Here we go with the latest tips for those self-isolation blues. The Town of Lyons is now almost completely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for essential services, like the grocery store and gas station, and carry-out food from restaurants. The doors are locked at the Walter Self Senior Center and the Lyons Regional Library. Do not return your library books until further notice; there will be no late fines. As of this week, all four Lyons churches’ services and programs are canceled, due to no more than ten people allowed to gather at a time in public places. All Monday night senior church suppers and pot lucks have been canceled until further notice. All senior programs and activities, including the three-year anniversary party, have been canceled.
Boulder County Public Health has issued a Stay at Home Order for the county beginning at 8 a.m. on March 26 and expiring at 11:59 p.m. on April 17; only limited essential activities are allowed. Jared Polis, Colorado Governor, has closed all restaurants and bars, but is allowing them to offer carry-out food and liquor services. Call them before you go. The Lyons Chamber of Chamber has a list of local stores’ new hours or closings that is constantly being updated here.
To help seniors keep up to date with the latest news and have contact information easily available to them, I will be doing another special edition of this column in two weeks, and again at the end of April. The next edition will have an additional focus on social media, smart devices, and online entertainment and educational services. It is wise to sign up for Facebook and join the “Lyons Longevity” group, as I post the latest information there daily. The Senior Newsletter can be obtained by writing LovingLyonsSeniorGroup@gmail.com.
Routine is what psychologists recommend to people, and especially kids, who are in a long-term traumatic weather or emotional situation. Structure is comforting. After hurricane Katrina’s devastation, one of the priorities was to get children back in school in order to give them the comfort of a familiar routine. Start a routine for each day, and write it down. You know you have been putting off that list of friends you owe a call to, or cleaning that room that is piled high with craft supplies and photo albums!. Call a friend at 10 a.m. Try out a new recipe for the day’s lunch. Exercise or yoga at 2 p.m. Start the clean up of one room at 4 p.m. Have an old-fashion gab session at dinner with family or pets at 6 p.m.
FOOD AND COUNSELING
Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels: The Lyons Emergency & Assistance Fund (LEAF) is a good place to start if you need emergency assistance. They can offer help with mental health concerns, lack of food, and more.
LEAF runs Meals on Wheels, which delivers five meals a week to people who are unable to shop for or prepare at least one healthy meal per day. These people may be aging adults or other at-risk members of our community.
LEAF also runs the Food Pantry, which now operates on the sidewalk in front of the Lyons Community Church on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. You just pull up in your car, and they will place a food box inside for you. Anyone in the greater Lyons area who needs supplemental food is welcome to attend the Food Pantry.
LEAF has a Basic Needs & Resource Matching program that typically helps with urgent financials needs faced by individuals in the community. With needs and solutions changing daily in the face of the crisis, LEAF’s leadership is currently evaluating how the agency will respond to requests for financial grants.
The number of participants in these services has increased with many people losing their jobs. For information on LEAF’s mental wellness program, send a confidential email to MentalWellness@LEAF.org.
Facebook fundraiser for LEAF: Local real estate agent Laura Levy initiated a Facebook fundraiser to aid LEAF. Levy contributed $2,000 to get it started. It raised $10,000 the first day. At last count, the figure was close to $16,000, with the hope of reaching $20,000. All the funds go directly to LEAF’s account. To make a donation, go to Facebook “Lyons Happenings” page, or contact Levy’s office at (303) 931-8080.
Senior lunch program: The Boulder County Area Agency on Aging (BCAAA)
is continuing to provide take-out lunches at the Walt Self Senior Center for now. Lunches are no longer being served in the Senior Center lunch room, but instead nutritious hot meals are being packaged in boxes for seniors to pick up at the doorway of the Senior Center at approximately noon on Wednesdays and Fridays to take home. New and continuing participants should call (303) 441-1415 before 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays to order a meal for the following day. Boulder County seniors 60 and over pay $3, or what they can afford, when they pick up the boxes. It is important to reserve a meal and leave your phone number, because the schedule may change.
Spiritual guidance: If you are in need of some spiritual counseling, you can call Pastor Emily Kintzel, Lyons Community Church at 303-823-6245, or Pastor Mickey Lohr, The River Church at 303-823-6469. In addition to offering spiritual counseling, Pastor Mickey says that he will do his best to connect seniors (and any others who are in the at-risk category in our community) to church members for pick up and delivery of emergency items. The Manna Café is open for delivery of breakfast on Saturdays, for now, and at-risk seniors should call in their order between 7 and 10 a.m.
HELPING YOU STAY AT HOME
Self-isolating: The federal and state government are asking seniors to stay at home and only go out for emergency necessities, like groceries or prescriptions. Those over 60 years of age are the most vulnerable to the more serious consequences of COVID-19. For example, it is wise to not go clothes shopping, do not visit friends, and do not go on a car trip. Cancel all non-emergency medical procedures, in order to allow hospital staff the freedom to take care of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and to have personal protective equipment (PPE) items like face masks, latex gloves, blood, and ventilators to use with those facing life-threatening symptoms. This includes visits to the dentist, dermatologist, cortisone shots, follow-up exams, experimental treatments, etc. Practice the new “personal distancing” program, and stay six feet away from other people outside your home. This helps stop the spread of the virus. The key is to avoid the droplets that transmit the virus.
Care Calls phone check program: This new phone-check option is led by LEAF. Every service group that does senior-related activities in town has been gathering names of eager and kind local volunteers, and they have come together to offer support that will allow seniors and others who are at-risk to self-isolate and get regular check-in phone calls.
