When it comes to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, older people are especially vulnerable to severe illness. Research is showing that adults 60 and older, especially those with preexisting medical conditions, especially heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or cancer are more likely to have severe — even deadly — coronavirus infection than other age groups, according to Hopkins Medical.
If you’re caring for an older loved one, you might be worried. Alicia Arbaje, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics at Johns Hopkins. She shares what you need to know to keep elderly people safer, and what to do if they do become infected with COVID-19.
SENIORS and SOCIAL DISTANCING
One important way to lower the risk of your older family members catching COVID-19 is to limit in-person visits. But this may be tough for older adults who cherish time spent with friends and family members.
Arbaje says, “Social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation or loneliness. We need to keep older adults safe, but also keep in mind that social isolation can have a negative impact on older people’s immunity and mental health.”
She notes that in terms of social contacts, seniors should be encouraged to think beyond their usual circle of friends and family. “Saying hello to the mail carrier or checking in on neighbors close by can add to a sense of connectedness,” Arbaje says.
TIPS TO HELP SENIORS STAY INVOLVED
1. Teach them how to use ZOOM or FACETIME to connect with loved ones.
2. Use apps that provide captions for those with hearing challenges.
3 Encourage friends and family to telephone.
RESOURCES FOR SAN DIEGO SENIORS
Food insecurity for our aging population is very real. Many of our seniors live on a fixed income and rely on shopping at discount stores to stay within their budget. Below are many resources for you to help your loved ones stay safe and get the help they need during this time.
- ❖ Jewish Family Service:
JFS is currently operating its FoodMobile program, which delivers discounted meals to those over the age of 60 and/or to those with disabilities. Call (858) 637-3210 to apply or visit jfssd.org.
- ❖ Meals on Wheels:
This program is available for those 60 years of age or over and/or their caretakers as well as disabled Veterans of any age who need discounted meals delivered. They also accept EBT/SNAP. Phone Number: (619) 260-6110
- ❖ Monica & Milano Sliwa:
They shop and deliver in the San Diego area to seniors 65+ who are unable to shop for themselves. They speak English, Chaldean, Arabic, and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. Email: [email protected]
- ❖ Stay Home SD:
If you are over 65, live in San Diego, and need basic necessities, please go on their website and fill out the form or call them at (619) 800-3252 or visit www.stayhomesd.com.
- ❖ Serving Seniors:
*no longer taking new inquiries for meal deliveries as of 3/20/2020. Pick up meals still available*Home Delivered Meals: Seniors age 60 and above can sign up to receive meals directly to their door. Call (619) 235-6572 and select option 1 or email them at [email protected]. To-Go Meals: Seniors without access to a deliverable address are able to pick-up “to-go meals” at Mary and Gary West Senior Wellness Center: 1525 4th Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 Breakfast pick-up Mon-Fri: 7 a.m.-8 a.m. Lunch pick-up: Mon-Fri: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Food Resources for Families
- ❖ San Diego Hunger Coalition:
This website breaks down the following categories:
Meals for Kids
CalFresh Senior/Congregate Meals Resources
Videos CDC Fact Sheet (15 languages)
- ❖ Salvation Army
Free meals for kids are provided to the Salvation Army KROC Center. Children MUST be present to receive a meal. Hours of Operation are Weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
Salvation Army KROC Center
6845 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92115
- ❖ San Diego Food Bank
Feeding San Diego: (open to all ages)
EAST: Salvation Army El Cajon at 1025 E Main St. El Cajon, CA 92021
CENTRAL: Labor Council SDCCU Stadium 9449 Friars Rd., San Diego, CA 92108
Northeast Lot SOUTH: Ongoing – Every Tuesday and Thursday, Community Through Hope; Eucalyptus Park 436 C St. Chula Vista, CA 91910
- ❖ Mama’s Kitchen
Home Delivered Meals are offered to those diagnosed with a critical illness. To qualify, you must have a medical provider fill out a referral form, which is followed by an intake call before they can begin delivery. Open from Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Mama’s Kitchen at (619)233-6262 or email them at [email protected].
