Baltimore County’s older adults can connect with fellow senior center members and staff during the coronavirus pandemic by chatting on Facebook, taking online classes and participating in other remote programming.
With the county’s senior centers closed to the public for nearly two months now, some older adults may be feeling socially isolated, said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.
The county is seeking to bridge the gap that the pandemic has caused by offering online and remote programming.
“During this unprecedented time, we’re doing more than ever before to expand our reach, innovate, and provide seniors with access to the critical supports they need,” Olszewski said in a statement.
Baltimore County’s 20 senior centers each have an individualized Facebook page, which members can use to chat with one another, access links to watch videos and movies, and stay up to date on coronavirus-related information. People can search for their local senior center’s Facebook page here.
The Facebook pages also include links to various online classes, such as cooking, Zumba, journaling and other activities. People can find a full list of classes at baltimorecountymd.gov/aging.
After the county closed all senior centers to the public on March 16, the Department of Aging has served more than 8,300 meals to seniors–33 percent more than the pre-pandemic meal program participation, according to a county news release.
The county partnered with Meals on Wheels to deliver meals and grocery boxes to nearly 200 seniors who urgently need food. The Department of Aging has also been helping the county distribute food on Saturdays at the Hereford and Reisterstown senior centers, according to the release.
Department staff have been contacting seniors via phone calls, email, text and postcards to prevent social isolation and communicate important information. Over the past month, the department used those methods 46,800 times, the news release said.
Laura D. Riley, director of the county’s Department of Aging, said the department has learned lessons about serving seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic that will shape them “for years to come.”
“The Baltimore County Department of Aging is dedicated to meeting the needs of older adults in our communities—no matter what,” Riley said in a statement.
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