REAL Services is dedicated to helping elderly and low-income people become and stay independent for life. If you or someone you love needs help during the COVID-19 pandemic, call REAL Services at 574-233-8205.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation, more and more precautions have been put in place by federal, state and local officials to keep people safe, especially those who are the most vulnerable to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19.
While the virus will infect people of any age, those over the age of 60 or with underlying health issues, such as people with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, are the most at-risk.
“I’m not a physician, but what we’re hearing is that anybody that’s immunocompromised, regardless of age, it’s going to have a greater impact on those folks because their immune system is already compromised,” said Rebecca Zaseck, President and CEO of REAL Services. “Typically the folks that we serve are not only homebound, but there’s a reason why they can’t fix themselves a meal.”
Because of this, REAL Services is working to make sure the vital services the organization offers to the community stay available, even as the stricter safety precautions are put in place.
For the time being, REAL Services is bringing meals to people in extra sealed containers, in order to limit person-to-person contact.
The organization is also working on providing all of its clientele with an emergency supply of food that should last between two weeks and a month. This will allow REAL Services to ensure that no one goes hungry in case they’re unable to deliver food at any point during the pandemic.
For elderly people in the Michiana area that are still grocery shopping for themselves, local stores such as Martins Super Markets and Purple Porch Co-Op are making certain hours available only for elderly and immunocompromised customers. For instance, only seniors can shop at Martins from 7 to 9 a.m. on March 24 and 26.
Martins also has its Groceries to Go service, where people can pre-order and pick up their groceries. Ordinarily, there is a fee for this service, but that is being waved for seniors through the end of March.
There are also grocery and pharmaceutical delivery options that seniors can take advantage of. REAL Services has a list of local businesses providing these services — call 574-233-8205 for more information.
A major part of REAL Services programs is also building a relationship with its clients and providing them social interaction.
“We used to do face-to-face visits with all of the adult services clients and now we’re calling them,” Zaseck said. “What’s really important is that they hear from someone. They’re going to be hearing from us without a doubt, but for those people that may not be our client, how important is it for a neighbor or a family member to reach out? Very important.
“This is socially isolating for so many folks and they need to hear a common voice and a caring voice, whether it’s in person or microphone.”
That means that it’s good for elderly people to also hear from family, friends and loved ones, even if that’s over the phone or via FaceTime or Zoom.
While most people are trying to offer services that care and support seniors, there are also individuals out there that are trying to take advantage of the fear caused by COVID-19.
“The other thing that we’d like people to know is that, unfortunately, there are scammers out there,” Zaseck said.
REAL Services is compiling a list of potential scams that have been reported to federal and state authorities but warns that everyone should be cautious about giving out their personal information at this time.