COVID-19 Resources

Helpful Resources for You and Your Family

The purpose of this page is to provide a curated list of resources seniors may want to utilize during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document addresses safe cleaning practices, social distancing, social isolation, technology, ordering food and groceries, medication, and doctor visits and is heavily based on advice and guidance from Federal and State Governments, the CDC, and other governmental and non-governmental health organizations.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to COVID-19 by staying safely in your home. However, if you must leave your home to obtain essential services or items, the CDC has provided the following advice:

• Wear a mask or face covering
      • You do not need a N95 respirator or surgical mask, as these are needed by front line health care workers
      • Use a simple cloth mask that covers the mouth and nose
• Avoid coming within 6 feet of other people
• Wipe handles on carts or baskets before touching them. Many stores are disinfecting carts after each use; be sure to choose one of these clean carts if available.
• Do not touch your face
• Go at low volume times (early morning and later at night) and take advantage of special hours for at risk populations, if applicable.
• You may also want to call ahead to your store to ensure that they have what you need in stock. If you need things in high demand (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, meat, milk, etc.), ensure that these items are in stock before you go.  Your store may also be able to tell you when new supplies are delivered so that you can time your visit.

When you return to your home:

• Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
• Disinfect everything you touch- your face mask, door-knobs, light switches, keys, remotes
• Use EPA approved disinfectants and leave surfaces wet for 5 minutes
  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html

The general recommendation is to have a 2-week supply of food and other essentials in case you or someone in your household needs to self-quarantine (and don’t forget your furry friends). You can prepare for this by creating a meal plan and list of essentials you need for 2 weeks. Choose items that can be frozen or have a longer shelf life, like apples, oranges, and carrots. Don’t over-buy, but do try to limit the amount of times you need to go to the store. This food calculator can help you identify how much you will need for two weeks: https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/quarantine-food

FEMA and the American Red Cross have put together detailed emergency preparedness guides, below is a sample of some of the supplies you may need:
• EPA-approved disinfectants
• According to the CDC, if you don’t have disinfectants, you can make a bleach solution or use an alcohol solution: 
    • Mix four teaspoons bleach per quart of water (or 5 tablespoons per gallon); or
    • Use a solution with a minimum of 70% alcohol
• Laundry detergent
• Trash bags
• Prescription medicines (you can mail order these). Try to get a 90 day supply.
• Canned foods — fruits, veggies, beans
• Dry goods — breads, pastas, nut butters
• Frozen foods — meats, veggies, fruits
• (if applicable) Pet supplies, food and medication

Food Shopping: (Check out our page on Leaving your house)
If you can’t have groceries delivered, consider ordering online and choosing "curb side pickup" so that you do not need to enter the store.

We suggest calling ahead to your store to ensure that they have what you need in stock. If you need things in high demand (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, meat, milk, etc.), it is best to ensure that these items are in stock before you go. Your store may also be able to tell you when new supplies are delivered so that you can time your visit.

Go at low volume times (early morning and later at night) and take advantage of special hours for at risk populations, if applicable.

Food Delivery Options:

• Ask workers to drop deliveries off on your doorstep or an area of your complex
• If they need you to come to the door, keep six feet of distance
• Pay and tip online when possible
• If you must use take out or home delivery of prepared food, hot items are preferred. It is recommended to unbox, place on a new plate/dish or in a container and reheat everything in the oven or microwave prior to consuming.
• Expect delays with grocery delivery services. Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Click-List, etc. may run about 3-5 days out or longer. Planning ahead is wise.
• Disinfect the mailbox and doorbell as needed since some package or food delivery services will ring upon arrival.

Meals On Wheels

A nationwide organization which operates in nearly every community in America and focuses on caring and providing meals for those with diminished mobility. Their phone number is 1-888-998-6325
https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/

Grocery Delivery

Many large grocery stores will deliver your groceries once you order online, including (but not necessarily limited to) Albertsons, Food Lion, H-E-B, Kroger, Publix, Wegmans, and Whole Foods. Some non-perishable food can be ordered online from Amazon, Walmart and Target. (note- due to high demand, some stores do not have delivery dates in the near future)

If you have never ordered online before, reach out to family or friends to help set you up with a profile in Instacart or something similar.

https://www.kroger.com/i/ways-to-shop/delivery

https://delivery.publix.com/

https://www.wegmans.com/groceries-online/

https://shop.foodlion.com

https://heb.com

https://delivery.albertsons.com/

https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/grocery-delivery-and-pickup

https://www.instacart.com/

https://www.amazonfresh.com/

Restaurant Delivery

Services like Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Ubereats will deliver ready-made restaurant meals directly to your home. Pay and tip online whenever possible. Some are offering a free or reduced delivery charge during the COVID-19 outbreak.

www.grubhub.com

www.doordash.com

www.postmates.com

www.ubereats.com

Prepared Meals

Bulk, ready-made meals that just need to be heated up can be ordered from companies like Freshly or Fresh n’ Lean (there are many more that you can find on-line).

https://about.freshly.com/homeaxjqb5?

https://www.freshnlean.com/

 

During this time, it is generally recommended that you should limit or avoid having people outside of your household in your home except for, according to the CDC, persons essential to maintaining your health, well-being and safety. Please note, someone can share the virus while being asymptomatic, and the virus can linger in the air for hours. Before arrival, you may also wish to ask the following questions:
• Do you have a fever of greater than 100.4F?
• Have you been coughing or experienced shortness of breath?
• Have you experienced a loss of sense of smell or taste?
• Have you been exposed to anyone who has exhibited these symptoms?

House cleaning services:

If you have a housekeeper, you may be considering whether or not to continue with these services. The safest option is to limit others in your home. 

However, if you are unable to safely disinfect areas yourself, you may consider:
• Reducing the frequency of visits
• Before arrival, ask your housekeeper the questions listed above
• Having your housecleaner wear gloves, shoe covers and a simple face mask
    • The CDC has provided instruction on how to make your own mask:
       https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
• Staying out of the same room or more than 6 feet away as your housecleaner works

If you are able to safely disinfect your home yourself, consider:

• Disinfecting everything that is touched-doorknobs, light switches, keys, phone, remotes, etc.
• Using EPA approved disinfectants (including Clorox disinfecting Wipes or a homemade bleach mixture) and leave surfaces wet for 3-5 minutes.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html

Personal care services:

If you have a home health aide who assists you in your home, please take additional steps to ensure that infection is not spread.

Before arrival, ask your caregiver the following questions:
• Do you have a fever of greater than 100.4F?
• Have you been coughing or experienced shortness of breath?
• Have you experienced a loss of sense of smell or taste?
• Have you been exposed to anyone who has exhibited these symptoms?

Immediately have your caregiver wash his/her hands upon entering the house.

Have your caregiver wear gloves, shoe covers and a simple face mask.

Family Caregivers:

If you live with or near family members, consider having them assist you if possible. While you still need to be careful about risk of infection, you may feel more comfortable asking them about their exposure to the virus and health than a non-family member. It is recommended that your family member(s) should still wear a simple face mask if he or she does not primarily live with you or if you or your family member are exhibiting any symptoms.

Technology is an extremely helpful tool as we Stay At Home, as it can help reduce risk of infection and keeps us connected to friends and family. If you are new to using technology, though, it may be intimidating.

How can I best use technology during the COVID-19 pandemic?

• Stay Nourished At Home: order food and essentials delivered to your door
• Stay Healthy At Home: Video chat with your doctor to avoid office visits
• Stay Socially Engaged: video chat with friends, family, religious community
• Stay Mentally Engaged: Watch educational videos, play games

Internet

Internet service, is needed in order to use technology. Wifi (wireless internet service) is needed if you have a tablet or other mobile device or if you want to be able to use your internet service in more than just one place in your home.

Some service providers offer low cost internet for seniors. Call a local service provider in your area to find out what they can offer you.

EveryoneOn (non-profit) aims at connecting those in need with affordable internet services and low cost computers

www.everyoneon.org/find-offers

FCC’s Lifeline program also assists with affordable internet services (202) 418-1500

Multiple internet service providers have made updates to their low-cost internet service since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

• Comcast has offered 60 days free to new customers and $9.95 per month for those on Medicaid/Medi-Cal – check out their website to see their current offers: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19

• Verizon https://www.verizonwireless.com/featured/covid-19-waived-fees-and-charges/

Tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and phones

If you simply need to access the internet to order delivery, video chat, check e-mail/messages and play some games online, you may not need an expensive device.

Tablets can be used to access the internet and for video chatting with friends or loved ones and feature high-resolution and larger displays. Examples of tablets are the Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface Go and Samsung Galaxy. They start at around $50 and go up from there.

Games and other activities can easily be added to a tablet to keep our minds busy during the day.

Laptops and desktop computers may also be equipped with a camera that will allow you to access the internet and video chat.

When using a device to access the internet, it is important to protect your privacy and security. The US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has issued the following guidance on creating and managing Strong Passwords:

Use multi-factor authentication when available.

Use different passwords on different systems and accounts.

Don't use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.

Use the longest password or passphrase permissible by each password system.

Don't use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language.

Refer to Tips on Choosing and Protecting Passwords and Supplementing Passwords for best practices and additional information.

Social Media/Video calling applications

Consider using social media and video calling apps to stay connected. You can share meals with family and friends virtually, and participate in many religious or community services online.

Social Media: As always, use caution when interacting with individuals you do not already know when online. Unfortunately, there are sometimes bad actors who take advantage of us during times of crisis.

Facebook: see updates and photos posted by friends and family

Instagram: see photos posted by friends and family

Video Calling Apps:

• Facetime: For Apple products, allows you to make a video call to someone with an Apple device
• Zoom: For all products, allows you to make video and audio calls
• Skype: For all products, allows you to make video and audio calls

Online tools to stay engaged

Activity Resources:

Smithsonian Online – Live Animal Webcams and Activities
Cincinnati Zoo – Everyday at 3pm Live Animal Show and Activities
Kennedy Center – Lunchtime Art
Mars Curiosity Rover
Yellowstone – Virtual Tours
Modlin Center for the Arts – Virtual Art Resources

We can’t travel right now, but we can virtually visit the world! There are limitless opportunities for virtual city tours, virtual museum tours, etc. For example:

Museums with virtual tours:

The Louvre
British Museum, London
Guggenheim Museum, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
MASP, São Paulo
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Doctor’s Visits

Please note that it is important to talk to your primary care physician and follow the directions that they provide for your personal situation.

The CDC has provided guidance to healthcare facilities and clinicians to prioritize urgent and emergency visits and has recommended to the healthcare facilities and clinicians to:
• Delay all elective ambulatory provider visits
• Reschedule elective and non-urgent admissions
• Delay inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases
• Postpone routine dental and eyecare visit

If you must go to the doctor’s office or healthcare facility, it is suggested that you contact the office/facility to see what type of safety precautions they have in place. Many will check you in from your car to avoid you sitting in the waiting room.

Do not touch your face during your visit. After your visit, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and disinfect the areas of your car and house that you touched.

You may also want to consider having a virtual interaction with your doctor, this is known as telemedicine. Ask your doctor if they offer telemedicine services so you can call, video chat or email them. During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare will cover telemedicine services the same as an in-person visit. Other companies, such as Walgreens and CVA, offer telemedicine services for a fee.

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet

https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/mdlive

https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/virtual-care/video-visit

Medication

According to Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you should have a "good month or more of medications – a couple of months – to keep out of the doctor’s office" (over-the- counter and prescription). Many pharmacies will deliver your prescriptions so that you don’t have to leave your home.

Other options for prescriptions are companies like Simple Meds, which will manage your medication needs and deliver them to your home. https://www.simplemeds.com/

Social Isolation in older adults is a health risk, even during normal times. During the Covid-19 pandemic, with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, it is especially important to stay connected to others. Social isolation is known to pose health threats of its own, including increased cardiovascular, autoimmune, and mental health problems.

One of the best ways to stay connected during the COVID 19 outbreak is to use social media and other platforms to stay connected. You can share meals with family and friends virtually and participate in many religious or community services online. Reach out to family, friends and neighbors online or by the phone on a regular basis and make a plan to connect on a schedule going forward. Engaging in video calls, rather than sending emails or text messages, is a great way to maintain a personal connection and interact with your family and friends. It is recommended to maintain a regular schedule, and participate in hobbies you are interested in. See our Using Technology section.

The National Institute on Aging recommends adopting or fostering a pet as they can be a source of comfort and may also lower stress and blood pressure.

Combat Loneliness

• If you need someone to talk to, call the Friendship Line (founded by the Institute on Aging). It’s open 24/7 and the number is 800-971-0016

Mental Health

• In this challenging time, your mental wellness is critically important. If you are feeling angry or helpless or sad, please reach out to talk to someone. Talk to friends, someone in your religious community or a mental health professional.
• If you are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, please reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

The document addresses some general best practices and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic.  The information herein is based on advice and guidance from Federal and State Governments, the CDC, as well as other governmental and non-governmental health organizations. This is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical, financial or technology advice.  You should contact a medical, financial or technology professional to best address issues specific to your situation.

We care and are committed to helping you, our communities, and our associates. We have implemented several enhancements to ensure we are available when you need us most.

During these unprecedented times know that we remain committed to serving you and we appreciate your loyalty.

Education and awareness are key. The following provides answers to some questions that cna help keep you informed and safe.

206401C19 04/27/20