The coronavirus is isolating Tennessee’s older adults

Doctors take on protective suits before they enter the isolation room at the care unit of the new COVID-19infected patients inside the Koranyi National Institute of Pulmonology in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the health of Lakeway Area residents, it’s important to keep in mind those older citizens who would be more susceptible to the virus due to existing health conditions, such as diabetes.

According to the Tennessee Commission for Aging and Disability, older adults are among those at greatest risk of getting the virus and developing serious medical complications from the disease. Many older Tennesseans are isolating themselves to keep from contracting COVID-19, and that means they need help from those who are able to venture outside more safely.

“We’re glad that Tennesseans are reaching out to us for ways to help,” said Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission for Aging and Disability. “Many of our older citizens are facing days of long isolation, and I’m encouraging everyone to find a way to keep them connected to our communities.”

The commission suggested ways about how family, friends, neighbors and thoughtful citizens can contribute to the cause:

• Be a Buddy. Offer to be a text buddy. Or a phone buddy. Or an errand buddy. This will help limit unnecessary coronavirus exposure, while providing some welcome socialization to those who cannot leave home. Video chats are a great way to keep groups of friends and family connected.

• Call Regularly. And stay on the phone a little while. Make time to chat.

• Grocery Runs. After a trip to the store, leave the items on the doorstep whenever possible.

• Keep Them In the Know. Be their eyes and ears in the community. Keep older adults up to date about what’s going on around town. The continued isolation can create disconnection very quickly.

• Stay Alert for Volunteer Opportunities. The coronavirus spread is reshaping volunteer opportunities for thousands of Tennesseans. For instance, community organizations are always looking for people who are willing to deliver meals to home bound older adults, especially since many longtime volunteers are unable to help now.

If you need more information or have questions about resources, please contact your local Area Agency on Aging and Disability at 866-836-6678 or tn.aging@tn.gov.