This outreach effort has been given the name Care Calls. Seniors and other at-risk community members who are interested in a daily phone call for social interaction and a well-being check should email the coordinator, Lyons resident and Lyons Housing & Human Services Commissioner Ellen Keane at email@example.com or text 970-985-5523. Twenty volunteers are now organized, and Keane and LEAF have implemented the Care Calls system. It appears that the group is trying to support current needs and efforts and eliminate the current overlap of contacting at-risk individuals from LEAF, the OUR Center (Longmont), Town of Lyons, and BCAAA. Those agencies will still maintain contact but not as frequently as the Care Calls volunteers. If a call recipient indicates a specific need, Ellen coordinates directly with the agencies.
The Care Calls program is part of our community’s response to the COVID-19 disruption. The goal of Care Calls is to ensure that the most at-risk among us are regularly phoned by caring local volunteers so they will feel less alone. This is especially important if you have no family or close friends to check on you. This is not the time to prove your independence.
Many thanks go to the following groups for putting this together in just two days: LEAF, the Lyons Housing & Human Services Commission, including Trustee Wendy Miller and Lisa Ramsey, coordinator of senior programs for the Town of Lyons, and BCAAA staff. To volunteer to help make calls, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vulnerable citizens list and federal emergency alerts: An additional option is the local Vulnerable Citizens list. You can contact Lisa Ramsey at: email@example.com for the form to sign up. This is an ongoing service, and names are shared with public safety (fire and sheriff). Those on the list will be checked on in the event of a large-scale natural disaster or something like a prolonged power outage that might affect someone on oxygen. Note that it is not a list to provide general information on emergencies. If you would like emergency alerts from the federal government Homeland Security Office, go to www.ready.gov/alerts.
Pick up and delivery: Lyons Volunteers, in collaboration with LEAF, is working on a plan for picking up essential items for at-risk area residents. At this time they are only assessing need and can’t yet commit to specific services until they understand the need. Let Lyons Volunteers know if you or someone you know has an urgent need for a service like this. For questions about this service, use the Help Request form on the Lyons Volunteers website and someone will respond to you by phone or email. To serve as a volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Town of Lyons has temporarily cancelled its twice-weekly exercise programs. If you get on Lisa Ramsey’s email list, she will send out weekly simple exercises you can do on your own. She encourages seniors to get out and take walks around town–while practicing social distancing.
Online Exercise Companies
Gold’s Gym: If you like muscle-building exercises, Gold’s Gym is offering free access to its app Gold’s Amp until the end of May, where more than 600 audio and video workouts along with DJ mixes get you ready to work up a sweat. Go to: https://www.goldsgym.com/anywhere/
Planet Fitness is offering “Home Work-Ins” streamed live at 5 p.m. daily on its Facebook Page and led by certified trainers, as well as special guests. There is no equipment needed, and all classes will be 20 minutes or less. Each workout will also be available to view on both the Planet Fitness Facebook page, and on YouTube.
SilverSneakers: Join SilverSneakers Trainer Jenny O’Callaghan for free live-streamed SilverSneakers fitness exercise classes on Facebook starting this week, Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. They also have online On-Demand 200+ videos ranging from cardio to strength and yoga at https://www.facebook.com/silversneakers/videos/1150588828625444/
MEDICARE APPROVES COVERAGE OF TELEHEALTH
Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to COVID-19. Medicare beneficiaries can temporarily use telehealth services for common office visits, mental health counseling, and preventive health screenings. This will help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries are able to visit with their doctor from their home without having to go to a doctor’s office or hospital (which puts themselves and others at risk).
If you have an existing healthcare appointment or think you need to see your doctor, call them first to see if your appointment can be conducted over a smartphone with video capability, or any video-capable device, like a tablet or a laptop. For some appointments, a simple check-in over the phone without video capabilities may suffice. Of course, if you have severe symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately. According to Cherie Maureaux of LEAF, Medicaid and Medicare have been expanded to include billing for telephone calls. Call your doctor’s office to check for your personal coverage.
LATEST SCAMS TO AVOID
COVID-19 equipment: Medicare is warning of fraudsters who will say they will send you a coronavirus test, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information.
Charity scams: Unscrupulous groups take advantage of kindhearted people during crisis situations. Never give donations instantly, but instead check their businesses on Charity Navigator, Guidestar, and the Better Business Bureau.
Cures and Research Projects: Beware fraudulent products claiming a cure. Also, fake financial companies are using the current news to promote investments in their companies that promise dramatic returns based on so-called “research reports.”
BOULDER COUNTY AREA AGENCY ON AGING (BCAAA)
Boulder County Area Agency on Aging events, classes, speakers and programs have all been canceled at this time amid COVID-19 concerns. Following Boulder County policy and Public Health guidelines, all Boulder County government buildings are currently closed to the public. Normal BCAAA in-person volunteer services have also been suspended, including Respite & Companion, and Rainbow Connections volunteer visits.
A staff person can be reached by phone from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. See this page for the exact phone number you need to call (eg, nutrition, vets, counseling).
USEFUL COVID-19 INFO
Get the facts, and reject the myths.
Boulder County: https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/covid-19/
National Council on Aging: https://www.ncoa.org/blog/4-coronavirus-scams-to-avoid/
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.CDC.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
FREE ENTERTAINMENT & EDUCATION
See the article in this week’s issue of the Lyons Recorder that gives tips on how to use a library card to access the library’s worldwide collection of digital titles for you to borrow, including movies, music, audio books, e-books, and television shows for free. Go to lyons.colibraries.org and scroll down to “Remote Tech Help Available,” and schedule an appointment.