State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Intimacy in the Pandemic for Older Adults - Part 1

Episode #28: Joining Debra Sloss this month are licensed psychotherapist and educator Melissa Fritchle, LMFT, who specializes in intimacy, and 79-year-old WWII survivor, writer and retired healer Andrea van de Loo. They discuss how the pandemic is shaping intimate relationships among seniors. Andrea describes how she met Geoffrey through an online poetry study group and how they developed a deeply meaningful long-distance and entirely internet-based relationship over the last 8 months. She recounts the ways in which they are using technology to create shared experiences and managing to “be together.” Melissa draws from her vast professional and clinical experience to offer insights and wisdom about how many mid-life and older adults are navigating intimate relationships in the pandemic, combating loneliness, and finding new ways to connect in person and through technology. Additionally, she addresses common challenges couples face and how pandemic conditions can exacerbate them. She also shares helpful tips for navigating a break-up. Tune in to learn new ways to think about connection, and intimate relationships in the time of COVID. This is the first of a two-part series. Our next show will focus on the impact of the pandemic on intimate relationships among young adults.

Broadcast: 3/7/21

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, and to Jennifer Young, who assists with research and outreach. And finally, thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

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Making Connections
Mental Health America provides a wealth of information, including online support groups for specific needs. They can also steer you toward groups in your area.

Daily Strength connects people with common issues for mutual support.

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is a nonprofit that puts volunteers together with older adults who feel lonely or forgotten.

Senior Corps Programs helps adults 55 and older volunteer in a number of ways, and they provide the training you need.

Foster Grandparents will match you with a child who needs a mentor and friend


Domestic Violence Resources
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE

Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center – Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence including Shelter serving all of Santa Cruz County
24-hour domestic violence hotline is fully operational for people experiencing domestic violence and for their allies: 1 (866) 269-2559.

Monarch Services / Servicios Monarca – Offers crisis intervention and prevention services in Spanish and English and are culturally sensitive. Has offices in both Santa Cruz & Watsonville, California.

24-Hour Crisis Line for Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking

1 (888) 900-4232

Domestic Violence During the Pandemic: Resources for Victims and Survivors


Recovery Resources
Marijuana Anonymous (MA)  – a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction. This program uses the basic 12 Steps of Recovery founded by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) of Monterey Bay
An international 12 Step Recovery Program for individuals who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes.

Alcoholics Anonymous of Santa Cruz County – a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Alcoholics Anonymous(AA)


Authored by Guests
The Conscious Sexual Self Workbook – by Melissa Fritchle (2014) – Written by an experienced sex therapist and educator, this book gives you accurate holistic information about sex and sexual relationships, but it also provides you with questions and exercises to help you explore your own sexual history, values, and desires.

METAPSYCHOSIS: Journal of Consciousness, Literature, and Art- An online community that recently published some of Andrea van der Loo’s poems under the title ‘A New World’. They are also the forum for two of the reading groups Andrea participates in and discussed in the interview: Savitri and Synthesis of Yoga, both by Sri Aurobindo.


Contact Information for Show Guests
Melissa Fritchle, LMFT email:

Andrea van der Loo email:


Recommended by Andrea
Film:  Never Look Away (2018) – Inspired by real events and spanning three eras of German history. It tells the story of young art student, Kurt who falls in love with classmate, Ellie.  What neither Kurt nor Ellie know is that their lives are already connected through a terrible crime committed decades ago. German (English Subtitles)


Counseling Centers
Family Service Agency (FSA) of the Central Coast is a dedicated underwriter of State of Mind. FSA provides resources, support, and counseling services to adults and children.  FSA believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions and welcomes people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio-economic backgrounds.  FSA Counseling Offices offer Medi-Cal, Medicare, and low-cost, sliding scale services in both downtown Santa Cruz 831-423-9444 x200 and in Soquel 831-346-6767 x200.

Scotts Valley Counseling Center – Scotts Valley Counseling Center provides affordable counseling for couples, individuals, children and families.

Shine a Light Counseling Center – Shine a Light provides affordable counseling for couples, individuals, children, and families in English or Spanish in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.