.

April 29 – The Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i): In April of 1863, Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i faith, learned that he had been officially banished from the Ottoman Empire. At the time, both the Persian and the Ottoman governments opposed and feared the rapid spread of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, so they reacted with violence against his followers; at least 20,000 innocent people died as a result. However, the Ottoman government was unable to slow the spread of the Baha’i faith and so they banished the founder and his followers. They ended up near the eastern bank of the Tigris River in the Garden of Ridván. On their Ninth day in the garden, the flooding Tigris receded enough so that Baha’u’llah’s family could cross the river and join him. This reunification of Baha’u’llah’s family inspired the symbolic meaning of the Ninth Day of Ridván.

The PLTC DE&I Committee

Aging and Sexuality

By: Dr. Regina Koepp, Member of the PLTC Communication Committee

Sexual health is an essential part of mental and physical health. Sadly, stereotypes about aging, ageism, and lack of education about sexual health in older adulthood for older adults and professionals create a perfect storm keeping older adults from getting their sexual health questions answered.

People all throughout their lives enjoy sex and intimacy. In fact, a recent surveyof more than 1,000 adults between 65-80 years old, found that 50.9% of men and 30.8% of women reported being sexually active. Yet, in this same survey, when it came to discussing sexual health with health care providers, only 17.3% of adults aged 65–80 reported speaking to their health care provider about sexual health in the past two years and of those, the vast majority (60.5%) initiated the conversation.

Researchers2 have found that sex among older adults is often viewed as stereotypically “shameful, disgusting, laughable, and nonexistent”, which can lead to internalized stigma and increased sexual problems for older adults.

It’s time we shift the narrative about aging and sexuality toward a more accurate and holistic view. There are many benefits to sexual relationships over 50, including physical, cognitive, relational, psychological, and spiritual3. The sooner we can remove negative beliefs about aging from conversations around intimacy and sexual health, the better.

While sex drive is known to change throughout adulthood due to hormonal changes for both men (due to andropause) and women (due to menopause) as well as medical and mental health problems, there are many things we CAN DO to boost our sex drive as we age.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: the healthier your body and mind, the healthier your sex life. A healthy diet rich with fruits and vegetables and void of processed foods is key for a healthy libido
  • Exercise: Studies show that exercise correlates with a higher sex drive and better sexual function
  • Manage your stress. It’s easier to get in “the mood” from a relaxed state
  • Communicate with your partner: if you are noticing changes in your body, so, too is your partner. It can help to talk about it.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. If you’re over 65, based on research, you may be the one who has to initiate the conversation.
  • Set yourself up for success. Identify when you are at your best (physically, emotionally, energetically), and prioritize intimacy during these times.
  • Continue to have sex especially during and after menopause. This is an important point as sexual activity helps to prevent vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy frequently affects menopausal and postmenopausal women. It’s a condition where the lining of the vagina gets drier and thinner from a lack of estrogen and can create a host of other problems (e.g., burning, itching, spotting and pain with sex, frequent urination, urinary tract infections)
  • Adjust your “sex”pectations. Shifting your expectations about what sex “should” look like can help and changing your focus from what your body “cannot” do to what your body “can” do will help. For example, I have worked with couples who were no longer able to have penetrative intercourse, which was their primary method of sexual intimacy. When we looked out what their bodies were able to do and broadened the view of what sexual intimacy included (e.g., oral sex, fondling, touch, fantasy talk), they had a more opportunities.
  • Get creative I have worked with people with physical disabilities and life altering medical conditions for decades. There’s a saying that people who have disabilities make more creative lovers. So, become playful, don’t take each sexual encounter so seriously and enjoy the process of finding a new more creative love making experience.
  • Get professional mental health care if needed. This can be especially helpful if changes in sex drive are due to a mental health or medical condition. Living with a medical condition that affects your sexual health is quite a big adjustment. It takes some time to come to terms with the medical condition and all of the physical and emotional changes that come with it. At times it can help to get some professional support, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for mental health care when you need it.

Above all- Don’t give up. Instead…

Talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life and/or see a therapist who specializes in sexual health and couples therapy. Remember: If you’re over 65, based on research, you may be the one who has to initiate the conversation.

  1. Nnenaya Agochukwu-Mmonu, Preeti N. Malani, Daniela Wittmann, Matthias Kirch, Jeff Kullgren, Dianne Singer & Erica Solway (2021) Interest in Sex and Conversations About Sexual Health with Health Care Providers Among Older U.S. Adults, Clinical Gerontologist, 44:3, 299-306, DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2021.1882637
  2. Syme, M. L., & Cohn, T. J. (2016). Examining aging sexual stigma attitudes among adults by gender, age, and generational status. Aging & mental health, 20(1), 36–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1012044

About the Author:

Dr. Regina Koepp is a board certified clinical psychologist, clinical geropsychologist, and founder of the Center for Mental Health & Aging (www.mentalhealthandaging.com), which offers online continuing education courses to psychologists and other mental health providers. 

Dr. Koepp is creator and host of the Psychology of Aging Podcast and is a contributing writer at Psychology Today and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Katie Couric Media, and Insider. She is a sought-after speaker and educator on the topic of sexual expression in the context of dementia. She is frequently invited to present on this topic by the Alzheimer’s Association, LeadingAge, American Parkinson’s Disease Association, (APDA) and long-term care and senior living communities. 

March 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for March 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence.

Holidays and Observances: The month of March is significant for being Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Celebrate Diversity Month, Gender Equality Month, and National Women’s History Month.

February 25-March 1: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá’í)

March 1: Maha Shivarati (Hindu)

March 1: Mardi Gras, Carinval, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday (Christian)

March 2: Ash Wednesday (Christian)

March 16-17: Purim (Jewish)

March 7: Equal Pay Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 18: Holi (Hindu)

March 20-21: Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í New Year)

March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility

February 2022 Diversity Calendar

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is here to share the following notable January events for 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence. 

Notable February 2022 Holidays and Observances: 

February: Black History Month(observed for the full month of February): According to History.Com (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month), “Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history…Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The Black History Month theme this year focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well. 

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865. 

February 1: Lunar New Year is the first day of the year according to the lunar (lunisolar) calendar. This year it falls on February 1. In many parts of the world, people know of it as Chinese New Year. As a tiger year, 2022 will be associated with the animal’s attributes of bravery, confidence and strong will. In Chinese communities, the celebration ends on the 15th day of the new year with the Lantern Festival. Other Asian communities all over the world also follow the lunar calendar, so lunar new year is celebrated across cultural and ethnic groups. It is an important time for family reunion and delicious food; a time to reflect on the past and prepare for a bright future. 

February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival. 

February 5: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture. 

February 16: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Millions of devotees take a holy bath on this day. Devotees also carry out charity work on this day. 

February 20: World Day of Social Justice. Was declared an annual celebration by the UN General Assembly in 2007. 

February 21: International Mother Language Day. This holiday has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

February 25 – March 1: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New Year. People of the Bahá’í Faith also participate in a 19-day fast from sunrise to sunset to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God. The fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year on March 21.