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AARP Tele-Town Hall Informs Older Kentuckians on COVID-19 Resources

People age 65 and older make up 16% of Kentucky's population, according to Census data. (Adobe Stock)
People age 65 and older make up 16% of Kentucky's population, according to Census data. (Adobe Stock)
March 31, 2020

FRANKFORRT, Ky. -- Kentuckians age 50 and older spoke to officials on Monday about the coronavirus and the state's response to the public health crisis.

Led by AARP Kentucky, the tele-town hall gave residents a chance to phone in questions about how to prevent the spread of the virus, the availability of masks and other supplies, and how to navigate grocery shopping and other daily tasks while maintaining social distancing.

Secretary for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander participated in the town hall and said 8,000 seniors typically receive home-delivered meals through Meals on Wheels.

"Since this started in early March, we've seen about 150% increase in home delivery," Friedlander said. "We've had a lot of folks step up; local restaurants, churches. It has been really gratifying to see how the Kentucky community has pulled together to make sure that our seniors get fed."

Friedlander added it's critical seniors and at-risk individuals stay home as much as possible. He noted that residents and caregivers seeking help can call the state's Aging and Disability Resource Center at 877-925-0037.

AARP Kentucky volunteer president Charlotte Whittaker said her organization is working to keep seniors updated on changes to Medicare, the latest health information, and watching out for COVID-19 scams.

"There's so many pieces in the works right now to help our membership, and we're going to get to the plate and do what we have to do to keep our membership safe in Kentucky," Whittaker said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes - as well as advanced age - are high risk factors for developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY