XENIA — Greene County Council on Aging (GCCOA) continues taking care of local seniors with home-delivered meals and check-ins by phone.

GCCOA Executive Director Karen Puterbaugh says the community has stepped up amidst the coronavirus pandemic, a time in which older individuals are considered some of the most vulnerable. Ohioans with underlying chronic or severe medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, or heart, lung, or kidney disease also appear to be at higher risk for more serious illness from COVID-19, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“We have heard from family members, friends and neighbors who are picking up and delivering supplies and food and checking in daily via phone, e-mail, skype, and a wave from the window,” Puterbaugh said. “Our care managers have been calling all of the seniors in their care and most have shared they are doing fine, have no intention of leaving their home, and are appreciative of the contact.”

Many seniors are accepting home-delivered meals, while others have said they are well-stocked already or have no room in their refrigerators and freezers. Police, fire and EMS dispatch have referred some individuals to GCCOA for contact, meals and supplies.

Other services are on hold for now. Council-sponsored classes, support groups, presentations and events are canceled. Prior to the pandemic, GCCOA was providing support to 1,300 seniors through the Partners in Care Program. Some of those services, including homemaking and in-person visits, are postponed. Assessments for new clients can be done by phone to ensure seniors are getting their basic needs, including nutrition, met.

“When we are through this challenging time, we will return to our regular process of scheduling home visits, meeting with seniors and any appropriate family, and determining how we may be of support,” Puterbaugh said. “We will also be able to reinstate services such as installing grab bars in bathrooms of area seniors.”

GCCOA guidance

— Practice safe social distancing. Stay home. Keep at least 6 feet apart from others.

— If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms, call your primary care physician for direction.

— Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, move and exercise as possible, and keep your brain active.

Puterbaugh is also encouraging community members to get creative in socializing from a distance.

“As community members, we encourage you to continue to check on your loved ones, friends and neighbors,” she said. “Isolation, even when we know that everyone is in the same boat, is especially difficult for many of our seniors and caregivers. For many, a quick (or not-so-quick) phone call is a gift like no other and other appreciated connections include sending a card, an e-mail, or a text.”

Contact GCCOA by emailing [email protected] or leaving a phone message at 937-376-5486 or 888-795-8600. The office is closed.

“As the loved ones, caregivers, and service providers for older Ohioans, you are in an equally important role – that is, keeping them and yourselves healthy during the season of this virus,” Ursel McElroy, director of Ohio Department of Aging, said. “By keeping current about COVID-19 and being mindful of precautions, we can protect older Ohioans and our most vulnerable residents from the virus.”

Visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov or aging.ohio.gov/coronavirus for more information. Call the coronavirus hotline at 1-833-427-5634.

Photo courtesy GCCOA Greene County Council on Aging officials encourage families and individuals to check in with their neighbors by phone or Skype.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/04/web1_Sign.jpgPhoto courtesy GCCOA Greene County Council on Aging officials encourage families and individuals to check in with their neighbors by phone or Skype.

By Anna Bolton

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Call 937-502-4498 or follow Anna Bolton, Reporter on Facebook.