- Alzheimer’s San Diego Caregiver Support
Providing remote help, online education, resources, and advice to caregivers who have loved ones with dementia. Call (858) 492-4400 or visit alzsd.org.
Phones for people who are hard of hearing. ClearCaptions is doing remote installations. They have the mobile app for the iPhone that takes 5 minutes to install over the phone for anyone having difficulty hearing over the phone. (619) 494-4452 or clearcaptions.com. ❖
- Elder Help of San Diego:
Offering Information and Referrals to connect seniors and families with current resources available in our community. We are accepting new applications for our RUOK program that offers live daily check in calls (Monday-Friday). We are accepting new clients for care coordination. Due to COVID-19, we are focusing on the most essential needs including: deliveries of groceries and other items, and rides to medically necessary appointments. These services are dependent on volunteer availability, so there may be a delay. (619) 284-9281. www.elderhelpofsandiego.org
- Family Proud
Family Proud has developed an intuitive software application that connects patients and families to each other and to the resources critical for their care. www.familyproud.com
- Push Button CareTM
Push Button Care is a remote monitoring service that offers a simple and affordable solution for maintaining your independence as you age in your own home. Services include Personal Assistant Team, Aging in Place Advisor, Health & Wellness Tools, Free Mobile Support Pendant. Call (833) 388-8777 for more information.
- San Diego Food Bank:
Offers a diaper bank program. Visit website for details. http://sandiegofoodbank.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2020-Diaper-Bank-Program- Distribution-List-English.pdf
Offers Tele-healthcare navigation service to assist dementia caregivers from the privacy and safety of their homes. This new service is called GLENNERCARETM. Individuals who enroll in the program will have advice, resources, and directives at their fingertips by calling into the GLENNERCARETM team of dementia care professionals. Call 1-833-770-CARE or email [email protected]
St. Paul’s PACE
St. Paul’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is currently accepting new patients amid the coronavirus pandemic. PACE supports seniors so they can continue to live independently at home by providing social services, in-home care, transportation, personalized medical services, and senior activities. If you are over 55 years of age with chronic medical conditions that make it difficult to live at home, St. Paul’s PACE may be the ideal senior medical plan for you. Call 1(833) PACE NOW.
San Diego Humane Society
The San Diego Humane Society will be distributing pet food and supplies for county pet owners in need. You can visit any of the three locations below between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Southern Caregiver Resource Center
Southern Caregiver Resource Center is giving out their self-care and stress management classes virtually to family caregivers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or some memory loss. They are working with agencies to offer SCRC’s respite program called Together Care to help families and referring families to resources they might need. Call (619)493-6434.
- ❖ 20 Places to Visit Without Leaving Home:
- ❖ Zoo Webcam
Allows people to see live videos of zoo animals by clicking on the link. https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
- ❖ Balboa Park: The Jewel of San Diego
- ❖ SD Humane Society Wildlife Series
National Geographic Virtual Tours of National Parks
Allows people to see virtual tours of many National Parks by clicking on this link: https://www.travelzoo.com/blog/the-best-national-parks-to-visit- virtually/?utm_source=newsflash_us&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2871550_html_- _deal%3a2871550&utm_content=2871550&ec=0&dlinkId=2871550
- ❖ Live Science
Activities and online resources for homebound kids: A coronavirus guide https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-kids-activities.html
- ❖ Birch Aquarium
Live Webcams https://aquarium.ucsd.edu/
- ❖ Monterey Bay Aquarium
- ❖ Libraries
The County of San Diego Libraries has a solution. Download the Libby App or go online to https://sdcl.overdrive.com/ and within minutes you will have access to thousands of books— including reading them on your kindle.
- ❖ YANA (You Are Not Alone)
Doing wellness checks and wellness calls for seniors https://www.sdsheriff.net/documents/yana-brochure.pdf