SUMMIT, NJ - SAGE Eldercare considers the safety of our program participants, families, volunteers and employees of utmost importance. In response to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), SAGE is taking direction and following safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New Jersey Department of Health and other state and federal health authorities.
Please visit the SAGE Eldercare website for program updates and cancellations and for information from the CDC including COVID-19 symptoms, prevention and preparations. This information can also be found on the CDC website www.cdc.gov. Additional information can be obtained from the NJ Department of Health at www.nj.gov/health. If you have questions about COVID-19, please call the New Jersey Coronavirus and Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253 if using out-of-state phone line.
The following is an excerpt from VOX article "Want to do something about coronavirus? Here are 5 ideas." To read full article click here.
Don’t write off the people most vulnerable to the virus — reach out to them
The fact that coronavirus appears most deadly in older people and those with underlying medical conditions has been reassuring for some who are young and relatively healthy. But some have gone beyond reassurance and into dismissing coronavirus as unimportant because it “only” kills the old and sick.
This attitude is “really dangerous because it sort of relegates people who have a chronic illness, people who have disabilities, and older adults” to a category of people who somehow don’t matter, Torres said, sending the message that “we don’t have to care about this group as much.”
Combating such narratives as a society is about “reaffirming our commitment that every life is valuable,” Torres said. “These are not just, oh, those people over there. These are our neighbors, these are people in our communities, these are people in our families.”
And on an individual level, for people who are young and currently healthy, pushing back against ageism can be as simple as making a point to check in on older relatives, neighbors, and people in your community, Torres said.
“We need to be aware of the emotional needs of older adults,” said Cao, who also studies older people’s social connections. “Take some time to talk to our parents, extended family members or friends who may be self-isolating at home.”
The National Council on Aging has some basic tips for helping older people during this time, including making sure they have plenty of food and medical supplies on hand, including anything needed for dialysis or wound care. If you are caring for older relatives, health officials also recommend identifying a backup caregiver who can step in if you get sick.
The CDC has recommended that people over 60 stay home if possible and avoid crowds, and officials note that if you are sick, you should not visit an older adult or someone with a chronic condition that puts them at risk. However, you can always check in on loved ones and community members with a call or FaceTime. “During the outbreak, we can still cultivate our support network online while maintaining social distancing in a physical sense,” Cao said.
While some groups of people may be most vulnerable to the virus itself, others, including those who experience anxiety and depression, may be feeling the mental health impact of living in fear of a global pandemic. For those experiencing mental health challenges during this time, Gurwitch, the Duke psychologist, recommends resources like the Disaster Distress Helpline — as well as, if possible, taking a break from the news.
To support others who are having a hard time right now, Gurwitch says that just dismissing their worries can be counterproductive. “If I tell you, don’t worry about it, everything’s fine,” she said, “that really discounts my concerns.” Instead, “with our friends and families that are feeling distressed, we can empathize and we can validate that this can be a really scary, anxiety-provoking time.”
Rather than telling someone not to worry, consider asking what they are doing for self-care, Gurwitch said. And stay in touch if you can, “because when we sit with our thoughts all by ourselves, they can spiral,” she said.
With ever-changing restrictions and recommendations, meeting in person isn’t always possible. But Gurwitch advises people to plan ahead for how they might stay connected with friends, loved ones, and community members if they are quarantined or isolated, whether that’s FaceTiming with relatives or finding a way to stream a church service online.