While everything right now is uncertain, one this is for sure—we miss our loved ones. Times like these can be particularly lonely for those who are in nursing homes, assisted care, or are more vulnerable to catching COVID-19. Luckily, Birmingham has resources and tips for staying safe and staying connected.
Talking to your older relatives about COVID-19
While everyone is at risk for contracting COVID-19, according to the CDC those 65+ and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility are at a higher risk.
It’s a stressful time for everyone, but hearing this information as a senior can be particularly frighting—here are things to encourage:
- Take breaks from watching the news cycle. It’s important to stay informed, but staying glued to the TV can be upsetting
- Focus on taking care of themselves including deep breaths, stretches and meditation. There are even local online yoga classes they can log into.
- Continue to do activities they love such as gardening and virtual book clubs
- Remind them that while you can’t visit for now, you can still e-meet via FaceTime, phone calls and other virtual connections.
Mail-order prescriptions + grocery services
Many local pharmacies are offering free delivery or curbside pick-up for prescriptions. Ritch’s Pharmacy, which signed up on our database of over 370 local businesses, is just one of offering curbside pickup and FREE home delivery.
“You can rest assured that Ritch’s Pharmacy will be open our regular hours to serve you.
If you need us to bring your prescription to your car, just call in your prescription or use our convenient app and call us when you arrive and we will bring it to your car.
If you prefer us to deliver to your home we will also do that. Questions or concerns about COVID-19 please give us a call. Together we will get through this and hopefully very soon.”Ritch’s Pharmacy
Grocery deliveries + Senior shopping hours
Although a lot of us are delivering food those more vulnerable, with school and work starting back up it’s not always possible to make multiple trips when they need it most. Instead, order food straight to your grandparents via:
- Marble Creek Farmstead
- Piggly Wiggly via Shipt
- The Cajun Cleaver
- goPuff delivers food and other home essentials – order online or through the goPuff app
- waitr delivers food & groceries – order online or through the waitrapp
Stores are also making special hours for those over 60. Note local grocery Harvest Market has new hours 7AM-7PM Mon-Sat and 10AM-7PM Sun.
- Costco: Open from 8-9AM Tuesday-Thursday for members ages 60+, and for those with physical impairments
- Publix: Open from 7 – 8 AM Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, for customers age 65+
- Target: Reserving the first hour of shopping (8AM) each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, such as the elderly.
- Walmart: Open an hour before officially time (6AM-7AM) every Tuesday for customers 60+.
- Whole Foods: Guests 60+ can start to shop at 8AM
- Trader Joe’s: Dedicate the first hour of operation every day (8AM-9PM) to serve customers 60+ and customers with disabilities who may need additional assistance while shopping.
Telemedicine can save seniors trips to the doctor
Birmingham has tons of telemedicine options for seniors who may be feeling under the weather or have questions about their health. It saves a trip into the doctor’s office, but make sure you check with your physician about the best options for your personal case.
Ask your insurance provider if they cover one of these options:
Stay connected through simple technology
Facetime, Google Hangouts and more have become our best friends in recent months for staying connected with our loved ones. They’re great for filling the fam in on work stories and watching movies together.
Did you know there are also captioned telephones for those with hearing impairment? If you have documented hearing impairment the service is free covered by the FCC.
Another fun option many families use is the app Marco Polo. It allows you to send quick, spontaneous videos to large groups and is super easy to use.
What you can do for your older relatives
My grandma is probably the most extroverted person I know—seriously her social life is way better than mine. These are some things I’ve done to help her feel connected to the world and keep her uplifted.
- Bring on the snail mail! I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love handwritten letters.
- Order something special like flowers, gardening seeds or books from a local shop—especially if it’s a shop you know they visit often.
- Help them with their tech! Even though apps and iPads are getting easier to use for everyone, make sure they know their options for staying plugged into the rest of the world.