March 28, 2020

South Bay senior centers keep a ‘social distance’ during pandemic

Lunchtime can be a time for conviviality and camaraderie for local senior citizens. At the Willow Glen Community Center, regular groups of men and women look forward to their meals and the chance for stimulating conversation. Sometimes, middle-age children stop in to have lunch with their elderly parents.

That has all changed in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. San Jose public information manager Carolina Camarena says that all city-run senior nutrition centers are transitioning from sit-down hot lunches to boxed meals to go.

Other senior activities in San Jose have also been modified or curtailed. In Willow Glen jazz and ballroom dancing, bingo and bridge classes have all been cancelled. Per “social distancing” guidelines, seniors may use the lounge as long as they stay 6 feet apart. At the Almaden Community Center, large, crowded classes have been cancelled in favor of smaller classes so that people can maintain a social distance.

“It is incredibly important to serve seniors, who are a vulnerable population,” Camarena says, adding that San Jose’s senior centers have posted information regarding handwashing and sanitizing, and they have information from the public health department available.

The precautions taken by the many organizations in the area serving the elderly may vary according to the size of their programs. Live Oak Adult Day Services in Los Gatos, has a small group of elderly clients, according to program director Lisa Lenoci. Some have dementia, others have Parkinson’s Disease or other ailments; their activities include music, exercise and cognitive stimulation. “We get them out of their homes. It gives their caregivers a break as well,” Lenoci said.

Live Oak disinfects all tables, chairs and countertops more frequently now. They have been providing hand sanitizers to their clients, but Lenoci says stores are running out.

Live Oak also has adult day service centers in Willow Glen and Cupertino.

Due to the suddenness of the epidemic, the Saratoga’s plans are still evolving, according to Raj Kaur, the city’s senior center division manager.

The Cupertino Senior Center doesn’t have a lunch program but provides cooking and food education classes. Day trip make up a substantial number of the center’s offerings. Due to the virus scare, trips to see the seals at Ano Nuevo and a flower show in Livermore have been cancelled.

Tina Wong-Erling of the Campbell Adult Center says that through the end of March, the center is cancelling activities where seniors are in close proximity to each other; these activities include card groups, movies and book discussion clubs. Classes such as dance, exercise and language where social distance can be maintained are still being held. The center’s hot lunch program is still dine-in, but with considerable space between the attendees, who also have the option for take-out.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Health


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