As COVID-19 was spreading through Arlington communities, the message was clear to the over 400 seniors age 60 and older and those with disabilities that live in our APAH properties: stay home, stock up on food and supplies, and avoid group activities. But, these constraints failed to address the struggle of our older adults who lack access to healthy food and adequate daily nutrition under normal conditions. Our low-income seniors were now in danger of malnutrition and hunger who typically cannot afford to stock up on food or supplies, and if they can, many need transportation assistance to and from grocery stores.
The additional risk for those ages 65 and older with underlying medical conditions heightened the panic and fear, which resulted in the resident services team to provide 900 plus wellness calls, connecting 215 senior residents to outside services and providing 3,100 deliveries of food, emergency meals, medication, and other basic essential needs.
Over the past year, our seniors suffered from isolation. The majority have been cut off from socialization with their friends and family which was so devastating for some, they required mental health referrals. To address boredom that can accompany their isolation, volunteers donated “senor activity kits” which included word search and other puzzles, magazines, and adult coloring books. These activity kits have been a big hit among our seniors, and we are still accepting donations.
Our seniors are also greatly affected by the digital divide with gaps in internet connection, reliable devices, and digital proficiency. To assist in closing this gap APAH will be rolling out “Grand Pads” pilot program in early spring. This program will enable seniors to stay connected to their loved ones while enjoying their choice of customized music, popular games, video chats, sharing photos, unlimited calls, texts and emails.
Your gift to the Resident Emergency Fund today makes a huge difference for APAH seniors.