The Information and Assistance Team has experienced a surge of callers looking for help securing food, increasing from roughly 5% of calls before the COVID-19 epidemic to 46% at peak. They also assist callers needing help with housing, financial assistance, masks and cleaning supplies, filing for unemployment and the status of assistance checks.
APS temporarily suspended face-to-face visits to investigate allegations of abuse. APS provider agencies partnered with law enforcement to conduct wellness/safety checks when potential immediate danger or serious physical harm was reported, while actively working with alleged victims by phone to mitigate the risk of abuse. AgeOptions provided additional grant funding through the CARES Act to increase the Long Term Care Ombudsman program’s capacity to complete virtual visits with residents.
When health education workshops had to be cancelled, the Health Promotion Team quickly learned to use Zoom so they could continue existing workshops and begin new ones virtually. Technical assistance was offered to every workshop participant to ensure all had a positive and easy experience! Sixteen workshops have since been offered, addressing everything from arthritis and fall prevention to diabetes and chronic disease management, reaching hundreds of older adults.
AgeOptions helped support Caregiver Resource Centers as they moved their caregiver support groups and other programs for caregivers to web-based platforms. AgeOptions also partnered with WellMed to offer three training opportunities for caregiver specialists to make their in-person workshops go virtual. Caregiver Specialists are now using TCare, an assessment took designed to examine key stressors for caregivers, which has been proven to delay institutionalization of care recipients.
AgeOptions and our partner agencies are calling older adults to check on their well-being and mitigate the effects of social isolation. AgeOptions also offered additional funding through the CARES Act to our faith-based partners to increase grassroots programming for older adults and their caregivers to address social isolation and ensure essential needs are met.