Let the Light In!


Bill’s life was turned upside down when his wife of over 40 years passed away. Suddenly, the things he loved doing –like exploring hidden corners of Manhattan, going to the opera and learning new skills –seemed meaningless to him. His world shrunk and he found himself spending more and more time indoors. Slowly, over time he began losing touch with his friends and family. This social isolation took its toll not only on his physical health but on his emotional well-being. He stopped taking care of himself, neglected his hygiene and gave up on his exercise routine. His mood changed and his normally curious mind slid into a dull complacency. An insidious depression took hold.

Eyeglasses on a sheet of paperWhen our cognitive enrichment specialist Emily first met Bill, she could see beyond the loneliness his potential to rediscover the vibrancy he was missing in life. He needed to be gently motivated to re-engage and find successes in human connection. An individualized and targeted cognitive enrichment plan was developed and over time previous interests like visiting parks and museums were rediscovered and new ones like poetry writing were introduced!

Our world looks different today because of the Covid 19-pandemic but Bill hasn’t missed a beat! His new found “cognitive plasticity” allowed him to pivot to virtual engagement sessions with surprising ease. With the MindSense virtual program he has launched a “Limerick Society” where he shares his humorous limerick poetry with friends and family via zoom meetings. He attends musical concert performances – dressed in his suit and tie – all from the comfort of his own home. And, he continues to stay connected with his community passionately debating social and political issues in virtual discussion groups. The takeaway here with Bill’s inspiring story is that no matter how dark the world seems at times, there are always ways to let the light in!

Written by Emily Scholler

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