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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources & AAAWM Programming Updates

If you are experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus, please contact your healthcare provider via telephone immediately.

A few helpful resources in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19):

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

https://www.cdc.gov/…/specific…/high-risk-complications.html

Kent County Health Department

https://www.accesskent.com

An Update on Food Resources

You may have seen that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Aging and Adult Services Agency and the Food Bank Council of Michigan are facilitating a Virtual Food Drive to supply seniors in need with quarantine food boxes. We are glad that this will make a positive impact for seniors in our area, however, we would like to make it clear that we have only been allocated a small number of food boxes for West Michigan. At this time, all of the boxes have already been assigned to individuals. Individuals should not travel to senior centers and other sites looking to get a box.

 If you require immediate access to food resources, please see the list below or call our office at (616) 456-5664.

1. Meals on Wheels of Western Michigan Senior Pantry and the Community Food Club for those that are 200% of poverty (call for income criteria)

  • Meals on Wheels Western Michigan Pantry- 616-364-1104

  • Community Food Club- 616-288-5550

2. Early shopping hours at local groceries stores: view a list

3. Homebound older adults may qualify for Home Delivered Meals through Meals on Wheels Western Michigan

  • They are now prioritizing clients using CDC guidelines when screening new clients for eligibility. 616-459-3111

4. Shipt or other grocery delivery services. Watch our video on how to order via Shipt here. 

5. Paying for meals delivered through the mail

6. Feeding America West Michigan’s Mobile Food Trucks: view schedule

7. Call 211 – The Heart of West Michigan United Way will likely refer you to a local pantry and/or go through some of the options listed above

8. Watch Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s helpful videos on topics ranging from mindfulness to using Shipt, see videos here

Currently canceled AAAWM programming:

In following the current recommendations of the CDC and in an effort to exercise abundant caution the following programs have been canceled, we will reevaluate extending this closure as time goes on. If you have any questions, please contact us at (616) 456-5664.

Healthy Aging Programming- Has gone virtual via Zoom

Alzheimer's Support Group

Family Caregiver University- Has gone virtual via Zoom

Senior Dental Day

Advocates for Senior Issues- Next Meeting scheduled for September 18

Elder Abuse Task Force

MMAP

The Medicaid/Medicare Assistance Program will continue to take phone calls as well at (800) 803-7174, but in-person counseling sessions have been suspended at this time.

Ridelink

RideLink, Kent County's collaborative senior transportation service, is continuing to operate as an essential service for necessary medical trips. Please call the RideLink office to check on ride availability: 616-774-1288. In addition, please note The Rapid’s updated operating schedule below, which will be the new GO!Bus schedule.

RideLink clients will not be allowed to use RideLink if they are not wearing a mask or facial cover. 

RideLink has available vehicles and drivers to deliver meals, food, and hygiene items to seniors. Those who are eligible for RideLink should connect with one of the following agencies or visit https://www.aaawm.org/ridelinkHope NetworkSenior NeighborsUMCH-United Methodist Community House, or Community Action Kent County. The agency will help coordinate delivery through RideLink.

Ombudsman Program- COVID-19 Updates

The Local LTCO Program is following the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory  Affairs guidance and the State Long Term Care Ombudsman’s directions to limit any onsite visits.  The Ombudsman will only visit facilities with approval from the State Office if a visit is deemed necessary due to an emergent need.  

Advocacy support is being made available to residents of licensed long term care settings by phone, email exchange, go to meetings and the like to address questions and concerns.  The LTCO will utilize the above means to respond to responsible parties, facility staff and community members.

The Region 8 Long Term Care Ombudsman main contact number is:  616-245-9451

You can also read National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care's "COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: What Residents and Families Need to Know." fact sheet  here.

Statement from Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan's Executive Director, Jackie O'Connor-Update March 24:

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. What does this mean for us here at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan?

Our commitment to supporting the older adults, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers in our community is stronger than ever. We want to be sure that seniors and adults with disabilities are looked after and cared for during this uncertain time. Our Information and Assistance Department remains open for those seeking resources at (616) 456-5664. The Heart of West Michigan United Way's 2-1-1 hotline is another fantastic community resource. Additionally, vital services such as transportation, home-delivered meals, and in-home personal care will continue to serve those in need.

You can learn more about the critical services that are remaining open at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus

A statement from Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s Executive Director, Jackie O’Connor:

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s mission of providing quality care and services for older adults remains steadfast. In light of the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our utmost priority is to protect the well-being of seniors and adults with disabilities, family caregivers, volunteers, and our AAAWM staff by following the advice of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). With their recommendations in mind, we have implemented the following measures to emphasize health and safety while still providing the vital services that so many of our clients rely on.

Our office will continue to operate; however, it will be closed to the public with an emphasis on remote-work for many of our employees. Our Information and Assistance Department remains an essential senior resource for our region, therefore we will continue to take calls and provide information at (616) 456-5664. The Medicaid/Medicare Assistance Program will continue to take phone calls as well at (800) 803-7174, but in-person counseling sessions have been suspended at this time.

Like most agencies, we rely on our outstanding network of partners and Care Management team to provide the in-home services that are so important to seniors and adults with disabilities. At this time, we will be working closely with our Older Americans Act and Kent County Senior Millage network of partners to be sure that the safety and well-being is the primary focus for participants who are receiving care and community supports.

In following the current recommendations of the CDC and in an effort to exercise abundant caution the following programs have been canceled for the time being and we will reevaluate extending this closure as time goes on.

  • Healthy Aging Classes
  • Family Caregiver University
  • Alzheimer’s Support Groups

We will continue to adhere to recommendations from the CDC and MDHHS to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will provide updates on our programming and services as they arise; visit https://www.michigan.gov/Coronavirus for coronavirus resources. Furthermore, we encourage you to check in with your elderly family, friends, and neighbors during this time--we all must look out for one another and practice kindness.