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Groundswell of Community Support for MN Seniors During Pandemic

Groups such as AARP hope Minnesota seniors can access help if their normal support structure is affected by the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
Groups such as AARP hope Minnesota seniors can access help if their normal support structure is affected by the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
March 31, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Senior citizens across Minnesota might find it harder to get access to supplies or crucial information during the pandemic, but a leading nonprofit is rolling out several initiatives to make sure they're not isolated from help.

Public-health officials have urged residents to stay indoors as the coronavirus spreads, and that could restrict people from from checking in on elderly loved ones or neighbors. But AARP hopes a new online platform can help fill in the gaps.

Will Phillips is the director of the agency's Minnesota chapter. He said it keeps track of mutual-aid groups that are forming together in response to the pandemic.

"The AARP Community Connections site can help you find assistance right in your community," Phillips said. "But it also can help you coordinate help for a family member, or a friend."

These community volunteer groups can help seniors with grocery store pick-ups, financial needs, or just someone to talk to during an unsettling time. More information can be found at AARPCommunityConnections.org.

On its website, the Minnesota chapter has links to statewide resources. Each Thursday, AARP is hosting a telephone town hall, where anyone can call in with a question about the pandemic and get answers from trusted experts.

Phillips said these town halls can steer seniors away from false information during the pandemic. Altogether, he said, these extra efforts should offer a bridge to aging Minnesotans as the crisis unfolds.

"We're concerned about isolation and access to services," she said. "And in a place - our state, our country - where isolation was a growing concern for people, this is going to really exacerbate those challenges."

Phillips said these resources also have guidance for caregivers so they have somewhere to turn during the crisis.

Disclosure: AARP Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN