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Seniors especially impacted by crisis

Staff writer

Physician Don Hodson said families should step up to help protect elderly family members during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The elderly population and those with chronic illness are the hardest-hit by the virus, and are more likely to suffer severe complications.

“Grandparents probably should not be the babysitters or have the kids running in and out of their homes,” Hodson said. “We need to encourage family members to take care of their elderly relatives so the elderly can isolate effectively.”

He recommends families do things such as shopping for older relatives and neighbors.

“If people have elderly neighbors, they can sure give them a call and ask if they can go pick up something for them,” said department on aging director Gayla Ratzlaff. “As much as the community can pull together to look out for one another, I think we will all be much better off.”

As of Tuesday, all three of the county’s senior centers have suspended friendship meals and will offer only home-delivered meal service.

“The whole operation will be meals on wheels,” Hodson said. “They were instructed on no-contact delivery.”

Seniors are being asked to call their local centers and reserve meals. Volunteers will leave meals just inside the door or on the porch.

Janet Bryant, nutrition site manager with Marion Senior Center, said activities at all three centers have also been canceled “for the foreseeable future.”

Hodson recommends elderly people or those with chronic illnesses should postpone visiting the doctor for routine check-ups for the time being.

Editor Mindy Kepfield contributed to this story.Seniors are being asked to call their local centers and reserve meals. Volunteers can leave meals just inside the door or on the porch.

Brenda Moss, nutrition site manager for Hillsboro’s senior center, said nearly that many visit them during lunch.

“We have almost 48 in here every day,” she said, “We have close to 50 people.”

She said there was no way for diners to sit six feet apart as recommended by the CDC for social distancing.

Janet Bryant, nutrition site manager with Marion Senior Center, said activities at all three centers have also been canceled “for the foreseeable future.”

Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of Marion County’s Department on Aging, said home deliveries would help protect the county’s older adults, who are at higher risk of becoming ill from the virus.

“We need to do what we can to make sure they are not exposed to coronavirus,” she said.

Hodson said elderly people or those with chronic illnesses should stop visiting the doctor for routine check-ups for the time being.

“Grandparents probably should not be the babysitters or have the kids running in and out of their homes,” Hodson said. “We need to encourage family members to take care of their elderly relatives so the elderly can isolate effectively.”

Both he and Ratzlaff recommend that families step up and do things, such as shopping, for older relatives and neighbors.

“If people have elderly neighbors, they can sure give them a call and ask if they can go pick up something for them…,” Ratzlaff said. “As much as the community can pull together to look out for one another, I think we will all be much better off.”

Last modified March 18, 2020

 

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