Older adults urged to remain vigilant –
stay connected during pandemic
By Chris Michlewicz
Officials who hosted a telephone town hall meeting to discuss how COVID-19 is affecting Douglas County seniors urged older adults to stay the course.
Douglas County Commissioners Abe Laydon, Lora Thomas and Roger Partridge were joined by Tri-County Health Department Executive Director Dr. John Douglas and local senior advocates on October 23 to answer questions and update senior participants on the status of the spread of COVID-19 locally.
During the town hall event, “Older Adults and Well-Being During COVID-19,” Douglas said he was encouraged by the low COVID-19 infection rate in Douglas County, especially among adults 65 and older.
“Folks are being more careful, which is really good,” Douglas said. “Your best line of defense is protecting yourself.”
However, Douglas said transmission rates began rising in younger populations in September and he expressed concern about large gatherings around the holidays because “the most common sites of exposure appear to be personal gatherings.” The cooler weather doesn’t help because family gatherings will likely be indoors.
Douglas encouraged older adults to conduct their own risk assessment, because every personal interaction depends on multiple factors – including distancing options and number of people present, among many others.
Precautions, including face coverings, will be in place for the foreseeable future, Douglas said. He urged seniors to continue being vigilant by avoiding public places or exercising caution in such settings. A return to normalcy will be gradual, he said.
Participants in the town hall called in with a range of questions dealing with everything from whether to serve on jury duty to how to handle a multigenerational family living situation to the accuracy of COVID-19 testing to contact tracing methodology.
Senior advocates participating in the town hall said one of the biggest impacts of COVID-19 on older adults is isolation, and they encouraged each person to formulate a plan that helps them stay connected to family and friends while simultaneously considering safety protocols. Scheduling regular phone check-ins, connecting with a pen pal, trading recipes with friends on a virtual call, and sharing memories over the phone with family members were among the ideas for battling isolation.
There are several local agencies, including the Castle Rock Senior Acivity Center and Aging Resources of Douglas County, that are providing assistance during this time. They offer transportation, hot meal delivery and reassurance phone calls among other services.
“We’re here for you,” said Debbi Haynie, executive director of the Castle Rock Senior Activities Center.
Aging Resources of Douglas County:
303-814-4300 or mydougcoseniorlife.com
Castle Rock Senior Activities Center:
303-688-9498 or castlerockseniorcenter.org.
303-730-8858 or allhealthnetwork.org.