Assisting Older Adults: COVID-19 Resources and Practical Advice

The Aging Services Council of Central Texas, a network of individuals and organizations that support older adults in Central Texas, is offering insight as well as local information and service updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. AustinUP is proud to collaborate with these organizations and promote this effort.

Key Take-aways

Connect with your older friends and neighbors by phone or online. This can help combat social isolation and depression across generations.

  • Seek out and share updated COVID-19 resources that relate to older adults.
  • If you are able, lend a hand by participating in volunteer opportunities that serve older adults.
  • Keep in mind that advanced chronological age doesn’t necessarily mean “old and feeble.” Don’t make assumptions. Instead ask individuals what they need and/or the best way to help them.

Why This Matters

Austin has one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations of older adults. COVID-19 presents a direct threat to this population, which could have a huge impact on our community. That’s why Aging Services Council members are coming together to share information and resources to keep older adults healthy and vibrant.

“We want our community to know that Central Texas has a knowledgeable network of organizations and individuals who specialize in serving older adults. We are organizing services and volunteers during this COVID-19 crisis, ready to assist as needed,” said Suzanne Anderson, Aging Services Council co-chair.

Special Services Related to COVID-19

  • The City of Austin and Travis County have identified this website as the central source of information related to COVID-19.
  • To combat social isolation, Family Eldercare offers a phone-based program that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home: Lifetime Connections Without Walls (LCWW). In addition to social and educational sessions, they will be adding special programming on COVID-19 for seniors. LCWW is open to persons ages 55+.
  • AGE of Central Texas is sharing specific resources and information related to COVID-19 and has created an online library of activities and resources for older adults and family caregivers who are quarantined at home. Their information and Resource Center and durable medical equipment lending remains open via phone or email (ResourceCenter@AGEofCentralTX.org) and telephone (512-600-9275).
  • Central Texas Food Bank is posting updated information about their Find Food Now.
  • 211 Helpline offers one-call access to resources.
  • South Asians’ International Volunteer Association (SAIVA) is providing virtual programming for older adults, including simple yoga/breathing exercises. Open to all seniors. Please email saivacommunications@gmail.com for information and link for the session.
  • Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area helps connect older adults and their caregivers to community services and supports, including food, basic needs assistance, and information about residents rights in long-term care facilities.
  • Alzheimer’s Texas is updating a dashboard to share resources in the area:  Alzheimer’s Texas Covid-19 Dashboard 
  • Alzheimer’s Association has provided a tip sheet for working with individuals with dementia during this pandemic. Additional resources:
  • Drive A Senior West (DASW) is offering a free emergency food pantry for any senior who lives in their service area, which will be operating out of a location in Tarrytown. If a senior is in need, they MUST call the office (512-472-6339) and register for temporary services.
  • Capital Metro is partnering with HEB and the Central Texas Food Bank to provide shelf-ready food kits to eligible MetroAccess clients. Please note, this service is limited to MetroAccess clients at this time. Find out more.
  • Austin Parks and Recreation’s 50 Plus Program has a new YouTube channel that includes fitness, yoga and more. All of the instructions are adapted for different ranges of mobility and home use.
  • Austin Community College has a FREE online class for employment preparation. It offers leading-edge job-search training to increase your employment opportunities and outcomes. Contact Katie McClendon, Supervisory Coach, Digital Skills for Today’s Jobs, via email (katie.mcclendon@austincc.edu) for course enrollment information.
  • Workforce Solutions Capital Area (part of the Texas Workforce Commission) leads workforce development initiatives, connects employers to employees and vice versa. More information about available jobs can be found at the Work in Texas website.
  • As part of its nonprofit mission, Peak Performers recruits for contract, temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire positions in the State of Texas and other local government agencies. They are currently still recruiting and welcome résumés – including from people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions – on their website.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Meals on Wheels Central Texas needs help from previously trained volunteers (within the past 6 months).
  • Senior Access needs volunteers for its Senior Buddy program.
  • Drive a Senior Central Texas needs volunteers for its Senior Buddy program.
  • Aspire to Age is in need of volunteers for 20-minute virtual and phone check-ins with seniors. Sign-up form is HERE. If you know seniors who might benefit from the program, please call 512-347-7722.
  • Drive A Senior West (DASW) will have a free emergency food pantry for any senior who lives in our service area, which will be operating out of a location in Tarrytown. If a senior is in need, they MUST call our office (512-472-6339) and register with us for temporary services. We will need healthy volunteers to help in 2-hour shifts. There will only be 2-3 people in one large space at any given time. We are sanitizing rooms 3 times/day and ensuring the highest safety standards are being used. Food donations (very specific) will come in, be sanitized, packaged, and picked up by volunteers to be delivered to seniors. Delivery drivers won’t be getting out of their cars, anyone donating food will not be getting out of their cars. This will be a minimal person-to-person contact system. We will need food and paper-good donations starting Monday March 23rd. If you are interested, please email our office. Please DO NOT CALL, we need to keep lines open for seniors: westaustin@driveasenior.org.
  • Capital City Village is seeking applicants for immediate volunteer opportunities. Our volunteers help with greatly needed services such as transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, home/yard help, technology/communications assistance, and friendly phone calls / video check-ins. You can help Austin seniors successfully age in place and stay connected to their community, now more than ever.  For more information about opportunities and online orientation, contact us at 512-524-2709 or info@capitalcityvillage.org.
  • Alzheimer’s Association is currently seeking volunteers and collaborators who want to drive the efforts for health education for our Central Texas aging population. For more information, contact Maxine Vieyra, program director, at mpvieyra@alz.org or call at 512-592-0990 ext. 8546.

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