ELKTON — Since being recognized as the most vulnerable group to get COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Aging has set up a special phone line for those 65 and older to receive regular wellness checks.
This is a free service, which will also provide updates on the pandemic.
The Senior Call Check Program is voluntary and requires the person wanting to receive the call to register at aging.maryland.gov or by calling 1-866-50-CHECK (866-502-4325). Participants can choose which hour they will get the call, sometime in the hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If the person does not answer after two calls, a relative, neighbor or friend is then notified to make an in person well being check.
Donna Harrity, owner of Aging Life Guides in Elkton said she's heard from old Cecil County residents who are scared and either unsure of how to get what is absolutely needed, or have no one nearby to help.
"And a lot of my seniors are not computer savvy," she said. Those who are reach out through services such as NextDoor. However even that can be hazardous for the less-than-savvy. She said one gentleman posted his address and phone number and stated he would need help after surgery, opening him up to danger. She helped him delete the posts.
Outside of the pandemic, it's Harrity's job to help seniors and their families navigate the care systems in place.
"The number one goal is to keep them in their own home for as long as possible," she said. "I connect them with resources, help with power of attorney and medical directives, care plans and home assessments."
So she's familiar with the pitfalls and problems.
"The state needs to do more with assisted living and in-home care," she said. There are resources to help, for which many are not aware.
Harrity applauds the stores that have given the elderly the first 1-2 hours to shop every day.
"But it still has them out there," she said.
Instead, she urges compassionate people to reach out to the elderly they know and make regular phone calls just the check on them but also to find out if they have enough food and enough of needed medications and supplies.
"Sometimes it's just good to listen to them," she added. "We need to reach out to them and talk to them."
To connect with Harrity call 443-207-8834 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org