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Valley Program for Aging Services helps older adults during COVID-19 pandemic

Although VPAS had to close their doors, they are working extra hard to make sure their services still help those in need in the community.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:52 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, senior citizens have been named one of the top populations at risk for complications caused by COVID-19.

Although the Valley Program for Aging Services, also known as VPAS, had to close the doors of their senior centers, they are working extra hard to make sure their services still help those in need in the community.

"Even though our doors are closed, our hearts are still open and our services are still happening," Harrisonburg-Rockingham County VPAS Director of Senior Services, Beth Bland, said. Bland is also the overall Director of Development for all VPAS offices.

"We want to make sure that, the older adults and the caregivers in the community know that we are able to help them, not just navigate aging, but also navigate COVID-19," Bland said.

VPAS now utilizes virtual classes and workshops, virtual caregiver support groups and retreats and has significantly increased their Meals on Wheels program. From March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, VPAS delivered more than 46,000 meals to those who are apart of the program. That is roughly 10,000 more meals than the same time frame in 2019. To limit in-person contact, VPAS has shifted to meal delivery one day a week but will supply the recipient with 5-7 meals at once for the week.

VPAS even implemented a telephone check-in program.

"Social isolation is such a significant mental health issue, for everyone really, but particularly it hits older adults very hard," Bland said.

The friendly wellness calls made by VPAS staff, give the older community something to look forward to each week.

With the help and donations from the community, VPAS has been able to buy groceries, offer transportation to medical appointments, and even put together hygiene bags. These bags include anything from tissues, to toilet paper, so soap, and even some puzzle books just for fun.

Here's a snapshot of what has been accomplished at VPAS in just 4 months:

· 46,733 meals and emergency food supplies delivered (enhanced service)

· 6,340 hygiene and activity kits delivered (new service)

· 2,013 hours of caregiver support (new service)

· 1,098 rides to medical appointments and other critical destinations

· 4,634 check-in calls to make sure homebound adults were safe (new service)

To learn more about the Valley Program for Aging Services, or find out how you can help, visit www.vpas.info

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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