Arizona Organization Making COVID-19 Vaccine House Calls For Aging Adults
Older adults who want to age in their own home sometimes require additional support — they may need meals delivered or a ride to a doctor’s appointment. The coronavirus pandemic imposed many more hurdles on this population, especially when it came to vaccine access.
For the last year, the Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition in Sedona has been supporting older adults who have been living in isolation due to the pandemic.
"We've helped over 2000 people in the last year, providing them rides to specialty health care appointments that are absolutely essential," said executive director Kent Ellsworth. "And also now, helping them get the vaccination."
The coalition is even bringing the vaccine to them — at home.
"We've helped 600 people get vaccinated so far," he said.
And they’re busy through the end of April. Another issue facing older adults is loneliness. Ellsworth says they’ve also been making phone calls. Lot’s of phone calls.
"We had been at about 1,000 phone calls regularly each week," he said. "And that's doubled now to 2000 phone calls a week because people are just so isolated and lonely. There's so many scary things going on in the world. And it's not the world that they knew."
Ellsworth says sometimes a call that’s supposed to be a quick check in can last upwards of 45 minutes because that senior just needs someone to talk to.