The year 2020 has certainly been one none of us will ever forget. It’s been a year of learning and adjustment, but through the entire process, our agency has continued to provide the essential services that so many of our consumers depend on.
Recently, our state association, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a), distributed a survey to Ohio Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and published a special report with the results. Highlighted was the response of AAAs to the needs of our communities and what challenges lie ahead as we all grapple with the long-term effects of the coronavirus. The responses from the survey revealed that the needs for older adults are growing and changing, with more emphasis on how to live with the reality of the virus safely, but most importantly, in a way that does not disengage older adults from the efforts to move us all forward with the new “normal.”
The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) sent statistics for part of the o4a report. Below are numbers from the AAA7 for the time frame March – October 2020:
• People receiving home-delivered meals – 3,887
• Home-selivered meals provided – 610,706
• Grab and go meals provided – 27,550
• Wellness kits to senior apartments – 3,400
• Personal protective equipment (PPE)/educational kits to AAA7 independent providers – 390
• Telephone reassurance/check-in calls – 672
• Information and assistance calls – 4,517
• Caregivers who received support – 1,147
As a result of the pandemic, our agency has developed some creative ways to reach out to our consumers and the community. These have included: Porch Talk Telephone Reassurance Program, Wellness Tip of the Week, Telephone Caregiver Support, Telephone Wellness Classes, Fall-Free Fridays, and Telephone Volunteer Ombudsmen opportunities. We have also delivered PPE to our providers and wellness kits to senior apartment complexes in our district thanks to federal CARES Act dollars that the Ohio Department of Aging directed through our Agency as the channel for COVID-specific supplies for our local providers.
As always, the AAA7 has and continues to operate as essential employees, serving our vulnerable populations. We are proud to be able to continue providing needed services to our community now and beyond. You can see the entire report distributed by o4a at the following link – http://ohioaging.org/wp-content/uploads/o4a-AAA-COVID-19-Response-Report-Final.pdf.
To reach the AAA7, call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 or e-mail [email protected]
Nina R. Keller is the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7, which includes Highland County.