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Protecting the elderly during COVID-19 pandemic

Professionals say you can help by just picking up the phone and letting your loved ones, especially the elderly, know you care.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — One thing that has become a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is protecting those most vulnerable.

For anyone having to stay away from friends and family, this can be a difficult time. Professionals say it can help by just picking up the phone and letting your loved ones, especially the elderly, know you care.

"Call your neighbor, call your family member or you know, call your friend's family member," said Renee Gonzalez with Area Agency on Aging. 

The Area Agency of Aging is a nonprofit and provides numerous resources for seniors and the elderly community across the state.

Gonzalez says this time can be sad and confusing for many seniors, which is why making the effort to communicate is so important. 

The Arkansas Department of Human Resources is creating additional ways to check up on their clients. 

Representatives for the department say that some divisions came together to find a way to check on those individuals and make sure that they were equally safe. This is why they created a call center.

Gonzalez says if your family member is not tech-savvy, snail mail is just as effective. 

Putting together a care package with puzzles, crafts or paintings from grandchildren can help pass the time and make family members feel less distant.

"Receiving them from their families would really be great you know, something that's really nice especially when they are not able to visit physically," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says getting out of the house can be helpful as well. For seniors that drive, they suggest getting some fresh air.

"Sometimes just to get out of the house, drive around the neighborhood, drive around the park and then coming back home where you are still maintaining safe boundaries, that's a way they can get out and see other things as well," she said.

Most importantly, Gonzalez says to make sure your loved ones understand what's going on and why it's important to isolate and stay healthy.

"Just making sure that they understand that it's not because we want them to be home alone but it's because we want them to be safe," Gonzalez said.

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