The article “OceanView residents coping with isolation” (March 21, Page A1) was timely and important. It sounds as if the staff at the retirement community are doing a good job of keeping the residents occupied and busy.

Social isolation in the elderly has great negative effects on them, as serious as smoking or obesity. It can adversely affect the immune system, at a time when we all need to be as physically vibrant as possible.

I’m an elderly person, living near Baxter Woods with my dog and companion, Lucca. We walk several times a day there and have for many years. It provides us with both physical and social activity. My closest friendships were made there.

Portland Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department staff have recommended to the City Council that dogs soon must be on leash most of the day at Baxter Woods. Already, folks who’ve walked there for years are saying they will leave if this is enacted.

This is a true community, where permanent friendships are made. Folks depend on one another. At a time when we are seeing the ill effects of social isolation, it behooves the City Council to rethink the leash law. And, by the way, the Parks, Recreation and Facilities staff have yet to provide a legitimate reason as to why they are recommending this.

Tonia Medd


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