The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on every person in every corner of the globe. It has forced all of us into isolation or has curtailed our very way of life. But, being alone is not part of the human experience. Our social networks (and I don’t mean Facebook and Twitter) and communities are critical to our well-being. And having a strong social network is an important part of retirement. Many seniors and retirees rely heavily on their local Councils on Aging, or COAs, or senior centers as a key part of their days. When they closed in the early days of COVID, the rug was pulled out of an incredibly important community.
In an article I wrote for Retirement Daily on The Street, I checked in with councils on aging to see how they are faring. During shutdown, what could they even do for their community members? Was there anything at all they could do in this time of crisis? How could they possibly support the older members when COVID was disproportionately affecting older citizens?
Well, wouldn’t you know, the leadership at the local councils on aging were doing remarkable and creative things. Everything from continuing their meals-on-wheels programs to drive-thru lunch service. There were virtual workshops and yoga in the parking lot. They had ideas, virtual programming, and back-to-basics methods of using the phone to make phone calls. All were lifelines to those who were lonely and isolated. Frankly, I found it astounding how clever the COA directors had become. And, what excellent ideas they came up with in the moment of great uncertainty and change. Expanding the use of the great outdoors was one of the key ingredients to a new approach.
Read the full article at Retirement Daily to find out more about how creative the support was in these vital organizations. And, let me know what kinds of interesting support you’ve found in your own neck of the woods.
You can read more about these hidden gems in this prior post.