Coronavirus: What We Know and What You Can Do
We've all heard about it, but what should AAAs do to prepare for the coronavirus? n4a suggests AAAs follow guidance from federal health authorities and take the time to review existing agency emergency plans. By their very nature, AAAs are a vital community connection for older adults. By offering congregate meal programs, wellness classes and other programming, AAA-sponsored activities are focal points attended by many older adults and caregivers in your community. While we don't yet know exactly how the highly transmissible disease is spread, there are actions AAAs can take to help their communities stay safe and healthy.
Based on what we know, coronavirus is very similar to the flu—and health officials recommend that we take similar precautions to prevent and reduce the likelihood that the disease will be spread. So, reinforce with your staff and clients some of the basics—properly washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your mouth, and coughing into an elbow instead of your hands are simple actions we can all take to help prevent the disease from spreading. You may want to check on CDC hygine protocols for your offices and sites.
Even if there isn't coronavirus activity in your community, you can take a few additional steps to ensure your agency is as prepared as possible to meet the needs of older adults if coronavirus becomes an issue. We've heard from a member who is considering the purchase of additional shelf-stable meals and other nonperishable items to serve their clients if the need arises. You may wish to consider your agency's operations continuity plan—e.g., are you prepared to support staff working from home, can you reach all your clients if the agency is not open for business, do you need to update cleaning protocols for your office and meal sites?
As n4a learns more from federal authorities —and our members on best practices—on this public health issue, we will share information in this newsletter and via our social media channels (Twitter and Facebook).