The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across our country, state and region could have a significant impact on the health and well-being of seniors and other individuals with compromised immune systems. As the Area Agency on Aging for southwestern Ohio (Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties), Council on Aging (COA) is using all resources within our power to continue to provide vital services that help more than 26,000 older adults remain safe and independent in their homes. At the same time, the health and safety of our clients, staff and provider network is our top concern.
Here’s how Council on Aging is responding to COVID-19:
- We are working with our funders and our network of contracted providers to ensure clients receive essential services such as meals, personal care, transportation and others. While we are planning for the possibility that workforce, supply chain, or health and safety issues may reduce our ability to deliver certain services, no disruptions have occurred at this time. For example, we have plans to provide an emergency supply of shelf stable meals to home-delivered and congregate meal clients before they are needed.
- Following guidance from the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Medicaid, we are temporarily replacing in-home care management with telephonic care. COA staff are available by phone as usual to answer questions from clients, caregivers and families. Essential services such as personal care, meal delivery and medical transportation will continue as usual for now and providers are following public health guidance to protect staff and clients. Our provider network provides regular updates to COA regarding the status of their workforce and their ability to provide services.
- We are working closely with our local health departments and emergency management officials for two purposes: 1) so these local officials understand the needs of the individuals we serve and 2) so we can receive guidance on how to protect our clients, staff and providers as they continue to deliver services to a vulnerable population.
- Together, with other Area Agencies on Aging in Ohio, and our state and national advocacy associations, we are advocating for a relaxation of rules and funding requirements that may inhibit our ability to serve seniors during this difficult time. Governor DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton have modeled the way through their innovative and aggressive response to COVID-19 in our state. We are following suit.
- On Friday, March 13, we made the decision to direct most Council on Aging staff to work from home. Many of our 300+ employees already work from home so this was not a difficult transition. While our offices in Springdale and Wilmington are closed to the public until further notice, our Aging and Disability Resources Call Center is open for business as usual and all other staff are available by phone and email during normal business hours. Staff are available Monday – Friday, 8AM – 5PM. We can be reached at (513) 721-1025, (937) 449-0642 (Clinton County Call Center) or www.help4seniors.org.
Please watch our website – www.help4seniors.org/coronavirus – and social media channels for updates regarding our services and for tips on how to protect yourself or a loved one. Remember, handwashing is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19. Click here for information from the Ohio Department of Health regarding how to protect older Ohioans and Ohioans with chronic health conditions from COVID-19. We also encourage you to use the following resources for information and support: