COLORADO SPRINGS — Following coronavirus guidelines is all about safety and protecting the most vulnerable among us. For our seniors this has meant isolation and social distancing for months now. News5 learned work is being done to stay in touch and make sure seniors have everything they need.
For many seniors a phone call from someone who cares is a powerful moment in their lives right now. Silver Key is just one of the local organizations making regular calls to seniors to make sure they feel connected and have access to any services they may need.
COVID-19 has targeted parents, grandparents, and older adults. Seniors make up a large part of our most vulnerable population that has been isolated for months now. Retired nurse, author, and educator Joanne Ruth is one of those seniors.
"In our normal lives when we go on day-to-day we may be lonely, but this is a different kind of loneliness. It's an isolation that takes away all of our normal activities," said Ruth.
She recognizes the mental health challenges going on right now.
"Going out shopping, going to the senior center, going to church, all those things are lost now," said Ruth. "Then, we say who am I as a senior? How do I count? Does anybody know I'm alive? Do they care?"
It's why local organizations partnering with the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging are making check-in calls also known as reassurance calls. It's all designed to stay in touch with our local seniors and get them what they need.
Melissa Marts of the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging says work continues to try to connect with any seniors who feel alone, or may have slipped through the cracks during outreach efforts.
"Who don't we know? Who are the older adults that are kind of under the radar?," asked Marts. "Maybe they know there are opportunities for congregate meals and home-delivered meals, but they still haven't taken advantage of that."
Working to empower area seniors, the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging worked to distribute "busy bags" to seniors full of coloring pages, crayons, puzzles, stress balls, and information about local resources.
"I think it just means a lot to know that we can have an opportunity to let a person know that people do care," said Marts. "We want to hear what they're thinking and what they're curious about, and what they want help with."
As reassurance calls continue as a way to check-in on seniors in our community, Joanne Ruth is working with neighbors to stay positive. She says these can be life saving conversations because there are still many difficult days ahead.
"I'm hoping so much that the vaccines will work, but I've made up my mind that this is kind of my way of life until that happens," said Ruth. "I was pretty startled when I realized that might mean a year that I would be living in this manner of different isolation that I hadn't felt before. So yes, reaching out to people is probably the greatest life saving thing we can do."
Protecting and caring for our seniors is a team effort in the Pikes Peak Region powered by many volunteers. This could be your chance to get involved and make a difference during this pandemic.
For ways to volunteer and find senior programs and resources please visit the age friendly portal at: http://www.ppacg.org/announcing-the-age-friendly-pikes-peak-portal/
You can also contact Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging at (719) 471-2096
For more information on Silver Key Senior Services: https://www.silverkey.org/
FOR PUEBLO COUNTY AREA SENIORS
Pueblo Area Agency on Aging
2631 East 4th Street, Pueblo, CO 81001