The Covid-19 crisis has brought out the best in people. Every day, people whose job is to keep us safe and healthy – medical professionals, EMTs, Public Safety personnel – have put their lives at risk for us. There is a group that is overlooked – elder care professionals – but they are used to that. Usually, the last to be recognized as essential, County Aging Programs are providing vital services to keep the most vulnerable population safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the senior population is asked to stay home during this health crisis, Aging & Family Services continues providing food, home-delivered meals, or grab and go meals, wellness checks, and in-home care.
Many clients of Aging & Family Services require in-home care to remain in their own homes. But physical distancing, as the federal government advises, is particularly difficult during in-home care, which often needs close contact for tasks like bathing, grooming, and feeding. “Remember, though, the reason health care workers are going into people’s homes is that those people need care,” says NAHC President William Dombi. “And those needs are still there despite the pandemic. If they don’t get the care they need, they may end up in the ER, and that’s not the place for them to be right now.” Nurses and in-home care technicians are taking extra safety precautions to mitigate the risks of transmission and keep their patients as safe as possible.
Senior Centers were among the first to close their doors, as the effects of COVID-19 on elders could be life-threatening. And they will probably be among the last to re-open. But that is the building, not the people who work in them. The staff of Aging & Family Services is working every day to meet the needs of elders in the community. These are special people who deserve to be recognized. Social services professionals are not in it for the income – they are in it for the outcome.
Senior Centers are classified with Schools and other similar entities according to the States Executive Orders and are still unable to permit the community into the centers:
Chapter 15, Article 5, Section 6 and Chapter 15, Article 5, Section 1 of the Code of West Virginia “c.
Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up or take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site due to the virus’s propensity to physically impact surfaces and personal property.”