With cases of COVID-19 surging in Calhoun County, CareWell Services, the Region 3b Area Agency on Aging for Calhoun County, urges seniors to continue and increase their efforts to remain safe.
“It is one of the hardest things we have ever been asked to do during a time when we really do need each other,” said CareWell Services CEO Karla Fales, “but the cost to our senior neighbors and family members is just too high to take that risk.”
Among older adults and those with chronic conditions, the risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19 is of very real concern. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. According to data from the CDC and NIH, eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported have been among adults aged 65 years and older. By understanding the factors that put individuals at increased risk, each person can make decisions about what kind of precautions to take in daily life.
CareWell is advising seniors to adopt the same stay home, stay safe measures they were at the beginning of the pandemic. This includes remaining separate from family who do not live in the household, refraining from attending church services and other group gatherings, avoiding travel, always practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequently washing hands.
“We’ve had a period of moving toward more things being opened and in some ways I think that has caused us to let our guard down.” said CEO Fales.
It is also recommended that seniors and those with disabilities seek assistance for their necessary services, such as grocery and medical needs. Grocery delivery is available through stores offering online shopping and delivery, as well as through CareWell Services. Medical services are accessible through tele-medicine and tele-health services for critical medical appointments. Medication deliveries are available for many medications and help reduce exposure from going to the pharmacy. If delivery is not an option, CareWell suggests using drive up services and drive in programs whenever possible. Consider voting through an absentee ballot as well.
“Call us, we are here to help isn’t just our tagline,” said Fales, “it is our mission and a very tangible way we can help seniors remain safe. There is no greater mission than that at this time in our state and our nation.”
While concerns about the mental health implications of long-term social isolation remain top of mind, Fales encourages seniors to look for other ways to connect with family and friends. A friendly phone call or connecting via a social media platform is one way to stay connected while remaining safe. CareWell continues to prepare for virtual methods of providing services such as Medicare and Medicaid Assistance Programs and food delivery in response to the uptick in cases and considering the upcoming flu season.
Seniors or caregivers with questions or who need assistance while staying at home can contact CareWell Services at 269-441-0930 to be connected with local resources and information to help them remain safe at home during the pandemic.