Aging Services During COVID-19
At Howard Brown Health, Aging Services is committed to helping LGBTQ seniors care for their mind, body, and soul. Our staff specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and disability in older adults. We also offer educational programs that strengthen social ties and cultural competency training for nurses and healthcare professionals who serve older LGBTQ adults. Aging Services shared some insight into how LGBTQ older adults are coping with COVID-19 and physical distancing.
What are the kind of responses you’ve seen from older adults in the LGBTQ community since the “Stay at Home” order?
The Aging Services team has conducted outreach to older adult patients that receive services at Howard Brown. Many of the older LGBTQ adults we have spoken with have been basically optimistic about the “Stay at Home” process and outcomes. They have lived through other personal, local, and national crises in their lives and shared how those experiences have helped to build positive coping skills and resiliency. Patients have also been grateful for the check-in and expressed appreciation that Howard Brown is thinking about them in the midst of this crisis.
How are most older adults coping right now?
Many older adults with available social networks have reported that they are relying more heavily upon them to obtain services and meet their needs, including food pickup and delivery. Several older adults have reported that they have even moved in temporarily with members of their support network in order to have adequate support during quarantine.
What are some services that Aging Services is providing at this time?
Aging Services continues to provide programming and services to help meet the needs of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are completing a health and wellness outreach project for older adult patients to ensure that patients are able to successfully remain at home and that their basic needs are met. We are also assisting with access to food programs and community resources, in addition to helping with applications and redeterminations for many public benefits programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare Savings Plans, and related programs. To keep patients in care, we are scheduling telehealth appointments for those with the technical capability to complete a virtual appointment. Many patients enjoy the space to speak with staff about their situation, their history, or whatever is on their mind.
What are some tips, or some ways people can help older adults in their community?
There are many ways that members of the community can help to support older adults during the pandemic.
- Check in with older adults in your community to complete a simple health and wellness check.
- Ask if they are in need of assistance with any activities of daily living. For example, would they need someone to complete errands or grocery shopping for them?
- Respect individual coping styles and needs. In these times, people will cope in different ways and their coping strategies should be respected and space should allowed for those who request it.
- Share information about virtual events and groups that are offered. Connecting with others helps reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and maintains a social community during a time of required physical distancing.
Find out more about Aging Services or call 773.388.1600 to make an appointment today.