Helping the Elderly
The social distancing and stay-in-place orders to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have made it more difficult for seniors to gather with friends and receive visits from family members.
Health officials say adults 60 years old and older who have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, are more likely to suffer complications if they contract the contagious COVID-19.
While the measures were put in place to keep the public safe, some seniors are feeling more isolated and find it difficult to get food and take care of other basic needs.
Fortunately, family members and volunteers are coming to the rescue by finding creative ways to visit, provide food and other items so seniors can stay safe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Husband Serenades His Wife in Nursing Home
Prior to COVID-19, John Kline, an 80-year-old Alabama resident, went to the John Knox Manor Nursing Home every day to visit his 80-year-old wife, Ann, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
The couple found themselves separated after Alabama issued an order that curbed visitations at long-term care facilities to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus. But, Kline was determined to find a way to visit his wife of 45 years, who still knows him.
Since Kline could no longer spend a few hours a day inside his wife’s room, he decided to stand outside at the window of his wife’s room for about 15 minutes. To help Ann remember him and their life together, Kline sings songs from the 1950s and church hymns, such as “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus Loves Me.” Ann can see him and she sings along while lying in bed.
A nursing home employee videotaped the couple singing together. Kline uploaded it on to Facebook. The video went viral.
Kline said he wanted to make the statement that no matter what happens, even if it’s a global crisis like COVID-19, there is no reason to give up on love.
Restaurant Owner Brings Food to Seniors
When the coronavirus began to spread across California, Chris Jarosz, had to close down his Broderick Roadhouse restaurant in Sacramento following a statewide stay-at-home order.
At the same time, low-income seniors living in the Globe Mills Lofts in downtown Sacramento could not go to the food bank or homeless shelters to get food as they did before the lockdown. Because of the contagious nature of the coronavirus, the older adults were afraid to leave their residences.
Jarosz heard about their plight and decided to take matters into his own hands. Jarosz prepared food and delivered meals that fed over 150 residents, with the restaurant covering the costs of labor and food.
Jarosz said he plans to continue to help seniors while running his restaurant during the COVID-19 crisis.
To accommodate his outreach efforts, looking for a community-style kitchen and is accepting monetary donations; $20 will buy six or seven meals.
Kevin Smith, a Globe Mills resident who helped to distribute the meals, said the seniors were grateful for the meals since many people cannot go out to buy food. With all that is going on in the country, coming together to help one another is needed, Smith said.
Volunteer Team Makes Care Packages for Seniors
The Green Team Helping Hands, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Greensboro, NC, regularly advocates for the homeless and the hungry in the community. When a stay-at-home order was issued to limit the spread of COVID-19, the organization decided to expand its outreach to older adults.
Ashley Benton, founder, owner, and president of The Green Team Helping Hands, Inc., understands the difficulties seniors have leaving their homes because of the restrictions. So, Benton and her team of volunteers decided to do something special for seniors.
The volunteers made up 100 care packages that consisted of hand sanitizer, crossword puzzles, word searches, snacks, and essential items. The care packages were delivered by Senior Resources of Guilford, a nonprofit organization in Greensboro that supports independent living for older adults.
Because it’s hard for seniors to get out now, Benton said she wanted to make sure that the care packages had everything in them that could make them happy.