COVID-19 Taking Care of and Staying Connected to Our Elders

COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we interact and move throughout the world. Our daily routines have shifted, and many of us are spending our time separated from those we love as we self-quarantine. This has been a difficult change for us all, but for one group, self-isolation may be the hardest pill to swallow.

Our senior population, especially those living in nursing facilities, are a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and, as a result, have found themselves isolated from cherished family members and caretakers. Regular contact with loved ones can be a huge part of the daily lives of our elders and an essential part of their livelihood. Spending time with family, shopping trips, and doctor visits are all a necessary part of the daily routine for many of our elders. However, social distancing is essential to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and to keep this valuable part of our community safe. This new reality may seem bleak, but there are tools we can use to stay connected to our elders while keeping them and ourselves safe.

There is so much technology at our fingertips that will keep us connected to the seniors we love. Facetime, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger are just a few ways we can stay visually connected to those we love. Video chats are a great way to check on the well-being of our elders and stay informed of their needs and health status. Afraid the senior in your life won’t be able to use an app? A quick phone call or step by step email may be all they need to get started. Enlist the help of staff members if your loved one is staying in a senior facility. If they are still having trouble, consider making a visit and setting it up for them. Be sure to take safety precautions. You can set the app up on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop from the lobby, porch, sidewalk, or even your car.

Online Shopping is another tool that can be used to help make sure our elders are taken care of during this time. If your loved one isn’t able to shop on their own, or prefers not to, there are a few online delivery services that they can take advantage of. Delivery services such as Amazon Fresh and Instacart will deliver grocery and household items to your front door without you ever needing to come in physical contact. Grocery stores like Jewel Osco, Food 4 Less, and Mariano’s all have home delivery services as well. Both Walmart and Target also offer contactless deliveries for food and various other essential items. Keep in mind that due to the increased need for these services, delivery times will vary. If your loved one needs help with these services, find out what they need and place the order yourself for delivery to them.

If the elder in your life can shop for themselves, make them aware of the stores that have set aside dedicated hours and days to meet their needs. Below is a list of stores in Chicago with senior shopping hours/days.

Jewel Osco: Tuesday & Thursday 7-9 am

Mariano’s: Daily  6-8 am

Food 4 Less: Daily 6-7 am

Fairplay Foods: Tuesdays & Thursdays 7-9 am

Aldi:  Tuesdays & Thursdays  8:30-9:30 am

Meijer: Mondays & Wednesdays 7-8 am

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market: Monday, Wednesdays & Friday 6-8 am

Tony’s Fresh Market: Tuesdays & Thursdays 7-9 am

Trader Joe’s: Daily 9-10 am

Walgreens: Tuesday 8-9 am

Costco: Tuesdays & Thursdays 8-9 am

Walmart: Tuesdays 6-7 am

Target: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 7-8 am or 8-9 am (Visit Target.com  your local store times)

Cermak Produce: Daily 7-8 am

Dollar General: Daily 8-9 am

Whole Foods: Daily 7-8 am or 8-9 am (Visit wholefoodsmarket.com for your local store times)

Remember, during this time of uncertainty, it is vital that we show our elders love and keep them safe. Ensuring that they are not in total isolation from us and that their needs are met is one way to keep our community strong and thriving.

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