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Four Ways to Help Older People During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Four Ways to Help Older People During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we shelter in place while the spread of COVID-19 continues, many of us are now asking, how can we be of service to the older people in our lives, whether they are relatives, clients, neighbors or friends—while still protecting their health and safety?

It’s been well documented that older adults are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19. We also know that social isolation among the older adult population is a significant threat to health and well-being—and one that’s likely to be amplified by the necessary measures put into place to slow the spread of the pandemic. These include New York State on PAUSE and Matilda’s Law, which aims to protect the state’s higher-risk residents including those age 70 and older.

NYAM’s Healthy Aging team has developed a series of resources to provide guidance on supporting older adults in this time of need.

1) Reach Out To Your Neighbors: There are a number of low-tech and easy ways to reach out to and assist your older neighbors. We’ve compiled a guide to help you support older adults who live in New York City as well as around the country.

2) Use the IMAGE:NYC Map: IMAGE: NYC, the Interactive Map of Aging, can be used to identify neighborhoods with large concentrations of people who may be at higher risk of infection. We’ve compiled a list of maps that highlight neighborhoods with specific socio-demographic risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes.

3) Support Older People Without Internet Access: By providing information and resources through the telephone, mail, and home deliveries, we can help ensure that everyone is connected. This document provides guidance and resources to those who support people that do not have access to computers, smartphones, or the internet.

4) Remind Your Community To Fill Out The Census: Filling out the 2020 Census is a perfect at-home activity. We can respond online, over the phone, or by mail – all without having to meet a census worker. NYAM’s “Get Out the Count” toolkit outlined strategies for developing a census outreach approach. To adjust for life amid COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted its operations and timeline. Check out our first 2020 Census update.

The Healthy Aging Team at NYAM strives to increase social, physical and economic participation and to better connect older people with information and resources. This mission has taken on new meaning in this time and has never been more important. With these action steps, we can navigate this uncharted territory together.

This article was originally published by the Healthy Aging Team at NYAM, the New York Academy of Medicine.

About The Academy:  Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine is dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life.

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