Organizations for older adults change protocol amid coronavirus concerns

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Cancelations are affecting vulnerable populations in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, including older adults who medical experts say, may have a more difficult time recovering from COVID-19.

Senior Citizens Inc. and the City of Savannah have both changed protocols for how to treat and care for older adults in the area.

Senior Citizens Inc., for example, says it is changing the way staff delivers meals to 1800 older adults. Patti Lyons — the President of the organization — says the Meals on Wheels service is a home-cooked meal and a chance for older adults to interact with someone who cares.

For the foreseeable future, Lyons says volunteers and staff will deliver meals utilizing practices put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our volunteers and staff will put the meals in a plastic bag, hang it on the doorknob, knock loudly or call, and get back 6 feet,” she said. “[They’ll then] wait for that person to open the door and get the meal.”

In addition to changes in protocol, the organization has closed neighborhood centers in Port Wentworth and Thunderbolt until March 20. The Learning Center’s Special Interest Group programming has been suspended the week of March 16.

50 people who use Adult Day Health Centers in Hinesville and The Ruth Byck Center will continue to be served by staff, who Lyons says have been appropriately instructed on how to safely serve its older adult population.

“We have been told that what we are providing are essential services, so we are continuing to provide aid to the home as long as the client wants them and as long as we can do it safely,” she said.

The City of Savannah says normal operations have been suspended for its Golden Age, Therapeutic and Adult Day Care programs. Suspensions will continue until further notice.

According to a release, officials say 600 meals will still be available at 13 sites throughout the city. Seniors who use public transportation to pick up the meals will have their meals delivered.

The city and Senior Citizens Inc. are not accepting new clients right now. However, Lyons says you can call with questions or for information about resources. Their main number is (912) 236-0363.

If you are interested in helping or volunteering your time to Senior Citizens Inc., you can download an application at the following link.

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