Senior centers around the state are continuing to serve during COVID-19, the executive director of the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) said Tuesday in an email newsletter.
"After one week of working with our municipalities, senior centers, and county governments to respond to the coronavirus pandemic as it affects services to our older adult and disabled clients, I think we are finally adjusting to a new normal," Carolyn Fortner said.
The M4A office, which is in Alabaster, has been closed to the public since Tuesday, March. 17. Employees are working remotely.
Older Alabamians, people living with disabilities and their caregivers are encouraged to call the Aging & Disability Resource Center at 1800-AGELINE or 1-800-243-5463.
Although all of the senior centers in the M4A region are closed in compliance with public health orders, 24 of 25 of the senior centers in the region are operating as hot meal pick up sites for congregate participants while hot meals continue to be delivered to homebound clients.
M4A also has staff members who are calling homebound clients to make sure they are safe and have a family member or loved one who can assist them during the crisis.
According to Fortner, about half of the people M4A has contacted so far have indicated they have needs for disinfectants (Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer), toilet paper, and all kinds of soap such as hand soap, liquid soap, laundry detergent, and dishwashing liquid.
"M4A is trying to gather together local resources that may be able to meet these and other critical needs. If you know of a church, civic organization, nonprofit organization, other community-based organization or individual who is meeting these or other needs, please let us know by calling our toll-free number," Fortner wrote.
The newsletter also referenced a "Critical Needs" fundraising campaign that will allow M4A to have the resources to order and deliver such supplies. Donation can be made at www.M4A.org/donate.
In addition, the newsletter addressed what is covered by Medicare in relation to COVID-19.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers COVID-19 tests when ordered by your doctor or health care provider on or after February 4, 2020, according to the newsletter.
Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations, including extra days in the hospital for patients who had to stay longer under COVID-19 quarantine.
There is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time; however, if one becomes available, Medicare will cover it.
Medicare also recently expanded coverage of telehealth services to enable beneficiaries to access a wider range of services from their providers without having to travel to a facility. This includes access to doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers.
For Medicare coverage questions, individuals were encouraged to contact their local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at (800) AGE-LINE or (800) 243-5463.
Contact M4A at 1-866-570-2998.
The following is a list of Walker County senior centers and contact numbers for each:
• Carbon Hill, 316 NE 6th St.; 205-924-6216.
• Cordova, 3885 Massachusetts Ave.; 205-483-6384.
• Jasper, 1050 Kiker Lane; 205-221-2849.
• Oakman, 8250 Oakman Parrish Rd.; 205-622-3197.
• Parrish, 1300 Main Drive; 205-686-9996.
• Sumiton, 193 Bryan Rd.; 205-648-0506.