How to help the senior citizens in your life during COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Since the start of this pandemic, it has become apparent that COVID-19 hits one of most vulnerable populations, the elderly, the hardest: physically, mentally, and financially.

Najja Orr, the President of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, joined Action News at 4 p.m. to talk about the issues facing seniors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Action News: What is your organization doing to help during the pandemic in terms of programs and resources?

Orr: It's important to know that the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging is designated as one of those agencies that provides essential services to older adults, so we do remain open at this time. However, to ensure that we are complying with the governor's orders to stay at home and keep social distancing, there will be modifications to many of our programs.

A few of those examples include for those individuals who visit the senior centers. While the programs that are typically provided there are on hold right on, people are still able to go to the centers to receive grab-and-go meals for those who are at risk for food insecurity. And for people who can't get to the center, we're able to have those meals delivered to their home.

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Another option would be, for those individuals who require additional supports to stay safe in the community, we're able to have our assessors or service coordinators still identify what their needs are by phone and connect them to critical resources.

For those at risk for older abuse protective services issues, whether it be abuse, neglect, financial exploitation or abandonment, our Older Abuse Protective Services Unit is fully operational and able to support those individuals.

Action News: What can people do to help seniors?

IOrr: If you have questions, don't hesitate to call our offices at 215-765-9040. That's our helpline that can connect you to staff that will assess and try to support people with the needs that they have in the community.

Next, it's critical if you have a loved one that's an older adult to stay in contact with them, whether it's a phone call - or better yet, videochat through FaceTime or some other means. If you can't be there with them, then, by all means, next best thing would be to try through videochat.

Once you make connection with them, just make sure they have the resources that they need, food, medications. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call our office.

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