Social Distancing Should Not be Social Isolation

Greetings to you all. I hope you all are taking care of yourselves, both physically and mentally. At this time, our communities are gearing up for an unprecedented pandemic that will affect everyone. Something I would like to highlight at this time is our mental state during the quarantine, mainly how to stay active and prevent isolation.

Prior to the spread of COVID-19, there was a great push at the Federal, State and local level to recognize and eradicate social isolation for our older population. This is evidenced by recent legislation proposed by Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, where she stated, “Loneliness and social isolation isn’t just bad for older Americans’ mental and physical well-being—it’s bad for our economy too. Connectedness to communities is important for seniors and our economy to thrive.”Now with the current situation, it is essential to maintain social distancing, but that does not mean to isolate people, especially our older population. Allow me to propose some tips for you to engage with isolated older adults during this time:

  • Make a phone call to a distant relative that you know may be living alone;
  • Look at your calendar and see what meetings, organization or club events were canceled and check-in with fellow members; and/or,
  • Write letters to your friends and family contact list.

Remember, we are all in this together, and we will all get through this together. Let’s take care of each other through this pandemic and beyond. Maintain social distancing but breakdown the barriers that may cause social isolation.

Sincerely,

Jason W. Swanson, HSE
Executive Director

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MNRAAA’s Offices Temporarily Closed

We have been monitoring the latest events and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health on COVID-19. Based on their recommendations, we will be temporarily closing the MNRAAA offices in Mankato and Slayton effective Tuesday, March 17.

The Senior LinkAge Line is available via telephone at 1-800-333-2433, or you can chat with them online at mnhelp.info.

All MNRAAA and Senior LinkAge Line outreach events, presentations and trainings have been canceled.

For the most up-to-date information about the MNRAAA offices and events, please follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MNRAAA27. If you have any questions, you can contact MNRAAA at 507-387-1256.

IMPORTANT LINKS & CONTACTS
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Coronavirus Update

We understand the growing concern surrounding coronavirus and COVID-19, and our hearts go out to all those who have been affected.
We will be monitoring this quickly evolving situation closely. Currently, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in southwestern Minnesota, but it is important to take everyday precautions and follow guidance from public health agencies. We will refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies to determine the safest course of action for our employees, partners and visitors.
Jason W. Swanson, HSE
Executive Director, MNRAAA
507-387-1256 x103
GUIDANCE FOR OLDER ADULTS AND THOSE THAT ARE HIGH RISK
The information below is taken from the CDC’s website. For more information for older adults and those at higher risk for serious illness, please go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.
WHO IS AT HIGHER RISK?
It is very important for people at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 to take actions to reduce their risk of getting sick with the disease. People at a higher risk for serious illness include:
  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE HIGH RISK?
If your current health condition puts you at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, you should:
  • Stock up on necessary supplies.
    • Have enough medication and medical supplies in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand in case you need to stay home for a period of time.
  • Stay away from large crowds and people who are sick, limit close contact to people and wash your hands often.
  • Stay in touch with others by phone or email.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU GET SICK?
  • Stay home and call your doctor
    • Let your healthcare provider know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
  • Get medical attention immediately if you develop any of these emergency warning signs:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT OLDER ADULTS?
  • Be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 by taking everyday precautions.
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them to have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
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Helping Older Adults Master Aging in Madelia

Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging in partnership with the Madelia Community Hospital Foundation, is pleased to announce that we are the first in the area to offer an innovative new ten-session health and wellness program to area community members 55 and over. The Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) was developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and has been successful at helping older adults build their own playbook for aging well.

This is a wonderful opportunity for older adults to participate in, and reap the benefits of, this cutting edge program. We are currently recruiting 20 adults, ages 55 + to participate in the ten-session educational program.

AMP is a fun, innovative, and person-centered education program that empowers participants to embrace their gift of longevity by spending more time each day doing things that are good for themselves and for others. The program encourages mastery—developing sustainable behaviors across many dimensions that lead to improved health, stronger economic security, enhanced well-being, and increased societal participation.

We will host an informational meeting on March 6th at 10:00 AM at the Madelia Branch Library.

Classes will be Fridays, March 13th through April 17th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Watonwan County Library – Madelia.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, call Kelly McDonough, Program Developer at (507) 387-1256. If this program piques your interest stop by or call to learn more!

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