55Plus: Checking in with Councils on Aging

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—Mae Deary

Up Island Council on Aging

During this time of quarantine the UICOA has been busy working remotely and helping seniors the best way we can by still remaining available. Our outreach coordinator has been working tirelessly on organizing food deliveries, connecting seniors with volunteers, and being sure our senior’s needs are met and taken care of. Our director is still able to help with SHINE counseling, new Medicare applicants, as well as people entering into retirement.

Additionally, we have started an “email blast” list that we are sending out to our members to help keep them in the loop during this time. We will continue this once we re-open as well. It will be sent out for upcoming events, presentations and general information for our seniors. If you would like to be added to this email list please call 508-693-2896.

Edgartown Council on Aging

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique circumstances for the older adults of our community. We know that isolation can lead to loneliness, which is detrimental to emotional and physical health. Food insecurity threatens a larger percentage of our population as economics become unstable and grocery shopping becomes a high-risk activity.

Our outreach efforts have largely increased during this time, as we identify those most in need of services and supports. Through telephone and email consultation, all of our staff are regularly providing case management, wellness checks, and referrals to approximately 200 older adults and their families.

Our cook, Diane, has prepared approximately 1,000 meals since our delivery service began in mid-March. Along with a loyal band of volunteers, we have delivered to 71 individual Edgartown residents. Each week we serve an average of 45 people. We are also delivering surplus food.

We continue to circulate our monthly newsletter via email and print, providing COVID-19 related resources and activities, along with content provided by our community. Two of our exercise instructors are offering regularly scheduled classes with Zoom. Our poetry group is also meeting via Zoom. Local schoolchildren are working on a letter-writing project to bring some cheer to their older friends.

Tisbury Council on Aging

The Tisbury Council on Aging is still doing outreach to keep in touch with their seniors. All staff make calls to seniors to make sure that they make some contact with someone because most are alone. Everyone is grateful to get a call and appreciate someone is calling them and making sure their shopping and errands are done if needed. It is important at this time that we keep in contact with our seniors. The staff is available from home to make contact with our seniors. The senior center remains closed and hopes to reopen in May. If anyone needs to get in touch with someone at the senior center, one can call 508-696-4205 and leave a message. The messages are checked frequently each day and your call will be returned.

We look forward to seeing everyone when we reopen. Stay safe.

Oak Bluffs Council on Aging

Due to the Pandemic, all activities here at the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging are paused.

That doesn’t mean that we aren’t here for you! Please call the center for any needs, the desire to talk, for any concerns that you may have. We are here for you to the fullest ability to which we are allowed. We will continue our telephone outreach and response to requests. Please contact Rose at 508-693-4509, ext. 3, should you require help with pick-up and delivery of groceries from Reliable Market, mail at the Post Office, and prescriptions.

It is important in critical times such as these to remain as calm as possible, and get your rest. Please wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer. If it is necessary to leave your home, please wear a mask and gloves for your own protection.

The Pandemic closures have impacted our senior community, but this a necessary impact to ensure everyone’s safety. As difficult as this all is, in time we will get to the other side of it. Please stay home, be calm, and wash your hands. And please remember, how much we miss you, how we wish you well, and are looking forward to your returning to the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging.