Our Senior Information Resource Center will be closed until further notice but we will continue to take phone calls remotely at 760-891-8176 or 844-654-4636.
The Foundation is making welfare-check calls during the COVID-19 public health crisis. If you know of a senior or you are a senior who could use a check-in during this time of self-isolation, email the name and phone number to us here to be put on the call contact list. If you would like to join our team of volunteers willing to make calls to seniors in North County, please email us here.
Seniors and COVID-19: Common Questions and Answers (updated March 30, 2020)
In light of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak, the Foundation has compiled some questions and answers we thought might help seniors locally:
Resources for Seniors – COVID-19
Where should I turn for reliable Coronavirus resources?
San Diego County has a website for the latest Coronavirus information and announcements: http://coronavirus-sd.com/
AARP has put together a good list of questions and answers for seniors: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/cdc-covid-19.html
Here is the CDC site with advisories for seniors: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
Resources for your home - recommendations from the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html
Should I stay home?
Yes, on March 16 the California Governor updated the Health Guidance directive to include: “Seniors and COVID-19 vulnerable residents directed to home isolate.”
How much food should I have on hand?
Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home…aim to have a two week supply of food, water, toiletries and other essentials. Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms.
How do I get food and supplies if I cannot leave my home?
If you need food and can afford regularly priced groceries, consider either having food delivered or order online and pick up in the store’s parking lot. Here are some suggestions:
Walmart (click on Free Grocery Pick Up) https://www.walmart.com/
Target Order Pick Up: https://www.target.com/c/order-pickup
Ralphs Food Delivery: https://www.ralphs.com/i/ways-to-shop/delivery
Albertsons – click on Pick up and Delivery: https://www.albertsons.com/
Vons – click on Pick up and Delivery: https://www.vons.com/
Instacart (online grocery service comes with a fee) - https://www.instacart.com/
*Most of these retailers can also deliver or provide pick up for adult undergarments, over the counter medicines and other household supplies. When you scheduled for a pick-up or have items delivered, make sure to check your order to ensure you have received everything you purchased.
Many grocery stores are offering "senior only" hours in the morning. See the "Early Shopping Hours" graphic at the bottom of this page.
Many senior centers are still offering their nutritious lunches, just for pick up (no dine-in). Call your Senior Center to learn about the cost and details. http://www.sandiegoseniordirectory.com/page2.html
Brother Benno Center is offering bagged lunches and food boxes for pickup at 3260 Production Avenue in Oceanside (760-439-1244)
Since restaurants are currently ordered to close in-dining options, Restaurant Food Delivery services can also be a way to get a meal delivered from your favorite local restaurant. You might want to call the restaurant first to find out if they are allowing food to be delivered. Use these online or food delivery apps:
If you are a current client of Meals on Wheels https://www.meals-on-wheels.org/, they should continue to deliver meals for you. New clients may need to call to learn about approval: 800-5-SENIOR.
Serving Seniors is offering free delivery of meals (however, they recently reported they were reaching full capacity and could not take on new clients). Contact them for more details by calling 619-235-6572 and selecting option one, or reaching out via email at email@example.com.
A group of students in North County has come together to offer free pick up and delivery of groceries for seniors, call Amy at 760-826-9302 or email FoodforSeniorsNSanDiego@gmail.com.
If you know of anyone that needs Masks, Gloves and Incontinence products, TotalDry is selling 14-day packages and will deliver them. Email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should I stockpile food and medicines?
There is no reason to panic, but you should have a plan. Right now, experts are advising to have a short-term supply of food (about two weeks), and a month's worth of medications. There is no need to stockpile other items or beyond a two week supply of food. The U.S. surgeon general has urged Americans to stop buying face masks - masks are needed for the people who are at the highest risk (medical and healthcare workers). More from San Diego County: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/prepare.html
How do I get my medicines/prescriptions?
Your pharmacy may be willing to walk your prescriptions out to drop off curbside. Give them a call to see if they offer this service. Or, call your doctor’s office and ask them to have your prescription prepared at a drive-through pharmacy. Here are several in North County:
CVS at 1302 W Mission Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069 (760) 471-7205
CVS at 883 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA 92083 (760) 630-2134
Walgreens at 310 Sycamore Ave, Vista, CA 92083 (760) 630-5723
Can I get a driver to take me to my doctor's appointments and other errands still?
Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation - also known as FACT: FACT is offering free rides in San Diego County for seniors, persons with disabilities, students, veterans, and other residents who need assistance to make essential trips for medical needs or grocery needs through April 15. To arrange for a ride for yourself or someone else, call FACT at 888-924-3228 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday - Friday. When making a request please have the name(s) of the rider(s) to be transported, the pick-up address and time, and specify if any rider uses a mobility device such as a wheelchair or scooter. Rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis and FACT asks that you call at least one day ahead if possible to arrange for a ride.
How can I find out other resources for lowering my monthly bills?
Call 211 and they may be able to provide additional resources for lowering your utilities, cable, or phone bill.
Click here to ATT's site about COVID-19 programs: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html
Spectrum is offering free internet services to some residents who qualify and don’t have current service in their home. Call 1.844.488.8398 to learn more. Cox is offering low-cost home internet to those who qualify by calling 1.855.825.1466 to learn more.
What happens if I can not pay my bills, can my landlord evict me?
No. To help residents who are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19 pandemic, the state of California adopted a temporary ban on evictions related to COVID-19: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/27/governor-newsom-takes-executive-action-to-establish-a-statewide-moratorium-on-evictions/
How do I prevent contracting COVID-19?
In a nutshell: wash your hands often and stay away from sick people — at least six feet away. There are many sources offering suggestions, stick with reliable sources such as these from the County of San Diego:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It should be at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are sick, stay home and keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
What do I do if I am feeling sick?
If you feel very ill, and you believe it is an emergency, call 911. If you feel like you need to visit urgent care, call ahead (some now allow for scheduling to reduce wait times). If your illness is not an emergency, call your doctor and talk to them about your symptoms. They may recommend you stay home or visit your local medical office. Here are the recommendations from the state of California: Have a plan for if you get sick:
Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
Pay attention to potential COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop symptoms, call your doctor or local public health department.
Here is the CDC’s guidance about “Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs* include:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.
AARP has a great post about what it feels like to have Coronavirus: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/covid19-symptoms.html
Can I get a coronavirus testing kit from the hospital?
No, testing kits are only available for use by medical professionals and sent to state and local public health laboratories for results. If you think you may have the coronavirus, please call your doctor to discuss your symptoms and exposure first. If you believe you have symptoms, please wear a mask to protect others and call ahead before visiting any medical facility.
How do I get tested for COVIC-19?
Currently, our healthcare systems are not ready for widespread testing. It is not recommended that you show up at the hospital and ask for a test. Only patients who meet the criteria are tested at the direction of the County of San Diego Public Health Department.
Palomar Hospital has these Q&As: https://www.palomarhealth.org/flu-source/coronavirus
I’m feeling very anxious about the coronavirus outbreak, who do I talk to?
Take a deep breath and don’t go into panic mode. Call a friend or family member and talk about your feelings. Chances are they are feeling the same and it helps to talk to another person about your concerns. Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that can cause you to feel anxious or distressed. If you need to talk to a professional about your feelings and thoughts, call your doctor.
Read this good article: Feeling Anxiety About Coronavirus? A Psychologist Offers Tips to Stay Clearheaded. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/03/416836/feeling-anxiety-about-coronavirus-psychologist-offers-tips-stay-clearheaded
Can caregivers come visit me?
Family, friends, and caregivers who come to your home to provide you with support should be asymptomatic, meaning having no fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms. Make sure you clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones) with common cleaning supplies.
What should I do if I am a caregiver?
The CDC has these recommendations for caregivers:
Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
I want to give back – how can I help during this time of crisis?
Donate to the Foundation’s Senior Crisis Fund which will be contributed to Interfaith Community Service’s program to help seniors in need: https://www.thefoundationforseniorwellbeing.org/donate
Donate to Serving Seniors Senior Nutrition Emergency Fund to support food insecure and quarantined seniors during this crisis.
Donate directly to Interfaith here: https://www.interfaithservices.org/donate/
San Diego Foundation set up a COVID-19 Community Response Fund: https://www.sdfoundation.org/programs/programs-and-funds/san-diego-covid-19-community-response-fund/