IMPERIAL COUNTY — Seniors who have dedicated their lives to serving the community have earned the gratitude of the Imperial County Area Agency on Aging, especially during these uncertain times as the world deals with novel coronavirus, officials said.
In an email blast to the Imperial Valley on March 15, AAA reminded residents that the eight meal congregate sites are closed until further notice due to social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak. These include the daily site at Calexico, two in El Centro, one in Brawley, as well as the once weekly sites in Holtville, Ocotillo, Westmorland and West Shores.
Elderly contacted concerning changes
The daily sites serve only Monday through Friday. Yet starting on March 23, seniors will receive meals at home.
“We prepare 150 meals a day,” said Karla Flores, AAA ombudsman. “With home delivery, seniors will receive one hot meal and six frozen dinners they can heat up in a microwave or conventional oven. We already have a contract with the county department of social services.”
All meal recipients have been informed of the new coronavirus guidelines per the county health department as they are one of the most vulnerable populations at risk for infection. They are also receiving the California Department of Aging guidelines as well, noted Flores.
Rosie Blankenship, AAA manager and Imperial County Public Administrator, announced to the county Board of Supervisors on March 24 that businesses like Broken Yolk Café had donated eggs and potatoes and other food stuffs to local seniors. About 100 seniors were due to have the items delivered to their homes later that day, Blankenship said.
“We also outreached (to) seniors who are using a variety of pharmaceuticals don’t contravene with one another,” said Flores. “We’ve identified all the pharmacies that will be open and can deliver to the senior homes.”
The name of the above is the Medication Management Operations program run through the Imperial County Tobacco Education project, explained Fernanda Lynch, health program coordinator. It is also known as HomeMeds, which was initiated as a fall prevention program. It now covers evidence-based modular platforms derived from the senior program, Lynch indicated.
Safeguard implemented for pharmaceutical regimen
Anyone over age 60 can have their pharmaceuticals checked, verified by a pharmacist and a medication management consultant.
“We make sure their medications are safe to take,” said Lynch. “A registered nurse will conduct a home visit and assess the medication that she inputs into a software program. After the pharmacist reviews it, the nurse returns to the home and provides a list to the client. The service is free to anyone over 60.”
For many seniors living in a home environment, they already employ somebody to monitor them, noted Flores. Yet they can also arrange for an in-home support service worker for one to four hours a day. Imperial County Social Service Department has contracted with Catholic Charities to look after seniors.
AAA reminds seniors many stores remain open during the coronavirus crisis. Concern of retailer shortages of household goods, however, has provoked binge buying and leaving empty store shelves.
For seniors in need, AAA can shop for toilet paper, face tissue or canned goods and can be picked from the AAA office, 778 W. State St. The hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. including the noon hour.
“But we want to emphasize to seniors to continue to wash your hands frequently and practice social distance (at least six feet away from other individuals),” said Flores. “Please seniors, shelter at home because we care about your safety and health. There is no need for you to be out and about.” For any questions or needs, people can email AAA at: www.aaa24.org.
This story is featured in the Mar 26, 2020 e-Edition.