There are several ways that organizations can support senior members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities (DHAD) is working closely with senior centers across Portage, Wayne, Stark, and Summit Counties to safely distribute wellness kits for seniors. These wellness kits include critical PPE like masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Helpful education about staying healthy is also being distributed in these wellness kits as well as through the dhad.org website, where there is a COVID-19 resource page for seniors, caregivers and frontline workers, parents, and other community members.
Aside from education and physical resources, there are also several available programs to help with social isolation. Aging is an Art Form recently started at the beginning of August and features free online sketching, poetry, cell phone photography, and BalloFlex classes for participating older adults. Participants are able to build and expand upon art skills while forming connections with others. Another popular program is Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance; also online through Zoom, groups of older adults work together to learn and practice the 8 forms of Yang-style tai chi to improve their strength and balance. While the purpose is to help prevent falls and strengthen muscles, participants have been developing long-lasting connections with each other, too. One group this summer continued weekly meetings after the conclusion of their program because they enjoyed each other’s company so much!
Finally, DHAD will be starting the Restaurant Initiative soon, funded through the CARES Act. By pairing with locally owned restaurants, meals will be set aside and delivered to older adults and those living with disabilities. This encourages at-risk communities to support and enjoy local take-out with significantly reduced risk of exposure to COVID-19, further connecting them to their communities.
Contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 877.770.5558 for more information about these programs and more.