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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Meals On Wheels Continuing Delivery Service To Seniors, Calls For Younger People To Volunteer

Speaker 1: 00:00 There is at least one thing medical experts are sure about when it comes to the covert 19 virus. It's especially dangerous and possibly deadly for people over 65 and those with underlying health problems. So yesterday, California governor Gavin Newsome made this announcement. Speaker 2: 00:16 We are calling for the home isolation of all seniors in the state of California. We are calling for the isolation home isolation of all of those 65 years and older and those with chronic conditions. Speaker 1: 00:31 But there are also problems that come with isolation. Older residents may feel uneasy about getting groceries or prescriptions and may miss social engagements that are special in their lives. It's up to all of us to make sure our neighbors, family and friends are taken care of during this very upsetting time and joining us as someone without some experience and tips. Amy Brown is director of development with meals on wheels, San Diego County and Amy, welcome to the program. Speaker 3: 00:59 Thank you, Maureen. Speaker 1: 01:01 There's an estimated 5.3 million seniors in California. Is meals on wheels doing anything special to help their customers during this time? Speaker 3: 01:09 We're continuing with our services as best we can. Um, as of yet there have been no changes to our services. We continue to provide two healthy meals per day as well as the safety check and we are able to do so because of the volunteers that we have. We are watching and listening to what the governor is saying and what the CDC is saying about our seniors who are over 65 who are making deliveries. So we may need more volunteers to help out with that. But as for now, business as usual, Speaker 1: 01:42 what should we watch out for when it comes to neighbors and friends who are older or who have health problems? What should we make sure they have during the time they are being told to stay home? Speaker 3: 01:53 Check in with your neighbor and make sure that they've got everything that they need from healthy foods to obviously toilet paper and hand sanitizer that we're hearing about. I did get an email from a concerned citizen over the weekend who said she saw a senior crying in a parking lot this weekend because they were unable to get the supplies they needed from the stores. So if you can make that little extra effort, if you're healthy and can make an extra effort to help your senior neighbors, I'm sure that would be greatly appreciated. Speaker 1: 02:23 How do you start the conversation to find out if someone could use some help? You know, because many people just reflexively say no. Two offers of help, Speaker 3: 02:32 perhaps just deliver a little package on the front doorstep of some shelf stable goods or other items that a senior maybe could use if they're unable to get to the store, pick up a little extra at the store and drop it off with a neighbor and just call it a gift. Speaker 1: 02:48 Should you limit visits to relatives and friends who are over 65 because you might be afraid of spreading the virus. Speaker 3: 02:55 We are telling our all in tears and staff to not come in if they are not well to use all of the recommended precautions as far as handwashing and not touching your face. Certainly limiting your exposure to the most vulnerable populations is a very good idea at this time. But at the same time we need to check in on those folks who need our help the most. So we're really calling on our volunteer base, at least in our scenario that's a little bit younger, um, who isn't at, at the most risk, um, during this crisis, uh, to be able to check in on those folks and to help out with whether it be mail delivery through meals on wheels or in any other capacity that a family member or a friend might need. Speaker 1: 03:49 What have your volunteers been telling you about, uh, the mood and, uh, the, the way of life that, uh, the people who are now receiving meals on wheels. Has it changed? I mean, are people anxious? Speaker 3: 04:02 I haven't heard any anxiety coming from our clients. Most likely it's, it's the children, the adult children of our clients. You know, what are you doing to make sure, you know, my parents don't get sick. And of course we share that information with them. We are taking great precautions, um, to clean everything, to talk at length with our volunteers about how to stay healthy, how to keep our seniors healthy. We have a contingency plan in place, you know, should the virus progress, but as is business as usual. Speaker 1: 04:34 Okay. Then any more advice, uh, for, for people when it comes to older neighbors or friends? Speaker 3: 04:40 No, just keep an eye out for everybody and you know, we're here. Give us a call. If you see someone who needs help, who's over the age of 60, we're here for them. Um, give us a call if you want to volunteer and you're healthy and not an at risk population. Speaker 1: 04:56 I've been speaking with Amy Brown, she's director of development with meals on wheels in San Diego and Amy, thank you. Speaker 3: 05:03 Thank you.

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Thousands of seniors in San Diego County depend on food delivered by Meals on Wheels volunteers. Now, the organization is calling for more volunteers from younger populations at lower risk of coronavirus to help deliver those meals.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments