SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday announced the launch of an initiative for older residents to stay connected while staying at home during the coronavirus public health emergency.
The state is partnering with AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, American Lung Association and other groups to streamline existing senior outreach programs and set up a hotline to help seniors get questions answered and direct them to support services.
The seniors’ hotline is (833) 544-2374. Newsom said California is also partnering with the 2-1-1 essential community services hotline to help connect people to needed services.
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“We’re now reconstituting all of those programs and building capacity and partnership to significantly increase our connectivity to our seniors to check not just for wellness checks related to food and medicine but the deep anxiety people are feeling being isolated at home and the lonliness people are feeling at home not connected to the outside world, anxious about their life and their loved ones’ lives,” said Newsom.
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There are 5.7 million Californians over the age of 65, according to the state’s Department of Aging. Of those, an estimated one million live alone.
“It is incumbent upon us to check in with the greatest generation, the people who have brought us the most vibrant middle class and obviously done so much for all of us. We have a unique obligation to do more for them.”
The “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In” campaign urges all Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock to make sure they’re ok. In addition, the state is urging local non-profits and faith-based organizations to call to check in on all of the older Californians in their networks.
“Social isolation can be difficult for older Californians even in the best of times,” said Kim McCoy Wade, director of the California Department of Aging in a prepared statement. “We have to help aging Californians feel connected – and we must ensure we all have access to any needed services right now. This work will save lives.”