How COVID-19 is changing daily life for seniors

Seniors facing the coronavirus pandemic have had good reasons to take extra precautions.

"The mortality rate with COVID-19 is about 20 times the mortality rate of influenza," said Dr. Thomas Lawrence with Main Line Health.

The potential danger of the virus is the reason why senior centers across the area have closed.

Seniors are much more susceptible to the worst impacts of coronavirus. It's why workers at Lutheran Settlement House urge seniors to heed the warnings about coronavirus.

"The CDC was recommending seniors socially isolated as much as possible and not go out," said Lutheran settlement house executive director, David Chile's.

But the social distancing that experts urge has left some seniors vulnerable to another issue.

"People who are isolated can easily become depressed, feel lonely and it's not good for your physical health either," said Chiles.

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That's why workers with Lutheran Settlement House and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging encourage community members to check up on seniors.

Lutheran Settlement House has been calling seniors daily to check on them and even offer a friendly listening ear. They say friends, neighbors and family members can do the same thing, along with offering other services for seniors.

"Prescriptions are a concern as well. (We're) suggesting that they'll get them delivered or have a neighbor or friend pick them up for them," said Meg Finley Senior Services director for Lutheran Settlement House.
Even with their doors closed, many senior centers are doing what they can by offering free meal deliveries and pickup.

Workers with Philadelphia Senior Center handed out meals from an open door Wednesday afternoon as seniors streamed to the building.

Isadora Logan was one of those seniors who appreciated being able to pick up a meal.

"It's easier for us," she said.

All of the older adult centers in Philadelphia are offering free meals even during closures.

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Some grocery stores are now offering hours exclusively for seniors and vulnerable populations to shop. For example, Acme has reserved 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily for seniors.

"That's great that stores are thinking about that. I think you're still at risk if you're going out," said Finley. "If you have chronic illnesses, have others help you out. This is the time that they can help you."

The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging operates a hotline that can provide answers to seniors' questions on resources during the coronavirus pandemic. The hotline number is 215-765-9040.
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