BY ASSEMBLYWOMAN VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
We all have loved ones who are senior citizens. They are our parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends. We worry about their health and safety even in the best of times.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, many of us have become more worried about our older loved ones, and for good reason. Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing severe illness from COVID-19, according to the CDC. Eight out of ten deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults over age 65.
It’s a scary and unsettling time for everyone, particularly our seniors. The good news is there are a number of resources available to help seniors stay safe and cope with new challenges resulting from the pandemic.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) is working to make sure seniors continue to have access to food via home-delivery meal programs. Seniors receiving prescriptions through Medicaid, PAAD or Senior Gold may refill prescriptions early and receive 90-day supplies. DHS is also expanding access to telehealth services for routine check-ups and supporting telephone outreach efforts to seniors known to be socially isolated. To help older adults avoid large crowds, some grocery stores have set aside
hours for seniors-only shopping.
The CDC recommends seniors take breaks from watching, listening and reading the news or social media, do activities they enjoy, and connect with others via phone and email. This is good advice for everyone.
Young and old, let’s support one another as we navigate these uncharted waters.
We’re all in this together. For information, call 2-1-1 or visit https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) represents the 37 th legislative
district, spanning parts of Bergen County, in the General Assembly. She is the chair of
the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee.